Recipes · Week Night Winners

Hot Rice Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 2 blocks of frozen garlic or 6 large cloves
  • 2 large tomatoes diced (or a handful of cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 tin of drained chickpeas (or any bean I actually prefer black beans!)
  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 2 Tbsp. Peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp of mustard (any but I like Dijon!)
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice (the bottled stuff is mighty fine)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Spring onions and fresh herbs to garnish if you are feeling fancy

Method

  • In a large pan with a little oil soften the garlic and onion for 5 minutes.
  • Then add in the tomatoes and chickpeas or beans and cook on a medium heat stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the rice and spinach for a further 5 minutes until the spinach wilts.
  • In a small bowl mix the peanut butter, lemon juice and mustard to a paste and then stir it in to the main pan.
  • Finally season to taste and when serving sprinkle on some spring onions and maybe fresh parsley.

Tips and cheats

I love this dish hot or cold but hot it makes a great accompaniment to a vegan burger and gherkins or even just on its own in a big bowl. Rice and beans together make a great protein source and with the added veggies you have some vital vitamins too. Who knew comfort food could be so good for you?!

Recipes · Week Night Winners

Veggie Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped onion (I use frozen!)
  • 1 block of frozen garlic (Again I buy it frozen but a couple of fresh cloves will work too)
  • 2 medium potatoes diced into 2cm cubes
  • 2 medium carrots diced in to 2cm cubes
  • 300g mushrooms chopped in to chunks
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 small tin of sweetcorn drained
  • 1 pint of gravy (I like the Sainsburys vegetable one)
  • 1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry. (Most are vegan but do check, I use Jus Roll or Aldi)

Method

  • Pre heat the oven to hot! About gas mark 8/220c
  • Place some oil in a large pan and gentle soften the onion, garlic, potato and carrot. Stir so it does not burn for 5 min.
  • Add in the gravy and cook for 10 minutes on a medium heat
  • Stir in the rest of the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Remove from the heat and spoon the mix into a pie dish.
  • Top with the ready rolled pastry and press down on the edges of the dish to make a seal. You can brush with melted vegan butter for a touch of luxury but I don’t usually!
  • Place in the oven for about 12-15 minutes until the pie is a lovely golden brown.
  • I like to serve it with mashed potato and tender stem broccoli.

Tips and Cheats

You can pretty much add anything you want into this pie! My kids love it and we always get empty plates. If you have left over roast veggies you can use those and just chuck into hot gravy and place in the pie dish. You might have gathered that most of my cooking is chuck it in and hope for the best type of cooking and it really is. I hate waste and generally try to use up what is left in the fridge. I would however avoid cabbage inside the pie and opt for it as a side dish!

Soups and lunches · Waste Not Want Not · Week Night Winners

Ramen Noodle Broth

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped onions (I use frozen)
  • 2 cubes frozen garlic (2 tbsp. frozen or 3 cloves fresh)
  • 2 medium carrots finely sliced (I like batons)
  • 2 peppers, finely slices (I used red and orange)
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger (or fresh if you have it)
  • 300g Mushrooms (1 box, I like to mix chestnut and a couple of flat ones too for texture)
  • 1 heaped tbsp. white miso paste
  • 2 tbsp. bouillon powder
  • Approx. 1 lire of water
  • 1 packet of pre cooked noodles per person. (I use the Aldi ones and put 4 in this for 4 people)
  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 3 spring onions to garnish

Method

  • In a large pan add a tablespoon of oil (olive or sesame) and heat on a medium heat and add in the onion, garlic, carrots and peppers.
  • Soften them in the pan then add the ginger and mushrooms and stir through.
  • Pour in enough water to cover the mix by a good inch and then stir through the miso and bouillon powder.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes and then add in the noodles and spinach.
  • Serve into bowls and sprinkle with the spring onions.

Tips and Cheats

You can add in anything to this, any veg you like really! Or you can chuck in some vegan protein, in the photo I had added some Linda McCartney Hoisin Vegan Shredded Duck and on other occasions I have coated Tofoo Co Tofu in cornflour and chili and fried it off. If adding some protein then cook it separately and just add it on top or it tends to go mushy!

Christmas · Sweets

Mince Pies

Perfect mince pies

Ingredients

  • 300g Plain Flour
  • 2 Tbs Icing Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 150g Vegan spread (I like the Pure Baking one for this.)
  • 3 Tbs Ice cold water
  • 3 Tbs Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon (or mixed spice)
  • Jar of mincemeat (The Aldi one is vegan!)

Method

  • Heat the oven to GM 7/ 200c
  • In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients and give them a light mix together.
  • Add in the butter and rub it in. This means rubbing the butter and flour together between your fingers until it looks a bit like soggy bread crumbs!
  • Then add in the water and oil and mix together until it forms a dough.
  • Flour the surface and then roll out your dough to about 5mm thick.
  • Using a circular cutter the size suitable for your yorkie tin cut out 12 discs.
  • Pop the discs of pastry in the tin (one in each hole!) and fill them with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat.
  • I like to put stars on the top but you can do full lids or any shape you like.
  • Once finished pop them into the hot oven for about 10 minutes or until they are a gentle golden brown.
  • You will probably get about 18 mince pies from this mix.

Tips and Cheats

I often make this and freeze some of the pastry or keep it in the fridge for a couple of days as nothing beats fresh mince pies.

You can also not put in the spice and sugar and use the pastry for savoury dishes.

