Bulgur wheat & soya mince stew

Bulgur wheat & soya mince stew

Autumn is here in all it’s glory and winter is on it’s way …. we are now looking for some warm and hearty food although I am still throwing together a light salad for lunch.  

Have you ever tried cracked bulgur wheat? It is surprisingly like soya mince with a lot of texture and a gorgeous earthiness – perfect for a mince stew to go with some mash perhaps and greens?  This is a simple recipe I concocted the other day using dried soya mince and bulgur wheat with a teaspoon of coffee! Try it and you will definitely add this to your winter menu.


3 tablespoons medium cracked bulgur wheat
1 cup dried soya mince (I use Neal’s Yard)
2 tablespoons oils
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 sticks celery, sliced
8-10 baby carrots or 2 medium carrots (slice large carrots)
200 grams button mushrooms (use any sort you prefer)
2 tablespoons soya sauce
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence or mixed herbs
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1-2 teaspoons cornflour mixed with a little cold water

Bulgur wheat & soya mince stew(2)


  • Cook bulgur wheat in 1 cup water on low heat until water is absorbed
  • Fry onion and garlic in oil until pale golden
  • Add celery, carrots and mushrooms and fry for a few more minutes to release the flavours
  • Add 600ml water and bring to boil
  • Add cooked bulgur wheat, soya mince, herbs, tomato puree and soya sauce; cover and simmer gently for about 15 minutes
  • Add instant coffee and cornflour paste – mix 2 teaspoons of cornflour but use only as much as necessary to thicken gravy

Hot water crust pastry pie

Hot Water Crust Pie

Hot water crust pastry is something I don’t do often but it is ever so easy I wonder why I don’t?!  So here we are, if you haven’t tried it yet, set all your fears aside and have a go.  It is very simple to make, even more so than shortcrust, and in no time and with very little effort you will have the most gorgeous, golden, mouthwatering pie you have ever had the pleasure of setting on the table!

For filling I have used potatoes, mushrooms and veggie bacon and a little gram flour to bind the ingredients.  Have a go with any filling you fancy but bear in mind that you need to have something to bind the stuffing; in this case the potatoes and gram flour do the trick! Another thing to bear in mind is that you need to have enough filling to stuff the pie right to the top or you will be left with a gap between the stuffing and the pastry lid.

Hot Water Crust Pie(9)


200g plain flour
100g strong white flour
75g plant based butter
75g vegetable suet or shortening
100ml cold water
Good pinch of salt
Round non stick cake tin (mine is 6 diameter, 2½ inches deep)


  • In a large bowl, mix the flours and salt. Add butter and crumble with the tips of your fingers to form crumbs (same as for short crust pastry)
  • Bring the vegetable suet and water to a boil
  • Make a hole in the flour and add the melted suet and water. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon – the dough is quite soft
  • Using your hands (make sure the dough is not too hot for you) mix the dough to form a smooth ball
  • Break off a quarter of the dough and set aside for the lid of the pie
  • On a floured board, gently roll out the rest of the dough and line the tin – let it cool a little before lining, although it should still be warm but not hot
  • Fill with pie stuffing making sure it is filled right to the top
  • Roll the dough you set aside to form a lid and cover the pie. Crimp the edges, then make a cross on top with a sharp knife
  • Place in fridge for 30 minutes
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C, 350F or gas mark 4 for about 1.30 minutes. That is how long mine took to turn golden and crisp.  Check the pie after 1 hour, then again after 15 minutes as all oven temperatures tend to vary a little
  • Remove your pie from the oven and leave in the tin to cool for about half an hour
  • If you are using just a regular round cake tin like I did, the pie is surprisingly easy to remove from the tin. Place a plate over the pie, turn over on to the plate.  Now take another plate and turn it over again to get the right side up…. It is really quite simple although scary if you haven’t done it before!

