Polenta-Olive Tapenade Bites

Polenta Olive-Tapenade Bites

*Late post due to technical difficulties*
Polenta-Olive Tapenade Bites

I’m so enjoying these stretched out evenings. I took my book to the park after work today, plonked myself on a bench and soaked up some rays while indulging in a little “me-time”. 

I was thinking how nice it would be to have a garden and be able to invite a few pals around for evening drinks and nibbles outside. These Polenta-Olive Tapenade bites would hold up well to travelling so I suppose you could even take them to the park for a light picnic! [Read more...]

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Kiwi & Mint Smoothie

Kiwi & Mint Smoothie

Kiwi & Mint Smoothie

Happy Monday! Hope those of you celebrating had a good Easter weekend.

Who overdid it on the chocolate yesterday?! Not to worry, this Kiwi & Mint Smoothie is just the thing to perk you up and leave you feeling refreshed and ready to face the working week (at least it’s another short one).

Fresh herbs not only bring great flavour, but some powerful nutrition too. I don’t reserve them for garnishes but add them in generous quantities to most of my meals, including smoothies! Mint is an obvious choice for a refreshing pick-me-up but I love basil, parsley and coriander (cilantro) as well.

Sliced Kiwi

Green food and drinks always make me feel good so I added a couple more green goodies to the mix- kiwis and a handful of spinach. I tend to overlook kiwis, probably because they don’t look like much from the outside, but I’m very glad I spotted them at the market recently and thought to throw them in the blender.

Kiwi & Mint Smoothie

Kiwi & Mint Smoothie
Serves 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 Ripe kiwis, flesh scooped out
  2. 1 Large frozen banana
  3. 1/2 C Coconut water OR pure water
  4. Handful of fresh mint leaves
  5. Squeeze of lemon OR lime
  6. Handful of spinach
  7. Ice, if desired.
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add more coconut water/water to reach your desired consistency and ice if you like a frosty smoothie.
Coconut and Berries http://www.coconutandberries.com/
A zingy, sweet and tummy-soothing breakfast or snack.

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Vegan Asparagus & Fennel Quiche (with a Quinoa Crust)

Vegan Asparagus & Fennel Quiche (with Quinoa Crust)

Vegan Asparagus & Fennel Quiche (with Quinoa Crust)

Happy Easter weekend friends! It’s been absolutely glorious here these last couple of weeks. I’m inside working most of the day unfortunately but I love that it’s not getting dark here until around 8.30 now, leaving plenty of daylight after work. We’ve been lazing in the park or by Lake Geneva, browsing the evening farmers’ markets (it seems there’s a different market here every day- morning or evening!), and sitting out on the streets with a drink or ice cream.

It’s not supposed to last but I’m going to pretend it’s still warm and sunny and enjoy my Spring meals all the same…

Vegan Asparagus & Fennel Quiche (with Quinoa Crust)

Spring is the time to start lightening up our meals and to me that usually means satisfying salads, smoothies/juices and fruit & veggies galore. Dishes which can be eaten warm or at room temperature are also ideal for this time of year,  and for picnic weather (!). My Vegan Persian Frittata or Rustic Beetroot Galette would be nice options, as would today’s recipe- my Vegan Asparagus & Fennel Quiche (with a Quinoa Crust).

Fennel, Asparagus, Carrots

This recipe is good and seasonal with Spring vegetables- fennel, asparagus, carrots and peas- but you could easily adapt it to what’s good in your part of the world right now. I’m especially enjoying fennel right now so there may well be some more fennel recipes appearing soon…though I still can’t get on board with it in fresh juice.

Sautéed Spring Vegetables

I was feeling a little lazy when making this and not really in the mood for making pastry, so I ended up with an alternative easy quinoa crust (adapted from a recipe by Julie Morris’s Superfood Kitchen). I was really pleased with how it turned out.  Don’t expect it to be like your regular flour-based crust, but it does hold together really well and has a nice chewiness to it.

Vegan Asparagus & Fennel Quiche (with Quinoa Crust)

It would be a lovely Easter Sunday brunch served with a salad or two- light enough to leave you some room for chocolate eggs!

