A squash is for life, not just Halloween

On my daily stroll around the block (gotta’ get those lockdown steps in) my route is surprisingly still peppered with shrivelled decaying Halloween pumpkins. Staring at me with their empty eyes from windowsills and porches got me thinking. After the 31st of October, do pumpkins and squashes get a little forgotten about? A squash is for life not just for Halloween… Well perhaps not for life, but this versatile ingredient can be baked, curried, squashed (literally) and stuffed – which is my favourite method, especially when it involves cheese. I opted for an onion squash for this recipe but feel free to experiment as you’ll be spoilt for choice this time of year.

Mini Squash Fondues
Mini Squash Fondues

Mini squash fondues
Serves 2 / Hands on time 30 mins / Takes 1 hour
2 mini squashes (roughly 550g each) I used onion squash
75g vegetarian Emmental
75g Gruyere or medium cheddar cheese
50g Parmesan
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Handful of finely chopped fresh parsley
4 tbs white wine or prosecco
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Crusty bread and salad leaves to serve


Method
1. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Finely grate the cheeses and mix them together in a large bowl. Put to one side.
2. Using a sharp knife carefully cut the tops off the squashes to create the lids and put to one side. Carefully hollow out the squash by cutting a hole in the top and then scooping out the seeds with a spoon.
3. Once you’ve hollowed out the squash, check to see if each squash stands up on its own. If they’re uneven and tilt, carefully level off the bottom of your squash with a knife, taking care not to cut too deep (if you do accidently create a hole, pop the bottom back on and make a little foil coat for your squash to sit in to prevent it from leaking). Alternatively, use foil to create a stable bed for your squashes to sit in.
4. Crush a garlic clove into each squash, followed by a small sprinkle of parsley and 1 tablespoon of white wine into each. Season well with salt and pepper.
5. Fill each squash with half the cheese and then add another tablespoon of wine to each squash. Season again and stuff the squashes with the rest of the cheese. Top with the remaining parsley, season with salt and pepper and pop the individual squash lids on.
6. Put both squashes on a baking tray and bake them for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the lids and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately with a simple green salad and stale for dipping and scooping.

Mini Squash Fondues
Mini Squash Fondues

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If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

 



Better feta

Feta isn’t just for crumbling over salads, this ewe’s cheese is much more versatile than you may have originally thought. Softly brined, tangy, salty and ever so slightly sour and sweet in flavour, feta can add a welcome depth and texture to a number of dishes. Whipped, baked or even fried, this pleasing block of ‘white gold’ deserves to be centre stage to bring the taste of Greece to your dinner table.


Whipped feta and avocado dip

Whipped feta and avocado dip
Add 100g of feta to a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a handful of fresh mint leaves and blitz again until combined. Add the flesh of a whole avocado along with 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Blitz for a final time until you have a smooth creamy consistency. Serves 2.


Fried feta on toast with honey & thyme

Fried feta on toast with thyme and honey
On a small side plate, add a heaped tbs of flour. Slice 100g of feta into two even slices and dust well in the flour. Beat an egg in a small bowl, season well with salt and pepper and pour onto a plate. Dip the cheese into the egg and cover evenly. In a small frying pan on a medium heat, add a tbs of oil. Once hot, carefully place the cheese in and fry gently on each side for a couple of minutes or until golden. Serve on a piece of toasted sourdough, drizzled in good quality honey and sprinkled with fresh thyme leaves. Serves 1.


Baked Feta

Baked Mediterranean feta
Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6. Slice 1 red pepper along with half a red onion, 8 cherry tomatoes (halved) and 2 handfuls of black olives (halved). Smooth out 2 large pieces of kitchen foil and divide the chopped red pepper and arrange in the centre of each piece of foil. Season well with salt and pepper. Slice 200g of feta in half and pop each slice on top of the bed of sliced peppers. Top the feta with the onions and the cherry tomatoes (it doesn’t matter if a few fall off, just leave them at the side). Scatter over the olives and sprinkle with dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper before folding up the sides of each parcel and scrunching the top until sealed. Place both on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 20 mins. Once cooked, carefully remove from the oven and open the parcels up just enough to drain away any excess liquid before sliding onto plates. Serve with warm pita bread and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


