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.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Broccoli casserole.

Well, so much for healthy living. I’ve been laid low with swine flu and I have to say I can’t remember a time when I’ve ever felt worse. Food has been a low priority for days but now as I start to feel a little better I find I am in need of some serious comfort food, something light enough to not sit heavy in my over sensitive stomach but sustaining enough to help me get my strength back.


2 heads of broccoli broken into small florets.
4 beaten free range eggs.
10 oz grated Cheddar cheese
¾ pint whole milk.
3 oz flour.
1tsp English mustard.
Salt and pepper to taste.


Preheat the oven to 200c. In a large pan of salted water cook the broccoli for ten minutes, drain well and then put into a deep sided casserole dish, something like a lasagne dish is perfect. In a small saucepan whisk together the milk, flour, salt and pepper, eggs and mustard. Over a low heat warm this mixture a little and then add about half of the grated cheese, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and pour over the broccoli, top with the remaining grated cheese and bake in the oven for thirty minutes or until the top is golden and crunchy. Serve with some nice crusty bread.

Monday, 17 January 2011

How to make chickpea stroganoff.


I white onion chopped.
2 large cans of chickpeas, drained.
6 large flat mushrooms, sliced.
6tbs vegetable stock.
Olive oil.
1lb flat ribbon noodles.
1tsp soy sauce.
2tsp white wine vinegar.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Small pot of sour cream or natural yoghurt.


Sautee the vegetables in the olive oil until they are soft and coloured, add the stock, chickpeas and vinegar, cover and simmer for ten minutes. Meanwhile, put a large pan of water on to boil, add the noodles and cook for fifteen minutes. Drain, add the stroganoff mixture, season to taste and swirl in the sour cream or natural yoghurt. Serve with crusty bread.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Tofu, a great addition to any vegetarian diet.

Tofu is high in protein and calcium but low in fat and calories. A healthy vegetarian diet should include tofu at least twice a week. Try adding some cooked chunks to soups or salads. To cook tofu simply brush with oil and fry gently for a couple of minutes each side until it starts to colour. Tofu can be barbequed, fried, deep fried, scrambled, baked, boiled or grilled.

I find that the taste can be quite bland unless you marinate the tofu first, barbeque sauce, garlic mayonnaise, salad dressing, even some herb oil these all work well as a marinade. Just put the tofu and the sauce/marinade in a bag and leave in the fridge for a few hours before cooking.

Friday, 14 January 2011

How to make Cheese, Leek and Potato pie.


1lb potatoes.
4 leeks.
8oz grated cheese. Cheddar works well.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Olive oil.
Butter and cream (optional.)


Peel the potatoes and cut them into small chunks, place in a large pan of slightly salted water, bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes are soft. Remove from the heat and drain. Mash the potatoes and season to taste. You can add a knob of butter, some milk or cream or a few drops of olive oil if desired. Set aside and keep warm.

Wash and trim the leeks then slice thinly before frying in the olive oil for five minutes until softened. Add most of the leeks to the mashed potatoes and stir in two thirds of the grated cheese. Put this mixture into an ovenproof dish and top with the remaining grated cheese and the fried leeks. Cook in a moderate oven until the top is golden and bubbling, serve immediately. This makes a great supper or lunch dish served on it’s own, or a very nice vegetable side dish to a main meal.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

How to prepare and cook butternut squash.

Butternut squash is one of those things that you can take one look at in the shop and just put back on the shelf because you just don't know what to do with it. Which is a real shame because butternut squash tastes wonderful and is incredibly versatile. Whichever way you intended to cook your squash you should first remove the seeds. Don't throw them away as they make a great snack when toasted in the oven. The seeds are high in calcium and zinc, two things that can be lacking in a vegetarian diet.

