Globe Artichoke & Burrata Pasta

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A super simple dish today. Most of the tastiest pasta dishes have few ingredients, and this one is no exception. Good olive oil, garlic, fresh cooked artichokes and Burrata cheese are all that’s needed for the sauce. For the pasta I used my favourite dried pasta, Maccheroni al Ferreto, which I know is not always easy to get hold of. Any of the more substantial pastas will work, tagliatelle, penne, orecchiette or pappardelle.

Per person

tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic – finely chopped

3 globe artichokes

1/2 a Burrata cheese – roughly cut up

salt and freshly ground black pepper

50 grams dried pasta

Bring plenty of salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Let cook at a fast simmer.

Prepare the artichokes by removing the tough outer leaves, then the top tough part of the flower and the stem. Cut into fine wedges.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and throw in the artichokes. Fry them over a moderate heat turning them as they cook.

After five minutes of cooking add the garlic. Continue frying until the artichokes are cooked.

If your pasta isn’t yet cooked turn off the heat under the artichokes and cover them.

Once the pasta is cooked drain it saving a little of the cooking liquid. Add to the artichokes and stir well to mix. Reheat the artichokes if necessary and add a little of the pasta cooking liquor.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add the cheese. Stir once to mix and serve.

Enjoy!

Spicy Cauliflower Salad with Toasted Almonds and Coconut

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One of my fellow gardening friends has given me a cauliflower he has grown, and it’s the tastiest most tender cauliflower I have eaten in a long time. I blanched some of the florets in boiling water for a minute, before draining them and adding the florets to a mixed salad the other day, which is when I discovered how exceptionally tasty they were. So today I thought to make them the stars of a salad to accompany some Onion Bhaji.

Half a cauliflower – cut into even sized florets

2 tablespoons desiccated coconut

2 tablespoons almond flakes

2 tablespoons peanut or olive oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 sweet onion – sliced

2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

1 small green chilli – finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon lime juice

fresh chopped coriander or green coriander seeds

Put the cauliflower florets in a bowl and cover generously with boiling water. Leave to steep for 2-3 minutes then drain. Leave to cool a little.

Put the coconut in a thick based frying pan on a low heat to toast, stirring from time to time. It will suddenly start to brown so don’t be tempted to wander off as I did once. When it has started to brown stir constantly until the coconut is an even golden brown colour, then tip the coconut onto a plate to cool.

Add the almond flakes to the same pan and toast these. Again to a golden brown colour an the tip onto the plate with the coconut.

Again using the same pan, put the 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan, and then the mustard and cumin seeds. Fry for a minute or two until the seeds start to pop.

Add the onions, chilli and garlic and fry gently until soft. Add the turmeric and stir to mix.

If there is enough room in the pan, add the cauliflower florets, or add the contents of the pan to the florets in a bowl. Stir to mix well.

Add the coconut and almonds and mix again. Season with salt, pepper, chopped coriander or seeds and lime juice.

Enjoy!

Mixed Lentils in Tomato Sauce & Ottolengis Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad.

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The first time I made these lentils, I happened to have some leftover carrot salad from the day before which I stirred into my portion of lentils. The mix is so successful that now I plan to have the salad one day, and make enough to have leftovers ready to mix in to the lentils the following day.

The Lentils – this makes four good servings

100 grams yellow lentils

40 grams small white lentils

40 grams red lentils

oil or butter for frying

2 medium sized onions – sliced

4 cloves garlic – finely chopped

fresh ginger roughly 3x2x2 cm – cut into small cubes

fresh green chilli – finely chopped

1 level teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon asafoetida

200 gram tin puréed tomatoes

200 grams tomato passata

salt and pepper

Put the lentils in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Leave to soak for an hour.

Heat the oil or butter in a deep frying pan and add the sliced onions, garlic and ginger. Fry gently for about five minutes to soften.

Add the chopped chilli and stir to mix.

Once the lentils have had their hour of soaking drain them and add to the pan of onions. Stir to mix in.

Add the turmeric, coriander, asafoetida and the tomatoes. Season with salt. Stir to mix all together.

Bring to a simmer, turn the heat very low, cover and leave to cook for about half an hour. Stir from time to time and add water if the mix is getting to dry.

Once the lentils are cooked add salt and pepper to taste. Serve as they are or with the Ottolengi’s carrot salad which follows, either on the side or mixed in.
Oh and if you were wondering what the little green seeds are decorating the lentils, they are fresh green coriander seeds as my coriander in the veg patch is now going to seed with the warmer temperatures. I can leave the seeds to go brown and dry, but I love the flavour of them, pungent and sweet, so a collect them green, and either use them fresh or freeze them. Enjoy!

Spicy Omelette Breakfast Wrap

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This recipe’s origins lay with one of the supermarkets local to here being taken over by South American’s, who know a good flour tortilla and stock the best ones you can buy around here. I have made my own, but these are better than I can do, so why bother. Burritos are the first recipe I made with the tortillas, and I’ve used them as Chapatis with Indian dishes, but one morning fancying a change from my poached egg on toast I made a thin omelette with spices in it, drizzled it with a spicy chilli sauce and rolled it in a hot tortilla. Fab!

