mushroom noodle broth

I eat (slurp) this broth at least once a week, usually for breakfast at the weekend. The umami flavour from the seaweed and vegetarian oyster sauce, combined with savoury mushrooms and sweet peas is, for me the perfect start to the day! It’s immensely versatile of course, as this sort of dish is, but I always make it with the basic recipe below adding the extras depending on my mood.

The seaweed makes a huge difference to the depth of the broth. I’m using nori meant for wrapping sushi at the moment (it was 19p a pack at the discount shop!) but I’ve used kombu before with good results. My vegetarian oyster sauce and Chinese mushroom ketchup are from Wing Yip.

Current favourite extras are spinach and sliced sausage! But I’m fickle, and I’m sure in a couple of weeks I’ll be on to something else…

In the photograph, it’s the basic recipe with a sliced spring onion added.

Delicious savoury mushroom noodle broth

Delicious savoury mushroom noodle broth (slurp….)

makes one big bowlful

the basic recipe

500 ml hot light vegetable stock, or water with 1 tbsp vegan broth powder

4 mushrooms, sliced thinly

40 g frozen peas

3 x 3 cm piece of nori seaweed, torn into little bits

1 1/2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce (or substitute 1/2 tbsp with Chinese mushroom ketchup)

1 tsp light soy sauce

white pepper

35 g noodles (I use half a standard block of ramen noodles)


20 g frozen spinach

1 -2 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced

1/2 tsp grated ginger

1 sliced spring onion

chilli to taste

sliced cooked vegan sausage

cubed tofu, silken or firm

Put the stock, mushrooms, vegetarian oyster sauce, nori, and soy sauce in a pan on a medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Add the peas and noodles, and cook for a further 3 minutes. Season with white pepper.

By E.


Quick and easy vegan, gluten free, syrup and oat cookies

I’ve been getting jumpy the last couple of days, I’d run out of biscuits! Buying, edible, vegan and gluten free biscuits is not easy .. Thankfully this recipe is! the cookies are chewy, and oaty, and just what I was craving!

The last photo of the cookies before they mysteriously disappeard..

The last photo of the cookies before they mysteriously disappeared..

Makes 16

Start by pre-heating an oven to 180 centigrade, and lining a baking sheet.

100g gluten free self raising flour (I’m using Dove’s Organics)
100g gluten free oats
100g soft brown sugar (muscovado)
1tsp gluten free baking powder
Pinch of salt

100g vegan margarine
1tbsp golden syrup

Start by mixing together the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.

In a small pan heat together the margarine and syrup on a low heat, stirring until both are melted together.

Add the warm melted mix to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Divide the mixture up into 16 balls and evenly space them on the baking sheet.

Balls! No, really, they will become cookie shaped

Balls! No, really, they will become cookie shaped

Put in the oven.

As they bake the balls will melt down into a more traditional cookie shape.

I thought I'd better take a picture while they were cooking to prove they melt down!

I thought I’d better take a picture while they were cooking to prove they melt down!

After 12 to 15 minutes, or when the edges are golden brown, remove from the oven and let them sit for at least 5 minutes while they firm up.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack until they cool properly or just start eating them while still warm .. No prizes for guessing which I did 🙂

By A


Leek and potato salad with mustard tofu croutons

Leeks and potatoes are a classic combination, and I’ve been really craving those flavours over the last few days. They do of course make a wonderful soup, but I needed something to take to work for lunch and soup isn’t always so practical in the office. So I thought why not try translating the flavours into a salad! The slightly tangy, herby dressing works very well with the vegetables, and with the addition of mustard makes a great marinade for the tofu.

The mustard tofu croutons add protein to the salad as well as being delicious, so it’s filling and sustaining for the whole afternoon.

Leek and potato salad with mustard tofu croutons

Leek and potato salad with mustard tofu croutons

makes 2 servings

398 g pack tofu

150 ml plain soy yoghurt

10 g parsley

1 sprig of thyme, leaves stripped ( a scant 1/2 tsp)

salt and pepper

1 tbsp mild mustard, I used a Polish one

350 g potatoes, peeled if large and diced

2 small leeks

First drain the tofu, and then press it for 15 minutes to extract some of the liquid. I buy the sort that comes in a plastic tray, so I tip the tofu into a shallow dish, and then sit the empty tray on top with something heavy in it. Today I used a bottle of fabric conditioner!

While the tofu is pressing, get the vegetables and herbs washed and chopped.

Preheat the oven to fan 180 c.

Next make the dressing, mix the parsley and thyme into the soy yoghurt and season with salt and pepper. Spoon half of the dressing onto a baking tray and mix the mustard in. Reserve the other half.

