Saturday, 21 June 2014

Raw Chocolate Brownies

This is from ohsheglows.com which contains some great vegan recipes. Things have come a long way from my vegan days where I really struggled with what to eat. Now I pretty much eat anything except for processed sugar, fructose and pork. I've also cut out a lot of natural sweeteners like agave (90% fructose) & honey so rice syrup & stevia are my new best friends. I made some substitutes as the recipe is quite flexible so play around with what you have in the cupboard.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw pecan or walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup linseed seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates (approx. 275g)
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder or dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt or fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs
  • Dark chocolate for melting - I used Cavalier Dark Chocolate Buttons sweetened with Stevia but if you aren't eliminating fructose from your diet then any type of 70% dark chocolate will work
Method
  1. Line an 8-inch square pan with baking paper

  2. In a food processor, process the pecans (or nuts of choice) into a fine crumb.
  3. Add the seeds and the pitted dates and process until finely
    chopped and sticky.
  4. Add the cacao powder, vanilla, and salt and process until thoroughly combined.
  5. Stir or pulse in the nibs until just combined.
  6. Evenly press the mixture into prepared square pan until smooth. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  7. For the chocolate topping: place buttons in a heat proof dish that will fit snugly over a pot. Bring pot of water (fill about 2cm as you don't want the water touching the bowl) to barely simmering & place bowl of buttons over the top and melt stirring with a dry wooden spoon
  8. Remove the brownies from the freezer and pour on the chocolate topping. Spread out evenly. Transfer the pan to the freezer on a flat, even surface. Chill for 20 + minutes or until the topping is firm enough to slice & enjoy!

ohsheglows tips

  • Run hot water over a knife for a minute or so, wipe quickly with towel, and carefully slide the knife into the brownies to slice (warming up the knife helps it slice more evenly without much cracking).
  • Store leftovers in the freezer for a chocolate treat anytime.
  • You’ll want to use soft, fresh Medjool dates for this recipe to make it easier on the processor. If your dates are firm, try soaking them in water for 30-60 minutes (and then draining well) before use.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Annabel's Prawn and Bok Choy Risotto

Another great recipe from my favourite kiwi chef, Annabel Langbein from Simple Pleasures - The Free Range Cook. This is the first risotto made by my partner and he found it super easy and I love the Asian fusion.

Ingredients
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 25-30 mins
Serves: 2

  • 3 tbsp butter or olive oil 
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped 
  • 2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1½ cups risotto rice
  • 4½ cups hot chicken stock
  • finely grated zest of 2 limes
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 350g (about 2 cups) shelled prawns, halved lengthwise
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 4-5 small or 2-3 medium bok choy, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp lime juice 
  • 3 tbsp coarsely chopped coriander leaves
Method
  1. Heat butter or oil in a deep, heavy-based pot and gently fry onions and ginger until soft but not browned (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add rice and stir over heat for 2 minutes to lightly toast. Add hot stock and lime zest (reserving a little zest for the garnish) and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cover and cook over a very low heat until almost cooked (about 15 minutes). 
  3. At this point, test the rice – it should have a tiny white core in the centre of each grain. If the core is bigger, continue cooking another few minutes. It needs to be almost cooked before you add the final ingredients. If the rice begins to dry out, add another half cup of hot stock or water – it should be quite soupy.
  4. Stir in the prawns and peas, cook for 1 minute then add the bok choy and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and coriander (reserving a little coriander for the garnish) and adjust seasonings to taste. To serve, sprinkle with the reserved lime zest and coriander. Enjoy!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Salmon with Avocado Salsa

Salmon and avocado...say no more! This perfect team is quick & easy to whip up. Recipe is from Riverstone Kitchen.

Ingredients
serves 2
takes 30mins
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 1 lime - juice & zest
  • 2 tbsp mango or apricot chutney
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • bunch fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed & finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 large ripe avocados, peeled, pit removed and cubed
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 2 x salmon fillets, skin on and pin-boned
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves (or rocket)
  • 1 lime, halved for serving
Method
  1. To make the salsa, place 100ml olive oil, lime juice & zest,
    chutney, cumin, coriander, chilli and onion in a bowl and combine. Add avocado and gently mix together. Season & place in fridge until ready to use.
  2. Heat a pan on high, add dash olive oil (unless you are using non stick pan). Season salmon fillets and place into pan, skin side down. Cook on high until the skin is crisp - usually takes 2-3 minutes then turn over and cook other side for 1 minute so the salmon is still rare in the middle. Let it rest for a few minutes.
  3. Divide the avocado salsa among serving plates and top with baby spinach leaves and finish with the salmon on top. Serve with half a lime and enjoy!

Chinese Vegetable Stock

All good vegetable stocks start with a base of onions, carrots, celery and garlic. From here you can experiment with whatever is hiding in the back of the fridge. I added some radishes and bean sprouts as they were languishing about however you don't want to use vegetables that are rotten and some strong-flavored vegetables, such as cabbage, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower can impart strong flavours so you might want to leave those if you need to whip up a quick stock. Read here to check out some good veges to use for your stock.

