janet @ the taste space

Posts Tagged ‘cardamom’

Red Lentil Dal with Zucchini

In Mains (Vegetarian) on November 27, 2012 at 5:40 AM

I was really tempted this weekend. My parents were over and my Dad surprised me with berries for dessert. He was equally surprised when I shared that I wasn’t eating fruit right now. Have no fear, this will likely be temporary.. unless I enjoy it too much. Think all desserts have to be sweetened? Not true! Gabby shared these delicious carob almond butter cups with me and you would never know they were sweetener-free.

Savoury Indian dishes have fuelled me during my sweetener-free challenge. While I have cooked up quite a few Indian dishes, I still feel like a novice to Indian cooking. Pangal, aviyal, dhokla, they are still foreign to me.  I probably don’t even pronounce them properly. Leafing through 660 Curries and 1000 Indian Recipes, I know there are tons of curries and likely 1000s more beyond the pages of these cookbooks.

Thankfully I don’t think I will ever tire of the holy vegan trinity of beans+grains+greens. I eat it every day. These are staples throughout the world. I still have my favourite repeater curries, but like to mix things up with seasonal produce.

Here, this simple savoury red lentil and zucchini curry from World Vegetarian reminds me of Nepalese Dal Bhat and the Split Pea Dal with Ginger and Lime combined with hefty chunks of zucchini. Jaffrey says this dish is typically made with green bottle gourd, instead of zucchini, but the latter is easier to find.

I am a sucker for creamy red lentils and while it didn’t have the zip that dal bhat delivers, it was a great curry. I find that most curries are a bit too watery for my liking, especially if eaten fresh. So, I have suggested starting with less water. You can always add more to thin it out, but it is kind of a pain to boil that extra water away. It will thicken a bit as leftovers as well. I also ended up using less oil, salt and chili and adding more lime.  Definitely season to taste, as I probably could have added more heat with the chile flakes.

Red Lentil Dal with Zucchini

This is my submission to Dom for this month’s Random Recipe (lucky number 25!), to this month’s Pantry Party and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

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Ethiopian Lentils in Berbere Sauce (Yemiser W’et) (& Vegan Eats World review)

In Book Review, Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on October 30, 2012 at 6:47 AM

Last year, I teased you. I told you about all these delicious meals I was making but not sharing the recipes.

Russian Sauerkraut Soup (Shchi) – This was a favourite recipe and Isa has already shared the recipe here (I loved the book’s smokey version with liquid smoke, coriander seitan, sliced cabbage along with I also added some white beans)

Sesame Wow Greens, a spin on oshitashi – so simple, yet a delicious way to eat spinach. I should try it with chard and kale, too.

Luscious White Bean and Celery Root Puree – this was how I got hooked onto celeriac!

Rice Paper Rolls with Kale and Asian Pear with a Peanut Coconut Sauce – delicious in a zucchini wrap

Fastlane Cabbage Kimchi – I preferred the ginger version instead of the spicy version (did you know that kimchi normally has fish sauce or shrimp in it?)

White Bean Farro Soup with Chickpea Parmigiano – the topping is what made this dish special

All of the recipes were from Terry Hope Romero’s new book, Vegan Eats World which is available today! And those were only a few of the recipes, since I tested over 30.  This is a vegan cookbook geared at international cuisine, from Colombian Coconut Lentil Rice to Moroccan Vegetable Filo Pie (Bisteeya) and (Belgian) Beer Bathed Seitan Stew with Oven Frites (the latter were two of my recipe requests!). Terry tackled fun recipes from around the globe. She uses authentic ingredients while still putting her own spin to the dish.

One of the drawbacks of this cookbook is that she uses authentic ingredients. My cupboard explosion is partially due to Terry’s influence when I bought frozen pandan, Korean pepper flakes, canned jackfruit, freekeh and annatto seeds, among others. I can credit her with discovering many new favourite ingredients, too, including star anise, celeriac and freekeh.

As a recipe tester, I received my cookbook last week. It was captivating to read through the cookbook and discover even more recipes I want to try. There were so many recipes I couldn’t test them all.

Recipes in her book range from fancy to easy weeknight meals. Some are more involved (she has recipes for Afghan Pumpkin Ravioli with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Garlic Yogurt Sauce) or incredibly easy (like Coconut [Black Eyed] Bean Curry (Lobia). The marker of a good cookbook, though, is having repeater recipes. I even photographed this one before when we made it with red lentils instead of green. Lover of all things curry, Rob has adopted this into his Repeater Recipes as a quick and simple meal both of us enjoy. We may have moved across town, from one Little Ethiopia to another, so we have easy access to injera. Terry also has a recipe for (Almost) Instant Injera, along with other dishes to make your own Ethiopian feast.

While I encourage you to pick up your own copy of Vegan Eats World, thankfully, Terry agreed to me sharing her recipe for Ethiopian Lentils in Berbere Sauce (Yemiser W’et) and Berbere Spice Blend. Enjoy!

Here are some other Ethiopian dishes you might enjoy:

Ethiopian Split Pea Puree (Kik Alicha)

Ethiopian Warm Cabbage and Green Beans

Fasoulia (Ethiopian Carrots and Green Beans Simmered in a Tomato Sauce)

Ethiopian Split Pea and Kabocha Squash Stew with Collards

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Haalo, and to this week’s Healthy Vegan Friday.

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Pumpkin Masala Chai (Indian-Spiced Pumpkin Tea)

In Drinks, Favourites on September 23, 2012 at 9:30 AM

I resisted.

I know it is fall.

I unearthed my long pants to cycle to work last week. I now don full-fingered gloves as well as my cycling hat.

But, it isn’t fall until the winter squashes come out. And the apples.

I have been relishing in the end-of-summer produce for the past few weeks. Tomatoes. Green beans. Beets. I bought some squashes but have yet to cook with them. I also got some canned pumpkin and resisted the onslaught of all things pumpkin. Until now.

Maybe I can blame it on the equinox?

Now that I’ve started, I don’t think it will stop. Not only because I have to plow through the monster of a pumpkin can but because I have found a glorious way to enjoy pumpkin.

In my morning brew.

I love my tea and usually enjoy a nice cup in the morning. Technically, I enjoy tisanes because I prefer herbal-based blends. I like rooibos but have started to shun all things with black teas. My favourite tea remains a chai-based concoction and surprisingly, I have yet to create my own home-grown spice medley. No better time than to start today with this cup.

Savoury spices, including cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom mellow nicely with the pumpkin with the peppercorns and ginger offering a nice kick of spice. I used pumpkin butter (from Trader Joe’s) as my sweetener but I look forward to fiddling with this for a less sweetened version. In any case, this was so good I had to share the recipe immediately. 🙂

I am also excited to make this pumpkin chili with the leftover pumpkin puree! It was so good last year! 🙂

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Wellness, Vegan Potluck and Healthy Vegan Fridays.

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Snowpeas, Snap Peas and Fava Beans in a Tomato-Cardamom Sauce

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on June 18, 2012 at 5:56 AM

I have yet to meet a bean I do not like.

Except for coffee beans…. but they don’t count. I don’t usually drink my beans. (they are also not technically a legume)

For a while, though, I thought I didn’t like fava beans (also known as broad beans).

For some, they herald the excitement of spring produce, amidst the stress of shelling and shucking the fresh beans.  When I found frozen fava beans, I thought I had hit jackpot: someone had done the shelling and shucking for me.

Last year, I made pomegranate-braised cabbage and fava beans but couldn’t get myself around the fava beans. I just didn’t like them.

The beans have been in my freezer since then. Untouched.

However, when I saw Ottolenghi had a recipe for Mixed Beans with Many Spices and Lovage which included fava beans, I decided it was worth checking them out again. Just in case I would like them this time. I also have to keep emptying my freezer. It also called for lovage, a new-to-me herb which my grandmother gifted me from her garden. It looked like a flavourful vegetable curry with an assortment of spring beans. His recipe combined my favourite unshelled beans (snow peas and snap peas) with fava beans smothered in a tomato-cardamom-lovage sauce.

The dish was great. It was my first time using lovage which has that Maggi taste, supposedly similar to celery. The flavours in the tomato sauce were a great spin off of a tomato curry and the beans were nicely cooked. Well, the snap peas and snow peas were nice. The fava beans, well, I still didn’t appreciate.

But then, it dawned on me. There was a creamy bean inside the fava shell.  My frozen beans hadn’t been shelled yet! I then dived back into my dish, scooping out all the fava beans and slipped off their shells.

I tasted. Lovely beans. Now I understood how people could enjoy fava beans… they are just a tad labour-intensive!

