The Purple Potter's Umra Archives
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Vegetarian Main Dishes

Am's Lentil and Vegetable Chilli Chris Toodles's Chinese Tea Eggs
Colin's Butter Beans in Cider
Colin's Swiss Chard Supper
Gill's Vegan Nasi Goreng
Gill's Vegan Pasta in Putanesca Sauce
Jane's Hot Boston Beans
Kim's Mushroom Risotto
Kim's Pesto (with Pasta)
Kim's Potato and Onion Dish
Kim's Sag Paneer
Kim's Tiropita
Lizbuff's Cheese on Toast Meets Risotto
Lizbuff's Home Made Pasta
Lizbuff's Oxford John Mushrooms
Lizbuff's Pasta Sauce
Lizbuff's Tian of Courgettes and Tomatoes
Mike R's Veggie Lasagne
Min's Austerity Pie
Neil W's Mole Poblano de Laraotas Negras
Nick O's Onion and Potato Casserole
Sarah's Bean Dish
Sid's Pasta Casa Nuncious
Tim's Baked Cabbage with Nuts and Cheese Tony W's Flamenco Eggs

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Am's Lentil and Vegetable Chilli

Errmm.... the "bulk" of the chilli was a mix of lentils and whatever veg I had on hand (so would def. have had peas and sweetcorn in it). The "sauce" involved frying onions and garlic, turning the heat down low, adding large shredded bunches of coriander, mint, thyme, chives and something else that escapes me but wasn't sage or rosemary, putting a lid on and letting it do whatever the technical term for it is for about 20 minutes. But it softens everything up nicely and mingles the flavours. Squish up the tomatoes (or use passata or sommat), chuck that in with the onion and herbs, chuck in the chilli peppers, add balsamic vinegar, lime juice, cheap young whisky (currently using a rather raw 5 yr old single for cooking) and small amounts of brown sugar to taste. Stick it on a low heat for the flavours to mingle andcome out a bit and cook the rice while you're waiting. Serve with the rice, and with sour cream with small quantities of chives, mint and coriander mixed in.

Chris Toodles's Chinese Tea Eggs

6 eggs
2 tsp salt
1 whole star anise (optional)
2 tsp black china tea

Hard boil the eggs for 10 mins. Drain and tap the shells gently with a spoon until they are cracked all over. Put the eggs back into the saucepan and cover with fresh water, Add the salt, soy sauce, star anise if used, and tea. Bring to the boil then simmer for one hour. Allow the eggs to cool in the liquid. Just before serving, remove the egg shells carefully to reveal a beautiful marbled pattern.

Colin's Butter Beans in Cider

No fixed recipe, it depends what I have in, but it goes something like this:

Slice a couple of sticks of celery, saute in a couple of tbs of olive oil until softened in a large flat pan over a medium heat. Add a crushed (though not dejected) clove of garlic at some point in the sauteing. Then chuck in a can (a tall one) of drained butter beans (you could start from dried the day before if you want but I prefer tinned butter beans.) Add a bottle of Weston's organic cider, or whatever you prefer but about a pint, a little vegetable bouillon powder (I use Marigold here, stronger stocks are too overpowering) and some seasoning. Stick the pan on a fast simmer until the sauce thickens.

I add a good handful of fresh parsley, if I have any around, during the thickening. I usually serve it with bulgar wheat but it goes with brown rice too.

Onion instead of celery is one alternative but I prefer the celery as the beans stand out more. Beer instead of cider creates a much more bitter dish.

Colin's Swiss Chard Supper

Steam or boil, drain thoroughly, put in shallow dish, grate strong cheese over the top, grill. Serve with bread and butter and a large glass of white wine. Perfect, simple dinner. Yum.

Gill's Vegan Nasi Goreng

(for 2 adults and 2 toddlers, one of the adults eats like a mouse the other is a big eater)

6 oz rice or spaghetti or wholewheat noodles, cooked and ready but not necessarily hot.

