Adas Quinoa with Vegan Yoghurt

This is my take on the Persian dish called Adas Polo, which literally means lentil rice. Growing up, this was one of my favourite meals so it is the ultimate comfort food for me. I've replaced the rice with quinoa and made a non-dairy yoghurt to go along side it. The combination of savoury and sweet tones are what make Persian food so unique and so reminiscent of home cooked meals enjoyed with my family.

Quinoa is a wonderful source of essential amino acids which makes it a complete source of plant protein. It is also high in minerals such as magnesium, zinc and potassium as well as fibre, and a group of antioxidants called flavanoids.

Lentils, like quinoa are high in plant protein, and are a great source of iron. They also contain folic acid, and Vitamin B-complex, which are essential for your body.

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After being brought up eating yoghurt almost everyday, I have now cut it out of my diet completely. So when I made this simple recipe it was a revelation, all the soothing familiar flavours came back to me and it was delightful! You can also add in one diced up cucumber to make a mast-o-khiar, which is the Iranian version of tzatziki.

This plant powered, protein packed dish is a definite winner, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Adas Quinoa Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 1/2 cups dried green lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups water (approx.)
  • 2 cups white quinoa
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • Pinch ground up of saffron threads, steeped in 3-4 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or any other oil with high smoke point such as safflower oil)
  • 1 large white onion, cut in slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/3 cup yellow sultanas/raisins Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt) and black pepper to taste
  • Sumac powder to taste (optional)

Vegan Yoghurt Ingredients

  • Handful of cashew nuts
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 6-8 tablespoons water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Dried mint leaves
  • Dried rose petals (optional)
  • 1 small cucumber, diced (optional)

Method

Pick over the lentils, making sure there aren't any stones and discarding any shrivelled lentils. Rinse and place in a medium saucepan along with approximately 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cover and leave to cook for 20 mins or so, until the lentils are cooked through. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium pan, add the chopped onion and cook on medium/high heat until they turn translucent, then reduce the heat to medium/low. Add the turmeric along with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Leave to caramelise, stirring occasionally, for approximately 25 mins. Then add the dates and cook for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and mix in the sultanas/raisins.

Rinse the quinoa, at least 3-4 times, this gets rid of the bitter taste. Drain in a sieve then transfer to a large pot along with the 4 cups vegetable stock, a couple pinches of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and leave to cook with the lid on for 15 mins. Once all the liquid has evaporated pour the saffron liquid over it, put the lid back on and set aside for 5 mins. Then using a fork gently fluff the quinoa.

Make the yoghurt by combining all the ingredients, except for the dried mint, rose petals, and cucumber if using, in a blender and blitz until smooth, adding more water if needed. Transfer to a bowl, taste to adjust seasoning and sprinkle with crushed dried mint and rose petals.

Add the lentils to the pot of quinoa and gently combine. When you're ready to eat, transfer to a large plate, cover with caramelised onions, dates and sultanas, then sprinkle a couple pinches of sumac, if using, over the top and serve alongside the yoghurt.

Enjoy!

Healing Savoury Turmeric Pancakes

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The past two weeks have been quite intense for me as I've been recovering from a concussion. I've been feeling rather nauseous followed by migraines, shoulder and neck pain so as a result I've been eating and drinking as much turmeric, ginger and cacao as possible to help heal myself naturally. As I was feeling much better today I was inspired to make us some savoury pancakes for brunch and decided to add in some turmeric, as a precautionary measure for the pain, and I'm pleased to say that they ended up tasting great (husband approved) so thought I'd share them with the world!

If you haven't heard of all the incredible healing properties of turmeric here's one example. It's a great anti-inflammatory and has been used in many cultures for hundreds of years due to these specific effects which are caused by the chemical curcumin, that gives it the prominent yellow pigment. Recently studies have shown that it's just as effective as taking synthetic anti-inflammatory medication and when combined with black pepper it's bioavailability is boosted making this wonderful golden spice much more potent and effective in healing the body.

So here's a quick recipe which is 100% plant based, gluten free and wonderfully healing. You can get inventive with the toppings and add whatever you have at home. we had left over mung bean curry from dinner last night so decided to use it again, this can be substituted with cooked lentils, chickpeas or left out completely and enjoyed simply with the avocado and cherry tomatoes.

