Tag Archives: courgette

Summer Salad of Mixed Sprouts & Vegetables

Summer Salad of Mixed Sprouts & Vegetables

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Summer Salad of Mixed Sprouts & Vegetables

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s another salad that can be put together in a jiffy.  The beauty of this recipe lies in its flexibility.

The salad can be enjoyed warm or cold; you can use whichever vegetables you have on hand and you can also substitute canned beans for mixed sprouts.

It is a main meal salad which doesn’t need any accompaniment (except, perhaps, a glass of wine!).

 simple yet delicious cool salad for a warm summer evening

Ingredients

1/2 Cup mixed sprouts OR canned/boiled beans of your choice

50 Grams sweetcorn kernel

100 Grams french beans

1 Large, chunky, carrot

2 White onion

1 Yellow or green courgette

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon strong mustard

2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

Juice of one lime or lemon

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Peel, wash and thinly slice the onion in half moon shape. Put it in a salad bowl. If you are using canned/boiled beans, you can add them to the onion at this stage. Cover and set aside.
  2. Top and tail the french beans and wash them.
  3. Wash the sweetcorn kernel.
  4. Wash and slice the courgette in chunks.
  5. Wash and slice the carrot in chunks.
  6. Place the french beans, sweetcorn, courgette and carrot in a steamer basket.
  7. Add mixed sprouts if using.
  8. Steam the sprouts and vegetables for 7 to 8 minutes till they become tender but retain a bite.
  9. While the steamer is working away, prepare the salad dressing.
  10. In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, cider vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Check for taste and add a bit more of whatever you fancy.
  11. Once the vegetables and sprouts are cooked, add them to the bowl in which the onions are sitting.
  12. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss well.
  13. You can either enjoy the salad while it is still warm or refrigerate till you are ready to eat.

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Quinoa, The Mexican Way

Quinoa, The Mexican Way

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quinoa, The Mexican Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel as if I am on a mission going around the world the quinoa way. Having made it Italian and Indian style, today we head to Mexico.

Idea for this recipe came to me as I had an unused jar of Discovery chipotle paste in my cupboard. I decided to make use of it in this quick and delicious quinoa recipe.

Ideally, should have used green pepper and sweetcorn kernels. However, since I had eaten sweetcorn just the other day, I decided to use yellow pepper and courgette instead (I think courgette is called calabacitas in Mexico).

Wanted to garnish with some diced avocado and a dollop of mild yoghurt (instead of sour cream) but the avocados I have at the moment are unripe (seen in photo above) so had to pass.

Nevertheless, this recipe is delicious as is.

dig into a comforting bowl of smokey, spicy, cheesy quinoa with kidney beans and vegetables

Since courgette is a delicate vegetable and I didn’t want it overly mushy, I cooked quinoa separately and added it towards the end rather than cook everything together.

If you don’t have chipotle paste, you can use Mexican seasoning instead.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup uncooked quinoa

1/2 Cup boiled kidney beans

1 Courgette

1 Yellow Pepper

10-12 Cherry tomato

2 Onions

1 Head of garlic

2-3 Fresh chillies

1 Stock cube (I used chicken)

1 Tablespoon chipotle paste or Mexican seasoning

1 Tablespoon grated sharp cheese (I used Cheddar)

1-2 Teaspoons oil

Handful of fresh coriander (including stalk if tender)

Salt to taste

Method

  1. First, cook the quinoa. Bring 1.5 cups of water to boil.
  2. Add the stock cube and quinoa, lower the heat, cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Take the cook quinoa off the burner and let it rest.
  4. Rinse the kidney beans and add them to the cooked quinoa.
  5. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  6. Peel and chop the garlic.
  7. Wash the cherry tomato.
  8. Wash, top, tail and dice the courgette.
  9. Wash and slice the chilli.
  10. Wash and leave the coriander to dry on some kitchen towel.
  11. Heat the oil in a pan. When it turns hot, lower the heat and add the onion, garlic, chilli and salt to taste. Mix well.
  12. Cover and cook for 4 minutes.
  13. Uncover and add the cherry tomato. Mix well.
  14. Cover and cook for 4 minutes.
  15. Uncover and throw in the chopped courgette along with the chipotle paste/seasoning. Mix well.
  16. Cover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes.
  17. Uncover and add the cooked quinoa and kidney beans.
  18. Mix thoroughly and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
  19. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  20. Take off the burner and let it rest for 5 more minutes.
  21. When you take the lid off, you will see that the cheese has melted beautifully.
  22. Garnish with coriander and serve hot.

