Vegan, Vegetarian

Burrito Bowl


Heading towards the end of the week, cupboards and fridge are becoming bare and I had no interest in braving the supermarket. I had seen a recipe for a vegan burrito bowl so decided to conjure up my own version.

I served this with homemade guacamole, salsa and jalapeños. I added some chopped onions, tomatoes and shredded lettuce on the side of the bowl. All things that were in the kitchen. The verdict? Quick, cheap and very, very, tasty.

1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 tin, black beans
2 tbsp, sunflower oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large clove garlic, chopped finely
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 dessertspoon, tomato puree
1/2 tsp, ground coriander
1/2 tsp, ground cumin
1/2 tsp, cumin seeds
1/2 tsp, cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp, smoked paprika
1/2 tsp, sugar
2 tbsp, lime juice
Sea salt to season

1. Heat the oil in a wok
2. Fry the onion until soft
3. Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes
4. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and lime juice
5. Add the spices and cook for a couple of minutes
6. Season with salt and add sugar
7. Add the black beans and heat through
8. Mix in the rice and heat through

Serve with
Shredded lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber

Soups, Vegan, Vegetarian

Tomato, Carrot and Black-Eyed Bean Soup

A need for a last minute supper and no interest in racing to the shops to buy stuff. A good ferret around the cupboard and fridge and this is what I came up with. I blitzed this in the liquidiser but only to blend the ingredients rather than to puree the mix. This gave the soup a nice texture when the beans were added.

Turned out to be very tasty indeed and nicely filling. Thumbs up from the teen who made off with the leftovers for lunch!

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
3 carrots, grated
2 tablespoons, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon, dried parsley
1 heaped teaspoon, dried basil
¾ pint, vegetable stock
2 tins, chopped tomatoes
1 tin, black-eyed beans*
½ to 1 teaspoon, sugar**
Sea salt and ground black pepper to season

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan
2. Add the onion, cover with the lid and allow to cook for about 5 minutes until soft
3. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes
4. Add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes
5. Add the herbs, tomatoes and stock
6. Cook for about 20 minutes
7. Add the sugar according to taste**
8. Season with salt and lots of black pepper
9. Blitz in the liquidiser until the ingredients are blended but not pureed
10. Return to the pan and add the black-eyed beans*
11. Heat through and serve

* With the amount of soup, more beans would be possible to turn this into a heartier soup or even a main meal. Next time, I will try adding a tin of borlotti beans
** I usually like tinned tomatoes cooked with sugar to season. This soup, however, was nicer with less sugar.

Lamb, Moroccan Meatballs with Cous Cous

Moroccan meatballs with cous cous

Winter is creeping in and the annual yearning for red meat continues to escalate. Many meat dishes take a long time to prepare and to cook. It is nice then to have something which is quick, easy and tasty. This is tried and tested – a firm family favourite.

1lb lamb mince
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 medium onion, chopped finely
Parsley, finely chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
Some sunflower oil for frying
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
Tin of chopped tomatoes in own juice
1lb cous cous
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Mix meat, ½ tsp cumin, ground coriander, salt, pepper, half the chopped onion and half the chopped parsley
2. Make into small meatballs (size of walnuts)
3. Fry in the heated oil
4. Remove meatballs
5. Fry the rest of the onion and garlic in the same pan, coating with the mix
6. Add the rest of the cumin.
7. Add meatballs and toss completely in this mixture
8. Add the tin of tomatoes and remaining chopped parsley
9. Prepare the cous cous as per the instructions on the pack. I cover the bowl with cling film while the water or stock is being absorbed
10. Fluff up the cous cous, add the butter and mix throughly
11. Season with salt and pepper
12. Add in lemon juice into meatballs mixture just before serving.



Soups, Vegan, Vegetable Soup with Barley, Vegetable Soup with Barley, Vegetable with Barley

‘Baby teeth’ optional

We’re all about soups this month. I make them, the Teen guzzles them – win-win situation. Sometimes, however, I tire of clever soups and simply want something warm and comforting. And quick to make and cheap!

This vegetable soup I make is one of the Teen’s favourites. Not only does she like the flavour, she adores the fact that it is a one pot soup with no blender etc. to wash up. There’s another reason we like this soup – it contains a good dollop of nostalgia. I usually cook up a pot on ‘St Stephens Day’ or ‘Wren’s Day’ as called at home. Turkey and ham sandwiches and homemade vegetable soup – a feast fit for kings!

