One Pot Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew with Cashew Coconut Lime Cream

arial view of pot of red lentil and sweet potato stew with limes and cilantro on the side

When the weather turns cold and food is scarce, some animals such as bears hibernate to survive. Although people do not have the same metabolic characteristics needed to hibernate, I often feel the inclination to cocoon during the cold months of the year.  However charming this concept seems, the “not eating” aspect of hibernation has far less appeal. In contrast to the fasting bears, during these dark and cold days, I feel that nothing beats the comfort of a simmering pot of a hearty stew.  

continue reading

Raw Ginger Bites (Vegan and GF)

stack of four raw ginger bites biscuits with stack of four more biscuits in background

Ginger is one of my kitchen staples and I appreciate its versatility as a kitchen spice for both savoury and sweet dishes. Although I have heard many words to describe the flavour of ginger such as “hot, zesty, biting, sweet, warm”, it can generally be relied on to add a spiciness, juiciness and pungency to cooking. Ginger is available in several forms including fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, and powdered and can be used in many different ways.

continue reading

Sunshine Blogger Award

Sunshine Blogger Award logo of field of sunflowers with sunset in background

A great big thank you to Nourish for this nomination for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Nourish has been one of the sites that has had significant influence on my blogging.  Nourish began around the same time as The Dragon’s Picnic and I ended up learning a whole lot from you both and enjoy your interesting articles as well as the delicious food posts. You have a wonderful blog which has definitely inspired me!

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to bloggers by fellow bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring. After receiving the nomination, the blogger has the honor of writing a post that thanks the nominator, answers some fun questions, and nominates more bloggers for the award.

Here’s what the nominees have to do:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions asked of you.
  3. Nominate other bloggers for the award and ask them 11 questions.
  4. Notify the nominees in the comments of one of their posts.
  5. Include the request and logo of the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post.

Here are the questions from Nourish:

  1. What is one positive thing that happened in 2020?

With respect to my job, I was fortunate to be able to move from the office and work from home. I usually have a lengthy commute into work which I have not missed at all and, as an introvert, lots more time by myself was not unwelcome!

2. What are you looking forward to in the New Year?

Hopefully more progress with dealing with Covid which would mean the opportunity to travel home to the UK for a visit.

3. How will you be celebrating New Year’s Eve?

In a low key and quiet way although there will definitely be something pink and bubbly as part of the plan.

4. Follow up to #3: are you planning on staying up until midnight on NYE?

Unlikely …. and I am not even sure if that would be possible! I am definitely an early morning person and often start my day between 4:00am and 5:00am so midnight is almost time to get up!

5. Best recipe you tried in 2020?

A one pot red lentil and sweet potato stew with coconut cashew cream. Anything with sweet potatoes is usually a winner for me!

6. Best book you read in 2020?

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn which is about a couple who, just days after learning that one of them is terminally ill, lose their home and livelihood. They decide to walk the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path of England. With very little money for food and shelter, they carry the essentials on their backs and it is an amazing story of survival and rediscovery in unexpected ways.

7. Favorite blog post you’ve ever done? (Feel free to link it!)

Cycling the100km which was an account about overcoming a fear to reach a goal. It was a brief synopsis of what had been a challenging few years learning to get back on the bicycle after a serious accident.

8. If you could travel anywhere (when it’s safe to, of course), where would you go?

There are so many wonderful countries where I would love to experience the food, culture and natural landscapes.  Currently, I am looking at a cycling trip through Europe.

9. What is something you do take care of yourself?

Strenuous exercise.  I find maintaining a regular exercise schedule, whether I feel like it or not, goes a long way to regulating my mood, finding balance and generally feeling more inclined to be creative and do something constructive with my time.

10. What do you hope readers get out of your blog?

This is a good question and it is something that I will be giving some more thought but, in general, I would say that I hope that my readers feel inspired to try a plant-based meal.  

11. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

The focus it provides.  It enables me to work on a number of my favourite interests which include research, writing and photography. It is an added bonus that I can interact with other bloggers and be a part of this amazing creative network.

