Saturday, 29 December 2012

Cook Vegetarian Magazine Article

It was a great privilege recently to be offered the opportunity to write for 'Cook Vegetarian' magazine. 

My article about food trends, in particular street food, has been included in their February 2013 edition which is on sale at newsagents now.

As a sneak preview, here is an image of the article, but by purchasing the magazine, you will be able to read it in full as well as getting some fab veggie tips and a wealth of delicious veggie recipes!

Happy Reading everyone!







Cook Vegetarian Magazine

Launched to cater not just for vegetarians and vegans but also for meat-reducers, vegetable lovers and anyone who is interested in new ways to prepare tasty and tempting food, it's a monthly dose of meat-free inspiration.  A regular supply of fabulous vegetarian dishes and exciting meal suggestions, plus news and reviews of the latest and best veggie ingredients and products around, it's packed with easy vegetarian recipes.

Beating the veggie stereotypes, it offers suggestions for completely healthy recipes to the ultimate in indulgence, including delicious meal ideas from celebrity chefs and nutritionists.  Perfect for offering culinary ideas for picnics, dinner parties, feeding the family and how to cook for those who are vegetarian with additional dietary requirements.

Visit www.cookveg.co.uk, for more information about the magazine including details about how to subscribe.

 

Monday, 24 December 2012

View & Vote for My Blog on Other Sites

As well as being able to view my blog online, via Facebook or Twitter, you can now find Word In Veg Ways via these sites too:

View my blog via the Vegetarian Society's website:
http://www.vegsoc.org/page.aspx?pid=1635


Word In Veg Ways is now featured on Dorset Cereals' website where you can vote for my site to win their Little Blog Award.  Just search under category:  Food & Drink and then 'Word In Veg Ways' and press Vote!  All votes are very much appreciated!
http://www.dorsetcereals.co.uk/fun-stuff/little-blog-awards



Happy reading everyone!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Persimmon (Sharon Fruit) - A Taste of Winter


Like faithful friends, apples, pears, bananas et al appear on the shelves, always there, all year round. However, I always like it when certain things pop into season offering that small window of opportunity to buy, try and eat.






Such an opportunity this time of year comes in the form of the Persimmon (a variant of Sharon Fruit, named so after the region in Israel where it’s grown). Visually, it looks like an orange coloured apple and when cut, it exposes its seedless, coreless interior which bears a strikingly remarkable resemblance to that of mango flesh both in appearance and taste.






You can eat it with or without its skin and although it can be eaten when hard, left for a day or so to ripen, it develops a more intense sweet taste which arguably is a more palatable way of eating it.

As with all fruits, persimmons can be used or eaten in a variety of ways - in fruit salads, smoothies or as I enjoy them, chopped into pieces over muesli.







Other winter fruits such as cranberries, dates and pomegranates will always have a loyal fan base and so it's time to showcase persimmons. And with one persimmon counting as one of your '5 a day', there's no better time to try them!


For persimmon recipes, see this link:

http://allrecipes.com/recipes/fruits-and-vegetables/fruits/persimmons/top.aspx


Monday, 26 November 2012

Somerset Cheese Article in Crumbs Magazine

Somerset Cheese Co's Selection



If you thought that Cheddar was the only cheese to come from Somerset, then take a look at the article I wrote for Bath & Bristol's food magazine Crumbs.

Fosseway Fleece

Somerset boasts not only different types of Cheddar, but goat's cheeses, sheep cheeses and even Bries!

Take a look, enjoy and get yourself a Somerset Cheeseboard this Christmas!

http://crumbsmag.com/journal/189_say-somerset-cheese



Thursday, 22 November 2012

Brunch at Cafe Ezra - Hotel La Tour Birmingham


When Birmingham, as England’s second biggest city, is in full flow – it’s busy.  Really busy.  Add in extra factors such as the German Frankfurt Market attraction and Christmas shoppers from the wider region and beyond, and you have a city that is bustling at the seams.

As great as this is, when you’re in the heart of it all, sometimes you just need an oasis to recharge the batteries before continuing with your day.