Sweet Potato, Courgette & Green Pea Rösti/Latke/Potato Pancake

Sweet Potato, Courgette & Green Pea Rösti/Latke/Potato Pancake

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Sweet Potato, Courgette & Green Pea Rosti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many different variations of potato pancake all over the world that it can get a bit confusing differentiating between them.

In some countries, you add flour while in others you don’t. Some cuisines add eggs, others don’t. Some add onion and cheese, others don’t. You get the picture…

Traditional Swiss rösti recipe doesn’t call for eggs and flour whereas the Jewish latke does. My version includes eggs and instant oats (instead of flour) so does this mean that I have made a latke or a rösti or neither (because of the oats)? See what I mean about the confusion?!

Today’s recipe is a union of two separate ones that I came across on the internet.

The first was fresh pea, courgette and parmesan rosti by Ainsley Harriott on the BBC food website. While I found it interesting, I wanted to include sweet potato as well. Ainsley’s recipe includes eggs and I wasn’t sure whether a rösti of sweet potato and eggs would work so researched a bit more and came across Sweet Potato Rösti (hash browns) by Julia Mueller of The Roasted Root. Julia’s recipe is a frills-free, elegant one of sweet potato and eggs.

So I decided to combine the two with a couple of my kooky modifications. Firstly, I substituted rice flour (from Ainsley’s recipe) with instant oats. And secondly, I didn’t squeeze out excess moisture from grated courgette and sweet potato nor did I blanch the green pea as that would have meant stripping the vegetables of vital nutrients.

the end result is the most delicious and moreish rösti/latke/potato pancake

Ingredients

1 Large courgette

1 Large sweet potato

1 Cup green pea

1 Large onion

10-12 Basil leaves

1-2 Tablespoon pine nuts

1-2 Tablespoons grated parmesan

2 Eggs

3-4 Tablespoons instant oats

Salt to taste

1 Teaspoon olive oil

Method

  1. First work on the pine nuts. Dry roast them in a frying pan till they turn a couple of shades darker and release a lovely nutty aroma. Set aside.
  2. Next, work on the vegetables. Roughly crush the green pea in a food processor.
  3. Peel, wash and coarsely grate the sweet potato.
  4. Wash and grate the courgette.
  5. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  6. Wash and shred the basil leaves.
  7. In a mixing bowl, combine the grated sweet potato, courgette, crushed green pea, chopped onion, shredded basil leaves, toasted pine nuts, parmesan and salt to taste.
  8. Keep this mixture aside for a couple of hours. This will allow the oats to absorb excess moisture from the sweet potato and courgette.
  9. When you are ready to cook, gently beat the two eggs and fold them into the vegetable mixture.
  10. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  11. Add the batter, one spoonful at a time, leaving space in between. Don’t worry if it is a bit watery of runny, it will firm up thanks to the eggs.
  12. Gently pat down the rösti with the back of the spoon. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  13. Flip over and cook the other side for 10 minutes.
  14. Serve hot.

Ratatouille, The Kooky Way

Ratatouille, The Kooky Way

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ratatouille

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is an interesting news story doing the rounds about how angry French chefs want people to stop taking photos of food in their restaurants.

According to Alexandre Gauthier, chef at La Grenouillere in the northern town of La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, “with each dish it’s ‘stop everything’, or the photo has to be retaken three times. It’s Tweeted, liked, comments are made and replied to — by then the dish is cold.”

Although this may sound strange coming from a food blogger, I have to admit that I agree with Mr. Gauthier and his colleagues.

I know that this goes against the widely held belief that food blogs should have delicious looking photos in order to attract visitors but, somehow, I don’t subscribe to that view.

Personally, I truly enjoy the process of thinking up a recipe, planning my dinner, cooking, eating and sharing the experience here but photographing the final dish is the task I least like and look forward to.

By the time the food is plated, I want to eat it, not spend hours trying to get the lighting and the background and the props and everything else right. If I were to do that, my food would be stone cold!

The reason I am writing this is because the article struck a chord when I prepared this ratatouille last night. Once it was cooked, I tried taking several photos of the final dish but they just wouldn’t come out right. And the rice was getting cold… In the end, I got so fed up that I sat down to eat. The photo above was taken this morning of the leftover stew :-).

