Posts Tagged With: tabouleh

Braised Cauliflower and Puy Lentil Tabouleh and my Sisters Cornish Wedding

Braised Cauliflower and Puy Lentil Tabouleh

We’ve just spent a long weekend in beautiful Cornwall at my sisters wedding.  Weddings are always special, but this was especially special!  My own little sis!!!  Cornwall added a spectacular backdrop to everything we got up to.  I had been to Cornwall as a three year old, from which I surprisingly have a load of memories; staying in little farmhouse B and B’s, the intense smell of fresh manure, cream teas and the iconic Cornish lanes, where vegetation rises high above and it seems like all the roads are cut out of massive bush!  Its certainly a part of the world that leaves an impression.

My sis Laura and her new hubby Paul stayed in the most stunning little wood cottage almost on the beach, surrounded by dramatic cliffs and raging, white surf.  We all said that it seemed like South Africa or Australia, we couldn’t believe that these kinds of coastlines existed in our little island.  The surfers were loving it and there seemed to be a gang of pirates having a fire just down the beach.

The Watson family, all smart and ready for the wedding ceremony

The Watson family, all smart and ready for the wedding ceremony

My sis’s ceremony was on the beach and was a beautiful spiritual affair, although not ‘religious’, we revelled in the beauty of nature and the good things we all share; love, compassion, hope and freedom.  We also ate some sensational vegan food, prepared by the awesome Annie (who worked her socks off).  It was a Middle Eastern/ Southern Med style buffet, something Annie was vastly experienced in.  It showed.  Spicy carrots, green cous cous, fresh pitta, roasted pepper and almond puree, smokey aubergine salad and piles of crispy borek (with spinach and pine nuts).  Jane and I thought we’d died and gone spinning into a Lebanese form of nirvana.  I have rarely enjoyed food so much and the backdrop of the Cornish coastline, surrounded by our nearest and dearest, just added to the experience.

Laura and Paul in their little paradise cottage, Cornwall

Laura and Paul in their little paradise cottage, Cornwall

Jane and I drove our old Peugot estate, Hooty, down to Cornwall and camped in Hay on Wye for a night (central Wales), a real hot spot for second hand book shops and, as it turned out, vegan food.  Wahee!  The perfect combo. I love a good second hand bookshop, the smell alone transports me to a place of wonder and excitement.  I picked up a couple of antique books, precious heirlooms.  We also went to the amazing Old Electric Shop, a space for old vintage clothes, records and interior stuff as well as vegan food.  When Jane and I walked in, they were playing one of our favourite tunes at the moment, ‘Better Days’, we felt right at home immediately.  We missed out on their lovely looking lunch menu, we had to hit the road, but it all smelled amazing and their vegan cakes proved to be a full power breakfast as we took on the Glastonbury traffic.  We hope to go back to Hay on Wye this winter to go deeper into the bookshops and explore the beautiful local scenery.

We’re still on a high after getting back late last night and thought we’d share something in keeping with our awesome weekend in the beautiful south of England.  Here is a recipe taken from ‘Peace and Parsnips’ that would please anyone who has a passion for the cuisine of the Southern Med:

Tabouleh is a proper southern Med classic. Combined with great olive oil and sweet roasted cauliflower it makes a substantial salad. I love the spice mix baharat – if you can find it, substitute it for the ground spices. I like to use pomegranate molasses in the dressing – it gives a funky reddish tinge and has a sticky tang all of its own. For a special occasion, go the whole hog and sprinkle over herbs, baharat, pomegranate and chopped toasted almonds. Gluten-free option: replace the bulgar wheat with millet.

The Bits – For 4-6
100g Puy lentils
1 bay leaf
220g bulgur wheat, rinsed in cold water
about 450ml boiling water or veg stock
1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets, roughly 2cm in size, stalks finely diced (waste nothing!)
a large pinch of ground cumin
a large pinch of ground coriander
a large pinch of sweet paprika
a large pinch of ground turmeric
a small pinch of ground cinnamon
½ tsp sea salt
4 spring onions, finely chopped
½ a cucumber, deseeded and finely diced
2 ripe tomatoes, deseeded and finely diced
1 tbsp great olive oil
½ a handful of dried apricots, soaked for 2 hours, then drained and finely chopped
a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
½ a handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
seeds from 1 small pomegranate
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

For the garnish
4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
a handful of chopped fresh parsley and mint

For the Pomegranate Dressing
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses or juice of 1 large lemon
zest of ½ a lemon
1 clove of garlic, peeled and well crushed
a small pinch of dried mint
a small pinch of sea salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Do It

Put the lentils into a pan and cover with water. Leave for 5 minutes, then pick out any floating lentils. Drain, cover with fresh water, and add the bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring and checking the water level (add more if needed). The lentils should be springy, but cooked. Drain if necessary, though there should be very little liquid left.

Put the bulgur wheat into a large bowl and pour over the boiling water or stock, enough to cover it by about 2cm. Tightly cover and leave for 30 minutes. Once cooked, fluff with a fork and cool.

In a frying pan, heat the oil on a high heat, then add the cauliflower and begin to fry. Stir regularly and cook for 10–12 minutes. Once the cauliflower has softened and the edges are slightly charred, sprinkle over the ground spices and salt and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring well. Cover and leave to cool. The cauliflower should be nicely coated with the spices.

