Okra in Tamarind and Tomato sauce

Okra in Tamarind and Tomato sauce

This is a nice simple side dish. I use frozen baby okra which come in 500g bags. If you're using fresh then choose the smaller ones. Trim the top but don't cut them off all together (I'll add some pictures of this soon).

Tamarind paste is a thick, black and very sour. If you're not used to using it it can be a bit alarming when you add it as it will make the sauce a not very attractive brown colour but its tangy and delicious so don't let this put you off.

You could make this a main course by serving with some cous cous and/or flat bread and maybe some yogurt on top. 

(Recipe by Sarah Wasserman)
For the okra:
1 large white onion (finely diced)
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
1 can chopped tomatoes
100 ml water
1 Tbsp Tamarind paste
1 Tbsp tomato puree
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 bag frozen baby okra or 500g okra
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Handful very roughly chopped coriander

1) Saute the onions in olive oil till transparent and slightly golden on a low heat for about 10 minutes.
2) Add the garlic and cook for two minutes more.
3) Add the tomatoes, tamarind, puree, sugar, water and seasoning. Simmer for 10 minutes.
4) Add the Okra and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
5) Take off the heat and add a handful of coriander and serve.

Vine leaves stuffed with Persian jeweled rice

Vine leaves stuffed with Persian Jeweled rice 
This recipe makes a lot of vine leaves and is perfect for a party. Persian jeweled rice is a pilaf made with lots of jewel coloured ingredients like rose petals and pistachios. Some of these ingrediant are hard to find. I found the dried rose petals in a Greek shop on Seven Sisters but have seen them in other shops specialising in middle eastern food. I got the sour cherries in Waitrose but if you cant find them dried cranberries would make a fine substitute. If you cant get either just add more dates.

(Recipe by Sarah Wasserman)
Makes about 40 Vine leaves

For the Vine leaves:
1 pack of vine leaves - (usually sold in vacuum packs in brine. Follow the instruction on the pack but generally you need to wash them then boil water for 5 minutes then drain and rinse again)
50g sour cherries
50g dates 
100g pistachios
1 red onion (finely chopped)
4 Tbsp dried rose petals
1Tsp cinnamon
1Tsp ground cumin
1/2 Tsp sumac
400g long grain rice (washed)
1/2 bunch Flat Parsley (chopped)
Juice of half a lemon

To Serve:
2 Tbsp chopped Flat parsley
Seeds of 2 Pomegranates

To make the Vine Leaves:
1) Saute the onion in olive oil till transparent.
2) Roughly chop the cherries, dates, pistachios and flat parsley.
3) Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Crunch up the rose petals in your hands as you add them.

4) Spread out the vine leaves and cut out any hard stems from the bottom. Add one tablespoon or so of mix and fold the sides over and roll. Pack them tightly into a ovenproof dish as you go along (I use a Pyrex dish which is 35x25 cm and they always fit perfectly. It quite handy to be able to see through too). I'm not going to pretend this isn't a bit tedious. The best thing to do is rope in a few people or just have the radio on while you do it. I did all 40 in 20 minutes so its not all that bad.


5) Cover in water, a splash or three of olive oil, juice of half a lemon and then parchment paper. Then get a smaller ovenproof dish and put it on top to keep them from swimming about.

6) Bake for one hour at 180c adding water ever so often if its all evaporated. When you take them out just check if the rice is cooked, if not add  more water and return to the oven. The cooking time does vary a little depending on the rice.

6) Serve scattered with chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds and juice. Serve with something to dip them in, a bit of yogurt will do or, even better, some smokey babaganoush. I know in Britain a lot of us are used to having vine leaves freezing cold from the fridge but I think they are at their best when still slightly warm having been made that day or at least at room temperature as the rice does harden in the fridge. If you make them in advance, take them out of the fridge in advance and splash a bit more warm water over them to take the chill off.

Spinach and Feta Lahmacun

Spinach and Feta Lahmacun 

I don't know if its okay to call this a lahmacun as it has no meat. A lahmacun is a thin flat bread usually coated in a thin layer of minced lamb or beef seasoned with tamarind and tomato. Names and sizes vary but it is a common street food of the middle east. Lahmacun is the Turkish name but it is also known as Lahma bi Ajeen, which is what it is called in Claudia Rodins' 'The book of Jewish Food', from which the dough part of this recipe is taken. Lahma bi Ajeen means 'meat on dough' in Arabic so this should be called K'ss bi Ajeen - or Spinach on dough.

I have come to know lahmacun as a wonderful comfort food as my mother in law, Sylvia, makes the best I have ever eaten. They are generously doled out at her parties, when babies are born, when weddings are being prepared for or when somebody begs her to make them for long enough. It is a family tradition handed down by Sylvia's mother Mary, who was from Eygypt, whose food is legend. This is one vegetarian variant I have tried and I plan to try more. We eat them warm with a squeeze of lemon, smothered in hummus and sometimes with salad. I made some large ones but they are also really nice bite size. 

