easy dinners

Warm quinoa salad with pumpkin and fetta cheese

Warm quinoa salad with pumpkin and fetta cheese

This delicious meal can be served as a side or as the meal itself, it’s very versatile it can be made the night ahead or served warm.

 

Quinoa is considered a superfood, why? It’s a source of complete protein, low GI and gluten free.

 

Don’t be afraid of cooking quinoa, it is much more friendly that rice to work with. It is readily available in supermarkets. Always give quinoa a good rinse before you use it.

 

This salad has the perfect balance of flavours, the nuttiness of the quinoa with the softness of the pumpkin, green beans for a little crunch, fetta cheese to add and element of sharpness to each bite and the parsley to clean the palate. This recipe is also super versatile you can add/subtract/interchange the veggies. This salad keeps well in the fridge, I usually double it and take it for lunches.

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Best part of all, it is all made in one saucepan!

 

Ingredients

2 cups quinoa

100gram pumpkin

1 cup green beans

70grams fetta cheese

2 stalks parsley

1 shallot

2Tb olive oil

1Tb lemon juice

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  1. Rinse quinoa, place into a medium sauce pan, cover with 3 cups water, chop the shallot and add to the quinoa, sprinkle with salt and pepper, on a medium heat bring the water to the boil.
  2. Simmer the quinoa with the lid for 5 minutes. Whilst the quinoa is cooking, chop the pumpkin into small cubes, add the pumpkin to the quinoa cook for 10minutes with the lid on. Whilst the pumpkin and quinoa mix is cooking, top and tail the green beans and chop the beans into 1.5cm pieces, add the green beans to the quinoa cook for 2minutes. Whilst the mix is cooking, chop the fetta into 1cm cubes, finely chop the parsley.
  3. At this point your quinoa should be slightly translucent and the water should have been evaporated (if you have extra water and the quinoa is done drain the excess water). Add the oil and lemon juice into the saucepan and toss.
  4. Place into a large serving bowl or individual plates, sprinkle with fetta and parsley.

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Honey Lemon Chicken

Honey lemon chicken Honey lemon chicken with a side of steamed greens

This dish is so quick and simple you will never get it from the take out store again. You can cut each piece of chicken into nugget sized pieces if you prefer. I serve this dish with a big bowl of steamed greens. You could easily serve this dish with a side of rice. The benefit of using cornflour is this dish is gluten free!

Honey lemon chicken

Serves 4

2 chicken breasts

1Tb Dry Sherry

2Tb soy sauce

½ tsp salt

2 eggs

Oil for frying

¼ cup cornstartch

½ tsp baking powder

Sauce:

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup honey

2tb cornstartch

1 cup chicken stock

3tb lemon juice

1 tsp salt

1 lemon sliced

2tb vegetable oil

salt and pepper

Garnish: chopped shallots

Honey lemon chicken

Method:

  1. Slice chicken in half horizontally, so you will have 4 thin slices of chicken breast.
  2. In a large bowl combine the chicken, sherry, soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix together, cover and refrigerate. Let marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, 1/4 cup corn-starch and baking powder to form a batter.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Place vegetable oil in fry pan on a medium heat
  6. Dip chicken in the batter to coat.
  7. Place chicken into fry pan and fry until golden brown and turn over and repeat for the other side, do this for each piece of chicken breast.
  8. In a medium bowl combine the sugar, honey, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, lemon juice and 1 pinch salt, mix together until their are no lumps add stock and lemon slices. In the fry pan that you cooked the chicken pieces in place lemon sauce, on a medium heat bring the sauce to a gentle simmer.
  9. Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle with shallots and serve.Honey lemon chicken

Steamed Ginger Lemon Lime puddings

Steamed Ginger Lemon Lime puddings

Ingredients:Steamed ginger pudding

12 Tsp Ginger lemon lime marmalade

60 grams butter (softened)

1/2C white sugar

1/2C brown sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ SR flour

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 pinch dried ginger (powder)

Optional to serve, cream or ice cream

METHOD

  1. Pre heat combination steam oven to full steam.
  2. Cream butter and sugar for 2 minutes, add vanilla bean paste.
  3. Lightly whisk egg, add into mixture fold through flour and dried ginger.
  4. Spray a 12 hole silicone muffin tray place onto a biscuit tray. Place 1Tsp of the marmalade at the bottom of each muffin hole. Fold the remaining fruit into the cake mixture.
  5. Divide the mixture evenly into the 12 hole muffin pan.
  6. Place into oven, cook for 12 minutes.
  7. Invert a pudding onto each plate. Serve with cream or ice cream if desired.

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Steamed individual Christmas puddings

Did you know Christmas is less than 60 days away ?

Are you trying to plan your Christmas menu? Look no further than these little puddings.

This delicious little pudding is so easy to make and will impress the most discerning guests on Christmas day.

