Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

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

Quinoa, Chickpea and Pesto

Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto

I’ve been feeling a little rushed lately; at work and at home… even my thoughts seem hurried and moments feel hastened.

I’ve never been a fan of this culture of busyness, what a truly bizarre way to live – It’s like everything I do is just so I can get to the next important thing,

I promised myself I’d have a real summer this year, so I’ve made a summer bucket list of sorts, of all the idyllic ways I want to spend this summer.

It’s not a crazy list, just a few perfectly ordinary things… like long hazy sundrenched days on the beach, impromptu picnics with old friends, lazy al fresco dining, endless road trips, and cozy evenings by a secluded lake alternating between naps and reading trashy novels.

Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto

With that in mind, I’m trying to step back from this constant itch to be dynamite and surge through everything.

I’m taking the slower approach and living more in the moment; the other day it occurred to me that we were already in the throes of summer and I hadn’t tackled my list yet.

So while I go off taking a shot at a memorable and slow summer, I’ll leave you with this ridiculously easy quinoa and chickpea tossed in pesto. It’s more of a concoction than a recipe, an addition to your ways-to-eat-pesto dish repertoire, especially if you’re as obsessed with making pesto as I am.

Marcona Almond and Mint Pesto Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto
Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto

This meal requires turning on the stove, which I guess isn’t a very summery activity when temperatures are high, but it’s quick, can be made ahead of time and ideal for dinner on the beach or enjoyed al fresco on your patio or balcony with a glass of rosé.

I always almost have a jar of pesto in the fridge; you’ll remember this marcona almond and mint pesto from a few posts ago.
It’s delicious with quinoa; I sauté onions and sundried tomato in olive oil, throw in some cooked chickpea, a generous heaping of pesto, and add cooked quinoa – and that’s it, a nice change from the traditional pasta.

I can’t wait to share my wonderful summer escapades, hope you’re having a wonderful summer too; even if it’s not summer where you are – savour the moment!

Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto
Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto

Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto

Marcona Almond and Mint Pesto

Marcona Almond and Mint Pesto

We’ve had a couple of really, really wonderful sun-filled days; I think if I don’t document them somehow, it’ll feel like they never happened when I’m back to trudging through puddles in my rain boots a week from now.

I’m talking tank-tops and flip-flop weather; it is as if we skipped spring and headed straight for summer. I even stopped taking my Vitamin D pills for fear I’d overdose.

Unfortunately, my week was inundated with mostly ‘stuff’ that didn’t include spending my free time outdoors – from the mounting pile of laundry to filing tax adjustments with the CRA and a million other tedious little tasks in between.

Thankfully I had pesto so dinners weren’t too much of a chore; I love pesto for this, I can quickly toss a spoonful with pasta, potatoes, couscous, quinoa… whatever, and hey presto, dinner is ready!

Whenever I’m making pesto, I make sure to double the recipe and freeze some for later, and boy, does it ever come in handy.

Marcona Almond and Mint Pesto Marcona Almond and Mint Pesto

It took me a while to come around to making this marcona almond and mint pesto; I’ve become quite enamoured with these almonds in recent years, I went from not knowing they existed to wanting to put them in everything.

I get like that with certain foods sometimes, I discovered green raisins at the nut store last week and I’m having a moment with it also, I want to make soda bread with them badly.

I already love almonds in pesto, they impart a nutty savoury taste and make the sauce really shine.

Marcona almonds are a special kind of almonds, delicate and sweeter, they have a more buttery flavour than regular almonds. It’s my favourite nut to snack on at the moment.

Mint and marcona almonds make a wonderful pairing in this pesto, the buttery sweet flavours of the almonds compliments the mint’s refreshing and bright essences, and a nice fruity extra-virgin olive oil rounds out the pesto beautifully.

