Image, Uchiki kuri squash in the garden patch, on straw for protection.

Uchiki-Kuri squash-sweet smoky paprika & Aleppeo pepper stew with

We had a great crop of these squashes in our little veg patch this year, second time of growing these striking little gems, they do take up a bit of space but are easy to look after, like a mini pumpkin, with a dense texture and chest-nutty flavour, very versatile in the kitchen. Soaks up flavours well, especially delicious in curries and soups. Just kept this recipe simple, using an excellent quality paprika along with some black cardamom for a deep smoky flavour. I have included the Aleppo pepper to add a gentle aromatic heat, then served it with freekeh, which had the addition of some of the squash peelings.

Pimenton de la Vera, Spanish sweet smoked paprika, well worth sourcing out a good quality paprika, this one is made from sweet, round peppers grown in the Extremadura region southwest of Madrid and has a distinctive smoky flavour. The Spanish paprika peppers are oak-smoked, infusing them with woody notes, and then ground in stone mills to keep temperatures low and help retain their natural flavour. 

Aleppo pepper  is a coarsely ground Syrian and Turkish pepper, used in cooking or as a condiment. Aleppo pepper is named after the Syrian city of Aleppo, which lies on the famous silk road spice route. The dried peppers create a spice with a lovely balance – intensely coloured, fruity, aromatic, but not overly hot. It is most commonly grown in Syria, Turkey, and the United States. Aleppo pepper is about half as spicy as standard red pepper flakes, which is one of the reasons I prefer to use this-for its milder-and more palatable zing.

Black Cardamom, mostly grown in northeast India, I only discovered this quite recently from my favourite spice store. Having been using green cardamom in recipes for many years, it was a surprise how different a flavour the black was from the green, adding smoky, clove and citrus like notes. I popped three lightly crushed pods into this stew, to add an extra layer of flavour.

Uchiki Kuri squash, smoky sweet paprika & Aleppo pepper stew with freekeh

  • Servings: 4
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With layers of smokiness and a gentle kick of fruity heat, sprinkled with some roasted seeds this was a perfect Autumn dish

Squash stew ingredients

  • 2 x Uchiki Kuri squash, or whatever is available from your local grower, peeled and diced into 2cm chunks. Keep some of the peelings & seeds for later.
  • 1 x medium onion sliced
  • 1 x sweet pointed yellow pepper cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2 x cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 x teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 x teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 x teaspoon good quality Spanish paprika
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x tbsp honey
  • 2 x teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1 x teaspoon black salt
  • 3 x black cardamon pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 x tablespoon rapeseed oil or sunflower
  • Salt & pepper


  1. In a large frying pan heat the 2-x tbsp of oil over a medium heat, add in the onion and sauté gently for 2 minutes, stirring, so that the onions do not burn.
  2. Add in the squash, sweet yellow pepper, and garlic, continue cooking for a further 5 minutes stirring frequently.
  3. Stir through the cinnamon, cumin seeds and paprika cooking for a further one minute.
  4. Add in the can of chopped tomatoes, 300ml water, black salt and bring to a gentle simmer.
  5. Stir through the honey, Aleppo pepper and black cardamon pods, and a good grind of black pepper, cover with a lid and leave on a low simmer, stirring occasionally.
  6. Cook for approx. 35-40 minutes, removing the lid from the pan 5 minutes before the end to allow for some of the sauce to reduce.
  7. Check for seasoning adding, if needed a little grind of regular salt if required.
  8. Can be eaten straight away but if you can, leave to stand for a couple of hours to allow the flavours to deepen further.

I served this with some naturel yogurt and green tomato chutney on the side


  • Servings: 4
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Freekeh ingredients

  • 200g pre-soaked in water, green roasted wheat (freekeh)
  • 500g Vegetable stock
  • ½ the peelings from the squash

1. In a medium saucepan bring the vegetable stock to a rolling boil, stir in the freekeh and squash peelings. Cook for approx. 30 minutes, there should be still a little bite to the freekeh when cooked.

For some extra texture, roast some of the squash seeds tossed with a little oil, some salt and pepper and a sprinkling of your favourite spice seasoning, for approx. 15min, stirring every 5 minutes to achieve a toasty golden colour. I just used some of the Spanish paprika on this occasion.

Raspberry & chocolate ganache tart-with a hint of black

Raspberry&chocolate ganache tart with a hint of black cardamom

The raspberries are coming thick and fast, with the help of unusually mild weather for the time of year. Daily pickings have resulted in them heading straight to the freezer, but I couldn’t resist making and sharing this classic tart recipe-I should really try and avoid desserts but unfortunately, I just cannot help myself😂much to my wife’s dismay. 

Image, freshly picked bowl of raspberries
Freshly picked bowl of raspberries

You’re wondering what in hell does he mean by putting black cardamom in chocolate raspberry tart? – well don’t knock it until you give it a go. Just a tiny sprinkling of the crushed seeds as the tarts set will bring a little smokiness, and a hint of pine. Always worth while trying something different to enhance the flavours.

I have also used the black cardamom in a pear recipe, take a look on my home page.

Raspberry & chocolate ganache-black cardamom tart

Just a few tips working with pastry, stay chilled and I don’t mean just the pastry. The amount of patch ups I’ve had to do over the years working in hot kitchens, has taught me not to stress to much about the process.

Just stick to exact measurements, be organized with your equipment, I nearly always cook with an overhang on the rim and trim afterwards to achieve neat edges.

Image, floured work surface, Ball of sweet pastry
Sweet pastry
Image, raspberries on the cane, ready to be picked.
Raspberry cane in the garden
Image,Tart shells, with raspberries, bowl of chocolate ganache.

Fresh rasperries from the garden, perfect for this classic combination.

Ideal for freezing if you have a glut

Raspberry & chocolate ganache tart

  • Servings: 4 x 12cm or 1 x 24 cm ind
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Rich and decadent, with a little hint of sourness from the raspberries, a dollop of crème fraiche to cut through the richness of the chocolate, all is left! A good glass of red wine🍷

Sweet pastry

  • 200g plain flour sieved
  • 20g cornflour
  • 30g rice flour
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened, cut into small cubes
  • 2 x egg yolks
  • Grind of sea-salt


  1. In a baking bowl combine all the flours and salt, make a well in the centre of the flour, add in the icing sugar and diced butter.
  2. With the tips of your fingers squeeze together the butter and sugar, slowly start to draw in the flour adding the egg yolk, bring together to form a ball of dough.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for 30-45 minutes to rest. This will help in preventing shrinkage.
  4. Using a pastry brush, grease 4 x 12cm fluted tart rings or 1 x 24cm 9½ inch tart ring if making a large one.
  5. Remove the pastry from the fridge and divide into four, press each one into a round disc-if the pastry feels a little to cold to work with, manipulate slightly with your hands to even out the temperature-place between two sheets of parchment. With a rolling pin, roll out circles just a little larger than the tart tins,approx.2-3mm thick, line each case, gently pressing the pastry into the sides, leaving a slight overhang. Place back in the fridge and chill for further 30minutes.
  6. Bake blind, by firstly pricking the base of the pastry with the tines of a fork, then lining the pastry with circles of parchment, fill with baking beans, lentils or rice and bake in preheated oven at 170c fan 325f gas/3 for 15 minutes, remove the beans and parchment, return to the oven for further 10-15 minutes until the tart shell in golden.
  7. Leave to cool slightly, then gently trim the edges with a sharp knife to neaten.

Chocolate ganache

  • Servings: 4
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  • 200g dark chocolate, 70%, broken into small pieces, placed into glass bowl
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 25g glucose
  • 50g butter
  • 200g approx. fresh raspberries or frozen, well drained
  • 3 x black cardamom pods, seeds removed, crushed in a pestle & mortar (optional)


  1. Add the cream to a saucepan, over a low heat, bring to the stage where it is starting to simmer.
  2. Remove from the heat, using a hand whisk, incorporate the cream into the chocolate until smooth and blended. Whisk in the glucose and butter until silky smooth and glossy.
  3. To assemble, arrange the raspberries around the pastry cases, gently pour over the ganache, shake gently if needed to evenly distribute the ganache, sprinkle over the crushed black cardamom if using, or try with one tart if you are unsure about the taste. Leave to set for approx. two hours, this is ideally in the fridge.

When ready to sever, remove from the fridge and allow to sit at remove temperate for 30 minutes. Great served with crème fraiche and a light dusting of icing sugar or cocoa powder with a few sprigs of mint, or if you are lucky to come across some chocolate mint, even better to add a little pizzazz. Enjoy

Purple bean-pear & squash salad

Purple bean, pear & squash salad with fragrant basil and carrot top dressing.

Our jack and the beanstalk plants have been a striking addition to the vegetable plot, happily producing a great crop of purple beans for the last few weeks, great for freezing for the Autumn. Decided to put them into a salad along with squash, carrots, and pears. They will lose their colour shortly after cooking but still make for an appealing mix.

I have cut the vegetables in a variety of ways for visual, as well as adding different textures, then simply finished the dish of with some basil and carrot top🥕 dressing, if it is at all edible, its going to be put to good use.  

Image, Pear tree, sunny day in the garden.
Our sole pear tree, never fails to produce a decent crop.

Finally I finished it with some pan toasted seeds, nut, and maple syrup to create a crunchy texture to sprinkle on top.

Maybe not everyone’s favourite bean, still worth while having it in different ways, even a simple roasting in the oven with garlic, olive oil a little butter and slices of lemon, to serve alongside a roast dinner or maybe a poached egg on top as I would do with asparagus for a late breakfast or lunch dish.

However, you like to have your beans, I hope this recipes aids in inspiring you to your own creations.

Purple bean, pear & squash salad with fragrant basil and carrot top dressing.

Image, purple bean plant in vegetable garden
Purple bean plant in vegetable garden
Image, just picked purple beans, and carrots, soil, wooden box
Just picked from the garden purple beans, and carrots
Image, Purple beans, Patty pan squash, carrots and pears from the garden

Ingredients for the salad- just some of the produce for this easy salad. This way all the ingredients can be picked fresh, still firm and crisp.

Otherwise head to your local farmers market for the freshest of products.

Purple bean, pear & squash salad with fragrant basil and carrot top dressing.

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Using up some of the end of summer produce, we created this salad recipe to serve alongside a main course, would be substantial on its own with a good chewy slice of sourdough or crunchy French stick.


