Sea Salt Nutella Granola (GF, Vegan)

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‘There is beauty in simplicity’

I like to make my own granola for health reasons but also for taste. I love sweet salt umami for example, so adding salt accentuates that element. Mr. B loves all things chocolate and hazelnut (Nutella), so I use hazelnuts as the nut in this mix. You can change these elements based on your own taste and you will have something just for you and your loved ones.

I honestly never thought I would be someone who made my own granola. It was something that people used to joke about, calling the more naturalistic in a crowd, ‘crunchy granola’. Looks like my inner hippy is coming out these days, making bread, granola, yogurt and pasta by hand using old fashioned granny methods and ingredients from the farmers market. I personally think maybe they had it right all along. A simple life, old fashioned values and plenty of love and respect for the ingredients and environment around you.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips

Method

  • Mix all the ingredients apart from the chocolate chips
  • Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, mixing half way through
  • Take out of the oven and let cool
  • Add chocolate chips and store in a glass jar….Or put  a ribbon on and give to a friend
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Mushroom Masala (Vegan, DF, GF)

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‘Indian food touches your soul before it touches your taste buds’

My wonderful husband Mr B, recently booked a tasting menu at a restaurant in New York for our anniversary. When I got there we realized that the vegetarian menu had a lot of dairy in it, which I don’t eat and so they offered me the ‘off the menu’ vegan option.  This ‘off the books’ menu was out of this world and Mr. B said better than his non-vegan menu. The layering of flavors was profoundly deep, it tasted smoky, rich and complex. Like a really good Burgundy wine.

As with every amazing dish we discover, I decided that I would make it at home the next day. Mr. B says that is the advantage of having a wife whose favorite room is the kitchen. I decided to put my own spin on  this dish and create a culture clash by placing it in a Chinese steamed bun and serving it with pea shoots and pickled chili.

Try it with rice, roti, as a canape, on top of a chickpea pancake or in a bao bun.

Ingredients

  • 5 cup mushrooms sliced
  • ½ onion, cubed
  • ½ cup tomatoes, cubed
  • ½ inch ginger, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 cashew nuts
  • 5 tbsp. oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup coconut milk

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan, add the cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf and let infuse
  • Blend the tomato, ginger, garlic, onion and cashew to make the masala
  • Add the masala to the pan and cook down, add the garam masala, salt and smoked paprika
  • Add the mushrooms and mix in, cook for 5-7 minutes
  • If the mixture gets to thick add half a cup of water
  • Add coconut milk
  • Serve hot

 

Vegan Spring Rolls

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‘I’ve always loved how food can preserve a memory’

My family loves a good Chinese meal, which we would gravitate towards for birthdays and celebrations. My grandma, mum and I would love eating spring rolls, no one else really did, so we would basically get the whole portion to ourselves. We don’t eat so many Chinese meals these days, nor spring rolls, but I do gravitate towards them when I am feeling home sick and so decided to make a healthier version, baked not fried and full of tasty vegetables.

This is actually really easy, as it is a quick stir-fry of pretty much any vegetable you have in the fridge, wrapped in phyllo pastry. Mr. B won’t eat Spring Rolls in a restaurant but ate 3 out of the 4  I made, so this is a Mr. B approved recipe.

Ingredients

  • ½ cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce, tamari
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 6 sheets, phyllo pastry, thawed

Method

  • Stir fry the cabbage, carrot, spring onions in a little oil, adding the pepper and tamari, leave to cool
  • Roll out one of the phyllo sheets, spread oil over both sides
  • Add 2 tbsp. filling into one of the sides and fold up into a spring roll
  • Bake in a preheated oven (350f) until golden brown
  • Serve with sweet chilli sauce

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

 

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