chickpeas

CHICKPEA AND COCONUT CURRY

CHICKPEA AND COCONUT CURRY

If you have never cooked your own chickpeas you simply have to. Yes, you need to plan and yes, they can take 60-90 min to cook but it is so worth it. My reasons for doing this:
  • The taste is far superior. Hummus from home cooked chickpeas is so much tastier than one made from tinned ones.
  • They are more digestible (tinned ones are not soaked properly and are more likely to cause digestive issues - i.e. excessive flatulence and bloating)
  • The cost! You will end up with about 4-5 tins worth of chickpeas from dry

How I do it:
  • Soak your chickpeas for 12-24hrs, the soaking not only reduces the cooking time but it reduces they phytic acid in chickpeas. This has a knock on effect in increasing the mineral absorption from your chickpeas. (this applies for all legumes )
  • Drain the water, put the chickpeas into a large stock pot with large amount of water, about 4x the volume.
  • Add couple inches of kombu seaweed, this is meant to further reduce the gas-producing properties of the legumes. Kombu is used in stock making in Japan and will add to the flavour of the cooking liqour and the chickpeas. I also add an onion (left whole as it is easier to remove) and couple of bay leaves. You can also add other herbs and vegetables like carrots and celery.
  • Bring to a boil and cook for 60min, check and cook longer if the chickpeas are not tender. Generally anywhere from 60-90min should do, the cooking time does depend on the age of the chickpeas.
  • Helpful tip: If you want to freeze the chickpeas freeze them in the liquor.

I always cook 500g pack of chickpeas all at one. I generally use a portion for soup or curry, and make hummus with the rest. You can easily make 3 dishes with this amount of chickpeas. This is one of my favourites; chickpea and coconut curry. I love it as a part of a larger Indian meal, next to a saucy creamy curry. It is also great for a midweek meal with an indian flat bread topped with soya or coconut yoghurt and mango chutney and Kuchumbar on the side for freshness.


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CHICKPEA AND COCONUT CURRY

Serves 4

2 tsp coconut oil
15 curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 chilli, finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cups of cooked chickpeas
3/4 cup (or more if needed) water
salt and pepper to taste
200g (half pound) of spinach
3 tablespoons unsweetened desiccated coconut

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  • In a large lidded sauté pan heat the olive oil and add the curry leaves and spices, let cook for about 1 minute or until the spices begin to pop. Take care not to burn the spices.
  • Next add the onion and cook till softened and golden brown.
  • Add the ginger, garlic and chilli. Cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute (when ginger is not cooked enough the whole curry can have a bitter undertone). Add the turmeric and cook further 30seconds.
  • Add in the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes or till they soften.
  • Add the chickpeas, coat well in the spices and flavours.
  • Pour in the water, add salt and pepper, put the lid on and simmer for 30 minutes. Cook till most of the sauce has evaporated.
  • Next add in the spinach and let it wilt into the chickpeas.
  • Sprinkle in the coconut, stir it through and serve garnished with some fresh coriander.

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CHICKPEA AND SUNDRIED TOMATO “MEATBALLS”

CHICKPEA AND SUNDRIED TOMATO “MEATBALLS”

This morning, I read an article discussing how men still see going vegan as something that makes them look weak. It’s the perception versus reality. With more and more athletes switching to the plant based lifestyle this perception should change in time. If you have doubts just watch Rip Esselstyn (in the documentary Forks over Knifes) climbing up the fire station poll, using arms only, chanting “real men eat plants”. Or check out the insane work outs of vegan athlete Frank Medrano on Youtube!

Recently, I have discovered Jim Smith and his blog http://www.finallyourtime.com . It is very inspiring to see that a change is possible at any age and indeed with great benefits. Jim has seen several health issues resolved after changing his diet, for example his Parkinson’s disease symptoms have disappeared. Read and get inspired.

And make some chickpea and sun-dried tomato balls, they are scrummy! I am making them today for a bunch of 12 year olds who are coming for dinner! Serving them spaghetti with meatballs style and doubling the recipe. Let’s home they will enjoy them as much as my family did. I may not tell them what is in them. KIDS can be awkward!

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CHICKPEA AND SUNDRIED TOMATO “MEATBALLS”
Makes 20

1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp paprika
6 sun dried tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas, drained
2 Tbs Tahini
1 cup breadcrumbs (regular or gluten free)
salt and pepper to taste

  • Add the onion, garlic, paprika, sun dried tomatoes, chickpeas and Tahini into your food processor. Process till all ingredients are well combined.
  • Add the breadcrumbs and seasoning. Combine well using hands.
  • Shape into walnut size balls, it will make about 20. Wetting your hands with water when doing this.
  • Bake on a baking tray lined with parchment paper for about 20 minutes or till golden brown. Turn the chickpea balls halfway through.
  • Serve with pasta and tomato sauce, or as a component of a mezze spread.


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BAKED SWEET POTATO FALAFELS

BAKED SWEET POTATO FALAFELS

The other day my son told me how a boy from his class bought a pack of biscuits for breakfast and brought it to school. My son was pretty pleased because his friend share the biscuits (and trans fats!) with his school mates.

My friend and I were talking about this over a nice lunch. We were trying to get our heads around how a 10 year old can be put in charge of buying his breakfast. I know he is not the only one, I hear stories of my son’s school friends buying extra large chocolate bars and cans of Red Bull before school.
We are both mum’s who understand how important good nutritions is for everybody, and especially growing kids. We can’t imagine being is a situation where we wouldn’t have anything in the house for kids to eat at breakfast. But there are households where this is the case, it is easier to give a child couple of quid and send them to a shop. I find that very sad. Especially since there has been a 4 fold increase in children treated in hospital for conditions linked to obesity.

My friend than talked about how her mum had knowledge about healthy eating without having access to the information we have today. The difference is she cooked, her mother cooked, her mother’s mother cooked. They passed the knowledge down the generations. Today the situation is different, many parents (I don’t want to blame the mum’s only) don’t cook, they look at the price and convenience when it comes to food not its nutritional value (healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive just look at http://agirlcalledjack.com/). Nutrition education at schools is not great, or dismissed by parents as rubbish. I did speak to someone who complained about school filling her daughters with rubbish and now she is refusing to even have a cake at home...

