Friday, 31 August 2012

Sweet Potato, Lentil & Spinach Dahl

I discovered this dish about a year and a half, ago when I decided to start changing what I eat - at least somewhat. I wanted a hearty and healthy meal, and though I thought it peculiar to make a vegetarian meal, this did not disappoint, quite the contrary... Behold:

It can convert carnivores into at least part-time herbivores, and I can't say I blame them!

Sweet potato, Spinach & Lentil Dahl
(Serves 2 hungry people, 410 calories excluding naan)

100 g red lentils
450 ml vegetable stock
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 red chilli , finely chopped
1 large sweet potato, cut into small chunks
2 handfuls young leaf spinach (or any spinach!), shredded

To serve: 2 naan breads, warmed

- Start out with putting all the ingredients - except from the sweet potato and spinach, in a medium sized pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. If you like the sweet potato to go really soft, you can add them at this first stage. I normally do it because it's easier.

- Now, if you haven't already, add the sweet potato and cook until it's softened, for another 10-12 minutes or so. This is a good time to warm the naan breads!

- Stir in the spinach, and cook for a minute until it has wilted.

Serve in bowls with naan on the side, and tell me what you think!

Original source:

- Jules

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Vafler - Norwegian Waffles

Last christmas, the most precious thing I got was from my auntie, she had knitted me two pairs of thick wool socks and with it - I found my late grandmother's cook book. It was difficult to hold back the tears, both sad and happy.

You have got to understand - nothing beats my mother's waffles! Straight from the waffle iron with a dollop of strawberry jam, and my mind would take flight. Sadly, my mum has perfected this recipe and made it her own so much that she doesn't use measurements anymore. This is the reason I chose to put up the recipe I found in my grandmother's cook book. I found the recipe a little sweet, but it is a great basic recipe if you want something delicious with a nice cuppa, and adjustments can always be made!


(Makes quite a few! Not had the chance to calculate the badness, but who cares - it's waffles!)

1/2 l milk
300 ml water
(or take 350 ml skimmed milk)
5 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cardamom
1 1/2 cup sugar
750 g plain flour
(A few drops of vanilla essence, or a tsp of vanilla sugar optional)

250 g melted butter set aside to cool

- Mix all the ingredients, except from the butter, well together to make the batter. Then set it aside to swell for at least half an hour.

- Then, stir in the melted butter until it is all mixed in, and the batter has got a nice smooth texture.

- Take a ladle full of the mix and pour onto the waffle iron and cook until it gets a nice golden colour.

- Serve with jam, preferably rasberry or strawberry, or; spread some butter on the hearts and sprinkle some sugar on top of it.


Original source:


Dining, Wining & Hill-Climbing - in Bergen

Today I thought I would take the time to write a post about my holiday in Norway, it lasted for two whole weeks! Hence my absence from the blog. Now, I haven't had a proper holiday since last christmas, so this was much needed to say the least!

I got to spend time with my family and some old friends that I had missed now over the last eight months. Nice meals were had and mountains were climbed, I tried to squeeze in as many experiences as possible! Also, I got to show my boyfriend where I am from, and I believe that can add a certain depth to someone, no matter how close you are and how well you know one another - or thought you did!

Born and bred in the West of Norway, in and around Bergen, I got used to being surrounded by mountains and great scenery. As well as the Seven peaks, Bergen also is the home of one of the famous Norwegian fjords. The people of Bergen are very proud, and a common saying is "I'm not from Norway - I'm from Bergen!" Perhaps a bit pretentious, but I suppose most people would feel the same about their hometown.

I went to visit the aquarium we have there, it's kind of like a tradition except it's been a few years since I last visited. They had made a few changes to the place, as they had received some Californian sea lions that had taken the place of the noticeably smaller seals that used to live in that tank.

One of the good ol' seals relaxing with style!

As for eating and drinking out, Norway can be a bit expensive if you're not on Norwegian wages, but it is definitely a country worth visiting, and you can make sure to find somewhere affordable. Having a cold bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale in the Irish pub "Finnegan's" in the sun, with a welcomed mild breeze was great on a hot Summer's day. The first week the weather was actually perfect, almost too good to be true (the second week, it was raining, but we don't have to go into that, heh!). During the first week, we also went for a family dinner at my aunt's - three courses, followed by a nice cuppa and some walnut brownies, it was divine *smiles*. That evening, my cousin also suggested we'd meet up with him and his girlfriend for a drink (which turned into two, even three for the guys, before we had to catch the bus home) at Sjøboden. It is a peculiar but cosy little pub down by the jetty, which happens to sell a jug of beer for 100 kroner on a Sunday evening - bargain!

