3 healthy and easy party bite ideas

December was a month full of family and friend gatherings combined with Christmas parties. I am not complaining of course, but at a certain period, I felt drained from all that buzz and people. It was the end of the year and I had one last party left – New Year’s Eve. I was supposed to spend it with a few of my closest friends, so that is why I really wanted to surprise them with a few different kinds of party bites. As I already mentioned I was pretty tired and I did not want to spend hours in the kitchen, so I came up with these three recipes, which are not only healthy and nutritious, but also don’t cost you a fortune, and take only a little time to make. I can assure you that they taste great, because even before we had a couple of drinks, the snacks were already demolished. They are also great to be served as appetizers or snacks while throwing a cocktail party or just having a wine glass or two.

Zucchini bites

Ingredients:

Basil

1 Zucchini

1 red pepper

Dried tomatoes

Vegan cheese or regular cheese spread

Arugula

What to do?

Very thinly cut your zucchini lengthwise, I used a normal vegetable peeler to do so. Smudge one side of the zucchini with the vegan cheese, place a little bit of the arugula, two pieces of the red pepper(diced lengthwise) and add the small piece of the sundried tomato and basil. Then roll the zucchini and voila, you have yourself a small raw zucchini bite. Continue doing the same with the remaining ingredients.

Greek salad bites

2 cucumbers (preferably larger)

1 tomato

150g feta cheese

50 g yoghurt

1tbsp olive oil

*For a vegan swap, you can stuff the cucumbers with guacamole

What to do?

First make your cheese spread by combining in a bowl your; crumbled cheese, yoghurt, oregano, pinch of salt and 1 tsp. of olive oil. Then cut the cucumber in thicker pieces, remove the flesh and pat them until dry. Lastly fill your cucumber cups with the cheese spread and add a few cubed sliced tomatoes.

Aubergine bites (vegan)

Hummus

2 Aubergines

1 Pomegranate

Cilantro(optional)

What to do?

Slice round your aubergines, salt them gently and leave them aside for 20 minutes. This way they won’t have a bitter taste. After 20 minutes, pat them dry and grill them until ready. Cut them in bite pieces, spread them with hummus and finish them off with the pomegranate and cilantro.

Well, there you have it! 3 delicious party bites that don’t require anything more than 30 minutes, love and creativity. Don’t hesitate to experiment and change up the recipes to your own liking, I would love to see your own creations!

“Meatless” balls with roasted red pepper sauce

It’s December, the temperature outside is below 0 degrees. Meaning that the only thing I am willing to do in this freezing weather is to sit at home and enjoy myself. But let’s be honest what’s a perfect day at home without a favorite comfort meal? As every other Sunday when I have finished all my work, I like to head to the kitchen and experiment with different ingredients and dishes. This particular Sunday I was craving a comfort meal, which could still be healthy and delicious. Inspired by the famous American recipe – meatballs in tomato sauce, I came up with the so called “meatless” balls, which consist of buckwheat and spices. To level up the traditional tomato sauce, I added some roasted peppers, which gave the dish a nice kick. Since I felt like my Sunday experiment was successful, I decided to share it with you. It’s fairly easy to make and it is perfect for a family lunch or dinner.

Ingredients:

For the “meatless” balls:

1/2 cup of buckwheat

1 carrot

1 onion

1 garlic clove

1 tsp. Cumin

1 tsp. Oregano

1 tsp. Paprika

1/2 tsp. Nutmeg

Parsley

2 tbsp. Flour

*Note: feel free to replace the buckwheat with lentils, chickpeas or any other legume

Salt & Pepper

For the sauce:

1 can tomatoes

1 clove of garlic

3 roasted peppers ( you can also use raw)

1 tsp. Basil

Salt & Pepper

1 tsp. Spicy paprika(optional)

Salt & Pepper

What to do?

