Tag: brown sugar

Potato and lentil soup

This no-fuss potato and lentil soup makes about 2.5 litres and takes about forty minutes to prepare and cook. It’s vegan and gluten free.

Soup with bread

Soup with bread

Potato and lentil soup with heart-shaped bread


  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 vegan stock cube
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary (or two fresh rosemary sprigs)
  • 2 sprigs of tarragon (optional)
  • 2 brown onions
  • 5 large potatoes
  • Small handful of dried mushrooms
  • 500 gm rinsed red lentils
  • 2.5 litres of boiling water
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp chilli
  • 5 heaped tbsp vegan mayo or vegan aioli
  • 2 heaped tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp tamari
  • 1 zucchini (optional)
  • Box of frozen spinach cubes – or a large bag of washed spinach


Step 1. Add olive oil, salt, stock cube and rosemary leaves to a soup pot and turn the heat to high

Step 2. Chop the onions – no need for a fine dice. Quick and dirty is good enough.

Step 3. Chop the potatoes into approx. 1 to 1.5 cm cubes. Again, near enough is good.

Step 4. Put onions and potatoes into the pot and sauté for a few minutes.

Potatoes and onions sautéing in pot

Potatoes and onions sautéing in pot

Step 5. Break up the dried mushrooms and put them in the pot. Give it a stir.

Dried mushrooms in hand
Dried mushrooms in hand

Step 6. Rinse the lentils and put them in the pot and stir. Add the tarragon if you have it.

Add lentils to the pot
Add lentils to the pot

Step 7. Add 2.5 litres boiling water, stir.

Step 8. Add brown super, tamari, lemon juice, mayo and chilli and stir.

Step 9. Add frozen spinach and zucchini (if using). If you’re using fresh spinach, add it as the last step, after you turn off the heat and before you serve up.

Step 10. Cook on high until boiling, and then turn down the heat.

Step 11. Put the lid on and cook until the potatoes are cooked through (maybe 20 mins).Stir, taste, flavour to your liking (more salt, more lemon, more mayo, more chilli).

Lid’s on pot to cook the soup
Lid’s on pot to cook the soup

Cut shapes out of fresh bread (love hearts) and serve.

Lick the dish: soup with bread
Lick the dish: soup with bread

Hoisin sauce (with peanuts)

Sauce in jarHome made Hoisin sauce takes about 10 minutes to prepare and you don’t need to cook it. Chop some vegetables ready for steaming (broccoli, potatoes, zucchini perhaps), then make the sauce while they’re cooking.

This sauce is great if you’re on a diet. Steam your vegetables and add a little bit of sauce – maybe one or two teaspoons at the end – to give them a great flavour.

Add a boiled egg. It also pairs nicely with the sauce and veg.


Makes about 200g.

  • 3 heaped tbsp crunchy peanut butter (check for palm oil; it’s surprising where it lurks – rule it out if possible)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp black strap molasses
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp white miso

How to

  1. Put all ingredient into a large, wide bowl and whisk to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste (add more sweet or salty flavours, or more water if it’s too intense).
  2. Steam your vegetables, cut up a boiled egg and plate up.
  3. Add a couple of teaspoons of the sauce on top of your veg and egg, and around the dish. Enjoy!

Sauce on steamed vegetablesSauce in jar

Pflaumen muss (plum puree)

Pflaumen Muss in jar, sitting on a printed 'love' sign with crockery in the backgroundMy mother’s sister, my Tante Kathe, used to make Pflaumen Muss by roasting plums in the oven for hours, with some sugar and lemon juice.

Here’s a version inspired by her original cook, but using plums in jars.

This dish yields about 400 g of gooey goodness (not much left after starting with 2.1 kgs!), and takes about 3.5 hours to prepare, cook and put into jars.

Use it for a tart filling, or have it on toast or with latkes. I think a vegan coconut pastry that’s slightly less sweet or even a bit salty might make a good pairing.


  • 3 x 700 g tins or jars whole plums in juice
  • 3 tblsp brown sugar
  • 3 star anise (optional)
  • 5 cloves (optional)
  • 4 strips of lemon rind (use a vegetable peeler) (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon (optional)
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 30 ml cognac (at the end, if you like)

How to

  1. Drain and pit the plums and put them into a heavy-based pot, on a high heat.
  2. Add the lemon juice, brown sugar and any of the optional spices.
  3. Boil the ingredients, and then keep the mix on a moderately high heat for about 40 minutes to start the reduction process. Stir every 5-10 minutes.
    Plums in heavy pot on stove, early in the cookPlums in heavy pot on stove, a bit later in the cook - slightly reduced
  4. Reduce the heat slightly so you have a slow bubble going on, and keep stirring now and again for another 2 and a bit hours. You’ll notice sticky plum puree forming on the bottom of the pot, so it’s good to move that around.
    Plums in heavy pot on stove, a bit later in the cook - more reduced, thicker consistencyPlums in heavy pot on stove, a bit later in the cook - more reduced, ready for putting into jars
  5. Tip in a small measure of cognac if you like, about five minutes from the end of the cook.
  6. When the mixture resembles a thick puree (about 3.25 hrs after you started cooking it), you’re ready to put it into sterilised jars.
    Pflaumen Muss in jar, sitting on a printed 'love' sign with crockery in the background


Rhubarb and strawberry jam

Rhubarb and strawberry jam in a jar, next to flowers and near a candle. There’s a sign in the background that says ‘The way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives’If you’re making scones, why not whip this jam up while the scones bake? It takes about 20 minutes and yields a small jar of compote-like jam. It’s velvety and luscious and gracefully lasts for week or two in the fridge. It’s easy to scale the recipe up, and it’s vegan friendly and gluten free.


5–6 stalks of rhubarb
1 punnet fresh strawberries, or one can of strawberries, drained
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Juice of 1 small lemon (and while you’re at it, zest the lemon rind and store it in the fridge for another use)

How to

  1. Chop the rhubarb stalks into 1 cm lengths and place them in a medium-sized pot on a high heat. Add lemon juice and cook on high for about four minutes, stirring occasionally
    Rhubarb chopped up in pot
  2. Turn the heat down to medium then add peeled, hulled and chopped strawberries (or tip the drained strawberries into the pot). Keep stirring. If you like, add a bit of lemon zest as well.
    Rhubarb and strawberry in pot
  3. Add the brown sugar and vanilla extract and stir. Continue to cook the jam on a medium heat until the mixture turns compote-like. If you used tinned strawberries, break the whole strawberries up with the wooden spoon.
    Cooking strawberries and rhubarb to reduce themJam on stove, final stages
  4. After about 20 minutes of cooking time, your jam is ready. Spoon it into a small jar for later, or tuck in right away.
    Jam in a car near a blue candle holder