food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

crunchy spring onions and wasabi-lime mayo // food to glowYesterday I asked you to indulge me in a little meditation exercise of sorts. We wandered around imaginary gardens and restaurants, noting colour, texture, taste and aroma. We sniffed, we tasted, we digested, we were omniscient. With my subtle-as-a-sledgehammer sketches I was hoping to lead us to think about what we get out of our food. I admit that it was pretty crudely drawn, but I hope you know it was from the heart.

Nothing quite so earnest today, you’ll be glad to know. Today it is a straight up, simple-as treatment for a much under-sung spring vegetable, the spring onion (this link tells us the difference between all of the lovely long alliums). This is a vegetable I for one think nothing much about as I duly sling a bunch into my cart every week. It is one of those background ingredients that we may acknowledge are very useful but never get too excited about. It is an onion for goodness sake.crunchy spring onions and wasabi-lime mayo // food to glow

crunchy spring onions and wasabi-lime mayo // food to glowBut I recently saw a tiny snippet in April’s Bon Appetit that saw me head straight for my fridge. Right in the fold of a page was just the merest mention of “Buttermilk Fried Ramps.” No nicely-shot image to tempt; just the words ‘buttermilk’, ‘fried’ and ‘ramps’ in close proximity. That was enough for me. Ramps (wild garlic) are now past their best (boo) but I thought I might try to riff on this basic idea and make a  crunchy, almost “bloomin’ onion” snack with my humble bunch of spring onions. But not fried, and not with buttermilk. And with Japanese flavours rather than the southern comfort approach Bon App suggests. Luckily, it worked. Boy howdy, it worked. Four batches in a row, worked.

So far no crunchy spring onion has made it to a table. In truth I don’t think we have even eaten them sitting down (bad food to glow). Like kale crisps, these crunchy little alliums skip the middle man option of a plate, disappearing from the baking tray and straight into the wasabi-lime mayo. A lovely little snack or appetizer, to make on a whim, to use up spring onions, or as part of a planned meal. Seriously addictive.

Make double.

Oh, and if you want to share your own vegetarian creations, why not link up with UK home decoration specialists Bettaliving using the hashtag #bettaveggies? Follow/tweet to @bettaliving to participate. Or leave your ideas and links on their dedicated National Vegetarian Week page.

crunchy spring onions and wasabi-lime mayo // food to glow

Crunchy Spring Onions with Wasabi-Lime Mayo

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Mild but snappy, spring onions/scallions are used quite a lot in Asian cooking, so I thought I might combine a bit of southern technique with some hallmark Japanese flavours. I hope you like it. :-) PS The measurements aren’t massively important, just ballpark figures.

1 large bunch very fresh, intact spring onions, washed

4 tbsp flour of any kind

1 cup plant milk (cashew, almond, hemp etc)

1 tbsp + 1 tsp wasabi paste – divided use

1 cup ground rice or corn meal/polenta (I used ground rice)

2 tbsp neutral oil

4 tbsp best mayonnaise – vegan or egg

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Togarashi seasoning, optional for sprinkling (can be very hot)

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/430F.

2. Put the flour on a plate; mix the milk and 1 tbsp of wasabi and pour into an oblong dish; put the ground rice on another plate.crunchy spring onions and wasabi-lime mayo // food to glow

3. Toss the spring onions in the flour, dip in the milk (roll the onions gently to completely coat) and then toss around in the rice or polenta until well coated  – there will probably be some bare patches.

4. Pour the oil onto a baking tray and pop it in the oven for three minutes. remove the tray and lay on the onions. Place in the oven and bake for eight-10 minutes. Flip the onions and bake until quite brown in patches (the green tops will get browner than the dense white parts) and bulb end is soft when pressed.

5. Mix together the mayonnaise, the lime juice and the remaining one teaspoon of wasabi. Sprinkle the baked onions with togarashi and serve with the flavoured mayonnaise.

Note: these crunchy spring onions are delicious without the Japanese additions, so don’t be put off making this for lack of these ingredients. Keep everything ‘plain’ and sprinkle with salt and pepper when serving with either yogurt or mayonnaise. Add some chives to the mayo or yogurt for extra oomph and seasonal yumminess.


Disclosure: This recipe is a sponsored post.

crunchy spring onions and wasabi-lime mayo // food to glow

I’m popping this easy, no-waste recipe over to Elizabeth’s for her always-interesting No Waste Challenge. And over to Elizabeth and Ren for Simple & In Season.




roasted rainbow salad with pomegranate dressing by food to glowI’d like you to humour me for a few paragraphs.

I want you to slip on some imaginary shoes – I am assuming you are already dressed – and walk into town. If you are lucky you will notice trees in leaf, with maybe some flower buds ready to burst or are in full, radiant bloom. There may be gardens to admire – crimson clematis scrambling up walls and fences, cool ferns enjoying the shade, window boxes and flower beds rammed with colour, scent and texture. Pleasant isn’t it? Restful, but also exciting to the eye. Nurturing to the soul.

Now, turn a corner. The ‘gardens’ are bare and unkempt. Browns, beiges and greys dominate. Hard landscaping is completely unrelieved by soft planting or soaring trees. You scurry away quickly from this soulless environment, and back around the corner.

Now transport yourself to a popular steak house. It is jolly, the brickwork is on-trend, the music is pumping, the wait staff quick with the menus and drinks. You are in for a good night. A real treat in fact.

Scan the menu for something mid-price and filling: there isn’t much difference in the offerings other than price and cut. The steak, chips and side salad will do nicely, thank you very much.  As you wait you look around at all the other diners who have ordered. You observe, and are slightly taken aback by, a sea of brown and beige, of congealing gristle (you are omniscient in this moment and can see onto the plates from above); some patrons sawing away with serrated knives and deep intent. At least they aren’t on their phones, you think. You order, you eat, you are full. You go home to digest, slowly and possibly painfully. Your sleep is interrupted. The next day, as you dash out of the door, late from too many presses of the snooze button, you crave beyond reason freshness. Greenness. Colour.

dsc_0005One last tortured ask from me: replace that night with a visit to that new seasonal restaurant everyone has been talking about. The one that is jolly, with on-trend brickwork, great sounds and terrific, informed service. In you walk – be careful not to knock over the boxes of citrus and bright hot peppers waiting to be taken to the kitchen. You notice that the space is filled with diners eating and very much enjoying plates of vibrantly coloured, fresh, food. Lots of chatter and forks being proffered across tables.

You are handed the menu and it takes an age for you to decide, even though the menu is a hastily written, one-sided sheet. There is so much to choose from: it reads so well and so thoughtfully. There are some meat and fish dishes, but vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, seeds and herbs dominate – even in the meat choices. As you hem and haw, your dining companions laugh at your befuddlement, take away your menu and order for you. Too many beautiful sounding options, you sigh. You dine, you chat, you dip things, you scoop others: you don’t think much about the food other than it is beautiful and tastes uncommonly good for just a bunch of plants. It is easy, it is restful. You sleep sweetly and digest well, awakening with energy and wellbeing. You eat breakfast calmly and without hurry. Work awaits, but you remember to grab that box of roasted rainbow vegetables made for your lunches this week, adding a wee tub of sriracha-doused hummus for good measure.

Am I over-reaching with my scenario?

I really don’t think so.

