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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Soaked Museli

Tom today,

Vegan breakfasts can seem daunting, as everything requires either eggs, milk, bacon or all three (bacon panackes - I'll have to get on to making a vegan version of these soon!). However, I have this museli with a portion of fruit (1/2 cup) each morning and find it keeps me full until lunch just fine. It can be made the night before if (like me) you are not a morning person. I really mean it. Getting up is just not my thing.

This is a recipe from my mum who is really into raw foods cooking (if it can be called cooking). She has very kindly bought me a years supply of each of these ingredients, which of course I have nearly finished three months later, however I realise these aren't necessarily ingredients which people have around the house. However, any good health food store should supply you with these, and buying them in bulk is always the cheaper way to do it! I make this every morning for breakfast and love it, combined with some fresh fruit makes a filling, healthy breakfast that I never get tired of. It's also extremely low fat and relatively low in calories (in comparison to other breakfasts) because it uses soaked oats instead of milk.

As a vegan I often use oat milk (along with hazelnut and almond), which is simply soaked oats which have then been sieved by someone in a big factory off somewhere (they may also heat it, I don't know the exact process) so by soaking these oats briefly, you create the creamy sensation of milky cereal without the need for extra calories. Linseeds are also very good for you, as are all seeds, but the energy and nutrients contained within are thought to be more easily accessible once they have been soaked (again, my mum could show you studies that suggest this to be the case, if anyone would like to hear them email and I'll ask her, I have seen enough to think it is worth trying but don't pretend to know everything about this). Raisins are also, in my opinion, infinitely better when soaked, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds are also better for you when soaked, though the difference is less so than with linseeds (when you do it you'll see, they get almost a coating around them).

Anyway on with the recipe!


1/2 cup of Oats
1/2 tbsp Linseeds
1 tbsp Sunflower Seeds
1 tsp Pumpkin Seeds
Handful of raisins (probably about 7-9, I really dislike too many)


There are two ways you can make this, a quick way (using hot water and cold water) and a long way (using cold water).
Oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds require about half an hour's soaking in cold water - I wouldn't use hot water to soak these - mainly because if you add boiling water to oats you basically make porridge (which I can't stand - seriously, why would you give me lumpy grey tasteless mush first thing in the morning and expect a gracious smile. Not going to happen).
First the long way; what I normally do is make about 2 weeks worth mixed up in a jar. This then needs at least an hours soaking in cold water (I often make it in a tub overnight so I can grab it and eat it on the bus when I inevitably oversleep my alarm and run off to lectures). Overnight is better, an hour is fine.
The quick way simply involves not mixing it beforehand. This way you can soak the oats and sunflower/pumpkin seeds for just half an hour. Then you can soak the linseeds and raisins; pour boiling water over them (I usually do this in a mug) and leave to cool. For ease I usually just leave it for the same amount of time as the oats and then mix it all together. This works just as well, but I like to have it all ready in a jar that I can pour easily (I'm not organised enough to do this separately each morning like my mum). Plus the jars look nice lined up on my worktop!

Hope you enjoy this museli as much as I do, nutritional information to follow. As always, feel free to alter this recipe, add your own dried fruits or different seeds, and let us know your ideas at

Serving suggestions: sometimes I add toasted candied nuts (agan something I often make in bulk - recipe to follow) for a nice flavour. Also dried blueberries and a teaspoon cinnamon sugar (add 1 tsp of cinnamon to half a cup of golden granulated sugar and store in a jar) make a nice addition.

and everyone loves a kilner jar on the worktop. Makes me feel like a real adult.
Nutritional Information:

                      Calories   Carbs     Fat     Protein     Sodium     Sugar
          Total:      312         42        11         10            3             9

1/2 a cup of fruit adds around 23 calories.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

Hi, Jess today!

Tom is usually the King of Asian cuisine, however during a nervous introduction to Thai food in New York, I tried this (I mean how wrong can you go with pineapple and rice?), realised I love Thai food and decided to make this myself and improve it to my own taste. I've always loved rice dishes, and when you're wheat intolerant you come to love rice simply because you can eat it. If you're a meat eater, its great with some fried chicken or prawns in it, however I made it for Tom so this recipe is fully vegan. Traditionally this dish is served in a sliced open pineapple, however I have not yet got round to this. Next time I make it, I'll try to remember because it'll look pretty in a picture.

As usual, use whatever quantity you need of the ingredients, I am no better at sticking to measurements than Tom.

1 cup jasmine rice (cooked and left in the fridge for an hour or two)
1 small tin of pineapple chunks in juice (or slices, chopped)
2-3 spring onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red or green chilli, chopped (try to go for a hot one - this dish is great spicy)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup cashew nuts
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 courgette
1/2 cup peas
1 pepper, chopped (colour is optional based on your preference)
1/2 cup vegetable stock

Sauce - 4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp honey (optional)
2 tbsp pineapple juice (from tinned pineapple is fine)

Firstly, mix the ingredients for the sauce together.
Fry the spring onions, garlic and chilli on high heat in oil for a few minutes. Add a little stock to keep it sizzling (but don't add too much, just a little at a time). Once this looks cooked, add the mushrooms, courgettes and peppers until softening, adding a little more stock if needed. Then, add the rice, raisins, peas and cashews. Drizzle the sauce over the rice and stir fry for about 7-8 minutes, until the rice has taken on the colour of the sauce. When it looks ready, try a bit and flavour it accordingly - add more soy sauce, pineapple juice, salt, pepper, whatever you feel it needs (I usually add a bit more soy and pineapple just for a stronger flavour but up to you). Be careful not to overcook the rice, it will end up soggy.

Serve fresh. Preferably in a pineapple. But in a dish is fine too.

This can be varied by adding different vegetables (carrots work well), and by using meat or fish. If you like egg, add an egg between the chilli and the veg and cook it like scrambled egg. This dish is really filling and is a great one to make for a big group, especially when you have dietary requirements (such as veganism and gluten freeism). Enjoy and let us know what you think and what changes you've made at !

Jess Loves Sushi!


Guys, it is a momentous day today. After this, Jess will no longer be...a sushi-making virgin. That's right, today I am teaching Jess (and all of you) how to make sushi. Because sushi is wonderful. As is Jess (nawh).

Anyway first things first, you do need quite a lot of ingredients for this, but it's really not that hard! Don't be put off by false tales, everyone is lying, sushi is easy to make! It is time consuming though, so set aside an evening with you and a couple of friends and have fun making your own combinations as you want them. First things first though, you will need to get yourself a sushi mat. Any asian food store will have them, even Sainsbury's do now (but you have to buy a kit sadly), normally they cost about a pound and you can reuse them and have delicious sushi for evermore. In a perfect world. Second step is to get a copy of this book:

Seriously, it's awesome.

Jess loves it too

It's one of my favourite cookbooks. I still haven't made half the stuff in it, but one day I will, and till then it's served me well enough. You may notice a theme today, and that is Jess loving things. As I introduce her to the wonders of japanese cooking, I make sure that she has the time to stop and appreciate each thing in turn. And then photograph it. Because Jess <3 sushi. Seriously, I'm making her a t-shirt for christmas. Jess must <3 sushi forever.

Many people are put off sushi because of the raw fish. Because I'm vegan I'm not putting any meat in mine, because honestly I think it's fine without it (not that a good piece of tuna sashimi isn't melt-in-the-mouth gorgeous, but that's for other people) and for Jess I'm cooking a nice piece of teriyaki tuna with some reduced tuna steak we found in Sainsbury's (student life win) to put in her maki (rolls). Before I start, if any actual japanese cooks, or even people who actually know what they're talking about, I apologise deeply for any inaccuracies here, I am 100% self taught through experimentation and far too much time spent on the internet in the early hours of the morning, so chances are this will not be authentic sushi. However, it tastes amazing anyway, so sorry if I get anything technically wrong here, this is just how I do it. And it works. Also I'm only making maki and uramaki here (these are both rolls) as these are my favourite and to be honest, I've never had much luck making nagiri.

That aside, here is what you will need to make some sushi:

For the Rice:

2 cups Sushi Rice (this is japanese short grain rice)
2 1/2 cups Water (cold - always cold!)
5 tbsp Mirin (normally I use rice vinegar with a bit of sugar and salt added, but mirin was the same price in Sainsbury's so I thought it would be easier - to make mirin use 1/3 cup rice vinegar with 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar)

Tom's Sushi Protip No 1: Sushi rice is hella expansive. A bag is about a fiver and most supermarkets won't sell it. However they do sell pudding rice in equivalent sized bags for about seventy pence. If you read the small print on these bags you will notice that pudding rice is in fact 'Japanese Sweet Short Grain Rice' until you add evaporated milk to make it into rice pudding. This sounds familiar? Yes, this pretty much the same as sushi rice, for a ridiculous amount less. Buy it. It's not the same grade as sushi rice so it doesn't hold together quite as well but if you (like me) like to keep your money then this is a good save.

