Food: Roasted Vegetable Fusilli

Here’s a simple recipe you can knock up with very little effort in around 30 minutes! I used courgette, tomatoes and pepper, but feel free to use any Mediterranean veg you can get your hands on. Aubergine would be great, but if using aubergine, remember to salt & wash it first!

You’ll need:

  • Handful of cherry tomatoes,
  • 1 Courgette, sliced
  • 1 Pointed pepper, deseeded & sliced
  • 1tbs Balsamic vinegar
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • Handful of basil, ripped
  • Salt & pepper
  • 100g Fusilli pasta (per person)

Turn your oven on to 140°C and let it come up to speed. Whilst this is doing, in a roasting tray, add the chopped veg, oil, balsamic vinegar and salt. Toss it around until the sweet, oily, vinegary mixture has coated each vegetable piece. Place in the oven and leave for 20 minutes, only checking halfway through. This is the time you can get on with the pasta.

Weigh 100g of pasta per person, I used 200g as it’s for myself and my partner, Tom. Boil around 1 litre of water in a kettle. Once boiled, add the water to the pan and salt liberally. Nigella famously said (albeit it a Anna Del Conte quote 😉 ) that the water should be as salty as the Med Sea. Add the pasta and cook until al-dente.

Once done, drain and add back to the pan. The roasted vegetables should be ready by now. Take them out of the oven and stir through the pasta. Add in around half of the ripped basil and stir again. It is now ready to serve.

Add to a bowl and finish with a crack or two of black pepper and the other half of the basil.

I paired this rustic yet tasty evening meal with half a loaf of focaccia I had got from Wright’s Food Emporium (an amazing bistro/deli in Llanartne, Wales.) and a chilled Peroni doppio malto.  They paired beautifully with the pasta!

Buon appetito!

Food: My tomato soup

Nothing is more classic than a tomato soup, often one of the recipes you’ll start with when learning to cook, it’s even been immortalised by the likes of Warhol. This is mine. My recipe for a soup that is comforting and luxuriously silky, but simple to make and cheap on the wallet!

you’ll need:

  • A handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 (heaped) tbs of sundried tomato paste
  • 1tbs of dried oregano
  • 1ltr of water
  • Vegetable stock pot
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Bay leaves (fresh or dried)
  • Glug of Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

To serve:

  • A swirl of cream- Vegan or Dairy, you decide! ( I use Oatly)

Start by roasting the cherry tomatoes, in a dish covered with foil. A sprinkle of salt & a glug of oil is all they need. Cook for about 20 mins with foil on & for 10-15 mins with the foil off.

Fry an onion & 2 the minced cloves of garlic until translucent, then add in a big tablespoon of sundried tomato paste, a tbs of dried oregano and two tins of chopped tomatoes.

Fill up a tin with water and add to the mix, getting out all the tomatoey goodness.

Add a vegetable stock pot and some freshly chopped basil and a couple of fresh/dried bay leaves. Season & stir.

Cook low & slow for up to 2 hours (this is in my Le Creuset Dutch Oven in at 140°C-  for Slow cookers, I’d try it possibly for a bit longer as the heat isn’t as harsh – but I’d add in a bit more water to stop it drying out.

Once it’s finished doing its magical thing fish out the bay leaves, pour into a mixing bowl and whizz the soup up with a stick blender until it’s velvety & smooth.

Fill up a bowl, drizzle with some cream & enjoy!

I served mine with a great beer from Omission, which also happens to be gluten-free for those with Coeliacs/ Gluten Intolerance.

Food: Sweet potato moqueca

This recipe started as a way to use up some leftover sweet potato I had in the pantry. By now, it’s one of my weekly favourites. Its super tasty and simple to make!

You’ll need:

  • 4 Medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 Large red onions
  • Glug of vegetable oil
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • 1tsp Chilli flakes
  • 1 tbs Of palm oil
  • 2 Bell peppers (I used green & red)
  • 1tsp Of tomato pureé
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 tsp Ground coriander
  • 1tsp Of dried parsley
  • 1 tin Of peeled tomatoes
  • 100ml Of water
  • 1/2 Of coconut milk
  • 1 Vegetable stock pot
  • Squeeze of lime luice
  • Handful of jalapeños, chopped

Coconut Rice:

  • 1 Cup of rice (per person)
  • 1/2 tin of coconut milk
  • Water
  • 1 Dried chilli pepper

Garnish:

  • Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped.

 

Peel the sweet potatoes & chop into thick chunks. Boil them until soft in a pan of salted water. Once done, drain and set aside.

In a cast-iron pot, fry the onions – cut into strips & 2 cloves of garlic (minced) until soft. Add in a green & red bell pepper cut into chunks. Once everything has lost its toughness add in 2 tsp ground coriander, a sprinkle of chilli flakes, a big dollop of tomato pureé and a generous amount of fresh coriander. Add 1 tin of peeled tomatoes (taken and chopped into thick chunks on a chopping board) with its juice.

