Tag Archives: vegan

Panzanella Salad

Here’s the recipe for panzanella that I use the most. It’s adapted from Nigella’s ‘Kitchen’, a great cookbook. These quantities make a massive bowl but as it keeps well and we’re a family of five that works for me – halve the quantities if you like.

500g stale rustic style bread, cut into little cubes
2 small red onions, cut into thin half moons
100ml red wine vinegar
1kg good ripe tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
4 teaspoons sea salt flakes (halve the quantity if using pouring salt)
1/4 tsp caster sugar
250ml extra virgin olive oil
2 supermarket bunches basil, leaves removed and chopped
Put the onion into a large bowl, pour the vinegar over and leave for at least 10 mins.

Meanwhile, cut crosses in the bottom of the tomatoes, put them into another bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Leave for 5 mins.

Crush the garlic over the onion.

Drain the tomatoes, peel them and remove the seeds. You will get messy doing this! Then chop the flesh and put in in with the onion.

Add the salt and sugar, then the bread cubes. Pour the oil over the bread, top with the chopped basil leaves, then use your hands to gently combine all the ingredients.

Ideally you should leave this for a few hours, even overnight, for the flavour to improve. Cover it with clingfilm and put it in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before eating (though it’s still yummy cold – I can’t resist!)

Enjoy xx



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.





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!




Heather’s Minestrone

This dish is known to my kids as ‘bean soup’ and it is a family favourite that never fails to please.  Sometimes I spice my portion up a bit with a shake of Tabasco.

  • 1 onion, chopped small
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped small
  • 1 large carrot, chopped small
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock (I like Kallo)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tins beans in water (cannellini are good, or mixed beans, or one cannellini and one kidney)
  • 1 heaped tsp dried rosemary OR thyme (I vary depending on mood)
  • 1 packet flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 100g small pasta shapes

Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pan. Put in the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and sweat for 15 minutes, stirring every now and then. Pour in the stock and tomatoes, drain the tinned beans and add them too, then add your herbs. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for 25 minutes. At this stage add the pasta shapes and cook for another 10 minutes. Remember to stir the pasta from time to time or it will stick to the bottom of the pan! Season with salt and pepper.

The soup is best left in the pan, with the lid on, for about half an hour before serving. It keeps well and reheats excellently.


Spicy Lemony Stew

This is a really flavourful dish from quite humble ingredients – and not TOO spicy, my kids can eat it no problem.  It’s great if you get a veg box as you can use up odd bits of veg you might have hanging around!

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 red onions, cut into eighths
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 600g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 300g swede, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 2 courgettes, thickly sliced
  • 600ml vegetable stock (I like Kallo)
  • juice and rind of 2 lemons
  • tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped coriander, to serve (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish.  Fry the onions, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.  Now add the cumin and coriander and stir fry for another minute.

Throw in the chopped vegetables and stir them to coat in the spicy oil.  Now add the veg stock, lemon juice and rind, drained butter beans, and some salt and pepper.  The stock won’t cover all the veg but that’s ok.  Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer.

Now you can choose how you want to cook this – on the hob over a low heat for about 40 minutes will do it, or you can put it in a low oven for a bit longer.  If you have a slow cooking oven try doing it in there the flavours are amazing!  Take the lid off and check on it from time to time, give it a stir, the veg will release their juices and it will all come together nicely.  It would be better to overcook this dish than to under cook it, just remember that and if you’re not sure then give it a bit longer.

Serve topped with the chopped coriander and some couscous, rice or bread.