Posts tagged brunch

Even Goldilocks would just sit down, shut up and eat this dinner

Most nights I can sit at the dinner table, close my eyes and instantly be transported to a fairy tale. Oh! I hear you exclaim with envy, ‘SHE HAS THE PERFECT LIFE!’.

But you’d be wrong, because unfortunately I’m not in the midst of a good Cinderella-type tale, with romance, makeovers and awesome frocks (have you seen the rude Tinderella version? Very funny.) No, I get taken straight to the story with the most annoying of annoying characters around – Goldilocks and the 3 bears. With eyes shut, my dinner companions all suddenly morph into Goldilockses, all criticism and complaints about the meal before them.

“This is too hot!”
“This is too spicy!”
“This doesn’t have enough flavour!”
“I think I saw a speck of pepper!”
“This sauce doesn’t match my underpants!”

Etc, etc, etc.

But every now and then a recipe comes along that has my entire family gushing with praise, declaring it, ‘Just right’. And thankfully, this is one of those recipes. It is a gorgeous bit of kitchen alchemy. My fairy godmother tip to you is to bake the kumura to give you a rich, sweet base.

Abracadabra. Enjoy.

Serve this on rice for a more substantial meal.

Serve this on rice for a more substantial meal.

Goldilocks chickpea patties

Feeds: 2 adults & 2 small kids, served on rice with salad
Allergy info: Vegan. Free from gluten, egg, dairy.
Substitutions?: I think this recipe is pretty perfect as is.
Freeze?: No.
Prep ahead?: Kumura mash can store in the fridge for 2-3 days. Prepared patties can be refrigerated until it’s time to cook.
Why I like it: Simple, vegie-packed, delicious. A perfect meat-free Monday recipe.
Smuggling rating: 9/10 – vegies hidden in vegies, all fried up a bit crispy.

1 1/2 cups mashed kumura (orange sweet potato)
400g tin chickpeas, rinsed, drained
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled, grated
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sumac (available on the spice stand at good fruit markets) OR use the zest of half a lemon
1/4 cup besan (chickpea flour) – for rolling.
Oil for frying (I like about 1/4 cup of olive oil)

To get the kumura mash, chuck a whole kumura into your oven at 180C for 50-60 minutes until squishy. (Any leftovers are great added to spag bol, or mixed into sweet muffins).

In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas and mix through the vegies and spices. Form golf ball size patties and dunk in the chickpea flour.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil (be generous) and once hot, add a few patties to the pan. Turn when golden (you’ll probably need to cook them for about 3 minutes either side.)

Serve with salad, lemon & a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

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Can’t cook? Or too tired to cook? Try this.

Now where is this year going? And how did this term slip by so quickly! I don’t know about you, but for us this last week or two of term is a bit fraught. Possibly the cupboards are empty, the kids are tired and motivation is low. But there’s no need to hang up the healthy food towel. Before you dial a takeaway, make the most of your pantry stash. This shakshouska, is way cool and is more compiling than cooking. Served with a bit of bread, it keeps everyone in my house pretty happy.

A nice alternative to toasties or baked beans.

A nice alternative to toasties or baked beans – and just as easy.

Pantry tuna shakshouka

Younger kids might like a version of this with just a few spoonfuls of tomato, an egg and scattered ham.

800g crushed tomatoes
180g tuna in oil (with chilli, too, if your family like it)
4 spring onions (I’ve usually got some hiding in the bottom of the crisper drawer)
1/3 cup roasted capsicums (also tip in a bit of the flavoured oil)
Sprinkling of capers (if you like them)
4 eggs

To serve: parsley (from the garden), salt, pepper, sourdough (for dipping).

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Place your individual dishes or ramekins on a baking tray (to make handling easier).

Divide the ingredients between your dishes, in quantities that will suit each diner. Finally, scoop a bit of a dent in the mix and quickly crack in an egg.

Bake for 15-25 minutes until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

Serves 4

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I’ve gone all food PC with these gluten-free, vegetarian fritters

As you may or may not know, I have a very strict food regime here at VSHQ. This is it…

food-policy

Yep, that’s right. It’s pretty complicated. I buy good stuff and I cook yummy things. I guess COOKING is the important word though, to me it seems like the logical key to good health. Dieters in different food camps get caught up in ingredient wars and fighting to prove that their system of eating is best, but for me that’s all a personal choice. What’s really important is that you’re taking responsibility for your ingredients and creating nourishing meals at home. And it doesn’t have to be hard – here’s a great recipe for the whole family that uses one mixing bowl and one frying pan.

