Frugal Recipe: Vegetarian Pork and Beans

A few weeks ago I published a recipe for pork and baked beans. It’s a brilliant recipe, really frugal and tasty but not suitable for vegetarians, obviously. The clue is in the word “pork”. Anyhow, as a vegetarian I was a bit jealous of this homely dish and decided to make a version I could enjoy. I made a few changes and I was so pleased with how it turned out, I’ve decided to share my recipe for vegetarian pork and beans.

The basic recipe is much the same, but having considered my options, I swapped out the diced pork for Quorn cocktail sausages and the smoked bacon for Quorn bacon. If I’m honest, I didn’t love the Quorn bacon in the dish. It didn’t add any flavour, the texture was a bit meh and next time I make it I’ll probably leave it out entirely, or cook it separately and drape it artistically over the top. If you’re missing a bit of the smoky flavour, you could add a bit of barbecue sauce to the mix.

This recipe for Vegetarian Pork and Beans is so simple, it’s the kind of thing you can throw together and leave to bubble away gently in an oven for a few hours. Once it’s cooked, you can eat it straight away or divide it up into portions and freeze it.

Frugal Recipe: Vegetarian Pork and Beans

It makes a great lunch on thick toast, or would be great with a pile of buttery mash. I’m looking forward to having it later with a crispy fried egg on top!

This recipe is easy to make vegan, just swap out the Quorn cocktail sausages for your favourite vegan sausage and enjoy!

Vegetarian Pork and Beans


500g dried haricot beans, soaked for 24 hours
1 tablespoon oil, I used vegetable, but use what you have
2 packets of Quorn cocktail sausages
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs
Salt and pepper
1 pint of stock, made with a stock cube
4 rashers of Quorn bacon, chopped (optional)

How to make your Vegetarian Pork and Beans:

The day before you want to cook your Vegetarian Pork and Beans, soak your dried haricot beans in plenty of water, following the instructions on the back of the packet. Once they’ve soaked for 24 hours, change the water and boil them for half an hour, or until they’re not chalky inside. Drain and set aside.

Put all of the ingredients into a lidded casserole dish, don’t add the salt at this stage, the economy stock cubes I used were pretty salty, so it’s worth waiting until near the end to taste and see if you need to add more salt. Stir the pot gently and put into an oven at 160° for 2-3 hours. Make sure you give it a stir every half hour or so.

Ideally the sauce should be thick and it should look, smell and taste good. It might only take two hours for your beans to get to the right consistency, it might take nearer 3 hours. Just keep an eye on it and use your judgement. The beans should be tender and creamy inside. If the sauce gets too thick, you can always add a splash of water to loosen it.

Taste the sauce. Add more of whatever you think it needs, now is the time to add the salt if you think it needs it. Serve it however you like, it’s great on toast for lunch or piled on top of mashed potato. It’s a hearty dish, perfect for a winter warm up and ideal if you’re feeling frugal.

If you enjoyed this, you might like to try these vegetarian recipes:

Frugal Recipe: Vegetarian Pork and Beans

Recipe: Greek Style Aubergine and Feta Filo Pie

I love making and eating filo pastry pies. They’re much lighter than traditional shortcrust or puff pastry pies and they somehow seem a bit more summery because of it. I often throw together a spinach and feta filo pie for a weekend lunch, they’re easy and absolutely delicious, a winning combination!

This week I was sent some Greek goodies from Olive Branch. They sent me a selection of their new salad dressings and some of their Greek mezze range. This had filo pie and a lovely Greek salad written all over it. I pulled a packet of filo pastry out of the freezer and set to work.

Greek Style Aubergine and Feta Filo Pie

The gift tube containing three jars of mezze I was sent included; Aubergine & Basil Paste with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Kalamata olives with fig and mint and Sweet Olive, Fig & Almond Relish. I’m a big fan of aubergine and I knew the paste would work well in my filo pie.

Olive Branch are an award winning UK based producer who use only the very best Cretan olive oil in their products. Their olive grove is situated outside the city of Ierapetra and is part of a co-operative of traditional olive farmers. They grow the Koroneiki variety of olive, harvested and cold pressed at the same community co-operative that has been at the heart of the community for generations.

