Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers or as I like to call them – Mary Poppins bag. Ok I have never called them that but that’s what they remind me of – stuffed with endless of magic and necessities in life.

I think this has been my best stuffing to date and it’s all because of the cinnamon. The mixture was so tasty and had so much flavour – I was almost ready to ditch the peppers and eat it plain.

This is one of those throw what you have in the fridge type of recipes. Use my portions and ingredients as guidelines but definitely feel free to experiment.

Ingredients

4 big peppers
3 dl rice
250g minced meat
1 big yellow onion, chopped
7-8 medium sized mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, crushed
a bunch of coriander, chopped
3 handfuls of spinach
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoon turmeric
3 teaspoons chilli flakes
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon parsley
2 teaspoons cumin
4 tablespoons cheddar cheese
salt after taste
pepper after taste

For sauce

1 vegetable stock
4 tablespoons boiled water
2 teaspoon tomato purée
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chopped coriander

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200°C
  2. Cook your rice and put it aside.
  3. Cook the mushroom in a pan and add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 clove of crushed garlic and 1 pinch of salt. Once the water has evaporated, and the mushroom has start to soften – add the spinach and cook and stir until the it’s wilted.
  4. Fry the chopped onion in another pan and add turmeric, chili flakes, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, parsley and some salt and pepper. After one minute, add the meat and let it stir-fry over high heat for 5 minutes. As soon as the meat is getting its brown colour, add the cinnamon and the cumin. Let it cook for another 2 minutes and leave it aside.
  5. Take a little pot and add the boiled water, vegetable stock, tomato pure and olive oil. Stir it until it becomes an even mixture and then add the spices. Let it cook for 1 minute and then add the chopped coriander. Leave it to cook for additional 3-4 minutes on medium high heat.
  6. Prep the peppers by cutting a ‘lid’. Mix the meat, mushroom/spinach mix, chopped coriander and the rice in a big bowl.
  7. Stuff the filling into the peppers with a help of a spoon and leave some space of the shredded cheddar cheese on top. Pour the sauce over the peppers and then put on their lids.
  8. Cover the baking tray with a foil and leave it in the oven for around 25 minutes. Remove the foil and leave it for another 10ish minutes.
  9. Serve the peppers with some side salad.

Lasagna with Cottage Cheese

When you are cooking one of the most beloved dishes of the Italian cuisine, you can’t help but wonder how many people you will offend the f*ck out with this recipe? 🙂

This is grandmas dish –  the most holy thing you can find and then there are people like me that come and add cinnamon AND a ready-made can of white sauce to it. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait until I have the privilege to eat my first home cooked lasagne made by the ultimate Italian grandma somewhere on the hilltops of Tuscany with beautiful wineries nearby – but for now I will have to settle with my own easy but yummy touch of this holy dish.

If I borrow the words that the Italian born-and-raised chef Massiomo Bottura said regarding classic traditional Italian cuisines ‘tradition is oppressive, it’s so difficult to be creative with such a heavy heritage’. However, Massiomo was brave enough to reinvent the classic Italian dishes as he took the best from the past into the future. 

*sprinkles a little bit of cinnamon to the meat sauce and then suddenly she thinks she is as revolutionary as Massiomo*

No but in all seriousness, my mom taught me that cinnamon goes amazing with minced meat, it gives it a surprising taste which makes the meat taste so much better.

Although a classic lasagne recipe will always be golden, I’m always open for new varieties of this dish because it can be so versatile. It’s not known for being the easiest dish to make but it really doesn’t have to be that complicated. I think we can all agree on how comforting this dish is, it fills the belly and the heart. You just have to get the flavours right, master that and let your oven do the rest. 

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INGREDIENTS

For the filling:

  • Oil for frying
  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic gloves, chopped
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • ½ dl water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt after taste 
  • pepper after taste
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 ½ tsp oregano
  • bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 7 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400 g chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter

For the Lasagna:

  • 470g ready-made Dolmio Creamy Lasagne White sauce
  • 300g Cottage cheese
  • 200 g grated Mozzarella
  • 9 pieces of Lasagna sheets 

To serve:

  • Mix salad

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  
  2. Combine the minced beef, onion, turmeric, some oil, salt and pepper in a sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat, breaking apart the meat until no pink remains. Then stir in the garlic, chili flakes, the chopped plum tomatoes, cinnamon, parsley and butter. Add more salt and pepper if you wish.
  3. Let is simmer for 4 minutes and then add the tomato purée, the can of chopped tomatoes and oregano. While you are doing this, dissolve the vegetable cube in a ½ dl cup with water and then pour it in as well. 
  4. Let this simmer in a low heat for 10 minutes – until you have a heavy and meaty tomato sauce. 
  5. Take your baking dish and spread 1/3 of the meat sauce on the bottom, lay three sheets and then pour some white sauce so it covers the sheets. Repeat until you have 3 layers.
  6. Spread out the cottage cheese evenly on top. Season with some pepper and chilli flakes and then sprinkle over the mozzarella cheese.
  7. Cook in the middle of the oven for about 50 minutes – until the top is bubbling and golden brown.