Category Archives: Vegetarian & Vegan

Roasted Halloumi & Za’atar Tray Bake

Delicious roasted vegetables subtly seasoned and topped with halloumi. This Roasted Halloumi & Za’atar Tray Bake is so easy to make and will soon become a family favourite! 

 
As I have mentioned previously, Mr Curly and I are trying to eat less meat this year. So far I have made a Vegan Lentil Chilli and revamped my Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry. Both of these went down really well which gave me the confidence to create more veggie recipes!

Just because a recipe is vegetarian does not mean it shouldn’t be exciting and full of flavour. I love tray bakes because of their simplicity and how easy they are to adapt. I already have a Sausage & Mustard Tray Bake recipe and when I thought of what I could replace the sausages with, halloumi instantly came to mind. Who doesn’t like halloumi?! It is a favourite cheese with so many people that it was a no brainer to use. 

The za’atar and smoked paprika drizzle provides a really subtle flavour to the tray bake. if you haven’t heard of it before, za’atar is a blend of Middle Eastern herbs and spices typically including oregano, thyme, sesame seeds and sumac. I didn’t want to over power the halloumi because it is quite a mild flavoured cheese. I also didn’t want to mask the flavours of the tasty veggies! 

You can use whatever vegetables you like in this Roasted Halloumi & Za’atar Tray Bake. It is also a great way to use up veggies that you might have lurking in your fridge. Roasting vegetables very forgiving and crisps them up nicely so you will never tell if they were slightly wrinkly! 

I like my halloumi to me quite well cooked. If I’m grilling it I like to get dark grill marks because I love the flavour and crispiness it gives to the cheese. If you prefer it paler and softer, cook it for less time. 

You can serve the Roasted Halloumi & Za’atar Tray Bake as it is or I like to serve it with some steamed broccoli. 

5 from 7 votes
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Roasted Halloumi & Za'atar Tray Bake

Delicious roasted vegetables subtlyseasoned and topped with halloumi. This Roasted Halloumi & Za'atar Tray Bake is so easy to make and will soon become a family favourite! 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean, British
Keyword Vegetarian, Roasted Vegetables, Halloumi, Za'atar
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 523 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 3 carrots peeled
  • 2 parsnips peeled
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 red onion
  • 225 g halloumi

For the drizzle

  • 1 tbsp za'atar
  • ½ tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • twist black pepper
  • tbsp water if needed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan assisted, 200ºC non fan)

  2. Cut the vegetables into similar sized chunks and add them to a roasting tray

  3. Mix together all of the drizzle ingredients together in a bowl. Add the water if it needs loosening slightly to be pour able

  4. Pour the drizzle over all of the vegetables and thoroughly mix them until they are completely covered. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes before turning and cooking for a further 10 minutes 

  5. Slice the halloumi into roughly ½ cm slices. Lay them on top of the vegetables and roast for a further 15-20 minutes until the halloumi is cooked to your liking

Nutrition Facts
Roasted Halloumi & Za'atar Tray Bake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 523 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 38%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Sodium 1341mg 56%
Potassium 1614mg 46%
Total Carbohydrates 57g 19%
Dietary Fiber 13g 52%
Sugars 10g
Protein 20g 40%
Vitamin A 256.4%
Vitamin C 63.3%
Calcium 71.2%
Iron 52.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Vegan Lentil Chilli

Delicious and comforting with a touch of spice. This Vegan Lentil Chilli is such an easy slow cooker meal that is packed full of flavour. You definitely won’t miss the meat!

Over the past few months, I have been making a conscious effort to step up what I am doing to help the environment.  I’ve always been an enthusiastic re-cycler (that phrase might catch on!) but I’ve been finding ways to do that bit more. As well as recycling I am trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use; especially single use plastic. 

Aside from recycling, Mr Curly and I have also decided to try and eat less meat. This will be a pretty big change, especially for Mr Curly. Up until very recently he would consider a meal to be missing something without meat. This meant that for lunch and dinner each day, there would be some kind of meat involved. I wasn’t sure how long he would last with wanting to eat less meat but so far we’re doing really well! 

