Cheesy baked beans

Cheesy baked beans
Cheesy baked beans

I’ve spent months waiting impatiently for the conditions to be just right, biding my time and anticipating the day – this day – because today is the day I’ve been waiting for. It’s time for me to buy a jacket potato with beans and cheese from the jacket potato man.
I mean, sure, he’s been there all summer – I even walked past his stall several times, my head hanging low in an attempt to hide my identity, but he sees me, another traitorous customer walking straight past his van on their way to Pret. Well, I’m sorry Mr Potato Man, but who wants to eat hot potatoes in stifling heat?
But now that the nights are drawing in and the cold wind is smacking me in the face, I think yes, yes I will treat myself to a jacket potato the size of my head today – the irony being that they’re not even all that nice. Jacket Potato Man starts by ladling copious amounts of beans over a jacket spread with marge (he says it’s butter, but I know it’s marge). He then tops it with grated cheese that starts to sweat rather than melt because the jacket and the beans aren’t quite hot enough to melt the cheese. Back at my desk, though, I’m too hungry to care, so dive right in and instantly burn my mouth and oesophagus with molten hot potato because, for some reason, the middle of the jacket is the only part that’s actually hot – a bit like the centre of the earth. But despite all of this, I hoover it up and instantly fall into a deliciously warm carb coma and am useless at my job for the rest of the day.
So what is it about beans and cheese that’s so great? For me, it’s the nostalgia. After one bite I’m transported back to my sofa in Luton. Off sick from school I was allowed to eat my cheesy beans on toast on my lap in front of Supermarket Sweep. Such a simple memory, but one that invokes strong feelings of comfort, love and a longing for Dale Winton. So this is my tribute and homage to cheesy beans, baked in the oven and covered in melted cheese – a breakfast fit for an ‘90s TV show host. RIP Dale Winton.

Cheesy baked beans
Serves 4 / Hands on time 15 mins / Total time 45 mins / V
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 small red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 can borlotti beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbs tomato purée
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
100g vegetarian medium cheddar, grated
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Bread to serve


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ 350°F/gas mark 4. In a large oven-proof casserole dish, sweat the onions and garlic in a tsp of rapeseed oil on a medium to hight heat with the lid on for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and add ½ a tsp of smoked paprika, a good pinch of salt and a dash of water. Stir and cook for a further 2 minutes uncovered.
2. Add the tomato purée and stir in the chopped tomatoes, beans and red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with a tsp of brown sugar and stir.
3. Place the lid on ajar and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile grate the cheese and chop the parsley.
4. Remove the beans from the oven and sprinkle evenly with the grated cheese. Pop the lid back on ajar and bake in the oven for a further 5 minutes. Once melted, removed from the oven, sprinkle with chopped parsley and spoon out onto hot buttered toast.

Cheesy baked beans

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    – Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.


 

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 
1 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 (you can use any can of beans), rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes, sliced
To serve
80g vegetarian feta cheese
Pomegranate seeds
Handful, chopped fresh mint
Sumac (optional)

 


TIP: The bean mixture actually makes enough for four people. This is suitable for freezing once cooled fully and stored in an airtight container. 


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking paper. Cut the pita bread into triangles and place on the baking tray. Add a tbs of rapeseed oil into a small dish and using a brush, paint each piece with oil on both sides, before seasoning well with salt and pepper. Bake the pita in the oven for 5 mins before flipping each pita triangle over and baking for a further 2 mins. Remove from the oven and put to one side.
2. In a large saucepan or cooking pot with a lid, add a drizzle 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 mins.
3. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes and drain and rinse the beans. Once softened, stir in the cumin, coriander, salt and chilli flakes. Add a dash of water and stir again, cooking for a couple more minutes.
4. Mix in the tomato puree before adding the tinned tomatoes, cannellini beans, sliced tomato and 3 tbs of water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat slightly and simmer uncovered for 15 mins, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, chop the fresh mint and prepare the pomegranate seeds.
5. Once cooked, take off the heat and divide the pita chips onto 2 plates. Top generously with the bean mixture and crumble over the feta and sprinkle with mint 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 any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


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



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 20 mins / Total time 1 hr 15 mins / V Gf
You’ll need: A deep oven-proof casserole dish
2 tsp 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
200g vegetarian goats cheese (including rind)
100g black olives, drained and halved
Handful of parsley, chopped to serve


TIP: If making for two, half the recipe and use a smaller baking dish.


