Category Archives: How to be Healthy

I want it to be SUMMER salad!

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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.

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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

Dressing

-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

Method

-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.

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Filed under Grains, How to be Healthy

How to be Healthy: CARROTHUMMUS.

Any ‘cat sick’ comparisons are discarded now. Personally I think this looks delicious, but there are those of you who might say ‘this looks like s**t’. Well you’re wrong. So flavourful, so salty, and also quite sweet. This is just delicious. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for AGES, and I finally got round to it today. That is what happens when you work very few shifts, most of which are at night. You have a lot of time. But I love being on holiday, after having studied a lot this year, I’m loving having some down time just chilling at home and seeing friends. Doing some yoga as well.

So this is carrot hummus that uses carrots instead of chickpeas. It means it’s slightly healthier in that carrots are amazingly healthy, but calorie-wise (who’s counting?), there isn’t a great difference. There’s just a lot more goodness in this dip.

 

Ingredients

-500g carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks.

-2 tbsp olive oil

-Mixed herbs

-4-5 garlic cloves (I used about 7, but I love garlic and I’m not kissing anyone anytime soon)

-3 tbsp tahini

-Juice of 1 lemon/3 tbsp lemon juice

-100ml water

-Salt and Pepper

Method

-Preheat oven to gas mark 8, and put the carrots, garlic cloves (whole, unpeeled), a generous shake of mixed herbs and oil into a baking tray. Stir around to make sure everything is covered and combined. Roast for 40-50 minutes, or until the middle of carrots are reasonably soft when prodded with a fork.

-Once cooked, add the carrots into a food processor. Squeeze the insides of the garlic out of their skins, and then add the leftover oil from the baking tray.

-Add the remaining ingredients, and process in the food processor. Breaking from time to time to make sure the processor doesn’t over heat. You might want to add more water to make it creamier.

-It all depends on what texture you want, but once you think the dip is ready for your liking, put into a tupperware dish and enjoy like hummus. Hot OR cold (one of the joys of this recipe).#

 

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: Cheap Chocolate Butterscotch Scoop

I left Leeds last week. My exams finished, I hung around for a week and did NOTHING, I packed up the crap I’ve collected for two years and then I left at 6.30am. I will be gone for about 15 months, while I spend a year studying in the south of France. It was sad to go, but hey, I’m gonna get SOOOOOO tanned.

This will be me for the next year.

I have been spending the last week not doing much. Sorting out France, trying to flat hunt. I’ve been doing lots of reading and helping my sister edit some filming she’s been doing. Most importantly, I’VE BEEN WORKING OUTTTT. I haven’t said, but I’ve been unable to run for 5 weeks as my back seized up during revision period, which offset the right side of my body, and my right leg was overwhelmingly weak and painful. But I’ve been in the gym, pumping iron, doing lots of pilates and yoga, and I’m on the mend. I did 5k today without any pain (nearly). Hopes are up.

Anyway, here you go.

LOOK! IT LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE ICE CREAM. BUT IT ISN’T! This right here is made of bananas. And some cocoa powder. And some set honey which gives it that butterscotchy flavour. Yummy. Process it all together and eat straight away or freeze in an airtight container and enjoy whenever.

Ingredients: 

Serves 4 

-4 bananas, frozen

-1 dessert spoon cocoa powder

-1 tbsp set (or runny) honey

Method

-Freeze your bananas at least a day prior, and make sure you peel and chop them before hand otherwise it’s a pain trying to peel a frozen banana.

-In the food processor, process your bananas for about 4-5 minutes. Stopping from time to time to mix the mixture.

-Once it starts to get creamy, add the cocoa powder and the honey and continue to process.

-Put in a container and re-freeze for that more effective ice cream texture, or serve straight away for the more soft serve effect.

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Filed under Desserts, Healthy Sweets, How to be Healthy

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)

Method

-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

How to be Healthy: Motivation Beans

FIRST. A big thank you to The Healthy Foodie for mentioning me in her amazing blog. I check this woman’s blog everyday for inspiration. She makes good pizza, and thus she can’t do any wrong. I recommend you take a lot. But first…

It is so hard to find motivation to cook an amazing, overwhelmingly good meal.

I’m only human. I’m only a student (at one of the top 100 best universities in the world). I’m only a ‘NO-MEAT ATHLETE’.

