Hello Everyone, I hope you are all having a great day.
Recently I was looking through some emails and I was intrigued by a range of falafel type foods. Apparently, falafel means ‘small ball-shaped peppers’ or ‘little balls’ and today’s recipe is inspired from the recipe book Persepolis: Vegetarian Recipes from Peckham, Persia and beyond. Although they don’t look or taste like traditional falafel balls, many of the components are still the same, for example chickpea flour, cumin and sesame seeds are used. I did have to adopt the recipe slightly because I didn’t have everything but its still the same vibe. These falafel would make great meat free burgers and are full of so much texture and flavour.
I made a quick salad using sliced red bell peppers, sliced cucumbers and grated carrot. I also made 2 flatbreads to stuff everything inside. Honestly, the falafel was quite filling and it would be perfect to eat one wrap as a light lunch as I was pretty full when eating the last half. This was a very enjoyable meal which I will definitely make again, hopefully with all of the correct ingredients. It still turned out really good but I can imagine the sweetness from sweet potatoes would make such a difference.
Recipe: Potato and broccoli falafel (makes 4)
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 garlic, peeled
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp chickpea flour
Handful of broccoli, finely chopped
Set the oven to gas mark 6 and place the potatoes, garlic and onion onto an oven tray. Drizzle over the oil and cook in the oven for roughly 20 minutes.
In the meantime, add the other ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.
Once the potatoes are soft, add them to a blender along with the garlic and blend until just smooth, it gets quite sticky here.
Add the potato and garlic mixture to the bowl with the onions too and combine well with a spoon. The split the mixture into 4 equal sizes.
Wet hands and then shape the falafels into burger shapes and place each one on a lightly oil tray.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until fully cooked and slightly golden.
Assemble your other ingredients whilst the falafel is in the oven and enjoy.
These days, when I’m eating pasta, I like to incorporate much more vegetables into the recipe as sometimes pasta can be quite filling. If the pasta is a super processed variety it can leave me feeling really full or even bloated which is never comfortable. I’ve added a hearty portion of kale and broccoli which contain a great range of vitamins and minerals, such as antioxidants, protein and fibre, supporting the body. *A little tip for when you buy kale, wash it straight away and put it into the freezer so that it lasts longer.
Fusilli is quite popular in our household, I think it works well for simple pasta dishes and especially a pasta bake, the sauce and other ingredients get into the curls of the pasta and each bite is super tasty. I did have a few penne leftover so they went into the pan as well. I like the cut the broccoli fairly small and mix it in with the ingredients before it goes into the oven so it will remain firm to the bite. This was a very juicy pasta dish, I think because there was a decent amount of pasta sauce and the kale had been frozen prior to using. Anyway, it tasted amazing and is a perfect mid week meal to cook for the family.
Recipe: Cheesy pasta bake (serves 4)
3 portions of fusilli pasta
Pinch of salt
Sprinkle of turmeric
2 handfuls kale
5 large florets of broccoli, chopped
1/2 carrot, grated
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 tuna tin
1 jar pasta sauce
100g cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 and get an oven dish ready.
Put a pan of water to boil with a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of turmeric, add the pasta and cook according to the packet or a little less because it is going into the oven.
In the meantime, wash and prepare the vegetables then place into a large bowl along with tuna and 1/3 of the cheese.
Once the pasta is cooked, mix into the large bowl adding most of the sauce depending on how it looks.
Evenly place the pasta mix into an oven dish and sprinkle over the remaining cheese, cover with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes before removing the foil and cooking for a further 15 minutes.
Today’s recipe was inspired by a pack of pearly barley I had in the cupboard for quite a while, but just couldn’t figure out what to make with it. I originally thought about cooking some type of soup but nothing was really making it stand out so I opted for a vegetable mixture instead. As you can see from the images, its about 5% grain and the rest in vegetables, just how I like it. I’ve noticed more recently that grains, specifically white rice, can be quite filling and make me feel bloated, so I try to eat less of it these days and it’s super processed and not the healthiest option. As this was my first time eating pearl barley, I’m not sure how I felt about it. I followed the packet instructions but I didn’t really like the chewiness of the grains, I’m not sure if it was over cooked or not cooked enough but the were almost bouncing with every bite. I’ll definitely try another recipe to if I like it with other foods but overall, this was a very hearty meal, filled with lots of great vegetables.
Recipe: Pearl Barley with veg (serves 1)
25g uncooked pearl barley
1 tsp oil
1/3 spring onion, finely sliced
1 small sweet potato, peeled, washed, cut into cubes
Handful of kale
Handful of broccoli, washed and cut
Sprinkle of garlic powder, paprika, chilli flakes, salt
100ml warm water
Cook the pearl barley according to the packet instructions and set aside.
Prepare all of the vegetables and heat the oil in a deep pan, adding the spring onion once hot, cooking for only 2 minutes before adding the sweet potato, kale and broccoli.
Season the vegetables with your favourite herbs and spices, I used garlic powder, paprika, chilli flakes and salt. Pour in the water and mix everything together.
Leave to simmer for 15 minutes on a low heat until everything is fully cooked.
Turn the heat off then mix the pearl barley into the pan and leave for a few minutes before serving.
This recipe is great and can be eaten alone, with a side of rice or even homemade bread that can be dipped into the sauce. It is very nourishing and hearty but still great for this time of the year when the weather is cool and you fancy something hot. It’s nice and easy to prepare with minimal preparation. I’m cooking with a great range of vegetables; broccoli, garden peas, sweet potatoes and lentils but you could easily substitute them with your favourite vegetables. I always enjoy cooking with sweet potatoes because they offer such a delicious flavour that really compliments the curry paste used in this recipe. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of fibre which aid in the healthy digestive system, not only that, but cooking sweet potatoes is known to increase their vitamin C content.
Recipe: Sweet potato and lentil curry (serves 1)
1/2 tsp oil
1/3 small onion, finely diced
1/2 tbsp curry paste
Pinch of turmeric
30g lentils, soaked overnight in water
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
Handful of broccoli florets
50g garden peas
Heat the oil in a pan, once hot, add the onion and cook for a few minutes until soft.
Next, mix in the curry paste, turmeric, lentils and stock. Cook for 10 minutes on a low simmer.
After that, add the sweet potato and broccoli.
Cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the garden peas. Give it a final stir and leave on a low heat for a further 5 minutes and serve.
This is probably the third stir fry recipe I’m posting and it gets better every time. It can be quite hard to replicate a dish when you’re not following a specific recipe but a stir fry is great because as long as you use specific ingredients like ginger, garlic, wok oil and soy sauce, it should taste good. I used to love following recipes completely from beginning to end but I’m much more relaxed now and I really enjoy adding/taking away ingredients depending on my preferences.
Another reason why I love a stir fry is because you can add so much vegetables which count towards your 5 a day. I made this stir fry after work in a bit of a rush so I opted for dried garlic and ginger but you could always use them fresh which provides a more mellow taste.
Recipe: Quick veggie stir fry (serves 1)
Egg noodles (1 portion)
Handful of corn
1 tsp sesame wok oil
Handful of broccoli
100ml vegetable stock
Handful of kale
1/3 carrot, cut into sticks
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp soy sauce
Pinch of brown sugar, salt, chilli flakes, garlic powder and ginger
Cook the egg noodles according to the packet and set aside.
Heat the sesame oil in a deep pan, once hot, add the broccoli and cook for a few minutes.
Add the stock, kale and carrot to the pan, mix well.
Then mix in the spring onion, soy sauce, sugar, salt, chilli, garlic and ginger. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
Turn the heat off, mix in the noodles and keep covered for a couple of minutes before serving.