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 chunks and add to the dish and mix well. 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 1hr.
3. Meanwhile, roughly chop the goats cheese, black olives and parsley.
4. Once cooked, remove from the oven and put the foil to one side. Taste the rice to check if 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 mins. If cooked, sprinkle over the cheese and the black olives and return to the oven, covered in foil for a further 10 mins or until the cheese is melted.
5. Finish sprinkled with fresh parsley and 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 any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian.   Gf– Gluten free



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 or rosemary 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 thyme or rosemary. Cook the sausages in the oven, on the middle shelf for 15 mins.
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. Leave the batter to rest while the sausages cook.
3. Carefully remove the sausages from the oven and discard the herbs, leaving any detached leaves. Pour the batter slowly into a corner of the dish and allow it to spread out evenly between the sausages.
4. Return the dish to the oven and bake on the top shelf for 15-18 mins, or until the batter has puffed up and is a lovely golden colour. Spoon out onto plates and serve with mashed potato, gravy and your choice cooked vegetables.


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



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 any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian.   Gf– Gluten 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 (serves 2) / 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
150g grated vegetarian cheddar (75g per quesadilla)
4 large wholemeal tortillas
To serve 
2 spring onions, chopped
Avocado, stoned and scooped out

Method
1. 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 and put to one side. Preheat an oven to 140°C/120°C fan/ 275°F/gas mark 1 and place 1 large oven-proof plate inside.
3. Cook the bean mixture for a further 5 mins 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 (75g per quesadilla) and put to one side. Put a large non-stick frying pan on a medium to high heat and place a tortilla in the centre. 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’s cooking to make sure it is as flat as possible for 3-5 mins. To flip the quesadilla over, carefully place a large plate over the top of the pan face down and turn up-side-down. Put the frying pan back on the heat and slide the quesadilla back into the frying pan from the plate. Cook on the other side for around 5 more mins before transferring onto the warm plate in the oven. Repeat this process with the other quesadilla.
5. Once the second quesadilla is cooked, carefully remove the first quesadilla for the oven. Cut each quesadilla into eighths and serve immediately topped with sprinkled spring onions, scooped out avocado and the remaining lime wedges.

Black bean quesadillas
Black bean quesadillas


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



Smoked paprika rosti with asparagus

Smoked paprika rosti with asparagus
Smoked paprika rosti with asparagus
Smoked paprika rosti with asparagus

The last time I made a rosti was in a home economics lesson at school when I was nine. I wasn’t such a fan of cooking back then, partly due to this particular rosti-making experience. I added far too much oil and heat to my pan, resulting in my rosti spitting hot oil at me like an angry llama. The results were abysmal, my arms were flecked with burns and my rosti scorched on the outside and raw in the middle.
Well, not this time, you rosti bastard – this time I will win and you will lose and I will spit on your arms. How do you like that? Anyway, turns out that rostis are pretty easy to make, and I was clearly a young fool with a rubbish home economics teacher.


Smoked paprika rosti with asparagus 
Serves 1 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 25 mins / V Gf Df
You’ll need: A small, non-stick, frying pan
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 large baking potato (300g) peeled and grated
½ small red onion, peeled and grated
½ tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of chilli flakes
2 eggs – one yolk for the rosti and one egg for poaching
Handful of asparagus


Method
1. Combine the grated potato, red onion in a bowl and give it a good stir. Tip out onto a clean tea-towel before gathering up the corners and squeezing out the excess moisture. Once squeezed, discard the water and pop back in the bowl. Add the chilli flakes, smoked paprika, egg yolk and season well with salt and pepper before giving it a good stir. Put to one side.
2. Fill a small saucepan three-quarters of the way up with boiling water and put on a medium heat to simmer (bear in mind this saucepan needs to be big enough for the asparagus and a poached egg). Trim your asparagus to the appropriate size for your pan and crack the egg into a small teacup or ramekin. Put to one side.
3. In a small non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat, add a teaspoon of rapeseed oil. Once hot, tip your rosti mixture into the centre and then using the back of a spoon, spread it out to the edges by pushing gently down on it. Leave to sizzle for around 5 minutes. To help flip the rosti without breaking it, I use a plate. Simply place a large plate over the frying pan and carefully turn the frying pan upside down, transferring the rosti to the plate. Return the frying pan to the heat before easily sliding the uncooked side of the rosti into the frying pan from the plate.
4. Cook the other side of the rosti for around 5 more minutes whilst you boil the asparagus and cook the egg. In the simmering water, slowly tip your egg out from a teacup or ramekin. Give it few seconds to settle before carefully adding the asparagus to cook next to it for around 2-3 minutes, before removing carefully with a slotted spoon.
5. Slide your rosti onto a plate and top with the boiled asparagus and soft poached egg. Season with salt and pepper and devour.

