Tostadas meaning toasted in Spanish, a simple, adaptable dish that is yummy and fun. You can make a 100% plant based (vegan), veggie, fish or meat version to suit. The recipe below is just an idea, you can add whatever you like really. I use plenty of seasoning in all elements to give a really rich, indulgent flavours. We love Mexican inspired food and were introduced to this dish by my Aunt Caroline, who is an amazing chef and cook 🙂

When time allows I make my own flour tortilla as shop bought ones often contain palm oil and preservatives, but they work just as well, e.g Waitrose essential wholemeal tortillas. If you make your own you can make gluten free, using a non-wheat flour such as rice or gram flour. See a simple recipe at end of post.

Tostada recipe serves 4:

Prepare of the elements and then put them together at the end. You can make everything is advance if easier.

  • Beans
  • In a frying pan, add 1 large red onion finely sliced and very lightly fry, (oil or apple juice)
  • Add 250g pre cooked black turtle beans (approx 1 can drained. Or dried version but they take 1hr+ to cook).
  • Add splash of water, seasoning to taste (I use cumin, chilli power and smoked paprika)
  • Beans are precooked so just cook to heat them up and smash a bit as you go.
  • Prepare fresh veg / salad
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes diced, add a pinch of salt and mix well.
  • 2 medium avocado, chopped and smashed
  • Finely chop red cabbage or lettuce (something to give it freshness and crunch), add a large dash of lemon juice and toss.
  • Flat leaf parsley or coriander chopped if you have it
  • Creamy sauce
  • I use cashew cream, see (prepared in advance) but you can also use organic creme fresh or sour cream
  • Mix in chipotles (dried, smoked Jalapeño, you can buy as flakes, sauce or a rub, I use Bart’s smokey chipotle rub, which has sweetness too), if using pure flakes also add a pinch of brown sugar and generous glug of lemon juice.  Sauce should be running, like single cream.
  • Choose – veg / meat / fish and cheese
  • Veg version – slice and fry 250/500g mushroom in seasoning, and / or roast around 250/500g cubed root veg, toss in little oil or apple juice 200c oven 40 mins, until cooked and soft, bash up a bit (not mashed) e.g golden beetroot, squash, sweet potato. (Total 500g veg)
  • Fish version- use 300g prawns or a white fish, pre cooked and flake
  • Meat version – 300g anything you fancy. Slow cooked meat cooked in stock or wine shredded works well e.g beef brisket. I used braised pheasant and venison so anything goes!
  • Useless you are making a vegan version, grate organic cheddar in a bowl
  • Tostadas
  • 4 large wholemeal tortilla. Brush either side of tortilla with a little oil, add to a hot frying pan and cook until toasty and cripy, repeat both sides. Set aside in warm oven.
  • Putting it all together (as rough as you like)
  • Put toasted tortilla on a plate, spread layer of beans, then veg, meat or fish layer, sprinkle with cheese if using, add to warm oven to melt
  • Add tomato, avocado, cabbage and herbs
  • Drizzle creamy sauce all over the top and serve as is or with fresh green salad on the side
  • It ends up a bit like a Mexican version of a stacked pizza. Then just tuck in, there is no right or wrong way to eat it. As the tortilla is crispy it is hard to pick up but you can try!

Bright colours, yummy flavours, filling and fun, what is not to like. Ask the man in the photo, he’s happy 🙂

Recipe for homemade tortilla (make 8):

  • 280g wholewheat flour, 170ml water, 3 tbsp olive oil, pinch salt.
  • Add flour and salt, stir in water and oil
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10-12 times, adding a little flour if too wet or water if too dry to give you a smooth dough
  • Leave 10 mins
  • Divide into 8 portions (more or less depending on size of tortillas)
  • On a floured surface roll into tortilla shape and thickness, thickness is more important than shape!
  • In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook tortillas over medium heat for 1 minute on each side or until lightly browned
  • Use straight away or cool, wrap and freeze. Use baking paper between them to separate if easier


Valentines day – have some heart

Mr Ethivore and I are having pan fried organic beef heart for our Valentines dinner.

Sadly people don’t general eat heart anymore. It was my Dad that put me introduced me to it. We buy organic beef heart, liver and kidneys to make our dogs food (yes they are ethical omnivores too). Dad spotted it defrosting and said ‘I haven’t had beef heart for years, it is delicious but I can’t buy it anymore’. With that we fried some up and have never looked back. Being an ethical omnivore is about eating and enjoying all cuts of meat, sometimes referred to as the ‘forgotten cuts’. Heart used to be a treat, the meat is very lean and packed full of flavour. Think fillet steak crossed with liver.

