Category Archives: Meatless Monday’s

Meatless Monday …week 15…100% Plant Based Pesto…

Good morning and welcome to Meatless Monday’s…

Meatless Mondays here is just for scheduling purposes it can be any day and not just one day a week…I am gearing up for 2 days…

Food choices are very personal and learned behaviour can be very difficult to change… there is so much evidence now around our food choices that I believe it is vital for me and my family to make some changes…

Why you may well ask…  we have a healthy diet anyway…but for a sustainable future not for me but for my kids and their kid’s action should be taken now…

The fact and it is fact that it will make us healthier makes it a no-brainer really…

How is introducing more plant-based meals going in your kitchen… Going well or meeting with some opposition?...

I am meeting opposition in my family they love their meat and are very resistant to change…they try what I make and generally like it BUT see it as just that…

This means I am going to have to rethink…I am going to be sneaky and am going to be using meat for flavour thus am gradually cutting down the meat I use in chilli for example and ramp up the vegetables…that part is easy as we are a family who loves all veg so if they see more mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers and other vegetables they won’t think it’s strange.

I will use the same process when making burgers and meatballs by gradually making vegetables the biggest portion.

My mother always used to make a huge pot of soup/stew using a ham hock or a turkey leg she would add split peas, butter beans add potatoes, make dumplings or serve with freshly baked bread…when all my kids were young I used to do the same and they still talk about that big pot of deliciousness even now…

Pesto is a good one for me…as it can be used with your favourite pasta, topping for roasted vegetables, wrap/sandwich spread, or dip for veggies and crackers. Nutritious and delicious, this recipe is sure to be a Meatless Monday favourite.

100% plant-based it uses ingredients that are in my store cupboard…

Ingredients:

  •  2 cups of fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, pan-toasted
  • ¼ cup shelled, roasted, unsalted pistachios
  • ¼ cup shelled hemp seeds(optional)
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp lime/lemon juice
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast flakes…this is a new one for me and so far so good they haven’t commented on this addition they just see as an additional flavouring…told you I was sneaky…lol
  • ¾ tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Cooks Tip: we love the zest of limes/lemons and for an extra zing I add a little zest…

Easy to make just blitz all of the above and enjoy!

What is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional Yeast is a versatile pantry staple that can be used in soups, salads, over popcorn(not tried that one) and even in noodle dough…it also happens to be vegan and replaces parmesan…when you are looking for a cheesy, nutty flavour, in a salad dressing perhaps, or to season roasted vegetables.

It has been around for a while and I have always passed it by in the grocery aisles…one the cost and two I didn’t know much about it…I now have my first packet and am exploring I think it goes a long way so maybe not as expensive as I originally thought.

Also called “Nooch” its structure means it can alter a food’s texture in addition to adding umami flavours.

Yeast geneticist Sudeep Agarwala, who’s a program director and biological engineer at Ginkgo Bioworks, explains, “We know how to control the yeast breathing, so inside of fermentation containers, it’s like a yeast yoga class. They’re all inhaling and all exhaling at the same time.”

Once the yeast matures, which can take up to two weeks depending on the amount of yeast and other factors, it’s heated, pasteurized, and dried, which kills it. (Eating active yeast results in dietary distress!) As its cells die, the proteins that made up its cells break down and amino acids like glutamic acid, which is naturally found in many fruits and vegetables, are released. It’s this glutamate that gives nutritional yeast its cheese-like umami flavour. (Nutritional yeast has no added monosodium glutamate or salt.)

The drying process toasts the yeast, which gives it a nutty flavour and leaves it in thin, flat shards, which are broken down into flakes or a powder and then packaged. Sealed airtight and kept in a cool, dark place, it can last up to two years.

As always I like to know everything about what I am using and so far it seems to be safe to use…This article explains some more about nutritional yeast 

That’s all for today on my journey into eating more plant-based meals on a Meatless Monday……Thank you again to everyone who is suggesting recipes I will try them all…xx

Thank you for reading this post If you have enjoyed this post please leave a comment and any tips or recipes you want to share… I love to chat and share recipes…Love Carol xx

Meatless Monday…week 14…Cashew Nut Curry with Halloumi and Brocolli…

Good morning and welcome to Meatless Monday’s…

Meatless Mondays here is just for scheduling purposes it can be any day and not just one day a week…I am gearing up for 2 days…

Food choices are very personal and learned behaviour can be very difficult to change… there is so much evidence now around our food choices that I believe it is vital for me and my family to make some changes…

Why you may well ask…  we have a healthy diet anyway…but for a sustainable future not for me but for my kids and their kid’s action should be taken now…

The fact and it is fact that it will make us healthier makes it a no-brainer really…

I am not advocating giving up meat I am saying we need to learn how to eat less meat by making better choices…What do I mean by that?

