vegan choc peanut butter cake

Vegan Chocolate Cake w Peanut Butter Choc Frosting

It was Eat This My Friend’s birthday yesterday.

Two Years now. Holy smokes!

The posts over the last 12 months really do reflect the tumultuous state of my life. And I feel that the focus has somehow shifted from recipe sharing, to sharing my thoughts. Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you haven’t. I made a little joke to myself about changing the name of the blog to Hear This My Friend. Because I feel like I’m on some kind of journey of self-discovery. The kind of journey you only embark on when you accidentally fall into a hole and can’t quite figure out how to get out. I wrote a little story about it in my head, to try and make sense of it all. It went along the lines of falling into a rather deep narrow hole, with my family and friends at the top of hole, calling out instructions. But I felt so disconnected to them, I couldn’t quite make out what they were trying to say. Even though they were there, I still felt so alone. So they decided to band together to form one big human chain. But they still couldn’t quite reach. I became very distressed, and cried and cried, until I found myself floating upon a sea of tears. Suddenly I discover that the tears had lifted me high enough to reach a hand! And because crying a sea of tears can sometimes take a very long time, I had a lot of time to think about things. And figure things out.

Throughout this process, I’ve recorded any kind of insightful discovery. All of the things that I am learning on this terrifying journey, and mustn’t ever forget. I’ve found that the very process of writing them down, really helps to illuminate exactly what I’m learning. This blog is basically a journal. What originally started as a journal of my culinary successes (that I share with you, so that you too may have culinary successes), has now evolved into a journal of thoughts, too. Somehow I feel they’re both worth sharing.

To those of you who have offered me your support over this past year, those of you in that metaphoric human chain, thank you. You’re helping. I’m not entirely sure what point I’m up to in that crazy story, but I know how the chapter ends. And I’m quite curious to know what happens next.

siftervegan chocolate cake prepvegan choc cake prep

 

VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE W PEANUT BUTTER CHOC FROSTING


cake ingredients

wet:

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee (I used espresso)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

dry:

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cups + 1 Tbsp plain flour
  • 3/4 cup raw caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

frosting ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of vegan butter (nuttalex)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup (or even less) almond milk

  1. Preheat over to 180 degrees C.
  2. Combine the almond milk and vinegar and set aside for a minute to activate.
  3. Add to the remaining wet ingredients and beat until foamy.
  4. Sift in the wet ingredients and fold gently until thoroughly combined. It should be quite a wet mixture.
  5. Pour into a small cake tin that has been lined with baking paper
  6. Place in the oven to bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Leave to cool completely, while making the frosting.
  8. To make the frosting beat the nuttalex and peanut butter together. Add the cocoa and icing sugar, and a splash of the almond milk. Beat together until combined. Add more almond milk in gradually, if the frosting is still a bit dry. Once you reach a good consistency, spread the mixture liberally over the top of the cake. I don’t even bother trying to make it look pretty.

 


 

Red lentil tarka dhal

Red Lentil Dhal

I live by the sea, and the cold wind blows strong.

In summer it is a real asset. It smells of salt and coconut. There are children with spades digging channels and teenagers jumping off the pier. And we all spend hours in the crashing waves. For me however, its true beauty is revealed when the weather turns cold, and everyone else is at home.

I regularly walk along the shore. Sometimes with my son. We look for treasures like special rocks, pretty shells, and smooth pieces of driftwood. We watch the birds fly about, rearranging their v-formation, or the lone pacific gull, sitting on the water. We wonder where he might be going. Why is he alone? Is he happy? We make up stories about him. We chatter for hours about these little things. Each visit is special, we never seem to tire of it.

When he is not home I go by myself. I walk right along the shore, at the very edge of the water, so the tide can tease my shoes. I am alone, but don’t feel at all lonely. As always, I am completely captivated by the sky – the subtle hues, the sunbeams, but most especially, the clouds. They are absolutely mesmerising. All the while, the salty air blows a gale through my soul. As it passes through me, it grabs onto all my negative thoughts. Every gust is like a big spirited clean out. It is wonderful. I return home with a clean slate, and a renewed outlook on life.