I have found, with my own kids, that it is not always easy to convince them to eat healthy. I know if I gave them money to buy their own breakfast they would walk out with a bar of chocolate or a croissant. And there are many things they refuse to eat. I still have the sweet potato hurdle to overcome. I do keep trying though... I came up with these sweet potato falafels hoping they might not realize... OK the colour gave the sweet potato away and than came the refusal but this will not stop me trying...


sweet-potato-falafel
BAKED SWEET POTATO FALAFELS
These can be also made into larger burgers, the mixture will make 6 burgers. They are also delicious cold the next day in a pitta bread with salad. They are yummy with a mango chutney.

ingredients
1 large sweet potato
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 small onion, cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup rolled oats (use gluten free oats for gluten free version)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3 Tbs hemp seeds
2 Tbs of chickpea flour (if needed)

Makes 12

sweet-potato-falafels

method
  1. First peel, cut into large pieces and steam the sweet potato till soft.
  2. In a food processor process the chickpeas, onion, garlic and oats and process till the ingredients are coming together. You may have to stop and scrape the mixture down from the sides.
  3. Tip the mixture into a bowl, add the drained cooked potatoes, cumin, coriander and the hemp seeds. You can also add couple tbs of fresh coriander (which I didn’t have on hand).
  4. Using your hands mix everything together while crushing the sweet potatoes.
  5. If the mixture is too sloppy you can add couple tablespoons of chickpea flour.
  6. Line a baking tray with non stick baking paper. Make 12 - 16 falafels (I made 12 larger ones). The job will be easier if you wet your hands before shaping your falafels, the mix won’t stick to your hands. I find it I have to wet my hands every 3-4 falafels.
  7. Place the falafels on the baking sheet and bake at 180C for 20 minutes turning over half way through.


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NEW POTATO, ROASTED TOMATO AND CHICKPEA SALAD

NEW POTATO, ROASTED TOMATO AND CHICKPEA SALAD

Guess who’s back?! Yes, I am back online. We are still not connected but my clever techie hubby bought me a nifty device to get me onto to world wide web. Much appreciated! 1891 emails are slowly downloading...

Our house move went really well, I have great admiration to the removal men who tirelessly lifted and shifted all our stuff (it was a lot of stuff!!!). While packing I was careful not to overload the book boxes (there were lots of them) but they carried 2 at a time!!! The physicality of their job is unbelievable. I was tired just watching them.

My new wall hanging:
chicken

My first week in the new house had lots of ups but a few very overriding downs. Second day in our house I went down with some stomach bug which left me in bed for a whole day. This was accompanied with a rather painful acute tooth infection. I spent over 4 days on painkillers, something I hate to do, they left me unable to speak coherently and rather sick to my stomach. Finally (after the Bank Holiday) I got to see my dentist who put me on very strong antibiotics. Yuck! But believe me I was in so much pain that I was ready to take anything! These horrible things made me feel absolutely knackered, with a headache and nausea. But guess what, the pain is gone! Now I am awaiting an appointment for a dental surgery to remove the partially erupted wisdom tooth that has been causing me so much trouble!

Even though I was going through the above c..p I have been enjoying the new house. We all do. Especially now that everything has been unpacked and assigned its new space. We are eagerly waiting for the new turf to settle to fully enjoy our new bigger garden. Especially since the weather has been so fabulous! Hopefully next year I can claim a patch to start a kale plantation!

Another highlight of the last 2 weeks (yes we have been in the new house 2 weeks today!!!) was meeting
Eric Brent, the man behind the fabulous HappyCow.net, who came to visit our annual VegFest in Bristol. It was fabulous to meet the man in person and I hope I can keep providing HappyCow with more recipes. I was planning to take a photo with him but somehow my painkiller fogged mind forgot! I think this could give me a good excuse to travel to San Francisco!!

potatochikpeaberbere

NEW POTATO, ROASTED TOMATO AND CHICKPEA SALAD
I made this for a friend who came to lunch. Easily doubled to serve four.
Serves 2

ingredients:
8-10 new potatoes, cut in halves
6 medium tomatoes (plum tomatoes are great)
1-2 tsp Berbere spice mix (or Cajun)
2 cloves garlic
1/4tsp dried thyme (1 tsp fresh)
pinch of salt
1 tin of chickpeas
4 spring onions
juice of half a lemon (or to taste)
100g (3oz) baby spinach or other green salad leaves
2 Tbs fresh coriander, chopped.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain and place into a large salad bowl.
  3. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, place in a small baking dish (no need to oil it), sprinkle with the Berbere spice, thyme and salt. Place the 2 unpeeled garlic cloves next to the tomatoes.
  4. Bake for 20min, shake the dish halfway through.
  5. Next add the chickpeas to the tomatoes, shake to coat with the spices and any tomato juices. Bake for further 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the garlic, gently squeeze the soft garlic flesh into the bowl with potatoes. Add the chickpeas to the potatoes, mix together to coat the potatoes with the spices and tomato juices.
  7. Let the potato and chickpea mix sit for about 30 minutes.
  8. When ready to serve, place spinach leaves into larger salad (pasta) bowl, top with the potato chickpea mix, squeeze some lemon juice over and sprinkle with coriander. Enjoy.



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QUICK CHICKPEA TAGINE

QUICK CHICKPEA TAGINE

During my 100% raw food week I used half a bottle of olive oil, a whole cup, and about 3/4 cup coconut oil. Not something I would normally do. I am back to my low oil lifestyle now.

Last Sunday I had a sample of some lovely food from an Alkalising diet my friend is following and today another friend brought me some lemon and coconut muffins from her Ayurvedic diet. All very delicious! Yum yum! Aren’t friends who feed you the best kind?

Remember me saying I was fed up with salads last Friday? Well, it didn’t last that long. But having some cooked food has been lovely too. Especially pulses. That was one thing I really missed. I know you can have sprouted pulses on raw food diet but I just don’t like them... Sprouted seeds are yum but not sprouted chickpeas, they are not my cup of tea...

