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 ❀

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 ❀.

Dinner · Lunch

Fully loaded Nacho Style Sweetpotato Chips πŸ’›

Some nights just call for relaxed food. You know, those jammies on, hair up, throw yourself on the couch kind of night? That’s what I’m talking about. This is not an elegant dish… But it’s ridiculously moreish, vibrant and delicious. That Texmex mix always seems to hit the spot for me and by now you should know my love of all things Sweetpotato… Well it’s like they met and had this beautiful little love child πŸ’› Sweet. Spicy. Sticky. Delicious…

And yes. A perfect night in was born.

This recipe couldn’t be any easier to put together too. And a total cheat with ready made salsa/pico. Every one always has their own favourite. You can usually pick up some lovely fresh versions in stores or farmers markets these days too!

Recipe: Serves two (happily)

2 Sweet potatoes

1 Tbs oil ( I used Avocado)

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Cumin

1/2 Tsp salt.

Fully loaded topping:

1 Cup Black beans (cooked and drained)

1 Cup diced fresh Pepper

1/2 Red Onion sliced thinly

1 Cup sweetcorn kernels

1 Cup Salsa of your choice ( Pico de gallo works great too)

Lime wedges and Cilantro to top.

Preheat the oven to 400Β°.

Chop the sweet potatoes into chunky chips. Toss them in oil and the spices and pop on a non stick baking tray and into a hot oven for 30 minutes.

During the last five minutes of the sweet potatoes cooking, gently heat a sautee pan and add the pepper and onions. Cook until a little soft then add the beans and corn. Give everything a gentle stir. Just to warm though. Once the chips are ready, pile onto a serving dish and spoon over your salsa, with your veggie mix on top. Chop up a lime and some cilantro and serve alongside.

Don’t be shy now..

Enjoy πŸ’›

Dinner · Lunch

Fourth Additon to the Winter Wamer Series. Sweet Potato “Thanksgiving” Soup.

I loved making this Soup. It was like taking a step back to Thanksgiving πŸ’› Complete accident too. I’d started out just making my favourite Sweet potato Lentil and Harissa soup. But realised I was had no Harissa left. Rookie mistake Robinson. But as my sweet potatoes were already happily bubbling away, desperation seemed to inspire creativity. And off to the garden I went for some new ideas… And voila, this pretty little creation was born.

Pairing Sweetpoatoes with fresh Sage and Parsley reminded me of the ingredients I used on my thanksgiving table, and of course it’s not Thanksgiving without Cranberries.. so that’s what I went with. Trust me guys. Would I lead you astray!?

Yep. Sweetpotato. Lentils. Stock. Parsley. Sage. Cranberries. It’s that simple. πŸ’› All the flavour, non of the fuss.

You all know my affinity with large bowls of food and this recipe was no exception. A large bowl of soup, snuggled up in the warm, favorite book to hand or film on tele. Hygge at it’s finest. (By the way. Does anyone know how to pronounce that?! ).

And by the way, fried Sage leaves? I’m in love. Crispy little bites of deliciousness πŸ’š if you have not tried them I promise they will not disappoint. They really work brilliantly here I hope you love them as much as I do.

So here we are;

Recipe makes 2 big bowls

2 Sweet Poatoes

1/3 Cup Red Lentils

5-6 Cups Vegetable stock

1 tsp Honey

Bunch of Sage

1 Clove Garlic

Bunch of Parsley

1-2 tbs Oil (I used avocado)

Salt

Seeds

Dried Cranberries

Peel and chop the sweetpotato, pop in to a medium saucepan with the lentils and stock.

Take the bunch of sage and separate into two halves. Tie one bunch together with kitchen twine to make a mini bouquet garni. Pop into the pan carefully along with the peeled clove of garlic. Cook 30 minutes or so until everything is tender. Topping up with stock if necessary. Remove the now destroyed bouquet garni and discard.

Puree everything until a nice smooth consistency, at this point add salt and a tsp of honey. Then return to the pan to keep warm while you make the crispy sage leaves. I promise this step is worth it.

Put a small frying pan on to heat and heat up the oil you’re using. Once oil is hot, add the leaves a few at a time until deep green and crisped up. Removed with a slotted spoon too some kitchen roll. You’re effectively shallow frying the leaves.

Pop the soup into two bowls and top happily with Parsely, Cranberries, Seeds and last but not least, the crispy Sage leaves.

Love to know what you think of this one!

Dinner · Lunch

Third Winter Warmer addition. Chunky Mushroom Soup πŸ’š

I don’t know about you. But for me, soup is life. Specially in the winter months. There is something so wholesome, cosy and comforting about a big hot bowl of soup. Specially if there’s some warm crusty bread to give a good dunk with. Ahhh. It’s the simple things isn’t it ? However one thing I often don’t take into account is the amount of time needed to make a really good soup or broth. If I haven’t thought ahead and I come home tired and hungry, I need something a little quicker. And this little gem has become a go to for those days πŸ’š

These flavours are much more earthy than my regular concoctions, but I’ve been obsessed with the mushroom stocks that have been popping up all over the place lately and wanted to expand my repetioir of uses for it. ( By the way this is the same stock I used for my French onion soup recipe in my book and my Pho recipe on here, https://thelittlebluegarden.com/2016/08/24/pho/ it’s also what I use as a base for my gravy too).

