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Chocolate Chilli Overnight Oats

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I love overnight oats because they're quick and easy to make, are super versatile and you can take them on the go with you when you're pressed for time!

Now that the weather is cooling down I like to keep my internal body temperature warm by using ingredients that help keep my internal fire going. This recipe is filled with super boosted medicinal foods which support a healthy immune system to keep the seasonal colds at bay.

The use of cayenne pepper in this recipe is to activate the healing benefits of the turmeric while also making you feel all warm and tingly inside. Turmeric is a superfood root which is dried and powdered, the benefits of using it are numerous. For me the most important thing is that it reduces inflammation in the body. Inflammation is your body's response to injury which is great! However, our modern diets and lifestyles of eating highly processed sugars and dairy, drinking alcohol, feeling stressed etc can also cause inflammation in the body. Therefore by adding turmeric to our diets we can aid our bodies by reducing it's workload. It's not a cure all and it also helps to be more mindful of what we fuel our bodies with, both nutritionally and mentally.

Cacao is also a very powerful antioxidant, high in magnesium, which helps relax our muscles, hence why women crave chocolate when they are about to start their cycle. Please make sure that you use good quality raw cacao powder for this recipe as nutritionally it makes a big difference. Most cocoa powder you find in your local supermarket has been heated at very high temperatures which kills a lot of the nutrients. It is more expensive but a little goes a long way with so it's worth investing in some as it will last quite some time.

If you don't have all the ingredients don't worry, get creative and substitute some or leave others out. Or better yet why not try your hand at making your very own signature version?!

Ingredients
(Makes 1 large serving or 2 smaller servings)

  • 3 Tbs chia seeds
  • 3 Tbs rolled oats
  • 1 Tbs almond meal
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 Tbs goji berries
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 Tbs cacao nibs
  • 1/2 Tbs coconut flakes
  • 1.5 cup non dairy milk (I used sunflower seed milk)
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Method

Mix everything into a bowl or jar using a fork, making sure it's all well combined. Place in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 15-20 minutes. Enjoy! *This will last in the fridge for 2-3 days.

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!

February Newsletter: Self-love

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Hello!

I hope January was good to you and that February has welcomed you into it's loving arms. This month is all about self-love, more than ever! We must love ourselves first before we are able to fully spread our love to those around us. This is the time to nourish ourselves and look out for own well being and happiness, something which is easily put on the sideline. Here are some ideas on how you can do that this month:

Qatar National Sports Day

This is a great excuse to be outdoors and get active, there will be a lot of different activities going on around town. I'll be starting my day by practising

Swasthi yoga

with Vishnu at 8:00am at the Sheraton Hotel, free of charge.

Here's a

link

with a lot of the activity details for tomorrow!

Shakti Circles: Miraculous Relationships

The second edition of the Shakti Circles will take place on Saturday 20th February from 4 - 7pm. Wala'a and I will be showing you how colour and food are effecting your relationships. Exploring how they effect your overall vibration to attract love, miraculous relationships with yourself and others including attracting your soulmate.

This workshop will include: - Meditation - Color exercises - Energy clearing - Food for love - Dinner made with love by me!

It will cost 350 riyals per person. Please email me to book your seats, we only have 12 spots for this one, so book early to guarantee your spot!

Recipe

Cook for yourself and your loved ones, I just posted a very comforting curry recipe, why not give it a go?! Here's the 

link

.

Products

Get yourself something from my product range to nourish your body with healthful treats as an alternative to processed factory made snacks. I've added a couple of new items such as a pink sauerkraut, which has a multitude of healing properties filled with natural probiotics which work wonders for your gut.

Here's the

link

for the new product list.

Articles

Some interesting articles I've been reading recently:

A Gut Feeling: How the bacteria inside us influence our weights, our immune systems and our brains.

12 Questions Answered Regarding Vitamin B-12

Understanding Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change

Lots of love from the treetops!

Saba xx

5 Ingredient Delicious Chickpea Crepes

Socca

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!

Summertime Homemade Popsicles

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I know I haven't had the chance to post a recipe up on the blog for a while... We went away on a family holiday to Jordan & Dubai and as soon as I got back I went straight into weekly special orders, my first ever group cooking class, followed by lots of catering orders and few new exciting developments which I'll hopefully be able to write about soon :)

I've been practising yoga on the balcony recently as the weather is absolutely beautiful over here at the moment, and this recipe idea came to me on one hot morning! It was a lot hotter than usual and after I finished I was drenched in sweat, all I could think of was having a nice fruity popsicle. I rummaged around the cupboards and found my old popsicle moulds, reached for the few ingredients we had in the fridge and decided to make some mango, coconut milk, lime, and ginger popsicles.

