23.03

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A  T A S T E   O F   S U M M E R . . .

There’s nothing like the taste of summer vegetables. Crisp tomatoes, sweet carrots, bright herbs, crunchy lettuces and cucumber, and soft velvety aubergines- I look forward to them all year round.

Over the past year or so I’ve made it my personal challenge to eat within the seasons to the best of my ability. That’s meant no strawberries in October, no courgettes in December, and no tomatoes in February. And at times I’ve found it really, really hard! It’s given me a real appreciation of how lucky we are to have such a wide variety of fruits and vegetables flown in from around the world, and also how much more delicious food is when eaten during the season in which it grows best within our own fair country.

And so with seasonal eating in mind, when Le Creuset, that most beloved classic kitchenware brand, dropped me a line to see if I’d like to create a summer-inspired recipe as part of their Nature’s Kitchen campaign, I jumped at the opportunity!

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Due to be released in-store and online later in March, Le Creuset have recently launched a collection called ‘Nature’s Kitchen’, inspired by all that nature offers us be it from land or sea. Alongside some of Le Creuset’s iconic Cast Iron cookware and Stoneware in four new spring and summer-inspired colours, the collection also includes 3-ply Stainless Steel and Toughened Non-Stick products that are the perfect tools for getting the best from fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Le Creuset sent across their completely beautiful Toughened Non-Stick Ribbed Rectangular Grill for me to create the dish with, and it’s fast become the most used piece of kitchen equipment I never knew I needed. Griddled veg? Perfect! Toasted sandwiches? Done in an instant! And I bet it’d be perfect for cooking fish or meat on too, if that’s your jam!

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As you know though, for me, veggies are king, queen, and everything in between. As a keen veg grower entering year two of my ‘grow your own’ endeavours, there’s nothing I’m looking forward to more right now than eating from the garden for the first time in 2018. Our living room window ledges are currently heaving under the strain of dozens of seed trays, with broad beans, leeks, chillis, cabbage, and broccoli seedlings, all waiting to the weather to turn warm enough so they can migrate outside. The first pickings of the year will make me a very happy lady indeed!

But until then, it was to the supermarkets I went in search of ingredients for this summer-inspired recipe…

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And the centrepiece of this dish are the aubergines, griddled to perfection on the Toughened Non-Stick Ribbed Rectangular Grill.

Doused in olive oil and salt and then set on the sizzlingly hot bars of the pan, the aubergines are turned occasionally until their flesh turns meltingly soft, and then drizzled with some maple syrup or honey or agave. The sweetness sets off their salty, slightly bitter flavour so well, and makes them a dream to eat.

Combined with some thyme-roasted carrots, miso and smoked paprika-dressed chickpeas, soft grains, and a handful of parsley and mint, it’s the perfect summer lunch bowl.

Now, all we need is for winter to wave its final farewell so we can get cooking…

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Ingredients:
1 large aubergine
Drizzle of maple syrup/honey
1/2tsp dried thyme
3 large carrots
2 cans best quality chickpeas
1tbsp miso paste
1tsp smoked paprika
Juice half a lemon
1 cup quinoa
Salt + extra virgin olive oil
Fresh parsley

 

Method:

- Slice the carrots into lengths, toss in olive oil, fresh thyme and a pinch of salt, and then place into an oven preheated to 200 degrees celsius for 40 minutes or until cooked through.

- In a large frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and then add the drained chickpeas. Stir in the miso paste, smoked paprika, and lemon juice, and then stir to allow the miso to melt and coat the chickpeas. Fill one of the chickpea cans with water, pour into the pan, turn the heat up high and allow the mixture to bubble for a minute or two until a rich, amber sauce has formed. Turn off the heat, put on a lid, and set aside.

- Slice the aubergine from top to bottom in 1cm slices, brush generously with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Heat the Toughened Non-Stick Ribbed Rectangular Grill over a medium heat, and then lay the aubergine slices onto the bars. When the aubergines have taken on colour and have beautiful dark golden char marks on them, lower the heat under the grill pan and allow the aubergines to cook through.

- Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions, and dress with a squeeze of lemon juice.

- To serve, fluff the grains through with a fork and then tip out onto a large serving plate. Top with the warm chickpeas, roasted carrots, and grilled aubergine. Drizzle the grilled aubergine with the maple syrup/honey, top the whole dish with a handful of chopped parsley, and serve with a side bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

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 This recipe was created for Le Creuset. The wonderful Nature’s Kitchen collection is now in-store and online, celebrating cooking with beautiful, fresh ingredients this coming season.

Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible!

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22.06

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S T A C K   +   D R I Z Z L E .

The joys of this pancake recipe were revealed to me this weekend, and quite by accident.

I’d woken up on Sunday with a hankering for proper American pancakes, and then realised that tragedy had struck and we were out of eggs! I turned straight to my phone to look up ideas for egg-free pancake recipes (nothing *too* virtuous- it was a Sunday, after all!, and came across this promising looking one from Food Hero.

‘Let’s give it a go’ I thought, ‘they might turn out alright!’ and headed downstairs to the kitchen…

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And the results, it turned out, were better than just ‘alright’. These are easily some of the tastiest pancakes I’ve ever, EVER had!

The texture is lighter than light, and reminds me of the delicious Scotch pancakes I used to eat toasted and spread with butter as a post-school snack as a child. And even though I used almond milk in place of cow’s milk (hence the ‘accidental vegan-ness’ of this recipe) and they’re without the usual egg or two you’d find in an American pancake recipe, they rise like a dream!

In fact, they feel positively virtuous compared to the pancakes I’d usually treat myself to on a Sunday, when the mood strikes!

But enough of the chat, because I’m sure you’re convinced. Let’s get to the recipe!

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Recipe tweaked (minimally) from Food Hero. Serves two. Or one, whatever floats your boat…

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
1tbsp sugar
Pinch salt
1 cup almond milk (though any non-dairy milk would work, I should think)
2tbsp vegetable/melted coconut oil
1tsp vanilla extract
2-3 extra tbsp almond milk to thin the mixture as necessary

- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and then add in the almond milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk again until just combined.

- Add in the extra almond milk a tablespoon at a time until you’ve achieved a smooth dropping consistency.

- Heat a small amount of coconut oil or vegetable oil a large non-stick frying pan set over a medium flame, and then spoon in rounds of the batter a couple of tablespoons at a time.

- Cook for a minute or so, until bubbles form on the top of the pancake and the underside is set, then flip and cook until the second side is golden.

- Serve with syrup, yoghurt, fresh fruit, and/or compote! (To make the compote shown here, simply soften a couple of handfuls of frozen summer berries in a small pan with a splash of syrup to take away the tartness!)

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p.s. Quilted bed throw is from Next, blue-edged plates are from John Lewis, and the tray is an old one from Sainsbury’s but an alternative is linked below!

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07.04

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 S U P E R   G R E E N   J U I C E   &   A   S W E E T   T R O P I C A L   S M O O T H I E

Since getting our NutriBullet towards the end of last summer (it was a treasured wedding gift!), I can honestly say I’ve used it almost every day since. In fact, it’s been given a full-time position on our countertop (praise indeed!), because it rarely goes a day without being put into action!

I use it for whizzing up soups, for grinding coffee beans, to whip up sauces and things like hummus and pesto, and, of course, to make smoothies!

My only bug bear up until recently had been that I often fancy the freshness of a juice, over the richness of a smoothie, and that’s one thing I didn’t think I could achieve with the NutriBullet. (This isn’t a paid plug for NutriBullet, by the way. I just love it!)

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And yet, of course I could! It occurred to me, like a brainwave one morning, that if I simply whizzed up all the ingredients I wanted in my juice, and then strained it all through a clean cloth, I might just be left with juice!

So, I tried it, and it worked a treat. And now, I’m obsessed! The funny thing is, the baby seems to love juice as much I do, because whenever I drink it the kicks start coming thick and fast!

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This flavour combination is my current favourite, though I fancy experimenting with some carrot juice sometime soon too. I love that this juice isn’t too sweet, and that you can really taste the tang of the celery alongside the apple flavour.

It basically just feels like health in a glass, and I can’t get enough.

Recipe for my super green (baby kick inducing!;) juice below!

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The quantities are all very changeable and approximate. Basically, these are the proportions I go for, but feel free to tailor it as you fancy. Makes approx. 500ml. juice.

Ingredients ::
2 apples
2 florets of broccoli
1 + 1/2 stalks of celery
2-3 inches of cucumber
Squeeze lemon juice
Coconut water, about an inch or so when poured into your blender

- Chop all the ingredents into smallish chunks, and give them a wash.

- Layer them up in your blender or Nutribullet, with the cucumber closest to the blades (it’s the lightest and most watery ingredient, which helps the blending!), and the apple chunks furthest away.

- Pour in an inch or so of coconut water, then add a spritz of lemon juice. Blend for a few seconds, until a pulpy juice has formed, and then pour into the middle of a clean cloth over a jug.

- Carefully squeeze all of the juice out of the pulp into a jug or glass, and then serve! (I always feed a bit of the leftover pulp to Ted and Elsie, which they adore! It’s pure goodness for them, I’m sure!)

