Multi Coloured Cauliflowe

In Season – September

Multi Coloured Cauliflowe

Nourish the Roots – Coloured Cauliflower – http://bit.ly/1A0KuDi

Spring sprung and there’s a new crop of fruit and vegetables coming into season and onto your plates this September. This month, you’ll find some interesting fruit and vegetables on your green grocer’s shelves and will attain the best value and quality by cooking with:

Fruit

  • Blood Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Mandarins
  • Oranges
  • Pineapple
  • Red Papaya
  • Rockmelon
  • Strawberries
  • Tangelo

Vegetables

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoflower – a Broccoli x Cauliflower hybrid
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Chilli
  • Chinese Greens
  • Gai Lan
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Green Beans
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach
  • Shallots
  • Vine Sweeten Mini Caps – the tiny colourful capsicums

Remember, if there is a specific ingredient you’d like to know how to use,m or dish you’d like to know how to make, just pop it in the comments section below.

Enjoy!

Pea and Avocado Gazpacho

Pea and Avocado Gazpacho

This is honestly one of the easiest dishes I have ever made – measure, blend and top. It is delicious, in fact I surprised myself with how good it tasted, and it can be ready in a flash. The vibrant green of the gazpacho against the red of the prawns gives this dish instant visual appeal which means it’s a sure thing for summer get together’s, parties or Christmas do’s.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of McCain Frozen Peas – thawed
  • 3 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 ripe avocado – mashed
  • 2 tbs of lemon juice
  • ½ cup of thickened cream
  • 500g cooked peeled prawns
  • 1 red chilli – halved, seeds removed and finely sliced
  • ½ cup of pea shoots
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ cup of McCain Frozen Peas – thawed, to serve
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
  • Oil olive – to serve, if desired.

Pea and Avocado Gazpacho Progress

Method

  1. Place McCain Frozen peas, garlic, vegetable stock, avocado and lemon juice in a large bowl and add in batches to a blender blitzing until smooth.
  2. Stir through the thickened cream and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the prawns, chilli, lime and pea shoots in a small bowl and toss to coat.
  4. Divide the gazpacho evenly among bowls, top with prawn mix, scatter with remaining McCain Frozen Peas and drizzle with olive oil, if desired.  Serve.

Pea and Avocado Gazpacho

Three Berry Cocktail Swizzles

Three Berry Cocktail Swizzles

Add a Three Berry Cocktail Swizzle to your summer beverages for a delicious and cooling treat. Use lemonade for kids or add some sparkling wine or gin for the big kids.

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of Season’s Choice Three Berry Mix
  • 1 bottle of lemonade or sparkling wine
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • Ice cubes, to serve

Method

  1. Remove the lower leaves from the fresh mint stalks leaving the top leaves intact.
  2. Make a hole in the centre of each berry using a wooden skewer and carefully tread each berry on to the mint stalk, using the blueberries as the last berry to form a stopper.
  3. Place in a glass, top with lemonade or wine and an ice cube if desired. Serve.

Shine On Award

Shine on Award

What a lovely surprise this morning to wake up and discover that the amazing Novice Gardener has awarded me the Shine On Award for my blog. Could there be a better way to get through hump-day?! It is so nice to receive recognition from fellow bloggers for the love we put into our posts. Every time I create a post I hope that someone will try my recipe, like my photos and enjoy my musings. Receiving this is recognition that people do enjoy my contribution to the crowded world of blogging and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It is with extreme gratitude and pleasure that I thank  The Novice Gardener for my award and accept my “Shine On Award”.

The rules of the award are as follows:

  1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Acknowledge the nominating blogger on your blog and provide a link back to their blog.
  3. Share seven random and interesting things about yourself.
  4. Nominate up to 15 bloggers for the Shine On Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post and notify them on their blogs.