Such an oasis comes in the form of new Cafe Ezra which is on the ground floor of Birmingham’s latest 4* luxury hotel which is open to hotel residents and the public alike.  http://hotel-latour.co.uk/coffee-shop/

I recently had the pleasure of being invited to brunch at Cafe Ezra where I experienced a refreshing new approach to casual cafe culture as well as an array of delicious food including plenty of options for vegetarians.

One of the philosophies of the cafe is that they endeavour to source and use local/Midlands produce where possible.  As such, I was able to sample gorgeous bridge rolls filled with seasoned goat’s curd (from Shropshire’s Brock Hall Farm) with apricot & ginger chutney which was absolutely stunning and so refreshing to have a sandwich filling (especially a vegetarian one) that puts a new spin on tradition. 

If wishing to add condiments, whether you have a veggie or a meat filled sandwich /snack, Cafe Ezra’s home-made ketchup made on-site from fresh tomatoes and bottled with handwritten labels, makes a perfect accompaniment.

Another theme that Cafe Ezra promote is the delight of sharing. Particularly, by way of their Grazing Platters. Whilst meat-eaters have the cured meats platter to choose from, vegetarians (and of course anyone wanting a meat-free option), can choose the enticing cheese based platter. It has a centrepiece of olive studded breadsticks, marinated artichokes, peppers, Queen Green Olives and home-made caramelised onion houmous. Dotted around these mini-mezes are cheeses, many of which are locally/Midlands sourced which include Cromwell Bishop and Cotswold Brie.


If sharing isn’t your thing, (once you see the cake selection you’ll agree), head over to the dessert counter where you can choose from a variety of goodies made by the cafe team and also via local suppliers Cherry Blossom Bakery.  Ranging from traditional gateaux, to rich Bitter Chocolate Tart, to mini loaf tin cakes such as Lemon & Lime Drizzle, there is something to suit everyone’s sweet tooth.  All of these are complemented by an extensive range of teas, coffees and artisan soft drinks.


Wanting to provide a different offering for the city, Alex from Cafe Ezra describes its concept to me: “We want the cafe to engage in simple pleasure and to provide a cottage industry feel for Birmingham.  There are a lot of chain organisations in the city and not enough independent home-feeling eateries.”  Alex continued:  “We are trying to bring an informal feel and to bring something ‘new’ to the city.  We want to offer an enjoyable social experience that makes you feel at home via a sharing-menu approach.  We want to get people to talk about what they’re eating and to make time for lunch or afternoon tea.”


Bearing this in mind, Cafe Ezra is located only a minute’s walk from Moor Street station and only a few minute’s walk from New Street station making it an ideal place to relax with a coffee before catching the train for your onward journey.  In addition, the cafe’s layout suits those that just want a tête-à-tête for two and the large tables with comfy cushioned poufs make it a perfect venue for meeting up with an entourage of friends to enjoy the grazing menu.  With free Wi-Fi available, the cafe also provides an environment suitable for working lunches or for those just wanting to catch up with emails or social networking in a relaxed ambience.

So next time you’re in the city and are in need for some ‘me time’, pop over to Cafe Ezra and experience their delicious menus.  But just ensure you make room for the cake!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Disclosure:  This post was written following a kind invitation from Hotel La Tour to experience brunch at Cafe Ezra.  I was not required to produce a positive review.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Beetroot Benefits (As featured within Naked Food Magazine)

It is a well known fact that beetroots are packed with nutritional value and can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes.

I recently wrote an online article for Naked Food Magazine denoting positive aspects to this gorgeous vegetable and its associated health benefits.

Naked Food Magazine has a whole host of information about fruit and vegetables in their raw format, outlining their super-food values and how you can include them in your diet.

So take a look around their website (www.nakedfoodmagazine.com) to brush up on your veggie news and for my beetroot article, click on this link to find out about The Seven Wonders of the Beetroot World!  http://t.co/OnSvrDU5





Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Los Angeles Times - Features My Pumpkin Cake!

It was lovely to be featured this week in the Los Angeles Times #WeekendEats feature online.

