Las Iguanas had been on my list of places I wanted to visit ever since they came out with their new and improved Veggie/Vegan Menu last year so when my friend Lex alerted me to their Veganuary 2-4-1 meal deal, off we went. View Post
About Me: I’m a freelance photographer, stylist and increasingly infrequent blogger.
Favourite Animal: Squirrels! I’m from Australia (i.e. the only continent they do not live on) and still get very, very (VERY) excited every single time I see one. View Post
In my household we aren’t back in the swing of weekly shopping and planning meals since the mayhem that was Christmas, New Year and a three-week-long-and-counting chest infection. So at the moment our meals are based around three points, 1, what do we already have in the fridge/freezer/cupboard, 2, what ingredients could we buy to add to what we already have at a cost/effort minimum and 3, shall we just have chilli again for the 6th day in a row?
Tonight’s meal was based around having spaghetti already in the cupboard and I’ve had lentils on my mind for the last few weeks, so a lentil ragu was born! I think most people would make theirs with celery and carrots as the base but my Husband hates celery with a passion and we already had some red onions and 1 sad-on-it’s-last-legs red pepper in the fridge so the base was decided for me. The only things we had to buy tonight were passata, lentils and parsley; everything else we had knocking about.
Lentils aren’t something that I cook with on a regular basis but I think this might be the start of a new obsession; I can see a lentil shepherds pie in my not too distant future.
Makes enough for 2 enormous or 4 sensible portions.
Serve with spaghetti or with a load of mash and garlicky sautéed greens.
1 Small finely chopped red bell pepper
1 Small finely chopped red onion
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
Spices: 1 tsp Chilli powder, 1tsp Smoked paprika, 1 tsp black pepper, pinch of salt
1 tin of green lentils
Juice of 1/4 lemon
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 a large jar of passata (or 1 tin chopped tomatoes)
Large handful of chopped parsley
1. Add the pepper and the onion to a large frying pan with a splash of olive oil and fry on medium high for a few minutes until softened and slightly charred.
2. Add the garlic and all of the spices. Fry for another couple of minutes.
Add a tiny bit more oil if it’s dried up to a paste.
3. Add the lentils and stir everything through.
4. Create a well in the middle of the pan and add the sun-dried tomatoes and the lemon juice. Let the tomatoes fry a little on their own before stirring them through.
5. Add the passata, the Balsamic Vinegar and Worcester sauce. Stir through and simmer for 15 ish minutes. Stir every now and again, add a splash of water here and there if it gets too dry. You want the sauce to be thick and rich but you also want it to be loose enough to stir through the spaghetti, coating every strand.
6. Just before service, stir through the parsley. Give it a taste to make sure you’re happy with it. Then add it to your spaghetti and enjoy!
You can totally reduce the cooking time, your sauce might not end up as rich and flavourful but it will still be banging.
Finely chopping is such a ball ache, I know, but roughly chopped onions and peppers just won’t work as well in this dish.
If you don’t have any Balsamic Vinegar, Worcestershire sauce or sun-dried tomatoes that’s fine. Maybe add a dash of red wine, some extra paprika or more lemon to give it a lil something else.
Likewise you could use carrots, celery, mushrooms or white onions instead of bell pepper & red onion if you want. Just go with whatever you have in the fridge and experiment.
I think we can all agree on what the two main food groups are. I can practically hear you screaming at me “YEAH WE KNOW JEN, YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO SAY IT”, it’s just so obvious that it barely needs stating. The two main food groups are Pizza.
There’s the deep pan, greasy, doughy, delivery style that we get from the likes of Papa Johns and Pizza Hut. And then there’s the thin base, sourdough, practically healthy tasting (but not in a bad way) style that we get from fancy places like Franco Manca and your local lil Italian restaurant.
But I’m here today, to tell you about the third food group I’ve discovered. It’s Pizza, obviously. The Pizza at Voodoo Ray’s is so good that it’s busted out into a food group all of it’s own.
I’d like to boldly declare that Voodoo Ray’s is the best pizza you can get in London. No wait, the whole of the UK. And considering they only have one Vegan option on the permanent menu that is quite the statement from me!
Their pizza is thin, it’s crispy, it’s salty, it’s the perfect level of oily and the toppings are UTTER PERFECTION.
The Queen Vegan on the permanent menu has artichoke hearts, green olives, sun-blush tomatoes, red onion, tomato sauce and green sauce (think Vegan Pesto).
It is an absolute bargain at £4 per slice and their frozen margarita’s are incredible so you’ll want five of those too.
(Dalston branch above and below)
Voodoo Ray’s was started in 2012 after a visit to NYC they decided they wanted to bring the pizza by the slice culture to the UK as it hadn’t been done before. Their name Voodoo Ray’s is a nod to the famous New York pizza joint Ray’s as well as Voodoo Ray which is a favourite record of theirs.
The flagship branch on Dalston High Street is gorgeous and in 2015 they opened up at Box Park in Shoreditch and in 2016 in Camden Market.
Voodoo Ray’s even offer a rewards scheme called Slice Club so you can get a free slice after every 7 bought. Make sure you sign up and get your money’s worth!
95 KINGSLAND HIGH ST, LONDON E8 2PB
UNIT 1-3 BOX PARK, 2 BETHNAL GREEN ROAD E1 6GY
40-42 CHALK FARM ROAD, UNIT 92/1 NORTH YARD CAMDEN MARKET NW1 8AH
and if you’re lucky enough to live in the Deliveroo catchment area you can get a slice or a whole pie delivered too
When my Husband & I first moved to Highbury we fell head over heels in love with a local Greengrocers. It wasn’t exactly the closest one, there was Mrs Lovell’s on Highbury Park but they were too expensive and not as good, there was our local Turkish shop who we loved but they didn’t have as much variety and it wasn’t the same quality, but Newington Green’s Greengrocers was and is a cut above the rest.
They have the juiciest limes, the hottest chillies and the plumpest tomatoes. If you want an avocado which is perfect every single time (and I know that you do), then you want to buy your avocados from here. On my last visit I even spotted that they’ve started to stock edible flowers and as a vegan with an Instagram account that excited me greatly.
They are always cheaper than the supermarket. We’d be filling up a basket to the brim and only be spending a tenner. When it was time to move out of our Highbury flat we only considered flats that were still within a walkable distance to Newington Green and we managed to snag ourselves a flat one road over! That is what you all living the dream! Even when we moved over to West London a couple of years later we were still popping back at every opportunity.
We always pop in when we are in the area but now we live in the countryside our visits are few and far between but we made sure to stop by before our visit to local vegetarian/vegan café Bodega 50. I wanted to share a few pictures from our recent visit because I miss it and who doesn’t love some gratuitous veg shots!?
NEWINGTON GREEN FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
109 NEWINGTON GREEN ROAD
Open every day 8am – 10pm