Gluten-Free, Soups, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Corn and Asparagus Chowder

Chowder is a simple enough bowl of goodness with a long and interesting history. It’s thought to have French origins, and to have found it’s way to Canada and America via French settlers in those regions over 250 years ago.  There are other similar dishes around the world with similar sounding names.  There are inevitably many variations in recipe ingredients.  One way or another it’s a one-pot recipe of delicious, nutritious and serious sustenance. The creamy sauce is given a wonderful zing using mustard.  It makes the whole dish sing.

In my veganised recipe I’ve added asparagus: it gives such a lovely sharp flavour and adds great texture.  And it doesn’t disintegrate during cooking.

Given the state of the UK summer at the moment, (endless rain and chill winds) it’s exactly what’s needed.  Pure comfort.

I also want to say that one of the joys of cooking, is learning to move away from exact recipes.  Chowder is a great place to start.  Below is a guide-line recipe, with guide-line ingredients and a general idea of quantities and flavours.  Free up your creative cooking and experiment with different vegetables, (keep the potatoes) and tasting the sauce as you go.  I’ve said before that really good cooking relies on spices, seasonings and sauces, and here’s another recipe that proves that 🙂



Serves 4

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Corn and Asparagus Chowder”

All About Beans, Gluten-Free, Soups, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes


A Russian style soup with many variations, which, according to Wikipedia, dates back to the 9thC.

Wikipedia: Shchi is a traditional soup of Russia where it has been known as far back as the 9th century, soon after cabbage was introduced from Byzantium. Its popularity in Russia originates from several factors. Shchi is relatively easy to prepare; it can be cooked with or without various types of meat; and it can be frozen and carried as a solid on a trip to be cut up when needed. Finally, it was noticed that most people do not get sick of shchi and can eat it daily. As a result, by the 10th century shchi became a staple food of Russia, and another popular saying sprang from this fact: “Щи да каша — пища наша.” (Shchi da kasha — pishcha nasha “Shchi and kasha are our food”).

Based on the humble and beautiful cabbage, this is a recipe that inevitably has endless variations.

Here’s my vegan version.  Based on a traditional vegetable version, I’ve included Sauerkraut, which makes it Sour Shchi.

It’s one of those soups that matures with time, so, if you want to try it, don’t hesitate to make a big batch, as it tastes even better the next day.

Hope you enjoy!



Serves 4 or more…

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Shchi”

Gluten-Free, Japanese Inspired Dishes, Soups, Vegan

Miso Ginger Broth with Soba.

This is vegan miso broth soul food.  Packed with goodness…and full of the flavours of Japan.   Give your immune system a boost … with this ninja-karate-kicking bowl of wonder 🙂

A traditional miso broth is unlikely to be vegan, so I’ve made a base stock with fresh vegetables, ginger and seaweed to enrich the depth of flavour.

The ginger in this recipe really sings, and I’ve used a dark hearty miso to match it.


There are some more unusual ingredients included here today – particularly Kombu and Wakame seaweed and also Mirin; Japanese sweet rice cooking wine. Seaweed is just such a good addition to a varied vegan diet, full of minerals and trace elements. Some types are more readily available than others, but a decent whole-food store should have them.  Or else on-line…. chase them down, you won’t regret it 🙂

Any signs of a cough or a cold this winter, and I’ll be making this…. well any excuse actually, it’s just so good.

Hope you enjoy! 🙂



serves 3-4

Cook’s note: 100% buckwheat noodles, certified gluten-free tamari and brown rice miso will make this dish gluten-free 

Ingredients: Continue reading “Miso Ginger Broth with Soba.”

Soups, Vegan, Vegan on a Shoestring

A trio of Green Goddess Soups 🌿 💚

Bowls of unmitigated goodness… three incredibly simple summery soups: broccoli, courgette and lettuce….


We’ve all heard the stories about how the goodness of vegetables evaporates into the water they’re cooked in, so one sure way of making sure you still get the goodness is soup.

These three recipes are very quick to do, and don’t benefit from over-cooking….although making a batch and freezing…  or refrigerating and quickly re-heating…is just fine  … 💚

…. the broccoli soup is velvety smooth …..

… the courgette soup is surprising in it’s sweet freshness …

.. and the lettuce soup is complimented with the sweetness of peas and the coolness of mint ..

Hope you enjoy….




approx. servings : 3-4 Continue reading “A trio of Green Goddess Soups 🌿 💚”

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.”

Soups, Vegan

Asparagus and Ginger Soup.

A new twist on a classic soup.  Asparagus makes great soup: when you blitz it in the blender it goes so very silky and smooth, it’s like a green velvet nectar, and hopelessly moreish….

You can use stumpy old asparagus for soup (you know the ones I mean 🙂 ), and keep the young fresh spears for a more delicate dish.  In fact I think that the fibrous fat asparagus spears add an extra creaminess to this soup.

I’ve put a bit of a fusion twist into the flavourings … ginger …tamari ….and lemon juice.  With an entirely optional extra of garlicky croutons. 🙂

This soup still relies on salt and pepper to really bring out the asparagus flavour …and when it’s the moment to season it, it’s important to do it bit by bit, tasting as you go, as it’s very easy to over salt, but equally possible to under salt….

