Mediterranean Vegetable and Goats Cheese Pancakes


Mediterranean Vegetables and Goats Cheese Pancakes (2)

Happy Pancake Day everyone! What are you giving up for lent?

I’ve never been particularly good at giving things up for lent. My philosophy regarding food is everything in moderation, and so giving up chocolate, biscuits or wine would be against everything I stand for unfortunately.

I thought about giving up Netflix – but then how would we spend our hungover Sundays? Giving up pavement rage would never work either (I don’t drive, so my commuter rage is focussed on people who walk slowly and cars that don’t stop to let me cross the road), because there are too many anger inducing sights every morning.

So, I’m making a promise to myself – I will post on the blog at least 6 times a week throughout lent. If you notice me slacking, shout at me!

Anyway, back to pancake day. I decided that seeing as pancakes are so delicious you have to eat more than one, why not fill them with something healthy? These savoury pancakes filled with fresh Mediterranean veggies and lovely, melty goats cheese have enough healthy ingredients to counterbalance the fact you want to eat eight of them (don’t quote me on that).

This recipe will make 6 pancakes, and will take approximately 20 minutes.

Mediterranean Vegetables and Goats Cheese Pancakes (1)

Mediterranean Vegetable and Goats Cheese Pancakes

1 mug plain flour

1 mug milk

1 large egg

4 tbsps olive oil

1 red onion

1 large courgette

1 red pepper

1 handful green olives, halved

40g goats cheese

1. Pour the flour, milk and egg into a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Leave to one side.

2. Chop the onion and add to a pan with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, then add the chopped courgette, red pepper and olives. Cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring often, until the veggies are soft.

3. Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. When the oil is hot, add a ladleful of the pancake batter and move the pan around to form an even layer over the base. Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden underneath, then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan, add another ladleful of batter and repeat until you have made all of your pancakes. You may need to add more oil.

4. To serve, pile a spoonful of the veg into the centre of each pancake, crumble over some goats cheese and roll up. Enjoy!

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Spinach and Nutmeg Soup


Spinach and Nutmeg Soup (1)

Wow, what a weekend! I had such a wonderful, spoilt birthday filled with meals out, drinks and general revelry.

We had 4 meals out and 2 takeaways in total, and who knows how many glasses of wine/prosecco/cocktails.

Therefore, tonight we needed an instant injection of the vitamins and minerals we are sure to be lacking now. Spinach soup is the perfect way to do this. Not only is it desperately, desperately easy (look how short that ingredient list is!), it is also delicious and packed full of vitamins k, a, c, b2 (almost the whole alphabet!), not to mention iron, magnesium and folic acid. Surely this will aid our bodies’ recoveries after a heavy weekend.

I love the flavour combination of spinach and nutmeg. I got the idea for using nutmeg in this soup from a nettle soup I once made many years ago, which used nutmeg. I was quite young when I made the nettle soup, and remember so vividly the fear that it would sting my tongue! Of course, it didn’t; it was wonderfully flavourful and with spinach and nettle being fairly similar in taste, the nutmeg works beautifully in this recipe too.

The dish is completely vegetarian, and would be vegan too if you omitted the feta, which I just couldn’t leave off.

This dish is ready in 15 minutes, and will serve 4 with some crusty bread on the side.

Spinach and Nutmeg Soup (2)

Spinach and Nutmeg Soup

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

1 litre vegetable stock

450g spinach

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

20g feta, crumbled

1. Chop the onion. Add to a large saucepan with the olive oil and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

2. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Gradually add the spinach, handful by handful, until it is all wilted.

3. Sprinkle in the nutmeg, then whizz the soup in a blender until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the crumbled feta.

Vegetable Enchiladas


Vegetable Enchiladas (1)

Yum! Who doesn’t like enchiladas? They’re like the Mexican version of lasagne! They are perfect for cold weather, because they’re the ultimate comfort food. Anything baked in the oven is wonderful when it’s cold outside.

We looked through the cupboards yesterday and came across some tortilla wraps which were about to go, and were delighted when we realised that to use these up, we could make this.

I’ve only ever made chicken enchiladas before, but seeing as it’s still January and so we should technically be on a health kick, I’ve made this version completely vegetarian, and contains loads of different veggies which makes it fairly good for you – you could almost get your 5-a-day from this dish!

If you like these, try my Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni!

