Quinoa Tabbouleh – Vegan, DF, GF

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‘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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  • 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

 

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Garlic, Olive and Rosemary Focaccia (Vegan, DF, GF)

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‘The more you praise and celebrate life, the more there is in life to celebrate’

Mr. B is Italian and so loves bread, all things dough really. So for his birthday instead of making him a cake (don’t worry I made him a vegan chocolate cake later in the week) i made him this focaccia. It was semi healthy as for every bite he took there was an olive with a full garlic clove.

I manually kneaded the bread but you can do it in a standing mixer if you have one. It takes a lot of muscle to do it by hand but i like it as it makes me appreciate the older generation more and allows me to work out some of that built up stress at the same time.

For an extra treat brush some garlic and rosemary infused oil on the bread just before serving

Ingredients

  • 500g flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1.5 tsp. fast-action dried yeast
  • 100g pitted olives (I used garlic stuffed olives)
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Sea salt

Method

  • Add the flour, sugar, yeast and salt to a large mixing bowl
  • Mix everything together and form a well in the middle and add 300ml tepid water and 3 tbsp. oil
  • Mix together and then transfer to a floured surface
  • Knead for at least 10 minutes
  • Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp tea cloth, leave to rest for at least an hour
  • When the dough is ready it will have doubled in size, tip it out and punch the air out
  • Oil a baking tray and then spread the dough out on it, cover for 30 minutes and leave to rest
  • After 30 minutes, punch holes in the dough one inch apart and push the olives to the bottom
  • Place some garlic powder, the rosemary and a little oil in a bowl and then brush them over the bread
  • Bake in a preheated oven for c. 20 minutes or until lightly golden on top
  • Remove from the oven and serve hot

Balala (Vegan, DF, GF, May contain Nuts)

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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

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 2 pounds raw peanuts in the shell

Method

  • 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.

Stir Fried Yellow Cabbage (Vegan, DF, GF)

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‘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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  • 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

Raw Pistachio and Rose Avocado Cake (Raw, V, DF, GF)

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“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.

Ingredients

Crust

  • ½ cup raw pistachios
  • 6 soft Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt

Filling

  • 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

Method

  • 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

Mushroom Stroganoff (Vegan, DF, GF)

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‘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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  • 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

Vegetarian Shami Kebabs  (V, DF, GF)

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‘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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  • 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