Cauliflower and Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Curry

  

This is a delicious and quick curry, which is easy to make, vegan-friendly and tastes fantastic. It’s Indian-inspired, and uses the cheat ingredient of pre-made concentrated curry paste. I’ve grown up with Patak’s, so I’m delighted that they sell it in the US. I have a variety of Patak’s curry pastes. On this occasion, I used the biryani (cilantro and cumin) paste. If you use a different brand, you may need to adjust the amounts to get the flavor right.

The dish can be made in under 30 minutes. I pop on the rice to cook first, then start prepping the cauliflower, onion and garlic. When ready, I just start to cook it. The curry is a dry one, with the spices sticking onto the cauliflower and chickpeas (garbanzo beans). The trick is to cook the cauliflower and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) until they are soft and tender. I love to serve it over brown rice.

  

Continue reading

Badam Burfi (Almond Candy)

  

I have fond memories of my mother picking me up from junior school and occasionally stopping off at her Indian friend, Dolly’s shop. I don’t even remember which shop was Dolly’s, what she looked like, or what her shop sold… but I do remember that she used to have a limited selection of mithai (Indian sweets). We’d buy a very small selection (as our budget didn’t allow for more), but more often than not, we’d have jalebis or burfi (barfi) of some sort.

Many years have passed since then. When I visited my parents (who still live in the same place for over 40+ years) in the mid 2000’s, I noticed a couple of shops (directly opposite each other) who specialized in mithai. I was like a child at the window of a sweet (candy) shop. The shops were well lit and the displays were vast. Now that I could afford it, I had to buy one of everything! Continue reading

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

  

This dish was born out of laziness… pure laziness. However, when I came around to making it – I ended up making my own bread, roasted red peppers and pesto. How that happened, I will never know!

The soup is served with basil pesto toasts and is perfect for the cold autumn/winter nights. It’s easy to make, packed full of flavor, and will supply you with a boost of vitamin A, C, B6, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Continue reading

Soft Polenta with Ratatouille

 

I’ve eaten polenta on numerous occasions, and it’s always been so bland and tasteless. When set and cut into pieces, it’s boring, and when soft, it brings back bad childhood memories of being forced to eat disgusting semolina with a splat of jam. Urgh… UK school dinners (or more correctly lunches) in the 80’s.

Polenta was one of those things that I thought I just hated. That was until J ordered vegetarian polenta at The Olive and Grape for lunch. Two things were weird – he went for a vegetarian dish, and it was polenta?!? Continue reading

Chocolate Dipped Tuxedo Strawberries

 

Ten years have passed since I accidentally melted a chocolate heart I bought for J for Valentine’s Day. It’s a hilarious story – I wrapped it all nicely and popped it on my dining room table on 13th February. I had my storage heater on, as it was still very cold in Southampton. After I switched the heater off, I went to get ready for bed and decided to have a quick tidy around. This tidy around involved putting the chocolate heart on the heater…

I only realized what I had done when I was sitting at the office at university the following morning… Continue reading

Insalata Caprese

caprese balsamic

 

I cannot believe I’m writing an entry for caprese salad! It’s one of the simplest things in the World. It’s also one of my favorite salads of all time, and that’s why we had it for our starter for Valentine’s Day. It’s amazing how just a few simple ingredients can make such a delectable salad. The trick is to use the best quality tomatoes and mozzarella you can find. In the best mozzarella, I mean Italian imported buffalo mozzarella. Imported buffalo mozzarella is like heaven Continue reading

Bacon and Fennel Pasta

 

I know, I know the finished dish looks like a cat has vomited on a plate of pasta… but I’ve always found taking photographs of pasta really difficult. You have to trust me when I say it’s delicious!

J first cooked me this dish many moons ago, and we usually enjoy it with spaghetti or homemade tagliatelle. I was planning to make this pasta for Valentine’s dinner, and when I saw the heart-shaped pasta, I just HAD to use it! Continue reading

Carrot Cake Muffins – Gluten Free & Vegan

 

I’ve decided that carrot cake is evil – I can eat so much of it without batting an eyelid… it’s incredibly deadly for me. I’m unsure why I love it so – it maybe the moistness of the cake, the fruitiness, the nuttiness, the high sugar and fat content, or simply the cream cheese frosting that adorns them. Lucky enough, I’ve limited my dairy intake (due to allergies), so any piece of carrot cake that calls me when I’m in PCC will have to sit on the hips and thighs of someone else.

These deliciously moist carrot cake muffins are a little different. They don’t need any cream cheese frosting.  Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

 

It was J’s 24th birthday yesterday…. yeah, right! Switch the numbers around and you’ll get his real age. You must remind me to ask what the view is like at the top of the hill…

He’s a die-hard chocolate fan, so what could be more appropriate than chocolate cupcakes for his birthday? These babies are vegan-friendly, moist, delicious and packed full of chocolaty goodness. Continue reading

Dutch Pancakes (Pannekoeken)

 

When I asked J what he wanted for his birthday dinner – he replied “pancakes… we haven’t had them for dinner for ages!” He was right, it was probably 2004 when we had them last.  

The pancakes he was talking about were Dutch pancakes, not Dutch baby pancakes, but real Dutch pancakes. They are large and slightly thicker than a crepe, and are often served with a variety of toppings, including cheese and bacon. We enjoy them for dinner, Continue reading

Cod with Roasted Baby Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil

 

This is a healthy and delicious fish supper, which is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, yet elegant enough for a dinner party. It’s simple to make, low in fat and packed full of deliciousness. Tender strips of courgettes (zucchini) are topped with a fillet of poached cod, and roasted baby plum tomatoes with garlic and fresh basil.

My first encounters with cod were from battered fish and chips at our parent’s eatery. We never ate cod whilst we were growing up – we always had trout, salmon heads, red snapper, plaice or sole. It was NEVER fried in batter, but steamed, pan-fried or cooked in soup. When we were old enough Continue reading

Moist Vegan Mango and Cardamom Cake

 

Many varieties of mangoes exist, however the king of mangoes is the Alphonso. No other mango compares to this wonderful mango, which is also known as an Indian mango. They are large, yellow, juicy, sweet and not at all stringy. They are the type of mangoes that you have to devour over the sink because they are so juicy.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a multi-cultural society in England, where Alphonso mangoes were sold in boxes of 6-8. America has been starved of this wonderful mango for 18 years, until the ban of its importation was lifted in 2007. However, I still have not seen a fresh Alphonso mango in the Continue reading