Stuffed Peppers with Nutty Oat Stuffing

Green, red and yellow peppers are so tasty and they look extremely vibrant and colourful. Stuffed peppers are easy to make for a light and healthy meal.

Mushrooms have a wholesome flavour which is wonderful for this stuffing along with oats, nuts and pumpkin seeds. The whole is topped off with some grated tasty cheese. It is an absolute winner.

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PREP: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 40 minutes

Ingredients

6 large green and yellow peppers

3 tbsp olive oil

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

¼ cup porridge oats

6 large tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp hot pepper sauce

¼ cup walnuts, chopped

¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 190 C.

Cut the peppers in half lengthways and seed them. Blanch in a pan of boiling water for about 3 minutes. Drain.

Crush the toasted pumpkin seeds lightly.

Heat the oil in a small pan and saute the onion, garlic and mushroom until softened and lightly browned. Stir in the oats and cook for one minute more.

Stir in the tomatoes and pepper sauce and cook for about three to five minutes. Add the fresh coriander, salt and pepper to taste. Add the walnuts and crushed pumpkin seeds and mix well. Place the peppers in a shallow ovenproof dish and fill with the vegetable mixture.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle each pepper with the grated cheese and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.

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!

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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.

Mushroom and Mozarella Pizza Baguettes

Spicy mushroom on toast, topped with breadcrumbs and cheese is a delicious way to start the morning. It’s great for tea time as well.

I used French Baguettes, but you can use any type of bread. Wholemeal rolls split in the middle is also good. The tomato paste can be flavoured with some herbs and garlic powder. I used red chilli powder too.

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Avoid washing the mushrooms. Just wipe gently with a wet towel and slice them.

You can also omit the breadcrumbs and just top with mozzarella cheese. It tastes equally good.

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PREP: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 30 minutes SERVES: 4-6.

Ingredients

300 gms button mushrooms, sliced

6 shallots, chopped

11/2 tsp chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp ghee/butter

½ cup tomato paste

½ cup breadcrumbs

½ cup mozzarella cheese

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander/curry leaves

Salt to taste

Instructions

Pre heat the oven to 180 C.

Combine the mushrooms, shallots, chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt in a large pan and cook over a moderate heat until the mushrooms are soft and tender. Remove from heat and add the ghee or butter. Set aside.

Add the breadcrumbs, coriander and cheese together.

Split the baguettes in the middle and spread some tomato paste on the inside. Spoon the mushroom filling on top. Top with the breadcrumb and cheese mixture. Bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese melts and the breadcrumbs are lightly browned.

Vegan Zucchini Frittata

I made this frittata for my daughter who’s turned vegan for some years now. A light and tasty dish – it’s ideal for a light summer lunch or supper. It can also be served cold. A refreshing tomato salad would be perfect to go with it.

The oatmeal gives this frittata a moistness and the addition of some spices and herbs makes it delicious. The vegan cheese works wonderfully well on this frittata.

You can also substitute the zucchini with other vegetables such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Mushrooms or a combination of mixed vegetables.

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 50 minutes SERVES: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchinis, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4th cup chickpea flour
  • 3/4th cup oatmeal
  • ½ tsp asafoetida powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup greek yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2/3rd cup vegan cheese (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Grease a round 8” pan or line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Grind the oatmeal in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Add the garlic, onions and green chillies. When the onions are transparent, add the spinach and salt. Do not cook the spinach. Mix well and remove immediately. Set aside.

Mix the chickpea flour with the ground oatmeal and add the asafoetida, turmeric, chilli powder, baking soda and yoghurt. Add salt to taste and enough water to make a thick batter as for pancakes. Add the fresh coriander and the spinach mixture to this batter and mix well.

Line the zucchini slices in the buttered pan and spoon in the prepared batter on top. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out almost clean. Sprinkle the cheese on top (if using) and grill until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and let it sit in the pan for 30 minutes. Invert gently on to a serving plate.

 

 

 

Polenta Croquettes with Mushroom and Paneer Sauce

The Italians hold dear their porridge or polenta made from cornmeal. I love its versatality – served plain or enriched by being baked or fried with other ingredients. In this recipe, the polenta is mixed with red peppers, celery and spring onions, cooled and cut into fingers. The colours look so pretty. They are then crumbed and fried.

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While cooking the cornmeal, add the grains slowly, otherwise the grains will form lumps. Stir continuously and add a ladleful of boiling water each time it becomes too thick. Cook for 30 minutes or longer if you want a softer textured porridge.

As for the sauce, you can opt for just tomatoes blended with some spices and herbs of your choice. I added the mushrooms and cottage cheese for more taste and variation. You can also opt for canned and peeled tomatoes to save time.

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It takes a little time and patience, but the result is just yummy.

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PREP: 2 hours 45 minutes including cooling time  COOK TIME:  45 minutes  SERVES:  4

Ingredients

  • 1 litre vegetable stock or water
  • 200 g polenta
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped with the stalks
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • ½ small red pepper, finely chopped
  • Plain flour
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten with ½ cup milk
  • 200 g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Mushroom and Paneer Sauce

  • 500 g fresh tomatoes
  • 200 g mushrooms, sliced
  • 200 g fresh paneer, cubed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Place the vegetable stock in a large saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil. If you are using water, then it has to be salted. Strew in the cornmeal slowly from a height to distribute it evenly. The water should remain on boil as you add the grains, otherwise it will form lumps. Once the cornmeal has been added, lower the heat and begin stirring it with a wooden spoon.

Stir the polenta continuously. Keep a pan of boiling water ready. Each time the polenta becomes too thick to stir, add a ladleful of boiling water. Cook for at least 30 minutes, until it acquires an elastic texture and comes away from the sides of the pan. Add the spring onions, red pepper and celery and mix well. Spread into a lightly oiled (12X8 in) shallow pan. Set aside to stand for 2 hours.

Mix the cumin and coriander powder with the breadcrumbs.

Cut the polenta into fingers, toss in flour, dip in egg mixture and then in breadcrumb mixture. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until required.

To make the sauce, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and add the pepper. Add the mushrooms with a little salt. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and the mixture is dry.

Cut the tops of the tomatoes crosswise and plunge in boiling water for a few minutes until the skins start to come off. Drain and cool. Peel the tomatoes and chop them. Add 2 tbsp of oil in a pan, add the onions and garlic and cook until they are soft. Add the curry powder and enough salt.

Add the paneer and mix well. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until it thickens. Add the mushrooms. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook the polenta fingers a few at a time until golden. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper and serve with the sauce. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.