Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Fun for all the family on Google Translate

Random post alert. 
I know that Google Translate is a useful tool, but we've discovered it's great fun too! Miss Ony recently started using it to throw funny insults at her sister, and now we're all doing it. I don't know why, but we all find it highly amusing (in a childish way) to hear a computerised voice talking to us.

Just select the English to English option, type in your message and then click on listen. It's great for telling the kids to do their chores and reminding them when to go to bed too! 
It's also pretty useful for helping the kids with their French homework, but not quite so fun. Pin It

Monday, 28 March 2011

The 3 meals a day vegetarian meal planner

Meal planning is a great way to save time and money. Looking back through my blog recipes, I've realised that most of them are for dinners and cakes rather than whole days, so I've tried to rectify that with my contribution to Mrs M's Meal Planning Monday - a week's worth of vegetarian and vegan family meal options.

My kids love breakfast. They've always eaten breakfast and would be quite happy to go along with the motto of 'breakfast like a king and dine like a pauper'. On an average day, they'll polish off a couple of items from this list, plus a drink of fruit juice or smoothie.
  • Cereal with or without milk
  • Toast/crumpet/mini pancake/croissant
  • Portion of fresh fruit
  • Fruit or plain yogurt/dairy free alternative
  • Full vegetarian cooked breakfast with veggie sausage/veggie bacon slice/hash brown/egg/baked beans
  • Cinnamon rolls or brioche
  • Flapjack or cereal bar
Both kids eat a packed lunch at school, which usually consists of 5 items selected from this list:
  • Sandwich/crackers/wrap/plain scone - filled with cheese/Quorn slice/butter/jam/fruit spread/chocolate spread/cream cheese/golden syrup etc (more ideas here.)
  • 1 piece of fresh fruit or or a portion of dried fruit.
  • 1 carton of pure fruit juice
  • 1 small pot/tube of fruit yogurt/dairy free dessert
  • 1 piece of home made cake/flapjack/packet of crisps/biscuit bar/cereal bar
I almost always cook an evening meal from scratch, with the addition of some meat substitutes, such as Quorn once or twice a week. I try and include at least two of our 5 a day portions in each meal. Our favourite family meals are:
Other meal planners: 2 week meal planner; Budget meal planner Pin It

Friday, 25 March 2011

Vegetarian and vegan camping recipes

There's something special about eating outside. I don't know what it is, but food just tastes better in the great outdoors, whether that's in the back garden, on a picnic, or during a camping trip. I know it's a bit early in the season to talk about camping, but the sun's been out and the holidays are just around the corner, so I'm posting this before it starts raining again!
I reckon that the key to great camping food is good planning!
I plan our camping meals in advance and write them down as a meal plan, so I know what to take and what to buy on site.

We generally take these staple foods and buy fresh ingredients as needed:
  • Small bottle of olive oil
  • Small jar of Marmite, jam or Nutella in a small pot
  • Tins of beans/chopped tomatoes/sweetcorn
  • Packet of microwave rice
  • Packet of tortilla wraps
  • Bread rolls
  • Small bottle of tomato ketchup
  • Small portions of dried herbs/spices in little bags  
  • Tea bags
  • Litre carton of fruit juice, frozen to use as ice pack in the cool box
  • Packet of dried burger/sausage mix or frozen burgers/sausages/veggie bacon
We also take the following cooking equipment with us:
  • Camping kettle
  • 2 x 1 ring gas stoves
  • Small frying pan
  • Small saucepan
  • Small sharp vegetable knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Can/bottle opener
  • Tongs/spatula/spoon
  • Skewers
  • Foil 
  • Plastic cutlery/picnic set
  • Small chopping board

All of the recipes/ideas below either require no cooking, or can be cooked on a one/two ring camping stove.

  • Fried eggs/omelette/baked beans/veggie bacon/veggie sausages/hash browns/tinned spaghetti with fresh bread.
  • Warmed croissants/crumpets/mini pancakes/waffles/pastries.
  • Scones with jam.
  • Cereal with or without milk/non-dairy milk.
  • Cereal/flapjack bar.
  • Fresh/tinned fruit.
  • Filled sandwiches/baguettes/bagels.
  • Tinned/packet soup and bread.
  • Baked beans/tinned spaghetti and crusty bread.
  • Instant noodles.
  • Crudites, breads and dips - Buy tubs of dips (hummous, tzatziki, salsa etc), bread-sticks, pitta bread etc. Make cucumber, pepper and carrot crudites.
  • Pittas stuffed with ready-made falafels and salad.
  • Veggie burgers, hot dogs or sausages in bread rolls.
  • Ready-made onion bhajis/vegetable pakoras/samosas with naan.
One Pan Camping Meals

Garlic mushrooms
Garlic mushrooms - heat a drop of oil/butter in a pan. Add sliced mushrooms, a chopped red pepper and a large clove of crushed garlic. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve on warm ciabatta or garlic bread.

