Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

Because dinosaurs are cool.

Chili and Lime Black Bean Burger

The perfect vegan burger!

Beer Battered Halloumi

Nom, nom, nom.

Ginger and Chili Tofu

Crispy delicious tofu that's easy to make... say what?

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cakes, but not as you know them.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

I only just discovered that cavolo nero was also called dinosaur kale, which makes me want to eat it 100 times more because I freaking love dinosaurs. I was so excited to find it in Morrisons that I did an actual out loud 'ooooooohhh'.

So with most vegetables I impulse buy, it sat in my fridge for a bit until I decided what to do with it. In the end I decided it would be the perfect addition to macaroni cheese. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll realise that this is very similar to my green mac and cheese recipe, except that I wasn't lazy and made it from scratch. I definitely recommend making it from scratch, it's just as easy and tastes about 1000% better. This recipe makes enough for 2 + left overs for lunch the next day (unless you have a horrible boyfriend who eats it while your back is turned).

25g/2 handfuls of finely sliced cavolo nero
1 leek finely sliced
100g macaroni (or similar pasta)
25g butter
25g flour
350ml milk
150g grated cheese

  1. Pre heat the oven to 200 degreess, then put cavolo nero into a steamer and set the timer for 20 minutes.
  2. Halfway through cooking add the leeks to the cavolo nero and start boiling the pasta, when the timer is up drain the pasta and vegetables and set to one side. 
  3. Make the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a pan, then mix in the flour to make a roux. 
  4. Slowly add the milk and keep whisking over a low heat until it thickens. 
  5. Once nice and thick add 100g of the grated cheese and whisk in until it is all melted in. 
  6. Put the vegetables and pasta in to a medium sized pasta dish and mix in the cheese sauce.
  7. Top with the remaining grated cheese and pop in the oven for 25 minutes.
  8. When it's all crispy on the top and bubbling it's ready! Enjoy! 

Christmas Catch Up

December has been a crazy month for me, mainly because I work in a shop and anyone who works in retail at Christmas time will know that it pretty much takes over your life! Because of this I've been neglecting my blogging duties, and having adventures on my days off instead of writing posts. But never fear as I have collected up all my foodie adventures from December in to one huge post! Here we go...

Lush Christmas Party
As I just mentioned I work in a shop, a shop called Lush (have you heard of it? If not then you're missing out) and in the first week of December they let me make canapes for one of their events. We decided to have food and wine paring inspired by the active ingredients in Lush products for out Luxury Christmas party. So in the end I decided on (veggie) Parmesan and asparagus tarts inspired by the fresh asparagus is used in lots of Lush products and chocolate brownies, because they always go down well and cocoa butter is used in loads of Lush stuff. I think the canapes were a success, they all got eaten so that must be a good sign.
Hummus Bros
Have I ever mentioned that I suffer with really bad food envy, I spend a lot of time reading other food blogs and restaurant reviews and get so jealous, I feel like I need to go and eat the same food as soon as humanly possible. So after I read this post from The Vegan Butcher (my new favourite vegan blogger) I started begging vegan Emma to go to Hummus Bros with me. So off I went to visit Emma for the weekend, she cooked me an amazing vegan Sheppard's pie (I wish I could give you the recipe, but I don't think she even knows how she created the magic) and then the next day we set off to go to the Hummus Bros in Holborn. It certainly lived up to my hummus loving expectations, I had the fava beans and Emma had (evil) mushrooms. The hummus was so creamy and full of flavour (even better with a bit of the lemon and garlic oil poured on) and even the small potion size was enough for me! I would definitely recommend it for a quick vegan/vegetarian bite in London.
Demuths, Bath
A few weeks ago, after realising that we both had a week day off, my boyfriend and I decided to go on an adventure. It started off with going to London, then Amsterdam, then France. After getting extremely close to booking a hotel in France, we decided that it was probably the worst idea ever and I slyly moved the direction of our trip over to Bath, with the main intention of going to Demuths. It was our first trip to bath and after a horrible drive in the rain we arrived to the most beautiful hotel room I have ever stayed in, drank lots of wine, ate lots of bad food and had a good nights sleep (I also have to mention that they did an amazing vegetarian full English).
The next day we did a bit of Christmas shopping and touristy exploring (the baths, of course). Then went in for the main event. Demuths is like a vegetarian mecca, and has always been up there with Terre a Terre as one of the restaurants I would really, really like to visit. It had a lot to live up to and didn't disappoint, although I have to say it didn't blow me away like Terre a Terre, it was still an amazing experience. The actual restaurant is really cute and homely inside and instantly makes you feel comfortable. Scott and I both had the same meals, mainly because he's scared of vegetables and didn't know what to pick. We started with the Celeriac Veloute with a Ewe's Cheese Croquet and cavolo nero, which I absolutely loved, it was rich and creamy and perfect for warming you up after a long day of shopping. Scott, wasn't overly impressed (again, fear of vegetables) so I ended up eating both starters! Then for the main we had Applewood Smoked Somerset Cheddar Souffle served with red wine baked figs, tarragon dressed potatoes, walnut puree and a selection of winter greens from  the fields of bath, which really was something else. The flavours went really well together and it was like nothing I've ever tried before. Scott actually liked this one, so I didn't have to eat two main courses as well (sigh). Then for desert we had the Cashew coconut cream, which was unusual but I loved the gooey clementine middle contrasted against the coconut cream shell. Yummy! All in all, I would definitely recommend it for an amazing vegetarian meal if you're visiting Bath. 
Christmas Dinner
Every year I cook Christmas dinner for my friends, it started out as just me and 3 girl friends who were all vegan/vegetarian and has now grown in to everyone, meat eaters and all. After last years absolute disaster (I don't want to talk about it) I vowed never to do it again, but when it actually came to it, I just couldn't resist! This year was probably the best year ever because 1. I decided not to do anything fancy and just do a plain old roast dinner and 2. I had vegan Emma on hand to help me with the cooking, and she also made the AMAZING vegan main. So we had no started (:O) and then Emma's amazing chestnut, mushroom and port strudel (which I loved even though it contained mushrooms) Then apple crumble, followed by a silly amount of cheese. It probably is my favourite event of the year because it combines Christmas, food and my favourite people. 
Double Christmas Day
One of the perks of having separated parents is that I get to have 2 Christmas days and 2 Christmas dinners. Both my mum and dad are amazing cooks so I end up feel obese by December 27th. This year I got loads of foodie presents including the River Cottage Veg cook book, a pasta maker, loads of vegan marshmallow mix and a new Humming Bird Bakery book and I'm sure all these things will be inspiring many blog posts to come. I also finished my Christmas cake and can proudly say that it actually tasted nice and like a real Christmas cake, I will definitely be making another one next year! 
So Happy New Year everyone! I've made it one of my New Years resolutions to cook, eat and blog more so expect lots of veggie and vegan posts coming your way. It's been a great year for Hef's Kitchen and I couldn't have done it with out all of you lovely readers, so thank you! 

