Monday, 2 January 2012

Black-eyed bean, mushroom & chard curry

Black-eyed bean, mushroom, potato & chard curry

Serves 4 hungry peeps!


Pre-soaked black-eyed beans approx. 150g? I soaked 200g and used just over half. I've frozen the rest of the beans.
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cube frozen ginger
3/4 potatoes, chopped.
A small punnet (?) of mushrooms, chopped or sliced
a handful of chard - chopped, inc. stalks chopped.
A tin of organic chopped tomatoes
Squeeze of tomato puree
herbs & spices to suit.. I used cumin seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, a teaspoon of curry powder, a veg oxo cube, and a sprinkle of paprika

Method (was very haphazard thanks to screaming kids, toddler & a baby...!)

Drain and rinse the soaked beans, put in a pan of fresh water, and boil fiercely for around 10 minutes, and removing any foam of the top of the water every so often. The water looks pretty mank... but don't worry!! - Turn heat down & simmer for 20+ mins until beans are tender.

Meanwhile, pop the kettle on for some fresh water to boil for potatoes, and then gently sweat off the onions, garlic & ginger in a deep pan, I added cumin seeds at this point and a sprinkle of curry powder as I haven't got a clue which way round to do things!!
Added mushrooms and a sprinkle of cumin powder, and cooked the mushrooms down for a couple of minutes.

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, and then refill the tin with cold water, about halfway and add to the pan. Add all herbs and spices, puree etc to pan, and stir frequently.

If beans are done, drain them, and I rinsed mine again with a splosh of boiling water from kettle, and then add the beans to the rest of the curry, fill pan up with water and cook potatoes until just done, meanwhile letting the curry simmer. Drain and add potatoes when done, and keep the curry simmering. Keep tasting to check it's to your flavour, we liked ours quite hot, and I never really measure my spices, I just hope for the best!

Rinse potato pan, and put fresh water in to boil for rice, gently stirring curry occasionally until rice is cooked.

About 10 minutes towards the end of rice cooking time, add the chopped chard stalks to the curry, and about 5 minutes towards end, add the chopped chard leaves, until they wilt down in the curry.

Drain rice, and serve in warmed bowls! 

Spicy chickpea, pepper & spinach pasta sauce

Spicy chickpea, pepper & spinach pasta sauce!

Using up some store-cupboard ingredients, I recently concocted this pasta sauce! All my boys loved it... always a bonus! Will definitely make again!


1 onion, 
green Romano pepper, 
2 tins chopped tomatoes, 
1 tin chickpeas, 
2 frozen spinach blocks & some fresh spinach leaves, 
chilli flakes, oregano, seasoning, 
tiny sprinkle of veg bouillon powder... 


Chop and gently fry onion and pepper until softened.

Add the rest of the ingredients & s
immer until chickpeas cooked & sauce reduced to your liking!

Serve with a substantial pasta shape like Penne, it's lovely with grated cheddar, or parmesan (or a vegetarian alternative)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Spaghetti with lentil & tomato sauce.

Yesterday I cooked a recipe from my new Rose Elliot's book...
Rose Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian

I'd never cooked with red lentils before, so was intrigued by how quickly they bulked out and made the dish substantial and filling.

The only thing I added not from the recipe was a squeeze of tomato puree. Next time, i'd perhaps add more seasoning and add some fresh herbs too, as the recipe called for dried.

It serves 4, but we managed to feed 2 adults, 2 children & 1 toddler with a portion leftover to freeze.


3tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
a can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried basil or oregano
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
225g split-red lentils, washed
425ml water
2 tbsp red wine (optional)
salt & freshly ground black pepper
225g spaghetti
grated parmesan-style cheese (optional)

Heat 2tbsp oil in large saucepan, cook onion with lid on pan until tender.
Stir in garlic, tomatoes, herbs, cinnamon, lentils, water & wine, and bring to boil.

Simmer with lid on for approx. 25 minutes or until lentils are tender. Taste and season.

Shortly before the lentils are cooked, start cooking spaghetti as per instructions, in salted water.

Drain spaghetti, and return to hot pan, drizzle over 1tbsp olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper.

Add sauce to spaghetti either in pan, or dish up and serve with sauce on top.

Sprinkle with grated cheese if you like.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Banana, Date & Oatbran Smoothie

Inspired by a shop bought smoothie - I decided to try and make our own - it tastes really good, and is fabulously filling! All my boys love it too, which is an added bonus :) I don't weigh any ingredients so you will have to experiment, but you won't go far wrong!

We use:

  • 2/3 large ripe bananas - the riper the better. Even with the black bits! ;)
  • a large 500ml tub of low-fat natural probiotic yoghurt
  • about 5/6 dates (stones removed!) chopped up small
  • a glug (cup?!) of milk (I used skimmed)
  • a handful of ice cubes
  • a cupful of oatbran
  • depending on my mood, I add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Whizz it up in a good blender until suitably blended. If it's a bit thick, I add a splosh more milk. Quick taste! My boys and I like our smoothies to be a little sweet, and the dates do give a great sweetness. You could add more if you wish, or just add more honey/maple syrup. Up to you!

Sometimes I throw in a handful of frozen berries too, for a different twist. I like mixed summer berries, or blueberries.

The dates can sometimes get stuck in the bottom of the blender (well they do in mine!) so with the electric turned off, have a poke about to dislodge them and re-blend!

This is a great smoothie to make as a breakfast/brunch alternative. My boys like helping make this too and despite trying to save some for later, we often finish off a whole jug quite quickly!

Here we go!

Someone suggested I document our recipes and food related stuff in a blog... so here we are!

I love cooking but I find it a little bit of a struggle to organise myself with having four sons to cater for. The youngest is being breastfed, but we are only a couple of months away from weaning onto solids - gulp!
My boys! 

At the moment, we are experimenting with having a "meat-free month" and all of us are on board, and enjoying the challenges this brings. I shall try and blog when I have a few moments, and share what feeding a brood of boys is like on a day to day basis!

Wish me luck!