Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Lentil and sweet potato stew (I call it curry)

This recipe is adapted from The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone - a great book with some lovely recipes. Her website is also great - www.thekindlife.com

1 onion, chopped
1 tsp oil
1 tbsp grated ginger
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1.5 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
200g green or brown lentils
300g sweet potato, peeled and diced
About 500ml stock

Fry the onion in the oil then add the ginger and toms. Add the spices and stir to form a paste coating the onion and toms. Add more or less cayenne at this stage, depending on how hot you like it, or you could add a chopped chilli with the ginger. Then add the sweet potato, lentils and stock and simmer for about 30 mins, until the lentils are cooked and the potato is breaking up. I like this with rice or crusty bread but it's just as good on its own.

As you can see from the picture, I was already getting stuck in when I remembered to take a photo!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

'Granny soup'

Not feeling terribly well and this calls for a big bowl of 'Granny soup'. I call it this because, surprise surprise, it reminds me of the soup that my nanny made every week when I was a kid. She was lucky enough to have all the veg fresh from her own garden, courtesy of my papa! Hers I'm sure was made with a non-veggie stock, at least it was til I turned veggie at age 12 and made her change it when she was making it for me!

I make it with three carrots, three leeks and three sticks of celery, all diced. Cook in a litre of veg stock with 100g barley for about 40-45 mins. You can add more water if you like it thinner. You can also add a couple of diced spuds if you like. I usually put in plenty of chopped parsley near the end of cooking but I didn't have any today.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Borlotti soup stew

New recipe night tonight and decided on a variation of a recipe from one of my first issues of Vegetarian Living. It turned out really tasty and would easily serve four - I had it with roast potatoes but it would be good with rice, pasta or crusty bread.

1 onion
1/2 a butternut squash
1 pepper
1 courgette
1 tin borlotti beans (or pinto or anything else you have handy)
1 tin of vegetable soup (the traditional Heinz-style vegetable soup, preferably)
Squeeze of tomato puree

Dice all the veg and boil in a little water until the squash is cooked. Drain, add the soup and drained beans and bring back to the boil. Add a good squirt of puree and simmer for five minutes until heated through. Serve!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Very easy very cheaty noodles!

Picture the scene - first day back at work after 16 whole days of not being at work, it's lashing outside, you have a headache and a cold kitchen. Don't feel like cooking? No problem. Take one pack of stir fry veg, one pack of 'straight to wok' noodles and one cup a soup. Five minutes = dinner!

Fry the veg until cooked, add the noodles and a splash of soy/shoyu. Put in a bowl once cooked. Meanwhile make your cupasoup in a mug and pour over the noodles and veg. I use hot'n'sour flavour but I bet it would also be nice with miso soup or even plain old tomato.

I know it's incredibly lazy and also incredibly shameful that I actually like Ainsley Harriot hot'n'sour cupasoup but there you go! Now where did I put the Percy Pepper??...

Friday, 7 January 2011

Asparagus and Fennel Soup/ Aubergine and Chickpea Stew

My last official day off before starting back to work on Monday so I did some more cooking. I need to get back into cooking on Sundays for the rest of the week! Today I made a lovely summery soup and a tasty wintery stew.

Asparagus and Fennel Soup
Click here for the recipe - I only used half the quantities and it made two decent-sized bowls. It was extremely tasty with a good grind of black pepper. I'll definitely be making this again, maybe with a leek instead of an onion.

Aubergine and Chickpea Stew
This is my adaptation of this recipe from Just Slow Cooking. I used one large aubergine, one courgette, two peppers and  an onion - I prefer to give it a Mediterranean twist rather than use carrots and celery. Had it for dinner with some Linda McCartney sausages (on offer in Sainsbury's for a quid!).

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Roasted Tomato Bread Soup/ BNS Mushroom 5-Grain Stew

Thursday night is new recipe night in my house and being off work today I was able to spend plenty of time cooking. I made a really easy roast tomato soup (from January's Vegetarian Living, with a tweak or two) and a concoction of my own using mushrooms, butternut squash and Pedon 5-Grain mix which I got in Tesco and cooks in 10 minutes.  You could use precooked barley instead.

Roast Tomato and Bread Soup
Roast 500g cherry/baby plum tomatoes in the oven until bursting and going brown. No need for oil.
Meanwhile fry a chopped onion and a crushed clove of garlic in a soup pot. Add the roasted toms and their juice, about 300ml of veg stock, a squirt of tomato puree and some oregano and simmer for 10 mins.
Grill or oven a couple of slices of bread of your choice (I used a fresh crusty rye bread) until crispy. Cut or tear the bread into chunks and place in the bottom of two big bowls and pour the soup over the top.

BNS Mushroom and 5-Grains
12-14 shallots, peeled
large clove of garlic, crushed
Punnet of chestnut mushrooms, quartered
Half of a BNS, peeled and diced
120g Pedon 5-grain mix
500ml veg stock
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Spicy seeds, to garnish
Fry shallots, mushrooms and garlic in a little oil or fry spray then add BNS, grains and stock. Simmer for 10 mins then add parsley. Garnish with a few seeds. This makes three good sized portions. (Picture below has no parsley or seeds).

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Restaurant Review: Common Grounds, Belfast

Common Grounds is a lovely little cafe near Queen's University and the Ulster Museum - more info at http://www.commongrounds.co.uk/

I was there today and was planning on having soup but it was creamy so I plumped for their veggie dhansak instead and wasn't disappointed. As well as their standard menu which has plenty of veggie choices, their specials menu is always at least 50% veggie. If I'd preferred I could have had a goat's cheese salad (SHYEAH RIGHT!), a toastie with home made chutney or a veggie burrito, both of which could easily have had the cheese left out.

Their coffee is fairtrade and they sell all kinds of yummy nibbles too. The only downside is that it's really hard to park outside!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Gigantes Plaki

What a coincidence that my first post about a recipe should be my absolute favourite dish of the moment! This is the beautiful Gigantes Plaki... OK, well, maybe it tastes more beautiful than it looks!
All credit goes to the BBC Good Food website for the lovely recipe:

I make it using two tins of butter beans and I cut out the sugar. I also only use 1 tbsp of oil which I find to be plenty. Don't hold back on the cinnamon - I'm not a fan of cinnamon but it really does make this dish. I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I do! I like it with broccoli but it's fine on its own - or with a big hunk of crusty bread. Amazingly, my broccoli-loving cat Troy slept through me eating it, which is a first!

Also made today - a large pot of veggie soup (carrots, leeks, celery and cabbage) and a beany stew using cavolo nero and some tasty Epicure mixed beans.

I need a nap now!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Ready, Steady, Cook!

In preparation for a healthy kick starting tomorrow, I've been shopping. In my kitchen I now have:

Butternut squash
Courgettes (Zucchini)
Aubergines (Eggplant)
Tomatoes (big and small)
Cavolo Nero
Plus all the usual storecupboard stuff - Butter beans and kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, rice, quinoa, stock powder etc.

I'll post tomorrow about what I end up cooking!