Author Archives for pumpkinandpear

Sesame chicken noodle salad

A tasty cold chicken noodle salad drizzled with sesame seeds and tahini

This is a meal for those who like sesame! I’ve combined a few key flavours – sesame, soy, garlic, ginger to make a yummy chicken dish. This is a lovely summery lunch or dinner recipe. It is easy to prepare, and the only cooking you need to do is grill the chicken. The chicken could be cooked on the BBQ outside, or taken on a picnic and added to the pre-prepared salad al fresco!

A tasty cold chicken noodle salad drizzled with sesame seeds and tahini

The toasted sesame seeds add crunch, and the vermicelli noodles along with the raw grated carrot and zucchini add a lightness and freshness to the dish. I have allowed for individual serving of tahini according to one’s personal tastes – feel free to be liberal!


Sesame chicken noodle salad

  • Servings: 4
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For the marinade:

  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs peanut oil
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, julienned
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 400g chicken thighs, no skin, bone removed

For the salad:

  • 200g vermicelli noodles
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • Sesame seeds, toasted

To serve:

  • Tahini
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • Extra sesame seeds, toasted


  1. Mix the sesame oil, peanut oil, soy sauce, spring onion, ginger, garlic and salt and pepper with the chicken thighs. Leave to marinade – the longer, the better.
  2. Heat a pan on high and add the chicken. Cook for 10 mins each side until cooked through. Set aside to cool.
  3. Cook vermicelli noodles according to packet instructions. Once cooked, rinse under cold water and toss with the sesame oil, soy sauce and lemon juice.
  4. Add noodles, zucchini and carrot to a large salad bowl and toss with the sesame seeds. Slice the chicken and place on top.
  5. Serve with tahini and extra sesame seeds on the side to add as per individual preference.

Self-saucing banana caramel mug cakes

A deliciously decadent self saucing caramel and banana cake in 4 minutes

Sometimes an after dinner dessert just has to happen. You’ve had a long day, you’re exhausted, you’ve managed to get through dinner and dishes, and….you’d love to just collapse on the sofa with a delicious and decadent dessert. But who wants to be bothered making pudding after all of that??

In comes the amazing phenomenon of the mug cake. I love this concept so much. It just hits the spot when you MUST HAVE PUDDING. I had fun trialling this recipe – the first time, I went a bit crazy and didn’t add any fun ‘dessert’ ingredients, and although edible, it tasted like porridge 🙂 The second time, I forgot the flour! I have now nailed this banana and caramel mug cake and am happy to share the joys to everyone. Happy pudding-eating 🙂

banana_caramel_mug_cake_2A deliciously decadent self saucing caramel and banana cake in 4 minutes

Self-saucing banana caramel mug cake

  • Servings: 1
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  • 1/4 mashed banana
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 tbs oats
  • 1 tbs plain Greek style yoghurt
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs Nuttelex

For the caramel sauce:

  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs golden syrup
  • 4 tbs boiling water


  1. Mix all of the ingredients (except the sauce ingredients) in a mug.
  2. For the sauce, place the sugar, golden syrup and boiling water on the top of the mixture.
  3. Cook in the microwave on high for 4 mins.
  4. Spoon upside down into a dessert bowl. Serve with a spoonful of extra yoghurt.

Asparagus, smoked trout and wild rice salad

Asparagus, smoked trout and wild rice salad

Brunch for dinner. That’s what this dish is to me. And brunch is my absolute favourite meal! Grilled asparagus, poached eggs, smoked trout. Refreshing on a balmy night, but still very filling!

Asparagus, smoked trout and wild rice saladAsparagus, smoked trout and wild rice salad

Asparagus, smoked trout and wild rice salad

  • Servings: 2
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  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • Salt and pepper
  • 200g smoked trout, sliced thinly
  • 100g rocket


  1. Cook the rice (I often use a microwavable pouch to make things even easier) and once cooked, place in the salad bowl.
  2. Soft boil the eggs in a pan of boiling water for 6 minutes. Remove from the saucepan and place cold under running water until cool. Leave aside to cool.
  3. Place a griddle pan on high, heat 1 tbs of olive oil and cook the asparagus until soft and charred slightly. Add to the salad bowl.
  4. To make the dressing, whisk the extra virgin olive oil and the lemon juice together. Season to taste.
  5. Flake the smoked trout into the salad bowl and toss in the rocket. Peel the eggs and place on top, and drizzle the dressing over the whole lot.

Dairy-free plum muffins


I have never loved café-bought muffins. They are often times too big, too dry, too crumbly. Not worth my money, mostly.

However, homemade muffins are a completely different story. I make muffins all the time. You can find several muffins recipes on this blog, both savoury and sweet.

Muffins made at home are popular in this household for several reasons. One, they are dead simple to make. Also, they are quick to make. Both mean that they are a very good option for filling the house with baked goods if you have unexpected company or you need something sweet to fill the packed lunchbox.

Two, once you have a standard basic recipe, they are so easy to vary to suit what you have in the fridge or pantry. Three, almost everyone is bound to like eating them.


