All posts filed under: Vegetarian

Chargrilled Aubergine Pesto

“The flame-roasted aubergine imparts a deep, smoky flavour while the sun-dried tomato lifts the whole with its sweet, sharp zing. Excellent as it is on pasta, or as a dip with vegetal dippers, or as a base for a tomato and aubergine galette” – Dale Berning Sawa – Chargrilled Aubergine Pesto: Guardian Recipe Swap February 2016 Bajan Choka meets Basil Pesto. That’s the best way to describe the combination of these two classic dishes from Trinidad and Italy. Bajan Choka is a Trinidadian side dish . The intense flavour comes from being roasted on an open flame which rapidly cooks and flavours the flesh in its skin. The smokey soft pulp is then fried with onions, hot pepper and usually served with Paratha Roti. Most of us are familiar with basil pesto; I am especially from my years as a student. This was my go to jar to lift my pasta dishes out of the tuna mayo and sweetcorn era I found myself locked into. Nowadays I make my own from time to time, I love the fresh robust taste of the basil and raw …

Vegan Crab Cakes

Can I get excited about this recipe for one second? Ok make it three. This recipe rips open the door of creativity and taste. I have never been a follower of the fake meat parade: mock duck, prawn, bacon etc…I used to joke and say if your’e going to go through all that trouble re-creating something which you said you won’t eat for whatever reason, you might as well eat it the real thing. Can there be any benefit in eating a soya chunk which has been artificially manufactured and manipulated, dyed and fried to look like a squiggly prawn? It’s not for me. Having said all of that, slowly crawling off my milk crate here, these ‘crab’ cakes are pretty convincing. Of course no comparison to the real thing, but what I like about this recipe is that it has retained the classic seasoning used in crab cakes and simply substituted the meat for artichokes which when pulled apart resembles the flakiness of white fish or in this case crab.   Most vegan versions of this …

Greens with Roasted Lemon

I think the picture says it all: a simple way to dress up your vegetables and bring out their natural flavour. I simply sliced the lemon into two halves and placed them face down into a hot grill pan with a little oil, just to help it not to stick to the pan. I left it on one side for about a 1-2 minutes, then removed them from the pan. I simply blanched the broccoli in a bowl of boiling water for 2 minutes (maximum) or until the tender stems turned a bright green. I then transferred the vegetables to an ‘ice bath’ of very cold water; This is to stop the cooking process and to help retain the bright green colour. I then tossed the greens into a skillet with a little olive oil. I then squeezed the grilled lemon over the greens. Roasting the lemon helps extract more of the juice and slightly caramelises the taste of the lemon. A great side dish for any occasion.  

Pesto Vinaigrette

So you made some Pesto which goes really well with the hot ribbons of tagliatelle you made. That kept you interested for a couple of days. But now you’re tired of pasta, and pesto is following close behind to be stored at the back of the fridge and forgotten. It really doesn’t have to end this way. Really. A couple of splashes of lemon and white wine vinegar – and you have revived the green sauce to become Pesto dressing, perfect for drizzling over a tomato and mozzarella salad. The croutons as pictured were made simply preparing a dish of olive oil, ripped fresh thyme, crushed garlic and salt, heating in the oven for a few minutes before tossing in ripped up pieces of a good loaf of white bread and returning it to the oven to crisp. Now if that doesn’t get your taste buds going, then maybe make less Pesto next time…enjoy x

Black Garlic Aioli w/ Parmesan Balsamic Roasted Cauli’s

So this packet of black garlic sat at the back of my cupboard for the longest while. I would shift it around, pick it up and put it down. I was afraid to open it and start the process of probing, tasting and experimenting. But eventually I got the confidence to read the blurb on the package; It reads:                                                                                                                                                       “Black garlic is sweet meets savory, a perfect mix of molasses-like richness and tangy garlic undertones. It has a tender, almost jelly-like texture with a melt-in-your-mouth consistency similar to a soft dried fruit. Hard to believe, but true. It’s as delicious as it …

Sun dried Tomato Feta Parcels

I could sit and munch on these little parcels all day. In fact when I go out to a Turkish Restaurant in London, I almost always order the feta cheese parcels from the menu. Their ingredients vary only slightly between restaurants with some preferring to keep it simple: frying the filo pastry filled parcels to a crispy golden hue before serving hot. Last night I had some filed with a blend of parsley and feta cheese. They’re perfectly fine filled with the cheese alone, I love the creamy warm texture of the salty cheese. I think I might try adding some mint the next time make them. But you can experiment with all kinds of combinations here: spinach with pine nuts, mixed herbs and garlic or as pictured here sun dried tomatoes, herbs and capers. I think if I made this recipe again, I would tone down the tomato/ caper paste as it competes too much with the saltiness of the cheese and capers. But if you like strong flavours then this might be the combination for …