Much Love, 

Heather xx 

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Festive Rocky Road

Some horrible man crashed in to my car this week which resulted in me feeling sorry for myself, which then lead to me treating myself to things even though I have no money. One of those things was vegan marshmallows from Vx, (you can also buy them here) I was super, super excited to see that they had them in there because I was also going to visit vegan Emma in London this week so it was the perfect excuse to pop in.

So with marshmallows in tow I decided to make rocky road as I've wanted it for ages and it was an excuse to turn my marshmallows in to an even more indulgent treat. Also, as it's CHRISTMAS I decided to make them festive by adding the cranberries and amaretti biscuit as well as some of my other favorite things. This is very adjustable, you can add what ever biscuits, dried fruit, nuts etc you want :)

For 24

100g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate
80g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
100g amaretti biscuits
75g brazil nuts
60g cranberries
60g coconut marshmallows
Icing sugar for sprinkling
  1. Put the milk and dark chocolate together in a bain marie (a bowl over a pan of boiling water) with the butter and golden syrup and leave to melt, stirring occasionally. 
  2. When the chocolate mixture has melted down add all the other ingredients and mix well. 
  3. Pour the mixture into a well greased tin and leave to set in the fridge. 
  4. When it's hard enough to cut (after 2-3 hours), sprinkle with icing sugar, chop it all up and enjoy! 

Monday, 5 December 2011

Lazy Mans Saag Panner and Vegetable Biryani

Let me explain how we come up with recipes here at Hef's Kitchen. I wake up, feel hungry and start thinking about what to eat that day. My mind wonders through various foods, I settle on one and then see if it exists on the Internet, if it does I look at how it's made, totally disregard the recipe and decide to do it how I want (mostly because the best part of cooking is the experimenting!). I go shopping, forget some ingredients, get home, make the food, then worry the whole time I'm making it that it's not going to work. I write down the recipe at the same time as cooking so I don't forget. Then I spend about 10 minutes trying to take a good photo with my silly camera (I'm getting a new lens from father Christmas, woo) then I eat it quick before it goes cold! This was no exception to my blogging methods.
I've called this lazy mans food because it didn't take long and I used two things that I don't use that often, the microwave and freezer. Basically I forgot to buy rice and spinach (possibly the two most important ingredients?) but luckily we had microwave rice and frozen spinach, which actually worked out great as there was no lengthy rice cooking times. I'm a bit scared of ready made rice because my previous manager told me that when it cools down it grows some kind of shell that makes you ill or kills you or something. This lead to me having a strange dream about giant rice wearing amour. Any way, I decided to stop being silly and use it because there was no time for rice buying due to my accidental nap that didn't end till 6.30 pm (another reason it's for lazy people like me). This is my FAVOURITE ever meal from our local Indian takeaway and being able to make it at home in under an hour makes me very, very happy :) 