Since then I’ve made different variations depending on what vegetables or sauces I’ve had. I’ve added mange toute peas, sweet garden peas, blanched broccoli, sweetcorn or peppers and I’ve put a spread of hummus or aubergine pate on the tortilla before the omelette. The recipe below is for the plain spiced omelette, which is lovely and tasty as it is, or you might want to add vegetables for a more robust omelette.

For a dinner plate sized tortilla you want –

1 free range egg

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1 tablespoon water / vegetable stock / milk

pinch salt

freshly ground black pepper

fresh coriander roughly chopped

olive oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients together.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan, add the egg mix and cover. Cook slowly until just set.

Turn the omelette onto a warmed tortilla, drizzle with a hot chilli sauce of your choice, roll and enjoy!

Roasted red cabbage with apples &walnuts

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This is a Sunday roast with a difference and meat free so suitable for vegans. I have a lovely crop of red cabbages in my plot at the moment, the best that I have ever grown, so I’m feeling quite proud of myself. I have braised the cabbage in the past with apples, onions walnuts and spices, but roasting it results in quite a different texture, more solid but tender.


Roasting vegetables is so simple and tasty. The variations are many, the roast can be winter vegetables as in this case. When I’m in Northern Europe I love to add parsnips and celeriac. A summer roast would include peppers and aubergines flavoured with garlic and Rosemary. For the non vegetarians pieces of chicken or rabbit can be roasted with the vegetables. Rabbit with thyme is particularly good.

The only work is calculating in what order to add them to the roasting pan so that they are all perfectly cooked at the same time. Most vegetables need about 40 minutes, while potatoes need ten minutes more, so they are always first into the oven. I then usually put in anything from the onion family, onion wedges or leeks, roasting them for five minutes before adding the rest of the vegetables. Any nuts that you are adding only need a short time to heat and brown, so these go in ten minutes before the end of cooking.


For 2

2 or 3 medium potatoes – scrubbed and cut into wedges

1/4 red cabbage – cut in half as a wedge

6 small carrots – scrubbed

1 onion – peeled and cut into 4 wedges

1 leek – white part only – cut into 3 centimetre lengths.

1 courgette – cut into chunks

1 large apple – cored and cut into wedges

80 grams walnut halves

olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Put the oven on at 200C or if a fan oven 180C to heat up with a large roasting tray in the oven.

Season the potato wedges and toss with enough olive oil to coat. Once the oven is hot, put the potatoes in the tray and roast for ten minutes.

Season and oil the onion wedges and leeks then add them to the potatoes. Roast for about 5 minutes

Season the rest of the vegetables and the apple and toss with olive oil to coat. Add to the roasting tray and put back in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes tuning the vegetables over half way through the cooking.

Add the walnut halves and put back in the oven to roast for another ten minutes.

Enjoy with a glass of red wine.

Sauerkraut Soup with Mushroom & Hazelnut Mash

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This is a vegan version of a traditional recipe that I had in a little Polish restaurant in Doncaster. The soup was a thin clear broth with sauerkraut in it, and on the side of the dish a pile of mashed potatoes that you mixed into the soup as you ate it to thicken it.
The original version was made with a meat stock, and the mash thickener had finely chopped ham in it and maybe some fried onions as well. The additions to the mash can be changed depending on what you have in your cupboard, just fried onions and or garlic would work well, finely chopped fried peppers too.

For 1 portion

250 – 300 ml clear stock

70 grams sauerkraut plus a tablespoon of its salty liquid

1 medium potato – peeled and cut into smallish cubes

1 medium sized strongly flavoured mushroom – chopped into small dice

1 clove garlic – finely chopped

20 grams hazelnuts – roughly crushed

1 tablespoon olive oil

freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a small saucepan and once hot add the garlic and mushrooms. Fry stirring regularly for about 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes, stir to mix in, the add enough boiling water to only just cover the potatoes. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked and soft.

While the potatoes are cooking, put the stock and sauerkraut in another pan and bring to a simmer. Check the seasonings adding salt and black pepper as needed.

Once the potatoes are cooked pour off any excess cooking liquid into the soup. Mash the potato mix. Add the crushed hazelnuts and mix in.

Serve the soup with a little mound of the potato mix to one side.

Mixed Greens & Tofu with Chilli Bean Sauce

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The vegetable garden has slowed down production in the cooler weather, so there’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but if you add all the bits together there’s enough for a tasty dish. I’ve got chard, spinach, mizuna, Russian kale, coriander and bok Choi, broccoli and a few mange toute peas.

For 1 portion

1 clove garlic – finely chopped

small piece of fresh ginger – finely chopped

few slices of red pepper

peanut oil

130 grams tofu – cut into dice

mixed green leaves – sliced

few mange toute peas

few sprigs broccoli and their sliced stems

1 tablespoon chilli bean sauce

1 tablespoon Kejap Manis – this is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce, if you can’t get it use regular soy sauce and a teaspoon of brown sugar

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce Nam Pla

2 tablespoons water

Juice of a small lime

Firstly in a small bowl mix the last five ingredients together, all the wet ones, and put to one side.

