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.


smoked haddock ‘arancini’

Arancini is a very popular and favourite Italian snack, which is made of risotto & mozzarella with the addition of beef and peas. It is shaped into a ball, crumbed and deep fried.
I love haddock and had plenty of rice in my freezer so this is my version of arancini, which is fairly different to the original but I promise you, just as delicious!

These freeze really well, so pack it onto a tray, place it into the freezer for a couple of hours and then bag them in freezer friendly bags. Thaw overnight before dredging in flour, egg & crumbs and deep frying.

Serve these with a salad or sliced avocado and a dipping sauce of your choice.

ingredients | makes about 18 | a little effort
300g smoked haddock
1C milk
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2t crushed garlic
2 1/2 C cooked long grain rice
1C grated white cheddar
1C frozen peas
bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
handful chives, finely chopped
1t dried dill
1T fish sauce
1/2C fine breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/2t fine salt
good grind of black pepper
1T olive oil
1T butter

to fry
2C panko crumbs
2 eggs, whisked with about 3 tablespoons milk
1/2C plain flour
cooking oil, for frying

method
In a small skillet, heat the milk and poach the haddock for about 8 minutes, turning halfway. Remove and set aside.
Heat the olive oil & butter in a small pan and sauté the onion & garlic until cooked. About 3 minutes. Add peas, stir to coat and cook for 1 more minute.
Tip the cooked rice into a large mixing bowl. Add a 1/4 cup of the poaching milk to the rice.
Add all the remaining ingredients to the rice except the frying ingredients.
Flake the cooked haddock into the rice mixture, add the onions and peas and now mix well, using your hands. The mixture must just come together to hold its shape. If you feel it is too wet, add a little more of the fine breadcrumbs.
Shape into golf size balls. Set aside.

In a deep, medium sized pot, heat enough oil to come about halfway up the rice balls.

In three separate bowls, prepare the panko crumbs, beaten egg and flour.
Roll each ball into the flour, then in the beaten egg and lastly coat with the panko crumbs. Repeat until you have coated each rice ball.

Carefully drop the rice balls in batches of about 4 into the hot oil and fry for about two minutes a side until beautifully browned and crisp.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel paper.

Serve warm.




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.


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.





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.