A Year of Cookbooks – 3 Recommendations

As everyone who has been following my blog will know I chose 1 cookbook a month in 2017 to see how many recipes I could make…

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All 12 challenge books

I learned some new techniques and ate some gorgeous new food. Here are the 12 books I chose. All vegetarian and all picked for different reasons:

January – Skinny Bitch, Ultimate Everyday Cookbook by Kim Barnouin (Picked because it was January and said Skinny in the title lol!) See the post here.

February – Rebar, Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz (Picked because I’ve been to the restaurant and have always wanted to make more of their recipes.) See the post here.

March  The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen (Picked because this is truly a Vegetarian Classic and published in 1977, my DOB.) See the post here.

April – The World of the Happy Pear by Stephen and David Flynn (Picked because I loved some of the salad recipes from the first book and hadn’t made anything out of their second yet!) See the post here.

May – A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones (Picked because I LOVE the aesthetics of her books, they are a pleasure to read. The recipes also looked very much the way we like to eat normally.) See the post here.

June – The Love and Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews (Picked because it is a GORGEOUS looking book with fresh, simple recipes.) See the post here.

July – The Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl (Picked again for the beautiful photography and because the recipes look so healthy and flavourful!) See the post here.

August – Vegetarian Any Day by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming (Picked because the recipes looked like basic ingredients that could be accomplished on an island cottage! I.e. basic ingredients, no fancy mixers needed and crowd pleasing. It was a plus that they are Canadian authors.) See the post here.

September – Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Lindon (Picked because the first Oh She Glows is one of my go-to vegan cookbooks and I wanted to try more recipes from her new book.) See the post here.

October – River Cottage Much More Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Picked because I’ve LOVED Hugh and River Cottage ever since we lived in the UK. His first Veg book is a staple, one I always recommend people to take a look at.) See the post here.

November – Mildreds The cookbook by the chefs at Mildreds UK (Picked because I’m a sucker for UK restaurant cookbooks and the recipes looked yummy.) See the post here.

December – Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi (Picked because the food at his restaurants is my absolute fav way to eat and because I have all his books and do more drooling over them then cooking from them!) See the post here.

I thought that I should try and pick my top 3 that I think you should buy. If you love cookbooks as much as I do you’ll probably want to buy them all but I think some are more worthy to own. It was soooooooo tough to decide but…

1- Rebar, Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz. The recipes are really lovely and always turned out well. Unfortunately, it’s a bit “self-published” looking so you aren’t going to buy this for the pictures! It’s Canadian too which is cool!

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2- Vegetarian Any Day by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming. I picked this one, not because it was my favourite, but because it had a lot of recipes that I think all eaters (meat included) would like. They are simple without “fancy” spices and ingredients. I think it would be a good all arounder…

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3- Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. I really just think everyone has to try some Ottolenghi. Really you could get any of his books though I’d think. Take a peep next time you are out and buy one!

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Ok I’m going to have to pick 4… The Love and Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews. The pictures are lovely and the recipes are fresh and vibrant. If you don’t fancy the book she has a great blog and instagram where you can probably find most of the recipes or ones very similar.

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From my posts you may have noticed that I tried a few follow up books from some of my favourite chefs. Below are their first books. If you are interested in these authors then I’d suggest getting these, their first triumphs…

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Definitely not his first book but his first dedicated to the glorious veg! If you are a meat eater you’ll want to check out his others for sure!

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Honestly all her books look like this one so you probably can’t go wrong with any of them. There are 3 out now I believe.

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If you are venturing more into the Vegan realm then DEFINITELY pick up this gem. The cashew cream will change your life!

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Looking for some neat salad ideas in particular then get this one to try.

Also, could you go wrong with any classic Molly Katzen, probably not…

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Happy Cooking and let me know if you buy something new!

 

 

Happy New Year From Me and Plenty

I hope everyone had a happy New Year. We finished the year with a gorgeous pasta recipe from Plenty, Saffron Tagliatelle with Spiced Butter p.260. It was rich, so don’t go overboard on the sauce, but always satisfying to make fresh pasta…

Given how busy December can be I’m pretty impressed with how many recipes I managed from Plenty. They always looked so involved with lots of ingredients but actually it’s usually just a lot of lovely spices and if you already have them in your cupboard then you will be fine to make these recipes. Most recipes use fresh herbs as well so that could be a draw back for some. Overall, I was pleased with all the recipes we tried. Some have already become serious favourites and have already made them again. Two recipes in particular will make the “weekday meal round-up” for sure, Shakshuka p.87 and Cardamom rice with poached eggs and yogurt p. 240. Both were healthy, hearty and quick to make…I’ve learned how to make the most gorgeous poached eggs as well, very proud of that…

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Cardamom rice cooking

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Cardamom rice with poached egg and plain greek yogurt dollops

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Shakshuka cooking. Doesn’t it look cozy!

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A must it with lovely white bread

The Christmas break helped me to make a couple feasts, one being Spicy Moroccan carrot salad p.14, Sweet Potato Cakes p.32 and Freekeh Pilaf p. 241...All were totally Moorish…

One of the other keeper recipes I’m going to remember that will be great for company is the Surprise Tatin p. 22. It was soooooo simple but looked impressive! It was filled with slow roasted tomatoes, sauteed onions, baby potatoes and goat cheese. The most interesting part was the caramel sauce that baked in on top to give it a wonderful colour and buttery taste…

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Another company crowd pleaser was the Very Full Tart p.84. Roasted sweet potato and eggplant were the star of the show…

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Not oddly, one of the most moorish, wonderful recipes was one of the simplest. The Burnt Eggplant with Tahini p.122 was incredible. I did the “salad” version with mini cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. A must eat with quality Lebanese style pita…

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I’m pleased to have a nice “side” recipe that could be done at a larger meal. The Herb-Stuffed Tomatoes p. 136 would be great with a Sunday Roast or a Full Breakfast…

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For me, (as everyone else loved them) there was one recipe downer this time and that was the Puy Lentil Galettes p. 208. It was cook error though. I messed with the puffed pastry too much and they didn’t puff up and cook through as one would have liked. I should have just ate the lentil mix on it’s own as it was divine…the combo was a bit odd, if honest…

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Finally, the recipe that has inspired my new foray into fresh pasta making was the Lemon and Goat Cheese Ravioli p. 250…

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Everyone knows that fresh pasta is the best but one must remember how incredibly easy it is to make too! If you have the pasta maker it can be done so quickly. Of course ravioli takes longer to put together so not a weekday meal but I challenge everyone to get on with MAKING THEIR OWN PASTA! The tarragon and pink peppercorns in this dish were truly divine as well.

So that’s the cookbook challenge for 2017 done! Wow, what a marathon! I’m so thrilled with all the new recipes accomplished! Our waistlines haven’t suffered too much. Stay tuned for a post about which of the 12 books I tried that I think you need to get as well as my idea for a 2018 challenge. Get cooking everyone!

November Cookbook Challenge

Below could be the reason that I didn’t make as many recipes from the November book. I just wanted to get home and cuddle my new little friends. Welcome to Gigi and Gus, too bad you can’t eat any of the yummy food I make!

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Gigi, grey calico and Gus peachy tabby!

I’m highly annoyed I didn’t try the yummy looking Macaroni & Cheese with sun-dried tomatoes & basil crumb topping p.135 but I could always try and squeeze it in over Christmas break!

First up was the Haloumi, Zucchini & Mint Fritters p. 64. I found them a little bit hard to hold together but they worked ok. They tasted great! I would recommend a dipping sauce of some sort. I think a nice Tzatziki would work perfectly…

BEST FIND IN THE BOOK NEXT! NEED A RECIPE FOR A HOLIDAY PARTY? READ ON…

The Chili Flake & Feta Dip p.78 is my new go-to dip for sure! It is basically whipped up feta with spices and olive oil. Genius, Quick, Super Yummy! Serve with flatbreads or crackers (I like rice crackers or Pita Bites). Honestly, this dip takes about 10 min or less to whip up. Just keep a big chunk of feta on hand this Christmas and you have a scrummy dip ready for pop in company!…

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Next up we tried the Puy Lentil Salad with Roasted Vegetables p.87. John really liked this dish. It was packed with everything I love (especially roasted fennel) but for some reason I can’t explain it didn’t quite do it for me. I think something in the slight sweetness of the sauce. Just a personal preference though!…

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The next 2 recipes were a real hit for a main, great for company. We loved the Cinnamon-Spiced Squash & Lima Bean Stew p.120 with the Chile Cornbread p.178. The spice in the bread was perfect and it was quick to make. Don’t let the name of the stew fool you. It wasn’t super cinnamony or sweet, just rich and moorish…IMG_1697.jpgIMG_1694.jpg

The final recipe I tried was the White Chocolate & Raspberry Ripple Cheesecake p.204. This was seriously delicious and VERY simple and quick to make which is always a bonus for a fancy looking dessert. NOTE: I would HIGHLY recommend that you only use some of the raspberry compote on the top to form the swirl and save the rest to drizzle on afterwards. I’d throw some fresh berries in the layers but the compote just sunk through the layers and soaked the crust. It was still delicious but it didn’t look that great!…Ugh sorry I can’t find a pic of mine but here’s a quick peek from the book.

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December is upon us! I can’t believe that a whole year has passed and my cookbook a month challenge is almost over! I need to think about what to do next year. I have some ideas…

School finishes on the 22nd this year so I’ll still have a solid week after Christmas to make some December book recipes. Of course I HAD to pick an Ottolenghi book. Hopefully I saved the best for last. I love Ottolenghi and feel lucky that we visit the UK so often that I get to eat at his restaurants every year. Many of the ingredients are a bit harder to find in Canada but I’m going to do my best with his first veg book Plenty. I’ve had this book since it came out but have shamefully only made 2 recipes from it, I think. His recipes are like eye candy for me so I read his books all the time but because they are a little more involved with fresh ingredients they aren’t my quick go-to supper books. So excited to get going though…Happy Holidays everyone!

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Much More Veg October

I knew I would like the new River Cottage cookbook. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall delivers again on easy recipes that showcase the simple veg! Love. With the rush of Thanksgiving and craziness of school back in full swing, I didn’t make as many recipes as I would have liked but such is life! I’ll look forward to revisiting this book in the new year. I think I like the first Veg book better if you are only going to buy one but I appreciate the layout of the new book. I love the section dedicated to roasted veg. Really, roast any veg and it makes it a million times more flavourful! Preserved lemons are highlighted in many of the recipes. If you haven’t used these babies before then get on it, adds an incredible layer of flavour to almost any dish!

First up was the “Roast Fennel, New Potato and Tomato Stew” p.16 with a side of “Moroccan Carrot Blitz” p.284…

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This does not do it justice! It took a lot longer to roast than the recipe said but it was well worth the wait! The olives added a saltiness that was key.

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Moroccan Carrot Blitz prep

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Moroccan Carrot Blitz read to go. Fresh and vibrant!

We tried a few roast dishes. Next was the “Roast Squash and Chickpeas with Spicy Apricot Sauce” p.92. Again, another moorish dish that I couldn’t stop eating…

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Roasted Squash and Chickpeas with Spicy Apricot Sauce, hello!

The “Roast Swede Vegeree” p.91 was a favourite of John’s. He grew up a typical English boy eating boiled Swede (Rutabaga, for us Canadians) and was scared to death of this recipe but he ended up liking it better than me. The Swede was just a bit strong for me and when I make it again I’ll go for one of the suggested “swaps” at the end of each recipe, the sweet potato would be a good one!

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Swede Vegeree prep

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Finished Swede Vegeree

The last big meal dish I tried was the “Tomato Dhal” P.102. This will definitely be a quick go-to recipe for me now as it uses a lot of common store cupboard ingredients. “The Onion Tarka” p.102 on top is a must as well…

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Tomato Dahl prep

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Tomato Dahl plated

I finished the month off with two dip recipes for a Halloween veg platter. The “Pea Hummus” p.304 and the “Nutty, Seedy, Herby Hummus” p.306. Both were lovely but I thought the nut humous was totally addictive and unique…

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Pea Hummus

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Nut, Seed Hummus

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Party time!

I can’t believe there are only 2 more months left of 2017. I know which book I want to pick for December but I was torn between a few for November…

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I decided with Christmas coming my waistline should avoid the Violet Cafe BAKING book!

Then I remembered a book I picked up at HomeSense recently (FYI, great place to find a random popular/new cookbook at an awesome price)…

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I saw this book in the UK last year and thought it looked scrumptious. I love a restaurant with a bit of history. Mildred’s is still around today (I haven’t been, yet) but was founded in 1988 in the West End. Back when veg restaurants were super hippie serving largely unidentifiable food, they aimed to “open a restaurant serving good value, fresh, and colorful international vegetarian food.” p.7. Flicking through this book I want to try everything! There seems to be something to please everyone, stews, bakes, burgers, sammies, pastas and dips. Not sure what I’ll make first!

Oh She Glows September

Is it mid October all ready! I sit here with my pumpkin spice latte reflecting on the second Oh She Glows Cookbook, Oh She Glows Every Day. I remember when this book first came out. I was so excited! Unfortunately, my initial reaction was “Um, what the heck, most of these recipes look similar to/or exactly the same as the last book” or “why would you need a recipe for that…” E.g. I didn’t need like 3 recipes for nut butter! I loved the first Oh She Glows book so much though that I had to give it a fair shot. Turns out there are a lot of really good recipes again. Even though they may look similar to her last book they were different enough to feel like you’d made something new. I still recommend her first book to everyone who asks what veg book they should buy. Between that and her app I don’t think her new book is essential to have but I’m still glad I got it!

Highlights…

The Sweets…

I tried 2 cookie recipes that were phenomenal. Truly! The Chocolate-Almond Espresso Cookies, p.207 and the Pillowy Pumpkin Snacking Cookies, p. 217. You would never know these were vegan and they turned out to perfection. Unfortunately, I forgot a pic of the pumpkin cookies but see the chocolate ones below…definitely do the espresso powder!

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Chocolate-Almond Espresso Cookies

From the dessert section I also made The Ultimate Flourless Brownies with the No-Cook Caramel Sauce, p.253. The Brownie was a bit too salty for me but others seemed to like it. It was very rich so you could only manage a little piece. The “caramel” sauce was actually quite delightful. I’d definitely recommend having a jar on hand for ice cream needs.

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The Ultimate Flourless Brownies with No-Cook Caramel Sauce

Breakfast…

I had actually tried all of the smoothies in this section already. Her smoothie combos are usually great. They were, I just have a sweeter tooth so I added extra maple syrup or agave to my version.

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First day of school Green Matcha Mango Ginger Smoothie, p.17.

Weekends are for uping your breakfast game. The 9-Spice Avocado Hummus Toast is a huge winner!…

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Every Day Lemon-Garlic Hummus. Pretty standard hummus recipe, tasty but nothing special.

Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars…something about these was NOT great. I used the Strawberry-Vanilla Chia Seed Jam, p.44 (another recycled recipe from the first book) which is yummy. I think it’s the use of the sunflower seed butter. Fresh out of the oven they were ok but the next day it made the bars taste a little “off”. I can’t fully explain. Unless these bars need to go to school, I’d use almond or peanut butter instead…

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Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars

Another fab breakfast recipe was the Banana Bread Muffin Tops, p.87. Too easy to make, healthy and liked by all who tried…

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Banana Bread Muffin Tops

On to the Savoury…

The Protein Power Rainbow Quinoa Salad, p.99 is my new go-to potluck salad recipe for sure!…

Another go-to I found was the Thai Crunch Salad, p.101. I made extra Cast-Iron Tofu, p137, Roasted Tamari Almonds, p.263. and Thai Almond Butter Sauce, p.249 so I was able to assemble salads for a few days! Who doesn’t love that…

