Vegetarian Moussaka Style Pasta

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Hello friends! Yesterday I fused two gorgeous cuisines together, Greek & Italian! And what a result!! Tasty, Mediterranean and very comforting…my kind of food. Also healthy with the soya mince, and fresh aubergine. Which I have to say is my vegetable of choice at the minute. I keep craving them and I’m sure you’ll all be getting more aubergine recipes soon.

I think the best thing about food blogging/writing is you get to eat the food at the end of it all. Developing, prepping, cooking is enormous fun but to eat the dish is like the cherry on the cake…ummmm reminds me…I have to bake a cake soon for all of you! It’s been a while…

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend, see you all very soon. Much love, D x

INGREDIENTS

1 large aubergine diced
2 medium onions diced
300g vegetarian soya mince
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tin chopped tomato
300g tomato passata
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp olive oil
400g penne pasta cooked
Feta cheese optional
Salt & pepper to taste

METHOD

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, sauté the onion and aubergine together, cover and cook for 5 minutes

2. Add the tin of tomatoes, passata, vegetarian mince, oregano, garlic and seasoning, stir, cover and cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally

3. Serve on some penne pasta with a generous crumbling of feta cheese

Comforting Food Always!

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I always find myself making and discovering new recipes but don’t tend to make recipes that I’ve previously developed. Not because it becomes repetitive, more that I’m always looking for new things to cook!

So, this weekend I decided to change things up a bit and go back to a recipe that I made a while back and adored the first time round. I made the tomato sauce a bit more Mexican and spicy and reversed the filling and sauce around. This is The first dish and now for what we had at the weekend. I think it makes for a nice winter meal as the heat of the spices warms you through.

So very easy to prepare in advance if you have guests coming round or so quick to make when you want a simple, fast meal. Hope you all enjoy it!
Have a mesmerising Monday, much love D x

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INGREDIENTS

For the filling

A large bag of baby spinach 400g
1 large garlic clove
150g full fat soft cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

For the sauce

430g tomato passata
1 small white onion chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 tsp taco/mexican seasoning
1/2 veg stock cube
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper/paprika
1 level tsp salt

6 large tortilla wraps
Grated mature cheddar cheese

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 190°c

Blitz all the filling ingredients together in a food processor…DONE!

For the sauce

Heat up the Olive oil. Sauté the chopped onion on a low heat until golden brown. Pour in the tomato passata along with all the seasoning, stir well. Cook through for 10 to 15 minutes

To see the set up of the enchilada go to…Mexican spinach enchiladas

Once all layed out in baking dish, pour over the tomato sauce. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and has is all golden

Serve with a salad of your choice

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Aubergine & petit pois lasagne

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Lasagne originated in the region of Emilia-Romagna and is traditionally known for the wonderful layers of ragù, bechamel sauce and parmigiano regiano with meat and vegetable layered within.

In this all vegetarian lasagne you will find that I have combined the tomato ragù with the aubergine and peas already and I personally adore the bechamel sauce with the cheese melted all over as the last layer. Which I must admit I do keep til the end when eating it.

My husband and I seriously love Italian food and that’s why we were led to Rome and Sardinia for our honeymoon. I have never tasted pizza and pasta so good as I did on the streets of ancient Rome. I must have been an Italian in my past life and now of Indian origin I think Im working through the alphabet lol!

I will definitely be exploring more Italian recipes as I go along in this very exciting culinary journey of mine…do come along for the ride!