Hot Water Crust Pie(3)

Filling for pie


2 large potatoes, diced and cooked
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
250 grams mushrooms, chopped
1 pack of veggie bacon slices, cut into small pieces
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 teaspoon mixed herbs or any herb of you choice
1 tablespoon gram flour
A little black pepper


  • Cook the potatoes and roughly break them up with a fork
  • Gently saute onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent
  • Add chopped veggie bacon and mushrooms and fry for about 6-7 minutes
  • Add peas, gram flour, soya sauce, black pepper and sage (or herbs of your choice)
  • Stir on low heat to mix all the ingredients thoroughly
  • Now add the potatoes, give it a good stir
  • Let it cool before filling the pie

Hot Water Crust Pie(8)


Curried Chickpeas with Kale

Curried Chickpeas & Kale

Well, my Cavolo Nero, the dark green Italian variety of kale has grown to about 3 feet tall and still producing.  However, it needs to be used quickly as the leaves are acquiring a hint of bitter.  And as I don’t believe in waste, kale is the order of the day until the new very hardy Borecole variety I have planted for this winter’s supply of this beautifully nutritious and delicious brassica starts to produce fresh, green succulent leaves.  Simple as always and if you are really stuck for time, have you tried using ready fried onions – see here?  I do when I can’t be bothered to chop and fry onions and for most curries it works fine – use about 2 tablespoons for 1 onion. It is not gluten free so please be careful.

Here is some more information about this wonderful black kale if you are interested – click here


1 tin chickpeas, drained
125 grams chopped kale – any sort, I used Cavolo Nero
1 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons oil
3-4 cloves garlic, grated or chopped fine
1½ inch piece ginger, grated or chopped fine
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 heaped tablespoons plant based unsweetened yogurt (I use Sojade which I usually buy from As Nature Intended)
2 tablespoons tomato puree


  • Fry the onion in the oil until golden
  • Add all the spices, yogurt, tomato puree and salt and fry on low heat for 8-10 minutes until the spices are cooked. Add small splashes of water to stop it from sticking to the pan
  • Add kale and chickpeas and about 200-250ml of water
  • Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes or until the kale is cooked through

Potatoes with green beans

Potatoes & green beans

This is a very simple, spicy and easy dish to prepare.  We all love potatoes and in this dish I have combined potatoes with green beans which hopefully you have grown yourself.  I have used French beans but runner beans should be fine too specially if you have a glut of runner beans in your veggie patch, by all means use them! 


4 large potatoes (waxy not floury), sliced into rounds
About 200e-250 grams of beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons Panchporan (this is a mix of 5 whole spices and you can buy it in Asian shops, online or at Waitrose – click HERE for link to Waitrose)
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons curry powder
Salt to taste


  • Heat oil in the pan and add Panchporan
  • Brown the spices on low heat and when the seeds begin to pop take off the heat and add all the spices, salt and the vegetables
  • To this add a small amount of water, about 3 tablespoons, cover with a tight lid (preferably wrapped in a tea towel to keep the steam in) and cook on lowest heat for about 30 minutes.
  • The potatoes and beans should be cooked in this time and quite dry

Baked marrow, soya mince & chana dal

Stuffed marrow soya mince

Well here we are and the marrow plants have born fruit and the squashes glowing orange, waiting to be picked.  I use marrows a lot when they are around – cooked with lentils, or in a tomato sauce or baked of course.  Baked marrow is the simplest and provided you bake it covered with the skin for 20 minutes, maybe 5 more minutes after checking with a skewer, and you should have a firm textured marrow with the stuffing in tact.

For this recipe I have stuffed the marrows with soya mince and chana dal cooked with tomatoes and it was as scrumptious as it looks in the picture.  If you don’t have the time to cook chana dal, simply substitute it with a tin of black eyed beans – voila!


