Big plates

Bigger plates and main dishes

  • Aloo Gobi – Cauliflower, Potato, and Pea Curry

    A traditional vegetarian dish served at nearly all Indian restaurants and this is healthy and very easy to put together. I love cauliflower and the great thing about cooking this from home is that you can put as much or as little spice as you like. This dish doesn’t use coconut milk and very little oil – so it is not a heavy dish at all. Served with warm wholemeal naan, it has a lot of flavour and digests very well. I will definitely be making this again!

    Ingredients 2 x medium potatoes  – chopped into cubes (peeled is best for this recipe) 1/2 a large cauliflower – chopped into florets – (try and get them roughly the same size) 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes 1 x cup frozen peas 2 x tbsp olive oil 1/4 inch – peeled and chopped ginger 1 x medium onion  – chopped 3 x large garlic cloves  – peeled and halved 2 x tbsp BOLS mild curry powder 1 x tsp Garam Masala 1/4 x tsp cayenne pepper 2 x tsp Turmeric 2 x tsp cumin 1 x tsp salt 1 x tsp pepper 1 x tbsp ketchup or agave syrup 1 x tsp sea salt 1 x tsp ground black pepper

    Method Boil your chopped potatoes in a large pan for about 8 minutes in lightly salted water, then with a slotted spoon drain them and set aside. In the same boiling water add in the cauliflower florets and cook until just soft, drain and set aside with the cooked potatoes. In a food blender, add in the chopped onion, peeled garlic cloves, ginger, tinned tomatoes, ketchup or agave, olive oil, and blitz. Add the tomato mixture to a large pan and heat to medium temperature so the mixture starts to gently simmer. Add in the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, garam masala, salt and pepper, and stir. Add in the cup of frozen peas and stir through. Cook for about 5 minutes until the peas are cooked, then add in the cooked potatoes and cauliflower and warm through for about 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat and serve. This is the sort of dish that gets better as it sits so you can always leave it for a while and then gently reheat. I served it with bulgur wheat and warm wholemeal naan and a cucumber and tomato salad – delicious!

  • Chickpea and Plantain Curry

    Another wonderful Ital dish – I got the original idea from the Original Flava cookbook (this is the recipe that made me pick up the book and buy it!) it’s full of flavour and the plantain adds such a lovely sweet flavour – I love this with brown rice and a piece of naan bread. Make sure the plantain you use are ripe (should be speckled brown and gives a bit when you squeeze it).

    Ingredients 2 x tbsp vegetable oil of your choice 1 x large onion  – chopped 3 x fat garlic cloves grated 1/2 red bell pepper (chopped) 2 -3 tbsp BOLS mild curry powder 1 x tsp Garam Masala 2 x jars of chickpeas in brine 1 x 400g can of coconut milk 1/4 cup of water 2 x ripe plantain Sea salt 1 x tsp ground black pepper a handful of chopped frozen spinach (optional) 1 x scotch bonnet pepper

    Method Add your oil to a large pan and bring to a medium heat. Once hot, add in the chopped onion, red pepper and the garlic and fry gently for 4-5 minutes. When the onions start to soften, add in the curry powder, garam masala, salt, pepper and add a small splash of water, a small amount of the coconut milk and combine everything into a paste. Drain and wash the 2 jars of chickpeas (the jarred chickpeas are way better than the tinned ones) then add into the curry paste mixture and stir. Now add in the rest of the coconut milk and a 1/4 cup of water. Slice your plantain into thick slices and add into the mixture, test the seasoning and then put the lid on a cook for about 20 minutes. If the mixture is too thick add a little more water. Add in the frozen spinach (if using) and stir finally add your scotch bonnet gently on the top. Put the lid back on a simmer for another 5-10 mins. I have this with either seasoned brown rice or bulgur wheat and a little cucumber and tomato salad.

  • Aubergine Parmigiana

    This is winter comfort food! A really nice dish to serve for a lunch with friends, you can leave it in the oven cooking nicely – leaving your kitchen smelling delicious and you free to chat 🙂 (my favourite pastime!) I would normally serve this with fresh warm bread and a lightly dressed crunchy salad…………..

    3 x large aubergines
    2 x 400g tinned plum tomatoes
    1 – 2  x tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
    1 x red onion – finely chopped
    3 x fat garlic cloves – grated
    1 – 2 tsp dried oregano
    1 x tsp red wine vinegar
    1 x tsp tomato puree
    1 x tbsp tomato ketchup or sugar
    a handful of fresh basil leaves (save some torn leaves for garnish)
    sea salt
    black pepper

    Cashew topping
    150g cashews
    1/2 tsp garlic salt
    1 x tsp sea salt
    4 x tbsp nutritional yeast

    Chop the aubergines into 1cm slices – lay the slices into a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt to draw out any bitterness and leave for 15 mins.
    While waiting, make your cashew topping. Put all ingredients in a small food processor and blitz until a coarse powder – set aside.
    After 15 mins rinse the aubergine slices with water and pat dry with kitchen paper.
    Heat a frying pan to a medium heat and brush each aubergine slice on both sides with a little olive oil. In batches, gently fry the aubergine slices on both sides until just golden brown. (It’s worth the faff – trust me!)
    Set the aubergine aside and now it’s time to make the tomato sauce.
    Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add in the finely chopped red onion, stir and then grate in the garlic.
    Cook the onion until soft and then add in the tins of plum tomatoes (as in my other recipes – use a wooden spoon to mash and squash the tomatoes to a pulp). Now add-in the tomato puree, tomato ketchup, oregano, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. (PRE-HEAT YOUR OVEN NOW TO 180 DEGREES)
    Let the sauce cook gently for about 20-25 minutes and let it thicken a little, then add in the basil leaves and stir through. (test the sauce and adjust salt & pepper as necessary).
    Get a deep baking dish and spread a little of the tomato sauce on the bottom and then layer the aubergine slices on top. Then add a layer of tomato sauce and a layer of aubergine and repeat until all is used up (make sure the last layer is tomato sauce)
    Now sprinkle over the cashew topping and pop in the oven for about 34-40 minutes until the aubergine is cooked but still has a bit of bite.
    Remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 mins – sprinkle over some chopped basil leaves – serve!

  • Mushroom Bolognese

    So, peeps – I wasn’t expecting much from this recipe, to be honest – I needed a quick mid-week recipe that was easy to put together and would satisfy. Trust me by the time I get home from a long day at work I can totally appreciate why people feel like sticking something from the freezer into the oven! I was very pleasantly surprised by this cheeky little bolognese 🙂  – it was really tasty and filling and so easy to make. It lasts for a few days in the fridge and is also perfect for taking to work for lunch.

    Ingredients 1 x  red onion  – finely chopped 1 – 2  x tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil) 2 x fat garlic cloves grated 1 x medium carrot – diced into very small cubes 1 x 300g pack of mushrooms – diced very finely 1/3 cup of red wine (this really makes a difference) 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes 1 x tbsp tomato puree 1 x tbsp tomato ketchup 1 x bay leaf 1x tsp oregano (optional) sea salt & black pepper to taste (always use sea salt – NEVER table salt) A small amount of hot veg stock or plain boiling water if needed

    Method Chop your ingredients first – makes life a lot easier (onion, carrots and mushrooms) In a large pan gently heat the vegetable oil and then add your chopped onion, carrots and garlic and cook for about 7-8 minutes until they are getting soft. Now add in the tinned tomatoes (plum tomatoes are sweeter than chopped tomatoes, so as a rule, they are the only ones I use) mash the tomatoes with a wooden spoon until they have disintegrated. Add in the tomato puree, ketchup, red wine, bay leaf, oregano (if using)  and salt and pepper, stir thoroughly and finally stir in the mushrooms. Allow to simmer for about 15 mins, adding in a little hot vegetable stock or boiling water if the mixture becomes too thick. While the bolognese is simmering, bring a boiling pan of salted water to a boil and add enough wholewheat spaghetti (or pasta shape of your choice) for those eating (the bolognese should feed 4 adults). Once cooked, drain the pasta and add to the bolognese mix and stir through. If fewer people are eating remove some of the bolognese mixture for later use and add in your pasta (you get the idea!). Serve with a crisp salad and enjoy!

    NOW this is not just a speedy recipe which tastes delicious but it is also nutritious  – All types of edible mushrooms contain varying degrees of protein and fibre. They also contain B vitamins as well as a powerful antioxidant called selenium, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues. Tomatoes are the best source of the carotenoid pigment lycopene. Some studies suggest it can help prevent prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. 
  • Caribbean Ital Stew

    I love the whole ethos of Rastafarian food – choosing foods as near to their natural state as possible, foods that align with the Old Testament Levitical law and eating foods that nourish and strengthen the body. Organic fruits and vegetables are centre stage and no meat! Although the diet was never meant for weight loss – have you ever seen a fat Rasta?!!!

    Ingredients 1 x large onion  – chopped 1 – 2  x tbsp vegetable oil (not olive oil for this one! but rapeseed oil is fine) 2 x fat garlic cloves grated 1 x tsp finely chopped ginger (or grated) adjust to how much you like ginger! 2 x washed and clean spring onions – chopped in half 2 x tsp turmeric (I put turmeric in nearly everything!) 1/2 butternut squash-  chopped into 2 cm chunks 1 x sweet potato  – chopped into 2 cm chunks 1 x large normal potato – chopped into 2 cm chunks 1 x large carrot – chopped into 2 cm chunks 1 -2 ripe plantain – peeled and cut into thick slices 1 x 400g tin of kidney beans 1 x 400g tin of coconut milk 3 x cups of water 1 x small tin of sweetcorn (thick slices of corn on the cob look really good also) 8 x allspice berries Sea salt 2 x tsp ground black pepper 1 x scotch bonnet pepper 2 x sprigs of thyme 2 x bay leaves

    Method Chop all your veggies first ready to put in your pan. In a large pan gently heat the vegetable oil and then add your chopped onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft. Now add in the finely chopped ginger (a real time saver if you are in a rush is buying the jars of minced garlic and ginger from a supermarket!) and stir together. Add in the chopped butternut squash, potato, carrots, drained kidney beans coconut milk and water, stir thoroughly, bring to the boil and then reduce heat and cook for about 8-10 minutes. Now add in sweet potatoes, salt, pepper, bay leaves, turmeric, allspice berries, thyme, and lay the 2 spring onions and scotch bonnet pepper gently on the top. Simmer for about 15-20 mins with the lid on until the vegetables are just tender. (Make sure there is enough liquid in the pan – so that the vegetables will cook evenly – the mixture thickens naturally as the veggies cook) Finally, add in the sweetcorn and plantain and heat through for another 5 minutes. Leave to stand for 5 minutes and then serve with seasoned brown rice. REMEMBER: remove the bay leaves, allspice berries, thyme sprigs and scotch bonnet before serving! adjust salt & pepper as needed. Like all the recipes I suggest you can add what you have handy – you can add yam, pumpkin, spinach or okra etc.