Warm Summer Lunch Recipes

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.

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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!

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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.

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MORROCAN-STYLE STUFFED AUBERGINE

SERVES 2           •          PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES          •          COOK TIME: 45 MINUTES

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INGREDIENTS

  • 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

METHOD

  • 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

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INGREDIENTS

  • 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

METHOD

  • 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.

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“WHAT YOU DO MAKES A DIFFERENCE, AND YOU HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT KIND OF DIFFERENCE YOU WANT TO MAKE.”

– JANE GOODALL

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