Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas Dinner!

Hey bloggies - sorry for the lack of posts during December - I ate a lot of rubbish, convenience food and bad meals out! Will be back to normal later this week :-) in the meantime, here are some photos of my Christmas dinner!

This is the mix for my tart filling - chopped onions, garlic and chillis fried in rapeseed oil then add a jar of drained roast peppers, some capers, a tin of cherry tomatoes and a tsp of smoked paprika. The longer you can leave it, the better!

 My lovely organic veggies from Root and Branch.

 I didn't do a starter we just had lemon Halkidiki olives and some nuts.

 A nice glass of Carmenere in my new wine glasses - you can't tell but there is wine in there!

 The finished tart :-)

 More tart.

 Yet more tart!

The whole spread - tart, sweet potato mash, roasties, steamed parsnips and sprouts, cranberry relish and gravy.

The delicious vegan chocolate cake I got from Check Out My Buns - meant to take a photo before I cut into it, D'oh!

 A nice big slice of that cake with Booja Booja ice cream :-)

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Chickpea Dumplings

These were a real treat - the recipe was in Cook Vegetarian magazine but isn't on their website.

Finely dice half an onion and fry in a tbsp of rapeseed oil with a finley chopped chilli and two minced cloves of garlic. Add lots of chopped parsley and set aside. Meanwhile, drain and mash two tins of chickpeas. Add 100g of porridge oats, the onion mixture and 2 tsp of cumin. Mix together, adding a little water if necessary, and use your hands to form into 12 balls. Bake in an oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes. Thin down a can of chopped tomatoes (I used the ones with olives in) with 100ml water and boil for five mins to form the sauce. Serve 4 dumplings per person with the sauce spooned over - I served it with some rocket.  NB you do need the sauce as they are a tad dry. I might add some nut butter next time i make them!

North African kale and chickpea soup

Another one from the wonderful kitchen of Susan Voisin! This time the only change I made was to use sweet potato instead of carrots. I also only made half the quantity. The spices used in this work so well together - I'd really recommend it!

Mushroom, cabbage and spelt soup

It's been really soupy weather here - although it's been like that most of the year, to be fair! This is a very rough take on this recipe from Fat Free Vegan. Basically I fried some mushrooms, onion and chilli, added lots of chopped cabbage and some stock and a tin of tomatoes and simmered until the cabbage was cooked. Then I added a pouch of Food Doctor pre-cooked spelt, some parsley and thyme and heated through.

Much tastier than it looks!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Sweet potato and black bean soup

This is one of the nicest things I've made in ages - and I made it up all by myself! If you think the picture looks odd, it's because I used purple sweet potatoes! They taste just like the orange ones :-)

To cook:
Fry chopped onion, red pepper, garlic and chillis.
Add cubed sweet potato (about 400g), tin of chopped tomatoes, a tin or carton of black beans and enough stock to cover. Cook until potato is cooked.
Add plenty of chopped parsley, lime juice and hot sauce.

Pumpkin risotto

This is sooo easy and tasty - I'm only really posting it here to give readers ideas, as it barely counts as a recipe! Simply peel and cube your pumpkin, spray or drizzle with a little oil and bake in the oven until tender. Make a basic risotto with onions, garlic, risotto rice and stock then stir in the pumpkin and plenty of basil. Lovely with some Parmazano on top!

Spicy root vegetable and lentil casserole

This is one of my favourite meals all year round, but particularly in winter! It's basically this recipe from BBC Good Food but with my own tweaks - I don't use oil or yogurt, or serve it with naan - it's a meal in itself. This time I used a delicious Penang curry powder that I got from The Spice Shop near Portobello market. Really tasty but any curry powder, or paste, will do!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Mixed vegetable dal

I made this kinda like I make paella - I made a basic lentil dal with 200g lentils, onion, garlic, butternut squash, stock and turmeric. While that was cooking I fried up some veg (courgettes, peppers, chard) in a pan and then stirred them in to the dal with plenty of parsley. Drizzled with soy sauce, it looks quite fetching!