Herbs for RatatouilleVegetables for RatatouilleWhat defines a recipe and when can a dish no longer be called by its original name are the two thoughts which kept going through my mind when I was cooking this dinner.

Traditionally, ratatouille is made of onion, garlic, tomato, aubergine, pepper and courgette along with Herbes de Provence or a mix of basil, marjoram and thyme.

In my kooky version, I used a yellow courgette instead of the green one and cooked with two types of aubergine, neither of which are European varieties.

As for the herbs, I added some dried sage, rosemary, thyme and tarragon along with fresh basil.

the end result is a really satisfying and pleasing “ratatouille”

I had mine with some brown rice. It would also go well with couscous or some crusty bread.

Ingredients

1 Aubergine

1 Green Pepper

1 Courgette

2 Tomatoes

2 Onions

1 Head of garlic

3 to 4 Tablespoons tomato puree

1-2 Teaspoons herbes de provence OR a mix of dried herbs you have

12-15 Fresh basil leaves

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Peel, wash and chop the onion.
  2. Peel and slice the garlic.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan to which add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt.
  4. Lower heat and cover.
  5. While the onion and garlic are cooking, wash and dice the tomatoes.
  6. Uncover and add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and herbs. Mix well and cover.
  7. Next, de-seed, de-core and chop the green pepper.
  8. Add it to the onion tomato mixture. Once again mix and cover.
  9. Now, wash and dice the courgette into bite size pieces.
  10. Add it to the vegetables being cooked, mix and cover.
  11. Lastly, wash and chop the aubergine into same size as courgette.
  12. Add the aubergine to the stew, add some more salt, mix well and cover.
  13. Cook for about 20 minutes till the vegetables are tender.
  14. Serve hot.

Herby Corn Grits with Chickpea & Courgette

Herby Corn Grits with Chickpea & Courgette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Till recently, I didn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘perfect‘. As far as I was concerned, it was one of those vague, nebulous and subjective terms  (‘ideal’ and ‘normal’ being bedfellows) with little meaning.

All that changed when I cooked these corn grits (corn dalia); they finally helped me understand this word which has eluded my grasp till now.

So here’s the story of my discovery… It had been one of those crazily busy days where all I had was a morning cup of tea. While enjoying a glass of wine in the evening, it suddenly dawned on me that I had not eaten all day (doh!).

Lucky for me that I had cooked these corn grits which proved to be “perfect” under these given circumstances as they contain all the necessary elements required in our daily diet: carbohydrate (grits), protein (chickpea), calcium (cheese), seeds, vegetables, herbs and good fat (olive oil). On top of that, they provide you with your total share of 5 A Day in one meal (thanks to chickpea, courgette, tomato, onion and red pepper).

in one fell swoop, I had managed to feed my body a nutritionally balanced dinner

Perfect for me but may not be the case if you have had a carb or protein rich lunch! See what I mean?!

My new state of enlightenment tells me that when someone says that something is perfect, that only they can understand what that ‘perfect’ or ‘perfection’ means and that it may be perfect for them but imperfect for another. It is like their own little secret which cannot or does not have to be fathomed by others!

So here’s my kooky recipe for “perfect” corn grits.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup corn grits

1 Cup boiled chickpeas

1 Courgette

1 Red pepper

2 Tomatoes

1 Large onion

3-4 Cloves of garlic

2 Red chillies

1 Cup of basil, coriander and parsley leaves

1 Tablespoon sharp, tangy cheese

1 Tablespoon seeds of your choice (I used sunflower and pumpkin)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste

Seasoning of your choice (I had used Taste #5 Umami Paste Laura Santini, the Mediterranean type)

Method

  1. Peel, wash and chop the onion.
  2. Wash and dice the tomato.
  3. Wash and slice the red chilli.
  4. Wash and cut the courgette into large chunks.
  5. Wash and chop the red pepper.
  6. Peel and crush the garlic.
  7. Grate the cheese.
  8. Wash and chop the basil, parsley and coriander leaves.
  9. Toast the seeds till they turn a shade or two darker.
  10. Add the onion, garlic, tomato, chilli and red pepper to a saucepan along with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
  11. Place the saucepan on minimum heat, cover and let the vegetables cook for 10 minutes.
  12. Uncover, add the corn grits, courgette and chickpeas along with 1 cup of water and seasoning. Mix well, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes till the grits are cooked.
  13. Remove the lid and add the chopped herbs and grated cheese.
  14. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  15. Take the saucepan off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  16. Sprinkle with toasted seeds and serve.

