Summer Pickled Vegetables

Pickled Vegetables
Summer Pickled Vegetables

Try this method of preserving fresh, seasonal, organic, local veggies. The veg keep fresh for up to 3 months in sterilised and un-opened glass jars in a cool place. Once opened they keep fresh for about a week in the fridge.

A great time saver when planning a family BBQ or summer meal, picnics or for just snacking on when the fancy takes you!

A recipe from Ainsley Harriots ‘Barbecue Bible’, 1997


Serves 8-10 (but I always make double to keep for a few weeks)

100g cauliflower

100g celery

100g carrots

100g cucumber

100g red pepper

50g French beans

50g mangetout

50g baby sweetcorn

50g button onions

50g cherry tomatoes

300ml white wine vinegar

3 allspice berries ( or ¼ teaspoon ground allspice from a jar)

3 black peppercorns

4 fresh bayleaves

pinch of ground saffron or turmeric

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 tablespoons soft brown sugar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

salt and freshly ground black pepper


 1) Break the cauliflower in to small florets

2) Trim the celery and peel the carrots and cut them both diagonally into thickish slices

3) Halve the cucumber length-ways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Slice the cucumber halves across ways into half moons.

4) Halve the peppers, remove the seeds and the pith and cut the flesh in to 1 cm pieces

5) Top and tail the beans, mangetout and sweetcorn and peel the button onions.

6) Put all the vegetables except the cherry tomatoes into a large saucepan with the vinegar, spices, garlic and sugar. Season with some salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for just 5 minutes, carefully turning them over every now and then.

7) Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl, stir in the whole cherry tomatoes, olive oil and dill, cover and leave the mixture somewhere cool to marinate overnight.

8) The next day, spoon the vegetables into sterilized jars and seal. Store in a cool, dark place and in the fridge after opening and once opened eat within 1 week.



Savoury Rice Salad



A colourful and tasty savoury salad made with wholegrain rice and fresh  vegetables

Serves 6

Dairy Free & vegetarian


175g wholegrain basmati rice

15ml curry powder

60ml vegetarian mayonnaise

100g mushrooms, sliced

½ green pepper, seeded and finely chopped

½ orange or red pepper, seeded and finely chopped

50g currants

Optional extras-

50g roasted and chopped peanuts

425g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained well

Fresh coriander leaf to garnish


1) Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil and generously season with salt (approx. 2 teaspoons).

 2)Add the rice in a steady stream and immediately stir to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook the rice for 25 minutes.

 3) When the rice is cooked drain it into a colander and immediately rinse with lots of cold tap water. Allow to drain for a couple of minutes and then transfer into a large bowl.

 4) Add the mayonnaise and the curry powder to the rice and stir well to combine thoroughly.

 5) Add all the remaining ingredients and stir well. Refrigerate until required and serve with a sprinkle of fresh coriander.

Chocolate Squares

Dairy-free and No-bake, chocolate treats
Dairy-free and No-bake, chocolate treats

Dairy Free and suitable for Vegetarians (Also suitable for Vegans if you can find a vegan approved biscuit). Preparation time is approximately 15 mins and Chilling time at least 1 hour 30 mins. Recipe makes approx. 45 Squares and they keep fresh in the refrigerator for a few days.

Sunflower spread (‘Pure’) 120g
Dates (approximately 20) 110g
Golden caster sugar 60g
Cocoa powder (1/3 of a cup) 40g
golden syrup 2 tbsp
Mc Vities Light digestive biscuits 250g
Plain chocolate (Check there is no butter oil /whey/lactose) I use 1 bar of ‘Green and Blacks’ organic dark chocolate 70% Cocoa 150g

You will need a shallow rectangular baking dish/tray (approximately 20cm X 30cm X 2cm depth) to put the prepared mixture in to chill in the refrigerator (you don’t need to serve in this dish).


1) Chop the dates into small pieces*.

2) Put the sunflower spread, dates, caster sugar, cocoa powder and golden syrup** into a medium sized saucepan and stand over the lowest heat that you have on your hob. Melt very slowly stirring occasionally with a metal spoon to prevent the mixture burning.

