Category Archives: vegetarian

Soft Pretzels! (not so scary)

PretzelsPretzels are one of my all time favourite snacks. When a pretzel stand opened at my local shopping centre (Garden City, Booragoon for those of you playing along at home) back in 2005/6, I was so excited I think I had one a week for about 4 months. So soft, so salty, so covered in various toppings and with a myriad of dipping sauces.

S-J shares a similar love of the baked good and so we decided to get down to the business of pretzel making. This recipe was super forgiving to our extended periods between getting things done. I made the dough base at my house then pootled about getting ready for way longer than the suggested rising time, before jumping in the car and taking the bowl of expanded dough over to S-J’s house for rolling, boiling and baking. We managed to get all of that done (and baked up the dipping sauce) while her small son napped.

If that doesn’t tell you this is a recipe for you, I don’t know what will. Continue reading

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Sunny Day Pasta with Haloumi (Or: fried cheese? Yes please.)

IMG 2091So, you’ve made your delicious sunflower seed pesto and you are wondering what to do with it — as opposed to just shoving it in your mouth as is — look no further!

Continue reading

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Sunny Day Pesto (Or: Hurrah! No nuts!)

sunny day pesto

One of our close friends has a nut allergy. Not, as I originally typed, a ‘butt’ allergy. As far as I know, she is fine with butts.

She has never eaten pesto. Ponder that for a second. No pesto. Ever.

I was watering our basil one day and thinking about how to remedy this situation and I turned to my faithful pal, the internet.

Sunflower seeds. THE DELICIOUS ANSWER WAS THERE ALL ALONG!

Basil

 I grabbed handfuls of basil and ran to the food processor. I was going to make this happen for her. Yes indeed.

So I whizzed up all the pesto ingredients and, revelation time, sunflower seed pesto is infinitely more delicious than ‘normal’ pesto. Dump the nuts and go seeds, folks. You won’t regret it.

And our nut-free friend enjoyed it too.  Continue reading

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Christmas Dinner Sides (aka What We Would Have Blogged About in December If We Weren’t So Busy Eating)

Table Spread

Warm Beetroot and Feta Salad
1 kg baby beetroots (fresh from the garden if you are lucky to have green thumbs around!)
100g feta, crumbled
olive oil
4 -5 stalks of thyme
S+P

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Cut the tops off the beetroots and then wash them thoroughly. Quarter them and pop them in a baking tray. Pour on some olive oil and add the thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper and chuck it in the oven until the beetroots are nice and soft. This took about half an hour for us but there was a lot of stuff in our oven. Keep an eye on them.

When they are ready, put them in a serving dish and sprinkle feta over the top. DELICIOUS.

Potato Salad
Serves an army – which is good because it is excellent with cold ham the next day (and any day!)
From Guest Blogger (and S-J’s ladyfriend/babymama), Esther!

12 – 15 small potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 fistful of continental parsley, chopped
1 small jar of good quality whole-egg mayonnaise
1/2 a small jar of baby dill pickles, roughly chopped
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 small spanish (red) onion
1/3 cup of salt (don’t worry! it doesn’t all end up in the salad!)

method

Slice the onion as finely as you can and place it in a bowl.
Add all but a few pinches of the salt, and toss so that the onion is thoroughly coated.
Set aside for at least 15 – 20 mins.

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover with cold water. Add the remaining salt to the water. Bring to boil.

When the potatoes are tender, remove them from the heat, drain them in a colander, and then run cold water over them to cool them somewhat. Transfer them to a serving bowl.

You will notice that your onions look like they have sweated and gotten all wet. The salt has drawn out all the really strong ‘onioniness’ out of them, and left the nice sweet peppery flavour, making them much more pleasurable to eat!
Rinse the salt off them (i find the easiest way to do this is to toss them in a sieve under cold running water), and add them to the potatoes.

Add the parsley, pickles, mayonnaise, and mustard, and gently toss until all ingredients are combined.

You can eat this warm, or chilled – either way is delicious.

If you’re not vegetarian, it’s also nice with some fried bacon tossed through.

Candied Sweet Potatoes
Serves 6 – 8 as a side dish
From Guest Blogger, Josie!

Cook 5(ish) sweet potatoes and mash with butter (your choice of butteryness). Add 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 cup brown sugar and mix well. Spoon into a baking dish and bake at 180C for 30 minutes. Cover with minimarshmallows and bake until they are melty and brown (approx. 5-10 minutes).

