Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

The Best Pizza Ever – Squash, Walnut and Goat’s Cheese from St Helen’s Farm

 The best vegetarian pizza ever may be a tall claim, but I adore a good winter squash and this homemade crust with a flavoursome chocolate tomato sauce topped off with squash, walnuts and goat’s cheese does it for me. And not just me, CT and my mother were full of praise for this squash, walnut and goat’s cheese pizza and neither of them are vegetarian.

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Beetroot Muffins with Walnuts, Wild Garlic & Goat’s Cheese

Beetroot, Walnut, Wild Garlic and Goat's Cheese Brunch Muffins

Savoury muffins for brunch are a wonderful thing. They taste good and you can pack in whatever vegetables you happen to have to hand. They make an interesting and easy packed lunch too and they’re ideal for picnics. These beetroot, walnut, wild garlic and goat’s cheese brunch muffins are particularly fine ones.

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Savoury Chocolate Vol au Vents and Canapes

Mushroom vol-au-vents

The party season is now in full swing and although I rarely buy ready made pastry, these  Gourmet Pidy pastry cases make excellent party fare for a time strapped host. Time and thought can go into creating delicious fillings without worrying about making the pastry and then having to shape it suitably. Pidy are a Belgium company that has been making their award winning pastry cases since 1952. They provide a range of interesting pastry forms, but have only recently launched into the home cook’s market. Their products are available via Amazon, delis, farm shops and other independent retailers.

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Goat’s Cheese Chocolate Truffles

Goat's Cheese Chocolate Truffles

Chocolates, Gifts | 14th December 2013 | By

Who’s tried goat’s cheese chocolate truffles before? If you haven’t you’re in for a surprising treat. They make a fitting end to a dinner party meal and will be much appreciated by any self respecting chocolate and cheese lover on any occasion.

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Spinach, Goat’s Cheese and Chocolate Filo Triangles

Spinach Goats Cheese Filo Pastries

Some of you may remember my six course chocolate themed dinner party from a couple of months ago. These spinach, goat’s cheese and chocolate filo triangles are one of the courses I served. I learnt how to make filo triangles on a Middle Eastern mezze course at the Vegetarian Cookery School in Bath a couple of years ago and I’m very glad I did as it’s proved to be invaluable on several occasions.

This is a an adaptable recipe, which I made up as I was devising the evening’s menu. Quantities can be adjusted to suit different tastes and the number of people partaking. When I say spinach, I don’t actually mean spinach; I used what I had to hand which in this case was orach.

This is how I made:

Orach, Goat’s Cheese and Chocolate Filo Triangles

  • Sweated 4 finely chopped shallots and 1 clove finely chopped fresh garlic in a little olive oil.
  • Added a large handful of freshly washed & still wet orach (spinach like leaf) to the pan and covered with a lid. Simmered until wilted (about 5 minutes) and removed from the heat. I didn’t need to drain this, but it may need it if the mixture is too wet.
  • Grated in a little nutmeg and some black pepper.
  • Mixed in 50g soft ripe goats cheese.
  • Mixed in a few leaves of chopped freshly picked mint.
  • Melted 25g unsalted butter.
  • Roughly chopped 20g 85% dark chocolate into chunks.
  • Cut 3 filo pastry sheets lengthways into 4 long strips & brushed each with melted butter.
  • Placed a large teaspoonful of the spinach mixture onto the bottom of the strips.
  • Added a couple of the chocolate chunks & wrapped in the pastry to form 12 triangles.
  • Brushed with melted butter.
  • Baked at 180C for 10 minutes.
These were polished of with alacrity and I’m sure I saw a few fingers being licked. Everyone agreed that the chocolate worked really well with the other ingredients – a gentle but enriching presence. 
 
As the main ingredient here was goats cheese, I am entering this into Alpha Bakes where the letter is G for goat’s cheese this month. This is hosted alternately by The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes.

