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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Spinach, Lentil 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.
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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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Fasolada (Bean Soup)

Let’s face it. Summer is pretty much over here in the UK. My thoughts are turning to soothing comfort food. I needed something comforting the other day and I remembered this simple bean soup that uses the best of seasonal vegetables and delivers in flavour and nutrition. I haven’t been so organised lately, long working hours and a family to keep on track has taken up a lot of my time. I am going to make another batch of this rich and thick soup for the week, so I know I have a bowl of goodness waiting for me at lunchtime. Just remember to soak your beans in cold water the night before you plan to make it.
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Koulourakia (Greek Cookies)

These are vegan, healthy and easy to make – although I had an epic fail the first time I made them! The recipe for these delicious Greek biscuits came from Kyria Georgia, our wonderful holiday landlady from Aroni in Chania, Crete. She brought these upstairs to us fresh from the oven (she came every other day with one of her fabulous home-cooked dishes :-)) needless to say – they were demolished very quickly! These are my favourite cookies to have with my mid-morning coffee on my balcony and think about my next trip to Greece 🙂 The original recipe featured ammonia bicarbonate (this is really old school Greek and makes the biscuits extra crispy), however, the strength of the one I ordered must have been industrial as it tasted like petrol! I have adapted the recipe a bit – but these came out really well and were fun to make! Continue reading “Koulourakia (Greek Cookies)”

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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Walnut Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

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I am eating a lot of salad at the moment and as much as I love olive oil, I am trying to cut down a little on the amount of oil I consume without compromising on flavour. This little salad dressing does the trick! I used my Nutri-bullet to blend it in seconds. This comes from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s bestselling book Eat for Life and is used as part of a whole food plant-based lifestyle. It’s easy and tasty and will allow you to add generously to salads!

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Ginger Lemonade

Blue Zones

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!
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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)

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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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Simple Lemon Cake

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 🙂

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Mango, Turmeric, and Ginger Smoothie

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.
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Aloo Gobi – Cauliflower, Potato, and Pea Curry

A traditional vegetarian dish served at nearly all Indian restaurants and this is healthy and very easy to put together. I love cauliflower and the great thing about cooking this from home is that you can put as much or as little spice as you like. This dish doesn’t use coconut milk and very little oil – so it is not a heavy dish at all. Served with warm wholemeal naan, it has a lot of flavour and digests very well. I will definitely be making this again!
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Tangy White Bean Salad

As the sun slowly starts to put in an appearance it’s time to start moving away from winter comfort food and embrace spring! (Even if we can’t physically get out much at the moment 🙂 ) I need easy recipes that are filling but still deliver on taste. A few days of anything processed or skipping meals and I start to feel run-down. It’s super tasty and you can add in whatever you please to bulk it out – though it’s pretty filling. All of the ingredients are available, and with a zingy dressing  – it’s a great, time-saving lunch.

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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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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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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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Delicious Banana Muffins

These muffins are a great way to use up overripe bananas and they really taste sweet and delicious – I had to grab these early this morning as they were the last 2! and my son wanted one to eat on the way to school 🙂 the bananas give a natural sweetness and the addition of coconut sugar make them taste almost like golden syrup. the texture is really good, moist and dense – I shall be making another batch this afternoon!

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Lentil Soup Syrian Style (Shorbat Adas)

I went for lunch yesterday with a good friend of mine and we went to a little local cafe where I had a delicious bowl of this soup – which reminded me how good it tastes! I’m not a huge fan of cumin but for some reason, I really find this soup comforting. Cumin is really good for digestion and is a rich source of iron, combined with an antibiotic property it really is a super spice! This soup is wonderful served with toasted pitta bread.
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Tomato & Orzo Soup (Manestra)

I am always on the lookout for cheap, flavoursome and healthy dishes and this is a winner! The weather in London right now is pants – so I fancy something warming and that doesn’t take much thought – but of course, delivers on flavour and health benefits. I never tried this when I lived in Greece but its full of the flavours of the Mediterranean! (who knew even tinned tomatoes are good for you!)
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Chickpea and Plantain Curry

Another wonderful Ital dish – I got the original idea from the Original Flava cookbook (this is the recipe that made me pick up the book and buy it!) it’s full of flavour and the plantain adds such a lovely sweet flavour – I love this with brown rice and a piece of naan bread. Make sure the plantain you use are ripe (should be speckled brown and gives a bit when you squeeze it).
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Raw Cacoa Energy Balls

These little gems are surprisingly filling and give you that mid-morning sweet treat without the guilt! They did not last very long and even the kids had a couple (if they knew they were made of dates they may not have!). Dates are very good for you and are a good source of energy – they are also full of fibre and antioxidants. They have a low glycemic index so will not cause a sugar spike but help to regulate blood sugar levels – so a couple of these will do the trick at break time 🙂

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Easy Peasy Pancakes

These pancakes are great for kids and can be thrown together really easily. You can add any number of little extras; chopped bananas, blueberries, figs, strawberries etc. If you don’t want to use honey, you can use maple syrup or agave nectar. This is a great little recipe if you have guests staying over and want to make a delicious breakfast.

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