Wednesday, 28 October 2015

North African Squash & Chickpea Stew

This is another little nifty recipe from River Cottage's "Veg Everyday"

I have been wanting to cook more African food, so when I had a look through the recipes and saw this - I knew I had to make it!

The saffron adds that little "cannot quite put my finger on it" flavour and has your guests, flatmates, family or special someone guessing...

North African Squash & Chickpea Stew
(Serves 3)

1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, diced
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or whole peppercorns)
1/2 tsp turmeric
Pinch cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground ginger
100g red lentils
400g tin chickpeas, drained
Pinch saffron
250ml passata (add 2 tbsp red pesto or aivar if you have it handy!)
Handful parsley, roughly chopped
Handful coriander, finely chopped
200g butternut squash or pumpkin, diced
600ml vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
A good handful dates (optional - but it works really well!)

Vegetarian sausages (optional - NB vegan sausages for vegan)
Bread for mopping or rice to serve

- Simply heat the oil in a pan and soften the onion and garlic for 5 minutes or so.

- Add the spices and stir for a minute before adding celery, lentils, chickpeas, saffron, tomatoes and herbs - followed by the butternut squash, stock and bay leaf, I just worked my way down the list really! Leave out the dates for now, cover and simmer until the lentils are cooked and the pumpkin is tender for about 15-20 minutes). Five minutes before it is ready, add the dates so they are just heated through but doesn't fall apart.

- Using vegetarian sausages? Add at the same time as the butternut squash to allow for it to cook through.

- Serve with bread or rice, or simply on its own, and enjoy!

Despite the typical Weegie-weather, today has been a good day! Work was all right, and I had a cuppa after the shift, walking home when the weather was a little more forgiving and it was just a light drizzle.

Are you ready for Halloween? Cooking up a storm, snuggling up with horror movies or going to a party?
As for me, I am going to a friends to watch the hell out of some cheesy horror movies, because I don't like scary films and thus I have to watch the less scary ones, I am such a child!

Original source:
Veg Everyday, p. 30

- Jules

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Tear'n'Share Cinnabons

In September when I had a bunch of friends over, I made a good few cakes and Katrina's cinnamon rolls - it has THE best icing, I think it is because it features coffee, and I myself love the stuff!

Being from Scandiland I am used to eating cinnamon rolls without icing, but there are version with it as well. I had never baked the cinnabons that you have to tear off, but I have always wanted to, so here you have it! All this recipe needs... is a little patience, and you'll get it right!

Who can resist the whiff of cinnamon and and pastry as they come in?

Tear'n'Share Cinnabons
(Makes 1 large cake tin's worth)

1L milk
1 cup vegetable oil (neutral flavour, or sunflower)
1 cup sugar
2 packages active dry yeast
8 + 1 cups flour (one is for the kneading)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp salt

1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups sugar
Generous sprinkling of cinnamon

For the Frosting:
1 bag powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 STRONG coffee

- For the dough, mix together all the dry ingredients in a large baking bowl.

- Heat up the milk and oil until it reaches body temperature (37C, test a drop on your wrist, if you cannot feel it, it is the right temperature.. I was always fascinated by this as a child!). Turn off the heat and mix in the yeast until dissolved. NOTE - only pour in HALF the milk mixture first, and see how you get on with the dough, as I had to make quite a bit of adjustment to it.

- Make a well in the dry mix, and pour in the liquid. Mix until you have a dough, knead a little and cover it with a cloth. Leave it to rise for about 1 hour.

- Then, punch down the dough and roll out on the floured surface using the remaining cup of flour. Divide the dough into two (makes it easier to handle) and take one piece at a time, rolling it out into a triangle and then spread out the butter, sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up and cut into approximately 1 cm thick slices and place in the cake tin. Repeat with second part of the dough, and leave to rise for a further 30-40 minutes.

- Turn the oven up to 200C, and once the temperature has gone up-up-up place the tray with the buns in the middle of the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes.

- Take out the tray and leave to cool. It is important that the buns are quite cool before you pour over the icing. So about half an hour after they've come out of the oven, simply mix all the ingredients for the icing together and pour over the rolls generously.