Included on the ingredient list is besan flour. Also known as chickpea flour, you can find it in the larger supermarkets and health food stores. I don’t often make you seek out an ingredient, but I think this one is worth while since it’s tasty and nutritious and it just so happens that it’s also gluten-free. This recipe also happens to be vegetarian, since a bit of meat-free eating is good for the environment and it gives the little cutie creatures a night off from worry.

Toddlers might like to have a bit of mango chutney spread over their fritters, adults might like some fresh herbs and a chutney with a bit of punch, along with some salad.

Great finger food for toddlers.

Great finger food for toddlers.


Corn & carrot fritters

1 cup besan (chickpea) flour – available in larger supermarkets and health food stores
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 carrot, grated
1 small red onion, really finely sliced (or grated, but if you do this, drain it a little)
400g can corn kernels
2-3 tbsp fresh herbs (optional) – try parsley, chives or coriander, depending on the tastebuds of your family
Oil of your choice for frying. Use as much as you’re comfortable with – I like quite a lot for this recipe!

Tip the flour and garam masala into a mixing bowl.

Whisk together the eggs and milk then tip into the flour, whisking as you go to avoid lumps. Add in the carrot, onion, corn and herbs. Combine well.

Heat a large frying pan over medium/low heat. Add the oil and when hot, use a 1/4 cup measure to dollop in some fritter mix. Once the edges set, you can gently spread the chunkier filling out so that it’s an even thickness. Cook for 3 minutes or so on each side until the onion is cooked through.

Serve with chutney of your choice and some salad.

Feeds 2 adults & 2 smaller kids, with a side of salad & pappodums.

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Dad’s turn to slack off (and be feted)

Back in May, I was quite vocal about what it was that I was looking for in my Mother’s Day. Now, as September dawns, it pains me to admit that it’s now Dad’s turn to pop the feet up, be reminded of his awesomeness and generally made to feel as though he’s king of his domain (one day won’t hurt us, will it?)

So possibly you’ve got a big brunch planned. And of course there’ll be bacon, a bit more bacon. Maybe a few chippolatas and a bit more bacon. To go with it, chuck together this brunch frittata. The best bit of it is that you can actually make it up the night before, store it in the fridge and then bake it in time for when your family descends the next morning. Handy!

See ladies, quietly, I’m still looking out for us, even though it’s not exactly our turn.

Impressive and easy - my favourite combo.

Impressive and easy – my favourite combo.

Make-ahead Brunch Frittata

2 potatoes
4 spring onions, finely sliced (use some of the green bits too)
½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
6 mushrooms, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 cup bread cut into a 1cm dice (this is a great way to use up day old sourdough)
1½ cups grated cheese
5 eggs
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper

Cook the potatoes. You could bake them, boil, steam or microwave them until just tender (I use the microwave as I find it the quickest and easiest way).

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line an 18x28cm slice tin with baking paper.

Once cool enough to handle, peel away the potato skins and chop into a rough dice. Add to a large mixing bowl.

Tip in the vegies, bread and cheese. Combine well.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. Season well. Pour onto the vegies and mix. Tip the mixture into your slice tin and fiddle bits around so that the mix is evenly distributed and firmly packed. Leave a few cherry tomatoes on top for presentation.

Bake for 40 minutes until set and golden on top.

Cut into 8 brunch-sized slices. Serve alone or with chipolatas and bacon.

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Eau de Vegie Smugglers

I’m thinking of launching a Vegie Smugglers fragrance. If it’s good enough for Kylie, then it’s good enough for me.

The scent will be based on all my favourite smells – toasted coconut, topped up with freshly toasted flaked almonds. Round it off with freshly ground coffee, meringue and a touch of gin with lime and I’m shoving all my best wafts into one, saleable potion.

I suppose the bottle will have to be lime green, and possibly shaped into an artistic impression of a zucchini. If I make it out of flexible plastic and add some batteries, I can offer mothers both a good smell and a happy day.

But I’m having trouble with the name. I’m trawling all the celebrity scents to find inspiration. I could go atmospheric, like Antonio Banderas’s ‘Mediterraneo’, or try to entice you, like Cher’s ‘Uninhibited’ or Britney’s ‘Hidden Fantasy’ (excuse me while I vomit a little in my mouth). Or even onamatapeic like Katy Perry’s ‘Meow’.

What do you think? Do you have any other enticing ingredients that need to be considered? Or good name suggestions? Possibly I’ll stick to simple. Maybe just ‘Delish’, just like these dairy-free coconut muffins.

Delish.

Delish.



