Mixed berries, finger millet and amaranth GF Pancakes with Co Yo

Coconut Yoghurt is something that will change your life forever, I think I have jumped on the cocnut yoghurt bandwagon a little late but better late than never right? I mean considering that coconut oil used for cooking and as a moisturizer and of course hair oil – I have done it all thanks to having lived in Mumbai. The most amazing taste of coconut oil in food I have eaten has got to be the banana chips sold at small tiny shops mostly to be found outside railway stations where raw banana slices are deep fried in a massive wok gingerly balanced on gas stove. It is a miracle how though these street food stall owners manage to function in tiny spaces in the busy bustling lanes adjoining stations – it is just something I shall never be able to figure out!

Ok back to coconut yoghurt – I wanted to use them in pancakes and also use a mix of flours to come up with a pancake that is not just fluffy but a bit crunchy too – a fusion of the dosa with the pancake really. This time I left out the Natvia sugar and upped the berries and let the natural fruit sugars do their magic.

Co Yo is a very creamy and delicious yoghurt made with coconut milk – it is 100% dairy free , 100% gluten free – and true to their tag line it really does taste like – heaven in a mouthful! An offshoot of Planet Organic these are now manufactured in Kent by Bethany and her husband Paul, read all about it here.

Mixed berries finger millet amaranth pancakes with CoYo

Mixed berries finger millet amaranth pancakes with CoYo

Health Benefits of these pancakes:

  • Finger Millet prevents any spikes in blood sugar as it is naturally Low GI
  • No added sugars means it is refined sugar free and safe for diabetics
  • The use of amaranth which is GF and a great source of protine. It contains lysine which most grains lack.
  • High Fiber
  • The omission of semolina will make this recipe suitable for vegans too
  • 00% dairy free , 100% gluten free coconut yoghurt
  • Thick and creamy consistency from the coconut milk yoghurt
  • Great option for people aiming to loose weight as part of a balanced diet with exercise
  • A low carb and low fat recipe suitable for those looking to maintain low levels of bad cholestrol ( diabetes patients face a risk of increased cholesterol)

Amaranth is a glutenfree food and a source of complete protein—it contains all the essential amino acids, including lysine, which is lacking in most grains. High in fiber and a good source of magnesium and iron,Amaranth is a spectacular addition to your diet.

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

Preparation and Cooking time :15 minutes + 20 minutes to rest the pancake mix

Ingredients:

  • 4 heaped tbsp finger millet flour / Nachni in Marathi / Ragi in Hindi
  • 1 tbsp Amaranth flour / Rajgira in Marathi and Hindi
  • 2 tbsp toasted semolina / toasted rava – OMIT for a vegan version
  • 2 tbsp oats
  • 2 pots  CoYo – one plain and one with vanilla
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of blackberries
  • Handful of raspberries
  • Olive Oil
  • Water
Mixed berries finger millet amaranth pancakes with CoYo

Mixed berries finger millet amaranth pancakes with CoYo

Method:

  •  In a large bowl add the oats, amaranth flour, semolina. Then add both the pots of yoghurt and mix well. To make your pancakes GF omit the semolina.
  • Then chop the foods roughly and add into the mixture.
Pancake mix with CoYo

Pancake mix with CoYo

  • Dilute the mixture with water until you get a consistency good enough to pour into the pan and make a pancake.
  • Set aside for 20 minutes to allow the mixture to develop a good consistency. In my first attempt I did not add oats and used the mix immediately – the difference with oats and resting time is a fluffier pancake that has more bounce and kick 😉
  • Heat a pan on a medium flame and add 1 tsp of olive oil then spoon the mixture and flip when the pancake starts to seperate from the side using a wooden spatula.
  • For maximum effect stack the pancakes on a fancy plate, serve with a large dollop of CoYo and a handful of mixed berries.
Mixed berries finger millet amaranth pancakes with CoYo

Mixed berries finger millet amaranth pancakes with CoYo

*With  thanks to CoYo  for sending over the samples. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.Kindly do not re-produce any images without my prior permission. Please consult your doctor of you have been diagnosed as a Diabetic before making any drastic changes to your diet. None of the information in this post is to be used for self diagnostic and / or medical purposes. Please consult your doctor and / or a trained dietitian for any existing health conditions.

Roasted mini Romanesque cauliflower with dukkah yoghurt dip

I do hope some of you may recollect me mentioning that Cauliflower is one of my beloved vegetables, and after I found mini cauliflower and mini Romanesque cauliflowers it was love at first sight, in my mind, they run rings around even the baby courgettes and baby leeks! I mean they look like beautiful little green diamonds, such a beautiful shape, almost too pretty to be eaten!

