Vegetable lentil coconut curry (vegan)


This bowl of lentil curry which is bit of a twist on traditional dahl makes for such a cozy and filling weekday dinner that can be enjoyed both with rice or just as soup and is not only comforting but also nutritious and easy, not to mention completely plant based and unbelievably delicious.

This can be tailor made to suit your taste buds. It can be made spicier or more sombre and is a great way to clear the crisper drawer of any lingering forgotten vegetables.

All you need are some vegetables of choice and here I have beans, carrots, spinach and pepper along with the very essential flavour base that’s made of onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Also soaked lentils, coconut milk and turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala, red chilli powder and cumin seeds.

chop the vegetables into bite sized pieces and boil with soaked lentils until the lentils and vegetables are soft. Do not boil spinach along with the veg and lentils.

Chop the tomatoes, onions, ginger and garlic and keep aside.

In a large pan heat some coconut oil

Add in the cumin seeds and let them splutter

add the onions

with some salt and cook until golden brown.

add the ginger and garlic

and cook until it no longer smells of raw garlic.

Now add the tomatoes followed by spices that are coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala and red chilli powder.

Stir well to combine and keep stirring until the tomatoes are cooked.

Now add the coconut milk and bring to a boil

and add in the spinach if using.

The curry at this stage will be quite thick and you might need to add water.

Let it simmer and come to a boil and this will really draw out the flavour from the coconut milk.

Add the cooked lentil and veg. I might have cooked mine too long but that’s fine.

Add some salt because the curry will need it.

I also ended up adding some more chilli powder because I like this curry a bit spicy.

Let it simmer for a few minutes before turning off the flame and putting a lid on to let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Depending on how thick or thin you want this curry water can be added.

Serve hot with flatbreads or rice or just help yourself to a large bowl and let it nourish and heal you this winter.


Ingredients

Red lentils : 60g
Yellow lentils: 100g
Coconut milk: 250g
Tomatoes : 200g (2 medium)
Onion: 150g (1 medium)
garlic and ginger chopped: 1 tbsp each
Chopped veg: 350-400g
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Water: 700mls
Spinach: 100g (optional)
Salt to taste

Spices
Cumin seeds, red chilli powder, turmeric : 1 tsp
Coriander powder, garam masala: 2 tsp

Recipe instructions:

Soak the lentils overnight or at least 3-4 hours before cooking. Add the chopped vegetables to the lentils and cook until softened. Leave out the spinach if using.

For the flavour base dice the tomatoes, onions, ginger and garlic and keep aside.

In a large pan heat some coconut oil and add the cumin seeds until they splutter. Add chopped onions and some salt and cook until the onions are golden brown in colour. Add ginger and garlic and cook until the garlic no longer smells raw. (roughly a minute). Add in the chopped tomatoes along with the spices and cook until the tomatoes have softened.

Pour in the coconut milk and let it simmer before finally adding in the spinach if using. Add some water to thin out the curry and some more salt.

Let it come to a bubble before finally adding in the cooked lentils and vegetables.

Put a lid on the pan and let it gently simmer for a few minutes.

Lastly check for seasonings and add more salt or other spices as needed.

If it’s too thick then you can add some water but let it come to a boil again after that.

Serve hot.

Simple vegan chocolate cake


Do you want something absolutely chocolate without the fuss, without the beating around in a large bowl and whisking too much? If your answer is yes then perhaps this is the chocolate cake you’d want to try which is absolutely hassle free, easy to make with a fudgy rich center and takes barely moments to put together. The only waiting time is when it bakes and cools down and once that is done it’s ready to be eaten.

It’s something of a cross between a rich brownie and a simple tea time cake where all its chocolateness comes from the cocoa powder, which is why a good quality cocoa powder is a must for this recipe and of course it can be elaborated upon with icing or frosting and that’s why this cake is so perfect because its simple nature makes it so amiable to everything one could possible club it with.

The ingredients are few and basic. Flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, cocoa powder, instant coffee, oil, plant milk, vanilla and some salt.

In a large bowl mix in the flour

sugar

baking powder, salt, baking soda and coffee

and cocoa powder.

Mix it well together.

Now mix in all the wet ingredients. Vanilla, oil

Plant milk. I’ve used soy milk.

Mix it well. The batter will be a bit wet and that’s what makes the cake a very moist disc of chocolate goodness.

