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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3-Cheese Eggplant Bake

This is a gorgeous baked dish with eggplants, cream and 3 soft cheeses. It is made without eggs and the result is an addictive dish with a thick set custard-like consistency.

The recipe is an adapted version of Ottolenghi’s Eggplant Cheesecake from Plenty More. I have made it egg-free. If you want to check the original recipe have a look here.

Like all good cheesecakes, tucking into this is so effortless and soothing that it’s easy to forget yourself and just gobble up more and more. And, like a sweet cheesecake, it’s also a bit of a no-brainer that yields very impressive results.

This is a soft dish, so is best spooned from the baking dish onto serving plates. A rustic alternative would be to bake it in a casserole and spoon out portions at the table.

Serve as a starter or for lunch with a lemony salad of bitter leaves and fresh herbs.

Similar recipes include Eggplant Kuku with Cauliflower Puree, Eggplant, Beetroot and Potato Bake, Noodles with Fried Eggplant and Walnuts, and Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Yoghurt Sauce.

Or browse our Eggplant recipes and our Ottolenghi 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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Crispy Couscous and Saffron Cakes

What a beautiful dish! Couscous is soaked with saffron and mixed with barberries and feta to form wonderful patties that are cooked until crisp and utterly delicious. They have an addictive flavour of mint and saffron. You will love them.

The patties are quite easy to make – relatively easy for an Ottolenghi recipe. The couscous is soaked, the barberries infused, the mixture made and the patties cooked.

Couscous is the tiny hand-rolled semolina pasta of North Africa that immigrants introduced to Israel and the Middle East. Semolina is made from the first milling of the heart of the durum wheat kernel, and so is halfway between wheat and flour.

These patties have a sweet and salty edge which make them very popular. It is the rice flour and yoghurt that makes them crispy.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column. We have modified this recipe to eliminate the eggs.

Similar dishes include Broad Bean Burgers, Falafel, and Vegetable Cutlets.

Browse all of our Couscous dishes and all of our Patty recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Caramelised Fig, Orange and Feta Salad

Caramelised figs are one of the great ways to use figs, especially later in the season when they are lusciously juicy and soft. Caramelised figs can be used in a whole range of sweet and savoury dishes. Here we pair them with oranges (also caramelised), feta, and, would you believe, pernod. A delicious, moreish salad.

Working with caramel may seem intimidating if you’ve not done it before, but in this case you needn’t worry; the juicy fruit would be fine even if the caramel is slightly crystallised or lumpy. They won’t forgive you, though, if the caramel burns. So work quickly when the caramel reaches the desired colour and, when adding more sugar, don’t worry if not all of it has melted before adding the fruit. If I can do it, you can do it.

This has to be an Ottolenghi recipe, right? Layers of flavour, from sweet and sticky to aniseedy, to the bite of rocket and the comfort of oregano. I always feel free to massage his recipes for what we have available in the garden, fridge, pantry and kitchen bench. In this case, though, I made it pretty much the way he does. But if you’d like to check his recipe, it is in his book Plenty More, or you can find it here.

Similar recipes include Three Ways to Caramelise Figs, Fig, Walnut and Goat Cheese Salad, Fig and Halloumi Salad, Fig and Fennel Salad, and Figs with Blue Cheese.

Browse all of our Fig recipes and all of our dishes from Plenty More. We are cooking our way through this book, and have written about our experiences. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Watermelon and Feta Salad

This is a great salad for the beach or eating under the verandah or the grapevine arbour on a hot day. It’s a salad to go with lots of conversation, a glass of beer and jugs of home made lemonade.

It is the saltiness of the feta  and the sweet juiciness of the watermelon that makes this salad remarkable. It is best served really chilled. Make sure that you use the Greek style feta if you can, not the Danish style which is much creamier and mild. But either will do in a pinch.

The feta can be replaced by other salty cheeses – try halloumi, or cheeses from Turkish, Afghani, Greek or Middle Eastern shops. Try young white cheeses in brine, salty ricotta and ewe’s milk cheeses. Experiment and try different ones until you find the ones that you most enjoy.

The success or failure of all recipes depends on good ingredients, but perhaps this one more than most. The watermelon needs to be sweet and juicy, the feta salty and crumbly, the extra virgin olive oil velvety in texture. Get those right, and it’s sunshine on a plate.

This recipe, as simple as it is, is from Ottolenghi’s book Plenty. The recipe is fairly traditional, though, and can be found online in many locations. We’ve been making our Watermelon and Halloumi Salad, a slight variation, since the 1990’s. Note that I often massage Ottolenghi’s recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Ottolenghi has another recipe for Watermelon and Feta salad in Nopi. It adds marinated olives (make your own or purchase ones marinated in herbs, chilli and lemon) and pickled watermelon rind. You can add these to the salad below if you wish.

For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Watermelon and Halloumi Salad, Watermelon, Apple and Lemongrass Salad, and Thai Style Red Radish and Watermelon Salad.