This stock went well in the Chicken Casserole and Prawn Dumpling soup. 

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • large knob of fresh ginger (8-10cm), peeled & thickly sliced
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 6 celery sticks, sliced
  • bunch spring onions, trimmed & halved
  • bunch coriander, stems & roots only, washed & chopped
  • 6 litres cold water
Method
  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over high heat. Add onions, ginger, garlic and salt & fry for a couple of minutes. 
  2. Add carrots, celery, spring onions and coriander, reduce heat to medium-high and fry, stirring often, for a further 5 minutes or until veges are lightly browned.
  3. Add water to pot and bring to boil.
  4. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, skimming the surface with a ladle to remove any impurities. Simmer for 1 hour, skimming as required.
  5. Strained stock through fine sieve (lined with muslin if required) and cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
From Kylie Kwong's Simple Chinese Cooking Class

Chicken Casserole with Israeli Couscous and Mushrooms

A wonderful mixture of spices bring this dish to life. You can prepare the spice mix and store as I can guarantee you will want to make this again! If you are missing some of the spices just leave out but the key ones here are pepper, cumin, coriander & turmeric.



Spice Mix
  • 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 1/4 tsp ground caraway
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander leaves
Mix all the ingredients and keep in an airtight jar.

Ingredients
serves 4
takes 30mins
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely or crushed
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced thickly
  • 1 large chicken breast, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, grated - how to grate tomatoes>
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous OR 2 cups normal couscous
  • 1 tbsp spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt & freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 cups boiling stock - I used vegetable as I had some left over but you can use chicken or just plain boiling water
  • fresh coriander to serve (optional)
Method
  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a fry pan over high heat, add chicken (might
    have to do this in batches) and brown on all sides. You don't want to fully cook the chicken just seal in all the juices. Set chicken aside.
  2. Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onions & garlic and saute until soft.
  3. Add carrots & mushrooms and cook for another 4 minutes or until mushrooms are slightly brown.
  4. Add tomatoes, couscous & spices and pour in boiling stock or water. Mix, taste and adjust seasoning if required. 
  5. Bring to the boil, lower heat and cook covered for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken and continue simmering until most of the liquid is absorbed - another 10 minutes.
  7. Add fresh coriander before serving and enjoy!
Adapted from The Book of New Israeli Food, Janna Gur

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Beetroot Risotto with Feta & Pinenuts

Beetroot in a can was best left to my childhood with bad memories of white bread sandwiches and slices of canned beetroot. So it was with a bit of reservation that I tried this recipe as it involves two, yes two cans of beetroot but what a result. Creamy, earthy and salty - what a great combination. 

Ingredients
serves 4
takes 40mins
  • 2 x 400g cans beetroot in juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 200g arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 200g goat’s milk feta, crumbled
  • bunch of baby spinach leaves
  • freshly crack pepper 
Method
  1. Process the canned beetroot and juice in a food processor until smooth. I left some chunks in mine. Add a little water if necessary and process until you have a pourable consistency. Reserve.
  2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the onion,
    garlic and thyme and fry gently until the onion is tender. Add the rice and fry, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Add a ladle of the beetroot puree to the rice and stir until 2⁄3 of the liquid has been absorbed before adding another 100ml. Continue adding the puree, 100ml at a time, cooking until the rice is al dente and the risotto is moist but spoonable. If you need more liquid just use water.
  4. Add the red wine and baby spinach leaves and stir until spinach is just wilted.
  5. Season heavily with black pepper.
  6. Combine the pine nuts, oil and vinegar. Serve the risotto topped with the nut mixture and crumbled feta. Enjoy!

Inspired by Cuisine

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Salt and Pepper Prawns with Noodles

Fantastic quick meal adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe I found on Pinterest. Zesty, fresh flavours. Prep time: 10 minutes, cooking time even less.

Ingredients
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 400 g prawns, peeled
  • 200 g dry rice noodles such as vermicelli
  • 2 tbs lime or lemon juice
  • 2 tbs sweet chilli sauce OR another marinade of choice
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks or shredded
  • 1 medium cucumber, halved, deseeded, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh coriander
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 red chile, finely chopped or substitute with 1/2 tsp chilli flakes. I kept the seeds in as my chiles aren't that hot 
Method
  1. Combine the sea salt, pepper and chilli in a large bowl. Add the prawns and toss to coat. 
  2. Place the noodles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Stand for 5 minutes or until softened. Drain.
  3. Combine the juice, chilli and fish sauces in a large bowl. Add the noodles, carrot, cucumber, cabbage, shallots and half the coriander. Toss gently to combine.
  4. Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Stir-fry the prawns, in batches, for 2–3 minutes or until the prawns change colour and are just cooked through. 
  5. Serve the cooked prawns with the noodle salad and the remaining coriander. Enjoy!