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Thai Crunch Salad

Listen up Chickpea salad sandwich friends! The most influential recipe I took away from Oh She Glows 1 was swapping out the tuna in your tuna salad recipe for a can of chickpeas. In book 2 she shares her Curried Chickpea Salad, p.113 recipe. It was highly addictive and I almost at the whole bowl myself without the pita. When I ate meat I used to love me a tuna sandwich. When I discovered roughly crushing chickpeas instead I was in heaven. Most people don’t even notice it’s not tuna, seriously!…

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Curried Chickpea Salad

The Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Coconut Curry, p.179 was a delight. It was so quick to throw together with store cupboard ingredients. A go-to mid week meal for sure…

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Sweet-Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Coconut Curry

John jumped in on one recipe this month. He made the Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta, p.185. This was so similar to a creamy pasta recipe in her first book that we almost didn’t give it a go. I’m glad we did though. It was tasty…

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Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

A real dinner winner was the Ultimate Green Taco Wraps, p.191. I love me a lettuce cup meal…

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In short, I still love Oh She Glows but I’m not convinced you need to rush out and buy this 2nd book if you already have the first. If you love her recipes like I do and have a cookbook buying problem too then get it; you will find some keepers!

October’s book is already under way. I HAD to choose Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s second Veg book River Cottage: Much More Veg. It truly breaks my heart that Canadians don’t really know Hugh. His River Cottage show is a UK classic! I fell head over heals in love with his show, books and attitude to veg and sustainable meat eating when we lived in the UK. His book came out when John was last in the UK so of course I HAD to order it to his mom’s to bring back. I’m so excited to tuck into more veg with River Cottage! (River Cottage the first book can be found here in Canada and aside from the first Oh She Glows it is the veg cookbook I recommend most to friends.)

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August Book Done

I’m in serious denial that August is over and school has actually started! I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with myself for how many recipes I was able to do out of Vegetarian Any Day at a cottage on an island, at least 1/2 an hour from a grocery store! It took some serious planning I chose this book for August because it didn’t look like it needed a lot of fancy schmancy kitchen equipment. I was able to get by with a Nutri-Bullet. I would say that most people thoroughly enjoyed all the recipes and I would recommend this book as an intro veggie book. I was not keen on the zucchini wraps but other than that there are a lot of recipes I’d make again. One interesting observation was that there appeared to be a ton of recipes that called for a head of cauliflower! It’s such a versatile veg. I think it’s also becoming a hot ingredient so it was nice to find a few different ideas. There was the standard cauliflower pizza crust that is a bit more popular but I thought that Buffalo “wing” bites were amazing and the halloumi bites, yum!

I think I forgot a few pics but check out the highlights below…

Toasted Baby Arugula and Zucchini Salad P.90

This extremely simple salad was so delicious and refreshing. I already have the lemon dressing memorized.  A simple crowd pleaser for sure! I’ve already been asked for the recipe.

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites P.40

Hello! This app was so tasty and unique! Faux chicken wings if you will! So simple and tasty. I served it with the suggested Herbed Kefir Ranch Dressing P. 102. It was delightful.

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Black Quinoa and Cauliflower Halloumi Cheese Balls, P.44. We had these twice because after the first time Dad asked me everyday to make them again! I served them with BBQ sauce and Frank’s Red Hot but you easily eat them on their own.

Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Brie and Maple P.131

This pizza was incredibly delicious. First of all the Cauliflower crust is amazing. (Use any toppings you want though.) I’m not convinced I tasted the Brie. I think other cheese would  have been fine.

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Horrible  picture! But this is a gorgeous Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Bake that I’m definitely making as a side for Thanksgiving dinner! P. 157

Caramelized Onion with Gruyere and Sauerkraut P.132

This sandwich was so moorish! This was a hilarious meal because we got my mom to eat sauerkraut! My dad and I love it but mom wouldn’t normally eat it; I think my dad was feeling hard done by that I got her to eat it but he couldn’t!

Coconut Chili Lime Collard Green Wraps P.123

These wraps were a pleasant surprise. I’ve been been meaning to use collard greens for wraps for some time now but just haven’t gotten around to it. DO NOT MAKE MY MISTAKE! Simply, they rock. The red lentils in this dish were cooked in coconut milk, stroke of genius. If you buy this book, try this recipe please.

Lentil Cake Salad with Roasted Red Pepper and Feta P.110

This was just ok for me. The cakes needed more seasoning but I liked the idea. The dressing and fixings were nice. The overall appearance was a tad sketchy though!

Chipotle Sweet Potato Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa P.124

For me, this was a book winner! The pineapple salsa was so simple and delish. I love the sweet potato idea as well. Definitely try and find corn tortillas too. I like the Casa Mendosa ones that have shown up Zhers recently.

Zucchini Wraps P. 118

Ok these…too much work for not many wraps and they did not taste that great in my opinion! Mom liked them though. As you can tell I was totally not convinced.

Portobello and Pepper Fajitas P.126

PLEASE DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THESE! The marinade was sub-par. Please use the Oh She Glows recipe for this same idea. It’s in her first book, Oh She Glows. She has a recipe for the same thing and the marinade for the mushrooms is a zillion times better. Fact, true story!!!

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Ripe Peach and Pistachio Butter Lettuce Wraps P.120

Weird little recipe but with fresh Ontario peaches you got to get going! I made these until the blue cheese ran out. They were fantastic! Such an odd combo of ingredients but somehow they totally worked. I had a honey white balsamic in the cupboard so used that instead of the suggested white balsamic. A hit!

