Cider, Vegetable, Lentil and Bean Pie with Swede and Potato Mash (v)

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The teen doesn’t like shepherd’s pie very much, but this was far enough away from the usual recipes that he tolerated it. The husband and I on the other hand really enjoyed it 😉 Make sure you use vegan cider!

For four portions you need

  • 1 leek, cut into 0.5cm slices
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into 0.5cm discs
  • 1 head broccoli cut into bite size florets
  • 1/2 cauliflower cut into bite size florets
  • 400ml dry cider
  • 300ml water
  • 4 tsp stock powder
  • 1 can black eyed beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 tsp cornflour slackened with a little cold water
  • A little olive oil
  • A little vegan marge
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 1 medium swede, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  1. Begin by sauteing the leeks, onion and carrot in the olive oil for 10 mins. Cover with a lid to help them steam cook.
  2. Meanwhile, place the swede in a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 12 mins.
  3. Add the lentils, cider, stock, water and sage to the stew pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 mins.
  4. After 12 mins, add the potatoes to the swede pan, bring back up to the boil and cook for a further 12 mins.
  5. Add the broccoli, cauliflower and black eyed beans to the stew pan. Cook covered for 8 mins.
  6. Drain the swede and potatoes, add the marge and nooch and mash until as smooth as you can get it (it won’t be totally smooth due to the swede).
  7. Take the stew off the heat and add the cornflour mix to thicken the sauce. Season to taste.
  8. Layer the stew in the bottom of an oven proof dish. Top with the mash and then bake at 170 degrees for 45 mins until bubbling and browned. Enjoy.

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Lentil Roast (v)

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I love a good veggie roast. You can keep your soggy filo pastry wrapped monstrosities. Give me a nut or a lentil roast any day of the week, but especially so on a Sunday.

I’m in festive planning mode at the moment and have tweaked this recipe to deliver a tasty and satisfying addition to our planned festive platefuls on the big day. It’s also nice cold in sandwiches with cranberry sauce, leftover stuffing and chestnuts.

For 6-8 portions you need

  • 225g split red lentils
  • 425ml veg stock
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • garlic pepper
  • 1 tsp dried garlic granules
  • 2 slices brown bread processed into breadcrumbs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  1. Place everything apart from the lemon juice and breadcrumbs into a pan. A non stick one is best to prevent the lentils from sticking but it’s not essential.
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15-20 mins until the lentils have broken down and gone lovely and soft.
  3. Add the lemon juice and breadcrumbs and mix well. Leave to cool slightly.
  4. Scrape out into a lined 1lb loaf tin and smooth the surface. Bake in a hot (180 degree) oven for 20-25 mins until lightly golden on top. Serve at once with all the usual trimmings.

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. 

Perfect Potato Dauphinois 

 

We’ve inherited a milk glut so I’m working my way through recipes that will deal with it. As it’s Sunday, we needed something to be the centrepiece of our evening meal. And this recipe made enough for leftovers tomorrow for a speedy working Monday dinner, win. 

For six portions you need

  • 900g new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 150ml milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 100g strong cheddar, grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

The secret to making a good gratin, that doesn’t need weeks in the oven, isn’t in danger of burning and always ensures fully cooked potatoes is: par boil the potato slices in the milk/cream mixture. I couldn’t believe it when I stumbled across this piece of advice. For years I’d been struggling with gratins either taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to cook or having to deal with undercooked veg. Not a nice thing in a potato. 

So with that in mind to make this you simply:

  1. Slice the potatoes and onions (extremely carefully!) with a mandolin to ensure even wafer thin slices. 
  2. Place the potatoes and onions into a pan containing everything else apart from the cheddar. 
  3. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes. 
  4. Once par cooked, tip into a baking dish, cover with cheese and bake at 160 for 30-40 mins.
  5. Serve as you wish. We had carrots, cauliflower, peas and nut roast. Yummy. 

