Spiced Chickpea & Spinach Stew

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Wowwie! This is so wonderfully flavorful and warm and cozy and I might or might not have finished 3/4 of the whole batch in one go.

I’m a huge fan of chickpeas in almost any form – curries, hummus, spiced and dried, in desserts (yes, desserts! google chickpea desserts and don’t knock it before you try it) – so it was inevitable that I would love this stew specially since it involves lots of olive oil, spices and spinach (my favorite vegetable by far – it’s so versatile!).

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It can take a while to cook if you soak and boil your own chickpeas, which we always do at home, but if you use canned chickpeas this is a super quick dish to whip up for lunch.

The recipe is technically for four people but since last time I made half the batch for my mom and I, there wasn’t enough left for my mom (oops!), I will definitely be making a bigger batch next time. And even if there’s some leftover, you can keep it in the fridge and it’ll make a great leftover lunch or dinner the next day.

I served it with brown rice but you can serve it with any grain – millet, quinoa, basmati rice etc. or even with some crusty bread like sourdough or a baguette.

Forgot to mention – the stew itself is accidentally vegan and gluten free! (I love it when that happens hehee..)

It was based on this recipe I found on food&wine but I changed it up quite a bit 🙂

Spiced Chickpea & Spinach Stew

serves 4

  • 1.5 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin powder, pinch ground cloves, pinch black pepper, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1-2 tsp chili powder (adjust chili according to personal preference), 1/2 tsp salt
  • ~3 cups cooked chickpeas or two 15oz cans (reserve the water!)
  • 2.5 tbs olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and diced
  • 1 large tomato or two small, diced and the seeds removed
  • salt, to taste
  • handful sultanas/dates/raisins (I recommend sultanas)
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped finely
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • fresh coriander/mint/parsley to top (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, mash the crushed garlic with the saffron and the spices. Add a couple tablespoons of the chickpea liquid.
  2. In a skillet or a deep pan, heat 1.5 tbs olive oil.
  3. Add the onion and tomatoes and stir on low heat until softened and browned.
  4. Add the spiced garlic paste and cook for another minute
  5. Pour in the chickpeas, 1.5 cups of their liquid (if there is no more liquid, use water or stock) and the sultanas
  6. Bring to a simmer and add in the spinach. Lower the heat a bit, and let simmer for around 2 minutes until spinach is fully cooked.
  7. Transfer to your serving dish and top with 1 tbs of the olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs.
  8. Serve with rice, quinoa, cous cous, millet or crusty bread.

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Fruit Crumble for One (or more!)

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Easy to whip up dessert when you want something sweet without all the hassle of making a large serving! If you want to make more though feel free to double, triple or quadruple the recipe.

All the ingredients needed for this recipe are ones you probably have lying around! And the type of fruit used is flexible too. I have used apple, banana and strawberries but you can also sub in other berries, cherries, pears, peaches, plums or mangoes. Actually this would be to die for with some peaches so I can’t wait to try it again in the summer when peaches are in season!

This is great on it’s own but it might not hurt if you decide to top it with a scoop of ice cream. Just saying.

So what are you waiting for?

 

Individual Serving Fruit Crumble

  • 1 cup fruit (equivalent to 1/2 small apple + 1/2 banana or 1 cup berries or 2 peaches)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon oats (I used quick oats but whatever oats you have on hand will work)
  • 1 tablespoon almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 1 tablespoon butter softened
  • 1 tablespoon nuts and dried fruits, roughly chopped (optional but highly reccomended)
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Dice the fruit
  3. Mix the fruit with lemon juice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp brown sugar and then place in the ramekin you will be baking in.
  4. In another bowl mix together the oats, almond meal, butter, remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, nuts and dried fruit until well combined
  5. Put the oat mixture on top of the fruit and bake in oven for around 25 minutes until the top is lightly browned
  6. Top with ice cream or whipped cream or more fresh fruit if desired and enjoy!

 

 

 

Presto Pesto

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The saying about only appreciating things when you don’t have them – so true.

When we moved to India, one of the biggest problems for me was getting used to the fact that lots of the fresh products I was used to getting in Singapore were just not available widely here. I mean, you can still get things like raspberries, blueberries, avocados and asparagus but you have to go to specialty ‘gourmet’ stores and they’re extremely overpriced. Things I had taken for granted like basil, I now relished.

But now that we’ve moved into our own house we have lots of fresh produce growing in our own garden! We have spinach, methi (fenugreek), basil, mini oranges…  So you would think that now I have an almost endless supply of fresh basil I would be using it 24/7. Right?

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But yeah… not so much. Since we’ve moved into the house (5 months) I think I’ve used basil approximately… 3 times. And in that time we have probably gone through 10-12 jars of store bought pesto. I know, I know. Disgraceful.

It’s just that the whole process seems like so much work. It’s easier to just buy a ready made jar and not think about it. But when I went out one day and saw that the basil plant was slowly drying up I decided it was time to change.

And I’m so glad I did! Making pesto is so easy – it takes practically 15 minutes and most of that time is spent getting the pesto out of the food processor! When you make your own pesto, you can alter the flavors to your liking and experiment with different nuts and even add in other herbs. Also the taste of fresh pesto exceeds store bought by a landslide!

