‘I’d rather have a cupboard full of herbs than a closet full of heals’
This is a beautiful dish using vibrant herbs to bring the dish to life. It is an old levantine dish, native to the middle east but widely eaten all over the world. I substituted the bulgar wheat here for quinoa on my husbands suggestion (Mr B also known as the reluctant foodie, is reluctant no more…)
Apart from cooking the quinoa, the rest of the prep is just chopping the vegetables and herbs. An easy quick after work recipe, good as lunch, dinner or a side to a summer BBQ.
- ½ cup quinoa
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ tsp. salt and pepper
- 1 cup parsley, chopped
- ½ cup mint, chopped
- ½ cup coriander, chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- Bring one cup of water to the boil
- Meanwhile toast quinoa dry in a frying pan, till it gives off a toasty aroma
- Once toasted, pour the quinoa in the boiling water
- Turn down the heat and simmer until the water is absorbed
- Remove from heat and allow to cool
- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper
- Combine the herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers and quinoa, mix and add dressing
These are boiled nuts…But look closer….and a little closer still and you’ll find a hidden treasure trove of travel and childhood memories
These boiled nuts are a snack that my grandma used to make in Africa, the recipe and tradition of which she brought to the UK (some say the nuts too). I have only ever heard this dish being called Balala, which after some research (thanks google) I derided must come from a child’s interpretation of Bambara, which is what these nuts are called
This dish is originally from West Africa and so has made it’s way all over the world through the immigrant families of colonized nations who made there way through Africa to other far flung destinations and of course the recipe also travelled with the slave trade and so can still be found in may homes and restaurants in the southern united states
The process of soaking and boiling takes a while, but the result is a childhood memory and of a loved one no longer with us
So I’ll take this opportunity to say once more, thank you Bigmama for your love, caring, your warm embrace may no longer be available to hold us close but your recipes show us your journey, your strength and your eternal love. Happy 95th Birthday
- 1 1/2 cups salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 2 pounds raw peanuts in the shell
- Dissolve 1/2 cup salt in 2 gallons water in a 3-gallon stockpot; add peanuts. (Weigh down peanuts, if desired, with a large plate or lid to ensure they’re fully submerged.) Soak 8 hours or overnight
- Drain water; refill pot with 2 gallons water and remaining 1 cup salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 5 to 8 hours or until peanuts are tender, adding water as needed to keep peanuts covered; stir occasionally. (South Carolina-style peanuts are very soft, but some cooks prefer them al dente.) When the peanuts have boiled 3 hours, check for texture and saltiness. If the peanuts are not salty enough, add salt in 1/4-cup increments, turn off heat, and let soak 1 hour. Check peanuts for seasoning every hour.
- Remove from heat, and cool 1 hour.
- Drain and eat immediately or store (in the shell) in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer. Boiled peanuts will keep 7 days in the refrigerator, several months in the freezer.
‘Work hard is silence and let success make the noise’
This is a quick stir fry recipe, but the mustard, curry leaves and turmeric give the depth of a dish that has been cooked for days. This was one of my grandma’s side dishes, so humble and inconspicuous on the table, but so wholesome and tasty. I like it as a main. My grandma was similar to this, she was humble and tried to fade into the background, but was the centre of our world, giving advice, keeping us fed, happy and cared for.
- 1 small green cabbage
- 1-3 chilies (to taste), finely chopped
- 2 tsp. coconut oil
- ½ tsp. mustard seeds
- 7-8 curry leaves
- 1 tsp. mustard powder
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 -2 tsp. salt
- 3 tsp. lemon juice
- Shred the cabbage, place in a bowl and add the chilies
- Put the oil in a wok over a low heat, add the mustard seeds, when they pop, add the curry leaves (be careful as they will splutter)
- Add the cabbage, stir fry until it has wilted, 2-3 minutes
- Add the turmeric and mustard powder
- Add salt and lemon juice, stir and serve
“Good food is all the sweeter, when shared with good friends”
This is a beautiful light dessert, with the sweet fragrance of a souk from the rose petals and pistachios. It is an easy blender recipe, with the base made mainly of dates and nuts and the topping 90% avocado. I served it at the end of my plant to table dinner and the guests loved the way it looked, the subtle sweetness and it’s delicate nature after a 3 course meal.
