30 September 2015

Giveaway - Avant Garde Knife Block and Precision Chefs Knives worth over £150


One of the most important pieces of equipment in a kitchen is a good set of knives. It doesn't matter if you're a chef or a home cook, good knives are really important. It's so easy to have an accident with blunt knives. Blunt knives can struggle to cut through produce and can result in cut fingers. I know, it's happened to be before. A good quality, sharp knife should cut through even the toughest vegetable without too much protest.

I have the most fabulous giveaway for you. A designer knife block and precision knife set from Edge of Belgravia worth over £150.






Knife Block

The Black Diamond angular float knife block is a piece of art for the kitchen. Christian Bird’s design is faithful to Edge of Belgravia’s avant-garde hallmark bringing together innovative design and supreme utility.

Designed for maximum flexibility, Black Diamond is suitable for most knives – as long as the blade is thinner than four millimetres. Tightly packed, it can fit up to 11 knives with easy extraction.

Chefs Knife
Probably the knife I use the most. It's a good all rounder for most of the chopping and slicing you do in the kitchen.The blade has Swiss Ilag non-stick coating to enable precision cooking.

Deba Knife
This is a great knife for slicing straight through fruit and salad in one clean cut. It gives a really crisp cut to peppers, carrots and courgettes for a professional looking salad in seconds. The Deba knife takes inspiration from the traditional Japanese salmon knives, usually called “Deba”. Just as the traditional Japanese Debas, the edge is ground only on one side for a clean cut.


Bread Knife

You must have a bread knife. No other knife cuts so neatly and efficiently through a fresh loaf of bread, baguette or a sandwich. The serrated blade ensures that the bread remains airy and is not squashed whilst cutting.

Small Paring Knife
This is a handy little knife for the small jobs in the kitchen. I use it mostly for peeling mushrooms and slicing tomatoes, but it's great for peeling a lemon, segmenting an orange cleanly, carefully removing the skin of a kiwi or slicing strawberries. 


Want to win this tremendous prize? 
  1. Leave a comment telling me which of these is your favourite style of knife in the kitchen.
  2. Enter via the rafflecopter box below.
  3. Check out the extra entries.
  4. Good Luck! 
This giveaway closes on 31 October 2015 and is open to readers in the UK, 18 years and over. 
 



GOOD LUCK!
 


Disclosure: Edge of Belgravia sent me a knife block and set of knives to try and are offering another set for the winner. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

28 September 2015

Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (28 September 2015)



Today has been a long day and I'm super tired, but I have to bring you some super new veggie dishes for Meat Free Mondays before I head to bed.

Last week I got another chest infection, so my asthma's been bad and sleep has been hard to come by, but it didn't stop me from heading down to London for Food Blogger Connect, which I'll tell you more about later in the week. A weekend of labs, food and meeting up with friends old and new. It was over way too fast and I had a great time. Now I am very, very tired.

Enough of all that and on to the recipes.



MONDAY


Cook Style




TUESDAY


The Taste Space




WEDNESDAY


No Fussy Eaters




THURSDAY


Green Gourmet Giraffe





FRIDAY


Lisa's Kitchen





SATURDAY


Veg Box Red Lentil Shepherd's Pie
Tinned Tomatoes




SUNDAY


Marmite and Chilli Quarterpounder
The Veg Space




And a few bonus recipes:


23 September 2015

Veg Box Red Lentil Shepherd's Pie and 10 Tips for Eating Organic

Veg Box Lentil Shepherd's Pie, a simple but comforting family dish. Great for using up leftover vegetables or for making the most of your weekly veg box. Suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those with a hearty appetite.

Organic September is well under way and it's time for me to join in and support organic eating with the thrifty organic challenge from the Organic Trade Board.

To support Organic September I got myself in gear and set up a weekly veg box delivery from my local organic farm. It really helps shape my meals for the week. The vegetables are a bit more expensive than their supermarket counterparts, but I find I'm making less trips to the supermarket and so I'm spending less on all the other things I end up picking up when I'm shopping. Also the vegetables taste better too and that has to be the best reason to do it.

