WHAT a long, cold, wet winter it's been.
Just about everyone I know has had a cold or the dreaded flu, and sometimes it feels as though the sun will never shine again.
Add a bit of sunshine to your diet by eating plenty of fresh vegetables - particularly those that are brightly coloured, as research has shown that they are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Broccoli delivers a (good) punch to the system with plenty of fibre, Vitamin C, folate, lutein - which is thought to prevent macular degeneration - and sulphoraphane, which scientists believe helps fight cancer.
Capsicums are also bursting with vitamins A, B6, C and K.
They also contain dietary fibre, folate and manganese, and their sweet, mild flavour means even kids enjoy them.
Today's recipe is a versatile vegie medley that you can tailor to your family's tastebuds.
Using the basics of broccoli and capsicums with a little garlic, I have added tomatoes, oregano and tomato and sprinkled it with a little grated cheese today.
With these Italian flavours, it can be heaped on cooked chicken or stirred through pasta.
It's also a great accompaniment for barbecued meat.
If you prefer Asian flavours, simply substitute green beans for the tomato and ground coriander seed for the oregano.
Omit the cheese and add a tablespoon of Thai sweet chilli sauce.
You can add a little tofu if you're a vegetarian, or chicken strips if you aren't.
Serve with a little steamed jasmine rice and you have a flavoursome, healthy meal in just a few minutes.
Whatever the flavours you add, you'll end up with a winter winner.
1 bunch broccolini or head of broccoli cut into florets
1 medium red capsicum
1 medium yellow capsicum
1 tblspn olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 tspn fresh oregano leaves, chopped or 1/2 tspn dried oregano or 1/2 tspn ground coriander seeds (see note below)
1 ripe tomato or 100g green beans, topped and tailed (see note below)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese or 2 tblspns Thai sweet chilli sauce (see note below)
NB: Add oregano, tomato and cheese for Italian style or coriander seeds, green beans and chilli sauce for Asian style.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and steam broccolini or broccoli florets (including the stalks) for three minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Cut capsicums into thin strips, discarding pith and seeds.
In a large non-stick frypan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic, cooking for a minute. Stir often and remove from heat when pale gold in colour.
Add capsicum strips and cook for three minutes. Add the broccoli, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste and cook for a further two minutes.
Cut the tomato into thin wedges and remove seeds, leaving just the outer flesh and skin. Use the tomato pulp in another dish.
Add tomato wedges to the fry pan and cook until heated through.
Sprinkle with cheese just before serving.
Serves six as a side dish.
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