Tag Archives: cooking

Comfort food – Spiced chickpeas with cumin roasted potatoes


This is another one of my favourite vegetarian cookbooks, I decided to cook Simon’s chickpea stew but I changed it a little . I made potato wedges instead of diced potatoes, I cut down on the celery as it tends to take over a dish, and I missed out the red pepper as OH doesn’t eat them. Here’s my version in photo’s.

I love this kind of comfort food and I’d happily become vege if I had food like this every day.

My ultimate black turtle bean burger

An extra post from me today, I have a bad back today, I can’t sit but I’m OK lying or standing, and seeing the kitchen is the only room that’s unaffected by building work I headed that way this morning . It’s black turtle bean burgers for lunch.
black bean burger

I love making vege burgers, they can be quite versatile depending on the type of beans or lentils, spices etc. I do like the earthy flavour of black turtle beans and I cooked these from dried ones this morning, but a tin of kidney beans would speed up the making process. I don’t have any health food shops near me so I buy my pulses and seeds from Goodness Direct online

So here’s what went into today’s burgers:

  • Black turtle beans, not soaked but boiled until tender but not mushy, then drained.
  • An onion finely chopped and softened in a bit of olive oil in a frying pan
  • 2 chestnut mushrooms and a clove of garlic added to the pan and softened
  • Then add the spices, I used a teaspoon of ground cumin, a teaspoon of smoked paprika, a teaspoon of vegetable boullion powder, and a grind of black pepper.
  • Then add a tablespoon of tomato puree and cooked for a few miniutes.
  • Blitz the beans in a processor but not too smooth, then add the onion mixture.
  • I decided the mixture needed some salt and miso paste, about a teaspoonful, just to add a bit of savouriness. Also about a desert spoonful of sunflower seeds for texture.
  • Shape into patties and bake at 180C for about 15 mins, the mixture is already cooked so it just needs to firm up a bit and get a bit of toastiness on the outside. You could fry them if you prefer.

I served my burgers in a toasted bun with mayonnaise on one side, lettuce, tomatoes, sun dried tomato, ketchup on top, and a dollop of quacamole.

I have to say these burgers are very very tasty, probably the best vege burgers I’ve ever made, well until the next time!




Dhansak curry – my low calorie version

My latest curry is an almost fat free chicken dhansak, and it’s really easy to make.

First toast the spices

I like to use whole spices and dry roast them, then grind in an electric coffee grinder which I keep just for spices , you could use ready ground at a push, but grinding your own spices gives a fuller flavour and I think in low fat curries where I’m not frying the onions, garlic, ginger and spices it’s a great way of packing more flavour.

So in a small pan gently roast the following spices, then cool a little and grind.

3 whole green cardamom pods

3 cloves

8 black peppercorns

1 1/2 inches of cinnamon bark

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

Make the sauce- roughly chop a large onion and 3 large carrots, 5 cloves garlic and 1 inch fresh root ginger (grated). Put everything in a large pan with a tin of chopped tomatoes, the ground spices and the following spices, chilli powder to your taste, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala. Then add red lentils, I guess the quantity, maybe 1/2 cup and add water ( you need to check the liquid every so often so it doesn’t boil dry )  bring to the boil and simmer until the veg are soft then blitz with a hand blender. Then add the juice from a tin of pineapples and the chopped fruit, and 4 chicken breasts cut into chunks.

Then either simmer or put it in the oven for 40minutes.

I served mine with brown rice but the diet portion of rice isn’t enough when you have a lovely sauce so I made Jamie’s cauli rice as well. Just blitz some cauliflower in a processor until it looks like rice grains, add a tablespoon of water then cover and microwave for 3 minutes.

This is a really yummy curry and not bad for your waistline either, enjoy!
low calorie Dhansak curry

My nut roast

The ultimate nut roast.

I love nut roast but some are rather dry, I decided to have a go making the ultimate nut roast with all the flavours I like.

So, what do I want from a nut roast?

It has to have good flavour and texture, moist not dry, or too crumbly so it slices nicely. It has to taste good hot or cold.  I have a favourite Christmas stuffing recipe that has been handed down through the family, it’s basically a sage and onion mix with sausage meat and the unusual addition of chopped mushrooms. So I’d like to try and capture some of these flavours in my nut roast.

To make a nut roast basically you need texture ingredients, moist ingredients, bulking out ingredients, flavourings and a binder. To simplify a fairly complex list of ingredients I decided to divide the ingredients into wet and dry, then combine, add seasonings and something to bind the mix.

Here are the dry ingredients, I rarely weigh anything, it’s all intuitive.

  • nut roastNuts-about 120g almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts. Toasted in the oven and skins removed from hazelnuts, then chopped
  • Sunflower and pumpkin seeds toasted
  • Dry brown bread roll made into crumbs
  • Engevita, about a tablespoon

Wet ingredients

  • nut roastmushrooms
  • 2 carrots
  • an onion
  • clove of garlic

blitzed in the processor then sweated in a pan sprayed with a little oil, until cooked down a bit.

I added a few chopped fresh sage leaves at this point.

Then add the seasonings

  • vegetable stock powder
  • lots of ground black pepper
  • a dash of Worchester sauce, omit if you are vegetarian
  • a squirt of tomato ketchup
  • a dash of soy sauce
  • a sprinkling of cayenne pepper and about 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika.

Everything was mixed together with a beaten egg to bind it, I don’t know what the vegan option would be here. It was then packed into a lined loaf tin and cooked on 180C until firmed up and browned, about 30 minutes I think. And here it is.

Nut roastIt was incredibly good, nice and moist but sliced well. I served it one day with onion gravy and the next with a tomato sauce. I can’t wait to make another one, and of course you can ring the changes, adding different nuts, ground nuts, quinoa, cooked rice, barley or lentils. Change the herbs, mabye go Italian and addmixed herbs and tomato puree. Go Mexican and add mashed beans cumin, and chillies.

Let me know if you make it and what variations you might like to try.