Tag Archives: Vegan

Ghoulish Peppers say Hello

Hello everyone!

It feels like forever since I’ve written. Though you know what? It probably has been forever!

I’ve just been preoccupied with other things like rating restaurants and such. Which is good, I mean it means I am still writing, however it just means I am not writing and working on my own pride and joy. I’ve been going to restaurants like crazy! All because the new man in my life feels the need to satisfy my belly with good food. Thank heavens that he too is a food enthusiast and finds joy when eating food. Best of all he has a sweet tooth and seems to like the idea of getting fat due to my baked goods! Love it!

Anyway it is my favourite month of the year! The month of Halloween!

Actually I spoke to a woman in line at Starbucks earlier in the month and she said that her five year old daughter said that it was the month of Halloween. She thought it was cute that her daughter said such a thing but  I am pretty sure she thought I was a weirdo for thinking the same thing! Oh well! October rocks!

Now because of this special month I have done all sorts of wonderful things like paint my nails to certain Halloween themes as well as making some Halloween themed suppers!

Spider Nail Art

Tonight was one of those nights!

I made jack-o-lanterns out of bell peppers!

I’ve actually been meaning to buy two pumpkins. One for the beau to do as its been a very long time since having made a jack-o-lantern and the other for myself as I do them annually. Only hard thing about it is carrying them from the grocery store all the way home! Having a car would have made things that much better. Oh well, guess we will be getting our exercise for the day if we buy some pumpkins!

So I ended up making stuffed peppers which I used to strongly dislike when growing up. I remember mom having made rice outside the pepper for my sister and I. Well now I make them inside the pepper!

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I got the recipe from Ceara’s Kitchen, a website on the well-being of living and eating in a happy life. The direct link to the recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (285g) 7 grain rice
  • 3 cups (750ml) low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups (150g) mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup (150g) red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ (340ml) cups tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 can kidney beans (275g) rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn kernels (115g), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (225ml) tomato sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon herbes de provence
  • 3 orange bell peppers, deseeded

Instructions:

  1. In a medium pot on high heat, combine rice and broth and cook until rice has absorbed broth and is fully cooked.

  2. In a medium pan, sauté onions and garlic until fragrant. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add all seasoning and mix until combined. Combine rice with vegetables and pour in tomato sauce, beans, and corn. Mix well and set aside.

  3. If you do not have a deep casserole dish or a glass dish wash out your medium pot for the rice and prepare for your bell peppers.

  4. Preheat oven to 350ᵒF or 180ᵒC.

  5. In the casserole dish, pour tomato sauce and combine with garlic powder, cayenne powder, and herbes de provence. Mix well. Grab your bell peppers and cut out little jack-o-lantern faces with a small paring knife

  6. Fill each of the peppers with the rice dish and place in the tomato sauce. Cover casserole dish with tin foil and place in oven to cook for approximately fifty-five minutes.

  7. Once peppers are cooked, remove tin foil and place the pepper lids on top of the stuffed peppers and on broil for five to ten minutes.

  8. Enjoy once browned.

Best of all I had so much leftover rice that I decided to make a burrito! Perfect for breakfast!

Breakfast Burrito

I love being able to utilize the right leftovers for another type of meal!

When I make burritos (or just breakfast wraps) I make a scrambled egg but before scrambling it in the pan, I just let it cook on a the flat surface until it’s a pancake. I then place that flat scrambled egg-like pancake onto a wrap, add some sliced marble cheese (as I can’t just have plain cheddar), and top that with the leftover rice.

Breakfast Burrito Before WrappingBreakfast burrito after

I do the same tortilla wrap and egg thing with normal breakfast wraps, though I add some sort of leafy green, feta cheese, and sriracha sauce. Also all my scrambled egg pancakes are made without milk and with za’atar. Za’atar is an Arabic spice that I was introduced to by my older sister. She married a Leb and due to his family knows so much about Lebanese and Arabic cuisine! Not that I mind! Love it.

My using of the rice is like Bubble and Squeak but better! Well maybe not as I do not refry everything together, but I do reuse it one way or another!

