Category Archives: vegetarian

Halloumi, Aubergine & Mushroom Burger

I was thinking about carrot cake the other day, as one does, and started to think about Nando’s.

It may sound crazy, that a mass produced cake in a semi-fast food place is one of my favourite carrot cakes, but its seriously good. Yummy moist cake with just the right amount of spice, dreamy frosting and that serving of clotted cream!

This post isn’t about carrot cake though!

Thinking about Nandos got me thinking about their halloumi and mushroom burger. So I decided to make my own 🙂


The bread:I normally get it in their bread rolls. As brioche rolls seem to be the burger bread of choice at the moment, I thought I would use them. Strangely enough I couldn’t find them in the supermarket, so decided to make my own.

I used this recipe which was easy to follow.


They do take a bit longer as they have to be refrigerated and then left to reach room temp and rise.  However, this can be worked into your day, I made the dough in the morning, put it in the fridge before I went out and then took them out when I got home and by the time I started to cook the filling they were ready to bake.

The side:Before getting the burger ready (and baking the brioche rolls), I put my spicy sweet potato chips in the oven.
These were made by peeling and chopping 2 sweet potatos, soaking them in cold water (to remove some of the starch) for aprox. 30mins.  They were then drained in a collander and dried off with a kitchen towel.  They were placed in a bowl and mixed with 3 tablespoons of harissa paste. They were then spread evenly over a tray and baked for 45mins (turning half way through).


The vege/cheese:I was tempted to buy a Nandos marinade for my vege, but luckily I came across this recipe from Ramsons and Bramble, which also inspired me to use aubergine in the burger.

I made a few adjustments for the marinade:
-juice & zest of half a lemon
-2 teaspoons of cider vinegar
-4 teaspoons garlic paste
-5 tablespoons olive oil
-1 tablespoon harissa paste
-2 teaspoons soy sauce
-lots of freshly ground black pepper
All ingredients are placed in a bowl and mixed.

This marinade is sooo good, I’m so happy I made this instead of using a store bought one.


Once the aubergine was fried in olive oil it was placed in a plate with the marinade


the mushrooms after being smothered in the marinade

To construct the burger, after slicing the brioche roll, chilli jam was spread over the base and covered with a leafy salad. I placed the fried halloumi, a slice of aubergine and the mushroom on top.

This was served with the sweet potato chips.



Middle Eastern Feast

After going on and on and on (and on a bit more) about how much I wanted the Yotam Ottolenghi book Jerusalem, after receiving it, I put in on the bookshelf and forgot about it.

Being on a bit of a health kick, I decided I couldn’t have cake for dinner (on my next post you will see I changed my mind on that :p ) and decided I wanted something tasty and colourful. Flicking through the Waitrose magazine (May’2014) I found an Ottolenghi recipe for ‘Fried Aubergine with Leaks and Tomatoes’.


Fried aubergines as tasty as it sounds are not particularly healthy, so I baked them instead. I’m sure greasy, fried aubergines would have tasted nicer, however, I don’t think baking them took much away from the meal, it had a mild heat from the spices (cumin and fresh green chilli) and was very tasty, served with giant couscous.

To accompany my main, I decided on a classic Middle Eastern salad, fattoush.  Using the recipe from ‘Jerusalem’. This was perfect for me, colourful,fresh vegetables in a light dressing. I’m not crazy about vinegar, and this had just the right amount (as in, I couldn’t taste it). The recipe called for not toasting the flat bread pieces, but I really like the crunch of it so toasted mine before mixing in.

A healthy meal, which everyone enjoyed.


I’m sure I won’t be keeping the book to gather dust for too long!

Best Cannelloni Ever

Spinach, ricotta and feta cannelloni

Cannelloni tubes filled with a tasty spinach,ricotta and feta filling, smothered with a creamy béchamel sauce on a bed of rich, tangy tomato sauce.


Comfort food at its best

I first ate Spinach and ricotta cannelloni several years ago at Spaghetti House.I can still remember the taste, absolutely delicious. I really wanted to recreate that taste, and think this especially with the addition of the feta cheese beats it hands down.

You will need a box of cannelloni tubes (feeds aprox 10 people, with a suggested serving size of 2 tubes per person)

For the tomato sauce:
3 garlic cloves crushed, 75gram butter, 400gram tin of chopped tomatoes, 500grams passata

Fry the crushed garlic in the butter until golden brown, add the tin of tomatoes and passata and some salt ( to taste, I usually add about a teaspoon). Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30minutes till the sauce has thickened and reduced.

Bechamel sauce:
850ml milk, 2 bay leaves, a pinch of grated nutmeg, 90grams butter, 45grams plain flour

Heat the milk with the bay leaves and nutmeg (and a pinch of salt) till just boiling. Turn off the heat and leave aside. In the meanwhile melt the butter and mix in the flour to a paste. Add the milk to the paste a spoon at a time, mixing so fully combined each time. It may start of a bit on the lumpy side but will eventually be a smooth sauce. Once all the milk has been added keep mixing over a low-medium heat till it comes to a boil and thickens.

2 onions chopped, 2 cloves of garlic crushed,750grams of fresh spinach, 300grams ricotta, 200grams feta (crumbled/chopped)

Fry the onions in some olive oil till soft and golden, add the garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Wash the spinach by placing it in a colander and pouring boiled water over it causing it to wilt. Drain out as much water as possible,I squeeze the water out with my hands by squishing the spinach up before chopping it into the onions. Edit: or buy ready washed bags of spinach and stick them in the microwave for 2mins.

Mix into the onions and add the ricotta and feta. Add a pinch of grated nutmeg. Combine completely.

Spread the tomato sauce over the base of your dish, fill the cannelloni tubes. I find the best way to fill the tubes is with a piping bag, quick and mess free. Cover completely with the bechamel sauce. Bake at 180degrees for 45mins (or until golden brown and bubbling).


Serve with crusty ciabatta.