What I made tonight

Everything made from scratch.

Mmm corn tortillas, refried beans, sauteed peppers, guacamole, sour cream and Cholula, how I love thee.

I also made some last-minute Mexican-inspired couscous as a filler. Red didn’t seem keen, but I think it was pretty tasty, personally.


‘Mexican’ Breakfast Burritos (more specifically, fabulous black beans)

I was feeling a bit lazy the other night when considering dinner options.  I had some eggs.  I had a can of black beans.  My chilli plant had finally sprouted a chilli.  So ‘Mexican’ breakfast burritos, it was.  I whipped up some guac, scrambled up some eggs, fried up some tortillas, chopped up some coriander.

But, most surprisingly, the black beans I simmered up were incredible.  I think the secret ingredient was the apple cider vinegar that I added rather whimsically.

'Mexican' black beans

Black Beans Ingredients

  • 1 tin black beans, drained
  • 1 onion, choppped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small green chilli, chopped (seeds retained or removed depending on how much spice you like. I removed them… wasn’t feeling too spicy that night.)
  • 1 tbsp vegegtable oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
  • salt to taste

Step One Fry up your onion in the vegetable oil for about five minutes.  Throw in your garlic and chilli and fry for another 30 seconds.  Dump in your beans and spices (excepting the fresh coriander).  Stir.

Step Two Reduce to the lowest heat, cover and allow to simmer for about fifteen minutes.  Check every so often, stirring and adding water if the beans are starting to stick to the bottom.  Only add enough water to ensure the beans don’t stick.

Serve.  Simple and fabulous.

Obviously, the eggs don’t make the Breakfast Burritos vegan, but if you do a tofu scramble they would be.


I’ve been having a series of not-so inspiring dinners of late.  Or, I’ve been having really delicious dinners but have accidentally eaten them all before realising I’ve taken no pictures.  I made beanballs from Veganomicon the other day and put them in a spicy Asian-y sauce over brown rice, which was pretty good.  And then Red and I had Molly and Phil over for dinner on Tuesday night for our very first ‘dinner party’ in our new flat.  I made spaghetti and beanballs with a grilled courgette and corn salad with a coriander vinaigrette.  This meal was generally a success.  Although I did make some garlic bread that turned out more like garlic croutons because I was busy running my gob rather than checking on the bread baking in the oven.  Oops.

Anyway, so I didn’t take pictures of any of that, but the beanballs were a great success so I will doubtlessly be making them again in the future.

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen yesterday only to emerge with a so-so dinner.  Definitely nothing to blog about as of yet.  The night before, temperatures reached 30C during the day so I was in no mood to slave over a gas hob for any extended period of time.  This meant I pulled out a tried-and-tested childhood recipe: Goop, so named because of the goop-ey sound it makes when you stir all the ingredients together.  I think it was created in my grandmother’s kitchen, and it was a staple for my mother’s kitchen; it originally called for cooked beef mince. My version isn’t the most nutritionally sound, as it involves the original can of condensed tomato soup and a healthy squirt of ketchup, but at least it’s low fat after I’ve made my vegetarian mince substitution, right?  In any event, it’s absolutely simple and delicious.

Red loves Goop night.



  • 170g dried egg noodles (Italian style, not Chinese)
  • 3/4ths of a tin of condensed tomato soup (In America, get the Campbells. In England, you can only get Cream of Tomato soup, usually at Waitrose.  This is fine.  Just don’t get the Cream of Tomato soup with basil. That would be weird)
  • 150g frozen vegetarian mince crumbles
  • A long squirt of tomato ketchup (3 seconds, maybe)

Step One Cook the egg noodles to package instructions (boiled in water for ten minutes, usually). Drain and set aside momentarily.

Step Two In the same pot (once water is discarded), pour your frozen veggie mince in with your condensed tomato soup.  Stir around to combine and warm up over medium heat on the hob for about a minute.  The mixture will be big and globby at this point.

Step Three Dump your cooked egg noodles into the pot.  Squirt your ketchup over them.  Mix everything together with a big spoon.  Goop, goop, goop.  Continue stirring over medium heat until everything is heated through.  Don’t let the mixture burn on the bottom.

Serve in bowls! Eat on the couch while watching The Dog Whisperer.

Yields 2 servings

Soya Blackberry Smoothie

Soya Blackberry Smoothie

It’s a bit on the bitty side because of the blackberries, but who doesn’t love a purple drink?  (and by ‘a bit on the bitty side’, I mean there are bits all over the place.  Me, I don’t mind chewing my drink.  That’s why I like Bloody Marys.)


  • equal parts extra soft tofu and soya milk
  • a handful of blackberries or more
  • a tiny dash of vanilla extract (or essence if you’re cheap like me)
  • a squirt of honey or agave nectar

Step one blend everything together

Step two put in a glass and drink

easy peasy.

”Chicken” Spaghetti Casserole

Hm, so Red installed Windows 7 on my computer for early testers.  It has this new thing that when I press the apostrophe key it inserts a quotation mark instead if it feels that’s really what I want.  I don’t know how I feel about that.  I just now got used to using apostrophes for quotation marks when I’m scare quoting something (or quoting anything at all, really, as that’s the British way of punctuation.  At least, it was… perhaps now it’s moving over to all-quotation-marks- all-the-time). [Wait a minute, NO!  When I go to put a quotation mark in properly, it inserts a DOUBLE QUOTATION MARK!!!!1!!  Man, that’s going to be hella annoying until Microsoft releases a patch.  What the fuck?  When I hit the apostrophe key once, nothing shows up.  When I hit the apostrophe key once (without anything appearing) and then the “C” key I get a ç.  Fuck’s sake.  I will have to investigate this, as finishing the rest of my critical evaluation (which I should be doing now instead of posting this blog entry) will prove to be infuriating without a solution.] Crisis averted.  It had something to do with a default keyboard setting being US-International.  Who uses funny European-language characters anyway?  Peh.


Anyway, yes.  I made the always crowd-pleasing ‘Chicken’ Spaghetti Casserole last night for dinner and took some pictures.  I’m realizing that the camera on my Blackberry simply will not do for taking pictures in the future, as the pictures make the dinner look a bit shit.  But trust me when I say that Red always eats it with relish, as do I.  

The recipe is (very) freely adapted from something in Leah Leneman’s Vegan Cooking for One.   


Ingredients  jj

  • Half bag of Quorn ‘chicken’ pieces
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 servings’ worth of dried whole wheat linguine
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 8-oz soya milk
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter substitute
  • 1-2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • nutritional yeast (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step one: Boil water in small pot.  Break your dried pasta into thirds.  Drop thirded pasta into water and cook as per package instructions, minus 2 minutes (you should stop cooking a little bit before the pasta reaches al dente, as you’ll be putting it in the oven later and you don’t want it to come out overcooked).  Drain

Step two: While pasta is cooking, chop red pepper and spring onions.  Melt vegan butter in another pot and then put your red pepper in.  Stir fry for about 3 minutes.  Put in your spring onions.  Stir fry for about 1 more minute.  Add your chicken pieces and cook for another 2 minutes or so (if you’re cooking from frozen, if not, just cook until the chicken is warmed through).

Step three: Stir in the whole wheat flour.  Then slowly add the soya milk bit by bit, stirring continuously, until it forms a thickened sauce.

Step four: Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add nutritional yeast if you want.  Stir to combine.

Step five: Add drained pasta and stir until well mixed.

Step six: Transfer mixture to oven-safe dish and smooth off the top.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the entire surface area.

Step seven: Bake or grill in preheated oven until the top is crispy looking.

Step eight: Enjoy.  Rue the fact that you have more mess than usual to clean up in the kitchen.  Or feel happy that, as the cook, you’re not the one in charge of the cleaning.

'Chicken' Spaghetti Casserole