Quick veggie chilli/curry - Fry a chopped onion in a drop of oil. Add either 2-3 tsp mild chilli powder/fajita seasoning OR 1 tbsp curry powder/paste. Add a tin of ratatouille (or some chopped veg and a tin of chopped tomatoes) and a drained tin of beans/chickpeas/lentils. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve with wraps/nachos or naan bread.

Macaroni cheese - Buy a pot of 'fresh' cheese sauce and a bag of fresh pasta. Cook the pasta and drain. Pour the sauce over and heat through.
(Vegan option - use a tub of 'fresh' tomato and basil sauce and egg-free pasta.)

Quorn & vegetable pilaf - Make a simplified version using packet rice: Fry a chopped onion in a little oil, add some chopped veggie sausages or meat-free pieces and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1-2 packets of flavoured microwave rice and a drained tin of sweetcorn. Heat until piping hot, stirring regularly.

Vegetable fajitas - Make these with paneer/halloumi cheese, or Quorn pieces. Simplify spices by just using mild chilli powder or fajita seasoning.
(Vegan option - omit the cheese and add extra beans.)

Veggie couscous - a drop of oil in a pan. Fry 1 chopped onion until soft. Add a drained tin of chickpeas and heat through. Stir in 1 or 2 packets of instant Moroccan flavoured couscous. Add the required amount of boiling water, cover and leave to heat through as directed. 

Sloppy Joes
 - Make using ready-made bbq sauce. 

Quick Mexican quesadillas/burritos - Heat a tortilla wrap in a pan, spread with some tinned refried beans a dollop of tomato salsa and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Roll up the wrap and flip over to warm through. Or try these green vegetable burritos or the very tasty Hawaiian quesadillas  (vegan option - use vegan melting cheese.)

Middle Eastern pittas Heat a wholemeal pitta in a pan, split open and spread the inside with some olive paste. Fill with a few ready-made falafels, a chopped tomato and some crumbled feta cheese. Pop back in the pan to heat through. (Vegan option - omit the feta.)

Pesto spaghetti - Don't panic, I realise that pesto generally contains Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese, which contain rennet, but I've found that the cheaper supermarket brands contain vegetarian 'hard cheese' instead (eg: ASDA smart price pesto.) Cook some fresh or dried spaghetti. Drain and add a good dollop of pesto. Stir through and serve.
(Vegan option - use vegan pesto or sun dried tomato paste.)

Cheese fondue - Add a glug of dry white wine and a handful of Gruyere cheese to a tub of fresh cheese sauce. Heat until bubbling gently. Alternatively, double wrap a whole Camembert cheese (plus box) in foil and cook on the bbq or stove for around 15 minutes, turning once or twice. Serve with chunks of ciabatta or breadsticks to dip in.

Frittata - Fry a chopped onion and a pepper in some oil. Add a drained tin of sweetcorn and break in 4 eggs. Mix well and cook for a few minutes until the eggs are cooked through. Serve with crusty bread.

Cheats patatas bravasCheat's patatas bravas - Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan/frying pan. Shallow fry some (partially-defrosted) frozen potato chunks, turning every few minutes until golden-brown and crispy. Throw in 1 jar of tomato and chilli sauce and heat through. 

Baked beans with portabello mushrooms & halloumi - Heat 2 cans of baked beans and a tin of ratatouille. Add 4 tbsp of spicy barbecue sauce and heat. Serve with barbecued Portabello mushrooms, halloumi and garlic bread.

Two Pan Camping Meals

Noodles and stir fried vegetables - Buy a pack of stir fry vegetables, a sachet/jar of black bean or sweet and sour sauce and 2 small packs of 'quick noodles'. Boil a pan of water. Add the noodles, bring back to the boil, cover and remove from the heat.  Meanwhile, heat a drop of oil in a pan. Fry the veg for 2-3 minutes. Add the sauce and heat through. Drain the noodles and top with the veg and sauce.

