Vegetarian Week Recipes

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Dear readers, I’ve been a little quiet in the kitchen — at least, in terms of the blog (of course, I wasn’t totally removed from the kitchen, I have to be somewhere away without a kitchen at all for that to happen!) but you see, some exciting things happened. Namely, I was approached to create some recipes for Vegetarian Week for a local newspaper, the Coventry Telegraph!

So I, along with some other fellow insta-food bloggers, contributed a few recipes to the team at the Telegraph. Have a look if you’re interested to see what the food bloggers and I created (a delicious portobello mushroom and peach sandwich (pictured above), sweet potato fries with honey mustard dip, and a tofu noodle bowl) here.

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Goats cheese, roasted fig & honey sourdough toast

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This is more of an assembly-line list than an actual recipe. But, when the snack attack feelings kick in, this is a great and delicious way to up the ante on your usual toast!

It helps to focus on the cheese here; I chose rocamadour goats cheese, which is rather pungent, soft and spreadable, and a rich taste, but of course, feel free to choose your favourite! I recommend one that melts slightly when it meets the hot toast.

So, you will need;

2 slices of sourdough bread
roughly 4 small figs, halved, or sliced if using rather large figs
75g of goats cheese
1 tbsp of runny honey
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Lightly oil a roasting tin, and pop in the figs for fifteen minutes or so, or longer if you have time to spare. Near the end of its roasting time, toast the sourdough and spread over the goats cheese on both slices. Top with the figs, and drizzle over some honey. Finish with a sprinkle of the salt, and enjoy!

Fig, goat’s cheese & rocket pizza

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I am so over store-bought pizzas. I guess I should be saying I’m over a lot of store-bought pizzas, but store-bought pizzas are just depressing me lately. Soggy crust, or just plain uncooked and floury, too much toppings or too little, not enough crunch, not enough flavour–no thanks.

Thankfully, what I am so into at the moment, is making my own pizzas. Okay, I cheat a little because I usually use a pre-made base (basically, I buy a frozen pizza dough which you defrost and roll out yourself — if you’re in the UK, I really recommend this company, since my dough always comes out crispy, it only takes four hours to defrost on the counter-top, or 12 in the fridge, there’s no icky flour mixture for me to freak out over (I have a phobia of the texture of flour), and they have interesting flavour combos–chilli is the next on my list). But, hey, we all cheat a little sometimes, and this way things work out the best for our family.

If, however, you’re interested in being a champ of pizza, here’s a recipe to make your own, which I’ve shared before as I think it’s pretty good (makes a heck of a lot of dough though, so keep that in mind!)

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Ever since my summer of dairy basically being a full on no-no for my body, I’ve been loving cheeseless and tomato-sauce less pizzas. I’ve found some pretty great lactose-free cheeses since then, even soy varieties, that I think are pretty good, but I am really loving the delicate flavour combos you can get by getting rid of the classic margherita base of cheese and passata.

This uses goat’s cheese, which I think is under-rated in general anyway, and I used a classic pairing with figs (which I had forgotten just how delicious they are, particularly after they spend some time in a hot oven!), and topped with fresh rocket once out the oven. I imagine drizzling honey over would make it even better, pity I hadn’t thought of that at the time…

Serves 2 for lunch or a light dinner.  Read More

Vegetable okonomiyaki

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It’s not easy to find the time to cook properly in amongst my hours for university. Lunch is pretty easy, since most of my classes are in the evening, but that does make dinner a bit of a pain when I don’t get home until after 8, even 9 on Tuesdays.

Even more annoyingly (for me), it makes trying to make recipes that are recipe-photography-worthy nearly impossible since of course the sun makes its exit around 5 o’clock and then it’s pitch black. I’ve become pretty strict with myself with the whole natural-light-is-a-must, because nothing else quite compares in my opinion, particularly with the artificial lighting I have at my disposal (and budget). That’s why lunch these days has become my recent labour of love, which feels a little strange to me still considering I used to just fry up some dumplings from the freezer last year (oh, the benefits of having a Korean superstore really close to campus!) or even just skipping lunch altogether.

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This, like the shakshuka before it, is a very versatile recipe. Okonomiyaki is what I consider the Japanese version of a Swedish flaskpannkaka of my childhood, whereby a pancake is fleshed out to make a more considerable meal by adding various veg and cooked meats. This version uses carrots, leeks, and kale, fried in a pancake batter and cooked until crisp, before being coated in hoisin sauce and a soy + chilli dressing (though I wish I had had siracha chilli sauce at the time, instead of hoisin–next time). Even just soy sauce would be great.

