Lentil, Carrot & Onion Soup

lentil soup

This is another of my favourite soup recipes, very warming, very filling, and very moorish.  Best served with some good hunks of fresh wholemeal bread.

Ingredients:

  • 3 onions (corsely chopped)
  • 2 carrots (corsely grated)
  • a sprinkling of chilli flakes
  • 500 grams red lentils
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock (2.5 pints)

Method:

  • Fry the chopped onion in a little oil/butter to soften until just turning golden.
  • Add the spices, the carrot, hot stock, and lentils, and stir well.
  • Put the lid on, and keep it on (otherwise you’ll need to add up to a litre more of water)
  • Bring to the boil, and then reduce to a simmer for around 10-15 minutes
  • Enjoy!

Other variations:

For a creamier soup (now my preferred taste), after cooking, put about half the hot soup in a blender (or a large bowl for one of those hand blender things), and process to a smooth liquid.  Then put this back in with the chunkier soup mix, and enjoy 🙂

Banana Victoria Sponge (Egg Free)

Ingredients:

  • 175g – margarine
  • 175g – caster sugar
  • 150g – Natural Yoghurt
  • 2 ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 250g – Plain Flour
  • 5 tsp – Baking Powder

Icing:

  • Strawberry jam & Freshly whipped cream

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to around 180 degrees Centigrade (350F)
  2. Prepare two non-stick 8 inch round cake pans (or grease and line if not using non-stick)
  3. In a mixer if you have one, (or a large bowl if not), combine the sugar and margarine until creamy.
  4. Add the yoghurt and mashed bananas, and mix well.
  5. Add the sifted flour & baking powder, and fold in carefully.
  6. Split between the two tins (around 500g of mix per tin)
  7. Bake for around 40 minutes (until a skewer inserted into the middle, comes out clean).  Ideally leave in the oven to cool with the door open (to help reduce slight sinking).
  8. Add the middle filling when mostly cooled, and then dust lightly with icing sugar.

Notes:

  • This is a surprisingly sweet recipe, so don’t be tempted to add butter icing (like I did the first time), it’ll make it too sickly!

Printable PDF Version

Egg Free, Vegan, Moist Chocolate Cake!

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Being a lacto-vegetarian for health reasons (I can’t eat eggs, or any of the meat/fish/poultry stuff), I’ve been on the lookout for a great chocolate sponge cake for a while.

This is an adapted recipe from Lisa Glanville, but as she used eggs and cup measures, I needed to find an alternative way around, plus I use weights and ml. 🙂

This recipe has proved so successfully, it’s now available and rebranded as ‘metta cake’ (‘love and kindness cake’) after being picked up by one of the volunteers at the Vipassana training center.  So after 10 days of meditation, this is one of the items to help reground the participants.

N.B., don’t be put off by the fact it’s an egg free, vegan recipe.  Everyone I’ve had try it haven’t noticed, but they all comment on how deliciously rich, moist and delicious it is!

Printable PDF version

Makes 16 adult slices.

Ingredients:

Main Cake:

  • 225g – Plain Flour
  • 75g – Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp – Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 4 1/2 tsp – Baking Powder
  • 275g – Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp – Vanilla Essence
  • 300g – Egg Free Mayo (ie Mayola by GranoVita)
  • 250ml – water

Icing:

  • 250g – Icing Sugar
  • 4 tbls – Cocoa Powder
  • 100g – Vegan margarine
  • 1 1/2 tsp – Vanilla Essence

(you may want to multiply these icing levels, by 1.5 times, if you want to cover the cake fully more easily on the sides, middle and top).

 

Method:

Main Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to around 180 degrees Centigrade (350F)
  2. Prepare two non-stick 8 or 9 inch round cake pans (or grease and line if not using non-stick)
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, bicarb and baking powder, and mix lightly. Then set-aside
  4. In a mixer if you have one, (or a large bowl if not), combine the sugar, vanilla essence, and tub of egg free mayo.
  5. Mix together for a couple of minutes (but don’t be put off by the strong mayo smell.. that disappears quickly with cooking)
  6. Add the sifted dry ingredients slowly, alternating with the water, into the mixer, and combine slowly but thoroughly.
  7. Pour into the two prepared cake tins (about 550g of mix per tin), and bake for 35-40 minutes (until a skewer inserted into the middle, comes out clean).  Try not to open the oven too early though.
  8. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, before turning out onto wire cooling rack.
  9. You can eat it without the icing, but if you do want the icing, wait until it’s almost cool before adding (otherwise it melts).

Icing:

  1. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a clean mixing bowl
  2. Add the butter, and vanilla essence.
  3. Whisk thoroughly (ideally with an electric mixer on slow)..  It will seem too dry for a good few minutes, but keep with it, it will suddenly change to lovely smooth icing.
  4. Add about a third of the icing between the layers, another third on top, and the remaining icing around the sides.

 

Serving:

  • This cake seems to last 3 days without any loss to taste or texture, if kept in under cover (ie an up-turned large bowl).  I can’t tell you how much longer though, it’s always eaten pretty quickly!
  • Don’t try and eat too much too soon. It’s surprisingly rich, and very moorish, but pace yourself!
  • You could also add some thick clotted cream or rich vanilla ice-cream when serving, but it works just as well without too.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut squash risotto

Serves 3

Introduction

This is one of my favourite risottos, it tastes very creamy, is extremely easy to eat (very morish), and seems pretty healthy too!

We make it with vegan margarine, but I know it also works just as well with proper butter.

Do sort out the squash first though, it normally takes longer than you’d expect to peel and chop!

This also goes very well with freshly made Garlic Bread.

Printable PDF version

Ingredients:

  • Half a medium butternut squash, peeled and diced in small pieces.
  • One large onion, finely chopped.
  • 2 freshly crushed garlic cloves / or a good teaspoon of garlic paste (optional)
  • Approx 50g butter / margarine (or more)
  • 1.5pts (750ml) vegetable stock (make it as two veggie stock cubes disolved in 1.5 pts boiling water)
  • 250g risotto rice
  • A few shavings of Parmesan (if you’re not veggie), a vegetarian alternative to Parmesan if you are veggie, or omit the cheese bit entirely if you’re vegan (it’s still great as is)

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan, fry the onion for a few minutes with the butter, until very slightly browning, then add the crushed garlic (or garlic puree)
  2. Add the dry risotto rice to the fried onions & butter, and toss until mixed, then fry for a minute or two.
  3. Add the vegetable stock, mix, bring to boil.  Then add diced squash.
  4. Simmer until liquid has been absorbed (around 15 minutes), mixing occasionally.  Adding a little more boiling water as necessary
  5. Season to taste.
  6. Add the Parmesan if you have it.
  7. Enjoy.