20 February 2017

Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (20 February 2017)

Happy Monday!

How are you? 

It's been sunny and warm here in Dundee today. Most unexpected for February and it's lighter earlier and dark later, so things are looking up. My leg is definitely improving too, so I'm feeling quite perky.

I'm just unpacking groceries from a late night delivery while I think about what to make this week. Well when I say I'm unpacking, at the moment I'm chatting to you and watching Graham unpacking. My first meal planned is dinner for tomorrow, as I've had a request for bolognaise, so spaghetti it is coated in a rich sauce packed with lots of veg.

To help you plan your week, scroll down for this week's Meat Free Monday recipes. A glorious selection as ever.


Wholewheat Tagliatelle With Rocket & Hazelnut Pesto

The Veg Space


Tomato Pasta Bake with Garlicky Crumb Topping

A Virtual Vegan


Homity Pie

Only Crumbs Remain


Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Sauce



Easy Peasy Foodie


Everyday Healthy Recipes



Bonus Recipes

Thanks to everyone who created a recipe for us this week.

If you're a blogger and would like to be featured next time. Link your veggie or vegan (main course) recipe to this post mentioning you are submitting your recipe with a link back and add your post to the linky below (one per blog).

If you're a reader, tune in next Monday for another 7 awesome veggie recipes.

16 February 2017

Vegan Choc Chip Scotch Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday

It's twelve days until Shrove Tuesday and I'm already excited. 

Yeah, yeah, I know I don't have to wait until Shrove Tuesday to make pancakes, but it's a good reminder of how awesome homemade pancakes are, not to mention how super easy they are to make.

We go crazy making pancakes in the run up to Shrove Tuesday, then I don't know, I suppose we scunner ourselves eating them so often, so we stop making them. I have to admit Cooper loves making them and it's a fun project to do together in the kitchen.  Of course chocolate is usually involved.

Vegan Pancakes

Poor Graham missed out on pancakes for the first couple of years he was vegan, but last year I started to play about with batters and managed to master a really good vegan scotch pancake with no weird ingredients.


Self-raising flour, mild olive oil, agave nectar, soya or nut milk, a little salt and vanilla extract.

That's it. I didn't even need to use an egg replacement like flax eggs. I did try these pancakes with flax eggs, but somehow this works better. Sometimes it's just a case of trial and error.

These pancakes even bubble like traditional Scotch pancakes. That's when you know they are ready to flip.

Pancake Batter

The batter is mixed up in a flash, then you fold in the dark chocolate chips and drop generous dollops of the chocolate studded batter into a hot frying pan and soon you have a sexy stack of pancakes that's ready for a drizzle of maple syrup.

Dig in!

Shrove Tuesday 

Just in case you don't know, Shrove Tuesday is on 28 February 2017. Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday and the day before Lent begins. It's the traditional time to use up all the luxury products like butter and eggs before the lean days of Lent. Hence the pancakes. 

print recipe

Vegan Choc Chip Scotch Pancakes
Traditional Scotch pancakes made with simple ingredients but no dairy. They are fluffy with a good rise and studded with dark chocolate chips for that naughty finishing touch. Serve them warm with maple syrup.

  • 120g self-raising four
  • 200g nut or soya milk
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp mild olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • 50g dark chocolate chips
1. Rub your frying pan with a little oil and heat on a medium to high heat until the pan is really hot.2. Sift your flour into a bowl and add the salt.3. In a jug, whisk your milk, agave nectar, oil and vanilla extract until well combined. Make a well in the middle of your flour and pour in most of the wet mixture. You want it to be like thick pouring cream, you may not need all the liquid.4. Try a teaspoon full of your batter in your frying pan, to test if it is hot enough. It should bubble up quickly, flip, then cook on the other side for just a few seconds. You should have a wee golden pancake.5. Cook the rest of your pancakes. Each pancake is made from a generous tablespoon of batter. They will take about 3 minutes each. Turn them when they start to bubble. You can have a sneak peek underneath using a palette knife to check it they are golden underneath and ready to flip. 6. Serve the pancakes warm with maple syrup. 7. Enjoy!

Total time:  
Yield makes 12 pancakes (depending on size)


For another vegan sweet treat, try my Vegan Chocolate & Peanut Butter Mousse.

13 February 2017

Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (13 February 2017)

Happy Monday!

How are you? Have you had a good week?

I don't know where the last week went. It whizzed by. The weekend wasn't quite what I hoped for as my wee boy had a fever and was feeling poorly, but as usual with kids, it was over quickly and he's back to his usual energetic self. He was busy tonight with homework, but made time to write not one, but two Valentine Cards for girls in his class. How sweet is that? 

We've already discussed some of our meal plan for the week, Tonight we kept it simple with a toastie and lots of salad, tomorrow I'm making soup and on Wednesday I plan to make homemade mushroom burgers, but the rest of the week is wide open and it's always great to have more inspiration. Tra-la-la it's Meat Free Monday time!


A Virtual Vegan




Everyday Healthy Recipes


Tinned Tomatoes


Thinly Spread


Green Gourmet Giraffe


Food to Glow

Bonus Recipes

Green Split Pea Curry - Tin and Thyme
Quinoa Fried Rice - Mala's Kitchen

Thanks to everyone who created a recipe for us this week.