Oh, what I do for the most pleasing bean…. 😉

This is my submission to this month‘s Simple and in SeasonCookbooks Sundays and to this week’s Weekend Wellness.

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Chocolate Mint Black Bean Cookies and Mexican Chocolate Spiced Black Bean Cookies with Cherries

In Desserts, Favourites on December 13, 2011 at 6:51 AM

Now for the cookies you’ve been waiting patiently for

What’s your definition of a healthy dessert? Of a healthy cookie? Two years ago, I thought my (oh so gorgeous) apple banana cake was healthy because it had no oil or butter. Except, as a sweetener, it had sugar and honey in addition to the bananas. It used white flour.

Preferring whole unprocessed foods, I have currently shunned refined flours and sugars. It is not that I don’t enjoy my sweets. I do. In moderation. I just want to have some nutrients packaged with it, too. A healthier option. I simply adore raw desserts, but often they are nut-based or sport a heavy dose of agave or coconut oil/butter.

You can imagine how giddy I was when I first saw this recipe for a chocolate cookie made with black beans without any grains or nuts. No refined sugars, either. The giddiness was mostly because these cookies were made with BLACK BEANS! Sarah had a chocolate chili cherry recipe but I decided to hedge my bets and split the dough for two versions: Mint Chocolate and a Mexican Chocolate Spiced version with Dried Cherries, modeled after my Spiced Brownies.

Trust me, no one will know these cookies are filled with beans. It is really unfair to quiz your guests about the secret ingredient because they taste like delicious cookies, beans or no beans. These are not fudgy cookies, but more dense than the airy banana-based cookies. A moist, fluffy cookie filled with chocolate. The chocolate mint version marries the quintessential holiday favourite flavours. You can’t go wrong with peppermint and chocolate.

For round two, the Mayan-Spiced cookies have a whiff of savoury spices including cinnamon, cardamom and smoked paprika with a bit of a zip from the chili flakes. I might try increasing the spices next round because they weren’t too dominant. The dried cherries offered a nice contrast to the dark chocolate.

What will round 3 entail? You tell me! I will have to whip up another batch if I want eat them over the holidays. 😉 Or maybe I will venture to finally try other bean-based desserts.

Other bean-based vegan desserts:

Black Bean Brownies from Patty Cake
Low Fat Black Bean Brownies from Happy Herbivore
Chocolate Chickpea Blondies from Delicious Vitality
Marathon Cookies from 101 Cookbooks
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bean Balls from Purple Bird Blog
Butter Bean Cookies from Happy Herbivore
Black Bean Fudge from Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Chocolate Bean Butter from Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Faux Date Squares from Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Dessert Hummus from Never (home) Maker
Black Bean Cookie Dough Hummus from What Runs Lori

This is being submitted to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, to this week’s Healthy Dessert Potluck Party, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend and to this month’s Cookie Blog Hop.
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Ginger Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

In Desserts on December 12, 2011 at 6:05 AM


Enough with the cruciferous veggies, eh? It is December and I know what’s on your mind: COOKIES!

Trust me, I have a lot more recipes to share featuring cruciferous vegetables but I’ll take a detour this week to entice you to create healthy cookies this holiday season. The veggies shall return. Post-Christmas, most likely, when everyone starts their resolution to eat more healthy.

Healthy cookies are usually a misnomer, but I think Jenné hit the nail on the head when she called these “The World’s Healthiest Cookies“.

When you say healthy cookies, it could be synonymous with an unpleasant sub-par dessert. This is not the case. However, these are not your fudgy, wudgy, dense cookies, either.  They reminded me a lot of the Dark Chocolate Banana Coconut Almond Cookies I’ve made before. Both are a light and fluffy cookie, more cake-like than cookie-like.

While I enjoy chocolate, coconut and almonds, I had a hankering for oatmeal raisin cookies recently. My mom nearly flipped when she heard I was making cookies. But they are healthy! These cookies were nice because you’d get bursts of ginger contrasting with the sweet dates and raisins. Plus, you get all the nutrients from bananas, flax seeds, chopped walnuts and rolled oats with limited oil. Definitely not your traditionally dense oatmeal-raisin cookie, but very addictive, nonetheless.

This is my submission to this month’s Cookie Blog Hop and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend.

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Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on October 26, 2011 at 5:56 AM

Returning from vacation the day before you return to work is not a good idea. Jet-lag was one reason it took me so long to get back into the groove after returning from Iceland.

