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Archive for the ‘Healthy’ Category

Makshi, stuffed peppers with beef & rice

This is delicious. You will need a very big pot and small peppers to fit them all in. Yet again Honey & Co have not let us down with this fab recipe.

Wine Suggestion: try not to drink too heavy a wine with this as it might fight with the spices and red pepper flavours. We found a northern Italian Pinot Nero from Alto Adige / Südtirol made by Cantina Colterenzio was a good match. It provided a delightful play of cherry fruit and earthiness while balancing the freshness with youthful acidity.

Makshi – stuffed peppers with beef & rice – serves 4

  • 8 small red peppers
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g beef mince
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 90g basmati rice
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (about 200g)
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, chop the leaves and reserve the stalks

FOR THE COOKING LIQUOR:

  • 70g tomato purée
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled

Cut around the top of each pepper, about 1 cam below the stalk, and take the top section off but don’t throw it away. Remove the seeds and white membrane from the inside of the peppers.

Arrange the peppers upright in a pan that can hold them snugly so they don’t topple over. Push the lemon and tomato wedges in around them to hold them in place. Also add the reserved parsley stalks.

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil over a medium heat until softened, then add the beef mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it has lost any pinkness and has gone crumbly. Add the salt and spices and mix well, then tip in the rice and fry for a minute. Add the diced tomato & chopped parsley. Take off the heat and mix well. Spoon this mixture into the peppers but don’t press it down too much as the rice will expand as it cooks.

Put the cooking liquor ingredients into a saucepan with 1 litre of water and bring to the boil. Pour the hot liquid over the pepper filled peppers, making sure some liquid gets into each one (we used a plastic funnel to do this). Put the pot containing the peppers over a high heat and bring to the boil, then immediately reduce the heat and cook for 30 minutes at a gentle simmer.

Check how much liquid is left in the pan (it should be about three-quarters full – if not top it up with more water). Baste the peppers with the cooking liquid and put the lid back on. Simmer for a further 20 minutes, then serve or keep for the following day (when they will taste even better). They reheat well in the microwave.

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BBQ roasted cherry tomatoesA revelation of a dish that we’ve been cooking all summer. Much tastier than expected and goes with pretty much anything you cook on the barbecue.

Roasted tomatoes & red onions – serves 6

  • 2 red onions, halved and sliced
  • 500g mixed small tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, bashed
  • 3 thyme sprigs

Put the onion in the middle of a large square of double thickness foil. Fold the sides of the foil up to form a baking tray (or you can use a foil tray like we did).

Scatter the tomatoes over the onions and drizzle with about 3 tbsp of olive oil. Add the bashed garlic cloves and thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper. Put the foil onto a rack on the barbecue and cook for about 15 minutes or until the onions and tomatoes are tender.

If the weather gods don’t shine you can put all the ingredients onto a roasting tray and bake in the oven at 220C/fan 200C/gas 7 for 20 minutes.

(Original idea from BBC Olive Magazine, June 2005.)

 

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Chicken with olives & tomatoes

This one-pot dish is full of Mediterranean flavours and reminiscent of summer sun. A tasty treat for mid-week and freezes well too.

Wine suggestion: try a glass of a good, dry Provençal Rosé. We had one made by Chateau Vignelaure which matched the sunny nature of this dish perfectly.

Chicken, red pepper & olive cacciatore – serves 6

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 6 drumsticks
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 2 red peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary, needles chopped
  • 300ml red wine
  • 120g pitted black olives,  halved
  • a large handful of basil leaves

Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

Season the chicken pieces well with salt & pepper. Heat a splash of oil in a large shallow casserole and fry the chicken until the skin is golden brown. This should take about 10 minutes and is easier to do in  a few batches. Remove the chicken onto a plate.

Pour most of the fat off the pan, then add the onions and garlic and fry for  over a low heat for about 8 minutes or until very soft.

Add the tomatoes, peppers and rosemary and simmer for another 10 minutes, breaking the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon. Add the wine and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is rich and thick.

Stir the olives into the sauce and nestle the chicken pieces back into the pan. If your pan is too small to take the chicken in a single layer you can transfer everything to a baking dish at this point. Cook in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and comes away easily from the bone.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, July 2016.)

