Tag Archives: lime juice

Watermelon Agua Fresca

9 Jul

Just a little something to quench your thirst if you are suffering like me in this unbearable heat. Sorry if you are in the rain somewhere but you can pretend it’s sunny and cheer yourself up with this refreshingly tropical drink if you like.

When it is this hot all I seem to do all day is drink water. Water is good but I do get a bit bored of it after a while. Agua Frescas are fruit based non alcoholic punches popular in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is basically just pureed fruit with water, lime juice and honey to sweeten. This is a non alcoholic version because I wanted something refreshing to drink during the day but I’m sure a little vodka or rum would make it into a lovely cocktail.

I kept the watermelon rinds to make watermelon pickle. The recipe will follow in my next post.

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Makes 1 big pitcher/jug. Vegan, gluten-free

Prep time: 20 mins

  • 2 kg (4 pound) watermelon (1 small/med)
  • 250-300 ml (1+1/2 cups) cold water
  • 1 +1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 +1/2 tsp honey
  • ice cubes, lime slices & mint sprigs to serve

Cut the watermelon into quarters then slice into inch wide triangles/wedges. Cut the flesh from the rind leaving a little pink on (if you would like to make watermelon pickle with them). Blend the flesh in four batches with about 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) of water each time until smooth.

Carefully pour the blended watermelon through a sieve into your pitcher/jug and press out any extra juice from the pulp collected in the sieve with a spatula. Continue with the rest. You may want to add a little more water to the finished juice.

Add the lime juice and honey, mix well and taste. Add more lime/honey as required. Store covered in the fridge. Serve over lots of ice with lime slices and sprigs of mint as garnish.

Keep the rinds for the watermelon pickle recipe that follows in my next post.

Salud!!

Caribbean Chargrilled Sweetcorn

11 Aug

The sweetcorn plants that I walk past every morning with the dog are starting to show their sweet kernels, which means it must be nearly ready for harvesting.

This recipe could easily be adapted to suit a variety of different influences. I made it Caribbean because I have so many scotch bonnet chillis at the moment but I have also made a Thai version with birds-eye chilli, ginger, red curry paste and fresh coriander which is also fantastic.

You start by making a flavoured butter (or I used an olive oil spread) that you pack as much flavour into as possible. Then you remove the corn silk from inside the leaves, but keep the leaves on.

Smear the flavoured butter all over the sweetcorn kernels then cover them back up with the leaves. Heat up your griddle pan or barbecue to hot and cook for about 12 minutes rotating slightly, with tongs, every 3 minutes until all sides are cooked. The leaves with be blackened, you may need to open a window!

Caribbean Chargrilled Sweetcorn Recipe

Serves 2, vegan, gluten-free. Inspired by Como Water (Tiffany made a version using harissa paste which I will be trying out next time)

  • 2 ears of sweetcorn, with leaves still attached
  • about 3 tbsp olive oil spread (flora) or butter
  • 1 or 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli pepper, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  •  a small handful of fresh parsley, chopped (marjoram would be nice too, I couldn’t get any)
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves, stripped
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • a tiny pinch of ground cloves
  • the juice of half a lime
  • salt & black pepper

Remove the butter from the fridge to soften if using. Mix the olive oil spread (or butter) with the rest of the ingredients, except the corn and season with salt & pepper. Store, covered in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Carefully peel back the leaves of the corn without removing them and pull off the corn silk (strands). Smear the flavoured spread all over the corn kernels and replace the leaves to cover the corn.

Heat your griddle pan or barbecue to hot and cook the corn in the leaves for about 3 minutes on each side, using tongs to turn them, 12 minutes in total.

Serve immediately sprinkled with a little more salt. 

I served mine with some of my homemade Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce.

As I said before, adapt this recipe to suit your preferences or the style of meal you are planning. I would always start by adding spring onions, garlic, salt & pepper to the butter and then add…

Thai: minced ginger, chilli, red/green curry paste, fresh coriander, lime juice.

Mexican: cumin, oregano, fresh coriander, chipotle sauce, lime juice

Indian: garam masala (or curry paste), minced ginger, fresh coriander, chilli powder, lemon juice

Middle Eastern: cumin, coriander, cinnamon, fresh coriander, harissa paste, lemon juice

Cajun/Creole: paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, dried basil, white pepper, lemon juice

Italian: dried oregano, fresh basil, sundried tomatoes, dried chilli flakes

Greek: dried oregano, fresh mint, fresh thyme, crushed fennel seeds,cinnamon, black olives, lemon juice

Things That Made Me Smile Today……

Beautiful bright coloured gerberas……

And sunflowers reaching for the sky…..

Also, I have a new camera which I am very excited about. I will still be using my trusty point and shoot for when I’m walking the dog but I am using a “proper” SLR camera for my food pictures. Please bear with me as I have no idea what I’m doing and the instructions are in Spanish, which could take a while. 

I’m learning as I go and loving it, any advice?

Avocado Bean Salad With Lime, Cumin and Coriander Dressing

18 Apr

I just had to share with you my latest “go to” lunch salad. It’s quick, easy and delicious. It’s also vegan & gluten-free but that’s not the point. The point is that I’ve had it for the past three days and I still love it. That is a record for me as I have an extremely short attention span when it comes to food. I get bored really quickly, I need new things all the time. So here it is my new favourite salad, until I get bored and find another one…..

Avocado Bean Salad with Lime, Cumin & Coriander Dressing

serves 1, vegan, gluten-free

  • a big handful of rocket/mixed leaves
  • 1 small avocado, stone removed and chopped
  • the juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1o0 gr cooked red beans or pinto beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 spring onion/scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 spring garlic, green parts, finely chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 or 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • a handful of sunflower seeds
  • fresh coriander leaves

Put the salad leaves in a large bowl with the chopped avocado and squeeze the lime juice over the avocado to stop it turning brown.  Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the sunflower seeds & coriander leaves and toss with your hands to coat everything evenly. Pile the salad into a bowl or large plate and top with the sunflower seeds & coriander leaves. Serve with an extra wedge of lime on the side if you like.

This would be really good with an ice cold bottle of lime wedged Coronita or even a classic Margarita…….Salut!

I have a fantastic recipe for the rest of the can of beans that I will post in the next few days , so save them. Get ready for South American Bean Cakes with Arepa Bun and Tomato Chilli Salsa…!!

Black Bean Chilli with Avocado Lime Salsa

12 Apr

 I bought a pack of dried black beans last week because, as you know, I am doing a detox which means lots of beans, chickpeas, lentils etc. As I have mentioned before, I have got a bit of a habit of buying dried legumes and then never using them, therefore I have a cupboard full of loads of different types of dals, beans and lentils. I was determined, this time, to use them straight away because I’ve never cooked with black beans before. Not just because I couldn’t fit them in the cupboard…

I did a bit of research and found out that most people advise soaking the beans overnight before cooking them, so this is what I did. Very organised of me, I know. I think it cuts down on the cooking time. A lot of colour comes out of the beans into the water which is quite alarming, you discard this water and cook the beans in clean water or a mixture of water & stock, which is what I did.  Another tip is not to season the beans until they are nearly cooked. If you cook them in salted water it makes them tough apparently.

I had to go Mexican on the flavours here. I lot of the recipes I saw using black beans were for soup which you can easily do by adding more stock or water. I wanted something a bit more substantial for dinner. You could also serve it with some corn tortillas/nachos for scooping up the chilli and avocado salsa which would be great for entertaining. Put a big bowl of the chilli with a dish of the avocado salsa and a pile of corn tortillas/nachos and any other extras like grated cheese, sour cream, chopped spring onions and fresh coriander on the  table. Just let everyone help themselves “family style”.

Black Bean Chilli with Avocado Lime Salsa

serves 3, vegan, gluten-free

  • 250 gr dried black beans (you can used 500 gr cooked just rinse and drain them and add them in with the tinned tomatoes and a bit of veg stock)
  • 500 ml clean water
  • 500 ml veg stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (or more if you like)
  • 2 or 3 tbsp chipotle chilli salsa (or chipotle chillis in adobo)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tin (400 gr) chopped tomatoes
  • 150 gr sweetcorn
  • 2 or 3 tbsp tomato puree (tomate frito)
  • green parts of spring onion finely chopped for garnish
  • coriander leaves for garnish

Rinse the beans and pick out any foreign bodies. Put them in a large bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight.

