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My latest go to Breakfast. Rose Oats and Chia. With Apricot and Pistachios πŸ’š

So yes, my obsession with rose continues. Sorry but I’m not sorry. Rose water is my favourite little magic touch to everything at the minute. From breakfasts to smoothies to baked goods this just adds a subtle hint of flavour and a beautiful aroma to literally anything. You can find this in most Indian or middle eastern supermarkets too. It’s really inexpensive and just so versatile.

This breakfast has become my latest go to at the moment. I make it as an overnight oats kind of set up but I just love it gently heated the next morning too depending on how much time I have to play with. (You know every moment I can stay in bed is precious to me). So I pop it all on a jar and either hit the road with it or stay and get to savor it a little more. Either way it tastes great and is ridiculously easy to make. Also I just love the level of smugness I feel when I’m not even out of the shower and my breakfast is already ready.

I’ve played around with different fruit to top this. So far I love it with Apricots, or Peaches. I imagine Cherries and Strawberries are good options and intend on trying them next. I love pairing pistachios with rose but other nuts and seeds would work just fine here.

This recipe serves one. But as you can see it’s easily multiplied.

3/4 Cup Almond Milk

1 Tbs Chia seeds

1/3 Cup Oats

1 tsp Rose Water

1Tsp something sweet -honey maple etc.

Fruit to top

And Pistachios or other nuts or seeds.

I literally throw everything into a jar, secure the lid well and give a good shake. Then pop it into the fridge over night.

If I’m having this warm, I heat it over a low heat gently in a pan. If it gets a little thick feel free to splash a little more almond milk in.

Top as you like and serve πŸ’š

Dinner · Lunch

Comfort food ❀ Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Tagine❀

I’m sure by now you’re all aware of my love of all things spice related. And this new find is nothing new, but I must confess, I am absolutely in love in with a new blend of Ras el Hanout I’ve just discovered. This magic little Morrocan spice blend just transforms every day veggies into something exotic. It’s deep, spicy and floral notes just seem to sing. Everything from Paprika, Cumin, Chilli and Rose petals mix together in one phenomenal little tub. Trust me. This is a keeper.

Now I’ve used a little poetic license in calling it a Tagine, I haven’t cooked this dish in a traditional Tagine, (though I may need to try this) but the flavors and colors involved just remind me of exactly that, but don’t panic, your Dutch oven or a large saucepan will do just nicely for this convenient little cheat.

I can’t lie, tucking into bowls of this recipe just makes me smile. The colours along with the scent and spices just make me happy.

If you’re feeding a crowd (or just people who’s appetite matches my own).. I’d recommend a big side of cous cous or millet, scattered with spring onion parsley and pistachios and even a little splash of rose water if you’re feeling brave, they just seem to make an other wise plain side a little more exciting. Other wise heating up some beautiful Naan or flat breads to sit and dip and as you never comes in wrong either.

I hope you love this little dish as much as I do. It’s beautifully simple and soooo easy to make. The work is done for you with a good quality spice blend. I do love a good cheat like that..

Serves 3-4.

2 Large Sweet Poatoes

2 Red Peppers (or whatever Pepper colour you like)

1Tsp Oil (I used avocado)

3 Cups Water.

1 Tin Chickpeas.

3 Tbs Tomato Paste

Fresh Parsely

2-3 Tsp Ras el Hanout ( depending on how rich or spicy you would like the dish. You can always start with 2 and increase to taste)

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes, I like to make this dish a little chunky, so use about a 2cm dice. I do the same with the peppers. Heat a dutch oven or a larger saucepan and add a splash of oil. Add your veggies and give them a minute or two just to soften and add a little colour to the pepper.

Then carefully add the water, bring to a simmer and stir in tomato paste and Ras el Hanout and a pinch of salt. Give everything a mix.

Rinse and drain the chickpeas and pop them into the pan too. Leave this to gently simmer away for 20-30 minutes, until veggies are soft and the liquid has reduced and thickened slightly. Keep an eye on it to make sure nothing sticks.

In the mean time if you’re serving with cous cous or millet I’d suggest you prep that as well.

Once veggies are soft you’re ready to serve, top with fresh parsley for a last like splash of colour and freshness.

Hope you enjoy ❀

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Long weekends and light lunches πŸ’›Fully loaded Hummus πŸ’› Mediterranean style.

Excuse the whole plantbased diet / hummus cliche… But I do love hummus. And it’s many flavours, varieties and accompaniments. It’s just an easy little go to kind of meal or snack. It can be made as plain and simple as you like or really pack a punch . I love how more varieties of hummus are becoming main stream too. Being made with different beans and pulses. Not just your classic chick pea any more… Not that my love of chickpeas will ever wane mind, let’s just get that clear.

Love the new trend with dessert hummus too – (watch this space for a post in the next few weeks on dessert hummus three ways). For those of us with a sweet tooth I very much advise you trying these satisfying little numbers.

