Wendy’s leek quiche

Quiches are ultimate vegetarian food – they’re protein-rich and can be improvised with all manner of tasty veggie ingredients, from feta, butternut, caramelised onion, sundried tomato, to grated courgette, fried mushroom and blue cheese.

My boyfriend’s mum, Wendy, whom I get a lot of delicious veggie recipes from, makes this delicious and easy leek quiche often. It’s very leeky, which I love. I like it served with a bit of strongish wholegrain mustard and some balsamic-dressed peppery rocket.

Makes one large quiche

500 g leeks, sliced finely
170 g mature cheddar, grated
5 large free range eggs
700 ml milk

140 g flour
85 g butter

To make the pastry, mix the flour and butter together to form breadcrumbs. Add cold water until a dough is formed. Roll out the dough to make a circle big enough for the quiche dish you’re using. Push into a greased tart dish.

To make the filling, whisk together eggs and milk and season with black pepper. Add grated cheese and leeks. Pour into the pastry and bake at 180C for one hour.

Healthyish banana bread

I’ve never actually baked banana bread before until the other night. There were a couple of overripe bananas in the fruit bowl that I was just about to throw away when I realised I had all the ingredients for banana bread. I found this super easy, healthy-ish recipe on this blog. It’s a one-bowl recipe – my favourite.

1 ½ cups mashed very ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
2/3 cup plain yoghurt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients together in pour into a greased loaf tin. Bake in a 180C oven for about 50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean.

You’re supposed to let it cool before eating but I was hungry and it smelled so good, so I cut it into thick slices while still hot and smothered them with salted butter. Delish!

Lentil and couscous burgers

I love veggie burgers but it’s hard to get them right. For years I’ve tried to make the perfect bean burgers but the consistency is so often wrong – they’re either too dry and crumbly or too wet. Chickpeas are much better for burger patties than beans, and lentils can also work well. I got the recipe for these lentil burgers from a friend at work. They’re delicious and they have an interesting texture – quite crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I love the idea of adding couscous for bulking up – a lot of veggie burger recipes call for breadcrumbs, which can be a bit boring. You could add a whole lot more spices and flavours to these burgers if you’d like – fresh coriander, curry powder or finely chopped lemongrass would be interesting.

Makes 8 big patties, enough for 4 people

2 tins of brown lentils, drained
One medium onion, chopped finely
2 medium carrots, grated
1 courgette, grated
1 cup of uncooked couscous
2 free range eggs
5 peppadews, chopped finely
2 teaspoons of crushed garlic
Lemon juice
Turmeric, cayenne pepper, dried chilli flakes, soya sauce

Cook the couscous according to the packet directions.

Blitz three quarters of the lentils with the eggs in a blender or food processor until pureed. Combine with the carrots, courgette, onion, couscous, peppadews, the remainder of the unblitzed lentils and the garlic and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with pinches of tumeric, cayenne pepper and chilli flakes, as well as a splash of soya sauce. Form the mixture into patties and leave them in the fridge to firm up for at least 20 minutes.

Bake them on a lightly oiled tray in the oven at 200C for around 15 minutes or until golden and crunchy, turning half way through. They’re delicious cut in half and served in a wrap with spinach, avocado and mushrooms. They’d be equally good on buns with some sweet potato chips.

Feta, peppadew and caramelised onion muffins

I got the idea for these savoury muffins from this blog . I tweaked the recipe a bit and added some more bits and bobs – caramelised onion, peppadews and some more fresh herbs. This is a great basic savoury muffin recipe that you could add a couple more things to – try chopped marinated peppers, mushrooms, wilted spinach, parmesan or dried chilli.

Makes 12 muffins

  • 200 g crème fraîche
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 4oo ml plain flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 50 g crumbled feta cheese
  • a couple of chopped sundried tomatoes
  • Six finely chopped peppadews
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • a tablespoon each of finely chopped fresh basil and chives
  • One sprig of fresh thyme, finely chopped

    Fry the onion over a low heat in some olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of brown sugar and cook further until caramelised (about 10 minutes). Remove from the heat and chop finely when cooled.

    Mix the crème fraîche and eggs, then gently fold in the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the feta, peppadews, caramelised onion, sundried tomatoes and herbs. . Mix just enough to bring the ingredients together. Spoon the mixture between into muffin cases and bake in a preheated 200?C oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden.

    The ultimate veggie pizza

    I love homemade pizza, and nothing beats a homemade pizza cooked in a proper pizza oven. I made this in Italy, with beautiful Italian tomatoes, seasonal summer veggies and fresh mozzarella. Bliss.

    For the dough: (this is Jamie Oliver’s recipe)

    • 1 kg strong white bread flour
    • 1 tbsp sea salt
    • 2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 650 ml lukewarm water

    To make the dough, sieve the flour and salt on to a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a jug, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.

    Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

    Now remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands – this is called knocking back the dough. You can either use it immediately, or keep it, wrapped in clingfilm, in the fridge (or freezer) until required. If using straight away, divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas – this amount of dough is enough to make about six to eight medium pizzas.

    For the tomato passata:

    Fry a crushed clove of garlic in a slug of olive oil. Add a tin of good-quality Italian chopped and peeled tomatoes and simmer slowly until reduced. Add a tablespoon or two of chopped fresh basil and lots of freshly ground black pepper.


    My favourite pizza toppings are thinly chopped mushrooms, courgettes and aubergines, balsamic-and-garlic-reduced red peppers, goat’s cheese, fresh basil and rocket and cherry tomatoes.

    If you’re cooking in a pizza oven you need to start heating the oven up at least three hours before you cook. In a conventional oven, whack the heat up to 220 C. Cook the pizza for about 12 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.