A few days back I spent a lovely afternoon at home doing not a lot with mum, aka playing backgammon and re-watching Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers. After that I was in the mood for something warming, relatively effortless and delicious so of course shakshouka sprang to mind; the Moroccan wonder that is baked eggs in a deep tomato sauce and whatever bits n bobs you throw into it. My favourite thing about making shakshouka is that I can literally chuck in the kitchen sink and the flavour of that thick tomato base only gets better!
Egg n chips
So main affair settled on, I needed an accompaniment and, having just watched that Peter Jackson number, the line “What’s ‘taters’, Precious?” (delivered by Gollum, if it had slipped your mind) was still in my mind, so I thought I’d make some taters. Though, mine weren’t exactly what I imagine Samwise was thinking of when he retorted “boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew”, these babies have a mustard kick and a sweet, caramelised stickiness courtesy of the maple syrup – check out this recipe!
It’s a rather glum eve (not helped by a Clapham-induced hangover) and I’m sitting here reminiscing about warmer ones and runny yolks courtesy of Caravan at Kings Cross. This wonderful place is far from anything like its namesake, it stands tall nestled between Central Saint Martins College and the Grain Store (another fab restaurant that salutes the humble veg), located across Granary Square; that fountain-riddled expanse through which children dart during summer all giggles and swimsuits. (more…)
Baked cacao oatmeal topped with plums, banana and almond butter with carrot juice
In any long-term relationship you have to learn to keep the spark alive, change up the routine, inject some fresh passion into your day to day before resuming that harmonic symbiosis. So when I feel myself tiring of the variations of stove-top porridge, I switch it up and move to baked oatmeal. What could be better than it’s evolution into a spongey, gooey cake that you can have for breakfast while still getting that morning fibre hit and the slow-releasing energy from those oats. It feels so new and different and a bit like cheating on the original but then you remember you’re not, it’s just packaged differently; role-play, if you will.
The morning after an evening spent watching, laughing and gawping at the stunning Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson you absolute genius) courtesy of Rooftop Film Club I was on a bit of a comedown because, well, Tuesday. I rustled up an orange-y porridge of epic proportions to bring back a similar high. As with all of my other recipes for porridge/oatmeal I use about 1/2 – 1 cup of oats to 1-1 1/2 cups of milk of any choice. The measurements are vague because I make it by sight, perhaps out of habit…or laziness, but you can get a good idea of when the oats are cooked by tasting along the way.
Sounds appealing, right? Well it’s a little bit exotic and a lot warming, deep, flavoursome and like a comforting hug when you’re bleary eyed and stumbling around in the dark after a kitchen bulb blows over your (my) head. My mum recently let me in on a little secret about the power of cardamom seeds to eradicate the smell of garlic that lingers long after I’ve added it in my pesto, slathered it on fish or crushed it into some almond-y satay sauce. So now instead of the aroma of garlic seeping out of my pores days after the aforementioned incident, I’ve replaced it with a more acceptable perfume, Jo Malone to be specific. With this in mind, I set about putting my useful little cardamom pods to better use and thought I’d add this aromatic little spice into my porridge. Coconut milk and a little of the cream felt like a natural progression given the complimentary flavours often found in South Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, and then of course a little hit of Moringa for the earthy tones (and who doesn’t love that colour!).
Recipe (I don’t actually tend to measure anything myself though):
1/2 cup – 1 cup oats
1 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut cream
seeds from 2 – 3 cardamom pods depending on desired strength (I didn’t grind mine)
1 tsp Moringa (from Adunaworld)
1tsp of maple or rice syrup if desired for sweetening
Put all ingredients in a pot on the stove together, bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer, stirring so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Put the lid on the pot and simmer on the lowest heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally as the milk is absorbed and the oats swell and soften, add more milk if necessary. Serve when the oats are cooked through and a creamy consistency has been reached. Top with whatever fruit or nut combo you want. Mango adds lovely sweetness and kiwi a little zing.
I don’t blame you for looking a bit baffled in the face of this, until now, unknown green superfood powder that is now on the scene courtesy of Aduna so let’s throw some illumination your way. This leaf has been lurking under the radar in its native land of Northwestern India and rural Africa for some time and is now shimmying its way into the limelight alongside the more household names of spirulina, acai, maca and the like.