INGREDIENTS

1 large aubergine thinly sliced
1 medium onion grated
1/4 tsp dried red chilli seeds
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp olive oil
A little boiling water
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 tsp salt
200g tomato passata
150-180g frozen petit pois
9 pre soaked lasagne pasta sheets *see notes*
150g cheddar cheese grated

For the bechamel sauce
30g butter
1 1/2 tbsp plain flour
200ml milk
Salt to taste
Pinch of pepper

METHOD

• In a large saucepan heat up the oil throw in the onion and aubergine, sauté until tender. Sprinkle in the chilli seeds, oregano, salt and the garlic, pour in a little boiling water and mix

• Let it simmer for about 7 minutes and then stir in the passata and the peas. Cook for a further 10 minutes on a low flame, then set aside

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• To make the white sauce. In a small saucepan melt the butter on a low flame, stir in the flour and cook through for a few minutes stirring continuously. Slowly pour in the milk whilst still stirring and leave on a low flame, keep stirring and once the sauce starts to thicken up, sprinkle in the salt and pepper, stir and take off the heat

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• In a deep rectangular baking dish place 3 pre cooked lasagne sheets then spoon out half of the aubergine filling and spread out. Another 3 sheets on top of the aubergine layer and then the remainder of the aubergine mixture.

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Last 3 sheets to be placed and then pour out the luscious creamy white sauce. Top off with the grated cheddar cheese

• Bake in the oven at 180°c/350°f/gas mark 4 for approximately 30-35 mincutes until the cheese is nice and crispy and golden

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• Slice into healthy size squares and serve with a salad of your choice

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Note* to pre cook the dried pasta sheets just put them in some boiling water with olive oil until they are a little softer.

A Mexican Lime, Courgette & Pepper Risotto

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Something to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! A date to me which never had any relevance until now. By blogging for just under a year, I have learnt so much about different cultures and countries from you all. Amazing new festivals and celebrations I knew nothing about! I am very grateful to you all and in thanks I send this risotto with a Mexican edge!

The lime that transforms this risotto really tantalises and adds to the courgette and bell pepper, enhancing the overall feel and taste of this wonderful recipe.

Mexican Italian fusion I think this will be! I couldn’t help myself last night, I had two helpings! I think I have fallen in love with risotto all over again, especially with the Mexican elements doing a rumba on my tongue!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Let’s fall in love again x

Buenos días & Buongiorno! Have a brilliant day x

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INGREDIENTS

250-300g Arborio rice
1 courgette sliced finely diced
1 small white onion finely chopped
1 green bell pepper diced
½ the juice of a lime
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter/low fat butter spread
⅓ tsp salt or to taste
1 litre vegetable stock

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METHOD

• Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large non stick pan on a slow heat

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Add the onion and pepper and sauté for 2 minutes then throw in the rice and make sure every grain is coated in the oil. Keep mixing to avoid sticking

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• Slowly add a ladleful of vegetable stock and continue to stir, each time the stock is absorbed add a ladleful at a time.

•The whole cooking process should take about 30-35 minutes. Half way through mix in the courgette and continue to cook in the same way

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• You may need a little more stock to get to your desired rice consistency. I like mine just cooked

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• Make sure all the vegetables are tender, season with salt and more butter if desired. Serve with a wedge of lime and a little grated parmesan if you so wish

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Carrot & Aubergine Pasta Sauce

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Even I got fooled this time!!! So you all know that I sneak all types of vegetables into my recipes. That way my boys gobble it up! Well, I ate a whole plate of yummy pasta that my husband had made and it was only until the next day, when I helped myself to some of the leftovers that I realised I had eaten carrots in the penne!

I couldn’t believe it! The carrot really absorbed all the pasta sauce flavour and I loved it. I would never have thought to add carrot as an actual accompanying vegetable to the aubergine. I know it works well in mirepoix in the sauce but it worked so well this way too! so I thought I would share my husband’s recipe with all of you my lovely friends!

Have a happy, happy Monday! Much love D x

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This was our lunch yesterday! Baked Camembert with Garlic and Fresh Baguette! I want more!

