Saturday, 24 May 2014

Spicy Cauliflower Couscous





Spicy cauliflower cooked in a blend of aromatic Indian spices.

Don't be fooled by the name, there is no couscous in the ingredient list and the this recipe has NO couscous in it, only the  name indicates couscous as the cauliflower is grated to resemble couscous.

Ingredients

480 g cauliflower florets
1 small white onion finely diced
1/2 red capsicum finely diced
1 clove garlic finely chopped
2 green chillies finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
2 tablespoons pasatta (sieved tomatoes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves.


Method:

1. Wash the cauliflower florets and pat them dry.Grate the cauliflower florets on the coarse side of a grater to form cauliflower couscous.
2. Heat oil in a wok, when it is hot add the mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter, next add the garlic and onions and sauté them until onions turn translucent.
3. Add the diced capsicum and grated cauliflower and sauté the mixture for 7- 8 minutes tossing intermittently every couple of minutes.
4. Add the pasatta, salt, green chillies, chilli powder, cumin and coriander powder and toss the mixture to incorporate all the spices.
5. Sauté the spiced cauliflower mixture for another 3-4 minutes after which transfer the mixture to a serving dish.
6. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.
Serve with chapattis.

I got the inspiration to create the spicy cauliflower couscous from a friend of mine Mabintu who blogs at Recipes from a pantry Do check out her blog for some mouth watering dishes.

Submitting this to:
In my VEG BOX ~ Cauliflower event by citrusspice guested by Manjiri of Sliceoffme


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

A surprise win with Betta living.

Earlier this month I had read about  Betta Living who are supporting National Vegetarian Week which is currently running from 19-25 May 2014.  To celebrate National Vegetarian week Betta Living had launched a competition to show that vegetarian food can be tasty, healthy and can be fun to eat. Since I am a vegetarian cooking and eating vegetarian  is routine for us I thought why not enter the competition. I blog about vegetarian food both on this blog and my other blog simply.food . I decided to enter the competition and wanted to show case that you can make a tasty vegetarian dish with everyday store cupboard ingredients and really enjoy it.

I entered my Spicy Cauliflower Tempura recipe and to my surprise the recipe won second prize.The winning recipe being Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup. You can read all about the two winning recipes at the Betta Living website.

I am really excited to receive my prize as I already have a wishlist of things I would like to spend the money on such as a magic arm for my camera, a few more food props and maybe a photography class.If you want to make my Cauliflower Tempura you can check out  the recipe here.



Monday, 12 May 2014

Aged Wooden Boards -DIY backgrounds for food pictures

If you have been following my blog you will  be aware that I have been collecting old scrap wood to create a collection of backgrounds for my food photos. In my last post I shared how I used pva glue and acrylic paint to create some cracked finished wood  boards.In this post I am going to share how I created an aged wooden platform to use for my food photos.
I had recently visited a garden centre where I had managed to source some aged off cuts of old fencing that the garden centre had thrown away. I also goggled how to make inexpensive stain for the wood using wire wool and vinegar.Below is a tutorial of how I created my wooden board.

Materials:

For Board:

7 strips of wood approximately 18 x 6 inches.
Few  nails 1.5 cm long(depends on thickness of wood)
Hammer
Paint brush
Bin liner
Empty Jar
Hack saw
Sandpaper
Old rag
Rubber gloves

For Stain:

Wire wool
Vinegar

Method:

1. In a glass jar add the wire wool and top it up fully with vinegar, place the lid and put the jar in the garage for 2 weeks.After two weeks open the jar in a well ventilated room ( the smell is very pungent) and you will notice that the wire wool has rusted and the vinegar has turned brown in to a stain.Strain the mixture into a clean jar and discard the rusted wire wool.


2. Cut the wood so that you have 7 pieces roughly the same length.They don't have to be cut  too perfect.


3.Place 5 pieces of the cut wood side by side as shown in diagram 1below and place the remaining two pieces horizontally as shown on diagram 2.
Diagram 1                          Diagram 2

4.Nail the  pieces 6 and 7  to the the pieces 1-5 as shown in diagram three with a grey dot. You may want to add a few extra nails to secure the pieces together.(Make sure the nails are not longer than the thickness of the wood.)

                                                                          Diagram 3


5. Using the sand paper sand away any splinters and wipe the wood with a damp cloth.
6. Place the bin liner on the floor and place the wooden board on it, using the brush paint the stain on both sides of the wooden board.To achieve a darker colour apply a second coat of stain after first coat is dry.I applied a single coat to one side of my board and a double coating on the other side so that I had two different finishes.
7. Leave the board to dry for 24 hours.

Finished Board top side



Here is a a picture showing this side of the board used in one of my photos.



Finished board bottom side


Here is a picture using the back this side of the same board in the photo below.



