Thursday 15 February 2018

Gluten free Orange and Poppy Seed Cake

Recently I have been trying to find recipes for cake that are gluten free as I have a friend who is gluten intolerant. Unfortunately I have not been very successful. My cakes are either too dry and crumbly or are really dense. I have yet to find a recipe that gives me the perfect texture. If any of you readers have tips that work, please do share in the comments below.

I am really pleased that in the interim I have found a cake mix that really works.

This gluten free Orange and Poppy Seed cake by far is the best I have ever made, its from a packet mix from Marks and Spencer's new range. All I was required to add to the packet mix was oil, two eggs, poppy seeds and whisk and bake. It was delicious. However I am going to try the recipe next time without the eggs and by adding an egg substitute so will share my results soon.

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Gluten Free Orange and Poppy Seed Cake
A delicious light and airy cake with a subtle orange citrus flavour.
  • 1 box Marks and Spencer's Orange and Poppy Seed cake Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon Poppy Seeds
  • 100 ml Light Olive Oil
  • 2 Medium Eggs
  • 50 ml Water
  • 3 tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • 3 Clementines
  • Dairy free coconut yoghurt for serving.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a 2 lb loaf tin with paper.2. Peel and slice the clementines in rounds and place them in a pan with 2 tablespoons water and 3 tablespoons sugar and bring to a slow simmer, lower heat and cook for 10 minutes and turn off the heat , keep aside to add as garnish o the cake.3. In a bowl add the oil and water and eggs and whisk together.4. Add the cake mix and fold gently.5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the pre heated oven for 30 mins or until cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted in it comes out clean.6. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool.Once cooled transfer the cake to a serving dish and spoon over the cake the prepared clementine slices.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 loaf cake

Thursday 8 February 2018

Rosa Thai Veggie- Dean St London

I love Thai food and what better place to eat it than at a vegetarian Thai restaurant. Rosa Thai Veggie is a pop up restaurant in Dean St London serving freshly made thai food is a very rustic style cafe. It's a no frill cafe with wooden tables cramped together with a fast food service of the most delicious Thai Food I have eaten.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Heidi from Kitchen talks and Travel and I were invited to sample their menu at a food bloggers event.The restaurant was packed and we were sat in the downstairs part of the cafe. The menu is not too crowded but still has a varied selection of dishes, from starters to curries, and noodles. We munched on rice crackers as we waited for our Papaya Salad (Som Tam) Spring Rolls (Pia Tod), Sweetcorn Fritters (Khao Pod Tod) Drunken Noodles (Pad See Mao) and Massaman curry (Gang Massaman) with steam rice arrive.

All the food on the menu had a chilli rating one chili being the mildest, two chillies being medium and three chilies being the hottest. This made choosing the dishes a little easier. We ordered a mix of mild and medium dishes as we were not brave enough to go with the three chilli rating.

The Papaya Salad (Som Tam) was really crunchy with a lovely dressing, it was one of the hotter dishes we had chosen but it tasted delicious

The spring rolls filled with shredded vegetables and glass noodles were crispy and  and beautifully flavoured, they were rather moreish served with a sweet chilli sauce and I really enjoyed them. 

The sweetcorn fritters were OK but for taste buds needed more seasoning and the texture was a little dry and doughy.

With the starters devoured, next came the main course of Drunken Noodles (Pad See Mao) and Massaman curry (Gang Massaman) with steam rice arrive. The Noodles were stir fried with Thai spices and vegetables, they were on the spicy side but the heat was manageable. Personally I found the noodles a little overcooked and sticky but the flavours were amazing.

The Massaman curry was the mildest of the dishes. A yellow curry cooked with potatoes, Tofu in a  creamy sauce with cashew nuts. This was the perfect choice for Heidi as she cannot tolerate the spices as well as I can.

We really enjoyed the dishes we had selected, they were all different in flavors, textures and taste giving us a good taster in Thai food. We did not check the dessert menu so I am not sure what was on offer.

I would highly recommend that if you are in the vicinity of Dean Street, to pop into Rosa Thai Veggie as its open until March to sample this delicious food.

Heidi and I were guests at the Rosa Thai Veggie pop up cafe, all thoughts and opinions are of or experience.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Veganuary - Zizzi Pizza Restaurant.

On Saturday we decided to go out for a quiet meal, after oohing and aahing about what we wanted to eat we decided to go to an Italian restaurant called Zizzi in Pinner. It is located right on the High Street, the restaurant is housed in an old Victorian pub that dates back to 1580. The Tudor building is beautiful with beamed ceilings, cosy alcoves and an open kitchen. It also has an outdoor garden patio where diners can dine alfresco in the summer. Zizzi has many branches all over the UK.

