Quick Mushroom & Kidney Bean Curry

This recipe was born because we needed to go shopping yesterday, but I didn’t feel like venturing out in pre-snow weather (not least because I was reading a terrific book – Rowan Coleman’s The Memory Book).  So I had a quick rummage in the cupboards and came up with this:

Mushroom & Kidney Bean Curry

1 Onion

250g Mushrooms

2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil

4 Teaspoons of garlic-ginger paste

1 Tin of Kidney Beans

1 Tin of Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons of Tomato Purée

2 Teaspoons of Cumin Seeds

2 Red Chillies

11/2 Teaspoon of Garam Masala

Salt & Pepper to taste

Chop the onion.

Chop the chillies (I use a kitchen scissors, it’s quicker, easier, and I’m less likely to end up with chilli hands)

Wipe the mushrooms and cut them in quarters.

Open the tin of kidney beans, drain and rinse in a sieve.

Heat the oil over a medium heat in a wok or saucepan.

Add the cumin seeds and fry gently until they release their aroma.

Toss in the onion and sautée, stirring often, until they are glossy and the raw smell has gone off them.

Add the ginger-garlic paste and chillies.

Continue to fry, over a low-medium heat, for a minute or two.

Plop in the contents of the tomato tin and the tomato purée.

Swish the tin out with water and add that to the sauce as well.

Pop in the chopped mushrooms.

Leave the lot to cook, for about 20 minutes, on a low heat, stirring often.

Add the drained and rinsed kidney beans and the garam masala.


Leave the lot to cook for another 10 minutes or so – just until the kidney beans are heated through.

I was going to serve this with rice, but it smelt like it needed chapatis, so I made those instead. 🙂


Peppers Stuffed with Curried Rice & Veggies

Gosh, it’s been a while since I posted here. Not, obviously, because I haven’t been cooking but I have (to be honest) gotten a little bit lazy with writing the recipes up on the blog.


Anyway, the fabulous Anne Marie O’Connor inspired me to get back with it, as she posted a recipe on her blog made from the odds and sods in her kitchen. I was in the middle of looking at the fridge, cupboards and shelves here as well, trying to figure out what I was going to make for us. I had three bell peppers and mushrooms that needed to be used up and was trying to figure out how to tie them into a meal that would be delicious, nutritious and use nothing outside of what I had in the house.


So we ended up eating capsicums stuffed with curried rice and vegetables. ‘Twas yum! 🙂

Curried Rice and Vegetable-Stuffed Capsicums

3  Large Bell Peppers

3 Shallots

6 Cloves of Garlic

Knob of Fresh Ginger (about half the length of your thumb)

2 Fresh Red Chillis

250g of Button Mushrooms

200g of Frozen Spinach

1/2 Can of Coconut Milk

2 Tablespoons of butter

2 Tablespoons of Thai Green Curry Paste

3/4 cup of Basmati Rice

Salt and Pepper to taste


Very carefully, take the tops off the capsicums and remove the seeds, membranes and stalk from the peppers, keeping the ‘bells’ whole.

Chop the tops of the peppers into small chunks.

Peel and mince the garlic and ginger.

Peel and slice the shallots.

Chop the chillies.

Wipe and quarter the mushrooms.

Using a pot that will accommodate the peppers, but about 1.5 cups of water in the pot and bring it to the boil.

Add the peppers, cut side down.

Cook for about three minutes.

Retain the water and remove the vegetables from the pot (using tongs or salad servers), placing them cut side down on kitchen paper to drain.

Melt half the butter in a saucepan and add the shallots, garlic, and ginger.

Cook over a moderate heat for about five minutes.

Stir in the rice and cook until toasted – about four minutes.

Add the curry paste, the coconut milk, the reserved water from the peppers and the salt and pepper.

Cook for about 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, turn the oven on to Gas Mark 4/ 180 Centigrade.

Melt the remaining butter in a pan and add the chopped bell pepper tops, mushrooms, spinach and chillies.


Cook, stirring, for about six minutes.

Once the rice is cooked, add the vegetables to the rice and stir to mix.

Fill the peppers with the rice mixture and put them, cut side up, in to a shallow baking dish.

Cover with foil and pop in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.



Eggplant, Mushroom & Fig Tagine

I hesitated before posting these recipes. The cake, in particular, isn’t really a budget bake (what with ground almonds being E1.79 per 200g), but if you fancy a bit of a splurge when there are a few more euros than usual knocking around, this menu might be just what you’re looking for.


We had friends over for dinner last night and I wanted to make something I’d never made before. So, I decided to make a tagine. A tagine is not something I make often, certainly not often enough to justify buying a proper tagine pot, but because we don’t use meat and don’t really need to slow cook, a regular saucepan did the job nicely.


