Category Archives: Comfort Food

Cheese and Olive Tart – because I love anything with cheese (and olives)

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I love cheese, cheese with cheese, cheese with olives, cheese with anything else I can find so I can have cheese. I love cheesecake but I’m over the sweetness so for ages I have been thinking about making a savoury cheesecake to satisfy my longing for cheesecake but without the sugar.

This is an Olive and Cheese Tart. Its super easy. I made my own pastry but you don’t have to. You can use bought or make a biscuit crumb base if you want to but I’ve included the recipe for gluten free pastry I used.

I served this for lunch with salad and we all ate three slices each.

For the Pastry You Will Need

6oz Flour
4oz butter
2 Eggs
Salt

To Make the Pastry

Rub the butter into the flour until it is crumbed
Add the eggs and knead together adding extra flour until you have a soft dough that sticks together.

I always roll gluten free pastry between two sheets of baking paper and use the baking paper to support the pastry whilst I move it to the tin.

I used a 10 inch (27cm) diameter pie tart tin with a removable base. Make sure to grease and flour the tin well. Put the pastry into the tin pressing gently into the corners.
Blind bake the pastry for 10 minutes at 180o. Remove and cool.

While the pastry is baking have a cuppa and begin the filling.

To Make the Filling

Mix together until well combined:

1/2 cup (125ml) of Sour Cream
1 Cup (250ml) of Ricotta Cheese
1 Cup of (250ml)Cream Cheese
1 Cup of Tasty Cheese
1/4 Cup of Self Raising Flour
Zest of two Lemons of a piece of preserved Lemon chopped
1/2 heaped Cup of Pimento stuffed Green Olives chopped in half
2 Tablespoons of chopped Parsley
3 Eggs
Salt and Pepper

To Make the Tart

Pour the filling into the tart case and bake at 180o for 40 minutes.

Thats it! Now impress everyone.

Holy Jebus Easy Lentils with Tomato Sauce, Caramelised Onion and Pistachios

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This has always been one of my hubby Pete’s favourite meals. When my son Seth had his first son, I made this for him and his lovely partner Clara and Seth texted later – ‘Holy Jebus that was good!!! Can we have the recipe?’

So now I call it Holy Jebus Lentils.

Here is the recipe for you Seth and for everyone else who likes honest wholesome yummy food. This recipe has three cooking parts but don’t let that put you off as each part is super super easy.

Each part has only 2 or 3 ingredients and at the most 4 steps

Part 1 is the lentils, rice and pumpkin and I’ll give you the instructions for both white and brown rice. I use brown rice but I know some people really hate brown rice. Part 2 is the sauce and Part 3 is the onions.

For the Lentils you will need:

1 Cup of Lentils – I use the nice small brown ones sometimes called French Lentils but red or green is okay too.
1 Cup of Brown Rice (instructions included for white rice)
6 Cups of Stock – any stock is fine
2 Cups of chopped pumpkin
1 dessertspoon of maple syrup or brown sugar
Oil for frying

To Make with Brown Rice

1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the Lentils for about 5 minutes until they brown and start to smell nice and nutty.
2. Add the brown rice and fry for another 3 – 5 minutes.
3. Add 6 cups of stock, salt to taste and simmer covered for 40 minutes until all the stock is absorbed. If the liquid isn’t absorbed at the end of the cooking just leave the lid on for another 10 minutes or so and the rice and lentils will take up the remaining liquid.
4. While the lentils are cooking chop the pumpkin into 1cm cubes, rub or toss the pumpkin in the maple syrup and roast in the oven until cooked – about 30 minutes.

To Make with White Rice

Follow step 1 above.
2. Cook the lentils in 3 cups of water for 15 minutes then add the other 3 cups of water and the white rice and cook covered for another 15 minutes
Follow step 4.

For The Sauce You Will Need

1 Capsicum Chopped
3 Large Tomatos Chopped
1 Heaped Dessertspoon of Brown Sugar
1 Heaped Dessertspoon of Ground Cumin
Salt

To Make The Sauce

1. Fry Capsicum in pan until just going brown
2. Add all other ingredients into the pan and cook for 20 minutes or until tomato is going mushy
3. Blend until smooth

For the Onion You Will Need

2 Large Onions halved then sliced
4 Garlic Cloves chopped
1 Heaped Dessertspoon of Brown Sugar

To Make the Onion

1. Fry the Onion and Garlic until brown and transparent
2. Add the Sugar and fry until caramelised

To Serve

You will now have four components, The lentils, the sauce, the onions and the pistachios

1. Place Lentils in a bowl
2. Sprinkle some pumpkin on top
3. Spoon the tomato sauce over
4. Add some Caramelised Onion on top
5. Sprinkle with Pistachios

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Easy One Pot Lamb (with slow cooker instructions)

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Every now and then my husband Pete gets a real craving for a good lamb casserole. Especially on cold wintry Ballarat days when the air blows icy from the Antartica, it whooshes right over Tasmania and straight up to our front door and nothing beats the cold like a hearty one pot. This is my go to recipe. It’s super easy and yummy and I make it in our slow cooker. I pop it on at night and the next morning we have hot lamb ready to eat all day with Golden Mash or Parsley and Cheese Dumplings – I have given you the recipe for both.

You will need

1 kg of lamb – I used a leg but you can use any cut of lamb you like. I cut it into large chunks.
4 Cloves of Garlic chopped finely
1/4 cup of plain flour
2 large potatoes sliced
2 Onions sliced
4 small to medium Carrots sliced
1/4 cup of mixed herbs
1 cup of Mushrooms sliced

if using a slow cooker add 1 cup of any broth

if using a stove top use 2 cups of broth

To Make It

Cut the excess fat off the lamb and chop it into large pieces and put it into the pot or slow cooker.
Tip in the flour and rub it over the lamb covering the pieces
Put in all other ingredients.

To Cook It

If using a slow cooker cook on auto or on high until bubbling then turn to low and cook for 8 hours (Or do as I do and put it on at night and leave over night)

If using a pot on the stove cook covered over a low heat for 2 – 4 hours or until the meat is tender and falling apart

Serve with either Golden Mash or Parsley and Cheese Dumplings:

Golden Mash

Cook equal parts potato and pumpkin or yam and then mash with sour cream

Parsley Dumplings

Mix together:

1 cup of self raising flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup of grated cheese
1 tablespoon of milk

Drop balls of dumpling mix about a dessertspoon size onto the top of the stew, cover and continue to cook for 20 minutes or until dumplings are cooked.

Pea, Blue Cheese and Mash Frittata

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Sometimes when you cook with only what you have in the fridge a surprise happens. This was one of those surprises. This was Sunday brunch and was so yummy we made it again for lunch today. Twice in one week so has to be good right. If you have some left over mash this is the recipe you need.

You will need

6 X- large eggs or 8 Large ones
1/2 cup of grated tasty cheese
1/2 cup of grated sharp parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese
1 cup of shredded baby spinach
1 cup of frozen or fresh peas
1 and 1/2 cups of mashed potato and pumpkin

To Make

1. Put all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk with an egg whisker until well combined.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a 24cm fry pan. When the oil is heated swish it around the pan so it covers the sides as well as the bottom.

3. Pour in the egg mixture and cook over a low heat on the burner for 20 minutes or until the frittata has risen and is cooked and not wobbly in the middle.

4. Sprinkle generously with grated tasty and parmesan cheese.

5. When cooked brown the top of the frittata with a kitchen torch or by placing under the griller.

Alternatively you could bake this in a moderate oven until risen and cooked.

Jammy Plummy Cakes

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I first made these about a week ago and due to popular demand have made them 3 times since. I like them hot with cream but they get eaten hot or cold and really quickly disappear. Because we are a gluten free household I use gluten free flour but this can be replaced with ordinary flour. This recipe will make six big cakes. For smaller cakes you will need more plums.

