This is a lentil dish for beginners with little process and just a few of your everyday spices.
These lentils are sweet and nutty and come from black chickpeas that are split and the outer cover is removed. There are different ways to make this dish, with this one being northern Indian inspired.
My grandma made this without the tinned tomatoes so hers would have been more traditionally yellow in colour. I like the addition here of the tomatoes as it combines my Italian and Indian family roots and makes the dish a little more tart, to be served with rice or pasta
This dish is natural and healthy, gluten, dairy free and full of herbs and spices that have multitudes of health benefits. It is also high in protein and low calorie
Mr B and I took great pleasure eating this on a snowy day, sitting in our home near the window and pretending we were in our own snow globe!
- 1 cup chana dal
- 3 cups water
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 green chilli (optional)
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. coriander powder
- ½ tsp. garam masala
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- Salt to taste
- Coriander/cilantro to serve
- Pick and rinse the chana dal well in running water
- Soak the dal in water for an hour
- Drain the lentils, add to the pot with the water and turmeric and bring to the boil
- Boil until the lentils are soft, skimming any white foam off the top as you go
- In a frying pan, heat the oil
- Add the cumin first and fry for a few seconds
- Add the garlic and fry for 20 seconds
- Add the onions and fry for another 30 seconds
- Add the tomatoes, ginger and green chilli
- Stir and add all the dry spices, stir
- Once thoroughly combined, add to the lentils
- Simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine
- Add salt to taste
- Serve with coriander
Butternut Squash Carpaccio
I found this recipe in a raw vegetable book, in which everything looks more like art than food. This dish is no exception, with it variety of vegetal colours including the deep orange from the butternut squash, the garden fresh green from the arugula and the beautiful vibrant pink from the pomegranates that look like jewels on the plate
This is a light starter and super healthy, it will impress your guests but hardly has any process or time involved. Mr. B as always is my primary taster and I wasn’t sure he would like my raw art adventure, however to my surprise he gave quiet a few nods, noting it as ‘a light and refreshing dish with a nice variety of textures and tastes’
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 tbsp. virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. balsamic glaze
- Cracked black pepper and sea salt, to taste
- 1/4 butternut squash, sliced thin
- 2 tbsp. pomegranate seeds
- Peel the butternut squash
- Use a mandolin to slice the butternut squash
- Place the slices in the olive with salt and pepper and leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes to a few hours depending on when you are to serve
- Once the slices have softened place them on a plate
- Mix the arugula with the balsamic glaze and place on top of the Carpaccio
- Sprinkle the pomegranates over the top and serve
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
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
Sprouting broccoli with sweet tahini dressing (Goma-Dare)
Goma-dare is a Japanese sesame sauce, normally used in Shabu Shabu. It is the most popular of all the sauces, is salty sweet and can be used for many dishes.
Mr. B and I like to use the sauce when looking for something light and quick in the evening, just adding it on top of some broccoli or raw/blanched spinach
The sauce takes 5 minutes and will keep in the fridge for a week or two. This recipe is an adaptation by Ottolenghi, hence the added tahini. I think it is a wonderful interpretation giving the sauce an added layer of depth
- 250g purple sprouting broccoli/head of broccoli
- 180g snow peas
- 50g tahini
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 small clove garlic
- ½ tsp. tamari
- 2 tbsp. honey/maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
- Pinch of sea salt
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce, you want the consistency to be smooth and tick but pourable
- Trim off the broccoli leaves, bring a pot of water to the boil, salt and blanch the broccoli and snow peas for 4 minutes, running under icy cold water to stop the cooking and leaving to drain
- Once the vegetables are drained, mix with the sauce
- Add the sesame seeds over the top and serve
Sesame Sweet Potatoes
Umami in Japanese means I will give you my right hand and first-born child for a bite of that!
There aren’t many vegan dishes at Zuma, the Japanese Peruvian restaurant in London and now New York, as we found out one Friday night, but the few they have are all delicious and I intend to blog them all for you before the end of the year.
This is one of my favorites due to my obvious obsession of all things Umami. They make it on the Robata grill, which adds an extra smokiness, but you can do it in the oven and it isn’t too far off
The sweet potato and marinade give a lovely sweet salty combination that can be used for other vegetables too. It is also a super quick preparation from kitchen to table, making it an easy weekday or weekend main or side
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
- ½ tsp. pepper
- Preheat oven to 350c
- Wash the sweet potatoes and cut so as to create discs, approximately 1.5 inches wide
- In a bowl mix together the ingredients and cover the discs well
- Pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes, until beautifully caramelised.
Raw Vegan Matcha Cheesecake
‘Dessert is like a feel-good song, the best ones make you dance’.
This is one of those life-changing recipes. It tastes beautifully decadent due to the silky texture but is gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. As you can see from the combination of ingredients, it is all natural and pretty similar to your granola, so you can eat cheesecake for breakfast and feel pretty good about it. Revolutionary.
I did a lot of taste testing with this recipe and no one could believe that the topping was made with cashews as the main ingredient and contained zero diary. I also did some live cooking to show how long it takes to make, my best time being 6 minutes 32 seconds!
If you don’t like Matcha, you can add raw cocoa and make a chocolate version or blueberries to make a fruity version. The options are endless.
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 6 pitted dates
- ¾ coconut milk/cream
- ½ cup raw honey or maple syrup (vegan option)
- 5 cups raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours minimum in water and then drained
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. matcha green tea powder
- Blend the hazelnuts, desiccated coconut and pitted dates until it reaches a crumb like consistency
- Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a cake tin or if you want to make mini versions distribute evenly into 15 cup cake holders
- In a clean blender add the coconut milk, honey, cashews and coconut oil until silky smooth
- Add the matcha powder and blend again until fully combined
- Pour on top of the base and leave in the fridge/freezer to set
Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake (substitute raw cocoa powder for the matcha)