Saturday, 20 April 2013

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Its been a very rough time of late so I was looking for some comfit food and what's better than good ole pumpkin soup as we head through autumn. So many variations on this classic but tonight the flavour focus was on fresh coriander and fresh chilli served with a thick greek yoghurt. Take out the chilli and use less coriander if you want something a lot more mild.

serves 3-4
takes about 35mins

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced 
  • 1 large red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
  • bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped including stems
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 kg pumpkin, peeled, deseeded & diced (tip - if you have time bake the whole pumpkin in a oven preheated to 180oC for 1 hour and it makes it easier to peel & chop & adds a lovely flavour)
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • thick plain greek yoghurt
  1. Heat the oil in large pot over a medium heat and add the onion & garlic, cook for about 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the ginger, chilli, coriander, bay leaves & pumpkin & cook for another 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the stock & bring to the boil then reduce the heat & simmer for 20-25 minutes, stir occasionally until pumpkin is tender.
  4. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves & leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Using a stick blender (or transfer to food processor) process until smooth.
  6. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
  7. Reheat gently over a low heat, stirring.
  8. Remove from heat and pour into soup bowls.
  9. Garnish each one with yoghurt (or if you are feeling decadent, some cream) and enjoy! I served this with Vogels toast spread with a touch of butter.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Carrots, Almonds, Cumin

Simple flavours make these carrots sing! This is from Hugh's Three Good Things with some of my own ideas thrown in.

serves 2
takes 15 minutes
  • 500g small baby sized carrots, scrubbed & trimmed & halved horizontally
  • 100g blanched whole almonds OR try other nuts you might have on hand such as pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds OR combine caraway and anise seeds OR try chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil & add carrots. Boil for 5-8 minutes until tender. Drain & leave to cool just a little.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the almonds & toast, tossing frequently until they are golden. Transfer to blender.
  3. Put the cumin seeds in the same pan & toast for a few minutes until fragrant. Add to blender & blitz until crumbly but you still want to be able to see pieces of almond.
  4. Put the carrots on a serving dish and sprinkle almonds & cumin mix on top with a dash of olive oil and some salt & pepper. I served ours with some lamb medallions that had been seasoned & pan fried for a couple of minutes each side. Enjoy!

Beans, Olives, Mozzarella Pizza

I can never be bothered making pizza dough so normally use pita bread or  mountain bread as I like a thin crust. This comes from Hugh's Three Good Things.

serves 2
  • 2-4 pizza bases
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin white beans, such as cannellini, drained & rinsed
  • 2-4 balls of buffalo mozzarella (love Clevedon)
  • 1 cup of stoned black olives, very roughly chopped or torn
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over a low heat. Add the garlic & cook gently for 30 seconds. Add the beans with 200ml of water & increase the heat. Simmer for a minute or two.
  2. Using a handheld blender blitz the beans to a puree & season.
  3. Spread pizza base with bean mixture, tear up one ball of
    mozzarella & distribute over base followed by olives. Grind over pepper.
  4. Cook pizza in the oven for 10-12 minutes until crisp & golden brown at the edges. Enjoy!

Lamb Stew

Requires some planning as you need to roast it for a couple of hours but super easy to prepare as you just throw everything into the one pot. This is from Dish Magazine #47 with some slight changes.

serves 4
roasting time: 2 1/2 hours
  •  1 kilo of boned lamb shoulder, cut into large pieces
  • 2 red onions, peeled & cut into wedges
  • 6 small waxy potatoes, cut into large pieces
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 each of orange & lemon, zest & juice
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 12 large green olives
  • 2 tsp dried oregano (I used fresh thyme since it's abundant in my garden at the moment)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 150 grams feta
  1. Preheat oven to 180oC
  2. Combine all the ingredients (except feta) in a large roasting dish & season.
  3. Cover with lid (or tin foil) and roast for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, turning the lamb every 30 minutes or so.
  4. Uncover the lamb & top with feta, spooning some of the juices over the top.
  5. Bake uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes or until feta is golden brown. Serve with a salad or steamed broccoli & enjoy!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Stuffed King Sweetie Peppers

Loving the new Dish magazine and this recipe is first off the rank. I found some king sweeties at our local community market today (also available at the local vege shop) so recommend grabbing them but you can substitute with red bell peppers.

serves 2-3
takes about 30-40mins
  • 6 long red king sweeties
  • 1/4 cup couscous
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 chorizo sausage, finely diced
  • 400 grams free range beef mince
  • sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
  • 12 large green olives (or pitted black olives)
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over a low-medium heat & cook onion, garlic, paprika & a pinch of salt until the onion is tender. Stir in the pasta sauce & set aside.

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC.
  2. Combine the couscous & water in a small bowl, cover & leave for 10 minutes.
  3. Trim the tops off the peppers & remove the seeds, keeping the peppers whole.
  4. Place them in a heatproof dish & pour over enough boiling water to cover. Leave for 5 minutes then lift out & drain well.
  5. Heat oil in a frypan & cook onion, garlic & paprika until onion is tender. Stir in chorizo & cook for a further minute. Tip into a large bowl & cool. Add the couscous & mince, season & mix well.
  6. To assemble: holding each pepper upright, drop in small pieces of the stuffing using the handle of a wooden spoon to gently push it right to the bottom. Continue until full to the top and repeat with remaining peppers. Roll any unused filling into balls.
  7. Tip the tomato sauce into a large shallow baking dish & place peppers on top, placing mince balls around them.
  8. Place green olives around balls & peppers. Ground over some black pepper. Cover tightly with foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover, scatter with fresh parmesan cheese and bake for a further 10 minutes until golden and the peppers are tender when pierced with a skewer. Serve with a green salad if you wish & enjoy!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Chilli, Cashews

This is from Hugh's Three Good Things with an extra vege thrown in (cauliflower) which I found in the fridge. Any seasonal greens would work well. I served it with grilled fish topped with homemade basil pesto. Super quick and super yum...I went back for seconds, thirds...


  • Head of broccoli, trimmed into bite size pieces
  • Half head of cauliflower, trimmed into bite size pieces
  • 1/3 cup cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red chilli, half deseeded & finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Dash of soy sauce
  1. Steam the broccoli & cauliflower until just tender then drain.
  2. Heat a wok over a medium heat, add cashews and toast until they are golden (keep an eye on them as they can burn easily). Set aside.
  3. In the same wok add oil, chilli and garlic, heat gently for 30 seconds then add the cashews back in with the broccoli & cauli. Turn up the heat and stir fry for a minute or two so the broccoli is well mixed with the flavours.
  4. Season with a splash of soy sauce & serve straight away. Enjoy!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Spring Prawn Salad

serves 2
takes 20 minutes
  • 400g prawns, shelled, deveined, tails off
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (I used 50/50 white & black)
  • 2-3 fennel bulbs depending on size, thinly sliced
  • Bag of baby spinach
  1. Mix the prawns with the oil, ginger & zest and season.
  2. Cover and stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat some oil in a frypan over a high heat & fry the prawns until opaque (1-2 minutes each side).
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice, 1 tbsp soy sauce and sesame seeds.
  5. Place sliced fennel and baby spinach leaves in a serving bowl, add the prawns & their pan liquids. Toss to serve. Enjoy!