Smokey Beans with Kale and Sweet Potatoes (v)


Another winter warmer, this has the warming scent of smoke paprika running through the earthiness of butter beans and tomatoes. Internal central heating! I served it with baked sweet potatoes, mashed swede and potatoes and quinoa cooked with red lentils. It was a winning combination that was so good the teen requested the same meal again three days later!

For six portions you need


  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 onion, chopped.
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced.
  • 1 large jar passata.
  • 1 can butter beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika.
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning.
  • 1 tsp vegan stock powder.
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar.
  • salt and pepper.

Quinoa and Lentils

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1.5 cups stock
  1. Sautee the onions, garlic and carrots in the oil for 5-10 mins.
  2. Add everything else and bring to the boil. Cover and cook in the oven (170 degrees) for 45 mins until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile cook the lentils and quinoa in the stock – bring to the boil, cover and cook for 17 mins. Turn off the heat and leave to stand until the stew is ready.
  4. Bake sweet potatoes in the oven for an hour until soft.
  5. Roast kale to make kale chips.
  6. Boil swede and potato together and mash once tender.
  7. Serve, eat, be happy!

Lentils in Cider and Mustard (v)


We are lucky enough to live near an excellent farm shop (Nelson’s) and each week I plan my meals around what’s in season and looks good to eat. We were spoilt for choice this week with all the delicious root crops available, along with bags of vibrant green kale.
I LOVE KALE CHIPS!! We are also trying to keep up with the teen’s insatiable demand for protein, protein and more protein so lentils have featured heavily as a cost effective way to achieve this. I snuck in a Linda McCartney sausage too for some contrast in texture and flavour. This keeps and freezes well so it’s worth making a large batch and stashing some in the freezer if you’re able to.

For 6 portions you need

  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped into roughly 1cm dice.
  • 2 carrots, ditto.
  • 1/2 a swede, ditto.
  • 1 sweet potato, ditto.
  • 1 leek, sliced.
  • 2 sticks celery, sliced.
  • 1 cup mixed lentils – we had brown, green and puy.
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley.
  • 1 can cider.
  • 1 pint vegetable stock.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • 1 tbsp dried sage.
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard.
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Begin by sauteeing the vegetables in the oil for 5-10 mins. Use a large ovenproof pan with a lid to save on washing up!
  2. Add the lentils, mustard, cider, herbs and stock and bring to the boil. Cover and cook in a 170 degree oven for an hour.
  3. Serve with kale chips and other veg of your choice.


Lentil Hot Pot with Beer (v)


I spend an inordinate amount of time wishing Autumn would stay away each August, holding on to each and every beam of sunshine like it’s the last I’ll ever see. But once the autumnal weather appears in full I am happy to embrace it. This plate epitomises autumn to me – earthy colours and flavours, pepped up with sharp cranberry sauce (it’s not just for Christmas 😉) and delicious local sprouts. This recipe was inspired by a Lancashire Hot Pot recipe in Linda’s Kitchen. I did threaten to serve it with Yorkshire Puddings but the teen declared that would be heresy 🤣.

For 4-6 portions you need

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, washed and cut into 1cm slices.
  • 2 celery stalks, washed and thinly sliced.
  • 1 cup mixed dried lentils – I used brown and puy.
  • 1 bottle of stout of your choice.
  • 1 pint of vegetable stock.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • 1 tbsp mixed, dried herbs.
  • 450g potatoes, thinly sliced – I braved using the mandolin for consistency in slice thickness.
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C and fry the leek and celery in the oil for 5-10 mins in a large oven proof sautee pan that has a tightly fitting lid.
  2. Add the lentils, herbs and stock. Bring to the boil.
  3. Add the sliced potatoes and cover with the lid.
  4. Put the pan in the centre of the oven for 30 mins. After 30 mins, reduce the heat to 170 degrees and cook for a further 30 mins.
  5. Serve with veg of your choice and sauce of your choice. It was nice the next day re-heated with a little extra veggie gravy.

Lentil and Pearl Barley Root Vegetable Casserole (v)


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


  • 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


  • 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!


Root Vegetables in Beer (v)

This is ultimate winter comfort food. Ad it’s also being blogged cos I was moaned at for being too political in my tweets recently what with all the to do over tuition fees etc 😉 so here is a nice comforting recipe to sustain you after being kettled for hours by evil Police officers 🙂

For 4-6 portions you need:
4 carrots, peeled and cut into diagonal wodges
2 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 large turnip peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 swede oiled and roughly chopped
8 baby onions/shallots, peeled
1 can guiness
2 tbsp each of soya sauce, mushroom ketchup and hendersons relish
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried herbs e.g. oregano
2 tbsp soya marge/butter
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pack vegan beef style chunks
1 tsp marmite

Hea the oil and sauté the vegetables in a pan, covered with a lid, for about 10 mins. Add everything else, aside from the butter and flour, and cook for 15 mins or so till the vegetables are tender. Mix the flour with the butter to make a buerre marnie and mix in to the stew. Allow to thicken and then serve with mashed potatoes. Lovely.

