Broccoli Burgers

broccoli-burgers

Sometimes it is good to think outside the box and try new flavours. As mentioned before, I tend to make either potato or bean burgers at home. However being vegetarian there are unlimited possibilities of the various different vegetables and pulses that can be used. Whilst visiting one of my favourite blogs recently I came across a broccoli burger recipe and thought I must try this. I modified the recipe slightly by adding sesame seeds and red capsicum peppers to give it a nutty and sweet tangy flavour. The result was wonderful and I got a lot of creative ideas and thoughts flowing for making different vegetarian burgers. So watch this space for a few more burger recipes ….

These burgers are also healthier because broccoli is high in vitamins C, K, and A, as well as dietary fibre and it also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties. Broccoli is usually boiled or steamed, as per the old ways of cooking vegetables, however in recent years more research has shown that if eaten raw you get more of the benefits of the vegetable. Other methods of cooking are also good for cooking vegetables especially stir  fries as they cook the vegetables at a very high heat and quickly, hence a lot of the nutrients still remain intact. Although boiling has been shown to reduce the levels of suspected anticancer compounds in broccoli, other preparation methods such as steaming, microwaving, and stir-frying have been shown not to reduce the presence of these compounds.

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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.




Chora nu shaak (black-eyed bean curry)

black-eyed-beans

Part of everyday cooking is great simple food. Being vegetarian, pulses and beans are the main form of protein so we try to have them either with every meal or as often as we can in a week. The addition of the basic Indian spices and herbs, makes this a simple yet substantial meal. Chora are said to be low in fat, and have no cholesterol, and are high in iron, potassium and fibre. The reason why I am adding such a simple and basic recipe is to  either give people ideas and help create something different with the same old beans or even help students to cook while away from home.

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Cheese Tomato & Mushroom Toasted Sandwich

toasted-sandwich

When I was growing up in Malawi we used to have cheese and tomato toasted sandwiches with white bread for breakfast on Sunday mornings. We really enjoyed them. I remember my father would cut 2 cm square pieces for us as we didn’t know how to use a fork & knife back then. The flat iron sandwich toaster would flatten the sandwich and crisp the bread (because we used to butter both sides of the bread slightly – not too healthy !) It was a perfect breakfast 🙂

Back to real life, after marriage I started eating brown and wholemeal bread and one day my husband told me to make the toasted sandwiches using this recipe combination, so this is my husbands invention. I really liked the mixture of flavours with brown bread and we make this as a light meal or filling brunch / lunch. In the past I have also added vegetarian sausages to the mix, which tastes good also. Now I know this is a simple recipe but I wanted to share my memories and give people ideas of some quick and simple healthy recipes that we may not think of normally. Especially if you are a student away from home and want to try and eat healthy food, or if you are just uninspired, or need a reminder of the simple foods that give us pleasure in our lives.

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Onion & Tomato Curry

Another very simple and tasty curry, it is just amazing how any kind of vegetable can be made into a curry. Just by adding the basic spice mix to the vegetables and letting them cook to absorb the flavours it turns into a magical meal. This curry goes well as a extra curry to a large meal or makes a quick and simple meal in a few minutes. I think it takes more time to prepare for this curry then it takes for it to be cooked.

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Sugar snap Peas Curry

I remember when we were growing up in Malawi we used to grow our own vegetables, and always used to enjoy cooking the first crop of peas into this curry. It is a good combination of sweet and spicy flavours and is another simple curry that is good to serve as a main or accompanying another curry. Over the holiday period my son was taught a particular song about peas from his Montessori for his performance, and he regularly kept on singing that. So it was quite appropriate to have the curry and let him sing the song.

Sugar snap peas are also known as mange tout and are eaten with their pods.

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Savoury Filling

This is a very versatile mix that can be used in many combinations and different dishes.  I use this mix for a savoury pancake filling, pies, and wraps. It is a very easy recipe, the only effort is chopping the vegetables 🙂   Use your imagination and the possibilities are endless.

I first had something similar to this when we were invited over for dinner by one of my husband’s niece.  I thought it was quite clever to roast the vegetables without marinating, and have the simple flavours.  Then a few years later, when I was in a rush, I had some vegetables that I tossed into a frying pan and let them cook on a high flame and they tasted quite good. They became a little caramelized and spicy because of adding the chilli sauce at the end.

Give it a go and tell me how you liked the recipe and also what you used it in.

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