Aubergine and Chick Pea Tagine

aubergine and chick pea tagine

I recently made this aubergine and chick pea tagine for one of my vegan days – I try to eat completely meat and dairy free twice a week. This recipe comes from a very old book, The Cancer Prevention Cook Book. Despite its slightly scary title, it is full of nice foodie ideas and healthy too. I don’t think it is still in publication, but you might be lucky and pick it up on Amazon.

aubergine and chick pea tagine

Aubergine and Chick Pea Tagine

This is nice with rice or couscous. Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 small aubergine, diced

2 courgettes, thickly sliced

4 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

150g mushrooms, halved

1tbsp ground coriander

2tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp groung cinnamon

2 txp ground turmeric

225g new potatoes, sliced thinly (I found it best to par boil these)

60ml bottle of passata

1tbsp tomato puree

1 tbsp chilli sauce

75g ready to eat dried apricots

400g can of chick peas

Salt and pepper

(I also added 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika and 1 heaped tsp vegan stock powder)

Method

aubergine and chick pea tagine

Sprinkle salt over the aubergines and courgettes and leave for half an hour. Rinse and pat dry. Then toss in 2 tbsp of the oil and grill for 10 minutes, until tender. Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the spices and cook for another minute, stirring to allow the flavours to mingle. Add the potatoes, tomato puree and half a pint of water (add the vegan stock at this point, if you are using it). Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the aubergine, courgettes, chilli sauce, apricots and chick peas. Season and cook, partially covered for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add extra water if the tagine becomes too dry.

I really enjoyed this aubergine and chick pea tagine and can see it becoming a regular on my meal plans. Better still, it freezes really well.

For more frugal recipe ideas, check out my Favourite Frugal Recipes page.

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Sarah Brown’s Spiced Almond Risotto

spiced almond risotto

As I have finally commenced my new year’s resolution to eat completely vegan twice a week, I have been looking up some recipes in my old cookbooks. Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Kitchen is one of my favourite go to veggie recipe books, and contains a lot of vegan dishes too. On Sunday I made this yummy dish, as per my flexitarian meal plan. It was really nice with a nice big salad. If you have a meat eater in the house, as I do, it goes well with a roast chicken thigh or two.

Spiced almond risotto

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove crushed garlic

6oz brown rice

3 sticks of celery

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1 pint boiling water

2 oz sultanas

4 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 red pepper, cut into strips

4 oz almonds

Salt and pepper to season

Method

spiced almond risotto

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok and fry the onion, garlic and rice for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the celery, sliced, along with the spices and fry for 3 minutes more. Pour over the boiling water and add the sultanas, mushrooms, pepper and almonds. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 40 minutes,, until the rice is cooked. Ideally you want all of the water to be absorbed but keep checking to make sure the rice doesn’t boil dry. Add more liquid if you need to. Season well to taste.

I hope you enjoy this spiced almond risotto as much as we did.

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A flexitarian diet? This week’s meal plan

The Flexitarian DietA flexitarian diet?

Did anybody see the story in the news this week about the ideal diet we should all be adopting? This so-called ‘flexitarian diet’ promises to make us all healthier, feed 10 billion people and prevent the catastrophic damage our current food and farming practices do to the planet. You can read the details here.

It reminded me that my new year’s resolution was to eat vegan twice a week and has inspired me to get on with it. Because we had the cheese mountain left over from Christmas I didn’t start it as I didn’t want to waste the cheese. We still have some but it is at a more manageable level, so now is the time to belatedly start my resolution. I am going to do it on Sundays and Mondays as a minimum.

Now that I have heard of the flexitarian diet, it seems it is well established, with a plethora of books available to get you started. I like the look of this one on Amazon,
The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way To Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, And Add Years To Your Lifeflexitarian diet

I like the idea of losing weight and adding years to my life!

When I go shopping I will buy almond or oat milk for my breakfast porridge. I can’t stomach soya. I already have some vegan margarine that needs eating. Otherwise, I actually eat quite a lot of vegan meals at dinner time anyway. I will buy some dairy free dark chocolate though! A girl needs a treat, flexitarian diet or not.

A pot of humous should be fine for my lunches with pitta bread and salad.

I have to be mindful that this is my resolution and not Mr S’s. He doesn’t want to give up meat or dairy altogether although he is happy to eat more vegetables and grains.

Saturday

Vegetable spaghetti Bolognese, made with tomatoes, peppers, garlic, celery and half a tin of mung beans that have been frozen. This could be vegan, but I will grate some of the cheese up to eat with this. Mr S has a meat Bolognese batch cooked from the freezer.

We have strawberry yogurt in the fridge that needs eating for dessert.

Sunday

Sarah Brown’s spiced almond risotto with salad. Mr S will have a couple of chicken thighs with his.

