In addition to soups, we have been warming up with lots of curries and stews lately. And this one, although rather simple, was packed with flavour. Just as a good curry should be, really. Inspired by a large cauliflower that arrived in my weekly vegetable box, I set about making a vegetarian curry. Using curry paste, ginger and onions as the flavour base.. Simmered with water, fresh tomatoes and, of course, the cauliflower… Finished with a cup of frozen peas and a a tub of natural yoghurt. Piled high on a bed of brown rice, and served with fresh coriander. And my favourite curry addition… A couple hard boiled eggs! Simple, fragrant, tasty. And a lovely way to warm up on a cold Canberra night! What about you? Do you have a favourite curry?
As I mentioned here, I have been having a lot of fun with our weekly vegetable boxes from Aussie Farmers Direct. I am, however, falling behind in blogging about the dishes we have created, as this was one of the dishes I made from our first box. The inspiration? A beautiful head of cauliflower. Boiled, processed… Then jazzed up with a few extra ingredients. To create a simple yet tasty cauliflower pie. I served this as a dinner ‘side’ for a couple nights, but it also made a rather tasty ‘heat and eat’ lunch too. Perfect for when you have a grizzly bub in one hand, and a tummy that is crying out for food. Showcasing one of my favourite vegetables too! Cauliflower pie
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 3 potatoes, cooked and mashed
- 1/2 cup light sour cream
- 2 tsp Chinese five spice
- Salt & pepper
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease a pie dish.
- Boil cauliflower for 5 minutes, drain, then process until smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, potato, sour cream and Chinese five spice, and season to taste.
- Spread into the prepared dish. Sprinkle with parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
What about you? Are you a fan of cauliflower?
I think that it will come as no surprise when I tell you that I am a big fan of healthy, yet easy, meals. And, although my preference has been for “make ahead” meals recently, ie ones that I can put on the stove and ‘forget about"’ throughout the afternoon, stir-fries usually also feature heavily in the BBB household. So, for my third Gourmet-Garden inspired meal, I decided to return to an old favourite. On the menu… A Thai inspired tofu stir-fry. Flavoured with two more of the herb pastes sent to me by Gourmet Garden. Basil paste and Thai Seasoning. The first thing that I noticed when I opened the Thai Seasoning, in particular, was its wonderful aroma. You could definitely detect all the included herbs – lemongrass, ginger, coriander and chilli. Flavours I used to marinate a block of organic tofu (drained and cut into cubes). Then, after Charlotte went to bed for the evening, we set about bringing the rest of the dish together. Vegetables, sliced…. Rice vermicelli prepared… Thrown into a wok, with the marinated tofu and a couple eggs. Piled into bowls, pretty ones of course And our super speedy mid-week meal was done. While I normally tend to rely on fresh herbs when it comes to cooking, I cannot fault how tasty these herb pastes are (not to mention being convenient). The chilli had quite a kick to it too – which my spice-lovin’ husband was pleased to find out! While I used tofu, I have no doubt that you could use any protein of your choosing. Delish! What about you? Are you a fan of spicy food? I used to be, but while pregnant I found that I had no tolerance to spicy food at all. Slowly but surely I think it is starting to come back though! Bring on the vindaloo……
(Disclaimer – This post was typed with one hand, and a sleeping baby on my chest. So apologies in advance for any typos!) When looking for inspiration for a make ahead meal, I tend to gravitate towards slow cooked meat dishes. However, as I also like to have at least a couple of meatless dinners throughout the week, coming up with a make ahead vegetarian meal was my aim yesterday. Lentils and vegetables seemed the most logical choice. And when Charlotte went down for a nap in the afternoon – well I got to work. Veggies – diced. Sautéed with some spices, then simmered slowly with lentils and vegetable stock until the lentils were tender. Later that evening, I put the dish back on the stove and simmered it uncovered to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. Then threw in a good amount of spinach and allowed it to wilt. The result? A thick stew-like dinner, packed with goodness. Finished with one of my favourite stew toppers. Natural yoghurt! And a sprinkle of parsley – for some extra green. I loved how the sweet potato had broken down owing to the long cooking time. It gave the dish a nice hearty consistency. And between the curry powder and cayenne pepper, the dish also had a bit of a spicy kick to it. Mellowed, of course, by the yoghurt. I think this dish, or at least a version of it, will be making regular appearances in the BBB household. Curried lentils and sweet potato (serves 4-6)
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1tsp minced garlic
- 1- 2 tbs curry powder (to taste)
- 1 tsp garam masalsa
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- Few handfuls of spinach
- Natural yoghurt and fresh parsley to serve
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add vegetables, garlic and spices, and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, vegetable stock and water, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour. (At this point I took the dish off the stove, then reheated it just before serving a few hours later).
