The Herb Diaries

The Herb Diaries has reclocated to www.theherbdiaries.com no new recipes will be posted here


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New Web Address

I think I may have sent out a blank post yesterday, so first of all, sorry for any confusion!

Since yesterday, The Herb Diaries has moved and you can now find it at www.theherbdiaries.com

I am so so excited about it and I hope you all love the new look as much as I do. The only problem is that I have not found a way to transfer all followers/subscribers, so please please take the time to re-register at the new site, as you will no longer receive update emails otherwise. I can’t thank you enough for all the love and comments so far, so I hope you will move with me and keep reading.

 

On the new site, I am just getting to grips with the different technology, so please bear with me and I hope it will all be sorted and working well ASAP!

 

Have a lovely day and hopefully see you there….

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Baked Kale and Parsley Falafel

DSC_0289 I can’t believe that about two years ago I had never even tried falafel! One of my best friends, Sophie, is a MEGA fan, but I was always a bit skeptical. I can’t remember exactly when it was that she gave me a big bite of her falafel wrap in our favourite lunch spot, but it was proof that she is a legend because the falafel in that place is seriously too good to share. DSC_0266 Whenever people come to Paris they go mad for the falafel on Rue des Rosiers in the old Jewish quarter. It is such a pretty little street with delicious bakeries and so many falafel stalls, serving the most amazing pittas stuffed with red and white cabbage, tomatoes, baked aubergine, pickled jalapenos, crispy falafel and a really big dollop of creamy hummus, they are insanely good. The problem is that the falafel is deep fried, and the idea just doesn’t sit that well with me. So I decided I had to make a healthier, fresher version. DSC_0281DSC_0282 I had hoped my baked falafel would stay a bit rounder… but despite their funny flat shape, they crisped up well and make an awesome change from the heavy baked version we are all used to. They will provide you with tons of wonderful plant protein, loads of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and a big boost to the immune system thanks to the chickpeas, kale and garlic.

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1 big handful of kale
1 handful parsley
1 tsp each of cumin and paprika
2 tbsp of olive oil
salt and pepper
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Method:

Blitz the kale and parsley in the blender until it is in tiny pieces. Chop the onion and garlic. Add all the ingredients into the blender and pulse until the chickpeas are almost completely broken down and the mixture begins to stick.
Bake at 200 degrees celsius, turning the balls every 10 minutes until the are cooked. This should take 30-40 minutes. Serve with lemon tahini dressing (get the recipe here) in a wrap, on a salad, as a snack….
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8 Comments

Roasted Squash and Tomato Salad with Lentils, Kale and Spicy Seeds

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My favourite thing about the holidays is having so much time on my hands. When I am not in a rush, there is no way I would rather spend my day than cooking, and then having a leisurely meal with my friends or family. This recipe came about from one of those days after Christmas. My sister and I spent all morning in the kitchen making this salad and my Baked Kale and Parsley Falafel for  a late lunch with our parents. I am sure we could have cooked it up much quicker than we did, but we were both completely content pottering around the kitchen, drinking tea and chatting.
It may seem like there is a lot going on, but it really is much easier than it seems, and the end result is so worth it. Apart from my dad looking a little surprised when we explained there wasn’t going to be any meat, it went down a storm, and it was such a filling and comforting meal for a cold day. The falafel was a delicious addition although not completely necessary, but do not skip out on the dressing if you just make the salad – it is amazingly creamy, and adds a much needed sharpness to the earthly sweetness of the roasted butternut squash.
Butternut squash is packed full of B vitamins which do wonders for your body – they can help ease migraine pain, relieve stress, aid memory and help increase serotonin production, keeping you healthy and happy. It will also provide you with lots of immune-boosting vitamin C, which is perfect for the miserable January weather. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse and lentils have so many more benefits than people usually think – not only are they a great source of protein and slow released energy (helping you feel fuller for longer) but they contain folate and magnesium which are key to heart health.
 
Ingredients:
 
Serves 4
 
1 butternut squash, do no throw away the seeds
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Rosemary
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 1/2 cups of lentils (soaked overnight or for as long as possible)
2 handfuls of kale
Seeds from the squash
Paprika
Cumin
 
For the dressing:
 
1 tbsp tahini
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of paprika
Olive oïl
Sea salt
 DSC_0307DSC_0304Method:
 
De-seed the squash and chop it into chunks. Drizzle it with olive oïl and sprinkle with salt, Pepper and fresh Rosemary, then roast at 180°C until it is soft – this will take about 40 minutes. When it has been cooking for about 30 minutes, chuck the cherry tomatoes in with the squash so they are ready at the same time.
Finely dice the carrot and celery and fry in a little olive oïl. Bring the kettle to the boil, and in boiling water and the lentils and let it simmer until the lentils are cooked – they will soak up lots of water, but you may need to drain the rest before mixing the lentils into the salad.
Blanche the kale quickly in boiling water, just enough to soften it, then leave to drain.
Toss the squash seeds in olive oïl, good quality salt and a sprinkling of paprika and cumin, then cook in a frying pan on a hob, tossing them often, until they are nicely browned. Watch them carefully because they will burn very quickly.
For the dressing, simply whisk all ingredients together, altering quantities to your taste.
 
