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Purple carrot spaghetti

27 Oct

Purple carrot spaghetti

After a bit of a jog on a very cold October morning, I found myself in the supermarket looking for something inspirational for lunch.  And what did I find?  Purple carrots!  I assume, given the rather colourful packaging, that this product was aimed at children, to try and encourage them to eat vegetables and piggy-backing on the commercial wonderland of Halloween.  Nonetheless, i was sucked in.  Well done marketers.  Cartoons and bright colours obviously work in our supermarket aisles.

I have seen a couple of recipes recently profiling the “vegetable spaghetti”, so I decided this would be the perfect opportunity for me to give it a whirl.  I chose  to add some rice noodles as well to mix the dish up a bit, but you could use (gluten free) spaghetti instead, or even try some other veggies to “spaghetti”.

Now I used sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil to finish this off, but you could use pine nuts or other such ingredients.

The ingredients:

1 regular orange carrot

1 purple carrot

1 clove of garlic

1 red chilli (if you don’t like spicy food, only add ½ a chilli)

A good glug of good quality olive oil/rapeseed oil (maybe 5 tbsp)

Salt and pepper

A small sprinkling of Sesame seeds (optional)

1 tsp Toasted sesame oil (optional)

Fresh Basil

150g rice noodles (fresh, or dried, but if you use dried, make sure you have cooked them according to the packet instructions before use)


The Recipe:

  1. Cut both carrots into long thin sections.  I used a mandolin to get them all uniform (ish) so it was quite fast, but if you don’t have a mandolin, this could be quite a lengthy process, but a good excuse to practice your knife skills!
  2. Thinly slice the chilli and crush the garlic.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chilli and garlic and fry for about a minute, make sure the garlic doesn’t burn
  4. Add the carrot spaghetti and toss to coat in the oil and fry until the carrot has softened.  This will take maybe about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add the rice noodles and toss to mix in with the carrot, chilli and garlic.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the toasted sesame oil.
  7. Serve and sprinkle with a couple of sesame seeds and fresh basil.


2 Sep


As a vegetarian, I am very familiar with falafels.  An Israeli/middle eastern favourite showcasing the beauty of the humble chickpea.  Delicious eaten alone as a little snack, or as part of a meal with salad and hummus with a pitta and maybe a few grilled veggies, aubergines, peppers, courgettes and the like.

Sadly now I can no longer eat the pitta, so I decided to replace it with sweet potato chips when I was making dinner the other night and it worked perfectly (although I say so myself)!

I was tempted to play around with the falafel, maybe adding a bit of sweet potato, or a few different herbs and spices.  Then I changed my mind.  Sometimes you just don’t need to play with a dish.  Falafel are amazing in their pure form. Having said that, maybe if I had more time on my hands…

You’ll also notice that I baked these falafel rather than fried them.  This is simply because I’m not a fan of deep fried foods.  You could deep fry the falafel for a couple of minutes until golden brown (about 4 minutes).

The ingredients:

1 tin Chickpeas

1 medium onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp ground coriander

1tsp ground cumin

Small pinch of chilli flakes (optional)


1 egg

½ lemon

The recipes:

  1. Dice the onion and crush the garlic
  2. Sauté over a medium heat until soft and translucent
  3. Add the cumin, coriander and chilli and cook for a couple of minutes
  4. Drain and wash the chickpeas and add to the onion mix, off the heat.
  5. Mash the chickpea mixture and add in a handful of chopped parsley and squeeze in the lemon juice
  6. Whisk the egg and add in bit-by-bit to the chickpeas and mix until it sticks together to form a dough-like consistency (if you find the mix is too sticky/wet, use a bit of gluten free flour – chickpea flour (aka besan/gram flour) to bind the mixture.)
  7. Lightly grease a baking tray
  8. Using 2 tablespoons, shape the mix into balls and place onto the baking tray
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until golden brown) at 180 degrees Celsius

Broccoli and Ricotta Quiche with a Potato Crust

30 Jul

Broccoli and Ricotta Quiche with a Potato Crust

I’ve seen a fair few recipes over the months detailing how you can substitute the pastry base in a quiche (fabulous news for us coeliacs!).  I’ve never had the occasion to try this myself, up until now.  Hosting a low key Saturday lunch seemed to be the perfect opportunity to debut my twist on this French favourite.

