Category Archives: Light meals & sundries


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

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)


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!

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 or Tesco’s dairy free yogurt is very good too)
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

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


Onion Pakoras

Pakoras with onions(3)

Most of us are familiar with onion bhaji – big balls of gram flour with onions and spices deep fried and served as a starter in most Indian restaurants.  

Onion bhaji, as we know it is a tad dense and compact, whereas onion pakoras, which is how we would prepare them at home are lighter, fluffier, and for me, far superior in taste and texture to the onion bhaji we inevitably order when out for a curry night!

Feel free to add green peppers, cooked peas, or even cooked chopped green beans to this mixture with the onions. Alternatively, dip thin slices of uncooked potatoes, spinach, kale or thinly sliced aubergine in the batter and fry until golden and the vegetables cooked through – this would be the Asian alternative to Japanese tempuras, but spicier!


1 cup gram flour (basan) available at all Asian stores and good supermarkets
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon chilli powder or flakes (optional)
¼ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, chopped
Few chopped fresh coriander leaves
Oil to fry


  • Mix all the dry ingredients with some water, starting with a little and then adding more, to make a thickish batter – it should slip off the spoon easily

Pakoras with onions

  • Add the chopped onions and fresh coriander
  • Heat some oil in a small wok – about half inch of oil if you prefer not to deep fry – as you can see below, mine are not deep fried

Pakoras with onions(2)

  • Drop dessert spoonfuls of batter in the hot oil and fry on each side for about 2 minutes on low/medium heat until golden!

Spicy roast cauliflower

Roast cauliflower

Here’s a cauliflower roast to spice up your meal.  It is easy, just mix ingredients into thickish batter, coat cauli and bake – done.


Small cauliflower
2 heaped tablespoons gram flour (basan)
1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast (optional)
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil in batter
2 tablespoons oil in roasting pan


  1. Mix all the dry ingredients above up to 1 tablespoon oil and add a little water to make a smooth, thickish paste – enough to coat the cauli but not run off! If too thin, add a little more gram flour
  2. Put an inch of water in pan and par boil whole cauliflower for 5 minutes only
  3. Remove the cauliflower, allow to cool a little, then coat with batter
  4. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a roasting pan and roast cauliflower in preheated oven at 200C, 400F, gas mark 6 for 20 minutes

Cauliflower & peas

Cauliflower & peas

Cauliflower and peas, another quickie to eat with either flatbread or with rice and dal.


1 small cauliflower
1 large cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
Little chilli powder (optional)
Salt to taste
Few curry leaves (optional if you don’t have it but they do add a lovely flavour. It is easier to find these days, I have seen some in Tescos in the veg section and also Schwartz do one in a little bottle – well worth adding to your cupboard)


  • Cut the cauliflower into small florets and leave in a bowl covered with water
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds
  • As soon as they begin to pop and they do! take off heat and add all the spices including salt
  • Add a tiny splash of water and gently fry spices for a couple of minutes
  • Add cauliflower and peas, cover tightly and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring intermittently to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan
  • You may need to add a small splash of water but if the cauli is soaked in water, you shouldn’t need any