Showing posts with label pumpkin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pumpkin. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Simple Sides - Muscat Butternut Pumpkin

Simple Sides - Muscat Butternut Pumpkin

Winter is the weather for drinking ports and muscats and Pedro Ximenex. There’s nothing better than a small glass in front of the fireplace after a good meal. It’s also fabulous to cook with. This is a simple side dish that tastes so good on these cold nights. This is a fairly sweet side dish, the onions, pumpkin and muscat all combining to a sticky yumness. This pairs well with beef or lamb. It's also fabulous with some goat's cheese or gorgonzola dotted on top.

I’ve used Monte’s Fine Old Muscat from Cape Naturaliste – my favourite winery. Partly because I always have a bottle of it, because it’s fabulous. Partly because it is the perfect match. Sweet, without being too cloying, a tad gingerbready. Add a little onion and thyme and you're onto a winner.

Speaking of winning, this pumpkin was one that Lance grew for me! Getting fresh produce feels like such a prize!

Simple Sides - Muscat Butternut Pumpkin
Simple Sides - Muscat Butternut Pumpkin


Muscat Butternut Pumpkin

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 red onions, sliced into thin half moons
1 tsp salt
2 tsp thyme leaves
½ tsp fresh black pepper
½ cup muscat (such as Monte’s Fine Old Muscat)
1 small butternut pumpkin (around 750g), peeled, de-seeded and finely sliced into half moons
1 tbsp each pepitas and pine nuts for garnish

In a frypan over low heat, warm the olive oil and butter together until the butter has melted. Add the red onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring here and there. Add the salt, thyme and pepper, mix through the onions well and cook a further 10 minutes, until the onions are golden.

Add the pumpkin slices and stir through well, coating them in the onion mixture. Pour the muscat over the top and cook for 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin has softened and the liquid has been absorbed.

Scatter with pepitas and pine nuts and serve.

Simple Sides - Muscat Butternut Pumpkin
Simple Sides - Muscat Butternut Pumpkin
Simple Sides - Muscat Butternut Pumpkin

Monday, June 8, 2015

Using your Noodle - Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef



Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef

Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
 
Something that is a bit of a pet peeve of mine is when you see something presenting as a ‘healthy version’ of a dish by replacing the main ingredient that makes it the original dish – but still calls it the original. Like a “burger”  or ‘taco’ which uses lettuce leaves instead of a bun or tortillas. Those are lettuce leaf wraps, or even a fusion version of san choy bau. I am happy to eat them, happy for them to be a dish but don’t try and trick me by calling it a burger or a taco. Or anything called a cheesecake that doesn’t contain cheese. I love cashew cream, and the various versions of nut cake that try to simulate the cheesecake texture…but they are an entirely different category of cake!

The other main one is spaghetti using zucchini. I love zucchini ‘noodles’ as a side dish. I’ve had a huge variety of dishes with the zucchini prepared this way that have been tasty ways of eating the vegetable…but no matter how hard you try convince me otherwise, they are not a replacement for flour and egg noodles. It is not spaghetti. Call it something else. Please!

Given my mini-rant, this dish might be confusing at first because it is buttered spaghetti squash. But I am not trying to trick you into thinking it is a low-carb or gluten-free version of buttered noodles. That’s just the variety of squash that I used. Spaghetti squash aren’t hugely common in Perth although the ones I buy are grown in the Southern Forests Region (I get mine from the Nanna Shop), and they are named for the flesh that when roasted, you can pull it into strands that look, well, spaghetti-like. But, make no mistake. This is a delicious vegetable dish, it is not pasta. Although, you could make this a pasta dish by subbing in noodles for the squash.

If you can’t find a spaghetti squash, you can use Kent or butternut pumpkin diced into 1-2cm cubes and roasted until tender but not falling apart. This dish uses half a spaghetti squash, but I tend to roast a whole one each time, then use the leftover shredded flesh in another dish. Bresaola is a smoked meat you can find in good delis amongst the other cold meats. If you can’t get hold of any, prosciutto or bacon diced up and fried would work well.

Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef

Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef

1 spaghetti squash
6 slices bresaola, cut into strips (if you can’t find, sub prosciutto or bacon)
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
1 brown onion, thinly sliced into half moons
3 cloves garlic, minced
9 olives stuffed with pimento, sliced into rounds
5 prunes, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
To serve
Toasted pistachios, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 175C. Cut the spaghetti squash down the middle and scoop out the seeds. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Drizzle a little olive oil on the cut flesh of the squash and rub it over to distribute and coat thinly. Place, cut side down onto the baking tray and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the flesh is tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool enough to handle.

