Turkey and sweet corn meatballs with roasted red pepper sauce








Our first venture into the Ottolenghi cookbook was these delicious turkey and sweet corn meatballs with a roasted red pepper sauce on the side.

It was so good. The corn kernels added such an amazing texture. The sauce taste really spicy on its own but when paired with the meatballs, the spiciness is tamed.

Everything is in Celsiusand grams so you need to do some conversions if you buy this cookbook. I went ahead and converted it for this recipe though.

Serves 4

100g sweetcorn kernels (fresh or frozen)

3 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed (i used wheat because that’s what I had)

1 pound organic turkey breast

1 free-range egg

4 spring onions, finely chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

2  ½ tsp ground cumin

1 ½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 garlic clove, crushed

Sunflower/Canola oil, for frying

Roasted pepper sauce

4 red peppers

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 cup coriander, leaves and stalks

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 small mild chilli, deseeded (i used a jalepeno)

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar


1)      Preheat the oven to 200C (approx 400F). To prepare the peppers for the sauce, quarter them with a sharp knife and shave off the white parts and the seeds. Put them in a roasting tray and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and ½ teaspoon of the salt, then roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until soft. Transfer the hot peppers to a bowl and cover it with cling film. Once they have cooled down a little, you can peel them, although it isn’t essential for this sauce. In any case, place them in a blender or food processor with their roasting juices and add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Process until smooth, then taste and adjust the salt if necessary. Set aside.

2)      For the meatballs, place a heavy non-stick frying pan over a high heat and throw in the corn kernels. Toss them in the hot pan for 2-3 minutes, until lightly blackened. Remove and leave to cool.

3)      Soak the bread in cold water for a minute, then squeeze well and crumble it into a large bowl. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the sunflower oil and mix well with your hands.

4)      Pour a 5mm depth of sunflower oil into your heavy frying pan. Allow it to heat up well and then fry about a teaspoon of the mince mix in it. Remove, let cool a little and then taste. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper in the uncooked mixture to your liking.

5)      With wet hands, shape the mince mix into balls, about the size of golf balls. Cook them in small batches in the hot oil, turning them around in the pan until they are golden brown all over. Transfer to an oven tray, place in the oven at 200C (approx 400F) and cook for about 5 minutes. When you press one with your finger, the meat should bounce back. If unsure, break one open to check that it is cooked inside. Serve hot or warm, with the pepper sauce on the side.

Roasted Eggplant with Saffron Yogurt

The other night we made eggplant with a saffron yogurt, pine nuts, and pomegranates. Delicious!

3 medium eggplants, cut into slices 2cm thick, or into wedges
olive oil for brushing
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
a handful of pomegranate seeds
20 basil leaves
coarse sea salt and black pepper

Saffron Yoghurt
a small pinch of saffron strands
3 tablespoons hot water
180g Greek yogurt (about 3/4 cup)
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. For the sauce, infuse the saffron in the hot water in a small bowl for 5 minutes. Pour the infusion into a bowl containing the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and some salt. Whisk well to get a smooth, golden sauce. Taste and adjust the salt, if necessary, then chill. (you can make this the day before or the morning of if you need to do it in advance)

2. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius (which is about 430 F). Place the eggplant slices on a roasting tray, brush with plenty of olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until the slices take on a beautiful light brown color. Let them cool down. (you can make this in advance as well but take them out of the fridge a couple of hours before eating so that they come to room temp. i roasted the eggplant and made the sauce the morning of)

3. To serve, arrange the eggplant slices on a large plate, slightly overlapping. Drizzle the saffron yoghurt over them, sprinkle with the pine nuts and pomegranate seeds and lay the basil on top.

Note: this probably wouldn’t be enough to be your entire dinner. I’d suggest pairing it with some type of protein or starch. We had our with some chorizo.  The yogurt sauce worked well with the spicy chorizo and acted as a cooling agent. We started dipping the chorizo straight into the yogurt sauce by the end of the meal.

Amazing Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

I’ve been making this recipe for the last few years and it always turns out so delicious. If you’re looking for ideas check this out.

Thanksgiving turkey recipe (for an 18-pound turkey)

Sage butter (recipe below)
Olive oil
Dried Parsley
Dried oregano
Dried rosemary
Fresh Sage
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Oregano
2 lemons
2 medium onions
2 carrots
3-4 sticks of celery
2-3 cups of chicken stock

Sage butter recipe:
1 stick of butter (leave outside of fridge overnight to soften)
2 tablespoons fresh sage (chopped)

Rinse turkey well and pat dry.

Rub sage butter in between breast and skin (be careful not to break the skin). Sprinkle
plenty of salt on the outside of the turkey. Then sprinkle on the dried rosemary, oregano,
and parsley. Generously pour olive oil on the outside of the turkey and rub all over the
outside of the breast, legs, etc….