Smoked paprika rosti with asparagus
Smoked paprika rosti with asparagus

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    Gf– Gluten free    Df– Dairy free    ❄– Once cooked and cooled, the rosti is suitable for home freezing for up to 3 months.



Healthy sweet potato & chickpea korma

Healthy sweet potato & chickpea korma final
Sweet potato & chickpea korma final
Sweet potato & chickpea korma final

I woke up this morning and ordered a McDonald’s from my hungover bed to be delivered to my door. What a glorious time to be alive. Two hash browns and an egg McMuffin later, I was still hungry, so dragged myself out of bed and into my kitchen to make a big vat of vegetable korma – bit random, but that’s what I fancied, and I couldn’t afford another Uber Eats.

Light, fragrant and made with yogurt, this healthier korma makes the perfect Saturday night fake-away or a Sunday morning hangover cure. Serve with rice and, if you’re feeling frisky, a garlic and coriander naan.

Healthy sweet potato & chickpea korma
Serves 2 generously / Hands on time 40 mins / Total time 1 hr 10 mins  / V 
You’ll need: A stick blender or a food processor. Pestle and mortar
1 tsp rapeseed oil
2 regular or 1 large white onion, roughly chopped
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
Knob of ginger, grated
½ tsp sea salt flakes
8 cardamon pods, shelled and crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
Pinch of chilli flakes
2 tsp mango chutney
1 tbs plain flour
300ml vegetable stock (I use 1 Knorr stock pot)
250g Greek yogurt
1 sweet potato (around 350g), peeled and cubed
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Handful frozen peas
Handful fresh coriander, chopped
Boiled brown basmati rice to serve (optional)


Method
1. In a large casserole dish with a lid, sweat the chopped onions, garlic and ginger together in the oil. Cover with a lid and cook on a medium to low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, bash the cardamon pods in a pestle and mortar, spilling out the seeds. Discard the shells and grind to a powder.
2. Once the onions are soft, add the cardamon, cumin, coriander, chilli flakes, salt, turmeric and mango chutney. Add a dash of water, give it a good stir and cook for a further 5 mins.
3. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes before incorporating the stock bit by bit. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 mins. Take off the heat and add the yogurt before bleeding with a hand blender or food processor until you have a smooth curry sauce.
4. Return the pot to the heat and add the sweet potato chunks. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 mins, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the drained chickpeas, stir and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes before finally adding the frozen peas. Cook for 2 more minutes before spooning into bowls and topping with chopped coriander. Serve with brown basmati rice.

Sweet potato & chickpea korma final
Sweet potato & chickpea korma final

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.     Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.



Braised vegetable orecchiette

Braised vegetable orecchiette
Braised vegetable orecchiette
Braised vegetable orecchiette

As promised, I have returned from my gorgeous holiday in Puglia with more than just a few extra pounds and a sunburnt belly button – believe me, I’m as surprised as you are.
I come bearing gifts and the first one is this utterly delicious braised vegetable orecchiette. I discovered this dish on our last evening in Bari, in a pleasant little restaurant, next to a rather unpleasant fat Australian who moaned about her pasta being ‘too hard’. Philistine.
Anyway, it turned out that most of the vegetarian pasta dishes I had my eye on were unavailable, due to the ingredients being out of season. Eating seasonally is obviously a big part of Italian culture which is nice, but unfortunately for me, this meant that I was left with the rather dubiously named ‘vegetable pasta’. I didn’t want to show my disappointment, so I simply smiled and willed it to be more than just a bowl of vegetables and pasta.

It arrived and it was just a bowl of vegetables and pasta – but it was one of the nicest bowls of vegetables and pasta I had ever eaten. Local orecchiette floating in a salty vegetable broth peppered with seasonal vegetables. Bellissimo!

Braised vegetable orecchiette
Serves 2 / Hands on time 30mins/ Total time 30mins 
25g unsalted butter
300g baby mixed vegetables (I used 1 small courgette, 2 chestnut mushrooms, 3 baby leeks, 4 baby carrots, 2 baby parsnips. Although you can use whatever vegetables you like)
100g dried orecchiette* or pasta of your choice
500ml vegetable stock (I used 1 Knorr stock pot)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried parsley
Pomora extra virgin olive oil to serve
Handful grated vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan

Method
1. Chop your vegetables to your desired size – personally I think the bigger the better, especially when braising. In a large heavy bottomed pot with a lid, add the butter and spread the vegetables out as evenly as you can. Cover with roughly 500ml of vegetable stock (you want to make sure the vegetables are only just covered). Season with salt and pepper and add the bay leaves.
2. Bring to the boil on a high heat before turning back down low and covering with a lid. Let the vegetables simmer for 10-12 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, boil your pasta in slightly salted water and grate the parmesan.
4. Remove the lid off the vegetables, stir in a tsp of dried parsley and turn the heat back up and vigorous boil for another 3 minutes. Meanwhile drain your pasta and put to one side.
5. By now your vegetables will be lovely and soft. Take them off the heat and discard the bay leaves. Pour the pasta straight into the pot and stir through carefully – you don’t want to break the vegetables up too much.
6. Divide into bowls and serve with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan.

