Tag Archives: mediterranean

Green Bean Ratatouille

4 May

With the success of the film Ratatouille by Pixar Animation Studios, more people now know what a Ratatouille is. If you’ve watched the film but didn’t pay attention to anything but the rat, the dish Ratatouille has nothing to do with rats! Funnily, the film did rekindle my interest in eating Ratatouille rather than dampen it.

After having tried out the Chunky Pork & Chicken Terrine two days ago, I continued to flip through my copy of Cuisine. Old it is but somehow, I never got around to trying many of the recipes. With still a lot of terrine in the fridge to be eaten up and wanting to have something different to accompany it, I decided to try out their ratatouille recipe. In this recipe, the red bell peppers are replaced by green beans and a nice touch is the addition of feta. This sounded good! I did make two changes when I cooked the ratatouille – added a bit of diced red peppers and replaced the feta with diced mozzarella – because these were left over from a previous recipe and had to be used up. The recipe below is however, the one from the magazine. Ratatouille is a forgiving recipe. You don’t have to adhere to the exact quantities of the ingredients called for and can even add some other ingredients (within limits) to create your own dish. I can even imagine adding some olives, fried tofu and/or a sprinkling of chili flakes to give it a kick. Enjoy your Ratatouille as a main course or as an accompaniment to your mediterranean-style meat dishes.

Green Bean Ratatouille (serves 6-8)

(recipe from Cuisine, Issue 79, March 2000, text amended)

1 medium aubergine, diced

4 zucchinis, sliced and halved if the rounds are big

1 handful (300gr) green French beans, cut into 3-4cm lengths

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 X 400 gr cans tomatoes in juice, chopped

1/4 cup tomato paste

3/4 cup fennel leaf, chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

pinch sugar (I used a sugar substitute here)

freshly ground black pepper and salt

150g feta cheese, crumbled

Place the aubergines and zucchini in a sieve, sprinkle with salt, toss and let stand about 20 min. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic together till soft. Add the aubergines and zucchinis, stir and cook together for about 5 min. Add the green beans, tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, fennel leaf, basil and seasonings. Gently simmer with lid on for 30 min. Remove the lid and simmer for a further 20 min. (I omitted this step as my veggies were already done.)

Nutritional Facts – will have to add this some other time as I forgot to weigh all my ingredients.

Print this recipe – Green Bean Ratatouille

A touch of the Mediterranean …

19 Mar

Zucchinis, aubergines, olives and tomatoes always conjure up images of mediterranean cuisine, wine, sun, sand and blue skies in my mind. Visit any country that borders the Mediterranean Sea and you will find these ingredients in their cuisine. There’s even a diet called Mediterranean diet which tells you to eat, among other things, fresh, healthy vegetables and olive oil. So obviously, eating mediterranean food must be good for you – as long as you don’t stuff yourself with bread as well!

I once stumbled upon a really easy recipe which I’ve made often. I know I still have the recipe somewhere but I ‘ve looked several times and I just can’t find it. Must have filed it in the wrong place. I now make it without looking at the recipe and you can too. Since the veggies vary according to what’s on hand in the fridge and since I’m not going to give exact measurements here, it will be hard to calculate the nutrition facts per serving. Roughly however, it should work out to around 10 gr net carbohydrates per serving. The 200 gr halloumi cheese in the recipe only has 2 gr carbohydrates and this makes the dish so don’t leave it out!

Oven Baked Mediterranean Vegetables with Halloumi

Oven-baked Mediterranean Vegetables with Halloumi Cheese (serves about 4)

1 medium zucchini, sliced into rounds. If you have a fat zucchini, half or even quarter the rounds

1 medium aubergine, sliced into rounds and cut into sections

1 red bell pepper cut into pieces

250 gr button mushrooms, halved or quartered

100 gr cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (don’t omit the tomatoes, they add the necessary moisture to cook the other veggies)

1 medium onion, sliced

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 200-250 gr piece Halloumi cheese, cut into cubes

some olives

olive oil

fresh rosemary sprig, a couple of fresh thyme sprigs or dried versions

salt, pepper

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit).