Your butternut squash can be cut into chunks, tossed in olive oil and roasted in the oven in much the same way as sweet potatoes, no need to peel the squash as the skin tastes good too. Peel and cut into chunks and add the squash to curries, stews or casseroles. Prepare the same way and boil in lightly salted water to use the squash as a vegetable accompaniment for a meal. Or add some stock and a little cream, blend together for a great tasting soup.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

How to make lentil bake.

This lentil bake is a great vegetarian friendly dish that is substantial enough to satisfy even the most dedicated of meat eaters. Lentils are high in protein, vitamin B and fibre. Lentils are of particular use for committed vegetarians as they are a very good source of iron, something that can be lacking in a vegetarian diet.


8oz dried red lentils, no soak variety.
2 large white onions, chopped.
1 large can of chopped tomatoes.
2oz butter.
3tbs extra virgin olive oil.
6 large boiled eggs.
4 oz brown breadcrumbs.
1 pint vegetable stock.
1tsp dried mixed herbs.
Salt and black pepper to taste.
4 oz grated cheese to top the dish if required.


Pre heat the oven to 200C and grease a shallow baking dish, a lasagne dish is prefect for this recipe. Put the eggs on to boil. In a large heavy based pan put the lentils, onions, mixed herbs, vegetable stock and the can of tomatoes. Season well with the salt and black pepper. Bring this mixture up to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for twenty minutes. Stir occasionally and taste the lentils to make sure they are cooked through. When the eggs are done they should take around ten minutes to boil, remove them from the heat and run cold water over them to cool. If you crack the shells at this stage it will prevent the eggs from turning black around the yolks.

Melt the butter and extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan or skillet and stir in the brown breadcrumbs. Remove from the heat and season with some salt and black pepper. Peel the eggs and slice them. In the lasagne dish start to make up your lentil bake. Put in alternate layers of the lentil mixture and the sliced boiled eggs. Finish with an egg layer. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and bake in the oven for twenty five minutes, or until the top is crispy and brown. You can add a little grated cheese to the top for added protein if you want. Cheddar, stilton and double Gloucester all taste really nice and melt well in the oven.

Serve at once straight from the dish with some hot garlic bread. This isn’t really a good recipe to reheat so use it all up once, it shouldn’t be too hard as it tastes really good.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Halloumi burger.

Halloumi cheese is firm enough to withstand grilling, frying even deep frying. It has a wonderful salty and sharp taste. For a quick veggie burger simply griddle thick slices of halloumi cheese. Slice a burger bun in half and then toast it, fill with crisp lettuce, tomato and onion slices and top with the griddled halloumi. Serve with potato wedges or fries.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

How to make Apple crumble.

Apple crumble is quick and easy to make, the oats in this recipe give the crumble mix a wonderful nutty texture. Serve this dish warm with cream, custard or vegan ice cream.

2 cups of flour.
1 cup of oats.
1 cup of soft brown sugar.
1 cup softened butter or vegan spread.
1tsp cinnamon.
4 Large cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced.

Place the apples, 2tsp brown sugar, cinnamon and enough water to cover in a pan over a moderate heat. Next rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and the oats and mix well. When the apples have softened, about ten minutes, put them into a shallow ovenproof dish and cover with the crumble mixture. Cook in a moderate oven for twenty minutes or until the crumble is golden on top.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Is there meat hidden in your food?

It might sound like a stupid question, but there could be meat hidden in your food. Or at least products derived from meat. Look out for these ingredients on food labels.

Carmine. Carmine is derived from ground up insect shells, carmine can be found in some yoghurts, coloured pasta, bottled juices and sweets to name just a few products.

Calcium stearate. Calcium stearate is derived from cows and pigs. It can be found in vanilla, garlic salt and some salad dressing mixes.

Isinglass. Isinglass is a type of gelatine from the air bladder of fish. Sometimes used in wine production.

Myristic acid. Myristic acid is derived from animal fats and found in chocolate and ice cream.

These are just a small example of hidden meat products, always look for a vegetarian or vegan friendly sign on any food you buy, even if it seems impossible that it should contain meat. You just never know what food manufacturers are putting in things.