Cut the tofu into cubes and toss it in the mustard dressing. Bake for 30 minutes, turning after about 20. The tofu will stick a bit to the tray, if it won’t shift at all give it another couple of minutes and try again.

While the tofu is baking, cook the vegetables. Simmer the potato cubes until just soft, about 8 minutes. Steam the leeks for 6 minutes until silky soft, I do mine in the microwave. If there are a couple of spoonfuls of steaming liquid left then add them into the dressing for extra flavour.

Cool the vegetables a little and then mix with the reserved herb yoghurt dressing.

Top with the mustard tofu croutons, and serve.

By E.


Split peas with buckwheat pancakes

It was another cold and rainy Sunday on the North West Coast of England, and after a day of painting ceilings and crawling round the garage (thank you Ellie for helping!)  I was in the mood for comfort foods, which I approached with very little plan, the pancakes were originally going to be a flatbread but I changed my mind partway through! These are sleepy flavours, I’d go as far to say sitting under a blanket with a hot water bottle flavours! Ooh now there’s a plan …

The complete dish

The complete dish

What do we need…

200g in total of a mix of carrot, celery, and onion.

150g yellow split peas

A stock cube

500ml boiling water

100g buckwheat flour

5g. Baking powder

1tsp caraway seeds

160ml cold water

Plain soya yogurt


Start off by chopping up the carrot, celery and onion finely and getting them in a medium pan with a spray of oil. I haven’t specified how much of each but for me it was half a carrot, half an onion and a stick of celery. They will take 5 to 10 minutes to turn translucent but not brown, as the picture below.

Translucent not burnt!

Translucent not burnt!

While they are cooking wash the split peas well, in a sieve, until the water coming off them is clear.

Add the split peas, boiling water and stock to the veg and bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for about 25 minutes until the split peas have softened but still have some chew to them.

Whilst the mixture is cooking, let’s make the pancake batter, it’s so simple, put the buckwheat flour, baking powder and caraway with a pinch of salt and mix together, pour in the cold water and whisk to make a thick batter.

Warm up a frying pan and spray with oil ( this only needs to be done once) pour tablespoon sized dollops of batter into the pan. Turn the pancakes over when the bubbles that form on the top have popped and the top looks firm.

The stages of pancake cooking

The stages of pancake cooking

To make the dressing, add some finely chopped coriander, and a pinch of salt to the soya yogurt, stir well, and leave it to sit for 10 minutes.

By now our split peas should be about done, the next step is completely optional but it does add to the comfort feeling! Take half of the lentil mixture out of the pan and blitz with a blender/food processor then stir it through the rest.

Half and half!

Half and half!

Plate up in a fancy fashion then use the pancakes to shovel up the split peas!

Soon to be an ex-pancake

Soon to be an ex-pancake, note grey paint on fingernail!

by A


Butternut bean and guacamole tacos

As I mentioned on the green chilli sauce recipe yesterday, I fancied making something with avocado and butternut squash to offset the heat of the sauce, but also complement the lime and spice flavours. Happily, taco shells were on special offer at the supermarket and a tex mex style dish seemed perfect!

The sauce for the beans and vegetables is very similar to our BB dressing here, it’s sweet and smoky and perfect with a hot sauce.

This is the first time I’ve tried sauteeing the spring onions for guacamole, I really like the result and will be doing it again!

Butternut bean and guacamole tacos

Butternut bean and guacamole tacos

makes 10 tacos

For the beans and vegetables

300 g roast butternut squash (I had half a roast squash leftover, if you will be cooking it from raw, follow the timings here)

1 courgette, chopped

175g cooked borlotti beans (a small tin)

2 tbsp chopped coriander

2 tsp oil

For the sauce –

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tsp molasses

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

a pinch of salt

50 ml water

For the guacamole – 

2 avocados

6 spring onions, chopped

1/2 tsp oil optional

juice of one lime

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp dried oregano

a small pinch of cumin

To serve – 

10 corn taco shells

1 large carrot, grated

5 tsp vegan sour cream or yoghurt

5 tsp green chilli sauce

To make the guacamole, heat the oil in a pan and saute the spring onions on a high heat for 4 minutes, until softened and starting to caramelise. Remove from the pan and cool a little.

Cut the avocado in half and remove the stone. Scoop the flesh into a small bowl. Add the lime juice, salt, oregano and cumin and mash together with a fork. Stir in the spring onions.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan, on a medium heat. Fry the courgette until softened and nicely browned, about 8 minutes and then remove from the pan.

Still on a medium heat, add all the sauce ingredients and bubble them together for 2 minutes. Tip in the beans, butternut squash and courgette and mix well. Simmer the beans and vegetables for 10 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce a little.