- Serve fresh and enjoy!

Original source:

- Jules

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Deli Portobello Sandwiches

With the right fillings,sandwiches can be deli-tastic at any point in time!

...Which is what I realised with this bad boy here! Portobello mushrooms is a great alternative to meat for burgers and sandwiches, and this here with the goats cheese and fresh basil along with the juicy tomatoes was awesome!

Why don't you try for yourself? I dare you!

Deli Portobello Sandwiches
(Serves 2)

Oil for frying
A generous pouring of balsamic vinegar
1 fat garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
2 portobello mushrooms
1/3 cup goats cheese
A big handful fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tomato, sliced
4 slices of bread
Butter for pan-frying the bread in

- Start by mixing the oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Marinate the mushrooms in the mix for as long as you have, be it 10 minutes or 10 hours.

- In a frying pan, pour the mixture in along with the mushrooms, and fry until they have shrunk in size, 5-10 mminutes onlow heat.

- In the meantime ( Hell's Kitchen, naah kidding - this is super simple, and Gordon Ramsay isn't watching you!) mix the goats cheese and basil in a cup.

- Assembly time! In a frying pan, heat a knob of butter and pan fry the bread until golden, then spread with the goats cheese, top with tomato and then with the portobello mushroom. Top with a second slice of toast, and repeat - et voila!

Today has been lovely, I met some great new people as well as having the pleasure of cooking up dinner for two of my favourite ladies! I hope you have had a lovely Sunday too!

Original source:

- Jules

Thursday, 15 October 2015


*does a little dance* the cable for the camera decided to work today! Which means.... I can finally post another recipe up! How about it?

For my birthday last month, one of my friends got me this recipe book that has aaaaall these fantastic vegetarian recipes, and I had heard about this infamous spanakopitta.

When I looked through all the recipes in the book, getting inspiration I found it - this bakes dish topped with puffed pastry and filled with the stuff for gods!

I had to half the amount of spinach as although it breaks down when it wilts, I still didn't have a big enough pot to fit ALL of the spinach. You can use a kilo of frozen spinach though, just make sure to squeeze out all the water before adding it to the pan with the onions!

(Serves 3)

500g fresh spinach (or use 1 kilo frozen for more generous portions)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion (I used two red ones)
1/3 tsp cumin seeds
1/3 tsp fennel seeds
1/3 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper
A good squeeze of lemon or lime
2 eggs
50g pine nuts or roughly chopped cashews
100g feta, diced
200g ready made puff pastry (preferred the ready made stuff, I rolled it myself... using a wine bottle...)

- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

- Start by having the spinach in a casserole to wilt, using frozen or fresh spinach doesn't matter, it will still be ridiculously nutritious! Stir occasionally.

- As that is doing its thing, heat the olive oil in alarge frying pan. Chop the onions, but add the herbs to the pan first and sizzle for a minute before tossing in the onionsto soften - about 5-10 minutes.

- Take the spinach of the heat and squeeze the excess water off, set aside.

- Now, add the spinach to the onions, mix until it is well combined, then take it off the heat. Squeeze in lemon juice, salt and pepper, and the two eggs.

- If you make it with 1 kilo spinach, layer half the spinach combination first,top with nuts and feta followed by another layer of the spinach, top with the puff pastry. If you are only making it with 500g spinach have all of it in one layer at the bottom, top with feta and cashews and then top directly with the puff pastry.

- Brush the surface with water, and place in the middle of the oven, bakefor approximately 25-30 minutes until the bae is set and the puff pastrylid is cooked through and puffed up.

- Cool slightly beforeserving, and this little Julie might just have burnt her mouth with sheer impatience, oops! It was delicious though, and I love any dish that has spinach in it!

Since last time, I have been on a long weekend trip to Belfast and caught up with a few friends and met THE most awesome dog ever! Sober October is still going strong and I powered through my journey with Bundaberg's ginger beer when I was away.

Oh, and don't leave me alone in the flat too long, this might happen...

Original source:
River Cottage's VEG Everyday, p. 54

- Jules