Seaweed beans with mango, radish and tomato salad

This is possibly one of the oddest sounding work lunches I’ve ever made, but trust me, it’s delicious!

The beans in question are dried borlotti, cooked with ginger, and kombu seaweed until tender. Borlotti are a great bean to cook from dried as they don’t need soaking, which makes them a great ingredient for a quickish meal.

I wasn’t sure if the flavour of the seaweed would permeate the beans, but it does! It adds a subtle saltiness and a little burst of umami which goes nicely with the creaminess of the beans.

The savoury beans are lovely with the salad of sweet mango, peppery radish and fresh juicy tomato dressed simply with apple cider vinegar and coriander leaf.

The quantity given below will make enough beans for 4 servings, but the salad is for 2. I intend to try a different combination of vegetables for the next days lunch!

Seaweed beans with mango, radish and tomato salad

Seaweed beans with mango, radish and tomato salad

serves 4 (beans) and 2 (salad)

for the beans

200 g dried borlotti beans

15 cm x 10 cm piece of kombu seaweed, snipped into a few pieces (it swells up a lot in the water)

3 cm x 3 cm piece of ginger, sliced

1 litre water

for the salad

3/4 of a mango, in chunks (I used the other 1/4 in soy yoghurt for breakfast)

2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges

6 radishes, cut into little wedges

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp fresh coriander

a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees c.

Rinse the borlotti beans and add to the pan with the water, seaweed and ginger.

Dried borlotti beans, it's such a shame they lose their speckles when they cook!

Dried borlotti beans, it’s such a shame they lose their speckles when they cook!

Bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes. Cover the pan and place in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes until soft.

Action shot! The beans just coming to the boil.

Action shot! The beans just coming to the boil.

Cool the beans in the stock, which incidentally is delicious! Don’t throw it away, use it as a simple soup with a few mushrooms. Remove the beans from the flavourings and stock with a slotted spoon when ready to serve.

For the salad, simply combine all the ingredients and mix well. It’s better if it sits for half an hour or so to let the flavours meld.

By E.


Cauliflower, courgette and mushy pea soup

If you’re anything like Alex and I, eating out as a gluten free vegan most often includes chips… but as long as there are mushy peas to go with them we’re happy!

It was only recently though that I first made my own from scratch, and I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely they turned out. This time though, I wanted to use them as a base for soup, combined with a little spice and plenty of vegetables. I’ve chosen vegetables that have a great texture when blended, and the resulting soup was silky, and delicious!

You can cook the peas without the bicarbonate of soda (or baking powder, which is what I tend to use as I keep forgetting to buy bicarb…), but they will take longer to soften and the skins don’t break down so well.

Cauliflower, courgette and mushy pea soup, with some of our gluten free bread rolls

Cauliflower, courgette and mushy pea soup, with some of our gluten free bread rolls

Continue reading


Gluten free dinner rolls

We’ve been experimenting with bread making today. After the success of Alex’s crumpets and English muffins using a batter rather than a dough we thought the method warranted further investigation….

Usually we use the Doves Farm gluten free flour mix for baking, but this time we wanted to play around with different flours, thickeners and emulsifiers and see what we could come up with!

The resulting rolls have a great structure with little air bubbles throughout and a lovely moist crumb.

The guar gum in combination with tapioca flour and xantham gum gives the bread a much softer texture than other recipes we’ve tried, and it doesn’t toughen as it cools which can be a problem with gluten free breads.

We also tried them with and without lecithin. And although without lecithin does yield a good result, adding it far improves the rise gives a much more even crumb.

Its better to prove the batter in the baking tins, as otherwise air is lost when transferring it. It’s really important to keep as much air as possible in the batter.

They rise very prettily when they’re baking!

We’ve sampled them various ways, with soup, and as notmeatball sandwiches, and also baked as tiny foccacia with olives. All utterly delicious! Well be posting the other recipes over the next few days.

If you’re using lecithin we’d recommend smoothing the tops before you bake them, we didn’t with this batch and although the texture is great they kept pretty much the same shape as the batter.

We’ll keep a couple for a day or two to see how/if they change in texture and update accordingly…

Gluten free rolls

Gluten free rolls

makes 10 rolls

90 g brown rice flour

25g maize flour

40g potato flour

20g tapioca flour

1/4 tsp guar gum

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

3/4 tsp baking powder

3g instant yeast

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp sugar

250 ml hand hot water

1 tsp powdered lecithin, optional

Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tray.

In a large bowl mix the dry together ingredients together thoroughly. Add the water and mix together using a balloon whisk. The batter will be similar in viscosity to a victoria sponge or pound cake mix. It will be slightly thinner if you don’t use the lecithin.

Carefully spoon the batter into 10 of the muffin holes and cover the tray will clingfilm.

Leave to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.

Remove the cling film from the tray and bake for 20 minutes until risen and just starting to brown.

By A. and E.


Simple vegetable stew

I’m very particular about vegetable stew.

It’s such an easy recipe with straightforward flavours, but sometimes the simplicity really appeals to me and it’s the only thing I fancy eating.

There are some dishes, curries and salads among others, that change according to what ingredients I have to hand at the time, and that’s such a fun way of cooking!

But with this stew, there are certain rules I always follow…

– there must be onion, potato, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.

– celery is optional but welcome.

– peas or sweetcorn can be used but NOT both, or the stew will be too sweet.

– no fresh herbs for this one, the seasoning must be dried mixed herbs and a bay leaf.

– vegetable stock must be made to full strength, not half strength as I usually do.

Here’s my recipe!

Simple vegetable stew, delicious!

Simple vegetable stew, delicious!

Continue reading


Vegan frittata (its so good it really needs a better name…)

This one is based on the recipe we devised for the goosnargh creme canapes we made for the art exhibition opening a couple of months ago. With that one we were aiming for a set sweet custard texture, which worked beautifully and got a lot of complements!

This time we thought we’d try a savoury version, with black salt, nutritional yeast and parsley as the flavourings, and mushrooms and potatoes for the vegetables. It’s reminiscent of a Spanish omelette or frittata and oh so delicious!

Vegan frittata, yum yum yum

Vegan frittata, yum yum yum

serves 4 to 6

for the batter

400 g tofu

4 tbsp coconut flour

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

100 g vegetable fat, melted

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

250 g plain soy yoghurt

1 tsp black salt

for the vegetables

175 g mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 medium potatoes, in small cubes

10 black olives, sliced

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp oil

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees c.

Cook the potatoes in simmering water for 5 minutes until just soft. Drain and run under cold water to cool a little (and drain again!)

Heat 1 tsp of the oil in an ovenproof saute pan. Fry the mushrooms for about 5 minutes until the liquid has been released and then evaporated.

In a food processor or blender, whizz the batter ingredients together until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.

The batter, such a great texture

The batter, such a great texture

Fold the mushrooms, potatoes, and all but a teaspoon of the parsley through the batter.

Grease the saute pan with the other tsp of oil. Tip the batter mixture in and smooth the top. Push the olives and tomatoes gently into the batter in a pretty pattern of your choosing.

Before baking, we went a bit 70's with the decoration...

Before baking, we went a bit 70’s with the decoration…

Bake at 150 for 45 minutes, then raise the temperature to 160 and cook for a further 30 minutes. Leave to cool and set for 30 minutes. Slice and serve!

By A. and E.


Mushroom and broccoli pie with sweet potato and bean topping

This one is just a lovely, simple tasty pie full of good things. There’s lots of flavour from the herbs and vegetables, and using the water from cooking the sweet potato to make the sauce ties the two layers together nicely.

I’d originally been thinking of making a veggie and bean shepherd’s pie, but as I planned my recipe it sort of morphed into this rather more interesting thing!

You don’t have to brown the top under the grill, but then you won’t get the yummy crispy bits…

Mushroom and broccoli pie with sweet potato bean topping

Mushroom and broccoli pie with sweet potato bean topping

Continue reading


Carrot, nut and herb burgers

For some reason, I’ve been waking up though the night recently thinking about carrot burgers, it’s happened a couple of times. I had been waiting a few days in case it occurred again so I could find out exactly what was in them, but, disappointingly, my dreams haven’t revealed anything else. If they had though, I’m guessing it would be pretty similar to these burgers, they are really tasty!


ready to serve

Continue reading


Tomato, garlic and chilli soup

It’s raining heavily here today, and although I don’t exactly need an excuse to make soup, I do believe that one of the most comforting things to do is to sip hot homemade soup while watching the rain fall.

So that’s what I did! And as a bonus, the warming scent of the soup cooking permeates the whole bungalow, building the anticipation and making my mouth water.

I’ve used a tomato base this time, with plenty of herbs and spices to complement the garlic and chilli.

It’ll still be delicious if it isn’t raining!

I’m using pearl garlic at the moment which comes in large single cloves (I get it from Lidl), it has a great flavour and as well as being lovely in this soup it roasts very well too. The cloves are pretty huge, I’ve added a photo of one below with a 20 p piece so you can see the size!

Tomato, garlic and chilli soup

Tomato, garlic and chilli soup

Continue reading


Green sauce and black bean salsa for nachos

A very large bag of tortilla chips got opened last weekend, and not very many were eaten, so I’ve been wondering what I could do with them… other than just eating them as they are!

Nachos are always fun, but of course tend to be smothered in cheese sauce. I did think about making vegan cheese sauce with butternut, like this delicious one┬áthat Alex made, but then my thoughts turned to tomatillos and how much I wish I could buy them, or even grow them here! I do like the tinned ones, but they’re ruinously expensive.

Anyway, I’ve got a bag of black lime powder that I haven’t cooked with yet, I had a taste and the tangy rather earthy spicy flavour seemed like it might work well for a sort of faux tomatillo sauce… it didn’t turn out tasting at all like tomatillo, but it’s ever so tasty!

The spicy green sauce with the fresh salsa and savoury corn tortilla chips all baked together turned out to be a rather lovely combination!

Nachos with green sauce and black bean salsa

Nachos with green sauce and black bean salsa

Continue reading


Savoury sesame sprinkle

I can’t stop eating it, it’s addictive! I’ve had to put it in a jar in the cupboard so I’m not tempted to eat a little pinch every time I go near…

There are of course plenty of recipes from around the world for sesame seasonings, Japanese gomashio and Egyptian dukkah for instance.

I made this one originally though as a seasoning for a soup!

Many years ago I used to make a soup which was Korean in origin and had spinach, ginger and sesame as the main flavourings. I’d forgotten about it for such a long time but then had a sudden craving for it! Or an approximation anyway…

So I made this sprinkle to season the stock, and it worked very well.

But my goodness the sprinkle is tasty, it’s lovely with anything mushroomy, on hummus, as a dip for chips…

And oddly, it smells just like crispy bacon! But tastes nutty and savoury and so so moreish.

And in case you weren’t already convinced, it’s amazingly simple, just three ingredients!

Can you tell it’s my new favourite thing?

Savoury sesame sprinkle

Savoury sesame sprinkle

Continue reading