Archive | Vegetarian RSS feed for this section

Kaffir Lime and Nutty Rice Salad

10 Feb

20140211-062643.jpg
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

Advertisements

Beetroot and Feta Dip

6 Jan

Dip it! Yeah, Dip it Good! 🙂

20130106-211424.jpg

I’ve never liked Beetroot, for various reasons, one being that I have probably only ever been exposed to tinned beets, but more probably because my Mum doesn’t like it. Isn’t that so the way as we grow up? 🙂

But there were fresh beetroots at my Farmers Markets and I thought, “Come on, Sam. You are old enough to give it a go.” And so I did. I admitted cluelessness to the man at the stall, and he said that I could also use the leaves for salads, which I did – and they were ok; peppery like rocket.

But my plan was to make dip, and it went really well, so here we go.

What’s the deal?

Wrap fresh, real (not tinned), uncooked beets in aluminum foil, putting a little water inside each package. Pop them on a tray, also covered in foil, as they leak a bit and (as I discovered) create a sticky mess. Into the oven they go at 180 – 200 degrees for at least an hour and a half. Turns out, beets are surprisingly slow to cook (who knew?), so you need to think ahead a bit for this one.

I used 4 beets and this made twice as much as I really needed. I think I would halve this recipe next time.

Allow the beets to cool down a bit and then blend them in your blender. Add 200 grams of Feta Cheese, and blend it all together. It becomes this beautiful purple/pink colour. So lush. Season to taste, salt, pepper etc.  You’re done! Dip in with fresh bread and raw veggies! 🙂

A Few Notes:

  • There are versions of this recipe that bake the beets with oil and salt and pepper and herbs – I haven’t tried it, although it sounds delicious. The way I am explaining here (above) worked perfectly well, and lead to a very tasty dip.
  • These are the two Farmers Markets I shop at in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, NSW. They are both excellent and worth a visit.
  • My husband says I am a Feta snob. 🙂 I am ok with that, you can really, REALLY taste the difference. I’m not into advertising, but I have tried a lot of Feta and these days I only use Dodoni Feta. It is the only one (easily available in supermarkets in my world) that is amazing. It looks like this, keep an eye out for it and if you have it, spend the few extra dollars sometime to try it:

dodoni

A Seasonal Note: Beetroot is pretty much in season all year round in Australia! 🙂 Yay Beetroot!

Pete’s Potato Wedges

20 Nov

20121120-205726.jpg

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.

20121120-205702.jpg

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

20121105-122818.jpg
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


20121023-185117.jpg

 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.

20121023-185126.jpg

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

Jamie’s Smash

20 Oct

20121020-203336.jpg

This is (our bastardised version) of one of Jamie Oliver’s quick meal ideas. We use it A LOT. It is, as he would say, “proper tasty”. We have his 30 Minute Meals book, but I couldn’t find it in there. We pulled this from his tv show.

What is in it?

  • 1 – 2 Potatoes halved or quartered
  • 1 – 2 Sweet Potatoes halved or quartered (or sometimes we use pumpkin, depending what is in the house.)
  • A handful of chopped Feta Cheese
  • A handful of chopped fresh coriander (The coriander really makes this recipe. We have a friend who doesn’t eat coriander and we replace it with parsley when they come to dinner. It really is not the same, but it does the job.)
  • Chilli (Fresh is best, but when we do use dried chilli we chop some red capsicums very finely and add them in too.)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Cook the potatoes. Jamie cooks his potatoes (both kinds) in the microwave in a bowl covered in cling wrap. We just boil them and drain them (drain them well).

Meanwhile, “dress the board”. This is an expression Jamie uses when he serves things on a “rustic” wooden chopping board. Drizzle olive oil over a large board, add salt and pepper. Chop the coriander, fetta, chilli roughly. They will get more chopping later.

After the potatoes are cooked through put them on the “dressed” board, on top of the other ingredients. Using a large knife chop the potatoes mixing through the ingredients. Use the flat side of the knife to flatten the potatoes and flip the underside ingredients to the top. Leave some large chunks throughout. It is a smash, not a pureed mash.

Serve immediately. It goes cold really fast.

20121020-203326.jpg

Yogurt and Cucumber Dip

16 Oct

This is one of my fav dips. Awesome on its own, dipping with biscuits, bread or fresh cut veggies. Also great with lamb, kofta, cous cous etc. It is from The Australian Woman’s Weekly Cookbooks: Great Vegetarian Foods.

A tip on straining whey from yogurt:
You know that watery stuff that you get on top of natural yogurt? It needs to be strained before you can use it for dips etc.
I have strained yogurt the “proper” way before, but to be honest usually I don’t bother. I have a lot of food paraphernalia around my house, but seriously, cheese cloth… on hand… all the time? Yeah, that’s not happening.
Here is an alternative method, which works just fine.

Place a smaller strainer (just the kind you would drain pasta in, or wash small veggies or herbs) over a bowl. Make sure it can balance there on its own. Line the strainer with about 4 layers of good quality paper kitchen towel. Dump the yoghurt onto the paper. Place the whole “thing” into the fridge. The paper and bowl will draw out/catch excess whey from the yogurt, making a thicker, more delicious end product. 20121103-233713.jpgLeave it in the fridge for a few hours at least, but over night is ideal. You can loosely cover the whole thing in glad wrap, I suppose, if that’s your sort of thing.

Make this dip at least one day before you want to eat it. It gives all the ingredients time to make friends and invade one another’s personal taste space. 🙂

20121016-231350.jpg

Mum’s Hommous

16 Oct

It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I make this one, it is never as good as my Mum’s.

FACT: My Mum makes gosh darn good hommous.

20121111-190143.jpg

What’s in it?

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, save half the juice from the tin
  • 3/4 cup of tahini
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • “a glug” (dollop, sloosh etc) of olive oil.
  • chilli to taste

Put all the ingredients in a blender, or food processor and blend the bergebers out of it. Then blend it some more. Then blend it a little more, for good luck. You want it to be as smooth and silky as possible.

I like to sprinkle a little cayenne pepper over it, once it is presented. But this is just a personal preference. Parsley is good too. Fresh flat bread (Lebanese bread probably if you’re buying it) is a necessity here.

Quiche: If I can do it, you can

7 Oct


20121008-031317.jpg

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.

NEWSFLASH! Ravioli: It should not taste like cardboard

7 Feb

I’m always disappointed when I order ravioli at restaurants and you just know they have tipped it out of a frozen packet.

NO! Rah! Grr!

It’s not hard to make, and you CAN taste the difference!! Fresh ravioli is silky and soft. It melts in your mouth. The filling should be a feature, not just that, a filler.

Here is my fresh ravioli I made in the afternoon, awaiting my friends arrival for dinner. They are drying out a little on a chopping board. This helps them hold their shape when they are plunged into the boiling water.

20121008-022347.jpg

Here is the recipe I “base” my ravioli filling on. It is from the “Vegetarian: More than 150 Family Recipes” cookbook. Mostly for this one I throw stuff together in a bowl and taste test until its right though. I substitute Feta, instead of Ricotta (just a personal preference) and I use whatever fresh herbs I have around. Note also that this is not the method I use to make pasta, although I’m sure it would be fine. You can view how I make fresh pasta here.

20121008-023511.jpg

Edit: 22/10/12
Here is another I made last night. Roasted pumpkin (with salt, pepper and olive oil), mashed with nutmeg. Feta and parsley on top.

20121022-224700.jpg

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.

20121008-021708.jpg

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.

%d bloggers like this: