Members' recipes

Cooking serves multiple purposes. Aside from providing the fuel needed to get through the day, it can also be a fun way to express creativity and share ideas with friends and colleagues. In this feature, we showcase members' favourite recipes to inspire and indulge with!
Last modified
21 February 2023

Fragrant coconut gratin

Hello everyone, @KatyRosePEM again. Keep on reading for this month's sustainable, fast and yummy dinner. Eating locally and seasonally is part of the sustainable mantra; unfortunately not really sufficiently to advocate for a locally reared chicken over an imported cauliflower but if you’re not ready to wave bye-bye to steak yet… try to buy it from a local butcher. The following is an amazing way to re-invent the endless root veggies of winter, a mouthful will take you somewhere tropical for a moment. I stumbled across this article recently which may be interesting.

A close friend has recently leapt to veganism which led me to trying the first version of this recipe which used coconut cream instead of the diary stuff. I found this ok but a bit unusual; a google search pointed me to an Ottolenghi recipe which added Thai inspired additions. I’ve stripped this version back technically and essentially use potato and whatever other roots I have.
WARNING, this is a do and forget about for a few hours dish. It can be made in advance and keeps well, just reserve the topping. I also find this quick because I have a mandolin (device to quickly make thin slices), food processors also often have a slice function. If you’re using a knife sorry, because the prep time will be misleading.

Serves 2-3 (as a main) or 4-6 as a side
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 2 hours 


  • 3 tbs oil
  • 1 red onion – sliced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic – sliced
    Thai gratin
  • 500g potatoes (any kind) – scrubbed but no need to peel – thin sliced
  • 500g other root veggies (swede, parsnips, sweet potatoes, celeriac) – thin sliced
  • Zest and juice of two limes
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 150ml strong veg stock (I use a whole oxo stock cube)
  • 1-2 red chillies – sliced
  • 50g ginger (a large thumb size) – grated

28cm saute pan/oven proof dish of some kind – preferably with a lid


  • First slice your onions, heat the olive oil and get everything softening in a large saute pan over a medium heat. Slice up your garlic and add this too. This should take about five minutes.
  • While this softens slice up the potatoes and the root veggies, zest and then juice your limes. 
  • Take the onions off the heat. Mix in the sliced veggies, the tin of coconut milk, the lime juice and the stock directly into the pan. Use your hands to make sure everything is evenly coated. Generously season. 
  • Make some vague adjustments to the mix so that it sort of lies roughly in layers in the pan (this usually just involves me pressing things down a bit until there is some semblance of a neater top layer). 
  • Turn your oven to 170 degrees* and leave with the lid on for 90 minutes to two hours. Once you are happy the veggies are cooked (I usually try and steal a little piece from the centre but this does ruin the appearance a little) turn up your oven to 200 degrees and remove the lid. This will allow a nice crispy top to form. If it looks to dry you can always add a little water before the final crisping. 
  • If making in advance stop before the browning up stage.
  • While the last cook happens prepare the other toppings. Finely slice your chillies, grate the ginger and grab the lime zest from before. Once the gratin is ready bring it out of the oven and sprinkle these toppings liberally over the top. An extra drizzle of oil doesn’t go amiss here either. 
  • Serve with some kind of greens or a green salad.

*You can do this at a higher heat for less time if you want – this works with new and waxy potatoes and sweet potatoes and celeriac – however I have found more all-round potatoes, swede and parsnip do better a bit lower and slower. You could even go for 160 if you definitely have a full two hours. ?

Lemon baked fish with vegetables

Hi there, Nicola Ruth (@nicolaruth1) here. I wanted to share a versatile meal that can suit multiple moods and days. This recipe combines fresh flavours with comforting textures, to give you an easy but exciting meal. 

Serves 4
Prep and cooking time: 30 minutes


  • 500g potatoes (new potatoes work well) - cut into bite size pieces
  • 500g courgettes (bite size chunks)
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 peppers (any colour) chopped into bitesize chunks
  • 2-3 lemons cut into wedges
  • 4 fish fillets (salmon or tuna work well
  • 1 tsp spice e.g. harissa
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander chopped


Lemon baked fish with vegetables
  • Heat oven to 220c
  • Spread potatoes in a greased oven dish and bake for 10 mins
  • Turn the potatoes and add in the other vegetables and lemon wedges, season and return to the oven for 10 minutes
  • Place the fish fillets on top of the vegetables, season and add the harissa spices. Return to the oven
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until fish cooked
  • Sprinkle with the fresh mint/coriander and serve

