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Veggie Food With Balls: Cranberry and Za’atar Goats’ Cheese Balls with A Roasted Pepper and Cashew Dip

Published March 3, 2015 by The Feminist

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Some people think vegetarian food is boring.

Some people say it can be dull.

I say: Nonsense!

Vegetarian food can be the boldest, funkiest, most original and creative of all cuisines! The following recipe is the perfect illustration that vegetarian dishes can indeed be quite ballsy, both figuratively and literally in this case. The cute, little beauties you see in this picture are fried goats’ cheese balls in a crunchy almond crust and are flavoured with dried cranberries, za’atar and lemon zest. These gorgous croquettes are already delicious on their own, but combined with a salad of purslane and broccocress (the cress version of broccoli, because why not?!) and dipped in a heavenly dip made with roasted red peppers, garlic, harissa and cashew nuts this dish becomes a true flavour sensation! An explosion of magnificent colours, textures and flavours, all complementing each other beautifully: what better example of delicious veggie food could you possibly wish for?

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Ingredients (serves 1):

For the goats’ cheese balls:

  • 200gr matured, soft goats cheese
  • Handful of dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp of lemon zest
  • ½ tsp crushed pink pepper corns
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • Black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Flaked almonds (approx. 100gr)

For the roasted pepper and cashed dip:

  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into large chunks
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Handful of cashew nuts
  • ½ tsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp honey

For the salad:

  • 150gr purslane, washed
  • 100gr broccocress (or regular water cress/ garden cress/ mustard cress)
  • A small handful of cranberries
  • Lemon juice
  • Tiniest bit of olive oil

Method:

  1. Put the chunks of red pepper, tomato and garlic on a roasting tray and sprinkle with olive oil and salt. Put in a preheated oven at 250°C for about 10 minutes until the edges of the peppers are starting to char.
  2. Remove from the oven and put the roasted ingredients in a blender together with the cashew nuts, an extra tablespoon of olive oil, the harissa and the honey and mix until you get a lovely dip. Season to taste with salt if necessary. Put aside. (You can either serve this dip warm, cold, or in between. It will always be delicious!)
  3. Mix the goats’ cheese, cranberries, peppercorns, za’atar and lemon zest together in a bowl. Let it infuse for about 10 minutes, while you go on with the other elements of the dish.
  4. Mix the purslane and cress together with cranberries, a squeeze of lemon juice and a tiny bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Scatter the salad on a large plate and put the pepper dip in the middle.
  5. Now you can start rolling your balls! Take a tablespoon of the goats’ cheese filling and roll it into a bowl. This will be a sticky and fumbly process, but it doesn’t have to look perfect. Then roll the ball through the mix of flour, corn flour and pepper and you will see that the drop of cheese will start to look a lot more “ballsy”. Now drop the ball in the whisked egg and finally roll it through the crushed flaked almonds.
  6. Heat a layer of approx. 0,5cm of olive oil (or regular vegetable oil) in a small pan and fry the balls for a minute on every side, so that they look gorgeously golden-brown and are warm in the middle.
  7. Remove from the pan and let them drain on a piece of kitchen paper.
  8. Scatter the balls on top of your salad and dig in!

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Cauliflower Tabouleh with Glazed Tempeh: Heavenly Healthy and Devilishly Delicious

Published February 18, 2015 by The Feminist

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This title probably has far too many alliterations and rhyming vowels in it.

No scratch that. It definitely has too many alliteration and rhyme in it. But who cares? This dish was simply too life-changing, mind-blowing, heart-warming for me to ever care about such trivialities like wordplay.

Mark my words, dearest readers: THIS. WILL. BLOW. YOUR. MIND. (and taste buds, for that matter)

But enough with this uncontrollably euphoric gibberish! I’m assuming you all would like to know more details about this “cauliflower tabouleh with glazed tempeh”, right?

