Middle Eastern pita nachos

Middle Eastern pita nachos
Middle Eastern pita nachos
Middle Eastern pita nachos

Sometimes when I don’t know what to write about, I refer to a list in my iPhone Notes that is inventively called ‘stories to write about’. This list is made up of a collection anecdotes, stories and quotes that I feel are noteworthy, funny, or just outright weird. The list is ongoing, but I rarely look at it, let alone read it as tend to add to it after I’ve had a few wines. Anyway, after an uncharacteristically dull week, I thought I’d rummage through the archives and found this little gem…
“Jamie ate a woodlouse off his chest after mistaking it for a beansprout.” That was all it said. Not context, no backstory, no nothing… Still, it did the job.

Anyhoo, let’s move on to some beany deliciousness. Inspired by Nigella’s beef and aubergine fatteh recipe I thought I’d have a go at making my own vegetarian equivalent. I loved the idea of using pitta chips as a base and topping them with gorgeous Middle Eastern ingredients and flavours. The result was hearty, wholesome and pretty as a picture.


Middle Eastern pita nachos
Serves 2 / Hands on time 25 mins / Total time 40 mins / V ❄ 
2 tbs rapeseed oil
2 wholemeal pita breads
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
Pinch chili flakes
1 medium sized aubergine, cut into small cubes
1 tbs tomato puree
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes, sliced
To serve
80g vegetarian feta cheese
Pomegranate seeds
Chopped parsley
Sumac (optional)


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking paper. Pour a tbs of rapeseed oil into a small dish and using a brush, paint the baking paper with the oil. Cut the pita bread into triangles and place on the baking tray. Using the brush, paint each piece with oil before seasoning well with salt and pepper. Bake the pita in the oven for 5 minutes before flipping each pita triangle and baking for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and put to one side.
2. In a large saucepan or cooking pot with a lid, add a tbs of rapeseed oil over a medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped onions, garlic and aubergine cubes and stir well. Cover with a lid and leave to cook for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes and drain and rinse the cannellini beans. Once softened, stir in the cumin, coriander, salt and chilli flakes. Add a dash of water and stir again, cooking for a couple of minutes.
4. Mix in the tomato puree before adding the tinned tomatoes, cannellini beans, sliced tomato and 100mls of water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Up the heat slightly and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, chop the parsley and prepare the pomegranate seeds.
5. Once cooked, take off the heat and stir in a handful of parsley (keep a little back if you want to add a sprinkle for decoration).
6. Finally, divide the pita chips onto 2 plates and top generously with the bean mixture. Crumble over the feta and sprinkle with chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds. Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a dusting of sumac.

Middle Eastern pita nachos
Middle Eastern pita nachos


If you’ve had a go at making my Middle Eastern nachos or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


V– Vegetarian ❄– The bean mixture is suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.



Green spaghetti carbonara

Spaghetti carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara

Admittedly I’ve never tried spaghetti carbonara, so I have no comparison, but from what I’ve heard it’s the bacon that gives this dish the smoky, salty hit that it’s so famous for. Take the bacon away and all you’re left with is eggy spaghetti… Scrummy. So I’ve added some greens and a rather questionable ingredient – smoked tofu. Believe me, I was as unconvinced as you undoubtedly are, but a small diced amount brings the subtle smoky flavour this dish requires. Failing that, I have a packet of Frazzles on standby.


Green spaghetti carbonara
Serves 2 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 25 mins 
1 tsp rapeseed oil
150g spaghetti
1 courgette, grated
80g smoked tofu, diced
½ tsp smoked paprika + extra for sprinkling
100g baby spinach
3 tbs Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp horseradish sauce
40g vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan, grated
2 eggs
140g dried spaghetti
Chopped parsley to serve (optional)
Drizzle Pomora extra virgin olive oil (optional)


Method
1. Start by putting a kettle on to boil and grating the courgette and chopping the tofu into small pieces. Once boiled, pour the water into a medium sized saucepan and place over a medium heat, bring to a simmer but don’t add the spaghetti just yet.
2. In a separate large saucepan or cooking pot, add the oil and place over a medium to high heat. Once hot, add the courgette along with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add the tofu pieces, half a teaspoon of smoked paprika and give it a stir. Turn the heat down to medium and gently cook, stirring occationally. Now is a good time to add the spaghetti to the simmering water (follow the packet instructions and cook to your desired level of al dente).
3. Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, horseradish and crushed garlic in a small mixing bowl. Grate in the cheese, add the eggs and a generous pinch of pepper. Stir well and put to one side.
4. Add the spinach to the courgette mixture a handful at a time until wilted. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add straight into the pot. Pour over the carbonara sauce and stir carefully to coat the pasta. Season well with salt and pepper before turning up the heat and cook for a few more minutes.
5. Divide into bowls and finish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a crack of black pepper.

Spaghetti carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara


If you’ve had a go at making my spaghetti carbonara or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


*Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.



Celeriac baked rice ​with goats cheese

Celeriac baked rice with goats cheese
Celariac baked rice with goats cheese
Celeriac baked rice with goats cheese

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, although it’s hard not to when you’re staring down at the misshapen, ugly face of a celeriac. Its knobbly, gnarly and often hairy skin looks like something out of a science fiction film.
Like a lot of people, I am guilty of overlooking this vegetable, but I felt sorry for it sitting on the shelf next to the prettier and cutely named munchkin pumpkin – the celeriac never have a chance. So I took his ugly mug home and lovingly peeled, chopped and roasted him in this delicious rice dish. It’s what he would have wanted.


Celeriac baked rice ​with goats cheese
Serves 4 / Hands on time 25 mins / Total time 1 hr 15 mins / V Gf
You’ll need: A deep oven-proof casserole dish
2 tbs rapeseed oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 medium sized celeriac (roughly 650g), peeled and cut into large chunks
½ tsp garlic granules
½ tsp sea salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch chilli flakes
500ml vegetable stock, I use 1 Knorr stock pot
200g brown basmati rice
4 rosemary sprigs
150g vegetarian goats cheese (including rind)
85g black olives, drained and halved
Fresh parsley, chopped


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/428°F/gas mark 7. Add the chopped onion and the garlic to a deep casserole dish along with the rapeseed oil, garlic granules, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes. Give it all a good stir.
2. Peel and cut the celeriac into large pieces and add to the dish. Using a spoon, turn the celeriac in the marinade until the pieces are evenly coated. Add the rice and pour over the vegetable stock and stir carefully. Make sure the rice is fully immersed under the stock before adding the rosemary springs. Cover the dish in a layer of tin foil and bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, roughly cut the goats cheese into chunks, finely chop the parsley and half the black olives. Put to one side.
4. Once cooked, remove the rice from the oven and discard the foil. Taste the rice to check it’s cooked (if the rice is still a little tough, cover in foil and return to the oven and cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Wholegrain basmati rice is a little firmer than regular basmati so will still have a bit of bite to it even when cooked).
5. Top the rice with goats cheese and sprinkle with fresh parsley and black olives. Serve with a simple green salad.

Celeriac baked rice with goats cheese
Celeriac baked rice with goats cheese


If you’ve had a go at making my celeriac baked rice or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


V– Vegetarian.   Gf– Gluten free   ❄ Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.



Cheese and onion puff pasties

Cheese and onion puff pasties
Cheese and onion puff pasties
Cheese and onion puff pasties

I was shopping in my beloved Sainsbury’s today and got talking to an elderly man in the queue. His trolley was full of cakes, various pastries, walnut whips and a large pack of adult nappies – way more interesting than my own basket. He was quick to explain that the adult nappies were for his 80-year- old boyfriend, but unfortunately one pack only lasts him three days – TMI. When I suggested he go and get another pack, he explained he couldn’t carry the chocolate, cakes and the two packs of nappies on the bus, so I offered to give him and his nappies a lift.
In the car, I learned that not only was this eccentric old man a delight to talk to, but his name was Peter and he used to be a producer at the BBC. He spent the journey recounting all his worldly adventures, dropping casually into conversation that his tutor was none other than David Attenborough.
Sadly, when I pulled up outside his house, I had to say my goodbyes – he had afternoon tea to prepare – so I helped him with his bags and shook his lovely warm hand, only for him to present me with a box of walnut whips that I will treasure forever.

Oh, and so when I got home, I made cheese and onion puff pasties, but they were a total disaster, so I decided to sack off making another batch and retreat to my sofa to eat marmalade on toast for the rest of the afternoon. So, these are my second attempt and the reason you didn’t receive a blog yesterday, apologies.


Cheese and onion puff pasties
Makes 4-5 pasties / Hands on time 45 mins / Total time 1 hr 10 mins / V
You’ll need: A rolling pin and a tea cup saucer (roughly 14 cm)
1 medium large baking potato (250g), skin on and chopped into cubes
250ml cold water
½ a vegetable stock pot or cube, I use Knorr
1 large onion (200g), peeled and finely chopped
150g mature vegetarian cheddar, grated
375g chilled ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs flour (for dusting)


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/ 428°F/gas mark 7. In a casserole pot or large saucepan, add the chopped potatoes, stock pot and 250ml of cold water. Put on a high heat and bring to the boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes.
2. Add the chopped onions and give it a good stir. Turn the heat down slightly and continue to cook for a further 8 minutes, stirring frequently (now is a good time to grate the cheese). Take off the heat, season well with salt and pepper and put the filling to one side to cool.
3. Roll out the ready rolled puff pastry and using a tea cup saucer as a stencil, cut out as many circles as you can before gathering up the trimmings and re-rolling to make more. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and dust with a little flour. Place the pastry circles on them and using the back of a fork make little imprints along the edges of each circle.
4. Stir the grated cheese into the cooled potato and onion mixture and add another crack of black pepper to taste. Place a heaped tablespoon of mixture down the middle of each circle of pastry. Brush the imprinted edge with a little beaten egg, before folding over to create a half moon pillow. Seal by applying downward pressure with your finger tips and imprinting with the back of a fork. Cut 3 small slits in the top of each pasty with a sharp knife to allow the hot air to escape while baking.
5. Once all your pasties are filled, brush them with beaten egg, space out evenly on the baking trays and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack. Serve warm or cool completely and enjoy cold as a snack. The pasties will last up to 3 days refrigerated in an air tight container.

Cheese and onion puff pasties
Cheese and onion puff pasties

If you’ve had a go at making my pasties or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


​V– Vegetarian   ❄ Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.



Veggie toad-in-the-hole

Toad in the hole
Toad in the hole
Toad in the hole

Not sure why toad-in-the-hole is called toad-in-the-hole. Perhaps it used to be made with real toads – I know the Tudors used to eat all sorts. Although, I guess if you were to consider eating a toad, serving one up in a giant Yorkshire pudding wouldn’t be a bad serving suggestion – especially if you dipped it in mustard.
However, my instincts (and Wikipedia) have informed me that it is much more likely to refer to ‘toads waiting for their prey in their burrows, making their heads visible in the earth, just like the sausages peep through the batter’… How disappointing – although, I did discover that toad-in-the-hole used to have the catchy name of ‘meat boiled in a crust’.
Anyway, rest assured that my recipe for toad-in-the-hole is surprisingly easy, delicious and free from amphibians. What more could you want?


Veggie toad-in-the-hole
Serves 2 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 40 mins / V❄ 
You’ll need: 20cm oven proof dish and an electric whisk
2 tsp rapeseed oil
6 chilled vegetarian sausages, I use Cauldron
3 fresh thyme sprigs
75g plain flour
1 egg
100ml semi skimmed milk
Pinch of ground nutmeg
To serve
Wholegrain mustard, gravy and tender-stem broccoli


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/ 428°F/gas mark 7. Grease a small oven-proof dish (roughly 20cm) with oil and add the 6 chilled vegetarian sausages, along with 2 tsp of rapeseed oil. Shake the sausages until they’ll evenly coated in the oil before adding 3 sprigs of fresh thyme. Cook the sausages in the oven, on the middle shelf for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile make the batter, by measuring out the flour in a medium sized bowl. Add a good crack of salt and pepper, along with a pinch of nutmeg and give it a stir. Make a well in the flour and crack the egg into it. Using a hand whisk, combine the egg with the flour and slowly incorporate the milk until you have a thick but smooth batter. Switch to an electric whisk and mix for a couple of minutes. Put to one side.
3. Carefully remove the sausages from the oven and discard the thyme sprigs, leaving the detached leaves. Pour the batter slowly into a corner of the dish slowly and allow it to spread out evenly between the sausages.
4. Return the dish to the oven and bake on the top shelf for 15 minutes or until the batter has puffed up and is a lovely golden colour. Spoon out onto plates and serve with steamed tender-stem broccoli, gravy and a good dollop of wholegrain mustard.


If you’ve had a go at making my veggie toad-in-the-hole or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com.


V– Vegetarian   – Suitable for home freezing once cooked and cooled. Consume within 3 months.



Harissa carrot & lentil salad

Harissa carrot & lentil salad
Harissa carrot & lentil salad
Harissa carrot & lentil salad

I don’t know why I do it to myself. I just spent another Sunday attempting to make Thai green curry only to fail miserably. Again! I never learn.
Firstly, the paste I made was so hot that even Jamie – who sprinkles chilli on his cornflakes – had to spit it out. Secondly, coconut cream is not the same as coconut milk – the box I bought was a separated grainy mess. Thirdly, swapping tofu for jackfruit made for a weird and sloppy texture, not to mention the fact that jackfruit tastes like, well, a fruit. Jamie didn’t seem to mind, though, and happily gobbled it up while I sulkily tucked into a packet of crisps.

On that note, here’s something I made earlier that actually worked. Roasted harissa carrot and lentil salad on a bed of homemade labneh (strained Greek yoghurt). If you can’t be bothered to make your own labneh (I don’t blame you), simply substitute for full-fat Greek yoghurt.

Harissa carrot & lentil salad
Serves 2 / Hands on time 35 mins / Total time 45 mins / Gf
For the carrots
250g whole carrots, trimmed and peeled  (I use organic bunched carrots)
1 tbs rapeseed oil
1 tbs harissa
2 tsp maple syrup
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp ground cumin
For the lentils
1 tsp rapeseed oil
Small red onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp harissa
250g ready to eat puy lentils
Juice and zest of a lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
To serve
4 tbs full fat Greek yogurt or Labneh 
Handful fresh dill, chopped
50g soft vegetarian goats cheese (optional)


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ 400F/gas mark 6. Trim and peel the carrots and place in a large roasting tin.
2. To make the dressing combine the rapeseed oil, harissa, maple syrup, garlic, ground cumin together in a small bowl with a crack of salt and pepper. Pour over the carrots and mix well until they are well coated. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes before giving them a good shake and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile sweat the onions in the oil in a large pot or frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add a dash of water to help the onions steam before adding the harissa. Stir and cook for a few minutes before adding the lentils along with the zest and juice of a lemon. Season well with salt and pepper and warm through. Once hot, take off the heat and stir in the crushed garlic. Cover with a lid and put to one side.
4. To serve, make a bed of yogurt or labneh in the middle of each plate and spoon over the warm lentils. Top with the carrots, a sprinkling of chopped dill and scatter with soft goats cheese.

Harissa carrot & lentil salad
Harissa carrot & lentil salad

If you’ve had a go at making my harissa carrot salad or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com.


V– Vegetarian.   Gf– Gluten free



Homemade labneh

Labneh
Homemade labneh
Homemade labneh

When it comes to making things like cheese and bread, I have to admit that I have a bit of a bad attitude. I mean, why would I bother when I can buy a lovely loaf of bread from the shop made by someone who actually knows what they’re doing? I know that’s not the point, but sometimes I find it hard to snap out of my stubborn, convenience-obsessed self.
So, after accidentally adding two pots of Greek yoghurt to my online shopping basket, I decided to roll up my sleeves and have a go at making labeh* – I mean, there’s only so much yoghurt a girl can eat.
I dug out the muslin cloth I used to make cheese three years ago and draped it over an inadequately sized sieve, balanced over an inadequately sized bowl. I added salt to my yoghurt and poured it straight into the muslin and tied it in a knot. Okay, what next? Oh, is that it? Well, that was easy. So I walked off and enjoyed an afternoon watching Blake Lively almost get eaten by a very big shark in The Shallows.

*For those of you that don’t know, labneh is literally strained yogurt. It has the texture of cream cheese but the flavour of Greek yoghurt and is utterly delicious. Serve with salads, roasted vegetables, on toast or check out what I decided to make with it next week. Oh, I bet you’re on tenterhooks.


Homemade labneh
Makes 350g  / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 10 mins + 20-24 hours draining / V Gf
You’ll need: Roughly a metre of fine muslin
500g full-fat Greek style yogurt
1 heaped tsp of sea salt flakes


Method
1. Place a sieve over a large bowl and cover with a muslin cloth folded in half (you need to fold the muslin to prevent yogurt seeping through, you only want to remove the liquid).
2. Add the salt directly to the tub of yogurt and stir well with a butter knife (you can use a spoon but the surface area of a butter knife is smaller so you’re less likely to spill the yogurt).
3. Once combined, spoon the yogurt straight into the muslin cloth. Gather up the edges and tie in a tight knot (the liquid draining out of the yogurt should be relatively clear). Keep in a cool dry place for 20-24 hours covered with a tea-towel (the longer you leave the labneh the thicker it will become).
4. When you’re ready, give the labneh a final squeeze to get rid of any excess water before untying the knot. Tip the labneh into an air-tight container and store in the fridge. Consume within 3 days.


If you’ve had a go at making my labneh or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


V– Vegetarian    Gf– Gluten free



Spring green egg fried rice

Spring green egg fried rice
Spring green egg fried rice
Spring green egg fried rice

August. Is. Evil! Sure, the weather’s nice, and for one blissful month, I don’t have to share my commute with hundreds of school children, but just as I’m about to pour myself a well-deserved gin and tonic and plan the weekend ahead, I notice that I don’t have a single weekend free until mid-September. NOOOOOO! Weddings, Christenings, birthdays and reunions clog up my iPhone calendar like virtual turds that just won’t flush. I decide to leave the glass and take the bottle of gin to my wardrobe, where I stare blankly before deciding which outfits I can get away with wearing at least twice.

Four weeks on and I have successfully godmothered, danced and drunk my way through the wedding season. So it will come as no surprise that when I finally get a weekend to do what I want to do, I come down with a disgusting cold.
“At least you’re not an American prisoner of war in Vietnam” Jamie says, rather unsympathetically. Yes, well, I guess there’s always that I think, as I reach for the already empty box of tissues.

And what has any of this got to do with egg-fried rice? Admittedly, not much, apart from the fact that egg-fried rice was the only thing I managed to pull together before I collapsed into my bed for a few days. Top with a fried egg and serve drizzled with soy sauce.


Spring green egg fried rice
Serves 2 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 20 mins / V Df
You’ll need: One small and one large frying pan
3 tsp sesame oil
3 spring onions, sliced into strips (keeping a little back for garnish)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Knob of ginger, grated
3 eggs (1 egg beaten)
80g spring greens (roughly two handfuls)
30g frozen peas
250g cooked brown basmati rice
1 tbs light soy sauce

Method
1. Prepare a large frying and a small frying pan by adding 1 tsp of sesame oil to each. Put the large frying pan on a medium to high heat and allow the oil to warm. Meanwhile chop the spring onions, garlic and grate the ginger. Add these to the pan and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.
2. Add the beaten egg and allow to cook for 30 seconds before using a spoon to break up the egg. Add the chopped greens and the frozen peas along with a dash of water to help them steam. Allow to cook for another couple of minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put the smaller frying pan on a medium to high heat and crack in both eggs. Fry until the white is set but the yolk is still soft.
4. Whilst the eggs are cooking, add the cooked rice, soy sauce and a tsp of sesame oil to the greens and cook for a further 3 minutes. Finally, divide into bowls and serve topped with a fried egg and a sprinkling of chopped spring onions.

Spring green egg fried rice
Spring green egg fried rice

If you’ve had a go at making my spring green egg fried rice or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


V– Vegetarian    Df– Dairy free



Black bean quesadillas

Black bean quesadillas
Black bean quesadillas
Black bean quesadillas

Essentially, a quesadilla is a Mexican cheese toastie – and seriously, what’s not to like about that?! There’s also no toastie machine/fancy single- contact grill involved, you can simply squidge these babies into your frying pan and fill them with all sorts of magical fillings. In fact, it reminded me of the Branston pickle and cheese toasties my mum used to make me. I remember it like it was yesterday, that first glorious bite that would send a molten cheesy Branston pickle lava to run down my chin, burning my face and the inside of my mouth. Good times.
Anyhoo, until I come up with a safe alternative to the Branston pickle toastie, let’s squash some black beans together with some cheese and have a fiesta. Quesadillas are easy to make and a great way to get rid of leftovers, because you can fill them with pretty much anything, just as long as you have some kind of cheese to bind it all together. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again (a bit more sincerely this time) ‘good times’.

Black bean quesadillas
Makes 2 quesadillas / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 35 mins /
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 small white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 corn on the cob, kernels removed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 lime
Handful of fresh coriander chopped
200g grated vegetarian cheddar (100g per quesadilla)
4 large wholemeal tortillas
To serve 
2 spring onions, chopped
Avocado, stoned and scooped out

Method
1. Preheat an oven to 140°C/120°C fan/ 275°F/gas mark 1 and place 2 large oven-proof plates inside. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan or casserole dish, sweat the sliced onions in the rapeseed oil with a good pinch of salt until softened (add a dash of water if the onions are catching to help them steam).
2. Once the onions are soft, add the smoked paprika, cumin and chilli flakes and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring continually (if the spices start to stick to the bottom
, add a dash of water to loosen them up). Meanwhile, carefully run a sharp knife down the sides of the corn on the cob to remove the kernels and add them to the pan along with the black beans and the juice of half a lime. Give it all a good stir and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the remaining lime into wedges.
3. Cook the bean mixture for a further five minutes on a medium to high heat before adding a handful of chopped coriander. Take off the heat, cover with a lid and put to one side.

TIP: Once cooled the filling can be frozen. I usually only make one quesadilla and freeze the other half of the bean mixture for another day. To freeze, fully cool before spooning into an airtight container and freezing for up to 3 months. 


4. Grate the cheese (100g per quesadilla) and put to one side. *Put a large non-stick frying pan on a medium to high heat and place a wholemeal tortilla inside. Top with half the bean mixture and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle with half the cheddar and top with another tortilla. Press down on the quesadilla with a spatular as it is cooking to make sure it is as flat as possible (this makes it easier to flip). Cook for 5 minutes before flipping and cooking on the other side for a further 5 minutes.


TIP: Don’t be scared to flip the quesadilla, just do it quickly. I never manage to flip mine perfectly but once it’s flipped you can tidy it up a bit in the pan).


5. Using oven gloves, carefully remove one of the plates from the oven and turn the first quesadilla out onto it. Cover with foil and place back in the oven on top of the other plate to keep warm. Repeat the process from the for the second quesadilla.
6. Once the second quesadilla is ready, carefully remove the first quesadilla for the oven along with the foil and the other hot plate (the plates will be very hot so please use oven gloves and handle with care). Turn the second quesadilla out onto the remaining hot plate, cut each quesadilla into eighths and serve with lime wedges and sprinkled with chopped spring onions. 

Black bean quesadillas
Black bean quesadillas


If you’ve had a go at making my black bean quesadillas or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com.


V– Vegetarian     – The bean mixture can be frozen for up to 3 months once cooled.



Saag paneer with kale

Saag paneer
Saag paneer
Saag paneer

This is what I order every time I eat in an Indian restaurant. I always have the intention of trying something new, but I don’t like change. So, when the waiter looks at me, pen poised, I always utter the same words. “…And I’ll have a saag paneer, taka dhal and a chapati, please. Oh and I’ll just share Jamie’s rice.” (Jamie scowls.)

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a go at making saag paneer, though – I’ve made it once before the more traditional way, using a ton of fresh wilted spinach, drained and squeezed by hand – but I ain’t got time for that these days, far too hungry. So I came up with this quicker, less labour-intensive version (#storyofmylife).


Saag paneer with kale 
Serves 4 / Hands on time 50 mins / Total time 50 min / V ❄ 
You’ll need: A hand blender or food processor
1 tbs rapeseed oil
500g paneer, cut into chunks
1 white onion, peeled and chopped
½ tsp salt
Knob of ginger (1 inch), grated
5 garlic cloves, peeled roughly chopped
1 green chilli, de-seeded
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground fenugreek
½ tsp garam masala
500ml vegetable stock, I use 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot
150g spinach leaves
150g kale, roughly chopped
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
To serve
Lime wedges, chapatis, brown basmati rice

Method
1. Slice the paneer into chunks and fry in batches in the rapeseed oil over a medium to high heat in a casserole dish with a lid (the paneer can spit a bit so you may need to cover with a lid). Once the paneer is browned on all sides, remove from the pan and leave to drain on kitchen paper. Put to one side.
2. In the same casserole dish, add the chopped onion and a bit more oil and a sprinkle of salt. Give it a mix before covering with a lid and cook on a medium heat until soft (you may need to add a dash of water to help the onions steam).
3. Add the garlic, fresh ginger and the chopped green chilli. Cook for a further few minutes before adding the all the spices. Add a dash of water to help loosen the spices a bit and to stop them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

4. Add the stock and give it a good stir before adding the spinach in batches. Once wilted, add the kale and continue to cook until the kale has softened. Remove from the heat and blend with a hand blender until smooth.
5. Return the sauce to a medium to high heat and add the paneer. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes or until the paneer has softened. Serve immediately with boiled brown basmati rice and chapatis. 

Saag paneer
Saag paneer

If you’ve had a go at making my saag paneer or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


V– Vegetarian   ❄ Freeze the fried paneer and curry sauce separately. Defrost before combing and heating through until piping hot. Consume within 3 months.