Organic Veg Box

I order the weekly £12 standard box (or net, the veg comes in re-usable nets) from Bellfield Organics. If you live in Scotland, do check them out. If you live elsewhere in the UK use the Soil Association's veg box scheme search box.

Bellfield Organics
photo: Bellfield Organics
The £12 standard box includes basics like potatoes, onions and carrots, then a selection of what's in season. I've had various shapes and colours of courgettes, pumpkins, leeks, cabbage and beetroot so far, but it's slightly different each week. I also order a gorgeous crusty organic loaf, free range eggs and organic milk as extras. They provide a helpful newsletter each week and on the reverse is a list of products available. You could do most of your weekly shop this way.



Have you tried eating organic yet? Or are you daunted by it and think it will cost too much?

Here are my top 10 tips for going organic:
  1. Make small changes - Don't try to do it all at once, try a veg box scheme or even just start buying one new organic vegetable or fruit a week (check out my guide below on which produce to switch first).
  2. Look at labels - Look for the word organic and not natural. The soil associations label makes it easy to know you are actually buying organic and not falling for a marketing tactic. 
  3. Farmers markets - Find out where and when your local farmers markets are held. You'll find lots of fresh and seasonal organic produce. 
  4. Farms shops - When you are out and about look out for signs pointing you to farm shops. Support your local farmer, buy fresh produce and save a bit of money by buying direct.
  5. Veg boxes - Follow my example and check out your local veg box schemes. Fresh fruit and veg delivered right to your door. 
  6. Grow your own - Now, I'm no gardener. If you're like me and just don't have green fingers, why not start small and grow some herbs in your garden or your window sill, then try some salad leaves, which are simple to grow and move on from there.
  7. Buy in bulk - Now you don't want to do this with fruit and vegetables unless you are about to make jam, chutney or do a spot of pickling, but it's often cheaper to buy bigger bags for things like organic pulses or special offers on organic household products
  8. Buy in season - Produce is always at it's best when it's in season and cheaper too. 
  9. Save elsewhere - Worried it's going to be expensive? Think about where else you can cut back. Maybe order less takeaways (I order a pizza once a week), ready meals or start choosing supermarket own brands for some of your basic shopping. 
  10. Cook from scratch - I know this is pretty obvious, but if you cook from scratch your meals will be tastier, healthier, cheaper and you can control the quality of the ingredients and how much sugar or salt is added.
Before we get to the recipe, I'd like to share the 'Dirty Dozen' with you. The 12 fruit and vegetables that harbour the most pesticides, these are the ones to change over to organic first.

The Dirty Dozen. 12 fruit and vegetables that harbour the most pesticides. A good place to start if you're thinking of going organic.


I usually make soup with my veg box goodies on the first night, to go with that gorgeous crusty bread they give me each week, the rest will go into various dishes and sometimes a new recipe too like this red lentil shepherd's pie.

Now it's getting colder I seem to be making more comfort dishes. This is an old family favourite I usually make with soy mince, mushrooms and carrots, but this time it was all about using what was in my veg box, so I made this shepherd's pie with carrots, courgette, squash and red lentils. I also threw in a leftover red pepper I wanted to use up. 

Veg Box Red Lentil Shepherd's Pie and 10 Tips for Eating Organic


Make sure the vegetables and lentils are tender before adding the mashed potato and baking. You are really just heating it up and browning the top a little. Crunchy lentils are not a good thing.

