Cumin-Roasted Carrots with Farro, Chickpeas & Feta

Cumin-Roasted Carrots with Farro, Chickpeas & Feta

What an exciting midweek treat I have for you today- Cumin-Roasted Carrots with Farro, Chickpeas and Feta, yum! Not only is this an easy and delicious dinner option, I am seriously digging the autumnal colours, aren’t you?

Cumin-Roasted Carrots with Farro, Chickpeas & Feta

We have been blessed with a spell of seriously gorgeous weather in West Michigan this week, it has been very warm, summery warm, but the sun is hanging lower in the sky, and the trees are beginning to shed their leaves. Dexter and I have tried to make the most of it with several long walks through the woods. Aside from the long walks I have mainly been hanging out in my kitchen trying to perfect some more autumnal recipes for you!

Cumin-Roasted Carrots with Farro, Chickpeas & Feta

This creation is actually a blend of two recipes, the first created by food blogger royalty Deb Perelmen, who blogs over at the Smitten Kitchen, and the second is a recipe that caught my eye on The Kitchn. The result is a seasonal, simple yet flavorful dish that can be enjoyed as a main, or as part of a side. The sweet, aromatic roast carrots are the perfect compliment to the nutty farro, earthy chickpeas and salty feta. Are you sold yet? Dig in!

Cumin-Roasted Carrots with Farro, Chickpeas & Feta

Cumin-Roasted Carrots with Farro, Chickpeas & Feta
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup farro
  • 2 cups carrots (about 6 medium carrots) peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • ½ cup low sodium vegetable stock
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup feta, crumbled
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C
  2. Cook farro according package instructions, once done, set aside to wait other ingredients to be ready
  3. In a large roasting pan, combine carrots, onion, chickpeas, olive oil and cumin. Season with a little salt and pepper. Pour the vegetable stock over the top, cover with foil and cook covered for 30 minutes
  4. After 30 minutes, stir the ingredients in the pan, and cook for a further 10 minutes uncovered, until the carrots are tender
  5. Remove the carrot mixture from the oven, and toss together with the cooked farro, seeds, vinegar, feta, and parsley
  6. Eat immediately!

Notes

I found that the leftovers did not reheat too well for this one, definitely best to enjoy fresh!

Again this recipe is adapted from here and here. Roast butternut squash would work really well in place of the carrots, if thats what you have to hand.

Wholewheat Pumpkin Coffee Bread

Wholewheat Pumpkin Coffee Bread

I have spoken of my current baking kick, and also my enthusiasm for all things pumpkin, so some form of pumpkin bread coming your way was probably inevitable… and here it is! My favourite Wholewheat Pumpkin Coffee Bread, made with 100% wholewheat flour, sweetened naturally with honey (so no refined sugar!), moist, light and totally delicious.

Wholewheat Pumpkin Coffee BreadWholewheat Pumpkin Coffee Bread

In my experience pumpkin breads can really vary in terms of their sweetness and density. I prefer mine to be less sweet and nice and light, which is exactly what you get with this recipe. The coffee adds a lovely richness and compliments all the spices perfectly.

Wholewheat Pumpkin Coffee Bread

The last loaf I made lasted precisely 24 hours in my household, and before you going blaming the greedy pregnant lady, note that I had but two slices :)

Wholewheat Pumpkin Coffee Bread

I hope you make this easy bake, it is so wonderful for chilly autumn mornings. Enjoy!

Wholewheat Pumpkin Coffee Bread
 
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Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon, divided
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 1½ tbsp instant coffee, or 1 tbsp espresso powder
  • 1¾ cups wholewheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup hot water
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F/160C
  2. Grease, and/or line a 9x5 loaf tin
  3. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil and honey, then add the eggs and beat well
  4. Stir in pumpkin, vanilla, salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and coffee
  5. Sift in the flour, and stir until just combined
  6. Place the baking soda in a mug, and pour the hot water over the top, give it a couple of stirs and quickly add it to the bread mix, stir a couple of times more, then transfer the mix to the loaf tin
  7. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon over the top of the mix
  8. Bake in the oven for about 60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean

Notes:

Adapted from A Pastry Affair’s Pumpkin Espresso Bread, A Dash of Sass’s Pumpkin Honey Spice Bread, and Cookie and Kate’s Honey Wholewheat Pumpkin Bread.

 

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchilada Bake

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchilada Bake- Emma's Little Kitchen

Yesterday was the kind of Sunday that made me want to live inside a Jane Austen novel. Totally exhausted from planning and celebrating a surprise birthday for Kirk, all I wanted to do was read, drink cups of tea, and take a long bath (I draw the line at needlework of any kind). After a blustery walk (another very Austen-y activity), I was craving some good bolstering food, something comforting and delicious. In the end I plumped for my Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchilada Bake, I took the opportunity to snap a photo so I could share the recipe with you today.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchilada Bake- Emma's Little KitchenSweet Potato Black Bean Enchilada Bake

I LOVE enchiladas, and usually make them the traditional “rolled up” way, but recently discovered that there is an easier option for when you’re feeling a bit lazy- the enchilada bake! Instead of rolling the filling in the tortilla, you layer the tortilla and filling like a lasagne, and then bake the whole thing in the oven to become gooey, cheesy and wonderful. If you are in the mood for a more traditional enchilada, you could easily use the same filling and roll each tortilla instead- chefs choice!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchilada Bake- Emma's Little KitchenEnjoy these!

 

 

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchilada Bake
 
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Easy, cheesy black bean sweet potato enchilada bake.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 8 wholegrain tortillas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups prepared black beans (or one tin of black beans)
  • 1 cup frozen sweetcorn, thawed
  • 1½ tsp cumin, divided
  • 1 tin diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce finely chopped (or use a different chile pepper depending on your tastes and what you have available)
  • juice of half a lime
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • 2 cups good quality cheddar cheese, grated
Method
  1. Begin by preparing the tortillas: heat a dry pan to medium-high heat, dry fry the tortillas on each side so they become golden and slightly blistered in places. Put on a plate and set aside
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add olive oil to the pan, and then the onions. Cook for about 3 minutes until softened
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer
  4. Add the sweet potato and 1 tsp of cumin and cook for about 5 minutes until the sweet potato starts to catch and become golden at the edges
  5. Add half a cup of water to the pan, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until the water has almost gone, and the sweet potato is beginning to catch again
  6. Add the black beans and corn to the pan, stir and warm through, remove from the heat
  7. While the sweet potato mixture is cooking, you can prepare the salsa sauce: drain the excess liquid from the tinned tomatoes and place in a small bowl
  8. Add the fresh coriander, ½ tsp cumin, chile, lime juice and liquid smoke (if using), stir to combine well and set aside
  9. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C
  10. Assemble the bake: cut each tortilla into quarters. Take 8 tortilla quarters and layer them at the bottom of a 9x9 casserole dish
  11. Next, spread ⅓ of the salsa sauce on top of the tortillas, followed by ½ of the sweet potato mix, and ⅓ of the cheddar. Repeat with 8 more tortilla quarters, ⅓ of the salsa, the remaining sweet potato mix, and ⅓ of the cheddar. Finish with the remaining tortilla, remaining salsa and remaining cheese
  12. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the cheese begins to bubble, garnish with some fresh coriander, and serve!

 


Apple Cinnamon Crunch Bars

Apple & Cinnamon Crunch BarsI don’t know if it is the abrupt change in temperature,  a symptom of the third trimester, or my obsession with the Great British Bake Off, but I am on such a baking kick at the moment! These Apple Cinnamon Crunch Bars are my latest creation, and they are so delicious.

