Vegoada, is a pun on feijoada, a Brazilian/ Portuguese concoction of masses of meat, black beans and cabbage. This (obviously) has no meat, and is cooked in an entirely different way, and pretty much has nothing in common bar the black beans and a smokey flavour. No recipe as such – just throw it together. In fact the only reason I’m writing it up (despite having made it once a week for aeons) is because a friend suggested I blog recipes my (currently 8-month-old) baby likes. Hence the new category ‘stuff my baby will eat’.


  • 4 medium sized beetroot (but I’ve also used carrots, celeriac and sweet potato instead)
  • Olive oil
  • Big tin of black beans, drained (get from Portuguese/Brazilian/Angolan/ Caribbean shops)
  • Either a few fresh tomatoes, chopped, or a carton of passata
  • Few shakes of smoked paprika
  • Bunch of coriander, chopped
  • Juice of 1 or 2 limes
  • Yoghurt or sour cream or poached egg to top (optional)


  • Roast peel, chop and roast the beetroot (or other veg) in the oil and smoked paprika for about 20 mins at 200 c (ish)
  • If using fresh tomatoes add them for the last 10 mins of cooking
  • Add the passata (if using) and tin of black beans, stir and return to the oven to warm through
  • When hot, stir in the lime juice and fresh, chopped coriander
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve naked or topped with the yoghurt or sour cream or poached egg

My Portuguese meat eating boyfriend loves this, despite also loving the actual feijoada, and my baby likes it too. Here’s the evidence of him eating it (and hitting it, smearing it about, natch).

Vid of baby eating Vegoada


Black Lentils and Orange Squash

Serves 2 people with leftover lentils. Because leftover lentils are ESSENTIAL for LIFE


  • Mug of black lentils (whole urad dal)
  • 1 onion
  • Splash of sunflower oil
  • Tbsp bouillon powder or veg stock cube
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 butternut squash
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 4 tbsp Creme fraiche
  • A generous handful of fresh sage and rosemary
  • Salt


  • Soak the lentils (urad dal) for 8 hours or overnight
    then rinse thoroughly
  • Finely chop the onion then fry in the sunflower oil for 5-10 minutes, until soft and browning
  • Add the lentils and the bouillon, or stock, disolved two mugs of  boiling water. Cook with the lid on until the lentils are soft, about an hour. If there is any water left, boil rapidly with lid off until it’s gone (or drain if you prefer). You may also need to add water during cooking, dal is not an exact science.
  • Peel and chop the squash into large slices or chunks (remove seeds) and toss in the olive oil, then bake at 220 degrees for 20 minutes (turn halfway through)
  • Using a mezzaluna (or sharp knife and shopping board) very finely chop the herbs together with a half teaspoon of salt so that you end up with some delicious green, herblicious salty dust. Add 2/rds of this to the cooked dal together with a knob (or 2) of butter and warm through.
  • Add the remaining salty herbs to the creme fraiche and stir well.
  • To serve, ladle the lentils onto plates, top with the squash and a dollop of creme fraiche.

Black lentils and squash

A note about the lentils: Urad dal aka black lentils aka black gram aka mungo beans can be found in Indian shops. If you can’t find them use puy lentils instead (much less soaking and cooking required though). Don’t use skinned urad dal or split urad dal – they taste totally different as the flavour comes from the skins.

You may have had them in Indian restaurants where they are cooked with masses of cream and butter. The skinned urad dal are ground to make dosas. What a versatile bean.

Celeriac and Pea Shoot Salad

Serves 2.


  • Half a celeriac
  • Bunch of pea shoots
  • Handful of parsley
  • Half a soft goats cheese log
  • Half a lemon
  • Tbsp poppy seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Method

  • Grate the celeriac, roughly chop the pea shoots and parsley and mix in a bowl with the poppy seeds.
  • Grate the rind of half a lemon in to the mix, and add the juice of half a lemon.
  • Drizzle with (I used Greek extra virgin) olive oil and mix well
  • Add some crumbled goats cheese and serve
  • I served the salad with fat chick peas  in fresh pesto and some smoked tofu, marinaded in lemon peel and black pepper and then shallow fried to make it crispy.

