Nov 252015
Recipe: Oriental Brussels Sprout and Clementine Salad

  This crunchy Oriental-inspired salad is full of flavour and can be made with either raw Brussels sprouts or cabbage. If the idea of raw Brussels sprouts fills you with dread, try slicing them up and blanching them by covering them in some freshly boiled water for about a minute to take off the raw edge.   I had intended to make the salad with traditional green Brussels sprouts but in the run-up to Thanksgiving there were only purple ones left in the supermarket. Luckily, it turns out that purple Brussels sprouts are meant to be sweeter than their more famous green brothers, ostensibly making them a better option for salads.   Join the conversation: Have you tried purple Brussels sprouts yet?       ORIENTAL BRUSSELS SPROUT AND CLEMENTINE SALAD   Dressing Ingredients: 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbsp rice vinegar 2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari 1/2 [Continue reading…]

Nov 232015
Recipe: Brussels Sprout, Pecan and Cranberry Salad

  Inspired by the plethora of raw Brussels sprout salad recipes I’ve seen floating around online, I decided to try making one myself.   Up until now, Brussels sprouts in my house have always been roasted, boiled or sauteed and I was finally feeling brave enough to try them raw. Or was I? For some reason, the idea of eating raw Brussels sprouts is more worrisome than the idea of eating raw cabbage or kale even though they are from the same mustard family (brassica oleracea).   Undeterred, off I went to the supermarket to buy some nice green Brussels sprouts which I was going to shave thinly. But with it being Thanksgiving week, all the traditional green ones were sold out and there were only beautiful dark purple Brussels sprouts left.   I got home and tasted a sliver of raw Brussels sprout and it was actually okay. Similar to [Continue reading…]

Nov 212015
Recipe: Roasted Carrot, Chickpea and Kale Salad

  Autumn is all about roasted vegetable salads for me. Most vegetables can be roasted successfully at 200°C/400°F tossed with olive oil and sea salt. You can really grab any vegetable and roast it – carrots, turnips, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, radishes, and the list goes on. The roasting time will depend on a variety of factors including the type of vegetable you use and the size it is cut, and can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour.   Since they are all cooked at the same temperature, you can put several dishes of different vegetables in the oven at the same time so that in one go you have enough roasted vegetables to make several different salads. I find most roasted vegetables last well in the refrigerator for three days. And if you by the end of three days you find that you haven’t used up all your roasted vegetables, simply blend [Continue reading…]

Nov 152015
Recipe: Zesty Carrot and Parsley Salad

  I will admit that I have been suffering from carrot envy lately. Trawling through Instagram, Foodgawker and Pinterest for food photos, I keep being met with cute images of rainbow-coloured carrots in shades of purple, red, yellow and white making my ordinary orange carrots seem dull and boring.   Living in Dubai, you can pretty much find anything you want to buy as long as you look hard enough, but I have never been able to get my hands on these jewel-coloured carrots. Until now. Yes, it is now possible to find these beauties in Dubai. I found them at Spinneys supermarket, but they may be available in other grocery stores as well. And not only are these carrots rainbow-coloured, but they are organic rainbow-coloured. Score!   Although you can eat these carrots raw or roasted, roasting them tends to dull their colour a bit. I love showing off the beautiful hues [Continue reading…]

Nov 102015
Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin, Garlic and Feta Dip

  It’s November and there are pumpkins everywhere I turn – smooth yellow ones, big orange ones, knobbly green ones – so I decided to try making a pumpkin dip. I’m a big fan of dips because they make eating healthy very easy. A healthy dip waiting for me in my fridge plus vegetable sticks equals a healthy snack I can turn to in between meals.   Roasting is the best way to cook pumpkins. You don’t have to remove the skin, which can be tricky when the pumpkin is not entirely smooth. For roasting, you simply need to cut your pumpkin in half and roast it with the skin on (removing the skin after roasting is much easier). Some people discard the pumpkin seeds, but I recommend roasting them because they are high in zinc and make a delicious snack (see my tutorial on how to Roast Pumpkin Seeds).   I am in [Continue reading…]

Nov 042015
Product: Tariş 100% Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Turkey)

  Tariş is a Turkish olive oil producing company that was originally founded by local farmers in 1915. In 2001, it became ‘Tariş Olive and Olive Oil Agriculture Sales Cooperatives Union’, a group of 32 cooperatives made up of 28,000 Turkish producer-partners who collectively own and operate Tariş’ production facilities. The 32 cooperatives are from towns near the Aegean coast, such as Aydın, Balıkesir, Çanakkale, İzmir, Manisa and Muğla.   Tariş divides it’s olive oils between North Aegean and South Aegean because of the distinctive taste which is imparted from the soil and microclimate of each region. On their website, they describe the oils from the two regions as:   NORTH AEGEAN OLIVE OILS – This is a highly fluid olive oil specific to the Gulf of Edremit region. As a result of the climatic effect, this oil has a fresh-fruity and grassy aroma accompanied by an exquisite flavour. A mild and momentary taste [Continue reading…]

Nov 012015
Seasonal Snacks: November - Pears, Persimmons, Passion Fruit and Pomegranates

