Tag Archives: recipe

Recipe: Devilled Mushrooms

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I’m not sure why devilled kidneys came into my mind a couple of weeks ago, but they did. I’ve never actually eaten them, but they show up occasionally on tv programmes looking back to the ‘glories of the English country house breakfast’ or equivalent. I’m partial to strong flavours for breakfast and something hot and spicy appealed to me. Just not with the dead animals, obviously. Mushrooms, big chunks of juicy mushrooms seemed to fit the bill.

This is a version without cream or butter, which tend to show up in devilled recipes. Although it has a weekend breakfast/brunch feel to it, it is lightning quick to make and could be done for a weekday breakfast if you felt like it. You’re not trying to cook the mushrooms down, just heat them through so they stay firm and juicy.

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Ingredients
250g (or a pack) Chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1/2 tsp English mustard powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder/flakes
2 tbsp mushroom ketchup or vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce

Heat a little oil in a frying pan on a high heat.
Add the mushrooms, mustard powder and chilli and stir so that all the mushroom are coated in the spices.
Add a splash of water to the pan to help the mushrooms start to cook.
When that water has boiled off and the mushrooms are cooking, add the mushroom ketchup and mix thoroughly.
Season with pepper and taste for salt.
Serve over toast.

Serves 2

Recipe: Leek, spinach and pea risotto

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Risotto is one of my favourite comfort foods, and I almost licked the plate when a friend and I inhaled bowls of spinach, leek and pea risotto (but made with barley) at Taurus Crafts near Lydney. So my mission was to recreate it at home. And it turned out to be about the easiest dish ever …

Except, I didn’t have any barley, so it was bog-standard risotto rice called in to play. What with a handful of frozen peas and two twirls of frozen spinach, it required a minimum of chopping. I approve thoroughly. Next time I might be inclined to try it with fresh thyme in.

If you make too much and can resist it cold, you can have risotto balls shallow-fried the next day. If you’re vegetarian, put a chunk of melty cheese in the middle; if you’re vegan, try them with salsa.

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Ingredients (serves two, or one plus generous leftovers)

Half a leek

Knob of butter or tbsp of olive oil

120g of risotto rice 750ml of vegetarian stock (you may not need all of it)

Handful of frozen peas

Handful of fresh spinach, or a couple of lumps of frozen

Vegetarian-style parmesan

Sea salt

Black pepper

Finely chop the leek and soften in the butter or oil. Add the rice and stir to coat it. Once it starts crackling, add the stock gradually. Stir often to stop the rice sticking.

Once the rice is almost cooked (keep testing it), throw in the peas and spinach – and remember that if you’re using frozen spinach that it will release liquid. Once the liquid is absorbed and the vegetables cooked, remove from the heat and season with salt and black pepper.

If you’re vegetarian, add the parmesan substitute; if you’re vegan, try some nutritional yeast flakes. You can add a knob of butter or vegan spread to make the dish even more creamy. Let the risotto rest for a few minutes, then serve.

Recipe: Asparagus and Lemon Soup

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Asparagus season is just starting. One of the things I miss about moving from the Surrey countryside to London is that I no longer have a ready supply of locally grown English asparagus. I’m making do with Spanish-grown spears at the moment. As usual, being on my own, I end up having to buy more than I can comfortably eat at one time. That is where this recipe comes in. It’s a good way of using up the remains of bunches and spears that have just started to get a bit droopy.

It has a lovely, fresh taste – spring in a bowl. But be careful with the flavourings, not too much garlic and not too much lemon – you should be able to really taste the asparagus.

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Ingredients
300g asparagus spears, trimmed and sliced small
750ml light vegetable stock
4 tbsp small soup pasta shapes
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
1 sprig mint
1/2 lemon, juiced

Place all the ingredients apart from the lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 5 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
Remove the mint sprig.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the lemon juice a bit at a time until the soup has a fragrance of lemon in the background.
Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Recipe: Greek Stuffed Peppers

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I have been enjoying Rick Stein’s trip around the mediterranean sea from Venice to Istanbul. Although he’s famous for fish, he has also been featuring some vegetarian recipes. And this one, from Greece, was a lunch favourite for the crew, apparently.

Stuffed peppers, are nothing new for veggies, of course, but these are sunny and light-flavoured while still being substantial enough as a lunch dish on their own.

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Ingredients
2 large red peppers
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tomato, skinned and chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
150g long-grain rice
200ml vegetable stock
pinch chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 small packet of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 sprigs mint, finely chopped
lemon juice (optional)

Remove the ‘lids’ from the peppers and scoop out the seeds.
Place upright in a roasting tin. Keep the lids to one side.
Heat some oil in a saucepan, and sweat the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and softened.
Add the chopped tomato and tomato puree and simmer for a few minutes.
Add the rice, vegetable stock, chilli and herbs, season with salt and pepper stir thoroughly and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes the rice should have absorbed most of the stock, but it should still be a fairly wet mixture.
Spoon the rice mixture into the peppers and replace the ‘lids’.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pour 100ml of just boiled water into the roasting tin and cover with kitchen foil.
Put in a preheated over, 180C for an hour.
After an hour, remove the foil and put back in the oven for a further 30 minutes
Serve hot, room temperature or cold with some lemon juice drizzled over the top.

Serves 2 for lunch

Recipe: Macaroni No-Cheese

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Sometimes cooking is Art, sometimes cooking is Science, sometimes cooking is Alchemy and sometimes cooking is, well you don’t know what just happened. This is one of those kinds of recipes. There’s no cheese in this recipe. There’s no vegan cheese-substitute in this recipe. It doesn’t taste cheesy. But somehow it carries the same savoury, flavour-punch that you get with a good cheese sauce.

I don’t know what’s going on, but I’ll be making it again!

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Ingredients
1 butternut squash, cut into wedges and de-seeded
200ml soy milk
1 tsp bouillon powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp mushroom ketchup
1/4 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 bay leaf
250g macaroni pasta
cayenne or paprika for garnish

Heat the oven to 200C.
Place the butternut squash wedges on a roasting tin, pour over 100ml of water and cover with tin foil.
Put in the oven and bake for an hour.
When cooked and soft, remove from the oven and scrape the flesh from the skin.
Put the macaroni on to boil.
Add the butternut squash flesh into a saucepan, add the soy milk, bouillon powder, mustard powder, mushroom ketchup, thyme leaves and bay leaf to the pan.
Bring to the simmer and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and blend to a smooth paste. Add some boiling water from the cooking pasta if the sauce is too thick.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the sauce.
Stir until thoroughly coated.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately with some paprika or cayenne sprinkled on the top.

Serves 4

Recipe: Lentil and Mustard Salad

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I would not have put Ethiopian or Eritrean food at the top of my list to try, until a friend took me to an Eritrean restaurant. It was a revelation. Not only is the food very veg*n friendly, with a wide variety of pulse and vegetable dishes available, it tastes wonderful. One of my favourites was a lentil salad that had a kick of heat from mustard or horseradish. I had no idea how to reproduce it, until I came across this recipe in Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian cookbook.

The hidden ingredient was brown mustard seeds and they add a lovely pungency to the dish. I’ve used puy lentils here, but any whole green lentils would do, including a tin of green lentils, which would make this a really quick addition to a meal of different salads.

NB the water must be boiling for this recipe. Anything less and the dish will be bitter.

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Ingredients
190g puy or other green lentils
1/2 green pepper
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
8 peppercorns
1/4 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp boiling water
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp olive oil

Put the lentils with 500ml of water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
When cooked, drain and add to a bowl.
Chop the pepper into small dice and add to the lentils.
Put the mustard seeds and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and grind until you have a coarse powder.
Add the chilli powered and the boiling water and stir.
Leave to stand for a couple of minutes then add the lemon juice and olive oil and stir thoroughly.
Add the mustard dressing to the lentil and peppers and mix through.
Season with salt.

Serves 4 with other salads

Recipe: Chilli Tofu

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Chilli Tofu

This is based on the recipe of Chilli Panner from
Meera Sodha’s Made in India: Cooked in Britain book. The recipe is delicious but it had one great failing as far as I’m concerned – there wasn’t enough of it. Meera’s dish is a snack, I wanted something to use as part of a main course, so I have added more tomatoes to carry the wonderful flavour on for a little longer.

You need to try this recipe. It has bags of flavour and cooks in less than 20 minutes (apart from pressing the tofu). And, considering the amount of garlic in it, it might be my new favourite way of dealing with a snuffly cold!

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Ingredients
400g tofu, drained & pressed, cut into 2cm cubes
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1.5 tsp cumin powder
1 green chilli, finely sliced
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
Lemon wedges, to serve

Heat a little oil in a large saucepan and add the tofu. Fry the tofu until lightly browned on all sides. You may need to do this in a couple of batches.
Add all the tofu back into the pan and stir in the garlic, cumin and chilli.
Saute on a low heat for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato puree and chopped tomatoes.
Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce has reduced a little.
Season with salt & pepper.
Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over.

Serves 4