Monday, 31 October 2016

Spicy Pumpkin Onion Coriander Soup





How are you celebrating Halloween? I have gone a bit pumpkin cray in the kitchen and in addition to making pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin spice porridge, I also made this yummy spicy pumpkin onion & coriander soup. If you have one too many pumpkins lying around the house after all the carving & spooky fun, why not use them in the kitchen?

Now pumpkin is an excellent source of fibre. Which means eating generous quantities of pumpkin will keep you fuller for longer. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A, its great for your skin,  good for your vision, helps you sleep better and reduces the risk of heart disease. Do you need more convincing?


So to make this Spicy Pumpkin Onion Coriander soup, you will need the following:

1 small sized pumpkin
1 onion
1 table spoon of coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of galangal (you can just crush a piece of fresh ginger and use that)
Coriander stalks (small bunch)
Coriander leaves to garnish
600 ml organic veg stock
2 teaspoons of coconut cream
7-8 pumpkin seeds
Salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (and a little extra to garnish)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (and a little extra to garnish)

Pre-heat your oven on 200 degrees Celsius. Cut your pumpkin into halves (skin on) and place them (skin side up) in a baking tray lined with parchment paper or aluminium foil.  Bake the pumpkin for about 40 minutes till its cooked and feels really soft, almost puree like.

Meanwhile in a pan add a table spoon of coconut oil and heat that for a couple of minutes. Roughly chop your onion and then throw it in the pan. Cook the onions for a couple of minutes and then add galangal or ginger. After a minute or so add salt and pepper to your taste. After a few minutes add 1 teaspoon chilli powder, 1 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin. Then throw in the bunch of coriander stalks. Cook the onion for about 15-20 minutes on low heat.

When the pumpkin is done, peel the skin (you might have to use a knife to cut the skin bits off). Once you have you pumpkin mush separated from the skin, add that to the pan, use a spatula to mesh the onion, pumpkin and spices together. Throw in some more coriander leaves, juice of half a lemon and at this point have a little taste and see if you need any more chilli, salt or pepper. If you need a bit more kick, go ahead and add some spice.

You can go in with a hand blender and blend away until you get the consistency of a smooth puree, this won't take long at all because your pumpkin & onion should have become very mushy by this point. I personally blend my soup in a separate blender because I am just too messy with the hand blender. I don't know how but every-time I use a hand blender, there's an accident in the kitchen!

Once you have blended, transfer everything back to the pan and also add the 600 ml of veg stock. Cook for another 5-7 minutes. And your spicy pumpkin onion coriander soup is ready to eat. I used coconut cream, fresh coriander leaves, pumpkin seeds, smoked paprika & cumin to garnish my soup. Feel free to use whatever you have access to.

Happy Halloween! Hope you have had a lovely Halloween weekend with your family & friends. If you try this recipe, please leave me a comment or share pictures. I would love to hear from you.

See you next time xoxox


Share:

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Winter Spiced Saffron Porridge



It has started to get really cold here in the UK and for the last few days I was feeling that dreadful itchy feeling in my nose & at the back of my throat; that itchy feeling right before you are about to catch a nasty cold and/or cough.

If you have at all read my blog recently you will know that I LOVE my smoothie bowls and pretty much eat a smoothie bowl for breakfast every single day but I also feel that you just cannot beat a bowl of hot porridge to warm you up on a cold day.

I now firmly believe that food is medicine and instead of reaching out for throat sweets and/or cold & flu meds, this time I thought of making myself a winter spiced porridge. I feel loads better after eating this heart warming porridge and I am pleased to report that it tastes like dessert.  This porridge is vegan, the oats I used here contain gluten but you could also use gluten free oats instead or quinoa too. If you are looking at adding a whole new twist to your ordinary porridge, then look no further!

What you will need for porridge (These quantities make 2 servings)

1 cup of oats
2 table spoons chia seeds
2 bananas cut into small pieces
2 cups of almond milk or any other plant milk of choice
1 tablespoon of coocnut oil
1 teaspoon of tahini
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A good pinch of nutmeg
A small piece of fresh ginger crushed & beaten into paste like consistency
15-20 strands of saffron soaked in a tablespoon of water

What you will need for toppings 
Fruit - I went for figs & berries
Almond Butter
Coconut flakes/chips
Cacao nibs

These are just the toppings I went for, you can top your porridge up with whatever you fancy!

In a pan add all your ingredients i.e. oats, chia seeds, banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, coconut butter, maca powder, tahini, saffron strands and saffron infused water. Finally add the almond milk and the cook everything on medium heat, stirring consistently for 5-7 minutes. Depending on how you like your porridge- firm, gloopy or liquidy, you may or may not want to add in some more milk.

Serve in a bowl and top it up with a generous dollop of almond butter and some fruit. I went for fig and berries. I also went in with coconut chips and cacao nibs. These are perfect for adding a bit of crunch to the otherwise really soft texture of this porridge.

How do you cook your porridge and whats your favourite porridge topping?




