Archive for category Vegetarian
This is a new (to me) way of serving cauliflower. I had seen the term “cauliflower rice” used by foodies on twitter and initially thought it was cauliflower and rice! A little more investigation proved that it was a completely different way to serve cauliflower! The cauliflower is blitzed in a food processor until it resembles rice (more like bulgur if you ask me but it is small!). It wasn’t until I began my Whole30 that I decided to give Cauliflower Rice a try as a different vegetable side dish. Its fabulous and now my favourite way to serve cauliflower! There is something much more satisfying about the texture of cauliflower served like this to those of us avoiding carb side dishes, it really is like eating a bulgur/ cous cous type dish.
I had read that cauliflower prepared this way bears no resemblance to cauliflower at all. I decided to try this out and made it without telling my brassica hating husband what it was, I thought the smell may give it away as there was a definite brassica hint but my husband didn’t seem to notice and was fooled into tasting it! I can’t say he was all that impressed but even he had to admit that he didn’t know it was cauliflower and I can’t believe he tried it, I think with even more herbs he may be tempted to try it again! I’ve tried adding various herb combinations and all have been good, it’s even good just straight up with garlic and onion.
If like me you are dining on this alone it freezes and reheats well.
- 1 medium cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- (optional) herbs of your choice
- 1 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tsp fresh lemon thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander and 1/2 a chopped red chilli
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- Put the cauliflower florets into a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is in tiny pieces, this takes about 20 seconds (honestly!)
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and quickly stir until fragrant.
- Add the cauliflower pieces to the onions, turn down the heat a little and stir well.
- Cover and stirring occasionally cook for around 5- 10 minutes until the cauliflower has softened but retains some bite.
- Add any herbs you may be using, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
My friend, Liz, recently posted her recipe for Gazpacho. It looks wonderful but if I’m honest Gazpacho isn’t something I eat as I have an issue with cold soup. I confess I can’t really even bring myself to try it. I’ve had shots of cold soup while dining out which was fine and I wish I felt differently but a whole bowl, for a meal isn’t really for me. As I was reading Liz’ recipe I was inspired and found myself thinking that all of those lovely ingredients would make a great salad! Of course I’m not the first to have this idea but as salad is my go to lunch at the moment I thought Id try this idea out and I’m glad I did! It made a delicious, fast lunch. It was nice to have a salad without any leaves for a change!
This Gazpacho salad is made in a jiffy! Chop all of the ingredients, whisk together the dressing and its done, you have the base of a meal in just a few minutes! I left the skin on my cucumber, partly as I like it that way but I also think the crunch it adds is nice. The chilli is to my taste, it can easily be left out or increased. I used oregano as it was to hand. I will try with dill next time but I think any fresh green herb would work. To get the maximum flavor from the tomatoes use them at room temperature. This is especially important at this time of year when tomatoes are decidedly less tasty! Tomatoes stored in the fridge have no flavour. I had salmon with my salad but this Gazpacho salad is the perfect side to fish, prawns (shrimp), chicken or bread!
Gazpacho Salad (serves 2)
- 2 large tomatoes. chopped
- 3 inch piece of cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, diced finely
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 1/4 fresh chilli or some chilli flakes
for the dressing
- 1 small clove of garlic, peeled and smashed with the back of a knife
- 2.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- some fresh oregano leaves, chopped finely
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- First assemble the ingredients for the dressing. Peel and smash the garlic clove and put into a jug or jar. Add the olive oil and vinegar and leave to sit while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Chop the rest of the salad ingredients and add to a bowl.
- Fish the garlic out of the olive oil and discard. Add the salt and pepper and whisk together.
- Pour over the salad ingredients in the bowl and stir well to cover all the vegetables in the dressing, check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve at room temperature accompanied with bread, salmon, chicken, or prawns (shrimp).
