Chilli-baked eggs

Another one from Leith’s Vegetarian Bible tonight, although not a lazy one, as this dish took around an hour to make.

As well as blogging my dinner, I’ve somehow been talked into drawing it too.  My mountain mate David has started a Facebook group called Draw Your Dinner where people draw pictures of their dinner (or lunch) and post them for everyone to see.  It is strangely fun.  You can join the group here.

Now, back to my dinner.

There’s eggs in here somewhere

Chili-baked eggs 001Eggs set and cheese melted, before going under the grill

Chili-baked eggs 003And served up with jacket wedges, peas, broad beans and sweetcorn

Chili-baked eggs 008Chilli-baked eggs (this recipe serves 4, but I halved it)

1 small red pepper

1 small green pepper

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 jalapeno chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/ teaspoon chilli powder

1 x 400g/14 oz can of chopped tomatoes

1 x 225g/8 oz can of chopped tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and freshly ground pepper

8 medium eggs

110g/4 oz Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

  1. Cut the red and green peppers in half and remove the stalks, pith and seeds.  Cut the flesh into small dice.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, deep, non-stick frying pan with a lid.  Add the peppers and onion and fry over a low heat for 4-5 minutes until soft but not browned.  Add the garlic, chillies, cumin and chilli powder and fry for 1 minute.  Add the chopped tomatoes, Tabasco and oregano and simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Make 8 hollows in the sauce with the back of a wooden spoon and carefully break an egg into each one.  Crumble over the cheese, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes until the eggs are set to your liking and the cheese has melted.  Meanwhile, preheat the grill to high.
  4. Slide the frying pan under the grill and cook for 1 minute until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
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Artichoke hearts carbonara

leiths_vegetarian_bibleAnother cookbook I don’t use that often is Leith’s Vegetarian Bible, although I don’t know why, as it’s great.  It has 1000 recipes arranged by vegetable type, so if you’re wondering what to with those leftover mushrooms, just turn to the mushroom section and this book will give you a load of options.  There are a few colour photographs but for a book this size (over 500 pages), if every recipe was photographed, it would take up an entire library and you’d need a winning lottery ticket.  Another quick and easy meal, this week’s theme seems to be laziness.


Artichoke hearts carbonara (serves 2)

1 x 400 g/14 oz can of artichoke hearts
340 g/12 oz tagliatelle or spaghetti
salt and freshly ground black pepper
25 g/1 oz butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 egg
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
50 g/2 oz vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  1. Drain the artichokes and pat dry on kitchen paper.  Cut into quarters.  Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook for about 10 minutes until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy frying pan, add the onion and fry over a low heat until softened.  Add the artichokes and garlic and fry for 2 further minutes.
  3. Whisk together the egg, crème fraîche and half the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add to the pan with the artichokes and stir until hot but not boiling and very slightly thickened.
  4. Drain the pasta thoroughly.  Return to the saucepan and stir in the artichoke sauce.  Season with salt and plenty of pepper.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the parsley.
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Ringan mattar (aubergine and pea curry)

This dish is perfect for a Monday evening when you can’t be bothered to spend a lot of time cooking.  Quick, easy and delicious.  It’s taken from Hansa’s Indian Vegetarian Cookbook: Popular Recipes from Hansa’s Gujarati Restaurant which is a book I can’t say much about – except it has some pretty pictures – as this is the only dish I’ve tried from it so far.  But after tonight’s success, I’ll certainly be trying out some more dishes from it.

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Ringan mattar (aubergine and pea curry)
Serves 4
Preparation time 20 minutes / cooking time 25 minutes

1 large aubergine (cut into chunky pieces)

3/4 lb (330gm) frozen peas

1 tsp ginger (crushed)

1 tsp garlic (crushed)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin and coriander powder

1 tsp red chillies

1 tin chopped tomatoes

5 tbsp cooking oil

1 tsp salt

1/4 pt (140 ml) water

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds pop and turn grey, add the tomatoes and the rest of the spices.
  2. Let the mixture simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  3. Add the aubergine chunks, peas and water and mix well.
  4. Cover the pan and let it cook for 20-25 minutes on a low heat, stirring frequently.
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Another pizza (this time less soggy)

After Jo responded to my ‘how to get pizza base less soggy’ question on my previous pizza post, The Meat Eater and I skipped off to our local Robert Dyas (ok we drove 10 miles to the nearest Robert Dyas) and purchased a pizza tray with holes in.  So, of course, we had to test out the holes=less sogginess theory, didn’t we?  So we did.  And it worked.  Hurrah.

Here’s the pizza about to be tested on its new tray.

Pizza 001And here it is, served up on a plate, not soggy.

Pizza 008It has the usual toppings of tomato sauce, onion, chili, mushrooms and cheese.  It would have had a red pepper on it but The Meat Eater (who was on pizza making duty) forgot to put it on.  He also forgot to put any vegan cheese on, I don’t know why.

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I’ve been grazing

Not like a cow out in the garden because we’ve run out of food but with the box I got delivered from today.  You can design your own box for when you get an attack of the munchies and want something healthier than a KitKat (or in my case, a Nutrageous bar, man those things are good!) or let them choose and you can tell them what you do or don’t like or are willing to try.

It turned up in the post today just like they said it would and it’s in a nice neat box

graze-002and I open it to reveal what they’ve sent me and I’ve got a nice big amount of cherries, a milkshake mix which is white chocolate, strawberries and sun-dried bananas.  I’m not keen on dried fruit, but I told them I’d give it a go but to make up for the dried bananas and strawberries, they’ve sent me some hot chilli cashews. 

graze 004If you’d like to try a box for free, with the second half price (you can cancel your order at any time), go to and enter the code HQTGF3G.

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Spanakopitta strudel

Another recipe adapted from the trusty old Good Housekeeping Step by Step Vegetarian Cookbook. According to Anita Bean, there’s no place for pastry in an athlete’s diet, but I haven’t been very athletic lately so I don’t care. And pastry’s nice, innit?

I’ll post the original recipe but my adaptation included mushrooms I needed to use up and some goat’s cheese and some other cheese that I’ve forgotten the name of that my mum brought me back from France. She actually brought it back for The Meat Eater but I stole it to cook with as there wasn’t any vegetarian feta in Sainsburys.

I was going to take a “before” photo but I’d brought my camera downstairs to the kitchen without the memory card and was too lazy to go back upstairs to get it before putting the strudel in the oven, so here’s what it looked like after it had been cooked.

Fresh out of the oven
Fresh out of the oven

And it didn’t fall apart when I cut it, hurrah.

An intact strudel
An intact strudel

And here it is on the plate with some nice healthy vegetables that I made very unhealthy by smothering them with butter.

Slightly overcooked broccoli, yum
Slightly overcooked broccoli, yum

Spanakopitta strudel (serves 4-6)