Slice the bresaola into strips, and place into a frypan over medium heat. Cook, stirring here and there for around 2 minutes, or until some of the fat renders out, and it crisps and curls up in parts. Remove to a paper towel lined tray and set aside.

In the same pan, add the olive oil and butter, allow the butter to melt. Add the onion moons and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until translucent, 3 minutes, then add the garlic. Continue cooking until the onions become a nice golden colour, around 20 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, pull the spaghetti squash flesh into strands with a fork. Put half away in a container in the fridge for another use. The other half, stir through the buttery onions, ensuring it is all well coated. Then add the olives, prunes and bresaola and stir to evenly distribute. Check for seasoning, then serve with chopped pistachios.
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw

Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw

I am lucky enough to have just over a week off for my company's Christmas shut-down and I had grand plans to make up for the current decline in my blog posts and prep a whole bunch for the new year. Then I would catch up on reading other blogs and spring clean my desk area and re-arrange the spare room and do some gardening. And. And. And I have done none of it. Today is the first day I've even been willing to turn my computer on. This has been officially my laziest Christmas break. I've actually used it as a break! Lots of book reading and beach going and lazy shopping.

Hopefully everyone has had a fabulous holiday period. I certainly did, celebrating with both families, eating up a storm. In lieu of a big night tonight (with Lance not getting January 1st off), we also had our now traditional New Year's Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve BBQ. But tonight we will have a quiet BBQ at home with the best of intentions to stay awake until midnight. And we will be eating this salad. 

This is currently one of my favourite salads. It is super easy to make, and can be made a day or two in advance if necessary. It is the perfect salad to take to a BBQ. It is a vinegar-based slaw, rather than the mayonnaise based coleslaw that most Australian's are more familiar with, which makes it a much lighter dish. Instead of carrot, I use pumpkin with red onion and silverbeet (chard) for colour. The salt comes from the delightfully savoury taste of miso paste, whilst maple adds a sweet touch against the vinegar. A touch of sriracha adds a faint spice, without too much heat. Toasted pumpkin seeds round out the texture perfectly.

I am not the hugest fan of raw onion in salads, which is why I added the step to sit the onion in vinegar first. It takes a little of the onion's punch out. Feel free to skip this step if you are an onion lover.

This makes a large amount of salad, but as I said, it keeps a few days in the fridge so you can have it as leftovers if you aren't serving it to a crowd.

Happy New Year my lovely readers, and I promise my posts will get a little more on-track in 2015!


Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw
Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw
Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw
Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw



Pumpkin Miso Slaw

1 small butternut pumpkin
¼ head cabbage
3 leaves silverbeet
¼ cup toasted pepitas
½ white onion
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, divided
2 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp sriracha (or to taste)
Salt & pepper to taste


Thinly slice the onion into half moons, cover with the 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and set aside whilst you prepare everything else.


Grate (by hand, or in a food processor) the pumpkin, finely shred the cabbage and silverbeet. Mix together in a large bowl.


Add all the dressing ingredients to a jar and shake until well combined. Taste for seasoning, adjust as required. Pour over the salad and mix well to coat everything. Mix the onion into the salad. Set aside for half an hour for the acid in the vinegar to soften the pumpkin.


Just before serving, toss through the pumpkin seeds


Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw
Summer BBQ - Pumpkin and Miso Slaw

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry

Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry

When Lance and I were dating, he took me to an Indian restaurant in Vic Park. Both of us particularly liked the Mango Chicken Curry at our local Indian takeaway, and so it was one of the dishes we ordered that night. It was served up in one of those beautiful copper bowls, which was sat on a plate. I accidentally knocked the plate and threw Mango Chicken Curry all over me. ALL over me. Lance just shook his head and laughed. “I can’t take you anywhere!”


That story isn’t hugely relevant to this recipe, but I wasn’t too sure how to start this post and that story came to me. I guess it’s because the Mango Curry is a sweet, fruity and mild curry, and this is too. Lance isn’t a huge fan of banana (unless it is in a chocolate peanut butter smoothie), but he still really enjoyed the fruitiness it added to this curry. The secret is to use ripe, but still ‘hard’ bananas. You don’t want them to break down too much, or be too sweet. The rest of the flavours are just normal curry spices. I don’t know a great deal about cooking curries, I only know I enjoy eating them. So it’s in no way traditional, but it is incredibly flavoursome.


