This is a really delicious and hearty veggie main for your festive feast, made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. A great option if you need an alternative to a nut roast, this beetloaf is nut free, can easily be gluten free if you use gluten free oats, and is full of healthy fibre and protein from beans, chickpeas and oats. Make is Christmassy as I’ve done here with a cranberry sauce glaze, or use it for another occasion and switch the cranberry sauce for barbecue sauce, apple chutney or a mustard and maple glaze. Make it your own with your favourite herbs and spices. Happy Christmas!
400g cooked beetroot
1 tin of chickpeas plus the liquid in the tin
2 tins black beans, drained
1 tbsp each: smoked paprika, sage, rosemary and thyme
2 tbsp tomato purée or ketchup
2 diced onions and 4 diced garlic cloves cooked in olive oil
150-200g porridge oats
salt and pepper to taste
cranberry sauce to glaze (around 6 tbsp)
Pre-heat your oven to 200C and line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
In a food processor, blend the beetroot, chickpeas and their liquid, herbs and spices, seasoning and half the black beans into a thick purée.
Add the onion/garlic mix, 150g of oats and remaining black beans and pulse together to retain some texture.
Scrape the mixture into a bowl, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and add more oats if a little wet.
Scrape into the lined loaf tin, cover with cranberry sauce (or any glaze you prefer eg barbecue sauce, mustard and maple…) and bake for around an hour or until cooked through.
Serve in slices with all the trimmings. Gravy, roast potatoes, greens…
Whole roasted vegetables are one of my favourite things. The long roast means there’s always a sweet, juicy centre and interesting textures and flavours on the edges. This recipe for whole roast swede (pretending to be ham) is inspired by eco-chef Tom Hunt. It makes a fun festive centrepiece and it’s delicious too! Not ham flavoured of course, but a celebration of the humble-but-hearty swede. These bulbous roots are a real Irish staple and they are well overdue their time in the limelight. Swede is slightly peppery and sweet and the mustard-maple glaze works wonderfully. Delicious served in slices alongside pickled red cabbage, roasted potatoes and winter greens. The vegetable and red wine bed makes a brilliant base for a veggie gravy too.
What are you serving for Christmas dinner?
1 bulb of garlic
4 bay leaves
2 stock cubes
a large glass of red wine
a large glass of hot water
whole cloves (approximately 50?)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
6 tbsp wholegrain mustard
6 tbsp maple syrup
Turn the oven on to 200C. Find a casserole dish with a lid that your swede will fit comfortably in (alternatively use a deep roasting dish and a sheet of foil or a baking sheet as a lid).
Start preparing your swede. Peel it with a potato peeler and trim off any unwanted bits with a large, sharp knife. Score it with shallow cuts, criss-crossing to make lots of diamond shapes. Using a toothpick or a skewer, push a hole into the centre of each diamond. Then push a whole clove into each hole to stud the surface of the swede.
Cut the bulb of garlic in half along its equator. Quarter the onions (leave the skin on) and the carrots. Put the vegetables in the casserole dish, these will impart lots of flavour to the juices in the bottom of the dish. Pour in the wine and hot water and crumble in the stock cubes. Add the bay leaves. Now place the prepared swede on top.
Drizzle the swede with the olive oil and season it with salt and pepper. Put the lid on and place the pot in the oven to steam-bake the swede for at least 1.5 hours (depending on the size of the swede) or until the swede is cooked through. You can test this with a skewer.
Remove the swede onto a clean baking dish. Mix the mustard and maple syrup together and brush half of it over the top and sides of the swede. Return it to the oven for 10 minutes. Then brush the remaining mustard and maple glaze over the swede and put it back in the oven for a final ten minutes. Then it’s ready to carve and enjoy!
Roasted Garlic & Red Wine, Onion Gravy
You can make a gorgeous gravy from the juices left in the casserole dish. Remove the carrots, bay leaves and onions skins. Squeeze out the garlic and remove the skins from the pot. Then use a whisk to blend the roasted garlic into the sauce.
Add 2 tbsp of cornstarch that has been mixed with 3 tbsp of cold water. Whisk it into the gravy and simmer and stir until the gravy is a good consistency. You may wish to add more water.
Add a generous knob of butter and taste the gravy for seasoning. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. I usually add a splash of soy sauce to enrich and darken the gravy too.
I have a childhood memory of the best homemade fudge. Every shop-bought fudge I’ve ever purchased has never lived up to that memory. It’s usually too close to caramel or toffee, too chewy or sticky. To me, fudge should hold together in blocks, but when you bite into it, it should have a buttery, sweet flavour and a slightly grainy, melt-in-the-mouth texture. It should crumble and be short and snappy rather than chewy and stretchy. I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen and I’m really happy with this recipe.
Our new Natruli butter blocks make it easy to recreate a dairy free version. This recipe works just as well with dairy/dairy-free ingredients so you do you. A jar of fudge is definitely going in all my homemade Christmas hampers to friends this year. Do you make homemade Christmas gifts? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
300g sugar (our whole cane sugar is perfect for this recipe, otherwise use an even mix of soft brown and white sugar)
250ml milk (I use oat milk but any milk will work)
a large pinch of Achill Island sea salt flakes
1 tsp vanilla essence
Put all the ingredients except the vanilla into a heavy bottomed pot.
Melt them together over a medium-high heat, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon.
Bring the mixture up to a bubbling boil. Stir frequently and let it bubble and thicken for 20 minutes or until it reaches 115C.
Take the pot off the heat, add the vanilla then beat with a whisk for around 8 minutes or until the sugars start to crystallise. You should notice the mixture change from glossy and smooth to thick and grainy.
Scrape the mixture into a small baking tray lined with baking parchment (did you know we sell compostable baking paper?), level it out and score/cut it into 32 squares using a blunt knife or the edge of a spatula.
Cover the tray with a clean tea towel and let it set at room temperature for a few hours.
Once it’s completely cool you can pull it out and snap it into squares. Pack the fudge into an airtight container and enjoy within 2 weeks! It will store well at room temperature in an airtight container. It is prone to dry out in the fridge so it’s best to keep it at room temperature.
Brussels sprouts are in season and are certainly not just for Christmas Day. Have you been adding them to your boxes? What’s your favourite sprout recipe? I love sautéing them like this with garlic, herbs, nuts and citrus, then folding them through pasta. They’re also brilliant stirred through rice or another cooked grain like barley, quinoa, buckwheat etc for a gorgeous warm salad. Here’s my sprout spaghetti recipe, it makes a stunning mid-week meal and will only take as long as the time to boil your pasta. Quick, festive and delicious!
Ingredients (per person)
70-100g dry spaghetti (depending on appetite) or other grain/pulse of your choice eg quinoa, rice…
1 heaped tbsp butter (I use our new dairy free Natruli blocks)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
7 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
a small handful of hazelnuts, roughly chopped
3 sprigs of rosemary
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste (it’s extra good with lots of black pepper!)
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, meanwhile chop your sprouts, garlic and hazelnuts.
Generously salt the boiling water and drop in the pasta. Give it an occasional stir to prevent it from clumping or sticking to the bottom. While the pasta cooks, prepare the rest of the dish.
In a wide pan, melt the butter, add the oil and sprouts, hazelnuts, garlic and rosemary. Stir fry for a few minutes then season well with salt and pepper.
Add the zest and juice of the lemon when the sprouts turn bright green and are mostly cooked through. Stir well, taste and adjust the seasoning if need with more salt, pepper or lemon. Turn off the heat for now.
Drain the pasta but reserve a mug or so of the starchy cooking water. Add the pasta to the sprouts and turn the heat back on. Add a few splashes of the cooking water and mix the pasta and buttery sprouts together. The pasta water and butter should create a delicious, light, lemony sauce. Taste again and you’ll probably want to add more black pepper.
Serve in bowls and top with grated cheese or nutritional yeast flakes if you like. Enjoy!
We haven’t grown them for quite a few years so we are delighted to let you know that our celeriac are back! Have you tried one? They’re a gorgeous winter root vegetable. Big and bulbous and full of flavour. Think a hybrid between a potato and a parsnip with a delicate celery flavour. These beasts are stunning in soups and stews, but they also lend themselves nicely to coleslaw, in fact raw, grated celeriac is really gorgeous tossed with a mustardy mayonnaise. I’ll tell you about that another day. But today I am eating celeriac in thick slices, fried like a steak in lots of butter. I LOVE a vegetable steak (cauliflower, portobello, butternut…), it’s a great way to really highlight a vegetable and focus on the flavour. Serve with mashed beans and roasted garlic for lip-smackingly delicious, filling, protein, some wintery greens like kale or cabbage and a creamy wholegrain mustard sauce. Quite a special dish, fit for a date night, but really not very complex to make as you’ll see below. Enjoy!
