Category Archives: Sweet Potato

Luscious lunches…

I make a lot of food. A LOT.

Let me explain: I eat virtually every single meal that I ever eat at home, and I make every single part of those meals.  And I eat a lot!!

I might eat food that I haven’t made a MAXIMUM of twice a month; other than that, I only ever eat food that I have made myself. And I love it! I know exactly what’s going into my body, and I know that I’m going to enjoy my food, and that it’s going to nourish me in every possible way. (And actually, on the occasions that I do eat something that I haven’t made, I end up feeling like I’ve missed out, because I miss eating my own food!)

I don’t ever ‘grab a sandwich’ or open a pot of soup or any kind of packet; I eat meals I can take time over, time to make and time to eat. I make versions of past dishes, versions of elements of dishes, new dishes, experiments, I use lots of leftovers, I make make make all the time.  I have a lot of food preparation happening in my kitchen constantly, for me and my boys. I routinely cook a couple of different grains at a time and have them available in the fridge; I endlessly roast vegetables to use once cooked and to create leftovers; I make sauces, dips, spice mixes, marinations, doughs, salads, chillis, curries, the list goes on…and a big part of this is because I can, I have the time, and because I want to. I spend a lot of time cleaning my kitchen too!

I also take a lot of photos of my food! Instagram is great for sharing those dishes daily, but not everyone is on Instagram and I like to share them on here too, in the hope that I may provide ideas and inspiration. Sometimes I wonder if each dish constitutes a post of their own, but then I think they’re too simple, hence why I share collections of dishes, which is what I am doing again today. And I’ve decided to call this, and future, collections ‘luscious lunches’ as these are typically my lunch dishes.

I am also co hosting Fiesta Friday today, along with Michelle from O Blog Off, and look forward to the huge amounts of weekly inspiration that I’m sure I will find there 🙂 

So, let me show you some recent dishes from my kitchen…there’s been a lot of Levantine and Middle Eastern flavours recently…

Chunks of carrot and sweet potato, steamed, then finished in a pan with coconut oil; with a version of chimichurri made with lots of verjus instead of vinegar, and added crushed roasted hazelnuts. 

Leftover roasted aubergines as per my previous post, with tomatoes and chopped parsley, and a version of chermoula, and toasted slivered almonds. 

Wedges of butternut squash, roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and dukkah, with a sauce of yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice & pomegranate juice, topped with fresh coriander and pomegranate seeds.

Leftover freekeh and couscous topped with leftover roasted carrots from one meal that became…

…this lunch, topped with sumac, tahini sauce, dried barberries, toasted slivered almonds & pistachios.

Couscous with parsley, coriander, dukkah, toasted almonds & dried barberries, with a dressing of lemon juice & olive oil.

The above salad eaten with a salad of cooked carrot mashed with herbs, tabil spice mix, tahini & lemon juice.

Cauliflower roasted with olive oil & hawaayij spice mix, with freshly made homous.

Roasted butternut squash slices, topped with a thinned homous & toasted nuts, with baby plum tomatoes and a salad of aubergine, garlic, chopped parsley, tahini & lemon juice.

Couscous with roasted butternut squash, red onions & garlic. 

Carrot and herb salad.

A pan full of red onion, garlic and tomatoes, cooked in coconut oil, with several spoonfuls of my Mexican chilli and cocoa sauce, avocado, egg and grated hard goats cheese. 

And this dish at the start of this post, aubergine, tomatoes, chopped herbs, freekeh, and homous

Lots of fresh vegetables, and goodness, and versions of versions, and LOTS of flavour! I don’t make food without flavour!!!

So that was a view of the past couple of weeks, I hope you found it interesting. 

Enjoy your Friday and your weekend, and don’t forget to visit Fiesta Friday x

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A meal for any time of the day…

This was a meal from during the week that I enjoyed preparing, eating and looking at!! Leftovers at their best!

Sweet potato slices (roasted and leftover from the previous day), topped with avocado, a mixed herbs salsa, a citrus tahini sauce, and sprinkled with chilli flakes…

Pretty, healthy, tasty food! 