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See! Even this guy agrees! Look at his cute smile!

If any of you give this puppy a go, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Happy eating!

Real Love Comes from the Heart

What is your favourite vegetable that starts out as a flower and turns into something delicious? Can you actually think of vegetables that come from a budding flower?

If not here is the list I found of them from Wikipedia:

  • Artichoke
  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Caper
  • Cauliflower
  • Daylily
  • Courgette
  • Squash

Am I the only one who hasn’t heard of a Daylily?

Well my two favourite vegetables in that list are definitely broccolini (which I actually like to call broccoletti) and artichokes! Yum artichokes!

I actually recently introduced my nieces to artichokes. During Ramadan we went to a Boston Pizza with their grandmother (siti in Arabic) while Siti didn’t eat anything I had a salad and shared with the monkeys. The youngest really liked the artichokes!

So I am happy about that! She and I can enjoy artichoke together.

Obviously with all this talk of artichoke you can see that tonight’s feature vegetable is definitely artichoke hearts.

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I got the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens the direct link to the recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz (114g) spaghetti
  • ¼ cup (27.5g) parmesan cheese
  • ½ red onion (40g), chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (398ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (398ml) artichokes hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • Grated parmesan

Instructions:

  1. Cook spaghetti as directed on package until al dente.

  2. Once pasta is cooked drain most of the water but set aside a bit of the pasta water to combine with the parmesan cheese.

  3. In a medium pan sauté the red onion and garlic in olive oil. Once fragrant add the crushed tomatoes with their juices and the artichoke hearts and mix well. Add salt, pepper, and basil to mixture.

  4. Once sauce is cooked, spoon pasta onto plate and place sauce on spaghetti. Sprinkle with parmesan and enjoy!

Real love comes from the heart… the Artichoke heart!

Now although this was a pretty simple supper, it was sooo good. But then artichokes are one of my favourite!

Anyone else a fan of artichokes?

So it is officially September and it seems that the cool air has come as soon as August ended. I swear yesterday was insanely cold. You could feel the instant change from the previous day to yesterday. BRRRR.

I am dreading the cold that comes with Autumn though I do really like that time of year.

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I saw this on Facebook and loved it! But there are two additional things that make Autumn the best season.

  • Heeled booties
  • Vampy lipsticks

Especially the last item!

What do you love about Autumn and do you call it Fall or Autumn?

Anyway I hope you give this simple recipe a go and enjoy it!

Happy eating!

Romano White Bean Vegetable Soup with Quinoa

Can you believe summer is just about over? Today is the last day of August and then it’s September! The month when school starts up again! Feels like the summer went by so quickly!

But that’s alright as I am not going to be going back to school anytime soon. I’ll just work work work my way to better money and a better position in the company!

As its Monday I decided to make it a meatless and delicious one! This recipe is absolutely fabulous! Actually, I think that is my word, you know the one word you use all the time? Well I am pretty sure “fabulous” is my word of choice. My youngest niece constantly says “seriously”, but the way she pronounces it is like the new Oxford Dictionary word “srsly” like all the vowels are knocked out and the acronyms flow together. My oldest niece however uses the word “literally” all the time.

So now you know the word I seem to utilize often!

Anyway I made the best meal ever. It was oddly easy and so delicious. Also super healthy and filling. Honestly just perfect.

I got the recipe from the cooking tab in the New York Times website. Here you can find the direct link to the recipe!

White Bean Vegetable Quinoa soup

My meal was your basic tomato base soup as most my soups are, but honestly just delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion (40g), chopped
  • 2 small celery stalks (75g), sliced
  • 1 carrot(25g), peeled and sliced
  • 1 can (540ml) romano beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (411g) diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups (750ml) vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup (43g) quinoa
  • ¼ cup (5g) parsley, chopped
  • ½ Tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a medium sized pot and sauté onion, celery, and carrot for about five minutes or until semi cooked. Add romano beans and garlic to vegetables and sauté for an additional two minutes.

