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Lazy Vegetarian Meal Ideas #28 Super easy uber tasty roast vegetables

This meal was probably the easiest thing I have ever made and it was also very, very tasty. It can be eaten as a main meal if your dieting or trying to cut down on gluten, and can also make a great wrap, pie or samosa filling. I made this whilst my stove was broken so this required virtually no preparation.

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What you need: Two or three medium sized potatoes cut into small pieces, one chopped red pepper, two chopped aubergines, a few chopped mushrooms, crushed garlic, half a chopped courgette, one finely chopped chili and an oven.

Spices: Fenugreek, Asafetida, chilli powder, paprika, salt, pepper, herbs de provence, rosemary, a few chilli flakes.

Note: I like my food very spicy, but if that’s not your cup of tea feel free to use less chilli or cut it out altogether.

1: Soak the chopped aubergines in cold salted water for about twenty minutes. Chop the potatoes into small bits and finely chop the rest of the vegetables

2: Drizzle a little olive oil onto a baking tray and add the garlic and spices

3: Add the vegetables and stir until they are covered in the spices. Drizzle a little more olive oil if necessary

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4: Heat the oven to around 180 degrees and bake for around 40 minutes

5: Serve with some soy sauce and enjoy 🙂

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Lazy Vegetarian Meal Ideas #27 Ratatouille (optionally vegan)

My stove broke last week. For over a week now my household has had no hobs and no big stove to use. I cannot cook pasta, or rice, or boil potatoes or do any of the amazing things we modern humans can do with an electric cooker.
All we have at the moment is a very small microwave size oven. This has posed a challenge as I don’t really use the oven that much and about 80% of my recipes require at least one hot plate. However, this has forced me to cook outside of my comfort zone and over the last week I have made some very tasty vegetable based dishes. The one I am most proud of, and the one I am sharing now, is my first ever attempt at making  ratatouille. Although being able to cook the sauce on the stove first may have helped, it still turned out really well and was also a gluten free, healthy and reasonably low fat dish.

What you need: An oven, a few thinly sliced white potatoes, two thinly sliced aubergines, one thinly sliced courgette, a carton of tomato passata sauce, a few chopped mushrooms, olive oil, a thinly chopped chilli, a few cloves of crushed garlic

Spices: Salt, pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, dried herbs de provence, chilli powder

1: Pre-soak the chopped aubergines in cold salted water for about 15-20 minutes

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2: Chop the vegetables into small, thin circles. Drizzle a little olive oil on a baking tray, add the garlic and arrange the vegetables. Ratatouille should ideally follow the nice spirally shape that makes it so pretty, but if you are lazy like me you can arrange them how you wish.

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3: Drizzle with some more olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, dried spices and a little chilli. To make the sauce without the hob, simply mix the passata, garlic, spices, salt and pepper and stir thoroughly and then pour over the vegetables.  You can also add a little cheese on top.

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4: Put it in the oven for around 45 minutes. Remember to keep an eye on it, stir it a few times and don’t stop cooking it until the potatoes are soft

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5: Enjoy with cheese (optional)

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Lazy Vegetarian Meal Ideas #25 Chickpea and Kale Delight

I love chickpeas. Like, seriously. I could write a sonnet about chickpeas. Chickpeas are cheap, tasty and protein filled beauties and I don’t know what I would do without them, and they are also fabulously cheap! This recipe is my take on the more traditional spinach and chickpea combo; kale has a slightly sweeter taste, but I prefer it personally.

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What you need: A can of chickpeas, about half a pack of kale, olive oil, an onion.

