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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Courgette, Pea & Mint Soup

This was soooo quick and easy and delivered a deliciously smooth, tasty soup – it probably took 30 minutes from start to finish and is ridiculously cheap. The peas pack a health punch, preventing heart disease, reducing the risk of cancer and aid weight loss 🙂 Meanwhile the courgettes are delivering Vitamin C and K and folic acid – keeping bone and muscle health strong. Aways keep the peel on the courgettes as that is where most of the nutrients are. I promise you will never go back to tinned or packaged soup again!
Thanks to Made in Hackney again for this economical, super tasty recipe.
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Aubergine Parmigiana

This is winter comfort food! A really nice dish to serve for a lunch with friends, you can leave it in the oven cooking nicely – leaving your kitchen smelling delicious and you free to chat 🙂 (my favourite pastime!) I would normally serve this with fresh warm bread and a lightly dressed crunchy salad………….. Continue reading “Aubergine Parmigiana”

Jamaican Sorrel Drink (Hibiscus Flower)

 

I have much to thank my Jamaican in-laws for, not least for my first taste of this Caribbean linctus. I was first offered this one Christmas and was immediately hooked! Although traditionally served at Christmas the medicinal properties of this plant-based drink mean it has become a year-round staple in our home. It has a distinctive strong, tangy taste and has a refreshing effect that is hard to describe – it’s energising and amazingly good for you. It’s best to make it and then leave in the fridge for 4-5 days for the flavour to really develop.
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Mushroom Bolognese

So, peeps – I wasn’t expecting much from this recipe, to be honest – I needed a quick mid-week recipe that was easy to put together and would satisfy. Trust me by the time I get home from a long day at work I can totally appreciate why people feel like sticking something from the freezer into the oven! I was very pleasantly surprised by this cheeky little bolognese 🙂  – it was really tasty and filling and so easy to make. It lasts for a few days in the fridge and is also perfect for taking to work for lunch.
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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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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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Caribbean Ital Stew

I love the whole ethos of Rastafarian food – choosing foods as near to their natural state as possible, foods that align with the Old Testament Levitical law and eating foods that nourish and strengthen the body. Organic fruits and vegetables are centre stage and no meat! Although the diet was never meant for weight loss – have you ever seen a fat Rasta?!!!
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Hearty Veggie Chilli

As winter takes hold, its time to make some hearty, stick to your ribs recipes! Using veggies that are in season, this is very easy and gets better after a day or two:-) You can always play about with these recipes and add in what you have to hand (within reason!) served with a lovely bowl of steaming hot rice and some tortillas  – its a real crowd-pleaser. Continue reading “Hearty Veggie Chilli”

Olive Oil Cookies

These should really be in the Greek Zone but it’s getting quite busy over there! I love these biscuits – they are vegan and very simple to make – you can still enjoy a mid-morning cup of coffee and a biscuit without feeling bad 🙂 You can always swap the sugar for coconut sugar or Stevia if you want to.  I love anything with cinnamon or cloves and these do not disappoint.

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Curried Cauliflower Soup

Today feels like a soup day – I love London but it’s cold and grey this morning so something warm and healthy is in order. This recipe is full of good things like turmeric, cumin and cashews – what’s not to like?! It’s vegan and tastes delicious  – cheap and easy to make, so no excuses 🙂

The humble cauliflower is a good source of fibre (keeps things moving along!) It also has lots of antioxidants which supports a healthy immune system. Continue reading “Curried Cauliflower Soup”

Vegan Fruit Cake – Fanouropita

This lovely spiced fruit cake is a guilt-free pleasure! The recipe makes up to a fairly hefty sized cake – It didn’t last very long I’m afraid 😦 my boys devoured it – helped by my husband. (I may have had a small slice !)
It’s pretty easy to throw together and your kitchen will smell amazing while it’s cooking. The fact that it’s pretty healthy to eat is an added bonus.

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Black Eye Peas and Spinach

This is a very cost-effective, tasty dish full of iron, anti-oxidants and fibre. I probably ate my own body weight of this last week! However, due to the filling nature of the peas, you don’t need to serve it with anything – no rice or bulgur – unless you are starving! This is the sort of dish that is great to have when friends come over – it’s easy to make and you can leave it simmering on the hob.

***The peas need to be soaked overnight and boiled for an hour but it’s worth it and it keeps in the fridge for a good few days.****
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Aubergine Salad (Melitazonsalata)

I have always avoided making this dish, it looked complicated and a bit of a faff! but I recently went on holiday to Crete and my friends amazing mum showed me how to make it. It’s great with fresh bread as a dip or as a side dish but I also use it as a replacement for butter in sandwiches – filled with crispy salad.

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Spinach Rice (Spanakorizo)

This is a great dish for getting some spinach in your diet, it can be eaten as a dish on its own or as a side dish with fish or a salad. I only use brown rice now, white rice and whole-wheat rice make my stomach bloated and again have been bleached, with a lot of the goodness taken out. Brown rice takes slightly longer to cook but is much better for you and has more protein and fibre than its white counterpart which has its bran and germ removed (why would you do that?!!! take out the bits that are good for you?) Continue reading “Spinach Rice (Spanakorizo)”

Red Lentil and Spinach Curry

 

This is one of my favourite lunch recipes for work – it’s filling, nourishing and very, very tasty. It will last in the fridge for up to 4 days and freezes well. I tend to serve it with seasoned brown rice or bulgur wheat. Lentils are low in calories, rich in protein, iron and folate. Basically, they are very good for you!!! Continue reading “Red Lentil and Spinach Curry”