Monthly Archives: July 2013

Baked banana fritters with butterscotch sauce

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My mum has always made the most delicious butterscotch sauce, usually served drizzled over a slice of pumpkin flan – deliciousness!! It was one of those foods that as a child I’d hide behind the open door fridge and finger-scoop straight out of the container into my mouth. Butterscotch sauce and chocolate ganach – couldn’t (and still can’t!) resist! It sets and goes fudgy once it’s cold, so perfect for sneaking big spoonfuls! I think it could be eaten on just about anything, but it’s super special on ice cream, pancakes, waffles, crepes or French toast. Paired with these baked bananas, it’s a treat that you could eat any time of day.
The bananas go crispy on the outside and soft in the middle once baked and only have a tiny bit of spray oil – so they’re actually quite healthy…until you add the sauce! They are also gluten free, as is the sauce – so great for my coeliac friends.
Eat them while they’re hot and fresh out of the oven, drizzled (or in my case, swimming!) in butterscotch sauce.

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Ingredients:
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup dark brown sugar + 1 tsp
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large ripe bananas
1 egg white
1 cup fresh cream
125g butter, cubed
Spray oil

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Mix almond meal, coconut, 1 tsp brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and mix to combine.
3. Peel bananas. Cut each banana into four logs.
4. Whisk egg white with fork in a bowl until smooth. Roll bananas in egg white in batches and then roll in almond coconut mix.
5. Place your coated bananas on the baking tray, lightly spray with oil and bake for 10 minutes or until golden.
6. To make sauce: Put sugar and butter into a small saucepan and whisk until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Add cream and stir to combine. Simmer until sauce thickens. Serve the bananas hot drizzled with sauce.

Store the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Za’atar – Middle Eastern Spice Blend

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Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that is full of flavour and super versatile when it comes to it’s uses. I guess it is to middle eastern people what garam masala is to Indians, satay sauce is to Thai people, or master stock to Chinese people…each family has their own version of the recipe. It’s nice because you can change the ratio of ingredients according to taste – there is no right or wrong way of doing it! You can use it as a dip with crusty bread and olive oil, add to oil to make a paste to spread on pizzas or toasted sandwiches, sprinkle on any meat or seafood and grill, fry, bake or BBQ. You can also add it to tagines, casseroles and slow cooker meals, roasts, kebabs and sprinkle it on vegetables or salad…the possibilities are endless! No matter how you use this magical mix, I can guarantee that it makes anything taste amazing! It’s got a delicious aroma, with a slightly lemony taste from the sumac. This recipe made a big batch, but I took some over to my sister for her to try…she loves za’atar so hopefully she likes my version!
Quick and easy to make, all ingredients can be found at Woolworths (Coles don’t have sumac), it lasts months in an airtight jar/container stored in a dark place AND it tastes unreal…what’s not to love?!

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Ingredients

6 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried majoram
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp sea salt
8 tsp sesame seeds
8 tsp sumac

Method

Dry roast the sesame seeds in a pan over a low heat until golden in colour. Add all other spices in a jar/bowl. Once the sesame seeds have cooled add to the spices and mix to combine.

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.

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Pork, ginger and spring onion pot stickers

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I LOVE Asian food…Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, but I don’t make as much Asian style food as I’d like. I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to stir-fries and curries…until my recent soba noodle and chickpea curry successes. I’ve got laksa and Tom Kha Gai down pat and these little parcels of heaven – pork, ginger and spring onion pot stickers…yum! They’re easy to make and you could make them vego/vegan by leaving out the mince and adding extra vegetables. Either way you make them they are a perfect snack or accompaniment to a meal. You make a fair few in a batch, so freeze them in a container until you need them. To cook from frozen I find it better to steam them for about 8 minutes and then put them in the frypan to brown. You can skip the stock step because they’ll have already been steamed – easy!

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Ingredients:

300g pork mince
1 pack gow gee wrappers (30/pack)
2 large spring onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large thumb size piece ginger, grated
1 small carrot, grated
4 wom bok (Chinese cabbage) leaves, thinly shredded
Small handful coriander, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp hoi sin sauce
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

To cook:
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup chicken stock

To serve:
Soy and sweet chili sauce

Method:

1. Put mince, ginger, garlic, spring onions, carrot, wom bok, coriander, hoi sin, soy sauce and sweet chili sauce in a bowl and mix thoroughly until evenly combined.
2. Take a wrapper and place a small teaspoon of mince mix in the middle. Wet your finger/pastry brush and wet half of the edge. Fold in half and press edges together, starting in the middle and working your way to the edges, making sure you push out any air pockets before sealing. Press the dumpling on a flat surface to give it a flat bottom and crimp the edges to ensure it’s sealed. Repeat until you have used all the wrappers.
3. To cook: heat a large frying pan on the stove. Add olive oil and cook dumplings until lightly browned on the bottom. Add chicken stock to pan and quickly add a lid to trap the steam. Cook the dumplings until the stock has evaporated. Make sure you move them around otherwise they’ll stick to the pan. Serve with soy sauce and sweet chili sauce.