Ingredients

3 plums – not too ripe or they will just go mushy. I like the tartness of using quite unripe plums that are really firm
Jam – I use any jam we happen to have in the house
125 grams butter
3/4 cup of caster sugar
2 eggs beaten lightly
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
2 cups of self raising flour
1/4 cup of milk
1/4 cup of yogurt

Making the jammy cakes

Butter the insides of a cupcake or muffin tin and then line the cake moulds with baking paper as well – now here I cut the baking paper from the corners to near the middle so the sides will fold into the moulds without creasing.

Place a dessertspoon of jam in the bottom of each mould.

Halve the plums and put each half into the bottom of the mould, pressing down so the jam spreads around the plum.

Now make the batter. Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 1 cup of flour and stir in, add the milk and stir in, add the next cup of flour and stir in then add the yogurt and stir into the batter. Finally stir in the vanilla essence.

Place enough batter into the cake tin to cover the plum, you may need to spread it around. Next place a dessertspoon of jam over the batter and spread it around. Add another layer of the batter and spread it around to finish off.

Bake in a moderate oven for 25 minutes.

Remove the cakes but leave them in the moulds for 5 minutes.

Remove the cakes by turning them upside down on a wire cooling rack or on a tray and remove the baking paper. Serve the cakes upside down.

Sensational Breakfast Sanga (Indea’s favourite breakfast)

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This is Indea’s favourite breakfast and she asked me to share it. Super easy but super yummy and vegetables are the star. Long weekend Breakfasts are sacred in our family, many pots of tea, coffee, good food and long leisurely yarns with those you love most – what in life is better?

For this Sanga you will need

Toast for each person. Indea and I like an open sandwich but Pete likes two sliced of bread, top and bottom for his.

Capsicum

Spinach

Tomatoes

Haloumi Cheese

Avocado

Tomato Pesto ( you can use shop bought or you can make it. I like to whizz together garlic cloves, sundries tomatoes, macadamias and enough olive oil to make it to a spreading consistency)

To make it

Grill or fry the haloumi and capsicum until golden and cooked through, slice the tomatoes and avocado

Spread the toast liberally with the tomato pesto, layer the vegetables on top.

Super easy and super yummy

Matcha Impossible Pie

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Impossible Pie is an oldie but a goodie. It’s called Impossible Pie because it’s impossible to stuff up. If you cook it too long it becomes a cake and too short and its baked custard. I’ve bought it into the modern era by adding Matcha.

There’s only one step to this pie. Usually I whizz everything up in a blender but you can mix it all by hand.

Ingredients

2 Cups of Milk or Coconut Milk
1 Cup of desiccated Coconut
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup of Self Raising Flour
125 grams (4 Oz) of butter
3/4 Cup of Castor Sugar
3 Teaspoons of Matcha Powder (Green Tea Powder)or 4 for a stronger flavour

To Make it

Whizz all these ingredients in a blender or mix well by hand. Pour into a greased and floured baking dish. Bake at 175c for 60 minutes. Turn the oven down if the top is getting too brown.

When cool place in the fridge to set and serve cold with cream.

Options:

Use vanilla for normal impossible pie, add extra matcha for stronger flavour, sometimes I use coconut milk instead of cows milk – this gives an extra coconut flavour but also makes it a bit heavier. Some times I use half milk and half cream for extra creaminess, decadence and extra calories.

