Category Archives: Pulses

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.

Ingredients

-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

Method

-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: 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

LOOK WHAT I MADE

Making bread is one of my weaknesses, but so is falafel. I’m sure I am not the only one who attempts falafel, only for it to fall into nothingness in the frying pan. I’ve seen many falafel recipes in my time which call for egg as a binding ingredient, which could help me avoid this problem. I SAY NO EFFING WAY. Traditional falafel recipes do not use egg. And JESSICA don’t use egg. I will avoid egg at all opportunities. No to egg.

If any of you know Paris, you know that Le Marais is home to THE BEST falafel stores in the world. This is evidently an exaggeration on my part because I have ventured little outside France and Italy, however judging by the extremely long queues, you would think that these falafel stores are selling substances other than Mediterranean snacks….

Anyway, it’s therefore always been a shame that I love falafel and have tasted some of the best falafel that can be offered, yet I can’t (couldn’t) seem to make my own. Until I realised I was making a stupid error. I was ignoring flour and baking powder. You wouldn’t think they were so important for binding, well, they are.

To sum up, falafel is great and now I can make it and wont have to go to Paris or wherever in order to have it. Basically, I love falafel, what better food could you possibly have? I’m not even sure what makes it so good, it’s chickpeas…fried…

I was also extremely happy to omit a lot of fresh things from this recipe, which makes it easy on the wallet. Yay. However, you WILL need a food processor. Enjoy.

Ingredients

-1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained.

-1 onion, chopped roughly

-2 cloves of garlic

-1 tbsp of lemon juice

-2 tbsp of flour

-1 tsp of baking powder

-1 large handful of spinach (optional)

-2 tsp of dried flat leaf parsley

-2 tsp of chilli powder (I used one, cos my mum is a wimp)

-2 tsp dried coriander

-2 tsp ground cumin

-1 tsp salt

-5-6 tbsp olive or sunflower oil (I used a mix).

Method

-Process the chickpeas until broken apart, but do not process for too long.

-Add the remaining ingredients and continue to process until the mixture comes together to resemble mashed potato almost. You will need to stop the processor from time to time in order to move the ingredients about in the container. Do not over-process, it still needs to be slightly chunky. 

-Take a teaspoon amount of the mixture, and then using your hands roll into balls. Place on a plate ready to fry, you will probably need to do it in batches.

-In a large frying pan, ideally a wok-like one, heat up the oil.

-Add about four to five balls to the oil, ideally the oil should come halfway up a ball.

-Leave the balls to cook for about 3 minutes or until dark brown, and then turn the balls over. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and then drain on kitchen towel.

-Do not overcrowd the frying pan! Enjoy warm, with hummus, salad, pitta or ANYTHING, FALAFEL GOES GREAT WITH ANYTHING!

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Filed under Mediterranean, Pulses, Quick, Snacks and Starters, 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

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.
  • BACKS AND EVERYTHING RELATED TO SPINE PROBLEMS SUCK SO MUCH. 
  • 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

-paprika

-vegetable bouillon(optional)

-salt and pepper

Method

-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.

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

Best Basic Spaghetti Sauce

Eeek, so I have just done the first of two races after having a mild injury. I have been wearing those great heated back patches, oh they are SO GOOD. The week before the race had been the longest of my life, I woke up every morning preying that the first step I took wont leave this weird rushing sensation in my foot. The foot injury led a distinct tightness in my lower back, which I got loosened by the sports masseuse, and it felt amazing. The race was SO fun. I went to Edinburgh with my cross country club and we had such a laugh, the course was extremely muddy. I took it slightly easier for fear of hurting my foot, that was hard cos I just wanted to pelt myself down the hills, but had to hold back to make sure I didn’t put too much force up on my foot. I’ve got my first 10k on Sunday, it’s a shame cos I don’t think I’ll do the best time cos my training’s been crap and I expect my foot might still be twinging, but oh well.

Anyway, the reason for having this pasta recipe is because I always have pasta before a race. I’m not a fan of pasta, and it may be the inner dietress in me, or maybe it’s my aversion to boring foodstuff, but hey IT HAS TO BE DONE.

In order for me to enjoy eating this, I have to make it healthy. It has to be really full of flavour and anti-oxidants, and the pasta has to be wholegrain obviously. This meal is also good cos it’s easy. You can make the sauce in the time that your pasta is cooking, but to be honest the longer you leave it cooking the nice more time the flavours have to mature.

Ingredients-4 servings of pasta sauce

-Olive oil

-1 white onion, peeled and chopped

-1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped

-1 carrot, peel and chopped

-1 courgette grated

-1 tin of black eyed beans drained

-2tsp salt, herbs and spices

-3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

-1 tin chopped tomatoes

Method

Heat the oil in saucepan, and added the carrot, onion and garlic. Add salt to stop the onions from sticking to the surface and cook on a medium heat until the onions are soft, stirring from time to time.

-Once soft, add the remaining ingredients and leave to cook for about half an hour. Stirring often, make sure it doesn’t boil too much.

-Serve with pasta, preferably wholegrain. EASY.

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Filed under Pulses, Quick, Rice and Pasta, Store Cupboard, Vegan, Vegetarian

Butternut Squash part 3

Mmmm, look at that cheesy, stuffed goodness. Salty, but with no added salt. Sweet but not too sweet. Filling, but not sickening. My sister called it a bad boy, but with only a small spattering of calcium rich mozzarella, this is in no way bad for you. In a continuation of how to cook a butternut squash, I give you butternut squash-stuffed. I would advise not to make this just for one person, this could serve 4 MASSIVE portions each (me and my sis had a quarter each, guilt-free) , but could easily serve 6. The only drawback, was the time it took. But believe it, never has a wait been so worth it.

Ingredients

-1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthways and deseeded.

-4 tbsp oil

-2 carrots, peeled and grated.

-1 tin of lentils, drained and rinsed.

-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

-1.5 tbsp of tomato purée.

-3 tsp basil, or a handful of the fresh stuffed finely chopped.

-anchovies (optional)

-mozzarella, however much you like. About 1 200g ball is PLENTY.

-some cherry tomatoes

Method

-Preheat oven to gas mark 8/230-240 c. and place butternut squash halves face down a roasting dish, but before, cover the exposed flesh with 2 tbsp olive oil, and then once turned over in the dish drizzle the rest of the oil on the skin. Prod the skin with a fork, I feel this lets the butternut squash cook better all the way through. This will need to cook for about 1-1/2 hours.

-Whilst it’s roasting, mix all the ingredients except the cheese and anchovies in a bowl.

-The butternut squash is ready when the skin has brown, and when you poke a fork through the skin, it feels soft.

-Now, being careful, turn the halves upside and scoop out the flesh and mix with your lentil-carrot mixture. Once the mixture is well combined, divide back out evenly between the emptied out butternut squash halves.

-Lower oven to gas mark 6-7/210-220 c., and place these in the oven for 10 minutes. Take out again top with the anchovies and chopped mozzarella. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the mozzarella has browned.


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Filed under Butternut Squash, Cheese, Fish, Pulses, Vegetarian