Inspired by the market: Sweet Potato and Coconut Curry

Following on from my last post I decided to try out another new recipe last night with the remainder of the market vegetables.

Maybe it’s a side-effect of the chilly weather we’ve been experiencing here in the UK recently, but I’ve really been craving an aromatic curry to warm me up. Inspired by the sweet potatoes, green beans and red peppers I had left over from the market, I decided to combine these veggies with some spices given to me by my partner’s mother to create this simple, yet flavoursome coconut curry.

Here’s the recipe I used:

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato, roughly diced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 long red peppers, cut circularly
1 handful of green beans, roughly cut
1 handful of spinach leaves
1 tin of coconut milk or coconut cream (either is fine, but I used coconut cream for a slightly thicker and creamier texture)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsps of tomato paste
Chilli powder
Garlic and coriander powder
Four spice mix
Turmeric
Salt
Black Pepper

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Method

1. Making the curry paste
In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of oil (whichever you prefer) and mix together with 1 tbsp of tomato paste, 1tbsp of turmeric, 1tbsp of four spice, 1 tbsp garlic and coriander powder and a pinch of salt and pepper until a thick paste is formed.

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2. Cooking the onions
Start by frying off the onions and the garlic in the curry paste, then add the red pepper and fry for a minute or so longer.

3. Adding the coconut milk
Turn down the heat and add the entire can/carton of coconut milk/cream together with 1 tbsp of tomato paste to thicken the curry. Following that, add the sweet potatoes and a tsp of chilli powder. Cover and then leave to simmer for around 15 minutes (dependent on your stove.)

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4. Adding the green veg
Once the sweet potatoes are nearly cooked through, add the green beans and cover again. Leave to simmer for 3-5 minutes and once satisfied that the potatoes are cooked, add the spinach and turn the heat off.

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5. Serving up
Stir the spinach leaves through the curry and make sure they aren’t all clumped together then serve. Serving suggestions include serving with brown rice (which is fibre rich and will slightly soak up some of the moisture) or serving with a naan bread to create more of a soup-style meal. Either way you’ll find it delicious!

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Inspired by the market: Ultimate veggie comfort food

My friend and I decided to take a trip to the Birmingham markets on Saturday afternoon to see what was on offer and I have to say I was really impressed with the bargains i found! Despite the inevitable hustle and bustle of a busy city centre, we were both able to pick out some beautiful fresh foods from a huge range.

I managed to get a great selection of vegetables (as well as a few other bits), which I’m sure will last me the week, for under a fiver and I’m already planning some exciting meals in advance.

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Tonight I kicked off the week with a really simple halloumi, pepperoni (veggie of course) and red pepper salad and some sweet potatoes on the side. For me this is the ultimate comfort food. I love the saltiness of halloumi cheese and its chewy texture combined with the spicy pepperoni and sweet, crispy peppers creates an incredible texture. As well as this, sweet potatoes are a great alternative to regular fries or wedges and offer an interesting twist on any meal.

Here’s how to recreate it!

Ingredients

Two small sweet potatoes
A handful of spinach leaves, washed
One long red bell pepper, sliced into circles
Half an onion, roughly chopped
Vegan salami, roughly chopped (I used the cheatin’ brand from Holland & Barrett)
Halloumi, sliced into small rectangles
1 spoon of red pesto
Paprika
Salt
Black pepper

The sweet potatoes

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  1. Peel and chop the potatoes into smallish pieces
  2. Part boil and ensure the potatoes are still reasonably firm before draining
  3. Place the drained potatoes on to a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season with salt, black pepper and paprika
  4. Bake in the oven at 190 degrees until crispy

The salad

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  1. Chop and prepare the peppers, onions and salami
  2. Shallow fry in a pan with a spoon of red pesto and any other seasoning (I like to use salt, black pepper and paprika for an extra kick)
  3. After the onions have turned golden, remove the vegetables from the pan and assemble together with spinach leaves
  4. With fresh oil, fry the halloumi for approximately one minute on each side until golden brown and crispy.
  5. Serve with the rest of the salad.