You can make your own minced fruit by soaking dried fruits in port or rum.

If you do not own a steam oven, please post a comment below and I will convert the recipe for you 😉

individual Christmas puddings

individual Christmas puddings

INGREDIENTS
12TB mince fruit (approx. 400grams)

60 grams butter (softened)

1/2C white sugar

1/2C brown sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ SR flour

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

To serve:

Custard

segments of mandarin or raspberries

individual Christmas puddings

individual Christmas puddings

 

 

PREPARATION

  1. Pre heat combination steam oven to full steam.
  2. Cream butter and sugar for 2 minutes, add vanilla bean paste.
  3. Lightly whisk egg, add into mixture fold through flour.
  4. Spray a 12 hole silicone muffin tray place onto a biscuit tray. Place 1Tb of fruit mince at the bottom of each muffin hole. Fold the remaining fruit into the cake mixture.
  5. Divide the mixture evenly into the 12 hole muffin pan.
  6. Place into oven, cook for 12 minutes.
  7. Invert a pudding onto each plate, drizzle with custard.

 

individual Christmas puddings

individual Christmas puddings

 

 

Steamed Mussels

INGREDIENTS

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional
2kg mussels

4 cloves garlic

2 shallots

3 sprigs parsley

150ml white wine

150ml cream

1 Birdseye chilli (optional)

 

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional

Steamed mussels with white wine and cream, chilli optional

To serve:

8 slices toasted crusty bread

3 sprig parsley

1 lemon

40grams butter

  1. Pre heat combination steam oven to full steam.
  2. Remove beard from mussels allow sitting in cold water for 3 minutes rinse thoroughly.
  3. Place mussels in a deep dish and sprinkle with garlic, shallot, parsley, salt and pepper (optional Birdseye chili), Drizzle over the wine and cream sauce.
  4. Steam for 12-18minutes until all mussel shells open (do not eat the mussels that do not open).
  5. Serve in 4 bowls, sprinkle with parsley, add a lemon wedge and crusty bread and butter.

    Steamed mussels Italian style with pasta

    Steamed mussels Italian style with pasta

Options

For Thai flavoured mussels try using a 400ml can of coconut milk (no cream), chilli and lemongrass

For Spanish flavoured mussels use a can of tomatoes (no cream) and chorizo

For Italian flavoured mussels use a 400ml can of tomatoes (omit cream) and add 1Tb of mixed basil and oregano

For a more filling meal, cook up 100grams of pasta per person and toss the sauce and mussels through the pasta.

Steamed Italian style mussels with pasta

Steamed Italian style mussels with pasta

Last minute entertaining made easy with Five Tastes make at home meals!

Last minute entertaining made easy with Five Tastes make at home meals!

Emperor's Nasi Goreng

Having invited dinner guests with very short notice, I was confronted with the dilemma of what to cook for them with the minimal time I had.  I went into overdrive wondering about what last minute meals I could plan.  Of course, whatever I chose would need to knock their socks off. So I headed to my local supermarket and grabbed some fresh seafood and a couple of Five Tastes make at home meals. I wanted to impress my guests and knew the quality and flavours of Five Tastes would help me achieve that.

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Adding my own creative flair, I added a few bits and pieces to two of the meal packs, the result?Julienne snow peas used as a garnish

The Emperor’s Nasi Goreng with Balmain bug tails and prawns and The King’s Laksa with prawns, scallops and fresh curry leaves.

I love incorporating seafood as Sydney has access to the best range of fresh wild caught seafood.

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The Nasi Goreng packet serves three, however I used it as an entrée for four people. I added 400 grams of Balmain bug tails and 400 grams of prawns as well as an egg for each serving. Simply fry the Balmain bug tails and prawns for 2 minutes each side and with the other meats on the packet instructions. The servings were more than ample.

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The Emperors Nasi Goreng was unctuous, spicy and gratifying.  Given my goal of knocking the socks off my guests, I added some extra red and green chili to the mix and garnished with julienne snow peas. May I say, my mission was certainly accomplished!

Emperor's Nasi Goreng

The Laksa serves four.  I added 500 grams of prawns and 300 grams of scallops to the mix. Cook the scallops for 2 minutes each side and add with the prawns as per instructions. The King’s Laksa was heart warming, satisfying, yet overwhelmingly moreish, the dish was garnished with the prawns, julienne snow peas and extra chilli. The added chili and fresh curry leaves made for a pleasantly piquant dish.

King Prawn Laksa

Five Tastes meal kits with some fresh ingredients saved me time. My guests didn’t even notice!

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Cherry Strudel with chocolate berry ganache

Smooth sweetened ricotta studded with cherries, wrapped up in light and flaky filo pastry, coated in a chocolate cherry sauce each mouthful of this dessert is an exquisite pleasure.