Share:

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Spirulina Avocado Banana Cream Bowl





Pretty much everyday for breakfast I devour a banana and avocado based cream bowl. I love to flavour it with cacao but every now and again I like to shake things up and instead of cacao I tend to use beetroot, acai and sometimes even spirulina & spinach.

I know that spinach and spirulina in a sweet smoothie bowl sounds a bit off but trust me it tastes great. The reason why I love cream or smoothie bowls for breakfast is simply because they are loaded with nourishing super foods, good fat and complex carbs. This is a powerhouse breakfast that will easily keep you satiated for 5-6 hours and hopefully make you super productive. When you are constantly hungry your focus and productivity suffers massively as you are forever planning your next snack, rather than planning your next work task.

Of course, this breakfast is vegan and vegetarian friendly, it is free from gluten as well as refined sugar ;)

Spirulina, a blue-green algae has quickly become one of the most popular superfoods for plenty of reasons. It is super rich in protein, iron, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Amongst many other benefits, it is known to help eliminate candida, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and assist weight loss.

For those of you who don't already know, maca is a powdered Peruvian radish root and is known to massively boost overall energy as well as boost sexual energy for men & women. Now this is not scientifically proven but it is what a lot of people have apparently experienced!
It is also known to have a clearing effect on skin and helps keeps women's hormones in balance especially during their period. Apparently it helps with anxiety, depression and mood swings as well. Be careful to consume this powder in bite sized quantities only though.

Other ingredients in this recipe are more commonly known and if I start talking about each of them, I will be sat here writing this post forever. Plus you will get bored too. And I certainly don't want that. So lets get blending shall we?

What you will need

2 chilled bananas
1 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon hemp seeds or powder
1 tablespoon spirulina
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons chia seeds
Handful of spinach leaves
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 cup Plant milk of choice
3 table spoons of coconut yogurt
A small piece of ginger

You know the drill here, blend away till everything comes together in a smooth creamy consistency.

You can decorate or top it with sliced banana, berries, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, cacao nibs, goji berries... the list is endless. And this is also the most fun and satisfying part of preparing your breakfast.

Let me know if you get to try this and  I will see you next time!
Share:

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Vegan Buckwheat Noodle Stir Fry




What you will need

Extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil
1 packet of buckwheat noodles
2 tablespoons of tamari
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes or powder or a tiny piece of any chilli you have at home (finely chopped)
1 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Ginger
Garlic
Sesame seeds
Mixed nuts ( I used almonds, pumpkin seeds and pine nuts)
1 teaspoon of cashew or almond butter or tahini

Veggies

1 pepper
100 grams mushrooms
1 onion
1 small sized cabbage
200 grams carrots
All roughly chopped
(You can work with whatever veggies you have at hand, the more the merrier.)

For anyone who is wondering, tamari is a mostly gluten free Japanese sister of the traditional Chinese soya sauce. And buckwheat noodles are gluten free as well and they keep you full for a long time. So I have replaced soya sauce with tamari and regular noodles with buckwheat noodles. And I am pleased to report that there is no compromise on the taste, so lets dive right into the recipe!

Heat a pan and add some EV olive oil or sesame oil. As the oil heats add finely chopped ginger and garlic. Then add onions and fry for a couple of minutes. As the onions get colour add cabbage and peppers and mushrooms and keep stir frying the veggies on medium to high heat for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Drain them and set them aside, ready to go.

In a small bowl mix tamari, lemon juice, cashew or almond butter or tahini, salt, pepper, chilli flakes, salt, pepper, grated ginger & maple syrup and this will be your stir fry sauce. When the veggies are done, drop this sauce into the pan and mix everything together. Then throw in the noodles as well and keep mixing everything together on low heat. Adjust the stir fry to your taste. I sometimes go in with more tamari or lemon juice or chilli just to make sure the stir fry is punchy enough.

Tamari tends to get quite salty so I tend to use minimal to no salt. Again, this depends on how much salt you put in your food. People use dramatically different quantities of salt and you should definitely keep tasting as you are cooking to make sure YOUR seasoning is on point.

Finally in small pan I throw in a handful of sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts and crushed almonds and toast them on medium to high heat for about a minute. Once the pan is really hot and they start getting the colour and start getting oily, I throw in a glug of tamari for a beautiful brown-golden glaze. I top my stir fry with this glaze. To serve, I just deposit everything in a bowl, garnish with some greenery (preferably coriander) and some more seeds.

This literally takes half an hour to cook and is so satisfying to eat. Let me know if you get to try this xx




Share:

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Acai Beetroot Banana Cream Bowl





I have been obsessed with eating banana, avocado and cacao cream bowl for breakfast and it's my absolute favourite. But every now and again I like to shake things up a bit and instead of avocado, I use beetroot.

It tastes amazing and the colour of beetroot... oh my word!! Always makes a damn pretty picture ;) We are living in the world of Instagram after all, eh?

