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Posts Tagged ‘mfm’

Meat Free Mondays: Vegan Chilli.

This is perfect for this time of year (it’s definitely getting darker and colder).  It’s perfect because you can use whatever vegetables you have in the kitchen too.

Serves: 4-6 adults. 


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 3x 400g tins of chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained (or ½ cup of dry kidney beans that have been soaked overnight)
  • 1 red chilli pepper (de-seeded if you like) or 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 200g of mushrooms, sliced
  • 200g of mixed veg e.g. courgette, sweet potato, butternut squash or peppers  – but anything will work.
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 300g basmati rice


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion over a gentle heat for 2–3 minutes, or until it has softened slightly. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans and chilli, bring the sauce to the boil, then lower the heat so that it simmers gently.
  3. Add the chopped red pepper, sliced mushrooms and mixed vegetables and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet.
  5. Add the cumin, coriander and paprika to the chilli and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  6. Season to taste and serve with the rice.

Cook’s tips

  • As the chilli was simmering I still felt it needed a bit more *umpf* so I added a teaspoon of chipotle chilli paste and some dried chilli flakes too.
  • Leftover chilli tastes much better the next day – simply wait for it to cool, then keep it in the fridge in a container with a lid, and reheat it thoroughly in a saucepan. Or you can freeze it, but make sure you defrost the chilli completely before you reheat it.
  • I made my chilli today with carrot and courgette.  It was rather delish. 😀
  • Also for all of you who think that vegan food is expensive then think again.  I’ve just worked it out on Sainsbury’s online and this meal would have cost about £4.89 to make and that’s for anything between 4-6 people depending on how hungry they are.  I went to my local greengrocers as well so it probably cost me less in honesty.

Meat Free Monday: A glut of carrots.

I had a load of carrots that needed using up before they went off and let’s face it *everyone* loves Carrot & Coriander soup, plus with Autumn poking it’s head around the corner making and freezing portions of soup means you can have a homemade, comforting bowl of soup whenever you feel like.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 450g/1lb carrots, sliced (I left the skins on)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 pints of vegetable stock
  • large bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions and the carrots. Cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  • Add the ground coriander and cook for 1 minute.  Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
  • Add the coriander and then whizz everything up with a hand blender/blender until smooth.

Meat Free Monday #6.

My kitchen for once is rammed full of food and until a huge dent has been made with what is already in I’m pretty much refusing to go grocery shopping. This means that until then a little bit of invention is in order and in fairness I think so far we’ve done a pretty good job.

This week’s MFM is pretty much Indian based. We had a look on YouTube and ended up with Bombay Potato (purely because I managed to grab a huge bag of potatoes for 5p earlier in the week) and an Egg Curry with some boiled rice. The Bombay Potato went down a storm and I definitely think I’ll make it again, the Egg Curry however I’m not too sure. The other half complained it was too gritty as a result of the amount of spices we put in, we also added more chili than what the recipe asked for which made it far too hot (and we both love chili). On top of this we also missed the tamarind out due to not having any (we just used extra water instead). If it gets made again I think it could be better if we use tamarind, failing that a tin of coconut milk or chopped tomatoes would have improved it also. Nevertheless we still ate it and have frozen the leftovers for later (more likely for when one of us is dying of cold). There was easily enough for at least 4 people.

Meat Free Mondays #5.

My friend Ashleigh gave me this recipe ages ago that seemed super easy and cheap to make and I’ve finally gotten round to making it. Good news for the Vegans out there as this is suitable for them too.

Chickpea Stew With Dumplings

Serves: 6 to 8


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil.
  • 1 large onion, chopped.
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped.
  • 2 tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano.
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme.
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  • Hot cooked rice, optional.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and green pepper and continue to sauté until all are golden.
Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cumin, oregano, thyme, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Stir in the parsley and season sparingly with salt and generously with pepper. Adjust the consistency if more water is needed, but let the stew remain thick.
Serve the in bowls on its own or over a small amount of hot cooked rice, if desired.
It seems a really versatile dish in my opinion. I added some sliced courgettes and some real tomatoes that were starting to look a bit worse for wear in the bottom of my fridge. I also added some dried chilli flakes, some vegetable stock powder (I personally like Marigold Swiss Vegan Bouillon Powder) and some bulgar wheat (I didn’t bother with the rice) which did mean that I had to add more than the amount of water stated above. Once this was simmering away nicely I then made the dumplings as instructed below.


  • 1 cup plain flour.
  • 2 tsp. baking powder.
  • 1/2 tsp. salt.
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley (or dried herbs).
  • 1/2 cup soy milk.
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil.

Sift all of the dry ingredients together (just for the record I added some garlic granules, pepper, and some mixed herbs. Mix milk (I had none in so I just made mine with water instead as I couldn’t be bothered to go to the corner shop) with oil and add to dry ingredients (just stir until moistened). Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls onto stew.
Cover and cook for 15 minutes (Do NOT lift the lid!). Serve and eat. A bit of Aromat does wonders with this dish too (I’m addicted to the stuff).
It’s a proper stodge/comforting meal. It was easy to make, cheap as chips as I had everything in already and I have a sneaky feeling I’m going to be living on it for days now unless I freeze some of it.

Meat Free Mondays #4.

There hasn’t been one of these blog entries in a while and the simple explanation is purely because I’m no longer vegetarian. Yes I do feel guilty for not sticking with it (I really did try) and lecturing won’t make me feel any better either (I despise militant veggie lecturers / PETA morons – I always have done). I will probably go back to vegetarianism at some point as it seems to be the dietary trend that I’ve subconsciously followed since I was 12 or 13 (where I’ll be veggie for anything between 4-6 years then I’ll start eating meat again for a year or so and then switch back for another 4-6 years). It still works out that I’ve been veggie for over a third of my life (I’m 31) and that still, in my opinion has to count for something.

Anyway moving on. My boyfriend and I made this relatively simple and delicious pasta dish recently. Super easy, super tasty and relatively cheap as chips to make. I was tempted to say that this would be a nice summer dish but our British summer seems to have ended, as usual, prematurely (booooo).

Fusilli Mediterranean Style

Ingredients for 4 persons:

  • 320 grams of fusilli pasta.
  • 200 grams of buffalo mozzarella (we just used normal mozzarella).
  • 30 pachino tomatoes (we substituted these with cherry tomatoes).
  • 2 cloves of garlic.
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  • A handful of minced fresh parsley.
  • A handful of capers.
  • Some red pepper (we think the chef used crushed chilli flakes in the video so this is what we used).
  • The juice of 2 lemons.
  • A pinch of salt.

Hope you enjoy.

Meat Free Mondays #3.

In an attempt in frugality I’ve been trying to use up items in my cupboards/freezer that I’ve had for ages in the hope that it will a) save me money and b) force me to try different things. I seem to be one of these people who always seem to have a lot of food in their cupboards yet continue to buy more “just in case”. In case of what who knows? For the sake of argument my excuse is that I’m stock piling in case of a zombie apocalypse.

This week I noticed I had a tub of breadcrumbs and a pack of firm tofu that were nearing their best before date so these have obviously been the foundation of this week’s MFM. After a quick internet search I decided on this only I used a lot more olive oil, 3/4 of a tin of chopped tomatoes (instead of the tomato sauce) and grated mild cheddar (I had no mozzarella). Those of you who are on a diet I apologise as this is definitley not for you.  Same goes to the vegans (due to the cheese). In my opinion this has been the best meal I’ve ever had with tofu in it as the base ingredient, it was utterly delicious and I will definitley be making this again in the future.

Seriously it was that good I had seconds.

Meat Free Mondays #2.

It’s been a while since I last posted for which I apologise but in between work, decorating and getting ready for Christmas I’ve had little time to indulge in blogging. I have however been wanting to make Borscht for a while and today after going to my local Tescos for some Parsnips and feeling like I’m coming down with cold thought it best to make it, especially with it being a MFM. I know a lot of wine isn’t considered vegan and it’s traditionally served with sour cream so this is one purely for the veggies I’m afraid.

Red Borscht

Overall I’m of the conclusion that this wasn’t worth the hassle. I spilt red wine all over my kitchen, scalded my hand whilst sieving the veg and to me it tasted as if it were missing something. I normally prefer my soups to be thicker. I also found the waste of veg a bit too much so recycled it all in a broth (I just added it all into a big pot with more water, a tin of chopped tomato, a bucket load of herbs and dried chilli and two handfuls of bulgar wheat) and to be honest I prefer that to the Borscht. Maybe I’ve done something wrong but I doubt I’ll be cooking this again. I hope you have better luck with it if you do decide on trying it however.
    • 1 celeriac
    • 2 carrots
    • A handful of fresh parsley
    • 1 leek
    • 1 onion
    • 1 large parsnip
    • 4 red beetroots
    • 10 black peppercorns
    • 2 grains of pimento (or allspice)
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 glass and a half of red wine
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • juice of 2 lemons
    • salt and pepper

Put a pan with 3 pints of water on the boil. Peel and chop the celeriac, carrots, leek, onion and parsnip, wash them and add to the pan. Simmer for 20 minutes.  Peel and thinly slice the beetroot and place in a separate pan with the peppercorns, pimento (I had none but found this as a good substitute) and bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, in 1 pint of water for 30 minutes.  Sieve the vegetable and beetroot stocks and combine the clear liquids, discarding the vegetables. Return the borscht to the heat. Add the red wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper, sugar and garlic. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with Sour Cream.

Preparation time: Around 60 minutes.
Serves: 6

Meat Free Mondays…

I decided last week that, since a) I love to cook, b) am Vegetarian and c) following the Weight Watchers program that from now on I’m going to post either a recipe or a veggie discovery each Monday and thus call it Meat Free Mondays (very original no???).  This week I thought I would kick off MFM’s with my favourite ever pasta dish which is cheap, easy and best of all vegan.  If you’re following the Weight Watchers program this works out at 5.5 points with the oil or 3 if you use the no points low calorie spray oil.  Parmesan (dairy or vegan) is optional and obviously you will need to point it.

Carrot Pasta

If you like you can use flavoured oil (I sometimes use garlic infused or chilli infused olive oil) or you can use the low fat spray oil instead.  Also ASDA do tins of chopped tomatoes with chilli which work well with this if you fancy your meal with a bit of a kick.


  • 120 g pasta (dried)
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of Olive oil
  • 300 g Passata / 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried herbs

Boil a pan of water (for the pasta) and whilst waiting for it to boil wash and peel the carrots with a vegetable peeler. Set the pasta off to boil and slice the carrots into thin slices (literally as thin as you can make them). Finely dice the garlic and the onion.

With another pan, coat the bottom with oil and heat on medium-high heat. When hot, add the carrots, stirring frequently. When the carrots start to soften, add the garlic and onion. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes until some of the carrots get brown around the edges and the garlic is golden. Next add the passata/tin of chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper and herbs until it’s all warmed through and serve with the cooked and drained pasta.

Preparation time: Roughly 30 minutes if that.

Serves: 2

If you like the idea of MFM or you actually cooked this dish then I would love to hear from you.  I do love this pasta dish and must eat it at least once a week.