All posts filed under: Cooking

Vivera Veggie Steak

For the past couple of years, I’ve been a ‘flexitarian’. Being married to a vegetarian means I eat many vegetarian meals, and became quite adept at cooking them, too. Over the last year, I found myself eating less and less meat until one day I decided not to bother with it anymore. My timing could not have been better as I’m spoilt for choice – there are some fantastic new meat substitutes on the market, and one of my favourites is Vivera Veggie Steaks. Similar to seitan, Vivera Veggie Steaks are made from wheat protein as well as soya. They’re fortified with iron and vitamin B12 which is a big help to vegetarians and vegans who can sometimes struggle to get enough of both. They’re also a good source of protein. The texture is surprisingly steak-like, and the flavour is lovely. They’re so versatile and could be used in place of beef in countless dishes – fajitas, curries, sandwiches, whatever – anytime you need proper texture and flavour. I like to pan fry mine with Brazilian …

Wife’s Cuisine

I’ve been taking a little break from writing over the summer – mainly because it’s hot and I’m lazy. But I wanted to share this amazing YouTube channel with those of you who enjoy food and cooking. It’s called Wife’s Cuisine and it’s gorgeous. The channel will appeal to anyone who loves to prepare and eat delicious, beautiful food. Every recipe is made with the love and care we’d all like to put into our food. The videos are beautifully shot with pleasing scenes and lighting. I find them super relaxing. If you have any interest in Korean cooking, I recommend giving them a look.  

Rice Bowl with Greens and Tofu

Vegan meals don’t need to be time consuming or a faff. With just a few ingredients, it’s easy to put together a nutritious, delicious and satisfying dinner. This recipe is my go-to when I’m tired or just can’t be bothered, and is the epitome of what I like to call ‘jazz recipes’. ‘Jazz’, because it’s a bit free form. There are not any set ingredients or measurements. It’s all down to what you like and how you feel! You’ll need: Rice – cooked as according to instructions Firm tofu (I like silken – it’s a little more difficult to work with, but I think it’s worth it) Greens (Chard, spinach, kale, spring greens, pak choi – anything dark and leafy will work) Oil for frying (I like olive, but sometimes I go for toasted sesame) Soy sauce Sliced chilli pepper ( you can use dried, but fresh is best) Grated ginger (again, use fresh if at all possible) Minced garlic Salt toasted sesame seeds (optional) Start cooking the rice. I usually let it simmer while …

No Bull Vegan Burgers Review

A couple of Christmases  ago, I took it upon myself to try every mince pie on the market to see which one was best. Iceland’s offering was the clear winner, and even though I can’t even look at a mince pie now, I still remember being super-impressed by their attention to detail – crumbly, buttery pastry; the perfect filling-to-pastry ratio, and gorgeous, boozy flavour. Iceland is onto another winner with their No Bull Burgers. Of all of the veggie burgers I’ve tried, these are the closest to real beef I’ve found. Aside from the added beetroot to give them a ‘bleeding’ effect (not necessary in my opinion, as this could make vegetarians and vegans a bit squeamish), they are close to perfect. They actually taste like a burger cooked over an open flame. I’d recommend shallow frying them for a better texture, but you can easily bake them if you’re not keen on adding extra oil. We enjoyed ours on a brioche bun with sliced tomatoes, pickles, lettuce and onion, and could have easily believed …

Spanish Butter Beans with Tomatoes

It’s been quite warm in Scotland these last couple of weeks, and the last thing I want to think about is food. So what do you eat when you can’t be bothered? I suggest something than is just as delicious at room temperature as it is when it’s hot. This simple recipe needs only a few ingredients and a relatively short cooking time. It also happens to be vegan. Makes four smallish portions, perfect for lunch or a light supper. Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of olive oil 1 medium onion, diced 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped 250g dried butter beans, soaked and cooked (use tinned if you like) 2 400g tins of peeled plum tomatoes 1 vegetarian stock cube 2 tablespoons mild smoked paprika 200g baby leaf spinach 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped (optional garnish) In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until it begins to shimmer. Now add the onion and garlic and fry for two minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the tinned tomatoes. Use your cooking …


