Rose Elliot’s Lentil Croquettes (v)

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After a week on holiday eating and drinking whatever we wanted, I thought it was about time to get back into the kitchen and prepare something vaguely nutritious… These hit the spot. I love red lentils but usually just lob them into a dhal. I forget how lovely they are in their own right.

Rose’s recipe is very simple to follow. I added 2 tsp of marigold stock powder to the lentil cooking water as I like to boost the flavour a little. The mixture was also a little sloppy after I added the lemon juice and onions so I added 100g fresh breadcrumbs to stiffen it a little before shaping into croquettes. They were delicious hot for our tea and also nice cold for my lunch the following day. Enjoy!

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Biriyani? Kichari? Kedgeree? Rice, Lentils and Vegetables! (v)

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I’m not sure what to call this. Is it a biriyani? A kedgeree? It’s rice and lentils and vegetables cooked in a spicy Indian base at any rate. And it’s utterly delicious, both hot straight from the pan and cold the next day for an easy work lunch. Add a hardboiled egg if you want to boost the protein and you aren’t vegan. Or leave it as is. You can choose what spices and veggies to use, the golden rule to follow is the rice + lentils to water ratio to ensure it all cooks properly without sticking or going gloopy. I served ours with minted almond yogurt and some lip puckeringly sour lime pickle 😀

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 225g rice – I use easy cook white as we still have 6kgs left from an over zealous Costco trip…
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 50g red lentils
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 6-8 cardamom pods
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1/2 pack fresh spinach
  • 650ml stock
  • handful cashew nuts, toasted in 1 tbsp oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 tsp mint sauce
  • 4 tbsp almond yogurt (or any yogurt)
  • lime pickle
  1. Begin by crushing the dry spices, apart from the turmeric and cinnamon, in a pestle and mortar until roughly ground.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and toast the spices until they sizzle and start to release their aromas. Add the turmeric.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and chillies. Saute, covered, for 3-4 mins until softened.
  4. Add the rice and lentils to the pan and cook for 1-2 mins over a moderate heat until they are toasted.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Stir well and cover, reducing the heat to low. Cook for 10 mins.
  6. Add the cauliflower to the pan, mixing well. You might need to add a little more water at this stage if things are looking dry. Cook for a further 5 mins until the rice and lentils are pretty much done.
  7. Once the rice, lentils and vegetables are nearly done, turn off the heat and stir through the fresh spinach leaves. Cover and leave to sit for 3-4 mins until the rice is fluffy, the spinach is wilted and everything else is cooked to perfection.
  8. Mix the mint sauce into the yogurt, toast the cashews until golden brown and serve.

 

Versatile Savoury Lentil Sauce (v)

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Yeah I know. It doesn’t look like much in the picture. A soggy jumble of bits in a wet sauce. If you could smell it though, it would smell GOOD! This sauce can form the basis of so many different things: bolognaise, lasagne, moussaka, savoury lentil bake, shepherd’s pie… I always make in a big batch as it freezes well and it’s a great work day staple to have stashed away for days when you have zero time or energy to cook from scratch.

Last time I made this, I made this quantity as I have a massive Le Creuset pan and it saves time in the long run. Obviously if you have smaller pans or no space in the freezer reduce quantities accordingly…

For 3 batches of sauce, each enough to feed 4-6 people you need:

  • 3 cups brown lentils (green also work, as do puy. Don’t use split red lentils!)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, washed and diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of marigold stock powder
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  1. Begin by cooking the lentils in plenty of water. How long will depend on the age and variety of lentils. My brown ones took 15 mins. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile saute the onion, leek, celery and garlic in the oil until softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes and seasonings to the sauce along with the lentils.
  4. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 5-10 mins.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning. Tis done. Serve like this over pasta for bolognaise or use as a base in numerous other recipes.

