Tag Archives: courgette

C’mon Inner Peace, I Don’t Have All Day…


Happy Easter to all Cristian ¬†Orthodox and less Orthodox! It is a time for forgiveness and peace in our hearts and minds. They go together always. Otherwise, the mind will drive you insane, and will make you unhappy. Trust your heart and go with it. I asked my heart what shall I do? It answered back to return to the state I was some years ago and it felt happy suddenly. But then my mind turns me around and gives me trouble. If I can’t find peace for a while then I must go through this. I accept and pray for peace in my heart and mind. Where are you, peace? Please, please, come back to me! Talking to myself sometimes helps and I even manage to make myself laugh. ;)) Just imagine me talking aloud or in my mind makes me smile. I remember a pic I found on the internet some time ago. It describes perfectly the state I am in:¬†C’mon inner peace, I don’t have all day… God, I am so restless… In fact I have all day as this is a unique process for every person. ūüôā

It helps if I do something I enjoy so I thought of writing on my blog and whinge a bit. I am soo good… I kiss myself… I make myself smile and laugh even. Thanks myself. xxxxxxxxx

And now back to writing a delicious recipe for hot days. I can not say summer days as hot days start in April now or even March. This weather! ¬†If you don’t want to stay in the kitchen but still want to eat something good why not try this Mediterranean Chicken Parcels recipe? The source is¬†‚ÄúCookshelf Chicken‚ÄĚ by Tom Bridge, 2000. I recommend it for your kitchen, and you can find it zucchinihere,¬† too. And of course I made it once upon a time…and eat it too.

Mediterranean Chicken Parcels

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 250 g (9 oz/ 2 cups) Mozzarella cheese
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz/ 3 1/2 cups) courgettes (zucchini), sliced
  • 6 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil or oregano
  • pepper
  • rice or pasta to serve

Method:

  • Cut 6 pieces of foil each about 25 cm (10 inches) square. Brush the foil square lightly with oil and set aside until required.
  • With a sharp knife, slash each chicken breast at intervals, then slice the Mozzarella cheese and place between the cuts in the chicken.
  • Divide the courgettes and tomatoes between the pieces of foil and sprinkle with black pepper. Tear or roughly chop the basil or oregano and scatter over the vegetables in each parcel.
  • Place the chicken on top of each pile of vegetables then wrap in the foil to enclose the chicken and vegetables, tucking in the ends. To aid cooking, place everything on the shiny side of the foil so that once the parcel is wrapped up, the dull surface of the foil is facing outwards. This ensures that the heat is absorbed into the parcel and not reflected away from it.
  • Place on a baking tray (cookie sheet) and bake in a preheated oven,¬†200¬†¬įC/ 400ňöF, Gas Mark 6, for about 30 minutes.
  • To serve, unwrap each foil parcel and serve with rice or pasta.

Bon appetite!

Have You Got 15 Minutes?


Please, please, say yes. Do you like vegetables? Please, please, say yes. Are you a vegetarian or a vegan? Please, please, say yes. Otherwise I see no sense in writing this recipe. Who would like it, make it, taste it? ūüė¶ ¬†Me? Yeah, I forgot about myself. I like vegetables, I am sometimes a vegetarian, I like to cook, to eat and to write recipes. And I like to do that for you, who take the time to read my blog. For this I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Today I invite you to try a French recipe, from Carolyn Humphries, ‘Simply Stylish Meals in 15 Minutes’, 1999. So, have you got 15 minutes? If so, here we go:

No-nonsense Ratatouille 

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 small aubergine (eggplant), sliced
  • 3 courgettes, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green (bell) peppers, sliced
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) dried oregano
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) tomato pur√©e (paste)
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) red wine or water

Method:

  • Put the prepared vegetables in a large pan with the olive oil. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
  • Add the oregano, seasoning and the tomato pur√©e blended with the wine or water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender.
  • Serve with buttered pasta and grated Parmesan cheese.

Bon appetite!

Before Meat There Were Vegetables


With summer here, why not take advantage of the plentitude of vegetables in season and eat something light and healthy. One of my favourite recipes is a mixture of vegetable called like that: mixed vegetable casserole. It is a Bulgarian recipe from ‘The Practical Encyclopedia of East European Cooking’, 1999. It is very tasty and quite easy to make plus it won’t keep you in the kitchen for long, mostly for preparing. After that you just ‘forget’ it for about an hour and everything is done. Read hear how it’s made and enjoy.

Mixed Vegetable Casserole

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine
  • 115 g (4 oz, 1/2 cup) okra, halved lengthways
  • 225 g (8 oz, 2 cups) frozen or fresh peas
  • 225 g (8 oz, 1 1/2 cups) green beans, cut into 2,5 cm (1 in) pieces
  • 4 courgettes, cut into 1 cm (1/2 in) pieces
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 450 g (1 lb) old potatoes, diced into 2,5 cm (1 in) pieces
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 397 g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint, 2/3 cup) vegetable stock
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) olive oil
  • 75 ml (5 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) paprika
  • salt
  • 3 tomatoes and 1 courgette for topping

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 190¬įC/ 375¬įF/ Gas 5. Dice th aubergine into 2,5 cm (1 in) pieces. Add the vegetables to a large ovenproof casserole.
  • Stir in the canned tomatoes, stock, olive oil, parsley, paprika and salt to taste. Stir well.
  • Level de surface of the vegetables and arrange alternate slices of tomatoes and courgette attractively on top.
  • Put the lid on or cover the casserole dish tightly. Cook for 60-70 minutes. Serve either hot or cold with wedges of crusty bread.

Bon appetite!

Courgette Rice With Feta & Olives


This is the last day of July and I would love to end it with a recipe. Especially because I was a bit¬†idle these days, I wasn’t in¬†the mood of writing almost anything. But I will do my best now and put into English my last recipe that was in Romanian. Let me tell you a little about this recipe. As you are already accustomed now,¬†there is¬†a story behind the recipe. I was at my sister’s house and I wanted to impress her with my cooking skills. My sister is very conservative in cooking and she has her tastes, as we all do. I asked her if she had tried a risotto before. She said no. So then, I would make¬† one for her and her husband to taste and see for themselves how they liked it. I searched the Internet on one of my favorite sites,¬†www.bcgoodfood.com and there I found the recipe. It contained one of my favorite vegetables, courgettes or zucchini. Perfect, I said to myself. It didn’t have meat as well, so it was a very healthy and light dish for a hot summer day. I worked hard but in the end I failed to impress. My sister is just not into rice or anything not-meaty. In my humble opinion, it is a very delicious dish and I would make it anytime. But it is not for everybody. There are people who would hate it and there are people who would love it. So, there you go! ūüėČ De gustibus non est disputandum.

But in spite of that, for those who would like to try it, here is the recipe, adapted so that it can be made anywhere. I tell you why. In Romania, for example, courgettes are quite expensive and rare in the supermarkets so they can be replaced with another squash that you can find in large amounts everywhere in the summer time. And so on.

Courgette Rice With Feta & Olives

Serves 4

Ready in 25-35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 100 g feta cheese, crumbled¬†(or fat cow cheese that you can find fresh at the market)
  • handful of pitted black olives , roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp flat leaf¬†parsley, roughly chopped (this is the best but if it is winter and you can’t find fresh, try dry or may be you put some fresh ones in the freezer)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large¬†onion, finely chopped
  • 3¬†courgettes, roughly sliced (or other squash)
  • 250 g¬†risotto rice , such as arborio
  • 1 l hot vegetable stock (if you don’t have this stock, try boiled water but it will ruin a lot of the taste)
  • 140 g¬†petits pois (or go with peas, fresh or frozen)

Method:

  • Mix together the feta, olives, parsley and 2 tbsp of the olive oil.
  • Heat remaining oil in a large, deep pan. Tip in onion, sizzle gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add courgettes, soften for a couple of minutes, then stir in rice.
  • Pour in a ladleful¬†of stock and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add another ladle of stock and repeat until all the stock has been used, adding petit pois a couple of minutes before the last ladle. If you use peas, put them a little more ahead as they take longer to soften. Simmer until rice is tender and juices creamy. Ladle into bowls, then scatter over feta and olive crumble.

Bon appetite!