Fill up the tomato tin with water and add to the mix, getting out all the tomatoey goodness.

Then add in half a tin of coconut milk, a squeeze of lime juice, a vegetable stock pot, a few jalapeños and a tbs of palm oil – or dendê- which you can get online. Thankfully my mum had some Carotina oil – which is sustainably sourced, cold-pressed red palm fruit oil.

Finally add in the vegetables and season to taste. Cook incredibly slow for 3 hours.

Finish with loads of freshly chopped parsley and coriander.

I served mine with coconut rice, which I made by cooking the rice in seasoned water, the other half of the coconut milk and a dried chilli until fully cooked. The result is somewhat fluffy, somewhat sticky- FULL ON comfort food

I served mine with some lime Lemonaids, but a Brazilian beer such as a Brahma, would pair really nicely!

 

Bom apetite!

Food: Cauliflower paprikash

Here’s a cheap, satisfying & hearty recipe that is perfect for those cold Winter nights coming in!

You’ll need:

  •  ½ Head of cauliflower, cut into chunks,
  • 1 tbs Tomato puree
  • 1 Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml Water
  • 1 Onion, chopped finely
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • Splash of flavourless oil
  • 2 Peppers, chopped •
  • 1 Pack of vegan cream ( I used 1 pack of 250ml Oatly cream)
  • Splash of white wine (Vermouth will also work!)
  • 2-3tbs Of paprika
  • 1tsp Mixed spice
  • 1tsp Ground cinnamon
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped •
  • Salt & pepper

Serve with:

  •  100g Tagliatelle or rice (per person)

This is a ‘one-pan dish’, I use my Dutch Oven to make this – shove it in the oven, and as it cooks slowly I can get on with my day, then eat it!

To make, start by frying off the onions & garlic until they become soft & translucent. Next, add in the tomato puree and mix it with the onion until it has cooked out. Then, the tin of tomatoes goes in. After you’ve tipped the tomatoes out, add the water to the tin and add it to the pan- this way it gets all the tomatoey goodness. Next, add in your paprika & spices. Cook it out for a couple of minutes. Once this is done, add in the cauliflower, stir and season. Add half of the chopped parsley and with the lid on, add to the oven (pre heated to 140°c). Leave it to do its own thing for at least 40 minutes, 1 hour maybe even an hour and a half. That is the magic of slow cooking!

Once you’re ready to eat, salt a boiling pan of water generously and add in your pasta/rice. Cook until done.

To serve layer the luscious & hearty paprikash on top of the pasta/rice and garnish with the rest of the parsley!

Et voilà!

Food: Spanish porkless stew

My recent affinity with Jackfruit continues with this recipe for a vegan alternative for Spanish Stew, full of the flavours and textures of the hearty Mediterranean classic!

Serves 4.

  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes,
  • 1 large onion, chopped,
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced,
  • 2/3 roasted peppers,
  • 1 tin of butter beans,
  • 2 tbs pimentón,
  • 1 tin of green Jackfruit,
  • 1 tsp tomato paste,
  • 1 tsp chilli powder,
  • 1 tbs dried rosemary,
  • A splash of sherry,
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary,
  • 125ml or a glass of red wine,
  • 2/3 Bay Leaves,

To make the picada:

  • 3tbs flaked almonds, toasted
  • 2/3 slices of stale baguette
  • 3tbs of the stew stock

Start off by frying the onion and garlic in a little oil until soft. Add the tomato paste and cut the peppers into small pieces and add to the paste. Let it cook out then pour in the tomatoes and let it simmer while you prepare the Jackfruit.

Drain the Jack Fruit and the butter beans.  Prepare the Jackfruit by cutting the flesh away from the hard, pineapple-like core. Add them, along with the beans, to the sauce.

Then, simply add the spices, the red wine and season with salt and black pepper. Cover with up to 500ml of water and let it simmer while you prepare the picada. A picada is an essential accompaniment to Catalunian stews.

Start by toasting the almonds in a dry frying pan. Keep an eye on these as they burn easily. When they’re toasted take them off the heat. Add the almonds and the bread to a pestle & mortar and crush until they resemble rubble. Continuing to grind, add in the stock from the stew bit by bit until it resembles a thick paste.

Once this is done add it back into the stew and stir thoroughly. Next, place into an oven on 140°C and let it cook for 3 and half hours on a low heat. Once the time is up, take it out, leave to cool slightly and serve. Remember to take out the sprig of rosemary and bay leaves before serving!

Enjoy with some crusty sourdough and a glass of red wine (or a crisp cerveza as I did 😉 )

¡Salud!

 

Food: Ionian vegetable penne

Here’s a recipe for a Mediterranean meal that’s bursting with flavour, vitamins and nutrients that will help you beat the Winter blues and take you to the shores of the Med.