We’re not going too crazy, but trying to have vegetarian lunches and at least two vegetarian meals a week. So I had to come up with some really tasty vegetarian meals that wouldn’t make us miss the meat. I have never been a fan of Quorn so meat replacement products were not going to be my go-to.

One of the first dishes that come to mind was a chilli which is how my Vegan Lentil Chilli came about! My intention was to make a vegetarian dish, but once I was finished I realised it was vegan too which was an added bonus! I thought it wouldn’t be vegan because I was going to add dark chocolate. But when I was talking about this on Instagram, my sister and another blogger friend pointed out that dark chocolate is actually vegan. And if that wasn’t good enough, it is also gluten free too! 

I was slightly apprehensive about this Vegan Lentil Chilli because I’m not very experienced with vegetarian food. It passed my taste test which meant it was the onto Mr Curly. I served it up for him and when he’d eaten it I asked him what he thought. He told me he really liked it, but I confused him when I asked him if he missed the meat. His response of ‘there was no meat in that?’ gave the Vegan Lenil Chilli a big tick! If someone that was a massive meat fan can’t tell its meat free then that’s a huge plus. 

The final taste tester was my vegetarian friend Katie that I work with. Before the recipes had even finished cooking she was messaging me saying she thought she needed to taste test! So I took her some of this Vegan Lentil Chilli along with my tweaked Vegetarian Curry recipe. I am pleased to say she was a huge fan of both of them and has been hassling me to get the recipe written up ASAP. I think what she liked most about this was it has a bit of heat to it. 

If food is packed full of flavour, you definitely won’t miss the meat in my opinion.  I have used my favourite chilli powders for this Vegan Lentil Chilli as well as some chipotles in adobo sauce. You might have to look in a few of the bigger supermarkets to get these, but it really is worth seeking them out. And don’t worry you can use them in plenty of recipes already on my blog!

5 from 10 votes
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Vegan Lentil Chilli

Delicious and comforting with a touch of spice. This Vegan Lentil Chilli is such an easy slow cooker meal that is packed full of flavour. You definitely won't miss the meat!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican, International
Keyword Chilli, Vegetarian, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 217 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 1 onion diced
  • 400g tin kidney beans in chilli sauce
  • 400g tin black beans (rinsed)
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 peppers diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 tsp chipotles in adobo sauce (optional)
  • ½ tsp chipotle chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ancho chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ancho chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 red chilli sliced
  • 200 g red split lentils rinsed in cold water
  • 300 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 30 g dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients apart from the dark chocolate to the slow cooker. Stir thoroughly. 

  2. Cook on high for 6 hours. Break the dark chocolate into chunks and add it to the slow cooker. Stir through and allow to cook for another 30 minutes to 1 hour until the lentils are completely cooked

  3. Serve with boiled rice 

Recipe Notes

I use a 3.5L slow cooker. 

If the chilli starts looking dry, add a splash more water. 

Nutritional information is given as a guide only

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Lentil Chilli
Amount Per Serving
Calories 217 Calories from Fat 828
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 92g 142%
Saturated Fat 24g 120%
Sodium 757mg 32%
Potassium 59271mg 1693%
Total Carbohydrates 3957g 1319%
Dietary Fiber 1451g 5804%
Sugars 2g
Protein 1477g 2954%
Vitamin A 23.8%
Vitamin C 15.6%
Calcium 451.1%
Iron 1948.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Beetroot, Red Pepper & Goat’s Cheese Salad

Salads aren’t just for the summer. This Beetroot, Red Pepper & Goat’s Cheese Salad is a comforting salad that adds colour to any Winter meal. 

Beetroot hasn’t always been a vegetable I was fond of. I don’t know why I used to not be keen on it, but in the last couple of years I have embraced beetroot! Up until recently I’d bought the precooked beetroot. But all that has changed now!