Shine On Award – seven random facts about me

  1. I have clavicaphobia – it is the irrational, and believe me I know it is irrational, fear of seeing or touching collar bones. I am even eeked out thinking about them to type this…
  2. I am allergic to ginger.
  3. I like every food expect for squash. I will eat them, but I don’t enjoy them.
  4. My favourite flavour pairings to accompany chocolate is mint and coconut, not together though I am sure it would be tasty.
  5. My comfort food is salmon mornay. When I was little and unwell my Mother would make this for me and now everytime I am sick the only thing that will make me feel better is salmon mornay – with the exception of chicken soup.
  6. On separate occasions I have broken both my elbows.
  7. I have a labradoodle called Bronte who is my pseudo child. She is about 30KG, she acts like a cat and she thinks she is a human. I love her. She is black, has curly hair that blows in the wind and a ginger beard.

Shine On Award – nominees – alphabetical order

  1. Around the World in 365
  2. Cause Baking Makes Me Happy
  3. Cooking as a Hobby
  4. The Crafty Cook Nook
  5. Dish ‘n’ The Kitchen
  6. The Greedy Archive
  7. Keep Calm and Eat On
  8. Kitchen Art
  9. Laura’s Mess
  10. Nancy Creative
  11. Of Pots and Pens
  12. Sugar and Cinnamon
  13. Talk and Spoon
  14. Tea with Erika
  15. The Shine Blog

Thank you again to The Novice Gardener for my award and I hope that all the nominees enjoy the award as much as I have!

xx

Shine On Award

Shine On Award – Official Image

Spiced Pear Cake

Recently my family came for a trip to the country to celebrate my Dad’s Birthday, eat, drink and be merry. Being a birthday, a birthday cake was a must and given the recent Malteser Cake I made for Ben the stakes where set pretty high. Which I didn’t mind, until I remembered the mass of food allergies that were coming with them – no chocolate, no coffee, no nuts, no ginger and no berries. YIKES! Can you even bake without these?!

So I put my mind to it and after some major research the Spiced Pear Cake was born, or developed might be more apt. And… it was delicious!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of wine – I used a spicy Shiraz
  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • 1 lemon – juiced and rind peeled
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp Queen vanilla bean paste
  • 2 William Bartlett pears – peeled, cut into thirds and cored
  • 1 1/2 cups of wholemeal self raising flour, sifted – plain would work too
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbs of all spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g butter – melted and cooled – the cooling is important so your cake batter doesn’t include scrambled eggs
  • 3 eggs – lightly whisked
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • Maple syrup to brush

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Place water, wine, caster sugar, lemon rind + juice, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean paste in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir for 2-3 minutes until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, add pears, cover surface with a cartouche and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes or until pears are tender.
  4. Transfer pears to a plate and allow to cool completely then thinly slice to fan.
  5. Meanwhile, combine flour, brown sugar, spices and vanilla in a large bowl and mix to combine.
  6. Combine butter, milk and egg, pour into dry mixture and combine.
  7. Pour cake batter into the lined cake pan, arrange the pears on the top of the cake in fans. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a serving plate. Brush with several coats of maple syrup allowing each coat to absorb into the cake.
  9. Serve with reduced pear poaching liquid and good quality vanilla ice cream.

NOTE: a cartouche is a circle of grease-proof or baking paper used to cover a dish while poaching or simmering.

Enjoy!

Hummus

Yesterday afternoon I stumbled upon Ben sitting on the couch snacking on a packet on plain crackers, as tasty as this seemed I thought I would make him a much requested snack of hummus to accompany his crackers. In under five minutes he was happily making his way through what is easily the best hummus I have ever made – and I make hummus a lot!

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of chickpeas – drained
  • 1 tin of white beans – drained
  • 3-4 good tbs of tahini
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 tsp of cumin
  • 4 tsp of sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • Water approx. 100ml – the amount will vary dependent on the weather and the moisture in the beans
  • Crackers, lavash or pita bread to serve + extra paprika to sprinkle over the top. Some people top with additional olive oil but I have opted to skip this.

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Add the water in a steady stream to ease blending and help to make the mixture smooth.
  2. Stop the blender, scrape any mixture down that may be stuck on the sides and blend.
  3. Transfer to bow, sprinkle with paprika and serve!

Note: hummus is also a really tasty additional to wraps or can be taken to work/school with veggie sticks for a healthy snack.

Enjoy!

Spanish Paella

Paella is one of those festive looking dishes that is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the taste-buds. With a base hue of bright yellow and splashes of red and green throughout this dish is as synonymous with Spain as tapas or sangria or really bad wine hangovers for that matter.

Originating in the rice-growing region of Valencia, Paella was traditionally a dish to feed farm workers and peasants, but aren’t the best? Consequently, it was bulked up with whatever was at hand, typically rabbit, chicken, snails and beans dependent on the farm location with each region adding their own twist; like seafood which is not in the original incarnation of paella, however is now a popular inclusion in variations found by the coast.

While within reason you can throw just about anything into your Paella there is one crucial rule that you must follow – DO NOT STIR! Paella is meant to be a dry rice dish that relies on the delicate partnership of absorption and evaporation. At the end of cooking, the aim is for the surface to be pitted with holes and the base crusty, crispy and slightly caramelised. This is called a socarrat and is the sign of a good Paella.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 3 tbs olive oil – this seems like a lot but you need it to coat the rice
  • 1 large brown onion – diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 long red chilli – deseeded and finely chopped
  • 500g short grain rice such as calasparra or arborio which is more common to find
  • 2 good quality chorizo – sliced diagonally
  • 500g chicken thigh fillets – trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 2 tbs of turmeric – you’re welcome to use saffron here if you can afford it would like
  • 2 tbs of smoked paprika
  • 2 tbs of sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of ground oregano
  • 1 tsp of dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1.5L of good quality chicken stock
  • 500g green prawns with tails in tact
  • 1 large red capsicum – cut into strips
  • 1 cup of frozen green baby peas
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley – coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemon – cheeks cut off to serve

Method

  1. Heat half the oil in a Paella pan or a large flat pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and fry until translucent.
  2. Add the rice and chorizo to the pan and allow to fry, constantly stirring, until the rice and chorizo turn golden. Do not freak out that the chorizo will release oil, this oil will act as a delicious flavour base for the Paella.
  3. Add the remaining oil, chicken and all spices, salt and pepper to the pan and fry until fragrant the chicken has browned. Add the stock, cover, turn the pan down to a simmer and allow to cook for ten minutes. This is where you will stop stirring.
  4. If your burner is not big enough to directly heat the entire pan ensure you are rotating the pan every two minutes so that your Paella cooks evenly.
  5. Uncover and add the prawns to the Paella by pushing them into the rice mixture with the tails slightly visible at the top. Cover and allow to cook for another five minutes.
  6. Uncover the Paella and check the consistency of the rice and the amount of liquid in the pan. The rice should be almost cooked and almost all of the liquid absorbed. If the rice is still hard and there is not much liquid you will need to add a little more, use your best judgement but you shouldn’t need anymore than 250ml.
  7. Pour the lemon juice evenly over the top of the Paella, arrange the capsicum strips to fan out from the centre of the pan and sprinkle the peas over the top. Cover and allow to cook for another five minutes.
  8. Remove the lid from the pan, sprinkle with chopped parley and arrange with lemon cheeks. Serve the pan straight to the table for your guests to serve themselves.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread / Homemade Nutella

shutterstock_134121146

This recipe goes out to all the Nutella lovers out there… and I know there are a few including my very own sister-in-law who eats it by the spoonful! Today I’m excited to share with you a recipe for Chocolate and Hazelnut spread or.. homemade Nutella. I’m just going to jump straight into this one, because if you’re like me, the only thing running through your head right now is “Om nom nom nom”…..

