Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

 
Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

This is the kind of soup I’d want on a rainy summer day when the temperature dips slightly and cools the air a little. I know it’s not officially summer yet, but we had a few rain-breaks in our amazingly sun-filled days, and I thought about soup in that moment, and why I don’t do more soup in the summer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about soup lately; I chatted with an inspiring energetic eighty-five year old woman a few weeks ago while we ate soup and savoury scones for lunch, she talked about how throughout her life, some of her happiest memories always involved soup.
“You know what Beethoven once said?…” she asks, “Only the pure at heart can make good soup”

This soup uses in-season vegetables; vine ripened tomatoes roasted to intensify their flavour cooked in a light broth, full of vegetables and aromatic basil – it’s simple, delicious and satisfying.

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I loved this weekend; I tend to like weekends that unfolds organically, it started with a little rain, which set the tone for a relaxing and glorious sunny weekend, and Saturday seemed like the perfect day for soup – I didn’t get up to much, but I made delicious soup for lunch.

This is a chunky soup, with a packet of gnocchi tossed in to add more substance.

The first time I made this soup, the gnocchi was an afterthought, inspired by fufu from Ghana –it adds a dimension of heartiness to the soup, and soaks up the delicious flavours, it’s become one of the reasons why I love this soup so much.

And everyone loves it too! As usual, I make a big pot and share… it’s more fun that way.

The soup has smoked salmon for the pescetarians but can easily be made wholly plant-based (vegan) by omitting the fish.

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Sardine and Bell Pepper Sandwich

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My mom and I often play the ‘remember when’ game; fortunately, I seem to have no recollection of my embarrassing childhood moments, and she doesn’t remember those incidents that call her parenting skills into question.

Her infamous sardine sandwiches came up on one of our trips down memory lane…

For as long as I can remember, my mom unfailingly made these sardine sandwiches, none of us particularly cared for them, but she made them every chance she got.
We’d have them for breakfast sometimes, with milky tea – which I always thought was an odd combination.

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The recipe was easy enough; mashed sardines mixed with chopped onions and Heinz Salad Cream, smeared and sandwiched between buttered bread.
It wasn’t a bad sandwich per se; it was my mom’s dedication to the recipe that was mystifying – she never once tried to modify the recipe, add or take out an ingredient or make it differently.

It’s a very old recipe, she tells us… from an old cookbook that was passed on to her when she was a little girl.
A cookbook from a time when Ghana was the Gold Coast and cookbooks were called cookery books, schools had something called Empire Day and the children sang “God Save the King/Queen”.

My mom’s beloved sardine sandwich was the one thing from the cookbook she could easily whip up when she became a young woman.

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We set out to recreate the sandwich, she loves her sardines, and they’re good for her – high in omega-3’s and calcium, they also contain B vitamins and iron.

This sardine and bell pepper sandwich is a modernized version of the old one, altered slightly; it’s still good, simple and easy to whip up – updated with some colourful sweet peppers, we used Dijon mustard in place of the heavy salad cream.
The fat from the fish and the acid from the mustard give it a nice creamy balance.
To add another burst of flavour, we sometimes slather pesto on to the bread before piling on the sardines and vegetables.
The trick is to make keep our options open, there’re are a multitude of veggies and spreads to try.

The verdict… mom loves it!!!

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Black-Eyed and Green Peas Pasta Salad

 
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I find that as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to love some traditions; they’re grounding, and sometimes comforting and nostalgic in a good way.
Eating black-eyed peas for prosperity on New Year’s Day is a tradition we borrowed just because we love black-eyed peas and would undoubtedly use any excuse to have them at our dinner table.

We had a jar of black-eyed beans sitting in the fridge from a few days before, so on New Year’s Day when we woke up in the afternoon, we set out to make this black-eyed and green peas pasta salad.
The salad was a recreation from summer when the sun lasted forever and corn was abundant – we used frozen corn this time.

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Sweet little green peas bursting with flavour, and ‘lucky’ black-eyed peas are the stars in this simple yet delightful salad.
It’s one of those ridiculously easy salads where you can throw in your favourites or use up stuff from your fridge and or pantry.
Our pantry is full of several tricolour/vegetable pastas; I like to use them in colourful pasta salads like this, they’re fun and cheery – especially during these dark gloomy days.

Another thing I like about this salad is there are always leftovers; lunch for the next few days!
And when it’s all tossed in and ready, I top mine with a bit of nuts or fried onions for crunch. Yum!

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Four Bean Salad with Farro

 
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I remember we grew beans when I was a child; we had a small wild field of black-eyed peas next to our house.
One of my favourite memories from childhood is of harvest time when my siblings and I were let loose to pick beans.
After several of our crops had failed, my dad grew the beans for its drought tolerance and the nitrogen it releases, which is good for the soil.

I’ve loved and eaten beans all my life and added to few varieties to my repertoire as I’ve discovered them.
I didn’t really give chickpeas much regard until I was an adult, and now, it’s my favourite beans.

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My little pantry constantly has an assortment of beans, mostly leftovers from other recipes – usually not enough to make a whole meal, but put them all together and you get something like this four bean salad with farro.

I must admit, the farro was an afterthought, orphaned from a farro and lentil salad I’d made.
Farro is new to me, I had it for the first time last April in New York, I was so enamoured with it I came home, bought a giant bag and made everything farro; from soups to porridge. Cooking farro was a little tricky for me until I found this guide. It was always a little too tough.
Although farro isn’t prominent in this salad, it still has a bit of chew and nuttiness.

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I use chickpeas, black beans, pinto and white beans in this salad, feel free to use whatever kind you have if you decide to make this salad; make a three-bean salad or a five-bean salad… And if you have problems with digesting beans, soak them overnight to help reduce its gas-causing sugars.

The salad itself is very easy to put together once you get your beans, canned is fine too. I used my favourite vegetables – onions, celery, peppers and sundried tomatoes, it’s a simple and flavourful salad, and let’s not forget nutritious.
The dressing is light yet peppy from the mustard, cumin and cayenne pepper.
This to me is comfort food, great for lunch or dinner; effortless, delightful and filling.

Four Bean Salad Four Bean Salad & Toast


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Lentil Tacos

 

Lentil Tacos

It’s incredible looking back and thinking about it now, but I didn’t really start cooking for myself until quite recently.
I read a quote yesterday that made me chuckle; “Cooking is pretty easy if you can read and have taste buds”
It sounds simplistic but it’s a fairly true assessment.
I was lucky to have been surrounded by culinary geniuses who didn’t mind cooking for me, plus I ate out a lot.
And what I really meant by that last sentence is that my sister @adjoa loves to cook and really loves sharing her meals with me.
So for years cooking was something I didn’t have to do… until I discovered food blogs, and then I really wanted to.
And now, I have a better appreciation for @adjoa’s cooking, and it’s more fun because we can get together and try new recipes together.
She made these lentil tacos a while back for lunch one weekend; giving the old taco a vegetarian twist – protein rich lentils, generously seasoned with mustard, cumin and cardamom and topped with fresh chunky salsa. Tasty, easy and delicious.
It’s so so good!
Definitely made for sharing, the recipe can be found here.

Lentil Tacos White Bean Tuna Salad


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