Saturday, 21 May 2016

Stuffed Vegetables


1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 large tomatoes
2 small–medium aubergines
1 green courgette
1 yellow courgette
6 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2½ tbsp tomato purée
400g/14oz long-grain rice, rinsed
250ml/9fl oz vegetable stock
large handful flatleaf parsley
large handful fresh mint
1 tsp dried oregano
⅛ tsp chilli flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3.
Start by preparing the vegetables for stuffing. Cut the tops off the peppers and tomatoes to create lids, set the tops aside. Scoop out the pepper seeds and discard. Scoop out the tomato flesh and seeds and reserve. Cut the aubergines and courgettes lengthways and scoop out the seeds and flesh inside, leaving a boat-shaped shell ready to fill. Add the flesh from the courgettes and aubergines to the tomato flesh and seeds and chop well.
In a large pan over a medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and fry the onion and garlic for 3–5 minutes until soft. Add the chopped vegetable flesh and the tomato purée. Cook for about 10 minutes until softened.
Add the rice and 150ml/5fl oz of the vegetable stock, raise to a simmer and and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the herbs and chilli flakes.
Arrange the vegetable shells on a roasting tin or ovenproof dish and spoon the rice mixture into them. Place the lids on the peppers and tomatoes and drizzle them all with the remaining olive oil.
Pour the remaining stock into the tin, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 15–30 minutes until the vegetables and rice are cooked.
Serve hot, warm or cold.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Lime and chipotle black bean tacos


For the beans

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
olive oil, for frying
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chipotle paste or 1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 x 400g tins black beans
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salsa

20 cherry tomatoes
½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
few sprigs fresh coriander, leaves picked
½ lime, juice only
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
For the guacamole
1 ripe avocado, stone removed and peeled
1 green chilli
½ lime, juice only
For the sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ carrot, finely chopped
250ml/9fl oz good-quality vegetable stock
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp chipotle paste, or to taste
½ lemon, juice only

To serve

8 wheat or corn tortillas
4 free-range eggs, fried
handful of grated cheese, such as manchego or queso fresco
bunch breakfast radishes, cleaned and chopped
natural, sheep or coconut milk yoghurt (optional)
a few coriander sprigs


For the beans, heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and a splash of olive oil and cook for a minute or so, until the edges of the garlic begin to just brown.
Add the cinnamon, cumin and chipotle paste or chilli and stir for another minute to gently toast the spices. Add the beans and their liquid, bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the liquid has thickened but the beans are still holding their shape. If you need to, add a little hot water to loosen. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

For the salsa, chop the tomatoes roughly on a big board. Pile the chilli and coriander on top, season with salt and pepper and chop all this together. Scrape into a big bowl, add the lime juice and a splash of olive oil and mix well. Set aside.
For the guacamole, mash the avocado in a bowl with a little salt and pepper, the chilli and lime juice. You can use a potato masher or a fork if you like.

For the sweet chilli sauce, heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and carrot for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the stock and all the other ingredients apart from the lemon juice. Simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Allow to cool a little, then transfer to a blender and pulse until smooth. Add the lemon juice, then taste, season with salt and pepper and balance the flavours by adding a little more lemon, chilli or salt if desired.
Once everything is ready, heat your tortillas. I do this by holding them with tongs over the flame of my gas hob – its super quick and gives a delicious charred taste – but the oven will do just fine.
Fill the tortillas with the beans, salsa, guacamole, egg, cheese and radishes. Don’t forget the chilli sauce, coriander and a little yoghurt, if using.