Cauliflower tabouleh, as the term suggests, is a tabouleh made with cauliflower (duh.). So instead of using couscous, I blitzed an entire cauliflower into my blender until it looked like couscous grains. I then tossed in some heavenly healthy hemp seeds, toasted almond flakes, cumin, fresh mint, lots of pomegranate seeds and last but not least topped it all off with a devilishly delicious dressing of harissa and maple syrup.

This tabouleh on its own already is the tastiest thing you can ever imagine –and a brilliant lunch alternative!- but since I wanted to make the meal a bit more substantial,  I added some glossy glazed tempeh; the sticky glaze made with –again!- maple syrup and harissa.

Ingredients:

For the tempeh:

  • 100gr tempeh, cut into thick strips
  • 1 tbsp mapley syrup
  • ¼ tsp harissa pasta

For the cauliflower tabouleh:

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp mint
  • ½ pomegranate
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 4 tbsp almond flakes, toasted
  • ¼ tsp sumac
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp harissa
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Put the mint and cauliflower together in a blender and mix until the cauliflower has a couscous texture.
  2. Transfer the cauliflower and mint mix to a large bowl and add the pomegranate seeds, spring onions, hemp seeds, toasted almond flakes and spices.
  3. Mix the harissa, maple syrup and harissa together and pour over the cauliflower mix. Stir well and season with salt to taste.
  4. Meanwhile, fry the tempeh in a pan until golden brown. Pour the mix of maple syrup and harissa over the top and lower the heat. Let the tempeh caramelize.
  5. Serve the cold cauliflower tabouleh with the hot and glazed tempeh

Partying with Paneer: fragrant Indian Green Beans and Lentil Curry with Fried Paneer Gems

Published February 13, 2015 by The Feminist

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Julia Child once said that “a party without cake is just a meeting”. To my mind, the same kind of metaphorical analogy can be made about the wonderful South Asian cheese paneer :an Indian dinner without paneer is just bad takeaway. (Ha! Put that on a bumper sticker!)

Just like the better-known (at least to us, Westerners) halloumi cheese, paneer is a firm cheese, ideal for frying, because it marvelously holds its shape. Unlike halloumi, which has a rather pungent, salty flavour (some pussies would say too salty), paneer is subtler and creamier in flavour and therefore balances perfectly with the strong and spicy flavours of a wonderful Indian curry, for it slightly mellows the fiery blow.

The vegetarian curry I decided to pair with the seared paneer is one containing a very comforting mix of green beans, lentils, bell peppers and lots of ground spices. To make the curry truly stand out, I added a fruity touch to the mixture… yes, I added a heaped tablespoon of apricot jam with chili flakes. I recently bought this very delicious jar of jam and was so delighted by its flavour, that I decided to throw it in savory dishes as well. The fruity jam is a great alternative to palm sugar, which is traditionally used in Asian dishes. The jam will not only slightly sweeten the curry and balance all those spices, but it will also add that heavenly fruity touch of apricot… Sigh. Sometimes, I really am … good.

So here it is: the perfect Indian meal! Rejoice!

Green Bean and Lentil Curry with Fried Paneer

Please don’t be scared by the long list of ingredients! It’s mainly all spices, and you cannot make a good curry without the appropriate load of spices.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 250gr paneer cheese, cut into cubes
  • 80gr dried lentils
  • 350gr green beans, cut into chunks
  • 1 orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500ml tomato passata
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander stalks, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp asafetida
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 heaped tbsp. apricot jam (with chili flakes, if you want the truly fancy stuff)
  • Fresh coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. Put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and add onion, garlic, coriander stalks and all the spices (apart from the garam masala). Sauté on a medium heat until the spices start to smell incredibly aromatic.
  2. Add the lentils and stir in the tomato passata and coconut milk. Add a teaspoon of salt and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chunks of pepper and the apricot jam and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
  4. Finally, add the green beans and the garam masala and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes until the lentils are soft and the beans tender.
  5. Taste the curry. Season with salt and a bit more chili if necessary.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a pan on maximum heat and add the chunks of paneer. There is absolutely no need to add oil to the pan, the paneer will fry beautifully on its own!
  7. Serve the curry and paneer in cute bowls and sprinkle with coriander.

