Roast tomato and capsicum sauce


Photos by Gary Corbett

“I love recipes that you can cook in bulk, freeze then whip out for a quick mid-week meal. I always have containers of Bolognese, chilli con carne and pesto in my freezer and also this super easy roast tomato and capsicum sauce.  It all bakes in one tray then gets blitzed up for later use.  I’ve also included a few recipes I make using the sauce. Enjoy”

Sauce ingredients

  • 6 capsicums
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 3 red onions
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • White sugar
Sauce method
  1. Halve and de-seed 6 capsicums and put them in a deep baking dish.
  2. Halve and core 6 tomatoes and put them inside the capsicums.
  3. Quarter 3 red onions and sprinkle them between tomatoes and capsicums.
  4. Peel 6 cloves of garlic and throw them in the pan.
  5. Douse in olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Cover in foil.
  7. Bake in a 180c oven for an hour.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan with the foil on.
  9. Depending on the strength of your food processor you can remove the skins from the tomatoes and capsicums. I have a Thermomix so this isn’t needed. Place in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
  10. Pour into a saucepan and heat on low. Add Balsamic and white sugar to taste.
  11. Pour into containers and store in the freezer.
Recipe for soup
  1. Heat up a few cups of soup with some veggie or chicken stock and stir until smooth
  2. Blitz some pine nuts, lemon zest and fresh basil to make a gremolata.
  3. Serve the soup with a spoonful of sour cream, some gremolata and toasted sourdough
Recipe for pasta sauce
  1. Chop an eggplant into 1cm cubes, douse in olive oil and salt and bake in a 180c oven for 20 minutes.
  2. Fry some chopped onions and mushrooms in a pan until soft. Add a few cups of sauce and the roasted eggplant.
  3. Stir in some fresh basil.
  4. Serve with pasta and Parmesan cheese.
Recipe for baked chicken (for 2 people)
  1. Pour some sauce in a small baking dish and add 2 whole chicken breasts. Cover with more sauce.
  2. Cover dish with foil and bake in a 200c oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Blitz some bread with herbs and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven and take off the foil.
  5. Cover with your breadcrumb mix and bake for another 5-10 minutes uncovered.
  6. Serve with quinoa, roasted potatoes and green veggies.

 

Vegie Bolognese

“Recently, in an attempt to have less meat in our diet, I’ve been trying to create vegetarian and vegan recipes that still satisfy me and pack a punch of flavour and texture.  My favourite would have to be mushroom parmigiana.  Right up there with the chicken version!  One dish we eat heaps of is Bolognese or Chilli con carne and I’ve started using half beef, half lentils to great effect.  I still wanted to do a vegan version, so started experimenting with this recipe.  My aim was to get a dish that felt like you were eating the original and still had heaps of complex flavours.  The fact that my carnivorous husband loves it means it must be a success. This is a good recipe for doing in bulk and freezing for later.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp star anise powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 x 400g can of tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g can of lentils
  • 1 x 400g can of chick peas
  • 1 x 400g can of black or red beans
  • 400g mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Barbecue sauce (optional)
  • 100g pecans, finely diced
Method
  1. Cook the carrot, onion, celery and garlic in a large frypan until soft.
  2. Add the tomato paste, star anise, cumin and paprika and cook off for a few minutes.
  3. Add the red wine and tomatoes then let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Put the mushrooms in a food processor until diced. You want to keep a bit of texture. Do the same with the chick peas.
  5. Put mushrooms, lentils, beans and chickpeas in a large stockpot or slow cooker.  Pour in the tomato and red wine mixture and combine.  Allow this to sit on low heat for at least an hour.  If the mixture gets too dry, add more red wine or vegetable stock.
  6. Add the kecap manis (or dark soy sauce) and balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you want a smokey flavour add the barbecue sauce.
  7. Stir in the pecans just before you serve for added texture.
  8. Serve with the pasta of your choice and parmesan cheese.