Jamie’s Feta & Cherry Tomato Rigatoni

Feta and cherry tomato pasta sauce
Half 20 cherry tomatoes and put in a large saucepan with 1tsp olive oil and 1 tsp of oregano. Cook on a medium heat for 5 mins until softened. Add 3 tbs tomato purée, 3 chopped garlic cloves, 1 grated courgette and season with salt and pepper. Cook on a medium to low heat with the lid on for a further 10 mins. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water (follow packet instructions). Drain the pasta and pour straight into the sauce. Stir well before adding the chopped basil and 150g of crumbled feta. Stir again until combined and the cheese begins to melt. Serve topped with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a good crack of pepper.


For more foodie blogs, recipes and course, visit learningwithexperts.com.

Do the can can – Part 2

Now we’re all stocked up and bored of beans on toast, it’s time to have a look in the cupboard and create something a bit more inspiring with those cans.


Sweetcorn and black bean nachos

Healthy-ish loaded nachos

Believe it or not, you don’t need nachos to make nachos. Full of salt and deep fried, I prefer to make my own out of a few sliced tortillas. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan before stacking up 4 flour tortilla and slicing them down the middle into eighths. Spread over 2 baking trays, sprinkle with smoked paprika, season and spray with oil. Bake for 10 mins, turning halfway through. Put to one side. Meanwhile sweat 1 chopped onion and 2 garlic cloves in a saucepan in 1 tsp of oil. Cook over a medium heat for 5 mins before adding ½ tsp of cumin, ½ tsp smoked paprika. Add a dash of water and cook for a further 2 mins before adding 1 can of drained sweetcorn, 1 tin of black beans and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Put a grill on a medium to high heat and continue to cook the beans for 5 mins. Transfer the tortilla chips into a deep casserole dish and top with the bean mixture along with a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes, 2 chopped spring onions and sprinkling of grated cheese. Place under the grill for 3-5 mins before serving topped with fresh coriander, avocado slices and jalapenos. Serve with a squeeze of lime and plain yogurt.


Kidney bean and tomatoes eggs

Spicy Bean & Tomato Eggs

A bit of beany twist on shakshuka, this healthy breakfast is filling, delicious and a great way to get a bit of a fibre boost. In a frying pan, fry sliced 2 spring onions in tsp of oil over a medium heat for 2 mins. Add 2 freshly chopped tomatoes, ¼ tsp of smoked paprika along with a couple of drops of Tabasco (optional). Season well and add ½ a can of drained kidney beans. After a few minutes of cooking, make 2 wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 2-4 mins or until the eggs are set but with a runny yolk. Serve in the pan drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and toast for dunking.


Coconut milk dhal

Coconut Dhal with Homemade Flatbreads

What could be better than curling up on the sofa with a hearty bowl of fragrant dhal in front of your favourite boxset? Exactly. Start by chopping 1 white onion, 3 garlic cloves and adding it to a large cooking pot with a tsp of oil. Stir in a knob of grated ginger and sweat over a medium heat with the lid on for 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile break open 4 cardamom pods, discard the shells and add the seeds to the onions along with ½ tsp mustard seeds, ½ tsp garam masala, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp turmeric and a pinch of chilli flakes. Add a dash of water and cook the spices for 2 mins. Add 1 can of coconut milk along with 1 litre of vegetable stock and 300g of red lentils. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 25 – 30 mins, stirring regularly. Serve on its own or dressed up with charred corn, wilted spinach and brown rice.


Bean burgers

Cannellini bean burgers

Cannellini beans, kidney beans, chickpeas or even butterbeans make an excellent bean burger. So, grab a can and treat yourself to a ‘stay at home barbecue’. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan and fry 1 chopped onion and 2 garlic cloves in a tsp of oil, along with ½ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp mild chilli powder and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Sweat over a medium heat for 10 mins until soft – adding a dash of water to help the onions steam if the onions start to catch. Meanwhile blitz 2 slices of bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs. In a bowl, add the drained can of beans along with a handful of fresh coriander. Blitz with a hand blender to a firm paste before stirring in the breadcrumbs, fried onions and 1 tbs of plain flour. Scoop up a half the mixture with your hands and mould into a patty before transferring to a lined baking tray. Repeat until you have 2 large or 4 small burgers. Bake in the oven for 20 mins, flipping halfway through. Serve in buns topped with your favourite burger sauces and relish.


