Vegetarian recipe posts for #nvw16

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I first went veggie when I was 9 and it lasted 2 years, until I went to secondary school.

My sister, Bec went veggie a couple of years later and has stuck with it.

My Gram (pictured) was a great influence as she made me delicious veggie foods, like rissoles, nut roast and these delicious tarts that tasted like they had bacon in them – I need to find that recipe. She also made vegetarian sausage rolls at Christmas which I will post later this year.

She worked for the Jewish Vegetarian Society in the 1960’s, and also knew the head of the Soil Association (according to my dad). She would send me off to school with some nuts which I would add to my school dinner, as at the time being vegetarian was pretty unheard of. And the dinner ladies were brilliant – they would make me a vegetarian version of meat dish – instead of spam fritters – cheese fritters! Tasty but really unhealthy!

Gram took us out to a vegetarian restaurant in the early 1980’s and it was memorable for being very, very bland. I think she’d be very pleased at how things are turning out today the amount of choice and options and … recipes.

I went veggie again in the new year (2016), with plans of making the whole family veggie, but it’s not quie worked out as planned, I am still eating fish, and the rest of the family are still eating meat, only organic, but meat. I’ve decided to see this as a bit of a journey, from meat eating to vegan, and I plan to take my family with me, so will be adding a new vegetarian recipe to the rota each week.

The one thing that’s made it tricky is time to try out new recipes. Vegetarian and especially vegan diets need to have a good amount of high quality protein: eggs, seeds, nuts, lentils and beans. So any recipes I make will include those ingredients as a general rule.

So right at the end of National Vegetarian week, here are my veggie posts to celebrate:

First up is mushroom and red lentil pasta which is a quick an easy midweek supper.

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Then there’s nettle and red lentil soup – which is perfect for this time of year.

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Then a favourite in our house, Spanish tortilla, we make our’s with smoked paprika, and you can add all sorts of left over veggies – I’ve made it with sweet potato, carrot and beetroot too, which is really tasty.

Minestrone soup is a great soup to make anytime of the year as the vegetables are available all year round.

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One of my favourite soup recipes is this one by Rose Elliot – who’s an amazing vegetarian cookery writer, It’s a celery and tomato soup and is literally, onions, celery, garlic, stock and tomatoes, and it is delicious.

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Then there’s this post on cauliflower three ways: cauliflower cheese – was something often had when I was growing up, and then there’s roasted cauliflower which I much prefer to steamed now, and of course cauliflower base for pizza, which adds more high quality protein to the dish (from eggs and ground almonds) compared to pizza with a bread base.

Cauliflower cheese

I had also forgotten about veggie spag bol which is a great alternative to the classic dish.

dished up veggie spag bol

Roasted vegetable lasagne is one to get back on the rota as my eldest used to love it – I need to try adding some berlotti beans to up the high quality protein content, and you can get gluten free lasagne sheets too.

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Then there’s chickpea and leek soup which is quick and easy to make for lunch, especially if you have tinned chickpeas.

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And finally, Summer bean stew with chickpeas – which I haven’t made for ages and peppers are just coming into season so it’s time to try it again…

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Pulling all my veggie posts together has shown me that I need a bit more variety, inspiration and creativity. So am off to get some…

 

 

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Pecan and date spelt breakfast muffins

 

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I’ve been looking for healthier breakfast muffin recipes because, who doesn’t love cake for breakfast, especially children. And if it’s lower sugar then you’re good to go.

Helping with the Organic Trade Board’s  Wake up to Organic campaign has made me want to come up with some new ideas for breakfast. On 15th of June all over the UK independent retailers will dish up a free organic breakfast to their customers and passers by. The idea is to show easy it is to make the switch to organic. Follow us on twitter to keep up with the campaign

Gluten free

I haven’t tried this recipe with gluten free flour but I am sure it will work – you can also use gluten free oats. I am going to try to make them with buckwheat flour and will report on how well it works.

Dairy free

This recipe is dairy free but if you want to use butter instead of coconut oil or milk instead of dairy free alternatives to milk.

