Mushroom & Potato Kinda Korma

A korma brings to mind a mild, creamy curry dish, which is brimming with subtly spiced flavour. This is definitely redolent of a korma but it’s really a much simpler take, using coconut milk to achieve the creamy, nutty edge. I have amped up the chilli in this version, because I was feeling in need of a red hot kick to start my evening off. But if your taste buds are longing for a milder treat, reduce or omit the chilli.

The mushrooms and potato work really well together, but if you want to go off piste use any of your favourite veg. You could even add chicken, fish or prawns, just make sure you cook everything thoroughly.

I like to serve this with steaming hot, fluffy basmati rice. However, the rice aficionados among you may well notice that in this instance I used jasmine rice. Variety is, after all, the spice of life…

Mushroom and Potato Kinda Korma

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • A nugget of ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli. Or just use a pinch for a milder version
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into smallish cubes
  • 150 g of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 small can of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 130g basmati rice, cooked to packet instructions or your favourite method

Method

  • In a pan heat a tablespoon of oil and fry your onions for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and stir around for another minute then stir in the spices and cinnamon stick.
  • Add the potato and coconut milk and simmer over a low heat for about 15 minutes with the lid on the pan.
  • Now you can add the mushrooms and Garam Masala and simmer away, with the lid off, for another five minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked just the way you like them.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve with your hot rice.

Herby Spaghetti with Crispy Breadcrumb Topping

My youngest asked for spaghetti for dinner. Fine says I. I fancied a robust tomato sauce packed with herbs and garlic. But then I had a little hankering for a spaghetti with garlicky breadcrumbs. Tomato sauce or crispy breadcrumbs? A hefty dilemma for a Monday night…decided on both. We’ll have a lovely tomato sauce and scatter over crunchy, garlic infused breadcrumbs. Oh the decadence.

I’m definitely not a multi task kinda gal so I prepared each element before moving on to the next. I made the sauce and while it was bubbling away I got on with the breadcrumbs then left them to the side while the spaghetti bubbled away.

This was a delicious triumph and wonderfully quick & easy to pull together. I’d recommend throwing a quick salad together as this is not big on the veg count.

Herby Spaghetti with Crunchy Breadcrumbs

Serves 4 – 5

Ingredients

For the tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • About 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • A teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • A teaspoon of dried sage
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • A tablespoon of plain flour
  • A tablespoon of milk
  • Salt and pepper

For the garlic breadcrumbs

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • A thick doorstep of stale bread, whizzed into breadcrumbs or grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • 500g spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese to serve

Method

  • First of all, get the sauce on: heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and add your rosemary and garlic. Stir it around for a minute or so then pour over the tomatoes and add the sage and chilli flakes.
  • Pop a lid on the pan and simmer for about 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan and gently cook your breadcrumbs and garlic with a pinch of salt until crisp and golden. Don’t turn the heat up too high or the garlic will burn and taste acrid. Once crisp, just leave to the side.
  • While this is happening, cook your spaghetti.
  • Once the sauce has had its simmer time, stir the flour with a couple of tablespoons of water then stir this flour mixture into the sauce along with the milk. Cook, without the lid on, for a final 5 minutes. Season to your liking.
  • Drain the cooked spaghetti and stir through the lovely herby sauce.
  • Serve with a generous scattering of crispy breadcrumbs, a good grating of parmesan and a gorgeous salad.

Herby Roasted Gnocci With Broccoli and Tomatoes

I have become obsessed with roasting my meals of a weekend. I’ve got a bit more time on my hands than during the week but I don’t always want to stand watch over a bubbling pan. Pretty much anything you can cook on the hob can be chucked in the oven.

What I love about the roasting method is the effortless ease with which you prepare your meal: a bit of chopping, chucking of ingredients into tin then closing the oven door and toddling off to do something more interesting…painting a masterpiece / solving climate change / sipping an aperitif. And what’s more, the flavours become deeper, richer and the whole dish is resultingly more satisfying. Give it a whirl, you won’t look back.

Herby Roasted Gnocci with Broccoli & Tomatoes

Serves 4 – 5

Ingredients

  • 2 x 500g bags of gnocci
  • 1 large head of broccoli, chopped
  • A punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • About a tablespoon of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
  • A heaped teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes (I love aleppo or pul biber)
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to your taste
  • A few dollops of excellent pesto
  • A few small dollops of full fat cream cheese, or ricotta if you prefer
  • A generous grating of parmesan cheese

Method

  • First of all preheat your oven to 200 C / gas 7.
  • Pour your gnocci into a pan and cover with boiling water. Leave it to stand for just a couple of minutes then drain immediately.
  • Now tumble the gnocci, broccoli, tomatoes, herbs, garlic, chilli. olive oil, salt and pepper into a large roasting tin and give it a good toss so that everything is coated in the herbs and chilli.
  • Pop the tin in the oven and roast for about half an hour, by which time the gnocci will have developed some beautiful crispy bits and will be golden in colour.
  • Before serving, dollop over the pesto and cream cheese. Have a little taste and if you think it needs it add more salt, pepper or chilli flakes.
  • Dive in.

Protein Packed Coconut Cod & Lentil Curry

If you need a protein fix, you need this fish curry… today. It delivers a triple whammy protein punch from the white fish, red lentils and vibrant green peas. So this would be your perfect post workout dinner.

The lentils are a really great way of thickening a sauce. I often use frozen fish in a coconut curry and the sauce inevitably ends up a bit too ‘liquidy’. The addition of red lentils sorts out that problem and adds more nutritious goodness to your meal.