Apple & Cinnamon Crunch BarsApple & Cinnamon Crunch BarsLike everything I bake, I reduced the refined sugar content to a minimum, and used a wholegrain flour. Plus you can guarantee they are simple to make because I don’t have the patience for any other type of baking! The first time I made these bars, I simply sprinkled a little brown sugar and cinnamon on top. Kirk, my resident taste tester, suggested making the topping crunchy as well as using the brown star and cinnamon. He was spot on, the nutty oat topping make this cake bar doubly satisfying!

Apple & Cinnamon Crunch BarsApple & Cinnamon Crunch BarsOther than baking, I have spent this week starting to get organized for the arrival of our little man. Suddenly it seems JUST around the corner, and I feel like we have so much left to do! Usually I see baking as kitchen-therapy, maybe this time I’m procrastination-baking? Either way, I hope you will share in some baked good love and make these beauties, let me know if you try them!

Apple & Cinnamon Crunch BarsPS. Are you Brits watching the Great British Bake Off? Who are you rooting for? My fave is Nancy!

Apple Cinnamon Crunch Bars
 
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Wholewheat apple cake bars sweetened with maple syrup, with a crunchy walnut oat cinnamon topping!
Author:
Recipe type: Baked Goods
Serves: 16 small squares
Ingredients
  • Bars:
  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅔ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted (or other flavourless oil)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups grated apple (about two medium apples, I used gala)
  • Crunchy Topping:
  • ¼ cup chopped walnut
  • 1 tbsp oats
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Method
  1. Preheat Oven to 350F/175C
  2. Grease a 9x9 cake pan
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt
  4. In a large bowl mix maple syrup, coconut oil until fully combined, next beat in the egg and vanilla
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir until combined
  6. Fold in the grated apple
  7. Pour the mixture into the greased pan
  8. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, oats, brown sugar, coconut oil, cinnamon, sprinkle on the nut-oat mix on top of the cake mixture
  9. Pop in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean

Notes

Adapted from TexanErin.

Pumpkin, Pecan & Cranberry Granola

Pumpkin, Pecan & Cranberry Granola- Emma's Little Kitchen

I’m fairly certain I saw an amber coloured leaf fall from a tree branch this week. I am taking this as my official cue that it is ok to share this Pumpkin, Pecan & Cranberry Granola recipe with you… Ok maybe I’m jumping the gun a little bit, but once you make a batch of this gently spiced, toasty, healthy granola, I’m sure you will thank me.

Pumpkin, Pecan & Cranberry Granola- Emma's Little KitchenPumpkin, Pecan & Cranberry Granola- Emma's Little Kitchen

The pumpkin bandwagon is one of those American trends that I have wholeheartedly embraced. I had certainly eaten pumpkin before I moved here, usually in soup form, but living in the USA opened my eyes to the endless possibilities for pumpkin- scones, bread, cake, pancakes, latte’s, smoothies, GRANOLA. The list is endless, you Americans love your pumpkin!

Pumpkin, Pecan & Cranberry Granola- Emma's Little KitchenPumpkin, Pecan & Cranberry Granola- Emma's Little Kitchen

I have several pumpkin recipes at various stages of testing in my kitchen at the moment, so watch this space for more pumpkin love soon. In the meantime, lets get stuck into this granola! It is oat-based with a little raw quinoa for extra crunch and nutty flavour. The pecans are lightly toasted (YUM!), and the dry ingredients are baked in a maple sweetened spiced pumpkin mixture. As a final touch I mix in dried cranberries, they look so beautiful amongst the warm orange color of the granola, and add a little tang. Paired with yoghurt, milk or even eaten raw, this is may be the perfect breakfast to see you through those crisp autumn mornings just around the corner.

Pumpkin, Pecan & Cranberry Granola- Emma's Little Kitchen

Happy (almost!) Autumn! I hope you love this granola as much as I do!