For 2 you'll need: 

For the biryani:
A small selection of vegetables (I used 1/2 an onion, 1/2 a red pepper and a handful of chopped butternut squash)
Olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric 
tsp Madras powder
100ml vegetable stock
1 pack microwave rice (you could also use precooked rice)

For the saag paneer:
1/2 onion 
1 garlic clove minced
4 frozen spinach cubes (defrosted)
A glug of olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of turmeric 
100g paneer (you can get it from Asda)
50 ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp double cream
Some fresh coriander to top it all off 
  1. Chop your vegetables in to small pieces, then place in a frying pan with a little oil, the turmeric and madras powder and cook on a low heat for around 10 minutes. 
  2. Cook the microwave rice as it tells you on the pack, then pour it in to the vegetables and cover with the vegetable stock, keeping it on a low heat. 
  3. While the rice is cooking, add the onion and garlic to another pan with some oil, the cumin seeds and turmeric and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. 
  4. Add the spinach, paneer and vegetable stock and cook for a further few minutes. 
  5. Take it off the heat and add the cream, then serve it up with the biryani. 
  6. Enjoy! 

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Lyndhurst Teahouse

You may have noticed that I was a bit quiet last week, well that's because I was off becoming a graduate (woooo). As it was the official end of my time at uni, my boyfriend and I decided to go on our last (well maybe not last) New Forest adventure, which of course had to be accompanied by a cream tea.

This is me being a graduate/vampire/superhero
We started off with a walk around the forest (I'm not exactly sure whereabouts) where we found loads of weird mushrooms. If you've read this blog before you'll know that I HATE mushrooms, but there were so many exciting ones, it kind of made me want to like them and become some sort of mushroom picking expert.

Anyway, to the actual point of this post, if you are going on some kind of mushroom forest adventure, or chasing wild ponies, or visiting an otter and owl sanctuary (Yes all these amazing things can be done in the New Forest). I recommend you stop in Lyndhurst and try The Lyndhurst Tea House. They do absolutely amazing cream teas and also have a wide range of savoury vegetarian dishes. Because I'm extremely greedy I had lunch followed by a cream tea (much to my boyfriends despair) and it was so worth it, even if I did have to take my shorts off for the drive home because they no longer fit. I can't really remember the menu, but there was definitely quite a few veggie options. The traditional welsh rarebit really stuck out to me as it combined pretty much all of my favorite things, cheese, ale and mustard. For something so simple it really packed a punch, the ale and mustard were perfect and the chutney made my taste buds very happy. 

There are a few different versions of the cream tea and again I can't remember them all but there was the standard traditional one with scones and cream, a savoury one with cheese scones and chutney and the ramblers which is a slice of cake, a scone with clotted cream and jam and tea. Obviously I went for the ramblers. Cake and a scone. Heaven. You even get to choose your cake! I went for toffee apple which was delicious, as was the warm homemade scone. 

It was the perfect end to my uni experience and I'm sure I'll be back in the new forest soon to visit one of my favourite gingers and have more foodie fun. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Christmas Cake

I was debating whether to update you on my first ever Christmas cake or not, because I thought this would probably be a pretty boring post, but then I thought what the hell. So here you go!

hehe boobies! 
Just out of the oven
I've still been baking along with The Pink Whisk and this was the first recipe I have ever followed letter to letter as after 6 weeks of soaking my fruit I really didn't want to mess it up! I have to admit it was the most technical baking I've ever done, but I think the result will be worth it. I made it about 3 weeks ago and have been lovingly feeding it brandy every few days. The only bad thing about this cake is that I want to eat it so bad and still have to wait a whole month.

half way through Brandy feeding
Hopefully the decorating goes well and I'll let you know how it tastes on Christmas day (provided I am not in a food coma).

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

S'more Brownies

Mike is the best friend a girl could have, he likes to bake, he likes to go vegetable picking and go to history museums and last week he drove me to the Northampton DVLA after I stupidly got my tax disk sent to my uni house where I no longer live (6 weeks ago)! He's always complaining that he never gets to try the stuff that I bake (which isn't true) so I thought I would bake something just for him to say thank you! I know he likes slutty brownies so I was hoping he'd also like these. I'd seen a few recipes on the internet but decided to come up with my own and hope it worked.... so here it is!

