Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich

Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich

If you follow me on Instagram (If you don’t, go take a peek, I’ll wait), you’ve probably seen a few photos of our balcony.

It’s a darling little balcony, dotted with colourful blooming flowers; hydrangeas, begonias, azaleas, lilies and a few other plants I can’t identify.

For years, come every summer, the balcony would lay bare save for the one plant that grew back, which always made me hopeful. I didn’t mind that the balcony was bare when we lived next door to one of the best parks in the world. We didn’t need plants on the balcony, we have a whole forest for our backyard, I used to think to myself.

However, we felt a little differently this summer, longing for a cozy spot just our own, a little refuge of an urban garden from the rest of the world.

Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich
Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich

From our local garden centre we got advice on the best suitable plants for our shaded north-facing balcony; we came home with flowers and outdoor furniture… and our serene urban retreat was born.

I think I’m more enamoured with how quick and easy it was to create a green oasis in our little city apartment, seamlessly extending our living space; but I do love the balcony too, so much that it’s where we start and end our day.

We spend most of our time home on the balcony now; we have meals, take naps and fill long sunny evenings chatting and watching the daylight fade away.

That first morning we woke up giddy and excited for breakfast out on the balcony; we planned on this pesto croissant sandwich simply because it’s ideal for those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to linger.

Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich

Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich

This is one of my favourite sandwiches; the combination of apple, pesto and croissant is a little unusual but so very good.
It’s fitting for a summer breakfast, light and satisfying and divine with a pot of good tea.

Continue Reading Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich + Recipe…!

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

We spent last weekend getting our little balcony summer ready.We’ve had many wonderfully long sun-filled days – the neighbourhood is awakened, with the beaches and parks are bustling with people. It feels decidedly like summer now.

Our local farmers’ market started last weekend; that to me is the sign of summer’s start; the vibrant and cheerful energy of the open market, fresh local produce – colourful and abundant, it all just feels very summer-ry.

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad
Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

I snagged the most beautiful bunch of radish not quite sure what to make with them, I brought them home, saw my copy of Jerusalem and I just knew… I went back out and got tomatoes, cilantro and parsley – I was going to make Ottolenghi’s spiced chickpea and fresh vegetable salad again.

This is one of the very first recipes I tried from the Jerusalem cookbook; it seemed so simple and unfussy.
I was pleasantly surprised at how wonderfully the flavours melded.

I love this salad because it’s refreshing and tasty and plays well with the warm aromatic spices in the chickpeas.
I also love how easy it is to put together and the fact that it uses simple and nourishing seasonal produce.

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad
Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Colourful meals eaten on lovely sunny balconies will make for happier people…

I want to stretch out on my little patio with salads like this, enjoy the lovely views and perhaps fall in love with my quirky neighbourhood again

That’s my wish for this summer, and for unending bright days that make everything seem possible.

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

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.

IMG_7921 Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup
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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!

IMG_3687 Black-eyed & Green Peas Pasta

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