Saturday, 18 January 2014

Lamb, Chilli & Pesto Burgers

You can use my poor man's pesto recipe here and throw in whatever herbs are on hand. Just think lamb and ... go together. In this case my little garden is full of coriander, rosemary, mint and some big red chilli so they all ended up in these.

takes 20 minutes
serves 2-4 (one was enough for me but Trevor managed two)

Pattie ingredients:-
  • 500g lean lamb mince
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • handful fresh coriander leaves & rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped (my chilli's aren't that hot so use as much or little as you prefer)
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • 2-4 burger buns
  • salad filling such as: cos lettuce, avocado, tomato, cucumber
  • onion chutney
 Mint yoghurt to serve (optional):-
  • yoghurt
  • fresh mint
  1. Place all the pattie ingredients in a bowl and mix together
    then divide into 4 patties.
  2. Place a small amount of oil into a fry pan and heat on high. Place patties into the pan and flatten slightly, cook on high for between 4-6 minutes each side. I like mine slightly pink in the middle. Let them rest covered for 5 minutes.
  3. Assemble the burgers: split the burger buns & place under grill to warm through. Place all the different fillings on the table and let everyone make their own creations. Enjoy!

Balsamic Onion Chutney

This goes great with my Lamb Burgers or Decadent Scrambled Eggs and can be added to sooo many meals. Onions turn sweet when cooked slow & a spoonful of honey (or rice syrup now I'm cutting out fructose) helps as well!

makes 2 cups
takes 30 minutes of slow cooking, 5 mins to prep
  • 3 large onions, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp honey or rice syrup (depends how sweet you like it)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I used Glaze of Balsamic which has a thicker consistancy)
  1. Place all the ingredients except the vinegar into a pan on a high heat and stir for a couple of minutes before turning down to a low heat and simmering for around 25 minutes, stir every now & then so they don't stick. You want them to soften and turn golden brown.
  2. Add the vinegar and cook for a further 5 minutes. Will store in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!

Raw Berry Cheesecake

For my last birthday, Trevor got me a lovely raw berry cheesecake from a local 'unbakery', which was yummy but I questioned the very high price tag. This set the wheels in motion for some experimentation so I could produce one for his birthday which also falls on Xmas Day so it needed to be enjoyed by all. It's a pity I didn't take photos of all the trial ones (for some reason I'm doing a lot of cooking at the moment but forgetting to take pixs!) but here's the final version. They are easy to make as there is no cooking involved however there is some prepping but the final product is a healthy, delicious cheesecake that I'll be making again and again and...well I'm sure you get the picture.

  • 2 cups of nuts such as: macadamia nuts; almonds, walnuts or pecan – can use one or a mix
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pitted medjool dates (can use other dates but I noticed a big difference to the taste when you use medjool, you get a more stickier, sweeter finish)
  • 3 cups raw cashews (soaked for 2-4 hours and then drained; I
    usually do mine overnight)
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup agave or honey or maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped or 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen berries, can be a mix or strawberries or blueberries for example
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pitted medjool dates, processed so they are smooth & gooey
  • 2 cups fresh berries to serve 
  1. To make the cheesecake crust, lightly grease a 22cm round
    springform tin with coconut oil and sprinkle over some shredded coconut so it coats the base & sides. This helps to prevent the cake sticking. Or you can line with baking paper however I like the texture the coconut adds.
  2. Place the nuts, rest of the coconut & pinch of salt in a food processor & process until they are crumbly then add the dates & continue processing until well mixed. Press into the base of your tin and pop into the freezer while you prepare the next layer. 
  3. To make filling, pop into the food processor (I didn't bother washing mine out) process all the ingredients until smooth then pour mixture over the base and return to freezer while you make the topping.
  4. To make the berry sauce topping: stir berries, water & dates together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the berries begin to pop and the syrup thickens, about 10 minutes. Let cool then pour over the cheesecake and return to freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. To serve: you can either slice off what you want & leave the rest of the cheesecake in the freezer or take the whole cheesecake out & let it defrost for around 1/2 hour. Ditto with the slices as well, you need to bring to room temperature before digging in. Enjoy!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Pea and Spinach Frittata

