Recipe of the Week – 27th April 2015 – Aubergine Pahi

  I was really pleased with this Sri Lankan curry, which I have adapted to suit my reduced supplies from a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe. The result was full of complex flavours, but is also quite fiery, yet with the sweetness of aubergines – the perfect meal for me!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients 

4 large aubergines, halved then cut into wedges

3 onions, peeled and cut into wedges

2 bell peppers, deseeded and cut into large chunks

200ml sunflower oil

80ml white wine or cider vinegar

2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

6 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 x 400 tins of chickpeas, drained

2 tsp medium curry powder

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon 

2 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbs sugar

Salt 

Small handful of freshly chopped coriander 

Method

1. Place the aubergine wedges in a large bowl, sprinkle generously with salt and leave for 30 mins to bring out the juices. Rinse then sprinkle on the turmeric and ginger.

2. Add the oil to a large saucepan and fry the aubergine wedges, turning once, for 5-8 minutes, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3. Add the onions, pepper and chilli to the oil and fry for a further 8 minutes. Again, remove and add to the aubergine wedges.

4. Add the mustard seeds, garlic, all the remaining spices and 1 tsp salt to the remaining oil and gently fry for 3 minutes, stirring often.

5. Add the vinegar to the spice mix, stir well then add back the vegetables. 

6. Add 50 ml water, the sugar and the chickpeas and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

7. When the mixture is reduced, stir in most of the coriander and serve immediately with bread or rice, with a coriander garnish.

Recipe of the Week – 20th April 2015 – Courgette Paella

  

I love the way that making rice dishes, and paella particularly, can often transform the most basic ingredients into something special. When the rice begins to soften and become sticky with this recipe it combines really well with the texture of the courgette and the smell of the smoked paprika is one of my favourites in the kitchen!

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 medium or 1 large onion, finely chopped

5 tbs olive oil

1 each of red and yellow pepper finely chopped

3 medium cougettes, diced

3 garlic cloves, crushed

10 cherry or mini plum tomatoes, halved

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

3 bay leaves

Large pinch of saffron threads

300g paella rice

150ml medium sherry (optional)

600ml hot vegetable stock (from bouillon)

3 tbs fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Method

1. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan and gently shallow fry the onion and garlic for approximately 5 minutes before adding the diced courgette and peppers. Fry gently for a further 5 minutes.

2. Add the spices and stir in thoroughly, allowing the flavours to be released. Add the bay leaves then slowly add the rice and stir continuously for 3 minutes before adding the saffron and sherry.

3. Bring to the boil then add the stock and season. Reduce the heat and simmer gently uncovered for approximately 25 minutes, stirring often to avoid sticking.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir gently. Take off the heat, cover and allow rest for 15 minutes.

5. Add the parsley and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice if preferred then season to taste.

6. Serve with fresh salads and toast.

Recipe of the Week – 13th April 2015 – Warm Moroccan Aubergine and Quinoa Salad

 

I thought that I would try to experiment with something a little different at the cafe this week, and was scratching my head as to what to do with some impulse-bought quinoa. I had a look at some recipes online, but nothing really inspired me, so I thought I would try making it into a Moroccan salad. I was very pleased with the results – the nuttiness of the quinoa worked really well with the subtle blend of spices, and anything with aubergines in it is ok by me!

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 large aubergines, cut into 2 cm dice

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 red and 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and finely diced

5 tbs olive oil

500g quinoa, rinsed

400ml good quality vegetable stock from bouillon 

1 tbs Ras-El-Hanout

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cumin

A pinch of saffron threads

Juice from 1 lemon

A small bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper to season

Method

1. Put the aubergine cubes in a large bowl, sprinkle generously with salt to coat, and leave to bring out the juices for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, put the quinoa and stock in a large saucepan, bring to the boil then simmer until the grains begin to open.

3. Rinse the aubergine thoroughly then add with the onion and garlic to a large saucepan with the oil and gently saute for 5 minutes.

4. Add the peppers, and all the spices, stir well and saute covered for a further 10 minutes.

5. Add the cooked quinoa, stir well and take off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Season to taste.

6. Serve immediately with fresh bread and a green salad.

 

Recipe of the Week – 30th March 2015 – Butternut Squash and Chick Pea Loaf

 

I have been looking for a nut-free, nut roast (if that makes sense!) for a while, for people with nut allergies, and was inspired this week by something in the Guardian. This is my variation on it, which adds parsnips for extra sweetness, as well as a few other tweaks. This turned out to be very filling and more-ish, and I will definitely be doing it again.

Serves 6

Ingredients 

1 large butternut squash

3 large parsnips, peeled and diced

2 large carrots, peeled and grated

300g mushrooms, diced 

5 tbs olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 x 400g can of chick peas, drained

1 tbs dried thyme 

1 tbs dried oregano

1 tbs fresh parsley, roughly chopped

3 tbs soy sauce

100g freshly grated breadcrumbs

Salt and black pepper, to taste


Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways, deseed and score the flesh then drizzle 2 tbs of the olive oil over before sprinkling 2 tsp of the thyme and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Add the parsnips to the roasting tray and also drizzle with oil. Roast for 45 minutes until soft.

3. In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes before adding the grated carrots and chopped mushrooms together with the soy sauce. Cook gently for a further 5 minutes before adding the chickpeas.

4. Season the mixture and roughly mash the chickpeas with the back of a fork. Add the remaining herbs and simmer for a further five minutes.

5. Peel and roughly chop the butternut squash and add with the parsnips to the mixture.

6. Add the breadcrumbs and remaining herbs to the mixture then pour into a large greased loaf tin. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until crispy.

7. Serve immediately with a tomato gravy and a selection of roasted vegetables.

 

Recipe of the Week – 22nd March 2015 – Ten Veg Chilli



There is nothing quite like a filling, satisfying bowl of chilli to act as the perfect comfort food during the Winter months, and this recipe has the added bonus of providing ten of your five-a-day in the process!

Serves 6


Ingredients

2 large onions, peeled and roughly chopped

5 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 green chillies, finely chopped (deseeded if you prefer less heat)

5 tbs sunflower oil

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm dice

4 large carrots, roughly chopped

2 red peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped

2 sticks of celery, finely chopped

1 large aubergine, cut into 2 cm dice

2 courgettes, roughly chopped

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm dice

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

200g frozen peas

1 x 400g can of good quality chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g can of red kidney beans

200g red split lentils

2 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp sweet smoked paprika 

2 tsp Demerara sugar

500ml vegetable stock

Small handful of freshly chopped coriander

Method

1. Add the oil to a large saucepan and gently saute the onion, garlic and chilli for 5 minutes until soft.

2. Add the spices and stir for a further 2 minutes.

3. Add all of the fresh vegetables, stir to combine then add the tomatoes, lentils and stock.

4. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring regularly.

5. Add the frozen peas, kidney beans and sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes.

6. Stir in the fresh coriander, season, and take off the heat.

7. Serve immediately with rice or a fresh salad.

Recipe of the Week – 16th March 2015 – Keralan Root Vegetable Curry with Mung Bean Dhal

I love making new curries and experimenting with different flavours, and recently I was looking for an alternative to rice or Naan. I then realised that I had some mung beans and after a bit of research found that a mung bean dhal is often used as a side in Indian cooking. I found that the nutty flavours of the dhal worked really well with this sweet coconutty curry.


Serves 6


Ingredients

Mung Bean Dhal

400g dried mung beans, soaked overnight

300ml water

1 x 400g can of good quality chopped tomatoes

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tsp turmeric 

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp garam masala

Keralan Root Vegetable Curry

400g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm dice

1 large sweet potato, roughly chopped

300g red split lentils

6 tbs sunflower oil

1 red pepper, chopped

200g button mushrooms, sliced

2 large carrots, chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped 

2 cloves of garlic, chopped 

1 tsp chopped fresh ginger

1 x 400ml can of coconut milk

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garam masala


Method

For the Dhal

1. Add all ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer gently for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until all water is absorbed.

For the Curry

1. While the dhal is cooking, heat the  oil in a large saucepan and add all of the vegetables. Saute gently for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

2. Add the garlic, ginger, lentils, water, spices, salt and coconut milk and mix well.

3. Cover the saucepan and simmer gently for 20 minutes then remove the lid and continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes to allow to thicken.

4. Serve with the mung beans and garnished with chopped coriander.

Recipe of the Week – 9th March 2015 – Aubergine and Courgette Parmigiana 



As much as I love the recipe of Aubergine Parmigiana (with veggie Parmesan of course!), it’s nice to have a change sometimes and although I can’t fully give up on the aubergine element, I have found that the addition of seared courgettes works really well and also provides a nice change of texture.

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 large aubergines, cut lengthways into 1cm thick slices

3 courgettes, cut lengthways into 1cm thick slices

2 medium onions, sliced thinly

3 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tins of good quality chopped plum tomatoes 

5 tbs olive oil

100ml red wine

50ml balsamic vinegar

Small handful fresh basil leaves

100g freshly grated breadcrumbs

50g freshly grated vegetarian Parmesan

Method

1. Place the aubergine slices in a large bowl, sprinkle generously with salt and leave for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

2. Meanwhile, add 3 tbs of the olive oil to a large saucepan and saute the onion and garlic gently for 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes, red wine and balsamic vinegar. Simmer gently for 15 minutes to reduce.

3. Pour the remaining oil in a griddle pan and gently griddle the rinsed aubergine and courgette slices in batches, turning once. Set aside.

4. Preheat the oven to 200C.

5. In a large casserole dish pour a small amount of the tomato mixture over the base to cover. Add a layer of the aubergine slices, then scatter a few basil leaves, a layer of the sauce then a layer of the courgette slices, and contine until completed. Top with the breadcrumbs and grated cheese and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

6. Serve immediately with bread and a green salad.