Cottage pie

Hi, it's Nicola Ruth (@nicolaruth1) with a great meal for a chilly winter night. This is a good recipe for using up veggies from the fridge as you can virtually add any vegetable you want to the pie and it would work. Also try different toppings other than traditional mashed potato. I've used butternut squash here, but you could also use sweet potato :)

Serves 4
Prep and cooking time: 30 minutes


  • 500g mince 
    Ingredients for cottage pie: mince, celery, onion, vegetables
    Cookie the cottage pie
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 sticks celery (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and cubed)
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 200g sliced mushrooms
  • 1kg butternut squash cubed
  • Tomatoes - sliced


  • Preheat oven to 200 C
  • Fry off the onion and garlic until softened
    Nicola Ruth with cottage pie
    Nicola Ruth presents
    her cottage pie!
  • Add the celery and carrots and cook for 10 minutes
  • Meanwhile steam or boil the squash until soft and set aside
  • Add the mince to the onion mixture and cook until browned
  • Add to stock pot and stir
  • Season and add the frozen peas
  • Cook for a further 5 minutes then spread in a baking dish
  •  Mash the squash and spread on top of the mince mix
  • Season and top with the sliced tomatoes
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned

Mediterranean penne

Hi, it's Nicola Ruth (@nicolaruth1) with a quick and tasty dish for the winter months ahead. This recipe is great because you can literally use any mince from Quorn to beef or chicken and it's freezable and great for taking to work as a portable lunch!

Mediterranean penne

Serves 4 
Prep and cooking time: 30mins


  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 750g mince
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary (fresh or dried)
  • 300g tomatoes chopped
  • 500g passata
  • 500g dried pasta
  • 3 courgettes chopped 
  • 2 peppers chopped
  • 1/2 packet mushrooms sliced
  • Fresh basil 


  • Fry off the onion and garlic
  •  Add the mince and brown off
  • Add the tomatoes and passata and cook for 12 mins until sauce reduces
  • Cook the pasta as per packet instructions
  • Stir the courgettes, peppers and mushrooms into the mince mixture and cook for 5 minutes 
  • Season, stir in the pasta and serve
  •  Top with fresh basil

Szechuan/Sichuan aubergine

Hi there, Katy Rose (@KatyRosePEM) with another sustainable, fast and yummy dinner. I highly  advocate a well-stocked larder; sauces and pastes from a trip to the Asian supermarkets really are key to quick, sustainable cooking. 

My veg box keeps on gifting me unbelievably large aubergines. I’ve tried a few different versions of this recipe with varying degrees of complexity. I came across steaming aubergine from @Ottolenghi. First; I was deeply sceptical. However, I was really surprised and urge you to give this a go.

A friend of mine has always cooked rice in a microwave. Having had my kitchen somewhat depleted during a recent move, I gave it a try and may never go back! Strictly this does make this a two-pot dish; but if you have a couple of microwave-proof bowels that aren’t too ugly you could do the rice in these and eat out of them directly. (My mother's voice rings in my ear – you are not a student anymore, Katy, but hey – it's more sustainable!) This is the closest to the method my friend taught me.

Serves 4-6
Prep and cooking time: 30 minutes


Chilli Bean Sauce
Katy's favourite chilli bean sauce
  • 3-4 aubergines – chopped into quarters and then 1cm batons
  • 2 tbps oil
  • 1 ½ tbps chili bean sauce (this is vital – please check out your local Asian supermarket). Another awesome product – sort of like a cross between balsamic and cider vinegar but only available in irritatingly large bottles
  • 1-2 tsp crushed Sichuan peppercorns (optional but super delicious)
  • 20g freshly grated ginger (approx. 2cm thumb size piece)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½-1 veg stock cube (depending on how much water the packet tells you to add)
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 tbps brown sugar
  • 1 tbps soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water 
  • 2 tsp Chinkiang* vinegar or 1 tsp cider vinegar and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • Coriander to garnish - optional
  • Rice – whatever kind you like – I often go for mixed wild


Szechuan/Sichuan Aubergine
  • Place the aubergines in a steamer or colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 5 minutes or so while you crush the garlic, grate the ginger and slice the spring onions.
  • Then place the steamer/colander inside a pan of boiling water - depth of water approaching 4cm – enough to boil away for 20 minutes or so but not covering your aubergines in water – we are steaming not boiling them!
  • Remove the steamer once the aubergine is soft but retains a slight bite.
  • Empty the pan of water. Now add the oil, garlic, ginger, chili bean sauce and 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns and sauté for a minute. Next add the stock cube, water and soy sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the cornflour, stir until slightly thickened.
  •  Finally add the vinegar and spring onions.
  • Gently lower the aubergine back into the mix and cover.
  • Serve over rice and top with coriander and the remaining peppercorns.

