Creamy Carbonara Sauce

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Whenever I make my Creamy Carbonara Sauce, it always reminds me of my first trip to Rome. At the time I was a vegetarian and keen to try a traditional Spaghetti Carbonara. Coincidentally, a restaurant next door to the hotel I was staying at claimed to serve up the best Spaghetti Carbonara in the city. A lot has changed since then so purists may question the authenticity of my adapted recipe.

If you can’t find liquid aminos, you can also use tamari or a vegan worchester sauce.

As a rough guide, this recipe serves 2.

  • 250g wholewheat spaghetti
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms
  • 200ml soya cream
  • 100ml soya milk
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp. fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Peel and finely chop the mushrooms, garlic and onion. Heat the rapeseed oil in a large saucepan using a medium heat then add the prepared vegetables – apart from the frozen peas as these will be stirred through the sauce at the end.
Cook for 5 minutes to allow the vegetables to soften a little then add the oregano. Coat the vegetables in the oregano then cook for 5 minutes.
Add the soya cream, soya milk and nutritional yeast then stir to combine. Cook for a further 10 minutes while you prepare the spaghetti.
Start by adding the spaghetti to a large saucepan filled with water. Heat the water using a medium heat then cover the saucepan with a lid. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the spaghetti from sticking together.
Drain the spaghetti using a colander then add it to the sauce along with the frozen peas. Stir to combine then season to taste.
Allow the frozen peas to thaw, this should only take a couple of minutes.

Southern Style Sweetcorn Chowder

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What makes a good chowder is a matter of debate for many home cooks. Is it even a chowder if it doesn’t contain meat, fish or dairy? In my opinion, the recipe should be kept simple – like the recipe for my Southern Style Sweetcorn Chowder. A thick and luxurious base loaded with sweet and smoky flavours, no food processor required.

As a rough guide, this recipe serves 4.

  • 400g creamed corn
  • 200ml water
  • 200ml soya cream
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 glove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp. vegan bouillon powder
  • 1 tbsp. smoked rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Peel and finely chop the celery, carrots, red pepper, onion and garlic. Heat the smoked rapeseed oil in a large saucepan using a medium heat then add the prepared vegetables.
Cook for 5 minutes to allow the vegetables to soften a little then add all of the herbs, the smoked paprika and the vegan bouillon powder. Coat the vegetables in the herbs, smoked paprika and vegan bouillon powder then cook for 5 minutes.
Add the creamed corn, water, soya cream and lime juice then stir to combine. Cover the saucepan with a lid then cook for a further 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are ready. Season to taste.

Roasted Red Pepper and Chilli Houmous

My Roasted Red Pepper and Chilli Houmous offers a sweet and spicy twist on the traditional Middle Eastern dip we all know and love. Depending on how much time you have, you can roast a red pepper and allow it to cool or you can use a roasted red pepper from a jar.

If you like it garlicky, add an extra clove.

As a rough guide, this recipe serves 2.

  • 400g chick peas
  • 100ml water
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. smoked rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp. dark tahini
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Drain and rinse the chick peas thoroughly using a colander then add to a food processor along with the roasted red pepper, garlic, smoked paprika and chilli powder. There’s no need to chop the garlic, just peel it.
Process for 30 seconds then add the dark tahini.
Process for 30 seconds whilst pouring in the water, lemon juice and smoked rapeseed oil. Season to taste then process for a further 30 seconds.

Green Lentil and Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie is undoubtedly a British classic. While there’s lots of peeling and chopping involved, it’s one of those meals where the preparation certainly pays off. If you have some spare time, my Green Lentil and Sweet Potato Cottage Pie is a crowd pleaser.

I much prefer to use lentils instead of mock meat, although this recipe works just as well with soya mince.

As a rough guide, this recipe makes 1 large pie or 4 individual pies.

  • 600ml water
  • 400g green lentils
  • 100ml unsweetened soya milk
  • 50g dairy-free margarine
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 tbsp. vegan gravy powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp. fresh of dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Drain and rinse the lentils thoroughly using a colander. Peel and finely chop the sweet potatoes, garlic, celery, carrots and onion. Add the sweet potatoes to a large saucepan filled with water.
Heat the water using a medium heat then cover the saucepan with a lid. Cook for 20-25 minutes while you prepare the filling.
Start by adding the rapeseed oil to a large saucepan. Heat the rapeseed oil using a medium heat then add the remaining vegetables.
Cook for 5 minutes to allow the vegetables to soften a little then add all of the herbs. Coat the vegetables in the herbs then cook for 5 minutes.
Add the green lentils, water, vegan gravy granules and bay leaves. Stir to combine then cook for a further 10-15 minutes, or until the filling has thickened. Remove the bay leaves then season to taste.
Transfer the filling to 1 large pie dish or 4 individual pie dishes, allowing space for the topping. Set the dish/dishes to one side then pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, around 220 degrees.
Drain the sweet potatoes thoroughly using a colander. Mash the sweet potatoes fully, ensuring there are no lumps. Add the maple syrup, dairy-free margarine and soya milk then stir to combine.
Cover the filling evenly with the topping then score with a fork. Put the dish/dishes in to the oven then cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the topping is crispy and golden.