Occasionally I find myself caught up in some kind of vortex of negativity. Innocently going about my business, only to be sucked up unexpectedly, and spun out of control. You know those times, when things in life aren’t going so well, and all of a sudden everything is going wrong. Sometimes I feel like writing a letter to the universe, explaining that I’ve had quite enough now, and could it kindly restore order. Then I remember my special place. I return to the sea shore, and allow the cold salty air to work it’s magic. It revives me, once again.tarka dhal spicesbig pot of dhal

Red Lentil Dhal

Serves 6 – 8
vegan and gluten free


 

  • 375g red lentils
  • 1 small onion, sliced into thin half moons
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsps cumin seeds
  • 2 tsps turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh green chillies, finely diced
  • thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • handful fresh coriander, chopped roughly
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • cooked rice, to serve

  1. In a large heavy based saucepan, add the oil and sliced onions with a pinch of salt. Saute over a low heat until transparent.
  2. Add the spices and garlic, and stir into the onion mixture for a minute or two.
  3. Add the red lentils and enough water to cover the lentils by about 5cm (some lentils are more thirsty than others). Stir, and turn the heat up to high. When it comes to the boil, reduce heat to low, and keep stirring intermittently for about 30 minutes, or until lentils are soft. It should be a porridge like consistency, add more water if necessary. If it’s too thin, keep on the heat and reduce down until you reach desired thickness.
  4. Add the ginger and season with about a tsp of salt. Stir, then check and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  5. Combine the chopped coriander and tomato and set aside in a bowl.
  6. Add rice to bowls and ladle the dhal over the top. Garnish with a handful of the fresh tomato/coriander mix.

dahl table

rice and veg bowl

Baked Rice with Veg + Bocconcini

Sometimes my heart decides to move from my chest and settle itself high up in my throat. And I am positive that everyone can see it there, pulsating. Generally, this move occurs as a heavy blanket of anxiety wraps itself around my shoulders. Unlike the majority, who feel like they’re dying inside, I just go ahead and die on the outside too, for all to see. This is the issue with having no social mask. No poker face, just complete and utter transparency. Every tiny cell in my body gives away my secrets, against my will. Some say that this transparency is a beautiful thing, the raw honesty. I suppose it’s the very definition of wearing your heart on your sleeve. You can take it from me, it is not beautiful. It is problematic. And all you want to do is run away, because you can’t manage to compose yourself.  How can it be that the very thing I detest in some – a facade – is also the very thing I wish I could somehow acquire?tarragon and vegetablesvegetable preplemons and tarragon


 BAKED RICE WITH VEgetables + BOCCONCINI

gluten free and vegan option

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped tarragon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 – 5 bocconcini balls (vegans substitute cashew cheese)

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan (one which can be transferred into the oven).
  3. Add the onion and eggplant with a big pinch of salt, and saute for a few minutes over a medium/high heat. Once golden, add the garlic and rice and stir.
  4. Add the stock, zucchini, tomato and tarragon and bring to the boil.
  5. Grate in the lemon zest.
  6. Cover with a lid or tightly with foil and transfer to the oven.
  7. Cook for 50 – 60 minutes, or until rice is cooked through.
  8. Remove lid, break up the bocconcini balls and scatter over the top.
  9. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  10. Serve on it’s own, or with a leafy salad.

Serves 4.

rice bake with vegbaked rice veg and bocconcini

raw rosey rocky road

Pistachio + Rose Rocky Road

In the past, optimism was a characteristic that seemed to elude me. I could have safely been labelled the ‘glass half empty’ kind. The good news is however, due to the cleverness of the human brain, a hopeful, optimistic attitude is something you can actually acquire.

If optimism is a gene that you inherit, I have a friend who was born with two of them. She is well and truly beyond the ‘glass half full’ kind. More like ‘glass is ¾ full’. And then, ‘Yeah, let’s fill that sucker up so it’s overflowing’. I am luckily enough to have that woman as my best friend. Last week, this beautiful optimism was in full force. Bill Callahan, one of our most favourite singer/songwriters, announced he would be performing at the Sydney Opera House. Living in Melbourne, my (more recent) glass half full brain immediately thought, oh, he might come to town! But my friend sees the world a little differently to me.