Mini Cauliflower and Romasque  Cauliflowers

Mini Cauliflower and Romasque Cauliflowers

I just had to bring these beauties home and rustle up something tasty and easy with them. I have written earlier about the many health benefits of cauliflowers and how they are an aid to weight loss. But here are some fun facts for you:

Every 100gm of cauliflower i.e 1 cup has:

  • 25 calories
  • Total Carbs only 5 grams
  • Total Fat 0.1 grams
  • Vitamin C – 77%
  • Vitamin K – 20%

I have been obsessing with the idea of whole roasted Cauliflower and love this recipe – Whole Roast Cauliflower and today I was craving something different for tea. Did not want to load on excess and unwanted calories and wasn’t interested in deep fried stuff at all.

So I tweaked the original recipe, and used fragrant baharat, a fabulous Middle Eastern with dried rose petals and hints of smoked paprika for a kick and roasted cumin. This simple snack makes for a perfect tea time treat especially if like me you are craving cauliflower bhajji/fritters ( bhajji in Marathi is a deep fried vegetable fritter coated in spiced besan ie. chickpea flour)

I decided to dry roast two cauliflowers and coat two on the four mini cauliflowers just to see how the taste varies when coated with a greek yoghurt marinade.

Ingredients

  • 2 baby cauliflowers
  • 2 baby Romanesco broccoli or the Romanesque cauliflower
  • 3 large heaped tablespoons Greek yoghurt
  • 3.5 tsp baharat
  • 2 tsp dukkah

Method

  • In a small bowl add 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt and  and add and mix well 2 tsp baharat
  • Pick one each of the baby cauliflower and the baby Romanesco broccoli or the Romanesque cauliflower and coat it completely with the seasoned yoghurt marinade.
  • Place them onto a baking tray.
  • Then take the remaining baharat in another dry small bowl and coat the other 2 cauliflowers thoroughly.
Mini Cauliflower and Romasque  Cauliflowers marinated

Mini Cauliflower and Romasque Cauliflowers marinated

  • Bake in a preheated oven for  20 minutes at 180° C
  • Make a quick dip with the remaining yoghurt topped with dukkah
Mini Roasted Cauliflower with a Dukkah dip

Mini Roasted Cauliflower with a Dukkah dip

  • Serve with hot Turkish tea for a Mediterranean Treat.
Mini Roasted Cauliflower with a Dukkah dip

Mini Roasted Cauliflower with a Dukkah dip

 

 

 

 

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 😉

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

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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 🙂

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

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 😉

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 😉
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. 

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.

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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 1⁄2 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.

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Serves: 4 as a side and 2 as a main

Ingredients:

  •  1⁄2 a can of boiled and cooked chickpeas
  •  4 small beetroot cooked and peeled – 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.

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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.

 

Indian Masala Omelette with Happy Eggs

Weekend mornings demand a good breakfast, especially if you have had a tad too much wine on Friday evening 😉

I love making a simple Indian omelette and my dinner guests who stayed with us for the night, last Friday, had to be fed a hearty breakfast before they set out to go home. Like my aai I am obsessed with feeding people and cannot imagine sending off guests on an empty stomach.

Luckily, now that I am part of the Happy Eggs Taste 100 Blogger network a  #happyeggtastemakers, I had 2 boxes of these lovely Happy eggs at home, red onion or the Mumbai pink onion which I buy from my fav Indian-Pakistani grocery store and loads of frozen coriander.

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This is a very basic recipe for the Indian masala omelette- with a bit of twist , added in my me . I also love adding in cheese and bulking it up with ham or sausages which I did for my guests, but hubster is a purist of sorts when it comes to the masala omelettes (read fussy hehehe) and so made 2 huge omelettes , one using the recipe that follows and another with the cheese, sausages and Parma Ham – so… so… so… good !!

Indian Masala Omelette

Serves:2

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium sized red onion or pink Mumbai onion chopped fine
  • 3 Happy eggs
  • 1 green chillies chopped into fairly large chunky pieces- easy to pick out for the faint hearted!
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 /4th  tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 2 large tbsp butter
  • Salt to taste

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Additional Ingredients to bulk up the omlette:

  • 1 cheese single
  •  2 sausages
  •  2 thin slices of Parma Ham
  •  1 /2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1.5 medium sized red onion.

Adding the garam masala is something I like to do as it gives the omelette a fabulous amped up flavour but feel free to leave that out if you aren’t a fan ,

Method:

  • Finely chop the red onion.
  • Chop the green chilli into fairly big pieces so they can be picked out by those that don’t want to chew on them.
  • Crack the happy eggs into the bowl.
  • Add in the chopped onions, green chilli chopped, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Whisk with a fork till the mixture foams and is well aerated , this will give you a beautifully ‘fluffy’ omelette .
  • Then add the chopped coriander and mix again.

