Chickpea and Vegetable Curry

Here’s a food post – sorry, I do realise it’s been a long time coming, but I’ve been too busy to cook these days!

I thought I’d write about this vegetarian curry, which is low in calories but contains plenty of vitamins and a fair amount of protein from the chickpeas – and it’s dairy-free, which is always a plus to me, as I am dairy intolerant (in spite of all those recipes on this blog that contain dairy, which I find difficult to resist to, sometimes).

This recipe is for two people.

Chickpea curry

What you’ll need:

  • 160g or slightly less than a cup of brown rice
  • 2 tsps of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 can (400g) of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tsps of curry powder
  • 2 tsps of ginger powder
  • 1 can (140g) of chickpeas, drained
  • 4 balls of frozen spinach (or about 100g of fresh spinach)
  • A few leaves of fresh coriander (cilantro) to garnish


Wash the brown rice thoroughly and add it to a pot with water – I usually go 1 part rice, 2 parts water. Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, the water should have been fully absorbed so just cover it and let it steam. This is my way of cooking brown rice, but everyone has their own method.

While the rice is cooking, chop the onions and garlic very finely and shallow fry them until lightly golden. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and your spices. I added about 3 teaspoons of curry and 2 of ginger, but feel free to adjust it to your own taste, and, if you prefer, go ahead and use fresh chillies and ginger instead. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about five minutes. Add the chopped green pepper to the sauce pan – make sure you cut the pepper into fairly small cubes, about ½ inch – and the drained chickpeas and pour enough water for all the ingredients to be covered. Now cover and let simmer another 15 minutes, making sure you stir the contents regularly. Add your frozen spinach to the mixture and cover the pan, letting them defrost for about 15 minutes. If you add fresh spinach, just wait until they wither. Now check for salt and serve it over the brown rice, topped with the coriander.

Savoury Fruit Salad

Last Saturday was very warm and sunny here in London. There was no way I was going to  have a proper lunch, so thought I’d make a salad. Put together a few ingredients and then realised that yep, they were all fruit, rather than vegetables: orange, avocado and tomato. It’s a fruit salad!


I dressed it very simply with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, cider vinegar, Maldon salt and white pepper.


It’s summer!

Hot + Hearty Vegan Soup with Barley and Vegetables

I made this soup for lunch on a cold, wintery day when I had loads of random ingredients at home and really had no idea what to cook. I decided to throw all of these ingredients together in a soup and took a few pictures, just in case the experiment turned out well – and it did!

This soup is probably the healthiest thing you’ll ever eat, and yet it’s delicious. Use whole barley rather than pearled, as the former has all its vitamins and minerals intact and, therefore, is higher in iron, protein, calcium and fibre. The barley gives this dish a hearty, creamy texture which is normally hard to recreate without dairy products. Try it and tell me what you think. These doses serve one ravenous person or two light eaters.

What you’ll need:

  • 80 gr whole barley
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • A handful of medium size mushrooms
  • ½ mushroom stock cube
  • A couple of glugs of hot sauce
  • A pinch dried coriander (to garnish)

Rinse the barely and bring it to the boil on a high flame.  Once it boils turn down to a simmer and cook for about an hour (or until it’s soft), as the whole barley takes a lot longer than the pearly type. In the meantime chop the garlic and onion to a mince and lightly sweat them with the hot oil in a sauce pan for a few minutes. Add the chopped pepper, tomato, mushrooms and minced stock cube. Cook them for about ten minutes or until the pepper softens up. The tomato will let out some water, in which the stock will dissolve. Add the boiled and drained barley to the pot of veggies and simmer for ten minutes, so that all flavours join together. Check for seasoning, although the stock should have made the soup flavoursome enough. Add the hot sauce (I go for plenty) and garnish with dried coriander leaves.

Serve by itself or with a buttered slice of toasted granary bread!

