Tropical Rice Salad

As luck would have it, we have been blessed with some gorgeous Spring weather this week. I’m ignoring the fact that the forecast suggests the temperature is set to dip again this weekend though, instead focusing on the hope that the warmer weather will arrive for good soon.

And in celebration of Spring, let me share with you a tasty salad that featured at our recent Father’s Day linner. On that occasion we served the salad as a side dish, but I think it would easily make for a yummy lunch on its own too.

Packed with wombok, brown rice, tomatoes, pineapple and fresh herbs, and jazzed up with toasted coconut and sweet chilli cashews, this salad sure packed a punch.

I used this recipe as a base – swapping in brown rice instead of basmati – and it was super easy to throw together. I loved the crunch of the wombok and cashews, and the sweetness of the pineapple definitely gave the salad a tropical feel. Definitely a salad that will be making further appearances as we head into the warmer months!

Herbed chicken burgers

IMG_1355 As is usual with my cooking, I tend to lean on a certain book or source for a particular week. So, I was not surprised to remember these lovely chicken burgers that I found in this cook book, which also happened to be the inspiration for the pork tacos – in my last post. IMG_1350 And what a delightful little burger they turned out to be. Simply – chicken mince – flavoured with lots of herbs and spices, then bound together with an egg and some wholemeal breadcrumbs. IMG_1351 Shaped into patties, and allowed to rest in the fridge for an hour or so. IMG_1353 I prepared the burgers to this step one late afternoon. Then, when Mr BBB arrived home from work, all we had to do was throw them on the BBQ (with a few slices of pineapple for good measure), and “plate up” with a simple side salad and some burger buns. IMG_1354 The little miss was also a big fan – and although she probably is not the most ‘food focussed’ toddler – she will try pretty much everything. IMG_1356 Delish! What about you? Tried any interesting burger combinations lately?

Pineapple ginger cake & A WINNER ANNOUNCED

IMG_7165 Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to get some quality time in the kitchen. I say ‘lucky’ because I really do love spending time getting mu ‘bake on’ – particularly when it comes in the form of sweet treats. On this occasion, a lovely little pineapple and ginger upside down cake in a recent Donna Hay magazine had caught my eye, and it seemed liked it would fit just nicely with the Indian feast being prepared by my MIL. IMG_7160 I started by simmering pineapple slices with water, sugar and ginger, creating a luscious syrup and softening the pineapple at the same time. The slices were then layered in the bottom of the baking pan, with the remaining syrup (that had been reduced), drizzled over the top – then followed by the cake batter. The idea being that when you later turn out your cake, the ‘bottom’ becomes the ‘top’ – with those gorgeous pineapple slices on full display! IMG_7162 I suspect the seal on my tin was a little iffy, as a bit of the syrup escaped – perhaps preventing the pineapple from turning a nice golden brown. IMG_7163 But looks aside, this cake was rather delightful. Moist and full of flavour – although I would have probably added a little extra ginger to give it a real spice kick! IMG_7169 We served generous slices with a dollop of double cream – flavoured with a little chai powder. IMG_7213 And I am pleased to report that most plates were licked clean! (If you would like the recipe, feel free to drop me an email). GIVEAWAY Perhaps it is only appropriate, or at the very least a tad ironic, to announce the winner of my New Year, New You giveaway on the same day as I post about sugar-filled cake. NEW YEAR _ NEW YOU GIVEAWAY! (2) I loved reading all of your entries, and I found myself repeatedly nodding in agreement at many of the changes you feel inspired to make this year. But there can be only one winner and, as selected by the judge (Mr BBB), that winner is *drumroll*…. Eat to Live! Please drop me an email so I can arrange to get all the prizes sent your way! TITLE And thankyou again to everyone who entered!

Pork and pineapple stir-fry

I just realised I never finished off the recap of our meals from our meal plan last week.  IMG_5039 The final meal rounding out the week – whilst perhaps not the prettiest of dishes to photograph – ended up being pretty damn tasty – so it would be a shame to miss it. On the menu – a pork and pineapple stir-fry.  IMG_5053 Pork strips, pineapple pieces and spring onions, stir-fried with lime juice, fish sauce, garlic and soy. Jazzed up with some herbs from our garden (!!!!) – coriander and mint. IMG_5040 Served on a bed of brown rice – and yup – dinner was done. IMG_5047 I really do love the simplicity of stir-fries. Sure there is a bit of prep work to slice the ingredients – but when it comes to cooking – it is done in a matter of minutes. IMG_5043 I particularly loved the addition of pineapple to this dish – something I always forget to add – but love when its there. What about you? Do you have a favourite stir fry ingredient?

