Mushroom, pea and sun dried tomato oven baked risotto

I do like making a risotto in the oven, although I expect purists would say it isn’t a proper risotto if it isn’t stirred!
Either method works well with this recipe, and however soothing 20 minutes of stirring can be, sometimes chucking a pot in the oven while you get on with things is so very appealing!
I’ve used three types of mushroom here, large flat mushrooms which give great colour as well as flavour, mushrooms preserved in oil which have a lovely texture, and dried mushrooms for a deep savoury element.
It ended up being a gorgeous autumnal dish for a simple meal, with a nice salad of leaves and tomatoes as well.


Mushroom, pea and sun dried tomato oven baked risotto

makes 4 servings

2 large flat mushrooms, chopped
90 g of jarred mushrooms in oil, drained, plus 1 tbsp of their oil (about half a jar, I used some from Lidl)
10 g mixed dried mushrooms
4 large sun dried tomatoes, chopped
50 ml vermouth
200 g arborio rice
2 tsp dried ramsons, or 1 clove of chopped garlic
450 ml boiling water, plus 100 ml to soak the mushrooms
75 g frozen peas
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c. Soak the dried mushrooms for 10 minutes in 100 ml hot water.
While the mushrooms are soaking, put the flat mushrooms, jar mushrooms, oil and sun dried tomatoes in an ovenproof pan (one that has a lid) on a medium heat.
Cook for a couple of minutes until the flat mushrooms are softening, and then add the vermouth and turn the heat up a bit.
Bubble for 5 minutes or so until the liquid has reduced by about half. Squeeze the liquid from the rehydrated mushrooms and roughly chop them. Add them to the pan along with the rice, and stir well until all the grains are coated with the oil/vermouth mixture.
Mix in the ramsons and water and cover the pan.
Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
By this point the rice should be cooked through and the water absorbed.
Add the peas and pop back in the oven for 5 minutes to heat them through.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with salad.

By E.


Butternut squash, tofu and radish salad

Both Alex and I have been ridiculously busy with work recently, without much time for making a note of recipes. Which will never do!
However we did have this colourful, pretty salad for work lunches over a couple of days and it really helped to brighten the mood.
I baked the squash and tofu one after another, as there wasn’t quite room for them both in the same tin, the squash was quite large.
But if there’s space cook them both together to save time!


butternut squash, radish and tofu salad

makes 4 servings

1 butternut squash, halved
1 tsp oil
6 – 8 radishes, sliced
4 small cucumbers, diced
4 handfuls rocket
juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon depending on size
salt and pepper
200 g cooked rice (I used a sachet of Tilda whole grain rice and quinoa)
1 400 g tin green lentils
for the tofu
1 400 g block of tofu, cut into cubes
2 tsp oil
2 tsp dried ramsons
2 tbsp tamari

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Rub the butternut squash halves with a little oil and put cut side up in a roasting tin. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning half way through, until tender and cooked through.
Cool a little, and then scoop out the seeds and peel off the skin. Chop into chunks.
In the same roasting tin, toss the tofu with the oil and bake for 20 minutes until starting to brown.
Mix in the tamari and ramsons and cook for a further 10 minutes, cool. To assemble, mix the squash, radishes, cucumber, rocket, rice and lentils together with the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Mix the tofu through at the end.

By E.


Broccoli, butterbean and basil salad

I seem to have slipped into making pretty uninspired salads for work lunches recently, so this time I wanted something a little more coherent, with complementary flavours and textures.
Enter broccoli and basil!
I go through phases with broccoli, sometimes I can take it or leave it and other times I really crave it. It’s so nice in salads and paired with basil makes a lovely dish for the end of summer.
I’ve also added butterbeans for a creamy texture, olives and sun dried tomatoes to complement the basil, and cucumber for crunch. Lovely!


Broccoli, butterbean and basil salad

serves 2

1 medium head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 400 g tin of butterbeans, drained
30 g fresh basil
3 tbsp water (save it from steaming the broccoli if possible)
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
4 sun dried tomatoes from a jar, and 1 tbsp of the oil
20 small olives
about 6 cm cucumber, diced
salt and pepper

Steam the broccoli until just cooked. I did mine for 3 minutes in the microwave, with a little water.
Pick and separate about 1/3 of the basil leaves and set aside.
Blitz the rest with the oil from the tomato jar, vinegar, water, and salt and pepper.
Mix together the drained broccoli, butterbeans, olives and dressing. Leave to cool completely and then fold through the cucumber and basil leaves.

