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2013 Recipe Challenge – Courgette and Feta Pie

innerdsI thought as it was the fist week of my challenge it was worthy of a blog.  Most weeks however I will just pop my progress onto the Challenge Page of the site.

This first week’s recipe was taken from a book called “The Best Traditional Recipes of Greek Cooking”. This particular book has been chilling out on the book shelf for no  less than ten years.  It was actually bought by BC when he visited Santorini with my predecessor (pulls childish petulant face).  I do love Greek food but flicking through this book has been the furthest I have got …  until now.

My original intention was to cook a lamb mince-pie but the method was a bit vague and to be honest I couldn’t work out what the hell to do with the semolina!  So decided instead to embark on a simple Courgette and Feta pie, made even more simple by the fact that it is not really a pie – no pastry involved.  This would be more accurately be described as a baked  fritatta. It was very simple – easy as pie you might say.

This is how simple it was:  saute  a few sliced courgettes and a few chopped up spring onions in a ludicrous amount of olive oil ( I know olive oil is healthy … but that much of any oil is questionable! ). Beat up three eggs and mix in a pack of feta (crumbled) and a whole bunch of chopped parsley.  Mix in the courgettes and onions, pour into a non stick tin and pop in a medium oven for about an hour.finished pie

I was nervous and there was a nice pizza lined up on the subs bench, but thankfully that was not necessary as the ‘non’ pie was delicious. As I mentioned, it is similar to a fritatta,  however baking really intensifies the flavours and the feta oozes beautifully through the egg.  I served it with olives, rocket, Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall’s Roast Honey Tomatoes and some simple roasted peppers. It was a resounding success and is now on the rota of  “cheap n’ simple meals” that make it into my weekly meal plans.

The last slice was popped into  a Tupperware tub with some salad and taken with me to work for lunch the following day. Served cold this pie was even better, making it a brilliant option for lunch boxes and picnics.

I know that on week one Nicola from cooked up Pheasant, what did you do?  It’s not to late to join in.

In week 2 BC chooses the dish from Jamie’s American book.  More on that next week but I am praying to God it is not the Beer Butt Chicken!!

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Spicy Bean Quesadilla

As easy as it is tasty

As easy as it is tasty

Don’t you sometimes yearn for something to eat at the end of the day which sets your taste buds tingling?  Yet more often than not you have neither the time or the energy to muster a masterpiece.

My Spicy Bean Quesadillas score very high on taste and don’t entail slaving over a stove – hot or otherwise.

My hardest days of the week are those spent running around after my lovely but ever so demanding wee girl.  It is on these days, when I am virtually on my knees by 6 o’clock, that this recipe comes to my rescue.  A once-a-week favourite at The Grumbling Tummy HQ.

It started life as ‘Refried Bean Fold Over’ from my well-thumbed copy of  Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s superb  ‘River Cottage Veg Everyday’.  Although the original recipe was perfectly lovely, I have tweaked and twisted it a fair bit along the way.  Hugh used pinto beans, has no lime juice or coriander in his recipe.  I guess most importantly,  he does not give his recipe the quesadilla  treatment.

Big thanks to Hugh for giving me all the nuts and bolts of this fantastic spicy treat.

So without further ado here is the recipe:


One red onion, 3 good-sized tomatoes halved,  a large can of beans  –  Hugh uses pinto beans but I often opt for Kidney beans –  both nice, a good handful of chopped coriander, couple of cloves of garlic, half  a red chilli,  the juice of half a lime,  a pinch of cayenne pepper, soft tortilla wraps (6), cheese ( as much as you like really), sour Cream


Chop and fry the onion until soft

Add the garlic and the chilli 

Life is not too short to grate a tomato

Life is not too short to grate a tomato

After a few minutes take off the heat and grate the flesh of the tomatoes straight into the cooking pot – discarding the skins.  Life may be too short to stuff a mushroom but it is not too short to grate a tomato, so don’t be tempted to chop rather than grate.  It takes seconds! Return to the heat and cook for a few minutes until the juices thicken a little then add in your drained beans and the juice of half a limeGet a tattie masher and mush it all up – I like to leave it a bit chunky but this is personal tasteAdd a pinch of cayenne and the chopped coriander and stir

Spoon this  lovely spicy bean mixture onto the three wraps and smother with grated cheese.

Pop another wrap on top and then shallow fry for a few minutes on each side until browned and crispy.

Serve with salad and sour cream.


4 Good Things

Having just watched the first  in the series of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s  “3 Good Things”,  I felt inspired to share a recipe with you that uses not three but four of my favourite ingredients to make a Grumbling Tummy classic: chorizo, onions, lentils and red wine.

The official title of this dish is “Lentils with red wine and Chorizo” and it has become one of my favourite dishes to make when I have people coming round for lunch.  It is simple, earthy and ridiculously tasty.

Amongst close family and friends this dish is also affectionately known as “disgusting brown sludge” – charming!  On first serving this dish to BC he pronounced that it looked “disgusting” before delving in, finishing it and asking for seconds.  Just goes to show that looks aren’t everything.  Another friend  thought disgusting was going a bit far but did agree that it looked rather like “brown sludge” – again this was before tucking in and proclaiming it an outstanding success. And so the moniker was born.

I made this hearty one pot on Friday for friends who joined myself and BC on our anniversary/birthday weekend to St Andrews.  The entire Grumbling Tummy contingent coming down with their first winter cold cast a slight cloud over our long anticipated get away .  Taste buds were compromised and this dish packed the flavour filled punch that was needed.

If you fancy trying Lentils with Chorizo and Red Wine  AKA “Disgusting Brown Sludge” then here is how to do it (serves between 4 and 6 depending on how hungry you are!)

The Ingredients:
4 onions, 2 leeks, fresh thyme, 300g lentils (puy or green), around 350g of cooked chorizo chopped up, 1 litre of chicken stock, 2 very generous glasses of red wine and a handful of chopped parsley.

The Method:
Slice 4 onions and 2 leeks
Gently fry the onions and leeks with a little olive oil and a couple of cloves of garlic crushed
When nice and soft add in the chorizo, wine, stock and the fresh thyme
Simmer away for around an hour – keep tasting to make sure your lentils still have some bite and have not turned to moosh.
Add the parsley and serve with lots of crusty bread and salad.

The original recipe came from but I have tweaked it quite a bit. I have doubled up the chorizo as I found the original recipe a little bland for my taste. I also tend to add the chorizo in near the get go so that the juices penetrate the whole dish, then I cook it for twice as long as the original recipe suggests.

Give it a bash and let me know what you think.