17 April 2014

Hearty Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew


National Vegetarian Week runs from the 19 -25 May 2014 and in honour of the event Betta Living are hosting a vegetarian recipe competition.

Betta Living want to show that vegetarian food is more than just tofu, nut roasts and quorn dishes. They are offering the winner £750 worth of gift vouchers and there is also one runner up prize of £250 worth of vouchers to be won.

I will be on the judging panel, so get your thinking caps on, your knives out and your entries in.




To get the ball rolling I've made the most gorgeous Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew. I served it up with rice, toasted pitta bread, creme fraiche and mango chutney, but it would also be great with mashed potatoes and some green vegetables or spooned over a baked potato with a dollop of soured cream.

My chickpea and sweet potato stew was mildly spiced as my mother-in-law and little boy aren't overly fond of very spicy food, but feel free to increase the amount of chilli and spices when you make it yourself.

The stew was really delicious and very filling. It will be appearing on our dinner table on a regular basis. It's so easy to throw it all in, leave it to cook and develop all that mouthwatering flavour. It's one of those dishes that is even better the next day.

I made a huge potful as there was 6 of us, but you can keep leftovers in the fridge for a few days or freeze them.



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Hearty Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew
A spiced stew of chickpeas, sweet potato, baby potatoes, carrots and parsnips. A filling family meal that everyone will love.
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 - 3 tsp chilli powder
  • 15 small baby potatoes, halved
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into chunks
  • 4 - 6 medium carrots carrots, sliced fairly thickly
  • 2 large parsnips, sliced fairly thickly
  • 3 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large glass white wine
  • 1 vegetable stock pot with 500ml boiling water
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • a large handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Instructions
1. Saute the onion, garlic and fresh ginger in the olive oil in a large pot until the onion is soft and translucent.2. Add the dried spices and gently cook with the onions for a couple of minutes, than add all the vegetables and mix well.3. Add the chickpeas and pour in the wine, then add the stock and tomato puree. 4. Cover and leave to cook gently for 40 - 50 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and the stew has thickened. If need be you can add more stock and cook a little longer.5. Season the stew with salt and pepper. Add the fresh coriander just before you serve.6. Enjoy! notes: You can use stock cubes instead of a vegetable stock pot. I would add 3 or 4 for flavour. Any leftover stew can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen into portions.
Details
Total time:
Yield: Serves 8 - 10



Here are a few of the best veggie and vegan recipes I have found on the web this week:


1. Spicy Cauliflower-Cashew Bites with Wild Garlic Sauce and American ‘Buffalo’ Sauce - Food to Glow
2. Artichoke, Kale, and Ricotta Pie with Eggs and Parmesan - Kalyn's Kitchen
3. Za’atar Roasted Carrots and Green Beans - The Lemon Bowl


4. Spaghetti alla Puttaneca  - Amuse Your Bouche
5. Sweet Potato, Zucchini and Olive Quesadillas - Green Gourmet Giraffe
6. Chickpeas, Mango and Spinach in a Tomato Coconut Gravy - Lisa's Kitchen


I hope you are inspired to try some new vegetarian dishes. I look forward to seeing your entries. I will publish the winning entries at the end of May.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest foodie challenges, competitions and giveaways visit The Food Blog Diary.



Disclosure: I am being paid to host and judge this competition. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
 

16 April 2014

The Breakfast Blues



I'm just not good at having breakfast in the morning!

I make sure I get up early enough to make Cooper a big bowl of porridge during the week and sometimes treat him to a cooked veggie breakfast at the weekend, but I just can't face food that early in the morning.

Water yes, food no!


 
It's not that I don't like breakfast, my favourites are:
  • beans on toast
  • crunchy nut cornflakes
  • a cooked veggie breakfast 
  • tattie scones and beans
  • poached egg on toast
  • mushrooms on toast
  • greek yoghurt, fruit and honey
I just can't face it first thing in the morning.

I know! It's good for you. It sets you up for the day. People who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat later in the day. Hmmmmm! There may be something in that one.

Raspberry, Carrot & Basil Smoothie
What I have started to do is make a smoothie in my vitamix to take with me to drink at work.

My favourite this week has been a blueberry, apple and orange juice with added Baobab powder for extra nutrients and lots of ice to turn it into a more juice like texture.  I've had that one twice. Once I have poured two drinks for me, I add a banana, some greek yoghurt and milk, whizz it up again and pour that into a sealed cup for Cooper to take with him.


Juicing is big at my work just now, well at least in my department. My friend Louise started juicing about a month ago. She brings juice into work too and feels great on it. Her favourite juice has tomatoes and chilli in it. I'll have to ask her for the recipe. Then there is my friend Genna who writes over at Blethering Boys. She has really gone for it and is doing a full juice detox. She has lost weight, looks great and is bubbling over with energy, so I think for the moment I shall stick with my juices and let go of the no-breakfast guilt.