Smoky, sweet, butternut beans

Smoky, sweet, butternut beans

For each taco, put a couple of spoonfuls of beans in the bottom of the taco, then some grated carrot, a tbsp of guacamole, and half a tsp each of vegan sour cream and green chilli sauce.

By E.


Roast sweet potato with mint and cashew pesto

It feels unusual to be cooking! This is Alex by the way, Ellie has, as you’ve seen, been cooking quite prodigiously!

I moved into a new house mid December, and it was a bit lacking in kitchen facilities. The new one is almost finished now, and goodness me it feels good to be surrounded by the smells of cooking food, with ingredients to hand and space to work … Ahhh I’ve missed it..!

This is a nice and easy dish to make, quick to put together, looks pretty, and the contrast in tastes between the sugary, rich roast veg and salty tangy pesto make it really satisfying.

The whole shebang

Serves 2 with plenty of pesto left over

pre-heat the oven to 220 celsius

200g sweet potato

150g butternut squash

5g mint leaves and stalks

50g cashew Nuts

1tbsp lemon juice

half a clove of garlic

100ml rapeseed oil

good pinch of salt

black pepper

Rice or quinoa to serve

Firstly chop up the sweet potato and butternut into smallish chunks and pop them in the oven. We want them to cook quickly enough to go fudgy and caramelised, I didn’t add oil to these, I don’t think it needs it so long as your bakeware is non-stick! It should take 20 to 25 minutes.

Veggies ready the oven

Whilst they are cooking pop all the other ingredients (apart from the rice!) into either a food processor or pestle and mortar and blitz till the ingredients are combined. i like them to keep a bit of texture for interest.

Pesto ingredients meeting for the first time

Dance around for 20 minutes singing the ‘I’ve got a kitchen again’ song or cook the rice .. Whichever appeals most!

Assemble and devour!

By A


Green chilli sauce

I first made green chilli sauce a couple of months ago, using a recipe similar to this one, a fairly standard New Mexico version as far as I can tell. Although of course it would be chile, not chilli!

It was delicious, very hot but with a lovely flavour that came through as the heat receded.

A week or two ago I saw green chillies cheap at the greengrocers so I picked some up, and once I got home I put them in the fridge and promptly forgot about them…

So when I rediscovered them this morning, I thought it would be fun to try a variation. There’s citrus zest and spring onions in this version as well as herbs and spices, it’s delicious and tangy and very very hot!

I have also found, that removing roasted chillies from their skins is much easier than I thought it might be! (See my method below).

After a particularly nasty bout of hand burn from making harissa some time ago, it was a good couple of years before I could touch chillies again, and several more before I really wanted to risk it… But ten years later I’ve just about got over it which happily, means I can again make exciting sauces like this one, yay!

I’ll be making something involving avocado, and maybe butternut squash to go with the sauce over the next couple of days, I think the sweetness of butternut and creaminess of avocado will be great with the heat. I may also dip chips in it…

Green chilli sauce, so hot!

Green chilli sauce, so hot!

Makes about 150 ml

80 g green chillies

3 spring onions, chopped

a small pinch each of fennel, cumin and coriander powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion salt

1/2 tsp dried oregano

zest of 1/2 a lime

zest of 1/4 lemon

1 – 2 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp oil

1/4 tsp potato flour, slaked

100 ml vegetable stock

Preheat the oven to fan 160 c. Roast the chillies for 20 – 35 minutes until nice and brown, but not shrivelled. Leave to cool.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat, and saute the spring onions until softened and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the heat down low.

Spring onions in the saucepan, such pretty shades of green

Spring onions in the saucepan, such pretty shades of green

Take each chilli and pull the stalk end out. This should also remove some of the seeds, I like to leave the rest in the sauce.

Holding the chilli at the pointy end (over the saucepan), rub the skin between your fingers to loosen the flesh. Gently work your way down the chilli and it should slip out of the stalk end easily leaving the skin behind.

Add the seasonings to the pan – spices, citrus zest and herbs. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring.

Add the lemon juice, 1 tbsp of the lime juice, and the stock and bring to a simmer. Bubble the sauce gently for 3 minutes.

Mix the potato flour in well to thicken slightly, and then blend the sauce. Taste, and add a little more lime juice if needed.

It will keep in the fridge for a week or so, or you could also freeze it.

By E.


Cauliflower and mushroom bake

There’s something immensely comforting about cauliflower in a white sauce, the classic of course being cauliflower cheese.

But rather than the cheesier flavour of nutritional yeast, today I fancied mushrooms, with the heat of mustard and sweetness of onions for my sauce.

