The sweet potato & chickpea salad that evolved into a dill & yoghurt dip in 4 steps…it’s all about leftovers! 

This is the story of how I made a sweet potato and chickpea salad for lunch one day, and then pimped the leftovers over the next few days to create several reincarnations, the end result being a dip. 

This is quite a typical cycle of events in my kitchen, one dish becomes another, and the flavours develop and deepen, and it ends up being a million miles away from its starting form…so I thought I’d share the steps with you…almost like a window into my culinary brain…!!

So this was the starting point…the sweet potato, chickpea and herbs salad..

Chunks of sweet potato, skin on, steamed and cooled 

Chickpeas, a jar or can drained and washed 

Chopped parsley, a small bunch, leaves stripped from the stalks and roughly chopped

Chopped coriander, a small bunch, leaves stripped from the stalks and roughly chopped 

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 

Goats cheese, chopped into small cubes

Paprika, 1-2 tsp

Aleppo chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp

Roasted ground cumin, 1-2 tsp

Olive oil, 2-3 tbsp

Lemon juice, 1-2 tbsp

All in a big bowl and stirred well to mix it all together and spread the herbs and spices through the bowl…lovely lovely stuff!

With the leftovers, I prepared what would be the next incarnation…

…I boosted the leftovers with lots more chopped parsley (I had lots to use up!) and added some cooked and cooled mixed grains, and left it to develop for the next day..

…which I ate with lots of lettuce, dried barberries, sesame seeds & dried fried garlic…

With the leftovers of those leftovers…

…I added lots of chopped fresh dill and pomegranate molasses and once again left it all to brew..

…and ate it the next day with more goats cheese, dried barberries & slices of preserved lemon.

With the leftovers of the leftovers of these leftovers…

…I mixed them with lots of thinned yoghurt & more pomegranate molasses to create a different style of ‘salad’…

Very tasty! And it could have so easily all ended there..

But of course, I couldn’t leave it, I just had to try blending some of this into a dip to see how it would taste…

And it worked very well! Just imagine all of those flavours and how they’ve developed over the week, all in a dip, and that’s what I got:) bingo! 

Leftovers of leftovers of leftovers…of leftovers!!! ;) 

Basically, everything can become something else…or…in the end everything becomes a dip!!! 

I hope you’ve all had a good week full of great food and lovely leftovers, see you at fiesta friday…the weekly blog party extraordinaire:)

Roasted vegetable and rose harissa salad, with yoghurt & dill, and a walnut & aubergine dip..

Before I get onto the food, can I just share this beautiful field of buttercups with you – this is where I sometimes walk Bob, and we walked there this week in the beautiful sunshine. Isn’t it stunning? I’m so lucky to live in such a lovely area, surrounded by such gorgeous countryside :) 
Anyway, onto the food…

The vegetable roastathon has continued in my kitchen this week…including these whole shallots and garlic…

The shallots ended up all soft and lovely inside, and over the week I’ve scraped out the innards and eaten them with everything. At the same time I roasted more aubergines and tomatoes and garlic and onions which, mixed with my freshly made rose harissa, all came together in a new dish…

I would call this a salad; it’s a very typical idea in middle eastern cuisine, to roast vegetables and leave them to cool to create a ‘salad’, which I think can be eaten hot or cold. The beauty of dishes like this is the constantly developing flavours, it really benefits from being left in the fridge for a day or two to really grow into its most flavoursome. 

My salad includes..

Roasted aubergine flesh from aubergines roasted whole until they collapsed and the flesh was all soft, and as I peeled the skin off I broke up the flesh with my fingers; chopped tomatoes & whole garlic cloves roasted in olive oil and a sprinkle of salt;  oven cooked caramelised red onions (see previous post for more details); mixed with several tablespoons of my rose harissa, pomegranate molasses, and chopped coriander and parsley, then garnished with slices of preserved lemons. I basically just mixed it all together, I didn’t chop anything anymore than it had been for roasting. I enjoyed this this first time with a lovely light dill and garlic yoghurt, and an aubergine and walnut dip, details of which are below..