The link below showcases my Chocolate & Pumpkin Cake!  For the recipe, see my blogpost, 'Pimping Up Your Pumpkin'.  Enjoy!

http://moments.latimes.com/1094504674/2074712538?fb_ref=m2074712538


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Pimping Up Your Pumpkin (with Pumpkin Soup & Pumpkin Cake)

I love the Autumn and the hues of orange that cover the trees, skies, pavements and greengrocer veggie racks.  In particular, I love pumpkins.

One thing I like about pumpkins is that they only seem to be available this time of year unlike other veggies that are available throughout, which makes them seem that little bit more special.

There are two types of pumpkin.  The large ones that are sold this time of year, grown for size and carving which are quite hollow inside.  Then there are the culinary ones that are full of flesh and lend themselves well to roasting and cooking.



My Dad uses the seeds from my carving pumpkins to grow culinary ones in his vegetable patch so I get the best of both pumpkin worlds!   Here’s how you can do the same: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/growfruitandveg_growingpumpkins1.shtml


In my Dad's vegetable patch.  (Late Summer).




The pumpkin now ripe from Dad's vegetable patch - ready to be cooked




As thoughts turn back to carving pumpkins, it's with a heavy heart when I see discarded pumpkin flesh as it seems all people want to do is carve the outer shell for Halloween lanterns (or Jack-o-Lanterns as they say in the USA) and not want to use its inner goodness.

Within its bright outer shell, the flesh contains health-boosting elements such as vitamins A, C, E and K alongside antioxidants and all important iron.
  
The delicious goodness can be converted into wholesome warming meals and should you not wish to use your pumpkin supply in one go, it’s easily freezable. 

Year after year, I make Pumpkin Soup and after a few versions that haven’t quite made the grade, my lighted spiced version has now been perfected and is my signature soup dish.  I cover the flesh in spices (paprika, cumin, mixed spice), cook it with a potato and a little sweet potato plus vegetable stock and finally blend it with double cream.  You can of course increase the spice levels as your palette dictates but the levels I include pacify a meeker spice tolerance, so if you wish, you can ‘pimp up your pumpkin’ as your heart desires.  

My Pumpkin Soup served up with a drizzle of cream

A predictable choice of pumpkin usage I know, but the soup is delicious, warmingly wonderful and welcoming on these drizzly Autumnal days and makes you feel all cosy as the nights draw in.

The pumpkin’s flexibility is such that it can morph into the dessert arena from its savoury safe hold with much ease.   For our American cousins, sweet dish pumpkin recipes, namely Pumpkin Pie, is a stalwart USA favourite featured on every US diner menu.  Its popularity as a sweet ingredient in the UK is increasing with recipe emphasis on delights such as muffins and puddings. 

And whilst my soup bubbles away on the stove, I make my Pumpkin Cake.  Although a lot darker and heavier than its sponge counterparts, I urge you to try it as it can also double up as a dessert, especially when served warm with a cool cream.

Pumpkin Cake as per the recipe but with cocoa and no icing

So here’s my plea.  When carving your pumpkin, scoop out the flesh and cook with it – whether it is for something sweet or savoury.  Or at the very least freeze it to use for another time and if you’re feeling very resourceful, you can keep the seeds for growing your own like my Dad does and begin the cycle of pumpkin-life right from the very beginning.

But whether you’re carving or cooking (hopefully both!), I wish you Happy Halloween and when in the kitchen, remember to Pimp Up Your Pumpkin!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Post has been submitted as part of the Simple And In Season event for October.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Solihull News - "Recipe of the Week"

Word In Veg Ways has been given the honour of being featured as 'Recipe of the Week' in the Solihull Times!

Read all about it .......



Sunday, 7 October 2012

Cobnut, Blackberry & Fennel Salad. A Forager's Supper

As the last of the blackberries hang from the hedgerows, here's a recipe for a lovely salad that offers a delicious way of using them up.  And for those that wish to continue with the foraging theme for this dish, cobnuts are a wonderful way of adding crunch to the salad and although having a strong-hold in 'the garden of England' - the county of Kent, they can be found elsewhere if you look hard enough.

