The vegan summer crowd-pleaser

As lockdown eases you’ll find that the dining room is no longer in the house, it’s in the garden. So, dust off the patio furniture and string up the fairy lights because alfresco dinner parties are set to be this Summer’s biggest trend. Dinner parties can be a daunting prospect, so why not keep it simple and serve up a big vat of crowd pleasing Bolognese? Not only does my red lentil Bolognese make a tasty vegan summer recipe, it’s simple, delicious and could feed an army! Serve with homemade garlic bread, torn fresh basil and lashings of extra virgin olive oil, for the perfect vegan dinner party idea this summer.


Vegan red lentil bolognese

Vegan red lentil Bolognese
Serves 6 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 1 hr 10 mins /
V Vn Df 
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 large white onion, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery sticks, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1 can plum tomatoes
250g red lentils
1 tbs tomato purée
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley
700ml vegetable stock, I use 1 Knorr stock pots
3 tbs vegan red wine (optional)
8 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
450g whole-wheat spaghetti or gluten free alternative (75g per person)
Extra virgin olive oil to serve
Fresh basil leaves to serve (optional)


TIP: This Bolognese is suitable for home freezing once cooked. To freeze, cool fully before spooning into bags or Tupperware. Freeze for up to 3 months.


Method
1. In a large cooking pot, sweat the diced onion, carrots, celery and garlic together in a tsp of oil over a low heat. Season well with salt, put the lid on, and sweat for 15 mins, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the tomato purée and the tinned tomatoes. Break the tomatoes up a bit with a spoon before pouring over the stock, wine, lentils, cherry tomatoes and sprinkle over the oregano, parsley and the nutmeg. Season well with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.
3. Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for 25 mins with the lid on, stirring occasionally to dislodge any lentils stuck at the bottom.
4. After 25 mins, keep the Bolognese cooking and fill a large saucepan with boiling water and add the whole-wheat spaghetti. Season the water well with salt and boil the pasta for 10-12 minutes (or according to the packet instructions).
5. Once the pasta is cooked, take off the heat along with the Bolognese. Drain the pasta and divide into bowls. Top the spaghetti with the Bolognese and serve drizzled with olive oil and topped with a good crack of black pepper and fresh basil leaves.


Vegan garlic bread
2 baguettes or ciabatta loaves (not too big they won’t fit in your oven)
150g dairy-free margarine
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1tbs dried oregano

Method
Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6. Cut both loaves into slices about 2cm thick, being careful not to slice right through to the bottom, leaving the base intact. In a bowl, mix together the dairy-free margarine, garlic and oregano. Place each loaf on a large sheet of foil and spread the garlic margarine between the slices of bread. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before wrapping in the foil and placing on a baking tray. Bake for 5 mins before unwrapping and cooking for a further 4-5 mins until crisp. Serve immediately.


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V – Vegetarian    Vn – Vegan     Df – Dairy free




Ready, steady… PICNIC!

With lockdown restrictions easing and spring in the air, it’s time to dust off the picnic blanket and dig out the old hamper. It’s time to picnic. Come April, the rule of six will be back in earnest, with gardens and parks sure to be brimming with alfresco dining. So, forget soggy potato salads and bland quiche’s, it’s time to up your picnic game and I have just the recipes to get you started.


Minimum effort, last minute picnic
“You can’t go wrong with a fancy bottle of red wine, a freshly baked baguette and a couple of good tapenades.”

Black & green olive tapenape
Black & green olive tapenape

Black & green olive tapenade
Serves 6-8 / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 10 mins / V Vn Gf Df
You’ll need: A food processor
Black olive tapenade:
200g (drained weight) pitted black olives in brine. I used a mix of Kalamata olives and black.
1 tsp capers
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
Small handful of chopped parsley to serve (optional)
Green olive tapenade:
200g (drained weight) pitted green olives in brine
1 tsp capers
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 pickled jalapeño pepper, stalk removed
1 tsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
½ lemon, juice
2 tsp pine nuts
Small handful of chopped parsley to serve (optional)

Method 
Drain the olives and put them in a food processor along with the other ingredients, leaving out the parsley. Blitz until you have your desired texture, I like my tapenade quite coarse so keep the blitzing to a minimum. Serve on toast, sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.


