Drink: Banana, apricot, vanilla & passionfruit Oatly smoothie

One way of getting by in Malmö, on a budget (for me, at least) has been to shop at my local ‘livs’ store. ‘Livs’ stores are small, little corner shops, come greengrocers. They often have great prices on veg and sometimes reduce great quantities as the day goes by. This it where it really gets fun (AND CHEAP!). My local ‘livs’ store, last week had huge bags of passionfruit, bananas & apricots all reduced to 10kr (just under £1), and I had used them in a myriad of different ways, but time came to that the last few needed using up. This is one great way of using up leftover fruit, that has maybe gone a-bit-too ripe, to make a nutritious & healthy breakfast option.

 

To make you’ll need:

  • 400ml water
  • 4tbs rolled oats
  • 4 ripe bananas, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 ripe apricots, de-stoned & roughly chopped
  • 1tsp Vanilla bean paste/ vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1tsp Maca powder (optional), sifted
  • 1tsp Young barley grass powder (optional), sifted
  • Pinch of salt

 

For the yogurt top:

  • 200ml dairy-free yogurt (I used Oatly)
  • 1 Passionfruit

 

Start by placing the water and the oats in your blender and pulse until you get a creamy, thick solution. Then, add about half of the rest of the ingredients, remembering to keep pulsing it down. Once you start getting a creamy & fruity mix you know you’re on the right track. blend it with the final portion of ingredients and pour into a jug/pitcher. In a separate bowl mix up the yogurt with the passionfruit pulp & seeds. To prep the passionfruit, I’d recommend using a small, serrated knife to cut the fruit in half and then scoop out the tart & sweet pulp with a spoon.

To serve, pour the smoothie mix into your desired cup/ bowl/ glass. If the mixture is a bit too thick, then try thinning it out with a splash of water. After, you have the desired amount,  spoon the yogurt on top and drink.

 

Enjoy!

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Food: Curried pancake stack

This is what I made on Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday as an alternative to sweet British pancakes with lemon & sugar…which are amazing btw! Here’s how you can make these for dinner and have the sweet ones for dessert 😉 These are also, omitting the Oatly for  another plant milk/ yoghurt alternative, gluten free too!

You’ll need:

For the pancakes:

  • 100g Gram (chickpea) flour.
  • 30g Frozen spinach, thawed.
  • 100ml Aquafaba.
  • 2tbs Chia seeds.
  • 1tsp Green barley powder.
  • 1tbs of kalonji / nigella/ black fennel seeds
  • 1tsp Garam marsala.
  •  1tsp Chilli powder.
  • 1tsp Cumin.
  • Salt & pepper.
  • Splash of non dairy milk (I used Oatly)
  • 1 Portions worth of leftover curry, vegan in my case.

For the Raita:

  • 2tbs Oatly fraîche/ soy yoghurt
  • Splash of water (If using Oatly fraîche)
  • Thumb size piece of cucumber.
  • Handful of fresh mint.
  • Sprinkle of salt

To Garnish:

  • 6 Bhaji bites
  • Handful of chopped coriander
  • 5 lingonberry pickled onion rings, learn how to make them here

This recipe is a doddle to make, simply start by heating up your aquafaba on a low heat in a pan with the chia seeds. This should start the chia seeds coagulation process.

Whilst they begin to heat up, you can get your dry ingredients ready. Sieve the spices, green barley powder, gram flour and salt & pepper into a big mixing bowl. Once you can see the chia seeds have began to open and make a gel, take the mixture off the heat.

with a hand blender, pulse the spinach ever so slightly until it begins to break up. Combine with the aquafaba/chia mixture, then add the kalonji seeds. mix until you get a green, gloopy mixture. Now, all you have to do is simply mix with the dry mixture and add a splash of non-dairy milk accordingly until it becomes a thick batter.

Fry in an oiled pan, remembering to spread the mixture evenly. Keep an eye on the level of oil in the pan, between pancakes, you may have to add a bit more oil.

once they are all cooked, stack them on a plate for later.

I had a bit of batter leftover, but not enough to make another pancake. Instead of wasting it, I decided to make these bhaji bites. To the batter I added 1tbs of finely chopped spring onion, 1tsp turmeric and 1tsp paprika. mix and dollop a teaspoon worth into the pan, to which I added an inch of oil. They will slightly expand and bubble. Cook until crispy, but be vigilant as they can burn easily.

Once done, pop them onto some paper towel to drain and pop the leftover curry in a pan/ microwave to heat through.

Whilst you’re waiting for the curry to re-heat, it’s time to make the raita. Chop the mint & cucumber finely, adding to a bowl. Mix through the yoghurt/ fraîche. If you’re using the Oatly fraîche, you may need to add a splash of water to the bowl, as its quite a thick product. Season with salt & you’re done!

Time to assemble!

Layer each pancake with a big dollop of curry, then on the final layer, top with the raita & garnishes and finally crown with the bhaji bites.

It’s great paired with a light & refreshing beer. I made a shandy out of Five Points Ale & Cawston Press cucumber & mint soda and it worked perfectly!

Enjoy!

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Food: Armenian stuffed peppers (Dolma)

Having bought loads of peppers on double discount at work last week I had quite a few left to use up. What perfect way than with some stuffed peppers!

I had made a vegan version of Armenian peppers previously, for my Eurovision party- and it was a resounding success. This was surely the way forward.

The finished dish ends up feeding 2-3 people  (we were very full afterwards!)

To make you’ll need:

  • 5-6 medium/large red bell peppers, charred

For the filling:

  • 80g of cooked rice (per person)
  • 1/2 fried courgette, chopped finely  (I used some from an antipasti jar to save time)
  • 2 Lombardi peppers, chopped finely
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

For the mince:

  • 100g green lentils
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped,
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1tbs tomato purée
  • 1tbs sun dried tomato paste,
  • 1tbs dried parsley
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • 1tsp bouillon
  • 1 cup red wine

For the sauce:

  • 1 carton/ jar of passata
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • A glug of olive oil
  • 1 (Heaped) tbs of pepper paste

Soy garlic yogurt mix

  • 2-3 tbs of soy yogurt (I used Alpro Go On. Which is a thicker Quark style yogurt)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic infused oil
  • A sprinkle of smoked paprika – to garnish

Start by making the mince.

I’d recommend doing this in advance so you have a batch ready for you to use.  We usually have big batches of lentil mince  in the freezer that Tom cooks up whilst I’m in work on a Sunday. It’s so versatile (if you remove the cayenne and mixed spice) and can be made into all manner of creations from pies, ragù, Chilli- you name it!

This batch i’ve included the extra spices as I knew this batch was only for making dolma.

In a small cast iron pot fry the chopped onion and garlic until soft. Add the paste and the purée and heat through. Pour in the lentils and stir until thoroughly coated with the sauce. Add the herbs, spice and bouillon with lots of freshly cracked black pepper. Cover with the water and put the lid on. Simmer for at last forty minutes, an hour won’t hurt – this will allow the lentils to truly swell and soak up all the liquid.

After an hour the mixture should be rich and just about ready. Stir in the wine until the mixture reconstitutes itself – allow to cook through for another twenty minutes until the wine has cooked out. Leave aside to cool slightly, or store overnight/ freeze*

*If using thawed/chilled mince, I’d recommend heating it through before stuffing.

Once your mince is ready the rest is simple and fairly quick to make!

When you’d like to make the dolma, simply put each pepper over an open flame ( I used my gas hob) until it begins to bubble and blacken. Once burnished and black, take off and leave to cool down.

PS: Be careful around open flames! The amount of times the pepper (now a ball of fire) fell off the ring- and I was wearing oven gloves!

As they are cooling I’d recommend cooking the other components.

Cook the rice as you would normally, remembering to cook slightly less than usual as you are stuffing it with a rice mixture rather than serving it with rice. Whilst it’s cooking start the sauce.

Heat up a saucepan and fry off the garlic with the olive oil until translucent. Next, add in the pepper paste and cook for another minute. Then add in the passata and let it simmer until the flavours start developing.

The rice should be done by this point. Set aside and leave to cool.

Return to the peppers and de-core & de seed them, making sure that you cut them close to the top so that you have a vessel to fill. Remember to keep the tops, though.

Grab the mince, empty it into a mixing bowl and combine it with the rice. Then, add in the lemon juice & zest, chopped peppers, courgette and parsley. season well.

Then pour the sauce into a baking dish and sit the peppers in the tomatoey-peppery bath. Fill the peppers up to the brim  with this aromatic mixture and re-hat them with their tops. Place into a preheated oven at 180°C for 10-15 minutes.

Once they are in the oven, you can make the topping. Combine all ingredients together, (except the paprika) until it becomes thick & glossy.

Take the peppers out of the oven and de-hat them once again ( no fear they’ll have their hats back on soon enough!) and smother with the  lemony-garlic yogurt. Top with the smoky, fiery paprika and return the tops on (see, I told you 😉 ). Serve with a side salad or on their own

Enjoy!

Food: Skyr for breakfast!

Skyr, the Icelandic-super food, has been on my radar for a while. It is one of many reasons why the Icelandic diet, topped the Channel 4 documentary The World’s Best Diet, in November last year. I have wanted to try it, but it has proven to be very elusive within the UK,with there being only places in London, where they sell the white gold. Even America has Skyr with products like Siggi’s Skyr. C’mon!

The first place you can get it is at the Scandinavian Kitchen on Great Titchfield Street, one of my favourite places to go in London – to eat, Fika, and stock up on Scandi products. They even have a skyr mailing list, it’s that popular, notifying all skyr-lovers when it’s in stock. Sadly I am never in London when it is in stock there – understandably it vanishes quickly!

The next is the Icelandic/European Michellin Starred Restauraunt Texture, Portman Street, Mayfair. My wanting of skyr was so intense that for my 21st, Tom took us both to Texture for an amazing meal and to finish we had the skyr. Yum! So rich, like liquid cheesecake. I would want an IV of this! In any case, my hopes of finding anything even remotely skyr related beyond London were, naturally, set quite low. Until! The other day, in Asda something happened to catch my eye, it was skyr! Or, to be more precise, an Arla brand skyr-style yogurt. (Its skyr-style as only skyr made in Iceland can be called true skyr). But that’s good enough for me!

So, this morning (and for every morning until I”m completely sick of it), I had a breakfast of skyr with fresh blueberries and topped with rye bread crumbs (taken the idea from the skyr I had in Texture). All served in my Iittala Ultima Thule berry bowl by Tapio Wirkkala.

One minor craving, for the time being, satisfied!