Category Archives: Dressings

From salad to dip via Verjus…

At the end of my last post I included a shot of this salad, it was packed with so much good stuff: chopped parsley & coriander, garlic, roasted sweet potato, roasted cauliflower, roasted carrots, roasted red onion, chickpeas, chopped preserved lemon, spices, olive oil, and something new: Verjus. Or, in English, Verjuice. 

Verjus is as the direct translation says, ‘green juice’ as it is made from unripe, and therefore sour, green grapes. It is often used in dressings and I read about it being used as a less tart alternative to lemon juice or vinegar and wanted to try it – some days I consume so much lemon juice that my mouth burns!! And having used it in this salad, I found it very tasty πŸ™‚

This is a link from the website of the make that I bought, and will tell you more, it’s very interesting!

I had more of the salad the day after I made it, when it had become even tastier and then I decided to play with the leftovers..

They all went into the small bowl of my handheld blender along with some more Verjus and some plain yoghurt and whizzed up..

I didn’t blend it too much as I wanted to keep it textured..

Difficult to get a pretty picture of it, but it worked nicely πŸ™‚ 

I enjoyed some today with a very tasty lunch of freshly made herb and quinoa salad, and mutabal..

There appears to be lots of dedicated recipes for using Verjus so I’m sure I’ll be playing more πŸ™‚ 

If you already use Verjus please do let me know what you do with it x

Chermoula, chickpeas, salad, eggs…it’s all here…

It’s a weekly thing for me to make chermoula, a lovely herby middle eastern sauce. I often put it together, with no definitive plan, and then utilise it in various ways throughout the week; it can be used as a sauce, a dip, a paste, a dressing, the possibilities are endless. 

Chermoula has featured many times on this blog, but for ease let me share again what I do.. I use the small bowl attached to my hand blender and chop together a big bunch of flat leaf parsley, a slightly smaller bunch of fresh coriander, 2-3 cloves of garlic, 2 tsp roasted ground cumin, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp Aleppo chilli flakes, salt to taste, and lots of olive oil and lemon juice until it becomes the consistency you would like. 

You can pimp your chermoula in many ways, I’ve recently added chopped preserved lemons to mine, some people add a pinch of cayenne pepper; I also use it as a basis for salad, I multiply everything to make a bigger version and don’t chop the herbs up as small, then add all sorts of other things to it, like various roasted vegetables, chickpeas, grains…as you can see in the following couple of examples..

Last week I made up a batch of chermoula and mixed it through a bowl full of chickpeas; like everything I make, I knew this would be worth leaving in the fridge for a day for the flavours to infiltrate the chickpeas, which they did very nicely, then I worked my way through the chickpeas across a few meals, including this lunch with chopped lettuce..

With the final portion of chickpeas, I went for a version of shakshuka/baked eggs..

In this pan is a can of chopped tomatoes, a couple of tablespoons of my homemade rose harissa, the rest of the chermoula marinated chickpeas, little cubes of cheese and the eggs…flavour upon flavour to create a wonderful concoction for lunch one day last week..



I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…I love my own food!!!!! There’s a reason I eat all my meals at home πŸ™‚ 
And here’s the salad I’ve thrown together today, full of similar flavours, and packed out with leftover roasted vegetables, now all thrown together sharing flavours.. 

If you want to know where I’ll be all week…I’ll be at home, eating, and making, lots of food!!! (In between going to the gym to enable me to do so!) 

I’m bringing my selection of dishes along to this week’s Fiesta Friday – apologies for being late!  A big thank you to this week’s co hosts, the lovely, Jhuls, and Colleen

Have a great week x

Roasted aubergine, courgettes & quinoa with my parsley & hemp seed dressing…

  

Another lunch from last week..

  

Sliced baby aubergines and chunks of courgettes, roasted in olive oil and spices, with quinoa cooked my way, and the remains of my hemp seed dressing..step by step pictures to follow..

  

 
 

   

 

   

Soooooo tasty!!!!!! 

  

 

Yum!!!! healthy, tasty, fresh, homemade food, how fabulous is that??

Hemp seed butter and hemp seed & parsley dressing..

  
Have you ever tried hemp seeds? Forget any association with the cannabis plant, these won’t affect you in any odd ways! 

I like hemp seeds (I always buy them hulled), they have a lovely nutty flavour, and adding a sprinkle to any dish adds a great extra flavour but also much needed protein for a vegetarian like me πŸ™‚  

 
Having bought some recently I started to think about utilising them in new ways so decided to research some ideas for using them, hence making hemp seed butter. I literally threw some in my Nutribullet and whizzed them up to create a butter, akin to any nut butter basically. The Nutribullet makes light work of making any nut or seed butter and these took literally seconds to become a paste; I decided to add some coconut oil to mine for some extra goodness and flavour. 

 
The green colour really comes out when you make butter from the seeds. 

 
And so my brain continued whirring in the way it does…as tahini is just creamed sesame seeds, these creamed hemp seed could surely be used in a similar way to tahini? So I used it to make a dressing.. 

 
This is literally just some flat leaf parsley, garlic, lemon juice, water and some of the hemp seed butter. The result was really tasty! The hemp seeds respond well to being mixed with water and can be used as a non dairy addition to all sorts of things. I’ll definitely use it again in dressings and dips.  

