Vegetarian /vegan pie – ‘cottage’ pie made with mushrooms

Don’t let the title deter you if you are a meat eater. My husband, who thoroughly enjoys eating meat, really likes this dish – always goes back for another helping – and frequently requests it.

Preheat oven to 190C / Gas mark 5

Ingredients:

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1 large onion – coarse chopped

1 large punnet of Chestnut mushrooms – chopped in half

2 cups of red lentils

1 large can of chick peas – drained

5 tbsp red wine vinegar

Small jar of sun-dried tomatoes

5-6 sweet potatoes

Coconut oil for frying

3/4 – 1 pint of vegetable stock

Grated dairy / vegan cheese – optional

Black pepper – optional

Method: 

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes – cover with water and boil until cooked. Drain and mash.

Fry the onions in the coconut oil until soft. Add the mushrooms, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, lentils, vinegar and stock and simmer gently until the lentils are soft adding more stock if required. The mixture should be of a thick consistency.

Put the mixture in to an oven proof dish and top with mashed potato.Sprinkle with grated cheese and black pepper. Place in the oven for 25-30 mins until heated throughout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eggs – quick and hassle free dishes

People who know me know that my cooking style is minimum effort but hopefully maximum taste. I am lucky enough to have a small group of my own ladies pecking about in my garden. From them I get a plentiful and daily supply of wonderful power houses of goodness. I adore eggs – scrambled, poached, fried, omelettes, frittatas, Benedict, souffles, Huevos Rancheros, in cakes etc. but I do enjoy trying them in different ways.

Recently I have served all in one breakfast  / dinner dishes – the one pot cooking and washing up dream 🙂  I heartily recommend this approach.

  1. Sausages and fried onion – gf sausages cooked in the tin, add the chopped onion and when all cooked add the egg mixture.
  2. Sausages,Stornaway black pudding, asparagus and tomatoes  – gf sausages and black pudding cooked in the tin. Egg mixture added and then when nearly cooked tomatoes and coconut fried asparagus placed on the top and returned to the oven
  3. Sausage, mushroom and tomato – gf sausages cooked in the tin and mushrooms and tomatoes added. When all cooked add egg mixture.

I have also served up my eggy combinations as breakfast muffins – all ingredients mixed together and baked in muffin tins – bacon rashers cooked first and chopped in to pieces and added to egg mixture, spinach and black pepper.

Serving suggestion – grilled plum tomatoes, avocado and hot buttered toast.

Roasted vegetables, watercress and chicken soup

I always make this type of soup using leftovers. When I make a roast dinner or a dish involving roast vegetables I ensure there are some leftover to make soup the next day. Perfect if the roast was chicken as the scraps can be added to the soup and the carcass can be boiled / simmered to make a nutritious stock.

So, to a few leftover roasted vegetables – including potatoes – I add a bag of watercress and pint of stock. I simmer this for 10 minutes, blitz and then add the chicken scraps. Quick. Easy. Delicious.

Corn on the cob curry 

A really simple, mild but full of flavour curry. Served on a bed of brown rice.

My daughters don’t enjoy hot and spicy food but this curry goes down very well indeed.

The blend of peanuts and yoghurt ensure a creamy sauce that coats the accompanying rice well.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 corn on the cob – chopped in half and then split length ways

50 g gram / chickpea flour         3 tbsp groundnut oil

1 450 g carton of Greek yogurt

250 g unsalted peanuts – ground

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli powder

500 ml water

Method:

Cook the prepared corn on the cob in boiling water for 6-8 minutes. Drain.

On high, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the flour – stirring continuously for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat down to a moderate temperature and add the ground peanuts, Stir for a coupe of minutes. Add the yoghurt, turmeric and chilli and stir till mixed thoroughly.Slowly add the 500 ml of water stirring all the time to create a thick sauce. Add the corn on the cob and simmer until all heated through.

Serve on a bed of warm rice.

