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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Curried Bitter Gourd with Potatoes

Curried bitter gourd with potatoes, curry margoze, Mauritian recipe

When your favourite vegetable is a rare one to find, it becomes a treat indeed. Bitter gourd has been my all-time favourite vegetable ever since I was a child. The bitterness never bothered me. Honestly, this is much attributed to the way my mom used to prepare it - she would make the most delicious curried-style bitter gourd with potatoes.

How to Prepare Bitter Gourd

Curried bitter gourd with potatoes, curry margoze, Mauritian recipe

Bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon, is a vegetable that many people tend to shy away from due to the bitterness. While bitter gourd may be off-putting due to their bitter taste, when prepared properly, they make an appealing and nutritious vegetable that can be used in many different dishes. Bitter gourds have an array of wonderful health properties which make them a good addition to one's diet — I have talked about some of this vegetable's great health benefits in a previous post.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Golden Beetroot Risotto | Vegan & Low-fat

golden/yellow beetroot risotto, vegan, gluten-free

My newfound love for the golden beetroot got me into buying a huge bag of them yellow beets. The plan was to use them in an adapted version of my Beetroot Tarte Tatin recipe. But a good hearty risotto has got to be the best of all comfort food - the kind that warms you up from head to toe. I personally find risotto to be one of the simplest meal to make. All that is needed is a lot of love and care, and your risotto is sure to return the favour. While you do have to stand with it and constantly stir the rice, preparation time is rather minimal. So, I personally do not shy away from making it since it usually takes me around 30 minutes to make a risotto.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Butter Bean Curry, A Simple 30-minute Weekday Meal

Butter bean curry, lima bean curry, Mauritian curry

A weekly regular at the Lovlie Cocoon is the 30-minute curry with whatever we have on hand — sometimes a medley of vegetables, sometimes beans and sometimes a mix of both. Last week, as I came back from work, Boyfriendlovlie had already started prepping some vegetables and was just about to start making dinner.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

New Year's Almighty Vegetable & Bean Burger

Vegetable Bean Burger, vegan burger

Every year around new year's time we reflect on the past year, hope for and wish everyone a happy (or happier) New Year. Most of the time when I reflect back, I find that everything is relative and is really based on our expectations of things. Inquiring and going deeper into these expectations just bring us to a place forged from our own beliefs. The power of belief is a great one! While we all hope for a happy-everything, we tend to muffle that little bit of sour zing that in reality is the secret ingredient that really marries everything together and take us exactly where we need to be whether, in that moment, we see it or not. 2014 has been just as much a great year for me, as any other year, in many aspects and I hope it has been the same for you too! So, I wish you all the very best for a Fresh New Year, neither happy nor sad, just fresh!

Friday, 26 December 2014

Nut-free Vegan Lentil Loaf

Vegan Lentil Loaf

Christmas eve was a very quiet one with just Boyfriendlovlie and me. I started making dinner quite late as I was out of inspiration what to make. When I say out of inspiration it actually means unable to decide what to choose from my long list of recipes that I've been planning to make over the holidays. I finally went for a lentil loaf for the main dish accompanied by steamed potatoes, okra bhajis and a green salad.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Twist on Traditional Gravy: Kalia Gravy served on Eggplants/Aubergines

Eggplant/Aubergine with Kalia Sauce/Gravy

The holiday season when I was a kid was not one revolving around traditions. Most Christmas eves were spent just among our small family with good food and, when midnight would strike, gift giving. Well maybe that is a tradition in itself but there was certainly no set menu that we would stick to every year. When the weather was good, we would even have barbecues outside on Christmas eve and spend Christmas day at the beach in the heat of 32 degrees Celsius. But very often the hot tropical weather gave way to heavy rain during this time of the year. I only started enjoying colder Holiday seasons when I moved to the Northern hemisphere where the need for a warm cozy meal is more than welcome.

Kalia is usually a curry dish that Mauritius has undoubtedly inherited from northern India. Calling for meat or fish and yogurt, the original recipe is not even remotely vegan. That said, it is very easy to veganise using coconut milk with lemon juice and substituting the meat with vegetables. This version of the recipe however features the kalia sauce to be used as gravy over roasted or pan-cooked vegetables as a side dish rather than a main curry dish. If you like anything spicy, this is a nice twist to a traditional gravy at your holiday table.

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.

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