Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding with Mixed Berries (v)

I’m late to the chia seed party. I tried it once in a supermarket ready made version and it was VILE. But this, made with chocolate oatly, is delicious. Once you get the balance of seeds to liquid right, the possibilities are endless.

For one pudding you need

  • 15g chia seeds
  • 100ml chocolate Oatly
  • Handful each of blueberries, raspberries and chopped strawberries
  • Ground cinnamon and cardamom
  1. Place the seeds and milk in a glass. Mix. Leave for 20 mins then mix again. Leave for a couple of hours, or overnight if you have time. The seeds will swell and the pudding will set.
  2. Top with fresh berries and a dusting of cinnamon and cardamom before you serve.
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Steamed Buns with Pickled Veg and Tofu (v)

We had steamed buns last week at the Man Behind the Curtain and I’ve been meaning to try a similar recipe for ages. Tonight was the night it appears! The bun recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals. I was dubious they would work but they did. They turned out like giant steamed dumplings and soaked up the soya sauce deliciously 👌🏻

For three people you need

Buns

  • 250g self raising flour
  • 200ml coconut milk

Tofu and Vegetables

  • 1 pack tofu, pressed for at least 30 mins and then cut into strips
  • Vegetables of your choice to steam, we had sprouts and cauliflower

Pickled Vegetables

  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3″ cucumber, de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Black sesame seeds
  1. Mix the sauce ingredients for the pickled veg in a bowl.
  2. Toss the cucumber, carrots and onions in and leave to pickle for 15 mins or so. Sprinkle over 1 tbsp black sesame seeds.

  1. Air fry the tofu for 12 mins until golden and crispy.
  2. Make the buns by mixing the coconut milk and flour together, kneading into a dough. Cut into six equal sized pieces and place each into a muffin case.

  1. Steam the buns for 5 mins, then add the veg to the steamer (in a separate tray) and steam for a further 5 mins.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

Chocolate Porridge with Banana and seeds (v)

Winter mornings call for internal central heating. The teen has been eating porridge for breakfast for months now and I thought I’d join him this morning.

For two steaming bowls you need

  • 3/4 cup porridge oats
  • 1 & 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • Toasted mixed seeds
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • A drizzle of agave nectar
  1. Place the oats, milk and cacao in a pan and leave to steep for 20 mins or so. Then heat gently until boiling and cook out for 2-3 mins. Serve topped with the banana and seeds and drizzled with the syrup. Feel warm from the inside as you glimpse a glorious winter sunrise on your way to work 😍☀️❄️

Green Lentil Soup with Cumin and Coriander (v)

My son said this tasted “healthy” 😂 he was right. It tasted like the inside of a 1980s health food shop would smell but in a warming and pleasant way.

For six portions you need

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 leek, washed and cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 sticks celery, ditto
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp each ground coriander and cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. Saute the leek and celery in the oil for 5 mins.
  2. Add the spices and lentils. Stir to coat then add the stock.
  3. Bring to the boil and cook for 20-30 mins until the lentils are tender.
  4. Blitz until smooth with a stick blender, season to taste and add the parsley. Enjoy with a side of alfalfa and a sprinkle of nostalgia 😉

Chickpea, sweet potato and carrot tagine (v)

I needed a quick tea for tonight, and one which made use of the few veggies in the house. Vegetable tagines are quick affairs if you use tinned pulses. This one combines fresh ginger with deeper flavours of cumin and paprika for a flavourful but speedy supper.

For four portions you need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 sweet potato peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 carrots, likewise peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, cut into 2cms slices
  • About 250ml veg stock
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin, paprika and tumeric
  • 1″ piece of ginger, grated
  • Fresh coriander, chopped
  • Cooked brown rice and quinoa to serve
  1. Add the oil to a large pan and saute the veggies, covered with a lid, for about 10 mins, stirring often.
  2. Add the spices and ginger and cook out for 2-3 mins.
  3. Add everything else apart from the coriander and cook, covered, for 10 mins until the veggies are tender.
  4. Serve with brown rice/quinoa and garnish with the coriander.

Thai Yellow Curry (v)

Quick. Easy. Delicious. Perfect after work fare on a cold and dark evening. Either find a vegan paste or make your own from ginger, garlic, chillies, lemongrass and tumeric blitzed together with an onion.

For a generous four portions you need:

  • 250g tofu, pressed over night. We prefer Cauldron. Cut into bite sized pieces.
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp curry paste or make your own (see above)
  • Whatever veg you fancy. We used 1 leek, 1/4 cauliflower, 1/3 head broccoli, 2 carrots
  • 1 tbsp oil
  1. Begin by sauteing the tofu in the oil in a hot pan.
  2. Add the paste and cook with 2 tbsp coconut milk for 2-3 mins.
  3. Add the veggies and remaining coconut milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins until the veggies are cooked.
  4. Serve with rice and soya sauce to season.