Mass-produced meat sold in supermarkets is often inhumanely reared and killed for our plate…it may be laden with antibiotics it is fact that animals reared in closed overcrowded abodes get diseases…which in turn affects our health…it may not be palatable to read this but it is a FACT…

There are livestock farmers raising animals sustainably plus managing The land to reduce the effect of greenhouse gases, treating animals humanely and creating better, safer working environments…

Plus it’s likely covid and other viruses started and were transmitted through unclean working conditions and inhuman animal husbandry…

Yes, higher standards mean higher costs to us the consumer but what price do you put on health?…

Surely eating a piece of mass-produced flavourless meat is not preferable to a lovely albeit smaller piece of grass-fed meat…

I will be doing a post on how to flavour your food with meat rather than meat being the larger part…it is not difficult to cook with flavour yes if you are starting from scratch it takes time…

A good example of this is I love beetroot and orange smoothies…

The place I used to get it from ..made freshly in front of me has gone…I am trying to replicate it at home…so far it’s not cutting it…I need to adjust my ratios of beetroot to orange yet again but I will get there…

To make sure our families are eating the best food we can buy/make for them withing our budgets may not be easy..BUT… we need to teach our children and it will become easier for future generations and at the same time, it builds family relationships and neighbourly ones if we share our successes and recipes…

Our health and the future health of this beautiful planet we inhabit will be far healthier and don’t you want to leave a better place for the future generations and hopefully, they will have learnt from their mistakes.

My recipe for this week is a Cashew Nut Curry with Halloumi and Brocolli…

Halloumi…Halloumi or haloumi is a semi-hard, unripened cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. This property makes it a popular meat substitute.

I thought I would try halloumi as I haven’t eaten it before…

Ingredients:

  • 120 gms raw Cashew Nuts
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • Piece fresh ginger
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200 gm tomatoes skinned
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 300 gm coconut milk
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • Broccoli florets or cauliflower

Let’s cook!

Cover cashew nuts switch salted water and leave to soak for at least 2 hrs I left mine for 5 hrs…the reason for this is if not soaked they are quite bland.

Once cashew nuts are soaked then blitz the cashew nuts with the skinned tomatoes, garlic and ginger, green chillies and onion then add coconut milk…

Cut the halloumi into cubes and fry on all side in olive oil until golden and crispy then remove from pan and leave to drain on kitchen paper.

Lightly steam broccoli florets.

Heat ghee in a pan and add the blitzed curry to the ghee and stir bring to a slow simmer and add garam masala and salt to taste cook on low for about 15 mins…

Then add halloumi and broccoli cook for another 5 mins until heated through. Taste to season and add lime juice…Taste and adjust as required.

Serve with rice and garnish with coriander(optional)

This is the first time I have made a cashew nut curry and used halloumi…

The curry was flavourful and I preferred the halloumi to tofu…I would make the sauce slightly thinner next time but would make it again with a little more spice and some more vegetables.

How is introducing more plant-based meals going in your kitchen… Going well or meeting with some opposition?...

That’s all for today on my journey into eating more plant-based meals on a Meatless Monday……Thank you again to everyone who is suggesting recipes I will try them all…xx

Thank you for reading this post If you have enjoyed this post please leave a comment and any tips or recipes you want to share… I love to chat and share recipes…Love Carol xx

Monday Musings and the week ahead…a preview…

Good morning and welcome to  Monday Musings…

Why Monday Musings…Why not?

