Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Stuffed courgette: red rice, cheddar & avocado


1 Courgette, 1 avocado, 1/4 cup red rice (I got mine from Millie's in Leeds), 1/4 cup cheddar, olive oil.

Serves: Preparation: 35 minutes

Round courgettes are adorable - just as fresh and juicy as their longer counterpart, but in a convenient shape for stuffing. The filling was inspired by my husband mistaking the courgette for an avocado, bless him the shape and size and colour is similar enough... the red rice adds texture to the meltingly soft avocado and cheddar and makes this a great meal for a hungry tummy.

1) Slice the courgette in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon drizzle it with olive oil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees.

2) Cover the rice with water and cook on the hob for 30 minutes before straining.

3) Slice the avocado in half and use a tablespoon to scoop it from the shell. If the avocado is ripe enough the stone will pop out with a spoon but another good method is to prick it with a knife and pull it out. Slice the avocado into chunks and stir into the rice along with the cheddar, grated. Spoon the filling into the courgette and return to the oven for 1 minute before serving.

Cucumber, lime & mint linguine


Linguine, cucumber, mint, lime, passata.

Preparation: 10 minutes

Lime and mint are a magical combination. Mix it with ginger and vodka and you have a fabulous cocktail, mix it with tomato and you've got the base for a fabulous dinner. This evening, after putting my son to bed and cleaning the house I was too hot and bothered to face dinner, yet knew that I'd need some fuel if I didn't want to pass out in the middle of breastfeeding! This fresh, cool pasta was an inviting solution.

1) Drop the linguine into hot, salted water and cook for 8 minutes.

2) Finely chop the mint leaves and add to a pan along with the lime juice and passata. Slice the cucumber into centimetre thick discs and quarter each slice. Stir into the sauce and season with salt and black pepper.

3) Strain the pasta and add to the sauce, stir through and serve.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Truffled white bean pate


1 can cannellini beans, 2 tbs truffle oil.

Serves: Preparation: 10 minutes, plus chilling time

Being a vegetarian there are some foods which, when adapted from the traditional meat to a substitute, one just can't compare to the texture of meat. Unlike a cheese, mushroom or vegetable "pate" - beans always offer that claggy, thick yet smooth texture. Truffle oil gives this a lovely savoury, earthy flavour.

1) Heat the cannelini beans for 5 minutes in a pan of water and drain.

2) Pulse in a blender or using a mortar and pestle along with the truffle oil and a pinch of salt.

3) You can serve this whilst still hot as a fabulous alternative to mashed potato,  or press firmly into a container and chill in the fridge to form pate. I like to serve this with crusty bread and an extra drizzle of truffle oil.

Goats cheese, fig & walnut bites


Goat's cheese, fig, walnuts

Preparation: 5 minutes

The combination of figs, goats cheese and walnuts is no stranger to this blog. from a simple salad to linguine with fig and walnut pesto and crumbled goats cheese, it's a holy trinity of vegetarian perfection. In honour of the glorious British Summer, I give you this picnic treat.

1) Slice the figs and halve each slice.

2) If your goats cheese has a rind, peel this away, then poke a hollow into the goats cheese with your thumb, press the fig into it and roll the goats cheese around it in the palm of your hand.

3) Finely chop the walnuts (or pulse in the blender if your knife skills are not so strong) then roll the goats cheese balls in the walnuts until they are coated in the crispness. Serve!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Halloumi & roast vegetable cous-cous

1 bell pepper, 1 courgette, 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 50ml passata, 100g halloumi, 1/2 cup giant cous-cous (I bought mine from Millie's Organic in Leeds).

Serves: 2 Preparation: 20 minutes

Cous-cous is made using semolina which has been sprinkled with water, hand rolled and then passed through a sieve, dusted with more semolina and rolled and passed through again to form the granules that you can buy in the shops. Cous-cous in Israel has a much larger granule and personally I prefer it, the texture is more like the bubbles in a tapioca pudding and it's absolutely delicious, absorbing flavour more intensely than the smaller grains do.