Pretty picture aside, it has a lot a health benefits too. The smoothie or 'cream' bowl as I like to call it is vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free. It is also loaded with good fat, omega 3 fatty acids, anti-oxidants and plant based protein just to name a few.

This breakfast will keep you going for 5 hours (as long as you keep yourself hydrated) and the only time you will feel like snacking or feel hungry is when you are bored. Now thats something we need to address in an entire, different blog post.

Lets stick to the beetroot bowl recipe for now, shall we?


You will need

1 big or 2 small boiled beetroots chilled overnight in the fridge
2 chilled bananas
1 tablespoon or hemp powder or seeds
1 tablespoon of acai berry powder
1 teaspoon cacao powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
3 table spoons of coconut yogurt
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon almond or cashew butter
A tiny piece of ginger (optional)

You know the drill. Add everything into a blender and blitz away. Top it up with bananas, berries, hemp seeds

Let me know if you try this xoxo 
Share:

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Very Lazy Pasta Sauce with Brown Rice Penne & Fresh Vegan Pesto






I am writing this blog post in the hope that you will realize that you don’t need to ever buy readymade pasta sauce again or for that matter chopped tomatoes in a can.

If you don’t already know then let me tell you the amount of sugar in ready made sauces is just criminal and as far as chopped tomatoes in a tin go, any veggies or fruits that can last you over a year you need to have a think about what might be in them!

Don’t worry about not getting enough red colour on your sauce with fresh tomatoes, with my little trick you will get the colour and the taste too!

You will need-

4 tomatoes 
1 onion (peeled of course) 
1 teaspoon fennel seeds crushed into powder form 
Extra virgin olive oil 
2 cloves of garlic 
Salt 
Pepper 
Paprika

Blend the tomatoes and onion into a smooth puree in your blender. I literally chuck the tomatoes in, whole tomatoes! And just peel the onion and throw in that as well. You don’t need to chop anything. All you need is a good blender.

Then you simply eyeball some EV olive oil in a pan, as it heats throw in fennel powder and finely chopped garlic cloves. As these start to cook and release some amazingly yummy aromas, throw in your tomato-onion puree. Let this simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. And for that wonderful red colour add 1 tablespoon of paprika in as well.

You will get a gorgeous colour on your sauce but it wont be a crazy red colour that you are used to seeing. But remember, you are working with fresh produce and it might not be the tomato season and you will get the exact colour as nature intended without any chemicals or sugar in there!

This sauce is multipurpose too and can be the base of so many dishes. Just don’t include the fennel powder and alter the sauce as per your dish and liking. But onion and tomato is a solid base you can work from.

I served my brown rice penne here with courgette, beans and a dollop of home made dairy free vegan pesto. You could eat yours with any other veg such as mushrooms, peppers or fish or chicken or meat… the possibilities are endless!

The greens have just been chopped into bite size chunks and then sautéed in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and garlic and of course seasoned to taste. 

Again, home made pesto is so so simple and is free from any nasties that could be in readymade pesto. And here’s how you can make it.

You will need-

A handful of basil leaves (stalk and all)
Extra virgin olive oil 
Pine nuts 
Salt 
Pepper 
Lemon Juice 

Place all the ingredients in a mortar and start grinding with the pestle. In just two minutes you are left with fresh and rustic chunky pesto. The best part is that you can control the amount of olive oil here, depending on how oily you want the pesto to be. Let me tell you one  thing, it tastes divine!

Now I am notorious for eyeballing stuff and not measuring so let me know if you would like me to measure the exact amount of basil, olive oil and pine nuts next time and I will do a proper post. 


Let me know if you try this. I will see you soon with another recipe. xox
Share:

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Quinoa with Aubergine & Peppers in Indian & Middle Eastern Spices





I tossed together a mid week dinner and pretty much worked with whatever was in the fridge and a few leftovers too.  Presenting my delightful vegan and gluten free quinoa with aubergine and peppers cooked in a fusion of Indian and Middle Eastern spices.

What you will need-
4 tomatoes
1 onion
Small piece of ginger
1cup quiona, washed & prepped 
1 aubergine
1 red pepper

Garam masala
Cumin seeds
Curry powder
Sumac
Paprika
Stock cube
Salt
Pepper
Lemon juice
Dried mint


I had some leftover butterbeans and chickpeas cooked in tomatoes which I threw in as well.

I peeled the onion and then cut it into halves and then put the onion chunks, whole tomatoes and the piece ginger into a blender to make a smooth puree.

Cut the aubergine and pepper into bite size chunks and place them in a baking tray. Add some extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, 1-teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds or powder and 1-tablespoon of sumac. Give everything a nice rub and then put the baking tray in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for about 30-35 minutes.

Meanwhile put the pan onto the hob and eyeball in some extra virgin olive oil.  As the oil heats add the tomato puree in. Let this simmer for a couple of minutes on high heat.  Add a dash of salt and pepper and then 1-teaspoon garam masala, 1-teaspoon sumac, 1-teaspoon cumin seeds or powder and 1 teaspoon curry powder as well as the stock cube. Also add 1-teaspoon of dried mint and 1-teaspoon of paprika. Keep stirring this on a medium heat.  Once the tomatoes get a bit of colour, add quinoa to the pan.  Let the quinoa cook.  The juice from tomatoes plus 1 cup of extra water should be enough to cook quinoa. Add the extra water in when everything seems to be drying up.

