Keeping it simple

Did you know that you can just heat and serve bace as a topping? It’s so perfectly simple! What could be easier? Just pile on top of toast, sourdough, muffins, crumpets, flat breads, pancakes, rice, quinoa and more. One of our favourite family meals is baked beans with benefits on toasted sourdough with poached eggs on top. The kids love it. Add some avocado or spinach and it’s a full on super-food bonanza!

I adore bread and in particular sourdough. Why not search out some fabulous artisan sourdough such as that made by the Pye Baker? As well as having a bakery in Norwich he pops up at different farmer’s markets throughout the county. This is my favourite way of eating sourdough. Cut a large slice. Toast or griddle lightly on both sides. Cut a clove of garlic and rub over the warmed toast. I then add popping peas with perks and some crumbled local blue cheese. Simple and delicious.

I lead a busy life so I don’t always have the time to prepare meals from scratch. When I’m in a hurry I grab a pot of aromatic peas with perks and a pouch of mixed grains. Heat the two and add a side of sliced red onion, chopped coriander, a drizzle of oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. This will easily feed two hungry adults (or hangry in my case as I’m grumpy if not fed quickly!

Now let’s talk garnishes – once you’ve piled on your favourite bace topping how about adding a drizzle of flavoured oil? There’s some great Norfolk rapeseed oil producers infusing with anything from smoked chipotle chilli to garlic & rosemary & dill. How about some toasted seeds from Suffolk based Munchy Seeds? The seeds have got a really tasty savoury flavour and they’re a fab source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Maybe you could crumble on some local cheese or crisp up some good quality bacon and sprinkle on. Then there’s chilli sauce – my Husband is a big fan of chilli. It’s not an understatement to say he puts it on everything (except his morning porridge). Check out Rocket Ship sauces and Chillis Galore.

If I’m going to add a side salad I like something crunchy. Half moons of red onion, finely sliced red cabbage, grated carrot, chopped celery and maybe some herbs – mint, parsley, coriander and dressed with a simple combo of good oil and cider apple vinegar. My children love a salad I call sunshine salad – chopped tomato, cucumber, red onion, yellow pepper and avocado. Now we’re packing in even more of our 5-A-Day.

I love cooking with grains. If I’m cooking rice or bulgar wheat I like to add a handful of quinoa to the mix. Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fibre, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus,vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.

Make your life a little easier, just keep it simple. Meals don’t have to be complicated. All you need is a pot of bace and a few store cupboard staples and you too can make mealtimes a breeze!

If you want to find out more about my bace products then take a look at our online shop and get 10% of your first order using the discount code INTRO10%.

January – how was it for you?

Well, we’ve done it! We’ve reached the end of January. The nights are pulling out and I can see bulb shoots poking their heads through the frosty ground.

How did you get through January? Did you abstain from alcohol or try Veganuary? I took my own route and committed to eating pulses (that’s dried beans, peas and lentils) every day of the month. I completed the challenge. Check out my Instagram account @bacefoods to see 31 different meals using pulses (recipes included).

I used my own products on some days to make quick and tasty meals and on other days I searched out new recipes using different pulses. I’ve eaten curries, salads, tortillas, soups, dals, quesadillas and more. I’ve really enjoyed the variety! At no point did I feel hungry because pulses really do fill you up! How do I feel? Pretty good for this time of year. I’m full of energy in fact. My skin is clear, my digestion is in good order (I’m regular as clockwork if you catch my drift!) and I’m not sporting a post-Christmas muffin top. This is a total relief because I’ll be squeezing myself into a little black number next Tuesday evening for an awards night. bace has been shortlisted for an “innovation in food & drink” award. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I’ve barely eaten any meat this month. I didn’t set out to avoid meat but it’s just worked out that way. My plates have been piled high with veg, beans, peas and lentils. The whole family have joined it too. I like to think that we’re all doing our bit for the planet. Pulses are a sustainable crop. They can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they’re a water-efficient crop and improve soil health. They’re also good for our health as an affordable source of protein, fibre and other essential nutrients and can help with the maintenance and prevention of diet-related diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

If you can’t quite embrace a full-on “pulse feast” why not throw some lentils (along with meat) into your next chilli con carne or ragu sauce? They’re cheap and a great source of protein and fibre. Better still, buy some bace pots and get cooking up some easy-to-follow recipes. Check out our recipes tab. I’ve done the hard work for you! That leaves you with little chopping or prepping to do. Our pea and bean pots are not just time saving; they add great depth of flavour and extra veg to lots of your regular recipes.

So what will February bring? I’m going to be focusing on quick & easy family-friendly meals. Given the new #vegpower campaign I’ll be showing you how to pack those veg in at meal times. Please share how you’ve been cooking with bace – post your photos and tell us what you think! I love to hear about what you’re doing with your pots of bace.

carlin pea & kale fritters

VEGETARIAN

“These easy fritters make delicious little snacks, great for lunch or part of a sharing platter. Serve with yoghurt for dipping, a crunchy side salad and some spicy chutney.”