This recipe is a fabulous mixture of soft textures and strong flavours.

1) Pour the cous-cous into a pan of boiling salted water and stir through for 6-8 minutes before straining in a sieve and setting aside to cool.

2) Slice the tops from the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Remove the portions of flesh from between the membranes and slice into strips. Cut the courgette and halloumi into chunks and roast with the pepper on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes at 200 degrees.

3) Stir the vegetables and cheese into the cous-cous along with the paprika and passata and a squeeze of lemon juice, then serve.

Sweet potato chilli

3 sweet potatoes, 300g Quorn mince, 400g mixed beans: kidney beans, pinto beans, haricot beans, cannellini beans and black eyed beans, 1 cup rice,
2 tablespoons Rachel's Organic Greek yoghurt, olive oil, 1/2 tsp each of coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, ground ginger.

Serves: Preparation: 1 hour

A good chilli brings tears to the eyes; tears of spice, tears of joy. This approach involves roasting the sweet potatoes in dry spices, infusing the soft flesh with raw flavour power, then adding beans and Quorn to give this a protein and texture kick. Creamy yoghurt rice to round it off makes this a perfect supper when you need a little warmth and comfort.

1) Peel the sweet potato and cut into chunks. Add to an ovenproof dish with a lid. Add the spices and shake the dish with the lid on. Add a good glug of olive oil and shake again to coat the sweet potato with spices and roast in the oven at 220 degrees for 45 minutes.

2) Add the rice to a pan of hot water and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and set aside to cool.

3) Stir in the beans and Quorn and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes. Stir the yoghurt into the rice and serve with the hot chilli.

Almond, spinach & poached egg yolk pasta


200g spinach, 1 cup pasta, 1 egg, 1 tbsp almond butter, nutmeg.

Serves: 1 Preparation: 15 minutes

Spinach and nutmeg go together like ramalamalamagadingagadingadong but I bet you've never considered adding almond butter into the mix...

Well friend, you've got a whole world of woody scrumptiousness coming to you! This is an unusual pasta in that there's no real sauce to speak of, it's pure flavour and texture with a lick of egg yolk to lubricate the way, and it's absolutely lovely. I like to use spinach pasta to double up the spinach goodness, but I do realise that I am a spinach junkie...

1) Add the pasta to a pan of hot salted water and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

2) Stir the spinach into the almond butter and continue stirring on a low heat until the spinach has begun to wilt. Grate a little nutmeg into the pan, then stir in the pasta.

3) Drop an egg yolk into a pan of boiling water for 45 seconds, then spoon carefully onto the pasta. Serve immediately, breaking the yolk onto the pasta to coat it in the silky, creamy sauce.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Tempura avocado & grapefruit kebabs


1/4 cup Plain flour, 1/4 cup cold water, 1 avocado, 1 grapefruit, halloumi
Preparation: 10 minutes

Creamy avocado and tangy pink grapefruit are the perfect combination. I have been experimenting this week with grapefruit hollandaise for tempura avocado, which didn't give me enough of a flavour kick, and then I hit on the perfect solution - just leave the grapefruit in all its natural glory and make up the texture with halloumi to form these unusual, but fabulous kebabs.

1) Slice the avocado in half and use a tablespoon to scoop it from the shell. If the avocado is ripe enough the stone will pop out with a spoon but another good method is to prick it with a knife and pull it out. Slice the avocado into segments.

2) Peeling a grapefruit is best done with a chef's knife - peel through the thick skin and white pith until the pink of the fruit is revealed. Remove the segments by cutting into the natural sections of the fruit and popping them out with your knife.

3) Slice the halloumi into thick chunks and roast at the top of the oven, or grill for 3-4 minutes (until the centre is melting soft and the edges begin to colour).

4) Whisk the flour with ice-cold water (the colder the water, the crispier the batter - that's the trick with tempura) and dip in the avocado segments. Deep fry for about a minute, until the batter is golden. Skewer, along with the halloumi and grapefruit segments.

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