Category Archives: Veggie Fortnight

Veggie Fortnight- Nights Nine and Ten

It seems to be becoming a habit that I fail to document one day and have to make up for it on the next. Night nine consisted of a LOT of vegetarian food, a reappearance of pizza pittas and some home made fettuccine with spinach pesto, roasted tomatoes and chilli. But your imaginations will have to suffice as I have no pictures (and you can probably imagine a better looking meal than I can make, if I’m being honest) Moving on to Night Ten…

Night Ten.

Night ten followed a similar italian theme with Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi. A quick and easy recipe for a lazy evening in watching Great British Bake Off. Unlike normal Gnocchi it contains no potato, which gives it a slightly looser texture and a less uniform look, but if the spinach gnocchi are kept small they’ll cook well and look reasonably neat (like tiny little dumplings).

Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi. 

 

 

Ingredients;

200g spinach leaves

handful of parsley

140g of ricotta

85g plain flour

50g feta cheese

2 medium eggs

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

1) Place the spinach in a deep bowl, pour over boiling water and leave for two minutes to wilt, afterwards drain and using a tea towel or kitchen paper squeeze as much excess water out as possible. Then finely chop ( it will be one big mush)

2) In a bowl mix together the spinach, ricotta, chopped parsley, plain flour, feta cheese (crumbled into small pieces), beaten eggs and season to taste.

3) Fill a wide, shallow bowl with water, this will be to dip you hands into in order to form your gnocchi balls with ease. Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into a small ball, around 1cm in diameter. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 30 mins.

4) Bring a large pan of water to boil, once at boiling point turn the temperature down slightly. Cook the gnocchi in batches so they do not stick together (keep the cooked batched in a low oven to keep warm) The gnocchi will sink at first, once it floats to the top, give it one more minute to cook and remove from the water with a slotted spoon, ensuring to leave behind as much liquid as possible. Continue until all the batches are cooked. I served mine with a green salad, chilli mushrooms and a poached egg.

 

 

 

P.S, I freaking love this song, 

 

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Veggie Fortnight- Nights Seven and Eight

Night Seven was spent at a party (where I fought the urge to indulge in a hog roast, I think this is medal worthy) so no pictures.

So on to Night Eight, where Twin whipped up a light post-work meal of stuffed marrow (another PYO bargain) Tonights meal was our first foray into meat substitutes and I was adequately impressed. Inside the marrow was quorn mince cooked in chopped plum tomatoes and garlic, the left over PYO carrots and topped with feta cheese… a very tasty, quick and more importantly- vegetarian meal!

Veggie Fortnight- Nights Five and Six

Night five of ‘Veggie Fortnight’ was spent at work (where both myself and Twin maintained our veggie promises) and ended around 12am with the following meal, well snack.

Almond topped Iced Bun.

Night Six.

Night six was much more successful, and brought about another, different kind of bread recipe. I used a recipe for Naan bread from the bbcgoodfood website (aka my Bible) and found it pretty easy to follow and very quick. The result wasn’t as soft as shop-bought or restaurant naan’s but I think that will come with a bit of practice.However, the taste was great and the basic Naan recipe is very adaptable, although I did just stick with a simple garlic and coriander. The Naan accompanied a Courgette and Aubergine curry, wild rice, mint raita and pickled carrots.

Here’s a link to the Naan recipe , if you’re feeling an indian feast coming on.

easy-naan-bread

Veggie Fortnight- Night Four

I say night four, but what I really mean is late lunch four, as I have to work this evening our veggie experiment has been pushed forward a few hours. Today’s meal is pitta bread pizzas with courgette and mint. Served with a carrot and beetroot ‘slaw and a green salad.

I made the breads myself based on a Nigella Lawson recipe, with a few adjustments;

Pitta bread

Ingredients;

250g strong white flour

7.5 gramms easy blend yeast

1 tsp salt

Cracked black pepper to season

1 tbsp of natural yoghurt

1 tbsp olive oil

150ml lukewarm water

Method

1) Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl, create a well for the wet ingredients. In a measuring jug beat together the oil and yoghurt, then add the water.
2) Pour the liquid into the well, combine with a wooden spoon. Do not add all the liquid at once , steadily combine it to form a smooth dough.
3) Place on a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes to create an elastic dough.
4) Grease a bowl with olive oil and place the dough in it, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove, this will take a minimum of an hour but can be left for several.
5) Once the dough has doubled inside, place on a floured surface and knead again for several minutes. Then divide the mixture into four equal balls.
6) Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to form an oval/circle shape with a thickness of about half a centimetre.
7) Place on a baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for a further 20-30 minutes.
8) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees/gas mark 7.
9) Remove the tea towel and put the baking tray in the oven, bake for 10 mins until the pittas are golden brown and have puffed up.
10) As soon as you remove them from the oven cover with a tea towel, this will trap the steam in and keep the breads moist.

For the actual flatbread pizza’s you can use any topping, we used courgette, mint and mozzarella. But anything would work!

Veggie Fortnight- Night Three

Following yesterday’s appalling documentation of Veggie Fortnight I have attempted to redeem myself with plenty of snaps of tonight’s meal. Taken from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com, tonights menu consisted of a Beetroot, New Potato and Halloumi Salad. Served with Tzatziki and a green salad, I also made some melba toast sprinkled with chives to add a bit of a crunch to the meal.