Risotto With a Twist


Intr-o zi, anul trecut, in bucataria sorei mele, m-am gandit sa gatesc ceva interesant, oricum, mai interesant decat ce gateste ea de obicei. Pentru ca ea este genul mai traditionalist, si imi pare ca ce face e ceva obisnuit, chiar plictisitor. Sora mea gateste foarte bine, multe retete, face niste ciorbe excelente si eu chiar mananc ce gateste ea, eu, care sunt o mofturoasa, mai ales la ciorbe. Dar ea gateste romaneste. Mie imi place sa experimentez, sa incerc idei si retete noi. Trebuie neaparat sa fie din bucataria internationala, retete romanesti oricum mananc toata ziua. Rezultatul lor, nu hartia. :))  Revenind, ma scuzi ca bat campii cu gratie de balerina, eram in bucatarie. Incercand sa imi impresionez sora cu talentele mele de bucatar sef, i-am spus ca o sa pregatesc ceva italian. A mancat vreodata risotto? Nu. Bun, atunci o sa fac un risotto sa vada cum este. M-am pregatit cu sortul de bucatar, am pus-o sa ma ajute la unele chestii, am stat destul sa mestec la acel risotto, deasupra cratitei, pentru daca nu stiai, trebuie mestecat non-stop, pana la final. E un alintat. Dar vai, am esuat lamentabil! Nu numai ca nu a fost impresionata dar nici nu i-a placut prea mult. Si eu aveam impresia ca o sa ramana muta de admiratie. Ce lovitura parerii mele excelente despre mine insami! Aveam impresia ca voi obtine aceeasi reactie ca atunci cand am gatit pentru prima data in viata mea risotto, acum 4-5 ani, la Londra. Lor le placuse atat de mult, s-au exprimat atat de frumos, au fost atat de incantati de mancare iar eu eram in al noualea cer. A trebuit sa ma trezesc si sa nu mai visez cai verzi pe pereti, pentru ca mi-am dat seama ca unora li se va parea extraordinar ceea ce gatesc eu, si sunt destui, deloc impresionati, care vor gandi ca, hm, e ok, dar nu stiu de ce te agiti atata ca nu e cine stie ce. Sau unele mancaruri le vor placea, altele nu. Tine de gustibus. Pentru ca si sorei mele i-au placut unele mancaruri, altele nu, ca risotto acesta.

Mie, in schimb, imi place risotto foarte mult. Nu aveam reteta pe care o incercasem inainte asa ca am cautat alta. Am gasit un risotto vegetarian care contine una din legumele mele preferate: dovlecelul numit zucchini sau courgette. Asa ca din start, de la ingrediente am stiut ca o sa imi placa. Pentru inspiratie si retete m-am intors catre unul din site-urile mele preferate, BBC Good Food РRecipes and cooking tips, asa ca poti verifica reteta de risotto si aici daca iti place in engleza. Dar gustul e acelasi, pe orice limba. Daca nu cunosti asa bine limba engleza, nu-i bai, citeste mai jos reteta si incearc-o. Sunt doua situatii: fie iti place , fie nu. Care din ele va fi?

Risotto cu zucchini, feta si masline

4 portii

Timp: 25-35 minute

Ingrediente:

  • 100 g branza¬†feta, maruntita
  • o mana de masline¬†negre, carnoase, tocate¬†dar nu foarte¬†marunt
  • 3 linguri¬†patrunjel¬†proaspat, tocat¬†nu foarte¬†marunt
  • 4 linguri¬†ulei¬†de masline
  • 1 ceapa¬†mare, tocata¬†marunt
  • 3 dovlecei¬†zucchini, feliati¬†(daca¬†nu gasesti¬†zucchini, incearca¬†cu dovlecei¬†obisnuiti, dar ai grija¬†ca se inmoaie¬†mai¬†repede¬†deci¬†ofera-le¬†mai¬†putin¬†timp¬†de gatit)
  • 250 g (o cana)¬†orez¬†risotto (poate¬†fi arborio¬†sau¬†carnaroli, in Romania parca¬†am vazut¬†doar¬†arborio¬†dar sincer¬†nu mai¬†stiu¬†exact ca nu am avut¬†ocazia¬†sa fac pana¬†acum)
  • 1 litru¬†supa¬†fiebinte¬†de vegetale¬†(doar¬†zeama, sau¬†apa¬†fiarta¬†dar nu mai¬†este¬†atat¬†de gustos risotto)
  • 140 g petit pois¬†(un soi¬†de mazare¬†mica si dulce; daca¬†nu se gaseste¬†atunci¬†mergi¬†pe mazare; pentru¬†iarna¬†o gasesti¬†congelata¬†la diverse super-marketuri¬†iar¬†vara cred ca e intelept¬†sa¬†o cumperi¬†proaspata. Ai grija¬†ca mazarea¬†dureaza¬†mai¬†mult sa se prepare asa ca o poti¬†pune¬†mai¬†devreme¬†decat¬†soiul¬†celalalt)

Preparare:

  • Intr-un¬†bol,¬† amesteca¬†feta, maslinele, patrunjelul¬†si 2 linguri¬†de ulei¬†de masline. Daca¬†nu vrei¬†sa mergi¬†mai¬†departe, serveste¬†aceasta¬†racoroasa¬†si delicioasa¬†combinatie¬†pe paine prajita¬†si tocmai¬†ti-ai luat¬†un pranz¬†usor¬†de vara.;) Sau¬†poate¬†gasesti¬†alte¬†idee¬†de a o consuma, esti¬†libera/ liber sa experimentezi.
  • Incalzeste¬†restul¬†de ulei¬†intr-o¬†tigaie¬†mare si adanca. Pune ceapa, prajeste-o¬†cca¬†5 minute, pana¬†se inmoaie. Adauga¬†dovleceii, lasa-i¬†sa se inmoaie¬†cateva¬†minute apoi¬†pune¬†orezul.
  • Pune un polonic¬†de supa¬†vegetala¬†si amesteca¬†pana¬†se absoarbe¬†complet. Repeta¬†operatiunea¬†cu polonicul¬†si amestecul¬†pana¬†se termina¬†toata¬†supa¬†si este¬†complet¬†absorbita. Cu cateva¬†minute inainte¬†de ultimul¬†polonic, adauga¬†petit pois. Lasa¬†la foc¬†incet¬†pana¬†cand¬†totul¬†se inmoaie¬†si devine¬†cremos. Serveste¬†in boluri, peste¬†care pune¬†amestecul¬†de feta cu masline¬†si patrunjel. Datorita¬†faptului¬†ca e asa moale, va avea¬†foarte¬†multa¬†trecere¬†la bunici¬†si¬†copii¬†si de ce nu si la altii¬†care vor aprecia¬†un topping mai¬†special pentru¬†asa o mancare¬†clasica. ūüôā

Pofta buna!

Beautiful Italy


Zucchini alla ricotta

Zucchini alla ricotta 

Zucchini alla ricotta

Zucchini alla ricotta my way

Do you want something light, tasty, easy and delicious for a hot summer day? Go for an Italian recipe. Try my suggestion: courgettes stuffed with ricotta or as Italians would say: Zucchini alla Ricotta.

I would eat this meal quite often, if you ask me. Contrary to that, I have made it only twice so far. Once in London, once in Romania. So there is enough time to make it in the near future. My inspiration is in a book I have written about ¬†it here: “Good Housekeeping All Colour Party Cook Book” 1992.

I would also add another recipe for a home-made sauce. This sauce works with everything, from pasta, pizza to this recipe. So you must make it too, but don’t worry, it is very easy.

Let’s get to ¬†work, pardon me, to read. ūüėČ

Zucchini alla Ricotta

(Courgettes stuffed with Ricotta)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 even-sized courgettes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, skinned and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, skinned and crushed
  • 175 g (6 oz) Ricotta cheese (if you don’t have Ricotta, try a fresh cheese)
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 3 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
  • fresh basil sprigs, to garnish
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

For the quick tomato sauce:

  • 397 g (14 oz) can tomatoes
  • 1 tsp tomato pur√©e
  • 1 small onion, skinned and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, skinned and crushed (optional)
  • pinch of dried basil
  • pinch of sugar
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

  • Score the courgettes length-ways with the prongs of a fork, then cut them in half lengthways.
  • Scoop out the flesh from the courgette halves with a sharp-edged teaspoon. Leave a thin margin of flesh next to the skin and make sure not to scoop out all the flesh from the bottoms or the skin may break.
  • Blanch the courgette shells in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain, then stand skin side up on absorbent paper.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion, garlic and scooped-out flesh from the courgettes. Fry gently for about 5 minutes until soft and lightly coloured, then turn into a bowl and add the Ricotta, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
  • Spoon the Ricotta filling into the drained courgette shells, dividing it equally between them.
  • Make the sauce now. The recipe says 300 ml but this sauce makes about 450 ml (3/4 pint). But as they say, there is never enough sauce, so use it all. So, put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If you don’t have either of these, try mash everything or just add them directly to a saucepan. The sauce is perfectly fine like this too.
  • Heat in a saucepan for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Pour the tomato sauce into the bottom of a shallow ovenproof dish which is large enough to hold the courgettes in a single layer. Place the filled courgettes in the dish side by side. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
  • Bake in the oven at¬†200¬įC, 400¬įF, Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with fresh basil sprigs.

Bon appetite!

