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 (I use Bob’s Red Mill which is excellent but is hard to source in the UK. Ebay and Amazon sell it but postage from the US is expensive although the large tin lasts a long while.  Marigold is a lot cheaper but I’ve not tried this)
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!



Lasagne with tomatoes, aubergine & green lentils


This is a rich, creamy and very saucy lasagne, simply oozing with flavours of the Mediterranean and you can be assured it will go down very well with your family and all your friends.  You could prepare the tomato and aubergine sauce in advance as well as the cheezy sauce and layer and bake the next day.


Approximately 12 sheets of pasta
Oblong ovenproof dish (mine is 11x8x2½ inches)

1 large aubergine, cut into cubes
1 tin chopped tomatoes with chopped olives (or add a few of your own olives to the chopped tomatoes)
3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
A little salt to taste
1 tin green lentils

Cheezy sauce

1 litre unsweetened soya milk
1 tablespoon plant based butter
2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1 teaspoon onion granules
3 tablespoons cornflour mixed with a little cold water or some of the soya milk


Tomato & aubergine sauce

  • Heat the oil and add garlic. Fry until pale golden.
  • Add tin of tomatoes, a little salt, oregano and 1 tin of water
  • Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, add aubergine
  • Cook on low for 15 minutes – set aside

Lasagne tomato aubergine sauce

Cheezy sauce

  • Bring the soya milk to boil on medium heat
  • Add butter, onion granules and Nutritional Yeast
  • Stir on low heat for a few minutes until well blended
  • Add the cornflour paste and cook on low – stir the sauce with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes on low heat

Lasagne cheese sauce

Layer the lasagne

  • Cover the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce and cheezy sauce
  • Cover with lasagne strips and top this with more tomato sauce, green lentils and cheezy sauce
  • Continue to layer as above until you get close to the top of the dish
  • Top with cheezy sauce
  • Bake in pre-heated oven at 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 for about 45-50 minutes
  • Serve with spinach and mushrooms – click here for recipe

Spinach Mushrooms


Sauteed spinach & mushrooms

Spinach Mushrooms

Quick and easy to prepare and super delicious!

Here it is keeping company with the delicious tomatoey lasagne in perfect harmony with the rich tomato flavours

Lasagne tomato aubergine


250 grams fresh or frozen leaf spinach (cooked)
200-250 grams button mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of salt


  • Fry the mushrooms and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes
  • Add cooked spinach and salt and fry for a further few minutes – serve!

Wholemeal Carrot Cake

Carrot cake(2)

Hello everyone, most of us have had a go at the ubiquitous carrot cake loved by all. Here is a wholemeal version which I find is so much ‘nuttier’ with a far better texture. I used equal measures of white and wholemeal flour and pecan nuts instead of my usual walnuts.  Nothing to stop you making it just wholemeal flour but half and half of each turned out just too perfect!  Can’t go far wrong with carrot cake and keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.


1 cup plain white flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
½ cup shredded coconut
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup mixed dried fruit and peel
3 cups coarsely grated carrots (2 large carrots)
½ cup pecan nuts, coarsely chopped
Juice and zest of 1 orange
¾ cup oil

Carrot cake


  • Preheat oven to 180C, 350F, gas mark 4
  • Grease and line tin with greaseproof paper
  • In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients up to nutmeg (as listed above)
  • Add rest of the ingredients followed by orange juice & oil and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be quite stiff
  • Pour into a shallow oblong baking dish 8 x 6 x 1½ inches and bake for 45 minutes. Pierce with skewer and if it comes out clean, the cake is done, if not give another 5 minutes
  • Let it cool for 30 minutes on rack and cover with icing. I used a simple icing made with icing sugar mixed with just a little cold water – stir with wooden spoon until it blends thoroughly and is not too runny.

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