Thai green lentil soup

Thai green lentil soup

Another hug in a bowl but this time using green lentils and fragrant Thai flavours. Sweat 1 chopped onion in a tsp of oil in a big pot over a medium to low heat for 10 mins with the lid on. Once soft, add a knob of grated ginger, 2 chopped garlic cloves, a 50g of Thai green curry paste and cook for a couple of minutes. Add 150g of chopped sweet potato, a can of coconut milk, 1 litre of vegetable stock, 150g dried green lentils and a bashed lemon grass (optional). Bring to the boil before turning the heat down and simmering for 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Cut the storks of a handful of coriander before adding to the soup and cooking for a further 5 minutes. Finally, fish out the lemon grass and blend the soup with a hand blender until smooth. Serve topped with the remaining coriander leaves.


So keep calm and carry on cooking in these strange uncertain times. For more foodie blogs visit learningwithexperts.com.



Do the can can – Part 1

It’s all very well stocking up on canned goods, but they’ll be of little use unless you know how to get the best out of them – because watery pasta sauce and stew is going to get old pretty fast.


Roasted vegetable hummus bowl

Chickpea hummus bowls with roasted vegetables

A can of chickpeas can be thrown into pretty much anything. They’re great for bulking out recipes and adding additional plant-based protein to meals. However, chickpeas are rarely celebrated as the star ingredient, so wanted to push the humble chickpea centre stage. My recipe for hummus bowls not only encourages the use of surplus vegetables, but it’s easy to throw together and tastes delicious. In a large roasting tin, add a mixture of surplus veg, sprinkle with smoked paprika and season well with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 200°C/180°C fan. Meanwhile make the hummus, by blending 1 can of drained chickpeas, 1 chopped garlic clove, 1.5 tbs of tahini, the juice of half a lemon, 1 tbs of water and 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Once blended, spoon generously into bowls and top with the roasted vegetables, along with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with toasted pita bread.


Roasted butterbean traybake

Sweet Potato & Butterbean Traybake

Butterbeans are often overlooked by shoppers, but this kidney shaped pulse generally makes itself at home in a big hearty stew. These mealy yet mild flavoured beans, can be tossed into soups, casseroles and even blended into mash. However, I prefer to roast them in a bit of stock along with sweet potatoes, to make a hearty traybake for two. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan. In large casserole dish, add a roughly chopped sweet potato along with a can of drained butterbeans and half a sliced red pepper. Pour over 175ml of stock and season well with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Give it a good stir and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and make two wells using a spoon. Crack a free-range egg into each well and bake for a further 6-8 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs. Finish by topping with chopped fresh coriander and serve with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


Tinned plum tomato sauce al’arrabiata

Penne al’arrabiata

Pasta sauce is a great way to eat tinned tomatoes but to avoid a watery disappointment, follow my simple pasta sauce recipe. I often opt for tinned plum tomatoes, as I prefer the chunkier texture they bring, but ordinary will also work. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves to a tbs of warm (not hot) oil in a large saucepan along with a pinch of chilli flakes. Allow to infuse over a low/medium heat for a few minutes. Add one can of plum­ tinned tomatoes and a tbs of tomato puree. Break the plum tomatoes up with a spoon and stir. Season well with salt and pepper, up the heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and your sauce is ready. Serve with your choice of pasta and top with either mozzarella or Parmesan.