Anything goes pasta

Hi, Nicola Ruth (@nicolaruth1) here. I wanted to make something that's filling, quick and easy to do. I didn't have much of a plan beyond bolognese, so decided to see what I could do with the ingredients I had in the fridge and out of that the 'Anything Pasta' was born! This one contains beef mince but you could use any mince including quorn, and any veggies you have to hand. The bonus to this one is once you have the bolognese you can easily turn it into something else for the next day like a pasta bake or pie topped with mash...literally so many options and all of them quick to do. Great if you're short on time or just don't want to spend all your time in the kitchen! Freezes well also!

Serves 4-6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes


Anything goes pasta
Anything goes close-up
  • 500g mince (any meat or quorn)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pepper (any colour)
  • 150g sliced mushrooms
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 tin mixed beans in spicy tomato sauce
  • 1 carton passata
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • Dried herbs (I used sage, oregano, onion salt, thyme)
  • Basil (I used frozen)
  • 1 stock pot (any type)


Nicola Ruth and anything goes pasta
Nicola Ruth and
Anything Goes Pasta!
  • Put the mince in a deep saucepan or wok and heat gently (if using quorn then add some oil to the pan).
  • Chop the pepper, mushrooms and onion to bite size pieces and add to the mince. You can use any vegetables you have to hand eg broccoli, courgette, baby corn - endless possibilities!
  • Add the frozen and dried herbs and stir until the mince has cooked.
  • Add the beans (I also had some leftover baked beans in fridge to tipped them in too).
  • Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and the carton of passata.
  • Add the stock pot.
  • Stir and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes (uncovered and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken).
  • Meanwhile cook the pasta as per the pack instructions.
  • Serve and enjoy. 
  • Can be taken the following day and had with pasta or a jacket potato. You could also cook up some pasta and layer it in an oven proof dish with this bolognese sauce and then top with cheese and bake for 20 minutes at 200c for an easy pasta bake. Alternatively freeze in a tupperware box and consume within one month.

Shakshuka plus

Hello everyone, Katy Rose (@KatyRosePEM) again. Keep on reading for this month's sustainable, fast and yummy dinner. As you may now realise, the world is my oyster when it comes to cooking. This recipe came together after I realised the well known North African brunch favourite could be so much more than onions, peppers and tomatoes.

My other half isn’t hugely into red peppers but loves shakshuka; I stumbled across various internet and book-based recipes which replace these entirely. In this version we added the other breakfast favourite – potatoes but still kept some pepper. It made this super easy brunch dish beef up and sit easily as a quick and yummy midweek dinner.
We had ours with yummy green salad but greens of any kind or peas would also work well. There is an Anna Jones version which uses broad beans in the recipe and I really do think this is a glorious vessel to use up lots of different surplus.

Serves 2-4 (I always struggle with this – I eat huge quantities in the evening and little through the day – I think with some crusty bread, this will serve 4, but otherwise closer to 2).
You'll also need a 20-24cm sauté/deep frying pan – ideally with a lid.


Dr Katy Rose and Shakshuka plus
Dr Katy Rose cooking
shakshuka plus
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion – roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 2 red peppers – chopped into batons or 2cm squares (to be honest I really think any pepper colour would be fine – green would decrease the sweetness but could still work)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1tsp sweet smoked paprika – unsmoked paprika would change the dish significantly but may still be yummy
  • 500g potatoes (ideally salad/waxy variety) – 1cm dice
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2 heaped tsp harissa
  • 100ml Greek yoghurt
  • 4 eggs
  • Coriander/parsley/mint – all or any or none to garnish 


  • Add the oil to the pan over a medium heat. Throw in the onions and sauté for 5 minutes or so. Add the garlic and continue to cook gently for 2 minutes. Then throw in the red pepper and seeds and continue to cook for 8 minutes. If anything starts to brown then turn the heat down.
  • Next add your potatoes, sweet smoked paprika, tomatoes, stock and 1 tsp of harissa. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the potatoes have lost their bite (approx. 15-20minutes). Taste and season as you like at this point; some people may want more harissa.
  • While waiting, mix the remaining tsp of harissa with the Greek yoghurt and set aside. 
  • I sometimes get to this stage in advance and then leave it to later (as was the case for the picture today – finishing things off in my pyjamas post a late shift). If you do this just bring everything back to the boil before you add the eggs. ?
  • Make 4 small wells in your shakshuka mix and crack an egg into each well. Put the lid on your pan and continue to simmer vigorously for between 5-10 minutes (depending on how you like your eggs). 
  • Serve onto a plate with a big handful of green salad. Top with a spoon of the yoghurt mix and a generous sprinkle of herbs. Enjoy. 