Oatmeal raisin cookies

These are from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar so again I won't post the recipe - it's a great wee book, although some of the ingredients are a bit hard to source here. This is the first thing I've actually made from it and probably one of the easiest recipes in the book. Now I have all the ingredients, I'll definitely make them again - might try them with dried crans as I prefer them to raisins :-)

Mushroom ragout with polenta

This is from River Cottage Veg. The picture in the book is all dainty with a few mushrooms delicately placed atop a pretty mound of polenta. Mine is not!

To be fair, I did use too many mushrooms, but I promise there is lovely soft polenta under there. It was really rich and tasty - you cook the mushrooms with onions and garlic in a little oil then add red wine and stock. I made my polenta with stock and nooch instead of milk. Very yum!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Lentil and squash dal with red pepper and chickpea curry

This lovely two-part dish warmed me up on a cold October evening.

To make the dal:
Cook 80g lentils in 300ml stock with a tsp of turmeric. After ten minutes, add half a diced butternut squash and cook for another ten minutes. That's it done!

To make the curry:
I based my curry on this recipe from last month but with the addition of some red chard. Basically you fry a chopped onion and a chopped red pepper then add the chard, a tin of chickpeas, a heaped tsp of curry paste of your choice and a splash of stock. Simmer until the chard is wilted.

The two go really well together, either nicely presented as above or all mixed up as I had for lunch the next day!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Four soups!

Until today it's been really autumnal here so I've been making lots of soups. Three are from River Cottage Veg Every Day and one is from my head/veggie delivery leftovers!

Last of the Summer Soup!
This is the one that I made up. I basically cooked in stock: a leek, two small heads of broccoli, a bulb of fennel and three celery sticks, all chopped. I whizzed it up after cooking with some fresh basil. Very tasty!

Chard, chickpea and mushroom soup
This is super tasty and very easy. I couldn't get dried porcini but did find dried portabellos so used them instead. Basically you soak the mushrooms then cook them in the liquid with onions, garlic, tinned toms and chickpeas before wilting in chard at the end. It is seasoned with rosemary. A really strong and hearty soup!

Porotos Granados
This was the first page I opened up to in RCV and I had to make it. It's a Chilean recipe using butternut squash, cannellini beans, sweetcorn and green beans, cooked in stock with paprika and oregano. It went down very well with the visitor I made it for!

Mexican tomato and bean soup
Sorry for the poor quality picture - will try to get a better one of the leftovers tomorrow! Very easy to make with black beans, fresh tomatoes, passata, chilli and lime. Not spicy enough for me so will be adding hot sauce tomorrow :-)

Quick and tasty rice'n'lentils w green veg

I put this together in a hurry in one pot last night.

Fry off a chopped onion and some garlic in a little oil or fry spray. Add 120g basmati rice and about 600ml stock. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add a chopped courgette and a large head of broccoli divided into florets. Simmer until rice and veg are cooked. Add a tin of drained green lentils and plenty of chopped basil and keep on heat until the lentils are hot.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Sounds interesting - and it is! A kind friend bought me a copy of River Cottage Veg Every Day for my recent birthday. What an amazing book! I'm still only working my way through it and this is the first thing I've made.

It's basically a more spicy take on peperonata - as well as onions, garlic and peppers, you add cumin seeds, paprika and saffron. I served it with my favourite Taifun sausages and some steamed spinach.

Polenta with green veg

I have to admit to being quite lazy recently and mostly using the blocks of precooked polenta. But I decided to make it wet, for a change, and ended up with this recipe.

I sauteed a leek, a small bulb of fennel, four chard leaves and some chopped flatleaf parsley until just wilted. Meanwhile I cooked 60g quick cook polenta with 250ml veg stock. When it was just done, I added a tsp of nutritional yeast. To serve, I sprinkled over plenty of parmazano. It turned out really nice but you have to eat it quickly before it sets!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Red pepper and chickpea curry

WOW! I just made this tonight and it was sooooo good! I really want to eat the leftovers now instead of saving them for tomorrow's lunch!

