Sensational Salads & Veges

Carrot Salad with Toasted Coconut and Cashew

carrot salad with toasted coconut and cashew

This carrot salad with toasted coconut and cashew was inspired by a recipe on the back of a carrot recipe! Needless to say the recipe got the “Lou Once-over” and this was the result. Yum, nailed it.  My  buddy Emma has road-tested it for me and declared it delicious.

I made this recipe in Wellington, on trip to Ohariu Valley to visit my hubby’s family. We had a good old-fashioned belated Christmas get-together and it was so much fun. This zingy carrot salad was served alongside Aunty Janet’s now famous roast turkey: Quite possibly the best turkey I’ve ever had (I want to say it was super moist, but so many people seem to have an allergic reaction to that ‘m’ word.. So I’ll put the word in brackets).  Back to the salad, this would be a sensational addition to any BBQ. You could serve it hot – we had ours cold and it was perfection.

As you know, I like recipes that can be easily modified with different ingredients. This recipe is no exception. I reckon replacing the carrot with orange kumara would be delicious. Emma and I both agree that chopped dates or cranberries would also be tip-top.  

Speaking of carrot salad recipes, have you tried this recipe for crunchy carrot, date and almond salad? This is another goodie!

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Kick-Ass Kumara, Kransky and Spinach Salad

Kick Ass Kumara, Kransky and Spinach SaladThe inspiration for this kick-ass kumara, kransky and spinach salad didn’t arise from the creative depths of my foodie brain, I’d better fess up to that, right now!   Nope, inspo for this dish comes from Salute Cafe and Deli in Taupo.  We did a roadie down to Taupo from Rotorua recently and called in at Salute for lunch.  I ordered hock and eggs, which is Salute’s version of Eggs Bene. It was it good, the coffee was hot and decent, but I had total food envy as both my Mum and Marissa, my brother’s girlfriend ordered this (rather boring sounding) ‘Kumara Salad’. When it arrived, I begged them for a taste. It was so good I took a photo, made a note of the flavours and promptly legged it to the supermarket to get the ingredients for dinner!  Mum keeps asking if I’ve blogged this recipe yet. Marissa’s already emailed me from Boston (she’s now back home) for the recipe. Last night I got a photo of the end result after she dished it up for dinner for her and my brother.  Best I get sharing. It’s clearly a goodie!   (more…)

Roast Carrot Salad with Spiced Yoghurt Dip and Dukkah

roast carrot salad spiced yoghurt dip dukkahSince a mate dropped off a whole heap of carrots, and I mean a whole heap (we took half to the neighbours) we’ve been going crazy on carrot related dishes.

So far, apart from my tried and tested cafe-style carrot cake, this Roast Carrot Salad with Spiced Yoghurt Dip and Dukkah, is in firmly our No1 Best Dish.   My fussy monkey of a son would debate that… He’s a fan of the humble carrot stick.  This is, more often than I care to admit, constitutes the vegetable component on his plate. Oh, sometimes we give him a chopped up apple (he doesn’t eat fruit…).  We’ve been making a little progress though: Recently he’s progressed to eating broccoli. Stop the bus.
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Autumn Salad with Spicy Chicken, Lentil and Pumpkin

Autumn Salad with Spicy Chicken, Lentil and Pumpkin
Since joining Weight Watchers three weeks ago I’ve fallen into the trap of eating more or less the same thing every night (roast chicken with a green salad) and I’m BORED.  This is really silly: There’s an abundance of recipes available through Weight Watchers, I’m usually really creative in the kitchen AND I’m working part-time now and I have ample time to cook dinner.  There’s no excuse for boring, uninspired and repetitive meals.

I made this Autumn Salad with Spicy Chicken Lentil and Pumpkin recipe this week after a being struck by a bit of inspo following browsing on the Weight Watchers member’s only section.  Also, I’d bought a GI-NORMOUS pumpkin from Countdown for $2 and this pumpkin required some serious tucking in. Anyhoo, the result was a warm, hearty, nutritious salad that was packed full of flavour, colour and was ‘viable’ in relation to Weight Watchers SmartPoints.  My hubby isn’t on Weight Watchers (skinny, active, healthy bugger) so I’m trying to up the anti on meals that don’t blow the points budget for me and meals that hubby enjoys. Hubby and I both loved this dish, we had it as a main course and, as there was only two people eating it, there was enough the next night for a repeat dinner performance (needless to say the kid didn’t eat this dish. He had ham steaks with potatoes, carrot and pineapple. Sigh).

