Healthy Breakfast Spread (Tahin Pekmez)

tahin pekmezI stumbled upon this little gem by pure accident whilst looking for directions on making Turkish tea (I now own a fantastic Turkish double tea pot!) This amazing breakfast spread is a well kept secret and has become a firm favourite in my home. It is so simple but really delicious. This is a blend of tahini and molasses (I have used either blackstrap molasses or grape molasses) Molasses is good for the health, helps reduce PMS and reduce joint pain among other healthful properties. Grape molasses was used as a ‘cure-all’ in ancient times. Tahini is full of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals and also very good for heart health – so you can slather this on warm bread in the morning without any guilt!
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Smokey Plant-Based Empanadas

downloadI love empanadas and the smokey, sweet tomato sauce that I used to have with tuna empanadas. These plant-based versions are just as tasty and very easy to make. I have now found ready made wholemeal shortcrut pastry (Thank you Tesco!) its light and crumbly and these little treats are great for a mid-morning snack. I bought a nifty little empanada maker from the internet which is amazing (come in three different sizes) and ensure your empanadas don’t come undone during baking. If you are having a gathering – these are very moorish and will disappear quickly!
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Marvelous Oat Flour Cinnamon Muffins

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Any kind of white flour is becoming an issue for me. My stomach just doesn’t appreciate flour too much – a little organic wholemeal is ok, or organic unbleached but any foodstuff that has refined flour in makes my stomach bloat and I feel uncomfortable. Soooooo, finding these little beauties was wonderful. The best bit is oat flour can be hard to find BUT you just whizz porridge oats in a blender and hey presto! Oat flour! These are great for breakfast or as a snack – I will be hiding them however as I live with a bunch of vultures! 🙂

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Lentil and Rice Biryani

ddsdawatdilse

Our neighbours have blessed us a couple of times recently with some wonderful Bengali cooking (see – even in London there are still good neighbours!) The rice they have sent us via their young daughter was out of this world tasty, non-oily and just amazing. As you know by now I am starting to love Indian cooking and this dish is a great way to brighten up mid-week meals. Lentils are a rich source of protein and keep you full for longer.
Although it looks like a lot of ingredients  – the process is simple, so don’t let that put you off 🙂

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Spicy Ezme Salad

Bebosdish13

Although the temperatures here in London have plummeted I have been eating a lot of different salads and this one has no doubt been inspired by the amount of Turkish tv programmes I have been watching on Netflix! who knew Turkish tv was so good?! We are fortunate to have a lot of excellent Turkish restaurants here in London and this is a staple at all of them – but each restaurant makes it slightly differently. What I love about this salad is that it is quick, tangy and refreshing and can have as much chilli kick as you can handle! served with fresh bread it can be a meal on its own and will get you going back for more!

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Aubergine Meatballs

Healthy Food.com

Thanks to my good friend Charlene for making me lunch! I am trying to get away from all forms of processed food and that includes ‘healthy’ vegan or plant-based options – the list of ingredients still look too big to me with these convenience foods and if you make double the mixture for this home-made version, you can freeze them for those evenings when you just need to make something super quick. Add a lovely tomato sauce to these and you can serve with rice, bulgur or wholewheat pasta. The only thing you really need is a food processor or some elbow grease! You can add in the flavours that you like and adapt as you see fit but you will love these 🙂

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Caribbean Style Porridge

Sometimes I need a breakfast that will keep me satisfied until lunchtime -and this porridge does the job! My late Jamaican father-in-law was a regular porridge eater and he lived until he was 90! Some Caribbean porridge recipes call for condensed milk but as this is a blog site about longevity,  I am omitting the less healthy version 🙂  Oats are an all round good food – a great source of soluble fiber, a rich source of magnesium and it is great for controlling blood sugar. Best of all  – oats are fairly low cost (DO NOT use instant oats – they are not good!) and when my kids are hungry  – this is a go to for them any time of day.

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Bulgur, Freekeh and Green Beans

I love to find recipes that are bursting with goodness but still taste delicious and comforting – and this dish delivers. I found this on Ozlem’s Turkish Table and as I have never really used Freekeh before, thought I would give it a go. Not one spoonful of this went to waste! I ate it hot and cold and it was equally delicious. Freekeh is an acient grain (even mentioned in Leviticus in the bible) and is full of fiber, it has a unique, almost nutty taste and texture and aids digestion. Full of zinc, iron and calcium you can really eat without guilt!!! It’s simple to prepare and all ingredients are easy to source. Thank you Ozlem!

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Vegan Breakfast Stack

 

This is my new favourite breakfast/brunch meal. This packs a nutritional punch and tastes delicious – okay, my stack looks a little wonky! but I am sure yours will be much better! I added some mushrooms and a bit of toast which kept me satisfied until later in the day. Who knew that julienned  sweet potato in the oven could taste so good! This is also a great dish to serve when having friends over.

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Wholemeal Chapatis

I’m on a bit of a curry vibe at the moment 🙂 largely because I live very close to Brick Lane, the famous curry mile near Shoreditch in East London renowned for its excellent curry houses. I recently visited with a friend and we had a wonderful plant-based meal with lovely soft chapatis. It inspired me to learn how to make them.  It always concerns me that the shop bought ones have such a long shelf life ? Can’t be good.

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Roasted Potatoes with Green Beans and Mustard Drizzle

Blue Zones

Another great longevity recipe from the Blue Zone community – this originates from the Seven Day Adventists in Loma Linda California who live long and strong and practice a plant-based diet (these Californians live about a decade longer than most other people!). Meals like this can be rustled up quickly and can be a meal on their own  – the addition of chickpeas means you will feel full without having resorted to adding any grains or rice etc.

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Spicy Spinach Stew

I had this dish for the first time when I went to visit friends and my friend got into a flap because I don’t eat meat. So she ran across to her Nigerian neighbour to ask for help! I have adapted the recipe to suit my family. It’s very easy and has a lovely chilli kick so goes well with plain rice. I am in Crete at the moment and have been able to get all the ingredients and put this together very quickly. You can use fresh, tinned or frozen spinach for this recipe whatever you have at hand.

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Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’

I just had this for lunch and it was delicious! I was very skeptical of this tasting any good but it was sooo tasty and the best part is that it’s cheaper than tuna! The humble chickpea is so versatile – they are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre, they improve digestion and the best bit for me is they aid weight loss as they keep you fuller for longer! Chickpeas are also high in protein and essential amino acids. I would recommend you use the chickpeas in a jar – they are much softer and easier to mash.
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Greek Butter Beans (Gigantes)

What4eats

This is a staple at any Greek taverna – it is almost impossible to find giant butter (Lima) beans in the UK but standard butter beans will do. It is always worth using dried beans (soaked overnight), the taste and texture are very good but if you are in a hurry you can use tinned butter beans which are also good and cheap!. This humble bean (very much overlooked in the UK) is great for heart health, diabetes prevention, increased energy levels, enhanced digestion and good blood circulation – again I stand in awe of the Greeks and their ability to take basic ingredients and make a delicious meal for a very small cost. You can buy this dish (Gigantes plaki) in a tin  – but once you have made them yourself there will be no turning back! The other benefit of eating beans like this regularly is that they fill you up, making you less likely to snack on other things 🙂
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Mushroom Parcels

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The magic of mushrooms! The humble mushroom packs a great immune-boosting punch, they are full of proteins, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antibiotics, and antioxidants. They are a rich source of fibre, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin D – so even though these are a tasty treat, they are also pretty good for you. Chilled and frozen pastry seems to be in good supply in the UK as are all the other ingredients – so get the kids and give this a go!
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Lemon, Oregano potatoes in the Oven (Patates sto Fourno)

A real favourite of mine – these have the real flavour of Greece – oregano and fresh lemon 🙂 Like a lot of Greek dishes, every home serves them slightly differently but the basic elements stay the same. This dish is really easy and will make you look like a chef! Unlike their British roast potato equivalent – these are slightly crispy on the edges and also soft and lemony.

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Seasoned Bulgur Wheat

A staple in my home, hot or cold. Most people are not sure what to do with this is whole grain (I was one of those people!) but you can treat it like rice and cook it with seasoning to make a really tasty side dish. Made from cracked wheat it’s packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. It’s cheap, nutritious and easy to digest. I first tried this when a Turkish colleague brought in Tabbouleh salad for us to try and I was hooked!
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