Cobnuts gained popularity amongst the Victorians and Edwardians and were often served by the rich as an accompaniment with port and cheese.  With direct rail lines between London and Kent in the 1800's, transporting cobnuts from their Kentish plantations was made easy and they were sold in the capital's markets.  However during the First World War, the production of cobnuts ceased as growers changed to farming other crops that were more profitable and the cobnut trees disappeared.  Now cobnut trees are making a come-back across Britain, still largely centred in Kent, but nevertheless, good news for eager foragers! For more information about cobnuts, visit: www.kentishcobnuts.co.uk

My dear friend Lucy, a fellow foodie and forager fan, has given me her recipe for a Cobnut, Blackberry & Fennel Salad (below).  If you cannot source cobnuts, they can be bought via www.kentishcobnuts.co.uk,  although hazelnuts make an excellent replacement.

Also to note, an extra bonus for vegetarians – six cobnuts are said to contain the same amount of protein as a 4oz sirloin steak! So all the more reason to go nutty and get foraging this Autumn!!


Toasted Cobnut, Fennel and Blackberry Salad with Goats Cheese


For the dressing:
freshly squeezed lemon juice
drizzle of sesame oil
pinch of sea salt
black pepper
raspberry balsamic vinegar
(or regular balsamic vinegar if preferred)

For the Salad:
1 small bulb fennel,very thinly sliced
1 handful of juicy blackberries
Veggie parmesan shavings
toasted cob nuts (or hazelnuts)
mixed salad leaves
lemon wedges

Serve with Goats’ Cheese




·         Slice a bulb of raw fennel really thinly, almost wafer thin.
·         Dress with freshly squeezed lemon juice, a drizzle of sesame oil, and lots of salt and  black pepper. 
·         Add a splash of raspberry balsamic vinegar if you have it (or ordinary balsamic vinegar) before adding this to a bowl of mixed salad leaves, toss well.  
·         Scatter over some nice ripe blackberries, some roughly chopped toasted cob nuts (or hazelnuts) and lemon wedges.
·         Place slices of slightly melted goats' cheese on top and serve with crusty sourdough or ciabatta bread.


Monday, 17 September 2012

Honey Cake (Rosh Hashanah - Jewish New Year)

I celebrate 'New Year' on 1st January with much post-Christmas gusto.  I then, as per my own religion, celebrate Ukrainian New Year (which due to it following the Julian calendar), falls on 14th January, and this is marked with merriment on its eve on 13th January (Malanka) and usually with copious amounts of vodka!  With a love of celebration, I raise my glass to the Chinese New Year and enjoy the ritual of dim sum and dragon dancing with friends. 

Then following a spell of genealogy a few years ago, we discovered that my husband's paternal family have Jewish ancestry.  Albeit that the generations have since passed and the Jewish faith isn't practised within the family anymore, we took it upon ourselves to add another New Year celebration to our calendar and mark the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) each September.  Although not observing the religious traits of this festival, we extract the culinary element of it, the symbolism behind it and use it as a respectful acknowledgement to my husband's ancestors.  Namely via the baking of a honey cake.

Honey cakes are exchanged during the Jewish New Year Festival period as the honey within it symbolises 'sweetness' and so it offers sweetness/goodwill wishes for the year ahead.  There are many recipes in existence handed down through the generations, but this is a version I've found which works well and in line with the festival's fruit giving traditions, pomegranates in particular, I use pomegranate icing and seeds to decorate it with.


Honey Cake with Pomegranate Icing
(This recipe is a combination of my methodology and recipe extracts featured in 
The Co-Op Food Magazine)

125g Clear Honey (+ extra for decoration)
125g Margarine/Butter
75g  Soft Brown Sugar
175g Self Raising Flour
2 Eggs (beaten)
1 tsp Cinnamon