 
It was perfect over some roasted butternut squash the next day.. 

 
  
I would definitely suggest giving some hemp seeds a go and check out the different things people have made with them online. If nothing else, just chuck some over your salad or roasted vegetables for some added goodness. 

Enjoy! 

Butternut squash, kale and ‘creamy chermoula’..

Last nights dinner was borne out of experimentation and it worked beautifully. I knew what flavours I wanted to create and so it evolved in the pan to great success..here’s what I did…

Ingredients

1 red onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 very small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into small chunks

1 bunch kale, stripped from spines and roughly chopped

1 tsp sweet paprika

2 tsp roasted cumin

Salt & pepper to taste

Olive oil

Method

Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onion, cook for a few minutes until it starts to soften.

Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add chunks of butternut squash and cook on over medium/low heat until it’s starts to brown and cook through.

This could take a little while depending how big you chunks of squash are. Add extra oil if necessary.

Once the squash has virtually cooked through, add the spices and salt and pepper and stir through.

Add the kale and stir well and cook until the kale is cooked/wilted to your liking.

Top with sauce below to serve.Β 

A creamy kind of chermoula

Ingredients

1 large bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 large bunch coriander, roughly chopped

2-3 cloves garlic

1 tbsp paprika

2 tbsp ground roasted cumin

Juice of 1 lemon

150ml olive oil

200ml natural yoghurt of your choice

Method

Whizz it up all together in blender. Store in refrigerator.

Boy it was good!!!!!

Going green: a sauce of freshness & fabulousness..

 I’ve been happily experimenting in my kitchen this week…I started by making the Spice Kitchen marinade/paste recipe again, but this time I added three times the amount of 0% greek yoghurt and a few roasted baby plum tomatoes that I had leftover. Again, it was lovely straight from the pot, but I forced myself not to eat it just off a spoon and used it in several different ways. It was created originally as a curry sauce or marinade, but I think it’s great uncooked as a sauce.
I stirred some through some raw mushrooms, and ate them (raw) as an accompaniment to some other vegetables, then cooked some of them in a pan for my husband.  
I then added some grated carrot to some more of the sauce and ate it as a salad with some grated hard goats cheese – it was so tasty!!!! This will be a new forever dish for me.
And then enjoyed some of the two collaborations all together πŸ™‚  

As the week went on, I had some coriander to use up, so made another version of the recipe, this time minus onion and with some coconut yoghurt…seriously good!! I’ve eaten it with everything! Of course, I had to test it with some roasted cauliflower..would you expect anything else?!  It’s a really fresh flavour; if you don’t have coconut yoghurt, I would just use natural greek yoghurt, I just though I’d try it out with some coconut inclusion, plus it makes it a vegan option. (Recipe below)
     My green goodness sauce 

Ingredients 

5 small long sweet red peppers (aka ‘romero’ peppers) or 2 large red capsicums 

2 tbsp tomato purΓ©e

2 bunches fresh coriander

250g coconut milk yoghurt (I used Coyo)

3 tbsp tamarind paste

3 cloves garlic

30g fresh ginger

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp salt 

Method

Blitz it all together in your blender – I chopped up all the coriander first to make space for everything else, then added the rest of the ingredients bit by bit. 

This is so tasty by the spoonful, let alone as a marinade, or accompaniment to a dish, just dig in to all that flavour and goodness then decide what to use it for. 

I haven’t tested it for longevity, but I have had the sauce in a sealed pot in the fridge for up to a week and it’s been fine – this is obviously not official advice, just my kitchen experience. 

I used the leftover sauce yesterday with grated carrot and cheese, scooped up on spinach flatbreads. So good! 

It’s the end of another week and therefore time for another fabulous Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the amazing Naina, and new boy, Quinn..come on over the join the fun and give them your support. 

Happy Friday and happy weekend xxx 

Wild garlic flowers, tahini and yoghurt dressing & za’atar roasted butternut squash..

  

Can I be honest? I love this photo (above), I think it has to be one of my all time favourites, assisted by the fact that it’s a dish full of flavour! 

Having played with wild garlic leaves recently, I wanted to use the flowers as well; the flowers have a lovely flavour, a bit stronger than the leaves, but still not as strong as a bit of standard raw garlic. I chopped up some butternut squash, skin and all, sprayed it with oil and sprinkled with za’atar, and put it into the oven at 200C to roast.

I then made a dressing using the wild garlic flowers with tahini…(don’t the flowers look lovely swimming in tahini? I’d love to swim in tahini….!)…

   

…plus some greek yogurt, lemon juice and water, as needed…

  
 

Mine was quite thick, probably more akin to a dip, you could add more water to thin it out. Once my butternut squash was roasted and lovely…

   

  

…I drizzled and plopped it all over the dish..

 

Yum yum yum!!!!!!! This is literally a bowl of heavenly flavour as far as I’m concerned; it’s what I typically eat for lunch on any given day; I do love my own food πŸ˜‰ 

Happy Sunday from a beautiful sun shining UK – there really is little more beautiful than English countryside in the  sunshine. This is the view from my kitchen window right NOW…