Category Archives: Mains

11Sep/15

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!

Ingredients

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

Method

  • 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
07Aug/15

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.

Ingredients

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

Method

  • 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

 Bake

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
31Jul/15

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!

Ingredients

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

Method

  • 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

31Jul/15

Spicy aubergine bhaji

Aubergine bhaji(3)

Apart from potatoes, aubergines are second on my list of most used vegetables.  You can curry them, stuff them or dip in flour and fry them – I have even used aubergines in my vegetable biryani with very good results and of course aubergine pickled in vinegar with garlic and a some mint is delicious.

This is a spicy aubergine bhaji where I have used a mix of whole spices generally known as Panchporan – it is a mix of black mustard seed, fenugreek seed, fennel seed, cumin seed and black onion seed and is available in most Asian stores, some large supermarkets like Tescos or buy it online – click here)

Ingredients

1 large aubergine, cut into large cubes
3 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons panchporan (a mix of black mustard seed, fenugreek seed, fennel seed, cumin seed, black onion seed, available at Asian stores or online here)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 inch piece ginger, chopped finely
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
½ tablespoon tomato puree
Chopped fresh coriander (optional)

Method

  • Heat oil and add panchporan
  • Let the spices brown for a minute or so until the seeds begin to pop – add all the other ingredients except aubergines

Aubergine bhaji

  • Cover and cook tomatoes on low heat for about 15 minutes – you shouldn’t need water, but if you do add a small splash
  • Add aubergines, cover and cook for another 15 minutes
  • Sprinkle fresh coriander and serve with rice or any flat bread

 

24Jul/15

Aubergine with chana dal and soya mince

Aubergine, chana dal & mince

Mince and chana dal (split peas) cooked in a rich tomato sauce and whole dried lime, split in two is a very popular dish in Iran.  Dried lime can be bought at Middle Eastern or Asian stores or online, click here.   I have successfully added aubergines to this dish as aubergines go very well with soya mince and tomatoes.  Served with plain boiled rice or flat bread this makes a very satisfying and healthy meal to serve to the family! 

I tend to add a pinch of baking soda when cooking any tough legume or bean as this hastens the cooking time – a trick I learnt from my dear Laxmi, who was a loving and gentle second mother to me and my family.

Ingredients

Half cup chana dal, preferably soaked for an hour but not absolutely essential
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 large aubergine, cut into large cubes
1 cup frozen soya mince (you could use dried soya mince too, click here to buy online)
1 medium onion, sliced
3 tablespoons oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
1 level teaspoon turmeric
3-4 tomatoes, chopped (or 1 tin of tomatoes)
½ teaspoon salt
1 dried lime, split in two (optional, click here to buy online) 

Method

  • Rinse and cook chana dal with a quarter teaspoon of baking powder – baking powder will expedite the cooking process! Be careful you don’t overcook the chana dal and keep it whole, strain and set aside
  • Fry onions in oil until golden
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric, garlic, ginger and salt
  • Aubergine, chana dal & mince(2)
  • Cover and cook on low with a small splash of water until tomatoes are softened, about 20-25 minutes
  • Add aubergine, soya mince, cooked chana dal and dried lime.  Add a cup of water, cover and cook on low heat for a further 20 minutes until the stew is thick and aubergines cooked
  • Serve with boiled rice or flat bread – why not try this Maneesh I made the other day!

Maneesh(2)

11Jul/15

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.

Ingredients

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

Method

  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
11Jul/15

Cauliflower & peas

Cauliflower & peas

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

Ingredients

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)

Method

  • 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
17Jun/15

Mixed vegetable curry

Mixed vegetable curry(2)
I haven’t posted recently and am sorry about this…been so busy with the garden and other things which took priority.  Anyway, here is a simple mixed veg curry you could rustle up with any vegetable you have available.  I had a medium size aubergine (which believe it or not was half rotten so only used the good half), potatoes of course, and some frozen spinach which I put together to make this super delicious curry.

Ingredients

1 medium onion, sliced
3 tablespoons oil
3 tomatoes, or 2 large tablespoons tomato puree
3 medium potatoes, diced
1 medium aubergine, cut into chunks
100-150 grams spinach, about 3 handfuls fresh or frozen leaf spinach
4 cloves garlic, finely minced or chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, finely minced or chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste

Method

  • Fry onion in oil until pale golden
  • Add spices, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and a little salt
  • Fry on low/medium heat for 2 minutes, cover and cook on low for 10 minutes – add small splash of water if required
  • Add vegetables and about 300ml of water, bring to boil, lower heat and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are cooked and the sauce is thick
04Jun/15

Brown rice, Puy lentils & French beans

Brown rice green beans(4)

Rushing off to Cornwall for a long weekend so no time to write much about this except that it is simple and very quick to put together.  The flash fry cherry tomatoes make a perfect addition and complete the meal.

Ingredients

300 grams brown Basmati rice
100 grams Puy lentils
200 grams French green beans, cut in two
2 medium onions, sliced (I used red onions)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 inch stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
700ml water
Garnish
Approx. 300 grams cherry or baby plum tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fruit vinegar (I used Bickerton’s Blackberry fruit vinegar)
2 tablespoons Aspall’s White Wine Vinegar
OR if you don’t have wine and fruit vinegar, you could substitute with 2 tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar
Handful of fresh mint leaves, torn (or 1 teaspoon dried mint)

Method

  • In a large, wide saucepan, fry the onions and cinnamon stick in oil for about 5 minutes until translucent and the edges just turning brown
  • Add turmeric and beans and fry for a minute or so

Brown rice green beans

  • Add rice, Puy lentils, salt and 700ml water

Brown rice green beans(3)

  • Bring to boil on high, lower heat and cover and simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes, stirring a couple of times to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan

 Garnish

  • Heat oil in a frying pan and add tomatoes
  • Fry for 2 minutes on high, add white wine vinegar and fruit vinegar and mint
  • Give it a stir or two and serve with rice
28May/15

Shepherdess Pie

Shepherdess Pie(2)

This version of shepherdess pie is slightly different in that I have used some tomato puree and oregano to flavour the plant based mince and instead of mashing the potatoes, I sliced them thinly and arranged a double layer on top of the mince.

Normally I would add maybe some mushrooms and do a more traditional version, but I found the tomato puree (use tomatoes if you wish) and the oregano give it a more summery flavour and the sliced potatoes don’t absorb the gravy as much as mash and the result is altogether very scrumptious indeed.

Shepherdess Pie(4)

2 large, 4 small servings

Ingredients

1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons oil
1 large carrot, sliced
2 large sticks celery, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups of frozen vegan mince
7-8 medium potatoes, thinly sliced and coated in 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon Marmite OR 1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos OR 1 tablespoon soya sauce
2 teaspoons Biona Worcester sauce
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oregano
600ml water
1 tablespoon corn flour mixed with a little cold water

Method

  • Fry onions and garlic in oil until translucent
  • Add celery and carrots and fry for a further 2-3 minutes
  • Add all other ingredients and approximately 600mls of water, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes
  • Add corn flour paste and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring to keep it from sticking – take the bay leaves out now and check for seasoning; you shouldn’t need any salt

Shepherdess Pie(3)

  • Put the sliced potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and mix well
  • Layer the potatoes on the mince, cover tightly with lid or foil and bake in oven at 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 for 45 minutes until potatoes are cooked
  • Remove cover and pop under hot grill for 10 minutes to brown the potatoes