Thursday 26 September 2013

Cannellini Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale

I absolutely love bean soups, any type I’m there. I got some more kale in the veg box, which I don’t mind so much as long as I have a solution of what to do with it! I had some frozen sausages and some dried cannellini beans and presto, bean soup. I love the smell of beans cooking on the stove all day on a cold day. It’s glorious, and with this recipe there’s plenty to go around and plenty for seconds. Serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!

250g dried cannellini beans (half pound)
4 lean sausages, thawed meat removed from casing
2 c chopped kale
4 large carrots
1 large onion
1 tbsp. bouillon powder
2 tbsp. tomato puree (or tomato paste)
2 liters of water and a big pot
Salt + pepper to taste

To cook:
Rinse the beans and put them in a big pot with the 2 liters of water and turn the heat on high.
Peel and chop the onions and toss them in along with the bouillon powder and tomato paste.
Remove the casings from the sausage and dollop the sausage meat all over the pot (not an exact science here!)
Bring up to a boil and then reduce to low, and simmer for about 2-3hrs or until beans are soft.
Salt to taste when they’re done, and voila!

Friday 20 September 2013

Bacon and Chocolate Chili with Sweetcorn

Chili is a standby dish in my house, in all kinds of ways. There’s always a base to chili, once you get that down you can really do anything…beans, no beans, meat, no meat, etc… I wanted mine to be simple, I had a little bacon leftover from another recipe and I decided to make chilli! And even better put some chocolate in it! Delicious, everyone should try this! I used a variety of chilli powders, but for the purposes of this recipe, you can use any chilli powder you want, hot or mild, whatever you prefer. This serves 4-6. Enjoy!

6 smoked streaky bacon rashers
2 corn on the cobs (kernels removed)
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 400g tin cannellini beans
1 400g tin red kidney beans
1 red pepper
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
¼ c. chilli powder
2 tbsp. cumin
3-4 squares of lindt 75-90% dark chocolate
Salt and pepper to taste

To start:
Chop the onion, pepper, and garlic.
Slice the bacon into pieces.
With a sharp knife and sturdy hand slice the corn kernels from the cob. You can use about 1 cup of frozen or tinned if you’d like.
Get a pot hot, when it’s hot add the bacon and get it sizzling. Brown it a little and render the fat. 2-3mins.
Next add in the red peppers, onions, corn, and garlic. About 3 minutes of cooking.

To Finish:
Add the tinned tomatoes and beans (all undrained), and bring up to a boil.
Add the chili powder and the cumin and simmer for about 30-40 minutes on a low heat.
After it’s boiled down, take it off the heat and add in the chocolate and stir.
Serve hot over rice, or with corn bread.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Pork and Prawn Fried Rice

I absolutely love fried rice. It’s so versatile, so easy and so fast. You can use anything you have leftover, or you can make up some elaborate dish with a few ingredients. I had some frozen pork in the freezer as well as some prawns and decided to bang it out. I hope you like this as much as I did! Ate it right up, this serves two but obviously it can be doubled or tripled to your liking. Enjoy!

150-200g pork shoulder (any cut will do)
175g cooked peeled prawns
1.5 c cooked cold rice
2 cloves garlic
1 red onion diced
1 egg beaten
4 spring onions
150g snow peas
2-4 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sweet Thai chili sauce
1.5 tbsp. oil

To start:
Boil the pork for about 10 minutes (can do longer for a more tender result). Set aside.
Make sure your rice is cold and cooked, leftover rice is ideal.
Slice the snow peas on the bias.
Slice the spring onions, and dice the onion.

To cook:
In a large pan, preferably a wok (I used a non-stick pan), heat 1 tbsp. of oil.
When hot add the pork, onions, and snow peas and sauté for a few minutes.
When the pork has a nice char on it, add the rice and stir around until the rice starts to stick to the pan.
Add the prawns at this point and stir in with some soy sauce. Stir around about 2 minutes.
Next shove it all to the size and make a hole, turn up the heat and add the remaining oil.
Drop the egg in the oil and stir quickly to scramble. When almost set begin to mix it throughout the entire dish.
Add the spring onions, chilli sauce, and more soy sauce depending on your taste. Serve immediately!

Monday 16 September 2013

Split Pea Soup with Smokey Bacon

When it’s cold and rainy outside, sometimes you just want to snuggle up with a big bowl of moreish soup, stew, or anything that makes you feel warm and cozy. For me, it’s always beany soups. My mom used to make split pea soup for me all the time growing up. It’s completely simple, and I was able to source ingredients that made it taste just like my moms, which uses a smoked ham hock. It’s difficult to find that here without going to a butcher and putting in a special request so I use smoked streaky bacon. This serves about 4-6 portions depending on how hungry you are! Serve with hot crusty fresh bread. Enjoy!

500g green split peas
6 rashers streaky bacon
3-4 carrots
3 garlic cloves
1 whole onion
1 tsp. pepper
Soured cream or yogurt to finish

To start:
Slice the bacon into little strips.
Get a large pot hot, and throw the bacon in there to cook off and get brown and render some fat.
Throw in the peas and 1.5lr of water, or covering it by 4 inches.
Peel and chop the carrot (leave in quite thick chunks).
Dice the onion and garlic and toss in.

To Cook:
Bring that up to a boil and simmer for about 2-3hrs stirring every 30 minutes.
You will know when it’s done as the peas will turn to mush and everything will be one thick stodgy stew.
Serve hot with crusty bread and a dollop of sour cream.