Stuff the inside of the turkey with 1-2 quartered lemons, 2 sprigs each of fresh sage,
rosemary, and oregano, 2 celery stalks (cut in half/thirds), and 1 quartered onion.

Then, place 1 quartered onion, 2 carrots (cut in half), and 2 celery stalks (cut in half) at
the bottom of the roasting pan (under the rack). Pour about an inch of chicken stock in.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place turkey on rack in roasting pan and cover to let stand
for 30 minutes to an hour outside of fridge to come to room temp.

Then place aluminum foil over the breast of the turkey. Leave on for the first three hours
of cooking. Baste a few times by using the chicken broth. Continue to add chicken broth
to the bottom of the pan as it evaporates. After 3 hours, remove aluminum foil, allowing
the breast to begin browning.

The turkey will take 4-4.5 hours of cooking (if the turkey is larger, it should cook longer and if it’s smaller than it should cook less)….it’s done either when the turkey timer pops and/or the turkey temp is 165 (checked between the breast and thigh). Let it rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting.

Homemade Ethiopian Food

Ethiopian restaurants are nowhere to be found in Greensboro so we decided to make our own. It my was my husband Mark’s idea to do it. We’ve made the red lentil dish in the past thanks to some Ethiopian spices that were given to us by my aunt and uncle’s housekeeper Mimi (in Lebanon). But Mark wanted to go all out with the full deal, so that’s what we did. We made the traditional Injera bread, yellow split peas, red lentils (recipe below), and Ethiopian collard greens (Gomen). The injera was really bitter in the beginning and we had to add some salt, sugar, and lemon juice to help the bitterness. Apparently the recipe calls for you to make the batter 3 days in advance and let it sit and ferment. We didn’t want to wait that long so Mark found a recipe that has you add yeast and just wait 1 day. Our injera was much darker than the injera we have had at Ethiopian restaurants. Maybe they mix all purpose flour with the teff flour (which is what we used)? If anyone has a good recipe for teff let us know!

The collards and red lentils were delish. The yellow split peas were good but had a little too much salt and turmeric. We followed the recipe to a “T” so next time we’d just put less salt and turmeric.

It was fun to explore cooking the Ethiopian food and we’ll definitely do it again! Share some other recipes if you have them!

The Misir Wat (red lentils) recipe is as follows:

1 cup split red lentils (rinsed well)

1 inch of ginger grated

2 cloves garlic grated

1 cup minced red onion

2-3 teaspoons Indian spice mix (Berberé)

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

To make the lentils cook quicker, soak them in water for about half an hour (if you don’t have time to soak don’t worry about it). Heat up olive oil and add onions. Sautee for a  few minutes. Add garlic and ginger and sautee about 30 seconds. Add in lentils, spice mix (the amount depends on how spicy you like it), salt, and pepper and mix all together. After mixed, add about 3 cups of water and cook covered for about 20-30 minutes. Stirring every 10 minutes or so. If you soak the lentils you may need a little less water. But just keep an eye on it.  Once done, taste and add salt/pepper if needed. If the lentils are not done then continue to add water until they are cooked. Ours ended up a little mushy in the end which I liked. Another version of this recipe has you add some tomato paste/sauce to it. That version is good too.

Here are links to the other recipes:

Collard Greens

Yellow split peas


Vegetarian Shephard’s Pie

I made this delicious vegetarian take on a shephard’s pie last night. Three beautiful layers of goodness. The bottom layer is a mix of mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion, lentils, pine nuts, bread crumbs. The middle layer: spaghetti squash. The top layer: garlic mashed potatoes. The recipe says it takes only 30 minutes to prep…that is definitely not true! It took at least an hour or more. Not a dish to make on a weeknight, but I definitely recommend it for a weekend dinner at home. A couple of notes. Add more salt than the recipe calls for. It doesn’t call for any in the mushroom/lentil mixture and it definitely needs it. Also, I caramelized a bunch of shallots to go on top (as opposed to frying them).


  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • Roasted Garlic
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Bread Crumbs

  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup roasted pine nuts
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 to 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled, but not peeled
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup smooth goat cheese
  • 1 cup 35-percent whipping cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 6 cups wild mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dried du puy lentils (green), cooked
  • Fried shallots, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

First, cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds. Place the squash on a baking sheet and bake for 1 1/2 hours. As an alternative, place on a plate and cook in the microwave on high power for about 20 minutes.

Put the garlic head on a baking tray. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and put in the oven for 30 minutes or until the garlic is very tender.

In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the milk. Let stand for 5 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Mix in the pine nuts, the eggs, basil, thyme, and parsley. Put aside.

Mash the potatoes with the butter, goat cheese, cooked garlic puree and cream to make them nice and smooth. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Remove the spaghetti squash flesh with a fork and put it in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and put aside.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

For the vegetables: Heat the remaining oil in a large pan and saute the onions, carrots and celery over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and continue cooking until brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the cooked lentils and the reserved bread crumb mixture. Stir and put aside.