INGREDIENTS

1 medium aubergine diced finely
1 carrot diced finely
1 onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
⅓ tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
200-250g tomato passata
1 tbsp virgin olive oil

METHOD

• Heat up the oil in a large saucepan, add in the onion and garlic, cook until onion is slightly golden brown

• Throw in the aubergine, oregano and salt. Mix well and cook on a low to medium heat to tenderize the aubergine. You may need to use a little water at this stage

• Once aubergine is soft, pour in the passata, stir and cover. Simmer on low for a further 15-20 minutes

• Serve the sauce with some fresh penne sprinkle with some grated Parmesan

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Tomato Enchiladas In A Spinach Ricotta Sauce

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Now you’re thinking having looked at the picture above, has she made enchiladas or spinach & ricotta cannelloni? Well I’ve done it again! I’ve combined two classic Italian and Mexican dishes to form one superb fusion dish that will leave your tastebuds wanting more. Also you will all have noticed that instead of the spinach & ricotta mixture being in the enchiladas as it is meant to be in cannelloni! I’ve swapped it around! This way you still get a kick from the chilli tomato sauce inside the enchilada but more importantly it is smothered in a vibrant fresh green spinach sauce that really blew me away as it came bubbling out of the oven. This creamy garlic tomatoey taste sensation is not to be missed!

INGREDIENTS

300g baby spinach
250g ricotta cheese
430g tomato passata
1 small white onion chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 tsp dried oregano
1/2 veg stock cube
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
1 level tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Cheddar cheese grated
6 large tortilla wraps

METHOD

• Preheat oven to 180ºc/350ºf/gas mark 4. In a food processor blitz the spinach and garlic to a paste, add a little water to get the process going.  Season with salt, pepper and add the ricotta cheese and once again blitz so that it all combines

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• Heat the oil in a small saucepan, sauté the onions til soft. Sprinkle in the oregano and pour in the passata with cayenne pepper. Crumble in the stock cube and add a little water. If the tomato passata is too sour then stir in a pinch of brown sugar to balance out the flavour. Simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes

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• Place a wrap on a clean surface. Spoon some tomato sauce plus the ricotta/spinach sauce and gently roll up

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• Repeat for the remainder of the wraps and lay in a baking dish

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• Pour all the spinach sauce onto the rolled wraps making sure everything is covered

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• Distribute a generous layer of grated cheddar cheese to form the topping

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• Bake on the middle shelf for approximately 20 minutes and then brown off the cheese under the grill to make the enchiladas crispy

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• Serve with a side salad or some mexican rice

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Pistachio & Coconut Biscotti

I fancy some biscotti today so wanted to share one of my recipes with you all. It’s FRIDAY!!! Much love D x

Shivaay Delights

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It’s the weekend and I’m up again at six! Recently this has been happening quite a lot, though it gives me a little me time before the day really starts. I have a mug of masala chai in one hand and I think to reach out for the tin of biscotti that I satisfyingly filled yesterday!!! No, No, No! It’s too early?! Oh go on then only one! No one will know they’re all fast asleep hehe!!!!

This is my own recipe for biscotti and I wanted to incorporate an Indian feel to this wonderful Italian biscuit. Pistachios and coconut are very much used in Indian sweets and nuts are used in biscotti so I took the best from both and came up with these light, tasty, sugary treats. I’m enjoying one as we speak….

INGREDIENTS

80g unsalted shelled pistachios chopped
200g plain flour
50g desiccated coconut
120g granulated sugar

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Sharing my lunch with you x

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I thought as I shared my breakfast with you all, it’s only fair to share lunch with you too my lovely friends x

A roasted aubergine and courgette lasagne whilst we were out and about in the city! Really succulent pieces of veg layered between thin pasta sheets. All smothered in a white sauce with a golden halo of crispy cheese! Omg! It was goooood!

Now what will be for dinner? And dessert?
Hope your having a great day! 🙂

A Mexican Vegetarian Lasagne

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I found this recipe and adapted it a while ago and have made this dish once before. It is such a great way to efficiently use up tortilla wraps. Most of the ingredients you will have in your store cupboard also. You will have a Mexican lasagne in 45 minutes from start to finish. Perfect for an early supper, especially after a busy day Christmas shopping!

Once cooked the tortilla just melts in your mouth as all the sauce is absorbed into them, the filling is oh so satisfying mingling with the cheese!!! Words cannot describe, you’ll just have to make it to see!

