Pasta Evangelists

My favourite food is PASTA. As a vegetarian, I’ve found Italian food one of the most versatile. So when my friend recommended Pasta Evangelists – the fresh pasta subscription service – I had to try it. Here’s my review and if you want to try some yourself then follow this link to get your first order for as little as £3.

Unlike many food subscriptions, Pasta Evangelists food doesn’t feel like your average ready meal. This pasta is fresh, handmade and it tastes amazing. The options are always diverse and the veggie menus on offer have been really exciting. So far I’ve had mozzarella tortellini, arrabbiata fusilli, pesto gnocchi, pumpkin ravioli, mac and cheese… and I’ve got Porcini, Wild Mushroom & Chestnut Tortelloni with Thyme Butter & Hazelnuts, Tagliatelle with Ligurian Basil Pesto & Pine Nuts  and Pumpkin Lasagna on the way. I can’t wait to try them!

The ordering process is very simple. Choose a one off order or opt for a subscription to save money. There are three subscription offers: Vegetarian, Variety and Gourmet. Then pick:

  • the number of dishes you want to receive
  • the frequency (weekly, fortnightly etc)
  • when you want your pasta delivered (I go for Tuesdays so I have the delivery at the start of the week)

I like the subscription model because I can be a bit lazy cooking through the week and it’s handy to know I’m always going to have some yummy pasta stocked in the fridge for nights when I’m feeling a bit tired or uninspired.

As for delivery, the fresh pasta comes packed with cool bags and insulation.  I was really impressed with the thoughtfulness of their packaging and the best part is that you can send it all back to Pasta Evangelists for recycling so it ticks the sustainable box too.

And when the food arrives, everything is super simple. Each pasta dish comes with its own recipe card and the different elements are colour-coded so it can be easily sorted out. Typically, there are only about three or four steps to follow and they take about 10 minutes to make and the finished product is Insta-worthy.

I’ll be honest. The big downside of Pasta Evangelists is that it is a little on the expensive side. It’ll cost you about £7 or £8 per portion of pasta although you do save on the subscriptions. Having said that, I do think it’s worth it because it is restaurant-quality and the average ready meal in the supermarket costs about £3 anyway and tastes no where near as good.

And if you want to save some money you can get your first box from as little as £3 with my family and friends referral or simply quote ‘April Smyth’ at the checkout. You get cheap and delicious pasta and I’ll get a free box too. Win, win!

P.S. I’m not affiliated with Pasta Evangelists and this isn’t a sponsored post, I just really love and believe in their products.

Keep up-to-date with my favourite things on Instagram @the.fourth.month.

Health

Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed the festive period and are now moving into 2019 feeling positive and excited for what lies ahead. I’ve decided to write a blog which is quite out of my comfort zone but that’s a good thing. I’m writing about…HEALTH.

Time to face the facts. I am quite an unhealthy person. I am addicted to junk food, I don’t exercise at all and my mental health is often quite poor. I’m frequently fatigued, feel low and get out of breath just walking up stairs. Yikes!

At the age of 24, this is NOT where I want to be. So I’ve decided to set myself some healthy and realistic goals for 2019 and want to invite my friends and family – and anyone who is interested – to join me on my journey.

Goal sharing

The main reason for sharing this very personal journey with you right now is because there are proven benefits of goal sharing and I am much more likely to achieve if I have said it out loud. Mostly because it keeps me accountable for my actions. I see you all as my accountability partners. If you’re interested in the psychology behind goal sharing I found this blog a helpful read.

What do I want to achieve?

  1. Activity. I don’t intend to join a gym and go to 4+ fitness classes a week. I have tried to throw myself in at the deep end in the past and failed to achieve consistency several times. I want to increase my activity by walking more, driving less, getting the stairs instead of lifts and generally standing more. After all, standing is the new smoking. I would also like to attend yoga for both physical and mental reasons.
  2. Nourish. I am NOT on a diet. I have been dieting on-and-off since I was about 16 and so far I am still overweight. I’ve tried Slimming World, Cambridge Weight Loss, Ketogenic diet etc and, personally, I find they work in the short-term but I gain weight quickly after. I’m not disparaging those who find this works because I know it does for lots of people. In 2019, I want to take a non-diet approach which focuses on adding lots of healthy, colourful and nourishing food to my diet and where possible ditching high processed carbs and sugary foods. I’m not restricting myself and I’m not punishing myself or attaching morals (‘good’ and ‘bad’) to food because it’s incredibly unhelpful to me. I’m sure you all know how it feels to be on a diet then fall off the wagon with a Chinese or pizza and you beat yourself up about it and make yourself feel like a failure. Not good. If you want to know more about a non-diet approach to eating, have a read at this blog.
  3. Relax. Stress is a huge factor in all of our lives and it’s something I want to become better at managing – mostly through my first goal of activity but also through regular meditation practices. I will also work on using social media less because this is a huge factor in feeling a bit rubbish about myself. I wrote a blog called Breaking Up With The Internet a while ago which talks about this in more detail.
  4. Sleep. I have been fortunate to never really suffer from insomnia. Unfortunately though I have had long bouts of hypersomnia where I find myself needing to sleep for 12-14 hours every day to feel remotely human. To work on having better quality sleep I plan to reduce my caffeine intake, reduce time spent in front of a screen and create a positive sleep routine which I follow as much as possible. I actually wrote a blog about sleep a while ago which you can read here.

What to expect

I want to write regularly about my health journey and share tools and resources that I have found helpful along the way.

I would also like to share the stories of friends and family who have successfully managed to change their health for the better using lifestyle so please do get in touch if you have any tips.

Love April x

Top 10 Asian Restaurants in Glasgow

Like me, Zina is a self-confessed foodie and loves exploring Glasgow’s hidden treasures. Glasgow is famous for its curries and Zina’s put together a list of her favourite pan-Asian restaurants that you must try out. I’ll definitely be trying some of these in the New Year whenever I’m in Glasgow. I personally love Hanoi Bike Shop and I’d also recommend Chaakoo Bombay Cafe on St Vincent St. Enjoy Zina’s guest blog and let me know what you think on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – April


Do you love Asian food or fancy venturing out of your comfort zone and trying it? If you live in Glasgow, I’ve got you covered. I’ve created a list of my fave Asian restaurants in Glasgow. From Indian to Thai to Chinese, I highly recommend you start ticking these off your “places to eat” list.

I classify myself as a part-time foodie. Basically, I spend the majority of my time dining out at restaurants which is probably why I’m skint a lot. It’s a great way to catch up with friends or to go on a date with someone, so no regrets, right? May as well spend your money on the things you enjoy a.k.a good company and tasty food!

Top 10 Asian Restaurants in Glasgow:

Please note: these restaurants are in no particular order – let’s be real, it would just be cruel to make me choose one top Asian restaurant to dine out at in Glasgow when they are so many.

Rishis Indian Aroma

Address: 61 Bath St, Glasgow G2 2DG

Rishis Indian Aroma is an authentic South Indian restaurant that is a must-visit! I was first introduced to this by my bestie who is South Indian herself so I knew that if she went there, then it must be great – and it did not disappoint! From dosas to spicy curries, you can find a great mixture of different types of South Indian cuisine there. Not only can meat-eaters visit the restaurant (the meat is halal) but vegetarians can also be at ease visiting as there are lots of non-meat options on the menu such as Dal or Channa Masala. Rishis won’t break the budget either which is a plus.

Thairiffic

Address: 303 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3HQ

If you are a lover of Thai food, then Thairiffic is the place for you! Thairiffic (as the name suggests) is a terrific restaurant that offers high-quality, authentic Thai food. From Pad Thai to a Massaman curry, Thairiffic has got you covered with all things Thai. Most dishes offers you to add in a range of different meats and also vegetables or tofu – making it great for vegetarians as well. It also offers a great lunch deal where you can get a main and a starter for only £9.90. What a bargain, right?

The Hanoi Bike Shop

Address: 8 Ruthven Ln, Glasgow G12 9BG

The Hanoi Bike Shop is an authentic Vietamenese restaurant found in the heart of the West End in Glasgow. What makes Hanoi even more special is that every dish is made from scratch daily and all ingredients are sourced locally meaning the menu may doffer slightly depending on what goods they have that day. It has a great range of street food as well as Pho, which is a Vientamense national dish similar to Ramen. Like most others, Hanoi’s prices are decent so won’t blow the majority of people’s budgets. Very highly recommend this unique little restaurant.

Mother India

Address: 2, Industrial Estate, Lexden Lodge, Crowborough TN6 2EG

I haven’t actually been to Mother India yet but it’s on my list so I thought I would throw it in. I’ve heard amazing stuff about it so I’m dying to go give it a try. Mother India is another great Indiarestaurantnt in Glasgow that offers a range of typical Indian foods. You can have either fixed set meals or you can order from the à la carte menu. What’s even better is that you can also order a takeaway which a lot of quality restaurants don’t offer so you can enjoy Mother India’s food even from the comfort of your home! It is slightly pricier than the others places I’ve mentioned so far but from what I’ve heard, it would be worth the money.

Lychee Oriental Chinese Restaurant

Address: 59 Mitchell St, Glasgow G1 3LN

Lychee Oriental Chinese Restaurant was the winner of the “Best Asian Restaurant in Scotland 2013″ award alongside various other awards. Lychee has a great menu offering seafood, vegetarian options, specialties and more! It also has a gluten-free menu. The pricing is reasonable but some dishes are more expensive than others. It just depends what you fancy getting and how much you are willing to spend. Overall, Lychee offers high-standard food and service, which should entice you to visit!

Wagamamas

Address: 97-103 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 1PB

Okay, yes, most cities have a Wagamamas so it’s not exactly unique to Glasgow but I couldn’t not mention this fab pan-Asian restaurant. I legit go to Wagas all the time so it’s defo always on my list of restaurants to visit. If you haven’t had one yet then go right now! You can get loads of classic Japenese foods like Ramen, Gyozas. Katsu curry is a popular choice if you don’t like to venture out. The food gets made and sent out as it’s cooked so all your dishes won’t typically be sent out at the same time. You can eat with chopsticks or request cutlery if you can’t use them (like me – LOL). My aim is to eventually be able to use chopsticks and eat the food like you typically should. It’s ridic that I still can’t use them after all the time I’ve visited – props to whoever can eventually teach me.

Nippon Kitchen

Address: 91 W George St, Glasgow G2 1PB

Another Japanese restaurant in Glasgow that should be on your list is defo Nippon Kitchen. Nippon is very similar to Wagamamas but the bonus is that it also offers Sushi (Wagas doesn’t). So if you are a sushi lover like me but also want other Japanese food then rush over to Nippon as soon as you can. Nippon’s pricing isn’t too expensive and it also has a great lunch offer: 1 COURSE £8, 2 COURSES £12, or 3 COURSES £15. How amazing is that? My fave thing to order is a bento box and also sushi, of course, such as Avacado Makis, Spicy Sake and the Soft Shell Crab Maki’s. Again, I really hope to master chopsticks for my next visit. I’m getting better and better each time I go – LOL!

Koolba

Address: 109 Candleriggs Merchant City, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom G1 1NP

Need another Indian restaurant to visit? Koolba is the place to go! Koolba has won various awards, including being crowned a winner in the annual “Curry Capital of Britain awards” four times. Amazing, right? Koolba make their dishes using traditional Indian cooking techniques and source their produce from local suppliers ensuring your food will be fresh and of high quality. It has a small lunch menu for 2 courses costing £9.95 and the main menu is, of course, more expensive but definitely worth it. I tried Chicken Biryani when I ate there and it was really good – doesn’t beat homemade biryani though, soz! Anyways, if you love Indian food as much as I do, I recommend you go visit Koolba.

China Sea Restaurant

Address: 12 Renfield St, Glasgow G2 5AL

Fancy a really good Chinese meal? Then China Sea Restaurant is the place to go. You can find all the classic dishes you would order at your local take out but this way you can enjoy it in a proper restaurant. The decor inside is my favourite as it’s done so traditionally, which makes it more appealing to go in. Also, I have to mention, the staff are so nice and pretty funny too. Last time I was in, the waiter kept making fun of mine and my friends’ “strange order” LOL. Like most restaurants, they offers a cheaper lunch deal: Two Course Special Lunch for £7.20. So I’d recommend getting the lunch deal so you can enjoy fab Chinese food at a cheaper price.

