Spicy Coconut Cream & Sweetcorn Soup

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 large can of sweetcorn

200ml tin of organic coconut milk

1 red onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 red chilli, chopped

1 large potato, peeled and cubed 

1 tsp of tumeric

1 tsp of lemongrass paste

1 tsp of ginger paste

Juice of 1 lemon.

Salt

Pepper

Water

Method

Fry the onion and garlic in a little water for around 5 minutes or until the onion starts to become transparent.

Add the coconut milk and stir in the ginger. lemongrass, lemon juice, chilli and tumeric.

Add the potato and sweetcorn and salt and pepper to taste and boil.

Turn heat down and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes or until the potato is soft.

Leave to cool before blending.

Reheat to Serve

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Mushroom & White Bean Chilli With Courgetti

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Serves 4

Ingredients

4 courgettes

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 red onion, chopped

1 tin of cannellini beans

250g of mushrooms, chopped

1 chilli, chopped

1 tsp of cumin

1 tsp of paprika

Olive oil

1 tbsp of Vegemite (you could use another yeast extract but hailing from Oz, Vegemite is my go to, or alternatively use 1 tsp of vegetable stock

Water

Salt

Method

In a pan, fry the onion and garlic in a drizzle of olive oil for around 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, chilli, cumin and paprika and salt to taste.

Add a little water until you have the desired consistency, then stir in the Vegemite or stock.

Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes.

Fill another pan with water and put on the hob to boil.

Julienne the courgette to make courgetti, I use a kisag julienne peeler which I bought a couple of years ago at Vegan Life Live in a set of 3 different peelers, definitely worth an investment. You could of course also use a spiralizer.

Drop the courgetti in the boiling water for 3 minutes and then drain.

Serve

Elderflower & Raspberry Tofool

I’ve been at it again, foraging that is, this time out on a dog walk along the canal near 3 Mills Studios in East London where an abundance of elderflowers grow.

You’ll need to be quick if you want to find some as they tend to bloom late May / early June.

Elderflowers are poisonous in large quantities unless cooked so do be careful and also be careful to make sure it is actually an Elder tree you’re picking from as the flourished look very similar to that of numerous other trees and plants that you really don’t want to eat!

Check The Woodland Trust guidelines if you’re unsure.

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2017/05/identify-elderflower-and-how-to-use/

Always follow the rule where you try a little first . . . With that in mind, I hope you enjoy this Summery dessert.

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Serves 4

Ingredients

1 elderflower flourish (literally a quarter of what is in the above pic, elderflower is strong so you don’t need much)

300g of soft silken tofu

250g of raspberries

1 lemon

100g of caster sugar

Method

Juice the lemon.

In a pan, heat the raspberries, (keep a few out for garnish) sugar, elderflowers and lemon juice until the raspberries melt in to a jam.

Put the tofu and raspberry/elderflower jam in to a blender, blend to mix.

Divide in to 4 small dessert bowls.

Put in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.

Serve

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Foraging

There really is something immensely satisfying about foraging, finding your own wild food and what better way to eat organic seasonal food than to get it from where it grows naturally.

Growing up in Norfolk, I was always picking plums to eat on my way home from school and in the Summer holidays, blackberries to take home for my mum to make in to a crumble, and fresh peas from the farmers field (that technically might class as stealing rather than foraging, probably best not to do that) to snack on straight from the pod.

Another favourite past time was going strawberry picking, granted it’s not really foraging as you had to pay per punnet but you’d always manage to eat about as many as you picked along the way and then even after my mum had made jam, we still ate strawberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few days.

Living in London, it’s still amazing what you can find. Parks, wooded areas and riverside walkways are all great for foraging.

I went out to my local park this week with the dogs and stumbled across a patch of fresh mint, I picked a few sprigs and used them in a pea & mint soup, a zesty summer garden veg pasta dish and fennel, broad bean, courgette & mint risotto.

