Tag Archives: vegan

Bean and pea salad with miso dressing

5 May

green bean, pea and peashoot salad with miso dressing

Lightly cooked green beans and peas on a bed of fresh peashoots with walnuts and a miso-sake dressing makes a fresh, healthy lunch.

I go with whatever combination of beans I have to hand – mangetout and podded edamame are both good and give an interesting visual and texture contrast. Continue reading

Rocket and fennel salad with toasted seeds

20 Apr

There has been a fennel bulb languishing in the veggie tray for ages. It’s been there for so long, I can no longer remember my reason for buying it.

I now realise that it was  waiting for its moment to shine in this rocket and fennel salad with tahini-ginger dressing and toasted seeds.

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Hasselback potatoes

9 Mar

Crispy on the edges, soft and buttery within, hasselback potatoes can make any meal feel a bit special. Continue reading

Beetroot and celery salad

24 Feb

beetroot and celery salad

I wouldn’t have thought of combining beetroot and celery, but thumbing through Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking I was intrigued by her description of this “admirable winter salad”. Continue reading

Onion-tahini sauce

31 Oct

Onion tahini sauce is a legacy of my student days, when I would make this dish most weeks.

And not just because it was dirt cheap. The tahini, cumin and soy sauce come together in an unexpectedly delicious, savoury, satisfying way, delivering a wallop of what I now know to be umami. Continue reading

Pita bread

1 Oct

pita bread

Despite doing a science degree at university (or maybe because of it), I find regular moments of magic in cooking.

Egg whites stiffening into peaks, eggs and oil transforming themselves into mayonnaise, sugar melting into caramel – these things bring me genuine, uncomplicated pleasure.

Watching pita breads blowing themselves up like little balloons through the glass door of the oven is another one.

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Plum butter (pflaumenmus)

13 Sep

pflaumenmus

Plum butter – or pflaumenmus  – is a German plum spread. Unlike the other jams I make, pflaumenmus is baked slowly in a low oven, which seems to intensify the flavour.

I made pflaumenmus for the first time last autumn. We hoovered up the first batch so fast, I had time to make a second one before the plum season ended.

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Spinach mushroom kitchri

9 Sep

spinach mushroom kitchri

This thick porridge of mung beans and rice might look like something Oliver Twist would have declined, but for me, a warm bowl of khitchri is pure comfort food. Continue reading

Sweet potato fries

24 Aug

Sweet potato fries

When the girls were small, I’d usually have a bag of oven chips in the freezer to serve alongside fish fingers and peas when they had friends round for tea.

Now that our fish finger days are behind us, I almost never make chips (oven or otherwise), but I’ll occasionally rustle up a tray of sweet potato fries. Continue reading

Turkish bread

29 Jul

Persian naan

Whenever I eat in a Turkish restaurant, I resolve not to stuff myself with Turkish bread and dips leaving no room for my main course. And invariably fail…

The bread is fresh, warm and pillowy soft, the dips so creamy, garlicky, and moreish, it’s almost impossible to resist.

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Ful medames

9 Jul

ful medames

Mashed fava beans for breakfast… and why not?

It’s only a small step from the baked beans slopped onto every full English served in the UK.

And Egypt’s ful medames are all the nicer for not being in a sickly sweet tomato sauce. Continue reading

Krompir salata (Serbian potato salad)

27 Jun

With its sweet and sour dressing, krompir salata is a departure from our go-to potato salads – French potato salad and mum’s potato salad.

I made it to accompany these outsized Serbian hamburgers in our World Cup 2018 cook-off.

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Orange and olive salad

25 Jun

orange olive salad

I love this classic Moroccan salad. Sweet orange slices and salty olives are a winning combination in my book.

Also in its favour, it takes minutes to make and looks beautiful arranged on a contrasting platter. Continue reading

Salatu niebe

24 Jun

salatu niebe

Bright, colourful, spicy, fresh… Senegal’s salatu niebe is something I’ll definitely make again after our World Cup 2018 cook-off is over.

This recipe makes a lot, so it’s fortunate salatu niebe keeps well in the fridge.

I served it on a bed of shredded lettuce one day, and heaped it into avocado halves the next. It would also work well stuffed into a pitta or wrap. Continue reading

Soparnik

16 Jun

soparnik

I’ve yet to visit Croatia, but I’ve heard wonderful things about the food. So I feared my version of soparnik had done the Croatians a disservice in our World Cup 2018 cook-off.

In this Dalmatian classic, a simple filling of chopped greens, onions and garlic is pressed between two thin layers of pastry and baked until golden and crisp.

It sounded lovely, but the first bite was a little underwhelming. But as it sat a little longer, pastry and filling merged into a more cohesive whole, the pastry softened and the flavour emerged. Continue reading

Tomato salad with pomegranate molasses

11 Jun

This tomato salad with pomegranate molasses is a recent happy discovery.

