Summer Veg Couscous Stuffed Sweet Potato- Inspired by The Savvy Cook

Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

I have learnt over my past couple of years at uni that sweet potato is not only great value, but also really versatile, and as I don’t like normal potato it is a great source of carbs. One thing I had never tried however is baked sweet potato, mainly because I am too inpatient to wait for my dinner to cook for 1 hour. However, now that I am stuck at home revising almost every day, it is far easier for me to plan ahead with dinners.

My recipe today was inspired by The Savvy Cook, Izy Hossack, it is couscous stuffed sweet potato. I have written before about this cookbook and how much I love it. The colours and recipes inspire me, and this is why I gave this dish a little twist! My ingredients were:

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  • 1 Sweet potato
  • 2tbsp Couscous
  • 3tbsp Boiling water
  • ½ Yellow pepper
  • ½ White onion
  • A few slices of Courgette
  • ½ Fresh red chilli
  • Crème fraiche to serve

 

After a quick walk to co-op to buy some foil and stretch my legs, I prepped my sweet potato for the oven which I had preheated to 200 degrees. I pricked the potato with a fork all over and wrapped it in foil. As it was quite small I set the timer for 45 minutes, hoping this would be perfect (spoiler… it was perfect).

The beauty of this meant I was able to then go off and do some other bits and bobs, mainly procrastination but I am sure there was a little bit of revision involved too!

10 mins before my timer was due to sound I started on my couscous. Into a small mixing bowl, I poured the 2tbsp of couscous and 3tbsp of boiling water. Well, I was supposed to pour in boiling water, but instead I used normal tap water, and was somewhat surprised when 5 minutes later it hadn’t cooked at all. I have cooked couscous multiple times before so I’m unsure why on this occasion I made the silly error, but it was quickly resolved.

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Veggies!

Once the boiling water had been poured on my couscous grains I covered with a small plate to ensure it became light and fluffy- you can also use cling film.

In a small frying pan, I added 1tbsp of vegetable oil and the summer veggies I was using. I had diced ½ a yellow pepper, cut a few chunks of courgette and thinly sliced ½ a white onion and ½ fresh red chilli. I pan-fried these until they had started to golden and soften. Once this was done I incorporated them into my fluffy, perfectly cooked couscous. I also added a
squeeze of lemon juice and a good helping of both salt and pepper.

By this point it was time to remove my sweet potato from the oven, being very careful not to burn myself on the scorching tinfoil. 45 minutes ended up being perfect, with the skin of the potato lovely and crisp and the bright orange centre tender. There were also some syrupy sweet potato juices in the foil that I made sure I didn’t waste, pouring them back over the dish when I had finished plating.

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Cooked to PERFECTION!

Once my potato was filled with spicy veggie couscous I added a dollop of crème fraiche to serve, along with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce which finished the dish off perfectly.

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Ready to go!

Everything in this dish was really low cost, with a big bag of sweet potatoes from Aldi costing about 70p and a whole packet of couscous costing just about the same. All together this single portion would have cost me less that £1! With the summer finally arriving, this dish would be perfect for garden parties and BBQs too, as you can cook the sweet potatoes in batches and make big bowls of couscous with minimal effort. Enjoy J

Butternut Squash and Aubergine Tagine

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

As I’m getting a lot busier with Uni now I am finding less time to write about food and cook fresh meals for myself. I’m spending time in the library or at work and my student budget is now a lot lower than before with a busy summer ahead of me; I have struggled to find the time. However, today, I decided that what I needed to do was take a break and do something that I enjoy- cooking. It is very easy to get bogged down by stress and feel like you are not achieving, but I really find value in doing something just for me, and I believe everyone else should too.

As I said, money is low, so I went on a recipe hunt today using ingredients already in my fridge and cupboards. Luckily, as it always does, Google gave me the answer and this evening I cooked butternut squash and aubergine tagine.

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Ingredients!

There were actually quite a lot of recipes that had these two ingredients, so I sifted through to find one that best used up my leftovers. The ingredients were:

  • ½ Butternut Squash
  • 1 Aubergine
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • Ginger
  • 1 Red chilli
  • 100ml Water
  • 1 x 400g Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tomato puree squeeze
  • 1tsp Cinnamon
  • ½tsp Turmeric
  • 1tsp Cumin
  • Oil

 

I began heating 2tbsp of oil in my casserole dish on a high heat on the hob. Once hot I added my diced onion and stirred for around 3-4 minutes until it had started to brown.

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Chopped!

As I always find when creating big one pot dishes, it is always worthwhile chopping up all the ingredients before, just so you’re not frantically slicing and dicing and stirring the pan at the same time.

Once the onions had begun to turn golden brown I added the butternut squash and aubergine. To prep the squash, I used a sharp knife to carefully peel off the skin and chopped it into chunks. If you are using the whole squash you will also have to remove the seeds, however I only used the top half so mine was seedless. The aubergine was also chopped into rough chunks, I kept mine quite big, with the skin on. Although sometimes aubergine skin can be very bitter, when it is cooked in a sauce, like this or ratatouille, it softens and becomes sweet.

Ensuring the onions had been mixed well with the veggies, after about 5 minutes I added my ginger, chilli and garlic. I prepped these all in the same way, thinly slicing them all. I wish I had put a bit more chilli in this dish as I would’ve loved a bit more spice, but all of the other herbs and spices made up for it.

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Ginger, chilli and garlic!

Once again, I stirred all the ingredients together for around 3 more minutes just so that everything had time to heat up.

At this point it was time to add the spices. Scattering over the turmeric, cinnamon and cumin the veg then started to become a lovely deep orange/red colour and the aromatic scents wafting from the dish were amazing. The spices began to absorb into the aubergine flesh as I stirred the pot regularly for another 5 minutes.

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Spices!

At this point the dish was still very dry, and therefore it was time to add the water and the can of chopped tomatoes. Using cold water from the tap I poured in 100ml, followed by the whole can of tomatoes. I always rinse the can out with a bit more water pouring this in too. To achieve an even deeper flavour I squeezed in 1tbsp of tomato puree, giving the mixture a darker colour.

 

I bought the tagine to the boil, allowing all of the veg to be covered by the tomato sauce and spices before turning the heat down to a simmer. I put the casserole dish lid on for around 10 minutes before removing and letting it cook for another 10. The allows any excess liquid to be steamed off, leaving a thick and flavoursome sauce.

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Saucy!

I checked the butternut squash to see if it had softened, it was al dente just how I like it. If you like it softer you can keep it on the heat a little more. I chose to have my tagine with brown rice, a dollop of crème fraiche and a big squeeze of lemon. The recipe does also recommend adding in a handful of chopped coriander to serve, but that’s not my thing!

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Finished!

This was a really great find and I have lovely leftovers that I will be able to eat throughout the week and freeze too. It would be delicious with some crusty bread or even with some pasta.

Price wise to make the whole tagine it cost me around £1.80, which is a bit of a rough working out just because it is hard to quantify the spices. However, veg like aubergine and squash are really cheap in Aldi, along with tinned tomatoes and the other extras, therefore making it a real bargain dish. I reckon I have got around 3 portions left too, so it is a great dish for the family also.

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The recipe was actually taken from Diabetes UK meaning it is also very healthy, with really low fat, sugars and salt. Here is the link- enjoy:

https://admin.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/recipes/moroccan-squash-and-aubergine-tagine