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

Coronation butter beans recipe

Coronation Butterbeans

A Coronation Chicken alternative for veggies, pretty damn tasty!

Coronation Butter Beans
Coronation Butter Beans

Ingredients – Makes about enough for 8 people to dip into at a party!

4 tins of good quality butter beans, drained

1 large tablespoon of mango chutney

2 large tablespoons of Greek yogurt

2 large tablespoons of good mayonnaise

1 large tablespoon of madras curry powder (hot)

A sprinkling of flaked almonds

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

A handful of chopped coriander

You might also want…

Flat bread, pitas or naan

Method

Place the mango chutney, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and curry powder in a large bowl, mix until combined.

Taste the mix to see if it’s to your liking, add a bit more curry powder if you like!

Add the butter beans and flaked almonds, stir until coated.

If you’re ready to serve now, then carry on, if you’ve got a few hours, cover and place in the fridge for the flavours to get into the butter beans.

Transfer the mixture to a serving dish, sprinkle on the grated carrot, sliced red onion and grated coriander.

Serve with flat bread, pitas or naan!

Butternut Squash and Spinach Cannelloni Recipe

In the pan...

I’ve neglected the food part of the blog for a while so I thought I’d write this down, I had a butternut squash to use and came up with this!

Ingredients – Makes 6

A 1KG butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-2cm cubes

A little olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1 onion, peeled and diced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

A sprinkle of dried sage

200ml of vegetable stock

175ml white wine

150g of spinach

30g of toasted pine nuts

125g of crumbled vegetarian blue cheese

50g of feshly grated vegetarian Parmesan cheese

1litre of passata

6 sheets of fresh lasagne

Method

Pour a little olive oil into a large pan and add the diced onion, sauté for 5 minutes or until soft.

Add the peeled & diced butternut squash and garlic to the pan, give it a good stir.

Add the herbs, vegetable stock and wine, you may as well pour yourself another glass whilst you’re at it.

Season with freshly ground black pepper, stir, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the squash is just soft.

If there’s any liquid left in the pan, drain it off then lightly mash the squash with the back of a spoon.

Add the spinach, crumbled blue cheese, half the parmesan and half of the pine nuts. Stir the mix and cover until the spinach has milted.

Lay out the lasagne sheets and place a hearty spoonful of the mix on each one, roll up and place in a greased baking dish.

Pour the passata over the cannelloni until they are almost covered and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and pine nuts.

Bake in the oven at 200C for 20-30 minutes or until the pasta is tender.

White Russian ice cream recipe

Sometimes, a nice White Russian simply won’t do, so why not go one better than The Dude and mix it together with home made ice cream!

Ingredients

125ml of whole milk

600ml of double cream

200g of sugar

The yolks of 4 medium eggs

1 tablespoon of Agar Agar flakes (You can use gelatin if you’re not making it vegetarian)

60ml of water

150ml of good vodka

150ml of Kahlua

An ice cream mixer

Method

Add the milk, cream and sugar to a pan, put on a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. You don’t want to boil it, just heat it through until just before it boils and the sugar has dissolved.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks.

Slowly add a little bit of the hot milk/cream mixture whisking all the time. This is called tempering, you don’t want too much of the hot mixture to come in contact with the egg yolks or they will go lumpy. The idea is you add a little bit at a time so the yolks don’t get hot enough to solidify.

Once you’ve incorporated all of the milk/cream mixture into the egg yolks you have your custard.

Strain the custard back into a pan and heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly.

Coat the back of a spoon with the custard, run your finger across it, if you can make a line without any of the mixture running back over the line it’s ready.

Strain the custard into another bowl, cover with cling film, place in another bowl filled with ice and put it in the fridge for at least 8 hours, overnight if possible.

Add the water to a pan and sprinkle the Agar Agar flakes over the top, heat the water until the Agar Agar dissolves and stir until it thickens.

Add the vodka and Kahlua, mix and then strain into the cold custard. Give it all a good stir.

Take the freezer bowl for the ice cream maker from the freezer and immediately add the custard.

Mix it for up to 40 minutes, it should start to thicken after 20 minutes depending on how cold your freezer bowl is.

That’s it! If you want your ice cream thicker pour it from the freezer bowl into a container and place in the freezer overnight.

The Dude would be truly proud!