I am really pleased with my board as it has given me two different looks and finishes.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Spicy Cauliflower Tempura. #Betta Recipe

National Vegetarian Week is running from 19-25 May 2014.  To celebrate National Vegetarian week Betta Living are launching a competition to show that vegetarian food is more than just tofu, nut roasts and quorn dishes. I am entering this recipe into the Betta Living Vegetarian Recipe competition  to show that the humble cauliflower can be transformed into a wonderful and tasty snack using simple store cupboard ingredients.



Crispy crunchy cauliflower florets dusted in an aromatic spice mixture and deep fried until crisp and crunchy.

Ingredients:

300g cauliflower florets
1 heaped tablespoon spoon  fine rice flour
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon green chillies crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh coriander finely chopped
1 red chilli de seeded and cut into thin slices
600 ml sunflower oil for deep frying

Method:

1.Separate the cauliflower florets into individual single heads and place them in a colander and wash them.
2. In a separate large bowl mix together the rice flour, ginger and chilli paste, salt, chilli powder, coriander, red chilli slices and lemon juice.
3. Add the washed cauliflower florets into the spice mixture and toss it around until all the florets are coated in the spiced flour mixture.If the mixture is a little dry add about 1 teaspoon water , just enough so that the spice mixture coats the cauliflower florets.
4. Heat oil in a wok and when it is hot, drop the cauliflower florets into the hot oil and deep fry them until crispy and golden brown. Remove the crispy cauliflower from the oil and drain on kitchen paper,
5. Repeat for remaining florets.

Serve the spicy cauliflower tempura with a hot chilli garlic dip.

Chilli garlic dip:
In a bowl add 1 clove minced garlic, 1 green chilli finely chopped, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons ketchup and 1 sprig finely chopped fresh coriander. Mix and serve.

Submitting to:
In my my VEG BOX~Cauliflower event by citrusspice guest hosted by Manjri of slice off me.




Monday, 5 May 2014

Giveaway free Tickets to Foodies Festival Clapham Commmon











Foodies Festival, the UK’s largest celebration of food & drink returns to Clapham Common on the weekend of Fri 6th, Sat 7th & Sun 8th June this year 2014.  Each year thousands of visitors come from the surrounding areas to feast on a vast array of culinary activities, making Foodies Festival the social event of the summer.  Visitors will see top chefs cooking in the Chef’s Theatre; sample  wine, beer, and cocktails in the Drink’s Theatre and  join top pastry chefs in the brand new Chocolate, Cake, Bake and Preserves Theatre, and kids can learn to cook too in the Children’s Cookery Theatre.

The festival will have a Feasting Tent where visitors can enjoy eating with chefs, friends and family at long banqueting tables.
This year there is the introduction of the Vintage Tea Tent that will hold daily tea dances, alongside a Vintage Kitchen Market allowing visitors to pick up beautiful pieces to add to their own kitchens at home.
For the people who enjoy a little bit of beer or cider the Real Ale and Cider Farm will be offering visitors a special area to chill out on hay bales and strike up a conversation with our beer and cider expert Melissa Cole and fellow beer lovers.  There’s a guitar behind the bar for those in the mood to get a sing-along started.
A new Chilli Food Market will excite those with a love for spicy foods with a range of chilli growers and artisan producers of sauces, sweets and jams. For those who can handle the heat a Chilli Eating Challenge takes place at 5pm daily.


Foodies Festival tickets are on sale now,  to purchase your tickets  you can Click here to buy tickets

With the great generosity of foodies festival organisers, I have 5 pairs of tickets to give away to 5 lucky simplyfood winners.

How To Enter:
  • Simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below to verify your entries
  • Entries can be via blog comment, Facebook, Twitter etc.
  • Leaving a blog comment is mandatory and failure to do so will void any other entries.
  • Closing date - 25th May  2014 12.00 am

 *Terms and conditions
1. This competition is open to UK residents only who are over 18 years of age .
2. Complimentary tickets are valid for one day only at the London Show.
3. Tickets are non transferable. One pair of tickets per winner only.
4. Complimentary tickets obtained through this offer may not be duplicated.
5. All tickets will be scanned on entry to the show

How Rafflecopter works:

·        You will need to complete the mandatory entry first – usually making a blog comment. You can do this by clicking on leave a comment at the bottom of the post and leaving your reply in the comment box.Please note your comment will not show immediately as it needs to be moderated however rest assured it will appear on the site, so carry on with rest of entries.
·        Login to Rafflecopter – click to see what the question is. Make a comment answering the question on the blog.
·        Go back to Rafflecopter and click the green button to tell me you have made a comment, this will unlock all the other options. All entries are checked to see that the mandatory question is answered, if its not all bonus entries will become void. 
·        Rafflecopter will tweet, like and follow on your behalf.
·        For information on how to find the URL of your tweet click here
·        For bonus entries you can return to this page and enter the daily bonus entries. 
·        If you are still unsure as to how Rafflecopter works please do check out this short video.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Cauliflower and Peas Curry


Healthy and delicious Cauliflower and peas curry cooked in aromatic spices.

Ingredients:

400 g cauliflower florets
100 g frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons passata (sieved tomatoes)
1 teaspoon MDH kitchen king masala (or garam masala)
1 clove garlic finely minced
2 springs of fresh coriander finely chopped


Method:

1. Cut the cauliflower florets into small pieces.
2. In a wok add the oil, when it is hot add the mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter. Next add the garlic and sauté for few seconds and then add the cauliflower and peas.
3. Toss the cauliflower and peas mixture and stir fry for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes add the salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin and coriander powder and the kitchen king masala and the passata.
4. Cook the cauliflower for another 5-7 minutes tossing it intermittently until it starts to crisp a little. The cauliflower should be cooked but still hold its shape and is not mushy.
5. Transfer the curry to a serving dish and garnish with fresh coriander.

Serve with rice

Submitting to:
In my VEG BOX ~Cauliflower event by citrusspice guest hosted by Slice off Me


Friday, 2 May 2014

Cracked finished wooden boards-DIY backgrounds for food pictures

I have recently started to put together a collection of wooden boards and textured finished cards to use as backgrounds for food photos. Often you see beautiful food photos taken on rustic aged wooden tables, boards and they look really great.I googled and watched you tube videos on how to create different finishes. With some ideas pencilled down, I set about sourcing some off cuts of wood. First I raided the garage and found a couple of bits of wood that were old  plywood drawer bases. Next I went to my local builders yard and looked around to see if I could pick up some odd off cuts of wood. I was lucky as my local store cuts wood to size and has a box of small of off cuts that are discarded  and you can buy them for a small cost.I paid between fifty pence to one pound each  for a couple of bits of wood.

I also went to the local garden centre and bought a small piece of decking approx 18 square. Lastly looking and feeling like an idiot I asked the young assistant if they had any "old" wood off cuts I could purchase.After staring at me with a quizzical look he pointed me to a rubbish area and grunted look there. I rummaged through rubbish  old wood, feeling like a tramp and seriously trying to contain my embarrassment as the young lad starred at me in disbelief probably thinking I was eccentric. I managed to retrieve three battered pieces which  looked like old fencing. They were truly weathered from the rain and were covered in sticky tree sap in places but looked really rustic. Armed with my find I was really excited to get home to venture on my new project but before I could do that I had to pick up some painting supplies.

My next stop was a paint shop,I bought some mini emulsion sample paint pots, some small acrylic paints, some pva glue, wire wool, sand paper  and some in expensive brushes. I was excited as my project was finally going to commence. All these supplies will enable me to create some different finishes, today I am going to share my first project of creating cracked finish wooden boards, I hope to share more tutorials using my purchases above in later posts.


Project one- Cracked finished wooden boards.

Materials:

Two small plywood boards ( any size of your choice)
PVA glue
Acrylic paint (light pink) ( light blue for blue board)
Dulux emulsion paint sample pots (dark pink) (Dark blue for blue board)
2 paint brushes
2 old rags (old T shirt cut into squares )
Bin liner
Sand paper
Hair Dryer

Method:

1.Open out the bin liner and put it on the table so that you don't mess up your table.
2.Sand any rough edges from the wood so that you don't get splinters from it.
3. Damp one of the rags with water and wipe the wooden board to clean off any dust.


         Step 4                                                    Step 6                                                Step 7

4. Paint the wooden board with your base colour which should be darker than the top colour so that when
we put the lighter colour on top the darker colour will show through from underneath.
5. Leave the board to dry totally and wash your brush and dry it on the second rag.
6. Once the board is dry, we are going to paint it with the pva glue. This stage is important as you must choose which direction you want your cracks to form and paint the pva glue in that direction only.
7. The amount of glue you paint on the wood will determine the size of the cracked finish. For a lighter crack finish paint a thin layer of glue, for larger more prominent crack finish paint thicker layer of glue but remember always paint the glue in one direction.


            Step 8                                                Step 10

8. Immediately on top of the wet glue with a clean brush paint a thin layer of your acrylic paint. Take care to paint it lightly with gentle strokes as not to lift the glue off and also paint  in the same direction .
9. You don't have to be too careful with the painting, you get a better finish if you get some odd patches and the final  finish will be more natural.
10. Once the acrylic paint is on the wood, immediately dry the paint on the wooden board with the hair dryer or heat gun. The hot heat will dry the paint and as its drying you will see cracks appearing in the painted surface.



                                                                  Step 11

11. Once the paint is semi dry leave the board to air dry for another 24 hours before using it.



You can see I created a blue board and a pink board. The cracking on the blue board is more definite as I had painted a thicker layer of glue and I had also painted the glue diagonally  and with random brush strokes to change the pattern of the cracking.


The pink board the cracking is finer as I had painted a thinner layer of glue and also painted it in vertical lines.There is a noticeable difference in both the finishes.






Here you can see the finished boards in my food photos.



Taste of Tropics Event Roundup


Thankyou to everyone who took part in this event and sent some lovely recipes, here is the wonderful round
up of the recipes.


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