Bangers and Mash with Red Wine Onion Gravy (v)

When it’s your birthday in our house, you can choose what’s for tea. This year I chose bangers and mash as it’s been a grey January so far and I wanted comfort food. But to make it that little bit extra special I made the gravy from scratch. It only takes 20 mins and the results are soooooooo worth it.

For three people you need

  • Vegan sausages (we used Shroomdogs and Linda McCartney sausages)
  • Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Vegan spread – 2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetables of your choice
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (I used my mandolin for consistency)
  • 200ml red wine
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp each of soya sauce and mushroom ketchup
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  1. Put the potatoes on to boil. Cook for 17 mins once boiling until tender. Drain and add 1 tbsp spread then mash thoroughly until smooth and creamy. Season to taste.
  2. Heat a large frying pan and add the other 1 tbsp spread. Add the onion and sugar and cook for 10 mins until lightly golden.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour and cook out for 2-3 mins. Add the stock, wine, soya sauce and mushroom ketchup and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to thicken. Stir every now and then to prevent lumps.
  4. Cook the sausages – I use my air fryer where they take about 16 mins.
  5. Steam the veg and then serve up and enjoy.

Quorn au Vin (v)


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.

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)
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.

Bangers and Mash (v)

I love traditional English food, and this is a fab meal for those who want to enjoy all the tradition with none of the slaughter.

For 4 portions you need:
1 pack vegan sausages (we usually have Linda McCartney)
3 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cauli, cut into florets
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
2 tbsp vegan marg
100ml soya milk
1/2 pint vegan gravy
salt and pepper

Begin by boiling the potatoes until tender. Drain and mash with the vegan marg and milk. Season to taste. Meanwhile roast the sausages till done and steam the veggies. Make up the gravy. Serve with mustard or cranberry sauce and sigh with contentment when stuffed full.

Garlic Bread

Well this is cheats garlic bread really but it still tastes good. Take a part baked baguette and slash slices into it (being careful not to cut all the way through). Fill with garlic butter made with 100g butter and 1 large crushed garlic clove. Bake in the oven (uncovered) for about 10 mins and scoff. Then feel sick and mourn all the buttery calories consumed. Oh dear!

Apple Crumble

I had a craving for apple crumble and custard over the weekend. Normally crumble isn’t something I make that often as we’re not a big crumble family. But I really fancied it and it turned out really well, if a little souffled in the oven as the apples continued to cook down! Proper winter warming fare 🙂

For 8 generous servings you need:
900g peeled and chopped cooking apples
100g vanilla sugar
225g plain flour
175g butter
175g demerara sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Begin by cooking the apples in a pan over a gentle heat. This will take about 15 mins. You want them mostly pulpy with still with some lumps. Meanwhile blitz the butter and flour in a food processor till it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and cinnamon to it. Pour into a baking dish and top with the crumble mixture. Bake at 180 degrees for about 30 mins. Serve with custard. Ours came from a tin. I don’t do making custard and anyway for comfort food like this you need ambrosia!

Mince Pies

OK OK so you don’t really need a recipe for these given that it’s mincemeat in pastry but OMG I didn’t think I liked mince pies really. I used to force them down out of a sense of misplaced xmas duty, but having finally made my own mincemeat for the first time I am a convert. These truly are delicious.

You need
1 quantity of homemade mincemeat
1 quantity of home made pastry

Roll out the pastry and then line cupcake tins with it. Fill the pastry cases with a scant amount of mincemeat and top with a decorative top (I like my snowflake, xmas tree and star cutters for this!).
Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle on some sugar. Bake in a hot oven for 10-20 mins till done and then leave to cool. Scoff.

The pastry recipe is very easy but is one of those I only know in imperial. You need half the amount of flour in fat and then mix together with cold water. To make 24 mini cocktail mince pies, and about 18 bigger ones along with 8 jam tarts I used 10oz plain flour and 5oz butter.

Chestnut Roast

I adore nut roast and think it should be obligatory for veggies to have one at Xmas. None of that soggy filo pastry and goats cheese nonsense for me! A roast is all about a roast. And a good nutty one at that. This recipe is from my mum and it’s delicious 🙂 Amounts are loose as it depends on what you like in terms of balance.

You need:
6oz dried chestnuts, soaked overnight and cooked for 30 mins (am not sure on equiv amounts for vacuum packed ones, but I’d guess about 3-4 tins/packs)
8oz breadcrumbs
250g mushrooms, chopped small and sauteed in butter
1 onion, chopped small and sauteed with the mushrooms

Lob everything into a food processor and blitz roughly along with dried herbs, 1tbsp tom puree, a couple of cloves of garlic some stock powder and an egg.

Pop into a lined loaf tin and bake for about an hour at 180 degrees. Can be made up to 3 days before hand and kept in the fridge. Also works as a nice stuffing for meat eaters. If you’re vegan then ditch the egg and maybe add some stock/wine/water to get it to the right consistency.

Yum yum.

Pancakes I didn’t make today

But I have done in the past! Blogging this to avoid a repeat of this morning: flicking through umpteen magazines trying to find a recipe and then giving up!!

Oaty Hotcakes (Bill Granger)
You need:
* 185g plain flour
* 1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
* 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
* pinches freshly grated Nutmeg, (optional)
* pinch sea salt
* 1 tbsp caster sugar
* 25g oats
* 375ml Buttermilk
* 1 medium Egg
* 35g Butter, plus extra for greasing

Mix all together and then pour, a ladle at a time on to a hot griddle pan or frying pan. Cook till bubbles appear on one side (about 30-60 secs) then flip over for another 30 secs or so. Serve with maple syrup. Yummy.

Spiced Beetroot and Orange Chutney

I saw this recipe in the Xmas Good Food magazine and thought it looked nice. We also had some beetroot left from the veg box and seeing as we never ever eat it thought it would be a good thing to make. Wrong! You need 1.5kg for it and the beetroot we had only weighed a measley 500g!!! So I ordered some more (for the first time ever) and it arrived today. The finished product looks pretty nice but I haven’t tasted it yet seeing as I loathe the red stuff..!

For about 4 1lb jars you need
1.5kg raw beetroot, peeled and diced into a .5cm dice
3 eating apples, peeled and grated
zest and juice of 3 oranges
3 onions, diced
700g sugar
700ml red wine vinager
2tbsp mustard seeds
1tbsp ground cloves
1tbsp ground cinnamon
1tbsp corriander seeds

Gently roast the mustard and corriander seeds in a dry frying pan until they begin to pop. Lob everything into a preserving pan and bring to a boil. Simmer over a moderate heat until the liquid has reduced and the beetroot is tender. This was supposed to take an hour but actually took more like 3. You don’t want much juice left at the end, it mostly needs to have reduced down. Once the chutney is cooked put it into sterile jars and leave somewhere dark and cool to mature for about a month.