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Radish & fennel salad

Let’s eat more radishes. They’re delicous and in season right now. Try this easy spring salad that tastes good with almost anything.

Lemony Radish & Fennel Salad – serves 4

  • 2 bunches leafy breakfast radishes
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced into rings
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 5 tbsp olive oil

Separate the leaves from the radishes, then wash & dry them.

Finely grate the zest of half the lemon, then juice all of it.

Put the lemon zest into a salad bowl and stir through the shallots. Leave to macerate.

Trim the fennel & slice it as finely as possible (a job for your mandolin if you have one). When you’re ready to serve, toss all the ingredients, including the radish leaves, with the lemon juice & olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Rainbow noodle salad

A healthy salad for lunchboxes and a good use for red cabbage which always seem impossible to get through. If you have a mandolin it will make short work of shredding the vegetables.

Rainbow Veg Noodle Salad – serves 2

  • 50g medium egg noodles
  • sesame oil
  • juice of ½ a lime
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • ½ a red pepper, thinly sliced
  • ¼ of a small red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 50g sugar snap peas
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, then rinse under cold water and drain well.

Whisk 2 tsp of the sesame oil, the lime juice, peanut butter and rice wine vinegar together in a large bowl. Add a splash of boiling water if the dressing appears too thick.

Add the noodles, carrot, pepper, cabbage and sugar snaps and toss to coat.

Divide between 2 containers and scatter with the scallion and sesame seeds.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, February, 2014.)

 

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Egg & potato curry 1

A tasty mid-week veggie curry for two. Not much more to say really. Serve with a cold beer if you’ve got one.

Bombay Egg & Potato Curry – serves 2

  • 2 onions, 1 chopped and 1 quartered
  • sunflower oil
  • 2 green chillies, 1 halved and deseeded and the other finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • a handful of coriander, leaves and stalks separated
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 150ml coconut milk
  • 400g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5cm dice
  • 3 eggs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • basmati rice to serve

Fry the chopped onion in 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a large frying pan or shallow casserole until soft and golden.

Meanwhile, whizz the quartered onion, halved chilli, garlic & coriander stalks with ¼ tsp salt to a paste – you might need to add a splash of water.

When the onions are softened, stir in the paste and spices and fry for about 5 minutes or until fragrant. Crumble in the stock cube, stir in the tomatoes and coconut milk along with a tinful of water and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes, then cover and simmer for about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the eggs in boiling water for about 8 minutes, then cool under cold running water, peel and quarter.

Remove the lid from the curry and continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened.

Taste the curry and season with salt, black pepper and lemon juice to taste. Gently lay the quartered eggs into the sauce, turn off the heat and replace the lid to allow the eggs to gently warm for a minute or so.

Serve with the sliced green chilli, coriander leaves and steamed basmati rice.

(Original recipe by Sarah Cook in BBC Olive Magazine, April 2015.)

Egg & potato curry 2

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Baked butternut squash, chickpeas, pepper & pomegranate

This was tasty for a mid-week veggie night. The pomegranate molasses add a pleasant sour note but if you don’t have any you can substitute a few tablespoons of lime juice and a teaspoon of soft brown sugar drizzled over the top.

Baked butternut squash, chickpeas & green chilli – serves 6

  • 1kg butternut squash, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • medium piece ginger, grated
  • 1 green chilli, finely diced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds, mint & Greek yoghurt and couscous to serve

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Put the squash onto a baking tray, drizzle with 2 tbsp of the oil, season and toss to coat evenly. Roast for 25 minutes or until soft.

Put half the squash into a medium casserole dish and set the rest aside. Heat a medium-sized frying pan and add the rest of the oil, then the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and paprika. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the tomatoes, pomegranate molasses and chickpeas, then simmer for a minute before turning off the heat.

Pour half the tomato sauce over the squash in the casserole dish in an even layer. Arrange the rest of the squash on top then finish with the rest of the sauce. Cover with a lid, transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the casserole from the oven and serve hot or at room temperature, scattered with chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds, and mint, with the yoghurt on the side. Serve with couscous.

(Original recipe by Bill Granger in BBC Good Food Magazine, March 2011.)

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