For the Pomegranate Dressing simply whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Add three-quarters of the lentils to the bulgur wheat, along with the cauliflower, herbs and the rest of the ingredients, then pour over the dressing and mix gently together with your hands until well combined. Place in a wide, shallow serving bowl and spread out evenly. Sprinkle over the remaining lentils and garnish with pomegranate seeds and herbs.

The beautiful North Cornish coastline

The beautiful North Cornish coastline

Quick Peace and Parsnips update – we’ve recently been in Reveal Magazine, Daily Mirror Magazine and the Waitrose Weekend.  The Vegan Life Magazine has just done a review which says its ‘…..probably the best looking vegan cookbook we’ve seen.’  Which makes us smile.  Also, thanks to all who have left positive feedback on Amazon, Waterstones, Chat Rooms, etc its amazing to hear what you all think and to see people cooking the recipes makes all the effort of writing the book more than worthwhile.  Viva Veggies!

Catch up with us this Saturday 4th July at the Newcastle Vegan Festival, where Jane and I will both be doing talks and then in Flat White cafe in Durham on Sunday 5th July at 10am for a book signing with perfect vegan coffees.

Cover of Peace and Parsnips

Recipe originally posted on the brilliant Happy Foodie site.

Categories: Healthy Eating, Peace and Parsnips, photography, Recipes, Salads, Summer, Vegan | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Feta and Apple Quinoa Tabouleh

Feta and Apple Quinoa Tabouleh

Feta and Apple Quinoa Tabouleh


A very tasty tabouleh-like salad that is bursting at the seams with flavour, nutrition and texture.  It has everything we love in a salad, crunch, creaminess and a zesty kick to top things off.  Colour is also one of the elements that makes tabouleh salads like this stand out from the iceberg lettuce brigade.  I don’t mess around too much in the presentation stakes, but a salad like tabouleh, with good fresh ingredients just looks wonderful no matter what you do to it!  A tabouleh is the perfect way of showcasing amazing produce.

Quinoa (keen-wah) is a wonderful sprout/ seed, related to Kale and the fuel for many an Inca in times gone by.  I presume we all know what it is by now!  It seems to have been all the rage for many years and rightly so.  It has a great, strong flavour and is superbly healthy (see below, ‘Foodie Fact’) which is the main reason we have used it here instead of the traditional bulgur wheat.

Tri-colour tabouleh is a new one on us, Jane picked it up in Glastonbury.  It has a slightly fuller, earthy flavour than normal especially when roasted slightly before cooking (top tip!).  It initially reminded us of France, tri-colour and all, but it’s tabouleh heart is most certainly in the middle east, however the flavours here are quite European!?  A suitably confused dish, ideal for two nomads living on a green hill then (that’s us!).  Tri-colour quinoa seems to be a mixture of red, black and normal beige quinoa.

Tri-colour Quinoa

Tri-colour Quinoa

The ingredients here are changeable, please replace the cheese with tofu  if you are vegan; and use whatever is seasonal and looking good. As always, let your imagination run wild!

Midway stage of prep

Midway stage of prep

This recipe fills one very lucky salad bowl.

The Bits

250g tri-colour quinoa, 2 handfuls rocket, 1/3 cup roasted pine nuts, 1 cup pitted green olives,125g aged feta (cut into 2cm cubes), 6 cherry tomatoes (cut in quarters), 1 yellow pepper (chopped small cubes), 100ml good fruity olive oil, 1 small red onion (finely diced), 2 stick celery (finely diced), juice of 1 lemon, 1 handful chopped parsley, 1 handful chopped mint, sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Do It

In a saucepan, roast the quinoa on a medium heat until it is going slightly brown (5 minutes). It will pop a little, let it. Then cover with 1cm of water (thats 1cm above the quinoa) and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil and lower heat and cover. It will take 15 minutes to cook, then fluff up with a fork and set aside to cool.

Place all ingredients in large salad bowl and gently mix together. Whisk up your lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl.

Roast off your pine nuts on a medium/low heat until getting golden. Keep an eye on them, they are precious these little fellows and burn easily.
When quite cool (but not cold) add your quinoa to the salad mix and combine gently together. Serve immediately to great plaudits and smiles.

Feta and Apple Quinoa Tabouleh

Feta and Apple Quinoa Tabouleh


Here we added a few more greens to finish (mint and rocket), we actually like it slightly warm, it brings it all to life and the olive oil will give off a very fruity aroma.  For us a tabouleh is a main course affair, definitely not a side salad.  This is a star and needs no trimmings!

Every angle covered here, another one for good luck!

Every angle covered here, another one for good luck!

Foodie Fact 

Quinoa is a great source of amino acids, the vitamin B’s and has the highest level of iron found in any grain.  It is also a great source of protien.  Quinoa is the only grain that contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs, the Incas knew this and called it the ‘Chisiya Mama’ – the mother grain.  The early Andean civilizations ate more quinoa than corn!  Quinoa is pretty much the complete food.

PS –  Its also gluten free. X


What better way to celebrate cooking with some ‘tri-colour’ than with some Serge Gainsbourg, ‘Alor, voila!’:


Categories: gluten-free, Recipes, Salads | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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