Spicy Sheperd’s Pie with Cauliflower Mash

An old English classic – the Sheperd’s Pie is one of my favourite dishes. I have re-invented it in many different ways, but the latest one is the one I like most. I used cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes and the result was very good. The mash was so smooth and creamy and tasted sublime.

I used plenty of mushrooms and soy chunks (Textured Vegetable Protein) for the base with spices to make it really flavourful. I added some frozen peas as well. You could use any vegetables you like.

Don’t skimp on the butter while making the mash. I also added some fresh cream and cheddar cheese. You could make this dish vegan by using vegan butter and coconut cream instead of fresh cream.

The aroma of the ground fresh coriander with the spices filled the entire kitchen. Really lovely!

IMG-20191203-WA0015

PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour

Ingredients

11/2 cups soy chunks

200 gms button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup frozen peas

2 large onions, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 cloves

5 green chillis

2 cardamoms

½ tsp black pepper

2 cups fresh coriander, chopped

2 pieces cinnamon

1 tbsp coriander seeds

Salt to taste

4 tbsp vegetable oil

For the cauliflower mash

1 large cauliflower, cut into florets

½ cup butter

2 tbsp fresh cream

1 cup cheddar/Parmesan cheese, grated

½ tsp turmeric powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Butter a baking dish and preheat the oven to 180 C.

Rehydrate the soy meat in plenty of salted hot water. Leave for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower florets until they are very tender. Process with the butter in short bursts, using a food processor. The mash should be smooth and creamy. Add the fresh cream, cheese, turmeric, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Drain and squeeze the water from the soy meat. Blitz in the food processor until it is a coarse meal. Do not make it into a paste and don’t add any water. Set aside.

Grind the cumin, cloves, chillis, cardamom, pepper, fresh coriander, cinnamon and coriander seeds in a blender with a little water to a fine paste.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions. Sautè until they are cooked and add the ground spices. Cook with 2 tablespoons of water for a few minutes and add the tomatoes with the salt and turmeric. After a few minutes, add the mushrooms and sautè for about 5 minutes. Add the ground soy meat and cook adding a few tablespoons of water until the mushrooms and the soy are tender. Add the frozen peas and mix well. When the peas are tender (this will only take a few minutes), remove the pan from the heat.

Spoon the spiced soy and mushroom mixture into the buttered dish and spread evenly. Spoon the cauliflower mash on top and use a fork to mark the top. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Fusili with Red and Yellow Peppers and Curry Leaf Oil

The grilled red and yellow peppers enhance their natural sweetness and adds to the flavour of this simple pasta dish. It also imparts a smoky deliciousness to the dish.

I prepared the peppers on the previous day and refrigerated them overnight. This saves a lot of time. Any short pasta can be used for this recipe.

DSC01717

I added some spices to give it an interesting twist. I find that spices and pasta go well together. It should just awaken the taste buds and have you salivating for more.

I wanted a herb oil to elevate this simple dish and I decided to try curry leaves. In the recent Masterchef Australia, there was a lot of emphasis on curry leaf. It has a strong but subtle flavour. I was really happy with the results because the curry leaf oil was so flavourful and paired beautifully with the pasta. Absolutely divine.

This recipe has been adapted from Vegetarian published by Hermes House (Consultant Editor Nicola Graimes).

DSC01719

 

PREP: 1 hour COOK TIME: 30 minutes SERVES: 4

Ingredients

  • 450 g red and yellow peppers
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 400 g mini fusili or other short pasta
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Curry Leaf Oil

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup curry leaves

Instructions

Place the peppers under a hot grill and turn occasionally until they are blackened and blistered on all sides. Remove and place in a paper bag for 5 minutes.

Peel the peppers and quarter them. Cut the flesh into long thin strips discarding the stem and seeds.

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onions. Cook until they are transparent, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sautè for about 2 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and stir fry for a minute. Add the chilli powder and coriander powder and mix well. Add salt to taste and the peppers and mix together.

Add salt and pasta to the boiling water and cook until the pasta is tender.

Add about ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water to the onion and pepper mixture. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the peppers and cook over moderate heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Mix the pasta and the sauce well.

To make the curry leaf oil, heat the oil in a pan and add the curry leaves when it is hot. They will splutter. Remove immediately or they will change colour. Cool and blitz in the blender. Spoon into a serving dish.

Serve hot with the curry leaf oil and Parmesan cheese passed separately.

Moist Zucchini Bread

Zucchini is one of my favourite vegetables. It’s so easy to prepare and it’s so versatile. It can be used in a variety of cakes and other baked goods. It doesn’t alter the taste and it’s super healthy and so moist.

When I saw this recipe from King Arthur Flour, I decided that I must try it. The result was so good and the best part about it is it’s so easy. It was chock full of walnuts and raisins and very moist. The top tends to be a bit soft, but as long as the toothpick comes out clean, the bread is done.

Since it contains zucchini, it doesn’t keep for very long. It can be stored in a container for several days or frozen if you want to keep it for a longer period. But I must tell you, it doesn’t last that long!

20190804_144708-01

 

This recipe yields an 8 ½” x 4” loaf.

PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4th cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 3/4th cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 3/4th cup walnuts, chopped
  • 3/4th cup golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar for sprinkling on top

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2”x 4” loaf pan.

Beat the brown sugar, milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into the flour. Mix the dry ingredients with the liquid ingredients until creamy and smooth.

Stir in the zucchini, walnuts and raisins.

Scoop the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top as required and sprinkle the brown sugar on top.

Bake for 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove the bread from the pan after it has cooled for 10 minutes. Turn it out on to a rack to cool completely. Slice the bread after it has cooled completely.