This is a soup with bits. Rather than spend countless hours chopping vegetables neatly, this involves chopping them any which way, throwing them into the pot, cooking the soup and then using a potato masher to break it all down. Simple!

Removing the chicken stock makes it vegetarian and then using only sunflower oil will make it vegan. Removing the butter also makes it dairy free. I am unsure how well it freezes – there are never any leftovers.

Barley can be added too. About half a cup, soaked for half an hour and cooked with the soup makes it more of a meal than a snack. I like barley now – I refused to eat it when little as I was convinced they were ‘baby teeth’. No amount of effort on my mother’s part could convince me otherwise!


Vegetable Soup with Barley

1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 ounce butter and one tablespoon sunflower oil (or two tablespoons sunflower oil)
2 pints of chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon fresh parsley or a good sprinkling of dried herbs
1 level teaspoon, dried mix herbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper to season
Half cup of barley

1. Melt the butter and/or oil
2. Fry the onions for a few minutes until translucent
3. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for a few minutes
4. Add the stock, herbs and ground pepper (the amount of salt added will depend on the stock used and personal preference)
5. When the vegetables are soft, used the potato masher to break them down
6. Serve hot with crusty bread or brown bread.




Soups, Spiced Butternut Squash, Spiced Butternut Squash Soup, Spiced Butternut Squash Soup, Spiced Cauliflower, Vegan, Vegetarian

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Winter dawned yesterday when I was reduced to wearing the dreaded tights! URGH! I hate them but needs must and all that.

And with the cold comes the greater need for soup. Technically, a slow release food, soup is great. Spiced Butternut Squash Soup is one of the teen’s favourites. I like it because it is so easy to make and it fills the house with the really warm and comforting aroma of spices. She likes it because it is tasty and smooth enough in texture to fit in her flask for college. A winner all round methinks!

Here’s the recipe.

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
(Serves 4)

1 butternut squash, chopped into large chunks with the skin left on but seeds removed
1 large onion, skin removed and halved
1 dessert spoon, coriander seeds
1 teaspoon, mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Sea salt and ground pepper
Extra Virgin olive oil
1 pint vegetable

1. Preheat the oven at 180c
2. Place the chunks of butternut squash on a baking tray, skin down
3. Add the halved onion
4. Sprinkle with spices
5. Season with sea salt and ground pepper
6. Cook in the oven until the flesh is soft (about 30 minutes)
7. Allow to cool
8. Scoop the spiced flesh off the skin and put in a liquidiser
9. Add the stock
10. Liquidise until the texture is smooth and all ingredients are blended
11. Pour into saucepan to heat and season to taste
12. Serve on its own or with a swirl of cream.




Kofta, Lamb

Lamb Kofta – a versatile feast

In our home, Lamb Kofta is one of the handiest dishes as it is quick to prepare and adapts to all seasons. In Summer, I serve this with flatbreads or pitta, wedges of lemon and salad. Side dishes include plain yoghurt, baba ganoush, yoghurt with mint, raita, roast vegetables (strips of red peppers and red onion) or all of them if we have company!

 In Winter, these Lamb Kofta are delicious served with pilau rice, steamed spinach or roasted vegetables (aubergine, red pepper and slivers of red onion) and a yoghurt accompaniment. It’s not the authentic way to serve them but it has got the thumbs up from the teen and many visitors (including the numerous au pairs who have wandered through our lives).

 Lamb Kofta

1lb lamb, minced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper or 1 green chilli, chopped finely
½ rind of lemon, grated (more if you prefer)
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped finely
Salt and pepper

1. Place all ingredients in a bowl
2. Mix together thoroughly
3. The mix can be made in advance and left in the fridge until needed
4. Using a small ice cream scoop, measure out into equal meatball size
5. These can be fried as meatballs in a little sunflower oil for a few minutes on each side until brown. I prefer to put them on a tray with no oil in the oven at 180c for about 10 minutes
6. Alternatively, two meatballs can be moulded onto a skewer in a sausage shape and grilled. They should be grilled at a medium to hot heat for about 4-5 minutes on each side until brown
7. They are best served hot but can be eaten cold too.