Black bean tostada bowls

Mexican Tostada Salad

A can of black beans in my house inevitably ends up either in a smoky chill, wrapped up in a burrito or squashed into a quesadilla. Although as the weather heats up over the coming months, I’m more likely to throw them into Mexican tostada salad. To make the tortilla bowls, simply place each tortilla into a heatproof bowl each, with a ball of foil in the centre to prevent them from falling in on themselves. Bake in an oven for 15 minutes at 200°C/180°C fan. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 can of drained black beans with, 1 can or drained sweetcorn, half a chopped cucumber, 3 chopped spring onions, 2 handful of cherry tomatoes, 1 chopped cos lettuce, half a deseeded chilli (finely diced) and 50g of grated cheddar. Mix well and put to one side. To make the dressing, combine 1 tsp of homey, 1 tsp of Tabasco, the juice of 1 lime and 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well, before spooning into the edible tortilla bowls.


Thai green lentil soup

Thai green lentil soup

Okay so not a canned good, but still a store cupboard staple that could do with a creative injection. Red and green lentils are superhero’s when it comes to adding a bit of bulk to stews, soups and even Bolognese. My Thai green lentil soup not only adds a bit of fragrant flare to the humble lentil, but it’s a hearty meal that will see you through self-isolation. In a large cooking pot with a lid, sweat 1 chopped onion in a tsp of oil, over a medium to low heat for 10 mins. Once soft, add a piece of grated ginger, 2 chopped garlic cloves and 50g of Thai green curry paste. Give it a good stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add 150g of chopped sweet potato, 1 can of coconut milk, 1 litre of stock, 150g of dried green lentils and a bashed lemon grass stork (optional). Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Cut the storks off a large handful of coriander and add them to the soup. Cook for 5 more minutes. Finally take off the heat, fish out the lemon grass and blend. Serve topped with the remaining chopped coriander leaves.


Join me next time for part 2. In the meantime, visit learningwithexperts.com for more foodie blogs. 



Broccoli & cheese potato cake

Broccoli & Cheese Potato Cake
Broccoli & Cheese Potato Cake
Broccoli & Cheese Potato Cake

Hey everyone, guess what I got for Valentines Day? Gastroenteritis, yay! Luckily I managed to make this lovely potato cake before I was so diseased, I had to be quarantined in our bedroom like a rabid dog. So with me incapacitated, Jamie was left with an entire potato cake to himself (lucky bugger) which kept him alive the rest of the week.
It’s funny though, I found that even when I was feeling very nauseated, I still couldn’t stop thinking about food. Even when I tried not to, my mind would somehow drift back to ‘so how many bananas do I need for a banana loaf?’ Cue wave of nausea… Oh yeah, can’t think about food… Something not food… What about plastic chairs? They’re pretty great aren’t they, awful to look at but very practical… I wonder if the bananas in the fruit bowl will be ready to use by Sunday… Damn it Corrie!
See, it’s official, I’m obsessed. Anyway, this potato cake is brilliant! Not only is it easy, it tastes great hot or cold, it’s a bit like a Quiche but without the pastry and waaaaaay better. I hope you enjoy it as much as Jamie did, I was too busy talking on the porcelain telephone. At least I’m nice and thin now, #silverlinings.


Broccoli & cheese potato cake
Serves 6 -8 /  Hands on time
 40 minutes / Total time 1 hr 20 mins + cooling / V
You will need:
 9 inch round cake tin, food processor (if making your own breadcrumbs)
1kg potatoes (roughly 5 baking potatoes)
200g tender-stem or purple sprouting broccoli
1 handful of fresh parsley (or any fresh herb)
150g vegetarian mature cheddar cheese
50g vegetarian Italian hard cheese or Parmesan*, grated
4 medium eggs
Knob of butter (for greasing)
1 slice of brown bread for the breadcrumbs or a handful of shop bought
Dash of semi-skimmed milk
3 tbs Pomora extra virgin olive oil



TIP: This recipe is easily halved. Simply opt for a 2lb loaf tin and follow the same instructions with half the amounts. 
TIP:
You can use many vegetables for this. I recently made it with 200g of leeks instead of broccoli but choose ‘quick cook’ vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, sweetcorn, peas, asparagus that can be added raw.


