Roasted Sausages and Apple

sausages

Sometimes you get to that point in the month where (i) you’ve run out of enthusiasm for things to make for tea after a long day at work and (ii) it’s a loooooong time until payday. When those things hit in a double whammy in January you need to be creative! A recipe similar to this appeared in my twitter feed and I adapted it for a veggie feast last week. Quick to throw together, it filled our bellies and used up some sad neglected apples from the fruit bowl.

For three portions you need:

  • 1 pack veggie sausages – we used cauldron but any will do
  • 2 onions, cut into wedges
  • 2 apples, cored and cut into wedges
  • 3 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Mashed potato to serve
  • GRAVY!!!!!
  1. Toss everything apart from the sausages in the oil and season.
  2. Roast in a hot (180 degree) oven for 20 mins.
  3. Add the sausages and cook for a further 15-20 mins until everything is done.
  4. Serve with mash, lashings of gravy and whatever other veggies you can find, I think we had peas and sweetcorn from the freezer!

Spiced Apple Cake

apple cake

This recipe is based on a Mary Berry one and is so quick and simple to make. Serve warm with custard as a pudding or just scoff au natural, it really doesn’t matter. I didn’t have almond essence or flaked almonds as per the original recipe so used nutmeg and ground cinnamon instead, and used up some dying dessert apples instead of using cooking ones. This recipe works just as well with pears too, and you can add some cocoa to make a chocolate version. The possibilities are endless!

For 8-10 pieces of cake you need:

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 250g apples, peeled and cut into wedges
  1. Line a baking tin – I’ve used a 23cm springform tin and a 20cm x 20cm brownie tin with equal success.
  2. Make the cake batter by placing everything apart from the apples into a bowl and mixing thoroughly.
  3. Put half the cake batter in the bottom of the tin. Add all the apples into the centre in a mound. Scrape over the remaining mixture – don’t worry that it doesn’t reach the edges of the tin, it will as it bakes.
  4. Bake in a 160 degree oven for about an 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours until the cake is golden brown, risen, shrinking away from the edges and cooked through.

Red Pepper Pasta Sauce (v)

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Wednesday night is band practice night for Fuz so I have the joy of working all day and then going home and having to sort tea for Lex and I on my own. What you need on days like this is speed, but also taste.

My mum makes the most wonderful tomato based pasta sauce. I love it. She told me once the secret is a pinch of ground cinnamon. Here is my attempt to capture the flavour of her sauce. It’s never quite as good as hers, but it’s pretty close. You can use whatever veggies you want in it. We had a glut of red peppers that needed to be eaten so  I used those. From starting to chop the onion to sitting down and eating it all took less than 20 mins, result.

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can plum tomatoes, blitzed
  • 1/2 a can of cold water
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp season all (or just use salt)
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp veggie stock powder
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 red pepper, roughly diced
  • freshly cooked pasta to serve.
  1. Begin by sauteeing the onions in the oil for 5-10 mins. Keep the heat gentle to allow the onions to soften without colouring.
  2. Add the peppers and the garlic, cook for another 1-2 mins.
  3. Add everything else and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the pasta is cooked.
  4. Serve liberally over cooked pasta and enjoy 🙂

Vegetable Gratin with Butterbeans 

  
I love a good cheese sauce gratin. I’ll smother anything tbh with a blanket of mustardy cheesy goodness. Perfect fuel for these dreary January days. Use any combo of beans and veggies you want. It’s a fab way to use up spare cooked vegetables so don’t feel you have to prep them from scratch. 
For 3-4 portions you need

  • 1 can drained Butterbeans
  • 600ml milk
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 150g grated strong cheddar
  • 50g grated Parmesan style veggie friendly cheese
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • 2 tsp French mustard (pref Maille)
  • Cooked vegetables eg 3 sliced carrots and 1 head broccoli 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Begin by steaming the veggies until tender. Leave to cool. 
  2. Make the cheese sauce by adding everything apart from the cheeses and beans to a pan and heating gently. Bring to the boil then simmer for 1-2 mins. Remove from the heat. 
  3. Add 2/3 of both cheese and mix until melted and the sauce is smooth. Season with freshly ground black pepper. 
  4. Tip the slightly cooled veggies into an ovenproof dish. Scatter over the beans and distribute vaguely evenly. Pour over the sauce then sprinkle with the remaining cheeses.
  5. Bake in a 200 degree oven for 20-25 mins until browned, bubbling and delicious. Serve with potatoes of your choice. 

