Roasted aubergine and red pepper couscous with halloumi cheese recipe

This is fairly quick to knock up and makes enough for 4 portions, it’s also easy to make vegan by replacing the halloumi cheese with sliced tofu.

Ingredients – Makes 4 portions

220g uncooked couscous

Olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1 vegetable stock cube (I use a Knorr stock pot)

330ml boiling water

1 large or 2 medium red onions

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large aubergine

2 sweet red peppers

1 250g block of halloumi or 1 block of tofu

1 can of cooked green lentils (Lentilles Vertes)

A drop of truffle oil – Optional

Method

Right, heat your oven to 200C, I’ve got a fan oven.

De-seed your peppers, chop them into pieces, make them however big you want.

Chop the aubergine into slices and then into pieces, again, any size you want but bear in mind you want all this to roast fairly quickly.

Throw the pepper and aubergine on baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, add a twist of black pepper and mix it all together.

Put that in the oven to roast and grab the onion(s).

Peel and chop the onions, put them in a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil and a twist of black pepper, cook over a medium heat until they’re turning soft and almost translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for a few more minutes but don’t over cook the garlic.

Once the veg has been roasting in the oven for 10 minutes take it out, give it a shake and a turn and put it back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Slice the halloumi cheese into 8 slices, add a little olive oil to a frying pan and get it on a medium heat. Add the slices of halloumi and cook until golden brown, keep an eye on them, they can brown quickly. When both sides are done remove from the pan and set aside.

Your roast veg should have had about 20 minutes now, check to see if it’s done, I like it slightly crispy and almost burnt, each to their own. If it’s done, turn the oven off and get started on the cous cous.

Dissolve the stock pot in 330ml of boiling water, add the couscous to the pan with the onions and garlic and place on a very low heat. Add the stock to the pan, stir to cover the couscous and put a lid on the pan.

After 2-3 minutes give the couscous a stir, it should have swollen up and taken on all the water, if it hasn’t, put the lid back on and give it another minute but keep checking.

Once it’s done, drain the lentils and add them to the pan along with the roasted veg and halloumi cheese.

Add the totally optional drop of truffle oil and give it all a good stir, I know it sounds really pretentious but I think it really makes a difference. If you’ve not got truffle oil and you’re tempted to get some make sure it’s a good quality oil with some real truffle, I’ve got some of the Truffle Hunter oils.

Borscht – Beetroot soup with feta recipe

A friend gave me some home grown beetroot so I decided to make a bit of Borscht, or beetroot soup!

Ingredients – Makes enough for 3-4

600g (3-4 large beets), peeled and grated coarsely

500g (around 5-6) of ripe tomatoes, halved (I suppose if you’re really lazy you could use a tin of chopped tomatoes)

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

A bit of olive oil

500ml of vegetable stock (I used 2 ‘Knorr Stock Pots’)

Freshly ground black pepper

Some feta cheese

Method

Place the halved tomatoes in an oven dish, pour a little olive oil over the top of them and throw on the chopped garlic.

Place in the oven at 190C (I’ve got a fan oven) until they’re soft, it took me about 30 minutes.

Place the tomatoes in a sieve and rub through into a bowl to remove the skins and pips.

Put a little more oil in a pan and sweat the onion with a twist of black pepper.

Add the stock and beetroot, give it all a stir and bring to the boil for about 10 minutes or until the beetroot is tender.

Stir in the tomato purée.

Using either a stick blender or a normal blender process the soup until completely smooth. If you’ve got white walls take care, it’s easy to spray the soup all over if you’re using a stick blender!

Transfer the soup to warmed bowls and crumble a little of the feta cheese on top.

Serve with crusty bread!

You might also want to…

  • Add a shot of vodka
  • Chill in the fridge and serve cold

Roasted butternut squash with spicy lentils

This recipe makes a lot of the lentils, you could add more squash or keep the leftovers and do something else with them, I had mine for lunch the next day! It could also be very easily made vegan by not using the butter!

Roasted butternut squash with spicy lentils

Ingredients

Olive oil

A little butter

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves of garlic, crushed through a press

1 large onion, diced

1 ½ tablespoons of curry powder (mild, hot, whatever you like) or garam masala

1 litre of vegetable stock

1 ½ cups of dried red split lentils, rinsed and drained

1 can of chopped tomatoes

1 large butternut squash

Method

Heat the oven to 180C (I’ve got a fan oven).

Peel and quarter the butternut squash.

Place in a baking dish and drizzle over a little olive oil.

Dot a little butter on the squash pieces and season with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until the squash is tender and has turned brown in places.

Whilst the squash is in the oven add a little olive oil to a pan and add the onion.

Sauté the onion for a few minutes over a medium heat and add the garlic.

Cook for a few minutes more and add the curry powder, stir to combine and add half of the vegetable stock.

Add the lentils, stir and cover.

Keep checking to make sure the lentils haven’t taken on all of the stock, top up with some of the left over stock if needed.

When the lentils are almost cooked add the chopped tomatoes and stir to combine it all.

Your squash should be done by now! You did keep checking on it didn’t you?

Transfer the squash to some bowls and spoon over the lovely hot spicy lentil mix.

Enjoy!

Vegetarian Haggis recipe

Can you call vegetarian haggis, haggis? Either way, I had some in Edinburgh when I was there last week and it was so tasty I decided to make it myself. Sorry for listing some of the measurements in cups, that’s how I got the recipe and I didn’t think to weigh out the ingredients once I’d measured them.

Ingredients

Olive oil

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1/4 of a peeled swede, finely diced

1 onion, peeled and finely diced

6 mushrooms, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of whole mixed nuts, hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts

1/3 of a cup of red lentils

600ml of vegetable stock

1/2 cup of cooked kidney beans

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground cinammon

Freshly ground black papper

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 and 1/2 cups of pinhead oatmeal

The juice of half a lemon

Method

Heat the oven to 170C.

Spread the mixed nuts out on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, don’t over-roast.

Let the nuts cool and finely chop them, I put them in the chopper I got with a stick blender.

Add a little olive oil to a large pan and add the onion, sauté for 5 minutes.

Season with some black pepper, don’t add too much right now, we’re going to add more later.

Add the carrot, swede, mushrooms and garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Add the lentils, 450ml of the stock and stir.

Add the kidney beans to the remaining 150ml of stock and give them a little mash, don’t break them up too much.

Add the nuts, soy sauce, herbs and spices to the stock, stir it all together and add it to the vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add some more black pepper, keep tasting so you don’t over do it but you want to be fairly heavy handed with the amount of pepper you put in for a more authentic taste.

Add the pinhead oatmeal and cook for another 5 minutes. Add a little water of it gets too dry, the mixture should end up moist but not runny.

Add the lemon juice and stir it in.

Spoon the mixture into two lightly greased loaf tins.

Bake for 30 minutes at 190C.

Serve with mashed neeps and tatties!