Inspired by my lunch at the Wheelwright Inn last weekend I decided to make a quick chickpea tagine for dinner tonight. Warming spices, veggies, chickpeas, tomatoes that were not getting any younger and of course some couscous. Perfect meal for this sudden change of weather. Yesterday we were enjoying gorgeous sunshine and today rain, rain and more rain. It is supposed to rain tomorrow again, I am glad to have some tagine leftovers waiting for me.

quick-chickpea-tagine

QUICK CHICKPEA TAGINE

Serves 4

ingredients
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs tomato puree (paste)
4 tomatoes, chopped (skinned if you prefer)
2 courgettes (zucchini), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pepper (I had green), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
8 dried apricots, halved
1 tsp date syrup
1 tin chickpeas, drained
2 tbs parsley or coriander, chopped
1 cup of couscous

method
  1. In a large lidded saute pan heat 60ml (1/4cup) water, add the onion and garlic and saute till soft. Add more water if the vegetables start to stick.
  2. Next add the spices and tomato puree, cook for half a minute and add the tomatoes. Add some water if the mixture is starting to stick.
  3. When the tomatoes start to break down add the courgettes, peppers, apricots, date syrup and chickpeas. Add 250ml (1 cup) of water.
  4. Cook gently for 20 minutes or until the sauce is rich and thickens.
  5. Prepare the couscous. 1 cup of couscous, 1 and 1/2 cup just boiled water (or vegetable stock), cover with cling film and let sit for 5 min.
  6. Serve the tagine with couscous garnished with chopped parsley or coriander.


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ROASTED VEGETABLES, SPICED CHICKPEAS AND CASHEW CORIANDER SAUCE

ROASTED VEGETABLES, SPICED CHICKPEAS AND CASHEW CORIANDER SAUCE

Yesterday I watched BBC program about insect eating. Stefan Gates, the culinary globetrotter, explored the idea whether insect eating could save the world. We are all aware that the worldwide meat demand is becoming rather insatiable. In addition to the meat centric Western diets, new emerging economies are abandoning traditional ways of eating and consume more and more meat. We are faced with rising prices and incredible cost to the environment. Insects on the other hand are plentiful (in warmer climates), cheap, low methane producers, high in protein and apparently tasty. Insect farming would definitely be better for the environment than cattle farming.

Stefan in another BBC report tried to convince some students (yes they will try anything once!) to sample his meal worm burgers. He added nuts, vegetables and spices... he basically made a veggie burger with the addition of some ground up meal worms. Needles to say students didn’t think insect eating will become the next big thing in our restaurants.

Do we really need to find more animal protein sources? It is easy to get enough protein in our diet from plants. No need to bite on insect shells, ant eggs or grinding worms into burgers. And no, the though of tarantula bottom tasting very creamy (as the Cambodian children described it) is not appealing at all. I will stick to my veggie diet :)


roasted-veg-spiced-chickpea

ROASTED VEGETABLES, SPICED CHICKPEAS AND CASHEW CORIANDER SAUCE
There are a few steps in this recipe but it is worth it. Great dinner party dish.

Serves 4

ingredients
roasted veggies
2 red pepper
2 medium parsnips
2 sweet potatoes
2 onions
2 aubergines
1/2 tbs rapeseed oil

spiced chickpeas
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli pepper, finely chopped
1/2tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam massala
2 tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and diced
1/2 c water
2 tin of chickpeas, drained
lemon juice to taste
salt to taste

cashew coriander sauce
1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 30min and drained)
60-90ml (1/4-1/3 cup) water
1/2 tsp dried garlic powder
1 tsp dried onion powder
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbs fresh coriander, finely chopped

250ml (1 cup) couscous

method
  1. Cut up all the vegetables into bite size pieces place onto a roasting tray, mix with the 1/2 of oil and roast at a 200C oven for about 30-40 min or until all vegetables are cook through and start to caramelise
  2. While the vegetables are roasting make the spiced chickpeas. In a medium saucepan heat about couple tablespoons water, add the garlic and chilli and cooked till softened, adding more water if needed.
  3. Next add the turmeric and garam masala. Cook briefly for about 30seconds.
  4. Add the tomatoes to the spices and cook for about 5 minutes until they become soft and pulpy.
  5. Next add water and the chickpeas. Simmer for the rest of the cooking time of the vegetables, about 20min. Add lemon juice to taste just before serving.
  6. Prepare the couscous. Put the couscous in a large bowl, pour just boiled water over it, the water should cover the chickpeas by 1 cm. Cover with cling film and let it sit until the rest is finished.
  7. Finally prepare the sauce, put cashews, water, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice and process till smooth. Add in the chopped coriander.

coriander-sauce
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ROASTED CARROT HUMMUS

ROASTED CARROT HUMMUS

Couple days ago I started to read The Spectrum by Dr Dean Ornish. Fascinating read! I love the man’s philosophy, spirit but also the fact that everything he suggests is backed by science. And any man who can do a TED MED presentation with a baby in his hands certainly gets my vote.

Dr Dean Ornish has amazing results in slowing the progression and even reversing heart disease with lifestyle changes. His method is even available on Medicare in the USA. Quote from The Spectrum:
“ Our research has shown that your body has a remarkable capacity to begin healing itself - and much more quickly than people once realised - when we address the underlying causes of illness. For many people, the choices we make each day in what and in how we live are among the most important underlying causes.”

No surprise I was eager to read today’s big news article (in several papers) :
Tomato pill could save lives. Indeed a new “tomato” pill has been developed, it contains lycopene in amounts equivalent to eating 6lb of tomatoes daily!!! That, I do admit, would be a very difficult thing to do. The trial has been on a small scale but scientist are very optimistic, predicting this pill could save thousands of lives. Further trials are of course needed.

Ateronon (the pills name) has shown to improve the function of the endothelial cells and boost their sensitivity to nitric oxide. Dr Dean Ornish’s, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn’s or Dr Joel Fuhrman diets will do the same. No need to wait for Ateronon to come to the the market just follow the advice of one of these doctors.