       

 

 

 

Ingredients (Makes 6)

Pancakes

  • 3 flax "eggs" (1 flax "egg" = 1 Tbs ground flaxseeds : 3Tbs water)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Couple pinches Himalayan pink salt
  • Pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

Toppings

  • 1 ripe Hass avocado, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Cooked mung beans/lentils (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Make the flax eggs by combining the ground flaxseeds with water in a bowl, stir to get an even consistency and place in the fridge to set (about 10-15 mins).

Heat up your pan (preferably a non toxic non-stick pan like these) on medium - high heat.

Combine all the pancake ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

Once the pan is nice and hot pour a ladle full of the mixture into the pan, using the back of the ladle to spread the batter out making it nice and even. Leave to cook for 3-4 mins, then flip and cook for another 2 mins. Repeat until you've finished all the batter.

Heat up the coked beans or lentils if you're using them. Pour 1/2 the lime juice and a pinch of salt to the thinly sliced avocado . Put the chopped cherry tomatoes in a small bowl along with the rest of the lime juice, sesame oil and a pinch of salt & pepper.

Add a little bit of each topping to your pancake and fold it over for a fancy looking crepe or add A LOT of each topping and eat it messily (my preference).

Enjoy!

Chickpea coconut curry with seasonal greens

This is a deliciously comforting meal to keep you warm in the winter months, my definition of comfort food. It is inspired by my  Iranian culture and travels to Sri Lanka & India. It's also 100% whole food plant based made with nothing but pure goodness. I've recently started an online course in plant based nutrition with the Center for Nutrtion Studies founded by Dr. T Colin Campbell and it is such a joy to enhance my knowledge of this lifestyle. It has also influenced my food choices, I'm eating more greens than usual and using a lot less fat. The studies in this field are absolutely incredible and it's so interesting to see how much research has been done in the field of plant based nutrition, especially in relation to chronic diseases. I would suggest reading Whole by Dr. Campbell or watching one of his many talks online if you're curious to know just how much our diet affects our health.

Anyhow moving on to the recipe!

The rice and tahdig, crispy Persian rice literally meaning bottom of the pot, are made in a rice cooker. I've found that this is the most foolproof, and fuss-free way of making it without burning the rice. However if you don't have a rice cooker you can also use a non stick pot, preferably a non toxic one like the ones Green Pan make. Follow the instructions to cook the rice as stated below, then when it comes to making the tahdig, make sure you cook the rice on low heat so that it doesn't burn. I admit this is quite an art and gets better with experience and much easier if you use a rice cooker!

The greens can easily be replaced with whatever is in season in your part of the world.

(Serves 6) *Use organic ingredients where possible

Curry

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric, diced or 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, diced or1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 6 plum tomatoes or 3 vine tomatoes, diced
  • 1 kohlrabi, skinned & diced or 1 medium potato
  • 4 teaspoons coconut butter
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, I used brown chickpeas
  • 4 mustard leaves, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 6 spinach leaves, chopped

Coconut Rice & Tahdig

  • 4 cups brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups dried shredded coconut (unsweetened, organic)
  • 8 cups water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or another high smoke point oil)

Coriander vegan "yoghurt"

  • 1 cup fresh coriander, leaves and stalks
  • 2 handfuls cashew nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Apple cidre vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
  • Pinch of sea salt & black pepper 1/2 cup water

Method

1. Rinse the rice a couple times, strain and place in a rice cooker, add the 8 cups water, dried coconut and salt and leave to cook, approximately 30 mins.

*If you don't have a rice cooker please read the notes above.

2. While the rice cooks, add the tablespoon of coconut oil to a medium sized pot and on medium/high heat until the oil melts. Add the diced onion and let cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic, turmeric and curry powder, stir to combine let cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Then add the diced tomatoes, reduce heat to medium/low and allowing the tomatoes to reduce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally add the kohlrabi/potato, coconut butter, chickpeas, and enough water to cover the ingredients by half an inch or so. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.

