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AZUKI BEAN AND CARAMELIZED ONION VEGGIE DIP (GF, VEG)

AZUKI BEAN AND CARAMELIZED ONION VEGGIE DIP (GF, VEG)


vegetable spread in pink bowl with crudités and a wood table with old tablecloth


Despite some weather hiccups spring is already here and the season for days under the sun, smiling, snacking and pic-nicking has started...
You are more than aware that I'm a huge fan of snacking and dipping sauces and spreads  such as hummus, muhammara, guacamole, pâtés, mutabal etc... They're a great healthy option to have anytime at any place, whether it is for a pic-nic or a nice light dinner. 

In other occasions I mentioned that I also love them because some like hummus contain legumes and it's a different and delicious way of including them more in our diet. This time we will be using azuki beans that I already talked about in this other post.

vegetable spread in pink bowl with crudités and a wood table with old tablecloth



Even though caramelized onion give the wrong impression that it might be made with added sugar, it is nothing but only onions, a pinch of salt and some patience that you'll need to make this delicacy. The onion will start to cook, loose its water and release its sugars, it will start looking translucid, then golden and finally caramel golden brown, that is what we are aiming for. You will achieve that in aproximately 30 minutes. 
While you make it you can simoultaniously carry on with other steps of the recipe.
It also has some olives and black garlic in it that gives a nice salty touch and that particular twist that this amazing garlic has. 


I like having it with carrot, cucumber, celery sticks and crackers...that in fact I'm making some recipe testings and as soon as I get the perfect one I'll be sharing here.
This dip is also perfect as a spread over a toast or a sandwitch...

So here's the recipe for this azuki and caramelized onion veggie dip...(vegan and gluten free)


vegetable spread in pink bowl with crudités and a wood table with old tablecloth

WILD OREGANO

AZUKI AND CARAMELIZED ONION VEGGIE DIP

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup/250ml azuki beans, previously cooked 
  • 1 + 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 green olives, pitted 
  • 2 black garlic cloves 
  • Dry oregano 
  • Ground green pepper
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • Water 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
VEGGIE DIP SPREAD OVER A CRACKER

METHOD

  1. First we make the caramelized onion, cut the onions into julienne (thin slices) and drizzle some olive oil oven a pan at medium heat and sauté. Stir from time to time. Once you've achieved that caramel-like color, reserve.
  2. Put in a blender or food processor: the cooked azukis, olives, garlic, oregano, sald and pepper to your taste and the caramelized onion. Blend at high speed and ad some water if needed, until you get a creamy, spreadable texture.
  3. Add salt and pepper if it needs it and a good splash of olive oil. Blend again a few seconds and there you go!
vegetable spread in pink bowl with crudités and a wood table with old tablecloth

vegetable spread in pink bowl with crudités and a wood table with old tablecloth

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OATMEAL AND DATE BARS (GF, DF, VEG)

OATMEAL AND DATE BARS (GF, DF, VEG)


OALMEAL BARS, VIEW FROM TOP, OLD WOOD, BLUE LINEN TABLECLOTH, MARBLE CUTTING BOARD, DRY EUCALIPTUS BRANCH


I'm sure many of you eat cereal bars. I actually always have one in my purse for those little craving moments. But to be honest it is quite hard to find good cereal bars that are not loaded with sugar, additives and so on... So a while ago I decided to make, at least from time to time, homemade muesli and also cereal bars that are made with almost the same ingredients and you can play with the flavours combination.

You can actually make both at the same time using one oven tray for these bars and another one to make a granola or muesli like this one I posted a while ago with cranberries, walnuts and maple syrup. 


PILED OATMEAL BARS IN MARBLE CUTTING BOARD, OLD WOOD TABLE AND BLUE LINEN TABLECLOTH


These have oats and dates, and they remind me of my childhood because my mom used to make them a lot and I love the combination. They're perfect for any moment whether it is for breakfast, as a snack, after working out or as a bite between hours. It's a healthy option with no refined ingredients that is quite easy and quick to make and you'll have bars for many days.

As you may know dates are one of best natural sweeteners that exist. They are rich in fiber, contain minerals such as potassium, magnesium and iron, therefore recommended in cases of anemia. They also can help falling asleep as they contain tryptophan that stimulates the melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.   

