Valentine’s / Mother’s Day Meal

Sorry for the short break, a few things have changed in our routine hence the delay in posting the next recipe/post. So for Valentine’s / Mother’s day I was treated to a candle lit lovely 3 course meal ūüôā by the wonderful men in my life. They put alot of effort into the meal and making sure that it was all very well presented. I was very impressed with all the love and effort put in by both of them and it was very tasty. I do not have recipes to share with you as part of the menu was shop bought and things were just very cleverly put together. The recipe that was followed was modified by what my husband felt like adding to the recipe ;).

 

 

So my starter was hummus with paprika, and toasted sesame pitta. The main was a moussaka with a side salad, masterfully chopped by junior chef, and for desert it was Greek yogurt with honey and roasted walnuts. I will remake the moussaka and add a recipe to the picture.

I felt very special and enjoyed not having to think about the cooking, the usual thought of¬† “oh what should I make today ?” or “which part of the world do we want to go to today for dinner ?” my usual questions for when I have not planned the menu. As I have said before in a previous post, sometimes the basic ingredients are all what we need and then they can be used to transform the ingredient into a world cuisine.

 

 

 

 

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

When the weather warms up it is always good to have foods that are going to fill us up, be good for us and are simple, easy and fuss free dishes to create. This salad is just that, it ticks all those boxes and the great flavours are an added bonus. I cannot remember how I came about this combination, but I have been making this salad for some years and it is great as an accompanying dish as well as on it’s own for a light lunch. A few basic ingredients put together to create a dish that even children enjoy, as my son loves having this salad.
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Vegetarian Paella

vegetarian-paella

I was asked by my dear brother in-law some time back if there is such a thing as a vegetarian paella and I said yes just replace the meat or fish with vegetables.  I had never made it before but always enjoyed the passionate description given by TV chefs when they make or try paella. Every time I would say to myself I should make it but never did venture out to try and find a recipe or recreate a traditional paella with just vegetables.

So as he was coming around for dinner one day I thought  let me try making it. I looked at various different  traditional recipes. Some had just seafood and others with game and seafood mixed together. Certain things that came out of my research were that there is usually wine, saffron, and specific types of rice used. However the method changes per region and family recipe, much like the Indian biryani or the Creole rice dish jambalaya, which I make often. So I started thinking of the vegetables that I could use, or that would have similar colours to a seafood paella Рorange, black, green, red etc. It turned out to be a tasty dish which we all enjoyed.

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Moroccan Style Vegetables with Couscous

moroccan-style-vegetables-with-couscous

On a recent visit to my local library I met a friend who was looking for ideas on hosting a dinner party for a few friends. She was thinking of a Moroccan theme so in my enthusiasm  I suggested serving Moroccan Style Vegetables with Couscous as it is so simple to make and would fit the theme she was thinking of.

I first saw a version of this recipe a couple of years back in a supermarket magazine where it was giving ideas on how to use a tagine and this was the vegetarian option. The vegetables were slightly different in the magazine so when I recreated it at home, I just used the vegetables that I had and it turned out to be really good. As I don’t have a tagine I just roasted the vegetables in the oven.

This recipe reminds me of the time when we went on a desert safari excursion on a trip to Dubai.  The desert  safari included a traditional meal and this dish was served as the vegetarian option. The vegetables were less tasty but the idea of the couscous I got from there so I mixed the two together to create this meal.

This dish of Moroccan Style Vegetables with Couscous works well for large gatherings where you want to try and have fuss free cooking plus it would be good to take on picnics as it tastes good when served cold. The best thing about this dish is the fact that not only is it simple to make,  especially for a large group, but it is vibrantly colourful, which to me is brilliant as half of the way we enjoy food comes from the visual impact.

I was told by Parita from Parita’s World about this event on Moroccan food hosted by Home Cook Recipes and originated by Holy Cow!

I look forward to seeing other vegetarian/vegan recipes from this event.

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Vegetable Pasta

vegetable-pasta

If you are trying to eat healthy and wish to have a filling meal then some pasta with vegetables is a good idea. When I was a student one of my staple diets was pasta, with a simple tomato sauce and sometimes the odd dollop of Greek yoghurt. Now I am much more adventurous with my concoctions of pasta sauces. This particular one was inspired by mixing Indian spices with Mediterranean vegetables, I was quite pleased with the outcome. I really felt like I was eating a healthy meal.

Vegetable Pasta

I used the vegetables that I already had and felt like experimenting with them, however as usual you can use what ever you like. You can add more tomatoes if you like your sauce to be more rich. I like to use tricolour pasta as it looks pretty and I also mix wholemeal pasta as my husband wants us to eat more healthy,  so we are all happy. You can use penne or any other pasta for this recipe.

Ingredients

Preparation time:5 mins          Cooking time: 20 mins          Serves: 2

2 cups fusilli pasta (or what ever you are using)

1 tsp salt

hot water

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp each fennel (varyali) and nigella (kalonji) seeds

1 courgette chopped

1 red capsicum chopped

1 clove of garlic crushed

1/4 cup each green and black olives

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

salt and chilli flakes to taste

Method

1) Heat some hot water in a large pan, once it starts to boil add the pasta and salt, cook until done (al dente). Drain and give it a quick rinse in cold water, keep aside.

2) Heat a large non stick pan, once hot add the oil and the vegetables and spices, and cook until tender.

3) Add the olives and chopped tomatoes, cook a further few minutes and add the salt and chilli flakes. Add the cooked pasta, mix and switch off the heat. After a few minutes of standing time you are ready to serve. Cheese is optional, as it tasted good with or without cheese. Let me know what you think of the taste if you make it.




Char grilled vegetable wraps

A few years back I had tried a shop bought wrap, which was the only vegetarian option available in that shop. It had a wonderful combination of vegetables – capsicums, sweet potato, onion etc. So as per normal I tried to re-create my own version. At first I used vegetables that I would have cooked, say in a pan or wok such as the savoury filling, then I thought of using char grilled roast vegetables instead.

This is a very simple and flavourful wrap. I do not use any herbs, salt and pepper, or spices but it still tastes good – simple flavours of the vegetables and the condiments. It is just amazing how you can taste all of the combination of vegetables used. This makes a simple wrap into a flavourful meal. These wraps are good eaten hot or cold, so make a good picnic food or lunches. If you make a meal out of it then perhaps serve them with a side salad or potato wedges.

For the condiments I use soft cheese spread and sundried tomato oliviada paste to give the vegetables the added flavour. Oliviada is a recipe I saw in a vegetarian cookbook, the recipe had just black olives, garlic and olive oil, and to this I added the sundried tomatoes.  As it is a good simple paste to have I usually make a jars worth and it keeps well for a month in the fridge.

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Couscous salad

I first had couscous around five years ago at work where I would regularly have it in various different combinations during lunch. I had seen it being made on TV many times but had never made it at home so I decided to try it one day. After a lot of attempts, I came up with this combination recently of chargrilled vegetables and feta cheese, and it seems to work quite well. Couscous does not have any specific taste, it is a very versatile grain and can take lots of different flavours, this makes it an ideal filler for salads. Due to the stripes created by the griddle pan on the carrots and parsnips, my son says it is tiger & zebra salad. It is a fun way of making sure he eats his food, as I am sure most of you will agree, it is an uphill battle to get them to eat what is good for them.

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