Even if this pill does prove to be as successful as the scientist behind its development tell us, there may still be a downfall. People like to pop a pill instead of improving their lifestyles, it is the easy way out, but not s solution. I believe it is Dr Fuhrman who said : "You can't medicate your self out of a bad diet." I certainly prefer the benefits of a healthy diet over any pill.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2258035/Wonder-pill-harnessing-health-secret-Mediterranean-diet-cut-risk-strokes-heart-attacks-fight-cancer.html


carrot-hummus


ROASTED CARROT HUMMUS

Makes about 2 cups

ingredients
3 medium carrots
1 tin chickpeas, drained, chickpea water reserved
1 garlic clove
1 Tbs tahini
1 Tsp ground cumin
juice of half a lemon (or more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
large handful of chopped fresh coriander

method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Cut the carrots into carrot sticks
  3. Line a small baking tray with baking paper. Add the carrots and 4 Tbs of water. Roast for about 30 min or until carrots are caramelized and softened.
  4. In a food processor or a blender combine the carrots, chickpeas, tahini, cumin, lemon juice and process till quite smooth, adding the chickpea water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
  5. Stir in the chopped coriander.
  6. Enjoy!
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COCONUT TURMERIC STEW WITH SWISS CHARD

COCONUT TURMERIC STEW WITH SWISS CHARD

What is your vice? One of my friends thinks that a day without a cake is not worth living, another one can’t relax without a glass of wine in the evening. My daughter cannot pass a cheese stall at a food fair without tasting it and my husband enjoys his weekend beer.

This weekend I made a lovely turmeric vegetable stew with coconut milk. According to one of Dr Greger’s videos ( www.nutritionfacts.org) , coconut milk has the same effect on our arteries as a hamburger. Pretty scary! Does this mean that coconut milk is my vice?

When I think about coconut milk Thai food springs to mind. We all associate Thailand with green or red Thai curry, Thom Ka soup, or coconut milk desserts. Therefore I did some digging to find out about heart disease in Thailand. I came upon a brilliant overview which you can check out in full via the link at the end of this blog.

Thailand had become more industrialised and Westernised in the last 30 or so years, this has impacted on the way the Thais eat. From 1960 to 1995 the consumption of rice,cereals and tubers has gone down by about 1/3, fish and seafood stayed unchanged, however meat and poultry consumption has gone up by 4 fold, dairy was not used at all in 1960 by 1995 has become more prevalent. Veg and fruit was up (good news), but so were fats and oils from animals sources, whereas fats and oils from plant sources were down (coconut?). Consumption of sugar, as everywhere in the word, is on the way up too.

Cardiovascular disease has been the leading cause of death in Thailand since 1989, indeed non communicable diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity) have overtaken communicable diseases (transmittable). In Thailand, people are getting “Western” diseases due their diet and lifestyle change. To quote the report: "
Eating patterns have shifted from a traditional Asian diet – cereal- based and low-fat – to a more Westernised diet characterised by increased consumption of animal products, fats and sugars and decreasing consumption of complex carbohydrate foods.” Traditional diet high in carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits and low in animal foods, and moderate in fish/seafood served the Thai’s well for centuries even with coconut milk being a major part.

I am not advocating using coconut milk daily, I use it in moderation (always with lots of veggies) perhaps once or twice a month, less than it is traditionally used in South East Asia and Pacific. I treat it as a vice and indulge rarely. As my lecturer once said, if you are going to eat the occasional piece of cake, make sure you enjoy it. I try to adhere to 90/10 and I make sure I don’t feel guilty about the 10%.

Note: If you are trying to loose weight or have a cardiovascular disease, it is best to stay away from coconut milk all together:)

http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/nutrans/research/bellagio/papers/PHNThailand-Vongsulvat.pdf

COCONUT TURMERIC STEW WITH SWISS CHARD
Make sure to use black pepper when cooking with turmeric, it seems to awaken its anticancer power!

Serves 4
rainbowchard


ingredients
1 onion, chopped
1 chilli, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp turmeric
1 cup vegetable stock
black pepper
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 large bunch of rainbow (or regular) Swiss chard
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
1 tin of coconut milk (whole or reduced fat) or 1 1/3 cups of cashew nut milk
3 spring onions, finely chopped
lime

turmeric-stew

method
  1. In a large lidded saute pan heat some water (1/3cup - 80ml) and add your onion, garlic and chilli. Cook gently till softened.
  2. While these are cooking wash the Swiss chard. If you have large leaves, cut them away from the stalks. Cut the stalks into bite size pieces and shred the leaves. Keep them separate.
  3. Add your turmeric and black pepper to the onions. Stir around for a few seconds.
  4. Next add the stock, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard stalks and chickpeas.
  5. Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Gently boil covered for about 10 min.
  6. After the 10 minutes add your Swiss chard greens and cook further 5 min or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  7. Just before serving stir in the spring onions and lime juice to taste. (you can also add some fresh coriander - cilantro)
  8. Serve with flat breads, brown rice or rice noodles.


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SPICY AUBERGINE AND CHICKPEA STEW

SPICY AUBERGINE AND CHICKPEA STEW

There is no denyingl that the Hairy Bikers are a loveable duo. They have always been the two overweight middle aged Harley riding chaps who like nothing more than good grub. They still are all that except they managed to loose quite a few pounds and are looking rather trim. Of course they also have a diet book out. I had a chance to have a good look through it today.

First I have to say that anybody who looses excess weight deserves a credit. How did Si and Dave managed to shed their pounds? They claim calorie counting and portion control was the key. They devised lower calorie meals without compromising flavour. I would never doubt that their food would lack flavour. But (yet there is one) I can’t claim their diet book is a healthy one.

No doubt they have replaced their usual butter, cream, pastry with lower fat versions. However I couldn’t help but notice that this book is still extremely heavy on meat. Carbohydrates don’t seem to appear that often (and indeed are not included in the calorie count) . Most of the carbs I saw were of the refined variety. They do recommend grilling meat as a way to cut down on fat, but I see carcinogens! Vegetables seem to be an afterthought: 300g of carrots vs 700g of lamb in a hotpot, no extra veggies in their chilli con carne... There are only a handful of recipes in the 'vegetable and salad' chapter and of the few salads most seem to include meat...Desserts? Their cup cakes may be lower in fat but they are still covered with icing made out of icing sugar (that is converted to fat in your body). There is one recipe I would make: the spicy vegetable and bean stew, my kind of food.