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So no further ado.. here’s an amazing, customizable, pesto recipe inspired by love and lemons.

How to customize:

I always use 2/3 basil + 1/3 coriander because otherwise the basil flavor is a bit too strong, but feel free to use all basil or experiment with addition of other herbs like mint or arugula

For the nuts I used a combination of walnuts and almonds, but you can use any nuts – pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans.. Pine nuts are generally the best for pesto but I didn’t have any on hand 🙂

Add in some grated parmesan cheese, some nutritional yeast or a dash of balsamic vinegar for some extra kick. Most recipes also use black pepper but I prefer the taste without it. It’s a personal opinion though so if you like it – go for it!

Basil Pesto

(Makes around 1 cup)

  • 1 1/2 cup herbs
  • 1/4 cup nuts
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and paprika/chili flakes
  1. Lightly toast the nuts in a small plan until lightly browned
  2. Add all the ingredients in a food processor until well blended
  3. Taste and adjust the salt or acidity if necessary. If too sour, add a splash of honey or agave syrup.

Enjoy!

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Sesame & Peanut Crusted Tofu

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This is a great side dish to serve along with rice or vegetables or meat. It’s flavorful and hearty and really easy to make!

If you have time to marinade the tofu in the sauce, that would be highly recommended but if you’re pressed for time you can skip the marinading step and just dip the tofu in.

Serving size: 1-2 (easily double or triple the recipe for more servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package tofu
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon coconut milk (optional, can replace with 1 tsp water and )
  • 1.5 tsp ginger paste/grated ginger
  • 1 tsp honey/agave (I used honey, if vegan you can use agave)
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • pinch of chill powder/paprika
  • 3 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoon shelled and toasted peanuts
  • sesame/canola/olive oil (sesame is best)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • handful fresh coriander (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut the tofu into square slices
  2. In a wide bowl, mix the soy sauce, coconut milk, honey, ginger and peanut butter well.
  3. Add the tofu pieces to the sauce and if you can, leave for 2-3 hours. Otherwise just move on to the next step.
  4. In an other bowl, crush the peanuts and sesame seeds.
  5. Heat a flat frypan, heat around 1-2 tsp oil and spread evenly
  6. Wait until the oil is hot
  7. Dip the tofu slices, one by one, in the crushed peanut-sesame mixture and then place on the pan. You can do 5-6 slices at a time.
  8. Pour some of the leftover sauce on top of the tofu slices and flip after around 30 seconds
  9. Cook until browned on both sides and then remove from pan.
  10. Top with fresh coriander, squeezed lemon juice and any leftover sauce or nuts
  11. Enjoy!

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Homemade Granola

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A wonderful crispy granola, perfect in the morning with some cold milk and some dried fruit added on top. Or however you like granola, but thats my preference 🙂

I find making my own granola much better than buying store bought because I can alter the flavors to my liking and mix and match it instead of having the same flavor everyday. Also, I know exactly what’s going into it – no chemicals or sneaky corn syrup hiding in here! Not to mention, it’s super easy. All you need is oats, toppings, an oven and less than half an hour of your time. And 20 minutes of that is just waiting for it in the oven.

This is a simple granola because I like making this and then adding whatever toppings I feel like on that day, but feel free to add in more flavors or dried fruits or anything into the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats (rolled oats are best, but any oats would work!)
  • chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive/coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey/agave
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • More add ins: dried fruit, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, coffee powder, cinnamon, maple extract, cocoa nibs)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and take out a baking tray
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the oil and add in the honey and vanilla extract. Stir on low heat for about a minute until well integrated.
  3. Spread the oats, nuts and whatever other toppings on the baking tray.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients on top and mix well.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for around 20 minutes, shaking the tray ever 5 minutes to make sure the granola doesn’t stick and gets evenly baked.
  6. Done! Serve with yogurt, milk or fresh fruit!

Note: If you use dried fruit, add in only in the last 3 minutes.

Vegetable Hash and Fried Eggs

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I just realised that most of the recipes I post on this blog are breakfast recipes. So to solve that, y’all are going to have to make this for dinner. I don’t think that will be a problem – it’s delicious and it’s extremely healthy as it’s full of vegetables and protein.

This vegetable hash, although not very traditional, is bursting with flavor and more importantly, is super easy to whip up! You can double, triple or even quadriple the servings to suit yourself.

Use whatever vegetables you wish but I would avoid anything too soft like squash or greens.

Vegetable Hash

(2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • pinch of garlic salt, black pepper, oregano and chilli flakes
  • 1.5 cup mixed vegetables (I suggest corn, baby corn, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes – whatever’s in season)
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Dice the onion, garlic and vegetables. Set aside.
  2. Heat around 2 tsp olive oil in a small pan and when it’s hot, add the garlic and onion.
  3. Saute until lightly browned and then add in the vegetables
  4. Add the hot sauce and spices
  5. Lower the heat and cover the vegetables
  6. Meanwhile lightly coat a flat pan with olive oil
  7. When it’s hot, crack in two eggs
  8. Sprinkle the top with black pepper
  9. Your vegetables should be done by now, serve them on a plate and place the fried eggs on top.