Two of my passions are cooking and the environment…so much is going on around the world that my posts need a lot of research which takes time and then of course I have to write the post…

Cooking… I like to test any recipes I put on my blog and sometimes…not often I need to cook and tweak a few times and take pictures…this all takes time…sometimes longer than it should as I have to order ingredients online if I can’t obtain them here…

Meatless Mondays of course needs testing and often retesting and tweaking and coming up with a recipe each week is proving to be just too much as it means it cuts into my writing, reading, social media, my garden, my home(cleaning, washing, shopping etc) my family and of course me time…

Therefore I have decided to cut back and Meatless Monday’s will be a monthly post…Starting on 3rd May 2021.

Tuesday’s …Ta Da… Tuesday Trivia or Twitterings…maybe a recipe matched to some music…it may be a National or International food day…I know many National and International day/weeks/months are manufacturer led and some are frankly quite ridiculous HOWEVER I also think regardless of that some foods benefit from a bit of promotion…or it may be a reblog of a post I find interesting …

We all get set in our ways…I have… there are some meals I cook regularly and maybe cook the vegetables, in the same way, every time… we have however made a pact that at least one meal every week will be something new or a new way of cooking something…it may be shopping the fridge day and making a meal from bits and bobs from the fridge and freezer an ideal way to use up those odds and ends instead of eventually throwing them in the bin…it can cut waste…

Wednesday’s will stay the same as it’s a week about with my A-Z’s and once a month my Green Kitchen over at Smorgasbord Magazine…these 3 posts are my passions and I thoroughly enjoy researching, testing and writing these…

Thursday...In my kitchen cooking from scratch will stay the same…

Fridays will be slightly different in so much as it will include vegetables as well as fruits…some unusual ones found here and some which are favourites around the world wherever you live…

Saturday Snippets will be back this week …for the last 2 weeks events have taken over and I didn’t feel that Saturday Snippets was appropriate…

Sunday brings no changes as it’s my weekly roundup of posts…

After today I am not sure about Mondays it may be a recap of the previous week and it may be environmental …something current if I feel the need to write about it…I’m sure after a few weeks it will take on a life of its own and settle into a pattern but for now, it’s finding its feet…

But overall it will leave me more time and give me some space…

Today has been lovely…Lily and I went shopping…we then had lunch and chatted about Gucci(don’t ask) and what she wants to do when she is grown up… at the moment it is a toss-up between being a Dentist or a Scientist…the Gucci was a question as someone walked past and Lily noticed her belt on her quite nice pants outfit…Lily wanted to know if it was kotcha…the real McCoy ..quite frankly I didn’t think so which meant I had to explain why and she then wanted to know if it was how much would it cost…Lily is 8yrs..just saying… she then proceeded to tell me what she could buy for that money…

Me… I’m sure she will be a Banker or an accountant someday…

Thank you for popping in it is lovely to see you here I hope to see you tomorrow for Tuesday Trivia…Carol x

 

Meatless Monday…week 13…Green Banana Koftas…

 

Good morning and welcome to Meatless Monday’s…

Bananas...gone are the days when a bunch of bananas was just 6 bananas always the same type the Cavendish Banana and then I moved here…

A whole new world of bananas opened up from small bananas, green bananas, red bananas, bananas for frying, bananas for drying, bananas for eating and gone are the days of buying bunches of 6 bananas…its either a whole big hand of bananas or the whole thing cut straight from the tree…

Bunch bananas oct 2017 1

That is a lot of bananas here in Thailand and in my garden Bananas grow in abundance.

Its scientific name is Musa Sapientum which roughly translated  means  Fruit of wise  men

Here it is called Kluay pronounced glue eye.

Seasons vary slightly around the regions and it is a tree-like perennial and officially classed as a herb, the world’s largest herb as it can reach 25 feet in height. The fruit is also classed as a berry. Did you know that?

Banana leaves are used to serve food on or wrap food…nothing is wasted…

Of course, as we all know bananas generally all ripen at once…which means I need to use some whilst still green and then once they are ripened it’s smoothies, fried, baked, dried and then when they are really ripe it’s Banana bread or muffins…

Green Banana Koftas is a recipe originally from my friend Reena and they are beautiful…really tasty with a touch of spice…

Ingredients for Kofta’s

  • 2 Raw Green bananas
  • 1/2 cup Cottage cheese (optional)… I have made them with or without the cheese and they are equally delicious.
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp chopped green chilli…
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  •  1 tsp Garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp Red chili powder(optional)
  • 1 tsp Amchur(dry mango ) powder…if you don’t have Amchur lime juice is fine.
  • 1 tbsp Cornflour(as a binding agent)
  • Chopped dry fruits for filling(cashew, walnuts, raisins, pistachio or dry berries)
  • Butter cut into very small cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying

To Make Koftas

Slit the top and bottom of the bananas. Pressure cook the bananas with skin on till soft or if like me you don’t have a pressure cooker I slowly cooked mine in their skins in some water or you could steam them until soft.

