Smoked Tofu and Charred Broccoli Salad (v)

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We drove home from a lovely holiday in the Lakes on Friday and made the regular stop at the most middle class of services, Tebay. I was delighted to find a really good selection of vegan sandwiches and salads available. I was less delighted to find how much they cost… I can’t say their version of this was worth the £5 price tag, but it was tasty and inspired me to make this which we all scoffed, even the teen.

For five portions you need:

Salad

  • 200g pack thin rice noodles
  • 1 pack smoked tofu (taifun is my favourite)
  • 1 pack beansprouts
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 100g snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 150g tenderstem broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 pack fresh coriander
  • 1/2 pack watercress, very roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • Toasted sesame seeds

Dressing

  • 1 red chilli, diced
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup light soya sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar (or use mirin instead of the vinegar and sweetener)
  1. Soak the noodles in boiling water for about 10 mins. Drain, run through with cold water and then squeeze out any excess water. Toss through 1 tsp sesame oil to stop them sticking and place onto the serving plates.
  2. Layer up grated carrot, beansprouts, shredded watercress, the sliced chilli and some roughly chopped watercress onto the plates.
  3. Combine all the dressing ingredients and mix. Add the remaining coriander, chopped quite finely to the dressing.
  4. Char the broccoli in a griddle pan until tender and lightly charred. Add to the serving plates.
  5. Slice the tofu into thin slices and heat in a hot pan until lightly golden and starting to crisp. Add to the plates, pour over the dressing, sprinkle over some extra sesame seeds and enjoy.
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Treacle Tart (v)

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I posted a pic of this on instagram (as usual…) and said it needed just four ingredients. According to my brother those are sugar, sugar, flour and nommmy nom. The actual four ingredients are listed below, but suffice to say there’s a lot of sugar and the resulting combination does indeed lead to nommy nom. Make it!

For 8-10 portions you need

  • 1 pack pre-made ready rolled sweet pastry (checking it’s SFV natch)
  • 100g fresh soft breadcrumbs
  • 350g golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)
  1. Allow the pastry to come up to room temperature before unrolling or it will crack. Remove from the backing paper and place in a loose bottomed flan tin.
  2. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs. Drip over the lemon juice. Pour the golden syrup on top of everything – I put the tin on the scales and weigh from the jar of syrup to make this stage as mess free as possible! DO NOT MIX!!! You do not need to mix, just leave everything as is and it will sort itself out in the oven when baking.
  3. Place in a pre-heated oven at 170 degree and bake for 25-30 mins until the pastry is light golden brown and you have no soggy bottoms.
  4. Serve with vegan ice cream/creme fraiche or whatever you fancy. It’s also nice with some tart fresh raspberries or blueberries to offset the teeth melting sweetness. Enjoy 😀

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.

Instant Pot Carrot and Potato Tagine (v)

I’ve made this recipe countless times on the stove, but today was the first outing for my beloved Instant Pot. Super quick and easy, and it tasted lovely. It’s an Instant Pot adaptation of an original recipe by Ghillie Basan with a few tweaks of my own thrown in for good measure.

For 4-6 portions you need 

  • 250g new potatoes
  • 4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1″ piece ginger, grated
  • 500ml stock
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 400g cooked chickpeas (I used previously cooked frozen chickpeas)
  • 2 tsp each ground cumin; coriander; turmeric and chilli flakes
  • Cous cous to serve
  • Freshly chopped coriander to garnish
  1. Begin by putting everything apart from the cous cous and fresh coriander into the pot.
  2. Set on manual for 5 mins. I have mine 20mins NPR as I was busy but it’s fine with only 5-10 mins NPR.
  3. Add the peas and pop the lid back on to the pot for another 3-4 mins until the peas are hot.
  4. Serve with cous cous and fresh coriander.

Steamed Tofu with Ginger Chilli Sauce (v)

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One of my friends blogged about still eating Christmas food a few days ago. It prompted me to think of different ways to use up the nearly-but-not-quite-finished bottle of cream sherry and the chilli jam I make every year but never seem to eat…

For three portions you need

  • 1 pack firm tofu, drained and cut into 6 equal slices
  • veggies of your choice – we had broccoli and carrots
  • rice or whatever starch you want to use

For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup soya sauce
  • 1/2 cup sherry (or mirin)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp chilli jam
  • large handful of fresh coriander roughly chopped
  • 1″ piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, grated
  1. Mix the sauce ingredients together, check the seasoning and adjust to taste
  2. Cook the rice as per instructions on the packet
  3. Steam the veggies and tofu for 5-6 mins
  4. Serve

Hipster Halloumi Burgers

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My poor blog 😱 it’s been so neglected recently. Due to the house build I’ve barely been able to cook. But now we’ve moved back in and my kitchen, oh my kitchen! This recipe was given to me by a friend at work who in turn got it from Olive magazine. It’s quick but delicious. Perfect for a lazy weekend supper or after work tea.