Mexican rice burritosSausage and bean stew -  Chop an onion and fry in a drop of oil. Add some chopped veggie sausages and brown for a few minutes. Add a tin of tomatoes, a tin of baked beans, a small tin of sweetcorn and some mixed herbs. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile make up some instant mash, or cook some pasta, new potatoes or rice.

Mexican rice burritos - Fill wraps with a combination of Mexican rice, refried beans and grated cheese.

My barbecue foodkids' camping food, camping dessert recipes and family-friendly festival guide posts contains more ideas for campsite catering. If you have any other camping food suggestions, please do add them below.

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Monday, 21 March 2011

Yellow Split Pea and Vegetable Dhal (Vegan)

Although dhals are normally just made with pulses, onion and spices, this version includes some chopped vegetables to make it a meal rather than a side dish. This is quite a mild dish, but if you're making it for young children, you can leave the chilli powder out, or add it to the pan after you've taken their servings out.
  • 100g/4oz dried split yellow peas
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic 
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp garam masala
  • ½ or 1 tsp mild (or hot!) chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree/paste
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 small courgette, diced
  • 6-8 mushrooms, sliced
Soak the peas over night.
Drain, put in a pan and cover with water.
Bring to the boil and cook rapidly for 10 minutes.

Then turn down the heat and simmer for a further 40-50 minutes, or until the peas are just starting to break up.

Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in another pan. Add the cumin and black mustard seeds along with the onion and garlic, and cook gently for 2-3 minutes.
Add all the remaining spices and stir well.
Stir in the tomato puree, chopped vegetables and the peas (with their cooking liquid). Simmer for a further 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
Serve with rice/chapatti/naan bread

Suitable for freezing.

Alternatives: Use any combination of chopped vegetables (even frozen or tinned mixed vegetables will do).
Use a tin of drained pulses and omit the soaking and boiling stage, if you don't have time to prepare and cook the dried split peas. Chickpeas or lentils work well.

Slow cooker method: Soak and rapidly boil the peas for 10 minutes. Put all the ingredients, plus the peas in the slow cooker. Stir well. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

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Saturday, 19 March 2011

Peace Winds Japan - Disaster appeal fund

I wouldn't normally post to ask people to donate money, especially at the moment when so many of us are affected by the recession in some way or other; But like so many others around the world , I've been horrified at the tragic ongoing events in Japan, which have resulted from the earthquake and tsunami.

I've never been to Japan, and not wanting to appear or feel hypocritical, I need to say that I've never wanted to - partly due to the 'scientific' killing of whales from Japan's waters. Nevertheless, I have been almost transfixed by the harrowing images of the tsunami sweeping away whole villages and towns, and the impending nuclear situation, which has made me reevaluate my opinion of the country and its residents.

Without wanting to make sweeping cultural generalisations, I understand that the Japanese are known for remaining calm and dignified in the face of adversity, so I think that the images of mothers who have lost children, children who appear shocked and bewildered, and grown men shedding a silent tear, have moved me so much. 

I wanted to help in some small way, but didn't know which would be the best charity to donate to, until an email arrived from Jason Gissing (co-founder of Ocado) this week, which prompted me into action.

These are his words..."Japan faces its worst crisis since 1945. In the past week, many people have told me that they wish to help but do not know how to. My mother is Japanese and I have spoken to many family members and friends living in Japan. They have recommended that the best way to help is to make a donation via Mercy Corps to Peace Winds Japan, a local Tokyo-based NGO. We have pledged to match the first £20,000 of donations made by our team and customers. If you can, please claim GiftAid on your contribution so even more money goes directly to help the people of Japan."
Please think about donating here via the Ocado JustGiving page.

Find out more about Peace Winds Japan or donate directly here.

Thanks for reading.
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Friday, 18 March 2011

Giant Chocolate Cupcake

I bought a giant cupcake tin from Lakeland a couple of years ago (Wilton make a similar pan), and told the kids that they would have to have a giant cupcake for every birthday until they were 18, as the tin was so expensive! 

Serves 20

  • 250g/10oz butter/dairy-free spread
  • 250g/10oz sugar
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 250g/10oz SR flour
  • 50g/2oz unsweetened cocoa powder, sieved
  • 50g/2oz dark chocolate chips
  • 6 tbsp milk/water
  • 1½ level tsp baking powder

Pre heat the oven to 160C/150C Fan/Gas 3.
Grease the cupcake tin and sprinkle with a little sieved cocoa.
Cream the butter and sugar and beat in 3 of the eggs.
Add the flour, baking powder, cocoa, milk, choc chips and remaining eggs and mix until just combined.
Spoon half of the mixture into each side of the cupcake pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the cake has risen and is firm to the touch (in the centre).  If the cake is browning too quickly, turn the oven down by 10C.

