All posts tagged: vegetarian

The New Black: Smoothie Bowl

I’ve been making smoothies  and juices on and off for a while now. Most of us have. We’ve bought into the fad that juices were the way forward to a ‘healthier you’. And in many ways they are: I wouldn’t consume the variety of vegetables and fruits as often as I do were it not for my blender. It really is a helpful way of getting all your nutrients in throughout the day. I think some time last week I left the house with 3 different bottles filled with either fruit or vegetables juiced down to a pulp: breakfast, lunch and a ‘protein power smoothie’ for after the gym. Yes I’m on it! If there is any set back with this, it’s with the opaque bottles. After my hard work colour co-ordinating  and blending turmeric, orange and carrot, it looked more like ‘sundown’ than sunrise yellow through the dim lens of the bottle.  Then it becomes a tad boring sipping kale juice through a straw everyday, which is sad really because most of us eat with our eyes first. …

Ethiopian Lentil Stew (Misir Wot)

If you can’t stand the heat, then you better stay out the Ethiopian Kitchen! It’s not that Ethiopian food doesn’t have a range of mild flavoured dishes, they do, but pepper is so essential to the cuisine that to avoid it is to essentially ban yourself from the whole experience! Ethiopian Cuisine: I haven’t tasted anything so lip-smackingly delicious in a good long time! I’m gonna be stuck on this for a while! Ok admittedly the last time I tasted authentic Ethiopian cuisine was about a year ago where I just happened to walk by a small take away 5 minutes walk down Kingsland High Street in Dalston, London. They offer a selection of stews or ‘wots’ with a combination or rice or the infamous Injera bread, all for just £4!! Many Ethiopian’s are Orthodox Christians who traditionally eat vegan on Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as other special days,  hence why there is such a wide selection of vegan/vegetarian Ethiopian dishes. This recipe is adapted from the more classic Misir Wot, which literally means ‘lentil stew’; I have added …

Berbere Spice: a blend of Ethiopia

Berbere, which means “hot” in Amharic, is an Ethiopian spice blend very common to Ethiopian cooking. Most of the heat comes from the fiery long red finger of dried chillies buried under heaps of other amazing spices. Berbere is treated very much like an ‘all purpose’ seasoning, so it can be added to stews, vegetables, meat, fish and probably even rice as well. As I carried out my research to find the most authentic blend, I soon realised, whichever combination I found, it would pretty much empty out my whole kitchen cupboard! I think I turned over every jar, bottle and cup that had spices in them. It actually felt good to use them again, some like fenugreek had barely been touched; and I was getting tired of the same old 1-2-3 combinations I’ve been falling back on for yonks (haven’t used that word in ages?!). Doesn’t it look amazing! And it tastes absolutely delicious! You’ve basically cut your seasoning time down to less than a minute! Ok let’s take a closer look: Salt Cinnamon Cloves Cardamom Smoked Paprika Coriander …

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 …

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.  

Breadfruit Curry

Happy New Year! I had an enjoyable Christmas and New Years with friends and family, for the first time, I didn’t do much of the cooking, I was determined this year that I wanted to have a break from the kitchen and have some quality time with people I love, which I did. Nevertheless my brain was still ticking away with recipes and new projects for the coming year and so having made it through the first week back at work, I am ready to kick things off again with Loretta’s Kitchen! Many of us have started the new year with resolutions: lose weight, start a new course, learn a language etc…,maybe all three. Well how about adding to your list, ‘try out new cuisines, fruits and vegetables’? If you can’t afford to travel this year, you can bring the’exotic’ to your kitchen ;-). To help you out, I thought I would introduce some of you to an interesting fruit. Known as ‘Breadfuit’. Breadfruit found mainly in the Caribbean (although native to Tahiti), is a large …

Rice ‘n’ Peas Risotto w/ Crispy Okra

We sat in our regular cafe spot not far from Highbury and Islington Station; me mulling over an overly sweet Chai Latte, him a large, mug of Americano, our opposing tastes in beverages mirroring our personalities… Him: “Have you made it yet?” Me: “Made what? The Roti Wrap? The De-constructed Ackee and Saltfish? He had thrown so many weird and wonderful recipes ideas at me over the last few months I couldn’t keep track, and I wasn’t sure if he really wanted me to take him seriously. Him: “The Rice and Peas Risotto (blank stare). I think if you make it with coconut milk, it’ll be a great fusion you know…?” Me: “Oook…?” I tried to picture it in my head. I was stepping onto sacred ground here: NO ONE messes with rice and peas…a famous chef was publicly humiliated for his version of rice and peas which insulted the whole of the global black population. How would I pass such a test??? Why was my boyfriend setting me a challenge that could go disastrously …

Smokin’ Fried Plantain

Plantain…isn’t is just a big banana? Well no, because unlike regular bananas, it can’t be eaten raw. However just like a dessert banana, the longer its left to ripen, the sweeter and softer it becomes! Since as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed ripe Plantain in various ways: steamed, baked, fried… Basically if you treat it just like a potato you can make some really interesting dishes: salads, chips, crisps, even mashes. Unlike it’s close cousin the green banana, which I also love, but I’m finding hard to be win over to the masses because of its firm waxy texture (which makes it good for potato salads)  – see my ‘Fig Salad’ recipe for example 😉 To fry the plantain, you want the banana to be firm with some dark spots (like the middle row below), too soft and you won’t be able to slice it well, and the high sugar content will cause it to caramelise and stick to the frying pan. Not a pretty sight! This recipe combines two of my favourite ingredients: plantain and …

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

This version does not disappoint – it’s full of flavor and wonderfully creamy. Hummus is a really versatile addition to your food pantry, which has sadly been relegated to dips, chips and wraps, so if you’re interested what else its good with, check out my next post:

Soft Spinach Tortilla

These tortillas are unbelievably soft and tasty. The bright green dough is what strikes you first before you rip it open and dip it in some cool hummus or filling of your choice. I love how these wraps turned out, a lot better than I expected. To re-heat them, I recommend you fold them and place it in the toaster for a 10-20 seconds if your feeling lazy like me, keeping a close eye on it of course, otherwise a minute or two in the oven. You won’t regret it…;-)

Pineapple & Ginger Cobbler w/ Coconut Whip

A twist on the ol’ peach cobbler, pineapple twist that is. The most satisfying part of any pie is the crust – it’s all about the textures, and oozing fruit pulp erupting through the cakey topping. This has to be the best cobbler topping I have ever had- you could practically eat it on its own like a warm cookie. The whipped coconut cream is best served straight away, but can be stored in an air tight container for up to a week. It will harden in the fridge, the longer it stays chilled, simply mix until creamy again, when ready to serve.

10 second Fig Ice-cream

I can’t remember when I first tasted a fresh fig, but I know that since that day there has been no going back. I grew up eating a lot of dried fruit: dates, bananas, and figs. Bananas soon got banished and picked out of every cereal bowl it showed up in. Frozen bananas on the other hand was just genius lurking in the pews: gone are the days of blackened fruit spoiling your fruit  bowl or attracting fruit flies or bread recipes. Now I can have ‘fresh’ bananas whenever I want them. Frozen bananas or any fruit make amazing fruit smoothies, but also desserts as this recipe demonstrates: you don’t have to use the dates, but because I love the caramel swirls like taste of figs in the dairy version of fig ice-cream, I needed something to substitute that. I love the rich pink colour the figs give to this ice-cream, half of eating is with the eyes as they say. Quick, healthy, raw and ready in minutes!

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 …

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 …

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 …

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.