  2. Mix in diced tomatoes and vegetable stock and allow mixture to simmer for about twenty minutes.

  3. Then add quinoa, parsley, herbs, and allow quinoa to cook for fifteen minutes with lid on pot.

  4. Once quinoa is cooked, remove bay leaf and add salt and pepper as desired.

  5. Serve and enjoy!

This is such a wonderful soup. If you like beans and quinoa this is honestly the soup for you!

Though I have something to ask you all… have any of you used shredded bay leaves for any of your dishes? I’ve not ever heard of shredded bay leaves and don’t even know how to add that to a soup or anything. Since I was taught to remove the bay leaves how does one remove shredded bay leaves?

Shredded Bay Leaves

For my soup I just added the leaves to a tea leaf strainer and let the leaves boil along with the metal in the pot. How odd is that right? Does anyone else do that?

Well regardless of how I used the bay leaves, this soup came out very well! I actually keep going back for a spoonful! So tasty!

I hope you all get to trying this. It is fabulous! Plus you will have it finished within a half hour!

So please everyone make this dish! You will love it

Happy eating

It was a Japanese Style Night!

Asian cuisine is the absolute way to go. I mean Asian women are predominately slim and fit, so it must be the cuisine and way of eating it that keeps them that way. Chopsticks are incredibly slimming. Not because you eat the wood but because of how you go about eating your food. One small bite at a time.

Fabulous right? It is said that if you eat your meal slowly you will become full quickly which is likely how Asian women stay so slim.

So I guess we should all be eating sushi for the rest of our lives! Not that I would mind as I love it!

Although sushi is fantastic, so is what I made for last nights meal.

Onigiri is very similar to sushi in the way that it is made of rice and most commonly wrapped around with nori (seaweed), the only difference from sushi is that it’s small while onigiri is usually the size of your palm. Maybe even bigger.

Onigiri

I first encountered onigiri when I lived in Brazil and my Japanese friend brought onigiri to us once for a snack. It was amazing. This little rice ball filled with small slices of nori made my mind whirl. I loved it so much.

Well for last nights meal I didn’t quite make the traditional onigiri ball with plain Japanese rice and seaweed, but went for a different take on it. Mostly because my mom abhors nori and my dad isn’t keen to have any starch in his diet.

I got the recipe to make these protein-packed onigiri balls from BittersweetBlog. Her creation of this treat featured lentils, the most difficult legume to ever make a dish attractive! Though because the lentils did not have to be made into a mush-like consistency, the dish didn’t look as unattractive as any other lentil-filled meal I have ever made.  So that was good! Here is the direct link to the recipe I followed and below will be my re-written recipe.

Onigiri before Forming Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (300g) sushi rice
  • 2 cups (470ml) water
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup (10g) fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups (400g) lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups (940ml) water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, bring water to boil while at medium heat. Once water is boiling add sushi rice and immediately turn heat to low while covering pot with lid to cook rice. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes. Once cooked rice should absorb all the water.

  2. While rice is cooking, in a large pot combine lentils and 4 cups water and bring water to a boil. Once at a rapid boil turn down heat until lentils are simmering. Add 2 bay leaves and allow lentils to cook uncovered. Lentils should cook 20-30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan/wok and add onions to hot oil to sauté. Once onions become translucent and begin to brown ever so slightly on the edges (approx. 10 minutes), add ½ teaspoon of salt and turn heat down. Continue to cook at a low heat stirring occasionally until onions take on a caramelized deep brown color. This should take approximately 30 minutes. Once onions are at desired color remove from heat and add balsamic vinegar and spices. Mix thoroughly and keep aside.

  4. Once lentils are finished cooking, drain excess water and remove bay leaves. Season with salt and keep aside.

  5. When rice and onions are warm enough to touch mix together with lentils and chopped parsley and add additional salt to mixture.