Once cooked, leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

Spread a generous amount of butter cream/frosting over the top surface of the cupcake base. If needed, roll out a long 'sausage' of fondant icing and use this to fill in any gaps between the cupcake top and bottom or fill with piped butter cream. Totally cover the top of the cake with the remaining butter cream and then add decorations, if required.

Chocolate Butter Cream/Frosting
  • 150g/6oz dark chocolate, melted
  • 150g/6oz softened butter/dairy-free spread
  • 250g/10oz icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp sieved unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tbsp boiling water
Cream the butter and icing sugar.
Beat in the melted chocolate, then add the cocoa powder and vanilla.
Mix well until you have a soft, spreadable butter cream, adding some boiling water, as necessary.
Sandwich the cakes together with some of the butter cream/frosting and use the rest to ice the top of the cake.
Tie a ribbon around, or make a paper cupcake holder to cover the base.

Alternatives: You can make an even bigger cake in the same tin, by upping the ingredients to 300g/12oz butter/sugar, 350g/14oz flour and 6 eggs. Keep the amount of the remaining ingredients the same.
If you want a plain sponge, swap the cocoa for extra flour and 1 tsp vanilla extract and add 1 tsp baking powder instead of 1½ tsp.
Make a dairy-free cake, by using dairy-free spread and chocolate. Pin It

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Mediterranean Vegetable Lasagne

This vegetarian lasagne is packed full of Mediterranean vegetables, and is 'posh' enough to be served up as a dinner party meal. You can roast the vegetables for 15-20 minutes if you prefer, but I find that frying makes the aubergine more tender. 

Serves 4-6
  • 1 large aubergine/eggplant
  • 1 large courgette/zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red and 1 green bell pepper
  • 100g/4oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • A glug of red wine (optional)
  • 100ml boiling water
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano/basil/mixed herbs or 1 tbsp fresh chopped herbs
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Dried lasagne sheets
  • 1 portion of cheese sauce
  • 100g/4oz grated or sliced mozzarella
Chop the vegetables into roughly equal sized chunks (2.5cm x 2.5cm).
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan.
Add the aubergine and cook on a medium-high heat for around 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened and golden brown. 
Add the remaining vegetables and 1 tbsp of olive oil, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, wine, water, garlic, herbs, black pepper and sugar.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, with the lid on the pan.

Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce.

Spoon a little of the cheese sauce into the bottom of a large heat-proof baking dish.
Cover with a layer of lasagne sheets. Top with half of the vegetable sauce and cover with another layer of lasagne. Repeat.
Top the pasta with the remaining cheese sauce and top with some grated/sliced mozzarella.
Bake for 60 minutes at 160C/150C Fan/Gas 3/350F, until bubbling and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Suitable for freezing.

Alternatives:  If your children don't like big chunks of veg, dice them up small and reduce the frying and baking times slightly.
Use any combination of seasonal vegetables, or even tinned/frozen veg, for budget meal.

For a vegan open lasagne, simmer the vegetable sauce in the pan until cooked. Layer this up between sheets of boiled egg-free lasagne. Top with a sprinkle of dairy-free Parmesan substitute. Pin It

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Chewy Chocolate Flapjacks (Vegan)

I'd run out of snacks for the children's lunchboxes this week, so I made up a quick batch of chocolate flapjacks, to keep them happy. This flapjack recipe is a really simple one, so the children can help, or even make themselves if they're old enough to use the oven and microwave. They make a nice after school or lunch box snack, as an alternative to cereal bars.

Makes 12-16 bars/squares.
  • 150g/6oz dairy-free spread (or 100g/4oz dairy-free spread and 50g/2oz smooth peanut butter)
  • 150g/6oz soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 50g/2oz dessicated coconut
  • 25g/1oz cocoa powder, sieved
  • 50g/2oz raisins, or other dried fruit (chopped banana chips, apricots etc)
  • 200g/8oz porridge oats  
  • A pinch of cinnamon, optional
Pre-heat the oven to 160C/150C Fan/Gas 3/325F.
Melt the spread with the sugar and syrup (in a pan or in the microwave).
Stir in the coconut, cocoa and raisins (and cinnamon).
Mix in the oats until coated in the chocolaty syrup.
Pour into a greased baking tin (15cm x 20cm approx) and flatten with a fork or spoon.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before marking into squares/bars.
Turn out when cold - not before, or they'll fall apart!
Suitable for freezing.

