Stuffed cabbage leaves

Stuffed cabbage leaves

stuffed cabbage leaves

Stuffed cabbage leaves

These stuffed cabbage leaves can be cooked either on the hob or in an oven. They are very similar to the Turkish dolmas. Dolma in Turkish means stuffed. Vine leaves are commonly used and rolled into cigar-shaped parcels stuffed with a spicy, rice-based mixture but you can also use cabbage leaves, or even hollow out vegetable like courgettes, tomatoes or aubergines.

I’d been picking the outer cabbage leaves and was going to give them to the chickens when I remembered the recipe I used to make for dolmas with the vine leaves at our old house. The recipe I used is based on the one in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book VEG.

stuffed cabbage leaves

Stuffed cabbage leaves

INGREDIENTS:
2 or 3 green cabbage leaves per person (depending on the size)

RICE STUFFING:
120g brown rice, cooked
1 large onion, finely chopped;
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large egg
a handful of dried fruit (e.g. cherries, sultanas, etc.)
a handful of walnuts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
grated zest of one lemon
salt and pepper
olive oil

TOMATO SAUCE:
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g tin tomatoes
360g fried tomato
oregano
salt and pepper
olive oil

METHOD:
If you are going to bake these, then heat the oven to 180ºC.

To prepare the cabbage leaves, pare off the thick stem of the cabbage leaves using vegetable peeler or a knife. Bring some water to the boil in a wide frying pan with a lid. Blanch the cabbage leaves in the water for 3-4 minutes each one, making sure that the stems are thoroughly immersed. Transfer to a colander as they are cooked.

tomato sauce stuffed cabbage leaves

Tomato sauce for the stuffed cabbage leaves

Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan or oven-proof dish if you are going to cook them in the oven. Add the onion and fry gently until soft. Add the garlic and fry for another minute before adding the tomato, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then cover with a lid and leave to simmer until you need it.

stuffed cabbafe leaves

Filling for stuffed cabbage leaves

To make the filling, heat some olive oil in another frying pan, add the onion and fry gently until soft. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Put the rice in a bowl and add the onion/garlic and all the other filling ingredients and mix well.

stuffed cabbage leaves

Stuffed cabbage leaves

Lay out the cabbage leaves on a flat surface and put a dollop of the rice mixture on each one. Fold over the sides and roll up, starting with the stem end. Place the parcels in the tomato sauce and cook for about 30 minutes.

stuffed cabbage leaves

Stuffed cabbage leaves

Broccoli pasta with garlic and chilli

Broccoli pasta with garlic and chilli

broccoli pasta

Broccoli pasta with garlic and chilli

This recipe for broccoli pasta with garlic and chilli is quick and easy and takes literally minutes to make. All you have to do is cook the pasta with the broccoli. You then mix the pasta and broccoli with some softened garlic and chilli powder.

When the broccoli season starts, it’s good to have a few recipes up your sleeves. One of my favourite ways of preparing broccoli is to heat some oil in a frying pan. You then add the broccoli florets and toss well, before adding a splash of water. Cover and turn down the heat and cook for 5-10 minutes so that the broccoli still has a bite to it before dressing with some soy sauce and sesame oil. It’s a simple dish but works well as an accompaniment to most meals. Another recipe is vegetable curry made with broccoli and cauliflower. However, today I was looking for something different and as we had had a spicy meal yesterday, I wanted something tasty but not hot. The idea for the recipe came from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book VEG.

The dish can be made with any type of short pasta (penne, fusilli, etc.) and also with any other green vegetables that you have available (cabbage, kale, etc.).

In the summer when courgettes are in season and in abundance, I’ll make this dish again adding a splash of lemon and using either grated or finely chopped courgettes. This dish was delicious served with some grated hard home-made goat’s cheese.

INGREDIENTS:
pasta
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
olive oil
salt and pepper

METHOD:
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta for 5 minutes before adding the broccoli. Drain in a colander, reserving some of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in the pan and add the garlic and chilli powder. Gently fry for a minute or so until soft.