A word for salt: I love salt and it enhances and improves so many flavours I find it an essential ingredient, but if you’re in doubt about your salt intake, try Himalayan Salt, which seems to be the best of all salts.  Try googling it … there’s lots of info. to be found.



for 3-4

INGREDIENTS: Continue reading “Asparagus and Ginger Soup.”

All About Beans, Bread, Mediterranean Dishes, Pasta, Soups, Vegan

Tuscan Bean and Pasta Soup + Olive and Herb Focaccia.

In the last few days I’ve been getting a few seedlings going.  Tomatoes, chillies and sweet peppers.  A gardener always lives in hope.  Spring here in the UK is being erratic, and we are waiting for Storm Katie as I write.

Making this soup has made me remember how delicious home-grown tomatoes are.  I can’t wait.

The bread is easy, and adaptable, instead of olives you can add sun-dried tomatoes, sliced artichoke hearts or diced spring onions….

olive focaccia and tuscan bean soup


Serves 4   

Olive and Herb Focaccia:    Continue reading “Tuscan Bean and Pasta Soup + Olive and Herb Focaccia.”

Bread, Soups, Vegan, Vegan on a Shoestring

Brotchán Roy and Traditional Irish Soda Bread.

Two old and traditional recipes rooted deep in Irish History. My simple offerings on St Patrick’s Day.

Both of these recipes have few ingredients.  I’m always in love with the simple recipes.  The ones based on local produce, local climate and the time of year.  The ones without fuss or fiddle. Leeks overwinter even in frost and snow.  And now, at the very end of winter in the northern hemisphere, there they are when there’s not much else left.


My father was born on St. Patrick’s Day.  I didn’t really expect a food blog to get personal, but today it has.  Despite the fact that it was his last name, he was always known as Pat.

He had a little bit of Irish in him too, so I guess that means that I do too!  I miss him.

Food for peace on St. Patrick’s Day…. hope you like … 😉


Brotchán Roy + Soda Bread

Brotchán Roy + Traditional Irish Soda Bread

For 4


Irish Soda Bread

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

This bread only has 4 ingredients.   Continue reading “Brotchán Roy and Traditional Irish Soda Bread.”

Bread, Soups, Vegan, Vegan on a Shoestring

Ukrainian Lentil, Beetroot and Potato Borscht + Black Bread.


A fabulous, traditional, hearty, lentil and vegetable Borscht with classic Ukrainian flavours.  Served on this occasion, with a traditional Ukrainian dense rich rye bread.

And they go deliciously well together, they really do.  (The considered opinion of my taste-testers! 🙂 )

Here in the UK it remains unseasonably chilly,  and thick warming soups such as this are just the ticket.  A simple rustic recipe, that requires no frills or fancy trimmings just a lot of chopping …ha…. and a few herbs and spices.

Once the chopping’s done, put it all together and just sit back and wait….

The bread requires little effort, just time and warmth to prove…. twice.

Lentil and Vegetable Borscht + Black Bread




Ingredients:    Continue reading “Ukrainian Lentil, Beetroot and Potato Borscht + Black Bread.”

Soups, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Portuguese Caldo Verde.

Like so many, this is a dish born of necessity: when the cupboard is bare, cook something wonderful with whatever you’ve got.  In this case, cabbage and potatoes.

And in so doing, make something that transcends all expectations.

There are recipes that just live on and on.  Passed down through the generations.  They are changed, adapted, and personalised as they go.  But essentially, they remain the same.

Caldo Verde’ translates as ‘green broth’.  It is in origin, Portuguese, although I’m sure other versions will be found, wherever you can grow cabbage and potatoes.

The traditional Portuguese dish is often flavoured with chorizo sausage  and/or chicken stock….. which is obviously outside my remit.

So this is my cruelty-free recipe for Caldo Verde with an entirely optional extra of marinaded hot-spice fried tempeh.

It’s my third attempt to get this dish ‘right’ for me, and I have done a fair amount of investigation of the history of it too.

The first one I used the wrong greens….and the second one was too thin.  Along the way I learnt that the flavours should be simple and straightforward.  There should be no messing with the simplicity of this dish.

I also read an interesting article about the type of cabbage that would be used.  A lot of recipes use Kale.  This one said use a hard green cabbage.  I followed this suggestion as it seemed to come from an authentic source.

( I did try it with Kale, but I far prefer the hard green cabbage….)

To flavour the dish I’ve used vegetable stock, with the addition of sticks of peppery celery.  I used Bay Leaves….Olive Oil…good quality Salt …and ground Black Pepper.

As is so often the case, less is more.


On a good day, Caldo Verde might be  supplemented with a few slices of fried Chorizo, so I have added, as a completely  optional extra, a few chunks of harissa/chipotle marinaded sautéed tempeh.

But, to be honest…Caldo Verde doesn’t need the distraction..

It’s too good as it is….


For 4

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Portuguese Caldo Verde.”