Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A real Pea-Souper...

Brrrr!!! It is rather chilly here. We still have snow on the ground and there is more to come. I even found this polar bear whilst I was out and about yesterday.
Cold days require soup, tasty thick soup served with crusty bread. In the shops today I found some reduced mint - perfect for pea soup!
So here is some Pea, Potato, Leek & Mint soup.
  • a couple of leeks - sliced
  • a few potatoes - chopped into chunks
  • an onion - chopped
  • a handful of fresh mint - chopped
  • black pepper
  • 1l of vegetable stock
  • a couple of handfuls of frozen peas
  • a swirl of cream (if you so desire)
  • a little vegetable oil
In a large saucepan soften the onion and leeks in oil.
Then add the stock, potatoes, black pepper, chopped mint and peas, and bring to the boil.
Once the potatoes are soft, blend until smooth. Serve with a dollop of cream & enjoy the warm cosiness!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Pumpkin & Chick Pea salad with Tahini sauce

With half a pumpkin sitting in the fridge I searched the net for ideas. I stumbled upon this warm pumpkin and chick pea salad with tahini, and was inspired!
Firstly I chopped pumpkin, green pepper and courgette into a roasting dish. I added oil, chili flakes, grated nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice, and then put in to the oven.
Meanwhile in a large bowl I added half a chopped red onion and a drained tin of chick peas.
Once the veggies were soft, I added them to the chick pea mixture and stirred well. This mixture was then spooned onto a bed of simple salad (spinach, tomato, cucumber and lettuce).
For a tahini sauce, I added a tablespoon of tahini and crushed garlic clove to about 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt. Stir well, and add lemon juice to taste. If the sauce is too thick/strong, dilute with further yogurt. Spoon the sauce over the salad & serve with some tasty breads.
Absolutely delicious if I do say so myself. Though the raw onion / garlic combo does mean no snogging immediately after :)

Monday, 1 November 2010

Happy Halloween!

So we were a day late eating our pumpkin, due to a spooky trip here.
Back home, in the cosy warm and brandishing a sharp(ish) knife I attempted to carve the pumpkin. Realising that a) my knife is a bit blunt, b) I am not that strong, and c) this was one tough cookie (or should I say pumpkin), I concentrated on dinner instead. For a pumpkin and halloumi pasty, in a roasting dish with a little oil went chopped pumpkin, red pepper and leek. Seasoned with fresh rosemary, paprika and pepper. Off in the oven. Meanwhile I rolled out puff pastry into two rectangles and greased a baking tray.
Once the veggies were soft, I spooned them onto the pastry, added some chopped halloumi and then covered with pastry, scrunching up the edges, like a Cornish pasty.
Put in the oven until golden & then scoff!!!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Veggie goodness

It's autumn, it's a bit chilly, all the more reason to create a big casserole of veggies & lentils to warm the cockles of you heart.
In an ovenproof dish add lots of chopped onions, carrots, leeks, swede, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes (and anything else you have to hand). In a colander rinse a handful or two of red lentils, and then add to the pot. Make up some vegetable stock (I used a trusty veggie oxo cube), and pour into dish until all the veggies are covered. Add some herbs (parsley & rosemary work well here) and season. Put in the oven (about 180 degrees Celsius) for a couple of hours. During this time relax & put your feet up. When everything is soft and the lentils cooked, it is ready to serve! I served this with some veggie sausages (thank you Linda McCartney!). Vary the veg, herbs and pulses as desired. If you have lots of liquid left after serving, use this as a flavoursome soup base the following day. Enjoy!

Sunday, 3 October 2010


When I think of French & Scottish cuisine, vegetarianism isn't the first thing that springs to mind. So I was curious when I heard of L'Artichaut in Edinburgh, and had to make an excuse to pop across to the capital.
Edinburgh is a vegetarians delight, with restaurants a plenty (David Bann, Black Bo's, Hendersons to name a few). L'Artichaut is in the new town on Eyre Place,we arrived just as it opened for the evening at six, and being the first people there, joked about why did we bother to book. However by the time we left the place was packed. The details are perfect, Tim Stead chairs, bespoke ceramics and artichoke paintings covering the walls.
The food was delicious, focusing on vegetable flavours rather than meat substitutes. To start I enjoyed a Guacamole and salsa verrine (like a terrine but vertical!) whilst Mister Strawberry had beetroot croquettes, golden on the outside and bright pink in the middle!
Continuing my quest to get to grips with aubergine, I had roasted aubergine topped with goat's cheese for a main, whilst my companion had ratatouille filled beef tomato, with polenta chips. Note to self, need to experiment with polenta, as it was very tasty indeed. Dessert was a sharp lemon tart for me & lime and pink peppercorn meringues for him. Delicious! I did forget to take photos of all our courses, as I was too busy eating! I was glad to see the festive menu being advertised, and can't wait for an excuse to pop across to fill up on food! L'Artichaut adds to Edinburgh's thriving veggie scene, bringing a Gallic twist! Vive l'artichaut!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Brussels & Bramleys

Autumn is here. This is my favourite season.
Today I had my first brussels sprouts of the season. Forever associated with Christmas dinners and flatulence, the poor brussel gets a bad rep. In Germany it is called rosenkohl, meaning rose cabbage. This is a much prettier name I think. Steamed brussels sprouts covered in gravy and mint sauce are just delicious!
McLaren, our new addition to the house, got to try brussels for the first time - I think he likes it!
Feeling autumnal, Bramley crumble is a must. With lashings of Birds custard. I am stuffed!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Organic legware...

This made me chuckle, though I did feel slightly bad taking a picture at the local fruit & veg shop. Luckily I didn't get caught doing it.
Back to the food, this is of course, a swede. However in Scotland they tend to call both a turnip & a swede, a turnip. Very confusing, especially when you start throwing in the term 'neeps' too! Fortunately this article straightens it all out, or does it?

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Mutabbal & a new squeaky friend

I love the taste of Middle Eastern food, so when I saw Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East by Arto der Haroutunian, I knew I had to have a copy! Flicking through the pages causes my mouth to water! Some cheap aubergines led me to make mutabbal (which is similar very to baba ganoush - imagine hummus but with aubergine rather than chickpeas).
Delicious, especially with some roast onion, courgette & pepper spicy cous cous.
And to help eat the parsley stems, today we brought home a new beastie, perfect for the job!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Courgette Fritters

I have a bit of an issue with courgettes. I go through phases of really liking them, and then for no reason I can't stand them. It's the texture, I think??? When I saw this recipe on Craftster I just had to try it, to overcome my zucchini fear!
I didn't have an nutritional yeast, so skipped that. But added some chili powder, and served with rice & sweet chili sauce. They were delicious, very moreish! Thank you Calm Mind Busy Body!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Baked bean comfort soup

This week I have managed to chip a tooth and develop a sore throat. This makes chewing food is not so desirable at the moment! Feeling sorry for myself, I made soup, using the ultimate comfort food, Baked Beans!

Ingredients:Check Spelling
  • A tin of baked beans
  • One red onion chopped
  • One carrot chopped
  • Handful of pasta shapes
  • Vegetable stock
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • A little oil
  • A generous squirt of tomato ketchup
In a large saucepan, lightly fry the onion, once soft add the vegetable stock. To this add the tin of beans, chopped carrot, tomato ketchup, pasta shapes & seasoning. Cover and leave to simmer. When the pasta is soft, it is ready to serve. Simples. Due to my sore throat I served this with super squidgy soft white bread (another guilty pleasure!).

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Avocado & Mozzarella salad

Last week I bought a pack of 4 avocados, after waiting (for what seems like an age) for them to ripen, they are now super soft for eating. I'm now scratching my brain trying to think of uses for them, other than the traditional guacamole. The fridge was full of tomatoes today, so that led to this salad. It is very colourful and tasty!

  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Mozzarella
  • Salad leaves
  • Sweetcorn
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
Firstly, roughly chop up tomatoes. I used cherry plum toms & some big beefy fellas. In a bowl add some olive oil and balsamic vinegar to the toms, and leave to settle for a little while.
On a plate arrange some salad leaves (I used a mixed salad leaf pack and fresh rocket). To this pile on the tomatoes, chopped avocado, mozzarella and a sprinkle of sweetcorn. Drizzle a little more oil & serve. Yum!

Friday, 2 July 2010

The mother of all grains

A list of 12 things you should know about quinoa got me thinking about that bag of quinoa lurking at the back of the cupboard, hidden behind the rice & pasta. So today I roasted some baby potatoes, butternut squash, red onion, red pepper & cherry tomatoes, having been drizzled with oil, paprika & chili powder. Into cooked quinoa I added sweetcorn and fresh mint. And all topped with some delicious & chewy grilled halloumi.
Although I couldn't wait for the halloumi to brown (I was too hungry!), it was still very moreish. Now what to do with the rest of the bag of quinoa???

Ps) The title of this post is what the Incas called quinoa. A little fact for you :)

Monday, 21 June 2010

Sunny Salads

Today is the longest day & the sun is shinning. Perfect for tasty salads. Firstly sprouting beans, carrot, red pepper, celery, cucumber & lettuce. Mixed with a little oil & balsamic vinegar. I love the colours - truly a feast for the eyes!
Secondly veggie chorizo, cherry tomato, pesto & cous cous. Very more-ish!
Served with a feta & olive pasty from the fantastic Grassroots.
Enjoy the sunshine :)

Monday, 15 March 2010

It's a bugs life...

I came across these cute little critters in the supermarket. How could I resist?
Adorable and full of chocolate, what is there not to love?
Look it's the Beatles!

Must stop playing with my food.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Cosy Crumble

Crumble is the ultimate comfort food. Sweet, warm and gooey. It even contains one of your five a day (though the added sugar might just cancel the nutritional benefits out!). Crumble apparently became very popular during rationing in wartime, as an alternative to making fruit pies - as less fat is needed. Apples, pears, plums, blackcurrants, rhubarb, peaches, gooseberries, raspberries and more can be transformed into a delicious dessert. A crunchy topping from a simple butter, flour and sugar mix. Chopped nuts, oats, dessicated coconut and spices can be added if you are feeling fancy.
Today some apples & pears that had seen their best were stewed, covered with a topping and sprinkled with cinnamon and cloves. The most important question, is what to serve it with? Custard, cream, milk, ice cream?

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Kale, Kale, Kale!

Kale is a rather overlooked member of the cabbage family. A hardy veg, it becomes sweeter when exposed to frost - perfect for British weather. During WW2 Dig for Victory campaign, Kale growing was much encouraged, as it is easy to grow and nutritious.
Nowadays it seems to have been demoted to the back of the veg selection. One problem with kale is the stalks can be a bit tough. Fortunately I have two very helpful kitchen assistants who are more than happy to deal with any fibrous stalks!
Kale is great when stir fried, full of nutrients and its vibrant green is a feast for the eyes. Here is a recipe for a delicious stir fry using kale, carrots & tofu.

  • Kale
  • Carrots - chopped
  • Marinated tofu
  • 2 garlic cloves - thinly sliced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger - grated
  • 2 red chili peppers - thinly sliced
  • soy sauce
  • oil
Heat a small amount of oil, add all the ingredients (except soy sauce). Stir until the garlic is golden, the kale bright green and the tofu cooked.
Add some soy sauce into the mix just before serving. Serve with brown rice & enjoy.
Beware, I made this quite hot! So adjust the chili content to taste.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Bubble & Squeak

The ultimate in cold weather comfort food has to be bubble & squeak. A perfect frugal meal; recycling left over cooked greens into a tasty dish. Traditionally in the UK, bubble & squeak is reserved for Monday nights only (after the obligatory Sunday dinner). However, in a veggie household, any day can be a bubble & squeak day! Bizarrely a dish that is forever associated with day old leftovers, is also available to buy in ready-meal form in supermarkets!!!

The basis for bubble & squeak is cooked potatoes and greens. For some reason (probably psychological) it tastes much nicer if they have been cooked the day previously! This version contained potato, brussels sprouts and cabbage. Roughly mash together with a little margarine.
Then, in a large pan, lightly fry the mixture. You may, if you are really, really lucky, hear it 'squeak' over the heat (hence the name!). Ensure the mixture is heated through & serve.I am particularly fond of bubble & squeak with vegetarian sausages and lashings of brown sauce. Or if I am feeling adventurous, a generous helping of piccalilli.
Great, easy cooking for chilly evenings!