Ratatouille Stuffed Aubergine Boats

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Ah ratatouille. One of the few things in French cuisine that I’m actually able to eat. I’m always on a mission to eat healthily during the week so that I can splurge without guilt at the weekend. Sometimes I succeed. Most of the time I fail. Ratatouille is something that I haven’t cooked in years but as it’s just packed with peppers and tomatoes, it makes the perfect healthy option. As I had some aubergines that had been sitting at the bottom of my fridge for a while, I thought I’d try stuffing them with the ratatouille!

INGREDIENTS (4-5 portions)
•Aubergines (depending on how many portions will be served up)
•3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
•1 onion, roughly chopped
•2 cloves of garlic, crushed
•1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
•1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
•1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
•salt and black pepper to season
•1 can of chopped tomatoes
•1 tbsp of tomato purée
•2 tbsps red wine vinegar
•A pinch of sugar
•A handful of chopped fresh basil

Method
1) Pre-heat the oven on 200c.
2) Chop off the head and slice the aubergine lengthways.
3) Brush the aubergines with some oil, add salt and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until tender and golden.
4) In the meantime, heat the remaining oil in the pan and gently sauté the garlic and onion for 5 minutes. Add the peppers and seasoning and allow to stir fry for 10 minutes.
5) Stir in the canned tomatoes, tomato purée and red wine vinegar. Simmer gently for 10 minutes before adding the sugar and basil.
6) Remove the aubergine from the oven and allow to cool slightly before scooping out the flesh. Chop the flesh and stir it through the ratatouille mix.
7) Scoop the ratatouille into the aubergine skins, taking care not to over-stuff.

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8) Place back in the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Serve with on a bed of mixed leaves with some wholegrain rice on the side.

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Roasted Red Pepper & Lentil Soup

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I love a hearty bowl of soup for lunch during the week and there’s nothing more satisfying than making your own, free from the high levels of salt, sugar and preservatives that the shop-bought varieties contain.

I made a massive batch of this delicious soup on Sunday afternoon and it has provided me with lunch for the entire working week.

Several red peppers are required in order to bring out the flavour in the soup but I can guarantee it’s worth it. I used a mixture of bell peppers and sweet pointed peppers.

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Roasting them for an extended period with thyme brings out immensely sweet flavours and the added red lentils give that hearty feel to it.

INGREDIENTS (4-5 portions)
•4 red bell peppers
•4 sweet pointed peppers
•4 tomatoes, halved
•3 cloves of garlic, crushed
•The leaves of 7 sprigs of thyme
•1 tsp black pepper
• Pinch of salt
•1tbsp olive oil
•700ml veg stock
• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
•200g red lentils

METHOD
1) Pre-heat the oven at 180c. De-seed and roughly chop the peppers, placing in a large oven-proof dish along with the tomatoes. Sprinkle on the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, drizzling over the oil.

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2) Place in the oven and roast for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, rinse and boil the lentils, drain and set aside.
3) When removing the peppers from the oven, leave to stand and cool significantly. Add the majority of the stock and blitz with a hand-held blender. Examine the consistency and add more stock if necessary. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, lentils and serve.

I drizzled a dash of soya cream on mine and served with a sprig of thyme. The rest of the soup was then dished out in tuppeware boxes, ready for the week ahead!

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What’s in the bag…?

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Since making the transition to veganism, Holland & Barrett has become my new favourite shop. I’ve popped into their stores sporadically for vitamins and various herbal remedies in the past but I don’t know why I’ve only just noticed their refrigerated and frozen section! I visited the Moorgate store yesterday and picked up a few treats…

•cereal bars
•vegan flapjack
•Provamel soya yogurts
•vegan sunflower spread
•Cheezly Edam- style cheese

And best of all…

•Booja-Booja hunky punky chocolate ‘ice-cream’!

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Made from just 4 ingredients (water, cocoa powder, agave syrup and cashew nuts), this organic concoction tastes unbelievably sweet and creamy. I don’t think anyone would be able to tell that this isn’t the real thing.

And I just loved the back of the carrier bag, almost as much as the contents inside…!

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