For the Rolls:

5 sheets of Nori (this is the seaweed used to wrap up the rice)
1 piece of Teriyaki Tuna (link)
1/2 a Cucumber
1/2 a Red Pepper
1/2 a cup Red Cabbage (thinly sliced)
1/2 a cup Grated Carrot
1/8 a cup of Red Onion (thinly sliced)
Vegan Mayonnaise
A couple of tbsp of Toasted Sesame Seeds

For the table:

A bit of Soy Sauce (for dipping in a shallow bowl)
A whole lot more Saki (for drinking as you eat)
Chopsticks (because if you made this much effort, you definitely have to eat it properly)


Let's start with the sushi rice:

First wash the sushi rice under cold water until the water comes off clean (you'll see what I mean as it happens - usually takes about 5-10 minutes)
Then leave to dry again.
Then place in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid (preferably seethrough - you'll see why) and add the water.
Place on your medium heat hob and put on full heat, then put the lid back on.
As soon as you can see white bubbles in a ring around the edge of the pan, turn the heat down to the lowest.
Now here's the hard part, do. not. touch. it. This is why it's best to have a seethrough lid, so you can see what's happening (if, like me, you're a control freak who has to watch everything like a hawk at all times).
You need to leave it for around 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. If you take the lid off it will loose pressure and heat really quickly so try your hardest not to do this.
Once all the water is absorbed, take the lid off, give it a quick (but gentle) stir with a wooden spoon (so as not to damage the grains) to make sure it's not stuck to the bottom, then put a teatowl over the top and put the lid back on to steam for a further 10 minutes.
After this you need to clear a big space on your worktop and cover it with a sheet of tinfoil or clingfilm.
Spread the rice out on this in a thin layer (still being gentle).
Make cross shapes in the rice and pour in your mirin into these, then gently fold into the rice. This seasons the rice and gives it the flavour of sushi rice.
Now get a book, or a fan if you have one, or in our case, a piece of Cornflakes box we found in the recycling, and fan the absolute crap out of your rice. You want to cool it as quickly as possible so it stops cooking and retains it's shape, so fan it all on one side, then flip the rice over (as best you can) and fan that side until it's all about room temperature. Now you can put it into a dish, clingfilm it, and put it in the fridge whilst you get everything else ready.

Jess <3 fanning rice

Tom's Sushi Protip No. 2: Clingfilm your mat with two layers of clingfilm, this way nothing sticks to it, and instead of having to clean it, you just peel off the clingfilm and done.

Tom's Sushi Protip No. 3: Always keep your hands wet. Not sopping, but pretty wet, then the rice won't stick to your hands (well it won't as much anyway). Have a bowl of water in front of you as you roll the sushi so you can keep them wet.

Tom's Sushi Protip No. 4: Nori has two sides, a smooth shiny side and a rough matt side. Have the smooth side down and the rough side up as you make your sushi so the rice will stick to it.

To make the maki:

Preparations (yes, there's more):

Chop the cucumber and pepper into long thing strips so they will fit inside the rolls.
Toast your nori, use the biggest frying pan you have and then literally just heat it up to a medium heat, and dry-fry the nori until they smell toasted and go crispy. You should have enough rice to do 5 sheets.
Toast the sesame seeds.
Assemble everything on a table (so you can sit down) and have all your ingredients in front of your and your mat (including a bowl of water), this will just make it easier.

Assembling your maki:

Take a sheet of toasted nori, shiny side down, on top of your mat.
Cover it with rice up to an inch from the top edge, here you don't need to be gentle with the rice (since you're about to eat it) so don't be afraid to press it down firmly.
Line up your vegetables an inch and a half from the bottom (as in the photos).
Jess made teriyaki tuna with cucumber and pepper, I put cucumber and pepper in some of mine, then another I filled with grated carrot, red cabbage, onion and a line of mayonnaise to give a coleslaw-like flavour to it. All with liberal sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds over the rice.
Now begin to roll the maki. First fold all the way over until your vegetables are in the centre of a roll (it will look kinda like a snail). Again, be firm with it, give it a good squeeze all the way along to make sure it's rolling properly. Then in stages roll the mat over and then peel it off a bit, until all the rice is gone and you can just see the inch of nori you left uncovered. Wet this slightly with a bit of water to help it stick and then roll up fully and give the maki a good squeeze before you remove the mat (it should be just lying on top of it by now).
Now you just need to cut the roll into six with a sharp knife (also wetted from your bowl to stop it sticking) - easiest way is in half then into three.
Assemble on a plate with your other maki and get ready to eat!