She told me that we are going to Sydney. And that was that.

She bought the tickets that day. It’s happening, and I was coming along for the ride. Because, in her eyes, it just wouldn’t be as much fun if I wasn’t there.

This turn of events really made me think about just how much her positivity has influenced my life over the years. And it’s more than I could have ever imagined, really. There were countless experiences and achievements of mine that could be traced back to her optimism. Her enthusiasm, her motivation, her courage. Such is her level of optimism that it overflows from her body, to be shared around with her friends. And where I would have just dusted my hands and walked away if I encountered one too many hurdles, she would be there, filling up my half empty glass with the optimism that spills out of her.

We have been friends for very many years. And luckily for me, my brain has been trained by her brain to be more sanguine. Brains are quite clever like that. They notice immediately if a task is approached in a more optimal way. So the solution, my friends, is rather easily attained.

Just surround yourself with positive people.

pistachio rocky roadpistachios healthy rocky roadclean rocky road prepchocolate paleo rocky roadrocky road prep

Pistachio + Rose Rocky Road
(raw, paleo, vegan, gluten free)

You can easily halve the recipe to make a smaller batch – just use a smaller pan (like a loaf tin).


 

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 4 Tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 6 Tbsp rice malt syrup
  • 1/4 tsp rose water
  • 1 cup crushed macadamias (or popcorn if you are not overly fussed about it being raw)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1/4 cup sultanas

 

  1. Melt the coconut oil and rice malt syrup together.
  2. Whisk in the raw cacao powder and rose water, until smooth.
  3. Place remaining ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir. Pour in the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly to coat.
  4. Line a square cake tin with baking paper and pour in the mixture. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the mixture tightly into the pan.
  5. Place in the freezer to set, for at least 2 hours.
  6. Cut into squares and serve!

Makes 24 squaresvegan rocky road

 

cashew-maple-muesli-bars

Cashew Maple Muesli Bars

Do you have certain songs that transport you to a particular time in your life?

I do.

I can listen to a song and instantly be hauled back to the past. But not just by way of memories, it’s much deeper than that. It’s as if the song pokes me hard in the heart with its index finger. And suddenly I’m drowned by the waves of emotions that I happened to be experiencing at the time. There are certain albums that have the potential to bring back the elation of a new love. Or conversely, there are albums where each individual note within a song seem to represent every ache of my heart, broken at the time. I can listen to music and find myself re-living my own past experiences. And quite vividly, mind you.

True to my obsessive nature, I tend to only listen to a couple of albums on rotation. And as circumstances in my life happen to change, some albums are replaced with others. At the moment I only have a couple of artists that are of interest to me, namely, Smog and Beach House. Why specifically these two? Well, that I do not know. There are a number of bands and artists that I would profess as my favourite, but just don’t seem to be relevant to me right at this instant.

museli bar prep

I made a batch of these muesli bars for both my son and I. They are a simple, healthy, no bake snack option for after work/school, or to pop in a lunchbox (for those of you whose children go to a school who allows for nuts). I had  A River Ain’t Too Much To Love keeping me company as I prepared these. Which I highly recommend.

I wonder, if in years to come when I hear this album, I’ll be transported back to my kitchen, preparing muesli bars, and flooded by the waves of emotion I’m experiencing today?

Cashew Maple Muesli Bars
vegan and gluten free


 

  • 1 1/2 cups GF rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup salted cashews
  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates

 

  1. Place the rolled oats into a wide, heavy-based  and dry toast for a couple of minutes, whilst shaking the pan every now and then. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Place the cashews into the food processor and blitz very briefly, to break them up only a little. Pour into bowl with oat mixture. Stir.
  3. Heat the peanut butter and maple over a medium heat until quite warm and liquified, and pour over the oats. Stir again.
  4. Place the pitted dates, one by one with the motor still running, in the food processor and blitz until they are completely pureed. Place these also into the mixing bowl.
  5. Use your hands to thoroughly combine the mixture.
  6. Prepare a square or rectangular cake tin with baking paper and press the mixture into the tin. You will need to very firmly press the mixture into the tin, using the palms of your hands.
  7. Place the tin into the refrigerator, for a least a few hours, to set.
  8. Once set, remove from the tin and cut into bars. I cut mine into ten.
  9. Keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

clancy's healthy muesli bars

spring-onion-omlettes

Omelettes, Asian Style

omlette mixture cookbook

Dear fellow humans, I have advice for you. Which indeed I need to heed myself.

