Tag Archives: Food

Posh Cheese Toastie – Croque Rarebit or Welsh Monsieur?

This is basically an indulgent cheese toastie with bechamel sauce and it’s delicious. It’s neither a croque monsieur nor a welsh rarebit due to the lack of ham and cheese sauce (not to mention I couldn’t find welsh cheddar on island), but something between the two.

Perfect lunch for a rainy Saturday afternoon or a late tea/early supper when you can’t be bothered to cook a proper meal.

I have to add that the vegan worcestershire sauce was perfect for this. A little bit thicker than the traditional lea & perrins (plus minus the anchovies – yuck) and in my opinion, a much better taste.

You can watch me make the recipe here:

Croque Rarebit or Welsh Monsieur?

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter (plus extra for buttering)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 200ml milk
  • Fresh nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 160g cheese (ideally a cominabtion of welsh cheddar and gruyere)
  • 4 tsps vegan worcestershire sauce (I used Annie’s)
  • 5 or 6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • A mustard of your choice ( I have used both old style mustard and country dijon before)

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. Pre-heat the oven to 200c/400f and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  3. Lightly toast the bread on both sides.
  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. On a low to medium heat, melt the butter in a pan, and the flour and combine, then slowly whisk in the milk until you have a smooth sauce. Grate in some nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper. The sauce will thicken gradually as you continue to whisk.
  6. Butter each slice of toasted bread, pop onto the baking tray and spread mustard onto two slices. Spread half of your thickened bechamel on top of the slices with mustard, then sprinkle 3/4 of the grated cheese between them. Add the cherry tomatoes and 1 tsp of worcestershire sauce on each.
  7. Top with remaining slice of toasted bread (butter side down), spread the remaining bechamel on the toast and add the cheese. Add another 1 tsp of worcestershire sauce on top of each and pop into the oven. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and browned.

Serve with a side salad or even a tasty tomato salsa.

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Enjoy!

Vegetable Vindaloo

You can thank my husband for this one. I always pester him to give me new ideas of things he’d like for dinner and this is the latest.

Until I started researching, I had no idea vindaloo is originally a variation of a Portugese dish (carne de vinha d’alos meaning meat marinated in wine vinegar and garlic) which was modified in Goa to suit local tastes and then again in the UK for the same reason.

The meat is marinated in vinegar and spices, but as we’re using vegetables, how to get the authentic sweet and sour flavour without this marinating step was my first goal. I eventually decided on making a curry paste which I allowed to sit for a few hours before using so the flavours intensified. We actually went out for a few hours and the smell of the house when we came home was AMAZING. Watch me make it below.

We’re lucky enough to have a tamarind tree which we can pick fresh tamarind from, however tamarind paste from the supermarket will work just as well.

I used ghee instead of oil, but if you’re vegan just substitute for vegetable oil or even spray oil if following an eating plan.

The vegetables I’ve used are just what I had available, you can of course use any you like such as cauliflower, green beans, okra, mushrooms, aubergine etc

If your used to eating curry and spice you’ll find this recipe just on the hot side, so add some chilli powder at the same time as the sugar for a little more heat or increase the number of dried chillies in the paste. If you’re more of a mild korma kind of person this vindaloo will be a very hot dish, sort of a spicy challenge rather than a one mouthful and you’re drinking milk from the carton hot.

Vegetable Vindaloo

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Paste

  • 1/2 large onion , roughly chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh tamarind
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 dried kashmiri chillies
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

Curry

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli
  • 300g potatoes, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1tsp chilli powder (optional)

Directions

  1. In a frying pan or heavy saucepan on a medium to high heat, add the dried ingredients for the paste (kashmiri chillies, bayleaf, cardamom, peppercorns, mustard seeds, cloves cinnamon, fenugreek, cumin seeds) , until the cumin seeds start to brown and the peppercorns and mustard seeds start to sizzle. Shake the pan often to prevent burning a sticking.
  2. Pop the roasted spices into a liquidiser along with the onion, garlic, ginger, tamarind, tomato puree, cider vinegar, water and ground coriander. Whizz into a smooth paste. Set aside for a few hours until ready to cook. (This can still be used immediately if not making ahead of time).
  3. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pan and fry the finely chopped onion until golden, stir in the turmeric, then add the carrot, peppers and tomato. Mix well, then stir in the vindaloo paste, coating all of the vegetables. Cook for a minute or so before adding the water.
  4. Stir in the sugar, salt and extra chilli powder if using. Add the frozen vegetables and potatoes. Simmer on a medium to low heat until the veg is tender and your kitchen smells wonderful (about 20 minutes).