I had the good fortune to spend a summer in Spain a few years ago, and I learned to make this version of gazpacho there. It’s a lovely, relaxed dish to have when the weather is hot and you can’t face turning on your oven or cooker. The secret to the authenticity of this recipe is the vinegar. It really needs to be sherry vinegar from Jerez. I buy Sainsbury’s own brand and it works very well. This is a smooth cold soup, so if you prefer a little texture, reserve and finely chop a bit of the pepper and cucumber. You can add this as a garnish just before serving. Ingredients: 2 slices of stale white bread  or 1 day-old petit pain 1 tablespoon good extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar from Jerez 250ml cup cold water 6 ripe tomatoes, quartered 1 red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped 1 cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped Salt to taste Place the first four ingredients in the blender and whizz until liquefied. Now add the …

Yummy Vegan Burgers

My husband and I have been working on making the perfect veggie burger, and while we’ve found a few good recipes, none were perfect. So we’ve come up with our own. The burger we’ve created had the added benefit of being vegan. It’s also quite high in protein. Full disclosure: it’s a bit of a faff to make, but I promise the results are worth it. Using a 1/4 pound burger press, we got 15 burgers from this recipe. They freeze well, so it makes sense to make a lot in one go and have a couple of weeks’ worth of quick lunches. But if you’re not keen on making loads, this recipe scales down well. You can halve or even quarter it. You can customise your burgers using spices you like. Our favourite is Lakeland Burger Seasoning Mix. It’s surprisingly spicy! But if that’s not your thing, warm spices like smoked paprika, cumin, and chipotle work well. The trick to making veggie burgers with a pleasing texture is to keep as much excess liquid …

Homemade Pumpkin Syrup

  I know it’s a bit passé, but I enjoy the flavour of spiced pumpkin this time of year, especially pumpkin chai and pumpkin lattes.  After trying several shop-bought syrups and finding them artificial, I decided to try to make pumpkin syrup myself.  It took two attempts, and the syrup isn’t very thick, but it’s absolutely delicious in tea and coffee. Easy Pumpkin Syrup: 1 cup chopped fresh pumpkin (you can use tinned pumpkin if you like) 1 cup caster sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 stick cinnamon, broken into pieces 5 whole cloves 1 teaspoon ground ginger 3 cardamom pods, opened but not crushed 1.5 cups of water Boil the pumpkin and the spices in the water until the pumpkin falls apart – 30-45 minutes. Cool slightly and carefully strain through a clean cloth* so that all of the liquid is collected.  Return the liquid back to the pan with the caster and the brown sugar and boil for about 10 minutes.  Then decant your lovely syrup into a sterile jar.  It’ll keep in …

Bird in the Hand

Yesterday, I noticed the tell-tale sign of a chilly night – condensation on the windscreen of my car and inside the greenhouse.   So I decided not to chance losing the remainder of my tomato crop and harvested the lot.  We now have four jars of gorgeous green tomato pickle – ready to bring a bit of sunshine this winter, when we’ll need it most.  


Yesterday we stripped the crabapple tree bare and made jelly. I’ve put it with the strawberry jam I made on Wednesday. Our plum tree looks like it’s going to produce more plums than ever before, so I have extra jars at the ready. The jam cupboard should be well-stocked for winter this year.


The beginnings of an Indian curry called bindi bajhi which is very similar to the stewed okra and tomatoes we eat back home. Okra is a treat here in the UK. It’s quite expensive, and it’s hard to find it at its best. I still manage to indulge from time to time.

Working Lunch

Work is a bit busy at the moment, so I’m putting in extra hours. This means less time for cooking and I’ve been existing on finger food on the fly. Hummus is a personal favourite. It’s delicious, and its garlic content means fewer interruptions from other people. I’m pretty sure my breath could peel paint today.