Just out of the oven (how much does it look like the one on the left has a smiley face!)
If the slutty brownie had a slutty sister this would be it! It has layers of 'graham crackers', melted chocolate and marshmallow. This was a complete experiment and I kept looking in the oven to check nothing had exploded, but luckily they turned out great. I have to admit this isn't the prettiest looking brownie (I am extremely messy with my cooking), but it sure tastes good and that's what really matters. I couldn't find graham crackers because I don't think they exist in England, so I think any wheat based biscuit will do :)

For loads you'll need:

115g dark chocolate (I used 85%)
225g butter
4 eggs
375g caster sugar
75g flour
50g cocoa powder
A pack of wheat based biscuits (I used morning coffee ones, digestives will do)
150g milk chocolate
10 vegetarian vanilla marshmallows
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a brownie tin with baking paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bain marie.
  3. While that stuff is melting away, whisk the eggs and sugar together until they treble in volume. 
  4. Sieve in the flour and cocoa powder, then add the melted butter/chocolate mix and mix together really well.
  5. Pour half of your batter in to the brownie tin, then line with the biscuits, the chocolate, then the marshmallows, then pour over the rest of the brownie batter. 
  6. Pop in to the oven for 40 minutes. 
  7. Remove from the oven, let them cool a little bit, then eat them warm!
  8. Enjoy!
P.s this post makes Mike seem like some kind of saint, I would like to point out that he is also a massive bully. 

P.p.s He also proof reads all my posts so if you find a mistake it is definitely his fault and not mine :)

P.p.p.s I'm also entering this in to The Pink Whisks November Challenge as it may be my new favourite tray bake recipe :)

Hotel Chocolat - The Classic Christmas Gift Basket

Like it or not Christmas fever is in full swing and I couldn't have felt more festive when this Christmas hamper from Hotel Chocolat popped through my door. 

Every year Hotel Chocolat bring out a magical Christmas range with exciting new flavours, so I was more than happy to try some of the new products they've created. This hamper is £35 and has a huge range of festive flavored chocolates, so it's perfect if you're buying for a family, a chocaholic or someone you really love! Inside the hamper you'll find cinnamon almonds, tiddly reindeer, orange nice spice puddles, chocolate mince pies (I was most excited by these!) and winter liquid chocolat. The whole hamper worked really well together with lot's of different Christmas flavours like cinnamon, orange and mixed spice. The best thing about these chocolates is that you know they're all vegetarian (everything is labeled) and the chocolate is sourced and made ethically (They even have their own cocoa plantation!). They also have some AMAZING vegan chocolates which I'll put in another post.

Cinnamon Almonds:

These are just perfect for christmas, they reminded me of getting hot caramlised nuts from christmas markets, but even better because they're covered in chocolate. They're wrapped in a 40% cocoa coating which makes them not too sweet but full of flavour. Be warned they are very addictive, mine disappeared very fast!

Tiddly Reindeer:

These cute little reindeer are just your standard 40% milk chocolate Christmas shapes, but they make a nice break from the spices in the other products. If you are buying this for a family, then these are the ones to give to the kids while the grown ups eat all the exciting chocolates.

Orange Nice Spice Puddles:

People are always so put off by chocolate and chili, but these are the perfect remedy for a cold wintery day. The main flavour that comes through is the orange with just a hint of warming spice. I slyly fed them to my boyfriend the other day and even he liked them (he doesn't like spice, fruit or strange flavours so thats saying something).

Winter Liquid Chocolat:

This has pretty much the same flavour notes as the orange nice spice puddles but in a delicious hot chocolate. I love the liquid chocolat range because it's made with 100% yummy chocolate, no weird powder here. It does take a little bit longer to make than conventional hot chocolate (and by that I mean about 5 minutes) but it is so worth it for the proper chocolate taste. Perfect after a long cold day!

Alternative Mince Pies:

I thought I'd save the best till last here! When I saw these on the website I got a bit over excited, but in all fairness they are praline and salted caramel chocolate mince pies (what's not to like there). They lived up to all my expectations, the salted caramel was smooth and topped with a lovely soft praline. Just right for a little christmas treat.

If you've decided that you want to buy someone this wonderful hamper you can buy it here!

And if you want to search for even more lovely chocolate gifts you can find them here!

P.s although I was sent this hamper it didn't affect my review! I heart Hotel Chocolat anyway :)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tikka Paneer

Ever since I tired the cubes of cheesy goodness that are paneer I've been addicted to the stuff. I have it every time I have an Indian meal (my favourite is saag paneer, but that's for another week). So I thought it was about time I tried making something with it myself. 

If you're veggie and you haven't tried paneer, you don't know what you're missing! I know chunks of cheese in a curry sounds kind of weird, but it's very mildly flavored and has an amazing squishy texture. This was actually pretty easy to make despite the long ingredients list, the only thing that really takes any time is the marinating. To prove this to you, I got home at 7 the other day and it was ready in time for me to watch Hollyoaks on E4+1 (30 minutes for non Hollyoaks watchers (with already marinated panner).

