Recipe of the Week – 20th November 2017 – Simple Veggie Brunch

On the rare occasions when I get time to start the weekend at a relaxing pace, I often try to fit in an additional meal, because; a) I like cooking and experimenting with food, and, b) I like eating! Brunch is a great excuse to try something light but tasty, and whilst I often veer towards the toast, beans, sausages direction, I thought I would try something a bit more nutritious for a change. This recipe is loosely based on a Kenyan staple, and turned out to be very tasty. It would also work well on toast, but that may be taking brunch a bit too far!

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 tbs vegetable oil

1/2 small white cabbage, finely chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

100g frozen peas

2 small onions, finely sliced

1 tbs vegetable bouillon

Freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan (I used a wok which worked really well)

2. Add the onions and carrots and gently sauté, covered for 5 minutes.

3. Add the peas then cover and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes.

4. Add the cabbage and bouillon. Stir well, cover and continue cooking for a final 5 minutes, until the cabbage starts to soften, but still has some crunch.

5. Add plenty of black pepper and serve immediately.

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Recipe of the Week – 6th November 2017 – Gado Gado


This Indonesian vegetable salad is a real favourite in our house and is a great way of mixing lots of different flavours and textures. It’s never the same any two times that I do it, but does give me a chance to get creative on the presentation to try to create a real show-stopper!

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients 

4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced

3 large carrots, peeled and sliced at 45 degrees

4 pre-cooked beetroot, sliced

100g egg noodles

1 small lettuce, roughly chopped

4 large tomatoes, sliced

1/2 cucumber, sliced

6 free range eggs, hard boiled, shelled and quartered

2 spring onions, roughly chopped, to garnish

Small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

For the sauce;

1 small onion, grated

2 tbs sunflower oil

4 tbs crunchy peanut butter

1 tbs green Thai curry paste

200ml fresh milk or coconut milk

1 tsp fresh ginger

1 tbs soy sauce

Method

1. Place the potato and carrot slices in a large pan of boiling water and parboil for 5 minutes only, ensuring that they still have a crunch. Drain and allow to cool.

2. Arrange the sliced vegetables on a large platter, slowly building up layers, starting with the potatoes and carrots, then adding the remaining ingredients.

3. Place the noodles in a small pan of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Rinse and drain.

4. Arrange the noodles on the vegetables and garnish with the spring onions and chopped coriander.

5. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a small saucepan then add the grated onion and sauté gently for 5 minutes until soft. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer gently for a further 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Decant into a jug or gravy boat.

6. To serve, bring the platter to the table, allowing each person to help themselves and to pour over the sauce as desired.

Recipe of the Week – 23rd October 2017 – Aubergine Tagine


Anyone that has read my blog will soon realise that I do a lot of aubergine recipes (they are versatile, filling and very tasty, so what’s not to like?!) I also really enjoy making Middle Eastern and North African dishes, so this recipe was a bit of a revelation to me. Previously I have only made Tagines with some of the more sturdy root vegetables, such as butternut squash or sweet potato, but this dish is based upon one that uses baby aubergines, which I couldn’t get hold of at the time, although the quartered  whole ones give it a really nice, silky texture. The perfect comfort food!

Serves 6

Ingredients 

6 medium aubergines, quartered lengthways

4 large onions, halved then finely sliced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

4 tbs olive oil

2 red chillis, deseeded and finely sliced

3 tsp cumin seeds

3 tsp coriander seeds

4 tsp sugar

3 x 400g tins of good quality chopped tomatoes

Small handful each of fresh mint and coriander, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Place the aubergine quarters in a large colander, sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

2. Meanwhile, place the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat then add the onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.

3. Put the cumin and coriander seeds in a small frying pan and dry toast gently for 1 minute before crushing in a pestle and mortar.

4. Add the crushed seeds, chilli and sugar, fry for a further minute then add the aubergines and stir to coat thoroughly.  Add the tomatoes, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. 

5. Season to taste, stir in the fresh herbs and serve with couscous or fłatbreads.

Recipe of the Week – 16th October 2017 – Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup


This recipe feels about as autumnal as you can get – it’s very simple to make but the result is really rich and satisfying, not to mention incredibly filling!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

1 large cauliflower, cut into florets

3 medium parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tbs cumin seeds

200g red split lentils

2 tbs sunflower oil

1 litre vegetable stock from good quality bouillon 

Salt and pepper to taste

Grated nutmeg

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C.

2. Place the cauliflower and parsnip pieces on a large baking tray, drizzle with the oil, season and place in the oven for 25 minutes, until beginning to brown.

3. Put the cumin seeds in a large saucepan and carefully dry fry over a medium heat for one minute then add the roasted vegetables and the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Blend the soup until thick and smooth and serve with toasted croutons and grated nutmeg to finish.

Recipe of the Week – 9th October 2017 – Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake


I have had a few requests in the cafe recently for the recipe for my lemon drizzle cake, so here it is! The recipe is a variation on one I found online and then played around with to try to get the maximum amount of rise and sponginess. Also, I prefer to do this a traybake, but this would work equally well in a round cake tin and decorated with icing as a celebration cake. I hope you like it!

Ingredients

125g plain flour

125g self raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

160g caster sugar

70ml sunflower oil

250ml unsweetened soya milk

2 tbs agave nectar 

4 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

zest of 2 lemons

For the drizzle;

The juice of 1 lemon

2 tbs caster sugar

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Brush 1 tbs oil over a medium sized casserole dish to cover.

3. Add the two flours, salt and baking powder to a large bowl and mix well.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, syrup, oil, soya milk and lemon juice. Stir in the lemon zest.

5. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

6. Place in the oven for 40 minutes or until it is beginning to turn light brown.

7. Mix the remaining lemon juice with 2 tbs of sugar. Prick the cooked cake all over and drizzle the mixture over. Allow to cool and for the drizzle to absorb before transferring to a wire rack and serving.

Recipe of the Week – 2nd October 2017 – Aloo Gobi Dosas


After many, many attempts, I finally managed to get the hang of making dosas! I’m not sure where I was going wrong (although it was probably putting too much batter in a Luke-warm frying pan), but I wasn’t going to let them beat me. For this recipe, rather than doing the traditional masala filling, I decided to try using an Aloo Gobi curry. The result was very satisfying, but very filling!

Makes 6

Ingredients

For the Dosas;

100g plain flour

100g gram flour

1 tbs bicarbonate of soda

1 tbs yellow mustard seeds

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Salt to taste

For the Aloo Gobi;

5 tbs sunflower oil

1 large onion, roughly chopped

1 large cauliflower, cut into medium florets

200g baby potatoes, quartered

100g frozen peas

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp garam masala

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

A small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Method

1. To make the Aloo Gobi, pour the oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat, then add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes before adding the chilli and ground spices. 

2. Sauté for a further 5 minutes then add the potatoes and cauliflower florets and mix well to coat. Add the peas and tomatoes and 50ml water then cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.

3. Meanwhile, sieve the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl then add the other dosa ingredients. Mix well then add enough water to make a runny batter.

4. Heat 1 tbs oil in a large frying pan until hot, then quickly ladle some of the batter in the pan to evenly coat the surface, ensuring that it is not too thick. After about 1 minute, ease the edges of the dosa and wait a further minute until the top is beginning to turn dry. 

5. Place a large ladleful of the Aloo Gobi mixture in a line directly on the dosa, sprinkle with some chopped coriander, then fold over either side. Carefully remove the filled dosa (I used two plates). Serve immediately with chutneys of your choice.

Recipe of the Week – 25th September 2017 – Aubergine Shakshuka


I can’t believe I haven’t tried this combination before as it combines one of my favourite meals (Shakshuka) with my favourite vegetable (aubergines). For this variation on the classic Tunisian dish I’ve substituted aubergines for the sliced peppers which make up the original. The end result is more filling, and certainly more satisfying, which works brilliantly as a mid-week easy tea.

Serves 6

Ingredients 

5 tbs olive oil

2 large red onions, thinly sliced

2 large aubergines, halved lengthways then thinly sliced

6 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

800ml passata or 2 x 400g tins of finely chopped tomatoes

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp caraway seeds

½ tsp chilli powder

5 free range eggs

100g feta, diced or crumbled

1 tbs sumac

1 small bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper

Method

1. Heat the olive oil in a wok then add the onions and aubergine slices and season. Cook gently for 5 minutes then add the garlic, caraway and cumin seeds, and chilli powder. Stir well to coat. Cover the wok and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Add the passata or tomatoes, together with the sugar, and simmer uncovered for a further 10 minutes. Add 20ml water if the mixture gets too dry.

3. Make 5 wells in the sauce. Break an egg into a cup and drop carefully into each well. Cook covered on a low heat for 10 minutes then add the feta cubes. Replace the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes until the eggs are set.

4. Serve immediately sprinkled with the sumac and chopped coriander. This works very well with slices of sourdough bread to mop up the juices.