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A lot of things to do with beans and other cheap and nutritious items March 12, 2008

Filed under: recipes — paulabrown @ 8:16 pm


Shamelessly pilfered from my friend Vikki (do visit her site Get Fitter for more tips or sign up to her fab newsletter)…

Scrummy Salad Dressing
Whisk some olive oil, lemon juice, soy or Tamari sauce (go organic to ensure there are no nasties or MSG lurking), a little freshly grated ginger, garlic and possibly finely chopped fresh chilli; drizzle lovingly over absolutely anything. Lip-smackingly scrummy!
Quick Bean and Tuna Salad
Lightly steam some green beans and possibly frozen Soya peas which are now available in supermarkets. Add to bowl with some roughly chopped raw sugar snap peas or mange tout. Add some baby spinach leaves and/or lambs lettuce, coriander leaves and possibly a can of drained tuna. Dress with scrummy salad dressing.
Tart it up; cook some fresh tuna in tamari sauce, and add to the salad when cool.
Cheap as Chips: grow your own veg! Sprout some snow peas or other sprouting seeds to have a constant supply of salad ingredients. You can buy a special sprouter, or just use your own container. www.allotment.org.uk/greenhouse/seeds/sprouting-seed.php
Red Cabbage Chick Pea and Carrot Salad
Grate carrots, thinly slice red cabbage, and tip in some chick peas, dress with lemon juice.
Tart it up: add some toasted sesame seeds and smoked tofu.
No Mayo Coleslaw
Place thinly sliced red cabbage, white cabbage (or Savoy), red onion, grated carrot and chunks of chopped apple into a bowl and season with a scrummy dressing and some chopped chilli.
Tart it up: for the fuss-pot in your life add organic mayonnaise (made with free range eggs). I also like to add avocado (to everything!).
Sonya’s Salad
Lightly steam a head of broccoli so that it is still a little crunchy, cut into smaller pieces and add to bowl with avocado, red onion, tomato, coloured peppers, some rocket or other salad leaves. Dress, and serve.
Top Tip: When cooking broccoli, slice into the stalk to let the steam cook the stalk and the head evenly: avoiding the crunchy stalk and disintegrating broccoli problem.
Tart it up: Add cubes of firm smoked tofu (such as Demeter) or marinade some tofu in soy or Tamari sauce and fry, then cut into cubes when cool. Fry some sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a little olive oil for a couple of minutes, at the last moment add some good quality organic soy or tamari sauce to the seeds, and take them off the heat as they start to look caramelised. Sprinkle over the salad and scoff.
Cheap as Chips: Grow your own Purple Sprouting Broccoli; it is expensive in the shops, but easy to grow. Avoid the bags of broccoli florets; come on, how hard is it to cut it up your self? Also the stalk is good for you, and when vegetables are processed (peeled, sliced and generally messed with in a factory) you will lose some of the nutritional value.
Easy Peasy Hummus; you’ll never buy it again
Take a couple of tins of chickpeas and drain, place them into a blender with a three table spoons of tahini paste (available in health and organic stores), add raw chopped garlic depending on your romantic inclinations, drizzle five or six tablespoons of olive oil, juice of a lemon, and blend to required consistency. Eat with salads, or in a pitta, or use as a dip; great last minute thing to make in large quantities for parties.
Tart it up: by adding chopped coriander or lemon zest towards the end of the blending, and sprinkle with paprika to serve.
Cheap as chips; buy your own chick peas, soak over night, and cook according to instructions.
Spanish Butter Bean Stew
Gently cook some onions and garlic in a little olive oil, and add some chopped celery. Add a large jar of passata, chopped parsley and a little vegetable stock such as organic Swiss bouillon powder. Throw in a couple of tins of butter beans and place everything into a shallow oven dish. Place in the oven around gas mark 5 for 20 minutes. Serve with a salad of green leaves, and a mountain of lightly steamed broccoli or other veggies.
Tart it up: finely grate yesterday’s bread and some fresh parmesan cheese, and sprinkle over the top to make a lovely topping. Serve with garlic bread and baked potatoes.
Cheat: by using a jar of pasta sauce and tinned butter beans.
Cheap as chips: use dried beans and use according to instructions.
3 lentil dishes: Use puy or Black Beluga Lentils and cook until al dente. These lentils have a lovely firm texture and nutty taste, and can be cooked in bulk then refrigerated and used to prepare several small meals.
Lentil and Roast Veg salad
Bake a tray of peppers, tomatoes, leeks, celery, fennel, aubergine, or what ever you have handy in a little olive oil and lemon juice. Stir in some chopped garlic after about 20 minutes, and any fresh herbs and return to the oven until cooked. Ensure that you cook too much for one meal, so that you can use the leftovers to make other salads and snacks; add to pasta, lasagne, pita, sandwiches, and bruchetta. When cool, add to the lentils and dress with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Roughly chop some rocket and baby spinach leaves and mix in. Perfect as a light meal, to serve with some fish or meat, or to take to work in a pot.
Tart it up: by breaking goats’ cheese or feta into the salad.
Lentil and rocket salad
Instant lunch: roughly chop the rocket and add the lentils. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with some crumbly sea salt. Simple but delicious.
Baked Mushrooms
Possibly the easiest dish to prepare when faced with unexpected visits from vegetarian folk. Place large flat mushrooms into a dish, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil, and possibly good soy sauce. Bake in the oven on about gas mark 6 for 20-30 minutes. Surprisingly meaty and satisfying.
Tart it up: before baking top each mushroom with a tea spoon of pesto and top with a circle of goats’ cheese, add black pepper and some shavings of parmesan.
Onion and Cannelini bean soup
Take a good amount of chopped onions and gently cook in olive oil, when softening add plenty of chopped garlic. Prepare some vegetable stock (I use Marigold Organic Swiss Bouillon if no fresh stock handy). Add stock to pan, and one or two tins of soft white beans such as cannelini, flageolet or haricot. Simmer for 20 minutes, and serve, store, or blend for a smoother soup.
Tart it up: Melt a large knob of butter in a pan or use olive oil, add some mixed herbs, salt and pepper, and fry small cubes of bread to make croutons. Serve on the top of the soup with grated fresh parmesan, gruyere or a blue cheese.
Berry Nice Pudding
For a yummy pudding or breakfast, tip as many different berries as you can into a bowl and top with low-fat natural yoghurt.
Tart it up: drizzle with honey and top with chopped nuts

