I love Pasta ! When I moved to London in my early twenties, I had my first taste of basil pesto and fell in love! I would drench it over big bowls of pasta with bacon and mushrooms and I simply could. not. stop. eating. it. Needless to say that when I flew home a year later on holiday, friends and family practically bypassed me at the airport due to not recognising me … or rather, the size of me 😮
I’ve learnt to practice portion control since then and don’t make pasta part of our families weekly menu. I am however, a firm believer in the ‘everything in moderation’ mantra and therefore do not see anything wrong with enjoying a bowl of pasta every now and then! What is life without pasta? This particular pasta is very fresh and certainly a lot healthier than the bottled pesto jars of my youth. The flavours marry together beautifully, so simple but really packs a tasty flavour which makes this pasta dish, restaurant quality! I’ve made it for friends and they have asked for the recipe. Nough said 🙂
Yield: 4 – 5
500g dried penne pasta
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed to a paste
2 – 3 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
450ml of white wine (Sauvignon Blanc / Chenin)
450g peeled & de-frosted ready to eat prawns
4 tbs sun-dried tomato puree
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
4 big handfuls of rocket, chopped
Salt & Black Pepper
Follow the cooking instructions for the pasta and while that is on the go, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a big frying pan and add the garlic and chilli – cook on a gentle heat ensuring not to burn the garlic. After a minute or 2, add the white wine and the tomato puree and simmer for a few minutes until the alcohol has been cooked away together with the acidity of the tomatoes. Drain your pasta and reserve a little of the cooking liquid. Once the sauce is to your taste, add the prawns and mix through. Remove from the heat. Return the pasta to its pot and add the sauce, stir to combine. Add the lemon juice, the lemon zest and half the rocket and 20 or 30 mL of the reserved cooking water. Taste. Adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper. Heat through on the stove top. Plate and garnish with the remaining rocket.
Cooks Notes: I buy the Woolworths ‘Frozen fully cooked Prawns’ and the Woolworths ‘Sundried Tomato Quarters’. With the tomatoes, I drain the vinaigrette it comes in and blitz the sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor / blender to a lumpy puree type consistency.
I’ve never really been a savoury mince kind a gal. I remember going to a friends house after school and being horrified when her mother presented us with mince on toast! A firm favourite for many, i know, but not for this lady … or at least thats what I thought until, boredom of the same old chicken wrap, led me to experiment with this spicy mince recipe, which was inspired by Chef Pete Evans. The family and I enjoy it so much that its become a firm favourite. Even little Hudson is enjoying the mince, I add some spinach, some brown rice and a miellie and he is a very happy little toddler with a big belly. The state of the floor, the feeding chair and him is another story! If you going to try this with your little ones – feed them outside 😉 Hudson’s portion has less chilli … as does Andrew’s 🙂
This dish is perfect for feeding crowds, place all the prepared elements on the kitchen counter for a self service kind of vibe 🙂
You could substitute the wraps for oven roasted sweet potato slices, for a gluten free take on this dish. Enjoy x
Spicy Mince & Salsa Wraps
Yield: 15 (Great for lunch boxes the next day or for toddler meals which you can freeze)
For the Spicy Mince:
1kg lean beef mince
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed and turned into a paste
2 red chilli’s, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomato
salt & pepper
Dash olive oil
For the Salsa: (The salsa never stretches far enough, so be generous here)
1 red onion, finely diced
Few generous handfuls of fresh coriander, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
For the Guacamole:
3 ripe avocados, mashed
1 or 2 garlic cloves, crushed and turned into a paste
3 or 4 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
For the spicy mince: Put 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a pot and bring to heat, add the onions, reduce the heat and fry gently for 5 or so minutes until soft. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further minute or two before adding the mince. Increase the heat and cook until the meat has browned, stirring continuously to break up the pieces. Add the spices and the tomato paste and cook for a further minute before adding the tinned tomatoes. Once it comes to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
For the Salsa: Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Place a container with ice water, which will hold all the tomatoes, next to the stove. Using a small sharp knife make a small ‘X’ insertion on the bottom of each tomato. Gently place the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 seconds before removing with a slotted spoon and transferring to the ice bath you have waiting. (Do not boil the tomatoes for more than 30 seconds else they will soften and begin to cook). Once the tomatoes have cooled, you can easily peel the skin off, starting from the ‘X’. To deseed, cut through the centre of the tomato then cut into quarters. Using the small knife, cut through the flesh at the top and pull out the seeds, or use a teaspoon to scoop out. Cut the tomatoes into diced size pieces, add the finely chopped onion (be cautious of the onion overpowering the salsa so start with half the allocation – you can always add more) and the coriander. Add the lime juice, salt & pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as required.
For the Guacamole: Mix all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.
Prepare your wraps according to the packaging and plate up ! Additional extras could include some grated mature cheddar and cream cheese.
Nothing says I Love You like bacon, crumpets and maple syrup … With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year, there’s no excuse not to whip this little treat up for the people you love.