If you don’t have curry paste handy then just use a tablespoon of top notch curry powder. I just happened to have green curry paste in the fridge but use whatever you have to hand.


Protein Packed Coconut Cod & Lentil Curry

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • A bunch of spring onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely grated or minced
  • 3cm fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons curry paste
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons red lentils
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 4 cod fillets
  • A couple of big handfuls of chopped spinach
  • A couple of handfuls of peas
  • 250g basmati rice
  • Juice of half a lime

Method

  • Before you do anything, soak your rice in cold water and leave it until the sauce is merrily bubbling away.
  • Scoop a tablespoon of the solid coconut from the tin of coconut milk and melt in a large pan. Add the spring onions, garlic and ginger and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir in the curry paste, then pour over the chicken stock, the rest of the coconut milk and the lentils. Simmer gently for about 7-8 minutes.
  • Add the cod to the pan and bring back to a simmer then add the peas and cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. I like to break the fish up a little but big chunks are fabulous in this dish.
  • Meanwhile, rinse your rice well and cook until perfectly fluffy.
  • Just before you’re ready to serve, add the spinach and allow to wilt. As a final flourish, spritz over the lime juice and if you’re in the mood for a cheeky spice hit, add some finely sliced chilli.

Easy Veggie Fatteh

I made this after seeing a recipe for beef Fatteh and, apart from the beef, it sounded right up my street. Spiced mince (veggie in my recipe), doused with garlicky, lemony, tahini laced yoghurt all to be scooped up with toasted pitta triangles. Yes, yes, yes!

The greedy part of me was worrying that I might still be hungry at the end of this meal. After all, thought I, it’s essentially a plate of dips. I needn’t have fretted though – this is really satisfying and appetite sating, no need for an emergency extra course!

This is turned out to be a perfect family feast. I have an inkling that much of the fatteh’s appeal to children comes from not needing to use a knife and fork as much as the punch of gorgeous flavours.

If you don’t want to use veggie mince just use a couple of cans of beans or chickpeas. I’ve also tried a combo of mince, beans and chickpeas. And really you could add any veg you happen to have in your kitchen. Try adding peas, sweet potato, sweetcorn or even fresh tomatoes to the mix. Just remember that you may need to cook a little longer depending on the veg you choose.

Easy Veggie Fatteh

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

For the mince

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped quite small
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 bag of veggie mince
  • 1 can of beans (here I used black beans) or chickpeas
  • 1 stock cube

For the yoghurt sauce

  • 400ml Greek yoghurt
  • 1 fat garlic clove, crushed
  • A heaped tablespoon tahini
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt flakes

The rest

  • 6 pitta breads
  • A handful or 2 of pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • A small handful coriander or mint leaves, chopped

Method

  • First, make your mince / bean component: Start by gently frying your onion and carrots for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in the spices.
  • After a minute or so tumble in the mince and crumble in the stock cube. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, stir, then cook with a lid on for 5 minutes. Add the beans and / or chickpeas and continue to cook over a really gentle heat while you get on with the rest.
  • Preheat your oven to 180C. Split open your pitta breads and cut into triangles. Place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes or until they are good and crisp. Once crisp, remove from the oven.
  • Meanwhile, mix together the yoghurt sauce ingredients in a heatproof bowl that you can sit over a saucepan.
  • Simmer a little water in your saucepan then place the yoghurt sauce bowl on top and heat gently. You want this to be warm rather than hot. Give it a little stir every now and again.
  • When everything is ready, scatter pitta triangles onto each plate then spoon on the the mince and pour over the yoghurt sauce.
  • As a final flourish, scatter over your toasted pumpkin seeds and chopped herbs. Then get scooping.

Veggie Shepherds Pie

I was tempted to call this Sheep’s pie as a sheep may well enjoy all of these veggie ingredients, but I’m not convinced it’s the most appetising name for something so delicious.

It was bitingly cold earlier this spring and I’d been craving mashed potatoes and warming, comfort food. So I gave this childhood classic a veggie makeover.

The base is a bit like a Bolognese sauce, only with Quorn mince and lentils. The potatoes have a hint of garlic and parmesan, so overall there’s a bit of an Italian shepherd’s theme.

I was in my usual hurry, so rather than bake this in the oven, I just smoothed the mash over the pan of sauce and popped it under a hot grill for a few minutes. Everything is piping hot anyway and the last minute grilling adds a beautiful crispy potato topping.

Veggie Shepherds Pie

Serves 4 hungry people

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 heaped tablespoons red lentils
  • 1 packet of Quorn mince
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 8 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped in half
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan, finely grated

Method

  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and fry your onions and carrots for about 8 minutes until they’re starting to get nice and soft.
  • Tip in the lentils and veggie mince and give everything a good stir. Now pour over your tomatoes crumble over a stock cube and fill your tomato can with water, pour the water over the sauce, scatter in the herbs and stir everything together.
  • While your sauce is bubbling away you can get on with the potatoes: boil your potatoes and garlic halves in plenty of salted boiling water until tender.
  • Drain thoroughly and return to the pan, add a big knob of butter, and half of the parmesan cheese. Mash those potatoes until nice and smooth.
  • Pop the grill on to heat up.
  • By now your sauce should be ready, the vegetables and lentils tender so remove the sauce from the heat. Pile the potatoes on top of the sauce, straight into the pan you cooked the sauce in, then smooth out to cover the sauce completely. Scatter over the remaining cheese and grill for a few minutes, until golden and crispy.