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Soup

So this is how you make effortless, tasty and satisfying soup in minutes. Soup doesn’t have to be complicated nor does it need a whole bunch of ingredients to leave your mouth watering for more. I grew up using yellow or red split peas as a base for thick soups. But as the split peas release no flavour of their own, I found myself adding tons of ingredients, and root vegetables which meant more time in the kitchen and less time doing the other things I enjoyed doing. This soup however is complete in 3 easy steps: roast, blend, boil. And if you have any left over, it could work as a good based for a pasta dish or stew. The dense sweet nutty flavour of this variety of pumpkin (normally sold in caribbean markets) when roasted needs very little to enhance its flavour more. You can add more or less water to achieve the consistency you want. I think you’re going to really like this one…;-)

Quick Golden Multi-seed Bread

There is nothing more appealing than the smell and look of fresh bread from straight out the oven. It sends you drooling, scrambling for the bread knife or the first opportunity to rip a piece out of its side to smother it with cool butter, jam or chocolate spread. In this case chocolate spread won: it was a delicious combination of Nutella with the crunchy seeds and malty taste of the fluffy bread that made my midday brunch most satisfying. And to think that only a couple of hours earlier this loaf of bread was merely a packet of bread mix, olive oil and a bit of water away from becoming delicious! This is probably the most surprisingly tasty bread mixes I have made: the dough turned into deep caramel the moment I started to add water to the mix. I was also tempted at some stage to add honey to the mix, in fear the bread would be bland, but it wasn’t necessary. The bread was fluffy and had a slight sweetness to it. The following day …

Spiced Porridge w/ Sweet Sprinkles

I used to think anything that was good for me normally takes a long time to prepare, before I realised I was really just making excuses for eating the sugary, empty carb, fattening diet that I relished. Breakfast is always a test of my resolve: how I start the day normally determines how the rest of my day will play out. So getting breakfast right is very important to me. I love Granola but, we all fancy a change once in a while. And with the weather cooling down and the winds picking up, I fancied something warm, nutritious and quick in my belly. This recipe is quick, easy and very tasty. You can use any non-diary milk that you like (I’m enjoying the oat, almond and coconut flavours out there now). And don’t forget the sprinkles! These sweet sprinkles (a mixture of candied cranberry and dried apricot and seeds) work very well with the warm spice flavours in the porridge. Method: 1 cup porridge oats 2 cups non diary milk (almond milk was used here) …

Creamy Spaghetti with Italian Style Sprinkles

This recipe was literally created on the journey home from work. I had a mental picture in my head of what I had left in the fridge, cupboard and wherever else I hid food in the kitchen. I knew I had some soft cheese left over from making the Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie, I had some sun-dried tomatoes which I had bought yonks ago and had been meaning to use at some point; I also had several packets of savoury seed and oat sprinkles. Soft cheese is a great base for sauces whether combined with salmon or vegetables. And so flowing from that I thought, spaghetti would do a good job of soaking up that creamy sauce to make a filling evening meal (which could roll over to form my lunch the next day). Out of the selection of savoury sprinkles, I picked the Italian Salad Sprinkle as I thought the mix of toasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds and red onion would add a nice crunch and sweetness to the dish. And it really did! I used half the packet and …

Green Fig Salad

    It was only during my first trip to Trinidad as a teenager that I realised the sheer variety of bananas that existed. Most of us are familiar with the Chiquito variety of medium sized bananas and a few more with yellow plantain and even green banana. But Trinidad introduced to me red skin banana, sour tasting banana, short fig and cooking fig. I think I’ll work with the 3 I know for now. This recipe is a typical alternative to potato salad in Trinidad. The firm starchy texture of the green banana makes it a usual candidate for  Metemgee; but it works really well in this salad as it resembles the waxy texture of new potatoes.  It’s also packed with vitamin C, B6 and Potassium, so don’t feel guilty serving yourself a larger portion.

Guyanese: Pine Tarts

A friend of mine ‘returned home’ to get married in Guyana and a couple of our mutual friends joined her for the experience. For most of them, this was their first trip to Guyana; although of Caribbean descent themselves, I had to admit I was slightly nervous for them as Guyana is a very different experience to say Jamaica and Trinidad and so I was interested to hear their take on the country, especially as I hadn’t seen the country for over 10 years myself. They all came back smiling I am pleased to say, not only for our friend whose wedding was beautiful and heart warming, but also for the love of the country. “Those Pine Tarts were so amazing!” recalled one of my friends, also the Chief Bridesmaid at the wedding. “And although I don’t eat a lot of meat, I really enjoyed the pepperpot stew”. I was curious to hear how much Guyana had really developed since I last visited. When I was there, it felt very rural yet lively with friendly, approachable people and social events that brought out …

Spiced Walnut Butter

      If your anything like me, walnuts haven’t rated too highly on my ‘nut list’ either. But did you know that walnuts have the highest amount of omega 3- fatty acid of any nut? In other words it’s the all round hair, skin and nail food. Now does it sound a bit more appealing? Ok well I tried. I still believe the walnut has the right to be released from the prison of banana breads and festive nut trail mixes; it has a hugely bold even bitter flavour, I agree, but when combined with sweet cinnamon and nutmeg, it seems to mellow down to a smooth pecan like taste. I say make the most of that trail mix and create the most irresistible butter you would have ever tasted. I’ve been enjoying it all week and feeling good! This recipe can keep for up to 2 weeks if stored in an air tight glass jar in the fridge. This recipe makes just over a cup of walnut butter. Enjoy!  

