Savoury

Roasted Baby Vegetables

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

I’m sure you know how to roast vegetables, but a couple of tips are – put things in together than take a similar time to roast. So I roasted assorted baby beets (some golden, some purple, some odd shaped – its beet season and my mum picked these up from the markets cause she can get up early on a Saturday somehow), little baby kipfler potatoes, baby carrots, and fennel together (fennel obviously is quicker to cook but I wanted it to be more burn and carmelly so it was sweeter). All I seasoned it with was oil and some whole garlic cloves, roasted them at 180 for about 25 mins and then threw some chopped parsley through at the end.

I also roasted some zucchini and radishes together for 10 minutes using the same method. 

Photo by Josh Watson

Photo by Josh Watson

Miso Mushroom and Date Toasts

Makes about ten medium-sized toasts (about 20 of the size pictured)

I'd recommend using much bigger pieces of bread than I did - the smaller batons were on sale, but very hard to balance everything on/transport. 

This is a very simple recipe, but super tasty

MISO MUSHROOMS
4 Field Mushrooms
2 Tablespoons Miso Paste
1 Tablespoon Mirin

DATE AND ROCKET SALAD
200g Rocket (other bitter greens like raddichio and watercress would be nice too)
1 Tablespoon of Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
8 Medjool Dates (they're the big yummy ones, called 'snack dates' at a lot of grocery stores I think) 
Crumbled Fetta
Loaf of rye bread

Mix the Mirin and Miso paste together so the miso is spreadable. Rub/brush the miso paste over the mushrooms and roast at 180 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes. 

Mix the rocket, yoghurt and sesame seeds together until the rocket is evenly coated (you might need some more yoghurt).

Remove the pits for the dates and slice them thinly.

When the mushrooms are done, take them out of the oven and cut them up across the top (you want to get maybe 5-6 slices out of each mushroom).

Slice and toast your rye bread. Layer it with the salad, then the dates, then the mushrooms. Crumble some feta on top and serve. 

Spicy Pumpkin and Feta Filos

Easy snacks with some interesting flavours with the mint and ginger. You could use spinach instead of pumpkin if you'd like, I just liked the 'warm' sweet flavour with the sumac. 

Makes about 16 - 20 'fingers' 

Ingredients
2 cups of pumpkin, cut into small-ish cubes
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon crushed ginger
500 grams of fetta
Half cup chopped mint
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon sumac
1 packet filo pastry sheets
1 Teaspoon black or white sesame seeds
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, put the pumpkin and garlic onto a baking tray and rub with oil. Bake for around 15-20 minutes, until the pumpkin is very soft.

Take the pumpkin out of the oven to cool completely.  When it's cooled, mix together with the rest of the ingredients (except the pastry). 

To roll the filos into finger/cigar shapes, just place a heaped teaspoon of the pumpkin and feta mixture on one end of a rectangle of filo pastry, and roll away from you, tucking in the outside edges as you go to seal up the edge. Use more than one sheet of pastry if it looks a bit thin/wet. Brush the top with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. 

Bake the filos at 200 degrees for about ten minutes, or until golden brown. 

'Bahn Mi' with Ginger Poached Chicken, Cucumber Salad and Pickled Carrots.

White bread. Chicken. Mayonnaise. Tangy Pickles. DON'T LEAVE OFF THE PEANUTS (Unless eating them will kill you I GUESS). 

Should make about 8 Medium sized bahn mi. Cut 'em smaller and you've got baby bahns! Fun!

Ingredients:

CHICKEN
1/2 cup chopped shallots (only the white and light green bits)
Two tablespoons roughly chopped ginger, and two tablespoons of crushed ginger. Keep the chunks of peel that you take off.
200g Chicken Breast
Two litres chicken or vegetable stock (I use stock cubes and it doesn't make much difference to me) 

CUCUMBER 
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Lebanese cucumbers
1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek (crushed fresh chills from a jar, can find at Coles)
1 teaspoon palm sugar

CARROTS
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon palm sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons Sambal Oelek
Juice of one lime
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 medium carrots
 

WOMBOK SALAD
2 Cups shredded wombok
Mayonnaise
1/2 bunch coriander, roughly chopped.

1 cup Roasted Peanuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Sesame Seeds
Half Bunch coriander, leaves only
2 long Baguettes

Put the stock in a medium saucepan with half the shallots, chopped ginger and ginger skins. If you don't think it'll be enough to cover the chicken, add some water. Bring to the boil.

Add your chicken breast, cover and poach for about 18 - 20 minutes. If they're smaller pieces check after 15 by cutting one in half and seeing if it's cooked through. When the chicken is cooked, rub it in the rest of the shallots and crushed ginger and some vegetable oil to marinate for a while.

While the chicken's cooking, make the pickles. Cut the cucumbers in half longways and scoop out the seeds. Give them a wack with a rolling pin/flat side of a big knife etc. so they're a bit battered and split. Roughly chop them into couple of centimetre slices. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and leave to sit. 

Julienne the carrots, or grate them if that's too annoying (I found out most basic vege graters have a mandolin peeler that makes thin slices that you can then slice into match-stick pieces. Really improved my life). Mix the carrots with the rest of the pickle ingredients.

Mix the wombok, coriander and mayonnaise (it's between you and whoever you choose to tell how much you want to put it - you want it to balance out the chicken cause poached it can be a bit dry) together.

Toast the sesame seeds in a hot pan on the stove. Mix together with the chopped peanuts. 

To assemble, either cut or tear up the chicken, put it in a halved piece of baguette and layer with the salad ingredients. Top with fresh coriander leaves and peanuts and sesame seeds. 
 

 

 

Shakshuka with misc. leaves

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Shakshuka is the king of baked eggs. These are probably not as good as any you'll get at a fancy brunch place but definitely worth making yourself. 

If you're making this for more than 10 people, you may need two fry pans/ baking trays to fit all the eggs in.

Serves 12 - 15

Ingredients:
2 small capsicums, thinly sliced
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
handful of thyme

2 Onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped coriander

800g chopped tomatoes (tinned)
Pinch of saffron/ a few saffron threads
3 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 Lemon
15 eggs
Misc Leaves (Used beetroot leaves, radicchio, snowpea shoots, and rocket)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and roast the capsicum, cherry tomatoes and thyme for 15 minutes.

In a fry pan that you can also put in the oven (with a metal handle, but if you don't have one of these you can transfer the sauce into a baking tray before you bake the eggs) fry the onions with a splash of olive oil until they go soft but not brown. Add the spices and fry for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, sugar, and capsicum and cherry tomato mixture and bring to a fast simmer. Turn the heat down and leave to simmer slowly for 15 minutes. Finish with the herbs. You can make the sauce a few days in advance, or add the eggs straight away and serve.

 If you're transfering the mixture into a baking tray, do it now. Otherwise crack the eggs into the hot sauce. Put the saucepan into the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through. To finish, toss the leaves in a hot pan with some salt for a couple of minutes until slightly soft, then lay on the shakshuka. Serve with any kind of bread, but the sweet and soft Israeli challah is traditional and delicious. 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Yemeni pancakes with savoury stuff and yoghurt sauce.

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

I really wanted to do some kind of savoury pancake, but I didn't want it to be boring. Enter, this recipe I found in the Honey & Co cookbook. They serve there's with a great kind of herby-paste, but I decided to go real Australian Bastardising Other Cultures Breakfast and serve mine with halloumi, asparagus, smoked salmon and yoghurt and herb sauce.  

Makes about 15 pancakes

Pancake ingredients: 
500g wholemeal plain flour
1 1/2 stale pita bread
2 teaspoons dried yeast
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
700ml water


1 packet of halloumi, sliced thick of thin depending on what you like
20-ish asparagus spears
500g smoked salmon

Yoghurt Sauce Ingredients: 
200g Greek yoghurt
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/2 cup chopped mint
Handful of dill leaves
Pepper
Splash of olive Oil
Juice of 1 lemon

 

Soak the pita bread in water for about 10-15 minutes until soft. Mush it up into a paste with your hands or a fork. Mix the pita bread and the rest of the pancake ingredients together, cover with gladwrap and leave in a warm area for at least 30 minutes, until the yeast has activated and the mixture gets bubbly.

Lightly toss the asparagus with oil, and roast at 180 degrees for 10 minutes

Heat a light layer of oil in a medium frypan. Spoon a ladle full of mixture and spread it out into a thin pancake. Cook until the top is covered with bubbles. Don't flip the pancake, instead put a lid or plate on top of the frypan for 1-2 minutes, until the top is steamed cooked and not wet to touch.

