side

Bunya Nut Satay Tofu

I. Love. Satay! From Chicken Tonight to actual authentic stuff to 'fusion' sauces - put peanuts and fish sauce and oil together and I'll drink it out of the bottle. This version turned out really really well. You could put it on meat/in a curry or stir fry too and it would be equally delicious.

You can buy Bunya Nuts online here

2 cups bunya nuts, boiled for 20-30 minutes and shelled. 
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 cup vegetable oil
1 bunch of corriander, stems only, finely chopped. 
Juice of one lime
500gms firm tofu

Heat up a splash of oil in a wok or saucepan and fry onion, garlic, bunya nuts and peanuts together until the onion is cooked through and the nuts are starting to brown. 

Pulse in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients until a smooth paste forms. Tasting and adding more oil or lime as needed. 

Cut up tofu into thick strips. Toss the sauce through the tofu and leave for 20-30 minutes. Fry in a sauce pan or wok. Don't worry too much if the sauce doesn't really stick, just make sure the tofu is cooked and then make sure you scrape all the crispy bits of the sauce out on top when you serve it up. Top with corriander leaves. 

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

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.

‘Fuck Minimalism’ Salad

I’ve never really subscribed to the ‘a few good things done perfectly’ style of cooking. If a few things is good, well EVERYTHING IN THE FRIDGE must be great. This doesn’t always work – but for this salad it does. When I first made this about a month ago it was a panzella (Italian bread) salad that I added heaps of other stuff too. Then I dropped it all on the ground on the way to the party I’d made it for. That was a bummer, but now it has been REBORN with EVEN MORE INGRIDIENTS (but no bread). I really like silverbeet in salads cause it’s like kale’s cheaper, more laid-back brother. I love kale, but I respect silverbeet.

Serves 12 - 15

Ingridients

2 Zucchinis
1 Bunch Asparagus
1 punnet (500g) ‘Tomato medley’ (different coloured tomatoes, cheap in summer but all other times you can use 2 punnets of cherry tomatoes instead)
2 Cans butter beans
½ Red Onion, finely diced
Half a bunch of silverbeet, green bits only, roughly chopped.
3 cloves of garlic, crushed (or cut up as fine as you can)
1 Bunch of basil
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Handful of shaved parmesan

Cut up the basil as fine as you can, and mix it with enough olive oil to cover it (you want more ‘basil oil’ than ‘oily basil’). Add the garlic and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Slice the zucchini lenthways so you’ve got long thin slices (about 1cm thick). Slice the asparagus in half lengthways. Put a frypan or wok on the stove and let it get hot. Throw the zucchini and asparagus in (without oil) and dry fry them until a little bit charred and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Slice the tomatoes in half, and mix together with the red onion, butter beans, silverbeet, and some olive oil, salt and pepper. When the zucchini and asparagus are cool, add them to the tomatoes. 

Toast the pepitas in a hot pan, moving them around constantly so they toast all over, be careful because they burn very quickly.

Cover the salad with the basil oil and stir through. Top with parmesan and pepitas (still hot is good but not important) and serve.

Mini Chicken Bastillas

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet


This recipe is pretty much a tweaked version of the one off this GREAT Moroccan cooking website called ‘Cooking with Alia’.  If you wanna do it right, follow her recipe (and check out a few more, while your there). Mine’s just a bit simpler, for lazy motherfuckers.

Real bastillas often have cinnamon and/or sugar dusted over the top – I bloody love them, but I thought it might be a bit much for some of my guests (sweet/savoury is a thing but some people hate it. Personally I hate fruit in savoury salads. Unrelated but I’d really like it to stop). If your mates are on board the swavoury (sorry) train though, definitely give it a go. You don’t HAVE to put the butter in at the end, but as my chicken mixture had been sitting in the fridge since the day before I was worried they’d be dry. And it worked, they were pretty perfect. Plus, fat’s good for you now. Everyone says so.

Makes about 20 pastries

Ingridients

750g chicken breast
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tabelspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 tspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 Onion
4 Cloves of garlic
½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
5 eggs
100g butter
2 packets filo dough
250 grams almond meal

Put the chicken, tumeric, cumin, coriander parsley, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and a few splashes of olive oil in a pot with a lid. Make sure the chicken in covered in spices and oil, then cook for about 5 minutes, until chicken is starting to colour all over. Add 1 cup of water, cover with the lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until all the chicken is cooked through. Take the chicken pieces out of the sauce and break up into small pieces. Reheat the sauce (add a bit more water if it’s more solid than liquid) and add FOUR of the eggs, mixing until they’re cooked through. Mix this egg mixture with the chicken.

Fry the almond meal with some olive oil, cinnamon, cloves and sugar until it’s browned and tastes toasted.

Beat the remaining egg in a bowl. Cut up the butter into small (about 1cm square) cubes.

Get one square filo sheet on your bench. Put about 1 heaped tablespoon of chicken and egg mixture in the middle. Put one square of butter on top, and sprinkle with almond-meal mixture (about 1 teaspoon in each pastry). Fold up the sides, using the beaten egg to stick the pastry down. Put another piece of pastry on top of your parcel, then flip it over and fold up and stick down the sides again, so it’s wrapped in two layers. Brush the flat top of the pastry with egg, and sprinkle black sesame or poppy seeds on the top.

Cook at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the pastry is brown.

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Kimchi

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Why is kimchi so gd expensive outside of Asian grocery stores? I was pretty surprised how easy and cheap it was to make - you just have to resist eating it for a few days before it's done fermenting (your kitchen might start to smell a bit dank in this time - but in a pleasing ginger-y way rather than teen-bedroom-in-summer dankness)

Makes one pack 500ml jar's worth

INGREDIENTS

Half a wombok cabbage
1 chilli
1 carrot
(Julienned as fine as possible in matchstick size or smaller)
Finely cut up coriander stems (from about half a bunch or so. You could also use shallots or spring onions, which are more traditional, but I just had a bunch of coriander with all the leaves ripped off that I wanted to user) 
Thumb-sized knob of ginger, crushed
8 cloves of garlic, crushed

Cut the wombok in half, then cut it horizontally in 3-ish cm peices. Put a couple of teapoons of salt, the carrot, garlic and ginger in and then get your hands in and really beat the crap of it. Rub the cabbage and squeeze it out and mash it up with your hands. This might take 10-15 minutes but soon you'll start seeing a lot of water come out. Take a break and then go at it again. You want there to be enough liquid that when you push the cabbage down the water comes up over the top.

Then add the chilli and mix it around (I'm always worried about burning my hands with chilli, so I don't add it before I'm done bashing it. If you're tough maybe you could add it at the start). Put a plate on top of your mixing bowl that almost touches the edges of the bowl but not quite (so it's touching the kimchi) and weigh it down with some cans or something else heavy. Wrap the whole thing in some gladwrap, or cover it with a clean tea towel and leave in a shady corner of your kitchen. In winter you could leave it out for 3-4 days before you put it in the fridge, but in Brisbane summer 2 is probably enough. 

Dolmades

I thought hand making dolmades was going to be really difficult and I was stupid for trying cause the ones from the can are so good anyway. BUT these were actually easy as and soft, tangy and delicious - without that kind of weird chemically can-y taste we all know and love. These would be perfect for a bring-a-plate situation, or to just have in the fridge for snacking. 

Makes about 20 dolmades

INGREDIENTS

Olive Oil
250g short/medium grain rice
Half a cup of olives
One small onion,
finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
A quarter of a preserved lemon, finely chopped
1/2 cup continental parsley, finely chopped
About 20 - 30 vine leaves (some may rip. I got mine off a grape vine at my mums house, but if there aren't any around you you can buy them in packets at a lot of delis/speciality grocers)
Salt & Pepper

Put the rice on to boil, and in the meantime fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil. When they're getting soft and translucent, add the preserved lemon and the olives. When the rice is done, add it to the vegetables and fry until well combined. Add the parsley, and taste it - if it's bland it might need salt, pepper, or a bit more olive oil. It's probably good to leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours - or make it the night before - before you wrap the dolmades, because the rice will clump together better.

To prepare the dolmate leaves for wrapping, place 5-10 on top of each other and roll into a cylinder shape. Tie with a piece of string, then repeat with the rest of the leaves. Then dip them in boiling waters for a second or two, and pull them straight out. This will make them soft and easy to roll.

The actual rolling bit is hard to describe but really easy to do. You can kind of see how I've done it in the picture above, but if this was too confusing there's plenty of videos on Youtube. Lay  a leaf down veiny side up, then spoon about a tablespoon of rice in the middle. Roll the top of the leaf over the filling, then tuck in the side bits of the leaf (like a burrito) and roll the rest up.

To cook the dolmades, line a baking dish with spare leaves (lettuce also works) and lay the rolled dolmades on the top. Put some slices of lemon, butter, and cracked pepper over the top. Pour a splash of boiling water in the bottom of the dish (just so it's about 1-2cm deep) and bake at 180 degrees for ten minutes.

I prefer my dolmades warm, so served mine pretty much straight away.

Stuffed Mushrooms & Zucchinis

This will work with pretty much any vegetable – capsicums are the obvious ones but I hate capsicum and I love myself. I was also gonna do tomatoes but I forgot. Serve with the yoghurt sauce from this recipe to make sure the rice isn’t too dry.

Serves 15ish as a side

INGREDIENTS

4 Zucchinis
8 portabello or flat mushrooms
Big handful of mint, chopped
Big handful of parsley, chopped
400g rice
1.5 cups Kalamata olives
1 large onion
5 big cloves of garlic
1 tomato
2 preserved lemons
– from a jar (my mum reckons that if preserved lemons are too pricey you can get a similar flavour from roasting halved regular lemons for about half an hour. I’ve never done this before, so attempt at your own risk)
¼ cup pine nuts Pine nuts
½ Cup mixed seeds
(sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, etc – you can buy them mixed in packets and it’s much cheaper)

Cover the rice with water and put it on to cook (should take about 10-15 minutes), and cut up the onion and garlic. Fry that in a separate large pan or wok. Add the pine nuts to toast, and then the olives. Cut up the preserved lemons and tomato as small as you can, and add them to the pan.

Add the cooked rice with a big splash of olive oil and combine. Add the herbs, then take the mixture off the heat. It’ll keep for a couple of days if you want to make it in advance.

When you’re ready to serve, peel and take the stalks off the mushrooms. Cut the zucchinis in half and use a spoon to scrape out the inside seeds. Add some of the scraped out insides to your rice mixture so they’re not wasted if you want.

Cover the zucchinis in olive oil and cook in the oven at 180 degrees for 5-10 minutes until slightly soft. Top them and the mushrooms with the rice mixture and then cook for another 5-10 minutes until they’re cooked through. While they’re cooking, toast the seeds in a dry pan. When you’re ready to serve, top the stuffed mushrooms and zucchinis with toasted seeds and yoghurt sauce.