Mexican bean balls in a spicy-sweet sauce

These red kidney bean balls in sauce are fantastic serve with rice and topped with some grated cheese.

Mexican Bean Balls in Spicy-Sweet sauce (serves 2-3)

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Bean balls
400g tin of Red Kidney Beans, drained.
2 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs
1 egg
5 spring onions
1 tsp dried oregano

Sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
400g passata
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 heaped teaspoon mild chilli powder
1 heaped teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
1 large sweet potato, cut into small chunks, optional

1. Start by making the kidney bean balls. I usually cook them in the oven, but you could fry them if you prefer. If you’re baking them, preheat the oven to 180°C. In a food processor, pulse together all the ingredients for the bean balls. Roll them into walnut sized balls. Bake them in the oven for 10-12 minutes (or fry them).

2. Meanwhile, you can start making the sauce. Fry the onion and garlic in a pan until soft. Add the passata, sugar, chilli powder and paprika and stir well. For a more substantial sauce add some chopped sweet potato chunks. Cover the sauce and allow to simmer away for 20 minutes. Stir through the coriander.

3. To serve, top the cooked balls with the sauce. This is great served with rice and a topping of cheese.

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Spicy Potato and Cabbage Stew

IMG_0875This recipe is somewhere between a soup and a stew – a stoup maybe?!

It’s very easy to make and really healthy.

Spicy Potato and Cabbage Stew (serves 4)

1 large white onion, peeled and finely chopped
Splash of olive oil or vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 red chilli, deseeded and cut into very small pieces
1 heaped tsp Nigella seeds
1/2 tsp tumeric
2 heaped tsp medium curry powder
1 litre vegetable stock
800g potatoes, peeled and cut into squares
150g shredded cabbage

1. Cook the onion, garlic, chilli, Nigella seeds, turmeric and curry powder in a large saucepan with a splash of oil, until the onion has softened.

2. Stir in the vegetable stock and the potatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Add the cabbage and cook for another 2 minutes. Add seasoning if required before serving.

Sweet potato gratin

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Sweet potato gratin
(serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side dish)

1 large sweet potato
1 red onions
75g feta
1 red chilli
250ml vegetable stock
2 heaped tsp dried thyme

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

2. Peel the sweet potato and the onions and slice them on the thinnest setting on a mandoline. De-seed and chop the chilli as finely as you can.

3. Place a layer of sweet potato on the bottom of the baking dish. Top with a thin layer of onions and sprinkle on a little bit of crumbled feta and chilli. Continue to layer up the ingredients, finishing with a layer of sweet potato on the top, but reserving some feta.

4. Stir the dried thyme into the hot vegetable stock and pour over the gratin. You don’t want to much liquid, just enough to cook and steam the potato, so you might not need all the stock.

5. Bake for 20 minutes before adding the remaining feta and cooking for a further 5-10 minutes.

 

Winter Warmers

Spring is definitely on the way here in Yorkshire, but there is still a chill in the air and it’s nice to spend cosy evenings with the heating on enjoying being indoors. Here are a couple of suggestions for hearty treats.

Leek and Potato crumble (serves 2)

1 large onion
3 leeks
2 medium potatoes
150ml milk
75g butter
125g plain flour
30g cheddar cheese
1 tsp paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Slice the onions and leeks. Peel the potatoes and dice into small cubes.

3. Put in a pan with the milk and 25g butter. Cook over a medium heat, stirring until the butter melts. Cover and allow to cook until the veg is softened.

4. Blend 25g flour with 4tbsp cold water and stir into the veg. Cook for 3 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season as needed.

5. Meanwhile dice 50g butter and rub into 100g flour to make crumbs. Mix in the cheddar and paprika.

6. Tip the vegetable base into an ovenproof dish and top with the crumble. Cook in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the crumble is golden brown.

Hot buttered Rum (serves 2)

My Dad and his partner bought me some little bottles of Rum back from their recent Caribbean cruise and I wanted to try doing something different with them.

25g butter
3tsp soft brown sugar
Orange peel (use a potato peeler to cut a few long strips of peel)
100ml Rum, spiced rum works particularly well.
2 cinnamon sticks
300ml boiling water

1. Melt the butter and sugar together in a pan with a strip of orange peel.

2. Stir in the Rum and boiling water.

3. Serve with the cinnamon stick to garnish.

Vegetarian Jambalaya

This is a really tasty recipe that’s easy to throw together and full of big flavours.

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Veggie Jambalaya (serves 4)

1 finely chopped onion
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into small pieces
2 celery sticks, finely diced
1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
A splash of oil
350g long grain rice
1 tsp chilli powder
3 heaped tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
900ml vegetable stock

Optional but recommended
Some diced sweet potato or butternut squash
One tin of red kidney beans, drained

1. Heat a splash of oil and cook the onion, garlic, pepper, celery and chilli in a frying pan. Cook for around 5 minutes until softened.

2. Add the rice to the frying pan, along with chilli powder and tomato purée and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Add the dried thyme, paprika and cayenne pepper and the stock. Add the diced Squash/sweet potato and red kidney beans. Bring to the boil.

4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes with the pan lid on. Stir occasionally.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne

When you have a food blog, you want to add recipes that are delicious, but they also need to look good in a photograph too. I’m not the best photographer (and when I’ve made something I generally just want to get on with eating it, not spending ages photographing it!). I’ve also found that some dishes just don’t look great. This recipe is one that is tasty, but just not pretty to look at.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne (serves 2-3)

1/2 large butternut squash, chopped into 1cm cubes
2 small onions, chopped into 2cm chunks
Olive oil
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
3 tsp Italian dried mixed Herbs
150g Spinach (I often use frozen)
100g butter
3 sage leaves, finely chopped
100g plain flour
Ground black pepper
650ml of milk
10 lasagne sheets (fresh is good if you want it to cook quickly, but dried sheets are fine if you don’t mind waiting longer for your lasagne to cook)
50g vegetarian Parmesan style cheese

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.

2. Roast the Butternut Squash and onion, drizzled with oil, in the oven for 25 minutes until cooked through.

3. Heat the tomatoes, herbs and spinach together in a pan to make a rustic sort of tomato sauce. Stir in the butternut squash and onion.

4. Make the white sauce by melting the butter with the sage leaves. Add the flour and the ground pepper, to taste, and whisk to form a smooth paste. Allow to cook for a further minute. Slowly add the milk a splash at a time, whisking into combine before adding more milk. Put the sauce to one side.

5. Assemble the lasagne by layering the sheets of pasta, tomato sauce and the white sauce. Top the lasagne with the vegetarian parmesan.

6. Bake for 25 minutes if using fresh lasagne sheets, or around 45 minutes if you are using dried pasta.

I’ve also found that I can make an allergy friendly version of the white sauce using dairy free spread (Vitalite), gluten free plain flour and a milk substitute (Koko). In this instance I would also use dairy free cheese instead of the vegetarian parmesan.

Avocado and sweetcorn salsa

It’s raining and grey here in Yorkshire so I needed some food that is full of sunshine to cheer me up. This is a Mexican inspired recipe that’s easy to throw together.

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Avocoda and Sweetcorn Salsa (makes one small bowl full)

225g canned sweetcorn, drained
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
8-10 cherry tomatoes, quartered, and de-seeded if you don’t like the insides like me!
A handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together well.  Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours before eating.

Fresh coriander is a good substitute for basil.

This is also nice mixed with cooled pasta shapes to make a pasta salad for lunch.