3. Once the rice has cooked through, gently scoop the rice from the edges of the pot towards the middle to form a pyramid shape. Make 5-6 holes in the rice pyramid by gently poking the back of a spatula through to the bottom of the pot. Pour a small about of the melted coconut oil into each hole, and leave to cook for another 15-20 mins, this is how you get the crispy rice.

4. Add the chopped spinach and mustard leaves to the curry, cover the pot and let cook for 5 minutes, until wilted. Stir to combine, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the flavours to settle.

5. In the meantime place all the "yoghurt" ingredients in a blender (I used my magic bullet), and blend until smooth. 6. Take most of the rice out the pot, except for the bottom layer touching the base of the pot, and using a wooden spatula gently cut and flip over the thin crispy bottom layer.

7. Serve up the dish and enjoy! **This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days and usually tastes better the next day as the flavours infuse further.

5 Minute Cleansing Sprout Salad

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This recipe is inspired by my friend Dan's father, Mooky, who I mentioned in my post about my travels to London over the summer. He grows a lot of his own vegetables and herbs in his garden and makes a salad very similar to this with his homegrown produce. This version is a bit less intense but I do warn you, it is not for the faint hearted as it includes fresh garlic, chilli, and energy and nutrient rich sprouts, so be prepared for a boost of plant power!

I recently put some seeds in my germinator and a few days later had way more sprouts that I could handle so I thought of a way to utilise them without too much effort as I was feeling a bit lazy. I had a look in the fridge and saw parsley, fennel, jalapeño chilli peppers, cucumber...I was immediately transported back to Mooky's garden picking fresh herbs and veggies and that's when I knew I had to try and recreate the amazingly powerful green salad he made for us this summer. You can used whatever veggies and herbs you have at home but the key is to keep the flavours fresh and clean.

Germination and Sprouts

I've been the proud owner of a three tiered germinator for the past 4 years now and go through phases of using it. But when I'm on a roll, I absolutely love it because there's always a quick nutrition rich pick me up at arms length which I can just eat as is or add to salads, soups, noodles etc.

A germinator is basically a fancy sieve which you put organic seeds/beans/grains, and add water to so that the seeds get activated at begin the sprouting process. However, you do not need to own a germinator in oder to sprout your own seeds, all you need are good quality organic seeds/beans/grains, a jar, some cheesecloth to cover the top of the jar and a rubber band, as this beautiful info-graphic by Victor Paiam explains:

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Germination

Once you have your seeds, I use these, you need to soak them over night in a bit of water. The next day discard the water and put the seeds in your germinator, fill with filtered drinking water, enough to just cover the seeds then tilt upside down so that it drains out, keeping the seeds moist. Repeat the watering and draining process twice a day until you get some sprouts, this should take anywhere between 2-4 days depending on what you are using.

Sprouts are a great source of B vitamins, protein and antioxidants which are perfect for vegetarians and vegans alike. They also give your body a lot of energy. Image how much energy it takes for one seed/bean/grain to transform into a sprout, well when you eat it, all that energy gets transferred to your body and is very beneficial to your whole system. However be sure to use organic seeds/grains when sprouting as they will not have any chemicals added to them, and please use clean drinkable water too!

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As mentioned above, this recipe is not for the faint hearted as it is extremely strong in flavour, and is very cleansing for your body, so don't say I didn't warn you :)

Ingredients

  • 1 big handful of sprouts (I used lentil, radish & mung bean sprouts)
  • 2 small cucumbers (organic/pesticide free if possible)
  • 1/2 bulb fennel 1 jalapeño chilli
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Dried chilli flakes, to taste (optional)
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Method:

1. Dice the cucumber, fennel, and jalapeño up quite finely and add to a medium bowl.

2. Roughly chop the parsley, and mince the garlic, add to the bowl.

3. Add the sprouts, lime juice, olive oil, cumin, and a pinch of salt & pepper and combine all the ingredients until everything is coated in the salad dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed, and sprinkle some dried chilli flakes on top if you want an extra kick of flavour.

Enjoy!