There's a wide range of dates however the ones we are more used to find here are the deglet nour and the medjool (a bit pricey). You can use any of them for this recipe although it is important to read the labels to make sure you don't buy them with additives, some manufacturers add sugar or glucose syrup to them, as If they needed to be any more sweet. Not good.

Here goes the recipe...


VIEW FROM TOP, OVEN PAN WITH OATMEAL BARS TO MAKE, BLUE LINEN TABLECLOTH, KNIFE

DATE BRANCH


OATMEAL AND DATE BARS RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups (625ml) rolled oats, gluten free or regular 
  • 1 cup 1/2 (375ml) wholemeal oat flour, gluten free or regular
  • 1/2 tsp. (7,5ml) pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) agave syrup 
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) almond or other milk  

For the date filling

  • 2 1/2 cups (625ml) pitted dates  
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup 
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice 
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar or panela (unrefined whole cane sugar)
OALMEAL BARS, VIEW FROM TOP, OLD WOOD, BLUE LINEN TABLECLOTH, MARBLE CUTTING BOARD,

ELABORATION

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Line a 20 cm squared oven pan with baking paper, grease the sides that are not covered.
  3. Place in a sauce pan the dates cut into small pieces+ lemon+coconut sugar+water and bring to a boil. Remove occasionally and smash the dates until you get a creamy paste (you can use a blender if you want a thinner texture).
  4. Mix the flour+ oats+ salt+coconut oil+ agave syrup+milk.
  5. Use half of the mix to cover the pan and apply some pressure.
  6. Pour the date paste on top evenly.
  7. Then pour the rest of the mix on top an apply gentle pressure.
  8. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until golden.
  9. Allow to cool in a rack and to rest for a few hours or overnight.
  10. Cut into bars or squares and enjoy.
OATMEAL BARS IN MARBLE CUTTING BOARD, OLD WOOD TABLE AND BLUE LINEN TABLECLOTH

PILED OATMEAL BARS IN MARBLE CUTTING BOARD, OLD WOOD TABLE AND BLUE LINEN TABLECLOTH

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POKE BOWL WITH MARINATED TUNA

POKE BOWL WITH MARINATED TUNA




You've probably already seen or heard about poke bowls... They have been quite trendy these years and we can see them more and more around. There even are restaurants that make exclusively these colourful bowls with Hawaiian roots.

Poke means something like "cut" in Hawaiian and is a typical raw fish salad.
The most commonly used fish to prepare it is the yellowfin tuna however other types of tunas and fishes such as salmon or even octopus are also used. The dressing usually includes soy sauce, onions, sesame seeds, chili, seaweeds and inamona, crushed native nuts named kukui.




So these bowls were created with the idea of creating a big salad loaded with raw vegetables and a rice or quinoa bed. Many variations can be found that include all kind of veggies, fruit, nuts, legumes, and other elements and seasonings. 


So I came up with this poke bowl full of good veggies and a brown rice bed that I cooked with some kaffir lime leaves and fresh turmeric to give an aromatic touch and some more colour. The dressing is the same we make to marinate the tuna. With the following amounts you will be able to make 2 big bowls and you'll have some tuna left that you can use to make a nice tartar, to give you an idea...

So here's the recipe....




POKE BOWL WITH MARINATED TUNA

INGREDIENTS (Makes 2 to 4 bowls)

  • 1 fresh tuna loin (around 350 gr.)
  • 1 avocado 
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 cucumber 
  • Seaweed mix with dulse, nori and ulva, previously soaked
  • Fresh mint leaves 
  • Broccoli sprouts
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Brown rice, previously cooked and cooled
  • Optional to cook the rice: 2 kaffir lime laves and some grated fresh turmeric

To marinate the tuna

  • 6 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves 
  • Chili flakes or cayenne pepper to taste 
  • Black and white sesame 
  • 3 Tbsp. sesame oil 
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar 
  • 2 Tbsp, agave syrup  
  • 1 piece of ginger 
  • Ground black pepper 




