Mushroom kebabs – homemade vegetarian shiitake mushroom kebabs

So it turns out I’ve become a bit of a cliché.

For the last few months I’ve been on a drive to save money and eat more healthily. The good news is these two aims have complimented each other nicely, as a lot of my healthier meals have been meatless. I’ve exchanged meat for a lot of beans, chickpeas and lentils, which are a lot cheaper! Apparently, this makes me a flexitarian, which is a very trendy thing to be right now. (Also known as “a vegetarian who cheats” according to The Guardian…)

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One of my favourite recent recipes on the blog was my delicious lamb kebabs. I wanted to make them again, but a “flexitarian” version. I choose shiitake mushrooms as my meat substitute because of their texture and taste. They are topped with an awesome garlic mayo and homemade pickles. Try them out – you definitely won’t miss the meat!

Ingredients (serves 2)
– 200g shiitake mushrooms
– one red onion, peeled and cut into half moons
– 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
– 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
– 1 teasoon dried oregano
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– half a teaspoon celery seeds
– 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce

To serve:
– flatbreads (I made mine using this BBC Good Food recipe)
– roasted garlic mayonnaise (a few teaspoons of mayo mixed with a few cloves of roasted garlic
– pickled cucumbers (check out Feasting At Home for great tips on how to do this)
– a handful of parsley

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Method
1. Mix the flatbread dough.
2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until softened and turning translucent.
3. Clean and slice the shiitake mushrooms. Add them to the pan along with the spices and Worchestershire sauce.
4. Cook for at least 5 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and have absorbed all of the amazing flavours.
5. In the meantime, mash the roasted garlic with the mayonnaise and cook the flatbreads.
6. Serve and enjoy!

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Chickpea goulash (paprika-spiced vegan chickpea stew)

Chickpea goulash (paprika-spiced vegan chickpea stew)

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I was recently lucky enough to visit Australia. I spent a week in Sydney and the second week in Melbourne, eating a lot of amazing food. One happy day in Melbourne, I discovered a gorgeous shop selling spices.  I spent quite a long time smelling the amazing aromas, and picked up a few treats, like an applewood smoked salt that makes everything taste unbelievable!

Their goulash seasoning smelt so amazing that I was inspired to create this recipe. It is SO tasty. It’s a vegetarian spin on a traditional goulash. Hungarian goulash is usually made with pork, so this version with chickpeas is a lot lighter, healthier and cheaper to make. I batch cook this as it freezes really well. You don’t really need anything else with it, as the chickpeas are so filling. You can serve it with soured cream or even grated cheese… but obviously if you’re vegan then use vegan substitutes.

You can sprinkle parsley on the top of this when you serve, but I love using the chopped leaves from the top of the celery instead. (No waste!)

Chickpea goulash Facebook

Ingredients (makes 4 portions)
– two onions, peeled and finely chopped
–  4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
– 2 celery sticks, sliced
– 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
– 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
– 2 bay leaves
– 2x cans of chickpeas, drained
– tin of chopped tomatoes

Optional – soured cream / vegan soured cream to serve

Method
1. Heat a little oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Sauté the onion, garlic, celery and carrots for a few minutes until softened and the onion is starting to turn translucent.
2. Add the bay leaves and paprika, plus salt and pepper. Stir together – this should begin to release a gorgeous smoky smell.
3. Tip in the chopped tomatoes and drained chickpeas. Stir everything together and leave to simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes until thickened.
4. Taste and season.
5. Serve with your favourite toppings

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Sweet potato mac and cheese (gluten free)

Sweet potato mac and cheese (gluten free)

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Last Christmas I got Anna Mae’s Mac n Cheese recipe book, which has rapidly become one of my most used books. It’s full of amazing recipes for macaroni cheese and is so beautiful to boot. If you have any cheese-loving friends, I would highly recommend this as a gift.

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It’s made me play around with Mac and Cheese recipes, which has been fun! This one is definitely my favourite, not least because it is gluten free. Substituting the pasta for sweet potato noodles adds a delicious flavour and makes it slightly healthier…. although there’s still a LOT of cheese in this! I use a Lurch spiralizer, which I’ve always found to be a really reliable model.

If you don’t have a spiralizer, then you will just have to cut the sweet potatoes into small cubes and cook them for an extra 5-10 minutes before adding the cheese mix.
Or just buy a spiralizer!

Ingredients (serves 2)
– 3 medium sized sweet potatoes
– 1 tablespoon oil
– 1 teaspoon each paprika and thyme
– 300 ml milk
– 25g unsalted butter
– 25g rice flour (or other gluten free flour)
– 125g cheddar
– 75g Parmesan
– 100 g mozzarella
– 1 teaspoon English mustard
– salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper

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Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
2. Peel the sweet potatoes and spiralize them to make thin noodles. Trim any really long noodles and toss with the oil, paprika, thyme plus salt and pepper. Bake for 35-40 minutes in an oven proof dish, moving regularly to make sure the edges don’t burn.
3. While the noodles cook, make your cheese sauce. Melt the butter over a medium heat and slowly stir in the flour. Cook out the flour for up to 4 minutes.
4. Warm the milk (don’t let it boil) and add this gradually to the butter and flour, whisking constantly. When it is all combined, cook for about 8 minutes, or until the the sauce has thickened.
5. Grate your cheese. You can do this by hand, but to be honest, I cut mine into large cubes and then chuck it in the food processor. So. Much. Quicker.
6. Add the mustard, cheddar and Parmesan to the white sauce and stir until all of the cheese is melted in.
7. Pour the cheeeeesy sauce all over the noodles, which should now be cooked through but a little al dente. Stir together, then spread the mozzarella over the top. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Turn the oven to high grill and cook for 6-8 minutes until the cheese is molten and bubbly.

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Caramelised beetroot and onion tarte tatin

Caramelised beetroot and onion tarte tatin

Tarte tatin always sounded like such a lovely thing and they always look so very pretty! But I have a real aversion to cooked fruit. I don’t like apple pie, fruit crumbles… Or tarte tatin.

But I’ve found a solution in the form of savoury tarte tatin! Beetroot and red onion caramelised with balsamic vinegar, then fanned out and topped with pastry. There are walnuts for crunch and a little bit of cheese to make the whole thing ooze together.

They’re perfect dinner party food as an elegant appetiser, but they’re also great as a main meal with couscous and a green salad. Enjoy!

Beetroot tarte tatin (8)

Ingredients (makes 4 small tarts)
– roughly 180g shortcrust pastry, rolled out
– 200g cooked beetroot
– 1 small red onion
– 1 tablespoon butter
– 1 tablespoon brown sugar
– 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
– 80g mozzarella
– 40g roughly chopped walnuts
Optional – 4 tablespoons of soured cream mixed with a handful of chopped parsley

You will also need what we call a Yorkshire pudding tin – a baking tray with four large, shallow indents for making individual tarts.
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Method
1. Peel and thinly slice the red onion into half moons. Cut the beetroot into thin wedges. Grease the baking tray well with oil or butter. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Melt the brown sugar in a large frying pan, then add the butter. Add the beetroot wedges and onion slices and cook for about 10 minutes, until they begin to caramelise.
3. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a few more minutes, until the vinegar is reduced and thick.
4. Arrange the beetroot wedges in fan shapes in the baking tray. Remember, you will tip them out and the bottom will become the top, so aim for a nice pattern! Spoon the onion slices and sauce over the top.
5. Divide the walnuts between the four tarts. Cut the mozzarella into four slices and place on top of the beetroot, onion and walnuts.
6. Finally, use a cup, glass or cookie cutter to cut circles of pastry. Aim for them to be slightly larger than the size of the tart cases. Prick the circles with a fork.
7. Place the pastry circles on top of each tart case and tuck in the edges.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven until the pastry is cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
9. Turn them out gently and serve with a tablespoon of the soured cream and parsley mix (optional)

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Cheesy mushroom and quails’ egg breakfast cups – Vegetarian

Cheesy mushroom and quails’ egg breakfast cups

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These breakfast cups are really easy to make and so tasty! They’re great for a vegetarian brunch or breakfast… you could also try them with a bit of bacon mixed in with the mushrooms if you’re not veggie!

You don’t need any special equipment, just a standard muffin tin.

Serve warm with a dab of spicy ketchup – you can either buy chilli ketchup or mix regular with a small amount of Sriracha.

Ingredients (made 6)
– 2 flour tortillas
– 1 cup mushrooms
– half a cup of grated cheddar cheese
– 6 quails’ eggs
– freshly ground black pepper
– chilli ketchup to serve (optional)

Method
File_000 (1)1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Lightly grease six holes in a muffin tin. Use a glass to cut six circles out of the tortillas – the glass works like a cookie cutter. Push each circle into a hole in the muffin tin.

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3. Roughly chop the mushrooms. Saute in a little oil (or I used roasted garlic butter) for 3 or 4 minutes until they are starting to colour. Divide the mushrooms between the six tortillas circles.

File_0024. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the mushrooms.

File_0035. Crack a quail’s egg on top of the grated cheese. (It helps if you push the centre of the cheese down to make a dip first, so they egg stays in the middle. Guess which one I didn’t do this with!)
Top with black pepper.

File_0046. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the white is set but the yolk is still runny. Keep an eye on them, as the yolk goes from runny to set very quickly! Serve with the spicy ketchup and enjoy.


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Star shaped tortilla bites and tangy tomato dip

Star shaped tortilla bits and tango tomato dip

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Want an impressive looking appetiser that is really easy to make?

Look no further!

These star shaped tortilla bites are delicious but are made in just minutes. You can also make them a few hours in advance – just store in a sealed container so they don’t go soft. They are baked so are healthier than most fried chips or crisps, and the accompanying tomato dip is packed with fresh flavours.

You make the star shape using a standard cookie cutter. I have this nest of star shapes, so you choose a variety of different sizes. You can also experiment with different shapes of cookie cutters. They’d be perfect for a children’s party! What about animal shapes or even Christmas tortillas?

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Ingredients
– Flour tortillas
– Zest of one lime mixed with a teaspoon of sea salt
– Star shaped cookie cutter

For the dip (serves 6)
– 1 tomato
– 200g cherry tomatoes
– half a red onion
– 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
– 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
2. Use the cookie cutter to cut out star shapes from the tortillas. If you press down firmly, you can cut through several tortillas at once.
3. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet (you may need to do more than one batch) and bake for 4-6 minutes until crisp but not brown.
4. Sprinkle immediately with the lime zest and sea salt.

To make the dip, finely chop the tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and onion. Mix with the vinegar and ketchup. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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