  1. Cook your buckwheat according to the instructions on the package until softened
  2. Meanwhile, cook onion and carrot in a pan with some olive oil until softened
  3. When your buckwheat is ready, drain it and wash it thoroughly with some cold water to stop the cooking process
  4. In a blender, process first the parsley, veggie mixture and spices
  5. Add the buckwheat and blend again
  6. Transfer in a big bowl add the flour, mix with your hands and start forming medium sized balls as you would to for regular meatballs
  7. When done, place in the 190 C preheated oven and cook for about 25 minutes or until firm and golden brown
  8. While waiting for the meatless balls to cook, make the red pepper sauce
  9. In a pan add some olive oil and roasted peppers
  10. Cook for about 3 minutes and add the spices
  11. Pour the tomatoes along with a dash of sugar
  12. Let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened
  13. When ready, process the sauce in a blender until smooth
  14. After your balls and sauce are done, it is time to plate
  15. In a spaghetti bowl, place some of the sauce on the bottom and put your balls on top, for some additional color chop up some parsley
  16. **For extra flavoring feel free to also add some Parmesan or any other kind of cheese

I hope you enjoy the recipe and let me know if you end up making it!!

Aubergine couscous salad

This summer I rediscovered once again my obsession with aubergines. Spending almost a month in Greece, the one thing that I consumed every single day was and honestly I never got tired of it. When I came back home I still found myself craving and wanting to have it on a day to day basis. Inspired from my trip to Morocco this year, especially the traditional spice mixture from its cuisine, I created this simple and quick cous cous with aubergine. As most of my recipes it takes almost no time to make, it tastes delicious and you can eat it on its is own or serve it as a side to your main dish. The best thing about it is that it’s budget friendly and you most probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of cous cous

1 large or 2 medium sized Aubergines

Feta cheese(optional)

One bunch of mint leafs

1 lemon

1 tsp. Cumin

1tsp. Paprika

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 cup – walnuts

Olive oil

What to do?

1. Cut the aubergines into round circles and place them on a baking sheet

2. Salt them and let them sit for 15min. – in this way you dry out the moisture and make them taste less bitter

3. After the time has passed brush them with olive oil and place in the 180 preheated oven until ready( 20-25min.)

4. In the meantime mix the half a cup of cous cous with a 1tsp. Olive oil, the zest of one lemon and a few fresh mint leafs

5. Pour hot water over the cous cous mixture and let it sit for around 5 min. or until all the water is absorbed

6. Fluff the cous cous with a fork

7. When your aubergines are already baked, chop them into small pieces and add them to the cous cous

8. Season with your remaining spices, chopped mint leafs, juice of one lemon and generous amount of olive oil

9. Roughly chop the walnuts and add them on top

There you have it! A simple and delicious weekly dinner or lunch idea! Hope you enjoy it!

Beginner’s guide to London’s street food markets

Oh London! One of Europes liveliest cities. A city where you can never get bored, every day there is an event happening or a new trendy bar or restaurant is opening. All the different mixes of cultures and nationalities, which fulfill the British capital, have made its food scene so popular all around the world. Home of exactly 70 Michelin starred restaurants London is every foodies dream destination.. Unfortunately in most cases a meal at those restaurants costs a fortune and after paying your bill there, you will probably have to live on toasts and canned soup for the next week. Luckily the inhabitants of the city have figured out a smart and cheap way in which you can try and enjoy incredibly delicious gourmet-worthy food, without doing a serious damage to your wallet. It’s a well-known fact that London’s street food scene is growing and growing and the standards of the food trucks and stalls are rising higher ans higher. Most of the street food markets are crowded with people, who love the mixture between well-prepared food with a friendly atmosphere. Due to this fact New markets are popping up all around London with more street food vans and vendors offering all type of British and international cuisine. Whether you are craving Korean fried chicken or some classic fish and chips, London’s street food scene has it all. During my recent visit to the vibrant capital I made it my goal to make a special guide for all of you curious foodie lovers and guide you through some of Londons best street food markets.

