Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

Because dinosaurs are cool.

Chili and Lime Black Bean Burger

The perfect vegan burger!

Beer Battered Halloumi

Nom, nom, nom.

Ginger and Chili Tofu

Crispy delicious tofu that's easy to make... say what?

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cakes, but not as you know them.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

I only just discovered that cavolo nero was also called dinosaur kale, which makes me want to eat it 100 times more because I freaking love dinosaurs. I was so excited to find it in Morrisons that I did an actual out loud 'ooooooohhh'.

So with most vegetables I impulse buy, it sat in my fridge for a bit until I decided what to do with it. In the end I decided it would be the perfect addition to macaroni cheese. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll realise that this is very similar to my green mac and cheese recipe, except that I wasn't lazy and made it from scratch. I definitely recommend making it from scratch, it's just as easy and tastes about 1000% better. This recipe makes enough for 2 + left overs for lunch the next day (unless you have a horrible boyfriend who eats it while your back is turned).

25g/2 handfuls of finely sliced cavolo nero
1 leek finely sliced
100g macaroni (or similar pasta)
25g butter
25g flour
350ml milk
150g grated cheese

  1. Pre heat the oven to 200 degreess, then put cavolo nero into a steamer and set the timer for 20 minutes.
  2. Halfway through cooking add the leeks to the cavolo nero and start boiling the pasta, when the timer is up drain the pasta and vegetables and set to one side. 
  3. Make the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a pan, then mix in the flour to make a roux. 
  4. Slowly add the milk and keep whisking over a low heat until it thickens. 
  5. Once nice and thick add 100g of the grated cheese and whisk in until it is all melted in. 
  6. Put the vegetables and pasta in to a medium sized pasta dish and mix in the cheese sauce.
  7. Top with the remaining grated cheese and pop in the oven for 25 minutes.
  8. When it's all crispy on the top and bubbling it's ready! Enjoy! 

Christmas Catch Up

December has been a crazy month for me, mainly because I work in a shop and anyone who works in retail at Christmas time will know that it pretty much takes over your life! Because of this I've been neglecting my blogging duties, and having adventures on my days off instead of writing posts. But never fear as I have collected up all my foodie adventures from December in to one huge post! Here we go...

Lush Christmas Party
As I just mentioned I work in a shop, a shop called Lush (have you heard of it? If not then you're missing out) and in the first week of December they let me make canapes for one of their events. We decided to have food and wine paring inspired by the active ingredients in Lush products for out Luxury Christmas party. So in the end I decided on (veggie) Parmesan and asparagus tarts inspired by the fresh asparagus is used in lots of Lush products and chocolate brownies, because they always go down well and cocoa butter is used in loads of Lush stuff. I think the canapes were a success, they all got eaten so that must be a good sign.
Hummus Bros
Have I ever mentioned that I suffer with really bad food envy, I spend a lot of time reading other food blogs and restaurant reviews and get so jealous, I feel like I need to go and eat the same food as soon as humanly possible. So after I read this post from The Vegan Butcher (my new favourite vegan blogger) I started begging vegan Emma to go to Hummus Bros with me. So off I went to visit Emma for the weekend, she cooked me an amazing vegan Sheppard's pie (I wish I could give you the recipe, but I don't think she even knows how she created the magic) and then the next day we set off to go to the Hummus Bros in Holborn. It certainly lived up to my hummus loving expectations, I had the fava beans and Emma had (evil) mushrooms. The hummus was so creamy and full of flavour (even better with a bit of the lemon and garlic oil poured on) and even the small potion size was enough for me! I would definitely recommend it for a quick vegan/vegetarian bite in London.
Demuths, Bath
A few weeks ago, after realising that we both had a week day off, my boyfriend and I decided to go on an adventure. It started off with going to London, then Amsterdam, then France. After getting extremely close to booking a hotel in France, we decided that it was probably the worst idea ever and I slyly moved the direction of our trip over to Bath, with the main intention of going to Demuths. It was our first trip to bath and after a horrible drive in the rain we arrived to the most beautiful hotel room I have ever stayed in, drank lots of wine, ate lots of bad food and had a good nights sleep (I also have to mention that they did an amazing vegetarian full English).
The next day we did a bit of Christmas shopping and touristy exploring (the baths, of course). Then went in for the main event. Demuths is like a vegetarian mecca, and has always been up there with Terre a Terre as one of the restaurants I would really, really like to visit. It had a lot to live up to and didn't disappoint, although I have to say it didn't blow me away like Terre a Terre, it was still an amazing experience. The actual restaurant is really cute and homely inside and instantly makes you feel comfortable. Scott and I both had the same meals, mainly because he's scared of vegetables and didn't know what to pick. We started with the Celeriac Veloute with a Ewe's Cheese Croquet and cavolo nero, which I absolutely loved, it was rich and creamy and perfect for warming you up after a long day of shopping. Scott, wasn't overly impressed (again, fear of vegetables) so I ended up eating both starters! Then for the main we had Applewood Smoked Somerset Cheddar Souffle served with red wine baked figs, tarragon dressed potatoes, walnut puree and a selection of winter greens from  the fields of bath, which really was something else. The flavours went really well together and it was like nothing I've ever tried before. Scott actually liked this one, so I didn't have to eat two main courses as well (sigh). Then for desert we had the Cashew coconut cream, which was unusual but I loved the gooey clementine middle contrasted against the coconut cream shell. Yummy! All in all, I would definitely recommend it for an amazing vegetarian meal if you're visiting Bath. 
Christmas Dinner
Every year I cook Christmas dinner for my friends, it started out as just me and 3 girl friends who were all vegan/vegetarian and has now grown in to everyone, meat eaters and all. After last years absolute disaster (I don't want to talk about it) I vowed never to do it again, but when it actually came to it, I just couldn't resist! This year was probably the best year ever because 1. I decided not to do anything fancy and just do a plain old roast dinner and 2. I had vegan Emma on hand to help me with the cooking, and she also made the AMAZING vegan main. So we had no started (:O) and then Emma's amazing chestnut, mushroom and port strudel (which I loved even though it contained mushrooms) Then apple crumble, followed by a silly amount of cheese. It probably is my favourite event of the year because it combines Christmas, food and my favourite people. 
Double Christmas Day
One of the perks of having separated parents is that I get to have 2 Christmas days and 2 Christmas dinners. Both my mum and dad are amazing cooks so I end up feel obese by December 27th. This year I got loads of foodie presents including the River Cottage Veg cook book, a pasta maker, loads of vegan marshmallow mix and a new Humming Bird Bakery book and I'm sure all these things will be inspiring many blog posts to come. I also finished my Christmas cake and can proudly say that it actually tasted nice and like a real Christmas cake, I will definitely be making another one next year! 
So Happy New Year everyone! I've made it one of my New Years resolutions to cook, eat and blog more so expect lots of veggie and vegan posts coming your way. It's been a great year for Hef's Kitchen and I couldn't have done it with out all of you lovely readers, so thank you! 

