Filo Vegetable Samosas

I’ve added a recipe for all my friends doing Veganuary. These little samosas make the best lunch. They’re made using filo pastry so delightfully delicate and light. Just add a crisp salad with them full of red onion, tomato and a side of mango chutney for dipping. Fabulous when you have lots of left over veg you need to use up. Even better for lunch boxes the next day.

Makes 12

Ingredients

2 carrots

1 large potato

1 cup frozen peas

1 large clove garlic – minced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon garam masala

3 sheets filo pastry

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 table spoon poppy seeds

Method

Pre heat oven to 220c / 200c fan and take your filo out the fridge at least 15 mins before you intend to use it.

Start by boiling your potato and carrot in a pan of salted water until tender.

Meanwhile, sauté your diced onions in a frying pan until they start to soften along with the minced garlic.

Add your spices and the frozen peas.

Stir around the pan until the peas are cooked. This should only take 2-3 minutes.

Once your onions are cooked and your veg is tender, drain and chop it into pieces, then add it to your onion and spice mix stirring to combine.

Place your 3 sheets of filo flat on the work surface. You need to work quickly as it can dry out quick.

Cut each sheet into 4 rectangles. You may have a marginal amount left from each sheet in order to do this but you can just discard this.

Fold each rectangle into a triangle shape. Open and fill with approx 1 tablespoon of the filling. Fold over back into the triangle shape and brush with oil all over and to seal the edges. Feel free to trim any edges to get the perfect triangle shape.

Place each samosa on a lined baking tray and sprinkle over the poppy seeds. Bake in the centre of the oven for approx 20-25 minutes.

Serve with a side salad and compulsory mango chutney.


Cheese and Bacon Potato Skins

Cheese and bacon loaded potato skins. Crunchy, loaded with mature cheddar, sizzling crispy bacon and served with a sour cream and chive dip. Great as a side to load onto plates that everyone can help themselves to.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 potatoes

100g mature cheddar – grated

4 dessert spoons butter

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

4 rashers bacon – chopped into pieces

2 spring onions

Sour cream and chive dip to serve

Method

Pre heat oven to 245c / 225c fan

Wash your potatoes and prick each one with a fork a few times.

To speed up cooking time you can pop them on a microwaveable plate and microwave for 8 minutes all at the same time.

Place on a baking tray in a hot over for 20 minutes.

Remove, cut in half and scoop out half a potato from each half and reserve in a bowl.

To the bowl you have set aside add your grated cheese and butter, season, mix thoroughly and transfer back into the potato.

Sprinkle over the bacon bits and bake in the oven for another 20 minutes.

When they are ready to come out the oven remove and sprinkle over sliced up spring onion and serve with a sour cream and chive dip.


Mini Mozarella, Tomato, Pasta Salad

I love salads and make so many varieties. This one is a favourite and great for an on the go lunch. The fresh tomatoes along with the sun dried ones give a real depth of flavour. Drizzled in extra virgin oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice and spritzed with salt and cracked black pepper.

This is also a lovely dish served at a BBQ as a side. I can’t wait for BBQ’s in the sun with glasses of chilled rosé and the tunes on. Is any one else looking forward to BBQ’s?

Serves 2

Ingredients

Mini Mozzarella – 1 small tub

6 sun dried tomato slices

Handful of fresh green and kalamata olives,

1 spring onion – chopped

6 small vine tomatoes – chopped in half

Cup of wholewheat fusilli pasta

Method

Simply cook your pasta until al dente in boiling salty water. Drain and swirl over a little butter.

Toss into all your ingredients and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, a little white wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, salt and cracked black pepper.


Lemon and Garlic Houmous

I love houmous. As a side to a chicken kebab, with crudités or pitta to dip, heaped into jacket potatoes or simply added to a salad.

I’ve added two of my favourite ingredients lemons and garlic to bring all the flavour with this delicious version. I can’t believe how quick and simple it was to make!

