Recipe of the Week – 12th November 2018 – Quorn and Vegetable Pies

I don’t often make pies at home, although as the ultimate comfort food we all really enjoy them when I do put the effort in! As you can see from the photos above, I decided to make the construction of these a family affair, and we had as much fun making them as we did eating them!

Makes 4 Pies


For the suet pastry;

200g Self Raising Flour

100g Vegetable Suet

120ml water

Pinch of salt

20ml milk to glaze

For the filling;

3 tbs Vegetable oil

100g Quorn pieces

1 large white onion, finely chopped

25g butter

25g plain flour

300ml good quality vegetable stock

120ml milk

2 tbs Greek yoghurt

1 tbs dried mixed herbs

50g fresh spinach

50g frozen peas

50g frozen sweetcorn

30g grated mature cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to season


1. To make the pastry, mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl and gradually add the water until it makes a firm dough. Using floured hands, knead the dough then wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

2. Pour the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion and Quorn pieces on a medium heat for 10 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 200C.

4. Meanwhile, place the flour, butter, milk and stock in a large saucepan and stir continuously until combined. Simmer for 5 minutes until thickened. add the yoghurt, season and simmer gently.

5. Add the Quorn and onion mix to the sauce, then add the cheese, frozen peas and sweetcorn, herbs and spinach and mix well. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, roll out the pastry on a floured surface and cut to form four approx 10 cm diameter circles to cover four large ramakins.

7. Pour the mixture equally into four ramakins or ovenproof bowls then place the pastry lids on top. Seal with rolled out pastry sausages made from the surplus dough. Pierce the lids then glaze with the milk. Place in the oven for 25 mins or until brown and bubbling.

8. Serve immediately with fresh boiled potatoes or side salad.


Recipe of the Week – 22nd October 2018 – Warm Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad

Even though it is Autumn here and there is definitely a chill in the air I’m not quite ready to start on the Winter stodge. This recipe sums up Autumn for me really – half way between fresh Summer salads and hearty Winter fare. This is very easy to prepare and construct but will make a very satisfying and filling tea!

Serves 6


2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

200g fresh spinach leaves, rinsed

12 baby tomatoes, halved

1 Pack Halloumi, sliced then halved

4 large free range eggs

50g sunflower seeds

1 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander, ginger and paprika

1/2 tsp of chilli powder and cinnamon

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. In a large bowl mix together the sweet potato cubes with the oil, spices and seasoning. Place on a large baking tray and roast for 25 minutes, turning once halfway through.

3. Meanwhile, hard boil the eggs in a large pan of boiling water then allow to cool in iced water. Peel and quarter.

4. Dry fry the Halloumi slices in a large frying pan or griddle until light brown on both sides. Then add the sunflower seed for a further minute.

5. In a large salad bowl or serving dish add the spinach, tomatoes, Halloumi, sweet potato, seeds and eggs then dress with the balsamic vinegar. Toss well and serve immediately with fresh bread or pittas.

Recipe of the Week – 15th October 2018 – Noodle Mountain

This is a lovely simple recipe which is also a great way to feed a lot of people quickly! This would be ideal as an addition to a buffet and can be easily made dairy-free by using egg-free noodles and also omitting the egg. Also, this really lends itself to variation by using any vegetables you wish, including adding beansprouts.

Serves 6


300g dried or straight to wok noodles

3 tbs sunflower oil

1/2 a large Savoy cabbage

1 medium aubergine, cut into thin strips

2 courgettes, cut into thin strips

1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

100g raw cashews

2 large free range eggs

1 tsp Chinese five spice

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 small green chilli, finely sliced

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tbs soy sauce

Salt and pepper to season

4 spring onions, finely chopped


1. Heat the oil in a wok and gently sauté the cabbage, pepper strips, aubergines, garlic, courgettes and chill for 5 minutes. Add the Chinese five spice and ginger. Stir well and continue frying for a further 10 minutes.

2. In a separate pan, add 1 tbs of the oil and frying the straight to wok noodles (or boil for 5 minutes if dried). Set aside.

3. Mix the eggs and salt and pepper in a cup then add the noodles to the wok and pour over. Stir well for 5 minutes until combined then drizzle liberally with the soy sauce.

4. Transfer to a large serving platter and garnish with the cashews and spring onions. Serve warm.

Recipe of the Week – 1st October 2018 – Two Autumn Surplus Recipes

I haven’t had much chance recently to do a regular Recipe of the Week, so this week there is two for the price of one! We are firmly into Autumn here and that can mean a glut of certain fruits and vegetables which need harvesting at the same time. Following a visit to my in-laws’ yesterday, we returned with a bin bag full of elderly runner beans, and a large squash! The pods of the runner beans were too tough to eat, so I decided to shell then use the beans themselves to make a hearty bean casserole. The squash recipe was simpler to choose as I love spicy squash or pumpkin soup, and I thought that these two would work really well together as a seasonal two course meal. I hope you like them and that it helps you with any surplus you may have!

Runner Bean Casserole

Serves 6


250g fresh shelled runner beans (Soak overnight if dried)

3 tbs olive oil

2 large onions, finely chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 red chilli pepper, minced

1 leek, sliced

1 large carrot, diced

2 x 400g tins of good quality chopped tomatoes

1 tbs Herbes de Provence

1 tsp smoked paprika

500ml stock

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Place the runner beans in a large saucepan, cover with boiling water and bring to the boil. Boil for 25 minutes then simmer for a further 30 minutes. Drain, rinse well and set aside.

2. In another large saucepan add the oil then gently sauté the onions, garlic, chilli, leek and pepper for 10 minutes.

3. Add the Herbes and paprika and stir well.

4. Add the tomatoes, stock, carrot and runner beans, stir well then bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes until the beans are soft.

5. Season well then serve immediately with fresh bread.

Spicy Squash Soup

Serves 4 to 6


1 large squash or pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and roughly diced

1 medium onion, diced

4 tbs olive oil

1 tsp dried cinnamon

1 tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to season

800ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon

100ml milk (or dairy alternative if vegan)


1. Preheat the oven to 220C.

2. Add the squash cubes to a large bowl, and mix with the spices, half of the oil and the salt and pepper. Pour onto a large baking tray and roast for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, add the remaining oil to a large saucepan and gently sauté the onion for 5 minutes.

4. When cooked, add the squash cubes to the onion, add the stock, and simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Allow the mixture to cool slightly then place in a food processor or blender. Add the milk then blend until smooth. Serve immediately with bread or croutons.

Recipe of the Week – 17th September 2018 – Luxury Macaroni Cheese

Macaroni Cheese is one of the well known recipes that for some reason I don’t seem to cook much. It might be the subconscious memory of once trying the bright yellow stuff that you get in tins, or just that other forms of pasta jump into my mind first, but I felt that it was time to properly give it a go. Purists may not like the additions here, but I like meals with lots of variety, and the squash and spinach definitely add something special.

Serves 6


400g dried macaroni

1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced

2 tbs olive oil

1 tbs dried sage

Salt and pepper to season

2 tbs butter

1 tbs whole grain mustard

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

3 tbs plain flour

500ml milk

50g Vegetarian Parmesan, grated

200g extra mature cheddar cheese, grated

100g fresh spinach, roughly chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 220C.

2. Add the chopped butternut squash cubes to a large baking tray, drizzle the oil over then coat with the sage and season. Mix well to coat and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Set aside and turn the oven down to 180C.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil then add the pasta. Return to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes (do not cook completely!). Rinse, drain and set aside.

4. In another large pan, melt the butter then add the garlic and mustard. Simmer for 1 minute then add the flour and cook for a further minute before gradually adding the milk. Continue whisking until smooth then add the cheddar and continue whisking until melted.

5. Add the pasta, butternut squash cubes and spinach to a large casserole dish, mix well then cover with the cheese sauce. Season well then finally cover with the grated Parmesan.

6. Place in the oven for 25 minutes until brown. Serve immediately with fresh bread.

Recipe of the Week – 27th August 2018 – Very Full Vegetable Tart

This recipe is my rainy Bank Holiday Monday childcare solution – after a weekend of camping we were all craving vegetables and something a bit posh (as much as we all love Pot Noodles!). This is something that we all made together, creating quite a lot of mess and washing up, but we did have a lot of fun and next time the kids can make it themselves!

Serves 6


250g plain flour

100g unsalted butter, diced

30g vegetable fat (I used Trex)

A pinch of salt

2 tbs water

1 medium courgette, finely diced

1 spring onion, finely chopped

125g frozen peas

125g frozen sweetcorn

2 tbs olive oil

2 eggs, beaten

100ml natural yoghurt

100ml milk

20g nature cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the cubes of butter and fat, and rub between the fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.

2. Slowly add the water to the bowl, and mix until it can be formed into pastry. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, pour the olive oil in a large frying pan and gently sauté the courgette and spring onions for 10 minutes until soft.

4. Preheat the oven to 200C.

5. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface then form to fill a greased 8″ (20cm) flan tin. Prick all over with a fork.

6. Add a layer of greaseproof paper to the base of the tart then cover with baking beans. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper then return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.

7. Reduce the heat of the oven to 180C.

8. Beat the eggs, milk and yogurt together in a large jug and season well.

9. Next, cover the base of the tart with the courgette mixture, peas and sweetcorn and pour the egg mixture over. Sprinkle with the cheese and place in the oven for 40 minutes until brown.

10. Serve hot or cold with a fresh salad and some bread.