Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

I’d forgotten how much I love this time of the year. I love that stillness in the mornings that wasn’t there weeks before and the breezy cool sunny days.

It’s this time of year too that I start yearning for my favourite ‘comfort meals’ again; maybe it’s the cool evenings or the insight that we’re about be plunged into cold dark nights, but there’s something about this time that has me craving big hearty salads and soups.

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

I love lentils… sometimes to a point of silliness; I swear I could eat lentils for breakfast, lunch and dinner without complaint – it’s pretty evident from the amount of lentil recipes I have on this blog.

I love this time of year for salads like this wonderful quinoa and lentils with vegetables, it’s comforting, hearty and filling, and comes together quickly.

I’m all about easy to prepare meal; especially during this time when there’s still light out to bring dinner down to the beach or eat out on the balcony.

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad
Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

This is a well-rounded salad that can be adapted to include your favourite vegetables and legumes; use peas instead, or carrots or roast your fennel first for caramelized sweetness – I did this a few weeks ago.

I usually precook the lentils and quinoa and store them in the fridge, and reheat them when I’m ready to make the salad.

I use whatever vegetables I have on hand; with this salad it’s shaved fennel, carrots, red onions and sundried tomatoes, finished off with a tangy mustard vinaigrette.

I make plenty so there’re leftovers for the rest of the week because I love this salad more after a day or two, it gets even more wonderful when the ingredients have had a chance to get to know each other better.

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey

I’ve probably told the ‘marmite story’ a million times, of how my sister was anaemic when we were kids and marmite was one of the foods her doctor had recommended… It’s the story of how the dark spread came into my life.

I don’t recall liking marmite that much as a child; my mom would spread it thinly on toast and we’d eat it like it was medicine.

Years later when I tried marmite again, it tasted salty and savoury and bitter, and a little like nostalgia.
It grew on me halfway through the jar; I liked the salty savouriness, the yeasty, deep umami flavours reminiscent of reduced vegetable stock (vegetable demi-glace).

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey

We’re steadily eating our way through the few jars of marmite we got last year, it’s mostly my mom, she likes a dab in her morning Milo or hot chocolate.

I was over the moon when I discovered marmite snacks, we can’t get them here unfortunately so that just means I have to be creative.

I’ve been making marmite-y nuts for a while now, these nuts are so tasty even marmite haters love them, marmite adds an extra depth of saltiness and savouriness to the roasted nuts.

And these oven baked marmite cashews spectacular, by far my favourite marmite nuts; the cashews turn out creamy and buttery, and salty and that addictive umami taste – It’s so hard to stop eating them!

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey


Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

We had a scorcher of a heat wave last week, with soaring temperatures bothering on uncomfortable.

I walked around in a wide brimmed hat and tried to do as little as possible, eating mostly salads, fruits and ice cream for dinner. We spent time at the beach and stayed out on the balcony for as long as we could.

I kind of loved those hazy sultry days; the super long hot days, humid nights under the fan with the windows open and even those mysterious bug bites – it was almost as if we were living on some tropical island.

Temperatures cooled slightly over the weekend to almost fall-like weather, with grey clouds and light rain.

The change felt nice; it seemed the perfect opportunity to make porridge – it’s my go to comfort food for breakfast, and I don’t get to make it enough during the warmer months.

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

This buckwheat with mango and coconut cream is my take on the humble buckwheat porridge (kasha), and because it’s summer there are mangoes and coconut for a tropical twist.

I love the nutty chewy taste of buckwheat, and all its good-for-you properties, it’s easily digestible and doesn’t feel too heavy.

I like mine with an extra splash of almond milk, it makes it deliciously creamy!

I started making this porridge back in the spring when we’d just gotten out of the dark wintery days. They had Kent mangoes at my local grocery store; juicy, rich and sweet.

Chopped mangoes folded into whipped coconut cream are the ideal luscious warm weather topping for this kind of porridge – it’s bright and summery.

*To make whipped coconut cream, refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight, or freeze for the few hours. This is so that the cream (coconut fat) would rise to the top and harden. Open the chilled can of coconut and scoop out the fat leaving behind the watery liquid. Combine the coconut with 1/3 cup of icing sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla, whip until light and fluffy.

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream


Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

Chocolate Pizza

Chocolate Pizza

There are a few interesting stories to this chocolate pizza; two involve children, sort of – fitting since I’m pretty sure kids would love this sweet pizza.

Both are cute stories, of how I came to own a box of colourful Dutch sprinkles and a gooey tub of chocolate spread made with cocoa from Ghana.

Months ago, when I was strolling the canals of Amsterdam, my friend N who was expecting a baby at the time, sent me a text asking if I could pick her up some sugar-coated aniseed sprinkles (Muisjes) – auspiciously, I was standing in front of an Albert Heijn and they were the first things I spotted upon entering the store.
I got a pink one and a blue one since I didn’t know the sex of N’s baby.

N’s baby came this January past, a sweet little boy with the most adorable smile. She borrowed the Dutch custom and served guests who came to see the baby, donuts sprinkled with blue and white Muisjes, and I came home to a box of pink and white sugar-coated aniseed sprinkles.

Chocolate Pizza
Chocolate Pizza

Then there’s my little friend E, a passionate nine-year old with a slight obsession with vampires and Goth.
Choco Delight, a chocolate peanut butter spread from Ghana is on her list of favourite things at the moment – it’s better than Nutella, she said and I was intrigued. Her dad graciously got us a tub to try.

I initially wanted to make this chocolate pizza for E; to share with her on one of the evenings she passes by my place on her way to Girls Guide, but our timing was always off and I was sure we’d run out of chocolate spread if I waited for that perfect opportunity.

Chocolate Pizza Chocolate Pizza

So one morning when we would have just had bread with chocolate spread with our tea, I made chocolate pizza instead.
It’s simple really; bread dough slathered in chocolate and baked to perfection with a sprinkle of aniseed.
The sprinkles were an afterthought, but I do love the combination, the chocolate and the subtle liquorice flavour do well together.

I love it with tea; it’s like bread with your favourite chocolate spread, but so much more – it’s soft warm chewy bread with gooey melted chocolate – so good!

I used ’00’ flour for the dough, I got a small bag from the Italian store months ago to try out. I put my bread machine to work using a very simple dough recipe, same one I used here.
The dough can be made by hand too; here is a great step-by-step direction on how to.

I’m hopeful, E and I have set a date this summer, to get together and make chocolate pizza, and I’ll even let her choose the toppings.

Chocolate Pizza Chocolate Pizza

Chocolate Pizza

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


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