Peppy Living

Peppy Living for the Eco-Anxious

Tag: vegetarian

cheesy courgette fritters

Cheesy Courgette Fritters

I spotted this recipe a few years ago from some veggie cook book, and it has stayed in our menu ever since. The original recipe only used courgettes, but I’ve added onion and mushrooms for some extra texture, as courgettes alone are quite watery and not very filling. The original recipe also suggested cooking the fritters on a frying pan, but it makes them very greasy and the kitchen very smoky, so I cook them in the oven instead, which is also quicker as you don’t need to stand there flipping them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large courgette
  • 3 mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 100g hard cheese such as cheddar or emmenthal
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt & pepper
  • Freshly chopped herbs (coriander, basil, parsley)

japanese-mandolin

First slice all the vegetables into little sticks. I got this rather retro piece of equipment to do my slicing – the japanese mandolin. At first I wasn’t sure it was a good idea, as we have a big table top mixer that has a slicer attachment. Well, this has proven to be a really handy little device as it doesn’t take a lot of effort to whip out or wash clean, unlike the table top machine, which is mostly collecting dust in the cupboard. The mandolin has several blades for different shapes and sizes and costs under £10. So well worth the investment.

cheesy courgette fritters

Right, all the veg has been turned into cute little sticks. Add flour, eggs, herbs and seasoning and mix well.

cheesy courgette fritters

Shape little patties on a baking tray and bake in the oven on low temperature, around 160C was good for a fan oven. A regular oven without a fan will probably do at 175C or so. The temperature needs to stay low to allow the patties to firm up and cook properly without getting too brown on the surface. 25-30 minutes did the trick for me.

cheesy courgette fritters

Served with root vegetable mash.

 

stuffed peppers

Stuffed Peppers

I like stuffing, clearly, but you can rarely go wrong with stuffing so here is another one. Peppers are easy to stuff as they don’t need all that hollowing-out-work. Simply fill and bake. I filled these bad boys with fennel and goats cheese. You can also try the lentil filling that I used for stuffed squash or the tomato filling from the stuffed courgette recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 peppers
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 100g soft goats cheese
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil

 

stuffed peppersYou can use any coloured peppers you wish. I used one of each. Green peppers are great for baking, as they can be a bit bitter when eaten raw.

stuffed peppers

Chop fennels, garlic and onion and season with black pepper. Massage the goats cheese into the vegetables until they make a nice paste. Brush the peppers with a bit of avocado oil and fill them with the goats cheese mixture. Bake in 175C for 15-20 minutes.

stuffed peppers

Garnish with black pepper and chopped fresh basil. I served them with root vegetable mash.

borscht soup

Ruby Red Borscht Soup

Borscht is a fantastic winter soup. Just looking at those radiant colours of the ingredients make me feel like I’m pumped with iron and other veggie goodness. The ingredients cost next to nothing and the soup is absolutely delicious. Again, this is a vegetarian version of the recipe, but you can add sausages (I’d use  frankfurters) or some non- lean meat (you want it to be very tender). A dollop of sour cream is also optional, but this is an incredibly lean soup to begin with and the cream makes it so much nicer, that I wouldn’t miss it for the world. And it does turn the soup into a very cute shade of pink!

Ingredients:

  • 4 raw beetroots
  • Half a cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1-1.5l of stock (beef or vegetable)
  • 1.5 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of sour cream per serving

 

borscht soup

These ingredients are pretty enough for  a still life painting, don’t you think? I’m inspired.

borscht soup

Chop everything. I used a mandoline for the beets and carrots to get pretty evenly sized pieces, but knife is just as good.

borscht soup

 Briefly fry the chopped vegetables in butter, then add stock and cook for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add vinegar.

borscht soup

Serve with a dollop of sour cream. Store any leftovers as this soup is even better the next day.

stuffed squash

Stuffed Squash

I found these cute little squashes from our local green grocers and just had to do something with them. Stuffing is always a good idea and this recipe is perfect for the Halloween season. This is a veggie version to suit my vegetarian man, but feel free to add bacon or substitute the lentils with minced meat.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 small squashes
  • Avocado oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 1 tin of lentils
  • 2-3 fresh tomatoes
  • Seasoning, herbs
  • 100g grated cheese

stuffed squash

Aren’t they pretty?

stuffed squash

First a little top tip: shaving a little bit off the bottom of the squash will make them sit better on the tray, and will save you a lot of frustration along the way.

