Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Rainbow Vegetable Puff Pastry Tart

Vegetarian tarts are some of my favourite savoury bakes to make. It’s very easy to create a delicious vegetarian meal without feeling as if you’re missing the meat using puff pastry. And this Rainbow Vegetable Tart is an easy and delicious vegetarian puff pastry tart that can be ready in just 45 minutes!

There’s no shame in using ready made puff pastry, especially when it’s so readily available, cheap and good quality from many supermarkets. The tart has flaky and delicate buttery puff pastry with a layer of smooth cream cheese and lots of good vegetables which are tasty and texturally all different; the cucumber provides a soft mellow base, the carrots add slight sweetness as well as a tiny amount of crunch, the tomato adds moisture and sweetness as it roasts on the surface and the red onions cook down and become crisp. The tart is finished off with melted brie and gorgonzola.

1 x 375g block of shop bought puff pastry

75g full fat cream cheese

Ground black pepper

20ml lemon juice

Pinch of salt

½ a cucumber, cut into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler, seeds removed

½ a carrot, cut into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler

3 tomatoes, sliced

½ a red onion, sliced thinly

50g brie, cubed

25g gorgonzola, cubed

Beaten egg, to glaze

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Cut a piece of parchment to fit a square baking tray.

Roll out the puff pastry into a square on a lightly floured surface measuring 23cm by 23cm. Use a knife to lightly score a mark 2cm in from each side.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese with the black pepper, salt and lemon juice until it has a spreadable consistency. Spread the cream cheese on top of the puff pastry up to the marked edge.

Arrange the cucumber and carrot ribbons over the pastry so that the cream cheese is concealed, again reaching up to the border. Place 16 tomato slices on the tart in a 4×4 grid as in the picture and scatter over the thinly sliced red onions and the brie and gorgonzola. Finish with a crack of black pepper and brush the top of the puff pastry with egg wash.

Bake the tart for around 25 minutes or until the pastry is well-risen, golden and crisp and cooked all the way through to the base. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before slicing into 4 pieces and serving hot with a lightly dressed side salad.


Meatless Monday: Aubergine and Potato Curry

Meatless Monday is a worldwide campaign aimed at improving the health of people and the planet by removing meat from our diet for 1 day a week. Founded in 2003, Meatless Monday has gained immense popularity and whilst I haven’t actively done this myself, as a student, I do find that meat is expensive and also a bit of a pain to cook sometimes. With that, I came up with this Aubergine and Potato Curry.

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I cooked this curry in a large batch so I could have some in the freezer on hand to defrost at any time. You can change this curry around to suit your tastes by using hot or mild curry powder or omitting the dried chilli flakes if you don’t like the heat. You could also add cauliflower, spinach or chickpeas if you want to; frozen spinach is brilliant in curries I find as it thickens it up nicely too.

I used tinned potatoes for my curry, it’s cheaper and much easier than cooking potatoes from scratch at just 15p for a tin that was just right for the amount of curry I was cooking. Frozen or tinned vegetables are essential items in my kitchen, it eliminates the need to prepare them and they can be more nutritious than their fresh equivalents as the nutrients are locked when they are flash frozen.

1 onion, chopped into 1 inch squares

1 pepper, chopped into 1 inch squares

2 tbsp sunflower oil

1 carrot, cut into 0.5cm half moons

1 medium aubergine, cut into 1 inch squares

1 x 560g tin of new potatoes

1 tsp paprika

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

¼ tsp hot chilli powder

2 tsp garlic granules

4 tsp medium curry powder

2 tbsp garam masala

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp tomato puree

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

50g frozen peas

Place the onion and pepper into a saucepan over a medium heat with half of the oil and sweat the onion until it has turned slightly translucent and has softened slightly. Add in the carrot and continue to cook until the carrot softens slightly and then season.

In a separate pan or wok, fry off the aubergine in the remaining oil until the aubergine has browned on both sides. Season with salt and pepper and add the aubergine into the rest of the vegetables. Add in the tinned potatoes and add around 100ml of water and cover the pan with a lid and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.

Place all of the spices into the pan you cooked the aubergine in and toast the spices. You should start to smell the spices’ aroma as they toast. Once toasted, add in the tomato puree and mix the spices into the puree and let the puree “brown” for 2-3 minutes; by this I mean heat the puree through so that you intensify the tomato flavour.

Meanwhile add the chopped tomatoes with a teaspoon of sugar to the vegetable pan and swill out the tin of tomatoes with 50ml of water. Add in the browned tomato puree and give everything a stir to combine. Leave the curry to bubble on a medium high heat for around 10 minutes to finish cooking the vegetables and allow the flavours to amalgamate.

Adjust the seasoning and the spice to your liking and then add the frozen peas and leave the curry to boil for a further 10 – 15 minutes to thicken up. If it is still a bit too wet, you can remove some of the liquid and create a slurry with some cornflour, adding it back to the pan to thicken it.

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When the curry sauce is to the desired consistency, serve the curry with some freshly cooked basmati rice or some naan bread; I bought some garlic and coriander naans which were perfect for mopping up the curry sauce. You can also finish it with a sprinkle of coriander, serve it with a cucumber raita or with some crispy poppadoms!


Spiced Cauliflower, Chickpea and Potato Salad

Simply Nigella has to be one of my favourite cookbooks in my collection. Nigella Lawson has many books out but this is the first one I have. And this book is just bang on trend with 3 recipes for bundt cakes, multiple recipes containing coconut oil and more than a fair few containing buckwheat flour.

And whilst I guarantee I won’t be making the Black Rice Noodles, I could see myself making the Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies or the Nutella Brownies. One of the savoury recipes I have already tried however is the Spiced Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad.


Now I’m not a fan of pomegranate seeds so I have changed the recipe a lot to suit my taste and budget. I’ve changed the harissa paste to a spiced tomato salsa mixture and I use frozen cauliflower which I partially defrost by soaking in hot water before cooking. This also makes sure it cooks in time. Whilst Nigella serves this on a bed of parsley, I think it is best served in a gem lettuce cup or with some steaming hot fluffy rice. It’s also a great side to any meal.

This recipe is enough for 3 portions but I made this ahead and kept it in plastic containers in the fridge for later in the week. Nigella recommends keeping for only 2 days and this was also the same for me.

600g frozen cauliflower florets

3 tbsp vegetable oil

150g tomato salsa

2 tsp tomato puree

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

2 tsp ground cumin

4 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained

1 x 560g tin of new potatoes, drained and halved

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a roasting tin with foil.

Put the cauliflower florets into a heatproof bowl and pour over a litre of hot (but not boiling water) water. Leave to defrost for about 15 minutes. Drain the cauliflower well, shaking off any excess water and pour into the roasting tin with the oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven for 15 minutes until the cauliflower florets are soft inside (test this with a knife like a potato) and set aside. If they are too large, cut them into the same size as the potatoes.

In a separate bowl, mix together the salsa, tomato puree, sugar, spices and olive oil. Season well. Adding in the cauliflower florets (as well as any liquid in the tin), the drained chickpeas and chopped new potatoes. Toss well so everything is coated – you could do this in the tin if you want to.

Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes until everything is warmed through and cooked and the sauce is slightly charred on the vegetables.