Tag Archives: what would you feed me

What would you feed me…Naina?


Welcome to this week’s guest post, coming today from Naina from the wonderful blog Spice in the City. Naina’s blog is packed full of the most amazing photos and recipes, full of colour and flavour, her posts are always a joy to behold. And today’s is no different, Naina has brought me a gorgeous looking and sounding dish…enjoy..

So, over to you, Naina, what would you feed me? 

Kerala Ishtu small1

So this week, I am playing host, albeit virtually, to a very special person. She is I think the healthiest eater I know! She is completely honest about her food journey and how it has now brought her to a place where she truly enjoys what she eats and how good it makes her feel.


Isn’t that inspirational? Meet Elaine, who blogs at Foodbod 😀 She makes healthy look oh so good! Nut butters, fabulous dips, goodness bars, beautiful salads… and don’t even get me started on her sourdough breads!! Glorious!


She loves and eats lots of vegetables, but no meat, no junk food and no refined sugars. She does love her spices though and that makes us soul-sisters, doesn’t it 😀 Elaine runs this series called ‘What would you feed me?’, where she challenges fellow food bloggers to come up with healthy dishes that they would serve her, if she came to dinner.


When it comes to cooking for Elaine, I know it has to be something extremely flavorful and clean, a dish where you can taste and experience each ingredient that has gone into it. Something fresh, that also looks and tastes wonderful!


I thought through a lot of vegetarian curries, many of which were prime candidates for the ‘What would I feed Elaine?’ challenge. But knowing Elaine’s love for vegetables, I wanted a dish where the spices don’t overpower the vegetables. Where the veggies shine through, still retain their crunch and are the real stars 😀

Kerala Ishtu small4

So, drumroll please… I present to you, Elaine, the divine Kerala Ishtu!! All the way from God’s Own Country! Talk about temple food 🙂


Delicately spiced with whole cloves and cinnamon, freshly crushed peppercorns, with just a hint of turmeric thrown in to impart that golden hue, this ‘Ishtu’ or stew lets the vegetables do all the talking.


They are quickly stir fried in coconut oil (another favorite of Elaine’s) and then simmered in a couple of minutes in coconut milk. Ginger and curry leaves provide the finishing touches. Clean eating at its best!


This stew is generally made with only potatoes, but I’ve also eaten some with carrots and green beans in them. When I went to my supermarket yesterday, I found some gorgeous pink radishes, which I thought would work really well in the stew (and they did!)


Instead of green beans, I added sugar snap peas, which tasted just brilliant here 🙂 I really, really love the flavors in this gorgeous, delicate stew and I hope Elaine will too.


Ishtu is traditionally served with Rice Appams (the kind that Angie made!), but I bet it will taste scrumptuous with a loaf of Elaine’s beautiful sourdough bread, to mop up all that fragrant sauce 🙂

Here’s the recipe.


2 tablespoons Coconut Oil

6 Cloves

2 inch stick of Cinnamon

1 large Red Onion, chopped

1 Green Chilli, slit lengthwise

2 inch piece Ginger, finely chopped

2 sprigs Curry Leaves

A Pinch of Turmeric powder

4 medium Carrots, diced into cubes

100 grams Sugar Snap peas, cut into halves

100 grams Radishes, cut into halves

(Feel free to substitute with other vegetables: potatoes, cauliflower, green peas)

200 ml Coconut Milk

½ teaspoon coarsely ground Black Pepper

Salt to taste


Heat oil in a heavy bottom large sauce pan on medium heat. 

Add the cloves and cinnamon and fry for a few seconds. 

Add the onions and fry for a few till they soften. 

Now add the green chilli, ginger, 1 sprig curry leaves and turmeric powder. 

Stir well and fry for half a minute to mix the spices well. 

Add by the carrots (if using potatoes, also add at this point). Stir well and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Next add the  add the radishes and sugar snap peas (or other vegetables)  and fry for a further minute. 

Now add a quarter cup of water and season to taste. 

Simmer on a low heat with the lid on for 3-4 minutes until the vegetable have cooked, but still retain a crunch. 

Add the coconut milk and simmer for a further 2 minutes. 

Now add the black pepper and remaining curry leaves. 

Serve warm with appams, rice or bread of your choice.

Kerala Ishtu small

Naina, this is a beautiful dish, absolutely full of everything I love: spices, flavour, fresh vegetables, colour, coconut oil…it’s all wonderful. Thank you so very much, and thank you for all of your lovely, kind words xx

What would you feed me…Melissa?


This week’s post is truly inspirational, and may well come at a perfect time for some of you if you’ve overindulged over Easter…

When I invited Melissa from The Glen House to take part in my guest post series I knew that it may well be a challenge for her to fulfil the guidelines of bringing a vegetarian, sugar free, gluten free, healthy dish, but she jumped at the chance of being involved, which made me very happy! Lovely, friendly, vivacious, Melissa makes amazing cakes, she loves baking, and eats very differently from me, but her post captures the essence of the series completely, I hope you enjoy it..

So, Melissa, what would you feed me? 

Elaine asked me write a post that was gluten free and sugar free. Me? Me that uses copious amounts of sugar, chocolate, butter and flour in her posts and in her every day life? Why not, I thought!

But I wasn’t thinking.

Elaine and I are from the opposite ends of the foodie spectrum; she’ll often post a piece and my response would be something along the line that “it would be great covered in chocolate”. Elaine posts healthy dishes and snacks, whilst I write about cakes and cookies. How on earth could I write her sort of post? 

I knew I’d have to stick to what I know, there was no point just serving up a fruit salad or a plate of veg. I needed to make Elaine something ‘sweet’ like a cake or muffin, but I had to use her sort of ‘sugar’. I had to put myself in her shoes…  
So, for the month of March I gave up sugar. I GAVE UP SUGAR. I-GAVE-UP-SUGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No more cakes, biscuits, muffins, Haribo, chocolate, alcohol…. Even bananas and mangos were off limit! I stopped snacking altogether and stuck to three meals a day. While I was at it, I did away with potatoes and bread too! After two days of mind blowing headaches, I was ok. My sugar fix came from berries, I rekindled my long lost love affair with avacodos and my palette began to change. I lost a stone and a half in four weeks by eating this way- not diet AT ALL, just eating properly.

New ways of cooking and baking called out to me; I discovered Ella Woodward of Deliciously Ella fame and Sarah Wilson, who has written several books on life without sugar. I began to understand how to use nuts and fruit to replace eggs, butter and sugar and how I can replace normal flour with healthier alternatives. So, I’m making Elaine a recipe I’ve come up with myself, based on my research.  
Banana, Date and Pecan Muffins


1 cup pecans
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup dates
2 large bananas
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
vanilla (I used Dr Oekter vanilla grinder)
a pinch of maldon salt


Preheat the oven 180 degrees and line a muffin tin. Blend the pecans to a fine powder in a food processer. Add them into a bowl with the other dry ingredients and stir. Mix the milk, dates, bananas and vanilla and blend until smooth. Stir the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients and spoon into the muffin cases. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

I enjoyed my banana goodies with a cup of liquorice tea (try it, it’s amazing!) 


32 days after giving up sugar and I can still count the amount of sugar based ‘treats’ I’ve had on one hand. I can’t honestly say that I will give up sugar completely, but I will never go back to eating the amount I did before. NEVER.

Melissa xx

Darling Melissa, I LOVE your muffins, but more than that, I love how you embraced the challenge and what you achieved for yourself. What you have done isn’t easy, sugar is a drug and not easy to give up, and you achieved that. Huge respect from me, honey! I hope you feel fabulous xx

What would you feed me…Linda?

This week I have a story to tell you before we get onto the lovely recipe below: a story of travel, connections, foodies, family and sharing….

Earlier this month my husband, Graham, and travelled to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and stayed with my Mum, who lives there, for a few days. Lovely Linda from La Petite Paniere lives down the road from Abu Dhabi in Dubai; I thought this provided an excellent opportunity to be able to send Linda a little food parcel from me so we started to discuss a handover between Linda and my Mum….

As it turned out, Linda and her husband travelled from Dubai to Abu Dhabi to visit Mum whilst Graham was there and they all got to meet one another! How fabulous is that??? I was SO jealous not to be there, but equally loved how this blog world had brought Linda and I together, and that she was now sitting in my Mother’s home and meeting my husband. How totally amazing and wonderful! I love it 🙂

They all enjoyed meeting each other and Linda left Graham with a bag for me of the most wonderful gifts, completely unexpected and completely lovely, all so beautifully wrapped, I was absolutely overwhelmed at her generosity and pure loveliness. 

  I always admire Linda’s crockery as well as her cooking, and she sent me the bowl and plate above and the spoon, that is carved from a lemon tree, which you will see she also owns herself and has used below in her recipe shots – we are now, therefore, crockery twins!!! I love it! 

The dried rose buds are from Iran, their perfume is wonderful, and a lovely addition to my green tea; the herb is called ‘fliou‘, again, I’ve tried it in my tea so far, it has a fresh, almost mintlike flavour; the bag of spices is Ras El Hanout, a Middle Eastern spice mix, which I used last weekend to marinate and grill chicken for my boys..it smells STUNNING! The fliou and Ras El Hanout are both from Algiers..

 And yesterday (23rd) I very proudly wore the pashmina, that everything is photographed sitting on, whilst out celebrating my birthday 🙂 🙂 I am so lucky! And so very grateful!! Thank you again, Linda xx

So, this week’s guest post is my birthday meal, and comes to you from lovely Linda, an amazing cook, and lovely lovely lady, I admire every photo she takes and drool over every dish she produces (her pastries and baking always look amazing!!!!), so, all I can say is, enjoy…

Title: El Bissara, Broad bean Soup


Last year when my fellow blogger Elaine from Foodbod  proposed me to do a Guest Post for her, and the title of the challenge was “What would you feed me”, I was absolutely delighted! Elaine loves creating food, delicious food with flavorful spices and ingenuity. It begin as a challenge, as Elaine specified it would be vegetarian, gluten free, sugar free, healthy & tasty!! Oh!!! But I have found a rustic, delicious soup perfect for Elaine!

