Those lovely people at Vouchercodes.co.uk asked me to come up with a family-friendly money-saving recipe. Just for them I made roasted vegetable chilli with parmesan wedges. They filmed it to boot. Watch the whole recipe below on YouTube:
Fun fact: I wasn’t going to make wedges, it was supposed to be polenta fingers. Unfortunately the wrong ingredients were delivered! Disaster. A quick rummage around the store cupboard and I settled on (what else) potatoes instead.
Make sure you pop along to see others in the series, such as Meemalee’s Burmese Chicken Noodles and Helen’s Blue Cheese and Fig Gnocchi.
My full recipe is below:
roasted vegetable chilli with parmesan wedges
- For the chilli:
- 3 courgettes
- 1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 red onion
- 1 tin tomatoes
- 2 red peppers
- 1 rounded teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 tin kidney beans
- For the rice:
- 300g long-grain rice
- 1 tin coconut milk
- For the wedges:
- 4 baking potatoes
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
- To serve:
- 1 lime
- 300ml creme fraiche
- First the veg prep: peel and quarter the onion, thickly slice the courgette, half the peppers and deseed, and quarter the lime. Cut the potatoes into wedges.
- Get a large casserole dish over a low heat, the oven on to 180C, and a saucepan over a medium heat.
- Lay the wedges in a single layer on a baking tray. Scatter over half the parmesan with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Put the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, garlic and onion into the food processor with a pinch of salt and whizz to a paste, then add the tomatoes to blitz further. Add to the large casserole pan. Add the paprika and chilli powder.
- Add the courgettes and peppers to the baking tray, season with salt, pepper and oil and put in the oven for 20 minutes until softened.
- In the saucepan, dry fry the cumin seeds for a minute to get nice and aromatic, then add the kidney beans and their juices. Allow this to simmer away. After 5 minutes add it to the tomato pan.
- Wipe out the kidney bean pan and add the rice and coconut milk. Simmer until the rice is tender, then leave covered until needed.
- 5 minutes before they're done, scatter the remaining parmesan over the potatoes and allow to crisp.
- Roughly chop the griddled veg and also add to the tomato pan.
- Check the chilli for seasoning and then serve with rice, potatoes, lime wedges and a blob of creme fraiche.
In another one of my recipes for students, I’ve taken inspiration from the wonderful Ottolenghi. In his latest book (Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ebury Press, £27)) he and long-time collaborator Sami Tamimi return to their home town of Jerusalem to reminisce on the food gems of their youth. It’s full of wonderful recipes and ideas, and generally speaking most of the recipes are thrifty and homely in nature.
This recipe is inspired by “turkey and courgette burgers with spring onion and cumin.” The meatballs are so substantial they don’t need any carbohydrates; if you need to make it go further serve with pasta or rice. This meal is relatively expensive but you’ll make tons of meatballs that freeze well, and extra tomato sauce which keeps in the fridge for a couple of days
Approximate cost for main ingredients, excludes storecupboard ingredients (prices from Tesco.com 7th Oct 2012): £4.13
Turkey and courgette meatballs (makes about 20):
For the meatballs:
500g minced turkey
2 rashers bacon, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cream cracker, bashed to dust
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 large courgette, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
For the sauce:
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tin tomatoes
- For the meatballs, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a pinch of salt. With damp hands form into chunks the size of golf balls.
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat with a little oil, and a normal saucepan over a high heat with a little oil. Add the meatballs to the large pan and brown them on all sides for about 7 – 10 minutes. You should do this in batches if this is going to crowd the pan.
- Meanwhile in the other pan crush in the garlic and then immediately add the tomatoes. This will spatter and bubble so watch out. Add a pinch each of salt, sugar and pepper. You should continue to simmer this sauce until when you draw a wooden spoon through it leaves a channel, so it is thick and rich. At this point tip the meatballs into the sauce and cook for a couple more minutes to cook through.
I am utterly aghast that I have not blogged this before. I must’ve made it half a dozen times and it never fails to delight, yet somehow it fell through the cracks. I was chatting with a colleague that I was having this for dinner and she asked if it was on my blog. “Of course,” I said, “I’ve cooked it loads of times.” And yet there it wasn’t.
This is a great twist on carbonara. It always nags at me that these delicious pasta dishes don’t have a veg component which means cooking something else on the side. You can’t fault the Italians; it’s the way they eat but I prefer to have everything together. I find peas a little too harsh against the creaminess but the addition of courgette is a great one. It’s an idea I’ve lifted from Jamie at Home and it’s really worth trying. I’m also a big fan of dishes where the sauce is cooked in the same time as the pasta so can be up and on the table in under 15 minutes. Brill.
Courgette carbonara (serves 2):
1 large courgette
6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
Leaves from a sprig of thyme
150ml double cream
A large handful of grated parmesan
2 egg yolks
- Get a large pan of salted water on the boil and a big frying pan on a high heat.
- Slice your courgette in half, then use a spoon to scoop out the fluffy seeds and discard. Slice the courgette on an angle so you end up with pieces about the same size as the pasta.
- Chuck the pasta in to boil and keep checking for when it’s al dente. In your frying pan add a splash of oil and toss in the bacon. Keep frying until crisp on once side, then add the courgette and thyme and give everything a good toss to coat in bacony goodness. Meanwhile in a jug stir together the cream, parmesan and egg yolks and grind over loads of black pepper – it really helps cut through the cream. Toss your courgettes every now and then.
- Get a mug and scoop out some of the pasta cooking water to slacken your sauce in a minute. When the pasta is cooked drain, and when the courgettes are starting to go tender turn the heat off of the pan (this is important to avoid scrambling the eggs) and add your creamy mix. Keep stirring it to stop the egg clumping and add a dash of the reserved water. Toss with the pasta, check for seasoning and add a little more water if you need a bit more liquid in your sauce. Serve immediately with a dash more parmesan, this dish doesn’t hang around!
An old chum of mine, Terry, has a running blog based in Australia. I haven’t the slightest interest in running but I am interested in recipes, so when he asked me to come up with a beetroot dish to help celebrate his latest favourite superfood, I was more than happy to oblige.
Hop on over to Terry’s blog for my guest post of a beetroot salad.
I was recently sent some recipes by Ocado written by Sophie Michell. Apparently they’re under the banner of “Tweet Yourself Thin”. I’m not entirely sure I got the concept of being tweeted recipes every day but I had halloumi, courgette and aubergine to use up so it hit me at the right time. And it’s refreshing, zingy and tasty. It’s intended to be a lunch dish but I added a wedge of baked polenta to pad it out a bit.
Halloumi, courgette and aubergine with tomato vinaigrette (serves 2):
2 medium aubergines
For the dressing:
2 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
75ml extra virgin olive oil
25ml balsamic vinegar
1 pinch of caster sugar
1 tsbp of chopped fresh basil
- Slice the halloumi, aubergine and courgette into even slices. Heat a large griddle pan and griddle the veg on both sides until nicely charred.
- Blitz the dressing ingredients together and season to taste.
- When the veg is done, add the halloumi for 30 secs each side until slightly charred and warm. Serve immediately dressed with the vinaigrette and a splash more balsamic.