Category: Vegetarian

Ginataang Kalabasa Soup (Squash in Coconut Cream Soup)

Ginataang kalabasa Soup by Arnold Gamboa

Ginataang Kalabasa Soup (Squash in Coconut Cream Soup)


1 tsp mushroom powder or 1 packet cup-a-soup mushroom soup powder is also a suitable. You can also use 1 cup of fresh finely sliced mushroom  if you have a food processor at hand
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1/2 squash or pumpkin
2 cups water
4 cups coconut milk

Method of Preparation

Peel and chop the squash or pumpkin.

Bring the water into a boil using a big casserole pan.

Add the squash and leave to boil for at least 20 minutes or until softened.

Take the squash out and put into a big bowl (do not discard the water, just leave it in the casserole pan). Mash the squash  by hand until smooth.  Or put the softened squash as well as the finely sliced mushroom into a food processor and blitz until they are finely smooth.

Pour the squash back into the casserole pan, mix with the water and bring back into a boil.

Stir in  the coconut milk.

Add the mushroom powder (if fresh sliced mushroom was not used)

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cover the casserole pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

It is ready to serve.  Enjoy

Courgette, Broccoli with Cannellini Beans Casserole

Courgette, Broccoli with Cannellini Beans Casserole, photo by JMorton

Courgette, Broccoli with Cannellini Beans Casserole

This is a sumptuous medley of vegetables cooked in lots of sweet plum tomatoes.  Delicious evening meal for any day of the week.


1/2 head of broccoli, separated into individual florets
2 courgette, cut in half lengthwise and sliced diagonally
1 can Cannellini beans, washed and drained
100g green beans, trimmed and sliced
1 onion, peeled and chopped finely
a can chopped plum tomatoes
3 cups vegetable broth (or 2 vegetable cubes dissolved in 3 cups of hot water)
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1½ tbsp olive oil
2 tsp mixed herbs
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method of Preparation:

Heat a large casserole pan, heat the oil.

Sauté the chopped onion and garlic until golden and fragrant.

Pour in the chopped plum tomatoes and vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil then stir in the tomato paste and sprinkle the mixed herbs (or use dried basil).  Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cannellini beans and cook for 5 minutes.  Drop in the courgettes and green beans.  Cover the casserole and leave to simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Finally add the broccoli.  Do not cover the casserole so that the appetising dark green colouring of the broccoli will not fade.  Cook until soften.

Check and adjust the seasoning.  Add more salt and pepper, if required.

Serve hot with some crusty bread or even steamed rice.

Spaghetti Lentil Bolognese

Spaghetti Lentil Bolognese

Spaghetti Lentil Bolognese

This is a vegetarian version of the customary meaty Italian recipe.  Lentil replaces the minced beef or pork.  This recipe is deliciously spicy.


1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped finely
1 stick celery, chopped finely
1 carrot, peeled and chopped finely
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
400g can of chopped plum tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf (dried or fresh)
2 vegetable cubes dissolved in 200ml hot water
50g red lentils
150g spaghetti
1 tbsp chopped basil (dried or fresh)
freshly ground black pepper


Cook the spaghetti according to the packet’s instruction, then drain.

Meanwhile to make the bolognese, use a large casserole to heat the olive oil.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and golden, not burnt.

Put in the onion, cook until tender.

Stir in the celery and carrot and gently fry for 10 minutes.

Pour in the can of chopped tomatoes, with the tomato puree, and vegetable stock.

Add the red lentils and drop in the bay leaf.  Cover and leave to simmer for a quarter of an hour. Check occasionally to give it a stir.

Add the basil and some freshly ground black pepper.

Finally add the cooked pasta into the bolognese sauce and give it a good stir.

Serve with some sliced crusty bread.

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup. photo by JMorton

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup. photo by JMorton

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Autumn or fall is just around the corner.  The air is definitely chillier, the evening shorter.

Warming soups are now much needed and appreciated more if they are really tasty.

And we have just the business here, spicy sweet potato soup is a delicious one dish meal.  It is easy to make and really filling and warming, a true taste of home.

I love sweet potato or camote as a child.  But I have come to love them all over again after watching Korean and Japanese dramas where boiled sweet potatoes were often shared and enjoyed by lovers and within families.  So sweet! 🙂

Anyway, for the recipe:


1½ tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 red bell peppers, deseeded and diced

250g sweet potato, peeled and diced

350g tomatoes, chopped (2 cans plum tomatoes, drained and chopped)

¼ tsp of turmeric powder

¼ tsp chilli powder

½ tsp ground cumin

½  tsp caster sugar

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1½ pints vegetable stock or 3 bouillon cubes dissolved in 1.5 pints of hot water

Method of preparation:

Using a large saucepan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the garlic and onion then gently cook until softened and translucent. This may take about 3 – 5 minutes over moderate heat. Do not brown or burn. 🙂

Put in the the red peppers, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.  Also tip in the turmeric powder, chilli powder and cumin. Cook for 5 minutes until vegetables start to soften.

