Lemon pickle in a jiffy

A friend recently mentioned lemon pickle, the sort our mothers and aunts made and impossible to buy in shops. I put this together relying on a memory of the taste and ingredients – sure I have missed something but it tastes pretty close to how I remember it and was so easy will be buying more lemons soon!  I used just one lemon as I wasn’t sure how it would go and had half of it with my rice and spinach later!!  What a delicious way to eat lemons and ginger…sooo good for you too. Please remember that recipes are only a guide so do adjust for taste and use your creative initiative – that’s what it’s all about, have fun!

NOTE! I made this pickle again and this time didn’t bother cooking the lemons – simpler if you are prepared to leave it for a few days before digging in.  Just boil the vinegar and water, then add sugar and dissolve on low heat. Place all ingredients in the jars and pour hot vinegar over it – easy eh!  Oh btw, this time I used 6 lemons, 3 cups of vinegar, one cup water and 3 tablespoons brown sugar – perfect.


2 lemons unwaxed (sliced thinly)
1 cup cider vinegar, I used Braggs raw unfiltered  (enough to just cover the lemons)
¼ cup water
1½ tablespoon brown sugar (adjust according to taste)
1 teaspoon kalonji (Nigella seeds)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon coarse ground chillies
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 inch piece of thinly sliced fresh ginger
Few green chillies (optional)


  1. Place the thinly sliced lemons in a stainless steel saucepan with the vinegar and water
  2. Bring to boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes on very low heat
  3. Add sugar and let it dissolve on low stirring all the time
  4. Remove from heat and add Nigella seeds, fennel seeds, turmeric, ground chillies and salt
  5. Place green chillies and ginger in a jar
  6. Pour the lemon and vinegar into the jar – cool and cover

Moussaka (2)

Just popped a picture of my alternative version of moussaka on facebook and friends requested the recipe, so here we are…

Ooops! sorry, had a brainstorm and typed 1 litre of water in the mince! only need about 350ml oooops


1 onion sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
200-250 grams frozen veggie mince
1 cup frozen edamame beans or peas
1 good tablespoon sundried tomato paste (most supermarkets keep stock this now)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
6-8 cherry tomatoes (basic cheap ones!)
1 mushroom stock cube (I used Kallo)
½ teaspoon turmeric
Little ground black pepper
6 potatoes, thinly sliced
1 large aubergine, thickly sliced
Little olive oil to brush aubergines


  1. Saute onion with garlic in olive oil
  2. Add turmeric, tomato puree, sundried tomato paste, cherry tomatoes, veggie mince, edamame beans and black pepper
  3. Add about 350ml of water and dissolved stock cube; cook on low for about 25-30 minutes until the sauce is thick (not too thick though)
  4. While the sauce is cooking, lightly brush the aubergine slices and grill on both sides until golden
  5. In a dish pour the mince sauce, top with layer of aubergines and then with several layers of the sliced potatoes
  6. Cover and cook on 200C/400F/Gas 6 for an hour
  7. Uncover and pop under grill to brown the potatoes a tad – enjoy


My version of a quick and simple moussaka using soya mince, aubergines, beans and potatoes! Give it a go

Serves 4


4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion sliced
1½ cup frozen soya mince
1 tin of white beans (haricot), drained (tin of any other bean or green lentil will also do)
1 large aubergine, sliced thickly
2 tablespoons Cook’s Sauce (sun dried tomato paste) and 2 tablespoons tomato puree (use 4 tablespoons tomato puree if Cook’s Sauce not available)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Half vegetable stock cube dissolved in 400ml hot water
6 potatoes, thickly sliced


  1. In a little oil fry the aubergine slices quickly for a few minutes, set aside on a plate
  2. Add the rest of the oil and fry onion and garlic for a few minutes – don’t brown
  3. Add soya mince, beans, tomato puree/Cook’s sauce, oregano and stock – cover and cook for about 10 minutes to make a nice rich sauce, not too thick though
  4. Lay a few slices of potatoes in an ovenproof dish, top with aubergine slices and pour the mince and bean mixture. Cover with rest of the potato slices
  5. Cover dish and cook for 50 minutes on 200C/400F/Gas 6


Spaghetti Carbonara

Oatly has hit the supermarkets with their dairy free crème fraiche and it is superb! And here we have our version, simple as always, of spaghetti carbonara and, even if I say so myself, it  was delish and every drop of sauce and morsel of spaghetti were wiped off in record time. We got our Oatly creamy oat fraiche from Tescos and the link is below in the ingredients.