1. Borough market – Established in the 1850s, Borough market still remains the most preferred market in this metropolitan capital. Every day you can see massive crowds of hungry locals and tourists, who are on the hunt for the best street food. From locally grown fruits and veggies to international delicacies, vegan dishes, a range of spices and Asian street food, there is plenty of delicious indulgences, which you can try at one of Londons oldest street food markets. During all my visits to London, I have always taken some spare time and go to this market. Every special treat I have tried has always left me more than satisfied, but honestly my favorite thing about Borough are the free food gourmet samples.

Variety of fresh fish

2. Maltby street food market – Just a few minutes away from Borough, you will find yourself in this small outdoor market. Hiding between the big modern buildings Maltby market offers all sorts of incredible foods and beverages, which will satisfy every foodies expectations. Opened about 8 years ago the market has already become a well-known weekend destination and can get pretty crowded when the sun comes out. When we went there we were quite hungry, so predictably we went a bit over board with our orders. We wanted to taste as much as we could, so everyone got something different. I personally am a big fan of gyozas, so when I saw a food stall, which specialized in gyozas, I immediately pulled my wallet and got their bento box. It costed me exactly 10 pounds, but the taste and the portion size were worth it. We also got some Korean fried curry chicken, grilled cheese sandwich with chorizo and my absolute favorite duck burger with goat cheese. Maltby market may look small in comparison to some other markets, but offers a rather wide range of food choices.

Grilled cheese with chorizo

Korean Curry Fried Chicken

Gyoza Bento Box

3. Shoreditch boxpark – Heading to East London(the hip side of the city), you shall surely make a pit stop at the Shoreditch boxpark. This contemporary art building made out of shipping containers plonked underneath the well-known Shoreditch High Street Overground Station is known to be Londons first pop up mall. On The second floor of the unusual “mall” you can experience several food and beverage stalls all hidden in small containers. The food park is home of the famous bubble waffle ice-cream, dirty fries and many other international stalls. The dish that blew my mind was the vegan pad-Thai from “Cookdaily”, which contained plant-based prawns. Having my first bite from this vegan madness, I couldn’t even realize that the prawn didn’t come directly from the sea. It really looked, tasted and even had the same texture as a real one. Even my father and sister, who are the biggest meat lovers I know couldn’t spot the difference.

4. Old Spitalfields market – Next stop on your foodie trip should be Spitalfields market. The market is one of Londons busiest shopping destinations and as you could probably guess it also has an amazing food court. Whether you are in the mood for something healthier like a poke bowl or want to enjoy a special meal on your cheat day, you will find several food options for every taste. My family and I are big fans of Asian cuisine, especially the dumplings. For this reason we decided to get the shrimp wontons with chili sauce from the “Dumpling shack”.

5. Brick lane market – Just next to Spitalfields market you will find yourself in the buzzing Brick lane market. The market is known best for its wide range of trendy vintage clothes. Despite that you can also enjoy a changing selection of street food that will keep you well-fueled while you browse through the several second-hand shops and retro goodies. I personally snacked on some sweet potato fries.

6. Kerb Camden market – the last stop on our street food adventure was Kerb in Camden market. From Chinese to French, KERB street food market holds 34 food stalls, which all offer mouth-watering dishes from all around the world. The food choices are endless and will leave even the pickiest eater happy. After wandering around the food stalls and trying to decide what I want to eat, I finally chose the atomic cookie ice-cream from “Chin Chin Labs” I enjoyed my scientific food creation along the beautiful canal.

