Beef kohlrabi pot pies

A rich tomato beef sauce topped with nutty kohlrabi

I love pies for dinner! There is something very satisfyingly hearty about eating a warming pie, a whole meal in one. Although it often reminds of roaring fires and blustery breezes, it is also just as satisfying in the warmer months on a chillier day.

I picked up some kohlrabi at the market the other week and wasn’t quite sure how to use it, never having cooked with it before. In the end, I have used it the way I would have used potato and I think it works beautifully! Continue reading “Beef kohlrabi pot pies”

Christmas Waldorf salad

A Christmassy take on a Waldorf salad with turkey and cranberries

I love Christmas and all of the food that naturally comes with it. However, so many Christmas classic dishes are winter themed. This does not stop me from cooking them, and my family still eats a hot roast turkey and a plum pudding on Christmas day, but it’s often not appropriate on a hot summer’s day.

I thought that I would create a Christmassy take on a classic Waldorf salad. It typically contains fruits – so what a perfect way to add dried cranberries, the classic Christmas fruit. I also included some sliced turkey, which is a great way to use up leftovers, or, to make this any time of year, just use some deli sliced meat. Toss in some cold cooked pasta to bulk it up into a main meal, and it is perfect for an Australian summer in the lead up to Christmas. You could take this to a BBQ, or simply eat it on a hot night. You will still get your Christmas vibes, but not swelter under the weight of a hefty roast dinner!

A Christmassy take on a Waldorf salad with turkey and cranberries

Christmas Waldorf salad

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 1 fennel, shaved thinly
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced diagonally into 1 cm chunks
  • 1 apple, grated
  • 80g sliced turkey breast, shredded
  • 6 tbs cranberries
  • 150g cold cooked macaroni pasta

For the dressing:

  • 3 tsp mustard
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 60g crème fraiche
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Prepare the ingredients and place in the salad bowl.
  2. Prepare the dressing in a separate bowl and whisk together.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

 

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_3

Sesame chicken noodle salad

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

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

Directions

  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.

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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Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.

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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Ingredients

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

Directions

  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.

Haloumi, olive and sun dried tomato loaf

Salty, crusty and golden haloumi bread with olives and sun dried tomatoes

As I have written about previously, I am always on the lookout for a delicious, easy, on-the-go lunch option, for example, my curry pumpkin muffins. Today I present to you another option: haloumi, olive and sun dried tomato loaf.

Salty, crusty and golden haloumi bread with olives and sun dried tomatoes

There is no kneading, no rising, nothing of the waiting nature. Simply combine the ingredients, stir through your flavour bombs, and bake. That’s the hardest part – waiting for the loaf to be ready to eat!

Salty, crusty and golden haloumi bread with olives and sun dried tomatoes

Crispy edge, dense and tasty interior. Keeps well for a few days in an airtight container. No need for any extra toppings, but you totally could cover it in avocado, or bacon, or a poached egg…you know, the usual.

This was a smash hit with my family. I hope it goes down well with you too!

Salty, crusty and golden haloumi bread with olives and sun dried tomatoes

Haloumi, olive and sun dried tomato loaf

  • Servings: approx. 8 slices
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Ingredients

  • 450g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 280ml water
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g haloumi, diced
  • ¼ cup black olives, sliced
  • ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a loaf tin with spray oil.
  2. Sift flour, salt and baking powder together.
  3. Whisk together the oil, water and eggs.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and bring together to form a dough.
  5. Stir through the haloumi, olives and sun dried tomatoes.
  6. Pour into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 45 mins until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.

Spring chicken salad

A quinoa salad with spring greens, chicken and seeds

I must admit, I am not a salads person. I will never order salad when eating out, except if it is a shared dish and other more hearty dishes are also on the table. Unfortunately I have difficulty convincing myself that salads can be interesting and tasty, and filling.

 

However, I know that this is the wrong way to think about salads. And I made a spring chicken salad recently (recipe below) to help convince myself. And boy, I must make more salads for dinner! The recipe I’m sharing today was an experiment using spring greens and it tastes delicious! I’ve used a brown rice and quinoa mix, which is my new favourite carb. If you buy the microwavable pouches, they become a super easy option for lunch or dinner. Nutty and with texture, they make a great warm addition to a salad.

I added avocado and feta, for lusciousness. And a seed and za’atar rub on the chicken which gives crunch and flavour.

It makes plenty enough for four, but my husband and I were lucky to have leftovers.

A quinoa salad with spring greens, chicken and seeds

Spring chicken salad

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 500g chicken breast
  • 3tbs almond meal
  • 3tbs pumpkin and sunflower seeds, mixed
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp za’atar
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 100g snowpeas
  • 200g green beans
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1 pouch microwavable quinoa & brown rice
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100g feta

Directions

  1. To make the rub for the chicken, mix almond meal, pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds, garlic, za’atar seasoning and salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Coat the chicken breasts with the rub, ensuring an even layer. Fry in a frying pan with a little olive oil for 10-15 mins until cooked through.
  3. Slice the green beans and snowpeas into small 2cm chunks and steam with the peas for 3 mins or until bright green and just blanched. Add to the salad bowl.
  4. Microwave the quinoa and brown rice, and add to the salad bowl.
  5. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small container, and drizzle over the salad.
  6. Crumble the feta over the salad. Toss the ingredients to ensure an everything is evenly distributed.
  7. Once the chicken has been cooked, slice and lay on the top of the salad.

Cauliflower mac ‘n’ cheese pancakes

Fluffy cheesy cauliflower macaroni pancakes

Everyone has several foods that, if presented with an evening solo, they would make in a greedy fashion and gobble down unseen, yes?

