Category Archives: Quinoa

A week of wild garlic…

Every year, around this time, I see so many posts on blogs and Instagram of people sharing their wild garlic creations. And each year I’m so envious!!! I’ve tried wild garlic once, having paid a fortune for it at a local ‘posh’ greengrocers, and I know it’s lovely, but I’ve never found any locally to be able to forage for myself…until this week!

I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for weeks around where I walk Bob every morning; I know that wild garlic tends to grow in wooded areas, and where we walk isn’t wooded at all. Except for one small area, and this week, there it was! I finally found my own local supply of wild garlic…

In this small wooded area, running along a path we walk up and down regularly, is an area of bountiful, gorgeous wild garlic.

Oh the joy! I cannot tell you how excited I was!!! And by the look of it, no one knows it’s there, or maybe just doesn’t know what it is, which is even better 🙂

I immediately sent the photo above to Kellie, who is a wild garlic guru, to double check my find, but I was pretty sure I was right. I collected some there and then, using one of the nappy sacks I can for cleaning up after Bob, and returned the next couple of days with bigger bags and some gloves and foraged to my hearts content.

So, there’s been lots of careful washing and drying of leaves and stalks and flowers in my kitchen all week, the smell has been amazing, it’s got such a lovely smell, not as strong as bulb garlic, but you can tell what it is; and there’s been lots of concoctions, which I am sharing below. It honestly feels like such a gift from nature, and has made me smile all week; the pure simplicity of collecting, cooking and eating gorgeous fresh food direct form the earth is wonderful – I totally get those of your who grow your own food!

The leaves, stalks and flowers are all edible, and all have different strengths; the stalks have a stronger flavour than the leaves, and the flowers are stronger again, but none as strong as bulb garlic. You can eat them all raw or cooked. You can sauté the leaves like spinach, you chop it and add it to salad, the possibilities are endless. So here’s a few rough ideas to tempt you, apologies for the lack of quantities, I’ve just provided lists of ingredients and suggestions…

Chargrilled red pepper & WG harissa

Long red peppers, chargrilled, peeled and deseeded

Wild garlic leaves and stalks, washed and dried

Tabil spice mix (toasted cumin, coriander & caraway seeds, ground)

Pul biber flakes

Olive oil

Lemon juice

All in a blender and whizzed tougher.

WG & preserved lemon harissa

Wild garlic leaves and stalks, washed and dried

Spring onions, whites and greens roughly chopped

Half a preserved lemon, roughly chopped

Ground cumin & coriande

Pul biber flakes

Olive oil

Lemon juice

All in a blender and whizzed together, but not for too long, it’s nice rustic.

WG flower homous

Make your standard homous recipe but leave out the garlic, and add some carefully picked wild garlic flowers at the end, stirring them in by hand. Leave it a day before eating it for the flavour to develop.

WG cream cheese

Whizz up WG leaves and stalks, or just the stalks, or just the leaves, with your choice of cream cheese.

WG & pumpkin seed dairy free pesto

WG leaves and stalks chopped up with toasted pumpkin seeds, olive oil and lemon juice. Add your choice of cheese at will 🙂

WG & spring onion salsa verde

Wild garlic leaves and stems, washed and dried

Spring onions, whites and greens, roughly chopped

Homemade apple cider vinegar

Pomegranate molasses

Ground cumin & coriander

Pul biber chilli flakes

Olive oil

Chop all together in a blender to the consistency of your choice.

WG, tahini & yoghurt sauce

Blend WG leaves and stalks with tahini, yoghurt and lemon juice, and use at will like this, or add to other ingredients to create a dip, like below

Spiced carrot & WG, tahini & yoghurt dip

Carrots cooked in olive oil with red onion and garlic and my Moroccan spice mix, whizzed up with some of the tahini and yogurt sauce from above.

And to finish…

This was a mixture of some of the WG cream cheese mixed with the WG pesto, plus some boiled chunks of sweet potato and topped with wild garlic flowers.

I’ve also sautéd leaves with added spinach and quinoa, and eaten a fair amount of raw leaves in the process too!

I hope I didn’t lose you halfway down the page with all of my WG creations?! If you find some, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have 🙂

Smoky aubergine & lentil dip, preserved roasted red onion relish, and everything in between…

This week I made this lovely dip from Hanady’s blog, it’s made with gorgeous soft aubergine flesh and lentils – the recipe calls for green lentils, i used brown ones and they worked great. 

With the leftover lentils, I mixed them with chopped fresh coriander & parsley, garlic and spring onions, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and pomegranate molasses, and left them to marinade for a few hours. This is what I served some of the dip with, above, and then threw over some dried barberries, below..

Which I ate with grilled slices of courgette…

Do check out Hanady’s recipe, it’s lovely, as is all of her blog

With the leftovers of the leftovers I made myself a little platter of the aubergine and lentil dip, the lentil and herb salad, and I blended some of the herb and lentil mix with some yoghurt and tahini to form a third concoction…

And then the rest of the herb and lentil salad got added to some more chopped herbs and spring onions and quinoa…

Which I ate with some of the preserved roasted red onion relish…

….which brings me onto Laura’s excellent recipe

I love roasted red onions, and I love the idea of any relish, but not all of the sugar that they usually require. Laura’s recipe includes no sugar at all! Hurrah!!!!! It’s just the onions, salt, and apple cider vinegar. 

I’ve now made a couple of batches of this, and I will probably continually remake it as my stocks diminish. I’ve added the onions to everything: salads, dips, grains, veg, my husband has added it to his homemade chicken burgers and thrown some over pizzas, it’s so fab to have a jar of in the fridge. 

This week’s onions are so purple, the colour is lovely, last week’s were more red..

The slight amendments I’ve made to Laura’s recipe is that I roast my onions in a tiny drizzle of olive oil, uncovered, and keep them moving during the roasting time; then I chop them quite finely. I also scrape out all of the sticky bits of roasted onion from the pan into the mixture. But otherwise, it’s all thanks to Laura for this one 🙂

This adds to the collection of jars of goodies that I have in my fridge, always jars and jars of homemade goodness…

A shot of all of the jars of my creations in my fridge last week – I do love having a fridge full of possibilities!!! 

I hope you’ve had a great weekend, and have a great weekend to come. I’m going to take Hanady’s and Laura’s inspirations over to this week’s Fiesta Friday and share my leftover creations with this month’s Cook Once Eat Twice collection…

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’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 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 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 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..

Broccoli gets a foodbod makeover..

 Lina, my fellow food blogger, is great at issuing cooking challenges – I thoroughly enjoyed the North Indian Curries challenge – and this month I took up her Creative Ingredient challenge…to those of us who responded to the challenge, Lina issued a vegetable for us to cook with. 

Yes, I cook vegetables daily, but I thought this might encourage me to cook with a vegetable I don’t often pick..and I was right: Lina gave me broccoli (Lina also gave me cauliflower, but having previously made so many cauliflower dishes – there’s been cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza base, cauliflower wraps, marinades, dips, so many cauliflower creations, all on my recipe index- I decided not to add more to the cauliflower arsenal! It doesn’t need any further assistance from me to get even more expensive!)  I rarely choose broccoli, and when I do, I tend to prefer the stems to the tops of the ‘trees’, I think the stems hold more flavour and a better texture. That’s just my view of course 🙂 

So I decided to push myself and play with the curly tree tops, which scream ‘crumb’ to me, and this is what I came up with…a crunchy zesty crumb of broccoli, nuts and spices.. 

To sprinkle over whatever you fancy, I sprinkled mine over this salad…it added crunch as well as flavour and colour…

So, time for the details…

The crumb


The florets from a medium sized bunch of broccoli

3-4 small garlic cloves

A handful of roasted unsalted hazelnuts

A handful of roasted unsalted cashews 

1/2 tbsp Aleppo (pul biber) red pepper flakes

1 tbsp sumac

1/2 tbsp olive oil 


Place the broccoli in a glass bowl with a couple of tablespoons of water and cover with cling film; microwave on high for 6 minutes

Remove the broccoli and place in a colander to drain and cool

Once cooled, cut off the tops and keep the stems for the dip below

Place the curly tops of the broccoli in a food processor with all of the other ingredients 

Blend to a crumb, don’t let it go as far as a paste 

Then sprinkle over anything you can think of, like I did! Or stir it into some homous..of course! Tasty!!