Spicy Food: Because Everyone Could Use Some Vavavoom in the Kitchen

Published January 24, 2015 by The Feminist

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I know it has been a while since my last post, but I’ve got a really good excuse for this minor absence on the world wide web.

No, sorry, that’s a lie. I was just lazy.

But here I am, dear readers. Back with an incredibly yummy post (Because how else would I make up for an entire week of blogging silence?)

This post is all about – you’ve guessed it!- spices.

I know I’ve said this plenty of times before, but I won’t stop repeating myself until every freaking home cook on this planet has an entire spice cupboard in his or her kitchen: spices are the source of life. No matter how tasty your other ingredients may be, if you forget to add some spice, the end-result will be dull, flavourless and downright disappointing.

Many (inexperienced) cooks only think about spices sporadically –that is, if they think about spices at all!- as if spices were some long lost acquaintances you never really got to know when you were little.

They only add spices right at the end of a recipe, or just throw in the tiniest little pinch, because they don’t really understand the purpose of this strange looking and pungently powerful acquaintance.

Basically, most of us are too scared. We would rather live a plain, boring and dull life that is safe of risks, than try and take the spicy road.

Making a close friend out of an acquaintance is indeed a work-in-progress. You will stumble, you will fall, but once you’ve got the doses right, it will feel as if your heart has finally caught fire. You will feel alive.

That’s what spices can do for you. Not only will they add some vavavoom to your daily meals, but they will also –and more importantly- warm your heart.

So make spices your best friend and you will never be cold again.

Vegetarian Chilli Sin Carne with a Coffee and Spice Blend

For this naughty little vegetarian chilli, I decided to make my very own spice blend. Believe me, there is nothing more therapeutic than grinding some spices together in a pestle-and-mortar and making the aromas spread through your kitchen.

To make this spicy dish even more special, I added some instant coffee granules to my spice mix. This will add another dimension of bittersweet intensity.

Last but not least, right near the end, I dropped a tiny piece of dark chocolate in the sauce. You won’t be able to taste the chocolate per se, but it will give the already fabulous sauce even more depth and richness.

chilli

Ingredients (serves 4):

For the Coffee and Spice Blend:

  • ½ tbsp. instant coffee granules
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the Chilli:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 courgette, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 400gr or 1 tin of red kidney beans
  • 400gr or 1 tin of cannellini beans
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 5gr of dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
  • Fresh coriander, leaves and stalks

To serve:

  • Sour cream
  • Homemade guacamole
  • lime
  • Any type of flat bread

Method:

  1. Make the spice blend by grinding all the spices and coffee together in a pestle-and-mortar or a large and heavy bowl. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Take 1 tsp of the spice mix and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Mix until you get a nice paste. Brush the chunks of sweet potato with it and put them in the oven on some baking parchment and bake for 15 minutes. Once these beauties are roasted and are slightly turning black on the edges, take them out of the oven and set aside. The roasted potatoes will add an extra smokey flavour and will give the chilli an indulgent texture.
  3. In a large pan, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and add the onion, garlic, a tablespoon of finely chopped coriander stalks and the spice blend. Stir for one minute and now add the peppers and courgette. Let it fry for 3 minutes or so before adding the tinned tomatoes. Stir well and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add the beans and give it a quick taste. You will probably need to add more salt.
  5. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes before adding the roasted potatoes. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes to enhance all the flavours. Just before serving stir in the chocolate and let it dissolve.
  6. Sprinkle on some fresh coriander and serve it with a good dollop of sour cream, guacamole, a squeeze of lime juice and a slice of bread.

