simple recipes

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 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.

 

 

 

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

 

Super quick weeknight dinner !

Phil’s pasta

This pasta dish is named after the man that enjoyed it the most ‘Phil’. Phil is new to cooking and wanted some easy pasta dishes. This pasta dish is made using two pots, so there is very little cleaning !

Best part of all, using the power boost setting on my induction cooktop, this meal is ready in about 15 minutes ! Yup – that quick !

Give this flavour packed tuna pasta a try!

Serves 2

Using my induction cooktop this dish is cooked from start to finish in minutes !

Using my induction cooktop this dish is cooked from start to finish in 15 minutes !

200grams spaghetti

1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes

4 sprigs parsley

1 birdseye chilli (can be omitted if you wish)

2 shallots

1 clove garlic

1 195 gram tin of tuna in olive oil

1tsp capers

Salt and pepper

 

1. In a medium sauce pan place 300mls water and 1tsp salt. Place saucepan onto induction cooktop and select Power Boost setting, bring to the boil.

2. Whilst you are waiting for the water to boil,  being to chop tomatoes into quarters, finely chop parsley, chilli, shallot and garlic, use a fork to break up tuna.

3. As soon as the water begins to boil, drop pasta in and stir for 30 seconds, stirring prevents sticking, cook as per packet instructions, use the timer on your induction cooktop.

4. If you hadn’t finished chopping the tasks from step 2, complete those. Set aside 1 pinch of parsley.

5. Place all remaining ingredients including the olive oil from the tuna into a non stick fry pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place onto induction cook top to a medium setting, and allow sauce to simmer.

6. Drain pasta, stir pasta through sauce.

7. Divide into 2 bowls, sprinkle with parsley.

*if you do not have an induction cook top this recipe will still work, however it will take longer for the water to boil and the pasta to cook, as with inductions speed and power a litre of water boils in a minute and a half. 15 minutes based on pasta that cooks in 9 minutes.

Lemon Cheesecake cups – gluten free

Are you looking for spectacular dessert for this weekend’s entertaining? Try these gluten free cheesecake cups, guaranteed to impress.

You could get creative with flavors, or make it a little boozy with some limoncello.

This cheese cake recipe tastes even better than it looks.

Lemon curd cheese cakes

Base

1 cup almond meal (toasted)

100grams butter melted

3TB brown sugar

Filling

100grams cream cheese

100ml thickened cream

100grams marscapone

1tsp vanilla bean paste

¼ cup castor sugar

1 whole lemon, zested (save ¼ tsp for the garnish)

Garnish

4Tb lemon curd

¼ tsp lemon zest

  1. Place almond meal into a fry pan over a low heat and toast until golden brown.
  2. Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan, add butter to almond meal mixture until a paste forms.
  3. Remove 1Tb of the mixture and set aside, divide the remaining into 4 and place into the bottom of 4 glasses, I used tumblers today, this looks great in martini glasses, bowls, fun wine glasses, and gently press down.
  4. Beat the cream until soft peaks form, add the remaining filling ingredients, beat until well combined.
  5. Divide the mixture into 4 and place onto of the base in the 4 glasses.
  6. Allow to set for a couple of hours. Seal 1Tb of left over base mixture for the garnish.
  7. Just before serving, place a tablespoon of lemon curd, a pinch of lemon zest and a pinch of left over crumble mixture on top of each cheesecake.

 Serves 4