Winter is here and the cost of living in the UK is rising rapidly, so it’s time to find some cheap but filling and tasty recipes that are suitable for these colder days. I have been fascinated by the monks of Mount Athos and their way of life, to me they live a remote but idyllic life, praising God and living off the land, and eating healthy, nutritious meals. They are great chefs and feed pilgrims and monks every day with fruits and vegetables that they have grown under the Mediterranean sun. This recipe is taken from their website and there are many others that you might want to investigate.Continue reading “Mount Athos Chick Peas and Aubergines”
Right now, my home smells like Autumn; it smells of cinnamon, cloves, and orange and a distant memory I can’t quite grasp. This walnut cake is resting and cooling (the hardest part of the process!) This is a delicious Greek cake made with grape molasses and olive oil so no nasty refined sugars. All credit for this goes to an excellent Greek lady called Deppy whose website is Greek Cooking Made Easy I love her plant-based recipes (although she features all Greek recipes) and this is a winner! It’s fairly simple and I had all the ingredients in my store cupboard – the mix of spices makes this irresistible!
My absolute new favourite (don’t tell the others!) With the cost of living sky-rocketing and time to cook and plan evaporating – I needed something that requires little preparation and could last in the fridge for a few days and of course was nourishing and healthy. God really has given us all we need to live a healthy life and these little beans are full of goodness and benefits; they are great for your heart, and your blood pressure, they are full of protein, can help combat anemia, and keeps your bones strong! I use my pressure cooker for the dried beans for about 10 minutes but you could also soak them overnight and cook in a saucepan with water or use tinned, whichever is easiest for you.Continue reading “Black Eye Pea Salad”
I think this dish may be more Cypriot than Greek but it belongs in this section the most 🙂 I am discovering more about Cypriot cuisine and the different cultures that have influenced the herbs and spices used in Cypriot cooking. I love bulgur wheat (or cracked wheat) and to make this dish even simpler, my local Mediterranean supermarket sells bulgur with vermicelli noodles mixed in. This is an amazing side dish and seems to get better over a few days. It also has only a few ingredients which are pretty much store cupboard staples.Continue reading “Pourgouri (Bulgur Wheat)”
This salad is my wonderful ‘throw together’, put in the fridge, and let it marinate beauty! I love the flavours in this salad and with the cost of living rising sharply, it’s pretty cheap and very filling. Even if you are not a fan of chickpeas (which is probably because they have been served in a bland way) the mixture of mint, lemon and paprika are just delicious. I always use the jarred chickpeas which I pick up in my local Turkish supermarket for 89p a jar! (they have gone up recently by 20p) Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein and break down slowly in the gut, keeping you fuller for longer. did you know that chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are considered a vegetable and a legume because they are so nutritious? well, you do now!Continue reading “Arabic Chickpea Salad”
I wanted to share a wonderful book that I have recently purchased that I think you will love as well! Recently published, Nistisima is a beautiful collection of plant-based recipes from across the world, specifically lenten orthodox fasting recipes. With recipes included from Greece, Cyprus, Serbia, Jordan, Armenia, and more. It’s good to get some inspiration for meals and to know you are eating healthily as well, this book is fabulous and a must-buy! Continue reading “Book Review – NISTISIMA – Georgina Hayden”
I first tried this delicious, garlicky dip on a trip to Santorini and I loved it immediately. I guess you could compare it a little to humous, it is smooth and comforting and lovely served with hot pitta bread. I wouldn’t recommend it if you are going on a date as the garlic packs a punch! Made with a few simple ingredients, with the star being yellow split peas (not fava beans – go figure!) it is a staple on a lot of the Greek islands and is served as one of many meze dishes. It’s been around for thousands of years, so if you haven’t heard of it – where have you been?! 🙂 Also this is soooo cheap! – you will thank me!Continue reading “Fava Dip”
I am sharing a plate full of Caribbean sunshine here! This dish has all the flavours that I love and is healthy and nutritious. I miss my mother-in-law and this Jamaican dish reminds me of her. This dish can be rustled up pretty quickly and is I believe, a breakfast dish but it’s amazing any time of day. The whole dish probably took me about 20 minutes to make and I will be sharing this with friends served with rice and an avocado salad. It’s vegan and is very kind on the budget, which is just as well as everything has gone up massively.
