Vegan (gasp!) & Jamie Oliver’s Pumpkin, Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry


Commiserate with me.

The world is covered in cheese and I can’t touch it.

After a really bad bout of the flu recently, I am now lactose intolerant. Who knew this was even a thing? Not me. But it is. #LeSigh.

It remains to be seen if it will be a temporary or permanent thing. Just one of those things where you need to wait and see. (Although in most cases, it seems to be temporary. Fingers triple crossed!).

In the meantime, I’ve being trying to convince myself I could a be a vegan… (Sort of. I mean, I could still eat eggs…). But truly, I’m heartbroken. 20 years a vegetarian and not for one moment have I ever had any desire to explore veganism. There’s not much I love more than cheese (and butter, and ice cream, and so on)…. But cheese!

Right now, I’m holding onto hope that my ever faithful digestive system once again begins producing the lactase enzyme, and focusing on the good stuff I can still eat. Last, I made my favourite curry, tonight it’s stir-fry, and after that I’ll be making my way through My Darling Lemon Thyme’s cookbook.  And wishing I hadn’t lent my Green Kitchen Stories to my sister… (Heya, P.s. Sis, can I have that back? Thanks).

So let’s get to it, shall we? I’m not exaggerating when I say this is my favourite curry recipe. So much better than any Indian take-out or restaurant meal I’ve ever had. There are a few steps, but none is all that difficult. Promise.

1 Small butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 Cauliflower, cut into florets
400g chickpeas, drained and rinsed if canned
1 tbs garam masala
Olive oil (enough to coat the veggies)
1 bunch each of coriander, mint and basil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger, peeled
1-2 long green chills, seeds removed
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 lime, with extra wedges to serve
1 banana
1 can coconut milk
Rice, papadums or naan to serve.

(I like it with Jamie Oliver’s Easy Flatbread, which you can find here. Normally, I use goat or sheep yoghurt, but last night I made it with coconut yoghurt and it worked out just fine).


1. Start by placing your cauliflower, pumpkin and chickpeas in a baking pan. Toss with the garam masala, olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes (depending on how chunky you’ve cut your veg), at 200c. I normally cover the veggies and chickpeas with foil for the first 20 minutes, to avoid burning.

2. Ok, next get out your blender. Throw in your basil (including stalks), coriander stalks, plus half the leaves, and mint leaves. Blitz. Now add your ginger, garlic, chillies, zests and juices. Blitz. Finally, blitz in your banana. Smells amazing, right?

3. Swirl a little oil in a large pan, over a medium heat, and fry your curry mixture for a minute or so. Here, Jamie suggests you add in 2/3 of your veg and chickpea mix, reserving the last 1/3 to serve on top at the end, however at this point, I always just put the whole veg and chickpea batch into the curry. each to their own. Add your coconut milk, along with 200ml of water and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Serve with the reserved coriander leaves, lime wedges, rice, papadums and/or flatbread. We also normally have this with yoghurt on the side, last night we used coconut yoghurt.

Also? this curry keeps really well for leftovers the next day.



Have you ever had an unexpected side effect after an illness? Or had to give up a food you had a deep, almost-spiritual attachment to? It’s just so bizarre!



[A word on reproducing recipes. I looked for this recipe online so I could simply link it, but couldn’t find it, hence deciding to reproduce it for you here. It’s that good. Seriously. As far as my research goes, it’s fine to publish a recipe in the context of a review (which I’ve tried to do – truly. Five out of five stars). Also, I’ve written the method in my own words (methods are subject to copyrighting, but not ingredients lists), and included photos from my own process. I’m also not claiming in any way this recipe is mine. Full credit to Master Oliver! I’d also suggest that if you like this, have a look at his books, or magazine, (if you don’t already own them all. Like me). In particular, my favourites are his 15 Minute Meals, and his second book, Return of the Naked Chef. But really, it’s hard to pick favourites… Alternatively, he has a regular section in Australia’s Delicious Magazine (where the recipe originates). It is hands down my favourite foodie magazine. My generous sister has given me a subscription for my last two birthdays. I hope this continues…. Hi again Sis.]

Posted in Eat


  1. Deb Baker says:

    Oh no Bridie! Not cheese. I’ve toyed with a lot of diets over the years and if cheese is excluded, well, I move on. You poor girl. Our body is very good though at telling us what is not good for us. The weirdest thing for me has been, after fracturing my wrist this year, and being in constant, chronic pain (long story) I cannot touch alcohol. Not that this is a bad thing, just really odd. Love this recipe. Will definitely try. We love a good curry in our household.

