Moroccan Meal at the Murphy Home

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Stunning Plateful of Moroccan Yumminess
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Broad Bean and Cumin Dip served with Pita Bread

I loved this dish. It was mildly sweet from the beans and aromatic from the cumin. Delish. The two below are couscous with red harrisa and a “loaf” of mediterranean vegetables, nuts and chickpeas wrapped in filo dough and baked. The filling is visible in the picture at the top of the post.

Sweet Roasted Peppers with Tomatoes

These were a perfect sweet, tangy and juicy complement to the other dishes. Dessert was also colorful and delicious.

Moroccan Oranges with Dates and Almonds

The beautiful fruit was served with vegan shortbread. We even got to take some leftovers home to enjoy a second Moroccan meal and delight in some shortbread with afternoon tea the next day.

Shortbread and Oranges for Pudding!

Weekend in London with the Rhode-Holland Family

Dan and Will on the Bridge

I am having so much fun socializing that I am getting quite behind on my posts. This one is from several weekends ago, but still worth posting. Was lovely to have my dear friends visiting us here in Pitshanger Lane!

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We went for a chilly walk in Pitshanger Park

And found our way to a Mediterranean Grocery on Western Avenue in Perivale. It is just under the large footbridge that goes over Western to allow bike and pedestrian traffic to cross from the golf-course and Pitshanger Park side to the “Big” Tesco and surrounds. At that grocery we found a number of things that made it into our feast including the lavash style flat bread, felafel mix that Sophie made into felafels, roasted red peppers, an baklava style sweets.

We had a mediterranean fusion feast at home on the Saturday evening.

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The spread as we are just starting to dig in!

Aidan at the second morning, “kids eat free” breakfast buffet. First round, second round, and the pile of 8 dishes!

And we saw some London sights!

The National Gallery Building
A close up of the floor at the National Gallery.

‘Twas a lovely visit all around. I look forward to my next time with the family.

Lunch Wraps for “LibraryPig”

Isn’t she cute?

This Thursday, I went to the library with my studious spouse and colleague. Sophie has chosen the nickname of “LibraryPig” for this book writing adventure. On the days we go to the library together, we take a break at lunch time and find food in a restaurant nearby. On Thursday it was Thai food. We liked the food, but have now tried the restaurant, Busaba, twice and have decided that we really just don’t like it much. It should be awesome, but for various reasons, it just isn’t.

Two of the vegan dishes on the menu at Busaba. Both tasty. And they have some cool art.

The placemats, for example. But most days, I send the “LibraryPig” with a wrap and come cut up fruit. I have made it a goal to not make the same wrap twice. Here is a picture of one of them featuring spiced roasted eggplant, quick pickled onions, gem lettuce, periperi hummus, pepper jack vegan cheese (Follow Your Heart), and sweet cherry tomatoes before it is wrapped up burrito style and tucked into a zipper lock plastic bag.


Here is a list of some other wrap variations (that I have remembered to write down):

  1. Smoked tofu, grainy mustard, cucumber, avocado, spinach, red pepper slivers
  2. BBQ chix with mushrooms, celery and onion, plus spinach, scallions and roasted cauliflower
  3. Follow your heart pepper jack cheese, mustard, vegan chorizo (from Germany!), spinach, scallions
  4. Hummus, pepper-jack cheese, avocado, cabbage slivers, cherry tomatoes


Breakfasts of Champions!


The traditional with an average-sized crumpet and a lovely Comice pear.


Breakfast on a morning  when I miss home. Yellow corn grits with smokey chipotle hot sauce instead of toast or crumpets.



Scrambled tofu and a top-notch avocado!


Pita bread and lettuce for a breakfast pita!


With a Linda’s chorizo sausage (I just found these this week!), sun gold cherry tomatoes and whole grain toast with seeds.


And, with my new favorite addition, cut up fruit topped with unsweetened freefrom yogurt with Clare and David’s marmalade mixed in!

Beautiful artichoke plates and charming tuxedo cat mug were gifts from our friends, Fiona and Dan. Love them…the gifts and the people.

Dinner with Friends at The Gate

Sophie and Vic

Sophie, her college friend Vic, long-time friend Diana, and I met at The Gate in Hammersmith. Sophie and I had a bit of trouble finding the place as there was a show at the Apollo Theater. The line for the show wound around and down several blocks, and covered the set back and rather unassuming entrance to the place with a wide queue of concert-goers. When we finally found our way in we were delighted to catch up with and share a meal with these lovely folks.

They had researched and suggested four possible restaurants in advance for us to choose from. The Gate had miso glazed eggplant on the menu, which is a dish that I absolutely love. I can name the two restaurants (prior to this visit to London) where I have had a memorable rendition of this dish (Kayuga in Ithaca, NY which may not even be there any longer and Wasabi in Asheville, NC and they no longer serve it). So, of course, I chose The Gate as the place to meet.

We each had a starter. Two of us had the miso glazed aubergine, which did not disappoint! The other dishes were a three onion tart and a seared tofu tikka dish with Indian flavors. The latter I tried and enjoyed.

My main was a wild mushroom risotto cake that had a soft inside, but a crispy outside, topped with wild mushrooms and set in a flavorful mushroom puree. It was decorated with arugula. The other dishes were equally delicious sounding and one was especially artful (see largest image below). It was the rotola. The other two were called aubergine schnitzel and red Thai curry.