The squashes are really tough and hard to carve, so I just scooped the seeds out, brushed them with avocado oil and roasted in the oven until the flesh was soft and easy to scoop out. The skin is quite tough, so they won’t slump like courgettes if cooked ripe at this point. The time needed for roasting depends on the size of the squashes, these ones took about 45 minutes.

stuffed squash

While the squashes are roasting, prepare the stuffing. Fry garlic and onion in a dash of oil and add other vegetables, chopped to nice small bites. Add stock or seasoning and lentils and simmer until vegetables are just softening. This not the sexiest looking filling, as the lentils turn everything brownish green, but it doesn’t matter, as all will be nicely hidden under a cheese crust.

Once the squashes are soft, scoop the insides of them out, chop and add to the stuffing. Then fill the squashes with the stuffing and cover with grated cheese. Roast in the oven until the cheese has melted and turned nice and brown.

 

stuffed squash

These bad boys are super-filling, so I served them only with a bit of braised savoy cabbage. One is enough, actually, so this portion served me twice. Don’t hesitate to eat the skin, too. It’s the best bit!

 

Nutty Green Curry

I believe you can never go wrong with Thai food. It’s just beautiful, fragrant, tasty, light and filling all at the same time. This is a veggie version of the good old chicken green curry, where I substituted chicken with nuts. The secret to a good home made green curry is in finding really good curry paste, which can be a tough job. I suggest shopping at ethnic food shops and trying out different pastes until you find the one that does the trick. The rest is easy.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 large courgette
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 litre or 2 cups of water
  • 1 stock pot or cube or salt
  • 1 sachet of green curry paste
  • A handful of cashew nuts
  • 1 tin of coconut milk

nutty green curry

Ahh… look at the rainbow colours of these veggies. Carrots are probably not the most orthodox choice for a thai curry, but I like the bit of crunch they add to the mix.

nutty green curry

Fry the veg lightly and add the curry paste. Add water and stock or seasoning. I find you still need a bit of salt despite the curry paste. Let the vegetables cook until they are al dente, 15-20 minutes will probably do. Careful, they are very easy to overcook!

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If you’re in the UK I can recommend Sharwood’s thai paste. It’s really good, available in all supermarkets and costs 99p.

nutty green curry recipe

Add the cashew nuts and the coconut milk. Then quickly bring the sauce to boil. If you boil the coconut for long it will lose its lovely coconuttiness, which I like. I also like to add the cashew nuts towards the end as they can become soggy and chewy if added with the veg in the beginning.

nutty green curry recipe

Serve with jasmine rice and garnish with fresh coriander. If you have any left over, you can also add a bit more stock and eat it as a soup the next day.

 

Toms & Tortellini

Tomatoes were the most successful thing that my Gardening Experiment produced. Over the weekend I got rid of the plants for the winter and harvested the remaining fruit. That means I have plenty of tomatoes, so it was time to do something with them and quickly.

I usually make this sauce with tinned tomatoes, but this time I used fresh ones. What a world of difference it makes! I didn’t bother with poaching and peeling the tomatoes like you’re supposed to. The peels don’t really matter in my opinion.

This is super quick, cheap and tasty. Choose tortellinis that you like, there’s tons of varieties around. I used Spinach & Ricotta. This doesn’t look like very much, but the sauce is so rich that you don’t need a lot of it. Obviously keep adding more tomatoes, if you want more.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 tomatoes, depending on size.
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • Fond, stock or salt for seasoning
  • A pinch of chilli

 

Tomatoes from the garden

Here are my beautiful tomatoes. Remains to be seen whether the green ones will mature off the vine before going off.

