With our new year’s health kick and saving money on my mind, I have set out to start meal planning this year, to avoid unnecessary temptation while in the supermarket and to prevent food wastage (which is also money wastage). I have compiled a substantial list of easy, go-to meals, but also hope to try at least one new recipe each fortnight, to add some excitement and extra meals to our repertoire.
Tag Archives: recipe
The only one that hasn’t made a resolution to be healthier in 2011…
The one that hasn’t promised to cut out all sweets and excess sugar….
You need to make this slice…
For those of us that have vowed to be healthier, to exercise, eat our veggies and drink more water, please avert your eyes for this one post (or may I suggest bookmarking this recipe for when your resolutions are doubtlessly broken… this slice is that good!).
I wanted to bake something sweet to take to Kris’ family on Christmas day, so upon my Aunty’s recommendation, I made this blackberry almond slice from my good old Delicious magazine.
After a bit of a shortcrust disaster (I totally mis-estimated the amount of butter that I added and it was way too dry and floury), had no choice but to throw out the base and start again.
Also, just a little warning, the recipe is easy yet confusing, meaning that I accidentally tripled the sugar in the almond topping (and didn’t have extra almonds to start over). I blame the glass of red wine that I was having with mum, but despite all the errors the slice turned out delicious.
A piece of this atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream will make you forget all the guilt of breaking your resolutions only days into January.
Recipe from Delicious Magazine, available here.
Just in case you get confused like me… I have added an (in my opinion) improved ingredients list that separates the sugar, butter and vanilla extract needed for each section. See the original recipe for the full quantities required.
- 200g flaked almonds
- 2 tbs milk
- 60g unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 165g unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (225g) plain flour
- 1/3 cup (50g) cornflour
- 1/2 cup (160g) blackberry jam
- 1 cup (150g) thawed frozen or fresh blackberries
I can hardly believe that it is our last week at work… this year has just flown by so fast! Of course, with Christmas comes parties, and it can be a bit tough sometimes to think of what to bring to share as party food, especially knowing that we don’t have access to an oven at work and there will be plenty of cakes, cookies and sweets provided.
This year, I decided to forego the baking and bring some healthy snacks, that I know I will be craving after one too many chips or cupcakes.
At the farmers markets last week there were such beautiful cherry tomatoes, still on the vine (by now you must know that I am a sucker for stuff like this), that of course I had to buy some for our lunch. Roasted with a bit of olive oil and set atop some mafaldine (curly fettuccine), they made the perfect Saturday lunch.
Like a lot of veggos, we tend to fall into the trap of eating a lot of carbs, with many of our meals based around pasta, pizza, cous cous, potato, bread etc. Though I do try my best to vary our diet and to include plenty of beans, lentils and tofu, sometimes when you just need an easy, tasty and filling lunch, only pasta will do. In saying that, I try to add as many vegetables as possible to make it a little healthier.
Mafaldine kinda looks a bit freakish… we were joking that we were eating Paul the Octopus.
Good quality parmesan is key…
Photos from: my camera
Kris and I love our treats, especially during summer when it is so nice to cool down on a hot afternoon with an ice cream or icy pole.
One of my favourite snacks is frozen grapes, which are sweet enough to satisfy that craving and so simple to make, just throw them in a container in the freezer.
Another new favourite is fruit and yoghurt icy poles – with so many different combinations we will never get sick of them. The best part is, if you make a smoothie you can just chuck the left overs into your icy pole tray and have a tasty treat ready to go, with minimal effort and reduced food wastage. I always freeze bananas that are a little overripe for use in cakes, smoothies and now in icy poles.
Over the weekend I snacked on the tastiest of strawberries, and thought that some kind of strawberry frozen yoghurt would be the perfect thing for a hot afternoon. The idea for these originally came from One Charming Party, which is absolutely the cutest blog full of amazing party and food ideas! Unfortunately my icy pole moulds are a lot smaller than they have used, and for some reason they were quite difficult to find… You would think they should be stocked everywhere!
As I wanted to go for a layered effect, I started with a strawberry puree, to which I added some maple syrup for a little sweetness. I actually used frozen strawberries for this, but it would work just as well with fresh strawberries (you can definitely use cooking grade, they don’t need to look perfect, just need to be ripe and full of flavour).
Sshhhhhh don’t tell anyone but it was delicious on its own as a strawberry sorbet.
To make the strawberry yoghurt, I just added some of the strawberry puree to natural yoghurt, I didn’t really measure it out or anything, and the quantities would really depend on the size of the icy pole trays that you use. I added a strawberry slice to make them pretty like the ones from One Charming Party, but of course mine are a lot messier. Still delicious though!
Perfect for a summer afternoon.
Get in quick because they won’t last long…
Nom nom nom…
After my first taste of Labna (or Labneh) at the Food and Wine show, I had a quick google to figure out what it actually is. Turns out it is actually one of the simplest cheeses that you can make, so I decided to try my hand in making it at home.
Labna is really just strained yoghurt, but can be used in place of cream cheese for a bit of a different flavour and as a healthy option.
So, as promised, here is a little demonstration of how I made Labna…
As a vegetarian, I love to make huge salads with a stack of ingredients, completely ignoring the ‘keep it simple’ mentality. In saying this, there is something about summertime weather that makes me change my tune and crave eating a piece of fruit or a simple salad.