This last one means that more than ever I have to cook proper food. Personally, I cannot afford (physically) to eat foods that are lacking in things. I am currently undergoing a cross-training regime, where I lower my mileage a bit in the week and replace it with swims. I have also started cycling to uni. Cross training, according to my osteopath, is vital to avoid injury. And I’m doing anything to avoid that beast.

BUT I DIGRESS. This post is about motivation. Motivation is SO hard to fathom. In my opinion, we’re all lazy. It’s just how well you’re able to overcome the laziness, doing sport makes you a lot more productive with your time. But even I’ll come back from about 5 to 7 (to occasionally 9!)  hours in the library, and then I might have been swimming or running in the day and the last thing I want to do is cook. I can’t be bothered to wait around. I’M HUNGRY and TIRED. GIVE ME FOOD AND LET ME WATCH SOME SCANDINAVIAN THRILLERS AND READ MY KINDLE. But as I said, I can’t afford to put ready meals in the oven, what nutrition will they provide?

Celebrity chefs are constantly releasing ‘easy’ and ‘quick’ recipes to draw you in. But I have no financial incentive like them, I’m giving you these recipes out of the goodness of my heart .

So what are these motivation beans? Ha, they’re just beans. But they’re so fricken cheap and easy to make. Why have a fried egg on toast when this bean recipe takes quicker, tastes better and is not made of a chicken’s period? hehe.

I call them motivation beans because they motivate you to do a bit of cooking, be healthy and end your day on a high.

The psychological effect of these beans is GOOD, cos they take two secs, but when you’ve made them you’re all smug like ‘Look what I just made, Jamie’s 30 minute meals can SUCK IT’.

ANYWAY, here you are. Enjoy. Be motivated.

Ingredients (serves 2)

-Half a red onion, chopped

-Two cloves garlic

-1 salt

-2 tsp of dried herbs

-1 tsp chilli powder (optional)

-1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)

-1x 400g can of butter beans, drained and rinsed

-6 olives  chopped (optional)

-100ml of water

-1 massive handful of spinach

Method

-Fry the onion and garlic in some olive oil and add the salt so that it doesn’t stick to the surface of the pan.

-Once softened, add the the remaining ingredients BAR the spinach.

-Once the beans exterior have started to brown off, and the mixture is very hot, add the spinach.

-When the spinach has wilted, the beans are ready. If it is all a bit dry, add a bit more water! Enjoy

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

How to be Healthy: Italian Dressing Tofu Stew

Sorry for the over-exposed and saturated photos, I was having an off day and the lighting in my bedroom is extremely bad so my editing of photos can be distorted.

So I said I would try roasting tofu, but I wanted to make a stew instead, because I’m only human and I change my mind. I’m still not so sure about tofu. I think (and let me stress that this is just an opinion) that tofu is eaten by vegetarians/pescetarians/flexitarians(those who limit meat) as a meat substitute. It certainly has that meat-like appearance and texture, and that is not what I want. I gave up meat for a reason, and the resemblance tofu has to it is slightly off-putting. Sure it acts as a good flavour enhancer, but if I had to choose between a tofu or butter bean stew? I would choose butter beans, because not only does it absorb the flavour like tofu, but has a greater distinguishable flavour and it is not detrimental to the environment. That is the the fundamental reason I don’t eat meat, so why should I eat a soy-based product which is equally as bad as meat environmentally just because it is health-giving? There are better/healthier/cheaper alternatives. It’s not that the tofu didn’t TASTE nice, it was just that it is not for me and this would have tasted just as nice with something other than tofu.

My journey with tofu has at least taught me how to use the ingredient, and more importantly made me realise that I love being a pescetarian and in no way do I miss white or red meat.

Anyway, I loves me a stew. What we have here is a stew, with the tofu, carrots, red onions and garlic cooked in a sort of Italian dressing like mixture, and then the mixture is covered with plum tomatoes and left to simmer for about an hour until the tofu is soft. I think it took about an hour? In the time it took I had a shower, put on my lenses, did my face, got changed, went to Sainsbury’s, mopped the floor, got it dirty, mopped it again and emptied the bins. HELLO MULTI-TASKER. Enjoy the recipe, because I don’t think there will be much tofu on this site again if I can help it.

