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Grandma’s Strawberry Salad

imageWhile I was home this summer, my Grandma Jan made a delicious strawberry salad dressing. One of my readers requested it, and so here it is! All the way from Canada!

This makes about 1 1/2 cups of dressing.

You will need:

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • roasted nuts of your preference or feta cheese

Directions:

  1. Put everything into a blender.
  2. Hold off on the nuts or feta.
  3. Blend. Taste it.
  4. Add in some nuts or feta.
  5. Blend. Taste it.
  6. Add in roasted nuts and or feta cheese. Blend, and taste it! Add more if you need it. Remember, you can’t take away ingredients! So add a little at a time.
  7. Serve on a bed of fresh greens. To make it look pretty, slice some red onions thinly, add some roasted nuts, feta and sliced strawberries too!
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Enjoy!

 

 

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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.

Sweet & Savoury Tofu Salad

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You can skip the tofu and add some dried cranberries and cashews for a sweeter crunch

Really simple – yet again! Put together your salad with whatever’s in the fridge. Fry up some tofu and season with salt and pepper. In a separate pan, throw in an onion that has been chopped quite fine. Add some garlic also and saute with veg oil. As they get soft, add in about a teaspoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water. Let it cook down so that they’re nice and sweet. Then throw on your favourite salad dressing!

Veggie Delight!

 

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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.

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I Hate Spinach!

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If you ask me, Popeye seems dubious…

Popeye didn’t have me fooled. Spinach tastes¬†awful! I don’t remember anyone trying to feed me spinach on a regular basis, but every once in a while spinach would appear and I would hate it! Now it’s showing up in my CSA box!

I am a vegetarian, ergo I am supposed to love spinach. Yeh, still not a fan! I know there’s a bunch of reasons to love it though – you’ve got the antioxidant stuff, calcium, vitamin C blah blah blah. It still tastes like a dog’s bumhole.

All the reasons you WHY you SHOULD eat spinach

Convinced I must eat it (looks like I’ll get it every week from my CSA), I am determined to hide it so that I won’t notice it in my foods.

Here’s 5 ways to hide spinach:

1. Morning smoothie¬†– I like to mix it up, depending on what’s available in the shop and my fridge. Usually I go tropical, with bananas, mango, kiwi, passion fruit and pineapple. Not bad. Spinach hides well with the kiwi (and I pretend the kiwi makes it garbage can green).

Pop in a few gummy bears for good measure

2. Spaghetti sauce – very simple to do. When your gluten free noodles are cooking, throw a bunch of spinach leaves into the water and strain. Then just slosh in your spaghetti sauce. The tomato and Parmesan covers the taste and I pretend that my salad leaves accidentally got mixed in with the pasta.

3. Hide it in a salad – ’nuff said.

4. Hide it in curries and stir-frys – Since I live in Thailand, I pretend it’s Thai basil or bok choi.

I hate spinach!

Cheese fixes everything.

5. Add salt and garlic – Ok so you’re starting to realise that I’m a bit of a child and like to hide my food. Well, this option is no exception. I made a rustic mash potato – sweet potato, crunchy carrots and cauliflower (rustic meaning that it is not pureed like your great-grandmother’s peas).

Then sautée your unsavoury greens (my mom used to make brussel sprouts with pistachio and then sprinkle bacon on top). I used spinach, amaranth and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Near the end, I added chopped pistachio and topped with some feta cheese.