Dim Sum Restaurant

Address: 69 West Nile Street, Glasgow G1 2QB

Last, but not least, is Dim Sum Restaurant! This relatively new restaurant should be on your hitlist in the New Year. It offers a varied menu including dumplings, soups, and other traditional dishes. It is decently priced and the staff are friendly, which makes it a good choice for you if you want to try out some Asian foods. It isn’t my favourite place on this list but I definitely want to go back and try out some different foods I didn’t get the last time. Definitely give it a try yourself and see how you like it.


Know any other Asian restaurants in Glasgow that I didn’t mention? Hit me up in the comments and let me know your fave place to go. P.S. if you suggest taking me out to any one of these places, I’ll love you long time. Anyways, happy dining out #AsianStyle!

Love always,

Zina (Pure Fandom Guest Writer)

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @OhMyZinaa

If you like pan-Asian cuisine, why not try some of my recipes like vegetarian Pad Thai or this easy-peasy Chickpea Curry.

Christmas ‘Good Gift’ Guide – Under £25

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably have seen me talking about ethical shopping quite a bit. I am far from perfect (sometimes Amazon Next Day Delivery is just TOO CONVENIENT) but I have been trying to buy my gifts from local or independent sellers. It’s important to be aware of where your things come from and what you’re spending your hard earned cash on. A ‘good gift’ supports independent shopping and ethical products.
To celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, I have put together a collection of some gorgeous gift ideas from Etsy that won’t break the bank . I came across all of these while doing my own Christmas shopping but they didn’t make the final cut so I thought I would share them with you all instead.

Candles & Lights

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Song of the Sea Candle from Candleisima – £9.99

Candleisima candles are officially at the top of my wish list. They are so classy and this one is scented like juniper, salt and seaweed, which makes it a perfect gift for anyone that loves being by the coast.

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Floral Votive Gift Set from Lace Emporium – £16.99

These delicate floral candles are so pretty I would be too frightened to burn them. They’re also organic and come in recycled packaging!

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Harry Potter Fairy Lights from Bristol Folds – from £22.50

OMG. These origami heart fairy lights are made from pages of Harry Potter making it the most adorable and unique gift for your favourite muggle.


Kitchen & Bathroom

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Girl Boss Mug from TheBestOfMeDesigns – £10

This mug is ideal for any badass women who are getting sh** done. Be quick: if you want to get this mug in time for Christmas you need to order by the 12th December.

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Personalised Breakfast Tray from Applecratescouk – £15.99

I actually saw this a few months ago and added it to my own personal wish list. It’s a lovely idea especially for a couple who have just moved into a new home.


Edible

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Vegan Drinking Chocolate with Raw Chocolate Hearts from Lovelight Chocolate – £12

Why don’t you spread a little cruelty-free cheer this Christmas with Lovelight’s vegan and organic chocolate gifts? All the festive indulgence with none of the guilt.

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Tea Taster Selection from Tea Belly Teas – £10

This gift box is the ultimate pressie for tea lovers. It contains Double Mint Brew, Sleepy Brew, Lemon & Ginger Brew, Detox Brew & Rosen-Berry Brew and each taster pack makes 3-4 cups of herbal tea. Absolute bargain!


Beauty

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Men’s Grooming Gift Set from Emina Botanic Boutique – £20

I don’t know about you but I really struggle to buy for the men in my life but this dreamy gift set (all natural and vegan) would make a gorgeous gift for under the tree. Hey, eucalyptus and peppermint aren’t reserved for men so it would be a lovely gift for ladies too.

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It’s a Wonderful Life soap from Wee Tree Soap – £4

You guys already know I love Wee Tree Soap so I don’t need to tell you why these vegan, natural soaps are awesome but this limited edition has the added bonus of Christmas joy! At four quid, it’d make a brilliant stocking filler.


What ethical gifts have you bought this year? I’d love to chat all things Christmas over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Creamy Coconutty Curry

If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw this delicious coconutty veg curry in my Insta story and, as promised, here’s the recipe.