Plants rock. Treat yourself.

roasted rainbow salad with pomegranate dressing by food to glow

Roasted Rainbow Salad with a Sassy Dressing

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The basics are the vegetables, but the dressing makes this craveable. This colourful and simply-made recipe is easily halved, but because it keeps so brilliantly it is a great choice upon which to base a few weekday lunches; change out the cheese for sprouted seeds or beans, cooked beans, or roasted nuts, or tofu. Add a dash of heat to the dressing, too. I’ve deliberately kept this more of a template so that you can easily make this your own.

And yes, you can roast radishes!

Note: This recipes assumes you will be using the best produce available to you. When you go as simple as this, quality really matters. Wash and scrub the vegetables, but keep the skin on. Oh, and if you are lucky enough to be using just-harvested veg, use the leafy tops as herbs! Hopefully – crossed fingers – I will be able to do that soon myself. :-)

Radishes, topped and tailed

Young beetroot, topped and tailed

Young carrots, topped and tailed

Peppers of all colour

the above to weigh in the region of 2 kg/4 lbs

3-4 tbsp good olive oil

2 tbsp date syrup OR 1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp pomegranate syrup/pomegranate molasses

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Small clove garlic, crushed with a good pinch of flaky salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Parsley or other fresh, soft herb/herbs that you like

Feta or goats cheese; lightly toasted nuts and seeds; sprouted seeds or beans; roasted tofu – any or all to add the necessary protein element.

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

2. Trim the vegetables into even-sized pieces.

3. Put the radishes and the peppers together in a bowl and toss with half of the oil; in another bowl do the same with carrots and beetroot. Decant onto two baking trays and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, keeping the beets and carrots in a little longer – about 10 more minutes.

4. While the vegetables are cooking, mix up the dressing by putting all of the remaining ingredients except the herbs and your protein choice(s) in a lidded jar and shaking like mad. The oil from the vegetables should be enough not to need extra oil,  but add a couple of tablespoons in the jar if you like.

5. When the vegetable are cooked to your liking – hopefully still with some bite – pop everything, including the tray juices, into a serving bowl or onto a platter and lightly but thoroughly mix together, saving some herbs and protein for the top. Let the vegetables meld with the dressing for about half an hour before eating. Enjoy this rainbow salad at room temperature.

roasted rainbow salad with pomegranate dressing by food to glowI am really happy to be popping this recipe over to the following extremely suitable recipe round-ups and blog hops:

Meat Free MondaysTinned Tomatoes

Extra VegVeggie Desserts, Fuss Free Flavours, Utterly Scrummy

No Croutons RequiredLisa’s Kitchen and Tinned Tomatoes

Simple And In SeasonElizabeth’s Kitchen Diary and Ren Behan

wild greens, chickpea and ricotta borek by food to glowHere at Food To Glow we are omnivores, but because of my work as a cancer health educator I know from professional and personal experience the health value of eating a largely plant-centred diet. That is, a diet built around what we can pull from the ground and pluck from a tree.

I am using the word we loosely.

And I try and practise what I preach. Most of my recipes are vegetarian and vegan because that is how my family and I eat eat ninety-five per cent of the time. We eat this way not only because is it healthy, good for the environment, colourful, and cheaper, it is pretty delicious too. Most of the time! There have been a few dodgy experiments that haven’t made it here. My Instagram feed is a public record of where my failed would-be recipes are born and die…

wild greens, chickpea and ricotta borek by food to glowAll week here on Food To Glow we will be celebrating and revelling in National Vegetarian Week.  If you pop in any day this week you should see a new recipe, mostly easy-peasy, and all made for sharing. I hope to link up to others that are posting colourful, healthy and lip-smacking recipes too. So, come on over every day if you can for not only my recipes, but links to others’ recipes too.

Just to do a little PSA, if you are a regular here then I don’t need to tell you the benefits of eating more vegetables, fruits, herbs, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. The only thing I would just emphasise is that there are a slew of statistics to endorse reaching for a vegetable kebab over wolfing down a well-done burger (sorry fans of In-N-Out Burger) – lower risk of early death, lower weight, lower risk of numerous cancers, stroke, heart disease, osteoarthritis, gout – I could go on, but you get the picture.

Instead of dwelling on the health aspects, or touching on the ethical issues, I will keep it light and luscious by posting a new vegetarian or vegan recipe all week.

Today I bring you crispy fat pastry borek ‘cigars’ (and a crispy fat tray bake) filled with a tangle of wild (or mild) greens, chickpeas, creamy ricotta-feta and some heady Middle Eastern spices. This borek leans towards Turkey with its use of wild greens and creamy-sharp cheese, but many countries that used to be players in the Ottoman empire have their own versions – usually meaty. But the shape and phyllo are the main things about a borek. Often fried, it is easy to achieve the bliss-inducing crunch and taste of the typical fried pastry by slicking with olive oil and whacking in a hot oven. Wrap yours in a square of parchment paper, close your eyes and you might just find yourself strolling through a thronging market, being jostled and enticed in equal measure.

We can all dream, can’t we?

Back tomorrow with a sassily-dressed rainbow salad, to eat on its own or with other tasty salads.

wild greens, chickpea and ricotta borek by food to glow

Wild Greens, Chickpea and Ricotta-Feta Borek

  • Servings: 8+
  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
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This recipe is inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi (do I even need a link here?!), but more especially Silvena Rowe, a much-underrated London-based Bulgarian-Turkish chef who specialises in Eastern Mediterranean food. She’s an entertaining and forthright regular on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen – love her. You can make this borek wild or mild, depending on your access to fresh nettles. The dried berries are not necessary but I love the spike of sweet-sour they bring to this overtly savoury pastry.

500g of young  chard, kale and young nettles OR spinach and watercress or rocket*

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp za’atar spice blend, plus extra for top (I have a recipe – buried in the main recipe; or buy it at good food shops)

Juice and zest of 1 small unwaxed lemon

1 tin of chickpeas, drained (save the liquid to make this for dessert!) OR equivalent in podded broad beans/fava beans

100g ricotta

100g feta

Palmful of dried barberries or sour cherries (optional)

1 small egg, beaten OR vegan equivalent such as Ener-G

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 package of phyllo pastry**

up to 100g butter or olive oil

1 tbsp each sesame and Nigella or poppy seeds

wild greens, chickpeas and ricotta borek by food to glow #vegetarian #bakingSumac Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

6-8 medium, ripe tomatoes OR 1 tin/jar best tomatoes – chopped

2 tsp sumac (or lemon juice)

Pinch of sugar, salt and pepper

You will need: either a 2-inch deep rectangular pan OR 1-2 baking sheets

* any wild or bitter edible greens are good in this – mustard, dandelion, mizuna, etc*

**You can do this one of two ways: cylindrical and individual, or tray bake-style. For the tray bake, use eight phyllo sheets, stacking buttered pieces on top of each other for the base and top. For a cigar-shaped version, use as many as you need, with one sheet per serving. See the image for how to roll them up. You will generally use less filling for the individual serving sizes.**

1. Heat the oil in your largest sauté pan or wok and wilt down the greens. Pop the greens into a colander and press with a large spoon to remove much of the moisture. Transfer the greens to a clean tea towel and gently squeeze. Roughly chop the greens then add to a large bowl (I added them back into the pan) and mix with the remaining ingredients, bar the pastry, butter and seeds. I try to remember to taste for seasoning before adding the egg. For my classes I don’t add salt, but for ourselves, I do.wild greens, chickpeas and ricotta borek by food to glow

