Vegan Paella!

A few people were interested in the recipe for the paella I made for our end-of-term Tapas Social, so here it is! It's a combination of a few different vegetarian paella recipes I found on the web, with a few of my own modifications. I've written the recipe up here as I made it, but as with most vegetable dishes it's very flexible: carrots, sprouts, sweet potato, courgette - anything you have in the fridge, really - can be thrown in as well as or instead of the ingredients I used. This recipe should serve 4-6 people comfortably (or 12 Scoopers as a side!).

Ingredients marked with * are available to buy in Scoop!


1 1/2 cups white rice*
1 medium leek, sliced
1/2 red onion (optional), sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 each red and yellow pepper, cut into chunks
generous handful of black olives*
generous handful of mushrooms, quartered
generous handful of peas
1/2 large aubergine, marinaded
1-2 teaspoons turmeric*
2-3 teaspoons smoked paprika*
3-4 tablespoons oil*
1 litre (or 4 cups) hot vegetable stock*

Marinading the aubergine:

I used aubergine marinaded in smoked paprika as a substitute for the traditional chorizo, but it's optional: you can just put the smoked paprika straight in the paella with the turmeric instead and add the aubergines with the pepper. You can also use soya chunks, rehydrated with boiling water then marinated in paprika and oil as for the aubergine.

1. Slice the aubergine thickly (about 1 cm-1 inch) and layer with salt. Leave for 1-2 hours to draw out the moisture; then drain, rinse off and slice into cubes.
2. Pour over 2-3 tablespoons of oil and 2-3 teaspoons of smoked paprika and stir thoroughly. Leave for another 2-3 hours.
3. While the paella is cooking (after you've added the stock), arrange the aubergine cubes on a foil lined tray and place under the grill for 15-20 minutes until they have softened down.

Making the paella:

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, non-stick pan (ideally a paella pan or wok, but a large saucepan will do fine) on a medium heat. Add the leek, onion and garlic and cook down until soft.
2. Add the rice, pepper (and any other hard vegetables), turmeric and paprika (if excluding aubergine) and stir thoroughly to coat the rice. Pour over half of the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, and lower to a simmer.
3. Wait for the level of the water to recede down past the rice before adding more stock. Try not to stir the paella too much unless you're worried it's burning to the bottom of the pan - the more you stir, the stickier and more risotto-like your rice will become (alternatively, if you like sticky rice, stir away!).
4. Try some rice to see how it's cooking, add more stock, give it a stir and let it cook down again. The rice shouldn't take more than 40 minutes to cook; you might not need to use all the stock.
5. When the rice is almost done, add the mushrooms, peas, olives and aubergine (and any other soft vegetables). Test for taste, adding more paprika, salt or chilli flakes to taste (I think I put a pinch or two of chilli in, but not enough to make it spicy). Cook down the last of the liquid - you might need to stir more at this stage to stop the paella burning on the bottom. Don't worry if it does, though - apparently the burnt crust is a delicacy in the traditional dish.

Serve and (hopefully) enjoy! This dish will keep for a day or two in the fridge and will freeze and defrost fine.

Seasonal vegetable recipe – Mushrooms!

Hello all!

For my seasonal recipe I really wanted to come up with a something that wasn’t root vegetable or brassica based. In the winter it can get really boring! I then thought you can still get British mushrooms, a fantastic flavoursome ingredient. They are great in a creamy mushroom stroganoff served with rice.

Mushroom stroganoff

Serves 1

1 small onion
Half a leek
1 clove of garlic
½ teaspoon stock powder
200g mushrooms
½ teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
75g natural yogurt (you could also use soya yogurt)

Chop the onion and leek into small chunks. Crush or finely chop the clove of garlic. Place into a pan along with a little water and the stock powder. Bring to the boil and cook gently for 10-15 minutes, until everything is soft. You can add a little more water if it is getting dry. Chop the mushrooms into different sized chunks. Add them to the leeks and onions and continue cooking until the mushrooms are reduced in size and the volume of liquid has reduced. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then stir in the vinegar, tamari or soy sauce and yogurt. This is great served with rice.

Seasonal vegetable recipe – Cauliflower!

Hello all!

Winter is well and truly setting in. But that is a good thing as it means hearty stews made from delicious, earthy winter vegetables.

Cauliflower is one of my absolute favourite vegetables. It makes creamy soup, curries, and of course who could forget cauliflower cheese? Just about as comforting as you can get. But the recipe I have given you is a delicious, warming chilli. Perfect with jacket potato, rice, whatever takes your fancy.

Cauliflower and chickpea chilli

Serves 2

300g cauliflower (prepared weight)

1 medium sized onion

1 clove of garlic, crushed/finely chopped

Around ¼ teaspoon chilli powder (add more or less, depending on how hot you like it)

1 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 400g tin chickpeas, drained

1 tablespoon tomato puree

Chop the cauliflower into chunks. Cut the onion into reasonable sized slices. Place the cauliflower, onion, garlic and chilli into a pan along with a little water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for around 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft. You can add a little more water if necessary. Once the cauliflower is soft add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and tomato puree. Give it all a good stir. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until it has thickened a little. It is then ready to serve.   



Seasonal fruit recipe- Apples!

Hello all!

