Indian Vegetarian Dish


Yellow Dal is comfort food at its best, it is a simple dish but a staple in most Indian homes. Growing up my mum always cooked us Yellow Dal with Rice and it something we devoured. I’m so glad I’ve introduced this Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe to my kids. On our meat-free days my boys are content with a bowl of steaming rice and dal.

The yellow split peas is boiled until it’s soft and it is then cooked with a variety of spices. The tempering of the spices is what takes the dal to a whole new level. My favourite way to serve this dish is with rice but you can have it with your favourite bread too.

Everyone has their own method of cooking this dish. I remember my mum spending hours tempering her spices and creating a delicious mix to add to her dal. I must admit I am a lazy cook, for me it’s the easy way out as long as my food still tastes delicious without the added effort I am happy. It is about the flavour after all, right?

We call it yellow dal due to the fact that turmeric is added to it, this is what gives this Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe a beautiful golden hue. I find my dried beans and peas takes much longer to boil in Johannesburg, due to the high altitude. If you didn’t know this “low air pressure causes boiling water to evaporate more quickly in high altitude”, now you should understand why our dried beans and peas take longer to cook. It’s why I have invested in a pressure cooker, makes life so much more simple.

This recipe makes a great dish for vegetarians and you can make it ahead and freeze. My fussy family will never eat food that’s pre-cooked and frozen but I have frozen cooked dal in the past, heated and served it to them. They didn’t know the difference. My hubby even went to the extent of complimenting me on how delicious the dal was, or should I say “leftover dal”. I hope you get to make a fresh pot of dal and enjoy!

You may want to try some of my other vegetarian recipes from my blog too, here’s the links below: https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/dhall/

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/sauteed-okra-lady-fingers/

My friend Sonila makes a delicious Yellow Split Pea Soup, so if you want to try something different check her recipe out at:

https://mediterraneanlatinloveaffair.com/instant-pot-yellow-split-peas-soup-with-spinach/

https://mediterraneanlatinloveaffair.com/instant-pot-yellow-split-peas-soup-with-spinach


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Yellow Split Pea Dhall Recipe
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Instructions
  1. Soak dhall overight or for a few hours. Add the 3 cups of water with the turmeric and boil on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker until it's soft and smooth
  2. Heat butter ghee or oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Once it starts bursting add spring onion (optional) curry leaf, chilli and onion and sauté until onion is translucent
  3. Add garlic and fry for a minute
  4. Add the tomato and cook on a low heat until the tomato is cooked
  5. Add the cooked dhall and season with salt, Add more water and bring to a boil, allow it to simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes. Water can be added according to your preference, if you prefer a thick dhall add less water, if you prefer it more liquid then add less water.
  6. Garnish with coriander
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Refreshing Summer Salad

After seeing a salad posted in the Pick n Pay freshliving magazine I was really inspired to make a similar salad, it looked amazing. This Honeyed Peach and Pesto Salad is heavenly. The original recipe used goat’s cheese and I am not a fan of goat’s cheese. I changed the recipe to suit my tastebuds and it is the best salad ever. And I thought nothing could beat the roasted-brocolli-and-haloumi-salad.

I was definitely mistaken, this Honeyed Peach and Pesto salad has now become my favourite summer salad.

The peach that I used in this salad was perfectly sweet so I didn’t need too much honey. I also didn’t load it with tons of basil pesto, I used a little pesto but wow, I never knew peaches and pesto could taste so good together. My hubby was amazed at how delicious this salad turned out.

We always have feta in our fridge and feta goes well with almost any salad as far as I’m concerned. It tied in perfectly with the other ingredients in this salad, a little bit of sweetness, some saltiness and some crunch. What more can you ask for.

I’m usually not the adventurous type when it comes to food but today I was in a different mood obviously. Just let me say I’m glad I tried something new.

This salad is definitely a keeper and I can’t wait to try making it for some guests soon.

If you are a goddess in the kitchen do try making your own pesto but if you are like me, looking for easy ways to make a meal, just use some store bought pesto. Woolworths makes delicious pesto and I often use it in my dishes, we can’t always make everything from scratch!

Please do try this recipe, you won’t be disappointed, even if you not the adventurous type you will still love it, trust me on this one.

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Honeyed Peach and Pesto Salad
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Instructions
  1. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a pan and fry pumpkin seeds until golden
  2. Add honey and remove from heat
  3. Arrange the peach on a platter. Scatter the feta, lettuce/ rocket leaves and pumkin seeds
  4. Thin the pesto with the tablespoon of olive oil, add more if you want a more runny consistency and drizzle over the salad before serving
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Cooked the South African way with the addition of Coconut Cream.

