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Friday, 19 December 2014

A Detox Smoothie for the Holidays: Cranberry-Cucumber Smoothie

Cranberry Cucumber Detox Smoothie with Tamarind

At this time of the year, the virtual food world is swamped with rich comforty holiday recipes. With no doubt, they are a feast for the eyes as we collect and save pin them for later. My participation in the Virtual Vegan Potluck this year has brought an avalanche of mouthwatering recipes in my repertoire of recipes-to-try, each one more festive and scrumptious than the other! Vegan recipes have come a long way and I could not be more rejoiced to drool on such healthy delish from my screen until I go on and attempt them. Vegan or not, however, it is probably the time of the year where a lot of us do go a little out of our usual ways and munch on a few extras. At least for my part, that is true. For me, the holidays had already started as soon as we hit December this year! And to combat the slugginess from the little extra indulgences, winter or not, smoothies are the savior! Indeed, no need to wait until January to jump into detox mode. With the array of citrussy fruits available during the colder months, it's a shame not to make the most of them. I have been buying pomegranates and cranberries like crazy this year. Apart from making cranberry sauce, I have found these tangy berries to be an excellent ingredient for smoothies. Not only are they rich in antioxidants and vitamin C but they are also excellent for infections of the urinary tract.
This smoothie also features tamarind which is good for diabetes and helps to assist in weight loss (if that is your goal) while mint leaves boost its cleansing properties. This tangy winter smoothie may not keep the chilly days at bay but it will sure mightily help to brave it!

How to Deseed and Prepare Tamarind Pulp

Tamarind pulp is a common ingredient in many Mauritian dishes ranging from chutneys to curries without forgetting drinks, desserts and popsicles! I have featured a few recipes in the past but I have never quite explained how to extract the pulp from the seeds.

I have a few recipes coming up soon with tamarind as ingredient and I realise that it may be helpful to actually demonstrate how to prepare the tamarind pulp before it can be used in recipes. If you are not familiar with tamarind, it is a fruit that comes in a long shape with a shell. The pulp and seeds are found inside the shell. The taste ranges from very sour to sweet. The sour variety is more common.

Tamarind Fruit

This is actually an old photo that I could dig up from my vintage repertoire of photos I took when I was blogging from Mauritius back in 2008!

But tamarind cannot always be found fresh and they are more conveniently available in the form of a compressed block in many Asian stores. Depending on brand, the varieties range from soft to a very dry and hard pulp. Most come with the seeds. Sometimes I leave the seeds in depending on the recipe but most of the time the seeds need to be removed.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Virtual Vegan Potluck December 2014: Holiday Fruit Crown Bread

Vegan Christmas Holiday Sweet Fruit Crown Bread

The holidays is the time for sugar and spice. And everything nice! Today is special because bloggers around the world are all linking up to the awesome Vegan Virtual Potluck which is a bi-annual virtual event organised by Annie of An Unrefined Vegan.

Vegan Christmas Holiday Sweet Fruit Crown Bread

Much like a real potluck, each participating blogger is bringing a dish to the event in one of eight courses.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Niouk Yen (vegan/vegetarian version): Chayote/Daikon Radish Dumplings (Boulette Chouchou)

Niouk Yen, chayote dumplings, boulette chouchou mauricien

Food cravings for the local cuisine - aren't they the worse when you really can't find the food you are craving for where you are? For a few months now, Boyfriendlovlie and I have been craving our local dumplings - Niouk Yen being one of them. Despite living in many countries where Chinese cuisine is so popular, I have never come across a Chinese place that sells Niouk Yen. So, undoubtedly, they must really be a typical Mauritian-Chinese delicacy.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Waste Not: A Recipe with Oat Pulp