Seared Tuna with Olive, Feta and Pomegranate Couscous

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It is getting so hot in tropical Queensland that meals which require very little cooking, are healthy and quick to make, are essential. Tuna, egg and olives make such a happy trio. I created this last night and we settled back with our bowls of yummy couscous and tuna, under the ceiling fan and chilled out with Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

For four hungry people

You will need

4 Tuna Steaks – You can use Tempeh for a Veggie Option

2 Cups of dry Couscous. I use corn couscous because we are gluten free and this is available in most supermarkets in the health section

4 Eggs boiled hard, shelled and chopped

1 cup of chopped Olives

I red Capsicum finely diced

125 grams of Feta cheese

1 bunch of finely chopped fresh Coriander (otherwise known as cilantro)

1/4 cup of Lemon juice

1/4 cup of Pomegranate syrup (sometimes called Pomegranate Molasses)

1 Lemon

Optional extras

1/2 cup of toasted Pine Nuts

The seeds of one Pomegranate

To Make it

Prepare the Couscous by putting the dry couscous into a large bowl and pouring over 4 cups of boiling water. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Whilst this is happening I pop on the eggs to boil. When the couscous has absorbed most of the water and is fluffy and soft to eat drain it in a sieve and run it under the cold tap. This will stop the cooking process and stop it from becoming gluggy. Place the well drained cold couscous into a large bowl.

Add

The Olives, diced red capsicum, most of the chopped coriander keeping some aside for garnish, crumble in the feta cheese, 1/4 cup of lemon juice and the 1/4 cup of pomegranate molasses. If you are adding pomegranate seeds and/or toasted pine nuts pop them in now too.

Combine well until the pomegranate molasses and lemon juice are thoroughly spread throughout the couscous.

Set aside and sear the Tuna Steaks on both sides

To Serve

Place the couscous salad into bowls, place the sliced Tuna steaks on top, sprinkle on the diced egg and remaining coriander.

Add a 1/4 lemon to each plate so eaters can squeeze over their tuna

Easy Agedashi Tofu

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This is our go to quick healthy snack. I love Agedashi Tofu and could easily eat it for three meals a day. This recipe takes less than half an hour to whip up. What can I say? Tofu has come a long way.

This recipe makes 2 large serves.

You will need

400grams of Firm Silken Tofu
Bonito flakes
1 teaspoon of Bonito Stock
1 cup of Potato Flour
2 Tablespoons of Mirin
1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce
1 Cup of water
Coconut Oil

First Make the Stock

Place the bonito stock, water, miring and soy into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Then set aside.

Next Make the Tofu

Because you are using Silken Tofu you will need to be gentle with it.
Pat the Tofu dry with towel.
Cut the tofu into cubes, I use fairly large cubes and cut each 200g packet of Tofu into 4.
Coat each cube in potato flour
Immediately gently fry each cube on each side in the hot coconut oil until slightly golden.

To serve

Place the lightly fried Tofu in a bowl, pour over the warm broth, sprinkle with the bonito flakes and enjoy immediately.

Note: You can purchase mirin, bonito flakes and stock in most supermarkets but if yours doesnt have it an asian grocer most likely will. You will find the potato flour in the flour section of most supermarkets

Robbi’s easy peasy 100% Rye Bread and nothing else (made for Pete)

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My lovely husband Peter looked at the salt content in shop bought bread and had a coronary over his sardines on toast so I said I would make home made bread for him that was 100% rye – his favourite.

This bread is so yummy and so easy to make I’m now making it every second day – (ahh what you can manage when the kids fly away).

Smile because there are no arduous hours of kneading and the smell of bread cooking and the taste of hot bread smothered in butter is one of those things that makes life worth living.

Just make sure you have somewhere warm away from drafts to leave the bread whilst it rises. Up here in the tropics that means anywhere.

Ingredients

6 Cups of Rye Flour

2 Teaspoons of Yeast granules

2 Dessertspoons of Molasses

1 Teaspoon of salt

1/4 Cup of Rice Bran Oil

2 Cups of Warm Water

To Make that Dough

Put the rye flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre, put the yeast into the well, sprinkle the salt and molasses over the yeast. Pour over 1 of the cups of warm water, stir the well until the salt, molasses and yeast is mixed into the water but don’t stir in all the flour.

Leave it in a warm place for about 15 – 20 minutes, after this time there should be bubbles in the watery-yeast mix.

Pour in the other cup of water and the oil and mix the whole lot up until combined. Cover with a towel if you have drafts near by and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size or for about 1 – 2 hours.

