Eggplant Tapenade Tuna Nicoise Salad

Following on from my recent “Eat the Freezer” post, I should probably pull together an “Eat the Pantry” series. For similar to my freezer, my pantry is starting to fill up with lots of bits and pieces.  Half packets of pasta, noodles, vinegars and sauces….

You get the idea.

A little while ago I came across this lovely little eggplant tapenade hiding up the back that, from memory, arrived in a gift box of edible goodies for my birthday. And while I would normally save tapenade for pasta, I had a lighter meal in mind, and so this eggplant tapenade nicoise salad came to be.

I steamed baby chat potatoes then, while they were still warm, stirred through a few generous spoonfuls of the tapenade. The remainder of the salad was built using steamed asparagus and beans, chargrilled corn, mesculin, tinned tuna and, of course, a soft boiled egg.

Despite the abundance of other ingredients, the tapenade really shined! It added lots of flavour to the salad, with no additional dressing required. And while on this occasion I used eggplant tapenade,  I think an olive or pepper tapenade would also work really well.

Print Recipe
Eggplant Tapenade Tuna Nicoise Salad
Course Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
  1. Chargrill corn in a pan until golden brown. Remove kernels and set aside.
  2. Steam chat potatoes for 8 minutes, or until cooked. Place in a large bowl, and while warm, stir through the tapenade.
  3. Steam the asaparagus and beans for 3 to 4 minutes, then refresh by running under cold water.
  4. Add the corn, asparagus, beans, lettuce and tuna to the potatoes, stirring gently to combine.
  5. Place lettuce in serving bowls, and top with the tuna / potato salad mixture, along with two egg halves. Season and serve.
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Vegetable and Bean Chilli

I spoke a little while ago about make ahead meals. Ones that I can prepare in advance, then reheat when dinnertime arrives. Well the other advantage of these meals is that you often have leftovers too – which can be portioned and frozen for future meals.

And so with the husband making his way back from Sydney the other day – I dove into the freezer and pulled out two portions of this vegetable and bean chilli. Reheated on the stove top, and kept warm until he walked in the door. Served with quinoa, and finished with some fresh parsley.

 This vegetarian chilli is packed with beans, spices and vegetables. In fact, it is so filled with flavour that you don’t miss the meat component at all. And while on this occasion I served the chilli with quinoa, you could easily substitute the quinoa for rice or even tortillas. The addition of fresh avocado or some  natural yoghurt or sour cream would also work beautifully if you had any on hand.

Print Recipe
Vegetable and Bean Chilli
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add the spices, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring.
  4. Add the vegetables, and stir to coat with the spices.
  5. Add the tomatoes, beans and water, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Stir through the spinach, cacao powder and parsley, and heat for a few minutes, Season to taste.
  7. Divide and among serving bowls, and serve with quinoa or rice and extra parsley.
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Spiced pork, pineapple and bean salad bowl

I think I need to start a salad bowl series. For with the warmer weather lingering on, salad bowls continue to make a regular appearance at dinner time.

The basis is generally the same – a protein, some sort of carbohydrate or other filler and, of course, lots of salad.

On this occasion, a spice-rubbed pork was the star of the show. A protein that I turn to quite often not only because it is quick to cook but its also nice and lean.

Beans added some filler, grilled pineapple gave the whole bowl a certain ‘zing’ and the rest of the bowl was filled with lots of salad and other goodies.

Another tasty addition to what’s fast becoming my salad bowl addiction!

Spiced pork, pineapple and bean salad bowl (serves 2)

  • 250g pork fillet
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 6 pineapple slices
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 small can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1tsp lime juice

To serve: coriander, avocado (diced), mesculin and shredded coleslaw (I bought a plain pre-cut bag, and added my own dressing of a little natural yoghurt and dijon mustard).

  1. Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with paper.
  2. Combine oil and spices in a shallow bowl, then add pork – turning to coat. Allow to marinate for an hour or so if you have time.
  3. Place the pork fillet on teh tray and bake for 20 minutes or so or until cooked through. . Remove from oven. Transfer to a heatproof plate and cover with foil. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest.
  4. Meanwhile, sprinkle the pineapple slices with the brown sugar and grill until golden.
  5. To make the bean salad: combine the beans, tomato, onion, garlic and lime juice and coriander. Season to taste.
  6. Divide greens, coleslaw, bean salad, pineapple and avocado among serving bowls. Top with sliced pork and coriander.

