Amazing Potato Wedges

Potato wedges are a standard side dish in our house, although most of the time I wing it and decide what seasoning to use a few seconds before popping them in the oven. I decided to experiment over a couple of weeks and make a note of the different herb and spice combinations I used. This one was a clear winner judging from my husband, the potato hater’s reaction. (I’m pleased to say he has seen the error of his ways and has been reformed for at least 4 years!) The potato is a mighty ingredient, so expect more recipes with one of my favourite food stuffs as the star.

In my opinion, there are two golden rules you must always follow when making homemade wedges: rinse in cold water after cutting into wedge shapes and par boil for at least 5 minutes.

With or without the skins left on this flavour mix works for both. You can adjust the ratio according to your preference. For example, a 1/4 tsp more thyme for a herbier taste, more cayenne pepper for a spicier wedge etc.

One last thing. Don’t be tempted to use more oil or else you’ll end up with wedges soft on the outside or having to increase the cooking time.

Amazing Potato Wedges

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Directions

  1. Cut the potatoes into wedges, with or without peeling according to preference and rinse.
  2. Place into a large pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Continue to boil for 6-8 minutes, then drain.
  3. Heat your oven to 230C/450F.
  4. Measure the herbs and spices into a small bowl and mix.
  5. Transfer your par-boiled potato wedges into an oven proof dish and sprinkle over the spice mix.
  6. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat well.
  7. Bake in the oven, turning once, for 45-60 minutes until crispy.

Serve as a side with burgers, wraps, quesadillas or on their own with a dip.

Enjoy!

Baked Tomatoes with Sage

This is one of my absolute favourite go to recipes for a delicious supper that requires very little preparation. It’s full of flavour and goes perfectly as a side dish to compliment a simple cheeseboard and a couple of hunks of homemade or good quality bread.

You could also use it as a side to some lentil fritters, to top a naked bean burger or as a jacket potato topping.

If you can’t find mixed coloured tomatoes, simply use cherry tomatoes or a mixture of different small tomato varieties.

Baked Tomatoes with Sage

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 400g mixed colour cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • bunch of sage, around 25 leaves
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and black pepper for seasoning

Directions

  1. Heat your oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Place all of the ingredients into an oven proof dish and mix well.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and slightly caramelised.

Serve with homemade bread and dip and scoop.

Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Bread

Handmade, homemade bread is just the best. It can make a regular tin of tomato soup feel like the best thing you’ve eaten all week, make a quick snack of bread and butter feel luxurious and make a cheese board supper less about the cheese and more about the bread.

This particular bread is full of flavour, soft and thick. Me and Ste absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to bake it again.

Don’t try to substitute the roast garlic with raw garlic or lazy garlic. It just won’t be the same.

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Bread

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 10g fine sea salt
  • 7g fast acting yeast
  • 300ml tepid water
  • 40ml olive oil
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 large bulbs of garlic
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Heat your oven to 200C/400F and line a baking tray with tin foil. Tear off the papery outside from the garlic bulbs, but leaveing on the skin, place on the tray and pour over the 2 tsps of oilve oil. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes until soft and leave to cool slightly.
  2. Squeeze the softened garlic from the skin and finely chop.
  3. Measure the flour into a large bowl and put the salt to one side and the yeast to the other.
  4. Pour in the 40ml of olive oil and two thirds of the water and mix together using a hand or even better in a large stand mixer with a dough hook.
  5. mix in the garlic and rosemary, then slowly add the remaining water until you have a soft dough and all of the flour has been combined.
  6. Knead on a slightly greased surface for around 10 minutes if doing it by hand, then place in a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size (approximately 2 hours).
  7. Once risen, tip the dough onto a floured surface and knock back gently with your knuckles, to push out the air.
  8. Knead gently, then tuck the ends of the dough underneath to form a loaf shape. Place on a lined baking tray and leave to rise again for about an hour until almost doubled in size.
  9. Heat your oven to 220C/430F. Lightly make 2 or 3 shallow diagonal slices across the top of the risen dough with a VERY sharp knife. Pop in the oven a for 25 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200C/390F and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  10. Leave to cool slightly before cutting.

Serve as part of a cheese board, with farmhouse butter or with a bowl of piping hot tomato soup.

Enjoy!

Black Bean Burger

I’m always disappointed when the one vegetarian option on a menu is a mediocre bean/mushroom/awful meat substitute vegetarian or vegan burger. I always come away wishing I’d just ordered a bowl of sweet potato fries instead. I don’t think I’ve had a good one yet.

However, my husband loves a good burger (the regular carnivore variety) and I always feel like I’m missing out. So when I spotted some dried black beans when doing the weekly shop a few weeks ago I knew I had to give it a go myself. Surely there must be a way to make a good vegetarian burger.

Yes, yes there is and it’s packed full of protein too, just like a regular burger.

I used dried black beans and although I haven’t tested it, I’m pretty confident drained beans from a tin would work just as well.

For anyone that doesn’t enjoy spice, the scotch bonnet sauce is for flavour only.

Black Bean Burgers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy - medium
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Ingredients

  • 2/3 dry black beans (2 cups once cooked)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 small green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 /4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp scotch bonnet sauce (optional)

Directions

  1. Soak the black beans in water overnight.
  2. Then boil in a large pan of water at least 2 inches above the beans for an hour until soft.
  3. Mash two thirds of the beans in a bowl with a potato masher or fork and put aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan and saute the onion, garlic and peppers for a few minutes until just soft.
  5. Transfer the cooked veg to a large bowl, add the black beans (mashed and whole), breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, paprika, coriander, worcestershire sauce and scotch bonnet sauce if using and mix well. Lightly beat the egg and stir in to the bowl of ingredients.
  6. With damp hands, divide the mixture into four, form into balls and gently flatten slightly between the palms of your hands.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the frying pan on a medium heat. Place two of the burgers in to the pan and gently press down a little more so they resemble a burger shape.
  8. Cook on both sides for 3-4 minutes each until lightly browned
  9. Repeat for the remaining two burgers.

Serve in a bun of your choice with all the toppings or naked with a side salad

Enjoy!

Fresh Tomato & Garlic Spaghetti

Super quick, really easy and extra tasty. Everything you want in a dish for busy days, late nights or lazy evenings. It’s so quick and easy, even those who ‘can’t cook’ can make this.

I’ll cook this for Ste and I whilst he’s reading the children a bedtime story, on days when I’m tired after a busy day and I’ve fed the children something easy from the freezer earlier in the evening and have ran out of energy.

Fresh Tomato & Garlic Spaghetti

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 200g dried spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 plum or vine tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp complete seasoning
  • 2 sprigs thyme (plus extra for garnish)

Directions

  1. Put the spaghetti into a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for the time indicated on the packet.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium to high heat. Add the garlic and cook for a 2 or 3 minutes, then add in the chopped tomatoes and herbs. Cook for a couple of minutes more.
  3. Add two tablespoons of the pasta water, stir and remove from the heat.
  4. Drain your spaghetti, add to the frying pan and toss to coat with the oil, tomatoes and garlic.

Serve sprinkled with a little extra fresh thyme

Enjoy!

Mushroom Dahl

Mushrooms are full of the good stuff in food that keeps you healthy, lots of vitamins and minerals along with fibre and protein. Add that to all the benefits you get from lentils (especially as a vegetarian or vegan) and you’ve got a bowl of super goodness in this mushroom dhal. Not to mention it’s packed full of flavour. Don’t let the many shades of beige put you off!

A few weeks ago, the children and I had been suffering from the lingering after effects of a cold and Ste wasn’t feeling too great. I would normally whip us up a batch of cream of mushroom soup when the germs strike, but it was wasn’t appealing in the heat of a Caribbean summer. As I’ve been experimenting with curries lately, it made perfect sense to combine this with the mushrooms I’d bought as part of our cold cures. I’m still learning to cook dhals and mostly have to follow other people’s recipes but this one is 100% my own and I’m mighty proud of it.

As long as you remember to rinse and soak the lentils earlier in the day or even the night before (to reduce cooking time), you can have this ready in no time at all and as always with curries, it tastes amazing the next day as leftovers.

Mushroom Dhal

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 100g split red lentils
  • 100g moong dahl
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp amchoor powder
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 4 kashmiri chillies
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 250g mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp water

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain the lentils several times, swirling in the water to loosen, then cover with water and soak for at least an hour. (This will reduce the cooking time)
  2. Once soaked, put the lentils into a large pan with the chopped onion and the litre of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes until soft. Stir often and skim off any foam that forms on the surface of the water.
  3. Whilst the lentil are cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium to high and add the cumin and mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle, stir in the tandoori masala, turmeric, amchoor powder, garam masala, chilli powder, tomato puree, bay leaves and kashmiri chillis. Cook for a minute.
  4. Add your garlic and mushrooms and stir to coat in the spice mixture. Stir in the diced tomato and cook for a few more minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through.
  5. Stir your mushroom spice mixture into your cooked lentils on a low heat. If the dhal is a little dry, stir in 2 tbsp of water and cook for 1- minutes. Put a lid on the pan and remove from the heat until ready to serve

Serve with basmati rice, warm chapatis or potato tahdig as I did.


Enjoy!

Hidden Veg Mac & Cheese

I know, I know, you can still see the veg, but to a two year old it just looks like macaroni cheese and I’m going to get vegetables into him any way I can.

We were recently in Miami and he requested macaroni cheese several times, so I decided to use it to my advantage while it’s flavour of the week and trick the fussy toddler into eating his veg.

This freezes really well too, so I always double the recipe and split it into two trays; one for now and one for the freezer, except don’t cook the freezer portion in the oven. It keeps for a couple of months and is super handy when the cupboards are bare. Just take it out of the freezer in the morning of the day you want to use it and follow the same oven instructions as below.

Hidden Veg Mac & Cheese

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 60g butter
  • 40g wholemeal flour (60g if using white four)
  • 600ml milk
  • 110g cream cheese
  • 5 cheese slices
  • 180g of grated cheddar
  • 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 200g fresh or frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 450g dried pasta such as macaroni
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs

Directions

  1. Put the pasta into a large pan with boiling salted water and cook to the instructions on the packet. Also pop the broccoli into a pan of boiling water and cook for around 6 minutes. Drain both when done.
  2. Meanwhile, Melt the butter in a pan on a low heat, whisk in the flour, then gradually add a small amount of milk, whisking thoroughly and vigorously each time, until all combined to create a smooth sauce called a roux. Don’t worry if it isn’t thick at this point, this will happen gradually as the sauce cooks and we add the cheese
  3. Tear the cheese slices to help them melt better , and stir into the roux. Once melted add the cream cheese and stir, then the grated cheese. Continue to stir at a low heat so the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the mustard, paprika, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, stirring after each addition. The sauce should be lovely and thick by now. Remove from the heat.
  4. Heat your oven to 180C/350F. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions and peppers for a few minutes until just softened.
  5. Stir your cheese sauce into the pasta with, the sauteed veggies, broccoli and tomato. Stir it well and transfer into a oven proof dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs have turned just golden brown.

Serve with a side salad or garlic bread

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