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I don't know why it has taken me so long to put in a vegetarian section. I make lots of meals without meat, I suppose it's the title "vegetarian" that puts me off as it sounds a bit faddy. There have been periods in my life when I didn't meat though. In one such period, I related this to our neighbour Vera, she responded "Oh that wouldn't do for me, I like to have something that has drawn breath".

Another reason I havn't done this before is that generally, I tend to put together what I happen to have to hand or what I can find cheap in the market or in profusion at the allotment. So like much of the rest of the cooking to be found here, recipes per se are in short supply.

Having said that, there are vegetarian recipes here and I have linked to some of them below:

You can easily make vegitarian versions of some of the meat recipes by substituting the pulse base, described below, or just simply cooked lentils, in, for example, mousakka or lasagne.

Pulses with cumin and aubergine or other vegetables


Perhaps the lack of vegetarian dishes comes from my inability to find names for them. This one appears in several different guises and with different accompaniments and ingredients and a title for it escapes me. Use the base, or just simply cooked lentils, instead of minced meat in mousakka or lasagne.

You can either choose and cook a set of pulses yourself or use a very handy pre-cooked mixture of grains from Merchant Gourmet which makes for a very quick and simple preparation. [I get these from the The co-operative, but other retailers have them as well.]

Pulses with cumin and aubergine or other vegetables


Enough for two if you use the mixed grain [250g packet] or for four if you use two aubergines and the dried pulses.

EITHER use a packet of mixed grains from Merchant Gourmet [250g] OR choose three grains from the following list:

  • 80g dried green split peas
  • 80g bulgar wheat
  • 80g black, brown or red lentils
  • 80g quinoa
  • 80g pearl barley [if using, boil it in water for an hour, drain and then add as one of the pulses]
  • Approximately three times the weight/volume of the grains salted water [if using 3 grains use 300ml or 300g water]

I have to admit that I have a very small glass that just holds 80g that I use as a measure, its also quite useful for the cook's wine once its been used as a measure.

  • 1 teaspoon cummin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • freshly ground black pepper and coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste or mango chutney or something else sweet eg stem ginger in syrup, fresh plums
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 onion
  • crushed garlic cloves to taste
  • mushrooms [if liked]
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • olive oil

I like to serve a fresh vegetable of some sort on top of a bed of the pulses, favourites are: grilled aubergines, asparagus or courgette.

so take your pick from:

  • aubergine
  • asparagus
  • courgette
  • button mushrooms


Choose three pulses and boil them up for about 20 minutes with three times their volume of water. Meanwhile, fry the spice seeds and then add the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Strain the pulses, add to the spices and onions, stir in a can of chopped tomatoes along with the tamarind concentrate. [Tamarind is appearing in a lot of my recipes at the moment as I bought a jar of it some time ago (at a reduced price) as it was approaching its sell by date. I won't disclose its official sell by date but note that it is within the same decade (just) as today, 2013]. A further bonus is that it is manufactured by Fudco in Willesdon, providing canalside fragrence for Cribbit on her Paddington Arm peregrinations near Alperton.

I like to top off the pulses with grilled aubergine slices. I have tried various ways of doing these but what works best for me is to cut them into 15mm slices, brush their tops with olive oil and then char under a hot grill for about 10 minutes. Turn them, brush the other side with olive oil and repeat under the grill. The second side does quicker than the first so keep an eye on them. The slices should be charred on the outside and fluffy on the inside.


With asparagus, gently fried in butter on a bed of mixed grains from Merchant Gormet

Okra and sweet corn


The idea for this recipe came from receiving a can of sweet corn in the Oakley Village , Relief of the Poor, Christmas basket.


  • 1 £1 bowl of okra
  • 1 [preferably red] onion
  • 1 can of sweet corn [preferably from the Oakley relief of the poor Christmas basket]
  • 1 tablespoon corriander seeds, bruised in the mortar
  • 1 tablespoon pepper corns, bruised in the mortar
  • pitted black olives cut in half
  • 1 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon and about 1/8 of its peel chopped small
  • 1 jalfrazi pepper chopped fine, including the seeds
  • lots of crushed garlic cloves
  • lots of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • generous spriggs of fresh basil chopped

Top and tail the okra and chop into 2cm lengths.

Sweat the onions, garlic, pepper and coriander in the olive oil until the onions are translucent then add the okra pieces, the chopped tomatoes, the sliced olives, sugar, lemon juice and zest.

Simmer for about 30 minutes until the oil and tomatoes 'invert'.

Shortly before serving, stir in the sweet corn and continue simmering until it is heated through and then add the basil/parsley as a garnish before serving.

Vegetarian gravy

Also suitable for meat eaters.


  • 2 onions
  • soy sauce
  • mushrooms [optional]
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  • vegetable stock, ie the water you boiled the vegetables in
  • olive oil
  • crushed garlic cloves
  • freshly ground pepper and coriander corns

Saute the garlic, pepper onions and mushrooms [if using] in the olive oil until the onions are well browned.

Mix the cornflour with some cold water to make a runny paste.

Pour 300ml of vegetable stock onto the fried onions,add a squirt of soy sauce [this gives flavour and colour] and the cornflour paste. I'm not avers to adding a bit of red wine at this stage either.

Bring to the boil, stirring the while until the mixture has thickened, adjust its consistency by adding extra stock or plain water.

Check the seasoning before serving.

Vegetable stuffed courgette

Bombe surprise

We have had a lot of courgettes on the allotment this year [2013]. This came about as last year they were in short supply due to the poor weather and my over confidence in their fecundity. This year I was determined to do better and put in more seeds and of course, more of them came to maturity. So I put in more plants even after giving away a whole bunch to the gardening club plant sale. I have especially liked the round yellow ones I grew for the first time this year. Previously, I have grown round green ones which I have found to be watery, but these have been very good. They look like a cartoon bomb, complete with green fuse.

So many we had to put them outside the gate

I had also made a late sowing of broad beans so these came together as a nice stuffing for the courgettes I thought. When I told Rosemary what the stuffing was she remarked, 'What! Vegetables stuffed with vegetables' I think that basil goes rather well with broad beans so that is what is used here.


  • 1 large onion
  • broad beans
  • 4 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 spherical courgettes
  • basil
  • olive oil
  • crushed garlic cloves
  • freshly ground pepper and coriander corns

Cut round the stems of the courgettes and hollow out their interiors. Wipe all over, inside and out, with olive oil.

Gently fry the chopped onions, garlic and pepper corns in some olive oil. When the onions are translucent, add the chopped tomatoes, basil and the broad beans. Simmer and reduce.

Stuff the courgettes with the mixture and replace their hats

Bake at 180 for about an hour

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