Friday, 27 April 2018

STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH



It's lovely when the weather starts to get a bit colder to have some baked vegetables. This butternut pumpkin is real comfort food. It is so easy to make and it tastes so good!! You can have it as a vegetarian dish and serve it with a salad or you can add some meat or chicken. A great recipe from 'River Cottage Everyday! Check the variations at the end of the recipe. 😍

INGREDIENTS

1 medium butternut squash
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
50g butter
olive oil
75g walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
100g blue cheese, crumbled into small lumps
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp runny honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD: 
Preheat oven to 190°C.
Make sure the outside of the squash is scrubbed clean. Cut the squash in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds and soft fibres. Put in a roasting dish, add the chopped garlic and a nut of butter to each cavity, then brush with a little oil and season well.



Place in the preheated oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, until the flesh feels very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.



Scoop the soft flesh and all the buttery, garlicky juices out into a bowl, leaving a 1 cm thick layer of flesh still attached to the skin, so the squash holds its shape.



Roughly mash the flesh. Keep back a few pieces of walnut and a little of the cheese, then fold the remaining walnuts and cheese into the soft squash, along with the thyme and some more salt and pepper.




Spoon the filling back into the empty squash halves and scatter on the reserved cheese and walnuts. Finish with the merest trickle of honey.



Return the squash to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling.



Serve with a crisp green salad or some meat or chicken.



Serves 2 as a Main or 4 as an Entrée

VARIATIONS:
Crisp bacon-stuffed squash
Chop 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon and fry for a minute or two until crisp and golden. Stir these into the soft squash flesh, along with about 50g finely grated Gruyère cheese, a tablespoon of chopped chives and plenty of black pepper. top with a little more grated Gruyère before returning to the oven.

Crème fraîche and herb-stuffed squash
Add 1 teaspoon each of finely chopped basil, thyme and oregano to the mashed squash, stir in 3-4 tablespoons of crème fraîche and season very well before returning to the oven,.


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

MOUSSAKA WITH LASAGNA SAUCE


I adore eggplant. I wanted to make a moussaka, but I don't like minced lamb. I find it too fatty and don't particularly enjoy the flavour. Instead, this is my interpretation of a delicious bolognese sauce from a lasagna recipe from Guy Grossi and the rest of the recipe is from Gordon Ramsay. It's just scrumptious!


INGREDIENTS

Sugo bolognese
olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of nutmeg
250g minced beef
250g minced pork
250g minced chicken
1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
1 Tbsp chopped sage
a handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 bay leaves
handful of basil leaves, crushed to a paste with a little olive oil
700ml tomato passata
250ml red wine
3/4 litre chicken stock
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper



2-3 large eggplants
olive oil for brushing

Cheese sauce
75g butter
75g plain flour
600ml whole milk
150g Cheddar, grated
2 medium eggs, beaten
50g grated pecorino

METHOD:
To make the sugo, heat the olive oil in a large and deep frypan over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, ground cloves and nutmeg for about 4-5 minutes until soft and lightly caramelised. 



Add the meat and continue to cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Put a bit of salt at the bottom of a mortar and add the basil. Pound with the pestle until it forms a paste. Add a bit of olive oil to the basil.



Add the herbs, including the basil paste, and continue to stir until the meat is well browned and broken up finely (about 5 minutes).


Pour in the wine and boil to reduce by half. 




Add the tomato passata and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. 





Add the stock and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. 





Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding more stock if required.





In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180C, fan forced.

Cut the eggplant into 1 cm thick slices. Brush them generously with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. 




Place on two oven trays, lined with baking paper and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Make sure they are cooked - it's nothing worse than uncooked eggplant.





To make the sauce, melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan, add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for a minute or two. 





Lower the heat slightly and whisk in the milk, a little at a time. Allow to simmer gently for 8-10 minutes, then stir in 150g of the cheese and some seasoning. 

Remove from the heat, leave to cool slightly, then beat in the eggs.




Turn the oven to 200°C.

Arrange a layer of eggplant slices in a deep 2 litre ovenproof dish, using a third of them. 




