All About Beans, Curries, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Sri Lankan Style Green Bean Curry. Bonchi Maluwa.

Young fresh fine green beans are a joy.  I’ve been looking for a recipe to show them off and I think I’ve found one.  Sri Lankan Green Bean Curry is a traditional recipe, which inevitably has many versions.

Here’s mine.

I’ve used what I believe to be a traditional spice combination, which is quite an unusual one, and I’ve thickened the sauce with ground sunflower seeds to make it a little richer.

The sauce is mellow, with a sharp background hit of cloves and fenugreek.

This recipe is gluten-free.

Hope you enjoy.




Serves 2-3

Ingredients: Continue reading “Sri Lankan Style Green Bean Curry. Bonchi Maluwa.”

Cook's Tales, Vegan

Sunshine Blogger Award

I’ve been nominated by the wonderful for a sunshine award. I feel very privileged because mylightheartedkitchen is a beautiful and inspiring blog which I always enjoy every time a post pops into my reader.  Take a look!  Also, mylightheartedkitchen has supported me from the beginning and I have really really appreciated that!

Daisy chain blogging connections are a lovely thing, because sometimes it feels hard to keep a blog alive and other bloggers know this.  So thank you to  🙂 x

Here are the sunshine rules: Continue reading “Sunshine Blogger Award”

Gluten-Free, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan


A traditional Greek dish.  This is another one of those recipes that absolutely transcends the sum of its parts. I don’t know why. It just does.  It contains the simplest of ingredients and you can more or less throw it together and stick it in the oven.  And it’s just incredibly moreish and delicious.



My courgette plants (aka zucchini) have taken off.  And as anyone who’s ever grown courgettes will know, once they start, they just don’t stop.  Blink and another one appears.  Hence the emergence of recipes such as courgette cake ….and courgette jam… :/  But that’s way down the line.  The end of the line is when courgette growers eventually resort to leaving piles of courgettes on next-door-neighbours doorsteps in the dead of the night.  I’ve no doubt it shall come to that 🙂

But these are my first, young, fresh and tender courgettes…and this is an utterly sane and simple recipe.  A few everyday ingredients, and the patience to slice everything reasonably finely is all that’s required.  Plus 90 mins. or so baking time.



Serves 4

Ingredients: Continue reading “Briam.”

Salads, Vegan

Blueberry Salad

My blueberry bushes are giving forth right now, so I thought I’d try some in a salad.

They’re lovely.

Everything else I used was green 🙂  because I liked the colour contrasts 🙂

Blueberries have a soft and mellow flavour, so I also went looking for other ingredients that would complement rather than overpower them….

Hope you like !



I’ll leave the exact quantities up to you… just major on the blueberries  🙂

Ingredients: Continue reading “Blueberry Salad”

Cooking for One, Soups, Vegan, Vegan on a Shoestring

A Simple Vegetable Soup.

A simple soup, easy to prepare, and deliciously, heart-warmingly good.  Cooking at its best: no-nonsense…no fuss.




This soup is back to basics: carrots, potatoes and onions…

… + a handful of lovely, delicate baby broad beans.


btw. I’m starting a new category: cooking for 1.

It might seem odd introducing a pot of soup that serves 4 as cooking for one :/ , but I remember when I lived on my own I was always looking for ways of making batches of food so I didn’t have to cook everyday.  This soup stores chilled very well because it contains no dairy.

Also, you can add something new when reheating a portion, such as a handful of frozen peas, some pre-cooked haricot beans, chopped spring onions or a small tin of sweetcorn.

All the fresh ingredients are, on this occasion, homegrown by me ( 🙂 ) , but they are readily available in the shops all year round.  As you can see, there are very few ingredients! 🙂

A word for fresh herbs: they are just such a boon in the kitchen, and it’s really easy to grow them on a reasonable sunny window sill these days ( in fact a lot of them don’t like sun all day) … and they add flavour and fragrance to soups, stews, salads … etc.

Hope you like it 🙂




Ingredients: Continue reading “A Simple Vegetable Soup.”

Breakfast, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Growing things, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Strawberry + Pimm’s Fool

It’s been Wimbledon fortnight.  And now it’s over I’m in a brief period of mourning.  Being a tennis addict, this always happens.  I should be used to it by now.  But I can’t help it 😦  I  put as much aside as I can … all forms of cleaning, hoovering, shopping, and frankly, cooking.  It’s just so hard.  Sigh.  🙂

I call it ‘the beans on toast + daily avocado syndrome’.  I get it every single year.

So I haven’t blogged much…done much… been out much.  I’ve just watched tennis.

With a notable exception.

I made a strawberry fool….and I added Pimm’s No. 1 🙂

What better way to while away an afternoon, than watching my all-time favourite tennis player eventually demolish his extremely resilient opponent in a tense five-setter …… …..than with strawberries blended in an alcoholic coconut cream.

(The boozy bit in this recipe is entirely optional … but I’ll get to that later).


Federer finally begins to inch ahead in the quarter finals! 


It’s the last shout for my strawberry patch …and we’ve had strawberry tart, strawberry jam, strawberry smoothies and just plain strawberries………and I mourn them when they’re over too.  In fact, is life worth living without strawberries and Wimbledon?  I have to wonder….

