Recipe of the Week – 30th March 2015 – Butternut Squash and Chick Pea Loaf


I have been looking for a nut-free, nut roast (if that makes sense!) for a while, for people with nut allergies, and was inspired this week by something in the Guardian. This is my variation on it, which adds parsnips for extra sweetness, as well as a few other tweaks. This turned out to be very filling and more-ish, and I will definitely be doing it again.

Serves 6


1 large butternut squash

3 large parsnips, peeled and diced

2 large carrots, peeled and grated

300g mushrooms, diced 

5 tbs olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 x 400g can of chick peas, drained

1 tbs dried thyme 

1 tbs dried oregano

1 tbs fresh parsley, roughly chopped

3 tbs soy sauce

100g freshly grated breadcrumbs

Salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways, deseed and score the flesh then drizzle 2 tbs of the olive oil over before sprinkling 2 tsp of the thyme and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Add the parsnips to the roasting tray and also drizzle with oil. Roast for 45 minutes until soft.

3. In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes before adding the grated carrots and chopped mushrooms together with the soy sauce. Cook gently for a further 5 minutes before adding the chickpeas.

4. Season the mixture and roughly mash the chickpeas with the back of a fork. Add the remaining herbs and simmer for a further five minutes.

5. Peel and roughly chop the butternut squash and add with the parsnips to the mixture.

6. Add the breadcrumbs and remaining herbs to the mixture then pour into a large greased loaf tin. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until crispy.

7. Serve immediately with a tomato gravy and a selection of roasted vegetables.


Recipe of the Week – 22nd March 2015 – Ten Veg Chilli

There is nothing quite like a filling, satisfying bowl of chilli to act as the perfect comfort food during the Winter months, and this recipe has the added bonus of providing ten of your five-a-day in the process!

Serves 6


2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped

5 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 green chillies, finely chopped (deseeded if you prefer less heat)

5 tbs sunflower oil

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm dice

4 large carrots, roughly chopped

2 red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped

2 sticks of celery, finely chopped

1 large aubergine, cut into 2 cm dice

2 courgettes, roughly chopped

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm dice

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2 cm dice

200g frozen peas

1 x 400g can of good quality chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g can of red kidney beans

200g red split lentils

2 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp sweet smoked paprika 

2 tsp Demerara sugar

500ml vegetable stock

Small handful of freshly chopped coriander


1. Add the oil to a large saucepan and gently saute the onion, garlic and chilli for 5 minutes until soft.

2. Add the spices and stir for a further 2 minutes.

3. Add all of the fresh vegetables, stir to combine then add the tomatoes, lentils and stock.

4. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring regularly.

5. Add the frozen peas, kidney beans and sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes.

6. Stir in the fresh coriander, season, and take off the heat.

7. Serve immediately with rice or a fresh salad.

Recipe of the Week – 16th March 2015 – Keralan Root Vegetable Curry with Mung Bean Dhal

I love making new curries and experimenting with different flavours, and recently I was looking for an alternative to rice or Naan. I then realised that I had some mung beans and after a bit of research found that a mung bean dhal is often used as a side in Indian cooking. I found that the nutty flavours of the dhal worked really well with this sweet coconutty curry.

Serves 6


Mung Bean Dhal

400g dried mung beans, soaked overnight

300ml water

1 x 400g can of good quality chopped tomatoes

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tsp turmeric 

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp garam masala

Keralan Root Vegetable Curry

400g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm dice

1 large sweet potato, roughly chopped

300g red split lentils

6 tbs sunflower oil

1 red pepper, chopped

200g button mushrooms, sliced

2 large carrots, chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped 

2 cloves of garlic, chopped 

1 tsp chopped fresh ginger

1 x 400ml can of coconut milk

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garam masala


For the Dhal

1. Add all ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer gently for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until all water is absorbed.

For the Curry

1. While the dhal is cooking, heat the  oil in a large saucepan and add all of the vegetables. Saute gently for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

2. Add the garlic, ginger, lentils, water, spices, salt and coconut milk and mix well.

3. Cover the saucepan and simmer gently for 20 minutes then remove the lid and continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes to allow to thicken.

4. Serve with the mung beans and garnished with chopped coriander.

Recipe of the Week – 9th March 2015 – Aubergine and Courgette Parmigiana 

As much as I love the recipe of Aubergine Parmigiana (with veggie Parmesan of course!), it’s nice to have a change sometimes and although I can’t fully give up on the aubergine element, I have found that the addition of seared courgettes works really well and also provides a nice change of texture.

Serves 4


3 large aubergines, cut lengthways into 1cm thick slices

3 courgettes, cut lengthways into 1cm thick slices

2 medium onions, sliced thinly

3 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tins of good quality chopped plum tomatoes 

5 tbs olive oil

100ml red wine

50ml balsamic vinegar

Small handful fresh basil leaves

100g freshly grated breadcrumbs

50g freshly grated vegetarian Parmesan


1. Place the aubergine slices in a large bowl, sprinkle generously with salt and leave for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

2. Meanwhile, add 3 tbs of the olive oil to a large saucepan and saute the onion and garlic gently for 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes, red wine and balsamic vinegar. Simmer gently for 15 minutes to reduce.

3. Pour the remaining oil in a griddle pan and gently griddle the rinsed aubergine and courgette slices in batches, turning once. Set aside.

4. Preheat the oven to 200C.

5. In a large casserole dish pour a small amount of the tomato mixture over the base to cover. Add a layer of the aubergine slices, then scatter a few basil leaves, a layer of the sauce then a layer of the courgette slices, and contine until completed. Top with the breadcrumbs and grated cheese and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

6. Serve immediately with bread and a green salad.

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.