In a Vase on Monday: Flowers for Dorris

Last week I was so sad to hear that our blogging friend Dorris (Rebecca) had passed away in December. I will miss her fun-loving nature, the gorgeous photos of her garden, and her lovely creative vases. I may never have met her, but felt I knew her a little through her posts. We shared a love of many plants including Verbena bonariensis, Calamagrostis, Geums and Californian poppies.

So my vase this week is one from June, warm and cheerful, with Geums and Californian poppies. It seemed appropriate as my garden is covered in snow anyway.

Our In a Vase on Monday host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, has also dedicated her vase to Dorris this week.

More Californian poppies for Dorris/Rebecca. My sympathy to all who knew and loved her.

❤️

Veganuary 2021: Cauliflower ‘Cheese’

Well, the garden is pretty frozen and covered with a thin layer of snow, so there is little to report. I am vaguely planning my next projects for spring, but it does still seem a long way off! So let’s go into the warm kitchen today and see what’s cooking this January. Or should I say Veganuary. I think most people have heard of Veganuary now, as it has spread from the UK to many other countries. It is basically a campaign to promote healthy eating and vegan food.

The other day I made some real comfort food… my vegan version of Cauliflower Cheese. I use my trusty cashew sauce (which is also perfect for vegan ‘spaghetti carbonara’) and add some cheesy flavour with vegan parmesan and/or nutritious yeast. The leeks really bring out the flavour in this dish, so don’t be tempted to use an onion instead! Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Vegan Cauliflower ‘Cheese’

For 2-3 servings

  • 1 small cauliflower and a bit of broccoli or romanesco (for colour 😉)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 leek
  • 250g mushrooms

For the sauce:

  • 100g cashews
  • 400 ml almond or soya milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsps nutritious yeast flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Vegan parmesan or seasoned breadcrumbs for sprinkling on top

 

First of all, divide your cauliflower etc into florets. Cook with a bay leaf in boiling water for about ten minutes until just cooked. Don’t overcook it!

Now slice the leek thinly and fry gently until soft. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook through. Remove from the heat.

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a high speed mixer. Just keep on mixing until it is really really smooth. My machine is pretty powerful so it only takes about a minute. Put it in a saucepan and put it on the stove on medium heat. This needs stirring constantly, so don’t forget it! Meanwhile heat up the grill in your oven and put a dish in there to warm.
After a couple of minutes of stirring the sauce it will start to thicken. This takes a while, so keep on stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pan.

Drain your cauliflower (remove the bay leaf!) and put it in your warm dish. Spoon the leek and mushroom mix over it. Then pour the cashew sauce on top. Sprinkle with vegan parmesan or seasoned breadcrumbs and place under the grill. As soon as it starts to bubble and turn golden on top, remove from the oven and serve.

Good with any type of potato, bread or garlic bread.

 

I hope you might try my vegan version of this traditional dish and perhaps take a look at some of my other vegan recipes on my recipes page. (Click on recipes on the bar under the header.)

Happy Veganuary!

 

Ten Good Things in 2020

In a few hours this dreadful year will be over. And yet, despite all the worry and stress there were some good things too. The garden flourished, the weather was fabulous, and several projects took place. So before I attempt to be positive about 2021 I have decided to look back at the positive in 2020 and have chosen ten things that were good… Here they are, in no particular order.

1. This mini greenhouse.

It was a devil to put together! But I persevered and my Man of Many Talents helped me out when more than two hands were needed! And it was worth it too. I kept seedlings in it all spring, and then basil and salad during the summer with the doors and lid wide open. The seed trays fit into the frame, or perspex shelves can be inserted.

2. The tomato and zucchini harvest.

Overwhelming but wonderful! I still have some tomato sauce and soup in the freezer. 😉 I also still have about half a dozen butternut squash….

 

3.

…and some frozen pesto made with fresh homegrown basil. 😃 I must remember to continually sow basil again next year, and would like to point out that vegan pesto freezes really well, much better than the version with parmesan in it. 😃

4. The Geraniums. (Well, actually they are Pelargoniums, but you know what I mean).

Colour in the yard all summer. 😃☀️💕

5. The tractor.

Within days of getting the tractor in the spring we wondered how we ever managed without! Tilling two new flower beds, mowing, moving heavy pots, repairing the gravel lane, moving logs etc…

6. The new beds.

The Oval Bed was my big spring lockdown project, and watching it grow from this…

to this…

was sheer joy. 😃

The Moon Bed has yet to be completed, with some wood chippings to be added as mulch in early spring. I will introduce it properly then. 😉

7. The Hares and Gina

I posted some photos of our hares, and they stuck around all year. I even saw some prints in the snow the other day. Our dear little dog, Gina, didn’t see too well and was deaf in her last months, but when it was too hot for a walk in the summer we would spend the evenings going around the perimeters of the garden and she would pick up a scent. Only problem was, what to do if the hare just sat there in front of her?

8. The apple and pear harvest

We hadn’t expected so much, as our trees are still young. The last of the apples were processed into compote just before Christmas.

9. The Housemartins

There were 13 nests on the house and garage which meant that it was never quiet around here. I love the noise they make when flying, but also the chattering they do when in their nests in the evenings.

10. The Lemon Verbena

 

I think this was my most successful year yet. I had four plants in pots in the warmest part of the patio but in the semi shade of the tomatoes. I have harvested enough to last me until next spring. 😃

 

I hope you can also think of some pleasures and joys your gardens have brought you over the past twelve months. If you could pick just one thing, what would it be?

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

⭐️🥂⭐️