Green lentil stew


I made a large batch of this, which provided:

  • 1 portion with added kale (cooked for 3 minutes in the stew);
  • 2 portions of pancakes (with 4 large pancakes, bechamel sauce, and grated parmesan; baked for about 25 minutes at 180C (Gas Mark 4);
  • 2 portions of ‘shepherds’ pie (with mashed potato); baked for about 25 minutes at 180C (Gas Mark 4).


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 large carrot (chopped)
  • 2 sticks celery (chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (cored, deseeded and chopped)
  • 150g mushrooms (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • A large pinch of dried oregano
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 120g green lentils
  • 400ml vegi-stock
  • Black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Stir in the onion, carrot, celery and red pepper, and cook gently for 10 minutes. Turn up the heat, and stir in the mushrooms and garlic, and stir-cook for two minutes.

Stir in the oregano, tomatoes, lentils and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are cooked. Season with black pepper to taste.

If not all used immediately, allow to cool and store in the fridge (using within the next few days).




Jambalaya is a fairly quick one-pot Cajun rice dish. This version is based on a recipe from the Hairy Bikers. Enough for 3:

  • Chicken thighs (boned and cut into smallish chunks
  • 40g cooking chorizo (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 celery sticks (sliced 1cm thick)
  • 1 green pepper (cored, deseeded and cut into rough 2cm chunks)
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed/finely chopped)
  • 1 heaped tsp paprika
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano (chopped)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 90g brown rice
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 1 courgette (cut into chunks), so other equivalent green vegetable(s)
  • 40g peeled uncooked king prawns (defrosted)
  • 2 spring onions (sliced)
  • Lemon juice & black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Fry the chicken over a medium heat until it starts to brown. Add the chorizo and stir-fry for another minute. Remove the chicken and chorizo from the pan.

Stir in the onion, celery and green pepper, and cook very gently for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes, cut into quarters and remove the seeds (save the liquid from the tomatoes by rubbing the seeds though a sieve, and reserve together with any other accumulated tomato liquid on the chopping board). Roughly chop the tomatoes flesh.

Stir the garlic, paprika, cayenne, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf into the onion, celery and green pepper mixture. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and the reserved liquid and cook over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have softened.

Return the chicken and chorizo to the pan, stir in the rice, and cook gently for 1 minute. Pour over the stock and cook for about 20 minutes (stir occasionally, and if the rice is drying out add more water or stock) until the rice is just cooked.

Stir in the prawns and spring onions and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked. Serve.

Shepherds pie


I had some meat left over from slow roasted lamb, so I decided to make a shepherds pie. Enough for 3:

  • Cold lamb (chopped – the amount I used covered a standard sized saucer – see photo above)
  • 30g brown lentils (rinsed, cooked in water (should take about 20 minutes from boiling) and drained)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • 1 stick of celery (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped/crushed)
  • 200g tinned chopped tomatoes (1/2 of a normal sized can)
  • A pinch of dried oregano
  • Black pepper
  • 1/3rd beef stock cube
  • Hot water
  • 3 medium sized potatoes
  • 20g butter

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomatoes, crumble in the stock cube, add the oregano and some black pepper, and mix well.  Top up with hot water, so the mixture doesn’t get too dry. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut into small cubes and cook in a pan of water. When cooked, drain and return to the pan over a low heat to ‘dry out’. Mash with the butter and add black pepper to taste.

When the tomato and vegetable mixture is cooked, stir in the cold lamb. Pour into a shallow ovenproof dish, and gently place the mashed potato on top.

Cook in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 30 minutes, or until the top begins to brown and the whole dish is piping hot. Serve.

Chipotle chicken with Mexican rice


Enough for 2 (with left-over rice):

For the chicken:

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 tsp chipotle paste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 200g chopped tomatoes (1/2 a can)
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • A few sprigs of coriander (torn)

For the rice:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 large pepper chopped (I used the remains of two peppers used for a previous meal)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 100g basmati rice (or any long grain rice)
  • 250ml stock (I used 1/2 tsp vegi-stock powder)
  • 2 tbsp double concentrated tomato purée
  • 400g can of red kidney beans (drained)

Cooking the chicken – coat the chicken thighs in the chipotle paste and leave (covered) in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Remove the chicken from the fridge (do not throw away any remaining marinade). Heat the oil in a thick bottomed saucepan, and brown the chicken thighs all over. Remove the chicken thighs to a plate.

Turn down the heat and gently cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Tip the tomatoes into the dish in which the chicken was marinated, and swill round to incorporate the remaining marinade. Add this mixture to the onion mixture, together with the vinegar. Stir and add the chicken thighs. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes (or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked).