Last month Mr Curly and I took the dogs for a weekend away in the Cotswolds. We had a lovely time walking around the little towns and of course I had to go into every food shop there was! There were some fantastic delis that I would love to live close to because I’d be there all the time. One of the delis had a Beetroot, Red Pepper & Goat’s Cheese Salad that looked absolutely delicious so I had to get some. 

It was so tasty I knew I had to recreate the salad myself. This wasn’t very hard as it was so simple in the first place! I did make one small change to their original recipe. They had used chioggia beetroot as well as the standard type of beetroot. Although this looks pretty, I didn’t like the flavour as much as ordinary beetroot. 

I’ve recently started ordering an organic vegetable box which gets delivered each week. When beetroot came in my box I knew I had to recreate the recipe myself! It also gave me the prefect reason to roast my own beetroot which I am pleased to say was incredibly easy. 

This salad is so simple to make, it just takes some very easy prep work. Once you have roasted the beetroot and slow cooked the peppers you are practically there! 

This Beetroot, Red Pepper & Goat’s Cheese Salad makes a delicious light lunch, but it could also act as a tasty side dish to a number of main meals. It also adds some fantastic colour to a Winter’s day. 

4.93 from 13 votes
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Beetroot, Red Pepper & Goat's Cheese Salad

Salads aren't just for the summer. This Beetroot, Red Pepper & Goat's Cheese Salad is a comforting salad that adds colour to any Winter meal. 

Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean, International
Keyword Salad, Beetroot, Goat's Cheese, Red Pepper
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 135 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 400 g red peppers (approx 4)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 150 g beetroot (2 large)
  • 40 g soft goat's cheese
  • parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170170ºC (fan assisted, 190ºC non fan). Wrap your beetroot in foil and place directly on the oven shelf. Roast for 50 minutes until you can easily stick the point of a knife into it

  2. Leave the beetroot to cool 

  3. Thinly slice the peppers and fry them on a low heat for 20-25 minutes until they have softened 

  4. Once the beetroot is cool enough to handle, peel it. The skin should come away very easily now it has been roasted. Cut into chunks 

  5. Add the peppers and beetroot to your serving dish and then crumble the goats cheese over. Finish by scattering with some chopped parsley 

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information is given as a guide only.

Nutrition Facts
Beetroot, Red Pepper & Goat's Cheese Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 135 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 33mg 1%
Potassium 332mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 6g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 62.6%
Vitamin C 157%
Calcium 1.3%
Iron 4.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Easy Cheese & Broccoli Pasta

This Easy Cheese & Broccoli Pasta is a perfect midweek dinner. It is quick, easy and delicious as well as being packed with cheesy goodness. 

The inspiration for this Easy Cheese & Broccoli Pasta came from my newly found appreciation of pasta and my obsession with tenderstem broccoli. Together they have made a tasty but really simple dish which I think the whole family would enjoy. 

I’m sure I have mentioned before that pasta wasn’t really a dish I enjoyed growing up. I found it a bit boring unless it was with spaghetti bolognese because we usually had it with the same shop bough tomato based sauce which had lumps of onion in it. Me and lumps of onion do not go well together. 

This did put me off pasta for quite a few years, but recently I can’t get enough of it! I have already shared my Skinny Creamy Chicken Sausage Pasta and Sausage, Mustard & Basil Pasta recipes with you. Although these are easy and relatively quick, you have to cook the meat so that adds some extra time. 

I wanted to come up with more vegetarian recipes because I don’t have that many as my friend Katie keeps telling me! Plus any excuse to eat tenderstem broccoli and I’m there! 

The creamy sauce for this Easy Cheese & Broccoli Pasta couldn’t be easier to make and is a real time saving element. I used mascarpone because I love it’s rich, creamy flavour. I have also used full fat mascarpone, but you could definitely use reduced fat mascarpone or even cream cheese if you would prefer. I used Parmesan to add another level of cheesy goodness. It adds great flavour but is healthier than other types of cheese such as cheddar. 

Although it pains me to say this, you could also use regular broccoli instead of tenderstem broccoli.  You would just need to cut the florets up slightly to make sure they steam quickly. 

  

This recipe doesn’t reheat particularly well as the sauce splits slightly. I don’t mind this and will still heat it up for lunch the next day. But if you don’t fancy the sauce splitting, you can always eat it cold like Mr Curly does. Talking about Mr Curly, you can use whatever pasta shape you like but just so you know, he doesn’t approve of the pasta shape you can see in the photos. He couldn’t tell me why exactly but it definitely troubled him!

5 from 9 votes
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Easy Cheese & Broccoli Pasta

This Easy Cheese & Broccoli Pasta is a perfect midweek dinner. It is quick, easy and delicious as well as being packed with cheesy goodness. 

Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Cream Cheese, Broccoli, Pasta
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 605 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 150 g pasta
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 200 g tenderstem broccoli
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 100 g mascarpone
  • 30 ml semi skimmed milk
  • 20 g Parmesan grated
  • pinch black pepper
  • 50 ml pasta water

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta as per the packet's instructions 

  2. While the pasta is cooking, cut the tenderstem broccoli stalks into chunks leaving the florets as they are. 

  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium/high heat and add the broccoli stalks. Saute for a couple of minutes before adding the broccoli florets. Add approximately 50ml of the pasta water to the broccoli. Turn the heat down and put a lid on to allow the broccoli to steam. 

  4. Mix the mascarpone and milk together. This will take a minute or so to combine thoroughly. 

  5. After a couple of minutes, the water will have evaporated from the broccoli. Add the garlic, salt and pepper.

  6. Add the pasta to the broccoli when it is cooked al dente. Then add the mascarpone mix and stir before finally adding the grated Parmesan. 

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information is given as a guide only.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Cheese & Broccoli Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 605 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 43%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Cholesterol 56mg 19%
Sodium 1356mg 57%
Potassium 167mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 58g 19%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 2g
Protein 17g 34%
Vitamin A 15.6%
Vitamin C 1.1%
Calcium 21%
Iron 5.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Easy Greek Salad

Everyone has heard of a Greek Salad but each version is slightly different. My Easy Greek Salad is my version of this well known classic. 

Summer is all about salads for me. They’re light and fresh and just what I fancy when the weather is hot. I do frequently make the standard salads with lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes with other varying ingredients added in; but these aren’t always the most exciting. 

One important thing to remember is that salads don’t always involve lettuce. I know that sounds obvious, but something that is sometimes easily forgotten. Not by the Greeks however!I’d never made a Greek Salad until recently. It was on our recent holiday to the Seychelles (Greece would have made more sense I know!) that I remembered just how tasty Greek Salads are and realised I needed to make my own Easy Greek Salad. 

As the name suggests, this is a Easy Greek Salad. It doesn’t take much effort or time to make a tasty salad packed with flavour. It makes a delicious side salad for a number of dishes, especially a BBQ. I’ve also eaten if to lunch with some salami for a Mediterranean inspired meal. 

I quite like adding the dressing to the salad even if I don’t plan on eating it all at once. The seeds from the tomatoes mix with the dressing which is something I like. If you don’t like the sound of this, just remove the seeds from the tomatoes. 

As you can see, olives are missing from my Simple Greek Salad because I’m afraid they are not for me! Feel free to add these if you’re a fan. 

5 from 4 votes
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Easy Greek Salad

Everyone has heard of a Greek Salad but each version is slightly different. My Easy Greek Salad is my version of this well known classic. 

Course Salad
Keyword Greek Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 144 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 300 g large tomatoes
  • 300 g cucumber
  • ½ red onion
  • 100 g feta

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ clove garlic minced
  • ½ tsp fresh oregano (¼ tsp dried)

Instructions

  1. Dice the tomatoes and cucumber into large chunks and add to a bowl 

  2. Dice the red onion slightly smaller and add to the same bowl

  3. In a jam jar, add the dressing ingredients and shake to combine 

  4. When ready to serve, pour the some of the dressing over the salad and gently stir. Add to your serving dish and crumble chunks of the feta over

Recipe Notes

I like to use tomatoes on the vine because I think they have a nicer flavour. 

If you are not planning to eat this salad straight away, or have some left over, the seeds from the tomatoes will combine with the dressing. I quite like this but you may want to remove the seeds.  

Add as much dressing as you like, you may not need all of it. 

Nutrition Facts
Easy Greek Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 144 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 18%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 572mg 24%
Potassium 137mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 4g 1%
Sugars 2g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 3.2%
Vitamin C 4.1%
Calcium 13.7%
Iron 1.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Sweet Potato & Feta Baked Taquitos

Sweet Potato & Feta Baked Taquitos are a delicious Mexican vegetarian dish. Subtle but delicious flavours in a healthier version of a well known classic. 

The inspiration for this recipe came after a recent trip to London. Mr Curly and I had a fantastic foodie weekend and tried so much delicious food. Before we went to see Sam Smith on concert, we went to Wahaca for dinner. We’d only been there once before where unfortunately pretty much everything I ordered for us was a bit too spicy for Mr Curly. 

This time far more successful and everything we ordered was really tasty. One of the dishes I was really pleasantly surprised with was the sweet potato & feta taquito. I knew I would like the flavours, but it didn’t have any meat in so surely it was just going to be nice? Oh I was wrong, it was so good. 

Obviously I then wanted to recreate it myself at home and add my own twist to it. Honestly, I don’t think you can beat the delicious crispness of a deep fried taquitos. But I try to avoid deep frying in a faint attempt to keep my recipes relatively healthy. So I decided to bake my taquitos instead which is healthier and easier too; win win. 

There are a few ways that you could cook your sweet potato. You could boil it in water or bake it in the oven, but I chose to bake it in the microwave. Boiling it risked it not being dried properly and it would have taken longer to bake in the oven. Feel free to use another method if you would prefer. 

I have deliberately made my Sweet Potato & Feta Baked Taquitos to have quite subtle flavours. I didn’t want any chile flavours to overpower the sweet potato or feta which is why I have showed restraint and only used a pinch. If you are a chile fiend, you can add some more.

These Sweet Potato & Feta Baked Taquitos are best served hot. They can be reheated but I would definitely recommend reheating them in the oven to keep them crisp. These are great for lunch or a starter. 

Makes 6 taquitos 

For the taquitos
600g sweet potato
100g feta 
½ tsp sea salt
¹⁄8 tsp ancho chile powder
Pinch of black pepper
6 mini tortillas 
Spray oil 

For the sauce
50g soured cream
1 ½ tsp lime juice
Pinch of sea salt 
Pinch of ancho chile powder

  1. Cook the sweet potatoes in the microwave for 7-10 minutes until they are soft
  2. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (fan assisted 210ºC non fan)
  3. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool before peeling the skin and adding the potato into a bowl
  4. Crumble in the feta and add the salt, pepper and ancho chile powder and mash together  

  1. Line your mini tortillas out and add a long sausage shape of the sweet potato filling slightly of centre of each tortilla

  1. Roll the tortillas up tightly and place them on a baking tray sprayed with oil 
  2. Bake them in the oven for 20 minutes, turning so they brown evenly 

  1. Make the sauce by stirring the ingredients together in a bowl until completely mixed
  2. Serve hot on a bed of shredded lettuce drizzled with the sauce 
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Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

These Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes could quite possibly be the best chocolate cupcakes I have ever made. They are so light and fluffy with the most delicious chocolate and hazelnut flavours that you will find yourself craving another! 

The idea for these Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes came when my friend Katie showed me she’d bought some hazelnut milk. When I see hazelnuts I instantly think of Nutella, but the dairy free milk brought me back to a vegan train of thought. I decided to adapt my Gluten Free & Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcakes to make them taste as close to Nutella as I could but still keeping them vegan.

As I have mentioned before, I used to naively think that all cakes needed eggs to actually taste nice. Oh how wrong I was. These cupcakes are as light and fluffy as any I have eaten using eggs and I would definitely make these even if there is no need for vegan cake. 

To help enhance the hazelnut flavour in the cupcakes and the frosting, I have used a sweet chocolate and hazelnut natural flavouring. The brand I use is by Foodie Flavours and it lasts a long time because you don’t use much of it at a time. I have provided approximate quantities below in the recipe but it is quite hard to judge as the drops can come out quite quickly! I would always recommend to add fewer drops, then taste it and you can always add more. The great thing about this recipe is you can taste the cake batter without worrying about raw eggs because there aren’t any eggs!

I used standard plain flour in these which helps make the most deliciously moist cupcake. You absolutely can make these gluten free by using gluten free flour and ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum. The xanthan gum helps act as a binding agent to stop the cupcakes crumbling. The only thing worth mentioning is that if you do make these gluten free, then they really do need to be eaten the day you bake them or the next day. 

I took these cupcake into work because I think Katie may have never spoken to me again if I didn’t let her try one…or two. These cupcakes went down amazingly. The praise I got for these was so lovely. Many people were saying it was the best cupcake I have ever made. I think this is because even though they are vegan, they are so chocolatey and fudgy that they taste so decadent and utterly delicious. 

The roasted hazelnuts really add to the flavour so I would definitely recommend adding these. They’re simple to do and roasting them does enhance their flavour and make them extra tasty. They also add a lovely crunch to the cupcakes. 

Whether you’re vegan or not, you really should try these Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes. 

Makes 10 cupcakes 

For the cupcakes
170ml hazelnut milk
75g non dairy margarine
1½ tbsp golden syrup
½ tsp coffee granules
140g plain flour
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
90g caster sugar 
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Approximately 10 drops of hazelnut & chocolate flavouring

For the frosting
75g non dairy margarine
200g icing sugar
4 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp hazelnut milk 
Approximately 15 drops of hazelnut & chocolate flavouring
2 tbsp roasted hazelnuts to decorate 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 160ºC fan assisted. Line a cupcake tin with 10 cases 
  2. In a pan over a medium heat, gently melt the margarine, coffee and golden syrup. Once melted take off the heat and allow to cool slightly
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl before adding the milk and margarine mix. Stir well until the batter is smooth 

  1. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean 

  1. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool completely 
  2. Scatter the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and add to the oven to allow to roast for approximately 10 minutes. Allow to cool before crushing 
  3. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, make the frosting
  4. Add the margarine and icing sugar to the mixer and beat until combined
  5. Add the hazelnut milk and hazelnut and chocolate flavouring and beat until smooth and fluffy. Test and add more flavouring if you want a stronger flavour

  1. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag with a nozzle and pipe onto each cupcake
  2. Sprinkle with the crushed hazelnuts 

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Gluten Free & Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Light and fluffy cupcakes with amazingly smooth and decadent chocolate orange frosting. All of this plus they’re Gluten Free AND Vegan!

Following the success of my Vegan Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake, I decided to expand my vegan baking repertoire. I went back to the recipe by Kate from Veggie Desserts for my inspiration and from there decided to attempt to make Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcakes. 

I say attempt because that really was what it was. I had attempted to make gluten free cupcakes before and they hadn’t turned out exactly as I wanted. The texture was too crumbly and the taste was different to the original recipe. So when I decided to adapt this recipe to be gluten free, I wasn’t holding out too much hope. 

Experimenting in the kitchen isn’t always going to be a success. I think having a failure every so often makes each success even more exciting! So when these cupcakes turned out perfectly the after the first attempt, I was so chuffed. 

Where I had gone wrong with my previous gluten free cupcakes attempt was that I had simply swapped the normal flour for gluten free flour. It was my coeliac friend, Zoe who recommended adding some xanthan gum which acts as a binding agent which the gluten free flour lacks. It worked perfectly and the result was a gluten free and vegan cupcake that had the texture of any other cupcake I have eaten – success!

My favourite part of these cupcakes is the frosting. I am not usually a fan of buttercream because to me I can taste the butter. Chocolate buttercream is usually my preferred buttercream but I have never tasted buttercream as good as this! It is so smooth and creamy which I think has to be down to the dairy free margarine. It also had such an appealing glossy shine to it which I loved. 

Before I rave on about how great I think these cupcakes are, there is one downside. As with other gluten free cake, these are really best eaten on the day they have been baked. You can eat them the day after too, but you will notice even only one day later they will have lost some of their fluffiness. A trick Zoe has learnt over the years is to keep some cupcakes unfrosted and when you’re ready to eat them give them a few seconds in the microwave to freshen them up before allowing to cool and frosting. You could also freeze the cupcakes before they are frosted as a way to prolong them a little longer if you don’t think you’ll manage eating all ten in two days. 

Makes 10 cupcakes

For the cupcakes
140ml soy milk
75g non dairy margarine
1½ tbsp golden syrup
½ tsp coffee granules
140g plain flour
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
90g caster sugar 
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
¼ tsp xanthan gum

For the frosting
75g non dairy margarine
200g icing sugar
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp soy milk 
1 tbsp orange juice 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 160ºC fan assisted. Line a cupcake tin with 10 cases 
  2. Zest the orange before juicing it . Whisk the orange juice and soy milk together and set aside 
  3. In a pan over a medium heat, gently melt the margarine, coffee and golden syrup. Once melted take off the heat and allow to cool slightly
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and xatham gum together in a bowl before adding the milk and margarine mixtures. Stir well until the batter is smooth 

  1. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean when poked into a cake

  1. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool completely 
  2. Once completely cooled, make the frosting
  3. Add the margarine and icing sugar to the mixer and beat until combined
  4. Add the soy milk and orange juice and beat until smooth and fluffy

  1. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag with a nozzle and pipe onto each cupcake
  2. Decorate however you like 

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Giant Couscous, Tomato & Rocket Salad

This Giant Couscous, Tomato & Rocket Salad is fresh, light and summery and makes the perfect salad as part of a BBQ or a tasty lunch.

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Like a lot of people, I tend to eat a lot of salads in the summer, especially for lunch. After a while, I start to get a little bored of the standard  involving variations of lettuce, cucumber and tomato. That is why I came up with this Mediterranean inspired alternative.

I really love tomatoes marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and salt. I sometimes just mix these together to add to a normal salad because it makes the tomatoes even tastier and acts as a dressing at the same time. If you can leave them to sit for at least ten minutes, the flavours will really develop. Another reason for marinating the tomatoes is it acts as the dressing in the final salad which I was looking for as I think that couscous can sometimes be quite dry. The olive oil in the marinade also helps keep the couscous from clumping together in the way that couscous likes to do!

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I sometimes find that salads aren’t as filling as you would like because they don’t tend to include any carbohydrate. So I wanted to include something that would give the salad some substance so it would keep you fuller for longer, but also not something too unhealthy. Couscous is a great because it is low in calories but really helps bulk up a dish. I use normal couscous a lot, but wanted to use giant couscous in this recipe so it really stood out as one of the main ingredients. It is slightly softer than normal couscous really absorbed some of the marinade.

I would class the salad as being relatively healthy. The only aspect which is higher in calories is the olive oil which you can always reduce, as long as you reduce the balsamic vinegar as well. This would mean the salad may be slightly drier, but still tasty.

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Serves 2

100g giant cous cous
1 tsp concentrated chicken stock

230g plum tomatoes
1 large pepper
4 tbsp olive oil (plus ½ tsp)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
Black pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic, crushed
10 basil leaves, shredded

A couple of handfuls of rocket
A few shavings of Parmesan

  1. De-seed and cut the pepper into large slices. Cook them in the oven on 200ºC for 15-20 mins until they have softened and coloured slightly. When cool enough, dice the peppers
  2. Cook the giant couscous as per the packet’s instructions with the addition of the concentrated chicken stock
  3. Cut each tomato in half and add to a bowl along with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, pepper, garlic and basil. Stir and leave to marinate

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  1. Once the couscous has cooked, drain and toss with ½ tsp olive oil and using a fork, stir through. Leave to cool slightly
  2. When all ingredients have cooled so they are warm, add the couscous to a bowl along with a couple of generous handfuls of rocket, the peppers and the tomatoes with their olive oil mixture
  3. When ready to serve, garnish with a few shavings of Parmesan

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Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry

What this Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry lacks in beauty it makes up for in taste! Deliciously comforting curry packed with loads of vegetables makes this a tasty and healthy all in one dinner.

This recipe is so flexible and really lends itself to being adapted to what vegetables you like and how spicy you like it. It is a perfect meal to make when you have a few vegetables left over in your fridge that may not be at their peak freshness but you want to use them in a dish. You can use whatever vegetables you like, but for me the staples are potatoes, courgettes and cauliflower. My Mum used to make this for us and those were the vegetables she always used.

Although these are the staple vegetables for me, you can add any number of other vegetables that you like. Peppers and green beans are vegetables I almost always have in the house so I like to add these. I’ve also added in fresh tomatoes just because I have had them to hand. You could add sweet potato if you fancy it or spinach right at the end of cooking. It really is so flexible not only with the vegetables you can use, but also because the quantities of each are also really flexible. 

The first time I made this curry for Mr Curly I wasn’t completely sure how it would go down. He very much likes his meat so a vegetarian meal was almost unheard of to him! He said he really liked it but chicken would make it that little bit better. If you are cooking this Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry for meat lovers, you can easily add some diced chicken in after you have added the vegetables. 

Mr Curly and I are now trying to eat less meat so I won’t be adding chicken to this going forward! Instead, I updated this recipe by adding some split red lentils. Lentils are not something I have eaten or cooked with previously. So they were an ingredient I wanted to use more this year. They work so well in this curry because not only do they help bulk out the dish and make it more filling; they also help thicken the curry too! 

This Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry is not only vegetarian but vegan and gluten free too! I love dishes like this that naturally cater to a lot of people’s diets. Just make sure that you check your curry paste to check it meets your dietary needs first. 

Another great thing about this recipe is you make a big batch and freeze it. I freeze it in dinner sized portions for a quick week night dinner; but also individual lunch sized portions which are perfect for me to defrost and take in to heat at work.

I always serve this Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry with mango chutney because I think it is one of the most delicious condiments ever made! As you have the potatoes, you don’t necessarily need rice. I do like to serve it with some poppadoms to dip into the delicious and comforting  soft vegetables in the curry.

Updated January 2019

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Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry

What this Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry lacks in beauty it makes up for in taste! Deliciously comforting curry packed with loads of vegetables makes this a tasty and healthy all in one dinner.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, British
Keyword Vegetarian, Vegetable Curry, Lentils
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 296 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 tbsp curry paste
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 500 g potates peeled and cut into chunks
  • 400 g courgette sliced
  • 1 cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 large pepper cut into chunks
  • 250 g green beans
  • 2 x 400 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 800 ml vegetable stock
  • 250 g split red lentils rinsed in cold water
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • chopped fresh coriander

Instructions

  1. Add the oil to a large pan over a medium heat. Once the oil has warmed, add the onion and garlic and allow to sweat for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't burn
  2. Add the curry paste and stir to coat the onions

  3. Add all of the vegetables and stir again to coat them in the curry paste. Add the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, vegetable stock, lentils, salt and pepper

  4. Let the stock come to the boil and then reduce the temperature to medium and allow to gently bubble away covered with a lid

  5. Stir the soup every 20 minutes or so to make sure the curry isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.  If it is sticking or becoming too thick before the vegetables and lentils are cooked, add some water

  6. Cook for around 2 hours or until  all of the vegetables and lentils are soft and the stock has reduced and thickened

  7. Serve sprinkled with coriander

Recipe Notes

Add up to 500ml more water throughout the cooking process if needed.

Nutritional information is given as a guide only.

Nutrition Facts
Vegetable & Red Lentil Curry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 296 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 1384mg 58%
Potassium 723mg 21%
Total Carbohydrates 18g 6%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 9g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 55%
Vitamin C 96.9%
Calcium 8.4%
Iron 9.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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