Green Bean Curry has always been a popular dish in our home, except that we never cooked it with any sort of cream or milk. This Green Bean Curry with Coconut Cream is a first for me but it was amazing. I have seen recipes for Green Bean curry with coconut milk, cooked the Sri Lankan way. I thought let me follow my usual recipe and just add coconut milk to it and see what it tastes like but only to discover I had no coconut milk. I settled for coconut cream instead.

Surprisingly this Green Bean Curry with Coconut Cream tasted divine, I was a bit sceptical about what it would taste like but I loved it. Will definitely be cooking this dish again. We do cut up our green bean a little differently when using it in a curry, it is sliced thinly and sort of diagonally, I think the reason for this was for quick cooking time. Not sure if there’s another reason but it’s how my mum did it and it works well.

If you want an even more simple green bean recipe then maybe you should try this fried green bean recipe https://itsallaboutthekitchen.coif .za/recipe/fried-green-beans/

You can serve this Green Bean curry with some Basmati rice or roti. I personally prefer it with roti, almost all veggie curries taste delicious with roti. I haven’t yet posted a roti recipe but you can check out my tips on getting perfect rotis https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/roti-making/

Will definitely try and share a recipe soon. The South African way of making roti is definitely not the same as it’s made in India but it’s what we are used to, soft, buttery rotis.

Please do try this recipe. You are most welcome to mail me at any time if you need help with my recipes. I love sharing and I always love to help. It’s great when I hear from people that have tried something that I’ve posted, makes my blogging journey worth it.

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Green Bean Curry with Coconut Milk
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil, add onion, fenugreek seeds, curry leaf and chilli
  2. When onion is translucent add garlic and fry for minute
  3. Add masala,, chilli powder and turmeric. Add a few drops of water and fry for a minute
  4. Add the sliced green beans and season with salt. Simmer on low heat until green beans is cooked
  5. Add the coconut cream and cook until it's heated through. Serve hot
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Summer calls for light meals and lazy days….haha… wishful thinking, I wish I could have those lazy days….can a mum ever! Well at least I get to have the light meals, this Couscous Salad with Roast Vegetable is perfect. What I love most about is that you can have it as a meal on it’s own, great as a bowl meal or add some chicken, lamb or feta to it and you good to go.

My recipe for https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/perfect-roast-vegetable/ was used in this recipe, so do follow the recipe to make the veggies. However, I have omitted the Cajun spice from the Roast Vegetable for this recipe.

I am trying to keep things simple the next few weeks as I am overseeing the renovation of our new home, it’s starting to take a toll on my stress levels. But I must admit it’s really exciting, besides cooking and making nails pretty I love interior decorating. I will definitely give you a peek into my new home sometime soon.

The one thing I’m waiting for the most is my brand new kitchen, imagine having your own dream kitchen. I never had my own kitchen designed before, all the homes we lived in had kitchens installed and they were all almost new so my hubby refused to pay for another kitchen. I finally get my way, how exciting is that. I spend most of my days in the kitchen so I want it to be a place I can relax and enjoy being in it. Isn’t it wonderful when you have people over and you can feel proud about your surroundings and even better when your home becomes your peaceful sanctuary. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just neat, clean with a simple, tasteful design.

This year has been a great start, so many exciting things happening in our lives and I am so grateful for all that we receive. With the tough life I’ve had in the past I’m sometimes almost scared when good things happen to me, almost like “do I deserve all of this”? If you going through a tough time right now just know that it will soon end, tough times don’t last forever. Trust me I know. So much for my blabbing away…let’s get back to the recipe.

Nothing much to say about this recipe except that it’s light, delicious and so versatile. Do enjoy!

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Couscous Salad with Roast Vegetable
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Instructions
  1. Roast your vegetables as per recipe in the link above
  2. If you are using store bought stock heat it up in a saucepan, add cumin and paprika. Add the couscous and butter and close the saucepan for 10 minutes.
  3. Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Add the roast vegetable and squeeze the lemon juice in. Toss gently to combine.
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I have fond memories of this dish growing up, Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin. You must wonder why the name Yellow Potato, well that name comes from the addition of turmeric that turns the potato into a beautiful hue of yellow.

My mum often made us sandwiches topped with this curry and a spread of grated mango pickle/atchar on top. It was the most delicious thing ever. I didn’t think my sandwiches were anything to rave about when I was at school. However, I had a friend that thought I had the most scrumptious food in my lunchbox and couldn’t wait for me to share my mum’s delicious sandwiches with her. Who would have thought sandwiches made with Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin would be such a hit.

Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and has great health benefits, it’s why I love using turmeric in my cooking. The added bonus is that this dish is vegan and the addition of mint adds a new spin to the classic recipe. Mint may not always seem like the perfect herb to pair with potatoes but the flavour is amazing.

The best way to eat this dish is with freshly baked bread. Although my family prefers rice or roti. Do try it with some bread and let me know what you think, it may be an overload of carbs but it’s worth it. If you have some pickle/atchar in your cupboard even better, nothing beats the cumin potatoes with that hint of tanginess.

It’s not even suppertime and I’m already salivating. The best food is made with simple ingredients, it’s why I’m not into gourmet food, takes too much effort with way too many ingredients. I don’t have the time nor the patience for that. I will leave that to the experts. Well if you looking for a quick dinner then this is your recipe. You may also want to try some of my other great potato recipes.

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/old-fashioned-potato-salad/

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/indian-inspired-fried-potatoes/


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Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil and add cumin seeds
  2. Once the cumin seeds start to burst add the onion, curry leaf and chillies
  3. When the onion is transluscent add the potatoes and turmeric. Season with salt
  4. Saute the potatoes for a minute. Add half cup of water and simmer on a low temperature until potatoes are soft and tender. During the cooking process you can add a little more water if it dries out before the potatoes are cooked
  5. Mix in the mint leaves and serve hot
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Happy New Year Everyone! I’ve had a bit of a slow start to the New Year but I’m all rearing to go again. Holidays are not good for me, it really slows me down and takes me a while to get back into the flow of things. At least I’m starting off on a good note with a healthy recipe, Perfect Roast Vegetable.

I won’t promise to share all healthy meals throughout the year because I love baking and I won’t be happy if I can’t share my sweet treats. However, I will share a fair spread from sweet indulgence to healthy and simple. Just the way we all love it, it’s called balance.

You don’t need to put in much effort to make perfect roast vegetable, takes just a few minutes to put it all together, pop it into the oven and you good to go. I am Indian so I add a little spice wherever I can, that includes my roast vegetable. It has loads of flavour with a slightly caramelized exterior and tender on the inside, super delicious.

Sometimes I can be a little lazy in the kitchen so this is my go to side dish when I have my moments. And for those lazy days it’s even better when you can buy the pre-cut vegetable, how much easier can life get.

If you are using firm vegetable like the butternut used in this recipe, I suggest you cover it with foil for the first few minutes, This technique really does help in speeding up the cooking process. It also helps to cut all your veggies a similar size to get your veggies to cook evenly. You really don’t want bits of undercooked veggies at serving time.

Be careful not to crowd your vegetable when baking them, a large roasting pan or even your cookie sheet works perfectly well. I line my sheet with some parchment paper before spreading out my vegetable.

Seeing it’s meat-free Monday for most of us you can use this recipe for your dinner tonight, if I had my way I will add some grilled halloumi and make a meal of it. If you looking for another great side dish do try this amazing Brocolli Salad https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/roasted-brocolli-and-haloumi-salad/

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Perfect Roast Vegetable
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
  2. RInse vegetable well and drain all the excess water
  3. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together. You can add a little more olive oil if required. I did not add salt as the seasoning had enough salt but you can add more if you wish
  4. Line a the roasting pan with some parchment paper, spread the vegetable evenly. Cover with foil and bake for half an hour
  5. After the half hour, remove the foil and cook the vegetable further until it's cooked and slightly caramelized. My cooking time was exactly an hour
Recipe Notes

If you are using a variety of vegetables you can start by cooking the veggies that take longer too cook first and after a few minutes add the more tender veggies.  I also add my thyme with the stem and I pick them out once the veggies are cooked, if you have time you can pick the leaves and add it to the veggies

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I did post another version of my Vegetable Breyani or Biryani previously. However, this South African Vegetable Biryani is a long winded version and I would say more delicious. It is worth all the effort you put into it though.

This flavour-packed rice dish is an absolute favourite amongst vegetarians and goes down a treat even with meat-eaters. I call this South African Vegetable Biryani my “wedding version” as it tastes just like the one that was served at Indian weddings.  Especially if it’s accompanied by Dhall, you can double the recipe here, and a crunchy carrot salad. In South Africa Vegetable Biryani is typically served with dhall, do try it and you will thank me.