Celeriac and Emmental Soup

I have a cold at the moment. A really bad, horribly stinky rotten streaming cold. And I feel terrible. But at the weekend N found this recipe in a Sarah Brown book on a hunt for something for us to eat that day. We had some left over celeriac and a few jerusalem artichokes so I gave it a whirl today, after advice from a friend recommended nourishing food and steam. I can’t say it tastes wonderful as my taste buds are shot. But it felt wonderfully comforting as I ate it. Warming and nourishing and comforting. Just what the Dr ordered…

(adapted from Sarah Brown’s Complete Vegetarian Cookbook)

For 6-8 portions you need:
700g celeriac (and other veg if you want).
1 litre stock
2 onions, chopped
2 coves garlic, chopped
50g butter
good handful grated emmental per bowlful

Sweat the onions and garlic in the butter then add the celeriac after about 5 mins. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 30 mins then blend. Season and serve in bowls topped with the cheese. Yum.

Baked Apples

Did you know it’s national bramley week this week? No? Well now you do! In honour of this I brought a bag with the intention to do different things with them during the week. Tonight it was the turn of a baked apple. One of my favourite desserts. However because I am dying from the world’s worst cold e-v-e-r I cheated and nuked this in the microwave. I shan’t be doing that again, it was nowhere near as nice as one done in the oven. You have been warned.

For each apple you need:
1 bramley apple
handful dried fruit e.g. sultanas, raisins, cranberries etc
1 tbsp demerara sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp almonds, chopped

Score the apple round the centre and then core it. Place in a baking dish and pack the hollow centre with the fruit, nuts, butter, sugar and honey (in that order). Bake in a medium oven for 30-45 mins till the apple is soft and mushy and there is a sauce from the butter, honey and sugar. Serve as is or with some ice cream, cream, mascapone etc.
If you need one NOW then cover with cling film, nuke on high for 2 mins 30 secs and eat. But like I said, it won’t be as nice.

Root Vegetable Hot Pot with Pearl Barley, Herbed Dumplings and Mash

A real winter warmer this one, and dead simple to make too. You can use any combination of root veggies you want to. Today the veg box had left us with celeriac, carrots and jerusalem artichokes. So in they went. The dumplings are nicer with dried herbs (I learnt this today after using fresh…). I also made the mash with vegan marge and soya milk to make the whole meal vegan but you could of course use butter.

Hot Pot
For 4-6 portions you need:
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots, diced
1 medium celariac, diced
equiv amount of Jerusalem artichokes to the other veggies, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
750ml stock
2 handfuls (1/2 cup?) pearl barley
2 tsp cornflour slackened with cold water

Saute all the veggies in the oil for about 10 mins to release their juices. Then add the stock and pearl barley. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 40 mins till the barley is cooked. Remove the dumplings and add the cornflour, stir through to thicken, return the dumplings and then serve when ready.

Herbed Dumplings
50g vegetable suet
100g self raising flour
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper
cold water to mix to a dough

Mix everything together into a dough, then divide into 8, roll in to balls and place on the top of the stew. Steam for 40 mins till done.

Yeah yeah I know you don’t really need a recipe for this but seeing as I’m here…
Dice potatoes and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 mins till tender. Drain and mash (I like to use a ricer for creamy smooth mash). Add butter, milk and seasoning, mix well and serve.

Mixed Lentil Stew

If, like me, you’re a veggie who misses the rich, dark taste of mince and doesn’t necessarily want to use a meat substitute to recreate the taste, then this recipe is for you. It’s dark and warming and nourishing and filling and just, well, gorgeous!

For 6-8 generous portions you need:
1 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
300g mixed lentils: I use red, green, puy and brown.
1.5 litres of dark stock (vecon is a good one to use)
2 tbsp tom puree
2 tbsp shoyu/soya sauce
1 tsp marmite

Begin by sauteeing the onion and garlic gently. After about 5 mins add the lentils and fry for a further few mins. Then add the stock and everything else and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour or so. You want the red lentils to be completely mushed into the sauce, thickening it. If you want you can also add diced swede, carrot, parsnips, celariac etc to this. But it’s equally nice without. It’s lovely served with steamed veggies and mash or you can use it as a base for shepherds pie.

Vegetable and Bean Cheesy Gratin

OK OK so it’s another variation on an old favourite but it tastes goooooooood!

For 4-6 servings you need
Leftover cooked veggies (we’ve got cabbage, broccoli and carrots)
1 tin pulses – black eyed beans here tonight
1 quantity thin cheese sauce (30g butter, 30g flour, 500ml soya milk, 1 cup grated cheddar)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3 tbsp grated parmesan

Layer the veggies and beans in a gratin dish. Make up the sauce and pour over. Top with breadcrumbs and parmesan and then bake in a hot oven for 25 mins till bubbling, crispy and browned on top. Scoff with leftover roast potatoes and cold quorn roast. I love leftovers!