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One of the main reasons I was so excited about moving out was to start cooking all of my own meals. I want to experiment with different recipes and prove that you can eat a really healthy, varied vegetarian diet on a student budget.

Indian food is one of the best cuisines for vegetarian cooking because curries are so flavoursome whilst really easy to make! Thus, my first proper meal in my new abode was a healthy vegetarian curry. It’s a really sweet and creamy dish (without the guilt of ordering a korma) which is great when you are a student living away from home because it is ultimate comfort food for nights when you are feeling cold and homesick!

This recipe serves four but I separated portions into tubs which can be kept in the fridge for up to three days or frozen. I used mostly frozen veg because it is more economical as a student but you can use fresh too. In fact, you can also experiment with different types of vegetables – it’s a great recipe for using up leftovers.


Ingredients
  • 1tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 Medium Sized Sweet Potato (peeled and cut into chunks) or a Really Generous Handful of Frozen Sweet Potato Chunks
  • 200g Frozen Peas
  • Half a Broccoli Head (cut into small florets)
  • 2tsp Ground Cumin
  • 2tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 2tsp Mild Chilli Powder
  • 2tsp Coriander Leaf
  • 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 400g Tin of Coconut Milk
  • Optional: A Squirt of Tomato Puree and/or A Squirt of Tomato Ketchup
  • Optional: A Meat-free Alternative such as Quorn Pieces for Added Texture and Protein!
Method:
  1. Put a tablespoon of coconut oil into a frying pan on a very low heat and allow to melt.
  2. Once fully melted, throw in the chopped onion and garlic and cook very gently for 10 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the sweet potato chunks, frozen peas and broccoli florets (or whatever veg you’re using) and cook for a further 3 minutes or so to allow any frozen veg to defrost slightly.
  4. Toss in the cumin, turmeric, chilli powder and coriander leaf and stir through. Fry for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk and mix thoroughly allowing the stodgy coconut milk to melt. If you’ve got tomato puree and tomato ketchup, squirt a little in now.
  6. Bring to the boil and then simmer on a low-medium heat for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the vegetables are all soft and tender. If you are using meat-free pieces: add in 10 mins before the end of cooking to allow them to cook in the sauce.
  7. Serve on a bed of wholegrain rice or with some naan bread. Enjoy!

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For more foodie updates, check out my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

 

Huevos Rancheros

It’s a Saturday morning. You probably have a hangover. You’re lying on the couch watching Saturday Kitchen regretting that last glass of rosé wine or those dreaded tequila shots. If not, you’re probably, like me, still exhausted and weary from a hard Monday to Friday working week. Either way, you need a pick-me-up and I promise you these spicy Mexican eggs are exactly the thing you need to kickstart your weekend.

How do you like your eggs in the morning?

I like mine with a… kick.

Huevos Rancheros are hot (not excessively spicy though – just right) but healthy so you can indulge without feeling too guilty. For anyone following Slimming World: ditch the oil for low-cal spray and use the cheese as your Healthy Extra. This is a great filling alternative to a greasy fry up on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

It incorporates some of ye old faithful ingredients such as a tin of chopped tomatoes, onion and garlic as well as some of my favourite spices: cumin and coriander. I love Mexican food so I’m so happy I can now eat Mexican at breakfast time too.

Health benefits? Tomatoes are full of wonderful vitamins. They’re packed with vitamins and antioxidants such as Vitamin A (great for your vision) and Vitamin B and potassium (good for your heart) They’re great for your skin, help prevent various types of cancer and maintain strong bones! Score. Eggs are also a healthy source of protein which I know can be a big concern for vegetarians or anyone considering a vegetarian diet!

This recipe serves 3-4 people. Serve with wholemeal tortilla wraps at breakfast time and eat like a big burrito or with spicy rice at lunch and dinnertime.

