BROCCOLI, PEA, CARROT & PEANUT SALAD

Makes enough for 1 as a main or 2 as an accompaniment

I took inspiration from a BBQ we were at over the weekend where this salad was on the table. It was simple and delicious so I’ve nabbed it for my collection but I added some peas in for extra greenery and protein. As all the veg are raw, they are crunchy and packed with nutrients, it also means it takes about 10 minutes in total. I would literally eat a whole bowl of this but equally if you are cooking for two it’s delicious with a piece of grilled fish.

INGREDIENTS
130g broccoli (half a small bunch)
80g fresh peas
40g peanuts
80g crème fraiche (reduced fat)
40g grated carrot, (1 small)
Zest of half a lemon
Salt & pepper

METHOD
Roughly chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces
Place a small pan on the hob on low and toast the peanuts. Ensure you keep an eye on them and shake every 30 seconds or they’ll burn. To toast it should only take around 3 minutes in total
Pod the peas (or defrost frozen if you prefer)
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper
Lastly stir through the crème fraiche

GARLIC & GINGER TOFU

Makes enough for 2 (depending on the pack size)

I didn’t really get into using tofu until earlier this year, but I’m glad I did. Most people I speak to just don’t really know what to do with it, hence they get confused and just avoid it. But not only is it a great source of protein for non meat eaters it’s also easy to cook and Has a long shelf life so can form part of your store cupboard staple. With the weather warming up and the days getting longer, naturally we feel like lighter meals so why not give it go. Either plain or smoked is fine (I prefer smoked but if you haven't made it before then perhaps just go for the plain)

INGREDIENTS
1 pack of firm tofu
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
A thumb size piece of ginger, finely chopped or grated
Juice of 1 lime

METHOD
Remove the tofu from the pack and wrap in a tea towel. Place this on a side plate and place another one on top. Sit a tin of beans on top and leave for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Mix the remaining ingredients together to form a marinade.
Slice the tofu into pieces about ½ a centimetre thick then lay in a tray or dish and pour the marinade over ensuring there is some on every piece. Place in the fridge over night if possible but if not just an hour or so will do.
Preheat your oven to 200C.
Line a large flat baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Carefully remove the tofu and place on the tray. Bake for 40 minutes, then turn and bake for a further 30 minutes. The turn once more and bake for 20 minutes.
Once it’s golden it’s done.
Enjoy with a crunchy raw slaw or even as a snack. I’ve been known to grab a few slices from the fridge on the run out the door. The picture above is a lunch bowl I made late last year, anything goes.

ORANGE, PISTACHIO & MAPLE PORRIDGE

Serves 1

It’s cold, it’s January and our recipe inspiration might be lacking after a busy festive season. So here’s a big bowl of goodness perfect for breakfast, lunch or even dinner if you really want something quick and easy. It will take you around 6 minutes to cook and serve and will leave you feeling full and warm. Porridge is a great source of fibre (for digestion), the oranges are in season at this time of year and are great for vitamin C (for immune health), pistachios contain potassium (for muscle contraction) and the maple syrup, well that’s just for the sweet tooth.

INGREDIENTS
½ cup of oats
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Milk of your choice
3 slices of whole orange, peel removed
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
12 pistachio kernels

METHOD
Heat the oats and milk over a medium heat until cooked through, roughly 4 minutes
Place porridge into bowl, top with three slices of orange, drizzle maple syrup over the orange and oats
Sprinkle pistachios over the top

WINTER VEGAN BEANS

Serves 4 with extra toppings

Quite frequently baked beans get a bad wrap for being high in salt and sugar and whilst product re-formulation has brought these values down to more adequate levels there is sometimes nothing better than making your own. Beans are a powerhouse in the world of fibre, something we all need more of. The base recipe for these beans is vegan, and there is quite a lot of seasoning in here, beans and pulses do need a little bit of help in this area, especially if you aren’t used to eating them. But for me, it’s all about the toppings! So, serve for breakfast with some toasted sourdough and a poached egg, or make a lunch bowl with anything and everything from chopped parsley, avocado, feta, toasted pumpkin seeds, baked tofu…the list is endless.

TIP 1: I prefer using whole tinned tomatoes, they have more flavour and you can break them up whilst they are in the pan into smaller chunks.