This recipe made a good 3 servings.

1 Medium Courgette (Zuchini )

1 Tub Baby Portabella mushrooms

2tsp Oil of choice I used Avocado

2 Cloves Garlic

5 Cups Mushroom stock

1 Cup Brown rice Pasta

1/2 Carton of Cannellini Beans

Splash of Shoyu (or salt if you prefer )

Parsley and Lemon Zest to serve

Preheat a large saucepan or Dutch oven on medium, and dice the mushroom and courgette in 1cm ish chunks. Add the oil to the pan and sautee the veggies for just a couple of minutes, then finely dice the garlic and add. Once the veggies are starting to soften, carefully add the stock. Slowly bring to a simmer and pop in the pasta. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until pasta is cooked, then stir through Cannellini and heat them through. Test soup and add shoyu if it needs a little more depth of flavor to the stock.

Serve immediately topped with chopped parsley, and a little lemon Zest.

Dinner · Lunch

Welcome to the Winter Warmer Series, with The Little Blue Garden πŸ’™ Sweet Potato and Sweet Pea Soup.Β 

So we are pretending it’s Winter now in Florida. Our reasoning ? Well it’s dark early…. That counts for something, I think?
Well. It’s the time of year where my head thinks being cosy inside is the way forward. And that equates to soup to me. There is jusy something wonderful about a big bowl full  of colour and some crusty bread to dunk away in.   To be honest, I am a major soup lover. Its one of my ultimate comfort foods.  I’m constantly throwing random combinations of different vegetables, grains and different types of stock together to come up with something new.  And this little combination is one I keep coming back to. I hope once you’ve tried it, you will too. Super simple ingredients. Super simple cooking. Super satisfying. It took me literally everything I have not to type “souper” there. I know. I probably need to get out more … 

So here it it is. This serves 2 but can easily be multiplied. 

Recipe :

1 Large Sweet Potato 

1 Large Carrot 

1/3 Cup Barley

5/6 Cups veggie stock. 

1tsp Tomato paste 

Salt 

1 heaped cup of frozen sweet peas

2 Spring onions /green onions 
Peel and dice the root veggies into appx 1cm cubes. Pop them in a saucepan with the veggie stock, barley and tomato paste. Give everything a good mix and add a pinch of salt. 

Bring this to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Keep occasionally giving a stir to make sure nothing is sticking. 

Once the veggies are tender add the frozen peas and cook for a few more minutes until hot through. 

Serve with plenty of chopped spring onions on top.  

Perfect for those cold nights where warmth needs to be on the menu! 

Dinner · Lunch

Happy Halloween πŸŽƒ Sooouper scary squash.Β 

Happy Halloween from the The Little Blue Garden everyoneπŸ’›.

Wow, doesn’t time fly when your life is falling apart ? Halloween already?! Did I fall asleep and miss a few months….? Genuinely wouldn’t shock me. 

So, erm this morning I got up and it was chilly. Like actually chilly. Someone clearly turned the heat off in Florida over night! It really felt like an Autumn /Winter start. Not complaining. I have to say after the summers scorching heat here in the south, some cool air is more than welcome. So here we are, fall has arrived. Along with new colours and flavours and I’m in love with all of it. 

Little bit of Farmers market love right there. Look at that colour !

You know I love to celebrate with all that is in season, this recipe is true to style. Celebrating all that is beautiful about squash, the colour, the flavour and the versatility. I have to admit for me,  Butternut is king, but this recipe would lend itself beautifully to Pumpkins aswell. Or go all out and mix them together. 

This soup is a comfy, warming, homey deal. With gentle spices its just perfect for a cold night in. Besides being this beautiful shade I can’t help but smile when I make it.

Serves 4 

1 Medium Butternut Squash

1 Large Sweet potato 

1 cup Red lentils 

3 Thin slices of Ginger 

3 cloves Garlic 

1tsp Tumeric 

1/2 Tsp Cardamom 

Salt

Veggie stock. (Its going to take a lot but kind of depends on the size of the vegetables)
Optional toppings : Seeds and Parsley 
Super simple, just like me!

Peel and chop butternut and sweet potato, pop into a large sauce pan pour in the lentils and cover with vegetable stock. Drop in the slices of ginger and the peeled garlic and stir in the turmeric, cardamom and a good pinch of salt. 

Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes or until the veggies are fork tender. Making sure to give it a good stir once in a while.  You might need to top up the vegetable stock every now and again if it’s getting a little dry or thick. 

Once everything is soft and squishy blend until silky  smooth. Keep and eye out to make sure the ginger is pureed well!

Top however you like…. preferably some silly faces. 

I do recommend some crusty bread to dunk too !