My pantry is always stocked up with whole grains like rice, beans and lentils. They are such a staple food for me whatever I decide to make. What I love about whole grains is that not only they taste awesome but also contain important nutrients including vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre. They are complex carbs meaning they break down slowly, leave you feel full longer and provide sustained energy. If you are used to white rice and processed foods, it might take a bit of time for your digestive system to get used to. Try to introduce whole grains gradually into your diet for example mixing half of brown rice with half of white rice, replacing white pasta with whole grain pasta, spreading hummus in your sandwich instead of butter. Soaking and cooking grains helps too. I normally soak grains overnight, then rinse and cook until they are soft and tender. Soaking reduces cooking time, helps to optimise nutrition absorption and makes easy on the digestive system. Once cooked, I then add veggies, nuts, dried fruits or herbs and spices to make it more interesting.
I used Puy lentils to make this salad today. They are originally from Le Puy in central France and taste quite earthy and sweet. These little guys are a great vegetarian source of protein and rich in iron which most vegetarians are lack of. If you didn’t soak them in advance, you just need to add more water and cook a bit longer. I think it would be also nice to sprinkle some toasted nuts or crumbled goat cheese on top. Enjoy x
1 cup Puy lentils, soaked overnight
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse pre-soaked lentils and cover with cold water in a pot. Bring it up to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until cooked. Drain and set aside. Finely chop the green top of beet root and grate beetroot and carrot. Place them in a large mixing bowl along with cooked lentils. In a separate bowl, add all dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour the dressing into the salad and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl/ plate.
More Turkey photos continue…When I’m travelling, I don’t mind waking up at 3-4am (thanks to a jet lag) and making myself tea and coffee (just because I cannot decide which one I want) and flipping through a hotel magazine until the sun comes up. Then I head down to have the most important meal of the day, breakfast, that always has yogurt and olives in Turkey. Everything is so fresh.
We had a tea time up on the hills where you can see Istanbul city. On first impression Istanbul is always busy and bustling, though the views from up here are undeniably peaceful and beautiful. Cool school kids sitting together and having a casual chat looked so relaxed and cute. One of the guys kept looking towards my camera and me pretending not taking a photo of them. Ah..awkward!
Vegan lunch full of fresh herbs and vegetables, just the way I like it.
You should try this champagne and pomegranate juice. Cheers!
Divine dinner tasting plates. They look amazing as well as flavourful. A lot of vegan dishes, yes! Char grilled capsicum stuffed with rice, dolma, mushroom stuffed with goat cheese and beetroot chip, sushi roll filled with peas, hummus, chickpea salad. My taste buds were in heaven. The great thing was chefs constantly checking if everyone was happy with the food they cook and just being passionate about serving modern Turkish food. I was so well looked after since they also gave me recommendations for vegan/vegetarian options.
Before visiting Istanbul, all I knew about Turkish cuisine was kebab, hummus, Turkish delight and dolma. It is much more than that. My experience with Turkish food was incredible. Fresh ingredients, a delicate balance of flavours, fragrant spices, beautiful black tea, my favorite sweets – lokum Turkish delight! Turkish wine was surprisingly good, too. These is no way you will leave hungry in this city.
It is always nice to explore a new city for more than what’s written about it on internet or paper. Istanbul was full of energy, beautiful architecture, friendly locals, clean streets, crazy traffic (quite chaotic on the roads and violent drivers) and delicious food. I cannot wait to return.
I was so glad to find a bag of ground black sesame seeds at the Asian grocery today. I think black sesame seeds are nuttier and more fragrant compared to white or brown kinds. These little black guys are an excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese. They are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber. So what do these nutrients mean? Eating them helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, prevent osteoporosis, migraine and PMS, protect your liver from oxidative damage. Amazing right? They are good for you inside out, as well! Powerful antioxidants and antibacterial properties in them help to nourish and detoxify your skin. So we will all look glowing and dewy after eating them, in theory anyway 🙂
The way I like using them is lightly toast and sprinkle over salads or stir-fries or noodles. Nuttiness and crunchiness brings the dish up to another level. Don’t forget it looks pretty, too. I added ground black sesame seeds in my baking today. A slice or two of this black beauty has become my favourite breakfast and snack. Enjoy x
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2-3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 cups of almond flour
1/2 cup of black sesame seed powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Gently whisk eggs in a bowl and add melted coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut sugar. Put all other dry ingredients in in a separate bowl and combine well. Add wet mixture into the bowl and combine well. Pour the cake mixture into a prepared loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven (180) for 40-45 minutes until cooked. Let it cool before slicing.