Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Broccolini with Butter Beans, Pine Nuts and Pasta

This recipe is great as a side dish or to feed the hoards. Simple increase the ingredients to suit your purpose.Delicious, hearty and healthy all in the one dish.... Pasta can be substituted for the butter beans if preferred or half and half as I have done which is the healthier option and has a nice texture.
Broccolin with Butter Beans, Pasta & Pine Nuts

  • 1 large bunch of Broccolini on to steam while preparing the rest.
  • Boil a small amount (1/2 cup)of a small pasta ... I have used Piccolini. 
  • Meanwhile heat a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and softly fry some finely chopped fresh garlic then add a drained tin of butter beans and stir fry until they take on some colour.
  • Add a large handful of pine nuts to the pan and toss them to toast up.
  • Turn off the heat and stir through some cream to make a sauce.
  • Finally combine the cooked pasta, broccolini, heaps of parmesan cheese and black pepper with the butter bean and pine nut mix to serve.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup recipe...

... with a twist of freshness added...

Chicken Noodle Soup with some added freshness

I have used a salt reduced packet of chicken noodle soup for this recipe and freshened it up with the quick addition of a couple of items. You are limited only by your imagination and this simple idea I hope will be inspiration for you to become creative. The only limitations are that what ever you add in the way of fresh veggies or noodles etc needs to cook in a five minute simmer situation.

  • Make up the salt reduced chicken noodle soup following the directions on the packet ... bring a litre of water to the boil and add the soup mix.
  • While the water is reaching the boil finely dice the stems of a small bunch of coriander which you have picked the leaves from and retained along with a small handful of finely sliced cabbage.
  • Add both the coriander stems and the shredded cabbage at the same time as the soup mix and simmer all together as per the packet instructions.
  • Two minutes before the finish of the simmer time add about a cup of crushed vermicelli rice noodles.
  • Stir through the coriander leaves and serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice and cracked black pepper.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cauliflower Rice with Goats Cheese

Cauliflower Rice with Goats Cheese

This dish can be served on its own, as a side dish, in place of rice or let it go cold and add to salads. Cauliflower is low in fat and contains numerous health benefiting nutrients that help in the prevention of prostate, ovarian and cervical cancers.

  • Soften a finely chopped onion in a little oil in a large frying pan for about 5 minutes until transparent.
  • Either grate or whizz a half cauliflower in a food processor until very fine and resembles couscous (which is another name for this recipe "Cauliflower Couscous")
  • When the onion is softened add the finely dice stems of a small bunch of coriander (pick and retain the leaves) a teaspoon of ground coriander and the fine cauliflower... continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the cauli is soft and starting to brown.
  • Stir in 3/4 of the coriander leaves and season with some salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • To serve plate up topping it with some crumbled goats cheese and the remaining coriander leaves.

  • Feel free to replace the cauliflower with broccoli for a green alternative.
  • Serve with meat as a side dish if you like.
  • Cool the cooked cauliflower dish and add it to your favourite salad as a way of incorporating texture and nutrient into a delicious leafy salad.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Char Grilled Vegetable Lasagne

Choose your favourite vegetables for this recipe and simply layer them together with instant Lasagne sheets and a little cheese... doesn't get any easier than that. The little effort to char grill the vegetable first is what brings this dish to life... truly a divine way to eat vegetables.

Char Grilled Vegetable Lasagne

  • Quite thinly slice all of your vegetables and char grill them first. This helps to reduce the cooking time as the vegetable are most likely cooked enough to eat before assembling them into the lasagne dish. This means you only need to allow enough time for the sheets to cook in the final process... As my core vegetables I have used capsicum, pumpkin, zucchini, mushrooms and sweet potato.
  • The sauce is cooking on the side while I am preparing the vegetables... Soften a thinly sliced leek and some garlic in a little oil... if you want meat in this dish at this point brown off some mince.
  • To the softened leek add a large tin of crushed tomatoes and about 3/4 of the tin of water to create the sauce.
  • A dash of vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar will soften the acids in the tomatoes.
  • Finally I have added lots of fresh herbs and salt and cracked black pepper to taste... simmer this gently for a while to create that rich red lasagne style sauce.
  • Layer the vegetables into a suitable baking dish starting with a little sauce in the bottom, alternate with lasagne sheets and a touch of grated cheese throughout... final layer should be the sauce and should cover any lasagne sheets... a white sauce can be placed over the top or as I have done just sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan and bake in a 180 oven for about 45 minutes... Test that its cooked through by inserting a fork.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

Pumpkin and Sultana Muffins.

Pumpkin and Sultana Muffins

Muffins are very popular in most coffee shops and so I thought I would try one with pumpkin... I have thought about adapting this pumpkin muffin by swirling through some melted chocolate into the batter at the end to create a marble effect just for something different, sweet and possibly deemed healthy as a result of the use of a vegetable.

