Roll up, roll up! It’s time for the round-up of the fifth edition of my, Johanna and Andrew‘s little baby – the "Waiter, there’s something in my…" event. They grow up so fast… This month, I set you rather a challenge (as many of you told me in your e-mails!) – it seems I’m not the only one who usually lives by the "life’s too short to stuff a mushroom" credo! Still, a very creditable almost-40 of you stepped up to the plate and hit some real culinary home runs.
I must say that this event seems to incite participants to seeing just how far they can push the rules. For the pie edition, I had all kinds of queries as to how close to the wind people could sail in terms of toppings, and the month before I recall long debates on whether or not a curry is a stew… This month was no exception. We had a couple of people who submitted archive recipes not posted specifically for this event – I let this slide as my rules did not actually state that the post had to be new. But be warned – next month the rules will be amended to specify this! I also had Elizabeth asking if she could submit stuffed banana muffins. Well, erm… no. Muffins do not grow on plants so they are not vegetables or fruit! As I said to Elizabeth, show me the muffin tree and you’re in 😉 In a similar vein, Lydia of My Kitchen in Sydney submitted a fabulous recipe for stuffed potato buns. I have to say that they sound completely heavenly… but again, a potato bun is not a vegetable, it is a bun made with vegetables – unless you can show me the potato bun vine! So although they sound great, they don’t qualify as stuffed vegetables for the purposes of this WTSIM… but I couldn’t resist giving you Lydia’s link. I’m such a softie 😉
And now… on with the show. Here are the submissions, divided into savoury and sweet rather than fruit and veg, just to avoid the pedantic "yes, but a tomato is actually a fruit, you know…" debate 😉
First out of the starting blocks, barely a day after my announcement, was the lovely Susan from Food "Blogga" in California. She shares a very amusing tale of her honeymoon and how she and her husband were mistaken for siblings mere hours into wedded bliss. As someone who often suffers a similar fate, I sympathise!! As a vegetarian in pre-culinary-revolution London, Susan finds her honeymoon populated by scones and jacket potatoes, and it’s the latter she recreates here: Mediterranean stuffed potatoes. Just look at the lovely colours! (Plus there’s a recipe for an artichoke cream filling for potatoes that had me drooling on my keyboard…)
Closer to home, near Henley-on-Thames, we have Joanna from Joanna’s Food. She uses one of my all-time favourite vegetables to create delicious, colourful and healthy stuffed butternut squash. Although it’s a regular feature on menus back home in South Africa, it seems that stuffed butternut has yet to catch on in this country – but I’m hoping Joanna’s recipe is the thin edge of the delicious wedge!
From way over here to way over there – and a warm welcome to a WTSIM newbie: Plumpernickel of Baker’s Dozen all the way over in Calcutta! She produces an extraordinary recipe hiding behind the innocuous-sounding name of stuffed green peppers. The peppers are not your ordinary bell peppers (although Plumpernickel isn’t entirely sure of their name) and the stuffing is a spicy far cry from the usual breadcrumbs, mince or cheese. Check these little flavour grenades out 😉
Staying with the pepper theme, Suganya of Tasty Palettes in the USA has a tried and tested solution to a problem we all have. That lone carrot, limp celery, lost courgettes and half an onion rattling around in your fridge? Have no fear. They can all become part of Suganya’s golriously colourful "fridge Spring clean" stuffed peppers. She serves hers on couscous with herbs and flaxseeds which looks like a damn fine idea to me. Now, let’s see what’s at the bottom of my crisper drawer…?
It seems we just can’t get enough of peppers as, back on this side of the pond in London, Abby of Eat the Right Stuff weighs in with a gloriously simple recipe for Piedmontese stuffed red peppers. The happy combination of peppers, tomatoes and olives evokes the Mediterranean flavours of Piedmont and the colour… well, as you can see it’s just gorgeous!
