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.

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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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Tuna and Edamame Cakes

Well we’ve officially packed up our shorts and t-shirts, and returned scarves, beanies and gloves to pride of place at the front door.

Yes, my friends, Summer has departed and we have jumped head first into frosty mornings and icy windshields. And while cooler months = lots of slow cooked meals making their way to our dinner table, I’ve  got a backlog of recipes and photos from the warmer part of the year that I figure I should cover first.

Such as these salmon and edamame cakes – that I came across in a Taste magazine edition quite some time ago, but quickly added to our weekly meal plan (albeit substituting tuna for salmon).

Because, well, edamame!!  Basically one of my all-time favourite snacks. The girls had a great time podding the beans from their shells on this occasion, although we did lose some to snacks along the way (oh and some stray beans to the floor, too).

The beans that did survive were quickly turned into tasty little “cakes” – with the addition of tinned tuna, panko breadcrumbs,  soy sauce, mayonnaise, green shallots, garlic and ginger. Processed until just combined – shaped into cakes, then coated in some more panko breadcrumbs.

I opted to oven-bake the cakes rather than pan-fry. Partly because I wanted to be able to put them in the oven and go on with some other tasks during the evening without having to stand over the stove, and partly because I didn’t feel like washing up a crumb-crusted frypan afterwards. And while the cakes may not have had the complete crunch that you get from a pan-fried version, a little spray of olive oil before cooking meant they still turned a nice golden colour.

Served with brown rice, greens and some sliced cucumber and extra edamame (picked in a little rice wine vinegar), with extras leftover for the kids’ lunches the following day.  A lovely little mid-week meal indeed.

Tuna and Edamame Cakes (makes 8 cakes) – adapted from here

  • 450g frozen edamame, steamed then podded
  • 420g tinned tuna in springwater
  • 1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbs mayonnaise (kewpie preferably)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 egg, whisked lightly
  • Steamed rice, salad, extra mayonnaise and wasabi to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Process 3/4 of the shelled edamame, along with tuna, 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, green onions, ginger, garlic and soy sauce – until just combined. Shape into 8 cakes.
  3. Dip each cake into the whisked egg, then coat in the remaining breadcrumbs. Place on the lined tray.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Spray the cakes lightly with olive oil, and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown (turning once halfway through).
  5. Serve cakes with steamed rice and salad, and a dollop of mayonnaise and wasabi.

Tuna and vegetable stuffed sweet potatoes

Growing up we never ate sweet potatoes. I don’t even remember if they were all that available…?  Rather, our plates usually had some sort of white potato on it – generally mashed with lashings of butter and milk, or on the odd occasion they would be oven roasted.

These days, however, I don’t tend to reach for white potatoes in our grocery shop.  Not unless I’m making a potato salad or perhaps to go along with a roast dinner. Instead, I grab sweet potatoes – orange, white or purple – whatever the local green grocer has. The kids love them when they are sliced into wedges and oven baked, or steamed and mashed, and served alongside whatever else they are having for that particular meal.

On this occasion, we went with “stuffed” sweet potatoes. Aka. little roasted sweet potato “boats” that we filled with tuna, vegetables and cheese, and grilled til they were nice and golden.

I added a good drizzle of chilli sauce for the adult’s version (#cravings), while the kid’s ate their version plain. Served with a pile of greens on the side, and this turned out to be one tasty meal indeed!

Tuna and vegetable stuffed sweet potatoes  (serves 4)

  • 4 small sweet potatoes, halved
  • 300g mixed vegetables, steamed (I used carrots, broccoli and corn)
  • 185g tin of tuna in spring water, drained
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • Fresh parsley, chilli sauce  and leafy greens to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool slightly, then scoop out the potato flesh and place in a large bowl. Mash until smooth.
  3. Place the remaining potato skin ‘boats’ onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  4. Add the steamed vegetables, drained tuna and sour cream to the sweet potato flesh, and stir until well combined. Season to taste.
  5. Spoon the tuna / potato mixture back into the sweet potato skins and top with grated cheese.  Bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve with fresh parsley and chilli sauce, and alongside the leafy greens.