But nature moves on, the raspberries and blueberries are coming next…and there’s tennis at the Olympics I believe …!

So.  Back to the fool:

I used Pimm’s No. 1 and maple syrup for this…which combined, give it a lovely, tawny, dusky flavour, but you could go another way by using a light sweetener (white sugar or light agave) and fresh mint and lemon juice… details below.




Ingredients: Continue reading “Strawberry + Pimm’s Fool”

Gluten-Free, Salads, Vegan

Cauliflower Tabbouleh

A beautiful, bejewelled, crunchy, colourful salad, with raw, crisp, fresh cauliflower as a base, and a great deal more besides.

Cauliflower is fabulous raw, it has a wonderful texture and happily absorbs whatever flavours you might choose.  And it seems to have a completely different air about it when raw (rather than cooked)….it’s sweet, nutty and fragrant…

My redcurrant bushes (of which I have two, with their fruit just beginning to ripen),  gave me the idea for this salad, but redcurrants are readily available in the shops, and really do add a juicy zing to this salad bowl.



 with a lemony dressing

should serve 4

Ingredients: Continue reading “Cauliflower Tabbouleh”

Bread, Gluten-Free, Vegan

Many-Seeded Gluten-Free Rustic Bread

In a lengthy and on-going catalogue of disasters this is the first gluten-free loaf I’ve made that I’m actually quite proud of!  For a start, it’s edible (which has got to be a point in it’s favour 🙂 ) and it slices beautifully, toasts successfully and is made with lots of good things…. sunflower seeds, chia seeds, linseed and hemp seeds….to name but a few.

It’s actually very tasty, it looks quite dense, but is both moist and surprisingly light.  It has a sweet nutty earthy flavour.

I tend to make or buy sour-dough bread, which on the whole I find pretty good for me, but this is the start to a big experiment, and in the next month, and possibly longer, I shall only be cooking gluten-free.  I’m quite excited about exploring a world without gluten.  I’ve had a niggling gluten intolerance for years (some forms of gluten-based products seem OK)… but now I’m thinking to try being completely gluten-free…so I’ll only be posting gluten-free for some time to come….

I’m really pleased with this bread, as it worked out very well, and is also adaptable …. different flours…different seeds…nuts…dried fruit…etc.    we shall see 🙂

A final note, I use oat flour in this recipe, because it has a slight moistness that helps.  Sometimes, oats can ‘accidentally’ contain other grains so look out for certified gluten-free oats/oatmeal/ oat flour.  Also, some people may have an intolerance to oats, in which case, swap the oats for another flour such as hemp flour or teff flour.

Hope you enjoy!



makes 1 large loaf

Ingredients: Continue reading “Many-Seeded Gluten-Free Rustic Bread”

Preserving, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Fresh Strawberry Jam. (Reduced Sugar and Freezable).

My strawberry patch is in full swing.  We just picked 2 kg. in one go….and there’s more to come.  So it must be jamming time!

Today I’m sharing a recipe for a strawberry jam that uses only half the usual amount of sugar.  It will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, or you can freeze it… will be fine for 3 months if not longer…. so, I include tips on how to freeze jam successfully.

This way you get real fresh strawberryness, a lot less sugar, and by leaving the strawberries largely whole, you can savour them in all their juiciness when strawberry season is long over.    And it really is delicious….

Making jam reminds me of my grandparents, who had a huge plum tree in the garden.  My grand-dad would get up a very high ladder, which invariably looked terrifyingly precarious, and collect all the plums, shaking some of them down as well, while I ran around underneath the tree picking up the ones that fell  …and then delivering them all to my nanna in the kitchen, who would set about the making of jam.  The whole house would fill with the fragrance of plum…it would last for days.  The next day rows of potted sealed jam would sit in the larder, gleaming purple.

Home-made jam is still just the best.  Worth the faff. Strawberries, for all their fabulousness, don’t last long, and jam still has to be probably the best way to preserve them. I think anyway.

And finally, before I get to the business in hand, a word for the WI (Women’s Institute), for which jam is just one trademark.  ‘Jam and Jerusalem!’

(Jerusalem is the anthem of the WI. btw) ….

To quote Wikipedia:

‘The British WI movement was formed in 1915 in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Anglesey Wales.  It had two clear aims: to revitalise rural communities and to encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and it is now the largest women’s voluntary organisation in the UK. The organisation celebrated its 95th anniversary in 2010 and currently has approximately 208,000 members in 7,000 WIs.

Amongst WI aims and activities are providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, enabling them to take part in a wide variety of activities, campaigning on issues that matter to them and their communities.’


As I mentioned, I picked 2 kgs. of strawberries, which I graded into best, pretty good, and not much good.  Only put decent ones in the jam….

I ended up with 1.5 kg. strawberries for jam.  As this maybe an unreasonable amount of strawberries for most people, I have halved the quantities, so the recipe below should make 2 pots of jam.  One for the fridge and one for the freezer?

Hope you enjoy.

So here’s how to make the best strawberry jam you will ever taste! 🙂




reduced-sugar freezer jam

enough for 2 pots…(350-400gm. jars)

Ingredients: Continue reading “Fresh Strawberry Jam. (Reduced Sugar and Freezable).”