Bella Italia


Imi place carnea dar nu sunt o carnivora. O savurez, rar. In rest, chiar am momente cand nu vreau sa o vad. Ca acum, pe caldura. Cel mai bine merg legumele. O simpla salata cu rosii, castraveti si ceapa e ideala, mai adaug si branza si nu imi mai trebuie nimic altceva. Pentru pranz. O alta alternativa este reteta care urmeaza. Si aceasta, tot de doua ori a avut sansa sa fie gatita, o data la Londra, alta data la Constanta. Am ales sa o scriu, la rugamintea unei prietene, care isi doreste ceva fara carne. Stiu ca e putin costisitoare. Din pacate, cam asa sunt toate retele pe care le stiu. Dar cu bunavointa si imaginatie, nu trebuie neaparat sa te afecteze prea mult la buzunar. In fond, sunt multe ingrediente care pot fi inlocuite cu altceva si reteta sa nu fie afectata la savoare. Gustul si-l schimba putin, dar ramane la fel de buna. Si ca de obicei, voi completa la ingrediente cu variantele existente la noi sau mai accesibile, pe cat posibil. Pregateste-te pentru o calatorie pe plaiurile stramosilor nostri, romanii si pentru o mancare delicioasa. Pregateste-te sa faci cunostinta cu o ruda a dovlecelului nostru, care se gateste impecabil si asa, dar si prajit usor in ulei, ce mai, un dovlecel minunat. Este verde inchis la culoare si stiu ca nu prea se gaseste prin super-market-uri. Te-am incurajat deja. ūüėõ Dar daca ai stii ce delicios este! Ca sa te ajut sa stii despre ce dovlecel vorbesc pun si o poza.

Sa trec la “gatit”. Pardon, la scris. ūüėČ

Zucchini alla Ricotta

(Dovlecei umpluti cu branza ricotta)

4 portii

Ingrediente:

  • 8 ¬†dovlecei verzi mediisau courgettes (cred ca dovleceii ceilalti merg la fel de bine, cu toate ca nu am incercat, dar daca tu incerci, chiar te rog sa imi spui cum au iesit )
  • 2 linguri ulei de masline
  • 1 ceapa, tocata marunt
  • 1 capatana usturoi, tocat marunt
  • 175 g branza ricotta (sau branza proaspata de vaca)
  • 4 lingurite busuioc proaspat (sau 2 lingurite busuioc uscat)
  • 3 linguri pesmet
  • frunze de busuioc pentru ornat
  • sare
  • piper

Sos de rosii:

  • 397 g rosii la conserva (alege rosii tocate si nu intregi ca e mai usor la gatit, daca nu ai robot sau blender)
  • 1 lingurita piuree de rosii
  • 1 ceapa mica, tocata marunt
  • 1 capatana usturoi, zdrobit (optional)
  • putin busuioc uscat
  • putin zahar
  • piper macinat proaspat
  • 1 lingura ulei

Preparare:

  • Cresteaza in lungime toti dovleceii cu o furculita, apoi taie-i tot in lungime.
  • Scoate cu o lingurita miezul dovleceilor dar nu exagera ca sa nu ramana doar coaja si sa fie atat de subtire sa se rupa.
  • Opareste cojile de dovlecei in apa fiarta cu sare pentru 10 minute. Strecoara si lasa-le pe un prosop de hartie cu fundul in sus.
  • Incinge uleiul intr-o tigaie, adauga ceapa, usturoiul si miezul din dovlecei. Prajeste la foc mic cca 5 minute pana cand se inmoaie si se coloreaza usor, apoi rastoarna intr-un bol si amesteca cu branza ricotta, busuiocul, sarea si piperul, dupa gust. Amesteca bine.
  • Umple dovleceii cu acest amestec, in mod egal.
  • Fa sosul de rosii. Din cantitatile de mai sus iti ies 450 ml de sos de rosii dar tu ai nevoie, conform retetei de 300 ml. Dar nu cred ca e rau daca il folosesti pe tot, in fond, there is never enough sauce. Pune toate ingredientele intr-un blender sau robot de bucatarie pana se omogenizeaza bine. Daca nu ai nici una nici alta, amesteca totul intr-un bol sau direct intr-o cratita si fierbe la foc mediu cca 10-15 minute pana se ingroasa putin. Poti servi acest sos la orice, de la paste sau pizza la dovlecei. Este absolut delicios.
  • Pune sosul de rosii intr-o tava de copt suficient de adanca si suficient de mare. Pune apoi si jumatatile de dovlecel umplute, sa incapa toate. Si presara pesmetul deasupra.
  • Lasa la cuptorul incins la 200¬įC, 400¬įF, nr.¬† 6 la cuptorul cu gaz pentru 20 de minute. Garniseste cu frunze de busuioc si serveste fierbinte.

Pofta buna!

PS: din pacate pozele nu sunt foarte reusite calitativ, au fost facute cu un aparat de filmat, acum 3 ani. Iti dai seama cand am gatit eu ultima oara asa ceva?

Zucchini

Dovlecel

Zucchini alla ricotta

Zucchini alla ricotta

Zucchini alla ricotta

O varianta de servire