5 Ingredient Delicious Chickpea Crepes

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These are the most delicious, filling, easy and protein rich crepes ever! They're naturally gluten free, high in iron, magnesium and Vitamin B-6. These are all magnificent vitamins and minerals which your body needs to function well. Iron produces collagen which keeps your skin looking young & fresh, magnesium helps regulate blood pressure, and Vitamin B-6 aids in regulating your mood and appetite.

I first became familiar with them a couple of years ago through Yotam Ottolenghi's book Plenty  but was living in the UK at the time and couldn't find chickpea flour very easily, so I quickly forgot about them. It was only recently when I read through my copy of Sarah Britton's cookbook Inspired Plant Based Recipes for Every Season that I immediately put the chickpea flour which had been sitting in my cupboard for a few months, to good use! They are traditionally called Socca, in France or Farinata in Italy, and are made with olive oil, however olive oil has a very low burning point so coconut oil is used as an amazingly delicious and nutritious substitute. The toppings are very versatile, so you can use what you've got in the fridge, which is what I tend to do, and wrap them up into a simple and nourishing meal. They also freeze very well, so you can make up a big batch, freeze, then heat them up in the oven quickly when you need them.

As I've been hosting more group cooking classes recently, I'm very aware of using ingredients which are readily available in Doha. And chickpea flour happens to be available in almost all supermarkets here, it's really cheap too, which means you have more money to spend on other whole food items or perhaps a little present for yourself! So Doha people, this one is dedicated to you :)

Ingredients

(makes 4 large  crepes)

Chickpea Crepes (recipe from Inspired Plant Based Recipes for Every Season) 

1 cup chickpea flour (also called besan or gram flour)

Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Pinch fresh cracked black pepper

1 1/4 cup warm water

3 tablespoons coconut oil + more for cooking

Topping Suggestions

Beetroot hummus (regular hummus is also fine)

Carrots

Baby spinach leaves

Goats cheese

Guacamole

Cherry tomato salsa

Pesto

Method:

Sift the flour over a large bowl, then add salt & pepper, mix to combine.

Whisk in warm water and melted coconut oil and let sit for at least 30 mins. This will ensure the crepes hold together well.

Then heat up 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil in large pan over medium heat, once hot pour 1/4 of the mixture to coat the pan. Cook for 5-8 minutes on one side, until bubbles start to form and the crepe holds together well (patience is key here) then flip and cook for 2 mins on the other side, and repeat.

Add your toppings of choice and enjoy!

Mushroom, Courgette, and Broad Bean Frittata

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This is great recipe to whip up when you want something comforting, filling and nutritious. It's a lovely warming meal on a cold winters night, and great served cold with a simple green salad for lunch or even at a picnic. The veggies can all be substituted with whatever you have at home but I found that this combination was a winner!

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Ingredients (serves 6)

1/2 tbs coconut oil

1/2 a medium onion

1 medium courgette - chopped into quarters

3 cups of chestnut mushrooms - chopped into quarters

1/2 cup fresh or frozen broad beans

1 tbs paprika powder

3 spring onions - greens only, roughly chopped

handful of dill - roughly chopped

4 eggs (preferably organic free range)

1/3 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)

Himalayan pink salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

Heat a large non stick pan over medium heat, add oil and let it heat up, then add the diced onion half. Cook until the onion browns slightly, stirring occasionally.

Add the courgette, and cook for about 5 mins. Then add the mushrooms, and paprika, stir to combine, and cover with a lid for about 3 mins. Add the broad beans, stir and cover for 5-8 mins, or until the mushrooms have reduced in size.

Crack the eggs in a bowl, whisk together with the almond milk, then add the chopped spring onion greens, along with the dill, salt and pepper.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the pan, reduce heat to low and cover. Let cook for 10 mins, check firmness, and flip the frittata. I placed a plate over the pan by holding the plate with one hand and the pan with the other, slowly turning over the frittata and cooking the other side for 3-4 mins.

When cooked all the way through, cut and serve with a simple green salad, and some gluten free bread or crackers.

Enjoy!

Lemony Swiss Chard Soup

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Sometimes all you need is a big hearty bowl of soup, especially during the winter, and this is the one to try. Well it's not exactly freezing in Doha, it's about 20 degrees Celsius, which is cold compared to the scorching 50+ degrees in the summer months!