Greek Style Aubergine and Feta Filo Pie

I made a small filo pie which was enough for a hearty lunch for one, but you could make a bigger pie in a bigger tin, just double up the ingredients. I used a 12.5cm loose bottomed tart tin. Loose bottomed tins are the best tin to use for filo pies.

Greek Style Aubergine & Feta Filo Pie

2 sheets of filo pastry, fresh or frozen
100g feta cheese
2 tablespoons of Aubergine & Basil Paste with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil
Fresh black pepper
Dried oregano

Pre-heat your oven to 180° grease your tart tin with olive oil and put it on a baking sheet.

Take your two sheets of filo pastry and cut them in half. You will now have four squares of filo. Take one square and lay it in your tin, be careful as the pastry tears easily. Dab your first layer with olive oil and place the next layer over the first, do this so the corners are placed differently. Keep doing this until all four squares of filo have been used. It doesn’t have to be neat, it’s meant to look a bit rustic.

Put a tablespoon of the Aubergine and Basil Paste on the bottom of the pie, spread it around a little. Chop your feta cheese into cubes and fill the pie with it, add a few twists of black pepper and a large pinch of oregano. Top with another tablespoon of the Aubergine and Basil Paste.

Working layer by layer, fold the corners of each layer over the pie, dab each sheet of filo with olive oil as you go. The corners of the pastry should cover the pie filling and give you a nice scrunched up pie topping. Brush the pie with more olive oil and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Once cooked and golden brown, remove from the oven and carefully take it out of the tart tin. Serve with a big pile of salad (mine was dressed with Olive Branch orange balsamic dressing with extra virgin olive oil and it was the business!) and whatever Greek treats you fancy. Olive anyone?

Greek Style Aubergine and Feta Filo Pie

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like to try…

Halloumi & Caramelised Onion filo rolls

Greek Salad and Tzatziki

Bifteki – Cretan Style Lamb Burger with Feta

Armenian Red Cabbage Salad

Greek Style Aubergine and Feta Filo Pie

We were sent a selection of products from Olive Branch for this recipe. All images and opinions are our own.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Vegetarian French Onion Soup

One of the things I miss as a vegetarian is the rich beefiness of French Onion Soup. It is in my opinion the king of soups and perfect for cold days when you’re craving a rich broth. I once lamented my French Onion Soup regrets to a wonderful chef who used to work at Greens, Simon Rimmer’s vegetarian restaurant in West Didsbury. The next day she’d whipped me up a batch of French Onion Soup which was entirely vegetarian. I was in awe.

She gave me a few top tips for making my own French Onion Soup at home, but she sadly passed away before I could share with her my triumphs. So my version of this recipe is for Shona, my old friend who I miss terribly.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Vegetarian French Onion Soup

This is vegetarian, but you could easily make it vegan by swapping the butter for a vegan spread or oil.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian French Onion Soup

30g of butter
4 or 5 large white onions
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of plain flour
3 tablespoons of sherry
1 litre of vegetable stock made with Essential Cuisine liquid concentrate
2 tablespoons of mushroom ketchup
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon of sugar
Half a tablespoon of tomato puree
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
Salt & pepper
1 baguette
A handful of grated cheese, Gruyere is preferable but Cheddar is also fine.

Switch your slow cooker onto high and peel and slice your onions into rings. Add the butter and onions to the slow cooker and leave them to soften for an hour or so. You might prefer to do this stage in a frying pan, softening the onions gently. This would speed up the process if you can.

Once the onions are soft, add the crushed garlic and stir. Then add the plain flour, stir again and then add your sherry. Pour in a litre of vegetable stock and then add the mushroom ketchup, sherry vinegar, sugar, tomato puree, bay leaves and some salt and pepper. Cook on high for an hour or so, stirring occasionally.

Taste your soup and add more seasoning and sugar if it needs it. Turn your slow cooker down to low and it can happily sit for several hours. The longer you cook it, the richer and deeper the flavour.

When you’re ready to serve, slice your baguette up into rounds and grill on one side to your liking. Flip your sliced over and top with cheese, grill until it’s melted and bubbling. Ladle your soup into bowls and then float your cheesy baguette slice on top and enjoy.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Vegetarian French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is such a delicious treat, rich and warming and all the better for being made with a good quality stock. For this recipe I used Essential Cuisine stock.

