I love beetroot, carrot, potato, parsnip, butternut squash, kale but I’m getting a little tired of these winter vegetables that has been feeding us for the last 6 months. I want spring vegetables now… sorrel and spinach are available at the markets – I already eat them – but I’m longing for the spring (and summer!) vegetables and fruits to start appearing. Like asparagus, peas, strawberries, raspberries… Oh how I miss them!
I don’t even know how the agriculture can accomodate to this extremist weather. This winter has just been too long. But there are signs that our hope is not superfluous. The amount of daylight is getting longer, the temperature is rising and we can see the sun shining through the big, fluffy, white clouds.
“The most beautiful springs are those that come after the most horrible winters!”
- Mehmet Murat Ildan
This broccoli pesto pasta dish can be a very easy to make weeknight meal. Although broccoli is not very seasonal I wanted to use another vegetable to make a delicious meal that reminds me of summer.
Broccoli Pesto Pasta
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
- 350 g broccoli, peel stalk, then stalk and florets chopped
- 50 g walnut
- 40 g grated parmesan
- 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- salt, pepper
- 350-400 g pasta
In a dry non-stick pan toast walnuts for 4-5 minutes and set aside.
In a medium sized pan bring water to a boil. Add salt into the boiling water and blanch the broccoli stalks and florets for 2 minutes. With the help of a drain spoon, take out the broccoli and set aside. Use the same water to cook the pasta al dente. Drain (in the meantime save about 100-150 ml cooking water) and set aside.
Add 200 g blanched broccoli (save a few florets), toasted walnuts, grated parmesan, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice to your food processor and pulse until it gets smooth. Pour this creamy pesto mixture over the cooked pasta, add a bit of cooking water and toss until combined. Add the leftover broccoli florets and serve immediately with a handful of grated parmesan and a drizzle of lemon juice over the top.
Banana bread is the all time favourite classic bread in our household. I tried many recipes and all of them gave the perfect result (like this vegan one with almond and chocolate). This one doesn’t contain sugar, it is sweetened with dates and bananas. It’s moist, delicious, also gluten-free and sweet enough without sugar. It’s also crisp because of the toasted sunflower- and pumpkin seeds on top. It’s perfect and wonderful for an afternoon tea/coffee session or for breakfast (toasted).
Make sure to use overripe bananas to get the best banana flavour.
Date Olive Oil Banana Bread
(Recipe inspiration: My Darling Lemon Thyme)
- 1 cup dates (about 9 pieces), pitted, chopped
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 and 1/2 cups brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 organic or free-range eggs
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
In a small bowl mix together chopped dates with baking soda and boiling water. Set aside. Line a 23 cm (9 inch) long loaf pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180C (356F).
In a bowl combine the dry ingredients: rice flour, millet flour, baking powder. In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients: mashed bananas, olive oil, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients mixture into the dry one, stirring until just combined. Fold dates, hot water and baking soda in.
Pour the mixture into the loaf pan, sprinkle the top with sunflower- and pumpkin seeds and bake it on 180C (356F) for about 60 minutes. It’s ready when the cake tester (or toothpick) comes out clean.
I think the weather is ridiculous in Hungary but as I see it on Instagram photos, it is crazy everywhere in Europe. It’s already April and it’s still cold, grey and gloomy here, we hardly see the sun and there are two options every day: raining or snowing. This winter has just been too long and looks like it doesn’t want to leave.
I really hope that we will notice the first signs of spring very soon. Fingers crossed that this sunshine juice – that is fully packed with vitamin C – brings us luck and we will see the first warming shines the sooner the better. The juice is powerful that helps boost your immune system after these cold and clammy months.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 220 g pumpkin/butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- 400 g carrot, peeled
- 2 oranges, peeled
- small piece of ginger, peeled
Press everything through the juicer. Serve immediately.
Now that my iron level is a bit low I eat a lot of vegetables (spinach, sorrel, parsley, broccoli, Savoy cabbage, sauerkraut, etc.) that have a high level in iron and I take natural iron supplements (like this Feroglobin B12).
The lack of iron can create a low haemoglobin. Signs of being iron deficient can include excessive tiredness, lethargy, lack of motivation and feeling irritable and weak than would normally be expected. Low iron levels do not uniformly cause these symptoms, but do increase the risk for anemia and the risk of becoming symptomatic during periods of emotional or physical stress.
The iron requirements go up significantly when you’re pregnant. Iron is essential for making hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to other cells. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases until you have almost 50 percent more than usual. And you need more iron to make more hemoglobin for all that additional blood. You also need extra iron for your growing baby and placenta.
I think vegetarians or vegans who eat a varied and well balanced diet are not at any greater risk of iron deficiency anaemia than non-vegetarians. A diet rich in wholegrains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, iron-fortified cereals and green leafy vegetables provides an adequate iron intake. Vitamin C and other organic acids enhance non-haem iron absorption, a process that is carefully regulated by the gut. (More information: here.)
Vegan Banana Green Smoothie
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 500 ml (2 cups) almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
- 1 banana
- 1 big handful of fresh spinach
Place all ingredients in the blender and process for 5 minutes, until smooth. If you find it too thick, add more almond milk.
I love roasting tofu because it gives crispness to this vegetarian “cheese” (although I don’t like to call it cheese). Tofu has a low calorie count, relatively large amounts of protein, and little fat. It is high in iron and, depending on the coagulant used in manufacturing, may also be high in calcium and/or magnesium. It is also rich in vitamin B1 and B2.
Kale is also a healthy ingredient that is great if it’s roasted or toasted. It is a plant that very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, and reasonably rich in calcium.
Lemon Herb Roasted Tofu and Kale With Quinoa
(Inspired by The First Mess)
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 300 g firm tofu, pressed and diced
- 1 medium bunch of kale, leaves removed and torn into bit sized pieces
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
- 3-4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt, pepper
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
Preheat the oven to 180C (356F). Line a large sheet with parchment paper.
Place lemon zest, sliced garlic, chili flakes, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in the bowl of a mortar and pestle. Grind it up until a dry paste is achieved. Add olive oil, lemon juice and grind + combine until mixture is unified.
In a bowl mix together tofu cubes with half of the olive oil, lemon juice and herb mixture. Place onto the baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes until golden brown (halfway mix through the tofu cubes with a wooden spoon). Remove the roasted tofu cubes into a bowl. Toss the kale with the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and herb mixture in the same bowl. Place kale onto the same baking sheet and roast at 160C (320F) for about 5-8 minutes.
Serve the lemon herb roasted tofu and kale with cooked quinoa.