By E.


Spinach, kale and apple soup

Doesn’t green soup always feel ever so nutritious?
And this one is, being full of spinach and kale🙂
There are also apples for sweetness and acidity, sun dried tomatoes to add a little richness, and potato for a lovely texture.
All the flavours come together to make a very satisfying soup!
It’s so easy to make, everything just goes in the pot together. It could be cooked in the oven as most of our soups are but this time we used the hob. Add around 10 -15 minutes to the cooking time if you’re using the oven.
It’s pictured below with a sandwich made from our beetroot bread, which makes for a very pleasing colour palette!


Spinach, kale and apple soup

serves 2 to 4

100 g kale, shredded
100 g baby spinach
2 small apples, chopped. We used braeburn
2 large sun dried tomatoes
1 medium potato, chopped
1 heaped tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
600 ml hot water
salt and pepper

Put the spinach and kale into a large pot on a medium heat and pour over the hot water. This will start the spinach wilting and enable you to fit the rest of the ingredients in!
Add the apples, sun dried tomato, potato, oregano and thyme. Bring to a simmer, partially cover and cook with the heat on low for around 25 minutes until the potato is soft.
Blend the soup until smooth (we used an immersion blender), and season to taste with salt and pepper.

By A. and E.


Chocolate chip and peanut oat flour biscuits

The first time we made this recipe we wrote it up with the title ‘the best of biscuits’, and they really are the nicest we’ve made so far! And we’ve made a lot of biscuits…
The oat flour adds a gorgeous toasty flavour, and adding whole oats too gives them a great texture. They’re a cookie type of biscuit, so crisp round the edges and chewy in the middle, and they’re perfect for dunking in tea!
You could omit the peanuts if you like, but they’re so good with the chocolate that it would be a shame to leave them out🙂


Chocolate chip and peanut oat flour biscuits

makes 12

100 g gluten free oat flour
30 g cornflour (corn starch)
150 g vegan margarine
150 g dark brown sugar
40 g gluten free oats
1 tsp baking powder
large pinch salt
70 g small dark chocolate chips (we get them from Aldi)
30 g salted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c and line two trays with baking paper.
Sift together the oat flour, cornflour and baking powder and mix in the oats and salt.
Cream together the margarine and sugar. Add the flour and oat mixture and beat together until everything is well combined.
Lastly add the chocolate chips and peanuts and mix well to ensure they are evenly distributed. It should be a sticky dough.
Divide the mixture into 12 balls and lay 6 on each tray, with plenty of space around as they spread a lot while baking. Pat them down a little. You can do them in two batches if you only have one tray, the dough is fine to sit a while.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges are browned.
Cool completely before eating to let them set.

By A. and E.


Beetroot bread, gluten free and vegan

We actually didn’t expect this beetroot bread to turn out such an amazing colour!
The crust stays a beautiful bright pink and the inside, due to the yellow corn meal, turns a lovely soft orange colour.
And as well as looking spectacular, it tastes good too! The beetroot powder adds a slight sweetness and earthy flavour which is really delicious.
This is a loaf that gets better as it keeps, the texture is nicest after a couple of days. But it’s hard to keep it that long, and thankfully it’s yummy freshly baked too!


Vegan gluten free beetroot bread

makes 1 small loaf

375 ml tepid water
7 g instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
65 ml oil, plus a tiny bit extra for the cling film which covers the dough while it’s proving
70 g tapioca flour
65 g millet flour
65 g rice flour
170 g fine corn meal
10 g beetroot powder
6 g xanthan gum
1 tsp salt

Whisk together the tepid water, yeast and sugar and leave for around 10 minutes until frothy.
Mix together the tapioca flour, millet flour, rice flour, corn meal, beetroot powder, xanthan gum and salt. Use a balloon whisk, it’s easier to get it all properly combined that way.
Tip the yeast mixture and oil into the flour and beat together until well combined. It should be a thick batter.
Tip into a non stick 750 ml loaf tin and smooth the top. Cover with oiled cling film and prove for around half an hour until the batter has risen just over the top of the tin. It’s important to oil the cling film or the batter will stick to it!