Chilli tuna pasta

IMG_2502 As I hit the second half of the third trimester, I find myself wavering between days of insatiable hunger, and days of having no appetite at all. I seem to recall feeling a similar way towards the end of my pregnancy with Charlotte… Needless to say, a lack of appetite = a lack of motivation in the kitchen. And the humid days we’ve had of late have not really lent themselves to slow roasts or even turning the oven on! Instead – I’ve been looking for quick meals. Ones that I can throw together simply – before I give into lazy temptation and just have toast or cereal for dinner (yes the carb cravings continue). One such meal was this tuna chilli pasta – which I found in a recent Donna Hay magazine. IMG_2494 Simply – beautiful tomatoes, warmed with chilli tuna, parsley, red wine vinegar and lemon juice / zest. IMG_2496 Tossed through cooked spaghetti…..and we were done. IMG_2497 Yes pasta seems like an unusual choice when it was about 32 degrees outside, but this dish was actually really lovely. It was light, and fresh, and the chilli-infused gave the pasta just the right amount of spicy-kick. IMG_2498 Definitely one to add to our repertoire! IMG_2499 What about you? Do you have a favourite pasta dish in the warmer months?

Tuna, eggplant and feta salad

IMG_7087 After a rather indulgent weekend, with cupcakes and champers galore, I returned home craving salad. But having a relatively bare fridge after the few days away–  well, this meant getting creative in order to get dinner on the plate. Saved….in this case… a tin of tuna (in springwater), that I mixed with carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum and a good sprinkle of dried oregano. IMG_7086 Piled atop a bed of lettuce, finished with some grilled eggplant and crumbled feta…. IMG_7088 And you may never have guessed this was a throw-together meal!? IMG_7089 My favourite part?? The grilled eggplant slices (sliced, salted, rinsed then grilled for a good 10 minutes until soft and a little charred). They worked just beautifully with the creamy feta – which simultaneously reminded me that when it comes to feta – Greek is best! IMG_7090 Delish! What about you? Are you a fan of feta?

Pumpkin and tuna tart

IMG_1920 This dish is a fine example of what can happen when you have a bunch of random ingredients and a bit of spare time on your hands. For with a pumpkin nearing its use by date, and some tuna and eggs begging to be used, I found myself rolling out a batch of shortcrust pastry to make a rather random tart. IMG_1912 I roasted the peeled diced pumpkin, until soft and just starting to take on some colour. Then layered it in the pastry, along with 3 beaten eggs, 1 small tin of tuna, 100g of light sour cream, some sliced red onion and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. IMG_1913 Then into the oven at 180C for 30 minutes, until the eggs had cooked and the tart was golden brown. IMG_1917 The result being a lovely little tart that was just perfect for a light lunch when served with a side salad. IMG_1921 And a random, albeit yummy, take on the ol’ quiche! What about you? Cooked any savoury tarts lately?