For three greedy portions you need

  • 1 pack halloumi sliced into six slices
  • 1 pepper sliced into three big ‘cheeks’
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • Three brioche burger buns for the essential hipster component
  • 3 tbsp mayo
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • Rocket
  • Chips of your choosing. We cheated and used frozen oven chips…
  1. Begin by tossing the red onion with the vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper. Leave to one side to macerate.
  2. Meanwhile heat a griddle pan until hot and char the pepper slices on it. Allow to blacken slightly and soften.
  3. Toast the burger buns. Mix the paprika with the mayo and spread generously on the base of a bun.
  4. Cook the halloumi until browned and crispy.
  5. Layer up rocket, onions, pepper and halloumi on the burger buns and serve with lashings of chips. Deeeelicious.

Butterbean Burgers with Sunflower Seeds and Carrots (v)

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I love good, old fashioned bearded home knitted yogurt veggie fayre. This falls firmly into that camp. Hearty, disgustingly good for you and versatile. We served these hot as full burgers with all the trimmings including sweet potato fries and home made skinny french fries. They were also yummy cold the next day with salad, drenched in hot Thai chilli sauce.

For 6-8 burgers you need

  • 1 tin butterbeans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion
  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs (about 3-4 slices bread)
  • 2 carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander and garam masala
  • Trimmings of your choice depending on how you want to serve them e.g. burger buns, relishes, salad, chilli sauce etc
  1. In a food processor make the breadcrumbs. Tip into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Blitz the onion and beans together until mushy (20-30 secs). Tip into the bowl with the breadcrumbs.
  3. Swap the blade for a grater attachment and grate the carrots. Yep, tip into the mixing bowl…
  4. Add everything else and squidge together with your hands.
  5. Form into 6-8 patties depending on appetite and greed. Place on to a lined baking sheet and bake in a 180 degree oven for 20 mins, turning halfway through the cooking time. Enjoy 🙂

Roasted Sausages and Apple

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Sometimes you get to that point in the month where (i) you’ve run out of enthusiasm for things to make for tea after a long day at work and (ii) it’s a loooooong time until payday. When those things hit in a double whammy in January you need to be creative! A recipe similar to this appeared in my twitter feed and I adapted it for a veggie feast last week. Quick to throw together, it filled our bellies and used up some sad neglected apples from the fruit bowl.

For three portions you need:

  • 1 pack veggie sausages – we used cauldron but any will do
  • 2 onions, cut into wedges
  • 2 apples, cored and cut into wedges
  • 3 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Mashed potato to serve
  • GRAVY!!!!!
  1. Toss everything apart from the sausages in the oil and season.
  2. Roast in a hot (180 degree) oven for 20 mins.
  3. Add the sausages and cook for a further 15-20 mins until everything is done.
  4. Serve with mash, lashings of gravy and whatever other veggies you can find, I think we had peas and sweetcorn from the freezer!

Red Pepper Pasta Sauce (v)

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Wednesday night is band practice night for Fuz so I have the joy of working all day and then going home and having to sort tea for Lex and I on my own. What you need on days like this is speed, but also taste.

My mum makes the most wonderful tomato based pasta sauce. I love it. She told me once the secret is a pinch of ground cinnamon. Here is my attempt to capture the flavour of her sauce. It’s never quite as good as hers, but it’s pretty close. You can use whatever veggies you want in it. We had a glut of red peppers that needed to be eaten so  I used those. From starting to chop the onion to sitting down and eating it all took less than 20 mins, result.

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can plum tomatoes, blitzed
  • 1/2 a can of cold water
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp season all (or just use salt)
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp veggie stock powder
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 red pepper, roughly diced
  • freshly cooked pasta to serve.
  1. Begin by sauteeing the onions in the oil for 5-10 mins. Keep the heat gentle to allow the onions to soften without colouring.
  2. Add the peppers and the garlic, cook for another 1-2 mins.
  3. Add everything else and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the pasta is cooked.
  4. Serve liberally over cooked pasta and enjoy 🙂