Recipe of the Week – 21st May 2018 – Sweet Potato Falafels with Cashew Houmous

This is a surprisingly simple recipe which also turned out to be a great way to entertain my children. We had lots of fun mashing, smashing, mixing and shaping these delicious falafel and that was before we’d even got round to dreaming our own individual pitta creations! These are also a great low-fat alternative to the deep-fried version, but are just as versatile. The Cashew houmous was a made-up-at-the-time idea, but the nutty texture worked really well in contrast to the sweet potato.

Makes 12 Falafel / Serves 4

Ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

100g gram flour

2 tbs lemon juice

2 tbs olive oil

Small handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

For the Houmous;

1 x 400g can of Chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 clove of garlic, chopped

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tbs tahini

50g cashew nuts

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork then microwave for 10 minutes until soft, turning over half way through. Allow to cool then peel.

3. In a large bowl add the sweet potato, garlic, spices, lemon juice and flour, season well then mash together.

4. On a floured surface, form the mash into the size of table tennis balls and lightly dust with flour. Place on an oiled baking sheet and place in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, turning once halfway through, until light brown.

5. To make the houmous, place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend well. Add a little water during the mixing if too dry. Dust with smoked paprika to finish.

6. Serve the falafel in warmed halved pittas with a green salad and a large dollop of the houmous.

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Recipe of the Week – 14th May 2018 – Baked Mushroom Stuffed Peppers

This is a nice Summery recipe which will compliment most salads, but is actually really quite filling. The combination of the mushrooms, nuts and seeds gives it a nice firm texture, but it retains some of its moisture after baking, and so isn’t dry as some stuffings can be. Very happy with this one!

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 medium sized peppers, halved, cored and deseeded

2 tbs sunflower oil

20g button or chestnut mushrooms, finely diced

4 cherry tomatoes, diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Small handful of sunflower seeds, lightly toasted

50g walnut pieces, finely chopped

100g breadcrumbs (I grated 2 slices of toast!)

5 tsp vegan pesto

Small handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to season

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Place the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the mushrooms and walnuts for 5 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

3. Add the mushroom mixture and all of the other filling ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Season well.

4. Fill the prepared peppers with the mixture and place in a large roasting tin. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes until the peppers are soft. Serve straight away with a salad of your choice.

Recipe of the Week – 30th April 2018 – Butternut Squash and Chestnut Tagine

There are times when only a spicy stew will do, and this recipe definitely hits the spot! I love making tagines, and playing around with the different combinations of vegetables and spices to try to create something a bit unique each time. The dried chestnuts in this were brought back from holiday last month in Madeira, but if you can’t get them dried, the vacuum-packed ones are very nice too.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced

2 red peppers, sliced

3 tbs olive oil

2 large onions, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 small red chilli, chopped

100g dried chestnuts

2 tbs Ras-el-hanout

1 tbs dried cinnamon

500ml good quality stock from bouillon

1 tbs honey or agave nectar

Small handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped

Method

1. Place the chestnuts in a small saucepan and cover with 300ml of the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add the oil and sauté the onions, garlic and chilli over a low heat for 5 minutes.

3. Add the chopped butternut squash and peppers to the pan, together with the spices, and stir well. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.

4. Add the remaining stock and the chestnuts with the cooking liquid, bring to the boil then simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

5. Add the honey or agave nectar, season, and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

6. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of the coriander, and with rice or couscous.

Recipe of the Week – 23rd April 2018 – Cauliflower and Courgette Fritters

This recipe is very much inspired by what was available in the fridge on a Friday afternoon prior to the weekly Big Shop! I have tried experimenting with grated cauliflower before, and with limited success in some cases, but I thought that this might work in providing an easy (low carb) meal with a twist. It was actually pretty simple, but the key is definitely compacting the Fritters as much as possible before baking to help them stick together. Definitely a recipe I will do again anyway!

Makes 12

Ingredients

1 small cauliflower, leaves removed and roughly chopped

1 medium leek, finely chopped

1 courgette, grated

2 tbs olive oil

2 free range eggs

4 tbs self raising flour

2 tbs fresh herbs (I used chives and rosemary)

1 tsp chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Place the oil in a large frying pan and gently sauté the chopped leaks and grated courgette for 5 minutes then set aside.

3. Put the cauliflower pieces in a food processor and blend until finely grated then place in a large pan of boiling water for 5 minutes to soften. Drain and set aside.