Thankfully, I was forward-thinking and froze a bunch of meals before we left. I had dal bhat waiting for me upon my return as well as this delicious Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew from Susan at Fat Free Vegan.

Just like dal bhat, this was a savoury, comforting stew. Filled with warming spices like nutmeg, smoked paprika, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin and cardamom, you have a winning combination with silky yellow split peas and chunks of seitan in a pomegranate-infused sauce. I modified it only slightly by using liquid smoke and substituting Aleppo chili flakes for the larger chilies.

I have made seitan, or wheat meat, once before as chorizo sausages. This recipe is neat because you make a batch of seitan specifically for this recipe. The results are chewy nuggets admixed within the cooked eggplant and split peas. A nice play of textures with a definite protein boost.

This was a delicious stew to return home to, especially since it was so cold upon our return. Curl up with a bowl of stew any day you need some a virtual warm hug from a bowl.


This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to E.A.T. World for Iraq and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend.

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Cauliflower, Spinach and Chickpea Balti

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on August 30, 2011 at 5:50 AM


Curries are actually really varied. Considering curry simply means something has been simmered in a sauce with spices/herbs, it can encompass many different kinds of meals. They are a heterogeneous bunch and hail from India and Nepal to Thailand to Great Britain, Japan and even Trinidad and Guyana. They can be quite different and for those who shun at the sight of curry on a menu or in a recipe (yes, count me in on that), I wanted to highlight beginner-friendly curries this week. Curries for those who do not like curries. Like me. If these are my favourite curries so far, then you can be assured that you will love them, too.

While I am still averse to eating curries in restaurants, I had a favourite Indian restaurant in my pre-vegan days. It was at Amaya that I fell in love with flavourful Indian cooking. Instead of over the top earthy and spicy dishes, I could taste layers of flavour. I still want to know how to recreate their butter chicken at home (without resorting to chicken, cream and butter, obviously!), but have yet to crack that recipe.

I know there are others like me that quiver when they hear the word curry, not knowing what it will taste like. Will it be hot or spicy? Will it be earthy? Sweet? Creamy? Each component makes a difference and can make me wax from loving a dish to wane and hating it altogether. Remember the 11-Spiced Lentil Salad? You essentially make your own curry powder with all the spices, but had Sarah called it Curried Lentil Salad, I never would have made it. But I am so glad I did, since the flavours were all right up my alley.

For those like me, or for anyone who wants to make a delicious flavourful curry, try this one: vegetable balti. Named after a cooking vessel or the Baltistan area in Pakistan, its origins are debated, hailing from Birmingham in Britain but possibly originally created in Pakistan.  Baltis can incorporate lamb or chicken, but in this case, I feature it with tomatoes, cauliflower and spinach.

Regardless, it is the sauce that counts. I hesitate to call it a curry sauce, because honestly it is a deliciously spiced tomato slurry that is the star of the show. With my adapted recipe below, it is more sweet and savoury than spicy but there is a backdrop of spice. Dial up the heat to your taste, but I loved it exactly as written. The dash of garam masala added after cooking was a neat twist.  The savoury tomato curry sauce smothers chickpeas, chopped tomatoes, crisp cauliflower and loads of spinach. You could use any vegetables you prefer, including green beans, eggplant, zucchini or sweet potatoes. Balti curries tend to be a bit more soupy because they are supposed to be eaten with bread like naan, instead of rice.

Furthermore, I love how healthy the recipe is with limited oil and loaded to the brim with vegetables. So many tomatoes and onions, it is nuts! I also didn’t think all my spinach would fit into my skillet, but then the magic of wilting occurred. 😉

This recipe actually took a while to make. The sauce alone needed 30 minutes to simmer, but if you make it on a separate day, then yes, this dish could come together in under half an hour. You could even cheat and buy premade balti sauce, in a pinch.  In fact, double or triple the curry sauce so that you can freeze it and whip up this curry quickly for a weekday meal. I wish I would have done that the first time as I only had a smidgen leftover. 🙂


This is my submission to My Kitchen, My World for Britain, to E.A.T. World for Britain, to this month’s Simple and in Season, and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekends.

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Dal Bhat (Nepalese Mountain Lentil Curry)

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on August 29, 2011 at 5:48 AM


My friend will be hiking up to the Mount Everest base camp in a few weeks. Last month, Rob and I joined her for a morning weekend hike starting at Hilton Falls. Rob picked out a nice trail. Just a short 8km hike, he told us. It will probably take 2 hours.