Serves 6-8 as a main
(recipe by Sarah Wasserman)
For the dough:
2 1/2 Tsp's (1 Packet) dried yeast 
1/2 Tsp sugar
250ml lukewarm water
500g Strong white bread flour
1 Tsp salt
4 tbsp sunflower oil

For the topping:
100g Pine nuts (toasted till golden brown in the oven. 10min at 160 ought to do it)
3 bunches (approx. 600g) of spinach (large leaf spinach with the stems on, just cut of the very base where the leaves join. Wash thoroughly.) 
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Large white onion (finely diced)
6 Cloves of garlic roughly chopped
200g Feta
5 Tbsp chopped dill
5 Tbsp chopped flat parsley
1 1/2 Tsp dried Red Pepper flakes (not to be confused with chili flakes. If you can only get chili flakes just add 1/2 tsp. )

To make the dough:
1) Mix the yeast, sugar and water in a large bowl and leave to activate for 10 minutes.
2) Add 3 tbsp of the oil and whisk it a little then start gradually adding the flour. Keep whisking until it becomes thick then add the rest in with your hands. 
3) Knead the dough till elastic and then coanreturn to the bowl with the rest of the oil to coat the dough so it doesn't stick. 
4) Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 2 hours or till doubled in size. 

To make the filling:
1) In a large pan saute the onions in the olive oil on a low heat till the onion wbeging to caramelize. This will take at least 5 minutes. 
2) Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
3) Add the spinach and saute for a minute and then cover and steam till they wilt. 
4) Turn this mixture out into a colander and drain of the excess liquid. 

5) Put the spinach, onion, and garlic mixture onto a chopping board with the pine nuts and chop it all together quite roughly. 
6) In a bowl, combine with the crumbled feta, dill, parsley and chili flakes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

To assemble:
1) Preheat your oven to 240c/475f. 
2) When the dough is ready, divide into 14 balls for large lahmacuns (20cm) or 18 for bite size (about 10cm). 
2) Roll these out very thin (5mm). As you roll them transfer onto lightly oiled baking trays. 
3) Spread the filling on quite thin so you can see the bread though it.
4) Bake for 10-15 minutes. 
5) Eat while still warm with hummus or spicy harissa or both and a squeeze of lemon.

Veggie Burger Machine

Veggie Burger Machine

At Mildreds, we make a different vegetarian burger every day or so. We use a huge range of different vegetables, herbs, spices or beans. We regularly sell over a hundred in a day and once a customer asked us what machine we use to make them.He didn't believe us when we told him but all of our burgers are made by hand. 

Here's our current veggie burger and veggie sausage machine, Victor. . .

 . . . and here he is at work.

Beetroot, fennel and dill Burger

Beetroot, Fennel & Dill Burger
(6-8 Burgers) 

People love our veggie burgers. We make a new flavor every day or so, using a huge range seasonal ingredients. We must have made hundreds of different variations over the years and we find the beetroot burgers always sell really fast.

(Recipe by Daniel Acevedo)
For the Burger:
2 med beetroot
½ bunch dill
½ TBSP fennel seeds
1 small fennel bulb
400-500ml water
600g SOS mix. 

1) Peel wash and grate beetroot, wash and finely dice fennel add into a mixing bowl, chopped dill, fennel seeds SOS* mix and water 

2) Combine ingredients well and allow to stand for 20mins check to see if consistency is correct. The burger mix should be dry enough to be pliable so it doesn’t stick to your hands but still be moist. 
3) To cook, heat non-stick fry pan on the lowest heat possible, allow pan to heat, add a touch of oil and fry burger on each side for 4-6 min until golden brown.  We then char-grill the burger but its not strictly necessary.

We serve ours on a granary bun with our homemade carrot relish, vegan basil mayo, rocket and tomato. 

*For more information on where to find SOS mix www.sosmix.com
if your finding it hard to find SOS mix you can see what other brands of vegetarian sausage mix your local health food store supply, i have also used Granose sausage mix to make these burgers before, giving me similar results. 

Apple and Ginger Sticky Toffee Pudding

Apple and Ginger Sticky Toffee Pudding
 This is actually my standard Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe which I based on a recipe from Gary Pavitt - my former head chef at The White Horse, Richmond now owner of the New Orchard Cafe, Poole - with the addition of some nice seasonal apples and preserved stem ginger. The apples help to cut the sweetness a little but if you omit them and the ginger (adding more dried fruit to compensate), you get a yummy, classic Sticky Pud. 