Jordan's have asked the nation about their morning rituals and what they for breakfast. It makes a rather interesting read.



What is a weekday morning like in your house?

Does everyone eat breakfast?



While we are talking breakfasts. I have to tell you about one of my eBay Collections

In support of breakfasts everywhere I have created a board called The Breakfast Bunch were you will find lots of fun breakfast gadgets and kitchen fripperies. 

I had such fun creating my 12 collections for eBay, I do hope you go over, have a look and follow any that catch your eye.  

I even have a board called Food Styling Props that I created especially to tempt food bloggers.
 






Disclosure: This is a paid post for Jordans. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

13 April 2014

Easter Egg or Not?

 

I'm torn about chocolate eggs at Easter. Cooper is already a bit of an chocoholic (thanks Grandad), but I don't like him eating too much chocolate. I usually buy him a wee gift instead of an egg at Easter and we make sure we go out and have a fun day out to celebrate instead. I know fine well my parents will buy him an egg and that is quite enough for one small boy.

So you are perhaps goggling at that giant chocolate bunny. Yes, me too! It was sent to me as a thank you. It's Thorntons special Easter gift this year. They do 250g white and milk chocolate versions for £5, but goodness knows how much this monster costs. It comes in at a staggering 1.1kg of chocolate.

Cooper is going to expect to eat this chocolate. Ahhhhhhhhhh!

We've also been enjoying a few other Easter goodies and I've been looking around the web for something to buy for Cooper instead of more chocolate.  Have a look at the selection I've put together.

Will you be going chocolate crazy this Easter?



1. Alex Clark Rooster Dinner Plate £5 from Amazon with free delivery

I love these rooster plates by Alex Clark. I don't think I could just keep them for Easter though. You will see from the photos further on that I have already started using one as a cake plate. Just gorgeous!

2. M&S Simnel Cake £12 can be ordered online (Food to Order) for collection in store or check your local M&S

We tucked into this one today as my in-laws are over from Cyprus and won't be here for Easter. My father-in-law really enjoyed the cake with his coffee. The fruit cake was moist and rich, just as I like it, but I'm not overly fond of marzipan, so this isn't one for me. Great to have on standby for any guests who may drop by on Easter weekend. 

3. Neapolitan Egg Sandwich £8.50 Hotel Chocolat  

A more reasonably sized piece of Easter chocolate from Hotel Chocolat. Creamy strawberry white chocolate and dreamy vanilla white chocolate, sandwiched between two halves of a milk chocolate egg and topped with zingy strawberry pieces.  AND IT'S ALL MINE!!!! I am NOT sharing this with anyone. If anyone goes near it they will be in deep trouble!

4. Raffia Easter Basket £4 Paperchase 

This would be great for carrying your decorated eggs on Easter Sunday morning. You know when they are all beautiful before they are rolled down a muddy hill. 





5. Nodding Chick £2.50 Paperchase

Isn't that the cutest thing? I have to have few of these. They come in a white and yellow duck and a cute little bunny.

6. Magnum Easter Egg £8

A thick magnum chocolate egg with 3 magnum chocolate bars filled with vanilla truffle. What can I say but yum!

Mini Milk Egg £6

A Mini Milk chocolate Easter Egg and 4 Mini Milk Chocolate lollypops with a whipped middle all packaged in a van. I am steering my parents towards this one for Cooper.

7. Grow Yourself Mini Garden Egg Kit £12.95 notonthehightreet.com

This is a great non-chocolate Easter gift for kids. The seeds are already in the soil in the eggs, you just crack the top of the large, life-like eggs. Choose from a prickly cactus, spicy red peppers, petunia flowers, wild strawberry's, lavender and basil! What a brilliant idea!






Cooper is Disney Cars and Planes Crazy. Our house if full of those little smiling vehicles. So for him and little boys like him this is the perfect Easter gift and hours of fun. He is going to be so excited unwrapping this on Easter morning and who knows it may even take this mind of chocolate. 


9. M&S Easter Chocolate Nest Cake £10 can be ordered online (Food to Order) for collection in store or check your local M&S

Cooper and I have already tucked into this one. It's moist and chocolatey just how it should be. It's filled and covered with chocolate buttercream and a nest of chocolate strands and finished with chocolate mini eggs. It's glorious and you couldn't get a better chocolate cake for Easter weekend. Highly recommended!

10. Chalk and Tees Bunny Chalkboard T-Shirt £19 notonthehighstreet.com

What a cool idea. A t-shirt with a chalkboard bunny on the front. Fun and messy, just perfect for kids. 

I hope you enjoyed my roundup of Easter fun. Are you doing anything special on Easter Weekend?


Disclosure: I was sent some of these products to try, the other I searched for to include in m roundup. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.



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