Speedy Lunch: Gnocchetti al Basilico with Avocado and Tomatoes

As promised, here is the post about these cute little green fellas called gnocchetti al basilico (or basil baby gnocchi). Gnocchetti are essentially gnocchi, but smaller and of a slightly more tubular, non-fork-scored (oh dear) shape. These particular ones, which I bought from a main-stream Italian supermarket, have a rather strong basil flavour that makes them extra special. Because of their strong taste (and the fact that I didn’t have much time to make anything overly elaborate) I decided to accompany these gnocchetti al basilico with simply some fresh chopped tomatoes, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can’t get any easier than this when making a main, or primo piatto like we say in Italian. This recipe is for two portions.

What you’ll need:

  • 500 gr gnocchetti al basilico (if you can’t find them anywhere you can either replace them with normal gnocchi and add fresh basil leaves to the recipe or follow Silvana Franco’s recipe on the BBC Food website)
  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • A good sprinkle of Maldon salt
  • A generous dusting of freshly ground black pepper
  • A dusting of dried (or fresh) coriander


Chop the tomatoes and avocado into small cubes of about ½ inch. Dress with half the oil and salt. Gently cook the gnocchi in a pot of simmering salted water for a minute or two, until they rise to the surface. Once they pop up, they’re cooked! Scoop them out as they rise with a slotted spoon making sure you drain as much water as possible off the gnocchetti and mix them with the tomatoes, avocado, the rest of the oil and the salt, adding pepper and coriander on the top. Done! Buon appetito.

Delicious Dairy-free Chicken and Vegetable Quiche

A couple of weekends ago, my friend Sara and I decided to make a healthy quiche which didn’t include tonnes of cheese as pies normally do. We decided to cut out the cheese completely and instead go heavy on the veggie goodness. Unfortunately by the time the quiche was cooked the sun had set and we had to take the picture of the final result with artificial light, but hopefully you should be able to get the idea of how delicious it looked (and tasted) nonetheless. By the way, all the pictures in this post were taken by Sara, the master of food photos.

This quiche is brilliantly healthy and because it has no dairy, it could easily become vegan if you decide to omit the chicken and swap the eggs with flaxseeds. 100 gr of chicken is a very little amount for a whole quiche but I decided to add it in to add some protein, as I did not include any cheese, and because I had defrosted it and wanted to use it. So feel free to add the double amount of chicken, if you like.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tsp of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 120 gr chestnut mushrooms
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 4 balls of frozen spinach
  • 100 gr chicken
  • 1 tbsp of coarse oats
  • About a couple of tsps of mixed herbs (marjoram, thyme, oregano and dry sage are all good)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of soya milk (optional)
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • A dash of chili sauce or Tobasco (optional)
  • A handful of flour
  • 1 packet of Jus-Rol puff pastry (or you could make your own puff pastry)


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Pour the olive oil into a tissue and rub it thoroughly on a quiche plate, making sure to cover well the bottom and sides of it. Place the spinach in a small pot with about a tbsp of water and let thaw on medium heat. Grill the chicken in a non-stick pan. While the chicken cools chop the vegetables into about 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes. Chop the chicken. Once the spinach is fully defrosted, spread it on a chopping board and leave it to cool, as you don’t want the egg whites to scramble when you mix them with the spinach later.

Place all the veggies and chicken in a big bowl and mix well. Add the egg whites from the two eggs (saving the yolks), oats, plenty of herbs, salt, a good dose of black pepper and a dash of Tobasco. If at this stage your mixture looks a bit too dry feel free to add the soya milk. If you are worried it might be too runny or wet add another spoonful of oats. Make sure you always stir well in order to get all the ingredients hobnobbing!

Get your puff pastry and knead it altogether. Make sure you’re working on a floured base as you don’t want your pastry to stick to your table/board. Roll it thinly, about 0.2 in (5 mm). You should have enough pastry there to place a whole layer on the quiche dish and save some on a side to cut the lattice pattern. Once you have spread the pastry at the bottom of the dish, pour all the other ingredients into it and then start cutting the pastry for the top pattern. The strips should be about ½ in (1.2 cm) wide. Try to keep them from breaking but even if they do it’s not too big a problem as you can always join to pieces of strips together.

Beat the egg yolks together and spread the liquid on the pastry with a brush. Place in the oven and leave to bake for a good 40 to 45 minutes as you want the vegetable juices to dry away and the pastry to rise beautifully.

Let it cool a little before slicing and then enjoy!