Browse all of our Watermelon Salads and all of our Feta Salads. Or browse all of our Mid Summer dishes.

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Pea, Za’atar and Feta Fritters

The Pea is there through all the seasons – in its pod in Spring and Summer, frozen year round. It grows up with us, from pea mashes to buttery steamed peas, from to risotto to fritters, and salads to soups. They can seem predictable and are often overlooked. But peas are incredibly versatile. Freshly podded peas are fantastic if they are eaten as soon as possible after picking; the rest of the time frozen will more than do. Peas are the ultimate vegetable, reliable, versatile and almost as good frozen as fresh.

These beautiful fritters are from Simple by Ottolenghi, and they are actually quite simple to make. A pea puree is mixed with za’atar, mint and feta, formed into fritters and fried. They can be served simply with a salad and lemon wedges, or with a yoghurt or cream based sauce for dipping. You can use any yoghurt or cream based sauce – I’ve included a sour cream and mint one below.

When we cook Ottolenghi recipes we feel free to substitute according to what is in our kitchen and pantry. In this recipe we have replaced the eggs with our usual chickpea flour based replacement for fritters – 1 Tblspn chickpea flour + 1 Tblspn cream or yoghurt + 0.25 tspn eno for each egg. We are egg-free in our kitchen. If you want to check the original recipes, you can do so in his books or in his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Spring Onion and Quinoa Cakes, Pea and Mint Croquettes, Stuffed Toasties with Peas and Potatoes, and Green Pea Pilaf.

Browse all of our Pea recipes and all of our Fritters. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking throughPlenty More. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta and Basil

An Italian beauty – stuffed tomatoes with feta, basil, olives and wine. Stuffed tomatoes are a bit retro, yes we admit, but that does not mean that they are without flavour. Classic Italian flavours make this a great addition to our several Stuffed Tomatoes recipes.

Baked feta is a classic dish too, baked in a terracotta dish (if you have one) with olives, tomatoes and olives. A variation on this recipe is to use a vegetable – capsicums, pimentos or tomatoes, for example – to hold the feta and accompaniments as they bake. Totally delicious.

Similar recipes include Baked Feta, Baked Dakos, Baked Pimentos with Feta, and Baked Ziti with Feta.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can see more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

You might also like our Stuffed Tomatoes recipes  or you browse Italian recipes . Check out our easy Early Autumn recipes .

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Horse Gram Lentils (Kollu) with Feta and Tomatoes

Such a bang of wonderful flavours

Horse Gram is one of our more recent discoveries. Well known and used in rural India, it has not found its way into other cuisines. You will need to buy it at your local Indian grocer, or perhaps online.

It is a special lentil, full of protein, and will hold its shape well when cooked. This makes it ideal for salads. Its earthy tastes makes it pair well with ingredients like beetroot, walnuts and pomegranate molasses. It contrasts well with crisp greens and mild acidic or sharp tastes like onion, sumac, rocket, baby spinach, lemon, and preserved lemon.

In today’s salad we use the sharpness of feta, onion and vinegar, the beautiful flavour of semi dried tomatoes, and pomegranate molasses in this salad. Do search your Indian grocery for this lovely lentil. You can also use Matki (moth beans) instead, or use a mix of both.

The recipe douses the lentils with vinegar, onion, salt, pepper, garlic and oil as soon as they are cooked. When warm, they soak in the flavours and aromas properly. Feta, lots of herbs and semi dried tomatoes are mixed in at the end. The result in such a bang of wonderful flavours.

Read more about  Horse Gram (aks Kulthi Bean). It is easily purchased in Indian shops.

Similar recipes include Horse Gram Thoran, Horse Gram and Pomegranate Salad, Sprouted Horse Gram Sundal, Caprese Salad, and Horse Gram Vadai.

Browse all of our Horse Gram recipes and all of our Salads. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Capsicums Baked with Feta and Tomatoes

Feta is delicious baked – when I discovered this Mediterranean dish, we were over the moon, baking it for friends and family for quite some time. We love feta – did you notice? – and our local Afghan shop has the best, soft and smooth feta that you could hope to find. It is more Danish style than Greek style feta, and we love it.

This year’s interpretation of that dish is to stuff capsicums with feta, onions, tomatoes and olives and bake. This makes a substantial dish – a feature of a meal – but also we have used it for after-work and after-school snacks. It is pretty good with some crunchy bread or Middle Eastern flatbread.

For a different version of this dish, use creme fraiche instead of the feta, and mix it with the tomato, onion, and olives.

Have a look at our Very Best Feta Recipes, a collection of dishes that we put together.

Similar recipes include Baked Capsicums Stuffed with Cheesy Vegetables, Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta and Basil, Mixed Vegetables and Yoghurt with Green Chilli Oil, Capsicums Baked with Feta and Tomatoes, Baked Feta, Baked Dakos, Baked Pimentos with Feta, and Baked Ziti with Feta.

Browse all of our Feta dishes and our Baked recipes. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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