Posh mushrooms on toast

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I absolutely love wild mushrooms and this time of year is great for chanterelles, or if you’re French or just a bit fancy – girolles.  It goes without saying never to pick and eat your own unless you REALLY know what you’re doing but they’re plentiful (although not cheap) in shops and farmers markets at this time of year.  This is such an easy supper but so tasty. Ideally eaten in front a roaring fire with a good book and a glass of red….

(Serves 2)

  • Couple of generous handfuls of chanterelle mushrooms – washed thoroughly to remove any soil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Generous splash of olive oil
  • Half a glass of white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted sourdough to serve
  1. Heat the oil up in a pan and then add the mushrooms, wine and garlic
  2. Allow to simmer for around 10-15 minutes (chanterelles respond well to cooking so don’t worry about over-cooking them although you do want a little of the juice left at the end as this will absorb all the delicious flavours of the mushrooms and will soak into the sourdough nicely at the end)
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve

So simple but so good!

Creamy hazelnut pâté

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This is so easy to make that I’m a little embarrassed to call it a recipe but it’s so delicious that I thought it was well worth including!  It makes a great starter for a dinner-party (plus the super-quick preparation time means that you can spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen) or a nice tasty lunch or snack.

(Serves 4)

  • One tub of Tofutti vegan cream cheese
  • 3-4 large spoonfuls of hazelnut butter
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • Slices of fig to garnish
  1. Blend the cream cheese, hazelnut butter and sea salt together (you can do this really easily with a spoon)
  2. Serve with slices of fig and crusty bread

Vegan pizza breads

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These are so simple and quick to make and they’re an ideal way of using up day-old French stick.  You can be as creative as you like with the toppings.  I tend to use whatever we have in…

(Serves 2)

  • 1 French stick
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Drizzle of maple syrup
  • Passata
  • One organic red onion – peeled and sliced
  • Couple of handfuls of organic mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 organic green pepper – sliced
  • Green olives – de-stoned and sliced
  1. Fry the onions on a low heat with a drizzle of olive oil and maple syrup to caramelise
  2. Cut the French stick in half and slice down the middle
  3. Grill the crusty side of the bread under the grill for a few minutes
  4. Spread the passata over the bread
  5. Meanwhile gently fry the peppers and mushrooms in a little olive oil
  6. Assemble the onion, peppers, mushrooms and sliced green peppers on the bread
  7. Pop back under the grill for a few minutes
  8. Serve with a green salad

Vietnamese summer rolls with tofu

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First of all I feel I need to apologise to anyone reading this from Vietnam – I realise that in comparison to the little works of art that appear on the table in Vietnam and Vietnamese restaurants around the world these are a little slap-dash to say the least!  BUT they do taste amazing plus they’re really healthy and quick to prepare.  

They make a great starter at a dinner party  – you can just stick all the ingredients on the table and let everyone assemble their own – nothing like getting your guests to do the hard work!  Personally, I think these make a great TV dinner.

(Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a light meal)

  • 8 vietnamese rice paper wrappers/spring roll wrappers – You can buy these from Asian supermarkets, health food shops and some regular supermarkets
  • 2 organic carrots – sliced into thin batons
  • Half an organic cucumber  – sliced into thin batons
  • 3 organic spring onions – sliced lengthways 
  • Small pack of organic marinated firm tofu – thinly sliced
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • 1 portion of vermicelli rice noodles
  • Drizzle of toasted sesame oil
  • Splash of soy sauce – I use a low-sodium one
  • Hoisin sauce for dipping
  1. First of all pop the vermicelli rice noodles in a bowl with boiling water to soften
  2. Heat the toasted sesame oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the tofu
  3. Splash a few drops of soy sauce over the tofu and fry for a few moments each side until it turns a golden brown
  4. Pour some boiling water into a large, flat-bottomed plate – this is to soften the rice paper wrappers – they just need a couple of seconds immersed in the water
  5. Place the water-softened wrapper on a plate and fill with ingredients
  6. Fold opposite ends in and then roll up, lengthways, as tightly as you can – this does require some practise!
  7. Serve with a small bowl of hoisin dipping sauce

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Pesto and yoghurt dip

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OK, so calling this a ‘recipe’ is a little far-fetched as it contains precisely two ingredients and a teeny tiny amount of stirring but I make it a lot and it makes a great healthy dip.

Delicious as a traditional dip or on veggie burgers with tonnes of salad in a bun.

  • 2 small post of unsweetened soya yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons of vegan pesto (you can make your own but I just used a ready-made one here)
  1. Mix ingredients and serve!

Chilli ‘beef’ in lettuce shells

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This Asian-inspired dish is really simple to make and super-tasty.  Sweet and spicy with an extra something from the ginger, spring onions and fresh mint.

Good as a starter, a light main or to share with friends.

