I love watching cookery shows, I always have since I was younger, and at the moment I especially love Masterchef Australia (watching it in the UK so don’t tell me who wins!)! My favourite challenges are the mystery box invention tests, I am always amazed with how quickly the contestants think of a unique idea and make it work (most of the time). I think the key is keeping things simple but doing them well and presenting them nicely.
I decided to set myself an invention test of sorts- I couldn’t do a mystery box as I bought the ingredients myself- although I may ask my husband to set me one of those one day that would be so much fun! So anyway I set myself the challenge of creating a meal using just vegetables that would be filling, easily made on a budget and really nicely presented.
I’m a bit of an oddity because I LOVE all vegetables and have no problem with being presented with a plate containing nothing else but I think the challenge here was convincing other people that a plate of vegetables could be a nice meal. I think I did quite well as I enjoyed the combination of flavours, different textures and also it didn’t look like it was an incomplete meal. I did use potatoes as one of my vegetables to add a base flavour and texture.
So here is what I am calling “A pretty plate of vegetables!”. In true Masterchef style please feel free to judge the dish based on the criteria (don’t be too mean though haha!) It is actually cabbage leaves stuffed with roasted vegetables, served with roasted potatoes and a pepper puree.
1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
1 Green Pepper
350g Butternut Squash
2 Large Baking Potatoes
12 Savoy Cabbage Leaves
1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Dried Basil
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Bunch Fresh Parsley
Salt and Pepper
Pre heat the oven to 180c. Drizzle a little Olive Oil into a baking tray and pop it in to the oven to warm up.
To prepare the vegetables you will need to: Roughly chop the onion. Cut the Peppers in half and remove the seeds and stalk. Peel the butternut squash and dice into small chunks. Chop the potatoes into 2cm cubes, try to keep them quite symmetrical for a nice presentation.
Taking the baking tray out and spread the pepper halves, butternut squash and onion out on the tray. Sprinkle over the dried basil and thyme, garlic powder, a little salt and some fresh parsley. Put the tray back in the oven and roast the vegetables for 25 minutes. This step can be made in advance if you like and left in a bowl in the fridge over night!
When the vegetables are cooked take them out of the pan and put to one side in a bowl. Take 1/2 of the red pepper and 1/2 of the yellow pepper and put it in a blender with a few pieces of the cooked onion and some black pepper. blend untill smooth and put to one side to heat up later.
I use the same baking tray from the vegetables to cook my potatoes in as you get the nice flavours (and it saves on washing up) so at this point put your potato cubes on the baking tray, drizzle with a little more olive oil if needed, a sprinkle of salt and they will take around 20-25 minutes in the oven to be nice and crispy.
Put a pan of water on to boil and once it is boiling add your cabbage leaves for 1 and 1/2 minutes. Then take them out and drain the water off them. Keep the water you’ve just used as we will steam the cabbage parcels over it. Pour out a little if your steamer dips into your pan as you don’t want to boil them!
You will need to cut out the tough stalk of the cabbage leaf as it makes it easier to roll and quicker to cook (see picture below). You can throw those bits away or if your peckish while cooking you could do what I did and dip them in the puree and tuck in!
Take your bowl of roasted veg which has been put to one side, it should have cooled down a little now. Take out a few bits of red pepper to use as a garnish and give the rest a quick mash (I used my hands as don’t want it to be too smooth) just to soften it all together and mix it all up. Place a small amount of filling in the middle of each cabbage leaf and then fold in the two ends and wrap it up like a little parcel. Pop the parcels in the steamer, put a lid on and steam for 10-12 minutes or untill the cabbage leaf stalk is soft.
Heat up the puree and put it on the plate in a nice pattern, place the cabbage parcels on top and sprinkle the potato cubes and roasted pepper around the plate. You can drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil on but unless it’s really good quality I don’t think it will add too much.
I really enjoyed making this recipe so I hope you all like it x