Quinoa and vegetable stuffed aubergines

Quinoa and vegetable aubergine

 

It’s been a while, a long while in fact, and I have missed my blog, my food photography and being inspired by fresh ingredients. A walk to the local farmers market today, however, hit the spot! Luckily I was hungry and decided I would buy my lunch from the fresh vegetable stall….

Aubergine. I was first introduced to this fruit (yes, fruit!) by my Sicilian husband. It is a staple food there but not so common in Denmark where I am from. I have grown to absolutely love it and eat it a few times a week now. It is very versatile and can be used in lasagne, baked with tomato sauce and mozzarella to make a “parmigiana”, simply grilled and served with meat or baked and made into dips. Stunning.

Although it’s technically a fruit (a berry, to be exact), the aubergine is used as a vegetable. It’s native to South-East Asia, but is grown all over the world, and there are many different varieties, including the bulbous, glossy, deep purple zepplin-like types common to Mediterranean cuisine; the small, tubular Asian types; the small, plump and ivory examples (hence ‘eggplant’, its name in the United States and Australia); or the scarcely bigger than a pea varieties grown in Thailand (BBC Good Food).

In terms of health, look no further! Aubergines are an excellent source of dietary fibre. They are also a good source of vitamins B1, B6 and potassium. In addition they are high in the minerals copper, magnesium and manganese. Aubergines are furthermore high in fibre and low in fat and therefore recommended for those managing type 2 diabetes or managing weight concerns. There is a great article to read on all the health benefits here (BBC Good Food).

Quinoa is magic too (click on link to read more)….and coconut oil is amazing! I have replaced all my cooking oils with it and even have it in my coffee!! Read why here). Finally kale (click to read) – yum!! This recipe is a winner both in taste and health!

So let’s get to the recipe shall we? I tell you – it is the best lunch I have had in a long time and was relatively quick to make.

Quinoa and vegetable stuffed Aubergine (serves 2)

1 tsp raw coconut oil

1 medium-sized onion – chopped in small pieces

1 large aubergine (read link above for good tips on buying quality ones)

A little olive oil (to drizzle over aubergine)

3 closed cup mushrooms – sliced

2 cloves of garlic – chopped thinly

2 large handfuls of kale

5 cherry tomatoes – sliced in half

A splash of water

Good pinch of sea salt

1/2 a cup of quinoa – boiled

1/3 of a pack of feta cheese

    • Heat oven to 200C.
    • Slice the aubergine in half lengthways. I did not leave the stem intact but you can do. It makes it prettier if you are serving for guests. Using a small knife, cut a border inside each aubergine half. Using a spoon, scoop out the aubergine flesh. You will be left with two shells – brush these with a little olive and place in a baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes to soften them, then remove from oven.
    • Place a pot over medium heat and add the coconut oil.
    • Finely chop the onions and garlic, as well as the aubergine flesh, and add it to the melted coconut oil. Let it cook and soften a little – 4-5 minutes time – then add a splash of water (this will essentially steam the vegetables rather than overly fry them).
    • Tip in the sliced mushroom, tomatoes and raw kale and let it all simmer under a lid.
    • In a separate pot add some water and the quinoa and bring to boil. Let it simmer for 15 minutes before draining using a sieve. Once drained, add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables and season with the sea salt.
    • Break the feta cheese into pieces and mix into the vegetable/quinoa pot. Give it a good stir.
    • Pile the vegetable and quinoa stuffing into the shells and re-heat for 5-10 minutes. If you are a real cheese lover you can sprinkle some more feta or mozzarella on top and let it melt.
    • Serve as it is or with a green salad and a piece of grilled meat or fish.
    • ENJOY!

Stuffed AubergineStuffed Aubergine

 

Rye #5 – Thin Rye Crisps

If you have ever gone to IKEA you most probably will have seen the massive, round rye crisps – with a hole in the middle. Essentially, that is what this recipe will make you – but slightly thinner (as this makes a more crisp, crisp!) and I make mine smaller so they are snack size for the children after school.

Why the hole in the middle? In older days when these were made, they were hung on poles to dry by the fire. Cute right?

The recipe is an adaptation of several recipes and my own experimentation! I have added bits from one, bits from another, therefore mentioned must be the recipes of London’s Nordic Bakery, Nigel Slater and Annie Rigg. You can, of course, just buy them at the supermarket but what would be the fun in that? These come out all different shapes and sizes, uneven and individual! Cute as a gift, maybe with a jar of homemade hummus?

