The lifecycle of a sourdough loaf…

Having shared these photos on Instagram over the last couple of days, and possibly bored people to tears, I thought I’d share them with you all too…!!! Hopefully I won’t bore you to tears too?! Or everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday?! 

This is a loaf I put together yesterday morning and the photos chart it’s growth through to baking and eating..having used my lovely patterned Moroccan bowl again, you can literally see the growth. This is a sourdough loaf made with a mixture of my freshly fed bubbly starter, rye flour, kamut flour, strong white flour, pumpkin seeds and poppy seeds..

It began at 7am on Friday morning which is when I first put the dough together. 

This is the growth after 6 hours.

This is a later in the day at 5.30pm, hence the lack of light.

I then knocked back the dough, folded it several times and left it to prove again overnight.

This is what I woke up to at 6.30am on Saturday. Wow! The fact that it just keeps growing blows my mind :)

 All ready to bake. The dough was quite sloppy so difficult to shape and slash. 

The baked loaf 45 minutes later.

And the inside story…

Isn’t it cool to literally see a loaf of bread come alive?? I love it! And it tastes good, which is a bonus! 

Check out my loaf plus lots of other people’s amazing dishes/offerings at Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the lovely Steffi and Andrea

Happy Weekend!!! 

Pimp Your Veg part 10: soup glorious soup!

 Having requested vegetable soup recipes last month, thank you so much to everyone for your responses – lots of you sent me lots of lovely soup recipes :)

Rather than try and pick any favourites, I thought I would create a vegetable soup directory, so please have a good look through, pin some to try out, and add any more of your own in the comments and let’s create a one stop shop for great vegetable based soups. 

Soup is a great dish to make to include lots of great vegetables; a perfect dish for a cold day; a perfect starter for a long meal; a great healthy option if you’re looking for one; a great way to use up vegetables; a great way to ‘hide’ vegetables. Soup can be the answer to many questions…so I hope you find some here that take your fancy, please do have a look through..and thank you to everyone for your recipes :)

Linda from La Petite Paniere makes great soups, with her trademark Middle Eastern and North African flavours, that often include lovely grains..

Middle Eastern semolina soup

Middle Eastern burghoul wheat and chickpea soup

North African freekeh (young green wheat) soup

Angela from Divalicious Recipes sent us..

Beetroot, ginger and coconut soup

Laurena from Life Diet Health sent us a few yummy her words..

My absolute favourite soup and one that’s made regularly in our house is Turkish (or Kurdish :P) lentil soup
A variation on a theme…chickpea and lentil soup

A rich deep soup of roasted peppers and onion

A traditional (Belgian says Sophie) soup – leek and potato 

Dhanya, the Spice Adventuress..

Creamy Tomato Soup with Brown Butter Garlic Croutons 

Scandinavian Pumpkin and Potato Soup 

Shorbat Adas (Arabian Lentil Soup) 

Sally from Bewitching Kitchen..




Lina from Lina’s Recipes sent us a story and a soup..

Rasam Recipe/100 word story

Deb from Pantry Portfolio..

European Cream of Barley – The story is written in the post, but it has a special place in our holiday traditions
European Cream of Barley Soup

Spicy Roasted Tomato & Corn – This might have been my first post on the blog. Looking back at it now, the pictures don’t really do it justice, but the soup was just SO good.  
My First Soup Swap: Spicy Roasted Tomato & Corn

Julianna from Foodie on Board..

Greek Red Lentil Soup with Lemon, Rosemary and Feta Cheese

African Yam and Peanut Soup with Ginger and Pineapple

Susan from A Little Sage..

Vegetable broth 

Vegan corn chowder 

Monetta from Yoga with Mo..

Vegan chilli

Celebration soup 

Coconut lentil soup with plaintains

Pumpkin rice soup

Dairy free cream of broccoli soup 

Annie from Kitchen Counter Culture has a selection of soups to drool over on Pinterest 

Sarah from Everyday Sarah Jane sent us a selection..
Have a great weekend, why not make some soup? I’m sharing all of these soups with everyone at Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the lovely Lily and Julianna..come on over and see what everyone has brought along..

