Friday, 15 February 2019

Harissa- Recipe Swap February

I am a member of the facebook Recipe swap group where food bloggers are paired with another blogger in the group and they get the opportunity to discover their partners blog and select a recipe to recreate. This is a great way to make new friends, discover new blogs to follow and learn new styles of global cuisines. 

The month of February I was allocated Mirelle's blog theschizochef . I am very familier with Mirelles blog as I have been visiting it for anumber of years. Mirelle used to actively participate in my flavours of series and create and carve series. What can I say about this Amazing blog? There is a recipe from every nation you can think of and the choice is so big that it was super hard to choose what to make. Ater spending hours looking through the recipes, Iwas  particularly  drawn to Mirelles African inspired recipes as I was born in East Africa and some of her recipes evoked lots of childhood memories.

After short listing something like 10 recipes, I finally settled on her home made Harissa recipe as I love spicy marinades and this Harissa paste has so many uses. I followed the recipe exact to her instructions, only exception was I reduced the quantity  to make one jar full only.

Yield: 1 jar

Harissa Paste

A spicy North Afican Red Chilli and garlic paste that is perfect for marinades and using as a dip when added to yoghurt and mayonaisse .
prep time: 30 minscook time: total time: 30 mins


  • 4 oz. dried chilles
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro


  1. Place the chillies in a bowl with enough boiling water to cover. Let sit for 30 minutes, until chilies are softened
  2. In a dry skillet, roast the coriander, cumin and caraway until fragrant. Let cool. Using a spice grinder, grind to a powder.
  3. Drain chilies, reserving a little of the liquid.
  4. Add all the ingredients to a blender jug like the Optimum 9400 and blend to a smooth paste. If the consistency is a little stiff add a little more of the liquid that the chillies were soaked in.
  5. Transfer the Harissa to a sterilised bottle and keep refrigerated.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I made my Harissa sauce in my Optimum 9400 Blender and it blended it to a lovely smooth paste in seconds. The blender is so versatile and powerful that it grinds, pulses, makes ice cream, soups and amazing smoothies and nut butters too. It is easy to clean and maintain too.

If you would like a high speed blender do check out the froothie website as they currently have a sale. You can also get:
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Please check out the other delicious Recipe Swap Recipes


Chana Daal Chutney

Fresh Green Chana Chaat

Koeksisters - South African Doughnuts

Til Ke Laddu - Sweet Sesame Seed Balls

Pineapple Ginger Bubble Tea

Masala Chai

Ragi, Banana & Dates Smoothie

Roasted Beetroot Hummus

Mamra Upma

Spiced Plantain Chips

Fiery Habanero Pepper Hot Sauce

Sweet Potato Soup

Monday, 11 February 2019

Moroccan Afternoon tea at Leila Ealing

What is afternoon tea you may ask?  Its actually a meal that is usually consumed between 3.30 and 5.00pm and originated in 1840 with the wealthy social class in England. The meal consists of mini cakes and pasteries, delicate sandwiches and scones with jam and clotted and of course English Tea. The afternoon tea was a ritual amongst the wealthy and it was always served in bone china and porcelain cups and saucers and had a finesse about it.
 In this day and age afternoon tea is not a daily occurance due to our busy lifestyles and way of life and it is now more of an outing once in a while as a treat. Many well known hotels nowadays still host elaborate afternoon teas for their guests. These teas are very British inspired and traditional.

This week I had the opportunity to sample a different type of afternoon tea. It was in fact a Moroccan afternoon tea at the Leila Restaurant in Ealing. 

Leila is a quaint little restaurant in Ealing, beautifully decorated with Moroccan artefacts, rugs, cushions and lighting and lamps. It has a really pretty conservatory at the front of the restaurant that has a very authentic middle Eastern decor and ambience.

Leila has kept the afternoon tea concept, but introduced subtle Moroccan flavours in the cakes, pastries and replaced sandwiches with wraps . They also serve Moroccan mint tea  instead of English tea to compliment the flavours.