Icing:  1 pomegranate and 50g Icing Sugar

· Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a 20cm round cake tin.
· Place the honey, margarine and sugar into a large saucepan.  Heat gently and mix until all the ingredients have melted together.
· Take the pan off the heat and then add the cinnamon, eggs and flour and mix well together.
· Pour the mixture into the cake tin and place in the oven on a middle shelf for 30 minutes.
· Check after 25 minutes to ensure it doesn't burn.
· Once baked, take out of the oven and allow to cool.
· Cut the pomegranate in half, keep one half to one side and taking the other half, remove all the seeds from the skin.
· Using a cocktail stick or skewer, prick the cake all over so that there are numerous holes on top.
· Smear more honey on top of the cake so that the honey pours into the holes that you have made.
· Using the pomegranate seeds you've extracted, sprinkle them top of the cake.  The honey acts as glue and the seeds should stick to the top of the cake.
· Using the remaining half of the pomegranate, using a juice extractor, squeeze it until all the seeds turn to juice.
· In a small bowl place the icing sugar and the pomegranate juice together and mix.  Make sure the icing is thick not runny.  So if it is too 'wet' then add more icing sugar.
· Once ready, gently spread on top of the cake including over the pomegranate seeds and cover the whole cake as much as possible.
· Allow to set and dry.  Then cut and serve with a large hot mug of tea or coffee!





So whatever your faith, this is a lovely cake to make anytime of the year, for whatever the occasion.  But adding a hint of symbolism makes it even more poignant.  Besides, you can never have enough sweetness and blessings in your life and if it comes to you via cake, then all the better!  All that's left is to make a large mug of tea to have with my cake and to wish you a Happy New Year, whichever one you decide to celebrate.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Ludlow Food Festival 2012



Ludlow is a beautiful little town, snuggled within the blanket of Shropshire countryside which has in recent years become renown for quality local food and drink offerings, with artisan deli/bakery/food emporiums nestled within the town's historic streets.  In addition, there are 7 Michelin recommended restaurants in and around Ludlow as well as others that are applauded by The AA Restaurant Guide and the Which? Good Food Guide.  Taking all these factors into consideration, Ludlow is the perfect host for a Food Festival on this scale.









Across the Festival weekend, the main hub of the event was centred within the grounds of Ludlow's historic castle with marquee stalls and demo stages (starring The Hairy Bikers and Xanthe Clay amongst others), a great platform to showcase Shropshire's (and surrounding counties) finest foods and products.





Although extremely busy on the Saturday, I was still able to chat with so many lovely traders and find out a bit more about their businesses, here's who I met.....

'Once Upon A Tree' are award winning cider, perry, apple and pear juice makers based near Ledbury in Herefordshire.  Their orchards are open to the public where you can visit, take an orchard walk and bring along a picnic, making it a great idea for an Autumnal day out!  We sampled one of their gorgeous pear ciders which would make the ideal liquid refreshment on a hot day!  www.onceuponatree.co.uk




The lovely ladies from 'Forage Fine Foods' www.foragefinefoods.co.uk make special culinary treats inspired by the fruits of the countryside which are foraged and then turned into fabulous accompaniments, all suitable for vegetarians.  As well as Wild Herb Rub and Wild Rose el Hanout condiments, their lovely pickled unripened blackberries (so seasonal!), make an interesting, tasty addition to an after-dinner cheese board, working well with a mature cheese.  (Also featured in my blogpost: http://www.wordinvegways.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/blackberry-picking-from-brambles-to.html )





I first sampled a Shropshire Spice Co product when I had received a lovely Christmas hamper a couple of years ago and really enjoyed the stuffing flavour I had, so it was great to see their stand at the festival showcasing their full range.  I know we all love a good sage & onion stuffing with our Sunday Roasts, but when you have lovely combinations such as Plum & Ginger or Chestnut, Celery & Chive, you can really give your roasts a flavoursome make-over, especially say at Christmas time.  They also have other products to choose from such as gourmet stuffing versions, spice infusions and dips.  www.shropshire-spice.co.uk






Chelmarsh, near Bridgnorth Shropshire, is home to Brock Hall Farm Dairy who, as they quote themselves, create 'The Art of Artisan Cheese'.  Starting with 2 goats, they now own a large herd of free-range Pure Saahen goats from which they make their own brand of hand-made goats cheese.  Gorgeously flavoured and textured, working well with a salad or any dish featuring goats cheese, personally, I think it tastes beautiful all by itself.  Available from selected nationwide deli's or via  www.brockhallfarm.com






Flying the flag for Shropshire as well, is another Bridgnorth enterprise, Shropshire Granola.   The use of different flavours and fruit combinations with the focus on using local ingredients including Shropshire produced honey, makes it a delicious breakfast or snack option.  From the first packet which was made by hand, it is now a thriving popular brand -   www.shropshiregranola.co.uk - check them out!





