National Vegetarian Week 2010 and cake!

Well its national vegetarian week in the UK (Mon 25th May - Sunday 31st May), so I thought I better try some new recipes this week. One each day if possible, here is the first three new recipes which all turned out tasty. Now I should try something savoury!!

So far I have tried breakfast muffins


Carrot muffins


Carob brownies

Onion Tart Tatin

Tried another of weezls recipes from the feed a family of 4 for £100. She now has a great website with all the recipes and more to come. Visit to view full recipe and the site. The first plan is complete which included meat and the vegan plan is being worked on now, which this recipe is from.

I used red onion chopped instead of yellow onions sliced, but this just adds to the variation. I also was asked by weezl, if I would replace 50g of the flour for the pastry with instant oats cereal to add calcium and B12 to the pastry. It was successful. So until it gets updated with final version on her site. I used 60g self raising flour and 50g of instant oat cereal (like ready brek type cereal)
The pastry is like a savoury biscuit/scone type base, and most yummy. This tart would suit many fillings. I served with salad and potato salad and I also had it with cooked vegetables. All gone now and yummy it was too. Will be making it again soon, will try yellow onions next time.


I am learning to knit! I have signed up for a 3 week (6 hours in total) taster class for complete beginners and its free too!

I had a go with a ball of acrylic wool first and learned how to cast on and knit a few rows and then cast off. I then cut strips out of waste fabric and had a go at knitting with them. This was so exciting for me, the idea that you can knit fabric and other waste products like carrier bags. Next week I will be having a go with carrier bags. As you can often get clothes given or cheap at jumble sales/charity shops, I can see that if I can get the hang of this knitting, I will be able to create some wonderful unique pieces.

Recycling jeans

I have just completed a free taster course at the local college on how to make a bag out of a pair of jeans. There is lots of tutorials on the net if your interested, just search for them. So now I have a unique denim bag and have packed my rucksack away until I take up walking regularly again. I have also picked up a few more pairs of jeans for 10p from a jumble sale, so that I can make some more, how exciting!
Here are pictures of the front and back of the bag.

Savoury and sweet butternut squash pie!

Good job I tried dessert first!!

Just made the pumpkin pie with butternut squash from weezls blog. I made it without the sugar and with wholemeal pastry, well almost, rang out of wm, so used 175g wm, 25g plain flour. I enjoyed the pastry, but the pie, not being sweet with me not putting sugar in, had to become a savoury pie. As the sides were still soft after slicing, I stuck mixed herbs to the sides and then topped with gravy.

So I guess with some herbs and perhaps onion/garlic this could also be made into a lovely savoury dish.

I don't use much sugar in my desserts and non if possible, but this just isn't sweet without, so next time, I am going to add raisins and perhaps agave syrup! So I will try a different sweet and savory version sometime and let you know.

Chickpea Crumble revisited

Chickpea Crumble made with instant oats instead of rolled oats. Weezl asked if I'd mind trying this version for the vegan 80p a day planner. This would not only bring the price down a little more, but add in extra calcium too.
Serves 4

1tbsp rapeseed oil
1 small onion (approx 100g), chopped
225g potatoes, scrubbed and sliced
400g tin tomatoes (I rinsed out the can with about 2cm of water)
425g tin chickpeas
black pepper
1 tsp garam masala
half a tsp mustard

75g plain white flour
25g instant oats cereal
40g rapeseed oil
25g salted peanuts

Saute the onion, and potatoes for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes. Add the garam masala and mustard. Simmer gently with lid on for 20 minutes until potatoes are soft.

Crumble – Break up peanuts a little (put in bag and roll over rolling pin to break up). Mix oil into flour and instant oats and 2 tbsp water and stir until all the oats is dissolved. Stir in the peanuts, breaking them up a little with the back of a spoon. Stir the chickpeas into the tomato sauce, season with black pepper to taste. Put into a ovenproof dish and top with the crumble. Bake at 190C/375F/Gas 5 for about 40-45 minutes.


