Category Archives: vegetables

Courgette, Cheesy, Vegetarian Bites

These little Courgette, cheesy, vegetarian bites were inspired by a recipe in my River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook who in turn were inspired by someone else but using Aubergines instead of Courgettes.  I’ve slightly adapted it by adding some ground almonds to replace some of the breadcrumbs and sometimes I add a finely chopped onion.  They make very delicious, nutritious little snacks or finger food but they aren’t just for toddlers!!  I love them, but I warn you, they are very moreish.  I make a pile, usually doubling up the recipe below, then freeze some of the uncooked mixture so there are usually some to hand, just defrost before baking.  

Courgette2ND

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/gas 4.  Oil a baking tray or use baking parchment paper to line.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
Makes: 15-18

Ingredients

500g courgettes, grated (I prefer grated to diced in this recipe)
1 small red or white onion, finely chopped (if using)
Zest of half a lemon
1 egg, lightly beaten
2-3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan
70g mozzarella diced
30g breadcrumbs (around 1 slice of bread with crust)
20g ground almonds
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to season

Method

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the courgettes (if using the onion fry this first in a separate small pan) for around 15 minutes until soft – grated courgettes will give off some liquid, drain this off halfway through frying.  Let the Courgettes cool, then combine with the rest of the prepared ingredients until you have a nice sticky mixture.  Season with sea salt and  black pepper to your own taste.

CourgettbitesND

Roll mixture into small balls, place these on your oiled baking tray (I use a spray oil) and bake for around 15 minutes until lightly golden brown.

courgettebiteND Collage

Courgette, Cheesy, vegetarian bites can be served hot or cold, they are great for the little ones lunchboxes too.   I love them either way, I am not fussy!  They are very quick to put together especially if you use a food processor to grate the Courgettes and  buy the ready grated Parmesan, other cheeses can be added and Gruyere is another favourite here.    

CourgettefinalND

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Flavour Packed Vegetable Stock

I’ve been making my own vegetable stock forever especially in the colder months and this year being colder for longer I’ve made a small batch this weekend. It’s so simple to do and it’s a great way to use up excess vegetables.  Carrots, celery and onion make up the base of my stock and from there I add different vegetables depending on what’s usually in the fridge, parsnips, leeks and sometimes cabbage, swede and mushrooms have made their way into the pot.

I use parsley, bay and black peppercorns but also have used thyme, garlic and other herbs, there really is no set menu for making your own recipe vegetable stock.  The stock I’m making here is perfect for tiny tastebuds too, mine doesn’t like garlic very much yet so will leave it out of this batch.

Today’s pot of goodness includes:

2 organic carrots, chopped – I don’t peel, just give a good scrub
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1 parsnip, peel and cut lengthways
1 small swede, chopped
1 leek including the green part, trim the end off and cut lengthways
3 cabbage leaves, the very outer greener ones
small handful of parsley including stalks
a few black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Put all the vegetables into a pan, I’m using my trusty old (and it is very old but still so good) Le Creuset pan and add 2 litres of water.   Depending on the size of your pan you can add more or less water, more will, of course, produce a more lighter flavoured stock and with less the stock will have a more concentrated infusion.  2 litres fills my pot nicely and produces a delicious, well-flavoured stock.


Simmer for 1-2 hours, I know this seems a bit vague but an hour is fine but if I have the time I do like to give it a bit more simmering time.  Stir occasionally to further blend the flavours.

For extra depth of flavour you can also fry the vegetables gently first in a little oil before adding the water.  For soups though I prefer a simple, fresh and light stock.

Take off the heat and strain through a sieve and leave to cool.  The stock liquid can now be used as the base for soups or to make rissoto, quinoa, etc. 

Once cooled the stock can be frozen, mine is used up pretty quickly as I make a lot of soups which are fabulous for the 5:2 diet which I am still doing every week, it has become a habit now, part of my week and having low-calorie, highly nutritious soups to keep my appetite satiated has been amazingly helpful. 

The cooked vegetables can also be blended down and included in many recipes.  The vegetables will still contain plenty of fibre and a huge shame to waste.  I use them in soups for the tiddler, blended down or added to casseroles.  We also make veggie burgers, mixing the mashed vegetables with breadcrumbs and egg, seasonings and sometimes cheese.  So many uses for extra veg!

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