Insalata caprese is probably the ‘simplest’ salad that there is. Of course, in a simple salad there is a huge importance on the highest quality ingredients, the ripest of tomatoes, basil picked straight from the garden and fresh mozzarella.
Don’t even think about trying to use the mozzarella that we tend to find in supermarkets in Australia, or the shredded stuff, what you need is the cheese that you can buy in the deli or gourmet cheese section, that comes soaking in brine.
Here I have used mini bocconcini (just because they are so cute), but I think a huge improvement could be made by using the large balls of buffalo mozzarella from my local deli.
Drizzled with a good quality olive oil, cracked pepper and sea salt, this is an ideal summer afternoon snack, or accompaniment to a pasta dish.
Photos from: my camera
Would any of you be interested in seeing a couple ‘behind the scenes’ set up shots for the photos in this post?
Inspired by the huge bushes of rosemary that are flourishing in the West End garden and the recent information I found out about the chips at a popular burger place, I bought some little potatoes to make a batch of semi-healthy homemade chips. Even though there is an extra step involved scrubbing the potatoes, I find that I am always drawn to those that look like they have just been pulled from the ground, still caked with dirt. Again, I think it is that desire to know where my food comes from and to have vegetables that actually look like they do when pulled from the ground.
Two of our wonderful friends had us over for dinner on our anniversary the other night, so of course as a good guest I thought I should bring dessert. I’m always looking for an excuse to bake a cake to share with other people, as Kris and I would just eat the whole thing given the opportunity.
As one of our hosts can’t do gluten (even though it is SOOOO delicious), I thought it would be a great chance to try a flourless chocolate cake. One of the best cakes I have ever tasted was a flourless chocolate cake with raspberries, and I knew I had raspberries in the freezer, so searched for a recipe to reflect this.
I didn’t plan to blog this as I was super rushed, so didn’t take photos as I went, but as soon as I took the first bite I knew that I just had to share this recipe. It was a pretty easy cake to make, but takes a few steps, and it was pretty robust considering I ran out of both butter and brown sugar so used a bit less than the recipe called for.
This cake was almost like a dense brownie, soft and gooey in the middle as it was still warm straight from the oven, and perfectly crisp on top. I didn’t believe the recipe that it needed 1 hour 45 min of baking, so baked for about 40 mins in our oven, and after a quick car ride threw it in the girls’ oven for another half hour. When I thought it was finished I just turned the oven off and left the cake in there while we chatted the night away.
Oh it was just divine. We were all quiet for one small minute while we enjoyed the first bite, the crisp crust sticking to our teeth. If I ever hear a girlfriend has had her heart broken, I know that the perfect fix would be a girlie movie, a tub of ice cream and a huge slice of this cake, straight from the oven. It was that good.
I threw some raspberries on from the freezer just for show (plus I love eating frozen raspberries, they are so good!), and despite my impatience they finally defrosted in time for me to snap some pics before we polished off the left overs.
There is nothing quite like a cake straight from the oven, but the left overs were still so good even though we didn’t warm them up.
Recipe from: Woman’s Day
Photos from: my camera, taken the day after baking
I am very fussy when it comes to cookbooks. I know that they say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but with cookbooks I think the overall presentation and photography are just as important as the recipes themselves. Fabulous photos of food inspire me to cook, blog, and most of all to improve my own photography, if only to share my delicious creations with all of you.
In view of this, I’m sure that you can see why I was immediately drawn to the latest cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty. The cover has a beautiful design and luxurious feel, and the photographs on the interior are phenomenal and make me want to cook all day long (although I find a guilty pleasure in reading cookbooks in bed and just staring at the pictures).
So of course I was very excited to get stuck into my new cookbook, but with almost 300 pages of vegetarian recipes I just had no idea where to start. In the end I chose something a little foreign to me, paella. I have only eaten paella once or twice, during our travels in Spain, yet I have never attempted to cook it.
Though not a traditional recipe, it looked rather appealing, especially considering it was topped with olives and artichoke hearts.
Of course, in my usual style, I didn’t have all the ingredients to hand, and had to switch out the paella rice for aborio, sherry for red wine vinegar (not even sure if that was comparable), and leave out the broad beans and saffron.
Do you like my new chopping board? I love it so much I don’t even want to cut on it… is that weird?
I have never really cooked with fennel, but I read somewhere the other day that a great way to try new things is to buy something new every time you go to the greengrocer, so what a perfect way to start.
Red and yellow capsicums were cut in thin slices.
Thankfully my housemate swooped in to the rescue with some paprika as I didn’t have any and it is the essential spice in paella.
Ideally, a paella pan is large and shallow, but a frypan was all we had and I had a bit of a problem getting the rice to cook evenly. I eventually realised that a switch to our bigger burner would work much more efficiently and finally got the paella finished.
I think I went a little overboard on the olives and artichokes as the saltiness overpowered the more subtle flavours of the paella, but overall I was rather impressed with my first attempt (though I can’t say the same for Kris, it was too much for his tastes).
Note to self: less olives next time and there is definitely no need to add salt. I would even use half a veggie stock cube instead of a whole one.