Ingredients
  • Oil
  • 1 Red Onion (peeled and diced)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 Red Pepper (deseeded and diced)
  • 1 Red Chilli Pepper (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 Small Green Chilli Pepper (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1tsp Ground Coriander
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 4 Eggs
  • 100g Cheddar Cheese (grated)
  • Optional: spring onions (finely chopped for garnish)
Method
  1. Heat a decent glug of oil in a heavy based pan. Once hot, chuck in the onion, garlic, pepper and chilli peppers and fry for 15 minutes until really soft and caramelised. Half-way through, add the cumin, coriander and salt n pepper and stir through to coat all the veg. While it’s cooking, preheat your grill to a high heat.
  2. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and with the back of your wooden spoon, mash everything down into a pulp. Bring to a boil then reduce to a medium heat before simmering for a further 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
  3. The tomatoes should reduce to a thick stew and at this point, you can create four small wells. Crack your eggs into the wells and pop a lid on top. Poach for about 5 minutes depending on how you like your eggs.
  4. When they are cooked to your preference, take off the heat and pop under the grill to cook the top of the eggs for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Take out, top with grated cheese and place back in the grill for a further 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to turn golden brown.
  6. Garnish with spring onions. Serve with tortillas or on a bed of rice.

 

For more foodie updates, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you love Mexican Food, check out my Rigatoni Mexicana

Lazy Lentil Curry

I’m going to call this one “3-Can-Dan” because the basis of this yummy vegetarian curry is just three tins and some dried herbs that you can keep in your pantry at all times for a quick, easy and tasty curry on lazy days.

Truthfully, we had just came home for 10 days in Spain so there was no fresh food in the house. I was researching curries using tinned lentil soup, since we had some in the cupboard, and was perplexed that I couldn’t find any online. There are a lot of recipes using cream of tomato soup which I might try out at a later date. So I was inspired to create a really easy curry out of tinned, dried and frozen food that we had in the kitchen. I am so happy with how it turned out, it tasted so much better than I expected and this is definitely a recipe I will make when I’m living on a student budget in Edinburgh. It happens to be a bonus that it is low in fat, contributes towards your five-a-day intake and is also vegan-friendly.

If you’re following Slimming World and want to make this a syn free delight, swap the sugar for sweetener and use one of the following lentil soups as your Healthy Extra B choice: Tideford Organic Foods Red Lentil Soup with Apricots & Chillies or New Convent Garden Soup Skinny Tomato Vegetables with Laird Lentils Soup. I used Weight Watchers Carrot & Lentil at 4 syns. Be wary – some canned soups have a lot of hidden sugars!

It takes about 20-30 minutes to put together and requires little to no skill. It serves about 4 people. You can serve as a main with rice or, like me, top a baked potato for lunch and freeze the leftovers for another day. It is super filling because of all the lentils and chickpeas which is great for staying fuller for longer. Remember the canned soup you choose will vary the taste slightly so you can experiment with flavour by trying different soups!

Ingredients
  •  1 Can of Lentil Soup (about 300/400g)
  • 1 Can of Chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 Can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Portion of Any Frozen Veg
  • 1 Onion (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2tsp Turmeric
  • 2tsp Coriander Leaf
  • 1tsp Mild Chilli Powder
  • 1tsp Cumin
  • 1tsp Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Oil
  • Optional: a dash of soy sauce and lemon juice for extra flavour
Method
  1. Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan. Once hot, toss in your chopped onion and garlic and cook on a low-medium heat for 5 minutes before adding the portion of frozen veg and drained tin of chickpeas. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  2. Once the frozen veg has begun to defrost, it’s time to add your spices: turmeric, coriander leaf, mild chilli powder and cumin. Coat thoroughly and let the spices fry into the veg for about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in the tin of lentil soup and chopped tomatoes. Stir through. Add a good grinding of salt and pepper and the teaspoon of sugar to sweeten the tomatoes. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. The lentil soup and tomatoes should reduce into a yummy, thick sauce.
  4. Done! Serve on a bed of fluffy rice or on top of a baked potato.

Have you given this recipe a go? What did you think? Which canned soup did you use? I want to see your pictures so send them my way on Facebook, Twitter or tag me on Instagram @thefourthmonthblog. 

Eating Veggie in Marbella: The Beach House

Hola!

Well, it can’t be summer forever and my nine days in Calahonda have come to a bittersweet end as I write the finale in my three-part ‘Eating Veggie in Marbella’ series. I hope you’ve had the chance to check out my El Oceano and Terra Sana reviews for your next visit to Costa Del Sol and please let me know if you have any veggie-friendly recommendations for my next visit to Marbella. In the meantime, read on for my review of The Beach House in Elviria.