From there we do a short hop across to Germany to meet up with Ulrike of Kuechenlatein. Ulrike makes a brave move away from peppers and treats us to her recipe for courgettes stuffed with tomatoey minced lamb and bulgur. As a fan of ALL these ingredients, I just fell in love with this recipe. And best of all is the fact that she cooks it in her slow cooker while she is at work! What a wonderful meal to come home to… and check out her beautiful picture
Back in the USA we meet another WTSIM newbie as Laura of The Kitchen Illiterate in Boston makes her WTSIM stage debut. In what appears to be an unofficial theme this month, Laura presents us with green peppers stuffed with couscous and feta, made for the farewell dinner of a dear friend. So don’t be alarmed by the title of "Waiter there’s something in my eye" – no stuffed eyeballs here 😉 Just delicious stuffed peppers…
Somebody who stepped away from the pepper theme – and indeed from the idea of hot food, was the lovely Pille of Nami-Nami in Tallin. Not only is she charming enough to have old ladies giving her fresh produce and recipes at the bus stop, she also wows us with a double-whammy of recipes that would fit in perfectly at any stylish summer party: tomatoes stuffed with cod liver salad; and tomatoes stuffed with cucumber and wild garlic salad. And although I have no doubt that they are both delicious, the highlight for me is her beautiful picture – check it out.
Hot on the heels of Pille’s pepper resistance comes another innovative tomato dish. This time we swing by Finland where Deinin of the wonderful Cloudberry Quark has deconstructed, renovated and reconstructed a recipe she found, to bring us at last to egg, goats cheese and bacon stuffed tomatoes. With ingredients like that, what’s not to like – the whole dish just screams "lazy Sunday brunch"
Yet more innovation is going on over in Vienna where Astrid blogs at Paulchen’s Foodblog. Despite the rather tight timeframe I gave participants for this month’s edition (mea culpa!!), Astrid has once again managed to whip up two contributions, one savoury and one sweet. For the savoury contirbution, she presents us with glorious giant mushrooms stuffed with zucchini, mushrooms and blue-veined cheese. Let me tell you, these babies look like a meal all by themselves! (See also Astrid’s sweet entry under the fruit section.)
From there we flit across to Toronto for… the attack of the Killer Tomatoes. No really – that’s what Dayna of Vegan Visitor calls them! Dayna tells me she has spent years getting to grips with vegan cuisine after finding out her husband’s parents were vegan… the day before they came to dinner for the first time! Seems to me like she’s mastered the art judging by her "killer" tomatoes stuffed with duxelles, a French stuffing of finely diced mushrooms and shallots, cooked until they give up all their moisture. Sounds pretty killer to me
From the west coast of the USA (Berkeley, to be exact), we have a submission from Marta who blogs at An Italian in the US. But today she’s not cooking something from her Italian culinary heritage, but rather a Turkish dish called Imam Bayildi (literally, the swooning Imam – apparently overcome by the deliciousness of the dish!) So feel free to make Marta’s recipe but beware – you may be so taken by these Turkish stuffed eggplants that you may be the one swooning 😉
Closer to home (In Antony, France), Marie-Laure blogs at Autres Delices and she has chosen one of my all-time favourite vegetables to stuff. Adorable does not begin to describe these little darling round zucchini stuffed with cod and rice, especially with their little caps on 😉 The recipe is simple and seasonal – the words small yet perfectly formed spring to mind. I think I’m in love…
OK, pop quiz: if a blog features the word "quesadillas" in its title, where do you expect it to be based? I can bet Sweden wasn’t top of your list of answers… but that’s in fact from where WTSIM newbie Mila writes her shiny new blog Blog Quesadillas! I got very excited by her recipe because it reminded me of a more substantial version of the chiles rellenos we made at our Mexican afternoon last year. Mila serves us Mexican deep-fried sweet peppers stuffed with mince, fruit and almonds and I have to say they look like a little bite of heaven. Great debut Mila!
Moving across from Sweden to Switzerland, where we find Eva blogging at The Golden Shrimp. Eva recalls a meal on her travels where she was first introduced to nem nuong or Vietnamese pork balls, and tells of the friendships that were forged during those travels. A recent reunion and Vietnamese meal reawakened her taste for them, and for WTSIM she presents us with dinky little Thai aubergines stuffed with Vietnamese pork mince. They sound delicious – and so beautifully presented!
This month must be some kind of record, because here we have another WTSIM newbie! Rachel in London blogs at Yumchia and she treats us to a rather ambitious sounding dish of stuffed eggplant tempura. This is one of those recipes that would have me running a mile – make the batter, make the stuffing, slice and stuff the eggplant, fry the eggplant… but Rachel carries it off with great aplomb and the end result looks heavenly. Plus I love the picture she paints of standing over the stove with chopsticks, eating the tempura eggplant as soon as possible!
After all this Asian-inspired cooking, let’s head east to Singapore where Brigitte blogs at Kuechendunst aus Singapur. She really outdoes herself with a meal that sounds rather like the United Nations of food – ingredients from Australia, Thailand, Norway, China, France, Japan… amazing! But not nearly as amazing as the Asian lentil-mango-wolfberry salad served in avocados, which she serves to accompany steamed salmon parcels. All I can say is that Brigitte – if you are ever short of a dinner guest, just call!!