 

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Chop the garlic, onions tomatoes and peppers and fry them in a pan. Season and simmer until all have softened. If you need a bit of extra liquid, add some water. The sauce is ready when tomatoes are all mushy. This will take about 15 minutes.

 

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Tortellinis take about 3 minutes to cook, so I do them once the sauce is ready. Garnish with fresh basil.

Aubergine Bolognese

Aubergine bolognese is another one of my favourite recipes for the cold autumn and winter nights. I picked up the recipe idea from an Italian restaurant. Their “Pasta Norma” had a few aubergines and tomatoes tossed in spaghetti. I made it a bit heartier, and turned it into a bolognese-style sauce. This is super simple to make, but takes quite a long time to simmer, so don’t start cooking if you’re already starving. But it’s totally worth the wait!

Ingredients:

  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp of tomato puree
  • 2 stock pots (or cubes)
  • Herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary)
  • A generous pinch of chilli flakes

 

aubergine bolognese

Chop the vegetables. Cut aubergines into fairly small cubes so they cook a bit quicker. You don’t need to “sweat” them with salt, as they’ll be thoroughly soaked in stock anyway.

 

aubergine bolognese

Fry the onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Add aubergines and fry for a few minutes. Add a tin of tomatoes, then fill the tin with water and add it to the pan. Follow with tomato paste and stock pots or cubes. At first this looks like a lot of food, but it will condense. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat so that it just about simmers and get on with your life.

 

aubergine bolognese

After about 30 minutes the aubergines are starting to soften, and the sauce looks a bit runny. Give it a good stir, and go back to doing something else.

 

aubergine bolognese

After another 20 minutes or so the aubergines are starting to break up and create that lovely bolognese texture. They might start sticking to the bottom of the pan, which is fine. Just give them a good stir to help the texture break up even more. This is a good time to add the herbs and chilli.

 

aubergine bolognese

This is another 15-20minutes later. The sauce is done when all the liquid has soaked in and the aubergines have broken down into a thick sauce.

 

aubergine bolognese

Serve with pasta, grated cheese and full bodied red wine. Did I already mention that the rich, savoury flavours are just fantastic?

 

Stuffed Courgettes

This is one of my favourite veggie recipes, although it can easily be beefed up for the ones that have a taste for something meatier. It looks a bit more involved than it actually is with all the hollowing of the courgettes, but since the courgettes cook so quickly, this is not a big slave-job in the kitchen. This recipe is for 2 people, but can easily to be reduced or expanded to your needs.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large courgettes
  • Avocado Oil
  • 3 chunky cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • Seasoning
  • Grated cheese
Additional ingredients, if you like:
  • Mushrooms
  • Bacon
  • Minced meat or Quorn

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Split the courgettes and brush with avocado oil. You can use any oil of course, but I find avocado oil really brings out the flavours in vegetables. Stick the courgettes in the oven at about 180 C.

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While the courgettes are cooking, chop the garlic, onions and tomatoes and fry them in the pan. If you use mushrooms, bacon or mince add it here. You might want to use a little less tomato to fit everything in. By the time you’re done, the courgettes have probably softened enough so that you can spoon out the middle bits of them. Put the courgettes on the side to wait for stuffing. Chop the courgette that you’ve just spooned out and mix with the stuffing. Season with salt and pepper.

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Spoon the stuffing into the courgettes and top with grated cheese. Pop the courgettes back in the oven until the cheese has melted and got a bit of colour. That’s about 10minutes or so.

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The courgettes are delicious with mash. I served them with some raw pesto pasta.

