Sunday, October 28, 2012

Quinoa, Coconut and Currants

Quinoa, Coconut, Currants

Did you know that Quinoa pronounced keen-wah is a grain, used by the ancient Incas that they referred to as "the mother grain" and today is defined as a supergrain. It is a wonderful alternative to rice or couscous in any recipe and in the case of this recipe an alternative to porridge... today's blog (serving size 2 large or 4 small)is equally nice served either warm or cold, with or without yoghurt or with  fresh fruit or a conserve topping.

  • In a medium saucepan combine 1.2 cup quinoa, 2 tablespoons honey, a pinch of salt, 1 cup currants, half can of coconut milk and a can of water... add the reminder coconut milk through the cooking process if it looks a little dry.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer very gently for about 30 minutes until it resembles the consistency of porridge and the grains are soft and transparent.
  • Serve as you wish and top with any remaining coconut milk.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Chocolate and Coconut Brownies

Chocolate and Coconut Brownies

I ate my first piece of this brownie while it was still warm straight from the oven.. there is no way you can't do that with the smell created during cooking.
I am keen to experiment with coconut flour (gluten free alternative) and so I have used it in this recipe. It appears to me to be similar in texture to almond flour and so could be substituted if you have trouble finding the coconut. It is available from Hills Fresh in Mundaring for my local followers and I believe can be ordered on-line.
Coconut Flour is an alternative to wheat flour that has a very high percentage of dietary fibre which helps support your digestion.

  • In a heavy base saucepan over a very low heat gently melt 200 grams of dark chocolate (highest cocoa solids possible) and 250 grams of butter.
  • Remove from heat and add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla essence and about 3/4 cup of caster sugar and stir to dissolve.
  • Whisk 3 eggs into the mixture along with a cup of coconut flour and a handful of moist flakes coconut.
  • This recipe is best shared so I have baked the mix in two greased foil baking tins so that I can share one tray with my friends for about 30 minutes (this recipe will rise just a little so leave some room, will be set on top and moist in the centre but cooking times will vary depending on the container size you use) ... still warm, gently slice the portion size whilst in the tray... delivered warm and enjoyed with a coffee you will most certainly be welcomed.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Creamed Cabbage with White Sauce and Feta OR Simmered Cabbage with Feta Cheese

Creamed Cabbage with White Sauce and Feta
Simmered Cabbage with Feta Cheese

Cabbage is one of my favourite veggies. There is so much  that you can do with this versatile vegetable all year round... try this particular recipe when you are looking for that flavour filled soft cabbage fix with a yummy cheesy creamy sauce. I often cook this when I am home alone and eat it as my main meal. If you don't want the creamy milk sauce you can leave the white sauce step out and simply break the feta through the drained simmered cabbage and serve.

  • Melt a large blob of butter with some fresh ground black pepper and salt... stir in a half cabbage roughly chopped and sauté until softened. 
  • Add a splash of white wine a teaspoon of honey and a cup of chicken stock and simmer gently for about 15 minutes until the cabbage is cooked right through and the liquid is all but gone.
  • In another saucepan soften some onion or leek, your choice and a couple of cloves of crushed garlic in a blob of butter... I am using red onion for this recipe today.
  • When the onion is softened add a couple of tablespoons of flour and cook for a minute or so.
  • Gradually add enough milk to make a thick sauce about 300 ml... let this sauce softly simmer for a couple of minutes to cook the flour properly.
  • Break through about 100 grams of feta cheese and melt... add this sauce to the drained cabbage and heat through to serve.

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.