Friday 28 February 2014

Black beans with feta on a night in

I crave simplicity in the midst of chaos. This is especially true of Friday nights when all I want to do is get home as quickly as possible and is stay in, drinking green tea and eating wholesome food. Certainly no alcohol. By no means am I suggesting that I'm a saintly clean liver. Only on Fridays. Beans, rice and lentils all epitomize this simplicity that I am looking for on this, the most hectic, hysterical day of the week (in London at any rate)
Fry the chopped onion in oil and after a couple of minutes then add the drained black beans and chopped tomato. Season with paprika, a pinch of cinnamon, garlic salt and pepper. Squeeze in half lemon. Simmer for about 5min or until the tomato disintegrates. Add the feta and more freshly ground black pepper before eating with bread, tortillas or rice. Preferably in bed with a cat by your side. While it's raining outside


Tin of black beans, drained
1 small red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of cinnamon
100g feta, cubed
Half a lemon
1 tomato, chopped
Garlic salt and pepper to taste
Mild oil for frying

Sunday 23 February 2014

Polish chicken and tomato soup

In Poland, and throughout most of Eastern Europe, soups will probably be made with animal stock. If you are a vegetarian - beware - you may think you are safe ordering a vegetable soup, and the maker of it may not even consider the bones that the stock has been cooked on and happily tell you that you are eating a vegetarian soup. Because, you know, there's no "proper" meat in it, just a few bones... sometimes, it's easier to believe people, but the truth is always there if you delve a bit deeper. This applies not only to soups but also to life. I've realized that all you need to do is really want it, and commit to honesty within yourself, then the truth will always come to you. I'm talking from a lot of experience here...
You start off by cooking the chicken carcasses along with the vegetables and bay leaf (if you have one) in a big pan filled with cold water and a bit of sea salt for about 2 hours. Cook the rice separately. Remove the chicken carcasses and all the vegetables. Take any remaining meat off the carcasses and put it back into the soup, chop the carrot and put it back in too, discard the remaining vegetables. Add the tomato puree and season well with salt, pepper and a little bit of sugar. Add the cream and heat for a little while longer. Taste and decide if it needs anything else. Pour the soup over the rice and consume hot, perhaps with a sprinkling of hot chilli sauce if you fancy it (this is not a Polish thing, but a Zuza thing)


2 good quality (organic) chicken carcasses
1 parsnip
1 large carrot
2 celery stalks
Bay leaf (optional)
150ml single cream
1 tub of tomato puree
Sea salt
Black pepper
Large pinch of sugar
Chilli sauce if you fancy it

Thursday 13 February 2014

Wasabi raw courgette salad

Due to my recent diet of cinnamon bagels, pasta, bread and cheese, my body has been craving vitamins. It's not that I've been completely unhealthy. I am still doing my kundalini kriya every day, in fact I have now built up my upper body strength enough to double the dosage, I go running when it's not too cold, dancing when the mood takes me, and I do try to keep my diet reasonably balanced. Unfortunately, I also have an addiction to cinnamon and raisin bagels, taken with sweet coffee. In the grand scale of things, I think this is pretty minor, but I do have to work harder to balance out this small indiscretion. Hence, when the need for something fresh took hold yesterday, I put together this little number, which, rather predictably, I became addicted to
Since making this salad for the first time yesterday, I have eaten it again two more times - I can't get enough of it! The wasabi oil adds this amazing kick, if you can't or won't get that stuff up there, then just combine some good quality olive oil with a little bit of wasabi paste instead and shake it around in the jam jar with the other vinaigrette ingredients. The cheese is some green herb, hard goat's cheese my mum brought from Holland - bloody delicious - but I would recommend any tangy, hard goat's cheese as a replacement for this. Use a vegetable peeler to get the strips paper thin. Making this salad in advance, allowing it to stand in the fridge for a while and giving it time to marinate wouldn't hurt either


1 courgette
Handful of capers
Chunk of goat's cheese, cubed


Wasabi olive oil
or extra virgin olive oil and 1/3 teaspoon of wasabi
Garlic salt
Black pepper
Tablespoon lemon juice

Monday 3 February 2014

Andina in Shoreditch, London

I take pleasure in the passage of time. Some people lament loosing their youth and feel like their best years are behind them in their 30s - I'm the polar opposite of that. There is nothing I miss about being younger. I prefer my body now,  know how to handle my personality better (I can be a handful at times) and feel much calmer and wiser. That weird, empty void that used to torture me when I was younger now feels like a warm, cosy hiding place, and I have finally struck a balance between being open to new friendships and an appreciation of the old ones. While new people bring excitement and adventure, there's an easiness that comes into friendships with time, which is very relaxing. Anton, who I came to Andina with a dew days ago, is one of these old friends
The restaurant was great, when we finally got in - we were on the waiting list for about 2 hours. It could have been a result of being ravenously hungry and therefore grumpy, but one woman at the front of house seemed annoyingly passive aggressive. However, all the other staff made up for this, as did the food. Having worked in restaurants I also know that she could have just been having "one of those nights", so let's give her the benefit of doubt. The food was amazing! I've never been to Peru, so I can't say whether it was authentic or not, but the produce was great quality and the flavours interesting, yet not over-complicated. We ate corn cakes, spicy ceviches, lamb and cassava chips washed down with Pisco sours and Peruvian beer. The bill came to £55, which felt very reasonable. In the future, I would always book ahead