Goat’s Cheese and Chocolate

Chocolate Goat's Cheese Tart
As some of you know, I’ve recently discovered the joys of combining goat’s cheese and chocolate. I’ve made several recipes over the last few months with this particular pairing and I’ve been pleased with all of them. I am very keen to continue experimenting, so I put my blog forward for the Best Bleat Awards, the winner of which gets a year’s worth of Capricorn goats cheese.

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Chocolate Goat’s Cheese Tarts – Random Recipes #27

Chocolate Goat's Cheese Tarts

There’s no getting away from it, the best word to describe these chocolate goat’s cheese tarts is unctuous. Think molten dark chocolate mousse oozing with salty goat’s cheese in a wonderful flaky pastry case. If you like the combination of salt and sweet, you’re almost bound to like these.

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Beetroot, Carrot and Goats Cheese Muffins

When I met Vanesther of Bangers & Mash at Blog Summit in Bristol a couple of weeks ago, I learnt about her Recipes for Life challenge which she hosts in conjunction with SWALLOW, a charity which helps adults with learning difficulties to lead more independent lives. Do find out what it is all about by visiting her blog. As soon as I heard what the ingredients were (beetroot, carrot and cheese), I knew what I wanted to make. I first made savoury cocoa muffins for the Capricorn Challenge back in October last year and was very impressed by the results; I’m not sure why I haven’t made them since. My only concern was would I have time to do it. With a cake club meeting, a chocolate course and a birthday party to bake for, I really wasn’t sure if I could fit it in. But sense prevailed; as well as making a nice change to my lunchtime sandwich, it would save me having to make said item in the mornings before going to work, something I always find a bit of a chore. I was also given a bit of a helping hand by Ethel the Goat, who is up to her old tricks again and a round of Capricorn cheese or two found its way to my kitchen.

This is how I made:

Beetroot, Carrot & Goats Cheese Muffins

  • Scrubbed 2 medium carrots and 2 smallish beetroot (weighing about 300g) then topped, tailed and grated them in a food processor.
  • Put 300g flour (half wholemeal, half white) in a mixing bowl.
  • Added 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda and 1/4 tsp salt.
  • Added 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • Whisked together to ensure all was incorporated and there were no lumps.
  • Stirred in 50g of chopped walnuts.
  • In another bowl beat 2 large organic eggs with 200ml yogurt.
  • Beat in 100ml sunflower oil.
  • Beat in 100ml milk and a good good grinding of black pepper.
  • Divided 100g Capricorn goats cheese into three.
  • Chopped two lots into pieces and stirred into the batter.
  • Chopped the third piece into twelve equal portions.
  • Made a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and added the batter.
  • Stirred as lightly as possible until everything was just incorporated.
  • Added the grated beetroot and carrots and stirred just enough to incorporate into the mixture.
  • Divided between 12 silicone muffin moulds.
  • Topped each with a piece of goats cheese.
  • Baked at 200C for 20 minutes
  • Left for a few minutes in their moulds, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool.

These were just as good as the Beetroot, Walnut Goat’s Cheese Muffins I originally made and the raw grated vegetables cooked through with no problem.

Blog Summit Bristol

I’m not going to write an account of the Blog Summit, a really useful gathering of bloggers from Foodies100 and Tots100 held at the famous MShed down by the river. This is partly because there was not a single piece of chocolate or chocolate cake or even a chocolate biscuit to be had anywhere – can you believe it? Partly because others have written far more informative posts than anything I am likely to do and partly because this was the only 1/4 decent picture I took. I’ve listed below a couple of particularly useful write ups that others have done. It was a useful day and despite the rather long journey, it was worth attending. I met lots of very nice bloggers and heard quite a lot of useful tips about SEO, social media and photography – the follow / no follow issue was covered at some length. Special mention must go to Ali of PLUS 2.4 and Annie of Mammasaurus who rescued me from who knows what heinous fate as I wondered around Temple Meads in daze, stupefied by the splendour of a great metropolis – I am a country lass after all! Apart from the lack of chocolate, the only slight quibble I have, is that Foodies 100 members were sadly underrepresented, with only myself and Vanesther in attendance. 

