food

Life in Cali (March Update)

Here's a little peak into our world this month - the new, the old and the tasty..

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Cali

So we're pretty settled into life in Cali now. After so many months of dorm rooms and travel, our backpacks stuffed full like fat little pastries, we're actually pretty happy to unpack, slow down and have a 'normal person' routine going on for a while. 

Not that we're becoming too normal or applying for a mortgage anytime soon ...(sorry mum).

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But anyway, as far as big South American cities go, Cali is a really cool, energetic place to live. It isn't the prettiest place in Colombia, but there really is such a lively atmosphere here and such a noticeable rhythm of life amongst the peeople.  Caleños are generally very happy people -  the sun shines bright in Cali and they love to dance salsa, so that's probably why!

The central part of the city is loud, busy and unapolagetically chaotic. The hot streets are paved with vendors selling everything from guarapo (sugar cane juice) to tea towels to little pots of shredded mango.

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We're living in San Antonio, a pretty little barrio in the northern part of the city. This is where most of the hostels are, but it's also got good foodie spots (with tons of vegetarian restaurants), nice street art and independent little shops. There's even a beautiful spice shop (La Bascula) with every spice you can think of and different dhals to choose from.

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find different spices in Colombia, so we were pretty happy cooks when we found ourselves here!

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 Fermenting

Now we've finally got our own place, we've been going a little crazy with fermenting things! This month we've been making fennel infused sauerkraut, pickled jalapenos, fermented carrots with mustard seeds, preserved limes and kombucha.
We plan on doing some recipes for a few of the above soon, but in the mean time here's our recipe for kombucha

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 Watching

One of the best films we've seen recently is 'El Abrazo de la Serpiente' (The Embrace of the Serpent)- A magical colombian film based around indigenous culture and the beautiful nature of the Amazon. Really reccomend this to anyone interested in traveling or different cultures!

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We also watched the documentary 'Cowspiracy' on Netflix recently... Completely mind blowing and a big eye opener to how the meat/dairy industry is effecting global warming right now. It's co produced by Leonardo Dicaprio and is on Netflix if that's a big enough seal of approval! 

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Writing 

30 days of Journalling via The Messy Heads 

I (Gabby) love the messy Heads blog, a really cool online space for creative, messy, cool women! If you like writing or doing a daily journal, this list of prompts is a really self reflective/fun way to change up your writing for a month! 

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Happy Easter everyone! X

Mung Bean Dahl with a Fennel Seed Tarka

During our recent Indian adventure we ate all sorts of dahl. Often by the bucket load. 

We found it the perfect meal to keep us going while travelling. Not only is it seriously delicious, but compared to a lot of Indian dishes it's pretty light, easy to digest and contains a little hit of protein. This is all true, except if you order a Dahl Makani, which is made with large amounts of butter & cream ... not what anyone needs in 50 degree heat!  

Mung Bean Dahl with a Fennel Seed Tarka (Moong Dal)

Since we've been back, we've been cooking a lot of Indian food. But we've particularly loved experimenting with different types of dahl...this Mung Bean version being one of our favourites. Cherished in ayurvedic cooking, Mung Beans are packed with potassium, magnesium, fibres & vitamin B6. 

The thing that makes the biggest difference to a dahl is the tarka (tadka). For those who don't know, tarka is the tempering of ingredients such as whole or ground spices, tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger etc in ghee or oil.This creates an extra fusion of flavour which is added to the dahl at the end of the cooking process. We've found that the tarka is essential for giving your dahl maximum flavour! 

Mung Bean Dahl with a Fennel Seed Tarka (Moong Dal)

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Mung Bean Dahl:

250g Mung Beans (soaked overnight, drained & rinsed)
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, chopped roughly. 
1 large chopped tomato
1 chopped onion (white or red)
1 1/2 dried red chillies (we leave the seeds for extra spice!)
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 teaspoon of grated fresh turmeric. (If using dried powder, use 1/2 teaspoon)
1 stick of cinnamon
roughly 700ml of water
salt & pepper to season. 

For the Tarka:
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds`
1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 sliced onion
2 tablespoons of coconut oil 

1. First off, soak your mung beans in water overnight (or at least 8 hours).
2.Rinse and drain the beans and then add to a large pan. 
3. Add the rest of the ingredients for the dahl into your pan with the beans.  
4. Cover all the ingredients by adding roughly 700ml water.
5. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer on a low heat for 1 - 1.5 hours until creamy in texture. If needed, add a small amount of water while cooking in order to maintain a loose consistency. Turn off the heat while you make your tarka... 

  freshly grated turmeric

  freshly grated turmeric

Fennel Seed Tarka
1.Heat the coconut oil in a heavy based pan and add the fennel & mustard seeds. Stir fry for 30 seconds. 
2.Add a finely sliced onion and fry slowly until golden. 
3.Gently stir the tarka into your dahl and that's it! 

We love to eat ours with homemade spelt chapatis or brown rice! 

Mung Bean Dahl with a Fennel Seed Tarka (Moong Dal)

What's your favourite Indian dish? 

Nourishing Vegan Banoffee Pie with Whipped Coconut Cream

This is hands down the best dessert we've ever made…or eaten…or hungrily dreamed about on a rainy September evening.  Summer, where did you go so fast? 

We first spied this recipe over on the fabulous Oh She Glows blog and have been dying to make it ever since. So after we were kindly donated a large box of Medjool dates (thanks Gabriella's Mum!), we adjusted the recipe and went forth into a Banoffee Pie love affair... 