Ingredient

200 g tofu

-1 red onion

-1 carrot

-1 mushroom (optional, I just had loads leftover)

-2 cloves of garlic

-2 tbsp oil

-2 tbsp vinegar

-1 tsp french mustard

-1 tbsp of lemon juice

-1 tsp of dried herbs, cumin, coriander and paprika

-1 tin of plum tomatoes

-60 ml water

Method

– Wash tofu and wrap in clean towel, put a heavy weight on top of it such as a couple of plates or heavy cookbooks. This squeezes out all of the moisture.

-Whilst you are draining your tofu, chop all your vegetables and fry in the olive oil in a saucepan on a medium heat. Add some salt so that they don’t stick to the surface. Cook and simmer until brown and soft.

-After ten minutes of soaking, unwrap the tofu and chop into cubes. Add to the vegetables.

-Add all the ingredients BAR the tinned tomatoes AND water. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring from time to time.

-Add the chopped tomatoes and cover and leave to simmer for about 40 minutes. You might need to add the water to stop the mixture from drying out. So keep on checking and stirring the mixture to check

-Serve with some rice or some bread!

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Italian, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: Making Salad on a Budget

I am salad addict. I love it. Or I love them. I used to HATE salad, I would physically retch when eating it. It wasn’t a neurotic thing, I didn’t like the earthy taste or the dry texture that kind of clung to my throat, and I don’t really like the taste of the rocket that formed the basis of my mum’s salads. My mum was/is also awful at making dressings (well, she likes her dressings, but they still make me feel sick, she just adds too much mustard), when I found out how to make dressings my experiences with salad greatly improved.

I want to continue the mission of this man, Salad Pride, and transform the way people feel about salads. People think salads are comprised of lettuce and tomatoes, and placed on the side of your plate to fill up space. Not for me. I’m not gonna list the various things you can put in a salad, but I want to state that my salads are actually FILLING. People say salads can’t sustain you. THEY EFFING SUSTAIN ME. If you add the correct ingredients that provide the suitable nutrients, there’s no reason to not let salads be the centre of your life. I’m not sure if it’s me being feeble-stomached, but I can honestly say that salads FILL ME UP. Just look at Salad Pride to see how you can add grains, pulses, cheese etc to makes salads filling.

SO why salads? WHY THE HYPE? Salads are extremely healthy, the fact that the bulk of salad is made from fresh, raw vegetables (and fruit) means you’re receiving the nutrients at their optimum condition. I’m not condoning a raw diet, but eating a lot of raw food is extremely beneficial to your health. AND I KNOW people think that people who think/eat like this are weird and obsessive. And there is a common assumption that salads lovers are tired and gaunt, but I always feel great, full of energy and I never get ill.

Salad can be an expensive habit, but I stress ‘CAN’. I live on a small budget but have salads almost everyday, I always have produce that is easily grown in Britain (onions, spinach, lettuce, carrots). But recently I went to a restaurant and they introduced me to the wonders of red cabbage.

Previously I didn’t like red cabbage, it has a taste doesn’t it? It’s a bit bitter, or something. But the salad in this place was SO good, I realised that if you give cabbage a good dressing to let it soften and take away its acidity, it can taste amazing. So here is a red cabbage, apple, rocket and carrot salad. Perfect for lunch. The apple takes away the harshness of the cabbage, and the sweet carrot also counteracts this. I added the rocket to add a bit of greenage, but it’s not necessary, maybe add some lettuce, spinach, or just cut down the ingredients to cabbage, apple and carrot salad. Top with a dressing, I’ve chosen a red wine vinegar one, and it’s done! Red cabbage is very filling, something to do with its genetic make-up means it takes longer to digest, and thus it’s a low fat way to  keep you feeling fuller for longer.

AND IT’S SO CHEAP.

Ingredients- Serves 1 (the plate in this picture is MASSIVE) 

For the salad

-150 g red cabbage

-1 small braeburn apple.

-1 carrot, peeled

-1 handful of rocket

For the dressing

-3 tbsp of  red wine or balsamic vinegar

-1 tbsp of olive oil

-1/4 tsp salt

-2 tsp of lemon juice

Method

-For the salad, chop the cabbage into ribbons, and with the carrot use the peeler to create ribbons as well.  Chop the apple to whatever formation you wish. Mix in a bowl with the rocket.

-Mix together all the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad.

-Leave to sit for about 5-10 minutes so the cabbage has time to soften up.