White Bean Curry With Rum-Flambéed Pineapple

This is an incredibly easy curry. Beans. Coconut. Spices. That’s all you need. Add to that some marvelous pineapple slices flambéed with rum and you will be dancing around your tiny kitchen like a Disney Baboon on steroids.

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Ingredients (serves 1):

For the flambéed pineapple:

  • 3 thick slices of fresh pineapple (Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use tinned pineapple!)
  • 2 tbsp Rum
  • Zest of ½ lime
  • Pinch of chilli flakes

For the white beans curry:

  • 200gr or 1 small can of white beans (but you could also use chickbeans, flageolet, black-eyed peas,…)
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3cm piece of ginger, grated
  • Fresh coriander
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Juice of ½ lime

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil or ghee in a small pan and add the ginger, garlic and all the spices (apart from the garam masala). Let it fry on a low heat for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the beans and stir.
  3. Add the coconut milk and season with salt. Let it simmer away for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garam masala, the desiccated coconut and the lime juice.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a knob of butter in a pan and fry the pineapple slices until they start to caramelize. Sprinkle on the chilli and lime zest.
  6. Finally, flambé the pineapple with the rum. Be careful. You don’t want to lose all your hair.
  7. Serve the curry with the pineapple slices and sprinkle on some fresh coriander.

The January Cleanse: Re-Energize After the Holidays With These Healthylicious Recipes!

Published January 7, 2015 by The Feminist

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New Year’s resolutions. Almost everyone makes them, either consciously or unconsciously. Some people make strict and detailed lists of what they want to achieve and in which timeframe they want to achieve it in (e.g. “By July 9th at 8.34 pm. I want to be able to recite Shakespeare’s Hamlet as perfectly as an Ian McKellan on steroids.” *). Others make vague –yet equally important- mental notes of what they’d like to improve (e.g. “Damn girl, you should stop worrying so much!”**).

Whichever end of the spectrum you verge towards, one of these resolutions might possibly have something to do with living and eating healthier. Especially after such an overabundance of food and alcohol (jeeez, the alcohol!) during the Holiday season.

So yes, it would actually do both your mind and body good to take it back a notch this January. This means: less fat, sugar and alcohol, but just as much –or even more!- flavour!

The following recipes are ideal for your January cleanse! They are healthy –containing lots of vitamins and “healthy fats” ( say yeah to Mr. Avocado!)- but are also incredibly delicious.

What better way to kick off the new year could you possibly wish for?

*said no one ever, but you get my drift.

**this one would actually by far more important than the very detailed, yet quite useless knowledge of Shakespeare’s oeuvre.

Baked Sweet Potato with Chunky Guacamole

Healthy, hearty and little bit naughty… these stuffed potatoes have it all!

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Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 2 sweet potatoes (small to medium), washed but skin still intact
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 sticks of manchego cheese
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Lots of fresh coriander
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large red chilli, finely sliced

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Coat the potatoes in a little olive oil and salt and bake in the oven for 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the size, until tender.
  2. Remove from the oven and make an incision in the potatoes and put the manchego cheese in it (it will start to melt all gorgeously!). Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Make your guacamole by mashing together the avocado with some salt, pepper, cumin and lime juice. Stir in the red chilli and lots of coriander and finally stir through the chopped tomatoes.
  4. Put the guacamole inside the sweet potatoes (on top of that lovely melted cheese!) and dig in!

Freekeh Risotto with Green Asparagus and Goat’s Yoghurt

This nutritious risotto is made with the rich-in-fibre freekeh, which nutty flavour marries beautifully with the asparagus and pungent yoghurt.

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Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 80gr freekeh
  • 200gr green asparagus, cleaned
  • Lots of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp goat’s yoghurt
  • Vegetable stock
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Sprinkling of hemp seeds

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic and freekeh. Stir for a couple of minutes and add vegetable stock, a little bit at a time, stirring continuously so that the freekeh can absorb the liquid.
  2. After 15 minutes, stir through the roughly chopped small green asparagus and add some more stock. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes until the freekeh is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in the goat’s yoghurt and fresh basil and finish with a sprinkling of hemp seeds.

