If you’ve seen my second cookbook, The Savvy Cook, you know that I’m O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D. with halloumi cheese. It’s such a vegetarian cliché but hey, it’s delicious af, why not be into it?
There is something so satisfying about letting an ingredient burn and char, filling the kitchen with eerie smog and heck, even setting off the smoke detector (whoops!), when you do it with an intention for delicious food.
It’s the end of popsicle week aaand I’m also away in Amsterdam so this’ll be a super quick post!
The cool thing about studying nutrition is that it’s so applicable to daily life and helps me think about balancing the food I eat. For example the fact that eating fats along with the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K helps you absorb them better! So having fat in salad dressing is actually doing more than making things taste good, it’s improving the nutritional benefit of those veggies too.
If you missed my explanation from last week’s post, I’m doing a 3 part series of easy lunch recipes 🙂 The aim is for them to be useful and inspiring – created kind of like templates so it’s easy to make swaps (that way you’ll never get bored of them!).
Sooo continuing on with these healthy lunchbox recipes is this SUPER COOL soup one today!
Ever since I saw this DIY pot noodle idea in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s vegetarian cookbook, I’d been wanting to try it out for myself. His basic recipe, using just a stock cube, some aromatics, a nest of noodles and a bunch of veg served as a springboard for so many potential ideas.
These little coconut flour pancakes are becoming a quick favourite of mine. They’re really simple to stir up in the morning (or sometimes I make the batter at night and leave it in the fridge until breakfast time) and are incredibly filling! The texture is somewhat in-between a crepe and an American pancake – only a few mm thick with a slightly fluffy texture. Akin to socca but not so savoury, imo.
Here I went for a substantial topping of avocado, fried egg and rocket. I adorned it all with dukkah as my mum is now obsessed with putting dukkah on everything so I’m jumping on board! You can easily take this a sweeter route though with a topping of yogurt and berries or some sauteed apples!
I am absolutely perplexed by these bars. They’re pretty much everything I could ask for. Chewy (almost fudgy, I’d say) with a hint of toasty vanilla flavour and just enough chocolate so you can taste it, but it’s not the main feature. All that and they’re made without any butter or flour. Plus, when compared to your average blondie, they come in with about 1/3 of the sugar without compromising on texture or flavour!
I am alive! I have survived my first two weeks at uni and am getting into the whole meal planning spreadsheet lifestyle B) #beingorganisediscool. I mean yes, half my room is a devoted pantry and I have a window display of succulents, a butternut squash, ginger, tomatoes and onions, so of course I’m happy. I’ve also been cooking completely meat-free so far and I am looooving it!! My Food Science & Nutrition lectures have only just started but so far so good – I’m sure I’ll be writing more about what I’m learning as time goes on. But for now, onto the next no-added-sugar recipe!
One of the most interesting ways I found for sweetening things up without sugar was using sweet potato. Usually when making desserts, I’d reach for an overripe banana as a natural sweetness booster. It works brilliantly and can help with the textural problems (namely, dryness) that come about from removing sugar from baked goods too. However, bananas have a damn strong flavour and everything ends up tasting pretty much the same.
One day I was thinking about how sometimes people use pumpkin purée as they would mashed bananas in quickbreads – again the pumpkin provides moisture but, unless you’re using something like butternut squash puree, it’s not sweet at all. I remembered having a sweet potato & pecan bread at El Rey in New York (it was goooood.) so that led me to thinking about using sweet potato puree in desserts instead of pumpkin or banana.
Many recipes use overripe bananas to sweeten smoothies/’mylkshakes’ and provide a thick creamy texture, so I wondered if this would apply to the sweet potato purée due to the similarity in results from baking. They’re both high in sugar with a similar texture once blended, plus sweet potato purée is very creamy on its own. So I set out to make a sweet potato sweetened milkshake. I didn’t add very much water to the blender at first because I was using soaked cashews and I wasn’t sure how much liquid I’d need to add. I’m glad I didn’t because once I stopped blending and took a spoonful to taste, it immediately reminded me of chocolate pudding.
Now, I’m someone who isn’t much of a pudding-fan, I’m always longing to pour it into an ice cream maker and churn it into a scoop of gelato. SO I did just that, and what came out was a D.R.E.A.M.
It’s thick, creamy and rich thanks to the sweet potato and some soaked cashews. The sweetness comes from the sweet potato too, but I also added some dates and liquid stevia to balance out the bitterness of the cacao powder. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, I’m afraid freezing this straight up doesn’t work 🙁 HOWEVER, scoop it into some little ramekins and chill the mixture for a few hours, and you have a deluxe chocolate pudding!!! Otherwise you can freeze it in popsicle moulds to make fudgesicles <3
– to make sweet potato purée: Prick a large sweet potato all over with a fork. Wrap in foil and bake in a 200 C (400 F) oven for 45-60 minutes until tender all the way through. Leave to cool then scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin. Blend the flesh until completely smooth.
– In this recipe I’ve used raw cacao powder as I think it has a much more chocolatey flavour. If you can’t get any, normal cocoa powder will be fine but you may need to add more.
– If you don’t have a high speed blender (such as a Boss or Vitamix), you’ll need to soak the cashews and dates in advance: Cover them with cold water and leave overnight then drain and use as usual in the recipe.
BOOP! Hello, all.
Just bringing yas a quick recipe (and instagram photo) for a gorgeously fragrant pho. I adapted the recipe very slightly from The Art of Eating Well* cookbook by the Hemsley sisters. I made this soup for lunch because even though it’s August, I find British weather rn tends to be more like quotemarks “summer” rather than an actually hot season. It’s been rainy and grey and cold so I’ve been shuffling around the house in slipper socks and jumpers (very chic, I know). That said, I didn’t want a heavy soup/stew plus we’ve had a massive influx of courgettes and green beans from the allotment so this was perfect to use them up. In the headnotes, the Hemsleys suggest adding prawns or an egg to the soup if you want some protein in there too, but their original recipe includes shredded chicken (which I’ve left out cos I’m cutting back on my meat consumption, yo).
Every. Single. Year. My dad brings bagfuls of broad beans back from the allotment. When they’re young and fresh, they’re a dream. So tender and sweet, they’re perfect when boiled and eaten straight up with a scattering of salt.
As the weeks go on though, I always become a bit disenchanted by them. The little pod wrapped around each bean isn’t as buttery-soft and they err on the bitter side. This is the stage when they need flavour friends!