    In November, make sure you fill up your basket with the following fruits for a quick and healthy snack: Pears – don’t be boring and stick with just one variety. Make sure you get a good mix of several types of pears (Conference, Cosia, Anjou, etc). When pears give slightly to thumb pressure, then they are ripe and ready to eat. Persimmons (also called Sharon fruit) – look for evenly coloured orange persimmons with as few bruises as possible. The skin is edible and there are no seeds inside. There are several varieties of persimmons, but two popular ones are Fuyu and Hachiya. Fuyu persimmons are round and flattish. They are non-astringent therefore are delicious either crisp or soft. I like to eat them when they give slightly under thumb pressure. Hachiya persimmons are taller and have an oval shape. They are high in tannins and therefore very astringent and unpleasant to eat when not fully ripe. A Hachiya is ripe [Continue reading…]

Oct 262015
Recipe: Healthy Natural Green Food Colouring

  Although this blog post is about my experience making Healthy Natural Green Food Colouring for Halloween, it can just as easily be used for many other holidays including Eid, St Patrick’s Day, Pakistan National Day and Christmas.     Every Halloween, I browse through Pinterest looking at the cute little healthy Halloween ideas posted by super-creative parents. There are the little banana ghosts and the clementines cleverly made to look like mini Jack-o-Lanterns. Every year I promise myself that I am going to make these healthy treats, but somehow every year time gets away from me and I don’t quite manage it.   But this year is different – I am making Spooky Green Lemonade for a Halloween party. And I am dying it using homemade Healthy Natural Green Food Colouring.   Synthetic food colouring is something I have never felt totally comfortable with – all those artificial additives and preservatives. [Continue reading…]

Oct 232015
Seasonal Snacks: October - Figs and Persimmons

  Dear friends, I have decided to start writing a monthly post called ‘Seasonal Snacks’ about seasonal fruits and vegetables which we can all snack on easily throughout the month. I hope you’ll find it useful and it will help you know what to look out for when you’re shopping for food. My aim is to mostly keep it raw, easy to prepare (usually just wash and cut), and always seasonal. This is my first Seasonal Snacks post, ‘October – Figs and Persimmons’. Making healthy eating easier! Love, Erum (Total Salads)     In the Northern Hemisphere, figs are in season from June to October while persimmons are in season from October to February. Because fig season comes to an end just as persimmon season begins, there is only a short period of time every year (roughly around October) when you can eat them together on the same platter. So grab the [Continue reading…]

Oct 142015
Recipe: Warm Cauliflower Salad (BBC Good Food ME)

  Who doesn’t love a good roasted vegetable salad? Well, I recently discovered a really delicious recipe for ‘Warm Cauliflower Salad’ on BBC Good Food ME. It has lightly charred cauliflower, roasted red onions, fresh spinach, crunchy toasted almonds and sweet raisins in it. Did I mention that the dressing has only 2 ingredients in it? Yes, this salad is pretty easy to put together once you have your oven pre-heated to 200C/400F.   I followed their recipe to the letter, except for omitting the dill because there was no dill in my supermarket on the day I went shopping. And even though this is a ‘warm’ salad, I can vouch for the fact that it is also delicious when served cool.     Share your thoughts: What’s your favourite way to eat cauliflower? If you have a great cauliflower recipe, feel free to link below.         WARM [Continue reading…]

Oct 062015
Recipe: Mushroom Paté (Vegan)

  I’m a big fan of savoury spreads and I have been looking around for a good Mushroom Paté recipe for a while.   Most of the recipes I have come across include some kind of spreadable dairy component such as creme fraiche, sour cream, or cream cheese. I tried a recipe with creme fraiche and although it was good, the mushroom flavour was rather diluted.   What I wanted – what I craved – was a Mushroom Paté with a savoury umami mushroomy flavour front and center. After some experimentation and the discovery of a half-used forgotten jar of dehydrated mushrooms at the back of my spice cupboard, I came up with a recipe which is bursting with that concentrated mushroom flavour that I just adore. If you love mushrooms, I’m sure you will love this recipe too!   Share your thoughts: What is your favourite way to eat mushrooms?     MUSHROOM PATE (Makes 1.5 [Continue reading…]

Sep 292015
Recipe: Grilled Zucchini (Courgette) and Chard Salad with Hazelnuts

  In Dubai, one of my favourite locally grown vegetables is kousa, a small light-green zucchini (courgette). One of my favourite moments is when I’m shopping for groceries and I get to the mountain of stacked kousa, taking my time to choose the smallest ones in the pile. Because it’s grown locally, it’s very inexpensive compared to the large zucchini which is imported from Europe, and I am able to stock up on it without worrying about the cost.   I use kousa in anything and everything from stews and curries to omelet fillers. It often makes it’s way to my table sliced lengthwise and roasted with olive oil and sea salt – a healthier and better-tasting alternative to french fries.   When grilled, kousa is delicious in salads. My recipe for ‘Grilled Zucchini and Chard Salad with Hazelnuts’ uses a nice combination of flavours and textures along with a simple [Continue reading…]