Things from my kitchen, from beetroot cake to fermented kale

Here's a sort of photo dump of things that I've been cooking of late, all linked together by no particular theme and not even particularly close in date. Doesn't that sound appealing?

Talking of not sounding appealing, I recently made a beetroot dessert for the first time. I'd never been tempted to do so before, due to an unfortunate run-in I had with one in the office. My boss brought in a chocolate and beetroot cake one day to share with all his staff (I should add before we get any further, he's a lovely boss).  My fellow workers all happily tucked in. Then they stopped tucking in, and looked bilious. The cake was henceforth referred to as 'that beetroot dogshit cake'. Luckily, the cake wasn't vegan, so I wasn't obliged to try, but the experience was enough to put me off trying to make my own version.

After finding myself with too much beetroot recently, I decided to brave the risk of dogshit cake and make some muffins.

Here's what came out of the oven:

What a cracking colour, no? I couldn't taste much in the way of beetroot in these choc chip muffins, but I guess that's better than the canine alternative.

Here's something else I made a good few weeks ago: a sort of asparagus brunch dish, made with the tail end of the British asparagus season. It was also made with the tail end of some polenta I'd made for the day before's dinner, and then turned into a muffin-pancake type thing by thickening it up with some flour and frying it up. Happily, the British tomato season is turning out some good fruit, but it's not quite enough to make me stop missing asparagus...

But it can't always be semi-fancy brunch nonsense in this house. In fact, it's rarely semi-fancy anything (yes, that is what counts as semi-fancy in this house. I also consider getting a takeaway a variant of fine dining). Mainly, eating round these parts involves chucking lots of things in a single pan, putting a lid on, and running away at high speed.

This is one time when it kind of worked out: it's a one-pot dish modelled on the Afghan carrot hotpot from Veggiestan. Unlike the original recipe, I put in some okra, because there are few things that can't be improved with okra. Well, few edible things. Well, few savoury edible things. Anyway, a lot of things can be improved with okra.

Also in the way of a one-pan dish was this frittata, make with some roasted veggies leftover from another day-before's dinner, combined with the batter that I normally use for sweetcorn fritters, and then warmed up a bit. I think there's some courgettes, carrots, sweet potato and broccoli, and it was pretty tasty.

And just to take the 'meals I have eaten' a little further downmarket, spaghetti hoops on toast! SPAGHETTI HOOPS ON TOAST! Hey, I'm a student - you've got to love a meal that costs less than 50p and takes less than five minutes from start to face. It's also carbs on carbs, and therefore as close as you can get to heaven on a plate.

You may have guessed that I'm not a subscriber to the clean eating ideal, and I don't think carbs are the devil. But I am partial to a bit of clean-type food if it's tasty. Case in point: Rhythm's coconut, sauerkraut and kale fermented food snack (made with lactose free kefir cultures). Is that most on-trend, vegan, clean eatingy thing you can imagine? I bought it purely because of that (well, mostly because of that, and a bit because it was on special, and as previously mentioned, I'm a student with short arms and deep pockets).

I'm happy to report, it was actually really nice! You have to get your tastebuds used to the different mix of flavours having a dance-off in your mouth, it's pretty tasty. I used it for sandwich fillings with avocado, and as a dip. Next time it's on special, I'll be treating myself to another pot of buzzwords.

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  1. I love the variation in your kitchen, and am always delighted when I come across others who are equally happy to tuck into classic carbohydrates and snacks, whilst the next day getting excited about some fancy 'organic' 'clean' product. And I really like beetroot in baked goods so hope your initial foray will encourage you to try more!

  2. I love how you segue from spaghetti hoops on toast to a fancy schmancy dip - I would go for both of these too - and I love beetroot in any sort of baking (though maybe not your boss's) - give it to me over okra any time! and love your upmarket fritters!

  3. Sometimes the "I can't cuz I'm vegan" comes in very handy, you dodged a bullet with the dogshit cake. But your beetroot muffins look lovely. Love how you take leftovers to the next level. :-)

  4. Oh please don't call it a photo dump, but a photo delight - you share so much tasty-ness here. Yes the beetroot cake colour is fab. Thanks for the link to the v frittata batter, I've made it a few times and its not been successful, yours looks yummy and I love that you change the veg! PS maybe people don't really like your boss and wanted to find a way to insult him, shame really to call a cake by such a terrible name. Even if I disliked someone, I would not go to that degree, and just say I did not like it. I have made many veggie and vegan beetroot choc cakes and all have been pretty good. Finally, v curious about the fermented kale, will have to look out for it. Have a super duper weekend

  5. Oh no! That beetroot cake!!! It reminds me of a wedding I once went to where the cake was really bad. Your muffins look great too and I can also highly recommend this chocolate and beetroot vegan cake recipe

  6. That frittata and fancy brunch meal are so beautiful. I've got to up my breakfast game: It's just been oatmeal and more oatmeal here lately.
    That fermented dip sounds so interesting! Is it just like blended kraut and kale?? It sounds like it would be good on tortilla chips.

  7. I'm not a big fan of beetroot, but I do love the colour it creates! So pretty! As for unusual additions to baked goods, I made a chocolate sweet potato cake for my dad's birthday yesterday that was out of this world! Who would have thought?


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