  • 360g Purple or green beans, trimmed and cut into 1½cm-2cm pieces
  • 2 x medium patty pan squash-spiralized
  • 2 x medium carrots, various colours, if possible, scrubbed topped & tailed,
  • 2 x medium conference pears, slightly firm and crisp
  • 1 x Clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1x Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Place the spiralized squash on a large serving plate
  2. Using the vegetable peeler and one of the carrots, shave ribbons of the carrot by placing it on a chopping board and running the peeler along the carrot to create ribbons. With the other carrot cut into julienne (matchsticks). Start with the prepped carrot cut into 2½cm lengths crosswise, trim a little off one edge to create a little bit of stability, lay the carrot on this flat edge, slice lengthwise, layer the carrots and cut lengthwise again in to thin sticks.
  3. For the pears, cut into quarters, remove the core, and thinly slice the quarters. With the other pear, using a vegetable peeler, shave into ribbons.
  4. To Finish, sauté the beans in olive oil over a medium heat along with the garlic until just tender 2-3 minutes, season with a grind of salt and pepper, stir through the pear slices and sauté for further minute.
  5. To assemble the salad layer up the spiralized squash with the carrot, pear ribbons and carrot matchsticks, spoon over the sauteed beans and pear and gently toss through, using tongs.
  6. Dot with some of the dressing and maple toasted seeds & nuts, serving the rest as extras on the side.

Toasted maple seed & nut crunch

  • 25g Whole almonds, skin on
  • 20g Chopped pistachio nuts
  • 15g Sunflower seeds
  • 15g Pumpkin seeds
  • 1 x Tablespoon maple syrup


  1. Toast the nuts and seeds in a dry pan over a medium heat until starting to colour, drizzle in the maple syrup and quickly toss together so that the nuts and seeds are evenly coated.
  2. Leave to cool and firm up into a crunchy texture.

Basil & carrot top dressing

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 4 x Tablespoon rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 2 x Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 x Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 x Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 x Tablespoon freshly chopped ginger
  • Small bunch finely shredded basil, approx. 4g
  • Small bunch carrot tops, woody bits removed, chop the rest, approx. 4g


1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, leave for 15 minutes for the flavours to develop.

Fragrant lamb meatballs-spelt & rye flatbreads-green apple kolhrabi

ImageI,ingredients for lamb meatballs, chopping board
Ingredients for lamb meatballs


I think we have been overdosing on pattypan squash, it is giving me a craving for some meat, lamb is my favourite, so a tea-time (dinner)recipe like this goes down well with all the family, kids as well. They just love any kind of meatballs, wrapped up in warmed flatbreads, no apple salad for the kids though, just a splattering of ketchup, may be one of these days.😁

I’d start with the flatbreads, leaving the dough to rest in the refrigerator while you make the meatballs, nothing too hard here. I found a variety of Persian basil from our local organic farm, perfect for adding citrus-anise notes to the lamb-see note in recipe for alternatives.

The salad is just what I had to hand, just wanted something earthy and light with a little bit of acidity. You could try a few pickled onions; they also would go down well.


Fragrant lamb meatballs, spelt & rye flatbreads apple and Kohlrabi salad

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Persian basil adds a lovely aroma of citrus, anise & clove to these lamb meatballs. Keep them small so they fit perfectly on the flatbreads, with a little of the salad, topped with some naturel yogurt and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds


  • 500g Lean minced lamb
  • 1 x medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 x Cloves of garlic chopped
  • ½ x Sweet red bell pepper finely diced
  • 1 x Teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 100g Grated carrot
  • Zest of one medium lemon
  • 20g Persian basil finely shredded (substitute-half regular basil & Tarragon)
  • 1 x Free range egg
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 x Tablespoons of olive oil


  1. Heat 2 x tbsp oil in medium frying pan, sauté the onions, garlic, cumin seeds and pepper until soft, stir through the lemon zest and Persian basil, remove from the heat.
  2. Place the lamb mince in a bowl along with the grated carrot, when cool, add in the sauteed onion mix and combine, add in the egg, mix further, season with a good grind of salt and pepper. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Shape into small spheres and place on an oiled baking tray. Makes approx. thirty balls, say five per person would give you six portions, are maybe six balls for five portions if you want to be generous. 😋
  4. To cook, sauté in a medium frying pan with 2 x tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil, in batches, 3-4 minutes, until slightly charred, turning frequently until cooked through.

When cooking the meatballs, pop in a splash of water to the pan, and cover with a lid, this will create a little steam to keep them moist. Do not over crowd the pan. Place on a baking sheet in a low oven, to keep warm until you have all of them cooked.
We cooked ours on the griddle of the barbecue, perfect for cooking them all at once if you prefer, again with a little splash of water, then I place the cover on the barbecue to finish cooking them off.

Spelt & rye flatbreads

  • Servings: 6 x 2each
  • Difficulty: easy
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Using different flours will add to the flavour of these flatbreads, along with the smoked paprika and black salt if you are able to get it, usually purchased in Asian stores.


  • 200g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 200g Plain flour
  • 100g rye flour
  • 2 x Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 x Teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 x Teaspoons black salt (regular will do if you can not get your hand on this)
  • 100g High protein naturel yogurt
  • 2 x Tbsp olive oil


  1. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl, add in the yogurt, oil and 150ml water. Bring the mix together using your hands, turn out onto a lightly flour surface and knead for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Wrap with cling film, and place in the fridge for thirty minutes to rest.
  3. When ready divide the dough into twelve equal size balls, flatten lightly with the palm of your hands, continue with a rolling pin to shape them into 20cm discs approx.
  4. To cook, place a pan onto a medium-high heat, spray with a little rapeseed or sunflower oil, alternatively use a brush, cook on each side for 1-2 minutes, they will start to blister.
  5. Keep warm wrapped in aluminium foil until ready to use.

