wild rice pilaf

Pilaf is a rice dish that is cooked in stock or broth, adding spices and meat or vegetables. I think quite similar to a fried rice, without the egg, obviously.
For this dish I cheated a bit and bought ready-to-eat wild rice that I added to my fried vegetables. This really saved me a lot of time that allowed me to focus on other things like dessert and a bottle of good red wine.

I used vegetables that I had in my fridge, making this a fairly ‘rule-free’ recipe. I don’t, however, suggest using root veggies here. Keep it simple with ingredients that cook fairly quickly, similar to stir fry vegetables.

A delicious side dish or light meal.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
250g cooked wild rice
2 carrots, julienne
2 zucchini, cubed
200g button mushrooms, quartered
1/3C slivered almonds, toasted
3T soy sauce
handful fresh parsley & coriander, finely chopped
1t ground cumin
1/2t ground coriander
2T olive oil
3T butter
1 spring onion, sliced (optional)

how to
In a large skillet, melt the olive oil & 1 tablespoon butter. Saute the onion & garlic until translucent. About 4 minutes. Add the ground cumin & coriander, stir and cook for 1 minute.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, zucchini & mushrooms and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and julienne carrots, stir and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the soy sauce and almonds and cook for a further 3 minutes while stirring.
Stir the parsley & coriander through the rice mixture.

Garnish with sliced spring onion or coriander leaves.



quinoa & couscous salad

Winter seems to be disappearing quickly so it’s time to start stepping up on delicious, healthy and flavourful summery dishes! Salads scream summer and this is another favourite of mine that is a delightful on its own or served as a side with just about anything.
To make life easier I always cook things like quinoa, lentils, spelt & barley in big quantities, portion and freeze it until I need it. This way I can quickly whip up a beautiful meal without spending hours behind the stove.
Once frozen, thaw the quinoa in the fridge overnight.

Quinoa, with its fluffy texture and subtle flavour is high in protein, B vitamins & dietary fibre, making it a healthy and delicious good for you grain.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
2C cooked quinoa
1C cooked couscous
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
20 small rosa tomatoes, halved
1 tub bocconcini cheese, halved or buffalo mozzarella, torn
5 radish, sliced
1/2 cucumber, deseeded and cut into small blocks
100g mange tout, sliced diagonally
1 ripe avocado, cut into blocks
handful fresh coriander/cilantro, finely chopped
handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4C pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/4C sunflower seeds, toasted

for the dressing
4T red wine vinegar
1T dijon mustard
3T lemon juice
1/2C olive oil
1t dried oregano
1 garlic clove, crushed
1T brown sugar
pinch salt
good grind of black pepper

how to
In a glass jar or mixing bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients and shake or whisk well until emulsified. Set aside to infuse for about 30 minutes.
Tip the cooked quinoa & couscous into a large dish.
Add all the salad ingredients to the quinoa mixture and toss well.

Pour about a quarter of the salad dressing over the salad and mix to coat.


grilled vegetable, lentil & couscous salad

Food is a big part of my daily life and I love eating well. Although I absolutely love rich pastas, decadent desserts and have a very weak spot for dark chocolate; healthy, hearty and nutritious food is what I enjoy most.
I like salads that are filling, heart warming, flavourful and comforting all at the same time and that is exactly what you can expect from this one.
As dressings go I am all for homemade, so take five minutes and shake up the zesty dressing ingredients that complements this salad so well.

This salad is perfect on its own with toasted ciabatta or served with a protein of your choice.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
3C cooked lentils (brown or green works well here)
1C cooked couscous
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, cut into small blocks
3 zucchini, cut into blocks
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into blocks
20 rosa tomatoes, halved
1 tub bocconcini cheese, halved
handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
handful fresh mint, finely chopped
handful fresh coriander/cilantro, freshly chopped
chives, chopped
1 avocado, cut into blocks
1/2C pumpkin & sunflower seeds, toasted
2T olive oil
black pepper
1/2t garlic powder

for the dressing
2t crushed garlic
3T lemon juice
3T apple cider vinegar
1T brown sugar
1t dijon mustard
1/3C olive oil
1T fresh thyme leaves
pinch salt
black pepper

method
Preheat the oven to 190C. In an oven proof dish, coat the carrots, zucchini & red pepper with olive oil and season with garlic powder and black pepper. Place into the oven to roast until tender. About 20 minutes.

Meanwhile make the dressing.
Combine all the ingredients together in a jar with tight fitting lid and give it a good shake until emulsified. Set aside to infuse.
Tip the lentils & couscous into a large mixing bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients to the salad and gently mix to combine. Once the vegetables have cooled, add it to the salad and mix through.

Mix about half of the dressing into the ingredients and serve the remainder alongside.





roast baby cabbage with fennel

Cabbage, a vegetable that many seldom cook with, is delicious boiled, sauteed, blanched or roasted. This is a cool and versatile, low calorie come-back vegetable that can be enjoyed in various ways.
It is closely related to broccoli, cauliflower & Brussels sprouts, so it comes as no surprise that this leafy green is always welcome in my fridge.

This is a quick and simple recipe for a side dish that you will most definitely return to.

I used two baby cabbages for this recipe. Double the recipe ingredients if you want to cook more or if you are using large heads.

ingredients | easy
2 baby cabbage, halved or one head green cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
1t fennel seeds, crushed
1t garlic powder
2T olive oil
4T butter
1t fine salt
good grind of black pepper
1/2t red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lemon, wedges

method
Preheat the oven to 210 degrees.
Crush the fennel seeds using a pestle & mortar.
Melt the butter and mix it with the olive oil. Brush the butter & oil mixture on all sides of the cabbages. Season with the fennel seeds, garlic powder, salt, pepper and red chili flakes, if using. Place the cabbage on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes until nicely browned. Turn and roast for a further 15 minutes until tender.

Place a piece of butter onto each half to melt into the vegetable and serve with a lemon wedge or two.

Serve warm.


side dish – creamy garlic baby potatoes

A good side dish can either steal the shine from your main event or assist in making your main event just a little more special and enjoyable. I prefer the latter.
This is saucy dish, rich in flavor and taste and will compliment things like chicken breast or a beautiful piece of steak very well.
New potatoes work well here but thick slices of any decent quality potato are just as delicious.
Adding sliced shitake or oyster mushrooms, crushed nuts and a sprinkling of red chili flakes will most certainly take this dish to a different level of delicious…

ingredients | serves 2 – 4 | easy
500g baby potatoes, halved
3T olive oil
knob of butter
2t crushed garlic
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
3/4C chicken stock
1/2C cream, full fat
salt to taste
good grind of black pepper

how to
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Place the potatoes face down into the pan and cook until beautifully golden. Turn onto the skin side and cook until golden.
Add the butter and the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the thyme leaves and stir.
Pour the chicken stock into the pan, cover with a tight fitting lid, turn down to a low simmer and cook for about 6 minutes, or until the potatoes are knife tender, stirring once or twice.
Remove the lid and cook on medium heat to reduce half of the liquid if there is still a bit of liquid left over.
Season with salt & pepper and stir to coat.
Pour the cream into the pan and cook until thickened and reduced.
Garnish with the chopped parsley.

Serve immediately.