Courgette, ricotta and onion stuff

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Ok I don’t really like Nigel Slater but he happened to be on the other day and made this deconstructed pesto thingy with courgette. As I wasn’t paying attention, I had to turn to Google for recipe help and came across this lovely Courgette and Ricotta pasta recipe. Luckily for me I had some of the ingredients in the house…by which I mean I had bought both courgette and ricotta and then completely forgot why!

I had mine with some couscous rather than pasta. I was delicious – even Mr-Plummy-Mummy-I-don’t-eat-courgettes agreed so we will be making this again I’m sure and I’ll try to remember the parmesan and lemon zest.

I’ve paraphrased the method below but all credit goes for this yummy dish to the Good Food food writer.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil (I used extra virgin, but plain OO would be fine I’m sure
  • 1 large courgette – sliced with a veg peeler. I discard most of the skin as kiddo wouldn’t eat it
  • 1 escallion – very finely sliced lengthwise.
  • 3 cloves garlic – very finely sliced
  • half a tub ricotta –
  • about 10 leaves of basil (was a bit strong, will use less next time)]
  • Salt and pepper to season

Method:

  • In a dry large frying pan, dry roast the pinenuts. Once browned, take out and leave to cool on a plate
  • Return pan to heat, add oil and fry the escallions and courgettes in the oil over a medium heat until softened
  • add garlic and cook for 2 mins more
  • turn off heat and fold in the basil and pinenuts.
  • Dot in the ricotta – I only used half the tub as felt a full tub would have been too much with couscous. Do it by eye I say

Serve with couscous with roasted red peppers and spring onions

 

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Oven roasted Sicilian aubergine with tomato and feta

As mentioned in my last post, we have had a bit of a revolution in our local Morrisons which now sports a funky new veg section. Including one with a lot of different aubergines – there was Dutch, smaller rounder Indian, purple and white aubergines and a Sicilian aubergine. The latter is just gorgeous looking – check out the vibrant purple and the lovely round shape. I’ve never seen one before and though it cost me £1.69 which is expensive for an aubergine, I couldn’t resist.

According to the Think Sicilysite, the Romans were suspicious when first shown the purple black fruit by Moroccans and dubbed it the “apple of insanity”. Ilove that! That site has some great recipes but as I didn’t have the ingredients, I did my own thing. And my goodness, it was DELICIOUS so have a go. Ingredients:

  • 1 Sicilian aubergine
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4/5 spring onions,
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic
  • 6-7 sunstream tomatoes (or any full flavoured vine ripened tomato). Was about 120g
  • 1/2 chili flakes
  • A small amount of salt to season
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 5/6 fresh basil leaves

Cooking:

     

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade (180 for fan)
  • Wash the aubergine, cut off the stem then slice into 1cm discs
  • Arrange the discs into an oven proof dish and coat with generous amounts of olive oil (I used at least 3 tablespoons)
  • Roast in oven for about 15 minutes
  • Meanwhile, top and tail the spring onions, peel outer layer if manky and slice up green and white parts finely
  • Remove outer layer of garlic and slice finely
  • Wash and chop tomatoes into quarters
  • In a heavy based pan, add 2 tbs olive oil and fry the onions and garlic
  • When they start to caramelise, add the tomatoes, chili flakes and season slightly. As feta is quite salty, you can leave out salt if you wish
  • Remove the aubergine from the oven and pour the onion/tomato mix over the top. Then crumble up the feta and place back into the oven.
  • Roast for a further 15 minutes, then tear up the  basil  and chuck it on on top. Place back in the oven for about 15 /20 minutes until aubergine has cooked through (check every now and again to ensure it’s not sticking to the bottom or burning on top).
  • Serve with warm bread, with pasta, on toasted slices of bread as bruschetta or just on it’s own. Delicious!

Lime and kiwi cheesecake

I recently (re)discovered that hubby likes cheesecake. This was news to me even though we both chose to have the most divine lime pie at our wedding. I decided to have a bash at creating my own version using the delicious Raspberry and Chocolate Cheesecake as inspiration (I made this a few weeks ago it was awesome, I forgot to write it up). Now you skinny Minnies out there, don’t think of the calories, just tuck in – you can always go jogging tomorrow (or in my case Zumba!)

