The Christmas tree and decorations are up and it is beginning to feel very festive around here just now. I’ve completed my present shopping but still need to wrap the gifts. Every year I think I enjoy wrapping lots of presents in one go but then once I start, I actually begin to remember how much I don’t enjoy it! Especially when you have gifts which are oddly shaped, maybe I am just not patient enough but I can declare I am not a fan of wrapping presents.
Category Archives: Main Dish
Vegetable & Mixed Bean Chilli
My Dad makes an amazing chilli con carne, and whilst I still do eat meat from time to time, lately I’ve been eating less of it. I’ve recreated this vegetarian chilli loosely based on my Dad’s chilli con carne recipe and it has proved to be successful, even when given to meat eaters!
As the weather has suddenly turned colder this week I decided to make another batch of this and remembered how tasty it is so I knew I had to share the recipe with you all.
Thai Spiced Courgette & Quinoa Cakes
This was a recipe that came together when I hadn’t been to the shops for groceries and used whatever was left in my fridge, which wasn’t a lot!! A courgette and some left over quinoa didn’t really give me a lot of ideas then I found some Thai green curry paste in my cupboard and these little beauties were born!
I’ve tried this recipe with an egg as a binder but I didn’t like the texture it created so I’ve omitted that and much happier with the final result. I used 3 teaspoons of curry paste as I love some spice and heat but you can start with a couple of teaspoons and see how you like it. You could use homemade curry paste but for convenience I use a good quality jar of paste.
To save time you can miss out the step of browning the patties first and just put them straight in the oven to bake.
These are delicious hot or cold so great to make ahead to take for packed lunches or on picnics.
-2 cups cooked quinoa (approx 1/2 cup uncooked)
-1 cup grated courgette (approx 1 small courgette)
-2 to 3 tsp. Thai green curry paste
-3 tsp. coconut cream
-2 spring onions, finely chopped
-scant 1/2 cup brown rice flour
-2 tsp. coconut oil/olive oil
How To Make
Pre-heat oven to 180C/355F. Line a baking sheet with oiled baking parchment.
Place all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl and mix fully until combined.
Take some mixture (slightly larger than golf ball) and roll between palms then squash down to a patty. Continue to do this until all mixture is used.
Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and warm the oil. Once the oil is warm place the patties in the pan and cook for a few minutes each side until browned. You may need to do this in batches. Place browned patties on the prepared baking sheet.
Cook the cakes in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Serve hot or cold.
These cakes store well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Sweet Potato & Spinach Curry
I hadn’t realised when I wanted to make a curry from scratch it would be so difficult. Trying to get the spices just right nearly defeated me but I kept on trying and I am so glad I did. This curry is lovely and creamy with just enough heat but if you prefer more heat then add an extra chilli or more curry powder.
The ingredients list for this recipe may seem long but I promise you it will be worth it. I normally use a curry paste when I make a curry but I always wanted to make my own from scratch. My mum used to make great curries from scratch and now I wish I’d paid more attention to what she was doing!
Like most curries, this tastes even better the next day.
-1 red chilli, seeds removed
-large thumb size piece of ginger, peeled
-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
-1 Tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil
-1 red onion, peeled & diced finely
-1 tsp. curry powder
-2 tsp. garam masala
-1 tsp. ground coriander
-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1 tsp. turmeric
-2 Tbsp. tomato puree
-1/4 cup desiccated coconut
-2 medium organic sweet potato, peeled and diced (large dice)
-1 x 400ml can of light coconut milk
-1 x 400ml can of cannellini beans, drained & rinsed well
-approx. 180g of baby spinach, rinsed
How To Make
First put the chilli, ginger and garlic in a mini food processor and process until very finely chopped. If you don’t have a mini food processor you can crush the garlic and finely chop/grate the chilli and ginger. The processor just saves time!
In a large pan heat the oil over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook the onion gently for 4-5 minutes until it starts to soften. Next add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook until it becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the spices and cook for another minute then add the tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste for about 5 minutes as this helps remove any bitterness. You may need to reduce the heat to prevent the spices burning.
Next add the sweet potato and give everything a good stir. Pour over the coconut milk and fill the empty coconut milk can with water and add this to the pan too. Add the desiccated coconut and cannellini beans, giving everything a good stir.
Put the lid on the pan and bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat to a high simmer and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the potatoes are just becoming tender (cooking time will depend on the size of your diced potato).
Add the spinach and cook until wilted and the potatoes are ready.
Serve with brown rice or buckwheat.
This curry can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Chilli & Lime Smashed Avocado on Toast
I don’t think this is technically a recipe as it is so easy to put together but I had to share it with you all as it’s one of my favourite things to eat right now. I have an avocado every day, whether it be in a smoothie, as a dip, served like this or eaten straight out of the skin with a skin of lemon juice on top.
I sometimes have this avocado on toast with a poached egg on top which makes a great brunch or quick evening bite to eat.
-1 ripe avocado
-1/4 red chilli, finely chopped
-1 spring onion, green part only, finely chopped
-juice of 1/2 a lime
-salt to taste
-2 slices gluten free bread (I use Biona buckwheat rice bread)
-a few fresh coriander leaves (optional)
How To Make
Pop your bread in a toaster to toast.
Whilst the bread is toasting, peel, remove the stone from the avocado and roughly mash (smash) the flesh in a bowl.
