Baked Peppers Stuffed with Buttery, Cheesy Vegetables

Fondant is a word that is associated with icing these days. But it comes originally from the French, a cooking term meaning to melt. Fondant Potatoes is the most well known dish where the method of cooking is applied, but it can be used for other vegetables. They are cooked in butter, or in butter and stock, until achingly tender. Sometimes, as is the case with the Fondant Potatoes, an external crispy layer is achieved.

Ottolenghi has a great recipe in Plenty More for capsicums stuffed with fondant swedes.  I was caught short, wanting to make this dish but forgetting to order swedes in the last COVID19 vegetable delivery. So I have twisted and turned his recipe to make it work with what I did have on hand – Kent Pumpkin, Parsnips and Cabbage. Absolutely delicious.

Ottolenghi himself has two versions of this dish. The one in the Guardian column uses gruyere cheese and does not par-cook the capsicums before stuffing. The one in Plenty More uses parmesan and goat’s cheese, and bakes the empty capsicum halves before stuffing and returning to the oven.

Similar recipes include Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta and Basil, Stuffed Okra, and Stuffed Mushrooms.

Or browse all of our Stuffed recipes and Capsicum dishes.

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Roasted Red Capsicum and Feta Dip and Spread

I love recipes that are endlessly versatile – dips and spreads that can use a variety of vegetables, bread recipes into which you can knead different flours, herbs, and liquids, soups that take almost anything that you have on your kitchen bench. These sorts of dishes are the lifeblood of the kitchen, using up what you have, what has arrived, what you’ve been given, what has ripened.

A great base for a dip is formed from any combination of feta, yoghurt, cream cheese, ricotta, and/or tahini. Into that puree can go some lightly cooked vegetable and flavourings. Nuts can be added to thicken and flavour the mix. It is endlessly malleable.

Today it is roasted red capsicum, feta, yoghurt and walnuts.

Similar recipes include Eggplant Spread, Horseradish Dip, and Beetroot and Yoghurt Dip.

Or simply browse all of our Dips and Spreads.

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Greek Village Salad

Greek salads are fabulous, are they not? Of course, even though there is a lot of controversy about whether tomatoes are included or whether cucumbers should be peeled. Should lettuce be included? The jury is out.

Like any country, the exact methods of salad making vary across the country, so it is good to relax and go with the flow. It is Summer after all, and there is nothing like a great Greek Salad (whatever version) to nibble on or to accompany a meal. I do include lettuce sometimes – it makes a nice bed for the salad.

Similar recipes include Tomato Carpaccio, Capsicum, Feta and Pistachio Spread, Baked Feta with Tomatoes, and Fava.

Browse all of our Greek dishes or all of our Salads. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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Capsicum, Roasted Garlic, Olives and Caper Salad

Our journey into the 101 Bittman Salads changed our salad eating habits, and it is rare that we go a day or two without one now. Not only are they delicious but they are a good vehicle for eating a range of vegetables (and sometimes fruits) that we might not otherwise get in our day.

This recipe was inspired by a recipe in Spice, a book by my old friend and celebrated chef Chris Manfield. It is not a recipe from that book (her’s is not vegetarian) – but it sparked an idea.

We have compiled 30 Great Mid Summer Salads for you, so it is very easy to vary your salads each day.

Similar recipes include Glass Noodles with Spinach, Spinach Salad with Raisins and Pine Nuts, Sweet Pepper and Rice Salad, and Roasted Red Pepper Salad.

Browse all of our Capsicum recipes and our Spinach dishes. All of our Salads are here. Or explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Tiny Pasta in Broth

Italian soups are pretty much ignored outside of Italy. While we are very familiar with all sorts of pasta dishes, the breads of Italy and some vegetable dishes, few soups besides minestrone have gained traction.

Today this is a very simple soup – one made with tiny pasta and broth. Gentle, Wintery and flavoursome, it can be made with a dark broth or one with a tomato base.

Similar recipes include Pasta and Peas, Pasta with Avocado, Vermicelli with Charred Broccoli, Chickpea and Orzo Pasta Soup, and Borlotti Bean and Pasta Minestrone.

Browse all of our Italian recipes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Lentil and Radicchio Salad with Capers and Walnuts

Brown or black lentils are a particular favourite in Autumn, Winter and Early to Mid Spring. They have an earthy heartiness about them. Any of the dark lentils are happily received in this kitchen – puy, beluga, horse gram, matki, whole red lentils, for example.

Today I paired them with a radicchio – the bitterness of this lettuce goes so well with the earthy lentils, and added tartness with some lemon juice and capers. Walnuts have a great affinity with earthy flavours – beetroot for example – so they go well with earthy lentils too. Capsicum adds fresh crunch and herbs enliven the dish.

Similar recipes include Lentil Salad with Pomegranate Molasses, Brown Lentil Sprouts Sundal, and Salad of Rocket and Radicchio.

