Recipe of the Week – 2nd March 2015 – Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake

This is a simple yet very satisfying dish which is a regular staple at our family meal-times. It is also open to lots of variations of both pasta type (penne is good) and vegetable (roasted aubergines work really well). I’ve had requests from my children to add baked beans in next time!

Serves 4 to 6


500g good quality dried pasta shapes (I used shells)

2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped

3 peppers of mixed colours, deseeded and roughly chopped

2 courgettes, roughly chopped

5 tbs olive oil

3 tins of good quality chopped tomatoes

1 tbs each of dried oregano, basil and Herbes de Provence

100g mature cheddar cheese, grated


1. Preheat the oven to 220C. Add the chopped vegetables to a large baking tray, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring regularly.

2. Meanwhile, add the pasta to a large pan of salted boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and sprinkle with olive oil then set aside.

3. In a large casserole dish, add the roasted vegetables, pasta, tomatoes and herbs and stir well. Cover generously with the cheese and bake at 180C for 20 minutes until brown.

4. Serve immediately with a green salad.

Recipe of the Week – 23rd February 2015 – Aloo Gobi

I’ve always felt that cauliflower was one of the more under-appreciated vegetables, and that with a bit of sympathetic cooking can really come into it’s own as something very tasty and unique. My take on the traditional Aloo Gobi recipe is my way of trying to highlight the great flavour and texture that the humble cauliflower can offer!

Serves 4


1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm dice (or halved baby new potatoes which I used)
4 tbs vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tbs freshly grated ginger
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
100g sultanas


1. Add the oil to a large saucepan and heat gently. Add the onions and fry until soft before adding the ginger, mustard seeds, ground turmeric, chopped chillies, chilli powder and salt. Stir well and cook until the seeds start to pop.

2. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower, sultanas, sugar and 100ml water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the potatoes have cooked through and the mixture has thickened (approx 30 minutes).

3. Serve immediately with naan bread or rice.

Recipe of the Week – 16th February 2015 – Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

This is a variation on a recipe I have included here before, however I have modified it and hopefully improved it a bit (I find it hard just to leave recipes alone!). This Mark II version really seems to bring out the flavour of the beans well, whilst providing a nice after-kick of chilli!

Serves 4


1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large carrots, grated
150g mature cheddar cheese, grated
2 x 400g tins of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 x 400g tin of borlotti beans, rinsed and drained (pinto beans are good too)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
6 medium sized tortilla wraps
2 green chillis, deseeded and chopped
A large handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2 x 400g tins good quality chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Add the grated carrot, onion and 100g of the cheese to a large bowl with the kidney and borlotti beans and chilli. Mash gently with the back of a fork and season. Stir in the cumin, chilli powder and fresh coriander and mix well.

3. Place one sixth of the mixture into each wrap and roll up ensuring the mixture is evenly spread.

4. Place the rolled wraps in a large oblong casserole dish.

5. Meanwhile, add the garlic, chopped tomatoes and paprika to a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes to reduce.

6. Pour the tomato mixture over the wraps and top with the remaining cheese.

7. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until brown and bubbling.

8. Serve with a fresh green salad and guacamole.

Recipe of the Week – 9th February 2015 – Aubergine and Potato Curry

I’m currently in the middle of my annual Winter curry phase at the moment, so apologies for my recent run of spicy recipes, but this one is a really nice satisfying meal. The aubergines give it a great silky texture, and like all curries this really improves with age!

Serves 6


4 large aubergines, cut into 2 cm dice
500g good quality firm potatoes cut into 2 cm dice
4 medium onions, sliced
4 tbs sunflower oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 x 400g tins of good quality chopped tomatoes
200g red split lentils, rinsed
2 green chillis, deseeded and chopped
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
Large handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped


1. Put the aubergine cube in a large colander, sprinkle and coat liberally with salt and allow to drain for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile in a large saucepan heat the oil then add the onions, garlic, chilli, mustard seeds and spices. Sauté gently for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, lentils and 200ml water, cover, and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

3. Rinse the aubergine cubes thoroughly to remove the salt and acidic juices, then add to the pan. Simmer covered for a further 15 minutes, stirring regularly.

4. Serve immediately with plenty of fresh coriander to garnish.

Recipe of the Week – 2nd February 2015 – Butternut Squash Risotto

The winter months here definitely sometimes call for something substantial and filling to keep the cold out, and they don’t come much more filling than this! The combination of the butternut squash and the gooey rice provides a very satisfying main course, but also works well as a side for a salad.

Serves 6


1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2 cm dice
5 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
400g Arborio risotto rice
800ml good quality vegetable stock
200ml white wine (optional)
200g frozen peas
1 tbs Herbes de Provence
1 tsp dried oregano
3 tbs grated vegetarian Parmesan cheese (optional)


1. Heat the oven to 220C. Place the butternut squash cubes in a large roasting tin and drizzle with 3 tbs olive oil. Season then roast for 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile add the remaining oil to a large saucepan and gently sauté the onions and garlic for 5 minutes until soft. Add the rice and sauté for a further minute before slowly adding half the stock (and wine if using), stirring regularly.

3. When the stock has been absorbed add the remaining stock, the herbs, peas and roasted squash. Continue stirring for a further 10 – 15 minutes until absorbed.

4. Take off the heat, season well and stir in the grated cheese if using.

5. Serve immediately with bread and a green salad.

Recipe of the Week – 26th January 2015 – Roasted Moroccan Vegetables with Chickpeas

This is a lovely simple dish, which works really well both hot or cold. I served this in the cafe warm with couscous, but I’ve also been eating it in wraps between customers!

Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side


2 large onions, roughly sliced
500g good quality roasting potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm dice
5 tbs sunflower oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
3 peppers of varying colours, deseeded and roughly chopped
3 sticks celery, chopped
4 carrots, roughly chopped
1 large aubergine cut into 2 cm dice
2 x 400g tins of chickpeas, drained
A large handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbs Ras-el-Hanout
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground turmeric


1. Preheat the oven to 220C.

2. In a large bowl add all of the ground spices and mix well.

3. Add all of the vegetables (everything except the chickpeas), pour over the oil and again mix well.

4. Pour the vegetables in a large greased baking tray and roast for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Separate the garlic cloves, mash, then stir in.

5. Add the chickpeas to the vegetables and roast for a further 5 minutes.

6. Stir in the fresh coriander and serve warm with couscous.

Recipe of the Week – 19th January 2015 – Red Pepper and Saffron Pilaf

I was really pleased with the end result of this recipe. It was inspired by being offered a large box of red peppers by my local veg market stall, and wanting to do something other than just make soup with them. Only a little bit of saffron is needed (a little goes a long way and it’s very expensive!), but it does really lift this recipe.

Serves 4


5 tbs olive oil
300g red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
300g basmati rice or other long-grain white rice
600ml vegetable stock from good quality bouillon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed saffron threads


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan then add the peppers and onion. Sauté until soft, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the rice and stir again for a further minute.

3. Add in the saffron, salt and stock, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer covered for approximately 20 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

4. Serve immediately garnished with chopped parsley or chives, and with toast and a green salad.