The Hairy Bikers are trying to help Britons to combat obesity, a commendable undertaking, but they could do more. As celebrity chefs they have influence and should use it to promote more healthier cooking. Not just replacing full fat mince beef with a leaner version. What is wrong with a veggie and bean chilli? Leaner bacon and egg will not make as much difference as a green breakfast smoothie would. IFor the entertainment value I will still watch their shows as they indulge their appetite through their travels. I don't think I would take their dietary advice.

Here is my low fat recipe. A spicy stew of aubergines and chickpeas with warming Moroccan spices, perfect for the suddenly chilly nights. I know "another aubergine recipe" but I do feel there are never enough aubergine recipes in one’s repertoire :)

SPICY AUBERGINE AND CHICKPEA STEW
Ras el hanout is a Moroccan spice mix that includes whole range of spices, even rose buds. In Morocco this is a blend of the best spices the shopkeeper had to offer. They vary enormously so beware of how hot your mix is. My favourite brand is the Seasoned Pioneers.

Serve with couscous, rice or quinoa and some green salad or veggies. Also great served with a flat bread.

Serves 4

spicyaubergineandchickpea2

ingredients
1 Tbs olive oil
2 medium aubergines, cut into bite size pieces
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs ras el hanout seasoning (or Moroccan seasoning)
2 tbs tomato puree
1 Date, finely chopped (or 1 Tbs agave, date or maple syrup)
1 tin of chickpeas, rinsed
1 Tin of chopped tomatoes

  1. In a non stick pan heat the olive oil and add the aubergine. Fry gently until soft and cooked through. If the aubergines starts to stick add some water. Remove and set aside. (For oil free version steam the aubergine first.)
  2. Add the onion to the pan and garlic to the pan, cook gently till softened. Add a bit of water if sticking to the bottom.
  3. Put the aubergine back to the onions and garlic. Add the ras el hanout and the tomato puree. Cook stirring constantly for about a minute.
  4. Next add the date, chickpeas and tinned tomato.
  5. Cook on a gently heat for 20 min or till sauce is rich and thickened.

spicyaubergineandchickpea
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OUTRAGEOUS BEETROOT FALAFEL

OUTRAGEOUS BEETROOT FALAFEL

Falafel, together with hummous, may just be the most famous Middle Eastern food. It originates from Egypt but is equally home in Israel, Palestine or any vegan household around the world. Traditionally, falafel is made from chickpeas, broad (fava) beans or mixture of both. These are soaked, ground, spiced and deep-fried.

Falafel, apart from the deep-frying, is extremely healthy. These spiced morsels are high in protein and fibre while also rich in many minerals and vitamins such as calcium, magnesium, iron, folate and others. Usually served in a pitta pocket or flat bread together with salad and tahini dressing it makes a perfect plant based meal.

As much as I respect traditions I decided to try and up the stakes, beef up that nutrition content and lower that oil content. My beetroot falafel looks outrageous with its deep dark red colour, and lusciously moist. Baked in the oven it is also free of oil. I used tinned chickpeas rather than soaked uncooked ones, mainly because I didn’t use the deep frying method of cooking, but convenience was definitely a factor too.

You can serve these in the traditional way in a pitta bread, or on top of a salad. They will also make fab canapes. There is no better accompaniment to falafels than tahini sauce. Just to be different I made 2 different tahini sauces. The other day I acquired some raw black sesame tahini and I thought using next to the traditional creamy coloured tahini would create a great contrast on top of the red falafel morsels. No pressure here, making just one tahini sauce is perfectly fine, just double the quantity. Any leftovers are great as salad dressing.


beetroot-falafel

OUTRAGEOUS BEETROOT FALAFEL
Makes 18

ingredients
falafels
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of fresh coriander (cilantro), about 2 handfuls
salt
2 medium carrots
3 small beetroot (mine were 160g /5.6 oz together)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbs black sesame seeds
1 Tbs white sesame seeds
1 Tbs tahini
40g (1/3 cup) gram flour

tahini sauces

3 Tbs regular tahini
2 Tbs lemon juice
2-4 tbs water

3 Tbs black tahini
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs water



falafel-mix

method

  1. In a food processor combine the chickpeas, garlic, fresh coriander and salt.
  2. Process together, this will need a lot of stopping and scrapping down the sides. The texture should be a mixture of creamy smooth with some coarser pieces. See the above picture.
  3. Place the chickpea mixture into a mixing bowl.
  4. Finely grate the carrots and beetroot. I used my box grater for this job as my food processor doesn’t grate finely enough.
  5. Add to the chickpea mixture.
  6. Next add the cumin, tahini, sesame seeds and gram flour.
  7. Using your hands mix thoroughly.
  8. Form the mixture into walnut size balls and slightly flatten them.
  9. Place into the refrigerator for half an hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 180C.
  11. Line a baking tray with greaseproof (parchment) paper and place the falafels on top.
  12. Bake for about 15min, turning halfway through the baking time.
  13. While the falafels are baking make the sauces. Just simply mix the tahini and lemon together adding water until the desired consistency is acheived.
  14. Enjoy.




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CHICKPEAS AND KALE WITH BERBERE

CHICKPEAS AND KALE WITH BERBERE

My Dad, who was visiting for two weeks, was scouring the supermarket for his favourite hot smoked paprika. While in the spice isle I notices a small box of Berbere spice mix. Of course I had to have it. Before I buy any spice mix I check the ingredients, anything that has MSG is quickly discounted as are any spice mixes that are padded up with ingredients that shouldn’t be there are rejected too. My berbere mix had nothing sinister in it.

How surprised I was when, after opening the metal box, I found a beautiful concoction of whole spices that hit my nose with an intoxicating heady fragrance. Berbere is a punchy spicy mix from Ethiopia. It always contains chillies and array of fragrant spice. As with most spice mixtures there are variations but mine, apart from chilies, contained black pepper, cumin, coriander, fennel, cloves, allspice, ajwain seed, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg.

