Category Archives: Grains

I want it to be SUMMER salad!


OHHAYIMBACK. With a vengeance. Or vindiction, cos where the HELL is the British summer? I did not leave the Med for this.  It’s ridiculous cos June in London is at least warm, but it’s not even warm, I’m still wearing my parka. Everything I wanted to eat, like summery stuff, doesn’t really seem suitable.

I mean, come on.


This salad seems just as ridiculous. It’s looking at me like: Why did you make me? It’s not hot enough to have a refreshing salad.

But so what, I made it, I ate it, it was really good.

My mum even thought it was good. She refused to eat it at first cos she has that ‘carbophobia’ mindset of the 80s, but then she took a taster at the end of the meal and she was like ‘OH THAT IS JUST DELICIOUS’. That showed her. 

Ingredients-Yield-2-3 Cups

-140g red rice

-60-80g couscous

-1 onion

-1 clove of garlice

-1 stick of celery

-1 carrot

-a small handful of chopped walnuts


-1 shot glass of walnut oil (or olive oil)

-1/2 shot glass of white wine vinegar

-juice of 1/2 a lemon

-1 tsp sugar

-1 tsp salt


-Cook the rice and couscous to package directions.

-Whilst the grains are cooking, chop your onion and garlic, then fry with some olive oil until super soft. Season. Add to a salad bowl.

-Chop the celery to small pieces, and grate your carrot. Add to the salad bowl with the cooked grains.

-To make your dressing, mix all the dressing ingredients together.

-Pour dressing over the salad and mix well. Done.



Filed under Grains, How to be Healthy

Summer Greens Salad.

YEAHHH, it’s soooo hottt!! It was about 28 degrees today here in London, which is terrific because I love the heat. Bake bake bake. I would make some sort joke about Olympics and me being BRONZE, but I’m just a bit too overheated to think of something witty enough. I just came back last week from 2 weeks in Bordeaux with my family, it was lovely. The weather was intermittent, but I guess that is what happens when you go at the beginning of July (my dad’s choice, it was evidently cheaper and he didn’t wanna miss the Olympics). Because of the less than great weather, this hot spell in England is SO welcome. It’s that type of heat that really hits you when you leave the house. Stifling I think is the word.

SO, because of the sudden upsurge in temperature, I really wanted something all fresh and healthy and themed. ‘Themed’ as in green.

Gorgeous and green! Just add a bit of french dressing and there you have a suitable, filling lunch or dinner.

Ingredients-serves 4

-1 cup of frozen peas

-1 cup of soya  beans

-1 cup bulgar wheat

-2 courgettes, sliced into medallions

-1 stick of celery, chopped

-about 4 inches of cucumber, chopped

-Mixed herbs

-salt and pepper

-2-3 tbsp olive oil


-3/4 cup of olive oil

-1/2 cup of white wine vinegar

-2 tsp honey

-1 tsp french grain mustard


-Put all your raw ingredients into a salad bowl.

-Cook your soya beans and peas in the same sauce pan in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and put in the salad bowl.

-Cook your bulgar wheat according to packet instructions, and add to the salad bowl when cooked.

-Whilst your bulgar is cooking, fry your courgette medallions in the olive oil and mixed herbs. About 7 minutes on one side, and then 4 minutes on the other side should do. Make sure they’re browned off and add to the salad bowl.

-I saved the frying oil and used some of it to make the dressing, but you don’t have to. To make the dressing, simply mix all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad.


Note, this would be delicious with feta.


Filed under Grains, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: Banana Brownies

Here is a disclaimer: don’t eat these with the idea that they will be really rich, sweet  brownies.

These aren’t meant to be indulgent, they’re meant to be sustaining snacks to get you on your way. They taste like banana bread, but because they don’t have butter or eggs or sugar in them, they’re not as rich or sugary.

HOWEVER, THEY ARE STILL DELICIOUS AND HEALTHY. Why? Well they have buckwheat in them. Buckwheat baking is fun because I’m like “IT’S LOOKS LIKE FLOUR BUT IT’S NOT”. It’s a bit like fake meat, “IT’S LOOKS LIKE A SAUSAGE BUT IT’S NOT”. (However, I don’t really like fake meat).

Enjoy these this jubilee weekend, because with all the drinking, unhealthy canapes and sun, you’ll need a healthy indulgence.

Ingredients-Food processor required, makes 12 servings

-3/4 cup of buckwheat groats

-1 cup of porridge oats

-3 over ripe bananas

-200 ml milk, any kind

-1.5 tsp of baking powder

-1/4 cup dessicated coconut

-1/4 cup of dried apricots, chopped

-1 heaped tsp of honey

-Chopped walnuts (optional)


-Line a baking dish with greaseproof paper, and preheat oven to gas mark 6, 200 c.

-In a food processor, process the buckwheat groats for 5-10 minutes until ground to flour like substance. Take little breaks so the processor doesn’t over heat.

-Once ground, porridge and process for a bit longer until the whole mixture looks well and truly FLOUR-LIKE.

-Add the bananas and process until the mixture is well combined.

-Add the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture looks like cake batter.

-Pour into baking dish and top with walnuts.

-Cook for 45 minutes, or until top has browned off and the brownies feel soft.

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Filed under Grains, Healthy Sweets, How to be Healthy

Cooking Up My Bookmarks: Quinoa Chili

I should be working right now. I should be reading about hagiography in the Merovingian period. I should be reading about bishop-saints, and how they were represented throughout the course of the middle ages. I should be reading about how the rising non-landed plutocrats of Victorian Britain were undermining the British aristocracy.

Instead I made chili. Chili with quinoa. Doesn’t it look really meaty? It does, doesn’t it? You’d be fooled into believing that that’s mince meat in there. I got my inspiration from this source, but I adapted it slightly.

It was delicious this was. It was bizarre when I was eating it because it definitely didn’t have the texture of meat, but it didn’t feel like it was trying to be something it wasn’t. It was very…wholesome? Satisfying? idunkno.

I would write more, but I’m a bit worried about my work. I hate exams.


-1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa

-1 red onion

-1 clove of garlic

-1 carrot

-1 green pepper

-1 tsp salt

-1 tsp gr coriander

-2 tsp cumin

-1 tsp cocoa powder

-1 tsp paprika

-1 tsp chili

-1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained

-1 x 400g tin chickpeas, barlotti beans or black beans, drained

-1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

-2 tbsp tomato puree

-200 ml water


-Cover your quinoa with water, bring to the boil and cook for fifteen minutes or until it’s soft (when eaten).

-Meanwhile, cook your vetegables in some olive oil in a large saucepan and add some salt.

-Once vegetables are soft add remaining ingredients, bar the quinoa.

-Bring the mixture to the boil and add the quinoa. Cook for 15 minutes and take off the heat.

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Filed under Grains, Mexican, Pulses, Quick, Store Cupboard, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: Cheap Couscous Stew

Sorry about the poor photos, I hope they give credit to the meal, because it was really delicious, and filling. And I don’t think the photos do it justice. This photo was taken in Harrogate on a luvly winter day. Well it wasn’t that lovely, it was fricking freezing but the sun makes it look as though we were having a summer walk.

How’s the injury you ask? (I like to vent). Well, these past 2 months I have learnt many things:

  • Back pain  leads to every other pain in the entire body.
  • Backs take ages to heal. Patience is the key.
  • Don’t think that a foot injury is just a foot injury, it is probably a back injury.
  • I don’t value my mobility enough.
  • Almost everyone doesn’t value their mobility enough.
  • I genuinely do love running, and without it I am a shadow of my former self.
  • Injuries happen, that’s life, and more often than not people recover.

What we have here is couscous cooked in chopped tomatoes, with some kidney beans, peppers, carrots and onions. Easy, cheap, healthy, filling. It’s really comforting and can be frozen/made ahead. I chose couscous because it served as a good way to bulk up the meal, without having rice. I don’t have any brown rice, and white rice would have made it too stodgy. The couscous is so soft and gives the dish a really creamy texture. Couscous has a greater flavour than rice. Other alternatives can be used, I was thinking bulgur wheat or buckwheat groats, but chose couscous to give it a great Mediterranean flavour.

Analysis of Cheap Cousous

-Couscous is one of the healthiest grains, having more vitamins that pasta, the same amount of protein and a lower glycemic index and fat content. It’s a slow energy releaser, so it beats white pasta and rice in that sense.

-The kidney beans are stuffed with fibre, giving you slow release energy. And they absorb flavours really well–very yummy.

-Chopped tomatoes–SUPERFOOD.

Ingredients-serves 3-4

-1 red onion, chopped

-1 clove of garlic chopped

-1 carrot, chopped (I did mine into discs)

-1 yellow pepper chopped

-2 x 1/3 cup of couscous (about 3/4 a mug).

-1x 400g tin of kidney beans, drained

-500ml water

-Mixed herbs


-vegetable bouillon(optional)

-salt and pepper


-In a saucepan, fry  the chopped vegetables in some oil until soft. About 10 minutes, but just use your judgement. Add about 1 tsp of herbs, paprika, bouillon, salt and pepper.