Cooking the rice – heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and gently cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin, oregano and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rice, coating it with oil so that it begins to look transparent.

Stir in the tomato purée and the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the rice is nearly cooked (about 15 minutes). Add more water if the rice becomes dry. Add the kidney beans and cook for another 5 minutes (or until they are piping hot).

Serve with the chicken (sprinkled with coriander).

Butternut squash, bean and tomato hotpot


This is my take on ‘Italian bean, butternut squash & tomato casserole (topped with fontina cheese & sliced buttered potatoes)’ from Aqua in Bristol. This provides plenty for 4 people:

  • Oil
  • 1/2 roasted butternut squash (cut into 2cm cubes)
  • 1 large onion (cut into thin wedges)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed or finely chopped)
  • Large pinch of oregano
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tinned butter beans (drained)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 baking potatoes (skins pierced several times)
  • 40g butter
  • 40g grated cheddar

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds (if you like you can roast these at the same time as the squash – remove the fleshy fibrous bits, mix with a little oil and salt, and roast (on a baking sheet in the bottom of the oven) for about 15 minutes (take a look after 10 minutes)).

Put the two halves of the butternut squash on a baking sheet. Pour a dessertspoon of oil into each cavity and brush over the surface of the squash. Roast for 40 minutes at 180C (Gas Mark 4). Put the potatoes in the oven at the same time.

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. Stir in the onion and gently cook for 8 minutes. Add one clove of garlic (crushed/chopped) and the oregano, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the butternut squash is cooked. Cube one of the halves (the other can be used in soup or risotto) and add it to the tomato mixture (I skinned my squash, but you can eat the skin which is quite tasty, but it does affect the texture of the finished dish). Add the butter beans. Season with black pepper, and ensure all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour into a shallow ovenproof dish.

If the potatoes are cooked, slice them into 1cm slices (if they need a little more cooking I suggest that you finish them in the microwave before slicing). Place the potato slices on top of the tomato, squash and bean mixture.

Melt the butter and the remaining garlic in the microwave (about 40 seconds at 750W). Brush onto the potatoes (use a brush which won’t melt!). Sprinkle with the grated cheese and black pepper.

Cook in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 30 minutes (longer if you are cooking the dish from cold). Serve.

I served mine with wild rocket (65p at Lidl).



Tomato sauce for pizza or pasta


I made this with the remains of the tinned tomatoes I used for Lamb Tagine. This would make enough for pasta for 4 people (if you use a full tin of tomatoes it won’t really matter, but you could use a larger onion and another clove of garlic):

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium sized onion (finely sliced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 large pinch of dried oregano
  • 1 large pinch of dried basil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 270g tinned chopped tomatoes

Heat the oil into a medium sized saucepan (one that has a lid).

Add the onions and garlic and gently cook for 5 minutes. Add the herbs and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Combine  the tomatoes with the onion mixture and add some black pepper. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat so that the mixture simmers very gently. Place the lid on the saucepan and cook for 20 minutes.

When cooked, purée with a handheld blender (or liquidise). This will keep in the fridge for at least a week.



Roasted Mediterranean vegetables or ratatouille


This makes a substantial quantity – enough for about 10 people as a side dish. I have a variety of uses for it: chopped, you can mix it with couscous, together with nuts, dried fruits, grains and a dressing made from harissa, oil and vinegar to make a excellent salad; mix it with passata and pasta, and top with grated cheese and you have a pasta bake (30 minutes at 180C (gas mark 4)); or just as a cold, cooked salad (with some salad dressing).

  • 1  aubergine (cut into pieces about 3x3x1cm – they don’t have to be square!)
  • 1 large courgette (cut into quarters lengthwise, and then cut into 3cm pieces)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (chopped or finely crushed)
  • Large pinches of dried basil and oregano (or fresh equivalents)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion (cut into narrow wedges (and broken up))
  • 2 large peppers (different colours – deseeded and cut into 3x1cm lengths)
  • 200g small tomatoes (skinned – the skins will be easily removed if you cut a small cross through the skin of each tomato, and then steep in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain, and plunging into cold water before pulling off the skins)
  • 1/2 lemon

Set the oven at 180C (Gas mark 4). Put the aubergine and courgette pieces into a large roasting tin. Sprinkle with plenty of olive oil, garlic, the herbs and black pepper.  Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes,

Add the onion and the peppers and mix well. Cook for a further 15 minutes, then arrange the tomatoes on top of the vegetables, then turn down the oven down 150C (Gas Mark  2) and cook for a further 20 minutes,

Remove the vegetables from the oven and sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve immediately or allow to cool and store in the fridge (the should last about a week).