Put everything into a mixing bowl and mix well to coat. Be generous with your herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

Vegetables in mixing bowl with Halloumi on the board

Pour into a glass baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring after about 30 minutes so that all the vegetables will be evenly cooked.

Serve with some low carb bread and don’t forget to enjoy this with a small glass of red wine (I think red goes better with it) from a mediterranean country!

Print this recipe – Oven Baked Veg with Halloumi

Still learning…

26 Apr

Embarking on a new WOE means of course, experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t. Yesterday, I came to the conclusion that Viana’s Veggie Gyros has no place in my diet. I was attracted to the yummy looking photo of this product in the supermarket and decided to give it a try – afterall, the main ingredient listed was tofu which I know to be good for my BG. Furthermore, the nutrition labelling said 100gr contained 5.6gr of carbs which is well within my daily allowed limit.

Veggie Gyros

The taste of the gyros in itself wasn’t too bad.  I actually enjoyed it. The problem was my BG. After the meal, it were ok but later, my BG kept rising. This happened on both occasions I ate the gyros. So obviously, the carbs are changing to glucose quite slowly. One hour after eating the gyros, you don’t see the full effects of the meal. Only much later. It seemed that this meal threw everything off track for the entire day. My conclusion – stay away from it, for me at least. After all, the real gyros with meat tastes a lot better. I had some ‘real’ gyros last week with salad – in fact it was almost a double portion – and I had a BG of under 100!

So much for that … let’s move on to lunch. Today’s lunch was Mediterranean Oven Vegetables with Halloumi Cheese. I have been making this for quite some time and now do it according to ‘feel’ . It is really easy to put together and tastes great. I vary the ingredients according to what is in the fridge.

Mediterranean Oven Vegetables with Halloumi Cheese (serves 2)

Just cut up some ‘mediterranean’ vegetables – whatever you think would go into a dish titled ‘mediterranean’. For me, I can imagine cherry tomatoes, zucchini, aubergines, mushrooms, green beans, red or green bell peppers and carrots.  I also throw in half an onion – half because Dr B says they are sweet if you eat too much. Now, your question will be ‘how much veggies per person?’. Well, just look at the amount of cut veggies and see if you think two people can finish them! It doesn’t matter about the proportions of each. Cut your selected veggies and onion into bite-sized pieces and place in a mixing bowl.

Cut up a piece of halloumi into cubes and add this to the veggies – in my supermarket, they come in 200gr packets so I just put in the whole thing.

Now toss with about 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp tomato paste, a generous sprinkle of  ‘mediterranean herbs’ eg. oregano, thyme, rosemary and season with salt and pepper (take note that the halloumi is already slightly salty so don’t overdo it). I use 2 Tbsp each olive oil and tomato paste for a large serving each for 2 people. If you like your dish with a kick, sprinkle some chilli flakes or add some harissa.  If you are cooking for more than 2, just take a look at the veggie mix and see if you think there is enough oil and tomato paste to coat the veggies. If not, just add a tablespoon more of each. Pour the coated veggie mix into a baking dish. Here’s what your dish will look like before baking.

Mediterranean Oven Vegetables with Halloumi

Now pop the dish into your oven which has been preheated to 180 degrees C and bake for 45 minutes. Couldn’t be simpler! Dining with people not on a low-carb diet? Serve them pita or some other flatbread to soak up the sauce. Yes, this dish doesn’t come out completely dry. The veggies exude their juices while baking.

A note on Halloumi – I’ve noticed that depending on the brand, some Halloumis will melt quicker than others. I once used one that still had a rubbery, squeaky bite to it after cooking, so experiment. I prefer the ones that melt and look like melted mozzarella when done.

A note on carbs – Since I never use the same veggies, I don’t know the carb count but I think it can’t be that bad! I don’t meticulously go around counting carbs – just eyeball it.

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