 
Ten things I learnt at Bristol Blog Summit by Vanesther of Bangers & Mash
Blog Summit Bristol: a summary by Sally Whittle of Tots100
 

Chocshuka (aka Chocolate Shakshuka)

Shakshuka

When Ethel the Goat first came into my life and tempted me with the #capricornchallenge, I was really excited at the prospect of creating some savoury chocolate and goats cheese dishes. When the hamper arrived full of good things, including olive oil, onions, peppers, tomatoes, thyme and goat’s cheese of course, the very first thing I thought about was a chocolate version of Shakshuka.

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Pumpkin and Goat’s Cheese Tarragon Brunch Muffins – We Should Cocoa 26

When Natalie of Hungry Hinny chose pumpkin for this month’s We Should Cocoa, my first thought was not a happy one. Normally we manage to grow a fair few winter squashes; this year, if we are very lucky and the mild weather continues for a bit, we might get one. So, for the first time in many a long year, I had to buy a winter squash, in this case a butternut. Once I got over this unfortunate turn of events, a number of possibilities went flying around my head. Last year, I made a really light almond and squash cake and some really dense pumpkin and ginger cakes, both were delicious although very different. I quite fancied making a marble cake to get the bright orange from the pumpkin contrasting with the chocolate, but others got there before me. In the end, I thought I’d go for a triple whammy and do something using pumpkin oil, pumpkin seeds and squash flesh.

 
With thoughts of my very successful beetroot muffins lingering on, I thought I’d try something similar and enter it into the #CapricornChallenge. Sadly I only had 70g of goats cheese, so had to make up the 100g with cheddar. I also decided tarragon might compliment the flavour of squash, so I used the last few withering sprigs of tarragon from our garden.
 
This is what I did:
  • Roasted 350g of cubed butternut squash in a little olive oil at 200C for 20 minutes.
  • Toasted 40g of pumpkin seeds by dry frying them in a pan for a few minutes until a substantial number had popped.
  • Put 300g flour (100g wholemeal spelt, 200g white) in a mixing bowl.
  • Added 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda and 1/4 tsp salt.
  • Added 2 tbsp cocoa powder & whisked together to ensure all was incorporated and there were no lumps.
  • Stirred in the cooled pumpkin seeds.
  • Grated in 30g cheddar cheese.
  • Divided 70g goats cheese into two.
  • Chopped half into small pieces and stirred into the flour.
  • Chopped the other half into 24 portions and put to one side.
  • In a separate bowl beat 3 small eggs with 200ml yogurt.
  • Beat in 50ml of pumpkin seed oil and 50ml sunflower oil.
  • Beat in 100ml milk and a good good grinding of black pepper.
  • Chopped a few tarragon leaves into tiny pieces and beat these in too.
  • Mashed the roasted squash roughly with a fork and stirred into the milk mixture.
  • Made a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and added the batter.
  • Stirred as lightly as possible until everything was just incorporated.
  • Divided between 12 silicone muffin moulds.
  • Topped each with a few raw pumpkin seeds and two pieces of goats cheese.
  • Baked at 200C for 20 minutes
  • Left for a few minutes in their moulds, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool.

As I hoped, these were a match for the beetroot muffins and made a very tasty lunch for CT and I for the next few days. Toasting the pumpkin seeds first worked really well, bringing out their rich nutty flavour. The squash was more subtle, but played its part very well in keeping the muffins moist. The tarragon added a nice aniseed hint, although a few more leaves would have given a better flavour; it was only just detectable. The cheese added that yummy umami quality which just makes you want to come back for more.

One Ingredient is also featuring pumpkin this month, so in addition to entering this, I’m also looking forward to seeing the other entries – squash is one of my favourite vegetables. This month’s challenge is hosted by Nazima of Franglais Kitchen, but is co-hosted by Laura of How to Cook Good Food.

As the last of our tarragon was used in these muffins, I am entering them into Herbs on Saturday, hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage.

I’m also submitting these to Weekend Herb Blogging as I’ve used both tarragon and pumpkin seeds. This is a weekly challenge where any recipe featuring some part of a plant can be submitted. This week is being hosted by La Cucina di Cristina

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