Ingredients

1 375gram can cherries in syrup

300grams ricotta cheese

4tb caster sugar

3 sheets filo pastry

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp lemon zest

2Tb white chocolate melts

¼ tsp cinnamon

50grams butter melted

Sauce

Cherry sugar syrup (from canned cherries)

150ml cream

100grams chocolate melts

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, spray with oil spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and lemon zest, mix well. Add half cherries and stir until combine.
  3. Lay a piece pastry horizontal on a clean bench, brush with melted butter, lay another piece of pastry on top, continue with remaining layers of pastry.
  4. Form the ricotta mixture into a log. Place on the filo pastry 2cm from the top and 2cm from each side at the end horizontally furthest away from you, press white chocolate melts into the mixture. Fold the pastry towards you and either side across the centre, brush pastry with butter and roll towards you.
  5. Place onto baking sheet, brush with butter, bake for 15-18minutes until pastry is golden brown.
  6. Make the sauce while the strudel is cooking. Place the liquid from the can into a small saucepan, place on a medium heat and allow to simmer and to reduce slightly. Add cream cook for 2minutes; add chocolate keep on cooktop until melted add remaining cherries and take off the heat.
  7. Allow strudel to cook for a few minutes before serving. Serve strudel with lashings of sauce and ice cream if you dare.

 

 

 

Ricotta pesto Tart

Ricotta pesto tart

This delicious tart has the velvety smoothness of ricotta cheese, with the crunch of the nuts in the basil pesto, as you cut through the smooth layer of ricotta and pesto you crack the layers of light, fluffy and crunchy puff pastry. Each mouthful has a fabulous combination of flavours and textures, the sharpness of the basil cuts through the creaminess of the ricotta.

Adding a little steam to the cooking process creates, light, fluffy and golden pastry.

Ricotta pesto tart

Serves 4

1 piece puff pastry

4Tb basil pesto

12 Tb ricotta cheese

8 cherry tomatoes

1 shallot

Salt and pepper

Side salad to serve (if desired)

  1. Preheat combination steam oven to 180oC, quarter steam and heat /25% humidity.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper and spray with oil spray.Cut tomatoes into quarters, finely chop shallots.
  3. Cut Pastry into 4 even squares, place onto bake sheet. Place 1Tb basil pesto in the centre of each square, spread out leaving a 1cm edge, sprinkle with shallots. Place 3Tb ricotta cheese on each square and spread out leaving a 1cm edge. Scatter cherry tomatoes on top of each tart, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake in preheated combination steam oven for 15minutes.
  5. Serve with a side salad if desired.

Steamed salmon on a bed of peas

This dish is a super healthy and nutritious meal. Salmon is full of protein and health fats and peas are carbohydrate rich and full of fibre.  Peas have a slight sweetness which compliments salmon.

Steamed salmon on a bed of peas

Per person

120gram salmon

2/4 cup (100grams) peas, frozen are fine

2 sage leaves or 1 sprig dill

1 pinch lemon pepper seasoning

2 small lemon wedges

 

  1. Pre heat combination steam oven/steam oven to full steam 100C.
  2. Sprinkle salmon with lemon pepper seasoning, sprinkle peas with salt and pepper.
  3. Place peas into a small oven proof dish, place salmon on top, place your choice of herb on top of salmon.
  4. Steam for 8minutes, for a medium cooked salmon.
  5. Serve salmon on a bed of peas with a lemon wedge

 

Recipe 2 this week as promised !!! BEEF BIRYANI

Beef Biryani

This delicious Middle Eastern inspired dish will set off your senses. Chockfull of delicious and aromatic spices. All the labour is done in the first few minutes, after that the oven takes care of the rest. Best of all it is made in 1 pan, a great balanced meal extra veggies can be added if you like.

The fresh curry leaves add a slightly spicy, citrus element to the dish, if you do not have access to fresh curry leaves you can use dry curry leaves, double the amount (6).

Beef Biryani

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

500 grams beef mince

1 tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp tumeric

2 tsp garam masala

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp curry powder

¼ tsp ground cloves

3 curry leaves

1 cup basmati (long grain rice)

1 cup frozen peas

2 cups vegetable stock

Garnish

3Tb Toasted almond flakes

1Tb chopped coriander

  1. Preheat combination steam oven/steam oven to full steam.
  2. In a medium sized pan, that can go from stove/oven, place chopped onion and vegetable oil, cook on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until they soften, add garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add ground spices, curry leaf, toss around pan and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add beef mince cook for 2 minutes, constantly breaking the meat up, add rice, peas and stir through, the mixture will look very messy, add vegetable stock, sprinkle with salt and pepper, allow to reach a boil while on the stove top. Place into combination steam oven/steam oven and steam for 30minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with almonds and coriander and serve.
A one pot wonder meal, balanced, flavorsome and the oven does all the hard work !

A one pot wonder meal, balanced, flavorsome and the oven does all the hard work !

*note, rice cooking times can vary.