I love hiking, but let’s just say that I was woefully unprepared for this hike.

Never go unprepared, let’s just put it at that…

However, this wasn’t an 8km 2 hour hike.

It turned out to be a rocky 13km hike that took 4.5 hours!

I was hungry. And thirsty. And sore.. and tired, because I hadn’t slept well the night before, and by the end, cranky beyond belief. And positively pooped when we finished.  Good thing I am not hiking up Mount Everest just yet! Although hopefully I am ready for my upcoming hikes in Iceland {happy dance!}

Regardless, the scenery was nice, the route challenging and more importantly, we were able to chat about my friend’s impending trip.

Of course, we also talked about food. She’ll be eating a lot of dal bhat, which is Nepal’s traditional dish with lentils and rice.  She has yet to take us up on our offer to preview Nepalese cuisine, but after remembering what a nice, soothing dish it was, I asked Rob to make it when I was feeling unwell.


Rob did a double-take as well. Me? Asking for a curry when feeling sick? I wanted something soothing, comforting and porridge-like, akin to my quinoa and red lentil kitchari. I wanted something on the blander side but still with some flavour. Curries do not have to have lots of pepper (especially if you make them yourself), which is why dal bhat definitely hit the spot, and kicking off my week of beginner curries. Curries for people who don’t like curry.

This recipe was adapted from Mangoes and Curry Leaves, where we swapped in red lentils, decreased the water and fiddled with the chili peppers. Otherwise, the warming spices including coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom create a soothing palate. Quick cooking red lentils make this a nice meal that can easily be added to your meal rotation. Or if you are hiking up Mount Everest, a delicious meal to sustain you up the mountainous climb. As with all curries, the leftovers are even more wonderful as the flavours meld further and thicken up with the rice.


This is my submission to E.A.T. World for Nepal, to this week’s Potluck Party for Best Dish and to Ricki’s Summer Wellness Weekends.

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11-Spice Lentil Salad with Capers and Currants

In Favourites, Salads on August 8, 2011 at 6:41 AM

What will it take to get you to make a recipe?

For me, I doddle between what I have already in my fridge, to what is on sale  at the grocery store, to really wanting to make a specific dish. I waver between recipes with a lot of positive reviews, or from my favourite cookbooks and blogs, to more unique recipes with my favourite ingredients. But mostly, it is dictated by what needs to be used up in the fridge. This is why I have a hard time making recipes that are purely from pantry staples (except after returning from vacation and being welcomed by an empty fridge).

I bookmarked The Best Lentil Salad, Ever at My New Roots last year. With a name like that, from a blog that I admire, how could I not want to make it? I adore lentils, especially French du Puy lentils in salads. Then Sarah posted it a second time this spring for her stint at Martha Stewart, and her friend commented:

This salad was the reason that I became friends with Sarah way back in Nutrition School. It is so delicious and easy to make. Don’t get intimidated by the amount of ingredients. This one is a keeper (just like Sarah!)

How cute is that?

Suffice it to say, it has been on my to-do list for a while and I was just waiting for the right opportunity.

It still took me a few months to break it out, but I made it for a recent potluck I hosted. Not that my fridge was bare, but the gathering came together a bit faster than my grocery shopping allowed. Perfect timing. Experimentation with friends.

I had witnesses. We unanimously agreed this was a wonderful lentil salad! Sweet, savoury, and salty, deep and complex, warming yet refreshing… and quite addictive! I stuck with the base of the recipe, tinkering only minorly with the spices (decreased the pepper and chili flakes), and thought the capers and currants were fabulous. The ingredient list is long, with 11 different spices, but they really blend harmoniously. To be honest, I was a bit worried when I first tasted the salad, but it was much better after an overnight marinade. If you can find the French du Puy lentils, they are incredible in stand alone lentil salads such as this. But if you cannot find the French variety, do not let that impede you from making the salad – green lentils would work, too. Furthermore, in case this becomes a staple recipe in your kitchen, feel free to experiment with your favourite dried fruit, vegetables, sprouts, nuts and seeds. Personally, I loved it as is, without too much distraction, and loved editions included some chopped apple and mixed greens too.

The Best Lentil Salad, Ever. For Sure. Make. This. Now.

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month‘s Bookmarked Recipes, and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Preeti.

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Chocolate Avocado Mousse

In Desserts on July 29, 2011 at 6:49 AM

You wouldn’t think a falling bicycle could be so dangerous.

