The second cookbook by stylist and food and recipe writer Lucy Tweed, Every Night of the Week Veg, does what it says on the tin: delivers family-friendly recipes that won’t cause overwhelm, even on a busy weeknight. And, yes, they’re meat-free.

Like the book that came before it, Every Night of the Week, the concept stems from Tweed’s Instagram account of the same name, where she irreverently documents recipes for people who don’t like recipes.

This recipe – pronounced “hals”, according to Tweed – has it all. It’s sans meat, but plenty hearty, thanks to a cheesy stuffing, crumbed coating and two dipping/drizzling options alongside: a blue cheese dip and buffalo sauce.

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“Let’s take something delicious, fresh and bright, stuff it with cheese, crumb it and fry it, shall we?” says Tweed. “I often suggest a litre of oil but this depends on the pot you intend to fry in. Ideally, you want something deep and sort of wide. You should be able to add enough oil so that the thing you’re frying can sink below the oil without hitting the base. But there should also be at least half of the pot edge above the oil so that it doesn’t boil over.”

Lucy Tweed’s buffalo jals
Serves 6 as a snack
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 3 minutes

600g jalapenos
230g (1 cup) cream cheese
100g (1 cup) grated smoked cheddar
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 tbsp chives, finely snipped
½ tsp cayenne pepper
35g (¼ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 egg, lightly whisked with 1 tbsp water
60g (1 cup) panko breadcrumbs
1L (4 cups) canola oil (or any high heat oil you prefer), for deep-frying

Buffalo sauce
2 tbsp tomato sauce (ketchup)
80ml (1/3 cup) hot sauce (I use Frank’s Redhot)
1½ tbsp tabasco
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
60g (¼ cup) cold salted butter, cubed

Blue cheese dip
75g soft blue cheese
2 tbsp mayo
70g (¼ cup) Greek-style yoghurt

Optional ingredients
Margaritas seem more essential than optional, but your call

Halve the jalapenos and remove the seeds. Keep the handy stalks attached.

Combine the cream cheese, cheddar, garlic and chives in a bowl, then divide the mixture in half. Spike one half with cayenne pepper – because roulette without real bullets is fun.

Use a teaspoon to smoosh the stuffing mix into the open faces of the jals.

Dip and toss each chilli into the flour, dunk them into the egg wash, then roll them straight into the panko crumbs. Set aside in the fridge until ready to cook.

For the sauce, heat the tomato sauce, hot sauce, tabasco and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the cold butter until the sauce is smooth and silky. This can be stored in the fridge.

For the dip, use a stick blender to blitz the blue cheese, mayo and yoghurt until mostly smooth (some chunks of blue are good) and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Heat the oil to medium-high heat (180–190°C), then lower the jals in to fry until golden brown, around 3 minutes all up, including turning. Carefully scoop them out with a slotted spoon or wire scoop so that the crumb coating isn’t broken.

Place on a rack to drain.

Images and text from Every Night of the Week Veg by Lucy Tweed, photography by Lucy
Tweed. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.