As always, full of rye, seeds, quinoa – all great for you! Don’t consider this a diet snack because it actually is not meant to be! It is just a light and crunchy bread that tastes great! How to eat this? With dips – hummus, pesto, olive tapenade or with salmon and cream cheese, mackerel pate, cottage cheese, brie and peppers, as a side to any salad, in the children’s lunch box with a bit of butter on….so many ways! Hope you enjoy!

Thin Rye Crisps

100ml luke warm water
100ml luke warm milk
100g butter (can be substituted with a few tbsp olive oil or omitted)
10g fresh yeast
400g rye flour
100g plain flour
4 tsp small seeds – caraway, sesame, poppy or even sunflower seeds
1 tsp quinoa
1 tsp salt
Optional sea salt for sprinkling
 
  • Gently heat milk and water in a pan until finger warm (if you decide not to add butter, add a bit more water or the olive oil at this stage)
  • Put the yeast in a large bowl and pour the luke warm liquids over the top – whisk the liquids until you have dissolved the yeast
  • Measure out your flour, seeds, quinoa and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and combine until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the luke warm liquids to the mixture – combine to form a ball –
  • If you find your dough to be quite sticky this is also OK – it might be a bit tricky for yo to roll out the crisps later but once baked the taste will be fine. If you do not want it sticky, add a bit more flour
  • Leave in a warm place to rise for an hour – it will probably only puff up slightly but this is fine
  • Pre-heat oven to 210C
  • Once risen, on a slightly floured surface, roll out your dough – thin but not so it falls apart! Probably 2-3mm
  • If you want round crisps, roll little dough balls and use a rolling pin to shape – make a hole in the middle
  • If you want rectangular ones – cut them to that shape. Use cookie cutters to make hearts or other shapes too…cute for different occasions
  • Place the crisps on lined baking trays and punch holes in them with a fork or a grating board – works a treat! You may even be in the possession of a proper, Swedish thin crisp rolling pin…use it if you are!
  • Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt – if you like!
  • Place in the warm oven and bake for between 10-15 minutes – watch them carefully as they are not nice if burned but not crisp if undercooked. Dark brown is good.
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack and store in air tight container.

Dough BallRectangular

For round thin crisps

After school snack or in the lunch box!

Rye #3 – Quinoa, rye and seed quiche pastry

This third rye recipe I have used for years and come back to again and again. It is really easy, looks beautiful, tastes great, is healthy and can be used for many different occasions – buffet lunch, breakfast, brunch or an easy dinner when served with a side salad.

Prepare the pastry the night before and leave in a cold oven with a tea towel over it until needed. This will make it stay crisp as well as reduce stress levels if you are making them for a special occasion. Simply pop the filling in 45 minutes before you want to eat and stick it in the oven.

Everyone in our house has their own favourite filling so I often make two or three. They taste great cold the next day and you can also pop it into the lunch box if you fancy.

Filled with rye (read benefits here) and seeds as well as, depending on your choice of filling,  fresh vegetables, cheese, eggs or bacon, it is hard not to ENJOY!

Quiche Pastry – makes 1 quiche

110g plain flour
55g rye flour
Handful of quinoa
1 tbsp of both sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
Cold water to combine pastry
 
  • Preheat oven to 200C and grease and line pastry tin.
  • In a bowl combine flour, seeds, salt and quinoa. Slowly add olive oil and water and knead by hand until all ingredients form a dough ball that is not sticky.
  • Lightly flour your working surface and roll out dough with rolling pin. Transfer into pastry tin, it does not matter if this happens in smaller pieces that you mold together in the tin, ensuring that the dough not only covers the base but also goes half way up the sides – this to ensure your filling does not overspill. Save a small piece of the pastry for “mending” holes – see below!
  • Prick with a fork and pre-bake (empty) for 15 minutes (should be light brown).

  • When out of the oven you may notice that the pastry has contracted slightly in places – mend the holes with a bit of the raw pastry if this is the case – to ensure no holes.

Egg/cream topping mixture

This mixture goes on top of the various types of quiches – depending on filling. If you do not eat eggs, or want to avoid the calories from eggs and cream – I suggest making the spinach quiche as you can omit the topping for this one and simply sprinkle with some cheese. The spinach is moist enough on its own.

