Roast vegetable pasta

Roast vegetable pasta

Roast vegetable pasta

Roast vegetable pasta

Great pasta recipes are so good to have around, so print this one and keep it somewhere for anytime healthy pasta that is really so simple it could hardly be called cooking. When you roast vegetables it enhances the natural flavours which when combined with a few little extras is quite incredible. It’s a rustic vegetable pasta that even the most hardened meat eater will love.

What you need

3/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 red peppers seeded and quartered
2 yellow peppers seeded and quartered
400g butternut roughly chopped
250g button mushrooms
500g dry spaghetti
handfull of coriander leaves ripped up
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
Parmesan cheese

The process

Put on your grill and get it really hot.

Place peppers on a baking tray skin side facing the grill and grill until the skin has blackened and blistered. remove from oven and place in a bowl, cover with cling film and let them sweat while you continue.

Reduce the heat to 200 Celsius and place the butternut on the tray, sprinkle with some of the olive oil and bake for 15 minutes. Now open the oven and toss the mushrooms onto the tray, bake for another 10 minutes or so until mushrooms are soft.

Now put your pasta into the largest pot you have of vigorously boiling salted water to cook.

Take the peppers out of the bowl and slide off the blackened skins, it’s a bit messy but so therapeutic.

Chop them up roughly. Chop the butternut a bit smaller and combine all of the vegetables together, add the garlic, lemon juice, lemon rind and Olive oil and mix to combine the flavours.

When your spaghetti is ready drain and return to the pot, add the vegetable mixture along with the coriander leaves and toss it gently.

place in a serving bowl and grate or shave over a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.

This is seriously good. Here are the rest of the pasta recipes

Italian style baked beans

Italian style baked beans

italian-baked-beans

Italian baked beans

Bean dishes are really under rated and this Italian style baked bean recipe with a golden crust is just fantastic. I must confess, I seldom cook beans but the idea that beans on their own can be a meal caught my eye and I just had to try it. They were very tasty but for me would be an accompaniment at a braai. It takes quite a bit of effort but is definitely worth it. It’s very morish. (Party size side dish for about 10 to 12 people or 6 people as a meal)

What you need

400g tin Cannellini beans
400g tin kidney beans, red ones
2 x 400g tins chopped peeled tomatoes
250g bacon chopped
2 medium onions halved and sliced
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
½ cup red wine
1 cup water
Palm chopped Basil
Palm chopped Parsley
2 cups breadcrumbs
Parmesan cheese

The process

Cook the bacon in a pan over a medium to high heat until lightly browned, add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are transparent. Remove from the pan, wipe it with paper towel to remove most of the fat and then return the mixture to the pan.

Add the wine and cook until the wine has reduced by about ½ (5 minutes or so) Stir from time to time. Drain the beans.

Add the tomatoes straight from the tin with all the liquid, the water and the beans. Bring it to the boil and add the parsley and basil, mix to combine evenly.

Place the mixture into a large oven dish and cover with breadcrumbs, leaving about ½ cup till the end. Bake in a 180 Celsius oven for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and with a spoon, partly mix some of the breadcrumbs into the mixture. Now add the last of the breadcrumbs, give it a good sprinkling of grated parmesan and return to the oven for 20 minutes until the top is golden and crisp.

Do I hear gourmet braai? Yes please. italian food lovers, take a look at these pasta recipes

Meatballs with Ratatouille

Meatballs with Ratatouille

Meatballs with ratatouille

Meatballs with ratatouille

This is budget cooking at it’s best that tastes fantastic. The meatballs recipe and the ratatouille recipe can be used together or separately and you can use whatever starch you have available. It’s a great recipe to serve with creamy mashed potato, rice, potato bake or even just some nice warm ciabatta. (4 people)

What you need

Meatballs

1/2kg beef mince
1 small onion finely chopped or grated
1 heaped teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ cup breadcrumbs

For a little something special if you have a lemon in the fridge, finely grate about ½ teaspoon of lemon rind as well.

Ratatouille

1 large onion sliced thickly and halved
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 green pepper sliced
1/2 cup chopped eggplant
1 cup roughly chopped baby marrows
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup vegetable or chicken stock

The process

Mix all of the Meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Take dessert spoons of the mixture and roll them into small balls that you could easily pop whole into your mouth.

In a pan on a medium heat, add a little oil and fry the meatballs until they are nicely browned all over. Give the pan a shake to move them around every now and then. Set aside on kitchen paper to drain.

Heat a little more oil in the pan, add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are soft.

Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and cook them all until the green pepper is quite soft. Now add the tinned tomatoes with all the liquid, the stock and tomato paste, simmer for 10 minutes or so until the sauce thickens up a bit.

Place the meatballs on top of the mixture and simmer for another few minutes to heat the meatballs.

That’s that, serve straight from the pot. Try the meatballs with onion gravy or the spaghetti meatballs while you are making meatballs.

Spinach and potato bake

Spinach and potato bake

Spinach potato bake

Spinach potato bake

Potato bakes are great with almost any meal to give you a tasty starch and adding the spinach may even get the kids eating spinach! Imagine that. It’s a really tasty potato bake recipe that makes any meal something great. Roast a few chicken pieces, cook a few chops or a piece of steak and you have a great meal with this recipe. (4 people)

What you need

250g washed and chopped spinach leaves
4 medium potatoes thinly sliced
250ml cream
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard

The process

Boil some water in a pot and toss in the spinach, allow to soften slightly, this will take about 1 minute.

Drain into a colander. When it is cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water and place in a bowl. Loosen it up a bit ready for the potato bake construction.

Mix together the cream, mustard and garlic.

Lightly butter a 19 or 23cm casserole dish and make a layer of potato on the base. This should use about 1/3 of the potatoes. Top with 1/3 of the spinach and 1/3 of the cream mixture. Repeat 3 times.

Cover you dish with aluminium foil and place in a 170 Celsius oven for 1 hour. Then take of the aluminium foil and bake for another 30 minutes. The top should now be a caramel brown colour.

It’s a no hassle and almost impossible to go wrong recipe that will add something special to any meal.

Enjoy it folks. Here is another potato bake recipe

Potato wedges and dips

Potato wedges and dips

Potato wedges

Potato wedges

Potato wedges or potato skins that are crisp and nicely salted are the perfect little nibble to have around on the weekend and these dips take just a few minutes to prepare, so make a few and dig in. A few years ago you used to see potato skins on pub menu’s all over the place but I don’t seem to see them any longer… pity really. (for as many or as few as you like)

Potato Wedges

What you need

1 large potato per person
Olive oil
Coarse sea salt

The process

Heat the oven to 200 celsius

Slice the potatoes into wedges about 2cm thick at the base and place them in a bowl.

Sprinkle over a little olive oil and give them a toss around to coat the wedges with the oil.

Lightly oil a baking tray and spread the wedges in a single layer, skin side down and bake for 40 – 45 minutes until golden and crisp.

remove from the oven, place in a bowl and sprinkle generously with coarse salt.

If you like them hot, add a pinch of chili powder to the salt.

Potato skins

You will also need about 2 potatoes/ person

First you need to bake the potatoes in a 200 Celsius oven for about 45 minutes until tender.

Then slice the potatoes into wedge shapes that are about 4cm at the base and with a knife remove most of the flesh.

Then place the skins on a lightly oiled baking tray, brush with olive oil and bake again for about 20 minutes until crisp and golden.

Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Serve with Hummus, tahini or a nice olive tapenade as dips.

Try the summer bruschetta as a nice summer snack.

Mushroom starters

Mushroom starters

Garlic mushroom starter

Garlic mushroom starter

Mushroom bruschetta are ideal if you are having people over or want something tastier than chips when watching a great DVD. That Salticracks ad of the beginning of the month, middle of the month, end of the month salticracks got me making these. They are really simple and so tasty. Try to use a combination of different mushrooms to add a different taste level but not necessary. The amount of mushrooms sounds like a lot but remember they reduce quite significantly when cooked.

What you need

1kg mushrooms halved (if you use different types, the size should be about ½ a small button mushroom)
1 targe onion halved and sliced
2 teaspoons garlic
3 heaped tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Basil leaves ripped

The process

Heat a little oil in your pan on a medium heat, add the butter and allow it to foam, now add your onions and cook until soft.

Add your mushrooms and cook until they are beginning to soften and reduce in size. You may need to add a little extra butter as the mushrooms soak it up at a rate. Add a little salt and pepper to taste and toss around for a minute or so.

Remove from the heat and pile up on slices of tasted Italian style bread that has been toasted.

So simple, so tasty.

For the most simple and tasty dessert try the black cherry sauce for ice cream

Vegetable bake

Vegetable bake

vegetable bake

vegetable bake

If there was ever a way to get kids to eat their veggies then this has got to be it. It’s a potato bake version which includes a whole lot of other vegetables with a very tasty and creamy sauce topped off with cheese. It’s a vegetarian meal on its own and you could quite easily add chopped chicken  to it as well for a complete meal.(4 people)

What you need

2 large potatoes sliced
1 cup sliced carrot
1 packed cup washed and chopped spinach
1 cup slice onions
1 cup sliced baby marrows
1 400g tin mushroom soup
2 tablespoons butter
White pepper
Cheddar cheese grated

The process

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius.