Some people like to remove the skins of each chickpea before blending but seriously?! I’m far too impatient and surely life is too short for that even in these pandemic, scraping the barrel times for fun! If lockdown goes on much longer I might give it a go though and I’ll let you know what I reckon!

Ingredients

1 can of chickpeas – drained and rinsed

Juice of 2 lemons

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons tahini

2 cloves garlic – minced

2 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and extra to drizzle

Method

Add the tahini and lemon juice to a large bowl and blend with a hand blender for a minute. It should start to look like the consistency of smooth peanut butter.

Now add your olive oil, garlic and salt and stir to combine. Blast for a few seconds with the hand blender, add your chickpeas and blend away some more for a couple of minutes, adding your tablespoons of water until creamy and smooth.

Heap into your bowl and add your own delights to dip in. We love toasted, warm pitta cut into strips, crudités and extra lemon juice squeezed on to serve.

Tip: Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and dust a little cayenne pepper or smoked paprika to serve.


Cauliflower and Courgette Cheese

I devised this recipe when a cauliflower the size of a fifty pence piece turned up in the online shopping delivery! I decided to bulk it out with a courgette and hey it was delicious, I’m going to make it all the time.

Ingredients

1 small cauliflower

1 courgette – sliced into 1cm rounds

60g mature cheddar

2 tablespoons plain flour

250ml milk

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

30g butter

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Method

Chop your cauliflower into smallish florets – not miniature and boil in a pan of lightly salted water for approximately 15 minutes. Don’t add the courgette yet.

Chop the courgette into 1cm thick round slices and then in half. Add to the pan of boiling cauliflower for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

Drain and spread out in a baking dish.

In a medium sauce pan, add your milk, flour and butter on a low heat and whisk all the time.

The sauce will start to thicken and once it does add your grated mature cheddar, mustard, salt and pepper and keep whisking until you have a lovely cheese sauce.

Now pour all over your veg and bake in the oven on 190C / 170C fan for around 20 minutes or so until the cheese turns nice and crispy on top.


Coleslaw

This is a crunchy, zingy, lime filled coleslaw that is perfect served with the Jerk Chicken recipe under mains. I often add a green pepper, red pepper, 1/2 a cup of sweetcorn and a sliced red chilli but that’s your choice.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 large carrots

1/4 red cabbage

1/4 white cabbage

1 medium onion

2 spring onions

Juice of 1 lime

Big squidge of mayo – enough to cover to your liking

Method

Thinly slice your cabbage, carrot and onions. Squeeze over a big splodge of mayonnaise and the juice of a lime and combine together.

It’s as simple as that.


Caribbean Rice and Peas

This is just amazing and you will love this served with the Jerk Chicken recipe under my Mains section. This is my sisters recipe and it has a flavour all of it’s own and will scent your house with aromatic aromas while it’s cooking. Serve alongside the coleslaw recipe under my Sides section.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 tin coconut milk

1 large onion thinly sliced

1 teaspoon allspice ( not mixed spice , must be all spice)

3 spring onions bashed ( pull out at the end – these just add flavour)

1 scotch bonnet chilli pepper (whole to add flavour – pull out at the end)

5 springs fresh thyme

2 cloves garlic – minced

1 tin of kidney beans ( and the juice)

2 cups of rice

Water to cook rice ( need 4 cups of liquid including the coconut milk and kidney bean juice, so just make the rest up with water).

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Glug of olive oil

Squeeze of lime

Method

Add a glug of olive oil to the pan. Pan fry the sliced onion and minced garlic until soft. Add all of your coconut milk, kidney bean juice and water to make it up to 4 cups of liquid all in all. Stir together.

Add all the remaining ingredients except the rice. Cook for 2 mins.

Rinse the rice under a tap in a sieve until the water runs clear. Bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on until all the juices have been absorbed by the rice.

