Chickpea, Tomato and Bread Soup

This recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book ‘Plenty’. If you haven’t seen his documentary series or visited his restaurants in London already, I highly recommend you do – his food is amazing

Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients: this soup is incredible, and is a complete meal. If I am having guests, I’ll complete everything up to the part where you add the croutons well ahead of time, and then finish it off once we’re ready to eat. It tastes great heated the next day, if there is any left.

One of my favourite kitchen tools is a Japanese Mandolin – it lets you slice things super thin, and is really fast. I use it for recipes like this where there is a lot of slicing involved

1 large onion, sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
about 120ml olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled, cut lengthwise, and sliced
1 tablespoon tomato puree
250ml white wine
400g plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 litre vegetable stock (I use Moredough or Stock Merchant)

160g stale sourdough bread, crusts removed
400g can chickpeas
4 tablespoons basil pesto (for vegan, I buy Botanical Cuisine’s ‘Basil and Kale’ pesto or make my own – will post the recipe some time)
handful of shredded basil leaves to serve
salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Fry the onion and fennel in 3 tablespoons of oil over a medium heat for about 4 minutes. Add carrot and celery, cook for further 4 minutes to soften. Stir in the tomato puree and stir as you cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and let it bubble away for a few minutes.

Next, add the canned tomatoes with their juices (chop them roughly if whole tomatoes), the herbs, sugar, stock, and salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

While this is cooking, tear the sourdough into bite sized pieces, and then mix through with your hands 2 tablespoons of olive oil and freshly gourd salt. Place on a roasting tin and bake for 10 minutes until dry and crisp. Set aside.

Drain chickpeas, and squash about 2/3s of them with a masher. Stir into the soup, and simmer for 10 minutes. Next add the toasted bread, stir well and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper liberally.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Spoon some pesto into the centre, drizzle with a little good olive oil, and top with freshly shredded basil. Enjoy!

Vegetable and Barley Broth

This is a very simple soup, so you must use a very good quality vegetable stock and vegetables.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cup mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons tamari or light soy sauce
1 small potato, finely diced
1 medium carrot, thickly sliced
50g pearl barley, soaked for about an hour in water
1 litre vegetable stock (I use Moredough or Stock Merchant)
salt and pepper to taste

Soak pearl barley in water for an hour, then drain.

Gently fry onion, garlic and bay leaf in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms, herbs and tamari/soy – fry a further 5 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients, then simmer for about 45 minutes. Serve.

Simple Barley Broth

Simple Barley Broth

Tomato and Lentil Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large finely chopped onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 litre vegetable stock (I use Moredough or Stock Merchant vegetable stock)
2/3 cup dried brown lentils – wash thoroughly before using
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
170g tomato paste
800g canned italian tomatoes, chopped (also use the liquid)
1/2 cup chopped italian parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried)
salt and pepper to taste

Gently fry onion and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes. Add the stock, lentils, celery, carrot and bay leaf. Bring to boil, then simmer covered for about an hour.

Mix the tomato paste and chopped herbs together.

Remove bay leaf from soup, then add the canned tomatoes and the tomato paste/herb mixture. Simmer another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve topped with some chopped herbs.

Tomato and Lentil Soup

Tomato and Lentil Soup

Roast Parsnip Soup

1kg parsnips – peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3-6 garlic cloves (leave whole – when you roast garlic the flavour becomes much more subtle)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
dash chilli flakes
salt and pepper

1 – 1.5 litre vegetable stock, depending on how thick you like your soup (I use Moredough or The Stock Merchant vegetable stock)
fresh coriander – chopped

Mix all the ingredients except stock and coriander together, and bake in the oven 200 degrees Celsius for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are tender – I like to leave them in until the edges are well browned to get a richer flavour.

Heat the stock and add the roast vegetables – you will need to peel the garlic. Blend until smooth using a stick blender.

Sprinkly chopped coriander on top, and serve with bread.

Roast Parsnip Soup

Roast Parsnip Soup

Lemon Coconut Bundt Cake

This recipe is from ‘Veganomicon’, and one I’ve made many times – always a big hit. It helps to have a good quality bundt pan, but I expect it would work equally well in a normal cake pan – or even spread over two, and then sandwiched together with your favourite filling. I serve it with nothing but a dusting of icing sugar, it is that good just on its own.

1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup oil (I use grapeseed, you can use canola or something else)
1 x 400g can of coconut milk
1/4 cup rice or soy milk (I use Bonsoy, the queen of soy milk)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
icing sugar for sprinkling on before serving

Preheat the over to 170 degrees C, and grease (or spray with oil) an 8-10″ bundt pan.

In a large mixing owl combine the sugar, oil, coconut milk, rice/soy milk, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla. Stir well to combine.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the wet ingredients in batches, mixing well after each addition. Fold in the coconut.

Pour the batter into the oiled bundt pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes until a knife inserted through the cake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes, then place chopping board or plate over the cake pan and gently flip it over and release the cake from the pan.

Once cool, sift over some icing sugar and serve.

Sitting in my handy cake transporter!

Sitting in my handy cake transporter!

Avocado, tempeh and tomato salad

This is a great salad to eat as a light meal or lunch. If you want a really fast meal you could buy tempeh that is already in a marinade and skip that step, and use a spicy pre-made salad dressing.

400g plain tempeh cut into bite sized cubes

Marinade for tempeh:
3 tablespoons Tamari
2 teaspoons chilli flakes, or else chilli paste or sauce
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (I use sweet rather than hot)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 finely sliced red onion
3 cups lettuce leaves (can use variety of leaves, including rocket)
3 cups baby spinach leaves
small red capsicum, finely sliced
1/2 cup stoned kalamata olives
2 sliced plum tomatoes
2 small or 1 large avocado, peeled and sliced
optional: you can add some toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds

4 tablespoons good quality olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chilli paste or sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Marinade the chopped tempeh for a couple of hours preferably, or even overnight. Fry in the oil until brown and crispy. Put aside.

Mix all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Make the dressing by whisking together the dressing ingredients.

Sprinkle tempeh over salad, then drizzle the dressing over the top. Serve.


Carrot, Beetroot, Fig and Grain salad

This recipe is also from The French Market Cookbook.  Very simple – don’t be put off by the list of ingredients.

2 cups cooked bulgur wheat (or couscous, brown rice, quinoa etc – whatever you have to hand)

3 medium carrots peeled and grated (~380g)

2 medium beetroots peeled and grated (~340g)

3 dried figs chopped finely (I use sliced fresh figs if I have them)

1/2 cup roast cashew nuts, unsalted and chopped

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

ground black pepper to taste

hot sauce to taste


Combine grain, carrots, beetroot, figs, cashews and parsley in a large bowl.

Make dressing and pour over: whisk lemon juice, vinegar and salt together.

Sprinkle salad with black pepper and hot sauce to taste, then stir to combine.  Serve.