  6. Scoop out about 1/3-1/2 cup of onigiri and press into rounded triangles within your palms. If rice mixture isn’t holding allow to cool further. Or you could place a sheet of nori just beneath your onigiri form and fold the onigiri on your desired shape. Remember that water is necessary to keep nori folded on your onigiri.Onigiri wrapped in Nori

  7. Serve immediately. You can also wrap your onigiri (with and without nori) in plastic wrap to save for another time. Ensure your onigiri is in the fridge to keep firm.

Although this is not the normal onigiri recipe, it came out quite well. I was definitely content but I adore seaweed and rice. All one needs is a little soy sauce and all is good.

We had the onigiri with a Japanese style chicken. This being normal grilled chicken with a soy sauce type liquid poured into the sliced chicken. This sauce contained soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, and white wine (because we couldn’t find sake). To me the sauce tasted very similar to teriyaki, but not as sweet. It was a unique taste, that’s for sure. The recipe we followed was from the Best Recipe Box, the direct recipe is here. So if you want to do a lentil nori wrapped origini with the chicken you now can!

Final look for Onigiri

I’ve been eating the onigiri all through the morning as a breakfast. Which probably isn’t the best thing for someone, but I am very American in the way that I eat leftovers for breakfast. I’m known to eat pasta, rice, soup, and now onigiri for breakfast. I also like to have cereal and yoghurt for dinner or a late night snack. How odd am I? Oh well, the onigiri was delicious and I hope you all enjoy it too!

And if you are wondering, I ended up making sixteen onigiri rolls, most with seaweed but five were plain rice and lentil onigiri rolls. Though the original recipe said 24 rolls can be made.

Anyway, happy eating everyone!

Lentil Curry Meatless Monday

It has been a very long time since I’ve had a Meatless Monday and you know what? Today I’ve got a Meatless Monday Meal for y’all! Woohoo!

So my dad thinks he should go on a diet and his version of a diet is meat and veg. Well since I do not eat most of the meat he likes I thought I would give him a protein packed vegetarian meal. The best protein packed ingredient that I know he also enjoys would have to be lentils so that is what I made for dinner tonight, something very lentil filled.

I got the recipe from here but I was very dissatisfied by the way it was written. Both the instructions and the grammar were atrocious. Though it could just be that I dislike poor spelling and grammar. So if you are like me and dislike poorly written recipes just read below and you will see my version of the recipe!

Spinach Lentil Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (200g) dried red lentils
  • 5 cups (565g) spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¾ cup (115g) red onion, diced
  • 1 small green chili
  • 2 cups (470ml) water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • A pinch red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. Sauté the red lentils, spinach, half the garlic, red onion, and green chili in a large pan until spinach has wilted. Then pour water and bouillon cube into pan and allow lentils to cook. When lentils are finally soft drain water (though keep it to adjust consistency of curry).

  2. With a handheld food processor or potato masher mash cooked lentils and vegetables to a semi-purée with chunks. Add salt for more flavour.

  3. Use stock water to make a more curry-like consistency.

  4. In a small frying pan fry the remainder of the garlic, add cumin, mustard, and red pepper flakes. Cook until a smooth hot consistency.

  5. Pour hot garlic-mustard mixture into lentils and mix well.

  6. Serve with rice and/or naan.

Lentil Spinach CurryI’m sure cumin seeds and mustard seeds would have made a better combination for the flavouring but I just used American mustard and cumin powder from a jar. Why buy something you won’t end up using another day?

I do not know if you all know of my background in the hospitality industry, but I had a teacher who would call the handheld food processor a dildo and now to this day I call that device the dildo. Thanks Mr. Young! There are a few items that I sexualize due to my teachers actually. Mr. Young made certain kitchen devices sexual while Mr. C would make the professional coffee machine in the restaurant dirty. I guess it is a good way to remember what to do and how to clean things. Kind of like acronyms to help you remember certain things in school.

Anyway this was my meal for the day and it went pretty well. I am definitely full and believe my parents are too. Lentils definitely rock and keep us well fed!

If you all end up making this I hope you enjoy it too! Curry is always nice for a cold day for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere.

Happy eating!

Indian Pumpkin Heaven

It is meatless Monday again, and another day to enjoy pumpkin. Yay pumpkin!

Today I made a big batch of pumpkin puree and decided freezing it would make for a good idea. At least for the next time I make something which needs puree. I can tell you that this will be soon.  I’m in the mood for pumpkin cookies…

But for now? For now I made a pumpkin curry.

Lots of Pumpkin Curry

You all should know I have a thing for Indian cuisine by now. I mean Trinidadian cuisine is more Indian than Caribbean and I do love a good curry. Delicious.

So here is today’s meal that I got from here:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cup (495g) pumpkin puree
  • 2 cans (800g) canned tomatoes in their juices
  • 2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock
  • ½ cup (125ml) coconut milk
  • 2 cans (448g) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (224g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tablespoons red curry paste
  • 3 Tablespoons agave nectar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot or skillet, heat olive oil and cook onion and garlic on medium heat until soft (approx. 5 minutes)

  2. Add pumpkin, canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, coconut milk, black beans, and chickpeas. Add 1 tablespoon of curry paste and stir well. Season with salt and pepper and add another tablespoon of curry paste (keep in mind that some are spicier than others) add final tablespoon of curry paste if you can handle heat.

  3. Mix well before adding three tablespoons of agave nectar to your curry, this will balance the flavours.

  4. Bring to a boil and make sure all ingredients are mixed well together. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes on a very low simmer.

  5. Serve over rice or quinoa.

 I served mine over the yellow rice I’ve previously made when I first moved here. But it didn’t taste as good as it did that day.

Do you ever have that? Where you make something (just as you did previously) yet it doesn’t taste the same? It makes for difficult times!

Pumpkin Curry and Yellow Rice

I love how it looks colorful, though it is only red, black and white. Like that riddle: What’s black, white, and red all over?

My curry! And a newspaper… the real answer is a newspaper.

Anyway, I hope this interests you as much as it did me and my pumpkin obsession!

अपने भोजन का आनंद लें
Or as they say in English: Enjoy your meal!

‘Tis the Season to Enjoy Pumpkins!

‘Tis the season to enjoy Pumpkins, well at least it is in the Northern Hemisphere. BUT it is October, the month of Jack’o’lanterns, so why can’t it also be the month of everything pumpkin? Well in my household it is! Even my sister who lives in the Netherlands knows that!

Pumpkin this, pumpkin that, pumpkin EVERYTHING!

To start off the season right I made a soup with pumpkin!

Quinoa Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

Although I wasn’t too fond of the soup, when dad came home (from his two weeks in Angola), he went for seconds he loved it that much.

Quinoa Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

I got the recipe from here, but I added more pumpkin and another step to the instructions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 red chili pepper, diced
  • 4 cups (1kg) pumpkin, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup (185g) quinoa
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups (720ml) vegetable broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Handful cilantro, diced

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook onion for a few minutes. Add garlic and red chili pepper and cook until aromatic.

  2. Add pumpkin and spices and cook for a couple minutes.

  3. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and quinoa. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes just before adding the remaining vegetable broth. Bring to a boil.

  4. Add beans and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

  5. Once quinoa is cooked and pumpkin is soft, grab a potato masher and mash pumpkin until soft (leave some chunks of pumpkin whole).

  6. Serve immediately and garnish with cilantro.

Although it is hot in Africa, lately I’ve been rather chilly, so this soup was perfect for dinner to warm my frozen body up.

Also, I’ve been meaning to educate you all on how to cut an onion. Now I know we all know how to cut an onion, but do you know the best way to do so? And the quickest?

One of my best friends taught me while we were in the kitchen. I was taking forever to cut and thankfully she came around and showed me the easiest way. Now I even cut tomatoes like this when I need chopped tomato!