Transfer the pasta and broccoli back to the pan and coat will in the oil, garlic and chilli mixture. Add a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid to loosen the past.

Vegetable stirfry and egg-fried rice

Vegetable stirfry and egg-fried rice

vegetable stirfryThis stirfry is quick and easy and a tasty vegetable/vegetarian meal.

INGREDIENTS:
1/3 cup rice per person, cooked, washed and cooled
1 egg per person, beaten
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garli, finely chopped
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 courgette, thinly sliced
mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 handfuls peanuts
peanut oil
sesame oil
soy sauce
salt and pepper

METHOD:
Heat some oil in a large frying pan or wok and gently fry the onion untl soft. Add the garlic and fry for anothe rminute or so. Transfer about a third of the onion/garlic mixture to another frying pan/wok for the rice.

Add the vegetables to the stirfry pan and quickly for another couple of minutes before adding the ginger and curry powder. Stir well and then add some soy sauce. Add the minutes last, stir well and then leave on a low heat while you cook the rice.

Add some oil to the rice pan and heat the rice through. You can either make a well in the middle and add the eggs, stirring well so that all the grains are coated and stirfrying until the eggs are cooked, or you can push the rice to one side of the pan and then fry the eggs in he space until they are cooked, chopping them up before combining (it’s a question of whether you prefer to see bits of egg or not). Add the peanuts and a splash of soy sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Serve the stirfried vegetables and the egg-fried rice together.

stirfry2

Moroccan vegetarian tagine

Ras el Hanout spice mix

Ras el Hanout spice mix

INGREDIENTS:
1 large onion
1 large red pepper
1 large green pepper
1 courgette
1 aubergine
2 cloves garlic
1/2 litre vegetable stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
400g cooked chick peas
couscous
12 dried figs or prunes
olive oil
salt and pepper

SPICE MIXTURE:
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamon seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Grind and combine the spices.

METHOD:
Heat some olive oil in a casserole and gently fry the onion until soft. Add the remaining vegetables and fry for another couple of minutes. When the vegetables are cooked, stir in the spices and the garlic and heat through. Pour in the stock, tinned tomatoes and chickpeas and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat, cover and simmer.

Put the cous cous into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and pour over a glug of oliv eoil. Pour over boiling water over the couscous to about 1cm above the level of the cous cous and cover with a plate. Leave for about 5-10 minutes for the cous cous to absorb all the water.

Spicy chickpea stew

Spicy chickpea stew

spicy chickpea stew

Spicy chickpea stew

This spicy chickpea stew can be made with spinach, kale or chard. The idea is to cut all the vegetables to the size of chickpeas or 1cm cubes. This stew is meant to be spicy so add as much or as little chilli powder as you like.

INGREDIENTS:
400g cooked chickpeas
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
1 large aubergine, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 x 400g canned chopped tomatoes
300g spinach, chard or kale
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon spicy paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
2 vegetable stock cubes
olive oil
salt and pepper

METHOD:
Heat some oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and fry gently until soft. Add the other vegetables and continue to fry for another 5 or so minutes. Add the spices and mix well. Pour in the tomatoes, chickpeas and one can of water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. If you are using kale or chard, chop and add to the pan. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. If you are using spinach, add it now onto the top of the tomato/chickpea mixture and cover so that the heat wilts the spinach. Stir the spinach through.

This is good served with fried eggs and garlic mayonnaise.

Dal

dalINGREDIENTS:
50g red or yellow lentils per person
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
pinch chilli powder
knob of butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed

METHOD:
Wash the lentils in several changes of water. Cover the lentils with water to about 1cm above the level of the lentils and add the turmeric. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes or so until the lentils are cooked. Stir in the salt, cover and leave until needed.

Just before serving heat the butter in a frying pan. Add the garlic and gently fry for a couple of minutes until soft. Stir in the cumin.

Add some of the lentils to the frying pan and stir well so that they are well combined. Pour the frying pan mixture back into the sauce pan with the other lentils and heat through gently over a low flame.

