Category Archives: Mains

22Aug/17

Moussaka

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

Serves 4

Ingredients

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

Method

  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

11Mar/16

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

Ingredients

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)

Method

  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

Note:
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!

25Feb/16

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

Ingredients

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

Method

  • 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

20Feb/16

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.

Ingredients

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

Method

  • 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)

12Feb/16

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

Ingredients

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

Method

  • 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

07Jan/16

Lasagne with tomatoes, aubergine & green lentils

Lasagne

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.

Ingredients

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

Method

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

16Oct/15

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.

Ingredients

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)

Method

  • 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
09Oct/15

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)

Ingredients

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)

Method

  • 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

Ingredients

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

Method

  • 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)

23Sep/15

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

Ingredients

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
Salt

Method

  • 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
11Sep/15

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! 

Ingredients

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

Method

  • 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