On my sourdough blog today you’ll find these beauties: https://foodbodsourdough.com/goats-cheese-and-pesto-sourdough-waffles/
Perfect with any of my dip recipes!
On my sourdough blog today you’ll find these beauties: https://foodbodsourdough.com/goats-cheese-and-pesto-sourdough-waffles/
Perfect with any of my dip recipes!
Sometimes my meals are literally a result of opening the fridge and cupboard and seeing what can be thrown into a pan and made into something fabulous…right now, this is a perfect way to use what might be hiding in your fridge or cupboard.
Spices are a real gift right now, they can brighten up any meal, they can take any ingredient for zero to hero in a short sprinkle…check out my ‘pimp your veg’ section for ideas of where to start…
This pan pretty much had a handful of everything I had that needed using up, including previously roasted garlic, aubergine and tomatoes. With some homemade harissa and a herby mixture thrown over the top. Use whatever sauces or pastes you can find in your cupboard, veg from your freezer, things that need using up..
I topped mine with goats cheese and toasted flaked almonds but you could also use it as a topper for grains, alongside eggs, or the protein of your choice…now is the time to get creative, see what you can rustle up!!
If you’d like more ideas, check out my recipe index and tags or let me know if I can help..stay safe xx
This was one of those creations that was driven by what I had in the fridge, and the desire for a big lunch packed with fresh vegetables…
This is my typical meal: a pan, a splash of olive oil, and lots of vegetables!
This one includes lots of chopped up courgette/zucchini, garlic, spinach, and aubergine, with a couple of spoon fulls of my homemade harissa sauce stirred through it.
Over the top I drizzled tahini and a few handfuls of toasted pumpkin seeds for the added protein, good oils and crunch! A whole huge pan of goodness!
Lunch is served!
Sometimes when you want a lovely tasty healthy meal but it’s the end of the week and you’re down to store cupboard options, all you need is some passata and spices to create a yummy thick kind of soup!
I emptied a carton of passata (sieved tomatoes) into a pan, added garlic powder, onion powder, roasted ground cumin, ground paprika, chilli powder and Mexican oregano, and a good glug of olive oil. I let it simmer and bubble (well covered as it spit everywhere!) for 10 minutes to develop the flavours.
I then served it up with a topping of chopped spring onions, grated cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Fast, healthy and tasty! It worked perfectly 🙂
This is a brand new creation from my kitchen this week and I think a fitting celebration for the 6th birthday of this blog today!
The main recipe is on my sourdough blog but I wanted to share it here too I was so proud of these and it worked so well. It was a pure experiment, great fun to make and they tasted amazing!!!!
I hope you’ll pop over and have a look 🙂
Once again, I put another random mix of ingredients in the blender to see what it would create!
This was raw courgette, spinach, fresh flat leaf parsley, fresh coriander, wild garlic leaves and garlic cloves, olive oil, peas, preserved lemons, ground cumin, coriander and caraway seeds, paprika powder, salt and pepper.
It was good as a dip, and even better when mixed with some leftover cooked grains later in the week. And then I took them and added some to some sourdough dough and baked it into a filled roll. Leftovers are the best!
For the sourdough details visit my site, otherwise have fun blending up whatever greenery you find.
Laura’s recent post about eating a rainbow made me realise it’s been far too long since I shared some of my food; colour fills my world, my kitchen cupboards (the spices, the crockery, the vegetables..) my wardrobe, and definitely my plate…
I can’t imagine not eating a variety of colourful flavourful dishes throughout the week. Not only is it good for your health, it’s HAPPY food! Happiness on a plate!!
This summer I decided to follow in the steps of many of my US food blogger family members and invest in a gas grill/BBQ to be able to cook outside when the temperatures rise and not turn on the ovens in my kitchen unless really necessary. Every time we use the BBQ I therefore also ask my husband to grill stocks of vegetables for me to use through the week…
A sea of goodness and possibility on our new grill/BBQ
I love these vegetables freshly cooked, cold, reheated, marinated, turned into dips, in endless ways. Having them already cooked means that they are full of that great chargrilled flavour and immediately ready to use…I like that too!