-Add the remaining ingredients, and leave to cook for about 15 minutes until the couscous tastes soft, stirring every so often. You might need to add a bit more water if it seems that the ‘stew’ is becoming a bit dry. Unlike a normal stew, do not leave this simmering for hours, otherwise the couscous will burn the surface.  Serve hot or cold.


Filed under Grains, How to be Healthy, Mediterranean, Pulses, Quick, Store Cupboard, Vegan, Vegetarian

A Lentil Christmas

Merry Christmas all. It’s five days until the big day and, for once, I’VE GOT ALL PRESENTS! This has never happened to me before.  I’m also very pleased to say that I think I’ve  got quite good presents for my family this Noel. Bring on the festivities!

However, I will find it harder than usual to be completely immersed in the festive spirit this year as my mind is  occupied by two things: my pressures from uni (4 exams 1 essay) and my healing process from my injury. The injury wont budge, which means I’m tied to the pool. BUT HEY IT’S CHRISTMAS AND IT COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR!

So right here I’ve made a delicious semi-raw lentil salad. When it comes to the Christmas season, it’s important to retain some normality and have healthy days. I spent the first 15 years of my life eating a lot of rubbish, then I had a turnaround and now I actually crave raw salads and the such. So when people talk about their over indulgence over the holiday season, I don’t have reciprocal guilt, because I have wholesome, TASTY stuff like this.


1 cup of brown lentils

-3 cups of water

-Any seasoning you wish, I used salt, pepper and garlic powder.

-1 half of a red onion-chopped finely

-2x salad onions-chopped

-1 stick of celery-chopped

-1 carrot-shredded

-1 handful of crushed walnuts

-1 small handful of blueberries (optional, they were just in my fridge)

-4-5 black olives (again optional)-chopped

-4 cherry tomatoes, or 1 tomato-chopped


-Bring lentils and water to boil, add seasoning and leave to simmer for about  30 minutes or until lentils are soft. Mine took about 40 minutes. Remember to add water if it looks like it’s disappearing.

-Drain lentils and put in a bowl with the other ingredients. A some French dressing, or  a new favourite of mine: tahini lemon dressing from Angela Liddon.


Filed under Grains, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian

Sweet’n’Spicy Tabbouleh

MMM, tabouleh, eh? Who doesn’t love some Mediterranean freshness to pick them in the ridiculously foggy weather up here in Leeds, and whereever you are. I’m sure the weather is pretty much dismal everywhere. I don’t seem to be taking that much notice or even care because I am so happy to be finally healed (touch wood), after having been injured for the past 2 1/2 weeks in the run up to two races. My first 10k took place on Sunday 20th and it was incredible, I got 46:43 which I’m happy with seeing as I hadn’t done any proper training and it was my first 10k, and I hadn’t really been able to break past the 8 minute miling stage in the run up to the race. Anyway blah blah blah, I did it and pain free.

This tabbouleh is gorgeous because it has the spiciness of the raw red onions and jalapeños, which the tomatoes and sultanas cut through. Of course, feel free to make this ‘sweet’n’spicy’-less by ignoring the jalapeños and sultanas which are an addition of my own.

Ingredients (serves 1)

1/4 cup of bulgar wheat

-2 cups of water

-1 tsp vegetable stock

-2 tsp cayenne pepper

-1 tsp cajun spice(optional)

-2 tsp jalapeños

1/2 red onion

1 tomato

-1/2 tbsp of sultanas

3 tbsp of french dressing (method to follow)

4 tbsp oil

-3 tsbp white wine vinegar

-1 tsp whole grain mustard-SHAKE IT ALL UP.


Put the bulgar wheat, sultanas and water in a saucepan and bring to boil, once boiling lower to a medium heat adding the vegetable stock, cayenne and cajun spice. A little salt wouldn’t go amiss too. Cook the bulgar wheat to packet instructions, normally 15 minutes, or until it is soft. Drain it.

-Chop up tomatoes, onions and jalapeños finely. Add these to the bulgar wheat and sultanas, mix and fluff up with a fork.

-Pour over French dressing and mix well.

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Filed under Grains, Mediterranean, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian


Oatcakes are great. My doctor recommended them to me for good ways of snacking, but they’re really good after meals aswell with cheese, or they taste really good with yoghurt. I love them. And, like the true thrifty I am, I’ll tell you that they are very cheap to make, VERY CHEAP. What’s good about oatcakes is that you can jazz them up in anyway you like, below are some ways to do so.

Anyway, I’ll shut up, and keep this post simple-like the oatcakes.

