Archives for the month of: July, 2013

Now I’m cooking a lot more pulses than I used to, it seemed worth investing in a pressure cooker to reduce the cooking times and energy use. It really speeds things up. In this recipe I use it twice: first to mostly cook the chick peas, then to cook the finished dish (eggplants need quite long cooking, too, and this seemed like a good way of speeding that up). Including the cooling times (but not the overnight soaking of the chickpeas), I estimate that this dish took 30 minutes to make from start to finish. You can also cook chickpeas from dry in a pressure cooker, but that takes 30 minutes, so it makes more sense to me to soak them.

You could use spinach instead of kale and chard here.

Chickpea, kale and eggplant curryChickpea, kale and eggplant curry (pressure cooker version: serves 2)

Ingredient Calories per serving
½cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water 134
1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed 2
1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed 2
1 tsp ground ginger 2
2 tbsps sunflower oil 120
3 cloves garlic, chopped 2
155g eggplant/aubergine, chopped into chunks 19
4 mildy hot green chilli peppers (e.g. jalapenos), seeded and sliced 8
300g mixed fresh tomatoes, chopped into chunks 27
80g Tuscan kale, chopped 20
115g Swiss chard, chopped 11
salt and pepper 0

Total calories per serving: 350

Ingredients for chickpea, kale and eggplant curryMethod: Drain the soaked chickpeas and put into a pressure cooker with a cup of water. Bring to pressure and cook for six minutes. While the cooker is cooling, prepare the vegetables and spices. Remove the chickpeas from the cooker, retaining the cooking liquid. Put the pan of the cooker back onto the heat and, once it is dry, add the crushed cumin and coriander, then the ground ginger. Once the spices are fragrant, add the oil and the chopped garlic. Cook for a minute, then add the eggplant and pepper and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the tomatoes and when they start releasing their juices, add the chick peas and half a cup of their cooking liquid. Add the kale and chard and seasoning, then put the lid on the cooker, bring to pressure and cook for three minutes.


Pea Pesto

Just at the end of the fresh pea season here. I spent an hour this morning shelling my last harvest.

Shelling peas

I ended up with a pound and a half (700g) of peas and used some of them to make this easy but lovely bright green pesto. I served this on some toasted sourdough bread for supper, but it would be good with pasta or just as a side dish or dip, too.

Pea pesto (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
1 cup/6oz/180g fresh peas 36
2 tbsp lemon juice 2
2 cloves garlic 2
¼cup/60ml sunflower oil 120
salt and pepper 0

Total calories per serving: 160

Method: Steam the peas for five minutes, or until tender. Put them in a blender with the other ingredients and blitz until smoothish.

Pea Pesto on Sourdough Toast

Chocolate gelatoAs I’ve said before, you probably won’t be wanting to use up 175 calories on a dessert on a fasting day, but this is another low-calorie iced milk dish which might be useful when you’re not fasting. The recipe is from Kitty Travers and was originally published in the Telegraph in 2011. I’ve renamed it, as ‘Chocolate Pudding Ice Cream’ seemed a bit of a misnomer for a dessert without cream. I’ve also simplified the method a bit.

Recipe for Chocolate gelato (serves 4)

Ingredient Calories per serving
450 ml/2 cups milk (2% fat) 61
15g/½oz cornflour 13
50g/2oz cocoa powder 28
75g/3oz sugar 73

Total calories per serving: 175

Method: Mix together the cornflour and about a quarter of the milk in a saucepan. Stir in the cocoa powder and sugar and slowly add the rest of the milk. Stir the ingredients over a medium heat until the cornflour starts to thicken and the mixture turns glossy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then put in the refrigerator for an hour or two to chill. Pour the cold mixture into an ice-cream maker and churn until frozen.

I’m going to have to change the name of this blog to ‘Black Bean Blog’ soon, I know. I just find these particular legumes incredibly useful for fasting day meals. I usually cook a couple of cups of beans at a time and keep them in the fridge as a quick and easy source of protein for lunches. If you believe this effusive website they’ve got particularly good health benefits. I’m growing black beans (Cherokee Trail of Tears) for the first time this year, so hope eventually to be cooking my own!

This recipe was inspired by one on the Budget Bytes site for black bean and avocado enchiladas. My avocado, sadly, was not ripe enough to eat, so instead of using tortillas, I put the corn and beans in the (adapted) enchilada sauce as a soup instead. The addition of cocoa intrigued me – you don’t taste chocolate in the finished dish, but there is a richness to the sauce which wouldn’t be there otherwise, I think.

For a soup which takes mere minutes to make, this one is absolutely delicious.

Mexican soup

Mexican soup (serves 1)

Ingredient Calories per serving
200g canned tomatoes, blended to a purée 36
1 tsp cumin seeds 8
1 tsp smoked paprika or chilli powder 6
1 tsp cocoa powder 4
½ cup cooked black beans 114
½ cup corn kernels 62
salt and pepper 0

Total calories per serving: 230

Method: Mix everything together in a pan and heat until warm enough to eat. Doesn’t get much simpler than that!

Fasting day meals need to be filling, flavoursome and frugal (calorie-wise). This combination of snap beans, sugar snap peas and black beans ticks all of those boxes. The fibre content of the black beans keeps you feeling full after you’ve eaten, while the crunch of the sugar snap peas provides an interesting contrast in textures. Garlic scapes, cumin, lemon and cilantro provide the strong flavours that you need on a fasting day to convince you that you have eaten well.

In addition to containing lots of ‘snap’ vegetables, this salad is quick and easy to put together, so thoroughly deserves its name!

Snappy Salad
Recipe for Snappy salad (serves 1)

Ingredient Calories per serving
75g green and yellow snap/French beans, trimmed and sliced 26
1 tsp oil or butter 13
1 tsp cumin seeds 8
5 garlic scapes, sliced (or two cloves of garlic, chopped) 25 (8)
75g sugar snap peas/mangetout, trimmed and sliced 32
100g cooked black beans 132
2 tsps lemon juice 2
salt and pepper 0
a few cilantro/coriander leaves, roughly chopped 1
30g lettuce 4

Total calories per serving: 265 (250)

Method: Steam the beans until they are tender, then run under cold water and set to one side. Heat the butter or oil and fry the cumin seeds and garlic scapes/garlic for a minute. Stir in the sliced sugar snap peas/mangetout and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the snap beans, black beans, lemon juice and seasonings. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves, with the cilantro/coriander sprinkled on top.