Food: Armenian stuffed peppers (Dolma)

Having bought loads of peppers on double discount at work last week I had quite a few left to use up. What perfect way than with some stuffed peppers!

I had made a vegan version of Armenian peppers previously, for my Eurovision party- and it was a resounding success. This was surely the way forward.

The finished dish ends up feeding 2-3 people  (we were very full afterwards!)

To make you’ll need:

  • 5-6 medium/large red bell peppers, charred

For the filling:

  • 80g of cooked rice (per person)
  • 1/2 fried courgette, chopped finely  (I used some from an antipasti jar to save time)
  • 2 Lombardi peppers, chopped finely
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

For the mince:

  • 100g green lentils
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped,
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1tbs tomato purée
  • 1tbs sun dried tomato paste,
  • 1tbs dried parsley
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • 1tsp bouillon
  • 1 cup red wine

For the sauce:

  • 1 carton/ jar of passata
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • A glug of olive oil
  • 1 (Heaped) tbs of pepper paste

Soy garlic yogurt mix

  • 2-3 tbs of soy yogurt (I used Alpro Go On. Which is a thicker Quark style yogurt)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic infused oil
  • A sprinkle of smoked paprika – to garnish

Start by making the mince.

I’d recommend doing this in advance so you have a batch ready for you to use.  We usually have big batches of lentil mince  in the freezer that Tom cooks up whilst I’m in work on a Sunday. It’s so versatile (if you remove the cayenne and mixed spice) and can be made into all manner of creations from pies, ragù, Chilli- you name it!

This batch i’ve included the extra spices as I knew this batch was only for making dolma.

In a small cast iron pot fry the chopped onion and garlic until soft. Add the paste and the purée and heat through. Pour in the lentils and stir until thoroughly coated with the sauce. Add the herbs, spice and bouillon with lots of freshly cracked black pepper. Cover with the water and put the lid on. Simmer for at last forty minutes, an hour won’t hurt – this will allow the lentils to truly swell and soak up all the liquid.

After an hour the mixture should be rich and just about ready. Stir in the wine until the mixture reconstitutes itself – allow to cook through for another twenty minutes until the wine has cooked out. Leave aside to cool slightly, or store overnight/ freeze*

*If using thawed/chilled mince, I’d recommend heating it through before stuffing.

Once your mince is ready the rest is simple and fairly quick to make!

When you’d like to make the dolma, simply put each pepper over an open flame ( I used my gas hob) until it begins to bubble and blacken. Once burnished and black, take off and leave to cool down.

PS: Be careful around open flames! The amount of times the pepper (now a ball of fire) fell off the ring- and I was wearing oven gloves!

As they are cooling I’d recommend cooking the other components.

Cook the rice as you would normally, remembering to cook slightly less than usual as you are stuffing it with a rice mixture rather than serving it with rice. Whilst it’s cooking start the sauce.

Heat up a saucepan and fry off the garlic with the olive oil until translucent. Next, add in the pepper paste and cook for another minute. Then add in the passata and let it simmer until the flavours start developing.

The rice should be done by this point. Set aside and leave to cool.

Return to the peppers and de-core & de seed them, making sure that you cut them close to the top so that you have a vessel to fill. Remember to keep the tops, though.

Grab the mince, empty it into a mixing bowl and combine it with the rice. Then, add in the lemon juice & zest, chopped peppers, courgette and parsley. season well.

Then pour the sauce into a baking dish and sit the peppers in the tomatoey-peppery bath. Fill the peppers up to the brim  with this aromatic mixture and re-hat them with their tops. Place into a preheated oven at 180°C for 10-15 minutes.

Once they are in the oven, you can make the topping. Combine all ingredients together, (except the paprika) until it becomes thick & glossy.

Take the peppers out of the oven and de-hat them once again ( no fear they’ll have their hats back on soon enough!) and smother with the  lemony-garlic yogurt. Top with the smoky, fiery paprika and return the tops on (see, I told you 😉 ). Serve with a side salad or on their own

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Drink: Queen Bey Lemonade

n celebration of Beyoncé’s sixth studio album ‘Lemonade’ and her extravaganza last night on HBO, I Made a little cocktail,with the flavours of WATERMELUN & cayenne, this is one Creole punch that truly Slays!

To make, you’ll need:

  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 300g watermelon, cut into chunks
  • 200ml water
  • 2 shots simple syrup
  • 1tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 shots lemon vodka ( I used ABSOLUT CITRON)
  • A few sprigs of mint

 

Optional:

  • 1/2 a lemon, sliced thinly

 

First, in a big jar make a Traditional lemonade by combining the lemon juice, water and simple syrup together. Stir thoroughly, and taste. Add more simple syrup if necessary.  Next, add (in a separate jug) the cayenne pepper, watermelon chunks and a dash of the lemonade and blitz. Add this in to the lemonade, along with the shots of vodka and a few sprigs of mint. I also sliced up some lemon and added in to the jug, this is optional.

Stir and serve!

Put the album on and Enjoy the Lemonade with Queen Bey!

 

Drink: Vegan cold bomb

This morning I woke up feeling like absolute death – blocked nose, scratchy throat and phlegm’d up to my eyeballs (sorry!). Deciding to take the matters into my own hands and show it who’s boss, I made up a fiery concoction that will help de-congest, clear your sinuses and help you feel a little less rubbish on those long February days when work, kids and your immune system have got the better of you.

To make, you’ll need:

  • 500ml water
  • Thumb size piece of ginger, grated,
  • A pinch of chilli flakes,
  • A crack of black pepper,
  • 2 Tbs agave nectar,
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper,
  • Zest & juice of 1 lemon,
  • Handful of coriander leaves,
  • 2 shots of vodka ( I used ABSOLUT CITRON – because, you know, Scandi!)

The recipe could not be simpler. It’s exactly the kick you need when all you want to do is hide under the duvet and hypnotise yourself with films all day (just me?).

Start by putting the water on the hob, on a medium heat until it starts to simmer. Then, add the agave and stir. When it’s dissolved, add the grated ginger, black pepper, cayenne and chilli flakes. Next add the lemon juice & zest and give it a stir (the heat from the chilli should already begin to tingle your nose). Simmer for 8 minutes. Then, add in the coriander leaves and simmer for a further 2 minutes. Take off the heat and strain into your mug/glass of choice. Leave to cool a few minutes, then add in the vodka. With a final stir of a spoon, it should be done.

Easy and you should be feeling less bunged up in no time!

I’d recommend you sip it though, as it will blow your head off!

Enjoy & Get well soon x