All posts tagged vegetables

Spring on a Plate: Rigatoni with Asparagus and Prawns

Published May 15, 2013 by The Feminist

When seasons change, so do the vegetables in our garden. Everyone knows you get the tastiest tomatoes in the summer, the biggest pumpkins in the fall and the pinkest rhubarb in the spring. This pasta dish is incredibly delicious thanks to the wonderful sweetness of the white asparagus. For once, I’m actually grateful to live in Belgium, one of the few countries that cultivates these lovely jewels. They are one of my favorite vegetables and I tend to go completely overboard when the asparagus season starts in April, eating white asparagus at least once a week.

Traditionally, they are served with a classic hollandaise sauce or melted butter, but –as always- I try to avoid the traditional recipes and do my own thing. (hell yeah!) Combining the indescribable flavour of the white asparagus with al dente pasta and the sweetness of the prawns, almost makes me lyrical. Since I’m not really gifted when it comes to writing poetry, I thought I would simply post one of my favorite poems by E.E. Cummings to get you in the perfect spring mood before you start cooking…

“sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love”

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

lovers go and lovers come
awandering awondering
but any two are perfectly
alone there’s nobody else alive

(such a sky and such a sun
I never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes)

not a tree can count his leaves
each herself by opening
but shining who by thousands mean
only one amazing thing

(secretly adoring shyly
tiny winging darting floating
merry in the blossoming
always joyful selves are singing)

“sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love”

I hope you’re all in a fantastic mood after reading this sweet, loveable poem. So get your pots and pans ready, because here’s the recipe:

Rigatoni with white asparagus and prawns

Ingredients (serves 4)

• 350gr rigatoni
• 350gr white asparagus
• 1 broccoli, cut into florets
• 2 shallots, finely chopped
• 30-40 prawns, peeled
• 200ml single cream
• 100ml vegetable stock
• 1 tbsp curry powder
• Fresh parsley
• 3 tbsp mascarpone


1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the rigatoni and cook according to packet instructions.
2. Clean the asparagus and cut them into 2cm pieces. Steam them until they are just tender.
3. Blanche the broccoli florets.
4. Fry the shallots in a some olive oil, add the cream and vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
5. Toss the prawns in the curry powder and some salt and pepper and grill them on a hot grill for one minute on each side.
6. Put all the al dente vegetables, pasta and prawns in the pan with the creamy sauce and stir through the fresh parsley and the mascarpone. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Sprinkle on some grated parmesan and dig in!

From “Meh! Vegetables” to “Yeah! Vegetables”

Published March 26, 2013 by The Feminist

Confession: I am the biggest vegetable lover on this planet.

It’s true! I love every type, shape, size, taste, smell of vegetables. To my mind, vegetables are awesome! For some reason, however, a lot of people (and I mean A LOT of people! ) don’t like their veggies. They think of them as plain and boring.

Let me tell you something: if you are one of those people, you just don’t know how to cook them right. There are so many fun and original things you can do with vegetables! They are the true masters in versatility! So what the f*** is wrong with you people?? Eat your vegetables! They’re not only good for you, they are also one of a kind!

We had a “Hurray, it’s spring!”- brunch a couple of days ago. On the menu: grilled asparagus wrapped in pancetta (heaven!), pecorino, courgette and broccoli quiche( double heaven!) and a Middle Eastern cauliflower salad (triple heaven!). The irony was, however, that exactly on the day of our spring welcoming, it was bloody snowing outside. But hey, when you’ve got so many yummy vegetable dishes in front of you, who cares?


Pecorino, courgette and broccoli quiche

• One sheet of shop-bought puff pastry
• 50gr pecorino cheese, grated
• 1 small broccoli, in small florets
• 1 small courgette, diced
• 1tbsp dried oregano
• Bunch of fresh parsley
• 2 eggs
• 200ml single cream
• 50ml whole milk


1. Preheat the oven to 210°C. Grease a 23cm loose-bottomed tart dish with butter and gently line the tin with the sheet of puff pastry . Prick the pastry all over with a fork. Blind-bake the puff pastry case for 8-10 minutes.
2. Blanche the broccoli for a couple of minutes in salted water. Drain and rinse under cold water.
3. Sauté the diced courgette with the dried oregano in a tablespoon of olive oil.
4. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and milk. Mix through the grated cheese and chopped parsley. Season generously with salt and pepper.
5. Put the vegetables on the bottom of your blind baked pastry and pour over the egg mixture.
6. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.


