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.

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.

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.

Sweet & Salty Choc-o-nut Cookies

Delicious, delovely, delectable, divine! To quote the utterly degroovey Deee-Lite. The surprising friendship of salty nuts and sweet chocolate is a true delight…though I can’t take credit for its conception.

My middle child, who has always had a knack for sensational flavour twists, fancied doing a bit of baking. These moreish morsels were his winning creation.

Normally, I find it hard to stop at 1 or 2 cookies, but the salty nuts make these gorgeously satisfying. And this, my friend, is a good thing because one bite of these and you will be hooked.

Choc-o-nut Cookies

Ingredients

  • 50g soft butter
  • 25g peanut butter
  • 160g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 50g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 60g salted peanuts

Method

  • First of all pop your oven on to 180C / 160C fan. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
  • Beat your sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  • Now beat in your egg and vanilla.
  • Gradually add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa (we added 1/3 at a time).
  • Finally stir in the chocolate chunks and nuts.
  • Now just dollop tablespoons of the cookie dough onto your prepared baking sheets, leaving a few centimetres in between each cookie.
  • Pop them in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
  • Once they’re baked to perfection, remove from the oven. Give them a few minutes to cool slightly before you move them to a wire rack.

Exquisite Asian Spiced Lentil Soup

This soup is a stunning bowl of healthy deliciousness. And a sparky change to a classic lentil soup. What’s more, it’s a doddle to make : just roughly chop your veg and fling your ingredients into a pan. No precision chopping required and no need to fry before bubbling away.

This would work beautifully with any root veg, I just happened to have a fat sweet potato and a rather pitiful, past it’s best, parsnip in the fridge. Well let me tell you I did that ancient parsnip proud with this smooth, exquisitely spiced soup.

I should say that the flavours here are merely a nod to Asia and by no means is this an authentic Asian soup. Just my humble hankering for something a little different for lunch.

Asian Spiced Lentil Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • About 4cm of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 parsnip, roughly chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, roughly chopped
  • A couple of sticks of lemongrass
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 2 handfuls of red lentils (about a cup)
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 1 litre of chicken stock
  • 400ml can of coconut milk
  • Juice of one lemon

Method

  • Chuck everything, apart from the coconut milk and lemon, into a pan. Pop a lid on, bring to a boil then turn down and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Once the veg and lentils are tender pour in the coconut milk and simmer really gently for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice, turn off the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  • Remove your lemongrass sticks. Now just blend your soup and get ready to delight your taste buds.