Pineapple cake with malibu cream

IMG_7979 Going through my photo archives, it seems as though I have been on a bit of a sweet treat / caking making kick lately. Although, with quite a few family birthdays falling in the first half of the year, perhaps that could be the reason why? The latest? IMG_7971 Pineapple cake with malibu cream. You can find a link to the recipe here. This ended up being quite a grand cake indeed. Two pineapple infused cakes, topped with a layer of sweet meringue. Baked until golden brown.. IMG_7969 Then filled with a malibu cream. IMG_7990 Sweet and moist from the pineapple… IMG_7982 And deliciously sinful with the addition of the malibu cream. IMG_7983 The recipe made quite a large cake too – enough to serve 10-12 people easily. IMG_8039 Or, as was our case, plenty of leftovers for the next few days! What about you? Do you have a favourite ‘fruit’ cake? I simply loved the pineapple coconut combination of this one!

Pineapple and carrot spelt cupcakes

IMG_5849 Wanting to contribute dessert to our recent Good Friday lunch, but also being mindful of the chocolate overload that inevitably occurs over the Easter weekend (well for me anyway), I went in search of a non-chocolate baked treat. And with a newborn taking up most of my spare time, the dessert also needed to be relatively quick and easy to prepare. Enter….cupcakes. Pineapple and carrot spelt cupcakes to be precise. Just mix… IMG_5835 Spoon… IMG_5836 And bake. IMG_5838 IMG_5839 But we all know that cupcakes are really about the icing. I had initially planned to top the cupcakes with a lemon cream cheese icing, however as I was making them quite a few hours in advance, I wasn’t convinced that the icing would hold its shape when travelling to our lunch destination. I knew that vanilla buttercream, on the other hand, was a good stable icing that would travel well. IMG_5841 So buttercream icing it was. Coloured with a splash of pink food dye, piped onto the cupcakes, then topped with a pre-made fondant flower for no other reason than they looked pretty. IMG_5845 And who doesn’t love pretty?? IMG_5846 I really quite enjoyed the addition of the crushed pineapple, which added both a hit of pineapple flavour but also kept the cakes moist. IMG_5850 And, although the cakes themselves were not overly sweet, the icing certainly was – and provided the requisite afternoon sugar rush. IMG_5848 Good Friday dessert….success! Pineapple and carrot spelt cupcakes (makes 12)

  • 3 eggs
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 350g grated carrot
  • 180g drained crushed pineapple
  • 150g butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbs vanilla essence
  • Few drops food colouring
  1. Preheat oven to 180C, and line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. Combine eggs and oil. Add flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, carrot and pineapple, and stir until just combined. Divide among cases.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely.
  4. To make the icing – beat the butter until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla, food colouring and the icing sugar (half a cup at a time) – and continue to beat until smooth. Pipe or spread onto the cupcakes.

A taste of the tropics

Training: Swim 1.2km I must say that I rather like short weeks – even if this one is set to be a busy one! I was up at 5.00am this morning and hit the pool for an early swim session. With daylight savings now upon us, it was actually dark when I left the house which was rather unusual. Not that I am complaining though…..dark morning = more light at night = no more evening runs in the dark yay! Although instead of darkness we were met with rain after work – so there was no chance for a run anyway?! Thursday perhaps? Dinner A while ago, the lovely people at King of Fruit contacted me to see if I was interested in creating a recipe using their delicious pineapples. Given that pineapples are one of my all time favourite fruits, I think you can guess what my answer was 😉 IMG_0832 Over the weekend a wonderful package arrived at my door step, filled with pineapples and other goodies. IMG_0822 How good do these little pineapples look! IMG_0823         Apparently they are without their “crown” as it is replanted to grow another pineapple plant back on the farm. Pretty cool indeed. I had two recipes in mind and, inspired by the extra daylight, I decided to make one this evening. A "new" take on a previous recipe if you will. I started by cutting the pineapples in half, and scooping out the soft and juicy flesh.  IMG_0872   IMG_0876  To form two little pineapple boats! IMG_0879 IMG_0880 Next I made a sweet and sour sauce using tamari, chilli sauce, ketchup, red wine vinegar, stevia and cornflour. IMG_0881 Then into a hot pan went capsicum, mushrooms, zucchini and of course, the pineapple! IMG_0884 Followed by green prawns and the sauce, IMG_0887 IMG_0888 And finally a few cups of cooked brown rice and a handful of fresh parsley. IMG_0891 Cooked, stirring until heated through, served in the pineapple bowl. IMG_0899 A taste of the tropics….Tropical prawn pineapple boats! Healthy yet full of flavours – sweet, sour and a little salty. IMG_0901  And the best part… IMG_0905 No dishes! Here’s hoping the judges enjoy this dish as much as our household did! Happy Baking 🙂