There are four concentrated liquid stocks in the range – vegetable, beef, lamb and chicken. They’re bursting with flavour and just the thing for this soup which relies upon a good quality stock to bring it to life.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Vegetarian French Onion Soup

In collaboration with Essential Cuisine.

Recipe: Rich and Creamy Fennel & Potato Gratin

Have you ever had a veg box delivered, looked at its contents and thought what on earth am I going to make with that? Last week I looked in my veg box and discovered a large and lovely fennel. What on earth was I going to make with that? After a big think I decided to make an experimental Fennel & Potato Gratin. Was my experiment a success or a failure?

I’ve eaten fennel many times, but never cooked with it. I do like fennel but it can be an acquired taste. It’s got a gentle aniseed flavour which reminds me of sambuca (yes I did have a misspent youth, thank you for asking). I thought it would work well in a potato gratin and it did.

Recipe: Rich and Creamy Fennel & Potato Gratin

It is really easy to put together and fairly quick to prepare. This Fennel & Potato Gratin would be a lovely side dish for almost any hearty, wintery meal. I made a pie to go with it and served it with a big pile of veg (from my veg box). It was a roaring success. We all fought fiercely over the crispy bits and we all had seconds. I will be making this again and again and again, veg box permitting of course!

In my recipe I’ve slightly pre-cooked the fennel and potatoes before they go into the oven. I’ve been caught out by undercooked gratins before and giving everything a little head start helped ensure everything was properly cooked. I’ve also not peeled my potatoes, partly because I like the skin and partly because I’m a little bit lazy.

Fennel & Potato Gratin

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 fennel
3 medium potatoes, finely sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon of butter
200mls double cream
Salt & pepper
Parmesan (optional)

How to make your Fennel & Potato Gratin
Put boiling water into a pan and put it on low. Finely slice your potatoes. I don’t have a mandolin so I slice them by hand. I leave the skin on because I like the skin, but peel them if you prefer. Put your slices in the pan, you don’t want to cook them, just get them started a little. If you have a mandolin and have wafer thin slices you can skip this part.

Next prepare your fennel. Slice into pieces about an inch in length and no more than an inch wide. I put them into a microwavable dish with a drop of water and microwaved for 3 minutes, again just to get it started.

In a pan, melt your butter and add your crushed clove of garlic, stir for a moment  to take the raw garlic edge off it and remove from the heat. Pour in your double cream, season and stir. You are now ready to assemble your Fennel & Potato Gratin.

Pre-heat your oven to 220°. In an ovenproof dish, layer potatoes, then fennel, then potatoes and fennel and last potatoes. You can season between layers if you like. Once you have filled your dish and there is a layer of potatoes on the top, gently press down to help the layers settle.

Put your ovenproof dish on a baking sheet (this will catch the creamy dribbles in the oven) and carefully pour over the garlic cream mixture. Do this in dribs and drabs until the dish is full. If you’ve got some, grate some Parmesan over the top and put in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling, golden and looking gorgeous.

This was such a hit with my family with everyone diving in for seconds. It’s a real winter warmer dish and one I’ll be making regularly.

Looking for a perfect match? This would be great with my delicious slow cooked beef stew with red wine.

Recipe: Rich and Creamy Fennel & Potato Gratin

Recipe: Spinach & Pea Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

Over the weekend I made a big pot of my Spinach & Pea Soup with Ricotta Dumplings. It’s so quick and easy to make, and it’s absolutely packed with good stuff. The ricotta dumplings are optional but they help make a simple lunch a little heartier.

For me, Autumn is the season for soup. I love making a big bubbling pot of soup as a weekend lunch, and something that’ll last me through the week too. I’ve been feeling very run down recently and both me and my son are anemic. On top of the iron supplements he has been prescribed, I’ve been feeding him up with iron rich foods, spinach being top of the list. I’ve been finely shredding it and stirring it through all kinds of things, from curries to pasta sauces. Being secretive about eating spinach isn’t always a good thing, especially when it makes something so wonderfully vibrant as this.