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Love At First Sight?

As the name suggests, The Beach House is located right on the seafront in Elviria. They offer sun, sea and sand on a platter and if you’re a beach-lover then you need to visit this restaurant.

After spotting a photograph of the original ‘Beach House’, an old-fashioned ‘chiriniguito’ on stilts brimming with dishevelled beach bums, it is easy to see what lies at the heart of this salubrious restaurant. While the food and entertainment might be luxurious, it is the freedom and fun of the beach that truly inspires The Beach House. It certainly delivered as we enjoyed a night of wonderful live entertainment, laughter and the added perk of watching the sunlight fade over the ocean.

I mention the entertainment because it was La Negra Mayté Duo that really made our night stand out. You can catch this gorgeous Spanish duo singing and playing funky guitar every Friday night at The Beach House and I highly recommend it; they had everyone up on their feet singing and dancing by the end of the night.

Starters

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 A few of us opted for some lovely Strawberry Daiquiris to start the evening off. While the drinks were not particularly strong, the Daiquiri tasted just like freshly made strawberry jam. Our cocktails were followed by a selection of warm bread, garlic butter and olives. I don’t know how they managed it but The Beach House made us go crazy for such an ordinarily mundane entrée. The seeded bread was mouth-watering especially with a generous helping of garlic butter melting on top. As for the olives, nobody at our table can confess to being fans of olives but these were delicious. There was just something so light and inoffensive about these Mediterranean treats so we scoffed every last one.

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It didn’t stop there. The bread and olives were followed by a delicious teacup filled with roasted aubergine and garlic cream. This little cupful of soup was so dreamy. Would you laugh if I said it tasted like an upper-class Pot Noodle in the best way possible? And so far… all vegetarian-friendly!

For starters, I opted for the vine tomato, chilli, leek and cheese tartlet. I was giddy when the thick slice of cheesy pastry arrived topped with a gorgeous salad and creamy sundried tomato mayonnaise. Every bite melted in my mouth and made me look forward to the next. The other vegetarian option was a caesar salad finished with pesto dressing. It’s not a meal I would’ve chosen myself for fear of it being too plain but I was intrigued to see what would be delivered when my boyfriend ordered it. I was proven wrong as the salad came in a bowl of crisp filo pastry and the most delectable caesar dressing. I have to give The Beach House a lot of credit for making a very simple salad so delicious and I would definitely get this next time I visit.

Main Courses

I apologise for the poor lighting in these pictures but the sun had thoroughly disappeared by the time our main courses arrived so I was relying on the quaint candlelight and the power of my camera flash.

Although the selection wasn’t vast, the vegetarian options were pleasantly inventive. The vegetarian dish of the day was a spinach and feta linguine with red onion and garlic sauce and you could also choose a Malay style curry with lentils and organic veg and a side of homemade naan, pakora and rice. I chose the pasta dish which tasted a lot better than it looks in my picture. I surprisingly loved the addition of black olives (again, I’m not normally a fan but these were particularly tasty) and the chunks of cheese were heavenly. My boyfriend, Jamie, opted for the curry and I was lucky enough to steal a bite. I was envious of how wonderful it tasted and the pakora was so crunchy and delicious. However, the naan was flavoured with too much aniseed for my liking.

My main and only criticism of The Beach House is the portion size. The main courses were a bit too big. The heat, cocktails and all those entrées made for a stifling end to the meal even if I did manage to squeeze in half a dessert afterwards. Trust me, I am a big eater and even I couldn’t finish off the linguine – as much as I wanted to. I recommend skipping the starter (as wonderful as they were) so that you can really enjoy your main. Then you can sneak in a dessert if you’re still hungry. We shared the chocolate meringue mousse with salted caramel sauce and it was to die for!

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Overall Impression

While there weren’t a whole horde of vegetarian options to choose from, what was there was more than enough to satisfy. Where The Beach House lack in variety for vegetarians, they make up for in an amazing ambience, huge flavour and hearty portions. I would recommend The Beach House to anyone looking for a fun, relaxed evening with fantastic entertainment and tasty food to eat while you watch the waves roll on to the sand.

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