Tag Archives: vegetarian

Middle Eastern Pearl Barley Salad

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It’s the hint of sweet spices, orange juice and currants that I love most in this Middle Eastern spiced pearl barley salad.  The flavours and the irresistible turmeric colouring infuse into the nutty pearl barley, making every mouthful layered with taste. A sprinkling of toasted almonds, garnished over the top, adds the perfect and necessary crunchy texture to this salad. So it’s no surprise when people ask me to ‘bring a salad’ this is often the one I resort to.

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Let’s face it, dried grains, particularly pearl barley, are a very affordable way of feeding people. And unlike some of the other more robust pulses (chickpeas or black beans) pearl barley can be cooked straight from the packet, no pre soaking required. It makes it an excellent choice for those who forget to plan ahead – or for those who tend to leave cooking to the last minute.

This salad doubles as a side dish, and it works served either cold or served warm. Try it with these barbecued lamb skewers, or even this delicious Moroccan roasted chicken .

It combines effortlessly with an arrangement of other salads, like with this roasted cauliflower salad, or this Kale and pickled carrot slaw.

Because of the filling nature of grain salads there are often left overs (I’m not complaining). Put them to good use. I sometimes fry up any remaining pearl barley and eat it rolled in a wrap the next day with some tahini, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and green salad leaves.  It’s perfect lunch time fare.

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Middle Eastern Pearl Barley Salad

Ingredients 

1 cup pearl barley

1 brown onion, roughly chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

1 stick celery, roughly chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp all spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp cumin

1/3 cup dried currants

1 orange

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/3 cup toasted slithered almonds

Place the pearl barley in a pot, cover with plenty of water, bring to the boil and cook for 35 – 40 minutes or till pearl barley is just cooked through. Drain and rinse briefly under hot water, set aside.

Meanwhile, place the roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery in a food processor and blitz lightly to a small dice.

Warm 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan, add the vegetables, all the spices and a large pinch of salt, stir and cover with a lid, cook on a gentle heat for 5 minutes.

Zest half the orange, then juice the whole orange. Add the orange zest and juice to the saucepan along with the currants, cover with a lid again and cook a further five minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for flavours to infuse for 10 minutes.

Place the spiced vegetables and currants in a medium bowl, add the cooked pearl barley and chopped parsley, stir well to combine. Check the seasoning, and drizzle with a little more extra virgin oil if needed.

Serve on a platter or in a large bowl and scatter with the toasted almonds.

Any left overs store in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Raspberry Almond And Buttermilk Cake

 

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It doesn’t come naturally for me to share my personal life here on my blog, this has always been a space to share recipes, post my photographs, and write about food. But there are some things, and some events, that change everything. These are the ones that must be shared. So it seems as good a time as any to spill the beans that I’m six months pregnant. In just under 3 months time our lives here will be far from quiet!

This will be my third baby (yikes!). I have no illusions of grandeur, of getting any sleep for the first six months, or of having any time to my self really. I daydream about sleepily rolling out my yoga mat with baby by my side as I try to establish back my post baby yoga-body. I console and remind myself that my ten and seven year olds will be excellent helpers and of course my husband too, who this being his first baby can’t wait to experience every moment of it.

Then, as I have always done over the years, to settle my nerves, or calm my mind, I turn to my kitchen, and I cook.

 

 

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And what better thing for a pregnant woman to cook than cake! Cake has been my saving grace, my shining knight, my obsession.

The golden hue to this – I’d almost say wholesome – cake is largely due to the whole wheat flour and brown, rather than white, sugar, with the added benefit of almond meal and sliced almonds for protein. This more wholesome style of baking is becoming my preference.

I like less sugar in my cake. I feel happier about eating it if there’s fibre, and whole grains, and now that I’m eating for two there’s a satisfaction and fullness that comes from altering white flours, and white sugars, for their less processed cousin.

 

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The first slices of this raspberry, almond and buttermilk cake, served still warm from the oven, are the best. The days that follow, I like to lightly warm the cake through, and always find the excuse to serve it with cream.

Frozen raspberries are perfectly fine for baking, yet if you can get some fresh ones to garnish the cake with you’ll be all the more happier for the effort.

 

Raspberry, almond and buttermilk cake 

150g softened butter

100g brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 free range eggs

200g plain whole meal flour

50g almond meal

1/2 tsp bi carb soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup frozen raspberries

40g sliced almonds

To serve

Cream

Fresh raspberries

Pre heat oven to 175C Line a 23cm spring form cake tin with baking paper.

Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whisk on a medium high speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time beating between additions, and scraping down the sides of the bowl till fully incorporated.