ELABORATION
  1. First we prepare the tuna that we will leave macerating.
  2. Cut the the tuna in small cubes or the size to your liking and reserve.
  3. In a bowl mix: the tamari sauce, garlic, chili, sesame, sesame oil, rice vinegar, agave syrup, grated ginger and ground pepper, stir all well and ad the tuna, cover it all with the dressing so it takes all the flavour. Keep in the fridge for about 2 hours. The more it rests the more flavour it will have. 
  4. Now the rest of the salad we spiralized the cucumber with the skin, cut the carrot into thin strips we make using a peeler, cut the tomatoes into quarters or half's and the avocado into slices.
  5. We put all together in a large bowl along with some sprouts, seaweeds, some chopped mint leaves, some rice and the marinated tuna. 
  6. Drizzle some dressing from the tuna marinade and done!

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GRANDMA'S BLUEBERRY CAKE, MY WAY (GF, DF)

GRANDMA'S BLUEBERRY CAKE, MY WAY (GF, DF)


VIEW FROM TOP, PIECES OF BLUEBERRY CAKE IN SMALL DISHES, LAVENDER FLOWERS, OLD RECIPE PAPER, BLACK TEA ON MUG


This blueberry cake is so full of nostalgia and memories... I'm sure you all have that grandma's favourite dessert that reminds you so many moments of your childhood, well this is one of mine. 
I feel very lucky to have the original recipe from my grandmother, with her handwriting, a paper that is maybe 30 or 40 years old, or who knows maybe more given the paper condition and the colour...
My mother gave it to me and I keep it along with other recipes with a lot of care. 


In those days when I was a child and enjoyed summers in New Brunswick we used to spend the day picking wild blueberries from the backyard, just a few steps away from the sea. Each one would carry his own bucket full of them and later on we would put them all together to clean them and remove any branch or leaves left out. Some of them would be kept fresh and some other would be freezed, all of them to make jellies, cakes, tarts and crumbles...


PIECES OF BLUEBERRY CAKE IN SMALL DISHES, LAVENDER FLOWERS, OLD RECIPE PAPER, BLACK TEA ON MUG


I've already made clear I'm a serious blueberry fan I think. A blueberry and pear smoothie here, peach and blueberry tartlets there, a blueberry frozen cake... What can I say...the blog itself has the name on it. 


It is a super easy cake to make and the result is a delicious cake that melts in your mouth. 
She used to make a sort of crumble that would be on top of the cake but she stopped doing it and some other times she would serve it with a warm caramel sauce but I think the cake is so good it does not need it. I called it grandma's cake "my way" because I made some little adjustments to make it gluten and dairy free. If you want to make it vegan you just need to replace the egg with 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds soaked in 2 Tbsp water for 5 minutes.

So if you would excuse me I'm going to follow the family tradition and have a nice piece of this blueberry cake with a black tea, Orange Pekoe if possible, some like it with a few drops of milk, some other just plain... 


PIECE OF BLUEBERRY CAKE ON SMALL WHITE DISH, TEA MUG

MUG WITH BLUEBERRIES INSIDE



BLUEBERRY CAKE RECIPE (GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour or regular oat flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour 
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder (gluten free or regular) 
  • 1/2 Tbsp. fine pink Himalayan salt 
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground nutmeg 
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond milk 
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
PILES BLUEBERRY PIECES OF CAKE IN A DISH

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC
  2. Mix all dry ingredients: oat, buckwheat and almond flour + sugar + baking powder +salt and nutmeg. 
  3. In another bowl mix the egg + coconut oil + milk.
  4. Add this mix to the dry ingredients and mix all well with a whisk.
  5. Flour the blueberries a bit, ad to the dough and mix all well.
  6.  Grease and flour a 20 cm squared pan. Pour the dough evenly and tap a couple of times so the air bubbles come out. 
  7. Set the oven to 190ºC and place the pan in the middle. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, it will depend on the oven. I had it 30 minutes, using a silicone mould and it was perfect.
  8. Once ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit on a rack.
  9. Serve warm or cold. 