Someone brought it to a friend’s barbeque buffet, and only good manners stopped me from eating an unseemly amount.

It turns out freshly sliced tomatoes and pomegranate molasses do very good things to one another.

Continue reading

Tataki kyuri (smashed cucumber salad)

20 Apr

tataki kyuri

I tried this chilled cucumber salad at a Japanese pop-up kitchen the other day, and was intrigued both by the texture and the depth of flavour.

Turns out giving the cucumbers a few whacks with a rolling pin before dressing them is the secret. Continue reading

Broccoli spread

28 Feb

confit broccoli

I wasn’t sure what to call this broccoli concoction…

It started out as broccoli confit, but I’ve cut so much on the oil that the name no longer fits. I thought of broccamole, but decided the lack of avocados ruled that one out.

Patés are too smooth, dips are for dipping. Which led me to “spread” – so broccoli spread it is.

Whatever the name, it’s very moreish stuff. I serve it as an appetiser on toasted sourdough or crackers. I also eat it with a spoon straight out of the fridge. Continue reading

Cauliflower and white bean stew

20 Feb

Cauliflower and white bean stew

Cauliflower and white bean stew is a one of those no-fuss, mid-week meals I’ve been making for years.

There’s something vaguely Mediterranean about it – Spanish or maybe Greek – which can be played up by adding smoked paprika, or a scattering of crumbled feta. But generally I just make it as below.

It took awhile for the girls to warm to it (courgette has always been a hard sell for some reason), but they eat it happily now. Continue reading

Israeli couscous, squash and preserved lemon salad

16 Feb

Israeli couscous, squash and preserved lemon salad

Israeli couscous, butternut squash and preserved lemon are an excellent combination of tastes and textures. This salad is a recent happy addition to the family dinner rotation. Continue reading

Seedy bites

12 Feb

seedy bites

This recipe for seedy bites is actually more of a template. I pulse some rolled oats for a base, then add whatever I’ve got in the fruit and seed department.

When the mixture resembles damp sand, I pack it into the mini-muffin cups and bake for ten minutes.

They are a bit soft when they first come out, but as long as I let them cool completely in the tin, they firm up nicely.

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Winter slaw with poppy seed dressing

15 Jan

winter slaw with poppy seed dressing

With its bright, contrasting colours, and pomegranate seeds twinkling like little gems, winter slaw is a pretty salad.

I can find pomegranate seeds annoying. The amount of fibrous pit you grind through to release the juicy flesh detracts from my eating enjoyment.

But those pits are of no consequence in this crunchy riot of texture and flavour. Continue reading

Roasted tofu

11 Jan

Roasted tofu

These little roasted tofu cubes are dead simple to make.

The girls snack on them warm from the oven, they keep well in the fridge, and are a great addition to stir fries, Asian noodle soups, and salads. Continue reading

Roasted almonds

1 Dec

Roasted almonds

Every Christmas, my sister-in-law made these salted almonds.

Even as a child, I didn’t have much of a sweet tooth, and I looked forward to salted almonds at least as much as the cherry slice, Nanaimo bars and shortbread. (Though maybe not the butterscotch fudge…) Continue reading

Mexican “hummus”

7 Nov

Chickpeas are swapped for black beans (and sesame for pumpkin seeds) in this delicious Mexican take on hummus.

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Bloody-Mary-infused cherry tomatoes

16 Oct

cherry tomatoes marinated in vodka

The idea for these delicious little tomato-vodka flavour bombs comes from from the Epicurious website, (via my godmother).

The original marinade involves sugar and vinegar (and is lovely). But as soon as I tried one, my thoughts turned to Bloody Marys. Continue reading

Red-red stew

8 Oct

red red

Red-red is a traditional Ghanaian bean stew that gets its name (and colour) from the tomatoes and palm oil used to prepare it.

The first red-red recipe I tried called for three types of chilli – fresh Scotch bonnet, chilli flakes, and chilli powder (plus additional minced chilli to garnish).

Despite cutting back significantly on the quantity of chilli (and omitting the chilli powder altogether), it was so blisteringly hot the girls were unable to eat it. Continue reading

Itch (Armenian bulghur wheat salad)

30 Sep

Itch (Armenian bulghur-tomato salad)

I’d want to make this Armenian bulghur wheat salad for the name alone…

While itch is similar to kisir, using tomato sauce to hydrate the bulghur wheat places itch more in the realm of side dish than salad. Continue reading

Spaghetti aglio e olio (spaghetti with garlic and olive oil)

26 Sep

Spaghetti alio e olio

For all its simplicity, spaghetti aglio e olio is easy to mess up.

It’s really important not to overcook the garlic – no more than the faintest shade of gold, or it will taste bitter.

It’s also important to measure the salt. Too little, and the dish is insipid – too much and it’s ruined. Continue reading

Beet hummus

14 Sep

beetroot hummus

Hummus is a staple food in our house – I whizz up a batch nearly every week. While we never get bored of hummus, adding a roasted beet to the mix now and then makes a change.

I prefer to cook beets by wrapping them individually in tin foil and roasting in a hot oven until tender. Boiled or grated raw beet work fine too. Continue reading

Gypsy soup

10 Sep

gypsy soup

I’ve been making gypsy soup for many years. I have no idea why the Moosewood cookbook calls it “gypsy soup”, or what it means by “a spiced and delectable brew of Spanish and Dickensonian origins”.

Is it a reference to Linda Dickinson, one of the thirty-odd “Moosewood people” credited at the front? Or a  mis-spelling of “Dickensian”? (Though what this soup has to do with Victorian England, social commentary, or sentimentality is anyone’s guess.)

Perhaps it refers to the length of the ingredients list?

Continue reading

Mujaddara

16 Aug

Mujaddrah

Mujaddara is filling, tasty and cheap as chips.

It was staple fare in my student years – along with mushroom barley soup (that stuff lasts forever), ratatouille, and the enticingly-named “lentil shit”.

I’d make a big pot of mujaddara one meal, then reheat portions in a frying pan with a splash of water (no microwaves in those days…) Continue reading

Curtido

4 Aug

Curtido

Curtido is as far as it is possible to get from that innocuous, gloopy, overly sweet coleslaw that turns up uninvited on far too many restaurant plates.

There’s not a lick of mayonnaise for one thing. For another, this simple-looking cabbage and carrot salad really packs a punch. With only five ingredients, there’s little to soften the impact of that chilli powder. Continue reading

Zaru soba (cold soba noodles with dipping sauce)

23 Jul

Soba noodles with dipping sauce

Zaru soba – or cold soba noodles with dipping sauce – is one of my favourite hot weather lunches. During the summer, I often make a batch of dipping sauce in advance and have it chilled and ready in the fridge.

I prefer to cook the noodles fresh each time I want to eat them – but as long as you rinse them very well after cooking, they should be fine in the fridge for a day or two. Continue reading

Spinach-pear-lime smoothie

16 Jun

Spinach-pear-lime smoothie

We were relatively late to the Nutribullet party. But once I submitted to pester power and bought one, and we made up for lost time.

Nothing was safe from being blitzed into a drinkable state. Fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, juice, avocados, oatmeal, ginger, yogurt, herbs, cold coffee, chickpeas, rice… they’ve all been taken for a spin.

Some combinations were a success; others left us gasping at their horribleness.

Eventually, I hit on a smoothie combination that works for me –  spinach-pear-lime smoothie has become my go-to smoothie. I have it at least twice a week, and I haven’t tired of it yet…

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Cucumber and poppy seed salad

9 May

Cucumber and poppy seed salad

This salad of cucumber and red chilli tossed in a zingy-sweet dressing takes minutes to prepare.

I like to give it a little time in the fridge – half an hour is enough – for the cucumber to get cool and crisp, and the chilli heat to work its way into the dressing. Continue reading

Moros y Cristianos (black beans and white rice)

1 May

Moros y Cristianos is a Cuban dish of black beans (Moors) and white rice (Christians).

In some versions, the rice and beans are cooked together – resulting in visually unappealing (though tasty) gray rice. I prefer to keep the rice and beans separate until the last moment to maintain the contrast of colours.

I reheat leftover rice and beans separately while I cook the onion and peppers, then stir it all together just before serving. Dressed with a splash of vinegar or lime juice, and a dash of hot sauce it makes a very satisfying lunch. Continue reading

Carrot and sunflower seed energy balls

10 Apr

I haven’t really bought into the whole energy ball idea.

For starters, I’m anti-snacking – I’d much rather my family brought a good appetite to their meals.

Secondly, energy balls always seem to contain nuts, which rules them out for school lunches. In any case, they also seem to require storing in the fridge (or what, they melt?)

Thirdly, I’d rather eat the nuts, dates and whatever as they come, without first blitzing them into sticky mush. Continue reading

Double happiness beans

5 Apr

Easy to make, pretty to look at, tasty to eat – this dish could be called triple happiness beans.

I assume the “double” refers to the two types of bean involved – Chinese black beans and fresh green beans.

These are not the same black beans that feature in Mexican recipes like sweet potato and black bean tacos, but soybeans that have been dried and fermented with salt.

Pungent and intensely salty, Chinese black beans should be soaked before use to avoid overpowering the other ingredients.

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Cuban black bean soup

21 Mar

Cuban black bean soup

Traditional Cuban black bean soup is made with a ham hock, which is simmered along with the beans and removed before serving.

I prefer this vegetarian version, adding smoked paprika to give the soup an element of the ham’s smokiness. Anyway, for me it’s the vinegar that gives Cuban black bean soup its distinctive flavour.

This soup tastes even better the following day, and freezes well too. Continue reading