Banana Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars (v)

This recipe is adapted from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. It’s dead simple, very yummy and makes cooked banana taste nice (I usually can’t stand it cooked in anything unless it’s well and truly mushed up). It’s a bit crumbly and liable to disintegrate round the edges but it’s perfect with a morning coffee and is a reasonably healthy energy boost.

For about 8 bars you need
75g wholemeal flour
11/4 tsp baking powder
75g demerara sugar
75g porridge oats
100g vegan spread or butter if you’re not vegan
1 banana, sliced into 5mm slices
25g plain chocolate chips

Blitz everything apart from the chocolate chips in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Line a 2lb loaf tin and put half the shortbread mix in the bottom. Press down. Lay the banana slices on top and then cover with the remaining shortbread. Press down firmly and scatter over the chocolate. Bake in a 180 degree oven for about 25 mins. Leave to cool and then carefully slice and scoff.


Mock Duck Noodle Soup (v)

There was a bit of a shopping fail this week, as I’d planned to make fake chicken noodle soup for lunch on Sunday but upon opening the freezer realised that we had no quorn chunks left, d’oh. I did however remember that there was a tin of mock duck languishing in the cupboard where it had lain for months. It made for an excellent and very tasty soup. So now I need to buy another tin to replace the one I used!

For three portions you need
1 tin mock duck (available from larger supermarkets or Asian/Chinese grocers), gluten sliced into bite sized pieces
3 nests noodles
1 litre vegetable stock plus the sauce/liquid from the mock duck tin
1 onion, halved and then sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into thin strips
125g closed cup mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 cup frozen sweetcorn
1 inch ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp chinese five spice powder
1 tbsp soya sauce

To garnish
3 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
chilli flakes, tabasco sauce and soya sauce to serve

Place the stock into a large pan and add the noodles, onion, garlic and ginger. Season with soya sauce and the chinese five spice powder. Add all the other ingredients, apart from the pepper and mushrooms, and cook for 3-5 minutes until the noodles are done. Add the mushrooms and pepper and heat through for a further two minutes. Serve in large bowls garnished with the coriander and chillies to taste. Delicious.

Sunshine in a Glass aka Apple; Blood Orange and Pineapple Juice (v)

The perfect antidote to the snow outside. A glass of perky, sweet, delicious juice that makes you feel good from the inside out. You need a juicer to make this, obviously…
For one pint of goodness take 2 oranges (peel and pith cut off), 3 apples and half a pineapple. Juice together and enjoy the radiant glow.

Probably The Most Awesome Vegan Pie Ever (v)

OK, OK, I am feeling rather smug after tonight’s dinner marvel, but it was delicious. Really, really delicious. And it was also very easy to make, and used up some of the veg that has been looking sadly up at me from the bottom of the fridge for the last week. Because it’s vegan, there’s no cream in the recipe, just some soya milk which makes a lovely creamy sauce. And this makes it a healthy choice too if you’re watching the calories, what more do you need to convince you to try it 😉

For 4-6 portions you need
1 sheet puff pastry, rolled out to .5cm thickness
1 leek, finely sliced
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2-3 parsnips, ditto the carrots
4-5 mushrooms cut into chunky slices
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1/2 pint soya milk plus a little extra for glazing the top of the pie
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp stock powder
2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsely
salt and pepper

Begin by sauteeing the vegetables in the oil in a large pan. Cover with a lid and allow the veggies to steam fry for 5 mins or so. Remove the lid and increase the heat a little to evaporate off the mushroom juices.

Sprinkle over the flour and stock powder and allow to cook out. Add the mustard and slowly add the soya milk until it’s all absorbed and the sauce is nicely thickened. Season and add the parsley.

Place the vegetables and sauce in a pie dish. Put the puff pastry on the top and seal the edges. You don’t have to use a pie funnel but it will help to cook the inside out if you have one and prevent a soggy pastry lid. Crimp the edges of the pie and brush the top with a little extra soya milk.