My huge jar of rose harissa…why make a small amount when you could make loads??? That’s my theory anyway..!

This was my lunch, along with some spinach flatbreads.

And this is the dip…it’s inspired by a Persian recipe from a lovely book I have been reading called The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan. 


This is the flesh of a whole roasted aubergine, mixed with walnuts which have been blended to a paste, chopped garlic, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice and a tiny amount of golpar, a very typical Persian spice. I mixed all of the ingredients by hand to create a rustic texture, then added chopped parsley and topped with dried barberries. 

Making this with walnuts was lovely, and made a nice change to my usual go to tahini. I am lucky enough to be able to buy large, pale coloured, fresh walnuts locally, not like the bitter dark horrible knarly little ones you typically get it the UK, which makes a big difference. 

The yoghurt dip is a mix of plain yoghurt (I’ve started making my own recently and it’s lovely, so creamy and mild), chopped dill, crushed garlic and a bit of salt. It’s lovely stirred into everything. 

And the  leftovers were perfect over the following couple of days with lots more added chopped parsley and some quinoa. 

Flavour overload!! Yum! 

Lovely ladies Loretta and Linda are co hosting Fiesta Friday this week, which is where I’m taking my dishes, and the ladies are sure to give you a warm welcome, so do join in the fun, and have a great Friday :) 

And just to finish..here’s my baby Bob enjoying the buttercups..

Roasted vegetable salad and homous..

I filled several oven trays with different vegetables yesterday and had great fun roasting them all…I didn’t have a plan, I just started throwing things in the oven and it went from there! 

As the various vegetables roasted and caramelised and filled the house with heavenly aromas, a plan formed, which included trying out caramelising onions in the oven for the first time. I’d read about this on the wonderful Frugal Hausfraus blog and it stuck in my mind as I love caramelised onions, but don’t always love the time it takes to cook them on the hob/stove. 

I can tell you that it works perfectly! 

I just filled an oven tray with peeled and sliced red onions, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, and put it in the oven at 200C fan. I think in all it took about 25-30 minutes. Every 5 minutes I took the pan out and moved the onions around and turned them over, and kept checking until I liked the look of them. 

Isn’t that a pretty picture?? I’ll definitely be doing this again, and again, and again…you get the idea! 

At the same time I roasted several bulbs of garlic..

As well as some chunks of sweet potato..

The challenge for me was not to eat them all as soon as they came out of the oven!!! I did eat quite a lot but also managed to save enough to create some dishes..

So I made some roasted garlic homous..

And some caramelised onion homous..you can see it’s slightly pinker..

And best of all, this salad..a roasted sweet potato, roasted garlic, caramelised onion and quinoa salad, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice..no added spices for a change, just the beauty of the natural flavour of the vegetables in all their roasted glory..

Oh. My. God. YUM!!!!!! It’s so good! It’s good cold or warm, and even better with some of the homous too :) 

Heaven is a bowl of roasted vegetables and homous! Colour, health and flavour in one big bowl. Love it! 

I hope you like it and that that everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by Ahila and Diann, agree. Have a great weekend xx

Shawarma spiced kale and quinoa salad…plus a couple of others…

This was my dinner creation yesterday…actually, I made endless dishes and dips this weekend, this is just one of them…I do love having a fridge full of goodness at the beginning of the week; I love being able to have so much lovely homemade choice for any given meal :) 

This dish includes kale and quinoa and pumpkin seeds and spices and a tasty dressing…and I ate it with one of my dips: this one was made with fava beans, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and sriracha…

To make the salad:

In a large saucepan, I heated 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over a medium heat, then added several thinly sliced cloves of garlic

I then added lots of my shawarma spice mix (nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and pepper) and a splash of water to stop the spices from burning.

I added lots of washed and chopped up kale, and stirred the garlic and spices through it, then put the lid on the pan to steam and soften the leaves. I added the kale in batches so that it cooked through, and added a few more splashes of water as needed. 

The kale leaves turn a darker green once well cooked.

I then added several handfuls of toasted pumpkin seeds, and previously cooked quinoa

I finished it all off with pomegranate molasses, olive oil and lemon juice and stirred it all throughly. 