You can funk the salad up even further by adding fried haloumi, diced feta, also some olives would also be a delicious addition!   Or even, for those not on the ‘trying to shrink bandwagon’,  chorizo would be a scrummy addition!  This recipe, if I do say so myself, is ‘friends-over-for-dinner-worthy’. On that note, I’m taking it sans chicken to my next pot luck dinner as a side salad. (more…)

Stacked Eggplant with Roast Tomato Feta and Pesto

stacked eggplant with roast tomato feta and pesto

We headed down to Ohariu Valley in Wellington over Easter to have a long (and very overdue) with our extended family. The good news for me is that the majority of the whanau are foodies, and they have a dream kitchen, with views of the countryside that are to bloody die for. One of the first questions I’m usually  hit with when I arrive is “what shall we cook?” Oh yes: That’s one of my favourite questions…!  For Easter Sunday dinner I made these stacked eggplant with roast tomato, feta and pesto. They were supposed to be the accompaniment to a huge leg of roast lamb, but the positive feedback received would suggest that this eggplant concoction was the hero of the meal and the lamb should step aside!

I’ve made these stacked towers of goodness in the past for as a main course (with a side salad), suffice to say they always go down a treat and it’s a good dish to have up your sleeve if you are feeding vegetarians.  This is the first time time I’ve coated the eggplant with panko breadcrumbs and fried ’em, but it was a total winner and I’ll be doing it again – when I’m off Weight Watchers though! A lighter version, and how I usually do them is to simply brush the eggplant with olive oil and grill them on the BBQ. They are delicious done this lighter way, but the fried panko version was next level because of the nutty crunchy dimension!  Besides, everything tastes good fried in olive oil, eh?  Sigh…. No wonder the clothes in my wardrobe are pulling me the birdie!

Note, it looks like a long winded (read, labour intensive recipe) but I did this in stages throughout the day. Made the pesto the day before. Roasted the tomatoes – set these aside. Went for a quad bike ride. Cooked the eggplant, prettied my face up before visitors arrived. Assembled the eggplant stacks when the lamb came out of the oven and was quietly resting on the bench.  Seemed like no trouble at all…

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Asparagus with dukkah and hollandaise sauce

asaparagus hollandaise and dukkah recipeI’ve been dithering about whether I should blog this recipe for asparagus with dukkah and Hollandaise sauce.  Why? Because it’s so easy: It’s one of those recipes that’s ‘not really a recipe’. But I decided to for two reasons:  Firstly, it was my favourite dish on our 2015 Christmas table (well, actually, we dish up on the kitchen bench, but let’s not split hairs) and, secondly: Recipes that are ‘too easy to be really be recipes” are my kind of, err, recipes.  This recipe is super low in prep faff factor, mainly as I always have a stash of dukkah in the pantry that’s ready to go at all times.  (more…)

Beetroot Quinoa with Haloumi (Cable Bay inspired)

Beetroot Quinoa with Haloumi… Hang on, let me sit the scene.

We had a girls’ weekend away in Auckland recently and we did a day trip to Waiheke Island.  Astonishingly, three out of the five of us either live, or have lived, in Auckland…Yet only one person had been there! Crazy!  

Waiheke Island totally exceeded my expectations – it’s utterly gorgeous, really quaint with an abundance of things to do.  If it wasn’t for the Kiwi accent, money number plates and Auckland glistening in the distance, I’d have sworn I was in a different country.

Our day consisted of shopping and eating (did you expect anything less?) and one of the highlights was our trip to Cable Bay vineyard. Here, upon arrival, after a long hot walk uphill to get there, we collapsed into chairs on the verandah and swiftly ordered a couple of bottles of vino and a bunch of food to share.  Oh my God – my tastebuds were in heaven.  All of it was top notch.  

There was one dish in particular that had all of us in heaven – beetroot quinoa with haloumi.  My friend Diane and I (possibly more of a foodie than me), launched into a “pick that flavour” frenzy, with the goal of me having a crack at re-creating it.   Clearly, as you are reading this blog post, I succeeded and I’m rapt with the result!  So here we go, Cable Bay inspired beetroot qunioa with halloumi.  This is on my Christmas Day menu for 2015 (I’ve got nothing else in mind so far apart from my Damn Yummy Christmas Ham!). (more…)

Zucchini Parmesan Fries with Basil Pesto Mayo

Can I admit that these zucchini fries were mildly inspired by Carl’s Jnr’s Zucchini Fries? Should I fess up about that here? On the odd occasion we go to Carl’s, this is always what I get. But they are bad – and the mayo is highly processed (bit yuck) so I thought I’d have a crack at making these for myself, with the king of cheese:  Parmesan. Why add cheese? Well, that’s simple, cheese, in case I haven’t mentioned it is my favourite food – I can’t get enough of it.  Anyhow, back to the fries – so easy, delicious and we scoffed our way through these in front of the rugby, I was disappointed I hadn’t made a bigger batch. Then again, maybe it was just as well I hadn’t…   The addition of a basil pesto dip to accompany the fries is simply stellar.  

Note, if you don’t want to fry these, you can bake ’em. I’ve noted how to do that below the recipe. Enjoy!

zucchini parmesan fries with basil pesto mayo

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