I could’ t recommend this veggie version of shepherd’s pie enough. I first tried it when I had to prepare a dinner for a few vegetarians some time ago. Since then it became my choice of preference, even over meaty version. Addition of the red wine is a must!
VEGGIE SHEPHERD’S PIE WITH SWEET POTATO TOPPING
(adapted from BBC Good Food collection)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 large carrots, finely cubed
2 celery sticks, finely cubed
2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
200ml red wine
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 vegetable stock cubes
400g cooked green/puy lentils (alternatively 1x410g canned lentil)
About 1kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
85g mature cheddar, grated
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil, then fry the onion until golden. Add the carrots, celery and thyme, continue to cook for a few more minutes. Then pour in the wine, 150ml of water and the tomatoes, sprinkle the stock cubes and simmer for 15 minutes. Tip in the lentils and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile boil the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes or until cooked, drain well and mash with the butter, season well to taste.
- Pile the lentil mixture into a pie oven-proof dish, spoon the mash on top, sprinkle over with the grated cheese and some extra thyme if you wish. At this stage, pie can be covered and chilled for 2 days, or frozen for up to a month.
- If you are cooking straight away, heat the oven up to 180C. Cook for 20 minutes if cooking straight away, or for 40 minutes from chilled. In both cases cook until golden on the top and hot and bubbly all the way through. Serve with green veggies of your choice.
It is one of the simplest but most comforting soups. There’s no waste with this soup. Use the whole broccoli head, including the stalk, to really make the most of this valuable vegetable. Top it up with crumbled blue cheese or a mature cheddar, or it is just as good on its on with crusty buttered bread.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
knob of butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 potato, diced
approx 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
1 big head of broccoli, finely chopped
100g any cheese you prefer, for serving (optional)
- Heat the oil and the butter in a large saucepan and then add the onions. Cook on a medium heat until soft. Add a splash of water if the onions start to catch.
- Add the leek, carrot and potato. Allow to sweat for 5 minutes under the lid.
- Then pour in the stock and add any chunky bits of broccoli stalk. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes until all the vegetables are soft.
- Now add the broccoli and cook for a further 5 minutes. Carefully transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth. Taste for seasoning and serve.
- Serve with any cheese on top or just as it is.
This salad combines all my favourite ingredients. It is perfect for this time of year, as the courgettes are at its best at the moment. You can also leave the vegetables to marinate for a couple of hours before serving, but always fry halloumi at the last minute, as it is best served warm.
CARROT, COURGETTE AND HALLOUMI SALAD
(adapted from Waitrose magazine)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 large carrots
50g cashew nuts
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
250g halloumi, cut into 1cm slices
- To make a dressing whisk the oils, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and ginger together in a large bowl. Using a vegetable peeler or a spiraliser, peel ribbons of the courgettes and carrots into the bowl with the dressing, toss it all together, set aside to marinade while you prepare everything else.
- In a large non-stick frying pan toast the cashew nuts for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat until golden, set aside. Next toast the sesame seeds for 2-3 minutes, set aside with the nuts.
- Fry halloumi for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden.
- Lift the vegetables from the dressing and put on a plate. Top with the halloumi and scatter over the nuts and seeds. Serve immediately while the cheese is still warm, spooning over a little extra dressing, if you like.
Beans are one of the staples of Mexican cuisine and they come in dozens of varieties. The simple recipe of cooking them gently with onion and an aromatic herb is, perhaps, the most common method of preparation for any beans.
BLACK BEAN SOUP (SOPA DE FRIJOL)
1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
250 g black beans, soaked overnight
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 white onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
about 100 g cubes of Feta cheese
handful spring onion and parsley, chopped
In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and peppers and cook until tender about 5-8 minutes. Stir in oregano and cumin, toss to coat vegetables. Pour in stock and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the beans are tender and cooked. Puree half of the soup in the blender until smooth and stir back into soup pot. Check for seasoning. Serve hot with garnishes.
This is my kind of bread! Although it is a yeast dough, as the title says, it doesn’t require kneading and it’s full of texture due to the amount of seeds in it. Good with soups and on it’s own, but even better with the daubing of soft goats cheese.
NO_KNEAD HONEY SEED BREAD
(Recipe taken from the book ‘Entertaining Vegetarians’
by Celia Brook)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons leenseeds
butter for greasing
milk, for brushing (optional)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (for sprinkling)
- Dissolve the honey in 1-1/4 cups hot (but not boiling) water in a small bowl or pitcher. Whisk in the yeast and let stand in a warm place for about 15 minutes until frothy.
- Combine the two flours in a mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the salt and the pumpkin, sunflower and leenseed. Gradually add the yeasty water and mix to a dough. As the dough draws together, put the spoon aside and start using the one hand to press the dough into a ball and the other hand to turn the bowl, incorporating everything into a soft, pliable mixture that leaves the sides of the bowl fairly clean. If the mixture is very sticky, sprinkle in a bit of flour to form a soft dough.
- Grease a cookie sheet. Please the dough on it and form into a tapered “eye” shape — or whatever shape you fancy. Dust with flour and over with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size. Preheat the over to 200C. Use kitchen scissors to make a decorative snips down the middle of the read. Brush all over with milk and sprinkle with poppy seeds, if desired. Bake the loaf in the preheated oven for 30 – 40 minutes, until golden, firm and hollow-sounding when tapped. Let cool on a wire rack.
This is one of the simplest and fastest Indian dishes you can do with homemade Paneer.
I will often vary the vegetables depending on what’s available and what we are in the mood for.
This recipe is versatile!
STIR-FRY WITH PANEER AND PEPPERS
5 tablespoons clarified butter or vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seed, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon paprika
2 medium onions, finely diced or grated
1 fresh green chilli, chopped, with or without seeds
2 large yellow bell pepper, cut into cubes/thin strips
2 courgette, cut in halves
200g cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1 tablespoon fenugreek powder (or fresh leaves, if you wish)
250g paneer, cut into cubes
Juice of 1-2 limes, to taste
- In a saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of ghee on medium heat. Add coriander seed and paprika. Stir and cook for thirty seconds.
- Add the onions and green chilli and fry for 5–6 minutes, or until the onions are just softening but not browned and still have a little crunch. Add the peppers, courgette, salt and fenugreek powder, and fry for a further 3–4 minutes.
- Lower the heat, add the paneer to the pan and gently stir everything together for about five minutes, then add the tomatoes and heat through. Stir in the lime juice, check seasoning and serve immediately.
The Lebanese believe that za’atar, a mixture of thyme, sumac and sesame seeds, gives strength and clears the mind.
I do believe that this spice turns simple two veg salad in something exciting for the palette .
Good snack or side to any meal. Cucumber, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and za’atar mix on top! Addictive!
Make the salad as big or as small as you like, the ratios are really not that important.
CUCUMBER & ZA’ATAR SALAD
- Slice cucumber and onions thinly. Drain off excess liquid from cucumber and arrange them on the plate, add onion slices on top.
- Sprinkle the za’atar over the cucumbers. Season with salt and pepper, lemon juice and olive oil.