It wouldn’t be a British Summer without a bit of humidity setting off the light rain. With the air so warm and the dull outlook I’ve been trying to get ideas to cater for my weather changing taste buds….
I want fresh and colourful but with a warming comfort. Not too heavy yet not too light. My ‘go to’ in winter is the ultimate casserole or one pot dish, rich and hearty! SO, my thinking is what better than a summer casserole to get my eyes and taste buds sparking that feel good feeling.
When I think of summer and casserole I never really think fish but, essentially fish is the ultimate light and healthy ingredient. One of my favourites is Monkfish which is perfect for catering to my taste buds at the moment….as it’s meaty and combined with the right flavours it worked well. A Thai inspired Monkfish Broth, light, delicious and filling. A great one pot dish for all the family. Use anything from lemongrass, fish stock, garlic and Thai chillies to lift this broth…it’s all about taking the time and developing the flavour of the broth, as that is what helps showcase the meaty monkfish.
For the boys however, it’s all about CHICKEN….I always have leftover roast chicken at home so this Summer Chicken casserole is perfect in utilising it. The great thing about summer casseroles is the ability to use an array of tomatoes and vegetables to lift the colour and freshness. And there isn’t any specific surefire way of cooking casseroles for me, with leftovers it’s all about letting the flavours of the tomatoes and herbs do the talking. Throwing it all into a casserole pot and letting it slowly simmer away.
I am loving the summer tomatoes at the moment. A perfect base ingredient but you need to ensure you season enough, never forget to season it’s the cornerstone of cooking!
& What Else?
Along with casseroles you need to have the perfect sides, some crusty bread or seeded pitta to soak up and wipe the sauces and don’t forget THE fresh salad.
For those of you who are avoiding the wheat, my fall back this season has been Moong Dal, cooked al dente and dry roasted any way you like! A unique alternative to rice, colourful and crisp. Stir fry with spices or just add seasoning and a squeeze of lemon for a more summery taste.
A Tasty Summer Recipe for you!
My favourite casserole creation has been a tomato and coconut infused white pea bean & aubergine casserole this week, definitely a highlight for summer casseroles, it ticked all the boxes!
Not sure if you have heard of them or cooked with them but using white pea beans is a great vegetarian option and can be bought and stored for easy use when needed for a recipe like this. This has become one of my summer favourites and I want to share the recipe with you.
Summer White Pea Bean Casserole
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 tsp ginger chopped
6 cloves garlic roughly chopped
2 x green chilies chopped
3 x medium tomatoes finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 cups of white pea beans cooked
6-8 Thai baby green aubergines
Red chilli powder
Coriander for garnish
For the Casserole Spice Paste:
The following ingredients Need to Be blitz Into A Smooth Paste (without Using Water)
I x medium onion roughly chopped
5-6 springs fresh coriander
2 x green chillies
1 tsp chopped ginger
6 x garlic cloves
Pinch of cardamom seeds
Heat 1 Tbsp of coconut oil in a non-stick pan and add the onion paste and 1 tbsp of water and sauté on a medium flame for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes and mix.
Add the white pea beans salt and ½ cup of water and mix well. Cover with a lid and cook on a medium flame for 8 to 10 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
Cut aubergines into quarters wash and rub sea salt into them
In a frying or griddle pan add 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil and heat, to that add 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds and once popped add the aubergines and cook for about 7-8 mins on medium heat stirring frequently. Once they soften add red chilli powder and cook for a further few minutes only…
Fill a deep dish with the casserole.. then layer aubergines in centre & garnish with coriander.
The weather is starting to look up now but, I’m hoping you can use these ideas to brighten up a dull summer muggy day or even the transition into autumn. Use food to make your eyes light up and make you feel happy, you don’t always need sugar and wheat to do that, you can eat healthy and still have that feel good feeling!