Veggie mains

Veggie chilli with chocolate, coffee and walnuts

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This recipe is inspired by a recipe on Green Kitchen Stories which I’ve made a couple of times but this time I changed it a bit to make the texture of the chilli more ‘meaty’ by finely chopping the vegetables in a food processor and frying them to make a base for the chilli. This is perfect for a party and will make a big pot of chilli that will serve about 10+ people.

For the veggie base you need:

  • 3 tbs of olive oil
  • 2 large red onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large aubergines
  • 2 courgettes
  • 300 g of mushrooms
  • A good tsp of salt

Grind these ingredients in the order that they are listed above and fry them in a large pan starting with the onions and adding the other veg as you go.

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They will let out quite a bit of liquid, keep gently frying them and stirring them and the mixture will thicken up into a ‘meaty’ sauce. I also use this as a ‘ragu’ base for Italian dishes such as bolognaise sauce for lasagna etc.

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In a large saucepan combine the veggie base mix, two cans of chopped tomatoes, a glass of red wine, 60 g of dark chocolate, and a cup of strong black coffee. Fry 250 g of mushrooms (cut into bite-sized chunks) and add these, 2 cans of red kidney beans 200 g of broken walnuts and 2 large red peppers (cut into bite-sized pieces), 1 -2 tsp of chilli powder, a couple of tbs of tomato puree, a tsp of marmite and a chopped up bunch of coriander and to saucepan. Add a cup of water, if necessary, and simmer on a low heat for 45 – 60 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

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Serve with brown rice and / or tortillas, sour cream and any other Mexican accompaniments such as salsa and guacamole.

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Baking, Edible gifts, Something sweet

Maisie and Jasper’s flapjacks

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Pre-hear the oven to 175 degrees C / 350 F. Melt 50 g of butter in a saucepan and add 100 g of golden syrup (or honey) warm it up until they have combined into a runny mixture and turn off the heat.

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Next add 2 handfuls of sultans (or raisins) and then stir in 200 g of porridge oats and mix them in well.

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Grease a baking tin (24cm x 16 cm) and pour in the flapjack mixture and smooth it out and push it down with the back of a spoon.

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Put it in the oven for about 15 minutes until it begins to brown around the edges. Take it out of the oven and cut lines in it while it is still hot.

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Allow the flapjacks to cool completely and then take them out of the tin and enjoy them!

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Tarts, Veggie mains

Filo pastry tarts with red onions, broccoli, goat’s cheese and stilton

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These make a very nice light lunch served with a salad. This recipe makes 4 individual tarts.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C / 400 F.

So what do you need?

100 g broccoli

1 sliced red onion

3 cloves of garlic

2 free range eggs

100 ml of cream

80 g of cheese I used a mix of goat’s cheese and stilton (you can use whatever cheeses you have /like)

1 tsp of Dijon mustard

Some chopped chives

6 sheets of filo pastry

30 g melted butter

So what do you do?

Chop the broccoli into small pieces and cook it for a couple of minutes in some boiling water and then drain it. Slice the onions finely and fry them in some olive oil as they begin to soften add the chopped garlic and fry for a couple of minutes until the garlic and onions start to brown. In a jug crack the eggs and beat them, add the cream, crumbled cheese, chopped chives and Dijon mustard. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and add the broccoli and onions and mix everything together.

Cut the filo pastry sheets into quarters. Brush one quarter with melted butter and then put another quarter on top, angled to create a star and then add another 4 sheets buttering each and angling the corners to create a stack. Do this to make four stacks.

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Grease four holes in a muffin tin with melted butter and put a filo stack in each and press it down into the muffin tin and then pour the cheese and veg mixture evenly into the four cases and put them into the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the filo pastry is golden and the filling has set. Serve with a green salad and some sautéed potatoes or ‘oven’ chips.

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Drinks, Edible gifts

Chocolate orange vodka

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A grown up Easter treat. In a bowl over a pan of slowly boiling water I melted a 200g bar of chocolate (you can use milk or plain chocolate or, a mix of both if you can’t decide) and 2 heaped tablespoons of my dad’s homemade coarse cut marmalade.

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Once it was all melted I poured some vodka, about 300ml out of a liter bottle into a jug and added about 50 ml into the chocolate mix to make it nice a runny. Then I poured the chocolate mix, through a funnel into the bottle of vodka.

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Then top it up if necessary with some of the vodka you removed and then put the cap back on and give it a good shake and leave it for a week or so shaking occasionally to allow the flavours to in infuse into the vodka. Cheers!

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Something fruity, Something sweet

Meringue nests with crème fraiche and berries

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I made this with my niece, Josie. We started by making meringues from 3 egg whites and 150 g of caster sugar. For details on making meringue look here.

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On a baking sheet covered with baking parchment we made meringue nests buy putting a couple of heaped table spoons of mixture on the tray and shaping it into a nest. These went into an oven at 120 degrees C / 250 F for 2 hours until they were crisp and golden.

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We allowed the meringues to cool then put a tablespoonful of crème fraiche in each, you could use whipped or thickened cream instead and the added, strawberries, raspberries and blue berries. Simply delicious!

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Veggie mains

Josie’s mini veggie toads in the hole

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My sister Lucy’s family are doing meat free week this week so my niece, Josie, and I decided to cook dinner and she chose to make a vegetarian version of toad in the hole, sausages in batter, a British classic. We decided to make some with veggie sausage mix, Sosmix, and mushrooms.

First pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees C / 430 F. We started by making the batter with 120 g of plain flour a pinch of salt and pepper, 2 free range eggs and 250 ml of milk. Joise whisked these together in a bowl into a smooth batter and we then put this into a jug and left it to one side. Next we part cooked the mini veggie sausages and mushrooms in a frying pan with a little oil.

Then in a muffin tray with 12 holes we put a tsp of vegetable oil in each hole and put the tray into the oven to heat up for 5 minutes. You can make one big toad in the hole in a baking tray but the small ones do puff up really nicely. Then we poured the batter evenly into the muffin holes and put either a mushroom or a mini veggie sausage in each and put the tray back into the oven to cook for 20 minutes until golden brown and puffed up.

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We served the toad in the whole with mashed potatoes, carrots, broccoli and onion and mushroom gravy, Joise also had baked beans with hers and I had English mustard with mine. It makes a yummy veggie family meal. For dessert we made meringue nests with berries.

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Soups

Celery, potato and stilton soup

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I’m in England now visiting my family and it’s pretty cold so I decided to make a nice hearty soup for my parents. Mum had a bunch of celery so I thought a celery soup would be good to warm us up.

Firstly, I sliced the stems of one bunch of celery and sautéed them in butter and a little oil and a good pinch of salt. I then peeled and chopped a couple of potatoes into small pieces and added them to the saucepan and sautéed them together until all the liquid evaporated and there was a little browning on the bottom of the pan.

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Next I covered the vegetables with stock and some pepper and put the lid on the pan and simmered them for about half an hour until the potatoes began to soften and break down. Then I added about 60mls of cream and about 80 grams of crumbled stilton to the pan and heated the soup through. I served the soup with freshly baked sourdough bread.

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