Once the veg is nearly done in the oven, transfer it to the pan. At this point I also threw in my leftover butterbeans and chickpeas. Cook everything together for approximately 10 -12 minutes and it will come together very nicely. At this point take a call; bite into some quinoa and depending on how you like your quinoa, you might need to add some more water.

I served mine with some salad and pumpkin seeds cause it was missing some greens and garnish. You could also garnish it with coriander, raisins and/or pumpkin seeds. The idea is to go with whatever you have in your cupboards and fridge.

I am happy to report that this fusion of Indian and Middle Eastern spices was a massive success. Each bite of this vegan & gluten free dinner was healthy, packed with nutrients and simply DELICIOUS. If you try this, let me know. I would love to hear from you!


See you next time! xox
Share:

Monday, 22 August 2016

Cacao Avocado Banana Cream Bowl





Do you go through a particular food obsession phase? For the last one month or so I have been obsessed with my cacao x avo x nana cream bowl. 

A disclaimer first, this is not for everyone. Especially for those who don't like avocado. But if you do, you are in for a real treat. 

Why I love to eat this as breakfast every morning is because it keeps me full for 4-5 hours and that means I can concentrate on work and other things rather than constantly planning my next snack. 

For all you health nuts, this cream bowl is vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free.  It is packed with plant based protein, anti oxidants, good fat and omega 3 fatty acids

Not so long ago I used to eat toast topped with almond butter, banana and berries or avocado on toast or oats porridge for breakfast. And although these were absolutely delicious, they made me really hungry really quickly. And I think it was because of gluten. I have been watching a lot of gut health videos on Youtube and I am no expert on this topic by any means but one thing that came out of these videos and totally resonated with me was that if you are constantly hungry and craving something particular, chances are you are sensitive to that food. In my case, it was gluten in bread & oats. 

I eat mostly a plant based diet and went plant based in February 2016. The thought of going gluten free too was terrifying. Initially I thought going gluten free was more like a fad. But after doing a little research on gut health it became obvious that although most of us are not gluten intolerant we are definitely gluten sensitive and that gluten contributes majorly towards a leaky gut. If you are intrigued by the topic of gut health I would highly recommend you check out Dr JJ Virgin and Christina Orecchio's work. These ladies are just fabulous. 

By being about 80% gluten free and having  this solid breakfast every morning, one thing I have noticed is that I am not constantly ridiculously hungry anymore. Thank god! 

To make cacao, avocado and banana bowl you will need

2 ripe frozen bananas
1 ripe small avocado or 1/2 ripe large avocado 
One cup almond milk or any other milk of choice 
2 tablespoons coconut yogurt or any other yogurt of choice 
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon of  maca powder
1 table spoon hemp powder or seeds 
3 table spoons cacao powder 
1 tablespoon almond butter or cashew butter or even tahini or coconut butter/oil 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
Small piece of ginger (optional)

Add everything in together and blend it till smooth & creamy. Yogurt and avocado give it a smooth creamy yogurt like consistency.  Transfer it into a bowl and top it up with fruit of your choice. Berries and bananas always go very well with this. Frozen berries will also work like a dream here. I also use shredded coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds as toppings. The possibilities are endless here you can create something with your own favourite toppings. You don't have to follow any rules. 

If you try this though, what toppings are you most likely to use? Tell me? Next time, I might use them too! See you soon xox





Share:

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Vegan Jerk Potatoes with Caribbean Rice



Before I turned vegan, I used to cook jerk chicken at least once a month. I absolutely loved the flavours of the zingy, spicy jerk sauce. Can you blame me? No surprise that a girl from India loves everything spicy :)

So anyway the other day it struck me; I am not going to be cooking jerk chicken for myself anymore but because I love the flavours so much, why not 'veganise' the dish and immediately I thought of potatoes! And I am quite happy to report that jerk potatoes taste absolutely divine. Lets cut the chit-chat and dive straight into the recipe shall we?

So I used three massive potatoes to make my jerk potatoes and you will need the following to prep the jerk sauce.

For Jerk Sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
Two 1 inch knobs of ginger
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tea spoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 table spoon paprika
Juice of one lime or lemon
1 bunch of spring onions (chopped)
1 small to medium sized onion (chopped)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt & Pepper to season

For Caribbean Rice
1 cup rice
2 cups coconut milk
400 grams red kidney beans
1 table spoon paprika
A pinch of cayenne pepper

Put all the ingredients for the sauce in the blender and blend till a smooth paste is formed. Cook your potatoes (on medium heat) in this sauce for about 40-45 minutes.

Meanwhile cook your cup of rice with 2 cups of coconut milk instead of water. Add 1 tablespoon of paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper as well. After about 10 minutes add cooked red kidney beans in as well. Cook for another 15 minutes and your rice should be ready.