Another goodie from kiwi chef, Annabel Langbein. The only change I made was adding more feta and spinach plus I don't cook the spinach.

serves 4
takes 30 minutes
  • 8 free range eggs
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1-2 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 200g feta, crumbled
  • sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  1. Add eggs, peas, spinach, half the feta, seasoning and mint to a
    bowl, whisking to mix.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy based frypan that is oven friendly and add
    egg mixture. Cook over a low/medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the sides are just set.
  3. Cook about 15cm below a preheated grill until set and starting to puff, about 5-8 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool in pan then serve large wedges. Enjoy!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Squid & Baby Potatoes with Fried Chorizo Dressing

 I needed to use up some of the frozen squid hiding out in the back of my freezer and this recipe from Cuisine did the trick.

serves 4
takes 30 minutes
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (or sherry)
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 spicy chorizo, diced 1cm
  • 8-10 baby potatoes, scrubbed
  • squid, I had a mix of pineapple cut & rings so used about 1/2 a bag
  1. Heat oven to 180oC and place tomatoes in a small baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for around 15 minutes or until tomatoes are slightly golden. Cool then place on a serving platter.
  2. Put potatoes in a saucepan of salted water & bring to boil until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well and crush slightly with a fork and add to platter with tomatoes.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium-hot fry pan and fry chorizo for 4-5 minutes until crisp. Set aside & add to dressing.
  4. To make the dressing: Put the oil, vinegar, spring onions,
    olives, garlic, capers & coriander in a bowl and mix well. 
  5. To cook squid: Heat a heavy frying pan until very hot, season squid pieces then fry until they are slightly brown, only takes 1 minute as you do not want to over cook. Add to platter then spoon over dressing. Enjoy!

Beef and Salad Wraps with Ginger & Chilli Dressing

Crispy, fresh quick week day meal thanks to Dish #51. I omitted the rice as we found this filling without it but if you need to make it go further add some cooked rice.

serves 4
takes 30 minutes
  • 500g rump steak
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Dressing: 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger; 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar; 1/4 cup caster sugar; 2 tbsp fish sauce; 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes; 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • To serve: 1/3 cup cashew nuts, roasted; handful fresh coriander, chopped; cos lettuce, leaves washed & separated; 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced; 2 cups carrot, grated 
  1. Dressing: Place all the ingredients except lime juice, in a
    saucepan & bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool then add lime juice.
  2. Beef: Season steaks with salt & pepper on both sides, rubbing it in as you go. Heat pan to high and cook 2-3 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate & let it rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly and toss with the meat juices.
  3. To serve: Chop the cashew nuts and coriander together and place into a serving bowl. Arrange the beef, lettuce, cucumber & carrots on serving plates and let everyone help themselves. Enjoy!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Succulent Poached Prawns with Israeli Couscous

This salad involves some prep but like most it's easy to throw together with minimal ingredients and provides a very filling, very yummy meal.

serves 4
takes 30 minutes
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 bulbs garlic, minced
  • 500 grams prawns, shelled & deveined - I used frozen prawns that had been defrosted in the fridge for several hours so they were still cold and a little bit frozen
  • salt
  • 4-6 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • bunch of mint, leaves finely sliced
  • 300 grams walnuts (or pine nuts), toasted
  • 1/3 cup of mayonnaise 
  • 1/4-1/2 cup plain natural yoghurt
  • 150 grams feta
  • lemon, juice & zest
  1. In a large pot bring some water to a boil, add 1/2 tsp of salt, dissolve, turn the heat off and add the prawns so they are mostly covered & let it sit for 10 minutes or until the prawns have turned pink and cooked through.  
  2. Drain and add to a large platter with the baby spinach leaves, chopped mint & walnuts.
  3. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the couscous then turn heat down to medium and cook until pasta is al dente, soft but pasta has a bite or slightly firm in the middle - mine took about 6 minutes. 
  4. Drain couscous then add the finely sliced fennel bulb & minced garlic and stir while couscous is still warm.
  5. Add to platter with spinach leaves. Crumble feta over the top.
  6. Mix mayonnaise and yoghurt and pour over salad.
  7. To serve - zest and juice a lemon and sprinkle over. Enjoy!
Adapted from Ray McVinnie