Baked Apple-Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Pudding

Baked Apple-Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Pudding

Rolled oats baked with cinnamon and nutmeg, apples, blueberries, almonds, and whole fat yogurt and milk! Yes, this simple breakfast pudding is not only as delicious as it sounds but it's also a power-packed way to start your day with an energy-rich helping of protein, fats and fiber in addition to a healthy dose of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals too.

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No Croutons Required - The Winner for May

The theme for May was to come up with a salad, soup or curry featuring eggs. The most popular dish is Ren's British Asparagus Mozzarella, Tomato Egg Salad. What a delightful dish to celebrate warmer weather. Congratulations Ren. I just know that would be just one fine meal.

Jacqueline will be hosting the June edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the beginning of the month for the theme.

Mushroom Curry Simmered in a Fenugreek Cream Sauce with Green Peas

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
This interesting and somewhat rich curry is inspired from 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer. Surely this book is on my list of top five essential Indian cookbooks you must own. There are so many post-it notes adorning the pages that the book has become even thicker than when I got it. This is a much treasured source of inspiration in my kitchen. Traditional recipes with a bit of a spin that are easily followed, with helpful tips and easily accessible ingredients for both novice and experienced cooks alike. As much as I adore cookbooks that have that "coffee table book" presentation, this is a staple book if you want ideas for easy weekday meals or want to make something a little more complicated when you are having guests for dinner or just feel like spending more time in the kitchen.

mushroom curry

For the most part, all of the recipes I have tried from this book are made with ease and a minimal amount of preparation and cooking times, and everything that I have made is truly delicious and pleasing to the palate. Simplicity and ease does not mean that you won't be able to turn out meals that taste like they have come from a gourmet restaurant. This book certainly doesn't gather dust on my shelf and I find myself constantly browsing through the pages finding more recipes I can't wait to try — yep, more post-it notes.

Essential spice blends and pastes, appetizers, paneer dishes, legume curries, vegetables curries, rice dishes and accompaniments treat the cook and this book is highly recommended by my kitchen. I have no affiliation with the author but am simply an adoring fan.

Indian mushroom curry

I never can get enough mushrooms it seems and they go so well in a creamy sauce like the one in this recipe. Exactly the sort of side dish I wanted to whip up to serve to my friend Basil when he came over for dinner. I sliced the mushrooms into large chunks for an especially satisfying burst of meaty mushroom goodness. I've made this twice already and surely it won't be for the last time either.

Mushroom Curry Simmered in a Fenugreek Cream Sauce with Green Peas Mushroom Curry Simmered in a Fenugreek Cream Sauce with Green Peas
Recipe by
Adapted from 660 Curries
Cuisine: Indian
Published on May 25, 2012

Spicy, creamy and wonderfully fragrant, this mushroom and pea curry with fenugreek leaves is delicious served on hot fresh cooked white rice or on Indian flatbreads

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  • 4 oz dried mushrooms (I used porcini mushrooms)
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 - 6 green chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 8 oz button, cremini or selection of wild mushrooms, halved or sliced
  • 1 cup fresh fenugreek leaves (methi) or 2/3 cup dried fenugreek leaves soaked in water
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, yogurt or kefir
  • sea salt to taste
  • Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and chop, reserving 2/3 cup of the soaking liquid.

  • In a food processor, combine the cashews, garlic and chilies and pulse until you have a coarse mixture (I used my trusty magic bullet for convenience).

  • In a large frying pan or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cashew, chili and garlic blend, along with the onions, and stir and fry for a few minutes. Stir in the spices, fry for another minute, and then stir in the tomato. Continue to stir and fry for another few minutes to let the tomato reduce a litle.

  • Now add the fresh and dried mushrooms to the pan. Stir and fry for another 2 minutes. Pour in the reserved soaking liquid from the soaked mushrooms to deglaze the pan and scrape off any of film that has formed on the bottom of the pan.

