Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (27 June 2016)

I think it's safe to say here in Britain we;re reeling from the EU Referendum. It seems there was absolutely no plan as to what would happen if we voted leave. Heaven help us.

On a more positive note, here in Scotland we have Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the SNP and First Minister of Scotland, who does have a plan and is setting it in action. Thank goodness there is some sanity in evidence. I'm glad we have her looking out for us.

On the home front, we've been enjoying the sunshine and getting out for lots of dog walks. It really blows the cobwebs away.

On the meal front I've only been organised with lunches. Roast vegetables and grains cooked ahead and stacked in the fridge as a base of some tasty lunches. I'm about to head into the kitchen and sort our lunches for tomorrow.

For BabyCentre UK this week I put together a piece on 19 foods you can freeze so you always have essentials.


Yellow Split Pea Soup (vegan)

A simple creamy and lightly spiced soup made with split peas that is full of flavour and super healthy. A great meal to take you through the year that's kind to your bank balance and your waistline. Vegan & dairy free.

Am I mad to be craving soup in the summer?

I've been eating a lot of salad. I gave up on soup in favour of salad at the start of spring.

It happens every year. I eat so much soup over the winter, that I start to get a bit fed up with it, so when the sun starts to make an appearance and the temperatures rise all I want is salad. They seem new, fresh and exciting to me after a dark, cold winter and all the heavy food I've craved.

It's time to give soup a chance!

This one is a simple split pea soup with a hint of spice.


Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (20 June 2016)

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a good weekend. 

Cooper and I went to see Secret Life of Pets at the cinema on Saturday and visited my parents on Sunday as it was Father's Day. In the evening we headed over to Edinburgh and enjoyed dinner at a rather fabulous little Italian called Sambuca in Edinburgh. The food was tasty and well cooked and such good service.  I love little family restaurants like this.

Anyway it's time to share some recipes for the week ahead. Thanks to everyone who contributed.


Best Summer Stuffed Picnic Loaf (veggie and vegan options)

A stunning layered picnic loaf that's perfect for a family to share with tips.

A layered picnic loaf sandwich cut in half on a board

After a week of rain, the sun is shining and I have to say it really cheers me up. It's the perfect picnic weather. It really wasn't last week.

Before I tell you about this picnic sandwich loaf, here's how our day went. If you aren't interested, just skip down to recipe. I know some of my regular readers like to know what we are doing.

Cooper and I went to the pictures this morning to see The Secret Life of Pets, which we both enjoyed and we had a really fun walk home along the nature trail, with lots of stops for Cooper to discuss the wildlife. 

It's so good to get some fresh air and not be wrapped up in waterproofs for a change.

As I type this up, the boys are out in the front garden washing the car inside and out with hindrance help from the dogs. 

The car desperately needed a wash. Graham isn't the best at keeping a clean car and lets face it I have enough to do. 

Cooper has his new booster seat fitted and a chair tidy in place for all his bits and bobs. The dogs have new waterproof bedding in the boot. 

The car is lovely and clean again. A job well done boys!

Before making dinner I'm thinking about tomorrow. If it stays nice then a picnic lunch would be great. We're going to St Andrews tomorrow, so we could take one with us and enjoy it on the beach.

We're heading to St Andrews for a spot of dress shopping. I was delighted and awed to find out that I've been shortlisted for best blog in the Good Housekeeping Awards, so a new dress is definitely in order for the ceremony (and shoes too)

I'll have to make it fun for the boys as they hate shopping, so the promise of fun on the beach and a picnic should definitely help my case.

pin it for later

Best Summer Stuffed Picnic Loaf - A sharing sandwich perfect for families or friends at the beach or on a picnic. Includes stuffed picnic loaf tips #picnic #picnicloaf #stuffedloaf #picnicloaf #layeredsandwich #picnicsandwiches #picnicsandwich #sandwich #sandwiches #vegetariansandwich #veganssandwich

Best Summer Stuffed Picnic Loaf

I made this picnic loaf ages ago and I'm thinking I'll whip another one up tonight and pop it in the fridge for tomorrow. 

These stuffed loaves are great to take with you when you head out for a walk or picnic as they're self-contained, so they keep really well until you're ready to eat them. 

You just have to remember and take a good knife and small cutting board with you as well as napkins.

The filling can be anything you like, there are so many options. This one was full of my favourites, but you can vary it with your choice of sandwich fillings. I always think as well as salad some cheese or vegan cheese is good for a change of texture and pickle perks up the flavours. I'll leave you to decide. 

Stuffed Loaf Tips

  1. Choose a cob style round loaf.
  2. When scooping out the bread to make room for the filling, don't scoop out too much or the walls of the sandwich will be too thin and could become soggy.
  3. Reserve the leftover bread to make bread and butter pudding or whizz it up into breadcrumbs and freeze them until you need them.
  4. Brush the inside of the loaf with olive oil, pesto or another spread.
  5. Press down each layer firmly so the sandwich is well packed and not loose. It's less likely to fall apart if it is firmly packed.
  6. Add any mayo, mustard or sauce between layers, but be sparing.
  7. Add the lid back on to your filled loaf and wrap tightly in clingfilm, then chill in the fridge overnight.
  8. Take a cutting board and bread knife with you to cut the sandwich at the picnic or BBQ.
  9. Remember those napkins!
  10. Enjoy!