Now cover  your hand in rye flour and knead the dough. I usually do this in the bowl using one hand. As its rye you won’t knead to knead (hah hah) for long – just until the dough is doughy and holding together and a bit shiny and elastic – no more than 20 kneads.

Now shape it into the tin you want to bake it in and leave it in a warm place for another 1 – 2 hours until it doubles in shape again.

Bake that Bread

Now bake the bread at 175 degrees celsius or 350 farenheight for 1 hour.

When cooked tip the bread out, slice, smother so its dripping in butter (another coronary coming on) and try not to eat the entire loaf in half an hour.

Prosciutto Brown Fried Rice – Healthy and Yummy

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We have rushed or no breakfast during the week but weekend breakfasts are sacred in our family – they last over many cups of tea and coffee for as long as possible. This fried rice was born when I got up to make big weekend breakfast of rice that reminded me of the rice breakfasts we had in Cambodia. When I opened the fridge door I found we had barely any supplies and I wasn’t ready to get dressed and hit the shops so I used what we had. Luckily I had a few really yummy ingredients that surprised us all by making a perfect marriage and now this is our family fried rice recipe and now we eat it for any meal and cook enough to make sure there are plenty of left overs .

Ingredients you will need:

5 Cups of Brown Cooked Rice

6 Eggs

1 Red Capsicum finely diced

800 grams of Broccoli heads finely shredded – don’t cut the broccoli into florets slice through it like you would if shredding lettuce so it falls off the head like rice

2 Red Onions – love love love sweet red onions

1/2 Cup of Soy Sauce

200 grams of Prosciutto torn into pieces

2 teaspoons of Keanes curry powder – this is optional – sometimes I leave it out. I use Keanes for this recipe rather than making the curry paste, because it is mild for breakfast and has a slight sweetness.

Coconut Oil

Making the Fried Rice

Place a good dob of coconut oil into a large frying pan (I use one that has a 34cm diameter)and heat it, when its good and hot and everything will sizzle drop in the prosciutto, onion and capsicum and fry until the onion and capsicum is browned and the prosciutto is crispy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Beat the eggs into a bowel. Warm some more coconut oil in a fresh smaller pan (I use one that has a 26 cm diameter). When hot pour in the eggs, lift the eggs around the edges as it cooks so the uncooked egg can run underneath to cook. When cooked flip out onto a bread board, roll and slice into thin strips.

Now put the large saucepan (with the prosciutto mix) back on the heat and add the shredded broccoli. Cook for a couple of minutes until the broccoli softens, then add the cooked rice, soy sauce and curry powder. Finally add the shredded eggs and fold through.

And Eat.

Added extras – I like a squeeze of lemon juice over my rice, my husband Pete likes more soy sauce and fried egg.

Vegetarian Option – Discard the prosciutto and instead use Tofu Chips. To make Tofu chips cut hard tofu into rectangles. Mix 4 tablespoons of flour with mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Coat the tofu pieces and fry in coconut oil. Then add to the rice at the end with the eggs.

 

 

Carrot, Maple & Macadamia Cake

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It was a scorching 35 degrees celsius in Townsville and so what did I decide to do to stay cool – I decided to bake. Really I was trying to avoid looking at my manuscript which is due back at the publishers in just a few weeks because I am filled with trepidation – no I lie – I am filled with utter panic that I’m not up to the task. So instead of writing why not bake. My Peter has declared this his all time favourite cake. It was influenced by Pete Evans – all kudos and bowing to Pete Evans but I’ve made a few changes to his wonderful recipe (sorry Pete) to suit our tastes. But if you want his version of this cake which included dried fruit that My Pete can’t eat and less nuts and more eggs you can find it in his book Healthy Every Day. This is a dense nourishing cake so don’t expect light and fluffy. I like it served hot with cream, Pete liked it cold with ice-cream. Its super easy to make.  I posted my original how-to-stay-cool-while-Australia-burns-carrot-maple-and-walnut-cakes to Facebook and some of my friends asked for the recipe but as I never measure I had to bake another cake – seen above so here is the recipe.

