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Become your own Barista at home

latte art

Coffee Culture in London is exploding, with many new independent coffee roasters and coffee startups opening up in town. Sitting in cafes and making the most of al fresco coffee culture is always fun, but sometimes staying in is all we really want to do. When the week has been busy and the weekend beckons with promises of lazy mornings reading the newspaper and relaxing on the sofa, the idea of going out can seem too much. But you don’t have to force yourself out of your pyjamas to enjoy a decent coffee. You could actually impress everyone by becoming your own home barista.

No courses are required, you don’t have to go get a fancy apron or even get baking cupcakes. You just need to love coffee and be a bit creative.

Start with the fundamentals
There are so many great coffee machines on the market right now, you could easily turn your kitchen into a café. Forget Starbucks…call it Cafe Chez Moi and invite your friends round for some posh coffee!

You could always serve some freeze-dried instant coffee or cappuccino sachets to serve but there’s no fun in that and there certainly is no compromise on taste. It’s easy to make your own premium cofffee with freshly ground coffee beans, as there are so many great brands to choose from.

If you’re running a business from home or freelancing your way to the top, you could even impress clients with a little home networking over coffee. Talk about giving them the personal touch!

There are lots of different coffee machines out there of course and choosing can be tricky, so think about factors like the space you have in your kitchen, the style you want, cleaning-ease & budget as outlined in this handy video by Which?.

A touch of art with your coffee
Once you’ve selected the right machine, you may want to think about getting creative. Tassimo offer a really cool selection of coffee art stencils, so you can really impress your visitors with your coffee crafting skills. You could make coffee inspired art to hang around to give your place that extra authentic feel and if you wanted, to you could get baking a few cupcakes too, why not?
But if you truly want to take your coffee making to the next level you could invest in thermometers, coffee grinders and even get some training from London’s prestigious Department of Coffee and Social Affairs. You can learn to make fancy coffee art on Youtube too.

But at the same time you can still keep your barista status and keep it cheap too. Heating up milk in the pan, instead of using a milk steamer will still give you a nice latte-style drink. But if you want some frothy foam on top, all you need is a jar and a microwave.


And if you want to really impress your friends, you can explain to them how you know it’s a good espresso because of the ‘crema’ at the top. Crema is the foam on your espresso and barista’s use that as a sign they have created the perfect cup (or The God Shot as it’s also called). And if you want to get the fancy apron too, go for it! It’s your house, your rules, your own personal coffee shop!

This is a sponsored post.

Win tickets to VegFest London

Win 2 tickets for VegFest London on Sunday 28th September in London.  VegFest is a Vegan Food Festival and there will be a lot of activites like cookery demonstrations, tips and dietary tips, kids cooking lessons, food stalls and book signings.

VegFest London is on at Kensington Olympia on 27th and 28th September 2014

You can buy tickets directly if you prefer and there is a BOGOF offer until 23 August and Buy One Get one Half Off until 15 September from their website: http://www.vegfest.co.uk/

How To Enter

  • Simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below to verify your entries
  • Entries can be via blog comment, Facebook, Twitter etc.
  • Leaving a blog comment is mandatory and failure to do so will void any other entries.
  • Closing date – 25th August  2014
  • Competition open to UK residents only

Note: The tickets are provided by VegFest UK.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

Win Tickets to Veg Fest

 

 

Arroz Negro Spanish Black Squid Ink Rice

Smells and flavours can bring back happy memories of holidays. When I find an exceptional dish on holidays, I like to try and recreate it. Sometimes the dishes are way beyond my technical skill but some I can manage by learning how to use some new ingredients and new cooking techniques.

Arroz Negro is a Spanish black rice dish that I have tasted several times but have never tried cooking. Then I found out that it is not that difficult to cook so here is my recipe to recreate it at home.

Arroz Negro is a Valencian rice dish distinct by its black colour from squid ink. It is sometimes cooked with squid, mussels, prawns and other shellfish.

