Recipe of the Week – 18th August 2014 – Herby Veggie Quarter Pounders

There are hundreds of veggie burger recipes available, which I really like as it means that there are thousands of ways of playing with different ingredients. This recipe is my take on one of the simplest and was very popular when I served these up at the cafe the other week. My only problem was keeping them small, so they were nearer to half pounders when finished!

Makes 6


4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 x 400g chopped tomatoes, drained
300g carrots, coarsely grated
300g courgettes, coarsely grated
2 tbs freshly chopped parsley
2 tbs freshly chopped coriander
1½ tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground coriander
100g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten (can be replaced with 30ml soya milk if vegan)
salt and pepper


1. Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan then add the onion and garlic, and sauté gently until soft.

2. Add the carrots and courgettes, and fry for a further 10 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables have softened.

3. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, spices, herbs and seasoning and mix well. Take the pan off the heat and add the egg (or soya milk) and breadcrumbs.

4. Divide the mixture into six and shape into burgers.

5. Add the remaining oil to the pan and gently fry the burgers over a medium heat for approximately 5 minutes each side, until lightly brown.

6. Serve in a bun with salsa, sweet potato wedges, and a side salad.

Recipe of the Week – 11th August 2014 – Spicy Carrot and Chickpea Tagine

I was really impressed by this recipe when I first tried it – so much so that I I started playing around with it to try different variations! To me this tastes quite different from other tagines that I have tried, and it’s actually simpler. The level of heat can be modified quite easily by adjusting the amount of cayenne, although I do like this hot!

Serves 6


3 tbs Olive Oil
2 medium onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs honey (I used agave nectar to make this vegan)
4 medium carrots, sliced diagonally
3 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Pinch sea salt, to taste
1 medium bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until soft (approx. 5 minutes).

2. Add all of the spices, the agave nectar or honey, and the carrots, and sauté gently for 2 minutes. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, cover, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

3. Add the chickpeas and 50ml more water, cover and cook gently for a further 10 minutes.

4. Take off the heat, season and add the chopped coriander.

5. Serve immediately with couscous and lemon slices.

Recipe of the Week – 4th August 2014 – Roasted Red Pepper and Fennel Salad

This is a very tasty and yet simple recipe for a very different salad to those that are generally green leaf based. This works really well with pasta, but seemed adaptable to most meal types. It’s also great in sandwiches!

Serves 6 as a side


8 large sweet red peppers
1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
2 medium onions, finely sliced
Juice of 1 lemon or 3 tbs lemon juice
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 180C then place the peppers in a roasting tray and roast for 45 minutes until soft. Place the cooked peppers in a large bowl and cover with cling film and set aside to cool before de-seeding and slicing thickly.

2. Place the pepper strips in a large serving bowl and add the onion and fennel slices.

3. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and stir in well.

4. Season with the salt and pepper, and finally add the chopped parsley. Chill before serving.

Recipe of the Week – 28th July 2014 – Asian Noodle Salad

As the British heatwave continues (that’s it – I’ve jinxed it now!), I am increasingly trying new cold and salad dishes. This is my variation on a traditional noodle salad, made more substantial by the roasted butternut squash chunks – a definite winner in our household!

Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side


1 pack of medium egg noodles
4 spring onions, finely chopped
100ml soy sauce
1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm dice
1 large cucumber, peeled and slivered
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into 1cm strips
2 medium carrots, peeled and slivered
100g cashew nuts

For the dressing

150ml vegetable oil
100ml rice or white wine vinegar
4 tbs granulated sugar
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 tsp dark sesame oil


1. Preheat the oven to 220C then place the butternut squash cubes in a large roasting tray, drizzle with 2 tbs vegetable oil, season, and roast for 25 minutes until lightly brown. Remove and allow to cool completely.

2. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the noodles and boil until soft. Rinse, drain and toss with the soy sauce to coat.

3. In a large bowl combine the noodles with all of the other main ingredients and toss well.

4. In a food processor or blender, mix all of the dressing ingredients together and pulse until smooth. Pour the dressing into a jug and chill until ready.

5. When ready to serve pour the dressing over the noodles and vegetables and toss well to combine.

Recipe of the Week – 21st July 2014 – Aubergine and Potato Bake

I thought that I was beginning to run out of new ways of cooking with aubergines, my favourite vegetable, but I tried this by modifying Aubergine Parmigiana, and it seems to work really well. The sautéed potato seemed to compliment the aubergines really well with the cheesy breadcrumb topping.

Serves 4 to 6


2 medium aubergines, cut into 2 cm dice
500g potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
2 tbs olive oil
A large knob of butter
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
300ml good quality veg stock
50g grated breadcrumbs
1 tbs grated vegetarian parmesan
Salt and pepper to season


1. Place the peeled and diced potatoes in a large pan of salted boiling water and boil for 5 to 8 minutes before draining, then set aside.

2. Place the aubergine cubes in a large boil and sprinkle liberally with salt. Leave for 30 minutes to soften before rinsing thoroughly.

3. Heat the oil and the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion. Sauté gently then add the garlic and aubergine cubes. Fry until tender (approximately 10 minutes on a gentle heat).

4. Add the potatoes to the aubergine and season before adding the tomatoes, herbs and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes.

5. Place the mixture in a large baking dish, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and cheese and bake in the oven for 15 mins until the topping is golden. Serve with fresh bread and a green salad.

Recipe of the Week – 14th July 2014 – Potato and Spinach Burritos

These burritos (and I have tried experimenting with many different sorts!) always seem to be satisfying either hot or cold, and are probably one of the most versatile and filling. I like them either cold as finger food, or served warm with a smoky tomato sauce made from tinned tomatoes, garlic and paprika.

Makes 6


400g good quality firm potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice
2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
400g fresh spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
200g long grain or basmati rice
6 large tortilla wraps
5 tbs sunflower oil
1 tbs cumin seeds
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbs smoked paprika
Salt and pepper


1. Cook the rice as per instructions, rinse thoroughly, drain and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan boil the diced potatoes until just soft, drain and set aside.

3. Add the onion, 3 tbs oil, chillies and whole and ground spices to a large saucepan and sauté gently for 5 minutes, stirring often.

4. Add the potatoes, spinach and cooked rice to spiced onion mix and stir gently to combine. Season to taste.

5. Let the mixture cool then spoon approx. 5 tbs of the mixture to the centre of a tortilla wrap before folding the edges approx 2cm in and rolling gently to form the burrito. Repeat until the mix is used up.

6. Lightly dust each burrito with more smoked paprika and gently shallow fry in the remaining oil in a large frying pan for approx. 1 minute each side. Cut in half and serve with a sauce and green salad.

Recipe of the Week – 7th July 2014 – Marrakech Sweet Potato Curry

After a very busy week at the cafe I fancied trying something new that was relatively easy to make, and yet filling and tasty. I’m a big fan of Moroccan cuisine and this recipe is one I have modified to take into account the glut of sweet potatoes I had in my fridge! This also worked well with some smoky tomato chutney and flatbread.

Serves 6


4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 red and 1 orange pepper, deseeded and roughly diced
1 medium aubergine, cubed
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
8 tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs medium curry powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs sea salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained
4 tbs flaked almonds
1 courgette, sliced
2 tbs sultanas
300ml orange juice


1. Gently heat half of the oil in a large saucepan and add the sweet potato cubes, the aubergine, peppers, carrots, onion and chilli. Gently sauté for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

2. In a separate smaller saucepan add the remaining oil and the garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper and again gently sauté for 5 minutes, ensuring the spices do not burn.

3. Add the spice mixture to the vegetables then add the chickpeas, almonds, courgette, sultanas and orange juice. Stir well, then cover the pan and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes.

4. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and serve with freshly cooked rice, flatbreads and chutneys.