Friday, 19 February 2016

Chickpea and Spinach Curry


Hello guys and welcome back to another foodie Friday! It is almost the weekend and I have just the perfect dish for all of you looking to enjoy a little something special this weekend. Put your wallet away and the takeaway menu back on the pin board for today's foodie Friday is a delicious fakeaway to coin a phrase from Jamie Oliver. This curry tastes just as a delicious if not more so than anything you'd find at the Indian takeaway round the corner, it's much cheaper, its full of natural wholesome ingredients and its 100% plantbased! What more could you want guys?

Ingredients:
1 onion
3 gloves of garlic
1 tin of chickpeas
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Half a tin of coconut milk
1 Green Pepper
1 tbsp of Curry powder (Depends how spicy you want it, add more or less depending on your taste buds)
1 tsp of chilli flakes
1 tsp of paprika
Pinch of salt
Pinch of Pepper
300g Rice of your choice
Olive oil
4 large handfuls of spinach

Recipe:

Feeds four people

1. Slice Green pepper into strips, cut the onion in chunks or whatever size you prefer and dice the garlic small.
2.Heat a large sauce pan on the hob, add a glug of olive oil then add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion starts to go soft on a medium heat. Once the onion is going soft add the curry powder, chilli flakes and paprika. Stir well.
3. Add the peppers and stir them into the spiced onion mix, followed by the chickpeas. Leave these to cook for a minute then add the chopped tomatoes. Stir well and allow the tomatoes to begin bubbling and become hot all the way through. Add the spinach and allow this to wilt and stir in.
4. Pour in the coconut milk and stir thoroughly. Add in the salt and pepper. Leave the curry to simmer on the hob whilst you cook the rice (read instructions on the rice packet for this). The longer you leave the curry the better it will taste but remember to keep stirring it. After a little while taste it to see if it needs more salt, pepper or spices.
5. Once your rice is cooked serve with curry and enjoy!

And there you have it! A ridiculously delicious creamy curry that tastes so indulgent you honestly won't be able to tell it's healthy I promise you and it'll make you and your wallet feel a lot better than getting a takeaway. Let me know in the comments if you try it or any other exciting things you're eating this weekend.


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Friday, 12 February 2016

Spinach and Roasted Veg Winter Salad


I have a confession to make......Salads are one of my favourite things....yep that's right, I'm a total weirdo who loves to eat salad. But I think must people have the wrong view about salad, a lot of people imagine salad and see a simple plain boring load of iceberg lettuce in a box with no dressing. For me however, this is not the case at all. My salads are juicy, yummy, satisfying things full of nutrients and tangy flavour. I absolutely love having them in the summer but once it got to October I wasn't feeling salad any more, I wanted something warm that was full of starch and be comforting on those cold days. And so I went about inventing some warm salads to have during the winter, something delicious and satisfying with seasonal veggies. I came up with lots of yummy recipes but this one has to be my favourite so far. Packed full of flavour and nutrients this dish is just the perfect comfort food on a winters day and it's so easy to make. 

At the beginning of the week I like to make a few things in bulk to see me through and make life easier. It means I don't have to be organised and make my lunches the night before every day of the week because I've already got a load of stuff in the fridge that I can chuck together. This dish is one of those things. The roasted veggies I like to make in advance and I pretty much use anything I can find be it sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, potatoes, parsnips whatever I just cut it into chunks add some seasoning and throw it in the oven. Then once its cooked I put it in containers in the fridge and throughout the week I toss it over salads or add in some other veggies. Its so easy and so tasty and it means you can get a really delicious nutritious lunch every day of the week.    

Ingredients: 
Half a butternut squash
4 Potatoes 
Spinach
2 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Pepper
Two large handfuls of spinach
Olive oil

Recipe:
1. As I said I like to make the roasted veg in advance but it can be done on the day if you wish. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Cut the potato and butternut squash into chunks throw into an oven proof dish, add a glug of olive oil, the mixed herbs, paprika, salt and pepper shake the dish until the veggies are coated. 
2. Roast the veggies for 40 minutes - 50 minutes, until the potatoes are looking crisp and golden. Leave to cool and store in a box in the fridge. 
3. When you are ready for your salad take out a frying pan, put a tiny bit of oil in it add the roasted veg and the spinach and stir until all the spinach has wilted. 

And that is it! Simple and delicious and so easy to make in any way you want, you could add whatever veggies you want. The roasted veg also go really well on a bed of tender stem broccoli, raw spinach or mixed leaves. Hope you enjoyed this super easy recipe. Let me know in the comments below if you tried it.  

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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Lent



I'm going to be honest. The last few months have been a bit tough, lots of things have happened including me leaving uni (you can read about that here) due to illness and trying to find a job and that has brought lots of difficult times especially for some one with anxiety. I started to get a bit bogged down by life and by everything that was going on and this included my faith. I wasn't feeling the joy or the freedom that Christ brings and instead all I could think about was how to behave, the things I needed to do or say and making sure I wasn't behaving in a way I shouldn't.