If I was riding it, sure. But not a bicycle falling down next to me!

This time, I wasn’t even riding my bicycle and I was injured.

I was standing next to my bicycle, as it was falling, and the front chainring (or chainwheel or spikey teeth where my gears change) decided to take a piece out of me. A few pieces. A few deep chunks of me. I saw my subcutaneous fat before I started to bleed, and knew it was bad news. In the next instant, blood was pooling down to my sock. I declined an offer for a napkin to wipe the blood off and softly said, “I just need to get to work.”  The nice stranger probably thought I was nuts. Of course, with an injury like that, it only makes sense to wish you were at work if you worked at a hospital!  I hopped on my bike and rode off.  I eventually found my way to the emergency department where I was cleaned up and stitched back together (thank you year 2 medical student).

***disclaimer, possibly gory photo of my leg… Personally, I don’t think it looks too bad, but it is definitely not as appetizing as my mousse!**********

My supervisor remarked that after enduring the injury, freezing and stitching, I deserved a treat. He suggested ice cream. Interesting idea, I thought. Instead of ice cream, I plotted and schemed. I had some avocados at home that I had forgotten to add to some tacos, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. A quick, decadent treat.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse.

Definitely not your typical mousse, it is a light chocolate pudding with a hint of spice. Not airy as you would expect in a mousse. If you would like more of a pudding, don’t add any water but it was good both ways. I adapted Gena’s chocomole, to include a bit of lemon juice, a dash of cinnamon and cardamom and swapped agave nectar for the dates. Next time, I may omit the water completely, and try adding some almond or hazelnut butter for added richness and a more pudding-like consistency. For something more airy, I may try this cashew-based recipe instead.

Thank goodness I have another avocado!

But I won’t wait for a pity-party for my next chocolate fix.

No worries about me, though, because my leg is doing fine, as am I. In fact, the worst thing that has happened is that I am now wearing skirts and dresses (pants irritate my stitches). Becoming quite feminine with my masculine injury, eh?


This is my submission to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

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Mango Pistachio Steel Cut Oatmeal (aka Mango Shrikhand Oatmeal)

In Breakfasts on May 21, 2011 at 6:35 AM

Alphonso mango season has arrived.

Last year, Rob and I devoured the Indian Alphonsos as soon as they arrived in Little India. Succulent, sweet, smooth and sweating with juice (sap? cider? to go with my alliterations..), this is one of the best mangoes out there (although, no, I have yet to try Pakistani or Filipino mangoes). Ataulfos are my second favourite.

Rob jumped at the chance to get a crate of mangoes last weekend and shared his bounty with me.  I mean, you could easily just eat the Alphonso plain, in all its glory, but I recounted all my favourite mango recipes from last year: Thai Sticky Rice with Mango, Mango Shrikhand and Coconut Rice Pudding with a Mango Puree.  I was brought to the tropics just thinking about it.

Mango Shrikhand, man that was good. A mango and cardamom-infused yogurt is topped with mango and pistachios. Sounds simple, but works so well.

However, I am not eating yogurt right now, so I figured I would try to merry those similar flavours together for breakfast. With my morning oats, no less. This was how Mango Pistachio Steel Cut Oatmeal (aka Mango Shrikhand Oatmeal) was born.

Unlike my previous Mango Oatmeal, spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, I did not cook the mangoes in the oatmeal. I consider the Alphonso mango too precious to let it disintegrate. If I had an Ataulfo, then I’d certainly throw that in the pot, though. 😉 I let the mango shine overtop the oatmeal, sprinkled with pistachios. With the creamy base with cardamom and saffron, this was a delicious breakfast.

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Indian-Spiced Superseed Porridge

In Breakfasts on March 27, 2011 at 8:06 AM


Amaranth and quinoa are two seeds that were once considered sacred by the Aztecs and Incas. They were used in ceremonial rituals before their cultivation were forbidden by Spanish colonizers. Certainly these are powerful foods: armed with more calcium than milk and high in protein, fiber and other minerals, and feared by the Spanish. 😉

Then there are chia seeds, which I routinely add to my oatmeal and overnight oats, that are packed with healthy omega-3s and fiber.

I have been trying to incorporate more of these “high-yield” superfoods into my meals. What better time to start your day with a breakfast filled with these seeds. While eating quinoa for breakfast is not new to me, I was interested in combining all of these ancient Latin American seeds into a tasty breakfast.


