Friday, 27 June 2014

Vegetable and Chickpea Tagine

This recipe is adapted from one a friend passed on to me from Delicious Magazine. The original recipe included lamb and honey, which I have substituted for extra vegetables and a little sugar. I also reduced the fat content considerably by cutting down on the suggested amounts of olive oil. 

Serves 4-6

Main ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ butternut squash, peeled and de-seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 100g/4oz mushrooms, whole or cut into quarters, depending on size.
  • 100g/4oz green beans, cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 or 2 large white potatoes or small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 400g/16oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 or 3 strips of lemon zest
  • 500ml/1 pt hot vegetable stock
For the chermoula:
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp harissa paste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (made with a stock cube and boiling water)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp chermoula
First, make the chermoula by putting all the ingredients into a mini food processor. Blend to a smooth paste, then set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan. Add the onion, squash and potatoes and fry over a medium heat until just starting to brown. Add the cinnamon, ginger and 2 tablespoons of the chermoula, and cook for a couple of minutes.
Throw in the green beans, mushrooms and chickpeas.
Add the tomatoes, stock and sugar and stir.
Cover the pan and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile put the couscous and 2 tsp of the remaining chermoula into heatproof bowl and stir in the boiling water, lemon juice and oil. Cover with cling film and leave for 5 minutes.
Uncover the bowl and fluff up with a fork.

Finally mix the remaining chermoula into the tagine and stir well. Simmer for just a couple more minutes before serving.

Serve with couscous and/or flatbread.

 The Spice Trail
Alternatives: Swap the sugar in the tagine for a handful of chopped, dried apricots. 
Use any combinations of firm vegetables....this would be great way to use up gluts of home-grown vegetables such as courgettes and runner beans.
This recipe also works well with meat substitutes such as Quorn....use your preferred meat-sub instead of the extra vegetables.
You could make this a lower-fat dish by reducing the amount of oil still further, but I feel that as it's a vegan family meal, a glug of good quality olive oil is a good thing!

I'm linking this recipe to The Spice Trail challenge over at Bangers and Mash. This month's theme is cumin.

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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The cheapest cabin-sized baggage?

 UPPTACKA cabin case
Do excuse this slightly random and not-at-all food-related post, but I've recommended this case on several different forums and thought it would be easier to post here to save repeating myself!

If, like me, you favour budget airlines and independently-booked accommodation over package holidays, you might be interested to know that IKEA currently have a cabin-sized foldable case for just £12 (with a free, Ikea Family Card). Ikea's Upptacka case measures 48cm x 34cm x 20cm, so is well within the hand luggage constraints of all major budget airlines... as far as I know.

Slightly frustratingly (as we tried so hard to find a budget-priced case to fit in with Ryanair's required baggage dimensions), we've used ours twice already and it has ended up in the hold, but has survived to tell the tale! Do label your case though, as if it ends up in the hold it may well be one of several identical cases on the carousel!

Integrity Statement
I purchased this case myself and have not been offered any incentive for a review.

Image courtesy of Ikea.

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Saturday, 21 June 2014

Cinnamon Sugar Mini Muffin Doughnuts

Cinnamon Sugar Mini Muffin Doughnuts
When I saw Michelle from Utterly Scrummy's recipe for these delicious-looking, mini muffin-doughnuts (which are obviously not Duffins!), I just had to make them. They're really simple to make, and taste even better then they look! They have the taste and texture of those mini supermarket doughnuts.

I made a few minor changes to the recipe as follows...

  • I halved the recipe (to make 24) and replaced the cinnamon in the cake mixture with vanilla extract. 
  • To coat the muffins, I mixed 2 tsp of cinnamon with 6 tbsp sugar. 
  • I melted around 4 tbsp butter and after dipping a couple and seeing how much butter each muffin absorbed, I decided to just dip the 'muffin tops' into the butter, but still roll the whole cakes in the cinnamon sugar.

 Bookmarked RecipesI froze half of the batch and took a few out to defrost as and when anyone fancied one. They are best served warm and I found that a 10-15 second blast in the microwave did the job, without affecting the taste or texture.

My next challenge is to make a vegan version, so watch this space!

I'm adding this post to this month's Bookmarked Recipes over on Tinned Tomatoes.

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Monday, 16 June 2014

World Cup Vegetarian Meal Plan!

World Cup Flags

OK, this is a bit of a cash in on the World Cup, as I'm really not a football fan, but as Mr O has suggested that I cook different family meals for the different matches this week, I thought I may as well blog my meal plan!

Meal Planning MondayI'm adding this meal plan to Mrs M's Meal Planning Monday linky.

Here are a few of my previous vegetarian/vegan meal plans:

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Thursday, 12 June 2014

Triple Chocolate Vegan Cookies - Suma Blogger's Network

triple chocolate vegan cookies
This is my first post for the brand new Suma Blogger’s Network, which I'm very proud to be part of.The Network is made up of a collection of vegetarian and vegan bloggers from all over the UK, who will be blogging every couple of months using ingredients from Suma Co-op (wholesale suppliers of a huge range of vegetarian and vegan foods)

Each recipe will be featured both on the individuals' blogs and on the Suma website.

My first recipe is a slightly indulgent one, but one which will hopefully dispel the myth that vegetarians and vegans live on lentils and spinach! 

Makes 10-12 cookies
  • 4oz/1400g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sieved 
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3oz/75g dairy-free margarine/spread
  • 6oz/150g soft, brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp No-Egg (egg replacer) mixed with 1 tbsp water
  • 2oz/50g white, dairy-free chocolate/chocolate chips (I used Organica vegan white chocolate from Suma)
  • 2oz/50g 'milk', dairy-free chocolate/chocolate chips (I used Moo-Free from Suma)
  • 2oz/50g dark, dairy-free chocolate/chocolate chips (I used Plamil chocolate chips from Suma)
a selection of products from Suma
Pre-heat the oven to 170C/160C Fan/325 F/Gas 3 and grease two baking sheets.

Melt the spread on a low heat and allow to cool.
Cream the spread with the syrup and sugar.

Add the remaining dry ingredients (except the chocolate), the egg-replacer and the vanilla
Mix until you have a fairly firm, smooth dough; if the dough is too crumbly, add a little water or dairy-free milk.
Add the chocolate pieces and mix again to distribute them evenly through the dough.

Take dessert-spoonfuls of the mixture and place them, spaced well apart on the baking sheets.
Do not flatten.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for around 5 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool.

 Suma Blogger's Network
Will keep for several days in an airtight container. Suitable for freezing. 

Alternatives: Make chocolate-orange or mint-chocolate cookies, by swapping the vanilla extract for orange or mint.

Integrity Statement
As a member of the Suma Blogger's Network, I will receive a selection of complimentary products from Suma every two months, to use in recipe development, and will blog an original recipe for the Network. 

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Saturday, 7 June 2014

Greek-Style Tortilla/Taco Salad with Halloumi

Greek-style taco salad with halloumi

After making my first ever tortilla bowls a couple of weeks ago, I decided to experiment further and tried making microwaved bowls (see tutorial below)The wraps puffed up slightly, so maybe corn tortillas are a better option, but they went nice and crispy and worked very well as an alternative to toasted pittas with this Greek-inspired salad.

You will need:
  • 4 tortilla wraps, microwaved as below and allowed to cool
  • 1 pack of halloumi, sliced into 8 and grilled or barbecued
  • Your choice of fresh salad ingredients (I used lettuce, tomato, onion, bell pepper and cucumber)
Dressing: (mix all ingredients together)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • A little black pepper
To make the tortilla/taco bowls:
Microwave one tortilla wrap at a time for 15-30 seconds on high, to soften.
Brush or wipe one side of each wrap with a little oil.
Place oiled-side-down into a heat-proof dish, pleating the wrap gently so that it fits inside the bowl.
Remove from the bowl and dry out the wrap in a medium oven for around 5 minutes, before cooling on a wire rack. 
microwaved tortilla bowls
Fill each tortilla bowl with salad ingredients. Top with the warm halloumi and drizzle the dressing over.
Serve immediately with your favourite dips.

Vegan option: swap the halloumi for vegan falafels.
Alternatives: Vary the salad ingredients and toppings, to make Mexican or Indian-inspired salads.

 Family Foodies
 NCRI'm entering this recipe to this month's No Croutons Required Challenge, co-hosted by Jacqui at Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa at Lisa's Kitchen

I'm also adding it to 
June's Family Foodies co-hosted by Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash

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