Pornstar Smoothie (v)

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Why should martinis get all the fun eh? Sadly no chaser of prosecco to follow, just a healthy dose of fruit and vitamins.

For one portion you need

  • 2 oranges, skinned and cut into quarters
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 150ml apple juice
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated giner
  • 1 passion fruit for garnish
  • A nutribullet or similar high speed blender

Place everything apart from the passion fruit in a nutribullet goblet and blitz until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into a serving glass and garnish with the passion fruit. Drink. Pretend this has undone all the bad things you have eaten and drunk over the festive period and beyond.

 

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Dirty Rice, Mexican Style (v)

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This is one of those wonderful chuck it all in and the magic happens recipes. It might take 45 mins or so to cook, but apart from the initial sauteeing and an occasional prod here and there it’s low maintenance. You can use whatever you have to hand to make it, the magic ratios are the rice and water. You do need to let it sit for 10-15 mins before eating to allow the rice to fully absorb all the liquid.

For four portions you need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 stick celery, diced
  • 1/2 leek, sliced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 250g brown rice
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander, dried oregano and sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 150g tenderstem broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. Begin by sauteeing the first six ingredients in a large, deep, non stick lidded pan. Cover with the lid to help them sweat and cook for 10 mins.
  2. Add the rice and spices/herbs. Turn up the heat and cook the rice out for 1-2 mins.
  3. Add the stock, bring to the boil then cover with the lid and turn the heat right down. Cook for 15 mins.
  4. Add the pepper, sweetcorn, broccoli and kidney kidney beans and cook for a further 10 mins.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 mins further then turn off the heat, keep the lid in place and allow to steam for 10 mins. Check the seasoning and serve garnished with the parsley.

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 😉

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 😀

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.

Cider Sausage Casserole with Black Quinoa (v)

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Yeah. Black quinoa mofos. I’m so totally more hipster than you 😉 And no, there isn’t much difference between the normal type and this one or the red one! I found  it lurking at the back of the cupboard when I had a New Year clear out so thought I’d better use it… I also found some unpleasant cheap cider that I’d got to mull but hadn’t got round to using. This was an inspired chuck it all in and see what happens dish and what happened was I’d definitely make it again so here is the recipe!

For four portions you need

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 8 vegan sausages
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into fat discs
  • 4 potatoes, cut into chunky cubes
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 can cider
  • 2 tsp stock powder
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tin black eyed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200g spinach, washed and shredded
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup black quinoa
  1. Begin by frying the leek, carrots, potatoes and sausages in the oil until the vegetables are starting to get tender and the sausages have browned a little, about 10 mins.
  2. Add the cider, stock powder and mustard and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa, beans and sage and cook gently covered for 10-15 mins until the quinoa, potatoes and carrots are cooked. You may need to add a little more stock if necessary as you want a bit of sauce left.
  3. Season to taste and add the spinach. Leave to wilt, covered and with the heat off, for 5 mins. This will also allow the quinoa to finish cooking and relax a little.
  4. Delicious served with some apple sauce on the side.

Quorn au Vin (v)

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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 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.

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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