“Briam” Style Roast Vegetables

Briam Style Roast Vegetables

I love ratatouille and roasted vegetables of all types. The idea for this dish came about after watching a cookery show that said it was a Greek version of ratatouille.

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Barleycup, Maca & Banana Smoothie

 

Smothie Trio: Barleycup, Maca & Banana/ Beetroot, Pear & Spinach/ Grapefruit & Avocado
Smothie Trio:
Barleycup, Maca & Banana/ Beetroot, Pear & Spinach/ Grapefruit & Avocado

Smoothies are great for breakfast as they can be quick and easy and there is not too much cleaning up afterwards! And you can pop them in a portable cup/glass and drink them on the go!  But I have been known to have a smoothie for lunch and also sometimes a quick snack. Whatever the time of the day this is a great smoothie to add to your recipe list.

I don’t drink coffee or black tea anymore and try to avoid caffeine. Sometimes though I feel like drinking something different, not just herbal tea, so I came across Barleycup which is an instant cereal drink made from roasted barley, rye and chicory. It has the taste of coffee but is caffeine free. If you are drinking coffee then by all means substitute the Barleycup for the real thing!

Maca powder is reported to have been used by the Inca tribe in Peru for over 2000 years. It contains iron, phosphorous and manganese which all help withy energy levels. It has a great malty flavour which really goes well with the Barleycup in this smoothie.

This smoothie is like a mocha latte!

Ingredients (Serves 2)

2 Organic Bananas (frozen is best, but use unfrozen if you don’t have)

3 tsp of Barleycup

2 tsp of Maca Powder

1 Cup of Water

1 Cup of Milk

1 Cup of Ice

1/4 Cup of oats (I use Gluten Free)

1 tsp of Flax

Intructions

Pop everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Barleycup, Maca & Banana Smoothie

I hope you enjoy this smoothie and would love to hear your comments!

 

 

Grapefruit & Avocado Smoothie with Wheatgrass

Smothie Trio: Barleycup, Maca & Banana/ Beetroot, Pear & Spinach/ Grapefruit & Avocado
Smothie Trio:
Barleycup, Maca & Banana/ Beetroot, Pear & Spinach/ Grapefruit & Avocado

Smoothies are great for breakfast as they can be quick and easy and there is not too much cleaning up afterwards! And you can pop them in a portable cup/glass and drink them on the go!  But I have been known to have a smoothie for lunch and also sometimes a quick snack. Whatever the time of the day this is a great smoothie to add to your recipe list.

I love pink grapefruit, I think they have more sweetness and are not as tart as the yellow grapefruits, that’s why I prefer using them, but if you don’t have a preference, use which ever ones you like! Grapefruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, the pink grapefruits also have lycopene which is know to help fight free radicals that can damage cells.

Avocado has a mixed reputation because they are considered by some to be fatty. But Avocados are very nutritious, containing up to 20 different vitamins and minerals: Vitamins K, C, B5, B6 and E, as well as Folate, and numerous other nutrients. I love them because they are rich in flavour and have a great texture and they can be used in a variety of different ways.

This smoothie is a combination of both the above, it has a little tartness from the grapefruit but its then complimented by the smooth, silky texture of the Avocado. The addition of the Wheatgrass powder helps to boost the vitamins, and minerals.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

1 Pink Grapefruit – Peeled

1 Avocado – Peeled and de-stoned

1 tsp of Wheatgrss

1 Cup of Almond Milk

1 Cup of Coconut Water

Instructions

Take as much of the white pith of the grapefruit as possible, then pop everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Grapefruit & Avocado smoothie with Wheatgrass

I hope you enjoy this smoothie and would love to hear your comments!

Beetroot, Pear & Spinach Smoothie

Smothie Trio: Barley Cup, Maca & Banana/ Beetroot, Pear & Spinach/ Grapefruit & Avocado
Smoothie Trio:
Barleycup, Maca & Banana/ Beetroot, Pear & Spinach/ Grapefruit & Avocado

Smoothies are great for breakfast as they can be quick and easy and there is not too much cleaning up afterwards! And you can pop them in a portable cup/glass and drink them on the go!  But I have been known to have a smoothie for lunch and also sometimes a quick snack. Whatever the time of the day this is a great smoothie to add to your recipe list!

Beetroot stimulates the liver as well as helping to cleanse the digestive system. Adding the pear gives this smoothie a sweet hit and extra fibre and the spinach contains antioxidants that help to eliminate free radicals and keep us healthy… all good reasons for drinking up this smoothie!

