Good vegetarian recipes aren’t that easy to come by, but this recipe by Ainsley Harriott combines fantastic flavours with ease and best of all, speed. I’m a fan of couscous and a good meatless recipes, so I highly recommend this dish, so aptly named.

Serve it on its own as a good vegetarian meal, or throw in some of Ainsley’s lamb cutlets, to please the meat eaters in your life. This recipe uses one of Ainsley’s products, the Premium Couscous, which offers superb flavour with versatility. If you can’t get it where you live, any good quality couscous will do fine.

Mixed Vegetable Couscous

Serves 2-3

INGREDIENTS

* 15g butter
* 150g (6oz) favourite mixed vegetables, chopped (eg peppers, courgettes, green beans, peas, carrots, sweetcorn)
* a vegetable stock cube
* 175ml (1 small teacup boiling water)
* 1 x 125g sachet Ainsley Harriott Premium Cous Cous
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

* Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan then add the chopped vegetables, saute for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

* Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water.

* Add Cous Cous to the vegetables then add vegetable stock. Bring to the boil; remove from heat, cover and leave to stand for 5 – 7 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.

* Fluff with a fork; if required piping hot, re-heat over a low heat for 1-2 minutes, separating the grains with a fork.

* Season to taste before serving.

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If you were enticed by that delicious looking and sound roasted chicken with herbs in the last post, then you will not be able to resist this cake, which is the perfect dessert to complement your main course. Again, this is from Art Smith’s kitchen.

Ingredients:
Makes 12 servings
• 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 8 egg yolks
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter , cut into 8 pieces
• Grated zest of 2 lemons
• Pinch of salt
• 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups sugar
• 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter , softened
• 4 eggs , at room temperature, separated
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 cup well-stirred, canned unsweetened coconut milk
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 2 egg whites , at room temperature
• 2 teaspoons corn syrup
• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 bag (17 ounces) shredded sweetened coconut (2 2/3 cups)

In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, combine lemon juice and 1/2 cup water. Add cornstarch, and whisk to dissolve. Add sugar, egg yolks, butter, lemon zest and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and whisk 1 minute. Strain through a coarse sieve into a medium bowl. Let cool to room temperature, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until very cold. (Filling may be prepared up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.)

Position a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°. Lightly butter and flour three 9-inch round cake pans; tap out excess flour. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, then vanilla. On low speed, add flour in three 1-cup additions, alternating with two 1/2-cup additions of coconut milk, beginning and ending with flour, and beat until smooth, scraping bowl often with a rubber spatula. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites (with clean beaters) on high speed until they form stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of the whites into batter, and then fold in remainder. Spread evenly in pans.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Be sure pans don’t touch each other and that they clear sides of oven by 2 inches.

Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Invert onto racks and unmold, removing parchment paper. Turn right sides up and cool completely.

In the bottom of a double boiler, simmer water. In the top of a double boiler, combine sugar, egg whites, corn syrup, cream of tartar and 1/3 cup water. Place over simmering water. Beat on high speed with a handheld electric mixer until icing forms soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and beat in vanilla. Continue beating 5 minutes, or just until stiff peaks form.

Place one layer upside down on a serving plate. Spread with half of lemon filling. Place another layer on top, right side up. Spread with remaining half of lemon filling. Add the final layer right side up. Spread icing over top and then sides of cake. Press handfuls of coconut all over icing. (Cake tastes best the day it is made.)

This recipe and the previous one are actually part of Oprah’s Christmas menu, which can be found on her web site. I wish I had Art Smith to whip up these goodies himself!

steak-and-al-gar-300pixHere is a recipe that made my mouth water even as I read the name. If you remember, my last post was a recipe using kangaroo meat. I think that I shall stick to the tried and tested beef or venison. For the life of me, I just cannot imagine eating kangaroo. Anyway, this recipe is from British celeb chef Alan Coxon. If you’re not familiar with ale-gar, it is simply a dark Vinaigre that is full of flavor. It is perfect for marinating meat in.

6 tbsp Ale-Gar Vinaigre, plus extra for drizzling
4 x 125-150g (5-6oz) fillet steaks
2 large courgettes, thinly sliced diagonally
2 peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 red onions, sliced into wedges
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parsley sprigs, to garnish

Method:
Spoon the Ale-Gar Vinaigre into a shallow non-metallic dish. Add the fillet steaks, turning them to coat. Cover and leave to marinate for 30-40 minutes, turning once.

2 Heat a char-grill pan or grill. Put the courgettes, peppers and red onions into a bowl and add 2 tbsp olive oil, tossing them to coat. Char-grill or grill the vegetables in batches until tender and lightly browned. Set aside and keep warm.

3 Drain the marinade from the meat, then add the remaining olive oil, tossing the steaks to coat them. Char-grill or grill the steaks for 3-4 minutes per side, or until done to your liking.

4 Serve the steaks and vegetables on warm plates. Season with a little salt and pepper, then drizzle a little extra Ale-Gar Vinaigre over them. Garnish with parsley sprigs.

Cook’s tip: Try this recipe with venison steaks instead of beef.

kangarooI have never ever thought about eating kangaroo meat. I mean, I had this book in grade school with CA Zoo and Kangaroo; I don’t know if you have ever heard of that book but I have always seen kangaroos as nice cuddly animals (even though I know they aren’t in real life) and I can’t even bear the thought of eating its meat. In any case, Australian celebrity chef Benjamin Christie has this interesting recipe with kangaroo meat as the focus. Perhaps you’d be interested. Here it is, courtesy of the chef himself.

Ingredients
750g (1½ pounds) kangaroo mince
1 large onion ( chopped )
2 cloves of garlic ( crushed )
500g (1 pound) bush tomato chutney
100ml (3½ fl oz.) merlot
30g (2 tablespoons) tomato paste
5g (1 teaspoon) wildfire spice
1pkt fresh lasagne sheets (pre-cooked)
300ml (10 fl oz.) béchamel sauce
5g (1 teaspoon) lemon myrtle
250g shredded mozzarella cheese
125g (½ cup) parmesan cheese
salt as required

Cooking instruction
In a large saucepan on medium heat, cook the kangaroo mince, onion, and garlic until brown. Then stir in tomato paste and wine then cook until reduced. Add bush tomato chutney and wildfire spice, and then allow to simmer for at least 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt as required.

When making the béchamel sauce, as it cools whisk in the lemon myrtle, this will ensure maximum flavour.

Lightly grease the sides and bottom of an individual serve dish. Then spread a little of the kangaroo sauce over the bottom. Then place a cooked lasagne sheet on the kangaroo sauce. Spread the lemon myrtle béchamel sauce on the cooked lasagne sheet. Then spread with kangaroo sauce and a little mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers till you get to the top of the dish. Finish with lemon myrtle béchamel sauce and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top.

Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden on top. Sprinkle wildfire spice on the top and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs.