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.



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.


Brussels side

Brussels sprouts may not be to everyone’s taste but i really love them. This side dish is the perfect table wow factor and will leave your guests (and kids) loving brussels.
I used beautiful fatty streaky bacon here to add to the flavor of the dish. This can however be substituted for pancetta, chicken/duck/turkey bacon or reduced fat pork bacon.
For a simple and quick lunch, toss it through lemon, garlic & chilly spaghetti. Delicious!

ingredients | serves 2-4 | easy
300g Brussels sprouts, halved
125g streaky bacon, sliced
40g walnuts, roughly chopped
2 leeks, sliced diagonally
4 sprigs thyme, leaves only
2T olive oil
1T butter
1/2t salt
good grind of black pepper
zest of half a lemon

how to do it
Heat a dry pan over medium heat and toast the walnuts. Keep your eye on the pan to avoid it from burning.
Set aside.
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Submerge the halved Brussels sprouts in the water and blanch for three minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the water bath by running cold water into a large bowl and add one cup of ice to it. Remove the sprouts from the boiling water using a slotted spoon and submerge it into the iced water. Leave to cool and then drain.
Heat the olive oil and fry the bacon until almost crispy.
Add the leeks and Brussels sprouts, toss and then add the tablespoon of butter and the fresh thyme.
Cook on a moderate heat until the bacon have crisped beautifully and the sprouts has a nice color to its skin.
Sprinkle the toasted walnuts into the skillet and toss.
Season with the salt, pepper & lemon zest and toss to coat.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x



warm tomato & feta salad

Although we are currently in our winter season, which normally calls for all things slow cooked and piping hot, i still have a big love for a good salad as a healthy dinner option or as a side to a good piece of protein.
This salad, served warm, is a very delicious alternative to normal salads and pairs well with red meat, chicken or fish.
A great addition to this dish is toasted butter & garlic ciabatta or sour dough slices, making it a delicious, light meal on its own.

Easy, simple, fresh, delicious.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
2T olive oil
300g-400g vine tomatoes or rosa tomatoes
4 rounds feta cheese, halved
150g green beans
handful fresh basil leaves
1t dried basil
3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
3T balsamic vinegar
2 red onions, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled & halved
1/2t salt
good grind of black pepper

how to
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
Place the tomatoes and red onion into a roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat.
Nestle the feta rounds in and amongst the tomatoes & onions. Add the thyme leaves, dried basil, garlic, balsamic, salt & pepper and gently coat everything using your hands.
Place the tray into the preheated oven and roast for about 15-18 minutes.
Meanwhile, blanch the green beans.
Prepare an icy bath with water and ice. Set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Immerse the beans into the water and cook for about three minutes. Remove the beans from the simmering water and into the ice bath to cool.
Remove and drain on kitchen towel paper.
Add the beans to the tray and continue to roast the salad for a further five minutes or until the tomatoes have popped.

Garnish the salad with the fresh basil leaves and serve warm.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x