print recipe
A bright and colourful picnic loaf, layered with delicious sandwich fillings and wrapped overnight for a self-contained picnic lunch that will bring a smile to everyone's face (with veggie and vegan options). Why not use this technique and try your own filling. It's perfect for summer lunches.
Best Summer Stuffed Picnic Loaf
A bright and colourful picnic loaf, layered with delicious sandwich fillings and wrapped overnight for a self-contained picnic lunch that will bring a smile to everyone's face (with veggie and vegan options). Why not use this technique and try your own filling. It's perfect for summer lunches.
  • 1 small farmhouse loaf
  • 4 tsp dairy free pesto
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach and rocket
  • 8-10 sundried tomatoes, patted dry with kitchen paper
  • a large handful fresh basil
  • 200g fresh mozzarella or vegan mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 large roasted red pepper, sliced
  • 4 pickled baby beets, patted dry on kitchen paper
  • a grinding of black pepper
1. Slice the top off the loaf, this will become the lid of your stuffed loaf. Set aside.2. Scoop out the soft crumb centre, until you have a bread bowl. The spare bread can be whizzed up into breadcrumbs and frozen for another dish.3. Spread the base of the bread bowl with the pesto.4. Top with a layer of baby spinach and rocket, then add the sundried tomatoes. Top these with the basil leaves, then a layer of creamy mozzarella. Top the cheese with the pepper, then a layer of halved baby beets before you replace the lid. The loaf should be full of ingredients before you add the lid and you can season the layers with a little black pepper.5. Wrap the stuffed loaf in clingfilm and place in the fridge with a tin of beans on top to weigh it down. This will help compress the layers.6. Chill in the fridge overnight.7. Cut into slices and enjoy!
Total time (excluding chilling):
Yield: Serves 4

Summer Sandwiches

Veggie Sausage, Red Pepper & Hummus Wraps

The Ultimate Vegan Sandwich
The Ultimate Vegan Sandwich

The Veggie BLT
The Veggie BLT

Have a great weekend my friends.

A family holiday in the Scottish Borders

I usually post recipes and food ideas, but now and again I like to invite you along on my family holidays. As well as getting to know us all a bit better, I always hope these travel posts will be helpful to other families planning a holiday.

During half term (which was just a long weekend here in Scotland), we headed down to Chirnside, a hillside village near Duns in the Scottish Borders, quite near to Berwick-upon-Tweed. We booked a cottage from When I say cottage, it was actually a 4 storey converted mill and rather gorgeous.


Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (13 June 2016)

Happy Monday everyone and welcome to another round of recipes for this week's Meat Free Mondays.  I started with a photo of mushrooms as I've been using them a lot in my cooking this week. I LOVE mushrooms!

This is the part where I share my week with you, but I don't have any exciting family news to share with you this time. We went out for dinner as usual to our regular pub on Monday after work and the week just whizzed by after that. It rained all weekend, so we had a lazy time and watched DVDs, that's it. However I do have quite a lot of exciting recipes to share with you.


Creamy Chestnut Mushroom and Fresh Herb Pasta Salad

An easy pasta salad with chestnut mushrooms as the star of the show.

An easy pasta salad with chestnut mushrooms as the star of the show. It's the perfect dish to take on picnics or to serve at a BBQ. Messicani pasta with mushrooms and fresh herbs in a light creamy sauce. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

I love mushrooms! 

You may have noticed that by now. I include them in so many recipes. This hasn't always been the case. I hated them as a child , but I think that's because my Mum wasn't treating them with the respect they deserve. The only way I remember her serving them was sliced, raw and squeaky in a salad. Just no!

When did my love affair with mushrooms begin? 

I can safely say it was when I moved away from home and became vegetarian. That moment when I started to take more of an interest in food and started experimenting with recipes. I soon realised that mushrooms can be succulent and absolutely delicious as well as bringing substance to any dish. They are an important item in a vegetarian kitchen as they're versatile and kind to your budget.


Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (6 June 2016)

Happy Monday everyone. We've had a holiday, but we're back with a bang and some amazing recipes for the week ahead.

So where have we been? Well we had a brilliant long (5 day) weekend in a cottage in Chirnside, Duns in the Scottish Borders. When I say cottage, it's actually a 4 storey converted mill and rather swish too. We rented it from and I'll share more about the holiday soon, but for the moment, lets plan the week ahead.


Mediterranean Couscous Salad Recipe

A colourful couscous salad with roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, capers and baby beets.

A colourful couscous salad with roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, capers and baby beets as well as a few added ingredients for extra flavour and tips on achieving the easiest fluffy couscous.

Meet my lunch.

I have to admit I don't make lunch for work very often. By the time we've had dinner, gone through Cooper's bedtime routine and then get cleared up, the last thing I can be bothered with is making lunch and to be honest by that point I'm usually sitting at my laptop, either working on my blog or writing for one of the online or print magazines I freelance for.

Now I think about it, the only time I actually make lunch for work is if I make it at the same time as dinner or if it's leftovers.


No Croutons Required - Salads and Soups

It's my turn to host No Croutons Required again. You can have a look at last month's roundup of recipes over at Lisa's Kitchen for some tasty inspiration.

If you create a veggie or vegan soup or salad this month, be sure to link back to this challenge and drop your link in the linky below. I can't wait to see what you make.

Have a great month!
Back to Top