Ragi and Blueberry Pancakes / Finger Millet Blueberry Pancakes/ Nachni chya god polya

Another new obsession – Nachni (Marathi) / Ragi (Hindi) or Finger Millet as it is popularly known , in the past few days have made savoury pancakes several times so today I thought I would rustle up some sweet pancakes. But had to keep them healthy so opted for Soya Yoghurt instead of eggs which makes these vegan friendly and added in oats so that makes them gluten free too.

I really wanted to come up with some name for the Marathi alternative to this recipe and ‘Nachni chya god polya’ sounded like fun ūüėČ

Light and puffy these are just perfect when you are craving pancakes but a healthier version is what you really want!

Ragi and Blueberry Pancakes , Finger Millet Blueberry Pancakes, Nachni chya god polya

Ragi is known to have a whole host of health benefits:

  • Popular amongst diabetics due to it’s low GI
  • High is dietary fiber
  • Rich in calcium, iron and thiamine
  • It is an aid to healthy weight loss due to it’s very low fat content
  • It is a good source of GF protien
  • Popular as a baby food too

Nutritional value of finger millet per 100g

Protein 7.6g
Fat 1.5g
Carbohydrate 88g
Calcium 370mg
Vitamins – A: 0.48mg
Thiamine (B1): 0.33mg
Riboflavin (B2): 0.11mg
Niacin: (B3) 1.2mg
Fiber 3g

800px-Millet_fields_in_Annapurna

Image Credit: Mikael Häggström

Why you should make these pancakes! As if you need any excuses for blueberry pancakes!!!

  • Low GI due to the finger millet flour so ideal for diabetics as it keeps blood sugar levels steady avoiding any sudden spikes and crashes.
  • Gluten free
  • Ideal for vegans
  • Dairy Free
  • Egg Free
  • Refined sugar free as Natvia is great sugar substitute
  • The oats ensure that this pancake keeps you fuller longer

Serves: 1 – makes 6 mini pancakes – double up quantity for 2 people

Ingredients:

  • 6 heaped tbsp oats
  • 4 heaped tbsp finger millet flour
  • 3 tbsp Soya yoghurt – I used Alpro – it’s approved by the Vegan society
  • Handful of blueberries
  • water
  • 4 tsp of Natvia – adjust as per taste

Ragi and Blueberry Pancakes , Finger Millet Blueberry Pancakes, Nachni chya god polya

Method:

  • In a large mixing bowl add the oats and finger millet and then the yoghurt
  • Mix well and a thick mixture will form
  • Heat about 2 cups of water in a kettle and let it cool down a bit
  • Slowly pour into the mixture and set aside for about 5-7 minutes
  • Then mix well to form a batter ensuring that it is not runny but has a good consistency, then add the Natvia and stir well till it all dissolves, adjust as per taste.
  • On a non-stick pan on medium heat melt 1 heaped tbsp unsalted butter or if your using the 1 cal sunflower oil spray then about 6 – 8 sprays are enough.
  • Ladle enough of the batter in the centre of the pan enough for a mini pancake, do not spread it like a dosa as the batter will disintegrate.
  • Allow to cook on each side for about 1 minute with a lid.
  • Use a wooden spatula to loosen the side done first and flip over carefully, the more the blueberries in each pancake that you ladle into the pan the more the water content as the heat will make the fruit pop and melt into gooey fruity goodness. Don’t fret if the first few pancakes break especially where the fruit is at the edge.

My pancake stack collapsed just as I was about to photograph it – humfph! But it was a very satisfying , delicious and healthy breakfast which even the hubster loved – win-win! Woohoo ūüôā

A word of caution though excessive consumption may lead to kidney trouble so don’t over do the consumption.

Lastly a fun fact! Did you know that the grains are fermented to make a beer in some parts in Nepal? Cool or what?!

Ragi and Blueberry Pancakes , Finger Millet Blueberry Pancakes, Nachni chya god polya

References:

  • Wiki
  • Supra Organics
  • Veg Weight Loss Diets

Whole Masoor dal and Tofu salad

The long Easter weekend has sped past far too quick for me and am back to work. I just wanted to keep lunch really light today – guilty after ordering a Chinese takeaway yesterday *sad face*

So this recipe is basically me throwing together stuff found in my fridge, not necessarily planned but just what I thought would taste yummy and am very pleased with the result.

I am currently in love with a few things like red lentils, avocados, butternut nut squash, oranges, baby spinach, baby kale, walnuts and matcha green tea. I somehow can’t seem to get enough of this. Also my¬†love affair with tofu is just getting more passionate.

