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 (Engevita)
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

07Jan/16

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

Ingredients

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

Method

  • 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!
14Dec/15

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.

Ingredients

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

Method

  • 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.
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 or Tesco’s dairy free yogurt is very good too)
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
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
09Aug/15

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)

Ingredients

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

Method

  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

 

07Aug/15

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.

Ingredients

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

Method

Mix all the ingredients and serve on a bed of lettuce, enjoy