Chickpea and Sweet Potato Beta Bake

This dish comes courtesy of Dale Pinnock – The Medicinal Chef. Having worked pretty hard digging out and creating a new path in my mums garden I was pretty whacked. Even a lovely chicken roast dinner wasn’t enough. I needed more food.

When we got home I threw this together. It’s pretty straightforward – not dissimilar to a Shepherd’s Pie.

Under the mashed Sweet Potato (picture above) is your base of chickpeas, red onions, garlic, wilted spinach and some sun dried tomato paste. On top of the mash is some blue cheese.

In hindsight more cheese would have been awesome – but it was pretty late so I probably did the right thing.


Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry

I need to make a resolution to keep this food blog up to date. It’s been too long. Again ! What’s wrong with me. It’s not like I haven’t been cooking. If you saw the size of my belly lately you’d know this for sure!

April resolution – sort the blog out! So I apologise in advance if I over-blog during the next few days – clearing the backlog of food things I have made in the last 2 months!

This curry is from The Medicinal Chef. It’s incredibly easy and for once I under spiced it. Freya isn’t a hug fan of things with fresh ginger so I toned it down a bit and, although nice, I think it needed a bit more kick. 

I have a number of dishes planned from this book – mainly vegetarian – and am hoping that a combination of these very healthy meals and my return to the gym will help me lose a bit of weight so that I don’t look like the porker I did at Resistanz 2016 last week!

Radish and Avocado Salad with a Chia Tahini Dressing


Another great dish – especially if you like radishes – is this one from Julie Montagu’s Superfood cookbook.

Again crazy simple – but for me this one is only good within 30 minutes of making it. Leave it too long and the dressing loses itself in the salad ingredients – to the point that you wouldn’t even know it was there. So make it – and eat it straight away.

All you do is chop and slice stuff; some radishes, a couple of red peppers, a red onion, a spring onion, and an avocado. To this you add a handful of kalamata olives (I removed the stones from mine), and a handful of torn or chopped coriander and the dressing.

The dressing needs to be blended. It’s made up of chia seeds, tahini, cumin seeds, lemon juice, parsley, tamari (dark soy sauce), honey, salt and chilli powder.

I bought myself a new toy over Christmas. The NutriBullet just wasn’t good enough for breaking down things and is so frustrating to empty and clean; so I bought myself a high speed blender that was more up to the task. I now have an Optimum 9200 – which is a strong contender to the Vitamix and almost half the price. It blitzed through those ingredients in seconds and is far easier to clean, empty and use!

Anyway, I digress. The dressing is poured over the salad ingredients and then you simple toss them together and serve.

As I said before the dressing on this is amazing; but if you’re making it in advance (for your lunch perhaps), keep the dressing separate and pour on at the last minute.

This is a great salad; full of crunch and flavour – I loved it and will be making it again.

Karnibahar Oturmasi – cauliflower with minced lamb

This dish – which I made a couple of weeks ago – really blew me away. 

It’s from Turkish Fire by Sevtap Yuce. A real find amongst all the mainstream cookery books out there. 

It’s very simple to make and tastes amazing. It also has the amazing Garlic Yoghurt as a dressing – which I can’t stop making!

The cauliflower is cooked until it is just tender, rolled in flour and dipped in egg before deep frying it to get a lovely golden colour. 

The minced lamb is quite simple. Fry some onions in oil, add diced tomatoes, green chillies, the minced lamb and parsley. Very simple and done in around 10 minutes. 

This recipe just proves that great tasting dishes can be very simple. 

Turkish Bread and Roasted Vegetables

Looks like I haven’t been cooking again doesn’t it! It’s been ages since I blogged about some food. 

This dish comes from a new cookbook that was recommended to me from my friend Ali at work. The book is New Feast: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian by Greg Malouf and there are some quite amazing recipes in there!

This recipe could be considered time consuming as one of the ingredients is some slow roasted tomatoes that are from another recipe in the book. The tomatoes are supposed to be slow roasted for 3-5 hours until they dehydrate and the flavours intensify. I didn’t have time for that so I did a speedier version – only roasting them for 90 minutes. 

What makes the tomatoes so flavoursome is a marinade of sumac, pomegranate molasses, sherry vinegar and Harissa. They tasted amazing after 90 minutes. I imagine they’d be absolutely incredible after 5 hours!

I kind of cheated all round with this recipe. I’d committed to making it and hadn’t really r ad the recipe thoroughly in advance (very unlike me) so I had to improvise and cut corners. 

The recipe also calls for a Turkish red pepper paste – another recipe from the book – but I just bought a jar of the stuff from my local Syrian shop. I’ll do it properly next time. 

Essentially this recipe is just roasted longhorn peppers, baby courgettes, shallots and the slow roast tomatoes tossed together with diced ciabatta that has been pan roasted in butter and the red pepper paste. But that does rather oversimplify what is actually an amazing collection of intense flavours brought out from slow roasting. 

