Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Cauliflower Crazy – Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Curry

For a while there it was courgetti that the blogosphere was raving about but maybe all the spirulisers have gotten broken or something because the latest vegetable to attain the popularity badge is the head of cauliflower.
Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Curry
I’ve always thought it an appealing looking vegetable, a perfect plump white crown nestled in a bed of green leaves.  Talk about versatile, about the only thing you can’t do is spirulize it.  Boiled, roasted and even crumbled into a rice substitute or moulded into a ‘pizza’ base it is a vessel awaiting your direction.

Cauliflower and sweet potato curry with naan bread and rice
Steer this vegetable in any way you chose, as a side or as a main contender, it will deliver.  Have you come across Cauliflower Steaks yet? Google them if you haven’t!  Great thick slices panfried and savoured in place of a juicy striploin – I think not!  Yes,I’m a fan of cauliflower but I’m not fanatical, steak it isn’t.
Cauliflower and Sweet Potato
It’s a vegetable and lets just treat it like that.  In this vegetarian curry I like to keep both the sweet potato and cauliflower bitey so be wary of cutting the sweet potato too small, keep it in large chunks.  This recipe is from my cookbook ‘Enjoy!’

Cauliflower and Sweet Potato curry
Serves 4
You will need:
5 cardamom pods
1 medium onion
1 tbsp rapeseed or coconut oil
Thumb-sized chunk of fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp mild chilli powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 large cauliflower (approx. 750g)
1 large sweet potato (approx. 500g)
200ml passata
500ml vegetable stock
250ml water
Boiled rice, to serve (optional)
Bash the cardamom pods – a pestle and mortar is good for this job – to release the seeds and discard the husks.
Finely chop the onion. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a low heat and soften the onions for 5 minutes.
Grate the ginger and crush the garlic, then add to the softened onion and mix well. Turn the heat up to medium and add the cardamom seeds, garam masala, chilli powder and turmeric and cook for 1 minute.
Break the cauliflower into florets and cut the sweet potato into large bite-size chunks. Add these to the pan, mixing well to coat with the spices, then add the passata and mix well.
Pour in the vegetable stock and enough water to almost cover the vegetables.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer with the lid almost covering the pan for 40 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Serve as is or with rice.

Top Tip: Store ginger in the freezer and grate it, frozen and unpeeled, with a Microplane grater.

Enjoy!, ‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Jerk Roast Vegetable Couscous

I use couscous a lot as I love the texture and how you can oomph it up in the flavour department to take it in lots of different directions.  It’s like the artist’s canvas just waiting for paint. This time I’m using up the last of the Jerk seasoning on roasted vegetables and adding the zest and juice of lemon and some chopped parsley for a deliciously simple dish.  Eat with some roast chicken pieces or a spiced pork chop or an easier protein option would be some cubes of feta.

Jerk veg and couscous

Jerk Roast Vegetable Couscous
You will need:

1 large red onion
1 red pepper
2 large carrots
1 courgette
2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
Jerk seasoning
1 tbsp butter
250g couscous
250ml vegetable stock (hot – from cube is fine)
1 lemon
Small bunch curly parsley

Preheat the oven to 200C
Chop the carrots into batons, red onion into chunks and red peppers into slices and place on a baking tray.
Dust the vegetables generously with Jerk Seasoning and drizzle with 1 tbsp of oil then toss together and cook in the oven for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the couscous by first melting 1 tbsp of butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat.
Add 250g couscous to the melted butter, stir well and cook for 1 minute.
Take the couscous saucepan off the heat and pour in 250mls hot vegetable stock, stir with a fork, cover with a lid or cling-film and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying or griddle pan over a medium heat, chop the courgette into slices and cook in the heated oil until turned golden on each side. Set aside.
Take the lid off the cooked couscous and use a fork to fluff up the grains.
Zest the lemon and then juice it and add both to the couscous and stir well.
Finely chop the parsley and stir through the couscous.
Once the jerk roast vegetables are finished cooking toss together in a large serving platter with the lemon and parsley couscous and the golden courgette slices.
‘Til next time, Sheila

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Chilli Sin Carne (a recipe for Johnnie)

If ‘con’ means with then ‘sin’ means without in Spanish – at least according to wikipedia.  If it’s wrong you know who to blame and it isn’t me. So ‘Chilli Sin Carne’ is chilli without meat.

chilli sin carne close-up

My eldest is in college, living away from home during the week and cooking for himself.  Over the last few years he and his friends have become more interested in their diet and especially protein in the interests of bulking up.  I blame you Conor McGregor.  They are also pretty interested in going out which requires funds hence the lack of dosh for procuring premium beef.  This is where a packet of Soya Mince pops up in the shopping trolley, a good alternative source of protein and cheap enough for a student on a budget.

Bag soya mince

Soya mince needs to be given a huge kick of flavour as it has none of it’s own, tasting like what I imagine sawdust would taste like but then I’m not about to prove that.

Ingredients chilli sin carne

I’ve tried it successfully in this chilli recipe and didn’t tell the guinea pigs kids what it was before they tried it and it went down well.
chilli sin carne in bowl
This is for you Johnnie:

Chilli Sin Carne
Serves 4
You will need:
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp mild chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
2 red peppers
2 tbsp tomato puree
100g soya mince
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin red kidney beans
500ml vegetable stock
Peel and finely chop the red onion.
Heat the rapeseed oil in a large pan to a medium heat, add the onion turn down the heat and leave to soften for 5 minutes.
Peel and crush or mince the garlic cloves and add to the softening onion.
After a few minutes add the spices – chilli powder, coriander, paprika and oregano and stir well.
Deseed and cube the red peppers and add into the spiced onions.
Mix in the soya mince and tomato puree turning the heat up to medium stirring well, imparting flavour to the soya mince, after a couple of minutes add the chopped tomatoes, red kidney beans and vegetable stock.  Raise the heat until it bubbles and then reduce heat to simmer for a further 20 minutes at least adding more water if it looks too dry.
Serve with rice.
Also good in a wrap with a dollop of sour cream and fresh chopped coriander.
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Recipes, What's for Dinner Mom?

Roast Cauliflower & Shallots

Roast cauliflower and shallot featureVegetables can be a pain in the ass to prepare and sometimes you’re just not in form for all that chop, chop, chopping & pernickity peeling.  This delicious dish would be great as a vegetarian main bulked up with some spinach leaves and with a good crumbling of feta it would be amazing.
Roast cauliflower and shallot
Roast cauliflower and shallot
Roast cauliflower and shallotNow watch how a splash of green makes everything look sooo much more appetising!
Roast cauliflower and shallot
Roast cauliflower and shallot
Roast Cauliflower & Shallots
You will need:

1 head cauliflower
8-10 shallots
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
100g pinenuts
good handful fresh parsley
Pre-heat the fan oven to 180C.
Break/cut the cauliflower into florets.
Peel and quarter the shallots.
Crush two cloves of garlic.
Toss the cauliflower and shallots with the garlic, 1 tbsp of oil, 2 tsp caraway seeds and 2 tsp ground cumin in a large baking dish/pan.
Roast for 30 minutes in the heated fan oven.
Add the pinenuts, 1 tbsp oil and mix around, cook again for a further 10 minutes.
Serve with a good garnish of fresh parsley.
‘Til next time, Sheila

Posted in What's for Dinner Mom?


Christmas holidays are over and there’s a glut of nuts and seeds in my cupboards, there’s also a glut of chocolate but that doesn’t pose a problem in any shape or form. The nuts and seeds do need to be used up however before they go rancid as biting into a bitter forgotten nut is not very pleasant. I had stocked up in order to make Florentines which are my favourite Christmas biscuit. The plan was to make them as gifts and some for my own consumption naturally but Christmas came and then New Years passed me by and still no sign of Florentines! There’s always next year.
I’ve just finished boxing up the Christmas decorations and can understand why some people never put them away. It is a closing of ceremonies tinged with a sadness that Christmas is over and is it just me that wonders how many more times will I get to open up these treasure chests? Today I wondered would my children eventually argue over who would inherit these goodies! I love my decorations and each year I add a little more to the collection. I’ve a penchant for gold and reds for the tree and then silver and royal blue in another room and in what I call ‘my’ room I reserve for purples, mauves and greys.  What vanity, what frivolity, but at the end of each year these are simply toys that I look forward to reopening.
Nutroast post cook in tinThe nutroast has put paid to some of my mixed nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and I threw in some sesame seeds for good measure. Use any combination of whatever is lurking in your cupboards and if you like your veggies and nuts then you will love this gem.

Nutroast uncooked
Note the baking paper was a long strip placed on the base and long enough to come up at each end (pre-cooking picture)
Nutroast precook
Prior to cooking

The recipe is based on one from BBC Good Food and the next time I make it I think I will try to make it a little drier, as in it was almost too moist to cut into slices and as leftovers would be great in lunchboxes a less wet mix would suit that purpose.
Nutroast SliceNutroast Platter PresliceNutroast Slice upclose
Your food processor will be your friend here as lots of chopping and grating is required and the food processor will turn what could be laborious into a cinch.
Nut roast.
You will need:
1 Medium Onion
3 cloves garlic
Rapeseed or olive oil
1 Red Pepper
1 Large Carrot
300g mushrooms
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 400g tin green lentils
1 400g tin plum tomatoes
100g breadcrumbs
100g grated cheddar
200g total nuts &seeds (I used 100g mixed nuts & combo pumkin, sunflower, sesame)
2 eggs
Pre-heat fan oven to 180C
Prepare a loaf tin by greasing the sides with some butter and lining the base and ends with a long strip of baking paper so that the ends come over the end of the tin (see picture).
Chop the onion and garlic together in the food processor (FP)
Heat 1 tbsp oil in large pan and soften onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
Chop the red pepper in the FP and add to pan.
Chop the mushrooms in FP and add to pan.
Grate the carrot in FP and add to pan.
Add paprika and oregano and mix well.
Drain the lentils and add to the pan along with the plum tomatoes in their juices (leave out tomato juices if going for a drier/more sliceable mixture.).
Mix well and allow to simmer for 10 minutes (15 for drier).
Place the breadcrumbs and grated cheese in a large bowl and mix well.
Use the FP to roughly chop the nuts and seeds and mix these into the bowl.
Add the onion mixture from the pan and mix well.
Stir in two beaten eggs to bind everything together.
Spoon the nutroast mixture into the prepared loaf tin and loosely cover with tin foil. Bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and return to cook in the oven raising the temperature to 200C for a further 15 / 20 minutes.
‘Til next time, Sheila.