This takes around 45-50 minutes to make, and will serve 2-3 (more with a side salad/dishes)

Vegetable Enchiladas (2)

Vegetable Enchiladas

1 tbsp olive oil

1 red onion

200g button mushrooms

1 yellow pepper

2 courgettes

2 tbsps tomato puree

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

6 flour tortilla wraps

400g tin chopped tomatoes

30g cheddar cheese, grated

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

20ml soured cream

1. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the sliced onion, halved mushrooms, sliced peppers and sliced courgettes. Cook over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes, until starting to soften, then stir in the tomato puree, smoked paprika, cumin and cinnamon. Cook for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

3. Lay out your tortillas. Place a spoonful of the veggie mixture into the centre of each one, then fold them up as you would a fajita. Lay the wraps side by side in a large oven proof dish.

4. Pour the chopped tomatoes over the wraps. Try to do it evenly, but don’t worry if they don’t reach the edges. Top this with an even layer of the grated cheese and chilli flakes.

5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the tortillas are crisp at the edges and the tomatoes are hot and bubbling.

6. Enjoy with a dollop of soured cream, and some sliced spring onions if you fancy.

English Onion Soup with Comte Croutons


English Onion Soup with Comte Croutons (2)

I can’t pretend that the weather here has been as bad as it is in Northern USA at the moment – but it is still chilly, dark and miserable as it will undoubtably remain until April. And as such, it is another soup night tonight; this time my take on a classic, and one of my all time favourites.

Usually, a French Onion Soup contains onions, beef stock, wine and very little else. This is my version, and so it includes ingredients that a typical French Onion Soup usually wouldn’t – like bay leaves, and thyme. I also used vegetable stock rather than beef stock (and brandy rather than white wine) – not only does this make it vegetarian, it also makes it lighter and fresher. I really enjoy this version, and I hope you will too.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore the original version, but I think it tastes better when the onions are cooked for a long, long time – and I don’t have time for that tonight. I’ve used comte (a hard, French cow’s milk cheese) on the croutons as a nod to where the original came from; however any hard cheese such as gouda would work equally well. With French Onion Soup, you also tend to put the croutons in the soup, but I prefer them nice and crispy so I leave them on the side.

This will take about 40 minutes, and will serve 4. The leftovers get better with time, so make great lunches!

English Onion Soup with Comte Croutons (1)

English Onion Soup with Comte Croutons

10g butter

3 large onions

2 bay leaves

1 pinch thyme leaves

10g plain flour

1 small glass brandy

750ml vegetable stock

4 large slices French baguette

1 tbsp olive oil

40g grated comte

1. Finely slice the onions and add to a large saucepan with the butter, bay leaves, thyme and a pinch of salt. Cook over a medium-low heat, stirring every few minutes to make sure it doesn’t stick, for about 20-25 minutes until golden.

2. Add the flour, mix well, then add the brandy and bubble down. Add the stock and bring to a simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Taste, and add more seasoning if necessary.

3. For the croutons, put the grill on high, the drizzle the olive oil onto a baking tray, then rub the bread in the oil to ensure an even coating. Put under the grill for 3-4 minutes until beginning to turn toast, then pile on the grated cheese. Put back under the grill and cook until the cheese is bubbling and golden.

Tomato Salsa Tostados


Tomato Salsa Tostados (1)

Mexican food is fantastic – I’m sure everyone agrees with that, and who wouldn’t want an evening meal which tastes like nachos but is much better for you? These tostados are bright, tasty and you can easily omit or limit the amount of cheese and soured cream to make them seriously healthy. I’m too much of a dairy fan to do this though.

If you haven’t made tostados before, do it! They’re like little pizzas on a tortilla, and you can use any toppings you like. I love these ones because they embrace Mexican flavours – but you don’t need to do that at all – you could easily make Greek ones with black olives and feta, or you could use any of your favourite pizza toppings.

These ones are surprsingly filling because of the avocado, and so I don’t think you need any meat. If you really wanted to add some, you could top with some cooked chicken breast.

These tostados will be ready in 20 minutes, and will serve 2.

Tomato Salsa Tostados (2)

Tomato Salsa Tostados

2 tortilla wraps

2 tbsps olive oil

1 onion

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g tin borlotti beans

1 handful coriander

1 yellow pepper

2 tsps smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

20g grated cheddar

20g soured cream

1 avocado

1 spring onion

1 red chilli

1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Place the tortilla wraps flat on a baking tray (use 2 if you need to), drizzle with half of the olive oil and bake in the oven for approximately 5 minutes until starting to crisp. Remove from the oven.

2. Pour the rest of the olive oil into a saucepan. Chop the onion and add to the saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the chopped coriander stalks (reserve the leaves for later).

