Sweet CousCous with Rose Jam and Cashew & Pistachio Caramel (v)

I made my first tagine in a proper tagine over the weekend and wanted something deliciously light and sweet to eat afterwards. This hit the spot perfectly and combined delicate middle eastern flavours with a light but tasty finish to the end of the meal. Serve with a light orange and cinnamon sorbet to really intensify the flavours if you want!

For 4 portions you need
1/2 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp each of rose water and orange flower water
1/2 tsp each of ground cinnamon, cardamon powder and freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp sultanas
1 tbsp rose petal jam (optional)
A few rose petals to decorate

Place everything apart from the jam and rose petals into a bowl and stir well. Leave to steep for 5-10 mins until the water has been absorbed. Pack into a lightly greased bowl and push down well before inverting on a serving plate. Top with the jam and some rose petals.

Cashew and Pistachio Caramel
1 tbsp raw cashew nuts
1 tbsp raw pistachios
1 tsp agarve nectar (or honey if you’re not vegan)
2 tbsp vegan marge (or butter if you’re not vegan)

Place the nuts and butter/marge in a pan over a slow heat and gently toast the nuts. Add the nectar/honey and boil for 1-2 mins until the caramel is a light brown colour and the nuts are deliciously toasted. Take care not to burn or catch the pan! Tip onto a well oiled surface and leave to cool. Break into bite sized pieces once cooled and scatter over the cous cous.

Moroccan Bulghar Wheat Salad (v)

The weather has been *glorious* for the last 10 days or so 🙂 Quite strangely warm for mid March. In order to acknowledge this fact I made myself a bowl of yummy vegan goodness for lunch yesterday. I often make soaked bulghar wheat because it’s quick, easy and filling. You can add whatever you have to hand, don’t be put off by the long list of apparently random and weird ingredients. Make in bulk and enjoy over the week as the flavours develop and the fruit plumps up more and more.

For 6-8 portions you need:
1 cup bulghar wheat
2 cups stock
1 red onion, diced finely
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
1 pack chilli marinated olives
1/4 cup each of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and pine nuts
2 tbsp ras-el-halout
4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1/4 cup raisins

Toast the seeds with the ras-el-halout until lightly toasted and spitting hot. Soak everything else in a large bowl and add the sizzling seeds to the mix. Combine well and leave to marinate. Serve with tomato sauce and salad leaves.

Stuffed Peppers with Smoked Paprika, Cous Cous and Tomatoes (v)

I am in the throes of using up all the perishables in my flat and tonight it was the turn of the peppers and tomatoes. I’ve been hankering after stuffed peppers for a while now, and these were OK but didn’t really hit the spot. I bet you’re all clamouring to make these now eh 😉

For 2-3 servings you need:
3 sweet peppers, cut in half and deseeded
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup cous cous
1/4 tsp vegan stock powder
1 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
2/3 pack baby plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
salt, pepper and a pinch sugar
1/2 pack passata
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Begin by frying the onion in the oil for 5 mins or so. Add the garlic, tomatoes and passata and cook out till thickened and the fresh tomatoes have cooked down. Season and add the chick peas, smoked paprika and oregano.

Meanwhile place the cous cous, stock powder and boiling water in a bowl and allow to soak. Add the cous cous to the sauce once it’s fluffed up.

Place the peppers in an oven proof dish and fill with the cous cous mixture. Top with some cheese if you are not vegan. Bake in a moderate oven for 25-30 mins until the peppers are tender.

Quinoa, Pearl Barley and Celeriac Slow Cooker Stew (v)

This is another ridiculously easy one pot meal. If you are sans slow cooker then make it up and cook slowly for 45 mins or so instead.

For 4-6 people you need:
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup pearl barley
1-1.5 litres stock (use a little more if cooking on the stove)
1 celeriac, diced into 1cm cubes
3-4 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

Fry off the onions in the oil for 5 mins or so. Add everything else to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with mash.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Stew with Red Lentils and Pearl Barley (v)

This was my second attempt with a slow cooker and from it I learnt that potatoes do not love a slow cooker, and lentils should be placed at the bottom of the crock pot. You have been warned.

For 6 large portions you need:
1 celeriac root, diced
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 swede, diced
1 cup red lentils
1 cup pearl barley
1.5 litres vegetable stock
2 onions, diced
1 heart celery, chopped small
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Begin by frying off the onion and celery in a pan. Place everything in the crock pot, starting with the barley and lentils and then adding the vegetables. Sprinkle over the herbs and add the stock. Leave on low for 8-10 hours.