Berbere spice mix
berbere-spice

One spice I admit was totally new to me, the ajwan seed. Of course I had to look it up. Ajwain seed is common in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine and comes from the same family as carrots, fennel and dill. Ajwain is believed to increase digestive function, has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. In India it is used to ease asthma and as an ingredient in cough remedies.

I used my berebere to spice up chickpeas and kale that made a perfect topping for a baked potato. I only had white potatoes in my vegetable box but the spiciness would go beautifully with a baked sweet potato. I put 2 teaspons of berbere in my mix, the result was spicy but not blow your head off. The spicy hit of the chillies seems to be eased by the rest of the gorgeous spices.


berberechickpeakale

CHICKPEAS AND KALE WITH BERBERE

Serves 4 as a baked potato topping, 2 if served alongside grain

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp berbere spice mix
1 large tomato, peeled, deseeded and chopped
1 Tbs tomato puree (paste)
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
200 g kale, tough stalks removed, leaves shredded

  1. In a frying or saute pan (you need a larger one to accommodate the kale later) heat couple tablespoons of water. (you can use 1 Tbs oil if you wish)
  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute on medium heat until soft. Add more water if the vegetables start sticking.
  3. Next add the berbere and stir around, saute for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomato to the pan and cook for about 5-10 min until softened.
  5. Add in the tomato paste and cook for about 1 min.
  6. Next add in the chickpeas and about 100ml (under 1/2cup) of water. Cook for 5 min until the sauce thickens.
  7. Add the kale in and stir it into the sauce. Cook until tender, about 10 min. Add more water if the mixture seems too dry.
  8. Serve over baked white or sweet potato, or over some brown rice or other grain.

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CURRIED CHICKPEA BURGERS

CURRIED CHICKPEA BURGERS

You know the drill. It has been a long day you don’t fancy cooking and the take way menus are calling to you. You order more than you need, spend more than you should, wait nearly an hour, eat more than you intended, fall onto the sofa and complain about being stuffed. At that precise moment you make the ground breaking decision that you won’t ever make the same mistake again. Until....

Couple weeks ago I decided that we treat ourselves to an Indian take-way, we were in the vicinity of a greatly popular Indian restaurant so we popped in to get some curries to accompany our Saturday movie. When we got home and opened the bag I noticed that at the bottom of the take-way bag was roughly a centimetre of oil. It must have leaked out of the containers and looked extremely unappetising. I was glad the curry came in a very sturdy plastic carried bag.

It does amaze me how many people eat take-aways several times a week. Kebabs, pizzas, burgers, curries and the UK’s most popular Chinese take away is a big business. Instead of dialling the number or getting into your car to get to the nearest take-away restaurant we have to put on our aprons and start cooking healthy delicious meals at home. We have to involve kids in food preparation too, this recipe is brilliant for that. My fusion curried burgers are much better for you than any take-away.

curryburger

CURRIED CHICKPEA BURGERS

If you don’t want to end up with a large piece of garlic or ginger in your burger make sure you chop the garlic and ginger before putting them into the food processor.

No oils added.

Makes 6 burgers

ingredients
85g (1/2 cup) brown rice
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 tin chickpeas
1 red chilli
1 inch ginger, peeled, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
pinch of asofetida
salt
2 Tbs mango chutney
1 Tbs tomato paste
handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped
25 g (1 oz) of breadcrumbs
Whole wheat burger buns or pitta pockets


method

  1. Cook rice according to the package instructions, let it cool down.
  2. Put the following ingredients into your food processor: chickpeas, onion, red chilli, ginger, garlic, spices, mango chutney and tomato paste.
  3. Process together until well chopped but not smooth.
  4. Add the rice and pulse together few times till mixed through.
  5. Put the mixture into a large bowl, add the coriander, cashews and breadcrumbs.
  6. Shape the mixture into 6 burgers. The mixture is rather wet but if you wet your hands between each burger they do come together very well.
  7. Place the burgers onto a greaseproof paper lined baking sheet.
  8. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.
  9. Bake for 25-30 min in a 180 oven, turning the burgers halfway through.
  10. Serve in a bun or a pitta pocket (I enjoyed mine wrapped in lettuce leaves). Garnish with your favourite sauces and toppings.

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHICKPEA SALAD

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHICKPEA SALAD

A whole week of revision. On Saturday I have my final Biomedicine exam therefore I have been buried in books and lectures, making notes and tables, drawing pictures. By now I can draw a mean neuron!

When I am this busy it would be easy to eat rubbish, but I can’t and don’t want to do that. When it comes to grabbing a sandwich I get bored very quickly. Even I love hummus there are only so many hummus wraps I can eat. Taking a break to make a quick, nutritions and delicious lunch will only enhance one’s study performance. Another break to take dogs out will clear head and refresh the brain for further info intake.

Enough talking here is the recipe before I get back to infectious diseases and other delights...


butternutsuqashchickpeasala

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CHICKPEA SALAD
This can be served hot straight from the oven or at room temperature. Whatever you do wait till you are ready to eat before you add the spinach. T

serves 2 as a main dish salad, 4 as a starter

700g (about 1 and 1/2lb) butternut squash (it was a half of a large one)
2 medium red onions
1 Tbs of olive oil
1 tin of chickpeas (no salt added)
2 tsp sambal oelek
1 Tbs rice vine vinegar
2 tsp brown rice miso
200 g baby spinach leaves

method
  1. First preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Peel and deseed the butternut squash, cut into larger bite sized pieces.
  3. Peel the onion and cut into chunks (each onion in about 8 pieces)
  4. Put onions, butternut squash and olive oil into a medium size roasting dish, toss together and place in the oven
  5. Roast for 25 min than add the drained chickpeas and roast for 10 more minutes.
  6. In the meantime combine the sambal oelek, vinegar and miso together.
  7. Remove the vegetables and chickpeas from the oven and toss with the dressing. Place on top of spinach leaves and serve.