I've been recovering from anxiety now for a little while and part of that process has been figuring who I am. I know I am not the same person I was when I started to suffer from mental illness so it wasn't like I could get better and just be here again. I needed to figure out where I stood and what I believed in. I could see all my none Christian friends discovering things and going for amazing jobs and I felt like those were things I wasn't supposed to do. I love fashion and beauty but I had got it into my head that they weren't Christian and that a career following that path wasn't what God wanted, even just enjoying them wasn't right, they weren't following the "rules". But these were part of me, they were my hobbies and interests and where I was looking for a future career so if they weren't what God wanted who was I? What did he want me to be because I didn't feel like myself at all when I was doing all these things that I thought we should be doing.

I finally told my fiancé how I was feeling and that the joy had simply gone from my faith and been replaced by a sense of duty. We had a long conversation about it and then a few days later I found myself in church listening to a sermon on the Galatians and how they had become so obsessed with following the rules that they had forgotten what Christ had done, what he died to give them. Freedom. It spoke straight to my heart and I felt God saying to me Rachel, you need to listen to this, this is you, you have become a Galatian. Paul essentially starts off chapter 3 calling them a bunch of idiots and I realised I was being an idiot. It didn't matter how many church services I went to or how many times a day I prayed or read the bible, whether or not I wore make up and stilettos every day, the only thing that mattered was Jesus. He had died for me so that I could go to heaven and all God asks is that we believe and love him. We don't have to do anything because Jesus did it all for us. And that is where the joy comes from, that is where the freedom in Christ comes from. It's about trusting in Christ for everything not about all the good things we do. The only way to get into heaven is by trusting in him. (You can listen to the talk here it's seriously good!)

And so with this in mind I have decided I need a reminder of what Jesus did for me, I need to go back to the beginning and find my joy and freedom in Christ. Instead of giving up chocolate or buying shoes this lent I have decided to give up more time to my relationship with God. I'm going to go back to the beginning again and start with the gospels. Each day of lent I am going to read a chapter from Luke and then John (which works out as 45 chapters) and remind myself of what Christ did for me.

What are you doing for lent? Let me know in the comments below!      
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Friday, 5 February 2016

Super Easy Vegan Tomato and Spinach Crostini


Today is the beginning of something a little new on here. As I mentioned in my previous post I eat a plant based diet and I love to cook, it's something that takes up a big part of my life and I really wanted to share it on here with you guys. And so I have decided to start up a new feature on this blog called Foodie Fridays. Each week I will be sharing something to do with food and a plant based diet such as recipes, cookbook reviews, restaurant reviews and much more. I'm really excited to start this new section of my blog and I hope you will enjoy it.  

I love the word crostini! The whole time I was making this I was saying it in an absolutely awful Italian accent but it has to be done, I think it makes the food taste better. The word crostini essentially means toasted bread with a topping and that is simply all that these are. Like a fancy beans on toast. These were a complete experiment after a saw a picture of some bruschetta and it gave me a craving. I raided the fridge to see what I could find and come up with these. They are delicious! And so simple, they make a great snack or lunch or even starter to a dinner a party and you can easily recreate them with different ingredients, fridge raiding is always the best way to discover new tasty foods I find.

Ingredients:
Two large Handfuls of Spinach
Two Ripe Tomatoes
Two Slices of Bread Toasted
Two cloves of Garlic Chopped Small or Crushed
A Glug of Olive Oil

Recipe:
1. Chop the Tomatoes into small chunks then slice the garlic thinly and chop into small pieces or use a garlic crusher.
2. Put a glug of olive oil into a frying pan and put onto the heat allowing it to warm up slightly.
3. Add the tomato, garlic and spinach the the frying pan and cook until the spinach has wilted down completely and the tomatoes have turned into more of a chunky paste.
4. Toast the two pieces of bread and then put on a plate, top with the tomatoe spinach mix and serve.

And it's as easy as that. So simple, so yummy and super healthy, who wouldn't enjoy this great dish?      
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Monday, 1 February 2016

The Golden Light Of Winter







 

Sometimes it's easy to take for granted all the things you have and to only look at what you don't have. I am definitely guilty of this, I constantly look forward to the time when I can move to Scotland and get a nice house in the countryside for me and fiancé to live in and because of this I often miss the good things in the here and now. One of my new years resolutions was to take more time out, to enjoy slow living and I think a big part of that for me is learning to live in the present. Life always seems stressful and fast if I am constantly looking to the future, if I am constantly trying to predict what's round the bend and planning everything. Of course there are things that need to be looked at and planned mainly our wedding, but I think that in itself should be enjoyed, the process of planning a wedding is something I will never get again and so although I am looking to the future I need to make a conscious decision to enjoy the present.

I am definitely not a city girl, I lived in Birmingham for a year and I have lived in Oxford for a year and a half now and I can say assuredly that I am definitely made for the countryside. After living in a tiny little Scottish village for 6 weeks over the summer it became quite obvious that it was the country life for me. However I am also aware that this will most likely be the only few years I will ever live in such a beautiful city as Oxford and so it is important I enjoy it. I may never again be surrounded by stunning architecture, more book shops than you can shake a stick at and ridiculously good coffee shops. I may never again be able to pop down to London for the day on the coach and go to a show or do some shopping. And so I have been trying to enjoy Oxford, to enjoy my time here and to enjoy city living. I am going out of my way to enjoy spending time in such an amazing place and taking advantage of all it has to offer like beautiful walks around Christ Church Meadow which, when bathed in golden winter sun, is really rather magical.




What I wore....
Dress - Fatface | Coat - Wallis | Hat - Primark | Boots - New Look | Bag - Market Stall in Portugal
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