When the rice looks fluffy and ready to serve add a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt, remove the spring onions and scotch bonnet and serve with the delicious jerk chicken.


Lemon Roast Potatoes – Agistri Style

I promised my recipe for the lemon roast potatoes that I had on the Greek island Agistri. I have absolutely no idea of the original recipe as I didn’t ask for it – stupidly! However, this is my take on what I think it would be. This is probably as close as I will get to conjuring up something similar.

They are best served with my recipe for roast chicken and a large Greek salad.

Ingredients

Serves 4

Six medium potatoes

200ml vegetable oil

4 lemons ( 3 for the recipe and one to serve)

1 tablespoon of plain flour

Salt – a grind or two of rock salt is best

Method

Pre heat the oven to 220C or 200C if fan

Half fill a large saucepan of water add a shake or two of salt and bring to the boil. While this is boiling chop and peel your potatoes and cut into halves. Add to the pan and par boil for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile add your vegetable oil to a roasting tray approx 28x20cm if only cooking for four people and squeeze in one lemon chopped into four. Leave the lemon quarters in the tray. Put this is the oven to heat while you drain your potatoes into a colander.

Once the potatoes are fully drained and still in the colander, shake it about a bit to fluff them up. Now sprinkle over your tablespoon of flour and shake around again. The potatoes should start to look, you guessed it – fluffy!

Carefully remove your tray of oil from the oven and slowly place your potatoes in. Do this slowly as the oil will be hot and spit if you just toss them all in straight away. We don’t want any trips to A&E!

Now baste with the lemony oil and squeeze over the juice of another 2 lemons also adding the fruit to the tray. Grind over some crunchy salt and return the tray to the top shelf of the oven for approx 45 minutes making sure you baste every so often with the lemony oil. I add on another 5 minutes or so cooking time and turn the oven up another 20C just to really crisp them up.

Once they look nice and crispy remove from the oven and serve with a quarter of a lemon for each person to squeeze over.

Tip: If you are making these with my roast chicken recipe under ‘mains’ simply put the potatoes in the oven on 200C / 180C fan for 40 minutes before the chicken is due to come out the oven. When the chicken is removed and resting quickly turn the oven up to 240C or 220C if fan and roast for another 10 minutes to really crisp them up.


Tandoori Sesame Chicken Wings

This is a recipe I devised for my brother in law who is a chicken fanatic and it more than got his seal of approval. I’ll be sharing his amazing jerk chicken recipe with you soon.

These aren’t too hot and have just the right amount of spice. Serve with lots of lemons and limes chopped into wedges to squeeze over the crispy skin, and the one thing I stipulate about these is that they must be crispy. If you can marinate these overnight even better. I think you are going to love them.

If you prefer you can put these on the bbq but I would make double the marinade, coat with half and keep back the other half to baste with while sizzling away.

Ingredients

Serves approx 4 -6

2 kgs of chicken wings

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Juice of 1/2 a lime

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon mild tandoori curry powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garam masala

3 cloves garlic – minced

thumb sized piece of ginger – grated

1 lemon to serve – cut into wedges

1 lime to serve – cut into wedges

Method

Pre heat oven to 220C / 200C fan when you cook them.

Place all your spices and grated ginger into a large mixing bowl along with the honey and sesame seeds.

Dunk all of your wings into the bowl making sure they all get covered in the sticky marinade, like they are wearing a sticky little sesame jacket.

Now squeeze over the lemon and lime juice and make sure all the wings have a good covering.

Leave for at least two hours to soak up all the flavour or cover and leave in the fridge over night if time is permitting. I put the lemon and lime halves in too.

When you cook them put in the oven at 220C / 200C fan for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and baste over the juice of the marinade and return to the oven on 200C / 180C fan for another 25 minutes. I open the oven about 10 minutes before the end of cooking time and baste again.

Serve with wedges of lemon and lime to squeeze over.

Tip: These are great on a buffet table with lots of fresh salads and breads.