Coconut mini-muffins (Dairy-free)

These are delicately flavoured treats that freeze really well – perfect for lunchboxes. After a couple of days they dry out a little but will revive after a quite zap in the microwave.

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
270ml can coconut milk (full fat)
Desiccated or shredded coconut to sprinkle on top

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line mini-muffin trays with paper cases.

In a large bowl, combine the flour (no need to sift), oats, coconut & brown sugar.

Whisk together the eggs, oil and coconut milk in a separate bowl or jug. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir until just combined, then divide into your muffin cases until full (the mix doesn’t rise overly much). Sprinkle a thick layer of extra coconut over the top and bake for 13-15 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean.

Makes 36ish mini-muffins.

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June giveaway (and why I love bread)

Wasn’t there a lot of pressure a while back to give up bread? I was still working in magazine-land at the time and naught a model nor stylist nor photographer would DARE have it pass their lips (but then joyously they discovered QUINOA and were saved from the evil rampaging of processed carbs).

Me? I’ve always loved bread and have never had issues with it. A warm crusty baguette is pretty much as good as life gets. Sourdough downright seduces me and I find it IMPOSSIBLE to walk through Townhall station without grabbing a Luneburger loaf.

In the burbs I’ve always been happy with Bakers Delight bread, particularly the cape seed and the hi-fibre, low-GI white, which is a great option for the kids. So when they got in touch and asked to team up I was more than happy. You can see my recipes on their website here

In return, they’ve given me a bunch of prizes for my June giveaway. Up for grabs are two vouchers for $40 each and 5 kids merchandise packs which include a ruler, pencil case, pencils & lunch bag.

To enter you must be in Australia and you must be a Vegie Smugglers subscriber. Check out the Bakers Delight website and then comment below about which of their products is your favourite and what you like to do with it (stay nice!).

I’ll start… this is what I do with a slice of low-GI white…

Bread tart cases.

Bread tart cases.

Easy egg tarts

Cut a big round of bread from a slice, push it into a greased muffin tin, spray with oil and grill until a bit golden. Then pop in some prosciutto and cherry tomato before cracking in an egg (in a smaller muffin hole, you won’t fit all the egg-white). Then bake until set to your liking and sprinkle over salt, pepper, parmesan and parsley.

And there you have it, a gorgeous, quite posh looking egg tart, done with the minimum of fuss. Your turn…

Entries close Sunday June 23 at 8pm, AEST. **COMP NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO VANESSA & JILL WHO WON THE VOUCHERS AND TO SUSIE, CAROLINE, DEB, JOANNE & ALLISON WHO WON THE MERCHANDISE PACKS.

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Finding winter time joy (in sugar)

A couple of weeks ago I slipped on my wooden stairs and slammed down on my arse. It was a graceful, elegant move designed to demonstrate to the children exactly why we don’t run on the stairs in our socks. After a couple of visits to a lovely (medically trained) young man with strong hands I’m now feeling alot better and am knowledgeable about C8, T3 and S4. After giving myself a fair whack, I have several ongoing symptoms, one of which is chronic GRUMPINESS, no doubt helped along by continued cold weather and the fact we’ve not had a decent holiday since this trip, which I sadly see is nearly two years ago.

How are you other Southern Hemisphere folks all travelling? Over it? What measures do you put in place to survive winter? I like to think that I combine a noble combination of exercise, interesting projects and a Zen attitude about the ebb and flow of nature to get me through, but actually I just tend to eat more sugar, wear ridiculous amounts of clothing and whinge. A lot. I whinge about the cold. About how unfit I am. About how much my children whinge. About the consistent stream of people telling me I need to read Sarah Wilson’s “I quit sugar” in order to pick myself up a little. Don’t they understand that sugar is my winter lifeline?

In defiance, here’s a cakey-bread loaf that I highly recommend for a little shot of food pleasure. As with most of my sweet stuff, there’s a silver lining of nutrition to ease your conscience and make that second piece seem more acceptable. It’s delicious straight from the oven, or do the classic banana bread thing, of toasting slices and spreading your sugar with lard.

vegie-smugglers-fruit-nut-loaf

See! Smiling already.

Ricotta, nut & currant bread

250g tub ricotta cheese
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1¼ cups self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
Rind of 1 orange
1¼ cups nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts & almonds are good), roughly chopped
¾ cup currants

Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a 14x20cm loaf tin.

In a large bowl, mix together the cheese and sugar.

Sift over the flour and baking powder. Pop the zest, nuts and currants on top and fold it all in together.

Bake in the oven for an hour or an hour and 10, until the top bounces slightly and a skewer comes out clean. While warm brush the top with warmed honey.

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