2. Now, depending on what form you wish to go with this, either butter a 2-inch deep rectangular baking tin and lay 4 buttered phyllo sheets on; OR take one sheet of phyllo and lay it flat on your work surface. Cover the rest of the sheets with a slightly damp tea towel. For the tray, smooth in the filling and top with the remaining four buttered sheets, pinching and trimming the edges. Use a sharp knife to score a diamond pattern or squares (squares are easier for even portioning but diamonds are prettier!). For the cigar ones, see the images. Use the remaining butter to slick over the tops – and edges, if making individual boreks. Sprinkle over the seeds and extra za’atar.wild greens, chickpeas and ricotta borek by food to glow

3. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until very golden and the pastry is crunchy. Serve warm with the sumac tomato sauce. These are also great cold the next day for use in a lunch box, or perhaps to take with you for a healthy picnic nibble.DSC_0006 2

4. To make the sauce, heat the oil over low-medium in a small saucepan and add the garlic. Saute the garlic until just starting to colour then add the tomatoes, sumac and seasoning. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool slightly then blend until smooth-chunky with a hand blender. Serve warm.

Note: this is easily made vegan by swapping the butter for a vegan version, eliminating the egg and cheese and increasing the chickpeas and vegetables. This will change the nature of the pastry but it will still taste great. You could add lightly whipped chickpea liquid to aid the eating texture of the pastry.

wild greens, chickpeas and ricotta borek by food to glow

You KNOW I have loads of healthy veggie recipes here on Food To Glow, but why not visit these great UK vegetarian sites this week for even more ideas.

Tinned Tomatoes – UK’s #1 blog for simple, family-friendly vegetarian recipes (and Jac has an awesome giveaway going on right now)

Simplify Your Health – vegan wonders from April, including loads of smoothies and desserts

Amuse Your Bouche – Becca is a witty writer with gorgeous recipes

Demuth’s – Bath-based vegetarian cookery school with a lovely blog from owner, Rachel.

Naturally Bee – Lorna is a young blogger with great ideas and a, um, love of bees!

Veggie Desserts – Kate has some absolutely gorgeous food. Not all of it desserts ;-)

This week I will be mainly linking up to the following very appropriate recipe round-ups: 

Meat Free MondaysTinned Tomatoes

Extra VegVeggie Desserts, Fuss Free Flavours, Utterly Scrummy

Simple And In SeasonElizabeth’s Kitchen and Ren Behan









bang bang tofu bagel with sriracha-lime peanut butter, avocado and thinly shredded vegetables // food to glowI’ve just seen some tweets – and delish pics – saying that it is British Sandwich Week, and I thought, “Hmm..I have just the thing to celebrate.” And indeed I do. Something sweet yet spicy, with plenty of satisfying vegetarian protein and fibre, and loaded with thinly sliced and, possibly – your call – vinegar-doused vegetables. Does that sound tempting?

I rarely, rarely eat sandwiches these days. Not that I am averse to carbs – not. at. all. But it is just that I often will have sourdough toast with poached eggs, smashed and herbed up avocado, or stir-fried greens for breakfast; porridge if it’s colder and I need an edible hug. So, a typical at-home lunch is often a soup with a crisp bread, some leftovers heated up, a grain and/or green salad. But almost never a sandwich.

However, sometimes a sandwich is just the very thing. Portable, easily handled (unless you are as naturally clumsy as me) and easily portioned with just the cleave of a knife.bang bang tofu bagel with sriracha-lime peanut butter, avocado and thinly shredded vegetables // food to glow

I have had this idea kicking around for years. Yes, actual years. First of all, I liked the alliteration and the way it actually sounds when spoken. I would love to go up to a lunch counter and say the words, “Bang Bang Bagel, please. Extra sriracha. Hold the fries. No, I don’t want to ‘go large.’ “ Secondly, I just knew these flavours would click – the naturally sweet-savoury nut butter, buttery avocado, hot-tangy sriracha, lightly vinegared vegetables, smoky pan-fried tofu…

Why I didn’t immediately set to making it is one of life’s mysteries, but I rectified this deficit this very week. Even with stale bagels (I had bought them at the weekend) it made for a very lip-smacking repast. And Andrew had one the next day at work, the box coming back as if licked clean. And I got a verbal thumbs up, too.

This is more an idea elaborated so, if you fancy the sound of it, really just make it your own. Try tempeh or marinated tofu instead of the smoked tofu, whatever nut butter you like (or make your own), and any vegetables that you can slice thinly to get the sweetest flavour (it’s all about maximising the surface area to volume ratio  – just trust me on this one). Vinegar or no. Your call completely.

What is your favourite sandwich of all time? (Mine is grilled cheese and dill pickle! Nostalgic reasons)

bang bang tofu bagel with sriracha-lime peanut butter, avocado and thinly shredded vegetables // food to glow

Bang Bang Tofu Bagel

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

I’ve tried to re-create some of the flavours of traditional bang bang chicken, but with a huge twist of it being vegan, and in a bagel! Feel free to play with the ingredients to suit your own tastes and needs. It will be good whatever you do with it.

Don’t fancy soy? Why not a grilled Portabella mushroom instead. Bread not your thing? Wrap it in a big ol’ Romaine leaf or your favourite grain-free wrap. Sorted!

1/3 – 1/2 cake of firm tofu, sliced “like bacon” – marinated, smoked, or otherwise infused, is best here

1 tsp oil

1-2 bagels (you may wish to share one bagel between two people if not very hungry as it is very filling), sliced and partially hollowed out if you like

2 tbsp nut butter of choice

2 tsp lime juice (optional)

Sriracha sauce or hot sauce of choice – to taste

1 carrot, shredded or thinly sliced (you won’t use it all)

2 inches of cucumber, thinly sliced and marinated in 1 tsp rice vinegar for a few minutes

Small amount of lettuce, thinly sliced (I used Romaine)

2 spring onions/scallions, thinly sliced lengthways

1/4 – 1/2 ripe avocado, thinly sliced

Fresh seed sprouts – I used some quinoa ones from Good 4 U Nutrition (Tesco and Sainsburys)

Toasted sesame seeds


1. Heat the oil in a small sauté pan and sear the tofu until coloured on both sides. Pop a lid on it and keep it warm.

2. Stir together the nut butter, lime juice if using, and sriracha sauce. Set aside.

3. Lightly toast the bagel if you wish.

4. Spread half of the spicy nut butter on one half of each bagel/half bagel and start topping it with the tofu strips and the vegetables and seeds. Halve and demolish with greedy intent. Sharing allowed, but not mandatory.

bang bang tofu bagel with sriracha-lime peanut butter, avocado and thinly shredded vegetables // food to glow

More sandwich-type things on food to glow:

Grilled Shiitake Kimcheese (this is fab if you like kimchi like I do!)

Fig and Labneh (Soft Cheese) Tartines

And from friends:

Chickpea Salad Sandwich – the muffin myth

Masala Paneer, Roasted Pepper and Spinach Wrap – deena kakaya

Carrot, Hummus and Avocado Sandwich – tinned tomatoes

Falafel, Beetroot and Goats Cheese Wraps – tinned tomatoes

Green Goddess Sandwich – amuse your bouche

wild garlic pizza with kale tops , capers and chilli by food to glowWell, I have been predicting that the end was nigh for wild garlic. Me (at least 10 times in the past couple of weeks):”Ooh, you’ll have to get out there quick because it’s only going to be around for another week.”

