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Sunday, 11 September 2011

Broccoli & Butternut Squash Salad

1 medium butternut squash (450g/1 lb), peeled, de-seeded and cut into bite size pieces
Basmati & wild rice (50g/2oz)
Dry puy lentils (50g/2oz)
Florets only from medium head of broccoli (250g/9oz)
Dried cranberries (50g/2oz)
Pumpkin seeds (25g/1oz)
Kernels from 1 corn of cob (175g/6oz, cut off cob
Red chili pepper (25g/1oz), de-seeded and diced
Juice from 1 lemon
1 Tbs olive oil (15ml)

1. Heat oven to 180C (350F).
2. Put butternut squash in a bowl, pour over the olive oil and shake bowl to cover squash.
3. Pour butternut squash into baking dish and bake in oven for 25-30 mins or until tender.
4. Bring saucepan of water to a boil.
4. Add rice and puy lentils to water and cook rice according to instructions on packet (usually takes about 25-30 mins).  The lentils will be cooked by the time the rice is ready.
5. Five minutes before rice is ready, add the corn kernels and broccoli to the rice and lentils.
6. Once the rice mixture is cooked, drain well and pour all ingredients into a large bowl.
7. Add the butternut squash to the rice mixture.
8. Add the pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and chili pepper to the rice mixture.
9. Pour the juice from the lemon over the mixture.
9. Gentle combine the ingredients without squashing the broccoli and squash.
10. Season to taste.

This can be eaten as is or eaten cold the next day for lunch.

Caramelised Bananas with Chocolate

2 bananas (175g / 6oz)
Brown sugar (75g / 2.5oz)
Butter or olive spread (75g/ 2.5oz)
1 Tsp vanilla extract (5ml) 
1/4 cup of water (60ml)
Chocolate, broken into pieces - Preferably a mixture of dark and milk chocolate (25g /1oz)
1 Tbs soya cream or milk (15ml)

1. Cut bananas length wise and lay four pieces in baking dish.
2. Put the brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract and water into a saucepan and heat until the butter has melted.
3. Turn off the heat under the saucepan and then stir until well-combined.
4. Pour the butter mixture over the bananas.
5. Place the baking dish under a medium broiler/grill and heat for five minutes.
6. Wash the saucepan out and half fill with water and bring the water to a boil.
7. Place the chocolate and cream into a tall metal or strong glass dish and place the dish into the boiling water.
8. Stir the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate melts and becomes creamy.
9. Carefully spoon the bananas onto a plate to serve.
10. Spoon the caramelized syrup from the backing pan over the bananas.
11. Spoon the melted chocolate over the bananas.

Serve with ice cream or yogurt.

Baked Irish Colcannon

Potatoes (450g / 1 lb), peeled & cut into quarters
Savoy cabbage (450g / 1 lb), chopped into strips
8 spring onions  (50g / 2oz), chopped
4 medium eggs
Grated strong cheddar cheese (50g / 2oz)
2 Tbs butter or olive spread (30ml)
Fresh grated nutmeg (OPTIONAL)
Oil for dish

1. Heat oven to 180C (350F).
2. Boil the potatoes until they are tender, drain and then mash.
3. Put the mashed potatoes into a large mixing bowl.
3. Steam the cabbage for five minutes (or boil in shallow water).
4. Drain the cabbage and add to the mashed potatoes.
5. Add the spring onions to the potatoes and cabbage.
6. Add the fresh nutmeg.
7. Add the butter.
8. Slowly stir mixture together.
9. Lightly oil a baking dish.
10. Pour the mixture into the baking dish.
11. Create four wells in the potato/cabbage mixture.
12. Break each egg and gentle pour an egg into each well.
13. Bake in the oven for around 12 minutes or until the egg whites are cooked.


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Mushroom, Spinach and Potato Pie

New potatoes - 300g/11oz
Bag of fresh spinach - 400g/14oz
Mushrooms - 500g / 1Ib 2oz (preferably a mixture of chestnut/shitake/button)
1 cup (250ml) of vegetable stock (vegetable Oxo) 
2 cloves of crushed garlic
2 Tbls Soya cream (or crème fraîche or sour cream)
1 Tbls (15ml) olive oil
1 Tbls whole grain mustard
1 Tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 sheet of puff pastry

1. Heat oven to 200C/390F.
2. Empty spinach into a colander and pour some hot water over to wilt; then strain water and allow to drain.
3. Boil the potatoes until they are tender, then drain and cut into bite size pieces.
4. Cut the mushrooms into bite size pieces.
5. Heat half the oil in a pan and cook the garlic for one minute.
6. Add the mushrooms, mustard, nutmeg, stock and potatoes to the garlic.
7. Simmer the mixture until the stock reduces a little.
8. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before stirring in the cream. 
9. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and taste.
10. Add the spinach to the mixture and pour into a baking dish.
11. Roll out the sheet of puff pastry and lay over the baking tray and crimp the edges.
12. Brush the olive oil over the pastry.
13. Bake the pie in the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until the pastry is a golden brown.


This pie doesn't have a pastry base so is less fattening than regular pies. 

Serve with some steamed veggies of your choice.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

PJ's Vegetarian Chili

2 medium onions (diced)- 300g
2 celery stalks (diced)- 130g
1 carrot (diced)- 90g
50g soya mince
100g dry red lentils
3 cans chopped tomatoes (400g each)
2 cans drained kidney beans (400g / 240 drained)
1 can drained aduki beans (400g / 230 drained)
1 can rinsed Bijoux lentils (400g / 250 rinsed)
4 cloves of garlic chopped (14g)
1 tsp chipolte sauce
1 Tbls yeast extract
4 cups of vegetable stock (3 vegetable Oxo cubes)
2 Tbls olive oil
3 Tbls chili powder, 2 Tbls cumin, 1 Tbls Coriander, 1Tbls Cinnamon & 1 tsp cloves

1. Gently sauté the onions, celery and carrot in olive oil over a medium heat until they are soft and the onions translucent (about 5-8 mins).
2. Then pour the sautéed vegetables into a slow cooker or large saucepan over a low heat.
3. Add the soy mince, tomatoes, beans, lentils and stock.
4. Stir all the ingredients so that the mixture is well combined.
5. Add the chipotle sauce and yeast extract to the mixture and stir well.
6. Add the spices and stir well into the mixture.
7. Simmer or cook in a slow cooker for 2 hours stirring occasionally.
8. Taste after an hour and season with salt and pepper.

The recipe was enough for nine servings using two laddles per portion.  We had it with cornbread.


Finally it's here!  My food blog. Or should I say recipe blog. Five months ago Dawn and I became vegetarians and in doing so needed to look differently at the food on our plates. The usual mistake new vegetarians make is trying to replace the meat in our meat and two veg meals with a third veg. As we had read up on the subject, we didn't go down this road. Instead we saw a whole new world full of flavours and dishes we'd never dreamed off. Best of all was that I didn't need to be a professional chef to replicate the new recipes I came across. These recipes are so full of flavour, nutrients and goodness that you can now cook them too.