Ingredients-about 15-20 cakes

-200g oatmeal, plus extra for dusting

-1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

-1/4 pint of boiling water

-2 tbsp olive oil, or melted butter (oil is healthier)

-1 tsp salt

Jazzed up oats cakes , use all of the above plus:

-2-3 tsp of thyme

-2 tbsp chopped up blueberries, or raspberries

-2 tbsp dried fruit

-1 tsp grated cheddar cheese.


-Preheat oven to gas mark 5, 200 c. and line 1-2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.

-Mix up all the ingredients except the water first. Then slowly add the water until you get a moist doughy mixture that can form into a ball and feels quite sticky to touch.

-Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with some more oatmeal and roll out your dough to about 3-4mm thickness.

-Using a cutter, or just a knife, form circular, or square, (or any type of) shapes. Try to use up all the mixture, by continuously collecting scraps of the dough, adding a bit of water water and repeating the above process. Place all your shapes on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cakes starting to brown at the edges and feel hard when you touch them.

-Don’t worry some will evidently fall apart, but that’s just the way the OATCAKE crumbles.

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Filed under Grains, Snacks and Starters, Vegan, Vegetarian

Berry Buckwheat Smoovie

Finding it hard getting buckwheat into your diet? Not fond of buckwheat salads and tabbouleh? It is the fibre king, has 8 amino acids, iron, phosphorus, copper and helps lower YOUR cholesterol. But you’re not buying it? Well here we have a lovely buckwheat smoothie, and it tastes like strawberry milkshake, NO LIE, I promise you it’s really smooth and so it has that strawberry ice cream taste.  Give it a go, and it’s particularly cheap because it can be made with frozen berries. I’ve discovered that frozen berries are genius for smoothies because they don’t go off and they cost about £1.50 for a bag that will last agessss.


-1/3 cup buckwheat groats

-2 x 1/3 cup of water

-3 almonds

-3 dates, pitted

-1 banana

-3 strawberries (optional)

-a tiny handful of frozen berries, or a bigger handful if you’re not using strawberries

1 tsp of vanilla extract

-1/2 cup of water, plus 100 ml


Leave the buckwheat to soak in the water for 2 hrs plus. Overnight preferably for the softest.

-Once you have done this, drain the buckwheat and rinse with water. Throw it in a blender with almonds, dates and 100ml water and process until it looks like porridge gone wrong.

-Add the remaining ingredients and process until your desired consistency. Pour into a cup and voila. So easy and so good.


Filed under Grains, Vegan, Vegetarian

Mexican Quinoa

I do love me some Mexican food. Everyone knows that I do. And everyone else loves it too. What’s not to love? Spice, flavour etce etc. Well, a few days ago I  had quite an off day. Actually it was fine, but my internet had still been playing up, and so I resorted to filling out a free health care form which was too bureaucratic for me, and then my work shift was not that great…And then I finished reading Anne Frank on the way back from work at about 12am, and I was almost in tears. And then weirdly enough, a man who shouted at me for jumping the bus queue(I didn’t) last week happened to sit next to me this week (he had just told off another man for doing the same thing). This just got all my anger riled up, and I still had not had any dinner. So when I got home I had a reasonable meal, hummus, bread, cheese salad-but I was not satisfied. My mum and sister have the ability to be content with NOTHING(i.e salad) for dinner, so to prevent this from happening again I decided to prepare a dinner that would make me happy when I got home. I made this, and it’s tossed in a chilli and lime dressing so it tastes really fresh but also quite spicy.  So, although work had given me some lovely risotto canapes I was not full enough to not eat this. It was great!

Ingredients (feeds 3)

2 Sweet Potatoes

-stalks of asparagus, maybe about 7-8

-Half a can of black beans (200g)

-1 cup of quinoa, cooked to packet instructions


For the dressing(approx.)

Juice of half a lime

-2 tsp of powdered cayenne pepper

-1 tbsp white wine vinegar

-1 tbsp oil

-a handful of cherry tomatoes

-1 tsp honey


-Preheat the oven to gas mark 8/220c. Peel your sweet potatoes and chop them into chunks.

-Place in a baking dish with the asparagus, and drizzle with a dainty bit of oil and smother in paprika.

-Leave this to cook until the potatoes are done, around 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through. However, after 20 minutes place your black beans in the dish and cover in paprika. Continue to cook until potatoes are crispy, but soft.

-Once done mix this contents of the baking dish with the quinoa and prepare your dressing.

-In a food processor, process everything, apart from the honey until pulverised. Then add the honey. Do a taste test, and see if you need more vinegar etc.

-Pour the dressing over the quina mixture and mix well.

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Filed under Grains, Mexican, Pulses, Quick, Store Cupboard, Vegan, Vegetarian