Smoked Butterbean and Sesame Hummus (v)

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I used to think I didn’t like hummus, but the reality was I don’t like mass produced supermarket hummus. I also don’t like the over reliance on serving hummus as the bog standard vegan/vegetarian dip of choice. Variety is the spice of life people…

Anyway, I do like hummus. Especially when it’s made with butterbeans which give it an even softer more voluptuous texture. The sesame seeds enhance the tahini and the smoked paprika adds a piquant smoky back note. Delicious served in many different ways, don’t just limit yourself to pitta bread or crudites. It’s really nice when used as a sauce over pasta or hot new potatoes for instance. The possibilities are endless.

This recipe is adjusted to our tastes which means it’s quite zingy and citrusy. Amend the ingredients below to suit your palate.

For one can of butterbeans you also need:

  • 1 can butterbeans, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 2-3 lemons
  • 80ml or thereabouts of olive oil
  • 80ml or thereabouts of tahini
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  1. Place everything apart from the sesame seeds and paprika into a small blender and mix until creamy and smooth.
  2. Season to taste and pour into a serving dish.
  3. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and paprika then drizzle over a little more olive oil.

Freekah with Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas (v)

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My mum made this for us over Christmas. It was delicious and the perfect antidote to all the rich food we had been eating. This is my version.

For 4-6 portions you need:

  • 200g freekah or bulghar wheat
  • 1 litre veggie stock
  • 300g cooked chickpeas
  • 3 mixed peppers, cut into rough chunks
  • 1 sweet potato cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 carrots cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 onions ditto
  • 1 aubergine ditto
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 pack each of flat leaf parsely and mint, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp baharat
  • salt and pepper
  • houmous to serve
  1. Begin by tossing the aubergine, carrot and sweet potato in 3 tbsp olive oil and the baharat. Roast in a hot (190 degree) oven for about 30 mins.
  2. Meanwhile place the freekah in a pan with the hot stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins. Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid and leave to steam for a further 15 mins. Keep warm.
  3. Add the peppers, onions, chickpeas and remaining oil to the roasting tin and continue to cook for a further 30 mins.
  4. Add the fresh herbs and pomegranate molasses to the freekah. Mix. Season to taste.
  5. Toast the pine nuts and mix into the cooked veggies and chickpeas.
  6. Serve with hummus, salad and pitta bread.

Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers (v)

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The last pressure cooker I used blew up on me. I heard an earth shattering kaboom and came back into the kitchen to find lentils dripping from every available surface. It was armageddon. I have been too scared to use one since, even tho I know that they’re ace for quickly cooking pulses and making all sorts of yummy food. The Instant Pot has been growing in popularity recently and I took advantage of the Amazon Black Friday deal to get one and assorted accessories as my Christmas present from the teenager. How thoughtful of him 😉

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After doing the initial water test I asked said teen what he wanted for tea and stuffed peppers was the response. So here is my inaugural attempt, and a resounding success it was.

For four portions you need:

  • 4 peppers, tops sliced off and insides removed
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can drained and rinsed kidney beans
  • 2 instant pot cups of paella rice (the instant pot cup is only 160ml so is smaller than a US cup…)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup veggie stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • new potatoes
  • (the spiced tomato sauce I made on the stove)
  1. Put the instant pot onto saute mode and add the oil and onions. Saute for 3-4 mins and then add the garlic and rice. Cook for a further 1-2 mins.
  2. Turn off saute mode and add the wine and stock. Cover with the lid and using manual cook for 4 mins, leave to stand for 10 mins then Quick Release (QR).
  3. Add the parsley and drained beans to the rice mixture and season to taste. I also added a little more liquid at this stage to make them a little looser.
  4. Put the peppers into a pyrex bowl (that will fit inside your IP!) and fill with the rice mixture. Cover with foil. I also made a handle out of foil to make it easier to remove the dish once they’d cooked.
  5. Place on the trivet and add 1.5 cups of water to the pan. Put on manual for 20 mins. I did a QR as I needed to cook the potatoes as well.
  6. For the potatoes, place on a steamer trivet and add 1 cup of water (I have a second pot so that made it easier). Steam for 8-10 mins depending on size and then QR as a Natural Release (NR) might overcook them.
  7. Serve with the spicy tomato sauce and be amazed! The potatoes in particular were delicious due to being steamed. I’ve never done that before as they always take too long in a conventional steamer.
  8. Dream up what your next recipes will be…