Guess what? Jess <3 sushi ingredients

Tom is indifferent to sushi

Tom's veggie maki with cucumber, pepper, teriyaki sugarsnaps and vegan mayonnaise

Jess' maki with cucumber, red pepper and teriyaki tuna

Making sushi is great, just look how much fun Jess is having.

To make uramaki:

Uramaki are simply sushi rolls with the rice outside.
Again, have your nori with the rough side up.
Spread rice onto the nori, this time leaving an inch at the bottom.
Cover in toasted sesame seeds (because it looks pretty).
In one quick movement, pick up the right hand edge (if you're right handed) of the nori and flip it over so the rice underneath.
Again, assemble your ingredients an inch and a half from the bottom.
This time, when you start to roll, you'll need to wet the nori straight away to stick it down, then roll up as before.
Slice into two, and then into threes and arrange on a plate with the other maki.

You are now done! Serve with any leftover teriyaki fish (you might even want to make some extra for this - it's delicious), edamame (if you like them), we made some roasted sweet potato wedges (link) as well, spring rolls if you have them, you get the idea, anything. Oh, and lots of warmed Saki. If you don't like Saki at first, have a mouthful just as you're eating a piece of sushi, the saltiness of the sushi takes away the bitter of the Saki and the result is wonderfully sweet and salty (and more importantly alcoholic!)

This is very easily adaptable and can be made into any type of maki you like (there are some recipes online, have a google). A favourite of mine before I was vegan was uramaki with salmon, avocado and crabstick, kind of an augmented California roll and unbeatable (one thing I do truly miss).

Send us your maki and uramaki and/or photos of yourselves trying to make them (the first time is always hilarious) and enjoy!

Jess <3 sushi (last time I promise)
I lied (I'm sorry Jess)

A very full Tom and Jess x

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Fat-Free Lentil and Mushroom Burgers

Tom today!

Basically, I have a whole buttload of work I should be doing, so naturally all I can think about is new recipes to make (For some reason learning about sex steroids has given me an absolute hankering for some coconut macaroons. Don't ask me to explain. However that one will have to wait a few days). This is something of an invention, based loosely on a few recipes I have looked at and made before, but also very much making this up as I go along. We'll see how this goes.

Having read several of the Happy Herbivore's ( recipes, I have a budding interest in fat-free cooking (from both a scientific curiosity and a health point of view) so this is my attempt at fat-free recipe! (I say fat free, meaning that there are no added fats in this, however there are still some fats in the ingredients used - but this is minimal) I've also used arrowroot to bind the mixture, which makes this recipe both vegan and gluten-free (as long as you use certified oats). Also I am a terrible cook who never measures anything, so these are all approximations which I think I've used, so if you're out by a bit here and there, I can't see it mattering. As I haven't made these before and am making this up as I go along I'll have to add the nutritional info afterwards.

Makes 9 small burgers, probably about 3 meals worth


2 cups of Green Lentils
Pinch of Salt, Pepper, Rosemary, Cayenne Pepper and Smoked Paprika
1/2 cup of Red Lentils
1 Carrot (Grated)
1/2 an Onion
1 cup finely chopped Mushrooms
3 large cloves Garlic
5 tbsp Rolled Oats
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Rosemary (I used dried)
1/2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Mixed Herbs
1/2 tsp Bouillon (vegetable stock powder - if you're using stock cubes 4 tsp of Bouillon makes 1 litre of stock, so that would be a quarter of a stock cube usually - I didn't want to overpower the flavour)
Large pinch of Salt (the stock I use is pretty salty already)
Pepper to taste (I like LOTS)
1 tbsp Arrowroot (can also use cornflour or an egg)


