Monthly Archives: May, 2016

Slow Cooked Vegan Chilli

This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Bill Sewell, a vegetarian chef who has long been one of my food idols.  It’s got quite unusual ingredients for a chilli but they come together beautifully and I think it’s really delicious.

I have tweaked it a bit and came up with the idea of slow cooking it when we bought our lovely range cooker that has a ‘slow oven’ in it.  You might be able to replicate this in a normal oven set very low or of course use a stand alone slow cooker – I’ve never used one of those though so I will leave the judging of the timings etc up to you!

  • 500g pack dried kidney beans
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 onions, chopped small
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, chopped small
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 350g carrots, chopped small
  • 1 heaped tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml strong black coffee
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 pack fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper

You need to start by cooking the beans so this will mean soaking them overnight or for at least 8 hours.  You then put them in a large sturdy pan with plenty of water (do not add salt), bring to the boil and boil very fast for 10 minutes.  Now turn the heat down and simmer for about 1.5 hours.  You need to test the beans before you drain them – test a few, I’ve had times where I’ve tested one lovely soft bean but the rest of them were still pretty hard!  If they’re not done, keep cooking them.  If the water dries out, add some more.  Put your cooked beans to one side.  You can cook them in advance and leave them in a tupperware in the fridge for a couple of days if that works for you.

Now in a large heavy based pan with a lid that will go in your slow oven, heat the sunflower oil and then add the onions, garlic, chillies, celery, peppers and carrots.  Stir to coat in the oil and then sweat the veg for 15 minutes.  Add the cumin and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Once your cumin has sizzled away for a bit add all the rest of the ingredients, including the beans, to the pan and stir well to combine.  Bring to the boil, boil for a few minutes, stir again and then put the lid on the pan and put it in the slow oven for at least 10 hours.  You can check on it from time to time and give it a stir – it’s quite fun to watch how it’s changed each time you check it.  The vegetables will release their juices and you will have lots of sauce by the time it’s done.

I like to serve this with brown rice – the flavours go together perfectly.  And it’s also very good with some grated cheddar on top, which isn’t vegan I know but what the hell!  Enjoy.






Carrot Soup with Dill

This soup is perfect for the warmer months – the lovely light flavour of dill and the sweetness of carrots give it a definite flavour lift.  It’s yummy!

  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, chopped
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock (I like Kallo)
  • 1 supermarket pack dill, large stalks removed, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large soup pan and sweat the onion, garlic and celery for 5 minutes.  Then add the carrots and potatoes and sweat for a further 5 minutes.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about half an hour until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in the chopped dill and some salt and pepper and then blend the soup with a hand blender.  That’s it!  Simple and very, very good.


Potato Gratin with Tomatoes

This dish really is very simple to do, feeds the masses and goes with everything.  What’s not to like??  Desiree or red potatoes are good here, if you go for a very floury potato they will disintegrate more – though that’s not the end of the world.  There’s nothing worse than an undercooked potato!

  • 2kg potatoes, peeled
  • 2 red onions, peeled and cut into thin wedges
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 6 tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • Salt and pepper

Get your largest oven dish and cut a piece of non stick baking parchment to fit the top of the dish.  Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan 150C/Gas 3.

Slice the potatoes with a mandolin or a similar contraption (I have something called a JML Super Slicer) and place in a large bowl.  Throw in the onions and garlic, then add the olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper and mix well to combine.  You can use your hands, it’s easier!

Put the potato mixture into your big dish and move everything around till it’s evenly distributed and the potatoes are flattish.  Then take your tomato quarters and poke them into the top layers of potato at regular intervals so they are just peeking out.  Press it all down with your hands.

Now cover the top of the dish with the piece of parchment you cut earlier.  Don’t be tempted to use foil here as it may react with the tomatoes and turn the whole dish black!

Put the dish into the preheated oven and cook for 2 hours, taking the parchment off for the last 15 minutes so the potatoes can crisp up a bit.  Enjoy!




Fragrant Seeded Rolls

I’ve developed this recipe over the last few years.  I like these rolls with soup, my kids like them with cheddar cheese in them  (though that’s not to everyone’s taste – it brings to mind the cumin studded cheese you get in Amsterdam) and they are also very, very good filled with goat’s cheese and mango chutney.  Or just have them plain, they’re still great!

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 15g salt
  • 25g fresh yeast or 10g dried fast acting yeast
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 15g honey
  • 50g soft butter
  • 300ml tepid water

Combine the flour, salt, yeast, seeds and butter in a large bowl.  Weigh the honey out into a jug or bowl and then add the tepid water and dissolve the honey.  Now add this mixture to your other ingredients and bring together into a dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead till smooth and elastic, 5-10 minutes.  This dough is a bit sticky to start with because of the butter but keep going it will come together, you can add a little bit more flour if you like.  Having a dough scraper (I use the spatula from my Magimix) to hand is a good idea here!

Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to double in size, about 1.5 hours.  When ready lightly grease a large baking tray.  This quantity makes 12 rolls, I like to weigh the dough and measure them exactly but it’s not essential by any means.  Divide your dough into 12 and shape each piece into ball, then lightly coat with flour and place on the baking tray.  The dough is quite sticky so you should do this with a small pile of flour nearby that you can coat your hands in between each roll.  Leave the rolls to prove again, this time for 1 hour.

While the rolls are proving heat the oven to 200C/Fan 180/Gas 6.  Bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes till golden brown, remove and place on a wire rack to cool.







Halloumi & Mint Bread

Here’s the recipe for the Halloumi & Mint Bread we made at our Bread Club meeting on 29th April, that was then made again by Jo on the programme Nadiya’s Family Favourites.  This bread was a big hit with the group!  Luckily I made one extra on the day and we all shared it warm for a delicious lunch.  This is my version of a Paul Hollywood recipe…

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 10g salt
  • 25g fresh yeast (of if you’ve only got dried fast acting I would use 10g)
  • 1 heaped tsp dried mint
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 300ml tepid water
  • 1 block halloumi cheese

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, yeast, mint and olive oil.  Add the water, bring together into a dough and knead on a floured surface till smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.  Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for 1 hour.

Drain the halloumi and crumble the cheese into pieces.  When your dough is ready take it from the bowl and incorporate the cheese into it.  Shape into a long sausage (oiled hands will help you here!) and place on a large baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.  Leave to prove again for another hour.

Preheat your oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 8.  Just before you put the bread in to bake, slash it diagonally across the top several times and dust with flour.  Bake for 30 minutes till golden and the bottom is browning and sounds hollow when tapped.  Cool on a wire rack.