Green bean, rice and almond salad

This recipe is from The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier – she has a great blog

900g green beans

3 tablespoons almond butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups cooked rice, or a mix of brown rice, quinoa, etc (I use the pre cooked sachets you can get in the supermarket if I am short of time)

2/3 cups toasted almonds – I use flaked

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

Ground black pepper to taste


Steam the green beans (a fast alternative is to wash them, top and tail them then cut in half, and then put into a microwave safe dish, cover with plastic film and cook on high for a couple of minutes – then rinse under cold water).

Make dressing in a salad bowl: whisk together almond butter, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt.

Add the green beans and coat in the dressing.  Add rice, parsley and seasoning.  Serve.


I topped with some sliced fresh figs because I like them

I topped with some sliced fresh figs because I like them

Dal with Tomatoes

This recipe is from a wonderful book called ‘Cooking at home with Pedatha’ – highly recommended if you love Indian food.

1 cup red lentils

3-4 tomatoes, chopped

10 fenugreek seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

3-4 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped

1 teaspoon chilli powder (optional – depending on heat of your fresh chillies)

1 teaspoon coriander powder

fresh chillies – 3-4 green chillies, or 1 really hot chilli (I use a Naga Dorset or Ghost/Bhut Jolokia if I have one)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves

1 tablespoon oil

salt to taste


For tempering:

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

8 fresh curry leaves

1 teaspoon asafoetida powder


First put the lentils on to cook, and then prepare and measure out all the other ingredients before you start cooking the tempering.

Cook red lentils with fenugreek seeds and turmeric in ~3 cups of water until very soft creamy consistency – add more water if needed.  Make sure it is not too dry, it should be kind of like pouring custard in consistency.

Prepare tempering – heat oil in a wok or large deep frying pan, pop the mustard and then add the fenugreek seeds.  Lower the heat and once the fenugreek is brown (won’t take long) then add the curry leaves and asafoetida.

Add the tomatoes and garlic, and stir and simmer of a few minutes.

Add chilli powder if using, coriander powder, fresh chillies and salt and cook until the tomatoes are cooked down into a paste.

Add the cooked lentils and simmer for at least a few minutes until you are happy with the consistency, then stir in the fresh coriander.

I usually eat a bowl of Dal with a heated roti, and a spoonful of mango chutney.  You can buy good quality roti in the refrigerated section of most supermarkets, and I toast them in a sandwich press to heat them through.  Alternatively serve with rice.



Quinoa, Mushroom, Asparagus and Avocado Salad with Oven-Baked Chickpea Patties

Quinoa Salad

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup vegetable stock

2 teaspoons olive oil

1.5 cups sliced mushrooms

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 2cm pieces

1/2 medium lemon, juiced

1/2 avocado, cubed into 1cm pieces

2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon flax oil (use another oil if you don’t have flax)


First prepare the quinoa:  wash and drain, then put in pot with stock and boil until all the stock had been absorbed, stirring occasionally.  Then spread out on plate or board to cool.

At the same time, roast the vegetables:  mix sliced mushrooms with 1 teaspoon olive oil and bake on baking sheet for 10 minutes at 200 degrees C, then add the chopped asparagus after tossing in the other teaspoon of olive oil and bake another 10-20 minutes until it’s as cooked and concentrated as you prefer.  When cooked, sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Mix everything together in a bowl and serve.


Oven-baked Chickpea Patties

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup of each of the following: parsley, mint, coriander – chopped roughly

1 can chickpeas, drained

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (use rice or other non-wheat crumbs for gluten free)

1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour) – or use any other type of flour

1 medium onion, diced

4 tablespoons tahini

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

oil for cooking – I use a spray can of rice bran oil


Using a food processor, chop herbs and garlic together until finely chopped.  Put into a large bowl.

Chop chickpeas until fine in the food processor – use the ‘pulse’ function to avoid turning them into a paste.

Add chickpeas and the remaining ingredients (except oil) to the herb mixture, and mix well.

Shape into little patties and put onto oiled oven tray.  Spray or brush with oil.

Bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees C, then flip and oil the other side, and bake a further 15 minutes or so.  They should be dark brown and crispy.

Serve with the quinoa salad above, plus some hummus or other dip, and olives.


Variation: you can fry these in hot oil, which will make them tastier but much higher calorie.

When quickly reheating things like the chickpea patties, I use a sandwich press to keep them crisp rather than microwaving.



Smoked Tofu Steamed with Black Beans and Chilli

This is a very simple recipe to make, and is a real taste sensation.  Serve with something plain, like brown rice and some green leafy Asian vegetables stir fried with garlic and ginger.  Serves 2-4 depending on whether you eat it on its own or with side dishes.


250g smoked tofu

1/2 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes

Approx 3cm ginger, peeled and finely julienned

1 tablespoon fermented black beans

3 tablespoons oil (e.g. peanut, grape seed)

3 tablespoons Light Soy Sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Then to finish – a few drops of chilli and sesame oil, and a little chopped spring onion or coriander to taste


1.  Blot the smoked tofu and then slice into 1cm slices

2. Put tofu into a heatproof bowl and sprinkle over the chilli, ginger, black beans, oils, soy sauce and sugar

3. Steam for about 20 minutes in a steamer

4. Sprinkle the ‘finishing’ ingredients on top, and serve with some plain rice


Bowl ready for steaming


Rice Noodles with Smoked Tofu and Greens

This is a very quick and easy one-dish meal that is easy to customise.  I like to make it spicy and to use lots of asian leafy green vegetables.  You can tone it down by replacing the hot chilli with just tomato paste if you want zero heat, or a combination of the two.  You can also add in pretty much any vegetables you have in the fridge or garden, so it’s a good way to use up stuff and minimise waste.  I like to use smoked tofu, but if you can’t find any you can use a plain firm tofu instead (but is won’t be as good). 


3 tablespoons rice bran oil

250g smoked tofu, quartered lengthwise and then sliced 5mm thick

1 medium onion, chopped

100g green beans, trimmed and cut in half

200g bok choy or choi sum, cut into large chunks

200g rice noodles – I use pad thai or ribbon style noodles

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1.5 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons hot chilli paste or sauce

1 tablespoon ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce)

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

100g beansprouts

1 cup shredded crisp lettuce

2 tablespoons fried shallots

lemon wedges & quartered fresh tomato to serve (optional)


Make sure you prepare all the ingredients before you start, because it all comes together very quickly.

Firstly prepare the rice noodles – follow the instructions on the packet.  Once cooked, rinse under cold water and leave to drain.

Next, fry the smoked tofu slices until crisp in a wok over a high heat, using about 2 tablespoons of the oil.  Remove smoked tofu from wok and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok.  Add the chopped onions and fry until starting to brown.  Add the green beans, and the fried smoked tofu, and fry together for a few minutes until the beans are half-cooked.  Add the bok choy/choi sum, and fry for another couple of minutes.

Add the rice noodles, and mix gently – this is quite difficult at first because the noodles want to hang together, but be persistent and keep the heat high.  Add the spices, sauces and beansprouts and cook for another minute or two until everything is hot and cooked through.

Remove from heat, and sprinkle with the chopped lettuce and fried shallots.  Serve immediately, with lemon and tomato on the side.

Serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are