Continue reading “Butter Bean and Callaloo Stew”
I was drawn to this recipe after watching My Greek Odyssey It didn’t sound like something that would work and then I saw Peter Maneas, the presenter demolish a bowl of this with gusto! This dish has its roots in ancient Greece and was a breakfast dish (they certainly knew how to eat well in ancient times), some Greek islands serve it as a dessert also. Named after St. Barbara (Varvara) this dish is traditionally prepared the night before the saints day along with a prayer for the health of children. Although it takes a little bit of prep I have found a quick way to cook it and you WILL thank me for this recipe – a big batch made on the weekend will last you a few days. Please use organic barley, not pearl barley. I now make this every week and my husband calls it ‘miracle food’ as it aids digestion, fills you up (for hours) and is very healthy!Continue reading “Ancient Breakfast Varvara”
I hope I am not the only one who loves brussel sprouts?! They are one of my favourties and they are in season at the moment. This is one vegetable that grows in the UK (they thrive in cold weather) and are incredibly good for you, unfortunately a lot of our mothers boiled them to death and they became something to be endured rather than enjoyed! These little green heroes are full of vitamin K (which can promote bone health), fibre and suprisingly contain Omega 3 fatty acids. This is a great side dish to liven up any dish and ofcourse its heatlhy and fairly cheap.
Continue reading “Maple Roasted Sprouts and Potatoes”
Happy New Year! I went to the Queen of Hosts yesterday 🙂 (Tracey Fenner is the Queen!) for a wonderful New Years Eve visit – there was amazing food, lots of laughs and even some tractor driving thrown in! Now, I don’t think anyone has ever left Tracey’s home hungry – maybe rubbing their belly because they over induldged but never hungry! So, there were snacks before we went for our country walk and then a massive meal when we came home – and our snack before we set off was this amazing mushroom pate served on toast. I always plan to pace myself and eat delicately but this was just too good and very tasty so I just got stuck in! This is a great dish to serve as a starter or when having friends over and will be my new favourite for a snack. As mushrooms are full of vitamin D – they actually help fight off colds – they also contain selenium which helps support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues.
So get some toast or crackers and get involved 🙂
Continue reading “Marvellous Mushroom Pate”
I absolutely love this dish – it’s comforting and tastes delicious. The sweetness of the leeks and peas along with the mild scent of dill is a winning combination. I found frozen artichoke bottoms in my local shop (I have no clue what to do with the intact fresh ones!) I had this first in Crete and although wasn’t sitting on a sunny veranda with the sound of crickets – it still tasted amazing and brought back great memories. Artichokes are full of nutrients and antioxidants, plus protein and fibre – so they pack a longevity punch! This is simple to make and cost-effective.Continue reading “Greek Artichoke Stew”
I could have posted my own photo of these delicious little biscuits but they disappeared rather quickly! I made these on a Monday night after work, so that shows you how simple they are. I really loved the flavour of these biscuits and they go really well with a cup of tea or coffee. I would probably double up on the ingredients and make a bigger batch as they won’t be around for long 🙂
I found this very simple olive bread recipe from watching My Greek Oddysey – ok this show which documents Australian Greek, Peter Manias navigating the Greek islands in his super yacht got me through the long months of dingy English weather and working from home! Considering the superyacht part, he seems a down to earth guy who is really enthusiastic and passionate about his homeland so he has my vote 🙂 The lovely, cuddly chef Kyriako throws this bread together very easily, and apart from the fact it has to rise a few times, its really easy to make but a word of caution – its very, very moreish and needs to be put out of sight or you will eat the lot! It is vegan and pretty cheap so can become part of your store cupboard staples. This recipe is not light and fluffy but they digest well and can be stored in the freezer for when you have guests.
