Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Baked Cabbage and Sausage

Cooking the sausage and cabbage slowly in the oven allows their flavours to develop nicely. The one drawback is that the sausages won't brown on the outside, but don't let that put you off. If the lack of browning concerns you then fry them in a hot pan before putting them in the foil.


  • 5 vegetarian sausaged, frozen
  • 1 cabbage, core removed, chopped into quarters and thinly sliced
  • 2 onions, cut in half and thinly sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Place a large sheet of foil on a baking tray. You'll want lots of extra foil so make sure there is plenty of spare foil over the edges of the baking tray.
  3. Place the onions in the middle of the foil and spread out so that they form a thin base.
  4. Pile the cabbage on to the onion so that it covers all the onions.
  5. Finally balance the sausages on top of the cabbage.
  6. Fold the foil in on itself and scrunch together the edges to get a good seal.
  7. Place the foil package into the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

Serves 2.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Halloumi and Tomato Potatoes

The smokey tomato flavour of the potatoes compliments the halloumi cheese in this dish very well. If you can't get hold of liquid smoke then don't worry about leaving it out; the sauce still works without it.


  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 4 drops liquid smoke (about half a tsp)
  • 2 dried chillies, crushed into small flakes
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 6 or 7 new potatoes, washed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 50g kale leaves, stalks removed and shredded (if you can't get kale then spinach works)
  • 1 block of halloumi, cut into 1/2 cm slices
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil


  1. Add the ingredients other than the halloumi and sunflower oil to a large saucepan.
  2. Mix well and bring to a simmer on a low heat.
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on, stirring every 5 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes heat up a frying pan on a medium heat.
  5. Fry the halloumi with the sunflower oil in the frying pan for a couple of minutes on each side, or until a nice golden colour.
  6. Serve on plates with the halloumi on one side and the potato/tomato mix on the other.
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Baked Stuffed Chili Peppers

This is an easier form of stuffed peppers which doesn't require a deep fat fryer. They work well as a starter or as a side dish for a main course.


  • 3 large peppers, cut in half with seeds and white flesh removed
  • 6 spring onions, washed and finely chopped
  • 150g grated cheddar
  • 6 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 egg, beaten in a cup


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Place the 6 halves of peppers on a baking tray.
  3. Mix all the other ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Spoon the mixture into each of the peppers, making sure to press it down into the peppers.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
Serves 2.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Smoked Bean Chilli

The smoked paprika and liquid smoke add a wonderful depth to this chilli. It's ok to leave out the liquid smoke if you can't find any, but it really is worth using smoked paprika.


  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 stock cube
  • 350ml boiling water
  • 1 tin red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 4 drops liquid smoke (about 1/2 a tsp)


  1. Fry the onion in the sunflower oil in a large saucepan until soft.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with tortilla bread or rice. Fresh coriander works well as a garnish.
Serves 2.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Fresh Tortilla Bread

Homemade tortillas are surprisingly easy to make. While they might not be as perfectly circular as shop bought ones, they're certainly worth that little bit of extra effort.


  • 500g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 125ml warm water (but not boiling!)


  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil to the flour and mix well so that there are no noticeable bits of oil. The easiest way to do this is to rub it with the tips of your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs in texture.
  3. Add the warm water, 3 or 4 tbsp at a time and mix into the flour. You will probably not need to use all the water. You want to aim for a soft dough, but it shouldn't be sticky. It takes a while for the flour to absorb all the water, so kneed it for a few seconds after it's mixed to make sure that it's not going to turn too sticky.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 even sized balls and place in a covered ball for 15 minutes.
  5. Heat up a frying pan with a thick base to a medium-hot temperature. Do not add any oil.
  6. Use a rolling pin to roll out a ball of dough into a thin tortilla. It should be as thin as you can roll it. If it starts to stick to the board or the rolling pin then lightly dust it with flour.
  7. Place the rolled out dough into the frying pan and cook for a few seconds on each side. Once the side starts to get toasted spots on it then it's time to turn it over. Depending on how hot your frying pan is it can take between 5 and 30 seconds on each side.
  8. Place the cooked tortilla on a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep warm.
  9. Repeat for the remaining dough balls. I generally roll out the next tortilla as the previous one is cooking in the frying pan, but I don't recommend doing this for the first couple of tortillas you cook until you know how long they need on each side.
  10. Serve with a salsa, chilli or other suitable spicy tex-mex dish.
Makes 12.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Tamalie Pie

This could best be described as a tex-mex shepherds' pie. The filling of the pie is flavoured like a chilli and instead of mashed potato, cornmeal is used as the topping.