4. Crack the eggs in a large mixing bowl, and beat together with the herbs, chilli flakes and seasoning. Add the leeks, cauliflower and courgette together with the flour and mix well to combine.

5. Take a handful of the mixture and squeeze well to remove excess moisture before forming into a large patty. Place on a large baking sheet covered with greaseproof paper. The mixture should make 12.

6. Place in the oven for 20 minutes before carefully turning over for a further 20 minutes until golden brown.

7. Serve immediately with a yoghurt and mint dressing (I also added baked aubergine slices, pittas and feta to make a Mezze).

Recipe of the Week – 9th April 2018 – Turkish Roasted Cauliflower and Aubergine with Turmeric Yoghurt

This recipe was something that I stumbled upon whilst trying to find inspiration for an evening tea involving a surplus cauliflower and some aubergines that I had in the fridge. I was looking for something fresh and light, yet filling enough to satisfy two hungry children, and this is my variation of a recipe that popped up when I googled the ingredients! This would also work well as a starter without the rice, or as an addition to a tapas-style meal combing lots of different dishes and flavours.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large cauliflower, cut into florets

2 aubergines, cut into 2cm dice, salted and set aside

1 medium onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

4 tbs olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp Baharat spice mix

4 large free range eggs

150g basmati rice

Small handful of fresh parsley, chopped

For the yoghurt dressing;

100ml plain yoghurt

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs lemon juice

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground turmeric

Method

1. Place the salted aubergine cubes in a large bowl for 30 minutes then rinse, drain and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C.

3. Pour half of the oil in a small saucepan and gently sauté the onion for 5 minutes.

4. In a large mixing bowl add together the remaining oil, coriander, cumin seed, baharat, crushed garlic and some salt and pepper and mix well.

5. Add the cauliflower and rinsed aubergine to the bowl and mix well to coat.

6. Add the onion slices then pour the mixture onto a baking tray and put in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

7. Whilst this is in the oven, cook the rice and hard-boil the eggs.

8. Meanwhile, to make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a large jug and whisk well to combine. Feel free to add a splash a water to thin the sauce slightly if preferred.

9. When the vegetables have turned light brown, served immediately on a bed of rice with the halved boiled eggs then pour the dressing over each portion and scatter some shredded parsley leaves over to finish.

Recipe of the Week – 26th March 2018 – Moroccan Giant Couscous Salad

This is a great recipe if you’re looking for a filling but nutritious lunch idea, but don’t have a lot of time (I’m in this situation quite often!). I have based this on a traditional Moroccan side dish, but modified it a bit to include the flavours that I particularly like, and most variations work really well in a warm salad like this – the addition of pine nuts and roasted peppers is also recommended!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

300g Giant wholewheat couscous

600ml good quality stock from bouillon

2 small red onions, sliced

3 tbs olive oil

1 aubergine, cut into 2cm dice

50g sultanas

6 baby tomatoes, halved

1 tbs ras-el-hanout

1 tsp ground cinnamon

100g fresh spinach leaves, rinsed

Method

1. Place the aubergine cubes in a colander, sprinkle liberally with salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

2. Meanwhile, place the giant couscous in a large saucepan, add 400ml of the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Rinse and set aside.

3. Add the oil to a large saucepan (I used a wok), and gently sauté the onions and rinsed aubergine cubes for 10 minutes.

4. Add the spices, mix well to combine, and sauté for a further 5 minutes.

5. Add the couscous, chopped tomatoes and sultanas together with the remaining stock. Stir well and cover then simmer for a final 5 minutes.

6. Serve warm on a bed of spinach leaves and with flatbreads if preferred.

Recipe of the Week – 12th March 2018 – Butternut Squash Hash

This is a perfect filling recipe for a quick brunch or evening meal, which could also work as a main with rice or couscous, but actually was very nice just on its own with a poached egg and some toast!

Serves 6 as a side or 4 as a main

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2 cm dice

2 medium red onions, finely chopped

2 tbs olive oil

1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tbs freshly chopped rosemary

200ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon

2 tbs cider vinegar

1 tbs honey or agave nectar

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Place the butternut squash cubes in a large pan of boiling water, bring back to the boil then par boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile in a large frying pan (I used a wok), gently heat the oil and add the onions and peppers and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the paprika and chilli flakes and sauté for a further 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the butternut squash cubes then add the honey and rosemary and stir to coat.

4. Pour over the stock and vinegar, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes until soft.

5. Season to taste and serve immediately.