Ingredients

4 cups of grated carrot

100 grams of chopped macadamias

100 grams of chopped walnuts

125 mls (1/2 cup) of maple syrup

125 mls (1/2 cup) of coconut oil

2 teaspoons of Vanilla essence

2 teaspoons of Cinnamon ( Being a cinnamon lover I usually spill a little more cinnamon in)

2 teaspoons of ginger

125 grams Self Raising Flour Gluten Free or use 125 grams of any other flour and add 1 teaspoon of baking powder

6 large eggs or 8 smaller eggs

Mix all this together and bake at 175 degrees, 20 minutes for smaller  serve cakes (which is what I baked) and 60 minutes for a large cake or until a skewer comes out clean

 

 

Spanakopita Gluten Free – Spinach and Cheese Pie

Our current favourite we are eating this once a week

Our current favourite we are eating this once a week

We love spanakopita – the salty fetta, healthy spinach. I have worked to perfect this recipe over the last 6 months to get it how we think is just the right combination of fetta, other cheeses and the spinach. Its super easy to make. Super yummy and there is never any left over.

You will need:

1 diced onion, sautéed until it is just browning

1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

1 cup of grated tasty cheese

200 grams of fetta cheese (I use the Danish because I love its creaminess)

300 grams of  spinach leaves, chopped and make sure they are dry (even though I find it difficult to cook anything that has the word baby to describe it I do use baby spinach leaves)

6 eggs

3 tablespoons of fresh oregano

1/2 cup of gluten free self raising flour – now you can leave this out and sometimes I do – but then you have to make sure the spinach really is dry. If you add the 1/2 cup of flour you will have a fail safe pie.

No salt – the fetta is salty enough on its own

To make it:

what it will look like before you pop it in the oven

what it will look like before you pop it in the oven

Combine all these ingredients and pour into an oiled baking dish and top with extra cheese and some extra fresh oregano. Bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes or until set and browned nicely on top.

To Upload it

Sometimes – and my daughters love it when I do this – I line the greased dish with nitrate free prosciutto and then pop the spinach cheesy mix on top. It does make it more salty but also super yummy.

to upload line the dish with prosciutto

to upload line the dish with prosciutto

 

 

Raspberry and Banana Muffins

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I am a bit of a fussy muffin eater – they have to be moist and full of fruit and flavour. I have tried so many ways to make them but family feels I have hit the jackpot with these ones.

These are our favourite muffins – super yummy – super moist and they never last longer than the day they are cooked.

We love them for breakfast but they are also great for afternoon tea. I hope you love them as much as we do.

Ingredients

1 and a half cups of S.R. Flour

1/3 cup of oat bran (if you can’t get oat bran ground oats will do)

3 eggs

3/4 cup of dark brown sugar

200ml container of any yogurt (3/4 cup). I use a nice Jalna berry one

1/3 cup of cocoanut oil

1 cup of fresh or frozen berries

1 large banana, split down the middle and cut into thick slices

Cinnamon Sugar

For Cinnamon sugar mix 1/4 cup of cinnamon with 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar – you will use this to sprinkle on your hot muffins

Making them

gently combine all ingredients

ladle the mix into  muffin tins lined with baking paper. I make six large muffins but you could do 12 small ones

Bake the 6 large for about 20 minutes at 180 C or 350 F. If you make 12 small ones probably about 12 minutes will do it. You can tell they are ready when they are springy on top.

Remove from oven when cooked and sprinkle with cinnamon  sugar

Chilli Non Carne

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This recipe is one of my favourites – I love a good vegetarian Chilli as a comfort food, and a chilli that has chocolate in it is even better. I have been making this recipe for 20 or so years now. It tastes even better the next day when the flavours have really infused so if you are making it for friends you can make it the day before they come over.

