Category Archives: salads

Travel Food

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I don’t know how I have managed to blog this far without saying it but….

I AM GOING TO INDIA.

Caps-lock totally intended. Am I excited? Oh, just a little.

That I shall be absent from the blog space for a couple of weeks won’t be that much of an irregularity given my recent neglect in this area however I’m sure I’ll be back with pictures and food ideas. In fact, if that’s the only thing I’m back with it’ll be a worthwhile trip.

Delicious travel recipe (for which I must thank Sara at Sprouted Kitchen). I apologise for the brevity of the recipe instructions as I am a mass of last minute packing, malaria pills, and spare batteries for my flash gun…..

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Rice Paper Rolls

(recipe adapted from Sprouted Kitchen)

6 rice paper wraps
Handful of coriander
3 carrots, grated
2 beets, grated
1 cucumber, grated
1 large avocado, sliced
1 cup lentils, cooked
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
dressing (2 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tsp tamari)

Set up:

A large bowl of warm water and a clean dish cloth to roll your rice paper on.

Set out your ingredients: coriander, carrots, beetroot, cucumber and avocado, combine the cooked lentils with the ingredients of the dressing. Taste and adjust as desired.

One at a time, put a rice paper wrap flat into the large bowl of warm water, for approx. 20 seconds til soft. Carefully lay the wrap down on the dish cloth. Down the centre, layer small amounts of coriander, carrots and beetroot, a few slices of avocado and some lentils. Fold over the sides of the wrap, then the top and bottom of the wrap, tucking in at the ends (more skillfully and neatly than I managed to, hopefully). Repeat with remaining wraps. Yum.

I will try to add some more healthy travel ideas for future posts (I have packed some raw food energy balls, sesame and goji berry squares, hummus and salad). Let’s cause some in-flight envy!

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3 ways with courgettes

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I have lots of cousins and lots courgettes in my refrigerator. The cousins aren’t in my refrigerator of course, the courgettes are. Both are equally vocal. The cousins communicating all manner of things from encouraging and engaging to teasing and tantrums. The courgettes are calling for me to cook them. I guess that so many of my courgettes have been eaten thinly sliced and tossed raw into salads that it’s a fair request. When I didn’t know what to do with the amount of courgette amassing in my fridge I turned to Deb Perelmen’s plethora of recipes for I knew she would have some fun things to do with the vegetable. And fun things she did have. So I hereby give you three of my favourite things to do with courgettes: The aforementioned courgette salad that I have been eating all too frequently through summer, courgette fritters and courgette bread (which we all know is actually cake but I’m sticking with calling it bread. It sounds healthier).

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Speaking of healthy (and cousins); my cousin Daksha having taken a renewed approach to health and fitness (and how very proud of her I am for doing so) had been asking me for the recipe for courgette fritters. I had promised her a recipe post, oh I don’t know, about… a month ago. Every week since I have been thinking “yep, I’ll do that at the weekend”, and then Sunday comes and goes and suddenly Monday is upon me and I’m in the middle of this chaos called daily life yearning for the weekend again. What, how?! As my aunt pointed out this could have something to do with the hours I while away experimenting with recipes in the kitchen but I’m sticking with the story of my own personal time warp. Kind of like right now. Sunday night. Tick tock…

Courgette salad

Ingredients
1 medium sized courgette
1 tbsp  olive oil
handful of pine nuts
1 tbsp pesto
squeeze of fresh lemon

Using a vegetable peeler (or a mandolin if you are lucky enough to have one of those), top and tail the courgette and thinly slice until you have ribbons of it on the plate. Squeeze over some fresh lemon, and spoon through the olive oil, pesto and pine nuts. Simples.

I often eat this on it’s own although I have on occasion mixed it through some pasta and melted feta. That’s pretty awesome too.

courgette salad

Courgette fritters

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients
1 large courgette
1 egg
½ cup buckwheat (or normal flour)
half an onion, sautéed (optional)
seasoning
oil for cooking (I prefer coconut oil here)

Grate the courgette and season with salt. Leave to sit for ten minutes.

Squeeze the water from the vegetable either by wringing it through a cloth, or pressing it hard into a sieve until all the liquid has been drained. It’s the less-fun part of the process but you’ll be thankful you did it otherwise you’ll end up with soggy courgette fritters and no-one wants that.

Put the grated, squeezed courgette into a bowl and add the egg and half cup of flour plus some salt and pepper. Mix it all together.

If using onions (they do add texture and flavour to the fritters), sauté them in a little oil until translucent and soft. Add them to the mix.

Dollop a little of the mixture into a pan of hot oil and fry until the underside of the fritters are brown. Flip and cook the other side.

I love these served with home made mayonnaise.

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Courgette Bread (Cake)

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients (yields two loaves)
3 eggs
200ml olive oil
220g sugar
350g grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla extract
420g wholegrain flour
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp teaspoon nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp salt
Optional extras: handful of chopped walnuts or pecans or raisins or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 6x11inch loaf pan, liberally.

Beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil, sugar, courgette and vanilla.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as any optional extras (nuts, chocolate chips raisins, if using). Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into the loaf tin.

Bake loaves for about an hour or until golden on top and an inserted knife comes out clean.

Share with cousins :)

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Spring Salad

red cabbage salad

I’ve decided, despite the stubborn persistence of my winter wardrobe, that spring is here. And I am marking it with this beautiful salad.

And, well, a new blog post. I have not written in this space for some time, as my sister very kindly pointed out. It is not because I haven’t been indulging in the delights of culinary experiences. Far from it. There was the cheese trail at Borough Market; the buckwheat chocolate pancakes I cooked for supper… with the hot chocolate maple syrup sauce that I most definitely did not eat straight out of the warm jar. There was the walk around Denbie’s Wine Estate; the vanilla fudge experiment that went, um, slightly wrong. Then there was Jade’s spiced apple cake with salted caramel frosting, and the Italian homemade raw honey and pistachio spread that I near inhaled in one sitting, and the late night love affair I’ve been having with dark chocolate truffles, and then… this. Like spring itself; unexpected, yet a colourful, surprising, delightful reminder of life, newness and things bursting into bloom.

It would be something of an understatement to say that I’m not a fan of red cabbage. Ordinarily, just one slither of its bitter crunchiness has me reaching spoon-first for the aforementioned jar of pistachio honey. We don’t get along, red cabbage and I. And yet, having sat so patiently on my kitchen worktop all week, I thought to do something with it. I don’t know what got into me. It must have been the spring air. In any case, once I thinly sliced the cabbage and tossed it with some salad leaves, coriander, apples and some dressing…. it transformed into spring in a bowl. And with that, I am bouncing into Monday morning.

Asha’s spring salad

1 medium sized red cabbage
2 pink lady apples (or other sweet apple variety)
1 handful fresh coriander
3 cups salad leaves of your choice

2 tbsp white wine vinegar
pinch of salt
1 tsp honey
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
4 tbsp olive oil

Thinly slice the red cabbage and the apples. Combine with the salad leaves and coriander.
For the dressing place the vinegar in a jar and the salt. Shake and let stand for two minutes. Then add the honey and the mustard. Lastly, add the oil and shake again. Drizzle over and welcome spring :)

Purple Potato and Lentil Salad

How do they do it? You know, those chic City chicks in their Jimmy Choos and Prada tote bags, slung over one arm as if this accessory arrangement poses just as slight an inconvenience as high heels on the London Underground; how do they do it? I once had one of my heels stuck in the doorway of an underground train just as the doors were closing, only to have a gentleman on the platform grab hold of my leg and help free me from the potential pain and embarrassment of having my leg stuck between the doors; chivalry isn’t altogether lost..

This morning, I arrived at my office, in flat shoes, a large handbag (housing everything from a food book to a packed lunch), a gym kit and an umbrella. I looked less City-chic and more commuter bag-lady. I know my friend Rekhi is squinting at the screen in cringing agony at this latter statement but it’s true. And I still don’t get it. How do these women pull off the ‘just walked off the cover of a glossy magazine’ look? If ever I find out, I’ll promise to share. For now though, all I have to share with you are recipes and wonderful food finds. Like this one, using vitelotte (aka purple potatoes). Frankly, I don’t care if my hair isn’t fly-away free when my suppers look like this:

Vitelotte Salad

Purple Potato and Lentil Salad

(adapted from the ‘lentil almond stir fry recipe’ of 101cookbooks)

Ingredients
1 cup fresh mint
1/2 red chilli pepper, de-seeded
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
6-10 vitelotte (or small new potatoes), peeled and halved
2 cups brown lentils
12 brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
3 dates, pitted and chopped

Method

To make the mint sauce dressing: in a blender, combine the mint leaves, chilli, olive oil, salt, honey, and lemon juice. Pulse to combine, so as to leave the mint still in chunks.

Cook the lentils in some salted water. Whilst the lentils are cooking, make the potatoes: add olive oil and salt to a pan/ cover with lid, and cook the potatoes. On a medium heat this takes up to 15 minutes. Stir frequently, once soft, turn up the heat to brown off the potatoes, giving them a slightly crisp edge. Remove the potatoes and add to the pan of cooked lentils. Next cook the brussels sprouts using the same pan, adding another splash of olive oil. Place the sprouts in the pan (single-layer), sprinkle with a pinch of salt, cover, and cook for a few minutes; until just tender, then uncover the pan and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized.

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Add the lentils and potatoes back to the pan and mix together. Dish up with some yoghurt on the side, and the mint sauce drizzled over the top. Scatter the chopped dates over the salad. Best served warm.

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If you are lucky enough to stumble upon purple potatoes, buy them. Just so that you can make this salad. It’s so pretty. And tastes nutty and sweet. I think pomegranate would be an awesome addition too, if you can make the effort to peel them (I never can).

chopped dates

So pretty!

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