mint

Raw Beet, Parsnip + Apple Soup

raw beet & parsnip apple soup
Some days you just want soup. Actually some days you just need soup. Today was one of those days and as I ‘needed’ it, it had to be quick, really quick. Thank you Vitamix. Not only does this blender make silky smooth soups, it heats it along the way. Nice.raw beetroot soup

Nature’s pretty magnificent right? These veggies were organic and I really didn’t want to over soup this soup so I didn’t. What does that even mean? Anyway, this soup is pretty darn simple.chopped veggies

My raw beet, parsnip and apple soup is perfect for when you’re craving a warming and hearty dose of goodness. It’s packed with super cleansing beetroot, contains heart protecting potassium and folate rich parsnips. It’s fibre rich and blood sugar-regulating thanks to the lovely apple.2 big bowls of raw beet soup

A simple way to cleanse, nourish and feel good.

The best part is the time it takes. This is a hearty healthy soup in 5 minutes flat! Who needs to cook soup ever again?raw beet soup close up

Raw beet, parsnip + apple soup

serves 2

1 raw beetroot, peeled + chopped
1 parsnip, peeled + chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 teaspoon miso paste
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 dates
3-4 cups hot water
pepper

pistachios, crushed
mint, chopped finely
non-dairy yoghurt or cashew cream

Blend all the soup ingredients until smooth. Serve immediately with pistachios, mint + yoghurt. Cleanse away.

Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed + Herb Falafel (Gluten Free + Vegan)

Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed + Herb FalafelFor me falafel is a full on, fill me up, give it to me now crave food. It’s pure comfort food. When I want something filling, fresh, warming and healthy yet satisfying this is it. The thing is I rarely make falafel and it’s not like it’s easy to get in fast food joints around here either. Oh, what I would do to have a little local cafe nearby that baked me falafel when I needed it most, now that would be good. Until my make believe plant based Arab inspired fast food joint opens I’ll be making this myself and more often.

I am in love with North African flavours so naturally falafel is pretty high up there on the favourites list, I definitely ate my fair share (ok, more than is fair!) in Egypt. Were they better? Ummmm, not necesserily! The trouble is most falafel is deep fried as that’s in fact the traditional way of preparing it but it’s way toooo oily for me and so unnecessary as IMO they taste so much better baked. These pistachio, pumpkin seed + herb falafel are fragrant, lightly spiced, fresh, crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside and devastatingly good, in taste and for health! Yes, every recipe on this blog is healthy………

This here is falafel, just how it should be.Green falafel + yoghurt mint dressing

Baked not fried.Green falafel + yoghurt mint dressing

Russ was on ball making duty as it’s not my forte and his balls are so uniform, round and smooth (humour me). And green, nice and green thanks to the mint, coriander, pistachio and pumpkin seeds. Not only does this add a nice touch visually it really ramps up the nutritional density too. This pistachio, pumpkin seed + herb falafel is high in protein, contains only heart healthy fats, low in sodium and the herbs provide immense anti-inflammatory and ant-bacterial benefits. You just gotta love fresh green herbs. Russ making falafel

These little blighters are super easy to put together and can be whipped up in 15 minutes flat,  get somebody else to roll your balls and it’ll be quicker than that! I’ll send Russ round?Easy recipe....

Extra tasty served in fresh crisp lettuce leaves, the best way. Gone are the days when I felt self conscious eating from a lettuce or cabbage leaf, where others would sometimes make comments in confused wonder or assume I was just a weird eater. I’m not sure why either as it’s one of the most delicious ways to eat food minus the heavy carb and gluten load, just ask the Koreans. Since living in Korea for a year I soon learnt to love the leaf wrapping as they wrap everything in a fresh lettuce leaf, a crunchy wad of cabbage or a crisp sheet of seaweed. Oh I do miss that place and it’s food, but not the soups so much, particularly the ones where they sneak tiny bits of pork into it and tell you it’s vegetarian! Back to the leaf, Korean supermarkets have entire refrigerators dedicated to housing the most pristine, organised and colour coordinated lettuce leaves you have ever seen. Our local store even had a designated lettuce leaf handler (nice guy too), in charge of bagging, weighing and most importantly keeping the green, purple and red (yes, they put a lot of love and affection into their lettuce!) display looking beautiful. Tangent….yes falafel…..eating out of a lettuce leaf = good.