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So, there you have it! This was actually a really simple and straightforward recipe to make, despite the different elements involved. Seen as I still have an abundance of vegetables left over, you’re likely to be reading another recipe post sometime soon.

My thoughts on the US election

This post is branching out a bit from what I would usually talk about on my blog; however, I would like to share my opinions on the recent election as a UK citizen who has no voting power in the US. I am not an expert on politics, but as young, educated voter, I feel a connection to many people who would have voted in the election last week.

Hillary

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton laughs as she makes remarks at the Hillary Victory Fund "I'm With Her" benefit concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York

When I first heard of Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the president of the United States I was intrigued and I imagined life with a female in what is arguably the highest position of power in the world. Then I realised something which I think many other American citizens also realised during this election: just because she is a woman and I am a woman, it does not mean I have to automatically support her. She is qualified, yes, and unlike Trump, she has had decades of political experience but unfortunately for her, she does not come across as a likeable character.

There will be many people who will read that statement and feel as though I am implying a woman has to be likeable to ‘get the job’. I am not and that is absurd. What I am implying is that a presidential candidate, irrespective of gender, race, religion, sexual preference or anything else, has to come across as likeable, relateable and trustworthy in order to get the votes of the people. With ongoing FBI investigations, claims of cover ups, corruption and questions of her honesty, Clinton was, in my opinion, not the most likeable and trustworthy candidate out there. In fact, when looking closer at her election campaign, the celebrity endorsements and the recurring message appearing on social media “I’m with her”, it seems almost that her gender was all she had going for her.

In a world striving for equality and opportunity for all, it appears counterproductive to have a presidential campaign which is based almost solely on the fact that you are a woman and therefore other women should vote for you because they are women too. Should it be accepted that she deserved people’s votes simply because she is a female? What was she really offering women in return? In this day and age women should be seen as equals to men, and if that is what we are working towards, then we should not expect to gain anything on the basis of our gender. Women should be encouraged to vote based on policies, on their own views and on their own personal situations; not based on the gender of the candidate. Just as we should expect that men do not vote for other men because they share a gender, the same should not happen with women or any other groups in today’s society.

Putting it simply, people should use their vote to choose a candidate who represents them and will provide the measures to best support them and how they live their life. Clinton’s attempt to use her gender to her advantage was probably her biggest mistake, as she wrongly overlooked the opinions of  voters as well as underestimating the competition put to her from her opponent.

Donald

trump

I want to start this segment off by saying that it is a shame that Donald Trump won the election. I did not have support for him whatsoever and what he stands for goes against the majority of my beliefs and my values. However, I cannot really dispute his campaign, because at the end of the day, his promises appealed to his target audience of voters and they voted for him.

I find it unfair that people are trying to discredit those who voted for him due to their age or their skin colour or anything else. There is a reason that democracy exists and as sad as it may be that his views are the most commonplace in the USA, democracy is designed to represent the people and what they want.

Moving on to the main issue at hand, it is clear that there has to be a greater effort made to eradicate the resentment of others and the desperate need for change which has lead to the election of Trump as president. Although I do doubt his abilities due to the comments made throughout his campaign, I do wish him every success as commander in chief and I do want him to prove me wrong. I hope that he is able to “make America great again”, but not if that means victimising minorities or inciting violence, racism or hatred in one of the most powerful nations in the world. I hope Trump is able to use his influence for good and to encourage his supporters to be accepting, to be tolerant and to be kind.

This momentous political event has shown us a lot about  what is to come. People should not fear for the future under the presidency of Donald J Trump. Yes, emotions are running high and attacks have been reported from both sides; but rather than going forward with fear and anger, it is best to join together and proceed with hope and aspiration. Do not complain about what has already happened, aspire instead to achieve the result you want. Here’s hoping that the election in 2020 will provide the US with two viable candidates who fight fair, speak with respect, offer positive change, and most importantly, represent those who are voting for them.

Please let me know in the comments how you feel about the result (American or not!)