Dirty Rice, Mexican Style (v)

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This is one of those wonderful chuck it all in and the magic happens recipes. It might take 45 mins or so to cook, but apart from the initial sauteeing and an occasional prod here and there it’s low maintenance. You can use whatever you have to hand to make it, the magic ratios are the rice and water. You do need to let it sit for 10-15 mins before eating to allow the rice to fully absorb all the liquid.

For four portions you need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 stick celery, diced
  • 1/2 leek, sliced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 250g brown rice
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander, dried oregano and sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 150g tenderstem broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. Begin by sauteeing the first six ingredients in a large, deep, non stick lidded pan. Cover with the lid to help them sweat and cook for 10 mins.
  2. Add the rice and spices/herbs. Turn up the heat and cook the rice out for 1-2 mins.
  3. Add the stock, bring to the boil then cover with the lid and turn the heat right down. Cook for 15 mins.
  4. Add the pepper, sweetcorn, broccoli and kidney kidney beans and cook for a further 10 mins.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 mins further then turn off the heat, keep the lid in place and allow to steam for 10 mins. Check the seasoning and serve garnished with the parsley.
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Green Lentil Soup with Cumin and Coriander (v)

My son said this tasted “healthy” 😂 he was right. It tasted like the inside of a 1980s health food shop would smell but in a warming and pleasant way.

For six portions you need

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 leek, washed and cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 sticks celery, ditto
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp each ground coriander and cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. Saute the leek and celery in the oil for 5 mins.
  2. Add the spices and lentils. Stir to coat then add the stock.
  3. Bring to the boil and cook for 20-30 mins until the lentils are tender.
  4. Blitz until smooth with a stick blender, season to taste and add the parsley. Enjoy with a side of alfalfa and a sprinkle of nostalgia 😉

Meal Planning…

“What do you want for tea?”

“I don’t know, you decide”

How about this then:

Sat:

Dirty rice

Sun:

Roast dinner

Mon:

Thai tofu fishcakes
Rice Noodle salad
Vinegar cucumber salad

Tues:

Quick kidney bean curry and rice
Bombay potatoes

Wed:

Lentil Ragu and Pasta

Thurs:

Vegetable and lentil stew with pearl barley
Mash
Eton Mess

Fri:

Freezer tea (because Friday).

Quick Satay Sauce (v)

I am sure there will be many people rolling their eyes in horror at the recipe I am about to write but I don’t care. It tasted delicious and was quick and easy. WINNING!

For 4 portions you need:

  • 4 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp stock powder
  • About 100-150ml boiled water
  1. Place everything in a small pan and combine. Using boiling water helps to soften the peanut butter and make this more manageable.
  2. Heat gently until slightly thickened, adding more water if necessary. Check seasonings and serve. We like it with noodles or with griddled tofu 😀

Chickpea, sweet potato and carrot tagine (v)

I needed a quick tea for tonight, and one which made use of the few veggies in the house. Vegetable tagines are quick affairs if you use tinned pulses. This one combines fresh ginger with deeper flavours of cumin and paprika for a flavourful but speedy supper.

For four portions you need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 sweet potato peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 carrots, likewise peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, cut into 2cms slices
  • About 250ml veg stock
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin, paprika and tumeric
  • 1″ piece of ginger, grated
  • Fresh coriander, chopped
  • Cooked brown rice and quinoa to serve
  1. Add the oil to a large pan and saute the veggies, covered with a lid, for about 10 mins, stirring often.
  2. Add the spices and ginger and cook out for 2-3 mins.
  3. Add everything else apart from the coriander and cook, covered, for 10 mins until the veggies are tender.
  4. Serve with brown rice/quinoa and garnish with the coriander.

Thai Yellow Curry (v)

Quick. Easy. Delicious. Perfect after work fare on a cold and dark evening. Either find a vegan paste or make your own from ginger, garlic, chillies, lemongrass and tumeric blitzed together with an onion.

For a generous four portions you need:

  • 250g tofu, pressed over night. We prefer Cauldron. Cut into bite sized pieces.
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp curry paste or make your own (see above)
  • Whatever veg you fancy. We used 1 leek, 1/4 cauliflower, 1/3 head broccoli, 2 carrots
  • 1 tbsp oil
  1. Begin by sauteing the tofu in the oil in a hot pan.
  2. Add the paste and cook with 2 tbsp coconut milk for 2-3 mins.
  3. Add the veggies and remaining coconut milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins until the veggies are cooked.
  4. Serve with rice and soya sauce to season.

Cider Sausage Casserole with Black Quinoa (v)

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Yeah. Black quinoa mofos. I’m so totally more hipster than you 😉 And no, there isn’t much difference between the normal type and this one or the red one! I found  it lurking at the back of the cupboard when I had a New Year clear out so thought I’d better use it… I also found some unpleasant cheap cider that I’d got to mull but hadn’t got round to using. This was an inspired chuck it all in and see what happens dish and what happened was I’d definitely make it again so here is the recipe!

For four portions you need

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 8 vegan sausages
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into fat discs
  • 4 potatoes, cut into chunky cubes
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 can cider
  • 2 tsp stock powder
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tin black eyed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200g spinach, washed and shredded
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup black quinoa
  1. Begin by frying the leek, carrots, potatoes and sausages in the oil until the vegetables are starting to get tender and the sausages have browned a little, about 10 mins.
  2. Add the cider, stock powder and mustard and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa, beans and sage and cook gently covered for 10-15 mins until the quinoa, potatoes and carrots are cooked. You may need to add a little more stock if necessary as you want a bit of sauce left.
  3. Season to taste and add the spinach. Leave to wilt, covered and with the heat off, for 5 mins. This will also allow the quinoa to finish cooking and relax a little.
  4. Delicious served with some apple sauce on the side.

Quorn au Vin (v)

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I’d been craving this for ages, and after searching recipes on the internet didn’t find one that exactly met my requirements so I concocted this. It was delicious. I recommend making it a day or so ahead of when you want to eat it to let the flavours develop and mingle. Perfect January comfort food.

For six portions you need

  • 12 quorn fillets
  • 250g baby button mushrooms
  • 250g shallots, peeled and kept as whole as possible
  • 250g chantenay carrots – tops chopped off but don’t worry about peeling them
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 600ml red wine
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • salt and pepper
  1. Begin by frying the carrots, shallots and mushrooms in a large casserole pan with the oil. Saute for 5-10 mins until starting to soften. Add the bay leaves and cook for a further 1-2 mins.
  2. Add the brandy and deglaze the pan. Add the wine and stock. Cook for about 15 mins until the wine mixture has started to reduce and the vegetable are tender.
  3. Add the quorn fillets, puree and season to taste. Cook for a further 10 mins or so until the quorn is cooked through. You don’t want to over cook it as it can get quite soggy.
  4. Either eat straight away or leave to mingle for a few days in the fridge. I served it with saute potatoes one day and mash and steamed spring greens another.