Monthly Archives: March 2014

Recipe: Pasta with Lemon and Artichoke Sauce


This is a fresh, little sauce, based on my theory that it’s possible to mix up something tasty in the time that it takes for the pasta to cook. This is a great cheat sauce as well – giving you a tangy, fresh taste using mostly store cupboard ingredients. A word of warning – be careful of the lemon zest – this is a pasta sauce not lemon curd!

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200g pasta
1 clove garlic, crushed
6 artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
200ml coconut milk
1 lemon, juiced
A few gratings of lemon rind (optional)
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Put the pasta on to boil.
While the pasta is cooking, heat some olive oil in a small frying pan and add the garlic.
When the garlic starts to brown, add the sliced artichoke hearts and fry them gently until they start to colour.
Add the coconut milk and lemon juice and simmer.
Taste to see if you need more lemon flavour and if so, add a couple of gratings of lemon rind.
Season with salt and pepper.
When the pasta is cooked, drain well, and toss in the frying pan with the sauce until it is coated.
Serve with the basil leaves scattered on top.

Serves 2

Recipe: Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff


Mushroom Stroganoff is one of those dishes that define an era, much in the same way that black forest gateau and prawn cocktail do. In the days before goats cheese, mushroom stroganoff was a perennial vegetarian option on menus. But, in common with its menu mates, when it’s done well it’s a dish worth eating.

The secret to this is the stock you use – Italian porcini mushroom stock. You can find it in some supermarkets and delicatessens. It’s worth your time seeking it out and buying it when you find it. It adds an intense mushroom flavour to stroganoff and, indeed, mushroom risotto as well. If you can’t get it, then vegetable stock will do.

Mushroom Stroganoff photo DSCN1111_zps03d0c710.jpg

1 red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp white wine
1/4 tsp english mustard
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
few rasps of nutmeg
150ml mushroom stock
100ml coconut milk
1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Sweat the onion and garlic in a large frying pan.
When they have softened, add the mushrooms and turn up the heat a little.
When the mushrooms have taken on a little colour, add the white wine and let it bubble down.
Then stir in the mustard, paprika and nutmeg.
Cook the mushrooms in the spices for a minute and then add the stock and coconut milk.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the stock has reduced by at least half.
Season with salt and pepper and serve with the parsley sprinkled on top.

Serves 2 with rice

Recipe: Hasselback New Potatoes


I think this is one of the best ways of cooking potatoes. It’s wonderful mixture of fried potatoes and roast potatoes.

The trick to cutting the slices in the potatoes is to put them into the bowl of a serving spoon (not one you’re going to use for best anymore!) and cut the thin slices until you hit the side of the spoon. That way you’re not in danger of going all the way through the potato.

Give these a try – they’re a lot easier than they look and they taste better than they look!

Hassleback new potatoes photo DSCN1102_zpsc5cb29e0.jpg

10-12 new potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped dill
1/4 tsp crushed sea salt

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
While the oven is coming up to temperature, put each potato in the bowl of a serving spoon and make slices across the width of the potato at 1-2mm intervals.
Put the roasting tin on the hob and heat the olive oil. Toss the potatoes in the hot oil so that they’re all coated and then put in the oven cut sides up.
Roast for 40 mins, but give them a check after 30.
To serve, sprinkle over the dill and the salt.

Serves 2 as a generous side dish, although I have been known to eat a whole batch to myself.

Recipe: Kale soup


As you know, we’re very good about eating our greens at Two Fat Vegetarians. So please welcome Ann Giles, a Swedish book chum of ours, who had a good story for convincing her children to eat this quick and tasty kale soup recipe …

My Christmas (yes, really…) tradition of serving kale soup is based on a misunderstanding, but it is too late to change now. In Sweden people usually decorate the table with kale at Christmas, and in parts of southern Sweden people drag home sackfuls of the stuff, cooking it with stock and syrup and cream and all sorts of things and eat copious amounts of this fatty and sweet veg.
Not so my family. We always had kale soup on Christmas Day (the less important day for us) and I assumed it was a regional tradition where my aunts and uncles lived. Turns out it was just us, but I’d already introduced my children to this ‘tradition’ when I found out, so I let my British friends pity my poor family, and get on with it.
But you might want to treat it as an ordinary vegetable soup and forget about tradition.
This is all approximate; you can take as much or as little of the ingredients as you want, depending on what you have, and how large your saucepan is.
Kale, 1-2 bags as sold in most supermarkets (perhaps up to 500g?)
1-2 chopped onions
1-2 diced potatoes
1 litre water
2-3 vegetable stock cubes (or equivalent)
Salt, pepper, grated nutmeg
Fry the onion in butter until soft. Add the potato and fry a little longer. Gradually add the bags of kale (or the whole kale minus the thick stems), and as much of the water as will fit, and add more kale as it cooks (or your pan will overflow). Add stock (cubes). Cook for 15-20 minutes.
Liquidise until really smooth, as kale tends to be a little chewy, for a good soup texture.
Ann is the best Bookwitch in the world. For her main course she reads children’s books, with some tasty (adult) crime on the side, and blogs about it endlessly. Having started life in Stockholm, Sweden, she now lives (but only just) in Stockport, and is about to relocate with her books and her kale hallucinations to Stirling, Scotland. If it’s got an ‘S’ at the beginning of the name, it’s got to be a good place.

Recipe: Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Garlic, Chilli and Walnut Dressing


It’s early spring now, I think. The days are lengthening, the sun is warmer, the birds are singing and the purple sprouting broccoli is in the shops. It’s a pretty thing raw, all long stems, green leaves and florets tinged with purple. But for all it’s delicate appearance it packs the strongest flavour of all the broccolis. That makes it great to match with other punchy flavours.

Here I’ve teamed it with garlic, chilli and the dry crunch of walnuts. Served with crusty bread as a starter, it will certainly issue a wake-up call to the palate!

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150g purple sprouting broccoli, larger lower leaves removed

For the dressing
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
10g walnuts, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced

Steam the broccoli for between 5 and 10 minutes. It’s ready when the thickest part of the stem can be easily pierced with the point of a knife.
In a small pan, warm the olive oil, garlic, chilli and walnuts. You’re not frying the ingredients, just heating them so their flavours come out. A bit of sizzle is OK, but don’t let anything brown.
When the broccoli is cooked, remove from the steamer and put on warmed plates.
Season the dressing with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice.
Spoon the dressing over the broccoli and serve.

Serves 2 as a starter

Quick Bite: Veggie Anchoiade


As you can guess from the name, this recipe should contain anchovies. I’ve included my favourite olives a la grecque instead as I did in the recipe for puttanesca sauce. This makes a gutsy and substantial snack. They would also work as a crouton placed on the top of a bowl of (vegetarian) french onion soup as well.

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1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 small tin chopped tomatoes (drain off most of the juice)
4 olives a al grecque, finely chopped
2 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley or basil, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
15cm baguette, sliced into 6 rounds

Mix the onion, tomatoes, olives, sundried tomatoes, garlic, parsley and olive oil together in a bowl.
Season with salt and pepper.
Toast the bread slices on one side under a grill.
When the bread is browned, spread the tomato mixture over the non-toasted side, making sure you take the mixture right to the edge of the bread.
Put under the grill again.
When you can smell the mixture cooking, it’s ready.

Serves 1

Recipe: Singapore Noodles


Singapore Noodles or Singapore Style Vermicelli has long been a favourite of mine from Chinese take-away menus. Wanting to make the authentic thing I asked a Singaporean friend of mine for the recipe. She’d never heard of it. It turns out it’s a Cantonese dish, so here’s my inauthentic version of something that was never really authentic in the first place! Tastes great though.

A few notes about this. I’ve used the packet cooked noodles you can find next to the salads in most supermarkets, but you can use the dried rice noodles if that’s what you have (cook them according to their packet and then let them go cold). I’ve used more oil in this than I normally would in a stir-fry, it shouldn’t be swimming in oil, but you need a fair amount for it to work. I’ve put more vegetables in this than I normally see in a take-away version, but this should remain a noodle dish rather than a stir-fry vegetable dish.

This recipe is for one. When I’ve tried to make this for two it’s ended up as a soggy mess. I think that’s because domestic woks and cookers just don’t get hot enough. If you’re cooking this for two – make one and then do another batch. It takes less than five minutes to cook anyway.

Singapore Noodles photo DSCN1090_zpsf2948d0f.jpg

2-3 tbsp oil
1/4 onion, finely sliced
1/4 red pepper, finely sliced
handful bean sprouts
1/2 chilli, sliced
6 mangetout or sugar snap peas, finely sliced
4 closed cup mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp curry powder
150g cooked rice noodles
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp coriander

Heat a wok and then pour in the oil.
When the oil is really hot, add the vegetables and stir for a minute.
Add the rice wine and stir for another minute.
Add the curry powder and stir until all the vegetables are coated in it.
Then add the noodles and the soy sauce.
Stir for a couple of minutes until the noodles are heated through and are coated in the curry sauce.
Serve with the coriander sprinkled over the top.

Serves 1