3. Add the chopped tomatoes, borlotti beans, sliced yellow pepper, smoked paprika and cinnamon. Simmer for 10 minutes, until thick.

4. Spoon the tomato mixture onto the tortillas, as you would a pizza sauce onto a pizza base. Top each one with grated cheese, then put back in the oven for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are golden.

5. Top each tostado with a dollop of soured cream, sliced avocado, a handful of coriander leaves and some sliced spring onion and chilli. Enjoy!

Savoury Courgette and Gorgonzola Muffins


Courgette and Blue Cheese Muffins

I don’t know about you, but I would always prefer a savoury breakfast to a sweet one. It always confuses me so much when I go to coffee shops or cafes; the breakfasts to take away always seem to be pain au chocolat or sweet muffins, with a tiny range of savoury sandwiches (bacon, sausage, egg, always the same…).

Muffin mixes can take savoury flavours just as well as sweet, and so I don’t understand why more places don’t sell them! But then, they’re so easy to make at home that it’s not too much of a problem.

These particular muffins are made from one of my favourite vegetables, courgette, with some ripe gorgonzola (most other blue cheeses would work well too) and black pepper – simple, but a winning combination.

Give them a go – if you’ve never made your own muffins at home before, you’ll wonder why not when you realise how simple they are!

This takes 30 minutes max and will make 12 large muffins.

Courgette and Gorgonzola Muffins

Savoury Courgette and Gorgonzola Muffins

300g self raising flour

3 tsps baking powder

50g cheddar cheese

1 courgette, grated (should be approx 200g)

3 eggs

3 tbsps vegetable oil

3 tbsps milk

150ml natural yoghurt

Black pepper

60g gorgonzola

1. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees.

2. Weigh out the flour, baking powder and cheddar and place in a large bowl.

3. Add the grated courgette, yoghurt, milk, oil, eggs and a grinding of black pepper.

Savoury Courgette and Gorgonzola Muffins (1)

4. With a fork, break the egg yolks and beat gently, then combine the rest of the ingredients together, gently, until it is all combined.

Savoury Courgette and Gorgonzola Muffins (2)

5. Fill a 12 holed muffin tin with 12 muffin cases. Share the mixture out evenly between the muffin cases.

6. Chop the gorgonzola into 12 equal pieces and place one on top of each muffin.

Savoury Courgette and Gorgonzola Muffins (3)

7. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until risen and golden.

Savoury Courgette and Gorgonzola Muffins

Vegetable Korma


Vegetable Korma (1)

If someone asks you to think of a korma, what do you think of? Do you think of a bright, vibrant curry? Or do you think of a sickly sweet, yellow curry with a claggy sauce and most likely some overcooked chicken pieces?

In my opinion, the korma has been the ‘go to’ curry for when curry houses need to sell something mild. It feels unloved. There is no reason a korma needs to be like this; it is defined as a dish originating in South Asia or Central Asia[1] consisting of meat and/or vegetables braised in a spiced sauce made with yogurt, cream, nut or seed paste. There is nothing in there to say it needs to have a dyed yellow sauce, or that says it needs to taste overwhelmingly of dessert.

This particular version makes vegetables the star of the show, and is in fact vegan (I used coconut milk rather than yoghurt or cream to make the sauce). It’s also so tasty you won’t believe it’s good for you. Make it when you’re craving a curry – trust me, you’ll love it and you’ll feel much better afterwards than if you got a takeaway.

This will take 30-40 minutes to make, and will serve 4.

Vegetable Korma (2)

Vegetable Korma

1 baking potato

3 tbsps vegetable oil

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tsps garam masala

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3cm piece of ginger, finely chopped

1/2 green chilli, finely chopped

1 carrot, cut into 1cm pieces

300g dwarf beans, cut into 1 inch lengths

100g frozen peas

1 tin coconut milk

1. Bring a small pan of water to the boil. Peel the potato and chop into 1.5 cm chunks. Par boil for approximately 10 minutes.

2. In a large, high edged frying pan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and onion; cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.

3. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli. Sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add the garam masala, cumin and coriander.

4. Add the carrot. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the green beans. Cook for another couple of minutes, stirring often.

5. Tip in the peas. Mix well, and when the peas have defrosted, add the potato. Tip in the coconut milk, bring to a simmer and season with salt. Put a lid on and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add a little water if it’s too thick.

