Lemony Kale, Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Homemade Vegan ‘Parmesan Cheese’

kalequinoasalad6Lemony Kale, Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Vegan Parmesan Cheese: mouthful of a title, mouthful of a meal. Continue reading

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My Quest for Perfect Hummus

hummusI can’t really remember the first time I had hummus. Being raised in a Deep South  commuter town, whose main highway was hemmed in with strip malls, Burger Kings and Dairy Queens, I seriously doubt it was there. We did have  - and it is still there today – a lone Greek restaurant, but I only ever remember the ubiquitous but very pleasant Greek salad, with its starchy ‘garnish’  of yogurty potato salad as a sop to American tastes. But hummus? I don’t think so. This was the era of aerobics and low fat after all. If I had been more adventurous, and less figure-conscious, I would no doubt have found the hummus and been hooked from the get go. Restaurant hummus is always far superior to that we can make at home. Or, so I thought. Continue reading

Tunisian Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine

tunisian-style chickpea and vegetable couscousVegetarian and vegan food can sometimes get a bad rap for being boring and bland. Bean-filled this, wholemeal encrusted that, a few dried mixed herbs and hey presto, a filling meal. Are most vegetarians really eating like this? I don’t think so. At least I hope not.

Admittedly, if I peruse some of the vegetarian cookery books from the 70s and 80s even I, an ardent exponent of plant-based cuisine, will go ‘bleuch.’ Maybe our tastes have changed, but nut cutlets, lentil loaf and black-eyed pea rissoles don’t really do it for me. Then or now. Continue reading

Late-Summer Salad and Triple Tomato Soup

This morning I realised we are experiencing an inexorable slide to ‘porridge weather’. All summer I have been vacillating between starting the day with berries and yogurt, poached egg with asparagus, and a breakfast bruschetta of chopped cherry tomatoes, olive oil & basil on sourdough. All very delicious and light. But this morning – without any thought behind it – I reached into the cupboard and pulled out a forlorn packet of Scottish porridge oats. Using a half and half mixture of soya milk and water, I simmered this companionable pairing before adding dried goji berries and a grating of apple. And it was heavenly. If that doesn’t say ‘autumn’ I’m not sure what does.

But it wasn’t just the instinctively pre-hibernation breakfast that signaled summer’s end. Although it doesn’t yet feel too chilly, the other omens are abundantly clear: more than the odd brown leaf on the lawn, mystery mushrooms colonising under the oak tree, a lower, moodier sky. But my most accurate harbinger is the two extra bodies on the bed. Today Mr A and I awoke to find our cats nestled and immovable among the folds of the the duvet.

Over the years we have realised that as soon as Max and Mimi pad up from the cool and serene downstairs to warm and cosy upstairs, summer is well and truly behind us. So, barring a freak heat wave (highly unlikely) it won’t be long until we fire up the central heating and start moaning about the cost of it.  Until then it is an extra layer and the comfort of cat-warmed feet. Continue reading