In an 8 by 11-inch/20 by 28-cm baking dish, spoon the vegetable mixture onto the bottom. Layer with the spaghetti squash, then the mashed potatoes and smooth them down. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes or so, until the top is slightly browned. Garnish with fried shallots, to taste.

Banana Bran Muffins

I made these delicious banana bran muffins today. My intention was that they would be muffins just for Sophie to have for breakfast. I didn’t expect to love them so much myself! I’m telling you, if you like banana muffins you will love these. They are good for you too!

Recipe below:

Makes 24 mini-muffins or 12 regular muffins

1 cup organic wheat flour
1/2 cup organic oat bran
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup applesauce
2-3 medium organic bananas, 1 mashed (about 1/2 cup) and 1/2 sliced
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
2 organic eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place muffin cups into 24 mini-muffin cups or 12 regular muffin cups.

With a fork, combine flour, bran, salt, and soda in a small mixing bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in a microwave for 25 seconds on high. In a large bowl, combine butter, applesauce, mashed banana, sugar, and eggs. Mix together with a rubber spatula. Add flour mixture to applesauce mixture and stir until just blended. Batter will be lumpy and very moist.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Place banana slice on top of each muffin. Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Cool muffins in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before turning out.

*this recipe was found at http://www.grist.org/

Homemade Spaghetti with Roasted Tomato Sauce

My wife just got me the pasta attachment for our kitchen aid so the first pasta I wanted to try was a great spaghetti with tomato sauce.  I wanted to get some great depth of flavor in this simple dish so I decided to roast the tomatoes for the sauce.  Lina’s cousin has a great recipe so that was the base for the sauce.

First thing was to make the pasta, I used a basic recipe of egg, flour, water, and salt to make the dough.  The great thing about the kitchen aid is that everything can be done in the mixer, from the mixing to the initial kneading (you need to to do a bit by hand), then the actual pasta making.  After running the dough through the flat pasta roller to get the desired thickness, I ran it though the spaghetti cutter, and voila, fresh pasta.  Throw a little flower on it a let it dry for an hour.

Next step was to roast the tomatoes.  Here is the recipe, I didn’t have a jalepeno so I added red pepper flakes instead.  After they are roasted and get some color on them I transferred them to a large pot and immersion blended the tomatoes to get a nice pureed sauce.

So after the sauce was pureed I cooked up the pasta.  The great thing about fresh pasta it only takes 2-3 minutes to cook.  I then added a little bit of sauce to the pasta (a little goes a long way, it’s all about a balance about the pasta and sauce) and was ready to serve.  I grated some Parmesan on top and this was it.  Delicious fresh pasta, with awesome tomato sauce.  The pasta was creamy and delicate while the sauce added a great depth of flavor from the roasting and the added pepper flakes.  If you have the option of making fresh pasta you have to do it, there is no comparison.

Rainy day dinner

It was so rainy and yucky on Saturday and we had no desire to go to the grocery store. We didn’t have much in the fridge, but after a little scrounging I found some ingredients and decided to make a soup. It was fun because I didn’t use a recipe this time. I had cubed butternut squash in the freezer, half a red onion, garlic, white beans, fresh rosemary, turkey kielbasa, a carrot, shallots, and vegetable broth.

I tossed the squash, garlic, and red onion (which I cut into big chunks) with olive oil, fresh chopped rosemary, salt, and pepper in the oven on 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. In a soup pot, I sauteed diced carrot and garlic in olive oil and then added the roasted veggies and white beans. Then I added some veggie broth and let it come to a quick boil. I then used the immersion blender to puree it all. Then I cubed up the turkey kielbasa and browned it in a pan. In another pan I heated a little canola oil and crisped up some shallots that I had dipped in flour.

The final result was a roasted vegetable and white bean soup with turkey kielbasa and crispy shallots. It was so good and I was so proud of myself for just winging it!

“Meatless meat” for dinner

Last night we had a departure from our typical cooking and decided to try some new soy products that are out on the market. So, we made “buffalo wings” that we dipped in blue cheese. And we also made “Chicken” scallopini over brown rice and kale.

The wings were better than we expected though extremely spicy. The “chicken” was decent. I had tried this a while back but had just cooked it in a panini press, allowing the outer crust to get a little crispy. I think that made for a better final product.

Nigella Lawson is back…

…in my life. My love for Nigella Lawson has been reignited. I don’t even know why the flame fizzled. I used to be obsessed with her show and the foods she made. I have two of her cookbooks and bookmarked many things I wanted to make. I was on a roll 5-6 years ago but slowly lost interest. I think once her show left the Style channel where it was British produced and moved over to the Food Network, it lost something in its appeal. Granted, I would still occasionally make her seared salmon over mashed peas and her linguine with red chili, crab, and watercress (a favorite of my dad’s and he is NOT an adventurous eater….but he sure does love this dish).

But this weekend I decided to revisit her cookbooks. I’m so glad I did. Nigella was the first tv food personality that really got me into cooking. She has such a passion for what she does and uses her words so well that you feel like you can almost taste the food she’s describing.

On Sunday I finally made something that I had been meaning to make for years…black rice with shrimp and a vietnamese spicy sauce. After looking all over for red chillies, I finally found them at Super G (my first experience there). That is a great place. They have everything…even live blue crabs that you can buy.

Ok, so I digress…back to the issue at hand…the dish was really easy to make but still had a great depth of flavor and the black rice gave it such an exotic flair. If you’re curious to see her make it…check out this you tube video: Nigella Lawson on You Tube

For dessert we had these Sweet Red Bean Buns that we steamed. They were delicious. We got them from the Super G. The ingredients were so basic too, so we knew we weren’t getting some kind of over-processed ‘grocery store-type’ item.

Homemade blueberry pancakes!

We made the most delish pancakes yesterday from scratch! no box involved! the trick to fluffy pancakes? Beating the egg whites separately and folding them into the batter. check out the recipe…(taken from the blog “Let Her Bake Cake”). The recipe is adapted from the Clinton Street Bakery’s (NYC) pancakes. There is also a recipe for a blueberry compote topping and maple butter. The first time around we made both. Now we do the blueberry compote and just top with maple syrup. But honestly, you don’t need the toppings. You can just eat these pancakes with plain old maple syrup and be happy!
Serves 3-4

2 eggs
220 ml (1 scant cup) buttermilk
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
190g (scant 1 1/3 cups) plain or all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup blueberries

Separate the eggs so that the yolks go into a large bowl and the whites go into the bowl of a stand mixer or a bowl large enough to fit a hand held electric mixer.

Add the buttermilk and melted butter to the yolks in the bowl and beat together. In another bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

With a stand mixer or electric mixer, whip the egg whites to hold soft peaks.

Now pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir lightly until just combined. Some lumps are ok. Fold in the egg whites until just combined. It’s ok if some of the whites aren’t fully incorporated.

Rub a non-stick frying pan with a bit of butter and heat over medium-high heat. Add batter to pan to make whatever size pancake you want (ours are on the small side- though not like silver dollar pancakes). It’s easier to manage them on the pan when they’re not too big. Pancakes are ready to flip once a few bubbles appear on the surface and and the tops are starting to go dull. Just before they are ready to flip, sprinkle a few blueberries on top of each pancake. Flip and cook another minute or two.

Keep the pancakes warm in a very low oven while you cook the remaining batter.


Blueberry Compote

1 cup blueberries (preferably wild blueberries, if available)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 strip lemon peel
1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down heat and simmer very gently until mixture is thickened, about 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally during cooking time. Spoon compote over pancakes while still warm.


Maple Butter

Serves 3-4. You can adjust the amount of maple syrup to make it more or less pronounced, depending on your tastes.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup maple syrup

In a small saucepan, melt together butter and maple syrup over low heat until melted. Serve immediately over pancakes.

Recipe: Baked Fish with Tahini Sauce and Baked Pita Points

This is another “original recipe” I came up with. Growing up, we used to have these big fish fries on Sunday where we’d deep fry fish (on the bone) and pita bread and then eat them with a tahini sauce (you see it a lot in Lebanon at the coastal restaurants). I decided to put a healthy spin on that old tradition.

This is really simple, healthy, and delicious. First, I put some salt, pepper, and olive oil on a nice big piece of cod and baked it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.

In the meantime, go ahead and also cut a couple of pieces of pita bread into triangles. (I used pocket pita but you can use whatever you have available) Lay them in a pan and sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil. Toss together and then make sure they’re all laying flat in the pan. Put in the oven on the rack under the fish, closer to the bottom.

For the tahini sauce, I just took a clove of garlic and mashed it with a couple of pinches of salt salt in the bottom of the bowl with a mortar. Then I added about 5 tablespoons of tahini and the juice of 1 lemon. You might need to add a little more salt at the end.

Once the fish finished baking, I removed it from the oven and tented it with some foil for a minute while I gave the pita points a minute to finish up. They probably take about 15 minutes to get nice and crunchy.

Once the pita chips were done, I served the fish on each plate and topped the fish with tahini sauce and chopped parsley.

As a side, we had sauteed some spinach in olive oil and garlic. It complimented the fish and tahini really well.

The pita chips were served on the plate along with some babaganoush (recipe for that is coming soon).

Tahini is derived from sesame seeds and is a great source of protein, essential fatty acids, B vitamins and calcium.

I highly recommend this dish for a satisfying and light meal.