1 packet Cauldron Foods organic tofu (there are other nicer brands of tofu (dragonfly springs to mind) but each brand is sold in a different weight, and I can't remember how heavy 1 packet of the Cauldron tofu is but that is the right amount. Also this is sold in Sainsburys and Tescos so it is easy to get hold of)

1 tablespoon vegan marge (or oil) (the best vegan marge I have ever found is Pure Organic but tastes vary)

2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (you can get this from Sainsburys during the barbecue season, they have it with barbecue stuff. If you can't get this vegan Worcester sauce will do - you can get this from health food shops)

2 tablespoons yeast flakes (available from all good health food shops - The yummiest thing known to mankind)

2 small onions
1 tablespoon veg oil
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 tablespoons mango chutney
4 tablespoons baco bits (available from Sainsburys)
Big chunk of cucumber (chopped)

Cut the tofu into small strips (bite size pieces the length of half a chip. Fry in the vegan marge on a low heat until crispy golden brown. Take off heat. Mix liquid smoke with soy sauce then pour into the pan and stir the tofu so it is all covered. Sprinkle on the yeast flakes and stir all round, over the heat, until the liquid is gone and the tofu is all covered with sticky yeast. Put to one side.

Chop the onions and saute in the oil for a couple of minutes. Add the cumin and coriander and cook on a low heat for another 2 minutes. Add the rice/spaghetti/noodles and mix around thoroughly, cook for another minute or two. Add the tofu pieces, the mango chutney and the baco bits. Stir like a good'un. Remove from heat, and top with lots of chopped cucumber.

Gill's Vegan Pasta in Putanesca Sauce

(for the same family as above)

6 oz pasta, boil till ready

1 can chopped tomatoes
12 capers
20 black pitted olives (or fewer if you don;t like them as much as we do)
oregano (plenty)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Whizz tomatoes, olives, capers and oregano in a food processer thingy.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan or wok.

Add whizzed ingredients and turn down heat to light simmer.

Simmer for about 15 minutes.

Drain pasta and add to saucepan/wok. Mix thoroughly, and serve. (Yeast flakes (instead of parmesan) optional but supremely yummy).

Jane's Hot Boston Beans

Serves 4 but freezes very well in individual portions
from St Michael Vegetarian Feast

225g haricot beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1 tbs vegetable oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
4 tbs clear honey
3 tbs soy sauce
half tsp Tabasco sauce
3 tbs wine vinegar
1 tsp English mustard powder
half to one tsp ground chilli
1 tsp paprika
4 tbs tomato puree
450ml hot vegetable stock
4 tbs orange juice
2 red peppers, seeded and sliced
2 tsp plain flour

1. Rinse the beans and put in a pan with sufficient water to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 mins. Drain and tip into a casserole.

2. Heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the onions until golden. Stir in the honey, soy sauce, Tabasco sauce, vinegar, mustard, chilli, paprika and tomato puree.

3. Pour in the hot stock and orange juice and bring to the boil. Pour over the beans, cover the casserole and cook in the centre of the oven for one and a half hours.

4. Blend the flour with 2 tbs water and stir into the beans. Add the red peppers to the pan. Cover and return to the oven for an hour until the sauce is rich and thick and the beans tender. I usually omit the flour and at the end of the cooking time thicken with a little cornflour if it needs it. (I use a pan which goes on hob and in oven.)

I like this best served with a baked potato, though the book recommends garlic bread and raita.

Kim's Mushroom Risotto.

Heat a small puddle of good olive oil in a risotto or other flat bottomed frying pan.
Halve and thinly slice a small onion and throw that in.
Add some crushed garlic.
Lob in a few pine kernels.
While that lot mingles on a low flame...
Thinly slice a punnet or so of shitake mushrooms.
Chuck into the pan and stir it up.
Let it get on with it for a few minutes.
Boil the kettle to make stock [see later...]
Throw in as much arborio risotto rice as you want, and stir into oil & onion mixture.
Make stock [see!] by pouring boiling water onto a sprinkling of dried basil & thyme with salt & pepper -- make sure there's enough room left in the vessel for the froth that will form when you...
... pour a goodly puddle of champagne into the stock.
Inhale. Doesn't do anything for the food, but it smells wonderful.
Pour a little of the liquid onto the rice.
Watch carefully and add a little more liquid every minutes or so as it is absorbed by the rice. The idea is to keep the risotto wet but not flood it.
While that's going on, chop a bunch of parsley & grate some fresh parmesan. When the rice is tender and the liquid absorbed to the right moist but not soupy stage, remove from heat.
Stir in parsley & cheese.
Serve immediately.
If there's any left, it's damn fine cold the next day or so too!

Kim's Pesto (with Pasta)

Two bunches of basil, finely chopped.
A good handful of pine nuts, roughly crushed (pestle & mortar job)
2/4 (depending on size) cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped, or put through a garlic mill.
A little salt.
Combine with enough good olive oil [1] to make a paste. Put into a clean jar, and top up with more oil to seal the surface. Keeps in fridge for several days. Might keep longer than that, but it never gets the chance to find out.

Cook spaghetti, spoon on pesto, grate over fresh parmesan, and pour on enough oil to allow it all to combine and mix easily, stir well, serve.

[1] Definitely worth using the best you can get for this, as it's not going to be cooked. [2] There's an organic extra virgin olive oil that my local farmers' market sells that's rather good. Anything of that standard would be fine. But I expect you all knew that. :o)))

[2] I consider myself a foodie, but it was a revelation to me when Raymond Blanc told us that there's no point in using best evoo for cooking (as in applying heat), and you can save cash and use ordinary blended oil. I now operate a two tier olive oil system, and haven't noticed any drop in standards. Brilliant!

[3] Of course, anyrats lucky enough to live in areas where good ingredients are a normal part of life, and not an expensive luxury, probably don't need to worry. [4]

[4] I've often forgotten to put a footnote after using the reference, but I think this is the first time I've had a footnote that didn't have any reference to it!

Kim's Potato and Onion Dish

Boil the spuds (best peeled in this dish) and roughly chop the onion. Put the onions in a big frying pan (a wok works well) while the spuds drain. When dry enough to avoid redecorating the walls with the hot oil, add spuds to pan. Sprinkle liberally with mustard seed and dried root ginger. Fry, stirring regularly, until spuds are golden brown and have seeds and ginger (now crispy) stuck all over them. Nice just with cabbage and/or fried eggs as a simple meal, or as a posh accompaniment.

Oh, and some of the mustard seeds will pop and leap amusingly in (and out of) the pan -- be prepared to get pebble-dashed!

Kim's Sag Paneer

As I am now eating sag paneer, made with cheese made this afternoon to the show's recipe, I thought I'd report in (I promised at least onerat I would do so).

The paneer really was very easy to make. I followed the instructions pretty accurately (something of a novelty for me) as there were so few of them. My quantities were a little different, as I'd bought a single two pint carton of full-cream milk for the exercise. Brought that to the boil and added two tablespoons of whole, live yoghurt and stirred. Curdled well, separated and washed as instructed, drained etc and left to stand as per the recipe.

When cool wrapped in foil and put in the fridge as I wasn't sure at that point what I was going to do with it.

To make into sag paneer I fried some spices (I'm sure anybody who can be bothered to make cheese for curry has their own ideas of which spices to use!) and added about half the cheese chopped into small blocks. Stirred and fried till well coated in butter/spice mix and starting to brown. Added well drained tin of spinach (sorry, didn't know I was going to make sag paneer so no fresh!) and cooked, stirring for a few more mintues to produce dry curry well mixed with crumbling cheese.

FYI served with potato and green been curry made at the same time, and boiled rice. Yummy.

Kim's Tiropita

This is how it's made if you're a "seat of the pants" cook...

For a start, buy sheets of ready made filo cos it's way too difficult to make your own.

Then get some feta cheese, a couple of packs maybe. Put that in a bowl and cut it up then hit it with a big spoon. Wander out into the garden and pick some fresh mint. If the oregano looks particularly tempting you can grab some of that but just mint's fine. Wash it, chop it up and throw it in with the cheese. Beat an egg or two depending on size, mood, richness required. Whack that in the bowl. Add enough milk to make it gloopy. If you've got ricotta, cottage, cream, curd or other soft cheese that you need to use up, throw that in too.

Take the sheets of filo and layer some into a pie dish brushing the layers with olive oil. If you're posh use a brush, if not use your fingers dunked in a little bowl of oil. When you've made a good base, pour in the gloop. Layer some more on top, folding in the sides of the bottom sheets as you go. Final oil dressing.

Bake in the oven at what seems like a good pie sort of temperature for as long as it needs to go a nice golden brown. Let settle a bit before sarfing down first slice "to make sure it's okay". Yummy hot or cold.

Lizbuff's Cheese on Toast Meets Risotto

As usual in my recipes quantities are not the thing but here are the ingredients.

1 half baguette (sliced)

Arborio rice
White wine
Vegetable stock

Sliced Fontini cheese (or similar)

A sprinkling of cinammon

1) Fry the bread in the oil with the garlic and put to one side.
2) Cook the rice in melted butter and add white wine allow the rice to absorb it.
3) Add stock and stirring allow the rice to swell
4) Place the cooked rice in a deep dish and cover with the fried bread
5) Add the cheese and allow to melt
6) Sprinle the cinammon
7) Cover with the melted butter
8) Repeat with layers as often as you want
9) Serve and eat
10) No need to wash up, it is not fish

Lizbuff's Home Made Pasta


4 oz 00 durum wheat flour
2 medium sized eggs(free range if possible)


Place flour on a cool surface and make a well in it.
Slightly beat the eggs and pour into the well, knead and add more flour if necessary, until the dough is elastic.

At this stage you can add other things e.g. chopped up sun dried tomatoes.

Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin on a floured surface until it is paper thin (at this stage you realise why people buy pasta making machines)and then cut into strips or any other desired shapes.

Boil in water with Olive Oil added and use sauce of your choice.

You can also dry the pasta to use at a later date.

Lizbuff's Oxford John Mushrooms

This recipe was originally for lamb chops but I thought it would be fun to try it out on those very large mushrooms you can buy to make it into a vegetarian dish. It worked.

1large field mushroom per person(or more)
onion chopped finely
garlic chopped finely
english mustard
vegetarian worcester sauce
mixed herbs
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients (except the mushrooms).

Take the stalk out of the mushrooms and place the mixture in them.

Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Bake in the oven at 200C until mushrooms are tender.

Serve as you would steak.

Lizbuff's Pasta Sauce


As many tomatoes for as cheap as you can get
Boiling Water
Olive Oil
Crushed garlic
Chopped Onion
Any herb you can think of
Chopped Chilli Peppers

Method Place tomatoes in boiling water until their skins start to split. Drain and peel and sieve.

Put all ingredients in a pan and cook until desired flavour is reached. Sieve again.

This can be frozen and used when required with extra ingredients as desired.

Lizbuff's Tian of Courgettes and Tomatoes

Serves 1 glutton or 2 moderately hungry people and can be a side dish.
Category:- Vegetarian/Vegan if you miss out the cheese

(1) 2 onions, thinly sliced
1 pepper, thinly sliced
EV Olive Oil
freshly ground salt and black pepper

(2) 2 crushed garlic cloves
Fresh torn leaves of Basil

(3) sliced courgette
sliced tomato

(4) thyme
freshly ground salt and pepper
EV Olive Oil

(5) grated cheese(optional for vegans)

Utensils A heavy skillet pan, an unglazed (on the exterior) earthenware shallow dish

Preheat the oven to 190C/#5 gas/375F

Place (1) in skillet and fry until soft and slightly brown.
Add (2) and cook until soft.
Oil dish and add (1) and (2) to cover the bottom.
Place (3) in alternate rings in one layer and sprinkle/drizzle with (4)
Put in oven and bake for around 40 minutes until edges are brown
If vegan serve but let cool down.
If vegetarian sprinkle with cheese ,drizzle more EV Olive oil , put back in oven and allow cheese to melt.

For some reason it tastes better cooled down for around 10 minutes.

As this is a Provencal peasant dish you can vary the veg used for the topping but IME I've found that the tomatoes are essential.

Serve with Red wine and ciabbatta

Mike R's Veggie Lasagne

Quantities for 4 servings

4oz lentils
2 Cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of oil
1 Tin Campbells condensed tomato soup
1 15 oz tin of tomatoes
8 oz cooking cheese, sliced
4 oz Cottage cheese
parmesan cheese
6 oz lasagne

1. Fry garlic and lentils briefly
2. Add half-teaspoon of marjoram and season with salt and pepper.
3. Add tom soup and tomatoes
4. Simmer about 30 mins stirring occasionally
5. Put lasagne into quickly boiling water (with a teaspoon of oil) for 10 mins) Rinse in cold water and dry.
6. Grease oven-proof dish. Put a layer of lasagne on the bottom. Cover with a layer of cooking cheese and cottage cheese. Add another layer of lasagne, cover with a layer of lentil/tomato mixture. Continue layering, ending with a lentil/tomato.
7. Bake at Reg 4 (180 C) for 30 mins

Enjoy! (BTW - don't miss out the cottage cheese, it lightens the mixture and makes it very moreish, and I am one who hates cottage cheese au naturel.)

Min's Austerity Pie

Being *really* skint the last couple of months inspired me to create what I now call 'Austerity Pie'.

Cook some cabbage. Put into casserole dish (about 1/4" depth). Cook a tin of baked beans with tabasco, herbs, worcester sauce. Place on top of cabbage. Make some smash (with lots of butter - or olive oil if it's a *really* tough month - and garlic). Put a layer on top of baked beans. Add as much grated cheese as you possess and bung in an oven at 250 degrees until the cheese is brown.

Serve and eat.