  • Bag of frozen soya mince (I used the one by Fry’s)
  • 1 red onion – finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger – finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies – finely chopped (with or without seeds depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • Drizzle of toasted sesame oil
  • 2-3 tablespoonfuls of sweet chilli sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoonfuls of hoisin sauce
  • Handful of fresh mint – roughly chopped
  • 3 spring onions – sliced
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 small romaine lettuces
  1. Warm the sesame oil in a wok
  2. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies and fry for a few minutes to soften
  3. Add the soya mince, sweet chilli sauce, hoisin sauce and water and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  4. Remove from heat and stir through the mint and spring onions
  5. Fill the lettuce leaf ‘shells’ with the mixture and serve

NB you can vary the proportions of chillies vs hoisin and sweet chilli sauce depending on how you like the spicy – sweet mix

Slow-roasted tomatoes

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I adore these tomatoes.  They’re really easy to prepare, will keep for a few days in the fridge and are great added to salads, served on toast with a drizzle of olive oil or thrown into a pasta sauce.

  • Punnet of organic, on-the-vine cherry tomatoes – Halved
  • 1 garlic clove – sliced
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Sprinkle of seasalt
  1. Assemble all the ingredients in an ovenproof dish and pop in the oven at 100°C and bake for about an hour
  2. If not eating immediately then they can be stored in the fridge in an airtight jar for a few days

 

Vegan Spanish tortilla

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I’m always on the lookout for ways to “veganize” foods that I enjoyed before I stopped eating animal products.  This is a recent discovery and I love it!  Tortilla is often served in tapas bars around Spain in small cubes but this is equally delicious served hot or cold with a big green salad.  It keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days and frequently pops up in our picnic hamper over the summer.

I’ve substituted the eggs for silken tofu flavoured with kala namak and nutritional yeast for a subtle “eggy” taste.  Although I adore the taste of turmeric I initially added it to this recipe for the colour as much as anything else.

(Serves 4)

  • 2 packs of silken tofu
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large potatoes (thinly sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons of dill (dried or fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground kala namak (black salt)
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • Sea salt and pepper to season
  1. Blend the tofu, turmeric, kala namak, nutritional yeast, dill, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to a smooth consistency.
  2. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a non-stick frying pan and heat it up
  3. Add a layer of the tofu mix followed by a thin layer of potato
  4. Continue this process until all the ingredients are used up.  Make sure you finish with a layer of the tofu mix
  5. Put on a low heat for 40 minutes to cook through
  6. Finish off with a few minutes under a hot grill to brown off

Caramelised onion and rosemary flatbread, cherry tomato, olive and rocket flatbread plus a side of samphire salad with lemon and olive oil

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I know I only posted a flatbread recipe a few days but at this time of year they’re just perfect. Quick and easy to prepare, delicious and great for sharing with a group of friends and a good bottle of wine.   I bought some freshly picked samphire earlier from a little road-side stall in Norfolk and couldn’t wait to use it.  This is one of my favourite vegetables!  There are so many incredible ways to prepare it but this samphire was so fresh and delicious that we just ate it raw with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.  Delicious!

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Caramelised onion and rosemary flatbread:

  • 1 flatbread (I bought these ready-made from Crosta & Mollica, available from Waitrose)
  • 2 small red onions (sliced)
  • Dash of red wine vinegar
  • 2 generous sprigs of rosemary
  • Garlic and oregano-infused olive oil (see below)
  1. Pop the onions in a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil and cook on a low heat for around 40 minutes, with a splash of red wine vinegar
  2. Assemble the infused olive oil, caramelised onions and rosemary on a flatbread for 5 minutes at 180°C

Cherry tomato, olive and rocket flatbread:

  • 1 flatbread (as above)
  • Large handful of organic, on-the-vine cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • Large handful of organic rocket
  • Spanish Couchillo olives (available from Waitrose)
  • Garlic and oregano-infused olive oil
  1. Assemble the infused olive oil, cherry tomatoes and olives on the flatbread and pop in the oven for 5 minutes at 180°C
  2. Once cooked add the rocket and serve

 

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Garlic and oregano-infused olive oil:

  • Small cupful of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Handful of finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  1. Add the chopped garlic and fresh oregano to a cup of olive oil and leave in the fridge overnight
  2. You can sieve the olive oil before using but for these flatbreads I included the oregano and garlic

Samphire salad with lemon and olive oil:

  • Generous handful of freshly-picked samphire, washed, roughly chopped and stalks removed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  1. Wash the samphire and then roughly chop, removing the stalks
  2. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the samphire
  3. Drizzle over the olive oil and serve

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Avocado on toast with olive oil and dried chilli flakes

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I absolutely love avocados and this is one of my favourite things to eat, it’s so simple but really tasty and super-healthy.

Avocados have so many amazing health benefits.  They’re full of heart-loving monounsaturated fats as well as omega-3, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and folic acid.  Basically, they’re great for our cardiovascular health, our brain health, they’re good for our digestive systems, they help to balance our blood sugars plus they have anti-ageing benefits and help to give us amazing naturally-glowing skin.  What’s not to love?!

(Serves 2)

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 4 slices of seeded wholemeal bread
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • A sprinkle of dried chilli flakes
  • A small pinch of sea salt
  1. Toast the bread
  2. Halve the avocado, remove the stone and roughly chop the flesh
  3. Pop the avocado onto the toast,sprinkle with the sea salt, dried chilli flakes and drizzle with olive oil
  4. Serve with a rocket salad