Pumpkin, Pecan & Cranberry Granola
 
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Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups oats
  • ½ cup raw quinoa
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla exrrtact
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 300F/150C
  2. Spread oats, quinoa and pecans on a parchment lined baking pan
  3. Toast for ten minutes, mixing once
  4. Remove from the oven and transfer into a large bowl, set aside. Turn the heat up to 325F/160C
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, maple syrup, vanilla, pumpkin, spices and salt
  6. Pour the wed ingredients over the dry, and mix until thoroughly combined
  7. Spread the mixture back onto the baking sheet and bake for an additional 20 minutes
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, mix in the cranberries and break up any larger chunks that have formed
  9. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

Adapted from Skinny Taste’s Skinny Pumpkin Granola

 

Chocolate & Coconut Energy Bars

Chocolate & Coconut Quinoa Energy Bars

Hello, and Happy September! Are you ready to hear about my latest obsession? Let me introduce you to these Chocolate & Coconut Energy Bars… Yum! I have been whipping up batch after batch of these beauties, and I am still craving them. They are healthy and satiating enough to be enjoyed as a quick breakfast, but taste indulgent enough to be enjoyed for dessert. More often than not I would nibble them at my desk for a mid morning snack. Like I said, obsessed.

Chocolate & Coconut Quinoa Energy BarsThey are very easy to make and come together quickly too! Start by toasting some oats and coconut until golden and deliciously nutty…

Chocolate & Coconut Quinoa Energy Bars

Mix in some warm almond butter, honey or agave and vanilla, add some quinoa and flax…

Chocolate & Coconut Quinoa Energy Bars

And finally spread a nice layer of dark chocolate on top and pop in the fridge. Et voila! Yummy scrummy Chocolate Coconut Energy Bars are your for the taking!

Chocolate & Coconut Quinoa Energy Bars

Enjoy!

Chocolate Quinoa Energy Bars
 
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Author:
Serves: 16 mini squares
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cup raw oats
  • ¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ cup raw quinoa
  • ¼ cup ground flax seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup honey (agave or maple syrup if vegan
  • ¾ cup almond butter (substitute peanut butter if desired)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup dark or semi sweet chocolate chips
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C
  2. Spread oats and coconut evenly on a baking sheet, toast for 15-20 minutes stirring once
  3. Meanwhile, grind the quinoa using a food processor, blender of coffee grinder
  4. Transfer ground quinoa into a large bowl, add the ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and salt, stir to combine
  5. Once the toasted oats and coconut are ready, add to the bowl and stir again
  6. In a small saucepan, melt the honey (or agave/maple syrup), almond butter, and vanilla extract together until smooth
  7. Add to the bowl and mix well, the consistency will be thick!
  8. Grease a 9x9 inch pan (I like to use a little coconut oil for the job), and press the mixture into the pan evenly
  9. Melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan over a low heat, or in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in-between
  10. Spread the melted chocolate in an even layer over the oat mixture in the pan
  11. Pop into the fridge for 20-30 minutes until set
  12. I like to cut mine into 16 mini squares

 

 

Strawberry, Watermelon & Chia Smoothie

Strawberry, Watermelon & Chia Smoothie- Emma's Little Kitchen

Are you ready for one last hurrah? One last Summer recipe before we turn our attention  to pumpkins and root vegetables?!

Strawberry, Watermelon & Chia Smoothie- Emma's Little Kitchen Strawberry, Watermelon & Chia Smoothie- Emma's Little Kitchen

Here you go! This is a yummy, light smoothie made from strawberries, watermelon, coconut water and chia seeds. It is so refreshing and full of good stuff that I found myself making it every other day in the past few months.

Strawberry, Watermelon & Chia Smoothie- Emma's Little Kitchen

I know, I know, I should have told you about it ages ago. But better late than never, yeah? Enjoy lovelies!

