Aubergine, walnut and rocket spaghetti

No matter how much you enjoy cooking, there’s always the times when you just want something quick and easy that doesn’t keep you tied to the kitchen whilst it’s cooking. Particularly on those busy weekdays. Even though we’re still in lockdown and not physically going anywhere, I’ve found my weekday evenings seem to be just as busy with online meetings, webinars or social chats.

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Sticky ginger-garlic aubergine

I love aubergine. Unfortunately my husband can’t stand them. He’s very tolerant of my plant-based experiments, but sadly aubergine is his red line that can’t be crossed! Which is not too much of a problem as there are so many other delicious plant-based foods to play with. Plus he’s often away, so aubergine becomes my indulgence when he’s on his travels.

He’s not the only one who can’t or won’t tolerate aubergine. Some people find it too bitter (although this is much less of a problem now than in the past as cross-breeding has removed much of the bitterness) whilst others can’t stand the texture, particularly when it’s over-soft and mushy. Then there are those who are sensitive to produce from the night-shade family which includes aubergines. Continue reading “Sticky ginger-garlic aubergine”

Quick chickpea veggie pancake

It’s amazing how many people are trying to include more plant-based food in their daily lives – a really positive start to the New Year. But still one of the biggest concerns I hear about eating well with food intolerances, or getting on board with a whole-food plant-based lifestyle, is time – it takes too long to cook from scratch, especially in the evening with work, after-school activities or just the general busyness of everyday living.

To be honest, that is true at times. But not every meal needs to be a full on cordon bleu experience! There’s lots of top tips I’ve shared in my blog posts about how to save time; planning ahead is a key skill to develop. Plus creativity – that’s essential. It’s amazing what you can rustle up with only a tin of beans and a scattering of random vegetables!

If time is not on your side and you haven’t yet developed your veggie ninja skills, then this simple yet delicious recipe will be perfect for you. It’s quick, cheap, full of flavour and super-healthy nutrients and seriously filling as it’s main key ingredient is chickpea flour. Use whatever veggies you have, or your family likes, but try and make them as varied in colour as possible. Not only does it look pretty, but you will get a whole range of phytonutrients, those magical natural plant chemicals that help to keep us fit and healthy (especially important at this virus-filled time of year).

Chickpea flour, more commonly known as gram flour or besan, is one of my most favourite ingredients; it’s packed full of healthy protein, minerals and fibre and is amazingly versatile. It’s also gluten free. In fact it’s so wonderful, it deserves it’s very own blog post – that will be coming soon. Buy it at your local Asian food store rather than from the ‘speciality flour’ section at the supermarket – it will cost half the price!

This recipe makes one huge pancake that can be cut into 4 enormous giant-boy slices or 6 normal appetite wedges. Serve it with a quick green salad and sweet potato wedges for the ultimate filling rainbow dinner. Enjoy!

Quick veggie chickpea pancake (serves 4 – 6)
2 medium leeks, sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
6 mushrooms, chopped
100g peas
1 tablespoon dried thyme
200g chickpea/gram flour
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
500ml water
salt and pepper
Heat a large frying pan and saute the leeks and red pepper over a medium heat until they start to soften and brown (about 8 minutes). Add the mushrooms and cook until the juices start to come out. Stir in the peas and the dried thyme and simmer for a few more minutes.
In the meantime, sieve the chickpea flour into a bowl. Add the ground flaxseed, turmeric, garlic powder and seasoning. Gently whisk in the water until everything is well combined.
Pre-heat your grill on a high setting.
Once the veggies are ready in the pan, carefully pour in the chickpea mix, tipping the pan from side to side to make sure the whole pan is covered. Cook over a medium heat until the mixture starts to solidify and the bottom of the pancake browns. This will take about 10 minutes. Place the pan under the pre-heated grill (make sure the handle is away from the heat) and finish cooking the top until it’s set and lightly browned.
Remove from the grill and leave to settle for a couple of minutes, then slice into quarters and serve straight from the pan.