For some reason we have a ton of ground almonds, so I plan to use some of them up in this vegan lemon drizzle cake. No idea how it will come out without eggs, but I am happy to experiment. This will be good for dessert this week or just a snack with a cup of tea.

Monday

Chick pea curry, with added spinach and chapatis.

Tuesday

Probably chick pea curry again. Chicken curry for Mr S.

Wednesday

Penne with tuna and black olives. Steamed broccoli.

Thursday

Leftovers. Whatever is hanging about from this week’s meals.

Friday

Baked potatoes with an omelette and large salad.

So there you have our meals for this week. My version of the flexitarian diet. Not strictly vegan or even vegetarian, but incorporating a lot of plant based meals and not much meat, fish or dairy. Hopefully, this will make us healthier and perhaps a bit leaner. What are your thoughts on trying to feed yourself and your family using the flexitarian diet?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog.

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Stir fried vegetables with noodles and toasted cashews

stir fried vegetables with noodles and toasted cashews

This vegan dish of stir fried vegetables with noodles and toasted cashews is simplicity itself, a budget, healthy meal that takes just 15 minutes to prepare. It is also gluten free if you make sure you use rice noodles. You can chuck pretty much any crunchy vegetables into this. I often use carrots or greens, peas and green beans too.

Stir fried vegetables with noodles and toasted cashews

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

2-3 tbsp sesame oil

2-3 tbsp soy sauce

One heaped tsp Marigold vegan stock

1 chopped onion

2 celery sticks, chopped into matchsticks

1 red pepper sliced

Half a head of broccoli, chopped into small florets

200g mushrooms, sliced

100 g cashew nuts, toasted for a few minutes in a dry frying pan

Method

Heat 2 tbsp of sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the onions and celery and stir fry for a couple of minutes, then throw in the rest of your vegetables. Keep stirring and tossing the veg over quite a high heat for a few more minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your vegetables.

Meanwhile, cook and drain the rice noodles. This should only take 4 minutes or so in boiling water. Add your soy sauce and stir, then add the stock dissolved in enough hot water to barely cover your veg. Stir thoroughly and taste. Add the extra spoonful of sesame oil and more soy sauce to taste. Stir in your noodles and serve immediately with your toasted cashews sprinkled on top.

This dish of stir fried vegetables with noodles and toasted cashew nuts is super healthy and easy. If you like you can add some ginger for a bit of a kick too.

For more of my frugal recipe ideas see my recipe page.

 

Cheap and easy vegetable curry

 vegetable curry

I made this vegetable curry as part of this week’s easy meal plan. It involves little more than chopping up some vegetables! My sort of cooking when I am feeling tired but in need of something healthy and delicious.

I actually kept the carnivores happy by cooking up some frozen chicken strips separately and adding them to half of the vegetable curry. You could easily vary the vegetables, depending on what you happen to have lying around.

Cheap and easy vegetable curry

vegetable curryServes 4-6

Ingredients

1 onion, diced

2 crushed cloves of garlic

3 sticks of celery, sliced thinly

3 carrots, sliced thinly

1 sweet potato, halved and sliced thinly

1 large-ish courgette, sliced

1 red pepper, chopped

2 oz frozen peas

1 400g can of chopped tomatoes

1 165g jar of curry paste (I used Patak’s tikka masala)

200ml cold water

Oil

Method

In a large pan (a wok is ideal), fry the onion and garlic in some oil for a few minutes, then add the celery, carrots and sweet potato and fry for five minutes more. Stir in the curry paste, along with 50 ml water. Cook  until the water has more or less evaporated. Add the courgette, red pepper and peas along with the tomatoes and remaining water. Bring to the boil, then simmer. Add some salt to taste, place a lid over your pan and cook gently for at least half an hour, stirring occasionally. (I like to cook it on a low heat for a little longer – about an hour.)

You can eat it as it is with rice if you want a vegan dinner, or add 150ml of cream or yogurt and heat through before serving. We like it with some crunchy poppadums and a bit of mango chutney too.

For more of my frugal recipes, see here.

Brown rice cashew nut pilaf

According to Wikipedia, a pilaf or pilau is ‘is a dish in which rice is cooked in a seasoned broth.’ After that, you can chuck pretty much whatever you want into it, making it an easy dish to use up whatever you have lying around. My version is a brown rice cashew nut pilaf. It is both vegan and gluten free, making it great for those with food intolerances.