These plum muffins are light and fruity, and the brown sugar crust gives crunch and texture. I made a batch for some friends who visited one weekend, and we four got through almost the whole batch in one day. Not to worry, they are so easy to whip up, I could easily just make more!

These muffins are also dairy free! Also, I made these with peaches instead of plums the other day, because I couldn’t find plums and they were just as good 🙂

Dairy-free plum muffins

  • Servings: 12
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  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 240g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 115g brown sugar, plus 1 tbs extra for sprinkling
  • 2 plums, diced


  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a muffin tray with spray oil.
  2. Whisk the olive oil, water and eggs together.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar together.
  4. Mix together the wet and dry ingredients, and stir through the diced plums.
  5. Pour the mixture into the muffin tray. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with brown sugar.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 mins or until a skewer comes out clean and the tops are crunchy.

Chicken and olive sausage rolls

A lighter filo wrapped sausage roll with punchy flavours of chicken, olive, capsicum and feta

Today I am sharing another quick and easy make-ahead lunch idea. You can read about my other recipes here: curry pumpkin muffins, haloumi, olive and sundried tomato loaf, spring chicken salad and pork pasties.

I love sausage rolls, but often find that they leave me with an unpleasant feeling of having over-indulged in pastry all afternoon! I made these rolls with filo, which is a little lighter and simple to work with.

A lighter filo wrapped sausage roll with punchy flavours of chicken, olive, capsicum and feta

I decided to change things up by using chicken mince (or I might have had leftover from making a chicken dish for my baby 😉 !). I am a big fan of adding flavour punches to my cooking at the moment, so this recipe has added olives, roasted red capsicum and feta. All the prep required is a simple mix together of the filling ingredients and then roll them up! You can enjoy them fresh out of the oven, or freeze the leftovers for a busy day when lunch prep is not an option, but neither is a boring cheese sandwich.

chicken_sausage_rolls_3A lighter filo wrapped sausage roll with punchy flavours of chicken, olive, capsicum and feta

Chicken and olive sausage rolls

  • Servings: makes 8 rolls
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  • 250g chicken mince
  • 8 green olives, sliced
  • 1 roasted red capsicum, cut into thin strips
  • 50g feta, crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 sheets filo pastry


  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil.
  2. Mix together the chicken mince, olives, capsicum, feta, egg and salt and pepper.
  3. Lay out 2-3 sheets of filo pastry, spraying a thin layer of spray oil in between each.
  4. Spread one quarter of the filling along the bottom half of the pastry in a long sausage shape. Roll upwards to form a log and spray the top of the pastry. Cut in half and place on the baking tray. Continue three times more to create 8 sausage rolls.
  5. Bake for 30 mins or until golden and flaky, and the chicken is cooked through.

Oat and apple chocolate brownies

A 'healthy' brownie with less butter and sugar, but just as delicious fudgey textureI have had a lot of yummy treats in the house recently, due to several big family occasions and much testing for new recipes! So, to counteract all of the temptation, rather than not cook any sweet treats at all, I thought I’d have a go at making brownies without all of the butter and sugar as per usual.

A 'healthy' brownie with less butter and sugar, but just as delicious fudgey texture

I would not go to as far as to say that these are healthy, but perhaps offer a less decadent choice! They sure don’t taste less decadent though! Super rich, with a fudgey texture and very very chocolatey.

These took me approximately 10 mins to make, and because they bake so quickly too, they’re the perfect recipe to have up your sleeve for last minute guest baking.

A 'healthy' brownie with less butter and sugar, but just as delicious fudgey texture

Oat and apple chocolate brownies

  • Servings: approx. 30
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  • 100g rolled oats
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 375g apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 75g dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil and line with baking paper.
  2. Mix together the oats, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and brown sugar. Add the apple sauce and egg and mix to combine.
  3. Pour half of the mixture into the baking tray and spread to evenly cover the base.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips all over the mixture and cover with the remaining brownie mixture.
  5. Bake for 15-20 mins. Do not be alarmed if the centre is gooey – the chocolate chips will have melted which is intended!

Tuna and sweetcorn frittata muffins

A simple tuna and sweetcorn muffin to ward away the munchies

I am currently posed with the problem of being at home a lot more than I have ever been, yet having less free time to cook extravagant things than I ever have before.

I decided to try out a really simple baked frittata recipe that uses a muffin tray and pantry ingredients. The result was some very cute little tuna and sweetcorn bites that have served so well as a late afternoon snack. Munching on one of these while I prepare dinner has satisfied my gnawing hunger, without filling me up for the main event. Solves the urge to eat peanut butter straight from the jar!

A simple tuna and sweetcorn muffin to ward away the munchies

They take 10 mins to put together and about the same in the oven. Definitely something I can manage on a Sunday afternoon to set me up with substantial snacks for the week.

A simple tuna and sweetcorn muffin to ward away the munchies

Tuna and sweetcorn frittata muffins

  • Servings: makes 8
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  • 4 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 95g tuna
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • ½ cup grated cheddar
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 1 tsp dried chives


  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius and grease a muffin tray using spray oil.
  2. Whisk the eggs and season them with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir through the remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour the batter into the muffin tray.
  5. Bake for 20 mins in the oven or until set. Remove and let cool on a wire rack.