Recipe: Spinach & Pea Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

I’m not sure this healthy recipe could get much easier. Often I don’t bother with the dumplings and just make a huge pot of soup. It’s pretty frugal too which makes it an all round winner.

Spinach & Pea Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

Ingredients (serves 8)
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 litre of hot vegetable stock
500g of frozen peas
800g fresh baby spinach
Sprinkling of dried mixed herbs
Salt and pepper
Single cream

For the Ricotta Dumplings –
250g ricotta cheese, drained
75g self raising flour
1 large egg
30g Parmesan style cheese, finely grated
Salt and pepper

How to make the Spinach and Pea Soup –

Drizzle the oil in the bottom of a large pan. Throw in your diced onions and cook slowly until they’re tender. Add your diced potatoes and crushed garlic and stir for a minute. Pour in your hot stock, then leave to simmer for ten minutes or so until your potato pieces are tender.

Once your potato is cooked, add your spinach (it may look like a huge amount but it will wilt down to nothing) and put the lid on the pan for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to help the wilting process. Once wilted, throw in your frozen peas and simmer for a few minutes. Add some salt and pepper and about half a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs. You could use fresh herbs such as mint or coriander if you’d like, or even pesto, but dried herbs are fine.

Take the soup off the hob and leave to cool a little. Using a stick blender, blend the soup until it’s smooth with no lumps or leafy bits. Taste it and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. At this stage I also like to add a couple of tablespoons of single cream to make it taste a little more luxurious. 

Recipe: Spinach & Pea Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

How to make the Ricotta Dumplings –

Drain your ricotta and pat it dry with some kitchen towel. Tip it into a mixing bowl with the Parmesan, salt and pepper and egg. Mix together. Carefully stir in the flour.

Put a large pan of water to simmer on the hob. Using two spoons, form the ricotta dough into small quinnells. If you don’t want to make quinnells, you can gently pat the dough into small ball shapes no bigger than a teaspoon scoop. Don’t be tempted to make them too big, they won’t cook through properly if you do.

In small batches put the dumplings into the simmering water to cook. Do not crowd the pan. The dumplings should sink to the bottom and then rise. I turn them over in the water and cook for another minute once they have risen to the top of the water. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain. 

To serve, float three dumplings on top of your spinach and pea soup. I added a drizzle of single cream, but some finely grated Parmesan would work well on top of the soup and dumplings too.

Enjoy with some fresh crusty bread and feel virtuous at how much healthy veg you’re eating.

Recipe: Spinach & Pea Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

Check out my recipe for Norwegian Inspired Cauliflower Cheese Soup.

Recipe: Vegetarian Champagne Jelly

About ten years ago we went to a very smart restaurant in the Lake District and had a pretty fantastic meal. For pudding my husband had Champagne Jelly and I was incredibly jealous of his light and refreshing pud. Being a vegetarian I was unable to tuck in, but he assured me that it was as good as it looked. Ever since then I’ve thought about making a veggie friendly Champagne Jelly but I’d never actually got around to doing it. This week I bit the bullet and made a beautiful, Alcohol Free Champagne Jelly using Eisberg Sparkling Rosé.

Eisberg Sparkling Rosé is a light and refreshing alcohol free sparking wine which is bursting with fresh, fruity flavours. It has 33 calories per 125ml serving and the alcohol is not more than 0.05%vol; making it great for those who might be counting calories, pregnant ladies who fancy a glass of fizz or for people who are just avoiding alcohol. This is also a drink, or a pudding which children could enjoy on a special occasion too. No one needs to feel like they’re missing out!

Alcohol Free Champagne Jelly

Vegetarian Champagne Jelly Recipe

Ingredients (serves 4):

30g caster sugar
500ml Eisberg Sparkling Rosé
1 sachet of Dr.Oetker Vege-Gel (19.5g)
A handful of raspberries, or any fruit you like


Measure out 500mls of Eisberg Sparkling Rosé and pour 200mls of the wine into a saucepan, add the 30g of caster sugar and start to heat through, stir to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved, sprinkle the packet of Dr.Oetker Vege-Gel, bring to the boil and whisk the whole time.

The Vege-Gel sets very quickly, so once it’s dissolved, add the remaining 300mls of wine and whisk. Take it off the heat when it starts to thicken and carefully pour into glasses or serving bowls, or whatever you’re serving them in.

You might want to put a few raspberries into your glasses before pouring the jelly in on top. My jellies set very quickly, so you will need to move fast.  But you might want to pop them in the fridge for a few hours to make sure they’re set firmly.

Alcohol Free Champagne Jelly

This was a really speedy dessert to make, with none of the faffing which comes with gelatine. Because it was vegetarian and alcohol free, we could all enjoy it, even my son! I love that it sets so fast it manages to capture some of the bubbles in the jelly.

The Alcohol Free vegetarian Champagne Jelly was an incredibly light and refreshing end to our meal. It would be perfect for a summer barbecue or a party. The fizz itself is delicious, I was very pleasantly surprised as I’m not usually a fan of rosé, but this is something I would happily serve my guests this summer, either as a drink or as a lovely fruity jelly.

Vegetarian & Alcohol Free Champagne Jelly Recipe

Note: I was sent some alcohol-free Eisberg Sparkling wines to try, all images and opinions are my own.

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, you might also like my recipe for alcohol-free slow cooked beef in red wine.

Recipe: Luxurious Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup

Since I made my Norwegian Inspired Cauliflower Cheese Soup in the autumn, I’ve been a bit obsessed with this deliciously frugal soup. I’ve started using frozen cauliflower for the recipe, so it’s really cheap and as I keep a bag of it in my freezer at all times, I always have the ingredients to hand if I need to throw together a quick but delicious meal.

Before Christmas I popped into Manchester for a date night with my husband. We were off to a gig but fancied a pint first. We were propping up the bar when I spotted one of their specials was cauliflower and chestnut soup, and an idea formed which I couldn’t shake. I needed to make that lovely sounding soup.

I’ve had a tin of Clement Faugier Chestnut Spread in my cupboard for a few months now. I’d bought it with great intentions, but never managed to make anything with it. I’ve never tried chestnuts before, which I know is a bit strange. So I really didn’t know what to expect until I opened my tin and had a taste.

I confess I may have made a bit of a mistake using the Clement Faugier Chestnut Spread in my Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup. It’s a sweetened spread which is probably more suited for use in desserts, cakes and bakes, but although it did make the soup taste quite sweet, it actually worked quite well.

Having now tasted the chestnut spread I’m going to buy some more to make a good pud with, and maybe buy some unsweetened chestnut purée to make more soup with, but if sweet spread is all you’ve got, it’s not the end of the world.

Recipe: Luxurious Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup

Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup

Ingredients – serves 6

1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
900g cauliflower florets – fresh or frozen
300mls hot vegetable stock
400mls milk
250g chestnut purée
1 tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, pepper, ground chilli flakes


Gently fry your onion in the olive oil until it’s soft.

Add your cauliflower florets to the pan and stir. Add the hot vegetable stock and 300mls of the milk. Add a little salt, pepper and ground chilli flakes, then put the lid on the pan and simmer until the cauliflower is tender.

Remove from the heat and leave to cool for ten minutes. Add the chestnut purée and the finely grated Parmesan cheese and stir through. Using a blender (I used a stick blender), blend the soup until it is smooth. I added the remaining 100mls of milk at this stage as my soup was too thick. If your soup needs loosening up add some extra milk.

Add any extra salt, pepper and ground chilli flakes if you think it needs additional seasoning.To serve, spoon into bowls and drizzle some of your favourite oil on top on top – I used a cold pressed rapeseed oil which I particularly like. Serve with warm crusty bread.

It’s as simple as that. My Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup is really delicious and it’s smooth, silky and filling. It’s a luxurious treat of a soup and more than a cut above anything I’ve had before.

What’s your favourite chestnut recipe?

Recipe: Luxurious Chestnut and Cauliflower Soup

Five Delicious Vegetarian Comfort Food Dishes

I turned vegetarian when I was 13 and there’s not a lot I miss, but on a cold winter night I do sometimes hanker after the slow cooked, deep flavoured chilli my Nan used to make. Thankfully after lots of practice I’ve finally nailed the recipe and managed to make it vegetarian too.

Most of the warming comfort food dishes from my childhood were meat based – family roast dinners, my Nan’s amazing beef chilli, corned beef hash, shepherd’s pie and bubbling stews cooked so long the meat almost melted in your mouth.

There’s something about cooking up some comfort food which makes you feel like you’re showing your family some extra love. I enjoy throwing a few things in the slow cooker and knowing that by tea time there will be a delicious meal ready for my family.

Vegetarian comfort food can feel a bit hard to come by, so I’ve created and shared some of our favourite family recipes on my blog, here are five of my favourite vegetarian comfort food recipes – 

Vegetarian Galletes

vegetarian comfort food

These are a recent addition to my comfort food repertoire. They’re really easy to make, utterly delicious and once you get the hang of it you can fill them however you want. I made a Goats Cheese, Caramelised Onion and Quince Galette and a Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette. Both were absolutely bang on and real crowd pleasers.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

vegetarian comfort food

Now autumn is here my soup making pot is starting to see some serious action. Cauliflowers are cheap and plentiful in the shops, so I recreated my favourite soup, but with a cheesy twist. Try my very delicious Norwegian inspired Cauliflower Cheese Soup.

Spanish Style Bravas Sausage Casserole

vegetarian comfort food

I’d had it in my head to make a big Spanish style bravas sausage casserole in my slow cooker for a while. This summer hadn’t been up to much and I was desperate to start rustling up comfort food dishes, and this was the first one of the season. I made my sausage casserole with Quorn sausages, but you could very easily make them with your favourite meaty sausages if you’d prefer. I made the sauce in the slow cooker and let it bubble away gently to itself for a few hours. The recipe is really simple and it’s now a firm family favourite.

Authentic Armenian style Imam Bayildi 

vegetarian comfort food

Imam Bayildi is basically stuffed, baked aubergines. They’re simple to make, you can prepare them ahead of time and then cook them when you need them and they are melt in the mouth gorgeous. I like to use good quality ingredients in this recipe as every single mouthful zings flavour. Fresh vegetables and herbs are essential, they’re packed full of flavour and these sunshiny aubergines are a little bit of summer on a cold autumn evening.

Easy Microwave Jam Sponge

vegetarian comfort food

No vegetarian comfort food round-up would be complete without a pudding. This incredibly easy to make and very quick to cook microwave jam sponge is just the ticket to warm your cockles on a cold winter evening. All you need are a few store cupboard ingredients, ten minutes of your time and you’ve got a good pud that’ll make your family smile. have a great blog post about the five healthy foods that can actually save you money, and if you want even more money off your online shop they also have plenty of Sainsbury’s vouchers which you can use.

vegetarian comfort food

Recipe: Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette

Last week I made a rather excellent Goats Cheese, Caramelised Onion and Quince Galette. It was utterly delicious and incredibly easy, so spurred on my my previous success I decided to make another. Behold my Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette.

This was very much a spur of the moment, what do I have in the fridge that I can use kind of deal. I had some nice looking cherry tomatoes, some feta which needed using up and some red pesto. The rest, as they say is history. Rather delicious history.

Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette

As with my Goats Cheese, Caramelised Onion and Quince Galette, this Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette is ridiculously easy. You could even buy some ready made pastry if you don’t fancy making your own, though making your own takes minutes and is very simple and satisfying. Follow my easy recipe for a lovely simple supper.

Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette

Serves 6
This Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette is a lovely hearty autumnal dish, great for the family and even non-veggies will enjoy it.

For the shortcrust pastry –
100g butter
225g plain flour
1 teaspoon of thyme leaves – I used fresh but dry would be fine
tepid water
pinch of salt
For the filling –
150g of feta cheese
50g of cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon of red pesto
Handful of cherry tomatoes
Dab of butter
Salt & pepper
1 egg

1. Make your pastry. Rub the butter and flour together in a bowl until they are like breadcrumbs. Add your thyme and salt and combine. Gradually add the tepid water a couple of spoons at a time into your bowl until you have a ball of dough that isn’t too sticky and wet or too dry. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge to rest for half an hour or so.
2. Roll out your dough until it’s about the thickness of a pound coin and roughly the shape of a circle approximately 30cm in diameter. Place on baking paper on a baking tray.
3. Crumble your feta cheese and cheddar and place it in the middle of the pastry, leave an edge around the sides of about 6 or 7cms so you can fold the pastry up to make the classic galette shape later.
4. Top the cheese with a tablespoon of pesto and halve your cherry tomatoes and arrange them artistcally on top.
5. Take a pastry brush and brush beaten egg around the visible edge of your galette. Now take a look at my picture of the finished galette. You will need to bring the sides of your galette over the sides and covering the top, leaving the middle of the galette open. Fold the sides in sections, working anti-clockwise so they roughly overlap. Gently press the folds together. It is meant to look rustic.
6. Brush with the beaten egg and dot the top with some butter.
7. Bake in a pre-heated oven 200°c for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.
8. Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes, and then serve.

This serves 6 for lunch, or 4 hungry people. I served my galette with new potatoes and salad.

Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette

I loved the saltiness of the feta, if you were so inclined you could throw in a handful of olives too. This Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette would be perfect for a weekend lunch with a leafy salad. It’s so tasty even carnivores wouldn’t complain!

Recipe: Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette

Recipe: Norwegian Inspired Cauliflower Cheese Soup

The first time I ever tried Cauliflower Cheese Soup was in 2003. We had a long weekend in Kristiansand in Norway. It was December and the Christmas lights made the city twinkle at night, the snow was piled high in the streets and it was cold, bitterly, bitterly cold.

We’d venture out and dash in and out of shops, sit drinking steaming cups of coffee in cafes and we’d eat at night in the bistro downstairs from the hotel. Hubs was determined to sample as many Norwegian delicacies as he could, reindeer was a favourite. I am veggie and there wasn’t much choice for me, so I lived on Blomkålsuppe, a Norwegian cauliflower soup. I loved it and I’ve lusted after it ever since.

Now autumn is here my soup making pot is starting to see some serious action. Cauliflowers are cheap and plentiful in the shops, so I decided to try and recreate my favourite soup in the world, but with a cheesy twist that my son would approve of. This morning I made some very delicious Norwegian inspired Cauliflower Cheese Soup.

I decided to use the Extra Mature Cheddar in my soup – it had a lovely subtle tang which I knew would compliment my soup nicely. Cheddar is a perfectly versatile cheese, it melts beautifully and we use it almost as a seasoning.

This Cauliflower Cheese Soup really is very simple, incredibly hearty and exactly like a lovely comforting hug in a bowl. Serve with warm crusty bread, or if you’re feeling especially Scandinavian try it with rye bread.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon butter
A tbsp olive oil
900g cauliflower florets – fresh or frozen
300mls hot vegetable stock
400mls milk
100g Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese
Salt, pepper, ground chilli flakes

Gently fry your onion in the butter and olive oil until it’s soft.

Add your cauliflower florets to the pan and stir. Pour in the hot vegetable stock and 300mls of the milk. Add a little salt, pepper and ground chilli flakes, then put the lid on the pan and simmer until the cauliflower is tender.

Remove from the heat and leave to cool for ten minutes. Using a blender (I used a stick blender), blend the soup until smooth. I added the remaining 100mls of milk at this stage as my soup was too thick. If your soup needs loosening up add some extra milk.

Stir in most of your grated cheese and stir until it has melted through. Taste the soup, you can always add more cheese if you think it needs it. Add any extra salt, pepper and ground chilli flakes if you think it needs additional seasoning.

To serve, spoon into bowls and sprinkle a little extra cheese on top. Serve with warm crusty bread.

If you’d like to garnish your soup with caramelised cauliflower like I have, remove a cooked floret from the pan before you blend the soup and pat dry.

Thinly cut it into slices and gently fry with some butter until golden brown. Gently lay it on top of the soup and serve. Delicious!

You could even use frozen cauliflower for your soup. Just defrost it thoroughly first and you’d never know once it was blended up. It’s frugal too.

Cauliflower cheese soup is the ultimate comfort food. What comfort food dishes will be warming your cockles this autumn?

Try my recipe for Luxurious Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup

Recipe: Norwegian Inspired Cauliflower Cheese Soup