Kitcheree (rice porridge) and Oyster Mushrooms
I lived with my maternal grandmother (Bigmama) for the larger part of my childhood and she influenced so many parts of my personality in those former years, including my love of food. For my grandma food was a tool. A means to show love, a way of bringing her family together, a way of connecting to the community and a way of retaining the parts of her heritage she had left so far behind.
One of the first memories I can recall from living with Bigmama was the incense she used to use with prayers at 4am in the morning. Scents of earthy sandalwood would enter my dreams, taking me to enchanted places as the sun started to rear its head over the horizon.
At 6am, the smell of poppy seeds being tempered in ghee (clarified butter) would start making it’s way up the stairs and into my coax me awake, signalling the start of a new day. By the time I got down the stairs the table would be set with chutneys, all different type, spicy carrot, sweet mango and sour tamarind, as well as different types of poppadum’s, fried, baked, flat, round, all giving a different texture when mixed in with the kitcheree. As we sat and mixed up our porridge my grandma would talk about her life before coming to the UK, bringing up her children and the shop she had run, where she would import food from all over the world, creating a liturgy of foodie children.
This is an ode to that wonderful warming porridge, with a modern twist using mushrooms, since I haven’t quite developed my chutney or poppadum recipes. I’ll never replace the conversations, but Mr. B tries pretty hard and I love him for that.
- 1 cup basmati rice
- ¼ cup split green moong dal
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp. Ghee or oil
- 2 tsps. Mustard seeds
- ½ pound oyster mushrooms
- 1 tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Soak the rice and dal together for an hour
- Bring to the boil with 4 cups of water, skim the white foam off the top
- Add salt and leave to simmer, c. 30 minutes
- Cook till you get a soft texture and taste to add more salt if needed
- Mash with a potato masher or the back of a spoon
- Heat oil/ghee in a separate pan and add the mustard seeds, when they crackle add them to the cooked porridge
- Mix it and serve hot
- For the oyster mushrooms, heat the oil with the garlic to infuse the flavour into the oil
- Place the oyster mushrooms in the pan. Keep in one place in the pan for 3-5 minutes until to braise and add colour, flip once near the end of cooking to cook the other side
- Serve with the porridge, providing a different texture and flavour profile
Beetroot, Potato, Peanut Butter Tikki
This recipe is a modern interpretation of the classic Aloo Tikki, also known as the potato tikki. The recipe is adapted from Chef Manish Mehrotra’s Indian Accent cookbook. His restaurant in New Delhi was recently named India’s best restaurant and his New York version is fast gaining in reputation.
When I first saw this recipe, I thought it seemed a little odd, but it really works. The tikki’s work with a full range of textures and tastes, from the sweetness of the beetroot to the creaminess of the potatoes, the saltiness and crunchy texture of the peanuts, heat and spice from the aromatics and garam masala and the subtle sweetness from the peanut butter.
My grandma used to make Aloo Tikki’s and we would love dipping them into her beautiful vibrant coriander (cilantro) and mint chutney (see older recipe), licking our fingers and the plate when we were done.
This one is for my Bigmama, my kitchen companion and inspiration.
- 2 beetroots
- 2 medium sized potatoes
- 2 tsp. ghee/clarified butter
- ½ tsp. cumin seeds/jeera
- 1 tsp. minced ginger
- ½ tsp. minced garlic
- ½ tsp. minced green chillies
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- Salt, to taste
- 1 tsp. crushed peanuts
- 2 tbsp. peanut butter
- Preheat the oven to 350f, wash the beetroot, wrap in foil and roast for c.30 minutes. Remove from the oven and when cooled, peel and grate
- Boil the potatoes and when cooled, grate
- Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed pan, add the cumin seeds and allow to crackle, sauté the ginger, garlic and green chilli
- Add the grated beetroot, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the water evaporates
- Add grated potato, garam masala and cook for 5 minutes
- Add salt to taste
- Once cooked, transfer to a bowl and mix in crushed peanuts
- Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and roll into balls. Place the ball one at a time into the palm of your hand and make a small indentation. Fill with peanut butter and shape into a patty. Repeat with the balance of the patties
- Put in the fridge, while clearing up, to firm
- When ready to eat, grease a baking tray with coconut oil and bake or pan fry
Raw Vegan Chocolate Truffles
This recipe will blow your mind and challenge you taste buds.
My official tasters thought the truffles tasted as if they were made with cream and couldn’t believe that they were actually full of protein and antioxidants
They don’t take much time or process and you can roll the base in different coatings to make a variety of flavours, just like your favourite chocolate box
I took inspiration for this recipe from one of my favourite blogs, Dates and Avocado’s. Lore Salas has such an amazing eye for detail and has inspired so many of my dessert recipes. After being on instagram for a long time, she has just started a blog and I’d encourage anyone with a sweet tooth to check it out!
Mr. B rating for this one, 12 out of 5, so I know what to make when I need to convince him to do something! Bribery always works!