With the tagine, we had rice (I didn’t make couscous since I’ve been off wheat since November) and a potato dish (salad potatoes being such good value at the moment), as well as baked cauliflower with Halloumi. Seeing as the oven was on, I decided to bake for dessert.  The whole menu is quite a melding of flavours (we had hummous and crudités to start with and I made an orange/ginger lassi as well) but it seemed to work. I’m just posting the tagine recipe here – will follow with the others in the next day or so (sick child in the house at the moment – nothing to do with my cooking, I hasten to add! 😉 )


The photo here is really sub-par, but it gives you an idea…..


Aubergine, Mushroom & Fig Tagine

Aubergine, Mushroom & Fig Tagine 

5 Tablespoons of Oil

2 Small Onions

5 Garlic Cloves

2 Teaspoons of Ground Coriander

2 Teaspoons of Ground Cumin

2 Teaspoons of Ground Cinnamon

2 Teaspoons of Ras-al-Hanout (optional)

400g Can of Chickpeas

400g Can of Tomatoes

600mls of Vegetable Stock

Large Pinch of Saffron Threads

1 Large Aubergine

250g Mushrooms (button or closed cap)

100g (bout 12) Dried Figs

Handful of Fresh Coriander


Top and tail the aubergine, then chop into bite-sized pieces.

Pop into a non-metal sieve or colander and shake a generous amount of salt over the pieces. Leave to drain for about 30 minutes while you get on with the rest of the prep.

Peel and chop the onion.

Crush the garlic cloves.

Drain the chickpeas.

Halve the mushrooms if you’re not using button mushrooms.

Halve the dried figs.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic and spices.

Cook over  medium heat for five minutes, until the raw smell goes off the garlic and the spices release their aroma. Stir the whole time, to avoid burning.

Transfer this spiced mixture into a saucepan.

Add the tomatoes, stock, chickpeas and saffron.

Rinse the aubergine pieces and squeeze the excess water out of them.

Heat the rest of the oil in the frying pan and add the aubergine pieces.

Fry them over a high heat.

Add to the saucepan and bring to the boil.

Turn down the heat and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and figs and continue to cook, uncovered for another 20 minutes.

Scatter the coriander into the stew and season with salt & pepper.

Stir. Serve with crusty bread, couscous or rice.






Mushroom & Kale Lasagne

Until about  a year ago, I had never made lasagne. In my head, they were difficult, time consuming and easy to ruin.

Then I tried to make one and found out that, while they can take some time to assemble, they aren’t particularly hard. Since that first fateful foray into the land of lasagne, I have experimented with various combinations of ingredients. I think our favourite was mushroom and beetroot with an unsuccessful beetroot soup being upcycled into a very successful lasagne sauce.

I didn’t think it was kale season just yet. I thought it was more a winter vegetable, but when I saw some in a supermarket the other day, I couldn’t resist it.

This recipe is tweaked from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg Every Day  and gave us six generous portions. (We dug in before I remembered to snap a pic. Oops!)

Mushroom and Kale Lasagne

150g of Kale

250g of Mushrooms

4 Cloves of Garlic

100g Butter

2 Teaspoons of Dried Herbs (whatever you have)

About 9 Lasagne Sheets

40g of Hard Cheese

Salt and Pepper

750mls of Milk

1 Bay Leaf

1 Onion

1 Celery Stick

6 Black Peppercorns

50g Plain Flour

2 Teaspoons of Mustard

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Lightly oil a 23cm square casserole dish.

Chop the onion roughly.

Clean and quarter the mushrooms.

Clean the kale and remove any tough stalks.

Clean the celery and cut off any hard ends as well as the leaves.

Grate the cheese.

Put the milk in a saucepan with the whole peppercorns, bay leaf, chopped onion and the celery.

Heat the milk until it is simmering. Milk boils over in no time, so keep an eye on it!

Once the milk has reached simmering point, take it off the heat and leave it to infuse.

Put the kale in a saucepan and just about cover it with water.

Put a lid on the pot and bring the water to a boil, then leave it to steam.

Heat 50g of  butter in a large frying pan or wok.

Add the mushrooms with a generous grinding of pepper and some salt.

Fry for about ten minutes, until the mushrooms release their juice.

Stir in the garlic and herbs.

Cook for another 2-3 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic.

Gently reheat the milk then strain it.

Melt the rest of the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour.

Cook it for a minute or so, and remove from the heat.

Pour about a the milk – about 200mls at a time – into the saucepan and beat it until the sauce is smooth.

Put the sauce back on a low heat and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard and seasoning.

Drain the kale and stir in half the sauce.

Spread the remaining sauce over the bottom of the casserole dish.

Cover the sauce with three of the lasagne sheets.

Tip the kale over the lasagne sheets and spread evenly.

Cover the kale with three more lasagne sheets.

Spread the cooked mushrooms over the second layer of lasagne.

Put the final layer of lasagne over the mushrooms.

Spread the last of the sauce over the top of the third layer of lasagne.

Sprinkle the cheese over the top.

Bake for about 30 minutes.