Peel and mash the bananas add all ingredients except nuts, raisins, butter and oil.

Mash everything nicely to make a dough. It’s better to use your finger to make dough. Make equal sized balls out of the dough. Take one ball on your palm and make a hole in the middle with your finger. Fill the hole with dry fruits and a butter cube in it. Close the hole and reshape it like a small oval. Repeat and make such ovals out of the dough. Sprinkle, little cornflour over the kofta and repeat.

green banana koftas frying in oil

In a deep wok add enough oil for frying the koftas in batches of 3-4. Fry over a medium flame till brown. Do not fry over a high flame otherwise, the koftas will be browned from outside and inside it will remain undercooked. Turn gently to brown the other side.

green kofttas with curry sauce

Serve with a curry sauce…and add a swirl of natural yoghurt or just dip them in the curry sauce… They are lovely eaten as a snack and also with the curry sauce

For the curry sauce...when I make a curry if I have any sauce leftover I freeze it for when I make these koftas if not I make just a basic curry sauce made with onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and spices… and just freeze it in portions ready to thaw and use…these really are a yummy snack…

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 2/3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1-2 green chillies sliced
  • 3-4 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2-1 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt

Let’s cook!

Melt the ghee in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the onions cook for 5 mins and then add garlic and ginger then cook for a further 10 mins until the onions have softened. Add the spices and the chillies cook for 5 mins, stirring, add the tomatoes and cook covered until the tomatoes have softened and then remove the lid and cook gently until the sauce has thickened.

If we want a creamier sauce I add a spoonful of natural yoghurt with the tomatoes.

This is just a basic sauce which if you are using it to make a lentil curry for example you can add further spices but it is lovely for dunking koftas in…

It freezes well and I freeze in portions as we often have these koftas as a snack or light meal with maybe some nan bread or paretha and the small portions of curry sauce are ideal…

How is introducing more plant-based meals going in your kitchen… Going well or meeting with some opposition?...

That’s all for today on my journey into eating more plant-based meals on a Meatless Monday……Thank you again to everyone who is suggesting recipes I will try them all…xx

Thank you for reading this post If you have enjoyed this post please leave a comment and any tips or recipes you want to share… I love to chat and share recipes…Love Carol xx

 

Meatless Monday…week 12…Macaroni and Chickpea Bake…

Here we are again…Meatless Mondays…

Introducing more plant-based meals into your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight if you have some weight to lose then adding more plant-based meals has the benefit of removing foods from your diet which cause weight gain.

Plants are high in fibre…this means by introducing more plant-based recipes to your diet that the health of your gut improves so you are better able to absorb the nutrients from your food… you will be eating foods that support your immune system and reduce inflammation.

Fibre can lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar and it’s great for good bowel management…

This week I have made a recipe given to me by Darlene Foster... The recipe is Chickpeas with Macaroni from Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East & North Africa, by Habeeb Salloum and one which Darlene loves to eat with a salad and French bread.

Ingredients:

  •  2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 small hot pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 – 19 oz can stewed tomatoes ( I used fresh tomatoes) see Cooks Notes.
  • 1 – 19 oz can chickpeas, with its liquid
  • 1 ½ cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin

Let’s Cook!

The only change I made to this recipe was to use tomato puree as I was using fresh tomatoes and cooked as below(see cooks Notes) I then added the onions and garlic and followed the recipe exactly…

If using tinned tomatoes then follow the recipe exactly as it is written…

Heat oil in frying pan and sauté onions and garlic over medium heat until they begin to brown. Stir in cilantro and hot pepper and sauté for another few minutes.

Transfer frying pan contents to a casserole.

Add remaining ingredients and stir

Then bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180C for about 40 minutes or until macaroni is cooked.

I bake it for 20 minutes uncovered and then 20 minutes covered as the recipe didn´t say if it should be covered or not. 

