vegetarian

Spiced Butternut Squash Mash

As the days begin to get a lot colder and darker in the UK, I definitely find myself daydreaming about white beaches, lush rice fields & warmer climes. Looking through all our travel photos from India doesn't exactly help with the winter blues, but it is an amazing way to find meal inspiration...

One of the dishes we remember fondly from our travels was this spicy pumpkin or squash mash, which was often served as part of a lunchtime thali with other curries & pickles. As squash is in season here at the moment, we decided to make our own version of this delicious, satisfying dish. The whole spices in this meal bring a lot of flavour to the mash, as well having a lot of healing properties that help warm the body up during these colder months!

Butternut Squash Mash with Spices
Butternut Squash mash with spices.

Ingredients
1 large butternut squash (approx 1 kg)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 dried red chili (optional)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
large handful of coriander, chopped finely

Method
-First, peel and cut the squash into chunks and remove the seeds. Then roast in a hot oven for 40-60 minutes, until well cooked and beginning to colour. 
-Once roasted, remove from the over and roughly mash the squash on the tray using the back of a fork. 
-In a pan, heat the coconut oil, then add all of the spices and  the chili and stir fry for 30-60 seconds, until the mustard seeds begin to crackle. This is important for bringing the flavour out of the spices and into the oil!
-As soon as they begin to crackle, add the onions and fry on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until they start to turn golden. 
-Once the onions are golden, add the mashed squash to the pan. Mix well and fry for 1-2 more minutes, then turn of the heat.
-Mix in the fresh coriander and lemon juice. Enjoy! 

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What delicious meals have you had when travelling?

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Although we love spending hours getting creative in the kitchen, life doesn't always provide us with an abundance of spare time. So when life or work gets a little hectic, simple & straightforward meals save the day. But of course, they still have to taste great too!  

This tabbouleh is perfect if you don't have much time, but want to make something beautiful, delicious and healthy. I'm obsessed with how the colours dance together in the bowl - it would make a great dish for a dinner party or as a side dish for Christmas. We often make a big batch and make it last a few days for a quick and tasty lunch option too.  Traditionally, tabbouleh is made with bulgur, but we've swapped ours for quinoa for a nuttier taste. Feel free to swap around the grains, this would also work with buckwheat or spelt couscous!

Quinoa Tabbouleh
Quinoa Tabbouleh

Ingredients (Serves 4 as a main, or 6 as a side dish

1 and 1/2 cups of quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
A large handful each of - fresh mint, parsley and chives, chopped
1 pomegranate
1 cucumber, finely diced
1 lemon
A generous drizzle of good quality olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

1. First, cook the quinoa with a large pinch of salt, drain well and set aside to cool.
2. Once the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, mix in the fresh herbs, pomegranate seeds and diced cucumber. Drizzle in olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon and season with salt and pepper.
3. Serve ad enjoy! We love ours with roasted butternut squash and hummus.

Quinoa tabbouleh

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What simple meals do you make when life gets busy?

3 Pulse Stew with Sumac and Thyme

I remember when I first stopped eating meat, everyone under the sun wanted to know where I was getting all my protein, calcium, iron and all that jazz.

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Despite all the doubts for my survival, 5 years later I’m still breathing – and we both genuinely feel healthier and brighter with this conscious way of eating. Luckily for us, plant-based food has become more and more popular over the past few years. The raised eyebrows and invasive questions are less frequent occurrences, but we’re also quicker in our responses. And more importantly, in tune with what our bodies are in need of.

So in search of a dish that is high in protein but also incredibly delicious, Joe spontaneously created this fragrant 3 pulse stew with sumac, thyme and a precious mix of spices. With chickpeas and two types of lentils, this dish is perfectly rich and fulfilling for even the strictest of meat eaters. But it’s the blend of flavours that transform the stew into something special; with dried herbs, sweet cinnamon and lemony sumac combining to create a nourishing bowl of mini-heaven!

Ingredients

2 Medium Onions (Sliced)
5 Tomatoes (Diced)
2 sticks of celery (finely chopped)
200g of dried chickpeas (can be substituted with 1 tin of chickpeas – however these should be added in after the dish has been simmering for roughly 1 hour, or else they may break too easily)
3 tablespoons of split red lentils
3 tablespoons of whole green or brown lentils
5 gloves of garlic, crushed and chopped

A bundle or 1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of sumac
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3 All spice berries
Sea salt to taste
Fresh Parsley to garnish

 Instructions 

1. If using dried chickpeas, soak them in water overnight with half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.

2.In a large saucepan, cook down the onion and celery in plenty of olive oil or coconut oil. When the onions are just beginning to turn brown, add the spices to the pan and fry for roughly one minute.

3.Next, add the tomatoes, garlic and a large pinch of sea salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes.

4. Add your chickpeas and lentils to the pan, stirring well. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 hours with the lid on.

5.**While cooking, you will occasionally need to add more water to the pan as it gets absorbed by the lentils. We normally let the water cook off so that the stew catches slightly on the bottom of the pan, and then add in the extra water. We find this process really enhances the richness of the dish. **

6..The stew will be ready once the chickpeas become tender and you can mash them with a fork. The final dish should be saucy, but not with too much liquid. By now, it will smell amazing!

7. Before serving, garnish with a little dried oregano and plenty of fresh parsley.

8.Enjoy! We love to eat ours with polenta and dark greens. 

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