And that is it! Serve rice topped with jerk potatoes in a bowl and garnish with spring onion stems.

Enjoy xx
Share:

Monday, 23 May 2016

Vegan Homemade Granola




I absolutely love granola for breakfast. I also believe that ready made granola options at the supermarket are not as great as they sound. The package may read vegan/ gluten free/ healthy but if  the granola tastes very sweet and sugary (which it usually does), I start doubting the ingredients. Plus when you can make your own delicious granola  at home within 15 minutes, why would you ever want to buy it from the supermarket?

For my homemade vegan granola you will need the following-

1 cup oats
1 table spoon maple syrup
1 table spoon coconut oil
Handful of almonds
Pumpkin seeds
A dash of cinnamon
Handful of raisins 

Place parchment paper or foil on a baking tray and throw in your oats and then sprinkle some cinnamon on it. Add maple syrup and then add melted coconut oil as well. Add almonds and any other nuts that you like to the mix. Give this a good whirl with a spoon, spatula or your good old fingers. Once mixed well, place the baking tray in a pre heated oven at about 150 degrees celsius. Bake the granola mix for about 10 minutes then add pumpkin seeds. Whirl everything once again and put it back in the oven to bake. After 5 minutes of baking add raisins. Once you have added raisins,  turn the oven off and let everything cook a bit more with the left over heat. 

After 5 minutes take everything out and voila your granola is ready. Once cooled off, the granola gets crunchy and you can eat it as is, or with milk or even better with yogurt and fruit! Either way, it tastes absolutely delicious. Let me know if you get to try this xx
Share:

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Vegan Chickpea Burger




We are bang in the middle of National Vegetarian Week and although for me every week is a veggie week, I present to you a lunch or dinner recipe that is vegetarian as well as a major a crowd pleaser.  Here's a step by step guide to preparing my vegan burger, served with a giant portion of salad on the side. 

So without much further ado, lets get right into the recipe. 

What you will need- 
400 grams chickpeas boiled and cooked
100 grams peas boiled and cooked
100 grams sweetcorn boiled and cooked
Extra virgin olive oil 
Millet flour 
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes  or crushed chillies
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 
1/2 teaspoon sumac
1/2 teaspoon curry powder 
Salt 
Pepper
Bread of choice 
4-6 portobello mushrooms
Salad of choice 

Add chickpeas, peas and sweet corn to your blender and then add a small glug of extra virgin olive oil. Throw in paprika, cumin powder, chilli flakes, coriander, sumac and curry powder. Blend away. 

Once the ingredients form a smooth- ish paste, make burgers and coat them in millet flour for that extra hold. You should be able to make 4-6 burgers out of the paste. Once your burgers are ready, put them in the fridge for at least half an hour. Once they are firm enough, go ahead and heat some extra virgin love oil in a shallow pan. Shallow fry the burgers on high heat and once they get good colour on, finish them off in the oven. Place them in a pre heated oven at 200 degrees celsius for about 12 minutes. 

In the meantime, in the same shallow pan add a teeny tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and cook your portobello mushrooms as well. Season them lightly with salt & pepper. 

From this point its pretty much an assembly job. I like to place my mushroom first and the chickpea burger on top. I love having this burger with hummus or salsa or guacamole! Feel free to use whatever condiments you love. This burger is so so delicious, I promise you won't miss meat. Let me know if you get try this. 

Have you got any vegetarian recipes to share this Vegetarian Week? I am all ears!



Share:

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Spinach Curry







Any type of stew/ curry a.k.a. sabzi will always hold a very special place in my heart partly because of my Indian roots. But also because curries are quick & easy to make; with pretty much the same spice base, they are kind of a no-brainer.

I particularly love the contrasting taste of sweet potato with a spicy curry base which is why this sweet potato, chick pea and spinach curry is my current obsession. Lets get straight down to business shall we?

Ingredients-
1 chopped onion
6 tomatoes chopped or pureed
chilli (optional)
Ginger (optional)
Garlic (optional)
Cumin powder
Garam masala
Hot curry powder which is basically a mix of (cumin turmeric, chilli, black pepper, fenugreek, garlic, coriander, fennel, salt & ginger in a powder form)
2 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
200 grams chickpeas (boiled & cooked)
100 grams spinach
1.5 cups almond milk (unsweetened)

Throw in a good glug of olive oil in a pan and let that heat for a couple of minutes. Then add your chopped onion to the pan and let that cook for a couple of minutes. Add in a bit of salt and pepper. Let the onions cook for a couple more minutes and at this point add in 1 tablespoon each of cumin powder, garam masala and the hot curry powder. Now add in the chopped tomatoes or tomato puree. Mix everything in together with a spatula or turner. Let this cook for 5-7 minutes on high heat and this rich sauce will form the base of your curry.