- Before serving, add spinach and simmer until the liquid has evaporated and you have the desired consistency.
- Divide among serving bowls, and top with a spoonful of yoghurt and a sprinkle of parsley.
What about you? Are you a fan of lentils? I most certainly am, and should cook with them more!
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. aka. Nacho Sunday! But not just any nachos… Herbed, bean and tomato nachos. (chopped tomatoes, coriander, parsley and kidney beans). So very simple to make. Just layer…. On layer… On layer… And into the oven… Eaten picnic style from the coffee table, of course, while watching the latest episode of Homeland. A perfect carbed up Sunday night really What about you? Do you have a favourite nachos topping?
Last night Mr BBB and I attended the final class in a set of three antenatal classes. While the previous class was about all things “natural“ when it comes to labour, last night the midwife talked us through the various synthetic pain relief options, as well as what to expect during the first few weeks after the birth. I must say, I am really pleased with the hospital we have chosen, as all the midwives and other staff we have come across so far have been lovely. And not pushy at all. My only criticism of the classes, as I mentioned here, is that they run from 6.00pm to 9.00pm. ie. dinner time. ie. starting too early to have eaten dinner before hand. And finishing too late to eat dinner afterwards. A first world problem, I agree, but a problem for my tummy nonetheless. So, for the last two classes I packed dinner to take along with us (salad sandwiches, and then these wraps). But with extra time on my hands this week owing to being on maternity leave, I decided to get a little more creative. I was after something fresh, healthy and portable. And rice paper rolls fit the bill just perfectly. I had originally planned on making a chicken variety, but with a block of tofu in the fridge needing to be used, I opted for a vegetarian version instead. Along with a stack of other goodies… capsicum, cucumber, mushrooms, lettuce, vermicelli rice noodles and mint. Do not forget the mint! All laid out and ready to roll. Although the ingredients can take a little time to prepare, and the rolls can be a bit fiddly at first, once you get on a roll (*groan), they actually come together quite quickly. Providing for a healthy, quick and portable meal! All packed up and ready to go! What about you? Are you a fan of rice paper rolls?
Aww thankyou for all your sweet comments about yesterday’s post. You really do know how to make a preggy gal feel good about herself (and her blindingly white baby bump!?). Want to know something else that was blindingly white? This simple side dish that I want to share with you. One that was rather random in its creation, but ended up being rather tasty. Just cauliflower and potato, steamed until tender. Mashed with a little butter, a dash of milk and a ‘throw in’ of grated cheese. Combined… and voila! Cauli potato mash – creamy and delicious. Served with scotch fillet and sliced zucchini (both seasoned with a sprinkle of bush spice blend and grilled on the BBQ). Finished with fresh parsley, and dinner was served. If you find mashed potato a little heavy going, particularly in the warmer weather, this might be the side dish for you. I found the cauliflower ‘lightened’ the mash a tad, while being a rather tasty accompaniment to the steak. Delish! What about you? Do you have a favourite vegetable mash combination?