First cook the green lentils in water, adding the salt, pepper, rosemary, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika to the water and then boiling for 10 minutes before simmering until soft (should be around half an hour). This will give the lentils a nice flavour (I always think green lentils have a slightly smokey flavour on their own which goes really nicely with these flavours and gives a meaty taste to the burgers).
Next boil the red lentils until they are soft, then drain and puree using a hand blender. These will give the burgers more substance and something to hold them together without needing flour (at least I hope so).
Now preheat your oven to 220 degrees celsius.
In a mixing bowl (as you can see in the pictures I am a poor student without such luxuries, so I am using a saucepan) combine all the ingredients and mix.
Add dashes of hot water until the mixture holds together (be careful not to go overboard! Really use little bits at a time and mix it thoroughly - I probably used about 6 tbsp). If you do go overboard, fear not! Flour or oats can easily be used to bring the mixtures back to the right consistency.
Make the mixture into small balls - I made mine into 9 which will be small burgers but you can do what you'd prefer - and place on a lightly greased baking tray.
Bake for 20-30 minutes (or until they start to look cooked and are brown on the bottom) then flip them and squash into burger shapes, bake for another 20-30 minutes until they seem cooked all the way through.
Serve - I like mine with vegan coleslaw and salad in a pitta!

This recipe can be used with different spices for a different flavour, or the carrot can be substituted for another vegetable (I'm thinking parsnips could be good?) or you can use different lentils, or a different pulse altogether! Let us know any ideas you come up with at


NB// Here is the nutritional info for these burgers (calculated using

                      Calories   Carbs     Fat     Protein     Sodium     Sugar
          Total:     686          117       5          41           299           9
Per Serving:        76           13        1           5             33           1

One serving is one burger if made into nine burgers

Maple Orange Turkey, Sweet Potato and Vegetable Bake

Obviously, due to the turkey bit, this is Jess' recipe (Tom did suggest i make this with 'furkey' but as of yet, I am unable to source this or decide if it even exists). (Tom: actually it's tofurkey IT EXISTS)

So, since I'm guessing I've probably visited more states than the average American, I thought I'd make a turkey dish in celebration of thanksgiving. Yes, I made it alone, and ended up drinking half a bottle of wine with it whilst discussing my girly emotional issues with my flatmate (yay for me!). And yes, that wine is still in my system, so this may need editing in the morning. Tipsy blogging is always a good idea.

Ingredients (roughly 2 servings worth):
2 turkey breasts
2 carrots, chopped
2 mini/1 large courgette, chopped
150g mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small sweet potato, cut into wedges
1 red pepper, sliced
3 vine tomatoes, halved
1 red onion (optional)

2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 an orange, juiced and zested
1 tbsp soy sauce
1tsp honey

Preheat oven to 190C.
Firstly, make the glaze recipe up in a cup and pour over the turkey to marinade, leaving in the fridge until ready to cook (leave longer - say an hour or two - if you're organised enough to prepare in advance). Leave about a tablespoon of glaze in the cup for the veggies.
Chop and prepare all the vegetables, potato and garlic (except the tomatoes, add these later) and place in a pyrex/baking dish. Drizzle a little oil over the vegetables, pour a tablespoon of glaze over them and roast for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the glazed turkey on top of the veg, and pour any remaining glaze over the dish. Bake for another 15 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and bake for a further 10-15 minutes, until turkey is golden and veg are softening. Serve straightaway.

 The wine isn't essential, but a glass of white (or two or three) never hurt a turkey dish...

The glaze i made wasn't particularly thick, I'd recommend using a little more syrup and a little less juice if you want a thick sticky glaze, however I wanted something lighter that covered all the vegetables too. Obviously, as usual, you can vary the vegetables up, try it with chicken, whatever you fancy. This is just what I fancied. But it makes a really tasty, filling and nutritious gluten free meal at roughly 350-400 calories a portion (alcohol calories do not count, OK).

Enjoy. With wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Dark Chocolate and Cranberry Monkey Bars

Group effort today!

We will readily admit we got the idea (and the basic recipe) for this from This blog is fantastic for gluten free recipes and we will sure be trying (and varying) many more of their recipes too. But this is the first one we did. Monkey bars are basically a peanutty cashewy chocolatey bananaey cranberry-y mapley syrupy granola bar. Sounds amazing, doesn't it? Well it is. If you can make these without eating half the mixture before it's made, hats off to you. This recipe is incredible. It's high in protein, so a great one for the gym-goers, and because it's high in energy it works well as a mid afternoon snack to stop you craving a sugar rush (OK, so it's kind of a sugar rush in itself, but it contains healthy stuff too like flax and nuts so it's OK, right?). And you can change it up however you like. This is what we did though...

