Festive Nut and Lentil Roast (v)

I’ve been tweaking my nut roast recipe as we approach the solstice this year. I love nut roast, and this recipe gives me everything I am looking for in a roast. It’s nice enough to be used on Christmas day, but easy enough to make more often too. It freezes well and makes the best sandwiches thinly sliced and served with cranberry sauce, mustard and lettuce in a barm. I always make a double batch and stash one in the freezer for a super quick roast on days when I don’t have the time or inclination to make a dinner from scratch.

For 2 x 2lb loaves (cuts into 8-10 slices each) you need:

  • 1 packet of cooked whole chestnuts
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups stock
  • 1/3 cup each of raw cashews and almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw peanuts
  • 1 onion, blitzed to a pulp
  • 1 packet sage and onion stuffing mix
  • 3 tbsp mixed dried herbs
  • generous heaped dessert spoon of marmite
  • 4 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds
  1. Begin by cooking the lentils in the stock for about 15 mins until tender. I find this best in a lidded non stick pan. Once cooked, beat them until smooth and creamy with a wooden spoon – this will take about 2-3 mins.
  2. Whilst the lentils are cooking, toast the sunflower seeds in a pan.
  3. In a food processor or mini processor, roughly blitz the peanuts, cashews and almonds, I like a mix where some of them are quite finely chopped but you still have some nice bigger lumps of nuts for texture. Add the chestnuts and pulse a couple of times until they are broken into chunks. If you don’t have a processor you can roughly chop the nuts by hand instead.
  4. Dry fry the chopped nuts and onion in a pan for 4-5 mins until the liquid from the onion has reduced a little.
  5. Make the stuffing mix up according to the instructions in a large bowl. Add everything else to this bowl and mix thoroughly.
  6. Pack into two lined 2lb loaf tins and then bake in a 160-170 degree oven for 30-45 mins. Enjoy!

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 😀

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love soft, squidgy cookies, especially when they have peanut butter in them. This recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook.

For about 30 cookies you need
225g softened butter
200g soft brown sugar
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
240g crunchy peanut butter
340g plain flour
2.5 tsp bicarb
75g chocolate chips

Begin by creaming the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and peanut butter. Once these are combined add the flour and bicarb and mix until a soft dough forms. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Place dessertspoon mounds onto a lined baking sheet, ensuring they are well spread out. Bake in a 170 degree oven for about 10 mins until cooked and lightly browned.

Leave to cool for a few mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Delicious with a glass of milk or a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

Thai Style Courgette Fritters with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Beetroot and Carrot Salad

I’ve been meaning to blog this for ages as someone asked for the recipe (sorry!) but just hadn’t got round to it… Well better late then never eh 😉 You can make this dish as spicy or not as you wish. I like mine ferociously hot.

For 4 people you need
Fritters
1 large courgette, grated coarsely
1 large carrot, grated coarsely
1 large onion, likewise grated
2 tbsp red curry paste
1 egg
1/2 cup plain flour (about 100-150g)
vegetable oil for shallow frying

Sauce
4 tbsp crunch peanut butter
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp red curry paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2-6 red chillies, sliced

Salad
2 beetroot, peeled and grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 onion, finely sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
4 thai chillies, finely sliced
2 tbsp fish sauce or mushroom soy sauce if you’re veggie
2 tbsp soya sauce
2/3 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Plain boiled jasmine rice, Raw peanuts, lightly pan roasted and fresh coriander to serve.

Begin by making the salad. Using a food processor if you have one, grate everything and place in a bowl with the dressing ingredients. Mix thoroughly and leave to one side while you prepare everything else.

Make the sauce by placing everything in a pan and bringing to a gentle simmer. Cook for 2-3 mins then leave to one side.

Make the fritters by mixing everything together in a bowl. Heat about 1cm of oil in a large frying pan and fry spoonfuls of the mix for 3-4 mins on each side until lightly browned and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper.

Serve garnished with peanuts and coriander and with plenty of plain rice to cool your mouth down on!

Noodles with Vegetables and Peanut Chilli Sauce (v)

I thought I didn’t like kale, but last weeks veg box showed me that it can be really nice. So this week, when another culinary nemesis, chard, arrived, I thought I would do the same. However, I have decided I really, really, _really_ don’t like chard. The rest of this recipe is nice tho, and if you like chard I’m sure you’ll find it delicious.

For one person you need
1 bundle noodles
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 head broccoli, sliced into small florets
2 leaves chard, sliced
1 small onion, sliced

Dressing
1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (or a whole chilli, sliced)
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp dark soya sauce
pinch sugar
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon or lime

Place the noodles in a pan and cover with boiling water. Cook for 1-2 mins then add the veggies and cook for a further 1-2 mins until the noodles are tender and the veggies al dente.

Meanwhile mix all the dressing ingredients together. Drain the pan and dress the noodles in the hot pan. Eat.