Chilli Non Carne

You will need

2 sticks of celery finely sliced, making sure to include the leaves which have all the flavour

1 large or 2 small capsicums diced, you want the pieces to be between .5 and 1 cm (1/4 inch), you don’t want them too large and chunky

2 cloves of garlic – I use double this at least but I do love garlic so feel free to use more if you are also a garlic lover

2 onions finely diced

2 dessertspoons of chilli paste (more or less if you want extra hot or mild)

2 dessertspoons of dried oregano

1 dessertspoon of cumin powder

A good slug of olive oil.

Pop all this on the stove to simmer until the onions are tender, stir occasionally and whilst its simmering away prepare:

4 cups of carrots diced finely as above or grated if you want a mushier texture. I like the carrots diced because I really enjoy carrot flavour but my Girls prefer the carrots grated.

1 400 g tin of kidney beans

1 400 g tin of diced tomatoes

When the onions are tender and all those spices have cooked and blended add the carrots, kidney beans and tomatoes and cook covered over low heat until the carrots are really cooked. Normally I like my veggies crunchy but for this recipe you really want those carrots to be soft and to absorb all the chilli flavour.

Usually cooking the carrots takes about 30 minutes. When cooked add,

50 grams of good quality dark chocolate

2 tablespoons of tomato paste or pesto

Stir until the chocolate has melted, the chocolate will give the chilli a lovely rich colour and deeper flavour.

Serve with coriander (cilantro) salsa, sour cream or greek yogurt and rice or corn chips

Coriander Salsa

Combine in equal proportions:

diced avacado, cucumber and tomato

Sprinkle with lemon juice and lightly toss through 2 tablespoons of fresh coriander

Heavenly Hash with a Dash of Sin

 

My Aunt used to make this dessert every Christmas and I loved it. She was a strict Baptist so she never added the sin bit that I’ve put in – but my attraction to sin always did make me the black sheep of the family.

Its super quick to whip up.

Combine

500 grams of chopped strawberries ( don’t make the pieces too small) halves is usually okay unless they are those enormous G.M strawberries that the supermarket shelves are now full of.

1 sliced banana

1/4 cup of liqueur , – there’s the dash of sin. I used limoncello but cointreau would work, as would grand marnier, brandy, champagne etc. If you don’t want the alcohol you can omit it.

Leave this to marinade for about 1 hour in the fridge

Add

2 cups of chopped marshmallows

1 cup of grated eating chocolate, I used  Lindt Dark Strawberry Intense, but Toblerone would be great or Lindt Dark Chilli Chocolate.

300 mlx of thickened cream whipped

1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint

Gently combine this with the fruit.

Serve in a glass and sprinkle fresh mint on top – voila – a kinda healthy dessert – well it has got fruit in it so that means no calories right?

Poor Student Vegetable Soup (now also called Actors Soup)

 

I lived on this soup when I was a poor art student in the late 70’s.  I dressed in bright green tights and retro 1930’s dresses from the op shop, lived on a student allowance of $70 a fortnight and made gallons of this soup. I passed on this recipe to my youngest son who is at present a poor Jazz Piano student at the Conservatorium in another state (God I miss him!) . This soup is great because you can use it as a base and add anything you like to it according to your budget. It’s super healthy and so now I am putting it here for my  son Seth who is an actor on the other  side of the world in L.A. (God I miss him!) ,

Vegetable Soup

Into a large pot place one and half cups of each of the following vegetables:

diced onion

sliced celery

grated parsnip

grated turnip

grated carrots

Add

1 tablespoon of mixed herbs

A good lug of olive oil – about 4 tablespoons

salt and pepper

Fry everything for about 5 minutes stirring often. Its really important not to skip this step, this is what really brings out all the lovely vegetable flavours.

Add

500 g  (1 lb) of the cheapest bones you can find, lamb, beef, oxtail, ham hock, chicken anything is fine. I used lamb bones today but I just use what ever is cheapest. If you want a vegetarian soup leave out the bones but add some lentils or other legumes instead.

2 litres of vegetable stock, you can use the ready made stock or you can use powder or cubes and water which is what I did.

