Curried Tomato and Coconut Soup with Chickpeas and Mushrooms

When it comes to social media, I have two favourites: Facebook and Pinterest. Facebook for keeping up with friends and following (mainly cooking) blogs and pages, Pinterest because it allows you to save and categorise recipes you find online with a few simple clicks. But that ease can also have drawbacks, as I sometimes pin dishes that look good but disappoint when I actually read the whole recipe.

Which is what happened this week, when I got ready to cook a promising-looking chickpea soup from one of my boards and then realised that the flavours clashed (even just on paper), the cooking method didn’t work for me… in short that I would cook an entirely different soup. So that is what I did, with mainly store cupboard ingredients. I hope you like it.

1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes, or to taste
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp coarse sea salt, or to taste
400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
250 ml coconut milk
1 cup/140 g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and simmered till tender, about an hour and 15 minutes, depending on how ‘fresh’ they are. Don’t add salt. (Cooked weight about 290 g, you could use the same amount of tinned chickpeas)
200 g mushrooms, quartered
generous squeeze of lemon juice
fresh coriander, chopped

– Cook your soaked chickpeas (unless you’re using tinned ones, of course).
– Heat a generous glug of oil in a medium-sized pot on a medium heat. When nice and hot, add cumin seeds, fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Stir for a few seconds, then add the onion and cook until soft.
– Turn the heat down, stir in garlic, ground spices and salt, fry and stir for about 30 seconds.
– Add coconut milk, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas and mushrooms.
– Bring to the boil, then simmer (I use a flame diffuser) for 15 minutes.
– Add lemon juice and more salt if needed.
– Serve, sprinkled with the coriander.


Quick Black Bean Chilli Wraps (with Cashew Sour Cream)

img_0862Seeing as ‘bonenprutje’ (Dutch for ‘things flung in a pan, including some beans’) wasn’t going to cut it as a title, I’ve gone with what you see above. And, to be honest, this is a slightly more polished version of something I’ve been cooking for years when I didn’t really know what to eat, but knew it wasn’t takeaway food. img_0855

Originally I made this as a quick chilli that conveniently used up left-over veg and ends of tins. But because I feel tortilla wraps are a bit more festive than a bowl of bean stew served with bread, I made it a bit less saucy, so it could be used as a filling. If you do want it ‘soupier’, be my guest and add more water. If you do, you could up the spices a bit but I don’t really think it’s necessary.img_0842

This recipe is very much a blueprint, so use whatever you want; sub the black beans for chickpeas or black-eyed beans, add sweetcorn, baby corn, frozen peas, etc. Serve with (vegan) sour cream and some lettuce leaves, like I did here, or just scatter over some chopped fresh coriander. You can find the recipe for the cashew sour cream on the Oh She Glows website.img_0835

One last thing: as always, I sauté the mushrooms separately (but in the same pan I later cook the sauce in), because I feel they turn out so much better that way. If you don’t feel like it, skip this step and just add them to the pan with the chopped pepper.



250 g mushrooms, sliced
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 onion, chopped finely
1 red pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp cinnamon
1 x 400 ml tin tomatoes, blitzed in a processor/blender
1 x 400 g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
tortilla wraps img_0848


– In some oil, sautée the mushrooms on a high heat until cooked but not mushy. Put on a plate and set aside.
– In the same pan, heat some more oil and add the chilli flakes.
– Add the onion and sautée for a few minutes, then stir in the chopped pepper and cook for a few more minutes.
– Turn the heat down to low and add the garlic, tomato purée and spices. Cook for a minute, constantly stirring.
– Add the tomatoes, beans and mushrooms and bring to a simmer
– Let simmer, lid on, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Serve stuffed in a warm tortilla wrap.

Asian-Themed Mushroom and Brussels Sprouts Risotto

IMG_0222If necessity is the mother of all invention, abundance is definitely its father, especially in the kitchen. In this case, abundance came in the shape of a bag of Brussels sprouts that needed using up. In my enthusiasm (I always go a bit mad when sprouts are back in season) I overstocked, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it forces you to be creative. So I came up with this autumny/wintery Asian-style risotto.

I say ‘Asian-style’ because a vegan risotto with a list of ingredients that includes sprouts, sake and coriander is by definition a multi-continental, hybrid dish. Which, by the way, goes for a lot of vegetarian and vegan cooking of the non-potato-veg-and-fake-meat variety. And that’s just one of the things that, for me, makes it such a great way of cooking and eating.