On the surface, it sounds like a simple rice dish but Arroz Negro has several layers of flavours from the onions, the squid and shellfish used and the fish stock.

This is my simplified version of the recipe by using bought in fish stock. You can make your own fish stock if you have the ingredients and the time.

About Olive Oils from Spain

Did you know that every other bottle of olive oil sold in the world comes from Spain? With over 260 varieties of olives, they are the largest producer and manufacturer of olive oil in the world. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fatty acid and is a healthy oil due to its high content of oleic acid, polyphenols, antioxidants. For cooking, olive oils resist high temperature better than other oils and and has a more stable structure up to 180 °C. You find out more and get some great recipes using olive oil here: http://www.tasteourlifestyle.co.uk/

Arroz Negro Spanish Black Squid Ink Rice

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves 4

Arroz Negro Spanish Black Squid Ink Rice

A really flavourful Spanish rice dish flavoured with fish stock and gets its colour from squid ink. Easy to cook and really impressive.

Ingredients

  • 600g Squid or cuttlefish, cleaned and cut into small pieces
  • 300g Spanish Calasparra rice or short grain rice
  • 1.5 litres hot fish stock
  • 500g large prawns with the shells on (optional)
  • 1 red and 1 green pepper , finely chopped
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sweet pimenton
  • 3-4 sachets of squid ink
  • 2 tomatoes chopped or half a can of chopped tomatoes
  • 150 ml Olive Oil from Spain

Instructions

  1. Using a heavy based flat bottomed pan or a paella pan if you have it, heat up the pan and add some olive oil. Saute the squid with some salt and keep moving it to prevent from sticking.
  2. When the squid has taken on some colour remove and set aside.
  3. Add more olive oil and fry the onions and peppers and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until tender and the onions are caramelised.
  4. Add garlic and the sweet pimenton. Keep stirring for about a few minutes until the garlic is soft.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until some of the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Add the rice, and stir to coat with the squid mixture for a few minutes before adding the fish stock.
  7. Combine the fish stock and squid ink and add to the rice, keep stirring on a low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed. The timing depends on the type of rice and volume. Stirring this occasionally will stop the rice from sticking to the bottom and burning. This will take about 20- 30 minutes.
  8. A few minutes before serving, add back the squid and prawns and stir in to cook. You can reserve some on the side to decorate if you wish. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. An alternative way to prepare the prawns is to marinate them in some olive oil, pimento, garlic and salt and pepper and pan fry them on medium heat and serve on top of the rice.
  10. Dish it into pretty bowls and drizzle with more Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain and serve immediately.
  11. This dish is sometimes served with Alioli garlic mayonnaise and wedges of lemon.

Notes

1. Spanish rice is different as it tends to absorb about 3 times more liquid and still keeps its firm consistency.

2. Squid ink is available in sachets from most good fishmongers.

http://www.eatcookexplore.com/arroz-negro-spanish-black-squid-ink-rice/

 

This recipe was produced in Association with Olive Oils from Spain.

 

Carnaby Street Eat Food Festival 20 July

Kingly Court  Carnaby Street Eat

Kingly Court Al Fresco Dining

Carnaby Street was a real hotspot in the 60′s when it was a centre for fashion and music of the Swinging 60s. Today, it is a pedestrianised shopping area with lots of quirky boutiques and a lot of restaurants and bars. Veer away from the main stretch and explore the side streets where you will find some artisanal fashion designers and eccentric English shops.

Carnaby StreetEat Food Festival

On Sunday 20 July, over 15 global cuisines from over 40 of the area’s best restaurants, bars and cafés will be offering their dishes and concepts out onto the streets. You can taste a variety dishes for £5 and enjoy expert cooking demos, led by presenter and foodie Hardeep Singh Kohli.

There will be a carnival atmosphere with live music and entertainment on the streets. Every outlet is doing something special for the day. ZSL London’s pop up is offerng face painting for kids and Lomography is offering free photography workshop on the day.

Carnaby StreetEat is not your usual street food stalls but actual restaurants in the area around Carnaby Street, Kingly Court and Newburgh Street. You won’t find the same old stalls that you see at street food collectives all around London. It’s a great opportunity to try food and drink from all these restaurants in one go if you fancy and for not a long of dosh.

We did a really fun food safari and previewed quite a few of these restaurants and bars around the Carnaby Street area and here are some highlights. Really love that all the restaurants have outdoor tables and have big windows opening into Kingly Court, a really buzzing crowd.

Wright Brothers serves Asian inspired fish and seafood dishes. They serve Jersey oysters at £1 a shot, what a bargain. We tried their salmon sashimi and some delicious creamy burrata too, accompanied by tall glasses of Prosecco.

Carnaby Street Eat Wright Brothers Oysters

Carnaby Street Eat Wright Brothers Oysters for £1

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Choccywoccydoodah is a chocolate lover’s heaven. Their shop has the most elaborate and colourful chocolate  cakes in town and if you want to host a party, check out their secret room. They will be handing our free chocolates on the day. Feast your eyes.

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Carnaby Street Eat Choccywoccydoodah's secret room

Choccywoccydoodah’s secret room

Carnaby Street Eat

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 Shoryu Ramen is a chain of ramen shops in London but they will be serving their famous Hirata buns from a special wooden Japanese street stall on Sunday.

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Hirata Bun Shoryu Ramen

Hirata Bun Shoryu Ramen

Carnaby Street Eat

Japanese Craft Beer

If you like craft beer and great tasting food, check out Whyte & Brown. We tasted a seasonal crab bruschetta paired with a really unique Honey Craft Beer and an exotic mess which is an eton mess with tropical fruits paired with a specially selected craft beer. These guys stock a long list of craft beer from both the UK and around the world and there is even one that is lemongrass flavour.

Carnaby Street Eat
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Fancy a Caribbean beach holiday in Central London, head over to The Rum Kitchen in Kingly Court. There is a very long cocktail list, especially rum cocktails. There is a great vibe, holiday music and the decor transports you to a hot sunny beach in the Caribbean.

Carnaby Street Eat 303 Carnaby Street Eat Rum Kitchen

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ChaChaMoon made a big splash when they launched with some tasty noodle dishes. They have since added to their menus and they have cocktails on their menu at just £6. We had lots several cocktails, a couple of starters and some Singapore noodles.

Carnaby Street Eat ChaChaMoon

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Stax Diner is Bea (of Bea’s of Bloombsbury fame and famous Duffin maker) is a new American diner serving food from the Deep South like Chicken and Waffles. I was thrilled that htey have A&W floats. There are lots of milk shakes and some hard milkshakes and hard ice cream floats like the Drunken Brown Cow. They have loads of fun whipping up these drinks. Make sure you try the Graceland with banana and peanut butter and the Dalmation with cookies blended in.

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Carnaby Street Eat Stax Diner

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The Carnaby Street Eat food festival is taking place on Sunday 20th July 11am – 6pm, just around the corner from Oxford Street and Regent Street. Join in the fun. Get the full line up and more details about what else is happening on their website.

EatCookExplore was a guest of  Carnaby StreetEat

Carnaby_Street-Eat

 

 

 

 

 

Brazilian Fish Stew – Moqueca (In Association with Magimix)

Moqueca or Fish Stew is a really popular traditional dish from Brazil and there are many versions from all over the country. This recipe is inspired by the ones form the Bahia region. The ingredients used are mainly fish, lime, coconut milk and palm oil.

If you have never tried this dish, it tastes a bit tangy from the lime juice, rich from the coconut milk, a mild chilli heat and the fish stock gives it the underlying umami flavour. It is my new favourite dish and it’s so easy to make too. It is not very complicated to cook and doesn’t take long either.

In this recipe, I’ve used some sweet potato and courgettes to give it some colour and texture. It is not normally used in this but I don’t like peppers which is what is normally used. The original Brazilian recipes use firm white fish like grouper, mahi mahi or monkfish but I used Salmon instead. Some recipe add prawns too but feel free to use whichever fish you can find at the fishmongers. I couldn’t find palm oil which is the ingredient that adds colour to this dish so I left it out. This dish is usually served with farofa which is made of toasted manioc (tapioca) flour or rice.

