Friday, 19 May 2017

Cajun Rice and Beans

This dish is filling, well rounded  and certainly not lacking in flavour. Perfect for warming up after a long day. Tastes great the next day too!

Cajun rice and beans

Serves 5

4 cloves of garlic
2 small onions
2 sticks celery
400g tin of tomatoes 
2 cups cooked black eyed beans
1 1/2 cups sweet potato, 1 cm cubes
2 handfuls Kale
Green pepper, diced
1 cup brown rice
2 cups veg stock
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Black pepper
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Pinch of salt

Fry the onion, garlic and celery in a little oil over a medium heat until soft.

Add the potatoes, pepper and kale and fry gently for a few minutes.

Add the rice and stir in to combine.

Add the herbs, spices, tomatoes and veg stock. Bring to boil and simmer until the potato is tender and rice is cooked. (20-30 mins).

Add in the beans and simmer for 5-10 mins or until the liquid has been absorbed.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Spicy Green Veg Soup

Soup glorious soup! Another soup recipe, what a surprise! I love the easy, one pan, minimal washing up approach to soup I guess, which means I do generally make at least one soup a week.

Spicy Green Veg Soup

Serves 5

For the soup:
2 small/1 large onion chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 leek, washed and sliced
1 large courgette, sliced
1 pak choi, washed and sliced
2 large handfuls spinach
2 large carrots, sliced
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 (425 ml) can coconut milk
5 cups veg stock
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp ground coriander 
1 tbsp coconut oil
Salt and pepper

For the croutons:
4 slices bread, cut into cubes
1-2 tbsp oil 
1 tsp wild garlic powder

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 / 200°C / 400°F

Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add in the spices and fry gently for a minute or two.

Add in the onion and garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.

Add the carrots, potatoes and leek and fry for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the courgette and pak choi and fry for a final couple of minutes before adding the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes until the veg is tender.

Whilst the soup simmers toss your bread cubes in oil with the wild garlic powder and bake in the preheated oven for 5-6 minutes, shaking half way through.

Add the coconut milk and spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the spinach until it's just wilted then blend.

Serve the blended soup with the croutons and enjoy!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Turmeric Milk

I love drinking this. It's warm and comforting with a touch of heat from the ginger and black pepper whilst maintaining a subtle sweetness.
Lots of people sing the medicinal praises of turmeric but I'll let you do your own research and come to your own conclusions, I'm all about the flavour when it comes to this drink.

Turmeric milk

Serves 1


1 mug plant milk
1/2 tbsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Dash of vanilla essence 
Pinch of black pepper
1 tsp agave or maple syrup
Small piece of ginger, minced
1 tsp coconut oil 

Add all ingredients to a pan, bring to the boil and simmer gently.

Whisk in the coconut oil to combine with the milk.

Pour into your mug through a mesh tea strainer or sieve to strain out the ginger mulch and serve.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Wild Garlic Pesto Pasta With Green And Purple Veg

This dish packs in plenty of veg and flavour whilst still being quick and simple enough to throw together in a rush (given that you've already made some pesto). Sub the wild garlic pesto for any other store bought or homemade dairy free pesto if you have non or if wild garlic is out of season.

Wild garlic pesto pasta with green and purple veg

Serves 2

4 oz dried pasta
10 stem purple sprouted broccoli, leaves trimmed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup frozen petit pois
1 courgette, sliced
Large handful purple kale, roughly torn
1 asparagus spears
Oil of choice
Salt and pepper

Drizzle of lemon juice.

Boil the pasta in a large saucepan according to the packets instructions, roughly 10 minutes.

Whilst the pasta is boiling gently stir-fry all the veg apart form the asparagus spears in a little oil.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Add in the veg and pesto and season with salt and pepper.

Saute the asparagus spears for a couple of minutes with a splash of oil and the optional lemon juice.

Serve the pasta and veg with the asparagus spears on top.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Dandelion Syrup

This syrup uses the flowers from the dandelion plant and has a delicate flavour similar to honey. It can be used much the same way as other plant based syrups and best of all it costs no more than a bag of sugar!
Once you've picked your dandelion flowers you need to remove the green parts as they can discolour the syrup and leaving it tasting slightly bitter.

Dandelion syrup

2 cups dandelion petals
4 cups boiling water
2 - 3 cups granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Wash your dandelions and leave to dry to remove any bugs hiding in there.

Remove all the green parts of the dandelion heads. You can slice the green parts off with a knife or scissors if you find it easiest. I let the petals close up a bit then gripped them all together, making sure not to hold any green parts, twisted a bit and pulled them off and that worked quite well for me. You'll need about 4 cups or so of dandelions to get 2 cups of petals.

Add the petals to the pan with the boiling water and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Take of the heat, cover and leave to stand overnight or for 8-12 hours.

Strain out the petals from the water and squeeze out the petals, this should leave you with about 3 cups of dandelion water.

Put the water in the pan with the sugar and lemon juice. I only had 2 1/2 cups of sugar in the house so I used that amount, more sugar will give you a thicker syrup. 