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Mangos are very alkaline, which help balance the acidity in your body, they are also high in antioxidants which help protect the body against certain types of cancers.

Coconut milk has a multitude of benefits so here are a few, it's anti-bacterial, high in good fats, and iron, which is especially good for women.

Limes are an amazing source of vitamin C, they also help keep the body's blood sugar levels balanced, which is a good combination with mango as they are high in natural sugars.

Finally, I love ginger, not only does it add a nice depth of flavour but it's so good for you too! It helps reduce inflammation, aids in digestion & nausea and has also been linked to studies which have shown that it kills cancer cells.

So not only will this popsicle cool you down in the summer heat, but it will also be doing a lot of good to your body, in contrast to the sugar and chemical filled popsicles you can by at the shops! Again, if you don't have all the ingredients, try experimenting with what you have at home.

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Ingredients (makes 6)

1 medium ripe mango

1 frozen ripe banana

1/2 cup coconut milk/cream

Juice of 1 lime

1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled

Method

Scoop the flesh out of the mango, place in a blender along with all the other ingredients and pulse until you have a nice smooth consistency.

Fill the moulds with the thick mixture, tap the moulds on the counter to make sure the mixture has been evenly dispersed, then place in the freezer for 4 hours, or over night.

Enjoy!

Group Cooking Classes

I've been quite busy doing my weekly specials, catering, and a tending to a few exciting new developments! I haven't had much time to write up any new recipes, I'm hoping to get round to doing so at some point this week!

But for now, I just wanted to mention my group cooking classes. I hosted my first group cooking class earlier this month and the response was so great that I have decided to host two more before the end of the month!

Here's the flyer for more details xx

Group cooking classes 20th & 21st April 2015

Quick Homemade Pickles

The winter season in Qatar is pretty much equivalent to Spring, as the weather is a lot cooler than the scorching summer months. Which mean this is the perfect time to start pickling any surplus veggies. Here is a quick and easy recipe that I found on My New Roots which I used to preserve the delicious locally grown organic produce I've been getting.

This is a great accompaniment to any meal and will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. I like to have it in my post yoga bowls which normally consist of steamed veggies (whatever I have in the fridge), buckwheat noodles/quinoa, and a topping of avocado, nuts and seeds. It adds a delightful vinegary crunch to your meal, and you're body will be taking in all the goodness from the raw veggies and apple cider vinegar.

Get creative and use any veggies you like, I had daikon, radish and cabbage spare so I decided to use them, but you can switch it up depending on what you have on hand. You'll need a 1 litre jar or several smaller ones.

Ingredients

  • 4/5 large radishes
  • 1 daikon
  • 1 cup green cabbage
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp fine Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns 1 tsp fennel seed (optional)

Method

Cut off the stem and root of the radishes and daikon. Slice the veggies into thin rounds, dice the cabbage, and set aside.

Measure out the apple cider vinegar and water into a cup, and add the salt and maple syrup. Stir to combine, making sure the salt has dissolved.

Add the radish to the jar, along with the a few peppercorns a clove of garlic, and fennel seeds if using. Then add the cabbage, again a few peppercorns and garlic as before, and finally the daikon, along with the remaining condiments.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the veggies, making sure they're all covered and close the lid tightly over the jar. Store in the fridge for at least 24 hours before eating, this will keep for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

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!

Dairy and Nut Free Ice Cream

IMG_6212 I love ice cream, I mean who doesn't?! The only problem is that immediately after I have eaten it I get an upset stomach, this is probably because my body just doesn't digest milk, it's been that way since I was little. However I used to ignore this and eat ice cream, well...because it's just so good! But as I have become more in tune with my body over the past couple of years, I really do notice how it reacts to different foods, especially dairy. So I started off my dairy free ice cream endeavour by making frozen banana ice cream, which quite simply is blending up frozen ripe bananas and adding the topping of choice, mine would always be cinnamon and cacao nibs. It's delicious and easy to make but I was not quite satisfied, it lacks the creamy consistency. Then I experimented with making nut based ice cream, which was also really yummy but my husband wasn't convinced, and I wanted to try and make something for people with nut allergies.

