Saturday, 25 October 2014

Boureki - Greek Potato & Courgette Bake

This is another Cretan vegetarian recipe, which is filling and warming - great for the winter months ahead. It does take a long time to cook, so I would suggest making two and freezing one for another meal.
Traditionally, boureki is made with mizithra cheese which is difficult to find in the UK, so I've used feta instead.

Serves 4

  • 2lb/900g (unpeeled weight) baking potatoes
  • 1lb/450g courgettes/zucchini
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped mint or 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped dill leaves or 1 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8oz/200g pack of feta
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ½ pt/280ml hot vegetable stock (made with a stock cube)

Pre-heat the oven to 170C/160C Fan/325F/Gas 3.

Peel and slice the potatoes as thinly as possible. This is best done using a food processor or mandoline slicer.
Thinly slice the courgettes the same way.

Grease an oven proof dish (approx 25x20cm) generously with olive oil and place a layer of courgettes in, slightly over lapping. Repeat with a layer of potatoes and another layer of courgettes. Crumble half of the feta over, and sprinkle with black pepper, half of the mint and half of the dill.
Continue layering up the vegetables, finishing with a layer of potato.

Mix the rest of the herbs into the stock and carefully pour the into the dish over the vegetables.
Top with the remaining cheese, an extra sprinkle of mint and drizzle the remaining olive oil over.
Cover the dish tightly with foil and place in the oven.

Bake for 2-2½ hours until the potatoes are soft (insert a sharp knife into the potatoes, to see if they are tender) - believe me, it will take this long to cook, as I have tried to reduce the cooking time and ended up with under cooked potatoes! 
If liked, remove the foil for the final 10-15 minutes, to brown the top of the boureki. Allow to cool for around 10 minutes before cutting into squares.
Serve with seasonal vegetables or salad.

Seasonal variation: Try swapping the courgettes for sliced squash, pumpkin or celeriac.

Vegan version: Swap the feta for a vegan feta-style cheese. When topping the bake, mix the crumbled 'feta' with the remaining olive oil before sprinkling over the potato, to help stop it from drying out too much.

Slow cooker version: Although I haven't tried this, I reckon this dish could also be cooked in a slow cooker. Follow the recipe above but reduce the amount of stock by half. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Brown under the grill before serving. Do let me know if this works!

I'm linking this recipe up to Ren Behan's Simple and in Season event for October.

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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Spicy Vegetable & Bean Burgers

Spicy Vegetable & Bean Burgers
I've been trying to perfect a spicy bean burger recipe for some time and this is the best version I've made so far, in both flavour and texture. The mixture holds together well without the need for egg, so it's vegan too. My version is slightly chunky, but you could blend the mixture briefly, if you want to hide the vegetable pieces from fussy children!
  • 1 small tin/½ big tin refried beans - approx 8 oz/200g
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 bell pepper, finely diced
  • around ¼ of a butternut squash or 1 sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
  • 1-2 tsp green harissa paste or chilli sauce, optional
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp chopped coriander leaves (I used the frozen type)
  • 2 slices of stale bread, made into breadcrumbs
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/170C Fan/350F/Gas 4,
Put all of the chopped vegetables in a baking dish and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook for around 15-20 minutes turning occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and browned slightly.
Mix in all of the remaining ingredients (except the breadcrumbs). 
Finally mix in enough breadcrumbs to form a firm, but not dry, mixture.

Form the mixture into 4 large burgers, using your hands or a burger press, and chill for at least half an hour to firm up. Fry the burgers in a further 1-2 tbsp olive oil for 6-8 minutes on each side.

Top with salsa, guacamole or ketchup and serve in a bread roll or with chips/sweet potato wedges.

Leftover tip: Make this recipe using any combination of left over boiled or roasted vegetables, to make it even more economical.

I'm linking this post up to the This month's Extra Veg Challenge over at A Mummy Too, created by Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy. 

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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Peanut & Tamarind Falafels for National Curry Week

 The Spice Tailor sauce range
 The Spice Tailor chutni rangeAs you may have realised, my family all love Indian food. So we were excited to find out that Anjum Anand's The Spice Tailor range has now been extended to include a delicious array of curry sauces plus a tasty selection of chutnis. I've been testing out the whole range on my family over the past couple of weeks and they've been really impressed how tasty and authentic the sauces are. I've also loved how quick and easy they are to use.

I've been experimenting with different variations of falafels lately and decided to come up with an Indian-inspired version for National Curry Week, using The Spice Tailor products. I used two varieties from the new chutni range, which are a delicious addition to almost any Asian meal, either as a condiment or as an ingredient.

Makes 12
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 5 tbsp Spice Tailor peanut & tamarind chutni
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 tsp chilli paste/ hot chilli sauce
  • 1-2 slices of wholemeal bread, made into breadcrumbs
Peanut & Tamarind Falafels

Put all of the ingredients, except the breadcrumbs, into a food processor and blend for a minute or so. Scrape the ingredients down from the sides of the bowl and repeat until you have a fairly smooth mixture.
Add just enough breadcrumbs to form a fairly stiff, but not dry, mixture.
Roll into 12 balls and flatten slightly.
Chill in the fridge for around half an hour.

Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large frying pan, on a medium heat.
Cook the falafels for around 4-5 minutes on each side until lightly browned.

Wrap in a chapatti with salad and your favourite dip, sauce or chutney; I served mine with onion salad and mint sauce:

Onion salad
  • 1 tsp Spice Tailor mint leaf chutni
  • 1 small onion, halved and very finely sliced
  • 1" cucumber, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
Indian mint sauce
  • 1 tbsp Spice Tailor mint leaf chutni
  • ½ cup natural or vegan plain yogurt
  • a pinch of sugar, optional
The Spice Tailor range is available from most major UK supermarkets and online.
I received a selection of complimentary products from The Spice Tailor to review and to use in recipe development. All views expressed are my own and those of my family.
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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Spicy Mexican Bean Soup

Spicy Mexican Bean Soup
Autumn has well and truly arrived in England this week, and the nights are drawing in, so I thought that this hearty, protein-packed, bean soup would make an ideal week-night meal. You can make this soup as smooth or chunky as you like, depending on your family's preference. I decided to blend the soup and then add the beans for a bit of texture, but you could blend the whole soup (including the beans), or not blend at all if you want a more rustic, chunky soup.
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced 
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, made with 1 stock cube
  • ¼ cup dried red lentils
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tin beans, drained and rinsed - I used mixed beans but you could use any type
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped coriander
  • a little hot chilli sauce, to taste
Heat a drop of vegetable oil in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic and saute gently for a couple of minutes. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the beans and coriander leaves, and simmer for around 15-20 minutes, until the lentils and vegetables are tender. 

At this point you can blend the soup (I used my tried and tested Optimum 9400 blender) and then add the beans, or vice versa, or don't blend at all!
Return the the soup to the pan for a further couple of minutes to heat the beans through before serving.
Season with hot chilli sauce to taste and sprinkle with the coriander leaves.

Serve with warm home-made bread.

I'm entering this recipe to this month's No Croutons Required Challenge, co-hosted by Jacqui at Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa at Lisa's Kitchen

I'm also adding it to this month's Credit Crunch Munch, created by Helen and Camilla and hosted this month by Hannah at A New Addition

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