Paprika wedges

One of my all-time favourites, this. Another really easy one!

Oven: About 200C

Take about four baking size potatoes, or a larger number of smaller ones (obviously!). Cut them into wedges and chuck them in a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with about a tablespoon of paprika, half that of oregano, and a smattering of sea or rock salt. Mix it all up and bung it in the oven until crispy. Takes about 40 minutes – and you probably want to flip/ stir the wedges (use a flat metal spatula) a couple of times during the cooking. Much tastier, and way healthier than chips!

This should serve four – make more than you need though as they are great cold and dipped into houmous the next day.

Salmon or Chicken Pepperonata

So I invented something new on Sunday night – and really, really simple! This works equally well with chicken or salmon, so if you have a meat eater and a fish eater at the same table, no problem. I guess it would work with Quorn fillets, but I haven’t tried it. So, here we go:

Take four chicken breasts (or salmon fillets – or mix and match), and a jar of marinated roasted peppers in oil. Drop a bit of the oil into an oven-proof dish, pop the chicken in and drizzle a small amount of the oil over the top, with a squiz of black pepper. Roast in the oven – about 35 minutes for chicken, 15-20 for salmon. It’s worth basting the chicken halfway through – not so important for salmon. When it’s done, take it out and spoon some of the peppers from the jar over, and pop it back in the oven for five minutes (no more!).

How easy is that? If you feel like it, a small amount of grated cheese on top is nice if you aren’t dairy-free. Awesome served with potato wedges – the recipe for which will follow shortly….

Fruit sponge pudding

This is a great recipe, which my wife loves as it doesn’t ‘feel’ vegan. It’s actually pretty healthy – I have a spoonful of Total’s 2% greek yoghurt with it, and Jo has vanilla Swedish Glace – which is awesome and pretty indistinguishable from ice cream. The recipe is based loosely on one that used to be on Jamie Oliver’s website, but messed around with (as I tend to do!).

So, here we go. This is another 180C/ Gas Mark 4 one – and again it works really well on the bottom of the oven. I use a small casserole dish for this, but you could cook the apples in a saucepan and transfer to a baking dish if you rather.

60 grammes of self-raising flour

50 grammes of caster sugar

Two eggs

Zest of one lemon (or two teaspoons of vanilla extract if you prefer)

Six dessert apples (you can use Bramleys, but you will need to add extra sugar – nice to use dessert apples so you don’t have to)

(Optional) Punnet of blueberries

(Optional) Two tablespoons of raspberry jam (I use St Dalfour Rhapsodie de Fruit as it doesn’t have any added sugar but is still really tasty)

Peel and chop the apples, and pop them on the hob on a low heat until they are a bit mushy – about 15 mins. Add the blueberries and jam if you are using, and mix in well. The blueberries give it a great purple colour – well worth it!

Meanwhile, whizz the eggs and the sugar together – a hand-held electric whisk is ideal (don’t get it all over the kitchen!). When it’s fluffy, fold in the flour (a spatula is ideal as you can then use it to scrape out the mixture – saves washing up a spoon as well), and the lemon zest (or vanilla extract).

Spread the mixture over the top of the fruit – try and get it all covered, but don’t worry too much if there are any holes as it looks cool if some of the fruit bubbles up and caramelises.

Bake in the bottom of the oven for about 3o mins, and serve with ice cream, yoghurt or naked (the pudding, not you!).

Roasted roots with chilli jam

This is something I discovered today – pretty simple and the recipe is pretty much the title. This winter, I’ve been doing carrots and parsnips, slow roasted in the oven with olive oil, garlic and a bit of thyme – and adding a spoonful of honey for the last five or ten minutes, which makes them lovely and sweet and sticky.

Today, though, I decided to try something different – I left out the thyme, and at the end I added a bit of some chilli jam I was given for Christmas. It was AWESOME! So, here goes with the recipe:

Three parsnips

Four carrots

A tablespoon of olive oil

Two cloves of garlic

Two tablespoons of chilli jam (or to taste!)

Peel and chop the carrots and parsnips into chunks. Chuck them in a roasting dish (I like the LeCreuset dishes as you can serve straight to the table) with the olive oil and chopped garlic. Roast, slowly (180C or slightly less if you have time). I tend to leave them on the bottom of the oven for an hour while roasting something, seems to be the right sort of temperature. Worth checking and stirring occasionally of course! Towards the end, about ten minutes before you want to take them out, stir in a spoonful or two of chilli jam.

Beautiful!

Welcome carnivores, omnivores, veggies, pescatarians and vegans alike!

Hi and welcome to my new blog! I’m Sam, a keen amateur cook. Whilst I will eat more or less anything – and there’s nothing better in my mind than a great steak (we’ll get to that at some point!), I do most of the cooking for my family.

That’s where it gets complicated! My wife, mainly for health reasons, is basically vegan plus fish and eggs (yes, I know, there will be those of you who want to debate whether that’s really vegan or not – I describe it that way as that’s the easiest way to explain it to restaurants). And, just to complicate things more, my four-year-old daughter has just decided she loves animals too much to eat meat. I don’t know whether she will stick with it, but she seems pretty determined.

So the point of this blog is to talk about the complexities of catering for such a variety of culinary predilections. I’ve got reasonably handy at concocting flexible dishes that can involve meat, or not – and some interesting, tasty, vegan options suitable for carnivores too. ¬†Expect recipes, ideas, suggestions and tasty things I have come across. Oh, and when it comes to recipes – don’t expect precision. I’m a bit of a ‘just chuck a bit in’ kind of cook…

Enjoy!