Stuffed mini peppers

A bit of a variation this as I’ve made stuffed peppers before. However, the slight change in the recipe has elevated these to a new level as far as hubby was concerned since he polished them off quickly and kept mentioning them all evening. The major changes are to use curry leaves and mini peppers. The mini peppers are so so cute!

I swear I took pictures of the finished article but I cannot find them in my phone or camera. So again, you will have to imagine what it looked like. I absolutely hate when recipes don’t show you what the results are supposed to look like so I apologise…next time I’ll take lots of photos and update here. The filling is cooked before hand in a saucepan, then the filled peppers are roasted in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 mini peppers
  • 200g potatoes – This is the washed and peeled weight.
  • 2 tbs groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 medium onion (dhungri) – peeled, diced very finely
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (adu) – washed, peeled and grated
  • 7-8 curry leaves (limda), central stalk of each leaf removed and then all chopped finely
  • 1 fresh green chili (lilly murchu)
  • 1 tsp salt (nimak)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (lal murcha)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (hurder)
  • 1/4 tsp coriander cumin powder (dhana jeeru)
  • 2/3 tbs olive oil

Preparation:

  • Wash the peppers, then slice off the stalk end and scoop out the innards
  • When I cooked them, I found the filling was oozing out of all the peppers except the one I had slit down the side by mistake. So slit each on down one side

 

  • Have the  roasting dish ready with the olive oil smeared over the bottom
  • Dice the potatoes and them boil to the point a knife goes through them easily but they aren’t too watery. Mash in a bowl and set aside to cool.

Cooking:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees (160 degrees fan oven)
  • In a heavy based pan, heat oil. Once warm add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle
  • Add onions and cook until they are golden brown (about 5 minutes on med heat, stir often)
  • Add the curry leaves, ginger and chopped chili to the mix and cook for a minute or so
  • Add the spices, cook for another minute or two stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  • Take off the heat and mix into the mash. At this point taste the mixture to check seasoning. Add more salt if necessary
  • Fill each pepper with 2/3 tsp of the mix and lay flat in the roasting dish. I had a few spoons left over so just rolled them into small balls and put into the roasting dish too
  • Place in oven to cook. I cooked until the peppers skin starting to char but not so they were too soft (about 20 minutes in my oven). Turn each pepper half way through cooking so that both sides get charred slightly.
  • Serve with rice or a salad.

 

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Paneer, chickpeas and sweet pointed peppers shak

This is one of those cupboard-raiding recipes that ends up being bloody delicious! It’s a variation of the Paneer Jalfrezi for people who don’t have enough peppers. I wasn’t sure that the chickpeas would work with the paneer as they are both rather subtle in flavour but the pepper really lifts the dish and the roasted cashews add a nice crunchy surprise.

Ingredients:

  • 6 green cardamoms
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 tbs ground nut oil
  • 1 large bayleaf
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion diced finely
  • 2 tbs ginger – garlic paste (made with 2 inches grated ginger and 4 cloves garlic minced then mixed together to form a paste)
  • 1 large green chili chopped finely
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin coriander powder
  • 400g organic chickpeas – drain water and rinse
  • 2 organic sweet pointed peppers – cut off stalk, remove seeds and slice into thin julienne strips
  • 1 block paneer cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 3 tomatoes diced finely
  • 1 tbs tomato puree
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • Handful of cashew nuts – dry roasted in a pan before hand to make them slightly crunchy
  • Juice of half lemon

Cooking:

  • Put a large sauce pan or frying pan on medium heat and dry roast the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom until they start to smoke slightly. Remove and set aside for later
  • Add oil to the pan, once it is heated add the bay leaf and cumin seeds
  • When seeds start to sizzle add onions and cook until they start to brown, stir frequently to prevent sticking
  • Spoon in the ginger/garlic paste, chili, cloves, cinnamon and cardamoms – stir for a minute or so until the ginger/garlic starts to go a light brown
  • Now add the chili powder, cumin/coriander, turmeric and sugar. Keep stirring and cook for a minute or so until the mix is all well combined
  • Add the chickpeas and peppers stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the peppers begin to soften. Stir frequently.

  • Add the paneer, tomatoes, tomato puree and curry leaves. Mix thoroughly. Turn heat down to low – medium and cook for 5-8 minutes. Check every few minutes and stir.
  • It is ready for salt and lemon when the tomatoes are mushy. Add salt and lemon to taste.
  • Throw in the cashew nuts, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Serve with basmati rice and nice glass of wine. Yum, yum,  yum!!