Cowboy Stew (v)

I don’t know where the name Cowboy Stew comes from I have to confess. I first made this as a student so I think it’s probably something to do with the fact that it contains beans and sausages and everyone knows that’s what cowboys eat. Whatever, the etymology of the name is less interesting than the recipe. It’s the perfect sort of dish for horrible weather like what we had today: wet, soggy, cold, blustery. This warms you from the inside and tastes lovely at the same time. Result.

For 4 portions you need
1 pack Linda McCartney sausages
1 tin baked beans
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin drained black eyed beans
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 punnett mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 red and 1 green pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
salt and pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp each of hendersons relish (veggie worcester sauce), soya sauce and mushroom ketchup

Begin by sautéing the onion in the oil for about 5 mins. Add the mushrooms and cook till the juices have come out. Add the peppers and garlic and fry for another 1-2 mins. Add everything else apart from the sausages and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 mins. Meanwhile fry the sausages until browned. Add the sausages to the pan of stew and cook for a further 10 mins till steaming hot. Serve with mounds of buttery mash, or whatever carb you feel like. Perfeck.

Hugh’s Ten Minute Cookies

This recipe is from River Cottage Everyday. I don’t think they are as nice as Nigella’s chocolate cookies from Nigella Express, but they lasted all week for lunch boxes and were nice and chewy.

For about 16 cookies you need:
125g butter
100g caster sugar
75g light soft brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g chocolate (I like a mix of white and milk)

Melt the butter and leave to cool slightly. Mix with the sugars and then add everything else. Spoon on to greased baking sheets, well spaced, and bake for 10 mins at 150 degrees. Leave to cool slightly before moving them to a cooling rack, but not for too long or they will stick…

Speedy Microwave Syrup Sponge Pudding

I felt all Jamie last night as I managed to get a two course meal on the table in under 30 mins. Go me…

For 4-5 portions you need:
125g margarine, self raising flour and sugar
2 eggs
splash milk
3 tbsp golden syrup

Blitz together the marge, milk, flour, eggs and sugar. Place the golden syrup in the bottom of a pudding basin/pyrex bowl and scrape the batter on top. Cover with cling film and nuke on high for 3 mins 30 secs. Serve with lashings of custard.

Cheats Donuts (v)

Rachel Allen calls these Balymone Balloons. But I call them cheats donuts. They’re so simple to make, take hardly any time at all and taste d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s.

For about 12 donuts you need:
140g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2-4 tsp sugar plus extra for tossing in once cooked
200ml soya milk

Mix everything together to make a smooth batter. Heat vegetable oil to about 180 degrees and then fry spoonfuls of the batter in the hot oil. Move them around to get them an even golden brown colour. Err on the side of small when adding the batter to ensure the middle goes puffy and gets totally cooked. Too big, and the inside will stay sticky.

Drain on kitchen paper and then toss in extra caster sugar. Add vanilla, cinammon, cardamon, lavender etc depending on what you fancy. Or serve dipped in melted chocolate or warmed jam. Addictive!

Perfect Poached Eggs

Remember, this blog is to teach my son to cook. That is all.

For a perfect poached egg you need:
1 egg
1 pan simmering water
1 tsp vinegar

Place the vinegar in the water and bring to the boil, then reduce to the barest simmer. Crack the egg into a glass and pour gently into the water. Cook for 3-4 mins till the white is set and the yolk is runny. Drain, pat on a tea towel to absorb the excess water and serve as you wish.

Lentil and Swede Shepherd’s Pie (v)

This is a lovely, rich and tasty vegan version of the classic Shepherd’s pie.

For 6-8 portions you need:
1/2 cup each of green, brown and puy lentils
3/4 cup red lentils
1/2 swede, diced into bite sized chunks
glass red wine
1 tbsp dried oregano
splash mushroom ketchup
splash soya sauce
about 1 litre dark stock (I use vecon)
pepper
2 onions, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
mashed potato

Begin by sauteeing the onion and swede in a little oil for about 10mins. Add the garlic and lentils and then add just enough stock to cover the lentils and swede. Add the wine, soya sauce, mushroom ketchup and oregano and season with pepper. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 30-45 mins till the swede and lentils are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Place into an ovenproof dish and top with mashed potato. Bake for about 40 mins till bubbling and serve with carrots and broccoli.