Cheesey balls January 21, 2008

Filed under: recipes — paulabrown @ 5:18 pm

I just wanted to post about my newfound recipe…. When I was done with ruining yet another pan of rice (don’t even get me started on couscous) and lamenting over my past life as a budding chef I decided to turn a failure into a success (ever the glass half full).

So I made cheesey balls… I stuffed a cube of cheese in a handful of the sticky rice, rolled them in egg then sesame seeds and gently fried them in olive oil. OK so they are hardly macrobiotic or even that healthy but still, it saved the lot from being composted. For grown ups we put sweet chilli sauce on them and the kids did the same with ketchup. Surprisingly good.

STOP PRESS do not listen to a word of it, they hated it and frankly so did I! It turned out I wasted the rice and now cheese and seeds too. Nige of course ate the lot as he hasn’t got a taste bud in his head. I may delete the whole recipe section before I get complaints about the banana lasagne too.


Local food June 17, 2007

Filed under: Bristol news,environment,parenting articles,recipes — paulabrown @ 6:47 pm


Now I like my food so I went to a Sunday market at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol this morning with the kids – always a dangerous thing as it only takes a few snacks, drinks and a jar of handmade chutney before you’ve parted with the best part of £15! Anyway, it was lovely and the kids enjoyed it.

It did occur to me that we’re quite spoilt for all things foodie in Bristol – we’ve got the UK’s only regular Slow Food market, one of a handful of UK Organic Food Festivals, the World’s largest Vegan Fair, a brilliant weekly farmers’ market, a new swanky cookery school which is doing a lot of work with schools (Bordeaux Quay), St Nicholas markets with brilliant stalls like the one linked with the Olive Shed restaurant as well as great wholefood shops like Better Food Company that source as locally as possible and grow a lot of their veg at a nearby walled garden and not forgetting lots of beautiful allotment sites.

So if you’re in Bristol – make use of it!


Banana Lasagne May 26, 2007

Filed under: recipes — paulabrown @ 9:03 pm


While I’m on the topic of silly food, here’s another one! Banana lasagne, slightly less daft than it sounds. Simple layer ripe banana slices with lasagne sheets, with a dash of orange juice and bake as per lasagne, serve with yoghurt or ice cream!


Fruit pizza

Filed under: recipes — paulabrown @ 9:02 pm


Oh and another one! Make a pizza base, smear on jam type substance, then put slices of all kinds of fruit, cook briefly – you can even use custard for cheese, jam for tomato sauce, plums for salami etc and take it quite literally!


Hot frogs!

Filed under: recipes — paulabrown @ 8:59 pm

This is a ‘hot frog’ – you simply cut out a frog shape in shortcrust pastry and plop half an apple on it’s back – this makes the green back of the frog. Bake et voila, a hot frog!



Magic Minestrone Soup – from the Barefoot Book ‘Magic Minestrone’ May 25, 2007

Filed under: Barefoot Books - titles,recipes — paulabrown @ 1:34 pm


Make a lovely hearty autumn soup using some or all of the ingredients below but if you don’t have them, make it up as you go along! Make sure an adult does the hot bits though…




2 sticks of celery

4 basil leaves

1 large courgettes

3 crushed cloves of garlic

2 leeks

1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

2 finely diced carrots

4 tablespoons of olive oil

2 skinned tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 can of beans, drained and rinsed

1 vegetable bouillion (stock) cube


Salt and pepper to taste


How to make it

  1. Cut washed celery into matchsticks. Cut courgette down the centre and then lengthwise.
  2. Remove the green portions of the leeks, the base and the outer skin. Slice in 4 lengthwise, rinse and dice.

  3. Add the celery, courgettes, leeks and tomatoes to the casserole and crumble the bouillon cube over. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

  4. Rinse and pat dry the basil leaves then chop. Combine the crushed garlic, basil, parmesan cheese and olive oil in a bowl.

  5. Stir the beans into the casserole, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil mixture to the casserole and stir until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.