Browse all of our Salads, all of our Radicchio dishes or explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Capsicums Cooked in Tomatoes and Garlic

These might look like a mess to you, but to me the pics make my mouth water. It is one of the best ways to cook capsicums that I know – the flavours in this simple dish are truly amazing. The capsicums are slowly simmered in tomatoes, garlic and olive oil until collapsed and tender. Some of the capsicums melt into the sauce. It is sweet and delicious. Eaten with just feta, crusty bread and perhaps a green salad, it evokes the rustic cooking of Greece. Add wine to your meal if you wish. It is a great Summer dish – imagine eating it under the grape vines outside with a dozen friends.

I have long said that Diane Kochilas is my favourite Greek cookbook author, and I’ve had her huge bible of Greek cooking for decades. (Follow her on Instagram.) Recently I fell in love with two more of her books – Country Greek Cooking and Ikaria. This dish is adapted from one in Ikaria. If you love Greek food you should get this book.

Similar dishes include Greek Village Salad, Sweet Capsicum Salad with Tomato Dressing, Capsicum, Tomato and Pistachio Dip, and Baked Feta with Tomatoes and Red Capsicum.

Browse all of our Greek dishes and all of our Capsicum recipes . Or browse our Mid Summer dishes.

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100 Vegetables: #28. Capsicums

Although we see mainly the standard sweet capsicum – red, green, yellow, orange – capsicums come in all shapes and sizes. They also have varying heat levels – for example the banana capsicum can be quite warming.

They are ubiquitous in summer salads, either raw or delightfully roasted and skinned. Their vibrant colours bring the table to life all through Summer and Autumn. They are also wonderful receptacles and can be stuffed and baked, filled with tomatoes, feta, dried beans and lentils, or with any delightfully tasty mixture that you devise.

Capsicums mostly have heat applied directly, through stir frying, baking or grilling. It is rare to see them steamed or simmered. Even in soups they are generally sauteed or roasted before incorporation.

Capsicums relishes are great additions to the Summer table. And did you know that they can be dried in the oven for delicious snacks year round. The dried capsicums can also be added to your Wintery bakes and braises.

You can browse all of our Capsicum recipes here. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

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Eggplant and Capsicum Pahi | Sri Lankan Eggplant Pickle

This Sri Lankan dish makes a great condiment used with rice, roasted vegetables or even sauteed tofu. It is traditionally cooked in a clay pot over an open flame and is a great accompaniment to other Sri Lankan and Indian dishes. But it is also really delicious on its own with steamed rice, appa (rice hoppers), or roti or paratha. It can be served warm, but is even better the next day at room temperature. It will keep in the fridge for two weeks in a sealed container.

Eggplant Pahi is both sour, sweet and spicy, and in Sinhalese it is called Wambatu Moju or Brinjal Moju. It is like a cross between a pickle and a relish and is one of Sri Lanka’s most famous dishes. The beautiful balance of sweet and sour especially makes this dish a favourite festive dish. There are many different recipes for it.

In Plenty More, Ottolenghi ventures into the world of Sri Lankan cooking with a recipe for this same sweet-sour curry that is traditionally thought of as more of a Sri Lankan style pickle. He does not elaborate on the roots of this dish which is disappointing as it is such a classic Sri Lankan dish. I used the recipe as inspiration but have altered the recipe significantly.

Some recipes, like the one that Ottolenghi uses, call for deep frying the eggplant. I admit, this is really tasty. But other recipes saute or steam the eggplant and saute the capsicum (if using) and onion. I use the latter approach in this recipe to avoid too much fried food.

I have made a couple of other adjustments. Ottolenghi has a habit of specifying curry powder – it is not nearly as precise enough, given the wide range of different curry powders that vary significantly in taste and heat levels. I have specified a Sri Lankan curry powder (unroasted)- it is very easy to make or can be purchased. Also I have added a little tamarind to supplement the tartness.

With all of the changes it is hardly his recipe any more. If you prefer his original recipes you can find them in his books or his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Capsicums cooked in Tomato and Garlic, Pineapple and Coconut Curry, Pumpkin and Roasted Coconut Curry, and Snake Bean Curry.

Browse all of our Sri Lankan dishes and our Eggplant recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here.  Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here, and we have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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BBQ’d Vegetables with Peppery Dressing

Recently it was the first day this season where the sun felt HOT on my face as I stepped outside, and it immediately had me thinking about the BBQ. I need to roast capsicums anyway, to make a batch of harissa, so why not make a meal of it? We roasted a range of veggies and drizzled them with a mustard-pepper dressing.

This is the sort of dish you can use as an entree or salad course, a side salad, a main dish with crusty bread, or a snack. I need to tell you that we are not so formal about courses here – we tend to cook Balinese style – prep and/or cook a whole lot of dishes early in the day and eat as required or desired through the day. We do love our salads, and also our snacks, so each day might see one of each, along with other dishes. Most are simple – that is our food style, simple – quick – easy.

This dish can actually be made at any time of the year – just make it with seasonal vegetables. It is a great way to clean out the fridge!!!

Similar dishes include Raw Vegetable Salad with Mustard-Mayo Dressing, Kohlrabi and Mint Salad, and Miso Vegetables and Rice with Sesame Dressing.

Browse all of our BBQ recipes and all of our Salads. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

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