Nourishing Banoffee Pie (Gluten & Sugar Free)

Although we're generally savoury food lovers, there's always a lot of temptation for Banoffee Pie if we see it on a menu. It's heavenly for those few sweet minutes, but it always leaves me feeling deflated, crap and, well, slightly deceived. 

But dramatic emotions aside, this Banoffee Pie Recipe is the perfect healthy alternative for any food lovers. And we promise it tastes a million times better than any of its sugar-laden rivals.  Everybody who tried a slice couldn't believe there was no sugar, gluten or anything but goodness on their plate!

So here's to desserts that leave you feeling satisfied rather than regretful, and that are so nourishing you can eat them for breakfast...

Banoffee Pie (Gluten & Sugar Free)

Ingredients:
The Crust

2 cups oats
1/2 almonds (pecans or walnuts would also work)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 cup of coconut oil (softened) 
2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds (optional)

Raw Caramel Toffee
8/9 Pitted Medjool Dates (the softer, the better)
2 tablespoons of natural nut butter (we used Peanut, but Almond would be perfect!)
1 pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon of lemon juice 

Whipped Coconut Cream & Topping
2/3 large ripe bananas
1 400ml can of coconut milk (full fat), kept in the fridge overnight. 
Raw cacao powder to dust (optional) 

1. The day before you make the Banoffee Pie, place a can of coconut milk in the fridge and leave overnight. The milk needs to chill for as long as possible to make the delicious whipped cream. 
2.Preheat your oven to 190C. Cut out circular piece of baking paper to fit inside your pie base. Our dish measures 9 inches.
3.Time to make the crust! Transfer 2 cups of oats & 1/2 almonds into a food processor and blitz until fine. 
3.Add in your other crust ingredients and blend together. The mixture will be slightly crumbly, but it should stick together when pressed between your fingers. If the mixture seems too dry, add a small amount of water until it reaches the right consistency. 
4.Time to mould your base. Distribute your crust mixture evenly across your tart base. Starting in the centre of the dish, press down the mixture and work outwards and up the sides. Once your crust is formed, poke the base of the tart 20 times with a fork to allow air escape during the bake. 

Nourishing Banoffee Pie (Gluten & Sugar Free)
Nourishing Banoffee Pie (Gluten & Sugar Free)

5. Place the tart in the oven for 14 minutes until lightly golden. Place the tart on a cooling rack while you prepare the Caramel Toffee. The crust should firm up as it cools down. 
6. Now the amazing Caramel Toffee. Place your pitted dates in boiling water for around 5-10 minutes until softened. Drain off the water and place in a food processor with your nut butter, salt, vanilla extract, lemon juice and cinnamon. Blend until a smooth paste. 
7. Once the crust has cooled, gently & evenly spread the caramel mixture onto your crust base. Slice your bananas and place half of the slices on top of the caramel layer. 

Nourishing Banoffee Pie (Gluten & Sugar Free)
Nourishing Banoffee Pie (Gluten & Sugar Free)

8. Finally, the Whipped Coconut Cream. Open your coconut milk and carefully scoop out the thick white cream from the top of the can. Any leftover coconut water will not be needed. Transfer the cream into a bowl and whisk (hand whisk or electric) until light and fluffy. Like whipped cream, but so much tastier! 

Nourishing Banoffee Pie (Gluten & Sugar Free)

9. Evenly spread the coconut cream on top of your pie. Add the remaining banana slices on top of the coconut cream. Lightly dust cacao powder on top to garnish. 

Nourishing Banoffee Pie (Gluten & Sugar Free)
Nourishing Banoffee Pie (Gluten & Sugar Free)

*If you refrain from devouring the pie all at once, store your banoffee pie in the fridge!* 

Guacamole Cucumber Curls

We're so happy to share our first food post on this blog! 

Travelling is always one of our main inspirations for new recipes and our recent trip in India has given us so many ideas that we can't wait to share! For us, there's simply nothing better than recreating a favourite dish, bringing back to life those special memories and adding in a healthier twist whenever possible.

Having said that, after 6 months of Indian cuisine, our first cravings when home were all towards fresh, summer ingredients. We made these gorgeous cucumber rolls from Deliciously Ella's incredibly popular cookbook, which served as the perfect canapes for a Summer barbecue. Fingers crossed for more of this sunny weather! 

SO WE GO- Guacamole Cucumber Curls
SO WE GO - Guacamole Cucumber Curls

Makes 16 Rolls
1 Large Cucumber 
1 Avocado 
1 Lime 
Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Salt/Pepper 
Optional additions: fresh coriander, dried chilli flakes 

1. Start off by using a vegetable peeler to slowly peel thick strips from the whole length of a cucumber. Try to peel these strips as long and wide as possible by putting pressure down as you go. Discard the very middle section of the cucumber, as this will be too soggy for the rolls. (We ate ours!) 

2. Slowly roll each length of cucumber peel into a circular shape. You'll want to roll these at tight as possible, but leave a small central hole for the filling. If necessary, use a rubber band to hold each cucumber roll in place whilst you prepare the guacamole. 

3. Guacamole time! Use a knife to finely chop up a ripe avocado. If you also want to use a fork to mash this up finer then that's great too! We like to drench our guacamole in the juice of a lime,  a generous pinch of sea salt and a lot of black pepper. If you have any fresh coriander then this would be a great addition diced up and mixed in!  

4. Using a small spoon, start filling the centre of the cucumber curls with the guacamole. We liked to pile ours up high so as to get a good ratio of cucumber/avocado in each mouthful! Repeat until all the curls are full, drizzle the plate with some extra virgin olive oil and enjoy! 

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