Friday, May 25, 2012

Thai Red Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Thai Red  Curried Sweet Potato Soup
with fresh Ginger, Turmeric, Lemon grass & Coriander

Thai food in my opinion is all about the use of fresh herbs... my favourite thing to use when even they are available... this is a favourite of my soup recipes. 
This soup is unusually "baked" although it can be simmered on a stove top... I would love your feedback as to whether you think it makes a difference to the final taste. ???

  • In an  oven proof saucepan firstly soften on the stove top in a little olive oil a diced sweet red onion, a tablespoon of Thai Red Curry paste, a couple of teaspoons of fresh lemon grass and the stems of a plant of coriander which you have crushed in a mortar and pestle, heaps of freshly grated ginger, about 2 teaspoons and the same of fresh grated turmeric... (These are both so good for you with regard to digestive, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits... google them and add them to your diet today... you won't look back)
  • Add to this a kilo or two (depends how many your serving) of diced sweet potato and stir to coat for a couple of minutes.
  • Now add 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and a can of coconut cream and finally enough vegetable stock to just cover the potato... cover and place into the oven and bake slowly until the sweet potato is cooked. 
Serve this soup topped with coriander yoghurt... 
(exactly as it sounds coriander and natural yoghurt blended together in your whiz machine), more fresh coriander and cracked black pepper.
More recipes for soup to come through winter.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pumpkin filled with bacon, vegetables and toasted pine nuts

Pumpkin filled with bacon, vegetables & toasted pine nuts
Absolutely delicious... I was a little spoilt by my youngest daughter on a recent visit to Melbourne... this is an adaptation of  a recipe given to her... thanks to all  involved in my lovely dinner... Jaye, Tim and anyone else that might have played a part... feel free to add your own adaptations with what ever is in your refrigerators.
  • Bake a half butter-nut pumpkin until softened and cooked through... scoop out the flesh and add to the following. 
  • Pan fry with a little garlic some chopped bacon, diced onion and maple syrup. When this is nicely golden and cooked add chunky diced zucchini, chunky diced mushrooms and chopped parsley and fry until all the veggies have cooked through and then combine with the precooked pumpkin and a couple of tablespoons of lightly toasted pine nuts.
  • Into the base of the scooped our pumpkin shell layer crumbled feta cheese, vegetable and pine nut mix and grated tasty cheese until the shell has been filled topping with grated cheese and chopped parsley.
  • Heat through in the oven until warmed and golden on top... delicious.
Vegetable and bacon stuffed pumpkin layered with grated cheese and crumbled feta ready for browning and warming through...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Caramelised Herb Pumpkin slices, Sauté Celery Zucchini and Cauliflower with fennel seed, Caramelised Red Onion, Mashed Potatoes with cream, Steamed Spinach.

Caramelised Herb Pumpkin slices
Cleaning out the refrigerator and using up all the bits and pieces is a challenge I love...I hope these recipes will inspire you to use your own imagination to create vegetables your family will be talking about at breakfast in the morning...
Sauté Celery, Zucchini and Cauliflower with fennel seed
  • Baked slices of pumpkin... slice thinly and rub into both sides, olive oil and heaps of herbs both fresh and dried... I have used here fresh parsley, coriander, mint and rosemary along with dried dill and black pepper... bake turning once until caramelised and golden brown.
  • Sauté celery, zucchini and cauliflower in a mixture of melted butter with a dash of avocado oil and fennel seeds until softened and cooked through.
  • Mashed potato and sweet potato with butter and cream.
  • Caramelised red onion with fresh ginger... cook very slowly some sliced red onion, heaps of fresh finely chopped ginger, a little brown sugar, a slosh of balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil... this cooking process takes about 20-30 minutes but worth it for intense sweet result.
  • Steam some spinach straight from the garden.
Caramelised Red Onion - Steamed Spinach - Mashed Potatoes with cream

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Soft Poached Eggs ... on toast

Soft Poached Eggs

Soft poached eggs with sweet chilli sauce
I grew up on poached eggs on toast every morning and I still love them with a passion... all things home and comfort come in the not so humble egg... Eggs are one of nature's most perfectly balanced foods, containing all the protein, vitamins (except vitamin C) and minerals essential for good health. 
  • Heston Blumenthal - a very creative food scientist suggests that if you pop a plate into the bottom of a suitable frying pan and cover it by at least an inch with water with a dash of vinegar and bring it to a slow simmer this keeps your eggs off of the heat and they wont stick to the bottom of the pan... I have recently adapted this method and have found that it works a treat.
  • Carefully crack your eggs into the gently boiling water and gently flick the water over the top of the yolk until the white has set and lost its jelly like look...approximately 4 minutes.
  • Serve on home made buttered toast... sweet chilli sauce, hot sauce, tomato sauce or just simply salt and pepper.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Zucchini Parmigiana

Zucchini Parmigiana
I love all things cheese and tomato sauce... Parmigiana doesn't need to be meat here is a vegetarian version of an old southern Italian favourite.

  • Slice 3 or 4 large zucchini's into pieces about a 1/4 inch thick... flour, egg and breadcrumb them with an Italian inspired breadcrumb.
  • When coated fry them in about 1/4 inch of clean hot olive oil in a heavy based pan being careful not to burn or let them start to smoke because they will take on a burnt flavour... just a nice golden brown. Change the oil when necessary. 
  • Layer a lasagne pan starting with a small amount of sauce, breaded zucchini, mozzarella and repeat ending with a layer of cheese and add some extra Parmesan cheese to the top layer... cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for a few hours to marry the flavours.
  • Zucchini Parma
  • Bake for about 35 minutes in a moderate 180 oven to heat through and brown the top for serving.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vegetable Soup with Country Vegetable Soup Mix

Vegetable Soup
Purchase a packet of McKenzie's Country Vegetable Soup which contains a mix of yellow and green split peas, red lentils, barley and Haricot beans and spices mix from your supermarket (or you can make your own little mix of goodies about 200grams in total)... here are three versions below of using the one soup mix that are all simple and nourishing...

  1. It can be made up following the instructions on the pack and served as they are... in about 60 minutes.  
  2. The same pack can be made into a vegetable soup by adding diced veggies and cooking it in a slow cooker on low over the day 7-8 hours if you want to have a go at that method.
  3. Or by using the same packet blend of whole grains and adding fresh vegetables along with some browned chicken to end up with a "Chicken and Vegetable Soup".
Today I've used the packet of McKenzie's Country Vegetable soup mix and I have combined it with fresh diced vegetables and cooked it on the stove top as follows ...
Fresh diced vegetables of your choice

  • In a little olive oil soften an onion, half dozen sliced spring onions, a couple of stalks of celery and a couple cloves of crushed garlic until translucent.
  • Then add diced carrots, pumpkin, mushrooms and zucchini until they start to soften.
  • Finally add a tin of tomatoes, 1/2 cup of tomato puree, fresh herbs of thyme and parsley, the soup and spice mix and 2 litres of water... cover and simmer for about and hour until the barley is tender... Enjoy!