Welcome to the veg files.

As a longtime vegetarian I started this blog as a place to share tips, recipes and general knowhow on maintaining a healthy vegetarian lifestyle. When I first became a vegetarian I was pretty lost and confused about just how to make sure I and my family got the right amount of nutrition, so I hope that this blog will help anyone out there who is feeling the same way. Of course, I hope this blog is useful to the old hands out there too!

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I know I will enjoy writing it.

For money saving tips, articles and even more recipes check out my posts on Hubpages. For online money making opportunities go here. To check out my photography go here.

Monday, 29 November 2010


Fresh basil is a wonderful, fragrant herb that goes really well with tomatoes. It is quite a delicate herb, and as such can bruise very easily. Always tear rather than chop the leaves. Basil is best added at the end of cooking time as the flavour can be impaired if overcooked. For a very simple pasta sauce try adding cherry tomatoes and olive oil to cooked pasta and stir through over a gently heat until warmed through then add a few torn basil leaves. Sprinkle over some grated cheese for added taste, calcium and protein. Serve with a tossed green salad and crusty garlic bread.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Is it that time of year already?

Today my youngest daughter asked me for help, not a thing that has happened all that much these past couple of years. She's seventeen, so of course, she knows everything about everything.I can't remember where the quote comes from but I remember someone saying that they only employed teenagers as they wanted to catch people whilst they still knew everything. But today she did ask me for help. She has lots of friends and this year she want's to be a bit more independant and buy Christmas presents for them out of her own money. Which is wonderful but the trouble is she doesn't have any money. So she asked me what to do.

I won't decribe the look she gave me when I suggested homemade gifts but a baby sucking lemons comes to mind. But after a quick session cooking honeycomb and wrapping the little golden treats in some fancy celophane and tying them up with gold ribbons she was won over. Later I am going to show her how to make some chocolate truffles, I will share that recipe later in the week.

Recipe for honeycomb.
600g fine caster sugar.
2 pinches of cream of tartar.
4tbsp white wine vinegar.
4 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda.
400g golden syrup.

Take a shallow baking tray and line it with oiled tin foil.Put the sugar, 1/2 pint of cold water,cream of tartar, vinegar and the golden syrup into a heavey based saucepan.Cook over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Swirl the pan from time to time but do not stir. Bring to the boil for ten minutes until the mixture reaches 150c on a sugar thermometer if you have one. If you don't then take a very small amount of the mixture and drop in into a a saucer of very cold water. It will go hard and brittle when it is ready. As soon as it reaches the right temperature remove the pan from the heat and cool it by putting the pan into a sink half filled with cold water. Quickly stir in the bicarbonate of soda, and a dessertspoonful of cold water. Swirl the pan as the mixture foams up but be very careful it is hot! Let it bubble away for about a minute then pour it into the foiled baking tray. Leave it to cool until it has set and then turn it out onto a clean surface and break into chunks.

This will only keep for a few days so if you want to give it as a pressie then make it just before Christmas. It taste wonderful and looks great too, I will post some pictures when my camera is fixed, or better yet replaced. Are you listening Santa?

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Leeks in orange and ginger sauce.

This is a wonderful little side dish that is fancy enough for Christams dinner.


80g butter or vegan marg.
1 1/2 lbs sliced leeks.
Zest of one orange
1tsp chopped ginger.
salt and pepper to taste.
9fl oz fresh orange juice.
1 tsp cornflour.


Melt the butter in a heavy based pan and saute the sliced leeks for ten minutes, season to taste and add the ginger. Sprinkle the cornflour over the leeks and cook for another minute or two,add the orange zest and most of the orange juice. Bring back up to simmering and cook for two minutes. Add the remainung orange zest and the rest of the juice just before serving.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

How to make creamy green pea soup.

This recipe helps provide calcium, which can often be lacking in a strict vegetarian or vegan diet. It looks and tastes good, is quick to prepare and keeps for a couple of days in the fridge, so it can be made in advance.

2 onions diced.
15oz frozen peas.
10floz milk
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
21/2 pints of vegetable stock.
2tsp vegetarian margarine.
2tsp corn flour.
2tsp sugar.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Gently fry the onions in the olive oil until they are soft. Add half the corn flour and stir for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat and add about a quarter of the stock. Whisk briskly until very smooth and then add the rest of the stock and the sugar. Return to the heat, add the peas and simmer for ten minutes. Slowly add the milk and the remaining corn flour, season to taste and then heat until almost boiling. Liquidize the soup in a blender or pass through a fine sieve. Serve in warmed bowls with garlic bread, you can sprinkle a few chopped herbs over the top just before serving.