SERVES: 4   PREP TIME: 10 MINS   COOKING TIME: 15 MINS

Ingredients

pot of aromatic peas with perks

1 dessertspoon curry paste

2 eggs, beaten

100g wholemeal flour

100g kale, shredded

Oil for shallow frying

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together (except the oil).
  2. Heat 2 tblsp oil in a frying pan. Scoop dessert spoonfuls of the mixture and drop into the frying pan.
  3. Flatten them out slightly. Cook undisturbed for 2 mins and then flip over.
  4. Cook for a further 2 mins.
  5. Drain the fritters on kitchen roll and repeat with the remaining mixture. You’ll need to add more oil to the pan.

bean, lentil & veg lasagne

VEGETARIAN

“This is a massive hit with my young family. My children don’t even realise that it doesn’t have meat in it! The ragu sauce is deliciously rich and comforting. Packed full of health giving veg, lentils and beans. It’s a winner.”

SERVES: 4   PREP TIME: 30 MINS   COOKING TIME: 1 HOUR + 30 MINS

Ingredients

For the ragu:

1 pot of baked beans with benefits

1 tblsp oil

1 onion, chopped

1 stick celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped into small chunks

1 clove garlic, sliced

120g lentils, rinsed

100g mushrooms, very finely chopped

400g tin plum tomatoes

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tblsp soy sauce

For the white sauce:

50g butter

50g flour

550ml milk

50g parmesan, grated

For the lasagne:

75g mature cheddar cheese

12 sheets lasagne

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Saute gently for 10 mins.
  2. Add the rest of the ragu ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1 hour.
  3. For the white sauce melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and stir to cook for a minute. Gradually add the milk and whisk until thickened. Stir in the parmesan and season.
  4. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas Mark 6. Layer up the lasagne in a baking dish, starting with half of the ragu, pasta and then white sauce. Repeat. Top with the grated cheese and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins until bubbling and slightly brown on top.

aubergine, carlin pea & tomato curry

VEGAN

“Aubergines are amazing in a curry. They soak up flavours beautifully and have a great texture; firm yet yielding. The sauce in this curry is absolutely delicious. It’s rich despite being really healthy and has great depth of flavour.”

SERVES: 4   PREP TIME: 5 MINS   COOKING TIME: 1 HOUR

Ingredients

pot of aromatic peas with perks

1 tblsp oil

1 onion, chopped

1 large aubergine, cut into 2cm chunks

1 thumb-sized piece ginger, grated

1 tblsp curry paste

200ml coconut milk (1/2 can)

1 tin tomatoes

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add aubergine and onion. Fry gently for 10 mins.
  2. Add curry paste. Cook through for 2 mins.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1 hour.
  4. Serve with rice, naan or chapattis.

mini pea & feta frittatas

VEGETARIAN

“These tasty little frittatas are great for lunchboxes, picnics, parties and make a perfect guilt-free snack at any time of the day.”

SERVES: MAKES 12   PREP TIME: 10 MINS   COOKING TIME: 15 MINS

Ingredients

1/2 pot of popping peas with perks

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tblsp oil

3 eggs

50g feta cheese

¼ tsp dried mint

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Line a 12-hole bun tin with small squares of baking paper.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion, a pinch of salt and sauté gently for 5 mins.
  4. Beat the eggs in a jug and add ½ pot of popping peas with perks, the cooked onion, feta and mint. Season with pepper.
  5. Pour the mixture into the paper cases in the prepared bun tin.
  6. Place in the oven and cook for 15 mins until very slightly brown on top.

carlin pea, sweet potato & carrot falafel

VEGAN

“These yummy falafel are easy to make and taste sublime with the zingy lime, tahini and chilli slaw. Here I’ve served them on warm flatbreads spread with humous. You could stuff them into pitta bread or just dip them directly into some chilli sauce as a snack”

SERVES: 4   PREP TIME: 10 MINS   COOKING TIME: 15 MINS

Ingredients

For the falafel:

pot of aromatic peas with perks

80g breadcrumbs or porridge oats or Novo Farina pea crumb

30g sunflower seeds

1 tsp harissa paste

Handful chopped parsley or coriander

1 tblsp flaxseeds mixed with 3 tblsp water (egg substitute)

For the slaw and dressing:

1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 large carrot, grated

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 lime, squeezed

1 heaped tsp tahini

1 tsp chilli sauce

1 tsp cider apple vinegar

1 tblsp oil

1 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp Worcester sauce (vegan)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Firstly prepare the flaxseed mix and leave for 5 mins.
  3. Mix all the falafel ingredients together, mashing the peas slightly as you go. Stir in the flaxseed mix.
  4. Take heaped teaspoons of the mixture and roll into balls about the size of a golf ball. Flatten slightly.
  5. Place on an oiled baking sheet. Oil the tops and sides of the falafel.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins.
  7. Meanwhile make the slaw. Combine all the dressing ingredients then season with salt and pepper. Stir the dressing through the sliced cabbage, carrot and onion.

carlin pea, sweet potato & cauliflower curry

VEGAN

“Imagine coming home to this super healthy and delicious curry that took minutes to prepare! It’s made in a slow-cooker, really easy to prepare and utterly divine. If you don’t have a slow-cooker then just cook in a casserole pan for 50 mins until the veg are tender.”