Next, add sweet potato chunks and keep stirring & mixing everything together. Then add in 1 cup of almond milk to make the curry rich & creamy. You can also opt for coconut milk. Work with whatever you have access to and with whatever option you prefer. Your kitchen, you are the boss!

Let this cook for about 20 minutes on a medium to low heat with an occasional switch to high heat. Make sure you keep turning everything around in the pan every now and again. If you think you need to add some more almond milk, go ahead and add some more. After about 20 minutes when the sweet potato chunks start to soften, throw in chick peas. Cook for another 10 minutes and then add in your spinach leaves. Spinach will wilt in minutes... after about 7 minutes everything should come together nicely. At this point, taste some of it and see if you need more salt, or pepper or spice. I usually top it up with  a teaspoon more of the garam masala and curry powder. I also squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Serve piping hot with steamed rice.

Let me know if you get to try this? See you next time xx


Share:

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Roasted Aubergine with Harissa Spiced Lentils



I saw Jamie Oliver post a picture on his Instagram account a couple of weeks back and since then I have been dreaming about his vegan aubergine dish. 

He did a pretty amazing job of describing the dish and his description was pretty much what I followed to create my own version of this dish. For any one who is interested in Jamie Oliver's dish, it is available at Jamie's Italian and it is vegan as well. That is brilliant for anybody who is vegan and struggles to find half decent vegan options at restaurants. 

I m super pleased with how the dish turned out eventually and I cannot wait to make this again. 

To somewhat create Jamie's dish you will need the following- 

1 aubergine 
Harissa paste
1 onion 
A tin of soaked lentils
6 tomatoes
Smoked paprika
Cumin 
Sumac
Rocket leaves
Pomegranate 
Lemon 
Salt 
Pepper


Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a pan and add chopped onions to it. Sweat the onions for a couple of minutes on high heat and then add in some salt and pepper. Sweat the onions for a few more minutes and add the tomatoes to the pan. You could chop tomatoes or you could simply blend them into a puree and add them that way. 

Cut your aubergine in half and layer it with some extra virgin olive oil and rub some salt and pepper on the aubergine halves. Squeeze some lemon juice and throw on generous quantities of sumac, ground cumin and smoked paprika on the aubergine halves and then put them in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees to roast for about 40 minutes. Aubergines on their own can taste a bit strange but by adding these spices they get a lovely colour & taste as they roast.

Lets get back on the sauce now. Let it cook for a few minutes till your tomatoes start getting a good orange to red colour. To this add the harissa paste;  I just went in with the full bottle. The thing with harissa is that it is not spicy as such, it has a slightly spicy after-taste-kick-thing going, which I love!

Once the harissa paste is nicely mixed in add a bit of cumin, sumac, smoked paprika and lemon juice and also tip in the lentils. You could use a mix of lentils and even chickpeas. I just used a tin of lentils (not proud of using the tin lentils). Let this cook for 10-15 minutes.

When your aubergine halves are nicely roasted, soft & squishy, with a fork dent some space on the aubergine to stack your lentil sauce on it. Serve with rocket leaves and pomegranate. 

His dish also had a garlic almond yogurt element which I skipped. But even without the yogurt, it was rather delicious.

The different textures and flavours make a seriously kick-ass combination. This dish is really delicious, healthy and filling; all at the same time. It is also gluten free. 

I think it's amazing that Jamie Oliver has introduced this scrumptious vegan option at his Jamie's Italian  restaurant.  I cannot wait to try this dish at his restaurant. But till then I am quite happy tucking into my version of it. 

If you get to try this at home or even at Jamie's Italian, please let me know. Hope you are having a fabulous Bank Holiday Weekend. xoxox


Share:

Monday, 25 April 2016

Vegan Red Thai Curry



Before I turned plant based, I never even thought of making my own Thai curry paste. I used to buy what ever was available in the market. But that has changed, for good.  Even if you are not vegan or vegetarian, try and make your own curry paste once and you won't buy it from the supermarket ever again. It is really quick & easy to make and it tastes amazing and is so much better for you.

On a wet rainy spring evening, this warming red curry would be an ideal dinner choice and to make this you will need the following ingredients-

For paste- 
4 small tomatoes or 2 big ones
Half an onion or 1 small one (chopped)
A piece of ginger
2 teaspoons galangal 
2 stalks lemon grass
A good glug of soya sauce
1 teaspoon agave nectar 
Juice of 1 lime 
Cumin powder
Coriander (fresh or powder)
Chilli or chilli flakes or powder 
1/4 cup coconut milk 
1/2 red pepper 
Salt
Pepper

For curry-
2 carrots chopped
1/4 of a broccoli (florets)
1/4 of a cauliflower (florets)
1/2 red pepper chopped 

Blend all the ingredients into a smooth paste. In a pan heat some extra virgin olive oil and then add the remaining half of your chopped onion into the pan. After sweating the chopped onion for a few minutes, pour in your paste. Let it cook for 5 minutes or so and then add all your vegetables. I used carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and the remaining 1/2 of my red pepper. Let the vegetables cook and after 5-7 minutes of cooking add in a cup of coconut milk. Let this cook for 10 minutes and then add another cup.  Check for seasoning, add more if you think it needs a bit more. I usually go in with a tiny bit more of salt, pepper & chilli! Your curry should be ready in maximum 40 minutes and this really depends on how crunchy you like your veggies!