Friday, 7 January 2011

How to make butter bean mash.

If you are in the mood for something tasty, filling and quick then make a batch of butter bean mash. Take a can of butter beans and drain it. Warm the beans in a saucepan, add a little olive oil and season to taste. Mash with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Use this as an alternative to mashed potato or as a spread for toast.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Vegetarian homemade remedies.

If you don't want to always be reaching for the medicine cabinet when you are feeling under the weather, then you will find a wealth of natural homemade remedies in your store cupboard. Things that you know are vegetarian friendly and not tested on animals.

To relieve the pain of a sore throat.

Put half of a peeled white onion into a jar of runny honey leave for at least a week and take a teaspoon every few hours whenever you have a sore throat. I have kept a jar of this for six months in the fridge and it still tasted fine and still worked.

When you want to give your immune system a boost.

Put equal quantities of green gooseberries, boiled beetroot and raw carrot into a container. Add a few cloves of fresh garlic and a pinch of sea salt. If you have a food processor blitz the mixture until it is smooth and liquidised, you can do this by hand but it takes forever! Drink slightly chilled and always use up the mixture daily.

To lower a high temperature.

Add a teaspoonful of dried sage leaves and a handful of sliced fresh ginger root to half a pint of cold water. Allow to stand for an hour then boil until the mixture reduces by around three quarters. Drink twice a day until your temperature comes down.

Unblock a stuffy nose.

Place a crushed garlic clove, four crushed black pepper corns and a large handful of fresh thyme leaves into a bowl. Pour on boiling water, cover your head with a towel and breath in the fumes from the bowl.

To help a headache.

Blend together one ripe banana, some fresh watermelon juice and a few drops of Tabasco sauce. Sit back and rub a cut lime on your forehead as you sip your smoothie.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

How to make perfect French onion soup.

Nothing warms you up faster on a cold winter's day that a steaming hot bowl of French onion soup. This isn't a quick fix soup, the rich, golden colour can only be obtained by slowly cooking the onions until they caramelise. It is well worth the wait, trust me.


1 lb large white onions.
2 oz butter.
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil.
2 pints of vegetable stock.
1 clove of crushed garlic.
2 tbs white flour.
Salt and pepper to taste.


Peel and thinly slice the onions. In a large heavy based pan put the butter, olive oil and the onions and leave to cook for at least thirty minutes. Add the garlic for the final five minutes, don't add it before as it can burn easily. Stir often and when the onions are soft, sticky and a rich golden brown add the flour and stir until it has absorbed some of the oil, about 2 - 3 minutes should be fine. Add the stock, season to taste and simmer for a further 30 - 40 minutes, part cover the pan for best results.

This soup is traditionally served with toasted slices of french bread and some grated cheese, but straight forward croutons are fine. This dish can be made vegan by replacing the butter with a vegan spread, or extra olive oil. I think that extra oil works best. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Immune boosting foods.

Immune boosting foods.

As the winter really starts to bite and people seem to be dropping like flies all around us from one seasonal disease or another, it’s a good time to think about incorporating some immune boosting foods into our daily diets.

Zinc is one of the most important immune boosting ingredients. Zinc can be found in whole grains, dairy products and legumes. Think about switching to whole grain pasta such as buckwheat, brown rice and brown bread instead of the white varieties. Sprinkle a little grated cheese over pasta dishes, or have some grilled cheese on toasted brown bread as a snack or light lunch.

Vitamin C is also very important. The best sources of vitamin C included citrus fruits, so drink plenty of fresh orange juice with breakfast, red peppers, garlic, ginger, spinach, broccoli, almonds and turmeric. Use sliced red peppers, some crushed garlic and ginger, broccoli florets and slivered almonds to make a tasty stir fry. Simply toss the lot in a little extra virgin olive oil and fry in a wok for a few minutes. Add turmeric to curries or use it to coat potatoes before roasting, they have a wonderful golden colour and taste great. You can also add turmeric to soups and sauces.

