Tag Archives: sweetcorn

In my veg box this week – mushrooms, kale, corn

24 Sep

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I last wrote about my veg box. I’ve not been slacking, we had to cancel a few weeks of deliveries, at first because I had so much home-grown produce from my Mum’s allotment, and then because Mr Veg and I went on holiday to Italy. We had such a fab time in Italy, and of course ate some gorgeous food, but I’ll tell you all about that another day.

This week we have:

Mushrooms
We get a bag of mushrooms most weeks. It’s a bit strange, they’re really good mushrooms but we only get a really tiny amount of them – about 100g. It’s not really enough to make them the star of a dish. What will I do with them? This might sound a bit odd, but it depends on whether or not Mr Veg likes mushrooms at the moment or not (he has a bit of a love/hate thing for fungi). If he does like them then great, I’ll use them to enhance an unadventurous dish like spaghetti bolognese, stir-fry, or a vegetable pilaf. Otherwise, I might just be having mushrooms on toast tomorrow, one of my favourite breakfasts.

Kale
I was really really hoping to get some kale this week, so I was thrilled that it was the first thing I saw when I opened the box. The butternut squash my Mum gave me a few weeks ago is almost ripe now, I’ve thought of two ideas of what to do with it and both involve kale. I like the idea of combining sweet, rich, soft squash with green, earthy, crunchy kale. Whichever idea I go with will probably end up on the blog, so keep an eye out.

Corn on the cobs
Wow, these are the first (possibly only) fresh corn I’ve had all summer. I’m definitely having them tonight – sweetcorn is one of those vegetables that gradually gets less sweet, so time is of the essence. I’m not going to do anything fancy, just boil them and slather them with a bit of hot sauce.

Also received this week: bananas, plums, apples, grapes, a lemon, a red pepper, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions.

“In my veg box this week…” is not intended as a product review, simply a description of some of the fruit and vegetables that are in season and what I like to do with them. I pay full price for my vegetable box and have no affiliation with the company that delivers them or any of their suppliers.

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Chuna pasta

2 Aug

When I was a student I practically lived on tuna pasta. Like a lot of mums of students, mine used to give me care packages to make sure I was eating properly, whenever I went to stay with my parents there was always random things like pasta and tuna in the bottom of my wardrobe. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss tuna, but the idea of eating an endangered species doesn’t really appeal so much these days.

There are millions of versions of vegetarian “tuna” salad recipe online, subbing chickpeas for the tuna. To be honest it’s nice, but doesn’t quite say tuna to me – there seems to be something missing. I kind of stumbled across this tweak to the recipe by accident. I’ve tried a few recipes for tahini pasta before, and a few other pastas with beans, and I started to wonder if I combined the two ideas I might be able to make mock tuna. I think I got it right here, the tangy, nutty, creaminess of the tahini and lemon sauce converts it from chickpea pasta to chuna pasta!

I like to add sweetcorn because tuna and sweetcorn is a classic combination, but you could add anything you fancy. I think a big handful of olives or some capers would be particularly gorgeous.

Recipe (serves 2):

For the tahini and lemon sauce

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For everything else

  • 150g (dry weight) pasta
  • One small onion, sliced in thin half-moons
  • 150g cooked chickpeas (about two thirds of a tin)
  • 150g sweetcorn

For the sauce, mix together the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside while everything else is cooking. It might be a bit lumpy or split to start with, but if you leave it for ten minutes or so it will become completely smooth.

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. If you’re using fresh sweetcorn, throw it in with the pasta about a minute before the end of the cooking time to quickly cook it.

While the pasta is cooking, fry the onion in a splash of oil over a medium heat until translucent and just starting to colour, about five minutes. Roughly mash or chop the chickpeas until there are no whole beans left, but don’t completely puree them.

Drain the cooked pasta and return to the pan with the sweetcorn, chickpeas, cooked onion, and the sauce. Stir over a medium heat until warmed through.

Chilli and corn stuffed peppers

29 Aug

There are many things a vegetarian might see on a restaurant menu that will make their heart sink. Dishes that can be satisfying and delicious, but when made by a begrudging meat-eating chef in a busy kitchen will invariably be a stodgy, tasteless disappointment. Common failures include risotto, vegetable lasagne, and mushroom stroganoff.

I was reminded of this recently when watching an episode of Celebrity Masterchef. The contestants were asked to produce food for a college canteen. One of the vegetarian options they made was stuffed peppers, which consisted of peppers stuffed with plain cous cous and vegetables. Nothing else. I love vegetables more than anything, but if I was presented with that for my lunch I would feel really let down. It shows real lack of imagination. Most vegetarians I know have as healthy an appetite as anyone else and they like their food to taste of something. We’re not ill, we’re not on a diet, and most of all we love good food!

So in response to the Masterchef non-recipe, here are my own stuffed peppers, using the classic combination of chillies and corn. It’s tasty, it’s filling, and most of all it’s not disappointing. You could add a bit of grated cheese if that floats your boat, but I choose not to.

Recipe (makes four half peppers)

  • 2 bell peppers
  • 75g polenta
  • 1 hot chilli
  • a sprig of thyme
  • 150g sweetcorn
  • half a teaspoon of salt

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Cut the peppers in half, and remove the seeds. Try and keep the stalk attached, it helps the pepper halves keep their shape and stops the filling from spilling all over the place. Put the peppers in a roasting tin.

Bring 350ml water to boil in a non-stick saucepan. Slowly pour the polenta into the boiling water, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and keep stirring for two minutes. When the polenta is thick and fairly smooth (kinda like mashed potato), add the finely chopped chilli, thyme, sweetcorn, and salt. Stir well.

Divide the filling between the peppers. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pepper is cooked and the stuffing is starting to brown.

Note: if there is any filling left over, let it set, cut it into cubes and fry it up. Or just eat it.

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