Raw Pesto Pasta

In my quest for more energy I’ve become increasingly interested in raw food recipes. The smoothies, juices and salads include a massive amount of fresh vegetables, and it’s just common sense to me that they must pep me up. I also want to make something that doesn’t give me a post-dinner food coma.

Today I decided to try a raw food pesto pasta recipe. The “pasta” is really just shredded vegetables but it all sounds very nice, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Ingredients:

Pasta

  • 1 whole courgette
  • 4 carrots
  • Some salt
Pesto:
  • A large bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1/2 cup or 120ml of walnuts
  • 1/4 cup or 60ml of olive oil
  • 3 tbs of lemon juice or one small lemon squeezed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • A pinch of chilli flakes

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I shredded the carrots and courgettes using a mandoline on a very fine setting. It was my first go on a new mandolin, and I nearly sliced some pinky finger there too…nearly. I then coated the “pasta” with salt for 10 minutes, rinsed and drained well. This makes the veg a bit more limp and pasta-like.

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Here are the ingredients for the pesto. I put them in a jug and pulsed them with a stick blender. I added a little bit more oil than was in the recipe, as the pesto felt quite thick. I also think the lemon comes through quite sharp, so I might use a little less next time.

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Pasta and pesto mixed together. I served it with chicken, although pure raw foodists would have this on its own. To my surprise this was ab-so-lute-ly fabulous. I loved the crunch of the veggies, and the pesto worked really well with the sweetness of the carrots. Chicken goes beautifully with it, and it was nice and filling, without being heavy. Highly recommended!

Two Shades of Smoothie

No one said growing a baby was going to be easy, but lately I have been absolutely exhausted. I also get hungry couple of hours before lunch time. Smoothies are touted as the great energy giver. They should also keep the hunger at bay for a good few hours.

I decided to make two versions, one with fruit only, and another one with added spinach. Spinach is loaded with iron and Vitamin K so it should perk me up too.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Oranges
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Banana
  • Half a melon
  • Large handful of spinach
  • 8 ice cubes

Fruit Galore

It’s going to be a fruit galore…

Citrus goes in first

I chopped the citrus fruit first, as they have a skin, which can use a bit more blending than the rest of the ingredients.

Melon and banana follows

I then added the banana and melon.

Keeping it fruity

Here’s the fruity version of the smoothie. Really nice and very sweet despite the lemon and lime. It’s a bit thicker than I’d like, so adding ice cubes makes it more drinkable.

Adding some spinach action

Adding some spinach action to the rest of the mix.

Going green

It looks so dodgy it must be good for me! Actually it still tastes really sweet and fruity.

Verdict:

The texture in both versions is a bit thick to my liking, so adding ice cubes made it easier to drink. Peeling the citrus fruit is a pain in the butt, and making this thing took me about 20 minutes, which is more than I’d like. But the taste is fantastic, and I’m probably having all the fruit I’ll need all day. Now I’m waiting to see if it also manages to pump my energy levels up.

 

 

Lush Leftover Bake

Todays recipe is an easy and yummy bake made from yesterdays leftovers and a few bits in the fridge that are in danger of going off. You can use pretty much anything you like for this dish.

Ingredients:

Leftovers from yesterday’s bbq:
2 grilled courgettes
Half a grilled green pepper
1 slice of grilled halloumi

Leftovers from the fridge:
Half a cauliflower
Leftover crudites: carrots & red peppers
1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic

For the bake:
200g whole meal pasta, boiled
200ml stock
300ml milk
2 eggs
200g grated cheese

Dice all the leftovers. Cook the pasta in salted water. Grease an oven proof dish with a bit of olive oil. Mix all the leftover with the veg and pour in the oven dish.

Leftover shenanigans

Mix stock, milk and eggs well. Pour over the veg and top with grated cheese. Bake in 175 C for about 30 minutes or until the eggs start to firm and the cauliflower is tender. I served the bake with – you guessed it – a leftover coleslaw from yesterday’s bbq. Delicious!

Dinner is served

 

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