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.”

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.”

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

West African Black-Eyed Bean Stew.

I know the sun is shining somewhere … but it sure ain’t here in my bit of the UK!  It’s grey, it’s wet, it’s cold and disturbingly unseasonable. When it’s like this in June, I always get the feeling it could go on all summer long…chilly rainy days…

Mid-summer’s day is upon us..  Difficult to believe, but the days will be getting shorter again… ????

But that’s just about OK … for now … because I did beans.  I do beans a lot.

As far as I’m concerned, a bowl of beans is food for the soul.

This one is a modest, no-fuss, no-nonsense bowl of beans West African style.

Not many ingredients … and no faff at all … but an explosion of rich spicy flavours all the same.

Black-eyed beans are a great little bean.  They’re small, and have a nutty earthy flavour  and they don’t go too soft… and they don’t need too long a soak…


Here’s a link to one of my beany blogs with tips on beans (click image)


Tinned beans are fine for this recipe, but I prefer to soak and cook my own.



t.b.h. this may well serve 3-4 …particularly if served with rice

but 2 of us ate the lot (after a long wet day gardening)

Ingredients: Continue reading “West African Black-Eyed Bean Stew.”

Curries, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Tandoori Aloo

Potatoes marinaded in a spicy, lemony, creamy sauce and then baked until tender.

What could be simpler?

An economical, minimal-effort midweek meal that ticks the comfort-zone box too.

Have to say that I grow my own potatoes which have started appearing around now, but any firm, floury potatoes will do just fine. They just need to be roughly the same size.



for 4 (depending how hungry you are 😕 )

Ingredients: Continue reading “Tandoori Aloo”

Breakfast, Japanese Inspired Dishes, Pizza, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring, Vegan Quick Suppers

Okonomiyaki. Japanese Pizza.

I had been wondering what to do with the cabbage in my veggie basket.  I was thinking of stuffed cabbage leaves… because prior to that I’d been considering the grape vine that is now leaping into life over my garden shed and thinking that it would be nice to try stuffed vine leaves from scratch when the leaves get bigger….and that was but a short jump to cabbage leaves 😉  ….idle lateral thinking really…

Then I found a few recipes for stuffed cabbage leaves and they all looked a bit mid-winterish… and not what I fancied…so I carried on searching.  Until I came across Okonomiyaki.  I gather that Okonomi means ‘as you like it’ and Yaki means cooked.

You can put all sorts of things into it but one of the favoured ingredients is cabbage.

Now I think cabbage is a pretty under-rated vegetable.  For many of us, that probably dates back to the days when a pile of wet, limp, soggy, yellowy-green leaves appeared on our plate accompanied by the instruction to ‘eat your greens’.  Over-cooked boiled cabbage is rarely attractive…..

But there are lots of great recipes that put cabbages in a very different light. From curries to ribbons of lightly-steamed spring greens drizzled with vegan-butter and a pinch of salt, and from crunchy coleslaw to crispy kale, there’s a myriad of ways to make cabbage shine.  And here’s another one.  Because cabbage is a beautiful thing.

Okonomiyaki, also known as Japanese Pizza or Japanese Pancake is really more of a frittata.  Traditionally, it includes eggs, so I’ve taken a bit of liberty to veganise it: using chickpea flour, chia seeds and black salt.

There is also a special Okonomiyaki Flour that includes milled yam.  I’ve used chickpea flour and mashed sweet potato……

But I’m pleased with the results.  I shall be returning to Okonomiyaki again and again….



for 4

Ingredients: Continue reading “Okonomiyaki. Japanese Pizza.”

Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring, Vegan Quick Suppers

Garlicky Herby Hasselback Potatoes.

A Swedish invention, apparently a speciality in a Stockholm Restaurant in an area called Hasselbacken… and just a lovely way to spruce up an everyday baked potato!

They only take a few minutes to do …. with a sharp knife and a steady hand …. and they’re definitely worth it for all that extra crispiness on the outside and lovely mellow potato-ness on the inside … 🙂

You can of course omit the herby garlicky bit and have them plain with salt and pepper, or else scatter with grated vegan cheese for the final 10 mins. of cooking …or chopped spring onions might be nice…



Ingredients: Continue reading “Garlicky Herby Hasselback Potatoes.”

Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring, Vegan Quick Suppers

Thai Hot Noodle and Vegetable Broth

A quick delicious supper for 2.

Here’s a recipe for a hot, sharp, flavourful, fresh vegetable and noodle broth with Thai flavours.

The broth is flavoured initially with a chilli and garlic paste…and miso is added at the end to give it real depth.

Can be easily adapted to different vegetables, noodles or rice….



ample for 2

Ingredients: Continue reading “Thai Hot Noodle and Vegetable Broth”

Burgers and Patties, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Little Russian Potato and Lentil Pancakes + a Salad of Sprouted Pulses and Seeds.


The star of this show for me, is the glorious salad of mixed sprouted pulses and seeds …so moreish ..I just eat them like candy.

sprouted pulse and seed salad


I decided on these little Russian Pancakes as a perfect foil for this crisp nutty, earthy salad.

I also made a simple lemony creamy dressing …laced with mustard..

A meal that’s quick, unfussy and economical..and full of lovely complementary flavours.

potato and lentil pancakes + sprouted seed and pulse salad

To sprout pulses, buy organic.  If you mix different ones, you will increase the variety of essential amino acids you get in one serving…

various lentils, mung beans, chickpeas, adzuki beans and sunflower seeds

Wash the seeds and pulses thoroughly.  You can buy special kit to sprout seeds.  I do it the old fashioned way.

I use a glass kilner jar without the lid.  Place the seeds and pulses in the jar and cover with filtered water for about 24 hours.

Strain, rinse, and then add more water.  Cover the top of the jar with a piece of unbleached muslin, secured tightly with an elastic band,  and then tip away just about all the water.

Then place the jar on a dish, so that it’s tilted down toward the muslin end, allowing excess water to drain slowly away.

sprouting seeds and pulses
sprouting seeds and pulses

Leave in a cool place, out of direct sunlight. Rinse the sprouting legumes twice daily.

The sprouts should be ready within 5 days…..

…they will keep fresh in the fridge for a few days….if they last that long 🙂



Makes 8

Ingredients: Continue reading “Little Russian Potato and Lentil Pancakes + a Salad of Sprouted Pulses and Seeds.”

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

Monggo + Oat-Milk Bread Rolls.

Monggo is a traditional Filipino Mung Bean Stew. It has very few ingredients, which is just one of the things I love about it.

monggo – garnished with coconut cream and fresh coriander

Less is more… so often…  as this dish proves… it’s mellow, comforting and quite delicious.  I decided to accompany it with some fresh, white, oat-milk bread rolls, which has turned out to be a lovely combination.

I love beans, and I’m discovering so many beautiful recipes from around the world….

When it comes to beans, they need a long soak and a slow cook.  Every time.  In the scheme of things, mung beans are small, and therefore very amenable… they only need a 12 hour soak, and will easily cook through in an hour and a half.

mung beans

The bread rolls require just the minimum of effort, and, in total about 90 minutes somewhere warm to prove….

Ideally, Monggo needs Malunggay leaves – also known as leaves of the Moringa Tree, but here in the UK I’ve been unable to find them, and a common alternative is baby leaf spinach.

Traditionally the recipe may or may not contain meat, but I’m interested in a plant-based version of course.  I’ve used carrots and celery to add an extra depth to the stock.

I hope you enjoy….

monggo and bread rolls



Serves 4

Cook’s note: if you begin both the Monggo … (having soaked the beans for 12 hours) ..and the bread rolls at roughly the same time… they will be ready at the same time!  Takes about 2 hours or so, but far less ‘active’ time …(tip: get the bread going first)…

Ingredients: Continue reading “Monggo + Oat-Milk Bread Rolls.”

All About Beans, Burgers and Patties, Condiments, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Patatas Bravas + Herbed Mushroom Bean Burgers + Vegan Aioli

Spanish flavours…  roasted potatoes in a rich garlicky tomato sauce served with vegan aioli.

Mushroom bean burgers infused with intensely fragrant dried herbs…oregano…rosemary…sage and thyme…and with a chilli hit….

A great combination packed with powerful flavours.

Perfectamente Deliciosa!


patatas bravas + herbed mushroom bean burgers



makes 6  – 70gm. burgers

more than ample for 2

Ingredients: Continue reading “Patatas Bravas + Herbed Mushroom Bean Burgers + Vegan Aioli”