Alternatives: Swap the dried fruit for chopped nuts or chopped crystallised ginger.
Top with melted dairy-free chocolate when cool, for a more indulgent flapjack! Pin It

Friday, 11 March 2011

Superdrug's cruelty free and cost-conscious products

I'm a bit late in realising this, but apparently all of Superdrug's own brand cosmetics and toiletries are now approved by BUAV. I only found this out, when I was looking for a hair styling product in Superdrug and happened to notice the BUAV bunnies on them.

This is great news for ethical consumers, as it guarantees that no animal testing has taken place in any part of the products' manufacturing process. Vegetarians and vegans will be pleased to know that the products are also labelled as to their suitability. I'm happy to report that the items I have tried so far, are cheaper than most of the big brand cosmetic lines and are great quality too.

You may think that the animal testing ban which came into force in 2009 means that all cosmetics are already cruelty free, but BUAV say that "Despite a UK and EU ban on the use of animals to test cosmetic products, large numbers of cosmetic products available in high street stores still contain ingredients that have previously been tested on animals. Contrary to popular belief, until 2013 cosmetic companies are still allowed to market and sell products within the EU that have been tested on animals in other parts of the world."

If you are concerned about animal testing via the backdoor, please sign the NO CRUEL COSMETICS petition.

Integrity Statement
I have not received any payment or free products in return for this review and the views expressed are genuinely those of myself.

Image courtesy of BUAV © Pin It

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The great gingerbread house fiasco

This is not my gingerbread house!
Once upon a time, there was a woman who went shopping with her friend in IKEA. After buying some things she never knew she needed, she popped into the IKEA food store before leaving. Whilst grabbing a bag of her daughter's favourite cinnamon buns, her friend waved a box in front of her. "I bought one of these last year" said the friend encouragingly. The woman took hold of the box and read the word pepparkakshus. She quickly realised that she couldn't read Swedish and turned the box over, to read the words Gingerbread House.

"Ooh" said the woman, smiling, "That'll be nice to make with the girls". So she purchased one in the midst of a wave of nostalgia which washed over her (she used to love imagining that a real Hansel and Gretel gingerbread house existed somewhere, when she was a child.) She subsequently realised that she should have been warned by the third syllable of the aforementioned Swedish word!

Some time later, the woman  and her children decided to have a fun afternoon making the little gingerbread house. They followed the instructions carefully and boiled up some sugar syrup for the 'mortar'. They managed to stick two sides of the house together and then tried to cement the next side on. Oh no! The sugar syrup had turned to toffee and was too hard to use.

Never one to give up, the woman made up some thick royal icing and piped it on to the edge of the gingerbread; It dribbled down the wall as she pressed the next section of the flat packed confectionery house to it. It stuck for a moment and then, plop, it fell down. She propped it back up with the help of the children who didn't want to get too near, as they sensed their mother getting a tad stressed. Determinedly, she piped more icing onto the next edge and managed to stick the foundations of a rather crooked-looking house together.

She was just pressing the last 2 pieces of wall together when ...Craaackk, the window-bearing wall of the gingerbread house snapped in two. "Oh bother" said the woman  (OK, she said something slightly different!) and the children fled from the kitchen, in the same way that Hansel and Gretel had wanted to flee from the wicked witch's house.

Determined not to let a stupid pile of sugar and flour get the better of her, she angrily stuck the broken pieces back together with icing and crossly proceeded to top the house with the two roof pieces, and yet more icing. Just at the critical moment, the woman's husband walked through the door, shouting a cheery "Hello!" in her direction. "Get. Out. Of. The. Kitchen!!!" growled the woman, glaring at him, whilst taking her hands off the roof for a second or two.
She turned back to the house, but it was too late; the roof pieces slid down like an avalanche, pulling the walls apart with them. The gingerbread house was no longer! In a fit of rage, the woman smashed up the house into little pieces. There was no going back now, the house was well and truly derelict!

After calming down for an hour or so, the woman  decided to make something with the gingerbread smithereens. She thought about making a cheesecake, with a gingerbread crumb base, but then decided to make tiffin*, which has well documented powers of soothing stressed mums!