TIP 2: Buy a jar of minced garlic from the world foods section of your supermarket, it keeps in the fridge for months and you never need to bother peeling and chopping again. The one I use also has no added sugar or salt for preserving so just take a quick look at the label before putting it into your trolley.

INGREDIENTS
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tin butter beans
½ tin green lentils
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons harissa
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Parsley stalks, finely chopped
1 tin of plum tomatoes
½ tin of water
1 teaspoon rapeseed oil
Salt and pepper

METHOD
Add the oil to a large saucepan and place over a medium heat. Ensure you only use a teaspoon as it’s so easy to go overboard when adding oils and they can add unnecessary calories.
Add the onion and garlic and lightly fry until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes
Add everything else, stir
Bring to the boil and then simmer for 45 minutes with a lid on, stirring every 15 minutes.
Add extra water if the beans become to dry
Serve, freeze or keep in the fridge for 3 days

BANANA & SPINACH LOAF

Makes 1 loaf/10 slices

Not your standard banana loaf this is a great way to get added veggies into you and your families diets. The banana flavour comes through and the added sweetness of the honey and raisins is just enough, you won’t even taste the spinach although it will add a slightly greenness to your loaf! Enjoy warm with some Greek yoghurt for breakfast or as a snack

INGREDIENTS
100g raisins or sultanas
200g flour (plain, wholemeal, spelt, rye, buckwheat)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large handfuls of spinach
100g honey
2 ripe bananas
120ml sunflower oil
50g nuts (your choice, I used pecans, crushed)
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 loaf tin

METHOD
Preheat your oven to 150C
Line your loaf tin with baking paper. Sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and bicarb into a large bowl. Mix the sunflower oil, eggs and honey in another bowl
Blitz the bananas and spinach in a blender until smooth, then add them to the oil mixture
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and stir until combined
Mix in the raisins and nuts. Pour the mixture into the tin and top the loaf with some additional nuts, raisins and slices of banana. Sometimes I use desiccated coconut too. Bake for around 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave in the tin to cool for around half an hour, then remove the baking paper.

SPINACH, FETA & CHIVE EGG CUPS

Makes 12

I’m a lover of simple snacks which everyone can enjoy, so I’ve adapted muma oz’s recipe to be a veggie one. Feta and spinach are a well known combo, throw in some chives for added tang and you’ve got the perfect bite! For breakfast or as a snack, around 60 calories each and high in protein, enjoy these ones!

INGREDIENTS
Olive oil for greasing
40g feta
1 tablespoon chopped chives
8 eggs
150ml of semi skimmed milk
40g spinach, roughly chopped
Salt & pepper
1 individual muffin tin

METHOD
Preheat the oven to 200C
Grease the muffin tins with olive oil using a pastry brush
Put all ingredient into a mixing bowl and whisk with a fork
Ladle evenly into muffin tins
Bake for around 20 minutes until golden brown

HARISSA CHICKPEAS

Serves 2

This is the perfect accompaniment for a main meal. Chickpeas are extremely versatile, cheap and nutritious. Just half a tin contains around 150 calories and 9 grams of protein. By comparison a medium chicken breast contains roughly 30 grams, so for a plant source of protein this is pretty good! And fibre – you’ll find over 7 grams, we are supposed to be getting 30 grams per day, that’s over 20% just from half a tin. This recipe has just 4 ingredients (excluding salt and pepper) and can be an easy store cupboard staple! I often enjoy this with some pan-fried chicken, alternatively grilled halloumi would also be delicious. Just be careful with oil and ensure you only add one teaspoon to the pan, its so easy to go a little overboard and with something like oil that can mean excess fat and calories for really no reason at all!

INGREDIENTS
1 red onion
1 tin of drained and washed chickpeas
Rapeseed oil
3 teaspoons harissa paste
Salt and black pepper

METHOD
Peel and roughly chop the onion
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large frying pan
Add onion and cook over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes
Drain chickpeas and rinse under cold water
Add them to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper
Stir
Add in harissa and a dash of water, then mix together, turn heat to low and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes. If the mix becomes really dry just add a little more water.
Store in the fridge for up to 4 days

BUTTERNUT, ROSEMARY & CHILLI SOUP

Serves 4 as a main

Soup never gets old, it can be as plain or as fancy as you like but it’s a firm favourite for the colder months. This one will warm your soul on those chilly autumn evenings and with a slice of toasted sourdough or two will make the perfect lunch or dinner. It will also keep in the fridge for around 5 days or portion it out and keep in the freezer for one of those nights you get stuck with what to have for dinner.

INGREDIENTS
1 butternut squash
3 sprigs of rosemary
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon rapeseed oil
1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
1 brown onion
1 veg stock cube
Salt and black pepper

METHOD
Peel and roughly chop the onion
Remove the leaves from the rosemary stalks and roughly chop
Cut the butter squash in half across the middle and then into rings. Remove as much skin as you can and cut the flesh into chunks
Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat with the rapeseed oil
Add the onion, rosemary, dried chilli and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes
Then add the butternut squash, season with salt & pepper and stir until combined
Add the stock cube and fill the saucepan with water until all the ingredients are just covered
Simmer for 1 hour
Leave to cool, then blitz with a stick blender or in a food processor until smooth

Top with crunch of your choice – anything from dried corn, crushed nuts, desiccated coconut, toasted seeds or my favourite - crushed up tortilla chips

NANNY BRU'S SALTED PEANUT COOKIES

Makes 20-24 cookies depending on size

This is quite possibly one of the easiest recipes out there, especially for someone who isn’t that sh*t hot at baking….me. Passed down from my fiancée’s grandmother, to his mum and over the weekend to me, just five ingredients is all you’ll need. My eyes lit up when the little box of recipes was brought out of the cupboard, it reminded me of the similar book my own nan kept. Remember food is there for enjoyment as well as nourishment, so make these to share with friends, wrap them and give them for presents or take them to work, they are simply perfect!

INGREDIENTS
140g self-raising flour
110g butter
110g salted peanuts
110g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD
Preheat your oven to 190C
Line a large flat baking tray with greaseproof paper
Mix all the ingredients together
Note: This can be done in a food processor or by hand, if by hand, the peanuts will still be whole so the biscuits will turn out extra crunchy!
Roll into small sized balls, about the size of an avocado stone
Place onto baking tray and press lightly with your finger to make an indentation. You’ll need to do two batches or have two baking trays ready to ensure when they cook there is enough room for them to grow.
Bake for around 15 mins, until golden

BREKKY BURRITO

Serves 4

A weekend fave for me when I have visitors. It’s easy, not much mess and the kids will enjoy helping out.

INGREDIENTS
4 wholemeal tortilla wraps
6 tablespoons tomato chutney
8 smoked bacon rashers, grilled
4 fried eggs
1 avocado, crushed
100g cheddar cheese, grated
½ tin black beans, crushed
Handful spinach leaves, washed

METHOD

Heat black beans in a small pan with tomato chutney and season with salt and pepper. Heat pan over a medium heat, add one teaspoon of oil. Crack eggs and fry until cooked. Lay wrap flat on a bench. Spread avocado onto wrap leaving a 1cm edge at each end. Place grilled bacon rashers on top. Add black bean mix then layer with grated cheese. Slice fried egg in half and place on top of cheese then lay spinach leaves on top. Fold ends in and fold top of wrap over (ensuring the ends remain tucked in) and roll over so the join is on the bottom. Either toast in a sandwich toaster or cut in half and enjoy fresh.

MUMA OZ’S HAM & VEGGIE BITES

Makes 10

Muma Oz is a bit of a legend when it comes to old school classics, I'll be sure to post some more of her favourites over the coming months. She actually used to make this one as one big savoury quiche but I've broken them down into bit sized pieces which makes storage easier and perfect for snacking. They can easily be made veggie by just removing the ham. And if you are looking for a bit of spice, a drop of Tabasco would e my recommendation!

INGREDIENTS
Knob of butter
10 slices of ham
3 cups of grated carrot & courgette
6 eggs
1 cup of milk
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
Salt & pepper
1 quiche dish or individual muffin tin

METHOD
Preheat the oven to 170C
Grease the muffin tins with butter
Lay the ham slices in each of the muffin tins, 1 slice per tin
Whisk together the eggs, milk, chilli flakes and veg. Season with salt and pepper
Bake for around half an hour until golden brown
Re heat and have warm for breakfast or eat cold as a snack