  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 300g vegetarian mince
  • 1 to 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 140g (about 3 tbsp) tomato puree
  • 1 orange pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 190g tin of sweetcorn
  • 20 pitted green olives, cut in half
  • 150g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 150g fine cornmeal (might also be called polenta in some shops, but don't confuse it with pre-cooked blocks of polenta)


  1. Fry the onion in the sunflower oil in a large pan (I used a wok) until it starts to soften.
  2. Add the vegetarian mince, chilli powder, tomato puree and 300ml of water to the onion. Stir well.
  3. Simmer for 15 minutes on a medium heat.
  4. While that's bubbling away, in a separate sauce pan put the cornmeal, 400ml of water and one of the stock cubes.
  5. Heat the cornmeal mixture over a medium heat to bring it to a simmer, stirring frequently to stop it sticking.
  6. Once it's come to a simmer, turn the heat down and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the peppers, sweetcorn, olives and one of the stock cubes to the mince mixture. Mix well.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
  9. Simmer the mince mixture for 5 more minutes.
  10. Stir in the cheese and heat through until it's all melted.
  11. Pour the mince mixture into a large and deep oven proof dish.
  12. Spread the cornmeal mixture over the top of the mince mixture.
  13. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the top starts to crisp up.
Serves 3.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Chilli Cornbread



  • 250g cornmeal (might also be called fine polenta)
  • 100g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 chillis, dried or fresh, finely chopped (add more or less to taste)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 400ml milk
  • 150g cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9 inch (23cm) square tin with a bit of butter.
  3. In a large mixing bowl mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, chilli and garlic.
  4. Add the egg and half of the milk. Stir with a spoon until well mixed.
  5. Add half of the cheese and the remainder of the milk and mix once more.
  6. Pour into the greased square tin and then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. When the time is up, check that it's cooked all the way through by inserting a knife into the centre. It should come out clean. If it comes out with some batter on it then cook it for a bit longer.
  9. When it's cooked, remove it from the oven and leave to stand for a couple of minutes.
  10. Cut into squares and serve with a tex-mex style dish.
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Kale and Cheese Flan

The soft cheese in this flan sets nicely when it's baked in the oven


  • 1 quantity of shortcrust pastry (about 225g if using pre-made pastry)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 150g kale, washed, stalks removed and shredded
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic puree
  • 50g parmesan (or vegetarian hard Italian cheese), finely grated


  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
  2. Roll the pastry out and line a flan dish with it. You'll want the sides to be about 2 cm deep.
  3. Fry the onion in the sunflower oil until soft.
  4. Add the kale and turn the heat down low. Put a lid on the saucepan and leave for 5 to 10 minutes, until the kale has reduced down.
  5. After the kale has cooked to a dark green mixture at the bottom of the pan, remove it from the heat.
  6. Add the cream cheese and puree to the kale and mix well.
  7. Pour cheese and kale mixture into the flan dish and top with the grated cheese.
  8. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until nicely browned.
Serves 2, more if served with new potatoes.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Shortcrust Pastry

Some people are scared of making pastry or think it takes a lot of effort. While this is true for some pastries, shortcrust pastry is very quick and simple to make. 


  • 150g plain flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 75g butter
  • 2 tbsp cold water


  1. Mix the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Cut up the butter into small pieces and add to the flour in the bowl.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs in texture (and no lumps of butter remain). To rub the butter in pick up bits of the mixture and simply rub it between your finger tips with your thumb, letting bits fall back into the bowl.
  4. Once the butter is all rubbed in, add the tbsp of water and kneed with your hands until it forms a neat ball of dough.
  5. Use as directed in a recipe requiring shortcrust pastry.
Makes about 225g of shortcrust pastry, which is enough to make a reasonable size flan, but not quite enough to make a pie with lid.