Serve with naan bread and fluffy basmati rice.

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Enjoy!

Creamy Vegetable Masala

Cayman has an Indian supermarket…YESSSSSSS! It’s small, but cheaper than the big supermarkets and has so much more choice. I used love a trip to MA Brothers in Newcastle to stock up on good quality basmati, spices and all the different dahls and flours. It makes me a happy housewife that I can get some of these ingredients here and make our favourite meals.

I love, love , love this curry. Quick and easy to make and less than a third of the calories of an average tikka masala from a takeaway with a simple ingredient swap. It takes nothing away from the flavour either. Just substitute the double cream for half and half (or half milk, half single cream in the UK).

When I was trying to create dish, I couldn’t quite get it right. After some trial and error and research – eureka!

Mushroom soy sauce.

In an Indian style curry.

Yep, I was just as surprised. It really works and gives it that extra little something. I haven’t tried it with regular soy sauce, but I think it will work just as well.

The vegetables listed are just for guidance, but use any you want as long as the quantity is roughly the same. For example, I’ve used bell peppers, mushroom, green beans etc.

If you’re feeding the family (my toddlers eat this also) and want less spice, omit the chilli powder. If it’s still too spicy, serve with some plain yoghurt.

It’s around 4-6 servings, so if there’s only a couple of you it’ll keep in the fridge in a sealed container for about 3 days and it’s so good the next day.

Creamy Vegetable Masala

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled (1 tbsp if using lazy ginger)
  • 3 dried kashmiri chillies
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp ghee (you could also use vegetable oil)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp tandoori masala
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 225g new potatoes, quartered
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp mushroom soy sauce

Directions

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, ginger, kashmiri chillies, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes until smooth.
  2. Heat the ghee in a large pan on a medium or high heat and add the onions. Cook until golden, then add the turmeric, garam masala, tandoori masala and chilli powder. Stir for about 30 seconds. Pour in the blended tomato mixture and cream (or half and half), add the salt and soy sauce and stir to combine.
  3. Add the vegetables and stir in with the sauce mixture. Cover and cook on a low to medium heat for about 20 minutes until the veg is tender.
  4. Serve with Basmati rice and naan bread.

Enjoy!

Indian Supermarkets

MA Brothers – Newcastle

Shop Right – Cayman

Five Bean Chilli

A delicious full, rounded flavour full of protein, iron and fibre. A perfect comfort food with a bowl of fluffy rice for cozy evenings in, filling for tacos or a topping for jacket potatoes. Just what the vegetarian ordered.

Winging it is how I’d describe how I make chilli most of the time. I don’t follow recipes, never use the same ingredients and just throw in whatever’s in my spice collection at the time. I thought it was about time I made a consistent, repeatable recipe that I would be proud to share.

Something wasn’t quite right with the taste while I was experimenting and I just couldn’t work out how to bring out the flavours to enhance that umami flavour that I crave in these types of dishes. In the end I took inspiration from my favourite vegan gravy recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (I’ll link it below) and used three tablespoons of strong columbian coffee. My mouth is watering just thinking about the final dish.

This will serve 6 to 8 people and freezes really well too. If you want a spicier dish just double the chilli powder to 2 teaspoons.
Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 plum tomato, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
small bunch of kale, chopped

2 cups dried great northern beans, soaked overnight
1 tin pinto beans
1 tin blackeye beans
1 tin baby butter beans
1 tin black beans
1 tin tomato sauce
2 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp marmite (yeast extract)
2 tsp tamari
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 vegetable stock cube
3 tbsp strong filtered coffee or espresso

Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium heat and cook the onion and celery until softened. Add the garlic and carrots heat for a few minutes. Next add the peppers, tomato and chilli and cook until the tomatoes have softened.

Drain the beans, add to the pan and mix well with the other ingredients. Stir in the tomato sauce and tomato puree, the add the spices, salt, pepper, marmite, tamari and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle in the stock cube, stir well and simmer for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile brew the coffee. Remove the chilli from the heat a stir the coffee through. Serve immediately or cover and reheat gently once you’re ready to eat. I prefer to make this earlier in the day or at least a couple of hours before we eat to allow the flavour of the spices to marinate and come through.

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Enjoy!

My favourite gravy – Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall’s Vegan Gravy

n.b. we are northern and as far as I can tell this goes hand in hand with the amount of gravy you prefer on your dinner. If you can relate to this, I recommend you double this recipe if feeding more than 2 gravy loving friends.

SW Syns Update

If you follow the recipe as it is and serve 8 It should be 1 syn per serving.

However, substitute the olive oil for fry light and the tin of tomato sauce for a tin of tomatoes or plain passata and you’ve got yourself a delicious and filling syn free meal 😊

Garlic & Shallot Potato Salad

According to my husband my potato salad is “the best potato salad ever”. I haven’t been able to recreate it in Cayman because the US imported shop bought mayonnaise tastes completely different to the same brand mayonnaise in the UK. In my opinion it has a strong egg taste to it which doesn’t appeal to me.

I’m going to try and see if I can create something similar using miracle whip (like a cross between mayonnaise and salad cream) but in the meantime this mayonnaise free version is our new favourite.

Ingredients

500g new potatoes
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 maggi onion & garlic stock cube
2 shallots, finely chopped
120 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp course ground dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp fresh thyme

Boil the potatoes with the garlic and stock cube until soft, drain and put aside to cool slightly in a large bowl.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a small bowl or jug.

Finely chop the softened garlic and add to the cooled potatoes. Stir in the shallots, thyme and vinaigrette.

Serve warm or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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Enjoy!

Spicy Vegetable Korma

A mild creamy korma has never appealed to me when ordering or making a curry. When I crave a curry, I want spice and heat and full flavour. I do however, like the creaminess a korma delivers. So I thought, why not have both.

I researched korma recipes and different spice combinations and this is what I’ve come up with. I would describe it as a medium spice. If you like your curry with a slightly milder taste just omit the two green chillies for less of a kick.

Note: a couple of weeks after I made the curry in the pictures I recreated the recipe (without the chillies for my mum), but boiled the cashews in water for 10 minutes before blending. It resulted in a very slightly smoother sauce. It didn’t take away from the final flavour or comfort of a creamy curry, so I guess it just depends on time and personal preference whether or not to add this step.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups cashew nuts
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp ginger paste
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 cup water

2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
400g cauliflower florets
220g new potatoes, quartered
1 large carrot, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas

1 tin coconut milk
1 cup thick cream (heavy cream)
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala

Using a food processor or blender, add the cashews, garlic, ginger, roughly chopped onion and water and blend until smooth.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the oil on high and add the cumin seeds. When the start to splutter, add the finely chopped onion. Once the onion is soft, stir in the chillies, turmeric, ground coriander and ground cumin. Cook for two minutes, stirring often. Add the blended cashew mixture and reduce the heat to medium.

Next, add the vegetables and stir well to coat with the spices and cashews. Cook for a few minutes before pouring in the coconut milk and cream, then add the curry powder, chilli powder and garam masala.

Simmer on a medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Serve with basmati rice or naan bread.

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Enjoy!

Guacamole

For years I would ask for no guacamole on my nachos if I was eating out and assumed I didn’t like it, until I made it myself. It is nothing like that green gloop in a squeezy bottle from the supermarket. I don’t even like plain avocados, but I LOVE this guac.

You could probably use any type, but I always use haas avocados, preferably organic if I can find them.

Ingredients

2 ripe haas avocados
1 small plum tomato, de-seeded and finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
small bunch coriander, finely chopped
1 lime

In a pestle and mortar, add half of the onion, half of the chilli, salt and garlic and grind until a gloopy paste.

Half the avocados, remove the stones and scoop the flesh out. Mash with a fork until almost smooth or leaves some chunks if you prefer. Add the tomato, onion, chilli, coriander, pepper and the pestle and mortar mixture.

Squeeze in the lime juice and combine well. The guacamole is ready to eat immediately. The fresher the better, although it will keep in the fridge for 24 hours at the most.

guac

Enjoy!