I enjoy this kind of easy and healthy food. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare and another 25 – 30 to cook through. I don’t eat onions, so just left them out. The vegetables should all be chopped quite small.

brown rice cashew nut pilaf

Brown rice cashew nut pilaf

Serves 4 as a main course

Ingredients

2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil (or 2 cloves crushed garlic and plain oil)

1 medium onion, chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 medium courgette, chopped

4 heaped tsp medium curry powder

1 heaped tsp smoked paprika

300g brown rice

50g frozen peas

50g frozen French beans

600g of strong vegetable stock (I used 4 heaped tsp of Marigold stock)

Black pepper to taste

300g toasted cashew nuts

Method

brown rice cashew nut pilaf

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok then sauté the onions and garlic (if using). Stir in the curry powder and sauté for a couple more minutes. Add the celery, pepper and courgette and fry for about 5 minutes. Throw the rice into the pan and stir well so that it is well coated with the spices and vegetables. Fry for a few minutes more.

Pour in your vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer uncovered until the rice is the consistency you prefer. I don’t like brown rice too al dente so will cook this for about 30 minutes. Add more hot water if it starts to look a bit dry. Meanwhile toast your cashew nuts in a dry pan until just brown and crunchy. Add them to the pilaf as you serve it.

This brown rice cashew nut pilaf is good with a green salad, although Mr S prefers his with a bit of baked chicken!

For more of my frugal recipe ideas, see here.

Not another courgette recipe! Spicy courgette stew with fresh tomatoes

courgette recipeHere is another courgette recipe for the glut! We have a ton of tomatoes in the greenhouse at the moment so this gets rid of those as well. It is a kind of ratatouille invented to use what we had in the fridge.

Spicy courgette stew with fresh tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped

2 sticks of celery, sliced

1 medium aubergine, cut into cubes

About three medium courgettes, sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed

2lb/900g fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped (or two 400g cans)

2-3 tsp ground cumin

A dollop of tomato purée

2 tsp Marigold vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

Put a good glug of oil into a large wok or frying pan and get it quite hot. This stops the aubergine from absorbing so much of the oil. Throw in all of your veg apart from the tomatoes and stir fry fairly gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cumin and fry for two more minutes, then add the tomatoes, stock and tomato purée. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes more, stirring and adding salt and pepper to taste.

courgette recipeSo easy! We had this simple courgette recipe with some baked chicken thighs and roasted new potatoes, but it would be nice served  with rice.

The courgettes are nearly finished now and I am almost relieved! We still have a few runner beans arriving and the odd cucumber, but the tomatoes are growing at full throttle. They are so nutritious and versatile that I rarely have a problem using them. If all else fails I will make another batch of tomato soup for the freezer.

I don’t use any particular recipe for this. I usually fry up some onion, celery and garlic, add as many tomatoes as I need to use (skinned and roughly chopped) and then cover with vegetable stock. They produce a lot of juice so I don’t add too much, just enough to cover all the veg. I cook it for about 10-15 minutes, seasoning to taste, then blend it.

Do you grow your own and what are you fave seasonal recipes?

Little vegan number: spicy chick peas with spinach 

 I love chick peas! And I love spinach. Mostly I love frugal healthy food and spicy chick peas with spinach fits the bill on both counts.

Spicy chick peas with spinach

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4-6 balls of frozen spinach
1 bell pepper, chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can chick peas, drained
half to one tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsps cumin
half pint veg stock
oil
salt and pepper

Fry up the onions, garlic and pepper  in the oil until soft, then add the spices and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the spinach and all the other ingredients and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for at least half an hour, covered. Taste and season.

This spicy chick peas with spinach dish is so easy. It is also low fat and vegan. A simple supper with rice or as a side dish and cheap as chips!

I like to serve this as part of a frugal Indian dinner party for friends. Cheaper than eating out!

Chick pea curry – cheap and cheerful

I would happily stop eating meat if I was just feeding myself, as it is so expensive. I prefer vegetables anyway, especially when I have grown them myself. Sadly, my daughters feel deprived if I don’t give them meat some of the time. Fortunately, there are many veggie recipes that they will all happily eat, and this chick pea curry is one of them.

Chick Pea Curry

chick pea curry We had this chick pea curry tonight and it is a real family favourite. Healthy, delicious, easy and cheap. You could make it even cheaper by using dried chick peas, but I tend to go for the canned variety. I got this recipe from my thrifty mother, and we all love it.

1 lb chick peas (2 cans)
3 tablespoons oil
2 onions (I used leeks I had lying around in the fridge as well)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons chopped root ginger (I usually buy a piece and freeze the rest, but I’m sure dried will do)
6 cardamoms, split and seeds removed (I rarely bother)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tin of tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
Half a pint of vegetable stock
Seasoning
Chopped parsley for garnish
Chick pea curry

Chop the onions and fry until soft but not brown.

Add the spices and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.

Tip in the tomatoes, tomato puree and chick peas, then the stock.

Cook for 10-15 minutes on a low heat, seasoning to taste.

Serve with rice. My mum likes to mix in some sour cream or yogurt at the end and it is nice, but not essential.