Add the chilli, lime juice, spring onion and salt to taste to the avocado. Stir well.
Place your toast on a plate, top with the avocado mixture and scatter over the coriander leaves if using.
Kale & Buckwheat Salad
Some people are a little taken aback when I say I’m eating or cooking with buckwheat as they think it is related to wheat, but fear not, it isn’t, as it’s not a grass and is actually related to rhubarb…who knew?! The person who called it buckwheat probably had no idea the confusion it would cause nowadays!
Buckwheat is my gluten free alternative to couscous. Whilst some people aren’t big couscous fans when they can eat gluten, it is one of the things I miss most. Quinoa is lovely but just doesn’t come close enough in texture to giant couscous (Israeli couscous) for me so I was loving life the day I discovered buckwheat.
I cook buckwheat the way I do rice – one part buckwheat to 2 parts water. Place in a pan and once it is up to the boil, cover with a lid and reduce to simmer for about 12 minutes until the water has been absorbed.
I think this salad will be featuring a lot over my Summer as it is so adaptable with what veggies and dressings you could use. Roast veggies with it would be lovely.
This can be served as a main or a side.
-150g-200g raw kale, cleaned, roughly shredded & tough stems removed
-juice of 1/2 a lemon
-1 & 1/2 cups cooked buckwheat
-handful cherry tomatoes, halved
-1/4 large cucumber, seeds removed & diced
-handful of fresh mixed herbs (I used mint & flat leaf parsley) roughly chopped
-1/4 of a small red onion, finely diced
-1 avocado, skin & stone removed, diced
-salt & pepper
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
-salt & pepper
How To Make
Place the shredded kale in a large bowl with the juice of half a lemon. Massage the kale with the lemon juice until it starts breaking down, this takes about 6-8 minutes so put your favourite tunes on and have a wee boogie whilst massaging the kale!
The photos below show the kale before and after massage.
Once you’ve massaged the kale, set aside as you will need to strain it through a sieve to remove the excess water it will produce.
In a separate bowl combine the tomatoes, buckwheat, cucumber, herbs and give a good stir.
Place the kale in a fine mesh sieve and strain the kale by squeezing it with your hand. Place the strained kale in the bowl with the other ingredients and give everything a good stir to combine. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
Place all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Drizzle over some of the dressing onto the salad and stir.
Place the avocado on top of the salad just before serving.
The salad and dressing both store well in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
Sweet Potato & Tuna Cakes
I’m back! Apologies for no new blog posts the past couple of weeks. I went to Qatar to spend my birthday in the sunshine and see my parents. I had a lovely time and the 12 days went by extremely quickly.
Unfortunately when I got back my dog’s health had deteriorated and after lots of discussion with the vet, we decided the best thing for Lucy was to have her put to sleep. I am absolutely devastated but know that it was the right thing to do.
Me and my Mum rescued Lucy from a scrap yard in Qatar and she just fitted into the family straight away. She loved her cuddles and her walks but if you threw a toy for her to fetch she would just look at you as if to say ‘well you threw it, you can go and get it’!
We brought her back to the UK nearly two years ago and she loved the walks in the countryside and playing in the river. She was such a well-loved dog and we gave her the best life possible.
Now, on to the recipe…
You can cook these cakes two ways, either in the oven or in a frying pan. I prefer cooking them in the oven, although this takes longer than frying them, the cakes hold their shape better.
-450g sweet potato, peeled, steamed (or boiled) & mashed
-1 x 185g tin of tuna in spring water, drained
-1 red chilli, finely chopped
-2 spring onions, finely chopped
-3cm piece of ginger, finely grated
-zest of 1 lime
-1 egg, beaten
-1 small handful of coriander, finely chopped
-salt & pepper
How To Make
If you are cooking the cakes in the oven, pre-heat the oven to 180C/355F. Line a baking sheet with lightly oiled foil.
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. The mixture will be sticky but it will still hold the shape of a cake when cooked.
Make the cakes by taking a golf ball size amount of the mixture then flatten into a cake, don’t make them too thin as they will just break.
If cooking in the oven, place the cakes on the lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning the cakes halfway through.
If frying the cakes, melt 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in a large frying pan. Fry the cakes in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. The cakes take about 3 minutes each side. Remove and set aside.
Serve these cakes with a green salad or as a filling in a sandwich bun.
These cakes store well in the fridge in an airtight container for 2 days. They can be eaten hot or cold, ideal for having in a lunch box.
Loaded Sweet Potato Skins
There is something so comforting about a baked potato, you can pretty much top them with anything and you get a great filling meal. This recipe works well with either sweet or white potatoes, I just happen to prefer sweet potatoes.
Carrot Noodles with Pesto
I received a spiraliser for a Christmas gift a couple of years ago and it is one of my favourite kitchen gadgets. It’s a great way for incorporating vegetables into your dish and I often have a spiralised courgette, sweet potato or carrots instead of pasta, noodles or rice.
Harissa Prawns with Spinach & Pepper
When I started this blog I would never have thought that I would be posting a recipe for shellfish. I have never made a single fish or shellfish dish, which may sound odd coming from someone who loves food and cooking. I’ve tried on a number of occasions different fish and shellfish but every time, it just didn’t taste right and some of it was too ‘fishy’ tasting for my liking.