Fruity baked oat cake

Hi, it's Nicola Ruth (@nicolaruth1) carrying on my theme of portable meals ready to take to work for a busy shift. I made a baked oat cake using fruit from my allotment. I made this one - it's filling, but also keeps well, makes a healthy snack and can be frozen.

Makes a 2lb loaf
Prep time:  5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes 

Close up of the fruity baked oat cake
Fruity baked oat cake close-up


  • 200g fresh fruit (I used raspberries and blueberries)
  • 80g oatbran
  • 250g yoghurt (either natural or flavoured-go wild with combinations)
  • 22g white hot chocolate powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tsp baking powder


Nicola Ruth with fruity baked oat cake
Nicola Ruth and her cake
  • Preheat oven to 200c (180c fan).
  • Mix the oatbran with the yoghurt, eggs, baking powder, hot chocolate powder and vanilla essence.
  • Pour into a cake tin (I used a 2lb loaf tin, but any standard 7 or 8" cake tin is fine (I used a paper liner).
  • Top with the fruit.
  • Bake for 30mins, and that's it!
  • Can be frozen, or taken for a filling breakfast or snack.

Roasted panzanella

Hi Katy Rose @KatyRosePEM here! As you hopefully see, the theme of my recipes is plant-based plates of yum with minimal effort and maximal reward. Although I also try to stay seasonal -  warning!  this is my area of weakness! I find my ‘Oddbox’ helps me keep on track in a "it’s seasonal somewhere and in excess here" kind of way. (I was slightly dubious about the greenwashing of Oddbox but they hold a B-Corp certificate which are incredibly difficult to gain and mean they treat their whole supply chain decently - thumbs up from me.) 

I was gifted two large red peppers and a bag of rocket in my last box. Apparently an unseasonably hot and dry spring in Europe means things are ready in excess and at odd times. No tomatoes, but the Spanish ones are in at the grocers, so not too many food miles.

This is a favourite summer recipe (panzanella is often served raw but this roasted one is amazing). It can be thrown together in 15 minutes and just sits in the oven for 30 minutes or so while you tidy up the kid’s mess, or send those emails, or whatever it is. Amazing to take for lunch the next day, too.

This one takes inspiration from Rukmini Iyer in her Green Roasting Tin. Scaling up for parties is great, too! Sometimes if I have a fresh loaf of bread, I just leave it off and serve with hunks of bread on the side - the choice is yours.

Roasted Panzanella
Roasted Panzanella

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Needs one large oven tray  - the biggest you have - the one for the roast potatoes!


  • 1 kg of tomatoes, roughly chopped (mix of cherry and large, different colours is wonderful but not necessary)
  • 2-3 red peppers, roughly chopped (yellow and orange would work too - just not green)
  • 1 x 280g jar of marinated artichoke hearts (larger jar will not hurt - try to pick ones in oil not brine)
  • Basil ~ 30g pack - leaves removed, stalks finely chopped
  • Loaf of slightly stale sourdough bread
  • Olive oil - some
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 x 150g bag rocket leaves (or mix spinach/rocket/watercress)
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges  - to serve


  • Heat the oven to 180C/390F/gas mark 6.
  • Rough chop the tomatoes. You can leave the cherry toms whole and make the rest a similar size. 
  • Cut the peppers into rough squares or strips depending on your preference. 
  • Throw this all into the roasting tin alongside your artichoke hearts (the whole jar - don’t drain the liquid/oil away - if it doesn’t look like there is much oil add a bit more oil to the dish), your basil stems and half the leaves. 
  • Tear your sourdough into rough chunks and strew across the top of your dish, pressing down so some is part submerged. Drizzle olive oil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.
  • Put into the oven for approx 30 minutes until the bread is golden and crispy (I took this a tad far last time but it was still yummy) and everything smells amazing. 
  • Toss through the bag of rocket and remaining basil leaves and serve with a wedge of lemon if needed. If you prefer you can leave the salad separate like I have done in the picture above - but I like to mix it up. 


Broccoli, coconut and lime Thai-Italian fusion

My name is Nicola Ruth and I'm a senior clinical fellow working in neonates in Wolverhampton, having completed my training in the West Midlands. I live in Lichfield with my two slightly mad cats Alfie and Bella. I have a lot of interests including my allotment (where many of my ingredients come from over the course of the growing season) and cooking! 

