Vegetarian Chickpea Paella

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 onion finely diced

1 courgette diced

1 red or orange pepper deseeded and diced

1 cup of frozen peas

400g tin of chickpeas

1 cup of long grain or basmati rice

1 clove of garlic crushed or finely diced

1 tsp of vegetable stock powder

2 tablespoons of smoked paprika

1 lemon

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A tasty, vegetarian alternative to the classic Spanish dish, inspired by a similar version I tried while visiting Barcelona a few years ago.

Method:

Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into a large frying pan or shallow casserole dish and place on a medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add the garlic and onion.

Cook the onion until translucent, then add the peppers and courgette, cook for 3-5 minutes or until slightly softened.

Mix in the paprika and stock powder, stirring constantly until it becomes paste-like.

Add the juice of half a lemon and stir in. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes, mixing thoroughly to prevent it from sticking to the pan or burning.

Pour in the rice, stir thoroughly. Add three cups of boiling water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the rice is cooked, stirring occasionally.

When the rice is almost cooked and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce-like consistency, add the peas and chickpeas, and cook for a further five minutes.

Serve with lemon quarters and add juice to taste.

Lentil Bolognese Recipe

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 Onion finely diced

1 large Carrot grated

1 stalk of Celery grated

1 Clove of Garlic crushed

1 Courgette quartered lengthwise and finely chopped

1 Red or Orange pepper finely chopped

1/2 cup of Red Lentils

400g of Tomato Passata

1 tsp of vegetable stock powder

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One of the first vegetarian meals I learned to cook, this is a nourishing and adaptable meal.

Method:

Pour a splash of olive oil in a medium sized pan, put on a medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add the onions and garlic. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.

Add the grated carrot and celery, mix well and cook for 2-5 minutes or until softened.

Add the courgette and cook for 2 minutes, then add the pepper and cook for a further minute. Add 1 tsp of vegetable stock powder and mix well.

Pour in 1/2 cup of red lentils. Mix thoroughly to ensure the lentils are spread throughout and cook for one minute.

Add the tomato passata and up to 2 tablespoons of water. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until sauce thickens and lentils start to break apart, stirring frequently.

Once cooked serve with pasta.

Spicy Carrot and Lentil Soup

Ingredients (serves 2-4):

1 medium Onion finely diced

1 medium sized Sweet Potato grated

2 medium Carrots grated

1 stalk of Celery grated or finely diced

1 clove of Garlic crushed

1cm cube of Fresh Root Ginger diced

2/3 cup of Red Lentils

2 tsp of Cumin

1 tsp of Turmeric

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A simple to cook fresh and slightly spiced soup.

Method:

Heat oil in a medium sized pan on a medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add the onion, garlic and ginger to the pan. Cook for 3 t0 5 minutes or until the onions turn translucent.

Add a pinch of salt, cracked black pepper, turmeric and cumin, stirring well for 30 seconds.

Add the grated carrot, sweet potato and celery to the pan, mix well and cook for one or two minutes until the the carrot and sweet potato have slightly softened.

Add the red lentils and stir thoroughly.

Add about one and a half pints of boiling water to the pan, mix in. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 25 to 35 minutes or until lentils have cooked. Add more water if it appears too thick.

Blend with a handheld blender or in a food processor for a smoother soup.

Smashed Avocado on Toast with Poached Egg, Tomato and Spinach

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 large avocados

1 tsp diced chilli

2 fresh eggs

12 cherry tomatoes

1 large handful of fresh spinach

Squeeze of lemon juice

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This recipe was inspired by a brunch I ate in the West Village of NYC on holiday, it’s a simple and tasty alternative to a “fry-up” or cooked breakfast.

Method:

Put a small pan of water on to boil with a pinch of salt and a splash of vinegar.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place in an grill proof dish. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Put cherry tomatoes under the grill on a medium high heat.

Scoop out the avocados, remove the stone and cut the avocados into cubes. Put into a bowl, season with salt, cracked black pepper, lemon juice and diced chilli. Mix with a fork until slightly mashed but still chunky.

Shred the spinach. 

Once the water in the pan begins to simmer, crack one egg into the water from a low height. Add the second around 30 seconds later.

Remove the tomatoes from the grill when they are softened but not charred and set aside.

Toast the bread until lightly browned.

After about 1 minute, remove the eggs from the simmering water. The egg should feel firm but with a slightly soft yolk.

To serve, spread the smashed avocado on toast and place one poached egg on top or to the side, then place the grilled tomatoes on a bed of fresh, shredded spinach to the side.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

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This is real comfort food, ideal for a winter supper.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

1 Medium Onion, finely diced

1 Medium Carrot, quartered lengthways and diced

½ Celeriac, cut into cm cubes

1 Cup of Frozen Peas

1 400g tin of Aduki Beans, drained

1 Clove of Garlic chopped

1 tsp of Marmite

Pinch of Thyme

Pinch of Rosemary

Butter or Dairyfree spread

2 medium or 1 large potato, halved and quartered

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Method:

Pour a splash of oil into a medium sized oven-proof pan and heat on a medium heat.

When the oil is warm, add onion and garlic, cook on a medium heat for three to five minutes, until onions turn translucent.

In a second pan, bring water to boil and add the potatoes. Cover and simmer until cooked through.

Add carrot and celeriac to the first pan. Cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add herbs to the pan with the vegetables, and season with salt and cracked black pepper. Mix well.

Add the drained aduki beans to the vegetables.

Add about half a cup of boiling water to the vegetables and stir in Marmite until dissolved.

Add the frozen peas to the vegetables. Stir thoroughly, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the stock has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to sit for a few minutes.

Preheat grill to a medium heat.

Drain the potatoes and allow to sit. Add a generous amount of butter or dairy-free spread and mash until smooth.

Spoon a small amount of mashed potato onto the top of the vegetables, until evenly covered.

Place the oven-proof pan under the grill and remove when the mashed potatoes start to turn golden or crisp.

(An alternative option is to peel and thinly slice the potatoes to roughly ½ cm thickness. Add to boiling water and simmer until almost cooked but still firm. Drain and set aside. Once the vegetables and sauce are cooked, layer the potatoes on top. Drizzle with olive oil and cook under the grill until crisp and golden.)

Butter Bean and Vegetable Casserole Recipe

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A simple, savoury supper for cold, winter evenings.

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 Clove of Garlic crushed

1 Medium onion diced

1 Small Butternut Squash deseeded, peeled and cut into cm cubes

1 Carrot cut into cm cubes

1 Parsnip cut into cm cubes

4 New Potatoes quartered

1 400g Tin of Butter Beans

1/2 Tsp of Dried Rosemary

1/2 Tsp of Dried Thyme

1 heaped tsp of English Mustard

1 heaped tsp of Marmite

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Method:

Pour a splash of oil into a medium sized oven-proof pan and heat on a medium heat.

When the oil is warm, add the onions to the pan and cook for about five minutes or until translucent.

Add dry herbs, garlic and cook for about 1 minute, season with salt and pepper.

Add potatoes, parsnip and carrot, cook for about five minutes, until the vegetables are slightly softened at the edges.

Add enough hot water to just cover the vegetables. Heat until water begins to simmer.

Add Marmite and mustard, mix well for one minute until dissolved.

Cover the pan and put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 Degrees Celsius. Stir every 10 to 15 mintues.

Remove the pan from the oven to add the butter beans, mix well, then return the pan to the oven for further 20 minutes. If the sauce is too watery, cook for 5-10 minutes with the lid off.

Serve with oatcakes.

Three Bean Chilli Recipe

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We usually make a big pan of Chilli and freeze a few portions for lazy, midweek suppers.

Ingredients (serves 6):

1 Red Chili Pepper finely chopped

1 Large Onion diced

1 Red Pepper chopped into cm squares

1 Orange Pepper chopped into cm squares

2 400g tins of Chopped Tomatoes

1 400g tin of Red Kidney Beans

1 400g tin of Black Eyed Beans

1 400g tin of Borlotti Beans

Spice Mix:

1/2 tsp of Coffee Granules

1/2 tsp of Sugar

1/2 tsp of Cinnamon

1/2 tsp of Tumeric

1 tbsp of Smoked Paprika

(My chilli tends to be mild and smoky but if you prefer it with a bit of fire, add 1 tsp of medium or hot Chili Powder to the spice mix)

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Method:

Pour a generous splash of olive oil into a large pan on a medium heat.

Add chili pepper to the pan and cook for about one minute.

Stir in the onions and cook for about five minutes or until the onions become translucent.

Add peppers, mix well and cook for between three and five minutes or until slightly softened.

Add the spice mix and stir thoroughly to ensure all the vegetables are coated, cook for about one minute until the spice take on the consistency of a paste.

Add the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Cook until the tomatoes start to bubble, cover the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 40-60 minutes until the liquid reduces, stirring occasionally.

Add all of the beans to the pan, mix well and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.

Serve with white rice and tortilla chips.