VIEW FROM TOP, PIECES OF BLUEBERRY CAKE IN SMALL DISHES, LAVENDER FLOWERS, OLD RECIPE PAPER, BLACK TEA ON MUG, LIGHTED CANDLE, RETRO SPOONS

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MACARONI WITH FENNEL FRONDS HAZELNUT PESTO

MACARONI WITH FENNEL FRONDS HAZELNUT PESTO


WHITE AND BLUE BOWL OF PASTA WITH FENNEL PESTO AND OLD WOODEN BACKGROUND, YELLOW TABLECLOTH



I know...you probably are wondering how come a pesto with fennel fronds? We all are very familiar with the classic Italian pesto that has basil, olive oil and pine nuts but there are also many other types such as the Sicilian pesto rosso that has sun-dried tomatoes and some other variants. There are great other yummy combinations that are so versatile to use in other dishes apart from pasta, like grilled veggies, salads...
I actually shared this other recipe a while ago, a red walnut pesto that I love and is one of my favourites. 

When I buy my veggies on Sunday's market they normally ask if you want theM to cut and remove the stems of the carrots, fennel, beetroots... but I always ask to keep them. Sometimes they actually tell people they are edible and very good, that's actually how I learned not long ago that the leaves from the turnips are very good in soups and stews so now I always use them too. Other leaves like those of the carrots have a parsley-like flavour that are very good both eaten raw or cooked. In this other post I already talked a bit about the beetroot leaves and mentioned the fennel ones.

WHITE AND BLUE BOWL OF PASTA WITH FENNEL PESTO AND OLD WOODEN BACKGROUND, YELLOW TABLECLOTH, BOTTLE OF OLIVE OIL


The whole fennel from top to bottom have many health benefits and can help a lot with digestion. It is carminative, which means it avoids flatulence and also relieves its annoying symptoms. The fronds apart from being a fantastic aromatic herb that can be used both fresh and dry, are also considered medicinal since they can be used along with their seeds as a herbal tea to relieve intestinal discomfort, heavy digestions and also to alleviate the pressure in the pit of the stomach...
It is also recommended to add a bit of fennel on stews and other dishes with legumes to help digestion. It's delicious both cooked or raw, a way I particularly love eating it.


Last time I bought fennel it had a huge bulb but also enormous fronds, and when I say that I mean massive. Plenty of beautiful and intense green leaves that I wanted to make use of with something different from salads as I tend to do. I decided to combine it with hazelnuts rather than with the classic pine nuts or walnuts.

So this is what I call a zero wastage recipe as we will be using the whole fennel. The bulb and thicker stalks will be cooked and the fronds will be used to elaborate the pesto.
I used red lentil macaroni but that's up to you, same as the mushrooms, use the ones you prefer. 

Let's start with the recipe!
PINK HIMALAYAN SALT, GREEN PEPPER AND PESTO IN WHITE LITTLE BOWLS OVER OLD WOODEN BACKGROUND



MACARONI WITH FENNEL FRONDS AND HAZELNUT PESTO

INGREDIENTS

For the pesto


  • 100 gr. roasted hazelnuts
  • Fennel fronds
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Pink Himalayan salt 
  • Grounded green pepper 
  • Water 
For the sauté
  • Fennel stalks 
  • 1 leek
  • Mushrooms of your choice 
  • 3 black garlics 
  • Optional: nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
  • Pasta of your choice, cooked in advance 
WHITE AND BLUE BOWL OF PASTA WITH FENNEL PESTO AND OLD WOODEN BACKGROUND, YELLOW TABLECLOTH

ELABORATION

  1. We start making the pesto, using a powerful blender or food processor.
  2. Grind the hazelnuts until thin then add the fennel fronds and the lemon juice and blend at high speed, adding a bit of water  gradually to facilitate it.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and ad 2-3 Tbsp olive oil or more if you like it oily. Blend at medium speed to emulsify and done.
  4. Chop the stalks and the leek then add to a pan with some oil and sauté with the black garlic and the mushrooms until golden.
  5. Add the cooked pasta and use the amount of pesto of your taste, mix all well and it's ready to eat.
WHITE AND BLUE BOWL OF PASTA WITH FENNEL PESTO AND OLD WOODEN BACKGROUND, YELLOW TABLECLOTH, CERAMIC OLIVE OIL BOTTLE

WHITE AND BLUE BOWL OF PASTA WITH FENNEL PESTO AND OLD WOODEN BACKGROUND, YELLOW TABLECLOTH

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