Detox – Post Barcelona!!

Having eaten my way through Barcelona, I was working off the mind set of ‘need to try everything’. And then there was also the many, many cups of coffee, lets face it, the Spanish really know how to make good coffee. Add to that the Nespresso machine in our hotel room, there was truly no escape from my caffeine addiction. Then the little glass of wine or two over lunch, to help fuel the ongoing sight seeing! I felt I really needed to cleanse body and soul.

It’s good occasionally to give our bodies a break from all that we throw at it. Not only food wise but also to try and reduce stress levels. Time to get off the roller coaster of life and take a breather. I have done a detox before (roughly ten years ago!) and if memory serves me right, I did feel great after it.

On both occasions I used the Carol Vorderman’s Detox For Life. The premiss of this diet is not to necessarily loose weight, although some excess pounds are shed, but rather to get rid of toxins, cellulite(there I said the dreaded word for most women!) and more importantly increase energy levels and improve sleep patterns.

It’s also recommended not to go cold turkey all at once as this can have a negative affect psychologically, if you feel you can’t have any of your tasty treats. I weaned myself off coffee over a period of about a week. Surprisingly I still felt withdrawals when I came off it totally. And apparently it had an initial affect on my mood as Emmet my husband was threatening to pop caffeine tablets into my mouth while I slept in order not to suffer the wrath of my caffeine dependency! By the way, I don’t sleep with my mouth open!!

What became apparent to me was that although I don’t normally eat/drink a lot of either, the two things I missed most were coffee and butter!! Not as a combination mind you.

Anyway, the reason for this post is not to encourage anyone to do this detox or indeed to come across as ‘Holier than Thou’ from my detox soap box, as I’ve fallen off the detox wagon, but to share with you two of the recipes which were really delicious!

The first being Red Lentil Dahl and the second being Quinoa Pilaf with Chickpeas and Almonds. These recipes are very quick to put together.

Red Lentil Dahl with Sunflower Seeds


Makes about 4 servings

  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 tbsp/30ml water or vegetable stock
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 350g/12oz red lentils
  • 1.2 litres/2 pints water
  • 110g/4oz sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to season
  • Handful of fresh coriander or parsley roughly chopped


Saute the chopped onions in the water/stock for a few minutes. Add the crushed garlic and spices and cook for a further minute.

Add the lentils and water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Taste and season with some salt. I also added about a teaspoon of chili and a finely chopped red chili pepper as I like spicy food.

Finally, before serving, add the sunflower seeds and fresh coriander or parsley. I went with coriander as I just love the flavour.The sunflower seeds give this Dahl a lovely nutty texture.

I served this with some brown basmati rice. This Dahl also froze very well.

Quinoa Pilaf with Chickpeas and Almonds

The pilaf I made differs slightly from the original recipe as there were some ingredients that I’m not too keen on. I will indicate what ones I substituted. I had never cooked with quinoa grains before and was surprised how tasty this dish was.


Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp/30ml water or vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stick of cinnamon (I used a tsp of cumin here instead)
  • 4 cardamon pods (I used a tbsp of coriander seeds here instead)
  • 2 gloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 courgettes, sliced
  • 225g/8oz quinoa
  • 600ml/1 pint vegetable stock
  • 250g/9oz cooked chickpeas (I used a 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • 60g/20z toasted flaked almonds
  • 60g/20z toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Handful of fresh coriander or parsley roughly chopped


Heat the 2 tbsp water in a large saucepan and saute the onions with the chosen spices, in my case cumin and coriander seeds, for 2 minutes

Add the garlic, peppers and courgettes and cookd fo a further 2 minutes

Add the quinoa, vegetable stock  and cooked chickpeas. Stir and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid had been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked.

Pile the pilaf on to serving plates. Scatter with the almonds, pumpkinseeds and roughly chopped coriander or parsley.


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6 Responses to Detox – Post Barcelona!!

  1. sybaritica says:

    Yum … dal is one of my wife specialities and I make it too… I’ll try it with sunflower seeds the next time. Great idea!

  2. MeathMam says:

    Hi Rhoda,

    Sounds like you had a fab time in Barcelona. Photos and description great.. Would love to go to that market. Going to try out your spicy nuts this week…

  3. heather gandy says:

    I am absolutely making the red lentil dahl in the next week. It looks FABULOUS!
    I am blown away by your amazing recipes and beautiful photos!

    • Rhoda Kirwan says:

      Thanks so much Heather!! The dahl IS delicious and so simple to make. It was great spending time with you and you Mum in Santa Barbara. Hope to see you again soon. Rhoda x

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