Serves 4

You’ll need:

  • 1 medium aubergine,
  • 3 cloves of garlic,
  • Minced 1/4 head of broccoli,
  • Handful of mushrooms, sliced,
  • 200g penne pasta,
  • Handful of fresh spinach,
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved,
  • 1 tbs of sundried tomato paste,
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes,
  • 1 large brown onion, chopped finely,
  • Small glass of white wine,
  • 1 tbs dried oregano,
  • 1 tbs dried rosemary,
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped,
  • Salt & pepper,
  • Squeeze of lemon juice,
  • Glug of garlic infused oil,

Start by chopping the aubergine into coins and place them in to a colander (over a bowl). Sprinkle salt over them and wait until it starts extracting it’s juices (this stops it becoming bitter). This should take 30 minutes or so.

Once the juice has been extracted wipe with a paper towel and fry off into a shallow Dutch oven on high with a drizzle of garlic oil. Once coloured in both sides, take them out and chop them into bite sized chunks. Squeeze some lemon juice over the aubergine and add another glug of oil to the pan. Next, add the chopped onions and garlic and fry off until translucent. Add in the sundried tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Next, add the sliced mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and the dried herbs. Cook until the mushrooms have started to soften. Next, add the white wine and basil. Cook for a further 5 minutes, then place (lid on) into a preheated oven at 140 for 45 minutes- an hour.

While it’s cooking you can prepare the broccoli. To do this, chop the head into florets and parboil the florets in salted water. Once sufficiently ‘al-dente’, remove and pat with a paper towel. Next, place a cast iron skillet on your hob’s highest setting. Once scorching hot, char the broccoli using some tongs (constantly turning them as they can easily burn rather than char). When ready, place them in a bowl, squeeze some lemon juice and place a saucepan lid on top (it will slightly steam them).

Once the hour’s up take out the Dutch oven, add the broccoli and stir. Place on the hob on low, to keep it warm. This is the time to cook the pasta. Boil some penne (dried or fresh) in some salted and oiled water. Cook until sufficiently ‘al-dente’. Strain the pasta, then add it to the sauce. Finally take a handful of fresh spinach and place into the pan. It will begin to wilt as it hits the pan. Stir everything together and serve. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped fresh basil. We served ours with a couple of glasses of ice cold lemon water and some amazing Rosemary focaccia from Wright’s Food Emporium.

Buon Appetito!

Food: Potato & Rosemary Pizza

Remembering this pizza combo being made on the Canadian comedy-cooking show ‘Bitchin’ Kitchen‘ I just had to try it out!

I think the one on the show had Parmesan in it or something. It was a while back. Wanting to make it Vegan friendly, this is my own interpretation of the original recipe.

 

You’ll need:

  • 500g ’00’ flour or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dried yeast (not fast-action)
  • 400ml warm water
  • oil, for greasing
  • 6 small potatoes
  • handful of fresh rosemary
  • A drizzle of garlic infused oil
  • A pinch of rosemary salt
  • Salt & pepper

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbs of sundried tomato paste
  • 1tbs passata
  • 1tbs tomato ketchup
  • handful of fresh herbs, chopped (I used rosemary & basil)
  • 10g dried herbs ( I used dried rosemary & oregano)
  • 1tsp garlic infused oil

For the dough I used this recipe from the good ‘ol BBC. Reliable and straight forward, I often go to them for the foundations of my cooking.

Whilst the pizza dough is proving, doing its own thing, I’d make a start on preparing the topping.

In a bowl mix together the sundried tomato paste, passata and ketchup together. I used ketchup to add a bit of its familiar sweetness. Place into a small saucepan and bring to a low heat to cook through, so the flavours can all start to meld. Next, add the herbs (fresh and dried) and cook for a few more minutes then take off the heat and leave to cool.

Next, boil the potatoes in salted water until tender enough to put a fork through. Strain, then leave to cool. Once cooled, cut the potatoes into small coins. Now,  it’s all ready for when you want to make the pizza. For me, straight after a busy shift in work.

Kindly my bf did it before he picked me up, but I’d recommend you preheat the oven to its hottest setting.

Once home it was all systems go. Time to spread the sauce onto the dough. To get the nice rectangular shape we rolled the dough out until it was as flat as possible, then we used the rectangular baking tray to mark out the sides. Finally we cut the shape so that it would have those nice, sharp edges. Any extra bits can be saved or made into mini pizza bites! We then placed the dough on an oiled flat baking tray.

I would recommend putting the sauced dough into the oven for 5 minutes. This will alleviate any soggy bottoms. When the sauce has been sufficiently ‘set’, take it out of the oven and place a layer of the potatoes on top In this order, sprinkle some rosemary leaves over the top, drizzle some garlic oil then a crack of pepper or two. Repeat until you can just see a few bits of the sauce poking through. Finally, sprinkle some rosemary salt on top and place into the oven for approximately 15 minutes. and enjoy its salty, herby, buttery goodness. This is a carb-fest that you can’t help but love!

We paired it with some balsamic dressed leaves and a couple of ice cold pilsners.

Buon appetito!