The impressive picnic offering
“Been invited to a picnic and need to bring a dish? Then pop this loaf in your handbag along with a good quality butter for an easy, yet impressive offering.”

Leek and cheddar loaf

Leek and cheddar loaf
Makes 1 loaf / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 1hr 20 mins + cooling / V
You’ll need: 2lb/900g loaf tin, baking paper
Rapeseed oil or butter for greasing
150g leek (1 medium leek) finely chopped
75g strong mature vegetarian cheddar, grated
250g self-raising flour
50g wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt flakes
250ml semi-skimmed milk
2 eggs
Few springs of thyme, leaves picked
Black pepper
40g vegetarian Italian hard cheese or Parmesan*, grated
Small handful pumpkin seeds

Method
1. Preheat an oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ 350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a loaf tin with oil or butter and line the bottom with baking paper. Put to one side.
2. Finely chop the leek and grate the cheddar. Mix together in a medium sized bowl and add the Italian hard cheese, keeping a handful a side for later.
3. In a larger mixing bowl, measure out the flours, baking powder, salt and mix until combined. Add the leek and cheese mixture, thyme leaves and a good crack of black pepper and mix well until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
4. In a mixing jug, measure out 250ml of semi-skimmed milk and crack in 2 eggs. Beat with a fork until fully incorporated. Pour straight into the dry mixture and mix quickly until combined – adding the wet ingredients to the dry activated the baking powder so the sooner you can get it in the oven the better.
5. Pour into a loaf tin and top with the remaining cheese and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. Bake in the oven for 1 hr.
6. Remove and cool in the tin for 10 mins before turning out and cooling fully on a rack. However, if you’re desperate to eat it warm feel free, just bear in mind the loaf will be a little soft so slice carefully. Serve on its own or spread with butter. Wrap in foil and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.


The picnic for two
“Simply add a large bag of crisps, a bottle of fizz and a punnet of fresh strawberries and clotted cream. Done!”

Smokey Sweet Potato Bean Wraps
Smokey sweet potato bean wraps

Smoky sweet potato & bean wraps
Serves 4 / Hands on time 25 mins / Total time 45 mins / V
Filling:
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium sweet potato, baked
½ medium onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbs tomato puree
Pinch of chilli flakes
2 cans of mixed beans, washed and drained
1 corn on the cob or 1 can of sweetcorn, drained
To serve:
4 large wraps
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
4 tbs Greek yogurt
40g cheddar cheese, grated

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Score the sweet potato carefully with a knife and stab it through the middle a couple of times. Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for 45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make your bean filling. In a large pot, sweat the chopped onion in the oil for about 5 minutes on a medium heat (add a dash of water to help them steam). Once softened, add the garlic and the smoked paprika and cook for a further minute. Add the tomato puree and the chilli flakes and give it a good stir.
3. Cook for a few minutes before adding the beans. Stir and cook for a further 5 minutes before seasoning well with salt and pepper. If using a fresh corn on the cob, remove the kernels by standing on its head and running a sharp knife, carefully down the sides slowly (they tend to go everywhere, so proceed with care). Add the corn to the beans and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes.
4. Take the beans off the heat, cover with a lid and put to one side. Slice the cheese and the avocado ready to fill your wraps.
5. Once your sweet potato is soft, carefully remove from the oven and cut into quarters to cool it down a bit. Lay your wraps out and spread one half with a tablespoon of warm sweet potato and the other half with plain yogurt. Top evenly with a couple of spoons of the bean mixture and a layer of sliced avocado and cheese. Season well with salt and pepper and top with a layer of fresh spinach.
6. Fold the top and bottom of the wrap in on itself and carefully roll it until you have, well a wrap. Serve straight away or wrap up in foil and take to work for lunch.


For more foodie blogs like this, visit learningwithexperts.com


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


Want to get the most out of your veg? Then why not learn from expert Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and up your five-a-day game.



Peanut butter millionaire’s shortbread

Peanut Butter Millionaires shortbread

Peanut Butter Millionaires shortbread Final 1


With Easter just around the corner, what better time is there to whip up a tooth achingly indulgent treat? This melt-in-the mouth, peanut butter millionaire’s shortbread, has the perfect balance of salty sweetness that will keep your hand firmly in the biscuit tin. I’ll let you decide whether that’s a good or a bad thing.