We sat together and told stories for a couple of hours. Vic is especially good at asking conversation prompting questions, so three of us decided to try a dessert.  All but one of the desserts on the menu was vegan or had a vegan option. I hugely approve of restaurants that have vegan desserts beyond sorbet and sweet wines. I had the citrus tart. Yes, I ate the flower and the whole thing was delicious. The other one pictured was the soft cappuccino cheesecake. We enjoyed our desserts with some a small glass of Pedro Ximenex Emilio Hidalgo sherry. Yum.

I thought the creativity, taste and execution of this meal rivaled the offerings at Plant, my favorite restaurant at home (it is upscale and all vegan). And that is saying something. I hope to have an opportunity to go back to The Gate while we are here in London.





A Delightful Eve with Clare and David

Super Vegman!

So, we had the pleasure of dining at my favorite place to eat out in Ealing again this week. Clare is so creative and thoughtful with her cooking! The vegetable action figure above was served with tasty homemade hummus and bread.

Hummus with fresh vegetables

We started the evening in the sitting room with fun conversation and a tasty beverage. Then moved to the dining room for the Super Vegman surprise and first course.

Sophie and David just chilling in the sitting room

One of my favorite quotes from dinner was Clare encouraging us to “have another rib” or red pepper from the Vegman. The main course was super creative, healthy and so yummy. Sweet corn cakes with an avocado mash, roasted cauliflower and chickpea salad, and lemony roasted Brussels sprouts!

It is fun to listening to these two talk about the process of cooking together. David made the sprouts as they had recently discovered that, although he generally wants to pass on them, he likes sprouts when they are made using this recipe. They are super lemony, soft on the inside with little bits of crunch on the outside.

Sophie begs to differ with David as sprouts are her favorite vegetable. She loves them even just plain boiled. And enjoyed David’s version very much. I learned to boil them properly from her. I learned two tricks, cut little “x”s in the bases and add them to the water once it starts boiling so that you can accurately measure the amount of time they are boiled. Ten minutes is the magic number.

Lemony roasted sprouts
Chunky avocado mash
Tasty sweet corn cakes

I can’t decide which dish was my favorite. I have loved corn since I was child (some members of my family and some co-workers have made fun of me for my passion for corn. Some former co-workers gave me a cookbook called “Crazy for Corn” when I left that job to head to my current one. Several of us taught cooking classes together and apparently I was famous for suggesting or concluding that a new recipe we were making up or testing “is good, but would be better with corn.”

And, I love avocados. I am pretty sure that they are main reason I could not eat 100% locally. I would have to move to Greece or California or somewhere else in the world that they grow. My more recent vegetable passion is cauliflower. I love it the way Sophie is into sprouts.  The dish above also had roasted chickpeas, mixed baby greens and a tangy dressing. All very satisfying.

And, of course, because it is Clare and David, we also had a dessert course. Chocolate almond brownies with a “pinch” of cayenne and a lovely sweet white wine (Moscatelo?) Pinch is in quotes because Clare thought that perhaps her “pinch” was a bit bigger than the recipe writer intended. The after dinner white wine was a perfect balance to the dark chocolate with finish of cayenne style heat.

Vegan chocolate brownies!
Clare in her kitchen slicing bread











So much deliciousness. I look forward to whenever we next share a meal!


Chix & Chive Salad Sandwich

Today’s lunch!

Last night I made a chix and chive salad for Sophie’s “to go” lunch to eat just outside the the Institute of Classical Studies Library and my “at home” one. Hers was a wrap (these do not photograph well!) And mine was a sandwich (see above). Yes, I had to manually move the cucumbers and avocado onto the other side before covering it with the seed-filled whole grain bread. It’s called “high protein” bread. Luckily, it was made so by adding lots of seeds to it (rather than some sort of highly processed protein powder).

I make a version of this salad at home using Joy of Soy “Chix” nuggets and enjoy it with crackers or on top of a green salad. Here the recipe below was inspired by the mountain of fresh chives I liberated from the plantlings in the process of splitting one pot of chives into 5 and cutting them back in hopes of salvaging the plants. When I went to split them the entire pot was filled with roots. I saw about 1 tablespoon of earth left in the pot.


Here are three of the babies after the haircut. Aren’t you glad I don’t cut your hair?

I dried the rest for use in dishes when I run out of fresh chives? Or perhaps, when the pots of fresh ones decide they are going to stop trying to recover from being torn from their brethren?

Radiator-dried chives

This version is made using Quorn vegan pieces.

Chix & Chive Salad
2 servings

1/2 bag of Quorn vegan pieces, frozen (about a cup and a half) (a.k.a. chix)
1-2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1 medium stalk of celery, finely chopped
1/3 of a sweet red pepper, finely minced
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons vegannaise or other vegan mayo
1 teaspoon malt vinegar (other other light colored vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon Foxpoint Seasoning (Penzey’s) or other favorite spice mix, optional
salt and black pepper, to taste

Put frozen Quorn pieces in a small pan and add 1/4 cup water. Steam Quorn pieces over medium heat until the are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off any remaining water. Set aside to cool. When cool enough to touch pull the pieces into small shredded pieces. In a small bowl, mix shredded chix, together with the chives, celery, red pepper, mustard, vegannaise and vinegar. Add spices, salt and pepper as desired. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Serve as a wrap in a tortilla or as a sandwich on whole grain bread with spinach, cucumber and/or avocado, as desired.