-Eat. This would be great as a make ahead lunch however the apple will turn brown, but that doesn’t mean the salad will be ruined. In fact,   the flavours of the dressing will have a longer time to be absorbed by the cabbage.

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian

House to be Healthy: Simple Chicken Pie

 

Obvs I didn’t eat this. But if it didn’t have the chicken in, I think it would be tasty, because you don’t need meat to make things tasty. Contrary to popular belief. If you want to make this vegetarian, avoid substitute meats, they provide little nutritionally. Add mushrooms, green beans or mini sweet corn. Mushrooms are cheapest.

Pie can be easy at its basic level, i.e bought pastry and bought chicken in white sauce. But they add lots of artificial stuff and lots of salt which is not part of this series. Pie can also HEALTHY, if it’s eaten in moderation and the if only the topping is with pastry. WHY?

  • Pastry is made flour, butter and water. Flour is a good source of carbohydrates, enjoy in moderation and have wholemeal to make it more beneficial to your diet. Butter is not great, but I think we need to get over the initial fear of unhealthy foods. PLEASE REMEMBER If you have a little in moderation, what harm can it do?
  • Chicken is protein, blah blah blah.
  • The entire recipe is filling, nourishing and comforting. Add lots of vegetables to get your quota

Ingredients

-Shop bought pastry OR

-250g flour

-125g cold butter diced

-1 tsp salt

-45 ml water

Filling

2 chicken breasts, roasted for an hour in the oven with lemon and herbs. OR pre-cooked shredded chicken.

-1 onion

-1 carrot

-some peas and whatever vegetables you want

-25g butter

-1tbsp of flour

-1 pint of milk

-1 tsp mustrad and some white wine (optional)

Method

-For handmade pastry:

  • EITHER Put flour, salt and butter in a food processor and process until it is rubble-like. Bit by bit add the water down the feeding tube whilst processing. Stop processing when one dough ball has formed. Wrap in cling film and in leave in the fridge for 45 mins.
  • OR crumble the butter and salt into the flour until it is rubble-like. Add the water slowly, mixing the ingredients with your hands until all the mixture is combined and a dough ball can be formed. Wrap in cling film and in leave in the fridge for 45 mins.

-Pre heat oven to gas mark 6, 200 c. For the filling. In a sauce pan, fry the onions, carrots and mushrooms if using in some olive oil and seasoning, add a splash of water, cover and leave to fry, stirring once in a while.

-Meanwhile, melt the butter in  a sauce pan, once that has melted add the flour and mix well. When that begins to bubble, add the milk bit by bit, STIRRING CONTINUOUSLY, waiting until the flour has completely dissolved. Keep on stirring and bring the mixture to the boil, keep on stirring until the mixture is really thick and creamy. You might need to add a bit more flour, if so remember to keep on stirring. Add the mustard and wine. This is called white sauce.

-Add this white sauce to your onions and carrots with the chicken. Add the peas, and cover the pan on leave on a low heat.

-Take the pastry out of the fridge and unwrap it, reserving the cling film. Dust a surface with flour and put the dough ball on it. Get your cling film and place on top of your pastry and begin to roll out the  covered pastry until it covers the medium sized dish you are  using. The rolled pastry should be about 5mm-1cm thick.

-Take your filling and pour into your baking dish. Cover with the pastry, making sure it is sealed at the sides. With a knife, make two slices on the top of the pie, to let air out.

-Brush with milk, and cook in the oven for an hour or until brown. An hour minimum, so if it’s browning before an hour, turn the oven down.

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Filed under Bread, Pastries and Pizza, How to be Healthy, Meat

How to be Healthy: Tofu Nuggets

I honestly hate snow. Look at it, being all present and debilitating. How can anyone do anything in this sort of weather? Luckily this melted within a couple of days. Global warming-1 Snow-0.

I have never really eaten tofu by myself before. I mean, I have tried others’, but I personally had never tried to cook it because I found it flavourless. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it means it can absorb all the flavours of other things, hence it is really effective in a curry or stir-fry. I got the idea for these tofu nuggets from the one and only OhSheGlows (link will open in new window). Angela has had the same experience with tofu as me, and she highly recommended these.

They did remind me a lot of chicken nuggets, my former favourite food, but eating them just didn’t feel that great. Their exterior was delicious, really delicious, but the tofu still maintained that flavourless-ness. Hmmmm. My next recipe with tofu will be roasted tofu, because I love everything roasted, and I think it will help to allow me to examine tofu’s real taste and texture.