Peanut butter millionaire shortbread
Makes 16 squares / Hands on time 50 mins / Total time 50 mins plus chilling / V
You’ll need: 20x20cm deep loose bottomed square tin
For the shortbread:

125g unsalted butter at room temperature + extra for greasing
50g golden caster sugar + plus extra for dusting
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g plain flour
50g salted peanuts
For the peanut caramel:
100g unsalted butter
75g light brown sugar
25g dark Muscovado
397g can condensed milk
3 tbs crunchy peanut butter
Pinch sea salt flakes
100g good quality dark chocolate


Method
Step 1: Make the shortbread
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Line the tin with baking paper and grease well with butter. Put to one side.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy (you can do this with a wooden spoon or use a standing mixer). Once smooth and creamy sift in the flour.
3. Using a wooden spoon or a standing mixer, combine together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the salted peanuts and turn out into the centre of the tin. Spread out to the edges of the tin evenly using a spoon, before using your finger-tips to press it down until you have a firm biscuit base.
4. Bake for 20 mins or until the surface is slightly golden. Leave to cool fully in the tin.

Step 2: Make the peanut caramel
1. Place the butter, both sugars, peanut butter and the can of condensed milk in a medium sized pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Continually stir with a wooden spoon making sure no sugar sticks to the bottom of the pan. 
2. Turn the heat up to medium high, stirring continuously and bring to the boil. Once boiling, lower the heat back down to low and stir continuously for 5-10 mins or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and pour over the cooled shortbread. Sprinkle over a pinch of sea salt flakes and leave to set and cool fully. 
3. Make the topping by melting the chocolate slowly in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Pour the melted chocolate over the cold caramel and manoeuvre the tin with your hands to allow the chocolate to spread evenly and to the edges. Leave to set in the fridge. 
4. To turn out the shortbread, use a sharp knife to score around the edges of the shortbread (it can help to use a hot knife so carefully run it under hot water and dry before scoring and turning out). Cut into squares (again using a hot sharp knife) and serve. 


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V – Vegetarian


Want to take your bakes to the next level? Then why not treat yourself to a Learning with experts online course ‘The Essentials of cake baking’ with Rosalind Miller? 

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Up your breakfast game

Grabbing a Pret muffin on my way to work now feels like a distant memory. Like many, my daily commute now consists of rolling out of bed, occasionally getting dressed and opening my laptop. I spend my days in and out of virtual meetings, taking lunch time strolls and preparing the most important meal of the day. Breakfast! Shoving a breakfast bar in my mouth whilst running for the tube has been replaced with gentle porridge stirring and egg sizzling. So, enjoy lockdown while it lasts and start your day the right way by upping your breakfast game.


Chocolate pear porridge

Chocolate pear porridge
Serves 1 / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 10 mins / V Vn Df
1/3 of a mug of porridge oats (any regular sized mug will do)
2/3 of a mug of milk
1 heaped tsp cocoa powder
Pinch of sea salt flakes
Handful dried fruit and nuts
1 tsp maple syrup + extra to serve
Drop of vanilla extract (optional)
½ a pear, sliced

TIP: Don’t wait to soak your pan after cooking. Do it immediately or your porridge will turn to cement.

Method:
1. In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients together apart from the pear. Cook over a medium heat stirring continually until the porridge is thick and creamy.
2. Serve immediately topped with sliced pear and a drizzle of maple syrup.


Spicy Bean & Tomato Eggs

Spicy bean & tomato eggs
Serves 1 / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 15 mins / V Df
You’ll need: Non-stick frying pan
1 tsp rapeseed oil
2 spring onions, sliced
¼ tsp smoked paprika
Dash of Tabasco sauce (optional)
1 or 2 eggs
1 large or 2 regular tomatoes, chopped
½ can kidney beans
Handful fresh coriander, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil to serve
Toast to serve (optional)

TIP: If making for 2, use a large frying pan and double the recipe.

