Saturday, 16 November 2019

Tapas tea

We fancied a bit of a change, and a bit of a cheer up - with the weather being continuously grim.  So, for the veg dodger pork and chorizo, for the pescatarian garlic prawns … and for the using up of the veg box - potatoes, onion and pepper, creamy cabbage, avocado and radish salad and some manchego … delish.

Olive oil
Yellow (or whichever) pepper
Cider vinegar
Pork loin chops
Soya cream (or sour cream)
Little gem lettuce
Cherry tomatoes
chilli flakes

1.  Chop one white and one red onion.  Sautee the white onion in olive oil, add a little crushed garlic.  Then add chopped pepper, sliced potatoes, a splash of sherry, a splash of cider vinegar and some water.  Simmer gently, turning occasionally.
2.  Sautee half the red onion in olive oil, add chopped pork loin chops and chopped chorizo.  Brown a little, then leave to stew gently.
3.  Sautee the other half of red onion, with a little garlic, add shredded cabbage and a little water.   Season and cook until soft, squeeze on juice of half a lemon.  Whisk an egg into cream, add to the cabbage mixture and stir in.
4.  Chop salad vegetables, spritz with lemon juice to stop the avocado discolouring.
5.  Fry crushed garlic, prawns and a little chilli in olive oil.
6.  Serve, scoff ...

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Stew and dumplings - vegan stylee

Rain, rain, rain, rain … and cold - and injuries, so we are almost housebound at the mo.  Today demanded serious comfort food - so, vegan butter bean autumnal casserole with DUMPLINGS!!! yay.. and gluten free dumplings at that.  This was a triumph - served with red cabbage braised in apple juice (and flash fried steak for the veg dodger).  This plant based rib sticker stew was a total winner.

For the stew:

Olive oil
butternut squash
vegetable stock
tinned tomatoes
butter beans
red cabbage
apple juice
red wine


Self raising flour (gluten free for us)
salt and pepper
olive oil
plant based veg spread (soya margarine for us)
soya milk

1.  Slowly fry chopped onion and crushed garlic in olive oil.
2.  Prep veg - peel, chop into more or less even sized pieces - all of the veg.  Chucnk into the pan with the onions.  Stir around and then add some stock.  Simmer.
3.  Add a spoonful of mustard and season to taste.
4.  Drain a tin of butter beans.    Add a tin of chopped tomatoes to the pan, follow with a tinful of water - turn it down and simmer for 20 minutes or so … until the veg yield to the tip of a knife.
5.  Make the braised cabbage (optional, obvs … but it goes really nicely)  sweat off chopped onion and crushed garlic, add a splash of apple juice and a splash of red wine - then shredded red cabbage - simmer gently - add more water if needed .. keep simmering and checking water level until done.
6.  Mix self raising flour with a little salt and a grind of pepper, add chopped parsley - drizzle in some olive oil and a knob  of plant based marg - cut the fat through the flour, then add soya milk and mix to a firm dough.
7.  Add the drained butter beans to the stew.
8.  Make the dumplings by mixing the mixture until you can form small balls in your hand - add more "milk" if too dry or more flour if too wet/sticky.
9.  Drop dumplings onto stew … cover … steam,/simmer for 20 minutes
10.  Serve, scoff (fry minute steaks in a hot pan for 5 minutes before serving if necessary!  the veg dodger was happy with good stew, dumplings, cabbage and MEAT)

Friday, 1 November 2019

Cheese and onion pie - gluten free! ta dah!

Once again we were in need of comfort food - and you can't beat pie, chips and beans … the pie needed to be gluten free, and the chips were baby roasties - the beans came out of a tin.  Altogether delicious - totally hit the spot!  The veg dodger didn't complain about lack of meat once.

Gluten free pastry is incredibly crumbly, so roll it out on greaseproof paper to transfer to pie dish and the top of the pie.  Also, be prepared to patch up cracks!

I am lactose intolerant, but know the price I have to pay for cheese … which is why I use soya milk to glaze and seal.

Gluten free flour
Soya spread (or butter)
Natural yogurt
Dijon mustard
Olive oil
Cheese (I used cheddar, but Cheshire and Lancashire or a mixture works well too)
Baked beans

