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Sunday, 14 August 2016

Tasty Mediterranean stuffing

Having got back from the plot later than anticipated on Sunday evening but loaded up with seasonal vegetables, I was faced with the issue of  having to quickly decide what vegan version of a roast dinner I could cook. My vegan step-daughter has been living with us since mid-June now and I have been cooking her dinner every night so vegan cooking is not an issue in itself - just an added task. When making dinner starts with going out to gather the ingredients, it is very much slow food anyway.

I glanced around at the ingredients I had to hand, both freshly picked and supermarket bought, and quickly decided that my best bet would be a stuffed roasted butternut squash. Having cut the rounded bottom end off it and hollowed out the seed cavity, I rummaged around for something suitable to stuff it with. Being August the seasonal vegetables have a Mediterranean slant to them so I decided these were the flavours to aim for. Courgette, mushrooms, red onion, red pepper, garlic and herbs de provenance came together within a few minutes to create a delicious smelling stuffing. This I spooned into the hollow butternut, leaving a few spoonfuls that wouldn't quite fit. Smelling so tasty, it seemed a shame to waste it but it was just too much to fit in yet there wasn't enough to make another meal out of it.

With the squash in the oven, it was time to turn my attention to the meat for the rest of the family. A small rolled lamb shoulder sat in the roasting tin, neatly held together by four elastic bands. Then it occurred to me that it was just crying out to be stuffed, so I took the elastic off it, unrolled it, spooned in the last of the stuffing and reassembled it.

An hour later dinner was ready - an impressive stuffed roast butternut squash for the vegan, and roast lamb with a Mediterranean stuffing for the rest of us. A roast with the taste of summer for everyone.

Mediterranean Stuffing

1 slice wholemeal bread
About 1/3 of a courgette
1 small red onion
About 2 tablespoons Quorn mince (optional)
4-6 mushrooms
1-2 cloves of garlic
A dash of sweet chilli sauce
1 tablespoon tomato puree
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic salt
Dried herb de provenance
1/4 red pepper
3 basil leaves

Cut the crusts off the slice of bread and put it into a small food processor and blitz to create crumbs. Put into a bowl. Peel the courgette and blitz into fine pieces. Set aside and repeat for the onion, mushroom and garlic. Heat some oil in a frying pan and put in the courgette and onion pieces and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the Quorn if using and fry for another minute to thaw out. Next add the mushrooms and after another couple of minutes add the garlic and fry for one more minute. Add the sweet chilli sauce, tomato puree, garlic salt, pepper and dried herbs and stir well to combine. Spoon the mixture into the bowl with breadcrumbs. Blitz the red pepper with the basil then add this to the bowl. Give everything a good stir then use to stuff vegetables or meat.

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