Recipe of the Week – 22nd June 2015 – Lemon and Lime Dhal

This recipe is a nice variation on the standard red lentil dhal, with the citrussy (is that a word?) flavours of the lemon and lime giving this a fresh taste when combined with the coriander. I could (and have) eat loads of this!

Serves 4


300g red split lentils

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 tbs sunflower oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tsp salt

1 tbs ground turmeric 

1 fresh chilli, sliced thinly 

1200ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon 

1 tsp fresh mint, finely chopped

2 limes, zest and juice

1 lemon, zest and juice

Small handful of fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan then add the onion and saute gently for 10 minutes. Add the salt, spices and garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

2. Add the lentils and stock then simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in the mint and the lemon and lime juice and zest.

4. Finally stir in the chopped spinach and coriander and serve immediately with rice or naan bread.


Recipe of the Week – 15th June 2015 – Italian Style Halloumi Wraps

 It’s local festival season in Derbyshire at the moment, and we at Pulse Cafe are lucky to be in a town (New Mills) where there is a lot going on (a carnival and two festivals in the next three weeks alone!). As such, I thought that I would make some simple but filling snacks for people to eat whilst out and about. I made the pesto myself, as unfortunately it’s still very hard to buy a ready-made veggie version. This was a bit of an experiment, but the flavours worked really well. Even I had trouble eating more than one!

Makes 6


6 wheat tortilla wraps

3 packs of Halloumi

2 red onions, peeled and finely diced

1 large pack of fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped

3 large tomatoes, diced

For the Pesto;

100g raw cashew nuts

50g vegetarian Parmesan, grated

Small bunch of fresh basil, chopped

1 clove of garlic, crushed

30ml olive oil

Salt and pepper


1. Place all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth (I actually prefer it slightly lumpy!)

2. Cut the Halloumi into 10mm thick slices and chargrill on a dry griddle pan until brown, turning once.

3. Spread 1/6 of the pesto on a wrap, then add the Halloumi and remaining ingredients. Fold to form a wrap sealed at both ends and cut in half. Repeat to make six.

Recipe of the Week – 1st June 2015 – Carrot and Celery Risotto

I enjoyed experimentIng with the basic risotto recipe to provide something a little more interesting, and slightly more healthy. The combination of carrot and celery works well together, and is similar to one of my previous pilaf recipes, but this is much more filling! I added vegetarian Parmesan to this at the end originally, but it is just as good if you omit it to make it vegan.

Serves 6


4 tbs olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 litre of good quality vegetable stock from bouillon

500g Arborio risotto rice

½ head celery, finely chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and grated

1 tsp dried tarragon

Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large frying pan add the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic very gently for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the chopped celery and sauté for a further 3 minutes.

2. Add the rice to the pan, ensuring all of the grains are coated in the oil. Fry for a further 2 minutes.

3. Add the tarragon then half the stock, a ladle full at a time, stirring until each is absorbed. Add the remaining stock, cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste.

4. Add the grated carrot, and stir to combine.

5. Serve immediately with toasted bread and grilled asparagus, if desired.

Recipe of the Week – 25th May 2015 – Moroccan Aubergine and Chickpea Stew


I really love this recipe – it’s very filling with the combination of silky aubergines and the chickpeas, and blends nicely with the Moroccan spices that really lets the cinnamon flavours out – I will definitely be doing this one again!

Serves 6


1 large onion, chopped 

4 tbs olive oil

1 green chilli, finely chopped

6 cloves of garlic, crushed 

2 large aubergines, cut into 2cm dice

300ml water 

3 x 400g cans of chickpeas, drained 

2 x 400g cans of good quality chopped tomatoes 

1 tsp ground cinnamon 

1 tbs Ras-el-Hanout

1 bunch of coriander leaves, chopped 


1. Place the diced aubergine in a large bowl, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave to juice for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

2. Add the oil to a large frying pan and gently fry the onion and aubergine for 10 minutes until soft.

3. Add the garlic, chilli and spices and fry for a further 2 minutes.

4. Add the water, tomatoes and chickpeas to the mixture, season, stir thoroughly and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

5. Take off the heat, stir in the chopped coriander and serve immediately with couscous or flatbreads.

Recipe of the Week – 18th May 2015 – Alfie’s ’10 of your 5 a day’ Soup

This is a recipe devised by my eight year old son which gave us a bit of quality cooking time together. It is incredibly simple to make and can of course be varied depending on what is seasonal or in the fridge!

Serves 6


2 large potatoes, peeled and diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped

1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 yellow pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped

1 courgette, diced

1 aubergine, diced

50g mushrooms, chopped

100g frozen peas

2 sticks of celery, chopped

100g red split lentils

800ml good quality stock from bouillon

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp Herbes de Provence

Small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped


1. Place all of the ingredients, except the coriander, in a large saucepan and bring to the boil before gently simmering for 15 minutes.

2. Add the coriander and carefully ladle the soup into a food processor or blender (you may need to do this in two batches). Blend to the required consistency (I prefer it to be a bit lumpy).

3. Serve immediately with fresh bread.

Recipe of the Week – 11th May 2015 – Veggie Meatballs with Spaghetti

This is a really simple recipe, and possibly it’s a bit of a cheat as I am using Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) to make the meatballs. I have done this using breadcrumbs, crushed beans and lentils before, however it doesn’t seem to hold together as well and give a satisfying texture. Either way, this makes for a great quick tea which the whole family (and especially children!) will really enjoy.

Serves 4


300g good quality dried spaghetti

350g TVP or other ‘Sosmix’

1 large onion, finely chopped

5 tbs olive oil

1 tsp fresh rosemary or sage

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

Small bunch of fresh basil

1 tbs vegetable bouillon

Grated vegetarian Parmesan (optional)


1. Add 2 tbs of the olive oil to a shallow frying pan, and gently fry the chopped onion until lightly brown.

2. Add the water to the TVP mixture as per the manufacturers instructions (usually to a ratio of 60/40). Add in one of the tins of tomatoes the rosemary, and the fried onions. Mix well and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

3. Add the remaining oil to the frying pan on a gentle heat. Form the mixture into small balls and gently fry, turning often, until brown all over.

4. Meanwhile, add the spaghetti to a large pan of salted boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes, until al dente. Drain well, drizzle with a little olive oil, and set aside.

5. Add the remaining tin of tomatoes to a small saucepan, together with the bouillon, basil and tomato purée. Simmer gently then season.

6. Add the meatballs to the spaghetti, pour the sauce over and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Decorate with the remaining basil leaves.

Recipe of the Week – 27th April 2015 – Aubergine Pahi

  I was really pleased with this Sri Lankan curry, which I have adapted to suit my reduced supplies from a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe. The result was full of complex flavours, but is also quite fiery, yet with the sweetness of aubergines – the perfect meal for me!

Serves 4 to 6


4 large aubergines, halved then cut into wedges

3 onions, peeled and cut into wedges

2 bell peppers, deseeded and cut into large chunks

200ml sunflower oil

80ml white wine or cider vinegar

2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

6 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 x 400 tins of chickpeas, drained

2 tsp medium curry powder

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon 

2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbs sugar


Small handful of freshly chopped coriander 


1. Place the aubergine wedges in a large bowl, sprinkle generously with salt and leave for 30 mins to bring out the juices. Rinse then sprinkle on the turmeric and ginger.

2. Add the oil to a large saucepan and fry the aubergine wedges, turning once, for 5-8 minutes, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3. Add the onions, pepper and chilli to the oil and fry for a further 8 minutes. Again, remove and add to the aubergine wedges.

4. Add the mustard seeds, garlic, all the remaining spices and 1 tsp salt to the remaining oil and gently fry for 3 minutes, stirring often.

5. Add the vinegar to the spice mix, stir well then add back the vegetables. 

6. Add 50 ml water, the sugar and the chickpeas and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

7. When the mixture is reduced, stir in most of the coriander and serve immediately with bread or rice, with a coriander garnish.