Continue to heat gently until the mixture is loose and blended together nicely and all the traces of spread and sugar have melted. This should take approximately 5 minutes.

3) While the mixture is melting put the biscuits into a medium sized freezer bag and smash them with a rolling pin.

4) Take the pan off the heat and tip the broken biscuits into the pan. Mix really well

5) Lightly oil your dish and wipe away all the excess with some kitchen roll. Tip the prepared mixture into the dish and press the mixture firmly down with the back of a metal spoon so you have a nice firm compact layer. (This is easier to do with a cold, lightly oiled dessert spoon).

6) Melt the chocolate: Break it into a heat proof bowl and sit this bowl on the top of a small saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir occasionally as the chocolate gently melts. This process takes about 10 minutes.

7) Tip the melted chocolate over the prepared mixture and make a pattern through the chocolate with a clean fork.

8) Leave to set for about 1.5 hours in the fridge.

9) Using a sharp kitchen knife cut the praline into small squares (about 2cm square).

10) Share with your nearest and dearest.


Cooks notes
*Dates are very sticky and it is easier to chop them with the skin-side of the fruit down on to the chopping board.
**To accurately measure golden syrup – first rub your measuring spoon with a small amount of cooking oil and wipe away the excess with kitchen paper, the syrup then slides off the spoon easily.

As this is a dairy free dish it is important to check the digestive biscuits and plain chocolate for butter/buttermilk/milk/whey/lactose etc. The McVities light digestives are dairy free at the time of writing.

Mediterranean Fish Stew


Dairy free and serves 3 hungry adults. Quick to prepare and time-in-the-kitchen is just over 20 minutes.

This is a lovely dish made from fuss free ingredients and is super quick to prepare. The sauce tastes even better if you give it some extra time to cook down before adding the fish. Adding a glass of white wine to the sauce at step 3 also gives extra flavour.


1.4 kg of firm potatoes (New potatoes are perfect)

1 tablespoon Olive oil

2-3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

500 ml good quality chicken or vegetable stock

1 red chilli (hot is good)

a good pinch of saffron,

1 tablespoon of capers

21 pitted black olives in brine

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

Salt and black pepper

475g bag of frozen or fresh cod fillets (at least 4 small fillets required)

Chopped fresh parsley and crusty bread to serve.


1) Boil the potatoes until cooked (about 20 minutes) then leave them in the warm pan with the lid on.

2) Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the sliced garlic and chilli for a minute or so until the garlic just starts to change colour (do not brown the garlic it will become bitter).

3) Add the tin of tomatoes, crushed peppercorns, stock, saffron and a sprinkle of sea salt. Replace the lid and bring to the boil then remove the lid and simmer gently for 4 minutes.

4) Add the frozen fish, olives and capers. Stir the sauce around and over the fillets. Put on the lid and bring back to the boil. Once it reaches the boil turn down the heat slightly to simmer everything gently for 8-10 minutes, or just long enough for the cod to poach in the lovely sauce. If you are using fresh fish pieces the cook time will be about 5 minutes from the boil.

5) When the fish is cooked put a portion of the potatoes in the bottom of each serving dish, add a piece of fish followed by the sauce. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley and enjoy with crusty bread.

Dairy free Chocolate Mousse

dairy free chocolate mousse
Chocolate mousse

Dairy Free and Vegetarian.

Inspired by a recipe from James Martin, Women and Home magazine (Feel Good Food, christmas 2008).

Serves 6

prep. time – 15 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling


Dark chocolate (your favourite, 70% cocoa solids and check it is dairy free*) – 200g

3 large free-range eggs

Golden caster sugar – 40g

125 ml warm water


1) Break up the chocolate into a large sized heat proof bowl and melt slowly over a pan of gently simmering water. Add the 125 ml warm water to the chocolate and stir now and again during the melting process.

2) While the chocolate is melting separate the egg yolks from the whites. The whites need to go in to a very clean bowl (no traces of grease).

3) Take the chocolate off the heat and stir well until it is smooth and glossy. (you may go through a bit of a lumpy phase but keep stirring and all will be ok)

4) Whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until softly peaking. Add the sugar. Continue whisking until the sugar is incorporated and the whites will stand in firm peaks in the bowl (the whites should stay in an upturned bowl!). The whites should look glossy – do not over beat.

5) Add the egg yolks to the cooled melted chocolate and mix thoroughly.

6) Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly to loosen the mixture.

7) This is the delicate, gentle bit… Add the next 1/3 of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and gently fold with a metal spoon. Do not beat, you want all those lovely bubbles to make the mousse light and fluffy.

8) Repeat step 7) with the final 1/3 of egg whites.

9) Divide the mixture between 6 of your favourite serving glasses/dishes.

10) Put in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.

Enjoy. X


• I have lovely memories of my grandmother teaching me how to make the chocolate leaves  -melt some left over chocolate and gently coat  the underside of clean rose leaves. Leave to set in the fridge for 1 hour. Take out the fridge and leave for 5 minutes, then carefully peel the leaf away.

Make more than you think you will need….there are always casualties!

*Cocoa butter is ok in a dairy free diet (this is a product of the cocoa bean and is not related to milk butter)

Lactose free coleslaw


A fresh, healthy and tasty side dish. Very tasty with potato wedges, grilled meat/fish, burgers and pulled pork.


Half a small white cabbage, about 225g, thinly sliced

1 onion (red or white), thinly sliced

1 large carrot, grated

2 eating apples, grated

Lactose free cheddar cheese (or alternative), 50g, grated

Juice of 1/2 lemon

flat leaf parsley, chopped

dressing ingredients

Soya single cream, 75ml

Worcestershire sauce, 2.5 ml

lemon juice, 5ml

A pinch of Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1) Combine all the ingredients, except for the dressing ingredients, in a large bowl. You can leave the prepared veg in the fridge at this stage.

2) Whisk the dressing ingredients to combine well and when ready to serve add to the salad and mix well to coat. Serve immediately.

Chickpea and Butternut Squash Curry


A warming, healthy vegetable curry.
A warming, healthy vegetable curry.

Dairy Free. Vegan. Vegetarian.

A tasty family curry that is quick and easy to prepare. Make this the day before for an even quicker meal and a better flavour. Also freezes well. Serves 4.

Approximately 550 calories per portion (including the brown rice).

Low in saturated fat (1.7g/portion). Very high in vitamins and minerals including Vit A, Vit C and magnesium.


Rapeseed oil, 2 tablespoons

Cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon

Mustard seeds, ½ teaspoon

6 Whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed

2 whole cloves

Onions, 1 large, chopped

Garlic, 3-4 cloves, crushed

Red chilli, 1 mild, de-seeded and chopped finely. Or 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes

Potatoes, 450g peeled and copped into 1cm cubes

Medium curry paste, 3 generous tablespoons (Pataks rogan Josh works well) or a heaped tablespoon of medium curry powder.

Vegetable stock, 800ml

Butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes, approx. 600g

400g tin of cooked chickpeas (or green lentils)

Bag of baby spinach leaves, washed and ready to eat (allow 30g per person) or frozen spinach

Garam massalla, 1 teaspoon.

Cooked wholemeal rice to serve and/or small wholemeal pitta breads for everyone to dip in the lovely sauce.


1) Prepare all the veggies.

2) Heat the oil gently in a large saucepan add the cumin and mustard seeds and fry gently until they start to ‘pop’.

3) Add the prpepared onion, garlic and chilli. Cook for 10 minutes until golden brown.

4) Stir in the potatoes and cook for 3 minutes until they start to take on some colour.

5) Add the curry paste or the curry powder and cook for a minute or so to coat all the vegetables.

6) Add the hot vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. (If you are serving the curry with wholemeal rice start cooking it now in a separate pan of boiling water -it will take 25 minutes simmer time)

7) Add the squash, cardamom pods and cloves. Simmer everything for at least 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

8) I like to give the curry a bit of a mash with a potato masher at this stage and then add the drained chickpeas or lentils and heat through for at least a further 5 minutes (or up to another 30 minutes)

9) Stir through the garam massalla and cook on a low heat for a few minutes more

10) Stir through several generous handfuls of spinach to wilt before serving or serve the spinach on the side if you like it nice and crunchy.

Serve with the rice and/or pitta breads.