Serve with steamed rice and lots of coriander and a wedge on lime on the side. 

Let me know if you get to try this. See you next time xx


Share:

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Chocolate Chia Pudding






What you will need- 
2 tablespoons chia seeds 
1/2 cup almond milk 
1 table spoon cacao powder 
A pinch of cinnamon 
Maple or agave syrup

(These quantities will fill two small Kilner jars. The jars are much smaller in real life but it's not very obvious here as this shot is a close one.)

In a bowl, throw in all ingredients and whisk for a couple of minutes until everything is blended well together. Let this settle for at least 2-3 hours or overnight. Serve in a small glass jar with fruit of your choice on top! I went for a raspberry and shredded coconut as my toppings.

Chia pudding serves up as a fabulous clean dessert or an afternoon pick me up or even an alternate to regular breakfast items. Plus the fact that it takes literally minutes to make is an added bonus.

Chia seeds are a rich source of calcium, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. They also have many other health benefits such as improving heart health & combating diabetes to name a few. If you have or are thinking of going vegan, you should most definitely add chia seeds into your diet. And I think it cannot get better than eating chia seeds in pudding form!

If you don't fancy the jelly-like texture of chia seeds, you could blend this into a smooth paste in your blender.

Let me know if you get to try this? See you next time. Enjoy x  

Share:

Friday, 8 April 2016

Acai Berry Bowl




I am rather late to hop on the acai berry bandwagon. But I am glad I did! An acai berry bowl is not only very very instagrammable (Priorities, people!), it also makes a great alternate to porridge or almond butter on toast for breakfast. And it tastes pretty good too!

For those of you who don't know, with it's home in the Amazon of South America, acai berry is a reddish purple fruit that grows on the acai palm tree and it is pronounced as 'asa-heee'. Acai berry is loaded with anti-oxidants and it supposedly (allegedly) aids weight loss. 

Selecting your acai berry brand can be a daunting task and there are loads of brands in the market. Research points to opting for organic frozen acai berry pulp, but  I made my purchase online and could not find a pulp option; so I got a powder version instead. For anyone who is interested, I bought the Seven Hills Acai Berry Powder. With some extra blending time, my acai berry concoction turned out to be pretty smooth, contrary to some online reviews stating their smoothies/ yogurts grainy. 

What you will need- 
1 table spoon acai berry powder 
1 frozen banana (Freeze a peeled banana in an air tight box. Don't make the mistake of freezing it skin-on, it's a pain to peel it once frozen)
A handful of frozen berries 
Half a cup of almond milk 
Shredded coconut 
Berries & banana for toppings

Throw in the frozen banana and berries in your blender. Add acai berry powder to it and almond milk and whiz. If you like your acai berry to be of a yogurt consistency, use milk sparingly. If you prefer a smoothie type consistency add a tad bit more almond milk.

Pour the smoothie/yogurt in a bowl, select your favourite fruits as toppings and decorate your acai berry bowl. Have some fun with this, bring your inner artist to life. I went for raspberries, strawberries, blueberries & shredded coconut! Oh my word, this was really delicious and I gobbled it up in rather uncivilised way! Sorry, not sorry :D

If you make your acai berry bowl, let me know what toppings you went for? 

See you next time xx 


Share:

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Hemp Smoothie





Inspired by the beautiful festival of colours (Holi), here's my healthy spin on Bhang (Cannabis drink). And I promise this hemp smoothie won't get you twisted ;)

If you are planning on turning vegan, hemp powder is a fab source of protein & calcium in addition to many other nutrients. So next time anyone says "but where will you get your protein from?" you know exactly what to say!

Packed with omega 3, 6 & 9 fatty acids, protein & calcium, this could be a great energiser any day of the week. Hemp is also a rich source of dietary fibre.

I made this for 'Holi' last week. Sorry I am uploading it a week later, no excuses for a lazy girl! Anyway this turned out really delicious and the simple recipe is definitely worth sharing.

You will need the following for this smoothie- 
1 banana, 2 if they are small (ripe)
1 cup almond milk
1 table spoon almond butter
1 table spoon hemp powder
A dash of matcha powder (use this sparingly)
A pinch of cinnamon
A few drops of vanilla extract

Blend everything until smooth! And voila your healthy bhang aka hemp smoothie is ready.

Let me know if you try this one. See you next time xoxox
Share:

Monday, 14 March 2016

Vegan Mushroom Risotto



My vegan mushroom risotto is a perfect midweek dinner idea. Minimum ingredients but guaranteed maximum satisfaction, this dish is ready within 40 minutes and is very delicious, clean yet hearty.