I slowly fried a chopped onion and two big red peppers in a little spray oil. When they were softened, I added a tin of chickpeas, a tsp of curry paste (I like Patak's Rogan Josh) and a splash of stock (less than 100ml). Simmer this until everything is nicely thickened and then add half a bag of spinach and wilt it in. You want it to almost start catching on the bottom of the pan and then you know it's ready :-)

Tomato pasta

Last night I really fancied pasta and found some Biona Spelt Tagliatelle in the cupboard so decided that would be a nice compromise!
I made a sauce using onion, loads of garlic, fresh tomatoes and spinach - very gently fried in a little olive oil adding the spinach at the end once the tomatoes had broken up. I finished it off with some fresh basil. I have to admit it was even nicer leftover for lunch today! Sorry the pic isn't great!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Spanish Stew

This is another adaptation from the wonderful Moosewood Cooking for Health - I've gone through the whole book and there is now a forest of post-its stuck to half the pages!

To make the Spanish Stew, it couldn't be easier - chop an onion, a chilli, some garlic, a red pepper, a small butternut squash (or a couple of sweet potatoes) and lots of green beans (I used runner beans). Fry in a little oil then add about 150ml of stock, a tin of tomatoes, a tsp of thyme and two tsps of smoked paprika. When the squash is cooked, add a tin of drained butter beans and warm through. Season with  plenty of black pepper.

I don't think the picture does it justice!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Two kinda similar rice dishes

Am making the most of all my lovely fresh produce from Root and Branch. I've had loads of courgettes and chard - two of my favourite things. In the first photo below, I made a simple plain risotto with onions and garlic. Then I fried sliced courgettes and chard and used them to top the risotto with plenty of black pepper. So simple and yet so tasty!

The second dish is a Paella adapted from Easy Vegan. Similarly to the risotto, you make a plain paella with onion, garlic and saffron. I then fried some courgettes, broad beans, chard and chopped fresh tomatoes before adding to the rice with loads of fresh parsley. I've made this again since, using green beans as well. Both were very delicious!

Delicious salads!

There is a stall at St George's Market most Saturday mornings of which I am a HUGE fan. It's called Delicious and is run by the lovely Anne and Donal. She makes the most amazing salads as well as little pies, potato cakes and her own wheaten bread. It's not all veggie but a lot of it is, and a lot of that is vegan too.

Anyway I buy off them as often as I can and it does me weekend and early-weekday lunches. Below is just an example of her butter bean salad and puy lentil salad, along with some leaves and baby beets. Super tasty. They weren't there today - must be on hols - I was gutted!!!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Three new recipes from last week

Had quite a creative week but only getting round to blogging the recipes now. The tomato pesto comes from Moosewood Cooking for Health and the mushroom spelt is inspired by that book too. The sausage stew was inspired by what needed to be used up in the fridge!

Mushroom spelt
I cheated with this one and cooked up a packet of spelt with pumpkin in it, that I got in Valvona and Crolla in Edinburgh. I wilted in some spinach at the end and stirred in some mushrooms and red onions that I'd fried separately. Served it with some broccoli - it made loads.

Sausage stew with rice and beans
Another cheat - I made the stew and served it with a packet of Tilda microwave Mexican bean rice!
To make the stew, fry up some  onions, garlic and chilli. Add a packet of vegan sausages of your choice, chopped (precooked if frozen), a red pepper and a few mushrooms all chopped. When the veg are cooked, add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tsp of smoked paprika and plenty of fresh parsley.

Sundried tomato pesto with pasta
Lastly, my adaptation of a recipe from the Moosewood book.
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
50g pumpkin seeds
You bring the sun dried tomatoes to the boil in a little water and leave for five minutes to soften. Add to a blender along with the other ingredients and whizz to make a thick pesto. There is meant to be basil in this but I didn't have any. I used a little of the pasta cooking water to thin it before adding to cooked pasta and serving topped with plenty of fresh rocket. Really nice cold the next day too!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Root and Branch Organic delivery

So I took the plunge and ordered an organic veg delivery - something I've not done for many years as I moved house and couldn't get one where I live. All that has changed now - today, my first delivery arrived from Root and Branch (previously known as Helen's Bay).

