Monday, 18 February 2013


Home made falafel with garlic mayonnaise 

Finding healthy easy to make vegetarian recipes has been something of a mission for the last 2 years. Since Teen V became a vegetarian it has been a challenge to get her to be aware of what she eats and, how she can prepare tasty food for herself. rather than just boiling a pot of pasta.

There is so much lovely fast food around now. Every market, high street and public space seems to have a really good range of tasty food, better than anything that was around when I was a teenager.

From slices of vegetable tarts and pies, spicy wedges, halumi burgers, falafel....

Savoury tarts

Savoury strudel

With this week being the half term holiday here in England, finding healthy easy recipes that the Teens can make themselves, has been important for me.

  Falafel is always a winner in our house. Inspired by the amazing falafel at Chez Hanna, in the Marais in Paris, I have been trying out different recipes for the past few years.

Chez Hanna,Paris

Falafel from chez hanna

Fast food on the go in Paris

Today we needed something quick and healthy to go with our salad for lunch. This falafel recipe is so simple and quick it is perfect for a last minute snack or lunch. You can add different spices to it to suit your taste. This is a plain simple tasty recipe, but also works well with a pinch of cumin in as well. I haven’t added it as the Teens here like it as it is.

 So here is my easy vegetarian falafel recipe that takes under 10 minutes to make and is delicious.

It works well in pitta bread or with just a range of salads, we had a mixed green salad with avocado and a quinoa salad (see post 4 March 2012
 filling, healthy and nutritious and can be made in minutes.

Chick pea falafel

Serves 4
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 3-5 minutes

1 400g tin of chick peas
  2 large spring onions or 4 small ones
1 egg
1 clove of garlic
½ tsp turmeric
1tbsp fresh coriander chopped
A generous glug of Oil for frying


1.     Rinse the chick peas and put in a blender along with the spring onions and blitz until smooth.
2.     Add the egg, turmeric, garlic and turmeric and continue to blend until a smooth paste like mixture.
3.     Using a spoon shape the mixture into small balls. You should manage to make between 12-16 balls.
4.     Heat the oil in a frying pan when hot start to fry to balls until golden.

Lots of recipes suggest deep fat frying the falafel but I don’t have a deep fat fryer and don’t like them so they take a few minutes more to fry in the pan but still taste great.

Garlic mayo and chick pea falafel

We served this with a garlic mayonnaise. This was made using 2 tbsp of shop bought mayonaise and 2 cloves of garlic crushed.

If you like falafel check out my the post last February 2012 for sweet potato falafel and beetroot humus

Saturday, 16 February 2013


Classic baked apples cinnamon

“Can we do some cooking?”Asked my helpful teen and her friend today.

Yes!  Yes!  I replied eagerly. The general desire was for something chocolaty or gooey..fudge was mentioned ...but as it required over a pound of sugar I steered them away.

Today the Times published a list of things children should be able to cook by the ages of 8, 12 and 16. It’s a good list and includes cupcakes for the younger age group and culminates with a roast and vegetable lasagne for the older ones. Fudge wasn’t on their list!!

It is a good range of food that will keep even the most disinterested cook busy and healthy if left on their own.

With the promise of baking something sweet later I got them to make some baked apples for lunch.  We often overlook the simple traditional desserts like baked apples but, as lunch proved today, they are simple, tasty and an easy way to have one of your five a day.

So with the sun shining and a promise of spring in the air we made a warm winter vegetable salad followed by soft, fluffy baked apples.

A great start to half term and another easy seasonal dessert recipe to add to their repertoire.

Baked apples with raisins and cinnamon  


Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
Serves- as many as you want, the ingredients below is per apple

Ingredients per apple:
1 Large cooking apple (4)
2tbsp raisins per apple (8)
1tbsp brown sugar (4)
1tbsp golden syrup
A sprinkle of cinnamon


1.     Wash your apples then remove the core so you have a hollow all the way through. Place them in an oven proof dish.
2.     Put half of the raisins in the hole, about a tsp, and pack down tightly, then add a layer of sugar, cinnamon, and a drizzle of syrup then repeat till the hole is full.
3.     Drizzle the remaining syrup over the top and sprinkle with an extra dash of cinnamon and place in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees c.

And that’s it. Easy. Serve with ice cream or cream.

Cooking apple

Sunday, 10 February 2013

VEGETARIAN SPINACH AND MINT LASAGNE- a healthy recipe with not a horse a sight

Fresh Spinach

With all the news of contaminated food, horse burgers and freaky lasagnes, I’m very thankful that we have been eating more of a vegetarian diet and making food from scratch for the last few years.

Last month I had to take time off as I was unwell and I was very lucky that my family rallied round cooking and shopping.

Soups, casseroles, blueberry muffins, chocolate brownies, fish pies and

oohh the MOST DELICIOUS spinach and mint lasagne.

I know it sounds rather strange but it is oh so scrumptious. The hint of mint offers a great balance to the spinach and the generous parmesan topping..well perfect!!

This delicious supper was made by my Mother, who is, as I have mentioned before, an excellent cook. As a small child I messed around with flour and eggs at her side and then as a teen and then student copied her recipes. At university I was even paid by a friend to cook supper parties for him, no baked beans every night for me!!

So if you fancy a lasagne with a difference I can thoroughly recommend this one. 

Spinach and mint lasagne

   Spinach, mint and cream cheese lasagne

Serves 4-6
Preparation time 30 minutes ish
(Well 10 minutes chopping and 20 minutes whilst the sauce simmers!)
Cooking time 30 minutes


Tomato sauce:
1Tbsp olive oil
1 chopped onion
2 celery sticks, and 2 carrots chopped
1tbsp tomato puree
2 400g tins of tomatoes

I kg frozen spinach
11oz of cream cheese
3 Tbsp grated parmesan
2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
8-10 sheets of lasagne

3 Tbsp crème fraiche( or cheese sauce if you can be bothered to make it) with a pinch of grated nutmeg


1.     Make the sauce; put the oil in a frying pan on a low heat and gently fry the onion, carrots and celery for about 3 minutes until soft.
2.     Add the tomato puree and tins of tomato and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then blend until smooth.
3.     Cook the spinach then drain and stir in the cream cheese, the mint and half of the parmesan.
4.     Turn the oven on to pre heat to 180 degrees c
5.     Now to layer it up. In an oven proof dish put a layer of tomatoes sauce. Next add a layer of spinach mix then a single layer of lasagne sheets and repeat. Do this until you finish with a top layer of lasagne.   
6.     Mix the nutmeg into the crème fraiche (or cheese sauce if you can be bothered to make it) and spread across the top then sprinkle the remaining parmesan on and put into the oven.
7.     Cook for half an hour.

As I said I can’t take the credit for this delicious recipe it was made by my Mum, who has passed it on to me. Despite being an odd combination for winter the mint and spinach work so well together.

spinach and mint lasagne ready to go in the oven

You can be confident there’s not a whisper of horse in this dish.