Lentil and Sweet Potato Dahl

Thursday, 28 January 2016
Lentil and Sweet Potato Dahl

Dahl is a wonderful thing. I love how I can cook up a big batch at the weekend and eat it throughout the week. I love the depth of flavour it has and how versatile it can be, and how the dish can completely come alive just by adding the right herbs and spices. I also really, really love lentils so, you know, Dahl was always going to be a winner for me. This one uses red lentils, sweet potato and spinach, which just work so well together creating a lovely sweet and savoury fusion with a good kick.

Lentil and Sweet Potato Dahl You will need (serves 2): 
1 red onion
1 large sweet potato
1/2 cup red and/or green lentils (I used a quarter cup of each)
3 handfuls spinach
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried coriander leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried chillies (you can add more or less to your own taste)
1 tablespoon tomato puree

- Dice the onion into small pieces and cut the sweet potato into small chunks.
- In a large pot, fry the onion in a small amount of olive oil over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, excluding the spinach, to the pot. Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer over a low heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the spinach and cook for a further minute.
- Serve with rice or warm pitta bread.

Lentil and Sweet Potato Dahl

Spinach, Rocket and Avocado Quinoa Salad

Monday, 25 January 2016
Spinach, Rocket and Avocado Quinoa Salad

This is my absolute favourite salad at the moment! So much so that I am pretty sure I'm going to get sick of it soon because I've been making it so often. All the flavours just work so well together, especially with the added sprinkle of toasted pine nuts. I know pine nuts can be a bit pricey, and I don't buy them often for that reason, but it is worth it for this dish, trust me. 

Spinach, Rocket and Avocado Quinoa Salad

You will need (serves 2): 
1/2 cup quinoa (and some dried coriander, paprika and pepper to season)
100g spinach 
40g rocket (about three handfuls)
1/4 of a cucumber 
1 avocado
8 cherry tomatoes 
a handful of toasted pine nuts 
the juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil 

- Start off by cooking the quinoa - rinse it thoroughly in cold water then add to a pot over a low heat with one and a half cups of water. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly. Once all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa has gone clear remove from heat and season with coriander, paprika and pepper (just a dash of each is enough). Leave to the side to cool. 
- Roughly chop the spinach and rocket and chop up the cucumber into quartered slices and the tomatoes in half. 
- Add the quinoa and all the salad into a large bowl and then add in the olive oil and lemon juice. Give everything a good stir. 
- Top with chopped avocado and a sprinkle of pine nuts. 

Tip - if you're making this salad in advance to take for lunch then pop the chopped avocado in with the salad before you mix in the olive oil and lemon dressing - this just means the avocado will also be coated in lemon juice, preserving it for the next day.

Spinach, Rocket and Avocado Quinoa Salad


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Hello, and thank you so much for stopping by! I can't quite believe that I'm doing this, starting a whole new blog and beginning again from nothing, but here I am. I'm Nicole and for the past three years I have written a lifestyle blog, posting all about adventures I'd been on, little things that made me happy, the books I'd gotten lost in and the things I love. I changed a lot in those three years, going from a sleep deprived student who survived purely on pasta, toast and chocolate to a healthy food lover who enjoys nothing more than spending hours in the kitchen, creating delicious meals and yummy treats. It was about a year and a half ago that I realised how unhealthy I was. I'd just started working full-time and I hated how awful I felt, sitting down at a desk all day, feeling exhausted all the time from a high sugar, low veggie diet, and I knew I had to do something about it. I joined the gym, fell in love with vegetables and healthy eating and I have never felt better - and, well, the rest is history. 

So, here I am starting a brand new space where I can share my passion for food and health. I am so proud of how far my lifestyle blog has come, and how much it helped me to grow as a person, but I just wasn't happy with it anymore because I had lost my love for it. For a long time I thought about starting a food blog, but I never had the confidence to do it. Until now, because if I don't do it now I don't think I ever will. Looking after yourself is so important and that starts with what we put into ourselves. In this space I hope to inspire more of you to lead a healthier life, to share easy, healthy and yummy recipes with you and to spread my love of food.

All of the recipes will be vegetarian as I recently decided to cut meat from my diet, which was quite  easy as I rarely ate meat anyway, and I feel so much better for it (I'll be doing a whole post on this soon so watch out for that). I'm also considering taking it a step further and going vegan, however, I need to look a little more into that first but from what I've found out so far it sounds like it would be a wonderful change. If any of you reading this are vegan then let me know your thoughts, I'd love to hear about your experience! 

I hope you will stick around and follow my adventures in the kitchen because I can't wait to get started. I'm so excited about this blog and I hope you will enjoy it too. 

If you'd like to stay up to date with all my new recipes and posts then you can follow me on Bloglovin', Twitter or Instagram - I'd love to see you there!