Spices: Asafoetida, fenugreek, tumeric, chilli powder, cumin, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, salt, pepper, chilli flakes

1: Heat oil in a large saucepan and add some asafoetida and mustard seeds. Heat the oil over a medium heat for a few minutes (chop the onion in the mean time) until it becomes fragrant. Then turn up the heat, add the onions and spices and fry for five-seven minutes

2: Add the kale and sauté on a medium heat for a few minutes. Then add the chickpeas and some more spices and fry for about five minutes

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3: Turn down the heat, add a small amount of water (literally a few splashes) and cook for about ten minutes

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4: Enjoy with my delightful sauté aubergines (coming soon)

 

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Lazy Vegetarian Meal Ideas #21 Fried Aubergine and Chickpea delight

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If you’ve read any of my previous recipes you may already know that I have a deep love for aubergines. Although I used to think they were really hard to cook, and it’s true that they do require a bit of preparation, when these fabulous fruit/vegetables are cooked right they really are fantastic. This super easy recipe combines two fabulous and healthy foods, aubergines and chickpeas, to make a tasty (if a bit oily) meal that you can enjoy with rice, in a wrap or even as a filling for delicious Indian inspired pies.

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What you need: A large aubergine or several baby aubergines (this was my first time cooking with baby aubergines as our local Tesco ran out of the big ones, and I think they are actually a little nicer than regular ones), a tin of chickpeas, two chopped chillies, olive oil (you will need quite a lot as the aubergines absorb it like a thirsty drunk), one medium/small onion.
Spices: Asafoetida, fenugreek, tumeric, cumin seeds, garam masala, Coriander seeds, a little pinch of chilli flakes, salt, pepper, curry seeds, mustard seeds

1: Thinly slice the aubergines and soak them in cold salted water for around twenty minutes.

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2: Fry a few dollops of asafoetida in olive oil until starting to warm up, then add the mustard seeds. After a minute or two add the chopped onions and fry for a few minutes, then add the chillies. Turn to a low heat and sauté for about five more minutes until the onions are translucent and reduced in size

3: Add a bit of all the spices (I tend to add more than you probably should, but damnit it just tastes so good!) and then add the aubergines. Add oil as required as the aubergines will lap it up, and fry for about five minutes.

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4: Add chickpeas, fry for a few more minutes and then turn to a low heat and cook for a further ten minutes. Season to taste

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5:Enjoy with soya sauce

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A place for vegetarians: Diwana Indian Vegetarian Restaurant in Euston, London

A place for vegetarians: South India in London!

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Diwana Bhel Puri House is one of my favorite restaurants of all time. Located close to Euston train station in the Camden borough of London, this authentic Southern Indian restaurant is cheap (the daily buffet is £6.95, and most meals are under £10), it’s BYOB so you save a lot on alcohol (restaurants normally have ridiculously over-priced beer) and best of all it’s all vegetarian! The buffet only runs during lunch time Mon-Fri and slightly longer on the weekend, but if you miss it don’t be too upset as you can have one of the many menu dishes at a very good price (please see below).

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This isn’t your regular curry house, and you won’t find things like Korma or Masala on the menu. This is Southern Indian food, which includes dosa’s, thali’s and poori’s as well as the more well known dal and bombay aloo. Although I do love a good korma, I personally prefer south indian as a: there is far more choice for vegetarians (in fact it tends to all be vegetarian!) and b: I find there is more variety in dishes and flavor.

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I’ve been going to this restaurant for over 16 years now (I was very young), and I really recommend that all London based vegetarians (or carnivorous that won’t run screaming at the idea of a meatless meal) give it a try. This place will prove that a purely vegetarian diet can be far from boring, and will make you want to visit South India so you can eat this delicious street food every day. The seats are a little cramped and some people have complained about the sparse setting, but the food more than makes up for any complaints.

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The waiters are friendly, the setting is understated but has an authentic feel with Indian music and decorations, and even though whilst you are there you will probably eat so much food you won’t feel human for a few hours, you won’t regret it. This restaurant proves that vegetarian food is far from boring, that there are many things you can do with beans, and it sells delicious dosa’s and thali’s that are unfortunately quite hard to find in most British Indian restaurants.

