Spicy Stuffed Marrow

The audience has a hushed silence hanging about it…the kind of silence that you only hear with baited anticipation holding everyones’ breaths deep within them as individual excitements mount to create a palpable collective and universal thrill as what lies in store.

The heavy auditorium curtains give little away as the audience’s excited anticipation reaches fever pitch.

Then…the curtains begin to slowly open and commence their seemingly torturous slow journey to reach their destinations at either side of the impressively large stage. Slowly the heavy fabric sleeves holding their secret are opening with a come-hither look of seductive prowess about them to reveal what the whole auditorium have been waiting for…no other than the Cooking Duo!

Yes, foodies! Live, on stage! With each beaming the widest of smiles and waving cheery greetings of “Hello, fellow Foodies!” to everyone gathered here to see and watch this dynamic Cooking Duo’s show.

Dawn: Well Andrew, what do you have for me today?

Andrew: I’ve been busy in the Love Food garden, Dawn. Have you seen the size of my marrow?

marrow

Dawn: (raises eyebrows) My! That’s an impressive size!

Andrew: The more it’s loved, the more it grows!

Dawn: I don’t wish to know that! But what to do with the beast; it looks a real monster!

Andrew: The marrow is from the same family as courgettes, but unlike its smaller cousin, it is an advantage to be this size.

Dawn: It’s about 15 inches long. Should fit nicely into that baking tray.

Andrew: Marrow is delicious, nutritious, easy to grow and cook. However, the taste is often quite bland.

Dawn: Shall we spice it up a little?

Andrew: You know I can never decline an invitation like that!

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 large marrow

1 red or white onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (or a teaspoon of chili flakes)

1 tsp hot paprika

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp oregano

200g chorizo, cubed

250g baby plum/cherry tomatoes

Small glass of wine (or water)

75-100g couscous

Handful of breadcrumbs

Grated cheese of choice – we used mature cheddar but anything you have in the fridge will work just as well as well as manchego or parmesan would be just as good

Andrew: Definitely going to be a kick from this combination.

Dawn: Let’s get this party started!

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200⁰C.
  • Cut the marrow in half, scoop out the seeds and the flesh leaving about a centimetre depth in each half. Season with black pepper and salt, and place in a baking tray.
  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan or frying pan, heat a tablespoon of any type of cooking oil – sunflower, olive or rapeseed oil – over a medium heat.
  • Sweat the onion for 5 minutes, then add the peppers for a further 5 minutes, allowing them to soften.
  • Add the garlic, herbs and spices. Mix well.
  • Add the chorizo and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, allowing the flavour and colour to develop.
  • Throw the tomatoes in (whole or halved depending on taste).
  • Pour in the wine or water, cover and allow to cook for a further 10 minutes until the tomatoes have split and the liquid reduced.
  • Turn off the heat, add the couscous, mix and cover again. The couscous will cook in the liquid and absorb it.
  • Spoon the mixture evenly into the halved marrow.
  • 20150728_192053Cover with tin foil, place in the oven and bake for half an hour.
  • Remove from oven, discard the tin foil, and sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese evenly across the marrow.
  • Cook for a further 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted, the breadcrumbs toasted, and the marrow is tender.
  • Serve with a salad of your choice, with chicken or lamb if hungry.

20150728_201131Andrew: Half of one of the halves will be sufficient for a lunch.

Dawn: And cold the next day, the spicy flavours really penetrate the marrow.

Andrew: Another winner from the Love Food kitchen.

Dawn: And excellent use of our home grown vegetables!

For more inspiring and easy-to-make recipe ideas from the Cooking Duo, keep following forfoodlovers,wordpress.com and the Twitter feed @Love_Food_UK.

Make It Your Own Muesli

This recipe for wholesome and nutritious muesli is literally what you decide it to be! Individually you – by you, for you!

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Ingredients

Serves 15-20

600g rolled oats

100g dried dates, chopped

75g dried prunes, chopped

75g dried apricots, chopped

75g brazil nuts, roughly chopped

50g sunflower seeds

50g pumpkin seeds

Method

  • Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix.
  • Serve a portion in a cereal bowl with either milk or very low fat natural yoghurt – or the two combined.