Strawberry, Watermelon & Chia Smoothie- Emma's Little Kitchen

 

Strawberry, Watermelon & Chia Smoothie
 
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Strawberry, watermelon & chia smoothie, the perfect drink for summer!
Author:
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 2 generously
Ingredients
  • 3 cups watermelon, diced
  • 1 cup strawberries, stems removed and sliced
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 tbsp honey or agave nectar (optional)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
Method
  1. Put all of the ingredients except for the chia seeds into a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Stir in the chia seeds with a spoon and serve

 

Spinach & Mushroom Crepes with Balsamic Tomato Jam

Spinach & Mushroom Crepes with Balsamic Tomato Jam- Emma's Little Kitchen

I am leaving for Houston tomorrow. The purpose of this trip is to help my husband move back to home to Michigan now that his assignment is finally wrapped up. Of course by “help” I mean doing no heavy lifting, demanding toilet breaks every hour (ish), and torturing him by setting “Concept Albums” to shuffle (side note- if you really want to mess with my husband, do this with a Sonic Youth Album).  Aaanyway, preparing for this little trip got me thinking about the last time I journeyed down South. Along the way we stopped at St Louis for the night. The next morning we dined at a fantastic creperie called “Rooster“, and I munched on some fab spinach, mushroom and goat cheese crepes. They were so good, I wanted to recreate my own version when I returned home.

pinach & Mushroom Crepes with Balsamic Tomato Jam- Emma's Little Kitchenpinach & Mushroom Crepes with Balsamic Tomato Jam- Emma's Little Kitchen

Last week I feel like I perfected the recipe. Again I borrowed 100 Days of Real Food‘s wholewheat crepe recipe, but I omitted the honey and vanilla for a more savory taste. The version I had in St Louis came with a spiced tomato jam, but I opted for a balsamic tomato jam instead. I find the balsamic tomato jam adds the perfect sweetness and tang to cut through the rich creamy goat cheese- YUM so delicious! Sometimes, if I’m feeling ambitious,  I will make extra crepes and extra tomato jam for the week ahead. I stuff the crepes with berries and yoghurt, or bananas and nutella, and I use the tomato jam for a cheese toastie (transatlantic translation: toastie is English for grilled cheese… now you know!).

pinach & Mushroom Crepes with Balsamic Tomato Jam- Emma's Little Kitchen

If you have never made crepes before, sometimes they can be tricky to perfect. Expect a few blips as you are getting the hang of it. Just keep them very thin, use a good pan, and resist the urge to flip until they are nicely cooked on one side. You will LOVE these, promise!

pinach & Mushroom Crepes with Balsamic Tomato Jam- Emma's Little Kitchen

Spinach & Mushroom Crepes with Balsamic Tomato Jam
 
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Beautiful savory wholewheat crepes stuffed with spinach, mushroom and goat cheese, then topped with a sweet balsamic tomato jam.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast/Dinner
Cuisine: Loosely French
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the Crepes:
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tbsp melted butter, plus more for cooking
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • For the Filling:
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • ½ cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • For the Balsamic Jam:
  • 6 medium-large tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion (preferably red), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
Method
  1. Start by making the jam: place the tomatoes in a large bowl, pour boiling water over the top of the tomatoes, making sure they are fully immersed, and let them sit for 30 seconds to a minute. Carefully drain the tomatoes, and slip the skins off. Dice the flesh, and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, and cook gently for about 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the remaining tomato jam ingredients to the saucepan, stir, and simmer uncovered gently for about 40 minutes while you prepare the crepes and the filling. At the end all the liquid should have evaporated, and you will be left with a sticky jam
  4. Next prepare the Crepes: Put all the crepe ingredients in the blender, blend to mix, and let the batter stand for about 15 minutes to thicken
  5. Melt a small pat of butter in an 8 inch frying pan over medium heat, swirl around so that the pan is evenly greased
  6. Pour a little batter into the pan and swirl around so the batter covers the bottom of the pan in a thin layer, cook for roughly a minute until the batter is set and golden brown on one side, flip and cook the second site until golden brown
  7. Repeat until all of the batter is used, you should be left with about 12 crepes. Keep crepes warm in a warm oven (or pop them in the microwave to reheat when all of your crepes are ready)
  8. Meanwhile, make the spinach and mushroom filling: Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the onion and fry for a few minutes until softened, add the garlic and cook for a minute more.
  9. Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and sauté for about 3 minutes, you want them to be cooked but retain a little bite and texture
  10. Add thyme and spinach, and allow the spinach to wilt in the pan while gently stirring
  11. If the filling is ready long before the crepes and jam, set aside and reheat in the microwave or pan if needed
  12. Finally, assemble the crepes: Take a crepe and stuff it with a few spoons of spinach and mushroom mixture, top with a little goat cheese, and roll up. Drizzle with the tomato jam and EAT!

