Recipe of the Week – 2nd May 2016 – Chana Dal Masala with Pan-fried Kale

This recipe is a modified version of one of my favourite curry recipes – apparently kale is very good for you and a great source of iron, so I thought I would incorporate it into a variation on a Chana dal dish. The kale gave it a really nice variation in texture and I think works even better than spinach as it keeps its bite better.

Serves 6


400g Chana Dal (yellow split peas), rinsed and drained

5 tbs sunflower oil

2 medium onions, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbs ground cumin

1 tbs garam masala

1 1/2 tbs turmeric powder

2 tsp salt

2 green chillies chopped 

1 x 400g tin good quality chopped tomatoes

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

200g fresh curly kale, stalks removed then roughly chopped

A small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped


1. Place in a large saucepan of slightly salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes until soft. Drain and set aside.

2. Add the oil to a large saucepan and fry the onions, garlic and chillies on a low heat until starting to brown, then add the garam masala, turmeric, cumin and salt and then the chopped tomatoes. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.

3. Add the Chana Dal mixture to the onion mixture, together with 100ml water. Stir well and gently simmer for 20 minutes until soft.

4. Add the coconut milk to the mixture, and stir well.

5. Meanwhile, place a large frying pan on a medium heat and dry fry the chopped kale for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add to the main mixture, season and stir well.

6. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve rice or naan bread.

Recipe of the Week – 25th April 2016 – Roasted Parsnip Soup

This is a very simple recipe, but the end result is really satisfying – it definitely feels like more than a sum of it parts, and could even possibly convert the most hardened of parsnip haters!


800g parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped 

1 large onion, peeled and cut into chunks

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tbs olive oil

2 tsp cumin seeds, plus 2 tsp more to garnish

½ tsp ground turmeric

1 large tomato, chopped

1500ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon

100g feta cheese, crumbled (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 220C.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil and spices then add the vegetables and mix well. Put on a large baking tray and roast for 30 minutes.

3. When tender, add the roasted parsnip and onion mixture to a food processor with half the stock and pulse until smooth. Pour into a pan with the remaining stock, season, then heat until simmering. 

4. Lightly toast the remaining cumin seeds and garnish over the soup with some crumbled feta. Serve immediately.

Recipe of the Week – 18th April 2016 – Mushroom Stroganoff


This is a recipe that I love to do on cold evenings, and it is a great way of getting the children to eat up any mushroom surplus if I over-estimate quantities! There are some more exotic variations on this veggie staple, but I find simplicity works best here.

Serves 4


1 large or 2 small onions, sliced

6 sticks of celery, chopped, including leaves

500g mushrooms (button mushrooms halved work well or a mixture, chopped)

50g butter

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence or mixed herbs

2 tbs plain flour

80 ml plain natural yogurt or soured cream

300ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon

Salt and pepper

Handful fresh parsley, chopped


1. Gently heat the butter in a large saucepan and sauté the onions and celery over a low heat for approximately 5 minutes.

2. Add the mushrooms and cook gently for a further 4 minutes.

3. Add the dried herbs and stir in the flour to cook for 1 minute.

4. Add the stock and seasoning and cook gently for 10 minutes.

5. Allowed to cool away from the heat and stir in the yoghurt or soured cream and taste for seasoning, then heat very gently.

6. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve with white Basmati rice or crusty bread.

Recipe of the Week – 4th April 2016 – Bombay Potato Stuffed Aubergines

As anyone who reads my blog will quickly realise, aubergines are my favourite vegetable. I love the versatility of them, and this recipe I think proves that. This is not dissimilar to Morrocan or Turkish dishes, such as Imam Bayildi, and the curried potato mixture really compliments the aubergine well.

Serves 4


4 large aubergines, halved and scored inside in a cross pattern

50 ml sunflower oil

100g baby potatoes, quartered 

2 large onions, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbs medium curry powder

1 x 400g tin good quality chopped tomatoes

Small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped


1. Place the aubergine halves in a large colander, sprinkle generously with salt and leave for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add the oil and saute the onions, garlic and spices on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and tomatoes, and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Season to taste.

3. Preheat the oven to 190C.

4. Rinse the aubergine halves thoroughly, then arrange open side up in a large baking tray. Pour the potato mixture over the top, ensuring that the aubergines are covered.

5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

6. Serve immediately with rice or a green salad.

Recipe of the Week – 21st March 2016 – Courgette Tagliatelle in a Mushroom Sauce 

This is a very simple recipe and is great for a really satisfying but quick midweek tea. I have tried different variations of this, but love the creamy mushroom sauce version!

Serves 4


500g fresh tagliatelle 

5 tbs olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 large courgette, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

100g fresh spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped

100g frozen peas

A small handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 x 400g tin of condensed mushroom soup


1. In a large saucepan or wok, add the oil and gently saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, then add the courgette and mushroom slices.

2. Meanwhile, add the fresh tagliatelle to a large pan of salted boiling water, bring again to the boil then simmer for 8 minutes. Drain and rinse the pasta and set aside.

3. Add the spinach, peas, basil and pasta to the sautéed vegetables, pour the mushroom soup over and stir well. 

4. Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes, season, then serve immediately.

Recipe of the Week – 14th March 2016 – Cashew and Red Pepper Risotto

There are countless variations and experiments that can be had with the basic traditional risotto recipe, and I think that the addition of nuts really adds a lot of extra flavour and much-needed texture. I really like the roasted peppers in this too.

Serves 6


2 medium white onions, finely chopped

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

250g Arborio risotto rice

200g raw unsalted cashew nuts

100ml white wine

650ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon

2 large red peppers, deseeded and finely sliced or chopped

1 tbs dried basil 

20g vegetarian Parmesan style hard cheese, grated (optional if vegan)

Salt and pepper to taste 


1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the red pepper slices on a large baking tray, drizzle with 1 tbs of the olive oil, season, and roast for 15 minutes.

2. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and add the onion and garlic and fry gently until the onion is soft.

3. Add the rice, cashews and roasted pepper slices and stir continuously for two minutes to ensure the rice doesn’t stick.

4. Add the basil, vegetable stock and wine, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes, stirring regularly.

5. Season to taste, top with the grated cheese, and serve immediately with a side salad or toast.

Recipe of the Week – 7th March 2016 – Ten Veg Gratin

I take full responsibility for this recipe – it’s the result of pottering about in the kitchen on Sunday (my day off from cooking in the cafe!), and wanting the traditional Sunday lunch veg, but with a twist. Of course the ingredients can be changed greatly, but I was very happy with these!

Serves 6


4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced

2 leeks, sliced

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

1 large onion, finely sliced

1 aubergine, finely sliced

2 courgettes, sliced

50g frozen peas

100g red lentils

2 tbs olive oil

600ml vegetable stock from good quality bouillon

50g grated cheddar (optional)

Salt and pepper 


1. Preheat the oven to 220C.

2. In a large casserole dish, brush the olive oil on the base then layer the vegetables starting with half of the potatoes, then add the other root vegetables, lentils and remaining vegetables. Top with the remaining potato slices.

3. Season and pour the stock over to cover.

4. Top with the cheese, cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.

5. Take the foil off and bake for a further 15 minutes until the cheese is golden.

6. Serve immediately.