Most of my meals are adapted to follow @slimmingworld - don't let that put you off! I include suggestions for ingredients but actually you can adapt it to whatever ingredients you have to hand, as the idea of all of my meals is that they should be quick and easy to do, as well as being portable so you can take them to work or put in the freezer for another time. 

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Close up of broccoli, coconut and lime Thai-Italian fusion
Thai-Italian fusion - close-up!


  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 lime
  • Chicken stock pot
  • 2 cloves garlic (I used frozen)
  • 2 chicken breasts (skinned)
  • Broccoli broken into florets
  • 1 pepper (any colour) chopped into bite size pieces
  • 200g mushrooms (either button whole or regular mushrooms sliced)
  • 340g linguine (any pasta is fine)
  • 2tbsp coriander (fresh or frozen)


Nicola Ruth with her dish
Nicola and her Thai-Italian fused dish
  • Mix the coconut milk, juice of lime, stock pot, garlic and season with salt and pepper.
  • Wrap the chicken breasts in cling film (loosely) and bash them with a rolling pin until they are ~ 1cm thick.
  • Spray a deep frying pan or non-stick pot with oil and place on medium heat.
  • Meanwhile cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet. When cooked drain and set aside.
  • Cook the chicken breasts (whole) 5 minutes each side and remove from pan.
  • Put the broccoli, mushrooms and pepper into the pan. Cook for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the coconut milk mix to the same pan and bring to boil. Then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Slice the chicken into pieces and add back to the pan stirring all the time.
  •  Put the pasta into serving bowls and then spoon the chicken in sauce on top. Top with some coriander leaves.
  • If taking the leftovers to work then put the pasta in a Tupperware box and top with the chicken. Allow to cool and then place in fridge/freezer. Reheat when needed (4 minutes from chilled in microwave). 

Gado Gado

Hello everyone - Katy Rose (@KatyRosePEM) with another fast and yummy dinner. I’m on a journey to give you sustainable, plant based, low fuss and high taste dishes. I hope I can give a nod to seasonality and trying to think about staying plastic-free (caveat: I work part time and have no children - plastic free is hard - but do check out if there is a plastic free refill shop locally). 

As usual my veg box giveth me potatoes. And I give you this recipe. I’m sure it would make someone from Malaysia cry out for inauthenticity but I hope you can find forgiveness in your hearts - who knows, perhaps this will change habits of a lifetime. I first came across Gado Gado in Jamie Oliver’s Comfort some years ago but actually versions feature in Meehra Sodha’s East and Rukmini Iyer’s The Green Roasting Tin. This is my version after inspiration from them all. Feel free to mix up your roots - I like to keep some potatoes in here but sweet potatoes/swede/parsnip/beetroot/carrot all work well.

Gado Gado
Katy's Gado Gado

Serves 4
Prep time: 10-15mins
Cooking time: 45mins 

Needs one large oven tray  - the biggest you have - the one for the roast potatoes! Ideally a blender - but a jar will do.


  • 500g new potatoes - chopped in half/quarters depending on the size (although to be honest I’ve done it with pretty much all types of potato)
  • 500g celeriac (peeled) - chopped to a similar size as your potatoes 
  • 2 tbsp olive olil
  • 250g green beans/asparagus (right now asparagus is in full British season - treat yourself)
  • Spring greens/kale - approx 200g
  • A bag of bean sprouts

Dressing - if you're using a blender just throw everything in whole - if not…

  • 100g peanut butter (crunchy or smooth both work - I like crunchy but…)
  • 1 small clove of garlic - crushed
  • 50g (a small thumb) of ginger - grated
  • 1 fresh red chilli - finely chopped
  • Juice of 1-2 limes (aiming for approx 2 tbsp)
  • 1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
  • Water to slacken


  • Heat the oven to 2o0C/390F/gas mark 6.
  • Chop your potatoes (I only wash mine but leave the skin on) and celeriac into roughly the same sized pieces (smaller pieces takes longer to prep but shorter to cook - uses less fuel - just a thought). 
  • Toss round an oven tray with the olive oil. Pop into the oven. 
  • While these cook prepare your beans/asparagus (top and tail the beans if needed, cut of the woody asparagus ends). Remove the hard inner stalks and roughly shred up your kale/spring greens. 
  • Make your dressing - if you have a blender literally just pop all the ingredients in it (rough chopping the ginger may be required but that’s all) and whizz until you have a smooth paste. If you need to make it a bit looser add water, one tbsp at a time. You are aiming for custard thickness - spoonable. 
  • If a blender alludes you, get crushing and grating the garlic and ginger, super fine chop the chilli. Add to a jar with the rest of the ingredients - put the lid on and get shaking until well mixed. 
  • Once the potatoes and celeriac start to look a bit crispy (30mins or so depending on their size) then toss through the green beans/asparagus. Return to the oven for 5 minutes and then scatter over the kale for a further 5mins in the oven. The kale edges should be just getting some crispy bits and your done.
  • Pull out of the oven toss everything together - including your beansprouts and at least half the dressing.
  • Portion up and serve with some dressing dolloped on top.


Last time we had it I used swede as well as celeriac. I had a kale glut and there seemed enough greens so I ditched the beans and beansprouts. The time before I ditched the kale! Mix it up to match the seasons or whatever is going mouldy in your fridge!


Hi, I'm Justin Cheng, an ST5, currently working in Cambridgeshire Community Paediatrics. During a weekend, I’m very fond of making slow-cooked food like this Kakuni, a Japanese braised pork belly dish cooked in a very savoury and umami-packed sauce. Memories of childhood come back when eating this and it is one of my favourite comfort foods. I usually batch cook to make lunch for the next few working days but it can be made into an extra special evening meal with other toppings, like marinated boiled eggs, spring onions and shredded nori seaweed. Best served with simple white rice.

Dr Justin Cheng
Justin creates a great Kakuni dish

Serves 4
Prep time: 10-15 minutes 
Cooking time: 3 hours


  • 3 green onions, cut into 1 inch slices
  • 5 cm piece of ginger, sliced
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 kg of pork belly, best whole
  • 400mls dashi stock (this can be made with dashi powder bought from Asian supermarkets)
  • 40mls light soy sauce
  • 10mls dark soy sauce
  • 50mls cooking sake
  • 100mls mirin
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 spring onions, sliced for garnish
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and left whole (optional)
  • Nori seaweed (optional)


Kakuni close-up
  • Cut the pork belly into 5cmx5cm chunks. This is what gives the dish its name (Kakuni, literally meaning “squared simmered”) and the size allows the meat retain texture when cooked for a long time.
  • In a large pot, brown the meat for 2-3 minutes just to add colour. If your saucepan doesn’t fit all the pork belly, do this in batches.
  • Once done, set the pork belly aside and in the same pan, fry off the sliced green onions, crushed garlic and ginger slices for 30 seconds to release their fragrance. Put the pork belly chunks back into the pan and fill with water until it’s just covering the pork. Bring this to a simmer and cook for 2 hours at least. This method ensures any excess fat is removed and to remove excessive unwanted smell from the pork. Stir occasionally and top up with a bit more water if the braising liquid is reduced to 2/3 (Alternatively, if you have a pressure cooker or instant pot, do all the above in the cooking vessel, put onto high pressure and cook for 35 minutes.)
  • Once the pork belly is cooked, remove from the pan or cooker and leave aside to cool. Reserve 400mls of the braising liquid.
  • For the sauce and seasonings, prepare the dashi stock. If using dashi powder, use as instructed on the packaging and make 400mls. For more flavour, the reserved braising liquid can be used and half of the dashi powder can be added to it.
  • In a Dutch oven or large heavy based saucepan, add both soy sauces, sugar, dashi stock, mirin and cooking sake. Bring to the boil and then add the pork belly pieces. Reduce the heat down to low and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cook for an hour and occasionally rotate the meat. If adding the hard boiled eggs, put them in the last half hour of cooking and rotate them. The sauce should reduce and glaze both meat and eggs but do taste and make sure it’s not too reduced; a little water can be added to the sauce if that is so.
  • Once the hour of cooking has finished, it is ready to serve. This can be served over a bowl of white rice and if you are having the optional toppings, have the marinated hard boiled eggs sliced in half and top with finely sliced spring onions and shredded nori seaweed.

Swede and broccoli laksa

Hello everyone - Katy Rose (@KatyRosePEM) again. I hope you enjoyed the pasta recipe from last month. The next in our sustainable recipes section takes inspiration from Meera Sodha. I know this sounds strange, but trust me! It’s an absolute staple.

Meera starts her recipe with a quote from food critic Jay Rayner; to paraphrase, ‘Laksa has so many medicinal properties it should be available on the NHS by prescription’. I’d say it’s a sunny day hug in food form. I’ve suggested some ingredient cheats to speed everything up – feel free to use fresh lemongrass and prepare your own noodles from dry (use vermicelli if you do). And switch up swede with parsnip/celeriac/beetroot depending on preference. Sorry, this is strictly a two pot affair as you need a blender to make the paste.


Swede and Broccoli Laksa
"A sunny day hug" - swede and broccoli laksa

Serves 4

The laksa paste (feel free to double or even triple – it freezes a dream):

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 cm ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp chilli powder (feel free to add more if you are a chilli fiend) 
  • 2½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass paste 
  • A pack (30g) fresh coriander, leaves and stalks

The rest:

  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock (from cubes is fine)
  • Rapeseed/veg/sunflower oil
  • 1 x 400 ml tin coconut milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 large or 2 small swede (approx. 800g), peeled
  • Tenderstem/purple sprouting/regular broccoli into florets, about 200g
  • 3 packs of quick cook noodles – fine
  • ½ cucumber
  • Garnish (I used pea shoots but more coriander, watercress or just nothing is great to)
  • 2 limes, cut into 4 wedges each


  • Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6.
  • To make the laksa paste, put the garlic, ginger, chilli powder, ground cumin, lemongrass, coriander stalks and two shallots into a blender with 150 ml stock, and whizz to a paste. Add a little more stock if too thick.
  • Cut the peeled swede into quarters and then slice into roughly 1 cm half-moons.
  • Place on a deep baking tray (like you use for a roast) and toss with some oil. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes until some of the edges are a little blackened. Next toss through the paste – return to the oven for about 5 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile chop the cucumber and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and the juice of half a lime – leave on your chopping board with the leafy garnish of your choice.
  • Then pour in the stock, coconut milk and sprinkle over the sugar. Mix up. Lay the broccoli on top and return to the oven for another 5 to10 minutes until the broccoli is just cooked. Check seasoning at this point and add a sprinkle of salt if needed.
  • Stir through the ready cooked noodles and return to the oven for about 2 minute.
  • Serve into big bowls and top with the cucumber and garnish. Lime on the side for people to add to taste.

One pot tomato pasta 

My name is Katy Rose and I’m currently an ST6 in London. As part of the RCPCH climate commitments, I’ll be sharing a monthly plant based/planet friendly recipe to share with you all. My aim is to show everyone that veggie and vegan food can be tasty, easy and without a million pots and pans. I’d never considered this either but one pot/pan/tray cooking is not only time efficient but often energy efficient too – fewer things to wash up, fewer appliances whirring away!

Lots of these recipes will be inspired by lots of amazing cook books and chefs in particular Meera Sodha @meerasodha, Anna Jones @we_are_food, Yotam Ottolenghi @ottolenghi and Rukmini Iyer @missminifer!

To start with a dish which has become almost a weekly staple – the method here seems like madness. But as the saying goes – trust me, I’m a doctor. Thanks to Anna Jones for the inspiration here.

One pot tomato pasta
Katy's veg-filled one pot pasta


Serves 2 generously

  • Spaghetti or linguine 250g
  • Cherry (or regular) tomatoes 200g 
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • Olive oil 50ml
  • Vegetable stock 500ml (I use stock cubes - tomato ones are even better here but a little hard to locate)
  • Kale/chard/tender-stem broccoli or spinach 200g
  • Half a jar of chargrilled marinated artichoke hearts (optional)
  • Parmesan/vegan alternative cheese  (optional)

A range of green veggies works here but the cooking times vary a little. If using broccoli I add a couple of minutes earlier. And when I’m feeling really virtuous I chop the kale stalks and add them to the pot with the pasta right at the start. When I’m feeling bougie I add the artichoke hearts but it is delicious without!


Prepare your veggies:

  • Kale -  rip up the leaves a little and finely slice the stalks if using.
  • Chard - finely slice all the way up. 
  • Broccoli and spinach don't need prep.

Put the pasta into the pan. 

  • Roughly chop the tomatoes in half/smaller if using regular tomatoes and pop into the pan with the pasta (I know this seems odd but trust me). 
  • Grate in the zest of the lemons and add the oil (don’t scrimp on the oil). 
  • Add the kale stalks if using.
  • Add 500ml of boiling stock, put a lid on the pan and bring to the boil. 
  • As soon as it boils, remove the lid and simmer on a high heat for 6 minutes, using a pair of tongs to turn the pasta as it cooks.
  • Add broccoli at this point if using.

Once the pasta has had six minutes, add the kale leaves/chard/spinach and artichoke hearts (if using) and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.