Poached Eggs with Cucumber, Guacamole Salsa and Brown Shrimps

Avocados truly are a wonderful and healthy alternative to those creepy animal fats. Served with some fab poached eggs, crunchy cucumber and salty shrimps, you just know you have a winner!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 avocado
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Lots of fresh coriander and dill
  • 1 red chili
  • 1/3 cucumber: peeled, seeds removed and cut into fine chunks
  • 1 large tomato, deseeded and diced
  • Pinch of cumin
  • 100gr brown shrimps

Method:

  1. Make the guacamole by mixing together the avocado, cumin, salt, pepper, lime, chilli and coriander. It should still be quite chunky. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cucumber. The guacamole should almost look like a salad.
  2. Poach the eggs.
  3. Serve the poached eggs on top of the guacamole salsa and top with lots of brown shrimps, coriander, dill and some finely sliced chilli.

Fruity Ginger and Lentil Curry with Fresh Mango

Trust me: this is the freshest, cleanest, fruitiest curry you will have ever tasted! Plus, it is not only great for your body, this wonderful oozy dish of pure comfort food does wonders for your soul as well!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 shallots
  • 1 5cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 handful of yellow lentils
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 80gr fresh pineapple
  • 150gr fresh mango
  • Fresh coriander
  • Sesame seeds

Method :

  1. In a blender, mix together the ginger, garlic and fresh pineapple with the spices and a generous seasoning of salt.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pot and pour in the ginger and pineapple paste. Let it fry on a low heat until it starts to smell heavenly.
  3. Stir in the lentils andshallot and fry for a further 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and let it simmer on a low heat until you get an unctuous lentil curry and the lentils are soft.
  4. Before serving, stir in the diced mango and let it heat through.
  5. Serve the fruity curry with fresh coriander and some sesame seeds.

Addictive Appetizers: A Non-Conformist Guide to a Splendid Dinner Party

Published December 27, 2014 by The Feminist

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Appetizers: they are the beating heart of the holiday season. At least in my family they are. Not only do they announce the start of what will turn out to be a memorable Christmas dinner, but more importantly they force family members to gather round the table and gobble down some marvelous food as an act of familial harmony. Believe me, nothing brings a family together like spilling a glass of champagne over your grandma’s skirt or dropping a hot puff pastry canapé down your own cleavage after a (failed) attempt of trying to eat with your fingers as elegantly as possible.

The only problem with appetizers is that you often eat so many of them, you’re already full before the dinner has barely even started. At least, that used to be a problem. Where I come from – and I’m sure many of you will recognize this scenario- traditional appetizers and canapés usually mean lots of cheese, plenty of mini pigs-in-a-blanket and an over-abundance of little toasts and crostini topped with a buttery or mayo-rich spread.

Although these traditional mouthfuls are indeed quite delicious, the high quantity of fat, salt and carbs in them will make you bloat up before you’ve even reached the dinner table. And that is a shame. Surely, you want there to be some room left in your stomach for the big event, a.k.a the main? Or horror, what if you won’t be able to indulge in that fabulous dessert?

Therefore, I decided to do things differently this year and introduced my family to some incredibly delicious but lighter appetizers. Mind you, this is not about trying to create “healthier” appetizers. After all, if there is one day of the year on which you are allowed to indulge in the naughtier of foods, it is most definitely Christmas. No, these appetizers are there to give you the same mouthwatering satisfaction as the traditional ones would, but also make sure you will still have some room left for that devilishly naughty dessert.

So if you’re planning on doing some fancy appetizers for New Year’s Eve, why don’t you add one of these to your wish list? I can guarantee your party will be remembered for years to come! (And this time it won’t be because you managed to douse grandma with a bottle of booze.) Cheers!

