Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meatless Chow Mein

Brown Rice and Green Veg...

This dish is very simple to make, nutritious and filling as wells as yummy enough that the kids will be surprised by the fact that they like it.

 Meatless Chow Mein 
  •  Fry off to soften a thinly sliced onion in a little olive oil add to this a heaped teaspoon of curry powder to toast through.
  • When softened in place of the meat I now add about 3  cups of cooked brown rice and stir to coat the rice.
  • To this mixture add a packet of chicken noodle soup mix and two cups of water and the first of the green vegetables. For today's recipe they were sliced green beans and shredded Bok Choy. I would normally have used thinly sliced cabbage however I didn't have any so I have improvised. Cover the fry pan and allow to gently steam.
  • Simmer very gently until the vegies are cooked through and the moisture has absorbed into the rice. You can add a little more liquid if you would like a sauce.
  • In the last five minutes of cooking toss in some frozen peas and a handful of freshly chopped herbs.

Finely shredded cabbage will give the dish a more authentic look (it resembles soft noodles). Again I suggest you can add any vegetables you like including perhaps julienne carrots and corn for some colour.

Also if you prefer meat substitute the cooked rice for mince and brown this is the beginning with the onion and curry powder. Simmer cook for about 15 minutes to make sure the meat is cooked through properly.

The kids will love this dish because of the flavour that the chicken noodle soup brings to it. A great way to get vegetables into them.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lentil & Quinoa Slice

Lentil & Quinoa Slice
Lentil & Quinoa Slice

I have made this dish today for the first time. My version was inspired by the cooking show "Good Chef Bad Chef" and I have to say this is delightfully delicious.
  • Start by lightly frying off to soften some finely diced onion and a little minced garlic then add a teaspoon of Turmeric (this spice is so very good for us all and is a great aid to cancer prevention and you probably won't even notice it is in there).
  • Add to this any vegetables you may like. You can be as creative as you like as long as they are all uniformly diced or grated quite small. I have used today what was available in my little fridge, celery, broccoli stems, pumpkin, sweet potato and mushrooms.
  • Stir fry all of these until they are just cooked (final cooking to set is only short) and then add about a cup of almond meal which will soak up any liquid from vegetables such as zucchini and is also a source of protein.
  • Add to the mixture a drained tin of brown lentils and some cooked quinoa (as little or as much as you like mine was about 2 cups cooked).
  • Turn off the heat and stir through two eggs which will bind the mix together in the final bake.
  • Grease or line with baking paper a lasagne dish and press the mixture firmly into this and bake it in a moderate oven for about 15 minutes to set the slice and lightly browned on the top.

Variations of this recipe could easily be made, maybe a tablespoon of tomato paste or some fried bacon bits. If you wish to keep this vegetarian but wanted a little more protein try adding crumbled firm tofu. 

The slice when cooked is quite juicy and soft but will slice easily into portions. These slices can be eaten either hot straight from the oven or is equally nice served cold the next day.

It will keep for a few days in the fridge very safely as it contains no meat. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Warm French Dressed Bean Salad

These beans could be from anywhere and I am pretty sure every country would have their own version... these have been called French because I have added a French mustard into the dressing.

Warm French Dressed Bean Salad

  • Steam some young green beans until just cooked.
  • While steaming the veg prepare the dressing by placing a spoon full of French mustard (this isn't a hot mustard but contains herbs, spices and treacle which has a wonderful flavour, a couple of finely diced spring onions, a handful of chopped herbs, I have used basil and coriander my two favourites, a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 4 - 6 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Toss through the warm beans when al dente. Add some salt and pepper and serve while still warm as a side dish with anything or on their own if you prefer.

Caprese Salad with Roasted Capsicum

Caprese Salad with home Roasted Capsicum

The scrumptious colours of Italy with its origins in Capri trust me this salad will fit in just fine to any kitchen anywhere in the world.

  • Roast a red capsicum straight over the gas burner with a pair of tongs straight on your stove turning often until it blisters and blackens and then place in a plastic bag to sweat. The skin will then peel off very simply leaving you with a delicious fresh capsicum. You can also grill it to achieve the same result or even using the jar ones will suffice. Try doing it yourself however because it really is simple and delicious.
  • Remove the skin and seeds and then tear the capsicum roughly and place it on a serving plate.
  • Add very ripe room temperature tomatoes, sliced, halved or quartered depending on what you have available.
  • Now add some torn mozzarella or bocconcini cheese (the best quality you can find its worth it)
  • Finally add some torn fresh basil and I have also added coriander to mine and drizzle over the top olive oil and a coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Watermelon Coconut Vegan Salad

A simple recipe which can be eaten as a summer salad at your next BBQ or equally special as a healthy dessert at any time.
Watermelon Coconut Vegan Salad

Three ingredients make this the easiest dish to prepare... even the kids can do this one.