Bring to the boil then simmer gently for one hour.

Remove the bones. The dog is waiting patiently for the bones, this is the dog with his I’m being good waiting for those bones face IMG_0015

Chop a bunch of parsley and add to the soup – this will taste great and give you a really good shot of iron.

Serve sprinkled generously with parmesan or tasty cheese.

Things I sometimes add to this soup are

bacon pieces, lentils, white legumes like haricot beans, other veggies like potato, yams, zucchini etc.

Butternut and Cashew Curry

Butternut and Cashew Curry

This is Peter’s favourite curry – the one he asks for as his birthday dinner. Here it is for Seth who is looking for yummy veggie meals for those trying to live on a budget in L.A, and all the rest of you who want to try a really yummy, easy vegetarian curry.

Spices

1 chopped onion

1 chopped capsicum

1 teaspoon of seed mustard

1 dessertspoon of curry paste ( more or less to taste)

2 dessertspoons of dark brown sugar, (I hate to use sugar but it really does bring out the lovely sweetness of the pumpkin)

1 dessertspoon of lemon juice

2 heaped dessertspoons of sultanas (preferably sun dried no sodium nitrates which are super bad for you)

1/2 cup of cashews

a few lugs of olive or cocoanut oil

Throw all these into a good sized pot and stir over heat until the aromatic smells combine into deliciousness and start to fill your house and make you all hungry, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and leave to sauté whilst you prepare the veggies.

Vegetables

1 large tomato chopped

1 zucchini (courgette) chopped

200 grams of mushrooms sliced

1/2 butternut pumpkin chopped unevenly, (this is so the smaller pieces become mushy saucy bits whilst the larger bits retain their shape)

Add all these to the spices and stir well, still sautéing for a few minutes so the spices coat the vegetables. Its really important to sauté it all to really give the pumpkin its nuttiness. Then pop on the lid and keeping on low simmer for 30 minutes or until the larger pieces of butternut are cooked. It doesn’t matter if the smaller bits get a bit mushy as you want that  – they will become part of the curry sauce.

Before Serving

When the butternut pumpkin is cooked add 270 mls of cocoanut cream and 4 dessertspoons of chopped fresh coriander (more or less to taste – I love coriander so there is never enough for me).

To Serve

Sprinkle chopped roasted cashews on top

Serve with microwaved pappadums and rice

Dukkah Egg and Chicken Salad

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This is a such an easy salad to toss together, so healthy and fresh and it’s my girls favourite salad. Often if I’m short of time I take short cuts and use store bought dukkah and sesame dressing. I’m including my recipe for dukkah and dressing so if you want to make the whole thing yourself you can.

This make 4 ample serves for hungry eaters.

Ingredients

500 grams of Chicken fillets
4 eggs boiled for 8 minutes
4 freshly cooked baby beetroots
1 bunch of freshly steamed asparagus (don’t over cook it, you want a crispness to it)
4 handfuls of fresh salad greens of any type
1/2 cup of sesame and pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Dukkah – or make your own (recipe below)
Japanese creamy sesame dressing (or make your own)

Ingredients for the Dukkah

4 tablespoons of pistachios (almond, hazelnuts are a good alternative)
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of pepper
4 good slices of lemon peel

Throw all this into a food processor and blitz, (adjust the pepper if you don’t like it too hot)

Sesame Dressing

2 dessertspoons of tahini
1/4 cup of sesame oil
3 dessertspoons of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

mix the oil into the tahini, slowly add the lemon juice so it doesn’t curdle, add salt and pepper

Making the Salad

Coat the chicken strips in the dukkah and fry until cooked and golden brown.
Peel the hard boiled eggs, rinse but don’t dry and coat each egg in the dukkah.
Cut the eggs into four pieces

Place a handful of greens on each plate.
Add the beetroot, asparagus, egg, chicken strips.
Sprinkle with the pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Drizzle with the dressing.

Happy Days! The Neal family favourite salad