I came across a new taste sensation from a company called Fuffles - is it a fudge or is it a truffle?  You decide!  These bars combine the texture and taste of both truffle and fudge with tempting flavours accented with alcohol such Chocolate & Baileys and Chocolate & Malibu to old-school flavour favourites such as Strawberry & Cream and Rum n Raisin.  Contact www.fuffles.co.uk to find out how you can sample their wares!








It was with great pleasure that I bumped into a former work colleague who now runs a pudding business with his wife in Worcestershire.  Don's passion for cooking and baking was evident from the years we worked together when he would regularly bring in rich fruit cakes for us to try and so it’s no surprise that he now runs his own food enterprise.  From Christmas puddings to traditional English puddings such as Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding, there is a pudding for everyone in The Pudding Shop's range.  www.thepuddingshop.co.uk





As well as food and drink consumables, there were other events organised around the town including talks at the Ludlow Assembly Rooms.  Published author and Tea Poet, Liz Darcy Jones, entertained crowds with her penned poetry and in particular an en vogue piece entitled 'Fifty Shades of Earl Grey'.  Commissioned by Ludlow Food Festival, Liz wrote a poem to mark the occasion which was performed to crowds in the market square.  Liz's fabulous poem, which captures the relaxed mood of the event, is at the bottom of this post for all to read and enjoy. http://www.teapoet.com/
 

Being a big fan of food festivals, I adore the opportunity of going along, meeting traders, many of whom are independent, and trying wonderful products that you don't see always see in supermarkets or on a wider scale.  Ludlow Food Festival champions this so well, a clever blend of supporting local traders and celebrating the food of the county as well as still acknowledging wider commercial appeal.

As we drove through the Clee Hills homeward bound, our taste-buds still tingling with the goodies sampled, we left Ludlow happy, sun-kissed and with next year's festival dates firmly in our diaries.

 

~~~

 

Ludlow Food Festival

The park and ride is great but mind the cow pats
As you're heading for the town led by your nose
And like the cock you're crowing know - well that's
Just why you wore loafers and old clothes!

And we're all salivating as we're getting in the mood
The sausage trail is waiting - it must be Ludlow Food!

We're in! What tasty eats will be unfurled?
A smoked loaf begs a nibble just to see
Is it Lapsang of the baking world?
And where's the stall to get some breakfast tea?

While I'm cogitating - you're all getting in the mood
Your tastebuds are pulsating - it must be Ludlow Food!

I'm feeling like a rantipole my flagon
Is filled with Gwatkin cider and with ale
This tent will shove the dieter off the wagon
Just look! There's crusty tractor pies for sale!

Now they're worth celebrating and they'll put you in the mood
And The Pudding Shop is waiting - it must be Ludlow Food!

Each day I choose a word. Today's? Panache
Kevin Korbet serves it with ice cream
While Daniel Jones has a tea infused ganache
To make the chocolate lovers' senses scream!

Oh! My stomach is gyrating and I'm really in the mood
Knife skills? I'm hesitating... It must be Ludlow Food!


Jungle Coffee made for Shropshire dads
Sells well but so does tea (that makes my day)
Beaman's win the Sausage Trail good lads!
Wil's Smokehouse? Yes, it's gluten free - hooray!

         Hairy Bikers, demonstrating it all gets us in the mood
         No time for vegetating - it must be Ludlow Food!


And here at the Assembly Rooms it's books
Joanna Weinberg talks 'Real Food' and lust
'Picnic Crumbs', just published, tempts the cooks
And Wordsworth's ginger biscuits are a must!

        The bells? They need sedating as they're getting in the mood
        And we're all tête à têting 'cos we're part of Ludlow Food

KK Tiffy serves a spicy wrap
Legges of Bromyard slice off cuts of meat
Locals Joan and Mary can't help nap
On a bench while others eat and eat

And it's all so captivating and we're getting in the mood
For slowly contemplating next year's Ludlow Food!


by Elizabeth Darcy Jones for Ludlow Assembly Rooms