I don’t know about you but I regularly find my cupboards (and fridge) almost completely bare, and in those instances I try to cobble something together that vaguely resembles a complete meal. This ‘salad bowl’ was the result of one such foraging scenario where I was able to utilize a couple of half-used peppers, a handful of cherry tomatoes, as well as some dried goods in the form of bulgar wheat and whole almonds … oh, and lets not forget that broccoli. Broken into tiny, bite-sized florets and served completely raw … in case you weren’t already aware, I kinda adore raw broccoli – crunch, crunch, crunch!
Griddling the cherry tomatoes was the key to bringing the simple salad dressing to life. I toyed with the idea of toasting the almonds too but thought it might interfere with the taste and texture too much, so raw they remained. Stirred through the bulgar wheat, the dressing really boosts the, er, blandness (?) of this nutty, nutritious grain – regardless, I’m a bit obsessed and use it regularly, hence why I have a glut of it in my cupboards.
So, a bit of this and a bit of that ain’t so bad … I even managed to shoehorn a bit of protein in there too – hurrah! Next time your pantry is in need of a restock, why not have a rummage and see what odds and ends might make a decent (or at the very least, passable) meal.You might be pleasantly surprised.
what you’ll need
1/2 large red pepper
1/2 large yellow pepper
1 small head of broccoli
1 cup bulgar wheat
for the sauce
handful of cherry tomatoes
1 scant cup of almonds
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp agave or other sweetener (optional)
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
what you’ll do
Heat a griddle pan. Cut the peppers into large pieces and place skin-down in the pan … cook until the skins blacken and then remove from the pan. Wrap tightly in cling film and set aside for 5-10 minutes before unwrapping and gently peeling away the skin – do not rinse under a tap. Cut into thin strips, season and toss with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Add the cherry tomatoes and griddle until they become lightly charred and soft to the touch. Pulverize the almonds in a food processor before adding the tomatoes, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and seasoning. Whilst the sauce is blitzing slowly pour in the extra virgin olive oil until it thickens. Check for seasoning and if it needs a little added sweetness, put it in now – blitz again to combine and refrigerate until needed.
Pour the bulgar wheat into a large bowl and add the same amount of freshly boiled water (i.e. 1 cup), cover and set aside until the bulgar wheat has fully absorbed the water. Fluff with a fork and stir through half the sauce.
Cut the broccoli into small bite-size pieces (keep any remaining stalks for soups and stews) and begin assembling your bowl. I used a large platter-style bowl, placing the roasted pepper strips in the centre before spooning the bulgar wheat around the outside. Dot the broccoli florets here and there, and serve with the remaining sauce.
Simple, wholesome – and cheap!
Okay, okay, so I’m a day late to the game but hopefully just in time to inspire your meat free meals for the rest of the week. I’ve delved into the ‘peasoupeats’ archives to come up with a varied menu that should (fingers crossed) cover all bases… from soup to salads and even sushi, there’s a little bit of everything but do let me know what your favourite is. Personally, I’m all about the Sweet Potato & Pearl Barley Stew but that’s probably because I haven’t fully transitioned from my winter diet yet – yup, still craving that warmth! The pearl barley is certainly lighter than rice but has that ‘stick to yer ribs’ quality that I’m so loving right now. If you’re currently getting yourself in shape for summer though, the Noodle Salad for One is a super option – filling yet light and full of flavour. Anyway I’ll let you decide – there are six recipes to choose from and they’re all pretty delicious and, as ever, super easy. Happy ‘Meat Free Week’ everybody!
Humdinger Hummus Sandwich
Possibly the perfect lunchtime sammie crammed full to the brim with hummus, sprouts, avocado and more. I’m a total bread/carb fiend so this is my ideal midday scenario and best of all it takes minutes to make. Om nom nom.
Summer is creeping up on us and soon I’ll be bemoaning the fact I didn’t get in shape sooner. When I do finally get into the swing of things though, I’ll be relying on salads like this to see me through … tasty, filling and seriously simple to make.
Another mainstay in my kitchen, this spiced lentil soup is the ultimate comfort food. Make a big batch tonight for a go-to pot of yumminess throughout the week … #meatfreeweek sorted.
Fill it with whatever you fancy or stick to this grated carrot, peashoot & pepper version – either way, this is a sure-fire weekend winner for when you have a little more time to play in the kitchen. Get yourself a bottle of sake for a full-on Japanese evening experience and say ‘cheers’ to going meat-free!