Whole Masoor Dal and Tofu salad

Whole Masoor Dal and Tofu salad

Serves: 2  with extra helpings

Ready in: 45 minutes (If roasted squash is done then ready in 20 minutes)

Ingredients:

  • 80gm baby spinach
  • 150 gm whole red masoor dal i.e. whole red lentils with skin
  • 50 gm Tofu
  • Approx 75gm Butternut Squash and sweet potato diced
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/2 Knorr stock pots of onion gravy
  • 1/2 Knorr stock pots of¬†mixed chillies
  • Walnuts chopped roughly to garnish
Whole Masoor Dal and Tofu salad

Whole Masoor Dal and Tofu salad

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 (I have fan oven, adjust setting accordingly to suit your oven type)
  • Line a baking tray with a baking sheet, place the diced butternut squash and sweet potato , drizzle some olive oil, smoked sea salt and black pepper. I purchased a ready to roast pack of¬†diced butternut squash and sweet potato from LIDL.
  • To save time, you could roast a larger batch of the¬†diced butternut squash and sweet potato, so it’s ready to be used in soups, salads and curries.
  • Wash the whole masoor in sieve under running water.
  • Place the washed whole masoor with double the quantity of water in a small saucepan and add in the¬†Knorr stock pots of onion gravy and mixed chillies. Cover with a lid and allow to boil until the dal is completely cooked. Top up with more water if you think it is running dry
  • If you like your tofu firm then cut out about 1/4th of the tofu from the pack and place it on a kitchen towel to remove excess water, then place another plate on top keep something on this plate to weigh it down. Leave aside for 10 minutes. This should drain the excess water from the tofu.
  • Alternatively just cut the tofu straight from the ¬†pack into large chunks – I like the texture of the tofu when it’s done like but hubby like its the other way around.¬†If like me, you haven’t drained and pressed¬†the tofu to become extra firm, then handle it very gently with a wooden spatula as it easily crumbles.
  • Now place the tofu on a non-stick pan and dry roast on a low-medium flame for about 4 minutes each side or until done.
  • Meanwhile half and avocado, scoop out the flesh and roughly cut ¬†into large chunks with a spoon.
  • Remove the¬†butternut squash and sweet potato from the oven and set aside.
  • Remove the lid from the sauce pan containing the whole massor dal cooked and allow it to rest for a while as it should not be too hot when served, also allowing it to sit will help the dal to absorb any excess water, if there is too much excess water simply drain it.
  • To plate, divide the spinach leaves equally on the plate, then serve the cooked masoor dal on top, followed by the oven roasted¬†¬†butternut squash and sweet potato, dry roasted tofu and finally top with the walnuts.

I found that this salad didn’t require any dressing or drizzling as the cooked dal works well with the succulent and sweet squash and the tofu adds texture and tastes great with the spinach. Walnuts add crunch, taste fab and are great for those who try this salad for the first time expecting it to be boring. Avocado I like with everything so I simply like having it in there.

I am up for experimenting and may try various permutations of this salad with the following toppings, not only will they make your salad more interesting but also help you reduce food wastage by finding new ways to recycle any of the following leftovers :

  • steamed fish – salmon and topped with pine nuts
  • Pan grilled Tofu and walnuts
  • slices of pork salami with nuts

I shall be reporting back with happy experiments with salads and smoothies soon  for now am just very satisfied with the end result and the fact that I am back to eating healthy.

Whole Masoor Dal and Tofu salad

Whole Masoor Dal and Tofu salad

Kale, Spinach and fruity superfood smoothie

Am back with another smoothie post, this one was even better than my previous green one in that , that hubster really enjoyed it and was blissfully unaware¬†about how much Kale he had unknowingly added into his system ūüôā

Also Chia seeds are now a permanent feature of our smoothies and I add them into our porridge too, they are quite bland on their own and go with almost anything. They are a superfood and antioxidant boosting . Besides starting your day with a green smoothie keeps you going for longer, with a healthier fuller feeling which does not spike your blood sugar levels as some other sugar laden juices can do , which then suddenly lead to a crash and thus result in hunger pangs.

What’s fab about this smoothie?