Okay, I’ll end the plug there. 😉


I’ve used garlic and chilli oil here, instead of fresh. One, because it’s easy and lazy, and two because grated garlic tends to burn/stick in my Le Creuset pan unless I use more oil than I want to. The ginger, if chopped not too finely, can stand the heat a bit better. You could of course use a fresh chilli, chilli flakes (or even chilli sauce) instead of the oil. IMG_0215

I only have two rules when it comes to making risotto: make sure your stock is piping hot, so you don’t bring down the temperature of the pan as you add it, and start tasting your rice after about 15 minutes to see if it’s done. As usual, I sauté the mushrooms first. It’s not a rule, but I do feel it really adds to the flavour and texture of the finished dish.


olive oil
250 g chestnut mushrooms, cut into quarters
generous splash of garlic oil
smaller splash of chilli oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp freshly chopped ginger (very fine strips)
125 g risotto rice
a nice slosh of sake
225 g of Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1 litre hot mushroom stock
handful of chopped coriander


  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the mushrooms on a medium-high heat. You want to get some caramelisation going, so don’t put them on too low. Set aside once cooked but not mushy.
  • In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat garlic and chilli oil.
  • When hot, add the shallots and ginger. Fry until softened.
  • Add the risotto rice and fry, stirring, for a few minutes.
  • Pour in the sake and let evaporate while stirring.
  • Throw in the sliced sprouts and add your first ladleful of stock.
  • Stir until the pan is almost dry, add stock, stir until almost… etc, etc.
  • After about fifteen minutes, add the mushrooms to the pan and keep stirring.
  • Cook, tasting every now and again, until the rice is done to your liking.
  • Sprinkle over the coriander.

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagne with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

IMG_4270As much as I love the spinach and mushrooms in this lasagne, the red pepper sauce is the star of this dish. It’s my take on a sauce in Mildreds, The Cookbook, where it’s served with penne and boiled vegetables. Even if you don’t fancy cooking or eating lasagne right now, do give the sauce a try. I was instantly addicted, and a batch of this (divided into 4 portions) is now a staple in my freezer. IMG_4268 To make the sauce lighter (and vegan), I use soy cream instead of the double cream they use at Mildreds. I’ve also adapted the recipe to fit whole tins and jars. It could just be me, but one roasted pepper or one tomato left in a tin usually ends up mouldy in my fridge. IMG_4263 A note on pasta sheets: I’ve used shop-bought ‘fresh’ ones (eerily long shelf life, though) that don’t require pre-cooking. In my experience, whether or not you have to pre-boil lasagne sheets depends on the brand you use, and on the cooking time. I tend not to boil them first, even with dried ones, unless they are very thick.

Ingredients IMG_4261 For the sauce  – 1 onion, chopped – 1 celery stick, chopped – 1 carrot, peeled and grated (the one I used was 165 g, unpeeled weight) – 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely – 400 g tin of whole tomatoes – 350 g roast peppers (I used a 465 g jar with brine, undrained weight), roughly chopped – 1 tsp (coconut flower) sugar – 1 tsp coarse sea salt – freshly ground black pepper – 250 ml soy cream You’ll probably have about 1/4 of the sauce left after building your lasagne. Fridge or freeze for later use. It will be like having money in the bank, believe me. For the lasagne – 500 g fresh spinach leaves (I always chop fresh spinach so it doesn’t clump together so much ) – 400 mushrooms, sliced not too thinly – lasagne sheets PreparationIMG_4253 – Preheat oven to 200°C – Start by making the sauce. In a large pan, fry onion, celery and carrot in oil until softened. – Add the garlic and fry for one more minute. – Add all the other sauce ingredients, except the cream. – Bring to a boil and then simmer, stirring regularly, for 20 minutes (lid off) – Stir in the cream and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. – Blitz the sauce with a (stick) blender and set aside. – Wash your pan and wilt the spinach in it. In a sieve, press out the excess moisture with the back of a spoon (or just squeeze with your hands). Set aside. – In the same pan, fry the mushrooms in oil (I use chilli oil here) until softened but not cooked through. Drain in a sieve. -Build your lasagne in a rectangular oven dish (the bottom of the one I used measures 16×25 cm). Start with a layer of sauce, followed by  1/4 of the spinach and mushrooms and lasagne sheets. Repeat until you’ve used up all your ingredients, ending with a layer of pasta sheets topped with sauce. – Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake for 20 minutes. – Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes. – Take the dish out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting into the lasagne.

Flash-Fried Portobello Mushrooms, Marinated Two Ways

IMG_3190I don’t really struggle to find nice vegetarian meals to cook anymore, except on the odd Sunday. Sunday night means roast potatoes and veg in this Dutch/English hybrid household. Brilliant, I love potatoes and I love vegetables, but what to have with a meal that was designed to include meat? A decent shop-bought or homemade vegetarian burger, sausage, etc? Sure, but every week? Maybe not, and that’s were these super-fast and easy-to-make flash-fried portobello strips come in. And don’t just cook them to jazz up a meat and two veg meal, they are also great in a pitta or wrap, or simply as a side dish.

