.I've just returned from the most fabulous Vegan Cooking Retreat in North Wales , run by the awesome Lee Watson and his lovely partner Jane. Lee's sister Laura was also there teaching us meditation and yoga so it was a real family affair and we all felt so welcomed and included, like a big happy healthy vegan family!
It was such a joyful experience, punctuated at very frequent intervals with the most amazing vegan food! I've never eaten so much in my life, and believe me I have a big appetite for healthy food!
Lee's food is full of big bold flavours which just work so I have returned determined to be more bold with flavours myself.
Admittedly I'm not a fan of chilli, mustard or cheesy flavours ( in vegan circles achieved with nutritional yeast flakes, a very good source of B vitamins) but I guess we all have different preferences, likes and dislikes so I'm going to taste my food more and adjust flavours accordingly. I always think its best to start off with less and add more if needed rather than just pile in huge amounts at the start.
We had so much fantastic food from all corners of the world that its difficult to narrow it down and select one recipe to share first. I've decided to share this delicious Turkish lentil soup flavoured with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and mint. Its so thick and nutritious and full of flavour and its really easy to make. Its really like a complete meal in a bowl.
So since I'm off to Krakow early tomorrow morning with my brother and won't be posting any recipes for the rest of the week, this was the easiest option to post.
I have no idea what kind of food we'll find in Krakow but I know it won't be anywhere near as good as the food from the retreat!
I've said it before and I'll say it again, go and buy a copy of Peace and Parsnips, its my favourite vegan cookbook and its just full of fantastic recipes. Even if you are not vegan you can most definitely improve your health by cutting down on animal products and dairy and incorporating loads more veggies and wholegrains. Also check out the beachhousekitchen blog for inspiration and loads of recipe ideas.
I have two extra copies of the book so I'm going to run a wee competition so two lucky people can win a copy!
Watch this space......!
We had freshly baked bread every day which was a delight and I have a few new recipes to share on my return from Krakow.
We also sampled some delicious cakes, muffins and cookies which although maybe not quite so healthy, were all delicious.
So I'm just off to pack my bag so here is the recipe!
CORBA - TURKISH RED LENTIL SOUP Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 large onion, finely sliced
225g red lentils, rinsed
2 large carrots, finely diced
125g quinoa (gluten free option) or Bulghur Wheat
4 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried mint
1.5 litre boiling water or veggie stock
1. Warm the oil in a pan on medium high heat, add the cumin seeds, followed by the onions, 1 tsp sea salt and carrots and fry for 8 to 10 minutes until the onions are nicely golden.
2. Stir in the paprika, lentils, and quinoa/bulghur, add the tomato paste, veg stock and cayenne pepper.
3. Cover and simmer gently for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Check seasoning and add the dried mint.
5. This makes a really thick soup so thin it down a bit with water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
6. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and lemon wedges.
NB If using quinoa, rinse it well under running water in a sieve before you add it, to remove the saponins which can taste bitter.
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