print recipe
Veg Box Red Lentil Shepherd's Pie
Veg Box Red Lentil Shepherd's Pie
A rich comforting pie topped with creamy mashed potato, using seasonal organic vegetables.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium courgettes (zucchini), chopped
  • 1/2 squash, seeds removed, sliced and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp tomato puree
  • 4 tbsp HP brown sauce (or veggie Worcestershire sauce)
  • 250g red lentils
  • 750ml organic vegetable stock (3 cubes)
  • 1 kg potatoes, quartered (or small for quicker cooking)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • a good grinding of salt and black pepper
Instructions
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add the carrots and squash and cook gently until starting to soften, then add the red pepper and courgette and cook for a few more minutes. If it starts sticking a little add a splash of water.2. Add the lentils, stock, tomatoes, tomato puree and sauce, then stir well. Cover and leave to simmer gently for about 20 - 25 minutes until the lentils are starting to soften, stirring occasionally. Add a little more stock if you think it needs it.3. Heat the oven to 180c / 160c fan / gas mark 4 and get on with peeling and chopping the potatoes. Boil them for 15 - 20 minutes until tender, then mash with the olive oil, salt and pepper.4. Spoon the lentil mixture into one or more ovenproof dishes and top with a generous layer of mashed potato, then bake in the oven until the mashed potato starts to crisp and brown at the edges, about 20 minutes.5. Serve with a smile and if you want to be extra virtuous, a portion of broccoli and green beans.6. Enjoy!
Details
Total time:
Yield: Serves 4-6



If you want to follow the conversation or join in use the hashtags #organicseptember and #thriftyorganic


If you're in the mood for hearty dishes, check out some of my favourites:

Hearty vegan winter dishes
  1. Veggie Sausage Lentil and Red Pepper Bake
  2. Fridge Lentil Soup  
  3. Mexican Sweet Potato and Puy Lentil Mole 
  4. Hearty Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew


Disclosure: I've been paid to develop a recipe and share some tips with you for the Thrifty Organic Challenge. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

21 September 2015

Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (21 September 2015)



Hello my friends. Monday comes round rather quickly doesn't it? I don't know where time goes. Each week seems to fly by.

This week I spent a fortune updating Cooper's wardrobe with warmer and larger clothes. That boy grows so quickly. I also had the first meeting of the Dundee Baking Club (formerly the Clandestine Cake Club Dundee), which was great fun. I made a bake of roast vegetables and chickpeas (recipe coming soon) and I baked chocolate and raspberry brownies with a cheesecake swirl.

The new week has begun, so now it's time for some recipe inspiration. Enjoy!




MONDAY


Sneaky Veg





TUESDAY


Allotment 2 Kitchen





WEDNESDAY


Tinned Tomatoes





THURSDAY


The Taste Space





FRIDAY


No Fussy Eaters





SATURDAY


The Veg Space





SUNDAY


Food to Glow




A few bonus recipes:




Thanks to everyone who contributed a recipe. 



If you're a blogger and would like to be featured next week. Link up your veggie or vegan (main course) recipe to this post and add your post to the linky below (one per blog). If you're a reader, tune in next Monday for another seven delicious veggie and vegan recipes to help you plan your week.


17 September 2015

Eat the Rainbow Roast Vegetable Pasta

Eat the Rainbow Roast Vegetable Pasta. An autumnal pasta dish where the vegetables are the star of the dish.

Well it's not the full rainbow, but it's pretty darn close. Yellow, orange, green and purple with my plate and cutlery giving a touch of blue.

Pasta is such a great mid-week meal. It's quick, filling and you can make it really special with a fresh sauce, pesto or roast vegetables. When I'm making pasta with roast vegetables, I usually toss the pasta in some pesto, sometimes I make it, but I always have a jar of dairy free pesto on standby. I decided to skip the pesto this time so the flavours could sing.

Eat the Rainbow Roast Vegetable Pasta


I went all seasonal and roasted red onions, courgette (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant), chestnut mushrooms and butternut squash. With such sensational and autumnal flavours, it would have been a crime to cover it with a sauce, so I just tossed the pasta and veg in a drizzle of rapeseed oil (which has a nutty flavour and is healthier than olive oil) and some fresh herbs. A good grinding of black pepper and it was good to go.

