Crispy kale with lemon maple tahini dressing

This is so simple it’s hardly even a recipe. I’m almost embarrassed to post it. But it’s delicious. This seriously takes ten minutes from start to ready to eat, and it’s warming and nutritious.

Heat your oven to hot, and in a baking tin pile in handfuls of kale, a shake of olive oil, salt and sumac. Add a handful of pine nuts and currants for extra crunch and little pops of sweetness. Roast for about ten minutes until crisp.

In a jar mix a large spoonful of tahini, the juice of a lemon, some salt and maple syrup to taste. I sometimes add a little hot water to thin if it’s not of drizzling consistency.

Serve over rice, drizzled generously with the tahini maple dressing. Munch happily.


Fabulous leftover frittata

So, when what we have in the fridge is a solitary potato, a box of eggs, half a red and green pepper and a rather sad looking courgette, do we head for the Indian takeaway? We do not! We make fabulous frittata.

It sounds exotically complicated and Italian, doesn’t it. But it’s really just a big veggie omelette that you don’t have to have kittens about trying to flip. What’s not to love.

Great with salad, fresh greens, or if in need of something from your childhood, baked beans….

Nut and seed roast with cheese and tomato layer

This adaptation from an old Cranks recipe is one that I’ve been pleasurably cooking for years. The addition of the layer of cheddar, feta or Vegan cheese and sliced tomato adds a piquancy to the savoury nuttiness of the loaf that’s a lovely surprise to those that haven’t eaten it before.

I chop 250g of nuts by hand. My food processor tends to grind them too finely – a bit of crunch is best. An onion, chopped and sautéed in butter, Vegan spread or oil. Add 100g of breadcrumbs, some chopped parsley if you have it, and a handful of seeds. Enough Vegan bouillon with a teaspoon of marmite or a sloosh of soy sauce to make a fairly loose mix, then dollop half the mix into a baking tin, add a layer of cheese, a layer of sliced tomato, then the rest of the nut mix. Press down and transfer to a hot oven to bake for about 35 minutes.

As delicious cold the next day as it is hot. Gorgeous served with a fresh tomato salsa, fresh tomato sauce or chimichurri sauce on the side.

Chunky root vegetable soup

A morning has been spent happily gathering and chopping carrots, swede, leeks, sweet potatoes, small turnips and butternut squash. 

Add a couple of handfuls of organic lentils and split peas. A tin of tomatoes, a top up of the pan with water, a splash of soy sauce, salt and pepper. Simmered for an hour, and the seasoning to adjusted to taste along with a handful of chopped fresh chives. 

This makes up a hearty, chunky soup, enough for several bowls, and it’s perfect with doorstops of crusty, seeded bread. Or perhaps, cheese scones to dunk. Simple food, and a hug in a bowl. 

Chickpea, leek and red pepper patties

I love a good chickpea burger! 

Heavily laced with garlic, fresh coriander and seasonings, these patties do have a tendency to fall apart a bit with no eggs to bind them, but that’s a small price to pay for the sheer deliciousness of them.

Finely chopped onion, garlic, half a leek, a tin of chickpeas mashed down with a fork, half a red pepper, sumac and paprika. Molded into patties with floury hands and fried in olive oil for ten minutes until crispy. 

So useful to use up “bits” of remaining vegetables in the fridge, and a healthy, filling supper. As well as cheap to boot.

What’s not to love 😊

Bravely unusual breakfast

Husband and I stayed at the Lalit Hotel at Tower Bridge, London a few nights ago.

It’s a glorious riot of Indian loveliness, with sumptuous embroidered fabrics, rich textile art and contemporary Indian style. The staff are simply delightful. 

Breakfast was in the vast Baluchi restaurant in the hotel, originally the grand vaulted hall of a grammar school. 

Feeling brave, I abandoned my usual toast and oatmeal, and ordered the Indian breakfast (although I was a little dubious about spiciness first thing in the morning as the pale, wilting northern flower that I am). 

The resulting giant dosa, filled with gently spiced potatoes and served with masala and Indian scrambled eggs was a revelation.

Crispy and feather light, with a rich and filling potato interior, any concerns I may have had about eating curry for breakfast were soon dispelled. 

I need to wear my big girl pants and be brave with my breakfast choices more often.


Fabulous fougasse

Provence specialises in olive bread called fougasse, and our morning trips to the boulangerie always resulted in our coming home with a freshly baked one in the basket alongside the croissants.

This was a life saver, as our two teenage vegans couldn’t eat the other breakfast pastries, which were all baked with butter. They did devour these beauties, however, pulling them apart warm and fragrant from the oven.

Prepared and baked with olive oil, heavily layered with pungent olive paste and black olives, and scattered with local Camargue salt crystals and fresh thyme, these fougasse were remarkably delicious.

I’ve never tasted anything quite as good out of Provence.

Sweet potato, chickpea and brocolli Buddha Bowl

Spiced toasted chickpeas, roasted sweet potatoes, kale and broccoli, all drizzled with a lemony tahini dressing.

I added a base layer of wholemeal rice as we were hungry this evening, but in fact the sweet potatoes and chickpeas were incredibly filling so it probably wasn’t necessary.

All in all this was a glorious mixture of crunchy and soft, spicy and citrus fresh flavours and textures.

Thankyou, Minimalist Baker! Your recipe was perfect. Supper sorted in thirty minutes.

Spices of Provence

The market in Arles is a riot for the senses, a saturation of vibrant colour and warm smells. 

The spice stalls display their wares in huge open bowls; turmeric, harissa, cumin, ras el hanout and paprika, all jostling together for attention in a glorious mosaic of intense, earthy hues.

Colour and taste are everywhere here. This fougasse, a local artinisal bread made with olives and thyme, is the perfect example of simple local ingredients being used to create an intense taste experience. 

Simply gorgeous. 

Delectable courgette, pea, mint and ricotta lasagne 

The temperature has plummeted to the teens over the last few days in London. Not quite enough to warrant a warming stew for dinner, but certainly cold enough to ditch the salads and demand something a little more substantial.

Enter stage left, lasagne, with a bit of a difference.

What I love about this Rose Elliot recipe is that there is no need to waste thirty minutes of your life making a bechamel sauce. 

Simply loosen ricotta with a little milk and use this as the “sauce” between the layers of fresh pasta and greenly, garlic and mint-scented onions, petit pois and courgettes. Top with parmesan et, voila! Dinner is served. Accompany with a crisp, green salad if you’re able, and maybe a cheeky glass of Sancerre…