My posts are so infrequent at the moment one would be forgiven for wondering if I have stopped eating! Truth is I’m doing my first Whole 30 and although its going well (I’m on day 27!) I have found myself in the pattern of eating pretty much the same few meals on rotation, although it is a little boring its made my life the last month easier.
I made these canapes for guests at Easter and luckily remembered to take a picture, admittedly only when all the best looking ones had been eaten! So apologies for my “keeping it real” themed picture!
These canapes are just the easiest thing ever! Just 3 ingredients, it’s hardly even a recipe. I saw the idea in a magazine advertisement years ago and I have made them ever since when I want to produce a quick canape that tastes good and looks like I’ve made an effort. The original recipe called for Port Salut cheese, a mild semi soft French cheese made from cows milk. It used to be easy enough to get in the UK but this time I had to go to 2 supermarkets to find mine. If you can’t get hold of Port Salut, I think Muenster or Gouda work instead.
Couldn’t be Easier Cheese and Cherry Tomato Canapes
- 1 pack puff pastry
- 1 tbsp of butter, melted
- 2 packs of Port Salut cheese, cut into thin slices
- 12 cherry tomatoes, each sliced in half
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 220 C, 425 F, Gas 7. Grease a mini tart tin with the melted butter.
- Roll out the puff pastry and using a small cutter cut out 24 circles.
- Put the pastry circles into the mini tart tin, pushing the pastry down to line the bottoms of the tin.
- Place a slice of cheese into each pastry round. some of the slices cut at the wider end of the cheese will need trimming to fit into the pastry.
- Top each piece of cheese with a cherry tomato half.
- Give each tart a grind of black pepper and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry has browned, some of the tomatoes will be starting to caramelise. You can at this stage take out the browner ones leaving the rest to cook a little more, I find they never cook evenly.
- Place onto a serving platter and serve at room temperature.
Following the discovery that I could buy Meyer lemons here in the UK I found myself with said lemons and no idea what to make with them! I’m a terrible hoarder of my favourite things. Not a hoarder in the sense that have tons of stuff (I don’t!) but when I get something that I love I can’t bring myself to use it! So there I was with these lovely lemons and suddenly no recipe seemed to appeal to me as I didn’t want to use all my lemons! Before one gets the impression that I’m crazy I will get on with what I actually found to make! I had heard that Meyer lemons were so sweet the whole thing was edible! So this salad using the whole lemon, skin and all, was the perfect way to use one of my precious lemons without any waste!
It was lovely the day I made this salad, sunny and above 10 degrees, which possibly made me enjoy this even more! After a winter of soup this was such a treat as it was so summery and so healthy, it was the best salad I’ve eaten in a long time! It’s true you can eat the whole of a Meyer lemon! It’s a zesty and quite bitter (in a good way) salad. It certainly wakes up your taste buds and the spinach, feta and walnuts all balance it out adding their creamier, softer flavours. The more eagle-eyed of you may notice there are no walnuts in the picture! That is because I cut my finger while chopping the parsley for the salad and in my haste to finish so I could deal with the cut finger I forgot to add them for the picture!
It’s hard to find radicchio in all supermarkets, I get mine from the green grocer. I’m long aware of the difficulties in getting Meyer lemons in the UK so if you are unable to get a Meyer lemon a 1/4 of a pink grapefruit may make a substitute, although I haven’t tried that.
Radicchio and Meyer Lemon Salad (adapted from this recipe from Whole Living)
Ingredients (for 2)
- 1/2 a Meyer lemon, washed and chopped
- 1 small radicchio lettuce, sliced
- 1 shallot, chopped finely
- a handful of fresh spinach leaves, washed and chopped
- 1 heaped tbsp of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Meyer lemon juice (the other half of the lemon was enough for this)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 60 grams feta cheese, cut into cubes
- 30 grams walnuts, chopped
- Chop the lemon, radicchio, shallot, spinach and parsley. Add each to a bowl.
- Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper together until combined. Add to the salad ingredients and mix well.