This soup is known across all North-African region from West to East, and can also be prepared with dried peas.

I hope you will enjoy it!

Serves: 4/6 bowls

  • 200g of dried broad beans soaked overnight
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sweet red paprika
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • Coriander
  • Lemon
  • Olive oil
  • 1 liter 1/2 of water
  1. Wash and rinse the broad beans.
  2. Remove the excess skins.
  3. In a large pan add the cloves, the cumin, the paprika, the salt, the black pepper and the broad beans.
  4. Mix all the ingredients together.
  5. Pour the water.
  6. Cook on a medium heat until the broad beans becomes breaking up and soft (1 hour for me).
  7. Mix the broad beans as a purée.
  8. Transfer the purée into the pan and add more hot water for a creamy and unctuous texture if you want.
  9. Serve in individual bowls.
  10. Add a pinch of cumin and red paprika on the top of each bowl.
  11. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
  12. Add a few coriander leaves for more flavor.
The soup is hot and smooth. The cumin enhances the flavor of this rustic soup!

Elaine, I hope you will like and enjoy this soup as much as I did 🙂

Bon Appétit

PS: Do not forget to visit Elaine blog: Foodbod
I love it! I love the soup, the presentation, the bowls, everything! Thank you so much for this lovely post and my wonderful gifts x x 

What would you feed me…Diana?

This week I bring you a recipe from a non food blogger! Meet Diana from the blog ‘5 minutes more please’, Diana is a writer and animal lover and wife and mother, and in her blog she shares news and chat from her life in Australia with her three children as well as her love of animals. She is also my friend – another lovely friend that I have once again made via our blogs that has spilled over into our non blog worlds 🙂 we even swapped voice messages last week and marvelled at each other’s accents! 

I invited Diana to take part in this series as sharing a virtual meal might be the closest we ever get to sitting down together, and I was so happy that she said yes immediately, especially as she isn’t a food blogger. 

So, Diana, what would you feed me…

When Elaine asked me to take part in her ‘What would you feed me’ guest blog, I said yes of course . Elaine is one of my closest and dearest wordpress friends. I have been following her blog for a while now and I love the way she cooks and the things she makes, she has inspired me to be so much more adventurous in the kitchen.

Although we live millions of miles away from each other we have developed a friendship which is so special to me, we are very similar but also so different. Unlike Elaine I am not a good cook, but what I do have is an amazing mother who is. So if Elaine was to come to my house for dinner and I so hope that she will one day, I would ask mum to make this meal, for various reasons. One, Elaine loves eggplants (just like me), two, Elaine loves Middle Eastern food (me too) and three, this is yum, light and full of flavour. 

So here it is my mums twist on eggplant Imam Biyaldi

 4 eggplants
4 medium size onions
4 cloves of garlic
3-4 diced tomatoes
Olive oil
Canola oil to fry in

Cut eggplant and place in salty water for an hour.

Remove from salty water and set aside for about half to hour so in order to drain any excess liquid. 
Fry eggplants  in canola oil white side down.  
Drain on paper towels 

Cut /slice onions and place in pan, rub in salt, add olive oil and cook slightly till wilted.

Then add garlic and tomatoes, season with  salt pepper and finish with some parsley. 

Cook in preheated oven till lovely and golden.


Lovely Diana, and lovely Diana’s Mum, thank you so much, I love this! Its perfect for me 🙂 xx

What would feed me…Laura?

This week I am being treated to a lovely meal from the lovely Laura from ‘The Veggy Side of Me‘…another lovely friend that I have made via our blogs 😄 Laura and I have determined that we share many similarities in personalities and abilities..although I can’t speak 4 languages like she does….one is my limit! 

I regularly enjoy reading Laura’s recipes and know that if I was at her table, I would never be hungry, so, today..


What would you feed me , Laura…? 


It was an honor to virtually cook for Elaine and also very interesting because my menu had to be gluten and sugar free. 

I really wanted to make something fresh, tasty and unusual, able to happily surprise her in order to thank her for this thrilling opportunity.

What about inviting you to a virtual lunch in the garden, under a late spring sun, Elaine? 


I think sharing food is the authentic Mediterranean way to celebrate the great moments of our life. I met Elaine through my food-blog and celebrate our friendship with a meal is the ne plus ultra to me! For sure the day we will meet “for real” we will find a way to share the kitchen to cook for our loved ones among spices and veg at least this is the way I imagine it!

Sharing a meal is also an excuse to catch up and talk, one of the few times where people are happy to put aside their work and take time out of their day. A very special time.


“The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star.”― Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.


And now, please sit down, my friend and enjoy! Time to pass the platter, for you to taste my “SpaghettiTabouli & Cookies”


Here come the recipes:


Zucchini Spaghettis with their Creamy Tomato Sauce


– 4 small organic zucchinis

– 1 lime squeezed



– 2 large ripen tomatoes

– 30 g cashew nuts

-2 tbsp pine nuts 

 fresh herbs

– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

– salt to taste
– 1 garlic clove



– Julienne slicer or spiral vegetable slicer

– Food processor 

Julienne your zucchinis and place them in a strainer. Add a few dashes of salt and toss to coat. Allow to sit in the sink for about 20 minutes. This will help some of the excess water drain out from the zucchinis. After salting the zucchinis, squeeze gently to remove any remaining moisture. Place them in a bowl and add the lime juice.

Place all of the sauce ingredients (but the pine nuts) into a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth. 

Mix the sauce in with the spaghetti, add the pine nuts on the top

Cauliflower Tabouli Salad



1 head cauliflower
2 big ripen tomatoes thinly diced
1 cucumber thinly diced
1 shallot thinly sliced 
2 cups of fresh parsley & mint chopped
Juice 1 lemon
tbsp olive oil



Food processor


Cut the head of cauliflower into quarters, then trim out the inner core from each quarter. Break apart the cauliflower into large florets with your hands. 

Transfer the florets to a food processor.

Pulse until completely broken down: Process the cauliflower in 1-second pulses until it has completely broken down into couscous-sized granules. Re-process any large pieces if needed.

Add parsley, tomatoes, mint, cucumber, shallot, and oil to mixture. Salt to taste. 

Stir to combine. Serve.


Almond and Coconut Cookies


1 cup almonds – soaked overnight

80 g coconut flour

4 dried apricots

Zest of 1 lime 

Water or almond milk



Food processor



Put all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until finely ground adding some water (or almond milk), enough for the mixture to hold together. Scoop the cookie mixture out onto one or two parchment papers. Flatten them with your hand and dehydrate at 70*C for 6 hours, or until dry and crunchy.



Laura, I am basking in the sunshine in your garden, tummy full of your wonderful food and resisting the temptation of eating yet another cookie! Thank you for a lovely meal, it was light and fresh and perfect for me:) xxx

What would you feed me..Monetta? 

This week I bring you a new guest blogger with a dish full of history: when I first introduced the idea for this series, Monetta commented immediately saying she knew what she would make for me…which seemed like too good an offer to miss! Monetta is not a blogger that I know as well as some of you, so what better way to get to know her better than sharing a meal? 

So, over to you, Monetta…

I was so excited to cook for Elaine. I knew I wanted to cook this traditional stew and share the story that came with it. I imagine sharing the story while Elaine and I cooked together chopping ingredients and sipping tea or coconut water.  


Before I get ahead of myself let me introduce myself. My name is Monetta and I try to advocate living a full and healthy lifestyle on my Blog livelifefully.net. I follow Elaine’s blog.  I hope one day to make it to one of her fabulous lunches. 


I am from the beautiful island of St Lucia, where my family has lived in rural villages since the end of slavery. One of my favorite meals growing up is what we call one pot stew. The hearty stew containing beans, vegetables and sometimes meat has the reputation of being poor people’s food.  As a result many people in St Lucia no longer eat this food regularly, favoring a richer diet with more meat and refined foods.


Why don’t people like one pot I asked my mom? Well to answer the question she said you have to go back a hundred years to when the slaves left the plantation. The following story is history according to my mom.  


When the slaves left the plantations after slavery they were poor and most of them became farmers. Because they didn’t have many animals or modern refrigeration they only ate fresh meat on special occasions.  Namely Christmas, New Years, Easter, First Communion, Weddings etc.  When they did slaughter the animals they preserved some of the meat by salting and drying.  They would soak the meat in brine then nail it to the side of their house and let the Caribbeansun dry it.  In the proceeding months they would add small pieces of this dried meat to their soups and stews for flavor. When this run out they would have stews of beans and vegetables. Hence the perception became that if you made one pot stew it was because you could not afford meat.  That is why I proudly call this one pot stew. 


I prepared this meal for Elaine because it contains no refined products or grains. As this recipe was handed down orally from one generation to the next there were no set measurements.  I had to figure out the measurement so I set off cooking a meal that I have prepared for over 20 years by eye and measuring every ingredient.   I will admit that I was so excited with this meal that I completely forgot to take pictures until several hours later when the carrots and spinach were not as brightly colored.  Also I add the carrots and spinach a lot later than my mom and grandma did because I like them to retain some of the crunch. 


Poor Man’s Stew




6 C water 

2 tbsp coconut oil 

3 garlic cloves 

1/2 tsp thyme 

1/2 tsp rosemary 

1 C lentils 

3 green plantains (can substitute root vegetables such as taro or yams)

2 C chopped spinach 

1 large carrot 

Salt to taste



1. Heat a large stock pot.
2. Add oil and spices and give a quick stir.
3. Add water and lentils.
4. Bring to a boil.
5. Peel and chop plantain and add to pot.
6. Chop carrot and spinach.
7. When lentils and plantains are cooked add carrots and spinach and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
8. Add salt to taste.
9. Serve and enjoy


You can make this recipe your own by replacing the lentils with your favorite beans and replacing the plantain with any starchy vegetable.  You can also add meat or local in season vegetables.  I hope you enjoy this meal and I can’t wait to cook with Elaine again.  

Thank you so much for bringing such a new dish to me, and for telling us its history and what it means to you, I am honoured that you chose to share this with me. Thank you xx

What would you feed me…Indu?

IMG_6100Welcome to this week’s WWYFM? post, coming this week from the lovely Indu from Indu’s International Kitchen, a blog packed full of fabulous recipes which Indu manages to find the time to not only cook, but blog about too, in her busy world! I’ve lost count of how many of Indu’s recipes I’ve loved and liked and the many conversations we’ve had: just another of my lovely international friends that I’ve made in blogworld 🙂

So, what would you feed me, Indu?

Elaine was one of the very first friends I made when I started
blogging a little over a year ago! And who doesn’t like Elaine? Her
warmth and kindness easily comes through her delicious and healthful
recipes as well as through her blog. Elaine is the Goddess of
everything ‘Healthy’! She not only strives to make healthful dishes
but she also is extremely creative about doing so! She has made an
incredible array of dips thus far, each one outsmarting the other in
terms of creativity of blending ingredients and acquiring perfect
textures! As for salads, Elaine has one for every day of the year!
Just check out her recipe index if you don’t believe me!

So when a few days ago, she asked me to write a ‘guest post’ for her
‘What will you feed me’ series, I was more than ‘honored’ …I was
simply ecstatic! And I also knew instantaneously what I would make for
her! There was this delicious red beans (adzuki beans) and pumpkin
curry that is a traditional kerala dish that I had been meaning to
post for some time now but somehow never managed to until now and so I
thought that was something Elaine would just love! This curry is also
served as one of many side dishes in a Kerala vegetarian feast (sadya)
which is served over a banana leaf. But when served with some cooked
parboiled rice, this can be a perfect comfort meal.! The red beans and
pumpkin in a coconut gravy is a delicious combination of flavors –
mildly sweet, mildly spicy and so creamy!

Red chori(known as payaru in malayalam) also known as adzuki beans,
are small, oval, dark-reddish brown beans. They have a strong,
unsually sweet flavor and creamy texture. In India it is more commonly
used in south indian cuisine. They are also called as red cow beans
and these beans are highly nutritious – rich in protein, fiber and
folic acid.

This curry is fairly easy to make as long as you have a pressure
cooker (to cook the beans) and a food processor to grind the coconut!
🙂 Yum! Hope you enjoy this delicious curry and thanks Elaine for
inviting me to make something special for you! I wish I could invite
you in person to my home and treat you to an entire Kerala sadya! 🙂


Red Chori(Adzuki beans) and Pumpkin curry

  • Servings: <br /> Makes about 4 servings when served with rice
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


1 cup red chore or payaru (adzuki beans)
1 1/2 cup water

1 1/4 cup pumpkin pieces 1 inch by 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli

For the ground masala

1 cup freshly grated coconut (or fresh frozen grated coconut that has
been thawed to room temp)
1 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 small clove of garlic
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup warm water to grind

For the tempering

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies (optional)
4-5 fresh curry leaves
extra 8-10 pumpkin pieces for topping


Rinse the beans in water and place in a pressure cooker with the
water. (Do not add salt now as the beans will take longer to cook).
Pressure cook for 3 whistles. Take off the heat and let cool for a few
minutes until all steam has escaped and open the cooker. Add the
pumpkin pieces to the cooked pairu by adding the additional 1 cup
water, salt and red chilli powder and cook again covered (without
whistle though) for 2-3 minutes until the pumpkin pieces are cooked.
Take off heat and keep aside.

In a food processor, combine all ingredients under ‘ground masala’ and
grind everything to a fine paste. Add this paste into the bean and
pumpkin mixture and turn the heat back on. Cook for 1 minute or so
until the mixture begins to boil and then immediately turn heat off.
Set aside.

Finally in a small pan, heat the coconut oil and add the mustard seeds
and heat on medium until they start to splutter. Turn heat to low and
add the dry red chillies and the fresh curry leaves. Then add the
extra pumpkin pieces and fry lightly for 2 minutes until the pumpkin
pieces are cooked and add the entire pumpkin and oil mixture into the
cooked bean and pumpkin curry and stir. Serve the curry hot with some
cooked parboiled rice.


You can cook the beans even in a regular pot instead of a pressure
cooker however, you will need extra water and will need to cook for a
longer time 9at least 20 to 30 minutes)
The red beans if very old could be really hard (depending upon where
you buy them) and in which case soaking them in water for a couple
hours would be best.
You need to use good quality coconut and pure extra virgin coconut
oil! to get the best taste.( I prefer Better Body Foods brand of
coconut oil and Daily Delight brand of frozen grated coconut)

Oh Indu, I love it, I love the beans, the pumpkin, the coconut oil, the spices…all perfect for me, thank you so much 🙂 And, believe me, I would so love to visit your home and I know I would thoroughly enjoy all of your Kerala delights xxx

What would you feed me…Julianna?

IMG_6100Today I bring you another wonderful offering that I can only wish was real and in front of me on a plate! This lovely dish comes to you from the lovely Julianna, from Foodie on Board, another lovely, chatty, supportive blogger, with whom I love to share and talk about our food. You will see from a mere glimpse at her blog that Julianna’s food is full of colour and vitality, as is the design of her blog, and her photographs will make you salivate.

So, what has she brought me…

IMG_7470Guest Post for Elaine @ Foodbod: Swiss Chard Rolls with Black Rice in a Vegetable-Coconut Broth

It is always an honour when one of your fellow bloggers asks you to do a guest post for them. So a few weeks ago, when Elaine of Foodbod asked me to write one for her, I was thrilled. Elaine added a little twist to her request, though. Elaine is a vegetarian who cannot eat gluten or sugar, so she has named this series of guest posts, “What Would You Feed Me?”, and challenged each of the guest bloggers to create a dish that we would feed her at a dinner party.

At first my plan was to do something Middle Eastern, but those of you who know Elaine, are aware that she is a master of these flavours. She makes the most amazingly creative veggie recipes. Imagine rich, caramelized, oven roasted veggies, accented with exotic Middle Eastern spice blends and you will know why I adore Elaine’s blog and cooking style. Who would ever miss meat, gluten or sugar when presented with so many flavourful dishes?

Since I had ruled out Middle Eastern cuisine, I spent some time mulling over what to cook for my friend. Those of you who know me, know that I have a soft spot for Asian cuisine. So I thought, “What the heck? I’m going to feed Elaine something with an Asian flair!” You know – something with coconut, a bit of ginger, and of course, cilantro! I started scanning through some of my favouritecookbooks when I spotted this recipe in “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison. I just knew that I had to make it for Elaine. It is the perfect blend of creamy coconut rice, wrapped up in savory, colourful chard leaves. I was especially enchanted by the unusual broth that compliments these exotic rice rolls perfectly. I really hope that Elaine loves this meal as much as my husband and I did. I have adapted the original recipe.

IMG_7469Makes 6


6 Swiss Chard leaves, about 9 inches long without the stem
2 cups Black Rice with Coconut Milk and Green Onions (below)
1 large carrot, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 celery stalk with leaves
½ cup cilantro stems
2 star anise
3 thin slices fresh ginger
3 cups water
sea salt
½ cup or more coconut milk


Cut away the tough base portion of the stem of each chardleaf, leaving the rest of the leaf intact. Bring a large, shallow pan of water to a simmer. Add the leaves and simmer until tender, but not too soft. When the leaves are soft, remove them from the pan and set to drain on paper towels on a counter. Arrange the leaves with the tip of the leaf at the top and the cut portion closest to you.
Place about 1/3 cup of the rice in the centre of each leaf. Fold the bottom portion of the leaf up over the rice, bring the sides of the leaf tightly over the rice, then roll up from the bottom, making snug little packages.

To make the broth, put the carrot, celery, cilantro, star anise, and ginger in a pot with 3 cups water and ½ teaspoon salt. Simmer, partially covered, until reduced to 1 cup. This should take 30 to 40 minutes. Strain the broth through a sieve placed over a bowl, pressing on the vegetables to release as much liquid as possible.

Heat the broth with the coconut milk in a saucepan. Taste for salt. Set the rolls in the pan, cover and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Put each roll in a bowland spoon the broth around it.

Black Rice with Coconut Milk and Green Onions


1 cup black rice
2 cups cold water
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup finely sliced green onions or chves
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Coconut butter, to finish


Rinse the rice, then put it in a pot with the water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer until the rice is cooked and tender, about 45 – 50 minutes.

Turn the rice into a bowl. Add the onions, coconut milk and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper and stir in coconut butter to taste.

IMG_7471Oh my goodness, Julianna, what a lovely choice! Something completely new for me that I’d love to try, thank you so much xxx

What would you feed me…Sonal?

IMG_6100I almost feel that Sonal needs no introduction, but just in case you don’t already know her, let me tell you that Sonal is an amazing, stunning cook, producing endless dishes, mainly of Indian, and always of vegetarian, food, packed with so much wonderful flavour I think I bookmark every single post!! It seems to me that her kitchen produces food fit for Gods on a daily basis, all shared with us in beautiful photos! At the same time as being this goddess in the kitchen, Sonal is also a friendly, supportive, sharing blogger, whom I count amongst my friends 🙂

Let’s see what delights she has brought me today…(then go and rifle through her blog and see even more of her wonders)…

IMG_7105Tea with Elaine : Kahwa, a Kashmiri Green Tea; Date, Figs n Pistachio Salami; Eggplant Fritters (Baingan Pakode), Pan Grilled

Elaine and I decided for a date to meet up. I was so excited that I am meeting one of my oldest friends from wordpress, even if for a virtual date. There is no better love to share than the love for food! Right Elaine? I totally love her and her gorgeous food! The dips, the vegetable roasts, the goodness bars are just to die for.

Sometimes I wonder, how lucky I would have been if I was her neighbor. Sigh! I wish I had known her when I lived in UK 10 years ago.

When she said that let’s catch up over your food, I had these dishes whirling on my head. Knowing her love for Middle East food, vegetarian, eggplants, gluten free and healthier dishes in general; I had a full lunch menu in my mind but that became too ambitious for me. So I cut it down to the Brunch Menu!

A Brunch Menu which has an aromatic and healing Green tea from Kashmir, called Kahwa, infused with spices and saffron. Accompanying it, is Dates Figs and Pistachio Salami. Salami for the shape of it but is is oh-so-yum! I am sure Elaine is going to love it with her Kahwa. A delightful combination. A brunch is not complete at my place without a hearty savory dish. So I made Baingan ke Pakode or Eggplant Fritters. These are traditionally deep fried and people just love these back in India. Though not as common as potato and onion fritters, they have they own cult. I took a leap on these and pan grilled these so we both can enjoy these guilt-free. Yay! Elaine loved it! Right Elaine ;).

Now off to preparation part. 3 easy recipes and a gorgeous brunch was ready to be shared, devoured and I had a heartfelt session of laughter and fun with a good buddy of mine….Elaine :).

IMG_7101Kahwa, a Kashmiri Green Tea

Serves : 2

Kitchen Equipments Required : a suave pan with lid, a tea sieve, spoon, 2 cups.

Ingredients :

Green tea bag : 1 or use 1 tbsp loose tea leaves
Water : 2 &1/2 cups
Cloves, whole : 2-3
Cinnamon bark : a small piece
Green cardamom : 2
Saffron : a fat pinch
Almonds : 2 tsp, chopped coarsely. Blanched almonds are recommended but may use them as is.

IMG_7102Method :

1. Crush the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.

2. Add water to a sauce pan along with crushed spices. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Put the gas stove off.

3. Add saffron and tea bag to the pan. Cover with lid and let steep for 3-5 minutes.

4. Add 1 tsp of almonds to each cup. Pour this steeped gold in the sauce pan to the cups. Here is the thing! Some people like all that crushed spice in their cup and some don’t. So pick and choose your style. I like my cup of Kahwa with everything in it.

5. Stir with a spoon. Sip it warm. It is soothing. It is smooth. It is just wonderful.

IMG_7107Date, Figs n Pistachio Salami

Yields : 1 small log

Kitchen Equipments Required : food processor, parchment or butter paper, a rolling pin.

Ingredients :

Dates : 12, pitted and chopped
Figs, dry : 12, chopped
Pistachio : 1/2 cup, chopped
Cardamom powder : a small pinch

IMG_7106Method :

1. Throw all the ingredients in the food processor. Blitz it on pulse for few times. Bring it all together in a kind of dough.

2. Transfer all of it in the middle of a big parchment sheet. Collect it like a log. Roll it tight in the parchment / butter paper. Fold and tick the paper from the sides.

3. Take the rolling pin. Flatten it further and even it out.

4. Refrigerate the dry fruits salami for 3-4 hrs before serving.

5. Cut it with serrated bread knife and enjoy! It is an excellent way to eat your food raw and healthy. Sweet but sugar free ( no processed sugar).

IMG_7103Eggplant Fritters (Baingan Pakode), Pan Grilled

Serves : 2-4

Kitchen Equipments Required : 1 big heavy bottom pan, flat spatula, a big bowl, plate covered with paper towel, chopping board, knife.

Ingredients :

Eggplant : 1 medium size cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, approximately 8-10 slices.

Besan / Chickpea flour : 1/2 cup

Salt to taste

Red chili powder : 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp

Ajwain / carom seeds : 1/2 tsp

Garam masala : 1/2 tsp

Turmeric : 1/4 tsp

Water : 5 to 6 tbsp

Oil : 1 tbsp

IMG_7104Method :

1. Take the big bowl. Add chickpea flour and spices to it. Add 5 tbsp of water and make a thick paste kind of batter, which doesn’t flow but spreads at your command. If it is too tight, add 1 tbsp of water more. Make a lump free pasty-batter.

2. Heat oil in the pan. When it is hot, lower the flame to medium.

3. Dip one slice of eggplant at a time in the batter and coat it well from both the sides.

4. Place the slice in the hot pan. Repeat with all the slices and cook 5-6 slices at a time.

5. Cook from each side for 4-5 minutes on medium flame, till they are golden on both the sides.

6. Serve them warm with Cilantro and Mint Chutney!

Wow! I wish I had known you when you lived in the UK too, Sonal, I would have been your weekly house guest!! What a fabulous tea and what a great date we had, thank you so much for sharing your gorgeous food and beautiful spirit xx

What would you feed me…Sue?

IMG_6100This week I bring you yet another food blogger extraordinaire that I met here, at wordpress, through our blogs, and now call a friend: I bring you Sue from Birgerbird. What a cook, what a photographer, what a star, Sue has brought a fabulous dish and stunning photos, prepare yourself for some serious flavour, I hope you enjoy it…

Over to Sue..

Have you ever eaten heirloom beans, cooked slowly with nothing but water and maybe a bay leaf? If it doesn’t sound too appetizing, scout some out . . . . you are in for a big surprise. Here in California we are lucky to have easy access to Rancho Gordo heirloom beans. Not only do they have an astounding number of beans including Red Nightfall, Yellow Indian Womamn, Vallarta, Tepary (Brown and White), Santa Maria Pinquito, Rio Zape, Ojo de Cabra, Black Calypso, Vaquero, Yellow Eye, Good Mother Stallard, Lilo, Ayocote Blanco, Sangre de Toro, Flor de Junio, Bayo Chocolate . . . you get the picture . . . but their newsletter is always a fun and informative read.

I thought using heirloom beans would be a great starting point for my guest post for my dear friend Elaine over at Foodbod. I started following Elaine immediately upon reading her “About” page and the moving story of how a tragedy brought her to appreciate life and ultimately find peace with her own body and a new relationship with food. Elaine, despite being a vegetarian, loyally favorited my posts and commented on them, even though they were full of bacon and burgers. We’ve always shared a love of roasted vegetables both whole and “mushed,” especially cauliflower and eggplant, or as Elaine calls it, “aubergine,” and Elaine is the master of mezze. And yet now, a year later, my cooking is meeting up with Elaine’s in a more vegetarian inspired slant. I’m not eating near as many burgers or rashers of bacon since my husband and I started our 40 day yoga challenge (I’ll post about that later, it’s been one heck of an awesome ride), and it’s been so helpful to have Elaine’s blog as a recipe guide and inspiration.

I settled on soup for these beans, but not a pureed soup. I wanted to taste and chew the whole beans. I found the most unusual recipe calling for white beans as well as toasted sesame, masa and mint, in the recent tome of a cookbook, Mexico: The Cookbook, by Margarita Carrillo Arronte. I was asked to review the book and I must say that many of the recipes look very good, but I am annoyed by the lack of headnotes. There are no headnotes to any of the recipes, which means you don’t get historical or other background information. Not cool.

IMG_7033The recipe called for toasted sesame seeds, masa, chayote, squash blossoms and mint. I added my own touches — a dollop of jalapeno pepper pesto, a squeeze of lime, and a hibiscus flower. My husband went koo koo for this soup, although I must warn you, as good as it is, it ain’t diet food. You may not eat for a couple of days after a bowl of this stuff. In fact, just for fun I added up all of the calories and it rivals a truck driver’s Thanksgiving plate including dessert. But you do get a heck of a lot of nutrients and it really hits the spot on a cold winter evening, so do give it a try! If you don’t want the truckdriver’s waistline, you could easily use less sesame seed and masa, even less beans, and more broth and vegetables.

As I was cooking up the Ayocote Blanco beans for the featured soup, periodically I tasted them for doneness and I simply could not believe the flavor and texture — buttery, earthy and creamy. No chalkiness or insipid metal flavor, just delicious intact plump beans in a savory broth. I easily could have eaten a bowl solo for dinner. The Ayocote Blanco beans I bought are part of Rancho Gordo’s Xoxoc project that helps small farmers grow their indigenous crops in Mexico, despite international trade policies that seem to discourage genetic diversity and local food traditions.

A few offerings from my local gourmet market

IMG_7035Soaking after a quick boil, for an hour




I started with an onion and chilli, then added the beans and enough water to cover the beans by one inch

IMG_7039For a perfect bean (not to mushy, still firm and intact but slightly creamy) cook the beans with the lid ajar

IMG_7040These little guys took nearly 6 hours to cook and I actually slightly burnt a few of them. They still tasted amazing.

IMG_7041See, they’re not perfect, but as I said . . . delicious.


IMG_7043Sesame seeds ready to toast

IMG_7044Toasted . . . slightly overtoasted. I not only have an uneven oven but also a kitchen floor that slopes downward towards the Southwest corner of the floor. Thus the heat on my stovetop burners and oven concentrates southwest. Ugh!!!

IMG_7045Toasted sesame seeds added to masa and water and rubbed into a coarse paste

IMG_7046Into the pot with the beans, bean liquid, stock, sriracha, aromatic herbs and salt and pepper

A dollop of homemade jalapeno pesto stirred in

IMG_7048There’s also chayote squash, lime and mint in this soup

IMG_7049No squash blossoms to be found so I plucked a hibiscus off our tree


IMG_7051Here’s the recipe:

Pascal de Frijol (Bean Pascal)


1 cup sesame seeds, toasted
2 1/4 cups (9 oz/250 g) masa harina (masa is naturally gluten free but please check packaging information as to whether it may have been processed near wheat, nuts, etc. for allergens)
2 cups cooked white beans, drained and cooking liquid saved
1/2 onion, halved
2 chayotes, peeled, cored and diced
1 bunch fresh squash flowers (if you don’t have or cannot find squash blossoms or flowers, simply leave them out as they do not have much flavor)
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
6 epazote leaves, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lime
1 tablespoon Sriracha


1. Grind toasted sesame seeds in a blender or food processor. Mix masa with 1/2 cup water, stir well, and add to sesame seeds. Stir well.

2. Pour 4 1/2 cups water into a saucepan, add beans and onion, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add masa and sesame mixture to beans and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add chayote, squash flowers, cilantro, and mint, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook an additional 5 minutes. Stir in sriracha.

4. Ladle into bowls and squeeze half a lime over each portion. Enjoy!

Note: You can also add a touch of apple cider vinegar to your soup as I often do with bean soups, it cuts the heaviness and I think it helps digestion too. Also, if you have any pesto on hand or some chopped nuts, dollop a scoop onto the top for some added texture.

Oh wow, wow, wow! So much flavour! Thank you so much, Sue, I would definitely leave your table happy and full!! This looks truly fabulous 🙂 x