Posts Tagged ‘Tomatoes’

Grilled Halloumi and Courgette with tomato and mint salsa

August 18, 2010

Grilled Halloumi with Courgette tomato and mint salad

I kind of feel like it is a bit of a con writing this recipe as it is so very very easy. It is inspired by my friend Sophie who served me delicious grilled courgettes with a tomato and onion salsa at a BBQ a while ago and also by my lovely friend Rima who is the most amazing Lebanese cook ever!!! This is such a lovely summery meal you could serve it as a starter or as a light lunch with some lovely hot pita bread.

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 medium sized courgettes
1 block of Halloumi
4 large ripe tomatoes
1 small red onion
1 sprig of fresh mint
1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

Method

To make the salsa – remove core and finely dice tomatoes. Finely dice red onion and add to a bowl with tomatoes. Add juice of lemon, cumin, paprika, finely chopped fresh mint and season to taste.

Cut courgettes length wise leaving on the tip and tail. Brush with olive oil and char grill until “striped” by the grill and cooked but still with bite (a little firm).

Take a dry non stick frying pan and heat on medium/high.

Slice Halloumi into 1/2 cm slices and fry until golden brown on each side.

Serve Halloumi and warm courgette topped with spoonfuls of the tomato and mint salad.

I am dribbling thinking about this…..

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Quick and easy spinach, tomato and Parmesan omelette

May 27, 2010

Spinach tomato and Parmesan omelette

Omelette is one of those things that vegetarians get for dinner when people don’t know what to cook for a vegetarian. Flooded in cheese and resembling a big greasy rubbery frisbee – delicious (note heavy sarcasm).

It just doesn’t have to be that way.

A good omelette is fabulous. It’s quick and tasty.

I don’t make them very often and when I do it is usually for breakfast – it kind of feels like a bit of a cop-out to make it for dinner.

The success of a good omelette, I believe, lies in the pan. It has to be a good non stick frying pan or omelette pan.

Another essential is not to over cook the omelette. It will keep cooking when it is on the plate so make sure that you remove it from the heat before it is “ready”.

Anyway I cooked a cracking omelette the other day and thought I would share it with you, I had it for breakfast but I won’t judge you if you want to cook it for dinner – honestly.

Ingredients

3 free range eggs
Approx 100 grams of baby spinach
1/2 medium red onion
1 ripe tomato
Parmesan (Reggiano or Padano)
Olive oil and/or butter
Salt and pepper

Finely dice onion and saute in frying pan with a little olive oil, a little knob of butter and a pinch of salt.

Sauted onion

When cooked through and soft add tomato diced.

Add tomato

Crack eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk with a fork. Add a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

Add roughly chopped spinach

Roughly chop spinach and add to the frying pan with the onion and tomato, cook until wilted then remove from the pan.

Wipe out frying pan and add a little more butter and olive oil.

Pour eggs into pan and stir a little

Pour egg into pan and stir a little bit.

Sprinkle Parmesan on omelette

Sprinkle about a tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan onto the omelette and place the spinach down the middle and then fold over.

Add spinach

Pop onto a plate and eat immediately.

Gemista – Greek slow cooked stuffed vegetables

May 27, 2010

Gemista

I am on a roll with Greek food. No matter where I go I seek out Greek restaurants hoping that they will have an old Greek granny in the kitchen making traditional Greek food.

Unfortunately more often than not I am disappointed. One of the best Greek restaurants I have ever been to was actually not in Greece. It was in Balmain in Sydney and was called Artemis’s Village.

For many years it was my favourite restaurant. I felt like I was having dinner at my Greek friends house eating proper “home cooking”.

Great Spanakopita (spinach and cheese pie) and Tiropita (cheese pie), amazing Saganaki prawns (large fresh prawns in a garlicky tomato sauce with chunks of feta dotted through) and Gemista (stuffed veg).

Unfortunately Artemis (the Greek mama in the kitchen) retired and the family sold the restaurant. It was taken over but was never the same….sob sob.

I judge all Greek restaurants on the quality of their Gemista.

Firstly I will not even bother going into the restaurant unless they have Gemista and secondly it must be vegetarian – why do some restaurants put mince in their stuffed veg – yuck!

I have successfully made stuffed tomatoes many times before but have been unsuccessful with my stuffed peppers. So I had a little google search the other day and scanned a few recipes. One thing I picked up from my searches was once the peppers were stuffed and put in the oven a glass of water was added to the roasting dish. This makes the peppers nice and soft and also prevents them burning.

With this new piece of culinary genius I had to tackle stuffed peppers one more time.

Ingredients

8 large ripe tomatoes (6 for stuffing and 2 for the sauce)
2 large courgettes
6 small to medium peppers (I used red and yellow ones)
2 medium brown onions
4 large cloves of garlic
1 large glass of dry white wine
Small bunch of flat leaf parsley
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Approx 1 dessert spoon of fresh thyme leaves
250 grams of Arborio rice
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

Pre heat oven to 190 degrees celsius.

Onion and garlic into the pot

Finely dice onions and garlic and saute in a heavy based pan with about 4 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Scooping out the inside of tomatoes

Cut the “bums” off 6 of the tomatoes to make a lid, scrape out the insides of the tomatoes and add to a bowl.

Sprinkle with salt and leave upside down on a plate.

Peppers deseeded and caps cut off

Cut the tops off the peppers and discard the seeds. Sprinkle with salt and place upside down on the plate alongside the tomatoes.

Removing the centres of the courgettes

Cut the courgettes into 3 leaving the stem on, carve out the middle of the courgette, chop and keep to the side. Sprinkle inside with salt and add to plate.

Once onions and garlic are cooked, soft and sweet with no colour add the rice and stir through until coated with oil.

Add wine to rice, onions and garlic

Add wine and reduce.

Chopped tomatoes added to the rice mix

Chop up the insides of the tomatoes and the 2 left over tomatoes and add to the pot with the chopped up courgette insides too.

Turn the heat down and simmer until the rice has cooked for about 10 mins. Try not to add water there should be enough liquid. However if it is really drying out you can add a splash of water (make sure the heat is not on too high).

The rice should be cooked but still have quite a bite too it (more of a bite than you would have with a risotto).

Add chopped herbs

Finely chop the parsley and mint and add to the rice along with the thyme leaves.

Taste rice for seasoning add salt and pepper if you need.

Stuffing peppers with rice

Stuffing courgettes with rice mix

Fill the tomatoes, peppers and courgettes with the rice mix and put the lids on the peppers and tomatoes – make sure you do not over fill the veg as the rice will continue to expand as it cooks in the oven and it may split the skins.

Stuffed veg ready for the oven

Pack stuffed vegetables into a ceramic dish with at least 5 cm sides.

Add a glass of water and a drizzle a good quantity of olive oil over the veg.

Pop it in the oven for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until the peppers are soft/collapsed.

Stuffed peppers, tomatoes and courgettes

I covered mine with foil for the 1st half of the time so that it steamed too but you do not have to do this.

Gemista

Serve with a green salad and a glass of chilled red wine.

Close your eyes and think of Greece……