Tag Archives: vegetarian

Vegetable Couscous Salad

2 recipes posted in under a week? If you are guessing that I must have something really important to do, and that this is the perfect form of procrastination – then indeed you are right. This is pretty mild procrastination compared to the lengths of my desperation yesterday. I actually entered myself into this month long novel-writing challenge and while I should have been analysing identity theory, I was in my own fantasy world writing pages and pages about an impending apocalypse. I have serious issues when it comes to work motivation.

This recipe is SO easy but I know when it comes to new lunch ideas for kiddos that it is always useful to find a new meal. Ivy is admittedly a fantastic eater but she seems to usually reserve all her open-mindedness for dinner. While I am cooking dinner she is usually so desperate for food that I can get her to literally eat anything. I’m not even kidding. This kid snacks on raw pepper and spinach like its chocolate spread on ice cream. What kind of toddler does that? But when it comes to lunch, she is usually strictly a scrambled-eggs-and-toast kinda gal. A few days ago we had almost nothing in the kitchen and due to my inability to cope with a minor cold, I was still in pyjamas and didn’t fancy venturing out the house, so I came up with this. And it was surprisingly incredibly tasty, made even more enjoyable by watching Ivy shovel down huge chunks of raw tomato and cucumber. You could add anything to this salad, I would have added some chopped parsley or coriander if it weren’t for the still-in-pyjamas issue, and I was going to add  black olives but Ivy was getting so stressed out watching me try to open the jar for 15 minutes that I decided it was best for all of us if I just gave up.

Anyway, this is a yum recipe and would make a good side dish to a dinner of falafel, pitta and tzatziki.

Vegetable Couscous Salad (serves 2)

150g couscous

300ml vegetable stock

1/4 large cucumber, cut into chunks

1-2 salad tomatoes, de-seeded and cut into chunks

1 teaspoon cumin

A dash of lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

Pour the stock on the couscous, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes or until soft. Combine the rest of the ingredients and serve.

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Evidence (the serious look on her face means she is enjoying it):

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Right, back to the apocalypse.

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Thai Coconut Noodle Soup

Wow, I have been really crappy at keeping up with this blog. That is not to say that we have been eating crap this whole time, just that settling in in Brighton/festivals/enjoying the last of the summer has taken up my time. There isn’t a lot to report, aside from a lot of time watching Ivy go up and down those tacky slides they have along all English seafronts, buying a really expensive bell tent at last minute because the thought of festival-ing with our little shitty two man tent made me want to cry, and watching Ivy grow into a chatty little madam who is impartial to the odd poo joke every now and then.Image

So I came up with this recipe a few weeks ago and was surprised by how delicious it was. I made the mistake of using reduced fat coconut milk though so had to send Dom out on an emergency trip to buy creamed coconut as it just tasted too watery. You could also use a different thai paste if panang is too spicy for your liking, I am practicing the ‘forcing your child into having high spice tolerance’ style of parenting.

1 tablespoon oil (I use groundnut)

150g tenderstem broccoli, stalks chopped off

100g baby corn, halved

A few shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1/2 head bok choy

1.5-2 tablespoons of a thai paste of your choice, I used panang

1 tin of coconut milk

150ml water

1 teaspoon of palm sugar

Thai fish sauce

150g noodles – I used sharwoods ‘straight to wok’ noodles but only because my crappy local tesco didn’t supply rice noodles

A bunch of chopped coriander

Heat oil in the pan and add paste and a splash of the coconut milk and stir fry until aromatic. Add the chopped vegetables, the rest of the coconut milk and water, a few dashes of fish sauce and the palm sugar and simmer for half an hour, adding more water if it begins to thicken too much. Add noodles and simmer for a further 5 minutes then remove from heat, stir through chopped coriander and serve.

Voila.

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Lentil Lasagne

I just wrote a very long and detailed entry about all that we have been upto over this month, and then accidentally pressed the backspace and the entire thing was wiped out. I literally said ‘NOOOOOO’ in the most film-ish way. Why is it so easy to delete a new post? Can’t you be more like hotmail and ask me if I’m sure that I want to leave the page? I can’t believe I am wanting anything to be more like crappy hotmail, but there you go.

So because I simply do not have the will to type out everything again, here are the keywords from the post: last minute camping trip, late nights, unpacking, toddler tantrums and huge argument with psychotic neighbour. Maybe I should just write all my entries like this, to save myself any future backspace accidents. I fear I may break my laptop in some kind of hasty vengeance next time.

I am going to be frank; I really hate making lasagne. There is too much chopping, frying, baking and subsequently washing up for my liking, but because it tastes so good every couple of months I finally stop being so lame and make one. This is the first time I used lentils in one and my boyfriend was very hesitant, but the entire dish was completely annihilated and he said he would have happily eaten double the amount which is probably a good sign. I used merchant gourmet puy lentils but to be honest, it seemed like a shame to add them to a sauce when they already taste to delicious on their own, so next time I would probably just use regular canned lentils. You could use dried too, but only if you have more patience than I do because cooking dried lentils takes waaaaaayyy longer than my brain will allow me to wait.

Lentil Lasagne (serves 3-4)

250g puy lentils

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato puree

100ml red wine (optional – depending on how comfortable you are with putting alcohol in your child’s food. I personally am borderline TOO-relaxed)

1 red onion, finely chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 celery stick, finely chopped

1-2 carrots, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1 bay leaf

Approx. six lasagne sheets, soaked in warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

Pepper, to taste

Grated cheese (I use a mix of cheddar and mozzarella)

For the white sauce:

25g butter

25 flour

300ml milk

A handful of grated cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 200c. Heat olive oil in a pan and add onion, gently fry for 2 or 3 minutes. Add garlic, pepper, celery and carrots and cook gently for a further ten minutes. Add the red wine if using and turn up to a high heat for a few minutes, then add tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, bay leaf, sugar, lentils and black pepper and turn down to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan and stir in flour to form a paste. Remove from the heat and stir in milk slowly, to avoid forming lumps. Put back onto the heat and bring to a boil and then down to a simmer. Add cheese if using and continue stirring until smooth.

In a pie or baking dish, make a thin layer of the lentil sauce, put lasagne sheets on top (you will probably have to break them up into pieces to spread evenly across) and add a generous layer of white sauce. Repeat until you are at the top of the dish – will probably make 3 layers. On the top layer, add white sauce and then sprinkle with cheese.

Put the dish in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until you can put a knife through and feel that the lasagne sheets are soft and cooked, and the cheese on top has browned. Serve with salad or vegetables.

Boring post, but TELL ME THIS DOESNT LOOK DELICIOUS:

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And proof that it wasn’t just the adults in the house who had second helpings:
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Sweet Potato Cakes

So, we are here. Ivy is already completely in love with Brighton, as are we. The only catch being that our landlord seems to have the most questionable taste in decor I have ever seen, but thankfully has allowed us to change it as much as we like – so we are staying with my mum while Dom makes it semi acceptable. When and how could anyone  ever think that royal blue walls and green carpets look good together? I totally imagined my first summer in Brighton relaxing in the sun on our local beach but thanks to this crappy weather we have been stuck inside for the most part, slowly developing cabin fever.

This isn’t my own recipe, and it is due to Ivy’s grabby hands that I found it. My mum has a freakishly large collection of recipe books (despite the fact that I can recall her making no more than 3 of the recipes since I was, I don’t know, 3) and Ivy is completely OBSESSED with Jamie Oliver’s cheeky little face. She stands by the books constantly pointing at him going ‘J-J!’ and trying to feed and kiss him – its weird and adorable in equal measure. So yesterday she was pulling out all the recipe books and placed an old Waitrose recipe card on my lap and I thought that anything with the words ‘sweet potato’ and ‘cake’ sound right up Ivy’s street. It would be a nice change to the usual sweet potato wedges that I make every time I’m feeling lazy.

Grating the sweet potato took fucking forever but you could be not as cheap as me and invest in a food processor, next time I think I’ll prepare them when Ivy is in bed and keep them chilled in the oven, I served them with veggie sausages and peas but they would make a great healthy lunch too. I only made half the recipe but they were so popular I will definitely make the full batch next time!

Sweet Potato Cakes

750g sweet potato, grated

100g goat’s cheese, crumbled

1 small onion, finely sliced and halved

1 garlic clove, minced or finely chopped

Oil

2 medium eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 220c. Heat oil in a pan and add onion and garlic until softened and browned. Add sweet potato, eggs and goat’s cheese and stir until mixed, shape into cakes (could make 4 large cakes but I made 8 mini ones). Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 25-30 minutes.

So we may have a house of mismatched colours and the rainiest July on record, but it could be worse, right?

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Stewed Apple with Manuka Honey

So I have a poorly Ivy this week. I hate seeing her feel rubbish but hey, its an excuse to stay in pyjamas and watch Peter Pan on the laptop so Ivy is coping, little soldier

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It is so tough when they aren’t old enough to verbalise how they are feeling, but going by the fact that she had a temperature last night, a little puke and has been refusing to eat any solid foods today I am guessing that she has some kind of throat infection. Feeding her a cup a soup (her first full sentence today was ‘more soup please’, after saying ‘more please soup’ about 5 times) I just NEEDED to get some vitamins into her, watch her gulp down those horrid salty crappy tasting soups was painful for me.

So I decided to make some stewed apple, then remembered the manuka honey sitting in my cupboard, unused after all those months ago when my mum called me repeatedly and barked the health benefits at me until I finally relented and bought a jar to appease her. Apparently manuka honey is great for healing wounds, sore throats and other general cold and flu symptoms. Usually, I am a bit skeptical of anything that claims to miraculously heal you and make you live to 100 when the prices are usually insanely high, but I figured it was worth a try and it would probably make the stew taste a little nicer anyway.

Here is the very simple recipe. It feels like kind of a waste of a post but given that I haven’t cooked anything for 2 days it was either this or instructions on how to boil water and stir it into soup mix.