If ever you find yourself going through tough times, it is important to surround yourself with the people who love you, and who make you feel safe. Although often, when you’re down, the last thing you may want to do is be around others. Science taught me something important this week. Just as physical pain requires bandages, creams, or medicines, emotional pain requires social support. So if you think you may need it, call your friends, visit your loved ones, and accept this support.

All of us humans, from time to time, experience difficult times. Despite not being in the mood for company (in fact I usually  prefer to wallow in self-pity for a while, hehe), I decided to accept my mum’s offer and stay at her place for the weekend. I cooked for everybody, as the kitchen is my happy place. I made omelettes, a recipe of Nigel Slater’s I have had bookmarked for some time now. They were unbelievable. And a recipe most definitely worth sharing with you all.

Please note, it is very important not to omit the amazing sauce. For I believe it is the amazing sauce that makes this dish truly wonderful. Also, make sure you don’t lock yourself away when you’re going through turbulent times. Science says so.

ricotta sping onion omlettericotta omlette mixture omlettes in the pan omlettes, asian style

Omelettes, Asian Style
Adapted from Nigel Slater.
Gluten free. Serves 3


 

  • 6 eggs
  • 200g ricotta
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • handful of coriander leaves
  • big pinch salt
  • butter or ghee, for frying
  • dressing

(whisk together until combined)

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp rice malt syrup or brown sugar
  • 1/2 bird’s eye chilli, finely diced
  • freshly grated ginger, to taste

 

  1. Whisk together the eggs, salt, ricotta, and spring onions. Place a heavy based pan over medium heat and melt the butter. Ladle in small batches of the egg mixture, so they are about 6cm in diameter. Fry gently until golden, then flip. Remove from heat once the other side is done. Continue until the mixture is finished.
  2. Sprinkle on the coriander. And spoon over some dressing.

They are even good cold.

omlette kitchen

sugar-free-apricot-bliss-balls

Apricot Coconut Bliss Balls

apricot coconut bliss balls

Well, here we are, the start of the new school year.

I have mixed emotions about this, yet again. Although it is just a day, and my son is only one measly day older than yesterday, the start of a new grade signifies that my little baby is much further away from being a baby. He is a Grade 1 boy. Not a kid in his first year of school, but well and truly integrated into the education system. And over those 6 weeks of school holidays, I had endeavoured to visit relatives, and tackle all of the bits and pieces I had been putting off for a great while. None of that happened. They were over, in what felt like a week and a half!

On the flip side, I am creature that thrives on routine. It suits my obsessive nature rather well. I am thrilled to have a new one, a routine that suits my new 2015 life. Back to regular bed times. Back to home cooking, and lunch-box making. And reinventing old meals into new, healthy, jade-ified versions. Back to blogging. I love it already.

I was inspired to make these bliss balls upon seeing those apricot delight (square things in the packets) on the shelves in the health food section of the supermarket. You know the ones, they’re the type of packaged goods that look like they’re healthy, but they’re actually not. With school back, I thought it the perfect opportunity to attempt a healthy version for the lunch-boxes.

The results were brilliant, as they tick all the boxes. They are dead easy. And delicious. And take all of 5 minutes to prepare. And Clancy loves them. I suspect they are going to be on high rotation for some time now.

sugar free apricot bliss balls

Apricot Coconut Bliss Balls
(Raw, Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free)
Makes approximately 15 bliss balls.


