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Easy recipes from Apple Tree

Tag: Vegetarian (page 2 of 4)

Lebanese Pickle

If you buy a kebab from a genuine takeaway or van you will usually be offered (or find) some bright pink pickled vegetable with a nice crunch and a bit of a tang. These are surprisingly easy to make, and go well with your own kebabs at home. You will need some sort of glass jar, I used a Kilner but others are available. Wilco is a surprisingly useful source for these. There are other recipes available on-line. This one does produce good pickles though. Others appear to have more salt and less vinegar. Experiment!

  • 1 large or 2 small turnips, 400-500g total
  • 1 small uncooked beetroot.

Trim off the peel and slice into sticks the size of French fries, or shorter chunkier pieces.

  • 175ml water
  • 175ml distilled vinegar (white)
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 chilli stabbed with a knife (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole.

Mix the pickling ingredients and stir until the salt has dissolved.

Pack a jar with the beets and fill with the liquid. Place in the fridge and check it each day to see the pink tinge grow! The original recipe advised swirling around every few days. After a week it will be ready to eat. Keep it in the fridge and it will last a few weeks I am told. It didn’t last that long here – it was eaten. The Lebanese call these pickles “lift”. Yes, you can see Rudi in the photo.

Real (ish) Tomato Soup

Quick too!

  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic

Chop and sweat in a dash of olive oil for 10 minutes

  • 2 tins good quality tomatoes (that is the -ish bit)
  • 6 proper tomatoes
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (a stock cube is fine)

Simmer 15 minutes

Add a small handful of fresh basil leaves and whizz with a stick blender. Adjust the seasoning and job done. Idea to table in 30 minutes. From a Jamie Oliver recipe. Great with our Irish Soda Bread recipe as you can see in the picture.

Spiced Banana Loaf

A bid fiddly but worth it. First heat your oven to 170C. Grease a large loaf tin and line with baking parchment.

  • 3 weetabixes, crumbled
  • 100g sultanas
  • 150ml milk

Mix, then set aside.

  • 2 eggs
  • 250g light muscavado sugur

Whip to a froth (or as best you can in a mixer)

  • 120g butter, melted
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix into the egg and sugar froth. You can do this in a food mixer. Now stir into the weetabix mixture. Don’t use a food processor for this step or you will “loose” the sultanas.

Bake for 1-1.25 hours. Leave in the tin for at least 5 minutes after it is cooked.

Vegan Nut and Tofu Roast

This is pretty simple if you have a food processor. Here are the steps.

  1. Chop an onion finely in a food processor.
  2. Fry in oil gently with two cloves of garlic.
  3. Whizz 4 slices of bread to breadcrumbs – put in a bowl
  4. Whizz 200g cashew nuts to crumbs. Put in bowl.
  5. Whiz 250g plain tofu  and 140ml vegetable stock to a paste. Add to bowl.
  6. Whizz 200g mushrooms to a fine chop and fry in a little oil
  7. Add the onion to your bowl, and mix in with half a teaspoon dried thyme and half a teaspoon dried rosemary
  8. Grease a 2lb loaf tin or equivalent size pie dish and put half the mix in, pressing down.
  9. Add the cooked mushrooms and spread out.
  10. Add the rest of the mix and press down.
  11. Cover with foil and cook in an oven at 180C for one hour.
  12. Allow to rest ten minutes.
  13. Turn out and carve.
  14. Eat hot or cold.

Vegan “sausage” rolls

As a non-vegan, I was surprised to discover that Jus-Roll pastry was vegan. Very useful. (So is Bisto gravy, can you believe that?) Quantities are a bit vague because we made this from leftovers so you may need to tweak a bit.

  • Half a pack of Jus-Roll puff pastry
  • Tin of Borlotti beans (or any beans really), drained
  • salt and pepper
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Small pinch of chilli powder
  • Large spoonful of Vegan Bolognese
  • Tablespoon of vegan milk

Mush the beans with a stick blender, fork, end of a rolling pin or a clean jam jar. Mix with the other ingredients. It should form a stiff paste. Roll out the puff pastry to about 4mm thick. Cut into rectangles about 200mm by 150mm. Spoon a “sausage” up the centre line of each pastry rectangle on the long dimension. Roll the pastry round the filling and glue the join with a bit of water. Roll over so the join is underneath. Place on a greased baking tray. Brush the milk over the top to make a glaze and slash at an angle across the top of the rolls to allow steam to escape. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 20-25 minutes.

PS if you don’t have any vegan bolognese you could enhanced the mix with some finely chopped and fried onion, and a contrasting type of bean (white or red). You could add more seasoning, garlic and herbs if you prefer.


Vegan Bolognese sauce

In my opinion as a meat-eater, this is very nearly as good as the beef version! This makes a batch good for 4 meals at least.

  • 400g dried green lentils
  • I onion, chopped finely
  • 2 carrots, chopped finely
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 litres vegetable stock
  • Oil
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper

First cook the lentils in the stock for 45 minutes. Add more water if it threatens to dry out.

Meanwhile chop the vegetables or if you have one, pulse in a food processor. You need to consistency fine not chunky. Now sweat in a pan with the oil until soft. Add the tinned tomatoes, cooked lentils with their liquid and season. Cook another 20-30 minutes. Now for the clever bit. Use a stick blender or fork to mush half the mix into a paste and stir into the rest of the mix to make a thick gloopy sauce. If it is too dry add stock, if it is too runny, boil it away a bit with the lid off. Real vegans will add yeast powder to the mix.

Serve as a pasta sauce, or make a lasagne. The problem with a vegan lasagne is making the creamy topping. Vegetarians will be fine with a standard bechamel sauce and grated cheese! Vegans will have to improvise with tofu alternatives. Keep some back to use as an ingredient for vegan sausage rolls!


Quick Irish Soda Bread

This makes a small loaf so it is quick, and very authentic in texture and flavour.

  • 170g self raising wholemeal flour
  • 170g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 290ml buttermilk

Mix all the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk and knead briefly.

Heat the oven to 200C. On a flat greased oven tray, place the ball of dough. Slash a deep cross on top with a knife. Bake 30 minutes.

Indulgent Porridge

Why pay a fortune for porridge in little packets? It is cheap, quick and easy to make your own. You can embellish this with a variety of flavourings or just make plain.

Per person, put half a cup each of porridge oats, water and milk in a pan. Heat until it starts blurping. Turn the heat down to its lowest. If you like , add a handful of blueberries or raspberries and continue heating for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Or make plain and just heat a bit more. Turn into a bowl and add flaked toasted almonds and Argave syrup.

Alternatively, make plain then add a spoon of jam, or a drizzle of honey, Golden Syrup, cream, sprinkle of demarera sugar….the choice is yours.

*** Update! *** We watched Nigel Slater making porridge the other night with a Scottish gent, who would know, obviously. His method was subtly different. He used three measures of water, not two of milk and water, and simmered for five minutes not two. He then added a pinch of salt. We tried this and I have to admit, if you can take the extra three minutes it is worth it. We are divided over the salt issue, Olwyn does not approve but I liked it. By the way, Hugh F-W in an earlier programme soaked his oats for 30 minutes before cooking. I haven’t tried that but will do and report back later.


American Breakfast Pancakes

The Full English might be the best breakfast in the world but the Americans come a very close second with their gut-busting assemblies of good things. These are superb for a weekend brunch. These quantities will be enough to feed four to six.

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • oil for frying

These are traditional griddle cakes, aka Scotch Pancakes but don’t tell them. First mix the dry ingredients. Them mix the wet ingredients and stir into the flour mixture until you have a thick cream. You may need to adjust the milk quantity. Lightly oil a heavy saucepan or griddle plate and heat – not too hot or your pancakes will burn before they cook through. Place blobs of pancake mix on the pan – I use a 1/4 cup measure as a scoop.


Wait until bubbles appear on the surface and the top starts to lose it’s wet look, then flip over.


Cook a bit longer.


Keep them warm while you make the rest.


Serve with bacon, fruit, whipped butter or creme fraiche and of course maple syrup.



Sweetcorn and Broccoli Fritters

Ingredients (For two) – easily halved except for the egg!.

  • 140gms broccoli florets ( about one small head, cut off florets and throw the stems away)
  • 150gms tin of sweet corn, drained
  • 140gms flour (about 140 ml or half a US cup rounded()
  • 75gms Cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 75ml milk, more or less
  • 2 tbs sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tbs chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tbs chopped spring onion
  • sunflower oil for frying

Boil, microwave or steam the broccoli until soft, and chop  up into small pieces. Mush the sweet corn in a bowl with the bottom of a jar. Mix everything else together except the oil. It needs to be splodgy, not too runny. You can adjust with more flour (makes it less runny) or more milk (makes it more runny). Season with salt and pepper. If you don’t have the basil or chilli sauce it still works but is more bland. A condition easily corrected later with tomato ketchup! Heat a glug of oil on a frying pan to medium hot (shimmering but not smoking). Dollop big spoonfuls of your batter onto the hot oil and press out to a flat shape if they look like a lump. You are aiming for something like small burgers in shape and size. You will need two pans or do this in two batches. After a minute or so turn them over. The bottom should look brown, if not you turned too soon. Each minute turn again, cooking time will vary according to thickness of dollop and heat of pan but when they look brown (not black!) on each side they are probably done. You are aiming for crispy on the outside and set in the middle (a subtle mini autopsy on one of them will show if they are done.) Keep cooked ones warm while you finish the batches. Serve with grilled bacon, a couple of sausages or something like that. Vegetarians could just make a meal of these, with maybe a yogurt dip on the side.

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