First slice it length-wise
First slice it closest to the chopping board, horizontally
Then slice it higher, still length-wise
Then slice it higher, still horizontally
And again till you're at the top, length-wise
And again till you’re at the top, horizontally 
Then slice it vertically, from left to right (or vice versa)
Then slice it vertically, from left to right (or vice versa)
Continue to slice the onion vertically
Continue to slice the onion vertically
And again
And again
Now begin slicing until it looks like you've cubed your onion
Now begin slicing until it looks like you’ve cubed your onion

Now you should know how to cut an onion just like all the big time chefs of the world (or at least the chefs that taught me). And you have a great pumpkin soup recipe. I am sure this soup will benefit you more than it does me if you are based in the northern hemisphere where it is currently autumn. I know there’s already been severe snowfall in Alberta, Canada during the final months of summer, so it may be a very cold winter.

And a cold winter is best accompanied by a nice hot soup, right?

I hope you all enjoy this recipe!

Green Food Made Right

Who loves healthy cuisine which is bright green in color?  I’m sure I can answer that one for you – me!

I am sure there is something wrong with me for liking bright (almost toxic) green foods. But they are just so pretty. To think Aqua is my favourite color with my love for bright green in food!

So for tonight’s meal we went for a simple healthy and bright green pasta sauce on spaghetti. Yum!

Keepin' It Green

I got the recipe from here and followed it to a Tee, but just had to share its amazingness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed
  • 1 cup (45g) fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup (225g) spinach, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. In a small food processor combine avocado, basil, spinach, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper if desired.

  2. Add green sauce to pasta (if you’ve made some) and combine Parmesan cheese to pasta and sauce mixture.

  3. Serve immediately and enjoy!

How easy is that!? And so delicious. And you know what is even better? Before you mix Parmesan cheese to the pasta the sauce almost tastes like guacamole! This I love very much.

Avocado Pasta Sauce

Because I LOVE guacamole. Actually scratch that, I love avocados. Period. I would LOVE to have an avocado tree.

Imagine just walking through the back yard when you’re craving for a full and fleshy avocado for a snack or even a salad and being able to! That does sound heavenly. Shame it takes several years to actually be able to grow avocados on a tree! UGH.

Oh and if you’re wondering, the spaghetti I used was this fantastic gluten free stuff we got from Woolworths.

Gluten Free SpaghettiWhy doesn’t NL have this much gluten free goodness in our grocery stores? Good thing I’m in South Africa now!

Anyway, I hope y’all enjoy this meal as much as my mom and I did!

Eet smakelijk!

P.S. If you ever have a water shortage it would be best to refrain from making pasta in a food processor or at all as most of the tools used to make pasta (and a sauce) need to be rinsed if not washed immediately. Tools such as the strainer, food processor, cheese grater, as well as pans and plates. But with a water shortage this cannot be done.

Big mistake on my part!

But do enjoy your meal!

Panorama of Walk Haven dog Heaven
Panorama of Walk Haven dog Heaven

Here’s a Pilaf for Meatless Monday

I had planned to make dinner at three in the afternoon, but you know what happened? I couldn’t for the life of me find the bay leaf! And I needed that bay leaf! I searched high and low for it and came up empty. So instead I had to wait for 5 o’clock to roll around so I could ask mom where she had hidden it.

Well when she came she too could not find the packet of bay leaves. It is as though they have gone missing!

Well luckily dinner is super-fast and easy tonight, with our without the bay leaf! So I just started dinner at five, two hours later than I had hoped. But I can tell you I did make some homemade raita at three-ish. That can hint off the theme for tonight’s meal.

But if you are not so culturally experienced in cuisines, tonight’s theme of a meal comes from India! And you know what? It fits with Meatless Monday!

Indian Pilaf with Raita

I love Indian cuisine. So much that I told my parents the other day that I should fall in love with an Indian so that his mama and I can be in the kitchen together so I can learn proper traditional Indian food. Sounds good does it not? I guess I should go down to Durban for that. Apparently that is where all the Indians are located in South Africa.

Anyway, I got the recipe from here, but pretty much followed the recipe except for the fact that I didn’t have a bay leaf. This fact really annoys me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup (250g) Jasmine rice
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 cup (170g) frozen assorted vegetables, thawed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small tomato, chopped small
  • 1 Large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green chili, chopped finely
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • Juice from one lemon
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped

Spices

  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mango, baked
  • ½ teaspoon Garam Masala

Instructions:

  1. Wash and soak rice in water for a half hour, while soaking add all spices excluding cumin and Garam Masala together in a small bowl and set aside.