Ingredients (Serves 2)

2 Organic Beetroot (Beets)

2 Organic Pears – cored but not peeled if organic

1 Handful of Organic Spinach

1 Cup of Filtered Water

1 Cup of Almond Milk

Spinach Leaf to decorate

Instructions

Pop everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Beetroot, Pear & Spinach Smoothie

I hope you enjoy this smoothie and would love to hear your comments!

 

 

 

 

Carrot and Butter Bean Soup

Carrot and Butter Bean Soup

Inspiration for recipes comes from many places. It can be from recipe books, television shows, restaurant menus or even something simple like the supermarket shelves. This recipe was inspired by a recent trip to the supermarket where I saw a can of soup with similar ingredients, and I thought… hmm… I’m going to have a go at that and make my own version.

And here it is!

I’ve said so many times how much I love soup and the reasons why. This one is so simple to make it would be a shame to buy one ready made. It has a thick and velvety texture, and the butter beans add a creaminess to the whole dish. The fennel seeds add a little hint of liquorice whilst the chilli flakes gives the soup a little warmth, which I think is essential for cold and chilly days. I hope you give this soup a try and I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

2 tbsp. of Olive Oil

1 Onion, chopped

1 Clove of Garlic, peeled and chopped

2 Sticks of Celery, chopped

1 Red Pepper, chopped

4 Cups of Chopped Carrots (approximately 500g)

1 Tin of Butter Beans, drained and washed

1 tsp of Fennel Seeds

1 tsp of fresh Rosemary, chopped (or 1/2 tsp of dried)

1/2 tsp of chilli flakes

1 tsp of Bouillon Powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Carrot and Butter Bean Soup

Instructions

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil to heat. Then add the chopped onion, sauté for 10 minutes until they are soft and translucent.

Add the chilli flakes, and fennel seeds, stir to mix thoroughly with the onions. Add the chopped celery and chopped red pepper and leave to sauté for 5 minutes before adding the garlic, heat for 30 seconds before adding the chopped carrots and rosemary, leaving to sauté for a further 5 minutes, before adding  3 cups of water with 1 tsp of Bouillon Powder. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are beginning to soften. Add the drained and washed butter beans. After 5 minutes, puree the soup with a stick blender (or pop into a blender). Taste a final time for seasoning and adjust the thickness, if necessary by adding another cup of water.

Carrot and Butter Bean Soup

I hope you enjoy the soup as much as we did and would love to hear your comments!

 

Smoky Cannellini Beans and Parsnip Rosti Pie

Cannellinni and Parsnip Pie

I love eating pies when the weather is cold or chilly outside. I think they are so comforting. I am always looking for new ingredients or ways to present dishes in a new and exciting way. This pie came about as a fusion of two dishes really: when time was short, I would rustle up the cannellini bean mixture below and eat it with rice, quinoa or sweet potato wedges. The topping was inspired by a book by Anna Jones, I was given as a Christmas present entitled “A Modern Way To Eat.” In the book, the parsnip topping covers a mushroom pie (which is also delicious). I had eaten both dishes in short succession and wondered what would happen if I put them together, and this is the result. I hope you love it as much as we do!

This pie has a wonderful, warming heat from the smoky paprika and the parsnip topping makes it very light and not too heavy. It took a few tries to get all the ingredients balanced and the textures right but I’m sure this will become one of your “go to” dishes, just like it is mine, once you give it a go! Oh, by the way, this has also been given the seal of approval by my hubby!

Ingredients (Serves 2)

2 tbsp. Olive Oil (Plus 2 tbsp. for Parsnips – see below)

1 Onion, finely chopped

1 Carrot, finely grated (I use a medium size Microplane)

1 Stick of Celery, finely chopped

1 Clove of Grarlic, smashed and chopped

1/2 tsp of Smoked Paprika Powder

1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes

1 Tin/Carton of Cannellini Beans

1 tbsp. of Tahini paste

1/2 tsp of Herbes de Provence

2 Handfuls of Spinach

Squeeze of Lemon Juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Parsnip Topping:

2 Parsnips, peeled and grated on a box grater

2 tbsp. of Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Cannellini and Parsnip Pie

Cannellini and Parsnip Pie

Instructions

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (200C/400F)

Heat the oil in a medium size frying pan over a medium heat, then add the chopped onions and sauté for 10 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the carrot and celery and mix together, sauté for 5 minutes before adding the crushed garlic, sauté for another 30 seconds, but no longer as the garlic can burn.

Add the Herbes De Provence, and paprika, stir to mix and heat through for 2 minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes. Half fill the empty tin with water and add this to the pan. Bring to the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Then add salt and pepper to taste.

Drain and rinse the cannellini beans before adding to the pan with the rest of the ingredients. Allow this to simmer for 15 minutes.

Whilst the cannellini bean mixture is simmering,  peel and grate the parsnips and add them to a bowl before adding the additional olive oil, salt and pepper.

Go back to the main dish and add the spinach to the pan and wilt for 5 minutes before adding the tahini with a squeeze of lemon juice. Check the seasoning one final time.

Pour the cannellini bean mixture into individual serving dishes before covering with the parsnip topping. Pop into the oven for 40 minutes where the parsnip mixture becomes crispy golden brown.

Cannellinni and Parsnip Pie

I hope you enjoy this pie and would love to hear your comments!

 

Spicy Asian Style Noodle Soup

Spicy Asian Style Noodle Soup

I started making this soup a few weeks ago, but the balance of ingredients and flavours were just off. But third time lucky, now I think it’s perfect!

It really is a great soup to have in your repertoire, it looks great and tastes amazing too (but I seem to say that about everything!). It could be done with any noodle type that you prefer, here I have used Gluten Free, Organic Spaghetti made from brown rice. I tried cooking the spaghetti in the soup, but it just clouded up the whole dish and didn’t look very appealing, so that’s why in the recipe below you can see the noodles are cooked separately. But if you are going to use ordinary rice noodles then it would be fine to pop them in with all the other ingredients towards the end of the dish to warm through.

I also tried using whole spices, but they just got in the way of enjoyment when eating (crunching through whole spices wasn’t much fun), which is why here I have used dried spices!

Where possible, I use organic vegetables.

I know the list of ingredients seems long but most of them will be in your store cupboard anyway. And the soup is delicious – well worth a bit of effort.

Ingredients (Serves 2-4 depending on appetite!)

2 tbsp. of Olive Oil

2 Red Onions, finely chopped

2 Cloves of Garlic, smashed and chopped

1 tsp of ginger

1/4 tsp of Five Spice powder

1 Star Anise

1/2 tsp of Chilli Flakes

2 tbsp. of Tamari

1 Long Red Pepper, sliced

1 Bok Choy, chopped finely

1 Head of Broccoli, just use the florets

2 Cups of Chestnut Mushrooms, sliced

1/4 Cup of Dried Porcini Mushrooms (re-hydrated – Keep the soaking liquor)

1/2 a head of Fennel

3 Spring Onions (Scallions)

1 Red Chilli Pepper, sliced on the diagonal

1 tbsp. of Tahini Paste

100g (2 serving portions) of Organic, Gluten Free, Brown Rice Spaghetti

Spicy Asian Soup Ingredients

Instructions

Boil a kettle and pour a cup of hot water over the porcini mushrooms, soak for 30 minutes, until they become re-hydrated. Strain the porcini, but keep the soaking liquor. Then chop finely.

Heat a saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil. Then add the noodles and cook as per the package instructions, the gluten free spaghetti that I used takes between 7-9 minutes. Drain the noodles.

Heat the oil over a medium heat, in a medium to large saucepan, then add and sauté the spices (ginger, 5 spice, star anise and chilli flakes) stir until the spices start bubbling. Add the chopped onion, red pepper, fennel and stir together to coat in the spices for 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and stir for 30 seconds (I add the garlic at this time to stop it burning). Add the tamari, and 4 cups of water, with the bouillon powder mixed in, and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer then add the sliced chestnut mushrooms, chopped porcini and the soaking liquor from the porcini mushrooms. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tahini paste, salt and pepper and stir through to mix.

Finally add the bok choy, broccoli and noodles and simmer together for 5 minutes, ensure not to overcook the bok choy or the broccoli. You may need to add more water at this point depending on how much liquid you like in your soups – I ended up using 6 cups of water along with 1 cup of the soaking liquid from the porcini mushrooms. At this point give a little squeeze of lemon juice then give a final check for seasoning.

Serve into individual warmed bowls and garnish with sliced spring onions (scallions) and the sliced red chilli.

Spicy Asian Style Noodle Soup

This soup has a great mix of spices and is really warm and comforting. It’s a real winner. I hope you enjoy it and would love to hear your comments!

 

 

Butternut Squash and Warm Lentil Salad

Butternut Squash and Puy Lentil Salad

I first came across a basic version of this recipe about 2 years ago and have been making it since then. It’s pretty quick and easy to do, roasting the squash and red onion and boiling the lentils. If you wanted to you could always purchase a packet of the ready prepared lentils, but I always have a box of unprepared lentils in the cupboard so that’s the way I go. Also, I have seen ready chopped butternut squash so if you were in a hurry or didn’t fancy the peeling, de-seeding and chopping you could always pick up a bag of the ready prepared stuff!

This salad looks beautiful and it tastes just wonderful. My husband, who we all know is not a plant-based man, loves this! So, it’s hubby approved as well.

I use organic vegetables where possible.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

250g (approx. 2 cups) of peeled, deseeded and chopped Butternut Squash

2 Red Onions – peeled and cut into wedges

2 tbsp. of Olive Oil

1 tsp Cumin

4 Handfuls of Spinach

1/2 a Pomegranate – use just the seeds

1 Avocado – peeled and chopped

2 Spring Onions (scallions) – chopped on the diagonal

1/2 a Red Chilli – deseeded and chopped finely

1 Cup of Puy Lentils

Salt and Pepper to taste

Salad Dressing:

2 tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tsp of Cider Vinegar

2 tsp of Tahini

Spritz of Lemon Juice

1 clove of garlic crushed and chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

1-2 Tbsp water (if needed)

Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

Instructions

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (200C/400F)

Peel and deseed the butternut squash and chop into 1″ pieces.

Peel the red onions and cut each into six wedges.

Drizzle the squash and onions in olive oil and sprinkle with the cumin, salt and pepper. Pop into the oven for approx. 20-30 minutes (check after 20). Meanwhile rinse the lentils and put into a pan of  boiling water for 20 minutes until just firm to the bite. I add salt to the lentils after they have finished cooking.

Whilst the vegetables are in the oven and the lentils are boiling, prepare the dressing. Put all the ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake to combine. If the dressing is too thick at this point you can add some water to make it thinner. Adjust the seasonings to taste, as necessary… I don’t like my dressings too oily, but that’s a personal preference.

When the lentils are cooked, remove them from the oven and drain them in a colander or sieve. Whilst they are still warm pour over a tablespoon of the dressing – this way they will absorb the flavour.

When the squash and onions are cooked remove them from the oven.

Now it’s time to assemble the dish. Put the spinach onto a serving dish (or individual plates) then pour over the lentils. Pop the squash and onions over the lentils, top with the avocado, chopped spring onions (scallions), pomegranate seeds and chilli, Drizzle over the dressing and enjoy.

Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

I hope you enjoy this salad and would love to hear your comments!

Cottage ‘Puy’ Pie

Cottage 'Puy' Pie

I know that some people have a negative opinion of lentils, but fortunately I am not one of them. I love all types of lentils! I think they are so versatile as well as being good for you.

I have been making vegetarian versions of cottage pies for years. Using different types of lentils, different seasonings and different toppings. I think this pie is my best one yet! The lentils and porcini mushrooms gives the filling big, bold flavours that I think pies like this need, and the celeriac mash mixed with Extra Virgin olive oil makes a lighter topping than ordinary mash, but if you don’t have celeriac in the house by all means replace it with potatoes.

This ‘puy’ pie seems like a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps, but it’s really easy to do and nothing will spoil if it’s left for 5-10 minutes more than the timing specified in the recipe! Plus if you wanted to break up the steps and do each one individually go ahead. Don’t sweat it! Or if you were really pressed for time, you could purchase the lentils already cooked and therefore miss out one of the steps altogether!

I think once you have made this it will become a firm favourite. My husband, who’s a complete meat lover, loves this pie, so it’s perfect to share. It’s a great dish for cold/dark evenings, so go on … Give it a go!

 

Ingredients (Serves 2)

1 Cup of Puy Lentils

10-15g of Dried Porcini Mushroom (about 1/4 of a cup)

2 tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Onion – peeled and finely chopped

1 Carrot – peeled and finely chopped

1/2 Leek – washed and finely chopped

1/2 tsp of Dried Thyme

2 tbsp. of Tahini

2 Handfuls of Spinach (optional)

Celeriac Mash Topping

700g (approx. 4 cups) of Chopped Celeriac

1 tbsp. of  Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp of Tahini

Squeeze of Lemon Juice

Cottage 'Puy' Pie

Instructions

Put the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl covered with hot water for 30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms (keep the soaking liquor) and chop.

Whilst the mushrooms are soaking, rinse the lentils under running water and drain. Pop into a saucepan with 3 cups of water and bring to the boil then simmer for 20-25 minutes until they are firm to the bite…I don’t add salt to the lentils until they have finished cooking.

You can do both the above steps in advance if you prefer, rather than have the cooker covered in pots and pans.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, then add the chopped onion, carrot, leek and thyme, sauté for approx. 10 minutes until they are starting to soften. By this time, the dried mushrooms and lentils should both be ready.

Pop the celeriac into boiling salted water and cook until soft (approx. 20-30 minutes). Then drain and mash (I use a stick blender!) finally adding salt and pepper to taste and the Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the end.

Drain the lentils (keep the cooking liquor!) and add them to the frying pan with the onion, carrot and leek mixture. Stir to mix and pop the frying pan back on the heat to warm through. Mix 1/3 of a cup of the lentil cooking liquor and stir through. Then add the 2 tbsp of Tahini and chopped porcini mushrooms to the rest of the ingredients. Add the porcini liquor slowly until it comes to the consistency you like…make sure that there is enough liquid so that it doesn’t dry out in the oven. Warm through until the tahini paste, lentil liquor and mushroom liquor are thick and have formed a gravy like sauce.

Let everything cool to room temperature before assembling into individual dishes…

I put a layer of spinach (uncooked as it cooks in the oven) at the bottom of each dish then cover with the lentil mixture until 3/4 of the dish. Finally top with a layer of the celeriac mash. Either smooth with a knife (like the picture below), or fluff with a fork (whatever you fancy really!).

Cottage 'Puy' Pie

Pop into the oven at gas mark 6 (200C/400F) for 30-40 minutes until the celeriac has started to brown.

Cottage 'Puy' Pie

Cottage 'Puy' Pie

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did and would love to hear your comments!

 

 

 

Spicy Parsnip Soup with Pear

Spicy Parsnip Soup with Pear

I’m sitting here feeling very sorry for myself with a sore hip, hot water bottle down my trousers… hoping it will ease the ache! At times like this I crave comfort food, and what could be more comforting than a bowl of homemade soup?

I have an organic vegetable box delivered every week and try to cook as many recipes as I can using the ingredients from the box. This week there were 5-6 parsnips inside and as the day was bright but chilly, I thought I would do a lovely warming spicy parsnip soup to see if this could take me out of feeling very sorry for myself! Plus it was quick and easy, so no hanging around at the stove for hours on end which would only have aggravated my aching joint.

I read that parsnips are a good source of folate, vitamin C and potassium, well who am I to argue! Although the cooking process will deplete the folate.

I have a friend who hates vegetables (I know! Hard to believe but true!), the only way she will eat them is if they are disguised in a juice, a smoothie or a blended soup. She has been a bit under the weather lately (working too hard me thinks!), so this soup is for her as well as me! I hope both she and you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it for you.

Spicy Parsnip Soup Veg

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 tbsp. of Coconut Oil

1 tspn of Turmeric

1 tspn of Garam Masala

1/2 tspn of Cumin Seeds

1 Carrot – peeled and chopped

1 Leek – washed and chopped

1 Red Chilli Pepper – chopped (leave seeds out if you don’t like it too spicy)

5/6 Parsnips – depending on size

1 Clove of Garlic

1 Pear de-cored and chopped (if organic I leave the peel on, otherwise peel)

Salt & Pepper to taste

4 Cups of Water (added individually)

1 tspn pf Bouillon Powder

1 Can of Coconut Milk

To Serve

1 Red Chilli Pepper (leave out if you don’t want it too spicy)

Thin Slices of Pear

Instructions

Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the turmeric, garam masala and cumin seeds – heat through until the spices start to bubble (about 1-2 minutes).

Add the chopped onion, carrot, leek and chilli and sweat through 5-10 minutes before adding the chopped parsnips. Stir to mix and heat for 5 minutes. Then add the chopped garlic (30 seconds).

Add 2 cups of water and 1 tspn of bouillon powder, stir to mix. Add the coconut milk and chopped pear. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are just soft.

Using a stick blender or a blender, blend the soup until its smooth. Check for seasoning, add salt and pepper. Adjust the texture of the soup as necessary, I don’t like it too thick so I add another 1-2 cups of water.

If you wanted the soup to taste more coconutty, use coconut water instead of plain water.

Spicy Parsnip Soup with Pear

I hope you enjoy this soup and would love to hear your comments!