Tag Archives: Vegan

Cauliflower. Yes again. 

I know I only made a whole roast cauliflower the other day (as a curry), but I couldn’t resist testing out my idea for a chermoula cauliflower for Sunday lunch today to celebrate the last day of #meatfreeweek. It was lovely! I’ve included the recipe for the chermoula spice paste and how to preserve lemons. Although you can now get preserved lemons in most supermarkets, you will probably find it best to learn to preserve your own once you too get hooked on this addictive stuff. Liz x

Start by tipping a tin of tomatoes and a tin of water into a small, deep roasting dish. Add a couple of handfuls of chopped dates and some sliced red onion. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper. If you like, add a tbsp of Harissa for an extra spice kick.

Then prepare the cauliflower by pulling off all the leaves and slicing off the stalk at the base. Put the prepped cauli on top of the tomato and date stew base. Then get on with the chermoula paste.

Chermoula is an incredibly tasty, North African, spicy paste. There are countless variations around, but the key flavours are from the preserved lemon, chilli and spices. Blitz up this red chermoula paste in a small food processor/blender. Or if you don’t have one, you can crush the spices with a pestle and morter, finely dice the lemon, crush the garlic and mix in a bowl.

  • 1 large (or two small) preserved lemon
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • Fresh red chillies, to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil to bring it together, about 2 or 3 tbsp will do

Then smear the paste thickly over the trimmed cauliflower. Sprinkle with a few more cumin seeds and bake for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the size of your cauliflower. Serve sliced wedges on cous cous with the tomato and date stew spooned over it, cumin roast parsnips and carrots, salad…etc! I made a quick tahini, yogurt and pomegranate molasses sauce too. A deliciously different Sunday roast!

And here’s how to preserve your own lemons. It’s very easy! You will need…

  • A tall sterilised jar or two
  • As many unwaxed lemons as you can squeeze into them
  • A tbsp of salt for each lemon
  • Chillies and herbs (optional)
  • Olive oil

Slice a deep cross into each lemon so they are almost in quarters, keeping them intact at the base. Stuff 1 tbsp of salt into each lemon and squish them down into the jar. Try and fit them in as tightly as possible. Use the back of the tablespoon to squash them down and get those juices flowing. Put the lid on and leave it for a week. Give the jar the occasional shake. After a week put in a whole red chilli and a sprig of Rosemary or thyme, or a couple of bay leaves. The lemons will have released most of their juices but top them up with a little more lemon juice if necessary and then about a cm layer of olive oil. Lid back on and leave to preserve for another 3 weeks before using.


Stinging Nettles.

When picking stinging nettles always just pick the tips. Not only are these are the best bits, but it saves you a lot of prep time when you get home. Nettles have endless uses…here’s what I did with my batch today. Liz x

I usually make nettle soup but fancied a light barley stew today. Simple recipe…

Start with a rough, sort-of sofrito (sautéed diced veg) I used onion, swede, carrot and celery…with thyme, garlic, a bay leaf, oil and seasoning. Fry until soft then add barley, mushrooms and water and simmer. Add water as needed. Freshen with a squeeze of lemon juice and stir in some washed nettle tips. Cook for another couple of minutes to wilt the nettles and serve.


I also made nettle, lemon and almond pesto with rest of my haul. Blanch the nettles to remove the sting, then cool under cold water and squeeze. Put in a food processor with a large handful of almonds (they don’t have to be blanched, that’s just all I have at the moment), a generous glug of olive oil, a crushed clove of garlic, the zest and juice from half a lemon, salt and pepper.


Beetroot & PSB Risotto.


Today was a hectic, beans on toast kind of day so, as I promised a recipe a day this week, here’s something I made a couple of weeks ago. 