Method:
1. Fry the spring onions in the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat for 2 mins. Add the chopped tomatoes, Tabasco and smoked paprika and cook for a further 2 mins. Season well with salt and pepper and add the beans. Cook for 5 mins.
2. Using a spoon, make a well in the mixture and crack in your egg/eggs. Cover the pan with a lid or with sheet of foil and cook for 2-4 minutes or until the whites have set but the yolks are still soft. Serve in the pan topped with a handful of chopped coriander, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and toast for dunking.


Blueberry Dutch baby

Blueberry Dutch baby
Serves 2 / Hands on time 5-10 mins / Total time 30 mins / V
You’ll need: Oven-proof dish, roughly 22cm x 28cm
30g unsalted butter
100g plain flour
3 eggs
300ml semi-skimmed milk
2 tsp caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 handfuls of blueberries
To serve
Granulated sugar and maple syrup
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)

Method:
1. Preheat an over to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7. Measure out the butter and add to the over-proof dish. Place in the oven to heat up.
2. Meanwhile, measure out the flour in a large bowl and mix in the salt and the sugar before making a well in the centre. Crack in the eggs, add the milk and the vanilla before beating the eggs into the milk, slowly incorporating the flour. Once you have a smooth batter put to one side.
3. Remove the dish from the oven (by now the butter should be melted and bubbling). Sprinkle the blueberries straight into the dish followed by all the pancake batter. Return to the oven and bake for 20-25 mins. Once the pancake has puffed up and the edges are golden brown, remove from the oven.
4. Serve immediately sprinkled with sugar and lashings of maple syrup.


Want more? Take your breakfasts to the next level by enrolling on the ultimate sourdough and wild yeast baking course with And Tyrrell. Wild yeast is all around us, the joy of foraging into flour and water to create your natural starter can be a life-long journey. Start yours now.


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

 



Leek, potato & cheddar pie

Leek, potato & cheddar pie


If there was ever a time to bake a pie…


Leek, potato and cheddar pie
Serves 4-8 / Hands on time 1 hr 45 mins / Total time 2 hrs 15 mins  + resting  / V
You’ll need: 25cm flan tin (preferable with a removable bottom) / baking paper / rolling pin /
For the rough-puff pastry: 
250g strong white bread flour
250g cold unsalted butter
1tsp sea salt flakes
100 ml cold water
For the filling:
150ml tap water
½ vegetable stock pot or cube
250g potatoes, cubed
250g leeks, trimmed and roughly chopped
½ white onion, peeled and chopped
100g mature vegetarian cheddar
1 egg, beaten


TIP: This recipe is split into 3 parts to give you the option of making the pie in stages – making a pie all in one day can be exhausting. I usually make the pastry the day before filling the pie and then refrigerate the pie over night before baking.


TIP: Alternatively, you can always use shop bought puff pastry.


PART 1:
Make the rough-puff pastry (Hands on time 45 mins + 30 mins resting)
1.
Mix the salt and the flour together in a large bowl before grating in a third of the cold butter. Using your hands, coat the butter in the flour before grating in another third of the butter and repeat with the last third. Adding the butter in batches makes it easier to incorporate.
2. Using your fingers, rub the butter loosely until it resembles breadcrumbs. This should take 10 to 15 mins so pop the radio on.
3. Make a well in the bowl and add 100 ml of cold water. Mix with a butter knife before using your hands to bring the crumbly dough together – being careful not to over work the dough.
4. Turn out onto a large piece of cling film and gather up the corners until you have a firm ball of pastry. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins. If making the filling the same day, use the next 30 mins to jump to PART 2. 


5. Once the pastry has rested, remove from the fridge and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, mould the crumbly pastry into a rough rectangle (the pastry will be very crumbly but don’t let that scare you, it will start to come together at you roll it out). Flour your rolling pin and roll the pastry away from you in one direction only, until roughly three times the original length, flouring the surface as you go if needed.
6. Fold the top third of the pastry down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn to the left or right, flour the surface and your rolling pin if needed and roll out again to three times the length in one direction.
7. Fold as before, before wrapping well in cling film and refrigerating again for at least 20 mins. The pastry can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 6 months.