Bring to the boil whilst stirring until the sugar has dissolved, cover and reduce to a simmer.

Simmer for around 2 hours, stirring occasionally. To check the consistency, get a little bit on a spoon, allow it to cool a bit and dip your finger in. Once you're happy with the consistency remove from the heat.

Allow to cool slightly and pour into sterilised jars and seal.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Potato Cakes

I pretty much always make these whenever I have left over mashed potatoes. Sometimes I'll even do too much mash on purpose just so I can make these the next morning! Should you end up with more potato cakes than you can eat (yea right), you can store them in the fridge and just pop them in the toaster when you're ready! 

Potato cakes

Makes around 5-6, double recipe for each cup of mash you have to use.

1 cup mashed potato
1/2 cup plain flour
Pinch of salt
1+ tbsp oil

Spring onions, sliced.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until combined. I prefer to use my hands to knead it together.

Shape into cakes/patties about 1cm or less thick and chill in the freezer for 10 mins.

Heat the oil over a low-medium heat and fry gently for 3-5 mins on each side. Add a little more oil if they start to stick.

Leave to stand on a plate covered with a paper towel for a minute before serving to absorb some of the oil.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Foraging Dandelions

Foraging for dandelions is fairly simple given that they grow pretty much everywhere in open grassy spaces. 
Dandelion leaves and roots can be foraged between February-November although the roots are best dug up in the autumn as that is when they are fattest and their flavour is most mellow. The flowers can be foraged in late spring between April-May. 
They grow in fields, parks and even gardens so it shouldn't be too hard to find some. Try to avoid the ones growing by roadsides though, if you ask nicely enough that neighbour with loads growing in their garden might even let you pick some if that's your only option! Never hurts to ask!
The flowers are large and yellow and made up of lots of fine petals. The leaves, growing from the base of the plant, are long and pointed with jagged teeth.
The leaves can be sautéed or used in salads, the flowers can be used to make drinks and in baking and the roots can be roasted and ground to make dandelion coffee.
Make sure you check out this guide to foraging sustainably before you go!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Wild Garlic Soup

This soup is one of my favourite things to make with wild garlic. It's vibrant green colour really reminds me that spring is here, things are growing and colour is appearing everywhere! This soup broke my immersion blender! Even though the garlic was chopped fairly fine I'm assuming it got tangled around the blade so I reckon you'll be best off using and actual blender unless you have a sturdier stick one than I did!

Wild garlic soup

Serves 4

2 large handfuls wild garlic, roughly chopped
3-4 potatoes, cubed
1 onion, chopped
4 cups veg stock
Squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper

Wild garlic pesto
Toasted pine nuts

Heat a little oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add in the onion and potatoes, coat in the oil and fry gently for a few minutes, stirring regularly. 

Add the veg stock, bring to the boil and simmer until tender.

Add the wild garlic, salt and pepper and continue to simmer for a couple more minutes.

Blend, add a squeeze of lemon and serve.

Toast pine nuts in a frying pan for a couple of minutes and top with a blob of wild garlic pesto and toasted pine nuts.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Mango And Banana Smoothie

I need to remember to use carrots in smoothies more often. I need to make more yellow smoothies too! I usually let my boy choose a colour for a smoothie and he's into green and pink so that's what we usually end up with.

Mango and banana smoothie

2 frozen bananas
2 mangos
2 satsumas
1 carrot
1tbsp chia seeds
2 cups coconut water

Chop the carrot into pieces so it blends easier. Throw everything in the blender and whizz until smooth.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Roast Veg With Lemon And Dill Giant Cous Cous

There's nothing I love more than a big plate of roast veg. This recipe is pretty adaptable to whatever veg you have in or need to use up. I'm a big fan of roasting tomatoes but I didn't have any this time. Celeriac is another favourite that missed this party. Sometimes I like to mix any leftovers together the next day to make a roast veg cous cous salad.

Roast veg with lemon and dill giant cous cous

3 carrots, chopped into even strips
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
10(ish) jerusalem artichokes, peeled and chopped
1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled
1 leek, roughly chopped
3 beetroots, peeled and quartered
2 apples, cored and chopped into equal pieces.
1 tbsp oil
3/4 tbsp agave syrup
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs fresh thyme

for the cous cous:
1 cup giant cous cous
1/4 cup frozen petit pois
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper

Half a bag of spinach.
1 tsp oil

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5.

Throw all of the chopped veg and apple in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and agave syrup, pour over the veg and toss to coat. Arrange the veg on a baking tray (or 2 if you have a tiny oven like mine) with the thyme sprigs and bay leaves (I did 1 leaf per tray) and put into the oven to roast for about an hour, until the veg is tender.

Whilst the veg is roasting you can cover the giant cous cous with water in a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 7-10 minutes until the cous cous is cooked through and transparent. I usually throw the petit pois in there for the last few minutes to cook too. Drain and leave to stand/cool. Add in the lemon juice, dill and add salt and pepper to taste.

Wilt the spinach in a frying pan with a little oil.

When the veg is cooked serve with the cous cous and wilted spinach.