Oat Pulp Thumbprint Cookies, vegan oat cookie recipe

This is probably a long overdue post. Here's why: to date, my homemade oat milk recipe is one of the most popular post on this blog. And as such, some of you have been asking how they could use the leftover oat pulp. Yes, we all agree that we are not wasting food by throwing away the oat pulp. So far, I have only been responding back by giving examples of how oat pulp can be used in a number of recipes like cookies, cakes, bread, burgers and so on; these are the ways I use oat pulp. But using oat pulp in existing recipes does require some adjustments to the recipe because oat pulp already carries some amount of moisture. So, the liquids in the recipes as well as the method may need to be adjusted.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

And I Shall Eat Strands of Gold

Spaghetti Squash Gratin, vegan recipe
It seems that I can't get enough of spaghetti squash this season. If it is not for its ever so slightly sweet taste, its texture is what makes this vegetable really unique. My favourite part is actually the scraping of the flesh that magically turns into golden strands leaving me almost always in awe at the intricacies of nature. After all, I have quite recently discovered this vegetable since my arrival in Canada. Strangely, I do not recall seeing spaghetti squash in Ireland nor the UK even though I am almost sure they must have been there; I guess I have never paid any attention to this vegetable before. I am glad that curiosity has had the better of me into luring me to try it out; oh the nice dishes I would have missed otherwise!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Deseeding Pomegranate without the Mess!

how to deseed a pomegranate

Pomegranates are such a burst of awesome in the mouth. But these juicy jewel-like pulpy seeds can sometimes be quite messy when it comes to cutting and deseeding them. Well, don't let this prevent you from eating them because they are so packed full of nutritional goodness. I really enjoy eating them on their own or added to fruit and veggie salads. So, I wanted to share with you how I cut and deseed them without the messy stain splashes. Enjoy a pom today!

Friday, 31 October 2014

Wordless Halloween

Before we hit the Holiday decor mode, one last marvel at the pumpkins.

Outside my local grocery store.

I grabbed a couple of these.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Through the ages, the Prophecy told us that the Spice will Rise!

Butternut/Spaghetti Squash & Carrot Halwa

Pumpkin Spice - two words that now quintessentially bring up the amber and golden warm hues of Autumn, if not another name for the season itself, with pumpkin-flavoured drinks, snacks and even home decor items - candles, potpourri, fragrance diffusers, you name it - sprouting at every street corner. I cannot help but wonder whether the love for this spice has grown to be just another trend. Even shop decors are made to evoke the alluring aroma. Is there such a thing as pumpkin spice overdose? This sweet mellow warm spice seem to be pushing season boundaries by emerging earlier every year. But would we reach a point where pumpkin spice would merely be just another plain old flavour like vanilla?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

I've got my personal Chef at home: Low-fat Stir-fried Vegetable Spaghetti recipe ♥

Stir Fried Vegetable Spaghetti, vegan/vegetarian recipe

Have I ever mentioned that Boyfriendlovlie is quite a great cook? After blogging for so long, I am quite surprised that I have never blogged about and praised Boyfriendlovlie's culinary skills. Mind you though, when we first met, more than a decade ago, he could barely even cut vegetables, let alone cooking. I remember his first attempt, which was way back during our pre-vegan days, at trying to cook me something. He made a big fry-up with meat burgers, sausages and potato chips. At that time he really thought he was going to impress me. Bless him. I did appreciate the gesture but it was just not my type of food even before going vegan. So, gradually he made the effort of learning how to cook real food and he can now master vegan curries, bechamels, pasta dishes, noodle dishes, rice dishes, soups and not forgetting delicious low-fat stir fries.

Quite candidly, I must admit that a spaghetti stir-fry is one dish that he masters better than I do. He makes it fried-noodle-style; I guess it may be because chow mein is one of his favourite food. We use spaghetti instead of noodles because we can never find a good quality Chinese-style noodle brand (that is also healthy). I am always concerned of the wax coating and the unwaxed noodles just turn to mush in a stir-fry. Homemade noodles is probably the way to go but I can never get to it; sadly, the pasta machine just sits in the cupboard.

For now, let's just sit back and enjoy this cooking demo of a low-fat Stir-fried Vegetable Spaghetti from my personal Chef at home (aka Boyfriendlovlie).

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