Staying on that side of the world for a moment, we pop in to visit Haalo at Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once in Melbourne. I got all excited when I saw mention of gem squash in her e-mail, but it turns out that what her local grower is selling under the name of gem squash is actually acorn squash. (Gem squash, so beloved of South Africans, is green all over and almost perfectly round). Naming issues aside, the acorn squash is gorgeously photogenic and when Haalo transforms it into acorn squash stuffed with creamed spinach, it becomes edible poetry. Drool!
Staying in Melbourne, we also welcome I-Ling who blogs at Feed Me! I’m Hungry! She gives a demonstration of Zen-like patience and calm as she prepares her fantastic-sounding contribution of yong tau foo (vegetables and tofu stuffed with a shrimp, pork and coriander paste). Hey – she even stuffs okra! And snake beans!! Check out the photos because seeing is believing.
Think spicy food, think Belgium – right?? Well, erm, not usually… unless you are visiting Arts who blogs at Aarti’s Corner in Ghent. Arts takes the bull by the horns and serves that tricky vegetable, okra. But this isn’t okra like you’ve seen it before – it’s bharli bhendi (okra stuffed with coconut and spices). If anything can swing the non-okra eaters, it might well be this recipe
Then it’s over to Cenk in Turkey who blogs at Cafe Fernando, and what seemed to be the start of a little run of zucchini recipes. Just look at how beautifully he has scored the outside of these zucchini before filling them with an adapted dolma filling! What a great addition these woudl make to a summery meze platter…
Back home in London, newlywed Jenni who blogs at Pertelote managed to emerge from wedded bliss long enough to join in 😉 She also points out that this must surely be the first foodie meme dedicated to stuffing – I never thought we’d be doing such ground-breaking work when WTSIM started :o). Jenni goes for her tried and trusted recipe of courgettes stuffed with spicy rice and jazzes them up with a red pepper puree and pomegranate molasses. Inspired!
A short hop across to Germany we find Sus in Griesheim, who blogs at Corumblog. Sus clearly adheres to my style of cooking, which usually involves some standing in front of the open fridge and thinking "OK, what needs using up in here and how can I combine them in one dish??". After a bit of pondering, we are treated to Sus’s courgettes stuffed with bacon, onion, garlic, pine nuts and pecorino – talk about a happy combination!
Back across to the USA now to visit with Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes. Like me, Andrea usually feels that life’s too short to stuff a mushroom (or anything else, really!) and was pretty sure she wouldn’t be participating this month. That is, until she hit upon the idea of a deconstructed sushi – check out her gorgeous sushi-stuffed avocados! For everyone who secretly yearns for an updated version of the retro classic avocado Ritz 😉
Somehow between her computer and mine, Sara’s e-mail got lost in cyberspace and I didn’t see her entry until after I’d posted this round-up – a thousand apologies! Sara lives in Milan and blogs at Ms Adventures in Italy and boy, would it have been a tragedy if her gorgeous dish weren’t included here. It’s one of those dishes that I have always meant to make but have never got round to. She whips up some onions stuffed with Parmigiano Reggiano stuffed onions wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma that look gorgeous and no doubt taste even better. Plus she gets my vote because my sister in law Paola is also a DOC product of the region 😉
And back here in London Ros of Living to Eat went way beyond the call of duty in the interests of culinary research. After she had despaired of inspiration for this month’s event, her beloved helpfully brought home some "green wrinkly things", aka kerala or bitter gourds, for her to stuff. Ros diligently scrapes, salts and soaks them before preparing kerala stuffed with home-made tomato chutney… but alas! The gourds live up to their name… erm, bitter. You have to read Ros’s post to get the full comedic impact!
And then there’s… me! Your charming host who told you all to get
stuffed stuffing! When I received WTSIM co founders Andrew and Johanna’s entries my first thought was "bloody hell – nobody told me there was a compulsory melon theme for the hosts!!". But after a few deep breaths I decided vive la difference and posted my non-fruity, non-melon contribution anyway. I’m South African, Peppadews are South African – hey, let’s party! In fact, for my next canape party, I will definitely be serving these peppadews stuffed with feta, garlic and chives. Now if only summer would actually arrive…
Elizabeth of Blog from our Kitchen in the Deep South stunned me into speechlessness by being the among the first to submit her entry! After berating me for not giving her enough time, she seemed to ralyl quite well and decided to make some stuffed scarab beetles… oh no, on closer inspection they appear to be dates with the added bonus of a filling of pecan nuts and a warm little jacket of bacon. Maybe not as kinky as the scarabs, but certainly a fabulous addition to any canape party.
