Brinjal (Aubergine/Eggplant) Walnut Pesto and Butternut Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes

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Spiralized Butternut Spaghetti……finally !!!!  Do you know how long I have wanted to do a Butternut Spaghetti meal? Well, let’s just say…a l-o-n-g time ! and, you are going to love this one….

Firstly, it is incredibly easy.  Secondly, it is extremely tasty, and…Thirdly, you just need to make this.

This pesto, is my everything right now. I mean,who would have thought that a brinjal (sorry I am using the name I use for it here in this country) pesto would be so incredible awesome?….. Me !  because I love nuts and anything with nuts IS awesome !!! By the way, if you don’t have walnuts, I am sure any nut will be equally as great…it is just that I had ….Ummmmm…a fair amount of walnuts, so walnuts have been going into EVERYTHING 🙂

So, here goes.

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Brinjal (Aubergine/Eggplant) Walnut Pesto and Butternut Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time:  25 – 30 minutes

Total time:  40 – 45 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the pesto:  

1 medium-sized (approximately 400 grams) brinjal (Aubergine/Eggplant)

6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 teaspoons white vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/2 – 1 cup of dry toasted walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup packed basil leaves, chopped

1 – 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (depending on size)

salt and pepper to taste

Makes  just over one  cup of Pesto 

approximately 800 – 900 grams uncooked spiralized butternut spaghetti (for the best results, please use the largest, thickest blade you have on your spiralizer).

approximately 350 grams tomatoes of your choice (I used exotic tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, cut in half).

Instructions:

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make the Pesto:  Cut the brinjal in half, lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the brinjal in the heated oven and roast for about 25/30 minutes or until done. Then remove from the oven.  Scoop out the insides and discard the skin. Allow to cool. Place the cooled flesh of the brinjal into a food processor and add all the other ingredients.  Process until the consistency you like and taste and add more salt or pepper if necessary. If you find that you would like a thinner consistency, by all means add another tablespoon or two of olive oil .

In the meantime, place the spiralized butternut onto a couple of baking sheets. You may want to just get a knife and cut the spiralized butternut pieces a little shorter (mine were massively long) so it’s more edible. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mine took about 8 minutes till it was firm but done. (Try not cook the butternut until it is too soft, as it will just mash up and break when tossing through the pesto.) When done, set aside and keep warm.

Whilst the butternut spaghetti is in the oven roasting, dry toast the walnuts, and roast your tomatoes.

To dry toast the walnuts:  This you do by just adding the dry walnuts to a small frying pan and frequently toss with a wooden spoon.  You do not add any oil to these, as nuts have their own natural oils. Continue to toast until slightly fragrant, and then remove from the stove and set aside.

To roast the tomatoes:  Place the tomatoes (cut side down if you cut them in half) on a baking sheet, drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in the pre-heated oven and allow to roast till the tomatoes pop in the oven and look a bit wrinkled.

Once everything is done, serve hot.  Add more cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves for garnish.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  For the pesto: If you do not have a food processor and will be using a blender, you may want to use a pestle and mortar and break the nuts up more.

Also, quantities do not have to be the same and can vary. (That is what I like about pesto’s, you can make it your own)

 

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Easy Baked Vegetable Quinoa with Cheesy Topping

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Okay, I have loaded up quinoa with loads of veggies and I am not apologizing. So, to veggie lovers out there, today is your day.  I have for you, a mound of deliciousness all in one bowl !!! This is awesome, and,yes, this is pretty much a one pot meal sort of.  It is easy and a matter of, throw together, bake and devour.  I need these kinds of meals in my life now and then.  I mean there is nothing better than this. Since I have been making this quinoa meal, it kind of changes each time, with what I would put into it. Then I decided to perhaps put some order into it, especially if I wanted to share it with all you guys, because it was always soooooo divine, and healthy and tasty and all those good things….so order it now has, and I actually have now stuck to this recipe on several occasions.  Don’t get me wrong, if you try it and want to spruce it up a bit, go for it, add whatever, I am sure it will be great.