Roasted Chickpea and Sweet Potato Salad Wraps (v)

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This dish was inspired by Jamie Oliver and created due to a surfeit of bagged salad in the fridge. It’s so simple to make but utterly delicious and the leftovers make for a perfect lunch.

For six wraps you need

  • 1 pack wraps (we used Waitrose seeded)
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tsp harissa paste
  • 1 jar pitted black olives
  • 2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bag salad leaves
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 oranges, cut into segments
  • 2 fat red chillies, sliced
  • 1 avocado, cut into chunks
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  1. Begin by tossing the sweet potato in the oil and salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray ready for roasting in a hot (200 degree) oven.
  2. Toss the chickpeas and olives in the harissa. Also place on a baking tray. Bake both the trays for about 20 mins until the sweet potato is soft and starting to crisp, the olives have shrivelled a little and the chickpeas are crunchy.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the salad by layering up everything else apart from the wraps on a large serving platter. Drizzle with the red wine vinegar. TBH this on it’s own would be good but I wanted to add some more carbs and protein.

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4. Once the potatoes, chickpeas and olives are done, tip over the salad and load onto a wrap. Serve with as much extra chilli sauce as you dare. So delicious, and so healthy too. Yuuuuuuuum 🙂

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Hoisin Vegetable and Tofu Stirfry with Quinoa (v)

  
I had planned to do a vegetable and rice noodle salad with crispy tofu.  But it was too cold for salad. So I stir fried it all instead, serving with a mound of light fluffy quinoa instead of rice as it’s quicker to cook and I prefer it. 

For three generous portions you need

  • 1 pack cauldron firm tofu
  • 1.5 cups (American Rob) quinoa
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
  • 3 cups of cold water
  • 2 onions
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 pack edamame beans
  • Tenderstem broccoli 
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 
  • 1″ ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  1. Begin by cutting the tofu into strips. Press down into a clean tea towel to squeeze out the excess water. Cut into bite sized pieces
  2. Heat the oil in a wok until very hot. Add the tofu and cook for 5-10 mins over a hot heat until brown and starting to crisp. 
  3. Meanwhile place the quinoa, water and stock into a lidded pan.  Bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce the heat and leave to cook for 8-10 mins until the quinoa has cooked. Turn off the heat and leave the lid on to steam the quinoa until you’re ready to eat it. 
  4. Once the tofu is browned add the onions, chillies, ginger and garlic. Cook for 2-3 mins and then add the remaining vegetables. Add the hoisin and soya sauces and cover with a lid.
  5. Reduce the heat and leave to steam fry for 2-3 mins until the vegetables are al dente and covered in the lovely dark sauce.
  6. Serve with the quinoa. Attempt to eat with chopsticks. Manage three mouthfuls before giving up and using a fork 🙂 

Lentil, Quinoa and Vegetable Stew with Dumplings (v)

  

Whaddya need when it’s January and you’re cold, miserable and longing for spring? A bellyful of this deliciousness. That’s what. Quick, healthy, tasty and good for you, this simple stew is a staple in our house. It also ticks the box of my ‘more vegan meals’ pledge. Win.

For 6 portions you need:

Stew

  • 1 leek, washed, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 small swede, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp cornflour slackened off with a little cold water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Dumplings

  • 50g vegetable suet
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed dried herbs
  • water
  1. Make the dumplings by mixing the dry ingredients with just enough cold water to bring together into a dough. Divide into 8 portions and roll into balls. Set aside.
  2. Fry the leeks and swede in the oil for 2-3 mins.
  3. Add the lentils and quinoa and coat with the oil.
  4. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil.
  5. Simmer for 5 mins then add the parsnips, carrots and dumplings. Cover with a lid and allow to bubble away on a low heat for 15-20 mins.
  6. Check the vegetables and lentils/quinoa are cooked. Assuming they are, add the cornflour to thicken the sauce. Season to taste and serve with lashings of mashed potatoes and a sigh of satisfaction. Some steamed broccoli or peas are nice on the side for an extra portion of veg too.