There is a little Indian restaurant in the area where I grew up that serves one of the tastiest appetizers I've ever eaten. The dish is called Panipuri, and it's a common street food found in many regions of India. It consists of hollow puffs of crisp dough, filled with delicious chaat, served alongside chutney and tamarind water. Ever since my husband introduced me to this savoury snack, I've ordered it in various restaurants. Each chef has their own take on it, with spices and ingredient choices likely dependant on the region of India that they are from. Sometimes, the puffs are broken into pieces and mixed with the chaat then swirled with herbed yogurt. The chaat itself generally consists of diced potato, onion, and heaps of cilantro, tossed with various spices and a variety of other vegetables, nuts or legumes. 

And then, something magical happened. I took a book out of the library, solely based on how pretty the photos were. Then, I bought myself a copy, because I literally want to try every single recipe in it. One of those recipes is called Bhel Puri, a type of chaat that is mixed with puffed rice. My love of all things chaat and puri made me certain that I needed to try this recipe as soon as possible. I decided to give it my own spin by adding a few extras that I had on hand - and holy moly. You have to understand, this isn't just a salad. It's an experience. 

Need a great way to use up all of those garden cucumbers popping up right about now? Maybe you have a few too many cherry tomatoes and need them to be tossed into something tasty. Perhaps you don't even garden but you want to make a refreshing no-cook summer meal to beat the heat., or to impress at a friend's BBQ. Whatever your reason, this medley of colours and flavours is your new go-to. 

Before we get onto the recipe, just a little FYI, the book is called 'Good Veg,' and you can find it here! As always, if you place an order through any of my Amazon links, you are helping to support my blog at no extra cost to you!

Bhel Puri (Chaat)
with Tamarind Water & Mint Yogurt
adapted from Good Veg by Alice Hart

*Notes
  • For the puffed rice, I used this gluten-free brown rice cereal - it lends itself better to savoury dishes as it is unsweetened, unlike traditional Rice Krispies.
  • I buy papadums and tamarind paste in the international section of my local grocery store, and I've seen both at most large chains around here. There are also some papadums available online here and here and tamarind available here.
  • If you are planning on making this ahead of time, do NOT add the rice or the crushed papadums until just before serving - you want them to remain slightly crunchy, and putting them in too early will sog them right up!

ingredients

for chaat
800g fingerling or baby potatoes, chopped (large dice)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped 
2 cups cucumbers, diced 
2 small spring onions or shallots, finely chopped
6 large Medjool dates, chopped
1 cup pomegranate arils
1 cup puffed rice* (see notes)
6 cooked papadums, crushed + additional pappadums for serving* (see notes)
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

for tamarind water
3 tbsp. tamarind paste 
2 tsp sugar
3 cups water

for mint yogurt
1/2 cup plain yogurt (non-dairy coconut yogurt works very well!)
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp. cumin seed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 chilli pepper, minced
3 tbsp. mint leaves, chopped

method

Place potatoes in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Potatoes should be tender, but not falling apart. Drain and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, combine all yogurt ingredients and set aside, allowing flavours to steep.

In a separate saucepan, combine tamarind, sugar and water. Allow to come to a boil and gently break up the tamarind paste. Boil for 10 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid, discarding the paste.

Combine all chaat ingredients - if not serving right away, leave out the crushed pappadums and rice cereal, only adding once ready to serve.

Garnish each portion with tamarind water and yogurt sauce, and serve with additional papadums & lime wedges.



Have you got 5 minutes? Great! That is literally all the time you'll need to throw this bad boy together.  This cobbler was born one Sunday morning when I had less than an hour before I had to leave for brunch, and I had absolutely nothing to bring with me. Being a pastry chef means that when I am invited somewhere, I cannot simply "pick something up along the way." That would be an atrocity. Blasphemous, even. I knew I could throw something together quickly, but I just didn't know what. The giant bag of blueberries in my freezer coupled with my desire to use my large marbled baking dish led to the idea of cobbler. Aside from being extremely easy and super fast to assemble, this dessert is amazing because it's one of the few southern-inspired foods that isn't loaded with fat, so you really don't have to feel bad when you go for seconds. (And trust me, you will go for seconds thirds!)


This blog does contain one other blueberry cobbler recipe, but I think I've outdone myself this time. The previous one was still delish, but it was much more labour intensive as it required making and shaping biscuit dough. This new and improved recipe is for a cobbler without biscuits, made instead with a crispy crumbly buttery cornmeal topping. Honestly, this is going to be my go-to from now on. I can't wait to experiment with different types of fruits! Also, with only 7 ingredients and 5 minutes to prepare, why NOT make this more often?


Let's talk a bit about ingredients before you run off to the kitchen and make this. I used both frozen and fresh berries because that is what I had available. Don't have enough blueberries? Not to worry! You can add a mix of berries to this, or even some stone fruits. I love mixing the berries with sliced nectarines or peaches. Keep in mind that the baking time may increase by a few minutes if you are using all frozen, and may decrease if all fresh. As all ovens are different, just keep an eye on the colour of the cobbler after 40 minutes. You want the topping to be golden amber, not really brown, and definitely not black. Alright, let's blue this!

5 Minute Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler
a.k.a. the easiest dessert ever

prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 40-50 minutes

ingredients

5 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
3 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp. cornstarch

2/3 cup medium yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup softened butter*, cut into pieces
*use margarine or room temp coconut oil for a vegan substitute!
method

Preheat oven to 390F.

Pour berries into a deep 9x13'' baking dish.
Sprinkle with cornstarch and lemon or lime juice.
Stir until berries are coated.

In separate bowl, combine flour, sugar and cornmeal.
Add butter. Use a pastry cutter to form a crumbly dough.
Sprinkle dough over berry mixture.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until top is golden.

Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Extra delicious if served warm with iced cream!













Imagine this: a latke and a pakora come together and get tossed with jalapeño and cheddar. Yes, it IS as great as it sounds! These shallow-fried little fritters are crispy on the outside, while remaining magically fluffy on the inside. It's peak veggie season at the market right now, and I managed to score myself a 1.2kg floret for all of two Canadian dollars this week! (That's basically like, 25 cents American, btw.) Now, I love roasted cauli as much as the next person, but a kilo of a single vegetable seemed like a bit much. Plus, I had a ton of spring onions that I wanted to use up as well as some beautiful fresh local garlic. A few flips through my trusty Ottolenghi cookbook, and I was instantly inspired.



Jalapeño Cauliflower Fritters with Chili-Lime Sauce ingredients for the fritters 1 kg cauliflower, cut into large florets
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
3 small onions, chopped 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapenos 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar (optional)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp crushed corriander seed
2 tsp Mexican (mild) chili powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
3 cups (approx.) canola or vegetable oil, for frying for the sauce 1/2 cup sour cream 3 tbsp. plain full fat yogurt 1 1/2 tsp mexican chili powder 1/2 tsp onion powder zest from 3 limes Juice from 1 lime Pinch sugar Pinch salt 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro method Mix together sauce ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Place a piece of parchment on a large baking sheet. Place wire rack on top. Set aside. This will be used to cool your hot fritters. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the cauliflower florets. Cook 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain. In a large bowl, combine all fritter ingredients except for oil, egg & cauliflower. In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Combine eggs with flour mixture and stir until a thick paste begins to form. Add cauliflower and mash with a fork. Mixture will be lumpy and very wet. Heat oil on medium in a large heavy bottomed saucepan or dutch oven. Scoop about 3tbsp worth of batter into hot oil. Allow fritter to cook about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden. Do not crowd pan. Use a spider strainer to remove from hot oil and place on wire rack to cool. Continue until all batter is used up. If not serving immediately, these can be made in advance and re-heated in oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with sauce & additional cilantro for garnish.




Whether you're team salad or team sandwich, a helping of pickled veg is always a welcome addition. Sweet, crunchy, vibrant and tangy, quick pickled carrots will take your dish from good to great in a matter of minutes. No canning experience necessary & no need for fancy equipment. This versatile recipe is great for cucumbers, carrots and onions, and can be used in a variety of ways. Top off a sandwich, bahn-mi style as we did, or toss them into a grain bowl (as we ALSO did!) Scramble them into an omlette, or eat them straight out of the jar. However you enjoy them, you'll be wondering how you've ever lived this long without them. 


This Vietnamese-style pickle recipe was inspired by my new favourite cookbook, Good Veg. (I'm telling you, this is the book that got me out of a cooking rut. They aren't even sponsoring this post. I just love it that much.) I've made these three times in the last 3 weeks, because I just can't seem to get enough. The original recipe calls for mixing vinegar with sugar and letting it dissolve, but I found that heating the vinegar helped to speed up the process. I also added some onion & my own blend of pickling spices and made it my own. Feel free to experiment as you wish with the veggies - pickling knows no limits!

Storage: I store mine in a mason jar in the fridge. They keep very well for a couple of weeks thanks to the high acid and high sugar content. If you have time to make these in advance, the flavours develop nicely over time and become tastier after a couple of days. As time passes, your vegetables will discolour slightly, but pickling liquid should remain relatively clear. Discard if liquid becomes cloudy. 

Vietnamese Style 
Quick Pickled Vegetables

Ingredients
2 cups spiralized carrots or cucumber
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1/4 cup shredded daikon
2 tbsp sliced fresh ginger
1 cup water
1 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp coriander seed
1 tsp mustard seed

Combine water, vinegar, salt and sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer.
Combine carrots (or cucumber), onion, daikon and ginger.
Place vegetable mix into two mason jars.
Pour liquid inside jars until veggies are fully submerged.
Secure jar lids and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 weeks. 





Out too late? Drank too much? Slept too little? While this wonder drink won't erase those late-night texts, it will re-hydrate you as it delivers a powerful dose of vitamins, antioxidants & a natural anti-inflammatory boost. Turmeric is one trendy ingredient right now - and with good reason! Used in ayurvedic medicine for centuries, turmeric root is known for it's anti-inflammatory properties, soothing everything from headaches to stomach woes.


My husband and I have recently been on a golden smoothie kick. This particular recipe started when Josh had a cold and wanted to load up on vitamin C - he threw a bunch of tangerines into the blender with a chunk of ginger. Holy moly! The first one that he made was so tasty, I declared it the $9 fancy-juice-bar-smoothie. Who knew? Tangerines and ginger can pack quite a tasty punch. I upped the game by adding a quarter teaspoon of turmeric. Not only did it enhance the flavour and boost the nutrition profile, but the colour was absolutely stunning!



This juice keeps well stored in mason jars for up to 5 days in the fridge. We make a huge batch on Sundays and have them ready-to-go for the week. Great way to boost your immune system and feel energized daily, without any supplements or medication!

Looking for more ways to enjoy turmeric?
Check out this awesome cookbook with 50 turmeric recipes!


----- Orange Turmeric Ginger
4 Ingredient
Superfood Smoothie

Ingredients
4 large tangerines or blood oranges, peeled, seeds removed*
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 inch cube ginger root, peeled
1/2 cup peach juice

*I used the tangelo/minneola variety as I find them to be sweetest and have the least amount of seeds

Method
In a high-powered blender, add all ingredients.
Blend until completely smooth.
Serve immediately, over ice if desired.

Make-ahead:
Keeps well for up to 5 days, refrigerated in a closed container (mason jars work well!)
Shake well before serving.
-----


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