Veggie mains

Spaghetti with cabbage, garlic, chilli and breadcrumbs

spaghetti

This is a quick and easy pasta dish that makes a tasty supper or quick lunch. It’s pretty healthy, especially if you use whole wheat pasta, and it’s basically vegan, but if you like you can add some butter. This recipe is for two portions.

So what do you need?

  • 250g (whole wheat) spaghetti
  • 250 – 300g finely sliced cabbage
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic
  • 1.-2 dried chillies
  • salt
  • 1 slice of whole meal bread
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • a squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
  • a knob of butter (optional)

So what do you do?

Start by heating a saucepan of salted water to cook the pasta in. While this is coming to the boil, crumble the slice of bread into breadcrumbs and crush a clove of garlic and add it with a pinch of salt to the breadcrumbs. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a frying pan and fry the breadcrumbs gently until golden brown and crisp and put them to one side in a bowl.

Once the pasta water boils cook the pasta and over the boiling pasta steam the cabbage for a few minutes in a sieve. Slice the rest of the garlic and fry it in the remaining olive oil until it starts to turn light brown and then add the chopped chillies. The cabbage should have started to soften by now and you can add it to the frying pan along with a pinch of salt. Sauté the cabbage while the pasta continues to cook you can add a little of the pasta water to help soften the cabbage. Once the past is cooked drain it and add it to the cabbage fry for about a minute so the pasta absorbs the flavours of the oil. At this stage you can add the butter and lemon juice if using them. Divide into two bowls and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs.

 

 

 

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Veggie mains

Veggie kebabs

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I’ve been making veggie and tofu kebabs for the BBQ for over 25 years and they’re still one of my favourite things to put on a BBQ. This will make about a dozen skewers. They’re really good served with satay sauce.

You can make them with your favourite veg or what’s in season.  Start by soaking some bamboo skewers in water to stop them burning on the BBQ. Then prepare the tofu. Take a block or two of firm tofu and  cube it into squares of 2-3 cms then shallow fry it turning occasionally until golden brown. This will add to the texture and flavor of the tofu. After frying the tofu make a marinade by crushing 3 or 4 cloves of garlic and about half a dozen pepper corns add a tbsp. of sesame or olive oil, a tbsp. veggie oyster sauce and a tbsp. soy sauce, a tbsp. or two of sesame seeds and a tsp. of turmeric powder. Mix the marinade together and then cover the tofu with it in a bowl.

Next prepare the other ingredients, chop a couple of courgettes a large bell pepper, a couple of onions and a bowlful of mushrooms into chunks that are a similar size to the tofu. Put them in a bowl and drizzle with some oil, sesame or olive work well. Then assemble the kebabs by putting skewering the various veggies on them putting something quite sturdy at each end to stop them falling apart. Place them on a plate and drizzle over and remaining marinade. Cook on a lowish BBQ turning occasionally until the vegetables are cooked, they won’t all cool at exactly the same speed but if some veggies get a little charred that adds to the flavor. For the satay sauce follow the recipe here.

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Thai Food, Veggie mains

Spaghetti pad kaprao

spaghetti

This makes a quick and easy lunch or supper made from store cupboard staples. It’s an adaption of spaghetti aglio olio to include Thai holy basil. The breadcrumbs pangrattato give extra texture to the dish and are used instead of cheese making it a great vegan option. The recipe here serves 2.

So what do you need?

  • 1 or 2 slices of bread
  • 5-6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g mushrooms
  • 4-5 colves of garlic
  • 3-4 birds-eye chillies
  • 250g spaghetti
  • a small bunch of holy basil

So what do you do?

Start by putting your salted pasta water on to boil. Then make your breadcrumbs by putting the bread in a food processor and chopping them until you have relatively coarse breadcrumbs. Pour a little olive oil in a frying pan and over a medium heat toast the breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt until crisp and golden brown. Then put them to one side in a bowl. Slice up your mushrooms and peal and chop the garlic, give the chillies a bash and then heat up about 4 – 5 tbsp. of oil in the frying pan and add the mushrooms, garlic, chilli a good pinch or two of salt and a grind of black pepper. Cook on a medium heat until the garlic starts to go golden brown and the mushrooms are cooked.

Meanwhile cook your spaghetti according to instructions. While it’s cooking pluck the leaves off the holy basil so you have a good handful. Once the spaghetti is cooked drain it reserving some of the pasta water. Add the spaghetti to the frying pan with about 1/3 up of pasta water and throw in the holy basil leaves cook until the leaves wilt and the pasta is covered in the oild mixture. Divide the spaghetti into two bowls and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs.

 

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Thai Food, Veggie mains

Pad Thai

pad thai

I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get round to posting a recipe for Pad Thai, maybe as more often than not it’s a dish I eat at our local noodle shop and enjoy their version. There are probably as many versions of Pad Thai as people who make it, but I find many too sweet or too oily so making it at home allows you to control the flavours. If you don’t live in Thailand, surrounded by Pad Thai options, then it’s easy enough to make at home. This will make 2 servings which is about as much as you can make at a time in a domestic wok.

So what do you need?

  • 100g firm tofu
  • 120g flat rice noodles (I used brown ones)
  • 200g bean sprouts
  • a small bunch of garlic chives / spring onions
  • 4tbs vegetable oil
  • a handful of roasted peanuts
  • 3 tbsp. dried pickled Chinese radish
  • 3 tbsp. tamarind paste
  • 3 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. palm sugar
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1 lime

So what do you do?