  • Squeeze out excess liquid from the dried fenugreek leaves if using, and add to the pan with the peas, milk, yogurt or kefir, and salt. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce begins to thicken. Stir occasionally.

  • Serve hot as a side dish or over hot fresh cooked rice or Indian flatbreads.

Makes 4 servings
mushroom curry Indian style

More mushroom delights from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Chickpea Vindaloo
Paneer Mushroom Masala
Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Quinoa
Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon

On the top of the reading stack: The Landlady by Dostoyevsky

Audio Accompaniment: silence

Spicy Mixed Dal

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients for this dish. It really is easy to prepare. Creamy and spicy and a great recipe to go along with some buttered rice with some freshly cracked black pepper. I think my vegan readers would enjoy this, sans the ghee. The mixture of dal and spices surely makes for one healthy meal. I drafted this dish on a anxious day trying to figure out what to make for dinner. Well, anxiety is not always bad when you get results like this. I also recommend serving with some Indian crepes or pancakes.

spicy mixed dal

Spicy Mixed DalSpicy Mixed Dal
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on May 25, 2012

A simple creamy and spicy mixed dal curry great for serving on hot fresh cooked rice or Indian flatbreads

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  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup split mung dal
  • 1/2 cup channa dal or yellow split peas
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 tablespoon ghee or sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • generous handful of dried curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango) powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 5 whole dried red chilies, broken into pieces
  • 3-inch piece cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • Rinse the dal and soak in enough water to cover for at least 1 hour. Drain and transfer to a large pot, along with 5 cups of water and the turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 40 minutes until the dal is creamy. Remove from heat and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, prepare the paste. In a food processor or blender (I used my trusty Magic Bullet) combine all of the ingredients for the paste along with some water. Process until you have a fairly thick paste. Set aside.

  • Heat the ghee or oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and stir and fry until they turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Now add the the curry leaves and asafetida, Stir for a minute and add the prepared paste. Stir and fry for five minutes. Now add the tomato and amchoor powder and a bit of water. Simmer until the mixture is thickened.

  • Add the paste and spice mixture as well as the salt to the cooked dals and simmer until the mixture is thickened and the flavours are blended. Add more water if necessary to achieve your desired consistency.

  • Garnish with fresh parsley and serve hot along with rice or Indian flatbreads.

Makes 6 servings
spicy mixed dal with spices

More dal dishes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Bitter Melon (Bitter Gourd) Sambar
Creamy Mung Dal Curry
Mung Bean and Tamarind Dal
Tarka Dal

On the top of the reading stack: The Landlady by Dostoyevsky

Audio Accompaniment: On Land by Brian Eno

Chickpea Flour Crêpes

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
chickpea flour crepes

Yes, the obsession continues. More Indian fried flat breads for breakfast, brunch and dinner. A batch of these keeps for a few days and is a nourishing accompaniment to a variety of meals and is especially nice with a chutney or some pickles and rice. If you are in a pinch for dinner, I would suggest rolling these up with a paneer cheese filling, served along with a potato dish. More Indian pancakes and crêpes are coming soon. As I said, it is an obsession…

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No Croutons Required - Eggs

We are having a lovely spring and I suspect that is why we did not get many entries this month. All the same, the ones here are certainly worth a look. Please vote for your favorite dish in the comment section or via email. Do note that my submission, nor Jacqueline's, is not in the vote.