Mexican-inspired soup

IMG_4564 I have this feeling that our household is feeling the strain of what has been a rather big year. Everyone is a tad under the weather  and Little J is, we think, cutting a new tooth (and waking up hourly overnight as a result).  The bags under our eyes grow, as does my reliance on caffeine, and we are definitely counting down the days until we can all take a nice holiday together! In the meantime, though, we are trying to keep healthy and happy. At least in the kitchen – where dinner time is a lovely constant amongst the chaos. Not that it needs to be fancy, though. For this meal was inspired by little more than a tin of condensed soup. IMG_4554 We’d had limited sleep the night before, and the littlest member of our family took only a short nap during the day. The change in season had also brought with it a barrage of sniffles and sneezes, and a general lack of energy.  But dinner time was fast approaching, so I decided to get creative with that humble tin of soup. And it didn’t take much to turn it from a “plain jane” tomato soup, into something more exciting! Onion, garlic and corn were added, as was a good amount of chilli. Blended until smooth, then finished with beans and more corn. And more chilli. IMG_4560 Topped with all the good stuff too – avocado, coriander, sour cream and spring onions.  Served alongside some cheese-topped corn chips that we’d oven baked for 10 minutes or so. IMG_4561 Who says canned soup has to be boring!! Mexican-inspired soup (serves 2 – 3)

  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 corn cobs, kernels removed
  • 2 red chillies, sliced
  • 1 300g tin of condensed tomato soup (+ 1 tin of water)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tin 4-bean mix, drained and rinsed
  • Toppings: avocado, sour cream, coriander, spring onions
  1. Sautee onion and garlic in a little olive oil in a medium saucepan until soft.
  2. Add half of the corn kernels, chillies, soup and water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes or so. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining corn, chilli powder and beans, and stir to combine. Heat through, and season to taste.
  4. Divide among serving bowls, and top with avocado, sour cream, coriander and spring onions (or a selection of these!)

What about you? Do you like to jazz up the humble tinned soup?

Sausage and bean casserole

While there is certainly a hint of warmth in the air suggesting Spring is upon us, or at least on its way, there have been some unseasonably cool days recently also. So many, in fact, that comfort meals are still appearing quite regularly on our dinner table. IMG_3656 One such meal was this incredibly easy sausage and bean casserole, using some tasty pork and fennel sausages we picked up from our favourite butcher. IMG_3657 Quite simply, sausages (browned and halved), added to sautéed onions, capsicum, garlic, tinned beans (rinsed), cherry tomatoes, passata and a sprinkle of brown sugar. IMG_3659 And, not forgetting the secret ingredient.. IMG_3658 A good splash of BBQ sauce! Covered and into a moderate oven for an hour, then finished with a handful of pitted kalamata olives. Sprinkled with fresh parsley, and served atop a bed of creamy polenta…. IMG_3664 And this was a winning belly warmer indeed! IMG_3663 Delish! And with the added bonus of there being plenty of leftovers for an easy dinner the next night too. Just reheat and eat! What about you? Are you a fan of meals that yield leftovers?

Warm bean and spinach salad

Over the weekend, I had planned for some girlfriends to come over for lunch. Sadly, illness struck one of my friends, so we decided to postpone the lunch to another day. A downside being that I then had 4 chicken marylands (that I had planned to cook for lunch) and nothing to serve them with (as one of my friends had been on ‘salad duty’). So, while the chicken was roasting in the oven that evening, I raided our fridge and pantry to see what I could come up with for a side dish. Starting with the fridge – carrots and zucchini… IMG_7397 Followed by the pantry – from which I grabbed cannellini beans, harissa paste and some tomato paste. IMG_7398 Finally – a bag of baby spinach and a little water.. IMG_7399 And then left to cook until the spinach had wilted and the dish had warmed through. IMG_7400 The result being a rather tasty warm salad – that was so very easy to make IMG_7401 Packed with veggies and the creamy beans… IMG_7403 And with just a kick of spice from the harissa paste.  IMG_7405 Served with the roasted chicken marylands… IMG_7411 and we had ourselves quite a tasty dinner. Gotta love the versatility of beans! What about you? Do you have a favourite bean / legume? Mine would have to be chickpeas, although I also love the creaminess of cannellini beans.