    The salad


1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and washed 

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Roasted ground cumin

2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped

Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

Several tablespoons of cooked quinoa


Starting with the chickpeas, I put the chickpeas in a pan with the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and cumin, and brought the liquid to the boil and simmered for on a low heat

I then (after eating several lovely spoonfuls from direct the pan!) left them in the pan overnight to cool and marinate

The next day I mixed the chickpeas with the chopped herbs, tomatoes and quinoa to serve 
 The dip 

Whilst I was playing around, I also put this dip together using the broccoli stems..


Steamed and roasted broccoli stems

Several roasted cloves of garlic

Tiny pinch cayenne pepper


Plain homous

Plain yoghurt 


I steamed the broccoli stems along with the trees for the broccolata, then roasted them with some peeled garlic cloves and a spray of olive oil 

Once they’re nicely roasted, I left them to cool then blended them with some homous I’d already made, a tiny pinch of cayenne and some natural yoghurt  

  Of course, I did then take things a step further…I decided to bake it at a low temperature and see if I could add some more crunch to it.. 

I spread the mixture in a thin layer across a baking tray lined with foil and baked for 20-25 minutes at 150c, checking constantly that none of it burnt, then turned the oven off, propped open the door slightly, and left the tray in the oven to dry out further. It worked really well.. 

It became really crispy and crunchy and zesty…and although it looks like bits are burnt, they really aren’t, the broccoli just coloured more than the rest..

and again, tasty over my leftover salad today… 

So, how’s that for something different? Possibly not what you might think of when you look at broccoli?! We know my brain works in mysterious ways….I had great fun playing with it, I hope that Lina and you like the outcome.

I did also do more with the rest of the broccoli that I bought, but I’ll save that for next time, for now I’m heading over to Fiesta Friday with my broccoli crumb and hoping that this week’s co hosts Julie, and Ashley like it 🙂  

My homemade curry paste and aubergine bhaji..

Today I’d like to share my recent concoction with you, a lovely spiced aubergine dish that I threw together recently; packed full of fresh vegetables and spices, it’s full of goodness as well as flavour..
I’ve recently been filling jars with my own ginger paste and garlic paste by blending up fresh peeled and chopped ginger and the same with bulbs and bulbs of garlic, so that I’ve got it readily to hand. I’ve also created a jar of ginger-garlic-chilli paste by mixing them up with a few fresh small green chillies – again, so useful to have ready to go! And whilst I’ve been at it, I put together a ‘curry paste’ full of basic flavours ready to add to any Indian dish, including this aubergine bhaji. 


Curry paste:

Garlic – 3 bulbs, all cloves peeled 

Ginger – a good hand sized piece of fresh garlic, peeled 

Green chillies – 3 small, stalk removed (add more for your taste) 

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Ground cumin – 2 tsp

Ground coriander – 2tsp 

Blend it all together and store in a well sealed jar in the fridge. This can form a good base or starting point for any curry. 

 Aubergine bhaji: 

2 tbsp oil of your choice, I used coconut oil

1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds 

2 medium red onions, peeled and roughly chopped

2 medium aubergines, cut into chunks

2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped 

2 tbsp curry paste (above)

2 tbsp tomato puree

1/2 tsp amchoor powder (dried mango powder) 


Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the mustard seeds

As the seeds start to sizzle and before they start popping everything, add the chopped onions; cook for 10-15 minutes until nicely browned; it’s worth the time and effort to get the onions really tasty 

Add 2 tablespoons of curry paste and cook for a few minutes to cook off the rawness; you may need to add a splash of water to loosen the mixture from the base of the pan 

Add the tomato puree and stir through, then add the aubergine chunks and the tomatoes and cook it all until everything is soft and cooked through; you may need to add some water if it seems too dry

Towards the end add the amchoor powder for a slight shot of sourness, you can use lemon juice as an alternative 


NOTE: you can add more spice or heat to this dish based on your taste 

I ate this over several days, some with quinoa, some with added toasted pumpkin seeds for a crunch, some on its own. For me it’s a main course dish, but for you it might be a good side dish? 

