Burgers and Patties, Gluten-Free, Mediterranean Dishes, Salads, Vegan, Vegan on a Shoestring, Vegan Snacks

Greek Courgette (aka Zucchini) Fritters and Olive Tapenade

The simplest fritters in the world to make and frankly, they are so moreish they need to come with a health warning!

So here it is: eating fried food everyday is a very bad idea, but once in a blue moon ….  and when it tastes as good as these fritters do …that’s got to be OK with me.  🙂

I have an abundance of home-grown courgettes at the moment, but they’re readily available in the shops too!  Every year I promise myself that I will plant less courgette plants, and every year I fail to do so.  This year, I have six, and they seem to manifest courgettes overnight.  So I can categorically state that this is not my last courgette recipe post.  It can get bit frantic in the kitchen, but I know I will mourn them once they’re gone.  Particularly as they don’t freeze well.

So.  Back to the fritters.  I’m not a nutritionist, but I suggest taking a leaf out of the Japanese book, which is to eat fried foods (tempura for example) with fresh crisp radish, daikon or mooli. These vegetables will help cut through the fat and leave your digestive system feeling less overloaded.

I’ve made these fritters, (which are adapted from a traditional Greek recipe), gluten-free, simply by replacing wheat flour with chickpea flour.

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GREEK COURGETTE FRITTERS

Serves 2-4 

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Greek Courgette (aka Zucchini) Fritters and Olive Tapenade”

Growing things, Mediterranean Dishes, Pizza, Vegan

Moroccan Style Pizza

Here is a fantastic topping idea for pizza.  A tomato sauce base packed with the heady flavours of Moroccan Spices with toppings of sliced sautéed Aubergine, Chick Peas and Sweet Peppers.  And a scattering of peppery wild rocket and watercress.

Delicious!

Cooking has had to take a bit of a back seat for me lately …. as has the blog ….(who knows … where the time goes). What I do know, is that I feel so perfectly comfortable cooking vegan these days, I cannot conceive of ever eating animals ever again.  Vegan living is peaceable, and I love it.

One of the reasons I’ve been so busy, is because I have an allotment (community vegetable garden) and growing my own vegetables makes being vegan even easier, it has to be said!

Without boring you with all the details, here is a picture of my allotment.  Broad Beans in the foreground, garlic to the left, Apple, Pear and Cherry trees, Gigantes Beans on the right.  The strawberry bed is covered, because the starlings have been having a feast.  Further down there are potatoes, courgettes, peas, onions, carrots, parsnips and all sorts of cabbages.  Fruit bushes (red white and black currants, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries) and rhubarb.  And there’s more besides.  Tomatoes in the small polytunnel on the right. Yesterday I planted 12 Florence Fennel bulbs, which will be a first if they don’t bolt  :/  Watch this space ….. for fennel recipes … hopefully! 🙂

 

And here is my best allotment friend, boldly investigating the seed tin.  🙂

So food has to be quick and easy at the moment: Pasta, Briam (Greek vegetable bake) and vegetable stews. The sort of thing you can more or less throw together.

But the other night I fancied Pizza, so this is what I did.

Enjoy!

MOROCCAN STYLE PIZZA

Makes 2  x 32 cm. pizzas.

Ingredients:  Continue reading “Moroccan Style Pizza”

All About Beans, Gluten-Free, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan

Celery and Butterbean Gratin.

The star of this dish is a versatile Mediterranean-style sauce …. using preserved lemons.

Gratin originated in French cuisine, and traditionally uses vegetables cooked in a cream sauce, and topped with crispy brown crust, which can be toasted under the grill.

A while ago I made a jar of preserved lemons, however, you can buy jars of preserved lemons in many supermarkets these days.

You could try a variety of vegetables using this sauce recipe, for example: potatoes with leeks, or asparagus and mushrooms.

I chose celery this time.  You know …. Celery …. often found limp and languishing at the back of the salad drawer in the fridge.  Forgotten, underused, and annoyingly stringy. 😦

So I thought I’d give celery a bit of a boost.  It does, after all, apparently have all sorts of super health benefits ( try googling it for more info.).

Having chosen celery, I then thought that big, fat, melty butterbeans would make an excellent contrast for the celery… and it is without doubt a good combination.  Definitely a keeper.