 

Brazilian Fish Stew – Moqueca (In Association with Magimix)

Brazilian Fish Stew – Moqueca (In Association with Magimix)

Ingredients

  • 1kg skinless firm white fish cut into bit size pieces
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2tbsp Cold pressed rapeseed oil
  • 2 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 red chillies
  • 5 stalks of spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 courgettes
  • 300ml fish stock
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • Coriander
  • Steamed rice

Instructions

  1. Using the mini bowl and main blade on Magimix, I pulsed and then blitzed one onion, 2 cloves of garlic and one big red chilli.
  2. Place the pieces of fish in a non metallic bowl and add with the juice of 2 limes, the onion and chilli mixture and some salt. Put this in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to marinate.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potato and cut into cubes.
  4. Cut the courgettes into similar sized cubes.
  5. Heat the rapeseed oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  6. Fry the onion for a few minutes until it is soft and translucent.
  7. Chop the tomatoes in the mini bowl of the Magimix and add to the pot.
  8. Then add the sweet potatoes and cook for 8-10 minute until the sweet potato is tender.
  9. Then add the courgettes and chopped spring onions. Stir.
  10. Add the fish and marinating sauce.
  11. Stir in the fish stock and coconut milk.
  12. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until the fish is cooked.
  13. Squeeze in the juice of another lime and adjust seasoning to taste.
  14. Dish into a serving dish, sprinkle with coriander and serve with rice or farofa.
http://www.eatcookexplore.com/brazilian-fish-stew-moqueca-association-magimix/

This recipe was made with the Magimix 4200XL Food Processor.

BBQ Masterclass with Weber For Cancer Research UK

On the 19 & 20 July 2014, Cancer Research UK and Weber would like you to invite your friends around for a BBQ to raise funds.

Weber BBQ Masterclass

Weber Chef Dan with a tray of smoked BBQ ribs and BBQ chicken

When the sun starts to shine in the UK and the warmer weather arrives, everyone brings out their trusty BBQs, dons the shorts and flip flops. Cancer Research UK and their sponsor Weber have teamed up to encourage everyone to ask their friends to donate to join in a gourmet BBQ party on the weekend of July 19 & 20 while raising some funds and doing good at the same time.

If you thought barbecuing is all about throwing some meat on top of an some charcoal and leave it til it burns, that is called grilling. Real BBQ cooks knows how to use their BBQ to cooks delicious gourmet meals. I recently went to a BBQ Masterclass at the Weber Grill Academy to get some barbecue tips and learn more about cooking with direct and indirect heat on a range of Weber BBQs.

Learning BBQing techniques at Weber Grill Academy

At the Weber HQ, they have the whole range of Weber Barbecues their new smoker, to some big gas grills, and some smaller charcoal barbecues on stands.  The clever Weber people have incorporated a lot of innovative designs into their products which improves your BBQ experience, from this chimney which is used to quickly and easily light up your coals before you pour them into your BBQ. Using the chimney, you get an even burn of the coals.

Gas grills are as good as the charcoal barbecues and you can get the smokey effect by adding wood chips into the special smoker boxes and the gas grills have flavour bars which reacts to dripping fat.

We learnt about the types of fuel used, using cheap mass market briquettes which are bulked up with sand is a false economy as they burn for a shorter time. Charcoal comes in different grades, with the best producing the longest most consistent burn. Weber Chef Dan informs us that briquettes are best for BBQing and smoking whereas charcoal is good for direct grilling.

The grills on some of the BBQs have hinges in the grills which allow you to add coals and place trays underneath without having the remove the food that is cooking on top of the grills. Their lids have inbuilt thermometers so you don’t have lift to lid to prod the meat and check the temperature frequently.