But this post is about making it into it’s own meal. Or at the least its own course. I love this idea and I play with lots of different mixes of veggies too, not just a Mediterranean mix. But I have to say this one seems to be the one I keep pulling back too. I also love hummus as a side to chunky chips (fries). You all know my affinity with anything potato based…And chunky chips and hummus are a match made in heaven for a lazy night in front of the TV. I occasionally swap it out for sweet potato chips and a red pepper hummus. Hmmmm. I’m making myself hungry now.

This post is more of a suggestion than a recipe really, a blue print to add and mix how you want πŸ’› the suggestions are somewhat endless.

I really like this warm and served with some form or warmed bread. But it’s still good at room temperature too.

This recipe makes two of the bowls above. But doubling this recipe for a platter is also a good shout.

Recipe:

Half a Fennel Bulb

1 Red Pepper

Handful of Grape Tomatoes

1/2 Courgette / Zuccini

^^ roughly the same amount of Aubergine / Egg plant

Olive Oil

A good pinch of Herb de Provence

Salt.

1 Tub of your favourite Hummus or one batch of home made.

Optional : fresh herbs or pesto.

Serve with any : Pita, crackers, Kulcha, Naan, Chips.

Preheat the oven to 400Β°. Chop your veggies and toss in oil, herbs and salt.

Roast for 25 minutes.

Serve on top of your desired amount of hummus while still warm. And top with either herbs or pesto.

Now go ahead and dig in!

Lunch · Picnic

Sunny days and pool side snacks. Mango Mint Salsa.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You know summer is on the way when the heat kicks in and the only thing you can think of eating is cold or sweet. Or preferably a combination of the two… I mean it’s a match made in heaven for those long hot days. Specially when you’re lounging poolside and you just want something fresh and refreshing, a light snack that you can throw together lazily. Well this little beauty hits every nail on the head. It’s so summery and pretty and inviting. I adore the flavours and the colours in this sexy little dip. It even looks like summer.

Mango and mint are a beautiful combination that always bring a tropical vibe. And adding the sweet hit of mango to usually savoury salsa just tastes like you’re on holiday. I really adore this dip and it’s become a quick little go-to for snacks and lunch. I’ve been tending to pair it with various chips or crackers and eaten it as a dip. But I can also see this lending itself as a side dish for other meals too.

It’s quick, easy, fresh and fruity. (No sarcastic comments please). And all the ingredients can be grabbed at the Farmers market (another win).

By the way have you seen the gorgeous mixed colour peppers about at the moment. I’m in love. Complete vegetable photo fetish kicking in again…

This recipe I use to serve 2. But as you can see, it’s very easily multiplied if you’ve got a tribe wanting a nibble! It also keeps well in the fridge for a day so you can snack later too.

Recipe :

2 Mangos – I used rather large Champagne mangos (alfonso)

1/2 Red onion

1 Red Pepper

Pinch of salt

A few springs of mint chopped

1 Lime

Dice Mango, onion and pepper to similar sizes. Pop in a bowl and mix in salt, mint and the zest of the lime with a few drops of lime juice. Give everything a quick mix and leave tho sit for a few minutes to marry together.

Serve with your favourite chips or crackers or pita πŸ™‚

Enjoy!

Baking · Dessert

Sweet little bites of Spring πŸ’š Lemon Thyme Shortbread.

Growing up, I never got the deal with shortbread. I always went for something multicolored or chocolatey. Thought shortbread just seemed a bit dull. But as I’m getting older (I’m sure one day I’ll also get wiser) I appreciate the sweet elegant simplicity of shortbread. That crispy crunchy melt in mouth combination, I have to confess. I’m now completely hooked. I love how easy it is to throw together too. And it always goes down a treat at coffee morning with the girls πŸ’š

I love lemon and thyme as a flavour combination. The two are a match made in heaven. This perfectly simple, yet perfectly stunning little recipe is a good one to have at hand. And seems to tie perfectly with sunny days and spring time.

Any excuse to get me out and in to the herb garden. Those around me know I’m happiest with dirty feet and grubby knees. Thyme loves the spring and I adore the little flowers it gives.

This is my basic shortbead recipe, but I do tend to mix other flavours with different season. A few others to try are Lemon and Lavender or Orange drizzled with dark chocolate.

Recipe :

1/2 Cup Earth Balance softened

1/4 Cup Organic granulated Sugar

1 Tbs Icing Sugar (confectioners)

1Tbs Fresh Thyme

Zest of 1 Large Lemon

1tbs Lemon Juice

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 Cup Flour

1 Tbs Cornflour (corn starch)

More sugar for dusting.

Preheat oven to 350Β°.

Pop soft Earthbalance into a bowl and beat in the two sugars. Add the Thyme , lemon zest, lemon juice and salt and beat again. Sift the flour and corn flour together and slowly incorporate the flour into the butter mixture in two or three goes.

When it all comes to a dough pop between two sheets of baking paper or parchment and roll to about 1/4″ thick.

Transfer parchment onto a baking sheet and score into the shapes you like. I usually go with squares or rectangles. At this point give the shortbread a good dusting with granulated sugar.