Thank you again to Nourish. My nominees are:

Questions:

  1. What did you learn about yourself during 2020?
  2. Do you have any specific goals for 2021?
  3. Do you prefer your food sweet or savoury?
  4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  5. Do you have an all-time favourite book or film?
  6. If you could eat only one food/meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
  7. What mantra or quote inspires you?
  8. What motivated you to write a blog?
  9. From your experience blogging so far, what is the most important tip you would give to a new blogger?
  10. Have you found any other social media helpful to your blog?
  11. If you could spend the day with either your great great grandparents or your great great grandchildren, who would you choose and why?

Thank you to everyone who has supported my blog during the past year and I wish everyone a very Happy New Year for 2021.

The Dragon's Picnic icon ... dragon looking at glasses of brightly coloured smoothies
The Dragon’s Picnic

Three Variations of Lime Tahini-Based Sauces or Dressings

Three jars of lime-based tahini sauces: lime cilanto, ginger lime and spicy lime. Scene decorated with cut limes and scarf
Front to Back: Lime Cilantro, Lime Ginger and Spicy Lime

Tahini, the paste of crushed sesame seeds, is rich in nutrients, protein and healthy fats and it continues to be one of my most used and versatile ingredients. As well as adding protein and nutrients to a meal, the earthy flavour of tahini lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes making it an easy addition to sauces, dips, dressing or desserts.

continue reading

Gingerbread and Cranberry Chocolate Cups (Vegan and GF)

two stacks of two gingerbread and cranberry dark chocolate cups with holly decorations

Throughout history, winter solstice festivals have been held across the world to celebrate the changing seasons and to mark the longest night of the year and rebirth of the Earth. Interestingly, it is these solstice rituals that mark the origin of baking cookies and treats for holiday festivities such as Christmas.

Since it was often necessary to feast before the winter famine, the solstice celebrations tended to revolve around food. In addition, the festivities and food often had an emphasis on the Earth itself and tended to incorporate natural foods such as nuts, berries, and spices.

continue reading

Christmas Mincemeat (Vegan and GF)

two jars of mincemeat with holly and Christmas decorations

Growing up in England, one of my strongest associations with feasting at Christmas includes mince pies! These days I make my own mincemeat and tend to experiment with different variations every year. Although the recipes generally include a mix of fruit, dried fruit and spices, one of the beauties of modern mincemeat is that it is extremely flexible and forgiving.  Some years, I have been ambitious enough to make candied peel from scratch. Not this year, however! Still, regardless of how it evolves, mincemeat with its distinct taste and aroma will always be a holiday favourite of mine.

continue reading

Triple Layer Tahini or Caramel Bars (Vegan and GF)

stack of 3 tahini bars decorated with piece of holly

With the definition of treats being “anything that affords much pleasure”, what’s not to love about them?  Treats have always been a part of the human experience and have been used for a variety of reasons including celebrating special occasions, a reward for a job well done or even as consolation for something lost.

continue reading

Quick and Easy Lunches (Vegan and Gluten Free)

plate of avocado toast and tomato tahini toast

Most of us have grown up with the idea of eating three meals a day which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even though lunch is now established as the second meal of the day, it hasn’t always been this way. According to Denise Waterman of BBC News Magazine, during Roman times to the Middle Ages, “lunch as we know it didn’t exist – not even the word.”

continue reading
plate of avocado toast and tomato tahini toast

Most of us have grown up with the idea of eating three meals a day which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even though lunch is now established as the second meal of the day, it hasn’t always been this way. According to Denise Waterman of BBC News Magazine, during Roman times to the Middle Ages, “lunch as we know it didn’t exist – not even the word.”

continue reading

Apricot and Peanut Recovery Bars

two stacks of apricot and peanut bars

After any endurance activity the body needs time to recover so it can reenergize itself for next time.  For the body to recover more quickly, choosing the right post-workout foods is important. This is one of the challenges I face as I rarely feel like eating after strenuous activity. However, these tasty apricot and peanut butter bars provide a great mixture of tasty ingredients which help kickstart the recovery process.

continue reading

Raw Sweet Potato Salad with Curry Almond Sauce

When it comes to eating vegetables, I am not a big fan of crunching them uncooked and generally prefer roasted, stir fried or even boiled. It is a similar story with fruit.  Although I do enjoy more raw fruits over raw vegetables, the cooked version of many fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, berries and even bananas definitely has more appeal.

continue reading