Vegetarian main courses can be a bit Meh. This yummy mix of vegetables, lentils and creamy feta cheese wrapped up in delicious flaky pastry makes great quick weeknight dinner and packed with protein.
You can change up the vegetables you use depending on what you have (it’s a good way to use up left over veggies). You can also used canned lentils, and I always use shop bought flaky pastry (because who really ever makes it from scratch). You can also make the filling the day before, so all you have to do is assemble and bake if you’re short on time.
I made one large pastry parcel that can sliced up, but you could also make 4 individual ones if you prefer.
1 Sheet of shop bought puff pastry (pre-rolled)
1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Leeks (sliced)
2 Peppers (sliced)
150 Grams Cooked green lentils
150 Grams Mushrooms (sliced)
200 Grams Feta cheese
1 Tsp Dried Thyme
2-3 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
Salt and pepper
1 Beaten Egg (for brushing)
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the vegetables over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and continue to cook until the vegetables are soft
Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely, stir in the cooked lentils and feta cheese
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius)
Place your pastry on a sheet of baking parchment. Leaving a border of 2cm, place the vegetable mix on on half of the pastry sheet. I use a slotted spoon to drain off any excess liquid from the vegetable mix
Lightly brush the edges of pastry with beaten egg and fold the pastry over to cover the filling. Press the edges of the pastry together with a fork (or you can crimp it if you’re feeling fancy)
Brush the pastry with some beaten egg, if you want to make things look pretty you can lightly run a knife across the pastry in a criss Cross pattern (be careful not to go too deep and pierce the pastry)
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown
On the days when I’m not in the mood for cooking I enjoy a good Chinese take away.
This can be expensive, and not especially healthy. One of the dishes I enjoy is orange chicken. Sometimes it can be overly sweet and the chicken is deep fried, making it high in calories.
My version is a bit healthier, but still delicious. It’s perfect for a week night dinner if you want something a bit different and is pretty quick to make. I don’t like this dish too sweet (I think there is enough sweetness from the orange), but if you prefer you can add a tablespoon of honey to the sauce if you have a sweet tooth.
500 Grams Chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 Oranges (finely grated zest and juice)
250 ml Chicken stock
1 Tbsp Rice wine or cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Garlic (finely chopped)
1 Tbsp Ginger (finely chopped, or 1 Tsp of ground ginger if you don’t have any fresh)
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Oil
1 – 2 Tbsps Cornflower (mixed with a small amount of water until its a smooth thick liquid)
Seseme seeds and finely sliced scallions/spring onions (optional) to garnish
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the chicken. Cook for 5-10 minutes until nearly cooked
Remove the chicken from the pan and add the garlic and ginger, cooking for 1-2 minutes
Add the stock, salt orange juice and zest and the chicken to the pan and simmer
When the liquid has reduced by about a third, add your cornflour mix to the pan stir well.
Simmer for a further 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened
Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and thinly sliced spring onion and serve with rice or noodles
After Christmas many of us want a break from big heavy sit down dinners. With cheese and grazing boards becoming popular, almondina are the perfect addition to lend some interest if you’re bored of crackers.
This is also a great recipe to use up any left over nuts or dried fruit. I actually think it’s better to have mix of fruit and nuts.
175 Grams Nuts (I used a mix of almonds, walnuts and pecans, but any mixture will work)
125 Grams Plain flour
25 Grams Brown sugar
125 Grams Dried fruit (I used roughly chopped apricots and dates, if you are using smaller fruit like raisins or sultanas, keep an eye in them during the second bake as they can catch quickly)
1/4 Tsp Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1/2 Tsp Salt
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius). Grease a loaf pan
Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl and combine
Stir in the milk with a wooden spoon and when thoroughly mixed transfer to the loaf tin and bake for 60 minutes
Remove from the oven and allow to cool
Wrap in cling film and freeze for 1 hour. This will help you slice the almondina thinly. Do not freeze for longer than this
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees (Celsius) and line a baking sheet with parchment
Take the almondina out of the freezer and remove the cling film
With a bread knife, slice the loaf into 1/2 cm thick slices and place on the baking sheet for 12-15 mins (until they brown around the edges), before cooling on a wire wrack
These will last in an airtight container for up to a week
I visited Krakow recently, and loved everything about the place. What I really fell in love with were pierogis, served in pretty much every restaurant.