Start by soaking your rice noodles in water, brown ones will take about 20 minutes, white ones about 10 minutes. Then cut the tofu into small pieces and marinate with a tbsp. light soy sauce. If using unroasted peanuts then dry roast them in a wok for a few minutes, stirring, until they are golden brown and put them in a mortar ready to crush.

Next make the Pad Thai sauce, in a small pan warm together the tamarind paste, palm sugar and 2 tbsp. of soy sauce with a splash of water, the amount of water will depend on how thick your tamarind paste is. This should make a runny sauce that is sour with a hint of sweetness and saltiness. Then rinse and strain the beansprouts and garlic chives, reserve a handful of beansprouts and a few of the chives to use as a garnish. Cut the remaining chives into 4cms lengths. Crush the peanuts once they have cooled.

Next put the oil in the wok and fry the tofu until golden brown and pour out most of the remaining oil into a dish. Then add most of the tamarind sauce and fry the tofu in it for about 30 second. Drain the noodles and add them to the wok and stir fry them for a minute or two then add the Chinese radish, most of the crushed peanuts, the chili powder and the bean sprouts and chopped garlic chives. Fry until the bean sprouts soften and if it seems dry add the remaining tamarind sauce. Then push the noodles to the edge of the wok and add the reserved oil into the wok and crack in the eggs and break them up with the spatula and fry them when they are almost done mix the noodles back in and fry everything together.

Divide into two portions on plates and garnish with the remaining garlic chives, bean sprouts, peanuts, a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of chilli powder (optional).

 

 

 

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Veggie mains

Pasta & broccoli

 

pasta

This is a ‘copy’ of a recipe by Rachel Roddy in the Guardian that I’ve been meaning to make for a while. It’s really simple and delicious.

The broccoli is cooked twice ‘ripassati’. For two large portions start by boiling about 500g of broccoli in well salted water. I used baby broccoli and added the chopped stems to the pan a couple of minutes before the heads and cooked for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile I heated about 4 tbsp. of olive oil in a heavy pan and started to fry a couple of cloves of garlic. I then used a slotted spoon and transferred the cooked broccoli into the pan with some of the cooking water and added about a tsp. of peperoncino seasoning, herbs and chilli, you can just add 1/2 tsp of dried chill flakes. I stirred this around and then covered it and let it continue to cook. . I brought the water I’d cooked the broccoli in back to the boil and added about 250g of rigatoni pasta. I cooked the pasta and kept the broccoli cooking stirring occasionally and adding a couple of tbsp. of pasta water if necessary. The broccoli needs to cook down until it’s really soft. Once the pasta was cooked I drained it and added it to the broccoli and mixed everything together well and added 100g cottage cheese, you could use ricotta, I then served the pasta with some parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of the peperoncino chills and herbs.

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Snacks, Veggie mains

Arancini / risotto patties


This is a great way to use up any leftover risotto (there are several risotto recipes on the blog already). Just roll the cold, sticky risotto rice into balls or patties and coat in flour or breadcrumbs and shallow fry in oil until crisp and golden. You can put a small piece of mozzarella or blue cheese in the middle of the balls if you like. Serve on a bed of green leaves. Here I also added some homomade tomato sauce too. Enjoy!

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Baking, Veggie mains

Stuffed pumpkin

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This makes an impressive dish for a party that can be made and then left to cook in the oven unattended for a couple of hours. A 4 kg. pumpkin will give 8 good portions, or more if served with other dishes.

You’ll need a large, fleshy pumpkin the one I used was about 4kgs a pumpkin that’s heavy for it’s size will have good dense flesh. pre-heating your oven to 200 degrees C / 400F. Then make the stuffing. Chop and fry an onion in some vegetable oil add 2-3 crushed cloves of garlic a tsp. of salt, a tsp. cumin seeds, a tsp. mustard seeds and a tsp. turmeric powder. Gently fry and then add a chopped red pepper and about 200g chopped mushrooms. Fry for a few minutes then add 2 handfuls of cashew nuts, a handful of sultanas, 1 1/2 cups of brown rice and 1/2 cup red lentils. Next I added a small bottle (275 ml.) cider and then cover the mixture by a couple of cm. with boiling water (you can use veggie stock instead of cider and water if you prefer) and put a lid on the pan an simmered for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile wash your pumpkin and cut a lid out of the top of the pumpkin and scoop out all the seeds and the softest layer of flesh inside. In a mortar crush a clove of garlic with a pinch of salt, a few peppercorns, about a 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds. Smear this on the inside flesh of the pumpkin. Check your rice to see how it’s doing you want it to be about 3/4 cooked so still a little hard and to still have a reasonable amount of liquid in it. Once the rice is almost cooked taste it and season with extra salt, if necessary, then scoop it into the pumpkin and put the lid on. Loosely wrap the pumpkin in foil to stop the outside burning and put it in the oven for about 2 – 2 1/2 hours. The cooking time will depend of the size and density of your pumpkin.

To serve I made a simple sauce that Ottolenghi uses with roast pumpkin. Mix 8 tbsp. of plain yoghurt and 2 – 3 tbsp. of Siracha sauce together. It looks good if it’s not completely mixed together. I also finely chopped a couple of spring onions and added them to the sauce. Once the pumpkin is cooked place on a serving dish. To serve take off the lid and cut slices of the pumpkin and filling and serve with the sauce and some fresh coriander leaves.

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