Friday, 10 April 2015

Notice Board - Steenbergs Review

A couple of weeks ago Emily from Steenbergs got in touch with me and asked if I'd heard of Steenbergs and asked if I would like to try some of their products.

Steenbergs is a small family run artisan spice company based in North Yorkshire. They specialise in the ethical sourcing and hand-blending of spices, teas and home baking ingredients with a focus on organic and fairtrade. Right up my street I thought! 

Emily told me they have a passion for provenance, aroma and taste. What was I waiting for, I couldn't wait to try out some of their products.


Before I knew it a parcel arrived and it was filled with lots of goodies! I couldn't wait to get started, but first a cup of tea, one small problem which do I choose first!

That was easy, I had been looking forward to trying their white tea with lemongrass and orange blossom with rose and cornflowers. The tea smelt wonderful as it was stewing and I wasn't disappointed when I tasted it, a perfect cuppa, it was absolutely delicious and I've been drinking it at least once a day ever since!

Regular readers will already know I'm a massive fan of tea and one of my kitchen cupboards is always stocked with different flavoured teas, I am spoilt for choice some days. Two teas I regularly drink are earl grey or more recently lady grey in the mornings and I always reach for a green tea with jasmine to calm me down. But the white tea with lemongrass and orange blossom is up there with the lady grey and jasmine teas and is now a firm favourite. 

Steenbergs have recently been interviewing tea lovers for their blog so pop on over and check out my interview "Time for Tea".

So, what other goodies did Steenbergs send me?
  • Organic Green Jasmine Tea
  • Organic Happy Hippy Tea
  • Morning Brew Herbal Tea
  • Organic Rose Water
  • Organic Orange Blossom Water
  • Organic Fairtrade Vanilla Extract
  • Fairtrade Saffron
The Happy Hippy Tea was also delicious and I love the quirky name and the Morning Brew Herbal Tea was great as a morning cuppa. But my favourite has to be the White Tea, just look how pretty it is!



The rose water and orange blossom water intrigued me too and I couldn't wait to try out these products in my cooking. 



I was impatient though and I couldn't wait for a cake to bake or a Morrocan Stew, so I donned my thinking cap and came up with two super speedy recipes. A chocolate orange mousse and a rose and orange sparkler.

First, the sparkler, it was so refreshing and perfect to sip, relaxing outside on a gorgeous sunny day.

Ingredients - Serves 1 to 2 people

1 Orange, freshly squeezed
1 Tsp Rose water
½ Tsp Agave nectar
200ml Sparkling water

Method

Mix the first three ingredients together then slowly pour in the sparkling water. Give the sparkler a little stir before pouring into glasses. Enjoy!




And now for the chocolate orange mousse, delicious and light. Definitely a recipe to whip up time and time again.

Ingredients

1 Packet siliken tofu, drained
1 Tbsp cacao powder
2 Tbsp Orange water
1 Tbsp Agave nectar*
25g Coconut oil, melted

Too garnish:
Dark chocolate 
Orange slices

*If you like your chocolate sweeter add more agave nectar to taste



Method

Add the first 4 ingredients to a food processor and blend till you have a smooth mousse, you may need to scrape down the sides of your blender from time to time.

Add the melted coconut oil and blend again.

Pour the mixture into glasses or bowls and place in the fridge for an hour to firm up a little before eating, if you can wait that long! 

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You must go and check out their vast range of teas and personally I definitely think you should try the white tea with lemongrass and orange blossom, it is blissful.

I'll be posting more recipes using Steenberg goodies soon. What would you use the rose water and orange blossom water for?

Jasmine x


Monday, 30 March 2015

Roasted Vegetables and Couscous Salad

This recipe is great for a working day lunch, you can prepare it on a Sunday and box it up ready to grab on your way out the door on Monday. Too easy! Its great hot or cold so if you don't have a microwave at work its no problem. 



I also prepare a green salad and box that up too, both will last in the fridge for 3 days or more. All you need to do at lunch is heat the couscous salad up (if you want) and serve with a green salad, sometimes I push the boat out and have a dollop of houmous too. I like to drizzle tahini sauce or a vegan mayonnaise & balsamic dressing on the top. Perfect!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 Onion, cut into half moons
1 Red pepper, cut into strips
1 Green pepper, cut into strips
150g Mushrooms, quartered
1 Tsp Paprika
1Tsp Garlic granules
1 Tsp Ground cumin
1 Tsp Chilli flakes
¼ Tsp Ground coriander
¼ Tsp Turmeric
1Tbsp Tomato purée
160g couscous
8 Cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 Small tin sweetcorn, drained

Method

Add the onion, peppers and mushrooms to a roasting tin and spritz with a little oil.

Add ½ a teaspoon of the paprika, garlic granules, cumin, chilli flakes and add the remainder of these herbs to a jug along with the coriander and turmeric.

Stir the vegetables so that they are all coated with the spices and roast in a moderate heated oven for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are starting to char on the edges.