I think my favourite, which isn’t shown here, are whole grilled aubergines, the flesh becomes meltingly soft and so good for some many salads or dips, or used here as a perfect boat to fill with all sorts of my concoctions – including this one which was made from spinach, fresh coriander and hazelnuts, then drizzled with a nut butter dressing and sprinkled with Aleppo chilli flakes…
The red peppers are great for salads, dips, harissa, sauces, like this red pepper homous…
I like nothing more than making up some sort of salsa verde, (which is what the two first pics are below), whether it’s based on chimichurri, chermoula, an Indian coriander chutney, or any mix of fresh herbs, garlic, spring onions, spices, olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, maybe add some pomegranate molasses, and marinate chopped roasted vegetables with it, and leaving them to develop great flavours together…
Salsa verde always goes well with sweet potato, the sourness from the lemon juice/vinegar/pomegranate molasses is a work of art against the sweetness of the potato
This concoction, as shown at the top of the post, is an example of everything in one bowl: lots of the chargrilled vegetables with a salsa verde of some sort. It got better day after day as the flavours developed.
My Instagram account shows even more of these dishes, and more details of what’s in them, but for now, enjoy the colours of my world…
I have recently been reading a lot about English food history. It started with an interest in the Victorian era and has developed on from there, and I have now finished my second book about English food history from medieval times to modern day. I find it truly fascinating and I am reminded time and again that nothing is new; no recipe is ever 100% original: we may revise, remodel, recreate, we may update, rediscover old recipes, forgotten ingredients and lost methods, and we apply new methods, modern appliances and ideas, but nothing is ever truly brand new. Food’s been around for too long.
I am loving making these ‘new’ discoveries and learning about our food heritage, so I’d like to share a few fascinating facts in amongst my posts and I hope you enjoy them.
For example, as you know, I love Middle Eastern cuisine and in the UK the recent boom in interest in Middle Eastern cuisine may be responsible for introducing many people to having pomegranate seeds being strewn across salads and savoury dishes, above is an example of one of my past dishes doing just that, as opposed to merely eating them as fruit or in a sweet recipe; I had no idea that we actually grew pomegranates in the UK in medieval times. Likewise, Middle Eastern fare has also introduced many people to the delights of dried barberries, like below, and again, we grew barberries in the UK in medieval times and they were used widely in recipes.
Sweet potatoes have been riding a huge wave in recent years, we’ve baked them, made them into fries and wedges, they’ve been put into cakes and breads and desserts, slices have been toasted, anything that can be done to a potato has been, but the reality is that they’re not new. The methods are new, but not the potatoes. Sweet potatoes are actually the first potatoes that we ate in the UK in the late 1500’s, (and even then they were being cooked with spices and added sugar), white potatoes were introduced soon after but their full popularity didn’t catch on until the early years of the 17th century.
Almond flour, almond paste, almond milk, almond butter – so much the remit of healthy eating these days – again, nothing new here; in medieval times all of these were used widely in cooking, not for boosting health, but for ease. Almond flour was used widely to thicken sauces or in place of breadcrumbs; almond milk was a safer bet than some dairy milk, it also kept for longer, and was sometimes more easily accessible; likewise with almond butter, instead of dairy butter during a period when storing fresh foodstuffs for any period of time was impossible.
For this post, I’d like to focus a bit more on bread…anyone who knows me, or reads my blog, or follows me on Instagram, will know that I am an avid and regular sourdough baker so the ‘rise and fall’ of bread in our food history always interests me…
Bread has featured heavily in every era of British food history, in various forms, as with most cultures and their food histories. In England in medieval times, and for several centuries following, white bread was considered king. The best loaves were considered to be white ‘manchet’ loaves and would have been readily enjoyed by the gentry and aristocracy, and aspired to by those with less means. To achieve this though, bread was often being whitened by unscrupulous bakers for centuries, adding lime, chalk and particularly alum as a bleach. And as industrial knowledge grew and milling capabilities advanced, the wheat germ was being milled out of the grain to make it even whiter, but therefore vastly reducing the breads nutritional value at a time when bread was a key staple of the nations diet.
Down the social scale, breads were often made up of a mix of wheats and grains, depending on what was available, and when their availability was limited, loaves could be boosted by pea powders. When wheat and grain harvests were very poor, whole loaves might be made from peas and beans, so whilst white bread was considered the height of sophistication, it lacked the nutrition, and I imagine flavour, that the bread that the poorer people were being given.
When you think of the rise of artisan bread makers we currently have, and the supposedly experimental breads that are being made with ancient grains, you realise again, that nothing is new. The mixed grain loaves that were considered as breads for the poor would now be considered the better choice by many – I know I’d happily choose a brown or mixed grain loaf over a straight white one. And the use of pea powders is very interesting – current interest for pea protein powders, and beans being used to bake cakes and breads seems so innovative, but they’re not. Which makes you realise just how creative cooks were all those hundreds of years ago.
What I also loved learning about, is the use of ‘trenchers’: these are basically bread plates.