Vegan Asparagus & Fennel Quiche (with Quinoa Crust)

Vegan Asparagus & Fennel Quiche (with Quinoa Crust)
Serves 6
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For the Crust
  1. 1/4 C Ground flax
  2. 1/4 C Water
  3. 1-1/2 C Cooked & cooled quinoa
  4. 1-1/2 Tbsp Melted coconut oil
  5. 2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
  6. 1/4 tsp Salt
For the Filling
  1. 1 Tbsp Coconut oil
  2. 1/2 Onion, diced
  3. 2 Cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 1 Small bulb of fennel, diced small
  5. 2 small carrots, diced small
  6. 1 Bunch of asparagus, woody ends removed and remaining stalks diced
  7. 1/2 C Fresh or frozen peas
  8. Handful of fresh basil, chiffonaded
  9. 1x 350g/12oz pkg firm tofu, drained
  10. 1 tsp Salt
  11. 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  12. 1 Tbsp Lemon juice
  13. 2 Tbsp Tahini
  14. 2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
  15. 1/2 tsp turmeric
  16. Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F and grease a 9" tart pan with coconut oil.
For the crust
  1. Combine the ground flax and water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken.
  2. Stir together the cooked quinoa, nutritional yeast and salt. Add the coconut oil and flax mixture and mix well.
  3. Press mixture into the prepared tart pan and bake for 15 minutes, until lightly golden and dry.
  4. Turn the heat down to 180C/350F
For the filling
  1. In a large pan, warm the coconut oil over medium heat and add onions, fennel and carrots. Sauté, stirring for approx 5 minutes. Add the asparagus; cook 2 minutes. Add the peas and garlic and cook for a final 2 minutes. Stir in the basil.
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend/process the remaining ingredients until very smooth. Remove to a bowl and stir though the sautéed vegetables.
  3. Spread the filling over your prepared crust *, smooth over and bake for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. * You will have EXTRA filling. I poured this into 4 oiled muffin cups and baked these alongside the whole quiche. Still delicious without the crust.
Coconut and Berries http://www.coconutandberries.com/
DSC_3144

Do you have Easter plans? What’s on the menu?

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Middle Eastern Lentils with Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes & Dukkah

Middle-Eastern Lentils with Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes & Dukkah

Middle Eastern Lentils with Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes & Dukkah

Apologies again for the irregular posting. As I mentioned last time, I’m away in Geneva this month interning so have a lot going on. I’m missing sharing recipes with you (and my kitchen of course!) but I’m having a great time here and learning lots.

Olives et al "Love a Dukkah" hamper Today I want to introduce you to Olives et al. This British company was founded by a young couple who went on an adventure through the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa and brought back the flavours, ingredients and recipes they discovered. They very kindly sent me one of their gorgeous“Love a Dukkah” hampers, packed with goodies to try. Included in the hamper were:

Olive Oil – Egyptian Style Spiced Dukkah Aromatic Rub – Moroccan Inspired Tapenade Marocaine with Preserved Lemons- Sunshine Rosemary & Garlic Olives – Very Deli Herbed & Pitted Olives

This would make a lovely present for a fellow foodie friend.

Olives et al Dukkah

I’ll be sharing another recipe I made using one of the ingredients soon but today is all about the dukkah.

Have you tried it yet?

If you’re unfamiliar with it here’s a little info for you. “Dukkah” originates in Egypt and comes from the Arabic word “to pound”. Makes sense really since it’s made from toasted and crushed nuts, seeds and spices. Olives Et Al makes theirs from roasted almonds, hazelnuts, cumin, coriander, sesame and spices which they roast and grind themselves. It’s often served before a meal – everyone sits around dipping hunks of bread into olive oil, then into a plate of dukkah before munching.

I’ve been using dukkah in my cooking for a while- I love it sprinkled on top of a chickpea flour pancake with grilled peppers and onions, or over salad, and you might have caught my recipe for Roasted Carrot Hummus with Dukkah in the Spring edition of Fresh Vegan magazine

Roasted Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes

When you thought vegetables simply roasted in coconut oil with s+p couldn’t get any better- add dukkah and you’ve got something even more magical!

Middle Eastern Lentils with Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes & Dukkah

I especially adore roasted cauliflower  at the moment, and sweet potatoes of course never need any justification. For a complete meal, I served them on a bed of simple Middle Eastern lentils  and chard and sprinkled it all generously with the dukkah. It really is a wonderful ingredient to add that extra layer of flavour to a dish

Middle Eastern Lentils with Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes & Dukkah