My list of spices may seem like a lot but it is these long list of spices that brings this delectable recipe together. South African Vegetable Biryani is a bold and flavorful dish. If it’s too spicy for you then you can always cool it down with some yogurt or raita. Lots of different vegetable can be used to create this dish but I prefer to use firm vegetable. There’s nothing worse than a mushy biryani. You have to be careful not to overcook your rice too.

Cooking the Biryani in the oven for an hour definitely keeps the grains whole and separated. I find that I am more in control of my cooking when it’s cooked in the oven. Biryani can easily scorch on the stovetop, if you not careful and it can be easily overcooked too. Rice is usually half-cooked before being added to the spiced veggies and you can add some turmeric or a little sprinkling of egg-yellow food colouring for the yellow colour. I love the addition of potatoes and you can steam and fry your potatoes. This method keeps the potatoes whole and speeds up the cooking process.


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South African Vegetable Biryani

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Keyword Biryani
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Instructions
  1. Cook the rice together with the elachie, cinnamon stick, some salt and turmeric (only if you not using food colouring) and set aside. If you are using food colouring sprinkle some over the rice but do not mix yet.

  2. Steam potatoes for a few minutes until almost cooked, season with some salt and shallow fry. Set aside

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable or light olive oil. Add the cumin seeds and once it starts to burst add the cinnamon stick, black cardamom, star aniseed. Once fragrant add the bay leaf and onion together with the thyme and curry leaf

  4. Once onion is translucent add the ginger/garlic paste and fry for a minute

  5. Add the ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, soomph, chilli powder and masala. Add a few drops of water and cook for a couple of minutes

  6. Add the vegetable, mix well. Season with salt. Cover and cook on medium heat. After 5 minutes add the mint and tomatoes. If your vegetable is drying up too quickly add some water and lower the temperature until the vegetable is cooked and tender.

  7. Add the rice and potatoes to the veggies. Mix it all together. Add a cup and a half of water. Scatter the cubes of butter over the rice and cook in the oven at 180 degrees celcius for 1 to 1&1/2 hours.


Recipe Notes

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For the vegetable, you can steam it for a few minutes until it's tender or you can cook it from scratch with the spices. I did steam my vegetable before adding to my spices. When adding the food colouring to the rice let is stand for a few minutes before using a fork to mix the colouring into the rice, this way it you will create little specks of colour in the rice. Do not substitute the butter with margarine, the flavour will definitely not be the same.


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Vegetable Makhani is similar to Butter Chicken as it’s exactly the same sauce that’s used minus the chicken. It consists of a rich, creamy sauce and cashew nut paste can be added to the sauce but I prefer not to add it, it’s because it feels rather strange adding nuts and fruit to my curries. I grew up eating South African Indian food which is never cooked with any nuts or fruit so I’m not about to start now, well maybe I’m just not that adventurous. All the same this Vegetable Makhani is still absolutely delicious without the nuts.

I remember eating this dish at an authentic Indian restaurant here in Johannesburg and it was the most delicious vegetarian dish I have ever eaten, however I think they got a new chef at the restaurant and it never tasted the same again. So I thought I will try making some myself and I think this recipe is as close to the real thing. It has the right balance of spices and a hint of sweetness, I never liked a sweet curry but these authentic creamy sauces does need that hint of sweetness, it makes all the difference.

You can add any vegetable you want to this dish but I think firmer vegetable works better, it doesn’t get all mushy in the sauce and you can add paneer. I prefer making my own , you can totally omit the spices if you are using my recipe for Spicy Paneer

There’s nothing better than eating this curry with rice or  freshly made naan bread, it’s wonderful to soak up all that sauce, I’m drooling just thinking about it. I prefer to steam my vegetable before adding it to the sauce and I think this is a quick and easy way too. You can add vegetable according to the amount of  sauce you prefer in your curry, if you want a whole lot of sauce then add less vegetable but if you want less sauce you can add more vegetable. I add about 2-3 cups of vegetable together with a little bit of paneer.