This is a beautiful, vibrant, pink and green dish. It’s lovely served with lots of chopped dill and some soft, tangy goats cheese. No specific amounts in the recipe I’m afraid, but don’t worry, risotto is a flexible art. I’m sure yours will turn out just fine. I hope you like it! Liz x

  • About one small beetroot per person (either buy those ready cooked & peeled packs or cook & peel your own…boil/roast as you like), diced
  • Diced onion
  • Oil/butter/both
  • Garlic, to taste
  • Fresh thyme leaves
  • Risotto rice
  • A glass of white wine/a splash of vermouth/the juice of a lemon
  • Stock/water & seasoning
  • Purple sprouting broccoli, with the stems split halfway up their length so that they cook evenly

Fry the onion in a little oil/butter on a medium heat until it starts to soften. Then add chopped garlic and diced, cooked beetroot. Sprinkle over the risotto rice and thyme leaves and give it all a good stir. Add the wine/vermouth/lemon juice and stir again. Then add a ladleful of stock/seasoned water at a time and keep stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Keep adding ladles of stock/water and stirring until the rice is nearly cooked. When you only need to add a last couple of ladles, put the purple sprouting broccoli on the top of the rice to steam and put a lid on. Let it cook for about 3-5 minutes, until the broccoli is cooked through, and then serve immediately. Lemon wedges, chopped dill and cheese on the table.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower.


Cauliflowers are great. They are, of course, amazing covered in a cheese sauce and baked into the classic cauliflower cheese. But, they also live an exciting double life as the perfect vehicle for spice. I’ve been LOVING roasting spiced up cauliflower florets for years now so I just knew a whole roasted cauliflower was bound to be something special. And I was right! This was my first ever attempt and I’ve got loads of ideas up my sleeve for variations…see the end. But here’s something to get you started if you fancy a special meat-free roast this weekend. The important thing to remember when roasting cauli’s whole is that they take a long time, over an hour usually. Think giant jacket potato. As always, adapt and adjust to your liking, and let me know how you get on. Liz x 


Whole Roast Cauliflower, Chickpea & Coconut Curry. 

Serves 4-6 

  • 1 cauliflower, leaves peeled off & the base levelled
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • 1 (or 2 if you are feeding more than 4 people) tins of chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 lime, zest & juice
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • A small handful of fresh/frozen curry leaves
  • Sliced chillies to taste
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • An inch or so of fresh ginger, grated
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in a small, deep roasting dish and add a mug of water. Mix and smear the coconut and spices all over the cauliflower. Place in the middle shelf of your oven (200C) and roast for at least an hour depending on the size of your cauliflower. It could take an extra half hour… Keep checking on it every 15 minutes or so and basting it by spooning over the sauce. If your cauli is very big the sauce may start to dry out so add some more water or another tin of coconut milk. Check for done-ness by inserting a skewer into the middle. 

Serve sliced wedges of the cauliflower over some boiled rice and spoon over the lovely, coconutty roasted chickpeas. Sprinkle with lots of chopped coriander leaves and provide lime wedges to squeeze at the table. I love it with lime pickle and mango chutney too! 

Oh and don’t discard the cauliflower leaves! Fry them up in a little oil with sliced chillies, garlic, cumin seeds, salt and pepper! If you can get hold of some okra put that in too! With a squeeze of lime juice. Lovely 😋



Some other ideas I’ve had and which I will be trialing soon…

Smear with chermoula paste, tip in a couple of tins of tomatoes, a tbsp of Harissa paste, some chopped dates and red onions. Season well, drizzle with olive oil and roast. Serve with fluffy cous cous and salad. And a tahini dressing!

Smear with Thai green curry paste. Add coconut milk, lime and spring onions. Roast and serve with rice/noodles and steamed greens.

…or any shop bought Indian curry paste, with a base of tomatoes/coconut milk, red lentils or chickpeas.

Or cover with olive oil and sprinkle fennel seeds, crushed chillies, crushed garlic, dried oregano and seasoning. Roast with a base of tomatoes and serve on pasta or polenta.

Or garlic, Rosemary, butter beans and tomatoes? 

The possibilities are endless! And endlessly delicious. 

PSBroccoli, Parsley & Almond Pesto.



My little lady has finally stopped throwing up but is having an extra day off school to regain some energy. To help refuel her we made this delicious and nutritious pesto pasta for lunch. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, pesto is THE BEST way to get raw food, packed with vitamins and minerals, into your kids, and yourselves of course! This particular one contains almonds – which are an amazing source of healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamin E, magnesium and potassium…amongst other things! Parsley and broccoli – just bursting with iron, calcium, folates, vitamins A, C, K… B1,2,3,5&6 etc etc… Lemon juice – aids digestion and is an amazing source of vitamin C…  This pesto is basically a super-douper food! Don’t worry too much about amounts and measurements. Making pesto is not a science, just pop what you have into a strong food processor, blend, taste and adjust to your liking. Cook some pasta and stir the pesto through while it’s still hot. Liz x


  • Almonds – a large handful (I only had blanched in the house but any will do)
  • Garlic – one crushed clove is enough
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – about 4-5 stalks chopped in half
  • Parsley – a smallish bunch, stalks and all
  • Lemon Juice – about half a lemon is fined, taste and add more if you like
  • Olive oil – be generous! Drizzle it in as your food processor is running ’til you get the right consistency
  • Salt & Black Pepper – to taste



Rice & Greens with Avocado-Miso Sauce.


Tonight’s simple and soothing Spring supper was inspired by my poorly daughter. Her new school comes with a bunch of new bugs to encounter apparently. We needed something plain and soothing to settle an upset tummy and this was just the trick. And it soothed the rest of the very tired family too! 

No real recipe as such… 

Just boil some rice (a smallish mug of rice fed two adults and two kids…add two mugs of water, lid on, bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer until all the water absorbed).

In the meantime make your avocado, lime and miso sauce by blending the flesh of an avocado with a couple of tablespoons of miso paste and the juice of a lime, add a slow dribble of cool water to the blender while it’s running until you reach your desired consistency…I like mine like a thick mayonnaise. 

Then sauté some seasonal greens in a little oil with lots of chopped garlic. Add a generous splash of tamari (or light soy sauce is fine of course, if you are not avoiding gluten) to wilt the greens, you may need to add a splash of water too. Then stir in a liberal sprinkling of sesame seeds. And you are done! 

Put the rice in the bottom of bowls, add the soy-salty wilted greens and sesame seeds and then top with a generous dollop of the avo-miso sauce. Put a bottle of soy sauce/tamari on the table to season the rice if you like. Some chilli sauce doesn’t go amiss here either.

Enjoy! Liz x


Tomato and Coconut Soup.

Here’s what my poorly daughter and I had for a quick hot lunch today. Did you know it’s ‘meat free week’ this week? Well, I’ve just found out and I’m going to try and post a recipe on the blog every day in honour of this ‘taking stock of how much animal produce we consume’ time. The best thing about these sort of ‘fasts’ is not the holier-than-thou depravation but the gradual realisation of an unnecessary imbalance in our consuming. Give it a go and see what you learn. Liz x

This is one of those embarrassingly simple recipes you dread to share. It’s one of our most requested soups at the cafe but we only make it when we really have no fresh veg left at the end of the week. It’s also great to make when we’re in a rush. Please don’t dismiss this recipe, it’s like a vegan version of cream of tomato soup and absolutely delicious!

serves 2-4

1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk (or use half if you prefer it less creamy)
Salt and plenty of freshly
ground black pepper – to taste

Optional extras…
Spinach, kale or chard
A handful of cooked chick peas
Fresh coriander or basil

If you are in a real hurry or just feeling particularly lazy you can easily get away with leaving out the onion and garlic. You will need a medium pot. Peel and finely dice the onion and sauté it in the oil on a medium heat until soft and golden. Crush in the garlic cloves. Add the ground spices and give it a stir.
Empty in the tin of tomatoes. Half fill the tin with water, swirl it about a bit to get any tomatoey juices that have been left behind and pour that into the pot too. Give it a good stir and simmer for a few minutes.
Then scrape in the tin of coconut milk. Give the soup a good stir and season with salt and pepper. Bring the soup back to a simmer and taste. Add more seasoning or water if you think it’s necessary. Blend the soup until smooth using a handheld stick blender.
Return the pan to the heat. If you would like to add some sliced greens or chick peas do it now whilst you are bringing the soup back up to temperature. The greens will only take a minute or two to wilt.
Serve immediately with some crusty bread, another good grind of black pepper and a generous sprinkle of fresh herbs.