Our first entry is from Ren of Fabulicious Food. A feast for the eyes and a treat for the tummy, this British Asparagus Mozzarella, Tomato Egg Salad is a must try indeed. Hoping for better weather for a healthy crop of asparagus, here we have asparagus paired with soft boiled eggs, mozzarella cheese, plum tomatoes dressed with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper. Such a perfect salad to celebrate warmer weather. (UK)

I guess maybe the theme this month should have been asparagus. Fiona of London Unattached submits this Warm Asparagus Salad with Quail Eggs and Fennel Pollen. The pairing of eggs and asparagus is extra special here dressed with fresh lemon juice and garnished with fennel pollen. Fiona says the fennel pollen has "tiny flavour explosions of sunshine with just a slight taste of aniseed." I sure would like to try this dish. Simple but full of flavor and a treat for your dinner guests. (London, UK)

egg curry
My contribution this month is a South Indian Egg Curry. I don't eat eggs all that often, but when the craving hits, I like to spice it up. Lightly boiled eggs are oh so good with mustard seeds, onion, garlic, ginger, green chilies, turmeric, cumin seeds, cayenne, coconut, curry leaves, tomatoes, yogurt and parsley. Easy to prepare and a treat for those that have a spicy palate. (London, Ontario, Canada)

Next up is lovely Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook with this gorgeous Stracciatella - Italian Egg Drop Soup. I am getting hungry just looking at this dish that is comprised of porcini mushrooms, fresh spinach, beaten eggs, garlic, oregano, basil, ditalini (or other small pasta), red pepper flakes, Parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes. I so regret that I don't live next door to Susan. What an amazing dish and the presentation is superb. "And it can be ready in just about the same time as waiting for the guy with the bicycle to come to deliver your pint of the usual."(NY, US)

Now from David who posts on The London Fog we have a spicy dish here. My readers will just know that I could not resist these Eggs in a Creamy Tomato Curry Sauce. Aromatic and a delight to make, soft boiled eggs are included in a wonderful curry sauce made up of cumin seeds, curry leaves, shallots, fresh ginger, tomatoes, green chilies, cayenne, ground cumin, homemade curry powder, yogurt and seasoning. Yet another egg curry to get my appetite going. (London, Ontario, Canada)

Our last submission is from my dear friend Jacqueline and partner for NCR. I have long wanted to make this Carrot & Tiffin Salad with Caesar's Dressing. What is not to like about this salad that contains eggs, grated carrots, onion, curry paste, wholemeal bread whizzed into crumbs, and roasted cashews. To finish, salad leaves, more carrots and basil leaves, and an adaptation of my famous Caesar salad dressing made up of mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, garlic, wholegrain mustard, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese. (Scotland, Uk)

Jacqueline with be hosting the June edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the beginning of the month for the theme.

Cornmeal Pine Nut Cookies

My husband was craving cookies and on a chilly afternoon, I decided to whip up a batch of these rather healthy little bites. Adapted from Mollie Katzen's excellent Sunlight Café, she suggests nibbling on them on your morning break with a hot drink. They are also nice to go along with your breakfast for that matter. Not too sweet at all, and flavored with pure maple syrup, complimented by pine nuts, a hint of lemon, vanilla and ginger, I will certainly make these again.

cornmeal pine nut cookies

Ms. Katzen has lots of wonderful ideas for a stress-free breakfast, ranging from beverages, fruit creations, grains, quick breads, eggs, vegetables, beans, puddings and condiments and sauces to go along with many of the recipes. Readers will certainly be inspired to rethink their breakfast menus. Too often we get into the habit of eating the same old thing, including boxed cereals that are not especially good for you. Not all of the ideas here would do on a particularly busy morning - though many of the recipes can be prepared ahead of time - and if you have time or wish to have a delightful brunch or lunch, this is an ideal book to consult. Truly, the author offers a fresh approach to breakfast all day and your body will be happy for the range of nourishing ideas presented throughout, along with helpful and interesting information and tips.

Cornmeal Pine Nut CookiesCornmeal Pine Nut Cookies
Recipe by
Adapted from Mollie Katzens Sunlight Café
Published on May 18, 2012

Easy, dense and chewy, and just slightly sweetened cornmeal and pine nut cookies flavored with pure maple syrup, a hint of lemon, vanilla and ginger

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Wet ingredients:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2/3 teaspoons vanilla
Dry ingredients:
  • 1 1/3 cups spelt or unbleached white flour
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • Xylitol or sugar for sprinkling
  • Preheat an oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs until smooth. Stir in the salt, maple syrup, sesame oil and vanilla. Stir well to combine.

  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, lemon zest, pine nuts and ginger. Transfer the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until well combined.

  • With damp hands, roll a roughly 2 - 3 teaspoon piece of dough into a small ball. Flatten it into a round, about 1-inch in diameter. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Sprinkle each of the cookies with Xylitol or sugar.

  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies turn a nice golden color.

  • Cool on a wire rack for another 15 minutes and serve.

Makes about 15 cookies or more depending on how thin the dough is rolled.
cornmeal pine nut cookies

More cookie recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen you are sure to enjoy:
Cayenne Peanut Butter Cookies
Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

On the top of the reading stack: "Poor Folk" by Dostoyevsky

Audio Accompaniment: "On Land" by Brian Eno

Quinoa Olive Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Black Olive Shortbread

I never can get enough olives and so when I saw Ricki's recipe for this summer salad served with black olive shortbread, I knew I had to make it. As is my custom, I have adapted it from the original. Perfect for vegans and vegetarians alike because of the combination of such a powerhouse of healthy ingredients. This dish is also gluten-free. Ricki suggests you might want to add some nuts or beans for complete proteins if serving as a main course.

quinoa olive salad

The salad is so refreshing dressed with olive oil, lemon and tamari and the green olives are a perfect touch and essential I would say. Truly a good choice as summer has been with us this week and I for one, do not feel much like turning on the stove for extended periods of time. I toyed with the idea of adding goat cheese, but I wanted to present it as vegan friendly and truly the salad shines without it though I am sure it would be a nice addition for those who eat dairy. This salad can be served cold or at room temperature.

Thank you to Ricki for granting me permission to adapt your recipe and post about it on my blog. I had some happy diners, including myself.

Quinoa Olive Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes Served with Black Olive Shortbread Quinoa Olive Salad with Sun-dried Tomatoes Served with Black Olive Shortbread
Recipe by
Adapted from Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Published on May 15, 2012

A light, elegant and refreshing colorful quinoa and vegetable salad served with delicious savory brown rice and olive shortbread biscuits

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  • 1 1/4 cups dried quinoa
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes
  • generous cup green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, scrubbed, and cut into small strips
  • handful of snow peas, cut into small strips
  • a few tablespoons of red onion, sliced
  • small bunch of green onions, white and light green parts, cut on an angle
  • 2 fresh red chilies, seeded and sliced into small strips
  • 1 fresh green chili, seeded and cut into small strips
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
raw vegetables
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice from 1 medium lemon
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or Xylitol
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • scant 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy or tamari sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of water or vegetable stock
  • Rinse the quinoa and soak for 8 hours or overnight in 2 1/2 cups of water or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and let cool.

  • Meanwhile, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and chop.

  • Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and combine with the sun-dried tomatoes, green olives, carrot, snow peas, red onion, green onions, chilies, and parsley. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the salad. Set aside to cool at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

  • When it is time to make the shortbreads, preheat an oven to 325° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, grind together the walnuts, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and flour. Now add the olives, tamari and water or stock and process until you have crumbly dough that is not overly moist. Add a bit more flour if it is too moist.

  • Transfer the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and shape into a round that is roughly 5 inches in diameter and about 1/2-inch thick. Score the top into 6 triangles.

  • Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven, gently separate the triangles so they are about an inch apart, and continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are dry and the bottoms nicely browned. Let cool on a wire rack for a short while before serving with the salad.

Makes 6 servings
quinoa olive salad

More healthy salads you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Curried Quinoa Salad with Lentils and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Quinoa Spinach Salad with Feta, Pomegranate and Toasted Almonds
Turkish Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Pomegranate, Walnuts and Zahtar Dressing
Wild Rice and Asparagus Salad

On the top of the reading stack: Poor Folk by Dostoyevsky

Audio Accompaniment: On Land by Brian Eno

South Indian Egg Curry

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
I don't eat eggs very often these days, but I had a craving and the theme for this month's No Croutons Required is soups or salads featuring eggs. I will also accept egg curries, like this one. I invite fellow bloggers to submit their creations. You have until the 20th of the month to participate in the challenge.

south Indian egg curry

The combination of lightly boiled eggs in a rich tomato based spicy sauce is surely one you will want to try if you enjoy eggs and Indian cuisine. It's easy to prepare too and the sauce is such a delight that you may want to make it without the eggs, include some cooked legumes as the sauce is simmering and serve with rice and/or Indian flatbreads.

Either way, with or without the eggs, I recommend pairing this dish with a bed of hot buttered rice and some Indian pancakes.

South Indian Egg Curry South Indian Egg Curry
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on May 13, 2012

Hard-boiled eggs simmered in a rich, spicy and fragrant Indian tomato sauce

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  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons fresh or dried grated coconut
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • generous handful of dried curry leaves
  • 4 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • Place the eggs in a medium saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pot, set aside to cool, and then peel off the shell.

  • Heat the ghee oil in a medium-large saucepan or wok over medium heat. When hot, toss in the mustard seeds and stir and fry until they turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Now add the onion to the pan and stir and fry for 10 minutes or until the onions turn golden. Next add the garlic, ginger, green chilies, turmeric, cumin seeds, cayenne, coconut, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and fry for a minute or two. Add the curry leaves and tomatoes, and simmer until you have a thick sauce, stirring occasionally. Stir in the eggs, simmer for another few minutes, and gradually stir in the yogurt.

  • Cut the eggs in half and serve hot or warm with plenty of the curry, garnished with fresh parsley.

Makes 4 servings
egg curry

More egg dishes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Asparagus & Feta Cheese Scramble
Cheddar and Mushroom Shirred Eggs
Devilled Curried Eggs
Egg Masala Curry in a Spicy Tomato Gravy

On the top of the reading stack: browsing my shelves

Audio Accompaniment: Heligoland

Beetroot Muffins

Though it might sound odd to some diners, this is one fine muffin to serve for breakfast along with some butter and a cup of tea. Perfect for brunch or for a dessert too, these rather savory and healthy muffins are just fine whenever the craving hits. Beets really do go well in a baked creation as they add a nice natural sweetness. Try these and tell me what you think. If you like carrot cake, well, this is even better.

beet muffins

I adapted this from Anna Thomas Bates. Thanks to Maria Speck who liked this recipe on her facebook page.

 Beetroot Muffins Beetroot Muffins
Recipe by
Adapted from Anna Thomas Bates
Published on May 11, 2012

Slightly sweet and slightly savory, these simple beet muffins make a wonderful and unique breakfast, brunch or tea item

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  • 1 medium beet
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk or 1/3 cup whole milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar (let sit for five minutes)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Dry ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached white or spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Roast the beet in a 425° oven for 1 hour or until fork tender. Let cool.

  • Once the beet is cooled, peel and transfer to a medium bowl. Mash with a fork or potato masher, and beat together with the melted butter, buttermilk or milk, egg, vanilla and brown sugar until smooth.

  • In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking soda, baking powder, dill and salt.

  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture into the bowl. Stir until just combined. Transfer to the prepared muffin tins and bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes.

