Tag Archives: vegetarian

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

Lobio

22 Sep

Lobio

Georgia is a country I would love to visit. A friend traveled there a few years ago, and came back raving about the scenery, the people, and the food and wine.

Until I get the opportunity to visit Georgia myself, my taste buds will have to do the traveling.

There’s a good local Georgian restaurant we visit occasionally in the winter months for their rib-sticking fare like hachapuri (cheese-filled flat bread), hearty soups and casseroles.

(I haven’t tried a Georgian dessert – we’re always too full to consider even sharing one.) Continue reading

Raspberry meringue roulade

18 Sep

Raspberry meringue roulade

I’ve seen recipes for meringue roulades over the years, but assumed they were well beyond my baking abilities. My efforts to produce a passable Swiss roll were hardly confidence building.

But finding myself with a quantity of egg whites that needed using, I decided to give it a go.

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

Fruity bites

6 Sep

fruity bites

The girls head back to school this week. As well as uniform shopping, label sewing, and form filling, it also means stocking fridge and pantry with packed-lunch-friendly food.

First up in the biscuit box this autumn… fruity bites.

Healthy (if you overlook the condensed milk), nut-free (coconut is permitted in our school’s “nut-free” zone), and durable enough to withstand a bit of lunch box rough and tumble, fruity bites fit the bill.

Continue reading

Waldorf salad

28 Aug

 

waldorf salad

I first learned of the existence of Waldorf salad from Fawlty Towers. Like Basil, I had no idea what it was:

Customer: “Could you make me a Waldorf salad?”
Basil: “Waldorf salad. I think we’re just out of Waldorfs.”

But by the end of the episode – unlike Basil – I was pretty clear on how to make one:

Customer: “No! No cheese! It’s celery, apples, walnuts, grapes!”
Basil: “Right!”
Customer: “In mayonnaise!”
Basil: “Right!”

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

Blackberry-apple kuchen

12 Aug

Blackberry-apple kuchen

The blackberries are ripening early this year. I gathered two big bowlfuls this morning, plenty for a delicious blackberry-apple kuchen.

Continue reading

Potato and egg curry

8 Aug

Potato egg curry

Potatoes and eggs are a winning combination, whether in potato salad, breakfast burritos, Spanish tortilla, or that British classic, egg & chips.

This potato and egg curry is further proof of concept.

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

Tomato, olive and feta galette

27 Jul

Tomato, olive and feta galette

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

And when life takes away the cucumber you need to make Greek salad, make tomato, feta and olive galette?”

Not as catchy, but the principle is the same. Plus, it’s how this recipe came about…;-) 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

Spanakopita

15 Jul

Spanakopita

Food dislikes are often arbitrary. Like many children, I held both spinach and feta cheese in low regard. But folded into a crackling jacket of phyllo pastry as spanakopita? I was all over those puppies. Continue reading

Mum’s potato salad

11 Jul

Mum's potato salad

This is the potato salad I grew up eating. A sunshine-yellow mixture of potatoes and hard-boiled eggs, tangy with mustard and thick enough to spackle a wall.

The kind of potato salad that was served with a scoop and landed with a thud, compromising your precariously loaded paper plate. The potato salad of every barbeque, picnic and potluck dinner I ever attended.  Continue reading

Fruit pizza

27 Jun

fruit pizza

What I knew as fruit pizza growing up I recognise to be a pretty standard fruit tart.

Maybe it’s because the biscuit base was cooked in a pizza pan? The sweetened cream cheese we spread on top? Or the thinly sliced toppings (kiwi, grapes and berries rather than pepperoni, mushrooms and olives)?

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…

Continue reading

Roast cauliflower and chickpea salad

6 Jun

Roast cauliflower and chickpea salad

This salad is a happy marriage of textures and flavours. Both the cauliflower and chickpeas are transformed by their time in the oven – the cauliflower becomes nutty in flavour, and the chickpeas acquire a wonderful crunch.

Then the yogurt-tahini dressing arrives to bless the union – and two distinctive, individual ingredients unite in salad harmony…;-) Continue reading

Gingersnaps

2 Jun

Gingersnaps

As a university student, spent a couple of summers working with a treeplanting crew in northern BC. Back-breaking piecework (we were paid 10 cents a tree), it involved dragging panniers of trees up a recently logged slope, stopping every couple of metres to stick a seedling in the ground.

Up before 6am after a lousy night’s sleep in a freezing tent, a bone-jarring ride in the back of a crummy, ten hours relentless physical labour, another tooth-rattling ride, a shower if you were lucky, dinner, and bed.

Loading up the crummy

Ten – maybe fourteen days straight – before we got a day off to visit the nearest town. Lots of people didn’t last a weekContinue reading

Cabbage dill slaw

25 May

 

Cabbage dill slaw

I’ll often throw together a quick cabbage salad to serve with a sandwich or jacket potato. When I have fresh dill on hand, this cabbage dill slaw is one of my favourites.

Cabbage and dill always play together nicely. And the mustard-honey dressing is a change from the sharp vinaigrettes and sweet, watery mayonnaises that spoil cabbage salad for some people.

Continue reading

Kolokithopita (courgette pie)

17 May

Kolokithopita (Greek courgette pie)

I haven’t made kolokithopita in years. This satisfying combination of courgettes, feta cheese and phyllo pastry was a regular summer visitor when I used to grow courgettes – along with pasta alle zucchini and chocolate chip zucchini bread.

Last week my younger daughter announced that she was going vegetarian for a month. I’m very happy to support her with this ambition – we eat plenty of vegetarian meals already, and when I do cook meat it is seldom the main event, so it hasn’t made much difference to what I serve her for dinner. Continue reading

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

Carrot cake-muffins

5 May

Sometimes it’s hard to know where muffin leaves off and cupcake begins…

Is it the method – a brief stir with a wooden spoon, instead of using a food mixer? The nod towards “healthiness” – wholewheat flour, oil instead of butter, fruit instead of chocolate chips, going au naturel instead of sporting icing?

These carrot cake-muffins don’t do much to resolve the issue. Muffin by method and ingredients, the end result is so delicious it feels disingenuous to consider them a breakfast food.

And that’s before you add a generous spreading of the optional cream cheese icing..;-)

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

Spaghetti al limone

27 Apr

Simple enough to have on the table in fifteen minutes, fancy enough to serve to guests – spaghetti al limone is a great recipe to have up your sleeve.

Like most dishes with few ingredients, quality makes a difference here  – use the good olive oil, and a nice piece of Parmesan.

Having made spaghetti al limone regularly for twenty years now, my version has evolved somewhat from the original River Café recipe, and uses considerably less olive oil and cheese.

Continue reading

Hot cross buns

15 Apr

Hot cross buns – once an Easter-time treat – are available in the shops all year round.

I suppose it’s old-fashioned of me, but I prefer foods keep to their allotted place in the culinary calendar. Something special to enjoy at a particular time of the year – I don’t want mince pies in May, or hot cross buns in August.

The supermarket was selling four hot cross buns for less than a pound this week, so why go to the trouble of making them at home?

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.

Continue reading

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

Fennel and mixed leaf salad

16 Mar

Fennel and mixed leaf salad

With its croutons and shavings of Parmesan, this simple salad is reminiscent of a Caesar, but the fennel takes it somewhere new.

It’s a much fresher affair, and one of my favourite lunches when I’m working from home.

I keep the dressing to a minimum so as not to overwhelm the tender salad leaves. Continue reading

Coconut Nutella squares

12 Mar

coconut-nutella-squares

I practically never buy Nutella – it’s not a good fit with my “processed-food-avoiding, cook-from-scratch” approach to feeding my family.

So having reluctantly agreed to buy a jar for the pancake breakfast following a special sleepover, I was keen to use up the rest before the girls started thinking of Nutella as a store-cupboard staple.

These coconut Nutella squares from the Hungry Mum website were just the ticket. Unfortunately, they were such a big hit with everyone, I can see myself buying Nutella specially in order to make them again.

Or I could have a go at making homemade Nutella…;-) Continue reading

Root vegetable crumble

7 Mar

Root vegetable crumble

Root vegetable crumble is one of my favourite things to make in the winter. While both girls are affronted by the very concept of a savoury crumble, I love it.

When divided into six ramekins,  portions are definitely on the starter/lunch size. When I make root vegetable crumble for dinner, I serve it with lots of steamed vegetables or a big green salad. I’ve also made it in a shallow casserole dish. 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

Swiss roll

27 Jan

Swiss roll

It took a few tries before I got the knack of making a Swiss roll, and could tick the next item on the Great British Bake-off signature bake list.

A few things I learned the hard way:

  1. Unless you whip eggs and sugar together until they have tripled in volume, your sponge will resemble an omelette in texture. (That one went straight in the bin.)
  2. Do not over-cook the sponge, or it will not roll without cracking. (I converted that one into a flat, mangled Victoria sponge.)
  3. Do not over-fill the sponge (or spread the filling too close to the edges) – all that extra filling just oozes out the end of the roll (and was dolloped on top when I sliced and served it.)

The fourth one worked like a charm…;-) 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

Eggnog ice cream

29 Dec

Eggnog ice cream

Given that eggnog has always tasted like rum-laced melted ice cream to me, I’m surprised it took me so long to hit on the idea of eggnog ice cream.

I made a batch a couple of days before Christmas as an alternative dessert for people who don’t like Christmas pudding.

It turns out I don’t know those kind of people… My guests like their Christmas pudding topped with both brandy butter and a goodly scoop of eggnog ice cream.

The pudding and ice cream combo is such a winner, that I think we’ll forgo the brandy butter altogether next year.

Continue reading