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  • I add in the turmeric as it has loads of health benefits – it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant, and our guest who do not consume turmeric on a regular basis loved the idea.
  • Now add in the cheese – torn roughly if it using a cheese single or crushed if using a soft cheese or crumbly cheese, sausages and Parma Ham.Lightly beat the egg mixture once more with a fork to mix well.
  • Place a big pan on medium heat and when it begins to heat up melt the butter.
  • See the photo below – when the butter begins to sizzle and pan resembles what you see in the image then it’s the right time to add the egg mixture.

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  • Move the pan around so that the mixture spreads evenly and cook on a low flame for about 2 minutes .
  • When the omelette leaves the sides of the pan ,slightly lift it with a wooden spatula and check , if it has browned it’s time to FLIP ,  you can tell by the aroma wafting around too.6-IMG_9200 (Copy)
  • With a big wooden spatula gently flip over and cook on the other side, I place a lid over my pan at this stage to trap the steam and it also gives me a really fluffy omelette, of course it will fall flat if you don’t serve immediately.
  • Once done, turn off the heat and cut in half using a wooden spatula. Fold and place in between hot buttered toast for a fabulous breakfast.

An Indian masala omelette,served at breakfast with hot buttered toast and hot cups of masala chai , I think is a breakfast fit for a king – Made better with Happy Eggs I say!

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I am so egg-cited to be part Happy Eggs Taste 100 Blogger network, they  sent  me this beautifully packaged cute box with a massive chocolate cookie made using Happy Eggs and a lovely picture of the latest campaign – Top of The Flocks – where Happy Eggs produced an original album of classical music following a study by the University of Bristol looking at the positive benefits of music on hens.The results showed that Happy Hens prefer Bach to Beyonce – they have refined taste these hens! Happy Hens produced 6% more eggs in nest boxes playing classical music compared to pop! Awesome or what?! – always good to know where your eggs are coming from isn’t it?!

Ahem… as you can that by the time I actually got around to taking a photo of the welcome kit , hubster and me had managed to devour most of the cookie …well , don’t blame us  – it was soo yum!

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*With thanks to Happy Eggs for taking me on as part of their Exclusive Blogger Network and  for a complimentary voucher sent with their cute welcome pack . No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Olives et al review and recipe for Chickpea and sweet Chilli Paneer salad

Chickpeas are comfort food especially when used to make chole , a spicy chickpea curry best devoured with steamed rice. But chickpeas also taste great in salads and because they take up various flavourings so easily , they are perfect ingredients to be used in quick ,filling salads like my Chickpea and Olive salad with sweet chilli Paneer.

On a very rainy weekend , I was alone at home and curled up reading a very good book . Though my tummy was rumbling by mid- day I didn’t really want to let go off my book and cook an elaborate meal. So a hunt around the kitchen cabinets and fridge resulted in the following finds – a an of chickpeas sitting around and some soft paneer in the fridge , half an onion chopped – perfect.Now all I needed was some inspiration…

Sitting in the corner was a brown paper carton sent a few days ago by Olives et al – a few interesting bottles staring at me with beautiful labels and rather interesting names – a quick unpacking of the box revealed the following contents –

  • Smoky Chipotle Chilli Olives – marinated in Extra-Virgin Olive Oil naturally infused with Chipotle chillis.
  • Mojo Pink Grapefruit dressing and  marinade
  • North African Style Red Chilli Harissa sauce
  • Sweet Chilly Billy Jelly Chilly and Ginger Relish

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I decided to rustle up a quick salad in a jiffy using some of the samples and these ingredients and the result was a very punchy ,pleasing salad that I am sure to recreate soon! Especially on another rainy evening or afternoon when I won’t be able to tear myself away from yet another gripping novel …

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Serves : 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olives et al Sweet Chilly Billy Jelly Chilly and Ginger Relish
  • 1 tsp Olive et al Mojo Pink Grapefruit dressing and  marinade
  • 397 gm Chickpea can
  • 267gm Paneer /Cottage cheese
  • 1/2 red onion medium size chopped
  • Few Olives et al Smoky Chipotle Chilli Olives
  • Sea salt to garnish

Method

  • Cut the slab of paneer into large chunks so that they do not crumble.
  • Heat a  griddle pan on a low flame and add 2 tbsp of Olives et al Sweet Chilly Billy Jelly Chilly and Ginger Relish to the pan , spread using a  wooden spatula . Place the paneer gently on the chilli relish and allow the relish to caramelise and harden then flip and give the the other side of the paneer cubes the same treatment.

