Easy recipes from Apple Tree

Tag: Vegetarian (Page 1 of 6)

Lentil, lemon and spinach soup

This makes a lovely tangy soup of the type popular in Turkey and Syria. To vary the thickness of the soup, just play around with the quantity of lentils. This recipe makes enough for four big bowls.

  • 1 large onion chopped
  • dash of olive oil

Gently fry the onions until transluscent. Add

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • Pinch of chilli flakes

Fry for another couple of minutes. Add

  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 150g – 250g dried red lentils

Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add

  • as many fresh spinach leaves as you can hold in one fist, washed and chopped
  • Handful of coriander leaves and stalks
  • 2 lemons, juice and zest

Simmer a few minutes to cook the spinach. If you like a smooth soup, zap it with a stick blender. If you like it lumpy, don’t bother. Adjust the seasoning and serve, topped with fried pine nuts, almond flakes, chilli, whatever takes your fancy. Amazing eaten with fresh bread and a tangy goats cheese or feta.

Cheat’s quick veg biryani

OK, true Indian cookery affionados will probably cringe at this, but if you want a tasty meal ready in under 20 minutes and fewer than 100 ingredients you are in the right place. I’m giving the quantities here for one person, you can scale up x2, x3 and x4 but as this is a microwave dish I’m not guaranteeing it will work for larger quantities because I haven’t tested it for more servings. You can adapt it for the Instant Pot then you can go larger.

Here goes, per person. You can chop and change the choice of vegetables. It can be one or two types, or a gathering of anything you have to hand.

  • 70gm basmati rice
  • 140ml vegetable stock
  • 0.5tbs curry paste (any will do)
  • 120gm vegetables – sliced mushroom, chopped beans, peas, chopped pepper, chopped carrot, cauliflower florets, diced potato, diced sweet potato or any combo that takes your fancy. You can use chopped onion but best to saute these first.
  • 25g dried fruit such as sultanta, raisin, chopped dried apricot

Put the whole lot in a microwaveable container such as a pyrex bowl, and cover. Microwave on full power for 12 minutes. If you are scaling up, you may need to cook for slightly longer but only a minute or two. Leave to stand for 5 minutes. Fluff up and add:

  • 25g shopped cashews or flaked almonds
  • 0.5tbs chopped fresh corianer if you have it

Serve with a blob of yoghurt on top and chutney on the side. If you have a few long-life naan breads in the cupboard, heat one in the toaster. If you have grabbed a pack of uncooked popadums you could microwave a couple of those instead. Grab a bottle of lager and away you go.

Indian Pie

This is like a giant samosa. A bit fusion I guess, but very good. To make a pie for four people:

  • 500g new potatoes

Boil until tender, about 15 minutes

  • 1 onion

Chop the onion and soften in a pan with a dash of oil. Add

  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 0.5tbs black mustard seeds
  • 0.5tbs cumin seed
  • 1tbs grated ginger root
  • 2 tbs curry paste (Korma, Masala)

Heat a bit longer to cook the spices. Add

  • 2 large handfuls spinach or chard leaves, washed and still wet.

Cover the pan and wilt the leaves. Add the cooked potatoes plus

  • 3 chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • a small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped

Mix and mush the potatoes to break them up but not too much. This is your pie mix.

Now find a springform or loose bottom cake or flan tin about 25cm diameter.

  • 6 sheets filo pastry (usually vegan – check)
  • Melted butter (or vegan equivalent)

Brush the sheets with butter and also the inside and base of the tin. Lay 3-4 sheets across the bottom of the tin and up the sides, leaving plenty loose. Fill the pie with your pie mix. Fold the pastry sides over the top. Add the remaining sheets, scrunch them a bit and tuck around the sides so you have a wavy, untidy top.

Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for 35 minutes. Serve with a side of Josh’s Dhal and some spicy chutney.

Allotment Salad

This is the perfect salad to serve with a roast on a hot summer’s day when cooked vegetables would be simply too much to take. This takes a bit of prep so it is good for a Sunday lunch or for guests. This is enough for six people. It keeps a day in the fridge at a pinch.

Prepare your vegetables, put a large pan on the hob full of boiling water and have a large bowl of iced water to hand. You will also need a scoopy thing and a colander or paper towels.

  • Handful of tender French beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • Handful of asparagus stalks, cut into 4cm lengths
  • Handful of tenderstem broccoli, cut in half
  • Large handful of frozen peas
  • 6 spring onions, chopped into 1cm lengths
  • 6-8 radishes, sliced
  • Half or whole sweetheart cabbage, tender inner leaves, thinly sliced
  • Bunch of mint leaves, shredded

Boil your asparagus for 2 minutes. Immediately cool in the iced water, then drain and dry.

Boil your French Beans for 4 minutes. Immediately cool in the iced water, then drain and dry.

Boil your Broccoli for 2.5 minutes. Immediately cool in the iced water, then drain and dry.

Boil your peas for 1 minute. Immediately cool in the iced water, then drain and dry.

Mix all your vegetables in a large salad bowl. make a dressing:

  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Gently toss the dressing through the salad.

French-style crusty loaf

French bread is often very crusty with a soft fluffy inside. I have always assumed that this type of bread needs special flour and expertise, but not so. A chance find on the internet showed up this recipe. This is a bit weird – you will need a cast iron casserole, but trust me. Have a go!

  • 360g plain flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5tsp instant yeast
  • 300ml warm water

Throw all of this in a food processor and process for 45 seconds. Alternatively do it the hard way and knead by hand for 10 minutes! This will produce a very sticky dough so good luck with the hand method.

Let your dough rise for an hour in a covered bowl left in a warm place. Use flour on your hands and in the bowl to try and keep it from sticking, but you probably won’t. No matter, at this stage anyway.

Do you have a proving basket? Thought not, neither did I. After the hour is up the dough will have doubled in size, the yeast inside is going crazy. Try and get it out of the bowl, then gently knock it back by taking the floppy sides and folding them over into the middle to make a sort of cushion. Lots of flour will be needed to keep it from sticking. This is OK.

Now flour your proving basket/bowl. Carefully place your dough into the bowl, with the folded sides down. Allow to rise again for half an hour.

Meanwhile heat your oven to 230C with is very hot. Put your cast iron casserole dish into the oven to heat up. If you keep the lid out, you can use it as a cutting guide to make a baking parchment sling for your dough. The sling is simply a piece of paper the size of the base of the casserole, with two strips extending from opposite sides to make the handles.

When all is ready, upturn your proving basket/bowl onto the paper and if you floured it enough it will flop out. If not you may have to do running repairs (as I did). The only difference is that the top won’t look as pro, but you will be forgiven when they eat it.

Take your casserole dish out of the oven, use the paper sling to put the delicate dough into the casserole, put the lid on and put it back into the oven for 30 minutes. The casserole will get all steamy inside which is what makes the crusty surface of the loaf.

After 30 minutes, take the lid off. The bread will have risen but it won’t look too brown. Put it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Now you can take it out and impress your family and friends with an amazing crusty artisan loaf!

If all that makes no sense at all, watch the videos on the original recipe site

Best DIY Pizza

This makes four small or three generous pizzas.

  • 7g sachet dried yeast
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 325ml lukewarm water (warm enough to wash in)

Mix together in a jug and leave for a few minutes

  • 400g strong white flour
  • 0.5 tsp salt

Stir to mix then mix in with the yeasty liquid. Either do this in a food processor and run the motor for 60 seconds or knead by hand for ten minutes.

Shape into a ball, smear with oil and place in a large warm bowl. Cover in oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place like your airing cupboard for an hour or until double in size.

Take out all the shelves from your oven. Heat your oven to as hot as possible, 250degC.

Knock back the dough and break into three or four equal lumps. Dust a work surface with flour and roll/stretch into discs about 0.5cm thick. Take squares of foil, oil them (this is important) and lay the pizzas on them.

  • Top quality passata or homemade tomato sauce

Spread thinly over the pizzas. Add

  • toppings of choice (ham, prawns, anchovies, sliced pepperoni; or if you want vegan stick to sauted mushroom, olives, sliced antipasto artichoke, basil leaves, sliced pepper, sliced onion, etc.)
  • Top with sliced or grated mozzarella cheese or vegan cheese.

Now for the clever bit. Slide the foil carrying your pizza onto the oven shelves. Put the shelves back in the oven and cook for ten minutes. If they look done they are done!



Saffron Couscous

An easy way to tart up couscous as a side dish. This makes a side dish for four.

  • Generous pinch of saffron fronds
  • 3 tbs boiling water

Place them in a saucepan and let the saffron steep for 20 minutes while you make something else.

  • 2-3 tbs pine nuts

Dry fry the pine nuts until they look a bit brown. Set aside.

  • 225g couscous
  • Equal volume of boiling water or vegetable stock
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Put all this in the pan containing the saffron. Cover and leave for five minutes.

  • Leaves from a small bunch of parsley, chopped.

Stir in the pine nuts and parsley. Fluff up with a fork and serve. Good alongside falafels, pittas, hummus and courgette and tomato

Falafel (reliable recipe!)

I have tried several recipes and not all of them work. This one does! It needs a bit of preparation but it’s well worth it. Here are quantities to make a generous pile to feed four.

  • 225g dried chickpeas

Either soak overnight, or cook for 5 minutes in your Instant Pot and leave for a further hour in the water.

  • Optional – 1 small onion
  • Bunch of parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic loves
  • 1 tbs chickpea/gram flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.5tsp ground coriander
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper

Put these and the drained chickpeas in a food processor with about 50ml water. Process to a coarse paste. Add a spash more water if necessary. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

Make little balls 2-3cm in diameter – you will make about 20 with this batch. A small icecream scoop is useful. Heat a pan full of oil to about 160degC and shallow fry the balls in batches. You may need to flip them halfway through cooking if your oil isn’t deep. They are cooked when the outside goes brown and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm until ready to serve.

Lebanese Courgette and Tomato (Koussa Wbanadoura)

An easy side for a Lebanese meal. This is nice and sloppy so it goes well with dry dishes like couscous and falafel. This serves 4 as a side.

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs oil

Saute gently until translucent.

  • 2 courgettes, sliced thickly and quartered.

Add to the pan. Saute until starting to colour.

  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4-6 tomatoes depending on size, diced.

You could use a tin of chopped tomatoes if times are hard. Now gently stew all this in a covered pan for 15-20 minutes. Add a splash of water if it is drying out. That’s it! Job done.

Cauliflower and Cheese Soup – Mary Berry

This is very quick and you can make it in an Instant Pot or on the stove – both methods given.

  • tablespoon of oil
  • 1 onion, chopped

Saute in Instant Pot or gentry fry in the pan until translucent

  • 1 Cauliflower

Chop into florets, slice the stalk and pale leaves. Add to the pot and cook for a minute or two

  • 2 tbs plain flour

Add to the pot and stir about

  • 1 litre vegetable stock

Stir in, cover and cook. Instant Pot Soup setting for 10 minutes or hob for 15-20 minutes until tender.

  • 50g blue or cheddar cheese (or vegan cheese/equivalent)

Stir in and melt. Zip with a hand blender and adjust the seasoning, you might need a little salt and white pepper.

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