So after a lot a of research and experimenting, I bring you the dairy and nut (and ice cream maker) free ice cream! It's rich and creamy, the perfect alternative to normal ice cream, husband approved (he went for seconds), and you don't need any fancy equipment to make it! It requires some pre planning, which is just putting a can of coconut milk in the fridge over night and peeling some ripe bananas and placing them in the freezer for a couple of hours. It is a great base so you can add cacao powder, fresh berries or just keep it plain and simple. I served some on top of spiced poached plums last night and it was divine. So let your imagination run free and the little child in you will be very happy, I promise!

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Ingredients (serves 8) 

1 can full fat coconut milk (the only added ingredient on the list should be water, no other nasties!) 3 ripe bananas (frozen) 1 vanilla pod / 1 teaspoon pure vanilla powder Optional : Goji berries (1/4 cup)

Extra ingredients

Coconut sugar / maple syrup / honey Cacao powder Fresh mint Cacao nibs

Equipment

Food Processor / blender Tupperware / Glass Pyrex container / I use this

Method:

Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge over night, or for at least 6 hours. When ready, turn the can upside down and open, you should have thick creamy coconut milk, scoop the contents into the food processor / blender. (At this point you will feel an urge to eat the solidified coconut milk straight out of the can, please try to control yourself!)

Add the bananas to the food processor / blender and combine, depending on your machine this should take around 5 mins to get a smooth consistency.

Meanwhile cut the vanilla pod lengthways and scoop out the seeds and add to the food processor / blender. This is the point to add in any other ingredients you want. I didn't add any sweetener to mine as I thought the bananas made it sweet enough for my palette but if you want it sweeter, add some coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey.

Then give it one final whizz in the food processor to combine all the ingredients (about a minute or so).

Pour the ingredients into the container and place in the freezer for 2 - 3 hours, at least.

Remove the ice cream from the freezer about 10 - 15 minutes before serving so that it is easy to scoop up.

Then add your favourite topping, or serve plain, and most importantly enjoy!

The Vegetarian Treehouse tries out catering!

KAC event  

The only independent art centre in Doha sadly may be closing it's doors soon so they decided to host an event to say farewell. This of course was devastating news as it is, in my opinion, one of the best things about Doha! I was chatting with my friend Faissal about how I feel like I'm not really doing what I truly want to be doing career wise, and when he asked me what I would ideally be doing, I realised that I am happiest when I am cooking, reading about food, researching and experimenting with recipes etc. So we somehow ended up with the wild idea of me offering to do the catering for the Katara Art Centre's closing event, for free, in support of all the amazing work they have done. So next thing I know I am pitching the idea to the art centre and writing up a menu! They were delighted with the offer and so I embarked on a mad rampage around town to find the bits and pieces I would need to make this work. The whole time thinking to myself, "I hope people will like my food"! Three days later, with minimal sleep and the help of my amazingly supportive friends, I was driving to the art centre with a car full of food, and some flowers in the cup holder hoping these strangers would like my food!

We managed to set up a table of my mini treats and it wasn't long after that people started arriving and curiously heading over to check out what was on offer. I was actually quite surprised and flattered by the number of people who were interested in knowing what everything was and where my "cafe" was located. It felt good to know that there are people in Doha who understand and appreciate clean eating habits. So overall the catering was a success and I was so happy I could do something in support of the Katara Art Centre, as well as evaluate how I would potentially move forward with pursuing my dream of working with food. Even though it was stressful, and tiring, it didn't matter, because I enjoyed every minute of it, and the best gift was that people liked it!

kac2

 

A few days later I got a call from my friend Shaima, who is a pretty awesome human being/food blogger*, saying that she was interested in me doing a lunch at her work, The Doha Film Institute, to promote healthy eating during Ramadan. So I wrote up a menu and sent her the proposal and soon after got the go ahead to do it for 80 people!! Again I was going on 3 hours of sleep in 2 days but I didn't care because I was doing what I truly love doing, and for the first time I realised what it felt like to do something that I really have a passion for. I always have heard my dad say "if you love what you do you'll never work a day in your life", which I never really understood until I decided to embark on this crazy catering adventure. However, I do have to say that it did feel great to just get home, meditate, and go to sleep after the countless hours on my feet and mad adrenaline rush of feeding and meeting complete strangers.

*You can check out Shaima's blog here

DFI

DFI1

 

These two experiences have taught me a lot and helped me understand and develop how I would like to move forward with making what started off as a hobby, into what may be a career. Only time and perseverance can tell what the future holds for the Vegetarian Tree House, however, for the meantime I will still be posting up recipes on here and quietly working away on my masterplan...