I love bulgar wheat and despite the onset of Autumn I still enjoy a nice, hearty salad. This recipe is cheap, easy and very tasty – it can be eaten hot or cold and lasts very well in the fridge. Bulgur wheat is a minimally processed whole grain and is packed with fibre and a decent amount of magnesium and iron. Kisir is a popular dish in Turkey and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds will raise the dish to a very satisfying lunch!Continue reading “Kisir Salad”
Sometimes you just want something sweet and almost like ice cream :-) this simple smoothie can be as fancy or as simple as you want and there is no end to the healthy ingredients you could add. I have a suggestion to add some Baobab powder, which I happen to like the taste of and takes this drink to a new level of healthiness! So you can slurp away, safe in the knowledge that you are consuming vitamins, minerals, fiber and anti-oxidants :-)
Continue reading “Vanilla Ice”
Another Blue Zone recipe that combines flavour and health. I love apples and oats so this is a winning combination for me. I do enjoy fruit but sometimes you just want a sweet treat or a snack that feels comforting. You don’t have to compromise on flavour in order to eat in a healthful way – these bars can be eaten for breakfast or for a snack with a cup of tea or coffee. Cheap, simple and Vegan.
Ok -so sometimes you just hit on a recipe that seems to go down well with everyone. Whether they are plant based or not -this crunchy broccoli salad appears to tick a lot of boxes! It lasts well in the fridge for around 4 days and gets better as it goes along! Eating (well cleaned) raw broccoli means you are not reducing nutrients in the cooking process – such as vitamin C and sulforaphane (which helps prevent diseases like heart disease, diabetes and digestive issues). Thank you to my friend Angel who served me this at her birthday celebrations and gave me another ‘keeper’ for my recipe book 🙂 Use all of the broccoli chopped finely – no throwing away the stalk!
I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours cooking with an Ethiopian chef a while back, making this dish as well as a few others. The tip I took away from that day was to cook the onions and garlic until they almost become a puree (this does mean you have to keep stirring!) but the result is delicious. You can spice up this dish as much as you want – I prefer a gentle warm sensation! Split peas are so overlooked nowadays – they are a great source of plant-based protein , folate, iron and potassium, while being low in fat and high in fiber – and best of all they are cheap! Great for diabetics.
I would advise soaking over-night – just to make sure they are gentle on the tummy, if you catch my drift 🙂
This is probably my favourite West Indian soup – I have eaten it mainly at funerals! but nevertheless it’s been so tasty and filling and really comforting. Red peas are kidney beans and this soup allows you to experiment with different vegetables – pumpkin, sweet potato, yam, butternut squash etc. The beans need soaking overnight or use a pressure cooker to cook them and save time. Kidney beans are a good source of plant-based protein, fibre and have a low glycemic index rating – all round a good, healthy bean! Every time I have eaten this soup it has had ‘spinner’ dumplings in it – which are delicious and make it a meal on its own – so I have included the little dumpling recipe aswell.
Continue reading “Ital Red Pea Soup”
I don’t think the UK has got the memo yet that we are edging towards summer! We had a glimmer of good weather but it’s dissapeared again and its COLD! However, this soup is great for Spring and can be thrown together very quickly. Just because food is good for you doesn’t mean that it can’t deliver on flavour – the two should go hand in hand. The humble pea is packed with vitamin C, E and Zinc and helps to reduce inflammation (the cause of many illnesses). Basil tastes divine but also contains magnesium which can aid blood flow. This soup is a winner as it is cheap, tasty and has ingredients that you will normally have in the fridge or freezer.
Continue reading “Pea and Basil Soup”
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.
Despite 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!
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! 🙂
Turmeric is a bit of a wonder spice and the centenarians of Okinawa, Japan have been using Turmeric in their diet for centuries. It is a fantastic anti-oxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties making it a real power house for health. Turmeric is readily available these days and this makes a change from drinking normal or herbal teas. You can sweeten this special brew with a little agave syrup and enjoy the wonderful benefits it will afford your body!
Continue reading “Turmeric Latte”
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 🙂
A hit! I have had to hide this cake as it had taken a pounding! A lovely, autumnal cake with healthy ingredients and a delicious crunchy, crumb topping. Its always good to share the love and the cake 🙂 It does have a few ingredients but everything goes into a food processor for the cake mixture so its pretty easy. I think if you want to impress vegan friends then this is the recipe. Use organic flour if you can and experiment with your spice levels – this combines my personal favourites of cinammon and mixed spice. Cinammon has a lot of health benefits and should be used generously!
