First of all, thank you to all of the people who were so helpful at the Tullamore Show. I really enjoyed being there and meeting lots of people.
This roasted Mediterranean vegetable recipe is a very tasty vegetarian meal. I also like it with roast chicken or with fish. Courgettes are in season now, but you can use whatever vegetables are in season at any given time. I like to use butternut squash or potatoes, but they will take a little longer to roast. Don’t overcrowd the vegetables, as they need a bit of space to roast. Instead of feta, you could use a mozzarella or goat’s cheese in this recipe.
These sweet potato and courgette fritters are ideal for lunch or brunch. They are full of different ingredients so you will get a good range of flavours. I sometimes serve them with poached eggs. The cucumber raita is lovely in the summer months. These fritters freeze well for up to three months.
Sweet potato and courgette fritters
Makes 12 fritters
450g (1lb) sweet potatoes
225g (8oz) courgettes
5 spring onions, finely chopped
small handful fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
2 large eggs
4 tbsp milk or buttermilk
50g (2oz) self-raising flour
25g (1oz) cornflour
Rapeseed oil, for cooking
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the cucumber raita:
1/2 English cucumber, seeds removed
150g natural Greek yogurt
1 tsp each salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp finely chopped, fresh dill
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 Preheat the oven to 110°C (225°F/gas mark ¼).
2 Peel the sweet potatoes and top and tail the courgettes, then grate both – you’ll need 500g (1lb 2oz) in total.
3 Place in a bowl with the spring onions and basil and season to taste.
4 Break the eggs into a jug and beat with the milk or buttermilk. Sift the self-raising flour and cornflour over the sweet potato and courgette mixture, then mix in the egg mixture until you have a thick batter.
5 Heat some oil in a large non-stick frying pan set on a medium to high heat. Working in batches, add large spoonfuls of the sweet potato and courgette batter to the pan, pressing them down to about 1cm (½in) thick with the back of a spoon. The batter should make 12 fitters in total.
6 Cook gently for four minutes on each side, until golden brown, carefully turning them over with a spatula or fish slice to avoid them breaking up. It’s worth pressing the sweet potato cakes down gently with a palette knife or fish slice as they cook to help press them into shape. Keep warm in a low oven while you cook the remainder.
7 Make the cucumber raita: grate the seeded English cucumber and place into a clean dish towel. Squeeze the dish towel until most of the juices from the cucumber come out, then place the dried, grated cucmber into a bowl with the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, dill and salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
8 To serve, arrange the sweet potato and courgette fritters on plates with a separate bowl of the cucumber raita and scatter over the basil leaves to garnish.
Roasted Mediterranean vegetables with couscous and feta
2 red peppers, halved, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm (1in) squares
2 yellow peppers, halved, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm (1in) squares
2 large courgettes, cut into 2.5cm (1in) pieces
1 aubergine, cut into 2.5cm (1in) pieces
1 red onion, cut into 2.5cm (1in) pieces
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Handful of fresh basil leaves
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
225g (8oz) couscous
Juice of ½ lemon
225ml (8fl oz) vegetable stock
175g (6oz) feta cheese, cut into small cubes
Good handful of good-quality pitted black olives
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
This roasted Mediterranean vegetable recipe is a very tasty vegetarian meal. I also like it with roast chicken or with fish.
1 Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F/gas mark 8).
2 Heat a large roasting tin in the oven for five to 10 minutes.
3 Place the red and yellow peppers, courgettes, aubergine and onion into a large bowl and drizzle with three tablespoons of the olive oil, tossing to coat the vegetables evenly, then tip into the heated roasting tin.
4 Season the vegetables generously with salt and pepper, and roast for about 40 minutes or until the vegetables are completely tender and lightly caramelised, tossing from time to time to ensure they cook evenly.
5 About 10 minutes before the vegetables are ready, quickly chop up the basil and scatter it over the vegetables with the chilli and garlic, tossing to combine, then return to the oven to finish cooking.
6 Five minutes before the end of the vegetables’ cooking time, place the couscous in a large pan and drizzle over the remaining three tablespoons of the olive oil with the lemon juice, stirring gently to combine. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil, then pour it over the couscous in a bowl.
7 Stir well, cover and leave to stand for five minutes before gently separating the grains with a fork. Season to taste and reheat gently, stirring continuously with a fork, then fold in the roasted vegetables, feta, olives and parsley. Serve warm or cold on plates.