Drink a mug or two of green tea sweetened with runny honey every day. Honey is a great natural antibiotic, add honey to cakes and cookies.

Take a little extra care over what you eat during the winter months and staying healthy and cold free is a piece of honey cake.

For a great tasting recipe for vegan chicken noodle soup go here.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Oven Roasted Tomato Salad.

Tomatoes are one of my favourite things to eat and as I have said before they retain far more goodness when cooked. So, this great tasting recipe makes a healthy light lunch or supper dish or an elegant starter.

Allow one large beef tomato per person. The recipe I have given here serves four.


4 large beef tomatoes. Skinned and halved.
1 garlic clove, finely chopped.
8 fresh basil leaves.
8 large black olives, pitted.
salt and pepper to taste.
Balsamic vinegar.
Extra virgin olive oil.


Place the tomatoes cut side up into a shallow roasting pan, season well and sprinkle over the crushed garlic. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the tomatoes. Place a basil leaf in the centre of each tomato. Roast in a moderate oven, 200c for 45 minutes. When cooked remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow them to cool. To serve add a few drops of balsamic vinegar, some more olive oil, another basil leaf and an olive on each tomato. Serve with a tossed green salad and some nice crusty bread.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

How to make vegetarian friendly beauty products.

As a dedicated vegetarian not only do I watch what I put inside my body but I am careful about just what I put on it too. So many beauty products that you can buy over the counter have either been tested on animals or contain animal ingredients. Neither of which I find acceptable, so I tend to make a lot of my own from storecupboard ingredients. It is quick and easy, they work and I know exactly what goes into them.

How to make facemasks for dry skin.

Cucumber mask. Mash together one small ripe cucumber and a handful of oatmeal, add a little natural yoghurt to make an easy to spread consistency, chill this mixture in the fridge for an hour and then apply to the face. Leave on for fifteen minutes and then rinse off. This is a very good face mask for dry skin and for reviving tired looking skin.

Honey mask. This one is the simplest of the lot just spread some honey on your face lie back and relax for thirty minutes then rinse off with warm water. What could be easier than that!

Banana mask. Cut up one very ripe banana and a spoonful of runny honey, cream together until very smooth, apply to the face for ten minutes then rinse off.

Avocado mask. Cream the flesh of a ripe avocado and mix it with a teaspoon of olive oil. Apply and leave for ten minutes before removing.

How to make exfoliating masks.

Oatmeal scrub. Mix together a handful of oatmeal, 1 teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda and enough water to make a soft paste. Apply to the face and massage gently for five minutes, leave on for a further five minutes then rinse off.

Brown sugar scrub. Mix a handful of brown sugar with a little warm olive oil, massage over the face for a few minutes then rinse off.

How to make a mask for oily skin.

Egg and strawberry mask. Take two egg whites, a handful of ripe strawberries, a splash of lemon juice and a little honey. Mix together well until you have a creamy paste, apply to the skin for ten minutes, then rinse.

How to make a rejuvenating mask.

Tomato mask. Mix together tomato puree with a little olive oil and the yolk of an egg. Spread all over the face and neck and leave on for at least twenty minutes before washing off.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Tofu scramble recipe.

I found this recipe a while ago when my youngest daughter first became a vegan and wanted an alternative to scramble eggs.


1 white onion, thinly sliced.
1 lb extra firm tofu, crumbled into small pieces.
2 large tomatoes, diced.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
1 tsp paprika.
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp crushed garlic.
Salt and pepper to taste.


Heat the oil in a large skillet or frying pan, saute the onion and garlic for five minutes. Add the tofu and cook for another five minutes stirring frequently. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for another five minutes, adjust the seasoning and serve hot. To make a vegetarian version simply replace the tofu with three whisked eggs.