So, if you’re clumsy like I am, and you can’t be taken anywhere, at least you can still have a good curry

Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry
Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry
Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry


Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry

2 tsp salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 brown onion, diced
thumbsize piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
1/2 butternut pumpkin, 2 cm dice
1 chicken breast, chopped into 2cm chunks
1 red capsicum, 1cm dice
1 tin coconut cream

2 firm but ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
to serve
black rice
cashews
chopped coriander leaves
 Heat a large pot to medium heat and place the dry spices in. Cook until nice and fragrant – around 1-2 minutes. Add a good splash of olive oil, then the onion, garlic and ginger, stirring well to coat in the spices. Cook for 10 minutes until the onion is translucent.


Add the chicken pieces and stir to brown, 5 minutes. Add in the capsicum and pumpkin, the coconut cream and rinse the can out with water (about 3/4 of the tin), adding that to the pot as well. Stir well, then put the lid on and simmer 15-20 minutes until the pumpkin is almost cooked through. 


Add the banana pieces in for the last 10 minutes of cooking so they heat through, but don’t completely break down.

Check for seasoning, then serve with black rice and cashews and coriander leaves, if desired





Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry
Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry
Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry
Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry
Inauthentic Deliciousness- Pumpkin, Chicken and Banana Curry

Friday, October 10, 2014

Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl


Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl
Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl

I’ve never made croquettes before, but when someone suggested on Skamp’s facebook page that it was a good way for using leftover roast sweet potato and pumpkin, I thought it was time to give it a go. I had almost exactly 200g of roast sweet potato and pumpkin leftover from a roast the night before and this made the perfect amount of croquettes for the two of us for dinner. These would be great served as a hot snack at a dinner party with maybe some sweet chilli sauce or creamy sriracha dipping sauce.


I had a fairly salty style Danish fetta in these croquettes, so if your fetta is less salty, you may need to season. I used coconut as well as bread crumbs for the coating, because I love that combination and it just tends to work for frying anything. Seriously.

To make it a complete meal, I served it with a chipotle rotkohl – a sauerkraut made with red cabbage. This is in no way a traditional recipe, but it tastes pretty amazing! A nice briny sauerkraut with a smokey kick of heat. This with the naturally sweet flavour of the roast veges in the croquettes was a match made in heaven. And then to round it out, some rye bread toast and some chorizo fried in muscat. The rotkohl makes way more than you’ll need for a meal for two, but it keeps well, just reheating it as you need it for a few days


Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl
Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey RotkohlUsing Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl


Roast Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Croquettes

200g roast pumpkin and sweet potato, mashed
85g fetta
1 tsp dried basil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup dried coconut
1 tsp coriander powder

In a large bowl, mash the sweet potato and pumpkin together, then mix through the dried basil to distribute evenly. Gently fold through the fetta. You want it to be evenly mixed through, but not necessarily smooth. A few small lumps of fetta are fine.

Set up a crumbing station. Have two shallow bowls, one with a lightly beaten egg. In the other, mix together the panko, coconut and coriander powder.

Form the croquettes by rolling 2-3tbsp of pumpkin mixture into logs. Roll in the egg, then in the panko mixture. Place on a tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.

Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a pan, and fry each side of the croquettes until golden and crispy on the outside, and warm and gooey inside. About 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel for 5 minutes to cool to eating temperature and eat straight away!

Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl
Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl
Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl
Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl
Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl


Smokey Rotkohl (Red Cabbage Sauerkraut)

1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 chipotle chili
1 cup hot water
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp honey

Pour the hot water over the chipotle chili and set aside to soften.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil to medium heat. Add the red onion and salt, and sautee until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic.

Add the cabbage, tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, cumin seeds and honey. Remove the chipotle from the hot water, and add the water to the pot as well. Bring the liquid to the boil, pushing the cabbage into the liquid as well as you can. Then turn down to a simmer.

Core the chipotle, then finely slice and add to the rotkohl. Simmer for 30 minutes or so, until the cabbage is soft. Serve!


Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl
Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl
Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl
Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl
Using Leftovers - Sweet Potato, Pumpkin and Fetta Croquettes with Smokey Rotkohl



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fancy Midweek Meal - Polenta and Vegetable Stacks

Fancy Midweek Meal - Polenta and Vegetable Stacks

In keeping with my ‘learning to cook new things’ decision, I decided to tackle something that’s been on my list for a while. Polenta. The thing that mainly worried me about polenta is that in most recipes I had seen they contained the one phrase that strikes fear into my heart – ‘stirring constantly’. When something is a side dish, I can’t be ‘stirring constantly’. But there’s been a few blog recipes about that had somewhat demystified the process somewhat and used the phrase ‘stirring here and there’. Stirring here and there I can do! I wanted to make polenta cakes, rather than the polenta ‘mash’ and every recipe for that that I had ever come across insisted that you needed to refrigerate overnight, then cut the polenta into shapes, then either bake or fry to make the crispy polenta cakes. I also didn’t have the time and patience for that. Not on a weeknight. So I just spread it out in the tray and baked it immediately, leaving the cutting until it was baked. It takes about 40 minutes to bake, but it was a good result for a lazy man’s version of this. I will give the chill, cut and fry method a go at some point, but this is a good option for week nights. The chill, cut, fry method also lends itself more to thicker polenta squares.