This dish can be made vegan if you use vegan spread and soya milk.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

How to make mushroom and chickpea curry.

This is a tasty little recipe that takes less than twenty minutes to cook, it's great for supper served with rice or some warm pitta or nan bread.

1 large chopped onion.
2 crushed garlic cloves.
1 tin chickpeas, drained.
1lb of sliced mushrooms.
1 small tin chopped tomatoes.
vegetable oil for frying.
2tsp curry powder, whichever you prefer.
salt and pepper to taste.
1 small red chilli, sliced.
A few coriander leaves to garnish, optional.


In a deep frying pan or wok fry the onion in the oil until soft, add the tomatoes, garlic and curry powder and cook for another two minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and a little water, season to taste, cover and simmer until the mushrooms are cooked. Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Top tip.

These days saving money and cutting down on waste is even more important than ever, throwing away perfectly good food is just plain crazy. Use up left over cooked veg, or veg that has seen better days by making soup. Homemade soup is cheap, quick and easy to make and tastes just as good as, if not better than, the shop bought variety. Simple put the leftovers into a blender with a little stock, water, or milk and blitz until smooth. Curry powder added to cooked parsnips tastes amazing, coriander goes well with carrots and leeks make potatoes zing. If all you have left in the store cupboard is a couple of onions then make french onion soup.

French onion soup recipe.

Dice the onions and sautee them slowly in a little butter or olive oil until they turn a golden brown colour. Add some vegetable stock, some made using a stock cube is fine, and cook for a further ten minutes. Serve with crusty bread, or as the french do with a slice of french stick floating on the top covered in a little grated cheese. This soup is perfect for cold winter nights and keeps well in the fridge for days.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


Walnut, date and banana loaf cake.
This is a wonderful loaf cake recipe for using up ripe bananas. In our house we like this cake still warm from the oven with a little honey drizzled over the top. It is just as nice cold and will keep well for days if stored in an airtight container.

180g unsalted butter.
210g self raising flour.
3 free range eggs.
90g caster sugar.
3 ripe bananas.
90g chopped dates.
50g chopped walnuts.
3tbsp honey.

Pre-heat the oven to 160c, grease and line a 10inch loaf tin with baking parchment.Put the flour,butter,sugar and eggs into a large bowl and beat until combined. Now stir in the dates, nuts and mash the bananas then add them too. Put this mixture into the loaf tin and bake for around 1 hour. The loaf cake is cooked when a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean. Make a few holes in the top of the still hot cake and then pour over some honey and allow it to soak in. Allow the cake to cool slightly and then turn it upside down on a plate and remover the paper.

Friday, 19 November 2010

An apple a day.

There is a well known saying 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away',which would appear to be true. Apples contain high levels of pectin, a particularly useful type of fibre.Pectin is believed by doctors to help lower cholesterol levels.So the best thing to do is eat more apples, at least one a day. Why not have one sliced on top of breakfast cereal in the morning and another for dessert later in the day. Try this great tasting and very simple recipe for baked apple.

Take one large cooking apple, bramleys are wonderful but any large apple will do. You can use a good sized eating apple, but I find them a little too sweet for this recipe but that is down to personal taste.Wash the apple and remove the stalk and core, you can get a special tool for this but a small sharp knife also does the job quite well. Now cut a shallow groove all around the widest part of the apple to allow for expansion during cooking. If you don't do this the skin will burst and make a mess, it still tastes great but doesn't look good. Pour a little lemon juice into the hollow core to prevent the apple turning brown.Place the apple in a shallow ovenproof dish and then stuff the empty core with fruit such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or with a little sweet mincemeat. Bake in a medium oven for around thirty minutes or four minutes in a microwave. Serve hot with custard, cream or ice cream. If you want to be extra healthy serve this dish with a nice sorbet.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Top tip.

When cooking whole ears of sweetcorn by boiling them, don't add any salt to the cooking water. Salt reacts with the corn and can make the kernels tough,if you want your sweetcorn to really be sweet and delicious add a pinch of sugar to the water instead. Allow the corn to rest in the hot water for about ten minutes before you serve it and it will be the best tasting corn you've ever had.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

How to make vegan satay sauce.

Satay sauce is a wonderful tasting sauce that can be used to spice up vegan meals. Try dry frying some cubes of tofu then threading them onto satay sticks before covering them in this satay sauce and warming them in the oven, serve hot and provide additional satay sauce in bowls for dipping. Goes great with some boiled rice or in pita bread with shreded iceberg lettuce, remember to take the stick out first, of course.