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of raw hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup of icing sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 of cocoa
  • 4 tbs of coconut oil

Method

  • Preheat oven to 220C and roast hazelnuts for 8-10 minutes until golden.
  • Place the hazelnuts in a teatowel and rub together to remove the skins, it’s okay if some stubbon skins won’t budge.
  • Place hazelnuts in the food processor and blend continuously until a smooth butter forms (around 3 minutes).
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and continue blending until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  • Sit back and omm nom nom nom………

TIP: Add extra hazelnuts on top for extra noming crunch.

This will last in the fridge of up to two weeks, probably longer if it’s not eaten on the first day but best to err on the side of caution.

Enjoy!

Cob Loaf Dip

Cob Loaf Dip

A few weekends ago I went to a BBQ with a delicious cob loaf dip that I had not seen before. After much pestering I was given the recipe and I wanted to share it with you. Omitting the frozen spinach of a more traditional cob loaf dip recipe means you can make it in a flash, I’m talking under five minutes, and you can whip it up as a go snack for bring-a-plate parties when you are pressed for time.

Ingredients

  • 1 cob loaf
  • 1 tub of lite sour cream
  • 1 tub of cream cheese
  • 1 can of pink salmon
  • 1 packet of spring vegetable dried soup mix

Method

  1. Drain the salmon and add to a medium sized bowl. Remove the bones and mash.
  2. Add the sour cream, cream cheese and spring vegetable soup mix and stir until well combined.
  3. Cut the top off the cob loaf and carefully pull out the bread from inside making a bowl of sorts. Make sure you don’t get too over excited with this step and put a whole in the crust or your mixture will leak out.
  4. Some people like to toast the bread bowl and bread but I don’t as I find the bread becomes almost stale as it cools and jabs you in the mouth when you try and chew it.
  5. Transfer your bread bowl to a nice plate, scatter the bread pieces around the outside, spoon in your mixture and place the bread lid askew. I also sprinkled some paprika on the top of the dip so it didn’t look like a beige blob, but that is optional.

Enjoy!

Sushi! Tuna Nori Maki

Sushi - Tuna Nori Maki

Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so.

Tuna Nori Maki Sushi – Tuna Seaweed Rolled Sushi.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of rice – sushi, arborio or medium grain rice will do
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbs caster sugar
  • 1 tin of tune chunks in springwater
  • 2 tbs whole egg mayonnaise
  • 2 shallots – only the white part, cut down the centre and finely sliced
  • 1 large carrot finely grated
  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed, sliced
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 1 packet of dried nori
  • small bowl of water

Method

  1. Add rice and water to rice cooker and switch to cook. If you don’t own a rice cooker you should seriously consider buying one. You can get the very cheaply and they are amazing and always produce light, fluffy, well cooked rice.
  2. Once the rice has cooked, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  3. Add rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt to a small pan on low heat and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Many people add the ingredients directly to the rice without allowing them to dissolve, however this will result in a gritty rice and uneven flavour distribution.
  4. Add the mixture to the rice, stir and allow to come to room temperature.
  5. Drain the tuna to remove as much excess liquid as possible, add to a medium sized bowl with mayonnaise, carrot and shallots and mix until well combined.
  6. Carefully remove the nori sheet from the packet and place shiny side down on a dried surface. Cover 3/4 of the sheet in a thin layer of the rice mixture, try for no more than 3-4 grains high. The rice should extent from side to side on the nori and finish 3/4 from the top.
  7. Form a line of the tuna mix down the centre of the nori extending from side to side. Place a slice of the cucumber and avocado alongside the tuna mix.
  8. Dip your fingers in the small bowl of water and run along the exposed end of the nori sheet.
  9. Take hold of the front of the nori sheet and lift slightly, using a very quick motion roll the nori into a circle, speed is key here if you hesitate it WILL all fall apart.
  10. Repeat.
  11. Allow to rest until the nori has softened. Slice the nori maki into 1-2cm pieces.
  12. Serve with chopped chilli in soy sauce and wasabi. You can also serve it with kewpie if you wish.

Kampai!