Middle Eastern cauliflower salad


• ½ large cauliflower, blanched and chopped finely.
• 3 spring unions, chopped
• Handful of raisins
• Bunch of fresh coriander
• Bunch of fresh parsley
• Handful of chopped almonds
• 1tsp cumin
• 4tbsp olive oil
• Juice of half a lemon


1. Easy! Put all the ingredients in a bowl, season generously with salt and pepper and mix through. Voila!


Grilled asparagus wrapped in pancetta


• 250gr thinly sliced pancetta
• 350gr green asparagus, ends trimmed
• Juice of half a lemon


1. Steam the asparagus al dente.
2. Wrap the asparagus with pancetta in bundles of five.
3. Heat a frying pan with olive oil. Add the bundles and fry to colour for one minute on each sideand sprinkle some lemon juice over the top and season with pepper.
4. Serve!

When in doubt, eat couscous: couscous with grilled vegetables, marinated feta cheese and chermoula

Published March 17, 2013 by The Feminist

The only certainty in life is that there are none. Everything changes. Everything evolves. There is one thing, however, that will never be subject to adjustment , and that is my sincere love for couscous.

I mean, what’s not to like? It’s simple, delicious and brings an instant smile to my face. Couscous is my kind of happy food: when everything seems to go wrong, all I have to do is eat a plate of couscous and all of a sudden my mood switches from “leave me alone!” to “Seize the day!”. It is truly magical!

I could use a little cheering up the other day, so I decided to conjure up the following dish: couscous with grilled vegetables, marinated feta cheese and chermoula. Doesn’t eat look and sound absolutely delicious?! Well, it was!

Ingredients(serves 3-4):

• 250gr couscous
• 2 red peppers, in large chunks
• 1 courgette, in large chunks
• 2 parsnips, in large chunks
• 300gr feta cheese
• Bunch of fresh coriander
• Bunch of fresh parsley
• 1 clove of garlic
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard
• Cumin
• Falafel spice mix
• 2 tbsp runny honey


1. Grill the vegetables in a searing hot grill pan 2 minutes on each side until grill marks appear/ Transfer the vegetables into an oven dish, sprinkle with olive oil, two tablespoons of honey, salt, pepper and a tablespoon of falafel spice mix. (I you can’t find the spice mix, raz el hanout will do 😉 )
2. Put the vegetables in a preheated oven at 220°C for about 15-20 minutes.
3. Cook the couscous.
4. Cut the feta cheese into large slices and sprinkle generously with olive oil and falafel spice mix.
5. Mix the fresh herbs together in a blender with the garlic, mustard, salt and pepper, cumin (to taste) and 200ml of water.
6. Serve. Eat. Be Happy!

Turnip Turning Sexy: Stuffed turnips with a Middle Eastern saffron risotto

Published February 15, 2013 by The Feminist

I love turnips. I love how they look, I love how they smell and I love how they taste. However, a lot of people seem to think the humble turnip is a very old-fashioned and outdated vegetable, and hence don’t cook with them very often.

This recipe was created to show all turnip skeptics that this lovely root vegetable can actually be really hip, funky and sexy. Turnip turning sexy? Yes it can!

Stuffed turnips with a Middle Eastern saffron risotto:

Ingredients (for one hungry person):

• 2 medium size turnips
• 70gr risotto rice
• A pinch of cumin
• A pinch of saffron
• A handful of raisins
• Vegetable stock
• Fresh coriander, chopped
• 1 onion, chopped


1. Peel the turnips and carve out some of the flesh to create two beautiful turnip cups.
2. Cook the turnips au bain marie in a preheated oven at 220° until they are soft. (I don’t really know why I used the au bain marie method, it somehow felt suitable for the occasion 😉 )
3. Fry the onion in some olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the rice and stir for a further couple of minutes.
4. Add the warm vegetable stock a ladleful at a time, stirring between each addition to allow the liquid to be completely absorbed, until the rice is cooked and all the stock has been absorbed.
5. In the meantime, add the raisins, saffron and cumin to the risotto.
6. Stuff the turnips with some of the risotto and serve with a yummy, speedy sauce of runny yoghurt, harissa and coriander.
7. Enjoy!

New Year’s Eve, the day after: Hangover Food

Published January 2, 2013 by The Feminist

Let me guess, you probably woke up yesterday with a horrible hangover, right? No worries, because I have the perfect remedy to curb your hangover at once: pizza.

Everyone has his or her own personalized hangover recipe (so please share your secret delicious remedies!), but in my opinion the meal must always include fat, carbs and of course loads of vegetables or fruit to balance out the unhealthiness of the previous two key ingredients.

So this is where the homemade pizza comes in! A family size pizza, divided into four different segments with four different toppings.

1)Pepperoni, tomato and mozzarella
2) Basil, mushroom and mozzarella
3) artichoke, mozzarella, tuna and olive

And my personal all-time favorite:
4) pear, thyme and gorgonzola cheese

Absolutely delish!