Drain the beans and put them in a saucepan with the veg stock and clean water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1- 1 & 1/2 hours until the beans are tender.

When the beans are nearly cooked heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat then add the cumin seeds & coriander seeds. When they start to pop add the onion, celery, carrot and green pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened and the onions are translucent then add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Stir in the tomato puree, chipotle salsa, chilli powder, ground cumin, bay leaves, oregano, thyme and tinned tomatoes. Season well with salt & black pepper and add sweetcorn.

When the beans are cooked remove two ladles full of beans and stock to a bowl or processor and blend until smooth.  If the rest of the beans are really liquidy tip out some of the cooking liquid and reserve it in case you need it later. Pour the blended beans back into the rest of the beans, stir and add into the tomato mixture. Cook for a further 10 minutes and then check seasoning. (You can add back some of the bean cooking liquid or veg stock now if you want it more soupy).

For the Avocado Lime Salsa

  • 1 avocado, roughly mashed
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 red chilli,deseeded & finely chopped
  • salt & black pepper
  • fresh coriander, leaves & stalks, finely chopped

Mash all the ingredients together in a bowl and taste for seasoning. More lime/salt/ chilli/coriander?

Serve in warmed bowls topped with a dollop of the avocado salsa, some chopped spring onions and coriander leaves.

The black beans have a lovely flavour and a surprising creaminess which makes this a really comforting, spicy dish perfect to eat in front of the TV with a spoon or equally good for casual entertaining.

And if you needed any more incentive: Avocados are rich in vitamin E and alphacarotene, both powerful antioxidants that help prevent furring of the arteries and heart disease. They also contain monounsaturated fat which lowers blood cholesterol as well as essential omega 6 fats that promote healthy skin. People have commented on how well I look, it must be the avocados….!!

Lentil and Spinach Dhal with Cashews and Coriander

9 Apr

This is my kind of comfort food.  All the flavour of a take away curry with none of the fat. It is easy, quick to cook (after the chopping) and really delicious. You could serve it with some whole grain rice if you like or poppadoms but on its own is just fine and filling enough. The soft spicy lentils with the irony richness of the spinach are topped off with toasted crunchy cashews, fragrant coriander and all the flavours are brightened by the zingy lime juice.

Lentil & Spinach Dhal with Cashews & Coriander

serves 3, vegan, gluten-free

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  •  1/2 tsp panch pooran (an Indian whole spice mix) use fennel seeds if you can’t get any
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • about 250 ml veg stock
  • a 400 gr jar/ tin cooked lentils, rinsed
  • a tin of chopped tomatoes 400 gr
  • about 150 gr fresh spinach leaves (about half a bag)
  • 125 gr cashew nuts, toasted in a dry pan
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (about 1/2 a lime) and some wedges to serve
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped and leaves for garnish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and panch pooran/fennel seeds until they start to pop. Then stir in the onions, celery, carrot, a big pinch of salt & grinding of black pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes until softened but not browned then add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for another minute being careful not to burn the garlic. Add in the ground spices and a splash of stock if it seems dry and cook for another minute.

Tip in the lentils, tomatoes, veg stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes then add the spinach, put the lid on and cook for another few minutes until the spinach has just wilted.  Season with salt, stir through the chopped coriander and lime juice and taste for seasoning.

Serve in warmed bowls sprinkled with a handful of toasted cashew nuts and coriander leaves with some extra lime wedges on the side.

 From the lentils you get an excellent balance of protein and complex carbohydrate as well as iron, B vitamins and soluble fibre that provides sustained energy and balance blood sugar levels. The carrots & spinach are super rich in beta carotene, which helps to protect the body from cancer and benefits the skin. The spinach also provides lots of vitamin C, folate and iron. Tinned tomatoes contain lycopene, another powerful anticancer nutrient and the cashew nuts supply protein, zinc & fibre.

I really didn’t know it was this easy to eat more healthily. I thought it would be a lot more difficult to give up cheese but I really don’t miss it and, as I said yesterday, I am not hungry, which is amazing if you know me. I am always hungry!! If you are not interested in the health benefits just ignore the paragraph above and enjoy the food. I just think it’s surprising/interesting how many good nutrients you can get from food and how good it tastes. And I haven’t even started on the health benefits of turmeric yet…..

Buen fin de semana!!

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