Spicy chilli, butternut squash, feta and mint bulgar wheat salad

This is a great quick recipe for an evening. Usually we would make up enough to take for packed lunches the following day. 
 
  • cooked bulgar with chopped chilliApproximately 80g per person of bulgar wheat
  • 500ml of stock per 100g bulgar wheat – can be veggie, chicken, mushroom
  • Medium-sized butternut squash, cut up into 1cm cubes
  • 3-4 tbsps olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey or brown sugar (depending on what you have)
  • 1 large chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Block of feta
  • Handful of mint chopped or torn
  1. Put the bulgar wheat and stock into a saucepan and bring to simmer, cover and leave for approximately 15 minutes. We stirred a couple of times to make sure the bulgar wheat didn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. You will be able to tell when the bulgar wheat is cooked, it will be fluffy – a bit like is couscous when it’s ready.
  2. Lightly coat the butternut squash in olive oil and roast the  in the oven (around 180ºC -200) until starting to crisp and brown up nicely (about 20 minutes). Take them out, stir and return to oven for another 5-10 minutes. Then drizzle the  1 tbsp maple syrup over the squash and put back in the oven for another  5-10 minutes – watching carefully so they don’t burn. 
  3. Now you can assemble the salad – add the butternut squash (including all the oil and juices from the roasting pan) and the bulgar wheat in a bowl. Then add the chopped mint, chilli, another tablespoon of maple syrup or honey, 2 tbsps olive oil, season with salt and pepper and crumble in the feta and you’re ready to serve.
Suggested variations:
Instead of feta and maple syrup, use goat’s cheese and honey.
Instead of bulgar wheat, use any barley or buckwheat for the nutty flavour.
Try it with the addition of some North African spices – harisa, cinnamon etc.

Spicy chilli, butternut squash, feta and mint bulgar wheat salad in pictures

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One way with carrots – carrot fritter recipe

And not the wicked ones, unless you’re that way inclined. There was a recipe in one of the free London papers a few weeks back, that was adapted from its rather bland first appearance.

In case it isn’t obvious, here’s the carrot fritter recipe:

  • 6 medium carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of plain brown flour
  • Generous amounts of fresh corriandar
  • 2 tbsps cumin seeds
  • salt and pepper to season

It doesn’t take much by way of explanation. Quite frankly you just mix the lot and spoon fritter-sized amounts into a pan of hot veg oil. Then shallow fry, and prompty follow this up by draining off all that healthy oil on a piece of kitchen roll. It’s really very simple.

In pictures:

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Ben would eat this one, it tastes rather dandy.

Probably the best veggie burger courtesty of…

Martha fricking Stewart. A little sloppy-Joe in consistency, but tastes damn fine – so much so that it got two avid meat fans reaching for bun number two. Served it up with the usual melted, sharp cheddar and salad.

This burger recipe is multifaceted however, a discovery made upon making too much mix for three people. So with the left-overs we made small, falafal-sized balls, lightly fried them and made some darned fine pitta filling, served up with home-made houmous and spicy tomato ketchup.

Fried quinoa balls with houmous and salad

Fried quinoa balls with houmous and salad

The houmous consisted of:

  • 2xcans chickpeas
  • 4xcloves of garlic
  • 1xlemon
  • 2xtbsps tahini
  • 2xtps cumin seeds
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Rinse the chickpeas and put in blender
  2. Add the pealed cloves garlic, cumin seed, a squeeze of the lemon, the tahini and a drizzle of the oil
  3. Blend it up
  4. Add more oil according to how you want the texture – smoother = more oil
  5. Season to taste, adding more lemon/cumin/pepper/tahini/salt and pepper as so desired

If you don’t have a blender it is possible to pummel the chickpeas and associated ingredients in a pestle and mortar. You won’t get the same consistency but still the same idea.

Salad lunch with sesame seeds

Salad lunch with sesame seeds

Pittas were assembled with a generous layer of houmous, finely chopped red onion, cucumber, red pepper, rocket, the fried quinoa balls, yoghurt and spicy ketchup. Pittas, houmous and salad made a superb lunch the following day as well.

We need to diversify the freezer

What better way to begin a food blog, than with some food. Clearly I’m not offering food right now for eats,  just the stuff you see in photos rather generously accompanied by details on how to make it.

Fried aubergine and courgette with rocket salad

Fried Courgette and Aubergine

Let’s call this one “Fried&Floured, Courgette&Aubergine & a little bit of everything else”. Let’s also call it less of a name and more of a description.

Simple as:

  • 2 x courgettes
  • 1 x aubergine
  • White flour
  • 2 handfuls of rocket
  1. Slice up courgette and aubergine.
  2. Lay out and salt both sides.
  3. Rinse the salt.
  4. Dry on kitchen roll/towel.
  5. Season white flour with cumin, corriander, pepper.
  6. Coat each slice.
  7. Fry each slice in a pan (1cm veggie oil approx) until golden.
  8. Lay out on kitchen roll.

Then serve with rocket, houmous, yoghurt (obviously minus this for a vegan version) and chilli sauce or whatever you fancy/have laying around.

This happened to use up a lot of left-overs out of the fridge, so was really quick and was promptly woofed down by two hungry Londoners. Not to mention I’d already eaten a slice of cake upon arriving home. It’s a new thing, dessert first.

We’re diversifying the freezer by means of introducing more things (other than soup) to it. This meal brought about that revelation, so I thought it only fitting to title this post as such.