For example, there is a sauce that is made by roasting garlic which you then mash with capers, sherry vinegar and the juices from the pan you roasted all your vegetables in. It’s quite amazing and I’ll probably make that sauce on its own to have with a variety of other things. 

I was very late serving this dish as Freya and I were busy brainstorming how to make things better on the boat with more storage and seating and this totally distracted me from getting dinner done on time. 

I’ll make this again. And I’ll concentrate next time!

My Butternut Squash Calabrian Lasagne

For once a recipe that I made up myself. 

This lasagne is based on Nigella Lawson’s Calabrian Lasagne – but completely vegetarian and with a rich tomato sauce. 

After painstakingly making a novelty birthday cake for my daughter we really needed to eat. 

Her cake is pretty special. I’ll post pictures when it is finished!

We had lots of ingredients to use up – as Freya’s parents have been away all week and their fridge was pretty well stocked with veggies. Rather than toss them I tried to use them up. 

This lasagne turned out far better than I expected. I really should try my own stuff more often!


Veggiestan Waldorf Salad

Now here’s the only salad that I think you will ever need. From the Veggiestan cookbook, this was going to be a side for another dish but I decided it wouldn’t go so we had it as a meal on its own. 

I can’t praise this enough and can’t to wait to make it again this weekend. Simple to make. Great combinations of flavour and textures. And it looks great too. 

No two Waldorfs are ever the same, although they do typically have lashings of mayonnaise. This one doesn’t and substitutes it for yoghurt, which is obviously far better for you.

The Veggiestan Waldorf is very simple. Line a bowl with some nice crisp gem lettuce leaves, and then in a bowl combine chopped apple, celery, onion, cucumber, green pepper, walnuts with raisins, coriander and mint. To this mixture you add your dressing of yoghurt, apple cider vinegar, honey and some infused saffron. Finally tip your mixture between all the salad leaves.

This is quite amazing. I could eat this all day every day – and I think it would go with absolutely anything; BBQs, meat, fish, it’s a really good salad. Quite frankly you could just have it on its own. Its very satisfying.

Mango Chicken Curry

Wasn’t sure about this one – but I’ve yet to make something from The Superfood Diet that I don’t like and this sounded worth a try, especially given we had a spare mango kicking about just waiting to be forgotten and thrown out. I also had a spare chicken breast in the fridge left over from yesterday’s Tikka Massala.

One thing I’ve gotten used to in the last six weeks is halving all the ingredients and only making enough for two. It’s all too easy to promise yourself you’ll make it last two meals but most things are too yummy and you just keep picking at the leftovers until they are gone. Not good for the diet.

Oddly, we usually can’t even finish regular sized portions of late. I imagine that is down to the hot weather and being motivated to get this excess weight off!

This dish is as easy as the Chicken Tikka Massala from yesterday. Toast some fennel seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds, and mustard seeds until the mustard pops and then fry off some garlic and ginger.

I learned my lesson and eased off a bit on the ginger today. Freya was most pleased.

To this mix you add turmeric and green chillies and a little asafoetida. I didn’t have any – and Brentford Morrisons isn’t the place to get it – so I did a quick Google and used onion salt as a substitute. Then add tomato purée and mango pulp. Bring to a simmer and add diced chicken. It’s ready in 30 minutes or so.

I didn’t realise you could get mango puree in a can and manually prepped a really large mango instead – hedgehog prep style!

I really liked this but we didn’t each much of it. Freya was a bit sad that she didn’t just get to eat the mango raw – it was super juicy – and some people struggle with getting their head round such sweet main courses. I thought it was great though; doubly good as mango is great at inhibiting the formation of fat cells.

I had mostly leftover Tikka Massala from yesterday and we had a little snack of guacamole and pitta when we got in that just left us a bit full.

The guacamole had to be done; we had two avocados just begging to go bad and I had spare limes, chilli and sour cream in the fridge. Seemed wrong to let them go to waste.

Still. That’s tomorrow’s dinner sorted.

Rich and Creamy Chicken Tikka Massala

Gurpareet Bains strikes again. This Chicken Tikka Massala is quite amazing; although spicier than I had anticipated. I guess two tablespoons of grated ginger was a clue! Freya isn’t a fan of too spicy and much as I loved it and will make it over and over again I think I should half the ginger if I want her to eat it.
Most Tikka Massalas clock in at well over 1000 calories a serving on account of all the cream. This one gets its creaminess from coconut milk, agave nectar and zero fat Greek yoghurt and comes in at under 400.

It’s very easy to make; after toasting some cardamom pods with fenugreek seeds you add onions and garlic, then tomato purée, ginger, green chilli and the Tandoori Massala spice mix.

After adding the chicken and cooking it on all sides you add Greek yoghurt, agave syrup and coconut milk and leave it to simmer for 40 minutes. Couldn’t be easier.

I served this with bulgar wheat cooked the Jamie way – with preserved lemons. It’s very quick, not that there was any rush. I’ve just got in the habit having watched maybe 10 episodes of 15 minute meals on the bounce!