Neil W's Mole Poblano de Laraotas Negras -- Black Bean Chilli Chocolate

This is a peculiar sounding recipe but it s surprisingly well balanced and as with all spicy meals is better the day after cooking

5OOg black turtle beans
175g onions
2 cloves garlic
60g corn flour
1 tin tomatoes
30g flaked almonds
20g raisins
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
20g dark chocolate
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon star anise
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
l0g mulato chilli
l0g ancho chilli
7g pasilla chilli
Salt pepper & sugar to taste
1 litre water

1, Soak the beans overnight, then cook them in fresh water for about 1 hour until soft. Drain and leave to cool.
2 Fry the onions and garlic in some oil until soft
3 Add the corn flour, chillies, almonds raisins sesame seeds and freshly ground spices.
4 Shortly after add the tomatoes and water
S Add the beans and broken up chocolate, stirring all the time,
6. cook for a further 10 mins adding more water if necessary
7 Serve with rice and salad.

Nick O's Onion and Potato Casserole

Alternate layers of sliced onion and potato, each sprinkled with salt and black pepper to taste. Whisk a couple of eggs into milk and pour in. Bake in oven. When nearly done grate cheese on the top and pop some sliced tomato on that. Very simple and easy and one of my very favourite meals.

Sarah's Bean Dish

Try a tin of mixed beans and one of baked beans stirred together with mashed potato and cheese on top. If you add a bit of brown sauce to the beans and stir it in well before cooking it adds a little more ooomf.

Sid's Pasta Casa Nuncius

This has the huge merit that you can make it from frozen spinach, peas and beans if necessary:

Serves two very generously:
1 or 2 cloves garlic (depends on taste) peeled & crushed
250g *leaf* spinach (not the chopped frozen stuff - eugh)
250g peas
250g baby broad beans
200g tub of Greek yoghurt
50g or so of fresh Parmesan, finely grated (don't use the dried stuff - it's horrid)
250g pasta of your choice (I like conchiglie with this)
fresh basil or fresh mint.

Cook the peas and then the beans in a separate pan, ready to add later. Keep the cooking water. Also cook the pasta while preparing the sauce:

Fry the garlic gently in a little olive oil in a large saucepan for a minute or two. Add spinach and cook on high heat for a couple of minutes if fresh (or as per instructions if not). Season gently with salt and pepper, and add the peas and the beans. Mix well. A minute or two before the pasta is ready, add 2/3 of the grated parmesan and the Greek yoghurt and mix in. Leave over a low heat and stir regularly (high heat or cooking too long may cause the yoghurt to separate). You may need to add a spoonful or two of the pea/bean water to make the sauce a little more liquid. It's a matter of taste.

Serve pasta with sauce in a huge mound on top. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on while eating. Scatter torn basil or mint over it, too.


Tim's Baked Cabbage with Nuts and Cheese

1 small white cabbage
1/2 pint (300ml) bechamel. Come on, this is umra, we all know bechamel OK?
2 oz ( 50g) alted peanuts, chopped.
4 oz (100g) Cheedar cheese, grated
salt & pepper

Chop the cabbage fairly coarsely and boil it until it is cooked but still crunchy. Thin out the bechamel with a little of the cooking water and make layers in a greased baking dish of cabbage, sauce, chopped nuts and grated cheese. Season each layer with nutmeg, salt and pepper and finish with a layer of cheese. Bake at gas mark 7/425F/220C for 15 minutes.

Tony W's Flamenco Eggs

"Flamenco Eggs" (vegetarian main dish as long as eggs count as vegetarian)

Serves 1 if hungry, 2 if not so hungry.

1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 green pepper, de-seeded and chopped
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped (no need to peel or de-seed)
3-4 oz button mushrooms, wiped and sliced
2 medium eggs
salt and pepper

Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onion is starting to go soft.

Stir in the tomatoes and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to cook down and release juice.

Make two "wells" in the mixture, each big enough for an egg.

Carefully crack an egg into each "well".

Cover the pan and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes until the yolk is just setting.

Serve immediately.

Eat with crusty bread (which you'll need to soak up the juice).

The above is the "official" list of ingredients, however I prefer to use half each red and green peppers instead of one whole green one. I also like to add a couple of chopped chillis to the onions and peppers.

This is from the British Egg Information Service website at - They have a number of tasty, quick and easy recipes involving eggs. This one's just the thing for the end of a hard day, when sitting in the traffic on the way home has left you fancying something tasty for tea but you can't be bothered messing about with complicated and time-consuming cooking!

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