Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Veggielicious

Going veggie for a week turned out to be quite a lot of fun! Besides having yummy food, I found the perfect and unexpected Chocolate Cake recipe. My dear friend from Finland, who lives in Estonia, came to visit me for a week.

Unfortunately, I do not have photos of my veggie encounters, due to being lazy or the lighting being absolutely dreadful. Really struggling with the evening and darkness! I will share with you a few recipes and a few vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Edinburgh. Altogether we ate quite well, but I would argue that we could have got better vegetarian food from non-vegetarian restaurants in Edinburgh.

On the first night in Edinburgh I had booked a table from Henderson's of Edinburgh on Hanover
Street. It is a lovely wee place with a bistro, deli and bakery. Last orders on a weekday is at 8.30pm, so when we arrived at 7.45pm the bistro was almost empty and frankly a bit too quiet. The service was lovely and made up for the food tasting too homemade. For starters we shared a Mezze Platter with Baba Ganoush and Tzatsiki - it tasted like something I would quickly wrap up in my own kitchen. As main I had a Mexican Wrap and my friend had the Quiche of the Day. Both of them were ok, but again something that we could have had at home.

On the second night we had dinner at Kalpna Vegetarian Restaurant on St. Patrick's Square - a traditional family run restaurant serving dishes from Punjabi, Gujurati and South India. Bit of the same problem as we had the previous night. The food was good, but not as good as you normally get in an Indian restaurant with the same price range. For starters we had Pakoras and a Tandoori Mix with Plum Dips. For main we had Paneer Butter Masala and Dam Aloo Gobi with Pilau Rice and Naan Bread. It was all good, but nothing special. Also, judging by the quality of service, the waiter must have had an early start with Halloween and was a big fan of Frankenstein. Yes, it was that bad... But I got inspired and will cook paneer at home very soon.

Getting back to food that I have been cooking. I tried a few veggie dishes, but none of them really made it on my favourite list. I made Kale Spanakopitas, recipe courtesy of Daily Unadventures In Cooking. This was the first time I have experimented with kale. The spanakopitas turned out quite well. The feta and kale filling got quite mized reviews though. I liked the taste of kale. My friends and the Boyfriend weren't the biggest fans. I would probably doing it again with a more traditional spinach and feta filling. I also tried out Sweet Potato Falafels with a recipe from my new favourite food magazine Delicious Magazine. I have tried falafels in the past, but they always seem to go all funny when I try to fry them. The taste of these was nice, but the consistency went quite wrong.

For my Chocolate and Beetroot Cake I literally followed the recipe in Delicious Magazine. So nothing original here. I just wanted to share this recipe, because it was so delicious! The lovely icing with the gooey cake and a pouring of double cream - perfect! And you can tell yourself it's a bit healthier than a normal chocolate cake. One of your five-a-day in a cake!

CHOCOLATE AND BEETROOT CAKE

For the cake:
250g dark chocolate
3 eggs
200g light muscovado sugar
100ml sunflower oil
100g self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
250g raw beetroot

For the icing:
150g dark chocolate
100g icing sugar
100g sour cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 22cm round, loose-bottomed cake tin with a little butter and line the base with baking paper. Place the plain chocolate in a bowl and set over a pan of gently simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt slowly until smooth, then set aside to cool. Place the eggs, sugar and sunflower oil in a large mixing bowl and whisk together, using an electric hand whisk, for about 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in vanilla extract, then sift over self-raising flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and gently fold in, together with the ground almonds. Peel and grate the beetroot, then squeeze out the excess liquid. Fold the beetroot into the mixture with the cooled chocolate, until thoroughly mixed. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes to an hour. Cover with foil if the cake browns too quickly. Test the cake by inserting a skewer into the centre to see if it comes out clean. Cool for a little while, then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. For the icing, place 150g plain chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Allow to melt gently until smooth. Set aside to cool, then beat in icing sugar and soured cream until you have a thick, creamy and spreadable icing. Spread it over the top and sides of the cooled cake and serve.

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