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The Diamond Jubilee/Coronation Chickpea Sald

Jubilee-Banner

THE DIAMOND JUBILEE/CORONATION CHICKPEA SALAD

The whole of UK will be enjoying an extended four day weekend to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen’s coronation took place on 2nd June 1953 (she came to throne in February of the previous year). Sixty years on the throne deserve a recognition, many celebrations are planned including street parties all around the country. And of course we celebrate best with some great food (and drink) in hand.

Probably the most famous dish, from the two Coronation Banquets in 1953, is the Coronation Chicken. The recipe was created by Constance Spry and Rosemary Huyme. Constance suggested to make curried creamy chicken and Rosemary (the chef) executed the idea. For months now Coronation Chicken inspired dishes have been on the shelves of supermarkets, you can choose from the traditional chicken, veggie rice version or a Coronation dip. There even is a coronation ice-cream in an ice-cream shop in London.

I felt inspired and created my own plant based version of the famous dish. As in the original version I used a curry powder. When I made curries I blend my own spices but the generic curry powder taste is what makes this recipe traditional as that is what they would use in 1953. Just make sure you use a good quality one, I get mine in an Asian shop. You can also use a good curry paste.

The original version is mayo heavy and I didn’t want to just open a jar and replace the regular mayo with a vegan one. Therefore a tofu/cashew dressing was born, the quantities given make more than you will need but it tastes great and you will find other uses (great with new potatoes). The salad ingredients can be easily doubled to make enough to feed a crowd, it makes a great potluck dish.

Here is to the Queen who just keeps going with seemingly boundless energy through the ups and downs she has encountered in the 60 years on the throne. I will be raising a glass of Pimm’s to her health.

IMG_2465

CORONATION CHICKPEA SALAD
salad:
1/3 cup (60g) wild rice
1/2 Tbs rapeseed (canola) oil
1 small to medium red onion, finely diced
2 tsp mild curry powder
1 Tbs tomato puree
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
2 Tbs water
2 Tbs raisins
6 dried apricots, cut into roughly raisin size
4 spring onions, white part only, finely sliced
handful of toasted flaked almonds
handful of fresh coriander chopped

the dressing:
1/2 cup (60ml) water
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1/2 pack of Mori-Nu silken tofu (about 170g - 6oz)
1 heaped Tbs mango chutney
good pinch of saffron
2 Tbs lemon juice
pinch of salt

method:

  1. First cook the rice in 1 and 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30min. Drain and cool down. Set aside.
  2. In a frying pan heat the oil, gently saute the onion until tender but do not brown, about 10 min.
  3. Add the curry powder and cook for 30 seconds. Next add the tomato puree. Stir together.
  4. Add the chickpeas and 2 Tbs of water to the frying pan. Season with salt. Cook gently until the water is evaporated and the chickpeas are coated with thick curry paste. Let the chickpeas cool down.
  5. When the rice and chickpeas have cooled down place them into a bowl and add the rest of the salad ingredients.
  6. To make the dressing blend all the ingredients in a blender till smooth. Pour some of the dressing over the salad, mix well. The salad should be very creamy. You can overdo the dressing a bit, it thickens in the fridge. Chill.
  7. Decorate with some almonds and coriander. Enjoy.
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BULGUR WHEAT SALAD WITH CRUNCHY VEGGIES AND HERBS

BULGUR WHEAT SALAD WITH CRUNCHY VEGGIES AND HERBS

Couple days ago, Daily Mail ran a poll on their website. The question asked was: Is a vegan book aimed at children appropriate? (Unfortunately I am unable to find the exact words from the website but this is close enough) When I added my vote to the tally, there was about 10% more people convinced that veganism shouldn’t be taught to children.

The article that started this poll was a review of Ruby Roth’s new book
Vegan is Love. I must give the usually judgmental DM a credit for a well balanced article. There was a quote from Nicole German, an American dietician, who deemed the book dangerous, leading to possible malnutrition in the young impressionable children. Rest of the article was however very reassuring (quoting the likes of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) about the safety and health benefits of a well planned vegan diet for children.

Finally the tide seems to be changing and plant based/vegan diets are getting the recognition they deserve, with more and more research confirming their benefits in preventing and even reversing many chronic diseases. Of course not every vegan diet is healthy, chips and Oreos are vegan too.

There were number of comments that followed the article, one especially disagreeing with veganism being promoted to children and calling for charges to be pressed against parents whose child suffers through their negligence. In this case the legal system should brace themselves, there are plenty malnourished obese kids around who suffer by being fed low nutrition calorie dense fast foods. Most vegan parents know far more about nutrition than the average parent, simply because they have to. Yes there are few stumbling blocks, like vitamins B12 or D (in our climate) but there are easy to deal with. In my opinion a plate of lentils with brown rice and veggies on the side is a much healthier meal than Big Mac with chips any day!

As far as the book goes I am planning to order it very soon for my children, we have Ruby’s previous book That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, which is a fantastic way to introduce kids to the way animals are treated in today’s food production. Since I started to take dairy out of my diet, I decided not to impose the same decision on my kids. I do cook vegan dishes but if they want a cheese sandwich to take to school I wan’t going to argue. I wanted them to make their own decision. After reading the above book both of them decided to be “more” vegan. They still want to have the option of eating a pizza at friend’s house or at a party. And I will respect that but in a way wish they were never introduced to dairy in the first place.

Amazon US allows to have a peek at some of the pages of the book and from what I saw there is nothing I wouldn’t want my children to know. Such knowledge will lead to a more compassionate way of living. It is a shame that this book is most likely going to end up in vegan/vegetarian households only, it should be in every library and read at schools.

The original article:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2131090/Ruby-Roths-new-childrens-book-Vegan-Love-sparks-outrage-graphic-images-unhealthy-diet-message.html


BULGUR WHEAT SALAD WITH CRUNCHY VEGGIES AND HERBS

This salad is very lightly dressed just with lemon juice and tiny bit of olive oil, if you want a stronger flavour you could add a tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar. I like to be able to taste all the veggies and herbs without being over powered by dressing.