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The other drink I love making to have either alongside or as breakfast (well, I used to have a smoothie as breakfast, but now I usually have it alongside porridge or something more hearty), is a tropical smoothie!

This one, made from mango, banana, avocado, and lime would work really well as a frozen smoothie bowl in the summertime, but until the glorious sunshine returns it’s just as nice as a regular smoothie!

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It’s sweet and creamy, but because never feels overly rich because I tend to make it either with coconut water, orange juice, or a little Coco coconut milk.

However you make it though, it’s delicious and lovely first thing in the morning now the weather’s beginning to brighten up.

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Makes approx. 500ml of smoothie.
Ingredients ::
2 small ripe bananas
1/2 large ripe mango
1/2 small ripe avocado
Coconut water/coconut milk/fruit juice
Lime

- Chop up the banana, mango, and avocado, and put them in your blender. Pour in a couple of inches of coconut water, milk, or juice, add in a spritz of lime juice, and blend!

- This smoothie would work well using frozen banana or frozen mango chunks, but you’ll need to up the liquid quantity if doing so to keep things blendable and achieve a smoothie consistency. Or, keep liquid levels low, and you’ll be left with a semi-frozen smoothie consistency- yum!

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15.03

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L E T ‘ S   U P   T H E   C H E E S E   L E V E L S

There’s something about going tomato-free that takes the whole pizza experience up a notch, if you ask me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a regular, tomato-sauce covered pizza any day of the week, but once in a while the indulgence of an extra-cheesy, dairy-laden ‘white pizza’ (in Italian, ‘pizza bianca’) is a treat that can’t be beaten.

I’d not tried one until a couple of years or so ago, and it was a total revelation. Creamy and rich, and comforting in all the ways a traditional spaghetti carbonara is but with the added bonus of a light, fluffy bread base. What could be better?

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This recipe is a riff on the pizza recipe I named, maybe in a fit of arrogance (that I still totally stand by…), ‘the very best homemade pizza!’

The dough gets a long prove and is stretched out into rounds by hand, before being part cooked in a searing hot frying pan to create lightness before being finished off in the oven.

The beauty of the recipe also means that you can pre-prepare the pizzas- cooking the bases in a pan and topping them once cooled will let you put together a whole stack of pizzas that can then be stored in the fridge, and cooked whenever you fancy!

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Enough about bases, let’s talk a little about toppings before we move on to the recipe itself.

We’re topping the pizza with a mixture of grated parmesan and creme fraiche, and a handful of sweet courgettes and buttery mushrooms. Shredded buffalo mozzarella ups the cheese stakes, and a few spoonfuls of tangy onion chutney finishes the job.

I made this particular batch of pizzas the Friday before last, and left one prepared for Jason to cook for his dinner that evening, since I was heading out to London for the night.

He told me later it’s the best pizza I’ve ever made him. And that, ladies and gents, is saying something.

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The dough recipe linked below makes enough for 4 pizzas, whilst the toppings are enough for 2. You can either double the topping quantities, or pop different toppings on the other two pizzas, or I often like to make a little bread loaf with the leftover dough. The possibilities are endless!

Ingredients ::
1 batch basic bread dough (recipe and method outlined here!)
1 courgette
4/5 large chestnut mushrooms
1 garlic clove
Pinch dried thyme
1 ball buffalo mozzarella
100g creme fraiche
30g parmesan
Pinch salt
2/3tsp sweet onion chutney per pizza

- Prepare the bread dough according to instructions listed in my recipe for ‘the best homemade pizza‘, stopping once the bases have been cooked off in a frying pan and transferred to baking trays.  Whilst the bases are still hot, rub each one over with the cut side of a clove of garlic.

- Finely slice the courgettes and mushrooms, and cook until soft in a little butter and garlic oil, along with a pinch each of dried thyme and sea salt.Transfer to a sieve once cooked through, and when the vegetables are cool enough to handle, carefully squeeze as much of the excess liquid out as possible, to prevent the pizzas getting watery whilst cooking.

- Top each cooked base with a couple of spoonfuls of the creme fraiche and parmesan mixture, and spread to a thin layer. Layer on a few rounds of courgette and slices of mushrooms, then half a ball of shredded mozzarella to each pizza.

- Finally, dot on some tiny spoonfuls of caremelised onion chutney, before transferring the pizzas to an oven preheated to 220 degrees celsius to cook for around 7 minutes, or until the mozzarella has melted.

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Don’t be put off by the idea of making the bases- it really is so simple, and *so* incredibly satifisying! I hope you love the recipe as much as we do…

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