cauliflower and roast almond soup

cauliflower and almond soup

½ head cauliflower, florets
1 leek, white, chopped
1-2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
½ tbsp butter and/or 1 tbsp oil
about 700 ml water
1 tsp vegetable stock (use a light one or less than usual, you don’t want it to over power)
1 cup blanched almonds, dry roasted
salt and pepper, to taste

Dry roast almonds in the oven for about 10 mins at about 180c or until just turning golden brown.

In a soup pot, add the chopped leek and saute with butter and/or oil.
Add cauliflower florets, potatoes, stock, almonds and water.
Simmer for about 25 mins or until cauliflower and potatoes are soft, then (carefully, if hot and transferring liquids to a blender) blend to smooth.

Portion into approx. 250 ml capacity containers and freeze ready for work lunches.
At lunchtime, reheat in the office microwave.

Thermomix:
Add chunks of leek to bowl, chop on speed 5/5 sec. Scrape down sides, add butter/oil and saute 3 mins/speed 1/100c. Add cauliflower florets, potatoes, stock, roast almonds and water.
Set to 20 mins/speed 1/100c. Check cauliflower is soft buy pressing a floret against the side of the bowl (cook for 10 more mins if needed to ensure potatoes are soft), then puree on speed 6, gradually moving to speed 9, for about 40 sec or until smooth.

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roasted tomato and red lentil soup

roast tomato soup detail

I like to call this Roasted Red Soup. For obvious reasons.

½ cup red lentils, cooked in 3 cups water
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
about a litre of water, boiled in the kettle

In a roasting tray:
roma tomatoes, quartered
1 red onion, quartered
1 red capsicum, chopped coarsely
olive oil, just a nice slosh
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

Essentially all that needs to happen here is that you add cooked lentils to roasted tomatoes and capsicum in a pot with some stock, boil and blend, but a more detailed description can be seen below:

Toss the tomatoes, capsicum, onion with oil, sugar, salt and pepper in a baking tray and bake at 160c for about 30 mins. Your aiming for the tomatoes to be soft, and slight darkening on the edges of the capsicum.

Meanwhile, in the soup pot, cook 1 cup red lentils in 3 cups of water, simmer for about 15 mins. Drain out the water from the lentils in a colander (use fresh water from the kettle for the soup but don’t bother washing the pot between).

By now, your tomatoes are looking nicely roasted by not dried out. Add the roasted tomatoes, capsicum and onion to the soup pot with the drained lentils. Add any juices that are in the roasting tray (you should find it quite wet).

Add the boiled water and stock. Simmer for 10 minutes then blend to smooth.

Note: If you feel motivated to do it, peeling the tomatoes after roasting (and leaving them to cool for a bit) will make a nicer textured soup.

Served here with a dollop of greek yoghurt and parsley leaf (crusty bread not pictured).

roast tomato lentil soup

oh jamie, I think I love you: cheat’s pizza (or, the-never-buy-pizza-again pizza recipe)

Oh, Jamie, it’s a slow burn, but I think I love you.

Jamie Oliver is an international cooking phenomenon. Quite possibly he is the world’s most well known kitchen-dweller. At first, about 14 years ago, I wasn’t so sure I liked his busy, uber-chatty, hands-in, chunky-chopped style. But it could have been I was deterred by the rolling and jittering hand-held camera work of his first show. As a sufferer of motion sickness, the combination of boating and food does not conjure positive association.

More recently, the release of ‘30 Minute Meals’ has seen the reemergence of my man-friend into the realm of steam and kitchen-whizery. At our house, one night a week has been named ‘Jamie Night’ as he works from cover to cover. But there is one recipe that makes me say (and often out loud), “…genius…” and it is, Cheat’s (10 minute pan) Pizza*.

Jamie Oliver cute and cuterpizza base:
1 ½ ‘mugs’ self raising flour
½ ‘mug’ tepid water
dash olive oil
pinch of salt
another dash of olive oil for the pan

tomato paste
feta, crumbled

tomato salsa:
cherry tomatoes, halved
basil, torn
chive, flowers/ chopped stem
dash olive oil
dash balsamic
salt and pepper
Combine them all in a bowl.