Image-3This is a deluxe Dosa priced at only £7.05! Dosa’s are rice pancakes which can either be eaten by themselves with an array of sauces or with a potato filling. I remember when I was in Singapoor around 8 years ago we went to this fast food place which, rather than burgers and chips, had dosas and other Indian dishes. I was in heaven! I’ve been meaning to try and make a dosa for some time and even bought a packet batter thing for the pancake, but in the mean time I will make do with these bad boys.

Image-9Thali’s are a set meal with rice, chipatti’s or poori’s, dahl, vegetarian curry and desert. £8.95!

Check them out at http://www.diwanabph.com/ or wonder down Drummond Street in Euston sometime, it has this and at least two other authentic Indian Vegetarian restaurants at delicious prices and authentic quality.

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Lazy Vegetarian Meal Ideas #20 Baked Camembert and Garlic Bread

I do like a bit of Camembert, and it turns out it tasted even better baked! I am not sure if it is meant to be as melted as mine turned out or if this is what Jamie Oliver had in mind, but damn it tasted good.
Garlic bread is also ridiculously easy to make and tastes so much better than the shop frozen shop bought ones, and as it works out cheaper as well there is no excuse not to at least give it a try.

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What you need: A whole Camembert, a few sprigs of thyme, two or three garlic cloves, olive oil, a baguette or two, garlic paste, a few chunks of butter, a few fresh basil leaves, some dry oregano

1: Take the Camembert out of its packaging and either place it back in the box if wooden or put in a baking tray with some baking paper (I did this rather than the box thing as I was a little concerned it might catch on fire).

2: Drizzle the Camembert with olive oil and cut a few slits in the top, in which you will put the sprigs of thyme and two/three garlic cloves. Set the oven to a medium heat and cook for 20-30 minutes until it is starting to brown

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3: Whilst the Camembert is baking, heat butter in a sauce pan. When the butter is melting, add a few spoonfuls of garlic paste (amount will depend on how garlicy you’re feeling) stir and cook for a few minutes. Then add the basil and cook for a minute or two more. Be careful not to let the garlic burn so make sure it stays on a medium/low heat. Cut the baguettes in half and apply the garlic butter generously, make sure all the baguettes get a bit of basil!

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4: Sprinkle the baguettes with oregano and bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes until crisp and smelling delicious

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5: Enjoy as a decadent starter or a slightly more acceptable main course.yeees

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Lazy Vegetarian Meal Ideas #19 Kale, Spinach and Cashew pies

When I was planning my Christmas Dinner I wasn’t really sure what main to make. Most Vegetarian or Vegan Christmas recipes are all about nut roasts or some variation of toad in the hole, neither which I’m particularly crazy about. I had never made a pie before Christmas Day, but I am really glad I took the plunge because it turned out really well. I was a little concerned about the egg factor as pretty much every pie recipe calls for at least one egg, but it turns out warm butter works fine, and even though I had some moments of doubt here and there it turned out to be one of the easiest things I have ever made.

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What you need: A rolling pin, a flat chopping or bread board, a pack of frozen puff pastry, a few dollops of salted butter, about five big handfuls of fresh kale and spinach, a few chopped mushrooms, two chopped chillies, garlic paste, olive oil, cashew nuts, one small onion, cheddar cheese (optional) a few baked potatoes (optional), a few small muffin tins (optional, you can make this as a long pie or small pies)
Spices: Salt, Pepper, Chilli flakes, a few sprinkles of thyme and oregano

1: Prepare the filling. Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan and add a spoonful or two of garlic paste and the chopped chillies. After a minute or two, add chopped onions and fry until the onions are translucent (around 5-7 minutes). Add the mushrooms, cashews and potatoes (if using) and sauté for a 2/3 more minutes, then add the kale, spinach, salt, pepper and spices and cook on a medium/low heat for a further few minutes.

