Tag Archives: recipes

Couscous, feta and olive salad

Spinach and ricotta ravioli in a creamy butter sauce, crispy rosemary potatoes, chocolate-layered fresh cream profiteroles… All ready within minutes, all to be found at the chilled isle of your local supermarket, and all for a ridiculously low price. Sometimes it’s just too easy to fall into the habit of eating processed foods.

Does that mean that you shouldn’t eat them? No. Are they all bad for you? Absolutely not. But even though it’s a convenient way to bring a tasty dish to the table, there’s something about homemade foods that make a weeknight dinner an occasion.

couscous feta olive salad

In my view, making food is art. It’s one feeling looking at it, and another actually being an artist. It’s about finding the right balance of taste and presentation, consequently rewarding you with a sense of achievement, recognition from your guests, or just satisfying hunger. There is also an element of challenge to it as it requires the use of a number of skills including creativity, planning, and time management.

Couscous feta olive salad

By no means is this recipe a challenge, it’s really just one of the many examples of effortless ways to have a quick tasty dinner (and lunch the next day).

Ingredients:

1/2 cup couscous (replace with quinoa for gluten free version)

3/4 cup boiling water

A handful of olives

A handful of cherry tomatoes

50g crumbled feta cheese

A couple tablespoons olive oil

A crack or two of black pepper

 

Directions:

1. Pour boiling water over couscous and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. For an extra kick toast couscous with garlic before adding water.

2. Once couscous is ready, combine the ingredients in a serving bowl with a touch of black pepper and olive oil and you’re done!

Couscous feta olive salad

The beauty of autumn: BEST roast pumpkin soup

Because it is not December yet, I am still allowing myself to post about pumpkin. To be honest, so far whenever I looked at this photo, it made me want pumpkin soup. I think I may be a bit obsessed with pumpkin – I even get things delivered to my house with the word pumpkin in the address field!

crazy pumpkin man ltd

Anyway… This recipe has never failed and I have had this many times. If you don’t even cook on a regular basis, you should have most ingredients, apart from, maybe, pumpkin. Of course, if you live in England, you would probably use butternut squash, a cousin of pumpkin. It’s all relative.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash/pumpkin, about 1kg
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
2 onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 chillies, chopped
850ml hot vegetable stock
4 tbsp sour cream (crème fraîche)

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Preparation:

1) If you live in the woods, heat your open-fire to ‘very hot’. Or if you live a more convenient kind of life just heat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

2) You can choose from two difficulty levels :

*QUICKIE- Cut the whole squash into cubes, discard the seeds , then toss in a large roasting tin with oil, salt and pepper OR

*THE BOSS- Cut the top of the squash off, discard the seeds, carve the inside of the squash. Then toss the flesh AND the ‘bowl’ with oil, salt and pepper on a large roasting tin.This way you can actually serve the soup in the same pumpkin, and eat the pumpkin later. LIKE A BOSS.

3) Roast for 30 mins, turning once during cooking, until golden and soft. You can also roast the whole seeds with the same batch: just season, add oil and some chilli. I like to have it “can-you-please-pass-me-a-tissue spicy”.

4) While the squash cooks, melt the butter with the remaining oil in a large saucepan, then add the onions, garlic and chilli. Cover and cook on a very low heat for 10 mins until the onions are completely soft.

5) Once the oven works are done, add the squash cubes to the saucepan together with the stock and sour cream, and simmer until required consistency is reached – I like my soups thick and not too creamy. If you want it silky smooth, just put everything into a blender for a few seconds.

6) Add the puree into the hollow pumpkin, and sprinkle with the spicy seeds.

7) For your next online purchase add “Crazy Pumpkin Man Ltd” as your second line of address for extra pumpkinness.

Roast butternut squash triangles with hazelnut pesto

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Halloween has just passed and I had great fun. Coming from Eastern Europe I never used to celebrate it, however having spent a few years in England I decided to enjoy more holidays, both local and global. Oddly enough, the reason being is the weather. Whenever I travel and come back to UK, I keep questioning how is it possible to live under this daily grey cover above our heads. So here we are in the kitchen on a Friday night, with a nice seasonal butternut squash. Let the party begin!

It is really really simple to make this and the cooking time is perfect: while the butternut squash is roasting, you have enough time to make the pesto… and a cup of tea.

1) You just cut the squash into round slices and trim the sides to make little triangles. DO NOT WASTE ANY PART OF IT! I could have sliced the whole squash, but I carved the thick part and made soup in it. Whatever ‘cuts’ were left, I used them to make the best squash soup, and the seeds – I roasted them too… You know what they say – when life gives you squashes… Roast for 35 min in 200 C. Just don’t forget to rub them in some oil and season with salt and pepper before placing in the oven.

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2) For the pesto you just need to combine the below ingredients, I used pestle and mortar, but you can use a blender if you like.

A quarter of a cup roasted hazelnuts (10 min in 180 C) ;
35g rocket salad, finely chopped;
A tablespoon of grated Parmesan;
A tablespoon of oil.

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3) You can roast the seeds  for 10 mins in 200 C, with just some oil, salt, pepper and chilli. There is a debate going on whether you should eat the seeds whole or hulled, but most of my friends seemed to enjoy the crunchy insoluble fiber provided by the husks…

So there you go, a simple way to enjoy a butternut squash this (and every) autumn/winter.