Mash is always nice with a meal or for a topping such as sheperds pie. Why not try adding other veg to your potatoes

Potatoes plus

sweet potato
butternut squash

or any combination of the above with potatoes

Healthy Fruit cake

Another recipe from the eat well spend less, the book that I won, slightly adapted. This will be the last from me, as I am now going to give the book away. This recipe has no sugar, fat or eggs, yet it is like a traditional fruit cake and very sweet. In fact its too sweet for me! I shall be giving it to relatatives for a pressie.

The book says the ingredients cost £2.25

200g dates
300ml hot water
100g wholemeal self raising flour
75g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
400g raisins
1 tbsp mandarin/orange juice

This cooks at 180C/gas 4 (160c for my fan oven)

Chop the dates and soften in the hot water. Mash to break up the dates.
In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and spice. Add the raisins, juice and mix. Add the dates and water mix.
Stir well to incorporate all the flour.
Bake in a 2lb loaf or cake tin .
Bake for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 160C/gas 3 for a further 15 mins. Test with a skewer, if it comes out clean its cooked, may need up to 15 mins longer.

So if you have a sweet tooth and want to avoid sugar and you are ok with dried fruit, this ones for you.

Pepper, mushroom and nut roast

This is based on the mushroom and cashew nut roast in eat well spend less, the book that I won, I just changed the ingredients by adding peanuts, roasted red peppers and increasing the bread mainly. I used salted cashews and peanuts, so there is no need to add salt. I did shake them in a colander first, so that it wasn't too salty.

My version

Oil to fry
1 onion
splash of balsamic vinegar
185 g mushrooms
160 g roasted red peppers
125 g cashews
75 g peanuts
2 tsps yeast extract
80 g homemade breadcrumbs
Separately chop the onion, mushrooms, red peppers. Grind the nuts and then the bread to make crumbs. Heat oil and fry the onion, adding a splash of balsamic vinegar. Add the mushrooms, roasted red peppers and nuts and cook for a few minutes. Add the yeast extract, stir to mix. Take off the heat and then the breadcrumbs and stir well. Put into a loaf pan and bake at 180C. Gas 4 for 30 minutes approx.

Can be made in advance or even frozen uncooked.

Sweet potato burgers

I tried another recipe from Eat Well spend less, the book that I won. There is only 3 main and 3 dessert recipes that I plan to try before giving it away, as most of the book is meat based. I have already tried spicy tofu burgers, so today was spicy sweet potato balls and tomorrow hopefully it will be mushroom and cashew nut roast. Well I didn't exactly follow the recipe and it didn't exactly taste as good as most recipes I tried, but I know the 3 that are left, should fry up nicely. The reason was, that I baked them and there was a lot of wholemeal flour on the outside, that still tasted of flour, otherwise ok. I covered in gravy, so I didn't taste it!!
So here is my version.

Spicy Sweet potato burgers (original is balls, but I couldn't be bothered to make lots of those, so it was 5 large burgers)

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
oil to fry
1 onion, chopped
chilli powder
2 large tomatoes or equivalent cherry tomatoes, chopped
cayenne pepper
wholemeal flour
instant oats or breadcrumbs to thicken as necessary

These I cooked at 180C, but I think they would be nice fried if you can get them firm enough

Steam sweet potatoes and then mash with marg and soya milk.
Fry onion, garlic and chilli powder in oil.
Add tomatoes and spices and stir for 1 minute.
Add to mash and mix well.
Now the recipe said to use a little flour and roll into balls and then coat in breadcrumbs. I didn't have any bread, so used lots of flour and instant oats to thicken. I think the amount you need would depend on size of sweet potatoes, onion and tomatoes especially. I had a very wet mixture, so needed loads. I wish I had defrosted some bread and thickened with breadcrumbs and then rolled in them. But there is always next time.

Anyway, have a go based on the ingredients and suit the spices to your tastes. I love sweet potatoes and will definately try another version based on the ingredients and not so much flour.
Sorry no picture today!