Pumpkin & Courgette Soup

Serves 4-6 

1 large white onion roughly diced

3 courgettes, roughly sliced

1 small butternut squash or a large chunk of pumpkin, peeled with seeds removed and diced

3 chicken stock cubes

Boiling water, around 1.5 litres

Salt and pepper

Put the onion and pumpkin in a pan (Le Creuset is big enough) and add the stock cubes and enough boiling water to cover the veg plus a few heavy handed grinds of black pepper. Stir to break down the stock cubes and bring to the boil. Add a lid and simmer until the pumpkin is nearly cooked (about 20 mins).

Add the courgette and some more water if there is not much left and replace the lid. Cook until everything is soft, about 5-10 minutes depending how big the courgette slices were. 

Turn off the heat and using a stick blender blend the soup until it is all smooth. If it is too thick add some more hot water and blend again to mix well. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper and blitz one more time with the blender before serving. 

Turnip & Kidney Bean Curry

2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 12 wedges each

1 medium red onion, finely diced

2 gloves of garlic (minced or grated in when directed)

Thumb sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 tin of good quality chopped tomatoes, juice drained and kept for something else

1 tin of kidney beans

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp ground turmeric 

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp paprika or dried chilli flakes

1/2 tsp garam masala

1tbs chopped coriander

Cook the turnips in boiling water until soft, about 5 mins. Once cooked add the kidney beans and boil for a minute and then turn off the heat.

Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a wide frying pan on #6 (green Le Creuset is best) and fry the spices (except the garam masala) for a minute or until they start smelling (good not burned!). Add the onion and a pinch of Maldon and cook until soft/golden brown. Add the fresh ginger and garlic and fry for a minute and then add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes on a medium heat (it shouldn’t boil too hard).

Drain the turnips and beans but keep the cooking water. Add the veg to the tomato spice paste and add a few spoons of the retained water. Simmer for 10 mins. If it goes too thick add a little more water but not too much as should be quite a thick curry. Add the garam masala and coriander and check the seasoning just before serving.

Serve with cauliflower or normal rice with a spoon of thick natural yoghurt on top.

Potato & Pasta Soup with Greens

            Serves 2

Half a white onion finely diced

1 medium carrot finely diced

1 large stick of celery finely diced

1 tsp Maldon salt

2 tbs olive oil plus more to serve

1 medium sized floury (chip) potato

500ml boiling water

1 chicken stock cube

1 bay leaf

2 handfuls of wholemeal macaroni 

Spinach/Kale couple of large handfuls

Parmesan to serve

Heat a Le Cruset pan on #6 and add the olive oil, salt, onion, carrot and celery and fry until soft, which will be at least 5 mins. Don’t let anything brown, add more oil if you need to. 

While this is cooking cut the potato in half down its longest length and then in half again like this:

Then cut into small pieces, each one about the thickness of a pound coin, like this:

Once the onion, carrot and celery are soft add the potato, stir and cook for a couple of mins in the oil. Add the boiling water, stock cube, bay leaf and a good grind of black pepper. 

Cook until the potato is soft, add the pasta and stir well. Add more water if the soup is too thick. Stir every couple of mins. 

If using spinach or kale, wash and shred it and add to the pan just a min before the pasta is cooked and stir well and let it wilt.

When the pasta is cooked remove the bay leaf. Add a little more water if the pasta has absorbed too much. Taste and season well with salt and pepper and if using parsley chop and add now. 

Serve with olive oil drizzled on top and a grating of fresh Parmesan.

Braised Fennel

Serves 4 with sausage and mash or something like chickpeas or lentils

3 Fennel bulbs

2 Leeks or 1 large white onion

1 tbs olive oil

2 Chicken stock cubes in 500ml boiling water

1 tbs plain flour

Trim the fennel bulbs (feed the trimmings to the chickens) and cut into slices (not diced) like shown in the photo below:

Cut the leeks into 1” long pieces or if using the onion cut into thin wedges, about the same thickness of the fennel. 

Heat the green Le Creuset on #6 and add the olive oil once it is hot, then add the leeks/onions and fennel and cook for a couple of mins with the lid of making sure you keep stirring them to coat in the olive oil. Then add the lid and cook for 5 mins. 

Take the lid off, stir, add the flour and stir well and keep moving around for a min to cook it off. Add the stock and stir well. Put the lid back on, turn the heat down to #4 and cook for 20 mins stirring a few times. 