The end result? A delicious, filling, healthy start to the day (or for lunch, or dinner).
Serves 1 as a very filling meal, or 2 for a lighter breakfast-lunch. Read More

Sweet potato, butternut squash and kale shakshuka

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Shakshuka is one of those dishes that’s been having a bit of a moment, and it’s obvious why. Bar the fact that it’s delicious, it’s easy to make and versatile enough to customise nearly every aspect of its ingredients (bar its arguably two most important ingredients–canned tomatoes and eggs) to boot. Did I mention it’s delicious? Because it is.

It’s not a new dish in the slightest, but as part of my own little shakshuka craze (I’ve even written about them before on studentjournals.co.uk), I’ve shared with you a vegetarian version, complete with yummy cubes of butternut squash, sweet potato and shredded cavolo nero (a dark, leafy type of kale).

So, let’s get cracking, eh?

This is such a perfect meal — for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. I even like to slice avocado to layer on top, particularly if I’ve bucked the rules a bit and added chicken to mine.
Serves 2 as a lunch or light dinner. Serves 1 if you’re seriously hungry.

Note: I am not a fan of bell peppers, or any peppers if they’re not of the chilli variety, so feel free to stay more traditional and add one half of a chopped bell pepper when you add the onion.  Read More

Squash and Aubergine ‘Jewel’ Salad

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So I’m on my fourth day of my vegetarian week, but unfortunately, (or not unfortunately for me!), I made my way to London today to see my childhood best friend who I’ve not seen for about…3 years, I think (feels like too long anyway). My day was lovely, but food wise, lunch was a salad and dinner vegetarian sushi (neither of which I made myself of course!) and so I thought it wouldn’t make much of a post…so instead, here I have a recipe to still fulfil the requirements of my week, made a little while ago. I hope everyone has a good weekend when it comes round!

Bulgur wheat is a favourite in the household at the moment, and is the perfect substitute for rice in most occassions, and I’ve been switching it here and there where a recipe calls for quinoa. We only have the grainy red version left, so I prefer the more delicate texture of bulgur wheat once cooked and flavoured with lemon juice. It pairs perfectly with both cold salads and warm, roasted vegetables, and here, we have a bit of a mix. Ain’t it pretty?

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We have our base of bulgur wheat, mixed with cooked squash and sweet potato cubes, with some parsley sprinkled on top. Over that, are grilled slices of aubergine, tossed with handfuls of pomegranate seeds, and finally a few edible flowers picked from the garden. I planted a few types round about in March, and the Sweet Williams are just coming through, whilst the borage plants are slowly taking over the place…opps..

Feel free to add some edible flowers to this dish yourself–some Calendulas would be goooorgeous, I think, but unfortunately my mother does not want them in her garden! But please, don’t go picking just any old flower anywhere, and don’t buy to eat from supermarkets or florists–they are not for consumption! But if you plan on growing, or already grow some flowers in your garden, and you don’t use any nasty chemicals/sprays, then this list is handy to consult! I really like how they suggest what to use the flowers for.

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I think they look pretty cute though, even if they don’t add all that much but visual beauty to the dish! This is perfect for preparing beforehand and keeping in the fridge, before bringing out to adjust to room temperature for a cookout or a light dinner in the garden. We had it as a meal alongside some beautiful steaks of swordfish, but it was good enough to be eaten on its own, let alone as a measly side!

You could totally make any kinds of variation on this, keeping the bulgur wheat as your base (and the pomegranate seeds, because I think they’re too beautiful to get rid of — my friend’s little sister thought they looked like little gems, hence the name ‘jewel’ salad for this one! 😀 they sure do shine in pictures enough!) and already I’m thinking up another version but with leafy kale and sliced carrots as the main vegetables instead of the squash/sweet potato.

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I seriously cannot get over how pretty those colours look. So, without further ado, let’s get creating!

Serves around 4, as a side. Double (or triple!) as necessary.  Read More

Salad Towers

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Today was such a busy day. I feel like the second I go upstairs for bed, I’m gonna fall face first and start snoring immediately (not that I think even snore…) because I’ve been on my feet all day.

Thankfully, these weren’t all that hideous to prepare, at all. Just prepare a few different small bowls (or piles) of ingredients, press into a bowl, cover with a plate upside and down and tip over, et voila! A lovely little salad tower. I think it’s a pretty cool spin on your everyday salad (I know, I know, it’s only put in a tower, but somehow, I think it still makes a difference…particularly visually).

It’s pretty light on the flavour, with only lemon juice added to the bulgur wheat, goat’s cheese and pine nuts for extra flavour against the beetroot and texture, but the possibilities are endless…Any salad could basically go in here, just add up the ingredients layer by layer! I think I’ll be planning to do this again but in a new combo…

You could change up the bulgur wheat for another grain (maybe even rice? but quinoa would be just as yummy and nutritious as the bulgur wheat), and as for changing the vegetables, the world is yours!

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No fuss, either in prep or eating (though it can fall apart a little I guess!), and it’s perfect for hot summer days.  Read More