Vegetable Paella with Spicy Tomato Sauce (v)

I’m not sure this is authentically paella because it uses easy cook short grain rice. But it’s easy and quick to make and is the first recipe/rice combo I have found that actually works without producing a claggy sticky mess or under cooked rice. It’s also vegan and a brilliant way to boost your veg intake. It’s based on a Rose Elliott recipe for Red Beans with Brown Rice and Vegetables in her fabulous New Complete Vegetarian Cookbook (p246).

For 4 portions you need
Paella
2 onions, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
350g easy cook short grain rice
1 tsp tumeric
850ml veg stock
salt and pepper
A mix of vegetables e.g. we used 1 large carrot, diced, 2 sticks celery, sliced, and a pack of stir fry tenderstem broccoli, baby sweet corn, mange tout and pak choi.
1 can drained kidney beans

Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 can tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried chilli flakes

Start by sauteeing the onion, carrots and celery in the oil, covered. I like to use a large lidded non stick frying pan for this recipe.

After about 10 mins add the rice and garlic and stir well. Add the stock and beans and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 10 mins. Stir then add the broccoli and corn and cover again for a further 5 mins. Check the rice is done and if it is, add the remaining veg and take off the heat and leave covered to steam for a final 5 mins.

For the sauce put everything in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Puree in the pan with a stick blender and leave to one side.

Serve the finished rice with the tomato sauce. Leftovers are delicious cold or used as a stuffing for peppers etc.

Tropical Fruit with Butterscotch Sauce

Who says that eating fruit has to be puritanical all the time 😉 This simple butterscotch sauce is great for dipping your fruit in when you’re fed up with being a saint all the time.
For 4 portions you need
50g butter
75g soft brown sugar
100ml double cream
Tropical fruit of your choice, we used mango, papaya and pineapple.

Put the butter, sugar and cream in a pan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Allow to boil gently to reduce slightly, but take care not to let the sauce catch or burn. Serve on the side as a dipping sauce or just tip the whole lot over your bowl and enjoy J

Vegetable Chow Mein

This is a cheat recipe really seeing as it uses ready made sauce and pre-cooked noodles. But we all need a 5 min dinner some nights of the week don’t we..

For 3-4 portions you need
1/2 pack quorn chicken style chunks
2 packs ready cooked egg noodles
1 pack stir fry veg
2 packs plum sauce or any other chinese style sauce
1 onion
1 tbsp vegetable oil


Yes, this really does involve you having to prepare an onion to begin with. Sorry.

Slice the onion and add to the wok with any harder veggies e.g. broccoli or carrot. Stir fry for 2-3 mins and then add the quorn chunks and the rest of the veggies. Stir fry for a minute then add the noodles and the sauce. Cover with a lid and toss about to ensure everything gets covered in the sauce. Tada, serve and scoff. A speedy and filling but good for you supper.

Double Bean Burgers with Mango Chilli Salsa (v)

I really fancied a bean burger for dinner last night. Not like the horrid mushy ones you get in Burger King, but a nice, solid and healthy treat with a zingy salsa on the side. The recipe I came up with was inspired by this Jamie Oliver one. It’s a doddle to make with a food processor and we managed to get sat down and eating within 30 mins, a win for a working week day eve.

For 4-6 burgers you need
1 can drained black eyed beans
1 can drained chickpeas (tbh you can use whatever beans or lentils you have to hand)
1 onion
1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, oregano
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper
about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I always keep some in the freezer from the scrag ends of bread we haven’t eaten)
1 egg or 1/4 cup water with 2 tbsp veg oil if you’re vegan
Large handful of fresh coriander
Zest of a lemon
Oil for shallow frying
Barms for eating the burgers in and whatever condiments you fancy (ketchup, mustard, mayo etc)

Mango Chilli Salsa
1 ripe mango, diced
1 thai chilli finely sliced
2 tbsp each fresh mint and coriander, roughly chopped
Juice of a lemon
4 spring onions, finely sliced

Put everything apart from the breadcrumbs into a food processor and blitz until half pureed and half chunky. Tip into a bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs. You should have a mix that is able to be formed into burgers. if it’s too wet add a little flour. If it’s too dry add a little water. Form into 4-6 patties and leave in the fridge to chill for 5 mins.

Make the salsa by mixing everything together.

When you’re ready to cook the burgers, put a little oil into a pan and then fry the burgers on a medium heat for 10 mins on each side until nicely browned. Serve in a barm with some home made sweet potato wedges and the mango chilli salsa.

Apple Crumble Cake

There’s no photo for this as [1] it was New Years Eve and I was drinking so forgot and [2] it all went so quickly I didn’t get a chance! Suffice to say it was a delicious addition to the shared table of food and would be equally yummy cold or warm with custard or ice cream.

For 8-10 slices you need
Crumble topping
115g self-raising flour
1 tsp each freshly ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves and ground mace
85g butter
85g caster sugar.

Cake
450g cooking apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
175g self-raising flour,
1 tsp baking powder,
1 tsp each freshly ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves and ground mace
115g vitalite,
115g caster sugar
2 eggs

Rub the butter into the flour and then add the spices and sugar and set to one side for the crumble topping.

Beat the vitalite with the sugar and gradually add the eggs and flour, baking powder and spices.

Pour the cake batter into a lined tin and then top with the apple slices. Sprinkle over the crumble and then bake at 175 degrees for 40-50 mins until risen, golden brown and the cake is thoroughly cooked. Leave to cool in the tin then cut into slices and scoff.

Ginger Mirin Tofu (v)

I know I know, new year new food and all that? This isn’t that healthy cos it’s deep fried but oh my, it’s delicious and the perfect antidote to all the rich Christmas food. Well it is for us anyway!

For 4 portions you need
1 pack firm tofu
2-3 tbsp cornflour
60ml light soya sauce
60ml mirin
2cm piece of ginger, finely grated
oil for deep frying

Cut the tofu into bite sized cubes and toss to coat in the cornflour. As it cooks, this gives a delicious light crispy coating to the tofu.

Heat the oil until hot and then fry the coated tofu in batches until crispy and light brown.

Place the soya sauce, mirin and ginger in a bowl. Drain the cooked tofu straight into the bowl and allow it to cool slightly and soak up the flavour. Serve with wilted garlic greens and plain rice for a nutritious meal you can feel smug about all day.