Mexican Mango and Kidney Bean Salsa

This refreshing mouthful can be served on individual spoons or on some pretty lettuce leaves. You can add as much chili as you like, and if I were to make this appetizer for me and my friends I would add a bit more fire than this recipe suggests, but since I had to take into account my grandparents and their incapability of eating anything spicy without getting gassy, I was very cautious with the vavavoom heat. But if you like it hot, be my guest to chop in some more!

mango

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, finely diced
  • 1 can of red kidney beans, drained
  • ½ red chili
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tomato, deseeded and finely diced
  • ¼ cucumber, finely diced
  • Fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in bowl.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and add just enough lime juice so that the balance of sweet, savory and acidity is just perfect.
  3. Finally, stir in lots of finely chopped coriander.

Cauliflower “Tabbouleh” with Freekeh and Hemp Seeds

Now, before you start thinking I was secretly trying to drug my grandparents: hemp seeds won’t get you high. On the contrary, not only are the seeds an innocent variety of their naughty cousin Cannabis, they are also considered a superfood and are a great source of protein and antioxidants for vegetarians and vegans. Plus, their nutty and savoury flavour make them really yummy too! And a great combo with that lovely toasted aroma of the freekeh. “Freekeh?” I hear you ask. This ancient, Middle Eastern grain with an admittedly funny name is the next big thing in foodie land. Forget quinoa, that’s so 2014. In 2015, everyone will be eating this marvelous fiber-rich super grain. Mark my words!

This cauliflower tabbouleh is anything you could wish for and more. Crunchy, savoury, nutty, fragrant, zingy and a little bit sweet. Heaven!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 100gr freekeh
  • 5 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped dill
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
  • ½ tps ground cumin
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff)
  • Handful of finely chopped dried cranberries

Method:

  1. Chop the cauliflower really fine, until you get a coucous-like texture.
  2. Cook the freekeh for about 15 minutes in salted water and drain.
  3. Add the cauliflower and freekeh together in a bowl. Add the juice of half a lime and season with plenty of salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in the chopped cranberries, herbs and hemps seeds.
  5. Finely stir in the olive oil to bind the whole lot together.
  6. Put the tabbouleh in small glasses and serve with a teeny tiny spoon on the side.

Cucumber “toasts” with a feta, dill and Pomegranate filling

All credits for this recipe go to the wonderful and brilliant Lorraine Pascale, who made this appetizer in one of her latest cooking shows. This one is an absolute winner. The cucumber is a great and refreshing alternative for the traditional and boring mini-toast and the filling truly is a flavour sensation in your mouth. Salty feta? Check! Fragrant dill? Check! Little bombs of pure juicy delight, also known as pomegranate seeds? Check!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 200gr feta cheese
  • Seeds of ¼ to ½ pomegranate
  • Lots of fresh dill

Method:

  1. You can use the cucumber in 2 different ways. The first is to simply cut the cucumber in slices and top it with the feta mixture. This is the easier method, although it might be a bit tricky to put the feta on top of it without making a mess. The second way is to peel the cucumber and cut them in somewhat thicker slices, approx. 1 cm thick. Scoop out the inside to create a whole for the feta mix to sit in. It is a bit more work to do it this way, but it neatly contains the feta, so you don’t have to be afraid of the filling falling on your lap while trying to stuff it down your gob. I tried both methods and although the scooping is a bit more work, it does look slightly daintier 😉
  2. Mix the feta together with the dill and pomegranate seeds and add some olive oil (1 tbsp) to make sure everything stick together. Don’t forget to add a good touch of black pepper.

Same Ingredients, Different Dish: Cooking with Aubergine, Feta, Dill and Pomegranate

Published December 14, 2014 by The Feminist

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Many of my single friends have often told me that the most annoying thing about being single is the fact that you have to cook one-person meals.

