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.

Leftover Lentils Burgers

No weights here as it depends on what quantity of leftover lentils you have. Just bung everything in and it should work. This makes it a useful leftovers recipe, not like that awkward Nigel Slater programme that claimed to use leftovers but in reality continued with his usual style of recipe (admittedly usually lovely) but with some allegedly stale cheese or overripe bananas or whatever. A good leftovers recipe can not be precise.


  • Cooked green lentils (I had about 4 portions’ worth, I always cook too many because they are cheap, I love them and the leftovers are versatile)
  • Soya mince
  • Oregano
  • Egg
  • Rye flour


  • Heat oven to 200 degrees c, grease a baking sheet.
  • Blend half the lentils and leave half whole
  • Mix both with a few handfuls of soya mince (mine was straight from the freezer), a beaten egg, lots of fresh or dried oregano and salt and pepper. My lentils were cooked in stock, garlic and chilli so already flavoursome but if yours are plain add some more flavour here.
  • Add enough rye flour to enable you to shape into burgers.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, turning half way through.

Served with lettuce and Wensleydale


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

    The Fake Sausage Wrangle

    I generally don’t eat pretend meat (apart from as a student when I was utterly addicted to Meatless Streaky Strips, a microwavable bacon that resulted in something like a hot frazzle sandwich, I digress…) but I do lean rather heavily on the veggie sausage on work nights. They (and a glass of red) are my life support after a tough-ish day when I’m too weary to cook from scratch.

    While I bristle and take plenty of umbrage when sneery meat eaters complain about the BBQd cardboard in their hot dog bun, they unfortunately do have a point. Veggie sausages are not very good. However, they are for the time being something of a necessity, convenience-wise. I’ve tried making my own with lentils, using a breadcrumb base, and using a gnocchi base. The bread crumb ones were the most successful but don’t do the job as convenience food. Then I found this recipe from Vegan Dad that he had adapted from veg blogging guru Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

    It uses gluten flour (expect several trips to health food shops and delis in which you ask for gluten flour and they give you gluten free flour, before finally tracking it down on the internet).

    This recipe is great. You steam the ‘sausages’ before grilling or frying or BBQing them, so can steam a whole batch and freeze for another time. I don’t use the nutritional yeast because I don’t trust those strange ingredients you see all the time in vegan blogs that purport to give a ‘cheesey’ flavour. I’ve made them loads, kind of planning to come up with my own definitive favourite flavours, but in the end I evolved a more pragmatic approach.

    Now I start with a bowl with the gluten flour and add the beans (or chick peas) which are a necessity for the right texture. The beans must be lightly mashed, not pureed or the bangers come out too rubbery. Then add whatever you fancy; VERY finely diced veg, loads of herbs and spices, grated cheese, nuts, touch of Marmite…

    I also made these with my niece and nephew, giving them a bowl of gluten flour each and lots of little piles of other ingredients so they could add what they fancied. (And followed by EXTREME segregation in the steamer so we couldn’t mix their sausages up). You shape the mix into rough sausage shapes and wrap in foil. The sausages magically expand in the steamer to make a perfect, dense sausage shape.

    Spicy chickpea salad

    Serves 2

    Serve by itself or with a green salad. This is very good for you but doesn’t taste in the least bit worthy. Great for a quick lunch, its full of zingy flavours which wake you up after a morning’s work – it also makes an ideal packed lunch.



    • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained (or 250g cooked chickpeas if you prefer to boil your own)
    • 2 large carrots, very thinly sliced (see method)
    • 1 courgette, , very thinly sliced (see method)
    • 1 stick of celery, diced or ½ a kohlrabi, peeled and diced
    • A handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in to halves
    • Chili sauce to taste. This salad should be flavoursome rather than hot. I use 1 tsp of Cap Bon Harissa (beautiful packaging and easily available) or 1 tbsp chilli tomato ketchup – use whatever you have in the fridge or a little bit of chopped fresh chilli if you prefer.
    • Splash of olive oil
    • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
    • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


    • Heat the oven to 220 °c.
    • Peel and trim the carrots, trim the courgette. Using a vegetable peeler, peel thin, long strips of the carrots and courgette. This gets tricky towards the end, so finish up by using a knife if its easier.
    • Put the carrot and courgette strips in a tin, toss with a splash of olive oil and spread out. They should be very lightly coated in oil so use very little. Roast in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. They should be soft but still with a bit of bite, and slightly charred in a few places.
    • While the vegetables are cooking, mix the chickpeas with the diced celery or kohlrabi, the chilli sauce and the halved tomatoes.
    • When the carrots and courgette strips are cooked, put the chickpea mixture in the tin with them and mix. Season with salt and pepper. Pop back in the oven for a couple of minutes to warm through.
    • When ready to serve, stir in the fresh herbs.
    Harissa Le Phare du Cap Bon

    Harissa Le Phare du Cap Bon

    Pink and purple speckled beans

    Last week there were still lots and lots of runner beans in the garden, but having steamed some, found them way too stringy and tough. So I picked them all, composted the plants, and was left with this lovely stash of pink and purple speckled beans.

    Runner bean seeds

    I boiled them and they were pretty good. The beans from the pods that had dried were too tough (these are the purple ones, the cerise pink ones are fresh) so I picked those out.

    Once cooked (10 mins) I pondered what to make and ended up with this brown rice, bean and herb concoction which was thoroughly delicious and virtuous too.

    There’s some grilled baby yellow courgettes and spring onions in there too. The herbs are tarragon and sorrel.
    (Yes, I am still OBSESSED with sorrel).

    Some grated Parmesan on top finished the thing very nicely.

    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.

    Poached eggs & sorrel on toast

    A super easy lunch which I ate while working from home on Thursday.

    The sorrel is from the garden and the bread and organic eggs from Beamish & McGlue

    Just pick and chop some fresh sorrel, make toast, poach a couple of eggs, butter the toast, pile the sorrel on top and place a poached egg on each slice. Mine immediately slid off but never mind.

    The sorrel wilts a little from the heat of the eggs and toast which is lovely – there’s no need to pre-cook it, just enjoy the lemony sharpness in contrast to the rich eggs and butter.

    I also added a good grind of applewood smoked sea salt.