Chickpea, Orka and Sweet Potato Curry

IMG_5552bWe got a little peckish while at Kew Gardens (so beautiful!) recently and headed to the Pavilion expecting to tuck into one of their summer favourites from the grill and barbecue.  But despite the warm English sunshine there was sadly no barbecue.  We didn’t go hungry though: Peyton and Byrne’s indoor restaurant was serving.  I went for the Indian veggie curry, which was really quite delicious and inspired me to try out my own.  My version has more of a Thai than Indian influence, but its quick and easy to make.  I’ll have to go back for the Full of Spice festival for further inspiration!

As well as being beautiful and great for picnics in this weather, there is also lots of fun for the kids.  Following lunch we wandered along the Xstrata Treetop Walkway to view all the trees from above.  A small warning: the walkway does sway quite a bit in the breeze so probably best avoided by those with Acrophobia!  Next we headed to the Treehouse Towers playground: Lentil had a swell time climbing, sliding, walking ropes and of course getting very dirty in the process.  Thank goodness for washing machines!

Anyway, back to the curry……here is my veggie version:

 

The what:

400g chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

80g peas

80g okra

4 shallots, peeled and sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

400ml coconut milk

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric

1cm ginger, finely chopped

200ml stock

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For the Riata:

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 slice pineapple, chopped

4 tbsp natural / greek style yoghurt

1/4 tsp of ground cumin (optional)

a handful of mint, finely chopped

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The how:

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and saute the cumin seeds, onion and garlic for a minute.  Then add the remaining spices except the turmeric and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, turmeric and sweet potato, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the sweet potato is cooked.  Add the chickpeas, peas and okra and cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked, but still have a bite to them.

To make the Riata:

Put the cucumber, pineapple and mint in a food processor and pulse a couple of times so you have small chunks.  Transfer to a bowl and mix in the yoghurt and cumin.

Serve the curry and Riata with some rice.  I used brown basmati and wild rice, which works well, but any rice will do.

Enjoy!

 

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Strawberry Goodness Dessert Pot

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“More strawberries?” I hear you say.  But it’s summer and they are just soooooo delicious! I just can’t get enough of these scarlet berries at the moment.  Plus I’m getting all caught up in Wimbledon fever, especially with this fantastic weather.  And heaven forbid we waste any strawberries!  So here is a little dessert I created earlier this week.  It went down such a treat with Lentil and Mr C&L that we’re having it again this evening. You can use whatever fruit you like: it’s a great way of using up any leftovers while they are still fresh.  And it’s so quick and easy, just an assembly job really, which leaves more time to focus on the main course. Just as well as I have no clue what we’re having yet! Hoping to get a little inspiration when I head to the fishmongers later. As delicious as this pot of goodness it, I’m not sure Mr C&L would want to forego a main dish for it……

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Makes one Papa-sized sharing pot and one smaller pot with two kiddie portions.

The what:

6 large strawberries, stem removed and quartered

75g blueberries

5 tbsp natural yoghurt

1 tbsp honey

large handful of granola

some orange zest for sprinkling on top

The how:

Mix the yoghurt and honey together.  If making in one large bowl, layer the bottom of your bowl/jar with half the quartered strawberries.  Dollop 4 tbsp of the honey yoghurt on top.  Next add the granola and layer the blueberries on top of that.  Add the remaining strawberries and 1 tbsp of honey yoghurt.  Finally sprinkle a little orange zest on top.  Be sure to just use the outer zest as if you go too close to the orange flesh it will be bitter.

Then grab a spoon and tuck into to this pot of deliciousness!

Would love to hear any other ideas you have for fruits to use.  xx

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Strawberry, Banana and Cucumber Smoothie

 

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In good old British tradition, we started off the week with strawberries and cream as temperatures soared and the players retreated to Wimbledon’s new ice baths!

I’ve never been a big fan of the ice treatments some spas offer following a sauna or steam – I prefer my spas to be an enjoyable experience! I did however once try a home-made ice bath after a training run for a marathon a few years ago.  I wasn’t able to stay in it for very long and I’m not sure how much it helped, but Mr Coco&Lentil certainly found it amusing!

So leaving the ice baths to the players, we’re starting day 3 off with a healthy strawberry smoothie instead to keep us nice and refreshed as heatwave continues.

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This recipe makes two large and one mini smoothie (for little Coco!) but you can just increase the ingredients to make more. Smoothies are a great way to get extra fruit and veg into little tummies. Lentil asks for seconds of this one and would never guess there is cucumber in it!

The what:

1 banana, peeled and chopped

6 big / 8 small strawberries, topped and quartered

1/4 cucumber, peeled and chopped

2 tbsp natural yoghurt

The how:

Add the banana, cucumber and strawberries to the blender and blitz until smooth.  Then add the yoghurt and blend until you have a thick, but smooth smoothie.

Pour into a glass and sit back and enjoy as there is more sun and Wimbledon excitement in store today: Djokovic meets Jarkko Nieminen of Finland; GB’s Heather Watson takes on Daniela Hantuchova; and Serena Williams finishes the order of play on Centre Court.  Can’t wait?  Neither can we!

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