Mmmmmm!


print recipe
Eat the Rainbow Roast Vegetable Pasta
Eat the Rainbow Roast Vegetable Pasta

September 17, 2015

Seasonal Autumnal vegetables roasted and stirred through pasta with a drizzle of rapeseed oil and fresh herbs. A perfect mid-week family meal.
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, halved
  • 1 courgette, sliced
  • 1 aubergine, cut in half lengthways and sliced
  • ½ butternut squash, cut into chunks
  • 350-400g conchiglie (shell) pasta
  • a good handful of fresh herbs, I used parley and basil
  • a drizzle of rapeseed oil
  • a good grinding of black pepper
Instructions
1. Heat oven to 220c/200c fan/gas mark 7 and pop a roasting tray in the oven to heat.2. In a bowl, toss the vegetables with 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil until coated, then place in the roasting tray in an even layer. Roast for 25-30 minutes, turning once or twice until they are tender and starting to char at the edges.3. 10- 15 minutes before the end of cooking time, boil the pasta until al dente.4. Chop or tear the herbs and mix through the drained pasta with a glug of oil, add the roast vegetables, season with black pepper and mix through so the pasta is well combined with the vegetables and herbs,5. Enjoy!Notes: to serve this as a pasta salad, rinse the pasta under cold water until it is cool before adding the other ingredients. This will remove the starch, stop the cooking process and leave you with shiny, firm pasta.
Details
Total time:
Yield: Serves 4

Simply Good Food TV Giveaway


I've not had a giveaway for some time, but I do like to give something back to my readers. So here we go. A tasty selection courtesy of Simply Good Food TV.


So who are Simply Good Food TV?



Simply Good Food TV is the world first dedicated mobile app food TV channel. 

The very best of food from all over the world all in one place in just a few clicks. Top quality food programming with chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey, Hemsley & Hemsley and many other famous names there is also original TV content from a range of upcoming chefs and TV personalities including Peter Sidwell, Will Torrent, Mich Turner, Jon Fell, Nikki Walsh, Theo Michaels, Carmela Sereno Hayes and our very own Charlotte Pike from Charlotte's Kitchen Diary.



The app has over 600 recipes programmes with an additional 50 being added each month. Download the new Simply Good Food TV app for apple or for android.


What's the prize?

  1. Asolo Prosecco
  2. Pipolo Aglianico de Vulture Red Wine
  3. Vallabona Tomato and Basil Sauce
  4. Vallabona Gourmet Lumaconi
  5. Honey with White Truffle
  6. Quaranta – Italian Nougat
  7. Biscotti
  8. Amano Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  9. Simply Good Family Food Cookbook

How can I enter?

To enter, just leave a comment telling me who your favourite TV chef is and register your entry using the rafflecopter box below. There are some extra options in there too.

This giveaway runs until 31 October 2015 and is open to UK residents aged 18 and over.

Good luck! 

Talking of TV chefs, have you checked out Jamie Oliver's Happiness Pasta from his new cookbook Everyday Superfood (which accompanies the TV programme Jamie's Super Food)?  It's simple but super tasty and I've been given special permission to share the recipe with you. Jamie can also be found on Simply Good Food TV.

 



Disclosure: I'm holding this giveaway on behalf of Simply Food TV, I was not paid to do so and did not recieve this foodie prize.

14 September 2015

Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (14 September 2015)



It's Meat Free Monday again and I have some really special recipes for you this week. You can tell the weather is changing and we're moving into Autumn as the meals are all more substantial and very comforting.

My featured photo this week is from Kellie over at Food to Glow who is neatly reminding us to make the most of any dry weather and use those BBQs before the winter hits. 

How has your week been? My week went by in a flash. Nothing exciting happened. Lots of work, school, dog walks and catching up with ourselves. We're all feeling pretty tired this week and wee puppy Hamish is shredding every bit of paper or magazine he can lay his teeth into. Sigh! He's a good wee boy other than that and he and Huxley are firm friends now.

Right, back to the recipes.


MONDAY


Fuss Free Flavours




TUESDAY


Green Gourmet Giraffe




WEDNESDAY


The Veg Space





THURSDAY


Tinned Tomatoes




FRIDAY


Tales from the Kitchen Shed




SATURDAY

 

Easy Cooking with Molly 




SUNDAY


Food to Glow


photo: Veggie Desserts
......and because you are worth it, some bonus recipes:


Thanks to everyone who contributed a recipe. 
If you're a blogger and would like to be featured next week. Link up your veggie or vegan (main course) recipe to this post and add your post to the linky below (one per blog). If you're a reader, tune in next Monday for another seven delicious veggie and vegan recipes to help you plan your week.