And now you also have some curry paste ready to hand in your fridge 🙂

  I’m bringing my aubergine bhaji to this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the lovely Josette and Lily

I’m also sharing the dish with everyone at Throwback Thursday with Alli, Quinn, Meaghan, Mollie and Carlee,  and Cook Once Eat Twice with Corina – this is a perfect dish to cook a huge pot of and eat over several days. It just gets better! 

All of the spices are from Spice Kitchen UK, all of the fresh produce is from my local market, and all of the inspiration is from lots of YOU 🙂 thank you xx

Lunch anyone? Cauliflower rice with quinoa & green goodness sauce..

 My Instagram account is littered with photos of the various meals I make for my lunch, which is what this lovely plateful of food was. I don’t eat sandwiches, or anything bread based that might typically be considered ‘lunch’ food, hence why my lunches might seem quite colourful; as with everything I eat, I make myself healthy, tasty lunches, packed full of flavour and spices and goodness, and this was no different..

I hadn’t made any ‘cauliflower rice’ for a while so this was a bit of a change, thrown together with some cooked quinoa and some of my favourites green goodness sauce, it was a plate of fabulous…served on a fabulous plate

Cauliflower rice is made by chopping fresh cauliflower into florets, then chopping the florets up in a blender until the cauliflower resembles ‘rice’. You end up having to keep taking the lid off the blender and scraping the sides done to achieve this, plus it’s best not to overfill the blender and to do it in batches. 

If you end up with far more ‘rice’ than you wanted, as the cauliflower does break down to a huge pile of ‘rice’, you can store it in a sealed container in the fridge for a couple of days.

I then tend to fry my cauliflower rice in a wide bottom pan with some coconut oil and any chosen garlic and/or spices. This time I added the cooked quinoa because I had some to use up and it added protein to the dish. 

Eaten with the sauce – which is packed full of coriander, garlic, gingers, spices, tamarind and (on this occasion) coconut milk – it was a healthy, tasty, lovely lunch. 

And I even licked the plate! 

I’ve made cauliflower rice before with turmeric, coconut and black garlic, and on the same week as I made this, Judy also experimented with cauliflower rice – these may just give you some other ideas for yours. 


Saag with quinoa and coriander chutney..

 Welcome to Friday and to this week’s Fiesta Friday – please read this week’s post, join the party and put your name down to co host, just like Margy and Su are this week 😉 

For me, I am bringing along one of my lovely lunches from this week, a dish that also provided two more meals on the following days – and only got better each day. I do love leftovers, I love how the flavours develop as time goes on and I love throwing a selection of things together.  

This is based on Whitney’s saag recipe, an Indian dish packed with spinach, kale, garlic, ginger and spices, and I added yoghurt instead of cream. Once all made, I added some cooked quinoa and additional water to create a this protein packed dish, full of goodness..

I also added a coriander chutney to eat with it, I always like an added dip/sauce of some kind.. 

  The chutney is a blend of..

Fresh coriander, stalks and leaves 


Fresh ginger

Green chillies 

Ground cumin


Plain Greek yoghurt

This also lasted well and went with lots of other things I ate this week. 

How good does that look?? Who says eating healthy, tasty, vegetarian food has to be boring? Not in this house 😉 

Can I say it….I love my own food!!! 🙂 

I must tell you about the quinoa that I have been using recently, its from a company called Hodmedods who farm British grown quinoa. It’s a lovely product, it’s has a great flavour and cooks well with my method. And all of the spices and the ‘dubba’ spice tin is from the lovely Spice Kitchen UK. (I am not being paid to tell you about these products, I just like sharing.)

Have a great weekend x 

Cooking spelt way..

 Following on from my previous post about cooking grains successfully, I can now confirm that my method also works for the ancient grain spelt. 

Spelt, sometimes, but not always, called farro (Google will explain that one!), is really tasty, quite nutty, and the grains are bigger than quinoa or freekeh and give you something to get your teeth into. Use it just like you would any other grain; eat it hot or cold; make it the king of a dish or part of a side dish. 

I now use this method for every grain I cook, and it works every time, even with basmati rice 🙂

Enjoy! Happy Tuesday x