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 celeriac – peel with a small, sharp knife, then cut 4 thick slices out of the middle and save the ends for a soup
1 tin of butterbeans or cannellini beans, any white beans will work
1 whole bulb of garlic
kale or cabbage, as much as you like
1 heaped tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp corn starch or plain flour
oat milk – enough to loosen the pan juices into a thick sauce
butter, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Pop a whole bulb of garlic (that’s right, the whole bulb, not just a clove) into a small, oven-proof dish with a drizzle of olive oil. Put it in the oven to bake until soft – around 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the celeriac as above, chop and rinse some greens (kale or cabbage go well here) and put them in a pot with a lid, some seasoning and some butter/oil on the hob. Drain some of the liquid from your tin of butterbeans and pop them into another small pan.
Get your widest frying pan (or use two) on to a medium heat and melt a generous knob of butter with a couple of tbsp of olive oil. Add the celeriac steaks and season well with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally until they are softening and turning a gorgeous caramel colour. They should smell amazing!
When the celeriac are nearly cooked through, take the garlic out of the oven to cool slightly, turn the heat on under the pot of beans and the pot of greens. Cook both, stirring often, until piping hot. Then turn off the heat.
Put the celeriac steaks in a small dish in the oven to keep warm (turn the oven down to 150C so they don’t burn) whilst you make the mash and the sauce.
Pull apart the roasted garlic and squeeze the soft, fragrant flesh into the pan with the beans. Season well with salt and pepper, add a drizzle of olive oil or a knob of butter and mash the beans and garlic into a puree. Or use a stick blender if you’d like your mash extra smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
To the frying pan in which the celeriac steaks were cooked, add a tbsp of flour and a tbsp of wholegrain mustard. Whisk into the buttery, caramelised, celeriac juices that are left in the pan and add a splash of oat milk. Turn the heat up and keep whisking and adding milk until you have a silky, creamy sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper and now you are ready to serve.
Divide the greens and garlicky mash between two plates, add on the steaks then drizzle with the sauce. Have extra wholegrain mustard on the table and enjoy with a glass of wine or a cold beer.
One of our family favourites, this layered, one-pot curry is so so good. A rich layer of mushroom and red bean curry on the bottom, a fragrant layer of perfectly cooked rice in the middle and a succulent layer of cauliflower on top. Sounds complicated but it’s actually very easy. We make this one-pot meal regularly as a mid-week supper. It doesn’t take long to put together, then you just pop it in the oven to bake and you’ve got time to clear up the kitchen and help with homework or whatever else needs doing while it cooks. Then bring the pot to the table and dig in!
We stock organic rice in compostable bags, have you tried the range yet? White basmati is best for this dish as it cooks quickly, but we also have brown basmati and my personal favourite, short grain brown rice. We also have organic tins of tomatoes, beans and more. We do so much more than just fruit and veg. Add some groceries to your next order and save yourself a trip to the supermarket.
Ingredients (serves 4)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
1 heaped tbsp curry powder
around 10 chestnut mushrooms, halved
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin kidney beans, drained
salt and pepper to taste
1 small mug of basmati rice (225g)
2 small mugs of water
1/4 tsp each: ground cardamom and star anise
1 tsp rose petals (optional)
1/2 a large cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 tsp turmeric
Turn your oven to 200C and find a deep pot or casserole dish with a lid that is safe both on the hob and in the oven.
Start by sautéing the diced onion with the oil on a medium-high heat. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon. After 5 minutes the onion should start to soften and turn golden.
Then add the mushrooms, garlic, curry powder and season well with plenty of salt (about a tsp) and pepper. Stir for a few minutes to coat the mushrooms in the seasoning and allow the spices to toast and get very fragrant.
Empty the tin of chopped tomatoes into the pot along with the drained beans. Stir well, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, then put the lid on and let the curry simmer for a few minutes while you rinse you rice in a fine sieve.