Cooking is therapy

Having had a day last week that was very different to the norm and not the sort of day I would like to repeat, it was wonderful to receive a postal delivery of dry ingredients that I had ordered prior to my op. I always get very excited when new, to me, flavours arrive.

This is my comfort zone, my area of contentment and my normality – cooking is my therapy.

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I use lots of spices in my cooking and have always been relatively confident playing around with combinations (with only the very occasional flavour disaster). My latest delivery contains sumac and za’ater – two spices I have not used myself although I have eaten many Persian and Middle Eastern dishes. So, while I recover and am relatively housebound I will enjoy spending my time conjuring up recipes. Watch this space …

1 in 8

Well it seems that never smoking, drinking very little ( I mean very little) alcohol, never abusing my body with drugs, eating a very healthy and well balanced diet and leading an active life and being a sensible weight just isn’t enough. I found out this week that I have an unwanted companion – of the malignant variety. At this point I then felt I should smoke 20 cigarettes – normal or ‘herbal’, drink a bottle of whisky (don’t even like whisky – sorry all those people I have just offended) and eat a whole rack of doughnuts. Obviously, I didn’t!

After feeling sorry for myself and wallowing momentarily in self -pity I then started to think logically.

Because I have never smoked or done drugs, drink all most no alcohol, eat a very healthy and well balanced diet, lead an active life and am a sensible weight, I am in the  best position to beat the b…er!

My battle commences…

Smoked mackerel, Greek yoghurt,  cucumber,  spring onions and dill

This only took a couple of minutes  to prepare…my favourite sort of meal😀

Serves 3 as a main dish with new potatoes. Would serve 4 – 5 as a starter.

Ingredients:

Large handful of spinach and watercress for each person

4 spring onions – chopped

Large piece  (10-15 cm) cucumber chopped in to cubes

Greek yoghurt

3 smoked mackerel fillets – skinned and flaked

Handful of dill – chopped

Pomegranate seeds to garnish.

Method:

Put prepared onions,cucumber and mackerel in a bowl and add 3-4 heaped tbsp of yoghurt. Mix together. Add most of the dill – keep some back to sprinkle over as a garnish.Serve out on to watercress/spinach  and top with dill and pomegranate seeds.  New potatoes complement this dish very well 😀

 

Water kefir

I am really enjoying drinking / eating milk kefir in smoothies or smoothie bowls every day. My husband hasn’t taken to the flavour in the same way as me – if I mix in Greek yoghurt he will then consume it! He does however act as if I he is being punished!!

So…I decided to start fermenting with water kefir grains as well.

Step 1: live grains ordered  from Crave Longevity (conversation point at work when they arrived!)

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Step 2: let the grains settle in – 500ml of boiled and cooled water with 2 tbsp sugar.Left in warm dark place for 24 hours.20160628_192347Strained and process repeated 2 x more.

Then 1L of boiled and cooled water and 4/5 tbsp of sugar.

Step 3: second fermentation. Drained liquid put in to a glass jar with sealable top and left in a warm dark place for 72 hours.20160702_190654I put a couple of prunes in the jar – created a ‘cream soda/ Dr Pepper type flavour.

Step 4: put the drink in to the fridge

Result: a delicious mildly effervescent drink 🙂   – which I am delighted to say my husband seems to enjoy.

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He particularly enjoyed the batch I made without any additions of flavours at the second fermentation stage but instead added a slice of lemon and a couple of drops of vanilla prior to serving.20160709_091829

 

Guacamole 

The perfect companion for a chilli con carne.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 large ripe avocado – coarsely chopped

10 plum tomatoes – finely chopped

4 spring onions – finely chopped

Juice of half a lemon

3-4 drops of tabasco sauce

Method:

Put all the prepared ingredients in to a bowl and mix gently.

 

Quail eggs and halloumi salad

So many people still think a salad consists of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber.  Glances of pity are thrown in the direction of my husband when he states we had a salad for lunch!!

This delicious salad was simply a combination of soft boiled quail eggs, chopped avocado, chopped plum tomatoes and grilled halloumi sitting on a bed of watercress 🙂