- Add the feta and walnuts and gently mix in to the rest of the ingredients.
- Serve immediately.
I’m dragging myself kicking and screaming onto the healthy train this new year! I’m finding it hard to get out of bad habits left over from the holiday season, possibly the very cold weather we have had recently is making it harder. However I’m trying to get back into healthier habits. One thing we will be having for dinner this week is watercress soup. I first tried this soup in France, in a supermarket of all places! We were given a sample while shopping, if I had made that soup for my husband he wouldn’t have even tried it but in a French supermarket it was somehow appealing to him and not only did he try but he liked it! Always delighted to find a healthier meal for that my husband will have too, I recreated it when we got back. It’s very simple and quick to make. Watercress is high in antioxidants and it’s also a good source of vitamins A and C, helping to boost the immune system which is good for this time of the year. It’s also very low in calories which is always good news.
This is a very mild tasting soup, the watercress adds some peppery tones but it is overall a simple clean tasting soup, I will be having it accompanied with a salad but some crusty bread would be fabulous served with this soup. Be careful not to blend for too long or the potatoes go gloopy.
- 400 grams potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 1 large onion, chopped
- A splash of olive oil
- 250 mls vegetable stock (homemade if you have it otherwise try to find a stock that is lower sodium and doesn’t contain msg)
- 2 x 75 gram bags of watercress
- Add the olive oil to a large saucepan, when heated add the onions and potatoes. Stir to coat in the oil then turn the heat down, cover and leave to sweat for about 5 minutes, this will soften the onion and potato without browning.
- Add the stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, the potatoes should be almost ready.
- Add all the watercress, leave it resting on top and put the lid back on so the watercress can steam. Cook for 5 minutes, check to see that the potatoes are soft and the watercress wilted.
- Blend to your preferred smoothness. My husband likes no lumps at all so I use a blender but a more chunky finish with a stick blender is also nice.
- Serve immediately. This soup freezes well.
At this time of the year we are awash with recipes for soup. I have countless soup recipes on my “to make” list, yet still I seek more! Trying to get my husband to eat some/any vegetables is a constant trial. Vegetables blended in soup are my husband’s preferred way of eating vegetables, surprisingly even carrots. So when I saw this recipe I thought I was onto a winner. My version of that soup is a little more simple, I omitted the peanut butter to save a few calories. I find carrot soup verges on the over sweet for my taste so also left out the maple syrup. I prefer to use half coconut milk and half stock as I found all coconut milk added a little too much sweetness. I also like my soup a lot thinner so added more liquid.
This soup is so flavorful, extra sweet from roasting the peppers and carrots, the coconut milk adds another dimension to the flavour and for me the addition of chilli adds a punch of heat at the end. This soup is full of vitamin C and A and high in beta carotene all of which aid in boosting the immune system and are though to aid in the fight against cancer. At this time of the year, common for seasonal over indulgence its nice to have a quick, healthy meal up your sleeve.
Roasted Red Pepper and Carrot Soup (adapted from this recipe)
- 200 gram (7 oz) red peppers
- 450 gram (I lb) carrots (preferably organic)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 can (200 ml) light coconut milk
- 200 ml vegetable stock plus more for thinning, I use about an extra 2oo mls
- 1 tsp chilli flakes ( or less to your taste)
- Preheat the oven to 200 c, 400 f, Gas mark 6.
- Peel and chop the carrots into chunks of around 1.5 inches and place onto a baking sheet.
- Remove the seeds from the peppers and slice into 4-6 largish slices. (I used the longer red peppers) and place onto the baking sheet with the carrots.
- Sprinkle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for around 40 minutes until the carrots are soft enough to pierce easily with a knife and the peppers have started to shrink and darken at the edges.
- If you have a blender tip the roasted vegetables into it and add the coconut milk, stock and chilli flakes. Blend until all the ingredients are well mixed and the resulting soup is thick and creamy. If you don’t have a blender use a stick/hand blender to blend all the ingredients in a saucepan the texture just wont be as smooth.