After the 20 mins check to see if the thickest parts of the fennel are soft, if not put the lid back on and continue cooking.

Serve with mashed potato or chickpeas with sausages. 

Banana & Oat Pancakes

Serves two (or one Jamie)

2 bananas broken into a few bits

2 eggs

1/2 cup of oats

1 level tbs oat bran (optional)

Pinch of salt (generous if Maldon)

1/2 tsp baking powder

Put the bananas and eggs in a food processor and whizz it until smooth, then add everything else and pulse until well mixes. Scrape the sides and pulse again to to be sure all combined but don’t go crazy or there will be no texture.

Leave to rest for 20 mins if you can.

Heat a large frying pan on 6. Add some oil and brush around the pan. Add scoops of the mix, once bubbles form on the top (a couple of mins if the pan is hot) flip and cook the other side.

Serve with maple syrup or fresh fruit or dirtbag chocolate spread.

Kidney Bean, Lentil & Chickpea Burgers

Serves around 6-8

1 white onion finely chopped

1/2 jar chickpeas

1/2 large tin of kidney beans

200g dried green lentils or a full jar

1tsp chilli flakes

1 egg, beaten well with a fork

Breadcrumbs (optional)

2 tbs olive oil

Cook the lentils in at least 500 ml of water, do not add salt, for 25 mins and drain.

In the meantime, fry the onion in a little of the olive oil with a tsp of salt.

Mash the kidney beans and chick peas together, add the chilli flakes and season. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.

When the lentils are soft add them to the mix and mash again and mix together, check the seasoning again and once ok add the beaten egg and stir well.

Oil your hands and make little burgers from the mix, is using the breadcrumbs coat the burgers in them. The mix will be better if in the fridge for a couple of hours but not essential, just might be a bit sloppy when you make the burgers. If you have some breadcrumbs left over just stir them into the mix when finished. 

Heat the remaining oil in the pan on #7 and when you drop a small piece of the mix in and it sizzles add the burgers and fry for 4-5 mins each side until cooked through.

Serve with salad, wrap, grated beetroot etc or sweet potato chips. Make as many as you need for the meal and keep the rest of the mix and make it up into burgers when you are ready to eat them. Will keep 48h in the fridge. 

Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas

Serves 4

1 large white onion

5 large sticks of celery

4 large carrots

2 medium potato

2 chicken stock cubes

1 parmesan rind (optional)

1 bay leaf

1 jar of chickpeas

Grated parmesan and olive oil

Peel and roughly chop the onion. Wash the celery, carrots and potato and chop into chunks. Put everything in a large pan and cover with enough boiling water to just cover the veg. Add the stock cubes and bay leaf (and the parmesan rind if using). Season with pepper, no salt at this stage and cook until the veg is soft. 

Remove the bay leaf and parmesan rind.

Using a stick blender, blend until smooth and if too thick add some more water. 

Add the jar of chickpeas and allow to warm though. 

Serve in pasta bowls and grate over fresh parmesan and drizzle with a little good quality olive oil.

Harissa Roast Vegetable & Feta on Chickpea & Spinach

Serves 3

1 large sweet potato

4 medium turnips

1 red onion

1 desert spoon harissa pasta

1 tbs olive oil

1 jar chickpeas

1 chicken or veg stock cube

3 large hand fulls of spinach, washed and shredded washed thoroughly

1 tbs each chopped coriander and mint

Seeds from half a pomegranate 

150g feta cheese

1 small fat free yoghurt

1.5dsp lemon juice

1dsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 210ºC fan

Peel the veg. Cut the onions into wedges (in half and into 6) and the sweet potato and turnip into chunks. Put into a large bowl and mix with the harissa and olive oil. Spread out onto a flat baking tray and cook for 20 mins, remove the onion and retain and flip the veg and cook for another 10 mins.

Mix the stock cube with about 200ml of boiling water. Put the chickpeas in a pan and add the stock and warm through for a few mins on a medium heat. Once warm, mash approx 1/3 of the chickpeas to absorb the water and thicken the mix and stir in the spinach and the retained roasted red onions.

To make the dressing, mix the yoghurt with lemon juice to taste and season. Add the olive oil and stir to combine.

Plate up with the chickpea and spinach mix on the base and drizzle over some dressing. Add the roasted veg and more dressing and finish with crumbling on the feta, and sprinkling over the herbs and pomegranate seeds. 

A few seeds or chopped nut are nice sprinkled on top