creamy pineapple pachardi

This is the ultimate Indian sweet and sour dish and I like the idea of fruit being used as if they were vegetables. This quick and easy recipe would be fab served with other Indian dishes, like tandoori chicken or any meat dish or just with basmati rice and a salad. I converted it to vegan, by replacing the curd in the traditional recipe with creamy coconut milk and I think it tastes just as good. About to get my friends Louise and Nicola to test try it for dinner tonight and will get back to you with their verdict.
They loved it and couldn’t get enough of it. I served it with plain boiled basmati rice, poppadums, garlicky raita, homemade onion bhajis (recipe coming soon) and salad.

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Georgia O’Keeffe’s potato curry

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.

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vegan laksa bowl

I love this bowl of coconutty deliciousness. Laksa is a comforting Thai coconut broth with vegetables and noodles. It’s spicy, creamy and noodley. I find a lot of vegan recipes are trying to emulate meat dishes, which is not great because vegan ingredients can be fantastic and with imagination don’t need to pretend they are something they are not. There are a lot of sumptuous vegan dishes that don’t shout deprivation of any kind. Hopefully you will try my vegan recipes and agree that they are just as good as any recipe using animal products, I try to make them look delicious too, and full of colour and not just a load of beige-ness.
This recipe is my take on a Laksa I hope you like it. It’s healthy and delicious.

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jamaica ginger cake

Jamaica ginger cake is very nostalgic for me as it was a very occasional treat when I was growing up and I loved everything about it. I loved that it was a dark, dense, slightly sticky on the outside sponge cake made with lots of black treacle and fragrant with spices. They still make it today but I wanted to do a dairy free version that could also be vegan so I have created this recipe around the original recipe but omitted the butter and milk. It has a great texture as well as a great taste, and you don’t miss the dairy at all. The cake gets nicer over the next few days after baking and gets slightly sticky on the outside as the flavours mature. I tested it out on my friend’s teenage kids and they really loved it even though they had never had Jamaican ginger cake before. It’s dairy free heaven… but shhh, you don’t have to tell anyone it is because they won’t notice!

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sweet and sour okra

This okra recipe is taken from my first ever Madhur Jaffrey cookbook my then boyfriend was given by someone he worked with because he loved curries and he loved cooking. We often used to argue about who cooked the dinner because we both loved to cook so much. Which led me to realise that theres’s room for only one domestic goddess in a relationship. The book has inspired me ever since then although I change the recipes to contain much less oil, and I use coconut oil instead of ghee. It is one of the most delicious ways to eat okra because it’s full of flavours which are sweet and fragrant and it has the gentle perfume of cumin and coriander. I also replace the sugar in her recipes with maple syrup, but you can use sugar if you prefer. I often serve it with other Indian dishes like dhal or just with plain basmati rice and an Indian pickle. One of reasons Indian food lends itself to vegetarian and vegan cooking so well is because it’s very, very tasty and has great textures and colours. I usually cook Indian food if I’m having my friends over for a vegetarian feast as I know everyone loves it.

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beetroot pachadi

I think beetroot rocks and this is my take on beetroot pachadi, a creamy Indian curry dish which is normally served puréed. I prefer it chunky but with the same great flavours, I also love the popping texture of the mustard seeds in your mouth when you eat it. I have added crunchy coconut chips as a garnish, to add even more texture. It’s a great Indian sweet and sour dish which can be a stand alone dish, but is delicious with other curries too, including meat ones, and perfect served with basmati rice and a salad or a paratha. My friends have tested this recipe out for me and they all think it’s brilliant. Thanks friends.

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pear cake

This pear cake has a lot of pear in it, so it’s healthier and moist. If you read this blog you will already know I love pears, I love both the taste and the texture and this cake is made with whole meal spelt flour and olive oil so it’s dairy free.
I think the thing about most cakes, is they can be lacking in the flavour department but this one is spicy and has the subtle fragrance that comes from the pears. It’s perfect as a birthday cake or as a tea time treat or simply just because you fancy some cake.

Recipe

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients:
2 ripe pears
1/4 cup of golden caster sugar
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
3/4 cup of mild olive oil
1/3 cup of runny honey or maple syrup
1 egg and one egg yolk (or if you want to make it egg free, use egg replacer for 1 1/2 eggs (from health food store))
1 1/2 cups of whole meal spelt flour or plain flour
A pinch of allspice
A pinch of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Plus icing sugar for dusting
And a lemon if making icing
A deep 7 inch cake tin sprayed with cake release spray or lightly greased with cooking oil

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honey cake

Honey cake is, of course, a cake sweetened with honey, it’s deliciously packed with spices and it’s dairy free. It’s a tradition to serve it on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah in the hopes of ensuring a sweet New Year. The first time I tried it I really loved it… it’s totally perfect with coffee or after dinner. My version is a healthier version using lots of grated apples, wholemeal spelt flour and olive oil… and I promise you it’s a big hit. I sometimes make this as a birthday cake too and it’s perfect at Christmas with all its amazing flavours.

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prawn and coconut curry

This creamy dairy free coconutty curry is a brilliant dinner party dish served with basmati rice and a salad… or make half the quantity for dinner for two.

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
A thumb sized piece of ginger
1-2 green chillies depending on how hot you want it
7 cloves garlic
400 ml can of coconut milk
250 ml coconut cream
4 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil
3 medium onions finely sliced
8 small tomatoes halved
400-500g of large raw shelled prawns (I use king prawns)
1 ½ teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
A handful of toasted coconut chips (optional)
A bunch of coriander finely chopped
Salt to taste
1 lime

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jerk chicken

A friend’s husband asked me to make this for dinner, because he hadn’t had jerk chicken for a long time. He’s a chef, and he loved it.

Serves 3.

Ingredients:
6 chicken thighs, bone in, skin off
A couple of limes

Marinade
1 bunch of spring onions
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves
2 red chillies, chopped
A few sprigs of thyme
Half a lime juiced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar
1 heaped teaspoon ground allspice

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