    • Bridie says:

      That is so bizarre! And kind of like a kick in the pants, too, I suppose, as (personally), I’d be looking to console myself with a big glass of red. Glad you don’t see it as such a bad thing, though! Hope you enjoy the curry. X

  2. Lila says:

    I hear you Bridie! I miss cheese terribly I gave up all dairy while breastfeeding Eve because of her allergy and now I can’t have it myself.
    I think something like only 1/3 of the world’s population is truly lactose tolerant and the rest of us have a stomach bacteria that helps us tolerate it. Maybe the flu wiped out your tummy bacteria?

  3. Ing Reils says:

    This recipe looks scrumptious ! As for the dairy issue, the vegan cheese world is an interesting one – and can be a bit hit and miss. I have recently discovered a great vegan cheese “Bio Cheese” (terrible name !) which is convincingly cheesy tasting and textured. I also love the Botanical Cuisine range of creamed “cheeses”. I do still eat a small amount of dairy but only from select dairies (like Barambah and Elgaar) who look after their bobby calves. If you are a vegetarian for ethical reasons, the diary industry does have very cruel aspects to it so your lactose intolerance could be a blessing in disguise ?

    • Bridie says:

      It is scrumptious! The whole world of vegan cheese is new to me, although I do have a few recipes to try out, and have just bought some (ridiculously priced!) cashew cheese to try out in the meantime. Will have to look out for the ones you’ve recommend.

      Completely agree with the nature of the meat and dairy industries – making ethical choices (or as close as we can be to ethical – some of it is complex!) is definitely a big priority in our family.

  4. Kim @landofzonkt says:

    Oh Bridie, you had me at the header “Jamie Oliver Curry” being a massive Jamie fan… What can I say the boy speaks my food language.
    But I’m even more glad I clicked on your post in the link up, you see I’m a lactose intolerance sufferer too.

    It came out of nowhere for me too, about 8yrs ago or… I think. I just got really sick. My body just stopped producing the enzyme. It was he’ll for me, as well dairy is my thing. Took a lot of adjusting & changing my mindset to get through. (I wrote a post embracing the alternative that may help).

    The reason I wanted to say something is that 3yrs ago I stumbled upon a miracle tablet. Called lacteeze. It’s a chewable tablet, that’s like a chalky mint really.
    But it’s been my life saver! Even though I had already adjusted my eating habits for all the yrs prior. It meant I could eat cheese, ice cream… Even go to a restaurant & no be scared they’d have milk in the mash.

    I pick mine up at chemist warehouse because they are the cheapest. I get the 100 tablets, think it’s about $25 but it lasts me a good 2-3months, depending on how often u want to use them.

    Sorry to write an essay, but it was the best find & it means now I don’t have to worry so much. At home I still cook with lactose free products. Liddells website has some good recipes & I’ve even done their homemade ice cream as back then there was nothing!

    Oh & later test yourself with a hard tasty cheese. Most hard cheeses don’t contain lactose sugars as the sugars decrease in fermentation. Devondales tasty cheese is meant to be the lowest % of lactose. Although I think Liddells has a lactose free cheese range now.

    I hope this helps, but all is not lost I promise. If you have any questions let me know. I learnt a lot along the way. xx

    • Bridie says:

      Oh my, thank you SO MUCH for the essay! I’ve never heard of this pill, but will absolutely look into it. I’m pregnant at the moment and have been so looking forward to a big slab of soft french cheese after the little man arrives – I was so deflated at the thought of giving that up! But now you’re telling me all hope is not lost? Brilliant! Thanks so much. Xx

  5. Sonia Life Love Hiccups says:

    This looks seriously good! You poor thing – Lactose intolerant! Youch. I had to give up mammal meat after being bitten by a tick. There are days I could roll a cow and hoover a whole pig, but alas, I will have to make do with gorgeous recipes like this! xx

    • Bridie says:

      Mammal meat?? That does sound strange. And terribly inconvenient! Some days I think ‘if only I liked meat, life would be so much easier’. But actually, in general, I find restrictions lead to so much more creativity with food. Just gotta apply that to the lactose thing now… (boo hoo).

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