I followed the recipe pretty closely but did make a few adjustments, I left out the dill and instead boiled the new potatoes with mint ( a Moran tradition, mainly due to the copious amount we have growing in our garden, but I also felt the mint would cut through the white wine vinegar dressing nicely). I also made the tzatziki with alpro soya yoghurt, as twin is lactose intolerant, it’s surprising how similar the soy products are to their lacto equivalents. This salad was SO good, the saltiness of the cheese and the sweetness of the beetroot worked in perfect harmony and the ,what I normally consider to be bland, new potatoes provided a base for the rest of the ingredients to shine.

Here’s the recipe for you to try… grilled-halloumi-with-warm-new-potato-andamp-beetr

Day three of a veggie lifestyle and staying strong!

Veggie Fortnight- Night Two

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So the second night, much like the first, had a tart on the menu. However this was a tomato, basil and mozzarella tart made with home made puff pastry. The tart was served with a yoghurt and whole grain mustard sauce. The side dishes were; yesterday’s home baked bread, parsnip chips, steamed courgettes, hassleback potatoes and green salad.

Apologies for the shoddy picture. Tomorrow’s veggie delight will be better documented!

Veggie Fortnight- Night One.

I have recently developed a passion, no obsession, with Pick Your Own Farms. Following my new fad of preserve making (chutney blog to follow) I have discovered the breadth of fresh produce available to pick yourself , allowing for careful selection for ones culinary requirements and desires at a ridiculously low price. The produce in the picture (most picked with my very own hands, some from the farm shop itself) came to a little over twenty pounds! The variety available at british farms surprised me, with our lack of a summer affecting crop growth I was not expecting great things. However, the sheer size and quality of the veggies were second to none, with the gargantuan  courgettes we picked leaving their supermarket equivalents looking like tiny matchsticks to full size cricket bats. So, with a larder full of fresh fruit and vegetables my sister and I have set ourselves a challenge, which from hence forth shall always be referred to as ‘Veggie Fortnight’. For two whole weeks, fourteen nights, every meal we consume will be entirely meat free. As die hard carnivores we know it will be a challenge. But, what with our wealth of fresh fruit and veg, courtesy of the fields of Stanley’s farm (www.http://www.stanleysfarmshop.co.uk/), the challenge should bring a collection of new recipes to our repertoire and maybe even show us the error of our meat eating ways.

Night one’s meal involved entertaining some guests, a normal meal at the Moran household during such occasion would definitely involve some form of meat or fish, and with a fear of leaving our guests with rumbling stomachs when faced with just a side salad, saw us delve deeper into our culinary imaginations. On the menu for numero uno was Courgette and Goat’s Cheese Tart, with a mixed tomato salad all served with fresh, home made bread.

Courgette and Goat’s Cheese Tart

Ingredients;

1 large courgette (grated)

3 Shallots

150g of Goat’s Cheese, hard with rind (this is extremely generous!)

4 eggs (medium-large, free range of course.)

75ml of double cream (or lacto free as we used)

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Pastry;

I used the half fat method,

so 4oz (roughly 110 grams ) Salted Butter to 8oz (225 grams) Plain Flour, pinch of salt and enough water to bind.

Method;

1) The easiest and quickest (laziest) way to make pastry is in the food processor, Bung everything in, whizz it up, add enough water to bind and whack it in the refrigerator. By letting the pastry rest in fridge you are letting the gluten ‘relax’ as well as keeping the butter in it cool enough. When the pastry is rolled out it melts the butter, by cooling it down to start with your pastry will retain its texture and integrity.

2)Once the pastry has rested in the fridge for a while, you can roll it out to around about half a centre meter thickness, maybe slightly thinner depending on the shape and size of your tin. Then it needs blind baking, for around 10-15 mins till just shy of golden brown, remove the baking beans and bake for another five to avoid what Great British Bake off deemed ‘a soggy bottom’.

3) Once the courgette has been grated ensure you remove as much as the excess liquid (dabbing with Kitchen Towel is the best method), place the courgette on the base.

2) Beat the eggs, mix with the cream and season to taste, pour this mixture over the courgette. Slice the goats cheese leaving the rind on and place on top of the tart.

3) Bake at 200 degrees/ gas mark 6 for 35 minutes until the goats cheese is golden brown and ready to serve!

Mixed Tomato Salad. 

This tomato salad can use any variety of tomato, I used vine cherry tomatoes, tigerella tomatoes and meli melo tomatoes. Chop up into desired size and place in a bowl. Rip up some basil leaves, pour over 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 of olive oil and season well. Left for a while to rest the flavours will start to infuse into the tomatoes, best served with rocket or (like myself, as I was short on the spicy peppery favourite) any old form of salad leaf.

This was served with a plaited loaf, although not my finest hour as I left it too long and it over-proved, leaving the plaited design more like a few lines on a normal loaf. However, it was flavoured with onion salt and rosemary and still looked pretty good and when dipped into olive oil and balsamic vinegar the lack of definition in its shape was soon forgotten.

Possible the most famous Vegetarian (and the first one to jump to my mind) would be Paul McCartney, seems fitting to listen to Hey Jude whilst chowing down on some vegetarian fare…

Day one was pretty successful, but its early days, bring on the next 13 days of veggie delights to see whether we’ll be converts!