Daring cooks April 2011 challenge…edible containers

This is my first daring cooks challenge and I am thrilled it is finally reveal day. I  really loved the challenge and the company of all those wonderfully talented daring cooks. I am in awe of the amount of creativity and talent they all had not to mention good and kind spirit.

Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

My deepest thanks go out to Renata for a wonderful challenge and for her support and kindness. She had something nice and encouraging to say to every participant and believe me there were MANY..

My first idea was a recipe I make quite often. Zucchini boats stuffed with minced meat and cooked in tahini mint sauce. The recipe comes from a wonderful lady called Taghreed  from lakii.com and it has become a staple in my kitchen. The tahini adds a tang and a different dimension to the mild zucchini while the mint adds freshness and color

Zucchini boats

5 medium zucchini

250 gms minced meat (I used beef)

1 chopped onion


1/2 teaspoon all spice

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

2 teaspoons dried mint

4 tablespoons tahini

juice of one lemon

2 cups water or chicken stock

Cut your zucchini in half length wise. Place them in a pot full of water, add a tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. (You want to cook them half way because they will finish cooking in the oven)

Drain the zucchini and use a teaspoon to hollow the center of each zucchini leaving the rim intact

Arrange your boats in a pan

Put the minced meat in a pan and on medium heat stir to break it down, once the meat starts to release its fluids and change color add the salt, and seasoning then add the onions. Stir occasionally till the fluids almost dry up. Add 1 table-spoon of olive oil and stir for a few minutes. Add 1 teaspoon dried mint and turn off the heat.

Fill your zucchini boats with the meat mix 

In a bowl add lemon juice to the tahini and stir. At first it will be flowy but then it will change color and thicken.

Add 1 teaspoon dried mint and a pinch of salt then add hot water or chicken stock and stir till the tahini is completely dissolved then carefully pour it over the zucchini

Cover in tim foil and place on the lowest rack of a 180C oven for 20-30 minutes. (You want the zucchini to cooks through and the tahini sauce to thicken)

Serve with rice and  enjoy

Next up was an adaptation of a turkish dish called Hasan basha kofta, I was first introduced to this by an amazing lady called Roza and after a few tweaks and changes it became a family favorite

Minced meat

1 onion minced

1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used bread crumbs with italian seasoning)

1 egg

1/3 cup BBQ sauce

For the Duchess potatoes

2 big potatoes peeled and cut into cubes

1 egg

1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon mustard

1/2  teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon all spice

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

1 clove garlic

In a bowl mix the minced meat with the onion, egg, bread crumbs BBQ sauce and knead with your hands till homogenous (if you fill the mix is too soft add another 1/4 cup bread crumbs)

Divide the meat mix into balls and form them into cup-shaped containers, arrange then in an oil sprayed pan

Place the potatoes in a pot, fill it with water then add the garlic and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil and cook till the potatoes are done.

Drain the potatoes, add the seasoning , butter, milk and mash the potatoes.

Add the mustard and the cheese then the egg and mix till completely incorporated 

Using a piping bag fill your meat cups with the potatoes then sprinkle with paprika

place in the lower rack of a 200 C oven till the meat is golden brown on the bottom

Add the tomato juice and place back in the oven for 20 minutes

Serve with a salad and enjoy

My next recipe comes from BBC goodfood and I have had it bookmarked for ever  because it contained some of my favorite ingredients  namely pepper, oregano and halloumi.

The result didn’t disappoint me, in fact it turned out to be a marvelous combination of the smoky charred pepper, the tangy lemon, the slighty salty olives, the woody earthy oregano and then there is the halloumi.  If you have never tried halloumi before I strongly recommend it. It is a wonderful cheese with a unique flavour and it stands heat well which means it holds it shape after grilling or frying.

I made a few changes to the recipe, I used stuffed green olives instead of regular ones. I also grilled the halloumi cheese before placing it in the pepper wrapper. I skipped the chili because I can’t stand the heat..

2 red peppers

100 block halloumi cheese , sliced into 4


Chopped stuffed green olives

1 lemon , zest and juice

Grill or roast the red peppers whole until they begin to soften. You need them soft enough to wrap the cheese

Place the pepper in a bowl and cover with a plastic wrap and allow it to steam for 10 minutes this will make it much easier to peel

Open out each red pepper by making a cut down one side and trim the tops and bottoms off so you end up with a strip.

Place your halloumi strips in an oil sprayed pan and grill them on both sides till they are golden brown

Put a slice of halloumi in the center of each strip. Sprinkle over some lemon zest and juice, oregano and olives , then roll the red pepper around the halloumi.

It doesn’t matter if the cheese sticks out at each end. Tie the rolls with green onions  and press down with the palm of your hand so they flatten slightly.

Last but definitely not least are these Ozi packages. They are pillows of crunchy puff pastry stuffed with a mixture of vegetables, meat and rice. It is a presentable dish when you’re having company and a great way to use left over rice when you are all alone, just add the vegetables and meat and stuff your puff pastry and dinner is 20  minutes away. 

Serve with yogurt, a salad or both and you’re set for a satisfying meal that is loaded with color, flavor and textures.

1 Package puff pastry dough

one cup of rice

1 and 1/2 cups of water or chicken stock

Frozen mixed vegetables (I used peas and carrots)

200 gm beef cut into small cubes

olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon all spice

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1 egg white beaten with some water

Wash the rice and soak in in water for 15 minutes.

Place the olive oil in a pan and add the meat and stir occasionally untill it is done.

Remove the meat from the pan and add the vegetables, saute for 5-7 minutes.

Add the meat back to the pan then add the drained rice, salt and seasoning.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water or chicken stock and allow to come to a boil then lower the heat and cover the pan for 10 to 15 minutes or untill the rice soaks up all the water.

Keep it covered for 10 minutes then fluf it with a fork

Roll your puff pastry and divide it into squares

Use a deep round dish for a mold. Place the dough then add the stuffing then close the edges as is shown in the picture and make sure you pinch them together or seal them together with some egg whites.

Place your stuffed dough in a pan and decorate it if you like then brush with egg white

Preheat your oven to 200 C and place the rack in the middle

Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or untill the bottom is golden brown

Place under the broiler till the top is golden brown

You can enjoy more of my fellow Daring Cooks creativity and talent if you follow these links..I will be adding links throughout the day

Audax from Audax Artifex


Renata from Testado, Pravado and aprovado