Posts tagged entertaining

Rock your BBQ with these bowls of magic…

So we’re about to smack straight into the celebration season. Possibly you’re like me, with a list of weekends ahead that hold the promise of bubbles, nurofen and oodles of food.

Whether you’re hosting or being a guest, there’s no better way to get into the party vibe than with food that looks a bit more fancy and special than usual. So why serve a boring run-of-the-mill green salad when you can shift to colourful and fun dishes like this one.

Fregola is a cute little Sardinian pasta, similar looking to cous cous but more of a hot-cousin version that has been down the gym for a serious work out. Usually it’s toasted and has a slight nutty flavour. If your local shop doesn’t stock it, substitute with wimpy, regular cous cous.

This dish gets more pink as it gets tossed about, which is PERFECT, because, you know… PARTY.

Colourful, festive, impressive AND super tasty.

Colourful, festive, impressive AND super tasty.

Roast vegie & fregola salad

Serve this dish warm or cold. It’s fancy enough to be great with roast meats or a nice change from your usual array of BBQ sides. Crumbled feta is also delicious on top.

1 1/4 cups dried fregola (toasted if you can find it – I get mine at the local posh greengrocer)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp orange juice (about half an orange)

5-6 baby beetroot
4 carrots, peeled, cut into 4-5 cylinders
Olive oil (to drizzle)
1 red onion, cut into thick wedges
1 baby fennel, cut into thick wedges
1/2 punnet small tomatoes (any type will do)
1 red capsicum, cut into large squares
salt & pepper
Juice & zest 1/2 lemon

Cook the fregola according to packet directions. Drain, pop into a salad bowl and toss through the combined oil, vinegar & orange juice. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Wrap the beets in foil. Pop them in the oven for about 45-50 minutes until you can easily pierce them with a skewer. Set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile (use a second shelf in the oven), chuck the carrots in a small roasting tray. Pour over some olive oil and salt & pepper and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and mix in the onion wedges and fennel (add oil if looking dry). Return for 20 minutes then add in the tomatoes and capsicum and bake for another 20 minutes.

Peel the beetroot (kitchen gloves are a good idea). Cut into easy-to eat size pieces and add to the fregola. Also tip in the veggies and mix everything through including the parsley and lemon juice.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish.


Other salads that will do the schmancy party trick….

Asian noodle salad

Asian noodle salad

Pumpkin & haloumi salad.

Pumpkin & haloumi salad.

vegie smugglers panzanella

So delicious, the kids might just join in for this one.

There’s a bunch more salad & side recipes in the ‘Entertaining’ section of Vegie Smuggler’s Kitchen Collection. And if you use code ‘xmas2015’ you can buy it right now for 10% off. Valid until Nov 31, 2015.


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The world’s easiest side dish?

Here’s a quick fix for those nights when you just want something easy and super-quick. Possibly you could make it in a saucepan, but WHY WOULD YOU when you can do it so effortlessly in a rice cooker. (I’ve seen these Kambrook ones online for under $20). I use mine at least twice a week and I adore the fact that you don’t have to think – just set it going and then get on with everything else that fills your early evening.

They’re also good for ‘entertaining’ (I love using that word – makes me feel very 1970s). It’s a simple way to feed a stack of people. Have it loaded and ready to go, and then just click it to cook when you’re ready. Although I will admit to drinking too much champagne one night and forgetting to even click it on. C’est la vie. Once I remembered it was ready in less than 20 minutes – just enough time to refresh everyone’s glasses and pass around the cabanossi on sticks.

Ta da!

Ta da!

Spanish rice

This makes a great side dish to baked chicken or fish or even kebabs from the BBQ.

2 cups long grain white rice
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock (chicken is good, but vegie is great too)
400g can crushed tomatoes
1 red capsicum, finely diced
1 green capsicum, finely diced
400g can corn kernels, drained

Rinse and drain the rice in a sieve, then pop it into your cooker with the stock and tomatoes. Hit ‘cook’ and leave it until it switches to ‘keep warm’.

Quickly mix through the capsicum and corn then recover and leave on ‘warm’ for another 10 minutes or so, until you’re ready to serve.

Serves 2 adults and 4 kids as a side dish

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