Heat a tablespoon or two of peanut oil in a wok and add the ginger and garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the red pepper and fry a minute more.

Add the tofu and fry, tossing it regularly, with the ginger and garlic until well coated with the other ingredients and starting to become golden on the corners.

Add all the greens and stir fry for five minutes or so.

Add the spicy liquid in the bowl and continue stir frying and tossing the ingredients to mix. Cook until the vegetables have brightened and just cooked but still with bite.

Serve with rice noodles. Yummy! This is one of my new favourites!

Mixed Vegetable & Soya Bean Stew

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A rich stew is just the food for this time of year, it’s warm and satisfying. The main ingredient in this stew is soya beans, high in protein, tasty and a good firm texture. As with all stews, making a small amount is impossible, so I’ve made this a little spicy but not overly so that on its second outing I can spice it up and add fresh mint, coriander and raisins to give it a more Moroccan taste and then serve it with Cous Cous.

For 4 portions

160 grams dried soya beans – soaked overnight in cold water

1/2 onion – sliced

2 cloves garlic

1 litre stock

Olive oil


1/2 onion – thinly sliced

3 carrots – peeled and diced

1 medium turnip – peeled and diced

2 slices butternut squash – peeled and diced

1 courgette – diced

100 grams flat green beans – cut into 1 cm lengths

1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout spice mix

jar of tomato passata/ tin chopped tomatoes

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soak the beans overnight on plenty of cold water.

Drain and put in a saucepan with the half a sliced onion, the 2 cloves of garlic and enough stock to cover.

Put on the heat and bring to a simmer, turn the heat down and cook for about an hour and a half until the beans are tender. Add extra stock if the liquid gets too low.

Heat couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and add the other half of the onion. Fry until translucent.

Add all the diced vegetables and fry gently for ten minutes stirring them well to coat them with the oil.

Add the Ras el Hanout and stir well to mix with the vegetables.

Add the tomatoes and mix well. Cover the pan and simmer slowly for about ten minutes.

Drain the beans from their cooking liquid, keep the liquid to either add to the stew if needed or for another recipe, and add the beans to the vegetables.

Mix in well and simmer for another ten minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve in shallow bowls, either alone or with some crunchy fresh bread.

Mushroom Dumplings in Clear Soup

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My plan when I thought about making these was to have little tasty high protein dumplings that I could add to a stir fry, but once I had poached them in stock the resulting soup with dumplings was so good I left it as it was. Next time I make this I will add some finely sliced spring onions and some shredded greens. Thinking about it, a few bean sprouts would be good too.

For 2 portions

10 grams dried mushrooms – I used oriental Camelia mushrooms but any dried mushrooms will have the depth of flavour needed for this.

1 clove garlic

piece of fresh ginger 1 cm square approximately

4 tablespoons / 60 ml powdered gluten

1 tablespoon/15 ml rice flour

1 tablespoon peanut oil

pinch of salt

500 ml light stock

Fresh coriander – finely chopped

Remove any roots from the mushrooms then cut up the mushrooms roughly. Put in a small food processor and blitz to a powder.

Roughly chop the garlic and ginger and add to the mushrooms. Process to cut and blend all together.

Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse to mix.

Add some of the stock teaspoon by teaspoon pulsing between spoonfuls until you you have a dough that holds together.

Form the dough into small dumplings.

Heat the stock and once simmering add the dumplings and simmer for 15 minutes. Check your seasonings adding salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with fresh coriander scattered over.

Burritos with Seitan

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I’m getting more confident now of how to make seitan that is light and tasty, but that still can be sliced and fried to a slightly crisp golden brown, with the texture similar to that of fried bacon slices. Burritos normally have thinly sliced spiced beef or chicken as one of the components, so I thought some spicy seitan should be a good substitute for the meat, then together with the guacamole and re fried beans you have a substantial filling.

For 2 portions – all spoon measurements are level spoons

4 tablespoons wheat gluten powder

1 tablespoon chickpea flour

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon Maggi vegetable stock powder

2 teaspoons garam masala spice

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground white pepper

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons vegetable stock plus 1 litre for poaching the seitan

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl

Add the olive oil and mix well.

Add the 3 tablespoons of stock and mix to a soft dough. If the dough feels too firm add a trickle more liquid.

Form the dough into a neat log shape.

Bring the stock to a simmer, put in the seitan and cook at barely a simmer for 40 minutes.

Remove the seitan from the stock and let cool before slicing. You can prepare the seitan up to this point in advance, the seitan will keep several days in the fridge.

When you are ready to assemble your burritos, follow my previous recipe for burritos with their filling of refried beans and guacamole. Slice and fry the seitan until golden and a bit crisp round the edges and add to the burritos. Roll them up and slather with sour cream or a vegan substitute, then drizzle with chilli sauce. Enjoy!