Day 25 – your 5 favourite blogs
O how you troll me, I surely cannot choose 5. This is the blog of my little neighbour/trolleague, Alastair. He is dead good at cooking, and that, and he often lets me have cake and further foodstuffs. Which reminds me, I need to finish off that nectarine curd he gave me and return the jar. My desire to make something that I could share with him led to me making my blackberry pie vegan, which actually wasn't at all hard to do and may (possibly) lead me to try veganising more of my culinary efforts. NEEDS VERY LITTLE INTRODUCTION. Responsible for me saying stuff like 'TRANSLATE ALL THE THINGS' with a regularity that irritates my trolleagues. Probably stretching the definition of blog here, but this is a collection of the ridiculous right-wing emails that distant relatives may occasionally forward to you.

/ YES OK I AM A NERD One of many, and one of the best blogs I read about brains and that.

Day 26 – an old photo of you
Laptop has gone entirely insane, which is a problem because I have Corrie to watch and bills to pay online. But here we go.IMG_239604161835

The slightly smaller version of Katie, in Essex, complete with a duck. Which I still own.

Day 27 – post your favourite recipe
I'm tempted to share my Scary Scouse Mother's recipe for parkin, but only a privileged few are granted this (if you want to know, do ask. It's not really only a privileged few). But OH there is a vegetable roast that I've made many times. It's pretty simple although takes too long to prepare over the working week, so I generally save it for weekends. The version I make, controversially, does not usually contain pepper, because I'm fairly ambivalent towards it. I've used artichoke hearts in the past as a replacement. I've just okra when I can get hold of it but to be honest, I'm not convinced it's entirely worth it, but that's just my personal taste, I guess. I usually make it fairly mild and serve with coriander and sour cream, sometimes with feta and/or mozzarella on the top. YESPLEASE.

Spiced Sweet Potato, Pepper and Aubergine Bake

Serves 4-6
Time: About 1 1/4 hours including preparing veg
Cost: about 75p a head

2 medium to large onions (about 350g)
2-3 sweet potatoes (about 450g), peeled and cut into large cubes
1 large red or green pepper (about 175g), cut into large chunks
1 medium to large aubergine (about 350g), cut into large cubes
6 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
2 large cloves of garlic
250g okra (optional)
400g can of chopped tomatoes
400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp Moroccan spice mix (see below)
250 ml (9 fl oz) stock made with 1 tsp Marigold vegetable bouillon powder or half a stock cube
Salt and sugar to taste
3 heaped tbsp fresh coriander leaves, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
1 small carton sour cream, yoghurt or soy yoghurt (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Peel one of the onions and cut into 8 wedges. Pour 4 tbsp of the oil in a large roasting tin. Add the onion, cubed sweet potatoes, aubergine and pepper, mix well with the oil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, turning them half way through. Meanwhile peel and roughly chop the other onion and prepare the okra if using (see below). Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion and okra gently for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and stir well. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock then check the seasoning adding salt and a pinch of sugar to taste. Add the chickpeas. When the vegetables in the oven have been cooking for 30 minutes pour over the spiced tomato mixture and mix in well. Turn the oven temperature down to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 and cook for another 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are well cooked, turning them half way through. Just before serving add the chopped coriander. Serve each portion with a dollop of sour cream, yoghurt or soy yoghurt.

* What I call Moroccan spice mix is a home-made spice blend that I find invaluable for seasoning all kinds of dishes. Mix 2 level tbsp each of ground coriander and cumin with 1 tbsp turmeric and 1-2 tsp chilli powder, depending how hot you like your food and keep in a jam jar or airtight tin or plastic box. Use to taste – about 2-3 tsp at a time
* Okra is an Indian vegetable with a distinctive almost lemony flavour. You can buy it in Asian grocers considerably cheaper than you can in supermarkets. Wash and trim the stalks off before using.
* If you want to double the recipe make it in two separate dishes.