Roasted Chickpea Salad

    I’ve been talking about making this recipe for so long and now I’ve finally made it. It was certainly worth the prep talk! Salads can be boring at times, especially if you have made it your main meal (usually at lunchtime) and you don’t have that bottle of dressing or sachet of mayonnaise to hand. These spicy chickpeas gives this salad the kick that it needs; it not only appeals to me visually, but it also gives an interesting crunchy texture to the salad. Obviously you can try any salad combination that you want, and maybe throw in some humus somewhere in between. All I know is that these chickpeas will be on repeat for a few more months!

Vanilla Cardamom infused Mango w/ Honeyed Greek Yoghurt

  Greek Yoghurt has become my new obsession, especially now that I appreciate its health benefits a bit more. I have always been a lover of yoghurts: my family of 6 was split cleanly down the middle; 3 gulped it down by the gallons, the others couldn’t care less. I experimented with soya yoghurts and even coconut ones for a while, the latter tasting mega delicious, but at £3 a small pot I couldn’t sustain it for too long. Maybe I’ll experiment a little with making my own…who knows. But in the meantime, this recipe works just fine. If you want to preserve some of the nutrition from the mangoes, you might only want to poach it gently, remove the fruit and then allow the liquid to simmer to a syrup like consistency.  

{Cheaters} Pilau Rice

  The good thing about using short grain brown rice in this recipe, besides its huge health benefits, is that unlike regular brown rice, short grain rice tends to retain its form and shape and can soak up a lot of flavour. It’s best for ‘one pot’ recipes like this where the rice takes quite a few knocks before being served; I find it it very difficult to over cook this rice surprisingly (see my pumpkin rice recipe as another example). To be really honest, I am not the greatest fan of brown rice unless its well seasoned; But when I have shared this dish with friends, no one really notices the substitute of brown rice – which is great! A great way to sneak in good food to you health-phobe mates! The great cheat in this is the Pilau seasoning. Looking at the ingredients on the bottle, I could probably replicate it, but sometimes you just want good food without the effort! And this seasoning tastes pretty authentic to me. For more information on the health benefits …

Sedano al Pomodoro

    This has to be the first time I have given celery centre stage in a dish. Most of the time it remains well hidden in a stir-fry, rice or soup; the only indication of its presence being its strong aniseed flavour or the random in-digestible stalk that gets caught between your teeth. But with its firm crunchy texture and fine grooves along its spine, celery ought to be used a lot more like pasta as it can carry a lot of sauce on its back without wilting under the weight. So here I have created this recipe: ‘Celery in Tomato Sauce’ basically, for the ‘Beat the Bloat’ series I’m running at the moment. All of this week I have been consuming only those recipes that I have mentioned in the series, and along with daily exercise I have to say, I feel amazing! Very refreshed and not ‘full’ to the point of wanting to sleep midday (if there’s any cause for sleep, its this beautiful hot sun we’ve been enjoying lately). So enjoy this side dish with rice or maybe even spaghetti – …

7 Recipes to Beat Bloating

    I know I’m not the only one who has experienced the ‘bloated feeling’, when your tummy is stretched, puffy, uncomfortable and feels like a permanent rubber dingy round your waist. It often follows a big weekend of eating badly or late into the evening or some other festive occasion. But for some people, bloating is more than an occasional inconvenience. If your stomach or tummy often feels bloated, it could be due to several things besides excessive wind and constipation. Funny, I was always told as a child to chew my food properly and to drink peppermint tea and water, I wish I knew then what I know now that these are some of the aids to reducing bloating. Medical advice is always advised if this appears to be your experience over a sustained period of time, but for many other people, there are moderate changes and intelligent ways we can incorporate ‘Bloat Beating’ foods into our diets and hopefully avoid the need for medical intervention. This week I will be sharing with you 7 recipes …

Delicious Peanut Flax Granola

Rome was not built in a day, neither was Granola, or so it seemed. The secret to good granola is to cook it slow and low! I learn from my mistakes very quickly! The first time I made this, I put the oven on so high, the granola cooked to a crisp; rather than throw all my hard work away, I grimaced and ate the bitter cereal the rest of the week. Never again. Top tip: after 20 minutes in the oven, take it out and turn the mixture, making sure to push the granola from the edges inward toward the middle. Then place it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove and stir it one final time before returning it to the oven for the last 10 minutes: a total of 40 minutes! Long wait but the reward is so great; your breakfasts (or even snacks) will leave you feeling so satisfied. You can thank me later…enjoy!