I really hope that the seemingly endless mist is not getting you down. But it can also be thought of as a time to be inside, keeping warm and enjoying some great comfort food. That is why I have chosen a wonderfully warming pudding for you to try, baked apples.
It has been a very good year for apples. In many parts of the country trees have been laden with their bounty. There are plenty of British apples still around too. For this recipe you can either use a large, sweet eating apple, or a smaller cooking apple. What variety you use is entirely up to you. The eating apple will hold its shape much more, whereas cooking apples are much fluffier and tend to collapse. Enjoy!


 Baked apple
Serves 1

1 medium sized cooking apple or 1 large eating apple

1 tablespoon raisins

1 tablespoon chopped figs

1 tablespoon chopped almonds

¼ teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon runny honey
Preheat the oven to 180oC, gas mark 4.
Wash the apple and remove a generous section of the core leaving the apple whole. With a sharp knife, score around the apple, just cutting the skin, so as to prevent the apple from bursting when it is in the oven (Doesn’t always work!). Put the apple onto a baking tray.
Mix together the raisins, figs, almonds and mixed spice. Put the mix into the centre of the apple and drizzle over the honey. Place the apple into the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the apple is soft.


Seasonal vegetable recipe - Swede!

Hello all!

I hope you are enjoying university and are ready for some really exciting cooking! In terms of British produce it is a wonderful time of year. Although the vibrant summer berries, aromatic herbs and succulent peas have finished there is still a bounty of produce around. Brassicas, apples and root vegetables abound. There are some wonderful things you can do with these tough winter staples.

Swede is a particularly fine vegetable. You can use it in stews, soups or a hearty root vegetable curry. Just chop into chunks and cook until it is soft. The distinct sweet flavour will lift what may have otherwise been a plain, unexciting dish. But I have given a recipe for one of my favourites, swede, potato and carrot mash. It is deliciously sweet and makes an excellent accompaniment to meat or vegetarian sausages.  

Swede, potato and carrot mash

Serves 1

100g swede, peeled (prepared weight)

100g potato, peeled (prepared weight)

50g carrot, peeled (prepared weight)

Small knob of butter or margarine

2-3 tablespoons milk

Cut the swede, potato and carrot into medium sized chunks.  Place them into a pan and add around 1 inch of water. Bring to the boil and cook for around 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Drain the vegetables. Add the butter or margarine and 2 tablespoons of milk. Mash the vegetables until they are completely smooth, adding another tablespoon of milk if the mash is too thick.


Seasonal vegetable recipe- Swiss chard!

Hello all!

Oh dear it is exam time, which means stress, lack of sleep and potential malnourishment. I am sure I am not the only discontented soul who finds that cooking, certainly any elaborate cooking, takes a back seat at this time of year. But healthy, nourishing food is an essential part of getting you through exams. That is why I am presenting you with a simple, easy, cheap recipe.

And the star ingredient is swiss chard. This vegetable is very much like spinach (you can use spinach in this recipe if you like), but with a stronger flavour that is ideal for lifting an otherwise boring dish. You can get plain green, but also rainbow chard, which comes in such delightful colours as red and yellow.  So do enjoy experimenting with this delicious, up and coming vegetable.

Swiss chard and chickpea curry

Serves 2

1 onion, chopped finely

300g potato, chopped into chunks

150g carrot, chopped into chunks

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch chilli powder

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

2 large handfuls swiss chard, leaves and stalks separated and both chopped

1 400g tin chickpeas, drained

3 tablespoon natural yogurt or coconut milk

Put a little water into a pan. Add all the ingredients except the chard, chickpeas and yogurt/ coconut milk. Bring this to the boil and simmer gently until the carrots, potatoes and onions are soft. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Five minutes before you think the vegetables will be done add the swiss chard stalks. Add a little more water if it starts to dry out, but the aim is to have no or very little water by the time the vegetables are done. Add the chickpeas and continue to cook until they are heated up. Add the swiss chard and cook until it is wilted, which should only take a minute or two. Finally add the yogurt or coconut milk and stir it in. Serve with rice.

Seasonal vegetable recipe- Carrots!

Hello all!

Here of course is your latest instalment of a joyous seasonal vegetable recipe. This time of year is perhaps not the most exciting in terms of seasonal vegetables, and is often referred to as, ‘the hungry gap’. There are however some perfectly delightful vegetables around and the view that it is quality not quantity must take precedent in this situation.

So this week I have chosen the ever popular carrot, which apparently the British eat more of than any other nation. It is a great relief to know that we top the world carrot eating tables. And what a top class vegetable they are too. They are high in magnesium, vitamin E and the anti-oxidant beta-carotene (what a suitable name). All in all a very nourishing food.

This week I thought exam stress might be bringing on cravings for sweetness and indulgence, so I thought a carrot cake recipe is in order. This one is perhaps a little more virtuous than its conventional counterpart, being made with wholemeal flour and containing no refined sugar. I think it is still pretty tasty though.

Carrot cake

1 medium sized ripe banana

225g grated carrot

100ml extra virgin olive oil

2 eggs

4 tablespoon runny honey

75g raisins

75g walnuts, chopped

Zest of 1 orange

225g wholemeal flour

2 teaspoons mixed spice

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease and line a 1kg loaf tin. Mash the banana very well. Add the carrot, olive oil, eggs, honey, raisins, walnuts and orange zest and mix very well. Sift in the flour, mixed spice, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Stir the mix thoroughly so that all the flour is incorporated. Put the cake mixture into the prepared tin and cook in the pre-heated oven for 1 -1 ¼ hours, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.