Pop them into the oven for 12-15 minutes. Until golden around the edges. Leave to cool a little before cutting again and leave to cool compelelety before serving.

Breakfast · Dessert · In the Garden · Lunch

Spring is officially under way πŸ‘ Peach and Blueberry Season and the many things we love to make with them.

I love spring πŸ’š I love when everything starts to shoot up. The garden looks beautiful, flowers popping with colour, herbs are enormous and the Peach tree is in bloom. Not much more could make me happier. Until I discovered all of this on a much grander scale.

One of the best parts of living over in Clermont is being surrounded by the various farms, orchards and groves we have here. Every where you turn you can spot citrus groves here. But two of the lesser know orchards near me grow Blueberries and Peaches. And oh how stunning they are.

Honestly. I could wander round these farms all day snapping various photos. And the fruit is second to none. April and May are the season for them, and I like to go a few times to stock up.

The peaches here are a much smaller variety, but they hold their own on flavour. Love wandering around with my little bucket picking to my hearts content. If you’ve never been fruit picking or been to a real orchard I’d highly recommend. Its surprisingly therapeutic.

Having filled our little buckets off home for some delicious snacks for the week.

If you’ve been reading a while you’ll know my obsession with cooking things together that have the same growing season. That age old saying of “if it grows together it goes together” does ring true. And Peach and blueberries are a little match made in heaven.

And here are some ideas I’ve put together over the years with this beautiful flavour combination.

https://thelittlebluegarden.com/2017/08/21/lazy-sunday-night-in-at-its-best-πŸ’›-peach-and-blueberry-crumble/

And let’s not forget our breakfast options either :

https://thelittlebluegarden.com/2016/05/23/seriously-seedy-grain-free-porridge/

Or more recently some smoothie options πŸ’›

I adore this smoothie. And it’s been my goto lunch lately. Love a quick blast from a blender and lunch being served.

This recipe makes 2 smoothie bowls.

Recipe :

4 Little Peaches

2 Bananas

1 Cup Frozen Mango

Almond milk

Add everything to the blender and almond milk to desired consistency, I like smoothies thicker in a bowl but thinner in a glass. Go figure that one out…

Top happily with a good handful of blueberries and granola and any seeds you’d like πŸ’›

Don’t forget our Peach and Blueberry Pie recipe on page 70 of the book.

I hope you’re enjoying spring and all of the flavours it brings as much as I am.

Sending you love from The Little Blue Garden.

Enjoy !!

Dinner · Lunch

Warm Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad with Harissa, Rose and Dukkah πŸ’š

Every one knows I love a good market. They’re just one of my all time favourite things to do. And my local farmers market – good old Winter Garden always makes me smile. I love this Market. And most weeks when I get chance to pop up I stock up on these beautiful multi coloured carrots. I’ve made a few different things with these stunning little beauties. One of my other recipes being my sticky orange carrots.

Following on from this week’s inspiration with spice blends and flavour combinations, I’m heavily into dusting everything with Dukkah. Have you tried this magical little blend? The blend I’ve been using contains, roasted chickpeas, roasted sunflower seeds, black onion seeds, paprika, fennel seeds, halen monk, sea salt and black pepper. And it’s slowly becoming the love of my life. Honestly. Sprinkle this on anything and it just tastes magic. It’s a middle eastern inspired flavour combination and I’ve found adding it with rose to liven up basic recipes has been a huge hit. And it really is the star of the show in this recipe, but works in so many ways. I’ve been popping it on hummus, flat breads, sweet potato mash, salads and haven’t found anything it didn’t really work with.. You might have guessed by now I’m really a fan. ***tries to stop gushing***.

Anyway back to the recipe.

Love a good warm filling kind of salad. In fact it sometimes feels a little odd calling it a salad.. But this bowl full has a lot flavour, and looks stunning to boot. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. You all know my love of every thing sweet and spicy, the combination of Rose, Harissa and the final dusting of Dukkah make this a lovely little treat, and they do all of the work for you. This meal is a real doddle to throw together!

Recipe:

1 Bunch of Rainbow Carrots

1 Tbs Olive oil

1 Cup Quinoa

2 Cups Cavelo Nero

1/3 Cup dried Cranberries

Dressing :

1 Tbs Olive oil

1/2 Tsp Harissa (more if you prefer heat)

Salt

1 Tsp Rose Water

1 Tsp Hummus

To serve :

Hummus and Dukkah – optional edible rose petals.

Pop the oven on 400Β°. Peel and slice the carrot lengthways into quarters. Coat them in olive oil and a good pinch of salt and roast for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the quinoa according to packet instructions. And chop the kale.

To make the dressing, add every thing to a jar and give a really good shake until well incorporated.

Once everything is cooked, toss the quinoa in the dressing, add the cranberries and kale. Plate up with a good serving of hummus and top with the beautifully roasted carrots. Give everything that final adornment of Dukkah and rose petals and you’re ready to go ❀.