Monthly Archives: May 2014

Vegetable & Pasta Bake

2014-05-29 19.31.32
This is slightly different to the other pasta bake on this site in that it’s a different sauce – this one is based on a Susan Voisin’s recipe from but with a lot less nooch, but more lemon and miso, plus some sweetness from maple syrup.   I managed to photo it this time before we demolished it. 🙂   I added steamed broccoli, cauliflower, peas and sweetcorn to it this time, but you can add any vegetables you like, it’s a great way of using up already cooked veggies from the fridge too and then you save even more prep time. Either way this is a pretty simple and quick weeknight meal.  I added a lovely crunchy breadcrumb and walnut crust on this one too which adds a good texture contrast.

2014-05-29 19.30.20

Vegetable & Pasta Bake
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Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-6
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 1 small jarred roasted red capsicum
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 250g broccoli florets
  • 250g cauliflower florets
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup frozen sweetcorn
  • 1 large red onion
  • 275g wholewheat pasta e.g. fusilli / penne etc
  • 2 cups fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 8-12 walnut halves - depending on size
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Blended all together thoroughly in a food processor.
  1. Put a very large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. You will be combining everything in the pot later so make sure it's big enough.
  2. Put all the sauce ingredients into a blender, (or a jug and use a stick blender) and blend on high for 10 seconds or until completely smooth.
  3. Pour into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring frequently with a whisk until the sauce is thick and smooth. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add the pasta to the water if it's boiling.
  5. Prepare your vegetables and add to the water for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  6. Make your breadcrumb topping.
  7. Once the pasta and vegetables are cooked, drain, return to the pan and pour over the sauce. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Pour into a large lasagne dish, top with your breadcrumb mixture.
  9. Place in the oven at 180 for 30 minutes or until top crisp and sauce is bubbling.


French style Lentil and Vegetable Stew

2014-05-22 13.25.10
It’s really  hard to make lentil stew look pretty.  But believe me, this is so delicious and hearty – true comfort food for a wintery (ok, autumn-ey) evening and is very easy to throw together.  We had it with mashed potatoes for a family dinner but this was just the leftovers for lunch all by itself.

French style Lentil and Vegetable Stew
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Recipe type: Stew
Cuisine: French-ish
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 200g mushrooms, diced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 250g green or brown lentils
  • 1.2 L vegetable stock
  • 200ml white wine
  • 400g cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • ¼ cup cashew cream
  1. Heat a large casserole pan, and sauté the onion, garlic and mushrooms in their own moisture, until softened. Use a splash of the stock to moisten slightly if drying out.
  2. Add the capsicum and zucchini and allow to cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the lentils, wine and stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until lentils are almost cooked, then reduce the heat, add the cauliflower and simmer for 10 or so minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
  4. Stir in the cashew cream and turn off the heat.


My daughter is a HUGE gozleme fan.  Whenever we go to the markets she will make a beeline for the stall and we love standing to watching those expert Turkish ladies rolling, folding and rolling again and again that fine dough and scattering the ingredients over, etc.  It’s a joy.  However, since cutting cheese out of our diet there’s been a bit of a hole in our culinary repertoire… So I googled and googled and found some gozleme dough recipes and decided to fill it with baby spinach, red onion, and  this “cheese” from as it’s stretchy and mild and melts similarly to dairy cheese.  Next time I will try to make these using 100% wholemeal flour, I was a bit hesitant to do that first time round so these are 50/50 with self raising white flour.

5.0 from 1 reviews
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Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 300ml natural soy yogurt (I used homemade)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ quantity of "moxarella cheese"
  • baby spinach - about 4 large handfuls
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  1. Make the dough: mix the flours and salt together in a large bowl and mix in the yogurt thoroughly. Tip it out onto your work surface and knead for around 10 minutes until it is soft and supple, adding more flour as necessary to stop it sticking. Once it's done, wrap in clingfilm and set aside whilst you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Make the cheese as linked in the introduction.
  3. Get your baby spinach and red onion prepared and ready to go.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, use a scale if you want them really even (like me!).
  5. Flour your work surface and roll out the dough to a rectangle/oval shape around the size of a dinner plate.
  6. Spread a tablespoon or 2 of the "cheese" on half of the dough, top with the onion and a big handful of baby spinach. Flatten it down and fold the other half of the dough over to meet at the edges, fold the edges together to seal.
  7. Heat an Italian Grill Sandwich press (or a large non stick pan if you don't have one) and spray lightly with oil if you're not sure of it's non-stick qualities.
  8. One it's hot, carefully transfer the gozleme to the pan and if you're using the toaster, close the lid. Turn it over after around 2-4 minutes, checking the underside to check it's a golden brown. Flip it over 2-3 times until you're happy with it and the cheese is starting to ooze from the sides. 🙂
  9. When one is cooking you can roll and fill the next. Continue 3 more times until you've used all your dough.
  10. Essential: serve with lots of fresh lemon slices for squeezing over the top!!