Beetroot bread batter ready to be baked

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
When the batter has proved bake for 40 – 45 minutes until the loaf has risen, formed a nice crust, and feels hollow when the bottom is tapped.

Let the loaf cool completely before slicing.


Beetroot bread, the crust is such an amazing colour!

By A. and E.


Spice roasted whole cauliflower with beetroot and butternut squash

Doesn’t a whole roasted cauliflower look pretty! Even a little one, like in my photo.
I made this colourful roast to have as a work lunch with a little rice, but it would be great served warm too.
The slightly orangey notes of the coriander seed along with the caraway and thyme match very well with the flavours of each individual vegetable.
You could use a larger cauliflower, as it’s essentially cooked before roasting. You would need to make more of the spice mix though, perhaps double the spices, vinegar and oil.
And of course you can also use raw beetroot, just be sure to cook it a bit (steam or roast) before it goes in with the butternut squash as it takes substantially longer to cook through. I like the ready cooked kind for convenience though!


Spice roasted whole cauliflower with beetroot and butternut squash

serves 2

1 small cauliflower, about 300 g after trimming
a few of the outer leaves of the cauliflower if they’re good
300 g butternut squash, diced
250 g cooked beetroot, diced (the sort you can buy in a vacuum pack in the supermarket, not pickled)
1 tbsp coriander seed
1 tsp caraway seed
1 tsp dried thyme
a large pinch of salt
1 tsp vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)
2 tbsp oil

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
First steam the cauliflower until just tender, I did mine in the microwave for 5 minutes. I find that the texture of roasted cauliflower is more pleasing if it’s steamed first.
Toss in any larger cauliflower leaves for a couple of minutes too, the smaller ones shouldn’t need it.
Crush together the coriander seed, caraway seed, thyme and salt. They don’t need to be powder by any means, a bit of texture is good.
In the corner of a large roasting tin, mix together the spices, vinegar and oil.
Roll the cauliflower in the spice mix until nicely coated and then toss the rest of the vegetables in the remainder.
Arrange the cauliflower prettily in the centre of the tray with the butternut, leaves and beetroot around it.
Bake for 45 – 55 minutes until everything is cooked through and the cauliflower is lightly browned.
Cut the cauliflower into wedges or slices to serve.

By E.


Butternut squash stuffed with mushroom, olive and tahini rice

Butternut squash is such a versatile vegetable that I tend not to think of stuffing it. It always seems like a bit of a cop out, stuffed squash is rather a veggie cliche!
But this time I couldn’t help myself, I had dried wild mushrooms, olives and tahini, and when I saw pomegranate seeds in the supermarket, the seeds of an idea for a great recipe were sown…
It really is delicious, sweet roasted squash with a stuffing full of earthy savoury flavours with the mushrooms, tahini and olives.
And the pomegranate seeds and pea shoots finish it off very nicely!
It slices ever so well too, Alex and I ate it for a couple of days of work lunches, a quarter squash per portion.
And of course, it’s very pretty. That always helps with the anticipation of a good lunch!


Butternut squash stuffed with mushroom, olive and tahini rice

makes 4 servings

for the stuffed squash
1 butternut squash, I forgot to weigh mine but it was about 18 cm long before cooking, and quite wide
2 tsp oil
80 g rice (or 300 g cooked rice)
10 g dried wild mushrooms
100 g fresh mushrooms, diced
50 g green olives, halved
2 tbsp tahini
salt and pepper
for garnish
50 g pea shoots
80 g pomegranate seeds

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees c.
Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds and fibrous bit. Rub each squash half with 1 tsp oil and place cut side up in a roasting tray. Cook for 30 minutes, flip over and then cook for a further 15 minutes. The thicker part of the squash should be tender enough to allow a fork to pierce it, but not be completely soft.
While the squash is roasting make the filling.
Cook the rice in about 200 ml water until just soft. There should be a very little liquid left. For this recipe I only lightly rinse the rice, as it’s nice if it’s quite starchy and sticky when cooked, it helps the stuffing hold together.
If you’re leaving the rice a while before stuffing the squash, pop it in the fridge to cool down properly.
When you’re ready mix the dried and fresh mushrooms, tahini and olives with the rice and season well.
Scoop a little of the butternut squash out of the ‘neck’ end and mix that into the rice as well.
Now you should have a good space all along the squash for the stuffing.
Put half of the rice mixture in each squash half and pack it in well. It will make a lovely big mound.
Bake the stuffed squash for 45 minutes if the rice mixture was cold when you put it in, 5 – 10 minutes less if it was warm.
Garnish with the pea shoots and pomegranate to serve.

