Slow roasted tomato and pepper soup

Here’s a very easy, spicy (and vegan) soup that’s perfect for these cold days of early spring. The slow roasting really helps build up the flavour which means you can use the cheaper tomatoes rather than the tastier vine ripened ones.  I served the soup with  crunchy rosemary croutons, made with my own sourdough bread…

Spicy chickpea croquettes

I made these last weekend and intended to freeze them in batches. But they were so tasty I found I was eating a few every day either as a starter or when I came home hungry from work and needed a quick snack. They are particularly nice with a range of dips and would be…

Vegan chocolate cake

This is a Nigella recipe which I have been meaning to make for a while, if only to see if it’s as good as Nigella says it is – and it is indeed delicious. I made this yesterday as I wanted something to take to a friend who is laid up with her leg in…

Pickled cucumbers

I discovered this Jamie Oliver recipe about a month ago and since then I’ve been making pickled cucumbers every week. I’ve even switched my weekly shop to Tesco as they stock the small cucumbers. You can use standard sized cucumbers but the small ones look great and are sweeter. The real pleasure of making these…

Christmas clear out

This is a good weekend to clear out the fridge to make room for the Christmas food shop. There are lots of ways to cut waste by using up scraps of food in different ways, or turning leftovers into something freezable. Use vegetables which are past their prime for the Christmas lunch gravy (Jamie Oliver’s…

Chickpea curry

I’ve been stocking up my freezer with home made ready meals. This is partly to reduce my food costs (and batch cooking is one of the easiest ways to do that) and partly to have a big selection of quick meals to choose from in January when I know I’m going to be busy. I…

Stuffed peppers

A couple of weeks’ ago I watched an episode of Yottam Ottolenghi’s cookery series where he was in Crete. He visited a family restaurant where one of the specialities was stuffed vegetables. All the family got together on a vine clad, sun drenched terrace to stuff courgettes, tomatoes and peppers with a simple mixture of…

Beetroot burgers

Here’s a recipe inspired by a four day cookery and meditation retreat at Sharpham House I went on recently. This was the recipe I made as soon as I got home from the trip. It was for supper that same evening – I couldn’t wait to start trying out what I had learnt, even after…

Home made ‘baked’ beans

A couple of weeks’ ago I made a pot of home made baked beans which I froze in portions.  I say ‘baked’ but this a hob-based and very simple version of an old authentic recipe – Boston baked beans. The original version (dating back to the New England pilgrims) involved a large chunk of salt…

Minestrone

I’ve been working away for a few weeks recently, just coming home for long weekends. Before I started working away I tried to use up as much food as possible from the fridge, to avoid waste and save money on shopping. Like most people I know I often find myself throwing fresh food away and,…

Hazelnut and pistachio crunch

This is an Antonio Carluccio recipe which sounds so much better in Italian – croccante di nocciole e pistacchi. I followed the recipe to the letter so head to the Antonio Carluccio website for the instructions. Now that it’s mid November it’s probably acceptable to start making something a bit Christmassy. The recipe is very…

Spicy pumpkin soup

This tasty seasonal soup uses small eating pumpkins/butternut squash, not the giant Jack o’Lanterns people use for Halloween. I used a pumpkin the size of a large grapefruit and half a butternut squash I had left over from another meal. I also bought a couple of adorable munchkin pumpkins but I struggled to chop them…