Monday, 26 January 2015

Spicy (Or Not) Courgette + Spinach Soup


Let's just get that out the way quickly shall we:D

I ask those of you who have tried my recipes thus far to trust me that it tastes like delicious. And those who have not tried my recipes to trust those who have tried my recipes that it tastes like delicious. Not monster bogies.



Lol why am I putting up more photos? It's like I think I can save the last crap photo with an even crappier photo. Here guys, look more bogies soup from a different angle so you can really get that nice snotty snotty dark green colour snotty snotty

Seriously, I don't know how you lot who are studying/working/having a life and food blogging at the same time manage. I'm usually so hungry in between intense practice and studying that even if I find the time to make wonderful blog-worthy recipes for myself, I can't bring myself to set up the stage and contort myself into weird positions in an attempt to take a photo without getting my shadow on the food or to mess around with the ruddy aperture and focal whatjamecallit and get the angle right and make it not look crap and all this while the steam is rising from the delicious soup signifying that my lunch is GOING COLD.

Usually I don't even try to take photos. I have no self-control. Just study and slurp.

At least this is evidence that I ATE it, right?

I think this is the least professional post I've ever done?! I blame that new £4 cake and coffee deal at my favourite cafe. Caffeine. Sugar. Study. So much study. So much yum. So much headache.

Anyway, this soup is amazing delicious, I've made it twice and tastes good so on etc, make it, take nicer photos of it and put it on your blog, feed it to your dog, throw it at your children, I don't care.

FoodGawker award methinks for me woohoo soup.

Spicy (Or Not) Courgette and Spinach Soup

by Shonalika Tilak
Cook Time: 1 hr
Ingredients (2 large servings)
  • 1 medium courgette/zucchini
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • Scant 1/2  bag spinach
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ - 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder, or more
  • Salt and pepper to taste
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C and bung the sweet potato in. After about half an hour, start on step 2:
2. Heat the coconut oil in a pan. Chop and add the courgette. After a few minutes, chop and add the spinach along with the spices, soy sauce, salt, and pepper.
3. Remove sweet potato from the oven and scoop flesh from skin. Stir into the pan, then add vegetable stock.
4. Whip out your immersion blender and whizz. (Or, alternatively, cook for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a food processor/blender, if you like a very smooth soup.)
5. Continue cooking 5-10 minutes, adjusting seasonings and adding more water as required.
6. Serve piping hot!
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Monday, 19 January 2015

Broccoli Subzi

Would you believe I used to hate cooking?

Seriously. I was scared of the cooker.

And no wonder, given that this was first dish that my well-intentioned mum tried to teach me. Not something plain and placid like a basic stir-fry or an easy dahl, or even a stew, oh no. She started me off with the tarka technique, which means frying the spices before adding in the main ingredients to get them to release the flavour. Which is sometimes problematic anyway due to the increased likelihood of burning the spices. Add the only seeds that leap out of the pan and burn you in the face, and you're onto a winner.

Needless to say, I spent most of these early lessons cowering under the table saying mum can you just do it and I'll learn to cook later if I absolutely have to.

And hey ho, I did. They say that your mum's cooking will always taste the best to you, because its what you grow up on: whilst this may not exactly scream "COMFORT FOOD," as a result, that's exactly what it is! The inclusion of dried fruit, apparently a very Maharashtrian thing, creates a delightfully sweet and salty mix of flavours. You can switch up the fruit, nuts, and spices to your heart's content. Throw in some coconut, or one of those pre-mixed nut and fruit bags in there if you want - I know my mum often did! Dishes like these probably very on established my love for savoury-sweet combinations as of today.

The tarka step is essential - it really does intensify the flavour by 10x. Unless you're hardcore like mother Tilak, just do what I do and cover the pan while the seeds are bursting. (And stand back.)

I enjoy this dish most with hot buttered pita bread and sweet pickle, as I used to eat it growing up, but it will go nicely with toast and hummus, or as a side to a rice and curry dish - anything really!