For 2 you'll need:

(for the marinade)
2 tsp grated ginger
1 clove of garlic
2 tsp chopped red chili
a few stalks of coriander
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp garam masala (I forgot to buy some so used madras which worked fine)
A pinch of paprika
200g paneer cut into bite sized chunks

(for the sauce)
1 onion sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 tin tomatoes
A pinch of turmeric
A pinch of dried coriander
A pinch of garam masala
2 tsp natural yoghurt

  1. Blitz the ginger, garlic, red chili, coriander, tomato paste, garam masala and paprika together in a food processor to make the marinade and the brush all over the paneer and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours. 
  2. When the paneer is ready, heat some oil in a pan and cook the paneer on a medium heat for around 3 minutes, then chuck in the onion, peppers, turmeric, coriander and garam masala and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. The panner should be nice and golden. 
  3. Pour the tinned tomatoes over the paneer and then simmer for 15 minutes. 
  4. Take it off the heat and stir in the natural yoghurt, serve with fluffy white rice and enjoy! 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Sweet Vegan Marshmallows

I got my vegan marshmallows ages ago and totally forgot to review them on here! So here you go.
Perfect in hot chocolate! 
Before I got these, I hadn't eaten marshmallows since I'd turned veggie (a very long time ago) so they were welcomed into my diet with open arms. I got a try me box for eating and a box of plain vanilla for hot chocolate and baking. Obviously I can't really remember what non veggie marshmallows are like, but I'm going to put it out there and say that these are even better. They're so everything about them screams home made, from the unusual flavours to the perfect fluffy texture. I also put them to the BBQ test and can happily say that they toast just like I remember. As you can probably tell, I bloody LOVE these. If you have any veggie or vegan friends, get them a box for christmas. I promise they will love you forever (hint hint).

Go to www.sweetvegan.co.uk and try them for yourself!

Sweet Chili Tofu Wrap

After trying an amazing fried tofu and chili sandwich made by Emma vegan herself I decided to try my own version in wrap form. 

If I'm buying lunch out I always end up in a sandwich dilema, shop brought veggie sandwiches are usually heavily reliant on cheese or egg or something else super boring. My favourite sandwich used to be the Thin Lizzie from Fresh (smoked tofu, chilli jam, mixed & alfalfa sprouts and rocket) but they've stopped doing it in boots, I don't understand why because It is quite litrelly the best sandwich EVER. So this wrap  is my replacement until I discover how to smoke tofu like a pro, it turned out to be pretty tasty and kind of filled the hole that the thin lizzie left in my heart.

For 1 wrap you'll need:

80g firm tofu, drained and chopped into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp corn flour
Olive oil
A handful of mixed salad leaves
A handful of spinach
More sweet chili sauce for drizzling
  1. Make up a marinade by mixing together the sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and water in a shallow bowl. 
  2. Put the tofu in to the bowl and mix well so that it gets well coated in the marinade, then leave in the fridge for an hour or so. 
  3. After the tofu has marinated, heat some olive oil in a frying pan, coat the tofu pieces in corn flour and place them in the pan. 
  4. Keep turning the tofu so that all the sides get nice and browned.
  5. Once golden brown all over, remove the tofu from the pan and leave to cool on a bed of kitchen roll to remove the excess oil. 
  6. Then get your wrap out, put the salad and spinach in the middle and then top with the cooled tofu. 
  7. Drizzle with as much sweet chili sauce as you want, then roll it up like a burrito (with the bottom and top tucked in so it doesn't explode when you go to eat it) and enjoy! 
P.s If you're making these for work, school, uni etc you can make lots of tofu and store it in a air tight container to use another day

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Tofu Scramble (vegan breakfast of kings)

Lovely vegan Emma came to stay on Saturday after we went to a sandwich party (yes really) and I'd text her in the week saying I was going to cook her a vegan breakfast that would rock her socks off (well I may have used a different word that sounds a bit like sock, but my nan might be reading this and I don't want to get told off).

You may notice that some evil little mushrooms made it on to my plate,
well I was brave for Emma's sake as she loves them :) 
3 years ago I stayed at my friend Georgies house and she kindly made me scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast. While I was eating them I bit in to something a bit weird and made a face. Georgie then told me a story about how she had cracked an egg in to the pan once and a little dead chick came out. I haven't eaten eggs since. So, I'm more than happy to replace them with scrambled tofu and to be honest I think it tastes better.

Any way this is a food blog and I should be tempting you to eat things, not grossing you out with stories of mank eggs. Emma and I both make scrambled tofu in different ways so I'll post a mixture of our recipes together, but you can really make this your own, add what kind of spices and vegetables you like etc. 

For 2 you'll need:

1 tsp vegan margarine
200g firm tofu, drained
A pinch of turmeric 
A pinch of paprika
A good grinding of roasted garlic and mix herb (fancy herb grinder from ASDA)
Salt and pepper
A handful of spinach
Fried mushrooms and toast to serve
  1. Melt the butter on a low heat in a frying pan.
  2. Crumble the tofu into a bowl and mix in your various spices, then pour in to the pan.
  3. Turn the heat up and give it a good fry so that it starts to brown a little. 
  4. When it done, stir through the spinach and serve up with your mushrooms and toast.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Banoffee Pie

My boyfriend was supposed to look at my car this week and in return I said I'd make him his favourite desert, banoffee pie. 