250 grams spaghetti
2 tablespoon olive oil
250 grams chopped mushrooms (I used chestnut mushrooms)
1 mushroom stock cube (Kallo)
1 teaspoon onion granules (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tub Oatly crème fraiche
1 avocado chopped
10-12 wild garlic leaves OR 2 cloves grated garlic


  • Fry mushrooms in oil for a few minutes
  • Add stock cube dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water, onion granules and a little black pepper, give it a stir to and set aside
  • Blend all the ingredients for the sauce
  • Boil spaghetti as usual and add to mushrooms
  • Pour sauce on spaghetti, give it a quick stir to warm through and serve



Caramelised rice & carrot pudding

Caramelised rice & carrot pudding(2)

Yesterday was cold and wintry….more so than it has been so far this winter; the kind of day when you cuddle up in bed with a hot water bottle, a book and a bed full of cats……bliss.  I finished my book early afternoon and strolled down to the kitchen, followed by cats, to throw together a bowl full of traditional rice pudding which I had been craving for a while…but I wanted it to be sort of different – creamier and a little caramely? With nothing to lose I went ahead and did it and am I glad I did. The caramel took no time and I decided to add a grated carrot which made the texture more interesting and gave the pudding a warm glow, so here we have caramelised rice & carrot pudding, at your service!


700ml soya milk
100 grams pudding rice
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
150 grams sugar
Good knob plant based butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 140C, 280F, gas mark 1
  2. Warm the soya milk on low heat and stir in rice, grated carrot and caramel (see below for recipe)
  3. Stir the mixture until it is simmering then pour into an ovenproof dish and add knob of butter
  4. Bake in the preheated oven at for 1½ – 2 hours. Stir the pudding a couple of times through baking

Caramelised rice & carrot pudding(5)


I used Delia Smith’s recipe which is simple and works every time.  Use 150 grams of sugar and 3 tablespoons of cold water – read her illustrated instructions carefully, it is simple and works beautifully

Caramelised rice & carrot pudding(3)

….with a drizzle of Oatly cream for added indulgence



Potato & French bean biryani

Potato & beans biryani

Here is a simpler variation on the traditional biryani I have posted earlier, with fewer spices and easier to put together. Remember to use good quality Basmati rice and boil for a few minutes only until el dente and don’t forget to soak it for at least 1 hour – I usually soak my rice for 2 hours


2 cups Basmati rice (200-225 grams) soaked for 1 hour at least
Approximately 300 grams French beans, chopped into half inch pieces
4 medium waxy potatoes (approx. 500 grams), cut into large chunks
2 medium onions, sliced
4 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced (can use ½ teaspoon powder or paste)
2 inch piece ginger, finely minced (can use ½ teaspoon powder or paste)
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons natural yogurt unsweetened (I like Sojade best available at As Nature Intended and Wholefoods)
2 tablespoons tomato puree (you can do omit the tomato puree, just add more yogurt)
Salt to taste

Potato & French bean biryani(1)


  1. Fry the onion in 3 tablespoons oil until golden
  2. Add all the spices, yogurt and tomato puree and a little water
  3. Fry spices for about 5 minutes, adding tiny splashes of water to keep it from burning
  4. Add potatoes and beans and about 200ml of water
  5. Bring to boil, lower heat to lowest, cover and cook for about 20 minutes until potatoes are cooked but firm
  6. In a large saucepan, bring the rinsed rice to boil in lots of water – about 2 inches above the level of the rice. Boil for about 3-4 minutes checking to ensure the rice doesn’t overcook
  7. Strain the rice. In the saucepan add 1 tablespoon oil and about ¼ cup of water. Put half of the rice back into the pan
  8. Pour the potato and bean curry on to this and then top it with the remaining rice
  9. Cover the lid with a teacloth and steam on medium heat for 5 minutes, and then lower heat to lowest and steam for a further 20 minutes until the rice is steaming
  10. For more pictures and a step-by-step guide click here

Serve with either fried or baked tofu (use firm tofu). It’s all in the marinade with tofu and you can make a spicy one by mixing a little curry powder with yogurt, tomato puree and soya sauce or add a little something to sweeten it and some lemon juice  – bake and/or fry. If baking, put a little oil in a tray and coat the tofu by turning it over in the tray – bake for 20 minutes at 200C. Here is a link for crispy fried tofu.

All rice freezes very well – so make a large pot!