So, back to the sauce: this is my third try at a lemony gratin sauce, and now I think I’ve got it right, preserved lemons really are something to shout about!  This would make a fab. sauce for pasta too.  Preserved lemons have a beautifully soft lemon flavour, mellow and gentle …very different from using fresh lemons. Remember to remove the pulp and rinse the peel thoroughly.

Here’s my recipe to have a go at making preserved lemons yourself: (click image for link)

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CELERY AND BUTTERBEAN GRATIN

depending on how hungry you are and what you’re serving with this dish…

it will make 2-4 servings

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INGREDIENTS:   Continue reading “Celery and Butterbean Gratin.”

Cooking for One, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan Snacks

Spinach Roll – Italian Style!

This is  my variation on Calzone, a style of Italian Pie or Pasty, and it works because you get lots more filling and less pastry and it still holds together to make a great cold lunch to go.

I’ve concocted a spicy and rich, spinach and mushroom filling, with the addition of some tangy chopped green olives, but you can vary the ingredients…try kale instead of spinach or broad beans instead of sweetcorn.  Just make sure the mix isn’t too wet….it needs to hold together when in the oven.

Hope you like 🙂

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SPINACH ROLL

Makes 8-12 rolls.

Great for lunch to go, picnics or else straight from the oven….  

Cook’s note:   if you’re short of time, or just feeling lazy! …you can try using short-crust pastry instead of pizza dough for this recipe.  You’ll need 500gms. of ready-made pastry.

I’ve included these rolls in my ‘cooking for 1’ category, because I’m a great believer in cooking batches of things that will keep chilled for several days, and can be easily reheated!  Way to go 🙂

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:    Continue reading “Spinach Roll – Italian Style!”

Mediterranean Dishes, Pasta, Quick Suppers For Two, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Pasta in A Mushroom Sauce with Steamed Spiralised Courgette and Tender Stem Broccoli.

When my ‘to do’ list seems to grow every day (despite my best efforts to get it all done), instead of diminishing, I turn to pasta.

It’s so easy, so versatile … and well …so amenable.

And there’s such a fabulous variety of vegan, and sometimes gluten-free pasta easily available now….here’s the one I used today : gluten-free, green pea pasta, made in Italy.

What could be better?

There’s been a fuss in the UK media lately, because it’s been suggested that we increase our vegetable consumption from 5 portions a day, to 10.  For the sake of our health.  You’d think the sky had caved in the way some people have been talking.   Obviously, for vegans this doesn’t present a problem.  Because we couldn’t really manage without at least 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, could we?

So, back to the pasta.  I’ve really been loving how easy it is to make beautiful pasta sauces with vegetables.  I’ve done a few now.

Today, it’s the turn of mushrooms.

But before I go any further, I also want to mention that I’ve got myself a new gadget.  A spiraliser.   And despite my general suspicion of a lot of kitchen gadgets, I think I’m liking this one.

So here is a ‘5 portions of vegetables in one’ quick and easy recipe, that’s full of the joys of spring!

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Pea Pasta in a Mushroom Sauce on a bed of spiralised steamed Courgette served with steamed tender-stem Broccoli, fresh herbs and a handful of rocket.

For 2

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Pasta in A Mushroom Sauce with Steamed Spiralised Courgette and Tender Stem Broccoli.”

Cooking for One, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Menus, Vegan Snacks

Middle-Eastern Mezze Buddha Bowl

I think I’m late to the Buddha Bowl Party!  In the unlikely event you didn’t know, a Buddha Bowl is simply a bowl full of really good, nutritious and delicious food, often with a sauce or dressing, all plant-based.  I think the nearest traditional idea is Mezze,  a style of serving food that is found wide-spread across the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

What’s great about all this…. Mezze … Buddha Bowl …  is that you can create a meal of components … some cooked, some raw, some hot, some cold … which complement each other …   and can be made in varying quantities …  and then stored … and eaten at your leisure … in different combinations  … and exactly to your liking.

How lovely is that?

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So, here we have marinaded and roasted root vegetables, steamed broccoli and broad beans, chickpea and cucumber salad, roasted vegetable and tahini sauce and toasted sunflower seeds.  Garnished with Sumac and Za’atar.

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The Mezze I’ve created below serves 4 … but it’s a really great way of cooking for 1 … just make a batch and store, chilled!