 

  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 and 1/4 cup almonds
  • scant 1/2 cup of pitted dates
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • extra shredded coconut, for rolling

 

  1. Place the almonds in a heavy duty food processor and pulse until you reach a coarse breadcrumb consistency. Add the apricots one by one, while pulsing all the time. Next add the dates, one by one, pulsing still. Lastly add the shredded coconut and coconut oil, and give it one more good pulse.
  2. Roll mixture into balls the size of a walnut shell. The mix should adhere when pressed but not be overly wet and sticky. Add some more desiccated coconut or almond meal if it is. Or an extra date or two if the mixture is dry.
  3. When you’ve finished rolling (or as you go), roll the balls into more shredded coconut to coat.
  4. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 

 

 

 

fruit-tabouli

Fruit and Nut Tabouli

My life, over the last six months, has been tipped upside down and thrown on it’s head. Hence my lack of commitment to Eat This My Friend. Without delving too deeply into my personal life, I discovered that in times of total stress I completely lose my appetite. I have not been in the mood to eat, or cook. In fact, I have been forcing meals down, so that I am not running on empty. And to stop myself from dropping any more weight.

Whilst this might sound all morose, the truth is that I am very happy. Change is a tough process for some, and perhaps more so for me than most. It can leave us feeling extremely vulnerable.

Scary as the process may be however, if changes in life are necessary, they should be embraced fully. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Trying to embrace change, by taking charge of my world, and creating myself a new path. The turn of the new year often stirs up a whole gamut of desires, goals, aspirations, and the like. For me, I noticed that for the first time ever, I am excited about leaving the security of familiarity. Perhaps I am just growing up, finally.

So, a big part of being a responsible-grown-up-adult-person, is taking the time to take care of yourself. This year I have resolved to do just that. Which, luckily for all of you, involves more eating, more cooking, and therefore more recipes!

The first recipe for the year is something I have made countless times, one version or other anyway. It is a bit of a riff on the classic tabouli – a sweet version, with fresh seasonal fruit, dried fruit, and toasted nuts and seeds. It comes together very quickly, and is easily adaptable to what you have in the fruit bowl and pantry. I used bulgur wheat, but have used quinoa in the past, which makes for a yummy gluten free version. Use the recipe below as a loose guide.

tabouli bulgur wheat fruit and nut tabouli preparation

Fruit and Nut Tabouli
Serves 2 


 

  • 1/4 cup fine bulgur wheat
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 mango, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 nectarine, sliced
  • 1 plum, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • handful raspberries
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 dried apricots, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp currants

 

  1. Start by preparing the bulgur wheat. Stir the boiling water through the bulgur wheat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Whilst the bulgur wheat is set aside, prepare the fresh fruit and place in a bowl. Place the seeds and nuts in a dry skillet and toast for a minute or two, whilst constantly stirring or shaking the pan. Once they have a tiny glimpse of colour, remove from the pan and place in a bowl. Stir through the dried fruit.
  3. When the bulgur is soft, combine with the fresh fruit, and nut/seed/dried fruit mixture, and gently toss to combine.
  4. Serve immediately.

fruit n nut tabouli

 

banana-bread-vegan-slice

Simple Vegan Banana Bread

This is one of those very handy recipes to have up your sleeve. A vegan banana bread. I have made many over the years, this one is the simplest, and the best. And yet another one of those ones that you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between a vegan or conventional one. Even if you’re not a vegan, it’s still worth a try, especially if you’re out of eggs but have a bowl full of black bananas. For some reason I always find myself in this situation.

It is also worth noting that young Clancy loves this in his lunch box. He is ultra fussy with his food, so it’s a testament to how delicious it really is. And I’d have to agree. Yesterday I ate a chunk, toasted, with my Choc-Tahini Spread smeared on top. It pretty much blew my mind.

vegan banana loaf

Simple Vegan Banana Bread
Makes one loaf

Note: I used coconut oil but I am certain that any mild flavoured vegetable oil will do. Just make sure it’s cold-pressed, so it’s not harmful to your body. Or not. These are just the crazy codes I live by, sometimes I feel I might be the only one. 


