Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Quick, easy vegan dishes and snacks

Last week I posted the recipes for my homemade tomato conserve. This week I am giving you idea for quick and easy vegan dishes & snacks. Most of the dishes here are made with the smooth version of the tomato conserve

Use it as a spread on a piece of toast for breakfast or snack.

The vegetable platter:
Serve the conserve as one of the dips for a vegetable platter. Here the patter includes cucumbers, carrots, red and yellow peppers, potato chips and Shop bought humous.

The tomato can be used as a base for canapés.

The Tofu canapé:
Here, the first set of canapés is made out of thin French toast, smooth spreadable tomato conserve, rocket salad, fried courgette and browned tofu. For the courgette and the Tofu, cut them in the size you will use in your canapés, then, dust with salt and pepper. Heat. 2 table spoons of rapeseed oil then brown each side of the tofu and courgette. This will only take about 1 min and half per side. Leave both to cool down before the montage, or the rocket will become limb.

The caviar of lentils canapé:
The canapé above is made of French toast, tomato conserve spread, rocket salad, grilled tomato caviar of green lentils.
Cut a fresh tomato in the size you will use on your canapés, again, dust with salt and pepper, drizzle with rapeseed oil and place under the grill for about 5 mins each side. Do keep an eye on it or it will burn. For the lentils (precooked), measure the quantity you will use for the canapés, add a dollop of the smooth conserve with melted dairy free butter and black pepper. mix. Now you are ready for the montage: toast, spread, rocket leaf, grilled tomato, lentils caviar.

Roasted vegetable & tofu served warmed on a bed of rocket salad.
As you can see, I have used the left over from the vegetable platter, added some onion rings with tofu chunks and placed in the oven for 45 minutes at 180C. Serve warm and top with partially crushed cashew roasted nuts

Roasted vegetable & tofu - Serving suggestion

Aubergine layer & Lentils caviar
Cut your aubergine in 2 cm thickness, do the same for courgette, tomato and tofu. Pre fry the aubergine and courgette in olive oil for 1 min on each side before mounting and ready for the oven. In the following order: aubergine, tomato conserve, courgette, tomato conserve, fresh tomato and then, tofu. Dust with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven for 30 mins at 180C. Layers to be served hot with a caviar of green lentils. The caviar is made out of precooked lentils, a small amount of the mouth conserve and dairy free butter.
Et voila!

Hope you will try one or two of these dishes.
C ya!

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Apricot crumble with desiccated coconut

Serves 5 people


·         2 tins drained halved apricots
·         8 teaspoons white sugar
·         100g desiccated coconut (optional)
·         225g ready crumble mix
·         Salt
·         Dairy free butter
·         Alpro cream


Preheat the oven at 190°C

Browned coconut
As the oven heats up, lay the coconut on a baking tray and roast until golden. This should take 5 to 8 minutes at 190°C. Don’t forget to stir with a spatula every minutes on 1 and half minute or so to even out the golden colour. Once the coconut is roasted, remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool down before transferring into a bowl. Set aside.

Drain the apricots halves set aside.

Rub a generous amount of butter in all the ramekins including base and sides. Set aside.

Coconut & sugar mix
In a small bowl, mix 8 teaspoons of sugar with 3 teaspoons of the golden coconut and two small pinches of salt. Mix well then spoon in each ramekin 2 generous teaspoons (heaps) of the mix. Once that is done, layer tightly in the ramekins 5 to 7 halved apricots. Sprinkle a pinch of roasted coconut on top of the apricot before covering everything with the crumble mix.

Place the individual crumble ramekins in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes at 190°C. Keep an eye on it as you won’t want the top o burn. Ideally, around 30 minutes into the baking, the sugar should start to brown and bubble up then make its way to the top of the crumble. The other 10 minutes will allow the sugar at the bottom of the pot to caramelize. Using clear glass ramekin will help you to see thru the changes in the pudding.

Baked and ready to serve

Serve hot ideally with Alpro Cream… Enjoy!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Homemade chili croutons

Homemade croutons
I am not a great waster of food and making croutons is one of the best ways to make bread go further.  These can be used to top up soups or some salad.

·         5 slices of brown bread – or any left overs bread
·         Chili flakes
·         Black pepper
·         Salt
·         Olive oil

Heat the oven at 180°C.


Cut the bread in squares like on the photo. Place on the oven tray and season with chilli, salt, pepper, oil. Mix

well and bake for 15 minutes at 180°C. Don’t forget to stir as you bake. This will allow all the sides to dry out and crisp.

Seasoned and ready for the oven
Making croutons is one of the best ways to use bread that is about to go off. They will keep for 3-4 weeks in a sealed container.

Another version of the crouton can be used a replacement for cereals. Mix about half a teaspoon of sugar in 1 table spoon water… drizzle the mix over the bread cubes, toss and  bake dry for 15-20 minutes at 180°C.

For the cereal version, feel free to add flavouring in the water/sugar mix… a drop of cinnamon or vanilla essence would be great!

 Enjoy. x

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Avocado salsa with paprika cracker cups

eye spy ...
Serves for 6


·         4 medium fresh tomatoes
·         ½ medium green pepper
·         ½ medium yellow pepper
·         ½ medium orange pepper
·         2 medium ready to eat avocados
·         2 limes to serve with
·         1 red onion
·         1 garlic clove
·         Olive oil
·         1 whole lime zest
·         Salt
·         Big hand full of fresh coriander
·         6 paprika cracker cups (see previous post)

Wash and cut the tomatoes, sweet peppers in the same size. Thinly slice the onion in a way to obtain half circles.
Halve the avocado, remove the stone, score and bathe in lime juice. Chop the coriander.

In a big bowl, combine, the tomatoes, peppers, red onion, crush the garlic on top, add the lime zest, coriander & salt toss.

Serve the avocado in the cracker cups with the salsa on the side. Drizzle with oil and leave the guest to squeeze the lime on their own plate…


Don’t forget to let me know what you think! x

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Paprika cracker cups

Recipe for 6 cups


·         150g plain flour

·         50g coarse corn (optional)
·         1 teaspoon oregano
·         1 teaspoon paprika
·         Salt
·         50ml corn oil
·         6 tablespoons water

 Preheat the over at 180C.


Mix the oil and water together with the corn. Cover and leave aside for 10 minutes. The coarse corn is very hard and needs time to soften. Skip this step if not using coarse corn.

After 10 minutes, add the flour, salt, paprika, oregano and mix well by hand. The consistency we are looking for is a soft dough very near to being a crumble, but that can be shaped.

Once the dough is mixed. Cover with cling film and set aside for 10-20 minutes. 

To make the cups, use cupcakes moulds, spay the inside with oil and press in very tightly the dough. The thinner the sides, the better.

Once all the cups have been filled, place in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 180C.

Remove the tray from the oven and leave the cups aside to cool down. To remove the cups from the mould, gently tap the whole tray on a hard surface to easy them from the bottom of the tray, then gently remove.

If you do not have cupcakes moulds, just lay the dough on a sheet of baking foil, place another sheet on top of the dough and flatten with the rolling pin or wine bottle. Again, the thinner the better. Just remember how thin the shop bough cracker are and try to emulate.

Once the dough is flattened, remove the top baking foil and score the dough using cookie shapers or just the back of a knife.

Place in the oven to bake for 10 minutes at 180C, leave to cool and use as you wish. Mine were made for a salad. Why not make a sweet version for Ice cream?

I used these cups to serve a salsa salad. See next post.

Don’t forget to post a comment below!

See ya!

Slight obsessed lately with corn and corn flour (also known as maize). The nutritional value of this vegetable is just off the scale… read about it here
This recipe was originally created for, my other blog.
Avocado in paprika cracker cup

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Tamales - Steamed corn cakes

If you are looking for a great alternative to potatoes, tamales are really great. They are firm corn dough made from corn flour. They can be stuff with anything you chose. I stuffed mine with sundried tomatoes. Great side dish.

Ingredients for 10 tamales.
Ideally, allow 2 or 3 per person

·         250g coarse corn flour

·         10 sundried tomato pieces
·         12 fresh coriander leaves to decorate
·         Dry oregano
·         Salt
·         3 tablespoons Flavour oil (from sundried tomato jar)
·         250ml boiling water
·         2 table spoons self-rising flour
·         1 fresh corn (just for the leaves)

Start by rinsing the coriander leaves and set aside. Carefully remove one by one the outer leaves of corn cob. Remove any extra “corn hair” rinse the leaves and flick out the water. The number of leave on the corn cob can vary from 8-12…

Slice the pieces of sundried tomato in 2 - 3 to make the thinner. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, pour the corn flour, the self-rising flour, a pinch of salt and oregano. Mix all the dry elements together then, add the boiling water, flavoured oil and knead the dough using a spatula until you obtain the consistency of a cookie dough.

Now lay flat all the corn leaves on a flat surface. On each leave, place 1 coriander leave, then top with the equivalent of 2 tablespoons of corn dough. Flatten the dough on the corn leave and place on it 2-3 pieces of sundried tomato. Now bring together all the edges of the corn leave as if make a rolled cigarette. Fold the edge together and finish folding by over flapping both ends of the corn leaves.
You can either hold the parcels together with a tooth pick or simply put the parcel aside face down.

Repeat until all the parcel are done.

If you’ve got a steamer, use it to cook the tamales. If not, Place all the tamale parcel in an oven proof dish and place the dish in a big enough pan with a lid. Without a steamer, it is best to cook the tamales in a Bain Marie.
The idea here is that you will pour some water in the pan, making sure that none of it enters the heat proof dish. The water in the pan should be at about half the height of the dish within the pan. As water boils, it will produce enough heat to cook the tamales. For the size of the tamales made in the recipe, you should allow 20 minutes for them to be cooked through.

To check that the tamales are ready, they should be harder and if pricked with the tip of the knife, just like the test for a cake, the knife should come out dry. The secret is to keep the steam to the max in the pan. Make sure to top up the water as it dries out.

Tamales are great replacement for rice or potatoes. Feel free to dip fry the left overs to give them a crispier outer layer…
They are to be eaten without the corn leaves obviously.

Note: Using corn leaves add to the taste of the Tamales. In the absence of corn leaves, use banana leaves (found in the local ethnic or Chinese supermarkets) or simply kitchen foil.


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Deep fried lime dough balls

Laid on lime syrup, dusted with icing and tropical juice

Flour & lime mix

For about 20 units. Serves 6

·         150g Self-rising flour
·         1 pinch of salt
·         100ml water
·         Zest of 1 whole lime

Lime syrup to serve with.

Mix everything in the bowl. Sieve the flour in a large bowl, add the salt and the lime. Mix well, then, add the water and work the dough to obtain a lump free stretchy dough.

Cover the dough and leave it to rest for 10 minutes.

Meantime, heat about 300ml of vegetable oil. If you’ve got a chip pan, use it. What we are looking for, is to have enough oil so the dough ball will rise to the surface within seconds after being dropped in the oil. The oil should be really hot.

To test that the oil is hot. Drop in a very small piece of dough. If it stay on the bottom of the pan. Leave it to heat well and do another test.

Once the oil is hot. Cut the dough in small pieces and put them into the oil… 5-10 pieces at a time depending on the size of your pan. Fry for 3-5 minutes until the balls are brown all over. PS: You won’t be able to use a knife to cut the dough… you will have to be creative with a spoon or your fingers… It is a very sticky dough.

Using a skimmer (that big cooking spoon with holes like a colander) remove the now browned dough from the oil and put them on tissue/absorbing paper. Repeat until all done.
Serve just rolled in granulated sugar.

I served mine with a lime syrup and a homemade mango & red grapes nectar. Both recipes will are in separate posts on this blog. The recipe will be in the next post. But you can also pipe jam or liquid chocolate in the individual dough ball…

This recipe was created as part of a Mexican menu made for Enjoy!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Fried plantain & Ginger butter beans starter

Starter for 4 people.
Fried plantain & Ginger butter beans serve with flash fried cherry tomato, avocado and a green salad.

·         250g butter beans  

·         1 garlic clove
·         3 cherry tomatoes
·         30g red onion
·         1 ready to eat avocado
·         Lettuce
·         Handful of fresh coriander
·         10g fresh ginger
·         Dry thyme
·         Salt & Pepper
·         Chilli flakes (optional)
·         Olive oil
·         Plantain
·         1 lime


Start by draining and rinsing the beans. Set aside. Dice the garlic, onion and 1 cherry tomato. Peel and grate the ginger, then cut in 4 each the other 2 of the cherry tomatoes (you should have 8 tomato wedges altogether).

1) Flash fry the quartered cherry tomatoes: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil add 1 pinch of salt, thyme and the tomato. Toss fry for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl for later
Flash fried cherry tomato
2) Cook the beans in ginger: In the same frying pan, add and heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the diced onion and fry for a minute. Add the beans and grated ginger. Stir, add salt and pepper as well as 200ml water then cover to simmer for 20 minutes. This will allow the beans to soften and really absorb the flavours. All the water to evaporate, but to not let the pan dry as we need the bean to be slightly wet.

Ginger butterbeans
3) Fry the plantain: The ideal frying plantain should be uniformly yellow with both end still slightly green. When fried it will still be just sweet enough and firm. A very ripe plantain tends to be too sweet, absorbs a lot of oil and can be very sticky.

So, peel the plantain and cut it as on the picture on the right, about 1cm thick each. A whole plantain should provide about 10-12 slices.

Peeled plantain
The plantain can be fried in a chip pan with a lot of oil. If using this option, heat the oil as if for French fires, then drop the plantain pieces in and allow to fry and brown all over or 2 minutes an half.

If you do not have a chip pan, just us a frying pan, and pour in about 200ml of vegetable oil. Allow the oil to really heat up, then carefully place the pieces of plantain in one single layer. Fry each side for 1 minute or minute and a half, then turn over to do the same for the other side. If the the fire is too high, the plantain will burn. Turn down the heat if necessary and continue. If the heat is too low, the plantain will absorb too much oil. Not ideal.
Raw & fried plantain
Whichever method you choose to fry the plantain, once the plantain is fried, remove from oil, place on absorbing tissue and lightly dust with salt.

I served the plantain topped with the ginger butter beans and the flash fried cherry tomato all held with a tooth pick… with an avocado, coriander and chilli flakes salad.

4) Making the green salad: select the greenest leaves of the lettuce, wash them individually under the tap and roughly cut them. Do the same for the handful of fresh coriander.

Mix both in a salad bowl and sprinkle with chilli flakes. Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil and serve with slices of avocado and lime wedges as no vinaigrettes will be needed.

Serve as suggested below.
I have done another version yellow plantain and ginger beans before on the blog as mains… see it by clicking this link

There are indeed many ways to cook the same ingredients… Celery vas never only made for houmous.


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Mango & red grapes nectar

Ingredients for 1L drink:
·         2 mangoes - about 600g
·         300g seedless red grapes
·         1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
·         Vanilla - from a pod, about a pinch (optional)


Wash the grapes and liquidised with 200ml water. Pass through sieve to separate the juice from the unwanted excess. This juice will help to break up the heaviness of the mango nectar later.

Now peel the mango and remove the flesh from the stone. Put the mango pieces in the blender with sugar and a tiny amount of vanilla. 

Mango is a very dense fruit that won’t liquidise well unless helped with a lighter liquid. This is where the red grapes juice helps.

So, add the grapes juice to the mango and liquidise until very smooth. Taste and adjust sugar. When it is ready, place in the fridge for an hour at least before serving as suggested with a fruits skewer.

Nectars are very dense juices, but if they are too dense to your liking, juice add water to break it up.