Scrape into a well greased baking dish of choice and bake at 180ºc for 40-45 minutes or until the cake starts to pull away from the sides and the center is baked. Check with a knife or toothpick.

Let cool for a bit before slicing.

This cake was deliriously simple and magical in how it tasted. Pair it with a dollop of ice cream of some cream or custard to make it into a richer dessert.

Enjoy!


Ingredients

Flour: 200g
Sugar: 180g
Cocoa powder: 30g
Coffee powder (instant): 1 tsp
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Baking soda: 1/2 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Oil: 70g (anything flavourless or coconut oil)
Plant milk: 220 mls
Vanilla extract: 1 tsp

Recipe instructions

Into a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and coffee powder. Mix well. Make sure there are no lumps.

Add in the vanilla, oil and milk and mix well. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure no dry flour is stuck to the edges.

Scrape into a well greased baking tin and bake at 180ºc for 40-45 minutesor until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

let rest for ten minutes before serving.


Vegan spring rolls


Wrapped in rice papers crammed with crunchy vegetables and piled with a delicious marinated tofu, these spring rolls which I do agree are a much larger almost dumpling sized kin to their fresh and slimmer relatives are a perfect treat either as a snack or even as a post workout meal when eaten in huge quantities since these are annoyingly delicious and guiltless and making them isn’t nearly as tedious as one would think.

Of course cooking anything in the kitchen requires a bit of work and these aren’t as much work as one would think and in fact they’re rather fun to make.

The filling is entirely personal and often depends on what’s present in the refrigerator; also a great way to use leftover vegetables.

The ingredients which I used were tofu, thinly sliced carrots, capsicum, avocado, cucumbers, coriander and leftover roasted asparagus. Like I said, the filling depends entirely up to you and the contents of your fridge.

You want to slice your carrots in a way that they’re almost julienned, so begin by slicing them lengthwise

and slice them lengthwise again to get matchsticks

also slice the rest of the veg as thin as manageable.

Slice firm tofu in long strips and the firmer the tofu the better its tenacity to not crumble.

we need flavour in these spring rolls since everything else is going to stay raw and crunchy with a play on textures, the tofu in question needs to have a punch and marinating it for a few minutes really does the trick.

Sizzle the marinated tofu on a very hot pan with a drizzle of oil.

let it char on both sides for a minute or so

Before finally adding the marinating liquid the tofu sat in. Let it cook and bubble and get absorbed.

And here you have it. What was once a rather pallid looking block of protein is now a bronzed vivacious looking filling for our spring rolls.

Now for the assembly which is where the fun begins. You need a large plate filled with water which can fit the rice papers, a clean damp kitchen towel and all the accoutrements sat neatly in front so the conveyor belt process can work.

Begin by immersing the rice papers in water on both sides for a few seconds until the entire surface is wet but not wilting.

Then transfer it to the damp paper towel

and begin layering the vegetables. I start with coriander first just so the rolls look pretty after getting rolled up, however because I stuffed them to spilling the final outcome wasn’t prettiness but greed and so the layering didn’t much matter but if you want to make them look presentable and dainty then maybe fill them a little less audaciously.

then came leftover asparagus. It’s absolutely optional. You can instead use cabbage, shredded lettuce or whatever you feel like.

next came in avocado

closely followed by capsicum and carrots

and finally tofu and cucumbers.

Next comes the rolling part where you gently but with purpose and intent enclose the vegetables in their transparent rice veil by folding the now very sticky rice paper over in a manner of wrapping.

and fold the two opposite ends to meet the first roll. Doesn’t matter if there are small tears in the paper or if all the vegetables don’t stay inside the first fold because we will roll it again.

Keeping the wrapping firm

Since the rice paper is sticky it will stay glued and the chances of making mistakes are few. Roll it up until it’s a roll.

something like this and there you have it. Giant spring rolls to stave off any hunger pangs.


Ingredients

Rice papers: 4 to 5
Firm tofu: 200g
Carrot: 1 small
Capsicum: 1 small or half a large
Coriander: 1 large bunch
Avocado: 1 half
Cucumber: 1 small
asparagus: 3-4 roasted and halved.

