Smoky potato tian


IMG_7821I have had the idea of making a tian on my mind for a while. Tian is a baked, closely packed vegetable dish; think a Provencal style gratin with no added cream. I had been thinking of Mediterranean vegetables but they’re not quite in season, so I veered towards the large pile of potatoes in the larder. This dish manages to transform a few humble spuds and an onion into a dish of beauty (that also tastes great!)

Finely sliced potatoes are closely packed on top of some onions sweated with thyme, and then the potatoes are brushed with a smoky sweet paprika oil, before baking until the tops are crispy. Looks appealing don’t you think? Make sure the slices are snugly fitted into an attractive baking dish for full wow factor.

Smoky Potato Tian (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)


IMG_7820Serves 4

  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-4 waxy potatoes per person
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

– Gently sweat the onions in a little oil with the thyme and salt until soft and slippery, but not coloured
– Spread the onions on the bottom of a pretty oven proof baking dish
– Slice the potatoes as finely as possible and pack closely, sliced side upwards into the baking dish
– Whisk together the oil, vinegar, smoked paprika and seasoning
– Brush the oil mixture over the potatoes
– Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for about 1 hour until the edges are crispy and the potatoes cooked through.
– Serve in the baking dish for maximum impact!


Smoked Paprika and Parsley Falafel Patties (with Lemon Egg-free Mayo)

For some reason I got to thinking about the combination of smoked paprika and parsley (I do think about food a lot on my long, gruelling commute!) and pondered how I could combine them in a interesting way. Obviously smoked paprika works perfectly in stews or sauces, but I had a feeling that some kind of patty would also work well. In fact these little burgers of chickpeas, parsley and smoked paprika work a treat and will make a good choice for a picnic or barbecue. They work especially well with the lemon and garlic mayo. The only question is what to call them – they’re a kind of falafel as they’re made of chickpeas, a kind of burger, patty, cakes – in the end I opted for falafel patties to cover as many bases as possible!

Smoked Paprika and Parsley Falafel Patties (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan – to make gluten-free use gluten-free flour)


makes 6

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsps smoked paprika, use the sweet variety unless you like it HOT!
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained (or use soaked and cooked dried beans – I just didn’t have the time!)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • big handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp smoky chipotle sauce (optional)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

– Fry the shallot in the oil until soft

– Stir in the garlic and paprika and cook until fragrant, set aside

– Blitz the chickpeas in a food processor until resembling breadcrumbs.

– Add all the other ingredients and pulse until well combined

– Turn into a bowl and place in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour to firm up

– Form into 6 patties and leave in the fridge until ready to use

– Fry in a little sunflower oil until golden brown

– Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the lemon and parsley mayo.

Lemon and Garlic Egg-free Mayo


  • 2-3 tbsps egg-free mayo
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • salt
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced

– Combine all the ingredients


Patatas Bravas, my style

I do like tapas, but as a veggie you often have a limited choice, mainly with a potato or rice theme – and if you’re at a restaurant with meat eaters everyone wants to try your dishes but it’s not a reciprocal arrangement!

However, I am partial to Patatas Bravas – you can’t really beat spicy fried potatoes! This is my version – probably wholly inauthentic, but I think the combinations work, and it has to be good to roast rather than fry the potatoes. If anyone has a blinding recipe out there, please let me know – maybe it could be the start of a cook off!!

Patatas Bravas (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, peanut-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)


serves 4, or more in a tapas selection

  • 400g potatoes
  • olive oil
  • 200ml passata/chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion or 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley to garnish

– Chop the potatoes into small cubes, toss in olive oil, a dusting of smoked paprika and seasoning. Roast in a hot oven (220 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 6) for about an hour, tossing a few times, until golden and crispy.

– Meanwhile, fry off the onion/shallots in olive oil until translucent. Add the smoked paprika and cook out briefly.

– Stir in the passata/chopped tomatoes and the vinegar. Season.

– Turn the heat to low and cook gently for ten or so minutes.

– Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from the oven. Pour over the sauce and give it a quick stir.

– Serve straight away before the potatoes go soggy!

Lucky 7 Bean Chilli

The fridge is bare and I haven’t done a big shop for a while – too much time blogging, I think! So tonight calls for a real store cupboard supper, and what could be better than a beany chilli – surely far superior to any version with minced beef. Any readers out there with good chilli tips do let me know… I’m always keen to tweak recipes to make them even better. There are plenty of additions you could make: different spicing, smoked chillis, all of which would take this dish in a slightly different direction. In the meantime, this version is pretty good (more to the point it is what I had in stock) and works brilliantly with rice, a hunk of nice bread, or inside tortillas. I’d have added a square of dark chocolate if I hadn’t eaten it. Oops. This freezes well too.

Lucky 7 Bean Chilli (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

  • 1-2 onions, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, peeled ( a must!) and chopped
  • 2 dried chillis
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh chilli, chopped
  • 8 mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 glass wine
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin borlotti beans
  • 1 tin/pack mixed beans
  • 1 tin sweetcorn
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • large dash of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tin balsamic vinegar
  • large pinch oregano
  • 1/2 tsp marmite (!)

-Sweat off the vegetable. When softened, add the garlic and dried chilli, cook out until fragrant.

– Stir in the spices and briefly cook out.

– Add the tomato puree, stir to coat the veggies, then add the wine. Deglaze the pan and reduce the wine until syrupy.

– Add the beans, sweetcorn and tomatoes. Plus 1/2 a tin of water.

– Stir in the seasonings, turn the heat down and cook for as long as possible (about 1 hour), making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan by stirring now and then.

– Check for seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, balsamic, worcestershire sauce as desired.

– Serve garnished with cheese (dairy-free if liked) and chopped coriander.

Tangy Mushroom Tapas

My lovely new bowls have inspired some more Spanish tapas dishes. Tonight, it’s Tangy Mushrooms perfect to accompany a spanish style meze of little tapas dishes. I didn’t have any sherry in the house so improvised with white wine and a good quantity of worcestershire sauce – not at all authentic, but pretty tasty! My girls certainly wouldn’t go near a mushroom, so this was strictly for the adults!

Tangy Mushroom Tapas (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

enough for a shared tapas for two

  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 750g brown, organic mushrooms, quartered (I’ve been reliably informed never to buy white, non-organic mushrooms!)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps white wine
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chopped parsley, a small bunch

– Heat the olive oil and saute the garlic briefly.

– Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes.

– Add the smoked paprika and cook out briefly.

– Add the lemon juice, white wine, worcestershire sauce and stock. Season lightly.

– Cook to reduce the sauce until rich and syrupy. Check seasoning.

– Transfer into a pretty tapas dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Vegetarian Paella

I’ve recently been lucky enough to have been given some lovely tapas dishes and it’s inspired me to cook more Spanish food. To be honest, I don’t find Spanish food easy as a vegetarian (even though it’s a pretty good destination for some rather fine vegetarian restaurants) and don’t cook it often. Big S used to love Paella when she was tiny but for some reason I haven’t cooked it in a while. But since we’ve been guinea pig sitting this week and they’ve been eating us out of house and home in terms of fresh vegetables, I thought it best to use up some before they’ve all gone!

The guinea pigs have been very well looked after and I think there may be some tears when they go home! We really need to get a pet, but both Big and Little S are allergic to cats and dogs (our favoured option) …. somehow a mouse that lives for a couple of years isn’t quite enough 😦

Anyway, Fluff-ball and Snuffles (named by the girls, they didn’t have names before!) do eat an awful lot and have spent a week feasting on selections of fresh vegetables. I hope they don’t miss the peppers, courgette, sweetcorn and peas used in the paella!

Vegetarian Paella (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves about 6

  • 1/2 onion
  • 2/3rds courgette
  • 2/3rds red pepper
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1-2 tsps smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp saffron (or use turmeric if you don’t have any)
  • 1 1/3 cups paella or arborio rice
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup sweetcorn
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • seasoning
  • 6 cups boiling water

– Chop the vegetables into as fine a dice as possible

– Saute the onion, pepper and courgettes in olive oil until golden

– Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.

– Add the tomatoes, smoked paprika (and turmeric, if using) and rice. Fry briefly. Then add half the boiling water and some seasoning.

– Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes, checking once or twice thatit hasn’t stuck too much.

– Add the remaining water.

– Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

– After 10 minutes, add the frozen peans and sweetcorn.

– Check seasoning and let sit for 10 minutes before eating.