Between the lamb cutlets and duck that have graced our dinner table lately, I was looking for a vegetarian dish for dinner this evening to balance out the week. And with this Christmas present again providing inspiration… It wasn’t long until I came across a dish that sounded oh so appealing. Roasted kipfler, pea and feta salad. First, the stars of the show… The kipfler potatoes! Washed and sliced…. Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Then roasted for 40 minutes until golden brown. Combined with blanched green peas, crumbled feta, fresh mint, and dressed simply with olive oil/white wine vinegar/dijon mustard… And we had ourselves quite the tasty warm potato salad. To add some protein to the meal, I sliced some firm tofu… And raided the pantry for a “tofu” flavour. When I came across this tomato jam, well I couldn’t resist. Spooned atop the tofu, and grilled until golden. All together now! This ended up being one of those random dishes that you enjoy so very much, and vow that you will make it again sometime soon. Even if the dish itself is far from ‘photogenic’ The clear taste winner for me were the waxy kipfler potatoes, which worked rather well with the fresh mint and blanched peas. Not to mention the creamy feta. ’twas most certainly a dish worth putting the oven on in Summer for! And a lovely vegetarian end to the working week. What about you? Do you have a favourite type of potatoes? I really do enjoy the waxy varieties, such as kipfler.
Can you believe there are only 4 weeks until Christmas. How very wonderful – and crazy – all at the same time. Here’s hoping that my work schedule and ‘life’ calms down a little between now and then, so that I can get some quality "Christmas baking" time in….. Tonight’s dinner continued my recent ‘quick and easy’ theme, and what is quicker and easier than stir-fry! An orange tofu stir-fry. I came across a similar recipe in one of my cook books, and with a few modifications, converted it to a BBB-style recipe. Starting with the tofu marinade… Orange zest, juice and tamari. Combined and poured over diced tofu, allowing it to marinade for a good 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, I prepared other vegetables… which tonight were capsicum, carrot and asparagus. Throw them all into a wok with some rice vermicelli noodle, as well as some orange segments and green onions at the last minute. Let the wok do its magic, and voila. Dinner is served. Truthfully, both Mr BBB and I were rather apprehensive when the fresh orange segments were added. But, you know what? They were my favourite bits! Juicy, and sweet, and the flavour worked quite nicely with the tamari tofu. For a rather random stir-fry – this one is certainly a keeper! What about you? What is the weirdest ingredient you have put in a stir-fry?
After a weekend of sunshine, snoozes, yoga and relaxation, I woke up feeling rather refreshed this morning. Certainly a far cry from the illness that knocked me around last week, that’s for sure. I also continued my attempts to get in as many vegetables as I could over the weekend, particularly as my appetite started to return with a vengeance. Starting with a tasty little quinoa and vegetable salad that made an appearance for lunch. So simple, yet oh so delicious. And a perfect "pantry" cleaner. I cooked a cup of quinoa in a mixture of water and vegetable stock, until the quinoa had softened and absorbed the water. Then it was simply a matter of combining the quinoa with a variety of vegetables I had on hand. Capsicum, cucumber, tomato and baby spinach. To finish, I made a simple tahini dressing to pour over the salad. And so lunch was served. Fresh, healthy, tasty…. Vegetarian and gluten free. And a tad addictive. Especially with the luscious creamy tahini dressing. Quinoa salad with tahini dressing (serves 2-4)
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 red capsicum, finely diced
- 1 green capsicum, finely diced
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 tomato, deseeded and diced
- Handful baby spinach
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbs tamari
- 2 tbs tahini
- 1tbs water (or more or less to get desired consistency)
- Cook quinoa in water and stock, according to packet directions. Set aside to cool slightly, then stir through the vegetables.
- To make the tahini dressing: Whisk all ingredients together, adding more or less water to get your desired consistency.
- Divide salad among serving dishes and top with tahini dressing to serve.
What about you? How do you like to use quinoa?