Slow Cooker French Onion Miso Soup

I made this after we got back from the cottage. Funny enough it was the reason I bought the book because I LOVE French Onion soup but it always has a beef broth. Try it!

On to September…

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I knew September was going to be busy with school starting up so I wanted to pick another simple book where I knew I’d have most of the ingredients lying around. Thus, the second Oh She Glows book. I love her first book and recommend it to everyone that asks for a go to Veg book! (She’s also vegan but whatever.) It was the first book that introduced me to cashew cream (a heavenly substance). I have to admit I was extremely disappointed by the second book. Many of the recipes looked recycled from the first book, just changed a bit. I also immediately tried a few smoothie combos and was disheartened. That being said…I loved the first book so much that I feel it is only fair to give the second one a proper go. So here goes…

July’s The Green Kitchen: A book of contrasts

Apologies, this post is a few days late…it’s been a busy start to August with getting ready to cottage for a month. August’s recipes will all be made with these gorgeous views from the kitchen…Georgian Bay – Cognashene…

If you follow my instagram you will see that not all the recipes in Green Kitchen were loved by all! I truly feel that this book has some striking contrasts; when the recipes were good they were amazing but when they fell short they were catastrophic. I am quite good at following a recipe exactly and expect it to turn out. Once I’ve made a recipe once then I think about how to adapt it to my taste but I really feel that I want to honour an author’s/chef’s recipe by following it to a tee the first time. The few recipes that went horribly wrong I do wonder if it was my taste or just an odd combination of ingredients. (Note: North American’s will probably have a hard time finding some of the ingredients in this book. There will be a few recipes you won’t even attempt, e.g. nettles are hard to come by.)

I still love the idea of the Green Kitchen, don’t get me wrong! I think I’ll just be more conscious of reading the ingredients lists more carefully before I start. Overall, I personally think most of the recipes could be seasoned more/better. The photography in Green Kitchen is stellar. If you want to give them a go then you can buy their app for cheap and try some recipes that way first before you commit to their books. They have a new one out now that I will probably still buy because I’m crazy like that! Always love to complete a set lol!

You will have to forgive me with the names of these recipes because the cookbook is at home 3 hrs by car and a 1/2 hr boat ride away!

I didn’t get many recipes done this month because of our annual summer UK trip. It’s no hardship travelling and eating in the UK… we had a blast with mom this year…

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Birthday dinner at NOPI (An Ottolenghi restaurant that I love!)

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NOPI – The roasted peach burrata is one of my favs. Love the classy Eton Mess for dessert too.

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NOPI – best for sharing plates.

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A little Eggs Florentine to start your b-day out right! At the National Portrait Gallery restaurant. The view is amazing. Worth a trip and I always recommend it to visitors to London.

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Pimms anyone! It’s summer in the UK.

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Fav new pic! At a wedding that had fab food. Wadhurst castle, Kent.

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Fruit stand in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Gorgeous!

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Trying the Pear Cafe in Bristol. You will know her online as Elly Pear. Yum Frittata and sammies for lunch.

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Bristol, down by the pier. Funky, revitalised area. How cool is this coffee shop!

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For me, nothing beats a UK flat white!

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Costa soy, flat white for a little Espadrille making course, Bath, The Makery.

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Just 2 of us in the class meant lots of support! Teacher was lovely too.

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Yes, making our own shoes, who knew!

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Gorgeous pub food, outside Bath at Country pub! The Talbot Inn.

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Not your typical country pub food!

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Fancy fish and chips!

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Gorgeous starter of radish and yellow courgette strips. Talbot Inn pub.

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Hello, halloumi fries, Camden Market.

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Yum breakfast spot, Neil’s Yard, Covent Garden.

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Gorgeous 26 grains breaky. Avocado on sourdough.

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26 Grains porridge bowl. Love the gooseberries!

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Missing John for breaky.

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Ahhhhhhh, UK cream how I miss thee.

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First day emotions!

Now for Green Kitchen successes…

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Curried egg salad for sammies. Different combination. I was sceptical but it was delish!

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Can you see the apple in the curried egg salad. Odd maybe but yum!

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Also asparagus tips in the curried egg salad. I’m totally making this again.

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Buckwheat groat porridge on the go. Maybe more of a fall dish but it was lovely. 

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Dress those groats up!

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I used too many cardamom seeds in this groat porridge but it was still yummy!

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Just a simple guac to use up some old avocados. Delish.

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I think it was avocado based pudding. I’ve made a few of these and without the book with me I honestly forget. In any case, yum!

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Roasted root veg with quinoa stuffed tomatoes. Definitely a fall/winter dish but it was so tasty. Definitely get the wrinkly black olives; they give amazing salty flavour.

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Love a good roast up. The lemons were a fab addition.

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Looking yum like the pic I think?!

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This was the first recipe I tried actually. It was a vinaigrette, horseradish baby potato salad. It was simple and sooooo worth finding fresh horseradish. It’s one of my new go-to salads for sure. 

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Moroccan Vegetable Tagine with whole wheat Israeli couscous. 

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Tagine by the pool! Loved the flavours of the tagine; it smelled heavenly. I could have done without the couscous addition.

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The makings of a beetroot chocolate cake.

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Moist and earthy beetroot chocolate cake. It used olive oil that I’m sure I enjoyed. I think it added to the earthy flavour though. If I make this again I will use a lighter oil like safflower.