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2: Defrost the pastry in the fridge the night before cooking, then on the day remove from its packaging and if completely defrosted roll out with a rolling pin. If making small pies, use the pie tins to cut the pastry into circles, or if not just roll out until flat

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3: Heat butter in a small sauce pan and when melted coat both sides of the pastry. Then bake the pies in the oven for five minutes or until they are starting to puff

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4: Add the filing and place pies in the oven on a medium heat (around 150/gas mark 5/6) for 10-12 minutes. If adding cheese add it after this time and then bake for a further 30 minutes or until the pastry is starting to brown and is sufficiently puffed.

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5: For best results enjoy with my roast potatoes and some onion gravy

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Lazy Vegetarian Meal Ideas#18 Roast potatoes

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I hope you are all enjoying the festive season. The last few days have been quite exciting in the recipe department; on Christmas Day I made the entire Christmas dinner for me and my family. I may have gone a tad overboard as I ended up making a feast for at least 20 people when there were only 3 to feed, and so naturally we had to eat it all over Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I may have to start seriously going to the gym and eating zoodles every day when the new year starts, but I got to try out so many new recipes and feed people so I’m pretty happy about how it all turned out. I’ve made so much food over the past few days that I’m having to split this into a few parts, so for now feast your eyes on my super easy and uber tasty roast potatoes and look out for my first ever attempt at veggie savoury pies (so easy), baked Camembert and so much more coming soon.

Roast potatoes 

Roast potatoes are very easy to make, and yet somehow everyone still seems to have their own way of making them. I personally like to cook them with some chopped chilli’s and mushrooms or peppers as I think it adds to the taste, also obviously olive oil rather than goose fat and some nice fresh herbs. As always please feel free to play with and add to the recipe, and let me know how you make your own potatoes.

Note: I would normally add Rosemary, but unfortunately I forgot to buy any. If you have any add it, but they were fine without.

What you need: Peeled and chopped potatoes, olive oil, a handful of chopped chillies, a few chopped mushrooms, a large pot and a roasting tray
Spices: Fresh Thyme, salt, pepper, a handful of chilli flakes (optional)

1: Peel potatoes and chop them into chunks; I like mine a little smaller than most people but that’s just me.

2: Boil potatoes with a little salt for around 10-14 minutes

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3: Whilst potatoes are boiling, pour a little extra virgin olive oil on the roasting tray. Add chopped chillies, mushrooms and a few sprigs of thyme and toss with a few pinches of salt

4: Add the potatoes and toss all the ingredients together, adding salt and pepper to taste

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5: Bake on a medium heat for about 40 minutes/ until the potatoes are crisp and brown

6: Enjoy on their own or as part of a festive/Sunday feast!

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Lazy Vegetarian Meal Ideas #17 Baked Macaroni and cheese: Broccoli edition

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Since my original macaroni and cheese recipe I have experienced great success and great failure in the mac and cheese department. Whilst it is such an easy meal to make, sometimes I leave the preparation too late and then end up trying to whisk, chop and  drain things at the same time and so the sauce ends up a bit over-cooked and grainy. The key is to not over-complicate the dish and remember not to over-cook the white sauce, and I think I’m on the right path to becoming the English master of Macaroni cheese. I originally meant for this to a stove-top version of the recipe but it turned out too soupy. However, with a bit of baking it reduced, kept its creamy texture and turned out great.
Whilst Mac and Cheese is one of the most decadent meals ever, you can health it up with some broccoli and a nice green salad.

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What you need: Pasta (I used a combo of shells and penne), about half/three quarters of a 2 pint bottle of milk (use less if you don’t want to bake it), three and a half table spoons of butter, three table spoons of flower, lots of mature cheddar cheese, chopped broccoli florets, finely chopped mushrooms, olive oil, one vegetarian stock cube, one teaspoon of mustard, a few handfuls of bread crumbs, two tea spoons of garlic (see below), two large pots, a frying pan and a whisk
Spices: Salt, pepper
Note: Whilst I am sure fresh garlic would work just as well or better, this little tub of garlic made cooking a lot easier and I really recommend it if you cannot be bothered chopping and preparing the garlic from scratch:IMG_1277

1: Chop the broccoli into small florets and finely chop the mushrooms. Heat two tea spoons of garlic in olive oil in the frying pan until fragrant, season with salt and pepper and then sauté the broccoli and mushrooms for a few minutes until the mushrooms are browned and the broccoli is shiny and a brighter shade of green. Then set to one side to be heated a bit later.