6. Serve with a pile of fluffy rice. Delicious!

Leek and Potato Soup


Everyone is cooking soup at the moment. It’s exactly what we crave when the temperature plummets. I wanted to make a veggie soup, but also wanted one which is wholesome and filling so, naturally, I went for leek and potato (brocolli and stilton would have been a close second).

I’m not going to try to sell this soup as a healthy option – it contains too much butter and cream for that sort of thing. But that’s what makes it so delicious! I think that we must use up so many calories trying to keep warm in this horrid weather that we deserve a little cream sometimes.

Leek and potato is a classic and will guarantee bowls licked clean. It’s a lovely colour and could easily be prettified for a dinner party.

This will take 30 minutes and will serve at least 4 (there will likely be leftovers which freeze beautifully!)

Leek and Potato Soup (1)

Leek and Potato Soup

50g unsalted butter

1 onion

450g potatoes

450g leeks

1 litre vegetable stock

140ml double cream

140ml milk

1. Peel your potatoes and chop them into 1 inch chunks. Trim the ends off the leeks and slice them. Chop your onion into 1 inch chunks.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan or casserole dish over a medium heat. When it starts to bubble, and the veg. Turn down the heat and put a lid on. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring fairly often so that the veg doesn’t stick or colour.

3. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Put the lid back on and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

4. Whizz your soup up with a blender until smooth then put back on the heat. Add the cream and milk and bring to a simmer, then season to taste with salt and plenty of black pepper.

5. Serve large bowls or mugs with thick wedges of warm bread. Delicious!

Leek and Potato Soup (2)

Vegetable Pad Thai


Sometimes, after the first day back at work, I need something to wake me up and kick me into shape. It can’t take long to cook – because all of those chores I was ‘going to do at the weekend’ need doing, and it needs to pack a punch with flavours.

I decided to go vegetarian for this because, with this dish, meat would be surplus to requirements. It’s all about the noodles and beansprouts. However, you could throw in a bit of chicken or a handful of prawns.

This recipe uses lots of beansprouts, and it means you can use less noodles. I’d recommend this for anyone looking to cut down on carbs – you could even make the dish with just bean sprouts and no noodles at all.

This will serve 2-3 and takes about 20 minutes to make.

Vegetarian Pad Thai

Vegetable Pad Thai

1 tbsp sesame oil

100g shallots

3 large cloves garlic

1 red chilli

4 spring onions

300g ribbon noodles (either straight to wok ones, or cooked and drained)

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp lime juice

3 tbsps light soy sauce

2 tbsps vegetarian oyster sauce

Handful coriander

Roasted peanuts, to serve

1. Finely chop the shallots, garlic and chilli. Halve the spring onions lengthways and then chop into 2 cm pieces.

2. Pour the oil into a wok or large frying pan and put on a high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, chilli and spring onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the noodles, soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar and oyster sauce. Cook for anther 2 minutes.

3. Add the beansprouts and stir fry for 5 minutes. Chop the coriander and add this. Take off the heat.

4. To serve, sprinkle roasted peanuts over each bowlful. Tuck in!

Vegetable Chilli


This is another recipe for when you’re craving something comforting and warm but don’t want to over indulge. I love meat chilli, but only when it’s slow- slow-cooked and melty. This chilli has just the same favours without the long cooking, is much better for you, and costs barely anything to put together a huge potful!

I don’t think chillies should be hot – I think they should contain lovely warm flavours without any real spice and so this is what I’ve done here. Feel free to add a few dried chilli flakes if you prefer some spice!

Of course, I topped mine with cheese and soured cream, and served it with white rice, but you could just as easily miss off those elements to make it seriously healthy and low in calories.

Give this a go – it’s packed full of smoky flavours and I guarantee you’ll love it.

This is another of my Cheap Eats recipes – make sure you check out the rest here if you haven’t already!

This will make enough to serve 6 – freeze any extra, or have it for lunch (it gets better the next day!) and will take 30 minutes to make.

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Vegetable Chilli

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

1 large bunch coriander

1 tsp dried cinnamon

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g tin chickpeas

1 x 400g tin borlotti beans

1 courgette

1 red pepper

200g white rice, cooked, per person to serve, plus cheddar cheese and soured cream to dollop on top

1. Finely chop your onion, garlic and the stalks of the coriander. Put in a large pan with the oil and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and smoked paprika, then tip in the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and borlotti beans.

2. Chop the courgette and add this to the pan too. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Finely chop the red pepper and coriander leaves and stir these into the chilli. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, and add more cinnamon and smoked paprika if it needs it too.

4. Serve on a pile of white rice, topped with grated cheese and soured cream. Yum!

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