Notes:

Crepe Recipe adapted from 100 Days of Real Food Wholewheat Crepes.

Balsamic Tomato Jam adapted from Delia Smith.

Roast Red Pepper & Cashew Soup

Roast Red Pepper & Cashew Soup- Emma's Little Kitchen

Hello friends! Can you forgive me for my little blog hiatus last week? I spent last weekend with two of my favourite people in the world- my husband and my little sis. Consequently I was having FAR too much fun to cook, let alone photograph. Am I forgiven?! Ok, good.

Roast Red Pepper & Cashew Soup- Emma's Little Kitchen

As you know, my hubby has been living in a different city for the Summer, so seeing him was obviously wonderful. We haven’t seen one another for two months now, and last time I saw him there was barely a bump to speak of, now I’m looking positively rotund…! We also found out that our baby is a he! Very exciting indeed, I feel like I am getting to know him a little more every day and I can’t believe how fast the time is flying.

Roast Red Pepper & Cashew Soup- Emma's Little Kitchen

I saw my little sissie last month when I was in England, but it was lovely to spend some quality time with her in the US. Plus, my pup Dexter adores her, so he was in heaven last week. My sis is on a ridiculously fun road trip across America, her last hurrah before she begins teacher training in the Autumn, I was pretty flattered to be squeezed into her plans! All three of us really wanted to relax, so we resisted the temptation to push ourselves into any kind of heavily scheduled itinerary, instead we ate a lot of food, slept, spent some time at the beach, and just relaxed. It was fab.

Roast Red Pepper & Cashew Soup- Emma's Little Kitchen

I really have no clever segway to take me from my lazy weekend to this Roast Red Pepper & Cashew soup, so I suppose I should just jump in and tell you how marvelous it is. Friends, this soup is to die for! It is creamy, aromatic, and ridiculously abundant in flavour.  There is a little sweetness, a little spice, a little tang, and even a little smokiness. Cashew nuts are blended with water to create a cashew cream, delicious red peppers are roasted to perfection, and both are mixed with tangy tomatoes and spices to make something truly magical. The lemon and parsley, though optional, are highly recommended as they give a little freshness to this otherwise creamy soup. We have been having a pretty cool summer here in Michigan, so a warm bowl of soup is still still very welcome. However, I have frozen a little stash in my freezer for those cool Autumn days just around the corner…

Roast Red Pepper & Cashew Soup- Emma's Little Kitchen

Enjoy!

Roast Red Pepper & Cashew Soup
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 red bell peppers, deseeded and cut into quarters
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups raw cashew nuts
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried dill
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp dried cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 14.5oz/410g tin of tomatoes
  • juice of half a lemon (optional)
  • Fresh parsley (optional)
  • salt and pepper (optional)
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 400F/200C
  2. Toss the quartered red peppers with 2 tbsp of olive oil and lay on a baking sheet
  3. Roast for about 20 minutes until tender, and the edges start to blacken slightly, set aside
  4. Add the cashews and water to a blender, blend until smooth, set aside
  5. Warm remaining tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat
  6. Add onions and sauté for a few minutes until softened
  7. Add celery and cook for five more minutes, stirring occasionally so the vegetables don't catch the bottom of the pan
  8. Add the garlic and spices, cook for just a minute
  9. Add the roasted peppers along with all the oil they were roasted in, toss will to give the peppers a good coating of spice
  10. Add the tomatoes and cashew cream to the pan, stir until fully combined
  11. Bring to a simmer for about ten minutes until everything is heated through
  12. Return the soup to the blender, and blend (in batches if necessary) until smooth, or use a hand blender (be careful when blending hot food!!!)
  13. Return the soup to the pan and warm through if eating immediately
  14. Adjust the seasoning to taste, and add a splash more liquid if the soup is looks a little thick
  15. Squeeze in fresh lemon (optional but recommended!) and garnish with fresh parsley