Once everything is ready, toss it all in a big salad bowl, sprinkle with spicy squash seeds and drizzle with tangy lemon-tahini dressing and serve!


3 Comments

My Favourite Brunch

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Living in Paris, it is very important for me to find healthy and exciting brunch ideas, because with three bakeries on my road alone, the temptation is crazy. The smell is incredible and the pain au chocolats will put anything you’ve ever tried in England to shame. Bread has never really been my thing, but since I have been here I find myself eating more and more of it. My favourite bakery near my apartment does a different “bread of the day” every day and I already love their buckwheat bread, but I was so excited this weekend to try their pain Baltik – a mixture of rye and whole grain, with the dark nutty taste of rye bread, but a far lighter, less dense consistency.

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You can make this brunch in the time it takes the kettle to boil, and thanks to all the healthy fats in the avocado and olive oil, it will leave your skin glowing, your hair shining and your tummy full and happy all day long. I first had this in London – I had just got the Eurostar from Paris, and as soon as I arrived my brother in law very sweetly took me out for breakfast! I think that time it was actually on sourdough bread, but I love all the seeds in this rye bread.

 

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Before I get on with the recipe I would just like to share the link for my friend’s blog. I met Sandra a few years ago when I spent the summer working in the South of France, and I have only recently found out that we have a lot of shared interests! If you have some time to look, her blog is  gorgeous – there are loads of healthy recipe ideas, stunning photos and great articles on positivity, wellness and self-care. Click here to see Sandra’s blog.

 

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Ingedients:

Serves 2

2 avocados

2 big handfuls of rocket

2 slices of your favourite bread

juice of one lemon

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

 

Method:

Wash the rocket then mix with chopped avocado, a drizzle of oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Spoon onto a slice of bread, pouring over any lemony oil left in the bottom of the bowl, and tuck into the simplest (but most delicious) breakfast/brunch/lunch!

 

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4 Comments

Roasted Butternut Squash Filled with Fresh Pesto and Quinoa

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First I would like to say thank you so much to Niki at The Jolly Beetroot for nominating me for the Liebster Award! It is so exciting and finding out was the best start to my weekend. The other really exciting thing this weekend was that today I went over to a friends apartment to use his oven! I roasted vegetables for my lunches this week, I made my first ever batch of homemade granola (which I will be sharing the recipe for later this week) and we had this baked squash for lunch followed by a warming apple crumble. It was the perfect comfort food for a cold, dark Sunday afternoon. This recipe is for my big sis who is always telling to post more savoury recipes and main courses – she doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. I am pretty sure if she had been there at lunchtime she would have told me she loved it, but it would be better with some goats cheese melted on top. If you aren’t avoiding dairy, give it a try – she is a seriously awesome cook so I would fully trust her judgement!

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Not only is butternut squash really delicious, it is also packed full of vitamins to support both your nervous and immune systems. It contains a high level of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, and supplies your body with loads of dietary fibre. It tastes so so good roasted with olive oil, salt and lots of garlic, that when I had to chance to use an oven for the day it was an obvious decision. I think the Sunday cooking is going to have to become a bit of a weekly event – I get the oven, a bigger kitchen than mine, and a fun lunch with my friends! Plus, now that December has started it really has got cold, and there is no greater comfort food than mixed roasted veg.

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I could only get one butternut squash at the market so I got a few of the little round courgettes and stuffed them too. It worked just as well, they were yum, but you don’t need to pre-roast them before stuffing then like you do with the squash.

 

Ingredients:

Serves 3

1 butternut squash

3 round courgettes

1 cup of uncooked quinoa

2 leeks

6 mushrooms

1 bunch of basil

1 bunch of coriander

1 cup of hazelnuts

3 cloves of garlic

olive oil

Cherry tomatoes

 

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Method:

De-seed the squash, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast at 180 degrees until tender (about 30 mins). While that cooks, boil some water and cook the quinoa. Put all the herbs, hazelnuts and 2 cloves of garlic into a blender and mix, slowly adding olive oil, until you reach your desired consistency. I would also add some salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Next, chop the mushrooms and leftover garlic and fry them in a little olive oil for a few minutes. You could also fry the leeks at this point, but I boiled mine for a few minutes. When they are cooked, mix them with the mushrooms, quinoa and pesto.

