Vegetable Chilli

 There nothing better than having chilli on a Monday night… comfort food after a long day at work and best of all if you make it on Sunday you just have to come home and heat it up.

I have been developing the recipe for years, changing and adding things and I finally think I’ve got it just right.

Serves 2
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 large clove garlic, crushed
8 mushrooms, quartered
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin kidney beans in chilli sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp oregano
Half tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp Worcester sauce
Salt & Pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan, slowly fry the onions until brown, add the carrots and cook for 3 mins. Add the peppers and garlic cook for 5 mins. Add mushrooms and cook for a further 4 mins.

Add the tin tomatoes, kidney beans with sauce and all the other remaining ingredients, mix well and let it simmer for about 25 mins until the sauce is nice and thick.

Serve with rice or on top of a jacket sweet potato.

Carrot Cake

This Sunday I decided to be a domestic Goddess and bake a cake… this doesn’t happen often so it feels very special when I do, I decided to make the Primrose Bakery carrot cake. It’s really enjoyable and easy cake to make and feels like such an achievement once it goes in the oven. Making it, also made me realise I need more large mixing bowls and a food processor – as I use a lot of grated carrots in my cooking but grating by hand not only makes my arm ache and I always think I’m going to grate my fingers but the little grated bits seem to cover me and the kitchen in the process!

450g grated carrots
260g raisins
4 large free range eggs
260g golden caster sugar
240ml corn oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp fresh orange zest
240g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
2 tsp cinnamon, plus more for dusting
Butter, for greasing tins

Grease and line 2x20cm round cake tins and line a muffin tray with 6 cupcake cases. Preheat oven to gas mark 5.

Combine the carrots and raisins in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In another bowl beat the eggs and sugar with and electric mixer for several minutes.

Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon into a mixing bowl then slowly add these ingredients to the egg and sugar mix., beating well after each addition. Mix in the carrots and raisins with a wooden spoon.

Fill each cake tin two-thirds full and use the leftover mixture to fill the muffin cases. Bake for 35 mins, until golden brown. Let the cakes cool in there tins for at least 10 mins, then turn out onto wire racks. When completely cool, spread icing on the top on one of the cakes then carefully place the other on top and ice the top of that one. Dust with cinnamon.

Cream Cheese Icing
90g cream cheese, at room temperature
225g icing sugar
65g butter, at room temperature
Zest from 1 orange

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and mash and mix with a fork until combined, then beat well with an electric mixer until smooth and pale.

Pushy’s Bombay Potatoes Recipe

As promised the recipe for my Bombay Potatoes.

12 new potatoes, halved
Half an onion, diced
3 small garlic cloves, peeled but keep whole
20g butter (1cm slice of a block)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp mango chutney
Half tsp smoked paprika
Half tsp turmeric
2 tbsp olive oil
Half tsp dried rosemary
Half tsp dried coriander
Serves 2
Boil the new potatoes until soft, drain and set aside.
In a saucepan melt the butter then slowly fry the onions and mustard seed until the onions soften and start to brown.
Add the potatoes and the garlics and the mango chutney put the lid on the pan and cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, smoked paprika, turmeric and cook uncovered for 5 mins.
With a potato masher squash the potatoes slightly then add olive oil, dried rosemary and dried coriander, stir and cook for another 3-4 mins, then you’re done.

Easy Pancake Recipe

Tuesday 12th Feb…. Pancake day, woohoo!

Pancakes are so simple and easy to make from scratch and fun the flip in the pan!  My top tip from Marco Pierre White is to mix your eggs and milk together first before adding to the flour to ensure a smooth batter.

I purposely made us a small dinner (spicy carrot and lentil soup) so I could eat more pancakes, I managed four, two with Nutella and two with traditional lemon and sugar…YUM!

100g plain flour
2 eggs
300ml soya milk
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar

Mix the eggs and milk together in a jug. Sift flour into a mixing bowl and a pinch of salt and sugar, then pour in the egg and milk mix, whisk into a smooth batter, rest for 30 mins.

To cook, pour a little oil onto kitchen roll and rub on the frying pan, heat pan and add a ladle full of the mix to the pan, cook for a minute, flip, cook, serve, repeat.


