Tag Archives: vegan

Recipe of the Week – 15th May 2017 – Easy Peasy Vegan Burgers!


With the ubiquitous restaurant chains and bad press attached to them, I think that burgers generally have had a bad deal. As a quick and easy snack or meal they can be ideal for a fast family tea, and don’t have to be unhealthy and high in fat, and of course they should always be meat-free! This recipe is simple, nutritious and low in fat, but most importantly, it is very tasty, and can be easily modified to your own tastes, by adding beans, or chilli, or your favourite herbs and spices.

Makes 6 burgers

Ingredients

200g soya mince

1 large sweet potato

2 tbl olive oil, plus 1 tbl for brushing

2 slices of wholemeal bread, toasted then grated

50 ml water

2 large spring onions, chopped

Salt and pepper 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Cook the sweet potato until soft. I microwaved it in the same way as you would a jacket potato, then halved it and scooped out the insides, but peeling, chopping and boiling works too.

3. Add all of the ingredients into a large bowl, then mix together well with your hands.

4. Form the mixture into 6 equally sized balls then place them on a greased baking tray and flatten slightly to make burger patties.

5. Brush the remaining oil on top of each burger and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

6. Serve in a bun with salads, garnish, sauces, or however you prefer!

Recipe of the Week – 7th May 2017 – Pea and Asparagus Risotto


I have recently come back from a trip to see my family in East Anglia, and a bonus to going at this time of year is that it’s asparagus season – there’s something about going to remote farms and buying bunches of the stuff that I love. This is a nice straightforward recipe that really brings out the best in the flavour of asparagus and complements it well with the subtle herbs and flavour of the rice – real comfort food!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

1 large bunch of fresh tender asparagus, roughly chopped, retaining 6 stems whole for decoration

2 medium white onions, finely chopped

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

250g Arborio risotto rice

100g frozen peas

100ml white wine

750ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon

1 tbs dried mint

1tbs dried marjoram 

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

Salt and pepper to taste 

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion and garlic and fry gently until the onion is soft, ensuring it doesn’t brown.

2. Add the asparagus pieces and rice and stir continuously for two minutes to ensure the rice doesn’t stick and is coated evenly with the oil.

3. Add the herbs, vegetable stock and wine, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes, stirring regularly.

4. Add the frozen peas and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, in a griddle pan gently fry the whole asparagus stems in a little water until tender and set aside.

6. Season the risotto to taste, top with the whole asparagus stems and grated cheese if using, and serve immediately with a side salad or toast.

Recipe of the Week – 13th March 2017 – Red Lentil Dhal with Garam Masala Aubergines


A good dhal can be just as warming and satisfying on a cold day as a mug of soup, and this recipe is no exception, with the added bonus of having my favourite vegetable in it – aubergines! These provide a great variety of texture as well as little explosions if taste when you find one. Also, this is very easy to make, so no excuses!

Serves 6

Ingredients

600g red split lentils, rinsed

4 tbs sunflower oil

1 large onion, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 large aubergines, cut into 2cm dice

3 tbs lemon juice

1 large bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped

1 litre good quality vegetable stock from bouillon 

1 x 400ml can of coconut milk

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground turmeric

3 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp ground coriander

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Put the aubergine cubes in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and leave to soften for 20 minutes. Rinse well and drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add the stock to the lentils and bring to the boil before simmering for 20 minutes.

3. In a large frying pan, gently dry fry the spices for 1 minute before adding the oil, garlic and onions. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the aubergines and the garam masala, stir to coat well then simmer, covered, for a further 10 minutes.

4. Add the aubergine mixture to the lentils, stir well, then add the coconut milk.

5. Simmer the mixture for a further 10 minutes. Take off the heat, add the lemon juice and coriander and serve immediately with rice or naan.