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Almond crust for a gorgeous tart…see below…

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Coconut and Fennel Tart. It was amazing!!!

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Cannot recommend trying this tart enough. It was unique.

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Served with Caramelized Red Onion Chutney of course. (M&S brand is my fav and we forgot to bring some new bottles home, eek! What to do, lol!)

Now for the epic fails. I really hate giving bad reviews but the following recipes did not sit well with me…they even looked pretty ugh…

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This cold zucchini noodle salad with cashew and sun-dried tomato cream dressing and marinated portobello mushrooms started out so beautiful. Love me some courgette noodles!  

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Gorgeous right…see the ruin below…

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Doesn’t even look like the pic at all. Hello, photoshop?!

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I love vinegar but it was too much. That’s all I could taste. The cream dressing on it’s own was so thick that no amount of added water could fix. Would have been better as a veggie dip I think.

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First attempt at dark rye bread…hmmmm. not convinced. The dough remained very wet.

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It came out with a pretty ok flavour. I couldn’t find rye kernels so used a cracked rye that I was able to get. This definitely could have been the culprit. I also let it sit in the fridge for over a day because I forgot about it! I would try this again…

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Ok…veggie chorizos. I was soooooo pumped but I have to admit they were a failure. I personally think they needed much more seasoning of all different sorts. The texture was right and everything else worked out fine I think. It was just that bland flavour ugh…

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Veggie chorizos in the making.

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These bad boys were wrapped in cheese cloth, kinda fun eh!

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All wrapped up!

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The cooking went well in veg stock.

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Ended up slicing them and frying again to make them more sausage like.

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Served in the suggested salad with quinoa, butter beans and apple. Bizarre and I couldn’t finish it. John liked it though. I think it’s partly that in my mind I really wanted them to be more sausage like so I could use them with buns. Not the case! Poor me.

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Maybe looked ok though?!

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Tasty banana blueberry pancakes but epically challenging to hold together!

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Actually not a fail, just hard to flip and make. Ended up cooking the rest like scrambled eggs and eating like a porridge! Still tasty.

So now we are at a cottage for the month of August and I needed to pick a book with easy to find ingredients that didn’t use a food processor for every meal. At the last minute I decided on a new book that I grabbed at Costco a couple months ago called Vegetarian Any Day by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming. They are the authors of Quinoa 365 that came out in the midst of the whole Quinoa craze. I have used many recipes from that book and thought this one looked pretty good. There seems to be heaps of recipes that will appeal to the meat-eater in your family.

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They seem to have a great blog too; at http://patriciaandcarolyn.com. Check it out…

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Ok Quinoa Sisters…Let’s have a healthy August together! Can’t just whip out to a grocery store when I’m on an island in Georgian Bay though! This is going to take some planning ahead to the next shop run!

Have a fabulous end of summer everyone!

June Book Done: School’s Out, Summer’s here!

June’s Cookbook Love and Lemons was a huge success! I was torn yesterday because I was thrilled it was Canada Day, Happy 150, but I was so sad that Love and Lemons was coming to an end. I found so many “keepers” or “MA” (make again) recipes! The book is gorgeous to look through but I find just as many pretty pictures and recipes on her blog and instagram feed. So, if you don’t feel you can purchase another cookbook head over to instagram for sure.

Where to start…everything was exactly my taste and style of eats. I will give a special shout out to 3 of my favourites though. The Strawberry Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts P.41, the Millet Pilaf with Herbs & Grilled Asparagus P.25 and the Flatbread with White Bean Puree & Asparagus Ribbons P.23…

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Strawberry Salad is my new go-to this summer I think.

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The addition of the soft-boiled egg is a must.

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I feel like the white bean puree for some would sound gross but seriously give it a go!

This book is organised “ABC order” (as the kiddies would say) by vegetable/fruit. I appreciate the idea but it’s definitely not my preference. When I cook I usually have a type of meal in mind e.g. app, main, dessert etc. It becomes a real pain to have to search through every veg/fruit to find what you need. That being said this book is not hard on the eyes so it’s a bit of a pleasure to be forced to scroll through. With that theme in mind I’ll review the recipes in veg order…

Cardamom  Apple Crisp P.5, Yup! Yum! I’d use more cardamom I think but overall a nice light, not too sweet crisp and really who doesn’t love a crisp. Made this for John because he doesn’t get enough apple pie or crisp, his favs…

Apple Fennel Salad P.7 Amazing. I LOVE fennel shaved thin in a salad, enough said…

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I also love making salads so I can use my gorgeous salad bowl (Stinson Studios at One of a Kind. His bowls are the best ones!)

Apple Radish Slaw P.11 Ok, this could not have been easier, especially with my matchstick attachment on my V-slicer mandoline. This salad is proof that the simplest ingredients often make the best flavours…Ah, refreshing…

Raspberry Lemon Dutch BabyˆP.49 DANGEROUS, I almost at the whole thing myself. It’s like a puffy, airy, light, beaver tail! Squeeze on lemon and icing sugar and go. I can see doing other “beaver tail” inspired toppings like cinnamon sugar…

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Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Crunchy Red Cabbage P.83 I fell in love with a chickpea salad sandwich (basically a faux tuna salad) from Oh, She Glows’ first book. This rendition is as delightful. I love the cabbage topping and caper additions too. I’ll be making this many times this summer for sure!…

Vegan Carrot Waffles P.87 Nothing vegan scary about these waffles. The got the kid stamp of approval too…I thought they’d be a bit heavy but I was wrong. The flavour was subtle…