    Actually I didn’t use pea shoots, I used an unknown veg from the Indian grocer at Crown Point which looks like a  cross between pea shoots and clover and tastes like a cross between pea shoots and spinach. It has pretty yellow flowers too.



    Chick pea aside:
    If using tinned, always use cheap Asian brand, not supermarket bullets, the cheap ones are nice and fat. Or you could spend £4 on some fancy Italian ones in a glass jar, but that would be stupid when you can get lovely fat chick peas in tins, 4 for a pound, in the corner shop.

    Lentil and bean thick soup


    Given up on summer recipes as having been in the garden for 5 minutes, my fingers have gone numb. Need to warn them on a bowl of this.

    Vegan. Serves 4.

    The Italians have a whole category of thick soups which are thickened with bread, pulses or potatoes. In my house they are called soup when they are served (by me) and stew when they are eaten (by my boyfriend). Whatever. This one is soft, squishy and comforting with plenty of green bits.


    • I onion, chopped
    • 2 medium leeks, chopped
    • 1 green chilli, chopped
    • 250g red lentils
    • water
    • 3 tablespoons white miso paste
    • 100g cooked soya beans (or other white beans)
    • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
    • 1 handful chopped parsley


    • Fry the vegetables starting with the onion, then leek, then the chill; they don’t need to be soft so about 5 minutes in all. Do not let them brown. This soup is better all soft and pale and smooth.
    • Add a mug of water and the lentils
    • Cook until the lentils are soft (you may need to add more water), about 10 minutes
    • Add the miso paste and stir in well, adjust the seasoning
    • Add the beans then the spinach and heat through until the spinach until it has wilted, then stir in the parsley
    • Serve in big bowls with a dollop of yogurt on top and if you fancy it. A wedge of lemon or lime on the side is also good

    Tarragon Polenta with Pumpkin stuffed Tomatoes

    Serves 4


    • 175g polenta (the quick cook stuff)
    • 2 handfuls freshly picked tarragon
    • 50g grated Parmesan
    • Half a small pumpkin or butternut squash
    • Sunflower or olive oil
    • 8 ripe tomatoes
    • A teaspoon of spicy sauce (I used Quinta d’Avó Preparado Angolano)


    • Make the polenta by boiling 1 litre of water, rapidly stirring in the polenta and then continuing to stir using a wooden spoon until the polenta is thick and the granules almost gone.
    • Add the Parmesan and stir until integrated. Take off the heat.
    • Finely chop the tarragon and add to the polenta.
    • Tip the whole lot into an oiled plastic tupperware box and leave to set (once cool, put in the fridge).
    • Chop the pumpkin into large chunks (leave peel on), sprinkle with oil and bake at 220 degrees c for about 30 minutes until tender and brown in places. Leave to cool. Turn the oven down to 200 degrees c.
    • Slice lids of the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and juice from inside. Discard, or pop in the fridge to use later if you are thrifty.
    • Scrape the pumpkin off the skins, put in a bowl with the spicy sauce (pumpkin is fairly bland so this is needed, but can leave out if using butternut squash) and mash with a fork or potato masher. Season.
    • Fill the tomatoes with the mash, pop the lids back on  and place on a baking tray. Brush with oil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
    • With 10 minutes to go on the tomatoes, take the polenta from the fridge and slice into 4 thick pieces.
    • Heat a drizzle of oil in a heavy frying pan (ridged is good) and once really hot, fry the polenta on both sides (turning once) so that is is nicely browned.
    • Serve a polenta slice with 2 tomatoes per person.

    Carrot, beetroot and apple tart

    This is super easy, tastes Autumnal and looks gory. Perfect for Halloween.


    • 1 pack of Jus-Rol puff pastry
    • Vegetable stock
    • 8 carrots
    • 2 beetroot (cooked and peeled)
    • 1 large sharp apple
    • olive oil
    • Cheese (optional)


    Take a packet of Jus-Rol puff pastry out of the fridge and allow to reach room temperature for half an hour or so (this stops it from cracking).

    Peel 6 of the carrots and chop them, place in a saucepan and just cover in vegetable stock. Boil, lid on, until soft and the liquid has almost gone. Purée using a stick blender and season.

    Peel the remaining 2 carrots and then use the peeler to cut them into very thin slices. Once you have done that, lay them out and brush with olive oil.

    Slice the beetroot into rounds. Core the apple and then slice into rounds.

    Take the pastry and unroll onto a greased baking sheet. Spread the carrot purée on top and then arrange the apple and beetroot slices evenly. You could also add cheese at this stage. Something gooey would be good.

    Finish by arranging the carrot peel on top, you can curl it prettily which also has the bonus of allowing bits to pop up, and it is these bits that will gently char, adding flavour and colour.

    Bake in a 200 degree c oven for 20-25 minutes.

    This is how it looked before going in the oven…









    Unfortunately I was too busy scoffing to remember to take a photo afterwards.

    Potato and Sorrel Gratin

    “As gratins are all made by the same method, I shall give that first, and follow it up with a list of suggested ingredients. Remember that they are suggestions, and not Holy Writ.”

    Ah, the lovely and sensible Jane Grigson.

    So, for this gratin I borrowed the proportions of veg to liquid from Jane and used whatever veg I had in the garden. It totalled a kilo; 600g potato and the rest in sorrel and young courgettes. I did not peel the potatoes because the peeler has disappeared. But this made the gratin event better, the edges a chewy bonus, a bit of texture in the creamy veggie goo.

    For 1kg veg I used 400ml liquid, half and half veg stock and cream.

    For flavouring I used 3 cloves garlic and lemon thyme flowers (because the thyme had flowered, not because I was being deliberately posh). And loads of black pepper.You just slice the veg to the thickness of a 50p piece and layer with the flavoured bits, and then pour the mixed liquid on top.

    I baked at 200 degrees c for 55 minutes and the gratin was delicious. I mopped the creamy sauce up with bread. A big carb fest love in. Yuuuum.

    Oh, and sometimes the liquid is hard to get right in  a gratin. You need it to practically cover the veg, but yet not to be liquid at the end. If its too liquid just ladle some out at the end of cooking and pop the gratin back in the oven for 5 mins.

    Bangers (without meat) and mash (without potato) with red cabbage (with red cabbage)

    Sounds like a void of a meal but is actually flippin’ delicious.

    Serves 4


    For the bangers

    • 100g fresh white bread crumbs (cut the crusts off about 1/5 a white loaf then whiz in a food processor to make crumbs)
    • 1 carrot, peeled and finely grated
    • 1 English apple (Russets are nice) grated (but not peeled)
    • 8-10 sage leaves finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
    • 50g very hard cheese like Cheshire, a proper dry, hard Cheddar (what my friend Marie calls gum-itch Cheddar), Lincolnshire Poacher or Cornish Yarg
    • 2 egg yolks, beaten
    • ½ tsp black onion seeds (optional)
    • salt to taste (use more than you think)
    • oil for frying or grilling

    For the red cabbage

    • ½ leek, thinly sliced
    • 1 tbsp butter
    • 1/3 large red cabbage or ½ a small one, shredded
    • 3 tbsp chutney

    For the mash

    • 1 cauliflower
    • ½ tsp bouillon powder
    • water
    • 2 tbsp cream (optional)


    For the bangers

    • Make the mixture first and leave to chill while you make the cabbage
    • Mix all the ingredients together and leave in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes
    • Chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes and now go and make the cabbage
    • Shape into 8 sausage shapes
    • either brush with oil and grill, or shallow fry in oil, turning so that all sides are brown and crispy

    For the red cabbage

    • Fry the leek in the butter until almost soft, then add the shredded cabbage, chutney and ½ mug of water
    • Put a lid on the pan and boil until the cabbage is soft, stirring occasionally (20 to 30 minutes)

    For the potato-less mash

    • Chop the cauliflower in to rough chunks and boil in 75ml water and the bouillon powder
    • When the cauliflower is very soft, do not drain but blend together with the remaining liquid using a hand blender to make a puree with a soft, mashed-potato-y texture. You can also add a splodge of cream to make it richer. Or chuck some chopped black olives in. Yum.

    Serve 2 bangers per person with a good splodge of cauliflower mash and a side helping of red cabbage, preferable with a good glass of red.