Cauliflower for days.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad 4

Cauliflower seems to be having a moment in the sun lately.  When I was growing up, it was much dreaded on any dinner plate…having been boiled to within an inch of its life, tasteless and with an awful texture.  Now, however, we’re starting to see just what a magic little powerhouse it really is – versatile, tasty, practically fat free and packed with vitamins C and B-6. How could you say no?

Cauliflower is showing up in everything from the ever-trusty cauliflower cheese (comfort food heaven) to being finely ‘riced’ and used as a carb-friendly substitute to grains, being steamed and shaped into pizza bases, or being roasted whole with spices as a hearty vegetarian main course.  It holds other stronger flavours brilliantly, and it lends itself to so many interpretations – so it’s unsurprising that the humble cauli has become vegetable of the hour 🙂

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Mint slice cupcakes.

 

Choc Mint Cupcakes 2

You know how it is sometimes…you see something on telly and you get an idea in your head and suddenly a craving hits that simply will not go away until you satisfy it.  So it was with these cupcakes!  I can’t even remember now what got me started, but one day I just got the taste of these in my head, and I became consumed with the idea of replicating my favourite mint slice biscuits into a cupcake version.  I can guarantee you, these don’t disappoint 🙂

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Farro way.

Farro Salad 2

Gluten isn’t always kind to me, but I can sometimes tolerate it well in far less refined forms – such as farro, a beautiful chewy pearled grain of wheat, that you can cook in a similar way to brown rice.  It makes a hearty addition to soups and stews, can be used instead of rice in risotto, and it lends a really satisfying texture and flavour profile to grain salads.  Farro is also high in protein, complex fibre and calcium, so if you can tolerate grains, this is a good one to go for!

I loosely adapted this recipe from one by Yottam Ottolenghi (probably a very close second to HFW in my list of food heroes), using ingredients I had to hand at the time.  Not only was this a delicious salad, it kept really well for about 4-5 days in the fridge – so a great one for preparing ahead of time for work lunches.  I added a bit of hot smoked salmon, soft goats cheese and some red veined sorrel from the garden to mine…and it was so delicous, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Farro & Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients

  • 250g farro
  • 1 cup of stock (I used chicken but you could also use vegetable stock)
  • 5 spring onions, chopped (white parts only, use the deep green tops for my warm potato salad!)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 60mls extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbs sherry vinegar
  • 2/3 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds, lightly toasted
  • Small handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Seeds of one pomegranate
  • Salt & fresh black pepper

Method

  1. Rinse the farro in cold water, then place in a medium saucepan with the stock and another cup of cold water. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer for about 10 minutes – at about the 7 minute mark, give it a little taste test, you still want it semi-firm and chewy, not mushy.
  2. Drain the farro and transfer to a mixing bowl.  While it is still hot, add the spring onion, red onion, olive oil, vinegar, allspice and cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.  Sitr, then leave to cool completely.
  3. Once cool, add the parsely, almonds and pomegranate seeds and mix.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, and serve.

We all scream for ice cream.

Ice Cream

It has been a funny old summer here in Melbourne…nothing new about that I suppose!  We’ve swung between ridiculous heat and very mild weather – hovering around 20C on some days, which feels freezing at this time of year.  But on those days the heat really starts ramping up, my thoughts naturally start turning to creating sweet and frosty treats.

I am a bit of a sucker for ice cream…I think it really is my great weakness when it comes to sweets.  I could eat it all day long!  I can tolerate dairy in small amounts, so if I grab some gelato from the divine place literally around the corner from my house, i’m generally fine.  However, if I have a tub in the fridge and my willpower fails me, I end up feeling quite unwell as a result of the dairy overload.

That’s why it’s great to have a few fabulous and easy dairy free ice cream recipes up your sleeve…this one is so simple to make and tastes incredible.  It gets its beautiful green colour from avocado – and I promise you that you can’t even taste it.  It does however lend a lovely rich creaminess to this treat, along with adding plenty of healthy fats, and vitamins C and B6, as well as magnesium.  Which practically makes this ice cream a health food!

I used an ice cream maker for this recipe (best investment I ever made) but you can definitely make this without one – i’ll pop those instructions in the notes section below.

Dairy Free Avocado & Lime Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 can of full cream coconut milk, refrigerated
  • Flesh of 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup of pure maple syrup or agave
  • 1/4 cup water

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and churn until your machine lets you know its ready.
  3. You can either serve this immediately – it will have a soft-serve like texture – or freeze it for a firmer texture.  I served mine with toasted shredded coconut and cacao nibs – so delicious 🙂

Notes

  • If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can pour this into a container (a loaf tin is good because the cold will conduct quicker than through porcelain or glass) and freeze until you see ice crystals start to form around the edges.  Once that happens, take it out and give it a good stir, then pop it back into the freezer until completely hard (or to whatever your desired consistency is).
  • Before juicing my limes, I always get the zest off as this is too good to waste!  This can be frozen in a small snaplock bag, or a container with a tight lid, for later use – such as in my Best Fruit Salad in the World 🙂

 

Never enough banana bread.

BB Slice

Oh happy days!  And i’m not just talking about this delicious banana bread, though that is reason enough to be happy, that’s for sure…no, i’m talking about my brand new internet connection, which is finally allowing me to work at better than dial up speeds for the first time in nearly three years!  I haven’t been able to post all week because of this, so I have a big backlog of lovely recipes for you…and I can finally post them without my connection dropping out every minute.  Good times.

So, banana bread – this is the second version I promised you guys a while ago.  The first version I posted is a bit more rustic – this second version is a bit more cakey and slightly more cafe-like, I guess…but like the first one, it too is bloody delicious.  This recipe makes a generous loaf – I usually slice it up and put it in the freezer, separating each piece with some greaseproof or baking paper, so you can grab a bit as needed.  Great for a little weekend treat 🙂

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Tofu tacos.

Tacos 3

I mentioned when I posted my Tasty Baked Tofu recipe ealier this week that I was planning to test out using it for a meat-free taco.  Well, the results are in and it was a success!  So much so, i’m writing this at 9:30am and i’m already salivating over them…is it a thing to have tacos for breakfast?  If not, maybe it should be 😉

This is so easy i’m not even sure it constitutes a separate recipe, but i’ll write up what I did for those of you who want a bit of a guide.

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Veggie bonanza.

Veggie Bonanza

Some nights, it’s all about the veggies for dinner – pictured above is a beautiful farro & pomegranate salad, grilled baby zucchinis, stuffed zucchini flowers with tarragon, garlic green beans, roasted pumpkin with cumin, and roasted mushrooms with goats cheese & thyme.  Soooooo delicous!

The zucchinis, zucchini flowers, green beans, garlic and herbs were all from my garden…so glad to see my efforts showing up on my dinner plate at long last.  It’s making all the hard graft so satisfying.

This is also a perfect illustration of my pathalogical inability to cook for one…I just can’t do it!  Well at least I have leftovers for lunch today…and who doesn’t love leftovers.

As Julia Child might say…Bon Appetit!