PART 2:
Make the filling (Hands on time 25 mins + cooling)
1. Chop 250g potatoes into cubes (I leave the skins on, but you can peel them if you prefer) and add them to a medium sized saucepan along with 150ml of tap water and half a stock cube or stock pot. Bring to the boil and cook over a high heat for 5 mins.
2. Add 250g of chopped leeks and half a chopped onion to the pan and simmer with the lid on for 8 mins or until the vegetables are tender and all the liquid has evaporated, stirring regularly.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool fully. The filling can be refrigerated for up to 5 days if you’re planning on assembling your pie another day.


PART 3:
Assemble the pie (Hands on time 30-35 mins + 30 mins baking time)
1. Grease the tin well and dust with flour before lining the base with baking paper. Put to one side.
2. Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut a third of the pastry off and put to one side (this will be your pastry top). Roll out the pastry until it’s a few millimetres thick and big enough to comfortably line the tin, flouring the surface and the rolling pin as you go.
3. Drape the pastry over the tin and carefully push the pastry into the edges and up the sides using your fingertips. You will need the overhanging pastry but trim off any excessively long pieces and put to one side (these will be used to decorate your pie later). Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork and turn your attention back to the filling.
4. Grate the cheddar and incorporate into the cooled leek mixture. Season well with salt and black pepper before spooning into the tin. Spread the filling out evenly and put the pie to one side. Before you preheat your oven, line the bottom of the oven with foil to catch any melted butter. Preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7.
5. Mould the third of the pastry you saved for the top into a ball and roll out on a floured surface. Using a sharp knife, cut out a circle, big enough to fit snugly over the exposed filling (this doesn’t need to be too perfect, if the pastry is slightly too big to sit comfortably in the tin simply trim more off).
6. Fold the excess pastry back in on top of the pie lid and crimp around the edges to give a decorative crust – again, this doesn’t have to be perfect.
7. Use any excess pastry you removed earlier to decorate the pie. I cut out leaf shapes but you can decorate your pie however you like. If you are planning on baking the pie another day, now is a good time to wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking.
8. Egg wash the pie all over before making 2 small incisions in the centre to allow steam escape. Bake on the middle shelf for 30-35 mins or until the pastry is golden.
9. Allow the pie to cool for 10-15 mins before removing carefully from the tin and discarding the baking paper. I do this by placing a lightweight chopping board or plate over the top of the pie and flipping it on its head. This allows you to lift off the tin (do not do this when the pie is still hot as it may not hold its structure). Repeat the same trick with a cooling rack to get the pie right side up.
10. Serve warm or cold with a simple green salad.
The pie will last for up to 4 days wrapped up in the fridge.

Leek, potato & cheddar pie


Want more? Take your pie making skills to the next level by enrolling on the ultimate pie making course with River Cottage chef Tom Morrell. He will teach you all the skills necessary to make a variety of savoury pastry recipes – including shortcrust, rough puff, hot water crust and suet.


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V – Vegetarian



Three warming vegan soups for cold winter nights

Veganuary may be coming to an end… but that doesn’t mean we should start loading up on the bacon butties. Incorporating more plant-based meals into our everyday repertoire can only be a good thing, so let’s get started with these tasty vegan soups to warm the body and soul.


Carrot & ginger soup with cashew cream


Carrot & ginger soup with cashew cream
Serves 4 / Hands on time 35 mins / Total time 50 mins + soaking
You’ll need: A food processor
1 tbs olive oil
600g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed
1 large knob of ginger (roughly 50g), grated
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 ½ litre of vegetable stock, I use 1 ½ Knorr stock pots
Cashew cream
150g cashews
¼ tsp salt
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Squeeze of lemon juice
150ml water

Method
1. The night before, soak 150g of cashews in a bowl of water overnight.
2. Preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan/400°F/gas mark 7. Peel and roughly chop the carrots and put them in a large roasting tray, along with the grated ginger, chopped onion, bashed garlic, nutmeg and olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper and give it all a good mix, before roasting in the oven for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the cashew cream. Rinse and drain the cashews and put them in a food processor along with 150ml of water, a crushed garlic clove, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Blitz for around 5-7 minutes or until you have a smooth creamy consistency. Put to one side.
3. Once the carrots are roasted, carefully pour them into a large cooking pot before adding a litre of vegetable stock and a drained can of chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes before blending either in a food processor or with a hand blender.
4. Pour into bowls, top with lashing of cashew cream and serve with bread.


Winter ribollita
Winter ribollita


Winter ribollita
Serves 4 / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 50 mins 

1 tsp olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
½ tsp salt
1 can plum tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 litre vegetable stock, I use 2 Knorr stock pots
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
100g cavalo nero or kale, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil to serve

Method
1. In a large saucepan or pot with a lid, add 1 tsp of olive oil over a low to medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, celery, parsnip, carrot and the salt. Give it a good stir, cover with a lid and leave to soften for 20 mins, stirring occasionally.
2. Add a can of plum tomatoes and break them up with a spoon. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas and the vegetable stock before upping the heat and bringing to the boil. Simmer uncovered for 15 mins before adding the cavalo nero and parsley. Give it a stir and cook for a further 5 mins.
3. Take off the heat, ladle into bowls and top with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve with crusty bread and good crack of black pepper.


Fragrant Coconut Soup
Fragrant Coconut Soup


Fragrant coconut soup
Serves 2 / Hands on time 25 mins / Total time 30 mins

2 cans light coconut milk
1 vegetable stock pot, I use Knorr
2 sticks of lemon grass, bashed (I use a rolling pin)
½ white onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed
1 medium sized red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 knob of ginger, roughly grated
2 tsp caster sugar
28g bunch coriander, chopped
145g nest of rice noodles
2 tsp miso paste or light soy sauce
5 chestnut mushrooms, roughly sliced
2 bulbs of pak choy, roughly chopped
3 Chinese leaves or a handful for kale, roughly chopped
Juice of a lime

Method
1. In a large saucepan, add the 2 cans of coconut milk, vegetable stock cube or pot, chopped onion, chilli, garlic, ginger, bashed lemongrass and sugar. Roughly chop the coriander stalks (saving the leaves) and add to the coconut milk. Give it a good stir and bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook your rice noodles in small saucepan according to the packet instructions. Once cooked, drain and cover in a stream of cold water until completely cold (this will stop the noodles from continuing to cook). Drain again and divide the noodles into two large soup bowls. Put to one side.
3. Turn your attention back to the soup and give it a quick stir. Roughly chop the remaining coriander leaves, Chinese leaves, pak choy and mushrooms.
4. After 15 minutes your soup should be well infused and fragrant. Over a large bowl, carefully pour your soup through a sieve. Discard the contents of the sieve and pour the remaining soup back into your saucepan.
4. Stir through 2 tsp of red miso paste and add the pak choy, mushrooms and Chinese leaf. Give it a good stir and cook on a medium heat for a few minutes or until the veg is tender. Take the saucepan off the heat, squeeze over the lime juice and stir. Finally, ladle over the cooked noodles and top with fresh coriander.


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

 



Cheesy pasta bake

Cheesy pasta bake


As we’re not set to leave the house anytime soon, I don’t see the point in embarking on a silly new year diet. New year, new you? No thanks. I choose cheese. Our fridge is still overflowing with the stuff from Christmas, so what better way to use it up than in a deliciously indulgent, cheesy pasta bake. This is what cold winter nights are made for after all. So, grab a spoon and dive into my melty cheese dream, where Covid no longer exists and I can visit my mum anytime I like.


Cheesy pasta bake 
Serves 4 / Hands on time 20-25 mins / Total time 40 mins / V* 
You’ll need: A deep oven dish approx 25cm (5cm deep)
3 tsp rapeseed oil
1 aubergine, cubed
1 pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
½ red onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp sea salt flakes
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can chopped tomatoes
200g wholemeal penne
4 tbs red pesto
2 handfuls pitted black olives (optional)
100g soft cheese – I used goats cheese but stilton, camembert, mozzarella or even brie would work.
80g mature cheddar, grated
20g Parmesan* or vegetarian hard cheese, grated (optional)