Turn off the heat then carefully add the rinsed mug of rice to the curry. Don’t stir it in, add it in a careful layer on top of the curry and smooth it out with the back of the wooden spoon. Then slowly pour two mugs of water over the back of the spoon over the rice so that it doesn’t disturb the layer.
Add some aromatics to the rice if you like eg cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, star anise, rose petals, saffron… I usually use a mix of ground anise and cardamom and a few rose petals.
Then place the cauliflower florets carefully into the rice and water, sprinkle them with turmeric, salt and pepper. Put the lid on the pot and put the pot in the oven to bake.
After 30 minutes, check on the rice. It should be bubbling hot and have absorbed most of the liquid. Taste a grain, if it needs longer put the lid back on and return it to the oven.
If the rice is cooked through then remove the lid, sprinkle the top of the dish with flaked coconut (or flaked almonds) and return it to the oven to toast. Just 3-5 minutes should be enough. Then it’s ready to serve. Scoop out portions ensuring each bowl gets a bit of each layer and enjoy!
You’ll find countless iterations of this recipe on repeat in our house this time of year. Always hearty and wholesome, stuffed full of gorgeous autumnal vegetables and various pulses and grains. A pot of chilli is so versatile. Stick it in a bowl with rice or roasted potato wedges, scoop up with nachos, serve in wraps burrito style or make a batch for a messy-fun taco night. How do you serve your chilli non-carne?
Ingredients (serves 8)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large or 2 small onions, peeled and diced
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
750g diced root veg (I used swede, carrot and beetroot this time)
1 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp each, ground cumin and coriander
3 bay leaves
100g each, dried lentils and quinoa
2 tins of black/kidney beans, drained
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
500ml water or veg stock
salt and pepper to taste
*optional extra few tbsps of a ‘flavour bomb’ eg: soy sauce/coffee/cocoa
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until soft and starting to colour.
Then add the root vegetables and spices. Stir for a few minutes to release the flavours.
Add the lentils, quinoa, tin of tomatoes and water/stock. Season well with salt and pepper then simmer until the lentils are soft. This should take around 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure nothing is sticking and burning on the base of the pot.
Then add the beans, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. I usually add about 3 tbsp of soy sauce or a tbsp or two of cocoa powder to enrich the chilli.
Serve with rice or wedges, in tacos or burritos or however you like! It’s even better the next day so make a big batch and get some in the freezer for a rainy day?
Cabbage rolls are so delicious! The simmered cabbage wrappers turn tender and sweet and are the perfect vessel to hold together a tasty filling. I lean towards herby brown rice, mushrooms and beans as in the recipe below, but of course you can fill them with whatever you like. Traditional minced meat and seasonings, a spiced mashed potato and chickpea curry, or make a twist on an enchilada and stuff your leaves with a tasty chilli? Bake in a rich tomato sauce, a curried coconut broth or simmer in a simple stock. Cabbage rolls can roll with whatever you are in the mood for. How do you make yours?
Ingredients (for 8 rolls)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
10 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 400g tin of black beans, drained
200g short grain brown rice, rinsed
1 tbsp dried dill
salt and pepper to taste
8 savoy cabbage leaves, rinsed
natural yoghurt to serve
Start with the filling. In a small pot which has a lid, fry the mushrooms and 2 cloves of garlic with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and when the mushrooms start to take on some colour, add the rice, drained black beans, dill and water. Put the lid on the pot. As soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting. The rice should absorb all the water and be perfectly cooked after around 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. In a wide, heavy bottomed pan which has a lid, fry the onions and 4 cloves of garlic with 1 tbsp of olive oil until golden and soft. Add the bay leaves and the tin of tomatoes. Swirl the juices from the tin into the pot too with half a tin of water. Season with salt and pepper and let the sauce gently simmer while you wait for the rice to cook.
Once the rice is cooked through, taste it and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt, pepper or dill. Then you can assemble the rolls.
Use a rolling pin or the heel of your hand to flatten the tough stalk of each leaf. This will make it easier to roll. Then divide the rice between the 8 leaves and wrap them up. I find it easiest to have the stalk end closest to me, place the rice in the centre of the leaf, then roll the end of the stalk away from me, over the rice, tuck the sides of the leaf in, then roll on to the top of the leaf.