  • Precook mash and cool some pumpkin - 1 cup of cooked vegetable required.
  • In a large bowl mix together a cup of milk, 1/4 cup of raw sugar and about 60 grams of melted butter.
  • Beat into this one egg.
  • Add to the liquid 2 cups of sifted self raising flour and a teaspoon of mixed spice.
  • Mixing gently with a wooden spoon add in about a 1/2 cup of sultanas or any dried fruit of your choice along with the cup of mashed pumpkin.
  • Spoon the batter, filling to the top, into paper cups inserted into muffin tins... bake at 190 for about 20 minutes for the large ones or until cooked... small ones will take less time.
  • When cooled these can be sprinkle with icing sugar and drizzled with chocolate if you want... just as nice plain and served warm is another option.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Frittata Recipe

Mushroom, Pencil Asparagus, Persian Feta and Herb Frittata.

Mushroom, Pencil Asparagus, Persian Feta and Herb Frittata

This recipe is a very simple blend of healthy options... you can add some diced bacon in the beginning if you like... it literally takes about 10 minutes to pull together and about 20 minutes to the table served straight from the pan.

  • Heat a splash of olive oil in a non stick pan and gently fry off your mushrooms and mini asparagus (pencil asparagus) for a few minutes until softened.
  • Spread some cubes of Persian feta cheese all over the mushroom base.
  • In another bowl lightly beat 8 eggs, a dash of cream, heaps of fresh chopped herbs such as parsley, chives and basil and some cracked black pepper and salt.
  • Pour the egg mixture gently over the mushroom mix and turn the stove down very low and gently cook until firmed almost through to the top.
  • Sprinkle the top with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and finish off the cooking process under the grill to a golden brown.
  • Rest in the pan for a few minutes and serve warm with a simple salad of your choice.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chilli Con Carne ~ Slow Cooker

Chilli Con Carne ~ Slow Cooker

A favourite for all time this dish has its origins in Texas USA... at lot of Australian families have this as a staple in there weekly regime if not nowdays most certainly in past years.
This version I have made has been cooked in a slow cooker or the good old fashioned "crock pot" and has an unusual ingredient which adds to the flavour exceptionally. 70% Cocoa Chocolate. 

  • Brown off in a little olive oil about 800 grams of diced steak and set aside.
  • In the same oil and pan soften 2 diced onions and a finely sliced deseeded chilli and add to this mix a couple of cloves of crushed garlic, a tespoon of cinnamon, a tespoon of chilli powder or flakes or both if you like it hot along with a tablespoon of brown sugar.
  • Into the slow cooker place the onion mix, the browned meat along with 2 tins of crushed tomoatoes, 2 tins of drained red kidney beans, 50 grams of 70% dark chocolate and about 300ml of beef stock... cook for 8-10 hours and serve with buttered mashed potatoes.  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nutella Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding

What a wonderful adaption to an old favourite... I saw this recently on Better Homes and Gardens and just had to have a adaption...

Nutella Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding

  • Preheat the oven to 180.
  • Halve 4 croissants and spread with Nutella... put back together and cut each into 3 portions.
  • Place quite tightly packed into a suitable high sided oven safe dish and sprinkle with a handful of craisins or your favourite dried fruit.
  • Whisk together 2 eggs with about 50 grams of caster sugar then add 300ml milk, 150ml cream and a teaspoon of cinnamon... gently pour over the croissants and press down to allow them to absorb the liquid.
  • Sprinkle the top with a tablespoon of brown sugar and bake uncovered until the top is golden and the custard is cooked about 25 minutes... serve with whipped cream. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Roast Chicken on Potato and Mushroom Bake

Roast Chicken Potato and Mushroom Bake and Mushy Minted Peas

You can't beat a traditional Roast Chicken... however maybe the traditional can be improved on ever so slightly. This recipe is one to bring out when that craving for a roast like your Nanna made on a weekly basis can't be substituted with a store bought imitation.

Dry roast a half dozen cloves of garlic for about 10 minutes until softened ... squeeze 3 of them into a large knob of butter along with some fresh chopped thyme to create a garlic and herb flavoured butter.
Gently pop your fingers under the skin from of the bird and smear the flavoured butter over the breasts ... use the best chicken available, free range birds not only have the nicest flavour they also contain less fat and a lot more of the omega 3's brain food than an ordinary cheaper cost caged chicken option ... let the bird sit at room temperature while you prepare the potato bake.
Slice about a kilo of the best waxy Blue varieties of potato with the purple skins and alternate in the bottom of your roasting pan with about 500 grams of sliced portobello (more flavour in my opinion) mushrooms which have been softened in a frying pan with a drizzle of oil and a knob of butter, the remaining roasted garlic and some sage ...
Rub some olive oil onto the skin of your chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pop the whole chicken, breast side up on to the top of the potato/mushroom mix and cover the whole dish with foil and bake in a 180 oven for about 30 minutes per kilo ... remover the foil after the first 30 minutes and finish cooking to the desired crispy golden skin that your Mum and Nan served you once a week most likely on Sunday's.
Serve with mushy minted green peas ... so simple ... in a microwave safe bowl place frozen peas a small amount of shredded mint leaves and a tablespoon of water. Cover with cling wrap and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add a dob of butter and mash lightly with either a fork or potato masher and serve with black pepper.