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Posts Tagged ‘feta cheese’

Roasted peppers stuffed with rice, vegetables and feta cheese

Rob and I don’t always eat together as one of us may be set on having a particular meal, but the other’s just not interested! Tonight, Rob wanted fajitas so I let him go ahead while I set about trying to create something.

I fancied something that felt fresh and light and feta cheese came to mind, this reminded me of the feta-stuffed romano peppers we’d had and I decided that I’d stuff some peppers with a savoury rice, top it with feta and then bake it in the oven.

First thing’s first, the oven needed to preheat to about 200c. For the rice, I sweated off half a red onion (diced) with a crushed clove of garlic, a large flat mushroom (chopped) and seven quartered cherry tomatoes. When this had all softened I added 1/3 cup of rice (65g) and then 2/3 cup of water along with a sprinkling of vegetable stock powder. I gave it a quick stir and then brought it to the boil before reducing the heat as low as it would go and covering the pan. Ten minutes later, I took the pan off the heat and left the lid on to allow the rice to steam for a further 10 minutes (without the veg, this has been my foolproof method of cooking rice since I first discovered it a few years ago). Once the rice was cooked, I added some leftover cabbage and carrot from last night’s dinner, stirred through some chopped fresh basil and fresh thyme leaves along with a generous grind of black pepper.

At this point the rice smelt very strongly of mushrooms, which I hadn’t really wanted – I was after tomato more than anything. It didn’t taste too mushroomy though, but neither was it particularly tomatoey! I considered adding some tomato pur茅e but concluded that this could just ruin it completely and settled for more quartered cherry tomatoes.

I halved two medium-sized red peppers lengthways and removed the stalk and seeds before stuffing them with the rice, topping them with cubes of feta (65g in total) and placing them on a baking tray (there was still enough rice left for a further two peppers – I’ll have it for lunch tomorrow). They were then baked for 30 minutes until the edges of the peppers were getting soft and crinkly and starting to get a little charred.

When I took the peppers out of the oven I was a little disappointed and wasn’t particularly looking forward to eating them, expecting them to be a little dry and really needing something to accompany them. I’m happy to tell you that I was wrong! The peppers themselves were sweet and juicy (I think roasted peppers may be one of the most delicious foods around) and the extra tomatoes I’d added had oozed into the rice to give the extra moisture and flavour that it needed. The feta was crisp on the outside and soft and creamy inside and lifted the rest of the dish from good to really really good.

P.S. The photo shows two pepper halves, but that portion was for aesthetic reasons only and I finished off both peppers!

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Sweet potato, spinach, feta & roasted pepper frittata

Rob is definitely the only proper cook in this household. I can competently follow a recipe and deliver something delicious at the end of it, but when it comes to having to think for myself I’m pretty rubbish. So I’m going to try and challenge that and see if I can sometimes just look to recipes for inspiration rather than prescription. Rob had a large lunch out today, so I was left to my own devices this evening and felt I owed you, our lovely readers, something a little more thoughtful than yet more tortellini!

I flicked through BBC Good Food’s 101 Meals for Two book and came across a recipe for feta and tuna frittata. The idea of frittata sounded good and I absolutely adore feta cheese, but I wasn’t really feeling the tuna so turned to Google to see where else I could take these ideas. I came across a Gordon Ramsay recipe for Sweet Potato, Spinach and Feta Fritatta and decided that sounded like a much nicer idea – I’d use the recipe’s flavours, but make it up as I went along.

First things first, I switched on the grill to let it preheat to a medium heat. I peeled and cut a medium sweet potato into chunks and then tossed them into a frying pan with some olive oil – I made my first two mistakes here, the pieces of sweet potato were much too large so never cooked through properly and the pan was on too high a heat so they browned a little too quickly. While the sweet potato cooked(ish), I diagonally sliced 4 small red spring onions (I’d have been quite happy using two normal spring onions, but Monday nights seem to be an awful time for food shopping – I had to go to three supermarkets just to find a sweet potato!) and added them to the pan. Next, I chopped up some baby spinach leaves, rescued a few bits of roasted pepper from an oily jar (washing them well) and then cracked four large free-range eggs into a bowl, whisking them together with a little salt and pepper. I then stirred the spinach and peppers into the sweet potato and spring onions along with some crumbled feta and a few shavings of Grana Padano cheese before adding the egg.