  • Grease 10 muffin cups with butter and transfer the batter to the cups. Bake in a 375° oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

Makes 8 – 10 muffins
beetroot muffins

More beetroot recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Beetroot Cake
Beet and Feta Salad
Indian-Style Beet Salad with a Yogurt Dressing
Lentil Pomegranate Stew with Beets and Spinach

On the top of the reading stack: The Indian Grocery Store Demystified by Linda Bladholm

Audio Accompaniment: the ceiling fan

Simple Spicy Bottle Gourd Dal

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe

One of the great improvements in modern urban living over the past generation has been the vast increase in the availability of foodstuffs from around the world — ingredients that many of us never grew up with and that many of our parents had never heard of are now found in both supermarkets and a variety of ethnic grocers that continue to pop up in our cities. Last year a large Asian supermarket opened up a few blocks away from my house with a huge array of fresh exotic produce and shelves upon shelves of astonishing ingredients from every part of the continent, including India — I could spend days roaming the aisles in delight at the new discoveries.

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Grape Leaf Pie with Herbs, Yogurt and Quinoa

This savory and salty, tangy pie is a gem that I was inspired to make after consulting my trusty copy of Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. I have bookmarked many recipes to try from this delightful, creative and nourishing book. Just looking at the pictures will have your tummy rumbling. Certainly one of the more unique recipes I have made in a while.

grape leaf pie with herbs, quinoa and yogurt

Do make sure to find grape leaves that are not overly salty. Fresh ones are best, but if you can't find them, purchase a good quality jarred brand from your local grocer. My experiments in the kitchen continue and though Indian cooking is my specialty, I love all sorts of ethnic creations. Give this one a try and let me know what you think. It really is easy to prepare.

grape leaf pie with yogurt, herbs and quinoa

Grape Leaf Pie with Herbs, Yogurt and Quinoa Grape Leaf Pie with Herbs, Yogurt and Quinoa
Recipe by
Adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes From London's Ottolenghi
Cuisine: Turkish
Published on May 7, 2012

A thick, sturdy savory pie with a grape leaf crust! And stuffed with nourishing quinoa, tangy Greek yogurt and fresh herbs

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  • 1/4 cup dried quinoa
  • 25 - 30 grapes leaves, fresh or jarred
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 - 5 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup whole fat Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons fresh dill, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons fresh mint, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • Rinse the quinoa and soak overnight in 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside to cool.

  • Place the grape leaves in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 10 minutes.

  • While the grape leaves are soaking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat and sauté the shallots for 8 to 10 minutes or until they begin to brown. Transfer to the bowl with the quinoa.

  • Drain and dry the grape leaves with a tea towel and break off the stems. Line a roughly 9-inch ovenproof baking dish with 3/4 of the grape leaves, including the sides of the dish, leaving a bit of overlap to fold over the mixture when ready. Brush the leaves with the melted butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, reserving a little for the top of the pie.

  • Stir the yogurt, toasted pine nuts, herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste into the quinoa. If using grape leaves jarred in brine, you may wish to add very little extra salt. Add the rice flour and mix until you have a thick paste. Transfer this mixture to the baking dish and spread evenly over the grape leaves.

  • Fold the leaves that are overlapping the side of the dish onto the top of the pie and top with remaining grapes leaves. Brush with the remaining butter and olive oil. Sprinkle with some breadcrumbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and bake in a preheated 375° oven for 40 minutes. Remove and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

  • Cut into wedges and top with some yogurt if desired.

Makes 4 – 6 servings
savory grape leaf pie

Other Turkish recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen you are sure to enjoy:
Turkish Yogurt Hummus
Sweet Potato and Apricot Croquettes
Turkish Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Pomegranate, Walnuts and Zahtar Dressing
Anooshavoor: Turkish Barley and Apricot Porridge

On the top of the reading stack: cookbooks

Audio Accompaniment: Heligoland - 'Swallows Return'

A Restaurant Review from London, Ontario - Jambalaya Restaurant

Such a shame. Jambalaya Restaurant, located at 119 Dundas Street, London, Ontario has delicious offerings, but their service is painfully slow. Not only is this the case if you choose to dine at their establishment, but takeout is even worse. I appreciate the selection of Cajun, Caribbean and Thai offerings and dishes that are vegetarian-friendly but if your restaurant is busy, at least be honest and don't give me a load of garbage about how quickly we'll be getting our food. I just wanted a break from cooking and as it was a weekend, thought it might be nice to indulge a bit and have a bit ordered in. One and a half hours later, though we were told it would arrive in 40 minutes or so .... Chef Ramsay would not be pleased. Donkeys.