Method
1. Peel and cut your potatoes into big chunks and boil in a large saucepan until soft, around 25 mins (it’s important to use a large saucepan as you’ll be incorporating all the other ingredients into it later).
2. Whilst the potatoes are boiling, line the cake tine with greaseproof paper at the bottom and grease the sides well with butter. Put to one side.
3. C
ut the storks off the broccoli and discard. Pull the remaining florets apart with your fingers leaving you with nice even-ish pieces. Finely chop the parsley and put both to one side.
4. 
Grate the cheddar and the Parmesan. Take a small handful of Parmesan and put to one side, you’ll need this to sprinkle on top of your cake later.Blitz a piece of bread into breadcrumbs in a food processor for a few seconds and put to one side.
5. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°fan/400°F/gas mark 7.
6. By now your potatoes should be soft. Drain them and pour back into the saucepan. Add a dash of milk to help loosen them up a bit and start mashing (don’t try to get all the lumps out, they add a bit of texture). Season well with salt and pepper, give it a good mix and start to add the cheese a handful at a time before mixing in the eggs. Finally add the broccoli and the parsley.
7. Once all the ingredients have been incorporated, spoon the mixture into the tin. Spread it out and flatten the top with a spoon. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and the small handful of parmesan. Drizzle with 3 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil and pop in the oven on the middle shelf. Bake for 30-35 mins.
8. Once cooked, leave to cool in the tin fully. Once cooled, refrigerate in the tin to help the potato cake keep it’s shape. When you’re ready for it, score around the edge of the tin with a sharp knife and turn out. Cut into wedges and serve with a simple watercress salad.


Broccoli & Cheese Potato Cake
Broccoli & Cheese Potato Cake

 


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian
* Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.


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Mushrooms & goats cheese on toast

Mushrooms & Goats Cheese on Toast
Mushrooms & Goats Cheese on Toast
Mushrooms & Goats Cheese on Toast

Forget Brexit, forget Donald Trump, we have a bigger crisis on our hands people, brace yourselves, this news is horrifying and potentially life changing… Ready?

There is currently a courgette shortage…

CUE NATIONAL HYSTERIA!!!! Where’s Deliciously Ella?!!! Can someone check she’s not sitting in a corner somewhere, spiralizing her own fingers like some courgette deprived lunatic?
I mean, I like courgettes as much as the next person (actually I don’t, I find them slimy and horrible, that’s why I grate them into my recipes) but surely the lack of courgettes isn’t such a bad thing after all? Think about it, now all those spiralizing, clean eating freaks can stop fainting and eat a proper meal, because you know what tastes better than boiled strips of courgette? Literally anything but especially spaghetti! So stop pretending you’re gluten intolerant (because hardly anyone is) and boil up some delicious pasta why don’t you. Oh and whoever came up with the word ‘courgetti’ should be shot.
Anyway, as usual, this post has nothing to do with pasta or courgettes but the humble mushroom and one of my other favourite carbs, BREAD! I pretty much love anything on toast, especially Marmite but I found some left over goats cheese from Christmas and a couple of portobello mushrooms in my fridge and thought, yes! Enjoy.


Mushrooms & goats cheese on toast
Serves 2 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 20 mins / V
2 large portobello mushrooms, roughly sliced
2 cloves of garlic
60g soft vegetarian goats cheese
1 tsp unsalted butter
2 pieces of bread for toasting
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Pomora extra virgin olive oil to serve
2 poached eggs to serve (optional)


Method
1. Roughly chop the mushrooms into strips and crush the garlic. In a large saucepan, heat and melt the butter on a medium heat. Once melted, add the mushrooms and cook down in the butter. If the butter absorbs quickly, add a dash of water to help the mushrooms steam. Cook for about 5 mins until the mushrooms begin to soften.
2. Add the garlic along with the thyme sprigs, give it a good stir and cook for a further 2 mins (again, add a dash of water if needed to help cook the mushrooms down).
3. Once the mushrooms start to look soft and cooked, add a third of the goats cheese and mix straight in. Season well with salt and pepper. Take off the heat and cover with a lid to keep the mushrooms warm.
4. Meanwhile toast the bread and poach the eggs (optional). Finally, discard the thyme sprigs and serve the mushrooms on top of your toast with the remaining goats cheese, a good drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.

Mushrooms & Goats Cheese on Toast
Mushrooms & Goats Cheese on Toast

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian


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