2 cups rolled or jumbo oats (gluten free if needed)
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup milled flaxseed
1/4 cup oat bran
2tbsp maple syrup
2tbsp golden syrup (you can use 4 tbsp of one of these but we decided to try a bit of both)
1/2 cup peanut butter (we used crunchy)
1/4 cup honey
1 large banana, very ripe and mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
50g dark chocolate chunks, 50g dried cranberries (this bit can be whatever you like!)

Preheat oven to 350C. In a large bowl, mix the oats, oat bran, flax, cashews, cinnamon and syrup so that the mixture is coated. Place in a oven suitable dish and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, turning after five. KEEP CHECKING IT and do not let this mixture burn. Once golden, remove from the oven and let it cool down completely.
Whilst the oats are in the oven, mash the banana and add the peanut butter and honey. Cook this in a pan on medium heat until it becomes a runny mixture, and after about 5 minutes remove from the heat and add the vanilla and salt. Let this mixture cool completely too.
Once cooled (and make sure they are cool, especially if you're using something melty such as chocolate), mix the oat mixture and butter mixture together, and add the chocolate/cranberries/whatever your flavour in here.
Spread the mixture flat in the dish you're using (we found this was enough to fill two pyrex dishes, but the original recipe recommends a 9x5 baking pan) and bake for about 25 minutes, again do not let burn. Once baked, cut into your desired size bar, and there you have it: monkey bars.

I think there are loads of variations that need to be tried with this recipe - try adding the zest of an orange to the buttery mixture, use other berries such as raspberries and blueberries, replace the cranberries with raisins, add some dessicated coconut, grate an apple and add that instead of chocolate...the list is endless. You could also try other nut butters - almond would be lovely - and other nuts such as peanuts, hazelnuts or macadamia (white chocolate macadamia monkey bars anyone?).  Let us know what you think and what works best for you. And don't eat them all as quickly as Jess did :)

Also, when we say cup, don't go on the internet trying to convert cups to grams. Just literally measure everything out using the same cup. A coffee mug is perfect. Cups are actually a really sensible way to keep the proportions right without having to bother with scales, and recipes like this really don't require strict adherence to grams or lbs!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Stuffed Peppers

Hi, Jess today. Unfortunately, due to starting my literature review and starting work in the lab (which I will not discuss here - my subject matter would not make for good reading in a food blog...) my cooking has been rather unimaginative of late.

However, I have had the chance to make stuffed peppers recently, so I thought I'd share a few recipes here with you. Now, there are so many different ways to make stuffed peppers with different fillings and such, I couldn't possibly talk about them all here. However, they're so easy to make and so versatile, they definitely deserve a mention.

So, I do love traditional stuffed peppers. The ones filled with beef mince. However, there are so many other things you can stuff a pepper with. Personally, I prefer to make stuffed peppers with large red bell peppers, but yellow ones work great. And also, mini stuffed peppers are fun too, made with the small sweet peppers that are popular at the moment. You can normally find a good pack of mini peppers in the Tesco Finest section. So these fillings are great whatever way you like. I would normally serve them with rice (I think brown rice works best) but pasta/potatoes/whatever your chosen carb is will work fine. Or they go great with some steamed veg or salad if you're keeping it low-carb - literally, whatever works for you!

Traditional (adapted from my Mum's recipe)
My Mum always used to make traditional stuffed peppers as an alternative to roast dinners on Sundays. They are basically bolognese in peppers, with pasta.

1pack lean beef mince (I say pack because it depends on how much you're making, 500g should be plenty for 4 people)
1 onion (red is a personal preference), chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 apple, chopped (I use braeburns)
1 pint beef stock (gluten free - I use Kallo)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
A little olive oil
Paprika, basil and oregano to season
& 4 large red peppers, deseeded

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6/200C.
Firstly, boil the peppers for about 5 minutes, so that they are starting to soften but not too much. Once boiled, they can be left on the side until later.
Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan, and fry the onion and garlic together until they start to brown. Add the mince and fry together until the mince is browned and then add the mushrooms. Fry for a few minutes until the mushrooms soften and add the chopped tomatoes and apple, followed by the stock and seasonings. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 10-15 minutes, until it looks like a bolognese should.
Place the peppers in a suitable baking dish (pyrex is good) and evenly distribute the meat sauce in the peppers until they are all full, then fill the baking dish with the remainder. Place in the middle of the oven (not the top - peppers can burn quite quickly) and bake for about 20 minutes. Serve with rice or pasta.

