Thursday, March 29, 2012

black bean enchilidas

This is a quick, simple and tasty meal. We made our own enchilada sauce using olive oil, a touch of plain flour, chilli powder, cumin, tomato paste, garlic and sea salt. Combine pre-soaked black beans, 2 grated carrots, 1 grated courgette, 1/2 sliced onion with half the sauce and mix. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture onto your base - we used rye mountain bread. Roll up in baking pan and once they are all done cover with half of the leftover sauce. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 180 degrees, adding the rest of the sauce halfway. Goes really well with ginger beer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

roast winter veggies

Really simple, but really packs a punch. Butternut squash, red onion and whole garlic cloves with parsnip and some new (to us) kind of broccoli we found at our farmers market (broccolini?). Cut, brush with oil and a little sea salt to taste and roast for a bit longer than you think is necessary, those extra few minutes can really bring out the sweetness in the squash.

Best served alongside fresh flowers.

butternut, mushroom and sage lasagna

This is a delicious recipe I got from a fellow expat colleague, takes a while to get all the bits together ready to cook but well worth the time you put in. I roasted the squash in oil, fried some mushrooms in butter and garlic and boiled some spinach. To make the white sauce I infused the milk (I used goats milk) by simmering it with half an onion and a few sage leaves before adding white flour and some salt. For next time I would triple the amount of white sauce as it's the means of softening the pasta sheets. Put it all together and into the oven.

Perfect with a hearty aussie shiraz!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

soy and ginger tofu

Another Plenty recipe - the best one yet. Black Soy Tofu served with brown wholegrain rice, honestly the best tofu we have ever tasted.

Recipe summary: Take some firm tofu and coat with flour (cornflour works best but we just used plain). Fry in batches until golden and set aside. Fry sliced ginger and shallots in butter until done and add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, honey, sea salt and pepper. Add tofu to the mix and coat in the sauce. Sounds very humble, but it was truly amazing.

sugar-free apple cakes

After recently cutting out sugar, I've been looking for some healthy dessert options. One of my favourite bloggers (and soon to be nutritionist) Vliin came to the rescue with an excellent apple cake recipe. See the original here.

Mine was a mish-mash version using whatever I had on hand (which surprisingly was almost everything the recipe required, yay for a well stocked pantry). I combined an organic, free range egg with almond meal, coconut oil, marmalade, baking soda, cinnamon, (real) butter, one chopped up apple, some stewed apple I had leftover, some vanilla essence, cranberries and a touch of honey. For quantities I vaguely followed Vliin's recipe and then just trusted my instincts. They turned out to be really delicious, moist, muffin-like cakes that were even better the next day. A quick and easy way to satisfy any junk-food craving.

pasta and courgette salad

Dinner from last Thursday. Again, a recipe from Plenty but with a few slight changes. Ottolenghi has the best flavour combinations, but his recipes often require a long list of spices and other additions. Most of them we have on hand, but sometimes we choose to substitute alternatives to save money or to make the meal a little healthier. In this case, we used spelt pasta rather than white pasta and reduced the amount of cheese.

Recipe summary: Fry thinly sliced courgettes until golden brown and drizzle with red wine vinegar, set aside. Blanch some frozen edamame beans and add to courgettes. Put some fresh basil and parsley with a touch of sea salt and drizzle of olive oil into a food processor and mix until you create a pesto-like sauce. Set aside. Cut up some cheese (we used home-made goat's milk ricotta, recipe in previous post, but Ottolenghi recommends buffalo mozzarella) and set aside. Cook pasta, drain, and add the courgettes, edamame beans, pesto, cheese and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Essentially this is just a fancier version of regular pesto pasta, but as each stage is isolated it is very simple to make. Also keeps well if made ahead.

butternut squash patties

Last week we made our own version of a Sunday Roast by adapting Ottolenghi's Sweet Potato Patties recipe from Plenty to take advantage of the wonderful butternut squash available at our local farmer's market.

Recipe summary: Roast butternut squash then mash with some flour and chives and some olive. Form into patties and cook in a frying pan. Great as a side or as a main served with green vegetables (we chose blanched sprout tops and roasted organic free-range chicken breasts, all from the farmer's market). Ottolenghi suggests serving with sour cream, but we omitted that and it was still very delicious.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

goat's milk ricotta

Recipe from My New Roots

Last Sunday we made goat's milk ricotta for the first time. It was really easy once we heat the milk enough to make it curdle, our first attempt saw the liquid drain straight through the cheesecloth. The ricotta went very well with roasted pear and grapes, drizzled with some honey, sea salt and black pepper, and kept in the fridge for a few days afterwards. Definitely a new staple. 


Stir-Fry of tofu, cashews and leftover vegetables - cabbage, celery, kale, pumpkin with brown rice. The pumpkin was a bit of an experiment as we don't think of it as a typical stir-fry vegetable but it added a lovely buttery sweetness to the dish. 

baked mushroom parcels

Dinner from a few weeks ago:
Baked mushroom and baby vegetable parcels (recipe from Plenty) served with brown rice and blanched asparagus. 

A really beautiful way of cooking. Basically you boil some baby vegetables and then combine them with mushrooms, herbs, breadcrumbs and some parmesan in some baking paper and tie with twine (which has been soaked in water to prevent burning) to create small parcels. Bake in the oven and serve with rice or couscous or anything you like.

The ritual of opening the parcel at the dinner table really adds a nice touch to the meal. The smell is incredible, not to mention the taste - the vegetables are tender and infused with herbs. 

raw cashew dreamcake

Recipe from My New Roots

Last Sunday I made a Raw Cashew Dreamcake - basically a vegan version of a cheesecake. It was really delicious and very simple to make. 

Tip for next time: process the mixture for longer. I was impatient and think it should have been slightly smoother, but regardless it was a success. 

step one