i’ve sliced it into 8 portions, wrapped them up and frozen them and hoping they last me a while. This is gluten free but doesn’t feel it! the cherry tomatoes aren’t 100% necessary but i always feel like eggy things like this always go really well with tomato relish or something, so they are a streamlined way of adding that sweet tomato flavour! go on, make one today and feel smug as you watch your flatmates hopelessly scrounge round for something to eat at lunchtime, or your friends dash to dispensary (a cute café that does admittedly scrummy food) for a pricey salad!
note: as you can tell from my copious additions to ingredient list, this really is an anything goes type recipe- as long as you stick to roughly the same amounts of egg, spinach and mushroom (their plush meaty texture really adds something special), you can mix and match however you like according to your tastes and pantry! xx
so after making cinnamon scrolls for the flatties last night (oops that autocorrected to fatties which is a fair call tbh) and a saturday market date this morning which involved a chocolate mousse doughnut, i was in dire need of some vegetables. luckily, past Anna (an overused expression of my sister’s, which i now seem to have picked up) was a thoughtful wee bunny and had prepared cooked lentils, homemade sun dried tomatoes, and feta in the fridge plus some frozen spinach in the freezer so i have just eaten a tremendously healthy lunch which my gluten weary body is thanking me for profusely. now don’t get me wrong – i’m no gluten nazi – but i feel so good when i’m not eating much of it.
eating healthily on a student (or any) budget is hard. bad food is just so cheap! and plentiful! and considering we buy bread as a flat, i could get by so cheaply if i just ate peanut butter toast for every meal of the day. and while that sounds like fun for the most part, not so good for this body of mine.
here are two tips, if you’d like (i will be doing more posts on the subject in the future. here are the two that come to mind for me right now!)
1. preparation is yo friend
– the key to eating healthy food on a budget is sorting yourself out in the weekends or evenings or whenever you’ve got some free time. it is so so sooooo much easier to eat well if your fixings are sitting there in the fridge, and a mere five minutes away from a good meal. it’s when you’ve got nothing sorted that you resort to takeaways or junk food.
my fave preparations are
– lentils. protein yeeha! if i’m feeling fancy i’ll saute some onion and garlic to begin, add some spices and then the lentils and then stock, and cook it down like a dry dahl. otherwise i’ll just boil them in some salted water. these can be paired with just about anything to form the basis for a meal.
– roasted root veges. obviously a winter time thing. i’ll do pumpkin, kumara, beetroot, parsnip, carrot… basically anything i’ve got on hand, with the exception of potatoes.
– sun dried tomatoes. very cheap in the summer! basically just dribble over some olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or malt if you’re a poor student) and chuck them in a low oven (130 ish) for a few hours or until shrivelled and crinkly. and i don’t even like tomatoes that much, but i love these.
– some kind of good fat – avo, feta, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews.. they add interest and yum to a salad.
– green vegetables. get that chlorophyll in ya! i find it easiest to buy frozen vegetables such as green beans, edamame, or frozen spinach portions. all it takes is a zap in the microwave (or even just popping them in frozen if i’m making my lunch in the morning, as they’ll be defrosted by lunchtime.)
some fave combos
– plain lentils, sun dried tomatoes, spinach and feta
– avocado, sundried tomatoes and a poached egg
– spicy lentils with a fried egg on top and feta/halloumi sprinkled over
– roasted veges, lentils, green beans, feta, and a cashew/cranberry/almond nut mix
– spicy lentils with spinach stirred through
…and much more
psst – if you don’t love lentils, then you can sub Israeli or regular couscous into most of these. which does mean you’ll be eating that wheat we’re trying to avoid, but still pretty healthy!
I also love love roasted cauliflower and broccoli, and will very happily munch my way through a heads over a few meals.
– cauli roasted with curry powder and mustard seeds, then a quick tangy yoghurt sauce to top
– broccoli with parmesan/ feta and pumpkin seeds/flaked almonds
2. get on the oat buzz
my weekday breakfast HAS to involve oats in some shape or form – all very well to munch on scones or eggs or scrolls on a weekend, but porridge or bircher is my go to on a weekday. i generally eat bircher in the summer and porridge in the winter. plus they’re so much cheaper than buying breakfast cereal! and i love that you can precisely control the amount of sugar. i bought some stunning rhubarb from the market today which i have already roasted with a little sugar and am looking forward to eating it with my bircher tomorrow!
some toppings/ combos
– cinnamon and fresh pear
– cinnamon and dates
– roasted rhubarb and vanilla yoghurt
– stewed appple made from proper cooking apples
– canned black doris plums and custard
– coconut, linseed and cranberries
– brown sugar and cream
life right now : the word that comes to mind is busy! i’ve just found out i have the dubious pleasure of two midterm tests on my birthday – cheers eco department. however, i’m powering on! i had a brilliant day today and got to spend time with some of my favourite people – had a morning market date and an afternoon tea with Paris tea and scones with cream and jam and gorgeous chats. i sure am a lucky ducky. plus my flatmate’s nana dropped round a ridiculous amount of baking complete with the butteriest shortbread i’ve ever tasted – mmm.
i have cinnamon scrolls to share with you – unfortunately i didn’t manage to take pictures of the finished product as we pounced on them! but my dear friends have kindly volunteered to come over to eat them this week so that i can get more photos – what selfless, charitable gals eh ;)
until next time, friends! have a great sunday! i hope you drink lots of coffee and read the sunday paper and stay in your pyjamas until at least lunchtime. xx
one of the attributes i imagine is useful in a blogger is a constant desire to find new and more interesting recipes. I’ve been like this ever since I began cooking, eschewing the classic recipes we had for things like chocolate biscuits in favour of recipes i’d never tried before. to me repeating the same recipe over and over was boring, especially if it was one that could be described as -shock horror- easy or quick to whip up!
this concept is so foreign to my mum, which i guess sort of makes sense when you’re a working mama with 3 kids ;).
But even as a harried mother I can’t imagine enjoying settling for easy, tried and true recipes – it’s just not in my DNA. of course there are my favourite recipes but i’d always sacrifice a little extra time and effort on improving or jazzing up a dish. yes, easy for me to say – leisurely student with nothing but time on my hands and few responsibilities!
to this day, when i’m home and i decide to bake something and my family requests one of the classic recipes, i sulkily mooch off to scour food blogs and recipe books for a newer, ‘better’ edition… perhaps the maxim ‘if its broke don’t fix it’ is something i’ll learn with age ;).
however, the upside to this this wilful, stubborn streak is that it occasionally culminates in very perfect recipe discoveries. along with this wonderful recipe, there is also a perfectly stunning rhubarb tart recipe i’m dying to show you!
sorry, back to potato salad but not as you know it- no mayonnaise, spring onions or bacon here- i guarantee you won’t miss them! instead, we take waxy new potatoes, coat them in an indian spice mixture and roast until perfectly crispy. then we layer them with the fresh, zingy “chaat salad” of juicy cucumber, red pepper, mint leaves and lemon juice.
the garnishes though, in my humble opinion, are what really make it. you take a whole cup of coconut chips (the flakes, not the desiccated thread stuff) and toast it, you get amaranth and pop it like popcorn, unsweetened greek yoghurt, and make a tamarind sauce out of tamarind pulp.
my meandering introduction was really just a longwinded way of telling you it’s complicated, and will take some time, requiring dirtying several bowls, 2 saucepans and a roasting tin. fiddly, but equally what elevate it from standard everyday stuff to a salad that’s pretty special.
I served it with my favourite sticky chicken, roasted asparagus and some sautéed silverbeet (aka chard), but it would be also very yummy brought along to a summer BBQ – you decide!
this recipe is slightly adapted from one in a wonderful recipe book called Ripe Recipes, after the deli in Auckland. this and the sequel A Fresh Batch are some of our favourite cookbooks and we’ve already made so many of the recipes – each one has been absolutely perfect. They are all unabashedly fresh, using beautiful produce and flavours you may not pick to be together but all work fantastically. i don’t expect the books are terribly well known outside of NZ, but they really should be – they rank up with the big names like Jamie Oliver in my eyes.
(psst: no fear of sponsored/affiliate links, i have no idea how to do that stuff!)
anyway, here is the recipe – let me know if you make it! i promise you won’t regret it :)
indian spiced potato salad
1 kg (2 lb) new potatoes, cut up if large
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt (I used sea salt and it was lovely, but table is fine)
3 onions, peeled and finely slice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
toss ingredients together in roasting dish, then roast at 180 C/ 350 F for 45- 60 mins, or until potatoes are cooked and crunchy.
1 fresh chilli, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, finely chopped.
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
juice of a lemon
toss ingredients together, then set aside.
1 cup coconut chips, toasted in a pan
3 tbsp amaranth,** popped in a pan (optional if unavailable/undesired)
1 cup greek (unsweetened) yoghurt
1/4 cup tamarind pulp
1 1/2 cups water
5 tbsp brown sugar
bring ingredients to the boil in a small saucepan, then bring down to a simmer for 10 minutes. if your tamarind pulp is stringy/fibrous, or has seeds, strain sauce through a sieve.
to assemble, layer half the potatoes, then half the chaat salad, then about a third of the coconut/amaranth, some of the tamarind sauce and greek yoghurt, then the other half of the potatoes, the final half of the chaat salad, then the rest of the sauces, and the last of the coconut/ amaranth to finish.
*so whats the deal with tamarind, i hear you ask? well, it’s a delicious sour pulp that comes from the pods of the tamarind tree. you can either buy it as a pulp or paste (unless you live in a country where it is grown, i’m guessing – in which case, lucky you!)
From what i’ve gathered, the pulp is just that, while the paste has stuff like water, sugar and salt added. I went down to the local asian supermarket and was spoilt for choice, eventually opting for a massive vacuum packed block of pulp for just $2. I know it seems like a luxurious/exotic ingredient, but it can be used in so many asian recipes and is really deliciously sour – if you enjoyed sour worms or sour patch kids as a child, you will definitely enjoy it. i like it in my sticky chicken, in the dressings of thai salads, and i think you can even make cocktails with it! i reckon you could even sub it in for lemon juice in the right context.
**in regards to amaranth, i’m really not the best person to ask as it was just something we happened to have in the cupboard (family’s gone to the hippy dark side, remember). Sarah from My New Roots has a fantastic post on it over here. in terms of tracking it down, your local health store or possibly a well stocked supermarket should have it – don’t despair if you can’t track it down! toasted sesame seeds could also be a yummy substitution if you’re tolerant of them.