Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hearty Dinner : Vegetable Medley Stew with Whole Wheat Cornbread

I've bookmarked corn bread and stew recipes for a long time. My first tomato stew was a Tuscan egg stew at Wild Honey, absolutely 1 of my favourite cafes. It was delicious and lingers in my mind since 6 years ago. Pinterest is a great source of recipes and I've had several pins of stews and breads. Just what finally inspired me to do it today of all days?
Today, I had injections to the sides of both my knees, apparently they had undergone early wear and tear due to the angle of my slightly bowed legs. In pain for a month and finally dredged myself to the doc, in my yoga wear, ready to go Bikram afterwards. Hah! The end result was a stern warning from the doc in resting them legs for 2 weeks. Bummer. I then walked aimlessly around the malls and acquired a stainless steel WMF frying pan that can go into the oven. Yay it's something I've been looking for.
I really ought to stop buying kitchen gadgets. For a household with a grand total of only 2 persons and cooking incidences of approximately once a week and baking frequency of 2-3 times a month, I've loaded cupboards with at least 1 wok, 2 pans, 1 griddle, 3 pots, 1 crockpot, 2 casserole dishes, 1 pizza pan, 5 baking pans, 1 loaf pan, 4 silicon bakeware and miscellaneous other cooking apparatus. I've got my new Cuisinart blender last week too! yay, time to keep the hand blender back into the dark. My most frivolous purchase must be the soy milk maker! ha ha, probably used it 3 times only.
Anyway, tada! I've a pan that can baked immediately. 30minutes into my pins and decided on the below.
Assorted Vegetables Tomato Stew (Source)

1 eggplant, cut into strips.
1 cup pumpkin cubes
1 onion, cut into rounds
3 cloves garlic, crushed or cut
1 can whole tomatoes in sauce
1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms
Half a ripe avocado
Handful of coriander
Mixed herbs
Pepper and Salt to taste
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to oven with fan on 200C.
1. Heat olive oil in frying pan, sauté garlic and onions until fragrant, add a splatter of mixed herbs.
2. Add the cubed pumpkins and pan fry a short while, around 3 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes and all the sauce in the can.
4. Cover well and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until pumpkins are a little soft but not very soft or they will melt into a mush after baking.
5. While the stew is simmering, slice eggplants, wash and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Lay them side by side in the casserole. 
6. Apply a layer of the stew, place mushrooms and chopped coriander above the eggplants and cover with remaining stew. (I didn't have enough stew to cover the eggplants as my dish was too large)
7. Cover with foil and place in oven to bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
8. Top with sliced avocado and I've also added a small layer of minced chicken leftover from last night's dinner.
Whole Wheat Corn Bread (Source)

Ingredients / steps:
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all together in a large bowl
1 cup milk
1.5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg
Mix all together in another bowl
Mix the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir to barely mix, do not over mix.
Add 1 cup of corn kernels and a spray of black pepper, stir to combine.
Heat an oven-proof skillet with a light coat of olive oil. (My skillet is 20cm and just the right size)
Pour batter into skillet and balance the batter out.
Bake in pre-heated oven with fan at 200C for 20 minutes. (I baked this together with the vegetable stew)
The stew was good, with sweet pumpkins and eggplants that still retained the shape and soaked in sauce. The sauce was lightly tangy from the tomatoes, so add sugar or ketchup if you like your stew sweeter. The cornbread has a nutty taste and crisp top, well-designed to soak up the sauce from the stew. Approved by the hub! 
Above would serve 4 pax.

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