Summer? Haha, yeah OK.
Somehow I don’t think England quite got the memo.
Let’s face it, we’re all a bit miffed at this rather meagre attempt at British summer. The occasional (miraculous) day of pitiful 20°C heat reminds us what season we’re supposedly living in. But aside from those elusive days, the persistent drizzle and grey skies combo is, quite frankly, uninspiring.
So today I decided to add an injection of colour interspersed with an exotic burst of flavour to my lunch, in an attempt to brighten up my summer’s day.
I went to the local farmer’s market at the weekend, and was completely enthralled by the beautiful array of incredibly cheap fruit and vegetables. I ended up impulse-buying an enormous medley of veg, without thinking of how I was actually going to use everything. As such, today’s lunch was created with a random concoction of ingredients in a very experimental manner, but I think it turned out pretty well!
My lunch consisted of Moroccan-style Stuffed Aubergine, alongside Baked Portobello Mushrooms filled with Soy and Ginger Infused Veg.
The mushrooms take significantly less time than the aubergines, so if making both as a meal together, begin making the mushrooms once the aubergines are cooking in the oven. Alternatively, these recipes work equally well as separate meals, served alongside a salad.
MORROCAN-STYLE STUFFED AUBERGINE
SERVES 2 • PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES • COOK TIME: 45 MINUTES
- 1 large aubergine
- ½ onion – diced (save the other half for the Portobello mushrooms)
- 100g couscous
- 160ml vegetable stock
- 250g tomato passata
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger – minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp coriander
- Sprinkle of chilli flakes (very much optional!)
- Cooking spray (I use the FryLite coconut oil spray)/ olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C
- Cut the aubergine in half, spray a baking tray with cooking spray/ drizzle of olive oil, and place the aubergine on the tray
- Cook for 30 minutes, until the insides have gone soft
- Whilst waiting for the aubergines to cook, start preparing the filling
- Place the couscous in a large bowl, and add the boiling vegetable stock, stirring thoroughly. Cover with a plate to help the couscous to absorb the liquid, and leave to stand for 10-15 minutes
- Heat oil/cooking spray in a large pan, and add the garlic, ginger and onions. Cook for 1 minute
- Add the passata, cumin, coriander, parsley and chilli flakes, and simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes
- Remove from the heat
- Once the couscous has absorbed the vegetable stock, fluff it up with a fork, and add to the tomato mixture. Stir thoroughly
- Once the aubergines have softened, carefully scoop the flesh out (leaving a thick enough lining from the skin) and add the flesh to the couscous mixture.
- Spoon the mixture into the aubergines
- Spray a baking tray with cooking spray/ drizzle of olive oil, and place the aubergines on this
- Cover with tin foil, and bake for aprox. 45 minutes
BAKED STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS
SERVES 2 • PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES • COOK TIME: 20 MINUTES
- 2 large Portobello mushrooms
- 1 bell pepper – deseeded and diced
- ½ onion – diced
- 2 tomatoes – chopped
- 100g washed spinach
- 1 tbsp of fresh ginger – finely diced
- 1 clove of garlic – minced
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Cooking spray/ 1tbsp olive oil
- 20g pine nuts or sunflower seeds
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C
- Remove the stalks from the mushrooms to create a bedfor the veg to sit on. Chop the stalks.
- Heat oil/cooking spray in a large pan, and add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the pine nuts/ sunflower seeds, and briefly brown these off
- Next, add the onion, pepper, tomatoes, mushroom stalks, and cook for a further minute.
- Add the soy sauce and spinach and cook for aprox. 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
- Remove from the heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste
- Spoon the vegetable mixture into the mushrooms.
- Spray a baking tray with cooking spray or line with baking paper, so the mushrooms won’t stick, and place the stuffed mushrooms on the tray.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the mushroom is soft.
“WHAT YOU DO MAKES A DIFFERENCE, AND YOU HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT KIND OF DIFFERENCE YOU WANT TO MAKE.”
– JANE GOODALL