Spinach and ricotta pasties

pasties1

This is a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe and they were absolutely delicious and really easy to make. I’m looking forward to having them again. The amounts were enough for 6 people. Serve with small jacket potatoes.

INGREDIENTS:
2 rolls puff pastry
600g spinach
200g ricotta
50g parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 egg, beaten
grated rind of a lemon
thyme
milk
salt and pepper

METHOD:
Heat the oven to 180ºC-200ºC.

Heat a wide pan and wilt the spinach. Leave to cool and then squeeze out any excess liquid. Chop roughly.

In a bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, parmesan, egg, lemon rind and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut each sheet of pastry into 4. Put a large spoonful of the spinach mixture onto one side of each pastry square and fold into triangles. Twist and crimp the edges to seal the sides. Cover a baking tray with foil and oil a

Brush with milk and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Check to see how they are getting on and turn over if they are golden brown on one side. Cook for a further 15 minutes until golden on both sides.

spinach and ricotta pasties

Fried polenta cakes

Fried polenta cakes

fried polenta cakes

Fried polenta cakes

The first time I cooked this recipe for fried polenta cakes, the mixture was thicker so I was able to shape it into burgers shapes before frying. It was fine and better with the braised chard and fried eggs, but I thought the polenta could be tastier. This time, I made a looser mixture and added grated cheese. It was necessary to take greater care when frying the patties but it was worth it and they were a lot tastier.

Polenta is extensively used in Northern Italy. Traditionally it was necessary to boil the polenta for long periods of time as it was made from coarse cornmeal. However, instant versions made from yellow or white cornmeal are now available and these can be prepared in minutes. Polenta can be served as a soft, thick mush topped with a sauce. Alternatively the pre-cooked polenta mixture can be cut into slices or wedges or shaped and baked, fried or grilled. Polenta can also be used instead of breadcrumbs to coat fish before frying.

This dish works well served with braised chard, fried eggs and garlic mayonnaise.

If you are not using cheese, then you will need to increase the amount of polenta to 100g per person.

INGREDIENTS:
70g polenta per person
2 handfuls grated hard cheese
boiling water
olive oil
salt and pepper

METHOD:
Put the polenta in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour over a glug of olive oil and enough boiling water to form a soft dough. Mix in the grated cheese.

Heat some oil in a frying pan. Depending on the consistency of the polenta mixture, you can either shape into burgers or drop a large spoonful of the mixture into the frying pan. Fry the patties for 4 or 5 minutes on each side (or until they are golden brown).

 

Braised chard recipe

Braised chard

braised chard

Braised chard

This dish is a good accompaniment for fried polenta cakes and fried eggs.

If the chard leaves are large, remove the central stalk and slice into chunks and roughly chop the leaves. If the leaves are smaller, roughly chop the entire leaf.

INGREDIENTS:
Large bunch of chard
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
juice of one lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper

METHOD:
Heat some oil in a large frying pan with a lid. Add the garlic, chilli and capers and stir-fry for a minute.

Add the chard and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and leave to cook gently for 10-15 minutes or so until all the chard has wilted. Add the lemon juice and mix well.

If you want more liquid with this dish then add 300ml of water and a vegetable stock cube before covering. In this case, add the water and stock cube and bring to the boil. Cover and turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.

Onion bhajis

onion bhajisThese worked well as they were backed in the bread oven rather than fried. The idea was to prepare a curry meal with all the dishes cooked in the oven. When the bhajis are fried, you use raw onions but by cooking them first they could be roasted.

INGREDIENTS:
3 large onions, quartered and finely sliced
5 tablespoons gram (chickpea) flour
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon chill powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
water
1 tablespoon tomato puerée
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat some groundnut oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onions until soft. Add the spices and heat through for a couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the gram flour, tomatoe purée and salt in a bowl. When the onions have finished cooking, add them to the flour mixture and stir well.

onions3On an oiled baking sheet, put spoonfuls of the onion mixture and drizzle with oil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes before drizzling over some more oil and baking for a further 15 minutes.

onions2