1 medium marrow, cut into rounds about an inch and half tall – scoop out the inside pulp and seeds
½ cup chana dal, cook separately before you do anything else!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, sliced
½ teaspoon turmeric
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1½ cups frozen soya mince
1 cup frozen peas
Salt to taste


  • Fry onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent and lightly brown
  • Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric and salt and cook covered for 20 minutes until tomatoes are cooked and soft
  • Add soya mince and peas, cover and cook on low heat for a further 10 minutes
  • Now add the chana dal which you’ve cooked earlier and give a good stir to mix thoroughly

Stuffed marrow soya mince(2)

  • Place the hollowed marrow slices on an oiled baking tray and stuff them – stuff the filling as much as you can and let some of it sit on the surface of the marrow – any leftover stuffing simply put spoonfuls on the tray

Stuffed marrow soya mince(3)

  • Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven at 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 for 20 minutes
  • Uncover and bake for another 5-10 minutes

3 ingredient potato cakes

Potato cakes(2)

This is basically a 3 ingredient potato cake although you could add a handful of fresh parsley if you’ve got it handy.  I make these more often than any other because they are so simple and I always have the ingredients – so no rushing around for special spices etc. 

It goes well with baked beans or vegan sausage and we sometimes have it with rice and dal and a light salad.

Potato cakes(3)


1 kilo floury baking potatoes like King Edwards or Maris Piper(don’t use waxy potatoes)
2 teaspoon onion powder or granules
2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (I use Bob’s Red Mill or Cal but these are not easily available in the UK – you may find it in Wholefoods or online. I recently bought Cal from ebay although the postage from the US is high, click here. The other choice is Marigold Engevita which is available in health food stores or from Goodness Direct)
½ teaspoon salt
Handful chopped parsley (optional)
Oil for frying


  1. Peel potatoes and cut into big chunks and boil, about 20-25 minutes
  2. Strain the potatoes and mash well
  3. Add nutritional yeast and parsley and salt
  4. Form into round potato cakes – large or medium is up to you
  5. Heat oil in frying pan for shallow frying
  6. Fry potato cakes for about 3 minutes on each side until nice and brown



Chickpea salad

Chickpea salad(3)

Quick, easy and nutritious, chickpea salad for lunch.  Use whatever salad ingredient you have to hand, that is what I have done.


1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
Few radishes, sliced
Few cherry tomatoes, halved
Little cucumber, sliced
2 spring onions, chopped
Some lettuce
Pinch of cumin powder
Pinch of chilli flakes, optional
A little lemon juice
Drizzle of olive oil
Sea salt


Mix all the ingredients and serve on a bed of lettuce, enjoy


Cheesy Cauliflower

Cauliflower cheese(4)

Cheesy cauliflower made with nutritional yeast, a little vegan butter and Oatly cream to give it a gorgeous, smooth, creamy flavour.  I also made some stock with the cauli stems and added the stems to the cauliflower bake – if you haven’t tried using the stems before you must have a go – waste not, want not and it enhances the texture and gives the dish a more cabbagey flavour.


1 cauliflower with fresh stems
1 onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, sliced
Little ground black pepper

Cheesy Sauce
350ml stock
1 soya or oat cream (I used Oatly 250ml)
2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
2 tablespoons butter
Pinch of turmeric for colour
½ teaspoon English or Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons cornflour mixed with a little cold water to make a paste


  • Remove stems and cook the whole cauliflower in about 2 inches of water for 7-8 minutes, no more and set aside

Make the stock

  • Chop the stems into 1 inch pieces (cut off any tough bits)
  • Make stock with the cauliflower stems, onion, garlic, bay leaves and black pepper by adding 500ml water and simmering for 30 minutes
  • Strain the stock and keep the stems and onions aside – we will add this to the bake

Make the sauce

  • Make the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients except the cornflour and mustard
  • When it comes to the boil, add the cornflour paste and stir on low heat until sauce is thick – add mustard and take off the heat


Cauliflower cheese

  • Break the cauliflower into large florets and place in a baking dish
  • Add the stems and onions from the stock
  • Pour the cheesy sauce and bake for 20 minutes on 200C , 400F, gas mark 6 for 20 minutes

Cauliflower cheese(2)

  • Place under hot grill for 5 minutes

Rich tomato pasta

Tomato pasta

This is a simple, rich and tomatoey pasta which doesn’t require much else and is bliss served by itself.  The whole garlic bulbs are sweet and creamy when cooked with the sauce.  If you wish you could serve with vegan meatballs or vegan sausages.  We also had some spinach on the side.