  • Chia seeds are 100% natural whole grains that are rich in omega-3, antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Great for those who have Type 2 diabetes as¬†chia seeds can significantly lower blood pressure and a marker for inflammation.
  • Kale is rich in Vitamins K and C and is calcium, also it contains a chemical called sulforaphane¬†which¬†has anti cancer properties.
  • Spinach helps boost iron levels and is a rich source of various Vitamins like B2,K , C & A.
Kale, Spinach and fruity superfood smoothie

Kale, Spinach and fruity superfood smoothie

Serves: 2¬†‚Äď makes 4¬†small glass fulls

Ingredients:

  • Large handful of baby spinach leaves per person
  • Large handful of Kale¬†leaves per person
  • Large handful of fresh raspberries¬†per person
  • ¬†1 Big avocado per person
  • 1/2 a pear per person
  • 1/2 of a small tetra pack of coconut water per person
  • a small knob of ginger

Method:

  • Chop the ginger into small bits after roughly removing the skin, if the ginger is super fresh you can use the back of a spoon to easily peel of the fine layer of skin.
  • Roughly chop the pear.
  • Half the avocados, remove the seed and roughly make large chunks.
  • Wash the spinach and kale under running water in a colander.
  • Simply chuck all the above ingredients into a food processor with the coconut water and add very little water just to give the smoothie some more movement while it mixes¬†in the food processor.
How to make a delicious Green smoothie in minutes!

How to make a delicious Green smoothie in minutes!

  • Adjust the quantities according to how many servings you want to make.
  • Sprinkle with some chia seeds and a raspberry or two and drink up for a delicious and filling smoothie that will do wonders for your body and mind!

* With information gleaned off Wiki and some other useful sites and articles like here  and here. Having said that am not a nutrition expert and am trying hard to get onto a balanced diet and exercise regime and educating myself to understand superfoods, how to eat cleaner, healthier and incorporate more raw foods, how to eat the right food at the right time to reduce blood sugar and how to fight off diabetes and other obesity led disorders .

Kale, Spinach and fruity superfood smoothie

Kale, Spinach and fruity superfood smoothie

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

As spring begins to unfold and the weather changes to beautiful sunny days and chilly evenings, I like that we can still enjoy warming and wholesome soups. Butternut squash is so versatile and there are various ways to use it in soups, curries, salads etc.

This recipe is created by Chef Annie James at Sunrise of Tettenhall ¬†for Sunrise Senior Living who make sure that all of their recipes are nutritious and tasty, making them great for everyone, not just the elderly. Of the many recipe options they sent me I choose to make this one¬†because¬†I simply adored red lentils as those who read my blog will know. The buttery aroma of onions sauteing which filled my kitchen was simply amazing and very satisfying.¬†Needless to say the soup went down and treat and even normally fussy hubster greedily licked his bowl clean – no better compliment than that folks ins’t it? I must admit I couldn’t resist adding a bit of my own personal finishing touches as my palate is so used to all the spicy and tangy little ad-on’s that I normally use ūüėČ

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

Serves:4  Preparation Time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: approx 25 minutes Ingredients:

  • 400 ml vegetable stock
  • 150 gms butternut squash – peeled and diced into bite sized bits
  • 12 gm unsalted butter
  • 2 red onion – peeled and chopped fine
  • 3 carrots -peeled and diced into small bits
  • 60gm dried red lentil ie.¬†masoor dal – split without¬†skin
  • Sea salt with a hint of garlic
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • small quantity of fresh coriander to garnish
Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

Method:

  • In a large saucepan or stockpot melt the butter on a medium flame
  • Saute’ the finely chopped onions in the butter for just under 4- 5 minutes till they turn a beautiful golden brown colour and reduce
  • Then add in the chopped carrots, squash and saute’ for a further 2- 3 minutes

    Bite sized Carrots and Butternut Squash sauteed in butter and onion

    Bite sized Carrots and Butternut Squash sauteed in butter and onion

  • Now stir in the vegetable stock and the red lentils.
  • Reduce to a low flame and let the soup simmer gently.
  • Cook until the vegetables and lentils are tender.
  • Allow the soup to cool down to room temperature, then using a hand blender puree’ until smooth or like I did give it a whizz in your food processor.
  • Season with sea salt with a garlic or plain sea salt and add a generous sprinkling of freshly cracked¬†black pepper.
  • Garnish with a just a small amount of¬†finely chopped fresh coriander.
  • Serve hot ideally with a warm crusty bread with a dollop of butter. If your conscience allows it stir in a small amount of fresh cream into the soup or smother¬†your crusty bread with some freshly made¬†garlic butter ūüėČ
Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

*With thanks to Sunrise Senior Living and the  PR team for reimbursing the expense for ingredients . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own. 