 

Chili Con Carne

“I’ve just returned from doing ten days of cooking demos in Townsville.  I had to do four recipes a day that the audience could try then replicate with basic ingredients.  I made this chili con carne several times and got a great reaction from everyone who tried it.  It’s pretty much a staple in our house which is used in tacos and nachos and in a ridiculous mix of cultures even when making lasagne or cannelloni.  This recipe makes a huge amount that I cook up in my slow-cooker then freeze for later.  For a more modest amount just halve the recipe.  The amount of chili is to my taste but feel free to add or subtract the spices to your own palette. Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

  • 2 brown onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 500g bacon
  • 1.5kg lean beef mince
  • 500g pork mince
  • 140g tomato paste
  • 4 heaped tbsn sambal oelek (or chopped chillies)
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 x 40g tins tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tins red kidney beans
  • 500g mushrooms
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. Dice onions and fry off in a hot pan with some oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the finely chopped garlic and chopped bacon and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the beef and pork mince and cook for 15 minutes, making sure to break up with the back of a spoon.
  4. When all the meat is cooked through add the tomato paste, sambal oelek, chili powder and cumin and stir to combine.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and let simmer on a low heat for at least an hour.
    (I usually let the mixture cook in a slow-cooker for up to three hours.)
  6. A few times during the cooking process use a large spoon to remove any fat that has risen to the top.
  7. Serve with corn chips, guacamole, re-fried beans, sour cream and jalapenos.

Hummus Chicken

“After a weekend of catering three different events with three completely different and rather complicated menus I thought it would be good to post my favourite simple stand-by recipe.  I came up with this recipe years ago when I started making hummus from scratch (when I realised it’s so much better than the store-bought varieties!).  I needed a dish that I could prepare in the morning and throw into the oven when I got home.  It’s also really easy to modify by substituting different vegetables such and capsicum or eggplant.  I sometimes do it in small ramekins for a more formal occasion but usually I just bring it to the table in the baking dish and let everyone dig in!  It may not look pretty but the flavours are sensational!  Enjoy!”

Hummus Ingredients

  • 2 x 400g tins of chick peas
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 tbsp tahini paste
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup light olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat a small fry pan and add cumin seeds, stirring until they become fragrant.  Grind with a mortar and pestle until reduced to a powder.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Add a small amount of water if it’s too thick and season to taste.

Hummus chicken ingredients

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 6 medium mushrooms
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 quantity of hummus
  • 850g chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Prepare all your ingredients.  Finely slice potatoes (I use a mandolin on the thinnest setting).  Slice onion into rings. Slice mushrooms.  Slice zucchini lengthwise into 4mm strips.  Cut chicken thighs into quarters.
  2. Grease a baking dish and put a layer of potato and red onion at the bottom.
  3. Follow this with a layer of mushrooms and cover with the zucchini.
  4. Spread some of the hummus (about a cup) over the zucchini in an even layer.
  5. Spread the chicken on top and cover with another layer of hummus.
  6. Finish with a layer of potato, season with salt and pepper and some Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees c for 45-60 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the topping is golden.
  8. Serve with a green salad, crusty bread to soak up the sauce and vegetables.

 

 

Healthy Stuffed Chicken Breast

“As part of my push to lose weight and get fit and healthy I’ve been redesigning some of my favourite recipes with less fattening ingredients.  Obviously I want to do this without losing the flavour hit that comes with high fat foods and cooking techniques so I can confuse my taste-buds into thinking they’re still being spoilt.   I have a recipe from my classical music range called “Nutcracker Chicken”.  It consists of a chicken breast that’s been filled with a combination of goats cheese, blue vein and pistachios, coated in macadamia and panko crumbs, then fried and baked.  I serve it with roast capsicum sauce, roast potatoes, asparagus spears and honeyed pine nuts.  YUM!  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!  …but for now here is a much healthier alternative that packs a huge amount of flavour in the sauce and chicken filling.  Enjoy!”

Stuffed chicken breast ingredients

  • 1 leek
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 8 mushrooms
  • 150g sun-dried tomatoes
  • Splash of white wine
  • zest and juice from half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 12 slices of prosciutto
  1. Clean the leek then quarter and dice.  Add to the pan with a small amount of olive oil.  Cook until leeks have softened slightly.
  2. Finely dice the garlic and add to the pan for a few minutes.
  3. Dice the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and add to the pan with the white wine.
  4. When liquid has reduced to almost nothing remove from the heat and stir in the pine nuts and diced basil.  Set aside to cool.
  5. Cut a cavity in the chicken breast and put stuffing inside.
  6. Wrap 2 slices of prosciutto around chicken to keep the stuffing in and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  7. Heat a small amount of light olive oil in a pan and on medium heat cook the chicken on each side until prosciutto has cooked (about 1 minute per side)
  8. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees c or until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Roast Tomato and Capsicum Sauce

  • 2 red capsicums
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • Light olive oli
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 tbsp kecap manis
  1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove stem end.
  2. Cut capsicums into quarters and remove stem ends and seeds.
  3. Peel and quarter onion.
  4. Place all in a roasting dish and drizzle with light olive oil and some salt
  5. Roast for 30 minutes in a 220 degree c oven or until capsicum skins start to blacken.
  6. Let cool slightly and transfer to a blender adding the kecap manis.  Don’t throw out any of the remaining juices from the pan as you will use them later!
  7. Blend on high until smooth.  Season to taste. (If you want a smoother sauce pass the mixture through a drum sieve)

Vegetables

  • 4 carrots
  • 12 asparagus spears
  1. Peel and cut carrots into battens and transfer to the roasting dish you cooked the tomatoes in and coat with the juices.  Add a little more olive oil and salt in needed.
  2. Bake in a 200 degree c oven for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Cut asparagus into thirds and steam until cooked.

Plating up the dish

  1. Gently reheat the sauce and put a generous smear on the plate.
  2. Cut the chicken breast into 3 rounds and lay onto of the sauce (You can save the off-cuts for lunch tomorrow!)
  3. Put a pile of asparagus and carrots on the plate and garnish with 2 basil leaves.

 

Mushroom Pate

“This is such a useful recipe to have in your repertoire.  I use it when catering either on olive bread (as shown) or in pastry cups served with port caramelised onions.  You can also use it to stuff inside chicken breasts or in a beef Wellington.  Or just eat it by the spoonful!  The earthy flavour of the mushrooms complement the sweetness of the onions perfectly and is a great addition to any cheese platter.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 100g eschalots (or red onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 30g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 700g Swiss brown mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup port
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • 150g butter
  1. Pour hot water over the porcini mushrooms to rehydrate them.
  2. Finely dice the eschalots and cook until translucent in a small amount of butter.
  3. Add the finely chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Chop the porcini and Swiss brown mushrooms into small pieces and add to the pan.  Once they have softened add the thyme, port and lemon juice and simmer until most of the liquid have evaporated.
  5. Transfer mixture to a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Chop the butter into small chunks and add to the pate until incorporated.
  6. Transfer to 2 ramekins and cover with clarified butter.

Port Caramelised Onions

  • 4 red onions
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Port
  1. Dice onions and cook in a pan with a small amount of olive oil.
  2. Stir in sugar and cook on medium heat until onions have softened and taken on some colour.
  3. Add half the Port and stir occasionally until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Repeat with the remaining Port and cook until the onions are dark shiny, adding more Port if necessary.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and serve with mushroom pate and Olive bread

Chicken and Leek Pies

“This is my partner’s favourite item off my catering menu.  For most events I make a huge batch of them and they fly off the plate.  I also do different fillings including Moroccan Lamb, Massaman Beef Curry and Mushroom for my vegetarian clients.  Having a pie maker makes life much easier as long as I can stop people from eating them before they make it to the venue.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 2 large leeks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 500g chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups diced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 100g Parmesan cheese
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsn plain flour
  • 3 sheets short crust pastry
  • 3 sheets puff pastry (egg wash optional)

Method

  1. Rinse and dice leeks, dice garlic and fry in a pan with olive oil until soft.
  2. Add diced chicken thighs and simmer until meat is cooked through.
  3. De-glaze with white wine and add diced mushrooms.
  4. When wine has been cooked off add stock, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice and simmer for 15 minutes.  Season to taste.
  5. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to incorporate.  Let mixture cool completely.
  6. If using a pie maker cut round out of the shortcrust pastry for the base and puff pastry for the tops.  Spoon filling in and cook to manufacturers instructions (usually about 7 minutes)
  7. If cooking in the oven line the base of a pie tin with short crust pastry, spoon filling in and top with puff pastry.  Brush egg wash over the top and cook until pie is golden brown.