Easy Broccoli & Blue Cheese Soup

After eating our way through two selection packs of cheese over the Christmas holidays we were left with some blue cheese… not sure why, I like blue cheese. But I thought I would use it to make broccoli and blue cheese soup as I’d never made that before.

I love this recipe because it was so quick and easy, and it’s good for you. The broccoli and onion not only count towards your 5 a day – which I’m slightly obsessed with at the moment but they also have huge health benefits. Although it did break my hand blender so best to chop up your broccoli into small pieces.

1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
1L vegetable stock
1 head broccoli, 300g, roughly chopped
100g blue cheese, such as Stilton, crumbed
Cook the onion slowly in a large pan until soft, then added the potato and stock and simmer for 10 minutes, until the potato is tender.
Add the broccoli and cook for 5 minutes, until just tender but still bright green. Add half the cheese and whizz with a hand blender until smooth. Season and serve with the remained of the cheese sprinkled on top.

The Best Chocolate Biscuit Recipe

 Last Christmas James bought me the fabulous Primrose Bakery cookbook and to my delight one of the recipes inside was for Afghan Biscuits, I hadn’t seen, heard or eaten these biscuits for years.

When I was thirteen my first job was in a cake shop at the bottom of my road, called Cake Craft run by a guy from Australia. I use to ice the cakes and make the sandwiches. One of the things he use to  make was these traditional Australian biscuits, Afghan biscuits and I loved them. Full with lots of coco power and covered in 70% coco icing and topped with a walnut.

So when I saw the recipe in  the book it was the first thing I made and they tasted just as great as I remembered.

200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g golden caster sugar
175g plain flour, sifted
25g cocoa powder, sifted
50g cornflakes
Buttercream Icing
90g 70% coca dark chocolate
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
70g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp semi-skimmed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 walnuts to decorate
Preheat oven to 180c/gas 4. Line a baking tray.
Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric hand mixer, until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the flour and cocoa powder and beat again. Stir in the cornflakes with a spoon.
Put approx 2 tablespoons of the mix in neat piles on the baking tray, leaving a little space in between each one, and flatten them slightly with the back of a fork.
Bake for 15 mins, or until firm to the touch. Allow to cool slightly on the tray before transferring to a wire rack.
To make the icing melt the chocolate until smooth and a pouring consistency. In a separate bowl beat the butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla together until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat until thick and creamy with and electric mixer. If it looks too runny keep beating – this will thicken it up and improve the consistency.
When biscuits are completely cool, ice with a spatula and decorate with walnut halves.

Jerk Sweet Potato & Black Bean Curry

I chose to make this recipe as part of my new healthy eating plan as it contained black beans that were on my superfoods list. It was really easy to cook and so tasty, I’ll make this again.

Sweet potatoes count as one of your five a day and are full of vitamin A which protects your vision and boosts your immune system and black beans which are packed full of protein, fibre and flavonoids – an antioxidants that help your arteries stay relax and pliable.

1 onion finely chopped
2tbs oil
Small bunch of coriander chopped
4 tsp Jerk seasoning
400g chopped tin tomatoes
4 tsp white wine vinegar
3 tsp sugar
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
400g black beans
1 red pepper chopped
600g veg stock

Fry the onion and peppers for 5 mins. Add the jerk seasoning and half the coriander, fry for one minute.

Add the tin tomatoes, stock, vinegar and sugar, simmer for 10 mins. Then add the sweet potatoes and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add in the black beans and simmer for 5 more mins. Then cool and chill for up to two day.

To Serve heat through gently on the hob and scatter the remaining coriander.

Carrot and Lentil Soup

One of my other New Year Resolutions was to cook a new recipe each month. So far, this month Ive cooked three. This was my first, I’d never made soup before and found it incredible easy and surprisingly tasty… I thought due to lack of ingredients it was be tasteless but it was super yummy, quick and easy and very good for you. I will definitely be making this one again… regularly.

600g carrots grated
140g red split lentils
1Ltr veg stock
125ml milk
2tsp cumin seeds
pinch of chilli flakes
2tbs olive oil

In a large sauce pan dry fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 min, then remove half the seeds and set aside for later.

Add oil, carrots, lentils, stock and milk, simmer for 15 mins until the lentils are soft, then blend till smooth.

Season to taste and sprinkle with the remaining toasted spices.