You could finish these on the griddle top of a barbecue to speed things up as I have. Plus, it stops me from smoking out the kitchen, as the pan needs to be quite hot.

Green apple, summer cabbage & kohlrabi salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 x green apple shredded (Granny smith is ideal for this)
  • 300g Shredded cabbage
  • 325g Shredded kohlrabi, gently squeezed between the cups of your hands to remove the excess water.
  • 1 x Tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 1 x Tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 75ml Red wine Vinegar
  • 15ml Olive oil
  • 1 X Tbsp honey
  • Sea-salt


  1. In a medium frying pan, cook the seeds on a medium heat until lightly toasted and golden with a popcorn aroma. Leave to cool.
  2. Combine the apple, cabbage, and kohlrabi in a bowl.
  3. Blend the red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, and a grind of salt, pour onto the salad, combine well, place into a serving plate and top with the toasted seeds.

Image, Kolhrabi salad with toasted seeds
Kolhrabi salad with toasted seeds

Patty pan squash-aubergine and date filling, kolhrabi & carrot

Image,Produce from the garden, Pattypan squash, peas, blackcurrants, raspberry, cherry tomatoes, wonky carrots
Produce from the summer garden

Summer patty pan squash filled with aubergine & date filling with kolhrabi & carrot slaw

Just some of the produce we were able to pick from the garden. Leaves you very satisfied, that you can go to the garden and grab something, then make good use of it in the kitchen, regardless of the quantity, we even get to use the wonky carrots, they hide just behind the squash & blackcurrants in the photo.

There has been a glut of patty pan squash, hench the sharing off this recipe, plus I successfully spiralized some to have with a veggie Bolognese. Another quick way to enjoy them is to slice them up and sauté in a pan with some garlic & olive oil, then finished off with some shredded mint, served on toasted sourdough, with a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt. 😋

They are a little sweeter when picked smaller, but the larger ones make for a terrific way to pack in some of your favourite fillings. Hope this gives you some inspiration, if you are lucky to get your hands on this variety of summer squash.


Patty pan squash, aubergine & date filling, kohlrabi slaw

  • Servings: 2
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Having grown these little saucer shaped veg on a number of occasions, I have never seemed to get them to the size where I could stuff them, but after a recent camping trip & a spell of glorious hot weather, we returned to discover that they had reached a perfect size for stuffing. This is a quick and easy recipe with a earthy kohlrabi slaw on the side. Enjoy


  • 2 x yellow patty-pan (approx. 320g each or bigger)
  • ½ x Aubergine cut into small dice
  • ½ x Medium red onion finely diced
  • 2 x Cloves of garlic chopped
  • 50g Cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 40g Chopped dried dates
  • ½ x Teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 x Tablespoon olive oil
  • Approx. six basil leaves finely shredded
  • 2 x small knobs of butter, approx. rounded teaspoon.
  • Few saving of parmesan or feta cheese (optional)


  1. Heat a medium frying pan with 2 x tbsp of the olive oil and fry the aubergine until golden brown. Drain onto kitchen paper towel.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180c/gas 4. Taking the squash, trim off the bottom end a little so it sits flat. Then slice of the stalk end, just enough to scoop the flesh out. A dessert spoon is perfect for this, take care not to break completely through the skin.
  3. Place the squash on a baking tray and season with salt & pepper, sprinkle with 1 x tbsp olive oil and place a knob of butter is each cavity. Omit this if you are aiming for it to be completely plant based.
  4. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes @ 180c gas 4. Remove when finished.
  5. Make the rest of the filling by sautéing the onions in 1 x tbsp olive oil over a medium heat for 1 minute, then adding in the garlic, tomatoes, smoked paprika, dates and basil and continue frying on a gently heat, for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir through the aubergine.
  7. Divide the filling between the two squashes, top with 3-4 shavings of parmesan or a few pieces of feta. Place back in the oven for further 10-15 minutes.

This is ideal with a handfull of salad leaves, or in this recipe I made a quick kohlrabi slaw. If you want a little heat, add a small chili or stir in a little harissa paste.

Kohlrabi & carrot slaw

  • Difficulty: easy
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  • ½ x medium kohlrabi shredded and squeezed in the cups of your hands to remove excess water.
  • 1 x medium carrot shredded
  • ¼ x White cabbage finely shredded
  • ½ x red onion finely sliced
  • Zest & juice of half a lemon
  • Grind of salt & pepper to taste
  • Drizzle of a good quality balsamic vinegar


  1. Blend all the ingredients, massage through the lemon zest and juice, along with a good grind of salt and pepper.
  2. Place in a bowl, when ready to serve, drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Image, Plate of kolhrabi slaw
kolhrabi slaw
Bowl of Spiralized, pattypan squash
Spiralized, pattypan squash
Image of cut purple kolhrabi


I used the spiralized squash with a veggie bolognese, would also be great as a salad with some shredded red onions, sweet pepper, summer shredded cabbage & spring onions, all tossed in a toasted sesame oil, soy, ginger and honey dressing.