Food ideas from my kitchen..

 This weekend I revisited one of my own recipes and made some roasted cumin wholemeal spelt flatbreads, this time with some nigella seeds and some fine semolina to replace some of the flour..

What I loved was that I used a patterned bowl to prove the dough and you can see by the lovely pattern on the beautiful bowl a special friend gifted to me just how much it grew within an hour! And how much the light had faded!! 

See what I mean? You think the photo is just taken at a closer point but it isn’t! 
  We ate these with a meal of dips and roasted vegetables, and kebabs for my boys, on Saturday night, and I used the leftovers as pizza bases on Sunday night.. 

Below was my Sunday brunch…leftover roasted cubes of sweet potato cooked with my homemade chipotle en adobe sauce, nestled round two lovely eggs.. 


Sunday afternoon I made a version of refried beans..

I had already soaked and cooked some black turtle beans; I then finely chopped a red onion and some garlic, and cooked both in olive oil; I added cumin, smoked paprika, salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper; I then added the beans and started to mash them, adding a bit of water as necessary. This plateful was Monday’s lunch, using up the rest of the sweet potato, adding some roasted garlic and a big spoonful of the refried beans..

Check out the beautiful handmade plate! 

I love manaeesh, middle eastern flatbreads baked with a with za’atar and olive oil topping; this was my quick version on Friday evening, using a couple of tortillas as the base..
And finally some roasted vegetables for your delectation..peeled and chopped and mixed with olive oil and za’atar and roasted…big fat yum!!! 
They never look as pretty once they’re cooked, but boy did they taste good!

The next day I blitzed the leftovers with some tahini and lemon juice and made a very tasty dip. 

My lunch feast: a royal dal, with ‘churma’ crumb, peanut butter chutney, and red onion & tomato curry..


 A couple of weeks ago, Naina brought a wonderful selection of dishes to Fiesta Friday, it consisted of several Rajasthani dishes, including a mixed lentil dal and ‘churma’, a crumb for sprinkling over the dal, almost like an Indian dukkah…check it out, it all looked beautiful…

A ROYAL REPAST: DAL BAATI CHURMA: a heavenly dish with three delectable elements from the princely state of Rajasthan, India!

Of course, it piqued my interest greatly, so I made the dal and churma this week for lunch with my lovely friend, and added a peanut butter chutney, and my own version of a gravy, plus some roasted cauliflower.  

   I’d like to share a few notes on the dishes of Naina’s that I made, as well as sharing the recipes for my ‘gravy’ and the peanut butter chutney. 

 I followed Naina’s recipe completely for the dal..

  For the churma, I did make a couple of changes..the recipe calls for ghee, which I replaced with coconut oil. The recipe also calls for sugar added to the crumb which I replaced with some ground cinnamon and a sprinkle of salt to make a savoury version which is more to my taste.  

  The peanut butter chutney was inspired by Mallika Basu, a food writer that I follow on Instagram. She posted a quick peanut butter chutney which I based mine on, but it then grew..basically, I started adding more things! So this is how it began…

  ..but I translated teaspoons to tablespoons and made a bigger serving, plus I added garlic paste and some chilli powder. 
It was so good over the cauliflower, in fact, I’m discovering it’s good over anything. 

  And finally, my gravy. I probably didn’t really need another dish, but I wanted some kind of sauce, plus I made enough to eat it for several more days which I always like. I do like to open my fridge and see a range of things that I’ve made that I can select from during the week. 

2 tbsp Coconut oil

2 tsp Mustard seeds

2 tsp Cumin seeds

4 Cardamom pods

1 Cinnamon stick

1 Dried red chilli

4 small red onions, peeled and finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped 

1 tbsp Ginger paste

1 tbsp of my curry paste (garlic, ginger, green chillies, turmeric, cumin, coriander – more details soon) 

2 tsp Ground cumin & coriander 

1 tsp Turmeric

1/2 tsp Chilli powder

680g Passata + 1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp Amchoor powder 


Melt the coconut oil in a large pan over a medium heat.

Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon & dried chilli. 

When the seeds start to sizzle, add the chopped red onions and cook over a medium/low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger paste and curry paste and cook for 1-2 minutes. 

Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli powder and cook for a minute, then add the passata and water and cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes. 

Finally add the amchoor powder, stir through and cook for a further few minutes. 

Eat on its own or add your choice of vegetables and/or chicken. Or, like I did, throw over some of the leftover churma and enjoy.. 

 I hope my Fiesta Friday family will enjoy my lunch feast, join in the fun with Mila and Hilda and share your dishes :) 

Have a great weekend!

Shakshuka risotto…

 Yes, you read that right…it’s a mix of Middle Eastern and Italian influences in one bowl of lovely! 

I don’t eat rice very often, but when I do, I want it to be luscious fat sticky grains. I am inspired by a dish of ‘chorizo rice’ that my very beautiful Spanish sister in law makes, and that my equally gorgeous niece and nephew eat with gusto; the rice is so packed full of flavour and so sticky and gorgeous, but alas, also full of chorizo, which I don’t eat. So here is a kind of answer..smoked paprika and cayenne pepper emulate the flavours of the chorizo perfectly. This is perfect for those of you in the cold parts of the world right now.. 


2 large banana shallots/medium red onion, chopped 

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 long red peppers, chopped

1 x 400g can tinned chopped tomatoes

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

250g arborio rice

Salt & pepper to taste 

Boiling water as needed/stock 

Optional extra: 3-4 tablespoons nutritional yeast 


Heat your choice of oil in a large pan and start by softening the shallots/red onions over a medium/low heat. 

After 5-10 minutes, when your shallots/red onions look like they’ve started to cook well, add the garlic and cook for a minute or so.

Then add the red peppers and cook it all for a few minutes to ensure that the peppers are also getting cooked. 

Add all of the spices, stir them all through the vegetables and cook for a minute.

Add the tinned tomatoes and season and let it all cook and come together for 5-10 minutes.

That’s your shakshuka sauce. You could now keep the sauce and eat it with eggs and/or added sausage of some sort. 

Or…as I did…pour in a pile of arborio rice and see what happens! 

I can’t tell you exactly how long it took for the rice to be cooked but all I did was keep checking it, stirring every so often, and adding water as it looked like it was needed. 

During this time I added some nutritional yeast; I had recently been gifted some to try so I thought I’d see what it was like. It added a nice slight cheese flavour, but it would also have been good without it.  

How wonderfully sticky does that look??? 

This was so good, the day it was cooked, and for the next three days! Hot or cold it was good :) 

So, who fancies a bowl? It’s worth the journey :)
If you’ve got great piles of snow, please stay safe xx

Shawarma spiced vegetables and chickpeas…and why you should be a Fiesta Friday co host..

 This is the kind of food I could, and do, eat daily; packed full of root vegetables and garlic and spices, it’s the kind of thing you’ll find in lots of food publications as something new and exciting at the moment….in my kitchen it’s an old favourite :) 

It’s not a long or complicated recipe which is great as I want to also take the opportunity to tell you about being a co host for Fiesta Friday. I have co hosted for Angie several times now and it struck me that maybe not everyone knows what that means or what the undertaking is, so I thought I’d explain it a bit more (it’s okay it’s only brief) and maybe inspire some new co hosts..

What is co hosting?

Fiesta Friday was created by the wonderful Angie as a weekly blog party for bloggers to share posts, chat, meet new bloggers and generally have their own Friday night party, full of international guests, without leaving the house! As a co host your role is to support Angie, because there really is too much to do for one person, but also, it’s a thank you to Angie for creating this great space. 

What does it entail?

To do this, your job as co host is to share the reading of the posts that are linked up, thank the writers for joining the party and commenting on their dish/post/story. There are usually at least two co hosts and you can share the posts between you, and/or read them all.

What are the benefits of co hosting? 

Co hosting gives you the opportunity to mingle with your known fellow bloggers, but also to meet lots of new bloggers, and be inspired by new recipes or stories. And at the same, they get to meet YOU! It’s basically free publicity :) 
And…it’s good fun! I always worry whether I’ll be overwhelmed by all of the reading, but I never am, I just enjoy meeting and greeting the bloggers, and seeing lots of amazing food!!!! 

So, I say, do it! Ask Angie if you can get involved…

Now, onto the food..

Basically, all I’ve done here is pan cook a selection of peeled and cubed sweet potato, butternut squash and carrots in a large pan with some coconut oil; along the way I threw in some whole garlic cloves and chickpeas and some shawarma spice mix – a middle eastern spice mix including cinnamon and cloves – but any spice mix of your choice would work. 

If you fancy making a shawarma mix of your own, give this a try:

1 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. ground coriander

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1/2 tbsp. paprika

1 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

I add it to lots of vegetable dishes, but it’s also good to mix with plain yogurt and marinade chunks of chicken or lamb in for several hours and then grill it. 

As you cook the vegetables, you will need to add small amounts of water to assist in cooking them through, and loosen the spices from the pan..but the key is to stick with it and give the vegetables a chance to really cook well over a medium heat and maybe even caramelise..

And then eat it that day and for several days after that! Yum! 

Consider topping a portion with tahini sauce or homous too :) 

Can I tempt you?? No, okay then, excellent…I can happily eat it all myself! ;)

I’m bring this to share at this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the wonderful Sonal and Petra..pop over and join in and think about co hosting in the future..:)

Making your recipes..

You know I love to make lots of your recipes, I don’t believe in just commenting and then forgetting all about it, I love to go back and make as many as I can..there’s so many fantastic dishes in all of your blogs, it’s impossible NOT to be inspired! 

So this month I’ve made a few different things inspired by you all, including these.. 

This dish was something completely new and completely fabulous! This is ‘kadhi’ a yoghurt curry, it made with yogurt, chickpea flour and spices (including lots of kick ass turmeric! Great for the cold season) and creates a lovely sauce. In Whitney’s recipe she serves it with potato pakoras, I ate mine with roasted chunks of aubergine. It was great day one, and even better the next day!

 This is an Indian dish, made with mung beans, or green gram; for some reason my dish above looks a bit dry but I promise it wasn’t, and it was really tasty. The recipe is from Anjana: GREEN GRAM CURRY {KERALA CHERUPAYAR CURRY}. The Mung beans are really tasty and really easy to cook, I highly recommended trying them. 

This bread is an Algerian bread called ‘khobz tajine’. It is a bread made of fine semolina, yeast and nigella seeds, and cooked in a pan over a medium heat of the hob/stove. It’s a recipe from the lovely Linda from La Petite Paniere, a lovely lady and amazing cook. You really have to check out the wonderful food she makes, especially the pastries and breads! 

Serious food porn! 

I’ve wanted to make ‘pav bhaji’ (pronounced pao bhaji) for a while having seen recipes from many food blogs, including Sonal and Anjana, and my version above was an amalgamation of them all. 

Pav bhaji is Indian street food, and the spiced mashed vegetable curry is typically made with lots of butter, and eaten with sweet bread rolls. I made mine with lots of coconut oil instead of the butter, I used a mixture of cauliflower, white potatoes, sweet potatoes and peas, and ate it with the lovely Algerian bread above.   And doesn’t it all look gorgeous on my new hand thrown crockery from the wonderful Sytch Farm Studios. I am so in love with Gill’s work, she’s an amazing potter, and I am honoured to have some of her pieces in my home. 

I hope I’ve provided you with some lovely inspiration! Have a great week :)