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Archive for the ‘Main courses’ Category

Budget, tasty, vegetarian burgers and pilaff

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Spicy lentil burgers and Brown rice pilaff

Just replace butter with oil for vegans.

While this might sound a bit sandals and puritanism it’s actually a family favourite. The burgers are very well flavoured and the rice is cooked with a little butter, stock and thyme and is a nice moist accompaniment to the burgers. If you like, you could also serve steamed vegetables. If I have any veg suitable in I do, but otherwise I don’t bother.

Linda Carucci has successfully convinced me that it is worth removing the green germ you find inside garlic from this time of the year on. There's something quite satsifying about it anyway.

Linda Carucci has successfully convinced me that it is worth removing the green germ you find inside garlic from this time of the year on. There's something quite satsifying about it anyway.

The burgers are adapted from ‘Spicy and delicious’ by Priya Wickramasinghe; and the Brown rice pilaff from, ‘Cooking school secrets for real world cooks’ a rather bossy, but extremely useful, cookbook by Linda Carucci.

This meal is also extremely cheap. Again the ingredients list might look a bit lengthy, but most of them are spices.
Before you start, you need to know that the lentils must be soaked in an equal volume of cold water for at least four hours (or overnight).
Start the rice pilaff first and while it is cooking you can make the burgers.

Brown rice pilaff

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter (or 2tbsp for vegans)
  • 1 standard sized onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs (I have often used dried thyme instead)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock made from good powder or cube (I like Marigold boullion or Kallo organic)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp salt crystals (I like Maldon)
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dried raisins or currants

How I do it

  1. Chop the onion very finely in a food processor or with a knife
  2. Cook it gently in butter until it is getting soft
  3. Add the pine nuts and cook slowly for another few minutes
  4. Turn up the heat to high and stir in the brown rice. Toast the rice for about 60 seconds stirring all the time.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.
  6. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 40 minutes until rice is tender.

Spicy lentil burgers (makes about 12)

Ingredients

Spices

  • 1tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamoms

Other ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp tomato puree
  • salt and pepper

How I do it

  1. Soak lentils in water for at least 4 hours (but not more than 24)
  2. Drain lentils in sieve or colander
  3. Grind lentils about 3 tablespoons at a time in a liquidiser, or all in one go in a food processor
  4. Add chopped onion and rest of ingredients (including spices) to mixture and grind again
  5. Heat ½ inch of flavourless oil (like sunflower) in a frying pan
  6. Drop tablespoonfuls of lentil mixture into a hot frying pan, flattening them into a burger shape. Cook on one side for about two minutes and then turn and cook other side. They should be golden brown. You will need to cook them in two or three batches.
  7. Drain on kitchen paper. You can keep them in a low oven for up to an hour before serving.

Written by SOKNH

September 16, 2009 at 18:51

Posted in 1, Main courses, Recipes

Vegetarian (vegan) chilli – and it’s low fat too

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Serves eight-10

Easy, cheap and low-fat – great crowd pleaser.

You will need a large casserole pot – I use an oval one that is 12″ long by 9″ across and 41/2″ deep.

Don’t let the long least of ingredients put you off trying this – most of them are spices. This takes about a half-hour to prepare and then you have a really delicious (and cheap) meal for a crowd. I usually serve it with salad, tacos and guacamole. Sometimes I also serve bread, brown rice or baked potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g onions, chopped finely (I use organic)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Peppers, carrots, mushrooms (500g total weight), chopped very small – I use the food processor
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • two tins tomatoes, chopped (2 x 400g)
  • two tins kidney beans (2 x 400g – including water)
  • 6 tbsp red wine
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 120g bulghar (essential! – this is sometimes called cracked wheat)
  • vegetable stock cube dissolved in 1 pint water, or Marigold bouillon powder. Also add the liquid from the kidney bean cans.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of sugar

How I do it

  • Cook onions in the olive oil at low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
  • Turn heat up high and add spices. Cook for minute or two stirring to avoid burning.
  • Add veg and stir to coat in spices and oil.
  • Add rest of the ingredients.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer on very low heat with lid off for about 50 minutes.

Written by SOKNH

September 7, 2009 at 15:57

Posted in Main courses, Recipes

Easy, speedy, tasty – Cannelloni with spinach and mascarpone

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Serves 4 (and two lunches the next day)

This Jamie Oliver inspired dinner is so easy and delicious that we have it about once a fortnight. Everything except the fresh spinach can be on hand in your store cupboards. Jamie uses tagliatelle but we prefer the more substantial stuffed pasta.

Ingredients

Canelloni spinachIMG_0111

You can buy stuffed cannelloni like this in most supermarkets.

  • 2 x 350g packets spinach and cheese stuffed cannelloni (most supermarkets have this).
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp butter.
  • ½ a grated whole nutmeg (ready ground nutmeg will not be nearly as nice).
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed with a little salt.
  • 2 x 260g fresh spinach (yes it’s a lot!). If it’s not baby spinach you will need to trim the leaves off the stalks. Wash spinach and chop it up fairly small. If you like, save time and buy washed baby spinach – when I use this I often don’t even chop it up.
  • 1 x 250g tub mascarpone cheese.
  • 125g block parmesan, freshly grated (coarsely grated is fine).

How I do it

  1. Have some water boiling in a largish saucepan.
  2. Gently heat a very large skillet or Le Creuset type casserole (you will be adding pasta to it later) and add the oil and butter to it.
  3. Add the crushed garlic and grated nutmeg to the oil and cook gently.
  4. Meanwhile put the pasta in the boiling water and follow packet instructions (it only takes a couple of minutes).
  5. After the garlic and nutmeg have been cooking for a few minutes add the washed, chopped spinach and stir it around. Put a lid on your skillet for a minute or two if you have one and you want to speed it up.
  6. When the spinach is cooked down, stir in the mascarpone and swish it around until it is melted.
  7. Stir in the parmesan.
  8. Add the pasta and a ladleful of the pasta water and mix it altogether.
  9. Serve immediately.

Note: I usually have some of this this heated up the next day for lunch and it’s delicious.

Written by SOKNH

August 24, 2009 at 17:55

Posted in Main courses, Recipes