When we think about trying to be ethical in our choices and moving to organic, grass fed meat we think about the cost. The secret to getting it right it to think creatively, heart is cheap, really cheap. We buy organic, slow grown long horn beef heart for £4KG, we trim the fat, valves and arteries off for the dogs and we eat the meat.

Anyone that is squeamish about eating cuts like heart, think about it think way, it is a muscle, it is exactly the same as eating a steak, just cheaper and in a lot of cases better. It we eat meat we should make use of the whole animal, we have become accustomed to standard cuts, but that is all it is, what we have become used to. Eating only steaks, chicken breast, fillet of fish etc. is unsustainable and not really where the flavour and goodness is.

You might find beef heart in your butcher, otherwise try online, there are a lot of traditional butchers and farm shops that sell it. All meat freezes well so buying a box of meat directly rather than from the supermarket is always a better option. As with all meat aim to buy the best version you can find, buy direct, grass fe or organic ideally.

It might look odd when you unwrap it, but get a sharp knife out and you’ll soon turn it into something that resembles a meat product you recognise:

  • wash the heart, pat dry,
  • trim off everything other than the lean meat, fat, valves, arteries etc,
  • cut that into large chunks to fit into the pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper and seasoning to taste,
  • heat a pan, ideally a skillet with butter or oil,
  • when nice and hot, add the meat and cook for 4-6 mins each side without disturbing. You are aiming to cook it medium-rare, but you can go rare if you wish. Because it isn’t fatty it doesn’t like being over done, it get too livery and tough.
  • remove from the heat then rest for 10-15 mins.
  • leave it in the pan and lightly cover it with foil.
  • then thinly slice and serve as you would steak, sauces, mushrooms and onions, salad, fries.
  • it is also great the next day thinly sliced with horseradish and salad in sandwiches.
  • or go wild, slice really finely, make mini yorkies, gravy, horseradish cream and serve as canapés, oh fancy!

Alternatively you can marinade the heart overnight before cooking for example in balsamic vinegar, there are lots of recipes on line. I wouldn’t recommend stewing it, there are lots of cuts that are better suited to slow cooking or stewing. If anyone does try other methods that work well I’d love to hear about them.

Lots of love and heart,

The ethical omnivores, including the dogs!


Rediscover mutton

Version 2

Mutton is sheep that is over 2 years old. Well-grown mutton to be one of the finest meats produced on the British isles. While mutton may be difficult to find in your local butcher, it is widely available on the internet. Whatever you choose, shoulder of mutton requires long, slow cooking to bring out the best results. Don’t be put off by the age, 2, 4, 5 yrs it is all good and in my view one of the most ethical meats you can source, based on the age and outdoor lifestyle a sheep lives. The older the best in our house, the flavour and the texture of the meat is amazing, just ask Charles (HRH)!

Ethical plus side, you are eating an animal that has had a longer life, sheep are still kept as grazing animals in a flock so it one of the most naturally farmed animal remaining. Mutton meat might come from a ewe that has been used for breeding or it might be a purpose meat bred slow growing sheep. The latter is the best but we should embrace both.

Serves 4–6
250g/9oz/1¼ cups salted butter, softened and diced
1 large bunch of oregano or rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped

large pinch of salt
zest of 1 unwaxed lemon or generous squeeze of juice
1 x approx 2.5kg / 5½lb shoulder of mutton on the bone

8 banana shallots, peeled and halved lengthways
2 whole bulbs of garlic, peeled and halved
1 x 750ml bottle of red wine
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 140C / 275F / gas mark 1. Put the butter in a food processor. Add the herbs, reserving a little for later, and then the salt, lemon and black pepper. Whizz to a coarse paste – about 20 seconds will do it.

Slather the paste all over the top of the mutton to a thickness of about 5mm / ¼ inch. Put the shallots and garlic in a deep roasting tray and add any remaining herbs. Lay the mutton on top and pour in the wine; the liquid should just be touching the bottom of the meat – if not, top up with water.

Seal the top of the roasting tray with a layer of baking parchment followed by foil. Place the tray in the oven for at least 6 hours (overnight at 100C / 200F / gas mark 1⁄8 works too), or until the mutton is cooked.

Remove the foil and baking parchment and turn the heat up to 200ºC/400ºF/
gas mark 6 to crisp up the crust for 20 minutes. Strain the juices, discarding
the garlic and shallots, reduce a little in a saucepan, uncovered, over a medium heat, season and set aside to use as a gravy.

This is lovely served with braised red cabbage and mustard mashed potatoes.