Dawn: This recipe is so very simple and so very easy to do. I’ve quite literally taken some dried fruits, seeds and my most favourite always-in-the cupboard nuts – brazil nuts – and mixed them together. Bob’s your uncle! They make the most delicious muesli for breakfast and give a massive energy boost to help keep you going all the way through until lunchtime.

Originally devised around about 1900 by a Swiss physician, Maximilian Bircher-Benner for his hospital patients who needed diets rich in fresh fruit and vegetables and was inspired by “a strange dish” he and his wife had experienced while on a hike in the Swiss Alps. Nowadays, it is commonly recognised that we all need diets rich in fruit and vegetables to contribute to our overall healthy living and wellbeing. Bircher originally soaked oats with water and lemon juice overnight and then served it with yoghurt. Something I think I’m simply going to have to try! I’ll report back on what I think.

You can use any dried fruits: cranberries, currants, sultanas, etc. with any seeds and nuts you happen to have in at home. Fresh fruit can, for example, include grapes, grated apple, mango, strawberries, raspberries and can be served with fromage frais, quark and other dairy products as well as adding ground nuts such as ground almonds and a dash of your favourite spice such as cinnamon or ginger to create a muesli completely unique to you – you’re only limited by your own imagination!

I’m rather partial to serving this delicious muesli with a sliced banana, a roughly chopped orange and a smattering of fresh blueberries with a couple of heaped tablespoons of very low fat natural yoghurt on top, then lashings of cool milk and topped off with sprinklings of ground cinnamon. It’s currently my most favourite breakfast! And definitely counts towards my having my 5 A Day!

So go on – Make It Your Own Muesli! It can be anything you want it to be!

Another nutritious breakfast using oats is porridge and you can find the recipe here from my “How To Make” series – “How To Make Porridge”.

For more easy to make and oh-so simple to follow recipes, then follow this blog at www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and over at Twitter @Love_Food_UK. The Cooking Whiz is also on Mumsnet and Facebook.

Vegetarian Three Beans Chilli

Are you a vegetarian? Or feeling in a “veggie” mood? Then this simple and tasty meal is a variation on my “Yummy Chunky Chilli” dish – minus the meat!

DSCI4124

Ingredients

Serves 4

2 tsps whole cumin seeds

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 red peppers, washed, de-cored, de-seeded and sliced

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

500ml vegetable stock

1 tin of red kidney beans, drained and washed

1 tin of black eyed peas, drained and washed

1 tin of chick peas, drained and washed (or do your own “How to Rehydrate Dried Chick Peas”)

1/2 a butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and chopped into small squares

Method

  • Put the cumin seeds in a large saucepan and toast for about 3-5 minutes on a low heat.

Dawn: You’ll know the cumin is toasted as the seeds begin to release their ‘woody’ aroma. Mmm…delicious!

  • Next, add the paprika and a splash of warm water to prevent the spices from sticking to the saucepan.
  • Add the onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes, adding extra warm water as required to stop the ingredients from sticking to the saucepan.
  • Add the sliced red peppers and chopped tomatoes.

Dawn: You can roast the red peppers before adding them and this will lend a mild roasted flavour to the dish. I’ve not done this on this occasion as I was short of time but it’s worth doing as it adds another dimension to the depth of flavours achieved in the cooking.

  • The vegetable stock and three types of beans are poured into the saucepan and mixed together.
  • Next add the cubed butternut squash and stir the ingredients together. On a medium heat, cook these until they have reached boiling point and then lower the heat, cover and allow to cook on a low and gentle heat for about 45-60 minutes until all the ingredients are tender.

Dawn: You’ll know the dish is cooked when the butternut squash becomes ‘mellow-looking’ – soft and mushy – around the edges and the stock is thick and gluey-looking in appearance and texture. It’ll look like a thickish soup with lots of textures to it when it’s cooked.

  • Serve in a warm bowl with either cooked rice – see my “How to Boil Rice” – or a green salad or simply a slice of tasty bread to lap up the juices when you’ve finished.

Dawn: Voila! A glistening nest of ruby red jewels and opulent orangey gems to feast your eyes – and bellies – upon! Enjoy!

For more easy to make and oh-so simple to follow recipes, then follow this blog at www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and over at Twitter @Love_Food_UK. The Cooking Whiz is also on Mumsnet and Facebook.