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Kaffir Lime and Nutty Rice Salad

10 Feb

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Tasty and quite easy, this salad is a nice change from my usual greenery based salads. I find it serves well on its own for lunch, or for dinner with a side meat of choice. Tonight we went with honey, soy and sesame chicken cooked under the grill in the oven, and that worked a treat.

This recipe is from the Woman’s Weekly: Salads cookbook.20140211-062651.jpg

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Pete’s Potato Wedges

20 Nov

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Looking for something new to do to spice up your roast potatoes?

What’s in it?

  • Potatoes cut into wedge shaped pieces

PLUS

  • Fresh Rosemary from your garden 😉 – chopped finely
  • A clove of garlic – chopped finely
  • Cumin (whole seeds or ground is fine. We use either, depending on what is in the house.)
  • Tonight we also added Cajun Pepper too, just to spice it up a bit. You can left this out if you prefer.
  • Sweet Paprika – one teaspoon
  • Olive oil (more than you want to admit to… glug glug glug)
  • salt
  • pepper

Par-boil the cut potatoes in boiling water. We cooked for two people tonight and 8 minutes on the stove did the job. You can of course skip this par-boiling and go ahead and whack them straight in the oven, it just takes longer.

While the potatoes are par-boiling, prepare and mix all the rest of the ingredient in a small bowl. It should be a sloshy liquid, not a paste. See my note about using fresh rosemary here.

Drain the potatoes and let them sit for a bit. All the water needs to evaporate. I like to spread them out over the oven tray to let off some steam in their own space. I’m about to use it (get it dirty) for the baking anyway, so no loss.

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Here is another tip. You already dirtied the saucepan par-boiling the potatoes, so why not use it again now, instead of another mixing bowl. Can you tell I’m not a fan of washing up? 🙂
SO – pop the now “dry” par-boiled potatoes back in the saucepan and pour the liquid spice mixture over the top. Mix together. You can use a spoon, but I find getting in there with your hands gets a better result.

Lay the spiced potatoes out on the same oven tray as before, spreading them out as much as possible. Pour any extra spice mix over the potatoes on the tray.

Cook in the oven until crispy as, bro. 🙂 Yum!

Seasonal Note: There are many varieties of potato that grow throughout the year in Australia. So that’s good news! 🙂 Eat up!

Seed Lovers Salad w Roasted Pumpkin

5 Nov

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This salad is kinda a combo of my favourite salad and favourite muesli. Nuts and seeds offer us so many important nutrients as part of our everyday requirements, and too often they are missed out. While they can be super expensive from the supermarkets, I’ve found that they are surprisingly cheap from the farmers markets. If you’re not someone who is yet into farmers markets, have a Google around, and see where your local market is. They are much more accessible than they used to be.

Here is an easy, and tasty way of working seeds and nuts into your lunch.

What’s in it?

  • Pumpkin, cut into small pieces and roast in olive oil, salt and pepper

Get the pumpkin sorted first, while it is baking sort the rest out. The pumpkin will be ready by the time all else is chopped, mixed and in the bowl/s (or lunch boxes) ready to serve.

The rest of the tasty things:

  • Cashews
  • Flax seed (or linseed)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower kernels
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pepitas
  • Baby spinach (or mixed lettuce leaves or rocket would work)
  • Carrot, peeled thinly
  • Baby tomatoes, halved
  • Avocado, in small pieces
  • Red capsicum, in small pieces
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil/balsamic/ranch dressing (whatever floats your boat)

A Seasonal Note just for us to keep in mind: (In Australia)
Capsicums – are in season in Summer
Carrots – Summer, Autumn, Winter
Pumpkin – Summer, Autumn
Tomatoes – Summer, Autumn
Spinach – Winter, Spring, Summer
Avocados – all year

Basil Pesto Awesomeness

23 Oct


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 I love basil.

I love it, like *flicks fringe* SO MUCH.   🙂 haha.

One of my favourite ways to eat it is as fresh pesto. It is great on hot fresh pasta, but also delicious served on its own as a dip. This is my recipe, cutely refereed to by my sister in law, Emma, as “Hey Pesto”. 🙂

Often if I have a large bunch of basil in the fridge that I haven’t got around to using, this is what I will do with it, so that it doesn’t go to waste.

What’s in it?

  • Basil (Heaps more than you think you will need. Handfuls and handfuls. Fill up the blender/processor, blend it up and then add more again.)
  • Olive oil (A good couple of generous glugs. More oil than you want to admit to your friends is in it when you serve it to them.)
  • Pine nuts (large handful) – I use cashews a lot of the time. They are cheaper, and taste just as good in this.
  • Parmasen cheese
  • Garlic, chopped  (one clove, although sometimes we use two, but we really like garlic.)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Admittedly, rather than being able to give you specifics on the process, this is one I make from tasting it as I go. Bottom line though – Add all the ingredients into the processor, or blender (either work fine), and blend the bergebers out of them. Taste and add more of various ingredients until you like what you taste. I know when I have it right because I go from making my thinking face, to it making me smile and nod my head. You just know. It will be more basil, more parmesan and more oil than you are expecting. Go easy on the oil at first and add it in as needed. If “something” is missing, but you are just not sure, give the salt and pepper a go.

This night I cheated and used store bought packet spaghetti (shock horror, I know!) But it was still delicious. 🙂 Leave a little (very little) bit of the  starchy “pasta water” in with the pasta when you stir in the pesto. This will make it creamy.

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A Seasonal Note: In Australia basil is in season in Spring and Summer. Just a little something for us all to keep in mind. 😉

HOW TO: Make fresh pasta

13 Oct

Here is a link to a video of how I make fresh pasta.

What’s in it?

  • 200 grams of plain flour (plus extra to use during process)
  • 3 free range eggs

A Tip on cooking fresh pasta:

Whether you are cooking it fresh straight after you have made it, or whether you are pulling your fresh made pasta from the freezer (it freezes excellently UNCOOKED) this tip is the same.

Add salt and a drizzle of olive oil to water and get it boiling. The olive oil stops the pasta from sticking together. The salt adds muchly important taste. Remembering that it is not a processed food with salt added at the factory to preserve it for a 100 years on a shelf.

Once the water is boiling add your pasta. As you stir and separate the pasta with a fork, watch it. The water will stop boiling for a little bit. Once it returns up to the boil, then your pasta is pretty much ready to be strained. Obviously this takes longer with the frozen pasta, but the same rule applies.

You will know if you have over cooked your fresh pasta because you will be eating a sloppy mess of unpleasantness. Try not to overcook it, it makes me sad.

It should only take a few minutes  and the correct result should be silken pasta that you bite into and think, “Oh man. Seriously? THAT is what pasta is supposed to taste like? All those years!! All those wasted years!!”

No pasta maker machine? No problem.

Never fear, roll the dough out with a rolling pin or (dare I suggest) a wine bottle. 😉 And then simply cut strips with a sharp knife. Wide strips work really well.

Quiche: If I can do it, you can

7 Oct


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This was my very first attempt at making quiche. I read several different recipes and in the end, I sort of used a combination of them. I went with a Feta and Spinach combo, because let’s be honest, I’m such a fan of those two hanging out together. And I have to say, it was pretty tasty. I will definitely try making quiche again. I have heard that people use a lot more eggs than most recipes I saw called for. Thoughts? Opinions? Helpful quiche based tips?

Really I guess I’m asking you guys if you have a tried and tested quiche recipe you could share in the comments below? I’m yet to have one to recommend.

Killer Salad, yo.

20 Dec

This one has become known as, “Sam’s Big Salad”. It’s actually one of the more healthy things I make. This one was for a christmas gathering, so it is HUGE. I works just as well for small lunches. I make it in layers, because I hate when you serve salad and miss out on all the good bits.

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What’s in it?

  • Rocket
  • Baby spinach
  • Mixed lettuce leaves
  • Carrot, peeled thinly
  • Baby tomatoes, halved
  • Pumpkin, cut into small pieces and roasted in olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Avocado, in small pieces
  • Red capsicum (blanched for 30 seconds just to soften it slightly)
  • Pine nuts, toasted
  • Cashews, toasted
  • Feta cheese, cubed
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil/balsamic/ranch dressing (whatever floats your boat)

What to do:

It’s a salad and you’re not an idiot. 🙂 Pretty sure you can figure it out. Have fun layering tasty delicious foods. 3 layers is good.

Seasonal Note: There is merit in knowing a little about the so called “fresh” foods we consume. What we really need is to start learning about (what our grandparents knew about) is when foods are actually in season, not just when the shops are selling them. In doing this we can begin to buy foods seasonally, ingest actually happy foods, and start to take back some of the control from the big chains. Just something for us all to keep in mind. 😉

A guide for this recipe: (for Australia)
Avocados – all year
Capsicums – are in season in Summer
Carrots – Summer, Autumn, Winter
Pumpkin – Summer, Autumn
Tomatoes – Summer, Autumn
Spinach – Winter, Spring, Summer
Lettuces – Summer, Autumn

So I’m thinking perhaps this is a “Summer/ Autumn salad”. 🙂 I’m learning in all this too.

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