Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Going Green - Chimichurri, Pumpkin Seed and Greek Yoghurt Dressing

Going Green - Chimichurri, Pumpkin Seed and Greek Yoghurt Dressing
Going Green - Chimichurri, Pumpkin Seed and Greek Yoghurt Dressing

The first time I made this was the end of February. This time of year is when my desire for outrightly healthy meals kicks in. From my birthday in November, through all of the parties of Christmas and New Year (and NYEEEE) and our dating anniversary and Lance’s birthday and every other excuse under the sun we can think of to indulge in decadent meals and lots of booze means we get to mid February and both Lance and I think – hey, remember when we used to keep it simple and just have grilled meat and salad for dinner. Without wine. Or a beer. Or snacks. Back when our portion sizes were reasonable? Maybe we should do that again for a while. The fact that this thought might have occurred after a long weekend which involved a 9 course wine-matched degustation that we added a 10th dish and 10th wine to because there was an extra dish we just had to have is surely a coincidence. Not to mention the daily ice creams (or two). And cheese platters. And wine.

 And we're eating again now after the 4-day chocolate feast that is Easter!

Tuesday night’s dinner was a grilled steak and this salad, with a wonderful dressing drizzled over everything. An abundance of bright herby chimichurri flavours all blended up with toasted pumpkin seeds and Greek Yoghurt, drizzled over tart mango, crunchy shoots and peas and juicy Lebanese cucumbers. It feels decadent whilst being totally healthy. Blackening the garlic in the pan first softens the garlicky punch and adds a lovely roasted flavour to the whole situation.

The dressing makes much more than you require, but it’ll do meals for around 3 days if refrigerated. As well as being a dressing, it’s also a delicious sauce on baked potatoes, or stirred through quinoa or your favourite grain.

Going Green - Chimichurri, Pumpkin Seed and Greek Yoghurt DressingGoing Green - Chimichurri, Pumpkin Seed and Greek Yoghurt Dressing

Going Green - Chimichurri, Pumpkin Seed and Greek Yoghurt Dressing
Going Green - Chimichurri, Pumpkin Seed and Greek Yoghurt Dressing

Chimichurri, Pumpkin Seed and Greek Yoghurt Dressing

½ cup pumpkin seeds
4 cloves garlic
2 bunches coriander (about 2 cups roughly chopped)
Bunch parsley (about 2 cups roughly chopped)
Salt and pepper
7 big gloops of Greek Yoghurt (around 200g)
¼ cup water (for thinning)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Green Mango Salad

1 underripe mango (you want it to be sliceably firm, and a tart)
Handful bean shoots
Handful snow peas, topped and tailed, then thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled into ribbons – seed middle discarded

Going Green - Chimichurri, Pumpkin Seed and Greek Yoghurt Dressing
Going Green - Chimichurri, Pumpkin Seed and Greek Yoghurt Dressing
Going Green - Chimichurri, Pumpkin Seed and Greek Yoghurt Dressing
Going Green - Chimichurri, Pumpkin Seed and Greek Yoghurt Dressing

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Summer Salads - Grilled Nectarine Panzanella

Grilled Nectarine Panzanella Salad

Grilled Nectarine Panzanella Salad

Summer and stone fruit go hand in hand. I love stone fruit season. It is the most excited I get about fruit. Don’t get me wrong, I like fruit all year around. I don’t have to force myself to eat it by any means. But a lot of fruits we can get all year around so they’re less special. Except for summer fruits. In summer we have an abundance of fruits you can only get in summer. Like mangoes. And peaches. And melons. And cherries. And nectarines. Oh, nectarines! I think every year, my preference of peaches vs. nectarines changes. This year, I am firmly Team Nectarine. I can’t get enough of them.

Usually I just hoe into them. No real thought or process to it. Occasionally having the sense to eat it over the sink so I don’t dribble juice everywhere. But sometimes, I put them to a more inventive use. Like this salad. The wonderful thing about stone fruit is that although delicious fresh, they also grill so well. Nothing required except a hotplate and they caramelise up and form a slightly crunchy brulee-like crust and intensify the sweetness.

We had a verge-side junk collection day, so whilst Lance and I cleaned the house and looked to declutter – Lance also smoked a leg of pork. Pork and grilled nectarines are a combo made in heaven. I made this salad with beet leaves. They’re one of my favourite salad leaves, and I love that I can buy a bunch of baby beets and not only have the wonderful sweet beets, but also make use of the leaves in salads! I rub them with a little olive oil and lime juice to help soften some of the larger, tougher leaves then just scatter the other ingredients through them. This would also be fabulous with some fetta or goat’s cheese. Are you Team Peach or Team Nectarine?

Grilled Nectarine Panzanella Salad

Grilled Nectarine Panzanella Salad - Beet LeavesGrilled Nectarine Panzanella Salad

Grilled Nectarine Panzanella

(serves 2)
3 nectarines, de-seeded and chopped into slices
3 tbsp rice bran oil (or other high smoke point oil)
1 brown onion, thinly sliced into half moons
Pinch salt
Bunch beet leaves, washed and dried
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
2 stale tortillas

Heat your BBQ to medium high. Add the rice bran oil and use your spatula to spread it across the hot plate. Wait a few more minutes for this to heat up and add the onion slices to one section of the plate and cook for 5 minutes or so, until starting to go translucent. 

Sprinkle the onion slices with salt and toss to combine. Spread the nectarine slices across the other section. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the first side of the nectarine is blackened in spots and caramelised. Flip to cook the other side. Toss the onions here and there whilst the nectarines cook. Remove both to a plate and set aside.

Heat the grill side of the BBQ and toast the tortillas for 2 minutes per side, or until crisp and slightly charred in sections. Remove, then cut into squares

Tear or cut the beet leaves into manageable pieces, place in a bowl and pour over the olive oil and lime juice. Massage into the leaves, making sure all leaves are coated and rubbed. When ready to serve, gently toss through the onions, nectarines and tortilla croutons.

Serve with your favourite protein!

Grilled Nectarine Panzanella Salad

Grilled Nectarine Panzanella Salad
Grilled Nectarine Panzanella Salad
Grilled Nectarine Panzanella Salad

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

Monday, September 22, 2014

Coming into Spring - Roast Strawberry and Broccoli Warm Rice Salad

Coming into Spring - Roast Strawberry and Broccoli Warm Rice Salad

Remember my roast strawberry salsa? That was good, you should try that. But when it comes down to it, it’s the roasting of the strawberries that really make it. Roast strawberries are good. Really good. It intensifies the flavours and sweetness in a way that suits both sweet and savoury dishes. This is another dish that uses roast strawberries to great effect paired with roast broccoli and garlic to create an amazing warm salad. Just add a protein and it’s a complete meal.

It’s a simple dish, which can come together in the time it takes for the rice to cook. Pop the rice on, chuck the strawberries and broccoli in the oven while you toast the nuts and seeds and by the time that’s done, so is the salad. I used red rice for becuse I like the colour and texture of it here, but your favourite grain would work. Quinoa would be a nice nutty alternative, or buckwheat.

I was feeling particularly decadent, so I grated some dark chocolate over the top. It’s next level stuff that’s not at all necessary but so good! Some goat’s cheese crumbled over the top would be another good add on.
Coming into Spring - Roast Strawberry and Broccoli Warm Rice Salad
Coming into Spring - Roast Strawberry and Broccoli Warm Rice Salad
Coming into Spring - Roast Strawberry and Broccoli Warm Rice Salad
Coming into Spring - Roast Strawberry and Broccoli Warm Rice Salad

Roast Strawberry and Broccoli Warm Rice Salad

1/2 cup red rice
1 cup water
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
250g punnet strawberries, hulled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup pepitas
½ cup hazelnuts
1 tbsp capers
½ tbsp. mustard seeds
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180C

Rinse the red rice and place in a glass bowl. Cover with 1 cup of water and microwave for 22 minutes or cook til al debnte using your preferred method.

In a large casserole dish, combine the broccoli, strawberries, olive oil, salt and garlic. Toss to mix well, then put in the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until strawberries are soft and broccoli starts to colour.

Meanwhile, heat a pan over medium heat and toss in the pepitas and mustard seeds. When both start popping (around 2 minutes), remove from the pan and set aside. Toast the hazelnuts in the same manner, tossing to toast each side. Approximately 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. When cool, chop roughly.

When the broccoli is ready, stir through the nuts, seeds, rice and capers.

Finely grate some dark chocolate over the top

 Serve! I served here with pork steaks seasoned with some of the rub from my lamb ragu recipe
Coming into Spring - Roast Strawberry and Broccoli Warm Rice Salad
Coming into Spring - Roast Strawberry and Broccoli Warm Rice Salad
Coming into Spring - Roast Strawberry and Broccoli Warm Rice Salad
Coming into Spring - Roast Strawberry and Broccoli Warm Rice Salad
Coming into Spring - Roast Strawberry and Broccoli Warm Rice Salad

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Grilled Crab with Gin and Pomegranate Sabayon - with Warm Pink Grapefruit, Zucchini and Buckwheat Salad

Sometimes I see trends in types of recipes that go through my foodporn news feeds and it makes me think, hmm, I’ve never tried that before. It’s such a common dish, or component of a dish and despite being quite adventurous in my cooking, it’s not something I’ve ever made. Or even contemplated making – like mac and cheese. Can you believe this last weekend was the first time I’d ever made b├ęchamel sauce? As I was stirring the milk and it was magically thickening and turning into a delicious thick sauce in a way I’d never seen before, I was thinking about starting this blog. It was initially about trying new things and opening myself up to new cooking experiences, so that we didn’t eat the same dishes on rote. But although the flavours I mix together are often unique and different and new, my methods of cooking haven’t really evolved much.

I watched Julie and Julia on the weekend (with a large bowl of mac and cheese using aforementioned b├ęchamel sauce to cope with all that delicious food on screen) and watching Julie debone a duck and going through the calf leg gelatin section of Julia Child’s cookbook made me determined to make a few more things requiring a different cooking technique to my usual. Whilst I don’t think I’ll ever buy a calf leg, or possibly even debone a duck, I will definitely try a few new things.

I wrote before about being scared of roasting a duck, and that experiment turning out deliciously well. And one of the other things I’ve never really attempted seriously before is sauces or custards with egg. Even making ice creams I try to avoid using custard based ones because cooking eggs like that scares me. I figure I’ll end up with scrambled eggs and ruin the whole thing. But I made a chocolate pavlova for Mothers’ Day and ended up with a whole bunch of egg yolks and decided it was the perfect time to make a pink grapefruit curd. Again, I enjoyed watching the magic of the yolks and grapefruit juice thicken and become creamy and turn from ingredients into an actual dish. So the next step was to make a sabayon sauce. Sabayon (or zabaglione) is a light and fluffy sauce, drink or dessert made using some form of alcohol and egg yolks as the main ingredients.

Things I’ve learnt in these two egg-based sauce dishes is that you need to be patient at first, slowly drizzling the hot liquid into the eggs and whisking first before putting it on the heat and whisking consistently at a brisk pace. But it’s definitely a trick worth trying, you really do feel there is a science behind cooking.

Given that it’s Autumn and the markets are full of pomegranates, this sabayon is pomegranate flavoured and paired with one of my favourite spirits – Gin. I again used the West Winds Sabre for it’s specific citrus notes, but if you can’t get your hands on it, substitute Bombay Sapphire. And like my last Gin dish, it uses crab meat. I had this frozen from our very successful crabbing trip in summer, but you can generally get your hands on crab or crab meat at most supermarkets. There’s something about gin and crab that just *work*, you know! I then put it under the grill to heat the crab and lightly toast the top of the sabayon. The end result is a toasty, airy, citrusy puff of rich sauce on top of the flaky crab meat. So. Good.

This was paired with a warm buckwheat salad. I think next time, I’d like to add a few plain salted tortilla chips as well, for a textural counterpoint.

Grilled Crab with Gin and Pomegranate Sabayon
2/3 cup West Winds Sabre Gin
4 tbsp pink grapefruit juice
2 pomegranates, seeded
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
300g cooked crab meat, picked over for cartilage and shell

Seed the pomegranates and reserve ¼ of the arils for the salad. Put the gin, grapefruit juice and pomegranate seeds into a small saucepan and simmer until the liquid has reduced to about ¼ of a cup.

Line a baking tray with paper and divide the crab meat into 4. Tightly pack with your hands into patties and set aside until sauce is ready.

Once the gin mixture has reduced, strain through a fine sieve into a glass bowl that you can set above simmering water. Set a small saucepan of water to simmer. Add the egg yolks to the reduced gin and whisk briskly for a few minutes to fully incorporate, then place over the simmering water. Whisk constantly and briskly until the sauce becomes light and fluffy, the colour will turn a pretty pale purple. It’ll take about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and drizzle the olive oil into the mixture, whisking slowly for a few minutes until emulsified. Taste and season as needed. Set aside until salad is ready and you can grill the crab.

Spoon the mixture over the crab and place under a pre-heated grill for 2-3 minutes until toasted and brown.

Warm Pink Grapefruit, Zucchini and Buckwheat Salad
2/3 cup buckwheat
1 ½ cup water
½ tsp salt
Big pinch fresh black pepper
Olive oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp coriander seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, diced
2/3 cup corn kernels
1 pink grapefruit, segmented and diced
1 tbsp tamari
2 silverbeet leaves, stripped and shredded
1 Avocado, sliced
Handful toasted almonds, roughly chopped
¼ of the pomegranate arils reserved from making the sabayon

Put the buckwheat, water, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer until the buckwheat is cooked, but still chewy, around 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

In a frypan, heat a splash of olive oil and fry the garlic until translucent. Add the cumin, mustard seeds and coriander seeds, stir well to coat in the oily garlic mix. Add the zucchini and corn kernels and cook for 5-10 minutes until the zucchini is soft. Take off the heat.

Stir through the cooked buckwheat, tamari, grapefruit pieces and silverbeet leaves.

Serve with sliced avocado, toasted almonds and the reserved pomegranate arils on top.

 Gently remove the crab with sabayon patties and serve alongside


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Work Lunches - Smokey Mango Barley Salad

Not working in the CBD means my food options are extremely limited unless I take a drive to buy something. This is both a blessing and a curse. I see some Instagram feeds of the amazing food options in the city and it makes me sad that I have to really put in the effort to go into the city for them. But it means I have a better control over the food I do eat, making me eat healthier and more cheaply. So it has it’s plusses too.

To help me be prepared for the next day’s lunch, whenever I have the oven on for dinner, I’ll roast a few extra veges. Likewise, whenever I cook some grains, I will cook extra to use in lunches. This is one of my favourite take-to-work lunches. The best part of it is the combination of textures. Silky roast eggplant, soft sweet potato, chewy barley and crunchy bean sprouts all smoky and sweet and savoury and delicious. It is best served at room temperature, rather than cold. I made this batch and it lasted in the fridge for 3 days of work lunches.

Smokey Mango, Sweet Potato and Eggplant Barley Salad
1 small sweet potato
1 small eggplant
Generous splash of olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp chipotle Tabasco
1 cup cooked pearl barley
Handful basil leaves, torn
1/2 cup mixed bean sprouts (mung bean, adzuki bean, blue pea and lentil is the mix I use)
1/2 mango
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to season

Dice the sweet potato and eggplant make the sweet potato dice a bit smaller than the eggplant dice so it cooks evenly. Put in a bowl and pour over the olive oil, maple syrup and Chipotle Tabasco sauce. Stir well to coat each piece. Roast for 30-45 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool.

Roughly chop the mango, add a tablespoon of butter and season. Put in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until the mango has broken down. Stir well with a fork to help break it down, or puree if you can be bothered.

Combine barley, sweet potato, eggplant and stir through the mango sauce. Gently fold through the bean sprouts and basil leaves. Eat! Or take to work and eat!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Romantic Summer - Salmon Ceviche Brulee

Along with our wedding anniversary, Lance and I still like to acknowledge our ‘dating’ anniversary. We’re both fairly romantic folk, so it gives us another opportunity to celebrate us. We just passed our 6th anniversary of our first date. That first date was Epic. With a capital E. With castles and flying roses and passionfruit wine and dancing. It was seriously wonderful and thinking back over that night and everything that has happened between us in those last 6 years makes me all warm and fuzzy. That first night, we had sushi for dinner (something that Lance had not been a fan of before we became friends and I showed him how good it can be) and as a nod to that, we went to a wonderful Omakase and Teppenyaki restaurant in Mosman Park – Fu Ku. It’s a little pricey, but the food is incredible, so if you like Japanese and want somewhere to go for a special occasion, I highly recommend it! But, seeing as I always have recipe ideas running around in my head and things I want us to try, I thought I’d also make Lance a special meal for our anniversary too.

Given the recent heatwave we’ve been having in Perth, a lot of the dishes I have on my ‘to-cook’ list are ruled out as either too heavy to want to eat, or too labour intensive to want to cook. Which lead me to ceviche. We both love ceviche. We had it often on our last US trip, and since coming back we’ve found it popping up on menus around Perth. Don Tapa in Fremantle and El Publico in Highgate both do great ceviche. And it is so incredibly simple. Whilst you can get all fancy about the ingredients, essentially all you need is fresh seafood and citrus juice to “cook” it. On our last day in New York City, Lance and I went to a fantastic Peruvian restaurant that served a few different types of ceviche including what they called Salmon Brulee. A salmon ceviche formed into a neat square, with a layer of cream cheese on top, and a very thin layer of sugar that had been caramelised to a crisp on top. It was so unique and so delicious. So I decided to make a version of that for Lance.

I kept the whole thing very basic for my first attempt and the result was so good. Using my current citrus favourite - grapefruit and a cheeky little shot of Gin. You can substitute the grapefruit juice for lime or lemon (or a combination). And omit the gin if you're not into it - but I think the flavours go particularly well. I served this with a mango salad on the side, and used some of the marinading liquid to ‘dress’ it (this liquid is called Leche de Tigre in Peru and is considered a potent aphrodisiac AND hangover cure!). And a few home made tortilla chips. I also kept the pieces chunkier for my first attempt - nice and rustic. If you are like us, kind of romantic but looking to keep things fairly low-key with dinner at home on Valentine's Day, this is a fantastic quick and impressive dish for you to share with that special someone.

Salmon Ceviche Brulee
250g skinless salmon steaks
Grapefruit juice from one large grapefruit (around ¾ cup)
1 shot (30mL) gin (I used Gin Mare because of it’s olive flavours)
1 jalapeno, finely minced
1/4 tsp good sea salt
100g cream cheese
2 tbsp white sugar
Mango Salad
2 medium mangoes
2 roma tomatoes
½ sweet paprika
1 small Lebanese cucumber
1/3  Leche de Tigre (from the ceviche)

Finely slice the salmon portions (the smaller you cut it, the less time it’ll take to ‘cook’). Sprinkle with salt. In a glass bowl, add the grapefruit juice, gin and jalapeno. Add the salmon and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to cook. As a minimum, 30 minutes. Up to a few hours before you’re going to serve it.

Using a cutter, form a disc (or shape of your choosing) of cream cheese 1cm or so thick. Sprinkle a fine layer of sugar over the top and carefully unmold without pulling the sugar off with it.

To make the salsa – finely chop all of the ingredients and set aside until ready to serve.

When the ceviche is ready, strain through a sieve and reserve about 1/3 cup of the juice. Pour this reserved liquid into the mango salsa salad and mix well.

Form the salmon into a pile, carefully slide the cheese disc on top and use a brulee torch to burn the sugar on top.
Serve immediately with some fresh tortilla chips