Rub the butter onto the base and sides of a 23cm square or similar casserole dish.

Layer the vegetables, starting with a layer of potato and spooning over a thin layer of the soup before the next layer of potato and a little sprinkle of pepper.

If you are adding chicken to it just make an extra layer with the chicken.

Once the dish is full, pour over the rest of the soup and spread it evenly with a spoon. Top of with a layer of grated cheddar cheese and pop into the oven with a lid on for 1/2 an hour. Then remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes.

You could quite easily use broccoli or cauliflower as well, just make 2 different layer types, 1 of potato and the other of the rest of the veg and repeat twice.

This is so easy and tasty it’s worth making every day! Try this Traditional Moussaka recipe for something really special.

Potato bake

Potato bake

potato-bakePotato bake is a must have at any braai and this potato bake recipe is great just as it is or you can add, like I often do, tasty little extra’s like bacon bits and mushrooms or even a little chopped green pepper to liven it up. It’s a really creamy recipe that is definitly not for dieters but with summer almost upon us and the December holiday braai beconing, you will want to keep this one. It really takes little effort and adds so much, make it your own by adding your favorite flavors. (6 people)

What you need

4 large potatoes, thinly sliced
1 large onion finely sliced (optional but recommended)
250ml cream
Granular chicken stock from Ina Paarman or Woolworths or Ina Paarmans potato spice
Butter
Cheddar cheese

The process

Take an oven dish of about 30cm by 20cm and 10cm high, butter it lightly by taking a piece of the butter wrapping or cling film, and spreading the butter over the base and sides of the dish.

Place layers of potato, a light sprinkle of stock and a few onion rings. repeat until you are almost to the top of the dish. (If you are adding bacon bits and mushrooms, cook the bacon first and add a few of each between the layers)

I also put a thin layer of grated cheese in between on every second layer of potato sometimes.

Now pour over the cream, place the lid on or cover with with alluminium foil and bake in a 180 Celsius oven for 40 minutes.

Take off the lid, add a nice layer of grated cheddar cheese and place back in the oven for a further 15 minutes or so until the topping is melted and bubbling.

That’s it braai heaven… Try this butterfly lamb for a nice change around the braai.

Stuffed eggplants

Stuffed eggplants

stuffed-egglantEggplants are a really easy way to create a healthy meal without too much fuss and very little time in the kitchen. I always cook my rice in chicken or vegetable stock these days so I often don’t need much salt if any in my cooking that includes rice.

What you need

2 medium eggplant halved
1 large tomato chopped
1 large onion sliced
125g feta cheese
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 red chili finely sliced (optional)
½ cup cooked rice (optional)
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

The process

Remove the seeds and soft center from the halved eggplants creating a cavity for your filling.

In a pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a medium to low heat add the onions, chili and garlic and cook until onions are soft and beginning to brown. add the tomatoes and cook for a further 4 or 5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened.

Remove from the heat, taste and season with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked rice to a bowl, crumble in the feta and add the mixture from the pan. Mix to combine and then fill the cavities of the eggplants and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Place on a baking sheet in a 180 Celsius oven for 1/2 and hour until the eggplants have softened.

Depending on the size of the eggplants you have used this may vary a few minutes either way.

Bulgar wheat salad

Bulgar wheat salad

cranberry-saladBulgar wheat is a healthy grain usually available from health food section of your supermarket. I buy the Pouyoukas bulgar wheat but there are other brands in supermarkets and most health food stores will stock it. This salad is fantastic using cranberries and pine nuts and is a great dish to compliment pork recipes or as a main meal for vegetarians. (4 people as a main)

What you need

1/2 cup Bulgar wheat
1/2  cup pine nuts toasted
1/2 cup spring onions finely sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 Red onion chopped small
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup chopped parsley or coriander

The process

Place the bulgar wheat in a bowl and pour over hot vegetable stock. Allow to stand for about 20 to 25 minutes until the bulgar wheat is soft and the stock has been absorbed while you prepare the rest of the salad. If there is any stock remaining, drain it off, you don’t want any excess liquid.

In a pan on a low heat, melt the butter and soften the onions.

Add all of the ingredients to the bulgar wheat, toss and you are ready to eat.

You can really go to town wit this recipe, add whatever grabs your fancy like dried peaches instead of cranberries but keep the basics. If you are watching your weight don’t cook the onions, chop them very small.