Braised vegetable orecchiette
Braised vegetable orecchiette

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.


*Orecchiette is a pasta that’s popular in Southern Italy and literally translates to ‘little ears’.
*Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.



Healthy-ish loaded nachos

Healthy-ish loaded nachos
Healthy-ish loaded nachos
Healthy-ish loaded nachos

There is a fine line between those of us who can wear denim hot pants and those of us who can’t. I’m sure you can guess which category I fall into.
So, there I was, bending over to tie up my shoelaces, when I catch sight of what looked like the back of a large rhino. No, there must be some mistake, that cannot be MY arse?! I bolt upright only to see the cellulite on my thighs dimple even harder. ARGH! I quickly bend back over and stare at myself upside down, then from all angles. Three mirrors?! Three f***ing mirrors!!!! No one needs see their arse from that many angles. But the blood has started rushing to my head, so I decide to stand up and face the music.
I’m wearing what can only be described as a giant adult nappy made of denim. It’s high-waisted, and so short you can see my bum cheeks. When did denim shorts become so short? With only two weeks to go until my holiday, I decided to whip off the hot pants and do what any self respecting thirty-something would do in this situation.
Angrily drink three gin and tonics in quick succession at the nearest Weatherspoon’s. So what if my hot pants days are numbered? I hear culottes are back in fashion – a rather snazzy combination of the skirt and a short… Yes, they are as awful as they sound.
Failing that, I could try and just eat a little healthier. So, instead of fully loading my nachos with mountains of refried beans, guacamole and sour cream, I created this rather tasty, lighter version. Swapping shop-bought salty tortillas chips with my homemade version was surprisingly easy and delicious. I’ve favoured fresh avocado slices over guacamole and low-fat yoghurt instead of sour cream. To be honest, it felt just as indulgent, and has given me a good chance of squeezing into my snazzy new culottes. Well, it’s got to be better than wearing a denim nappy, right?


Healthy-ish loaded nachos
Serves 2 or 4 as a starter / Hands on time 40 mins / Total time 40 mins / V 🌶
1 tsp rapeseed oil (preferably in a spray bottle)
4 soft tortillas cut into eighths
Smoked paprika, to sprinkle
½ red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 sweetcorn, kernels removed (or 1 small, drained can)
8 cherry tomatoes, quarters
2 spring onions, chopped
100g vegetarian cheddar, grated
Handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 lime
To serve
Natural plain yogurt
Handful of jalapeños (optional)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ 400°F/gas mark 6. Stack 4 tortillas on top of each other and cut them in half across the middle, then into quarters and then into eighths. Spread them out, onto 2 deep baking trays, trying to overlap them as little as possible.
2. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, season with salt and pepper and spray with oil (I bought an empty spray bottle and filled it with oil myself but don’t worry if you don’t have one, just drizzle with oil). Bake in the oven for 5 mins, before flipping them over and cooking for a further 5 mins. Remove and put to one side. Turn the oven off but turn the grill on a medium to high heat.

3. Sweat the red onion and the garlic in a little oil in a large pot. Add a bit of water to help the onions steam and to cook them faster. Once softened, add the cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and cook for a further 2 mins. Add the drained black beans, the sweetcorn kernels*, a drop of water and give it a good stir. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. *To remove the sweet corn kernels, simply stand the sweetcorn on it’s head and run a sharp knife carefully down the sides to remove them slowly (they tend to go everywhere so proceed with care).

4. Meanwhile, chop the spring onions, the tomatoes and grate the cheese ready for sprinkling.
5. Tip the tortilla chips into one baking tray and top with the cooked beans. Scatter with the tomatoes and spring onions and sprinkle with cheese.
6. Place under the grill for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Meanwhile, roughly chop the coriander, slice the avocado and quarter the lime. Remove from the grill and top with the avocado, coriander, a good squeeze of lime. Serve scattered with jalapeños and with a side of yogurt.
Healthy-ish loaded nachos
Healthy-ish loaded nachos


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    🌶– Spicy