Vegetable Moussaka

2014-05-04 18.59.27

The UK supermarket Waitrose does an AMAZING Vegetable Moussaka which I used to LOVE when I was living there (and still eating cheese). This  is my attempt at a dairy free version, and I’m really happy with it.  This is not a particularly speedy dish – a bit like lasagne – there are a few steps before assembly, but it’s really worth it.  The sauce on the top is also on this site here.

Vegetable Moussaka
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Serves: 6
  • 1 or 2 eggplants (500g), slicked ½ cm thick
  • 1 very large potato (400g), sliced ½ cm thick
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup French style / Puy lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp bouillon powder
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3 medium roma tomatoes, diced
  • ½ glass red wine (about ⅓ cup)
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp marjoram
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 small jar (375g) tomato pasta sauce
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 serving Creamy White Sauce for topping
  1. Place lentils in a small saucepan with the bay leaf and bouillon powder, and water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until tender, around 20-30 minutes.
  2. Heat sandwich toaster, and grill the eggplant slices until soft and slightly charred, and the potatoes until tender. Set aside. If you do not have one, you can grill or bake the slices in the oven.
  3. Make the Creamy White Sauce.
  4. Spray a pan with a little oil and sauté the onion, for 5 minutes; add garlic and cook another minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, wine and spices. Once broken down, add the jar of sauce and keep on a low simmer. Once lentils are cooked and tender (should be hardly any water left, stir them into the mixture with the fresh herbs and lemon juice. Season to taste and remove from heat
  5. In a lasagne dish, put a thin layer (¼) of the lentils on the bottom, top with eggplant, more lentils, then a layer of potatoes, then lentils, eggplant, lentils then the white sauce. Top with breadcrumbs if you like.
  6. Bake at 180 for 30 minutes, covering with foil half way through if necessary (if top browning too much).
  7. Allow it to stand for 10 or so minutes prior to serving.



Mushroom Soup



mushroom soupNothing says Autumn quite so beautifully as Mushroom Soup.  We ate this so fast I forgot to take a photo so I’ve borrowed one off the net that looked pretty close to mine!  This is rich and creamy with notes of rosemary and thyme.

Mushroom Soup
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Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
  • ⅓ cup raw cashews
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup soy milk (Vitasoy Soy Milky Lite)
  • half glass dry white wine
  • scant tsp dried rosemary
  • scant tsp dried thyme
  • 2 leeks, sliced quite finely
  • 1 large fat / 2 regular cloves garlic
  • Salt & paprika to taste
  • 5-600 grams brown cap / portobello / chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  1. Put the cashews to soak in the vegetable stock, soy milk and wine.
  2. Place a large heavy bottomed soup pot over a low light.
  3. Drop your leeks into a sink of water, rub between your hands to remove any grit and dirt. Skim off the leeks from the top of the water using a spider or slotted spoon and toss into your pot.
  4. Saute the leeks and garlic, with a splash of stock / water, stir and make sure they don't burn. Add the dried herbs and stir well.
  5. When the leeks are aromatic and a nice, bright green, add a little salt and a sprinkle of paprika.
  6. Add the mushrooms and let them cook until they've given off much of their water
  7. Add the cashews, stock, wine and milk mixture and slowly bring to the boil.
  8. Gently simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes
  9. Blend with stick blender
  10. Season with pepper, and more salt and paprika if desired.


Freezer Green Soup

2014-05-09 12.29.43

This is a super simple and quick soup using items from the freezer – apart from the fresh mint (you can even get that in some places too, I think  Aldi do it, or prep and freeze your own).

It’s so sweet from the peas, but with added goodies from the other veggies.  A great way to get stacks of veggies into children and yet sophisticated enough for grown ups.  Wouldn’t be out of place at a dinner party either.