The sauce you might recognize as my hot white bean dip. It’s almost identical with the removal of the oil and the addition of using some water to thin it out. The texture becomes almost like a tomatoe-y herby b├ęchamel. The roast pumpkin and capsicum work perfectly with the sauce and polenta. And being lazy again, I scrubbed the skin of the butternuts but didn’t bother peeling them. If you don’t want to eat them, simply peel them off after they’ve cooked.

While I am telling you about how lazy I am with midweek cooking, let me tell you about Mexican chorizo. Unlike Spanish style chorizo, Mexican chorizo isn’t cooked/cured and it has to be cooked before eaten. It’s essentially a flavoured mince. I haven’t ever seen it available here in Perth BUT, you can make it really easily at home, following Alejandra’s recipe. When I do have a spare half hour or so on the weekend, I whip up a batch of this, freeze it into individual ‘sausages’ ready for a super easy flavor hit. It makes the most amazing tacos and scrambled egg and potato hash and…the list goes on. It’s so much easier to be lazy during the week if you can occasionally do some prep work. The spicy chorizo here really makes this dish, but if you really don’t want to make some yourself, simply find a nice spicy style sausage, remove the filling from the casing and fry up as below. Or, at a pinch, dice up some normal chorizo and fry until some fat renders out and it’s crispy. But you really want that smokey/spicy hit to bring out the rest of the flavours in the dish.

A little sriracha on plating adds a little extra chilli kick. And if you’re really feeling lazy then you can serve the components separately and not even bother making it look fancy. But how pretty is this?

Fancy Midweek Meal - Polenta and Vegetable Stacks
Fancy Midweek Meal - Polenta and Vegetable Stacks
Fancy Midweek Meal - Polenta and Vegetable Stacks


Polenta

1/2 cup polenta
2 cups water
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup grated parmesan

Roast Veges

Top half of 1 small butternut pumpkin, skin scrubbed and sliced into 1cm thick rings
1 large red capsicum
Olive oil

Sauce

1 tin white beans (cannellini)
4 sundried tomatoes, cut into thin strips
1 cup water
½ tsp salt
3 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
1 tbsp oregano, minced.

200g Mexican chorizo (or other spicy raw sausage, skins removed)

Line a lamington tray with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 170C

In a medium saucepan, bring water, pepper and sea salt to a boil. Pour the polenta in to the boiling water and stir quickly for a minute or so. Cook for around 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes until it thickens to a creamy mash potato consistency. It should pull away from the sides cleanly as you stir it. Stir through the parmesan, and then the olive oil.

Spread in a layer around 2cm thick in the baking paper and smooth over the top. Pop in the oven.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the pumpkin slices out. Drizzle with olive oil. Cut the capsicum in half lengthwise and remove the core and seeds/membranes. Place skin side up on the baking tray . Chuck in the oven.

After 20 minutes, turn the flip the pumpkin slices. Check the polenta. If it’s solid and getting golden on top, gently flip the whole thing over with two spatulas.

Rinse the beans, then add to a medium pot with a cup of water. Bring to a gentle simmer. Using a stick blender (or a real blender), puree until smooth. Add the salt, thyme, oregano and sundried tomatoes, puree that all together too. Check for seasoning, then set aside, keeping warm.


Heat a frypan to medium heat and add the Mexican chorizo. Break it up with a wooden spoon and keep it frying until brown and crispy. Set aside, keeping warm.

Remove the capsicum and gently pull the skins off and discard. Slice into ribbons.

Take the polenta out, and cut into squares about the same size as the pumpkin rings. Cut one square into thin ‘chips’ for decoration.

To plate, add a slice of polenta, a ring of pumpkin, a few ribbons of roast capsicum. Spoon a few tablespoons of the bean sauce, then sprinkle some Mexican chorizo over the top. Repeat the pattern. Balance a few polenta ‘chips’ on top, then decorate with a thyme sprig. Dot some sriracha about the plate decoratively.


Fancy Midweek Meal - Polenta and Vegetable Stacks
Fancy Midweek Meal - Polenta and Vegetable Stacks
Fancy Midweek Meal - Polenta and Vegetable Stacks
Fancy Midweek Meal - Polenta and Vegetable StacksFancy Midweek Meal - Polenta and Vegetable Stacks
Fancy Midweek Meal - Polenta and Vegetable Stacks