Marcona Almond and Mint Pesto
Marcona Almond and Mint Pesto Marcona Almond and Mint Pesto

Marcona Almond and Mint Pesto

Forbidden Rice Porridge

Forbidden Rice Porridge

I’m a ‘porridge girl’, I love all manner of porridges; give me grain or seed and I’ll figure out a way to turn it into breakfast come morning; it’s not like it’s a hard task – all I need is a pot and some water

Porridge is comforting, filling and oh so familiar; I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t a part of my life.

In recent years I’ve been looking beyond the traditional corn and oat cereals I grew up with, I’ve experimented with a handful of grains and seeds like buckwheat, amaranth, polenta, cracked wheat, wheat berries, millet, quinoa, bulgur…

I like simple foods that pack a flavour punch, the porridges I make are usually creamy and pudding-like, when topped with fruit, nuts and more nut-milk goodness, it’s almost like having dessert for breakfast.

Forbidden Rice Porridge

I’ve been itching to try this forbidden rice porridge ever since I saw it here, then I saw it again recently, and like fate, it was topped with passion fruit and mango – guess what I had languishing on my counter? Passion fruit and mangoes!

The porridge sounded lovely, like something I’d wake up early on a weekend morning for. I’ve always thought black rice would be wonderful in dessert or pudding-like recipes with it’s naturally sweet and nutty aromatic flavours.

Rice porridge isn’t new to me; there was ‘rice water’ when I was a kid, it’s white rice cooked in plenty of water until almost mushy and the water turns thick and glutinous, it’s a popular breakfast food in Ghana.

I love, love this porridge, it’s rich creamy texture, the sweet nutty flavour and it’s so fragrant – there’s a bit of nutmeg and vanilla in this recipe to compliment the natural aroma of the rice.

It does transport you to tropical locales; fields of rice and coconut trees on deserted beaches with the bluest waters.

This porridge can be made overnight in a slow-cooker, use your favourite fruits and/or nuts, I’d even try dollop of whipped coconut cream for more coconut-ey creamy goodness.

Forbidden Rice Porridge

Forbidden Rice Porridge

Salted Caramel Pear Pie

Salted Caramel Pear Pie

Over the holidays, our dear friend J. gave us a box of pears so fragrant and juicy, my mom and I still reminisce about those pears months later.

This headed us into eating pears throughout the season; we’d get pears on our weekly grocery run and snack on them throughout the week or incorporate them into breakfast and salads.

This is the part in the story where I tell you that I have a slight food allergy to raw pears.
Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious.

I have seasonal allergies, and in the spring when the pollen count is high, pears exacerbate my allergies; it’s a condition called oral allergy syndrome.

Pears for Pie Salted Caramel Pear Pie

Luckily, I was never a great lover of pears; this dalliance grew from one wonderful experience with a box of perfumed luscious pears I couldn’t resist.

We started cooking with them more and more as we slowly eased into spring; we poached, made crumble, galettes and this fantastic pear pie.

This salted caramel pear pie sort of just happened, the way the best desserts sometimes come about.

We had pears that had sat on the counter for far too long and some salted caramel sauce that needed to be used up.

Salted Caramel Pear Pie

If you do make this salted caramel sauce, the recipe, which I’ve included in this post, will make more caramel sauce than you need but really, there’s no such thing as too much caramel sauce.
Use it on ice cream and other desserts, slather it on bread or make fondue…

The pie turned out quite lovely, the delicate baked pears tastes divine with the glorious salted caramel topping.

The dough is lightly spiced with cardamom, cinnamon and a dash of turmeric for a bit of colour.

You want to get together with a friend (or family) and share this pie, while it’s still warm top a healthy slice with a large scoop ice cream, and savour, and have lengthy chats about things that make you happy, perhaps places you’d like to visit.

Afterwards, when it’s all gone, you’d know you couldn’t have come up with a better dessert to end a magical season of pears.

Salted Caramel Pear Pie Salted Caramel Pear Pie

Salted Caramel Pear Pie Salted Caramel Pear Pie

Salted Caramel Pear Pie

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