VEGGIE HOT POT

I make this simple veggie hot pot almost every week and use up whatever veggies I need to. It’s so clean and simple and yet exquisite because the taste of the veggies is elevated in this simple broth.

Serves 4

1-inch ginger root, peeled

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup Mirin (Japanese cooking wine, which you can find in the Asian section of a good grocery store).

1/2 cup veggie broth

1 onion, peeled

1 head of broccoli

1/2 green cabbage

1 small bunch of watercress, trimmed

4 medium carrots

1 cluster of trumpet or Enoki mushrooms

1 cup sugar snap or snow peas

1/2 bunch asparagus

8-ounce block of firm tofu, cubed

A handful of Sesame seeds

Tamari for seasoning.

Ideally, you need a large heavy-bottomed enamel pan or dutch oven. Place the ginger, garlic, mirin and broth in the pan. Place the whole onion in the center and arrange the veggies and tofu all around it. Simmer for 12-15 minutes.

While the pot is simmering, cook Buckwheat noodles according to packet directions. Although I prefer Asian noodles with this dish, it also works well with brown rice.

When the pot is ready, place the noodles or rice in each bowl and top with veggies. Spoon over the broth and sprinkle with sesame seeds and Tamari.

 

 

 

PACE EGGS

Every Easter my mom and I would make Pace Eggs. It’s a lovely eco-friendly way of decorating eggs without using any dye. Pace Eggs were an very old English Tradition: Hardboiled eggs which were given to friends and relatives as a token of goodwill. Kids would also “harp” with their eggs, which was a game where you knocked your egg against your opponents with the hope that their egg would crack first! We don’t do the “jarring” but I made a basket of these eggs with my daughter because they look so pretty and work beautifully as an Easter table centerpiece.

Here’s how to make them.

 

VEGAN PESTO POLENTA BOWL

My husband and I went out to the excellent Cafe Gratitude on the weekend, and my husband ordered a polenta bowl, which was so incredibly delicious. As is our habit, we spent much of the meal trying to deconstruct what we were eating, so I could attempt to duplicate it at home. This is my attempt and I have to say, it is really, really good. It’s hearty-enough for carnivores and a perfect vegan entree.

 

Serves 4

Cashew Cream

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, cover in water and soak overnight

1 cup water

2tsp lemon juice

1 clove garlic

1/2 tsp sea salt

Polenta

1 1/2 cups of yellow corn grits or polenta

1 1/2 cups of water

1/2 tsp sea salt

Sauce

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 15-ounce can organic diced tomatoes

Topping

4 tbsp fresh pesto (you can make your own, but I purchased a tub from Wholefoods). If you want to make your own: Place 2 cups of basil leaves, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 garlic glove, 1/2 cup pine nuts, and 1/2 tsp salt in a high-speed blender until it reaches the desired consistency.

2 cups baby spinach leaves.

A handful of fresh basil leaves

 

To make the cashew cream. Place the soaked nuts, water, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a high-powered blender. I used my Vitamix. Blend until smooth. It should have the consistency of heavy cream, so add more water if need’s be. Place in a covered bowl and chill.

Place the grits, water and salt in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for about five minutes, stirring continuously. Pour into a square, greased baking dish and allow to cool completely, before cutting into triangles.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the onions and garlic until soft. Add the tomatoes and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.

When you are ready to serve. Grease a grill pan with an olive oil spray and grill your polenta triangles until they are slightly browned on both sides.

Meanwhile, wilt your spinach.

Place two triangles in each bowl. Cover with a generous helping of the tomato sauce, followed by a spoon of spinach, and 1 tbsp of pesto and 1 tbsp of cashew cream. Top with a couple of fresh basil leaves.

 

GREEN TEA PANCAKES

In celebration of St. Paddy’s day, I made green tea pancakes for breakfast. Using my favorite Got Matcha Green tea powder, I decided on a gluten-free pancake, however, you can use you favorite pancake mix if you prefer.

1 1/2 cups pancake mix

1/2 tsp baking powder

1tsp ground flax

1tsp powder matcha tea

2 eggs

1tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut milk (You may want more of less depending on how thick you like your batter.

1tbsp virgin coconut oil

Place all the ingredients in a blender.

Heat coconut oil in a skillet and fry your little green pancakes to perfection!

ROASTED SPROUTS & CARAMELIZED APPLES

I had a ton of apples to use up and have been making apple everything, however, I was also given a bag of sprouts, do decided to create a tasty side dish. It turned out to be so hearty, that if you’re vegan, you may want to eat it as an entree with a side of brown rice or quinoa. Either way, it’s an excellent seasonal dish, which I’ll be making again this week. It’s a perfect accompaniment for grilled chicken or fish too.

Serves 2 as a side, but double if you’re going it eat it as an entree.

2 cups Brussel Sprouts, if they are very large, quarter them and if small to regular, half them).