- Thin the soup with some more stock until you have the consistency you like.
Its breast cancer awareness month this month and I wanted to do a “pink” recipe post to highlight that. Cake was my first pink thought but as I’m staying unprocessed this month I thought I ought to do a healthier recipe! So staying pink(ish) I have a simple recipe today for roasted beetroot, roasting is something people often forget to do with beetroot. It really doesn’t take that long and you don’t even have to peel the beets!
Beetroot season has all but come to an end in my Mother in laws allotment, the weather being what it was this summer we didn’t have the glut of beetroot repeated from last summer so apart from some jars of pickled beets I’ve mostly roasted mine this summer. Roasted beets are amazing, so simple yet so flavoursome. Roasting them brings out their sweetness and loses some of the earthiness that a lot of people find off-putting. I love them so much I can eat them like candy!
Roasted beets couldn’t be simpler to make. Just wash, tumble in some olive oil, season and roast. I also like to add some balsamic vinegar to add to the sweetness. In an hour or so you will have the most wonderful accompaniment to whatever dish takes your fancy, or you could just stand and eat most of them like I often do!
Balsamic Roasted Beetroot (serves 2)
- 450 grams beetroot
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- I tbsp balsamic vinegar
- a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper (in keeping with the pink theme I used pink salt and pink peppercorns but regular will do.)
Preheat oven to 200 C, 400 F, Gas 6
- Wash the beetroot and trim off both ends and any hairy bits, don’t bother to peel.
- I advise wearing rubber gloves to avoid pink stained hands, cut the beets into chunks a little larger than bite size. With small beets halves or quarters are fine but some of the huge beets I get from the allotment means cutting much more!
- Put the beets into a roasting pan and drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over them. With your rubber gloves on, rub the olive oil and vinegar into the beets, ensuring each beetroot gets coated.
- Holding one end of a thyme sprig strip the stem of its leaves, letting them scatter over the beets.
- Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 1 hour or until the beets are soft when poked with a knife and have darkened in colour.
Its so important yet so easy to forget, don’t forget to check your breasts regularly.
Its summer, although apart from a few nice days one would think that Summer passed us right by this year! But Summer it is and the courgettes don’t seem to mind the weather, they still keep coming! I’ve mentioned before that my Mother in law has an allotment and passes her produce onto me. Courgettes seem to be the most prolific crop, pounds and pounds of them come my way. This year trying to keep the courgette situation under control I suggested that we try yellow courgettes, just yellow ones and only 2 plants. When we got back from our recent holiday it was to find bags of home-grown vegetables waiting for us, in the bags I found a couple of yellow courgettes and surprisingly even more green ones! I’m not sure when the green ones were planted or why they produce more than the intended yellow plants but once again I found myself up to my elbows in courgettes!
These pickles are one of the courgette/zucchini recipes I had bookmarked for the glut! I really wanted to make dill pickles with cucumbers this year but the cucumbers really did object to the Autumnal summer we’ve had, dying off after producing one mini cucumber each. When I came across this timely recipe I thought it would be a new way to use up some of my bounty, while perhaps satisfying my dill pickle craving. I really liked them, they are really easy to make and as they are refrigerator pickles they are really quick too. They have the right amount of sweet verses tart and I couldn’t help but add my own heat with some chilli flakes.
Courgette Pickles (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Judy’s Zucchini Pickles)
- 225 grams (7.5 0z) of zucchini/courgettes sliced very thinly
- 1 small onion sliced very thinly
- 1 tbsp salt
- 250 ml (1 cup) cider vinegar
- 125 gram (5 oz) sugar
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
My quantities make one large jar of pickles, to see how to make them see here on Martha Stewart’s website
This recipe links up nicely with the August challenge of the Sustainable Eats Urban Farm Challenge that Im taking part in. The challenge this month is food preservation.