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Easy Baked Vegetable Quinoa with Cheesy Topping

Preparation:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  20 – 30 minutes

Total time:  30 – 40 minutes

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

a little oil to saute’ vegetables

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped rainbow peppers (I used a mixture of red, green and yellow peppers)

2 cups corn on the cob

2 cups chopped marrow (zucchini, courgette)

2 cups chopped tomatoes

2 cups roughly chopped baby spinach

Topping:  Grated matured cheese/feta or any cheese of your choice (I used matured and feta)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celscius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare the quinoa with veggie stock, and cook for 8-10 minutes only. Whilst the quinoa is cooking, saute the onions and peppers in a pan.  After a minute or two add the marrows and corn. Cook for a few minutes.  Do not over cook! By this time the quinoa would have soaked up the stock.  Set aside.

Once vegetables are done add them to the cooked quinoa.

Add the chopped tomatoes, and roughly chopped baby spinach. Stir around well so all the veggies are mixed through.

Place in an oven proof dish approximately 9 x 13 inches. Top with cheese of your choice.  I used a combination of feta and matured cheddar (because I could not decide which one to use). I made slight indentations into the quinoa and vegetables so that some of the cheese could filter through and mix in with the veggies.  Top with extra cheese.

Allow to bake for about 20/30 minutes until the cheese is nicely golden and grilled.

Enjoy 🙂

Vegetable Spaghetti with Spinach Almond Pesto and Bacon

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Ha ! what is not to love?  This is the all time super quick easy meal….with bacon. You can easily make it totally vegetarian if you wanted by just not adding bacon, (or you could sub with mushrooms.  I always find mushrooms a great alternative) but, bacon is just soooooo cool, and there are times I wonder if I could possibly live without bacon.

So, it is a matter of spiralize the marrows/zucchini/courgettes, or whatever you call them in your part of the world, bomb all the pesto ingredients into the processor, process.  Cook bacon, (preferably at the same time) assemble on plates and boom, meal done !

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Vegetable Spaghetti with Spinach Almond Pesto and Bacon

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time:  approximately 10 minutes

Total time:  approximately 40 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 large marrows (zucchini/courgette) depending on the actual size

250 – 500 grams bacon chopped

Feta crumbled – optional

For the pesto: (makes 2 cups)

6 handfuls of raw almonds, soaked

2 handfuls of baby spinach (you can use ordinary spinach as well, but I suggest chopping it into smaller pieces)

2 blocks of feta cheese (the blocks I use are approx 100 grams each)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Instructions:

Soak almonds for at least 20 minutes in boiling water. This will slightly soften the almonds, so it wont be so hectic whilst the processing is taking place

Whilst the almonds are soaking, spiralize the marrows (zucchini/courgettes) if not done already, and set aside.

Add all the pesto ingredients into the food processor (including the almonds) and process until the pesto becomes the consistency you want.  I personally like to taste bits of the almonds in mine, you know me and crunch !

Once that is done, place marrow (zucchini/courgette) on plate, and mix through the pesto. Top with a generous amount of bacon.  You can also add extra feta if you want….

I like this meal cold.  I do not see the point of warming it up, but the choice is yours.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

 

Mint Pesto Marrow (Zucchini, Courgette) Spaghetti with Herb Roasted Chickpeas and Feta

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I totally love this meal.  I don’t even bother to have it hot, it is so good cold.  I usually make extra and then have it the next day for lunch.  I am confused whether that is genius or just downright lazy…whatever, it works for me.  Just one thing with this, is the roasted herb chickpeas must be crunchy.  I don’t know what it is with me, but I just love ‘the crunch’.

I seem to be making loads of mint pesto these days, the mint in my garden is going all kinds of crazy, thanks to the excessive rains we are having.  But it is all good.