Once almost all the water has evaporated, take the pan off the heat and pop into bowls. Season to preference and top with a little parmesan for extra yum. If the tomatoes are really sweet a squeeze of lemon juice for balance can also work wonders! 

Baked pancake 

Prior to becoming a doctor, Chris Dadnam worked as a chef. Now he uses his knowledge and love for cooking to create healthy and manageable meals that can batch cook and freeze to also have during clinical shifts. This helps reduce the costs of buying food at work and you know you're eating something nutritious! Chris hopes that by sharing his recipes with fellow healthcare workers that it will get everyone joining in as well! Enjoy!

For the recipe you will need a blender. The quantities below will serve two people (or two portions that you can freeze).


Dr Chris Dadnam and pancake
Chris serves up his baked pancake

For the pancake mix

  • Two eggs
  • One heaped handful of oats (or if you're hungry, two handfuls) 
  • One tablespoon of peanut butter 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (if you use self raising flour instead of oats ignore this step)
  • One or two dates +\- prunes for sweetness and fiber 
  • One banana
  • 100 mls of any type of milk - I like coconut milk - it's low-calories and sweet
  • Tablespoon of honey/ sweetener

For the toppings

  • Mixed fruits/berries of your choice - fresh or frozen
  • Sprinkle of nuts/seeds (optional)
  • Fruit yoghurt (optional)


  • Separate two yolks from the eggs and whisk the whites in a bowl, adding sweetener or honey too, until you have stiff peaks. Then put aside.
  • Blend the rest of your ingredients it into a paste. Add more milk if needed to get smooth.
  • Slowly add to whisked egg whites. Fold to mix - don’t whisk or you'll lose the air. 
  • Line a deep oven pan with parchment paper.
  • Pour half the mixture in then add a layer of fresh or frozen fruits - use berries of your choice. 
  • Then pour rest on top to cover.
  • Can add nuts/seeds on top.
  • Bake 140 degrees C in a fan oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Check middle to make sure it's dry - and it’s done! 

Note: The more baking powder you add the more cake like texture you’ll get. If you prefer the traditional pancake method on a pan, there’s no need to add any other raising agent as the egg whites will make them fluffy!

Thin crust pizza


Dr Chris Dadnam and pizza
Chris with his thin crust pizza

For the base 

  • 100 mls of warm water
  • One tablespoon of dried yeast
  • One tablespoon of sugar 
  • 250g of flour (plus extra to dust)
  • One teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried garlic or 1/2 clove of fresh garlic, grated

For the sauce

  • Two tablespoons of tomato purée
  • Water from the mozarella packet
  • One teaspoon of salt and half teaspoon of pepper
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the toppings

  • One mozarella ball
  • Additional toppings based on personal preference
  • Fresh spinach leaves



  • First put 100 mls of warm water into a jar, Add one tablespoon of dried yeast and sugar - mix and leave to rise the in microwave (not on!) for 10 minutes. 
  • Sieve into a bowl  250mg of flour (self raising or plain), one teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and dried garlic (or grate 1/2 clove of fresh).
  • Add the yeast mix and kneed for two to three minutes, or until dough bounces back.
  • Leave in bowl and add a few sprays of oil on top. Place back into the microwave for one hour to rise.
  • If you don’t have yeast, then self raising flour and warm water will do. Or use plain flour and one teaspoon of baking powder and leave for 30 minutes.
  • You can also substitute water mix for natural yoghurt: use  250 mg of flour to 200 ml of yoghurt, knead into a mix and leave for 30 minutes.

Tomato sauce

  • Put into a small bowl two tablespoons of tomato purée and some of water from mozzarella packet, one teaspoon of salt, dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Mix and leave to thicken.


  • Whatever takes your fancy really!
  • Slice all veggies into thin slices. Quickly fry with salt, pepper and dried oregano and leave to cool.
  • If you're using mushrooms and peppers, add these first into an empty frying pan - no oil - and wait for the lovely smell to fill the room.


  • Cut dough into two and roll out into thin base, roughly to shape of the tray.
  • Bake the dough in preheated oven at 200 degrees C for five minutes.
  • Take out and spread on the tomato base.
  • Place back in the oven for a further five minutes
  • Remove and turn up the oven to 250 degrees C or maximum temperature.
  • Add fresh spinach leaves on the base first, followed by the cooked and seasoned toppings, finished with mozzarella cheese (I use one ball of reduced fat for both pizzas).
  • Put back in the oven until the top is nice and golden, then remove from the oven.
  • If you have fresh basil leaves, rip up and sprinkle on top of the hot pizzas.

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