  2. In a large pan, heat oil and cook cumin until its aromatic (10 seconds)

  3. Add minced garlic, ginger, and green chilies to oil and cumin mix, fry for a minute and then add chopped onion and cook until lightly caramelized.

  4. Once onions are lightly browned, add spices in small bowl to mixture as well as thawed vegetables. Mix and cover and cook for five minutes.

  5. Add chickpeas and chopped tomato to mix and combine.

  6. Now add strained rice and 1 ½ cups water to mixture and gently fold in. Allow mixture to begin to boil at medium heat and cover and turn to simmer. Cook rice for 10-12 minutes or until rice is cooked completely.

  7. Once rice is cooked, add lemon juice and stir lightly. Turn heat off and add Garam Masala to the mix.

  8. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and raita to lessen bite.

  9. Enjoy!

Pretty easy right? Yum yum. But do you know how to make raita? If not here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cucumber, grated
  • 1 cup (250ml) Greek yoghurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon, Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Instructions:

  1. Grate half a cucumber (with skin on) and press until dry with paper towels. Once drained place in a small bowl.

  2. Add minced garlic and yoghurt and mix thoroughly.

  3. Sprinkle Garam Masala and mix well.

  4. Once ready to serve, sprinkle chili on top and enjoy!

So the recipe for the raita I got from here, but it didn’t have garlic in it and well I LOVE garlic (plus isn’t raita meant to have that spicy kick that garlic makes?) so I added that key ingredient.

If you checked out the original recipe for the pilaf you would have noticed that it called for Mango Powder. If you were anything like me you would have wondered what the hell that was. Well I googled to see how to make it and was pretty bummed to find out it takes five days to create. BUT if you are interested in creating it click here to find the recipe.

Vegan Indian PilafIf you aren’t a fan of spicy I would opt out from adding chili powder to the raita, otherwise follow all that is above. It should make a spectacular meal that you will very much enjoy!

I know I did.

So if you make this meal I hope you do enjoy.

As they say in Hindi:

अपने भोजन का आनंद लें or

Apanē bhōjana kā ānanda lēṁ

Green Spinach and Chickpea Salad

Today is quite a sad day for the Dutch. At 6 o’clock in the evening (noon eastern time) the first airplane containing the first forty people from the downing of MH17 arrived in the Netherlands. Thousands of people laid flowers for the fallen and lined the roads while the hearses drove to Hilversum. If you haven’t been paying attention to the news as I have you can view it here.

With all the stress of the initial homecoming of the unknown people, I made dinner later than usual. But with the heat, I tried to make it with as little heat as possible. I seriously hate summer without an airco.

I made this healthy protein-packed salad. Perfect for the protein that I need in my body and super delicious. Plus it is green and I love the color green when it comes to food.

Cilantro and Spinach Chickpea Salad

I got the recipe from here. Perfect perfect salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (1- 130g can and 310g can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups (450g) spinach
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon agave nectar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. In a food processor, add the spinach and pulse a few times until chopped very small. Add the processed spinach, drained chickpeas, and chopped onion into a large bowl.

2. In the food processor (no need to rinse the bowl!), add the lime juice, cilantro, mustard, sugar, garlic, cumin, and oil. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Pour the dressing on top of the spinach chickpea mixture and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for about 10 minutes to blend the flavours. Serve with rice and enjoy!

This salad is absolutely amazing. I am happy knowing that I have so much leftover! Yum yum!

Mom, since I know you’re reading this you should suggest Taryn make it tonight or tomorrow at Iftar (the meal which you eat dinner after a day of fasting).

Anyway if any of y’all make this fabulous salad, I hope you enjoy it!

Also, if you are also celebrating Ramadan then you should add this to your evening meal. I think it will work wonderfully with the rest of your meal.

Enjoy your meal!