For the tofu marinade
Sesame oil: 2 tsp
Light soya sauce: 1 tbsp
Apple cider vinegar: 2 tsp
Sriracha or any chilly sauce: 2 tsp
Brown sugar: 2 tsp

Recipe Instructions

Slice vegetables into thin slices. Cut tofu into strips and marinate for 5-10 minutes. Heat some oil in a pan and gently place tofu strips until browned or lightly charred for a minute. Turn them over and after half a minute pour the marinting liquid in the pan. Let it bubble and thicken for another half a minute before turning off the heat. The tofu should be glossily bronzed on both sides.

Lay out all the ingredients for the rolls in front and fill up a large plate, big enough to fit the rice papers with water.

Dampen a clean kitchen towel and keep in front. Gently lower the rice paper in the plate with water and wet it on both side for a few seconds. Do not let it begin to soften. Transfer on the damp kitchen towel and begin layering the paper close to the edge near you to form into spring rolls.

Once the vegetables are stacked, fold over the now soft and sticky rice paper once. Fold the opposite ends on the sides to stick over the first fold and roll again to seal the edges.

Enjoy with some soy sauce or your favourite dip.

Oxblood smoothie (Vegan)


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No animals were harmed in the creation of this idiotically vibrant pink smoothie that suffuses your insides with a similar blazing glow of health and wellness, not least because this delicious lambent drink is made in mere moments and serves as a fantastic post-workout snack or a cool supplement with any meal.

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The ingredients can be easily substituted with what you have on hand and what kind of flavour profile you need in a particular smoothie. I gravitate towards resplendent reds and thusly red pitaya for the colour and nutrition boost along with bananas, strawberries, cashew nuts and soy milk.

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There’s just the one step to it that is blending all the ingredients.

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strawberries in with pitaya or dragonfruit as we call it and I have frozen strawberries here.

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in with cashew nuts

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banana and soy milk,

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a couple of pulses followed by a long whizz and there we have it. Luminous and bloody red.

(I have on previous occasions used boiled beetroot instead of pitaya with similar results.)

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Your daily nutrition boost with fruits and fixings.


Ingredients

Red Pitaya: 200g

Banana: 200g (2 small or 1 big)

Strawberries: 100g

Cashew nuts: 50g

Soy milk: 100mls



Recipe instructions:

Chop the fruits into smaller portions for even blending and blend along with cashew nuts and soy milk until smooth.

Feel free to add sweetener or a squirt of lemon to enhance the sweetness and tang.

 

 

Super smoothie (Vegan)


If you’re looking for a quick, healthy, delicious post-workout recovery snack/drink or even just a nutritious little something to go with your daily blah then look no further because have I got a smoothie for you.

It’s gratifyingly enjoyable in a way that post-workout drinks should be, easy to put together with simple ingredients that can be mixed up to suit your tastes.

If you’re used to keeping a stocked larder with superfoods or just interested in knowing the different ways to use up those seeds and berries you can’t seem to finish then this might just be what you’re looking for and it’s pink.

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A great smoothie needs a banana and it’s one of those definite fruits that does wonders for your body and system. It’s easily accessible, cheap and sweet. Apart from some strawberries (you could use any easily blendable fruit or berry of choice), goji berries to oomph the superbness of this smoothie what with all the antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, chia seeds for the overall goodness of the omega 3, protein, antioxidants and fibre and some milk.

It’s pretty straightforward really. You bung everything in a blender and blend, but I will demonstrate still.

 

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awkwardly add milk and banana to a blender

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followed by strawberries, still keeping with the odd hand angle

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in with goji berries

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and chia seeds. Whirr to blend everything together.

 

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until you get a prettily pink drink, stippled with nutritious black dots, like so.

Stick a straw in and drink before you sweat or after or even if you don’t sweat at all. This will not disappoint your health.



Ingredients 

Banana: 1

Strawberries: 40-50g (1/2 cup)

Goji berries: 1 heaped tbsp

Chia seeds: 1 tbsp

Soy milk: 150mls (1/2 cup)


Recipe instructions

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend at high.

Note: you can use soaked chia seeds in this recipe.

 

 

Homemade peanut butter in a blender


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This began as something of an experiment in search of peanut butter that I could enjoy without staring at the nutrition facts with guilt and wincing. I’d found myself swimming in wonderfully raw plump peanuts and decided to go ahead with making my version of homemade peanut butter that not only kept the ingredients to a minimum but also ensured that everything was easily available and immediately present at hand, which is why a blender works better than a food processor in this case because almost every house has a blender if not a processor.