Well, with an overfilled stomach and an unforgettable after taste, my foodie trip to some of London’s best street food markets ended. This guide is supposed to help all of you first time visitors, who want to enjoy the ultimate street food experience.
xoxo,
Afterthetaste

Carrot and orange soup

Whether you are aware or not, two weeks ago I came back from my Moroccan adventure. Despite the many sights we visited, we also managed to try all kinds of traditional dishes. One soup in particular got my taste buds going mad! We had it served in a beautiful restaurant in the medina in Marrakech and I can still taste the deliciousness of this bowl of soup whenever I think about it. This particular soup was made with pumpkin and orange. At first it sounded like a rather strange combination since it was made with pumpkin and orange, but after taking my first bite, I kept craving more and more. Even after coming back to Sofia, I still wanted to have the lovely soup, so I decided to put my own spin to it and recreate my own version. Because it’s not really pumpkin season, I used carrots and it tasted even better. Even if you are not a fan of soups in general, I can guarantee you that you will most certainly adore this one.

Ingredients:

10 medium sized carrots

1 onion

1 clove garlic

1 tsp thyme

1 orange (zest+juice)

What to do?

1. You start by putting your finely chopped onion into the pot and sweat it off

2. When onion is softened, add the minced garlic

3. Add the thyme and chopped carrots to the pot

4. Cover with water and let it simmer until your carrots are soft enough

5. Either use a hand mixer or just put everything in your blender and pulse until it is all well-mixed

6. Move back to the pot and add the juice and zest of your orange, salt and pepper

Voilá! That was is it. I personally also like to top it off with some roasted pumpkin seeds for some extra crunch. As you can see the soup literally requires a few basic ingredients, but tastes magnificently.

Vegan falafel salad

One of my favorite cuisines is the well-known Arabic oriental. The first dish that made me fall in love with this enriched world of flavors was a portion of falafels. Traditionally falafels are made from chickpeas and spices, and then rolled into small balls and deep fried until crisp and golden on the outside, and soft and creamy on the inside. This balance of textures makes the dish so enjoyable for many people. As I’ve mentioned before, I try to follow a healthy diet, which doesn’t include fried food. That’s why I challenged myself to make this fatty indulging dish into something as delicious, but better for my body and health. I came up with the idea, instead of frying the falafels to bake them and surprisingly they turned out tasting amazing. Complimented by some leafy greens and my special garlic tahini sauce, this falafel salad is bursting with fresh bright flavors from the cilantro and greens. It still makes a hefty hearty meal due to the protein rich chickpeas and fatty tahini dressing. Another great thing about baking falafels is that they can stay in the fridge for up to 5 days. Even if you are not a big salad lover, you can still have them on their own or serve them in some pita bread. Trust me after trying this recipe you will want to have this falafel salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Ingredients:

Can of chickpeas

2 garlic cloves

1/2 onion

1tsp. Cumin

1tsp paprika

1/2 tsp spicy paprika

1/2 cinnamon

1/2 lemon

1 tbsp. Flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup of Parsley

For the garlic tahini dressing:

1/2 lemon

2tsp tahini

1 garlic clove(minced)

salt and pepper

1/2 tsp honey

What to do?:

  1. In a food processor blend the onion, garlic and parsley
  2. Add the spices and mix until nicely blended
  3. Pour the thick mixture in a large bowl
  4. Put the chickpeas in the food processor and blitz
  5. Add the chickpeas to the spice mixture and stir until combined
  6. Add a table spoon of flour
  7. Form small thick patties and place on the baking your generously oiled baking thin, so they don’t stick
  8. Place in the oven for 30minutes in total
  9. After 15-20 minutes turn the patties over and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes
  10. Meanwhile make the sauce, combine tahini, lemon juice, garlic and cumin in a glass and stir
  11. To loosen up the dressing gradually add water
  12. When your falafels look golden brown, take them out of the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes
  13. Lastly plate everything and serve

There you have it! Your healthy version of the traditional falafel recipe. To make the salad taste even better I added also some hummus and chopped tomatoes.