Leila also offer meze so we were rather fortunate to have the opportunity to sample some of the Meze dishes before tucking into the afternoon tea. Majority of the dishes were vegetarian and suitable for me except the Pastila Djaj, a chicken pie that my friends vouched for saying it was exquisite!! These photos of the Meze will definitely make your mouth salivate.

Baba Ganoush-Chargrilled aubergine, mashed and cooked  with tahini, olive oil, and various seasonings.

Lebenese feta cheese rolled inside this phyllo pastry and deep fried until golden.

Fattoush- Mixed fresh salad with herbs and toasted Lebanese bread.
This was by far my most favorite meze dish and I could have eaten it as astand alone dish.

Pastila Djaj- Traditional Moroccan chicken pie encased in phyllo pastry and brushed with almonds saffron, cinnamon and a dusting of sugar.

 After sampling  a wonderful selection of Meze, whilst sitting in the conservatory part of the restaurant, we were  later relocated to the inside of the restaurant to a gastronomical surprise for the grand afternoon tea.

An array of cakes and wraps and cakes and more mint tea followed. For the vegetarian option I enjoyed Falafel wraps with Zaalouk an eggplant dip cooked with tomato and spices whilst my two friends enjoyed the Chicken Shawarma wrap and Pastila Djaj.

After the savory delights we moved onto the cakes and pastries. I started off with the Pistachio cupcake with pistachio butter cream topping, It was absolutely delectable.
The feasting continued with more sweet treats such as Argan delice slice with date and pistachio, this had a lovely praline base followd with sweetened coconut, topped with pistachio and date achocolate mousse and a chocolate ganache. It was an explosion of flavours and textures in one mouthful.The Victoria sponge with pomegranate was simple and very classic, and finally the Rosewater Mohalabia, creamy set custard  with hint of rose, personally I would have liked more rose flavour in it.

When we thought our stomachs were ready to pop there were still warm cinnamon scones and jam with clotted cream to devour.

Finally no Moroccan meal is complete with out the Baklava, crispy pastry with a honey and nut filling. The was simply the icing on the cake to complete the amazing afternoon tea experience.

Each and every item was beautifully presented and served and tasted scrumptious.

I was a guest at the Leila to sample their afternoon tea with my two friends Heidi and Manjiri.  I must sat the ambience, the decor and the service were exceptional.

The only criticism I have is that it would have been more appropriate for the restaurant to place the vegetarian wraps on a separate platter instead placing them next to meat ones as a strict vegetarin might find this a problem. Also the victoria sponge cake and the scones were a little dry but the restaurant soon corrected that by bringing a fresh batch out.

We also learnt that Leila will be offering oroccan cookery classes soon, I am excited to attend them. I would definitely dine at this restaurant again.

My Rating:

Ambience 4/5
Food 4/5
Service 5/5

Overall score 13/15

All the views and opinions shared in this post are of my personal dining experience at Leila. All the photos shared are copyright of simplyfood and cannot be republished without written permision

You can read about my blogging friends experiece in the posts below:
Heidi's post
Manjiri's Post

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Pickled Walnut and Avocado Hummus

This January my pledge is to cook and eat extra healthy. I have been making sure that I prepare varied lunches for my family with the fresh ingredients. One of my family's most frequent lunch box item is wraps with different types of fillings. The base of my wraps is always a spread or dip of some sort topped with roasted vegetables, salad, grilled haloumi, tofu or mushrooms. The combinations are numerous and you can create a filling for each persons preferences.