Weber BBQ Masterclass

We made a four course meal including a very impressive Banana Tart Tartine on the Weber BBQs. First course was Salmon with Grilled Asparagus and Poached Eggs. The salmon was roasted indirectly over a tray of water and of course the egg was poached on a BBQ too. Meanwhile, some salmon was being smoked in another BBQ. Eggs were poached in one of the specially designed wok’s that sit on top of the grill, while the asparagus was grilled on a gas grill.

Smoking Salmon and Poaching Eggs on a Weber BBQ

Crispy skin spicy barbecue sauce chicken Weber BBQ Masterclass

Making Barbecue Sauce Chicken with Crispy Skin

Next up, we prepped some chicken thighs in the kitchen by removing the skins and scraping off the excess fat, this will prevent fat from dripping into the fire and causing flare ups. Then then we butterflied the piece of chicken thigh and sprinkled generously with a spice rub. We then rolled the skin around the meat into a neat bundle and placed them on their special roasting tray. While cooking, the chicken was basted with their special Barbecue sauce, adding another layer of spice and flavour. The end result was a very tasty piece of smokey, spicy chicken with a crunchy chicken skin wrapping, a far cry from a burnt but raw bit of chicken leg on the  barbie. The best thing is, you can recreate this recipe at home in an oven too.

Roast Hasselback Potatoes on a Weber BBQ

To go with this, we made some Hasselback potatoes by cutting slits along the potatoes and then placing them in a zip loc bag and liberally coating them with olive oil, herbs and seasoning. This was then placed in a specially designed perforated pan and placed on the bottom of the BBQ, next to the coals for 45 minutes. This is one of the examples of indirect cooking using the heat from the coals.  The potatoes came out with a smokey flavour and crunchy from the slits that we made.

Meanwhile in a Weber smoker, a few racks of ribs had been smoking. These were cooked for an hour on higher heat before being wrapped in foil and put in the smoker. A short while before we had lunch, we basted these ribs with more Barbecue sauce and had them for lunch. The meat was falling off the bone.

 A fine BBQ meal at Weber BBQ Masterclass

 

Banana Tarte Tartin on the BBQ

For pudding, we watched the Weber chefs assemble a Banana Tarte Tartin using one of their special bakeware. Firstly, a layer of caramel was poured in the bottom, then some bananas were placed artistically on top. This was then topped with some puff pastry and then “baked” on the BBQ. The result was a very crisp pastry and deliciously sweet baked banana with caramel sauce. Quite the winning combination. If you have never thought of baking on your BBQ, this is one thing you could try.

I learnt a lot more than I expected at the Masterclass. If you have any sort of BBQ at home, you should got along to the Weber Grill Academy and attend one of their classes. You will get a lot more use our of your BBQ and impress your friends with the fancy dishes you can produce on it.

BBQing for a good cause

I’ve personally been touched by cancer in my family and this is cause that I am really behind. I’ll be hosting a BBQ to help them raise some funds. As with all charities, every little helps.

CANCER Research UK is asking everyone to gather their mates, invite the neighbours, call up their granny, fire up the BBQ and be part of its brand new BBQ fundraising campaign on 19-20 July. By donating to attend, family and friends can help beat cancer sooner, while having a fantastic day of fun with family and friends. If you plan to host a BBQ and say ‘burger off’ to cancer anytime this July, or join others BBQ-ing across the UK on the main Big BBQ Weekend you can get some party gear from their website. You can collect donation up front or on the day. You can get lots more information on their website: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/do-your-own-fundraising/bbq

Weber Grill Academy

EatCookExplore was a guest of Cancer Research UK and Weber Grill Academy

Avocado and Mango Ice Lollies (In Association with Magimix)

As part of the Brazilian recipe series, I have a really simple ice cream or ice lolly recipe using Avocados. In Brazil, they use Avocados in both savoury and sweet dishes like Avocado Mousse and Avocado and Coconut cream. The creaminess that the avocado imparts makes it an ideal ingredient in ice cream.