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!
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 🙂
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.
With winter really settling in and the days becoming gloomy and grey I have felt the need for a bit of a comfort food hit and to be honest a sweet treat to look forward to! I am sooo over working from home – I even miss the people that used to annoy me in the office! This Jewish honey cake was one of the first healthier cakes I tried to make and my kids ate every last bit – so I knew I was onto a winner. Like all of the recipes I post you can swap and change spices and use what you have – unless you are inviting friends over – experiment with flours and spices – doesn’t matter if it looks perfect – its about taste!
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!
Another great soup for these crisp winter days. I have to say I do use a lot of coconut milk at the moment but it adds such a lovely creaminess and flavour that I can’t resist it. This is economical and will last about 4 days in the fridge. This is delicious served with some black olives on the side and a toasted slice of sourdough. 🙂 I now have a brilliant pressure cooker which does the whole thing in 10 minutes but have given you the traditional saucepan recipe. Butternut squash is a great source of fibre and vitamins, coconut milk reduces blood pressure and cholesterol and improves digestion – so don’t take my word for it – make this and see how you feel after!
Continue reading “Squash, Chilli and Coconut Soup”
This is a great soup to throw together quickly and have for lunch – seeing as we are all mainly working from home these days. I have struggled some days with the workload and trying to really eat well, but this is the solution! You can prep this first thing in the morning, cook, leave the flavours to entwine and then blitz and eat 🙂 this soup combines taste and healthful benefits, lentils, spinach, leeks and coconut milk.
Continue reading “Spinach, Lentil and Coconut Soup”
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.
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.
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!
Continue reading “Creamy Cauliflower Curry”
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”
I am trying to move away from eating too much bread and I normally have a sandwich for breakfast (Which I love!) so after I went on a very gentle jog this morning, I came back and whizzed up this delicious smoothie. I used mainly frozen fruit, which is really economical and I had an apple and an orange looking very lonely and a little jaded in the fruit bowl! So I threw them in as well. A little bit of honey or agave and some chia seeds and this was a lovely start to the day.
Continue reading “Strawberry and Banana Breakfast Smoothie”
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)”
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.
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.
Another great find from the Blue Zones community. You probably already know all the health benefits of lemons but they really are great for vitamin C, great for digestive issues, good for the skin and can help prevent kidney stones. Ginger has manifold health properties, is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and is used often to combat nausea. This refreshing summer tonic tastes delicious (play around with the mixture until it hits the spot for your palate) you might want it sharper with lemon, sweeter or fierier with ginger! Serve over ice and a slice – it will refresh and revive you!
Continue reading “Ginger Lemonade”
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.
Continue reading “Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’”
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 !
I think I might start to look like a mushroom soon! I have a husband who loves all things mushroom and as they are a good source of vitamin D why not! These little empanadas were really tasty and had a nice little kick to them, they are smokey, sweet, and spicy. Surprisingly they tasted great cold as well.
Continue reading “Spicy Mushroom Empanadas’”
As Gino DiCampo the Italian chef says ‘maximum flavour, minimum effort’! These are the sort of recipes I love. I made these this week and needless to say they are all gone :-0 They get better after a few days and are definitely naturally sweet enough to ward off any sugar cravings. These are sweetened with dates and honey and are also filling so an all-round winner!
This very simple cake was a hit with my kids (who can be harsh critics!) I was able to knock this up whilst listening to a bible class live from America! I turned the microphone and video off so they couldn’t see me baking 🙂 before long the house smelt of lovely lemon sponge and the children started drifting towards the kitchen to find out what it was. This is not fancy but it is just right with a cup of tea and coffee 🙂
Sitting at work last week I wanted something to boost my immunity but wanted to use up what I already had at home. I drink a lot of water but sometimes fancy a change. I threw what I had at home in the nutri-bullet and this was the result! It was cold and delicious and surprisingly filling. You can, of course, adapt to whatever fruit you have. I used frozen fruit as it’s easy to store and you can use only as much as you need.
Continue reading “Mango, Turmeric, and Ginger Smoothie”
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!
Continue reading “Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Mushroom ‘Sausage Rolls’”