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Wholemeal oat and chia pancakes with caramelised maple bananas

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Over the past few weeks I’ve had a real craving for pancakes and often make them on a Sunday morning for breakfast. I usually make traditional white sugar and flour type pancakes, but this morning I decided to try and make a healthy version. There are heaps of healthy pancake recipes out there but I decided to go it alone and fudge a recipe. These turned out absolutely amazing and it’s hard to believe that they are actually good for you! I also included chia seeds in the mix…it was my first time using chia and it was a success! Anyway, I’m sure anyone would eat these and find them delicious. They aren’t at all heavy and dense, which I thought might be the case with the wholemeal flour and oats…but are light and airy and yum! Give them a go…for something with no processed flour, sugar or oil they are honestly too delicious to believe they are healthy!!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp chia gel*
Coconut oil for frying
2 bananas
4 tbsp maple syrup + extra for serving
Greek yoghurt

Method:

1. Put flour, oats and bicarb soda in a bowl and stir to combine.
2. Add eggs, 2 tbsp maple syrup, milk and chia seeds and whisk until all ingredients are combined. Let rest for 10 minutes.
3. In a large frying pan heat 1/2 tsp coconut oil. Fry pancakes in batches until cooked, adding more oil for each batch. (I made mini pancakes, so got 3 in the pan at a time.)
4. Peel and slice bananas into 1cm slices. Add 1/2 tsp coconut oil to pan and add bananas. Fry until browned and then turn. Add 2 tbsp maple syrup to pan to glaze bananas.
5. To serve – stack pancakes and bananas and serve with extra maple syrup and Greek yoghurt.

* Add 1 tsp of chia seeds to 1/2 cup of water. Let sit for 10 minutes and then stir with fork. Let sit for further 10 minutes before using.

You could also serve these with caramelised apples, berries, stewed fruit etc. You can also add blueberries, coconut, sultanas, craisins or choc chips to the batter before cooking.

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Chicken cacciatore and quinoa

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I’m a pro when it comes to cooking in bulk and eating leftovers for a week. It’s not that I don’t like cooking regularly…but I find it really difficult to cook small portions (as in a meal for 1 person). Anyway, not really a problem as I always have lunch or dinner in the fridge/freezer when needed…and I make sure I cook something that tastes amazing that I can cope eating for several days straight.

This week I got organised and decided to make my Thursday dinner on Wednesday night, meaning that when I got home from work on Thursday my dinner was cooked and ready to go – all I had to do was whip up some quinoa and I had an instant healthy and delicious dinner. For added goodness you can add grated carrot or zucchini, diced capsicum or eggplant or peas or beans with the mushrooms to boost/hide the veggie content!!

Chicken cacciatore is one of my favourite one-pot meals and is super easy to cook. It freezes really well (for any leftovers) and tastes even better a couple of days after you’ve cooked it. I serve this with quinoa because of it’s nutritional benefits, but you could serve with pasta, potatoes, rice, polenta, steamed or roasted vegetables or a big piece of crusty bread to soak up all the delicious sauce. Cooking this long and slow means that the chicken just falls apart and doesn’t dry out and the flavours intensify and make the sauce delicious and rich.

Ingredients:

Chicken cacciatore:

– 1 kg chicken thighs (Marylands or drumsticks also work well. Chicken breast works, just reduce the cooking time otherwise they’ll dry out too much)

– 15 button mushrooms, halved

– 2 medium brown onions

– 4 cloves garlic

– 2 tbsp tomato paste

– 1/2 cup white wine

– 1/2 cup chicken stock

– 1 tsp dried oregano

– 1 tsp dried Italian herbs (or use basil, parsley, thyme mix)

– 2 x 400g tins crushed tomatoes

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– Salt and pepper to taste

Quinoa:

– 1 cup quinoa – rinsed and drained

– 2 cups chicken stock

– 1 large spring onion

– Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Chicken:

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius.

2. Add olive oil to stove top/ovenproof dish and seal chicken in batches until browned. Remove chicken from pan and add onions and garlic; cook until soft.

3. Add mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes until they start to colour. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add wine to pot and simmer until halved in quantity.

4. Add stock, herbs, tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste, then add chicken to the pot.

5. Cover pot with lid and cook in oven for 1 hour. Take lid off and cook for a further 1 hour.

Quinoa:

1. Put stock in pot and bring to the boil. Add quinoa and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Add finely sliced spring onion and salt and pepper to taste.

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Roasted pumpkin and potato chickpea curry

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I wanted something quick and easy to cook, that was full of flavour and easy to take to work for lunch. Something that was going to keep me full, but was also nutritious and delicious and preferably vegetarian. I’m not a vegetarian, but try to only eat meat once a day, and try to have a few meat-free days a week. So most days I have a meatless lunch and have meat at dinner. I decided to attempt a chickpea and pumpkin curry.

I’ve made curries before, but they’ve never turned out very well. I’m not even sure what went wrong. Perhaps it’s that I’m not really that crash hot on curries to start with and that they didn’t taste the way I had envisioned. Majorly disappointing! Anyhow, I decided to give one a go…again. I didn’t follow a recipe, just kind of knew what I wanted it to taste like and just went with my taste buds. Lucky for me, this time it worked out and was super delicious! It was creamy and thick and full of flavour. It’s better on the second and third day, the flavours seem to intensify and get better with age.

It’s a quick and easy recipe to make and is a great way to use up leftover roasted veggies. You can substitute lentils for the chickpeas if you prefer. You can also use either regular potatoes or sweet potato, either works and is yum! Even though it’s a vegetarian recipe I think meat lovers would find this a satisfying and hearty lunch or dinner meal. If you’re a vegan use a vegan stock and leave out the yoghurt.

Ingredients:

1/4 Jap or kent pumpkin
3 medium potatoes/1 medium sweet potato
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
1 large brown onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 thumb size piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 heaped tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup chicken/vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Coriander and Greek yoghurt to serve

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Cut pumpkin and potato into 1 cm diced pieces and toss in 1 tbsp of olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 30 mins or until golden and tender.
2. Heat a large saucepan and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add onions and cook on low for 5 minutes until soft. Add garlic, ginger, spices and curry powder and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute.
3. Add chickpeas and stir to combine. Stir in the coconut milk, stock and roasted vegetables and simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve over rice, quinoa, couscous or steamed greens, or by itself with a big scoop of yoghurt and a heap of chopped fresh coriander. This is also delicious with flat bread or pappadums.

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