Sweetcorn Fritters

My simple Sweetcorn Fritters are another versatile option for entertaining. They can be served alone, as part of a salad or even inside a pitta bread. You can add any dressing or dipping sauce you like but they are particularly good with pesto mayonnaise!

As a rough guide, this recipe makes 8 large fritters or 16 small fitters.

  • 400g cannellini beans
  • 200g sweetcorn
  • 100ml water
  • 100ml rapeseed oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 tbsp. wholemeal flour
  • 4 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. fresh or dried basil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh or dried oregano
  • Sea salt and white pepper to taste

Drain and rinse the cannellini beans thoroughly in a colander. Add the drained and rinsed beans to a food processor along with the sweetcorn and the garlic. There’s no need to chop the garlic, just peel it.
Process for 30 seconds then add the wholemeal flour, nutritional yeast, basil and oregano.
Process for 30 seconds whilst pouring in the water and lemon juice.
Season to taste then process for a further 30 seconds. You should have a smooth but firm mixture which can be shaped in to fritters
. If the mixture is too wet, add more wholemeal flour. If the mixture is too dry, add more water.
Heat
the rapeseed oil in a large frying pan using a medium heat then add the fritters. Fry each side for 10 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

Creamy Mushroom and Tarragon Soup

Whenever I make my Creamy Mushroom and Tarragon Soup it always reminds me of my first trip to Iceland. While walking through the beautiful town of Hafnarfjörður, me and my husband came across a small but cosy cafe serving homemade soup and sourdough bread. After hours of walking through strong wind and deep snow this could not have been more welcome. Mushroom and tarragon was the only flavour on the menu but you could make yourself at home and help yourself to as much as you wanted.

If you can’t find liquid aminos, you can also use tamari or a vegan worcester sauce.

As a rough guide, this recipe serves 4.

  • 600ml water
  • 400g white mushrooms
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms
  • 200ml soya cream
  • 50g dairy-free margarine
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 tbsp. liquid aminos
  • 2 tbsp. fresh or dried tarragon
  • 1 tbsp. vegan bouillon powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Peel and finely chop the mushrooms, garlic, celery and onion. Melt the dairy-free margarine in a large saucepan using a medium heat then add the prepared vegetables.
Cook for 5 minutes to allow the vegetables to soften a little then add the tarragon and the vegan bouillon powder. Coat the vegetables in the tarragon and the vegan bouillon powder then cook for 5 minutes.
Add the water, soya cream and liquid aminos then stir to combine. Cover the saucepan with a lid then cook for a further 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are ready.
Transfer 4-5 ladles of the soup to a food processor. Process until a smooth puree is formed. Add the puree to the saucepan – this will thicken the soup. Stir to combine then season to taste.

Creamy Tomato and Chilli Sauce

Pasta is staple in the Carter household but my husband and I are divided on which sauce is best. While I like an indulgent cream sauce, my husband much prefers a rich tomato sauce. When a compromise cannot be reached, I simply combine the two!

If you’re looking to use up some leftovers, my Creamy Tomato and Chilli Sauce can be easily adapted.

As a rough guide, this recipe serves 2.

  • 500g passata
  • 250g wholewheat spaghetti
  • 200g baby chestnut mushrooms
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 100ml water
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 tbsp. coconut milk yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Peel and finely chop the mushrooms, garlic, red pepper, celery, onion and chilli. Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan using a medium heat then add the prepared vegetables – apart from the frozen peas as these will be stirred through the sauce at the end.
Cook for 5 minutes to allow the vegetables to soften a little then add the smoked paprika and the oregano. Coat the vegetables in the smoked paprika and the oregano then cook for 5 minutes.
Add the passata, water and coconut milk yoghurt then stir to combine. Cook for a further 10 minutes while you prepare the spaghetti.
Start by adding the spaghetti to a large saucepan filled with water. Heat the water using a medium heat then cover the saucepan with a lid. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occassionally to stop the spaghetti from sticking together.
Drain the spaghetti in a colander then add it to the sauce along with the frozen peas. Stir to combine then season to taste.
Allow the frozen peas to thaw, this should only take a couple of minutes.