Tomatoes, fried rice, noodle soup and banana bread

Not all in the same dish but all scoffed today. I’ve been stuck at home waiting for a delivery. Apart for moaning rather loudly, I used the time to do home food. We picked two very red tomatoes off my daughter’s tomato plant. She was given the plant as a tiny thing from Greenslade nursery and over summer we have watched it grow. It survived the move to Scotland and has in fact flourished with many new tomatoes appearing on the plant even though I’ve not been feeding it. The tomatoes at the bottom appeared rather early but took forever to turn red – mainly as I had them indoors and didn’t know they need to be out in the fresh air and sun to redden.

Anyway, here we are – a tomato salad according to my daughter consists of errr, ummmm, tomatoes!

She nibbled one before reminding us that she in fact, did not eat tomatoes (unbeknownst to her she does as mummy hides tomatoes in sauces). So hubby and I ate the “salad” with a sprinkling of sea salt. Not the tastiest tomatoes we have ever had but easily the best if you know what I mean.

Next step was egg fried mushroom rice and tofu for daughter’s dinner – so yum that I had to have a small bowl too. A good way to use day old rice. Easily made by frying spring onion and ginger in a large frying pan, adding mushrooms and cooking until they reduce, add the rice and stir carefully to prevent it all sticking together but to make sure all the rice is covered with the mushroom mixture . Push mixture to the side and add in the beaten egg mixed with a little toasted sesame oil, scramble it then combine with rice mixture and cook for a few minutes more. I added a little dash of dark soy to improve the taste and colour. She scoffed a lot with a side dish of fried tofu.

Dinner for hubby and I was a noodle soup. It’s an impromptu dish I’ve made a couple of times with what was available in the fridge. Today we had spring onions and ginger fried, added a thinly sliced orange pepper, some pak choy, sweetcorn (kernels not baby sweetcorn as i find that tasteless) and mange tout. The soup was made with a big glug of Gourmet Garden Thai Fresh Blends mix and about a cup of water. I cooked this for about 5 minutes on medium heat then added in fried tofu, and some thick straight to wok udon noodles and dark soy sauce. Cooked until the pak choy had wilted. At first I didn’t really like the Gourmet Garden taste – it was too bland especially compared to the  Schwartz Lemon Grass, Ginger and Coconut tube I’ve used before. However, as it cooled, and with a dash of light soy sauce, it improved.

We would have had a lot more tofu for the soup but my little one loves the stuff straight out of the packet and just as much fried. She thought it was hilarious to sneak past me all afternoon nicking bits and stuffing them in her mouth.

The Gourmet Garden sent me hurtling back to my youth – while I was trying to google whether it is vegetarian, a restaurant came up called the Gourmet Garden in Hendon. I grew up in a flat that was directly opposite the restaurant and could see it and a lot more of the high street from my window. Silly things like this always bring a soppy tear to the eye.

This is turning out to be a long post and it’s not over yet. I’ve been promising to make banana bread for a few days. A lot of stay at home mums I know make banana bread and as long as you don’t have it every week, it’s bloody tasty. I’ve already scoffed a fifth of it – so a huge thankyou to my friend J.R. as she sent me her version of a Delia recipe. It’s fantastic. I’m going to have to work extra hard in the Zumba class tomorrow night!!

Stuffed pointed red pepper

I normally stuff bell peppers but tonight tried out some pointed red peppers and now they are my favourite. The taste didn’t seem as strong as the bell and I liked the way it complemented the spicy filling

Ingredients

  • 2 pointed red peppers
  • 35g brown rice (this is the uncooked weight).
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 1 medium brown onion diced finely
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 2 tbs groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 green chili chopped finely
  • 1 tsp salt (nimak)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (murcha)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (hurder)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin coriander powder (dhana jeeru)
  • Lemon juice to taste

Preparation

  • Wash and dry peppers. Chop off stalk end and then cut a slit along 3/4 of the length of each pepper. Take out the seeds
  • Cook the rice according to the packet instructions and allow to cool. Day old rice would work very well.
  • Peel and dice the potatoes. Cook until you can just slide a knife in but they aren’t mush. Allow to cool.

Cooking

  • Pre-heat oven to 185 degrees centigrade (200 degrees if non fan oven)
  • In a saucepan, heat oil over medium flame. Add the cumin seeds
  • Once seeds are sizzling add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add ginger and chili and cook for a further minute
  • Add the spices
  • Stir in the rice, potatoes and lemon juice and mix well
  • Allow to cool slightly
  • Stuff the peppers with the mixture making sure you shove it into the pointed end
  • Place on an oil baking tray with the stuffed part on top (so the stuffing doesn’t fall out!)
  • Cook for 20 to 30 minutes until the pepper skin softens and starts to blacken slightly
  • Serve with a large salad