Zucchini with Garlic and Parmesan
Serves 8 as a side dish

Zucchini!

3 VERY large zucchini (or 5 regular sized if you don’t have a crazy veggie patch)
3 cloves of garlic
4 -5 stalks of thyme
Olive oil
30g Parmesan
S+P

Wash zucchini. Marvel at it’s ginormousness! Dice into about 1 inch pieces. Heat olive oil in a large fry pan. Mince garlic into pan. Turn on heat, crank to high. Once the garlic starts bubbling, throw in all the zucchini. Season well with S+P, add the thyme stalks. Resist turning until the edges start to brown. Gently toss occassionally until all delicious pieces are lightly browned and tender. Remove from heat and heap onto your serving dish, removing the thyme stalks as you go. Finely grate parmesan over the top, and serve.

Green Bean Supreme
Serves 6 – 8 as a side dish

1 kg beans
2 – 3 slices of bread
6 cloves garlic (2 crushed, 4 whole in skins)
5 tbsps olive oil
2 large leeks
2/3 cup white wine
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsps pomegranate molasses
S+P

This dish is an amalgamation of a few of my favourite things. That seemed right for a Christmas dinner that involved a few of my favourite people. I find that the tartness of the molasses and the leeks with the beans makes this an excellent side for a rich meat like ham, or with a creamy chicken dish.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Cook beans
Fill a large pot with water and heat over high flame. While the water is coming to a boil, wash the beans and remove the ends – leaving the beans whole (or chopping into 1 inch pieces if you prefer). Add beans to the boiling water and allow to cook for 3 – 4 minutes.

The beans should still have a nice crunch to them as you will be heating them again when ready to serve. Drain the beans into a colander, fill the pot with cold water and blanch them in the water, replacing the warm water with cold water until the beans are cool. Drain and set aside.

Make croutons
Remove the crusts from the bread and slice into 1 cm cubes.

Into an oven tray, drizzle 3 tbsps of olive oil, the whole garlic cloves, loads of salt and pepper, and cubes of bread. Toss to coat. Bake in oven until golden brown, approximately 5 – 10 minutes.

Caramelise leeks
Remove the tops and bottom of the leek. and outer layer, then wash well under cold water to remove any dirt trapped in the layers. Slice in half lengthways and then slice into thin half-moons.

In a medium frying pan, add 2 tbsps olive oil, the remaining garlic cloves,  and the sliced leeks. Saute over a medium heat until the leeks are softened. Raise heat and add the white wine. Cook until wine is reduced and syrupy. Add honey, stir together and remove from heat.

To serve
In a heat proof serving dish add the beans, cover with the leeks, then the croutons, drizzle the pomegranate molasses over the top. Set aside until ready to serve, reheat 5 – 10 minutes in the oven.

*** We will never stop to clean drips and spills off a serving dish just to take a photo, clearly. Just keeping it real here at NFL.

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Quinoa and Pumpkin Salad (or: Summer’s here. Let’s eat salad.)

Just a quick post because I instagrammed a picture of last night’s dinner and have never felt more popular with calls for the recipe. We weren’t planning on doing another goat’s cheese recipe so close on the other one but you have to give the people what they want.

This is a super simple salad but so tasty. Also, this basic concept has been changed numerous times depending on the season/what’s in the fridge/what looks good at the shops.

Quinoa & Pumpkin Salad

Serves 3 HUNGRY adults who enjoy eating as a main, would probably serve 4 or 5 less greedy adults as a main. Would serve MANY as a side.

  • 1/2 a butternut pumpkin, cubed
  • oil (I used vegie as we were out of olive oil)
  • paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, well rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tsp ‘chicken’ stock powder (Even though I eat meat now, I tend to use the Massel stocks which are animal free and the actual tastiest.) (I also know this is more stock than the side of the tin tells you to use. Sue me, I like things extra tasty.)
  • 2 cobs corn, sliced off the actual cob bit (or use a can’s worth. We aren’t fussy around here.)
  • spring onion (we used one because we were harvesting from our small spring onion crop in the garden. Use as much as you enjoy. Or sub in onion or leek.)
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • a couple of sprigs of thyme
  • chèvre or goat’s cheese of your choosing

Preheat oven to 180C and start cutting the skin of your pumpkin and cubing it up. Place it in a roasting dish and glug some oil over it and then sprinkle it with as much paprika as you desire. Toss everything so it get all covered in the oil and paprika. If you feel like it, some honey on the pumpkin could also be a taste sensation. (I forgot to do this.) Pop this is the oven and roast until soft i.e. however long it take you to do the rest of things. Check on it occasionally but it will be pretty happy to do its own thing.

Rinse the quinoa. I put mine in a fine sieve and run it under water for a couple of minutes. I know other people rinse their again and again but I find that one rinse is enough. Put the rinsed quinoa, water and stock in a medium saucepan over high heat. When it starts to boil, turn it all the way down to low and put the lid on. Leave for approx 20 minutes. (Quinoa can be fickle and you’ll need to check it — with your mouth — to make sure it isn’t messing you around.) When most of the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat, leave the lid on and put to one side until the rest of your salad is ready.

CHECK YOUR PUMPKIN. You can probably turn it off about now but you might as well leave it in the oven so you have more bench space until you need it.

Heat a smidge of oil and butter in a small saucepan and sauté the spring onion, corn and thyme whilst you get to work on your asparagus. Break off the woody ends (literally snap it at the bottom; it knows where to break) and throw them away, chop off the leafy end bits and then slice the rest of the stalks. Put the leafy end bits and the sliced stalk in with the corn and cook for a couple of minutes.

Now to assemble:

Find yourself a large bowl. If you are at our house, this is difficult as the usual one is full of lollies for trick or treaters tonight.

Put the quinoa and pumpkin in the bowl and mix the pumpkin through. It’ll break up as you do this so there with be some nice chunks of pumpkin but also smooshy pumpkin through the whole thing. Pour in your corn and stuff and mix that thorough.

Crumble as much chèvre as you desire on top.

Eat with abandon.

(Look, if you roasted some almonds and then chopped them roughly and sprinkled them over the top, I would totally be into that. In fact, see you at your place for dinner.)

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Goats Cheese Pastries (Or: cheese makes everything better, so three cheeses must mean excellence)

Cheese is delicious, and pastry makes everything better. I don’t need to convince you of this. So without further ado, recipe time!

Goats Cheese Pastries

Time: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking

Yield: nibbles for 10 as part of a spread

4 sheets puff pastry (store bought, or knock yourself out and make your own)
150 gms goats cheese
50 gms parmesan (grated)
50 gms cheddar (grated)
4 teaspoons of honey
2 tbsp chives (chopped in short lengths)
1 tbsp thyme (finely chopped, woody stalks removed)
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 egg

Line two baking trays with baking paper. Preheat oven to 220C.

Prepping the pastry

Lay your four squares of pastry out on the bench while you prep the filling. Spread 1 tsp of honey onto each sheet, spread to the edge.

Cheese filling

In a small bowl, break the goats cheese up into smaller chunks, add parmesan and cheddar and pop in the microwave for 10 – 20 seconds.

Remove from microwave and add paprika, garlic, salt and pepper, chives and thyme. Mix really well, making sure the herbs are evenly through the mixture.

Assemble

Divide the cheese mixture between two of the sheets of pastry. Spread out to 1 cm before the edge.

Take each of the two sheets of pastry with only honey on them, and place one on top of each cheese covered sheet. Push down firmly and evenly to make a kind of pastry sandwich. Pop in the fridge for 10 minutes or so if you have time.

Egg wash

In a small bowl (I used the cheese mixture bowl, and I didn’t even wash it out – REBEL), whisk the egg with a little salt and pepper until the yolk and white are all combined.

For straws

Using one of the pastry “sandwiches”, take a sharp knife and cut long strips about 1 cm wide. hold firmly at the top and bottom of the strip and twist, being careful to keep the mixture between the sheets of pastry as you twist.

Lay twisted pastry onto baking sheet pressing each end down onto the tray slightly (to stop them from untwisting). Leave at least 1 cm between each stick and using a pastry brush, cover with egg wash. Repeat until the tray is full, bake in 220C oven for 15 – 20 minutes, keeping an eye on them. When they are golden brown and crisp, remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool.

For scrolls

With the other pastry sandwich, cover the top with egg wash using your pastry brush. Starting with the side closest to you, roll away from yourself, gently keeping the roll quite tight. press the end down firmly. Place roll in fridge for 15 minutes to firm up if you have time, or live life on the edge and cut it into 1 cm thick slices and lay flat on the other baking tray. Leave about 2 cms between each round to allow for puffing. Repeat until the tray is full, bake in 220C oven for 15 – 20 minutes, keeping an eye on them. When they are golden brown and crisp, remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool.

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