Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (27 February 2017)

Happy Monday!

How are you? 

I'm fine. Last week we had an unexpected death in the family so it's been a really sad week and a reminder we should enjoy every minute with our loved once as you never know what's round the corner.

This weekend we have been tackling Cooper's bedroom. It's overflowing with clothes, toys and books, so it was time for a good clear out and time to re-organise. He went to bed really pleased with the new layout tonight.

The wee boy has been helping me in the kitchen this weekend too. Today he helped me make pancakes and he made us a slow cooked potato and haricot stew in a spicy tomato sauce for dinner. It was real comfort food. We enjoyed it with some buttered bread. I'll share the recipe later this week.


Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese - Batch Cooking

Spaghetti bolognese is one of our favourite family meals. My mother-in-law Jean gave me this recipe over 20 years ago. This is the same basic recipe with a few tweaks and made in a big batch.

The original recipe used dried soya mince, but I use frozen veggie mince which I buy from my local supermarket. Dried soya mince was all you could buy in the early 90s and you could only buy it from a health shop. Yes, times have moved on thankfully.

This bolognese is super tasty and full of vegetables to help with your five-a-day. It's packed with onion, garlic, carrots and mushrooms and has a rich flavour thanks to lots of red wine. The red wine gives it a wonderful depth of flavour, but don't worry the alcohol is burned off during cooking.


The Ultimate Rolo Cheesecake

This isn't one for my vegan readers. I've not mastered a dairy-free cheesecake yet, but one of these days ........ 

This deep and luxurious no-bake cheesecake was made for my baking club. We meet every 4-6 weeks for chat, cake and a quiz. This time my good friend Stuart (you may know him as Cakeyboi) was in charge and the theme was celebration. It had to be something pretty special so I decided to make this deep no-bake cheesecake. 
A deep no-bake Rolo cheesecake topped with caramel, melted dark chocolate and Rolos. It's easy to make, but a really stunning cake for a party or celebration, but easy enough to make and serve after Sunday lunch or dinner.

The base of the cheesecake is crushed digestive biscuits (Graham crackers) mixed with melted butter and pressed into a deep loose-bottom cake tin, then popped in the fridge to chill. Next I made the cheesecake filling with cream cheese and whipped double cream flavoured with vanilla seeds. I topped the cheesecake with caramel and melted chocolate and finished it with Rolos. It's a very easy dessert to make but the final result and flavour is sensational.

My photo was a quick snap on my phone, so not to my usual standard, but hopefully it is good enough to encourage you to make this awesome dessert.


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.


Vegan Choc Chip Scotch Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday

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.


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!


Simple Spaghetti with Olives

A review of huile olives from Provence, France with a simple spaghetti recipe that brings out the flavour of the 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.


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.

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.


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.


Scottish Oaty Walnut and Raisin Flapjacks

Scottish Oaty Walnut and Raisin Flapjacks with a cup of coffee

I love Scottish flapjacks, they are chewy, comforting and on just the right side of healthy for a traybake. Now I'm not saying they're diet food, but they are full of oats, walnuts, raisins, chia seeds, flax seeds and sweetened by mashed banana and a some honey (or agave).

Energy Bars

If you need a energy boost then these will do the job nicely. They're perfect if you are out hill walking, to counter that mid-afternoon energy crash or if it's hours until your next meal.

Now I like my flapjacks chewy, but they can also be crisp. To me this is just plain wrong. They should be slightly crisp on the outside but chewy and soft inside.

My American friends may be wondering what I'm wittering about.  American flapjacks are what we call Scotch pancakes. I know, I know, it gets confusing. Let's do this visually!

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