Our food guide told us the it’s really common in Polish homes for members of the family to get together and make huge batches of pierogis, especially at certain times of year, like Christmas.
This weekend I got together with my Krakow travel companions to drink maybe more than we should and make pierogis.
Pierogis are fairly easy to make and we worked in a kind of production line which made it even easier. I would definitely recommend getting your friends together and giving communal cooking a go. By the time you chat, laugh and have a few drinks you can make loads of them. I didn’t have a recipe for these so we used the BBC Good Food recipe and the dumplings tasted exactly like what he had in Poland.
Pierogis freeze well, double up on the recipe and you can pull them out of the freezer for a quick week night dinner. You can also make a sweet version by simply replacing the filling with raw blueberries and serve topped with sour cream.
For the dough
250 Grams Self Raising Flour (sifted)
1 Tsp Salt
3 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
250-300ml Warm Water
For the filling
250 Grams Mashed potatoes (this is a great way to use up left overs, make sure the mashed potatoes are cold before using)
50 Grams Butter
1 Onion (finely chopped)
250 Grams Cottage Cheese
Add the flour and salt to a bowl, add the oil and then gradually add water and mix until you have a soft dough. Gather into a ball, knead for 5 minutes, wrap in cling film. Chill for 30 minutes
While the dough is resting, melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onions over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until they are golden brown
Mix the potatoes and cottage cheese together and stir in two thirds of the fried onions. Mix until thoroughly combined
Roll the dough out as thinly as possible (nobody wants a thick doughy dumpling). Use a cookie cutter or class to cut 4-5 cm circles
Put a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of the circle and lightly wet the edges of of circle. Fold over to create a half moon and press the edges closed tightly
Heat a large pot of water to just before boiling, add the pierogi, about 6-7 at a time (depending on the size of your pot, just be careful not to overcrowd the pot)
When the pierogi start to float, lift out with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Keep cooking the pierogi until all the dumplings are cooked.
Serve on a large plate, and sprinkle the remaining fried onions over the top
Autumn is definitely here, and it’s time to break out the one pot comfort food recipes. I love recipes that I can make from what I usually have in a cupboard or the fridge and this one of them. Dried yellow split peas are really cheap, and packed full of protein and fibre. They also work brilliantly in Indian dishes like dhal.
This is a really rich satisfying, cheap and easy to make meal. Perfect for chilly days when you want something nutritious and satisfying. It’s also packed with lovely warming flavours like ginger, chilli and garlic.
This soup freezes well or can live in your fridge for 3-4 days.
1 Leek (finely sliced)
2 Carrots (grated)
250 Grams Yellow split peas
1 Litre Vegetarian stock (I used 2 stock cubes to make this)
Thumb sized piece of ginger (grated), or 1 Tsp of ground ginger if you don’t have the fresh stuff)
1 Tsp Tumeric
3-4 Cloves of garlic (minced)
1 Tsp Chilli powder
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
Heat the oil in large pot over a medium heat, and add the leek and carrot. Cook for 5-10 minutes until soft
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Turn up the heat bring the soup up to just before the boil
Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
Serve topped with toasted hazel nuts or pumpkin seeds for a little extra crunch
Sometimes if you’ve been overindulging your body tells you to eat something healthier. When that happens, this what you should be eating. Packed full of flavour and protein these little falafel are great as the protein element of a main meal or in wraps for a tasty and filling packed lunch. These falafel are baked rather than fried, which helps make them even healthier.
I made these with cannelini beans, (I thought I had chickpeas in the cupboard, but you could probably use any type of tinned beans). These are also gluten free and suitable for vegans.
400 Gram Can of cannelini beans or chickpeas
2 Tablespoons Porridge oats
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 Tablespoon Tahini
2 Cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)
100 Grams Spinach
1 Teaspoon Salt
Handful of Coriander or parsley (toughly chopped)
Tablespoon Sesame Seeds (optional)
Oil for spraying
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius)
Add all ingredients (except the sesame seeds) to a food processor and blend until you have a smooth mix
Line a baking sheet with parchment, the falafel mix should be quite soft, so I used a tablespoon to scoop the mix on the baking sheet.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you are using them and bake for 15 minutes before turning them and bake for another 15 minutes