1.  Rub the fat into the flour, with a pinch of salt, until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Stir in a spoonful of natural yogurt, a teaspoonful of Dijon mustard and a splash of very cold water.  Mix until it starts coming together in a ball - add a drop more water if it needs it, more flour if it has got sticky.  When it comes together as a ball knead it gently until it is a convincing "ball".  Do not try to knead it much - the paste is very fragile, as it has no gluten which would normally give some elasticity.  Wrap with reusable sandwich wrap/cling film and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2.  Slice onions into half rings, toss them about so they separate.
3.  Grate the cheese.
4.  Cut potatoes into cubes and toss in olive oil, sprinkle with salt.  Roast for 1 hour.
5.  Roll half the pastry onto greaseproof paper, lightly dusted with flour.  Transfer pastry to a greased pie dish,  patch little broken bits where necessary.
6.  Spread a little flour in the bottom of the pastry case (to help prevent the soggy bottom) - add layers of cheese and onions.
7.  Roll out the lid onto greaseproof paper ducted lightly with flour.  Brush a little soya milk around the edge of the base pastry.  Transfer the lid onto the pie - I held it over the top and did a speedy flip over - patch up the gaps and neaten the edge.  Brush the top with soya milk.  Bake for about 40 minutes.
8.  Put beans in oven proof dish and pop in the oven with everything else, to heat through.
9.  Serve, scoff

Friday, 25 October 2019

Vegan lasagne (also gluten free)

Cutting down on dairy, but still want some comforting classics?  I thought I would have a go at a vegan lasagne - it was pretty good - though we did miss the cheese a bit #cheesefiends.

Olive oil
Red pepper
Tomato puree
Red lentils
Red wine
Tin of chopped tomatoes
Almond milk
spring onions
bay leaf
Rolled oats
English mustard
Lasagne sheets (gluten free today)
Fried onions

1.  Sautee chopped onion and celery with crushed garlic in olive oil, until a little softened.
2.  Add the rest of the chopped vegetables, a good pinch of oregano, red wine and tomato puree and stir in.
3.  Add red lentils and quite a lot of water, simmer until lentils are soft and then add a tin of chopped tomatoes, continue to simmer gently for 5 or so minutes.
4.  Make the "white" sauce - simmer the almond milk with chopped spring onions and a bay leaf.  Add a small handful of oats, this will help thicken the sauce.
5.  Stir a couple of teaspoons of marmite and a teaspoon of mustard into the sauce, to give it some savoury oomph.
6.  When the oats are soft, remove the bay leaf and zizz the mixture up with a hand blender until smooth, drizzle in a little olive oil - this seems to make it more creamy and less "claggy".
7.  Layer the lentils, white sauce and pasta - repeat - finish with lentils and white sauce - bake for 20 minutes.
8.  Top the lasagne with fried onions and pop back into the oven for a few minutes.
9.  Serve, scoff … seconds …

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Roast chicken thighs ... and lots of other stuff dinner

There's been a lot happening in and around Kitchen Fairies HQ over the last months - so, we've lost a bit of the cooking momentum.  This happens!   I want to get into it all a bit more, and there is a bit of a backlog in the fridge etc … so I'll try to be a bit more inventive in coming weeks.

Tonight was about using what we had - and providing for veg dodger and veggie at the same time.

Chicken thighs
Olive oil
Cooked new potatoes
Tenderstem broccoli
Baby peppers
Chilli flakes
Lettuce leaves

1.  Put the chicken thighs in an oven dish drizzle with olive oil and roast.
2.  Put the tomatoes, with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, in an oven dish and roast.
3.  Sweat down chopped leeks.
4.  Slice cooked potatoes, whisk eggs.
5.  Peel and chop swede and carrots and boil.  Steam broccoli over these.
6.  Grease an oven dish with olive oil and layer in the potatoes and half the sweated down leeks.  Pour the whisked eggs over the top, and bake in the middle of the oven.
7.  Add sliced peppers to the other half of the leeks, with a crushed clove of garlic and a little chilli.  Cook until softish.
8.  When the carrots and swede are done mash them with butter.
9.  Toss the tenderstem broccoli into the peppers.
10.  Toss together a simple salad of leaves and chopped radish.
11. Serve, scoff …. yummy.  The eggs puffed up like a soufflĂ© ...result!

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Cauliflower cheese, roast vegetables and bacon wrapped chicken breast

Today was a day when we needed comfort food - so we have an ENORMOUS cauliflower, in cheese sauce with a breadcrumb topping - with some roast potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and red onion.  For the veg dodger (who didn't dodge this veg) we also had bacon wrapped chicken breast.

Olive oil
Red onion
Chicken breasts
Soya milk

1.  Grate shed loads of cheese.
2.  Scrub potatoes and chop into chunks, roast at 180 for about 20 minutes.
3.  Break cauliflower into florets and steam - for about 15 minutes.
4.  Peel carrots, chop mushrooms into quarters and red onions into wedges.  Add some lightly crushed garlic cloves and put into the baking tray with the potatoes.  Stir them around and pop back into the oven for 40 minutes.
5.  Wrap chicken breasts in bacon, roast for 30 minutes.
6.  Make cheese sauce.  Heat soya milk, when nearly boiling add slaked cornflour (cornflour mixed with enough water to produce a loose paste) and stir.  When the sauce starts to thicken add most of the grated cheese.  Keep stirring until cheese is dissolved and sauce is thick.
7.  Transfer cauliflower to oven dish, pour on sauce - top with breadcrumbs mixed with the rest of the cheese.  Pop in the oven to brown for 20 minutes.
8.  Serve, scoff - it was delicious.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

True Grit

Film night at KitchenFairies HQ again.  Tonight the choice was True Grit.  The only food mentioned in the film is sofkee - which seems to be some kind of sweetcorn porridge, sometimes made with bacon and chillies.  However, none of us are fans of sweetcorn - and that just sounds like really, really earnest - so, I chose a maize product that we do like - nachos and paired it with veggie chilli - with sour cream, cheese and guacamole, as I thought that was wild west enough.  I also did some burgers for the veg dodger.  It was delicious.