Recipe of the Week – 20th February 2017 – A Spicy Butternut Squash Light Lunch


Sometimes a massive evening meal is not always something that I crave (even though I do admit to liking my stodge!), and the other day I thought I would try a simple experiment with a butternut squash I had in the fridge. This is essentially roasted cubes of lightly spiced squash which really lends itself to being a side for a salad, or as a healthy light lunch. Something a bit different for a quick vitamin boost!

Serves 4

Ingredients

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

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs Za’atar or Sumac

Mixed salad leaves

50g sprouted seeds

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Place the butternut squash cubes in a large saucepan of boiling water and par boil for 5 minutes. Drain well.

3. Put the cubes on a large preheated baking tray, drizzle the oil over and sprinkle the Za’atar to cover. Season and mix well. Roast for 30 minutes until soft.

4. Meanwhile, place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and drizzle the ginger over. 

5. Simply serve a portion of the butternut squash with the salad and some fresh crusty bread.

Recipe of the Week – 13th February 2017 – Kala Chana Masala

I love trying out new ingredients for the first time – you never know how things are going to taste, or even if they are going to work together or what the texture is going to be, etc. I recently discovered black chickpeas or kala chana, which are similar to the more familiar type, but have a rougher, darker coating and hold their shape giving a satisfying nutty texture. This masala is a good alternative if you fancy a non-mushy dhal-type curry. Oh, and it’s very filling!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

200g dried kala chana, soaked overnight

4 tbs sunflower oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

10g fresh ginger, finely chopped

2 green chillis, deseeded and finely sliced

3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

1 bay leaf

50g desiccated coconut

1 tbs mango chutney

Salt to taste

Method 

1. After soaking overnight, drain and rinse the kala chana before adding to a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Boil for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile add the oil to another pan and add the onion, garlic, ginger and chillis and sauté gently for 5 minutes. 

3. Add the tomatoes, spices, bay leaf and salt and cook for a further 10 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. 

4. Add the onion and tomato mixture to the kala chana (keeping the cooking liquid), then add the desiccated coconut and mango chutney. Cover and cook gently for a further 10 minutes until thickened.

5. Serve immediately with rice or chapatis.

Recipe of the Week – 6th February 2017 – Quick Spinach and Potato Curry


As much as I like cooking complicated and time-consuming meals, sometimes a quick and easy tea is all that I can muster up (especially after a busy day at the cafe). This recipe is a nice one for such an occasion – quick, fool-proof and very tasty!

Serves 4

Ingredients 

500g baby potatoes, halved

2 tbs sunflower oil

1 large onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander and ground turmeric

200g fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Large bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped.

Method

1. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with boiling water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. In another large pan, add the oil and gently fry the onion, garlic, chilli and spices for 8 minutes.

3. Add the potatoes and tinned tomatoes to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

4. Add the spinach, season and add the fresh coriander. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.

5. Serve immediately with rice or naan bread (I did pilau rice and garam masala roasted cashews)

Recipe of the Week – 16th January 2017 – Sweet Potato and Chickpea Thai Curry


This is the perfect warming meal for a cold winter’s evening – it has a great blend of textures, combined with the heat of chilli and creaminess of the coconut milk – proof if needed that vegan curries can often be the best!

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 tbs vegetable oil 

Largish (i.e. Thumb-sized) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated

1 large onion, sliced

1 large red chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp medium curry powder

1.5kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm dice

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed

200g fresh spinach leaves, rinsed with the tough stalks removed

500ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon 

1 x 400ml can of coconut milk

Salt and pepper to season

Method

1. In a large saucepan (I used a wok), heat up the vegetable oil and gently cook the onion for 5 minutes before adding the chilli, ginger, spices and a pinch of salt. Cook gently to combine, for 5 minutes.

2. Add the sweet potato cubes and stir well before adding the stock and coconut milk. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Add the chickpeas and cook for a further 15 minutes until the sweet potato is soft. 

4. Stir in the spinach, season, and simmer for 2 minutes.

5. Serve immediately with rice (I made some pilau which worked really well with it)