This can be eaten immediately warm or left to cool and enjoyed cold. 

It was tasty yesterday once I’d just made it, and just as tasty today once the flavours had developed even more. 

Some other salads that I’ve put together recently that you might like: 

This bowl of green goodness includes bulgur wheat, chermoula, peas & edamame beans, eaten topped with toasted pumpkins seeds.Or how about this:

This one is quinoa cooked my way, topped with freshly made chermoula; then a layer of roasted tomatoes & garlic; topped with chickpeas, cooked in lemon juice, olive oil, roasted cumin & garlic, and mixed with freshly flat leaf parsley; and drizzled with the olive oil & tomato juice from roasting the tomatoes. 

Even better with my homous stirred through it..

It might not be pretty, but it sure was tasty! 

There’s also been lots of roasted vegetables..as always..

So much amazing flavour on one page!!! I hope you agree :) 

It’s been another lovely day here today, Bob kept cool his favourite way..

It all began with Dhanya’s curry recipe…and ended up with my own creation…

I loved the look of Dhanya’s recipe as soon as I read it, her amazing photos helped of course! They showed a wonderful looking chickpea and mustard leaves curry, full of colour and flavour…and when I read the recipe, I knew I would make it.

As you will see from the recipe, it is packed full of ingredients, lots and lots of wonderful spices, absolutely my kind of thing – some people are wary of Indian recipes and their often long list of ingredients, whereas for me, it warms my heart; I know that those spices have been carefully put together to create greatness and it makes me want to know the outcome ASAP!! There’s a reason Dhanya’s blog is called The Spice Adventuress :) 

A key to the dish is the ‘East Indian Bottle Masala’ which is a spice mix that you make to start the process. That is what these two photos so far represent, the making of the masala mix as I collected the ingredients in a pan, then toasted them before grinding them all to a powder. 

When toasting the spices, I have found that the key is to keep the heat under the pan low and watch it like a hawk. After a while you start to get an amazing aroma as the spices heat and you need to keep the spices moving so that none of them burn, but so that all of them toast. Once you feel that they done, turn off the heat and continue to move the spices around the pan as there will still be residual heat coming from it and you don’t want to undo all your work so far. Then leave them all to cool before going in into your powder. 

I followed Dhanya’s recipe to make the dish, replacing the mustard leaves with kale; I couldn’t source the mustard leaves and some research suggested kale was a good alternative. The outcome was very very tasty, I loved it and happily ate it three days running! 

But of course , I didn’t leave it there..

The recipe for the masala spice mix makes a large jar of it so I wanted to use it again and as often as possible, so this week I threw together this sweet potato and spinach curry for my lunch…

I have to tell you, it was so good! This is what I did..

I heated a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan and added 2 red onions, roughly chopped and cooked them for 5 minutes until nice and soft; I then added 2 heaped tablespoons of my homemade curry paste (puréed ginger, garlic & green chillies with ground cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli) and cooked it for a few more minutes, adding a splash of water to stop the paste from catching. 

I then threw in 2 heaped teaspoons of the East Indian Bottle masala spice mix and 1 tablespoon tomato puree, and cooked for a minute or so, before adding 1 medium sweet potato, which I had already cut into into cubes & steamed. I mixed everything well, adding more water as needed, then added a 250g bag of baby spinach, put the lid on the pan and left it to wilt in the steam, then stirred it all together and cooked for a few more minutes. 

Some of the sweet potato was soft enough to join the sauce and really add to the richness of it. I served this with some thinned yoghurt over it all which only added to the loveliness of the overall dish. It tasted a lot better than it photographed!

With what was leftover in the pan, I then added some more yoghurt and a can of drained kala chana (brown chickpeas) to create another dish for dinner! 

Huge big yum!!!! 

I’ve been absent from Fiesta Friday for a couple of weeks so I am returning this week with my collection of dishes, as well as sharing them all with Corina’s Cook Once Eat Twice collection..I hope that the lovely FF co hosts, Kaila and Laurena, and all the readers of both collections, like them.

