All vegetarians know that there are some veggie foods guaranteed to cause a meat-eater to grimace when mentioned (nut roasts and tofu spring to mind pretty much instantly).
Equally, there are a small stock of meals that it’s almost always safe to serve to a mixed gathering of carnivores and veggies. Lasagne and chilli being the two biggies, but I’d also add these lovely fajitas to the mix. OK, they might feel a bit of a pang at the lack of meat, but no-one’s going to actually dislike them.
Another advantage of fajitas is that they’re incredibly quick to make, apart from the wraps, and obviously you can make those in advance or just buy them if you want. I can make everything else in 15-20 minutes, but to make it even quicker, I cut up and marinaded the veg last night so just had to cook it tonight. Mondays are busy for us and we both get in around 7, so we really need a quick meal!
I don’t usually measure the spices but instead just upturn random spice bottles over the bowl and judge by eye – I only measured it this time because I didn’t feel that “add any spices you want, in any quantities” made for a helpful recipe. There is, therefore, loads of room for improvisation in these recipes so you can, if you want, make the spice mix subtly different every time.
With regards to accompaniments, I follow a similarly relaxed approach. There is always either yoghurt or soured cream (crème fraîche would also work in a pinch), and I only didn’t have any this time because I discovered my opened tub of yoghurt had gone off just as I was making it. I also serve cheese, generally some kind of salad (usually leaves but leftover coleslaw this time) and salsa and/or jalapeños. I like homemade salsa best, but since Dave’s allergic to fresh tomatoes (and all uncooked fruit, sadly) I use cheapy bought stuff if I’m cooking for him.
Tortilla Wraps (makes 8)
My recipe comes originally from Madhur Jaffrey’s ‘World Vegetarian’, which I’ve mentioned before – I love it!
- 125g plain flour
- 125g strong white flour
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
Rub the oil into the salt and flour in a large bowl, and add very hot water, a little at a time, mixing in with a wooden spoon. I think I used about 300ml to get it to a ball of dough that stuck together. Turn onto a floured surface and knead very well for several minutes.
Cut into eight equal pieces and leave, covered, to rest for 30 minutes or so.
Heat a large frying pan to medium. Roll the first ball into a very thin round, about 7 inches or so in diameter. Shake off any excess flour and pop it on the pan, leaving for 20-30 seconds (air bubbles will start to appear in the dough) while you begin to roll out the next ball. Stop rolling briefly to turn the wrap over and cook for another 30 seconds. I find the middle burns before the edges cook, so I then pull one edge to the middle of the pan, hold down for ten seconds, and do the same to each section of edge until the whole thing is cooked. It’s very easy to burn so keep an eye on them!
Before cooking the second one, wipe down the pan to remove any burnt flour. Keep cooking and rolling out til they’re all done. Once cooked, they last a couple of days or can be frozen.
Vegetable fajitas (serves two)
- 2 peppers (I used one red and one green), sliced
- 2/3 courgette, cut into thin strips
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 2 big cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp crushed chilli
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. You can cook it straight away, or leave it covered in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
Fry everything on a medium-high heat for a few minutes, stirring – add a splash of water now and then to stop burning, though allowing a little charring adds an authentically smoky flavour. As Dave likes his veg quite well cooked, I tend to add a little water at the start and cover with a tea towel to let it steam for a few minutes before frying off the excess moisture.
Serve with wraps (I had 2, he had 3), 150g or so grated cheese and any other accompaniments you’d like – we had coleslaw, salsa and jalapeños.