A lovely friend of mine, Lana, introduced me to a supermarket which stocks some pretty fresh produce from the Levant region, so I've been quite lucky recently with finding fruits and veggies I wouldn't normally have over here. The other day I came across some beautiful Lebanese Swiss Chard stalks just waiting for me to scoop them up! I bought them and they sat in the vegetable bowl on my kitchen counter for a few days as I debated between making dolma (stuffing them with a herbed rice) or soup. I finally decided soup would be the best option given the minimal prep required, and so I tried to recreate a recipe an old colleague had told me about a while back which sounded delicious. I didn't have all the ingredients but decided to work with what I had at home, I replaced potatoes with butternut squash and green lentils with black-eye peas, also fresh coriander with coriander powder. So work with which ever ingredients are easier to get your hands on. Either way, you will have a lovely warming bowl of soup to savour!

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Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups black-eye peas, rinsed
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups swiss chard, sliced
  • 2 tsp sumac powder himalayan pink salt (sea salt is fine too) & black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbs ghee (can be replaced with coconut oil for Vegans)
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs coriander powder

Method:

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot on medium - high heat. Then add the onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until they soften slightly. Stir in the black-eye peas and pour in the vegetable stock. Bring the broth to a boil and add the butternut squash, swiss chard. Season with sumac, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn the heat down and let simmer, covered, until the squash and peas are cooked, approximately 20-25 mins. While you're waiting for the soup to cook, heat the ghee in a small pan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and cook for about a minute, then stir in the coriander powder, and remove from heat once the aromas start being released, about 30/40 seconds. Once the peas and squash are nearly done, add the garlic and coriander,and cook for 5 minutes, or until the squash and peas have cooked through. Just before serving add the juice of one lemon, and taste to check seasoning, add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed. Cut up the left over lemon into wedges to serve on the side and enjoy!

Easy Spelt Pizzas

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I was always intimidated by the idea of making any bread related food, but once I gave this spelt pizza base a go I realised how easy it actually is and haven't looked back since! I have made it in all different shapes and sizes, from a large family style pizza, to mini heart shaped ones. The options of toppings are endless so experiment as much as you want, with whatever you have on hand. This is a staple in the Vegetarian Treehouse Kitchen and every time I make I am so glad I didn't decide to order in!

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Spelt is a wheat free flour, which is packed with nutritional benefits from regulating the body’s metabolism to lowering blood sugar, and reducing cholesterol levels. It does however contain very low levels of gluten therefore if you are celiac I would recommend replacing it with rice or quinoa flour.

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Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

Pizza Base

4 cups wholegrain spelt flour 3/4 cup warm water 1 1/2 tablespoons dry active yeast 3 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons zataar Salt to taste (preferably Himalayan pink salt or sea salt)

Toppings

4 vine tomatoes 1 tablespoon dried oregano 1/4 cup tomato paste 1 teaspoon coconut sugar / brown sugar 1 medium onion - sliced 1 tablespoon coconut oil 1 pack chestnut mushrooms - sliced 250 gram pack halloumi cheese - sliced salt &  freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

Sift 3 1/2 cups of the spelt flour into a large mixing bowl.

Gently whisk the yeast in 3/4 cup water to dissolve.

Add the yeast and olive oil to the flour and stir in until you have a consistent texture.

Then start kneading the dough on a clean floured surface for about 5 mins.

Place the dough back in the bowl, dust with some flour and cover with a damp towel. Leave the dough to rise for approx. 1 1/2 hours, until it has almost doubled in size.

In the meantime you can make the topping....

Cut the tomatoes in half and place cut side down on a lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 mins.

Heat up the coconut oil in a pan on medium/high heat, and add the onion. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Leave to cook, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 mins, until caramelised and set aside.

Remove the tomatoes from the oven, and leave to cool for about 10 mins. Then remove the skins and place in a medium sized bowl.

Add the oregano, tomato paste, and sugar to the tomatoes. Whiz all the ingredients with a hand blender or normal blender, until you have a smooth sauce consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

When the dough has risen, oil a lined baking sheet and set aside.