The only downside to this this recipe is that although it is very simple, the tomatoes do need to be simmered on low for a few hours…..this is what makes the sauce rich and creamy and so very perfect transforming a regular tomato pasta into food fit for angels and all things heavenly.

You could use any sort of pasta but I opted for Casarecce which is currently my favourite. Summer is here, so what better time to buy a bag load of ripe, sweet tomatoes and make your pasta divine.

Serves 4-6


400 grams pasta, I used Casarecce
1000-1200 grams large ripe tomatoes, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
100ml red wine (optional, replace with water)
Sea salt
3-4 whole bulbs of garlic
700ml water
Some fresh herbs – whatever you have growing in the garden; marjoram, basil, oregano will do fine
Vegan meat balls to go with the pasta (optional)

Tomato pasta(3)


  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add all the chopped tomatoes, salt and red wine
  • Bring to boil, cover and simmer on low heat for about 2.5-3 hours…yes, you do need to cook the tomatoes really well

Tomato pasta(2)

  • After a couple of hours of cooking the tomatoes, mash them with a potato masher. Pop the whole garlic bulbs, a little water if required, cover and cook for a further 30-60 minutes until the sauce is thick and rich
  • Add 700ml water, bring to boil and add the pasta. Cook on low for about 20 minutes, stirring to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan
  • Add fresh herbs, stir and serve with vegan meatballs or sausages if you wish

Yogurt & gram flour curry

Kadhi with pakoras

Kadhi or yogurt & gram flour curry is something we don’t find in our usual curry restaurants and this is perhaps because it is assumed by restaurateurs that it is something which wouldn’t sit too well with the European palate and is more an acquired taste.

However, if you have ever had an Indian vegetarian thali, served with a variety of dainty little bowls containing different vegetable dishes, it is very possible that kadhi formed part of this medley.  You could say it is a little like being served with a bowl of miso in a Japanese restaurant but usually in India and Pakistan it is eaten with rice or kichdi, which is rice and lentil dish cooked together.

Generally, we would add some gram flour pakoras (click here for recipe) to the kadhi but some people add a few vegetables – you could happily eat this as a very satisfying soup!


2 tablespoons gram flour
2 tablespoons natural unsweetened soya yogurt (I used Sojade which is available at As Nature Intended or Wholefoods)
2 tablespoons oil
1 heaped teaspoon panchporan (a mix of black mustard seed, fenugreek seed, fennel seed, cumin seed, black onion seed, available at Asian stores or online here)
1 level teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 inch piece ginger, finely minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
Few curry leaves (optional but worth stocking up – you can buy these dry from Tescos & Asian stores)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
Some chopped fresh coriander


  • Mix the gram flour and yogurt with a little water into a smooth paste. Add about 1 litre of water and set aside
  • Heat oil in a deep pan and add panchporan; give it a minute or two until the seeds begin to pop
  • Add spices, garlic, ginger. salt and curry leaves and tomatoes cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until tomatoes are soft
  • Add the gram flour and yogurt mixture and bring to boil. Be careful as it will boil over very easily.

Kadhi with pakoras(2)

  • As soon as it comes to the boil, lower heat and leave to simmer (do not cover), stirring intermittently, for about 45 minutes or until it is thickish, but not too thick. Consistency depends on how you like it – some people like it very thin and runny, whereas others prefer it thicker
  • Add lemon juice and give it a stir, now add the onion pakoras, sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve (see picture above)

Note: Instead of pakoras, you could add some vegetables like carrots, peas, sweet potato, butternut squash or green beans and cook for a further 15 minutes until vegetables are cooked