Sugar

These muffins have no refined sugar in them – though they do have maple syrup which as a syrup is classified as sugar. I will be trying this recipe without maple syrup as I think they can easily be made without – 30ml contains about 15g of sugar which is equal to about 1.3g of sugar per muffin, the dates contribute 7g of sugar, the bananas provide just under 1.8g sugar per muffin, the coconut milk provides less than a gram. So in total each muffin has about 2 teaspoons of sugar which sounds like a lot but most shop bought muffins will be bigger portion sizes and contain 4-5 teaspoons of sugar, and they also won’t be in natural fruit form – which of course include lots of micronutrients, from vitamin B6 in the dates, to potassium in bananas. Under the latest Scientific Advisory Committee guidance this is equivalent to just over 1 teaspoon of refined sugars.

We do have some sugar in our diet in our family and I want to reduce it. Have you found that children don’t notice any changes to what you feed them, if you don’t mention it and also make those changes gradually. In between work, parenting, and walking the dog I don’t have much time to experiment in the kitchen so I need tried and tested recipes that work, like this one. These make a great treat breakfast and of course can be put in lunch boxes too.

Pecan and date spelt breakfast muffins

Vegan, soy free

Makes 12 muffins
Prep time 20 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes

You will need…

240g white spelt flour (or a mixture of white and wholemeal)
130g dates chopped
190ml coconut milk or almond milk or other diary free milk.
2 small to medium bananas mashed (about 180g)
30ml of maple syrup
30g chia seeds
30g pumpkin seeds
50g pecans chopped
30g oats
60ml coconut oil melted
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
Medium carrot finely grated (about 80g)
pinch of salt

How to…

  • Preheat your oven to 190˚C/gas mark 5/350°F.
  • Put the mashed banana in a big bowl with the carrots, milk, maple syrup, vinegar and vanilla extract  and melted coconut oil, mix well.
  • Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, mixed spice and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
  • Gently fold in the seeds, nuts, dates and oats.
  • Don’t over mix as this helps keep the muffins fluffy.
  • Place the mixture in 12 muffin tins.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes. You can test with a skewer and if it comes out with mixture on it bake for a few more minutes.
  • Cool on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes or so.
  • Serve with some chopped fruit and/or a cup of milk.

Mushroom and red lentil pasta for #meatfreeMonday

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I made this last night at 11pm, when I realised my daughter needed lunch for the Childminders today. It’s easy peasy, one of those pasta sauces you throw together at the last minute, not sure whether it’s going to work and it does, as long as the little person likes mushrooms…

I’ve stopped eating meat since the beginning of January, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, and it’s great. While I am not stopping the rest of the family from eating meat, I am not cooking it! So am looking for more vegetarian recipes that include high quality protein like lentils, beans, quinoa, nuts and seeds, and eggs, that also appeal to the kids.


Mushroom and red lentil pasta
You will need…

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, top and tailed peeled and grated
50g red lentils, rinsed
about 6 mushrooms sliced (have more if you want_
Teaspoon of dried oregano (or mixed herbs)
Carton or tin of chopped tomatoes
100g water

How to…

  • Heat the oil in a pan
    Add the onions and carrots and cook until softened
    Add the dried herbs and mushrooms.
    Stir and cook for 5 more minutes.
    Add the lentils and stir well.
    Add the tinned tomatoes and about 100g water.
    Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sauce is nice and rich and the lentils cooked through.

You can make this dish gluten free, using gluten free pasta and it’s vegan if you don’t have the cheese.

#Glutenfree #alcoholfree #Christmaspudding recipe

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I can’t quite believe am managing to get this post done with all that’s going on in the house and its gone 1am but I made this, and  even though I say so myself, it tasted great, so wanted to share the recipe.

Tris Strover at Tootsie’s nursery kindly gave me his Christmas Pudding recipe way back in 2011. He does all the cooking for Tootsies, and has won the Nursery World Food Award twice, and deservedly so. Anyway it’s one of my most popular posts, this time of year, funnily enough.

I’ve tried making it with gluten-free flour this year but it didn’t quite work. Maybe it’s because I didn’t take the crusts off the bread I used to make breadcrumbs. Anyway, moving on…

I’ve come up with grain-free, alcohol free version. Why do we think it’s ok for kids to eat food with alcohol in it?  If you’re eating this and think you might miss the alcohol,  have a glass of something with it.

Anyway Merry Christmas!!!


Gluten free, alcohol free Christmas pudding

You will need…
1 lb pudding basin
Greaseproof paper
Cotton or muslin
String or wool
150g raisins
150g sultanas
50g candied peel
100g prunes, chopped
50g cranberries or natural glacé cherries
50g flaked almonds
zest and juice from one clementine
150ml maple syrup
90g ground almonds
3 medium sized eggs
level teaspoon mixed spice
level teaspoon cinnamon
level teaspoon baking powder
125g gluten free vegetable suet
1 apple peeled and chopped into small pieces

How to…

  • Mix together all the dried fruit in a bowl.
  • Beat the eggs in a large bowl.
  • Add the clementine juice, zest and maple syrup and mix well.
  • Add the suet and again, mix well.
  • Add the dried fruit, almonds, spices, baking powder and ground almonds and mix through very well.
  • Pour into the pudding basin.
  • Cut a piece of greaseproof paper to fit just over the top of the pudding.
  • Cut a piece of muslin or cotton sheet to size cover the top with it, large enough so it falls below the rim where you tie the string around it.
  • Once you have tied the string around the basin, make a handle over the top using two pieces of string, going across the middle from one side to the other, this makes it easy  to take the pudding out of the hot pan.
  • Steam for 4 hours keep adding water, as it can dry out. I had to put mine on a pastry cutter, in my steaming pan.
  • Steam for an hour before serving.

Oaty apple breakfast bake with #noaddedsugar

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This breakfast dish is very popular in my house. I have to admit that eldest daughter loves it and the youngest will eat it but its not her favourite. But I think a lot of families have that going on.

You make the apple sauce in batches and freeze that makes it easier. We have lots of windfalls at the moment so am doing this when I can, in between everything else.

You make this dish the night before, we make it weekdays and weekends. All you do is turn the oven on when you get up and bake it for 30 minutes. It’s mainly measuring and mixing, so it was easy for my 2 year old to help make it last night.

Have been using windfalls for my apple sauce, I am beginning to run out of freezer space. Maybe time for another freezer.

I’ve made this dish with no added sugar, only the sugars found naturally in fruit.

Because it has no added sugar it’s suitable for weaning. Just take out the raisins as they’re high in sugar, it’s best to wait until your little one is 1 before introducing them.

You’ll need an oven-proof dish – mine is about 25 cm x 17 cm.

Gluten free and dairy free

You can make it gluten free by using gluten free oats.

Milk can be swapped for non-dairy milk like coconut drinking milk or almond milk, and the butter for non-dairy unhydrogenated spread or coconut oil.

Oaty apple breakfast bake recipe

You will need…

100g raisins
180g apple sauce (stewed apples blended without sugar)
300ml milk
350g whole oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 apple cored but unpeeled grated
3 medium eggs, beaten
50g melted unsalted butter

How to…

Grease a shallow dish.
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Put in the dish, cover and leave overnight in the fridge.
In the morning heat the oven to 160º c fan oven / 180º c / gas mark 5 for 30 minutes.
Serve with a little milk poured over and chopped fruit.

Portions and nutrition

This recipe makes enough for 1½-2 rounds of breakfast for a family of 4-5. Based on a 5 year old having a 100g portion this breakfast it contains good amounts of protein, fibre, potassium, calcium, magnesium. It makes a good contribution to iron and zinc intakes too along with key B vitamins such as B6, B12 and more. So it makes for a really healthy start to the day.

The sugar content per 100g is 9.5g (just under 2 teaspoons) but it’s all from fruit so doesn’t count towards the maximum recommended intake for this age of ‘free sugars’* of 4 teaspoons a day.

*’free sugars’ is a definition by World Health Organisation which has been adopted by the UK Governments Scientific Advisory Committee in their recent report on Carbohydrates and health. Free sugars are any processed sugar added to foods by a manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juice.

#Glutenfree pumpkin pie

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This recipe is adapted from my Gram’s pumpkin pie recipe.

She was a great cook,  from vegetarian meals (she used to work for the Jewish Vegetarian society), delicious wholemeal pizza and lots of cakes. She was ahead of her time in so many ways. She told me once she was the first woman on her road to wear trousers.

This is a great way to use up those Jack o’lanterns – yes the bigger pumpkins aren’t as tasty but they absorb flavours so it’s what you cook them with that counts.


You will need…

1 pumpkin, about 1kg whole or 400g flesh
Half a teaspoon cinnamon
Quarter of a teaspoon nutmeg
Half a teaspoon ground ginger
Half a teaspoon ground cloves or two whole cloves
250g ground almonds
80g organic unsaltedbutter
Pinch of salt
180ml organic single cream
3 medium organic eggs
100g maple syrup

How to…
Heat oven to 180 degrees c /160 degrees c fan oven / gas mark 4 / 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Cut and peel the pumpkin removing all seeds.
Either steam or cook in a little water for 10 minutes until soft with the whole cloves embedded in a piece or two to infuse.
Mash it up and put to one side too cool.
Melt the butter in a pan.
Pour over the ground almonds.
Add a pinch of salt.
Mix well.
our the mixture into a flan dish or cake dish press well into the dish and up the sides ensuring its all covered evenly.
If you have a little rolling pin that can help for the base.
Bake in oven for 6 minutes.
Take out of the oven a cool in the fridge.
Remove the cloves from the pumpkin.
Blend it well.
Add the cream, eggs maple syrup and spices mixing well.
Pour into the pastry case.
Bake in the middle of the oven until the filling has set.
Allow to cool and serve with cream,  half fat creme friache or Greek yogurt.

Cheap eats January #9: Minestrone soup

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Easy to make, tasty to eat. Children love having pasta in soup too.

 

You will need…

2 medium onions (red are best but white are fine if that’s what you’ve got) halved and sliced
2 medium carrots, top and tailed, peeled and sliced
1 stick celery sliced
600ml of vegetable or chicken stock*
100g dried borlotti beans soaked overnight and boiled for about an hour and a half
Carton of chopped tomatoes**
100-150g savoy cabbage shredded
2 tablespoons of olive oil
100g of pasta (gluten free if need be)

 
How to…

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
Add the onion, carrots and celery, and cook until soft and onions are translucent.
Add the cabbage and tomatoes, stir well.
Pour in the stock.
Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the pasta and the beans and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
Serve topped with grated parmesan or cheddar and crusty bread.

*Ideally use low salt stock or home made
*If tomatoes are in season, use 3 fresh tomatoes, chopped.

Cost

This soup costs £2.43 to make and serves 4-6 people. If you use organic bacon then it costs £4.58 to make.

Nutrition

A quarter of this soup for an adult will provide good amounts of fibre, potassium, folate and vitamin C and some calcium, and magnesium an, iron and zinc, as well as selenium, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6

Cheap eats #7: Spanish tortilla

IMG_0096I first learnt how to make Spanish tortilla from the lovely, Chris Adnitt, 20 years ago when he was sharing a flat in Maida Vale  with my (now) husband.  Chris went on Spanish exchanges when he was at school, and has always loved all things Spanish. So it’s hardly surprising that he now owns a gorgeous neighbourhood tapas restaurant, Number 22, in Herne Hill. He’s from Maltby.

We went recently on a fleeting visit to London just after new year. The food is delicious – service is great too (well I have to say that as Chris served us). The restaurant’s been refurbished after Herne Hill suffered 6ft floods the previous year. Then when I was at uni with another equally lovely friend, Alicia, who happens to be Spanish, the recipe got further updated. So, you could say my tortilla has a pretty good pedigree, though there’s always new ways of doing and improving recipes.

Tortilla, or Spanish omelette is a great way to use left over veg – so it’s a good meal for a Monday. And you can add 100g of bacon for a treat.* I’ve made it recently with sweet potato, carrot, beetroot and peas.

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You will need…

500g potatoes (about 4) diced
60ml olive oil Medium onion chopped
100g peas
5 medium eggs
Teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika (optional)

How to…

Heat 15ml olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat.
Fry the onion until translucent. Add the rest of the olive oil.
Heat through and add the potatoes.
Stir well and then reduce the heat to low Cover with a plate, so the vegetables steam cook.
Stir every few minutes until the potatoes are cooked through (should take about 10 minutes).
Add the smoked paprika and mix well.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a large bowl.
Add the peas to the potato mixture right at the end.
Put the vegetable mixture into a sieve over a bowl to drain out any excess oil.
Then stir into the beaten eggs.
Add a little oil to the frying pan again, just to coat it.
Pour the mixture into the pan and cook on a low heat. Finish the top under the grill.
Make sure it’s cook through in the middle.
Grate some cheese on top. Serve with cooked vegetables, salad or baked beans (for the kids)

Cost

I worked out the cost of this recipe and if you use organic eggs it costs £3.35, using free range, it costs £2.67.

