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.

Continue reading “Moroccan Style Vegetables with Couscous”

Thai Green Curry with Coconut & Lemon Rice

thai-green-curry

I fell in love with the wonderfully fresh, aromatic and spicy Thai food, whilst on honeymoon in Thailand. We went to a beach restaurant in Koh Samui and being vegetarian we were well looked after. It was reassuring to know the pots and pans were well cleaned in our view before preparing our food but it meant our food always took longer to prepare.
While we were there we were told that the authentic food is very spicy, so this is a challenge to me as I love spicy food. Towards the end of our honeymoon, in Phuket we went to another beach side restaurant. I asked for the real authentic green curry that the locals would have, to this I was told we would not be able to handle it !! It was a great curry for me I just loved it :D, on the other hand even though  my dear husband had it, it was too much for him and as a result he needed a few glasses of drinks to cool him down.

With Thai food the way in which the food is prepared and served is very interesting as it shows that, if you add the correct ingredients at the right time into the curry you get the most of the herbs and spices and that adds to the flavour and entire eating experience. It not only is a fantastic treat to the taste buds but also the eye as all the food is carved and looks beautiful, even the pineapple served after every meal was cut up in such away that you just wanted to leave it rather than eating it up.

The inspiration for my vegetarian version has been created by basing it on a Tarla Dalal recipe as well as looking at ingredients on ready made jars of curry paste and from TV shows. I put more lemon grass and coriander in the paste and less coconut in the curry, or as I did this time, none at all as the rice had coconut milk. This is a great curry to have if you like spicy food, and would like a change from Indian food and don’t quite fancy Chinese.

Continue reading “Thai Green Curry with Coconut & Lemon Rice”

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.




Ants on Trees

ants-on-trees

When I was growing up in Malawi, we used to go to a Chinese restaurant and this was one of the items we used to always have. I don’t know why it has this name but I guess that is part of the novelty of having this fun snack / starter / side dish. After many years, I made it last summer when my older sister and nieces came for the summer from Hong Kong. We just went by memory and recreated it but later I found a recipe from an old recipe file, which had cabbage and carrots in it also. It is a messy but fun dish to eat, kind of like Mexican tacos. All the same it is a good recipe to share with friends and family. Perhaps you can serve this dish as a self service meal, that way the lettuce leaves will not become soggy and people can have the amount of filling and garnish they want.
Continue reading “Ants on Trees”

Vegetarian stir fry

stir-fry

When we first used to make stir fry or Chinese sweet & sour stir fry in Malawi, we would use specific vegetables (cabbage, french beans, carrots etc.) and make the sauce at home. We would have it either with plain rice or fried rice. Then when we came here we saw the supermarkets with pre made sauces like hoi sin, teriyaki, black bean etc. As always we had to be cautious as these tended to contain some form of fish oil or sauce. The other thing with all the ready made sauces is that they have added preservatives to give them the long shelf life. So after trying a few brands which where vegetarian, we created our own version by using shop bought sauces and our own home made mix. However I do try and make the sauces at home to taste, this way I know what I am putting into it and each time the taste is different. The list of ingredients started to change also. After marriage I started adding tofu, mushrooms, and savoy cabbage to my stir fries. By making my own sauce at home I sometimes get the correct balance of vegetables and sauces and sometimes I get it wrong, however that is all part of the fun of cooking.

Continue reading “Vegetarian stir fry”

Vegetarian Bean Burgers

burgers

As we were growing up in Malawi, we rarely used to have the western fast foods, i.e. burgers, chips, onion rings etc. Then when we moved over here to England, we tried a few of these fast food places, but were always sceptical because we never really knew what the ingredients were and how it was made. Being a vegetarian, who does not even eat eggs, sometimes the fast food places that serve vegetarian burgers leave us wondering is it really vegetarian?? I have enjoyed the Burger King spicy bean burgers in the past, and have also tried various brands of frozen vegetarian burgers at home. Each one has their own unique way of presenting the vegetables and other ingredients, and hence each one gives a different taste. So I tried to recreate them at home, and came up with my own version instead which is filled with lots of vegetables and  herbs, packed full of flavour. After many attempts at trying out different quantities of ingredients and many a broken patties, due to not binding very well, I finally perfected the recipe to what I thought was good. At least I know what I am putting in and can adjust the taste to what we would enjoy, this way the doubt at the back of my mind is not there. For this recipe I am posting I actually had to measure all the ingredients as I normally just put everything together 🙂 I guess the ultimate compliment was when one of our niece’s friend tried them recently and was really amazed to know that I had made them at home as opposed to the ready made ones that you just pre-heat. It is at times like this that you know you have done well…

Continue reading “Vegetarian Bean Burgers”

Chilli Paneer

I was first introduced to this dish after marriage when we would go to Indian restaurant/pubs with friends and family. My husband really likes this dish and can never get enough of it, so as per normal I tried to recreate the taste to what he likes. A little bit of trial and error, and tasting along the way and I have come up with this recipe and to be honest this is the first time that I have actually measured the ingredients so that I can write about it on this site. It is a great dish to serve at parties as a starter or a side dish to a main meal. It is a good show stopper as my friend put it, when I made it for her using cassava instead of paneer.

Continue reading “Chilli Paneer”