Carrot Gazpacho with Lemongrass P.89 I was nervous of this recipe. I wasn’t sure if we were going to like it but we had so many carrots to use I needed to try. Turns out it was oddly refreshing. I would recommend small portions though. The sherry vinegar really added a depth of flavour and I think it would be lacking if you chose to omit. It was fab to just whip it up in the Blendtec…It got paired with the Spicy Cornbread P.125 and yes that was a bizarre combo that I wouldn’t recommend! I would also suggest using a fine cornmeal. I used a medium ground and I found them a bit too grainy once cooked…

Roasted Cauliflower & Red Pepper Soup P.101 This turned out well. Nice and creamy because of the cashews. The roasted cauli on top is a must…Worth trying…

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Near the end of this month I kept forgetting to take nice pics!

Eggplant & Mushroom “Meatballs” P.141 If you don’t eat meat like us then you will love these veg balls. They are worth the effort! I made it with the Simple Fresh Tomato Sauce P.251 which I don’t think was worth the effort to roast the tomatoes. In the health food section of Zehrs they carry a can of roasted diced tomatoes and they will do the trick just fine!…

Cashew & Caper Dill Spread P. 161 with Quick Pickled Onions P. 187  I’ve decided to always have quick pickled onions in the fridge, so easy and go with just about everything! This spread was a tasty, creamy vegan dip. Served it with Ciabatta but crackers and veg would be equally yum…

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If you don’t read ahead and blend the capers and dill in with the other ingredients you get a nice green version, oops!

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Quinoa Tacos with Quick Pickled Onions P. 183/187 and Mango-Basil Salsa P.281 I served this to friends and it went down a treat. Such a nice alternative to a simple veg fajita. I highly recommend this dish with all the extras. It was totally worth the effort. Make extra salsa because you could eat it on its own!…

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Roasted Red Pepper & Carrot Soup P. 203 Made this as part of friend’s birthday lunch with the Heirloom Tomato Panzanella with Fresh Oregano P.249 and the Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins P.269. I could have done without the soup but I think others liked it. It was a bit bland for me and was just ok “ish”. The Panzanella turned out a bit dry. I probably used too much bread. The oregano was a nice add though. The zucchini muffins saved the meal. They were moist and tasty and a must try if you like that kind of thing…

Grilled Pepper & Quinoa Taco Salad P.209 I’m not sure the grilling of the peppers was totally necessary but it was fun to make in my grill pan as we don’t have a gas stove. I also just bought ready made tortilla salad topper…It was totally tasty, especially with the Spiced Chili-Spiced Yogurt P.287

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Good one for company!

Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos P.219 HELLO! These were gorgeous. The mango and avocado work so well together. I recommend extra cheese 🙂 The sweet potatoes shrink to like 1/2 their size so don’t stress if it looks too much on the pan initially…

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas P. 259 YES! Such goodness. You could totally make this ahead of time for company. Worth the effort. It was rich and “meaty” with a bit of spice from the adobo sauce. I used extra chipoltes for more spice…Get pre-diced squash at the grocery store if you are short on time…it even made enough for a second dinner the next night…

I think that’s all she wrote for Love and Lemons. I tried some of the smoothy combos at the end of the book that were nice too. The peach, ginger and lime combo was delightful. Overall, get yourself over to the Love and Lemon blog and start cooking! So glad I chose this for June.

I’m super pumped for July…The Green Kitchen! I chose their first book. They have a new one out now that I can’t wait to purchase! They also have an amazing app that may be more up your alley…I’ve tried a few things from the book in the past couple of years but am yearning for more healthy goodness. There are some ingredients that will be hard to find in Canada (they are Swedish and Danish) e.g. Nettle leaves and juniper berries, good luck here! I’m away in England for 2 weeks this month but other than that have time to make some of the longer recipes in Green Kitchen and I can’t wait…Check out their website here.

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May is A Modern Way To Eat

May is over and that means 4 more weeks of school, I mean time for another cookbook! I love, love, love a modern way to eat by Anna Jones. I wanted to eat every recipe. It’s just how we like to eat. Lots of fresh ingredients and different flavours. Not too crazy though, real, everyday eating. Not to mention the simple white theme for the cover and pics, love the style. I will definitely be using this book again and recommend it to buy if you need a new cookbook treat.

Breakfast: We tried the…

  • Overnight Bircher with Peaches (we used strawberries)
  • Morning Smoothies (Go To Green, Avocado and Toasted Coconut and the Sesame Date
  • Lemon Maple Granola
  • Huevos Rancheros (Super yum and could eat for any meal
  • Banana, Blueberry and Pecan Pancakes (Cooking these was a disaster. It was basically fried oatmeal. Tasty though!)
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The Sesame Date Smoothie was the perfect combo. I’m adding tahini to all my smoothies these days! Ugh, that counter top needs to go soon!

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Eggs steaming for the Huevos Rancheros

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Mmmmmm a Mexican morning feast

Dinner:

  • Maple Peanut California Wrap (Tempeh is not my fav but the marinade was good and all the other ingredients helped to mask/complement the flavour of the tempeh)
  • Chickpea and Preserved Lemon Stew (This was a huge hit! Will make again for sure)
  • Sweet Tomato and Black Bean Tortilla Bowls (Can’t decide if I liked this or the preserved lemon stew the best, love a preserved lemon)
  • Lemony Lentil and Crispy Kale Soup
  • Caramelised Leek and New Potato Salad
  • Spiced Carrot and Cashew Salad With Fresh Coconut and Coriander (This looked VERY impressive)
  • Lemon-Roasted Feta with Traffic-Light Tomatoes (If you like feta, and who doesn’t, then you have to try this)
  • Raw Thai Citrus Crunch Salad
  • Dhal With Crispy Sweet Potato and Quick Coconut Chutney
  • Proper Chilli
  • Any Night of the Week Pizza (with a cauliflower crust)
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      Preserved Lemon stew. I used store bought preserved lemons.

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      The Lemon stew was topped with arugula, pine nuts and saffron yogurt. The yogurt was a must, so simple to whip up, if you have saffron laying around.

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      One of my favs, tomato and black bean soup/stew. Fresh and tasty.

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      Roasted carrot salad was a dinner party delight! It looked really Ottolenghi worthy 🙂

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      Roasted Feta salad, the mint was a lovely addition rather than the more traditional basil.

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      Hello tasty Dahl! Who can resist a roasted sweet potato topper.

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      Sorry, horrible picture but I love me a vinaigrette potato salad. The radishes and celery gave a nice crunch.

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      Worth the cutting Thai Slaw. Could not have tasted more fresh.

Sweet Endings: there were actually a ton of dessert recipes I wanted to make but it’s almost bathing suit time everyone, what’s that…only 4 more weeks of school, that’s right! I’m dying to try Cardamom and Carrot Cakes with Maple Icing, but they will have to wait a bit…we did try…

  • Strawberry Poppy Seed Crisp (great little crisp recipe, the lemon and orange zest is a must)
  • Salted Caramel Crack Brownies (Yes, the name is justified, so good)
  • Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Blondies (Wasn’t impressed, really, too cakey for me)
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These really were probably the best brownies I’ve ever made. You make your own caramel and then once it’s hardened you crack it on top and then bake. As it cooks the caramel oozes in.

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Strawberry and Rhubarb crisp. Really nice with the almond flour.

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Blondies. Not my fav but some liked the cakiness.

So, if you’ve been following along with my New Year’s challenge to pick one of my cookbooks a month to cook from then you will be wondering what’s next…

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I’ve been saving this baby for closer to the summer when we can get more fresh produce. June…close enough I’ll say. Every recipe in this book looks like it uses simple, fresh ingredients which are usually the best recipes. I need to start flagging meals…

Goodbye The World Of The Happy Pear

April got a whole lot healthier with the choice of The World of the Happy Pear by Stephen and David Flynn. Despite April being filled with spring cold and flu I managed about 23 recipes. Most were amazing with only one nasty failure (Elsie’s Super Smoothie-I love bizarre smoothy combos but this one was beyond me, I just couldn’t do it, yuk.) I would definitely recommend this book or the original The Happy Pear for anyone wanting to add some extra whole food, healthy meals to their week day standbys. Also, if you fancy some tasty raw desserts. I did find the recipes a bit wordy but I think that’s because it incorporated what I would think are the author’s voices. Use your brain when you make some of these items so that you don’t make things more work than they need to be e.g. for the Amazing Chocolate, Nut and Caramel Bars just grab them with tongs and dip them in the chocolate don’t fuss with putting them on a knife over a bowl while pouring chocolate over with a spoon.

As always here are some of my fav recipes…

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Chocolate Cookie Dough Balls – Soooooooooo easy to make and honestly taste like cookie dough. Don’t be worried though they are filled with healthy ingredients like oats, dates, cashews and coconut oil.

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Courgette (Zucchini) Fritters with Tzatziki and Beetroot Salad – Gorgeous and fresh. The fritters were really difficult to cook because they kept falling apart. I think you could easily add an egg to help.

This Three-Colour Quinoa Protein Salad – will be my new go-to summer salad I think! It went down a treat at a staff pot luck.

This Citrus, Goji and Chia Marmalade – was a fav of John’s. I even liked it (marmalade is not my friend!) I’m happy I could make him a no refined sugar option.

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Carrot, Original and Beetroot Humous – Gorgeous, these will all be made again. Especially, the beet.

These Super Fudgy Almond Brownies were pretty good but I like the cookie dough balls better!

Breakfast options – Green Power Bowl, Quinoa and Flax Pancakes and Nut and Seed Loaf.  The Loaf was a personal fav. It was soooooooo quick and easy to make and tasted healthy and satisfying. It rocked with almond butter and fresh raspberries on top!

Other dinners included No-Fry Falafels, Blistered Grilled Veg, Feta and Pine Nut Stuffed Peppers, Mexican Salsa with Mixed Beans and Coriander (soooooo yum!) and an Easy Indian Biryani (sorry not a great pic). 

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We finished the book off last night with a lovely Pad Thai – can’t go wrong there.

As I’m seeing, each month there are still loads of great recipes still left to make. I’m going to eventually try them but I’m happy to have completed so many new recipes. I found more than a few go-to recipes that I know will be enjoyed by family and friends for years to come.

If I was thrilled to give Happy Pear a go in April I’m over the moon to be getting on to Anna Jones’ a modern way to eat. I believe I got this book in the UK the summer it was released and haven’t made a thing, ugh, typical me, I read it loads though! The pictures are stunningly styled and are exactly what I do and imagine eating every day. There seems to be a lot of flexibility in the recipes too. Wish me luck in May!

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