It’s been a green week..

Following on from my previous post and the lovely positive responses to my ‘non recipe’ recipe, I thought I’d share some of my dishes from this week and some more non recipes…in the hope that they might provide some food ideas and inspiration, or at least some pretty pictures…

This salad is packed full of parsley, dill, lettuce, grains (quinoa & kamut), chickpeas, sweet potato, avocado, Turkish ‘tress’ cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, spices, & dollops of beetroot & dill homous, inspired by Petra’s post as featured on last week’s Fiesta Friday.

This is the ‘tress’ cheese; I’m guessing the name refers to the shape of the cheeses? It’s a very very salty cheese, too salty for me, and quite hard in texture, so I chopped it up and soaked it in water for a couple of days. I changed the water a few times to wash it through, and the cheese lost it’s saltiness and softened up, and was much tastier as far as I’m concerned.

This was a greener version of the dish in my previous post, this time with coconut oil, red onion, courgette/zucchini, garlic, spinach, sriracha, eggs, ricotta & grated cheddar, all sprinkled with Aleppo chilli flakes…and again, I just ate it directly from the pan!

There’s been a lot more eggs in my dishes recently as I attempt to increase the protein in my diet, but also because my favourite greengrocers stall are now selling lovely free range farm eggs.

This dish of mega greenness is made up of coconut oil, courgettes/zucchini, garlic, spring onions, spinach, roasted pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds, za’atar, with dollops of two (only slightly) different green sauces…

Sauce 1 (the really green one): ricotta, yogurt, spinach, avocado, dill, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Aleppo chilli flakes and salt, all whizzed up in my Nutribullet, hence being so smooth

Sauce 2: parsley, tahini, avocado, garlic, dill, lemon juice and a splash of water, blended in my small bowl food processor to keep some texture

This final dish was an amalgamation of virtually everything!!! I had lots of parsley to use up, so I chopped it all roughly, added steamed and cooled chunks of sweet potato, plus cooked quinoa, and stirred in the remains of the two sauces above – it created a supercharged super tasty bowl of fabulousness!!!!

So much can be created by literally throwing together everything you’ve got in the fridge! That’s my theory anyway.

I’m sharing my various dishes with everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by Liz and Lindy – I hope they like them 🙂

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 🙂 

I’m also sharing this post with Corina’s June edition of Cook Once Eat Twice, as I think this perfectly fits the bill! More a case of cook once, eat five times!

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

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 

Red and yellow and pink and green…

 I recently discovered a greengrocers in a village near me that pretty much sells every slightly ‘unusual’ fruit and vegetable you could wish for…it is packed with heavenly wonders…including samphire, artichokes, wild garlic, yellow courgettes, numerous types of tomatoes…so much lovely produce I can barely remember it all. Sadly it’s not locally grown produce, all those things couldn’t grow in the UK at the same time, and it’s not exactly cheap either, but nice for an occasional visit I think..I’ll stick with our wonderful central market for my usual supplies. 

I was excited to find some wild garlic though as I know it’s the season and it’s not sold anywhere else locally to me, and I haven’t been brave enough for forage for any for fear of poisoning myself! (Plus I don’t know where to start looking locally?!) I grabbed a handful of the lovely leaves, as well as a couple of yellow courgettes (squash) and a few other things…

After a VERY good wash, some of the wild garlic leaves went into some homous, and some became a pesto, whizzed up with almonds, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and some grated cheddar cheese..very nice with these sweet potato fries, using Chitra’s recipe, and sriracha homous for a Saturday tea.. 

When I saw how many stalks I had left (and registered how much they must have cost!) I decided to use them too and chopped them up for another days lunch.. 

This was a creation of bits and pieces really:
Chopped yellow courgette and wild garlic stems, cooked in coconut oil, with added cooked freekeh, and topped with roasted flaked almonds and dried barberries..yum! I didn’t add a dressing as I ate it with freshly made homous.. 

It’s such a pretty plateful, even if Spring isn’t happening outside your window, it can happen on your plate.. 

That’s what I think anyway 🙂 

Enjoy!