This is my combination of guilty pleasures all put together into the one recipe. Of the many things I loved about visiting New York a few years ago was that you could find mac n’ cheese on the menu EVERYWHERE. It was wonderful! I have a hard time going past this if I see it on the menu, even though there are plenty more adventurous options that I would enjoy. I just can’t say no.

Fluffy cheesy cauliflower macaroni pancakes

These pancakes are perfect for an at-home brunch. They’re easy to make ahead. Whizz up some cauliflower, cook the macaroni and prepare the simple batter. They could also be easily frozen for another more chaotic night when you are caught at home by yourself, and a lazy and indulgent dinner is needed.

Fluffy cheesy cauliflower macaroni pancakes

Cauliflower mac 'n' cheese pancakes

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups cauliflower, riced (just whizz in a food processor raw)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 240ml milk
  • 60g butter, melted
  • 100g macaroni pasta, cooked
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • Handful fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. Mix riced cauliflower, baking powder and salt together.
  2. Whisk together eggs, milk and melted butter.
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  4. Stir through the cooked pasta and cheese.
  5. Heat a frying pan on medium heat and spray a thin layer of oil over the base.
  6. Ladle out ¼ cup of the pancake batter at a time into the frying pan. Cook on one side for approx. 3 mins or until bubbles form over the top of the pancake.
  7. Flip and cook for 1-2 mins on the other side.
  8. Serve pancakes with spring onion and parsley.

Lemon quiche

A tangy lemony quiche with smoked salmon and capers

I have always been a Francophile. Ever since I can remember. Perhaps it all began with the children’s TV series Madeleine. I remember watching episodes when I was young, soaking in the faux French accents and absorbing the cartoonish Parisian landmarks.

In school I learnt French as a second language, all the way up to university. Since, I have visited France several times. I especially love French food. My birthday celebration this year involved dining at a French restaurant.

A tangy lemony quiche with smoked salmon and capers

To me, a quiche is the epitome of my childhood ideal of ‘French cuisine’. I have grown very fond of making a quiche in recent years, and once you have the hang of the pastry and timings, it is actually very simple to make one from scratch. And the flavour combinations are endless!

A tangy lemony quiche with smoked salmon and capers

Gardens are rife with lemons this time of year, and I wanted to hero it in my quiche recipe. This quiche is deliciously lemony and tangy, with some smoked salmon thrown in there for good measure. I am loving this milder weather and think this is the perfect light dinner for early Spring evenings, and could even be enough motivation to contemplate an outdoor picnic!

A tangy lemony quiche with smoked salmon and capers

Lemon quiche

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 240g plain flour
  • 160g unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup water

For the filling:

  • 1-2 lemons, sliced
  • 100g smoked salmon for cooking
  • 200g crème fraiche
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbs capers
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon

Directions

  1. To make the pastry, beat the butter and flour together in a mixer using a dough attachment. Add just enough water to bring the pastry together into a ball. As soon as the pastry comes together, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 mins or until needed.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius. Grease a quiche flan with spray oil.
  3. Take the pastry out of the fridge, and sprinkle the worktop with flour. Roll out the pastry until it is big enough to cover the base of the quiche flan. Line the flan with pastry and trim the edges. Weigh down the pastry with baking paper and baking beads, and blind bake the pastry case for 20 mins in the oven.
  4. To make the filling, whisk the eggs and crème fraiche together. Season, and add capers, lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine.
  5. Remove the pastry from the oven and lower the heat to 160° Celsius. Remove the baking beads and baking paper. Line the pastry case with an even layer of the smoked salmon, and pour in the egg filling.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 mins. Add lemon slices on top of the half-set filling decoratively. Continue to bake for about another 10 mins or until filling is set.

 

 

Curry pumpkin muffins

Deliciously savoury pumpkin muffins with a hint of curry flavour

When I was at school, I overdid it with the sandwiches. Particularly the combination of ham, lettuce and mayo. I just have difficulty getting excited about a sandwich for lunch. So I like to look for other options.

I like to make batches of savoury muffins on the weekend for my work lunches (or at the moment, for my hectic weekday lunches with a baby who needs lunch too). They’re easy to heat up, filling and so moreish.

Deliciously savoury pumpkin muffins with a hint of curry flavour

I have taken inspiration from Stephanie Alexander’s recipe for Allan and Michele’s Asian-inspired Pumpkin Soup from her wonderful cookbook The Cook’s Companion and turned it into muffin form. They have just the slightest hint of curry, and are super light and fluffy. They’re the perfect texture, not too dry or crumbly and they keep well for several days in an airtight container in the fridge. Or, if you’re feeling exceptionally organised, you could freeze them for a busy day.

And they’re so easy to make! So get cracking! If you’re feeling like a sweet muffin, why not go ahead and check out my Custard and sultana muffins.

Deliciously savoury pumpkin muffins with a hint of curry flavour

Curry pumpkin muffins

  • Servings: 12
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Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 225ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 115g vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs Thai curry paste, red or green
  • 400g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 30g mix of pepitas and sunflower seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a muffin tray with spray oil.
  2. Steam the pumpkin until tender (about 10-15 mins) and mash with a potato masher until smooth.
  3. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl.
  4. Combine the milk, eggs, oil, curry paste and pumpkin in a separate bowl. Whisk to mix thoroughly.
  5. Combine all of the ingredients together. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tray. Sprinkle the muffins with the pepitas and sunflower seeds.
  6. Bake muffins in the oven for 30 mins or until golden on top. You will know that they are done when a skewer will come out clean when tested.