Initially spotted in Radiant Health, Inner Wealth (also posted here), I modified Tess’ recipe to include chia seeds and therefore also changed the fluid volume.  With both currants and raisins, you don’t need to use much agave nectar (or maple syrup), so certainly add to taste. The Indian flavours of cinnamon and cardamom worked well with the sweetness from the agave and raisins.  The porridge had more substance, slightly more body from the pebbly grains which was a nice change from my smooth oatmeal.


This is my submission to Breakfast Club featuring whole grains, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Fridays and AWED featuring Indian cuisine.

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Indian Banana Halva

In Desserts on August 10, 2010 at 5:44 AM


Someone recently commented that I must be a good cook because my dishes always taste great. I replied that I have had great recipes to follow; I don’t really possess any particular culinary genious.  While I have a good cookbook selection at home (and from the library), I love scouring food blogs for inspiration because they usually come with personal anecdotes, tips, stories and comments from others who have tried the dish. It is quite an intereactive forum, where everyone learns from each other. I also know which foods I like, and which I don’t, which explains my fascination with certain ingredients (almonds, cranberries, red pepper, among others) and a complete lack of others in my cooking (celery, sometimes parsley, etc).

However, sometimes I try things beyond my comfort zone without knowing what it should taste like, nevermind whether I will like it.  A lot of Indian cuisine falls into this category as I am always wondering how spicy the dish will be. I figured I would try my hand at banana halva, an Indian dessert, as I knew I loved Turkish/Middle Eastern halva. They couldn’t have been more different! But I knew that as I glanced over recipes for both dishes. I just didn’t know what the Indian banana halva was supposed to taste like, either.

Usha at Veg Inspirations described hers as banana fudge. I was intrigued. Rose at Avocado & Bravado described them as a rich, sweet, sticky dessert.  It sounded lovely.

So I tackled banana halva, with a combination of their recipes.  I waited until I thought the bananas and sugar were golden-brown and then some.

My result were chewy, slightly sweet banana balls. But they still kind of tasted like the sum of their parts: overripe sweet banana. I don’t think it tasted like fudge. At least the kind I am familar with.

I think I’ll use my overripe bananas for other causes next time. But it was an interesting detour through Indian sweets.. if I even made it there. I am not sure! Did I mess it up?


This is my submission to Tried & Tasted this month hosted by me, featuring dishes at Veg Inspirations, and to Blog Bites #6, potluck-style, hosted by One Hot Stove.

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Homemade Almond Chocolate Lärabars

In Desserts on June 21, 2010 at 7:06 AM


Other than cooking/baking/eating, another one of my new passions is cycling. A year ago I was using my 19-year old mountain bike (it looks like this one on Craigslist) for commuting to work. A year later, after saving my money from a lack of bus passes, I purchased a snazzy road/hybrid and I have been flying ever since. A nice, light bike makes a complete difference and I went from enduring cycling to really enjoying it.

My newest cycling goal is a double imperial century ride between Ottawa and Cornwall in September with my family.  I have been slowly working my way towards the grueling 100 mile (162km) bike ride for each day. This weekend, I cycled between Burlington and Niagara Falls with a group of friends through the Toronto Bicycle Network. Our my  first day, I cycled 128km and almost cried when I arrived at the falls, glorious in all its splendour, complete with a rainbow, but mostly proud of my achievement.

One of the snacks I munched on through the day were homemade almond chocolate Lärabars. The ingredient list for Lärabars are surprisingly sparse (eg., dates, almonds and bananas) and quite a few recipes are online for many of the different Lärabars flavours (and here, too). In the end, I decided to go all out with Chocolate & Zucchini‘s gourmet chocolate Lärabars with almonds, date paste, cardamom, cinnamon, cocoa, and cacao nibs. They were delicious but a bit crumbly, especially once on the road all day. I think I needed to soften my date paste, which I will do next time. For a while I was confused with the flavours in the bar. It tasted kind of minty but I know I didn’t put any mint in it. I think it was the magic of cardamom. I approve, and will definitely try out other combinations of nuts, fried fruits and spices throughout my summer rides.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bike back from Niagara falls to Burlington, after I fell off my bike the subsequent morning. Thankfully I am doing well, took the train back to Toronto, bought a new helmet and will be riding off to work in a few minutes. 🙂


This is my submission to this month’s Sugar High Fridays, featuring bar desserts.

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