Tuna Rice Pie

This tasty dish made an appearance at a recent girls lunch I hosted. I wanted something relatively light, that I could make in advance, and well it fit the bill just perfectly. Cooked rice, tuna, sundried tomatoes, onion, baby bocconcini, parmesan, parsley, eggs and spinach. IMG_1836_thumb1 Stirred until combined… IMG_1837_thumb1 Then pressed into a greased springform cake tin. IMG_1838_thumb1IMG_1839_thumb1 Baked for ***, until golden brown. IMG_1850_thumb1 I served the pie on my cake stand, for it really was just like a little savoury cake. IMG_1855_thumb2 And despite being so simple to put together, the flavours were delightful, and worked perfectly for a light ladies lunch. IMG_1858_thumb1IMG_1862_thumb1 We served the pie in slices, along with a fresh garden salad. The added bonus being that it was a large pie – so there were lots of leftovers for the next couple of days. IMG_1893_thumb2 Delicious hot or cold, and you can make it with any ingredients you have on hand really. IMG_1892_thumb1 Tuna Rice Pie (adapted from here)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5 cups aborio rice
  • 670ml chicken stock
  • 425g can tuna in water, drained, flaked
  • 200g sun-dried tomatoes, drained, finely chopped
  • 200g baby bocconcini cheese, drained, roughly chopped
  • 50g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 100g baby spinach leaves, shredded
  • handful chopped parsley
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
    1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 7 to 8 minutes or until onion is soft. Increase heat to high and add rice. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in stock. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
    2. Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease and line base of a round springform pan. Add tuna, tomato, bocconcini, parmesan, spinach, parsley and egg to cooled rice mixture. Mix until well combined.
    3. Press rice mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until set and crisp around the edges. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen pie.
    4. Cut into wedges to serve.

    What about you? Do you have a favourite ‘light’ lunch dish?

  • 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?

    Brown rice sushi attempt

    IMG_2685 This was actually a dinner that we put together last week when we had a bunch of fresh produce that needed to be used. I have been craving sushi rolls a fair bit during my pregnancy, and although I am not able to indulge in the raw fish variety, tinned tuna and tofu were the star features of our recent version. Along with asparagus (steamed), capsicum, carrot, avocado and cucumber. IMG_2681 Normally I make sushi using white sushi rice, but I decided to go with brown rice this time instead. IMG_2680 Sadly, it just didn’t quite have the right texture and the sushi rolls didn’t hold together as well as they normally do. IMG_2688 IMG_2695 The flavours, however, were spot on. IMG_2694 And, when combined with the leftover vegies and tofu…. IMG_2701   resulted in a quick and healthy dinner. I just need to figure out a better way of making brown rice sushi! What about you? Any tips for making good sushi rolls with brown rice?

    Last day of “freedom”

    Training: Body Pump Today is my last day of “freedom” before I head back to work tomorrow. I must say, although it has  been less than 2 weeks, I feel refreshed and ready to start the new work year. Having some time “off” was exactly what I needed, particularly as my holidays were filled with family, friends, fun and food! What more could a gal want ?? Rather than sleep in, I decided to hit the gym bright and early for a Body Pump class. While the past few months have certainly been filled with cardio, one thing that has been missing from my workouts is weights. So what better way to get back into resistance training than with a one hour body pump class. I kept my weights fairly light, but it was still one killer of a class! Particularly the lunge track. Ahhh lunges….do they ever get easier?! I think not. Full of endorphins, I spent the remainder of the day updating our 2011 calendar, IMG_4055 and my diary, IMG_4053 shopping for new makeup (*love*), IMG_4046 and purchasing ….. IMG_4051 a new phone! Yes, at long last, BBB is starting to join the modern era!  I returned home with not only some wonderful Natio mineral makeup, but also a brand new I-Phone! And, to celebrate, I decided to sign up (finally) for a twitter account! Yes, that’s right….if you want to keep up to date with everything BBB, feel free to click the link on the side of the page —–> Oh and let me know if you have a twitter account so I can become a follower too! I really do see how this technology stuff can become quite addictive 😉 Dinner Training, makeup and technology aside, tonight’s dinner was also quite the star. I wanted something that was protein rich, healthy and easy to throw together. And I believe this Nicoise salad was the perfect solution. IMG_4072 Mixed salad leaves, cucumber, beans, tomatoes and olives. IMG_4056 Combined with tuna and hard boiled eggs. IMG_4061 With a drizzle of vinaigrette… IMG_4057 (lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and dijon mustard). And dinner is served! IMG_4069   And who said salads have to be boring? IMG_4067 This dish was packed to the brim with flavour!!! IMG_4066 The perfect last meal on my last day of freedom! IMG_4070 What about you? Are you on twitter? Any tips for a new player?? Happy Baking 🙂