IF YOU need me right now, I'll be sunning myself on the beaches of Bulgaria.
Life's tough, right?
Often I let cuisine dictate where I travel to, but that wasn't the case with mysterious Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is cheap, so my bank account influenced me on that score.
I actually don't know much about Bulgarian cuisine at all. From the research I have done, it seems yogurt is a pretty big deal in this Eastern European country.
But with neighbours like Greece and Turkey as well as Russian influences, I am expecting to find a bit of melting pot of those cuisines.
This is probably one of my most exciting stops because I know so very little about Bulgaria and its food. All the more reason to carry out some cuisine-based investigation.
I don't have any expectations whatsoever - except maybe drinking a cold beer while overlooking a sunny beach on the Black Sea.
The wonderful Sara Kidd of Lettuce Love has been holding the fort a little for me while I have been away in terms of offering up easy dishes for you to whip up.
This dish in particular caught my eye when it popped into my Facebook feed one day.
The dramatic colours and flavour combinations make it interesting and unique - and, of course, tasty.
Here's what Sara has to say:
"In the cooler months this soup is a great winter warmer and the mixture of earthy flavours from the beets with the sweet coconut flavours from the soup are a match made in heaven, not to mention that the colours will brighten up any gloomy weather. With no gluten, processed sugars, dairy or animal products, this is a great dish to impress guests, and the soup and beets can even be made as a meal on their own."
This is the last meal I will feature from Lettuce Love. Please let me know if you have had success with Sara's recipes - what's been your favourite?
Do you have any great animal product-free recipes you would like to share?
Email me and let me know.
And if you have enjoyed making these dishes, Sara has plenty more at www.lettucelove.com.
Coconut cream pea soup with roast beets
500ml filtered water, 4 large raw beetroots, 2 brown onions, 1 whole garlic bulb, 1 tbsp rosemary, 1-2 tbsp coconut oil.
1 litre water, 1 cup coconut milk or cream, 1 cup fresh mint leaves tightly packed, 1 cup English spinach or baby spinach tightly packed, 600g baby garden peas, 1 stock cube, 4 tbsp wheat-free tamari or soy sauce, 1 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener.
Preheat over 190C. Cut beetroots into wedges and place in baking dish greased with 1/2 tbsp coconut oil. Break up garlic but leave skins on and spread around baking dish. Quarter onions and do the same. Sprinkle rosemary and 150ml water. Dob remaining coconut oil over beets. Place in oven for 60 minutes.
Adding more water and turn beets every 20 minutes.
When garlic is soft and onions are roasted remove all onions and half garlic cloves and put aside.
Crush remaining garlic into baking pan to mix into juices. Continue to roast until beets are soft but crispy on the outside.
Drizzle with maple syrup and 1 tbsp of tamari and roast for a further 5-10 minutes.
Turn oven off but leave beets in oven to keep warm.
In a large soup pot place onions. garlic, and remaining ingredients except coconut cream and bring to boil.
Place soup and coconut cream in food processor and blend until creamy.
Reheat if needed. Serve soup with beets in the middle or as a side dish.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.