Much Love, 

Heather xx 

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Festive Rocky Road

Some horrible man crashed in to my car this week which resulted in me feeling sorry for myself, which then lead to me treating myself to things even though I have no money. One of those things was vegan marshmallows from Vx, (you can also buy them here) I was super, super excited to see that they had them in there because I was also going to visit vegan Emma in London this week so it was the perfect excuse to pop in.

So with marshmallows in tow I decided to make rocky road as I've wanted it for ages and it was an excuse to turn my marshmallows in to an even more indulgent treat. Also, as it's CHRISTMAS I decided to make them festive by adding the cranberries and amaretti biscuit as well as some of my other favorite things. This is very adjustable, you can add what ever biscuits, dried fruit, nuts etc you want :)

For 24

100g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate
80g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
100g amaretti biscuits
75g brazil nuts
60g cranberries
60g coconut marshmallows
Icing sugar for sprinkling
  1. Put the milk and dark chocolate together in a bain marie (a bowl over a pan of boiling water) with the butter and golden syrup and leave to melt, stirring occasionally. 
  2. When the chocolate mixture has melted down add all the other ingredients and mix well. 
  3. Pour the mixture into a well greased tin and leave to set in the fridge. 
  4. When it's hard enough to cut (after 2-3 hours), sprinkle with icing sugar, chop it all up and enjoy! 

Monday, 5 December 2011

Lazy Mans Saag Panner and Vegetable Biryani

Let me explain how we come up with recipes here at Hef's Kitchen. I wake up, feel hungry and start thinking about what to eat that day. My mind wonders through various foods, I settle on one and then see if it exists on the Internet, if it does I look at how it's made, totally disregard the recipe and decide to do it how I want (mostly because the best part of cooking is the experimenting!). I go shopping, forget some ingredients, get home, make the food, then worry the whole time I'm making it that it's not going to work. I write down the recipe at the same time as cooking so I don't forget. Then I spend about 10 minutes trying to take a good photo with my silly camera (I'm getting a new lens from father Christmas, woo) then I eat it quick before it goes cold! This was no exception to my blogging methods.
I've called this lazy mans food because it didn't take long and I used two things that I don't use that often, the microwave and freezer. Basically I forgot to buy rice and spinach (possibly the two most important ingredients?) but luckily we had microwave rice and frozen spinach, which actually worked out great as there was no lengthy rice cooking times. I'm a bit scared of ready made rice because my previous manager told me that when it cools down it grows some kind of shell that makes you ill or kills you or something. This lead to me having a strange dream about giant rice wearing amour. Any way, I decided to stop being silly and use it because there was no time for rice buying due to my accidental nap that didn't end till 6.30 pm (another reason it's for lazy people like me). This is my FAVOURITE ever meal from our local Indian takeaway and being able to make it at home in under an hour makes me very, very happy :) 

For 2 you'll need: 

For the biryani:
A small selection of vegetables (I used 1/2 an onion, 1/2 a red pepper and a handful of chopped butternut squash)
Olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric 
tsp Madras powder
100ml vegetable stock
1 pack microwave rice (you could also use precooked rice)

For the saag paneer:
1/2 onion 
1 garlic clove minced
4 frozen spinach cubes (defrosted)
A glug of olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of turmeric 
100g paneer (you can get it from Asda)
50 ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp double cream
Some fresh coriander to top it all off 
  1. Chop your vegetables in to small pieces, then place in a frying pan with a little oil, the turmeric and madras powder and cook on a low heat for around 10 minutes. 
  2. Cook the microwave rice as it tells you on the pack, then pour it in to the vegetables and cover with the vegetable stock, keeping it on a low heat. 
  3. While the rice is cooking, add the onion and garlic to another pan with some oil, the cumin seeds and turmeric and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. 
  4. Add the spinach, paneer and vegetable stock and cook for a further few minutes. 
  5. Take it off the heat and add the cream, then serve it up with the biryani. 
  6. Enjoy! 

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