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Quinoa Thai Style with Chili Pumpkin Seeds

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The finished product: Thai Style Quinoa

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but pumpkins are in season. I’ve had pumpkins in my puddings, risottos, pastas and salads. I’m almost over it.

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There’s pumpkin …. in everything!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 3-4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1-2 stalks of kale, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cups stock (veg or chicken works best)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • chili powder
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare your pumpkin seeds first, so you can wash your quinoa while they cook. Quinoa can be quite bitter because of the coating on the outside of the seeds, so be sure to give it a good wash. I use a metal strainer and really push the seeds into the metal to help release that bitter outer coating.
  2. Put 1/2 cup of water into a small sauce pan and get it to a raging boil. Then add your quinoa. As the water evaporates, gradually start adding in the stock.image
  3. Start prepping your veg. As the quinoa cooks, you can add in a little bit of garlic and kale each time you add the stock. The flavours of the garlic will mix with the quinoa, while the stock will cook the kale and take away its bitterness.image
  4. Test the quinoa – you don’t want it to be al dente. When it is soft enough, pull it off the heat and mix in the cilantro, spring onions. Squeeze the juice out of the limes and mix well. This produces a light and tangy flavour for the quinoa.
  5. Season with some pepper (and I like to add a little chili pepper) and then serve with a wedge of lime and chili pumpkin seeds on top. This is great as a side dish, or as a main meal.

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Pumpkin Risotto

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A risotto Gordon Ramsay would love!

I’ve made this several times with different veg, and I’m going to let you in on a little secret: This risotto recipe is not difficult and you can alternate the veg. For example, today I am using pumpkin. But you could use mushrooms instead. Be creative and confident in your cooking!

Here’s a video of Gordon Ramsay on the F Word making a pumpkin risotto.

The ingredients for my risotto are rough measurements, since, if you’ve read any of my other recipes, I don’t exactly follow them!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin, cut into 2cm cubes
  • approx. 1 1/2 cups stock (you can use fish, veg, beef or chicken)
  • 3/4 cup risotto rice
  • 1 medium size onion, finely chopped (or 1/2 cup shallots)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • parmesan to garnish

You may also wish to use the pumpkin seeds as a garnish. I pull them out as I’m cutting the pumpkin and give them a good wash to get rid of any gooey membranes. You can either pan fry them, or coat them in the spices and throw them into the oven for a while. I use a bit of cumin, chili powder and garlic salt to give them a spicy taste. You want them to be crunchy, but not burnt! You need to watch them! These also make a great snack.

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You could use roasted pumpkin, as Ramsay does in his recipe.

directions:

  1. Start by heating some oil in a thick-bottomed frying pan or non-stick pan. You want to use medium heat. Then add the onions and garlic. You want to ‘sweat’ them – that means you do not want to colour them, instead you want the onion and garlic to become transparent. That should take 2-3 minutes over medium head.
  2. Then add your rice. Again, you don’t want to fry it, you want to ‘open it to the idea’ of being cooked.
  3. Then add in some stock. Do not pour all of it in! You want to gradually add it. If you pour all of it in, you may be at risk of overcooking your risotto and turning it into baby food. The goal is to have a creamy risotto, while the rice should still be al dente.
  4. imageStir your risotto constantly, and don’t let it become dry. After the first bit of stock has disappeared, add in a little more and add your pumpkin as well.
  5. Season with some salt and pepper, and add the rosemary. Watch closely, you may need to add in some more stock.
  6. When the rice is finally al dente, add in a little more stock, like a tablespoon, and then the spinach. Turn off the heat, but stir the risotto to incorporate the spinach.
  7. imageServe and garnish with parmesan or pumpkin seeds.

Prep time is about 10 mins and cooking time should take no more than 20 mins. Have some extra stock or water beside you, in case you find the risotto is very thirsty. This makes 2 decent sized portions.

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GF Onion Dosa

On a recent expedition to Aryaa, my friend and I gorged ourselves on Indian food. I am pretty sure that my stomach thinks it is, in fact, living there. I love this cuisine because they know how to do vegetarian AND gluten-free!

Look at what I made!

Not quite naan, but it was still yummy!

Not quite naan, but it was still yummy!

The curry is actually a Marks & Spencers Korma in a jar (yes, we love M&S for their responsible and informative food packaging). Traditionally you’re supposed to fill dosas, but I like to make mine a little bit thicker and use it like naan bread to dip in the curry. Who needs rice when you have ricey-bready-goodness?

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • teeny tiny pinch of salt
  • 100ml water
  • oil to fry
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley and ciltrantro, finely chopped and mixed together

Directions:

  1. Mix together the flours, salt and water to make a batter. Be sure to remove any clumps before adding the 1/3 of the onion and herbs. In many households this batter is left to ferment overnight but it can be used immediately.
  2. Lightly oil a heavy frying pan and heat well.
  3. Put 1/3 the onion in the hot oil and lightly fry. Then pour in enough batter to cover the surface thinly.
  4. Cook until the pancake is set and golden on the bottom.
  5. Turn the dosa over and cook the other side.
  6. Remove the cooked dosa and repeat the cooking process.

This made two good sized  dosas (1/2 inch thickness)

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Recovery Soup

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Makes your whole place smell amazing!

I made this for the first time today. It was delish! I was looking at a couple of Post Punk Kitchen’s bean soup recipes, and thought it didn’t look too difficult!

SO what do I mean by ‘recovery’? Well, I made this to eat before/after a 10km race, thinking that haricot beans would help my muscles. Also, I have frozen this soup for when I’m feeling rubbish and burned out. The addition of kale and spinach up the nutrition factor.

This is why my soup is awesome:

  1. Beans are rich in protein, folic acid, iron, B complex, and magnesium. They are also a fat-free high quality protein and cholesterol-lowering source of fibre.
  2. Dried beans also provide good to excellent amounts of four important minerals, two B-vitamins, and potassium
  3. Spinach and kale are full of iron, vitamins A, C & K, plus folate (not sure what that is, but sounds important!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 stock cubes (veg or chicken)
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 2 cups each of spinach and kale
  • 1 cup dried haricot beans (or any other ones if you like)
  • rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt (or 2 cloves of garlic – I like the garlic salt, because it means I don’t have to add salt and there’s no chopping!)
  • pepper to taste
  • 8 cups water

Directions:

Start the night before – soak your beans in cool water over night. You may wish to rinse them, then soak them, constantly changing the water. Also, you can add in a little baking soda to cut down the gasiness of the beans.

When you’re ready, throw the beans, garlic salt, pepper and 4 cups of water into a large pot. Add in 4 cups of water and one stock cube. Get this to a rolling boil and sustain for 20-25 mins.

While the beans are cooking, prepare your carrots, onion and potatoes. Cut into nice chunks, or tiny bits if you prefer. After the beans have cooked for 20 mins, add this group of veg to the soup. You may need to add another cup of water at this point. Add also the bay leaves.

As the soup boils down, wash your greens. I separate the stalks and then chop the leaves. I don’t like spinach stalks, but you can use them if you like. I would definitely keep the kale stalks. Let the soup boil with the root veggies for another ten minutes, then turn down the heat. At this point you should add the rest of the ingredients, including the water and stock cube. Put the lid on the soup and let it simmer for as long as you like, until you get a good consistency. Taste it constantly, adding extra salt or pepper as you go.