Olive oil
Cumin seeds
Chilli flakes
Red pepper
Red kidney beans
Butter beans
Tin of chopped tomatoes
Dark chocolate
Lime juice

Sour cream, grated cheese and tortilla chips to serve.


Red onion
Lime juice

1.  Chop onions, crush garlic and fry gently.  Then add a pinch of cumin seeds, some crushed chilli and the rest of the chopped mushrooms, courgette and red pepper.
2.  Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the softened vegetables.  Add a pint or so of vegetable stock and simmer, add a pinch of oregano.
3.  Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, and simmer.
4.  Five minutes before serving add dark chocolate and allow to melt in, then spritz with lime juice just before serving.
5.  Make the guacamole by chopping the avocado flesh, half a red onion and a ripe tomato.  Mix and add the juice of half a lime.
6.  Heat tortilla chips by covering in foil and putting in the oven for 5 minutes.
7.  Serve, with sour cream and grated cheese.  Scoff.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Spiced lamb, mushroom and pea curry, dhal and rice

Oops - I forgot to take a picture of this dinner before people dived in - but there were some leftovers, so I took a quick snap of them.  The thing which really was a shame to miss were the lovely spiced lamb steaks - but hey ho!

Lamb steaks
Natural yogurt
Curry mix (bassar masala in our case)
Red lentils
mustard seeds
fennel seeds
cumin seeds

1.  Marinade the lamb steaks in spices mixed into yogurt.
2.  Put both the rice and lentils on to boil.
3.  Fry chopped onion, crushed garlic and various spices, fry off for a few minutes, then add chopped mushrooms.  After they have fried for a few minutes add some water and some finely chopped potato (the potato softens and helps form a sauce).
4.  When curry is nearly done add the peas, and fry the lamb steaks.
5.  Finally make a tarka for the dhal by frying spices of your choice in oil, chuck over the dhal as you take it all to the table.
6.  Serve, scoff … you might want to blob on some natural yogurt too.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Salad nicoise

A sunny day deserved a sunny dinner - so salad nicoise - dead easy, very delicious.

New potatoes
Green beans
Asparagus (not entirely authentic, but I like it)
Olive oil
White wine vinegar
Wholegrain mustard
Salad leaves
Baby plum tomatoes
Spring onion
Tinned tuna

1.  Boil potatoes, steam beans and asparagus on top.
2.  Boil eggs.
3.  Make dressing by whisking mustard, crushed garlic a little olive oil and vinegar.
4.  Chop tomatoes and spring onion, toss together.
5.  When everything is cooked, drain potatoes and tuna, peel eggs, toss warm beans in dressing and assemble.
6.  Serve, scoff ...

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Steak, tofu and vegetable chow mein

Ringing the changes a bit at Kitchen Fairies HQ tonight - steak for the carnivores, tofu for the vegetarians and vegetable chow mein and jasmine rice for all of us.

Jasmine rice
Spring onion
Yellow pepper
Green beans
Ground nut oil
Chilli flakes
Bean sprouts
Soya sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Sesame oil
Pak choi
ready to wok noodles

1.  Remove tofu from packaging and press - ie.  put it in a dish, put a plate on top and weight it down with a large tin  Leave for a few hours.
2.  Put jasmine rice on to cook - I use the adsorption method - 1 cup rice, 1 cup water - bring to the boil, bang the lid on and turn right down.  Ready in about 15 minutes.
3.  Chop all vegetables into smallish pieces.  Put wok on high heat and add a splash of groundnut oil.
Crush garlic and finely chop ginger, add to wok with chilli flakes and the first batch of chopped vegetables.  Stir fry.
4.  Cut tofu into pieces, fry lightly on both sides, remove from the heat.
5.  Splash soya sauce, wine vinegar and a little sesame oil into the vegetables, with a small cup of water - continue to stir fry.
6.  Cook steak, on a high heat - turn after a couple of minutes - cook both sides - bring out of the pan and leave to rest.
7.  Finish the vegetables by adding noodles, beansprouts and chopped pak choi - also stirring in a little slaked cornflour to thicken the sauce slightly.
8.  Finish the tofu by tossing in the pan with soya sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil.
9.  Serve, scoff … seconds .