 

  • 4 medium overripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour (I used a mixture if wholemeal and white)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup raw caster sugar
  • ⅔ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla concentrate
  • 1/2 cup chopped Medjool dates

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Place the overripe bananas into a mixing bowl and beat until pureed. Add the vanilla, coconut oil, and sugar, and beat again until combined.
  3. Fold in the flour, raising agents, and salt, until thoroughly combined.
  4. Fold in the chopped Medjool dates, and pour the batter into a loaf tin lined with baking paper.
  5. Bake for 45 mins to an hour, or until skewer comes out clean.
Store at room temperature.
It keeps for quite a few days, and is even better after some time in the toaster.

banana bread vegan

 

middle eastern spiced veg and buckwheat bowl

Spiced Vegetables and Buckwheat

I only recently got my driver’s licence. Just three months ago. For the last 34 years I had walked everywhere.

Most people thought it was absolutely absurd, to be my age and not know how to drive. You see my mother doesn’t know how to drive so I was not raised with a car. We just walked, and didn’t think anything of it. It was normal for us.

When I fell pregnant 7 years ago, it occurred to me that it might become important for me to learn to drive. So I took lessons with an instructor, and I truly sucked! Lesson after lesson, still terrible. My anxiety had a hold of me. I began to feel that perhaps it was just one of those things that I wasn’t capable of. A terrible curse I had inherited from my mother. Then my enormous stomach got in the way and I decided to stop trying.

So I carried on walking everywhere and didn’t think about again for many years.

Just this year I decided to take the plunge and have another go. In fact, my boss passed on the phone number of his driving instructor friend. That little scrappy piece of paper stayed in my bag for months before I finally made the call. I am not entirely sure what I was afraid of. Oh hang on yes I am, I was scared of failing. I wasn’t particularly comfortable with that. Anyway I had lessons and lo and behold I got my licence. I bought a car. I was terrified. But I drove everywhere nonetheless.

Since then I have been driving on freeways, in the city, in peak hour, in storms. And I love it. Although I am still terrified, I still cannot get over the fact that I finally achieved something I never thought possible. Yet earlier in the week it occurred to me that something was wasn’t quite right.

I realised that I miss walking.

It became clear to me how much I actually enjoy walking. How it helps to clear my head. How it energises me. So I decided to pop my headphones on and take a little walk, to soak up the sunshine. I ended up walking for over two hours. It was incredible! Then I woke up the following day and did exactly the same thing. It made me so happy. It was like I’d had an epiphany. It became so obvious how important it is for me to take time out to walk, and sort through all my thoughts. To daydream. To have the opportunity to think big.

I returned home and cooked myself this enormous pot of nourishment. I could feel every cell in my body saying thank you to me after each mouthful. It is super easy, once you get your head around the spice list. Alternatively you could just buy yourself some ready made ras el hanout spice blend and you’d be eating in about 20 minutes. I have been eating a bowl of this everyday now, when I get home from my long walk in the sun.

cast iron veggie potvegetables and buckwheatspiced vegetables and buckwheat

Spiced Vegetables and Buckwheat

This is vegan and gluten free. Clean eating at it’s best. If you think you’d need to bulk it out, couscous would be perfect. If you have dukkah around the house, a sprinkling of that would be rather good. 

Inspired by a recipe from Yallateef.


 

  • 1 cup buckwheat, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, sliced into thin half moons
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 zucchini, roughly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • handful of olives (I used my favourite – Ligurian, but I am sure any would do)
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout (recipe below)
  • 1 tsp pomegranate mollasses
  • 1 birds eye chill, finely diced
  • 1 tsp sea salt

 

  1. In a large pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion and carrot and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and zucchini and stir. Leave for another few minutes.
  3. Add the spice blend, salt, and pomegranate molasses and stir. Add 3 cups of water and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the buckwheat and leave to simmer for a minute or two.
  5. Remove from heat and let stand uncovered for 15 minutes. The vegetables and buckwheat will absorb a lot of the water.
  6. Spoon into bowls and add a little diced chilli.
  7. Optional: Serve with couscous and a sprinkling of dukkah.

Serves 4 – 6.

middle eastern spiced veg and buckwheat

Ras el hanout spice blend
Grind the following together in a mortar and pestle.


 

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cardamom seeds
  • ¼ tsp hot paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice