Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tip on peeling Garlic

This isn't a recipie, but I was cooking soup today and as usual wanted to put garlic in it. A few months ago I accidentally wet a bulb of garlic before peeling it and found that as the skin was wet it peeled easier.

I now do this deliberately soaking the cloves of garlic in water for about 30 seconds to a minute before I peel them. After slightly crushing and cutting off the root end of the clove they peel so much easier.

If your reading this dear reader give it a go and let me know if it works for you?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Butternut Squash Risoto

I made this as I was in the local German supermarket and they had Butternut Squash on offer, and this is one of our favourite recopies.


500g Butternut Squash in about 1cm dice
200g Long grain white Rice (I use the 40-50p Kilo supermarket own brand)
2 Sticks of celery
2 medium Onions
1 medium Carrot
2-3 Cloves Garlic
30mls Vegetable Oil
20g Swiss vegetable bouillon powder made up to I Litre of stock with water
Salt and pepper to taste


Finely chop the celery, onion, carrot and garlic, place in your pan and sweat off with the oil. Add about a third of the Squash and the rice and stir to coat rice in the oil and soften the squash a little. The stock should be in a pan and kept just off the boil, start to add a ladle or two at a time and continue to stir, as the stock is absorbed add more. After 10 minutes add the remaining Squash and continue adding stock until it is all used up or the squash and rice are cooked to your taste. Traditionally the rice should be cooked but still have a little bite (Al Dente) but if you like it softer cook for a little longer. If you have used all the stock before the rice is cooked add a little hot water.

The completed risotto should not be too wet or too dry, it should genitally rest into the serving dish without a lot of free stock.

Can be served as is or with Cheese stirred through it just prior to serving and a little grated cheese or fresh herbs sprinkled over before taking to the table.

This comfortably serves 4 and without the cheese is about 330 calories a portion.      

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

I was planning a few days away and wanted to use up the remaining perishables in the fridge and vegetable tray and came up with this recipe.


300g Butternut Squash
200g (2 medium) Carrots
150g (1medium) Onion
200g (2 medium) Potatoes 
100g split red lentils
2-3 cloves garlic 
15g Swiss bouillon powder
30mls (2 Tablespoons) Rapeseed Oil
3 tablespoons of Soy Sauce
Pepper to season
1Ltr hot Water  from the kettle


Chop all the vegetables and garlic and put in the pan with the oil. Sweat the veg until softened a little and add the lentils and soy sauce and bouillon powder. Continue to sweat the veg mix for a further 2-3 minutes then add the water. Bring it all to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils and all the vegetables are cooked, about half and hour. You can then mash the vegetables up with a potato masher if you want some texture in the final soup or blend with a stick blender for a nice smooth velvety soup.

Serve as it is with crusty bread or with a little grated cheese, croutons or garnish of your choice. 

Serves 3-4 and comes in at 230-310 calories and 35-50 pence a serving without any garnish. 


Monday, March 27, 2017

Barley Risoto

Hi I've not been around for a while but I've been trying some new recopies as I was recently given the news that I am pre diabetic, so I need to review the types of food that I eat.

Everyone might think that as a vegetarian I would automatically have a healthy diet, but it's still possible as a veggie to eat the wrong foods and be unhealthy. One of the key issues is it's not just what your eating but how much! If you eat more calories than you expend you will put on weight, which was one of my issues. So I have been reviewing what I eat and how I eat it.

The following is a healthy Risotto dish made with Barley instead of rice, particularly white rice as barley releases its carbohydrates slowly and gives you a full feeling for longer. So the following is one of my new recipes using Barley.


200g pot/pearl Barley
2 medium Onions
2 Celery sticks
1 small Carrot
2-3 fat garlic cloves
10 medium Button Mushrooms 
20mls vegetable oil of choice (I used cold pressed Rapeseed oil)  
20g Marigold Swiss Bouillon powder
1ltr Water


Soak the Barley for as long as possible or overnight if you are planning your menus in advance.

On the day of cooking make up a stock with the Bouillon powder and a litre of boiling water, you can keep it hot in a pan on the stove.

Finely chop all the vegetables, garlic and the mushroom stalks and sweat of until soft before adding the drained soaked Barley, continue to fry for a few minutes to coat the barley in the oil.

Start to add the stock stirring as you do, as the stock is absorbed by the barley continue adding a bit more, when you have  about 150mls of stock remaining add the sliced mushroom caps and allow them to cook for about 10 minutes. 

If you run out of stock before the barley is cooked to your taste (traditionally risotto rice is left a little al dente) but cook to your taste so add a little water to continue cooking if needed.

That's all there is too it, you can add a little grated cheese if you wish if your not vegetarian Parmesan would be traditional, but vegetarian and vegan alternatives are available, or you could add a vegetarian low fat fromage frais or Greek style yoghurt.

Serve hot, either on its own, with crusty bread or a side of vegetables of your choosing. 

This serves 3-4 people as a main and comes in at about 250-350 calories a portion without the cheese or dairy adding, depending on you apatite. 

*** Remember 30g (1oz) of hard cheese is about 120 calories on its own



Monday, February 8, 2016

Stuffed Peppers

Well today I got some cheap red/green peppers and decided to make one of my favorite meals of stuffed pepper.

I make the stuffing out of diced green pepper, onion, grated carrot, finely chopped vegetarian sausage, bread crumbs and sage. I made double quantities of the stuffing and froze 1/2 for another day.

Serves 2


1 medium carrot
1 medium onion
3 peppers
3 vegetarian sausages
1 large garlic clove
120g of bread crumbs  (you can use a sachet of sage and onion stuffing)
A vegetable stock cube
Dried sage to taste (omit if using bought S&O stuffing)
Table spoon of veg oil
Salt and pepper to season


De-seed and finely chop one of the peppers, the onion and garlic and the sausages. Grate the carrot and add all to the prepared ingredients with the sage (if using), to a frying pan with the oil and fry until the veg have softened. Add the bread crumbs or stuffing mix and 1/2 pint of stock made with the stock cube.

Cook until the liquid has absorbed then leave to cool while you prepare the 2 other peppers. Cut the tops off and retain as a lid, discard the seeds and pith from inside the pepper. Now cut the base of the pepper flat (being careful not to cut the whole base off) so they sit flat on a baking sheet.

Fill peppers with half the stuffing reserving the rest for another meal, pack the stuffing quite tightly, put the tops back on as a lid.

Bake at 180 degrees centigrade (gas mark 5) for 45-60 mins until pepper is soft and easily peirced with a sharp knife. I serve mine with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Potato Cakes (or tatty scones as my better half calls them)

Well its been a while since I posted here but today I made some potato cakes with some leftover mashed potatoes. These are easy and cheap to make and very good as part of a cooked breakfast, warm with butter and a bit of cheese or even with a bit of your favourite jam.


Leftover mashed potatoes approx 250 grams
Self raising flour  approx 125 grams (enough to form a dough and a bit for dusting while rolling out)
1-2 eggs depending on amount of potato
Salt and pepper to season


Mix the eggs into the potato and season with salt and pepper. Add the flour untill you have a dough that is still a little tacky but workable with floured hands.

Either roll the dough out to about 4-5 mm thick and use cutters to cut into cakes of your desired size, or you can hand shape small pieces of the dough into cakes the desired size.

I then dry fry theses in a non stick frying pan on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side untill golden brown. You could put on a lightly oiled baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at gas mark 3 or 160 Celsius for 12-15 minutes untill golden.

After cooking allow to cool on a wire rack. These freeze well or keep for a few days in the fridge.

They can be reheated in a frying pan or toaster prior to serving.

Tip, if you want you can add a little grated cheese when making the dough to add a little extra flavor

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mushroom soup

This week I had a large amount of mushrooms that I got reduced at the end of the day at my local supermarket so I decided to make soup with some of them. Home made soup is good at any time and this mushroom recipie is one of my favorites.

I've never been a slave to recipes and quantities but this is a rough guide to how I made it. I had some Wild Garlic pesto left so used this up in the recipe.

1-2 large onions
Aprox 2 large table spoons of wild garlic pesto (or minced Garlic and some oil)
Aprox 500g button mushroom
500g diced potato  (I used raw but you could used leftovers)
1 1/2 ltrs of water
200mls milk
Veggie stock powder (amount will depend on brand and your taste but don't over do as these can be very salty)
1 table spoon Soy sauce
Black pepper

Chop the onion and fry them with the pesto until soft, roughly chop the mushrooms and potato add to pan with the soy sauce, and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add the water and stock powder bring to the boil and cook for about 30 minutes. I then use a stick blender to blend the soup but you can allow to cool and blend in a food processor or blender, if the latter return to pan and add the milk. Check the seasoning and season with black pepper to taste, and salt if needed.

Serve hot with nice crusty bread.

As I said I'm not a slave to recipe's you can use onion, carrot and celery as the base for the soup if wanted and you have them. Leave out the milk if you want, the potato will give a creamy texture any way, or substitute with a soya, rice or nut alternative if that's your choice.

The leftovers from this formed the base for a delicious pasta bake later in the week, so don't be afraid to make too much.