He never looked at my car which is mainly my fault because I'm lazy and have a kind of don't fix it till it's broke attitude (which probably isn't the right attitude with a car but never mind), but I still had my heart set on making banoffee pie. This is the first time I've ever made it so I loosely based it on this recipe, and by that I mean I had it open on my iPhone and didn't really follow it at all, but it still turned out yummy. The only problem was that I didn't use one of those tins with the removable sides, resulting in two slices being thrown on the floor and trying to wrestle my dog away from a pie related death/stomach ache. Any way this is how we made it:

For a 24" pie you'll need:

250g hob nob type biscuits (I'm sure we didn't have 300g as Mike kept eating them and feeding them to my dog)
50g melted butter (there was only this much butter in my house)
1 tin of Carnation caramel stuff
2 bananas, sliced
350 ml double cream
1 tsp icing sugar
50g milk chocolate

  1. Put the biscuits in a food processor, blitz until they're all crushed and mix in the melted butter. Alternatively if you don't have/can't be bothered to find the food processor smash up in a plastic bowl with a rolling pin and mix in the melted butter. 
  2. Put the biscuit mixture into a round tin and press down so it's flat and even, then pop into a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. 
  3. Let it cool down then pour the caramel over and top with the sliced bananas.
  4. Add the icing sugar and double cream together in a bowl and whisk until nice and thick, then spread over the top of the bananas. 
  5. Grate the chocolate over the top of the pie, leave to cool in the fridge for an hour or so and enjoy! 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Tofu Thai Green Curry

I love tofu, and now I've discovered I love thai green curry so this really is a match made in heaven. The only problem is that sometimes tofu doesn't like to cooperate, resulting in sloppy messes or gross squelchy textures. So for this recipe the tofu really needs to be dry fried to prevent it from turning in to thai green tofu scramble (although I suppose that might be nice). There are some excellent instructions for how to dry fry here and for some reason I always find tofu easier to use if it's been frozen and defrosted (I'm not sure if you're supposed to do this, but I'm still alive sooo...). Any way I got this recipe from my friend Emma and have adapted it a bit, and I don't think there's any reason to ever try another recipe! It's amazing, her Dad even said he'd pay for it in a restaurant (but then as she she said, he is her Dad).

For 2 You'll need:

3 small green chilies, chopped and de-seeded (I like to roll them in my fingers and squeeze the seeds out)
4 small shallots, peeled and chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
2 stalk lemon grass, with the nubs cut off
2 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
2 large handfuls of fresh coriander, stalks removed
A thumb of galangal or ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsp oil
Juice of 1 lime
Green vegetables of your choice chopped (I used and red pepper because thats all I had) 
200g dry fried tofu
1 tin of coconut milk
  1. Put the chillies, shallots, coriander, lemon grass, garlic, soy sauce, cumin, corriander, galangal, oil and lime juice in to a food processor and blend until smooth to make the thai green curry paste.
  2. Heat a little oil in a pan and add the green vegetables, fry for around 5 minutes until just starting to soften.
  3. Add the tofu and 2 generous spoonfuls of the paste to the pan and fry for around 3 mins (you can add more paste to taste after adding the coconut milk if you want).
  4. Add the coconut milk, and heat to a gentle simmer.
  5. Once lovely and reduced (around 15 minutes) take off the heat and serve with some sticky white rice.
You may have some paste left over but I will post a recipe you can use it with soon :) and if you live near an ASDA you can pick up this handy pack which has most of the ingredients you need to make the curry!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Squash, Caramelised Onion and Goats Cheese Lasagna

I reckon I've eaten lasagna around 1000 times, so it's a bit mental that I've managed to write 127 posts on here without including it.  

As my first ever lasagna post I felt like this dish had a lot to live up to. I usually go for the classic spinach and ricotta or simple quorn mince, but as I was trying to force my anti-veggie boyfriend to eat this too I thought it would be best to include a few things that he liked as well. Recently he's discovered that he loves the good old caramelised onion and goats cheese combo, so I told him that's what we were having (I accidentally left out the squash part). We both like it (hoorah!), and it make a good change to the ushe.

Mr Hef was trying to ruin my pictures with his beer!
For 4 you'll need:

1 small acorn or butternut squash peeled and chopped (I used acorn just because it looked pretty)
Olive oil
1 red onion sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 tin of tomatoes
75 g goats cheese
1 pack of lasagna sheets
Some vegetarian Parmesan (or cheddar if you want) for the top

For the white sauce:

30g butter
30g plain flour
1 pint milk

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees then pop the squash into an oven proof dish, drizzle a bit of olive oil over, season well and pop in to the oven for 20 mins. 
  2. While the squash is baking make the caramelised onion sauce by softening the onions in olive for around 4 mins, then add the sugar and balsamic vinegar and heat for a few more mins. 
  3. Add the tomatoes to the carmelised onions and leave to reduce while you make the white sauce. 
  4. In a separate pan, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring it in to form a paste, then slowly add the milk, whisking as you go, keep whisking until it's thickened then leave on a very low heat.
  5. Remove the squash from the oven and add it to the caramelised onion sauce. 
  6. Then make your lasagna by layering the lasagna sheets (in a lasagna dish), then the white sauce, then the squash and caramelised onions, then crumbled goats cheese and repeat. 
  7. When you get to the top, pour on lots of white sauce and sprinkle the veggie Parmesan over. 
  8. Pop in to the oven for 30-40 minutes/until it's bubbling and the pastas cooked. 
  9. Serve up with garlic bread (of course) and a nice side salad and enjoy! 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Atomic Pizza

YES, YES, OH YAY. I got to go to Atomic Pizza last week!