1 cup of white onion finely chopped.
2 tbsp sesame oil.
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice.
2 tbsp maple syrup.
4 crushed cloves of garlic.
6 tbsp rich dark soy sauce.
1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter.
1/2 cup vegetable stock.
1/2 cup of vegetable oil.

Fry the onions and garlic in the sesame oil until softened and slightly golden in colour. Add the remaining ingredients and blitz in a food blender until smooth.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Getting enough calcium.

Calcium is an essential mineral for building healthy bones and teeth.It helps to keep the heart regulated and blood clotting properly. Getting enough calcium is most important in young people under the age of twenty five, after that time bones start to lose density as part of the natural aging process. Vegetarians and especially vegans can be at risk of having too low a calcium intake.It's very important to include the following in your diet if you want to remain healthy.

Dried fruits.
Dark green leafy vegetables.
Sesame seeds.

This is a great tasting recipe that helps to boost your calcium intake.

Iced berry fool.

10oz frozen mixed berries.
20floz plain soya yogurt.
Juice of half a lemon.
Juice of half an orange.
3tbsp toasted almonds chopped into small pieces.
A little superfine (icing) sugar to taste.

Place all of the ingredients, except the almonds, into a blender and blitz until smooth, pour into glasses and sprinkle the toasted nuts onto the top.

Healthy and delicious, enjoy.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

How to make vegetarian pesto.

Pesto is a great tasting, versatile paste that can be spread on bread, toast or crackers. It makes a wonderful filling for jacket potatoes and if you mix it with a little extra virgin olive oil it can be used as a salad dressing. But by far the best way to use pesto is as a sauce for pasta. Cook your favourite pasta and drain it, add a handfull of cherry tomatoes cut in half, a few torn basil leaves and then stir in some pesto, return to the heat for three or four minutes then serve. Goes great with some nice hot crusty bread.

For this vegetarian pesto you will need.

100g fresh basil.Tear the leaves into smallish chunks.
4 large cloves of garlic, peeled.
90g toasted pine nuts.
Toast them in a dry pan for a few minutes.
300ml extra virgin olive oil.
100g grated vegetarian hard cheese, parmesan is perfect if you can find a veggie one, but any hard cheese will do just fine.
Whiz the whole lot up in a food mixer until it is spread able but still a little bit chunky.
This pesto will keep in a jar in the fridge for several days or you can freeze it for up to a month.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Top tip.

When using vegan alternatives to cream or milk in sweet recipes try adding a couple of drops of good quality vanilla essence. It really improves the flavour. As an alternative to milk or cream in curries why not try using coconut cream instead, it tastes great and even dedicated meat eaters like it. Don't overdo it though, as it is packed with fat and calories!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Vegetarian fish and chips.


I-2 packets of Halloumi cheese
125 g plain flour
¼ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp salt
Few drops of vegetable oil for the batter and enough to cover the ‘fish’ as it fries.
125 ml warm milk and water, about half and half
1tsp baking powder
400g potatoes


Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, make a well in the middle of the flour and then add the oil and a small amount of the half milk, half warm water mixture. Stir slowly bringing down more and more of the flour mixture until it is all combined. Beat well until it is very smooth, you can do this by hand or use an electric beater.

Wash the potatoes but do not peel. Cut them into wedges and spread them out onto a lightly greased baking sheet, sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste. Place the baking sheet onto the middle shelf of an oven pre heated to 180c, they will take approximately forty minutes to cook depending on how chunky you have made your wedges. Once the wedges are cooked and golden turn the oven down as low as it will go and leave the wedges to keep hot. They won’t burn but will stay hot and crispy until you are ready to serve them.

Cut the Halloumi into either thick finger shapes, wedges cut to resemble fish filets or simply cut into chunks. Pat the cheese shapes dry with kitchen towels or a clean tea towel and then dip them into the batter mixture making sure that they are completely coated.

Heat the oil to 150c, this dish is best cooked in a deep fat fryer, but if you don’t have one of those you can use a large heavy based saucepan instead, be careful not to overfill it as the hot oil can easily bubble over with disastrous results. Drop the battered cheese pieces into the hot oil one at a time, do not overload the pan as it’s better to cook the cheese in batches than risk it burning or sticking to the pan. Once cooked drain well onto absorbent kitchen paper. You can always put the cooked pieces onto a tray and keep them hot in the oven with the wedges.
Serve with peas or salad and garnish with fresh parsley, lemon wedges and a little tartar sauce. Delicious.