Simple potato & onion gratin

Potato & onion gratin(2)

A while ago I did a potato, leek and mock bacon gratin which was delicious, however, the other day I didn’t have any leeks and decided to have a go with just potatoes and onions and cook on the hob in my heavy copper pan rather than the oven. Well, you wouldn’t believe how simple this was and how absolutely scrumptious! Took less time to prepare and cook so this definitely gets the vote in my weekly repertoire.  As this has no mock bacon, you can serve it with a variety of vegan products such as vegan sausages or some grilled seitan or tofu – enjoy

Potato & onion gratin


6 medium waxy potatoes (boiling potatoes) about 700 grams, sliced
2 large onions, thickly sliced into rounds
1 tablespoons olive oil (not your best olive oil!)
2 heaped tablespoons nutritional yeast (Engevita is widely available in health food shops)
1 small cup vegan cream, about 150ml (I use Oatly Longlife)
1 stock cube, Kallo French onion or Vegetable, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of boiling water
1 tablespoon non-dairy butter like Vitalite
Black pepper


  • Take a heavy based saucepan – I used my heavy copper pan. Coat the pan with olive oil and layer with sliced onions
  • Lay the sliced potatoes on top of the onions
  • Add nutritional yeast and black pepper to Oatly cream, stir and pour on the potatoes
  • Pour the dissolved stock cube on to the potatoes and dab with butter
  • Cover the lid with a teacloth and cook on low heat for about 30-35 minutes

Note: Place the saucepan in half inch of cold water for 2-3 minutes – this loosens the crust on the base of the pan and is easy to serve


Green beans & leek fry


Green beans & leeks(7)

Leeks are a great substitute for those who wish to omit onions although it is a pity if you have to do without ….the most underestimated and silent ingredient of all cuisines. I personally use a lot of onion to add sweetness and flavour and in this quick fry up of green beans & leek I have used onions and also garlic and ginger, but you could do without all 3 and I reckon get away with it.


250 grams French green beans, cut into about 1½ inch pieces
2 medium onions, sliced
2 medium leeks, sliced
2 tablespoons oil
2 inch cinnamon stick
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced (optional)
2 inch piece ginger, grated (optional)
½ level teaspoon turmeric
1 Kallo vegetable or French onion stock cube, crumbled
Ground black pepper


  • Fry the onion and cinnamon stick in oil for about a few minutes on low/medium heat until the onions just begin to change colour
  • Add all other ingredients except stock cube and fry for a further 5 minutes on low/medium heat
  • Dissolve the stock cube in quarter cup of hot water and add to the fry; keep frying on low/medium heat until the vegetables are dry and the beans cooked yet crunchy (about 10 minutes)
  • Grind a little black pepper and serve

Note: you can also add some dry soya protein chunks from Neal’s Yard available at Holland & Barrett, Wholefoods and As Nature Intended. You will need to soak these in boiling water for about 20 minutes before adding to the fry

Green beans & leeks(4)


Leek, tomato and sausage bake

Leek & sausage bake(2)

Here’s a quick and simple bake to enjoy this winter. You need very few ingredients and substitute or add to the vegetables, as you please or depending on what is available. Add chunks of swede or sweet potato or even a handful of green beans….the choice is yours.  

Leek Swede & sausage bake

With swedes above


2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 leeks, cut into approximately 2½ inch pieces
4-5 large tomatoes, sliced thickly
1 pack of Tofurky sausages, cut in two (you can buy Tofurky sausages at Holland & Barrett, Wholefoods and Planet Organic)
1 Kallo French onion or Vegetable stock cube dissolved in 70ml hot water
½ teaspoon turmeric, mix with the stock
Little ground black pepper
1 heaped teaspoon of dry sweet basil or any other herb of your choice


  • Arrange a layer of tomatoes in an oven proof dish with a lid
  • Place the leeks on top and add a second layer of tomatoes to top the leeks
  • Lastly add the sausages, pour the stock and turmeric mixture and drizzle with oil
  • Sprinkle with herbs and some black pepper
  • Cover and bake at 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 for 30 minutes
  • Remove lid and bake for further 20 minutes

Leek & sausage bake(3)

Served here with brown rice with chickpeas (click here for recipe) and cabbage and red onion stir fry


Banana & Pecan bread

Banana bread with walnuts

This banana & pecan bread is perfect with afternoon tea or a snack when you get the munchies!


50ml plant based milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1¼ cup plain white flour
2 tablespoons oil (sunflower or any other)
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 heaped tablespoons sugar (brown or white)
Good pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup chopped pecans (or substitute with walnut)


Pre-heat the oven to 180C, 350F or gas mark 4

  1. Mix the milk and cider vinegar and leave to curdle
  2. In a large bowl mix together mashed bananas, oil and sugar
  3. In another bowl mix flour, salt, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and nuts
  4. Now add the banana mixture and curdled milk to the dry flour mixture and give it a good stir with a wooden spoon
  5. Line the tin (mine is 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches) with baking parchment and pour the mixture in
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C, 350F or gas mark 4 for 35-40 minutes. Best to check after 35 minutes by inserting a skewer and if it comes out clean, the cake is baked!