Bulgur Wheat Jollof

The first time I had bulgur wheat was in Kervan Sofrasi two or three years ago – a Turkish restaurant in North London. The way they had cooked it reminded me of jollof rice, since it was orange in colour. It was a great alternative to eating rice.

As some of you may know, making jollof rice takes a good two or three hours. Making the switch to bulgur wheat will reduce your cooking time by half, guaranteed! When I want to cook something in bulk that will last me a week, bulgur jollof is definitely in my top five choices.

You can experiment with the seasoning as it is all to taste. Feel free to include vegetables, meat or fish to your stew to add even more flavours and textures.

Serves 5

Ingredients

  • 500g bulgur wheat, washed and drained
  • 400g tinned plum tomatoes
  • 200ml water
  • 4 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large onion, 1 half thinly sliced, the other half cut into large chunks
  • 2x chicken stock cubes
  • 1x shrimp stock cube
  • 2 tsp season all
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp paprika

Method

  1. In a blender, blend the plum tomatoes, onions chunks, bell pepper chunks and the scotch bonnet until smooth.
  2. Heat a large pot with the oil on a medium heat. Once hot, fry the sliced onions and minced garlic, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the tomato puree to the pot and fry for about a minute, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the blended tomato mix into the pot and stir. Add the chicken stock cubes, shrimp stock cube, season all, ginger and paprika. The stew will start to bubble and pop at this point, so be mindful!
  4. Add the water to the pot, stir and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally and seasoning to taste.
  5. Once the stew has been cooked, add in the bulgur wheat. Reduce the heat to low and stir, ensuring all grains have been covered by the stew.
  6. Cover the pot with foil (shiny side facing the inside of the pot), then cover the pot with its lid.
  7. The bulgur wheat will cook in about 20 mins, during this period of time, be sure to stir frequently or else your bulgur will burn.
  8. Once the bulgur wheat has completely absorbed all of the stew and fully cooked, turn off the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes. After this time, use a fork to separate the grains, then serve.

Turkey & Bacon Pasta

This meal has become quite the go-to. All made in one pan/pot, and is super easy – just be ready to chop up some meat and veg. I have tried this meal with various combinations of turkey, chicken, bacon, and pancetta – they all work great. If you want an extra punch in the cheese sauce, add some grated mature cheddar. The recipe below focuses on the natural sweet and nutty flavour of parmesan, which I love.

Serves 4

460 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 250g pasta of your choice (I use penne, or fusilli)
  • 300-350g turkey breast steaks, sliced or diced
  • 150g diced bacon
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced or diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 tbsp season-all
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Method

  1. Boil the pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil into a large pan on a medium-high heat.
  3. Add the pieces of turkey breast steaks, bacon, bell pepper, season-all, paprika, ground garlic, and black pepper to the pan, and fry for 6-8 minutes. Once cooked, remove the turkey and bacon, but keep the juices in the pan.
  4. On a low heat, melt the butter in the pan and then add the flour. Stir for 2 minutes until the mixture becomes a smooth consistency.
  5. Pour in a quarter of the milk at a time, and stir until the mixture blends smoothly.
  6. Add in the grated parmesan and stir until the cheese melts and the mixture is smooth.
  7. Add the diced tomato, spinach, bell pepper, turkey, and bacon back into the pan. Stir into the sauce until the spinach wilts. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  8. By now, the pasta should be cooked. Drain and add the pasta to the mixture.
  9. Serve your turkey and bacon pasta with a sprinkling of black pepper, and a few extra shaves of parmesan.

Red Snapper with Pasta & Tomato Sauce

One of my favourite types of fish is the red snapper. It’s lean, moist, and has a distinctive sweet taste. This fish can stand up to many combinations of seasonings too. I made it pan-fried, and served it with some fusili and a quick tomato sauce. It was a very filling dinner, and takes 30 minutes to make (if you’re good at multi-tasking!). I tried this meal with rice instead of pasta, and it was just as tasty.

Serves 2

380 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 2 red snapper fillets
  • 180g pasta
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil

For the Tomato Sauce

  • 4 vine tomatoes
  • 125g white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp honey

Method

  1. Boil the pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil into a large pan on a medium heat.
  3. Blend 2 of the vine tomatoes, and dice the remaining 2.
  4. When the oil has heated, add the diced bell pepper, diced and blended tomatoes, and mushrooms into the pan. Add the tomato puree and mix together.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce to the pan. Lower the heat slightly, and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. When the sauce is nearly finished cooking, lightly season the red snapper fillets with 1/2 tsp of all-purpose seasoning.
  7. In another pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil on high heat.
  8. Lay the fillets gently into the pan, skin side down. Fry for 2 minutes.
  9. Turn the fillet to its other side and fry for a further minute. Leave to rest afterwards for 2 minutes.
  10. By now, everything should be ready to serve.