Broccoli Subzi

by Shonalika Tilak
Cook Time: 15-20 mins
Ingredients (Serves 4 as a side)
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped and steamed for 5 minutes
  • handful of nuts (I like to use a mixture of cashews and almonds best)
  • handful of rasins
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
1. Heat some oil of choice in a wok. When the oil is piping hot, drop in the mustard seeds, and cover immediately. Wait till most of the seeds have popped, then:
2. Immediately add all the other ingredients.
3. Lower the heat to medium and cover for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Cook until desired softness is reached.
5. Adjust seasonings as required, and serve!
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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Melt-in-the-mouth Sprouts n' Squash

Ok ok, so this post has no pictures, thats ridiculous, how can I possibly expect anyone to even look at it, I know. It's especially ridiculous as this recipe is so good that I have in fact made it twice and still not managed to snap it, due to either being too busy or too desperate to stuff the result in my gob.

You'll just have to trust me.

I wanted to put it up now rather than putting it on the "waiting for photographs," list (though I will try and snap it next time I make it!) because its so appropriately post-Christmas. You may still have sprouts hanging around or presenting themselves to you on offer in supermarkets. It's a minimim-effort, maximum-deliciousness side dish so you can still eat a little fancily even now that you inevitably have tonnes of work and commitments to burrow through that you let stack up over the holidays.

Melt-in-the-mouth Sprouts n' Squash

by Shonalika Tilak
Cook Time: 45 mins - 1 hour
Ingredients (Serves 4 as a side)
  • 2 bags sprouts
  • 1 bag cubed butternut squash
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Generous chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
1. Pre-heat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. Trim and halve sprouts, and peel garlic cloves.
3. Mix all ingredients together and spread out on the tray.
4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, checking and stirring every now and then.

Notes: Random fact: This goes amazingly well with VBites cranberry bites, to the extent that I’d throw one into the oven just to pair with the other! Highly recommended:D
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Friday, 2 January 2015

Happy New Year! (Featured blogger recipes and plans for 2015!)

Christmas spread - links to some of of the recipes below!

Late I know, but better than never, right?

Been busy (aren't we all at this time of year?) As usual, Christmas was a teensy quiet untraditional affair, just the three of us. My mum and I did the cooking whilst my sister cleared the living room of the present carnage. I used the opportunity to test out some blogger recipes.

My main dish in the middle was closely inspired by Emma's stuffed peppers recipe - I used all quinoa because my sister can't stand lentils, and I also cooked the quinoa in vegetable broth and generally mucked about with it - its a really versatile, useful recipe. The peppers themselves actually taste really good too, which isn't always the case with stuffed pepper recipes.

I also provided a side, Natalie's brilliant vegan "pigs in blankets," just to the left of the stuffed peppers in the above picture. I have to admit, I was initially dubious about the success of this recipe because my Christmas Eve mixture was SO wet it was unshapeable (I must have weighed something wrong...) and I had to add a mountain more flour before it was possible to form a rollable, tinfoil-twistable lump. Thankfully I didn't spend forever doing this, since my sister was helping me, and we steamed the lot so they were ready to go straight into the oven the next day. We ended up with basically hundreds, and continued enjoying them for days afterwards. The recipe is quite an involved process but doing it over two days like this speeds things up - and the end result is well worth the effort!

Oh yes, and I did dessert, which was mainly made for Nikita, a giant version of Dana's mini key lime pies. When I did the exact same thing with their cheesecake recipe earlier last year, it went down so well that Nikita insisted I do basically exactly the same thing for Christmas. No complaints here <3

New Years Eve was the usual drunken house party banter. Mercifully somebody took the Wii controller from me ten minutes before the bells so I couldn't spend the entire night being an antisocial nerd...

Looking back on it, 2014 has definitely been a year of massive change - for a start, marking the end of my first complete year as a vegan (I feel like I've been one forever!) Not to mention the starting up of both my blogs. This year, along with keeping these going, I'm planning to use my YouTube channel more, so its more of a vlog-type thing. That'll also make it easier to tie my various interests together without the concern of getting off-topic! I need to make the blogs look better, both with regards to photography and layout... something I've avoided thus far, but it really needs doing.

As it's my final year of uni, I'm suffering from last-minute-omg-need-to-make-this-year-count syndrome. And I have my big final dissertation to do. And as I'm studying music, that means (finally) releasing an EP. I'm doing it DIY, which is both very challenging and exciting.

On a closely related note:

I'm going to be playing at Brighton VegFest! Not on the website just yet, but its confirmed. On the Saturday at 5:00 pm. If you're in the UK, come down and say hi!

Oh yes. I also made my very first New Year's resolution, which goes by the inspiring name of Take Shorter Showers. Sadly I've already broken it.

Hope you've all had a wonderful festive season! More recipes as of next week ^^