Serves 4 as a main dish salad.


bulgursalad2

ingredients
180g (1 cup) bulgur wheat
375ml (1 and 1/2 cups) just boiled water (or vegetable stock)
1 tin chickpeas, drained
2 medium beef tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 small kohlrabi, peeled and finely diced (about 1 cup)
8 radishes, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 large lemon
heaped handful (1 cup ) smixture of parsley and mint, finely chopped (I used ration 3-1 parsley to mint)

method
  1. First cook the bulgur wheat; put the grain into a large bowl, pour over the just boiled water (or stock). Cover with cling film and let sit for 10-15 min or until all the water is absorbed.
  2. Add the drained chickpeas to the hot bulgur wheat. Season with salt and let cool down.
  3. In the meantime chop all your vegetables.
  4. Mix all the ingredients into the cooled bulgur-chickpea mixture. Mix well.
  5. Serve :)

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CHICKPEA AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

CHICKPEA AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

Couple days ago I finished reading The Food Revolution by John Robbins. It is one of those books everybody should read, one of those books that can change the way you live your life. I admire John Robbins immensely, not just because he has been able to walk away from life of luxury his father’s business was offering (Baskin and Robbins) but mainly because by doing so he has been able to live according to his admirable principles and thus changing lives of many people.

When I watch John’s talks and interviews I can’t help but feel the love he exudes. He is so passionate about a better more compassionate way of living that it would be hard not to be influenced by his thoughts and ideas. There are many very important topics covered in The Food Revolution. I admit to going through many different emotions while reading this book. John’s exposure of the American meat and dairy industries, their inhumane practices made me weep. Biotech companies and their money grabbing ways without any regard for the disaster in their hands left me speechless and angry. This book also brings hope, renews a belief in the good that is in people. I
loved The Pig Farmer chapter, it made a point of how we should never judge a book by its cover. When shown a different path, people have the power to change their way, and in small steps change the world.

One chapter was very personal to me, in My Friend Mike, John talks about his friend’s unhealthy lifestyle and his consequent battle with cancer that he ultimately lost. John described how angry he felt over what happened to his friend: “Inside I was angry and hurt. Angry at Mike for not taking better care for himself, angry at God for letting this happen, and angry at myself for not having been able to prevent it.” If John only new how I needed to hear these words, I went through the same emotions when we lost my amazing father-in-law to cancer last summer, together with the immense grief and loss, I was angry at him for the same reasons John was angry at Mike, I was also angry at myself for not being able to make him listen to my advice and angry at myself for feeling angry. Anger felt so inappropriate. I could not be sure at all whether my dietary advice would have helped him at all, but that was all I had. John validated for me that it was ok, it was natural to feel that way.

If you haven’t done so yet please read this book, it may just change your life. Let me finish with a quote from The Food Revolution:
“Your life does matter. It always matters whether you reach out in friendship or lash out in anger. It always matters whether you live with compassion and awareness or whether you succumb to distractions and trivia. It always matters how you treat other people, how you treat animals, and how you treat yourself. It always matters what you do. It always matters what you say. And it always matters what you eat.”


caulichickpeasoup

CHICKPEA AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP
This is a very easy soup. You can even omit the step of pureeing part of the soup. It is worth it though, as it thickens the soup and gives it a fuller flavour. You can also puree the soup completely if you so wish.

3 leeks, washed and sliced
1 stick of celery, strings removed and sliced
3 medium potatoes, cut bite size pieces
1 small cauliflower, separated into small florets
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
1l of vegetable stock
plenty of black pepper

  1. In a large sauce pan combine all the ingredients (except the black pepper).
  2. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about 20min.
  3. Put 3 ladles of soup into a blender and puree till smooth. (I removed all my chickpeas out of the liquid destined for the blender, simply because I wanted as many whole chickpeas in my soup as possible)
  4. Returned the smooth puree into you soup, heat up.
  5. Season with black pepper and serve.

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SMOKEY BUTTERNUT SQUASH HUMMUS


Last week many newspapers printed a very similar article about hummus being a high calorie snack. World Cancer Research Fund was concerned about us being misinformed and lacking knowledge of what is a high calorie food. Of course high calorie foods contribute to obesity and thus cancer and other diseases. Hummus was branded one of the bad boys at some 332cal per 100g (half a supermarket pot). For comparison a jam doughnut has about 252 calories per 100g. I am not sure which hummus WCRF is talking about but I found calorie count from 177 to up to 317 for plain hummus.

Now hummus is a very ancient fellow. First recipe dates all the way to 13th century and I doubt it was a cause of obesity in 13th century Egypt. It is a very nutritious snack, containing iron, Vitamin C, B6, folate, fibre, calcium and protein (unlike the jam doughnut). I know which I would choose, I swear I will always love hummus no matter what bad press it (unjustly) gets.

You should read nutritional labels if you are concerned about the calorie content of your food, or you can just make your own hummus. It is easy chickpeasy.

SMOKEY BUTTERNUT SQUASH HUMMUS

I make all of my hummus without the olive oil. Omitting mere 2 Tbs of olive oil saves you 238 calories and 17g of fat per recipe. But by all means add couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to this recipe if you want to. This explains why my photograph is not all shiny as most pictures of hummus are as they get drizzled with olive oil. Looks good in a photo but I prefer to eat mine without the oil.

You can use this hummus as a spread or dip, but warmed up it replaces mashed potatoes beautifully.

ingredients
1/2 (about 400g) butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbs (heaped) Tahini
1 tin of hummus, drained liquid reserved
1 tsp smoked paprika (hot or sweet)
juice of 1 lemon
more smoked paprika to sprinkle on top

method
  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Place butternut squash chunks in a roasting pan add the half tablespoon of olive oil and with your hands mix thoroughly. Season with salt. Roast for about 30min until edges of butternut squash start to caramelise and are soft when pierced with a skewer. Let the squash cool down.
  2. In a food processor combine the squash, chickpeas, garlic, paprika, lemon juice and salt. Add some of the reserved liquid.
  3. Process till smooth adding more liquid if needed.
  4. Transfer to a serving, bowl sprinkle with more paprika and enjoy.

Humus 1
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