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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

Recipes with salt

26Mar 12

Broccoli Feta Rice

Broccoli Feta RicePerfect for when you need a quick and easy, but still tasty and healthy, meal for unexpected dinner guests. This Broccoli and Feta Rice dish is a family favourite that’s sure to please even the pickiest of palettes.  I came up with this one summer evening a few years back when we organized a spur of the moment dinner party with some friends we’d invited over for drinks, only to realise that purple sprouting broccoli, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese were quite literally the only things I had in the fridge!  After a quick inspection of the cupboards I found a bit of Basmati Rice and inspiration struck!  Not much more than 20 minutes later and we were happily stuffing our bellies with this tangy, cheesy delight.

Ever since that day, this has been my “go to” dish for any last-minute meal requirements.  As an alternative you can replace the cherry tomatoes with sun-dried tomatoes, preferably the kind that come in a jar with olive oil.  If you have the loose, dry kind, be sure to rehydrate them in hot water with a little olive oil before adding them to the mix.  Also bear in mind that sun-dried tomatoes are notoriously salty, and when combined with the salty feta cheese it can be a bit much, so don’t add any more salt until the end and always test it first!

What you’re going to need

  • 1 medium head of broccoli, chopped, about 2 cups
  • 1 200g package of feta cheese, chopped in cubes
  • 1 pack cherry tomatoes (approx. 25 units)
  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 3 cups water with 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you have to do

  1. Steam the broccoli for about 10 minutes, or until it is tender, but still a little al dente.  Set aside.
  2. Cook the rice in the salted water with the bay leaf until it’s tender but not mushy (about 25 minutes).
  3. Drain the rice and place it in a large serving bowl.
  4. Add the broccoli and feta cheese to the rice, along with the herbs, salt and pepper.
  5. Stir the mixture well, adding more salt and pepper as desired.
  6. Serve warm or cold.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Easy

 

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14Feb 12

Hearty Seitan Stew

Hearty Seitan StewOne of my favourite meals when I was growing up was a beef and potato stew my mother used to make for us, especially in the winter.  It was just the perfect thing for warming your belly and bones after a long day of playing outside in the cold.  Naturally, when I became a vegetarian this was one of the first recipes I just had to emulate in a meatless version.  Hearty Seitan Stew is the result of a few months of trial and error to get the mix just right.  The thick broth, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes and deliciously chewy wheat gluten (seitan) make for a wonderfully filling and satisfying dish that even my unrepentant meat-eating brother can’t help but admit to loving.  In fact, even my mother has said she prefers it over her original beef version, although to be honest even I’m not sure I’d go that far!

What you’re going to need

  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100g ball of seitan (wheat gluten)
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, washed but not peeled
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 litres of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you have to do

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is nice and hot, add the diced onion and fry until it turns translucent.
  3. Chop the potatoes and carrots into medium sized chunks and add to the onions.
  4. Keep frying for a minute or two, stirring continuously.
  5. Cut the seitan into 2cm chunks and add to the mix along with the frozen peas, the vegetable stock cube and the herbs and spices and keep stirring for 1 more minute.
  6. Add the water, cover the pot and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes and carrots are tender, approximately 45 minutes.
  8. In a small bowl or cup, mix the corn-starch with just enough water to form a dense but runny paste.
  9. Bring the stew up to a boil and add the corn-starch paste, stirring continuously, in order to thicken the broth.  Add more as necessary until desired consistency is reached.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

Difficulty: Easy

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14Feb 12

Moroccan Hummus

Moroccan HummusThis classical Arab dish, originally from Beirut, Libya, is a favourite the world over with vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.  Hummus is incredibly quick and easy to make and once you’ve learned how to do it and I guarantee it will soon become one of your most useful recipes, and a real crowd pleaser too.

Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C, and the chickpeas provide a great source of dietary fibre.  When eaten with bread (the standard method), it provides a complete protein serving due to the mixing of grains and pulses and is therefore a very useful addition to vegetarian and vegan diets.

I usually serve this as a dip, with some kind of flatbread such as Pita or Naan for scooping up the Hummus, but it’s also great with chopped fresh veggies such as carrot or celery sticks, broccoli, red-peppers or even asparagus sticks.  As another interesting variation you can try adding half a red bell pepper to the blended ingredients, or even a jalapeño if you like it spicy or are feeling a bit daring.

Whatever you decide to do, one serving probably won’t be enough, so be sure to have enough ingredients on hand to make a second (or even third  and fourth) batch when your guests start clamouring for it, as I guarantee they will!

What you’re going to need:

  • 1 can of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt (plain yoghurt will do if you don’t have Greek to hand)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds and/or 1 tsp paprika (for garnish)

What you have to do:

  1. Put all the ingredients except the paprika and cumin seeds into an electric blender and blend until a smooth paste is formed.  Make sure the garlic gets blended well too.
  2. If the mixture is too runny, add a little more tahini and chick peas until the desired consistency is reached.  If it’s too thick, add a little water and blend again.
  3. Pour the mixture out onto a deep plate or shallow bowl and pat down with a spoon.
  4. Splash a little olive on top and garnish with the cumin seeds and/or paprika.
  5. Serve with pitta-bread, or slices of French bread, or crisps or crackers, or whatever you have on hand to dip with.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time: n/a

Serves:  2-4

Difficulty: easy

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