In my stand mixer with dough hook attached combine the flour, water, salt and oil to form a dough. If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a food processor to get it started and then knead it for a minute on a well floured surface, but don’t fuss over it.
Put the grill on to med- high.
Put a dash of olive oil into an ovenproof fry pan.
(Jamie uses half at a time to make 2 pizzas – I use it all at once and make a thick crust)
Use your hands to spread the dough to the edges of the pan so its a fairly even thickness.
Turn the stove top heat on to med-high and let the dough come to golden brown on the bottom. Check it by lifting a corner using a spatula.

Spread a spoon of tomato paste over the top of your pan pizza and crumble feta.
Place under the grill for about 3 minutes.
Top with salsa.
If it’s breakfast/ brunch, add a poached egg on top of each slice.

Obviously, you can top yours with whatever you like, but don’t over load it for grilling.

What’s your favourite Jamie recipe?? Or, what’s your fav pizza topping?? I wanna know!

10 minute pizza

*This describes the actions I take when I make it, if you want to hear it how Jamie writes it, buy the book.

image: http://www.rspca.org.au/news/jamie-saves-our-bacon.html

tofu pork and eggplant hotpot

This Chinese inspired dish is a quick alternative to take away. It took me 20 minutes to make this meal.

tofu pork and eggplant hotpot1 eggplant, sliced to large batons
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp ginger, finely grated
1 tbsp garlic, crushed
250 g pork mince
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp shou shing wine
1 tsp sambal / chili paste
1 tsp cornflour
250 g firm tofu, drained, cubed
¼ cup shallots (green onion), thinly sliced
rice to serve
coriander leaves to garnish

Put your rice on to cook in your preferred method.
In your wok, add the oils over medium-high heat.
When the oil is becoming hot, add eggplant and stir frequently until soft when pierced and lightly browned, or about 5 minutes. Use tongs to remove the eggplant and place on paper towel.
In the remaining oil in the wok, add ginger and garlic and stir frequently until fragrant.
Add pork mince and stir until crumbled and browned.
In a jug, mix soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, chili paste, cornflour and ¼ cup water.
Pour the sauce mix into the wok and stir until mixture is simmering and beginning to thicken (for about 1-2 minutes).
Gently stir in tofu, eggplant and green onions to heat (for about 1 minute).
Serve with rice and a garnish of coriander.

deconstructing the 70’s: the prawn cocktail

Some nights you just want a light dinner – a little bit of protein and a lot of fresh taste. And you want it in 5 minutes from now. Enter the prawn cocktail – but not all fiddle-fussy like you know it. This is the prawn cocktail 2010’s style. Deconstructed. Chunky. Real.

prawn cocktail dinner

On each plate, place:
A wedge of lettuce (either iceberg or ½ a baby cos)
Avocado, sliced chunky
Prawns, peeled, with tails on
a sprinkle of chives

Dressing*:
2 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise
½ lemon, juiced
pinch of caster sugar

Whisk dressing to combine and drizzle over the above.

* For a more traditional dressing, add ½ tbsp tomato sauce.

chicken fennel and apple salad

A lovely lighter (one bowl) family meal.

I’ve only just discovered the fennel bulb in the last couple of years and now I like it so much that I grow it in the garden. It has a wonderful fresh slightly aniseed flavour and a super crunch factor. I’m yet to try roasting it because I can’t get past using it in salad.

1 BBQ / roast chicken, skinned and shredded
1 large bulb fennel, thinly sliced
2 red apples, thinly sliced
⅓ cup lemon juice
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup parsley, chopped
½ cup pecans, toasted, chopped
½ cup whole egg mayonnaise
1 tbs maple syrup
salt and black pepper to taste

Place fennel and apple in large serving bowl and toss with 2 tbs of the lemon juice to prevent browning.
Add chicken, onion, parsley and pecans (leave a small amount of nuts to garnish) to bowl and toss to combine.
Whisk mayonnaise, remaining lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper together in a small jug.
When about to serve, dress the salad and toss to combine.
Top with extra pecans.

Chicken apple fennel salad

corn waffles

We all know about corn fritters, but how about corn waffles? Not bad, if I do say so myself!

