Saturday, 28 March 2015

Beetroot Salad

Creamy salads that you would serve alongside the barbecue, with salads or top slices of bread with... I remember parents buying all kinds of salads, but they never appealed to me because I was only young and thought that mayonnaise wasn't actually tasty, when it turns out - that it is!

Sometimes beets on their own can be a little too....beety for myself, but I found that with this combination here, it cuts through that, and it turns out lovely and creamy. I lightened it up using light mayonnaise, but you can also mix 1/3 mayonnaise with 2/3 light yogurt, and you'll see that it will still hold the same lovely flavours!

Beetroot Salad
(Makes 1 large tub)

250g cooked beetroot, finely diced
100g light mayonnaise (optionally 2 tbsp mayonnaise and 4-5 tbsp quark or light yogurt)
1 small onion or two shallots, finely chopped
1/2 apple, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

- Simply have all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined. Yes.... it is really that simple!

Serve with bread, or as an accompaniment with meaty mains, or as part of a salad.

This one goes out to my fellow Scandis and Eastern Europeans who are probably the most familiar with this!

Have you tried beetroot salad before?

Original source:

- Julie

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


Gratinated..... anything right? I love cauliflower and broccoli, but I think that even for picky eaters, gratinating things is a great way of "hiding" the vegetables.

I found that I ended up with excess cheese sauce for this (NOT a bad thing by the way!), so next time I make it, I might bulk it out with a couple of cups of al dente-cooked macaroni.

(Serves 2)

PS this photo makes the dish NO justice, it was gone in less time than it took me to take the photos...

300g mixture of broccoli and cauliflower, small florets
250ml milk of choice (I used almond)
1 tsp vegetable stock
125g smoked cheese, grated
2 tbsp cornflour or normal flour
A handful of pumpkin seeds

Boiled macaroni to serve, or bread for mopping. Alternatively, swirl in 2 cups of cooked wholewheat macaroni into the sauce and make a broc'n'mac'n'cheese! Mmmmm!

- Pre-heat your oven to 220°C.

- Now, boil up water in a medium casserole and boil the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until soft.

- In a small pan, have the milk and stock, heat up until just before boiling, and then simmer. Melt in 1/3 of the cheese on low heat. Have the cornflour in a small glass, and add a bit of water and stir out any lumps before pouring into the sauce.

- Now, in a small oven-proof dish or a loaf tin, have the broccoli and cauliflower at the bottom, pour over the sauce, top with the pumpkin seeds, and drizzle over the remaining cheese.

- Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly.

I was lucky enough for my Spanish flatmate to have made tortillas de patatas, which I served alongside this, and turns out that the two go hand in hand - teamwork!

As for today, I have been in much pain. Know that wisdom-tooth feeling? Yeh, I am on strong antibiotics now, and am trying to get better as soon as! The diet today has been anything than exciting, and I wish I could have had some of the gratinated cheesy goodness today, alas! I was also supposed to have someone over for dinner, but had to postpone it, sigh!

Until then, I just want to wish you a lovely evening! I hope your day has been better than mine *hugs*

Original source:
Good Mood Food, p. 50

- Jules

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Zingy Grilled Halloumi & Onion

Sometimes, a vegetarian diet might seem dautning, but then... just remind yourself of deliciously cheesy and fancy sarnies, and all of a sudden you find yourself breathing relieved again instantly - I promise! A couple of extra ingredients and you have yourself a deli-style sandwich at home!

You can grill the onion and halloumi on skewers over an open fire now that it is getting warmer outside *early-barbecue-enthusiasm!!* OR you can grill them in the oven, easy oozey!
I didn't have skewers, nor a barbecue at the time, and thus settled for using the grill on the oven, but it worked a treat!

Now, we have talked about the main part, now for ways of serving it!
The original recipe suggested to serve it in pitta with rocket and a dressing with Greek yogurt combined with crushed garlic.

I however, was feeling a little studenty, and had also bought a bottle of tamarind sauce (the sweet kind) and decided to build myself a fancy-pants "sammich" as I like to call it. Either way, you wont be disappointed - the secret is in the marinade!

Zingy Grilled Halloumi & Onion
(Serves 2)

200g halloumi, diced
2 small onions (red if you've got them), peeled and sliced across so you have pretty rounds

Juice of 1 lime
2 bay leaves, crushed
1/4 tsp allspice
A good pinch of black pepper
1 tbsp oil

To serve:
A) Pita or flatbreads with rocket on the side, and a Greek yogurt + crushed garlic
B) Four sliced of toast (two each), mayonnaise and sweet tamarind or chutney

- Start by combining all five ingredients ifor the marinate in a bowl and have the diced halloumi in, toss gently to coat and let it sit for at least a few minutes (the recipe said at least half an hour, but I am impatient and it ended up tasting delicious anyway *smiles*).

- Now, turn your grill on high, decide whether you wanna put the halloumi and onion rings on skewers or simply on a baking tray. Pour the rest of the marinade over the onions before you pop them in the oven. Grill for 5-10 minutes until the halloumi has a pleasant slightly brown colour.

Q: What did the cheese say when it looked in the mirror ?
A: Halloumi! (these jokes are so bad that they are good....)

Serve up with whatever you fancy, and tuck in! I love the zingyness of the halloumi and onion, will definitely be making it again! You can also use it in Caribbean salads for a bit of extra flavour instead of meat!

What is your favourite way of serving up halloumi?

I hope y'all have had a lovely weekend! I myself celebrated a belated St. Patrick's Day yesterday at a friend's after having walked for hours in the park, down by the Kelvin River - zenned out! What did you get up to?

Original source:
Spice it Up! p. 116

- Jules

Friday, 20 March 2015

Chickpea & Wannabe-Chicken

Hello and thank Faramir it is Friday!

This has been such a good week, and I hope it has by your end as well, been up to much? I just finished one out of three weeks of training, and passed that little test that we get, so - yarr! Right, let's move on to some much shall we?

Original recipe was topped with a piece of pan-fried trout, BUT I decided to top it off with a couple of Quorn fillets instead, and it was still a treat!

My chickpea craze continues and this time, we make a lovely tomatoey mash with it, I mean...why not, right?

Chickpea & Wannabe-Chicken
(Serves 1-2)

2 tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp (smoked) paprika
1/2 green chilli, finely chopped (or 1/2 - 1 tsp chilli powder)
225g chopped tomatoes OR 3 tbsp tomato purêe and a cup of water
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 Quorn "chicken-style" fillets, or trout
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1/4 or 1/2 of a lemon, plus wedges to serve
Coriander leaves to garnish

- Heat oil in pan and soften the onion and garlic for about five minutes, before adding the spices, and some dried coriander - if you've got some.

- Now, add the tomatoes and chickpeas along with a splash of water and simmer over low heat to allow for the flavours to come together. I added my quorn fillets here to allow for them to defrost in the same process - saves time and effort, score!

- If you did the same sneaky step as I did, take out the fillets and put them aside. If you are preparing this dish with trout, you can pan-fry it with a little salt, pepper and oil for a few minutes on each side until cooked through.

- Mash the chickpea mixture, and add a little extra water if it is a bit too dry. Squeeze in lemon juice to your liking (I used 1/2 lemon) and season to taste with a little salt and pepper.

- Now, it is time to serve it up! Divide the mash between two plates, top with protein of choice, garnish with fresh coriander, and serve with some lemon or lime wedges on the side, et voilâ! Dinner is served, and it features chickpeas, yarr!

PS. Should you be one person only, and have made up a double portion - I can tell you that the chickpea mash tasted pretty darn sweet in a bun too! That was how I had it the second time around with leftovers.

Aaaand on Wednesday it happened... I finally got to see Dylan Moran -and I had no. flippin'. clue! My friend Anna had booked me for the Wednesday, telling me she had a surprise, and she got me all side-tracked: Asking if I liked dancing, telling me that we had to go by the Taco Mazama inside the trainstation and not outside it as we were going to take the train and go on an adventure! Little did I know, that she only meant two stops on the train, and down to the stage that is most famously known as the Armadillo....

This is what she handed me a little away from the venue...

Many a little happy dance was danced (so technically...she was right in mentioning dancing, it was somewhat relevant!). The show was fantastic, and I feel a little overwhelmed still, being a maaaassive Black Books and Mr. Moran fan. He also touched on the subject of vegetarianism, and so that is why I decided on this little number today. I am getting used to the vegetarian diet as well, so far it has been no problem (apart from having to stay away from marshmallows). But yeh, Dylan Moran's "Off the Hook" was amazing *speechless*.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! I myself have planned to just take it easy, go to a friend's get-together tomorrow, and chill out. I had my first session back in the gym after over half a year today after work, and it felt amazing to actually have the energy to do it!

What have you got up your sleeve for the coming days?

Original course:
Good Mood Food, p. 85

- Jules

Monday, 16 March 2015

Dark Chocolate Dinner Mints with Oats

It is Monday, the start to a new week, and I just had my first day of training in a new job - chocolate is needed!

Yes, we have two sweet treats in a row on this here blog, because... Actually, no reason is required! All you need is a cuppa and putting your feet up. If you crush these up - come to think of it - they might make for a tasty ice cream crumble actually! Why didn't I think of this before it was too late?! These disappeared in the flashest of flashes.

Dark Chocolate Dinner Mints with Oats
(Makes 1 small cake tin's worth)

75g cocoa butter
2 tbsp cashew butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp syrup (I used agave, but maple syrup works well too!)
5-8 tbsp unsweetened cocoa (depends on how dark you like it)
1-2 tsp peppermint extract (unless you have that really strong stuff that you only need a few drops of!)
About 50 grams of toasted oats

- Start by having a small frying pan on low heat and add your cocoa butter, once it starts to melt add your cashew butter. Stir until they are both mixed well and melted.

- Now, turn off the heat and stir through the syrup, vanilla and the cocoa powder. Then, gentrly fold in the peppermint extract and the oats, making sure it is all covered. Add more oats if you want to bulk out the chocolate a little.

- Divide between small confectionary cupcake cases (I used silicone ones), or simply spread over some clingfilm or baking parchment on a plate and leave it to set in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Once set - it's ready to serve! I find these are perfect after-dinner chocolate mints ^ ^ And I hope you like them!

Recipe based on: but altered by yours truly *smiles*

- Jules

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Pine-A-Berry Compote

...I might have used my Good Mood Food recipe book quite a bit recently, but you need happy dishes in the colder months right?! I am so glad I cam across it in a charity shop last year!

Plus, the recipe calls for a handful or two's worth of ingredients that are easy to obtain most of the time.

Instead of using the entire FOUR ingredients this dessert/snack called four, I limited it down to three (unless you count the three different seeds and nuts I had at hand...).

Whipped up in less than 15 minutes, I might have had this for lunch on a regular Monday, yup that's right!

I thought I had bought pineapple rings when I was in the shop, buuuut it turns out it was the chopped kind... Oh well! Tastes exactly the same, and with the garnish and a good dollop of yogurt on top, it doesn't really matter.

Pine-A-Berry Compote
(Serves 2)

2 slices of pineapple, or a small box of chopped pineapples, juice drained and set aside
4 handfuls of blueberries, washed
A handful of seeds and nuts (I used a mixture of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts)
Optionally 4 tbsp of runny honey (I used some juice from the pineapple instead)

- Start by pre-heating the grill in your oven.

- Now, in two oven-proof dishes, place the pineapple in them, top with blueberries (you can try and place them neatly in the pineapple "wells"), and then sprinkle over with the seeds and nuts. If you are using honey, you can drizzle that over now as well.

- Grill for between 2-7 minutes (depends on your grill), until the blueberries are tender and the nuts and seeds are toasted.

Serve as it is, of with a dollop og yogurt or icecream, and enjoy! I loved how it wasn't overly sweet and had that hint of tartness from the blueberries, mmmmm *smiles*

This weekend has so far involved quite a bit of food, and so I thought posting a light dessert was appropriate. I was at Nur last night, and had quite the feast! Today, I have been with a friend and bought clothes at charity shops - so many good finds, didn't spend a ridiculous amount of money, ended up with a lot of nice new clothes, and it was all for a good cause! We had lunch in the wonderful cafê/bar called 78 that serves vegan and vegetarian food, and I tried vegan cheese in a quesadilla for the first time! Not três bad if I may so myself, and it came with lots of other goodies too *smiles*

Now it is feet up, and maybe I'll watch a movie, or do something creative ^ ^ How has your weekend been so far?

Original source:
Good Mood Food, p. 73

- Jules

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Fragrant Sweet Potato & Tomato Stew

This week, has been turbulent to say the least, my career took a sudden turn, not entirely out of the blue... but still. A big change in a small life, but it seems like every day since Monday have had a silver-lining of sorts. I am also really lucky to have a solid support network in my friends, they have been there for me more than I would have ever imagined. Soon every thing will be all right, fall into place - I know it! How? Cause my friends assured me *smiles*

A simple dish asking for simple ingredients, but with the humble list of spices it turns into a delightful stew!

I served it with spinach paratha on the side and it worked a treat! I also had a leftover avocado to be used, but you can easily swap this for a courgette or something else really!

Fragrant Sweet Potato & Tomato Stew
(Serves 2)

70g quick-wholemeal rice, cooked
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 medium avocado or small courgette, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
200ml chopped tomatoes
300ml vegetable stock
1 tsp Garam masala
100g spinach

- If the rice isn't cooked, start by doing this. Drain and set aside.

- In a medium large casserole, heat up the oil on medium heat and soften the onion. After about 5 minutes, add the sweet potato, cumin, cinnamon and garam masala and stir for about a minute.

- Now add all the ingredients but the spinach. Cook covered, for about 15 minutes until the sweet potato is tender.

- Last but not least, add the spinach and cover for about a minute. Now, stir the stew until the wilted spinach is well incorporated into the stew.

Serve with good bread on the side!

Yesterday, after a day of running all sorts of important errands in town (OK, not THAT many, but more than one counts as a few at least), a dear friend and I went to visit another lovely lady who cooked up a storm for us! I brought some honey nut snack marbles to have as a light dessert, whilst we were having a little Easter craft night, including watching Black Books, aka being distracted by the show non-stop, I mean, how could you not? It is the best show!

Despite this, I managed to make a little egg-cosy, his name is Ludvik and he is showing off his new Easter shower towel.

I hope you have a lovely Thursday! Any plans?

Original source:
Good Mood Food, p. 19

- Jules