Sift the bi carb and baking powder onto the butter mixture, add the whole meal flour, almond meal and buttermilk and beat till well combined.

Add the frozen raspberries and fold gently to combine. Spread the cake evenly into the lined tin, sprinkle the top with the sliced almonds and bake for 50 minutes, or till an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Remove the spring form tin and cool the cake on a wire rack. For best results, serve slices of warm cake with cream and fresh raspberries.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Brussel Sprout And Chickpea Salad With Garlic Yoghurt

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A dear friends Aunty who I lived with for six months in Brighton, the UK, (20 odd years ago now), would steam her brussels for hours on end.

On a Sunday morning (it was always a Sunday) she would begin the day by steaming the vegetables for the evening meal (gulp). The poor overcooked brussel sprouts would then sit all day on the stove top sweating in their pot till we all came home from the pub and she’d proceeded to heat them again before serving our Sunday roast with something I can only refer to as muck.

It was a crime against the vegetables and one that brussel sprouts never made a recovery from. That is till this year, when I pushed aside those horrid memories and took to roasting them.

 

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Suddenly there was reason to love this misrepresented vegetable. To write a recipe for it. To post it here on this food blog.

I urge anyone who has a brussel sprout phobia to fight back. To say ‘No’ to hating brussel sprouts, and ‘Yes’ to roasting them.

This quick and easy way of preparing them with za’atar, garlic, chickpeas and extra virgin olive oil is so delicious, and so simple, that it is side dish you will be sure to fall back on time-and-time-again.

It’s a side dish to serve with a roast, or a good steak, or any number of other vegetable dishes like creamy potatoes and baked pumpkin.

And what I really love about this dish is the whole cloves of garlic, roasted with the sprouts then skinned and chopped and folded through Greek yoghurt with mint if you fancy, the taste is strong yet subtle, creamy and rounded.

 

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Roasted brussel sprout and chickpea salad with garlic yoghurt 

600g brussel sprouts, washed and halved

400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp za’atar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle at the end

4 cloves garlic, smashed but kept in their skin

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

1/2 cup Greek natural yoghurt

1 tbsp chopped mint

1tbsp lemon juice

Pre heat oven to 200C.

Cut the washed brussel sprouts in half and place in a large bowl. Add the drained chickpeas, za’atar, 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and sea salt and cracked pepper, toss till well coated.

Line a large tray with baking paper and spread the brussels over the tray. Roast for 30 minutes, or till roasted and caramalised looking.  Half way through cooking sprinkle the sprouts with 1 tbsp water to add moisture during the roasting process.

Set the sprouts aside and pick out the garlic, remove the skin and chop it to a fine paste, combine the garlic with the yoghurt, mint, lemon juice, 1 tbsp water, and season with sea salt and pepper.

Dollop the garlic yoghurt all over the brussel sprouts and serve warm.

Kale And Pickled Carrot Slaw With Green Tahini

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I have about half a dozen fantastic salads I’ve been eating over the summer that have all been on high rotation. There’s barely been a sandwich in sight!

And why not? Salads have become the staple that make me happy. They lessen the guilt of chocolate… cheese… and wine… The simpler the salad the better. Like this kale and quick pickled carrot salad.

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To be honest, a lot of the salads I make use tahini in the dressing (just quietly, I think I’m addicted!). I truly can’t stop eating tahini. I love that there’s always a jar in my pantry. I love that it’s a great source of calcium (among other nutritional benefits). I love that it goes so brilliantly with lemon, let alone when you blend it with lots of parsley too.

Oh, and I only buy the un-hulled tahini. The hull is left on during the processing leaving the nutrients in the tahini.  Basically it’s the wholegrain version.

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This fabulous kale coleslaw is simple and easy but does require a little preparation the day before. The quick pickled carrots may not be as quick as some would prefer. They need a day to pickle. But in comparison to the several weeks that my other pickled vegetables are left to mature, I think they can retain their title of ‘Quick’. Everything else is raw and can be shredded right before eating.

For those who like to dabble in leftovers, this green tahini coleslaw keeps in the fridge far better than one that’s dressed with mayonnaise. It’s fabulous the next day piled in a fresh piece of Lebanese bread, drizzled with chilli oil and lightly grilled.

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Kale and quick pickled carrot coleslaw with green tahini 

 

For the quick pickled carrots – start the day before – makes 750ml jar

3 cups thinly sliced (peeled) carrots – 2mm thick, use a mandoline if you have one

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp cumin seeds

10 whole black pepper corns

2cm piece fresh turmeric sliced, or substitute 1/2 tsp ground dried turmeric

  • Rinse a 750ml jar with boiling water. Place the sliced carrots in the jar.
  • Place the vinegar, sugar, salt, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, turmeric and 125ml water in a pot and bring to the boil. Cook on a rapid heat for 3 minutes.
  • Whilst hot, pour the pickling liquid into the jar over the carrots. Seal the lid, and leave to pickle on the bench for 24 hours. After 24 hours store the carrots in the fridge.

For the kale coleslaw 

2 cups of shredded kale

2 cups shredded white cabbage

1 large celery stick washed and sliced thinly on an angle

1/2 cup sliced pickled carrots, sliced into thin match sticks

Sesame seeds and chopped mint to garnish

For the dressing

1/3 cup un-hulled tahini

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup picked parsley leaves

1/4 cup water

Sea salt and white pepper

  • Combine the shredded kale, cabbage, celery and carrot.
  • Place all the ingredients for the green tahini dressing in a blender. Blitz for 45 seconds till well combined.
  • Pour the dressing over the kale and cabbage and toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds and roughly chopped mint.

 

(C) Copy right 2016 – Kale and quick pickled carrot coleslaw with green tahini

Roasted Broccoli And Garlic Frittata With Pine Nuts And Thyme

 

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I guess I’m one of those lucky parents; my kids have always eaten broccoli. There possibly was some persuading in the beginning but I never had to hide it in their food, or tell them funny stories about eating their ‘trees’. It was, and still is, their most beloved vegetable.

And although my interest in vegetables – of all tastes and flavours –  is far greater than theirs, for me broccoli is a green I always want to see on my plate.  Strangely enough, it’s comfort food.

 

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You are probably familiar with the concept of roasting cauliflower. Its green cousin, – broccoli -can be prepared in exactly the same manner. The florets are sliced into large pieces drizzled with olive oil, salt pepper, maybe a spice, maybe a herb, and roasted in the oven for about 30 minutes.

After you’ve roasted a batch for this frittata, you really must roast another tray and serve it as a side dish on another occasion. We ate roasted broccoli with preserved lemon chicken and quinoa tabouleh a few nights ago and it was delicious.

For this frittata I’ve thrown in whole cloves of garlic to roast. The cloves are then squeezed and the cooked garlic puree (which softens in flavour) is whisked into the egg mixture. It’s fabulous.

Frittata is simple food. It’s dinner. It’s lunch. It’s even breakfast if you’re that way inclined. In fact, sandwiched between two pieces of bread it becomes picnic food too. Eggs are such an easy meal for any time of the day. I would be lost without them.

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Roasted broccoli and garlic frittata with pine nuts and thyme

Ingredients

350g broccoli (one large head stalks included)

4-5 cloves garlic

2 tbsp chopped thyme

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

6 free range eggs

200ml thickened cream 

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

Olive oil

Pre heat oven to 200C.

Slice the broccoli into1cm thick pieces and scatter it on a large tray (lined with baking paper if you wish). Sprinkle the broccoli with olive oil, chopped thyme, salt and pepper and whole cloves of garlic (skin and all). Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Turn the oven down to 175C.

When the garlic has cooled slightly squeeze it out of the cloves. Roughly chop it. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the eggs, chopped garlic, cream, salt and pepper.

Line a 23cm square tin with baking paper. Place the broccoli into the base of the tin and scatter over the toasted pine nuts. Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli and top with grated parmesan.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Cut into pieces and serve warm or cold.

(C) Copy right 2016 – Roasted broccoli and garlic frittata with pine nuts and thyme

Turmeric Potato Salad With Red Quinoa And Yoghurt

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This is far from the conventional mayonnaise based potato salad that most people have in their repertoire. This little beauty uses fresh turmeric added to the potatoes before boiling so the colour leaches out and stains the potatoes a vibrant yellow.

It’s flavoured with coriander seeds, cumin seeds and nigella seeds, which are all roasted off in a pan first to best release their flavour.

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Each time I make this salad my head starts to nod of it’s own accord. I cheer the brilliance of turmerics soft gentle flavour and what roasted spices can do here, and that just right flavour that slow cooked onions adds to this dish.

And there’s the yoghurt. Spices and yoghurt could go with just about anything. Wouldn’t you agree?

This extraordinary tasting salad can be eaten warm or cold. As a side to a steak, chicken or fish. As part of a buffet of salads, or even served in a wholemeal wrap with extra yoghurt and coriander. The possibilities are endless. So spice it up.

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Turmeric potato salad with quinoa and yoghurt

Ingredients

900g desiree potatoes

35-40g fresh turmeric

1/4 cup red quinoa

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp cumin seeds

2 tsp nigella seeds

1 brown onion, sliced thinly

2 tbsp chopped coriander stem, plus coriander leaves for garnish

Rice bran oil

Greek style yoghurt

1/2 lemon juiced

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

Leave the skin on the potatoes and cut them into 4cm dice. Place in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Add the grated turmeric and a large pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 8 – 10 minutes or till potatoes are just soft. Drain and leave to steam in the colander for 5 or more minutes.

Meanwhile, place the quinoa in a small pot, cover with water bring to the boil and cook for about 15 minutes, drain and set aside.

Place the coriander seed, cumin seed and nigella seed in a separate small pan. Toast the spices till they start to pop. Cool slightly them ground roughly using a mortar and pestle.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frypan. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook on a low heat for about 8 minutes, till caramalised. Set the onion aside.

Wipe out the fry pan and add 1 tbsp oil, add the cooked potatoes and fry lightly in the pan for about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped coriander stem, cooked onion, roasted ground spices and cooked quinoa. Toss to combine. Season with lemon juice and taste for extra salt and pepper.

Serve the potatoes on a large platter, garnish with dollops of yoghurt and picked coriander leaves.

(C) Copy right 2016 : Food From Michelle’s Kitchen Turmeric potato salad with red quinoa and yoghurt

Roast Pumpkin, Black Bean and Halloumi Fritters

 

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Most of you would be familiar with the combination of roasted pumpkin and halloumi cheese, you’ve probably seen it on numerous cafe menus. But did you know how brilliantly these two ingredients combine with black beans for a vegetarian fritter out of this world?

I have this thing with black beans at the moment – don’t you?

I keep finding ways to use them in place of some of the other more common pulses like chickpeas and kidney beans. And I reckon they are perfect in these vegetarian fritters. 

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I prefer to plan ahead and use dried black beans because they taste better. And unlike the canned variety they aren’t as mushy. But I guess if you were short on time and needed black beans fast you could use a can of pre cooked black beans, plenty of stores are stocking them now. 

 

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One of the common mistakes with fritters is not having them bind together properly, then they fall apart in the pan as they cook. This is not the case with these fritters. Roasting the pumpkin helps dry it out, and the halloumi cheese with its delightful salty taste and familiar squeaky texture adds a necessary firmness. This is also achieved by the addition of egg and chickpea flour to bind it all together.

So what’s the best way to serve these fritters? There’s several options: In a burger. Broken up and rolled into a wrap. You might eat them with salad or steamed vegetables. There’s so many ways to enjoy them.

But of all these ways, I highly recommend eating them with a squirt of hot chilli sauce, a dollop of sour cream, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Oh, and don’t forget the mild pickled peppers.

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Roast pumpkin, black bean and halloumi fritters 

Makes about 10 large fritters

Ingredients 

1 cup dried black beans

350g peeled  butternut pumpkin, cut into 4cm chunks 

250g halloumi cheese, cut or torn into pieces 

1 cup washed and picked parsley leaves 

1 tsp hot smoked paprika

 Sea salt

White pepper

1 free range egg

chickpea (besan) flour

1/4 cup sesame seeds 

 Rice bran oil for frying

To serve:

Lime – juice and wedges

Hot chilli sauce

Sour cream 

1-2 fresh chillies, deseeded and sliced

Mild pickled peppers 

Place the beans in a bowl, cover them with cold water and soak for 12 hours or over night.

The following day, pre heat oven to 180C. Drizzle the cut pumpkin with oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes, or till soft, set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, drain the pre soaked black beans, place in a medium sized pot, cover with water and cook till just soft (about 25-30 minutes). Drain and rinse briefly under cold water. Take 1/2 cup of the cooked black beans and set aside for garnishing.

Place the roasted pumpkin, torn haloumi cheese, picked parsley and smoked paprika in a food processor, blitz till just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Place the remaining cooked black beans (minus the 1/2 cup) in the food processor and lightly blitz, till the beans are broken up but still chunky.

Add the beans to the pumpkin mix. Add the egg and 1/4 cup chickpea flour. Mix till well combined.

Place 1/3 cup chickpea flour and 1/4 cup sesame seeds in a flat tray. Shape the fritters in to 10 rounds and dust each fritter in the flour and sesame seeds. Set aside.

Heat a large non stick fry pan with a shallow covering of rice bran oil, cook the fritters in two batches, on a low heat till golden on both sides. Repeat with remaining fritters.

Take the reserved 1/2 cup of black beans and season them with chopped fresh chilli, lime juice and sesame oil.

You can serve the fritters on a platter, scatter with the reserved black beans, pickled mild peppers and serve with sour cream and chilli sauce.