Friday 13 September 2013

Simple Kale and Chickpea Salad

I got a bunch of kale in my veg box yesterday. It wasn't planned, it was supposed to come last week, needless to say I had to think of something to do with it. When I've previously tried it I stewed it down and I felt it was a bit boring. Instead of doing that again I decided to see if salting it would soften it enough to just make it into a salad. About 30 minutes later after salting it (lightly), it turned into a lovely salad with some persuasion from some lemon juice. It was a good thing because I ran out of lettuce for a dinner salad and it made a great side dish, healthy and substantial! Serves 2. Enjoy!

2 c. shredded kale
½ lemon juice only
½ can drained chick peas (~200g)
1 tomato
½ small onion sliced thinly
½ tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. Freshly ground sea salt

To start:
Shred the kale, place in a bowl and salt. Mix up with your hands and leave for about 30 minutes to break down.
Next slice the onion thinly and chop the tomato.

To finish:
Add the juice of half a lemon, the tomato, chickpeas and onion.
Adjust seasoning as necessary then drizzle on the oil.
Serve now or it can wait out marinading and the flavours get better.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Pork and Prawn Summer Rolls

These are my absolute favourite part of a Vietnamese meal. I always order these before I order my pho or bun thit nuong. I haven’t tried my hand at the fried spring rolls but maybe another time. This is really a no brainer; it’s not difficult at all. I literally can throw these together in a few minutes. The only prep is the vegetables that you want to go inside. I generally get all of the fillings set up and sliced beforehand so that you have everything you need when you’re ready to roll up. They’re such a great snack and actually pretty good for you. This makes 8 rolls. Enjoy!

8 Sheets of rice paper
100g vermicelli rice noodles
100g cooked prawns
50g pork shoulder
4 spring onions sliced lengthwise
1 large carrot shredded
50g mint leaves
50g coriander leaves
100g shredded iceberg lettuce
Hoisin sauce and srirracha for dipping

To start:
Place all of your veg in little piles on a large plate or cutting board.
To cook the pork and prawns, bring a small pot of water to boil with a dash of salt.
Drop the pork in first and boil for about five minutes, then add the prawns boil until pink about 1 more minute.
Take out the pork and slice very thinly. Set aside.

To assemble:
In a large bowl pour 1 litre of half boiled water from the kettle in. (If you boil the kettle it will be too hot for you to get the rice paper out).
Get one rice paper and dip it into the water until it goes limp in the warm water, and then dunk the rest of the paper in, only for a few seconds or until it becomes very floppy and pliable.
Pull out and place on a plate try to get it as flat as possible.
Start to add some noodles, across the length of it on the edge closest to you, repeat with carrot, herbs, lettuce, shrimp and pork.
Next fold the sides of the rice paper over the mound and tuck and roll it, folding more rice paper inwards as necessary.
The paper sticks to itself so no need to worry about it coming undone.
Repeat for the rest of the rolls and serve with the hoisin sauce and srirracha for dips.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Smoked Turkey Carbonara with Mushrooms

I love carbonara, but I don’t particularly enjoy the saltiness of the dish. The salt usually comes from the bacon or so I’ve found…I wanted to try my hand at a turkey bacon one with a few simple ingredients. This is so easy to make, and it’s actually not too bad for you if you make it exactly this way. This serves 2, but can easily be doubled Enjoy!

250g spaghetti
3 turkey bacon rashers (I used aMattesons)
1 small red onion
3 cloves garlic
250g white mushrooms sliced
1 egg yolk
¼ c. freshly grated parmesan
1-2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil

To start:
Slice the bacon into very thin strips.
Slice the mushrooms, onion and garlic.
Get the pasta water up to a boil – put the pasta in when it’s boiling
Grate your cheese, and separate the egg yolk.

To cook:
In a skillet, heat the olive oil.
Add when the pan is hot and get a good crisp on them.
Add the onions and mushrooms and garlic and sauté until the mushrooms are soft.

To Finish:
Drain the pasta but very quickly, so that you keep a lot of the juice (Ideally dump the pasta in the colander and then quickly put the pan underneath to catch the draining liquid).
Add the drained pasta to the mushroom bacon mixture and stir thoroughly.
Add the egg yolk, pepper and grated cheese.
Add ¼ c. – ½ c. of the reserved pasta liquid to make it a creamy texture.
Serve immediately!

Monday 2 September 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Cinnamon and Walnuts

I’ve wanted to venture into changing a few of my all-time favourite recipes. I have had this idea for a different type of banana bread, and I thought to myself; what goes better with banana than its best friend peanut butter! I have never tasted it before so I decided to just do a bit of combination with the flavours and added cinnamon and also walnuts. It came out so amazingly well I wouldn’t go back to change a thing to redo it. So with that in mind! Here it is banana peanut butter bread with cinnamon and walnuts. Enjoy!

2-3 ripe bananas mashed
1 ½ c. flour
½ c. white sugar
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. egg whites
4 tsp. melted butter
¾ tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. chopped walnuts
½ c. creamy peanut butter

To start:
Mash the banana and mix with the sugars, egg whites, butter and peanut butter until thoroughly combined.
Next, sift in the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Finally add the walnuts (these are optional).

To Bake:
Bake in a preheated 190C oven or 350F for about 30-1hr. After 30 minutes check it every 15 minutes and check for doneness with a toothpick.