You can keep the pancakes on a plate covered with a tea-towel while you fry up the halloumi. 

Mix all the yoghurt sauce ingredients together. 

Serve the pancakes on a plate with smoked salmon, asparagus and halloumi, with the yoghurt sauce in a bowl so everyone can put their own pancakes together. 

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Photo by Savannah van der Niet

Probably the Best Salad

I hate whenever recipes describe something as ‘delicious AND guilt free’ or like ‘you won’t BELIEVE it’s healthy’ – cause usually they’re talking about stuff with heaps of weird fake-sugar chemicals or under-salted microwave meals. Also if something is delicious you can’t feel guilty about eating it that’s the rule. But this salad, with honey and nuts and a bit of chili, tastes good (not as good as a grilled cheese but better than a can of tuna) and is relatively healthy. You could probably eat it for at least 3 days before you started really wanting a chicken burger.  

Photo by me, food styling by me, sense of existential dread brought on by my entirely yellow house by god. 

Photo by me, food styling by me, sense of existential dread brought on by my entirely yellow house by god. 

This recipe is very easy and you probably could have made it up for yourself – but I know sometimes it’s hard to think of a lunch idea that won't make you feel like shit, so here it is.

Ingredients:

¼ of a big pumpkin
2 cans of Butterbeans
300g Brussels Sprouts, halved
1 cup of nuts, roughly chopped (I used Brazil Nuts, but walnuts, pecans or cashews would work fine too)
Half a red onion, finely diced
200 grams of Rocket
1 Sprig Rosemary
Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Sumac  (you could use Dried Chili if you want more heat/don’t want to buy sumac)
3 tablespoons of honey
Half a lime
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 108 degrees. Cut the pumpkin into bite sized-ish pieces.

In a baking tray, coat the pumpkin, nuts and Brussels sprouts in the honey, sumac or dried chili, rosemary and a big glug of olive oil together until everything is evenly covered. Bake for about 30 minutes – checking after 20 if you cut your pumpkin fairly small.

When the pumpkin is soft, take the tray out of the oven and leave it to cool.

Drain the butterbeans, then add to the cooled pumpkin and nut mixture. Mix the rocket and onion through, and finish with a squeeze of lime and salt and pepper to taste.

(Shoulda been) Soba Salad

If you look closely (or like, at all), you’ll notice that the noodles in these salads are definitely NOT soba. One is vermicelli (fine, gotta cater for my legit celiac friend Laurel) and one is Udon. NOT FINE. Udon noodles are great in soups or stir fries because they’re substantial and salty – not at all right for ‘delicate’ (as close as I ever get anyway) salads.

But when you’re rushing around the supermarket trying to get ready to feed 20 people, it’s very easy to pick up the wrong packet – and then what was I gonna do, walk back to the shops? In the middle of the day in summer? Nah. But please don’t make the same mistakes as me. For the love of god get the soba.

You could also definitely make your own sesame sauce (I’ve made one before with mirin, light soy, a little sugar and tahini that was pretty good) but the ready-made stuff is generally a much better consistency. It’d be worth going to a Japanese grocer to get the real deal (Genki Mart in Alderly is terrific if you’re in Brisbane) but the Kewpie brand one is available in most supermarkets.

Serves 12 + as a side

Ingredients:
2 packets soba noodles
4 shallots, finely sliced
2 Lebanese cucumbers
1 packet tomato medley (if the multi-coloured tomatoes aren't in season regular cherry tomatoes are fine)
Sesame-soy sauce (see above)
1 Carrot
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
Couple of handfuls of mixed lettuce leaves
thumb-sized peices of ginger
500g raw salmon fillets (should be about 2 - 3 fillets) 

Wrap the salmon fillets individually in baking paper with the ginger, a splash of soy sauce and half a teaspoon of butter for each fillet. Cook at 180 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes, until the salmon is just cooked. Leave to cool.

Cook the soba noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Leave to cool completely. 

Cut the carrots into matchstick-sized 'julienne' pieces (you can grate them if you want, though it tastes different). Slice the cucumber in 1-2cm slices, then cut them in half into semi-circles. Cut the tomatoes in half (or smaller if you're using big tomatoes. 

Mix the cucumber, carrot, tomatoes, lettuce, shallots, soba, sesame seeds, and the sesame dressing of your choice together. Flake the cooked salmon over the top and serve.