Healthy Fat in Avocado - The avocado is one of those super foods that they always recommend in Anti Inflammatory diets as a good source of healthy fats. Besides being full of potassium it a souce of healthy monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy. Some studies have found that by eating half an avocado with a burger inhibited the production of inflammatory compounds. If you follow any sort of low carb diet, avocados is a good ingredient to add to increase your intake of healthy fats.

So try this Mango and Avocado Ice Cream recipe as a healthy alternative to other fat laden desserts.


Avocado and Mango Ice Lollies Dairy Free

Avocado and Mango Ice Lollies Dairy Free

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe mango, cut into chunks
  • 2 Avocados, flesh scooped out or cut into chunks
  • 200ml canned coconut milk
  • 1-2 tbsp Golden Caster sugar or honey if you prefer. Add to taste

Instructions

  1. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. I used the mini bowl and the main blade in the Magimix to make the first batch.
  2. Fill the ice lollie moulds to the top and put in the sticks.
  3. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
  4. When ready, you can soak them in a little hot water to get them out of moulds.
  5. To decorate, you can either roll them in some dessicated coconut to make them look pretty or partly dip them in chocolate or even drizzle over some melted chocolate to make a lacey design.
  6. Enjoy!
http://www.eatcookexplore.com/avocado-mango-ice-lollies/

If you don’t want to make ice lollies, you can put the mixture into an ice cream machine or even better, use this nifty new tool Chef’n Ice Cream Maker where you can make ice cream in 90 seconds.

 

 

Brazilian Black Eyed Bean Salad or Salada de Feijao Verde (In Association with Magimix)

The cuisine for this summer is of course Brazilian since everyone has been infected by World Cup fever. My little contribution to that are a selection of Brazilian recipes that I thought I’d try out using ingredients that are new to me.

In my research, I found that Black Eyed Beans or sometimes called peas is quite predominant in the cuisine. It’s found in Feijoada, the street food Acaraje, stews and salads.

So here I made a Brazilian Black Eyed Bean Salad  or Salada de Feijao Verde. It’s quite simple once you get all the ingredients together. In this salad, I added, the black eyed beans, tomato, avocado, red onions and coriander.

Adding avocado to a salad with tomatoes has shown to increase absorption of lycopene and beta-carotene, recent research shows. Even avocado oil added to salad gets the same results. The best way to get the most beneficial part (the darkest green area under the skin) of avocado is to peel the skin off by hand. Avocados themselves contain a large array of carotenoids which is believed to be the key factor in its anti-=inflammatory properties. Avocados also contain good fats which is high in Oleic acid which is shown to lower the risk of heart disease.

I made this salad using the Magimix 4200XL Food Processor to chop all the ingredients. This very handy kitchen appliance  made quick work of it. I am really impressed with all the different blades that come with it and the variety of functions it has like besides the obvious slicing, chopping and grating to mixing bread dough and making smoothies with it’s special blender attachment.

Brazilian Black Eyed Bean Salad or Salada de Feijao Verde

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serve 4 people

Brazilian Black Eyed Bean Salad  or Salada de Feijao Verde

A simple, healthy recipe using Black Eyed beans, avocado and tomatoes. Work really well as a side salad or bring it along to a picnic.

Ingredients

  • I can black eyed beans or use 400g rehydrated dry beans if you can find them
  • 1 large onion, red or white
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 avocado cut into small cubes
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes or a handful of cherry tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 handful of coriander, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. If you are using dried beans, boil for about 20 minutes until tender, then drain.
  2. For this recipe, I used the main bowl and the main blade to chop the ingredients.
  3. Firstly, I put in the peeled onions and roughly chopped them using the pulse button
  4. Then, I added the tomatoes and coriander and chopped those too
  5. To assemble the salad, mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  6. Make the dressing in another bowl by mixing in the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice and seasoning
  7. Dress the salad and adjust seasoning.
  8. Serve.
http://www.eatcookexplore.com/brazilian-black-eyed-bean-salad-salada-de-feijao-verde/

Magimix provided EatCookExplore with the food processor for this recipe. 
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