Archive for category Vegetarian
This has to be the ultimate free food find! If you have ever grown nasturtiums you will know how rampant they are. Well they produce a lot of seeds as well and those seeds can be put to good use by pickling them! They are very similar to capers. I used to be very suspicious of capers, they resemble little critters but are actually the flower buds of the caper plant. I will admit I didn’t use capers very often until recently when I developed a taste for them scattered over salads, they add little bites of pickled crunch that I just love. With last years farm challenge, particularly the foraging, still fresh in my mind I decided to try my hand at pickling the many seeds from a friends nasturtium plants.
Once acquiring my nasturtium seeds I turned to the internet, typically it appears everyone but me had tried this! I got the inspiration for my pickled nasturtium seeds from a blog I love called Hitchhiking To Heaven, Shae even calls them “California Capers” I just love that!
I didn’t make very many, I figured small batches were probably better for my needs. I will of course be eating these alone as there is no way I am ever going to get my green food fearing husband to try these! I was happy with the result, they are a little more crunchy than capers. Salty and tangy with a peppery flavour they have been a welcome addition to my salads this summer.
ingredients (to make one small jar) recipe barely adapted from here
- nasturtium seeds (a good handful)
- 15 grams salt
- 200 mls water
- 75 mls cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- Rinse the nasturtium seeds and put into a jar.
- Make a brine by dissolving the salt in the water and pour this over the nasturtium seeds. Leave covered at room temperature for 2 days.
- After the 2 day soak drain and rinse the seed pods. Place into a sterile jar.
- Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil and pour the hot vinegar into the jar, covering the nasturtium seeds. Add the bay leaf and put the lid on the jar.
- Cool and store in the refrigerator.
It’s that glorious time of summer gluts from keen vegetable growers, everything arrives at once at the moment and in large quantities! This is less of a recipe and more of an idea. I was given a large bag of runner beans, I like runner beans but have never done anything with them other than boil or steam them. I dutifully blanched and froze some but still had a lot left so I steamed a few and dressed them simply with olive oil salt and pepper, they were delicious served immediately but I found I enjoyed them even more cold as a salad the next day, they are seriously good! I ate nothing but a bowl of these for lunch!
You will see there are no quantities, just use however many beans you have and dress to taste. This really is just an idea that worked so well I wanted to share it here. This keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days, I prefer it a room temperature.
Runner Bean Salad
- runner beans, topped ,tailed and washed
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh ground pepper and sea salt
- Cut the runner beans to bite size pieces then steam until tender.
- Drizzle with olive oil, enough so that all the beans get a good coating.
- Season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.
- Eat right away or serve as a salad at room temperature.
It rare for me to want to make or even eat soup in the summer. Rarer still we are actually having some summer like weather here which makes soup an even less likely meal! However I got to thinking of recipes for all the tomatoes I’m hoping for from the allotment and a request for tomato soup from my favourite 10-year-old resulted in this unseasonable recipe.
This is a one pan and blend recipe, really quick and easy to make. It actually makes a great summer meal as there is little effort involved. Paired with a salad you can have a light, nutritious meal in no time.
Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup (makes 2-3 servings)
- 550 grams (approx 5-6 largish) tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- couple of sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 500 mls chicken stock (vegetable stock works fine too, whatever you prefer)
- Preheat the oven to 200 c, 400 f, gas 6.
- Place the cut tomatoes, garlic and onion on a baking tray and drizzle over the olive oil. season with salt and pepper and scatter over the thyme.
- Roast for 30- 45 minutes until it’s all beginning to get a little charred.
- Tip the contents of the baking tray into a blender along with the stock and blend for a couple of minutes until smooth. If you don’t have a blender an immersion blender would also work.
- Season more to taste if necessary and serve.
A swirl of cream added to the soup in the serving bowl makes a decadent finish.
I prefer to use large vine tomatoes but any will do, the roasting really brings out the flavour.
I’ve joined the kale wagon here, forgive me. Kale is very “in” right now. Being low-calorie, high fibre, rich in vitamins and minerals makes kale one of the latest “superfoods” and kale salads have been popular for a while now, I even posted one here.
One of the first things to grow at my allotment this year has been kale, I hadn’t realised quite how prolific it would be and its only been big enough to pick for 2 weeks! Dont be surprised if there are a few kale recipes on here as it looks as if I’m in for a glut!
I really like kale and quite like the heartiness it provides in a salad. I am aware though that raw kale may not be to everyone’s liking as it can be a little chewy! So recently when I began reading about people “massaging” salad dressing into kale, (that does sound a little crazy, I know!) I was intrigued. You only have to look at kale after its been watered to see how those leaves repel any moisture, it’s actually quite beautiful with the water droplets making little silvery balls all over it. So its easy to see that any dressing in a kale salad wouldn’t really be absorbed without a little help. All you do is mix your dressing and rub it into the kale leaves, the kale darkens as it absorbs the dressing. I think a quick rub is all the kale needs as my intention is not to lose all of the texture of the kale but just to soften it a little so one’s jaw isnt aching by the end of the meal!
This is a really quick salad to prepare and provides a good healthy base for many accompaniments. I enjoy this salad with boiled egg or smoked mackerel, black olives also make a good addition.
In preparation for my kale glut please do leave any kale recipe ideas in the comments section!
Kale Salad (for 2 servings)
- 200 grams fresh kale leaves, washed
- 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 small onion or 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, grated
- Strip the kale from its stems and roughly chop, place in your salad bowl.
- Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper until its well blended. Pour the dressing over the kale and rub it into the leaves, be quite firm using your thumbs and fingertips to “massage” the dressing in, stop after a couple of minutes or when the kale begins to darken.
- Add the onion and carrot to the kale, toss together. If not serving immediately chill until needed.
Another day, another salad! I admit to feeling a little lost once my Whole30 ended and after a weekend break from it I did another 20 days as my all or nothing personality can follow the rules of something as strict as the Whole30 but once off it goes completely the other way! I clearly did not get rid of my sugar demon in 30 days! I have found that Paleo food suits me and the rules keep me on the right track, maybe one day I will kick that sweet tooth! So its back to salads for lunch but I will admit that one can have their fill of leaves!
When doing the Whole30 avocado was on the list of foods to eat, such a treat! Wanting to make a leaf free salad for a change and finding a lonesome lime in the fridge led to this salsa-ish type of salad. Very un-salsa like I added a few mushrooms just to add a little meatiness, also just because I had them. I will admit it may have been a strange combination but I really enjoyed this salad, it was quick and easy to prepare and travels well to work in a Tupperware. It goes well with an omelette, prawns or chicken.
Avocado Salsa Salad
ingredients (makes 2 servings)
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
- 2 medium tomatoes cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 red onion, diced fairly small
- 1/2 chilli (add less if you don’t like too much heat), diced finely
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- cucumber about 4-5 inches, chopped
- 3 mushrooms (optional), chopped
- coriander leaves, just a few roughly chopped.
- juice of half a lime
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Chop all of the vegetables and add to a bowl.
- Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the vegetables stirring to coat.
- Leave to sit for a little while before serving.
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.