Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a fancy (and hard name to say) French provincial stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice.

This vegetable stew is tasty and substantial, and carefully  seasoned just before it finishes cooking brings out the flavours.

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced or crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 cups sliced zucchini
  • 1-2 green peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2-3 cups diced eggplant
  • 1/4 cup light Olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped and peeled tomatoes, substitute canned for fresh in the winter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried basil or oregano
  • salt, pepper and sugar
  • chopped parsley

Take a large frying pan and fry the onions and garlic in oil until just coloured very slightly.

Add the zucchini and peppers. Cook over a moderate heat, turning the vegetables,  from time to time, for about 5-10 minutes.

Remove vegetables from the pan and brown the eggplant in the second measure of oil. Add the partly cooked vegetables, along with the tomatoes.

Cover pan with a lid, after adding basil or oregano. Cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes, then season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

**I add a dash of black sauce for a little bit of heat

**If serving hot, thicken with a little cornflour paste

**Quantities of vegetables may vary, and zucchini, peppers or eggplant can be left out (not all of them though :))

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Now I love Ratatouille as a side dish with grilled or poached chicken…last nights supper below.

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And it makes a super delicious breakfast with a poached egg – that’s my breakfast sorted for tomorrow!

Super tasty with a grilled sausage, poached fish, or room temperature as a salad. Give it a try especially now when eggplants are so inexpensive – $.99 cents at my local green grocer this weekend.

If you enjoyed this eggplant dish try Eggplant Parmesan – another favourite!

Happy healthy cooking xx

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Cauliflower Rice

I heard my favourite radio DJ’s talking about how great Cauliflower Rice was; I nodded in agreement as I drove to work. Polly had not heard of this and asked “How do you make rice from cauliflower?”

There are two the techniques for making cauliflower rice. You can either use a grater traditionally used for cheese, or a food processor with the grate blade to blitz it into small pieces.  With both techniques you’re aiming for little pieces.

One you have your cauliflower rice, it’s super easy to cook! Simply sauté in a large pan over a medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Use the lid to cover so the cauliflower steams and becomes tender.  Cook for 5-8 minutes stirring occasionally, then season to your taste.

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Late last year the cauliflower rice ‘fad’ hit the news and I climbed onboard that train with many others. It’s light and fluffy, like couscous, but totally healthy – and very simple to make.

I have discovered subsequently leftover uncooked ‘rice’ freezes beautifully – I whipped up some Cheesy Cauliflower Waffles from leftovers a couple of months ago.

Not only is this a super healthy alternative to traditional rice, it is much quicker to cook – and the kids love it 🙂

Happy cooking xx

Eggplant Parmesan

I discovered eggplant last year, and when it is not so ridiculously priced ($5.00 each!) I make sure to pick one up with my fruit & vegetable shopping. I have found them to be a vegetable that I can use to ‘make something quick and tasty from nothing’ if you know what I mean?

Eggplants, or ‘Aubergines’ if you feel like being fancy and French! are considered a fruit – and is related to the tomato and the potato. It is used in many different cuisines, including curries and one of my favourites chutney.  I made a very tasty chutney last year:  Chutney Anyone? So Easy & So Delish!

Eggplant is often stewed and I have made my version of the French ratatouille which is diced onions, tomatoes courgettes, capsicums with garlic, marjoram and basil all piled into a pan and cooked! Very simple and really good with a poach egg on top for a quick and easy breakfast.

This recipe does take a little prep time, however is well worth it. It makes a nice side dish to a steak, or grilled chicken breast and is equally happy being the centre of attention – the main course for a happy vegetarian 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into circles about 1cm thick
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup Italian or whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 cups chunky marinara sauce
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c
  2. Pour milk into a shallow bowl and bread crumbs onto a plate. Dip each slice of eggplant in the milk, moistening each side. Then press on to bread crumbs making sure both sides are thoroughly coated. Place slices on a baking sheeted tray and bake until tender: about 25 minutes.
  3. Spoon some marinara sauce, about 1/4 cup, onto the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Add a layer of eggplant slices and cover with more sauce. Sprinkle some mozzarella over the sauce, then repeat the layering until your’ve reached the end of your eggplant slices. Top the slices with the last of the sauce and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let the eggplant set for about 10 minutes before serving.

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If you are feeling adventurous try my Ratatouille dish out. Delicious vegetables that will please any palate!

Happy cooking xx

 

One Pan Spanish Wild Rice

I cook without meat at least once a week: as I have got older I find red meat especially less agreeable with my tummy. At the same time it is often quicker to put together a nice tasty vegetarian dinner.

During the week having something quick and easy to create for the family is always a bonus. This One Pan rice dish gets a big ‘taste tick’ – and covers off a couple of food groups too. Vegetable, carbs, and protein – now I call that quite well-rounded!

Nothing easier to clean up after then a meal in one pan!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Wild Rice (or 1 cup white rice)
  • 2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock or water if vegan)
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan (I used my wok!). Add garlic and sauté until the kitchen is smelling of garlic 🙂

Add diced onion and cook until soft. Add diced tomatoes and cook them until they soften for about 4-5 minutes.

Add spinach, beans, rice and cook for a few minutes, mixing well. Add chicken stock, vegetable stock or water and bring to the boil.

Season with curry powder, salt & pepper.

Simmer the rice mix for 25-30 minutes (or until the rice is tender) on a low heat with a lid on the pan.

Turn off the heat and serve warm.

*Notes:

1. I used this very cool ‘Wild Rice’ – this is blended red, black and brown rice. I have been trying to use brown rice rather than white to reduce the carbohydrates at our place. It did take longer to cook than white rice-use whatever rice you have in the pantry for this recipe.

2. As tomatoes get more expensive (out of season) swap out for a can of tomatoes and reduce the amount of liquid you add.

Do give this one-pan dish an opportunity to give your palate a taste sensation – and a 30 minute mid-week meal option gives you time for the important stuff of life. A cup of tea and an episode of Grey’s Anatomy!

Happy cooking xx

Confetti Couscous

What on earth is ‘Confetti  Couscous” I hear you say! What it is not is small pieces of coloured paper tossed in couscous!

This is a fabulously quick & easy side dish for any protein; fish, beef, lamb or chicken. I whip this up when I am feeling too lazy to wash and peel potatoes (or it is carb-free night and I’m cheating!)

Couscous is so easy to cook.

1/2 cup of boiling water to 1/2 cup of dry couscous. In a bowl combine couscous, boiling water, 1 tbsp butter and a pinch salt. Cover and leave tis and for 5-10 minutes. Use a fork to fluff up the grains.

While the couscous is ‘cooking’ heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan

Chop 1 small red onion and add to the pan and cook until soft. Next add chopped capsicum, courgettes…and literally whatever else you have in the vegetable drawer that is quick to cook.

I had a fresh sweetcorn that I sliced the kernels off and added to this cook.

Season well with fresh cracked pepper and salt. Add cooked couscous to the pan and mix  to combine. A handful of chopped parsley adds colour, texture and flavour if you have it on hand.

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When I have more time, I roast orange kumara (sweet potato) or pumpkin that I have chopped into 2cm chunks; use runny honey or even maple syrup drizzled over the vegetables and season. Roast for about 20 minutes until the kumara/pumpkin is soft.

Dried cranberries are also a great addition – bottom line is this is a side dish that  you can make your own with your favourite vegetables.

Happy confetti tossing? xx