Sunday, 25 January 2015

Creamy Avocado Basil Pasta

Pasta tends to be a bit heavy during summer so loving this light sauce that hides a bucketful of spinach but requires no cooking. Handy when you need some carbs for that run or cycle the next morning.

Ingredients
serves 2
takes 15 minutes
  • pasta of choice (I used about 250grams dried pappardelle but this works with any type of pasta including fresh)
  • 2 avocados, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • large bunch of baby spinach leaves
  • 6 large basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly cracked pepper 
  • 1/4 cup starchy water (from the cooked pasta)
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve 
Method

  1. Grab a large pot & fill with water, add a pinch of sea salt and bring to the boil. Add pasta and cook according to instructions. Save 1/4 cup of the pasta water then drain.
  2. Into a food processor add the rest of the ingredients with the pasta water. Save the parmesan cheese to serve. Blend everything until smooth. 
  3. Serve the sauce over the warm pasta sprinkled with parmesan cheese and freshly cracked pepper. Enjoy! 


Saturday, 20 December 2014

Creamy lentil vol-au-vents

Vol-au-vents seem so 80s but officially in love with this Yotam Ottolenghi recipe from his cookbook "Plenty". Half way through making these I thought, oops, this is a recipe for starters but the sheet of pastry made about 12 bases which satisfied the two of us nicely. Note to self though, they would make awesome entrees when entertaining, as you can make the topping ahead of time.

Ingredients 
serves 2-3 (as main)
takes about 60 mins 

  • 1 cup puy or green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 handfuls of baby spinach, stems trimmed, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 handful each fresh coriander and mint, picked and roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 x sheet of puff pastry
  • dash of milk, to brush pastry

Method

  1. Rinse the lentils first in case there are any little stones,
    then add to a pot with four cups of water and the bay leaves & bring to the boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
  2. Dry fry the cumin and coriander on a medium heat for two minutes until the aromas are released, then grind. Set aside.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for five minutes, until golden & soft. Add the ground spices and garlic, cook for two minutes, then mix in the lentils. When cool, stir in the yogurt, spinach, herbs, splash of oil, lemon juice and seasoning. Preheat the oven to 180oC.
  4. Unroll the pastry so it's 3mm thick and cut out as many circles as you can get that are roughly about 8cm in diameter. If they are smaller, no worries, means you can have more. 
  5. Place them on a baking sheet & refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  6. Brush the chilled pastry with milk and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden on top and underneath. Allow to cool slightly. 
  7. To serve, place a disc on a plate, pile on a heap of lentils so you can just see the edges of the pastry, and drizzle with olive oil. So good!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Cacao Chip Banana Bread

Found some bananas hiding in the fridge that were looking a bit sad so why not make banana bread, no sugar and cacao chips thrown in for some texture & chocolatey taste.

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp rice syrup 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup cacao chips
  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Instructions

  1. Pre heat oven to 160oC and line a loaf tin with baking paper
  2. Mash together bananas, olive oil, yoghurt, rice syrup, eggs, chips & vanilla. Sift in flour, baking soda & baking powder & stir until well combined.
  3. Pour into the loaf tin and cook for 50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean and loaf is golden brown. So good!


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Mushroom, Leek & Israeli Couscous Risotto

That's right, risotto made with Israeli couscous! And, hardly any stirring AND on the table within 30 minutes - bonus for a week day dinner. This was inspired from The Revive Cafe cookbook #4.

Ingredients
serves 2-3
takes 30 minutes

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped or crushed (cut back if you aren't big garlic fans)
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 4-6 portobello or flat mushrooms, chopped into chunks
  • 2 tbsp almond meal/flour (ground up almond!)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 1 large lemon, juiced & zest
  • parmesan cheese, finely grated
Method
  1. Pour 2 cups of water or stock and 1 cup of couscous into a pot and bring to the boil then lower heat & simmer for about 6-8 minutes. Stir occasionally & check for bite (it is pasta after all). Once cooked, drain and set aside.
  2. While couscous is cooking, heat olive oil in a pot over a medium heat. Add sliced leeks, crushed garlic & sauté until soft - about 8 minutes - then add chopped mushrooms & cook for a few minutes longer. 
  3. Add almond meal & give it a good stir. Add cooked couscous. 
  4. Throw in a pinch of salt & soy sauce, stirring. If it needs more moisture add stock or water.
  5. Take off the heat & add lemon juice, zest, parmesan cheese and a good grind of freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!


Friday, 24 October 2014

Beetroot and Brown Rice Risotto

All my beets are coming up in my wee gardens and this recipe hit the spot. It's a bit messy having to peel the beet but just throw on some rubber gloves. This recipe comes from My Petite Kitchen Cookbook by Eleanor Ozich. Totally recommend grabbing a copy.

Ingredients
serves 4
takes 45 minutes to cook risotto but no stirring required
  • 4 Tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 4-6 garlic gloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup medium grain brown rice (I used a mix of wild, brown & black rice)
  • 500g peeled & grated beetroot (about 6 medium sizes beets)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 block feta, crumbled or parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • fresh thyme leaves, to garnish (or sage etc works too)

Method
  1. Melt 2 Tbsp of the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion & garlic and cook stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until soft and slightly brown.
  2. Add the rice and cook, stirring gently for 5 minutes or until grains are toasted & fragrant.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, add the beetroot, stock & 500ml (2 cups) of water. Simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Stir in remaining butter and half the cheese. Add a large pinch of sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Divide the risotto among 4 bowls, serve warm sprinkled with thyme and remaining cheese. Enjoy!


Source: My Petite Kitchen Cookbook by Eleanor Ozich

Petite Kitchen: Sage and Lemon Butter Beans

It's unbelievable how something so simple had Trevor & I fighting over the last spoonfuls. Awesome recipe out of one of my favourite cookbooks, My Petite Kitchen, by Eleanor Ozich. Again I didn't take a photo so using Eleanor's until I make them next.

Ingredients
serves 2 as a side dish
  • 1 can of organic butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • a good glug of extra virgin olive oil OR 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large brown onion, diced 
  • 3-6 cloves of garlic (cut back if you aren't a big garlic fan)roughly chopped 
  • a large handful of fresh sage, leaves only 
  • juice of one lemon 
  • sea salt 
  • freshly cracked pepper

Method 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and sage, and cook while stirring, until browned and slightly crispy. 
  2. Add the butter beans, and continue to cook for a minute or so. Add the lemon juice, and a good pinch of salt and pepper, and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes, just to let all the flavors sink in to each other. 
  3. Remove from the heat and serve immediately. Add a little more seasoning, and an extra drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!


Photo source: Petite Kitchen

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Palak Paneer

This is one of my favourite Indian dishes, made with paneer, a curd cheese commonly used in Indian cooking, it is cooked in a smooth spinach curry. It's one of those dishes that just looks wrong but tastes oh so right! 

Ingredients
serves 4
takes 40 minutes

for the palak puree:
  • 1 large bunch fresh spinach leaves OR silverbeet washed & roughly chopped (I take the large stems off)
  • 1 or 2 green chilies, deseeded, roughly chopped
  • 2-4 garlic gloves, peeled
  • ½ inch ginger, roughly chopped
for the palak curry: 
  • 2 tbsp oil or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 4-5 garlic gloves, finely chopped 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp red chili powder 
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • 200g paneer or tofu, cut into 5cm cubes
  • Greek yoghurt or cream for serving
  • Rice or naan bread for serving
Method
To make the spinach puree: 
  1. Place the leaves in a saucepan, sprinkle with rock salt and cover with a small amount of water then boil until it just wilts then drain.
  2. Squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and add to food processor along with the chilli, garlic & ginger and blend until smooth. Set aside.
To make the palak curry: 
  1. Heat oil in a pan over a medium-high heat 
  2. Add cumin seeds, garlic, onion & bay leaf and cook until the onion becomes soft
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, turmeric powder, chilli powder and garam masala and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the paneer cubes and simmer gently for 5 minutes then add the spinach puree and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes
  5. Serve with yoghurt, rice or naan bread on the side and enjoy!