Hummus is my favorite dip, its really versatile and you can use it as a spread too. I enjoy experimenting by adding new flavors to the basic hummus recipe to create variety. This is how this amazing Pickled Walnut and Avocado Hummus was created. The Opies pickled walnuts are my new discovery, if you have not tried them trust me once you do you will be hooked. I add them to salads, soups, pasta dishes to give the dish texture and a unique pickled flavour too.
Yield: 1 bowl

Pickled Walnut and Avocado Hummus

Delicious and creamy Avocado and Chickpeas dip flavoured with pickled walnuts
prep time: 15 minscook time: total time: 15 mins


For Hummus
  • 1 400g can precooked chick peas  
  • 2-3 Opies Pickled Walnuts(finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid from the pickled walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons of chick pea water from the cooked chick peas
  • 2 ripe Avocado  
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red chilli finely diced
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes(Optional)
  • 6 springs fresh coriander 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Pomegranate seeds for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin oil for drizzle
  • 2 springs fresh Coriander finely chopped for garnish


  1.  Drain the chickpeas and reserve liquid.
  2.  Juice the two lemons 
  3.  Peel and dice the avocado and drizzle them with a little lemon juice to stop them discolouring.
  4. Peel and finely chop the three walnuts and keep aside
  5.  In the food processor, add the drained chickpeas with 4 tablespoons of chickpea liquid.
  6. Add the avocado reserving about 1 tablespoon for garnish.
  7. Add the fresh coriander, red chilli, salt, black pepper, walnut pickling liquid, 4 tablespoons lemon juice and olive oil. Blend the mixture to a smooth paste.If the mixture is too stiff add a little more of the reserved chickpea liquid to get the desired consistency
  8. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the chilli flakes. Keep about a tablespoonful of the chopped  pickled walnuts  for garnish and fold the remaining  in. (Do not blend the walnuts in the food processor as the hummus will change colour)Also the chopped walnuts add a nice texture to the smooth hummus.
  9. Transfer the Pickled walnut and Avocado hummus to a serving bowl, garnish with the remaining chopped walnuts, reserved chopped avocado, chopped coriander and pomegranate seeds. Finish off with a drizzle of Extra virgin olive oil


This Pickled Walnut and Avocado Hummus can be served as a dip with vegetable crudites, tortilla chips or used as a spread for sandwiches, wraps and rolls.
Created using The Recipes Generator

*In collaboration with Opies
You can check out some mouthwatering recipes using Opies Products on their recipe page.

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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Cheats Chocolate Bread~Recipe Swap Jan 2019

I am a member of the facebook Recipe swap group where food bloggers are paired with another blogger in the group and they get the opportunity to discover their partners blog and select a recipe to recreate. This is a great way to make new friends, discover new blogs to follow and learn new styles of global cuisines.

This month I was allocated Seema's blog mildlyindian. Seema is a vegetarian blogger, living in Sydney, who is also an avid traveller, she says in her bio that she gets inspiration for her recipes whilst travelling. Looking through the blog there was a lovely mix of travel posts and recipe posts. I loved all the south Indian style recipes and have book marked a few to try.

My choice for the recipe swap was the 2 ingredient ice cream loaf bread recipe on Seemas blog. I was intrigued as to how this recipe would work. I also had a half empty tub of chocolate ice cream that needed to be eaten so I thawed it to use it up. I had to make minor changes to the recipe ie adding a little more liquid. I also added a handful of chocolate chips that were in my pantry screaming to be used.The result was a very tasty chocolate  bread, however it was a little dense, maybe because I used 100% whole meal flour rather than a lighter flour.

The chocolate bread was wonderful served with a dusting of cocoa powder and some tart raspberries and accompanied by a cup of piping hot coffee.

Yield: 12 slices

Cheats Chocolate Bread

This is a delicious cheats sweetchocolate loaf bread that can be made with store cupboard ingredients.
prep time: 5 minscook time: 30 minstotal time: 35 mins


2 cups chocolate chip ice cream thawed.
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
A handful chocolate chips(optional)
1 teaspoon cocoa for dusting.
2-3 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Line an 8 inch loaf pan with grease proof paper and keep aside. Alternatively grease and dust with flour.
  3. Add the thawed ice cream into a mixing bowl and give it a quick whisk 
  4. Add the whole wheat flour and gently fold it in with light hands. Once mixed add the chocolate chips. If the mixture seems too stiff add a couple of tablespoons on milk or water.I had to do this to make the batter dropping consistency.
  5.  Try not to over whisk the mixture.
  6. Pour the mix into the prepared baking tin.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, to test if the chocolate bread is ready insert a skewer into the center of the bread if it comes out clean its ready, if not cook for another 5 -10 minutes. My bread took only 30 minutes to cook
  8. Once cooked remove from oven and cool in tin. Once totally cooled remove from tin and slice. Dust with cocoa powder.


It can be made with any icecream flavour.

Created using The Recipes Generator

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To see what the recipes other bloggers created from their recipe swap partners, please check the posts below.

Mirelle- Githeri
Ali- Blueberry, Cardamom, Lemon Muffins.
Renu-Instant Ragi Idli
Lathiya- Vegan Pumpkin Falafel
Sasmita-Rice Flour
Mayuri-Instant Semolina Idli
Rafeeda-Double Bean Scirracha Hummus
Jagruti-Non alcoholic Green Apple Martini
Seema- Pumpkin Chia Popsicle
Jayashree-Cantaloupe, carrot and beetroot smoothie
Priya-Malabar Masala Choru
Archana - Fresh Hara Chana Chaat
Sanndhya- Dry Garlic Powder Chutney

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Veganuary with Indigo Herbs

After an indulgent festive period it's time to think of getting into shape, stick to the New Years resolutions and follow a healthy eating programme. I have created a plan for my self that I am going to try and follow, not just for January but throughout the year.

The plan is:

  • To eat healthy
  • To exercise
  • Maintain a good work/life balance
  • Sleep well
  • Reduce time on social media and spend more time outdoors
  • Spend time with family.
  • To slow down and enjoy life(I am very hyperactive)
My main focus is to eat healthy and exercise more.I have always been a vegetarian but on this blog I do share vegan recipes too. During the month of January my aim is to support #veganuary and post more vegan recipes on the blog. Being Vegan is not really difficult as most ingredients can be substituted with plant based products, such as nut milks, nut butters, vegan cheese too.

I particularly like the range of the raw seed and nut butters that are available form Indigo herbs. I always keep a supply of them in my pantry together with their organic dried fruits and fruit powders.

I love using the nut butters in my smoothies, in baking, making truffles and also just dolloped on my oats or porridge in the morning. My favorite morning routine is overnight oats with berries and almond milk with a generous dollop of almond butter in it. It really is a delicious breakfast to kick start the day. 

I also like making my chocolate oat shake with cacao, banana and indigo peanut butter. My family call it snickers smoothie. It really is absolutely delicious.

For lunch the black sesame seed tahini in a wrap with roasted peppers is absolutely delicious too.

You don't have to be a vegetarian or vegan to enjoy these nut and seed butters but if you planning on doing #veganuary they would be perfect to include in your diet. Do check out Indigo Herbs recipe ideas here.

The indigo range has a selection of different nut and seed butters and they have been very generous and have agreed to send one simplyfood reader a selection to try.

How to Enter:

·         Simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below to verify your entries
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·         Please read the rules they form the terms and conditions of this Giveaway
·         Closing date – 19th Jan 2019 12.00 am

How Rafflecopter works:
·        You will need to complete the mandatory entry first – usually making a blog comment. You can do this by clicking on leave a comment at the bottom of the post and leaving your reply in the comment box. Please note your comment will not show immediately as it needs to be moderated however rest assured it will appear on the site, so carry on with rest of entries.
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·         Go back to Rafflecopter and click the green button to tell me you have made a comment, this will unlock all the other options. All entries are checked to see that the mandatory question is answered, if its not all bonus entries will become void. 
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  • This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 who live in the UK.
  • The winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter (which uses and announced on this page.
  • Prize: A selection of Indigo seed and nut butters worth £50.00
  • Simplyfood is hosting this giveaway in collaboration of Indigo Herbs. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. They reserve the right to withdraw the competition at any time should any unforeseen circumstances arise, in case that the prize is not available a similar prize of same value will be substituted.  No monetary compensation will be given.
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*Giveaway in collaboration with Indigo Herbs
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