Spoon half of the meat sauce over the eggplant layer. 





Spoon over a third of the cheese sauce.





Repeat these layers, then cover with another layer of eggplant slices. Pour the remaining cheese sauce on top and sprinkle with the pecorino cheese. 





Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbling. 

Let stand for 5 minutes or so before serving.




Serves 4-6




Tuesday, 24 April 2018

TABBOULEH WITH COUSCOUS



I usually make my tabbouleh with couscous. I'm not that keen on the cracked wheat. It's easy and tastes great. Love this recipe to use as a side dish with any Middle Eastern meat or with falafels.

INGREDIENTS

100g wholemeal couscous
4 tomatoes, seeded
1/2 bunch parsley
6 spring onions, finely chopped
4 Tbsp mint, chopped
1 small lettuce, shredded

Dressing
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

METHOD:
Cook the couscous according to packet instructions. 



Chop all vegetables finely.



Put warm couscous in a large salad bowl and combine with the chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, mint, parsley and onion.



Mix all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. 



Pour over the salad and let it stand for about 20 minutes.



Serve with Lebanese flat bread, hummus and falafel or Lamb Chermoula.



Serves 4

LAMB CHERMOULA


This is an amazing recipe, so easy to make and mouth-watering while it cooks. The smell of the spices takes you far away...... I sometimes take leftovers for lunch and when I reheat it in the microwave I always have comments from my workmates about the wonderful smell! 🤩

INGREDIENTS

700g lamb backstrap or leg fillet, sliced thinly
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
1 Tbsp grated lime rind
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (less if you don't like heat)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped finely

METHOD:
Cut the lamb very thinly.



Combine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl.



Add the lamb, mix well, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.



To cook, stir-fry the lamb mixture, in batches, until browned and cooked as desired. 



Serve Lamb Chermoula with tabbouleh and hummus, if desired.



Serves 4



Sunday, 22 April 2018

THAI BEEF SALAD WITH NOODLES


This is one of our favourite warm salads. It's a main at our house, and it's full of fantastic flavours. On top of everything, it's very easy to make and it's also healthy. From the cookbook 'Lunch'. Love it! 💛😍😎

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup (80ml) soy sauce
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp chopped coriander
1 Tbsp grated palm sugar
1 tsp ground white pepper
500g rump or porterhouse steak, trimmed of excess fat and sinew
1 Tbsp vegetable oil, extra
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp grated palm sugar, extra
150g green leaves, such as watercress, rocket or baby spinach
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced
400g fresh wholegrain noodles (or brown vermicelli if you prefer)



METHOD:
Combine the soy sauce, oil, coriander, palm sugar and white pepper and pour over the steak. 



Cover and allow to marinate for 30 minutes. 



Cook the noodles according to packet and reserve.



Remove the steak and reserve the marinade.
Heat the extra oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the meat over a high heat for 3 minutes on each side. Add 80ml (1/3 cup) water to the pan and cook until medium-rare. (Less if you are using porterhouse steak!!)



Remove the beef and keep warm.
Add the reserved marinade to the liquid in the pan, together with the fish sauce, 2 tablespoons of water and the extra palm sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the sauce thickens slightly.



Arrange the noodles on a large platter and top with the green leaves, tomatoes and cucumber.



Thinly slice the beef and place on top.
Drizzle with the sauce and serve.




Serves 4 



Saturday, 21 April 2018

GARLIC AND PARSLEY PRAWNS


Easy and tasty. They are also nice with a splash of brandy towards the end. 

INGREDIENTS

12 - 16 prawns, (preferably green but cooked if you can't find green ones)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges, to serve

METHOD:
Peel the prawns leaving the tails intact.


Combine the garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and oil in a small bowl.



Add to the prawns and marinate for about 30 minutes.



Cook the prawns in a frypan for 2-3 minutes each side or until they are pink and cooked through if you are using green prawns. 



If you are using cooked prawns, just cook for about 1 minute each side or until warmed.
Serve the prawns with lemon wedges.



Serves 2

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