2 tbsp olive oil

Sea Salt

2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

1tbsp olive oil

1/2tbsp butter (optional, but gives a better taste)

1/4tsp ground cumin

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Place the sprouts in a bowl and pour on the olive oil. Using your hands, massage the oil into the sprouts and then empty them out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are browned and well-roasted.

Meanwhile, melt the oil and butter in a heavy skillet (I love to use my cast iron skillet for caramelizing). Add the apples and turn the heat down really low. Fry gently for about 20 minutes, stirring every now and again, until the apples are soft and slightly brown. You may want to fry them for longer, depending on how much you want to caramelize them – the longer the better. When they are done, sprinkle with the cumin, stir and fry for another few seconds.

Add the sprouts to the pan to warm them up.

Place the roasted sprouts and the apples in a warmed bowl and top with the almonds.

SWISS CHARD & MUSHROOM FRITTATA

I found myself with way too much chard and way too many potatoes in my fridge this week. A high class problem for sure, but I can’t bear to throw food away and since the chard was on the point of wilting, I decided the best way to use all this beautiful organic, seasonal food up, was to create a hearty Winter Frittata.

This is peasant food at its best. I love budget-friendly recipes and this is one of them. Perfect for a family dinner with a warm, crusty baguette and perhaps a bowl of tomato soup – ooh, I’m getting hungry.

I don’t know why I don’t make these more often, as a good Frittata is heavenly. The chard works beautifully with the earthy brown mushrooms and caramelized onions and potatoes. I love to eat it at room temperature with some peppery Arugula. It also keeps really well in an airtight container for up to 2 days in your fridge.

 

2 cups potatoes, chopped into large cubes ( I used small red potatoes and so kept their skins on.)

1 large yellow onion

2tbsp olive oil

1 bunch Swiss Chard, leaves stripped off stalks

1 cup brown mushrooms, sliced

8 eggs

1tsp sea salt

1/2tsp pepper

Serves 4

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

Add the potatoes to salted, boiling water and boil for ten minutes until just tender. Drain and set aside.

Slice you onion thinly.

Steam your chard, until wilted. When it’s cool, squeeze out any excess water with paper towels and then roughly chop.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the potatoes and the onion. Fry on a very low heat for about 1/2 hour, making sure you turn the veggies over every now and again.

You want them to caramelize, so they should slowly and gently brown.

Add the mushrooms.

Beat up the eggs and add the seasoning.

Add the eggs to the pan and finally the chard. Shake the pan, to make sure that the egg gets evenly distributed.

Fry on a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Place the skillet in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the Frittata is browned on top.

Remove from heat and allow it to cool int he skillet. Gently edge the sides away from the pan with a spatula before lifting the Frittata out onto a serving platter. Serve with arugula or salad greens dressed with a citrusy dressing or you could even have a little dollop of garlicky aioli on the side.

WARM LENTIL & ROASTED TOMATO SALAD

I have just made the most delicious winter salad imaginable. I’ve literally just finished eating it, and wanted to share it with you right away. I get a bit tired of regular lettuce salads, particularly in the winter when at lunchtime, I want something a little more hearty – so this is a perfect winter lunch. You can make it a day ahead and take it in a reusable container to work. It also keeps well – for up to 3 days covered, in the fridge.

All the spicy tastes and different creamy textures work so beautifully in this dish, which would also make for a really impressive appetizer – obviously served on small salad plates.

Go ahead and give this a go, as I’m quite convinced you’ll enjoy it as much as I just have!

 

2 cups cherry tomatoes (try to find organic)

1 large red onion, peeled and cut into chunks

2tbsp olive oil

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp sea salt

2 cups green lentils

3 cups of water

1/2 cup good olive oil

1tbsp red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

1 tsp of chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

1 tsp honey

Salt and Pepper to taste

4tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream

1/4 tsp chiptole paste (I make my past by blasting a can of Chipotle Chilis in Adobo Sauce in my blender. You can find this at the ethnic section in large grocery stores, and once you’ve made your puree, it will keep in an airtight container in your fridge for months).

1 ripe avocado (optional).

 

Serves 4

 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F

Place the tomatoes and onions on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. It’s best to use your hands here to massage in the oil (great for your cuticles!). Sprinkle with cumin and salt and place in the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until everything is nicely brown and slightly shriveled.

Place the lentils and the water in a heavy saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for 25 minutes and then drain off any excess water. All them to begin to cool.

Meanwhile whisk up the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, parsley/cilantro,  honey and seasoning.

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 tsp of chipotle paste into your creme fraiche or sour cream.

When the veggies have finished roasting, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes.

Spoon the lentils onto a platter and gently mix in the onions. Top with the tomatoes, taking care not to mix them in – as you don’t want everything to become mushy. Dress the salad and then drizzle your Chipotle Cream over the top.

If you want to, add slices of ripe avocado.

Mushroom & Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower cheese is an absolute comfort food for me because my used to make it for us in the cold British winters. It’s such a great family dish, because it’s inexpensive, filling, healthy – and yet can easily tempt your kids to eat cauliflower, which they’d normally avoid like the plague.

I got a lovely cauliflower in my Farm Fresh box, so whipped this up promptly. I also had some mushrooms that needed using up, so put them in, which added a lovely nuttiness. I also added a little salty prociutto, but if you’re veggie, you can obviously skip this. Actually if you’re vegan, you can make this, substituting vegan marge and soy milk for the milk and butter.

The key in making this delicious, is to create a really tasty white sauce.

1 large cauliflower head

4tbsp butter

3tbsp all-purpose flower

2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups veggie stock

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1  1/2cups sharp cheddar, grated

1tsp salt

1/2tsp black pepper

1 cup brown mushrooms, chopped

3 slices prosciutto (optional)

1 cup grated mozzarella

Serves 4

 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F

Cut the cauliflower into large florets and steam under just tender. Make sure you don’t over- cook, as it’ll become mushy. Run under cold water in the colander and set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter and mix in the flour. Slowly begin to add the milk, a little at a time, stirring continuously. You need to keep stirring your white sauce until it’s done, or it will stick to the pan. As it thickens, continue to add the rest of the milk. As it thickens further, begin to add the stock. Add one cup of the stock and then still stirring, simmer your sauce for 3 minutes. You might want to add another 1/2 of stock, depending on how thick it is. It should be the consistency of heavy cream. When it’s done, mix in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Fry the mushrooms in a little veggie oil for 3 minutes and remove from heat.

Assemble the florets in a deep baking dish.

Arrange the mushrooms on top.

If you are using prosciutto, slice it thinly and add to the dish. Cover the florets with your white sauce. Finally top with the Mozzarella.

Place in the oven for 40 minutes or until bubbling and crispy on top.

GLUTEN-FREE FLAX BREAD

As you may have noticed, I’m on a bit of a gluten-free baking kick right now and the crowning glory of my recent efforts is this loaf of bread. I have baked dozens of them in an attempt to get it absolutely right, and I think I’ve just about nailed it. This bread is simply DELISH and it’ll be hard to hold onto your loaf for long, because everyone wants a couple of slices toasted. My mission was to create a gluten-free loaf that #1, wasn’t like a full-on brick, and #2, didn’t taste of garbanzo beans (which is my main beef with a lot of the mixes out there.) This is nutty, and light and just very more-ish!

There are a bunch of ingredients but don’t get put off, because once you’ve gathered them, you can keep them all in a big bin or bag and whip it out when you’re in the mood for baking.

2 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup Sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

3/4 cup ground flaxseed

2 1/2 tsp xantham gum

2/3 cup powdered milk

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp light brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp dry yeast (yes tablespoons!)

1 2/3 cup tepid water

4tbsp butter, melted and cooled

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1tsp vinegar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Combine all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Make sure that the butter has cooled, as you don’t want the eggs to cook!

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing well with a large wooden spoon.

The mixture will be thick and goopy. Leave it in a warm place, covered with a clean dish towel for a couple of hours.

Use a large wooden spoon to” knead” it. As the mixture is runnier than a normal bread dough, you will not be able to knead it, as you would regular dough – but give it a pummeling with the spoon!

Transfer the mixture to a greased loaf pan and bake for about forty five minutes or until top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

After the first day, keep the bread in an airtight bag in the fridge. The bread is perfect when toasted.

Roasted Beet, Orange, & Hazelnut salad

I have bunches of beets! I can’t seem to stop buying them, and they always come in my farm box. I wanted to have a go at making the ultimate Seasonal Salad – one that is hearty, and that combines different tastes and textures. I was really happy with the result, as I managed to get in two flavors I love: hazelnut and cumin – they pair beautifully together. The only thing I really dislike about working with beets is the red dye that gets on everything. Be sure to pull on your rubber gloves before peeling and cutting your beets!

Roasted Beet, orange, & hazelnut salad

4 or 5 medium beets (this is normally what makes up a regular bunch.)

2 medium oranges

1tbsp red wine vinegar

1tsp honey

3tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed

1/2 cup hazelnuts, roasted in a hot oven for 10 minutes

1 cup feta or crumbly goat cheese

1 ripe avocado

Serves 2

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

Peel the beets and cut into bite-size wedges. Place them in a roasting tin.

Take one of the oranges and grate the zest into a small bowl. Squeeze the juice into another small bowl.

Whisk the vinegar, honey and olive oil together in a jug and season with sea salt and pepper. Divide this dressing between two bowls. Whisk the mustard into one of the bowls and set aside. Whisk the cumin, orange zest and half of the orange juice into the other bowl of dressing and then pour over the beets. Make sure each wedge is well-coated.

Lightly cover the roasting tin with foil, before placing in the oven for 50 minutes.

Remove when down and leave to cool (you can do all this the day before if you want.)

Peel the orange and cut away all the pitch. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the segments away from the dividing membranes.

Slice the avocado

When you are ready to assemble, carefully place the beets in a large bowl and add the orange segments. Top with the avocado, goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle over the mustard dressing, taking care not to toss or mix the salad, as you don’t want everything to turn pink.