Ingredients:
300 grams mixed mushrooms
250 grams arborio rice
Parsley
Thyme
Salt
Pepper
2 cubes of organic veg stock
1 onion
2 celery sticks

Chop the mushrooms and place them in a baking tray, sprinkle extra virgin olive oil salt pepper & dried thyme and pop these in the oven between 180-200 degree celsius.

Next, chop the onion and celery sticks. Add a good glug of extra virgin olive oil in a pan and once thats hot throw in chopped onions and celery and let them cook for a few minutes. Then go on to add salt & pepper and continue to cook & sweat the onions for about 5 minutes or so. Then add 250 grams of arborio rice into the cooking pan and toast them for a couple of minutes.

Get your stock ready so in about a litre of boiling water crumble two veg organic stock cubes.

Once the rice has a tad bit colour on it, start adding stock to the pan ladle by ladle. Keep stirring and turning as you add each ladle. This will massage the starch out of your rice & make it creamy in consistency.

About 25 minutes later or so, when the rice is almost cooked but still has a bite to it (i.e. slightly more than al dente) take the mushrooms out of the oven and tip them (mushrooms & the water from mushrooms) in to the pan. Keep massaging & turning with your ladle. Taste the rice, if its cooked, get it off the  heat. When you serve risotto it must be slightly oozy and gooey, to get that if you need a bit more stock, add more stock to the rice.

Serve piping hot! Enjoy.

Let me know if you get to try this! Till next time xoxox


Share:

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Vegan Chilli



I have been guilty of using chopped tinned tomatoes until recently. But 2016 is a year of small changes for me and consciously using only fresh tomatoes to cook is one of them.

I have also decided to turn vegan as far as I can. This means that when I am out & about or travelling if I can't find something vegan, I will settle for vegetarian options. This is due to spiritual reasons and I will leave that for another post.

Anyway this led me to create this vegan chilli and it's really simple to make, with each bite oozing spicy deliciousness!

Ingredients-
1 big onion chopped (red or white)
6 tomatoes pureed (you could chop them too, but I'm just lazy. Thank god for Nutri Bullet.)
250 grams broccoli (separated as florets)
3 coloured peppers chopped
Boiled red kidney beans
Smoked paprika
Paprika
Cayenne pepper
Ground cumin
Salt & pepper
Fresh coriander
Organic veg stock cube
Steamed rice to serve on the side
Lemon
Avocado on the side


Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a wok and add the chopped onion to it. Add salt & pepper and sweat the onions till they are soft and translucent. Then add 2 table spoons of smoked paprika and two table spoons of paprika. Don't worry these are more for the colour and flavour they are not hot. Carefully add a good pinch of cayenne pepper. Now this is really hot. Add according to your chilli threshold. Add two table spoons of cumin powder as well. Tip in the pureed or chopped tomatoes. If cooking with real tomatoes, they will look pale at first but don't worry the colour comes back as they cook. It is never as red as the canned tomatoes but in this case the colour from paprika makes up for it.

Next add broccoli and peppers and continue cooking & occasionally stiring. Some people might get on the protein debate of a vegan diet and thats why we added broccoli in here. Did you know that broccoli is a super rich source of protein? There sorted! At this point add your stock cube to 250 ml boiling water and then add this water to the cooking pan. Now go ahead & taste, if you feel like you need more spice just add more spice. 

Bring to boil and let this simmer for 15-20 mins. At this point tip in the boiled beans and cook for another 10 minutes. I am obsessed with lemons so I also squeeze half a lemon in, for that extra punch. Sprinkle chopped coriander on top and serve with steamed rice and avocado on the side!

Let me know if you get to try this. See you next time.


Share:

Monday, 29 February 2016

Cocoa & Peanut Butter Balls





Turns out, the healthy snacks off 'free from' aisles in the super market are not so healthy after all. Anything that is best before July 2017 must be loaded with preservatives. So next time you gravitate towards buying 'healthy' bars from the supermarket, consider making similar snacks at home. A good example would be these yummy cocoa & peanut butter balls; they are way healthier and literally take minutes to make.

Whist cooking, I never stick to measurements and throw in things instinctively until it feels right. Miraculously my dishes come together most times! Mentioned below is an approximate measurement of stuff for you to follow not as a rule set in stone but as a general guideline. In your kitchen you are the boss and do what you feel is right! Cooking is more fun when you make it your own! Oh and these quantities should make about 12-15 balls.

Ingredients- 
2 table spoons raw cacao or cocoa powder 
6-8 dates
1teaspoon agave or maple syrup
2 teaspoons coconut oil 
1/2 cup peanut butter (you want the best quality with no sugar or palm oil)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup almond meal 

Soak the dates in water for a couple of hours to soften. Then melt the coconut oil and put everything   (including softened dates) in your blender and blitz away till it's a smooth paste. 

Start to roll this paste/dough into balls and cover in almond meal lightly so it's not too clingy. Store in fridge and eat when you feel like you need a pre or post lunch pick me up.

These are usually good for about a week. But they never last that long, they are that delicious. 

If you get to try these let me know how you got on. Till next time xx
Share:
© Shirin Saluja | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig