Freekeh has a fantastic flavour and texture and it’s even better for you than quinoa, although it’s not gluten free it’s packed with good things if you google it. I wanted to make a warm salad with it with a Middle Eastern vibe that was easy and delicious. I serve it on its own or as a side dish to a main meal and everyone loves it. It’s not gluten free but the freekeh grain is different in structure to standard wheat grain and is tolerated by some people who are gluten free.
This take on what is essentially a classic of mushrooms on toast with soft boiled eggs is deliciously flavoured with allspice and coriander seeds so it tastes much more Mediterranean or Middle Eastern. The mushrooms once cooked create their own unctuous sauce which you spoon over the crunchy bread and then you have the creaminess from the eggs with the fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon to finish it off. It’s delicious I promise.
I have a oldish Spanish cookbook with fantastic recipes in it that are great as tapas. I’m working my way through it pretending I’m in Barcelona. This recipe from that book has the sweetness of oranges which work really well with squid and the smokiness of the smoked paprika giving it a real Spanish vibe. I’ve tweaked it slightly and replaced the sugar with maple syrup so it’s low glycemic. You can eat it as tapas with other small plates or combine it with pasta as I did. I bought my black pasta from my Italian deli but it works equally well with plain old standard spaghetti or Linguine. It’s perfect for a dinner party or a date night. My friend Timna says it’s up there with my crab Linguine as one of the best things she’s ever tasted.
Moqueca is a super easy traditional Brazilian fish stew which is creamy and tangy all at once because it has the brilliant combo of lime juice, coconut milk and chilli. It will warm your cockles even on an autumn evening and take you to somewhere a little bit more exotic if you are not there already. You can also use fresh squid, sea bream, haddock, clams, mussels, scallops, crab or whatever is available or whatever you fancy in it. It’s up to you. Its really delicious with basmati rice or crusty bread if you are not low carbing it. Perfect for a dinner party or just a dinner for two.
I had a vegan version of this classic Brazilian bean stew from Leon restaurant the other day with my friend Soph. Soph and I are always on the look out for new vegan recipes that are really tasty and healthy because her son is vegan. Kefir provides the right flora for the gut which is now being linked to helping with moods too. We loved it so much I have adapted it for my blog and added the cooling kefir, and the mango salsa. So you get all your taste senses catered for…salt and sweet.
Like Gado Gado, this is another Indonesian street food recipe. It is a delicious mix of sweet and sour with a bit of crunch mixed with the creamy egg. Who’d have thought lime would go with a fried egg? Well it really does. You can soft poach the eggs if you prefer… It’s perfect Asian comfort food and its low budget and pretty healthy too. I love anything with a fried egg!
I went to the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at the Tate last year which was great but I am fascinated by her lifestyle more than I am by her paintings. I would love to go to her house Ghost Ranch in Mexico and I pore through the book I have about it. I love her style, aesthetic and of course her kitchen and larder. A few weeks ago some friends took me to an amazing book shop in Piccadilly called Assouline, and there I got a cookbook with her favourite recipes in it called Dinner with Georgia O’Keeffe. It’s a lovely book with great pictures and lots of recipes that she cooked at Ghost Ranch. I feel theres something that brings you closer to people through recipes. You can almost feel them there with you. So I thought I’d share my favourites from that book with you, because it’s evocative of her history and lifestyle. Apparently she kept a stack of cookbooks as bedside reading. A woman after my own heart.
This salad is lower carb, and for me it has the right combination of textures and flavours, because it tastes fresh and delicious. It has the creaminess of the coconutty and peanutty sauce mixed with the crunchiness of the cucumber and the sweet and sour flavours from the limes, maple syrup, Sriracha and coconut cream dressing. This is a vegan recipe at its penultimate best and is fab served with fish like my (Asian sea bass) but you can serve it with chicken or steak and if you aren’t low carbing it, serve with Thai sticky rice. Yum.
1 large cucumber
A sprig of fresh coriander finely chopped
A handful of chopped roasted peanuts
2 salad onions finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds (I use black sesame seeds)
3 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
1/2 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of coconut cream
1 lime juiced
2 tablespoons of water
1/2 teaspoon of Sriracha (chilli sauce)
1 tablespoon of soya sauce
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
This is my version of mujaddara which is a delicious spicy dish of lentils, rice and caramelised onions with parsley which dates all the way back to a recipe book written in 1226 from Iraq. It is served in restaurants from Egypt to Isreal and is delicious served with a salad, chopped cucumbers and with plain yogurt or labneh. It is served at room temperature so it’s perfect for preparing in advance for a dinner or picnic. You can serve it with a green salad and or with meat or fish. It’s a staple round mine.
Serves 4-6 depending on what you serve it with.
2 x 250g bags of cooked brown basmati rice (supermarket)
1 x 400g tin or carton of green or brown lentils
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground coriander
¼ -½ teaspoon of chilli powder
2 minced garlic cloves
2-3 finely sliced large red onions
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 lemons zested and cut into wedges for squeezing
big bunch of roughly chopped parsley
Salt to taste