Spiced roast potatoes with chickpeas

I’m always buying bags of baby potatoes and coming up with different ways to use them beyond steaming and boiling. It can bepotatoes roasting them with garlic, rosemary, sea salt and olive oil – in their skins until golden brown – or steaming them to use cold in a chunky potato salad (made with any one of four mayonnaises: ordinary, garlic, ordinary mixed with chive or curried).

In the winter, the Teen likes one bowl dinners that can be eaten without cooking anything else like rice or vegetables to accompany them. With a bag of baby roasters available, I decided to make a hearty spiced potato and chickpea dish. I roasted the potatoes separately – in their skins – and added in at the end just before serving. It turned out to be rather delicious and a welcome change from older potatoes as these small ones retained their sweet taste.

1lb, baby roaster potatoes cut into chunks
Sunflower oil
Sea salt
1 onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tbsp, grated fresh ginger
1 chilli, chopped finely
1 tsp, cumin seeds
1 tsp, ground coriander
1 tsp, ground cumin
½ tsp, turmeric
½ tsp, garam masala
½ tsp, mango powder
1 tin, chopped tomatoes
1 tin, chick peas, drained
½ cup water

1. Pre-heat fan oven to 200C degrees
2. Rinse the starch off the potatoes, dry, put into a bowl adding just enough sunflower oil to coat them and a sprinkling of sea salt
3. Heat a baking tray in the oven and when hot, tip the potatoes on to roast for 15-20 minutes until golden brown
4. While the potatoes are roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan
5. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes until soft
6. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes
7. Add the ginger and cook for minute
8. Add the cumin seeds and cook for a minute
9. Add the ground coriander, ground cumin, mango powder, garam masala and turmeric until combined with the onion mix
10. Add the tomatoes, water and chickpeas
11. Simmer over a gentle heat for 15 minutes
12. Using a slotted spoon, add the roast potatoes to the mix
13. Serve immediately*

* Although this is a vegan recipe, I enjoyed a dollop of greek yoghurt on the top of mine


Vegan, Vegetarian

Corn Chowder


I’ve been making this chowder for over thirty years. In many flats I lived in, I often had a pot of this on the stove once a week. While it can be served immediately, I prefer to cook it the day before and let the flavour seep into the beans.

And it’s more than a soup – it’s a full meal. This recipe makes four main course servings. It also has curative properties – I often found the pot empty after flatmates arrived home after the witching hour!

I’ve made this recipe vegan but for vegetarians, I highly recommend a handful of grated cheddar on the top when serving. It is so hearty, it doesn’t need any other accompaniment.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 head of broccoli, florets and some of stalk
1 tin butter beans, drained (or the equivalent of dried butter beans, soaked and pre-cooked)
1 bag frozen corn*
1 tablespoon, parsley (dried)
1 heaped teaspoon, mixed herbs (dried)
1½ pints good quality vegetable stock
Sea salt and ground black pepper to season

1. Heat the oil
2. Fry onion until soft for about 8-10 minutes
3. Add garlic and continue cooking for 2 more minutes
4. Add in the carrots and potatoes and mix in thoroughly
5. Add stock, broccoli and butter beans, parsley and mixed herbs
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper
7. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes
8. Add corn and simmer for another 5 minutes
9. Serve

* Tinned corn doesn’t suit this recipe

Vegan, Vegetarian

Walnut Roast

When I ate only vegetarian food, a good nut roast was always welcome. And I had exacting standards! My pal, Nóirín, was the first to introduce me to this fare and she set the bar mighty high. A brazil nut roast served with vegetarian gravy, roast potatoes and vegetables, it was the food of kings! Over the years, I have made many, many, nut roasts – sometimes at midnight with the gentle persuasion of alcohol and my former flatmate (ahem, Susan!)

I often cooked nut roasts for my mother. Unfortunately, while she found them tasty, she also found them very confusing. Instead of having them as a main course with vegetables, I often found her eating a slice with a good spread of fruit jam on top…

This is the first vegan nut roast I made. I usually use melted butter to bind it all together. I changed things around and this turned out as a very tasty alternative. I served it with some ratatouille and new potatoes steamed in their skins.

7 ounces Walnuts
7 ounces, wholemeal breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons, dried parsley
2 teaspoons, dried mixed herbs
5 ounces mushrooms, chopped roughly
1 medium onion, chopped roughly
3 tablespoons, olive oil
Sunflower oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 180C degrees
2. Lightly grease a loaf tin with a little sunflower oil
3. Line the body of the tin with enough parchment that it can also fold over the top of the mixture
4. Place the walnuts on a baking tray and roast for about 8 minutes
5. Place the breadcrumbs and herbs in a bowl
6. Grind the roasted walnuts in a blender until they are broken up but not powder
7. Add to the breadcrumb mix
8. Using the blender again, mince the onions and mushrooms together until it is nearly paste-like
9. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan
10. Add the onion and mushroom mix and cook gently for about 5 minutes until the juices flow out
11. Add this to the dry ingredients
12. Season well with salt and pepper and combine thoroughly
13. Turn into the loaf tin and push the mix into the tin so it is evenly distributed
14. Fold the parchment over the top and seal with some tinfoil
15. Bake for 20-25 minutes
16. Remove the tinfoil and bake for another 10 minutes
17. Cut into slices and serve hot or cold