Have a splendid weekend! Much love D x

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INGREDIENTS

For the filling
1 tin kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 large tin sweetcorn drained and rinsed
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
⅓ tsp smoked paprika
6 large tortilla wraps

For the Mexican tomato sauce
425g passata or crushed tomato
1 small onion diced finely
2 cloves garlic crushed
large handful of freshly chopped coriander
1 tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
⅓ tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp Mexican seasoning (optional)
⅓ tsp dried red chilli flakes
Pinch of sugar
1 tbsp olive oil

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METHOD

To make the sauce

• Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic with paprika til translucent

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Pour in the passata and all the ingredients apart from the fresh coriander

• Stir well, bring to a simmer and then lower the heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Throw in the coriander and combine

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• Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°c/400°f

To prepare the filling

• Simply combine the kidney beans, sweetcorn, cheese and paprika

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To assemble the lasagne

• Use an oven proof deep round dish or thick deep skillet frying pan. Drizzle in a little olive oil into your dish, place a tortilla as the bottom layer

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• Take a ladleful of sauce and spread onto the tortilla

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• Next take a healthy handful of kidney bean filling and distribute evenly

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• Place another tortilla on top of the filling and repeat. Your most likely to get 5-6 tortilla layers

• For the last layer just smother with the sauce and top off with some more grated Cheddar cheese

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• Gently put into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the cheese has become crispy and golden brown

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• Slice into wedges and serve with a crisp fresh salad of your choice

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Calzone chosen over pizza, by me?

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When we have gone out to eat at an Italian restaurant, my husband will sometimes order a calzone. I never felt inclined to, until today! Well I didn’t order one, instead I made 3 calzones and one pizza!

The pizza was requested by my nearly 3 year old, who took a glance at the first calzone that came out of the oven and said “No I don’t want the crispy one! I want the colour one!” Meaning a colourful pizza where you can see the ingredients as a topping and not a filling which he could not see!

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I really enjoyed it and also the fact that it was a bit more healthier than the pizza as I filled mine with a lot of the vegetable mix. The cheese is also reduced as you only put it on half of the base! So a win win situation! Yay!

Hope you enjoy these crispy yet soft bread textured calzone! Much love D x

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INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOUGH

500g strong white bread flour
7g yeast
2 level tsp salt
30ml warm milk
25ml olive oil
325-350ml warm water

• Mix the flour, yeast, oil and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the warm milk and water and bring together to form into a dough

• Knead for 5 minutes with a little olive oil, cover with a plate and set aside in a warm place. I put mine in my airing cupboard. You could preheat the oven at 160°c for 10 minutes and then turn it off and place the dough in there. Prove the dough for 1 hour

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• Knock back the dough and knead again using a little plain flour, form into a smooth ball and prove again for a further 30 minutes

CALZONE FILLING INGREDIENTS

1 medium aubergine sliced thinly and quartered
1 large courgette thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced in crescent shape
2 garlic cloves crushed
1large green chilli sliced (optional)
1tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt or more to taste
150g tomato passata
½ cup of water
½ tsp paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
Grated Cheddar cheese

Bread flour for rolling
2 tbsp melted butter
olive oil to thinly coat pizza tray

TO MAKE THE FILLING

• Heat the oil, oregano and garlic on a low heat

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Once it starts to sizzle sauté the onion until translucent

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• Throw in the aubergine and courgette, mix well and cover for 10 minutes on a low heat

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• Season with salt and paprika, pour in the passata and simmer for a further 5-7 minutes

TO PREPARE THE CALZONE CASING

• Meanwhile preheat oven to 210°c. Divide the dough into 4 balls using a little olive oil on your hands to avoid sticking

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• On a clean floured surface roll out a dough ball into a round pizza base, thickness of 6-8mm

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• Place the uncooked base on a lightly greased pizza tray, lay some aubergine filling on one half of the base, followed by the chilli and grated cheese

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• Fold over the base to seal, using a fork first seal the edges and then crimp the sides to completely close the calzone. Brush with the melted butter

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• Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes untik crisp and golden brown
(Be careful the filling will be very hot)

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