Have a great weekend from a beautiful sunshiny England xx

8am this morning 

Let’s talk bowls…and plates…and a couple of salads…

Bowls and bowls and more bowls…I love bowls…I eat every meal out of a bowl, and thanks to the lovely Gill from Sytch Farm Studios, I now have endless beautiful bowls to choose from :) 

If I use a plate, it tends to be a small one, like this gorgeous specimen..

As you can see, I am very much in love with my newest crockery, but that isn’t the only aim of this post…I also wanted to share some of the bowls of fabulousness that I’ve been producing recently…like these salads…

Above, this is a mix of quinoa, roasted aubergine flesh, and tomatoes with lots of my freshly made chermoula…

This was the salad before the addition of the quinoa…it was very tasty, even more so the next day! 

And then came this store cupboard/fridge clearance salad…

This is packed with goodness: quinoa, bulgur wheat, peas, toasted pumpkin seeds, dried barberries, chopped parsley and toasted slivered almonds, with a dressing of pomegranate molasses, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, and all sprinkled with za’atar…

(See the plate?) 

The next day I used up the leftovers and boosted them with grated carrot, lettuce and a nut crumb..

Bowls and bowls of loveliness…and always even tastier enjoyed with a huge dollop of homous stirred through them…:) 

There has been more, lots more happening in my kitchen recently, but I’ll save them for next time and hope that the salads above have provided some inspiration…for now I’ll leave you with more plate fabulousness…

This beautiful hand painted plate was a gift from the lovely Linda for my birthday, along with the olive wood board underneath it, and both are absolutely gorgeous, I’m a very lucky girl :) 

Happy May everyone x

My breakfast chai spice mix…

I realised recently that I don’t ever eat a meal that doesn’t have spices in it; whether it’s a full of cacophony of spices, or merely a sprinkle of roasted cumin or sumac, spices are a big part of my world. And it’s not just in my food, I start each day with turmeric capsules and a cayenne pepper capsule…I think if you cooked me I’d be pretty tasty!!! 

Let’s move on from that horrible idea…to my breakfast…

I cannot bring you a picturesque shot of my breakfast because I am far too happily eating it in the mornings to spend time pimping and preening the bowl for a perfect photo; I did consider making two lots one morning just to have one to make pretty, but who needs all that? This is a bowl for eating, not looks. 

This is my chai spiced banana porridge. And I love it!!! 

I eat this every morning, because I love it so much, it’s full of goodness, and if I even think about having something else, I already start missing my lovely porridge. I will tell you how I make it, but what I really want to share is my spice mix…

Which also isn’t pretty to look at really, but the taste and smell is beautiful! 

I was recently sent some chai spices and tea to try from my lovely friends at Spice Kitchen UK and this is what inspired my breakfast spices. I made the tea and spice infused milky drink as directed, but I was far more interested in trying the chai spices minus the tea…so I put some in my porridge. 

It worked really well except for the fact that the spice mix was created for making tea and being strained and therefore, the spices don’t need to be finely ground, consequently, I was biting into peppercorns and cardamoms which wasn’t so good, but the overall effect was fab. So I decided to make my own version..

Chai spice is made up of the spices that you would associate with Christmas: the beautiful cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger take you right into December. Add in the cardamom and black pepper and it becomes the wonderful chai creation of India. For my breakfast mix, I left out the pepper and increased the proportion of cinnamon, but you could of course amend it to your tastes..

Based on ground spices I mix:

4 tbsp cinnamon

2 tbsp ginger

1 tbsp cardamom

1 tbsp cloves

1/2 tbsp nutmeg

Mix together well and store in an airtight jar. 

To make my breakfast, I soak my oats overnight in water with a huge heaped teaspoonful of the spice mix, then add mashed banana in the morning before heating it all. And then I take time to eat it and savour it and love it…and then I start looking forward to the next morning when I can eat it all again! 

The aroma on its own is enough to make you smile! 

I’m sure this spice mix would work perfectly in cakes and muffins and drinks, it makes me remember Selma’s wonderful award winning chai spiced banana bread :) 

I hope you’re having a great start to the week xx