I am delighted with the results and have a lot of food planning to do! It's a bit of a 'ready steady cook' moment, especially as I'm already stocked up with food to do me til the weekend. But I'm seeing it as a challenge! I got two massive lettuces, two massive onions, loads of tomatoes, a massive pepper, some courgettes, carrots, scallions and loads of broad beans still in the pod. Also got a fruit bag although I don't think I'll be getting that regularly as I'm not much of a fruit eater! Still, all in all, very good value and it looks to be amazing quality. Pictures below!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Last update for today is this delicious Greek green bean dish, Fasolakia. It's kinda like Gigantes but with green beans instead! It tastes especially good the next day. I served it with some boiled baby potatoes and a green salad but I think it would also be nice with rice or flat breads.
PS I used a lot less oil than in the recipe - only a tbsp!

Emergency chick peas!

Beofre doing the grocery shopping on Saturday I found myself unexpectedly at home and needing to eat. The fridge was pretty bare but I was lucky to have a bag of baby courgettes that I'd just got from St George's Market. I sliced them and fried them in the pan then added a tin of Chair de Tomate (from Sainsbury's - a small tin of chopped tomatoes would be fine instead), a tin of drained chickpeas, some veggie Worcester sauce and a tsp of dried thyme. So simple and yet so tasty - I was not disappointed!

Two recipes from Veganomicon

So I finally got myself a copy of Veganomicon and then managed to make two recipes from it last week. I can't post them in detail but below is a summary. Both were very easy to make and totally delicious. If my recipe recommendations weren't enough, there is no higher praise than the fact that Haga found it also made a good bed ;-)

Roast eggplant and chickpea stew
Roasted a diced aubergine and a couple of red peppers in the oven then added to a mix of onions, garlic, tinned tomatoes and various herbs and spices. So simple and so tasty. I served it with baked polenta slices and tried to make it look a bit pretty!

Samosa stuffed potatoes
Yes it might sound odd but it's basically a samosa filling inside a baked spud. You bake the tatties and when they are cool (I microwaved them at 7am!) you halve them and scoop out the innards. Fry up some onion, carrot and pepper (meant to use frozen peas but I didn't have any) along with curry seeds and spices, add to the mashed potato and use to restuff the potatoes. Then just pop them in to the oven to brown.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Two ways with chick peas - Harira and Gumbo

In the past few days I've cooked with tinned chickpeas twice and both have been delicious meals. The first, Harira, was adapted from this recipe from Good Food by Allegra McEvedy. The second, Gumbo, was adapted from A Vegan Taste of the Caribbean. In both cases I just used what I had and sped things up a bit. I only took a picture of the Harira!

Fry a chopped onion in some spray then add a tin of tomatoes, about 200ml of stock and 50g basmati rice. Simmer for 10 mins then add a tin each of drained chickpeas and green lentils, the juice of a lemon, a pinch of saffron and a couple of tsp of harissa. Bring back to the boil, add loads of chopped parsley and wilt in some spinach. Serve when the rice is cooked through.

Onion, chilli, pepper, celery – all diced and fried in spray oil. Then add 150g frozen (or fresh if you can get it) okra, 60g corn, a tin of chopped toms, a tin of chickpeas and about 200ml stock. 2 bay leaves, a tsp each of parsley and thyme and a good glug of hot sauce. Simmer for about 15 mins. Makes loads!

Saturday, 18 June 2011


I wish this dish had a more attractive name lol! But it looks, tastes and smells amazing!
1 onion, diced
6 clvoes of garlic, roughly chopped
400g potato, chunked and par boiled for 10 mins
1 aubergine and 2 red peppers, chunked
A good bunch of flat leaf parsley
2 tins chopped toms
5tsp olive oil (didn't measure it, was likely less)

Place all veg in a big roasting dish cover with parsley then the tomatoes and then drizzle with oil. Cover and bake for about an hour and a half, stirring once if you can.

I thought this would serve three but it makes two me-sized portions!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Edinburgh food #3

On Monday we had lunch at The Baked Potato Shop on Cockburn St which is entirely veggie/vegan. I was hugely impressed! I had a medium spud with veggie haggis and sweet pickle and it was amazingly good. They do a whole range of fillings as well as pitas and sarnies and delicious cakes too. YUM!