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The ingredients are few and wholesome which makes it so much better than shop bought ones which are jam-packed with hydrogenated fats, preservatives and stabilizers. Roasted peanuts, coconut sugar (or any sugar), salt and coconut oil (or any oil.)

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I began by roasting peanuts which I did on a baking tray in a very low oven at 110º for about 20 minutes.

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until they had changed colour from pale to rosily bronzed.

 

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The only hard part is removing their skins which is easily done by shaking them vigorously or just rubbing them between your palms. Decant peanuts into a blender of choice and add sugar.

 

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and salt. Give it a good whirr in pulses.

 

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It isn’t a matter of seconds, it will take time, but keep pulsing until some peanuts are crushed, some turned to rubble and some still intact. Using a spatula keep mixing it about to ensure that nothing is stuck to the blade.

 

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It might look like it’s not coming together, but it will. Keep mixing in long and short pulses, alternating with pushing and mixing the broken peanuts with the spatula until you see more crumbs than intact pieces of peanuts.

 

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Add the oil and blend again.

 

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You might get anxious because it doesn’t look like anything’s happening but suddenly the bottom part of the blender will show almost liquefied peanuts, and then you’ll know you’ve struck oil, except its butter and wonderfully delicious at that.

 

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keep blending until you reach the desired consistency. This was still sort of chunky and a few long pulses later..

 

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You’ll get a satiny smooth terracotta emulsion of warmth. All you need at this point is a clean jar to store this homemade peanut butter in.

 

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Once upon a life, there was honey in it. Now there’ll be peanut butter.

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Pour into a jar of choice and refrigerate. This turned out far more delicious than any store-bought ones and easy to boot, not to mention self-righteous and annoyingly healthy.


Ingredients

Peanuts: 370g (2 cups)

Coconut oil: 2tbsp

Coconut sugar: 1tbsp

Salt: 1tsp

Note-  The resulting peanut butter will have a mild underlying coconut flavour to it, which is on account of coconut oil. If you do not like it then use any other oil of choice. 


Recipe Instructions: Roast raw peanuts either on a gas stove or oven by placing in an oven tray and roasting at 110º for 20-25 minutes until they’re rosy and golden. Keep checking to see that they don’t burn.

Remove their skins and place in a blender along with sugar and salt and pulse for a few moments. Use a spatula to mix them in the blender to keep the peanuts from sticking to the bottom. Once most of them are crushed add coconut oil and blend again until desired peanut butter consistency is achieved. Pour into a clean jar and refrigerate.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan wraps


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If you’re out there looking for something healthy, mouthwatering and vegan with the ability to inoculate thy system with wholesome nutrition, healthy crunch and that which is choke full of so much goodness that you’d almost feel sick with health, except you won’t because healthy food makes no one sick and it’s time we embraced that fact, then this is the dish for you.

Also, as rare as it might be, often times nourishing food turns out to be just that much better than almost all the bad stuff that tastes divinely delicious, and this vegan wrap is the alpha and the omega of health and taste; alive here to work as a fantastic breakfast, packed lunch, picnic food or just a regular meal for a regular night, except it’s so damn tasty that it makes a very ordinary day into a stellar one, or at least till the time you’re eating this.

What’s more this recipe actually has two recipes, so that’s like a bonus, and one can’t have enough bonuses..so here we go.

 

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These might look like a lot of usual suspects, but that’s only because we’re going to be making hummus from scratch, and not just any ol’ hummus but a roasted red pepper one, and here’s a recipe for a regular hummus and there’s a detailed ‘how to‘ on roasting red peppers as well, which you can find here.

 

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A bit of roasting action first, ensuring the pepper is nicely charred and softened

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after which we put it in a bowl because it needs to cool down and become easier to peel.

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cover securely to trap in the heat, that helps create moisture and loosen the skin and make it all sorts of juicy for at least 10-15 minutes

 

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After which time you can easily peel off the skin, not too fastidiously though

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a few charred bits still sticking to the skin only help impart a more smoky flavour to the hummus.

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get rid of the seeds and guts until only the juicy part of the skin remains.

 

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Now with the hummus. In a blender, or processor tip in the cooked chickpeas.

