Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Herbed Spelt Couscous with Grilled Asparagus & Halloumi


Every once in a while I decide to put my prejudices aside and try out a recipe from a magazine. Well, to some extent…
I know this may sound a little arrogant, but good recipe writing is a rarity these days. Even well-known food writers are increasingly publishing books (written by ghost writers, may I add) with recipes that simply do not work. As a recipe writer myself, I question whether or not the recipes are tested before publication. I know how disappointing it is when a poorly written recipe ends up in failure and a waste of ingredients, so my recipes are always tested before being submitted to an editor or published on this blog. I want people to gain confidence in the kitchen, not be turned off by disasters that are a result of crappy recipe writing.
Anyhow, to get back to my point…
This past weekend I picked up a copy of the newest Allerhande, a magazine published by Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn. While I prefer to shop at exclusively organic supermarkets and markets (geez that also sounds snobby!), I regularly visit the supermarket for their organic line. I usually leaf through their magazine quickly, but rarely make one of the recipes. This issue, however, featured a really tempting couscous dish I knew I would have to make. It was really my intention to follow the recipe, yet as I was cooking I decided to give it my own twist. The original version (found on page 64 of the April issue) also looks very appealing, though if you’re making it, use 480ml of water to cook the couscous and broccoli rice. The specified 350ml simply isn’t enough!
Here’s my variation, to what already looks like a great recipe:

Herbed Spelt Couscous with Grilled Asparagus & Halloumi
Serves 4

  • 300g spelt couscous
  • 400g broccoli rice
  • 1 tbsp ras el hanout
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 480ml boiling water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • fleur de sel
  • 15g mint, leaves chopped
  • 15g chives, chopped
  • 15g parsley, chopped
  • 350g green asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 400g halloumi, in 8 slices
  • handful of almonds, chopped

In a large bowl mix the couscous, broccoli rice, ras el hanout and pepper. Pour in the boiling water and close with either a lid or plastic wrap. Allow this to ‘cook’ for 10 minutes. Make a dressing by whisking the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Pour this over the cooked couscous, add the chopped herbs and stir well. Divide the couscous over 4 plates. Grill the asparagus for approximately 4-6 minutes in a lightly oiled grilled pan. Season them with salt at the very end. Divide the asparagus over the couscous. Grill the halloumi for 1-2 minutes per side and divide the slices over each plate. Garnish each plate with chopped almonds and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Carrot & Courgette Flan

xcarrotcourgetteflanIn many restaurants in France, I have been served a vegetable flan as a side dish with either meat or fish. Some were more interesting than others, but they all had one thing in common – a thick, eggy custard base, usually flavored with a little bit of cheese. This fragrant carrot and courgette flan is a perfect side dish to chicken, yet I think with a salad and a glass of wine it would make a perfect light lunch.

Carrot & Courgette Flan
Serves 4

  • 300g courgette (1 medium)
  • 170g carrots (about 4)
  • knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp mild olive oil, plus extra to grease the baking dish
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 50ml milk
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper
  • 60g grated goat’s cheese


Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 27 x 17 cm baking dish with a little mild olive oil. Grate the carrots and courgette. Melt the butter with the olive and gently sweat the shallots and garlic for about 2-3 minutes. Increase the heat, add the grated vegetables and cook while stirring for a further 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, crème fraîche, milk, coriander, mint and salt and pepper. Stir in the goat’s cheese. Transfer the vegetables to the greased baking dish and pour the batter over them. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. You might want to cover the dish after about half an hour.


Potato, Green Bean & Feta Frittata

frittataI threw this frittata together between working on a last-minute assignment that came in at 6:30 p.m. It’s an easy and tasty vegetarian dinner (or lunch or brunch) and it’s definitely a recipe to keep in mind when the going gets tough!

Potato, Green Bean & Feta Frittata
Serves 4

  • 3 tbsps mild olive oil
  • 400g potatoes, unpeeled and cubed
  • 2 shallots, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 300g trimmed & cooked green beans
  • 150g feta, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan or casserole and fry the potatoes for 8 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Whisk the eggs with the turmeric and salt and pepper to taste. Take the pan off the heat and pour in the eggs. Top with the green beans and feta. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into wedges.

Orzo with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

orzoI can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is next week. We ordered our turkey yesterday, and I am looking forward to serving a nice meal again this year. A meal that I start preparing the day ahead by baking the cornbread that goes into the stuffing and the pumpkin pie served for dessert. My stuffing, made with sausage and sage, has always been a big hit. I think people like it more than the turkey! This year, I will be serving eggnog as a welcome drink, though a cranberry-Prosecco cocktail may also be a good idea.
But before all that festive feasting, there’s a magazine that needs to be finished! My days are very busy, which means that dinners need to be quick — and delicious. I seriously crave comfort food after a long day of editing!
Yesterday I made a really tasty dinner of orzo with roasted brussels sprouts and feta. Roasting sprouts gives them incredible flavor! Just make sure you use small ones, because the big ones are not as tasty, in my opinion.
Here’s the recipe:

Orzo with Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Serves 3

  • 5 tbsps olive oil
  • 500g small brussels sprout, cleaned
  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1 tsp dried garlic
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • fleur de sel
  • 3 small red onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 150g feta, cubed
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 300g orzo
  • semi-sundried tomatoes, to serve

Preheat the oven to 190C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. In a bowl, toss the cleaned sprouts with 3 tbsps of the olive oil, herbes de Provence, garlic and salt and pepper. Spread them over the baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, shaking them every now and then. In the meantime, heat the remaining 2 tbsps of the olive oil and gently sauté the onions over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the orzo for 7 minutes or according to package directions. Once the sprouts are baked, let them cool slightly and tip them into a large bowl. Add the cubed feta and chopped chives to the sprouts and stir well. Drain the orzo and stir (using a fork) through the sprouts and feta. Divide over three bowls and top each portion with the caramelized red onions and a few semi-sundried tomatoes.

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