Stewed Apple with Manuka Honey (serves 2)

2 dessert apples; I used pink ladies

1 teaspoon cinnamon

15g raisins

1 tablespoon manuka honey

75ml water

Peel and core apple and chop into small cubes. Place the apple in a small saucepan and add the rest of the ingredients, stir, cover and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until very soft and mushy, stirring occasionally. Next time I make this, I think I’ll try sprinkling some oats and adding a dollop of greek honey and the end, so I can trick myself into thinking I’m eating apple pie.

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It went down well

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As a side note, has anyone else watched Peter Pan recently? I don’t remember him being such an asshole, geez.

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Easy and Quick Chickpea Korma

My boyfriend has just taken Ivy out on his fortnightly ‘daddy-daughter day’ to the Aquarium, (so glad I am not included in this, octopus give me nightmares) so because I am nursing a mild hangover I am choosing to ignore my messy house and talk about food instead.

Chickpeas are definitely one of my favourite pulses. I have this weird thing about Quorn, something about the texture about it makes me feel all funny and grossed out, so I usually end up resorting to either chickpeas or lentils. For a long time Ivy refused to partake in any chickpea-eating activities much to my chagrin, until I discovered that if I call them ‘chicken peas’ she will laugh hysterically and then shovel them all down. That’s a bit weird, right? So now we have chickpea meals at least once a week, chickpea fajitas being my most recent discovery but a chickpea korma is definitely our favourite. I never thought I could say chickpea so much in one paragraph.

I feel like a bit of a cheat including this because I don’t make the paste myself but it is such a great meal to make if you have had a busy day, got home late and in a rush to make dinner before the little ones crash out. Sometimes in that situation I find myself resorting to making some pretty dull and not particularly healthy meals so this is a great one to have planned. I usually use Marks and Spencers korma paste but I’m sure any would do, or you could even make your own ahead of time and keep it in the fridge!

Chickpea and Spinach Korma

1 medium onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1cm ginger, finely chopped or minced

1/2 jar korma paste

1 tin of coconut milk

1/2 yellow pepper, diced

200g fresh spinach

1 tin of chickpeas

Vegetable oil

Basmati rice, to serve

Heat oil in a large pan and add onions, cook until softened. Add ginger and garlic and cook for a further minute, then add the paste and stir fry until aromatic. Pour in the coconut milk, bring to the boil, add chickpeas and yellow pepper, then turn down to simmer. Cover and simmer for approx. 20 minutes until chickpeas and pepper are softened. Stir in spinach until wilted and then serve with steaming hot rice.

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heh heh heh heh. Chicken peas.

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Simple Vegetable Risotto

It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that risotto is not a culinary masterpiece and total pain in the ass to make. As a student, I thought that I could call myself a ‘good cook’ because I was capable of putting a quorn fillet in the oven and boiling pasta, anything that involved chopping an onion was considered too scary and abandoned. It still makes me embarrassed when I think of the look on my boyfriend’s face when he discovered that I didn’t know how to fry an egg, (I DONT EVEN LIKE EGGS WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW HOW TO COOK THEM????) but since having Ivy I have turned into a pretty decent cook, and oh how I love to prove that man wrong.

So, I digress; once I finally braved my risotto and realised it was pretty simple, albeit a little tedious, it has become a staple in the house when I need to use up vegetables in the fridge. My other using-up-veg failsafe meal is a vegetable thai green curry but it is so easy it doesn’t even warrant a post: Tesco thai green curry paste (the most mild), coconut milk, vegetables of your choice, a splash of fish sauce and a teaspoon of sugar, simmered for 20 minutes. Done.

The risotto takes a bit more effort (and even, GASP, involves chopping an onion) but the effect of this meal is magical, Ivy will literally eat anything that I hide in risotto. I could probably make a risotto of brussel sprouts and old pieces of play doh and she would still ask for seconds.

We don’t have a t.v because we are weirdos, so keeping Ivy entertained while staying close to the pan sometimes proves to be a bit of a challenge and I resort to In The Night Garden on BBC Iplayer so Ivy can dance to that stupid makka pakka song (what is that shit?) and I can stir in peace, but often she just sits on the countertop and “helps” by dipping a wooden spoon in and out occasionally and eating Rice Krispies out of the box after I ask her not to.

Vegetable Risotto (this serves 4 people)

Knob of butter or olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

250g arborio risotto rice

Vegetables of your choice – in this risotto I used 1 carrot quartered, half a pack of asparagus halved, half a head of broccoli chopped and frozen peas

1 litre vegetable stock

2 tablespoons of soft cheese

Head oil or butter in a pan until hot and add onion and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add vegetables and garlic and fry for a further couple of minutes, then add the rice and fry until the rice is hot, stirring frequently. Pour in a good amount of stock (about half) and bring to the boil, then simmer. Once the stock is absorbed, add more with a ladle and keep adding until the rice is soft and cooked – it may take a little more than advised but the risotto still retain a good texture and shouldn’t be congealed. Add the soft cheese and stir through and serve.

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Great risotto. Shame my Rice Krispies stock is depleted.

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