After a few minutes, when I could see the egg starting to set around the sides, I transferred the pan to the grill for a further few minutes until the top of the frittata had set. Mistake number three had now occurred; I ran a spatula around the sides of the pan and slid it onto a plate, but when I cut into it I realised that the egg hadn’t set completely in the middle and was still runny, boo 馃槮

I cut the frittata into quarters and had two of them alongside a simple salad of baby spinach, halved British santini tomatoes, some slices of that lovely red spring onion and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The flavours of the frittata were lovely and worked beautifully together, but the slightly-too-firm sweet potato and sloppy egg didn’t offer the most amazing of textures. Oh well Erika, better luck next time!

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An impulse buy of some Padr贸n Peppers from Brindisa at Borough Market on Friday meant that we needed to work some tapas into our dinners for this week. We were then at the market yesterday and saw some lovely looking prawns which we bought to go alongside the peppers, meaning that tapas night had to be this evening. Unfortunately we hadn’t planned to cycle 35 miles today so attempting to cook 6 different dishes whilst feeling rather tired was a considerable challenge.

Padr贸n peppers - fried and salted

Padr贸n Peppers
We first had Padr贸n Peppers eating al-fresco at a tapas bar in Barcelona. We didn’t know what they were when we ordered them and after over-hearing some Americans at another table complaining about them we were very apprehensive! There was no need to worry as they tasted wonderful and we’ve loved eating them ever since. I’m drawn to the russian-roulette style of eating, as one in thirty is super-hot. Tonight I had the hot one – last time around it was Erika’s turn and she had to run off to the kitchen for a glass of milk!

The peppers were cooked in olive oil in a hot pan for a few minutes until their skins blistered. They were sprinkled with salt just before serving.

Chilli and garlic prawns

Chilli and Garlic Prawns
The prawns were beheaded(!) and the intestines removed. Some oil was heated in a pan then a minced clove of garlic was added, then cooked for 30 seconds or so. Next the prawns, half a diced chilli, some paprika and salt were added to the pan and fried for a few more minutes until the prawns were cooked through.

Simple salad of cherry tomatoes, red onion and toasted pine nuts

Salad
A simple salad of cherry tomatoes, red onion and toasted pine nuts.

Smoked paprika almonds

Smoked Paprika Almonds
We found this recipe in a ‘Tapas’ book, but these nuts would make a fantastic snack in their own right and are exceptionally easy to make! Take as many blanched almonds as you’d like (we used a 100g bag) and bake them at 200C for about 8 minutes (don’t burn them!). Transfer them to a heatproof bowl and stir in a little olive oil so all the nuts are lightly coated. Then add a few grinds of salt and a pinch of smoked paprika and stir again to distribute the flavours. The recipe called for 1.5tbsp coarse sea salt (ground with pestle & mortar) and 0.5tsp smoked paprika for 500g of almonds, but I found these proportions to be too salty and not paprika-ey enough! Leave the nuts to cool and munch away!

Tortilla D'Espanya (Spanish Omelette)

Tortilla D’Espanya (Spanish Omelette)
An old favourite of Erika’s since well before she ever set foot on Spanish soil, Spanish omelette is something she’s been trying to perfect for quite some time. Today, we par-boiled sliced potatoes and then left them in a frying pan over a low heat with some chopped onion until everything had softened. We then beat 3 large eggs in a bowl and stirred in the potatoes and onions along with a little seasoning. The mixture was poured into a small, oiled frying pan and flipped over after 10 minutes or so. It tasted delicious, but fell apart a bit and had a huge hole in the middle – one day she’ll get there!

Romano peppers stuffed with feta cheese

Feta Cheese Stuffed Romano Peppers
Having picked up more Romano peppers than we really knew what to do with, we decided to try something decidedly un-Spanish – splitting the peppers in half, filling with cubes of feta cheese and dried oregano and grilling for about 15 minutes. We both learnt something new – that feta doesn’t melt! They were really good though and we’ll have them again.

All this was served with an ice-cold Estrella each and was definitely worth the hard work.

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