To make the bake more of a complete meal, I’ve added tomatoes for a burst of bright flavour, and celery for freshness and crunch.

serves 1

190 g cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 stick celery, chopped

6 small cherry tomatoes, halved

75 g mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, chopped

1/2 tbsp oil

150 ml soy milk

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs

1/4 tsp celery salt

salt and black pepper

1 tsp cornflour, slaked

2 tbsp grated vegan cheese, optional

vegetables need sauce

Vegetables need sauce…

Preheat the oven to fan 180 c.

Heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium heat and saute the onions for 8-10 minutes, until softened and starting to brown, adding the mushrooms halfway through. Add the soy milk, mustard powder, herbs, celery salt and some pepper and stir well. Heat until just beginning to simmer and then add the cornflour and mix well to thicken.

Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower for 3 minutes, until just soft (I did mine in the microwave).

Tip the cauliflower into a small baking dish (mine is 18 x 12 cm), and add the celery and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Tip the sauce over the top, and sprinkle on the vegan cheese if using.

Bake for 20 minutes until bubbling and smelling beautifully savoury.

Vegetables have sauce! The finished bake.

Vegetables have sauce! The finished bake.

By E.


Roasted butternut, broccoli, puy lentils, beetroot and almonds – a cheaty recipe

I can’t really call this a recipe, it’s more a composition… But I’m super short of time this evening and still wanted something wholesome and tempting for work lunch tomorrow. So, after being absolutely certain I had nothing in, I made myself stop and think. And found that I actually had the makings of a delicious, colourful salad. Here it is…

Cheaty butternut, broccoli, beetroot, lentil and almond salad

Cheaty butternut, broccoli, beetroot, lentil and almond salad

makes 2 servings

1 butternut squash

1 large cooked beetroot, chopped (I used one from a vacuum pack, they’re really cheap in the supermarkets)

1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets

250 g cooked puy lentils (I used a Merchant Gourmet ready cooked sachet)

a handful of almonds, mine were smoked

juice of half a small lemon

1 tbsp dried marjoram

a tbsp or two of oil


Preheat the oven to fan 180 c

Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and fibres. Glug the oil into a roasting tin and put the butternut into it face down. Roast until very soft while you get on with other things, mine took an hour. Turn a couple of times during the cooking time. Chuck the broccoli in for the last 10 minutes or so.

Let the butternut cool a little and then break half of it into pieces (save the other half for another dish, soup perhaps!). I removed some of the skin, but to be honest it was so soft and beautifully caramelised that I left quite a bit of it in the salad.

Tip the rest of the ingredients into the roasting tin and mix it all together.

The component parts, I thought they looked rather pretty

The component parts, I thought they looked rather pretty

By E.


Sort of stroganoff… with mushrooms and kale

Rich, comforting, decadent stroganoff is not exactly a usual vegan staple. But a recent purchase from vegancheese.co.uk brought me a pot of Toffutti vegan sour cream, and a quarter of the pot was immediately earmarked for a stroganoff type of dish. This recipe is in no way authentic, there’s no brandy in it for a start, although there would be if I had some in… also I’ve used smoked paprika because well, it goes so beautifully with the other ingredients!

I had a turn of luck at the supermarket, and got a pack of fancy mushrooms for… wait for it… 40p! There’s shiitake, and enoki, and another one (the 40p stickers were all over the label and I’m not sure what they are but they do look tasty). Really any mushrooms will do, I used chestnut mushrooms to make up the rest of the weight for the recipe.

Although I’ve prodded and cooed at enoki mushrooms plenty of times in shops before I’ve never actually used them! So I browned them in the pan, along with the shiitakes, to use as a garnish. They taste erm… mildly mushroomy! But they’re ever so pretty.

This recipe will serve 4 with accompaniments, but with the beans in it it’s a good filling meal for 2, with a nice salad.

Sort of stroganoff... with added enoki Kraken!

Sort of stroganoff… with added enoki Kraken!

serves 2 to 4

400 g mushrooms, sliced

60 g kale, sliced

300 g tin of haricot beans (195 g drained weight), rinsed

2 tsp oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dried thyme

a pinch of salt

60 g vegan sour cream

1 tbsp mild mustard, I used a Polish one which is slightly sweet

a squeeze of lemon juice

Heat the oil in a deep sided frying pan or large saucepan, on a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the kale, thyme, black pepper and garlic powder and cook for a further 4 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms are juicy and the kale has brightened in colour.

40p mushrooms. I was a lucky shopper!

40p mushrooms. I was a lucky shopper!

Sprinkle the smoked paprika into the pan and give it a quick mix. Tip in the beans, vegan sour cream, mustard and salt and swirl everything together to combine.

Bubble the sauce for a minute or two, and then squeeze the lemon juice over the top.

By E.