Image, bowl of Spiralized pattypan squash and Spiralizer.
Spiralizing pattypan squash

Sweet potato & carrot pakora fritters-miso

Sweet potato, carrot pakora, Miso aubergines & hummus
Sweet potato & carrot pakora, miso aubergines with hummus, tzatziki & quick pickled cues’
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One of our favourite veggie recipes

With a few spices – a fusion of different flavours, sides of hummus, some tzatziki, and finished off with some home grown mixed leaves. 🍃😋 If you are looking for a little inspiration, maybe this recipe will give you a gentle nudge to get creating in the kitchen. Enjoy.

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Food photography, purple pot of mixed lettuce, background wooden fence.
#grow you own! Mixed lettuce in a pot. Great for cutting as needed, serving alongside your dishes.

Keeping the pakora fritters reasonably thin, will aid in cooking with the least amount of oil. After grilling the aubergines-pop them back-for a final soak in the marinade, then a quick final finish in the oven.

Sweet potato & carrot pakora fritters, char-grilled miso aubergines, hummus & tzatziki

  • Servings: 4
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A fusion of different flavours & textures for this dish-and with a little planning head-bringing all the different elements together will be a lot easier.

Pakora fritters.


  • 300g Grated sweet potato & carrot. (you can do this with a box grater)
  • 100g Gram flour
  • ½ x Onion finely chopped.
  • 1 x Tablespoon ginger finely chopped.
  • 2 x Tablespoon lemon juice.
  • 1 X Teaspoon garam masala.
  • 1 x Teaspoon ground cumin.
  • 1 x Teaspoon smoked paprika.
  • 1 x Teaspoon Turmeric.
  • ½ x Teaspoon fenugreek.
  • 1 x Teaspoon black salt.
  • 2 x Tablespoon sunflower oil.


  1. Blend together the sweet potato, carrots, spices, ginger, lemon juice, onions & salt, then massage the mix with your hands for a couple of minutes. This will help to release the naturel juices.
  2. Sift, and stir through the gram flour until combined, cover and leave for 15 minutes.
  3. Shape the mix into eight small flat discs.
  4. Heat some oil in a frying pan to a low to medium heat, cooking in batches, fry the fritters on each side for 2-3minutes until crispy and golden.

Marinated Aubergines


  • 1 x large aubergine
  • 2 x Tablespoon miso paste
  • 2 x Tablespoon honey
  • 1 x Teaspoon sesame oil
  • Water to loosen the miso, approx.25ml.


  1. Combine the miso, honey & oil, whisk in the water to loosen the mix to a creamy consistency.
  2. Cut the aubergine into 1 ½ cm circles, place in the marinade and leave for approx. 30 minutes before cooking, turn around the aubergines so that it gets a chance to soak up the marinade.
  3. To cook, char-grill, 1-2 minutes on each side, or until lightly charred, pop back in the marinade and finish in the oven @200c/gas6 for 5 minutes-I started mine on the barbecue-alternatively, use a griddle pan, or under the grill.
  4. To assemble, stack two fritters, interleaved with a couple of aubergines & top with hummus, tzatziki & some mixed leaves.

Some quick picked cucumber, another great condiment to serve with this. Just grate half a deseeded cucumber, give it a gentle squeeze to remove the excess water, blend with 15ml red wine vinegar, 15g white sugar & few chopped dill fronds, leave for 10 minutes, then its ready to go.


  • Servings: 4
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  • 100g Dried chickpeas soaked overnight, 200g cooked weight approx.
  • 2 x Tbsp tahini
  • 2 x Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 x Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ x Tsp ground cumin
  • 1 x Clove garlic
  • 100ml Water to loosen the mix to its desired consistency.
  • Salt to taste


  1. Cook the chickpeas until tender approx. 45 minutes.
  2. Place all the ingredients, except the water and salt in a food processor or a high-speed blender, puree, adding the water to bring it to a thick creamy or desired consistency. Add more water or a little extra olive oil if you like it smooth and silky. Season lightly with little salt.


  • Servings: 4
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  • 200g Greek low or full fat naturel yogurt.
  • ½ x deseeded cucumber grated.
  • ½ x lemon zested & juiced.
  • 1 x Clove of garlic finely chopped.
  • 6 x Leaves of fresh mint chopped.


  1. Combine all the ingredients together, add a little salt to taste.

I used dairy in the tzatziki, but feel free to use your favourite non-dairy natural yogurt. Surprisingly, I have not tried the coconut natural yogurt to make tzatziki, wonder🤔 how that might taste!

Strawberry & raspberry

Strawberry & raspberry pavlova with berry sauce and rose petals.

Special request for our daughter’s birthday, classic pavlova, with a small crater created in the middle to pile in plenty of whipped cream, some summer strawberries, raspberries, and a good dollop of berry coulis and a little decorative sprinkling of floral rose petals, which in turn were swept aside by the kids. 😂 Not sure if they believed me, that they were perfectly edible.

This one was carefully crafted by my wife, always works out perfect every time, notable hints would be to use a stand mixer rather than the handheld one for better aeration. The true test of a properly whipped meringue! well in my wife’s case, is to turn the bowl upside down over a small boy’s heads🤣aka our eight-year-old. (Ok, I do not recommend this) All worked out fine.

Strawberry and raspberry pavlova, with rose petals, berry coulis
Strawberry and raspberry pavlova, with rose petals, berry coulis🍓
Devoured strawberry and raspberry pavlova, empty plate, cutlery

Safely said! that was a diffinite hit.😋😋

Strawberry & raspberry pavlova, berry sauce & rose petals

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Rating: ★★★★
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It was our daughters’ birthday this week, and we had a request for one of her favourite desserts, pavlova-with its soft mallow interior and delicate crispy exterior, topped with some summer berries, always a winner with everyone in the family, plus it doubled up as her birthday cake as well😋


  • 6 x large egg whites
  • 2 x Teaspoon of cornflour
  • 1 x Teaspoon of white wine vinegar
  • 340g Caster Sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 x Punnet of strawberries
  • 1 x Punnet of raspberries
  • 300ml Double cream


  1. Place the egg whites in a large clean baking bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat until they are stiff.
  2. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, until it forms stiff peaks. Whisk in the cornflour & vinegar.
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, spread out the meringue into a large circle gathering it up slightly around the edges.
  4. Place in a pre-heated oven 180c/gas4 for 5 minutes, turn down the oven to 140c/gas1, continue cooking for further 75 minutes.
  5. When finished, turn of the oven, leave to cool.
  6. To serve, top with the whipped cream strawberries, raspberries and berry coulis and few rose petals. Enjoy.

Quick berry coulis

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 250g Frozen berries
  • 2 x Tablespoons icing sugar.
  • 1 X Teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Allow the berries to thaw, then blend with the other ingredients to a puree, pass through a fine sieve to remove the seeds.

Should be a little sharpness to this coulis, feel free to add in a little extra sugar if you prefer it sweeter.

Tempura-pattypan squash blossoms-wet garlic-herb vinaigrette-recipes@thebrokenoven

Patty Pan squash in pot
Patty Pan squash in the greenhouse

Tempura patty-pan squash blossoms & wet garlic with pickled red cherries and herb vinaigrette

Extremely excited this time of year when there is some early summer season produce to play around with.

Patty-pan squash blossoms from the green house to start off with, then an earlier in the week, dawn raid on my mother -in- laws, sun trapped back garden, herb plants. An abundance of lovage, savory, rosemary, thyme parsley, lemon balm, mint & sage awaited as I swiftly whipped out the scissors to take a snippet of each. ✂😎

With Father’s Day in this part of the world Sunday past, I was treated with a tasty roast lamb dish which had the beneficial use of the rosemary and savory to enhance its flavour.

And then, a visit to the local organic farm where I picked up some wet garlic, which is available for a short period, this time of year. Milder in flavour, it can be eaten raw including the greener part of the stalk, ideal for salads, or used in similar ways as you would chives, spring onions & leeks.

Finely some sweet deep purple cherries 🍒which I pickled to bring a little sweet and sour element to the salad.


Tempura Patty Pan squash blossoms, wet garlic, with pickled cherries & herb vinaigrette

  • Servings: 2
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With summer in full swing and a few early ingredients popping up around the garden, and with some great additions from the local farms, thought this salad would be perfect with a glass of your favourite tipple


  • Selection of your favourite leaves, I used baby spinach & red leaf.
  • Handful of pickled cherries, see recipe below.
  • One head of wet garlic cut into wedges are slices.
  • Some squash blossoms, I was lucky enough to have these in my garden. You might pick some up in good veggie suppliers.
  • A few yellow Cherry tomatoes.
  • 1 x Tablespoon of honey

Tempura batter


  • 75g Plain flour.
  • 95g Cornflour.
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt.
  • ¼ Teaspoon smoked paprika.
  • 1 x Egg yolk. Leave out if you prefer it to be completely plants.
  • 170ml Chilled sparkling water.


  1. Sieve the flours into a bowl and add in the salt & smoked paprika and stir through.
  2. Pour in the water & yolk, blend to a ‘double cream’ consistency, being careful not to over work the batter, do not worry if there are still little pockets of flour. This is best completed, just before you want to start using it for frying.
  3. Assemble your leaves on a plate and garnish with the tomatoes.
  4. Heat 500ml approx. of sunflower or vegetable oil in a saucepan until 180c/350f
  5. Check the oil is at the right temperature by dropping in some batter, it should start to crisp up quickly.
  6. In batches fry of the wet garlic first, which will take around 2-4 minutes depending on their size, turn them around so that they are evenly cooked, crisp, and pale golden.
  7. Drain with a slotted spoon and place on some absorbent kitchen towel and continue finishing with the garlic & squash blossoms.
  8. To assemble, place the tempura blossoms and garlic on top of the salad leaves and dress with some of the stoned pickled cherries, and spoonsful of the herb vinaigrette, and drizzle of honey. Enjoy.
If you cannot get your hands on some squash blossom flowers or wet garlic, just use alternative vegetables like courgettes, onions, peppers or broccoli florets. Adjust the herb elements in the dressing as well, if needed, flat leaf parsley & chives would work.

Pickled red cherries

  • Servings: 4
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  • 200g Fresh red cherries, washed and stem removed. Leave stone in at this stage.
  • 100ml Cider vinegar
  • 50ml White wine vinegar
  • 50ml Water
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 1 x Bay-leaf
  • 2 x All spice berries
  • ¼ x Teaspoon coriander seeds


  1. Place the cherries inside a medium sized, approx. ½ litre sterilized Kilner jar.
  2. Place all the other ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer until the sugar has dissolved, continue simmering for a further 5 minutes. Cool slightly, then pour over the cherries, close the lid, and leave for 1-2 weeks before using.
  3. When ready to serve with the salad, split in half and remove the stone.
Herb, shallot, sweet pepper & harissa dressing in colourful bowl.
Herb, shallot, sweet pepper & harissa dressing
Food photography, fragrant fresh garden herbs, in glass jars

Herb vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 150ml olive oil
  • 25ml White wine vinegar
  • 2 x Teaspoons of honey
  • 1 x small, sweet pepper finely diced.
  • 1 x medium shallot finely diced.
  • 1 x Clove of garlic finely chopped.
  • 4 x lovage leaves finely chopped.
  • 4 x Mint leaves finely chopped.
  • Small bunch carrot tops finely chopped.
  • ¼ Teaspoon harissa paste
  • Zest of one lemon


  1. Blend all the ingredients together and place in a jar, ideally leave for a day before using.

Chopped ingredients for homemade dressing in colourful bowl
Chopped ingredients for homemade dressing


Blackbean & freekeh burger-Recipes@thebrokenoven

Black bean, freekeh & yellow split pea burger, lettuce, butternut squash dressing.
Black bean and freekeh burger

Blackbean, Freekeh & yellow split pea burger with roasted butternut squash dressing.


It’s hard to beat a cracking beefburger recipe with all the trimmings, but every now and then, remembering to keep my cholesterol levels in check, I do love a good veggie burger or pattie whatever you like to call them.
Just plenty of fresh ingredients, blended together, making sure to pop in loads of flavour to perk things up, and in this recipe it comes packed with lots of protein and fibre rich ingredients in the way of freekeh, yellow split peas & black beans to add  lots of texture.

Thinking 🤔 of an alternative dressing, which is an essential accompaniment for any burger, I came up with a  butternut squash dressing-if you’re looking to have it completely plants, just adjust the recipe as I’ve suggested below.

And to finish it off some quick pickled red onions for a puckering hint of acidity, plus your favourite bun, or in my case I used some sturdy lettuce, like the red leaf cos, hope you enjoy making this recipe your own 😋.

Black bean & freekeh burger, butternut squash dressing

  • Servings: 6
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Another option for using up freekeh, alongside black beans and yellow split peas, this recipe makes for a protein packed veggie patty. Served with a vibrant and velvety smooth butternut squash dressing. Enjoy


  • 150g Black beans soaked in water overnight then cooked for approx. 20 minutes and drained. Approx. 290g cooked weight
  • 100g Freekeh soaked in water overnight, then cooked for approx. 15 minutes and drained. Approx. 290g cooked weight.
  • 75g Yellow split peas soaked in water overnight, then cooked for approx.25 minutes until tender, then drained. Approx. 150g cooked weight.
  • 1 x medium onion finely diced.
  • 2 x Cloves of garlic Finely chopped.
  • 100g Grated carrot.
  • 2x Tsp smoked paprika.
  • 2 x Tsp sumac.
  • 2 x Tsp oregano.
  • 2 x Tsp ground cumin.
  • Small bunch fresh flat leaf parsley chopped.
  • 20g Milled flax seeds.
  • 1x Tsp harissa paste or more if you like them spicy.
  • 2 x Tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper


1. Sauté the onion in a frying pan with 2 x tbsp olive oil on a low to medium heat until just starting to soften, add in the garlic and continue cooking for a further minute, then stir through the spices and harissa paste-cook for a further minute to release the flavours from the spices. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Using a food processor pulse together the black beans, split peas & freekeh. Not too much, just enough to break them down, add in the milled flax seed, fresh parsley and the onion mix, along with a good grind of salt & pepper-give them another pulse to blend everything together.
3. Tip the mix out into a bowl and incorporate the carrots using your hand, until evenly distributed.
4. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for an hour to allow the flavours to develop.
5. Finely remove from the fridge-check the seasoning-if it needs a little more salt & pepper, add in a few more grinds.
6. Using approx. 150g in weight, form them together in the palm of your hands into round patties. They should hold, but if you want them to be a little more robust add in a small amount of breadcrumbs.
7. Cover them over and return to the fridge to firm up slightly approx. 30-45 minutes.
8. Heat a non-stick frying with 2 x tbsp oil and fry the patties on each side for approx. two minutes or until the have coloured a little on each side.
9. Place in a pre-heated oven 180c/gas 4 and finish cooking for a further 15 minutes.
If you are after an alternative dressing, why not try my roasted butternut squash dressing, went down a treat-also try some quick pickled red onions for acidity, serve the ‘burgers’ with mini red cos lettuce, or a burger bun if you prefer, alongside some sauteed red pepper, onions & sliced cherry tomatoes. Enjoy.

Roasted squash dressing

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Top half of a butternut squash cut into cubes.
  • 1 x Tbsp Tahini
  • 2 x Tbsp strained protein Naturel yogurt/or choose a variety that suits your taste. Plant based.
  • 2 x Tsp cider vinegar
  • 2 x Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ x Tsp harissa paste
  • Salt to taste.

1. Place the chopped squash in a piece of tin foil along with the two crushed garlic bulbs,
1 x tbsp of the olive oil & the bay-leaf. Season with salt, scrunch up the tin foil so the squash is completely covered and cook for 25-30 minutes, just so the squash is completely tender when a knife is inserted through it. Remove and allow to cool slightly, opening the tin foil.
2. Remove the bay-leaf, place the squash in a food processor along with any juices & garlic, give it a whizz, then add in the remaining ingredients, blend to a smooth velvety texture. Check for seasoning.
3. Alternatively, you could use a handheld stick/immersion blender using a deep sided container.

This is a great alternative to a mayonnaise, especially if you are looking for it to be completely plants. Do not forget to serve with some pickled red onions.
Simply slice a red onion thinly, toss with 1 x tbsp light brown sugar & 2 x tbsp cider vinegar, then message them together for a couple of minutes. Leave to stand for 30 minutes before using them.
Food photography,Ingredients for black bean & freekeh burger
Ingredients for black bean & freekeh burger
Roasting garlic and butternut squash for dressing, in tin foil.
Black bean & freekeh burger with trimmings,on wooden board, pickled onions, butternut squash dressing.
Black bean & freekeh burger with trimmings


Eggplant chilli-crushed green wheat-recipes@thebrokenoven

Food photography, Aubergine, chilli with roasted green wheat, sauce pan, yogurt, lime, pomegranate

Fragrant eggplant chilli with roasted green wheat pilaf


Need a plant recipe with a little extra edge in depth of flavour, try this tasty 😋recipe, with influences from the Caribbean & India.

Best cooked, then left for a few hours for the flavours to develop or even overnight. I have also kept it mild, but feel free to crank up the heat with extra harissa.

Instead of rice, I have served mine with a side of freekeh pilaf, which adds an extra nutritional hit of fibre and protein, along with its nutty and slightly Smoky taste.

Aubergine-being one of the key ingredients-make sure when choosing-that they are taught with a shiny skin.  The spice blend will also work well with beef or lamb.

Fragrant eggplant chilli with roasted crushed green wheat pilaf

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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If you’re looking to elevate your veggie chilli this recipe should hit the spot! Do not be put off by the list of spices, well worth the effort if you are looking for a deep aromatic & lightly spiced chilli


  • 1 x large aubergine or 2 x medium cut into cubes.
  • 2 x Shallots peeled & sliced.
  • 1 x Large yellow pepper, seeds removed and diced.
  • 4 x Small Violet white striped aubergines split in half.
  • 100g approx. Thai baby green aubergines.
  • 150g cherry tomatoes.
  • 4 x Tbsp olive oil. 2 for each batch.
  • 1 x Tbsp olive oil for the small aubergines

Sauté the large aubergine in 2 x tbsp oil in two batches and set aside. Roast the small violet stripped & Thai aubergines with the cherry tomatoes in a pre-heated oven 180c/gas 4 for approx.20 minutes until tender. Set aside. You should be able to pick up the eggplant varieties in good Asian stores.


  • 1 x Tsp coriander seed.
  • 1 x Tsp cumin seeds.
  • 1 x Tsp fenugreek.
  • 1 x Tsp smoked paprika.
  • 2 x Bay-leaves.
  • 2x Star anise.
  • 1 x Tsp all spice berries.
  • 2 x Cloves of garlic finely chopped or crushed.
  • 1 x Tbsp soy sauce.
  • 1 x tbsp Worcestershire sauce.
  • 1 x Tsp tomato paste.
  • 1 x Tsp harissa paste, you may like to use more depending on the brand you are using for extra heat.
  • 1 x Tsp sugar.
  • 500g Tomato passata.
  • 1 x Can of cannellini beans.
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander chopped.
  • Salt & Pepper.


  1. Crush any seeds or berries you may be using in a pestle and mortar or grinder.
  2. Sauté the pepper with the shallots in 2 x tbsp oil on a medium heat until starting to colour.
  3. Add in the bay-leaves & garlic, continue sautéing for a further 1 minute, then add in all the dry spices-continue cooking for a further minute-reduce the heat a little so they do not burn.
  4. Stir through the tomato paste and harissa, along with the soy & Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Pour in the tomato passata or alternatively you can use 2 x cans chopped tomatoes.
  6. Bring to a simmer and add in the sugar, along with the cooked aubergines, and a good grind of salt and Black-pepper.
  7. Leaves to simmer for approx. 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with the green wheat, see recipe below. Decorate the chilli with the small roasted aubergines, some fresh coriander, a few dollops of naturel yogurt, and some lime wedges. Enjoy.

All spice berries with flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves are great at adding a deep fragrance to savoury dishes, most notably it is used in Jamaican jerk spice.

Star-anise, another strong aromatic spice with licoricey fennel flavours, used sparingly it will add depth to a dish like this chilli. Remember to remove the whole stars after finishing cooking your dish.

Roasted green wheat (Freekeh)pilaf

  • Servings: 4
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  • 1 x Shallot finely diced.
  • 1 x Clove of garlic chopped.
  • 100g Freekeh preferably crushed or cracked.
  • 500 ml vegetable stock.
  • 1 x Tbsp olive oil
  • Half a pomegranate


  1. Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan, then sauté the shallots gently until soft.
  2. Add in the garlic and continue cooking for further minute, then stir in the freekeh and coat with the garlic and shallot, pour in the stock. Cover with a lid and simmer on low -medium heat until cooked and the liquid has been absorbed. Keep your eye on this process, as you may need to add a little more water for the freekeh to cook to the right consistency.
  3. Remove from the heat and leave covered for 5 more minutes. It should still have a slightly chewy texture.
  4. Serve along side the chilli, topped with some pomegranate seeds.

With its slightly nutty and chewy texture, this is a great alternative to rice or quinoa.
Food photography, Aubergine, spices, seasoning, garlic, for chilli
Aubergine, spices, garlic, for chilli
Aubergine garnish for chilli, tray
Food photography, Sauteing yellow peppers, shallot & garlic for chilli
Sauteing yellow peppers, shallot & garlic for chilli