Triple decker grilled stilton and pickle sandwich.

Hi!  We have been back from England for almost two weeks, yet I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to update ye olde blog.  If you click my Flickr widget on this page, you can see the photos of my trip and the photos I took at the Sherlock Holmes museum.  Also, the October project is still continuing.

England was so much fun!  We got to hang out with great friends- both old and new, see some great sights, and eat some tasty food.  I hope to replicate some of them in the future, especially, the Sunday roast and the Cornish pasty.  OMG.  Cornish pasty.

While over in England, I became quite addicted to the to go sandwiches offered at places like Tesco and Sainsburys.  I loved the cheese and pickle sandwiches so much that when we needed to make dinner on the night we got back from London, I went to the local shop and bought some good cheese (red Leicester) and hard rolls and used our hosts pickle and salad cream to make us a few sandwiches.  I fell in love with the pickle so hard, that it kind of became a running joke for the whole week.  I brought back a squeezy container of the stuff in my suitcase and shipped three stateside.  You can’t find it in the grocery stores in the States, so when I run out, I will either have to order it online or hit up a local tea room that stocks British foods.  Our other speciality store that usually carried this sort of thing closed about a year ago.  Viva The Grand Onion!

I found it amazing that, as a vegetarian, I could go in to the grocery store and just pick up a to go sandwich without worrying about if it contained meat.  I also appreciated the large “V” marked on all things vegetarian.  Come on American stores, wake up to the veggie revolution!

Anyway, the majority of the sandwiches come with mayo.  Now, I hate mayo, or at least American mayo.  I actually quite liked the salad cream.  I think it is because the salad cream tastes a lot like Vegenaise, kind of sweet and tangy.  So with my newfound love of “salad cream” (or in my case vegan mayo) and a burgeoning obsession with Branston Pickle , I have created a version of a triple-decker sandwich that is not for the faint of heart.

The picture does not do this sandwich justice.  It was simply delicious.

Now, I don’t have a real recipe for this so bear with me.  This was a slap dash meal made to fill our bellies.

Mix about a half-cup of crumbled Stilton with about three tablespoons vegan mayo, sprinkling a little fresh ground pepper and garlic powder in the mix.

Butter a baking sheet and place four slices of good, dark bread on the sheet.  Spread about a tablespoon and a half of the cheese and vegan mayo mixture on each slice.  Next, squirt some Branston pickle on each slice, spreading it around a little to fully cover the bread.

Put the open-faced sandwiches in the over on about 275 degrees for a few minutes, just long enough for the mixture to get melty and gooey.  Take the pan out and put a slice of bread on two of the open faced sandwiches and stick them back in for a bit, so they get a little toasted.

Take the sandwiches out, place the remaining open-faced slices on the other sandwiches, and there you have it, a triple-decker grilled Stilton and pickle sandwich!

When we meet again, I will give you my recipe for an autumn pizza that is just delightful.  Until then, have a great day and keep cooking!

Tomato vegetable soup

Good news! I have sucessfully not gotten sick!  I am in tip top shape for my flight tomorrow.  Yes, we leave for England tomorrow.  I am excited and scared and nervous all rolled into one.

I mentioned in my last post how I have been cleaning out the fridge before we go.  This is a soup I made that took the ends of many vegetables and made a very hearty soup in my crock pot.

As you can see, it was quite hot when I snapped the photo. This soup made enough for the both of us to eat it twice, and to give a considerable amount of leftovers to two of my co-workers.

Here’s the very simple recipe:

2 14.5  ounce cans of tomatoes.  I prefer Red Pack tomatoes because I love the flavor. I try to get the ones with basil, but they aren’t that easy to find.
1 small can of tomato paste
2 vegetarian bullion cubes
3 crushed garlic cloves
Any and all vegetables you have lingering in the fridge. Here is what I used:
-radishes
-baby spinach
-red onions
-green onions
-sun dried tomatoes
-carrots
-red and orange bell peppers
-grape tomatoes

As for seasonings, I just threw in garlic powder, sea salt, pepper (fresh ground black and white), hot paprika, a splash of Frank’s hot sauce, and a squirt of hot pepper paste , oregano, and parsley, but no basil. Can you believe I forgot to add basil? So, you should also add basil, because basil is tasty.

I just dumped and stirred up all the ingredients in the good ole crock pot and let it cook on low heat for about six hours. It was good, but a little thick upon reheating, so when you do reheat it on the stove, add a little water.

I served this with croissants, but next time I would like to serve it with pumpernickel. Mmmm pumpernickel.

This is a good soup to warm you up as our North Country days get colder. If you make this, let me know what veggies you use. I would love to know your adaptations.

Have a great day and keep cooking! We will all get together and talk soon.

Oh and one more thing, I do an October Project every year. Basically, I take a photo every day of the month and I post it on flickr. If you are interested in following it, here is a link to the set and here is the feed .

Jamaican Jerk Eggplant Wraps with Black Beans and Rice

I am a bad blogger.  I have been eating and cooking, but no blogging.  At the moment I am trying to resist getting a cold.  I am also preparing for my first trip overseas.  Next week, my husband and I are flying over to England to attend the wedding of my dear friend.  We will also be traveling to London to see the sights.  I can’t wait!

A lot of what I have been cooking this past week involved cleaning out the fridge.  I still have an eggplant and a large head of purple cabbage that I might have to give away because I don’t think I will be able to cook it before we leave.

However, these delightful wraps were made last week and they are very simple.

To start with, I sliced the eggplant into half inches slices.  I also sliced up some yellow bell peppers and green onions.  I marinated all the vegetables in this jerk sauce for about 6 hours while I was at work. I am sure that amount of time is unnecessary, but I would let it sit for at least an hour The sauce is tasty, but it contains high fructose corn syrup, something I usually avoid.

Next, I lugged out my largest cast iron frying pan and poured the marinade and the veggies in to the pan, covering it with a lid. While the veggies simmered, for about 20 minutes, I started the rice, using about 1/2 a cup of dried rice. I have to be careful with rice, as I always cook to much. Even 1/2 cup of dried rice makes too much for just me and Mark to eat.

I use a royal blend of rice because I like it, but brown rice also works well. As the rice cooks, I started the beans. I could live on canned black beans forever, provided I had enough spices on hand. To make my beans, I heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan and then I add two or three cloves of crushed garlic and let the garlic cook down for a bit.

I then add the beans. I only use Goya black beans. I don’t drain the beans completely, as I like to leave a little bit of liquid to act as a sauce. While the beans are heating on medium heat, I add all of the seasonings I like:

Sazón Goya . This is the particular Sazón I use, but feel free to try others.
Cocoa powder. Try it! It brings a richness to the beans. I use about 1/4 teaspoon
Garlic powder.
Cayenne powder.
Splash of Frank’s hot sauce.

I let this all simmer until it gets kinda goopy. Yes, this is a technical term in my kitchen. When the rice is cooked, mix the beans into the the warm rice and give it a good stir. By this point, the eggplant should be nice and tender.

I used garlic and herb wraps, carrot ribbons, and baby spinach for the wraps and veggies, but I think other veggies would be just as good. This makes about 4 or 5 servings, so it is good for dinner and then lunch the next day.

The next time we talk, I will be telling you about my tomato vegetable soup that was borne from needing to clean out the crisper drawer. Have a great day and keep cooking!