Turn up the heat and pour in the vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat,  cover the saucepan and leave to simmer for up to half an hour or until the vegetables are completely tender.

Remove from heat and allow the soup to cool down.

It can then be pureed using a blender or run into a sieve, leaving off all solids such as tomato rinds.

Return the pureed soup to the pan and heat up.

Serve by adding a tiny pinch of salt and ground black pepper as well as a squirt of olive oil.

Enjoy with some buttered bread!


Pechay (Bok Choy) in Garlic & Ginger

Pechay in ginger & garlic, Photo by PH Morton

Pechay in ginger & garlic, Photo by PH Morton

Bok choy comes in many different names such as pak choy, pak choi, bak choi, etc.  It is called pechay in the Philippines.  It is as good as any of the other names and therefore I shall call the recipe, Pechay.

In this recipe, baby pechays are used.  Being still young, everything is tender and, therefore, only minimal trim is required. Just thinly trim the tail end and then cut in half, lengthwise (see above photo).

The more mature pechay can also be used but cut the tail end off, then separate the leafy stalks and cut in half chunks.  

Something to consider:
Before discarding the base or tail end of the pechay, into the darkness of the rubbish bin, did you know that you can grow new pechay from them?

Just leave the end bits in a little dish with a little water in your kitchen window sill; in no time at all it will sprout new growth and then just transplant into a pot.

Here is the recipe:

Pechay (Bok Choy) in Garlic & Ginger


  • 5 baby pechay (bok choy)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced finely
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated finely
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1½ tbsp water
  1. Heat a large pan, but preferably a wok, over high heat.  Stir-frying is a quick way to cook but requires very high heat.
  2. Add the oil into the wok then stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute.
  3. Stir in the pechay.  Continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Carefully sprinkle the water onto the pechay; the water will steam the pechay.
  5. Season with salt and black pepper.
  6. Stir fry for another couple of minutes and then serve.

Hearty Beans Casserole

Bean Stew, photo by JMorton

Bean Stew, photo by JMorton

Hearty Beans Casserole

This recipe is for the vegetarian version, which is so delicious and filling but if you are really partial to meaty recipes then this could be adapted easily by adding meat of your choice like beef, pork, chicken, and ham during cooking time.  Either way, this recipe is a one-dish-meal and full of goodness. 🙂

This can be cooked on top of the stove or can be put in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 30-45 minutes.



  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced (more if you love garlic as I do!)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp rock salt (more or less according to your taste)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can cannellini, drained
  • 1  can butter beans (also known as lima beans), drained
  • 2 vegetable cubes dissolved in 3 cups of hot/warm water
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups of roughly chopped kale


  1. Using a large casserole pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, tomatoes  and garlic and stir for a minute, add the carrots and celery. If making a meaty version, add the meat at this point. Saute for 5-6 minutes of  until softened,
  3. Add the thyme and season with salt, and ground black pepper.
  4. Stir in the beans, broth, rosemary, and bay leaf.
  5. Increase the heat to high to bring the bean casserole to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat and simmer for half and hour.
  7. Add the kale and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  8. Check the seasoning, add more salt and black pepper if required.
  9. Remove the sprig or rosemary and bay leaves.

Serve immediately with some crusty bread and salad.


Gisadong Repolyo with eggs (Sauted Cabbage with eggs)


Gisadong Repolyo with eggs (Sauted Cabbage with eggs)

My Mother used to make this cabbage with egg, which I loved so much as a child.  It was one of my favourite foods.  It was a simple dish and yet so tasty, perfect viand for lunch eaten with freshly boiled rice.

If I remember correctly, my mother used the following for her recipe:


1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 medium head of cabbage, cut thinly
1 large onion, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 beaten eggs
2 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste

Method of preparation:

She would heat the oil in a fairly large wok.
Add the garlic, don’t let it burn or it will turn bitter.
Add the onion
Add the tomatoes and let them cook through.  The smell of the garlic, onion and tomatoes frying is so heavenly. 🙂
Add the cabbage, stir
Add the water, lower the heat and cover the wok/kawali for 3 minutes.
Check that the cabbage is cooked.
Add the salt and pepper to taste.
Then add the beaten eggs while mixing the cooking cabbage continuously; the eggs would scramble with the cabbage.

This delicious offering can be served with boiled rice and a side dish of hot fried fish!


Tofu & Cabbage Soup Recipe

Jean enjoying Tofu Soup

Jean enjoying Tofu Soup

Tofu & Cabbage Soup Recipe

Peter and I went to this very reasonably priced Chinese restaurant called Tao in Golders Green, Northwest London.  It is a buffet kind of restaurant where you choose vegetarian or/and meat dishes. It used to be a vegetarian place only but in the last couple of years, it started to serve meat as well.

The food is good but some takes getting used to like the tofu with cabbage soup.  At first we were not sure as it tasted like boiled socks. (LOL, I am not really sure how boiled socks would taste as never tried boiling any before, hehehe)   Well actually it smelt like socks.  We only tried a few dainty sips of the soup and gave up.  Food smell does make food tastes better or not.

Two days ago, we went back to the restaurant as I was positively starving and couldn’t resist the appealing array of dishes visible on the restaurant front window.  So rather gingerly got a bowl of the soup.  They seemed to have varied their food preparation as the soup is not too bad, It lost the boiled sock taste and smell but rather quite delicious and just set you up for a feast of vegetarian and meaty dishes.

I really loved it and so below is an easy recipe, which anyone can try at home.

Tofu & Cabbage Soup, iphone photo by JMorton

Tofu & Cabbage Soup, iphone photo by JMorton

Tofu & Cabbage Soup



  • ½ pound soft tofu
  • 1 half head of Chinese cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 1 tsp cooking wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a few shake of freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups water

Method of preparation:

  1. Cut the soft tofu into cubes.
  2. Wash and chop theChinese cabbages
  3. Prepare a pan with water and ginger. Heat the water to boiling with high fire and then put tofu cubes in. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add chopped Chinese cabbages to cook until soft.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour into a large bowl and finally add some sesame oil to serve.

If you are really partial to meat, add sliced fried pork into the boiling water and proceed with the recipe above.


Did you know?

Superstition: There is an American superstition which believes that a salty soup means the cook is in love.

Courgette Ratte Recipe

Courgette, Photo by PH Morton

Courgette, Photo by PH Morton

We had quite a lot of this versatile vegetable over the summer.  Thank you, Mick.  We appreciates your kindness and generosity. 🙂

We love courgettes (or zucchini as what it is called from across the pond.)

We roasted it in olive oil and lots of garlic.  We steamed it.   We boiled it.   We stir-fried it. We used it for miswa soup.  Perfect!

While looking at one of my growing number of cookery books, I found a recipe that sounded so gorgeous and French! 😉 I thought I would try it and hope you would too.

Courgette Ratte Recipe


6 cloves of garlic, minced (more if you are really partial to garlic like me)

4-6 tablespoons of olive oil

6 medium-sized courgettes or zucchini, cut into fairly thin strips lengthways.

a good handful of cherry tomatoes

a good handful of basil leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method of preparation:

Gently heat the oil using a large frying pan or a wok.

Add the garlic and saute for a few second until just turning golden brown (do not let it burn to prevent that slight bitter taste)

Add the sliced courgettes.  Fry gently over a medium heat until they starts to brown.

Season with salt and ground black pepper.

Lightly squeezed the cherry tomatoes, until they are just bursting.  Add them to the courgettes.

Cook for five minutes or until all the water from the tomatoes have evaporated leaving only the oil they are cooking from.

Remove from the heat and add the basil leaves.  Cover the pan and leave for five minutes to give the basil leaves to slightly wilt in the heat.

Serve this delicious salad with slices of fresh baguette.


Perfect Cucumber Sandwiches


Perfect Cucumber Sandwiches

The traditional cucumber sandwich is of British origin.  It is made from thinly sliced cucumber sandwiched in crustless white bread.

This is a favourite garden party offering as well as picnic fare.  It is also a fantastic, refreshing and filling tea time snack.

The Guardian Recipe:


(Makes 9)
1/2 cucumber, peeled
6 thin slices of good white bread
Unsalted butter, at room temperature
White pepper

Cut the cucumber into slices as thin as you can make them, and put in a colander or sieve. Sprinkle lightly with salt (don’t go overboard) and leave for 20 minutes. Taste to check you haven’t oversalted them: you can rinse them at this point if so.

Lay out a few pieces of kitchen paper on the work surface, place the cucumber slices on them, and pat dry with more paper.

Lay out the bread and butter each slice generously. Arrange the cucumber on half the slices, overlapping each round, and sprinkle with ground white pepper. Top with the remaining slices.

Pressing down firmly, cut the crusts off, and then cut into neat fingers, triangles or quarters of roughly equal sizes. Serve immediately, with good tea.


As a variation to the above recipe, marinate the cucumber slices in 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and a pinch of salt.  Leave to soak for half an hour.   Drain and pat with plenty of kitchen paper towels.  The worst thing for a cucumber sandwich is a soggy one.