Corn waffle with cheese chives1 cup self raising flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup creamed corn
2 eggs, seperated
½ cup milk
butter to brush iron
Chives and grated cheese to serve as pictured

In one bowl, whisk the egg whites until fluffy and forming peaks.
In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, milk and creamed corn.
Then add the flour and salt, mix well to form a batter.
Fold the egg whites into the batter.
Brush the waffle iron with butter and spoon about ⅓ cup of batter into the iron, in about 2 mins remove and repeat with remaining batter.
Keep waffles warm in a low oven until serving.

more topping ideas:
Crispy bacon and a poached egg, roasted tomatoes and rocket, tomato salsa and avocado, smoked salmon and dill yoghurt.

corn waffle pile

potato waffles

This is another of my Oma inspired recipes. I’ve had to recreate it based on how I think she would have made her potato waffles. I think this comes pretty close, with a little bit of my style mixed in.

potato waffle1 large potato, peeled, grated finely
¼ onion, grated finely
2 small eggs, separated
⅓ cup milk
½ cup self raising flour
pinch salt
butter to brush

grated potato and oniontoppers:
smoked salmon
2 tbsp cream cheese, softened and 4 tbsp greek yoghurt, combined
capers and/or chives (chive flowers pictured)
a poached egg (optional)

Grate the potato and onion on the finer side of the grater.
Squeeze out the excess liquid from potato.
Combine the grated potato, onion, egg yolk and milk in a bowl.
Add salt and four and mix well.
In a separate bowl, beat the whites to fluffy peaks.
Fold the whites into the batter.
Now you’re ready to cook in batches in a hot waffle iron brushed with butter.

This made 4 waffles.

potato waffle with smoked salmon, yoghurt cream and chives

mexicana fiesta

Ok, so that title is lame. But it does feel like a party when you have Mexican food for dinner, don’t you think? Perhaps it’s all the bowls of add-ons, or perhaps it’s the fact that you’ve got to get your hands into it. It’s one step away from a food fight. But this tasted so good, you wouldn’t want to waste it.

The trick to making this taste so great (and minimising the number of dirty pots and pans) was to char the meat on the BBQ before throwing it into the slow cooker. You don’t need to cook it, just get the grill really hot and char the outside.

mexican dinner500 g beef steak (gravy beef or chuck steak), all fat and sinew removed
400 g kidney beans (to read about preparing dry beans see my previous post)
800 g tin tomatoes
Taco seasoning mix (premade or make your own with cumin, ground coriander, paprika, dried oregano, salt and pepper)
coriander stalks, chopped finely (the leaves are in the salsa)
water, about ½ a cup, some tin tomatoes are very watery so you may not need any more water
You could add a diced onion if you like, I couldn’t be bothered.

quick tomato salsa:
ripe tomatoes (I like to use cherry tomatoes), chopped
red onion, diced
coriander leaves, chopped
a squeeze of lemon juice
olive oil
salt and pepper

sides and add-ons:
wrap bread or corn chips of your choice (technically not a ‘side’ but more like ‘the utensil’, however you can choose to leave it out completely and use a fork)
cheese, grated
lettuce, shredded
greek yoghurt (rather than the sour cream – trust me, it’s better)
avocado, sliced
lime (that’s my plate)

Method…

Char the meat on the BBQ grill.
Mix the tomatoes with the spices in the slow cooker (or casserole) dish. Then add the meat.
Slow cooker method, cook on High for about 2 hours then drop to Low. Add the beans for the last 2 hours. (ie. put it on in the morning, at 5pm add the beans, dinner by 7pm)
Oven method, set to 180 c for 1 hour to raise the temp of the tomatoes quickly then drop to 150 c for another 2 to 3 hours. Add the beans and turn it up to 170 c for the last hour just to remind it who’s boss.
Monitor the liquid, you’re aiming for saucy, not dry and not drowning. Add a tad more water if needed.
When the meat is tender, use a fork and tongs to shred it in the pot. This should be easy with your now deliciously tender steak.

Let the fiesta begin!

The leftovers were great and would have done well in the freezer if we hadn’t eaten it all.

Nachos burritos