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Mint Pesto Marrow (Zucchini/Courgette) Spaghetti with Herb Roasted Chickpeas and Feta

Preparation and total time: 20 minutes

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

3 large marrows (zucchini/courgette) spiralized. (This is what I used but definitely will depend on the size of your marrows (zucchini/courgettes), so spiralize until you have enough for each serving)

roasted herb chickpeas (the amount totally depends on you, I love these, so I feel zero guilt and load them on my meal)

crumbled feta cheese

For the mint pesto

1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed

handful of fresh parsley leaves

2 handfuls of macadamia nuts, crushed

2 cloves of garlic

1 onion (medium-sized) chopped finely

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

Instructions:

For the Roasted Chickpeas:

Once chickpeas are cooked and drained, place the chickpeas on a baking tray. Sprinkle with a salt and pepper and a drizzling of olive oil.  I did mine for about 45 minutes on 180 degrees celsius. Whilst the chickpeas are in the oven, keep checking on them and give them a good toss and stir around, so they roast evenly.  Also, sneak in a taste periodically to check for the crispness you want.  Once they are done, remove the baking tray from the oven and generously add some dried origanum or any other herbs you prefer.

For the Pesto:  

Put all the pesto ingredients in a food processor or good blender and blend until it reaches the consistency that you like.

Add the pesto to the spiralized marrows (zucchini/courgette) and top with the roasted herb chickpeas and feta.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  I like this meal cold, and personally feel that the warmed version sort of loses the actual taste, but if you want you can warm it up by adding it to a pan and heating up and then take off the heat, and lastly add the chickpeas and feta.

Also, if you have extra pesto left over, place it in a sealed jar and keep in the refrigerator. This will keep for a few days.

 

 

 

Nutty Millet Stir Fry with Red Chilli Sauce

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Grains are my new best friends.  I know, I know, it sounds crazy right?  But, they are so awesome.  Only problem is they don’t talk, so I can’t talk to them…I mean that would be ridiculous…Imagine talking to grains, I would need to then answer for them so the conversation is not so one-sided, and then I probably, if heard, would quickly be put in a straight jacket and taken…you know where.  So lets just keep it simple, and just accept these wonderful grains as they are and not expect change :-).

So, to do a Stir Fry is pretty easy as we all know, but this one has toasted almonds in it which is quite cool. Also, instead of the usual rice, it has millet and a killer chilli sauce! Isn’t that cool?  Not…whatever :-). When I first did this meal I used quinoa…of course, haha, I am soooo predictable, but then thought I best change it up a bit and give the other grains a chance in my kitchen :-). I have also done this same stir fry with my favourite roasted chickpeas, instead of the toasted almonds, and it is equally as delicious. So…….anyway, just chop a load of veggies, quickly stir fry them and just before serving, mix in the cooked millet. Meal done. This, with the chilli sauce is dynamite :-). Oh, don’t think about cooking the millet with the actual stir fry, you will regret it, trust me…it just becomes ‘mush’.

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Nutty Millet Stir Fry with Red Chilli Sauce

Preparation: 10 minutes  (time will increase if Millet is uncooked and Almonds are not toasted)

Cooking time:  7 minutes

Total time:  17 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

2 1/2 Tablespoons of Red Chilli Soy Sauce

2 1/2 Tablespoons of honey

Zest and juice of one large lemon

For the Stir-Fry:

2/3 cups (100 grams / 3.5 ounces) sliced white onion

7/8 cups (155 grams  / 5.4 ounces) sliced yellow pepper

2 cups (200 grams / 7.1 ounces) sliced red/purple cabbage

4 cups (200 grams  / 7.1 ounces) chopped carrot

1 cup (150 grams  /5.3 ounces) snap peas, roughly chopped

a little olive oil for frying

200 grams (1 cup /7 ounces) cooked millet

100 grams (3/4 cup / 3.7 ounces) dry toasted almonds (plus more if you want)

Instructions:

For the sauce:  Mix the soy, honey and zest together in a small pot.  Add about half of the lemon juice and taste.  If you feel it needs a bit more of a tarty taste, then add the rest.  I generally end up using juice from a whole lemon. Set aside to be heated up just before serving.