Time off work resulting in clearing out kitchen cupboards and finding some long-lost quinoa paired with a glut of broad beans concluded in this salad. I love quinoa, you know when you love something but completely forget to make it? That’s what happened to my long-lost quinoa, found behind 4 kinds of lentils and 3 kinds of rice, no mention will be made of how many bean varieties! I’m one of those shoppers that has to try everything! I have grown to love broad beans, growing up I hated them, they were invariably overcooked, grey and tough. Its only in the last couple of years since my Mother in law has started growing them that I’ve learned to appreciate them. When you look at them they are one of nature’s marvels, with that fuzzy, cosy pod protecting each bean. It was also a revelation when I thought to peel off the skin of each bean revealing a much brighter more tender green bean! The things you learn when you grow up!
This salad is quick to make and healthy too, quinoa is gluten-free and a good source of calcium and fibre. It’s great as a main dish, going well with grilled fish or meat. This is enough for 2 servings but if made in larger quantities it would also be a good make ahead take to work lunch, maybe add some feta – yum!
I used broad beans but edamame would make a great substitute.
Quinoa Salad with Broad beans
- 200 gram dried quinoa
- 100 gram broad beans
- 2 spring onions (scallions) thinly sliced
- few cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
- handful of spinach leaves, washed
- lime zest to taste
For the dressing
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. rice mirin
- Cook the quinoa according to pack instructions. When cooked drain and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile pod the broad beans and blanch in boiling water for a minute. Remove from the boiling water, drain and cover with ice-cold water to avoid further cooking. Slip each broad bean from its skin (I know this is tiresome but broad beans are so much nicer without that tough skin). Place the broad beans into a medium-sized bowl, large enough to fit the rest of the salad ingredients.
- Thinly slice the spring onions, chop the cherry tomatoes in half and place both in the bowl with the broad beans.
- When the quinoa is around room temperature or just a little warmer add to the bowl with the broad beans, onion and tomatoes.
- To make the dressing whisk all the ingredients together and immediately pour over the quinoa. Stir to combine.
- Add the spinach leaves and zest a lime directly over the salad, just a couple of scrapes with the zester will be enough. Give another quick mix.
- Best served at room temperature.
It’s National Vegetarian week here this week. I decided to take part in that by eating a vegetarian diet this week. I’ve had to think of new lunches for the week. One of the lunches I came up with was this lentil salad, I was led by what was in the fridge, which is why I call this Fridge Dump Lentils. I read that term somewhere on the internet and have mentally used it since whenever I’m gathering whats left in the fridge to make a meal. This salad was a winner! I love lentils but don’t get around to cooking them so often, which is a shame as they are really good for you. Lentils are a good source of fibre, good for your heart and can help to lower your cholesterol. This is also one of those lunches that you can make ahead and just keep in a Tupperware for the week ahead. It would be easy to make variations according to taste and make your own fridge dump version, just throw in what you have. I think the lentils, both types of tomatoes and the stock make a good base which can then be enjoyed with lots of different salad items. This just happens to be what I had in the fridge.
Fridge Dump Lentil Salad
- 225 grams Puy Lentils
- 2 tsp Swiss vegetable Bouillon stock powder, use cube or fresh if preferred
- 1 pint of boiling water
- 2 tsp Olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 8-10 Baby mushrooms each cut in half.
- 1 carrot, diced small
- 1 stick celery, sliced thinly
- 5 cm of Cucumber , cubed
- 8 Cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
- 6 Sun dried tomatoes cut small
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse lentils and add to a saucepan, cover with the stock made with the boiling water.
- Cook lentils according to package instructions, my pack said bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- While the lentils are cooking you can be chopping your vegetables.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and lightly fry the mushrooms, just until tender.
- When the lentil are cooked drain excess liquid if you have any and tip the lentils into a bowl.
- Add the mushrooms and all of the other vegetables. Stir to combine.
- Drizzle over olive oil and squeeze lemon juice to taste.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.