Foodie

Speedy Spaghetti and Meatballs

spaghetti and meatballs recipeI put a call out on my Facebook page a while back to see what recipes you lovely blog readers would like to see: Speedy savoury dinners seemed to be a bit of a popular theme! Well, you said, I’m delivering.

This speedy meatball recipe totally fries my burger as I can get this dinner on the table within 25 minutes, while multi-tasking with those those tedious domestic activities like supervising homework and getting lunches ready for the following day.    This recipe is also really versatile: Haven’t got pesto? Add a sauce (sweet chilli sauce, tomato paste, BBQ sauce, hell, tomato sauce if you like). Don’t like/haven’t got cheese? Leave it out.  If you want to speed things up, use a pre-made pasta sauce (I make pasta sauce in bulk from scratch and keep it in the cupboard in sterilised jars…  Since Operation Sugar Reduction I find pre-made pasta sauces like Dolmio far too sweet).

Lastly, here’s a tip: Make double the meatball recipe (get the kids to help you with the rolling) and keep them to cook the next night. Stuff them into wholemeal pita breads, or roll them up in tortillas. Add salad and your favourite sauces/dressing (mayonnaise, pesto, hummus, sweet chilli sauce, you get the idea). This is another speedy, popular, tasty and healthy mid week dinner.

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Carrot, Date & Nutty Muffins (sugar free)

Carrot Date and Nutty MuffinsOne of the main reasons I’ve really enjoyed #sugarfreeseptember as it’s forced me to try out new recipes. I know you probably think I try out lots of new things, but, to be honest, I often churn out the same thing: Tried and true family favourites. It’s been good to get out of my comfort zone this month.

Anyway, I’ve struggled a little with ideas for baking to satisfy my Husband’s super-dooper sweet tooth. I struck gold when I chanced upon a recipe in Taste magazine which was a recipe from Auckland’s Wilder & Hunt cafe for their bestselling Morning Glory Carrot mini cakes. Being sugar free these looked right up our alley. I modified the recipe a little to suit our taste buds, as well as to comply with what was in the pantry! The result were these glorious Carrot, Date and Nutty Muffins that’ll absolutely make again!  (more…)

Foolproof DIY Mayonnaise

SAMSUNG CSCI stopped buying mayonnaise a couple of years ago once I discovered Annabel Langbein’s Speedy Mayo recipe – which is essentially: Biff all ingredients together and blitz it with a handheld stick blender in a timeframe that’s (nearly) quicker than you can say “Bob’s your uncle”.  I couldn’t even get to my local dairy and back in an emergency to buy mayo as fast as I can make this. Did I mention that it tastes utterly delicious? As I type this I have a huge craving for a plate of crayfish, a side of this mayonnaise and a wedge of lemon. Bring on summer.  My mouth is watering. But, I digress. My recipe below is similar to Annabel’s, but with my own spin on it (I much prefer my recipe, but don’t tell her that, thanks).

On another note, having got used to this homemade goodness store-bought mayonnaise tastes awful: Sweet, artificial – not my think (except Best Foods Mayo – that’s the schizzle).

All you need (ingredients aside, doh) is a handheld blender (called an immersion blender in some countries).

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Red Lentil and Chorizo Gumbo

Red Lentil and Chorizo GumboThis Red Lentil and Chorizo Gumbo (because ‘gumbo’ is a much sexier word than stew) is the perfect mid week meal requiring approximately seven minutes preparation – and a slow cooker. If you don’t have a slow cooker in your life, cooking this in a heavy based pot on your stove top would work just fine, I reckon it would need about an hour to cook the lentils to perfection.   (more…)

Moussaka

moussaka recipeA classic Greek Moussaka is made by layering eggplant with a spiced meat filling and topping it off with a creamy bechamel sauce (I’ve called it a cheese sauce here, I’m not that flash), which is then baked until golden. YUM. I first had this dish in Italy and I’ll never forget that first mouthful: Heaven on a plate! (The memory is possibly firmly entrenched by the romance of the quintessential Italian restaurant complete with red and white tablecloths and the hot Dutch guy I was hanging out with at the time…)

So, here’s my version of Moussaka, which probably isn’t terribly authentic, but it is the kind of dish where everyone asks if there’s any leftover for seconds!

Note: The price of lamb mince would have required a home remortgage, so I used beef mince instead. Tasted great.   Secondly, as I’m doing #sugarfreeseptember I made a few tweaks as I’m taking it seriously and having zero gluten. Accordingly I substituted the cheese sauce with cauliflower puree and it was DELICIOUS.  I actually preferred it to how I usually make it (i.e. with a traditional cheese sauce made with flour). Our friends at the dinner party scoffed it blatantly oblivious that it contained a ‘cauliflower puree sauce’.  If you are looking for a gluten free option (or want to up your vegetable intake) I’d definitely recommend using cauliflower puree instead of cheese sauce. The recipe is here. Just make sure you drain out about 1 cup of milk before you puree the mix, otherwise the puree will be too runny. Add extra Parmesan if you like it cheesy…

Note – in the photo I had doubled the recipe as I was feeding a large group!

 

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Cauliflower Pizza base

Cauliflower pizza recipeI love cauliflower. I reckon it’s the king of vegetables. Ever since I discovered cauliflower rice and cauliflower puree I’ve got my creative on. Some bright spark suggested on my blog’s Facebook page that I have a crack at making Cauliflower pizza base. Alright, game on! If you haven’t heard of this slightly odd sounding combo, you use grated cauliflower to make the pizza base, as opposed to using flour which is typically used. Add your favourite toppings and you are good-to-go.

My verdict? Big ups to the original person who came up with this idea – I love it! Not only is cauliflower pizza base super tasty and fun and easy to make: It’s a definite game ;changer for people who are gluten intolerant, or cutting down on carbs. It’s also great for those wanting to lose weight, or simply if you want to up your vege intake!;Those who don’t eat dairy can simply omit the cheese… It’s fair to say the recipe is quite adaptable.

I spent a long time scouring the internet for suitable recipes. There’s a tonne out there. In the end I used this recipe by Tasty Kitchen as the base for my inspiration. I think the secret is to add herbs, Parmesan cheese, sesame seeds and a good amount of seasoning to the base for flavour. Lots of recipes just call for cauliflower and beaten egg, but that didn’t sound particularly appetising to me! (more…)

Dairy Free Chocolate Brownie Recipe

SAMSUNG CSCMy son had his birthday party this weekend and unbeknownst to me one of his little friends has a dairy allergy. Being someone who thrives on feeding people, I just couldn’t bear the thought of her not being able to join in and eat birthday cake or dessert so I whipped up this brownie for her. When I say “whipped up” I mean it: This took four minutes. I had the brownie ready to go in the oven long before the oven had reached the desired temperature! (more…)