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  • This will give the paneer a delicious sticky and crunchy coating with just the right flavouring.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the entire can of chickpeas and pour some of the salty water it is preserved in over the chickpeas.
  • Toss in a few olives and pour a small amount of the chilli oil they are marinated on over the chickpeas. Garnish with sea salt to taste.Mix well.
  • Then add the sticky paneer cubes . Mix gently using a wooden spatula.
  • I then poured a very small amount of the Olive et al Mojo Pink Grapefruit dressing and marinade  over the salad – a perfectly beautiful dressing described on the Olives et al site as – ‘Inspired by a Caribbean sauce from the Cayman Islands known locally simply as Mojo Sauce ….Happily unusual, wonderfully versatile and loved by all’ Now I know why its a best seller !

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I would have loved to garnish with finely chopped cucumber but sadly my vegetable tray was quite bare that day but do feel free to add a generous amount onto the salad . Coriander marries well with chickpea in any form.

All this salad now needed was a fork and I fell back into the pages of my novel in like 15 minutes flat, how’s that for a quick and easy filling recipe that tastes fab and makes you go back for seconds and thirds ? Super I say 🙂

While browsing the website I noticed the beautiful logo for Olives et al and read the fabulous story of how this multi award winning company was born In the early 90s , brain child of Annie and Giles Henschel  who embarked on a year-long adventure that would be the inspiration for Olives Et Al. Travelling on motorbikes through the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa, they fell in love with the food we ate along the way and gathered many precious recipes along the way.

It is this motorbike journey that is hidden as a story in their beautifully intricate logo , reminds me so very much of my days in Pune spent zipping across the city in a black Honda Activa scooter that I prefer to call a bike , it had fantastic pick up, was gearless and because of it’s heavy errr ‘bottom’ on which the seats rested it didn’t shake like an autumn leaf even at high speeds on the highway – sigh… seems like a whole lifetime away …

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They launched Olives Et Al in 1993 to satisfy their own culinary cravings and to share quality olives with a wider audience. They began producing Marinated Olives using some of their “souvenir” recipes. Over time, their range of products has grown and now includes, Oils and Balsamics, Speciality Olives, Sauces, Snacks, Kiln Roasted Nuts and Dressings and Marinades – all made in Dorset and free from  free of artificial colouring, flavours or preservatives.

Their products can  be purchased directly from their website or in delis across the country and in  various food stores.

With  thanks to Olives et al  for the complimentary samples. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review . As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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Vegetarian Sausage Satay

Wait a bit ? Did you read that right? Absolutely yes ! Vegetarian Sausages are exactly what I have used in this fab recipe sent by my sister who turned vegetarian a few years ago. She doesn’t even consume eggs.  I am far from becoming a vegetarian but love to experiment with lighter options and so was delighted to receive some samples from Secret Sausages which I had sampled first  at FBC 2014 a few months ago and  I recollect  really liking  the the flavours.

I was sent 3 different flavours to experiment with:

  • Rosemary & Garlic – Garlic , Green Beans,Mixed Peppers and Rosemary
  • Honey Bee – Sweet Corn , carrots, peas and honey
  • Chilli and Coriander – Chillies , coriander , onion , sweet corn and carrots

 

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This recipe can be used with the sausages chopped and served as a starter or else as a main with sides like potato or sweet potato mash and green peas .

Serves: 2 as a main with a side of mash and peas

Ingredients  – enough for 2 packets with 6 sausages each

  • groundnut powder – 5 heaped tbsp
  • Garlic purée
  • Green Chillies – 3
  • A small bunch of fresh coriander or one large packet from the supermarket
  • Oil 3 tbsp
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Red onions – 2 large
  • Tomato – 1 medium sized

 

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Method 

  • In a dry sauce on a low flame heat 1 tbsp oil and add the chopped green chillies and garlic purée.
  • Then add the  the groundnuts powder and roast this mixture for about 2 minutes , stirring continuously ensuring it does not burn.
  • Turn off the flame and add freshly ,finely chopped coriander leaves, salt , sugar and lemon juice.

 

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  • Allow this mixture to cool down and then coat the sausage with skin with the mixture thoroughly.

 

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  • Refrigerate the marinated sausages for an hour.
  • Before you remove the marinated sausages from the refrigerator make the onion and tomato mixture.
  • Chop the onion into long thinstrips.
  • Heat 2 heaped tbsp oil in the same saucepan and sauté till they caramelise.
  • Add the chopped tomato and sauté for another minute.
  • Then remove the marinated sausages from the refrigerator and saute on a griddle pan with very little oil sprinkled onto it.

 

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  • Mix the sausages  in the onion – tomato mixture.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes and green peas as sides.

 

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Why not try my recipe for a fabulous Meatless Monday meal ?

*With  thanks to Secret Sausages  for the samples. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review . As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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 🙂

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

 

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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 ! 🙂

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Ingredients – For 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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