Basil roasted tofu and mushrooms

Fragrant, slightly sweet, herbal tofu and intensely mushroomy mushrooms to eat with rice and salad leaves for work lunch tomorrow. Yum!
The flavours of the marinade change as it bakes, and come together beautifully. A peppery salad leaf such as rocket makes a lovely contrast!

Basil roasted tofu and mushrooms

Basil roasted tofu and mushrooms

serves 2

400 g firm tofu, cut into cubes or sticks
175g mushrooms, in big chunks (I cut each of mine into 6 wedges)
for the marinade
25g basil
3 tbsp tamari
50 g pickled gherkins
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp molasses
1 tsp oil
50 ml water
a pinch of black pepper

For the marinade simply whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor to make a loose paste.
In a large roasting tray, toss the tofu and mushrooms with the marinade. Leave for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees c.
Transfer the tray to the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, turning the tofu and mushrooms a couple of times. When it’s done, all the liquid should have evaporated, the and the tofu should be browned and crisp on the outside.

By E.


Date, walnut and tea buns

I’m working from home today, which gives me a bit of extra time to spend in the kitchen in the morning. I really fancied something like a tea bread, but didn’t want to wait an hour or so for it to bake, instead I made it in a cupcake tray!


They’re best cooked to be eaten straight away, as they can toughen up a little if left. Although they’re great toasted if that happens! They’re such a lovely treat, they are slightly chewy with tonnes of flavour from the dates, walnuts and tea. After soaking your dates, don’t throw the tea away as it gets used for the liquid in the batter.
Makes 6

100g dates

150g gluten free plain flour

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

25g agave syrup

35g walnuts

30g coconut oil

150ml steeping tea

A pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 180 centigrade fan.

Lightly oil a muffin pan

First make a nice cup (a bowl would probably be more sensible but I’m British..)  of tea, and pop the dates in it to soak. I used about 200ml of boiling water and an earl grey teabag. Leave for 10 minutes

In a large bowl pop the flour, baking soda, pinch of salt and agave syrup.

Melt the coconut oil, I’ve just taken to microwaving the glass jar with the lid off and pouring it straight out.

In a small blender blitz together the strained dates ( you’ve remembered to keep the tea I hope!) walnuts and coconut oil to the consistency below

date mixture

Add the date mixture to the flour and 150ml of the reserved tea, mix well.

Spoon the mixture into 6 muffin tin holes and flatten it off a bit.

I sprinkled a little dark muscovado sugar on top at this point but I don’t think it needs it.

Place the tray in the oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through.


By A.


Vegetable daal with herbed broccoli

This is another one of my work lunches, full of vegetables, herbs and spices and lots of satisfying flavours.

Daal is always a great choice for lunch, it’s filling but not heavy and very versatile. The broccoli though, was surprisingly good for something so simple! I made it really just to get a bit more green into the meal, but it’s firmly on my make again list.

Vegetable daal with herbed broccoli

Vegetable daal with herbed broccoli

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Vegan, gluten free, popovers!

These are just the most fun things to make, they are so easy, rise up really well, super crunchy, full of big air pockets. Exactly as they should be, but done without eggs, or gluten!


crunchy balls of deliciousness..!

 The xanthan gum and tapioca flour bind the mixture in just the same way eggs would. I’m using a muffin tin, but a popover pan would be better!

The key to getting a good rise is to get the oil very hot, and to not open the oven till they’re done.

Next time I try these I’m going to think of a filling I can pipe into them…
140g gluten free plain flour

1tsp xanthan gum

25g tapioca flour 

300ml soy milk

Pinch of salt

Cooking oil (I used vegetable)

Firstly pre heat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade

Put about a teaspoon of oil in each cup of the muffin tray and put the tray in the oven while it heats up.

Add the flour, xanthan gum, tapioca flour and salt to a large bowl and mix well. Add the milk and whisk to form a thick batter.

When the oil is hot and the oven is up to temperature, quickly take out the muffin pan and place a tablespoonful of mixture in each being super careful not to splash the hot oil! The mixture should start to sizzle immediately.

Quickly, and safely, get the tin back in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes till risen high, and turning golden.

I popped mine on a bit of kitchen towel to dab off the excess oil, they don’t absorb much with it being so hot.

Split and serve, I made myself a simple mushroom gravy to go on them.

By A


Butternut squash, herb and kidney bean pilaf

I wasn’t sure whether to call this a pilaf or not, when the lovely soft butternut squash is stirred through the rice it comes out somewhere between a pilaf and a risotto in texture! But as every cookery pedant knows, it can’t be a risotto if it isn’t arborio rice…

Whatever you choose to call it though, it’s delicious and makes a great work lunch with a salad of flavoursome mixed leaves.

I used dried kidney beans, and the hot soak method (as usual I was still thinking through what to cook the night before so didn’t set anything soaking…). The beans wrinkled and started to split after 30 minutes or so, not a problem particularly but I did a little research on why that happened. It seems that a short soaking time with not enough water could be the issue, but I think the hot water played a part too. Still, I added more soaking water (the amount in the recipe reflects this), and they turned out beautifully!

Butternut squash, herb and kidney bean pilaf

Butternut squash, herb and kidney bean pilaf

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Creamy courgette and bean layer bake

This is the last one in my trio of recipes from one batch of rich savoury beans! We ate it cold for lunch at work last week, and it made great filling meal without being heavy. The vegan cream cheese is so simple, and adds a lovely richness without being cloying like the dairy version can be.

The courgette is marinated before baking in a very simple water based mixture including cassia bark and oregano, for a little hint of moussaka flavour.

The vegan cream cheese does need to be started a few hours before the rest of the recipe, but it takes only a couple of minutes to set it straining. I used a coffee filter rather than muslin this time, which worked a treat!

When making this recipe I had, for the first time ever I think, a bitter courgette… It didn’t spoil the dish thank goodness, but has reminded me to always taste vegetables before cooking with them!

Creamy courgette and bean layer bake

Creamy courgette and bean layer bake

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Vegan cream of tomato soup

Considering my great love for soup, you’d have thought I’d have more affection for cream of tomato soup. It seems to be such a favourite among so many people, but although I like it (it is soup after all), It’s never particularly been a flavour I’ve craved.

Over the weekend however, I had a surplus of tomatoes, so I set about creating a recipe that would change my mind… and do you know, I think I’ve done it!

The tomatoes are roasted before being combined with a base of braised vegetables and spices, and with a simple savoury cashew cream to add richness, this soup really is delicious.

There are deep layers of flavour that I’ve not managed to get into a tomato soup before, I think the hint of fennel seed and celery seed helped with that!

Now really, it needs a toasted cheese sandwich for dipping…

Vegan cream of tomato soup

Vegan cream of tomato soup

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