Category Archives: Side Dish

Stuffed Peppers

The following is a recipe for making stuffed peppers. We filled them with rice containing bacon, peas and onion but the choice of ingredients can vary widely, for example by omitting the bacon you can make the meal vegetarian and much lighter. I prefer to use brown basmati rice but feel free to use your favourite rice.

You will need:

  • one onion, chopped
  • 2 handfuls of frozen or fresh peas
  • 1 cup bacon bits
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 can tomato puree or juiced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 peppers (any colour will do)
  • goat’s cheese to cover the tops of the peppers

Cook your rice according to the instructions on the packet. Note that brown rice will take longer to cook, about 30 minutes for one cup of uncooked rice. Cook in double the amount of water to start with, but you may need to add more if this dries up before the rice is cooked.

In a fan fry the onion for a few minutes until it softens, then add the bacon and peas and cook until the peas are fully defrosted/cooked and the bacon starts to become brown and crunchy.

Add to the rice and add the tomatoes and sugar. Mix well.

 

Remove the tops of the peppers by carving out the stem and seeds. Place in a skillet with water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 15 minutes of until they have softened. Please note that they will cook further in the oven so don’t overdo it.

Stuff the cooked peppers with as much rice as possible, but leaving a small 1cm gap at the top.

Cover with goat’s cheese and cook in a 180 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes or until the peppers just start to brown.

Split in half when serving and warn your guests that they will be rather hot! Bon Appetit!

Jacket Potatoes… and potato skins

Thanks to modern technology, Jacket potatoes are one of the easiest side dish or snack to make, and a great accompaniment to meat or poultry dishes. Keep reading for one of my favorite BBQ dishes too…

To make Jacket Potatoes:

Wash your potatoes, do NOT peel, and do not dry them.

Pierce each potato several times with a fork, then wrap them individually in a tissue.   Place on a plate, and microwave on high for approximately 2.5 minutes per potato.

To test if they are cooked, slowly push a knife into the largest potato. If you feel any “crunch”, then they need a little more.  If the knife penetrates smoothly to the middle of the potato, then they are done.   Be careful as they will be very hot to hold.

At this stage, you can split them open and serve with a knob of butter or cheese.

Alternatively, follow the next part of the recipe for a real treat:

Fry some diced bacon bits, and grate some cheddar. Place these in a large bowl.   You will need about half a cup of bacon and the same amount of cheddar for 3 large potatoes.

In the meantime, cut your jacket potatoes in half and leave them to cool for a few minutes.

When the potatoes have cooled sufficiently, scoop out the insides. put half aside, and mix the other half with the cheese and bacon.  Try to keep the potato halves in matching pairs.

Once you have scooped out all the potatoes, mix in the bacon-cheese-potato to a paste. If need be add a little milk to make it smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

The next step is to spoon the mixture back into the hollowed out skins.

Close the halves again and wrap in foil. Stick them on the BBQ for ten minutes, just to warm them through and melt the cheese, and dig in!

Chilli con Carne

We made this Chilli con Carne to go with Nachos when we had some friends over, however you can make a meal out of it by eating it with rice, or in a wrap or fajita.   You will need:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

400g minced beef

1 can chopped tomatoes

1/2 can red kidney beans

1 level teaspoon each of: ground cumin, paprika. oregano, chilli powder, sugar

pinch of rock salt

splash of red wine

2 small chilli peppers

Put the onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, oregano, chilli powder and chilli peppers in a pan with a teaspoon of oil. Fry until the onions soften.

When the onions start to stick to the pan, add the splash of red wine and continue cooking until it is almost dry again.

Next, add the minced meat. Fry this, stirring continuously. The meat will form clumps which will then break up again once it is cooked.


The last step is to add the tomatoes, kidney beans, sugar and salt. Cover the pan and leave it simmer on a low heat. 30 minutes will do, but the longer you leave it, the better it will taste! Stir occasionally and make sure the mixture doesn’t dry out. If it does start to dry, add a little water or stock, or take it off the heat and serve. If you need to serve and it is still too moist, uncover and turn the heat up a little for a few minutes.

Greek Honey and Cheese Parcels

You will need:

  • Filo pastry sheets
  • Cheddar, shredded
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Honey

Using 3 sheets of about A5 size at a time, place them on top of each other as shown. Sprinkle some shredded cheddar at one end, leaving some space on either side as you will need to roll and close off the sheets. Then place a thin layer of sweet chili sauce on top of the cheese (you can buy this ready made and use it for a number of dishes).

Brush olive oil around the cheese/sauce and carefully roll the sheet starting from the cheese end. As you press the layers against each other with the olive oil, they will start to stick and make life easier (in the parcel-making sense, not in general).

Once it’s all rolled up, brush the outside with olive oil to help with the next step.

As shown below, roll the tube of filo on itself, pinching the ends as you go.

The whole thing should look like this in the end.

Cook in a fan oven for about 20 minutes (or until they start to brown) at 180 degrees. Remove from the oven and while they are still hot drizzle some honey over the tops. Serve cold.

Raita

Raita is originally more ‘complicated’ than our much-simplified version. I find this dish delicious as a side, accompanying your choice of protein. However, it is also especially useful when served with a spicy dish as a means of cooling down the palate. So it’s very important to serve this dish if you’re making something very spicy and are not sure of your guests’ tastes or how many scovels they can (or are willing to) tolerate.

You will need a tub of Greek or plain yoghurt, a cucumber and half an onion.

Clean the cucumber by peeling, chopping into quarters and removing the seeds from its center.

Chop your onion quite finely as shown below.

Now place the yoghurt in a bowl and add small quantities of cucumber and onion at a time until the proportions suit your tastes. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

Place in a bowl on the table during your meal and serve spoonfuls into your plate to cool down curries and chilies.

Davinia’s Bruschetta Mix

A gorgeous picture that makes me drool – yes folks, it is officially the season for the freshest juiciest ingredients. This recipe was inspired by my lovely friend Davinia, who brought something very similar along with her one night. We devoured it entirely with fresh bread. Alarmingly moreish – you’ve been warned.

Slice / cut up the following:

  • 1 onion
  • several mozzarella balls
  • cherry or regular tomatoes (remove the seeds)
  • a handful of olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers

And any other fresh vegetables or herbs of your choice such as green peppers or basil.

Next mix in olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or glaze). Make sure to taste it to check that the proportions are right. Serve with fresh bread or as a side salad.

Zucchini and Ricotta soup

I use the word “soup” rather liberally here…  you’ll see that the finished product is very thick in consistency, almost (but not quite) enough to eat with a fork rather than a spoon!

You will need:

2 or 3 large zucchini or corguettes

1 stock cube

200g ricotta

1 egg, beaten

Boil the zucchini in water with the stock cube.   If you dice them before, they will cook a little faster. Once they have softened and cooked, remove from the heat and drain off all the liquid.

Next, mash the zucchini with a potato masher or ricer. Throw in the ricotta and mash together. Put the pot back onto the heat, and whilst stirring vigorously, pour in the beaten egg.   Its important to keep stirring, otherwise you’ll end up with lumps of scrambled egg in your soup!

When the egg is cooked, you’ll notice the colour changing from a yellowish tinge to white. Remove from the heat and serve immediately. Season with salt, pepper and grated cheese.