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MIDDLE-EASTERN BUDDHA BOWL

4 servings…one way or another !

INGREDIENTS AND PREPARATION:    Continue reading “Middle-Eastern Mezze Buddha Bowl”

Mediterranean Dishes, Preserving, Salads, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Preserving Lemons and Limes. Moroccan Style.

There’s just a hint of spring in the air here in the UK, and my thoughts are already turning to fresh salads and light ‘spring-like’ food!

There are wonderful citrus fruit in the shops at the moment, and this recipe brings all the intensity of citrus flavours to the fore, while in the meantime gentling the sharpness that can sometimes be too overpowering.

Preserving lemons takes about a month, and then, stored in the refrigerator, they will last for months… which is great, because you don’t need much to bring a zing to any dish.

Typically preserved lemons are used in Moroccan dishes such as Tagine, and Couscous, but with just a little imagination I think there are many possibilities to introduce this gorgeous flavour : salads, pasta,  curries, marinades for tofu and tempeh, side dishes such as french beans, asparagus or carrots, as well as sauces, dressings and even desserts. As well as Mediterranean  dishes such as hummus or olive tapenade.

lemony lemonyness

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PRESERVED LEMONS

I litre jar : 8-10 lemons (and limes)

Cook’ notes: 

  • 1)The favoured choice of lemon for preserving is Meyer lemon, but other types of lemon work fine.  It’s important they’re unwaxed, as you will be eating the rind …. 
  • 2) I used Himalayan salt … which is the only salt I use in the kitchen these days.
  • The best jar to use is almost certainly a glass kilner jar with a good tight seal.  Don’t use metallic lids as they will react with the lemon juice.  

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Preserving Lemons and Limes. Moroccan Style.”

Gluten-Free, Mediterranean Dishes, Pasta, Quick Suppers For Two, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Pasta in an Avocado Sauce.

Pasta lends itself to simple ideas, and here’s one that’s so simple I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before 🙂

This superfoody dish takes minutes to prepare and, like all these sauces, is adaptable according to taste.

Try leaving out the spring onions and adding a chopped sweet green pepper.  Add herbs such as basil and parsley to the mix. Add more chillies for a real chilli hit….

pasta with an avocado sauce

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Avo Sauce for Pasta

For 2

Ingredients:    Continue reading “Pasta in an Avocado Sauce.”

Mediterranean Dishes, Pasta, Quick Suppers For Two, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan Quick Suppers

Pasta in a cream pea sauce.

This is one of the quickest and simplest recipes anyone could wish for.

I often think that any meal, vegan or otherwise, is all about the sauce.

So here’s a recipe for a vegan pasta sauce that is very versatile and supremely adaptable.

I’ve used frozen peas, but try steamed broccoli, or sautéed mushrooms, carrots cooked in vegan butter or blanched spinach.  Just replace the peas with about 200 gms. of another vegetable, cooked appropriately, and blended with the cream.

Flavourings may vary too: basil… paprika…nutmeg …to name but a few.

You could also use something else instead of the mushrooms…e.g. steamed asparagus, baby broad beans or just a handful of pitted olives.

It really is that easy… use what you have to hand. Italian style.

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Today I’ve used some fancy, gluten-free and very delicious, red lentil pasta that I happened upon, but any pasta will do, particularly penne or fusilli …..

I’m also in love with ‘Oatly’ at the moment : cream, crême frâiche and of course, milk.

All available in some UK supermarkets now.  Which is fab.

For this recipe I use the oat cream, but unsweetened soy cream will do just as well.

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PASTA IN A CREAM PEA SAUCE

with sautéed mushrooms

Serves 2

Ingredients:    Continue reading “Pasta in a cream pea sauce.”

All About Beans, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Andalusian Bean Stew

OK … I know … another bean stew … but there are just so many possibilities 🙂

This one is distinctly rustic in character … lots of rough chopping … and strong flavours.

Traditionally  it includes chorizo …which I don’t do … so instead I’ve added tempeh, marinaded in tomato puree and tamari, and lightly sautéed in olive oil.  It’s a hearty warming stew, and you can practically throw it together.  So not much faff!

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ANDALUSIAN BEAN STEW

Serves 4

Ingredients: Continue reading “Andalusian Bean Stew”