Moroccan Spiced Vegetables with Bulghar Wheat and Haloumi (v)

This is another endless variation on the same theme, but tasty none the less. Today’s dish was a bit dry if truth be told so I am open for suggestions as to a sauce to combine with it. I was thinking either yogurt and harissa or maybe some runny tahini sauce…

Serves 4 people

For the baharat beetroot and squash you need 2-3 beetroot, scrubbed and peeled and cut into 6ths and 1 squash, cut into chunks. Toss in a little olive oil, season with salt and sprinkle over 1-2 tbsp baharat. Roast in a medium oven for 20-30 mins.

For the ras-el-halout mixed vegetables you need handful mushrooms, 1 courgette, 2 carrots, 2 red onions, 1/2 cauliflower broken into florets. Begin by roughly chopping the onion, courgettes and carrots. Toss in some olive oil and 1-2 tbsp ras-el-halout with the mushrooms and cauliflower. Roast in a medium oven for 20-30 mins.

For the haloumi chop a packet into chunks and roast in a hot oven for about 10 mins.

For the bulghar wheat place 1/2 cup bulghar wheat in a bowl with 1/2 tsp stock powder and pour over 1 cup boiling water. Leave to mingle for 20-30 mins. If you are vegan, omit the haloumi and add a can drained chickpeas to the bulghar wheat.

Serve, scoff and enjoy 🙂

Baked Polenta with Griddled Summer Vegetables (v)

A lovely light lunch dish (omit the parmesan for a vegan version). This is from @deliciousmag August edition.

For 4 portions you need:
800ml vegetable stock
200g quick cook polenta
100g finely grated parmesan (use dark stock instead if making it vegan)
100g asparagus tips
1 large courgette, peeled in to ribbons
150g cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
120g roasted red peppers (either do your own or use a jar), sliced
Squeeze of lemon juice
Large handful of rocket leaves

Bring the stock to the boil in a large pan and then slowly add the polenta, whisking all the time till it thickens. Season well and add the parmesan. Pour into a lined baking tin (e.g. swiss roll tin) and leave to set for 5 mins then bake at 180 degrees for about 20 mins.

Meanwhile griddle the veggies on batches. Mix with the lemon juice and season well.

Serve the polenta dressed with rocket and the griddled veggies on the top. Sophistocated but easy ☺

Cashew Patties (v)

A definite hairy lentil knitting burger this one but don’t let that put you off 🙂

50g wheat berries soaked overnight (have NO clue what these are so used 50g quinoa instead)
100g finely ground cashews (any nut will do)
25g sunflower seeds
2 tbsp oil
100g finely grated carrots
1 tbsp chopped parsely
2-3 tbsp dark stock (e.g. marmite)
dash of soya sauce
salt and pepper
100g fine oatmeal (I just used value porridge oats)

Cook quinoa/wheat berries till done then drain.

Mix together everything and bind with enough stock to make it moist (you might not need any tbh). Then shape into burgers bake them in the oven for about 30 mins. Yummy.

Disgustingly Healthy Lunchbox Bulghar Wheat (v)

Tomorrow is meat free monday which for me means a vegan day. I’m also in the throes of trying to empty out my completely over full cupboards in preparation for the imminent house move so this is an eclectic gathering of ingredients, but trust me as it’s also very tasty. And healthy, did I mention that already?

For one person you need:
1/3 cup bulghar wheat
2/3 cup boiling water
1/4 tsp vegan stock powder
1 large pinch spices (I used moroccan seasoning)
2 tsp each of hazlenuts, cashews and pine nuts
4 dried apricots, sliced into small pieces
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1 stick celery, cut into small dice
1/2 small red onion, diced
2 tsp olive oil

Place the blughar wheat and stock into a tub and pour over the water. Stir. Add the onion, nuts and apricots and soak till all the stock has been absorbed (it’s important to add the nuts and apricots now as you want them to soften and plumpen with the wheat and onion needs to lose it’s harshness in the water too). Add the seasoning, oil, pepper and celery and stir. Leave to get to know each other over night and scoff for lunch the next day. Feel truly virtuous.

Tabbouleh (v)

There are countless variations for this recipe, and mine changes depending on what I have in the fridge, but the staples are always a grain (quinoa, bulgar wheat or cous cous); lemon juice; chopped corriander and parsley; cucumber and tomatoes; garlic and lashings of olive oil. The recipe below is what we had today…

For 4-6 portions you need:
1 cup bulgar wheat
2 cups boiling water
2 tsp stock powder
1/2 a cucumber, diced
2-3 tomatoes, diced (if you can be arsed then skin them but if you can’t you’ll live…)
1 clove garlic, crushed
large cup each of corriander and parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
4 tbsp good quality olive oil
juice 1/2 – 1 lemon
salt and pepper

Begin by soaking the bulgar wheat in the stock and boiling water. Leave to absorb for about 30 mins. Meanwhile prepare the other ingredients and then mix into the grain. Leave to marinate and then eat. We had it as part of a mezze platter with falafel, olives, houmous, pitta and semi dried toms. Sunshine on the table even if it’s peeing down with rain outside…