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2:Add one vegetarian stock cube to a sauce pan and pour over boiling water, when the cube has dissolved add pasta and cook per packet instructions

3: In a large sauce pan heat three and a half table spoons of butter on a medium heat. When it has melted almost all the way add three table spoons of flour and whisk for a few minutes until the roux is a nice golden colour, then turn to a lower heat and slowly whisk in a bit of milk at a time. Remember to whisk pretty much constantly whilst doing this to make sure the sauce is smooth, and add one tea spoon of mustard and sprinkle with salt and pepper

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4: Turn to the lowest heat whilst keeping your cooker on and add the cheese whilst continuing to whisk until the cheese is melted. Then add the vegetables and pasta to the source and stir until everything is covered

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5: You can just leave it there, but if you would like to bake it just  tip the mac and cheese into a baking tray. Don’t worry if the sauce seems quite runny and soupy, it will reduce very quickly in the oven! Sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake for 15-25 minutes until golden. Add some home made garlic bread (coming soon!) and green salad. Enjoy!

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Lazy Vegetarian Meal ideas #14 Potato, Aubergine and Chickpea Curry

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I’ve been trying to branch out in my cooking recently and attempt something new.  I’m always tempted to stick tomatoes in every single curry I make; tomatoes are my definite cooking comfort zone.This curry has no tomatoes and at several points during the creation of this dish I almost panicked and threw them in, but I’m really glad I didn’t. This is a tasty, versatile and filing dish that is fabulous with rice or as dosa/wrap filling. It does take a bit of time to prepare, but most of that is just boiling some potatoes and leaving them to do their thing whilst you watch Netflix.

What you need: Four chopped potatoes, half an aubergine cut into small chunks (make sure all the chunks have some purple skin on them), a tin of chickpeas, a quarter of a cup of vegetable stock (you don’t need much), olive oil, a large chopped onion

Spices: Mustard Seeds, Chilli flakes, Fenugreek, Asafoetida, Cumin seeds, Garam Masala, three Bay Leaves, a generous amount of Salt and Pepper, a sprinkle of Chilli powder, Cumin and Cinnamon (optional)

Note: As always the spices should be used to match your personal tastes. I like spicy food so I add a lot of chilli, but maybe your looking for a milder flavour in which case you could leave the chilli powder altogether. Don’t go too easy on the cumin seeds, fenugreek or chilli flakes though because they do kind of make this curry.

1: Chop and boil potatoes and leave for 20-30 minutes depending on how paranoid you are (I hate hard potatoes with a passion so tend to leave them boiling for a little longer than most). Whilst the potatoes boil, chop the aubergine and leave to soak in cold, salted water for around 15-20 minutes.

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2: Heat oil in a large saucepan and add asafoetida. When the oil has been heating for a few minutes (probably the amount of time it takes to chop the onion) add the mustard seeds. When the seeds have started to pop, add chopped onion and fry on a high heat for at least five minutes, then turn to a low heat and stir occasionally for a few more minutes. I normally add a sprinkle of fenugreek, garama masala, cumin and chilli at this point.

3: Add some more oil, turn up the heat and add chopped aubergines and fry for it all for a few minutes. Don’t be afraid to add some more oil as the aubergines lap it right up, but be careful not to saturate.

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4: Add the potatoes and fry for a few more minutes. Then add chickpeas, some more spices and a small amount of stock and turn down the heat.

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5: Stir occasionally for about 10-13 minutes

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Enjoy!