By the way, the woman 's friend later admitted that a similar fate had fallen upon her the previous year!

THE END...almost!

*Here's my tiffin recipe (obviously use crushed gingerbread instead of digestives!). The tiffin actually worked out really well, apart from being, well...maybe just a tad too gingery! I think it would have been nicer if I'd used half gingerbread and half digestive biscuits. Pin It

Sunday, 6 March 2011

My pet hates

It's been a busy week in the Onykahonie household, so I've only just got around to reading my fellow bloggers' weird (in a good way) and wonderful posts on Kate Takes 5's listography. This week's list is on pet hates, of which I have many and could probably base a whole blog on them...

My top 5 pet hates this week are:

1. Tailgaters - I've witnessed several incidents of tailgating this weekend (luckily not behind me) and wonder why on earth do they do it? These invariably unattractive male drivers seem to get a kick out of harassing and intimidating other road users. Grow up and learn how to drive!

2. The economy - I've had enough of this whole recession/depression/economic down-turn or whatever we're calling it this week. Get out there girls and shop your way to a better economy.

3. People whispering, while I'm in the same room - How rude. If you want to talk about me, or don't want me to hear something, say it when I'm not there!

4. Winter - Sooo last season! I'm looking forward to welcoming in the spring, seeing some sunshine and dusting off the camping gear.

5. Shop assistants asking if I'm sure I want to use my own carrier bag - Yes I'm sure; That's why I said "I don't need a bag, thanks." I'm single-handedly saving the environment, geddit?
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Thursday, 3 March 2011

Quorn Sausage and Cider Casserole

This is a recipe that I've adapted from an old pork recipe that my mum used to cook...originally from Good Housekeeping, I think. You can use any brand of veggie/vegan sausages for this recipe, or you could use extra root vegetables, mushrooms and some tinned beans, if you don't like meat substitutes.
  • 1 or 2 vegetarian sausages per person
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2-4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped or sliced
  • 2 sticks of celery or ½  bulb fennel, sliced
  • 1 tbsp plain flour/cornflour
  • 250ml dry cider
  • 250ml stock made with boiling water and 1 veggie stock cube
  • 1 heaped tsp tomato puree
  • ½  tsp of dried mixed herbs or 1 tsp fresh chopped sage or rosemary
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 or 2 cooking apples peeled, cored and quartered (optional)
Drizzle the sausages with olive oil and brown off in a casserole at 180C/Gas 4 for around 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, gently cook the onions in a pan with some olive oil, until soft. Then throw in the carrots, pepper and celery/fennel and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
Add the flour and stir well.
Add the hot stock and the cider (or extra stock).
Bring to the boil, stirring regularly. 
Pour the sauce over the sausages. Cook for 30 minutes.
If using, add the apple quarters and coat in the sauce. return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes, or until the apples and vegetables are soft.
Serve with roast potatoes or mash.

Slow cooker method: Put all the veg in the bottom of the slow cooker (add potatoes too if you want a one pot meal). Brown the sausages and place on top of the veg. Top with the apples.
Mix the cornflour with the cider, (cold) stock and remaining ingredients and pour into the crockpot/slowcooker. Cook on slow/low for 8 hours. Pin It

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Two week vegetarian family meal planner

I'm fairly new to meal planning, and have only really got into it in the last couple of years. This coincided with me going back to employed work in the big wide world (rather than self employed and working from home, as I used to be!), which meant that I needed to be more organised. 
I've already done a low budget vegetarian meal planner, but decided to make this a more regular feature, which I'll update as I add new recipes. Hope you like it!

Week 1
Monday: Pepper and paneer fajitas
Tuesday: Macaroni cheese with salad
Wednesday: Chickpea curry with extra vegetables and rice
Thursday: Quorn & vegetable pilaf
Friday: Shepherdess pie with broccoli
Saturday: Spinach & cheese cannelloni with vegetables
Sunday: Veggie sausages with mash, peas/sweetcorn and gravy

Week 2
Tuesday: Roasted vegetables with halloumi served in pitta bread or wraps
Wednesday: Jacket potatoes with cheese, baked beans and salad
Thursday: Spaghetti with tomato and vegetable sauce
Friday: Thai green vegetable curry with rice
Saturday: Homemade pizza with salad
Sunday: Vegetarian roast dinner with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, vegetables and gravy.

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