Middle-Eastern Lentils with Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes & Dukkah
Serves 4
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For the vegetables
  1. 1 Small head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  2. 2 Small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  3. 2 Tbsp Coconut oil, melted
For the lentils
  1. 1/2 Tbsp Coconut oil/ olive oil
  2. 1 Onion, diced
  3. 2 Cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 1 tsp Ground cumin
  5. 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  6. 1/2 tsp All spice
  7. 1/2 C Puy lentils (Green are also fine but watch the cooking time as they can get mushy)
  8. 1 to 1-1/2C Water
  9. 1/2 tsp Salt
  10. 1/2 Bunch swiss chard OR kale, chopped ( approx 2 C)
  11. 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  12. Pepper
  13. Dukkah to serve
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Toss the sweet potato and cauliflower in the melted coconut oil and spread in a single layer in a roasting dish.
  3. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are firm but tender and the cauliflower is getting nice and crisp around the edges.
  4. Meanwhile, warm the remaining coconut/olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spice and cook for a further minute, stirring. Add the lentils and water (start with the lower amount and add more if necessary).
  5. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Add the chard/kale and salt and cook for a further 5 minutes approx, until the lentils are cooked, greens are wilted and most of the water has been absorbed. Add the lemon juice and pepper to taste. Check for seasoning.
  7. Remove the lentils to a serving dish, top with the roasted vegetables and sprinkle generously with dukkah.
  8. Serve dukkah on the side so individuals can add more to their own serving.
Coconut and Berries http://www.coconutandberries.com/
I’m sharing this recipe at the weekly link-up, Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Middle Eastern Lentils with Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes & Dukkah

Have a browse on the Olives et al website, I’m sure you’ll find something which takes your fancy. I’ve got my eye on their new Smoky Chipotle Chili Olives and the gorgeous olive wood dishes to serve them in. As well as an impressive, award-winning range of handcrafted gourmet foods, Olives et al has delis in Sturminster Newton and Poundbury, Dorset, together with its very own café offering global cuisine (with veg options!)

How do/would you use dukkah?

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Raw Caramel Apple Swirl Smoothie

Raw Caramel Apple Swirl Smoothie

Raw Caramel Apple Swirl Smoothie

My birthday fell during a particularly busy week for me this year- last week, when I was getting myself organized to go off to Geneva for a month-long internship (That’s where I am now!). I was actually away the previous week too so I was rather frantically trying to get caught up on work and life as well as get prepared for the next trip.

I don’t usually do a lot for my birthday anyway but this year I didn’t even have the time to make a cake! Instead, I celebrated by drinking this rather delicious (and slightly extravagant) smoothie for breakfast.

Raw Caramel Apple Swirl Smoothie

In my last post I told you about my very happy recent discovery of Windy City Organics products and used their Rawmio Chocolate Hazelnut Spread in my raw cookie recipe. Today’s recipe features one of their Dastony nut butters. Just like the Rawmio spreads these are divine! What really makes them stand out is how amazingly smooth they are, far more so than any other nut butter I’ve had.

Raw Caramel Apple Swirl Smoothie

I knew my birthday smoothie had to be a little over-the-top and, after I’d ruled out chocolate, (as I’d just finished my Raw Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints), I hit on caramel as a delicious and  still decadent alternative. 

This caramel is ridiculously good folks! It makes more than you “need” for the smoothie* but a good portion of it somehow disappeared when making it….

I opted to use naturally caramel-ly dates and the beautiful Dastony almond butter to make it lusciously rich and sweet, enhanced with just a few other simple ingredients.

I drizzled it all over my smoothie glass and then over the top of the frosty drink to get a little in every sip and give it its name- “Raw Caramel Apple Swirl Smoothie”.

*If you do have extra caramel it’s fantastic as a dip for fruit, drizzled on pancakes or ice cream, or you could try my Raw Chocolate-Hazelnut Strawberry Jam Thumbprints substituting this caramel for the raw strawberry jam. 

Raw Caramel Apple Swirl Smoothie

Raw Caramel Apple Swirl Smoothie
Serves 1
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Raw Caramel
  1. 5 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  2. 1 Tbsp Coconut nectar
  3. 2 Tbsp Raw almond butter
  4. 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  5. 1/8 tsp Salt
  6. 1/3 C- 1/2 C Almond milk
Smoothie
  1. 1 Large/ 2 Medium apple (s), cored, chopped and frozen
  2. 3/4 C- 1 C Almond milk
  3. 1 Tbsp Raw almond butter
  4. 2 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  5. 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  6. 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  7. 1 Tbsp Lucuma
Instructions
  1. For the caramel, blend all the ingredients in a high-powered blender, scraping the sides down until completely smooth. Soak your dates in water in advance to soften them if necessary (I used my Tribest personal blender and didn't need to.
  2. Set aside.
For the smoothie
  1. Blend together all the ingredients in a blender.
To serve
  1. Generously drizzle some of the caramel all around the inside of one or two glasses (I used a squeeze bottle). Pour in the smoothie and drizzle with extra caramel.
Coconut and Berries http://www.coconutandberries.com/

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