Corn, spinach and sweet potato cakes with parsley mushrooms and avocado

This has got to be a contender for our favourite breakfast, we made it this morning and considering it was a bit off the cuff, were ever so pleased with how it came out!
It was one of those mornings when you start off with no inspiration, but a desultory (initially) trawl through the vegetable rack, freezer and store cupboard perked us up no end and we made this lovely, colourful and satisfying meal. Hooray!



Corn, spinach and sweet potato cakes with parsley mushrooms and avocado

serves 2

for the corn, spinach and sweet potato cakes
1 medium sweet potato, cooked and skinned (we baked ours, but microwaved or boiled would be good too)
140 g sweetcorn, we used tinned
75 g frozen spinach, defrosted
a pinch of salt and black pepper
30 g rice flour, plus a little extra for coating
4 tbsp polenta
3 tbsp oil for frying
for the parsley mushrooms
150 g button mushrooms
1 tbsp oil
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 avocado, halved and sliced

Heat the oil for the mushrooms in a frying pan and saute the mushrooms, stirring often, for 6 – 8 minutes until cooked through and juicy. Season with salt and stir through the parsley. Keep warm. Roughly mash the cooked sweet potato with a fork and then stir through the corn, spinach, seasoning and rice flour. The mixture will be quite loose.
Mix the remaining rice flour and polenta together on a plate.
Heat the 3 tbsp oil in a frying pan (use the same one that you cooked the mushrooms in).
Divide the corn mixture into 4 and form each one into a patty. Set carefully into the polenta mixture and then turn to coat both sides. Transfer to the hot pan and cook for around 4 minutes per side, on a medium heat, until golden and crispy. Serve with the parsley mushrooms, and sliced avocado.

By A. and E.


Sweet potato and avocado salad

This is a nice simple little version of a potato salad, but using sweet potato and creamy avocado instead of the usual regular potatoes.
It’s so easy to make, and goes really well with lots of things!


Sweet potato and avocado salad

serves 2

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
a pinch of salt
1 avocado, diced
2 tbsp soy yoghurt (or vegan mayo, or coconut milk)

Bring a pan of water to the boil and simmer the sweet potato for 5 or so minutes until tender. Drain and cool.
Mix the avocado with the lime juice and then fold through the rest of the ingredients.

By E.


Spinach and coriander stuffed mushrooms

I know stuffed mushrooms are a bit of a veggie cliche, but they can taste so good, so I’m unapologetic about this recipe!
Here the mushrooms are stuffed with spinach, coriander and a few cashew nuts and finished with a ramson, or garlic, oil.
They’re simplicity itself to put together, and so delicious.
We ate them with flatbread, and a butterbean and dill dip.


Spinach and coriander stuffed mushrooms

makes 10

10 small flat mushrooms, about 6 cm in diameter, cleaned
75 g fresh spinach
30 g fresh coriander
2 tbsp cashew nuts
3 tbsp good oil, plus a little extra to oil the tray
1 tsp dried ramsons, or 1/2 clove of fresh garlic finely chopped
black pepper
a large pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c. Lightly oil an oven tray.
Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and then arrange them on the tray, gill side up. Wash the spinach and then keeping it wet, transfer to a vented container and microwave for a minute or two until wilted (or you can do this on the hob in a saucepan). Cool the spinach a little and then squeeze out the excess liquid. You can do this through a sieve, or as I do by wrapping it in kitchen roll and squeezing.
On a board chop together the spinach, coriander and mushroom stalks until well combined, then add the cashew nuts.
Mix together the oil, ramsons, salt and pepper.
Divide the spinach mixture between the mushrooms, and then spoon the flavoured oil over the top, about a tsp for each mushroom.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through.


Spinach and coriander stuffed mushrooms ready for the oven

By E.


Herb salad with lemongrass lentils and peanut dressing

Yesterday morning Alex and I took the tram into Blackpool, and as it happened the shops we wanted to visit were either closed or closed down! But the trip wasn’t wasted, as the greengrocers on Topping Street had gorgeous big bunches of herbs and spinach at a very good price. So we came away with dill, coriander, parsley and spinach, hooray!
Having such an amount of lovely herbs immediately brought to mind Vietnamese food, so that’s where the inspiration for this salad came from. Rather than rice or noodles though, we’ve gone for small green lentils and cooked them with lemongrass.
The liquid left over has great flavour, so we’ve used that as the base of a peanut dressing. Along with toasted cashews, the nutty zesty dressing, and masses of herbs and vegetables, it’s a fresh, protein filled salad to take for work lunches which will keep us going all afternoon. I’m looking forward to it already!


Herb salad with lemongrass lentils and peanut dressing

makes 4 servings

for the salad
30 g fresh coriander, chopped (plus a little extra for the lentils, see below)
30 g fresh dill, chopped
2 carrots, shredded or grated
1 courgette, shredded or grated
120 g baby corn, sliced
150 g cashews, toasted
for the lentils
300 g small green lentils
2 stalks lemongrass, cut in half and bashed a bit to release the flavour
5 g fresh parsley, chopped
5 g fresh coriander, chopped
600 ml water
75 g spinach, washed and sliced
for the dressing
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tbsp peanut powder, or peanut butter
3 tbsp lime juice (1 tbsp for the dressing, and 2 tbsp to finish the salad)
100 ml lentil water, top up with stock if there isn’t enough left
1 tsp oil (omit if using peanut butter)
a large pinch of salt

First set the lentils cooking. Put the lentils, lemongrass, parsley, coriander and water into a rice cooker or saucepan. Cook for around 20 minutes until the lentils are tender. If you’re using a saucepan keep it mostly covered so that you don’t lose too much of the liquid.
Add the spinach for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain the lentils, reserving the liquid, and remove the lemongrass. Set aside to cool. While the lentils are cooking prep the carrots, courgette, baby corn, coriander and dill and toss them together in a large bowl.
Toast the cashew nuts in a dry saucepan until starting to brown and then tip out to cool.
Using the same saucepan, heat 100 ml of the lentil cooking water on a low heat until just starting to bubble and whisk in the tomato puree, peanut powder, 1 tbsp of the lime juice, the oil, and salt. Cool.
Mix the lentils, cashew nuts and dressing into the bowl with the vegetables and herbs, along with the other 2 tbsp of lime juice.

By A. and E.


Seaweed wild rice salad with roasted tofu, edamame, pumpkin seeds and mushrooms

I’ve cooked beans with seaweed before, but never rice until one of this week’s work lunches.
It really works very well for this recipe, seasoning the rice and potatoes and adding a subtle flavour.
To make the rice into a lovely protein packed salad, I roasted a mixture of tofu, edamame beans, pumpkin seeds and mushrooms in a tamari and mirin dressing. The combination was really delicious, and fun to eat too with all the interesting textures!


Seaweed wild rice salad with tofu, edamame, pumpkin seeds and mushrooms

makes 4 servings

for the wild rice
200 g wild rice, rinsed
10 cm x 10 cm piece of kombu seaweed, cut into 8 pieces
3 smallish potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
for the salad
400 g firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1 cm cubes
150 g edamame beans
300 g mushrooms, cut into nice chunky pieces
4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp dried ramsons or 1 clove chopped garlic
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees c.
If you have a rice cooker, put the wild rice, potatoes, and kombu into the pot along with water according to the machine instructions (about 0.5 l) and set it off cooking. Mine took around 40 minutes for the rice to be cooked through but still with a bit of texture.
If you’re using a saucepan, cook the wild rice as you would brown rice, adding the potatoes after around 15 minutes.
Mix the mirin, tamari, oil, ramsons and black pepper in the corner of a large roasting tray.
Tip in the tofu, mushrooms, edamame and pumpkin seeds and toss everything together well. Work quickly before the pesky tofu and mushrooms soak up all the dressing!
Roast for 25 minutes, until the tofu and mushrooms are browned in places and the edamame beans are starting to wrinkle.
The dressing, and liquid released by the mushrooms as they cook should have almost evaporated.
Remove the seaweed from the rice and mix with the vegetables and tofu. If you’re eating it for work lunches remember to cool the rice as quickly as possible and get it into the fridge.

By E.


Potatoes roasted with carob and spices

This is another one of those dishes that is very brown and not so pretty, but has fairly unusual, and of course delicious flavours!
It’s not a looker, I’ll certainly admit that… but the potatoes, soft in the middle and crunchy, spicy and savoury on the outside, are really really good.
We ate them as part of a vaguely Mexican meal, and they went beautifully with tomato salsa, avocado and corn tortillas.
Plus, this recipe is another fun thing to do with carob powder!


Potatoes roasted with carob and spices

serves 2

4 smallish potatoes
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp carob powder
2 tbsp cashew nuts
1/2 tsp tomato powder, or 1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp dried ramsons or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Prick the potatoes with a fork and cook them in the microwave or a pan of water for around 5 minutes until almost cooked through.
Slice into wedges.
While the potatoes are cooking, toast the coriander seed and cumin seed in a dry pan until fragrant – just a minute or two.
Grind the coriander and cumin, carob powder, cashew nuts, tomato powder, ramsons and salt together in an electric grinder or pestle and mortar. If you’re using tomato puree don’t add it to the spice mix, it goes in at the next stage.
Mix the potatoes with the oil (and tomato puree if using), and then sprinkle over the spice mix.
Turn the potatoes over carefully to coat.
Roast for around 25 minutes until they’re lovely and crunchy on the outside.

By A. and E.


Gluten free herby pitta crisps with warm dill and vegetable dip

If you have a food processor with a grater this warm dip takes mere minutes to put together, but even if you don’t it’s worth a little longer prep time.
It’s immensely satisfying, sort of like a vegan version of fondue!
The pitta crisps are made using the dough we blogged about here, and they’re so good… absolutely perfect for dipping!


Gluten free herby pitta crisps with warm dill and vegetable dip

serves 2 – 3

for the vegetables
1 carrot, grated
1 small parsnip, grated
1 courgette, grated
1 medium potato, grated
for the sauce
250 ml soy milk
1.5 heaped tbsp cornflour, slaked in a little water
1.5 tbsp good flavoured oil, we use cold pressed rapeseed oil
salt to taste, it needs a fair amount to season the vegetables
black pepper, to taste
5 – 10 g fresh dill, chopped
5 g fresh parsley, chopped
0.5 tbsp dried ramsons (wild garlic) or 1/2 chopped clove of garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
0.5 tbsp tapioca flour, optional but it gives the sauce a bit of stretch
for the dough
30 g cassava flour
40 g millet flour
20 g rice flour, plus extra for dusting the board
40 g potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
a pinch of salt
80 ml cold water (you may need a bit less)
a little oil for the trays
for the herb oil
2 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried ramsons (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
a generous pinch of salt
you will also need
a baking dish, about 15 cm x 20 cm
2 large oven trays, lightly oiled

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Mix all of the grated vegetables together in the baking dish.
To make the sauce, heat the soy milk in a small saucepan until just about to simmer. Mix in the slaked cornflour, and salt and beat until thick. The sauce should be very thick to counteract the liquid that the vegetables will release.
Turn the heat off and beat in the oil, black pepper, dill, parsley, ramsons, nutritional yeast and tapioca.
Mix the hot sauce with the vegetables and smooth over the top. Bake for 20 minutes and then mix the edges, which will be starting to brown, into the middle. Smooth the top again and bake for a further 20 minutes.
To make the dough mix together the cassava, millet and rice flours with the potato starch, xanthan gum and salt in a large bowl using a balloon whisk. This ensures that all the flours are distributed evenly.
Add the water slowly and mix using a wooden spoon. You may not need all of the water, the dough should be fairly soft and slightly sticky. When the dough has come together, knead it briefly to ensure everything in mixed together well. Bring the dough into a ball, and cover with clingfilm to stop it drying out. Leave to rest for at least 30 minutes. If you don’t rest it, the dough will be difficult to roll and liable to fall apart. While the dough is resting mix together the oil, oregano, ramsons and salt and set aside.
When the dip is done cover it with foil to keep warm and turn the oven up to 220 degrees c. Pop the oiled trays in to heat up.
Divide the dough into two and roll one piece out very thinly, about 1 mm. Drizzle the flavoured oil over the top and rub it in so it covers the whole surface, you may not need quite half of it.
Take one of the trays out of the oven and transfer the dough to it. Working quickly (and carefully so as not to burn yourself!) Cut the dough into rough triangles, a pizza wheel is quickest for this but a sharp knife is good too. Put the tray back in the oven.
Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Bake each tray of crisps for 10 -12 minutes until they are puffed up in places, golden, and lovely and crunchy.
Spoon the dip into bowls and serve with the pitta crisps.

By A. and E.


Falafel hash with tahini sauce and raw courgette and tomato salad

Chickpeas fried up with falafel spices, extra vegetables for added flavour and texture, and plenty of herbs stirred through at the end.
That’s got to be good right? And it was!
I made this recipe for work lunches this week, and the combination of the lovely savoury hash with creamy tahini sauce and a fresh salad simply dressed with vinegar is great.
It’s always good to have a lunch to look forward to if you’re stuck in an office all day!


Falafel hash with tahini sauce and raw courgette and tomato salad

makes 4 servings

for the hash
2 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 400 g tins of chickpeas, drained (save the liquid for mallow!)
3 tbsp oil
3/4 tsp cumin seed, toasted and ground
3 tsp coriander seed, toasted and ground
1 tbsp dried ramsons or 2 cloves garlic, chopped (I ground the dried ramsons with the other spices, they make the hash a lovely bright green colour!)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
10 g fresh dill, chopped
10 g fresh parsley, chopped
10 g fresh coriander, chopped
salt and pepper
for the tahini sauce
150 ml unsweetened soy yoghurt
3 tbsp tahini
1/4 tsp salt
for the courgette tomato salad
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 a courgette, shredded
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried chervil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, and cook the potato, carrot and parsnip until almost cooked through, about 7 minutes.
Drain the vegetables well.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and tip in the vegetables. Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes without moving them, until the underside is golden brown.
Add the chickpeas to the pan, along with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil, the cumin, coriander and ramsons. Cook, stirring often for a further 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and mix well. I actually cooked the hash in two batches as my pan wasn’t big enough, and I wanted the vegetables to brown rather than stew.
Stir the dill, coriander and parsley through just before serving.
While the hash is cooking make the tahini sauce and salad.
For the sauce mix the soy yoghurt, tahini and salt together, and for the salad mix the tomato, courgette, salt, chervil and vinegar.

By E.