Cucumber, Tomato and Feta Greek Salad

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School’s tiring and sometimes you need to self-declare a school holiday even though it has only been a week since school started πŸ™‚ So on self-declared school holidays, I cook my own lunch and today I made pita breads stuffed with a mint yogurt grilled fish, roasted harissa carrots and a greek salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese. I absolutely loved the greek salad because it had the right balance of sourness (from the cider vinegar), sweetness (from the honey) and saltiness (from the feta cheese). You can just eat it straight from the bowl or stuff it in some pita breads.

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Serves 4
Ingredients
1/2 cucumber, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey

Directions
1. Mix the cider vinegar, olive oil and honey together
2. Pour the dressing over the vegetables in a large bowl and serve πŸ™‚

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Courgette Cucumber Yogurt Dip

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In my last visit to London in June, Sandra and I met up with Esther and before that meeting, she texted me and warned me to leave enough luggage space for her birthday present πŸ™‚ I was super excited to meet her (not just cause of my birthday present but also because I haven’t seen her in a year) and I was overjoyed that she remembered to buy a present for my birthday. I didn’t buy a present for her though because she was miles away ): Anyway, she surprised me with a Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook :))) And as always, my luggage did not have enough space so I had to hand carry it onto the plane back to Singapore hahaha.

So as part of her birthday present (since I didn’t give her any), I invited her over for lunch and I cooked her a meal of Shakshuka (refer to previous post) and this courgette cucumber yogurt dip to go with the homemade pita breads.

I loved how refreshing this dip was. It was especially needed on that day because it was so hot and humid. Yogurt, cucumber and mint? I’ll say yes to that on any sunny day.

The Kaffir lime leaves were an interesting, exotic addition to this dish. Okay maybe not that exotic considering how almost every single recipe in the cookbook had an ingredient that I had never come across (Dakos?!?). However, I felt that the browned butter added at the end was unnecessary. The dip would work excellent without the butter. So here’s my version of Yotam Ottolenghi’s ‘Yogurt and Kaffir Lime Leaf Spread’

Serves four
Ingredients
1 small courgette
1/2 cucumber, grated
6 large fresh Kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped
250g Greek yoghurt
2 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp shredded mint leaves
1 garlic clove, grated
salt

Directions
1. Mix the courgette and cucumber in a colander with 1/2 tsp of salt.
2. Leave to drain for about 20 minutes then squeeze them to remove as much liquid as possible.
3. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
4. Add the lime leaves, mint, grated garlic and yogurt and mix well.

Ratatouille

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Ever since I got poisoned by my own undercooked veal (more on that later) a little more than a month ago, I’ve not had a craving for red meats, so all my meals have been loaded with vegetables. It’s no surprise that one day I rummaged through my fridge and decided to chop all the vegetables up to cook ratatouille. It was the simplest method I could think of to cook everything at one go.

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I took forever to wash and chop the vegetables up but I guess that’s what makes cooking so therapeutic; the scraping, chopping and stirring. So I’m not complaining about the prep work just that heads up, it takes quite long.

The other fuss about this dish is that you have to prepare the eggplants separately but that’s not such a big deal. Try this dish if you ever find yourself with loads of vegetables and at a loss as to how to deal with the veggie overload.

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Ingredients
2 medium eggplants, diced
2 medium squash, diced
2 medium yellow onions, diced
8 button mushrooms, sliced
2 medium carrots, cubed
6 basil leaves, chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes

Directions
1. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of salt over the eggplant and drain in a colander for 20 minutes.
2. After 20 minutes, pat dry the eggplant.
3. Heat olive oil in pan and fry the eggplant until golden brown.
4. Remove eggplant from the pan.
5. In the same pan, heat olive oil.
6. Fry onions and garlic until translucent.
7. Add in chopped up basil leaves.
8. Add in carrots and fry until cooked.
9. Add in mushrooms and fry until cooked.
10. Add in squash and fry until cooked.
11. Add in eggplant.
12. Add in canned tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Zucchini noodles with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

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I’m back in my kitchen! πŸ™‚ I’ve been so busy meeting up with friends and settling school stuff that I’ve been kept away from my kitchen for too long. Anyway, today’s lunch was all vegetarian with all 3 dishes made of purely vegetables. My friend said I went overboard. I think I did but oh wells, after a Prego Sunday Brunch that was full of meat, the only thing I wanted to eat today was vegetables. (ps. my friend also blames for deforestation in the world)

I’m starting this series of vegetarian posts with a recipe that I created. Inspired by the various posts on loveandlemons.com of zucchini noodles, I was super excitedΒ when I found a zucchini lying around in my fridge. Basically I created this recipe based on what I could find in my fridge.Β Forgive the randomness but they taste quite unusual and healthy together.

I used a grater-like gadget to julienne the zucchini into long strips that looked like pasta. It’s awesome that you can trick your mind into thinking that you’re eating some kind of pasta when actually all you’re eating is vegetables. The julienned zucchini was surprisingly soft and felt like al dente pasta. It didn’t taste like raw vegetables at all.

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The sauce was made from tahini, yogurt and honey. I didn’t just want a regular tahini, olive oil, lemon juice dressing so I amped it up a bit with yogurt and honey. My favourite part of the dish was the roasted red pepper with its charred parts because it added flavour, texture and colour to the dish, elevating the entire dish.

It’s my first time coming up with my own dish, and it’s all vegetables so I doubt many will try it out. But hey, it’s quite a cool unusual combination!

Ingredients
1 medium Zucchini
2 medium red peppers
3 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp tahini
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp honey
Lemon wedge

Directions
1. Julienne the zucchini
2. Roast red peppers and the entire clove of garlic (with skin on) in the oven at 200 degrees celsius until the skins of the red peppers are charred.
3. Julienne the red peppers.
4. Combine tahini, yogurt and honey in a bowl.
5. Squeeze the roasted clove of garlic into the bowl. Mix.
6. Combine zucchini, red pepper and tahini sauce.
7. Finish off with a squeeze of lemon πŸ™‚

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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If you’ve been observing well, I love making dips. All kinds of dips to go with my vegetables. I think my veggie eating habits are contributing to the problem of deforestation. I kid you not.

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Anyway, I discovered this amazing twist on the regular hummus. Adding roasted red pepper brightens up the entire dish and also adds an extra flavour to the plain old hummus (not saying that classic isn’t good but sometimes we need a little spice in life). However, the only good feedback I’ve received for this dish happens to be only from my family and one friend who seldom eats healthy food even though I think this recipe is such a keeper.

Negative comments:

“It looks like your carrots took a dump.” maybe it did.

“Yuck, who’s baby vomit is that?” yours?

“This tastes too healthy.” and healthy is bad?

“Nah, it tastes like normal hummus.” taste buds obviously not working!!!

Positive comment:

“It actually tastes good!” Yes it does, now make this.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I may appear angsty about all my negative comments but don’t worry, I’m not. I still love my friends even though they think I’m a rabbit. Perhaps I’m a bit too healthy for people my age but there’s nothing wrong with being healthy! I blame my mother for brainwashing me since young though. Apparently she fed me with broccoli as a snack the moment I could start chewing. Such effective brainwashing.

Here’s the recipe, if you want to be a rabbit like me too πŸ™‚

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Ingredients
1 cup chickpeas
5 cloves garlic
4 red peppers
juice of Β½ a lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon tahini
water to thin consistency
salt & pepper

Instructions
1. Roast the red peppers and garlic at 200 degrees Celsius until the skins of the red peppers are slightly charred.
2. Puree all the ingredients together.
3. Add water until desired consistency.

*You could roast vegetables to go with this dip or just eat it with raw vegetables.