I am happy to be proved wrong. It just keeps a-coming! I am hearing reports from far and wide in the UK that not only is it still around, but that everyone and their dog seems to have caught wild garlic fever. Yay!

Wild garlic is really one of those foods that I have become quite evangelical about: uber useful, uber nutritious, mega tasty and, if you have some local woods or a river nearby, it’s free. I am smugly in the free camp. But even if you have to buy it, it is cheap stuff – in fancy organic shops and farmers markets, too. I think sellers have cottoned on to the fact that everyone who buys it knows that it grows abundantly, and that no one actually has to spend time and money growing the stuff, so they can’t fleece you on the price. Or at least I hope they aren’t! Supermarkets can’t stock it because it has the keeping qualities of a snowflake (exaggerating slightly). Buy it/pick it and use it within day or two. I find it stores best “dirty” and in a paper bag.wild-garlic-image-by-food-to-glow

The easiest thing is to make pesto with it and then you have it for ages as it keeps brilliantly in the freezer. An immediate thing to do with at least a handful is to toss it onto a freshly baked pizza or  add to a pasta dish. And that’s what I’ve done here. You will note that I also have kale tops/ sprouting kale blossoms on the pizza, which is that cute little hybrid around earlier in the year. I caught the last of them just as wild garlic was long enough to pick (end of March). Sub with baby kale leaves, shredded more mature kale, pinched off kale tops if you are growing your own. I also have recently used the flowering tops from kale plants that had over-wintered and gone a bit wild. In any case, the kale goes smoky and crispy in the heat and is utterly delicious.  Broccoli is great too but just use something nippy to go with the tomato sauce.

Ooh, I’ve also made this with a bought (Quorn) vegan chorizo added, which was sublime, but I can’t really recommend commercially made vegan chorizos as they are pretty highly processed. :-( I’m happy to be introduced to a good one though!

Just a little note on nutrition: tomato and kale together have what is known in the nutrition and dietetic worlds as culinary, or nutritional, synergy. Without going into too much detail (I bet my nutrition classes wish I would do the same for them!), basically their action in the body is amplified by their complementing plant chemicals.They are both good for us individually of course, but together they are potentially many times more potent. This may especially apply to some cancers. Scientist have observed in animal studies that it works on prostate tumours but the why, can it help other cancers, and the all-important “can we apply this to us” part is not yet known. In the meantime, we try and eat a broccoli-kale-cabbage-sprouts with tomato products meal a few times a week. Bonus tip: tomato puree/paste has more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.

Pizza as health food? Well, almost!

wild garlic pizza with kale tops , capers and chilli by food to glow

Wild Garlic and Kale Tops Pizza

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 quantity/ball pizza dough (bought or homemade) OR flatbread dough

1/2 cup of tomato sauce (bought or homemade)

2 handful of chopped kale, kale tops or kale sprouts – rub with a little oil

1 handful of mixed sliced spring onion and wild garlic stems

Crushed red chillies (I had some that dried from neglect over the winter and were perfect for this)

2 large handfuls grated cheese of choice, vegan if liked (I used mature cheddar, keeping it all-British)

2 tbsp rinsed capers

Olive oil, for drizzling

Large handful of wild garlic leaves (and flowers if they have blossomed), chopped if needed

Polenta or cornmeal for the baking tray (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/450F. Scatter polenta on the tray.

2. Roll out the dough, place it on the prepared tray, and spread with the sauce.

3. Add on the greens (except the wild garlic leaves themselves), capers and chilli; scatter over the cheese.

4. Bake in the preheated oven until the crust is golden, the greens are a bit crispy, and the cheese is bubbly. Immediately scatter over the wild garlic leaves, drizzle the oil around the edges of the crust, and devour immediately!

wild garlic pizza with kale tops , capers and chilli by food to glow

wild garlic, walnut and broccoli pasta // food to glow

Wild Garlic Pasta with Broccoli, Walnuts and Cheese

(and a cheeky glass of wine)

Dried pasta – I like pipe rigate (50-75 g dried per person)

Toasted, broken walnuts (about 30g per person)

Purple sprouting broccoli or Tenderstem®-type broccoli, steamed or blanched for 2-3 minutes max

Nettles or spinach, blanched and chopped (about 1 packed cup before cooking)

a good handful of wild garlic leaves, roughly chopped – flowers too if you have them (keep whole)

Best extra virgin olive oil (about 1 tbsp per person)

Chilli flakes

Hard cheese, grated (about 30g per person) – I like grana padano

1. Cook the pasta as directed, a little underdone is seemingly better for our blood sugar levels. Drain, saving some of the cooking water.

2. Toss with everything but the cheese, adding any seasoning and a splash of the cooking water per serving. Plate up and sprinkle over the grated cheese. You may like to mix in a little wild garlic pesto. Here’s my latest version, below. And here’s a link to my original one (forgive the images; and it has a risotto recipe too).

wild garlic and nettle pesto // food to glow

Wild Garlic and Nettle Pesto, Take 2

  • Servings: one jar
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

100-120g wild garlic leaves and stems – cleaned, blanched for 30 seconds in boiling water, drained, squeezed dry and roughly chopped

50g wild nettles – as above

50g grana padano or vegetarian parmesan, grated

75g sunflower seeds, walnuts or pine nuts, toasted if possible

Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon (more to taste after you have blended it)

Salt and pepper, to taste

100ml best extra virgin olive oil (evoo) OR a blend of evoo and rapeseed oil (that’s what I do)

Method: Place everything in a blender, food processor or large pestle and mortar. Blitz or pound until you almost have the desired texture, then drizzle or fold in the oil just until mixed. Pop the paste into a sterilised jar or into bags for the freezer.

This recipe is easily increased to the quantities or ingredients that you have. I made LOADS of this and have about 20 little bags in the freezer now!

Other Wild Garlic Recipes on Food To Glow:

Creamy Wild Garlic, Kale and Egg Toast Bake

Wild Garlic Soup (very budget-minded)

Wild Garlic, Lemon and Ricotta Toast

Wild Garlic Pesto Risotto (a favourite recipe of mine)

…and here’s how I used wild garlic with some lovely Scottish salmonwild-garlic-ricotta-toast by food to glow

wild-garlic-soup by food to glow

Wild Garlic, Rice and Bean Soup

PS If you aren’t sure about what is and what isn’t wild garlic, have a look at my Instagram post here (you don’t need an account to view it), where I briefly show and explain what to look for when picking or buying. My friend Elaine (foodbod) just posted about how useful she found this little guide. As a warning, she bought what was purported to be wild garlic but, when she checked my Instagram post, found that it was not. Picking the wrong thing – or buying the wrong thing – can lead to a very painful gut.

Popping this post over to Emily for her weekly and ‘all-inclusive” #recipeoftheweek sharing post. Cheers, Emily!recipe-of-the-week

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. By clicking on the link and buying this product you get a great blender at no extra cost to you by doing so. 







crackly exterior and soft, molten interior: the ultimate chocolate cake is Swedish Kladdkaka! // by food to glowDo you favour a light, open-textured, easily-cut chocolate cake? One that is three tiers of ganache-filled indulgence? Well, you may as well just come back next week as this cake is none of these. If however the chocolate cake of your dreams is slightly ugly, cracked on top and is really rather unruly then, well, pull up a stool, I may just make your dreams come true.

I should mention at this point so as to keep you here for the recipe that kladdkaka is ridiculously easy to make. Not that Swedes need that as an advantage when making a cake, mind you. Any country that produces such beautiful yeasted buns as my favourite – and yet to master – cardamom bun are not exactly slackers when it comes to baking nous. 20150507_170215

But easy is always a winner for me when it comes to baking. Especially anything that doesn’t need pretty swirls of icing, or stamping out little hearts in fondant. So, even although I am an infrequent baker of sweet things, I was very excited when, leafing through a recent copy of Waitrose magazine, I spied a come-hither image of this very cake. I read the text, realised I had the ingredients, and basically ignored the piles of ironing and the floor that needed washing so that I could make it. I have never done that before. Never. Of course it wasn’t just an excuse to delay tackling household disorder. Oh, no.

Reading further about this cake I repeatedly came across the words molten, creamy, crackly, sticky, addictive, OMG,  gooey, delicious, fudgey, brownie, perfect and, um, ugly. I would agree with all of these. And I should just add “must-make.” And by must-make I mean, step over the washing and wade through the dust bunnies to make it. Ignore the phone too for timing is everything to get the perfect ratio of crackly, chocolate wafer-like crust exterior to gooey molten lava cake interior. This is what you get when you cross a brownie with a cake – chocolate nirvana, and household chaos. Thank you Sweden.

Why not get the kids to make this for (US) Mother’s Day? Or practise getting the crackle crust-melty inside just right and debut it publicly on Father’s Day? Yeah, go on and do some private practising. I did. :-) And btw, you can make it three-tier and lace it with ganache, but I can’t be held responsible… crackly exterior and soft, molten interior: the ultimate chocolate cake is Swedish Kladdkaka! // by food to glow

Kladdkaka – Swedish Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from who wrote the recipe for Waitrose magazine, and who have a highly-regarded café and shop in London.

This is my version of the most popular cake in Sweden. Somewhere between a brownie and a proper cake, unleavened kladdkaka is delightfully squidgy when done as it ‘should’, but even if its interior is less than fudgy it will still be fantastic. But it is worth keeping an eye on it to achieve the proper texture of crispy exterior and gooey interior because it is quite possibly the best chocolate cake if done with this in mind. I give some slightly pedantic instructions below to help you get the perfect result. You are wanting a crackly crust and a molten interior. Sounds good, huh?

So, do save room after dinner for this one. This is supposed to serve 8, but if you can make that happen rather than gobble it between four people then you are a better person than I! Serve with berries and softly whipped cream.crackly exterior and soft, molten interior: the ultimate chocolate cake is Swedish Kladdkaka! // by food to glow 100g unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan.

2 tbsp liquer of choice – e.g. Frangelica, Kirsch, Glotonia Pedro Ximenez Los Pecadillos (what I use – divine!) – optional but decrease the flour to 150g if not using

2 medium eggs

150g golden caster sugar or sucanat

1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste

160g chestnut flour, light spelt flour or unbleached plain flour/AP flour OR gluten-free baking flour mix (I use chestnut flour – naturally gluten-free and uber yummy!)

¼ tsp fine salt

4 tbsp best cocoa powder (I use Green& Black’s) crackly exterior and soft, molten interior: the ultimate chocolate cake is Swedish Kladdkaka! // by food to glow1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Butter and line a loose-bottomed 20cm/8 in pan.

2. Melt butter; add liquer if using, then set aside.

3. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer or with electric beaters for 4-5 minutes.

4. Sift over the flour, salt and cocoa powder and fold in lightly – no beating! Now pour in the butter and fold again until just mixed to a smooth batter.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared oven and bake in the lower part of the oven for 18-22 minutes, depending on your oven and perhaps the type of flour you’ve used. The perfect kladdkaka is one that cracks slightly when pressed. If it dents immediately it needs another minute or two. The cake will not rise as such but will puff up and crack charmingly as it cools. Cracks are good in this cake!

6. Allow it too cool a bit before cutting and eating while warm. Because I was taking the two that are shown to work I needed to cool them completely to cut them. But kladdkaka is best warm. If eating it the next day (such restraint!) do rewarm the cake on low in a microwave. You can freeze it too: defrost it in the fridge and then pop it into the oven until just warmed. Serve with softly whipped cream (a touch of vanilla is nice in the cream) and maybe some berries. I also like it with a flurry of bitter cocoa.

crackly exterior and soft, molten interior: the ultimate chocolate cake is Swedish Kladdkaka! // by food to glowPopping this over to a new-to-me Pinterest link-up over at MisplacedBrit, #StrategySaturday. Thanks, Steph! And over to the lovely Emily (A Mummy Too) for her weekly share-fest that is #RecipeoftheWeek.

Oh! May 10th update: Just made kladdkaka muffins as a belated birthday treat for my daughter and her flatmates. I added 2 tbsp of dark chocolate-peanut butter spread instead of the booze, used Doves gluten-free flour mix, and cooked these petite babies for 10 minutes only.

kladdkaka muffins gluten free Swedish chocolate cake

phone snap of treat-sized kladdkaka

creamy-kaleand-wild-garlic-toast-bake by food to glowFollow your nose and you may just find free food to be had in damp woods and shaded river banks in Britain. But get out there quick. This silky leaved wild herb – the darling of nature-inspired chefs at this time of year – won’t be around for much longer.

The pretty white star-shaped flowers are almost in bloom, signalling the near-end of spring’s really rather delicious stand-out wild herb. Growing prolifically in lush clumps of cool green, wild garlic is still growing up here in Scotland, although the longer the season stretches out the milder the aroma. I have been consistently gathering it throughout spring in the adjacent woods, as well as a nearby river, but if you have a farmer’s market you should still be able to get a bag or two for a pound or two. In the US, you probably call this ransoms, or bear garlic: same thing – more or less.

I have one or two more wild garlic recipes to share. But if wild garlic eludes you and you wish to try these recipes, young spinach and a small clove of garlic is a decent approximation. Incidentally, wild garlic smells much more pungent than it tastes. And, although it has the same anti-bacterial, anti-fungal action, and blood pressure and cholesterol lowering properties as bulb garlic, it leaves the breath untainted.wild-garlic-image-by-food-to-glow

wild-garlic-aand-nettle-pesto by food to glow

wild garlic and nettle pesto

If you are still able to get a good supply of wild garlic, use it up to make pesto (no need for basil or garlic!), stashing little measured bags in the freezer for use later. Otherwise, it is super added as fresh leaves to salad, to include (and to garnish) savoury bakes, to give a subtle edge to soups, blend into dips, and throw as a wild card ingredient into pasta dishes and stratas. The lovely flowers are edible too. A favourite recent breakfast – other than this one – had me folding finely chopped wild garlic into ricotta, adding in some lemon zest and salt, and folding this into setting egg for a soft and exceedingly luscious omelette. But this one is especially fab because it is baked on bread in the oven.

So, slice a couple of pieces of sourdough or other sturdy, good bread (no supermarket stuff, please – too absorbent), wilt your greens and crack dem eggs. And, you know, a Bloody Mary wouldn’t be a bad call either. ;-)

creamy-kaleand-wild-garlic-toast-bake by food to glow

Creamy Kale and Wild Garlic Toast Bake

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

You really need good sturdy bread to make this work. Anything less will just act as a sponge when what you really want is it to hold up to the soft wilted greens and to catch the eggs. Sourdough is my call, but you be the judge. This is a luxurious breakfast designed to be made and immediately taken back to bed with you.

about 50-60g (2 packed cups) young kale or spinach – kale de-ribbed if necessary

a good handful of wild garlic, washed and roughly chopped

4 tbsp Greek yogurt or creme fraiche, divided use

2-3 heaped tbsp freshly grated vegetarian Parmesan or grana padano (I prefer the latter)

a few gratings of nutmeg, to taste

Lemon zest or sumac – optional

a slice of butter or some oil-spray

2 slices of best sourdough bread, as slices or cubed and pushed together to resemble slices (this makes it easier to eat in bed!)

2 organic, free-range hen or duck eggs (I had one of each, hence why one egg is more done than the other!)

salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

2. Wilt the kale/spinach and wild garlic in a little water. Squeeze dry and ‘fluff’ with a fork. Mix in the most of the yogurt, most of the cheese, some nutmeg (just a little), lemon zest/sumac if using, and season to taste. Set aside.

3. Butter or oil-spray a small enamel or glass dish, add your bread (buttering these if you wish – I don’t). Now dollop on your greens mix, pressing in two good indentations for the eggs. Crack in your eggs: don’t worry if some escapes. It is almost impossible to contain the white as this seems to have a mind of its own.

4. Pop the dish in the preheated oven and bake for about eight minutes, or until the whites are set/white and the yolk is runny. Sprinkle over more cheese if you like, and dollop on the remaining yogurt. Season with a little more salt and pepper.

Enjoy immediately, and with a large napkin.

creamy-kaleand-wild-garlic-toast-bake by food to glow

More Wild Garlic Recipes On Food To Glow:

Wild Garlic Soup

Wild Garlic, Lemon and Ricotta Toast (the basis for the omelette described above)

Spicy Cauliflower-Cashew Bites with Wild Garlic Sauce and Buffalo Sauce (not the main thing about the recipe but a useful sauce with loads of applications – even as a salad dressing!)

 Wild Garlic Pesto Risotto (one of my first recipes)

Over on Instagram, you can see my “fast day”Walnut, Wild Garlic and Nettle Pesto with Poached Egg, Burnt Cherry Tomatoes and Courgetti! My Instagram feed is full of stuff – especially fast day/5:2 recipes/ideas – that doesn’t always make it to the blog but that we LOVE to eat. :-)

And Two Really Fab Ones From Recipes From A Pantry:

Quinoa and Wild Garlic Sauce with Grilled Mushrooms

Feta and Wild Garlic Mushrooms

Lastly, I am popping this seasonal quick recipe over to two GREAT recipe round-ups:

Cooking with Herbs over at Lavender and Lovage

#ExtraVeg, the brainchild of Michelle and Helen, and hosted this week at Kate of Veggie Desserts fame.



lookwhatifoundThis is the second edition of my “Look What I Found!” Friday feature, where I share what I have found, been given, picked, planted and bought. I love a nosy in peoples’ kitchens. I hope you enjoy having a nosy around mine.

tideford-soups image by food to glowI love soup, and as an adopted Scot soup-making and soup-eating is pretty much a must around here (It’s the cold you see). I usually make my own, but when I was offered the chance to try these newly created soups by the upmarket – but still affordable – Devon company Tideford Organics, I of course said, “yes.” I mean, who could turn down the chance to have a sneak preview of Cucumber Soup with Dill and Kefir, or Watercress with Spirulina and Lemon? Not me, that’s for sure. And these are so good; the flavours distinct and tasting very much of themselves -if you know what I mean. I’m pretty sure that if I were blind folded that I would be able to name most of the major ingredients. Can’t say that about Heinz, can you? This new range is available from May 5 at these stockists in the UK. Their sauces are extremely good too, and available in the chiller cabinet.

DSC_0041You may already be familiar with Yutaka products: most supermarkets carry their mini miso soups (a staple item in my pantry) and their Japanese condiments. But they also make other products too, and I was lucky enough to be sent some Konnyako and Shirataki Noodles to try. “Eh?” Well, if you have heard of ‘slimming noodles’ these are the very ones, but the original ones. Made from filling but very low carbohydrate konjac these are a must for anyone doing intermittent fasting as they REALLY fill you up. Like tofu they don’t really taste of anything (that is a good thing!) so you can make them taste of whatever you wish. I use them in broths with vegetables and am always surprised at how full I feel. It is safe food to eat but those who take meds to control Type 2 diabetes should be aware that it lowers blood sugar.

finnberry image by food to glowThese ‘super fruit’ berry powders are a MUST if you are a smoothie-head like me. My Instagram feed has featured quite a few blended concoctions starring these gorgeous powders. Just a tablespoon added into my blender with the other bits and bobs is all you need to add Nordic berry-goodness that is exceptionally rich in vitamins, flavonoids, carotene, antioxidants. And I LOVE the nippy-sweet taste (no-added sugar, no added anything!). I will definitely be buying some replacements once these packets, kindly given to me by Finnberry, run out. Although I mainly use them in smoothies, I have seen some quite interesting desserts and breakfast ideas on Instagram. I even made my own wee sweet – raw freezer fudge – and dusted the tops with lingonberry and buckthorn. They also have bilberry and cranberry powders, as well as dried berries and – mmm – chocolate-covered berries. Have a look at their site for nutritional info, ordering info and beautiful recipes. Their About Us page is pretty special, too.

DSC_0043I have some very good friends. Friends who know me all too well. I rarely get chocolate from anyone, nor fancy jewellery. These things are perfectly nice to receive, don’t get me wrong (and if you have ordered me any fancy jewellery please don’t let me stop you!), but the way to keep me sweet is to give me cheese (in moderation, of course). Or stuff to do with cheese. My exceptionally lovely friend and neighbour Kath (and blog reader – it’s in her contract) gave me this fab cheese making kit for my recent birthday. Looking on the website, these kits have got rave reviews, and there are many other options too. I really can’t wait to get on with this little project! I wonder if I can order one of those natty white coats and mesh hats to go with my role as cheese maker in chief at food to glow? Thanks so much, Kath. I’ll share. :-)

And what to have with homemade cheese? Some fabulous crispbreads. I occasionally make my own crispy flatbreads (here and here), but these absolutely must-have Peters Yard Swedish crisp breads are ALWAYS in my kitchen. Usually awaiting a slice of cheese or spread of almond butter. You can order them online, buy them at Waitrose or, in Edinburgh, pick them up from their three bakeries. I am a lucky so-and-so, I know. Three Swedish bakeries in Edinburgh; who’d have guessed. I have honestly never tasted a better crisp bread. And a lovely Norwegian lady on one of my recent cancer nutrition courses has given it her seal of approval, too. PS the Makro in Edinburgh (Sighthill) has them at trade prices. Shhh.

manomasa tortilla chips image by food to glowAnother thing that friends know  – and you too if you are a regular reader – about my snacking habits is that I am a sucker for a tortilla chip (or 20). I blame my childhood. Growing up in Florida in the 70s and 80s there weren’t all the flavours you have today, of course. And I don’t remember my mother buying them at the supermarket. But we did have a wonderfully over-the-top restaurant chain called Casa Gallardo that made their own tortilla chips. Quite often my friends and I would eat so many complimentary and refillable (!) tortilla chips that we barely managed a dent in our chimichangas or burritos.  But we always had room for a margarita (this was before you had to be 21 to drink alcohol). Anyway, my taste for salty things is my downfall and now that I have been introduced to the delights of Manomasa tortilla chips I really have no hope of changing my ways. I didn’t eat ALL the bags (as much as I would have liked that) but I had enough samples to know that this is something I will buy. My daughter and her flatmates really loved them too. Impressively they made their bag last 2 whole days. She obviously didn’t have the rigorous training that I had. ;-) The texture is superbly light and crisp with no oiliness. And the flavours? Well, think Mexican street food and you get the picture. Total treat.