As I am playing with the crust, I decided to keep the filling to a firm favourite, and went for broccoli and ricotta.  I am pleased to say, it went down a storm.  Luckily I made 2, with the second quiche providing me my lunch for the next week.

The ingredients:

1 large potato

40g butter, melted

5 eggs

50ml milk

1 large onion

250g ricotta

1 large broccoli

50g parmesan

Salt and pepper


The recipe:

  1. Put the oven on at 200 degrees (Celsius)
  2. Grate the potato and leave to drain for 15 minutes
  3. Mix the melted butter into the potato and push this mix into the base of a lightly greased cake tin/oven dish.  Make sure you have an even thin layer on the base of the tin. Pop this in the oven for 30 minutes.
  4. Finely dice the onion and cut the broccoli into small florets
  5. Whisk together the eggs and milk, and season with salt and pepper
  6. When the potato bases have browned nicely and starting to crisp up, remove from the oven and distribute the onion, broccoli and ricotta evenly over the potato
  7. Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli and ricotta and grate the parmesan over the top
  8. Put the quiche in the oven for 40 minutes (or until the egg has set and the quiche is browning nicely)
  9. Leave the quiche to rest for 15 minutes before serving

Mexican Summer Salad

3 Jul

Mexican Summer Salad

As the weather has been anything but summery recently, I have taken matters into my own hands and decided to create summer on a plate.  This also nicely coincided with a craving for corn on the cob.  So here goes my attempt at a Mexican summer dinner (disclaimer alert: I have never been to Mexico so this may not be totally authentic!)

I’m giving you the know how to make the salad and the corn, but use your foodie wisdom to finish off the meal with something like tortilla chips (make sure they are 100% corn/maize, 100% gluten free), and maybe a fresh guacamole dip.

The ingredients…

…For the salad (I’m gonna leave the amounts up to you.  I trust your salad wisdom and judgement):

Gem lettuce

Cherry tomatoes



Sweetcorn (optional here really.  I just fancied max-ing out on the little yellow niblets!)

Sunflower seeds

Sundried tomatoes


A little drizzle of olive oil (I used some of the olive oil I use to store my sun/oven dried tomatoes in so it is nicely infused with all that tomato-y goodness)

Shavings of Manchego cheese (or other hard cheese)

…For the corn on the cob:

2 ears of Corn (on the cob, stripped of the husks)

1 tbsp Mayonnaise

½ tsp Smoked paprika

Wedge of lime

The recipe:

  1. Chop or tear the lettuce, slice the cucumber and tomatoes and toss together with all the other salad ingredients.  Voila!  Your salad.
  2. Steam the corn ears for 7-8 mins
  3. Mix the mayonnaise and the paprika in bowl
  4. Serve the corn with a dollop of the mayonnaise and a wedge of lime
  5. Serve


Post meal analysis:  Very tasty and a thoroughly enjoyable dinner, however it is still raining outside.

Ho Chi Kim

18 Jun

Ho Chi Kim









Cucumber, Mango and Green Bean Rice Noodle Salad

What is the inspiration for tonight’s nights dinner, Ho Chi Kim?

We were indulging in an episode of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls River Cottage Veg at the weekend, and that combined with my love for Vietnamese food gave me the inspiration for tonights dinner.  (Also the left overs will be fabulous for lunch tomorrow, however due to Tupperware circumstances beyond our control we are now precariously transporting it in plastic food bags…?)

And feedback from Mr. Meat-and-two-veg?

I didn’t believe that such complexity of flavour can come from such a simple dish!  I really didn’t think you could knock flavour together in 5 minutes and this dish proves you don’t need to invest 40 minutes to get a tasty dinner.

there’s the hype, now here’s how she did it!