On medium heat, add the oil in either a large frying pan or wok. Once heated add the carrots first and give them a head start for a couple seconds, (as they are the hardest raw vegetable) then add the onion, pepper, snap peas and lastly the red/purple cabbage. Stir continuously just for a few minutes until just lightly cooked, but still crunchy.

Add the cooked millet, stir around well and let it nestle around nicely among the veggies. (Now this is the time to multi-task, while you are stirring around the millet, heat up the sauce 🙂

Serve hot and add the dry toasted almonds separately.  I prefer to do this to extend the crunch factor.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  Please note, that I use a metric scale for all my measurements.

  • To dry toast the almonds:  On medium heat, place a frying pan, add the almonds and stir continuously.  Almonds toast quite quickly, so don’t leave them unattended, or they will burn.
  • To cook millet:  Cook as per packet instructions.

 

 

 

Creamy Fettuccini

 

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Who wants a simple, easy and quick dinner for tonight ?….ummm yes, please! Sometimes, simple is good.  Sometimes, it just has to be.  Sometimes, it is just nice to have simplicity and have a break from all the cooking, pots and worst of all … the dishes!  Fortunately, I have trained my hubby well, and I cook, and he does the dishes…good hey…well, it works for us 🙂 (but that only happens at dinner time). If I decide to go on a cooking or baking binge during the day, which is often…the dishes I have to do, because, me and dirty dishes, and me and stuff all around my kitchen, just does not cut it for me…I would go C..R..A..Z..Y !!!)

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I have made this dish, strictly vegetarian, but it can definitely be changed by adding some bacon, chicken or whatever meat you prefer.  I always find spinach and bacon go so well together, even with some chopped mushrooms…hmmm yum…but for now, that would hurt my vegetarian streak. So, no meat allowed on this one, for me 😦 ….ummm, I could have added some mushrooms, but didn’t have any…oh well….trust me, this is an easy dish and it is really really tasty.

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Creamy Fettuccini

Preparation:  7 minutes

Cooking time:  10 minutes

Total time:  17 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

500 grams fettuccine

2 tablespoons (30 millilitres) vegetable oil/olive oil/coconut oil

l large garlic clove or 2 medium-sized garlic cloves

2 medium-sized onions

1 medium-sized red chilli

500 millilitres (2 cups) Bulgarian plain yoghurt or Greek Yoghurt

350 – 400 grams baby spinach leaves

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

In a large pot, cook fettuccine as per packet instructions.

Whilst the fettuccine is cooking, squash the garlic clove with the back-end of the knife by pressing down onto the clove. This makes it easy to peel and chop the garlic clove/s. Chop the clove/s as small as possible, and set aside. (or use a garlic crusher)

Peel the onion and roughly chop it, and set aside.

Chop the top of the chilli off, and with a sharp knife, slice up the one side so that the pips are exposed. Then, scrape the pips out and discard.  Slice the chilli up finely and put aside.

In a large pan, on medium heat, add the oil and heat it up.  Once the oil is heated add the garlic, chilli and onion to the pan.  With a spatula, keep turning the garlic and onion so it does not burn, and allow to cook for about 4 minutes.

Add the Bulgarian or Greek yoghurt to the pan.  Keep stirring carefully until the yoghurt has heated through.

Add the baby spinach.  (My frying pan, ended up being totally heaped with spinach and literally was towering over) Gently keep stirring, and slowly but surely the spinach will start to cook through and wilt.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Then add the drained fettuccine to the yoghurt mixture.  Stir gently and thoroughly to get all the creamy yoghurt onto the fettuccine

Serve hot !

Enjoy 🙂