Tag Archives: vegetarian

courgette and fennel "cottage pie"

courgette, fennel and potato

Using up: fennel, courgette, potato

Chopped a courgette into chunks, and the other half of the fennel into thin slices, and chopped an onion.  All into a frying pan with some olive oil, and left to sauté down.  I left it for 20 minutes, but I think it would have been better to either put a lid on it, or left it another ten – the end result was quite crunchy.

While this is going on, I boiled some spuds for mash,

Added a tin of tomatoes to the vegetable mix, a dash of salt and a good grinding of black pepper, and cooked for another 6-7 minutes.

The spuds were mashed with a combination of Red Leicester and gruyere cheeses (that’s odd – why did I capitalise the red leicester and not the Gruyere?), with some reserved for the topping. With hindsight, I thought it was too much cheese – either in, or on – but Pete thought it was just right.  We also added some chopped chives to the mash.

Veg/tomato mix into an ovenproof dish, top with mash, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cook at gas 6 for about 20 minutes.

thai vegetable curry

thai vegetable curry

Using up: butternut squash, green beans, courgette

This is vaguely based on a recipe I saw on Come Dine With Me, a television programme here in the UK.  I was very struck by the potato element, which is:

One potato, boiled then cut into dice and deep fried.  Set aside for now.

Made a paste by blitzing a chopped onion, 3 cloves of garlic, about a square inch of ginger, a stalk of lemongrass, a dried chilli,  half a teaspoon of salt, and a tablespooon each of lime juice and  olive oil in a blender, and pureéd until it was transformed into a smooth paste.

veg for Thai vegetable curryPeeled the butternut squash that had been lurking in the fridge for a couple of weeks, removed and discarded the seeds, looked at it and realised it was *way* too much for this curry and returned half to the fridge.  Watch this space to see what I decide to do with the rest! Chopped the flesh of the remaining half into 1/2 inch cubes.  The green beans had been topped and tailed on Friday, and I chopped the courgette into smallish chunks too.

Put the paste into a large pan or wok and fried it gently for a couple of minutes, stirring all the while.

Added the veg, and stirred them about a bit, to coat them with the paste, then hurled in a tin of coconut milk. Put a lid on it, and simmered it for about 20 minutes, then uncovered it and cooked for about another 10. I added the fried spud a few minutes before the end (crystal ball job).

Ate accompanied by noodles cooked with a few drops of sesame oil.  I cannot begin to tell you how nice it was – it was ambrosial, utterly lovely.  The squash had started to break down, and had a texture that I can hardly describe.

This made enough to feed the two of us, with another meal’s worth gone into the freezer.

a simple veg stir fry

before and after

Stir fries are indeed quick to cook, but they are not necessarily quick to prepare. The secret is to do all the prep first, as the cooking is very swift. For this one:

Take one red pepper, some rather tired mushrooms, two courgettes, and chop up as you will.

Finely chop ginger and garlic – we usually use an old Braun Multipractic for this; I’ll be heartbroken when it dies, because the new ones are horrible in comparison.

Finely chop spring onions and a red chilli (we only had green, but red is better, in my view), and leave them to one side for the end. Ditto some basil leaves ready to be shredded.

Boil some noodles for however long they say, then drain in a colander, and pour cold water over them to stop them sticking.

Then let battle commence! Heat some oil in a wok until is Very Hot. Hurl in the garlic and ginger, stir about for a minute or so. Add the pepper, courgettes and mushrooms, and stir fry for a few minutes. Then add a splash of lime juice, and some tamari. Bung in the noodles and stir around until they’re warmed, then add the chopped chilli, spring onions and torn basil, and stir until they’re just combined – you don’t want to cook them.

Decant into bowls and scoff; a really nice, light summer supper.

broccoli stirfry

broccoli stir fry

Another of those deceptively simple meals, which take less time than required to phone for a pizza.

Take some (lots?) of broccoli, remove the florets from the stems, and boil/simmer/steam for about seven minutes.  Drain.

Peel and chop some garlic – we like Lots, so we did about four fat cloves; you might not want so much (how odd).

This is important when you’re stir-frying – fetch out everything you might need before you start; it’s a swift process ad things can go pear-shaped before you blink.  So, for this one: tamari, sesame oil, oyster sauce, sesame seeds, the aforementioned broccoli.

And spring onions and red chilli, chopped up.

At some point in these proceedings, you’ll need a pan of boiling water and some noodles too.

Groundnut oil in a wok, heat, add garlic and sesame seeds; stir about a bit.  Add broccoli, pre-steamed.  Stir about some more.  Add a sloosh of oyster sauce, a sloosh of tamari.  Sort noodles – two minutes, how hard can it be?

Serve in bowls, scatter with chilli and spring onions.  If we’re being conservative, this took 25 minutes from starting to denude the broccoli.  Do you really want to buy convenience food?!