Serves 3-4 people (but we made twice as much to cater for tomorrows lunch!)

The ingredients for the dressing:

Juice and zest from 1 lime

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Large splash gluten free soy sauce

Little dash of Rice wine vinegar

1 tsp brown sugar

Pinch of chilli flakes/1 fresh chilli (add more or less if you are sensitive or love chilli)

Couple of tsp Toasted sesame oil

The ingredients for the salad:

300g rice noodles/rice vermicelli/mung bean vermicelli

1 mango

1 cucumber

100g green beans

A big handful of cashew nuts

A big handful of mint and basil leaves


The recipe:

  1. Put all the ingredients for the dressing into a bowl and mix (or into a jam jar – I find it quite therapeutic to shake it like this).  Add additional soy sauce or sesame oil to get a flavour you like.  Put aside
  2. Cook the rice noodles according to the packet instructions, then drain and leave to cool
  3. Lightly toast the cashew nuts in either a dry frying pan or in the oven until they start turning nicely brown.  Crush the nuts roughly (leaving some whole)
  4. Steam the green beans for 3-4 minutes
  5. Ribbon/thinly slice the cucumber and mango
  6. Roughly chop the mint and basil leaves
  7. Put the noodles, mango, cucumber, green beans and herbs into a big bowl and mix (you might find it easier to get your hands involved here as the noodles can be quite tricky to mix with spoons!)
  8. Pour the dressing over the noodles and toss again

To serve, just sprinkle the crushed nuts over the salad

Carrot, Fennel and Quinoa Salad

13 Jun









Lunch on the go or at the office can be a bit of a problem.  Sandwiches, pasties, pasta salads etc are obviously out of the question so I find myself planning ahead far more (and relying on the beauty of Tupperware).

This salad has been created for 2 reasons:

  1. I had a bit of a fennel craving the other day, so here is my attempt to showcase the veggie in all its simple aromatic and aniseed-y goodness.
  2. I got a mandolin the other day and wanted to play with all the settings!

The ingredients:

1 carrot

1 fennel bulb

1 pepper

1 red onion

1 or 2 tbsp of capers (drained)

Couple of handfuls of qunioa

Vegetable stock/bouillon (of the gluten free variety, of course!)

Squeeze of lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Extra virgin olive oil

Sunflower seeds


The recipe:

  1. Cook the qunioa according to the packet instructions, using vegetable stock or bouillon instead of just the water
  2. Whilst the qunioa is cooking, julienne the carrot, pepper and fennel and grate/dice the onion
  3. Squeeze ~½ a lemon over the veg
  4. When the qunioa has cooked and cooled, add to the vegetables.
  5. Add a drizzle of olive oil, the capers and salt and pepper to taste over the quinoa and vegetables. Mix.
  6. To serve, add a sprinkle of sunflower seeds

Courgette, Sugar Snap and Mango Stir Fry

10 Jun

Courgette, Sugar Snap and Mango Stir Fry






The Ingredients

1 onion

Pinch of dried chilli flakes/1 small fresh chilli (deseeded)

1 tsp Thai green curry paste

1 courgette

Handful of sugar snaps

1 small mango

Vermicelli noodles or mung bean noodles

1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil

Gluten free soy sauce

~1tbsp Sweet chilli sauce

Squeeze of lime juice

Sesame seeds


The recipe:

Cook noodles according to packet instructions

Thinly slice the onion and fresh chilli (if you’re using fresh chilli)

Heat oil in a wok and add onion, chilli and Thai green curry paste. Sauté until onion softens (~2-3 mins)

Thinly slice courgette.  Add to the wok along with the sugar snaps.  Cook for ~3 mins

Add a large splash of soy sauce and allow to reduce for a couple of minutes

Add the cooked noodles to the wok and toss through with the veg

Add toasted sesame oil and sweet chilli sauce and toss through the noodles

Just before serving add slices of mango and a squeeze of lime juice

To serve:

In bowls, with a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top.  Add extra soy sauce to taste if required.