DSC_0044If you are looking for a sustainable form of protein and, not to put too fine a point on it – are rather adventurous – why not check out Planet Organic’s venture into edible insects. While 2 billion people eat insects on a regular basis  we in the West, with our millions of acres devoted to feeding livestock, have not really been interested. We watch others eat insects on reality programmes (live ones, which is pretty rank) but opportunities to try them in a more palatable form have not really been available. Until now. My husband spent his early years in Zambia where it was not uncommon to eat things such as crickets. He says they were really good! To be honest I haven’t plucked up the courage to try my Buffalo Worms yet but a stir fry is on the cards.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 19.42.49Why am I showing you my laundry? Isn’t that a bit TMI? Well, see those white-ish balls in the basket with my dish cloths, towels and pillow slips? They are my new best buy. I was in TK Maxx fairly recently when these caught my eye. I had heard about their laundry softening powers, and how they cut the drying time, but had never seen them before. Reasonably priced I popped the box of three in my basket and planned to use them the next day. Well, I sprinkled them with some frankincense essential oil and had not only kitten-soft laundry, but it smelled like ‘high church‘ too. Oh, and it shaved off at least 20 minutes of drying time. If the sky above us would stop with the intermittent hailstorms then I could dry my laundry outside. But I will still soften it up for 10 minutes with these great woollen balls. You can buy them in some shops, online but you can also make your own.

homemade vanilla extractAnd lastly, from a friend and fellow healthy blogger, an extremely thoughtful gift. As a thank you pressie for writing up this article for her blog, Katie at The Muffin Myth sent from her home in Stockholm a bottle of 12-month (exactly!) vanilla extract made by her own talented hands. I have only had a chance to use it once but it is so good that that I have even dabbed some on my neck to carry the aroma with me! Perhaps if you write her an article on a tricky subject she will send you some too. But, if not, she has an easy recipe that I can vouch gives brilliant results. Perfect for presents and to keep. foraging image by food to glow

Okay, one last picture. This is what I picked in the local woods when I was walking back from dropping off my car to get serviced: wild garlic, nettles, daffodils (still!), some bluebells and some yellow pom pom things. Although I had work to do I immediately came in and made pesto combining the two edibles, making two batches: one with walnuts and one with pine nuts and sunflower seeds. Lesson: always carry a bag. You never know what you might find. :-)

See you next week lovely people. This weekend I’m off to the Big Smoke (London) for some food and, um, food. If you want to see what I get up to, follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. But only if you aren’t offended by big plates of Japanese food, Vietnamese food, and frothy cocktails. ;-)

Disclosure: I was given some of the above products to try. I was not asked to write a review (positive or otherwise) on any of the items received. All opinions are my own, and freely given.

Naanchiladas-curry-spiced-enchiladas by food to glowAs with some television shows, where an entire episode seems to be based round a joke that came up in a production meeting, this recipe was an off-beat idea of mine that grew into a recipe. I started with the hybrid name and it kind of went from there.

But unlike some TV shows, this works. No joke.

Just a couple of notes: about the sauce, if you wish to use garam masala or another curry powder that you like, that would be just fine. Use about two tablespoons, but be prepared to add more if the flavour seems “thin.” And as for the naan, use roti or chapati if you wish, or even commercial naan, although the latter may be too thick and will tear/break (and really aren’t very nice when compared to homemade). Heck you could even add curry spices to a bought red enchilada sauce. Whatever way you do this, it’s a fun and unexpected way to enjoy vegetables. Perhaps not as unexpected as my last recipe though. ;-)

Naanchiladas-curry-spiced-enchiladas by food to glow


  • Servings: 3-5
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Change out the vegetables and flatbread to suit your tastes (and perhaps to clear out your fridge). This is more a template and slightly offbeat idea than a proper recipe, so make it your own. And just to say I have labelled it as of ‘moderate’ difficulty but it isn’t difficult, just with a few more steps than a beginner cook might be comfortable. Using bought roti and a bought but spiced up red enchilada sauce would cut the steps drastically and make it a very quick midweek meal. But of course, I have to go the ‘whole enchilada.’ ;-)

The Naanchilada Sauce

2 tbsp oil of choice (eg coconut, ghee or rapeseed)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 peeled clove of garlic, minced

35g (1.1 oz) peeled ginger, minced

1/2 tsp each of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, hot (or mild if for children) paprika, turmeric

¼ tsp fenugreek seeds, crushed (or use ground fenugreek)

2 tbsp flour or cornflour/cornstarch OR whatever you like to use for thickening sauces

35g (1.1 oz) peeled ginger, minced

3 tbsp tomato puree

500ml vegetable stock (more as needed to get the sauce as you wish)

Special equipment: jug blender (I use this one) or hand blender. If you have neither then please use all ground spices.

1. Heat a skillet and add the spices. Let these get a bit toasty then scrape out onto a plate. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil over medium-low in the same skillet, and add the chopped onion and the garlic and sauté until the onion is soft – about five minutes. Add in the toasted spices, the ginger and the flour, and cook for a further minute, stirring. Pour in half of the vegetable stock and add all of the tomato puree, stir well and bring to a fast simmer, stirring occasionally. Let this thicken, then add the rest of the stock and let this thicken. Pour the sauce into a blender and blitz until completely smooth. Set aside. This can be done a couple of days in advance, or made and stored in the freezer. Do play with this sauce until you get it the way YOU want it.Naanchiladas-curry-spiced-enchiladas by food to glow

Naan Bread

If you need something gluten-free, why not try these brown rice tortillas? I haven’t tried them but they look like they will work well here.

250g (9 oz) plain or unbleached flour (I used spelt flour)

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

1 tbsp kalonji/Nigella seeds OR cumin seeds

130ml (4.5 fl oz) plant or dairy milk (I used hemp milk)

2 tbsp rapeseed oil or other neutral cooking oil

1. Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk the oil and milk. Make a ‘well’ in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Use your hand to mix the dough, and once it has come together knead it in the bowl until is smooth and elastic: you want it to spring back when you press into it. Cover the dough with a cloth or plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes to half an hour, to rest the gluten.

2. Turn it out of the bowl onto a floured surface and roll into a sausage shape and divide into five equal pieces. Roll out the pieces thinly. Cover the rolled dough with a cloth while you finish with the rest of the pieces.