Falafel, lettuce wraps + salad

So, although I’m no longer leaf wrapping on a daily basis I always take up any opportunity to use fresh plant- powered wraps, especially if there’s falafel involved. I do wonder if I’ll ever be able to eat from a leaf again without thinking about Korea!! Good times.A whole lotta lettuce wrap

Falafel is a classic veggie staple and is delicious served with a big salad and if lettuce leaf wraps aren’t for you a wholewheat pitta would be amaze-balls (get it?) too. I like both, falafel wrapped in lettuce and stuffed in a pitta, finished off with generous dollops of minty dressing. Oh dear, now that is delicious.Falafel in hand

Pistachio, pumpkin seed + herb falafel

(10 balls)

1 can drained chickpeas (240 grams)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small onion, chopped
small handful fresh mint
small handful fresh coriander
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
salt & pepper

mint dressing:
small handful mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons yoghurt + 1 of water

Method:

1. Rinse + drain chickpeas, set aside. Place garlic, onion + green herbs into a food processor or blender + pulse until roughly chopped. Add the nuts + seeds + pulse to a rough texture. Add the chickpeas, cumin + salt/pepper + blend until fully combined so that it retains a rough like texture. You may need to redistribute the mixture with a spoon in between blending.
2. Form 10-12 balls from the mixture + place on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Bake falafel in the oven for 20 minutes until firm + crispy on the outside. Combine the mint dressing ingredients in a small bowl or cup + set aside.
3. Serve in lettuce with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds + a drizzle of mint yoghurt dressing.

Healthy Moroccan Chickpea Stew

tagine collage
I am in love with Moroccan cuisine. In fact I love everything about Morocco from my favourite leather handbag, to the vibrant throw that adorns my sofa to the ceramic bowls I fill with salsas and sauces. See, I like this country a lot!  Did I mention there’s something special about the food too?

Culinary discoveries are one of the highlights of travel and when visiting Morocco several years back I was overwhelmed by the colours, aromas, tastes and general sensory attack from the exotic, sweet, delicate but sometimes pungent flavours that filled the air in markets and cafes. Morocco is a country that overloads the senses. I spent days wondering the bustling medinas mesmerised by daily life, spending hours mingling in markets, squeezing pass tables of mountainous of red, yellow, brown and orange spices, and others close to toppling with juicy plump olives. I found myself lost in huge markets, wondering sprawling alleyways overspilling with fresh vibrant produce. I took the time to learn about these new foods and spices whilst loitering to observe the daily hustle and bustle of daily life. I took great pleasure in the bread section watching locals toss balls of soft flexible dough ready for the oven. Once charred these unbelievable pitta breads were served with my favourite fruity, spicy but delicate fresh tagines.

knife, board, chop!
Knife, board, chop!

In Morocco tagines were usually served with a side of salad, olives and as much fresh pitta as I could eat (dangerous!). It really was the most colourful, tasty and satisfying meal, perfect after hours of idling and bartering for leathers and silks.. I ate tagines most days and decided that I wanted to start making Moroccan food myself on my return home.

Once back in the UK I was keen to put my newly purchased spices and amazing culinary experiences to good use and began experimenting. I wasn’t looking for 100% authenticity but rather a dish to remind me of Morocco and my memorable experiences. This is pretty much a one-pot wonder and doesn’t the authentic tagine dish.  Over the years I’ve played around with the spices and order of vegetables into the pan as sweet potato cooks much quicker than carrot, however when the potato does break down it adds a lovely thick consistency and smooth sweetness to the whole stew. Parsnips seem to hold their own as does squash so I don’t worry too much when keeping it simmering on the hob. It really doesn’t matter and that’s why I love this dish because it never seems to go wrong….well not yet anyhow! It’s all about personal tastes.

I like adding peas towards the end for the pretty contrast it creates against the warm orangey/yellow and red tones. Chickpeas go in last to avoid them hardening too much….nobody likes bulletesque chick peas!

Delicious served with a mint yoghurt dip, a crisp green salad and warm baguette. This is my heaven. Where is your favourite country in terms of cuisine?

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

(serves 2)

1 onion, peeled & chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
thumb sized ginger, chopped finely
salt & pepper
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
1 cup of squash, peeled & cubed
1 parsnip, peeled & chopped
10 apricots, chopped
1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled & chopped
1 teaspoon of cumin & cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric &  paprika
1 tin of tomatoes & 1 tin of water
juice and zest of 1/2 an Orange
generous pouring of peas
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
small handful of coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. Add the oil to the pan and soften the onion, garlic and ginger. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the carrot, parsnip, squash and continue softening for 5 minutes. Add the apricots, sweet potato, spices, tomatoes, water, orange juice and zest and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Stir through the peas, chickpeas and coriander and heat through thoroughly.