Recipe of the Week – 25th December 2017 – Quick Christmas Vegan Roast!

If you’re stuck for an idea for a vegan main course to go with all the trimmings on Christmas Day, or just for Sunday lunch, here’s a recipe which is quick and easy and provides an alternative to the tried and tested (and somewhat over-used) nut roast recipes. As well as being suitable for people on nut, gluten or dairy-free diets, it’s very tasty, filling, and easy to make. What more do you need when the festive kitchen is chaotic and you just want some good food? Have a good Christmas everyone!

Serves 4


2 large aubergines, thinly sliced

500g red split lentils

6 tbs sunflower oil

1 large onion, finely sliced

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

800ml good quality stock from bouillon


1. Place the aubergines slices in a large bowl, sprinkle generously with salt and leave for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 200C.

3. Meanwhile, add the lentils, tomatoes, spices and stock to a large saucepan, bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes until the stock is absorbed.

4. In a smaller pan add 2 tbs of the oil and gently simmer the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Set aside.

5. Rinse and drain the aubergine slices then batch fry in the remaining oil in a large frying pan, turning once until both sides are golden brown.

6. In a large greased loaf tin add a layer of the aubergine slices, then a layer of the onion mixture, followed by a layer of the lentils. Repeat until full then place in the oven for 20 minutes.

7. Take out of the tin, cut into thick slices and serve immediately.


Recipe of the Week – 27th November 2017 – Asian Egg and Potato Salad

If you happen to live in my neck of the woods (Peak District, N. England), you may wonder why I’m posting salad recipes today when it’s snowy outside, but this one is different! This recipe is a combination of an egg salad and a potato and cauliflower curry, which to me shouldn’t work, but is actually really nice. I was almost expecting my children to turn there noses up at it, but instead asked if I can make it again tomorrow, which is the ultimate compliment in our house!


500g new potatoes, halved

1 small cauliflower, cut into florets

6 large free range eggs

100g green beans, halved

4 spring onions, roughly chopped

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

6 small plum tomatoes, halved

For the Dressing;

1 tbs mango chutney

Juice of one lemon

1 tbs mayonnaise

1 tbs curry paste

Small handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Place the halved potatoes in a large pan of salted boiling water, bring back to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and beans, then simmer for a further 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place the eggs in a large pan of boiling water and boil for 6 minutes. Drain and set in a bowl of cold water before peeling.

3. In a large salad bowl, place the halved eggs, spring onions, chickpeas and tomatoes. Add the drained potatoes, cauliflower and beans and mix together gently.

4. Mix all of the dressing ingredients together with 3 tbs water, drizzle over the salad, and serve immediately with naan bread.

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


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


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.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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!


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


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.