Tag Archives: vegan

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

Roast squash and chickpea salad with tahini dressing

7 Feb

Roast squash and chickpea salad

This roast squash and chickpea salad with tahini dressing is becoming a favourite winter lunch around ours.

It’s lovely served with the squash still warm from the oven, and keeps well in the fridge. I bring it back to room temperature before serving, and freshen up the seasoning. Continue reading

Margo’s martini

25 Jan

Margo's martini

With only two ingredients to worry about, you’d think it would be a straightforward matter for a bartender to make a decent martini.

But the number of crummy martinis I’ve been served over the years are proof that this isn’t the case.

Happily, we are in the fortunate position of having two good friends who are known for their skill with martini shaker. Continue reading

Lentil squash soup with turmeric and spicy onions

12 Jan

Lentil squash soup with turmeric

We usually observe the Italian tradition of eating lentils on New Year’s Day. Because of their resemblance to coins, lentils are thought to symbolise good fortune and prosperity. Worth a shot…;-)

Most often, I make Puy lentils simmered with carrots, onion and celery until soft, which I serve with sausages cooked under the grill. But sometimes I make lentil soup.

This lentil squash soup with turmeric is very different to my usual lemony red lentil soup. The addition of squash both softens and fortifies the slightly grainy texture of the lentils. Continue reading

Romanesco apple pecan salad

31 Dec

Romanesco apple pecan salad

This healthy, Christmas-y (not so often you use those two adjectives to describe a dish) romanesco apple pecan salad makes a refreshing change from turkey soup and turkey sandwiches at this point in the festivities.

And aside from steaming the romanesco, it takes only minutes to put together – another point in its favour.

I serve the dressing on the side – once it is mixed through the salad, the romanesco florets are less delightfully tree-like. If romanesco isn’t available, broccoli works too. Continue reading

Roast carrots with pomegranate molasses

8 Dec

roast-carrots-with-pomegranate2

In January my friend Margaret sent me a copy of the gorgeous “A Taste of Haida Gwaii” by the Canadian writer Susan Musgrave.

This wonderful collection of stories, recipes and photographs documents Musgrave’s life in the islands, where she is proprietor of The Copper Beach bed and breakfast. Continue reading

Roasted cauliflower couscous salad

5 Dec

roasted cauliflower couscous salad

I’m pretty organised with food shopping and meal planning, but even so, there are regular occasions when I just need to get something to eat on the table in minutes.

Leftovers are a lifesaver at such times, or a quick pasta like linguine with sardine pesto or pasta cacio e pepe. Eggs are good — scrambled, fried, or in an omelette or frittata.

And there’s usually a tub of salad that can be combined with some toasted pitta, hummus, olives and chopped vegetables for what we call a “lunchy dinner”. While it’s often kisir or tabbouleh, this roasted cauliflower couscous salad has recently joined the rotation.

Roasted cauliflower softens without going mushy, and has a deep, almost nutty taste. I find that the textures of the cauliflower and couscous really complement one another. Continue reading

Sweet potato and black bean tacos

18 Nov

Sweet potato and black bean tacos

Sweet potato and black bean tacos are currently the “go-to” taco around here. Last year was all about fish tacos, but the tilapia I favoured has vanished from the fish counter, for one thing.

Also, we are make a conscious effort to have more meat-free dinners each week, and these are helping with that ambition.

Continue reading

Roasted pumpkin seeds

31 Oct

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Along with pumpkin soup, roasted pumpkin seeds are a Halloween night staple. As soon as we’ve scooped out the pumpkins for the jack-o-lanterns, I get digging through the slippery pumpkin innards to collect the seeds.

Tossed with oil and seasoning then roasted in the oven, pumpkin seeds are great to snack on while carving the jack-o-lantern. They are also almost certainly the healthiest thing the kids will eat all day. Continue reading

Tabbouleh

22 Oct

tabbouleh

“I’m sorry I called you worthy, tabbouleh, I was just infatuated with kisir…”

Now that I’m working more hours at the office, tabbouleh is becoming a weekly staple around here. I’ve been putting it in packed lunches with olives, cucumber slices and maybe a piece of feta on the side.

It’s also featuring in serve-yourself, mezze-style dinners on evenings where conflicting schedules prevent us sitting down together for a family meal.

Measurements aren’t that important with tabbouleh – I like mine to have roughly equal amounts of bulghur wheat and chopped herbs, but have eaten versions that were 90% herbs – find a balance that works for you.

Avoid the possibility of worthiness by seasoning generously (and seasoning again to brighten it up before serving if made in advance.)

Continue reading

Mung bean coconut curry

19 Oct

Mung bean coconut curry

Poor, unfashionable mung beans… While a number of ingredients have crossed the aisle from “health food” to mainstream (hummus, tofu), or even become trendy (quinoa, chia seeds), mung beans are not among them.

There is still something 1970s, socks-and-sandals, “knit your own yogurt” about mung beans (at least in their un-sprouted form). Or maybe it’s a name thing… if you were brainstorming names to market a new legume, I doubt “mung” would make the long list.

Having been a friend of the mung bean for years, I’d like to introduce them to a wider social circle. This mung bean coconut curry is a good place to start. Quick to make (mung beans don’t need pre-soaking), delicious, healthy and cheap, this curry is a winner.

Continue reading

Homemade tahini

5 Sep

Tahini

The other day, I asked my husband to pick up some sesame seeds on the way home. Instead of the little packet I was expecting, he plonked a 500g bag on the counter. That’ll to take years to get through, I thought ungratefully…

I know that I have nothing to complain about. My husband and daughters are willing to pop to the shops at a moment’s notice, and generally return with a reasonable approximation of the requested item.

(Not like a former housemate who went to buy half a dozen eggs and returned with a six-pack of beer. “I knew it was six of something,” he said.)

And without that enormous bag of sesame seeds, I might not have discovered how easy it is to make tahini. Or how there is no comparison between fresh tahini and the pale lump of hardened sludge submerged in low-grade oil that is most store-bought tahini. Or how amazingly good it tastes.

Continue reading

Rosemary gimlet

19 Aug

Rosemary gimlet

Cutting back an unruly rosemary bush that was over-reaching itself in the garden has left me with an abundance of fresh rosemary. Besides incorporating it into our last few meals, I made a bottle of rosemary syrup to drizzle over apple-based desserts, and use to glaze my next rosemary loaf cake.

I then got the idea of making a rosemary-based cocktail… An internet search turned up this rosemary gimlet on David Lebowitz’s website.

Having tried it his way, I decided that I prefer mine with a higher proportion of lime juice and rosemary syrup to gin. That way you can have two…;-) Continue reading

Bean salad with smoked paprika dressing

6 Aug

Bean salad with smoked paprika dressing

Having made many a bean salad over the years, I’ve pretty much settled on this version.

I love the combination of smoked paprika, honey and vinegar in the dressing, which elevates the prosaic bean salad to unlikely heights. Continue reading

Grilled pepper salad (salada de pimentos assados)

7 Jul

Grilled pepper salad

A simple salad of grilled peppers is the traditional accompaniment Portuguese grilled sardines. While some recipes dress the salad with red wine vinegar, I prefer to allow the flavour of the vegetables to come through.

The peppers and onion can either be grilled on the barbeque, or roasted on a baking sheet in a hot oven. If you make grilled pepper salad in advance, be sure serve it at room temperature (or even warm) to bring out the flavours. Continue reading

Croatian cucumber salad

4 Jul

Croatian cucumber salad

I served this simple Croatian cucumber salad to accompany the prawns alla busara we had for dinner last night. The recipe seemed so simple, I hadn’t intended to post it.

But it was so crisp, cool and refreshing that I changed my mind. Continue reading

Summer pudding

2 Jul

Summer pudding

Before moving to the UK, I’d never eaten summer pudding. I was dead impressed the first time my mother-in-law served one up for dessert.

As she’s a very accomplished cook, I assumed summer puddings required patisserie skills I’d never possess. Turns out she’s a canny cook as well – and summer pudding couldn’t be easier to make. Continue reading

Salata de vinete (aubergine salad)

28 Jun

Salata de vinete

Salata de vinete is a traditional Romanian dip or spread that is served with pitta or crackers. I did some research online – even watching a video of Nadia Comenici preparing salata de vinete – before asking my Romanian friend Dan for tips. Continue reading

Borscht

24 Jun

Borscht

This is Mum’s borscht, which I grew up eating – she got the recipe from a Ukrainian neighbour who lived on our street.

I had a strong childhood aversion to beets. I didn’t like the sweetness of them, and remember hating how beet juice would seep into everything else on your plate.

Maybe that’s why I never minded borscht. For one thing, it was sour. Plus the seeping was a done deed, and everything stained a consistent shade of purply red. Continue reading

Romanian marinated mushrooms

23 Jun

Romanian marinated mushrooms

I grew up eating what we Canadians called antipasto – a mixture of fish, vegetables and olives marinated in a sharp tomato sauce – and these Romanian mushrooms reminded me of it.

While I really liked them, the rest of the family had their reservations. Lyra hated the mushrooms but loved the sauce, Nova found them too spicy, and Adam thought they were too acidic. Continue reading

Guacamole

3 Jun

Chips and guacamole

Guacamole is one of those things it should be impossible to get wrong. Mash and season a ripe avocado, serve with tortilla chips – the shortest recipe ever.

And yet, there is so much lousy guacamole out there, it seems worth writing a few words on the subject. Continue reading

Lemon mint

11 Apr

Lemon mint

We spent Easter in Bahrain visiting friends, where we were introduced to a drink called lemon mint. One glass and we were hooked, ordering it at every opportunity.

Lemon juice and fragrant mint are blended with ice to make a lovely, refreshing pick-me-up. The key is not to over-sweeten the mix – add just enough sugar to take the edge off the lemon’s sharpness. Continue reading

Twelve-bean soup

3 Mar

Twelve-bean soup

I’m naming this twelve-bean soup because that’s what I called it in Canada. Here in the UK, I have only ever found ten-bean mix. (I’m not sure which two types of beans have been omitted, but the soup seems none the worse for their absence.) Continue reading

Fruit and vegetable tagine

29 Feb

Vegetable tajine with fruit

Tajine, cous cous, tajine, cous cous, tajine… When visiting Morocco, you have to go out of your way to avoid eating one or the other – or both – pretty much every day.

In Morocco, a tajine is both a slow-cooked savoury stew and the conical pottery cooking vessel in which they are prepared. So strictly speaking, while drawing on the flavours of Morocco, this fruit and vegetable tajine is not a tajine at all.

It is delicious though, and less oily than most I’ve eaten, especially those featuring chicken or lamb.
Continue reading

Sweet potato and carrot soup

15 Feb

Sweet potato and carrot soup

This sweet potato and carrot soup comes together in no time, making a great choice for weekday dinner. The sweet potato gives it a silky smoothness that contrasts beautifully with the crunchy seeds. Continue reading

Vegetarian mole de olla

18 Jan

Mole de olla

Mole de olla (or kettle stew) is a traditional Mexican dish made from beef and vegetables – typically corn, potatoes, green beans and courgette.

This vegetarian version comes from the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook – I’ve been making it for years, and always serve it with fresh cornbread to soak up the delicious sauce.

We’d eat this tasty stew more regularly if the girls weren’t so stubbornly resistant to its charms – they remain deeply unconvinced by cooked courgette. Continue reading

Warm glass noodle and edamame salad

21 Nov

Warm glass noodle and edamame salad

I made this warm glass noodle and edamame salad to accompany some Vietnamese-style pork meatballs the other evening.

Edamame are great favourite with the kids – though what they like is best is eating them from the pods.

Continue reading

Fasoulada (Greek bean soup)

6 Nov

Fasoulada

I love the way the word fasoulada rolls off the tongue. I’d order it just for the pleasure of saying “I’ll have the fasssooolaaadaaa please.”

And the girls are just as same. It’s “pass the fasssooolaaadaaa”, “my fasssooolaaadaaa is too hot” and so on throughout the meal.

Continue reading

Mushroom barley soup

9 Oct

Mushroom barley soup

Mushroom barley soup is a homely Jewish classic. I’ve been making this comforting, nourishing stuff for years. It’s perfect student fare, costing pennies a potful.

Continue reading

Kachumber

16 Jul

kachumber

Kachumber is a simple, delicious Indian chopped salad that takes just minutes to make. It provides a welcome freshness to any Indian meal, and works particularly well with kebabs and grilled meat.

Kachumber is so straightforward to make that a recipe isn’t really necessary. But for the record, here’s the way I make it. Continue reading

Peach-basil sorbet

12 Jul

Peach-basil sorbet

Peaches and basil both say “summer” to me – and in this peach-basil sorbet they can say it together…

I made this sorbet with those little flat white peaches that have been appearing in the shops the last few years. The lovely rosy colour was a pleasant surprise – the result of leaving the skins on the peaches when I puréed them. Continue reading

Hummus

10 Jul

Hummus

Once exotic, hummus is now a grocery store staple. It is also now considered children’s fare (at least in the UK), along with fish fingers, chipolatas, and those mini Babybel cheeses. Both my girls adore sandwiches filled with hummus and sliced black olives.

Other vegetables are getting in on the hummus act. Butternut squash, red pepper, spinach and beet hummus are all a thing. Call me old fashioned, but if it doesn’t contain chickpeas and tahini, it’s not hummus – it’s a dip. Continue reading

Bruschetta al pomodoro (tomato bruschetta)

30 Jun

Tomato bruschetta

Bruschetta al pomodoro is simplicity itself – so why write a post about it?

Two reasons:

  1. While the list of ingredients is short and the preparation straightforward, there are a few things worth knowing that can make the difference between a mouthwatering crispy delight and a confused, soggy mess.
  2. I’ve been served so many disappointing, and frankly odd, versions of tomato bruschetta that it seems worth setting down how to do it right.

Continue reading

Scott’s martini

24 Jun

Scott's martini

There are a lot of strong opinions about what makes a great martini. Personally, I’m pretty flexible. I’ve enjoyed them with gin and vodka – dry, wet or dirty. I’m happy with olives, lemon peel or a cocktail onion (though actually I think that’s a Gibson).

Two essentials for me: A great martini must be icy cold. And it must achieve a satisfying balance between its elements. Otherwise, it’s just a cold glass of gin…

I’m in the happy position of having two good friends who make great martinis. As Scott is visiting from Canada this week, I’m featuring his version here (with permission).  Continue reading

Aloo achaar (Nepalese potato salad)

2 Jun

aloo-achaar

Where have you been all my life, aloo achaar? Waiting quietly on page 50 of my well-worn copy of Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking, that’s where. I must have flipped past you a hundred times on my way to the very spicy delicious chickpeas or diced potatoes with spinach recipe. Continue reading

Piyaz (Turkish white bean salad with a tahini dressing)

23 May

Cannellini bean salad with tahini dressing

Piyaz is a traditional Turkish bean and onion salad, typically garnished with slices of tomato and hardboiled egg. The recipe varies from region to region – in Antalya they add tahini to the dressing, which gives it a pleasing mellowness.  Continue reading

Hong Kong green beans

14 May

Hong Kong green beans

Last November in Hong Kong we ate the most delicious stir-fried green beans one evening. Finding ourselves without dinner reservations on Saturday night, we were turned away from several places before finally landing a table in one of the many restaurants in the iSquare building on Nathan Road.

Continue reading

Kisir (Turkish bulghur wheat salad)

7 May

kisir

While I’ve always found tabbouleh ever so slightly worthy, with kisir it was love at first bite. This Turkish bulghur wheat salad is a much more exciting number – from its vibrant orange colour to its fiery chilli kick. Continue reading

Frozen banana “ice cream”

23 Apr

Frozen banana

Frozen banana “ice cream” is a little bit of culinary magic – just sixty seconds in a food processor to transform frozen slices of banana into a smooth, silky dessert.

I first discovered it in David Cohlmeyer’s The Vegetarian Chef in my student days, and have been happily whipping up batches of the stuff ever since.  Continue reading

Cauliflower, cashew, pea and coconut curry

18 Apr

Cauliflower, cashew and pea curry

I’ve made this curry a few times now, as it proved popular with both girls. I like the way the flavours and textures remain distinct – the soft sweetness of cauliflower, fresh pop of peas and crunch of cashews make for a very satisfying dish. Continue reading