A taste of the tropics

I loved  reading all about your honey ideas!   It seems it is a popular ingredient to use in stir-fries, marinades and, of course, baking. Such a versatile ingredient indeed! Training Tonight I had my running buddy back, so Mr BBB and I headed out for a dark / cold run after work. Our "usual" 5km out and back track has a few hills in the middle section and is a decent little run. I must admit that having some company when puffing up the hills is actually quite nice. Or a distraction at the very least. Dinner I was super excited about tonight’s Mystery Box ingredient, and I had been thinking about it all day. IMG_9091 Pineapple IMG_9113 Oh hi there! IMG_9116    Did you know?  When European explorers discovered this tropical fruit, they called them "pineapples" because of their resemblance to the pine cone. Pineapples are low in fat and cholesterol and are rich in manganese, vitamin C and vitamin B1. They also contain bromelain, an enzyme found to help suppress coughs and loosen mucus, and aid digestion and inflammation. Pineapple would have to be one of my all time favourite fruits. Not only does it taste great on its own, but it is a wonderful pizza topper, a great addition to the bbq or delicious baked into muffins or cakes. Talk about versatile. When I picked up the pineapple from the greengrocer today, I knew that I could not just stop at one dish to showcase this delightful ingredient. The sheer volume of the pineapple itself meant that it would be best suited to two dishes also. And besides, who say’s you cant have pineapple for dinner and for dessert? IMG_9127             Let’s start with dinner shall we? Hawaiian Stir-fry ….. IMG_9131 Made with soy chicken… IMG_9128 And pineapple, capsicum, mushrooms and zucchini, and a ‘sweet and sour’ sauce . IMG_9130 Served on a bed of baby spinach… IMG_9137 and alongside a pile of brown rice. IMG_9138 The pineapple gave a real ‘tropical’ feel to this stir-fry. It also worked wonderfully with the spice and sourness of the sauce. IMG_9139 A light and healthy dinner. I was tempted to go back for seconds of the stir-fry, but resisted because I knew there was 1/2 a pineapple left over that also needed to be used. But not for long! Presenting  ….   IMG_9142      Pine-coco parfait. Chunks of pineapple, sprinkled with cinnamon and honey, and grilled until golden. IMG_9144 Layered with vanilla coconut maple yoghurt. IMG_9145 And topped with a sprinkle of flaked almonds. Oh my – so tasty and delicious – without the sugar and low in fat! I don’t think that I will EVER get sick of the ‘tried and true’ pineapple and coconut flavour combination. Expect to see a few more of these in the warmer months! Hawaiian Stir-Fry (GF) – serves 4

  • 2tbs tamari
  • 1 tsp chilli sauce
  • 2 tbs ketchup
  • 2 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp stevia
  • 1 t cornflour
  • Packet GF “soy” chicken
  • 1 red capsicum, sliced
  • 2 small zucchinis, sliced
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 small pineapple, sliced into chunks.
  1. Cook ‘chicken’ according to packet directions.
  2. Combine ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat a small amount of oil in a wok or fry pan and stir-fry veggies.
  4. Add ‘chicken’ and cook, stirring until heated.
  5. Add sauce and stir. Cook until heated and well combined.
  6. Serve with rice.

Pine-coco Parfait

  • 2 cups pineapple, cut into cubes
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • drizzle honey
  • 1 cup low fat natural yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1T maple syrup
  • Flaked almonds to serve
  1. Place pineapple on a lined baking tray. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and drizzle with honey.
  2. Grill for 5 to 10 minutes, or until golden.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the yoghurt, coconut, vanilla and maple syrup.
  4. Divide the pineapple between 4 glasses.
  5. Top with yoghurt and a sprinkle of flaked almonds.

What about you? How do you like to cook with pineapple? Happy (Tropical) Baking 🙂