Nonetheless, this recipe was great and I will definitely be making it again. Tofu is extremely beneficial to your health, and thus the reason why I put it in my shopping basket this week. If you’re looking for a healthy, meatless sandwich filler-choose this. If you’re looking for a chicken nugget replacement-choose this. If you’re looking for a quick, salad topper-choose this. But if you’re looking for a recipe that will enhance the taste of tofu, don’t pick this. I feel the flavours of the tofu were hidden.

Ingredients-serves 2

-200g tofu- wrap the tofu in a clean kitchen cloth, and place a couple of heavy objects (i.e plates) on top, leave for about 10-15 minutes.

-250ml of milk (soya milk etc if wanting to be vegan)

-50ml of white wine vinegar (optional)

-1/2 cup of breadcrumbs

-1/3 cup of polenta/cornmeal

-1 tsp of each: ground cumin, paprika, dried herbs, coriander and salt.

Method

-Pre-heat oven to 180 c. Lay greaseproof paper on a baking tray, or grease a baking tray.

-Whilst the tofu is soaking, in a bowl mix together the milk and vinegar.

-In another bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients (bar the tofu, obviously).

-Once the tofu has soaked, cut into strips just under 1cm thick.

-With one hand, dip a tofu strip in the milk and then into the crumb mixture. With the other hand, sprinkle a bit more of the crumb mixture on the tofu making sure the entire strip is covered and then place on the greaseproof paper.

-Continue with this with the remaining strips. You might run out of crumb mixture, if so make some more. Common sense really!

-Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the exterior has browned. Enjoy with some home-made fries or on top of a salad!

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: Mexican Roast Bean Salad

I recently read a blog, I wont name which one, the writer of which is a holistic nutritionist. People read her blog, and use her for advice. She recently made a series on  healing her digestion, which resolved to having a juice-fast for 3 days before she undertook her ‘repair’. Basically, drinking smoothies for three days. It doesn’t take a nutritionist to tell you that this is crap. It will leaving you clutching your stomach in hunger. I believe this writer has a lot of issues with her digestion, and she explains the various restrictions she has tried (low-carb, or low-fat), and they didn’t work. She in turn is seeking various therapies to help her.

I am not denying digestive problems. at. all. But I think the human mind these days reads too much into their body. People love to have problems, I think they tend to exaggerate discomfort. The first instruction I would give anyone is to relax. Don’t limit, don’t try fads, just use your common sense. It’s very easy me saying this, I do a lot of sport and I don’t have issues involving self-control. I’m slightly underweight, but it works for me. The doctor said so. Isn’t the best thing that I feel sprightly and happy? The perfect way of being healthy is tricking. Trick the body into thinking its indulging. You will therefore have a delicious meal, which is good for you.

This roast bean salad is perfect, because it tastes as if you’re indulging in some Mexican, but’s it’s not indulgent at all. Me and my house mate have fallen into a state of routine in which we only eat roast vegetables. ‘It’s SO EASY, and it’s HEALTHY’. We roast everything, sweet potatoes are a must but I like to roast pulses, she likes to roast celery. ONE TIME (everyone loves an anecdote), I bought what I thought was romaine lettuce for 50p, bargain I thought. URM, well it was actually cabbage. I threw into the roasting tin, and believe it or not roast cabbage is delicious.

Analysis of Mexican Roast Beans.

  • Olive oil is very high in protein, and is essential in muscle growth and repair.
  • Beans are really high in fibre, fibre is great for many things, helping digestion and keeping you full are some of its benefits.
  • Tomatoes are a super-food, extremely high in vitamin C and they’re healthier when cooked.

Ingredients-Serves A LOT

1 x 400g tin of black beans

-1x 400g tin of kidney beans

-1 x 200g tin of sweetcorn

-2 tsp of each: cumin, coriander leaf (if possible), ground coriander seed, Salt, paprika, chilli powder.

-3 tbsp olive oil.

-3 tbsp tomatoe puree

Method

-Preheat oven to gas mark 7, or 200 c (if my conversions are correct).

Drain all the beans and rinse well.

-In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together.

-Place in a roasting dish and place in the oven for about an hour. Remember to stir about with a spoon after half an hour.  It’s ready when the beans have started to split.

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Mexican, Pulses, Store Cupboard, Vegan, Vegetarian