A romantic meal was also had at one of the several restaurants that goes by the name of "Zupperia". I had a lovely dish with venison on a bed of vegetables, topped with a delicious gravy that had some kind of berries in it, accompanied by some delicious potato mash.

Later on in the week, I discovered a new place in "Galleriet" in the city centre called "Anne's Deli". On a Thursday, they sell my favourite dish of all time called raspeballer (almost like potato dumplings served with mashed turnip, smoked meat and topped with diced crispy bacon). I should perhaps hang my head in shame when I say this, but I ended up going there twice over the two weeks I was there... It was so worth it though, and it'll unfortunately be a while until next time.

Wanting to catch up with some of my lady friends, a few of us got the idea of having an evening of prawns, salad, wine and other delicious things. There were six of us, and it was really good just to relax with the girls, have a couple of glasses of wine and enjoy some good, simple food.

Another thing I did over the fourteen days, was to walk up/climb a few mountains. At the island where I spent most of my life in Norway - Askøy; the highest one is called Kolbeinsvarden, it isn't very high, but it makes for a nice morning walk if you have a couple of hours to spare, perhaps not even that! I walked up there three times, and every time I ended up as number four. They have a mailbox at the top with a book inside it wher you write the date, your name, and the time you made it to the top - quite neat!

Then, for the memories and for the view's sake, we went up Fløien, this is one of the smaller mountains in Bergen, but you can walk up from the city centre, in other words very convenient. The path up is mainly cement and gravel, so it makes it quite easy with the exception of the steep hill at the beginning.

The two biggest challenges was the highest mountain in Bergen, Ulriken, and a hardcore trek up some 900-stairs in what they call Stoltzekleiven. Now, after a couple of years of regularly working out, the walk up Ulriken went quite smoothly (with the exception of excess of water that greeted us uphill), but Stolzekleiven? Well, it was tough, and no matter how good a shape you're in, it will be. To put things in perspective, my dad, who is very active, has a record of around 15 minutes up. My auntie who enjoys walking, has made it up there in about 25 minutes. Determined not to do badly, told myself that I would try and make it up there in less than 20 minutes - and after innumerous of stairs in all shapes and sizes, heart "breaks" (pauses) and ache-breaks, both my dad and I made it up with 2 minutes and 2 seconds to spare - result!

This is the only image I did not take myself, but I took it from Google to give you an idea what this is all about!

Another thing was that I was wearing something close to ballerina shoes, and afterwards when my dad and I went hunting for a pair of proper training shoes, the guy in the shop said that walking up Stoltzekleiven in those little things could have been newspaper material. He couldn't fathom how that had been any good at all, I just found myself smirking once I heard.

Oh! I also had to go up in my mother's attic to sort out my treasures that I have kept up there for years. She said that the amount of things that we had stored was ever-growing, and that if I could, it would be great if I could figure out what things I really wanted to keep a hold of. I was looking through one box after another, stuffed with what had at some point, been my most valuable things. It's funny how many memories can fit into a box, I really enjoyed looking through it all. In the end, I got about two big boxes' worth of things I decided I felt less connected to, such as some more recent school books and a few plastic toys I couldn't even remember having played with. I also found a few things that I decided to take with me back to Glasgow, for good measure. My luggage was 200 grams short of the maximum weight they allow at the airport, and I blame the treasure hunting for that!

It is funny how life changes, and how we move with the tide or against the streams. I, for example, have gone from living so close to nature and the fjords to living in a big city, and it does feel strange at times - leaving your home behind. There are good things and less good things no matter where you go, and you just have to make sure to follow your own dreams. If it takes you far from where you started out, I am sure you can always turn back, or revisit those familiar places every once in a while.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Barbeque Beans (In your face Heinz!)

Fancy a little something for breakfast? I found a recipe how to make your very own barbeque beans - I hope you like them!

Barbeque Beans
(Six small portions, 120 calories each)

PS. Taking a photograph of beans and make them look tasty is tricky business, they taste better than they look - but I think that goes without saying!

1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, halved, then sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
1 tbsp either white- or red wine vinegar
1 tbsp heaped soft, brown sugar
400g tin pinto beans
400 ml tub passata
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (Vegetarian for veggie option)
Small bunch coriander, chopped

- Pour some oil into a medium sized saucepan and brown the onion. Then add the garlic and cook for a further minute. At this stage, I added a dash of balsamic glaze - because I can!

- Then, pour in the vinegar and add the sugar, and stir until the onions are slightly caramelised.

- Tip in the beans, passata, Worcestershire sauce and some seasoning (smoked pepper, chilli powder, salt & pepper etc.) Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

- Once it's bubbling away and have thickened slightly, stir through coriander.

- Serve on toast, on it's own... or on rice crackers - as above!

Original link>


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Tex-Mex Lentil & Chipotle Soup

The days of Summer rain has ceased to come as a surprise to me. And so today, I thought I would make a warming soup of one kind or the other. Looking through my notes, this one caught my attention, and here you have it!

Tex-Mex Lentil & Chipotle Soup
(Serves 3, 160 calories each - soup only)

(Note, picture was taken before I remembered to use the stick blender!)

2 onions, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chipotle paste
1/2 tsp cumin
75g red lentils
400g chopped tomatoes

To serve:
Sour cream, Tabasco sauce and tortilla chips

- Pour the oil into a medium pot, and soften the onion, carrot, celery and chilli. This should take about 5-10 minutes.

- Add the chipotle paste and cumin. Cook for a minute before tipping in the lentils, tomatoes and a can-full of water (400ml). Simmer for 30 minutes, until the lentils have softened. Season to taste.

-Whizz the soup with a stick blender until it has got a smooth and rich texture.

- Season and serve with a dollop of sour cream, a splash of Tabasco and tortilla chips on the side - sorted!

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Friday, 3 August 2012

Falafel Burgers

A couple of years ago, I came across a recipe for falafel bugers. Never having had falafel before, nor knowing what it looked like, I thought I'd try and make them. A good hundred times or so later, I've come up with a basic recipe, where I sometimes vary the different spices used.

To make the ones you see below, follow the recipe under it, I would suggest using a little bit of oats for a bit more texture, as that's my usual method!

Falafel Burgers
(Makes six, 145 calories each if you're using 40g oats)

400g tin chickpeas (260g drained)
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp tumeric
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp hot chilli powder
Small handfull fresh, chopped parsley
(Small handful oats)

- Fry chopped onions and chickpeas in some of the oil in a frying pan.

- Mix in spices and after about 5-10 minutes, transfer the mix into a bowl and mash with a masher.

- Add the eggs (and oats, if using) and blend it all together well.

- Pour a teaspoon sunflower oil in the pan, and then use a tablespoon to scoop out a couple of spoonfulls into the pan. Leave for a while until it's starting to set, and then flip over. Fry a couple of minutes on each side until golden.

- Serve in a pitta bread along with other goodies, or keep it simple and pour a little tomato ketchup or sweet chilli sauce over and eat on their own.

You can also make different ones swapping the tumeric and coriander for pepper, salt and thyme.
Other spices that works well with the recipe above is coriander, cayenne pepper and curry powder. So really whatever spices you have that adds a bit of kick and work well together.

PS. Lots of kethup is not a bad thing


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Oaty Raisin Cookies

I decided that after a long day at work, and a little trip to the gym I deserved a little treat. I found a recipe for oaty cookies (the best kind of cookies!) that I wanted to try out, after having failed miserably at making chocolate biscuits last week (They ended up flying out the window, literally! I bet the squirrels and magpies appreciated that)

Now, before you start, consider doubling the recipe if you're making them for a crowd. The recipe is bullet proof, and you will definitely want more.
I also think this is a good base recipe for cookies, adding different things to them, like nuts, different fruits and other goodies!

Oaty Raisin Cookies
(Makes 12 small cookies, 85 calories each)

50g light butter
50 g caster sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon
50g wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
80g oats
50g raisins

- Firstly, heat the oven to 180°C, and grease a large baking sheet - placing it on a baking tray.

- In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar until it goes white and smooth. Then stir in the honey, egg and cinnamon. Add two teaspoons of cinnamon if you really like the stuff, like I do!

- Take a smaller bowl, and mix the flour, baking powder, oats and raisins. Stir well before mixing it all into the butter mix.

- Drop heaped dessertspoons of the mix onto the baking sheet, allow room for spreading. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they are golden.

- Leave them on the tray to settle for a minute (I know, so...difficult...must....resist...), and then place them on a rack to cool.

Now, where's that glass of milk?!

Original link: