AVOCADO AND GREEN PEA DIP

This is a nice change from hummus and can be served as a dip with veggies and crackers or as a sandwich filling with salad. Try varying the fresh herbs to give a different flavour.

You will need:

2 ripe avocado

200g frozen peas

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons tahini

Juice of 1 lemon

Handful of fresh basil leaves

Sprig of fresh mint

Salt and black pepper to taste

Sumac (optional)

Cook the peas and rinse under cold water. Chop the avocado flesh and place in food processor with the peas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and herbs.

Whizz to a paste and transfer to a serving dish.

Sprinkle with sumac and serve.

ROAST RED PEPPER AND TOMATO SOUP

I love the flavour of roast peppers in soup but cant be bothered to fiddle about removing the skins so I just chuck them in and whizz them up. 🙂

To make this soup you will need:

4 red peppers

2 medium red onions

3 cloves garlic

2 tablespoon olive oil

500g carton of passata

500ml vegetable stock

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

White pepper to taste

Slice and deseed the peppers. Peel and slice the onions thickly. Peel and chop the garlic.

Put onion and peppers on a roasting tray, sprinkle the garlic over the top and drizzle with the olive oil.

Roast at 200C for about 15mins until softened.

Put them in a pan with the passata, stock, and herbs.

Blend with a stick blender then heat gently.

Season with white pepper then serve with chunky bread.

Happy cooking!

Autumn Fruit Crumble

I love autumn fruit – apples, pears, plums and of course all the lovely berries. It’s a great time to fill your freezer with home made crumble to last over the winter.

You will need:

Fruit of your choice

200g flour

100g vegan margarine (my favourite is Vitalite)

100g porridge oats

100g demerara sugar plus extra for the fruit

Cinnamon or spices of your choice 

Lots of recipes suggest cooking the fruit first, but I like to put the fruit in raw as I prefer apples and pears to have a bit of texture to them.

First prepare your choice of fruit. Peel, core and chop apples and pears. Wash and chop plums, removing stones. 

There are several ways to clean berries, which may have specks of dust or (ugh) tiny bugs on them. You can place them in a colander and lower it into a sink or bowl of cold water, swirling gently. You may like to add cider vinegar (1 part vinegar to 8 parts water) which will help remove potential bacteria. Place the berries on kitchen paper to drain.

Alternatively, place the berries in a single layer on a baking tray and place in the freezer. Once frozen, remove from the freezer and shake the tray gently. Any speck of dirt etc should fall off. You can then add the frozen berries straight to the crumble.

Put the prepared fruit into ovenproof dishes and sprinkle with sugar to taste. I used a tablespoon for each dish. I added a sprinkling of cinnamon to the apple and blackberries and a little ginger to the pears, but you could also use nutmeg or mixed spice.

To make the topping, rub the margarine into the flour then stir in the oats and sugar. Again you can add spice to taste. (You may need to double the recipe sepending on your quantity of fruit.)

Sprinkle it over the fruit and pat down with the back of a spoon. Wrap the dishes in foil and freeze.

To use, remove from the freezer and allow to defrost. Remove foil and cook at 160C for about 30 minutes.

Delicious with coconut ice cream or almond milk custard!

Happy cooking!

Butternut and Cashew Pie

I often make this recipe when my family come for Sunday lunch. It always goes down well served with roasties, vegetables and gravy, and any leftovers are wrapped up for lunch boxes.

You will need:

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced

Handful of spinach leaves

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

50g cashews, chopped

2 tablespoons vegan margarine

1 rounded tablespoon flour

200ml unsweetened soya milk

Half teaspoon garlic salt

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

White pepper

2 sheets ready made puff pastry

Steam or boil the squash until soft but still holding its shape (about 15mins). Drain, break up with a fork and sprinkle with dried rosemary.

Meanwhile make the sauce. Melt the margarine and add flour, stirring. Gradually add the soya milk using a whisk to mix well. Heat gently, still whisking until sauce thickens. Add nutritional yeast, garlic powder and a pinch of white pepper. Mix well.

Place one sheet of pastry on an oiled baking tray, trimming to fit if necessary, and spread squash on top.

Spoon the sauce over the squash and sprinkle with the cashews.

Remove any thick stalks from the spinach leaves and place in a thin layer over the sauce.

Place the remaining sheet of pastry on a cutting board. Leaving a 2cm border, use a sharp knife to cut slits in the pastry.

Brush the edges of pastry around the squash with a little water or soya milk and carefully place on the top sheet of pastry. (I found it easier to transfer the pastry by leaving it on the paper it came wrapped in)

Brush the top with soya milk and bake at 200C/Gas 6 for 25 – 30 mins or until golden brown.

Happy Cooking!

Dried Fruit Garlands

After visiting Edinburgh Christmas market and admiring the fragrant displays of dried fruit decorations I decided to have a go at making my own. (Yes, I know I could have just bought some but gelatine is sometimes used to coat them and anyway it’s much more fun to do it yourself!)

These ingredients will make four decorations, ideal for little last minute gifts.

I used:

4 large oranges

4 lemons

4 small cinnamon sticks

Cloves

Mixed spice (or you could use ground cinnamon)

String or raffia

Ribbon

Cut the ends off the lemons and half them. These wedges are used as ‘spacers’. Slice the rest of the lemons and the oranges into thin slices. Blot with kitchen paper to absorb most of the juice.

Place the orange and lemon slices on baking trays lined with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle the orange slices with mixed spice or ground cinnamon.

Using a skewer or a nail, push holes into the lemon wedges and push a clove into each hole. Add the wedges to the tray.

Bake at your oven’s lowest temperature for 3 to 4 hours, turning frequently. Once they are dried enough, place on a rack to cool.

Take a piece of raffia or string and tie around one of the cinnamon sticks. Then thread on the orange and lemon slices, interspersed with lemon wedges.

When the decoration is long enough, make a knot in the string close to the last piece of fruit and another further up to form a loop for hanging.

Decorate with a ribbon bow.

The scent should last over the Christmas period but can be refreshed with a drop of orange or cinnamon essential oil.

Guacamole with Tortilla Chips

I’m often tempted to buy those bargain nets of avocados from the supermarket which always ripen at the same time. This is a great, easy recipe for using them up! I used a large vine tomato and a red onion I had in the fridge, but I’ve also made it before with a handful of cherry tomatoes and a few sliced spring onions. Just use what you have!

You will need:

2 ripe avocados

Juice of 1 lime

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large vine tomato, chopped

Half a teaspoon chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

2 corn tortillas (or wraps)

Cut the avocados in half and remove the stones. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Place in a bowl with the lime juice and mash with a fork.

Stir in the chopped onion, garlic and tomato and combine.

Add salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste.

To make the tortilla chips, cut the tortillas or wraps into triangles. Place on baking tray and sprinkle with a little salt. 

Bake at 180C/Gas 4 for about 12 mins until golden and crispy. Turn halfway through cooking.

Simple Vegan Cake

I’ve been a bit tied up getting my new book out ( In A Nutshell ) so it’s great to get back into the kitchen! Ive been trying to adapt my old sandwich cake recipe and so far this is my best attempt! 

You will need:

  • 350g self raising flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 200ml almond milk
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 1 table spoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon or use an electric mixer.

Pour batter into two greased and lined 20cm loose-bottom cake tins.

Bake at 170C for 25mins or until risen and browned.

To make the butter icing, whisk together 200g of icing sugar, 100g vegan margarine and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Use half to sandwich cakes together and the rest to cover the top. Decorate with fresh fruit.

Spicy Roast Cauli and Sweet Potato Cakes with Chickpeas and Spinach

This recipe came about during the recent snowy weather. I fancied cooking a curry but didnt want to put on my wellies and trudge to the shops, so used what I had in the fridge. A good way of using leftovers! 

FOR THE ROAST CAULI:

1 cauliflower, broken into florets

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons garam masala

FOR THE SWEET POTATO CAKES:

750g sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon garlic granules

1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes

 Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons flour

FOR THE SAUCE:

1 onion, chopped

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Can chopped tomatoes

200g baby spinach leaves

Can chickpeas, drained

Heat oven to 200C/Gas 5

First make the sweet potato cakes. Boil the sweet potato for about 15 mins or until soft. Drain, then add ground coriander, ground cumin, garlic granules, chilli flakes, lemon juice and flour and mash well.

Form into small rounds and place on an oiled oven tray. Set aside.

Mix the coconut oil with the garam masala in a bowl. Toss the cauliflower in the oil and spice mixture until coated. Put the cauliflower on a baking tray.

Place the two trays in the oven, potato cakes on the shelf above the cauli and roast for about 30 mins until cauli is cooked and potato cakes are crisp on top.

Meanwhile make the sauce. Cook the onion in a little oil for 2 mins then add the coriander and cumin and cook for a further 2 mins.

Add the tomatoes with a half a can of water. Bring to the boil then turn down heat.

 Add spinach leaves and drained chickpeas and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened and spinach has wilted. 

Keep warm until the cauli and sweet potato cakes are cooked. Serve with rice and nan bread.

Easy Vegan Brownies

This is a quick and easy recipe for when you need a sweet, chocolatey treat. I used pecans but you could use up any leftover chopped nuts, or vegan chocolate chips.

Ingredients:

175g self raising flour

175g caster sugar

60g cacao powder

Pinch of salt

200ml almond milk

100ml sunflower oil

Teaspoon vanilla extract

75g pecans, chopped
Heat oven to 180C. Grease and line an 18cm x 24cm brownie tin.

Put the flour, sugar, cacao powder and salt into a bowl and mix.

Put the almond milk, sunflower oil and vanilla extract into a jug and mix.

Pour the liquid into the bowl and mix well. Pour into the prepared tin and sprinkle the nuts on top.

Bake for 25 minutes. Leave to cool before turning out and cutting into squares.

Serve hot or cold with coconut ice cream.

Happy cooking 😊

Supergreen Soup

I love this soup, especially when I’ve been eating junky stuff and need a blast of green goodness!
INGREDIENTS:

350g broccoli, chopped (including stems)

5 spring onions, chopped

1 medium potato, peeled and diced

50g kale, washed and chopped

750ml hot vegetable stock

100g frozen peas, defrosted

Black pepper

1 teaspoon wheatgrass powder (optional)

Put the broccoli, spring onions, potato and kale into a large pan and pour in the hot vegetable stock.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 15mins.

Add the peas and cook for a further 5mins until the vegetables are cooked.

Blend until as smooth as you like.

Sprinkle in the wheatgrass powder and add pepper to taste.

Happy cooking!