To serve: A fresh green salad and some lovely crusty bread or as we did with some homemade garlic bread…it was really lovely a slight hint of chilli and spices with chickpeas and elbow macaroni just the right amount of tomatoes it was a very nice recipe.

Cooks Note:

I was given some lovely red tomatoes grown in the village where they are grown for their seeds…they are beautifully red all the way through with none of the light core which you often get with tomatoes…Also not absolutely perfect shapes but perfect flavour…

When making any tomato-based dish especially if using fresh tomatoes I also use some tomato puree just to intensify the tomato taste…I use 2 parts of puree to one part olive oil and I roast the puree with the olive oil until it darkens the smell is just beautiful I then add my ingredients to that rather than adding the puree to the ingredients…

tomato puree with onions

Roasted tomato puree with onions and garlic

This little tip I learnt from a chef when I worked in a hotel and one I always use which really does intensify the tomato taste…

Thank you so much for the recipe Darlene you were correct the kids loved it as did we…Good luck with the launch of your newest Amanda Book…Amanda in Malta

How is introducing more plant-based meals going in your kitchen… Going well or meeting with some opposition?...

That’s all for today on my journey into eating more plant-based meals on a Meatless Monday……Thank you again to everyone who is suggesting recipes I will try them all…xx

Thank you for reading this post If you have enjoyed this post please leave a comment and any tips or recipes you want to share… I love to chat and share recipes…Love Carol xx

 

 

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…21st March-27th March 2021…#Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes

Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week…we are now well into March…yesterday was the first day of spring if you are in the Northern Hemisphere… lambs, snowdrops, daffodils all signs that spring is here please keep those images coming and the snow I have seen some pictures so those who are experiencing minus temps snuggle up and stay safe and warm…and for those who are experiencing high winds and lashing rain batten down the hatches and stay safe and warm…

Let’s go and see what goodies I had for you last week… snuggle up in your favourite corner with your favourite drink tea/coffee or hot chocolate although depending on where in the world you live it could be a glass of wine…Cheers!

Meatless Mondays:

I have always sworn that I would never ever become a vegetarian/vegan…the scales are tipping as I increasingly see practises that I cannot ignore unless I know exactly how my meat/fish is reared and caught I will not be eating it..fortunately I am in a slightly better position than many to be able to do that but that is the drum I will be banging…

Peppers are a beautiful vibrant addition to a meal and make some Meatless Monday wonderful Pepper sauces…Enjoy!

Tuesday in My Kitchen: Traditional Hot Cross Buns…

There is nothing better than the smell of homemade currant buns made extra special at Easter with the spices and the cross…

For those of you who asked I made my Simnel cake yesterday and my marzipan today I will be icing it…Traditional Hot Cross Buns…

Wednesday: It’s still the Culinary Alphabet but with a little twist…

This week it was the letter B…inc. Rutabagas, Barmbrack, Blueberry and Sambuca…

This new series is certainly stretching my grey matter…next week it is Climate change I hope you are enjoying the two new series…The Culinary Alphabet …..Series 3… the letter B…

Time for the next post in Sally’s series Turning Back the Clock…

Who doesn’t want to turn back the clock just a little and with Sally’s help and expert advice we can do just that…Turning Back the Clock by Sally Cronin.

Carol Cooks2 …week 6 in my kitchen…

Who doesn’t love an Indian Curry with mango chutney?

There is nothing like a nice, spicy curry with delicious homemade chutney…

Fruity Friday:…Just the name strikes fear in many people…

I was wary as I know there are poisonous snakes here however as being once the keeper of snakes…kids love snakes…and my son as a kid was one of those who had to have one…I was inducted rather quickly into the merits of snakes…I  now have some knowledge and am respectful of them…but yes the picture is creepy although the gourd is tasty…Fruity Friday’s…Snake Gourd (Buap Nguu)

Saturday Snippets 27th March 2021…

Well, here we are after Thursdays wake up call from WP…I seriously thought about hanging up the cap,…saying Adios, Au Revoir. Sayōnara or just see you later…but I am made of stronger stuff and we won’t let WP call the shots not just yet…Saturday Snippets…26th March 2021…

Well, that’s it for today…Thank you so much for dropping by…I hope you have enjoyed the read…if you have please head over and leave a comment it makes my day to hear from you …Love Carol xx