Roasted Chickpea and Sweet Potato Salad Wraps (v)

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This dish was inspired by Jamie Oliver and created due to a surfeit of bagged salad in the fridge. It’s so simple to make but utterly delicious and the leftovers make for a perfect lunch.

For six wraps you need

  • 1 pack wraps (we used Waitrose seeded)
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tsp harissa paste
  • 1 jar pitted black olives
  • 2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bag salad leaves
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 oranges, cut into segments
  • 2 fat red chillies, sliced
  • 1 avocado, cut into chunks
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  1. Begin by tossing the sweet potato in the oil and salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray ready for roasting in a hot (200 degree) oven.
  2. Toss the chickpeas and olives in the harissa. Also place on a baking tray. Bake both the trays for about 20 mins until the sweet potato is soft and starting to crisp, the olives have shrivelled a little and the chickpeas are crunchy.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the salad by layering up everything else apart from the wraps on a large serving platter. Drizzle with the red wine vinegar. TBH this on it’s own would be good but I wanted to add some more carbs and protein.

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4. Once the potatoes, chickpeas and olives are done, tip over the salad and load onto a wrap. Serve with as much extra chilli sauce as you dare. So delicious, and so healthy too. Yuuuuuuuum 🙂

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Potato and Carrot Tagine with Chickpeas and Peas (v)

IMG_6680Q: What do you do when you want something quick and tasty for dinner but haven’t got much left in the house?
A: Make a tagine!

This recipe has become a staple go to in the lean mid week evenings when I’ve not got a lot of time to get dinner on the table after work, and the veg cupboard is looking decidedly sad and bare. It’s delicious, nutritious and a doddle to make.

For 4-6 portions you need

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 8 new potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2″ ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 chillies, sliced
  • 2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp each whole coriander & whole cumin
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup frozen petit pois
  • 1.5 cups couscous with 3 cups vegetable stock to rehydrate

Begin by sauteeing the onions in the oil for about 5 mins. Add the ginger, garlic, chillies, tumeric, cumin and coriander and fry for a further 2-3 mins.

Add the potatoes and carrots and cover with the stock. Bring to the boil and cover with a lid. Simmer for 15 mins. Add the chickpeas and simmer for a further 10-15 mins depending on how well done the potatoes are. Meanwhile pour the boiling stock over the cous cous and leave to absorb.

Add the peas for the final 2 mins of cooking. Serve with cous cous and a smug smile on yer face.

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Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash (v)

I had a craving for this and loads of sweet potatoes that needed to be eaten so made it was…

For 3-4 portions (plus some filling left over for another day) you need:
Filling
1 cup puy lentils
1 cup green lentils
bay leaf
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 large onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp tomato puree
250ml red wine
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 scant tsp vecon stock (or marmite)
1 tbsp olive oil

Topping
3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into rough chunks
2-3 tbsp soya milk
small knob vegan marg
salt and pepper
generous grating of whole nutmeg

Begin by washing the lentils thoroughly and then placing them in a pan with the bay leaf. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 10 mins and then reduce the heat and cook till done (about 30 mins or so). Drain and discard the bay leaf.

Meanwhile sautee the onion in the oil with the garlic. Add the tomatoes, puree, wine and cooked lentils. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and stock. Simmer for about 20 mins till the sauce is thickened and tasty.

Steam/simmer the sweet potatoes in a little water. Drain when cooked and mash with the soya milk, marge, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Place the filling in a dish and top with the mash. Bake in a hot oven for 15 mins or so till the topping is crispy. Serve as is or with veggies on the side.