Just when I was beginning to wonder if people had forgotten about the fruit part of the topic, the lovely Johanna of the Passionate Cook (co-founder of this event) in London arrived at the party… bearing booze! Yes, folks you read correctly. Booze! And I can happily report that I was there when she created and served this dish – we had a really foodie sleepover involving cooking, eating and drinking together last week. She presents us with a strawberry and melon bowle – a delightfully summery mix of fruit and fizzy wine that’s guaranteed to get any summer party started.
From drinks to dessert, and from London we skip over to Stockholm where Dagmar of A Cat in the Kitchen (and wait till you see how adorable the cat in question is!!) wows us with a childhood favourite. Her baked apples with hazelnuts and macadamia syrup are a slightly grown-up version of the apples I used to love so as a kid and must surely be one of the all-time classic fruit desserts. Yum!
And… we’re back in Blighty with co-founder of this event Andrew over at SpittoonExtra. When I first announced the theme, Andrew and I were joking around about retro 70s fruit salad (from a tin, naturallement!) served in half a melon. Aaaaah, those terrifyingly un-cherry-like cherries, those disturbingly crunchy pear slices… So naturally I dared Andrew to play a postmodernist joke and post it. What are friends for 😉 Luckily Andrew had the good sense to modify my suggestion and presents a thoroughly updated version of this 70s classic – fresh fruit salad in a galia melon with clotted cream. Nostalgia never looked (or tasted) so good…
Despite the rather tight timeframe I gave participants for this month’s edition (mea culpa!!), Astrid of Paulchen’s Foodblog has once again managed to whip up two contributions, one savoury and one sweet. For the sweet contribution, she serves up a fruity duo of an apple and a banana stuffed with clotted vanilla-almond-coconut cream. This looks incredibly decadent, featuring two kinds of booze (Jamesons and Baileys) together with clotted cream and chestnut honey. Oh my. (For Astrid’s savoury contribution, look under the vegetable section.)
From Vienna, we head way down south to the shadow of Cape Town’s Table Mountain where Kit blogs at Food and Family. She blogs abotu my favourite fruit as a child – naartjies. These are basically tangerines, but in South Africa the term is also used to describe any loose-skinned citrus fruit and includes satsumas, clementines and minneolas. Have a look at how lovely her naartjie looks once it’s been filled with a sorbet made from its own pulp and frozen. I can almost taste it!
Half a world away in Atlanta, Chris of Mele Cotte pointed out that I could not have chosen a more appropriate theme for WTSIM – because mele cotte means baked apples! And who would dream of doing plain baked apples? Of course not – you do baked apples stuffed with raisins and marmalade! This looks like the perfect standby dessert for when friends drop by unexpectedly because the only fresh ingredient you need is apples. And maybe a little ice cream… 😉
Back to Europe now where we find Evelin in Tallin blogging at Bounteous Bites. I must say I was a bit dubious when I first read the title of her dish (something along the lines of chocolate apricot balls) – I was already thinking "but how does stuffed fruit come into ti?"? But boy, did she have a surprise in store. Do you think you like apricots? Well then why not indulge your wildest fantasies with tinned apricots stuffed with dried apricots coated in marzipan and chocolate. Oh. My. Word.
Over in Charleston, South Carolina, Helen who blogs at Tartelette also seems to have been bitten by the citrus bug, just like Kit above. It’s nice to know that somebody somewhere is having lovely summer wheather that inspires frozen fruit desserts 😉 Helen brings her usual magic to this simple dish and adds crystallized ginger to the traditional recipe before creating a citron givre (frozen lemon filled with lemon and ginger sorbet). Divine. And the pictures are a feast for the eyes too
Travel up the coast a bit and you will meet up with Susan in the NY metro area, at her fab blog The Well-Seasoned Cook. Susan has made one of my favourite summer fruit desserts: stuffed baked nectarines – but whereas I go the simple route with butter and brown sugar, Susan adds egg, pistachios and cake crumbs. Just one look at these babies and you’ll swear off heavy chocolate desserts forever!
And sadly, that’s all folks! I must say, if yuo can’t find something in there that you’d like to make, you’re just being picky! Our next host will be Johanna, so look out for her announcement of the next theme soon.