5 large sheets filo pastry

1 red onion

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

10 ml (2 tsp) ground coriander

2.5 ml (½ tsp) each ground cumin and cinnamon

10 ml (2 tsp) dried oregano

450 g (1 lb) frozen leaf spinach, thawed

175 g (6 oz) feta cheese, crumbled

15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh mint

salt and pepper

25 g (1 oz) ground almonds

25 g (1 oz) fresh breadcrumbs

  1. Peel and finely chop the onion.  Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion, garlic, spices and oregano and fry gently for 5 minutes to soften.  Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Drain the spinach and squeeze out all excess liquid, then add to the onion mixture.  Stir in the feta, mint and seasoning to taste; set aside.
  3. Melt 25 g (1 oz) of the butter in a clean frying pan, add the ground almonds and breadcrumbs and stir-fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until golden.
  4. Melt the remaining butter in a small pan.  Lay one sheet of filo pastry on a clean surface, brush with a little butter, then sprinkle over a quarter of the crumb mixture.
  5. Repeat these layers, brushing each pastry layer with butter and finishing with the final sheet of filo pastry.  Brush the top sheet with butter.
  6. Carefully spread the spinach mixture over the filo pastry, leaving a clear 2.5 cm (1 inch) border around the edge.
  7. Roll up from a short end, like a Swiss roll.  Carefully transfer to a baking sheet, making sure the seam is underneath.
  8. Brush with the4 remaining butter and bake at 200C (400F) Mark 6 for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.  Leave to stand for a few minutes then cut into slices.
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Vegan cheese on toast

Today I decided to be brave and venture once again into the strange and mysterious realm of vegan cheese and make myself some vegan cheese on toast with some of the melting mozzarella Cheezly I have left after testing some on the pizza I made the other day.  Because it has a slightly clay-like texture, it sticks to the knife and I have to peel it off and it falls apart and I scatter it haphazardly over the toast.

Vegan cheese on toast 002

I decide it will probably be nicer with some tomatoes and vegan Worcestershire sauce.  I also decide it would probably be nicer with Anchor butter under the cheese but that wouldn’t really be in keeping with the spirit of my vegan lunch.

Vegan cheese on toast 003I put it under the grill and it starts to bubble.  After a few minutes I take it out and hurrah, I have melted vegan cheese on toast!

Vegan cheese on toast 004I nervously take it over to the table to eat it and take a bite.  It’s not bad.  A bit grainy and with a very subtle flavour, but dairy mozzarella doesn’t have a strong flavour anyway so maybe I’ll try some melting Cheddar style next time.  Although maybe next time I’ll just have toast.

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Vegetarian pizza

I am truly a domestic goddess.  I know this because I make pizza from scratch, including the dough, and therefore this makes me a domestic goddess.  Even if I do make the dough in a bread machine.   And even though I can never roll the dough into a circle.

pizza 006

After you’ve rolled the dough into whatever shape you like (mine’s a kind of retarded Babapapa shape I think), cook the dough in the oven for a while until cooked (I don’t have accurate times, sorry, but I put it on about 200C for about 20 minutes I think).

pizza 010

You may be lucky and have an oven that evenly cooks stuff.  Unlike me (but I can blame The Meat Eater for that, as it’s his oven).

Add the toppings; my choice was tomato sauce (heat half a can of chopped tomatoes up until thickened, add basil/chili/curry powder; whatever seasonings you fancy), onions, spring onions, mushrooms, red chili, olives, mozzarella, cheddar and a bit of Redwoods Vegan Melting Mozzarella in one corner to see what it was like as I’d heard about it but had never seen it in London and I was in the Holland & Barrett recently in Ashford and they had a brilliant selection of veggie/vegan food that I haven’t tried before.

pizza 012

Here’s the corner with the vegan mozzarella (the grated bit).

pizza 017

Put in the oven for about 20 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling (or if you have a cr*p oven, give up after 20 minutes and stick it under the grill). And here’s the cooked pizza.

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And here’s the cooked bit with the vegan cheese on.

pizza 019

And the verdict.  Yum.  The base was a bit soggy, like it usually is when I make it.  If anyone has any tips on how to stop the base going soggy, please let me know.  I thought cooking the base before and after would help with this, but obviously not.

And as for the vegan cheese.  Well, definitely not disgusting like most vegan cheese and when I tried a bit raw I was pleasantly surprised but on the pizza it was a bit tasteless, it had sort of melted but not like cheese, the texture was a bit gritty and strange and I’m not sure if I did one of my veganthon things again I’d bother with it but nicer than other vegan cheese I’ve tried.  Maybe I’ll give it a go on toast; it was probably a bit unfair comparing it literally side by side with normal cheese.

Pizza dough (Makes 1 large pizza)
1 teaspoon dried yeast
1.5 cups bread flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup water, plus
1 tablespoon water

Put the ingredients in your machine in the order listed, select the dough cycle and press start.  Takes about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Tomato sauce (heat half a can of chopped tomatoes up)
Spring onions
Red chili

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Curried udon noodle stir fry


Tonight’s dinner was made from the brilliant Veganomicon.  I love this book.

This is the only vegan cookbook I’ve ever made anything nice out of, although a lot of the  ingredients are items I’d find difficult to get hold of in London, let alone in a small village in Kent.

I kept quiet about it being vegan to The Meat Eater until he’d told me (without prompting or being kicked under the table) how nice it was and how he liked the fact that although I had spilt a lot of curry powder all over the hob, there wasn’t too much curry powder taste to it (probably because I’d spilt it all over the hob…).

The original recipe calls for Seitan Cutlets but I swapped that for tofu.

Curried udon noodle stir-fry
Curried udon noodle stir-fry

Ingredients (serves 4)

½ pound fresh udon noodles or dried udon noodles

Curry roux sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ cup vegetable broth
2 teaspoons sugar

Udon stir-fry
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced into thin strips
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 hot red chili pepper, sliced very thinly (optional)
1 block of tofu, cubed
½ pound broccoli florets, sliced into bite-size chunks
¼ cup vegetable broth
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce

Prepare the curry roux sauce

Combine the flour and 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture browns to the colour of rich caramel and smells toasty, about 10 minutes or less.  Stir in curry powder and garam masala, and cook for another minute while stirring constantly.  Switch to using a wire whisk, then pour in the vegetable broth in a steady stream.  Whisk in the sugar and cook the roux, stirring constantly, until a thick sauce forms, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

To prepare the stir-fry

Heat the 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a large (at least 11-inch) non-stick frying pan or a wok and cook the sliced onion for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent.  Add the ginger, red bell pepper, hot chili, and tofu, and stir-fry for another 5 minutes, until the pepper starts to soften.  Add the broccoli and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, until it turns bright green.

Add the udon noodles to the stir-fried vegetables, sprinkle with soy sauce and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

Whisk ¼ cup of the vegetable broth into the curry roux sauce in the saucepan.  Pour the sauce over the udon stir-fry and stir to coat everything completely with the sauce.  Stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the sauce is simmering and the noodles are warm.  Remove from the heat and serve.

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Vegetarian (vegan) paella

Another one from the Good Housekeeping Step by Step Vegetarian Cookbook, and another attempt to stay away from those nice but full of fat cheese-based meals.  It was nice and The Meat Eater said “mmmmmmmmmmmmm”, so I think he liked it too.  Actually though, although it’s called Vegetarian Paella in the book, it is vegan.  Sssh, don’t tell The Meat Eater.

Vegetarian paella
Vegetarian (vegan) paella

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 red peppers
90 ml (6 tbsp) olive oil
2 onions
4 garlic cloves
10 ml (2 tsp) paprika
5 ml (1 tsp) turmeric
2.5 ml (½ tsp) cayenne pepper
350 g (12 oz) easy cook Italian brown rice
1.2 litres (2 pints) vegetable stock
175 g (6 oz) French beans, halved
175 g (6 oz) frozen peas
30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley
50 g (2 oz) black olives
salt and pepper

  1. Halve, core, deseed and slice the peppers.  Heat 30 ml (2 tbsp) of the oil in a large, deep frying pan.  Add the peppers and fry over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until well browned and softened.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Peel and chop the onion.  Peel and finely chop the garlic.  Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the onions, garlic and spices for 10 minutes until golden.  Add the rice, stir once and then pour in the stock.  Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, blanch the beans in boiling salted water for 1 minute.  Drain and immediately refresh under cold water; set aside.
  4. Add the peppers, beans and peas to the rice and stir through.  Cook for a further 15 minutes until the rice and vegetables are tender.  Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and olives.  Season well, cover with a lid and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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