SERVES: 4   PREP TIME: 10 MINS   COOKING TIME: 60 MINS/(6 HRS IN A SLOW-COOKER)

Ingredients

pot of aromatic peas with perks

1 onion, chopped

1 sweet potato, cubed

1 small cauliflower, broken into florets

1 400ml can coconut milk

2 tblsp curry paste

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients in a slow-cooker. Season with salt & pepper.
  2. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  3. Serve with rice or bulgar wheat.

Mexican bean & egg tortillas

VEGETARIAN

“This Mexican-inspired dish takes just 5 minutes to prepare. Great for any time of the day – breakfast, brunch, lunch or supper. Add a drizzle of your favourite chilli sauce. Why don’t more of us eat chilli for breakfast in the UK? They release natural endorphins making you feel happy!”

SERVES: 4   PREP TIME: 5 MINS   COOKING TIME: 5 MINS

Ingredients

pot of baked beans with benefits

4 soft flour tortilla wraps

4 eggs

2 tblsp oil

1 avocado, sliced

Salad leaves

8 cherry tomatoes, chopped

1 thin slice feta cheese, crumbled

Method

  1. Heat the beans as per pot instructions.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the eggs how you like them!
  3. Warm the tortillas as per packet instructions.
  4. Spread the warmed beans on the tortillas, top with the egg, garnish with avocado, leaves, tomatoes, crumbled feta and a drizzle of your favourite chilli sauce.

I love pulses – there I’ve said it!

How will you be celebrating new year? I’ll be reaching for the lentils in the hope that they’ll bring me good luck and prosperity in the new year. Well that’s what the Italians believe. Lentils are thought to resemble coins so are eaten as part of new year celebration meals in Italy.

I’ve enjoyed a long-standing love affair with pulses (in simple terms dried beans, peas & lentils). I just can’t get enough of them. I think my love of them goes back to when I was a child. I didn’t like meat but thankfully my Mum was happy to accommodate her fussy daughter’s vegetarian needs! Our shelves were already full of cook books but new ones appeared by authors such as Rose Elliot, Sarah Brown & David Canter (Cranks) and so she set about making some fantastic vegetarian food. No one else I knew ate like we did. We loved shopping at Rainbow Wholefoods (a Norwich institution) for dried beans such as black-eyed, mung and aduki. I loved the smell of the shop – a combination of herbs, spices, fresh bread, spiced vegetable-filled pastries, sticky date oat crumbles and more. The shop still smells the same now and it brings back such happy memories.

I’m not a vegetarian or vegan. I love fish and I succumbed to meat when I was 30 but I only eat it occasionally and choose high welfare, locally reared meat. I suppose I’m a flexitarian. Some days I only eat plant-based foods, not on purpose, it just works out that way. Dairy products don’t really agree with me but I love veg, grains, beans, lentils and peas so that’s what forms the majority of my diet. When cooking meat I often add beans to make the dish go further and provide extra nutrition.

So, getting back to pulses. I’ve been reading a book called “Pulses – Nutritious Seeds For A Sustainable Future”. Pulses really are incredible – they’re naturally packed with low-fat protein and fibre, they’re rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They are excellent antioxidants that counteract our natural ageing processes (great news!) and we digest them slowly because they are high in complex carbohydrates and fibre. This gives us a feeling of satiety but also helps to stabilise blood sugar and insulin levels by reducing spikes after mealtimes. Pulses make an ideal choice for people with diabetes or those trying to manage their weight. On top of that they’re cheap and great for the planet. They require little water to grow and naturally improve the fertility of the soil that they’re grown in.

We use British-grown pulses in our bace products after discovering a company called Hodmedod’s who source and supply pulses from British farms. I love that Hodmedod’s offer little known pulses which aren’t readily available in supermarkets. We use red haricot beans, carlin peas, split fava beans and green split peas from their fantastic range. If you haven’t heard of carlin peas before they’re like chick peas but smaller, nuttier in flavour and I think are superior in taste and texture.

January for me is a time for change, reinvention and learning. In January I’ve set myself a challenge of eating pulses every day. I’ll be exploring different cultures and how people cook with them, I’ll be searching out new pulses and cooking them up with new found flavour combinations. Follow me on Instagram to see daily updates and witness my love affair with pulses take on new heights! I can’t wait to get started…

If you want to find out more about my bace products then take a look at our online shop