Tuna Stuffed Peppers
These are definitely best served with brown rice as a main meal, or salad for a lighter lunch.
For 4 people:
4 large red/yellow bell peppers, deseeded and boiled as above
2 tins drained tuna (personally I don't like tuna in oil but this is a personal preference)
1 small chilli pepper, finely chopped
250g mushrooms, sliced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin sweetcorn
1 lemon, juiced
Paprika to season
Rocket leaves 

Fry the chilli until softened and add the mushrooms. Once mushrooms are browned, add the tuna and half the lemon juice. Fry for a couple of minutes, add the chopped tomatoes, then the sweetcorn, followed by the paprika. Cook on the hob for about five minutes. Stuff peppers with tuna and rocket evenly in a baking dish (there shouldn't be remainder this time) and bake for 10-15 minutes. When baked, squeeze the remaining lemon juice on the peppers just before serving.

When making this dish for one (*sobsob*), I use half a tin of tuna, some cherry tomatoes and a tablespoon of passata/tomato juice to replace the full tin of chopped tomatoes and reduce the other ingredients accordingly. Feel free to omit the rocket leaves, I know not everyone likes them.

Let us know how it goes and what variations you like to make! Enjoy!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Christmas Butterbean Cookies

Tom again, feeling surprisingly prolific today,

...and CHRISTMASSY. Yes I know it's november. I don't know what is happening to me. I am normally a massive scrooge. Help?

Anyway, in the spirit of my want to bake and christmas spirit (and because I can use my parents' fancy food processor!), here is a recipe for christmas flavoured cookies (the smell when they bake is glorious, it's filling my kitchen as I write this). This is entirely stolen from Happy Herbivore (, and I adapted it with christmas flavours to suit my mood.

But now, to address the elephant in the room, yes, I said butterbean. Before you run screaming and denounce me as a witch or burn me for worshiping the devil...62 calories per cookie. And 0.7g fat. That's all. Because you're using the protein from blended butterbeans (which lets face it, have no flavour) to bind these cookies together, you don't need to add any fat to it, animal or otherwise. To be fair, this recipe isn't exceptionally sweet, but that can be altered easily enough if you'd like too. Yes it sounds weird, yes it looks like babysick when blended, but hey, it's worth a try right?


1 cup Rolled Oats
1 cup Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Cloves
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
3 tsp Ginger (or about an inch of grated fresh ginger)
1/2 tsp grated Nutmeg
1/2 can of Butterbeans
1/4 cup of Apple sauce (or stewed apples)
1/2 cup of Sugar
Pinch of salt
Handful of Almonds

These cookies are kind of like macaroons in texture. On a side note DO NOT COOK THESE ON BAKING PAPER. They stick. And do not peal. At all. However, despite the occasional piece of baking paper still stuck on they were still tasty (my mum would NOT leave them alone). Also this recipe needs a food processor, you can probably do it with a spoon and a hand blender but it will take a lot of elbow grease.


Preheat the oven to 350F, 175C or Gas Mark 4.
Pour 3/4 cup of oats into the food processor and pulse until they are lightly ground but not a powder.
Add the oats and all of the rest of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl.
Put the butterbeans, apple sauce, vanilla and sugar in the food processor with a tbsp of water and blend until smooth.
Add the oats and stir until mixed.
Toast the almods briefly and break them up in a pestle and mortar (or with a rolling pin).
Combine the wet and dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and 1/3 of a cup of water and mix roughly (it should still be pretty lumpy, it works better that way).
Put tablespoon blobs on a greased baking tray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden around the edges and on the bottom and solid in the centre.
Enjoy with a coffee! (I just did)

Dry ingredients

First butterbeans...

Now babysick. Also known as the wet ingredients.

Combine the two.

Add a few almonds.


And after baking. With a nice bit of icing sugar, everything looks christmassy with icing sugar.

As always, make any changes you come feel - I'm thinking walnuts and coffee? - and let us know what you come up with at