Saturday, 22 February 2014

Traditional pasty

What better after a cold afternoon out and about than a good old-fashioned pasty straight from the oven?  The good thing about the vegan version is that it's not as greasy as its traditional meaty counterpart meaning that the pastry doesn't go soggy underneath.  This is a nice simple recipe, using shop-bought pastry, that will make 4-5 regular pasties or 10-12 mini ones.
1 500g pack of vegan-friendly puff pastry
200g of vegan mince (I used Fry's)
1 large potato
1 small swede or 1/2 regular swede
1-2 tsp of vegetable stock powder
Salt & pepper


  1. Get the pastry out of the fridge and leave it to get to room temperature
  2. Place a large pan of water on the hob & bring to the boil
  3. Finely dice the potatoes and swede 
  4. Pop the diced swede and potatoes in for around 5-6 minutes to boil - check before draining that they're cooked then set aside to drain fully
  5. Place the oven on to preheat to 180C
  6. In a large frying pan or wok, heat a small amount of oil and add the mince 
  7. Once the mince has browned slightly, add the swede and potatoes
  8. Add a small amount of salt, a liberal amount of pepper, and 1tsp of vegetable stock powder
  9. Mix the ingredients well until the mince is cooked through
  10. Give the mixture a taste and if needs be, add more pepper and the other tsp of veg stock powder
  11. Set the filling mixture to one side to cool and roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work top, it should be big enough to cut out 4-5 15cm/6" discs
  12. Use a bowl or saucer around 15cm wide as a stencil to cut out discs
  13. Roll each disc out a little more before adding 2-3 heaped tablespoons of filling in the centre, slightly to one side
  14. Fold the disc over then begin to crimp the edges, there are numerous ways but here's one example -
  15. Place the pasties on a non-stick baking tray and cook until the pastry is golden brown 
  16. Eat with a big dollop of ketchup!  

Sunday, 2 February 2014

One-pot Rice Bowl

Here's a really simple, filling recipe for when you don't have huge amounts of time and don't want loads of washing up.  All you need is either a rice cooker or one large, deep, flat bottomed pan.  You can substitute the veg for whatever you might have in.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
400ml of rice, well rinsed (preferably soaked for 15-20 minutes)
1 can of chickpeas
1 large carrot
1 courgette
1 handful of frozen peas
2 tsp of turmeric
2 tsp of cumin
2 tsp of coriander powder
1-2 tsps of chilli powder (optional)
1-2 tablespoons of vegetable stock powder
1 litre of water with some extra for adding if needed
1 tablespoon of oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Measure out the rice in a liquid measuring jug, doing it this way rather than weighing makes it easier to figure out how much water you need.  
  2. Make sure the rice is well rinsed and then leave to soak whilst you prep the veg, preferably for 15-20 minutes
  3. Using a knife or julienne peeler, chop the carrot and courgette into small pieces, this helps to ensure they cook in the same time as the rice
  4. Rinse the chickpeas 
  5. Add all the veg, rice, chickpeas, spices, stock and oil into the rice cooker/pan
  6. Top up with water - roughly 2.5:1 rice to water - and mix well
  7. If you have a rice cooker, set to cook and then leave it for 10-15 minutes 
  8. If you're using a pan, bring to the boil then turn down to simmer and cover for 10-15 minutes
  9. Check back, stirring only occasionally (so as not to allow too much heat to escape)
  10. If needs be, add more water - you can check this by tasting the rice once the water has evaporated and if it's still not quite cooked, add some more, roughly 100ml at a time
  11. Serve with a chapati or other bread of your choice