  • I like to dice the watermelon into large chunky bite size pieces... or you can dice to whatever suits your family.
  • Add any fresh herb that you like... I have used torn basil leaves in this dish as I have it growing fresh in the garden at present. I have on other occasions used mint or coriander. 
  • Finally add some shredded moist coconut to your liking (desiccated would work also however this is much drier) .

Gently toss all ingredients together and serve immediately as a quick lunch, a side salad or my favourite idea is as a healthy dessert. 

*Top with either cream or ice cream any time of the day... however this version would no longer be vegan.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Brodetta - Brodet

This meal was one that my Dad made when supplies were low over the Abrolhos and the carrier boat hadn't yet arrived with the order. It's a broth type soup (to use up the stale bread) made from simple ingredients, tomato paste (when there were no tomatoes left) , potato (because you always had them) and fish (on an island in the ocean they were all around you.) He never actually taught me how to make this but I can see him in my minds eye cooking it and my mouth waters when I try to remember how he said the word "Brodetta" ... not knowing a lot about the history of this recipe I did a little research and came up with the fact that although it may have started out as an Italian simplistic thin broth dish it travelled around and crossed some water and picked up elements from other cultures to end up a thicker tomato, onion, multi fish richer soup called "Brodet"
My version sadly is not my Dad's, it is my memory of his adapted... and I need to say a work in progress as it isn't as good as his was so I am still modifying it each time I cook it. Practice makes progress right?


  • I like to make my own fish stock so whenever I have a handful of prawns or fish head I use the shells and heads to make a stock. A purchased one will suffice.
  • In a little oil soften some crushed garlic and the chopped stems of some coriander and a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste.
  • Add chunky peeled potatoes and thickly sliced cabbage (this is something Dad never would have added but I love the cabbage simmered in the juices) and the stock to cover.
  • Simmer until the potatoes are cooked, the starch from the potatoes slightly thickens your broth and then slide in your fish (any white fish is nice in largish chunks, Dad would make this dish whenever he got hold of a coral trout) gently cook until the fish flakes apart with a fork.
  • Lastly add a heap of chopped parsley and I like to serve it on a couple of forks of spaghetti however this is your choice and once again Dad served his with crunchy Italian loaf torn not sliced and we all know that pasta and bread are never served together... sshhh!

This dish is superstitiously never stirred. Not sure where this comes from but simmer gently no stirring ok !!! Presumably it is so that the fish doesn't fall apart but I'm not tempting fate with a spoon.            ENJOY!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Three Ingredients Fruit Cake

It just doesn't get any easier than this for a delicious fruit cake... A big thanks has to go to a helpful couple Ken and Rosemary that we met on our recent travels North from home. Not only did they suggest a fabulous spot for us to park at the Cliff Head free camp site area but they also provided me with this recipe suggestion for my blog. 

This is a rich, moist, heavily fruit abundant cake... dare I say suitable for the upcoming festive season or an any time of the day, night or the year indulgence.

Three Ingredients Fruit Cake

  • Take a 600ml Iced coffee or Choc Milk and add it to 1kg of mixed fruit. Soak this mixture overnight to plump up the fruit. 
  • Add 2 cups of self raising flour and bake slowly in a 170/180 oven for about an hour and a half until a wooden skewer comes out clean... and that's it!  

Turn out to cool on a wire rack and share both the delicious cake and the simple recipe with everyone at your camp sight.

Equally wonderful served warm on its own or with a blob of cream or cold on its own or with butter.

Note: The soaking of the fruit causes the glace cherries to take on the colour of the milk and loose the red colour but doesn't change the flavours of the fruits.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Oven Baked Fish

Oven Baked Fish ... GONE!

I have to confess...I didn't actually catch the Taylor used in this recipe and so for anonymity I will not show you a photo of the whole fish... thank you to the kind man who donated us these most wonderful specimens of the species... delicious just isn't descriptive enough.

  • Preheat your oven to moderate and take your scaled, beheaded and cleaned Taylor and lay out on a piece of glad bake and foil.
  • Season with salt and pepper first thing on both sides and flavour as desired... finely sliced red onion, lemon slices, capsicum, freshly grated ginger, a splosh of sweet chili sauce, a splash of soy and a drizzle of olive oil... anything you like really...
  • Seal your little parcel up and bake for 30-40 minutes depending on the fish size.
Any whole fish or even a fillet can be used... very simple and easy and absolutely delicious so give it a try.

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.