For the month of January Zizzi has partnered with The World Avocado Organisation to create a one-of-a-kind flavour experience, in celebration of Veganuary and the mighty avocado – the fruit of life. The creation is the Arcobaleno Pizza. They have also introduced some lovely January special to their menu too. We decided after looking at the menu to sample some of these new dishes together with a few classics too.

For starters my partner who is a big mushroom fan chose to have the Mushroom Brindisi. He absolutely loved the Creamy mushrooms & smoked mozzarella that were oven baked on the special Zizzi dough, then finished with chopped parsley, grated riserva, crispy sage & smoked garlic oil.

For me choosing the starter was not difficult at all as soon as I saw the name Aubergine Parmigiana Crocchette as I love aubergines. I must say I was totally in food heaven with this delicious starter of crispy breadcrumb-coated crocchette filled with melted mozzarella & ricotta cheeses, fried aubergine, red pepper & slow roasted tomatoes, served with a red pepper tapenade dip. The starter was so good I could have eaten it all over again for my main course.

For our main course we both decided to opt for the Zizzi Veganuary classic Arcobaleno special pizza.
Arcobaleno Means ‘rainbow’ in Italian, the pizza was truly a rainbow of colours on a plate. The classic Zizzi base mozzarella & tomato base was topped with pink beetroot ‘beetballs’, baby sunblush tomatoes & spinach. It was magnificently finished with sliced avocado, chilli threads & purple basil. 

We really enjoyed it although the pizzas were very big and we ended taking some home for lunch.
No meal is complete without dessert, whilst my partner who is a big fan of chocolate ordered the chocolate & salted caramel sundae. The sundae was a manageable portion of chocolate, black sea salt & caramel gelato with whipped mascarpone cream, salted caramel sauce, crushed salted caramel crunch & giant white chocolate curls.

I love citrus flavours so I ordered the zingy citrus torte. I was not disappointed as it was truly delectable. The Lemon, lime & passion fruit torte had a rich crumbly cinnamon biscuit base and just the right balance of sweetness and tanginess. It was served with whipped mascarpone cream, raspberry & strawberry coulis & a pink raspberry snap. I particularly liked that the coulis was presented in a small plastic shot that you squeezed over the dessert.

The meal was absolutely delicious, the ambience was amazing and very cosy and the service was  superb. All the staff were friendly and very attentive and really made great effort to chat and make us welcome. I would most certainly dine at Zizzi Pinner again.

We were guests of Zizzi, all the views and opinions in this post are of our dining experience, we were not required to write a positive post.   

Friday 2 February 2018

Pea Noodles and Tofu Stir fry

I love warm salads or stir fry's as they are easy to make and can be really satisfying. They are the perfect choice to cook after a hard day at work as very little preparation is required. I have recreated this Pea noddle and Tofu stir fry, using the ingredients from Marks and Spencer's who have recently launched  their new vegan and vegetarian range. I had the opportunity to try this recipe at a recent launch hosted by Marks and Spencers for Veganuary.  They were showcasing their new products and vegan wine. In the range they have many new stir fry sauces and prepacked vegetable packs, egg free noodles and gluten free options too.

The noodles in the recipe are made with pea and lentils making them high in protein, together with the green edamame beans and stir fry vegetables and the tofu, this dish has the perfect balance of textures and flavours.

I have adapted the recipe to my taste,the original recipe can be found here.

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Pea Noodles and Tofu Stir fry
High-protein peas and lentil noodles, edamame and pea stir fry vegetables and tofu in a spicy lime and orange dressing with yuzu

  • 200g M&S firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1 pack M&S edamame and pea stir fry
  • 1 pack Lime and orange dressing with yuzu
  • 2 Spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 pack M&S High-protein pea noodles
  • 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 15 g Ginger, crushed
  • 1 Red chilli, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon Cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chilli powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dark soy sauce
1. In a plate add the corn flour, salt and chilli powder and toss the tofu cubes in it and keep aside.2. In a frying pan add 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil and shallow fry the tofu in small batches until golden brown.Drain on kitchen paper.3. In a wok add the remaining olive oil and add the garlic and ginger followed by the edamame and pea stir fried vegetables toss over a high heat for 2-3 minutes.4. Add the noodles, soya sauce, lime and orange dressing and toss for a further 2-3 minutes until the noodles warm through. 5. Add the fried tofu and stir fry for a further 1-2 minutes.6. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the spring onions and sliced chillies.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Serves 2

NB- To ensure that the tofu holds its shape, pat it dry with lots of kitchen paper to remove any excess liquid, dry and then cut it into cubes. This is very important to avoid it breaking when shallow frying.

My fellow blogger friend Heidi also attended the launch with me to check her blog post about her experience.

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