- 1 cup almond butter
- ½ cup melted cacao butter
- ½ cup cacao powder
- ¼ cup + 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Pinch sea salt
- Cacao nibs
- Matcha Powder
- Chopped nuts
- Or eat on its own
- Blend the almond butter, water, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt in a blender until you get a nice smooth paste
- Stream the melted cacao butter and cacao powder, last
- Pour the batter into a bowl and refrigerate until firm (at least 1 hour)
- Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls
- Roll each ball into the topping of your choice
- Place in the fridge, they should keep for a few weeks, or a few seconds if Mr. B. knows they are there
Chocolate Almond Butter Oats (Vegan, Gluten Free)
This recipe is one of my favourite porridge recipes. It takes 10 minutes in total and whilst it looks and tastes as indulgent as a gooey chocolate brownie, it is full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and slow energy releasing ingredients and protein, such as coconut oil and almond butter
I like to head to the gym in the morning and this is a great protein boast for when I get home. Mr. B. is less mobile in the mornings, but since this breakfast imitates the elements of a dessert, it is great motivation to coax him out of bed!
This recipe is adapted from ‘this rawsome vegan life’ blog; a blog dedicated to vegan breakfasts, desserts and smoothies
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 5 cup water
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp. almond butter
- 1 tbsp. melted coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. cacao powder
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- Add the oats and salt to the water and bring to the boil
- Turn down the heat and stir until it reaches a creamy consistency
- Stir in the almond milk and butter
- To make the chocolate, stir the ingredients together and drizzle over the oats
Chard and Feta Filo Parcels
My lovely father in law has a beautiful little garden, which he likes to tend to every day. He grows beans, eggplants and chard among other things and loves to give me a parcel of veggies whenever I go over. It’s a bit like getting a farmers market delivery every month and I immediately get to work thinking about what new recipe I can make that will do his produce justice.
This is a play on spanakopita, but it much simpler than that and uses chard instead of spinach! I served it with a side salad and we had it as a main, but you could easily serve it as an appetizer.
Mr. B has started a nodding rating system to indicate how much he likes a dish (bobble head to come) and this one gets 4/5, missing one star purely as it is a savoury rather than sweet dish!
- 1 head of chard
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 150g sheep cheese feta
- 1 pack of filo pastry
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
- Salt and pepper
- Put a pan of salted water on to boil
- Preheat the oven to 350f
- Heat 1tbsp. coconut oil and cook the onion gently for 10 minutes till translucent
- In the mean time wash the chard and strip the leaves away from the stalks
- Chop the stalks into small pieces and add them to the onions, add salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes
- Add the chard leaves to the hot water and cook for 1 minute, drain and cool immediately under cold running water. Drain and squeeze as much excess water out as you can. Roughly chop the leaves.
- In a bowl crumble the cheese together with the onions, chard stalks and chopped leaves. Set aside to cool.
- Remove the filo from the packet and lay it out
- Take out one layer and brush with coconut oil, add a second layer on top and repeat
- Place two heaped tablespoons in the middle of the sheet and fold inwards to create a square parcel. Brush with coconut oil, flip and brush the back
- Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and bake for c. 30 minutes or until golden brown
- Once out of the oven, let cool for a few minutes and serve whole or cut into half on the diagonal to create two triangle halves
- Serving suggestion – accompany with a side salad of rocket, extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a dusting of lemon zest (the acid in this salad will help cut through the richness of the feta)
Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies
This is a super easy recipe for one of those days when you just need a cookie straight out of the oven
The wonderful thing about this cookie is that it tastes and smells like a normal chocolate chip cookie but has no flour or sugar. Doesn’t that just blow your mind?! I didn’t think this one would make it through my sweet tooth tasters, but they loved it!
This takes 5 minutes prep time and c. 15 minutes in the oven, making it quicker than ordering insomnia cookies on seamless (a Mr. B move when I am away…)!
- 1 can chickpeas
- ½ cup natural almond/peanut butter
- 5 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ dairy free milk
- 1 tsp. gluten free baking powder
- A pinch sea salt
- 50g vegan chocolate chips (cacao nibs if you want no sugar and/or a textural contrast)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350c
- Blend all the ingredients apart from the chocolate chips
- Fold in the chocolate chips
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper/baking parchment
- Spoon the mixture onto the baking sheet, one heaped tablespoon per cookie and squish it down
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly brown
- Serve warm or cool
Raw, Vegan Beetroot Ravioli
I love this recipe from vegan food and living by Juliette Bryant. It is raw and so takes little time to create. It tastes super luxurious and creamy due to the cashews with the nutritional yeast creating the sensation of a silky cheese sauce.
Beets are best eaten raw as they loose some of their vibrant color and nutrients when cooked. This marinade softens them, making the texture more like pasta than beet.
2 large beetroots
For the marinade
- 60ml olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. tamari
For the filling
- 300g pre-soaked cashews
- 115ml water
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- Chives and parsley (optional)
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Finely slice the beetroots into thin disc shapes and place them into a bowl with the marinade and leave covered for 4 hours. This will soften the beetroots.
- Place all the filling ingredients into a high powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth
- Place a dollop of filling onto the beetroot and then cover with a second piece of beetroot to make the ravioli
- Garnish with a sprig of parsley