Last weekend my husband and I met up with a friend for breakfast, and it was the most glorious day. Dressed in a short sleeve dress, I basked in the beautiful warm sun as we chatted and wondered how winter could possibly be around the corner.
But fast forward to this weekend, and an impromptu trip for ice cream found us caught in the middle of a sudden storm, with winds so strong it took the sandwich board sign out the front of the shop for a dance along the pavement before finally toppling over. However as quickly as the storm arrived, it disappeared.
Such is the weather here in Brisbane.
Despite the storm quickly clearing, the yearning for something warm and comforting for dinner lingered. First came thoughts of oven roasted vegetables – slightly charred and caramelised vegetables and oh so delicious. But I wanted something a little more substantial than a plate of vegetables, and knew vegetables alone wouldn’t satisfy Troy. So while the vegetables roasted away I toyed with what to do with them next. Remembering the bumper stash of capsicum (bell peppers to my Northern hemisphere readers) I’d picked up at the green grocer with plans of making a large batch of harissa, I decided to turn my roasted vegetables into an oven roasted ratatouille, of sorts, with chickpeas and tomato passata, all stuffed inside a red capsicum (bell pepper).
I love how the capsicum acts as a bowl, of sorts, keeping all the juices inside, which is revealed when you cut into it. So to sop up the juices of the stuffed capsicum I went with an accompaniment of couscous, however quinoa or rice would work equally well here too.
- 1 large zucchini (courgette), chopped into 3cm pieces
- 1 cup of mushrooms, quartered
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
- 1 tbs olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1½ cups of tomato passata
- ½ cup tinned chickpeas, drained
- ⅓ cup basil leaves, roughly torn
- 4 medium sized red capsicums (bell peppers)
- 1½ cups of couscous
- 1½ cups of boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 180 celsius (350 Fahrenheit) and toss the zucchini, onion, mushroom in a bowl with the olive oil. Season with salt and paper and place on a roasting tin lined with baking paper. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Remove the cloves of garlic and press to remove the cooked garlic from their papers. Add to the tomato passata and stir through. Pour the passata over the roasted vegetables and add the chickpeas. Toss to combine and return to the oven to bubble away for another 10 minutes.
- Carefully cut the tops off the capsicums (bell peppers) and scoop out the seeds and membrane. Fill with the ratatouille mixture and torn basil leaves, and return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the skin on the capsicum starts to shrivel.
- Meanwhile, place the couscous in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the boiling water, stir, and cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Serve warm with the ratatouille stuffed capsicum on top.