I spy a Silver Surfer on the roof
As you may know by now I am a huge fan of Atomic Burger in Oxford, so when I heard that Atomic Pizza would be opening a bit further down Cowley Road, I could barely contain my excitement. I was trying to convince my boyfriend to take me by telling him it was our anniversary, (it usually works) but I think he's cottoned on. Luckily he's lovely and took me any way. 

The restaurant is much bigger than Atomic Burger, which means they could fit in a lot more memorabilia (i.e a Tardis, a carbonite frozen Han Solo, massive Simpsons on the couch, etc etc...). I could have taken a hundred pictures, but you really need to see for yourself! 

Mr Hef (haha) with the Simpsons
Any way, on to the best bit, the food. The menu is colourful and entertaining, with pizzas such as the 'Danger Mouse', 'Hell Boy' and 'Popeye' and has little men with green v flags for us vegetarians. I decided to have nachos for my starter, because... well I'm addicted to them and eat them at any given opportunity. This was definitely a good choice, I've eaten a lot of nachos in my time, and these were up there with the best of them, crispy, with just the right amount of toppings and cheese. My boyfriend (I want to call him Mr Hef on here, but he's not allowing me) had Captain Caveman's Buffalo wings, but I won't dwell on that because this is a vegetarian blog and they're defiantely not veggie. 

'Speedy Gonzales Nachos'
Then for the main I went for a nachoy one again (I really love them that much, I probably would have had a nacho based desert if I could). I had the Cheech and Chong which has veggie chili, jalapenoes, nacho chips and cheese on it. You also get to choose if you want thick, thin or folded crust, I went for thin which was perfect because there was a lot of toppings and I seriously struggled to get it all in. The pizza was amazing, spicy, crunchy and full of chili flavour which goes really well with pizza. The thing I loved most was that it was something you would NEVER find anywhere else, while meat eaters get to fatty on down on amazing pizza toppings, we're stuck with cheese and tomato or vegetables. At first my boyfriend wanted the He-man (bbq pulled pork) but after further examining of the menu and realising that Tony Stark was Iron Man he went for that (basically full of meat), he seemed pretty happy with his choice! AND we got to take the rest home, so we had it as a midnight snack after the first round went down (amazing).  So props to you Atomic Pizza, you've done it again! I'm one very happy customer.

'Cheech and Chong pizza'

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Chili Cheese Straws

This week I have been feeling really sad about the fact that I am no longer a student, that our house in Southampton is no longer ours and that I have to grow up, get married and have babies etc etc.

So I thought I'd take a little trip down student food memory lane. One of my house mates Simone would never let me go to bed at a reasonable time and so we'd sit there, pretending to do work and my mind would often wonder to food. After a while we would usually come to one of two decisions 1. to drive to Tesco (even thought it's a 5 minute walk) to get nacho materials and lychee juice. Or 2. to make chili cheese straws. We ALWAYS had the ingredients for the chili cheese straws between us, so we would end up making them for midnight snacks whenever we were too lazy to go on a nacho run. So I made some this week with some chilies that my dad grew and did a little cry about having to grow up.

To make around 30 you need:

150g flour
100g cheese
100g butter
1 tbsp finely sliced fresh red chili
Salt and Pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and rub between your fingers to form a breadcrumb consistency.
  3. Bring the dough together in your hands to form a ball, then pop on to a floured surface.
  4. Roll the dough out (with a wine bottle in true student style) so it's around 1cm thick, cut into straw shapes and place on to a grease proof lined baking tray. 
  5. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Serve up warm and enjoy! 

Monday, 10 October 2011

It's Christmas (cake) Time

I know some people hate the whole Christmas starts in October thing, but we all know that Santa Claus will be sliding down our chimneys quicker than we can say gingerbread house (sorry).
Here's a picture of my friends looking festive, to get you in the mood
So I've started baking along with the fabulous Pink Whisk to make my very first Christmas cake. I'm around 2 weeks late, but she says that even one week of soaking your fruit is better than none. Here's her instructions if you want to bake along too. Any way I'll update you with the progress in a few weeks, keep your fingers crossed for me (I've had many a kitchen disaster). Here's the first stage of the Christmas cake, the boozy fruit:

It smells like Christmas in a box! 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Tropical Eton Mess

I thought I'd try and squeeze one last summery dish on here before this heat wave turns into full on winter next week. I've also decided that to survive watching the Great British Bake Off without a cake run after, I need to eat pudding before it's on (I realise it's a bit late, it being the finale tonight and all). So today I made this, if I was being a proper housewife Hef I may have made the meringue from scratch, but I wasn't, I was being lazy so I cheated and brought some... Life's too short! Enjoy! 

For 4 you'll need:

1 passion fruit
1 papaya
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp icing sugar
400ml double cream
100g raspberries
6 crushed up meringues
Cape gooseberries/ Physalis' to decorate

  1. Smoosh together the insides of the passion fruit and papaya and then mix in the lemon juice and icing sugar and put to one side.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk up the cream until it's nice and thick.
  3. Then create your lovely layers, starting with crushed meringues, then cream, then the Smooshed fruit, then some raspberries and repeat until you get to the top.
  4. Finish with a layer of cream and meringue and top with the physalis' to decorate.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy! 

Tiny Oreo Cheesecakes

I know I'm not supposed to be being a fatty until holiday and I've been being good, honest, but life's to short to not be naughty sometimes. After I made the Oreo stuffed cookies I was searching the internet to see where they originated from and stumbled across this blog and oh my, I have fallen head over heels in love with it! My friend Leanne is coming over to help me with a photoshoot today and asked me to make her some cookies, but after I saw these Little Oreo Cheesecakes I knew I had to make those instead, (we are great lovers of cheesecake, you see) so Simone and I got to making them last night. You can find the recipe on the blog but I'm going to put the english measurements up here just to make it easier.

Makes 22 (we used fairy cake cases, would make less if using cup cake cases

28 Oreos, 22 whole, 6 crushed
450g cream cheese
110g sour cream
110g caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
tiny pinch of salt

Start by turning the oven to 180 degrees and placing the cake cakes in a cake tin, fill each case with 1 Oreo. Mix the cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, then slowly add while mixing (this is where it's handy to have 2 bakers), then mix in the vanilla extract. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then slowly add them to the mixture while mixing, then add the soured cream and mix in well. Add the crushed Oreos and salt and mix in by hand. Pour the mixture in to the cake cases until just full and put in to the oven. Cook for 22-25 minutes, turning halfway through. Chill in the fridge over night (or 4 hours if you can't wait) and enjoy.

P.s Don't eat them out of the oven, as Simone and I discovered hot cheese cake is not right.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Loving Hut Camden

When Emma sent me a link for Loving Hut in Camden a while ago, I checked out the menu, got very excited and put it on the top of my list of places to visit. 

So this week we put it on our agenda and still managed to fit a Loving Hut dinner in after a day of eating samples at the Lunch! exhibition and lunch at Borough Market. I have to say, the cafe doesn't look like much from the outside, but the welcoming staff and the menu make up for that. As well as serving a buffet, they also have a menu with 3 burgers, fishless and chips and nuggets (amongst other things).

We both decided to try some variety of vegan fish, I had fishless and chips and Emma had the ocean burger. Emma got her food a bit before mine and I could tell from her face it was good. After her first bite she said 'you're not going to believe how much this tastes like fish!' 

Fishless and Chips 
Well... it really does! It even has a fake fish skin (I think it's made from nori). The outside was perfectly crisp, and the inside had a delicate fish flavour and texture. The prices are really good for a cafe in London, with the ocean burger at £3.80 and the fishless and chips at £4.95, making it perfect for that naughty weekend treat.

Ocean Burger
So if you're shopping in Camden or just fancy a fantastic vegan alternative to the great British take away, I'd definitely recommend Loving Hut. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Chargrilled Vegetable, Halloumi and Quinoa Flatbread

The weather is absolutely mental at the moment (as my old housemate Amy would say, the worlds coming to an end) and this week it's decided to be really warm. 

So last week I was gearing up for winter with pies, soups and roasted veg in the hole, but this week I'm craving salads and fresh vegetables. As I'm little bit in love with quinoa, I thought I'd do some experimenting to make an indian summer lunch. This is also good if you're planning to have your last BBQ before the snow sets in next month (seriously!), stick the vegetables and halloumi on a skewer and cook over the fire rather than using the griddle.

For 4 you'll need:
200ml vegetable stock 
80g quinoa 
100g halloumi 
1 red onion 
1 red pepper
4 flatbreads
Some raita for drizzling  

  1. Start by boiling the quinoa in the vegetable stock and leaving for 20 minutes until all the stock has been absorbed.
  2. While the quinoa's cooking chop the pepper and onion in to large chunks, and pop on to a heated griddle that's been sprayed with a little oil.
  3. Then chop the halloumi into chunks and pop on the griddle, cook the cheese and vegetables until they're nice and chargrilled (around 5 mins).
  4. When they're done, mix with the cooked quinoa and then pop the flatbread on to the griddle to heat it on both sides.
  5. Place the quinoa and vegetables on top of the flatbread, drizzle with some raita and enjoy!

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