11 February 2017

Simple Spaghetti with Olives

In November I travelled to Provence in Southern France to tour olive groves and visit olive oil producers (I know, how lucky am I?). Before my trip I was totally oblivious to French olives. I always assumed olives came from some of the hotter parts of Europe. Spain, Italy and Greece to name a few. 

French olives? Really?

Olivence is a co-operative of five of the best PDO producers of olive oil and olives in the region of Provence. These craft producers supply some of the finest olives and olive oils, some of which are still harvested by hand.
Simple Spaghetti with Olives plus a guide to buying and storing olive oil as well as a look at how olive oil is made in Provence, France. www.tinnedtomatoes.com

The thing that struck me about each of the producers was the love and care they put into their products and I have to say they were the finest olives I've ever tried. I was impressed they leave them on the tree to ripen properly before picking them (much of the produce that reaches the supermarket shelves these days is picked way too soon, before ripe and the flavour just isn't there).

Leaving the olives to ripen on the vine often produces a soft wrinkly and slightly salty olive. Boy they're divine and the oil tastes wonderful too.

Here are a few photos from my trip. I hope you enjoy them.

Picking Olives

These olives are picked by hand. They have rakes that vibrate to shake the olives from the tree into nets. The olives are teased into the centre of the nets and a big vacuum cleaner type machine sooks up the olives.

Making Olive Oil

Once they've transported the olives back to their premises, they sort through them to remove all the foliage and select the best olives. The olives used to be pressed by hand in a giant press which would crush the olives between mats to extract the oil, but now it is done by machine. First they're washed, then they're crushed and the end product is a fabulous clear oil.

Once the olives are pressed, the oil is bottled. Most of the olives from the Olivence group are destined for oil, but a small percentage are set aside as table olives, They are the very best you can try. If you get hold of some I urge you to do so.

The Best Way to Buy Olive Oil

One of the things I learned about olive oil is that you should buy the best you can and buy small. Once it's opened you should store it somewhere dark and use it as quickly as you can, so forget those large bottles as the quality will drop the longer you have it,

If you can buy it in small cans or dark glass bottles, even better, this will help protect it from light. I keep mine in a ceramic wine cooler, on my counter top, it keeps the light from the bottle.

I've been enjoying the olives and oil since I came back and now I'm back on my feet (I've had an injured knee, don't ask!) and back in the kitchen again, I thought I'd share one of my favourite and easiest of meals.

A very simple spaghetti dish that really brings out the flavour of the olives and the oil. It's the sort of dish I love to have when I'm home alone or if I've had too many heavy dishes. It's quick to make and rather fabulous.


I made it for Graham's lunch today. He shot out the door on his way to work without breakfast today and I knew he wouldn't have eaten anything before heading home at 2pm. I despair sometimes.

Needless to say he enjoyed his lunch. I made a bit too much so I had to help eat it, ahem! Cooper has been poorly so just some plain toast for him, poor wee boy!

print recipe

Simple Spaghetti with Olives
A simple spaghetti dish for one. Simple but full of flavour and easy to double up for two. Try it next time you want to eat something quick and easy that's really comforting!
  • 75g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp good quality olive oil
  • a handful of good quality olives (stones removed), chopped in half
  • a handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • a sprinkle of chilli flakes
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • a generous sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan (veggie or vegan)
1. Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions until al dente.2. Drain the pasta well, then toss in the olive oil and season with black pepper and chilli flakes.3. Toss in the olives.4. Serve topped with parmesan.5. Enjoy!
Total time:

Yield: Serves 1 generously

Follow Olivence on Facebook and Twitter and follow the conversation with  #huileolive #olivence #huilesetolives

If you love simple spaghetti dishes, try my Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Artichoke recipe.

Disclosure: Olivence invited me to Provence to visit their olive groves and producers. They didn't expect a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

08 February 2017

Gently Spiced Rice Pudding (vegan)

Homemade rice pudding gently spiced with ginger and freshly grated cinnamon. This easy recipe can be made with your favourite milk, dairy or dairy-free and will surely become a family favourite. www.tinnedtomatoes.com

Rice pudding is such comfort food. It's one of the dishes I loved as a child. My mum would make it regularly and it was always gorgeous. I especially loved it served with a dollop of jam, but I've grown out of that particular habit. I prefer it plain now with a little spice.

I was of the generation where rice pudding was often bought in tins and sometimes my mum would serve this too if she was short of time, but mostly she made it herself and she still makes it regularly.

The way my mum and I make rice pudding is less thick, creamy and stodgy than the shop bought version, but no less luxurious. Of course I make it dairy free now so Graham can enjoy it too. This recipe can be made with your favourite milk be it dairy or dairy free.

06 February 2017

Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (6 February 2017)

Happy Monday my friends.

How are you?

I've had another hectic day at work and I've come home tired as tired can be, although I think my husband may win that one. I came downstairs after reading Cooper a bedtime story and tucking him in and there was poor Graham asleep in the armchair at a really awkward angle that was definitely going to mean a painful crick in the neck.

It's cold here in Scotland and outside the wind is howling and it's pouring with rain with the prospect of icy temperatures coming our way from tomorrow night. Can't wait.

Spring can't come fast enough for me!

However one spot of sunshine is spending time looking through all the delicious recipes this week.