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 Biryani with Chapatis (v)

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I’ve been craving this for a while now, but have been reluctant to make it as I never end up with perfect rice. Determined to succeed this time, I dug deep into google and came up with two recipes that looked promising. I liked the idea of soaking the rice from this Instant Pot recipe but not the soggy veggies you usually get from pressure cooking. I also liked the idea of roasting the vegetables and cashews first to char them a little in this BBC recipe. So I combined the two and the end result was very pleasing. Woohoo.

For 4-6 portions you need

Biryani

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 3-4 broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • 8 sprouts, peeled and cut in half
  • Handful cashews (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2″ piece of ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp each:
    • garam masala
    • ground cardamom
    • ground allspice
    • ground cumin
    • ground coriander
    • ground turmeric
    • chilli flakes
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear then soaked in 2 cups of water for 20 mins
  • 1.5 cups water

Chapatis

Makes 4 small chapatis

  • 70g wholemeal flour
  • 70g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 90ml (or thereabouts) of warm water
  1. Begin by placing the vegetables, cashews, seasoning and oil into a large oven proof pan and roasting on 180 degrees for about 20 mins. Stir a few times but you want to let the cashews, broccoli and sprouts begin to char a little.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the rice and leave to one side.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the dry spices. Cook for 15-20 secs then add the onions. Sautee for 5 mins until softened. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a further 2-3 mins.
  4. Add everything to the ovenproof pan and mix well. Cover with foil or a close fitting lid and cook for a further 20-30 mins. Once the rice is done, remove from the oven and allow to steam gently whilst you cook the chapatis.
  5. Combine all the chapati ingredients and knead into a smooth dough (about 7 mins). Be careful not to add too much water!
  6. Divide into 4 balls and roll each out on a floured surface
  7. Heat a pan until smoking hot, add a little oil and fry each chapati until cooked. You can tell when your pan is hot enough as the chapati will puff up like this when it hits the pan. Make sure you have your windows open as it will smoke a lot! We served ours with some dhal from the freezer. Delicious.

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Gnocchi (v)

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I have never made gnocchi from scratch before, only ever purchased those pre-made packages from the supermarket. I’d wrongly assumed that they would take forever and be messy and not worth the effort. How wrong I was. These took a few minutes to make, and cooked just like shop bought ones in a few mins in a pan of boiling water. The texture was lovely – really light and fluffy, not dense, heavy and disappointing like every other gnocchi I’ve eaten has been. Recipes online say use an egg, but I subbed that for 4 tbsp soya milk.

For 4-5 portions you need

  • 400g mashed potato (mine was a mix of potato and swede)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2-3 tbsp soya milk or 1 egg if you eat them
  • salt and pepper
  • extra flour for dusting or some semolina/polenta
  1. Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough. Don’t over knead.
  2. Break into 4 tennis ball sized portions and roll each out into long sausages on a floured work surface.
  3. Cut into equal sized pieces and push the back of a fork lightly in to each piece (to help the sauce cling apparently). Dust with polenta to prevent them from sticking.
  4. I left mine to chill for 45 mins in the fridge because they took less time that I thought they would! They should be fine to cook straight away however.
  5. Bring a pan of water to the boil and then add the gnocchi one piece at a time to prevent them from sticking together. Allow to simmer and once they start to float to the surface, remove and scoff. We had ours with a quick and easy to make rich tomato and vegetable olive sauce. Really delicious!

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Lentil and Pearl Barley Root Vegetable Casserole (v)

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Every year I get a bit depressed about the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn. But then I remember warming stews and casseroles and honking geese and I feel a bit less dejected. This casserole is a variation on one I make a lot, but for the first time I cooked it in the oven in the hope that the pearl barley and lentils wouldn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. They didn’t! I served with mashed potatoes and steamed spring greens.

For six portions you need

Casserole

  • 1 leek, sliced into 0.5″ slices
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 small swede cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1.25l vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup pearly barley, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cauliflower cut into bite sized florets
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dumplings

  • 100g self raising flour
  • 50g vegetable suet
  • dried herbs
  • salt and pepper
  • cold water to mix to a dough
  1. Place all the chopped veg apart from the cauli into an oven proof casserole pan with the oil and saute, covered, for about 8 mins until the veg are starting to soften.
  2. Add the stock, lentils and pearl barley. Mix well and bring to the boil.
  3. Cover with a lid and place in a 160 degree oven for 30 mins.
  4. Make the dumplings by adding enough cold water to the mix to form a soft dough. Shape into 8 dumplings.
  5. After 30 mins, remove the pan from the oven and add the cauliflower and dumplings to the casserole. Mix the cauli in well to ensure it cooks, and place the dumplings on top of the casserole. Cover with the lid and return to the oven for a further 25 mins.
  6. Season to taste and serve with veg of your choice and pickled red cabbage if you’re feeling particularly northern!

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