Sunday, 29 May 2011

Vegetarian Cooking

Probably doesn’t sound too exciting a blog, but for me, over the years vegetarian cooking has been an eye opener, if not a mind banger and then the exciting.

I must admit I eat meat and love raw meat and fish so the vegetarian has been first slightly a reluctant attitude to an, oh well, okay, to a well that’s not bad, to later, m’mm good.

Now the imagination comes into play and the creation of the dishes. First the fruits of the garden, to the produce of the market, what’s in season, what combinations can we make.

Carrot and ginger appertizer

We start our menu with an appetizer this is often made from vegetables, hopefully to suit all palates, carrot and ginger, roasted red peppers with basil and black olive and chestnut pate.

Even our homemade breads sometimes have vegetables, spicy peppers from the garden, to courgette, carrot or onion and herbs.

Beetroot bread

If you take a step into the vegetable garden there is an excitement of seeing these lovely plants growing and then to reap their yield and serve them on your plate, what could be better than to have a lettuce picked fresh and minutes later on the salad buffet, no food miles, no hideous plastic packing just a few steps to the kitchen, washed and served. This is the exciting part of Nigel coming with the vegetable box and thinking how many ways can I prepare a cabbage or mange tout or what ever may be in season.

Fresh lettuce growing in the garden

Our salad buffets certainly run our imagination each evening thinking of combinations and compositions, food is not only to do with favour but appearance also plays a great part. Nothing could be simpler than leeks served with an onion and beetroot sauce, simple but the flavour and colours are intriguing. We work continually to improve.

Vegetable box from the garden

Lentil patties with courgette

Our vegetarian main courses hang heavily on pulses, pastry and grains; we have tried to not over use diary produce, which I think can saturate vegetarian cooking. For me good flavours have to be achieved using herbs or spices; lentil patties with courgette and cumin and aubergine stuffed with chickpea and hazelnut flavoured with a touch of coriander are favourites. Roulades are great favourites too, made with what’s available; onions, leeks, carrots, beetroot or spinach served with an herb sauce; these of course are also made with a little help from my friends, the adorable chickens.

Leek and cheese roulade

Fruits from the garden are the be all and end all of every menu, Raspberries juicy in the hazelnut roulade, to apples in the apple streusel, walnuts from our grand old tree in cakes, bread or biscuits. What better way to finish a meal.

Fresh fruit deserts; strawberry slice.

So maybe vegetarian cooking isn’t too bad after all....................

And for those of you who like me, like to indulge in more fibrous dishes now and again we do always have the option of an organic meat dish.

The setting for the food we serve.

Blog entry by Joe.

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Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.