Prior to the ceramic plates that we know today, our ancestors used pewter plates; before that, in Tudor times they used thin wooden boards to eat off…but before ALL of them, in Medieval times, people ate off bread trenchers. These were slices of bread cut especially to be used to eat off. Four-day-old coarse wholemeal bread was cut into 2-3 inch thick slices, about 6 inches wide, and diners placed their meat on the trencher. Alternatively, the trenchers could be hollowed out loaves, much like we sometimes see creative people using to serve soup nowadays.
In grander homes, if the trencher became saturated it was replaced with a new one and the sodden one was thrown to the dogs, or they were collected and given as alms to the poor. In poorer homes the diner ate the trencher as well as part of their meal.
Can you imagine how good that bread must have tasted with the juices of the food soaked into them?
Which is why this fascinates me in particular because in the Middle East if you eat in a Lebanese restaurant, for example, you will often be served your food choice sitting atop pieces of thin round Arabic bread. Only last week, my husband was served his chicken shish (kebab) sitting on a piece of lovely thin bread in our local Turkish restaurant. Throughout the Middle East, marinated meat dishes, lovely salads, even chips, will be served on top of a slice of khobez bread. This means that whatever juices, flavours, dressings and/or oils are on/in the food, soak down into the bread and that piece of bread ends up tasting AMAZING and often the best bit of the meal! Just like bruschetta covered in tomatoes roasted in garlic & olive oil, or a slice of sourdough with runny egg oozing into the holes….hmmmmmm….so good! Is there anything that isn’t good on a slice of bread?
I guess that’s what pizza basically is after all…
So, with this in mind, next time you serve up a salad, maybe tabbouleh, or fattoush, or some tasty marinated spiced meat kebabs or vegetables, especially if they are barbecued, lay a thin bread like khobez or open pitta bread underneath them, or, go the whole hog and ditch the ceramics completely – bring back trenchers I say and enjoy all those lovely flavours soaked into tasty bread! AND save on waste and washing up – what’s not to love?!
I hope you’ve enjoyed these little snippets and that you don’t mind me sharing more in the future 🙂
**The information in these books has been collated by historians from letters, diaries and books as well as records, inventories, orders and receipts found or kept from large, grand and royal households, and from the businesses that supplied them. Consequently, much of the information can only be traced back to medieval times, which in the U.K. denotes the period of the mid 1100’s to the late 1400’s, before we entered the reign of Elizabeth I.
EDIT: I’ve been asked by a few people what books I’ve been reading so here is my list so far…
The Art of Dining – A History of Cooking and Eating by Sara Paston-Williams
A History of English Food by Clarissa Dickson Wright
The Greedy Queen: Eating with Victoria by Annie Gray
How to be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman
The Victorian House: Life from Childbirth to Deathbed by Judith Flanders
If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home by Lucy Worsley
I’ve made this curry paste several times recently, it adds great flavour to any dish, plus it’s packed full of goodness and immunity boosting ingredients for this time of year.
I’ve used it to make masala sauces, added it to soups, and vegetable curries…
I’ve baked eggs into the sauce…
And I’ve made chicken curries for my boys with it.
I highly recommend making a huge amount of it and use it lavishly!
I have used lots of spices from the lovely Spice Kitchen UK and you’ll find the full recipe on their blog…I hope you like it!
A friend of ours has recently decided to stop eating meat. That sounds simple, but if you’ve always eaten meat, it’s not as simple as it sounds. If you’ve never really thought too hard about what you eat, it could be a complete shock to the system. Our friend is definitely finding that to be the case.
Knowing that I am vegetarian, he has picked my brain a few times, and it has made me think that it could be an interesting post for anyone making the same change to their diet.
Removing meat means losing vital nutrients in your diet, all of which are easily replaceable as long as you know what you’re doing. The main one is obviously protein, but also vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc, iron, calcium and omega 3 fatty acids. These can all be easily found in vegetarian food choices. Eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds are your friends, along with other ingredients that you wouldn’t necessarily think of like beans, legumes/pulses, some grains, lentils, oats which all contain protein. Other sources are listed below:
Vitamin B12: eggs and dairy are the best options
Vitamin D: is very difficult to find as a food source; I take cod liver oil tablets which give me omega 3 fatty acids, as well as much needed vitamin D
Iron: try legumes, nuts, seeds, prunes, raisins, kale, broccoli, spinach – eat with a source of vitamin C for maximum effect as it aids absorption of the iron (sweet potato is a great option for this, as it’s packed with vitamin C)
Zinc: whole grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, lentils
Omega 3 fatty acids: flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, also walnuts, soybeans, olive oil, hemp oil
*Many of these tips can also be applied to a vegan diet, removing the eggs and dairy
If you’ve always eaten meat, a typical meal would have no doubt been built around the meat portion: you start with the meat, and then add the extras, vegetables, potatoes, pasta, rice etc. When you don’t eat meat, or fish, or both, you have to think differently, unless you choose meat replacement products like quorn or tofu of course. I don’t eat those things so my meals are created differently. And you can’t just replace a portion of meat with a similar size portion of cheese: imagine a chicken breast sized piece of cheese?! Heart stopping stuff!!
Vegetarian proteins are not always lean proteins like some meat, you need to be aware of portion sizes. Nuts and seeds are great and provide so much goodness, but you can’t eat great piles of them any more than you can full fat cheese without it starting to affect your waistline.
If you are suddenly introducing your digestion to more vegetables, and legumes, than it’s used to, it may cause bloating and wind. In fact, I would suggest that you expect it, then it won’t be a surprise! All that extra fibre will take a bit of getting used to.
A lack of some of the key nutrients might make you feel achey, and it may be worth at some point requesting a blood test to see if you do have any deficiencies, or low levels, of any nutrients to help you understand what you need to boost.
People think that vegetarianism, or veganism, is a way to lose weight; the opposite can often be the case. It’s very easy to end up with very carbohydrate heavy meals. Think about how you filled your plate when you ate meat and keep the amounts of carbohydrate to a similar amount and fill up on salad and less heavy vegetables. I’m told that meat protein is very filling, so your meal now needs to include different filling foods without it being all carbs.
Becoming vegetarian just takes a bit of planning and understanding until it becomes second nature, which to me is all part of the fun of it, but to others may be new and daunting. Do lots of reading and research and read great blogs (like mine!) and other people’s experiences. Our bodies are all different, but the basics will be the same.
I make everything that I eat, but that’s my choice because I have the time, the inclination, and I love it! I love knowing exactly what is in the food that I eat, and I can manage exactly what my body needs. If that is not your inclination, or you don’t have the time, there are a lot of vegetarian choices available in supermarkets and restaurants nowadays. I have no interest in eating ‘meat replacement’ foods, they’re just not my thing, but if you do want to try them, I believe they are often fortified with helpful nutrients for vegetarians.
Becoming vegetarian really doesn’t have to be hard work.
If you are worried that you’re going to be hungry without meat, or fish, it really isn’t the case. You may feel a different kind of fullness, you may even notice that you don’t feel as ‘heavy’ or sluggish after meals because your body is no longer working hard to process the meat protein. But hungry, no, I never go hungry, ever!!!
That may all seem a lot to take in, so let me give you some ideas of what I do…
*I pack out my morning porridge with flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped nuts as well as the oats and lots of spices
*I ensure that I include a source of protein in every meal, whether I top dishes with cheese, low fat cream cheese, goats cheese, chopped nuts, seeds or a swirl of plain yoghurt – I eat a lot of natural yoghurt because I love it which helps – whether I include quinoa, a magic grain packed with protein, whether I add dollops of homous or other dips
*I use ground almonds/almond flour in place of breadcrumbs where I can (I also prefer the flavour), or as a thickener in sauces or curries
*Tahini is wonderful! Tahini is a sesame seed paste packed full of goodness. Use it to make homous (another winner in the nutrition stakes), use it in place of cream, swirl it through soup, eat it from the pot! (Sparingly though!!)
*Nut butters are great, again you can add them to so many recipes; for example, make a batch of bean chilli and add a spoonful of peanut butter
*Eggs baked in tomato sauces are a godsend – the perfect fast food
*Or eggs cooked in vegetable hashes (top right)
*Another idea that I’ve read but haven’t tried yet, it using chopped walnuts as a mince replacement in things like bolognese sauce or ragu
*Portobello mushrooms are noted for a having meaty texture and often provide a satisfying feel in the mouth for those missing meat
*Bacon alternatives can be made with slices of sweet potato, or indeed aubergine
*Chorizo flavours can be created with spices, particularly smoked paprika and chilli powder
If you are deciding to remove meat, and maybe fish, from your diet, I would definitely recommend to phase it out, going ‘cold turkey’ could put your body into shock and create discomfort. Maybe start by removing red meats, then poultry and white meats, then fish etc.
Whatever you choose to do, I wish you great luck, and I am always available if I can assist with any ideas…
*If you know someone who might find this useful, please do pass it on. Thank you 🙂