Kale, Mushroom and Peanut Stir Fry with Hoisin Sauce (v)

My veg box came overloaded with kale this week. And I am not that keen on kale… I usually lob it into a minestrone style soup or steam it and have it with mash but wanted some different inspiration this week. Google showed me this rather yummy idea from BBC Good Food so I adapted it to what I had in the fridge and cupboards and a delicious, healthy lunch was created.

For one person you need
1 tbsp unsalted, shelled peanuts
1 tbsp veg oil
4-5 mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 leek, thinly sliced
2-3 cups of kale, stripped off of the tough inner stalk and well washed
2-3 tbsp hoisin sauce

Heat the oil in a wok and add the peanuts to it. Toss about for 2-3 mins until lightly browned then add the leeks and mushrooms. Keep the veggies moving about and cook for 2-3 mins till lightly browned. Add the kale and cover with a lid. Keep the veggies moving so nothing burns and cook for a further 2-3 mins. Add the hoisin sauce, recover and heat through for a final 1-2 mins. Nom.

Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

These cakes have been inspired by that icon of American confectionary, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. I love love love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, but have never made a cake version of this previously. They work well, with a moist chocolate cake bottom (made from Nigella’s sour cream chocolate cake recipe) and a salty, but sweet peanut butter frosting. Not for the fainthearted, these cupcakes pack a punch. And calories to match!

For 12-18 cupcakes (depending on tin size) you need:


Chocolate cake base
200g vanilla sugar
200g plain flour
200g vitalite
2 eggs
40g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb
150ml sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Frosting
100g butter, at room temp
200g smooth peanut
200g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp milk

Mix everything for the cake together in a free standing mixer on medium speed till well combined. Turn the mixer speed to max and beat for 5 mins until light and fluffy. Place spoonfuls of the mixture into muffin/cupcake cases and bake in a moderate (170 degree) oven for 15-20 mins till risen and cooked through. Leave to cool.

For the frosting, again mix everything together in a free standing mixer till combined. Turn up the speed and beat for no more than 3 mins till light and fluffy. Place into a piping bag and pipe on top of the cooled cakes. Enjoy with an ice cold glass of milk if you want to continue the American theme.

Quinoa with Steamed Vegetables and Peanut Sauce (v)

I was craving satay sauce today and also had a selection of pathetic looking vegetables to use up in the fridge. The quinoa is quick to cook and makes a nice change from rice or noodles.

For 2 people you need:
Quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup boiling water
1/4 tsp vegan stock powder

Peanut Sauce
1/4 jar smooth peanut butter
1 small can coconut cream
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 chilli, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp medium sherry
2 tsp chinese vinegar

Vegetables of your choice to steam (I had asparagus, sugar snap peas and chinese leaf which I left raw)

Place the quinoa, stock powder and water in a lidded pan. Bring to the boil, simmer for 5-10 mins and then turn off the heat and leave to steam for a further 5-10 mins.

Place all the sauce ingredients in a pan and heat, mixing well. Do not allow it to boil or the fat will separate, bleck.

Steam the vegetables. Serve and enjoy.

Quick Spiced Noodles in Coconut Milk (v)

This is an adaptation of Nigella’s Spicy Chicken Noodles but sans the dead chicken, obviously. It’s gently warming, and nice and filling on a cold wet day.

For 3-4 portions you need:
2 bundles rice noodles, soaked in hot water
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 courgette, sliced
1 can coconut cream
1 litre vegetable stock
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 inch piece ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 red chillies, sliced
handful corriander, chopped
handful salted peanuts

Put everything aside from the corriander and peanuts into a pan and gently simmer for 5 mins or so. Serve in large bowls topped with the corriander and peanuts. Slurp and savour.

Peanut, Sweet Potato and Chard Stew

Another recipe from April’s BBC Good Food magazine. Riverford had ever so kindly given us an extra ‘present’ of some chard. One of my most hated vegetables. But I saw this recipe and thought I’d give it a go to use up the interloper in a new way. It worked, sort of. N didn’t like it at all, but L ate the sweet potatoes and stew juice. I liked it all, but like so many Good Food recipes it was rather bland. If I make it again I’ll add some more flavours to it, and less water.

For 4 generous portions you need:
400g sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped into bite sized chunks
1 400g tin chopped toms
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp whole cumin
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp oil
175g roasted, salted peanuts
300ml water (the recipe states 750ml but this was waaaaaay too much imho, you need enough to help the potatoes cook but not enough to drown the flavours…)
250g chard, washed and chopped into 2cms chunks.

Begin by frying the onion over a high heat in the oil for about 10 mins until golden. Add the cumin seeds and chilli and fry for another couple of minutes to release the flavours. Then add the toms and water and sweet potatoes. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 mins. Blitz the peanuts till finely chopped, and add to the pan. After another 10 mins or so add the chard and heat for 5 mins till tender. Keep an eye on the water level to stop the stew from sticking and top up if you need some more liquid. Season to taste and serve with rice. Feel beyond virtuous for eating so healthily.