Sunshine, strolls and salad

Charlotte and I made the most of another wonderfully warm and sunny autumn day with our first trip into the City to visit my work colleagues. Actually, now I think about it, this was the first trip in the car and with the pram that has just been the two of us (the others having been with Mr BBB or my Mum). IMG_0257 Given the weather – I decided to park a little further away from the office, and get my exercise in for the day  – a 2km walk by the lake. And, given Charlotte slept the whole time, I am assuming that she too enjoyed being out and about in the sunshine. We returned home from our little adventure famished – and after Miss C was fed, cuddled and finally fell asleep again, I set about making a big lunch for myself. I boiled some potatoes and beans, then using a couple hard boiled eggs that we had in the fridge and a tin of tuna, my tuna salad came together in no time at all. IMG_5625 Drizzled with olive oil and a little lemon juice, this salad was just what I was craving. Fresh, healthy and protein packed. IMG_5626 The hardboiled eggs were definitely my favourite. Actually, I always seem to forget just how much I enjoy them – I really should keep them on hand more. IMG_5627 But now, time to do some chores before the baby wakes… What about you? What is your favourite salad ingredient?

Sundried tomato hummus

IMG_5065 Yep. Still here, still blogging, and still eating for two Winking smile  Baby BBB continues to thrive in utero, extremely well, and at our appointment today there was no indication that she is coming early. Rather, the race is now on as I found out my doctor is away as of next Tuesday, so fingers crossed she at least makes her appearance before then. I continue see a lot of walking and spicy food in my future. Last weekend we had what we thought might be our last dinner with friends as a couple (although it could very possibly be that we now have this weekend as well!) A simple BBQ was on the menu, and with the main course being taken care of by our friends, I decided to make a dip to share beforehand. A sundried tomato hummus. IMG_5059 And it really could not have been simpler. Just chickpeas, garlic, paprika, tahini, lemon juice, oil, water and of course, the sundried tomatoes. IMG_5060 Processed until smooth and creamy. IMG_5061 Sprinkled with a little paprika… IMG_5064 And an extra splash of olive oil… IMG_5067 Loaded with rice crackers… IMG_5073 And the sundried tomato dip was done. IMG_5074 Doesn’t get much quicker or simpler than that Smile  IMG_5084 But now, time for a walk and some curry Winking smile Sundried tomato hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 tbs tahini
  • 100g sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tbs olive oil + extra
  • 1-2 tbs water
  • 1 tsp paprika + extra
  1. Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add more oil / water if needed in order to reach desired consistency.
  2. Transfer to a serving bowl, and sprinkle with extra paprika and olive oil.

What about you? Are you a fan of flavoured hummus?

Nacho Sunday

Its been another productive day in the BBB household, with more things being crossed off my ‘waiting for baby’ to do list. By afternoon I was starting to feel a little stir crazy being cooped up inside, however, so I was very grateful when the rain stopped allowing me to get outside for a walk. Gotta stay active! And, while I have a very tasty dish marinating in the fridge for tonight’s dinner, I thought I would share last night’s carb fest with you. IMG_4938 aka. Nacho Sunday! But not just any nachos… IMG_4931 Herbed, bean and tomato nachos. IMG_4934 (chopped tomatoes, coriander, parsley and kidney beans). So very simple to make. Just layer…. IMG_4935 On layer… IMG_4936 On layer… IMG_4937 And into the oven… IMG_4939 Eaten picnic style from the coffee table, of course,  while watching the latest episode of Homeland. IMG_4940 A perfect carbed up Sunday night really Smile  What about you? Do you have a favourite nachos topping?

Wrap it – bean and salad style

Tonight Mr BBB and I are heading out with some friends for dinner. Actually, when I look at our calendar for February, I can’t help but notice that we seem to be filling it with quite a few dinners and catch-ups with various friends. Making the most of “couple time” before baby BBB arrives perhaps? So let me share with you what one of my favourite lunches has been recently (aka. my attempt to stop buying lunch at work so often). IMG_4481 Bean and salad GF wraps. Made all the more tasty by homemade bean spread. IMG_4470 Cannellini beans, parsley, tahini, lemon juice, almonds and salt. IMG_4471 Processed until smooth and voila. IMG_4472 A tasty healthy bean spread (or dip….) I have been using this spread as a base for my lunch wraps. IMG_4473 Coupled with avocado… IMG_4475 Salad… IMG_4476 More salad and cheese… IMG_4479 Wrapped and rolled… and ready to pack to take to work! IMG_4484 The bean spread – with the creamy tahini, fresh herbs and hint of citrus, adds quite a bit of flavour to these wraps. IMG_4480 Not to mention packing lunch itself helped out my wallet …. IMG_4482 Gotta love a colourful pretty lunch! What about you? Do you take your lunch to work? I find myself buying lunch most work days recently, although I always enjoy a homemade lunch when I remember to bring it.