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Easy Vegetable Makhani
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Instructions
  1. Steam your vegetable for a few minutes until cooked and set aside
  2. Heat oil and add cumin seeds. Once the seeds start to burst add the bay leaf and onion. Sauté the onion until it's translucent. Add the ginger/garlic paste and fry for a minute.
  3. Add the ground cumin, coriander, chilli powder, masala and turmeric. Cook for 2 minutes, it will form a thick paste, add a few drops of water to prevent it from burning
  4. Add tomatoes and yogurt. Season with salt and add the sugar. Cover and simmer on low heat until the tomatoes are cooked, the oil will surface to the top when it is ready.
  5. At this stage remove the bay leaf and blend the sauce until it's smooth. add it back to the pan and add the fresh cream together with the fenugreek leaves, crush this between our fingers and then add it. Add your vegetable and if you are using paneer, you can fry it in a little butter or oil and add it to the sauce. Add garam masala and serve hot with naan bread or rice
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My hubby cannot cook, he can barely fry an egg but he can make some amazing rustic salads…I have to admit his salads taste delicious. He made us this Baked Bean Salad, I think it’s his absolute favourite and he made it with such love I can’t help but share it. I don’t think his mum knew how to make many creative salads but she did make a mean baked bean salad so I think it’s where he got his tips from. Even my 9 year old enjoyed his dad’s salad. I am lucky in many ways, I have a husband that is truly a family man, I never had that before and I’m so blessed to have someone that really goes out of his way to take care of us. If someone tells you they have a perfect marriage then they need their heads checked, there is no such thing as a perfect marriage or a perfect human being, marriage is hard work and a work in progress. We work at ours every single day, there’s no denying that and the key is communication, respect and most of all trust. If it’s one thing I can say is that I trust my husband 100%,

So this recipe post is dedicated to my amazing but sometimes cranky husband, Mickesh whom I love to bits.

This is a simple salad and I know it was a salad at every braai during our childhood, I don’t remember loving it very much when I was younger but now it’s absolutely yummy and even more yum with some braai sausages.

I always have a few canned goods in my cupboard or should I say more than a few, I sometimes forget what I have and buy more so I probably end up with a whole lot of canned stuff that could last me a year, thankfully they have long expiry dates. Now that it’s summer in SA you will need loads of salad recipes so you can add this one to your list. I have a rather pedantic hubby so he’s even counted the number of mint leaves he used in the salad so here you have it, a very precise recipe.

 

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Baked Bean Salad
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix together the baked beans, red onion, tomato, mint, coriander and green chilli
  2. Add the chilli sauce and the lemon juice. Mix well and season with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve
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This Grilled Nectarine and Fig Salad is the perfect summer salad. When you still feeling fatigued from the night before then it’s time to make the easy stuff. Last night was my son’s Valedictory, it did take a good chunk off our evening and we got to bed really late so I was famished this morning. Last night brought back memories of my own matric year and what an exciting year I had and how happy I was at school, although that was a gazillion years ago. I can’t believe Mikaylin is spending his final days at school, how time flies. My son is not an A student but I know that he has always tried hard, he never gave me a days problem whilst attending school, there are so many moms that are dealing with teenage issues and my heart goes out to those moms, my older so was a little bit of a Rebel but he’s mellowed a bit with age. Mikaylin is by no means perfect, he has his moods, like all teenagers but I won’t call him a problem child, he is quite level-headed and calm and sometimes he gives me a little lip but he’s never disrespectful to others and I’ve never once been called in to school for homework not being done or misbehaviour, it’s all a mum wants. A well-behaved, happy child with good values. I hope I’ve taught him enough to stick to those values even as he grows up.

I don’t have the perfect family by any means but I have a content family, after being on such a rocky road most of my life it feels great not to stress but just go with the flow and enjoy the family I have. It’s good to enjoy each new stress-free day without having to worry about tomorrow, it’s what I’m trying to live by and it feels great. Although some days I do go astray, that’s only because I can sometimes be a basket case.

Seeing I was looking for easy I made this salad with nectarines, fig, rocket and feta. The other reason is that I had a whole lot of nectarines and figs that were about to get overripe soon.  It was the yummiest salad I’ve had, well apart from that Roasted Brocolli and Haloumi Salad I had not so long ago. I grilled the nectarines and fig before adding it to the salad, what can be more amazing than grilled fruit. I grilled mine on a hot griddle pan, ensure that your pan is hot as you just need to sear the fruit fairly quickly, you don’t want mushy fruit. I did not make a salad dressing for this, I drizzled some honey and balsamic over my salad, I’m in love with balsamic, I don’t need anything else for my salads.

 

 

 

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Grilled Nectarine and Fig Salad
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Instructions
  1. Cut the nectarines into pieces. Cut the figs in halves or quarters. Set aside
  2. Heat a griddle pan on high heat. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the nectarines and figs and sear them until brown grill marks form on them. Do not grill it for too long or it will turn mushy
  3. Mix the rocket leaves, nectarine and figs together. Crumble the feta over or add in cubes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and honey
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