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Tips for foraging

  • Always try a little of your find first, just to make sure it agrees with you.
  • Only pick what you need, wild food is a source of food for wild life, birds and insects, you don’t want them going hungry.
  • Keep in mind that dogs do pee up against trees and bushes, pick from up high and always wash your finds thoroughly.
  • Be careful with mushrooms, a lot of the edible ones look almost identical to the poisonous ones.
  • Take a guide book to help you identify what you’re collecting.

Lentil & Mushroom Shepherds Pie

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Serves 4

Ingredients

250g of green lentils, soaked in water for half an hour and drained

250g of mushrooms, chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, diced

1/4 cup of peas

4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 tbsps of vegan gravy granules

1 tsp of dried rosemary

1tsp of dried thyme

1 tbsp of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Water

1 tbsp of vegan butter

1/2 a cup of dairy free milk

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C

In a pan, fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil for around 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups of water and the gravy granules, stir until the gravy thickens to a nice consistency.

Add the lentils, mushrooms, carrots and peas.

Stir in the rosemary and thyme and add salt and pepper to taste.

Turn heat down and let filling simmer with the lid on the pan while you prepare the topping.

Put the potatoes in a microwavable dish with 3 tbsps of water with the lid on and microwave for 10 minutes.

Remove from the microwave and drain the water.

Mash the potato with dairy free butter and milk alternative.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the filling in an oven proof dish.

Spread mashed potato evenly on top and score with a fork.

Put in the oven for 40 minutes. 

Remove from oven and place in the grill for around 2 minutes to get the top of the pie to brown slightly.

Serve, I added some extra gravy.

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Beetroot, Fennel & Chickpea Curry

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Serves 4

2 Beetroot, peels and cubed

1 tin of chickpeas

1 fennel bulb, sliced

2 potatoes, peeled and quartered (I always peel potatoes when currying them as it guarantees they soak up the flavour)

1 onion, chopped

6 large tomatoes, chopped (alternatively, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes)

3 tbsps of vinegar

Salt

Ingredients

Nana’s Spice Mix

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp  cumin powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger powder

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3 cups of water

Method

Mix spices in a saucepan with a little water to make a paste.

Fry spices until the water reduces being careful not to burn the spices.

Add a little more water and reduce again. Repeat this once more. (Frying your spices properly makes all the difference in flavour)

Add the onion and fennel and fry gently for around 5 minutes.

Add the beetroot, potatoes, chickpeas, tomatoes, water, vinegar and salt to taste and bring to the boil.

Turn heat down, add lid to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with basmati rice

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Fennel, Broad Bean, Courgette & Mint Ristotto

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Serves 2

Ingredients

1 fennel bulb, sliced

1/4 cup of broad beans (fresh or frozen, for fresh, immerse in boiling water for 3 minutes, remove and run under cold water to cool before shelling)

1/2 a courgette, diced

1 onion, chopped

250g of arborio rice

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1/2 a cup of white wine

1 tsp of vegetable bouillon

800ml of water

1 sprig of mint, chopped (alternatively 1 tsp of dried mint)

1 tsp of dried thyme

Salt

Pepper

2 tbsps of vegan butter

2 tbsps of vegan parmesan, grated

Method

Boil water and pour in to a jug, mix in the bouillon to make a stock.

In one pan melt 1 tbsp of butter

Add the onion and garlic and saute for around 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften.

Add the rice and wine, stir and cook for two minutes until the wine is almost evaporated.

Pour around 100ml of the stock in to the pan, stir in and wait until the liquid soaks in to the rice and reduces down.

Repeat this process 100ml at a time until all the stock is used up and the rice is the correct, slightly al dente consistency. 

In the mean time, in another pan, melt 1 tbsp of butter, add the fennel and saute until the fennel starts to turn golden.

Add the broad beans, courgette, mint and thyme, saute for a further 5 minutes.

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Stir the fennel, broadbeans and courgette mix in to the rice adding salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the parmesan.

Serve with a little drizzle of olive oil.

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