Nutrition

There was once a time when eggs were thought to raise cholesterol, because of their high levels of cholesterol. But this is history now (something I learnt about at uni 15 years ago). It’s really just a good illustration of how science isn’t an absolute, there are always new findings which outdate the old.

A quarter of this tortilla is about 385 kcal’s, and provides some calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin A, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate and vitamin B12 and vitamin C. *Bacon is a treat because there’s strong evidence to suggest regularly consuming processed meat such as bacon increases your risk of cancer. It’s thought that the nitrites in bacon and other cured meats could be the reason for this. It is possible to buy nitrite free bacon though whether this removes the risk factor is not known!

Cheap Eats January #5 : In praise of beans on toast

Yes that’s right, I am writing a post on… baked beans on toast.

Only because nutritionally it’s a great meal, it’s cheap of course and if you’ve been working all day, doesn’t take long to prepare so you get to spend some time with your kids.

Nutrition

This meal will give your kids good amounts of protein, potassium, calcium, iron zinc, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and folate, oh and fibre, of course.

Lower salt baked beans are ideal, as regular baked beans (and organic brands can be higher than others) tend to be high in salt (a quarter of a 100g tin of baked can provide as much as 75% of a 5 year olds recommended intake of salt – and that’s before you’ve added in the salt from bread too).

Protein combining

Proteins are chains of amino acids, of which there are 8 that are essential in our diets. Two of these, lysine and methionine are more readily available in balanced proportions in protein from animal sources (such as eggs, milk and cheese). Vegetarians and especially vegans need to make sure they get a combination of foods that have good amounts of each.

Protein from cereals such as wheat and rice, tend to be low in lysine but good sources of methionine. Beans and lentils and peas tend to be low in methionine but high in lysine.

So combining cereals and legumes means you get complete proteins. Classic examples examples being beans on toast, humous and bread, tortilla and chilli (with red kidney beans) and rice and dhal (lentils).

It was for some time thought essential to combine these foods at the same meal but is now not thought to be necessary. However, it is interesting that in different cultures, all over the World that these combinations have existed for hundreds and thousands of years.

Even if it’s not required to combine these foods at the same meal, it makes sense to, as they complement each other so well.

What’s for lunch: celery and tomato soup

 

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This is a recipe from Rose Elliot’s New Complete vegetarian cookbook. I was kindly given permission to include it in the blog.

It’s the first recipe I made from the book and I remember being struck by how such a simple dish could be so delicious.

I was going to post it last September but then celery went out of season (its usually in season from June through to October) and I only really use fruit and veg that’s grown in the UK when it’s in season.

It’s part of my What’s for lunch series of recipes: ideas for simple meals to share with your baby and/or toddler. I would make this on a day when they were going to have a main meal at tea time that includes high quality protein (lean meat, fish, eggs, pulses and/or beans) or serve it alongside something that includes high quality protein like sardines on toast.

When I gave it to my then 10 month old baby I gave it to her alongside a small leftover portion of meatballs and pasta as I wasn’t sure if she would like the soup (she did). I just wanted to give her some because I was eating it so it would encourage her to try it.

I made this again recently and my eldest daughter didn’t like it – well she didn’t once she knew it had celery in it! She eats celery usually in soups or sauces but probably doesn’t realise. So I guess the moral of the story is fairly obvious – if you want your child to eat/accept a food make it part of their diet from a young age.

You will need…

3 onions chopped(though I have made it with 2)

The outside stalks of a head of celery, chopped

2 garlic cloves chopped

400g carton of chopped tomatoes or 440g fresh chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

575ml of low salt vegetable stock

Half a lemon

 

How to…

Fry the onion and celery in a heavy bottomed pan until translucent for between 5-10 minutes, make sure they don’t brown. Add the garlic, tomatoes and water or stock.
Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the celery is very tender.
Add a squeeze of lemon and serve.
Make sure it’s cooled down before giving it to your little one.