- ½ cup raw pistachios
- 6 soft Medjool dates, pitted
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 2 medium avocados, de-seeded and peeled
- 6 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. rose water
- ¼ cup pistachios
- Pinch of salt
- Place all the crust ingredients apart from the maple syrup into the blender and process to a crumble
- Add the maple syrup and process again to a sticky crumble
- Transfer the mixture to a 5-inch springform pan
- Press the mixture into the bottom
- Place in the freezer whilst you work on the filling
- Blend all the filling ingredients apart from the pistachios, make sure the mixture is well combined
- Add the pistachios and blend again, but not until fully blended, as you want to see visible specs in the mixture
- Add to the base and smooth the top over
- Add toppings, I used rose peals and more pistachios
- Place in the freezer for at least 4-5 hours
- If you have leftovers, keep them frozen otherwise the mix will oxidise and change color
‘Winter is a season of recovery and preparation’.
Stroganoff is an old classic Russian recipe from the 18th century, that has become popular around the world. You can imagine people eating this dish on a cold snowy day, which is why it has become so popular as a warming winter dish in other places and the USA is no exception.
I took this particular recipe from Healthy Living James as featured in Vegan Food and Living. It is rich from the coconut milk, substituting for the cream and has deep flavors from the smoked paprika, dijon mustard and garlic. You can use it for canapés, eat it on toast for breakfast or with rice for dinner and it only takes 30 minutes to make.
- 1kg mushrooms, sliced
- 2 red onions, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tins of unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Large handful of parsley
- 3 tbsp. coconut oil
- Salt and pepper
- Heat a large pot with oil, adding the garlic, onions and mushrooms with a large pinch of salt and pepper
- Cook for 5 minutes, stirring as you go along
- Once the mushrooms are soft, add the coconut milk, paprika, mustard and lemon juice and stir well
- Cook on a high heat to allow the sauce to thicken, cook for 20-25 minutes of until thick and reduced, keeping stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick
- Finally add freshly chopped parsley
‘Food has a story, a history, relationships’
I adapted this recipe from Season by Nik Sharma, using Quorn to make it vegetarian.
Kebabs have a long and interesting history, and mostly trace their origin to the influence of Mughlai cuisine. This cuisine is strongly influenced by the cuisine of Central Asia, the region where the early Turko-Mongol Mughal Emperors originally hailed from in the 16th century. The deep spices and meat where seen as luxurious foods and used for royal dinners and celebrations. In our family, meat was also seen like that as my grandma was vegetarian and so it wasn’t an every day occurrence.
This is an easy recipe, it’s just a mix and fry. You can bake them too, but they tend to dry out a little due to their being little fat in the mixture.
- 1lb vegetarian mince
- 1 cup finely diced onion
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup chickpea flour
- 2 chilis, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 inch ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp. fresh lime
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. coriander powder
- 1tsp dried mint
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. dried sage
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- Oil for frying
- In a large bowl, mix the mince, onion, egg, chickpea flour, chilies, garlic, ginger, lime juice, cayenne, coriander, mint, cinnamon, sage and salt
- Mix thoroughly
- Divide into 10 portions
- Heat 2 tbsp. oil and fry the kebabs in batches, adding more oil as needed until golden brown, 3-5 minutes each side
- Drain on paper towels
- Serve with chutney, on their own or with naan
This recipe is from season by Nik Sharma, ‘I am an immigrant and I tell my story through food’.
This is a beautiful cookbook and a tail of a life and culinary journey through India and America. It is a book that tells the tale of the inherent tension between originality and origin. It is the familiar story of how food becomes a tool of acclimatization and acceptance and how on that journey it is a friend and teacher in times of discomfort and in finding yourself once again.
I love this cookbook not only for its beautiful pictures and recipes, but for the familiar story it tells, of getting to know yourself through food. For immigrants, food can represent heritage, home and your life journey. When you doing know where you are or who you are, your nostalgic dishes will give you back your pathway and identity. From the porridge you ate as a child with your grandma, or the celebratory dish that was always placed center stage at birthdays, food can take you back in time and give you comfort as you make your journey far away from the place you once started.
This recipe is a tantalizing combination of sweet, sour, salty and spicy. Make it to snack on or to serve to guests.
Nuts are a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acid and dietary fiber.
- 1 tbsp. unsalted vegan butter, melted
- 2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
- 2 tsp. coconut sugar
- ½ tsp. pomegranate powder
- ½ tsp. sumac
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ½ cup raw shelled pistachios
- ½ cup halved walnuts
- Preheat the oven to c. 300f
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper
- In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter, pomegranate molasses, sugar, pomegranate powder, sumac, cayenne and salt to form a smooth paste
- Fold in the nuts and stir to make sure there is an even coat
- Transfer to the baking sheet and spread out
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly brown
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool before serving
- If not using immediately, cool and keep in an airtight glass jar