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7. Roughly chop the red onion and the pepper and add to the baking dish along with the cubed aubergine. Sprinkle over the dried oregano and the salt before drizzling over the oil. Give it a good stir to evenly distribute the seasoning and the oil and bake in the oven for 15 mins.
2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions minus 2 minutes (this ensures the pasta doesn’t become too soft during oven cooking later. While the pasta is cooking, use this time to grate the cheddar, parmesan and chop/crumble your chosen soft cheese.
3. Remove the vegetables from the oven and give them a good shake before adding the cherry tomato halves. Mix well and return to the oven for a further 5 mins.
4. Drain the pasta and give it a quick blast of cold water (this will stop it from continuing to cook). Stir in a tsp of oil to prevent the pasta sticking to each other and put to one side to continue to drain.
5. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven (leave the oven on) and add the can of tinned tomatoes, red pesto and black olives. Stir until the sauce is evenly distributed before adding the pasta bit by bit to ensure it gets fully incorporated.
6. Finally, submerge the soft cheese throughout the pasta bake and top with the grated cheddar and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 15 mins. Switch the oven to a hot grill setting and grill for a further 2 mins or until the top is golden brown.
7. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 mins before serving with a simple green salad.

Cheesy pasta bake


For more foodie blogs, recipes and courses, visit learningwithexperts.com.


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


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



Peppermint creams: The classic edible Christmas gift

A vintage classic and reminiscent of my school days, peppermint creams make the perfect and utterly delicious edible gift! So why not forgo the After Eight mints this Christmas and pass around a plate of homemade peppermint creams? My mini versions are dipped in dark chocolate and cut into bitesize rounds but it is Christmas, so get creative and dig out whatever cookie cutter you have and get stamping!


Bitesize peppermint creams
Bitesize peppermint creams


Bitesize peppermint creams
Makes 20-30 mini rounds / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 40 mins + setting time / V Gf
You’ll need: Baking paper, rolling pin and a small round cookie cutter
300g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)
¼ tsp peppermint flavouring
1 egg (the white separate from the yolk)
1 tsp of lemon juice
90g Green and Black’s Organic 70% dark chocolate


Method
1. Separate the egg yolk from the egg white in a small bowl and discard the egg yolk. In a large mixing bowl, sieve the icing sugar before adding half the egg white along with a ¼ tsp of peppermint flavouring and a tsp of lemon juice.
2. Mix slowly with a wooden spoon to avoid the icing sugar flying everywhere. The mix will seem very dry but keep mixing until the icing sugar comes together to form a firm dough. If you need more liquid add more egg white.
3. Once the dough has formed, remove the spoon from the bowl and knead the dough with your hands – like you would a bread dough. If the dough is too sticky you may need to add more icing sugar.
4. Line a large chopping board with a piece of baking paper and sprinkle with icing sugar, put to one side. Cut out another large piece of baking paper and place on a clean dry surface. Sprinkle with icing sugar and turn the dough out onto it before sprinkling with more icing sugar. Roll out the mixture with a rolling pin to roughly 1 centimetre thick.
5. Insert the cookie cutter into the dough, give it a twist and extract a little round of dough. Place the round onto the lined chopping board and repeat (gathering up and rolling out the dough if necessary). Cover the peppermint creams loosely with cling film and leave to set for at least 3 hours or preferable over-night.
6. Once set, it’s time to melt the chocolate. Fill a small saucepan halfway with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, take off the heat and place a small heat-proof bowl over it. Break in the pieces of chocolate and wait for it to melt (try not to stir it until nearly all the chocolate has melted). Meanwhile, line a baking tray or cooling rack with baking paper sprinkled with icing sugar.
7. Once melted, tilt the bowl slightly to the side to allow a deeper pool of chocolate for you to dip your peppermint creams into. One by one, dip each peppermint cream into the chocolate, wait for the drips to stop and place on your newly lined cooling rack. Repeat until all of your peppermint creams are coated.
8. Leave in a cool dry place for the chocolate to set. Once set, carefully peel the peppermint creams off the baking paper before boxing up and gifting to a lucky family member or friend.

Bitesize peppermint creams
Bitesize peppermint creams


For more Christmassy ideas visit my new Christmas page.


For more foodie blogs, recipes and courses, visit learningwithexperts.com.


 

Lebkuchen: The German festive treat

Lebkuchen
Lebkuchen


Okay, it’s time to give in. The first of December is rapidly approaching, accompanied by Christmas adverts and festive Instagram posts. Soon, highstreets will be twinkling with jolly festive lights and Christmas trees will go on sale in Sainsbury’s – there’s no escape. So, we may as well get into the swing of things with a spot of festive baking, and what better way to get the Christmas juices flowing, than a batch of Lebkuchen. These traditional German Christmas biscuits are cakey in texture, gently spiced and make a great introduction to the festivities.


Lebkuchen
Makes 16-18 biscuits / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 30 mins + cooling and icing / V
250g plain flour
80g ground almonds
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp all spice
¼ tsp sea salt flakes
2 tsp cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp baking powder
Zest of half a lemon
200g honey
50g dark brown muscovado sugar
80g unsalted butter
110g icing sugar


Method
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour with all the spices, cocoa powder, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and the zest of half a lemon. Mix until the ingredients are well distributed.
2. In a small saucepan over a medium heat, melt the honey, butter and the dark muscovado sugar together. Once melted take off the heat and pour straight into the dry mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until you have a wet dough. Leave to cool for a few minutes or until the dough is cool enough to handle. Preheat an oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4.
3. The dough will still be warm but easy to work with. Using your hands pick up around 35g of dough (about the size of a walnut) roll into a ball and divide between 2 lined baking trays, spacing out evenly to allow room for the biscuits to expand. Using the back of table spoon, flatten each ball slightly into a disk shape (although they should spread out slightly naturally on their own).
4. Bake in the oven for 10-12 mins. Once expanded and golden in colour, remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays for 5 mins before twisting each biscuit carefully with your fingers to loosen it and transferring to a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.
5. To ice, mix 110g of icing sugar with 1 and a half tbs of water until you have a thick but loose paste. Place a sheet of cling film under the wire rack to catch any drips. Spoon 1 tsp of icing over each biscuit and using the back of the spoon, push the icing to the edges using a circular motion (don’t worry if these drip, that’s the idea). Grate over the remaining lemon zest (optional) and leave to set before serving. Store in a tin lined with a baking sheet for up to a week.


For more Christmassy ideas visit my new Christmas page.


For more foodie blogs, recipes and courses, visit learningwithexperts.com.


 

A squash is for life, not just Halloween

On my daily stroll around the block (gotta’ get those lockdown steps in) my route is surprisingly still peppered with shrivelled decaying Halloween pumpkins. Staring at me with their empty eyes from windowsills and porches got me thinking. After the 31st of October, do pumpkins and squashes get a little forgotten about? A squash is for life not just for Halloween… Well perhaps not for life, but this versatile ingredient can be baked, curried, squashed (literally) and stuffed – which is my favourite method, especially when it involves cheese. I opted for an onion squash for this recipe but feel free to experiment as you’ll be spoilt for choice this time of year.

Mini Squash Fondues
Mini Squash Fondues


Mini squash fondues
Serves 2 / Hands on time 30 mins / Takes 1 hour
2 mini squashes (roughly 550g each) I used onion squash
75g vegetarian Emmental
75g Gruyere or medium cheddar cheese
50g Parmesan
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Handful of finely chopped fresh parsley
4 tbs white wine or prosecco
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Crusty bread and salad leaves to serve


Method
1. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Finely grate the cheeses and mix them together in a large bowl. Put to one side.
2. Using a sharp knife carefully cut the tops off the squashes to create the lids and put to one side. Carefully hollow out the squash by cutting a hole in the top and then scooping out the seeds with a spoon.
3. Once you’ve hollowed out the squash, check to see if each squash stands up on its own. If they’re uneven and tilt, carefully level off the bottom of your squash with a knife, taking care not to cut too deep (if you do accidently create a hole, pop the bottom back on and make a little foil coat for your squash to sit in to prevent it from leaking). Alternatively, use foil to create a stable bed for your squashes to sit in.
4. Crush a garlic clove into each squash, followed by a small sprinkle of parsley and 1 tablespoon of white wine into each. Season well with salt and pepper.
5. Fill each squash with half the cheese and then add another tablespoon of wine to each squash. Season again and stuff the squashes with the rest of the cheese. Top with the remaining parsley, season with salt and pepper and pop the individual squash lids on.
6. Put both squashes on a baking tray and bake them for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the lids and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately with a simple green salad and stale for dipping and scooping.

Mini Squash Fondues
Mini Squash Fondues


For more foodie blogs, recipes and courses, visit learningwithexperts.com.


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.