Easy Red Pepper pesto. (Vegan)


I was feeling a bit lazy today so whipped up the easiest pesto. I just roasted two red peppers (bell peppers, or red capsicum) in the oven with two cloves of garlic and a bit of olive oil. I added this to a blender, a pack of raw unsalted cashews, a tablespoon of olive oil and a third of a jar of sundried tomatoes in their oil. A bit of water to loosen the mixture and blitz and bingo- easy peasy pesto.

Gorgeous, but gorgeous over pasta, but also as a dip for breadsticks or crudites.

Red lentil pasta


I was interested in this pasta made from red lentil flour. It is gluten free and I thought it might be a good way to get new sources of nutrients into B-G. I simply made up a pasta sauce with onions, celery, chopped tomatoes and courgette. The pasta had a different texture to wheat pasta -slightly more robust and with more bite.  I would most likely pair it with spicy rather than subtle sauces, like a good punchy puttanesca.



Indonesian Coconut Curry with broccoli and tofu


I have had this pack of Freedom Fresh coconut curry sitting in our larder since Christmas and decided that today was the perfect day to break it out for a delicious, nutritious and veggie-packed curry.

Freedom fresh sauces are nut free and dairy free. The Indonesian coconut curry contains tomatoes, coconut milk, coconut cream, onion, curry powder garlic and ginger.


The simplest ever meal. Slice onions, broccoli and tofu. Add to pan, sautee and add sauce. Serve over rice.  This is so easy it is practically a ready meal. Yet was nourishing and tasty. It was mild enough to be suitable for Baby-Gusto’s conservative tastebuds also.

Stuffed butternut squash – repeat from March 2015!



This is an easy dish and I use quick-cook rice that comes in a pack (such as Uncle Ben’s).  I just cut the squash in half, scoop the middle out and roast on 200 degrees celsius until soft.

To a pan I add olive oil, diced onion, celery, red peppers and mushrooms and stir until soft. To this I add raisons, flaked almonds, vegetable stock and the quick-cook rice. Once the squash is cooked, I scoop the rice mixture into the mixture, put under the grill for a few minutes until hot, remove and then scatter a pinch of chilli flakes, a drizzle of lime juice and some fresh coriander on the top.


Frugal February – Kidney Bean Chilli


Once or twice a year I survey our groaning larder and  then our diminishing bank account and have a complete shit fit. Husband-Gusto likes to buy in bulk. I like to buy for the next day or so. The result, inevitably, as I insist on doing most of the cooking, is that we have thousands of tins, pulses, pasta and frozen food- most of which is nearing a use-by date. For a few days I impose a household ban on food shopping and try and cook my way through our store cupboard.

Hence, Frugal February. Granted, considering we have things like caviar and marinated artichokes in our larder, the term ‘frugal’ is a stretch, but I am determined that until our stores are depleted I am going to cook from what we have.

Today, at H-G’s request we had red kidney bean chilli. It was a pretty simple concoction of onions, garlic, red kidney beans, tinned sweetcorn given a bit of spice with diced fresh hot chilli.

From the larder.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tin red kidney beans

1 tub passata

1 tin sweetcorn

6 squares dark chocolate

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup rice

Fresh food

1 diced onion (medium)

1 sliced chilli pepper

1 sliced red bell pepper



Chop and chuck.

Chop all items that need to be chopped. Chuck all chopped items and fresh diced vegetables into olive oil. Add passata and water to cover. Simmer for as long as you wish.

Serve with rice.







London round-up

My Vegan MoFo posts have sadly been somewhat curtailed with real life getting in the way of my best laid plans (and hopes to post every day!).  However I have just spent a few days in London for work-related reasons and have absolutely relished meal after meal of glorious vegan food. The bank account has taken a bit of a beating (as it always does when I am on London and faced with so many options!) but I have eaten gloriously.

I failed to get a photo but Pret A Manger seem to have increased their veg sandwich range to include vegan options beyond the ubiquitous hummus and marinated peppers. A bit of a relief as I am sick to death of hummus. I ate a gorgeous wrap with avocado, salad leaves, basil and a sweet corn and bean salsa. Simple and very good.

I also finally tried out Itsu, a chain that does sushi and fresh salads. Lots of raw juices as well. I tried their vegetable dumplings and a ‘detox’ miso soup. DSC00316 DSC00317

Both dishes were perfectly respectable. I would have liked more spice and flavour so I added hot chilli sauce and soy.  A good  and satisfying lunch.


I also went to the Hare and Tortoise, which despite it’s name is not a pub but a fusion sort of diner featuring an array of sushi, Thai food, Malay food and so on. This is a real favourite of mine….. and is extremely popular. I have never been able to get a table straight off and have always had to wait. I tried the mock duck rolls made with tofu.


This was great. The pancakes were light and soft, the tofu was not too oily. The fresh cucumbers and Hoisin sauce all made this into a lovely fresh dish.

I also got my full tofu fix with a tofu and vegetable Ramen.


Absolutely gorgeous with three HUGE pieces of tofu. I LOVE that. I really like this dish and really like the Hare and Tortoise.





Store Cupboard Vegan – Punjaban Keema Curry with peppers and peas


I am unable to walk or drive for a few days as I have hurt my foot which makes putting weight on it almost unbearable. I am considering upping my cool-quotient by telling people I have had a kite-surfing accident, but actually truth is I tripped over the kitty litter tray while vacuuming. So, for this week we have taken the opportunity to go through our store cupboard and eat what we have on hand, rather than going shopping for new ingredients. Our larder has to be seen to be believed…… it is bursting at the seams.

In our larder was a jar of Keema Curry base by Punjaban. I bought this jar when there was a Punjaban stall at Cowes Week a year or so back. I was naturally attracted as the sauce was gluten, dairy and nut free. But since then the sauce has been sitting in our larder, lonely and desperate for affection. The sauce needs nothing but whatever protein you are adding…. traditionally keema curry uses minced meat. I would have added lentils or soy mince, but neither were to hand and so I simply added sliced red and green pepper, onion and green peas.



This was really delicious. Possibly the nicest and freshest bottled sauce base I have ever had. There are no fillers or bulking agents in the base, the ingredients are simply listed as follows; tomatoes, onions, rape seed oil, ginger, spices, lemon juice, fresh green chillies, salt, cumin seeds. That is it.  It was spicy, delicious, fresh tasting. I will certainly be trying Punjaban sauces again.