Yes, the weather is warming but that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave stodge. This pearl barley stew is a huge favourite of mine because it feels indulgent whilst still managing to retain some healthy credentials – who says comfort food can’t be good for you, eh?
I like to make the most of my solitary meals and this one features frequently – hence it’s addition here. It was originally commissioned for Marcus Samuelsson many moons ago and it still gets a great reception to this day… I hope y’all enjoy it too!
Today marks the first in a series of posts I have dubbed ‘Cooking with Clearspring’, which will see me utilising a few of the truly awesome ingredients from their entirely vegan range of foodie goodies. If you don’t know already, I am huge fan of Clearspring products and use them all the time in my kitchen, so when they sent through a gift box full to bursting with noodles, (two different types of) miso, oil … and even matcha (!!!) I did a little happy dance and then promptly got down to cooking. I hummed and hawed what to use first before unleashing the power of the coconut in this Asian inspired twist on a very British classic – the mighty (and occasionally contentious) rice pudding.
Now, I’m sure we all have memories (good and bad) of rice pudding growing up – thankfully, mine are all triumphant. My Dad happened to be an expert rice pudding maker so you could say I learnt from the best. It was always unctuously creamy with just the right amount of sweetness. In a nutshell, this dessert spells home, comfort and quiet Sunday nights with a warming bowl of pud in my hand … ah, memories. And because those memories can never be matched, I knew it was time to put my own spin on things and so this coconut ‘sushi rice’ version was born – it certainly helps having top notch ingredients at your disposal too.
The sushi rice kernels are the perfect shape and size for this type of pudding. They won’t loose their shape and disintegrate into mush, and are just brilliant at absorbing all that yummy coco-nutty flavour … they also have a natural sweetness, which, when combined with the coconut milk, means you hardly have to add any sweetener at all. I choose to go down the palm sugar route with this one (keeping with the broadly speaking ‘Asian’ theme and all that) but you could easily sub it out for any sweetener of your choosing (agave, maple, brown rice syrup or even plain ol’ sugar). In my opinion though, quality coconut milk is crucial in this instance and because the Clearspring variety I used here was so smooth and creamy, all the hard work was done for me. I didn’t have to linger over the stove for hours on end like normal rice pudding either – just 30mins and, bingo, you’re done.
The biggest revelation for me was actually the prune puree. I could literally eat this stuff straight out of the pot and will definitely be using it again on yoghurt and oatmeal … it is sheer fruity heaven. Because it possesses all that lovely sourness, it was the ultimate antidote to the milky richness of the rice pudding. The persimmon (sharon fruit) was a final flourish on what is already a delightful dessert but feel free to leave it off if you can’t get your hands on one. Personally, I’m obsessed with these maple flavoured fruits, and therefore will use them at any available opportunity.
Even if you’re recoiling in horror at the thought of revisiting a school dinner-esque nightmare, I’m hoping this updated version might just be enough to sway you… your new and improved rice pudding future awaits!
what you’ll need
1/2 cup Clearspring sushi rice
1 x can Clearspring coconut milk
1 heaped tbsp palm sugar
1 x persimmon/sharon fruit
desiccated coconut to garnish
what you’ll do
thoroughly rinse the sushi rice and set aside.
empty the contents of the coconut milk into a small pan and bring to a gentle simmer.
whisk in the rice and stir vigorously in the first few minutes to ensure the kernels don’t clump.
add the palm sugar and reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. It is vital you stir frequently to prevent sticking, adding a little water now and then if it appears too thick.
peel and slice the persimmon.
serve hot or cold topped with a spoonful of prune puree, sliced persimmon and dessicated coconut.
Change is afoot folks. Not only have we officially welcomed in British Summertime but it looks like we’ll be spending those impending sunny months in what is quite possibly the prettiest village in the UK, let alone Cornwall… Dylan Thomas thought so too so who am I to argue?! Tucked away at the far end of the county with some narrow coastal roads as its only access you will find Mousehole (pronounced ‘Mowzel’) – a quaint miniature town that is as picture postcard as you’ll get. It’s not a done deal just yet but fingers crossed by the beginning of May we will be setting up shop in the most adorable house with a terrace, balcony and sea views from the master bedroom. Pinch me ’cause I think I might be dreaming.
Whilst there are dozens of reasons why I’m excited to be headed back to the Penzance area, one of the main draws (apart from being nearer friends and family) will be the light. It might be a tad extreme to say I’m suffering from SAD but the distinct lack of light in our current abode has really gotten to me these past few months – probably exasperated by the fact I know virtually no-one here but I think a lot of it is definitely down to these cramped quarters we are living in too. We are so tucked away and surrounded by other buildings at present, it can be difficult to read the weather even when we’re looking out the window.