Frozen veggies are an amazing way to speed up your dinner preparation.  If you haven’t discovered ready chopped frozen onions (or make your own!) yet, give them a go, it’s a godsend on a busy school/work night.

We try to eat mostly organic vegetables and it’s great to see you can now get organic frozen vegetables in many places. Woolworths do the mix I use this in this soup in a big 1kg bag – cauliflower, carrots, green beans and broccoli.  Some frozen vegetables I feel don’t recover well from the freezing process, particularly carrots, so using frozen veg in a soup is a great solution.

Green Freezer Soup
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Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onion
  • 500g frozen mixed vegetables (cauliflower, green beans, broccoli and carrot)
  • 500g frozen peas
  • 2 tsp vegetable stock powder
  • 800ml water
  • large handful of fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup cashews (optional but makes it creamier)
  1. Put the frozen veggies into a large saucepan and cover with water, but only just - about 1-2 cm above. I estimated I used about 800ml but it's best to add more later if needed than too much to begin with.
  2. Add the vegetable stock powder and the cashews if using.
  3. Bring to the boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes
  4. Blend with a stick blender, adding the mint and blend until very smooth.


Brown Rice Broccoli & Red Capsicum Risotto

2014-05-01 19.03.04

We love risotto but when it’s traditionally made with white risotto rice it’s not such a fabulously nutritious choice.  So I wondered whether you could still get that wonderful creamy comforting dish using nutritionally superior brown rice.  I’m so happy to report YES you can!  You don’t necessarily have to add the cashew cream (it’s only 2-3 tablespoons) but it’s highly recommended.

I added favourite veggies broccoli, red capsicum and mushrooms but now I know this works I’m going to be making it all the time with different ones!

Cooking the rice twice was a real time saver, so you could pre cook the rice ahead of time and then this becomes a really last minute dish which is brilliant for weeknight dinners when you’re pushed for time.  If your rice is already cooked this is on the table in about 15 minutes!  🙂

Brown Rice Broccoli & Red Capsicum Risotto
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Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 300g medium grain brown rice
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6-8 medium button mushrooms
  • 1 very large or 2 medium heads of broccoli
  • 1 large red capsicum
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2-3 tablespoons cashew cream (cashews, soaked, then blended with water in high speed blender until very silky and creamy - consistency of single cream.)
  1. NOTE: If you don't have any cashew cream on hand, soak some cashews in boiling water. Soak for as long as you can if you don't have a powerful blender. If you do you can skip the soaking. Blend with enough water to cover until very creamy and not grainy.
  2. Put your rice on to cook (we have a rice cooker which I strongly recommend as it takes out the guesswork and switches off when it's cooked so you don't need to be around!) whilst you prep your veggies.
  3. Finely chop the onion, crush or microplane the garlic, dice the mushrooms, separate the broccoli into smallish florets and finely slice the capsicum.
  4. Using a large heavy based casserole dish, sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes until softened.
  5. Add the mushrooms and capsicum and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft.
  6. Once rice is cooked, tip it into the pan along with the stock and the broccoli. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until broccoli is cooked to your liking and rice is creamy. You may need to add more water / stock to get the consistency you want (depending on the age and variety of your rice)
  7. Stir in the cashew cream and season to taste.
  8. Turn off the heat and allow to sit until ready to serve.

Bubble and Squeak

2014-04-27 19.02.25

It’s a bit of a nerve to call this a recipe, but as many people asked me for it, I have to share, but I’m just going to write in regular text rather in my regular recipe layout thingy. 😉

1kg floury potatoes, cubed
1/2 savoy cabbage finely shredded (or Brussels sprouts, or any other left over green veg, eg leek, swiss chard, etc.)
1 large onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the potatoes to boil whilst you prep the vegetables.

Steam the cabbage until soft and “fry” the onion until soft and lightly browned.

Once they’re cooked, mash the potatoes thoroughly, using as little milk as possible, you need a fairly dry mixture or it won’t flip easily.

Mix potatoes with cabbage and onion together thoroughly and season to taste in a large large bowl.

Heat a large non stick skillet (e.g. Stonewell) and flatten the mixture firmly in the pan.  On a low light, cook for 5-7 minutes then flip over using a plate and repeat on the other side.  Serve! 🙂