Meanwhile add the tomato purée to the spices in the jug and fill with boiling water so you have 200ml of liquid. Stir so that everything is combined.

Add the couscous to a glass bowl and add the spiced tomato purée liquid, give everything a quick stir and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Fork the couscous to separate the grains and add to a large bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes and sweetcorn and mix so the sweetcorn is evenly distributed.

Once the vegetables have roasted add to the couscous mixture and give everything one last stir.

Serve with salad leaves and a tahini dressing, houmous or vegan mayonnaise and balsamic dressing.



Thursday, 26 March 2015

Matcha Green Tea Ice-Cream

Do you remember my Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder Review a few weeks back? I shared with you two recipes; Matcha Fruit Shake and Matcha Green tea Loaf. I've been enjoying Matcha Fruit Shakes ever since! I also shared with you another recipe which used the organic matcha green tea powder; my Matcha and Blueberry Oat Bars, which I have also been enjoying, perhaps a little too much!

Today, I want to share with you my fourth recipe; Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream, which is very refreshing and a great ingredient to use in a smoothie!



I've been making Matcha Green Tea ice cubes, which are great to add to drinks. What about trying a few with your gin and tonic? I can't advise whether or not that works as I'm teetotal, but if you try it let me know what you think!

You can make this ice cream using a powerful food mixer and you will have a dessert within seconds, great for impromptu dinner guests. I think you could make it the more traditional way too, although I've not tried this method, thanks to my Vitamix!

Ingredients 

1 Tbsp Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder
300ml Water
75ml Fresh lemon juice
Lemon Zest of 1 lemon
250ml Lemon & lime yoghurt

Method
Mix the Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder with the water until fully combined. Add the lemon juice and rind and stir. Pour into an ice cube tray(s) or ice cube bag(s) and place in the freezer.

Once the ice cubes are frozen remove from the freezer and you're ready to make your ice cream.

Add the lemon & lime yoghurt to your food processor, followed by the ice cubes. Process until the mixture becomes a soft whip ice cream. Please check your processor can handle ice cubes first!

Enjoy!

Any remaining ice cream, transfer to a freezer safe bowl and freeze. You may want to do this in smaller portions as it does freeze very hard.

Quick tip: to double the amount of ice cream after freezing your first batch add a further 250ml of lemon and lime yoghurt, 1 Tsp organic matcha green tea power and frozen fruit (¼ pineapple and 1 banana) and blend again. Remember to break up your first batch of ice cream before adding to the blender.



Jasmine x

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Notice Board: Birmingham & Wing Yip Chinese Supermarket

Back in February my friend and I visited Birmingham, we had a lovely day visiting the art gallery and the new library and wondering around the streets looking for something tasty to eat for lunch! Unfortunately we visited on Monday and the 100% Vegan shop and cafe next door was closed. I was so glad when we found Wagamama's as I knew they had vegan options (I'd already google searched for vegan food in Birmingham). AND they have GOOD vegan options!

Wagamama's are a Japenese noodle bar and they have many restaurants all around the world. Believe it or not this was my first visit to Wagamama's and it was that good I went back 5 days later! On this occasion I treated myself to a yasai itame, which is a dish comprising of rice noodles in a spicy green coconut and lemongrass soup. The dish contains stir fried tofu along with a great selection of vegetables; chillies, beansprouts, red onions and spring onions, bok choi, peppers and mushrooms and is garnished with coriander and served with quarter of a lime to squeeze yourself. It was utterly delicious! We were little piglets because we also had a side dish of wok fried greens; tender stem broccoli and bok choi, stir fried in garlic and soy sauce.

The dishes are all made on the premises and use fresh ingredients, as soon as a dish is made it is brought to your table. Sometimes you don't get all the dishes arriving at once but that just adds to the occasion! 

I know I am probably the last person in the world to have not visited this restaurant before now but just in case I'm not I had to tell you about it! What are you waiting for, book a table but please invite me!

After a wonderful and relaxed lunch we decided to visit Wing Yip Chinese Supermarket. Again this was my first visit but I had heard of its amazing selection of Tofu so I just had to try it out. The supermarket is just over 2 miles from the city centre and we decided to walk there, so we could burn off some calories from our lunch. We had to get the bus back though thanks to the amount of food we bought!

The supermarket was absolutely massive and held so many weird and wonderful food items. A word of caution, the weird was probably non vegan so I would advise that you don't look too closely in the freezer department. You've been warned!

However, there were vegan food treasures to be found including a fantastic selection of tofu! From extra soft through to extra firm and even deep fried! Here's a selection of the food that I bought. My bargain of the day agar agar for under £1!!!!! 



I forgot to include all the tofu I bought in the photograph above and I've since eaten it all! As you know I love Tofu! Planning another visit to the Chinese supermarket for sure, evenif it is to stock up on tofu.

Have you ever visited Wagamama's or a Chinese Supermarket? Let me know what your favourite dish is and where I can find other Chinese Supermarkets to try.