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 ❀

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!

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 ❀.

In the Garden · Lunch · Picnic

Edible Blooms and how to use them. πŸ’›Spring is on the way πŸ’›

I don’t know about you. But I am all set for light nights, longer days and some warmth πŸ’› I feel like Florida really attempted to have a winter this year. May I just say, that is not why I moved here… I did not sign up for this. Sunshine State. Come on. Sort it out. But now that the clocks have changed and it’s not dark by dinner time I feel we are finally getting somewhere. And Spring is on its way πŸ’› my favorite time of year.

To celebrate this beautiful shift of the seasons, I’ve been back in the garden making it beautiful and focusing my attention on edible blooms. Those who know me know I love adding flowers to anything and everything. And have a penchant for drying flowers out too… (I’ve been questioned several times as to why I keep bouquets after they have died). And so edible flowers with flavours and colours are just my idea of heaven. It’s been a little ridiculous to be fair. I’m putting them here there and everywhere and it makes me so happy πŸ’›

The edible blooms I’ve been growing and buying (thank you The Farmacy) are Pansy, Marigold, Lavender, Nasturtium and Society Garlic. They just make everything look so inviting and pretty. And have been so easy to grow and enjoy. I hope you love them as much as I do. Most -bar the garlic have a mild, sometimes a little peppery flavour just like a salad leaf.

Just remember you can’t just start munching any flowers from the garden section, they need to be organic, not sprayed with chemicals and fertilizers. Which is why it’s best to try an grow your own πŸ’›

Recipe above : Spring time salad with edible flowers.

This made two bowls :

1 Large head of Romaine

1 Slice of Watermelon diced

1/2 Bell Pepper sliced

1 Cup Mandarin segments

1 Cup Peas ( I used frozen – defrosted)

A few springs of mint – separated.

Assorted edible flowers

Dressing:

Juice of a lemon

2-3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive oil

A few sprigs of mint.

Pinch of salt.

Give everything fresh a good wash and pop all ingredients into a bowl.

For the dressing I like to give the mint leaves a good squash with a pestle and mortar just to relased some of the oils, then add lemon juice and oil. Give a good mix together and fish the rather beaten up mint back out. Season to taste and lightly dress the salad.

Another of my favourites lately is to pop the more herb like flowers into flavoured waters or lemonades. Lemon Lavender and mint is a sound favourite currently. πŸ’›

Or you know Cupcakes are never a bad move. So pretty. So natural πŸ’› Recipe coming soon for PB&J Cupcakes.

And finally I made this last weekend it’s an old faithful from the blog. Find the recipe here…

https://thelittlebluegarden.com/2017/03/01/some-days-you-just-need-a-cake-and-cuppa-butternut-squash-and-raisin-cake-with-orange-and-vanilla-bean-frosting/

I just think cakes decorated with real beautiful flowers are one of my all time favourite things. Just naturally stunning with no added artificial colours or flavours. I’m just in love with my little Nasturtiums. I urge you to give these little beauties a try, go outside and get growing. I promise you a garden is a gift that just keeps giving πŸ’›.

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!