Category Archives: Vegetarian

Spinach and Lentil Soup

Spinach and lentil soup (served with cheese muffins from The Pioneer Woman website)

1 medium grated onion
3 minced cloves garlic
1 tbsp oil
1 medium grated carrot
200g grated butternut squash
200g orange lentils
Sea salt to taste
Sprinkle of Pepper
1 teaspoon ground cummin
Pinch of chilli powder (optional)
1 bunch of fresh spinach washed and chopped
1.5 litres water or bone stock

Saute the onion and garlic until soft and then add the grated carrot and squash. (I use the cheese grater with box for this). Stir fry for a few minutes and then add the remaining ingredients.

Bring to the boil and then simmer until the lentils are soft. Top up the water level to desired thickness. You can make this quicker in the pressure cooker.


Lentil soup




  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp fresh, chopped coriander
  • 100g orange lentil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cummin
  • 1.5 litres water

Saut the onion until soft and then add the garlic and cook for a further minute or two. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to boil then simmer for about 45 minutes.

I like to blend the soup quickly for a smoother consistency.

Ramadan Day 4


Felt rather tired today but personally I find keeping busy in the kitchen helps the time to pass quicker so I am happy to stay there making a few things.

Today there was Algerian shorba again, vegetarian as it was last time but this time with tiny Orzo pasta (or Tli-tli as the Algerians call it) instead of burghul or vermicelli. There were some leftovers as well as mini pizzas that came out soft as little pillows, vegetable samosas as I made a double batch yesterday and cheese and potato Borek. A tip for the potato borek that I picked up from my dear sister-in-law is to use instant potato! Yes… the powdered stuff in boxes – remember the adverts for Smash in the 1970’s or early 1980’s??! “For mash get Smash!” So, I used about 120g of Tesco instant potato and about 550ml of boiling water, stirred well with a wooden spoon and then added a knob of butter and about 150g grated cheddar. I used this to fill the spring roll pastry and folded into logs. I slightly over-cooked them as you can see in the photo. 🙄


Dessert was Eve’s pudding but made with strawberries and raspberries instead of apples – this was served with rich chocolate ganache. It didn’t turn out quite as planned because I took a shortcut and used a supermarket cake packet mixture which was a bit too runny for this recipe. It was very tasty though with the tart, tanginess of the raspberries and the soft, sweetness of the cake. I didn’t think it really needed the rich chocolate sauce but my 15 yr old and 13 yr old daughters disagreed. Nice to have pleased someone!

Ramadan essentials – Samosas


Samosas, samboosa, samboosak, spring rolls, borek, borega as they are variously called in different countries are all a variation on a similar theme. They generally consist of a paper thin pastry filled with meat or vegetables, rolled into triangles or logs and deep fried. They feature on iftar tables during Ramadan worldwide in some form or other.

I have no set recipe for these and will generally fill them with whatever ingredients I have on hand, favourites include spiced mixed vegetables (as below), minced meat, onions and scrambled egg (Algerian style) and mashed potato/ Cheddar cheese. I have also tried filling them with Pakistani chicken kebab mixture and they were a hit.

One thing I love to do, whatever the filling, is to quickly dip each rolled samosa into egg wash and then in breadcrumbs before frying.

The prepared, uncooked samosas can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days or they can be frozen and thawed as needed.

Today’s recipes consisted of:

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup sweetcorn
  • 1/2 cup petits pois
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • salt and chilli to taste
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Place the potato, carrots, sweetcorn and peas into boiling water and cook until soft.
Drain the vegetables and then very quickly give them a little mash – mainly just to break up the potato cubes a bit.
Fry the onion until soft and then add the mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, chilli and salt and stir on a medium to high heat for one minute before adding the cooked vegetables. Stir fry for a minute and finally add the squeeze of lemon juice.
Allow to cool before filling the samosa pastry. Fold into triangles, dip in beaten egg and then breadcrumbs if desired.
Fry in hot oil until golden and crispy.


Tofu Chocolate mousse


I had a carton of tofu in the fridge and wasn’t sure what to do with it until I stumbled upon this recipe.

It’s a fantastically simple chocolate mousse dessert with minimal ingredients and tastes amazingly rich. You’d never believe that it contains tofu and NO eggs or cream.  If you love rich chocolate desserts, this really is a ‘must try’ even if you are not vegan. The other big bonus is that it contains no raw eggs.

Technically it does not set to a mousse-like consistency but the consistency is very pleasant and thick; just the way a cold chocolate dessert should be.

You need:

  • 1x 12 ounce package of silken tofu (I used ‘firm’)
  • 10 oz milk or dark chocolate (check that it is dairy free if you are making it for someone who is vegan)
  • 3 tsbp maple syrup (I used 2tbsp as I used milk chocolate which was sweet enough)
  • 1tsp vanilla essence (optional)

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.

Blend tofu (preferably at room temperature) in food processor, blender, or with hand mixer until just smooth.

Scrape the melted chocolate into the food processor with the tofu and continue blending, add maple syrup and vanilla and process until creamy.

Pour into individual serving glasses or one large bowl and refrigerate until set.

I finished mine off with a grating of white chocolate but it would be gorgeous with something like chocolate curls or fresh raspberries, strawberries or mandarin segments.




Like the mutabbel in the previous post this hummus was fantastically easy to make and there really is no excuse for buying it ready bought! I followed this recipe as a guide and will certainly make this again and again… and again! It’s delicious with almost anything dipped in it; bread, pizza, carrot sticks or other crudites, even french fries!

I used:

1 tin chick peas, drained
75ml Tahina
1/2 teaspoon or so of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon of salt (to taste)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Juice of half a lemon

Throw all the ingredients into the food processor and WHIZZZ!

I garnished mine with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of sumac.



We like to eat Syrian/Lebanese style food quite often but it’s something we always eat out at restaurants. I was really happy when I found this Syrian food blog recently and challenged myself to make some of the mezze we most enjoy. I chose to make Mutabbel, Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Waraq Inab, and Fatayir. Apart from the Baba Ghanoush, everything was a roaring success and we actually preferred my mezze to those which we normally eat out.

I’ll start with the mutabbel today which was unbelievably easy and took less than 5 minutes to make. We had a barbeque a couple of days beforehand so I had already prepared the aubergines (eggplant) by grilling them on the barbeque for about 15 minutes and placing in a plastic tub with a lid until cooled and peeling off the blackened skin.

I used:

Aubergine x2
2 tablespoons Tahina
1 pot yogurt (approx 1 cup)
1 level teaspoon minced garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
Olive oil to drizzle over the mutabbel if desired

I started by roughly chopping 2 aubergines and then placing into a bowl with the tahina, yogurt, garlic paste and salt which I then mixed together well with a metal spoon. I then used the handheld stick blender to blend the ingredients roughly. The mutabbel should remain a little lumpy and rustic looking, it shouldn’t be smooth like hummus. Taste, and add more tahina, yogurt, garlic or salt as desired – it’s all down to personal taste, we personally don’t like the mutabbel to have too much tahina and we prefer not to drizzle olive oil over the top as is traditional.