18 September 2014

Win an Optimum 9400 Blender worth £329

You'll have heard about my love affair? If you've been reading my blog you'll know what I'm talking about. 

It's my own personal sous chef. My Optimum 9400.

He's a powerful beast and he looks ever so handsome sitting on my worktop. He helps me out every day,  cleans himself and he's ever so quiet. 

Every morning I throw a selection of fruit, vegetables, some water or fruit juice and ice in my blender, hit the switch and a few seconds later we each have a slurpilious smoothie for breakfast or to take with us to work or school. Then a quick rinse at the tap, some hot water and a few drops of washing-up liquid and back on to whizz himself clean.. Smoothies made and a clean blender in a couple of minutes. Perfect for busy mornings.

There's so much more you can make in the Optimum 9400. Here are a few recipes:


You can also knead bread or pizza dough, make pizza sauce, pasta sauce, pesto, dips, milkshakes, slushies, nut flours, peanut butter, ice cream, sorbet, pancake batter, guacamole, nut milks, rice milk, jam, cheese sauce, salad dressings and mayonnaise.

So would you like one?

I thought so!

To enter leave me a comment telling me what you'll make first in your blender, if you win one, then enter via the rafflecopter below. This giveaway will run until 31 October 2014 to readers who live in the UK (although after the election today, we may be talking of Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.

Disclosure: I have an Optimum 9400 which I was sent for review a few months ago. I love it and I am happy to promote the brand on my blog. 

10 September 2014

Roast Vegetable and Mozzarella Salad with a Creamy Pesto Salad

Roast Vegetable and Mozzarella Salad with Creamy Pesto Dressing

Roast vegetables are just so tasty. 

They really perk up a dish. Add them to wraps, pasta, risotto, as a topping for burgers in a bun or between the layers of a veggie lasagne.

This time I've used them to make an Autumnal salad. Lots of beautiful colours and textures tossed through salad leaves and topped with mozzarella pearls and a good drizzling of creamy pesto dressing.


Of course I didn't add mozzarella to Graham's salad as he is vegan, but I personally love it in salads. I like adding fresh mozzarella to pasta too, just before serving. 

Cooper? Well no. He just doesn't want to try mozzarella. He's happy to add it when he's making a pizza, but will he taste it? NO! I don't know why, but he won't budge on it. The only acceptable cheese to him are smoked applewood or cheddar to eat on it's own, veggie style parmesan on pasta and mozzarella cooked on a pizza. Full stop! I couldn't even persuade him how wonderful a delight roasted cheese (cheese on toast) is. Children, sigh!

Roast Vegetable Salad

For the dressing I combined pesto, yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon juice and olive oil. Just the right flavour to compliment this salad.

Oh now, you may be admiring my salad bowl. I got it some time ago and mentioned it in one of my New in my Kitchen posts. Just in case you are wondering (I know I would be asking), it's a Spode salad bowl. I think it is a thing of beauty, but then I am sad that way. The small Turkish glass I picked up in a cheap shop for pennies years ago, but I think they are quite easy to pick up.

I hope you enjoy the salad.

print recipe

Roast Vegetable and Mozzarella Salad with Pesto Dressing
A colourful and statisfying salad of roast vegetables on a bed of salad leaves, topped with little mozzarella pearls and a drizzle of creamy pesto dressing.
  • 1 aubergine, sliced
  • 2 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 2-3 bell peppers, sliced
  • ½ butternut squash, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a large bag of salad leaves
  • 125g mozzarella pearls
  • 2 tsp pesto
  • 1 tsp Greek Yoghurt
  • a good squeeze of lemon juice
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • a good grinding of black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 220 °C /200°C fan/ gas mark 7.2. Toss all the cut veg in a bowl with the oil.3. Spread the veg out in a roasting pan and cook for 25-30 minutes until the vegetables are soft and charring at the edges.4. Whisk together the pesto, yoghurt, lemon juice and olive oil and season with black pepper.5. In a large salad bowl, start with a layer of salad leaves, top with the roast veg and then the mozzarella and finish with a drizzle of the dressing. Leave the rest on the table so your guests can add more if they like.6. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Serves 4

Here are a few more ideas of what to do with roast veg:

07 September 2014

21 Quick Vegan Meals for Midweek Dinners

Green Goddess Farfalle

I don't know about you, but I live my life at top speed. I know it's not healthy, but that's just how it is. Meals often have to be a speedy affair too, as we're home late a few times a week, with a small window of opportunity for dinner before Cooper needs to go to bed.

So as I organise myself for the week ahead, I'm looking for meals that I can get to the table quickly, but they still have to taste good.

Here are some of my favourite quick vegan meals:

2. Green Goddess Farfalle with Dairy Free Pesto - Jacqueline Meldrum/Great British Chefs

4. Garden Biryani - Little Miss Meat Free
5. Spicy Three Bean Sausage Rolls - Tinned Tomatoes
6. Maple-Orange Roasted Chickpeas and Carrots (& brown rice bowl)- Coconut and Berries

7. Layered Salad with Homemade Vegan Mayo - Jacqueline Meldrum/Great British Chefs
9. Moroccan Style Potato Bake - Tinned Tomatoes

11. Minestrone Soup - Tinned Tomatoes


15. Roast Vegetable and Herb Conchiglie - Jacqueline Meldrum/Great British Chefs

17. Quick and Easy Five Vegetable Dal - Utterly Scrummy Food For Families
18. Fridge Lentil Soup - Tinned Tomatoes 

19. Black Bean Quinoa Chili - Food to Glow 

I do hope that leaves you inspired for the week ahead.

ps gold star if you spotted my mistake.