Scoop the middles out of the courgettes and stuff them with the quinoa mix. Remove the squash from the oven, fill the two halves with quinoa, and then bake the squash, courgettes and cherry tomatoes for another 10-15 minutes before serving.

 

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2 Comments

Rainbow Ramen

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On a Sunday night, especially when it gets cold and dark, and people start to feel fluey, my favourite supper to snuggle down with is a big steaming bowl of asian noodle broth. This is something I picked up from my sister, who likes to make it at the end of the weekend when she wants something that tastes fresh and cleansing, but it is also the ultimate comfort food.

Having always been told to “eat our greens” when we were little, I definitely had convinced myself (until recently) that green vegetables were best for you. Carrots supposedly help you see in the dark – which was definitely an exciting idea as a child – but other than that, all the bright, multi-coloured veg were inferior. But then a few years ago, I can’t remember if I read it or heard, but someone told me to eat the rainbow, which not only sounds cool, but it does amazing things for your body too!

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This doesn’t mean stop eating anything green – people love green smoothies and juices – green is still good. As with most things, it is just about balance. So I thought to accompany a very bright recipe I should find out more about the whole “eat the rainbow” concept.

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My colourful ramen bowl is packed full of multicoloured veg – red peppers and tomatoes both rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, fibre. Tomatoes contain loads of lycopene which is thought to act against cancer. Purple fruit and vegetables like red cabbage are high in powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, which protect blood vessels and give your skin a healthy boost.

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Ingredients:

Serves 2

2 cloves garlic

1 big knob of ginger

1 chilli

Zest and juice of half a lemon

Soy sauce to taste

1 cup of peas

1/2 red pepper

1/4 red cabbage

1 cup of cherry tomatoes

1/4 of a cucumber

Rice noodles

Optional – five spice, vegetable stock, splash of coconut milk, lemongrass, coriander

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Method:

Bring a pan of water to the boil, then grate in the garlic, ginger, chilli, lemon zest and squeeze in the juice and soy sauce (this is also the time to add in any of the optional ingredients if you want to mix it up a bit). Cook the peas and noodles in the broth and chop up the remaining veg before adding them in at the last minute and letting them steam in the broth for 30 seconds. Serve with spiralised cucumber, freshly chopped coriander and a wedge of lemon. Divide between two bowls and enjoy!

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Red Rice Salad with Peas, Green Beans and Toasted Hazelnuts

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This salad supper sort of happened by accident, but I am so happy it did! I really wanted some red rice but I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, so decided to improvise with the veggies I had in the fridge. The result was this fresh and delicious salad, packed full of green veg, but also very filling thanks to the red rice, with an awesome nutty crunch from the hazelnuts.

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I haven’t had much experience with red rice before now, but I can tell it is sure to become a kitchen staple. It has so much more flavour than ordinary white rice, and contains much more dietary fibre because the bran layer under the hard husk has not been removed. It contains lots of iron which gives your body a brilliant iron boost, and has anti-oxidant and anti-histamine properties.

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Although you could use any oil you like for the dressing, I used sunflower oil. It has a deliciously buttery taste and is rich in vitamin E which has a neutralising effect on disease causing free radicals. It is thought to be one of the healthiest oils (especially when used in cooking) and is often overlooked.

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Along with broccoli, peas are probably the only vegetables that you can imagine children eating without too much fuss. They are sweet, easy to cook, and freeze so well that you can always have them on hand for when you can’t get any fresh veg. I LOVE peas. You can mix them into anything for some extra greenery, purée them, make them into soup – they are so versatile! They best part is, that not only are peas great for us, they are actually great for the environment too! Pea plants supply soil with large quantities of nitrogen, reducing the need for fertilisers.

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Ingredients:

Serves 3

2 cups red rice

2 cup peas

1 cup broad beans

2 handfuls green beans

2 handfuls rocket and spinach

1 cup hazelnuts

1/2 cup sunflower oil

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

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Method:

Cook the rice for 30 minutes (some people like to soak the rice first, but it isn’t necessary).

Boil the peas, green beans and broad beans for a few minutes until just cooked, but still with some crunch.

Dry fry or roast the hazelnuts to intensify the flavours.

Allow the nuts, veg and rice to cool before tossing with the spinach and rocket.

For the dressing, chop the garlic finely and mix with the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Toss the salad with the dressing and serve!

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