Get Dinner On the Table Quick Smart with These Sweet Potato Boats

These sweet potato boats with spiced chickpeas are a delicious, protein & iron packed vegetarian meal that you can get on the table in just over 30 minutes!

They’re easy to make ahead by roasting the chickpeas and sweet potatoes when you’ve got some time to spare, or while something else is in the oven, and then filling the sweet potato boats with chickpeas and reheating together on an oven tray for about 10 minutes.

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Ingredients

5 small sweet potatoes, halved
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper

Chickpeas
1 ½ - 2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp maple syrup
¼ tsp chili powder
2 tsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of asafoetida

Toppings: Optional

2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp capers
¼ cup olives
½ punnet of cherry tomatoes
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped



Tahini sauce

½  cup tahini
Juice of a lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced or 1 tiny pinch asafoetida if garlic free
Pinch of salt
¼ - ½ cup warm water

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Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Drizzle the cut sides of the sweet potato with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. I like to drizzle some oil on a roasting tray then rub the cut sides on this before turning right side up to season to ensure an even coat. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until fork tender.


2. While the sweet potatoes are in the oven mix together the ingredients for the spiced chickpeas in a bowl. Pour out onto an oven tray and spread out evenly. Place in the oven once the sweet potatoes have been roasting for 10 minutes. The chickpeas should cook for about 20-25 minutes. Check them half way and give a good stir.

3. Next prepare your tahini sauce. You can add all ingredients to a small blender or food processor if you wish, or mix by hand. To mix by hand first combine the tahini sauce, garlic or asafoetida, and olive oil in a bowl. Stir vigorously with a spoon to combine. Next add the lemon juice and continue to stir. The mix will seize up with the addition of lemon juice. Add your warm water one tablespoon at a time until your sauce is of a nice viscous consistency then season to taste.

4. Finally prep your toppings so you  are ready to dress your sweet potatoes when they’re cooked through.


5. Once sweet potatoes are fork tender, drag a fork over the cut surface to mash the top slightly and create an indent for the chickpeas to nest in. Once you’ve done this for all the sweet potatoes fill the sweet potato boats with spiced chickpeas.


6. Add your desired toppings, drizzle with tahini sauce and serve!

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This Quinoa Charred Broccoli Salad Recipe is the Perfect Springtime Lunch

This is a great, versatile salad to incorporate into your salad repertoire. It can be served as an entree, side salad or as the main event, as the presence of quinoa, as a complete protein, makes it a filling and well rounded dish.

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Salad

1 head of broccoli
½ red onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp capers
½  cup quinoa, dry
¼ cup slivered almonds
Zest of ½ lemon
1 head of baby cos lettuce, roughly chopped
Pinch of salt & white pepper

Tahini Dressing

1 clove garlic
3 tbsp tahini
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup warm water
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Cut the broccoli head into florets and set aside the stalk.

  2. Place in a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, add a sprinkle of salt & pepper and grate over the lemon zest with a microplane or fine grater.Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes until lightly charred.

  3. While the florets are baking put the quinoa on to cook. Add the quinoa to a heavy based saucepan with 1 cup of water. Cover, bring to the boil, reduce to low for 10 minutes and then leave on the lid for a further 5 minutes.
    Peel the broccoli stalk and finely slice. Place into a salad bowl and toss with capers, red onion, cos and almonds and place in the fridge until ready to use.

  4. When the quinoa and broccoli are cooked, allow to cool and toss with the rest of the salad.


To prepare the dressing

You can toss everything into a food processor or blender, but I find that a mortar and pestle allows a lot more control over the consistency and gives you a glossier finish.

To make in a mortar and pestle follow these steps:

  1. Add in the garlic clove with a little salt, and smash up until minced.

  2. Add in the tahini and mix to combine.

  3. Add in the lemon juice and mix. At this stage the mix will start to look lumpy, don’t worry!

  4. Add in the olive oil and mix to combine.

  5. Slowly add in the warm water, 1 tbsp at a time. This is when your tahini sauce should start to come together. You’ll be able to control how thick or thin you want it by slowly adding in the water and continuing to mix.

    To bring the salad together toss the quinoa and broccoli through the raw vegetables, drizzle with the tahini dressing and serve.

    This salad serves 4.

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We Celebrated Bob Marley's BDay With a Vegan Feast at Winnie's Jamaican!

Winnie's Jamaican has been killing it with awesome vegan options since they opened but they upped the ante with their Bob’s Ital Chow Down Dinner, celebrating the birthday of Bob Marley. How could we say no to five courses of vegan deliciousness?

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Bobs Ital Chow Down was two nights dedicated to celebrating Bob Marley’s birthday. The menu was something new for Newy, not only a Jamaican inspired menu, but an Ital one! Ital is a philosophy of eating which comes from the word 'vital' as in vitality, it's all about eating for the most vitality for your body and connection to nature. This Rastafarian way of eating is expressed usually with strict vegetarianism, and often veganism as well. Learn more about Ital eating in this Wiki-hole

Winnie's carried the Rastafarian theme through the incredible 5-course meal with some head bopping reggae beats.

Our night kicked off with cocktails from the bar (or mocktails for those worried about drinking on a school night) fruity and fresh with lots of vegan options available.

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Now, onto the food! We wish we could write an essay detailing how incredible it was, but words alone won't do it justice. The sold-out evenings speak for themselves, Newcastle trusts Winnie's to put on an impressive feast.

Each course was special and stylish and rolled out at a perfect pace. Jamaican cuisine uses a mix of fragrant spices and herbs to flavour each dish, Chef Jamie and the kitchen staff used these flavourings deftly to turn familiar ingredients into new flavours and textures. 

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One of our favourite dishes was the plantain nachos (banana bloody nachos people!). Can we just take a minute to discuss this revolution in vegan food? Seriously so good!

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The following courses included BBQ jerk tofu, gotta love that classic Jamaican spice mix; silken tofu, not always a popular choice but perfectly executed here; and jackfruit bammys, Jamaica's answer to tacos. 

The grand finale of our feast was, of course, dessert! Chef Jamie has created a Carribean twist on banoffee pie, that is a menu regular, always vegan and gluten-free. Creamy, salty, sweet and fresh this pie is made with coconut, dates, caramel and banana.

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Winnie's regular dinner and lunch menus feature an incredible range of vegan options, make a booking to check them out soon. And if you spot another vegan event pop up, don't hesitate!

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Words and pictures thanks to Sid Atkinson.