Of course, this lack of light has really impacted my food photos too, and although I have tried to embrace the moody style they seem to be exuding, it is so frustrating being limited in this way. Annoyingly, there is one very small area which is suitable for snaps and trust me, I have tried every other inch of our living space to see if somewhere else might work and it just doesn’t, ugh. So, not only is the light (of lack thereof) situation affecting my happiness it is also kinda cramping my blogging style too. I’m all about bright, open spaces with tons of natural light flooding in and instead we’ve ended up with a darkened cell that is overlooked from every angle – not a good look and quite frankly depressing as hell.
Luckily for us, our new place has HUGE windows with tons of natural light but still manages to remain very private – I’m already planning the BBQ’s. Okay, so I’m probably viewing it with some mega Jackie O-esque rose tinted glasses at present but allow me these initial weeks of delight (squee!) before something inevitably happens to rain on our parade. Glass half full girl? Moi? Never.
what you’ll need
1/3 medium butternut squash
large handful of Russian kale (or other greens)
1 garlic clove
1 thumbsized piece of ginger
2 portions udon noodles
what you’ll do
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit. Bring a large pan of water to the boil.
Cube the squash and bake in the oven with a little sunflower and salt for 30mins or until soft.
Halve the leek and finely slice. Heat a little sunflower oil in a pan and lightly fry the leek until soft.
Mince the garlic and ginger together and add to pan. Fry for a few minutes before adding the kale.
Wash and slice the kale, disposing of any hard stalks, and add to pan. Season with a pinch of gomasio, splash of sesame oil, soy sauce and sushi vinegar. Cook until it begins to wilt.
Cook the noodles according to the packet, reserve a little liquid, drain (and rinse if desired) and add to pan along with the cooked butternut squash. Gently combine, adding some reserved cooking liquid if necessary.
Season with soya sauce and serve. Finish with a final sprinkling of gomasio – I am currently obsessed with this stuff.
It feels like an absolute age since I last posted a recipe. I’m here to reassure you that my passion for food lives on and contrary to evidence displayed here is thriving more than ever. Whilst I’m making a lot of Mexican food still and there is always a steady stream of Asian inspired dishes, I’m now getting into that Autumn vibe with distinctly more hearty fare.
A sucker for pasta in all its many and varied forms, these slivers of teeny tiny vermicelli are my new obsession. Found in my favourite supermarket section (the ‘World Food’ aisle) the itty bitty shards of angel hair spaghetti are perfect for soups and stews, and work a treat in this light autumn dish.
I do feel I owe you a sweet dish after this though, so next time we’ll be getting our sugar on – vegan stylee, yeow!
2 leeks, sliced
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 courgette, roughly chopped
1 cup green beans, chopped small
2 cups baby leaf spinach
1 can (about 1 1/2 cups) drained and rinsed cannellini beans
1 cup vermicelli
3-4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp mixed italian herbs
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 vegetable stock cube
splash of red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
heat a little oil in a deep pot. add the sliced leeks, some salt and allow to soften on a gentle heat for several minutes before adding the carrots. clamp on lid and cook for 5-10mins before adding the sliced garlic.
after allowing the garlic to infuse for a few minutes, add the courgette, sprinkle over the oregano, pour over the red wine vinegar and cook for a few minutes on a reasonably high heat with the lid on.
add the stock cube and cover with water from a kettle. bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes before adding the green beans. cook for a further 10 minutes until the beans are soft.
add the cannellini beans and pasta, season and cook for several minutes more until the pasta absorbs the remaining liquid and the sauce thickens.
finally, stir through the spinach until it wilts. taste for seasoning and serve with the chopped flat leaf parsley and nutritional yeast, aka. nooch (optional but nice!).
Real girls eat real dinners. I know I do. They’re not pretty, beautifully presented and camera ready. They’re messy, chaotic and hurried. But (mostly) always tasty.
Spaghetti is most definitely one of my top five foods. It’s been there for a while. Others may come and go but spaghetti remains.
White cabbage on the other hand……not in my top five. Not in my bottom five either, mind you, but it’s definitely a vegetable that needs help. Hello smoked paprika….
…..a kitchen is not a kitchen without smoked paprika. Just sayin’.
Courgette. Zucchini. Whatever you like to call it, I love it. How you slice it is important. No rounds here my friends. Strips.