Place the parcels, seam side down into the tomato sauce. Tuck them in snuggly so that they don’t unravel as they cook. Then put the lid on, turn the heat to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the leaves are tender. Alternatively you can place the pot in a hot oven.
This lentil ragu is a firm family favourite. It’s quick and easy to make, full of flavour and nutrition (lentils are a powerhouse of fibre, protein, potassium, iron and folate) and it can be frozen in portions to use on busy days. I use this as a ‘base’ recipe but often add or switch the vegetables with the seasons. For example, the carrots can be swapped with swede, beetroot or squash, the mushrooms could be replaced with aubergine or crumbled walnuts. We usually stir it through pasta or layer it up in a lasagne but it also makes a great cottage pie when topped with mash and baked.
You can also tweak the seasoning and turn this Italian-style ragu into a Tex-Mex-style chilli non-carne! Just use chilli, cumin, coriander, bay, oregano and smoked paprika in place of the herbs, and add a drained tin of kidney beans and peppers to the mix too. This adaptable lentil ragu recipe is just thing to add to your repertoire for hearty family meals.
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 sticks of celery, diced
approx 10 chestnut mushrooms, diced
1x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1x 400g tin of green lentils, drained
2 bay leaves
1 tsp each: fennel seeds, thyme and oregano
optional splash of red wine…
salt and pepper to taste (roughly a tsp of each)
pasta to serve (100g dried weight per person) we stock a range of organic wheat, wholegrain and gluten free varieties
Gather and prepare your ingredients and find a large pan to cook your ragu in. Get a big pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
Sauté the onion with the olive oil for roughly 6 minutes over a medium-high heat until softening and starting to take on some colour.
Then add the salt, pepper, fennel, oregano, thyme and garlic and stir for a minute to release and wake up the flavours.
4. Add the diced vegetables and sauté for 5-10 minutes until they start to soften and cook in their own juices. Then add the chopped tomatoes and bay leaves.
5. Swirl the juices out of the tin into the pan by filling the tin with water. Then add the drained lentils and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is rich and delicious. You may need to add a splash of water (or red wine) to loosen the sauce if it is starting to look a bit dry. (This is a good time to get your pasta into the now-boiling water).
6. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt or pepper. Then stir through the cooked and drained pasta and enjoy! Serve with fresh basil leaves and an extra drizzle of good olive oil.
Soup weather is officially back and I’m not complaining! Soups are a fantastic way to get a whole lot of goodness into one simple meal. Probably at least once a week we have a soup and cheese toastie night. The simplest way to make a soup… whilst juggling the housework, homework, giving the dog a walk, firing off a few last emails etc… is to grab a tray, roughly chop up a good combination of veg, oil and season it well, and whack it in the oven. Then your surfaces are clear, all you have to do when it’s done is tip it into a big pot and blend it with some stock.
The carrots and fennel coming out of the farm at the moment are just stunning! So fresh and so full of flavour. And so often, what grows together, goes together! So here’s one of our seasonal favourites right now, a simple but super-tasty, carrot and fennel soup! Enjoy!
Ingredients (serves 6)
2 bulbs of fennel
6 cloves of garlic
1 leek (or 1 onion)
3 sticks of celery
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 vegetable stock cubes
1 litre of water (in the kettle, ready to boil)
cheese sandwiches to serve (I like to butter the outside and grill them when the soup is ready)
Turn your oven on to 200C and find a deep roasting dish.
Wash the vegetables, roughly chop them and place them in the roasting dish.
Peel the garlic cloves and pop them into the dish whole.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with a good couple of pinches of salt and a grind of black pepper. Mix well and then get the dish into the oven to roast. It should take about 30 minutes but keep an eye on it as ovens vary.
Crumble two veg stock cubes into a large jug and then add a litre of freshly boiled water. Stir to combine. Test the roasted veg for ‘done-ness’ with a knife. They should be soft and starting to take on some colour.
Scrape the roasted veg to a large pot, pour over the veg stock and blend until smooth with your stick blender. You may wish to add a splash more water to thin the soup out to your liking. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary with more salt or pepper.
Then grill the cheese sandwiches and reheat the soup on the hob. Serve and enjoy!