IMG_3182I’m giving you two marinades for the portobellos here, but obviously the sky is the limit. Any dried spice mixture laced with enough (garlic) oil would work, and freshly-chopped herbs are a nice touch. A few things to remember: One, don’t slice your portobello mushrooms too thin, you want them slightly chunky. Two, you need a hot pan for this; a seasoned cast-iron pan is ideal but a non-stick skillet, lightly brushed with oil is also fine; just remember that the oil is in the marinade, so soaked up by the mushrooms, and the pan is basically a grill. Three, don’t marinate too long, especially if the marinade contains salt, like these two do. Thirty minutes at room temperature will do the trick. IMG_3170

I’ve marinated the fungi two ways here: Indian-style and Middle-Eastern-themed. I can’t claim authenticity but both are pretty tasty, if I may say so myself.

Indian-Style Flash-Fried PortobellosIMG_3164

2 largish portobello mushrooms, sliced chunkily

For the marinade
15 g fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 bird’s eye chilli (seeded or unseeded, your choice), chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt or 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp garlic oil

– Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
– Add portobello strips and cover well with the marinade.
– Cover with cling film and let sit for about 30 minutes.
– Heat pan over a medium heat till very hot (for type of pan to use, see above) and fry the portobellos, stirring continuously until slightly charred.

Middle-Eastern-Style Flash-Fried Portobellos

2 largish portobello mushrooms, sliced chunkilyIMG_3192

For the marinade
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
splash of sesame oil
splash of Sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 sweet paprika

– Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
– Add portobello strips and cover well with the marinade.
– Cover with cling film and let sit for about 30 minutes.
– Heat pan over a medium heat till very hot (for type of pan to use, see above), drain off marinade and fry the portobellos, stirring continuously until slightly charred.


Mushroom Heaven for One

IMG_1946I realised the other day that mushrooms haven’t really taken centre stage on the blog so far, which is something that needs to be remedied asap. Because mushrooms are the new chicken. Well, they are to me, anyway. I love any type of mushroom with the same passion I once had for chicken. There are some similarities; both are incredibly versatile and lend themselves well to a good marinating but also have enough flavour to stand on their own with only a sprinkling of salt and pepper. For me, the added bonus of the fungi is that no animals were harmed, obviously.

So my love of mushrooms runs deep, and Nigella Lawson’s linguine with lemon, garlic and thyme mushrooms, which I’ve reworked slightly here, is a celebration of that love. As far as I’m concerned, it is the best recipe in her Express book, which has quite a few gems in it. I don’t keep track but I think that if I had to name the dish I make most often (with the exception of staples like spag bol or potatoes, veg and some sort of protein) this could very well be it. Nigella writes in her book that ‘this dish had to be forcibly taken away from me during the photo shoot for this book, otherwise I’d have eaten it all before it could even have its picture taken’. Well, let’s just say that you are also very lucky that this post includes photos. 😉IMG_1934

The reason why this is mushroom heaven for one is that the Eastender is squeamish when it comes to certain types of mushroom, which means it is a solitary pleasure for me. And as such, it is perfect. I don’t mind cooking an elaborate meal for just myself (at all) but this dish possesses the minimum-fuss-maximum-satisfaction factor you sometimes want a meal for one to have. Having said that, you could easily stretch this recipe to feed a crowd. And without the pasta it’s simply gorgeously marinated mushrooms you could serve with drinks or as a side dish.IMG_1939

I have fiddled with the original recipe a bit, which is no surprise as I eat this on my own instead of surrounded by the small crowd Nigella suggests. Surprisingly (or maybe not) I use a few more chestnut mushrooms but I do lower the salt and oil content and leave out the parmesan. Partly because I cut out animal-based ingredients whenever I can but mainly because I don’t want any creaminess to interfere with the zingy, sharp flavours of the garlic and lemon. Oh, and I sprinkle over chopped chives, not parsley, simply because I don’t really care for parsley.
Also, as the mushrooms are basically served raw, I like to give the marinade a chance to ‘cook’ the mushrooms, which is why I assemble the mushrooms before I boil the water for the pasta. By the way, if you don’t like the idea of eating raw cultivated mushrooms, the manure they are grown in is in fact pasteurised, so no worries there.IMG_1940

Finally, this may seem like quite a large portion for one person, but it also makes a perfect mid-morning snack, eaten cold the next day. But to be perfectly honest, I usually just finish the lot.


250 g chestnut mushroom, sliced neither finely nor thickly
½ tbsp (about 40 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 scant tsp Maldon sea salt flakes (less than half of that if you are using free-flowing salt)
1 small clove of garlic, finely grated
zest of 1 lemon (preferably organic) and juice of half of one
1 tsp dried thyme
125 gr linguine

2 tbsp chives, finely chopped

– Put the mushrooms in a wide bowl (the one you will be serving the dish in) and add the oil, salt, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and thyme. Mix well and leave to stand.
– Bring water to the boil in a large pot and cook the linguine according to packet instructions.
– Drain in a sieve or colander (but not too thoroughly, you’ll want some of the water clinging to the linguine to end up in the finished dish) and add to the mushrooms in the bowl.
– Toss (I use salad cutlery), sprinkle with the chives and eat ‘with joy in your heart’ as Nigella says. She is so right.