Yield: Approximately 15 Crumpets
For the Crumpets
2 Cups self-raising flour
1 tbsp sunflower oil
45ml (9 tsp) castor sugar
5ml baking powder
250ml full cream milk
1 packet rindless smoked back bacon (or your favourite cut of bacon)
Mix together the milk, sugar, eggs and oil. Add the dry sifted ingredients and stir until well combined. Cover mixture with some cling film and allow to stand for at least an hour. So its best to make the mixture the night before which also means less work and less dishes for Sunday!
On Sunday morning – Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Place your bacon on a baking tray lined with foil and cook in the preheated oven until crispy. Heat a pan over medium heat, add some butter and once the butter is hot, start frying ladlefuls of the crumpet mixture until bubbles start to appear, then gently flip over to cook the other side. Place on a cooling rack while you continue to make the rest. At this point you could use a heart shaped cookie cutter to shape the crumpets into hearts but its not a must.
Plate up with a few crumpets on each place, a few streaks of bacon, some sliced strawberries and a generous drizzle of maple syrup ! Happy Valentines Day xxx
There’s all this fuss about cauliflower these days, its proving to be a great substitute for rice, pizza bases and mash potato. Aaaah… Mash Potato, how I love thee … unfortunately though, you do nothing for my waistline! So I thought, let me see how the cauliflower puree phenomenon will stand up against my beloved mash potato. The result? A creamy, rich, indulgent and delicious ‘mash’ / puree. Is it mash potato? Well, no but its a very good substitute for those trying to avoid carbs at dinner time. So quick and easy to prepare and I caught a few fingers licking the plate … mine included 😉
I served mine with Pork Chops which I fried with olive oil, garlic and sage leaves. I fried a few of the sage leaves first in the hot olive oil for 3 or 4 seconds before draining on carlton towel and sprinkling generously with salt. I then set these aside for garnishing. The oil was then nicely flavoured with the sage, so I added the pork chops, which I had already marinaded in a little olive oil, with a clove of garlic which I crushed into a smooth paste, salt & black pepper. As far as week night dinners go, it was a goodie!
Yield: 3 – 4 servings
1 head cauliflower – tough stalks removed
1 cup chicken stock / Water
3 Tbsp fresh cream
1 Tbsp butter
Salt & Pepper for seasoning
Roughly chop the cauliflower and put in a pot together with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently until cauliflower is completely tender. Strain in a colander, retaining a few spoons of the cooking liquid. Put cauliflower in food processor and blend until smooth, adding about 20ml of the cooking liquid as you go. Once processed to a smooth consistency, add the cream and butter and process again until combined. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy !
Cooks Note: I use the Woolworths organic ready made chicken stock for this recipe. The stock freezes well, so I freeze whats left over after I’ve measured. If you find the puree too thick, add a little extra cooking liquid or even better, extra cream 🙂
Photography by Darren Bester
I’m a lazy fruit eater … if its too messy, I wont eat it unless its over the kitchen sink. If it requires peeling, I’ll think twice before taking on that challenge. I don’t like the way apple skin feels in my mouth, I can’t even think about the furry skin on a peach without getting goosebumps and I mean the wrong kind of goosebumps. So the idea of a smoothie, where I can get my required fruit intake in one quick shake, appeals to me. This smoothie literally takes less than 5 minutes to make and that includes washing the blender. Its perfect to pour into your take away cup of choice & enjoy on route to the gym or save it for your 11am snack at the office. Its so healthy, that I even share it with my 14 month old son, Hudson.
3 handfuls fresh blueberries
4 heaped tablespoons of fat free greek yoghurt
handful of raw almonds
1/2 cup raw oats
generous drizzle of honey
1/2 cup crushed ice or regular ice-blocks
Blend all the ingredients until smooth & enjoy !
Cooks Note: You could use frozen fruit if you don’t have fresh fruit readily available. If you have an abundance of bananas and blueberries, why not freeze them so they don’t over ripen before required. The frozen fruit will also help keep your smoothie cold. You could substitute peanut butter for the almonds.
Washing up tip – fill blender half way with water after use and blend on high for a few seconds, discard the water and you’ll see how much cleaner the beaker is. Wash as normal.
Photography by Darren Bester
I love chicken wraps, not only are they super tasty but they healthy too! Its always so well received by my family that I almost feel a little guilty because it took just minutes to throw together.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any healthier, we throwing out the wheat and wrapping it up in a lettuce leaf instead …
1x 80grm chicken frikkadel (recipe here)
1 large crisp lettuce leaf
few slices chopped tomato
few slices cucumber
few slices carrot
For the Coriander Yoghurt Dressing:
Yield: 250ml (will be suitable for a few wraps)
1 cup coriander, roughly chopped
1 cup fat free greek yoghurt
3 spring onions, chopped
good squeeze of lemon juice
For the dressing – put all ingredients together and blend. Adjust lemon juice seasoning to taste.
To assemble wrap: Cut frikkadel in half and place inside the middle of the lettuce leaf, drizzle over a little yoghurt dressing, sprinkle with tomatoes, cucumber and carrot, drizzle over a little more dressing and fold lettuce leaf over to close your wrap. Cut in half and enjoy!