3. Heat a skillet and lay a naan on it, turning when bubbles are just lightly browned – remember they will cook further in the oven. Set aside and cover. These can be kept wrapped in a tea towel while you sort the vegetables. You want to keep them wrapped and warm (but not hot) so that they remain pliable.naan-bread-collage by food to glow

The Naanchilada Filling

1 tbsp oil of choice

250g (8 oz) cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces

125g (4.4 oz) aubergine/eggplant, diced

½ onion, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, minced

40g/1.4 oz kale, chopped (ribs removed) OR other sturdy greens

1 heaped tbsp. garam masala or curry powder (I used Steenberg Organic)

Salt, to taste

100g (3.5) cooked lentils – I used black Beluga lentils from a pouch (Merchant Gourmet) as the really hold their shape, but use any that you have

Hard, grated cheese, to top the filled naan breads (I used vintage/extra strong Cheddar but paneer but would be fab and go with the whole ‘vibe’) – optional

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

2. Heat the oil over a low-medium flame in the skillet or a wok and add the onions and garlic, sautéing for five minutes; add the remaining vegetables, the spices and a splash of water or water and a little tomato puree (if you have any, but not necessary). Saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened.

3. To assemble, pour a thin layer of sauce in a rectangular baking dish that will fit the naans (I used one that is 30cm x 21cm / 12in x 8.5in). Take each naan and evenly fill with the vegetable mix and top with the lentils (or mix in before filling the breads), rolling them up and laying them in the dish. Pour over the sauce and smooth.

4. Place the naanchiladas in the preheated oven and bake until the sauce is bubbly on the sides and the cheese is browned and and gooey – about 20 minutes.

PS. I’m popping this over to Jac’s for her new Meat Free Mondays link-up. Why don’t you do the same with your latest veggie recipe?Naanchiladas-curry-spiced-enchiladas by food to glowNaanchiladas-curry-spiced-enchiladas by food to glow

magic-vegan-chocolate-mousse by food to glowI really really wanted to title this, “Bloody Freakin’ Genius Chocolate Mousse,” but that a) might have sounded a bit rude to the more sensitive among you (sorry), and you might have clicked away; and b) it might have sounded a bit hyperbolic – and you might have clicked away, this time shaking your head at the egotism the title implies.

But, I am not the genius. Someone else is. {It may be this person.} Someone whose hand I wish to give a hearty shake, and on whose cheek I wish to give a chocolate-scented kiss. Folks, you may wish to be sitting when I tell you this.

The secret, the magic, well, it is *drum roll* chickpea liquid.

I know, yes, the icky goo that you pour down the drain. It sounds utterly bonkers; and my brain is still recovering from trying this and it absolutely, 100 per cent, working. But work it does. Those starches and proteins that we willy-nilly chuck away are thousands of recipes waiting to be developed.magic-vegan-chocolate-mousse by food to glow

Don’t believe me? Well, just go – right now – and get a can of chickpeas. Drain the peas over a medium sized bowl. Now pull out your electric mixer and plunge them into that bowl, and whisk that gunge on high. That’s all. Almost immediately it goes encouragingly frothy, but as you keep it in and move the beaters around the bowl – as you would for whipping cream (this is essentially the process you are mimicking) – it whitens and swells with high-velocity air. Remove the beaters from the bowl and admire your soft peaks. ;-) Soft peaks that stay, even when you turn your back to now gently heat some best dark chocolate.

screenshot of my instagram post

screenshot of my instagram post

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I have to thank Fran down in Tasmania for mentioning this method to me a few times in the comments. I was initially intrigued, but as I can’t really eat chickpeas the notion sat in an unused and spacious crevice in my brain.  Luckily, opening some chickpeas recently for a recipe (soon to be blogged), that notion sprang to my prefrontal cortex and demanded that I immediately pop a bowl under the chickpeas rather than let this goo escape. Sidetracked to a terrifyingly manic degree I then grabbed chocolate and some other bits, pushing the other recipe’s ingredients to the side. In my haste – and excitement once I saw those fluffy peaks appear – I burned two batches of good chocolate. I’m rubbish at patience and chocolate melting, but I imagine you are better about both of these things. It all came good in the end, and is too easy for anyone not to try. Once I decided that I could just add chocolate to this cloudlike entity I looked on the Internet and found this recipe on Mouthwatering Vegan. I have adapted it lightly, but with so few ingredients it is hard to stray far from Miriam’s original.

Apparently this whole chickpea liquid thing started on a Facebook page at the beginning of the year, and by March a few people had posted about it, and with other beans and tinned hearts of palm (!). But this is still ahead-of-the-curve stuff, and I have Fran – or Narf77 as is her nom de plume – to thank.

So, the magic is not chia seeds, avocado, coconut milk, cashews, or any other ‘super food’ we healthy types like to play with. Nope, just plain old chickpea liquid.

Have you already discovered this gob-smackingly genius trick? Did you make macarons, meringues, marshmallow fluff, torrone, mousse? Let me know! Here’s a page you may be interested in too. Oh, and btw, Elaine has made a savoury mousse with hers. She saw my experiments on Instagram and had a play herself. Genius! Bl**dy freakin’ genius. ;-)

magic-vegan-chocolate-mousse by food to glow

Magic Chocolate Mousse

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: ridiculously easy
  • Print

The idea of whisking up chickpea liquid and it making a fluffy mousse may seem bonkers and yucky but I assure you, while it is bonkers it is as far away from yucky as you can imagine. Especially with melted chocolate folded in. The whipped liquid tastes only faintly beany, but with chocolate added and a little coffee essence (not necessary but I think it really works), NO ONE will be able to know the magic you have wrought. Hit them with the news after they have demolished their bowl and asked for seconds… Be prepared to deal with the screaming.

The liquid from a tin of chickpeas

100g (3.5 oz) best dark chocolate, melted in a bain marie or microwave (this page from love tells you about both methods) – allow it too cool a little while you make the rest

pinch of fine salt

1-2 tsp icing sugar, or tiny smidge quality stevia (I use Sweetleaf organic in powdered form, but only occasionally), to taste if desired (I didn’t need any)

1 tsp coffee or vanilla extract (more to taste) — maybe mint extract or rose would be nice

1. Using an electric whisk/beaters whisk the chickpea liquid until it looks like softly whipped cream – soft-peak stage. Whisk in the sugar if using, and the salt.

2. Stir the coffee or vanilla extract fully into the melted chocolate, then either fold this into the fluffy mix, or – as I did – whisk it in with your electric beaters. If you do the latter you may the think you have ruined it, but it sets beautifully. Taste for flavour and adjust if needed (remember – no raw eggs here!)

3. Pour the chocolatey gorgeousness into 2-3 serving cups or individual-sized dishes, cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Garnish with cacao nibs, a dusting of cocoa powder or some icing sugar.

Note 1: this keeps well for a couple of days in the refrigerator without any deterioration in taste or appearance. Result!

Note 2: the basic method can be used as a vegan substitute for both whipped cream and whipped egg whites. Talk about versatile!



magic-vegan-chocolate-mousse by food to glowEntering this over at Emily’s Recipe of the Week where she shares loads of recipes every week – go and add yours! And also – because this is a very thrifty recipe – over at Credit Crunch Munch (cheers, Michelle, Helen and Camilla)


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