Then there’s sliced white onion. Organic white onion. The strong kind that makes your eyes hurt bad when you cut into them. A flavour necessity. Most definitely.
Garlic. Obviously. Lot’s of it. Obviously.
Fry it up, toss it together and serve with tofu sausage and a colossal couscous salad. This is called durum wheat overload. My kind of meal.
1/2 sliced large white onion
1/2 finely sliced pointed white cabbage
1 sliced courgette/zucchini
3 large garlic cloves finely sliced
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper
heat the oil in a skillet/frying, add the onion, season with salt and pepper and sautee gently until beginning to soften.
add the garlic and fry for a few minutes before adding the cabbage and courgette. season generously and sautee gently until soft, stirring frequently. this will take around 20minutes.
meanwhile bring a large pan of water to the boil, salt and add the spaghetti.
when the cabbage mixture is sufficiently soft, sprinkle over the smoked paprika and stir to combine. season and allow the flavours to infuse for around five minutes or so.
when the pasta is cooked al dente, reserve a little liquid, drain the pasta and transfer to the frying pan. season with salt, pour over a small amount of the reserved liquid and toss to thoroughly combine.
for the tofu…
cut into thick slices and gently fry in sunflower oil until both sides are golden.
So. What you need to do is…..
…..get yourself some itty bitty pasta. The kind you put in soups. I found these teeny tube shapes in the ‘world food’ section of our local supermarket – funnily enough, not in the Italian bit.
Then, you want to make a paste from just about any herbs hanging around – flat leaf parsley, coriander, basil. Sorta like a pesto ‘cept not. No pine nuts necessary but fennel, celery and onion are good components for flavour.
Put it all in a pan, cook it up and bingo, you’ve got yourself one tasty little supper dish. That easy.
Y’know, I need more simplicity in my kitchen, which is why I’ve been loving this paste thing so much. I’ve used it with rice, giant couscous and I plan to use it with other grains. It’s a winner.
And I think it’s only appropriate that I give credit to the magnificent Ms. Miers. That lady knows food. Big love.
herbs – flat leaf parsely, coriander, basil etc.
fennel, celery or onion – some or all
garlic – big clove
lemon or lime juice – a bit
olive oil – glug
salt and pepper
mini pasta shapes – about a cup
1/2 vegetable stock cube
halved cherry tomatoes – a few
cubed basil tofu – optional
make a paste. lightly fry. add the pasta and stir to coat it. add the stock cube and cover with water.
simmer until all the water is absorbed, add a little more water and continue to simmer until the pasta is fully cooked.
stir through the tomatoes and basil tofu. heat through. season. serve.
Like most of you, I am pushed for time in the evenings. Used to a more leisurely evening scenario this new 9-5 thing (or 10-6 to be more precise) is pushing my cooking know how to the limits, as I strive to get dinner on the table before it’s time to curl up in bed. Not as easy as it may sound.
You see, when I get home from work I must have a cup of tea before any real kitchen activity begins. So, let’s say I arrive home at 7pm, have my cup of tea, chill for a half an hour whilst catching up on the worlds tweeting, facebooking and all other such essentials, I will not be cooking any time before 8pm. Fact.
Now, let’s say my preparation time (including deciding what we fancy chowing down on plus chopping and whatnot) takes me 20minutes (and it pretty much does) that leaves me 40minutes to get everything cooked and tasting, well, edible, before 9pm – 9pm is the last reasonable time you can eat before people think you’re either bonkers or Spanish. I am neither. Okay, perhaps I am a little bonkers but I am most definitely not Spanish.
Anyhoo, 9pm is still a reasonably reasonable time to be eating – especially given we don’t slumber till 12 at the earliest – and I’ve always preferred to eat late. Except, dinner is not on the table by 9pm. Tonight was 9.30, the night before 9.15 and I’m even sure we ate past 10pm one evening last week. So, you see, I am failing. Hard.
Perhaps the only time we ate early recently (and by early, I mean 8.45) was when I prepared this simple stir fry. It was a bish bash bosh affair and can only be described as a non recipe. I, therefore, will try and accurately express in my recipe below how exactly a non recipe goes. Ahem. Here goes.
bag of stir fry veg (with beansprouts)
handful of mange tout
3 spring onions
1 cup of pre-prepared marinated tofu
2 garlic cloves
1 thumbsize piece of ginger
1/2 red chilli
pre-cooked rice noodles
umeboshi plum vinegar
freshly chopped coriander
slice the onion in half moons. heat a little coconut oil in a frying pan. add the onion.
mince the garlic, ginger and chilli.
add the bag of stir fry veg and mange tout to pan and stir on a high heat for several minutes before adding the minced garlic, ginger and chilli. season with tamari.
when the veg has softened a little add the marinated tofu and fry on a high heat for several minutes. add a splash of ume plum vinegar.
toss in the rice noodles and season with tamari and more ume plum vinegar. stir to incorporate the veg. slice the spring onions (asian stylee) and add to pan ensuring the noodles don’t stick to bottom of pan.
lower the heat and stir through the freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.
serve with spring rolls (f.y.i. the co-operative do the best vegan spring roll – jus’ sayin’!)
Did I make it simple then?
I’m terribly sleepy so let’s make this a short one.
Isa and all her post punk delights are a constant source of inspiration to me and even though she hates it when people tamper with her recipes, sometimes I just gotta work with what I have in the fridge, cupboard, freezer, whatever.
This is my take on her magnificent pasta a la California something or other – I could reach for my copy of Veganomicon right now to get the correct title but I doubt I have the strength in my arms to do even that.
Anyhoo, this is a tres delicious recipe and may I be so bold as to suggest the sunblush tomatoes are a nice addition and in keeping with the vibe of the dish?! Don’t hate me Isa.
Goodnight dears and enjoy the recipe, such as it is….
pasta with broccoli, avocado and sunblush tomatoes
1 small head broccoli including stalk
6-8 sunblush tomatoes
1 heaped tablespoon roughly chopped capers
1/4 cup freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
3-4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
2 1/2 – 3 cups/250g conchiglie pasta
1. slice the shallots and cut the broccoli stalk into small pieces.
2. heat a little olive oil in a heavy based saucepan.
3. add the shallots, brocolli stalk, season and allow to soften for a few minutes.
4. slice or mince the garlic and add to pan with a tsp of dried thyme. season, stir, clamp on lid and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes.
5. bring a large pan of water to the boil. blanch the brocolli florets for a few minutes and remove with a slotted spoon. add the pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than the packet requires (trust me!).
6. chop the sunblush tomatoes into small pieces and add to pan along with the chopped capers. if the tomatoes come in an oil, add a drop to the pan also for flavour.
7. halve, stone, peel and chop the avocado into medium size pieces.
8. add the brocolli to the pan and allow to heat through for a moment.
9. drain the pasta, add to pan, along with avocado, chopped parsley and season generously (chilli flakes would also be good). stir gently to incorporate and warm through on a low heat for several minutes.
If you’re not already privy to my Marcus Samuelsson contributions, let me fill you in. Since May of last year Marcus has kindly featured two weekly PeaSoupEats recipes (one savoury, one sweet) on his rather fantastic website, which has many amazing cooking tips, dishes, as well as a boat load of info on food and health. My kind of site.
Thus far I have resolved to not make any resolutions and instead appreciate what the past year has brought and what 2012 has yet to bring. I’m continually amazed at how unpredictable life can be and I can safely say that my Husband and I are now officially go with the flow people – plans are for suckers.
Okay, so we still make plans but are more prepared for those plans not to work out. You learn such things after moving your entire lives across the Atlantic only to have to return a mere two years later. These things happen. You deal with it and move on.
If you had told me even a few months ago I would be sitting in my new London apartment about to embark on a fashion internship with the Daily Express I would’ve thought you were mad or at the very least delusional. And yet….here I am. In London. And I start my placement next Monday. Crazy.
Throughout everything that’s happened in 2011 – moving (again!), changing career – the two continuous things that have kept me grounded, happy, sane are my Husband (of course!) and my blog. Obviously, Ma, Pa and Sister get a mention too;)
In all seriousness though, this little blog has kept me going on many an occasion when I was feeling useless and gave me a much needed outlet. More significantly, I believe it has enabled me to flex those rusty writing muscles thus giving me the confidence to enter the world of fashion journalism and for that I am ever grateful.
It goes without saying (although I will say it) that I am so incredibly thankful to everyone who reads my blog. Without an audience this blogging lark would be a lot more difficult and I appreciate every view as if it were gold dust. Quite honestly, you are the reason I continue to write here, so to each and every one of you, thank you, thank you, a thousand times, thank you x
I started with noodles and therefore I will end with noodles – spotting a theme anyone? I think I can safely say noodles, chocolate and kale are my top 3 foods. Not a bad top 3 if you ask me!