4 eggs and 200ml double cream (for egg/bacon, leek/bacon and tomato/onion quiche)
2 eggs and 4 tbsp double cream (for spinach quiche)
Grated cheddar cheese
 
  • Simply beat the eggs and cream together with a fork in a bowl

Filling Ingredients

Egg and Bacon quiche – great for breakfast or brunch

200g pack bacon lardons
200ml creme fraiche
Pinch ground nutmeg
 
  • Pre-heat oven to 200C
  • Fry bacon in a pan until brown
  • Put on paper towel to dry off excess oil
  • Add bacon and creme fraiche to egg/ double creme mixture (as above)
  • Season with nutmeg
  • Pour the filling into the pastry in the tin and sprinkle cheese on top
  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes

Egg and Bacon

Simply egg is also good 

Spinach, feta and sun dried tomatoes quiche – great lunch or dinner

500 g of chopped, frozen spinach
20 sun dried tomatoes – or more if you like
Feta cheese to taste
Salt, nutmeg
 
  • Thaw spinach in a bowl
  • When defrosted add chopped sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese broken into pieces (quantity depends on your personal preference)
  • Season with salt and nutmeg
  • Put filling into the pastry in the tin
  • Pour over egg/cream filling and sprinkle cheese on top – or simply sprinkle with cheese and avoid the egg and cream all together.
  • Bake for 35 minutes if you added the egg/cream but only for 20 if you did not.

You can omit sun dried tomatoes and add pine nuts as I did here 

Onion and tomato quiche – brunch, lunch or dinner

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 onions – sliced thinly
3-4 ripe tomatoes
 
  • Gently fry sliced onion in a little olive oil until soft
  • Spread onto pre-baked pastry base
  • Pour over egg/cream filling
  • Slice tomatoes thinly and layer on top of the egg/cream mixture
  • Sprinkle cheese on top
  • Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes

Leek and bacon quiche – lunch or dinner

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 leeks – sliced
200g pack of bacon lardons
 
  • Cut the leek length wise, not all the way through – enough to open it slightly. Rinse it under cold water to ensure you get any dirt out. Leek is often full of soil!
  • Slice the leek thinly and gently fry it in a little olive oil until soft but not brown
  • Spread onto pre-baked pastry base
  • Fry bacon in a pan until brown
  • Put on paper towel to dry off excess oil
  • Sprinkle the bacon lardons over the leek
  • Pour over egg/cream filling
  • Sprinkle cheese on top
  • Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes

This one was eaten too fast to get a picture!! The leek goes ever so soft and slightly sweet…beautiful!

Rye #2 – Muffins with Rye,Raspberry,Strawberry and Quinoa

Eat and be very, very, berry healthy! Literally!

I discussed the benefits of rye in my blog a few days ago – if you missed it read it here – and this recipe is a fabulous example of a treat that is a deceptive bomb of healthiness! My children, and us adults, love them and I make them for after school snacks or as pudding when they have play dates.

Raspberries actually deserve a blog of their own but for now I will just mention a few of their benefits:

  • help to sustain energy levels
  • promote more youthful-looking skin
  • promote weight loss – this because raspberries have a low glycemic load which stabilises blood sugar thus keeping those bursts of “cravings” at bay! I am sure we could all benefit from a few handfuls of them after December’s food mania!
  • rich in vitamin C
  • fat, cholesterol and sodium free
  • high dietary fibre content
  • contain more antioxidants than any other fruit – thus helping to combat the free radicals created in our bodies by our consumption of:
    • Fried food
    • Excess consumption of alcohol
    • Irradiated foods
    • Air pollution
    • Smoking
    • Ultraviolet radiation from the sun
    • Excessive exercise

A few became many – sorry – but I was amazed at how good raspberries actually are for you! So go ahead, make these very easy and quick muffins and enjoy a treat that for once is really good for you and your children as well as gorgeous to look at not to mention smell – mind, body and soul fulfilled! 🙂

Rye, Raspberry and Strawberry Muffins – adapted from an Easy Living Magazine recipe

Makes about 8 large muffins

75g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
150g rye flour
100g plain flour
2 tbsp quinoa
50g chilled butter
175ml milk
1 large egg
100g raspberries
75g strawberries – halved
 
  • Heat oven to 200C
  • Place sugar and baking powder in a bowl
  • Sieve in the two kinds of flour – tip the grains left in the sieve into the mixture – don’t want to lose the goodness there!
  • Grate the butter – this is always really funny – strange feeling! Combine into the flour mixture using a fork – children happily do this bit

  • Add the quinoa – can be omitted but gives a nice crunch and is so so good for you!
  • Beat the egg and milk together in a separate bowl
  • Add egg/milk to the flour mixture and gently combine – do not overstir as this will make low, hard muffins. The mixture should be lumpy – far from smooth
  • Add the berries and gently fold them into the mixture
  • Spoon the mixture into muffin cases and cook for about 25 minutes – or until risen and golden brown!
  • Let cool on a wire rack before enjoying – they are also good day 2 but probably won’t last!

Enjoy, once again, the feeling of being the best mum or dad in the world when you hand your children these!

Read more on raspberries and berries in general here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry

http://superberries.co.uk/berries/