* If you want crispier outside here are my tips:

  • Make small thick patties
  • Refrigerate the mixture before forming into patties
  • Oil the baking pan
  • Let the falafels cool slightly before serving

Copenhagen eats: my top five food stops

As I mentioned in my previous blog post a few weeks ago I went on a small trip to Copenhagen. Despite the many mesmerizing sights we saw, the city also managed to satisfy our food cravings. Copenhagen is known to be one of Europe’s most preferred culinary destinations. Home of the world famous restaurant Noma, the vibrant city also has a lot of other incredible places, where you can try great food without needing to spend a fortune. If you know me, you are probably aware that food is my one and only true love and wherever I go, I always make a special list with certain food places I must try. Before even booking our airbnb I had already picked every single cafe, bar or restaurant, which we were going to visit and eat in.

1. Grød – The name translated from Danish means porridge and it reveals that the menu is based mainly on porridge. But forgetting about the sticky and tasteless oatmeal that your mom used to make you eat as a child, Grod has managed to make this dull looking breakfast item into something snazzy and insanely delicious. With its unique and creative porridge bowls, Grød has deserved its reputation for serving the best oatmeal in the world. All day round you can see a large queue of hungry clients waiting for their morning booster. After 20 minutes of questioning what to get, I finally made my choice – Oat Porridge 1(their signature item), which is based on water and whole milk, topped with apples, homemade caramel sauce, roasted almonds and cinnamon. I have no words to describe how good it was. Not only that it kept me energized for hours, but it also satisfied every single one of my taste buds. Open until 19:00 you can enjoy special breakfast, lunch and dinner menus in their 3 locations spread all around Copenhagen.

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Oat Porridge 1( I put an extra amount of chocolate chips to make it taste even better)

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2. Falafel factory – If there is one food item, which I could have for the rest of my life that would most likely be falafels. As soon as I saw that there is a special eatery in Copenhagen that specializes in falafels, I was too interested to not go there. Falafel factory is a small fast food restaurant where you can customize your falafel pita as you may desire. For your base you can choose from three type of falafels and add all kinds of toppings and secret-recipe sauces. I personally went for a spicier option, with which I was extremely satisfied. If you are on a budget, want to have a quick bite or just love falafels internally as I do, “Falafel Factory” is a great option.

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falafel pita with three types of falafels and spicy tahini sauce

3. Next door cafe – As you could assume from the name, the cafe literally looks like your neighbor’s house. Starting from the cozy interior, the place really does remind you of a living room and has a very home-like and hipster vibe. Located on Lardbornstrasse, which is in the heart of Copenhagen, the cafe welcomes locals and tourists with freshly brewed coffee and delicious homemade food. I was impressed mostly by the artsy decor, and unusual details such as the notes, drawings, and pictures all tucked in by previous customers under the glass table. The cafe offers traditional breakfasts such as American pancakes and scrambled eggs, which all follow a recipe by the owner.

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their signature american pancakes and yogurt with granola

4. Moller – Winner of the title – The best breakfast in Copenhagen no doubt about it. The restaurant hides in the heart of the hip district Nørrebro and offers breakfast all day, every day. You can simply pick from their list with breakfast possibilities, tick your choice and hand it to the waiter. Within just a few minutes of waiting you will receive the most scrumptious breakfast. We ordered quite a few things both sweet and savory options, which all overwhelmed our expectations. Everything was brilliantly prepared and I personally can’t decide which food item is my favorite.

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our breakfast feast
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belgian waffle with cherry marmalade

5. The food club – The only rule you have to follow if you want to be a member of the food club is to come with an empty stomach. Part of the Danish restaurant chain Madklubben, The food club is an upscale buffet packed with great food and beverages, varying throughout the week. The buffet focuses on sustainability and is all organic produced. To enjoy the wide array of incredibly delicious dishes and drinks you need to pay a fixed price depending on the time you spend there. Since it was an all you can eat restaurant, I went all out and stuffed my plate with everything that the buffet offered. The only thing that I was disappointed by was the lack of dessert options, but everything else compensated for it as the food was wonderful.

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and this was only my first plate

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We also visited lot’s of other great food places in Copenhagen, but these 5 were my top choices.