Notes:

Adapted from The Kitchn’s Creamy Vegan Cashew Tomato Soup

I heartily recommend you serve this with some homemade bread!

This soup freezes very well, so double up stock your freezer with an emergency stash!

Quick Seed & Oat Loaf

Quick Seed & Oat Loaf- Emma's Little Kitchen

There are one or two things in life that I am pretty particular about. Coffee (freshly ground, strong black. Please, no Keurigs!), cheese (no kraft singles…ever!), and then there’s bread. I love bread, and if I’m going to eat it, I prefer it to be wholegrain, hearty, full of texture, and most importantly, delicious.

Quick Seed & Oat Loaf- Emma's Little Kitchen Quick Seed & Oat Loaf- Emma's Little Kitchen

I tend to buy our bread from one of two local bakers. By doing it this way I think I sidestep a lot of the “nasties” you might find in commercial shop-bought loaves. I have good intentions of making my own, but then I baulk at the time, effort and forethought that would require. The other day a solution magically presented itself. I was flicking through one of my favourite old cook books and I stumbled across a recipe for a “Lazy Loaf” that I had never noticed before.

Quick Seed & Oat Loaf- Emma's Little Kitchen

Instantly excited at the prospect of freshly baked bread, I took a quick survey of the kitchen cupboards. The original recipe called for a couple of cups of muesli, something I don’t usually keep in. Instead, I opted to replace the prepared meusli with oats and a mixture of seeds, in lieu of bread flour, I used regular wholewheat. Within minutes my quick seed and oat loaf was born! Now admittedly the cooking time is not quick, so don’t attempt this recipe unless you can spend an hour or two pottering about your house. Happily, it only takes 5 minutes to throw together and then you just have to exercise a little patience while your home fills up with the smell of freshly baking bread. Bliss!

Quick Seed & Oat Loaf- Emma's Little Kitchen

This loaf is as nutritionally dense as it is, well, dense. Full to the brim of whole wheat flour, oats and a variety of seeds it is both filling and bolstering. I like to dunk it into soup, or toast it and spread with a little jam or marmite… yum! However you like your bread I hope you will add this easy one to your repertoire!

Quick Seed & Oat Loaf- Emma's Little Kitchen

Quick Seed & Oat Loaf
 
A delicious and hearty "lazy loaf", freshly baked bread, no kneading required!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2¾ cups wholewheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • ¼ cup flax seeds
  • ¼ cup poppy seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 2½ tsp rapid rise yeast (1 sachet)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (250ml) 2% or semi skimmed milk
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
Method
  1. Mix flour, oats, seeds , yeast and salt in a large bowl
  2. Pour in milk and water, and mix thoroughly to make a sticky porridge-like dough
  3. Smooth the dough into a greased, lined dough tin and place in the cold oven
  4. Turn the temperature to 225F (110C), and bake for 45 minutes, after 45 minutes turn up the temperature to 350F (175C) and bake for another hour, until the loaf is baked through and makes a hollowish sound when you tap the bottom of the tin!
  5. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack

Notes:

Get creative with your seed selection, pumpkin seeds would be a wonderful addition to this bread, maybe add a variety of nut or some dried fruit!

Make this vegan: use a non-dairy milk in place of milk

This freezes well, and stays pretty fresh for about 3 days.

Adapted from Nigella Lawson.