All posts tagged: vegetables

Korean Pancakes (Pajun)

Happy Pancake Day! A food bloggers dream: a public holiday dedicated to food! Pancakes were probably the first recipe I learnt to make as a child at school and the only one you didn’t have to take home and share, very little food I made at school made it home to be fair, but that’s another story for another time. We all wanted to mimic the TV chefs we grew up watching flip pancakes single handily. So easy to make and yet so easy to spoil: one too eager shake of the wrist and it was disaster all on the floor. In our home economics class, flipping pancakes almost out did eating one with our limited choice of toppings: chocolate spread, sugar and lemon or honey. I can still remember biting a cigar shaped eggy pancake through to it’s gritty centre of sugar and lemon. All the work of my sticky 11 year old hands. Nothing’s really changed how many years later, only now my taste buds have grown to understand that pancakes speak many languages, none more so than Korean. Korean …

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 …

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.  

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 …

Red Hummus Stuffed Chicken w/ Veg Spaghetti

Sometimes leftovers make the best meals: after making a batch of hummus, I wasn’t sure what else to use it for besides dipping tortilla chips into it. Then there were the left over carrots, aubergine and courgette from a quick vegetable roast I made a few days before. I hunted around for ideas and recipes but couldn’t find anything that really appealed to me: I found many recipes for chicken smothered in hummus, but I felt like that was a bit of a waste and wasn’t convinced the hummus would stick to the chicken while cooking. So in an effort to preserve all the great flavours of the paste and not to lose the vibrant colours and textures from the left over vegetables, I devised what was actually a very tasty dish. It really is less complicated then it looks.  Enjoy!

Cheesy Chipotle Rice ‘n’ Beans

I have to thank my friend Hayley for the inspiration behind this recipe. Last month she asked me to come up with a couple of lunch box recipes for students, tired of limp sandwiches and luke-warm pasta bakes. I completely understood where she was coming from as I have the same dilemma for work lunches; she wanted something tasty, fresh and filling that didn’t look like a dogs dinner after day 3; cheap but not compromising on nutrition and quality. Yeah she wasn’t asking for much really ;-). I’m not a great fan of brown rice. I know many people who eat it religiously and preach about its benefits, but to me it always felt like more effort than it was worth, until I created this recipe. I strongly recommend the use of short grain brown rice: it retains its shape and has a slight nutty texture and taste to it which means it can stand the pressure of being tossed around in a pan without turning into mush like so many other rice grains do. …

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…;-)

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!

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 – …

Roasted Sweet Potato w/ Tahini Garlic Sauce

The best part of making this dish was pulling out the tray of sizzling fresh herbs and olive oil, from out of the oven; it was like being hit in the face with a bunch of Sage and Thyme. It was with great excitement really, because I didn’t know what to expect: I had never combined these potatoes with this sauce before; this isn’t some glorified version of chips with fake garlic sauce from Mr Chippy on the High Street, oh no. All fresh. All real tasty. I tried the Tahini Garlic Sauce in salads during the week, and it worked very well. I think it should also work with other roasted vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower. The sauce can stay fresh for 2-3 days only, in fact the garlic will become more pungent over time. Let me know what combinations you have tried recently (a photo would be nice!)

Spicy Pumpkin Parcels

What to do with left over pumpkin? Especially if you’ve bought a whole pumpkin like what I did, there is always going to be something left. Besides soups and throwing it in the oven, there are numerous creative recipes that can be made with this gourd. These spiced pumpkin parcels are the best example of this: once I baked them I threw a few of them straight into the freezer for those days when I really don’t feel like cooking anything. The pastry has a hint of turmeric powder in it just enough to compliment the flavour and colour of the spicy pumpkin filling. Another optional extra was that I placed two small spinach leaves at the base of the pie, for no other reason than I had some extra spinach lying around in the fridge! Once the parcels have been made they really take no time to bake in the oven and appear on your plate.                    

Spring Salad Series: Kale & Avocado

If you are anything like me, then you will understand when I say that I have not always been a great big fan of Kale. Kale is like the adult equivalent of my childhood trauma with spinach: I thought I had overcome the beast of eating greens and grown up, until I met big daddy Kale in the vegetable aisle. At first I added it to smoothies and diced in chunks of pineapple and mango to disguise its taste and texture. And it worked for the most part. Having said that I actually prefer Kale slightly stir fried in the same way I would other stir fry vegetables, maybe the heat softens its coarse texture. But then came the challenge of Kale fully raw. This salad does the trick, I think the key is not chopping it too finely and also combining it with strong flavours, here I have used balsamic vinegar. You can also dress it with my vegan ranch dressing too! Kale is low in calories and high in fiber and has zero …

A Tale of Four Juices

Now and again I go on a crazy health trip where I banish all refined foods and live off fruit and vegetables. A couple of friends and I committed to this very venture just over a year ago. We picked the 21 day Daniel Fast which is based on the Biblical story of a man named Daniel a young intelligent guy who served in the Palace of the King of Babylon. He had committed to only eating fruits, vegetables and water for 10 days. At the end of the 10 days it is said that Daniel and his friends looked healthier and performed better than his peers who stuck to the rich food served to them from the royal palace kitchen. I am not a victim of eating rich food, just cheap food and plenty of it. The struggle we had was with planning what to eat when so much of our daily stables had been cut out (no eggs, no diary, no bread with yeast, no meat, no sugar). That’s when juices came to …

Sushi & Tofu

You might find it hard to believe, but I am not someone who is very adventurous when it comes to trying new foods: I like to stick to what I know. I’ve come a bit further down the line then where I was a few years a go. I never thought the day would come when I would actually enjoy snacking on cold rice which is essentially what I summed up sushi to be. I was first introduced to sushi whilst at university about 12 years ago. My housemate’s girlfriend at the time is Japanese and she would often prepare sushi at the weekend with him. She must have cornered me or something because I went from going in the kitchen to wash dishes to clapping down a ‘scrambled egg mayo’ sushi she had made. I wouldn’t say it was like fireworks in my mouth (sorry it does get better believe me), but my interest was peaked. The second occasion was probably another 10 years after that, this time it was salmon. But again the …

Pumpkin Rice

This rich and creamy pumpkin rice was inspired by Chris De La Rosa of Caribbean Pot – big shout out to Chris for creating this dish and for being my inspiration behind this blog! (this is the first time he is hearing this). Pumpkin has to be one of my favourite vegetables, it is so versatile as you will see from many other recipes I have created. Your going to see it crop up a few more times on my food journey in the form of soups and pies and maybe fritters. Interestingly enough pumpkin rice wasn’t a dish made in my household from what I can recall, unlike many other forms of ‘cook-up rices’ that I have enjoyed. Stuffing it into grilled sweet peppers simply intensifies the colour and texture if anything else. I enjoyed this dish on its own, but I think it could go well with any fish or meat dish of your choice.