“This may sound strange, but sometimes I have these moments when I really want to eat cauliflower. I love cauliflower. And yet, I never buy it. Because no matter how much I love cauliflower, I sure as hell don’t want eat it all week.”

Friend X is right. As a single woman, you often shy away from buying ingredients that are too big to eat in one meal (or in  case of the cauliflower: ingredients that are the size of your own head.). Nobody wants to eat cheesy cauliflower 4 days in a row. That’s just sad.

The problem here is that most of my single friends (no offence, ladies) don’t realize the potential culinary goldmine that comes with cooking for “just you”. It is not because you have bought a cauliflower that you have to eat the same dish every day. You’ve got to experiment! Be creative! Because apart from the traditional cauliflower coated in a thick cheese sauce, you can make a cauliflower and chickpea curry, miso-glazed BBQ cauliflower or a cauliflower, herb and freekeh salad. Yes, you will be eating cauliflower 4 days in a row, but trust me: when you do it like this, you won’t even mind! (Plus: it is also really good for you budget!)

So, this week I went to the supermarket and bought a “family pack” of feta cheese (sometimes supermarkets are just cruel), a pomegranate, a huge pot of fresh dill and 3 aubergines (because I am one of those crazy people who gets seduced by phrases such as “buy 2, get the 3rd one for free!” )

Needless to say, I had to be creative. And man, my culinary mastermind did not disappoint, because these 2 dishes were amazeballs.

In fact, they were so incredibly delicious that I suddenly realized that with a couple of fancy tweeks, these 2 dishes can become real showstoppers at the Christmas table!

Moroccan-spiced aubergine soup with feta, dill and pomegranate

The warmth of the heavenly spiced soup works really well with the tanginess of the cheese, the sweet and juicy pomegranate and the fresh dill.

This soup would also be a great starter for a Christmas dinner. Just serve some homemade flat bread with it or serve it as part of an aubergine trio, which could include baba ganoush (with some sesame crackers) and tempura aubergine slices.

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Ingredients (2-3):

  • 2 aubergines
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tomato
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp harissa paste
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Pinch of sumac
  • 300gr feta cheese
  • Lots of fresh dill
  • Seeds of ½ pomegranate
  • Vegetable stock

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°C. Score the aubergine with a knife in a few places and place on a baking tray and put in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn them around every 15 minutes or so.
  2. Remove the aubergines from the heat and allow to cool slightly before cutting them open and scooping out the soft flesh. Put aside.
  3. Meanwhile make your soup by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and adding the shallot, garlic and spices. Add the chopped tomato and 500ml of vegetable stock. Stir in the harissa paste.
  4. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. Add the aubergine flesh and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Blitz the soup to a smooth liquid with a hand-held blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a sprinkling of sumac.
  5. Before serving, put some feta, dill and pomegranate into your hot plate of soup.

Roasted aubergine “chips” with fried eggs, feta, dill and pomegranate

This is like a modern, exotic and healthy version of “eggs and soldiers”. Do note that the aubergine chips aren’t supposed to be crisp like normal fries. On the contrary, they are supposed to be soft in the middle and all lovely and roasted on the outside.

If you would like to serve this as a starter for Christmas, replace the fried eggs with fancy poached ones and serve it in a mini tagine with some homemade flat bread.

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Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 aubergine, cut into thick chips
  • 150gr feta cheese
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Fresh dill
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of sumac
  • Pinch of pink pepper corns
  • ½ tsp za’atar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the aubergine fries for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon and ginger.
  2. Transfer the aubergine to an oven-proof dish and put in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Take the dish out of the oven and crumble the feta cheese over the top and finish with a sprinkling of za’atar. Put in the oven for 3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile fry the eggs. Put the fried eggs on top of your aubergine soldiers and feta cheese and season with sumac and pink pepper corns.
  5. Finally, scatter some pomegranate seeds and fresh dill over the top. Delish!