Easy Moroccan Chicken one pot meal

The chill in the air is just right for warming one pot meals. Make them healthy, quick and easy to put together and you have a winner on your hands.Last year at the Cake and Bake show which I attended with a dear friend and fellow blogger , ¬†I ended up spending a bomb (¬£¬£¬£!!!!) on four different sized pots – non – stick being one of their biggest virtues.One of them is a huge wok which I intend to use to make a stir fry over the weekend. The coating is said to last for years and each vessel comes with a glass lid. I can apparently also shove them directly into the oven but haven’t tried that yet. The big and rather saucepan is what I use as my crock pot for making one pot meals in. In fact there is something very comforting watching a warming curry or gorgeously tasty and nutritious one pot meals!

heaven in a saucepan - healthy , happy meals begin here!

Ok so coming back to my one pot recipe. I had a bag of baby spinach leaves in my fridge and was craving a wholesome soupy stew with lots of vegetables. So managed to gather a few things that I think would taste great together and then added in Knorr onion gravy pots and Knorr mixed chilli pot for flavour and the result was so very satisfying. ¬†But the best part was adding in Ras El Hanout a delicious and fiery moroccan and North African fragrant spice mix. The delicate dried rose petals look so pretty , that’s why I decided to name my dish Moroccan Chicken one pot.I also devoured it for lunch today – umm.

 Moroccan Chicken one pot meal

Make this in a large quantity and it will freeze well. Batch cooking is highly recommended as it saves you time and ensures that you do not eat things that you will end up regretting when you are hard pressed for time and simply cannot cook.The freezer is a wonderful boon, use it!

I purchased a beautiful Red Leicester and Pumpkin seed batard to go with my meal – it is soul-satisfying to mop up the thick gravy with the bread while sitting on the couch watching my fav crime show on the telly, feeling all warm and happy.

The best part of this recipe is I haven’t added in potatoes or extra sugar to taste and yet the flavours are so well balanced. (Though both gravy pots do contain sugar) I love stocking up on these tiny Knorr flavour pots they are life-savers!

A recipe with enough spinach to make Popeye jump with joy! Spinach has several health benefits and is known to be a great source of folic acid and several essential vitamins and great levels of iron too. Best part is a big bag of spinach can be consumed in no time as the leaves are high in water content and it reduces in size when cooked.

 Moroccan Chicken one pot meal

Easy Moroccan Chicken one pot

Serves:4  Preparation Time: 10 minutes  Cooking time: approx 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil 2 tbsp
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Mixed bag of broccoli, carrot and cauliflower – 270 gm
  • Chicken thighs – 500 gm – appox 3 big pieces
  • Trimmed green beans – 75 gm
  • Chestnut Mushrooms – 4 – 5
  • 1.5 Knorr onion gravy¬†flavour pot
  • 1 Knorr mixed chillies flavour pot
  • 4 handfulls of spinach leaves
  • Red lentils – without skin and halved 3/4th cup
  • 1/2 tsp¬†of Ras El Hanout
  • 1/2 tsp of roasted cumin powder
  • Water

Method:

  • Remove the skin from the chicken thighs after washing thoroughly under running water.
  • Chop the chicken thighs to make strips of the flesh leaving just enough on the bone.
  • Wash and cut the¬†broccoli, carrots,cauliflower, green beans and chestnut mushrooms bits into bite sized pieces.
  • Slice an onion lengthwise into fine strips.
  • Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and chop into tiny bits.
  • In a large saucepan or stock pot heat olive oil on a medium flame, when the oil becomes to heat up add the finely chopped garlic and saute’ until they turn a golden brown then add in the sliced onion.
  • Stirring occasionally allow the onion to sweat and just when it begins to brown add in the chopped vegetables and saute for half a minute.
  • Then add in the chicken thighs and saute for another minute.
  • Then wash and add the red lentils , add enough water to¬†create a thick gravy – enough to allow the lentils to cook and not soak up all the water.¬†Then add in the Knorr flavour pots and mix well.

Big, beautiful pot of healthy goodness - absolutely irresistible!

  • Then add the washed spinach leaves, cumin powder and cover and cook on a medium flame for 15 minutes.

Gorgeous Bowl of goodness with immunity boosting spinach and delicious veggies

  • By now the lentils will have cooked and the chicken will almost be done too.
  • Then taste the soupy water and if it is too spicy add just a very tiny pinch¬†the¬†Ras El Hanout , I added 1/2 a tsp¬†as the taste reminded me of garam masala.¬†Ras El Hanout is a moroccan mixture of fragrant spices with rose petals and gives the stock pot a gorgeous full bodied flavour.
  • Cook for a further 10-15 minutes on a gentle low flame.
  • Serve in large bowls with a big portion of the pumpkin batard bread.

Moroccan Chicken one pot meal recipe

Have linked up my recipe with the #NoWasteFoodChallenge hosted by the lovely Elizabeth who blogs at Elizabeth’s Diary. Find out all about this challenge in her blog post here.

Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

Avocado,Spinach and fruity Green Smoothie

It’s a relatively bright and sunny but chilly February morning and the bright sunlight streaming through my kitchen window is not letting me sit down work due to the blinding light getting into to my eyes. I have now moved to a cosy spot on the couch but it’s making me drowsy…

While I was away in India and eating all the wonderful local food, I also started reading up on a lot of things related to food , what we eat and how it affects us and how our body reacts to it all.

Now let me share some facts about myself – I am lazy – very lazy and not the type who will ever go the gym even twice a week – I have ended up wasting money in 2 currencies and 3 cities so I should know that however fabulous the gym it simply does NOT work for me.

Nor does dieting – I feel deprived and end up stuffing my face even more.

So what’s the way out when I have finally made a decision to eat sensibly and loose as much weight as I can without going mad. Well, past 2 weeks I have broken down my meals to smaller portions, trying to eat 5 small meals instead of 3 every day and have drastically cut down on sugar consumption. By sugar I don’t mean granulated sugar but sugar hidden in various food.

I have procured a chart about which foods are high in carbs and thus break down into sugar while they are being digested. Am consciously trying to read up more and steer clear of obviously sugar laden foods and any sugary foods are out. Thankfully I quit sugar in my tea years ago so that is not a problem but yes saying no to alcohol and other foods is not going to be easy. But then nothing good come by too easy does it?

Avocado, Spinach and Fruity Green Smoothie - Bursting with the goodness your body NEEDS every day!

Avocado, Spinach and Fruity Green Smoothie – Bursting with the goodness your body NEEDS every day!

So here goes, my morning smoothie recipe – an attempt to start the day on a healthy note :

Serves: 1 Рmakes 2 small glass fulls

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a Banana
  • 1/2 of a big pear
  • 1/2 of a big avocado
  • 1 Royal Gala Apple
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • a small knob of ginger

Method:

  • Chop the ginger into small bits after roughly removing the skin, if the ginger is super fresh you can use the back of a spoon to easily peel of the fine layer of skin.
  • Roughly chop all the fruits into chunks.Break the banana half by hand.
  • Simply chuck all the above ingredients into a food processor and add very little water just to give the smoothie some movement and consistency.

I prefer a thick consistency the type you can scoop out using a spoon as it is simply more satisfying and increases the feeling of being full.

This made 2 small glasses and I had both of them , simply double up the quantity for 2 people and so on and so forth.

Avocado, Spinach and Fruity Green Smoothie - Bursting with the goodness your body NEEDS every day!

Avocado, Spinach and Fruity Green Smoothie – Bursting with the goodness your body NEEDS every day!

Leafy , green, tasty , bursting with fruity goodness and taste, this smoothie is an immune system booster and full of all things good for your body. It will definitely boost sagging energy levels and induce a feel good factor. The smooth creamy taste added by the avocado is a bonus!

I have linked up my recipe with Credit Crunch Munch which is a¬†frugal food recipe sharing challenge developed by Helen over at Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla over at Fab Food 4 All¬†and¬†guest hosted by the lovely Elizabeth who blogs at Elizabeth’s Diary, have a look at all the other fabulous recipes linked up for Feb 2015 on her blog post too.

Credit-Crunch-Munch-Just-Pic

Beetroot and Chickpea salad

Who doesn’t love a salad that you can put together in no time? This easy to make and super quick to put together Beetroot and Chickpea salad recipe is just the thing when you want to eat healthy and not compromise on taste at the same time. ¬†I have added in amchoor powder which is a tangy¬†¬†dried mango powder which will give this salad a fabulous twist when combined with balsamic vinegar.

IMG_9354 (Copy)

 

If possible try and buy baby beetroot cooked in vinegar as¬†these would be the perfect size and also have the right amount of vinegar. If you are not sure of how¬†much balsamic vinegar you can handle, add 1‚ĀĄ2 tbsp first and then if you feel brave add another half. I have a whole collection of flavoured vinegar and if you can get your hands on cranberry infused¬†vinegar, I highly recommend adding that in as it will totally elevate the flavour of your salad.

IMG_9357 (Copy)

Serves: 4 as a side and 2 as a main

Ingredients:

  • ¬†1‚ĀĄ2 a can of boiled and cooked chickpeas
  • ¬†4 small beetroot cooked and peeled ‚Äď roughly 250 gm
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small red onion sliced length wise
  • 2 tsp amchoor powder
  • 2 heaped tsp pomegranate seeds

Method:

  • In a large mixing bowl add the chickpeas
  • Chop the cooked and peeled beetroot into bite size chunks. Add them into the chickpeas. Add the¬†chopped onion and pomegranate seeds.
  • Add the vinegar and the amchoor powder and mix well.
  • Serve and sprinkle¬†with more pomegranate seeds if desired.

IMG_9356 (Copy)

 

I have found the perfect linky to add my virtuous yet superbly delicious salad to. It’s this month’s Spice Trail with the theme ‘ Temple Food‘ hosted by the lovely Vanesther on her blog called ‘Bangers and Mash’. The whole concept of respecting your body by treating it like a temple is¬†really apt for the way I have recently begun to think about food. I have to re-think and re-align what I feed my system and actually begin to ‘listen’ to what my body is speaking to me. It’s important that after years of neglect I FINALLY pay attention to what is entirely my own – my body.

spice-trail-badge-square

By linking to this challenge I take heart in knowing that I am not ALONE . There are other like-minded foodies who are re-thinking their ways of eating. I do hope my recipe is one of the many delicious , innovative and beautiful ones that will help my readers on their journey to eating healthy and feeling more energetic.

 

Creamy Oatly Oat Cream Pasta with crunchy green Salad

I remember tasting Oatly¬†for the first time at FBC earlier this year ¬†,it was a very pleasant taste,the chocolate one even better. All of us at Food Blogger connect this year got a generous bag of Oatly products to take home. The ‘milk’ went used up pretty quickly so I went and got us some more but the Organic Creamy Oat,basically a single cream,¬†I was waiting to experiment with. Since the product is bursting with the goodness of all things organic and is dairy free I thought why not keep everything about this pasta gluten and dairy free . So I got some Lactofree mature cheddar cheese¬†and also some pasta which is made from Italian rice and corn therefore making it dairy and gluten free. Oatly cream uses organic rapeseed oil so my cooking medium is …you guessed that right organic rapeseed oil! And since the cream also contains sea salt as one of the ingredients I have used my trusty smoked Maldon sea salt¬†in here too ūüôā

This pasta dish can’t get any better can it? Ok wait till you hear what OatLy Creamy Oat¬†is all about…It’s made in Sweden using entirely organic ingredients. The fat content is absurdly low 3% over 9.6% in regular cream.Besides it tastes like cream made from cow’s milk and is packed with fibers.

Ingredients – For the pasta

  • Dairy and Gluten free fusilli¬†Pasta 150¬†gm
  • Smoked Bacon 200gm
  • 1/2 of a 250 ml tetra pack OatLy cream
  • a bunch of spring onions
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed¬†oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic with their skins on
  • Fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs 1 each
  • a pinch red chilli flakes
  • Maldon sea salt to taste

 

1-IMG_7974 (Copy)

 

Method –¬†¬†For the pasta

  • Boil the pasta in a saucepan with some rapeseed¬†oil and allow it to cook completely.Sprinkle some sea salt into the water while it is boiling.
  • While the pasta is boiling get started with preparing the sauce. Chop the spring onion into bite size pieces.
  • In another saucepan add 1 tbsp olive oil and place on a medium heat ,when the oil is hot ,crush the garlic with the skin on and add into the hot oil.
  • Allow the garlic to brown and then add the spring onion, when the onion begins to change colour add the bacon pieces and reduce the flame.

 

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  • Let the bacon cook for about 5¬†minutes¬†¬†till it turns crisp and yummy while stirring occasionally till ensuring it doesn’t get burnt.

 

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  • ¬†Reduce the flame and then pour the Oatly oat cream into the bacon mixture and add a sprig each of thyme and rosemary.
  • Cover the sauce pan and allow to cook for about 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Add freshly crushed black pepper and sea salt to taste and some chilli flakes.
  • In a plate add the cooked pasta after draining excess water and pour the bacon and cream mixture over the top.

The oat cream will give you a ¬†thick creamy sauce and the smoked bacon adds deep,rich flavours to this pasta dish.Its great for those who are lactose intolerant or those simply looking for a switch .Add some grated lacto free cheese for a truly cheesy and deliciously satisfying pasta carbonara.I know this dish isn’t vegan because of the bacon so if you want to make a vegan version using smoked paprika breadcrumbs for the texture and smoky taste ,also to replace¬†eggs and go vegan use ¬†soft tofu puree .¬†I have skipped using eggs and honestly I didn’t miss them at all in the sauce. So its not really a carbonara but yes it’s just as silky and creamy and smoky and yummalicious ! ūüôā

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Ingredients РFor the salad

  • 1 medium sized white onion
  • 8 juicy cherry tomatoes
  • 8 chestnut mushrooms
  • 1/2 a bag of crunchy mixed salad leaves
  • 8 stems of tender purple asparagus
  • 8 stems of tender¬†purple¬†broccoli
  • Cranberry flavoured vinegar
  • 1 tsp rapeseed¬†oil
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Maldon smoked sea salt to taste

Method –¬†¬†For the¬†salad

  • Chop the tender stem purple asparagus roughly into bite size pieces keeping the spear head intact , do the same with tender stem purple broccoli. I loved the colour so I picked purple, its absolutely fine to go with the regular green stuff but the colours in this finished salad are so vibrant! Set aside and move onto the mushrooms and onion now.
  • Chop the mushrooms into bite sized pieces ,then chop the onion in half and then slice it fine lengthwise
  • In a saucepan heat the olive oil.
  • Saute the garlic with skin on in the hot oil and when it turns brown add the mushrooms in .Let them cook for about 1/2 a ¬†minute.
  • ¬†Add the onion,asparagus and broccoli ¬†into the saucepan and stir for about 1 ¬†minute on a low flame we don’t want the greens and the onion to cook and loose the crunch and bite , just give them a bit of flavour so they sit well with the leaves.
  • Take the saucepan off the bowl and allow to cool.

 

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  • In a salad bowl was and add the salad leaves , give them a good slosh of cranberry vinegar,sea salt and cracked black pepper and give them a good ol’ shake so that the vinegar coats the leaves well.
  • Place the green and onion over the salad leaves and throw in some juicy red cherry tomatoes on a vine or salad tomatoes into the salad. Give another sprinkling of Maldon sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • If you want to bulk up this salad add 2 boiled eggs halved on top and serve with a cheesy bread or focaccia as a side with a creamy mushroom or chicken soup for a wholesome but light and healthy meal option! Keep the bukled up version of this salad vegan , again by replacing boiled eggs with fresh large chunks of tofu.
  • This salad is bursting with goodness and packs in a great punch of flavour with the cranberry flavoured vinegar and the meaty mushrooms and crunchy tender stem asparagus ¬†and broccoli feel so lush together when you bite into them ummmmm

 

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I am quite happy with the end result of this pasta and have another 250 ml tetra pack of Otaly CReamy Oat to experiment …wonder what will come out of that lovely little pack , now where is my thinking cap ?!

 

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Tomato and Lentil Soupy Broth

Sometimes the guilt of eating too many wrong things just gets to me and I need to balance the scales internally. This calls for a comforting and filling soupy treat with a pinch of something yum thrown in. Also all those gorgeous cherry tomatoes and vine tomatoes sitting in my fridge were begging to used -asap or risk being dumped into my green food recycle bag. Thrifty that I am ,I will not allow that to happen in my kitchen!And I always turn to my stored lentils for something comforting and homely.

This recipe is perfect for making ahead in a larger batch and freeze some for later.

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Preparation Time:15 minutes

Cooking Time:40 minutes

Serves: 2 (2 generous portions each)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4th cup Red Lentils/Masoor split and without skin
  • 1/4th cup Yellow Lentil/Moong – split¬†and without skin
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 2 red onions
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 2 tsp¬†Cumin Powder
  • Knob of ginger -about as tall as half your thumb
  • 2-3 Cloves
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • Red chilli flakes -optional
  • 4-5 juicy medium sized tomatoes – actually use up any type of tomatoes lying around like I did!
  • 3 large tbsp Oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp oil for the tadka
  • Salt to taste

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Method:

  • Wash the lentil through a sieve and pressure cook – 3 whistles, lets the steam escape and loosen cooker lid, remove ¬†allow to cool completely. If you are not a pressure cooker lover then cook the lentils in a big saucepan with exactly two times the water than the quantity of the lentils.
  • In a kadhai or wok heat the 3 tbsp oil and deep fry the garlic chopped into fine strips and red onions finely chopped lengthwise till they are absolutely crisp and smell delicious.
  • Spritz the washed tomatoes with the deep fried red onion and garlic (leave some for garnishing) in the food processor after chopping them in half.
  • Use a potato masher and roughly squash the cooked and cooled lentils and mix them with the tomatoes and red onions and garlic which have been spritzed.
  • In another saucepan heat about 1 to 1.5 tsp oil , add the asafoetida,a pinch of cumin, coriander powder, cumin powder,red chilli powder,cloves, slightly fry all these the spices in the oil and now add the cooked lentils and tomato puree.
  • Add water if the mixture is too thick, cook with lid on a low flame for 5 -8 minutes.When almost ready add salt to taste.
  • Serve hot garnished with the fried onion and garlic bits,pepper powder.
  • A hot buttered toast of wholemeal bread, a crusty baguette or a soft cheesy loaf – all marry excellently with this soupy morish broth ummm

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I was looking for a different take on all the cute free images for International Womens Day and then I stumbled on this beauty below. It is 2 years old but it is such a powerful image and I really identify with it as Goddess Kali is a Hindu Goddess and symbol of empowerment and strength.She is the fierce aspect of the goddess Durga (Parvati). I love how Wiki has a beautiful explanation about the symbolism of the Goddess Kali.

Seeking Kali Womens Day poster 8th marcg 2014

Found this brilliant, colourful and powerful poster as a free download on the Seeking Kali Blog, I love it!

Incidentally the theme for the event¬†‘‘In my Veg Box” event hosted by Nayna for March’14 is Tomatoes ūüôā so linking up for her event and the following – ”No Croutons Required” hosted this month by Lisas Kitchen on her blog Food and Spice¬†.Jac from Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa ¬†have been hosting this challenge together for a long time.

Also as ginger and lentil go really well together and ”Cooking with Ginger” is the theme of the month for Vanesther’s event called ‘‘The Spice Trail” ,she blogs at Bangers and Mash and there is a very pretty gift for the this month’s winner inspired by the Dotcomgiftshop too – whoopie and fingers crossed only on my right hand for now, left hand is still healing from the surgery boooo.

As usual I have been thrifty and saved those gorgeous tomatoes from the food waste bin so this post definitely qualifies for the No Food Waste Challenge hosted for this month by Chris from Cooking around the world and started by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary and last but certainly not the least to the ”Vegetarian Recipe Challenge” a monthly challenge hosted by The Bouncing Tigger blog where a feminine theme is required – what could be more apt than the symbol of empowerment – Goddess Kali and a post written on International Womens Day!

PicMonkey Collage for Tomato & Lentil Broth

Low Cal Baked White Fish with a mint and spice dressing

Ladies this one is to be bookmarked and is perfect for any day when you want to treat  your taste buds and yet not load on the calories.

Serves:2  Prep Time:5 Minutes Marination time :20 minutes In the Oven: 15 Р20 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • Fry Lite or olive oil 4 tsp
  • 2 thick white fish fillets – I use Haddock
  • 2 tbsp mint and coriander dressing
  • 2 heaped tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tsp red chilli ¬†powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • Handful of¬†finely chopped spring onion
  • Handful of chives finely chopped
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to garnish
  • sea salt for garnish
  • 1/2 lemon juice for garnish

Method:

  • Wash the fillets and place on a large dish to apply the marinade.
  • Sprinkle the red chilli powder, turmeric,coriander,cumin,salt and along with the ginger garlic paste and mint and coriander dressing mix well and totally coat the fish.
  • Marinate the fish for 20 minutes to allow the flavours to seep in and develop.
  • In a baking tray use just 4 sprays of fry lite and spread evenly across the tray, add the chopped spring onion and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Place the marinated fish on this and sprinkle¬†the finely chopped chives on the top.

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  • Pre heat the oven to 200¬įC and bake for 15- 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with a generous squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Serve with a side of salad leaves and cherry tomatoes and a soft crusty baguette.

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I know the photographs here look terrible but honestly by the time I got the fish ready on Sunday it was almost 3pm, had a lazy start to the day and by then the light was gone so even after cleaning up the image it is quite sorry looking and is no way doing justice to this awesome dish! I do hope that I can get better pictures next time!

I do hope you enjoy this recipe and share your thoughts if you make it! Cheers!

Just in the nick of time, I have entered this original recipe creation in the #Cookingwithherbs challenge by @KarenBurnsBooth at blog Lavendar and Lovage. The theme for January 2014 is citrusy and herbs , this fish definitely has it all and a citrusy bang!I wonder why I haven’t entered this challenge in the past , most of dishes use so many herbs especially lime ,oh well, here’s to a fresh start!

 
Cooking with Herbs