Monthly Archives: May 2014

Recipe: Red pepper and butter bean stew


This is a Chinese whispers of a recipe. A friend of mine got it from a friend who got it from a friend who might have got it from a Slimming World or Weight Watchers meeting. No one seems to have written it down, though. And each person seems to have fiddled around with it.

Mine is a vegan version – the friend who passed the recipe to me eats meat. And she likes chilli – I prefer paprika’s smokey taste. She didn’t use tomatoes – I thought it was a bit bland and dry without when I made it the first time, so added tinned tomatoes and chucked in a bay leaf second time around. That pepped up the creamy butter beans no end.

Anyway, go ahead and fiddle to your heart’s content. It’s very simple, has a pleasing texture and really benefits from good paprika. In fact, the hardest part of the recipe was getting my posh new tin of Spanish paprika open without showering it over me and the kitchen!



Serves two

One red onion, sliced

One red pepper, sliced

Tin of butter beans

Three or four veggie/vegan sausages

Small tin of chopped tomatoes

Olive oil/olive oil spray

A bayleaf

Smoked paprika – i used about a teaspoon and a half

Sea salt and black pepper

Chopped fresh parsley

Sweat the onion and red pepper in a little olive oil/olive oil spray, depending how healthy you are trying to be. Tip in the butter beans and the chopped tomato, add the bay leaf and cook gently. In another pan, fry the sausages. When they’re done, cut them into bite-sized chunks and add to the main pan. Add the smoked paprika and the other seasoning. When everything is warmed through, fish out the bay leaf and serve with chopped parsley. I paired it with baked potatoes, but creamy mashed potato would work nicely as well.


Recipe: Cambodian Mushroom Dip


This is a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe from Everyday Veg. This simple recipe produces a rich, creamy, spicy dip with a complex flavour. This could well be making a permanent addition to my dip repertoire.

The mushrooms should be chopped to a medium-fine texture at first. Not duxelles fine, but not coarse either. They should still retain some texture after cooking.

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250g mushrooms, chopped
1/2 birds eye chilli, chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tbsp curry powder or paste
1 tbsp peanut butter
200ml coconut milk
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp chopped coriander

Heat a little oil in a wok or large frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry until the liquid has reduced down to very little.
Add the garlic and chilli and fry for a minute.
Stir in the curry powder, peanut butter and then add the coconut milk.
Stir to mix thoroughly.
Lower the heat and simmer slowly for 15-20 minutes until it has reduced to a soft but not soupy consistency.
Add the soy sauce and lime juice.
Serve with the coriander sprinkled over.

Recipe: Courgette, Bean and Mangetout Salad


I bought a courgette this week because I feel I don’t eat enough of them even though I’m not that keen on them. I have had them before in salads, though and have quite enjoyed them. So I decided to have a try at my own recipe.

Courgette and mint are a classic combination, of course. If you’re adding mint, why not a bit of coriander as well (they go great together – try them on a curry sometime). As we’re heading eastwards, why not some lime and chilli as well? Add some beans to add substance and mangetout to add sweet crunch. And well, you’ve got a zingy, zesty salad!

This will serve 2 people as a light lunch, but I would serve it as a dinner party starter – the lime, chilli and mint will perk up any appetite! It would work well in bulk as a buffet salad, as well.

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1 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained
1 courgette, grated
50g mangetout, sliced
2 birdseye chillis, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp mint, chopped
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil

Put all the ingredients into a big bowl and mix well together.
Season with salt.

Serves 4 as a starter

Recipe: Carrot, Apple and Hazelnut Salad


This is a sweet, crunchy side-salad that would do well as an alternative to coleslaw. You can vary the sweetness by maybe using a green apple or even a cooking apple to add a bit more tartness to it.

Carrot, Apple & Hazelnut Salad photo DSCN1158_zps4628632d.jpg

4 medium or 2 large carrots (about 250g), cut into battons
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
30g toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1 apple, grated
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp allspice

Heat the oven to 300C.
Toss the carrots in 2 tbsp olive oil and the cumin.
Lay out evenly on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
When the carrots are tender and browned, put in a large bowl and add the other ingredients.
Mix well and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 2 as a side salad

Recipe: Aubergines with a Ginger, Tamarind and Mango Sauce


This is another recipe from the Veggiestan recipe book. I made it, principally, because I had all the ingredients to hand, and I’m very glad I did. The star is the sauce, which is spicey, sour, sweet, tangy and fruity. It’s a perfect match for the soft and (at least when I make them) slightly crispy aubergine slices. However the sauce could be used with a whole range of other vegetables and once you’ve had it, you’ll be looking at the fridge wondering what else you’ve got in. It would also be an awesome dip. It’s just as well that this recipe makes enough for seconds!

I’ve stuck with tamarind paste, which you can find in most supermarkets ‘exotic ingredients’ section. If you don’t have it to hand then lime or lemon juice would work as well.

Aubergine with Ginger, Tamarind & Mango photo Auberginewithgingertamarindampmango_zpsc9719435.jpg

1 aubergine, sliced into 1cm rounds
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 chilli, chopped
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp allspice powder
1/2 tsp sugar
75-100 ml water
1/2 fresh mango, chopped

Heat some oil in a large frying pan and cook the aubergine slices until they are golden brown. This may take two batches.
While the aubergine is cooking, heat some oil in another pan and add the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger.
Sweat until the onion is translucent then add the allspice.
Stir and cook through for a minute before adding the tamarind paste, the sugar and the water.
Simmer for five minutes.
Season with salt.
Add the sauce ingredients to a blender and add the mango. Blend to a smooth paste.
Arrange the cooked aubergine slices on a serving dish and spoon the sauce over them.
Serves 2 as a side dish – with sauce left over

Recipe: Avocado and Grapefruit Salad


This is a simple recipe, pretty to look at and full of bright flavours from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I used a pink grapefruit, but an ordinary one would be fine. I also used a birdseye chilli, if you don’t have one I’d recommend a sprinkling of chilli flakes instead.

Avocado & grapefruit salad photo DSCN1153_zpsb47be358.jpg

1 avocado, sliced
1 pink grapefruit, segmented
1 birdseye chilli, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Arrange the avocado and grapefruit slices on a plate.
Sprinkle over the chilli, the olive oil and any juice from the grapefruit.
Season with salt and pepper and scatter over the parsley.

Serves 2 as part of a selection of salads