Spinach and Black Bean Coconut Curry

For some reason, I find it really hard to source black beans here in Hamburg. I know all the Turkish/Asian stores have them, but I usually have to drive a bit and battle for a parking spot big enough to fit our FRV……for a loooong time, nothing could convince me the effort was worth it. Then, a health store opened up up the road from us! I popped in earlier this week and was thrilled to find a pack of dried black beans!

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So I trolled the Internet to see what I could whip up with these little babies, the pack of frozen spinach and a pack of carrots I had in the fridge. I came across this recipe on Connoiseurus veg (really, how clever is that name?!) and adapted it to make it oil free and used up all the veg I had left.

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Serves: 8-12

 

Ingredients
  • 2 onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 3 green (indian) chilis, minced/sliced (deseed for a milder version)
  • 2 cups dried black beans (or 4 cans of cooked black beans if you can find them), soaked and cooked
  • 500 g pack of frozen spinach, thawed
  • 6 small – medium carrots, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes chopped or diced (I was hungry so went for chopped!)
  • 4 tbsp. lime juice (I ran out of lime so used a concentrate instead)
  • 2x 400ml cans coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. roasted sambar powder (or garam masala)
  • 1 tbsp thai curry paste of your choice (I used green)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • chili powder (optional or to taste)
  • Pepper to taste
  • optional: 1/2 cup fresh coriander (I had none, so left it out)
Instructions

  • In a pot, add the coconut milk with water. Allow it to heat thoroughly but not boil.
  • Add the thai paste and allow the paste to dissolve.
  • Add the carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, chili. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans and lime juice and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the spices (sambar powder/garam masala, coriander, cardamom and chili powder). Bring to a simmer and lower heat. Allow to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in spinach and cook until heated thoroughly.
  • Season with pepper and add the coriander.

Serve with your grain of choice (I went with spelt).

Chris’s “Magic” Roasted Veggies with Quinoa Tabbouleh

My darling Chris loves to cook! And boy can he whip up a good meal when he’s in the mood! This is one of those magic moments…..and voila magic veggies!

The “magic” (have I said Magic enough already?!) is in the marinade and in using tomatoes to keep the veg moist in the oven so they don’t burn.

Now, he just eyeballs the quantities so I suggest you do the same – trust me, unless you have no eyeballs there’s no way you can go wrong with this.

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Magic Veggies

  • Tomatoes
  • Spring onions
  • Any other veg you fancy

Magic Marinade

Fresh (our balcony grown) basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and lemon thyme (very important) chopped finely and mixed with lemon/lime (or a mix) juice.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Adapted from Oh She Glows “Buckwheat Tabbouleh”
For my version, I used more lemon juice,  added all spice and eliminated the olive oil and salt. I also used enough broth to cook the quinoa in, avoiding having to drain the excess liquid later.

In the photo above, the quinoa is separate from the rest of the Tabbouleh mix. The reason being that my girls tend to pick out the quinoa (amazing what you can do with little fingers!) first and overlook everything else. So we’ve resorted to giving them the “everything else” first and then the quinoa.

  • Quinoa (quantity of your choice)
  • Vegetable broth (for 1 cup of Quinoa, you will need about 2 cups of broth)
  • Flat leaf or Curly Parsley, chopped very finely (for 1 cup of Quinoa, you will need about 4 cups of parsley)
  • Tomatoes (1 cup quinoa – 4 tomatoes) chopped finely
  • Cucumber (1 cup quinoa – 1/2 cucumber) chopped finely
  • Carrot (1 cup quinoa – 1 carrot) chopped finely or shredded
  • Spring onions (1 cup quinoa – about 4 to 6 spring onions) chopped finely
  • Garlic cloves (1 cup quinoa – 2 cloves) minced or crushed
  • Fresh lemon juice ( 1 cup quinoa – 1 cup juice)
  • All spice (1 cup quinoa – 1/2 tsp all spice, I’d start with 1/2 tsp and add more to taste)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • optional toppings: chia seeds and mung bean sprouts

Preparation

  • Preheat the grill to 190 celcius (374 fahrenheit). Toss the veg in the marinade and pop under the grill.
  • Keep turning frequently till the veg are just about cooked.
  • Top with chopped spring onions and roast again for a few more minutes.

To make the Tabbouleh

  • Cook the quinoa in the vegetable broth according to instructions on the quinoa pack.
  • Allow the quinoa to cool.
  • Add all the vegetables, herbs, lemon juice and all spice to the quinoa, mix well and allow to stand for about 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
  • Serve topped with chia seeds and sprouts, if using.

 

 

 

“I can’t believe it’s not Heinz” Ketchup

Last year my daughter (who had turned 4) discovered Ketchup! I know that’s pretty late but we’ve never really bought commercial ketchup…why? well, as a kid I LOVED ketchup on brown bread (you laugh, but I know one other person who did the same!) and I remember always feeling a little sick right after. I don’t know if it was the vingear or the gazillion other ingredients that went into that bottle, but I figured if I didn’t have it around, I would eventually grow out of it……..then I had kids.

Anywayyyyy, my girl wanted ketchup served during her birthday bash (she didn’t care if I topped her chocolate cake off with it) and so began my hunt for homemade ketchup.

I’ve made this recipe a couple of times – only once with honey and the other times without any sweetener; not once has anyone spotted the difference to Heinz ketchup.

So without further ado, the “I can’t believe it’s not Heinz” Ketchup recipe:

Ingredients

One 400g can of tomatoes

125ml (1/2 cup) white wine vinegar

63ml (1/4 cup) water

¼ tsp clove powder

1/2 tsp cayenne powder (optional)

Honey  (optional, and to taste)*

salt (optional, or just a pinch)

Preparation

Combine all the ingredients, except the honey (if using). Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes (or longer if you want it thicker) stirring frequently. Remove from heat, leave to cool. Stir in the honey and voila!

This makes a little less than 400ml (roughly 1.5 cups) and freezes well.

*to make this vegan, you could sub 1 Tbsp of sugar and add it along with all the other ingredients at the start. I’ve not tried making this with sugar so unsure about results. Maybe the next time I will experiment with molasses.

Adapted from Top Secret Recipes

Sweet Potato Hummus

Weekends are always the days of the week I have no inspiration to cook or try something new. We decided we were going to make things simple and whip up a salad and maybe a dip.

Rummaging through the produce I had left in the kitchen turned up sweet potato and carrots. The dip was initially meant to be a roasted carrot dip, but hubs decided that using the carrots in the salad (as he always prefers) was a better way to go. So that left a sweet potato and voila…the dip below.

Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe this baby. I kid you not, I could NOT stop myself from eating this….long gone were the veggie sticks to dip in and out came the spoon 🙂

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Ingredients

1 Large sweet potato

1 can of Chickpeas (play around with the quantity here. I had a 400g can which I used, but a smaller amount would also work)

2 onions (quartered)

a few cloves of garlic, leave the skin on (this again is a matter of taste. I love garlic so used about 4-6 small pods)

1 fresh red chilli (optional, but highly reommend it)

dried chilli flakes (optional and according to taste)

1/4 tsp of smoked paprika (optional and according to taste)

1/2 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander powder, caraway seeds (ground or whole)

3 Tbsp tahini

1 Tbsp tomato paste (again, adjust the quantities according to preference)

fresh coriander leaves (optional)

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade (that’s about 400F for the non-celcius folks).

Roast the sweet potato till soft (about 45 minutes, depending on your oven).

Place chickpeas, onions (quarterd) and garlic in a roasting tray. Roast till the onions look cooked.

Sqeeze the flesh out of the garlic coats and add everything to a blender with the chilli, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, tahini, and tomato paste.

Whizz away.

Serve on a bed of lettuce or hide away with a bowl and spoon and enjoy (I won’t judge 🙂 )

Vegan, oil-free Irish Stew

Now this is one dish that hit the dinner jackpot! Kids and hubs LOVED it. The smoky flavour of the porcini mushrooms is the secret to this and boy does it make a heart-warming meal. I realise now as I write this that you could probably get away with whipping this up outside the autumn/winter period.

This is super versatile in that you could use ANY veggies you have lying around (pumpkin in the autumn would work well too….mmmmmmmh….yum!).

Vegan Irish stew – stewing!

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Ready to be demolished!

Ingredients

Serves about 6-8

1 can coconut milk

3 medium onions, sliced

6Tablespoons chickpea flour (to thicken)

5 cups vegetable stock

water (if required)

2 bags of frozen veg (this is what I had lying around, feel free to throw in fresh produce)

Half a pack (or more if you fancy) of porcini mushrooms

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

6 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped

4 tsp maple syrup (or more if required)

3 bay leaves

1 tsp each of dried thyme, rosemary and marjoram

Preparation

Add coconut milk and onions to a big pot. Let the onions cook on medium heat until they soften. Add the chickpea flour and mix thouroughly – cook gently for a minute. Add all the other ingredients. Cook for about 20 mins.

Meanwhile, soak the mushrooms in hot water for 10 mins. Chop them up, add to pot with the water they soaked in. Cook for another 5 mins or so.

Serve the stew on it’s on, or with any grain you fancy (fresh bread will work well too).