By E.


Rosti, apple dill coleslaw and walnut pate

I’m not sure why potato rosti is so satisfying, but it really really is!
I guess, like with roast potatoes or chips, it’s the combination of potato with a crisp outer layer and a soft inside, which is always going to be such a comforting combination.
This recipe makes a great lunch, combining the rosti with a lovely fresh apple and dill coleslaw, and a savoury, creamy walnut pate.
It’s really quick to prepare if you have a food processor with a grating attachment, but if not you can always slice the cabbage, celery and apple for the coleslaw. The potatoes and carrot do need grating though! The ground ginger in the coleslaw may seem an unusual ingredient, but do try it, it’s just a tiny bit so you don’t taste it as such but it complements the flavours of the vegetables beautifully.
We ate the rosti between the two of us, and had coleslaw and pate left for another meal, but you could serve it as a starter for 4 with the rosti cut into quarters.


Rosti, apple dill coleslaw and walnut pate

serves 2 to 4

for the potato rosti
5 medium potatoes, grated
salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil
for the apple dill coleslaw
200 g white cabbage, grated
1 large carrot, grated
2 sticks celery, grated
2 small apples, cored and grated
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
a pinch of ground ginger
a pinch of salt
15 g fresh dill
for the walnut pate
100 g firm tofu
50 g walnuts
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
50 ml soya milk
1 tbsp dried ramsons or a small clove of crushed garlic
a big pinch of salt
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

Grate the potatoes first, and then tip them into a clean tea towel and wring out over the sink.
Heat the oil in a (preferably low-sided) frying pan on a medium heat. Add the potatoes, with salt and pepper, to the pan and squash out into a large round, about 5 mm thick. Cook for around 5 minutes until golden brown. Flip, and cook the other side for a further 5 minutes. While the rosti is cooking make the coleslaw. Simply combine the vegetables and apple with the oil, vinegar, dill and seasoning and mix well.
For the walnut pate, whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor or with an immersion blender until combined but still with a little texture.
Serve the rosti cut into halves or quarters, with the coleslaw and pate on the side.

By A. and E.


Creamy tarragon, cashew, courgette and butternut spaghetti

This weekend Alex and I have been stripping wallpaper and sanding walls, it’s hard work, and so dusty!
So for lunch today we needed something easy and nutritious, with minimal time spent in the kitchen.
We’d picked up some spiralised vegetables cheap at the supermarket the other day, so we combined them with gluten free spaghetti, toasted cashew nuts, tarragon, and a cheaty sauce made from vegan cream cheese (we used violife brand).
It was gorgeous, comforting while still giving us a good amount of vegetables, and some protein from the cashew nuts. The tarragon really makes it though!
It’s a combination of flavours we’ll be making again, possibly with the vegetables diced rather than spiralised, the textures will work just as well.


Creamy tarragon, cashew, courgette and butternut spaghetti

serves 2

180 g courgette, spiralised or diced
50 g butternut squash, spiralised or diced
80 g gluten free spaghetti
50 g cashew nuts
2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
100 g vegan cream cheese
2 tbsp soy milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper

In a dry saucepan on a medium heat cook the cashews, stirring often until starting to brown, around 3 minutes. Tip into a dish to cool.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil (use the cashew pan for ease), and cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions. Steam the courgette and butternut squash (I use the microwave), 2 – 3 minutes each if spiralised, a little more if diced.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pan on a low heat. Add the vegan cream cheese, tarragon and soy milk. Stir until the cream cheese has melted into a sauce.
Mix in the nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste.
Toss through the courgette, butternut and cashews.

By A. and E.