Thai Style Crunchy Salad with Coconut Curry Dressing

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You know something is going to taste good when you see a rainbow of colours on your plate. The sky is the limit really with the ingredients for this refreshing salad BUT it needs to have crunch! You can be adventerous with salad leaves and you can use noodles or brown rice to bulk this salad out. The dressing is very tasty and easy to make. 

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Tangy Panzanella Salad

panzanella-the-food-placeDespite the cold snap of weather we are having, better weather is on its way 🙂 (promise!) The lighter the days get the more I enjoy a nice tangy and fresh salad. This salad lends itself to a mix of tomatoes types – cherry, plum, yellow, vine etc. The addition of cubes of stale sourdough bread (or any uncut bread you have) make this more filling – this is a bit of grown-up salad! With origins in Tuscany, Italy the salad was created like most great, rustic dishes to avoid waste and is a typical peasant dish. If that makes me a peasant – I’m happy to be!

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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

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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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Aubergine Meatballs

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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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Creamy Cauliflower Curry

This is a weekday or weekend meal – its really cheap, very easy and soothing. If money is tight at the moment – then this recipe should fit the bill. I made this as I had a cauliflower sitting in my fridge that was in danger of going bad – so the whole thing was ready really quickly and tasted even better the next day!
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Mushroom Stifado

Most people are used to eating Beef Stifado but this is just as tasty (with the same spices etc) but the meat is replaced with mushrooms. Its best to use a really firm mushroom such as chestnut or portobello so they keep their firmness through the cooking process. I like this served with rice and a little tzatziki on the side! Continue reading “Mushroom Stifado”

Veggie Gamopilafo (Wedding Rice)

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Ok – so this looks kind of plain! BUT……it is so tasty and easy to make. Thank you to Kyria Katerina from Stavros, Chania for introducing me to Cretan Wedding Rice! Just when I thought I knew about Greek food up popped another surprise. We were served this rice with traditional Cretan bread and garlic, fresh olives, feta and salad! delicious 🙂 This rice is quite wet almost like risotto  – I have adapted of course as it is most often served or cooked with meat and meat stock. Continue reading “Veggie Gamopilafo (Wedding Rice)”

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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Spinach and Feta Pies

This is my take on my favourite guilty pleasure for breakfast when ever I am in Greece. The first thing I do is find the local bakery and suss out how good the spinach pie is! My absolute favourite is the village style spinach pie (spanakopita) made in a massive round baking tin and fresh out of the oven – I have never really cracked the art of using phyllo pastry – a bit fiddly for me but when at home in London these are the next best thing. It’s not often I include any dairy in my recipes but I will make an exception for a high quality feta !

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Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Mushroom ‘Sausage Rolls’

These may look a little rustic 🙂 but they are very comforting. Although I have added them into the weekend section, they really didn’t take that long to prepare and cook. They got a thumbs up from my husband and would definitely be a winner at a social gathering – I even think meat eaters would like these. This is another recipe that you can adapt to your favourite spices and all the ingredients are readily available. Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious and support the immune system, and are rich in fibre, combined with chickpeas which are high in protein, mushrooms that have vitamin D and you have a winner!
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Lagana Bread

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We all have a bit more time on our hands at the moment so it is a perfect time to have a go at some things we don’t normally have time for. I don’t mind admitting that I am rubbish at making bread 🙂 but this Greek Lentern bread is perfect as it is not meant to rise very much (which is great for me as my bread never does!) It’s very similar to focaccia and is a flat style loaf covered in sesame seeds. Traditionally eaten on Clean Monday this is a lovely, simple recipe (you can tell I am missing Greece!)

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Kolokotes – Sweet Pumpkin pie thingys!

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With all of this doom and gloom about Covid-19, I wanted to post some recipes that you can actually get the ingredients for! and that, of course, are healthy, tasty, cheap and nutritious. With most people now working from home in the UK we might have a little more time to cook and prepare food (well, I have both kids at home now so not really!) These Cypriot delights are great for during Lent and have definitely grown on me over the years – they are a sweet little parcel with squash, bulgur, sultanas and cinnamon – all good ingredients. The Cypriots know a thing or two about making the most of available ingredients and these are a real Greek/Arabic fusion – delightful! My 5 year old just told me ‘these are soooo good Mum’ little does he know what the ingredients are mwah haha!
**You prepare the filling at least 2 hours before assembling**

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Fantastic Homemade Falafel

This is my favourite street food of all time. I have been fortunate enough to eat some of the best felafels ever in Jerusalem (it was amazing and there were felafel shops on every corner) and in Bethlehem  – where we sat with local people in a tiny cafe watching these beauties being cooked in front of us. In Isreal, you can help yourself to as much salad and pickles as you can stuff in the pitta! I do believe that I am a very good judge of felafels now and these do not disappoint – as you long as you have a robust blender you are in business! 🙂 
***Chickpeas need soaking overnight***
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Tomato Fritters

 

I am all about not wasting food – it is a throwback from my upbringing – if you grew up and money was tight then you learnt to use all food in the fridge and cupboards and be creative! I always end up with some leftover tomatoes in my fridge that have gone a little soft so this recipe is perfect for using them up and getting a quick and tasty lunch or dinner. The Greeks have made an art form of using what’s in season and making a few ingredients taste amazing – poor mans food is my kind of food!

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Mushroom & Spinach Wellington

Have you got Veggie or Vegan friend coming over for dinner? in a spin about what to give them?! This recipe is a real crowd pleaser and interestingly is a favourite with meat eaters! My recipe is vegetarian but you can adapt it for vegans, however, this is something you can prep and get ready with ease and you will be forever loved by your non-meat eating friends! It may even become a firm favourite for get-togethers.
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