(recipe by Sarah Wasserman)
For the Toffee base and Sauce base:
3oz Butter
6oz Soft dark brown sugar
3tbsp Golden syrup 

For the sauce:
Little squeeze of lemon juice
300ml Double cream
For the Pudding:
4-5 apples (peeled and sliced about 1.5cm thick)
2oz Butter
6oz Soft Dark brown sugar
6oz Self raising flour 
1tsp Ground ginger
1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2 eggs
1tsp Vanilla essence
3oz Chopped dried dates
2oz Sultanas
2oz Chopped preserved stem ginger

You will also need a greased oven-proof, ceramic dish. Mine was 10.5 inches(27cm) x 8 inches(20cm) and 2.5 inches (7cm) deep.

1) Put all the ingredients for the toffee base into a saucepan and heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved.
2) Take half the toffee and evenly coat the bottom of the dish with it.
3) Arrange the apple slices on top of the toffee.
4) Now start the pudding. Boil your kettle and pour half a pint of water into a measuring jug and add all the dried fruit and ginger. Then add the Bicarb.
5) Cream the butter and sugar until really smooth and the colour has changed from dark brown to a lighter toffee shade. 
6) Introduce the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla essence. 
7) Add the flour and ground ginger. 
8) Fold in the fruit, ginger, water and bicarb mix. Don't be worried if it looks quite wet. 
9) Bake in a preheated oven at 175c for about 45 minutes. If its still a bit wobbly, leave it in till it firms up. 
10) Remove it for the oven and cool for 15-20 minutes. While your waiting, take the saucepan with the remaining toffee and return to a low heat. Add the lemon juice then the cream and stir till combined. 
11) Get a large plate or similar and place it on top of your dish and turn it over. It should come out cleanly but get someone nearby to keep their fingers crossed just in case. 
12) Serve with the toffee sauce on the side and with whipped cream, custard or ice-cream (or all three if you really want to throw caution to the wind. Personally just a bit of whipped cream or creme fraiche)  

Labna (Yogurt Cheese)


Labna is a middle eastern soft cheese made from yogurt. Traditionally it is made with goats or sheep's milk yogurt but this recipe works fine with cows milk yogurt. You can add as much or as little flavour as you like really. 

If you want to try it with sheep yogurt and you're not sure where to get it, I found this sheep milk yogurt in Waitrose. 

(Recipe by Sarah Wasserman)

For the cheese:
1 pot of yogurt (1 Pint)
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tsps Fresh finely chopped herbs
1/2 Sumac (sumac is a sour spice which works in a similar way to lemon, so if you cant find it you could add some lemon zest)
black pepper to taste
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt

You will also need: 1 square piece of muslin (about 12inches)

1) This is really simple. Just mix the yogurt with the herbs and taste. If you're happy with it then add the salt and stir through. 
 2) Sterilize the muslin by boiling it in a pan of clean water. Remove and wring out. 
3) Drape the muslin over a bowl and pour in the yogurt.
4) Tie the top and suspend over a jug or bowl by tying it to a wooden spoon (I find that a flat handled spoon is best as it doesn't spin around)
5) Leave in the fridge (unless your kitchen is really chilly in which case you leave it out) for two to three days, till it stops dripping)
 6) Unwrap and then roll into balls about the size of a large walnut. Store inside a jar covered in oil. Stored like this it will keep for about three weeks to a month.
To serve: You can just eat it on flat bread but it's really nice with a warm salad. At work we serve it with warm beetroot. We ate it at home with grilled baby aubergines and pomegranate. You can also serve it on top of a warm stew.

Apple upside down cake

With the British Apple season in full swing, we will be featuring a feast of Apple inspired recipes for you to play with while the weather isn't the best outside you can treat yourself to some delicious delights of the sweeter nature indoors.  

Apple upside down cake (this recipe is vegan)

500g caster sugar (to caramelize)
4 apples cut into 8 wedges and de-seeded

For the cake mix:
250g vegan margarine
250g caster sugar
1 cap of vanilla essence
1 apple grated
350g SR flour
100ml soy milk

baking paper 
15cm spring base cake tin
Bake at 160c for 45-50min, to touch the cake should bounce back slightly when fully cooked, alternatively prick with a toothpick, should come out clean.

The above video is taken from you tube channel Veginity .  This channel was started up by our friend and ex-colleague Mark Senn, who worked with us at Mildreds between 2004/06.  Once he left Mildreds, he headed back home to Australia via Sri Lanka, where he recorded some amazing cooking shows in rural towns with local people.  He also visited a spice farm to get a better insight to where fresh ingredients come from.  

In addition to this Mark Senn has some great vegan and vegetarian recipes on his food channel, the video above is a step by step guide on how to make a upside down caramelized apple cake.