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and a couple cloves of garlic. I forgot to put them in the ingredients picture.

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add in the roasted red pepper

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tahini paste

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cumin powder

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salt

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olive oil

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and finally lime juice.

 

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blend or process into a paste like consistency

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something like this, or finer if you please. It should be easy to spread.

 

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Now a bit of chopping and here’s some onion in its very own shot because I forgot to include it in the ingredients picture

 

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here we have our veggies chopped. A bunch of mushrooms, half a tomato, half a capsicum and our lovely onion of course.

 

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cook onions and capsicum on a smoking hot pan with a bit of oil.

 

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I like using tongs for this particular step, because it’s easy and makes you look very efficient.

 

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once it begins to soften a bit, add a small pinch of salt.

 

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and keep cooking on high heat until it’s sweetly caramelized.

 

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remove veggies on a separate plate

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and in with the mushrooms. There’s a rogue capsicum in there was well.

 

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cook until softened and caramelized, like so.

 

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all needs remain is a bit of assembly work.

 

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Drape the wrap with vulgar amounts of hummus. Don’t be stingy with this spread. It’s delicious, it’s full of proteins and it’s the flavour base to our wrap.

 

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Begin by layering on 1/3rd part of the wrap so it’s easy to roll. First with the caramelized capsicum and onions.

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then mushrooms

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and finally the tomatoes.

 

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Roll ’em up.

 

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serve am as is, or if you feel fancy then add some gorgeous crispy baked potatoes on the side.



Vegan Wraps

Ingredients

For hummus

Cooked chickpeas: 200g (1cup)

Tahini: 40g (1/4 cup)

Red pepper: 1 in nos

Garlic cloves: 2 small

Salt: 1/2 tsp

Cumin powder: 1 tsp

Lime juice: 1 tsp

Olive oil: 1 tbsp

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For wraps

Whole Wheat wraps: 2 in nos

Onion: 1 medium sized

Capsicum : 1 medium size

Tomato: 1 small

Mushrooms: 8-10 small button mushrooms

Salt: a pinch

Oil: 2 tsp


Recipe instructions for Hummus: 

Roast red pepper on high flame, until all sides are charred and blackened. Cover and let rest for 10-15 minutes for the skin to loosen, after which gently peel away the charred skin and remove seeds.

Add all the hummus ingredients with the roasted red pepper in a blender or food processor and pulse until a thick paste is formed.

For the wraps

Thinly slice vegetables and de seed tomatoes.

Heat oil on high flame until smoking and add the sliced capsicum and onions with a pinch of salt until sweetly caramelized. Keep tossing to keep from burning.

Remove to a plate once cooked, and in the same pan add in sliced mushrooms and cook until browned and soft.

To form the wraps, spread hummus generously on whole wheat wrap and begin layering the vegetables on 1/3rd side without heaping on too high so as to enable easy rolling of the wrap.

Ejoy!

 

 

 

Breakfast power smoothie


dsc_1104As days get colder I get lazier. leaving the comfy confines of a chair that’s been warming under you simply to make breakfast feels a bit treacherous, but we gotta eat and breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

And I’ll tell you what’s better than a healthy quick morning breakfast.. one that doesn’t need much eating. Yeah all you gotta do is drink and feel your insides give you a thumbs up.

This breakfast morning smoothie is fast, ferociously energizing and full of good things. It’s fresh, fruity and fantastic.

 

dsc_1098-copyYou can of course change any of these ingredients according to whatever your fridge spring or local fruit market sustains. All fruits, any kinds are welcome, and these are what I put in. A mushed up half of an avocado, pineapple, banana and frozen grapes.

 

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just bung everything in a blender.

 

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add a bit of water just to help everything combine, or it might get too thick

 

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admire the colours and blend.

 

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make a mess while pouring

 

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Ingredients

Pineapple: 150g (1 cup heaped)

Grapes: 110g (1/2 cup) (use frozen for a thicker smoothie texture)

Avocado: 1/2 or 1

Banana: 1

Water: 2-3 tbsp

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Recipe instructions:  Blend together all the fruits. Add a little water if the consistency is too thick.

Serve.

Note: you may use any fruits of choice. Either ones from your deep freeze or fresh. Add some blueberries, or frozen strawberries with banana. Apples and peaches work well too.

Enjoy