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.


cumin baked chicken

Cumin, a spice often used in my kitchen for various dishes, is an earthy, warm spice that adds the most beautiful hearty depth to any dish. A delicious match for meat, it also adds complexity to vegetarian dishes.

As part of last night’s dinner, I served these flavourful baked thighs and drumsticks with my lentil and grilled vegetable salad. This is a delicious and healthy dish that is as easy to prepare as it is to eat. With the skin moreishly crispy, the meat is succulent , tender and flavourful. A perfect and easy family go-to meal!

Serve with couscous, salad or grilled vegetables for a healthy family mid-week meal or serve it with a cucumber & yogurt dressing for a delicious, heart warming snack.

ingredients | serves 3-4 | easy
8 chicken thighs & drumsticks
2t crushed garlic
2t ground cumin
1t cumin seeds, crushed in a pestle & mortar
1T black pepper
1/3C olive oil
juice & zest of 1 lemon
1T fresh thyme leaves
1/2t red pepper flakes, optional
fresh cilantro/coriander to serve

method
Place all of the ingredients into a large freezer bag and shake well to coat.
Place the bag into the fridge to marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Arrange the chicken pieces in a baking tray, season with a little salt and bake for about 40 minutes until cooked through.

Drizzle the roasting juices over the chicken pieces and garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro.

Serve warm.


zesty anchovy, garlic & chilli linguine

I originally made this delicious dish with tagliatelle and then made it again for lunch yesterday….with linguine. They are both equally moreish and perfectly suited to the ingredients. Spaghetti is another great alternative!
If I was asked what my favourite pasta was I would have to say this one.
Besides anchovies being undeniably fishy, they are also incredibly salty, and I love salt. They add beautiful complexity to any dish or sauce and have a rich, umami flavour.

Served whole, chopped or emulsified into a sauce, this is one ingredient I always have in my kitchen.

This pasta is undeniably a delicious, simple and flavourful meal that you will return to again and again.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
300g-400g linguine, cooked according to package instructions
2 birds eye chillies, finely chopped
12-16 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
zest and juice of 2 medium sized lemons
3t finely chopped garlic
bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
bunch fresh cilantro/coriander, finely chopped
bunch chives, chopped
2T olive oil
2t anchovy oil
1T butter
black pepper
finely grated parmesan, to serve

how to
Heat the olive oil, anchovy oil and butter in a large skillet and cook the garlic on a low heat, while stirring, until cooked. Take care not to burn the garlic.
Turn off the heat and tip the cooked pasta into the garlic and oil mixture. Toss.
Add the remaining ingredients except the parmesan and toss to coat.

Serve with lots of parmesan and more black pepper on the side.


spelt, barley & wild rice salad


Spelt & barley are good-for-you grains with many health benefits ranging from better digestion to reduced hunger since both are high in fibre.
I love the nutty, chewiness of spelt, which complements the barley and wild rice beautifully in this very delicious salad.
This salad is great served on its own or as a side to just about any meal and will not leave you hungry or feeling guilty. For a great meat free Monday meal add some roasted beetroot or butternut.

Instead of using canned kernel corn I steamed mini corn cobs and added chickpeas for extra protein.

Besides using the freshest produce available to you I don’t think there are any rules to a salad. Try and add the ingredients that you enjoy most, keep it fresh, keep it simple and make the time to mix your own salad dressing.
With these simple guidelines I doubt much can go wrong…

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
250g cooked spelt & barley mix
150g cooked wild rice
1 small red onion, finely chopped
5 mini corn on the cob, steamed
200g mini rosa tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 tub bocconcini mozzarella, halved
1C walnuts, chopped & toasted
bunch fresh mint, chopped
bunch fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped
avocado, optional
fresh rocket, optional

dressing
6T white wine vinegar
1/2C olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2T brown sugar
1/2t salt
1/2t black pepper
squeeze lemon juice
1T chopped fresh parsley

how to
Combine all the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl or dish.
Combine all the dressing ingredients except the parsley in a jar with lid or mixing bowl. Whisk or shake until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Pour a little dressing over the salad and mix to coat.

Serve with the dressing on the side.


pork sausage & veg tray bake

I do love the simplicity of a tray bake and, admitting, that it is a meal frequently enjoyed around our dinner table.
This is a meal that I return to again and again and will not easily tire of.
A great time saver as you can put it all together, store it in the fridge and then just pop it into the preheated oven come dinner time.

The added bonus, of course, is the clean kitchen after dinner. And this alone gets a very high mark in my book.
A healthy, comforting and nutritious meal that your family will love, without having to spend hours in the kitchen.

Good alternatives to pork sausage are beef / chicken sausage or chicken breast.

Serve with a side of couscous or buckwheat.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
8 pork sausages
300g baby potatoes, halved
400g chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 red onions, quartered
6 garlic cloves, whole
punnet baby carrots, scrubbed
200g mushrooms
6-8 sweetcorn mini cobs
1/2C olive oil
2t paprika
1t dried oregano
1t dried thyme
1t cumin seeds, crushed
1/2t salt
good grind of black pepper
4 rosemary stalks
150ml white wine

handful fresh parsley, chopped (garnish)

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Put the rosemary stalks onto a large sheet pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, herbs, salt & pepper. Add the vegetables to the herb mixture and toss through to coat well.
Tip the vegetables onto the roasting tray and arrange in an even layer.
Rub the pork sausages with a little more olive oil and nestle them between the vegetables.

Roast in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes until the sausages are golden brown. Carefully remove the tray from the oven, turn the sausages over and toss the vegetables.
Pour the wine into the roasting tray and roast or a further 20 minutes until the sausages are cooked and the potatoes are tender.

Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve with your choice of side.