You can divide the dough up into 2 medium sized pizzas or 1 large pizza, it's up to you.

Dust a clean surface with flour and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, adding the zataar and salt as you go, and pinching the edges with your fingers. The dough will rise slightly so roll it out as thin as possible.

Place on the oiled and lined baking sheet and brush the edge of the pizza with olive oil and add the the toppings, starting with the tomato sauce, caramelised onions, mushrooms and finally halloumi cheese.

Pop in the oven for approximately 30 mins, if you're making smaller pizzas bake for less time, about 20 mins.

Take out the oven, cut up and enjoy!

Iranian Aubergine Stew - Khoresht-e Bademjoun

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Last year a dear friend gave me the best cook book for my birthday. This is the book I had dreamt of for a long time as a student abroad when I missed home cooked Iranian food. Unfortunately as much as I searched, all the books I found weren't great. It happened to find me a bit later in life but either way I'm glad it did! It's called The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia, and is filled with healthy versions of the traditional dishes without compromising on the flavour and topped with some very creative modern additions which are influenced by the Iranian/Persian pallet. And even better yet, for all the meat dishes she has a vegetarian option which suggests what you can substitute the meat with!

This dish takes some time to make and the longer you cook it and let it rest for the more delicious it will taste, so I would suggest making it on a day where you know you won't have much going on and are willing to spend the most part of it in the kitchen. Please don't let this put you off because  it's definitely worth it! This is Louisa's take on a very traditional dish with some minor adjustments by me and I do hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

Note: the book says it serves 4, however it could definitely serve 6.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

3 large aubergine, diced sea salt 1 tbs coconut oil 1/2 cup split peas 8 cups water 4 tbs olive oil 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced 6 medium vine tomatoes, roughly chopped 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses (unsweetened) 1 tbs honey/liquid sweetener of your choice 3 cloves garlic, minced 4 cups vegetable stock Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Spread the aubergine onto the prepared baking tray and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Bake for 40 mins stirring gently every 10 or so minutes to prevent them from sticking. When the aubergine is nice and soft, remove from oven and let it cool to room temperature.

While the aubergine is cooks, put the split peas and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes. Drain and season with 1 teaspoon salt.

Heat the olive oil in large deep pan over medium to high heat. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes until it starts to darken, then cook slowly over low heat for about 30 minutes, until it's dark brown and about half the original volume. Add the aubergine, tomatoes, turmeric, cinnamon, pomegranate molasses, liquid sweetener, garlic, split peas, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered for 1 hour. Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes, until the stew is thick.

Turn off the heat and let the stew rest for 15-30 mins. Season with salt and pepper and serve with brown basmati rice and if you have some, iranian pickle (torshi).

Enjoy!

Meat or Beet Burgers

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I made these juice pulp burgers when I was still in London and decided to post the recipe up as I had a lot of people ask me how to make them. I was inspired by  The Whole Pantry App, and would recommend buying this app if you haven't already, not only is it filled with amazing healthy and delicious recipes, there are also a bunch of very insightful articles, and the proceeds go to charity!

So if you've been juicing a lot of beetroot lately, or if you just want to try these out and have a beetroot juice as an added benefit give this a go. I had made a batch of beetroot, apple, carrot and ginger juice earlier in the morning and saved the pulp in the fridge so that I could have these for lunch. To be honest I didn't know what to expect and was quite dubious so I invited my neighbour Caroline (who I miss dearly) over to try out with me and we were both very pleasantly surprised!

Ingredients (Makes 4)

1/2 onion - diced handful of fresh parsley - chopped roughly 1 clove garlic - minced 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon paprika 5 tablespoons ground chia seeds 1/2 cup water

Juice pulp of: 2 medium beetroot 2 carrots 1 apple small piece of ginger

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Squeeze the pulp over a sieve to remove any extra juice.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well, making sure the chia seeds are mixed in evenly.

Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture for each burger and shape the patties with your hands.

Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat.

Leave them bake for approximately 50 mins, turning them over half way through.

Remove them from the oven when done and serve with a minty yoghurt sauce, a bun or a green salad.

Enjoy!