Jams and jars · Recipes

Dandelion Honey

Ingredients

  • 100g of dandelion heads (see note at the bottom)
  • 50 ml of lemon juice
  • 2 apples cut in to 1/4
  • 1 litre of water
  • 3.5 cups of sugar

Method

  • Give the dandelions a good shake, we like to give them a little spin in the salad spinner to remove all the bugs.
  • Add to a large pan with the water, apples and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Make sure the flowers are covered with the water – you may need a little more it depends on the pan and size of the flowers!
  • Strain the flower liquid keeping the liquid, press as mush out as you can. You can discard the flowers and apples the goodness has gone now.
  • Pour the liquid back into a clean pan and add the sugar. The ration is 3.5 cups to 1 litre of liquid so you can adjust accordingly.
  • You can stir the minute once and then don’t stir it otherwise it will crystallise. slowly bring the mixture to the boil then turn to a low heat and let it simmer very very gently.
  • You don’t want the sugar to burn but you also want the liquid to evaporate by about 1/3. The move liquid you evaporate the thicker the honey will be.
  • Once you are happy with the consistency you can pour in to sterile jars and put the lids on.
  • Allow to cool completely before serving.

Tips and Cheats

When picking dandelions it is best to pick them on a sunny day. Later in the day is best but not too late as you want to pick them when they are open. Always leave plenty for the bees. We say pick 1/10 flowers that way there is plenty left. You only need the head of the flower, you can keep the green bit on as if you remove it you’ll remove some of the nectar and this is the bit we want. You can use the stems to make trumpets!

If you give them a little shake the thunder bugs should pop out, we spin them in the salad spinner bit not to hard otherwise the good stuff will come out!

Watch the hot sugar liquid it is super hot and I wouldn’t want you to burn yourselves. Let the children pick the dandelions but adults should do the honey making!

You can also use the flower petals on a salad and even the leaves! Always try to pick from a field where you’re less likely to have dogs and also away from busy roads. They honey is lovely straight from the jar, on hot toast, used as a replacement in baking for honey or maple syrup or in a hot honey and lemon tea.

Little treats · Recipes

Chocolate Chickpea Cookies

Chocolate Chickpea Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of chickpeas drained
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 160 g peanut butter
  • 80 ml male syrup
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pack of dark chocolate chips (several own brands are vegan)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/180c.
  • Put everything except the chocolate in to a blender and blend! You want it to be fairly smooth.
  • Add in the chocolate and stir through.
  • Scoop out small table spoon sized balls and place on a lined tray. Flatten slightly with a fork.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Eat warm!

Tips and Cheats

These little bites are so yummy warm from the oven. They go a bit stodgy when cold so I like to heat them back up before eating. They freeze really well but freeze the mix rather than the cookies! You can use crunchy or smooth peanut butter and if you can’t have peanuts then you can use almond butter or another nut butter as a substitute.

Recipes · Week Night Winners

Cowboy Casserole

Cowboy Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 onions sliced
  • 1 tin baked beans
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin butter beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp brown sauce
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 vegetable stock cube and 300ml water

Method

  • Saute the onions in a pan until they are soft (about 10 minutes).
  • Add in all the other ingredients and stir well.
  • Cook on a low heat for 1 hour stirring frequently so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • Serve with fluffy mash potato or crusty bread or even some shroomdogs!

Tips and Cheats

I made this in my food technology exam at 16, back then I finished it off with some grilled fresh tomatoes but it really doesn’t need them. If you don’t have Dijon you can use English or American mustard just alter the quantity to taste as it is often stronger. The dish does make quite a lot but it is easy to freeze.

Recipes · Soups and lunches

Leek and Potato Soup

Leak and potato soup with homemade soda bread

Ingredients

  • 2 leeks sliced
  • 2 potatoes in chopped in to chunks
  • 700 ml veg stock

Method

  • Put all the ingredients in to a large pan and bring to the boil.
  • Simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes until the potato is soft
  • Blend until smooth
  • Enjoy!

Tips and Cheats

Quite possibly the easiest meal I can cook. It is so lazy and easy but always tastes good. You don’t even have to peal the potatoes! If you have a little vegan cream you can drizzle some on at the end. You will need a good sprinkle of salt too again I do this to taste as I don’t add it to the children’s soup.

Recipes · Soups and lunches

‘Egg’ Sandwich

Delicious ‘egg’ sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of chickpeas drained
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
  • Bread of choice
  • Iceberg lettuce

Method

  • In a bowl mash the chickpeas, I like to leave a few chunky bits
  • Add in the mustard, mayonnaise and some salt to taste
  • Slice your bread (or use sliced) and layer up the chickpea mix and the lettuce
  • Enjoy!

Tips and Cheats

I could eat an entire tins worth of this although the mix should easily serve 2. You can spice it up with some spring onions or even use spinach, cucumber and tomato in the sandwich as well. I love the crunch of iceberg but you can use whatever you like.

Recipes · Soups and lunches · Waste Not Want Not

Carrot Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 onions sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 5 cups carrots sliced
  • Handful fresh parsley
  • Small handful of fresh thyme (or tablespoon of dried thyme)
  • 700ml vegetable stock

Method

  • Put the onion in a pan and saute it off for 5 minutes in a little oil.
  • Chuck in the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.
  • Simmer for an hour on a low heat.
  • Blend the soup and serve!

Tips and Cheats

This soup is so easy. It really is a chuck in the pan and cook one! If you haven’t got fresh herbs add in some dried. You can swap out the thyme and parsley for some coriander. If using dried coriander add it in with the pinions and cook it off a little. It is a lovely sweet soup so does need salt. I don’t add salt and pepper to my recipes as I loathe black pepper and don’t use much salt as I have children.