Bake the pie in a hot (180 degree) oven for 30-40 mins until the pastry is golden, crispy and cooked through. Serve with baby jacket potatoes, steamed cauliflower and lashings of yummy gravy. Nomtastic.

Pepper & Mushroom Ragu with Beans and Smoked Paprika (v)

I was going to make miso for dinner tonight but boychild declared he wasn’t hungry and one of my peppers was looking ever so sad so I decided to change tack and make a spicy, sweet stew of vegetables and pulses served with quinoa. I am on a sort of health kick at the moment (she says, eating crisps and she blogs #fail) so this is uber good for you but yummy too. Enjoy.
For 2-3 portions you need:
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
125g mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 can butter beans
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
pinch sugar
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp vegan stock powder
salt and pepper
handful roughly chopped fresh coriander to serve
1/2 cup quiona
1 cup water
1 tsp vegan stock powder 

Begin by sauteeing the onion in the oil for 5 mins. Add the mushrooms, pepper and garlic and cook out, covered, for a further 10 mins. Remove the lid and add everything else apart from the coriander. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins or so till slightly thickened. Check the seasoning.

Meanwhile place the quinoa, water and stock into a lidded pan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 mins. Turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to finish cooking by steaming.

Serve topped with the chopped coriander. Feel virtuous and don’t binge on junk afterwards like me…

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.

Dried Fruit Compote

A true lentil knitting, sandal wearing veggie recipe this one. But it still tastes nice despite that 😉

For about 6 servings you need:
500g mixed dired fruits (I used apples, apricots, sultanas, raisins, figs)
250ml apple juice
some spices – I used 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves and about 6 crushed cardamon pods

Lob everything into a pan, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 15 mins. Leave with a lid on for another 45 mins or so to let the fruit plump up. Serve au natural or with museli, on top of porridge or with a dollop of natural yogurt if you’re not vegan (and vegan yogurt if you are!).

Apricot and Ginger Loaf

A cake, yummy. A healthy cake??! Not too sure about that! I didn’t realise when I set out to make this that it was fat free, but it is and also contains loads of dried fruit so it’s positively like eating healthy food, even though it’s cake.

Adapted from Rose Elliott’s Vegetarian Express cos I didn’t have any prunes to make into a puree, only apricots.

You need:
About 10 dried apricots
Couple of tbsp of water
200g soft brown sugar
50g stem ginger in syrup
2 tsp ground ginger
grated rind of 1 lemon
2 eggs
150g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
125g mixed dried fruit (I love Waitrose mixed vine fruit, very succulent and no manky currants, just big juicy sultanas, raisins and cherries)
3 tbsp boiling water

Begin by putting the apricots into a pan with a couple of tbsp water and heat gently. Leave simmering for about 15 mins, then blitz to a puree with a stick blender.

Mix everything else into the apricot puree, slob into a lined loaf tin and then bake at 160 degrees for 30-45 mins.

Scoff but feel healthy cos it’s fat free and full of fruit innit 🙂

Veggie Tofu Burgers

I wanted a nice veggie burger for lunch. None of that pre-brought frozen stuff today, but rather the 1970’s in a bun – all lentils and tofu and earnest-ness so I can pretend that burgers are good for you.

The recipe I came up with was based on something posted on an internet forum:
100g oats
75g flour
250g tofu
3 carrots grated
1 small onion finely chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 tbsp mushroom ketchup
1 tbsp hendersons relish
1 egg, beaten


Lob everything apart from the egg into a food processor. Blitz until it’s the consistency you want (I like mine smooth to hide the scary bits from Lex!). Add the egg and mix till the mixture comes together. Sometimes you can omit the egg if it’s moist enough (or you want a vegan version)

To cook place on a lightly oiled baking tray and bake in the oven at 180C till cooked (approx 10 mins).

Serve in a bun with salad (I feel that alfafa and cucumber and raw onion are obligatory here!) and relish and sweet potato wedges on the side. Sit back in a smug haze of healthy eating induced glow…