I really don't mind eating cold food, but when I order out, I do expect to enjoy warm delights. I especially like their corn bread, moist with a burst of cornmeal flavor, vegetable quesadilla loaded with tempting cheese, olives and hot peppers, and Jamaican patties stuffed with fresh vegetables, and that is what we ordered. The folks who run the restaurant are quite charming and I don't want to discourage hungry folks from enjoying their offerings. I just wish they had more staff and don't like to wait for too long before dinner when my tummy is rubbling.

Had to call three times, the third time to complain because the driver who was to deliver the food could not get an easy address right in his head. The food was rather cold and we only accepted it because we were hungry. Just annoyed and though, as noted, the food is good, the decor rather charming, but the service is not up to snuff. I don't expect good food to arrive right away, but at least don't mislead your patrons, and they could have had the courtesy to call and tell us there was a delay, especially considering the offerings on the menu are not cheap. All the same, the food is worth the wait, all things considered.

Such A Shame

Savory Black-Eyed Pea Pancakes (Poora)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Yes, the obsession does continue and here is another recipe for savory Indian pancakes, this time adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi. As I have noted before, this is one of my earliest introductions to Indian cooking and this book certainly set me on the path to a healthy and delicious vegetarian diet. Though I enjoy pasta on occasion, I was eating too much of it and living on that and rice and tofu *gasp* until I started to learn more about a balanced and nutritious diet. I was very saddened to learn that Ms. Devi passed away in December. She has left a legacy, and I feel so blessed to have a few of her cookbooks.

Indian black-eyed pea savory pancakes

This recipe is another classic that I enjoyed immensely at any time of day with homemade chutney or sauce. Substitute brown rice flour for the unbleached white flour if you want a gluten-free version of these pancakes.

Savory Black-Eyed Pea Pancakes (Poora)Savory Black-Eyed Pea Pancakes (Poora)
Recipe by
Adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Cuisine: Indian
Published on May 5, 2012

Simple, savory spiced Indian pancakes make a great breakfast, lunch or snack served with chutney or yogurt

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 1 1/4 cups dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 - 3 fresh green or red chilies, seeded and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup water and more as needed
  • 1/4 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • sesame oil for frying
  • Rinse the black-eyed peas and soak for 14 hours or longer covered in several inches of water. Drain and add to a blender or food processor, and add the lime zest, ginger, chilies and mint. Blend or process, adding the water gradually, until the mixture is smooth and blended. Now add the flour, spices and salt, and process for another few minutes, stirring to distribute the batter ingredients. You will want to ensure that the beans are especially well incorporated. The batter should be smooth and fluffy and of pouring consistency. Add more water if necessary.

  • Transfer the batter to a bowl, cover and let sit for 3 - 4 hours.

  • Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat and brush the pan with some oil. When hot, ladle about 1/2 cup of batter into the pan and use the back of the ladle to form the pancake into a circle roughly 7 inches in diameter. Drizzle a little oil over the pancake, cook until small holes begin to form and the bottom is golden brown (about 3 to 5 minutes). Flip the pancake and cook for another few minutes. Repeat for the rest of the pancakes. Keep them warm on a plate in a 150° oven while you complete the process. Reheat any leftovers in foil wrap in a 350° oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Makes 12 pancakes
black-eyed pea savory pancakes

More Indian flatbreads you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Besan Roti
Savoury Rice and Urad Dal Pancakes
Rice Flour Pancakes

On the top of the reading stack: various bits and pieces

Audio Accompaniment: Eleanoora Rosenholm: Valo kaasumeren hämärässä