Ingredients

  • 200g digestive biscuits smashed to crumbs
  • 2 tsp / 1 blob of stem ginger cut very finely  (if you don’t have any, use 100g disgestives and 75g ginger nuts instead)
  • 2tsp  sugar syrup from stem ginger
  • 60g melted butter
  • 300g full fat Philadelphia (cream cheese) softened
  • 200ml double cream
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • zest and juice of a large lime
  • 2 kiwis

Equipment

  • a spring loose round tin or flan dish
  • 2 large bowls
  • A wooden spoon and some muscles

Preparation

  • Once you have pulverised the biscuits to very fine crumbs add in the chopped stem ginger and syrup. Mix very well. I used my hands (clean of course) but if you are so lucky, do it in a food processor.
  • Add the melted butter to the mix and stir until it’s combined
  • Put the biscuit mix into the tin and squish down well with a spoon. Use the back of the spoon to flatten the surface
  • In a large bowl mix together the sugar, cream and Philadelphia
  • Stir in the zest and lime juice. Do this bit by bit so that the mixture doesn’t end up too loose
  • Mash/puree the green flesh of two of the kiwis (could pass through a sieve but don’t lose the black seeds). Discard the white central part of the kiwi.
  • Stir kiwis into the cream mix until all of it is well combined.
  • Pour this mixture into the tin and flatten with a spoon.
  • Chill in the fridge for two hours
  • Remove and serve. A nice touch would be to arrange slices of fresh kiwi on the top

Roasted aubergine with feta, chili and spring onion

This recipe was born out of watching Nigel Slater on the beeb recently cooking his Chilli Feta . However, I had a lovely Dutch aubergine to use up so made some adjustments.  I should have googled Nigel’s recipe before I started as I first began with half a red onion which I cooked in a frying pan with a beautiful red chili and some garlic but the red onion did that strange metamorphosis it does when cooked going from something fresh tasting to something very sweet. This sweetness works well in say a quiche, but would not complement either the aubergine or the feta so I ditched that and went for the spring onions. I am also kicking myself for not using thyme which I have in plentiful supply as I have it growing in my garden and on my window sill (cos I forgot what was in the garden and ordered more Dummy!)

Anyway, the end combo with roasted aubergine was delicious. I had to use a green chili as I ran out of red but in future will stock up on red as that would be divine. I hope you try this and enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Dutch aubergine
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 5 spring onions sliced thinly
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 chili (red would be best but I only had green tonight. Also end result wasn’t very spicy so could add 2 chilis if you like it hot)
  • 100g pack feta cheese
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Seasoning to taste

Cooking

  • Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees (fan oven)
  • Cut the aubergine along its length. If you are making dinner for one, then reserve the other half for aubergine shak.
  • Make criss cross marks in it
  • Wipe a little of the olive oil over the aubergine, grease a baking tray and place aubergine with cut side down to roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. It’s ready when the aubergine is tender but not totally mushy
  • While the aubergine is roasting, in a pan heat the remaining olive oil over a medium flame and cook the spring onions, garlic and chili for 2 minutes stirring continuously. Remove from heat.
  • Cut the feta into 2 cm cubes and stir into the onion mix. Also add thyme leaves off the twig and season to taste.

  • Take the aubergine out of the oven and flip onto it’s skin side. There should be enough give to let you push down the flesh. Spread the feta mix on top and put back into the oven for about 5 minutes until the feta has melted and slightly browned on top.
  • Serve with thick oven chips (or fresh bread if you want to be good). Although the skin is edible it will be quite tough so I chose to just scoop out the insides with the chips like a dip. It was very yummy and suitable for either lunch or a light dinner.

BTW if this is too much faff you could just made an American style grill sandwich as I did today with the remaining feta. Take two pieces of bread and butter one side of each. On the non butter side of one crumble up the feta, add 3 chopped spring onions and a chopped chili. Put other piece of bread on top (buttered side facing out) and cook in a frying pan until the buttered sides are nicely toasted and the cheese has melted. DELICIOUS!