Herby Corn Grits

Warm Couscous Salad the Kooky Way

Couscous the Kooky Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s post is the result of a homemade salad dressing which I wanted to finish. Was trying to think of ways in which it could be used to create a warm dish and this couscous salad is the result.

couscous recipe
couscous recipe (Photo credit: ukcider)

The salad dressing recipe is my sister’s, the kidney beans give this dish a Mexican touch and the vegetable base and seasoning are Mediterranean.

a bit of a kooky recipe with multiple influences

You can adapt this warm salad to whatever you have lying around in terms of vegetables, protein (beans or poultry) and dressing; it is totally flexible.

Ingredients for my Sister’s Signature Salad Dressing

1 Tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon prepared mustard (I used Colman’s original English mustard)

Juice of one lime or lemon

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients in a screw top glass jar.
  2. Shake well till amalgamated.
  3. Will stay good in a refrigerator or in a cool environment for up to a week.

Ingredients for Couscous Salad

1/2 cup boiled kidney beans

1/2 cup cooked couscous*

2 Onions, finely chopped

1 Courgette

1 Yellow pepper

3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds, toasted

One tablespoon anchovies in olive oil*

One tablespoon Laura Santini Taste #5 Umami Paste (optional)*

One tablespoon crumbly, piquant cheese (I used Manchego)

Salt to taste

Method

  1. First, we need to “marinade” the salad base. Add salad dressing to the boiled kidney beans and finely chopped onions. Cover tightly and keep for 4 to 5 hours. Do this in advance so that the flavours develop.
  2. When you are ready to prepare the salad, wash and chop the courgette and yellow pepper in medium sized chunks.
  3. Heat oil, add the courgette and pepper chunks along with a bit of salt, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Throw in the chopped parsley and seasoning of choice. Mix well, cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. By the end of this cooking time, the vegetables should be cooked but still have a bite to them. You don’t want them too soft or mushy.
  5. Leave them covered while you prepare the couscous according to instructions on the packet.
  6. Now add the vegetables, couscous, toasted seeds and crumbly cheese to the onion and kidney bean mixture.
  7. Mix well and serve.

Note:

  1. Cook the couscous according to packet instructions. You can add a stock cube to the boiling water for a bit of flavour if you like. I didn’t because I had boiled the kidney beans in chicken stock.
  2. You can use plain olive oil or flavoured oil to cook the vegetables.
  3. The choice of seasoning is entirely yours. I used umami paste since I thought it would go well with the other Mediterranean flavours.

a few drops of hot sauce over the salad takes it to another level

Courgette/Zucchini Steak with Bean Salad & Avocado dressing on a bed of spinach

Courgette Steak

For dinner last night, I fancied only vegetables. At the same time, I wanted to make something warm since the weather’s getting cold.

A ripe avocado (given by the same friend who had given me the hass one) was urging me

use me

There is no recipe as such but the following is how I put together a healthy, cosy but what looks like a sumptuous meal.

Courgette Steaks

Courgette jaune
Courgette jaune (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Washed and cut in half (along its length) a yellow courgette. Then, I marinated it in some umami paste along with lemon juice and olive oil. Just before cooking, I put everything in a hot pan. Cooked courgette for 10 minutes each on both sides. The end result was a lovely steak like vegetable. The reason I used yellow courgette was because they tend to have thicker skin which works well for such cooking method.

Bean Salad

Washed, soaked and boiled a cup of kidney beans with a pinch of salt. Rinsed them in cold water and doused them with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and salt. Added two very finely chopped onions and let the salad sit for some 8 hours for the flavours to blend. Before eating, added some steamed sweetcorn kernels.

Avocado Dressing

Whipped 3 tablespoons plain, mild yoghurt with Coleman’s mustard and a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Added diced avocados. Left this outside for a couple of hours so that I could have it at room temperature.

Spinach

Washed a bunch of spinach and put it in a saucepan with a lid. Cooked it with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes.

Bringing it all together

The spinach was sat on a plate on which came the courgette steaks along with the bean salad and avocado dressing.

A delicious, healthy, low-fat dinner.