Mango and Lime Salsa

While I am 100% on board the ‘fresh is best’ wagon, sometimes ingredients may not be in season, or may be too expensive.

Such was the case when I had a craving for mango recently, and wanted to create a fruity salsa to serve alongside some spicy chicken and beans. With not a fresh mango in sight, however, I turned to tinned mango instead – which meant that we could have a summery dish even though the temperatures were still in single digits outside.

Combined with cucumber, spring onions, lime, red chilli and fresh mint – we soon had ourselves a lovely sweet and spicy salsa.  I think avocado would also be a nice addition…next time perhaps?

Although this was a relatively simple dish, it was definitely a hit, and will almost certainly be making further appearances when mangoes come back into season!

Print Recipe
Mango and Lime Salsa
Course Side dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Side dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
  1. Combine all ingredients and season to taste.
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Sweet Chilli Chicken Soba Salad

Lately, I’ve really mixing things up when it comes to the ‘carb’ part of our meals. Brown rice and quinoa are undoubtedly the regulars, or polenta if I’ve made a stew, but when it comes to salads I often go with noodles!

On this particular occasion it was soba noodles that added some carbohydrate to our dinner. And given they only require a couple minutes cooking time, it’s no surprise that I find them handy to have in the pantry.

The salad itself was pretty easy to prepare too. I used some leftover shredded chicken – warmed up with a splash of soy sauce and a good amount of sweet chilli sauce. The salad was then built with crunchy lettuce, shredded carrot and cabbage, cucumber, snowpeas, coriander and some extra red chilli for a little heat. Basically whatever I had leftover in the fridge!

From thought to plate in under 15 minutes = winning!

What about you? Are you a fan of noodles in salad?

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.

Wholemeal pasta with broccoli, chilli and kale pesto

Growing up – my exposure to pasta was primarily in the form of spaghetti bolognaise. It was the age of convenience, and with two parents working long hours, the sauce generally came from a jar. Or a can.

But over the years, my exposure to pasta has grown. I recall with fondness the sundried tomato and mushroom fusili that I would order with regularity from a favourite little Italian restaurant. And the spicy arrabiata penne that we would often make at home. Washed down with a glass or two of red wine, of course.

And while pasta doesn’t tend to feature on our weekly menu that often any more (not because we don’t enjoy it, but generally because it can be quite heavy if we are eating later at night) I do get a particular craving for it from time to time. And a recipe for a wholemeal pasta with broccoli, chilli and kale pesto in a recent taste magazine edition, well it sounded just lovely.

The pesto was made with steamed broccoli, kale, chilli, garlic, lemon rind and juice – along with a little olive oil. The end result was a little chunkier than your usual pesto – but I loved how many nutrients were packed within.

As for the pasta dish itself, I still used wholemeal spirals but made a few changes to the original recipe (which you can find here). I opted to roast my own tomatoes, drizzled in a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, rather than using a store-bought variety.  I also skipped the goats cheese, and sprinkled some feta over the top instead (it’s what I had on hand).

The result?

A bowl of pasta that was packed with flavour. I loved the sweetness of the tomatoes, against the spiciness of the pesto – and not to mention the kick of the lemon juice. A simple pasta, yes, but one that had me raiding the pan for seconds when I devoured the first bowl.


Chilli Beef and Eggplant Lettuce Cups


Eggplant is a vegetable that  I don’t eat nearly enough. I seem to overlook it when I’m at the greengrocer, which is unfortunate as I always enjoy it when it makes an appearance in a recipe that I’ve come across.

Once such recipe was for these chilli beef and eggplant lettuce cups that I discovered in a recent Healthy Food Guide edition (you can also find the recipe online here).


I loved how the eggplant effectively ‘bulked’ out the meat component of the dish, while adding lots of flavour and texture.


And while I normally tend to roast eggplant, this turned out to be a nice alternative cooking method. I was a tad sceptical at first that the eggplant would be cooked, but after 10 minutes or so in the pan it had softened beautifully.


The chilli beef and eggplant filling was served in crunchy lettuce cups – resulting in a nice new take on an old favourite – san choy bau (another favourite of mine!). The added bonus being that aside from chopping the vegetables (and their modest cooking time), the whole meal came together quickly and easily – which is always perfect for a mid-week meal.

What about you? Are you a fan of eggplant?

Chilli lime pulled pork quinoa bowl


Whenever I make a batch of pulled pork (and thanks to my slow cooker it happens quite often), I always make sure to portion some out to freeze. It was a tip I picked up from Jamie Oliver, I think, who confirmed that it could be frozen then defrosted down the track to make for a speedy dinner.

And recently, I did just that.

I found a portion of pulled pork in the freezer which I reheated slowly in a frypan, adding a good dash of chilli sauce and a squeeze of fresh lime at the last moment to really make the flavours sing!

Then, what to serve it with?


On this occasion I went with cooked quinoa, lettuce, cucumber, and a little tomato / onion / coriander salad. Not to mention the rest of a roasted corn and chorizo salad that we had leftover from the night before, along with a dollop of natural yoghurt and harissa hummus.


At the last minute I came across some tortillas in the freezer too, which came back to life in no time at all with a short burst in the microwave.


And so this chilli lime pulled pork quinoa bowl came to life. A combination of fresh, frozen and leftover ingredients – packed to the brim with flavour.

Another dinner bowl that I will no doubt attempt to recreate at some point in the future!

Chilli lemon chicken Banh Mi

I *could* bore you with stories about our lack of sleep this week, owing to a teething (?) bub and a generally overtired pre-schooler. But instead I want to take a delicious trip down memory lane, when this delightful little dinner made an appearance in our household. Chilli lemon chicken Banh Mi. Try saying that 5 times fast Winking smile  A quick and easy dinner, thrown together in under 10 minutes. I kid you not. IMG_4566 Roast-chicken, reheated with a little oil, lemon zest and a tablespoon of chilli sauce. IMG_4567 Piled into a baguette spread generously with mayonnaise (jazzed up with a teaspoon each of minced ginger and garlic and a little squeeze of lemon juice). Then topped with a carrot pickle (shredded carrot, 1/2 red onion, 1 tbs vinegar, 1tsp sugar and a pinch of salt). IMG_4568 Finished with a good amount of fresh coriander and some mixed lettuce leaves. IMG_4574 And dinner was served! I loved the lemony-take on an old classic, with the chilli chicken flavour shining through too. Definitely a great meal when short on time! What about you? What is your favourite sandwich filling?

Slow cooked chilli con carne

IMG_4390 I am 100% head over heels in love with our slow cooker. Yes, I know I’m sounding like a broken record when it comes to our newest kitchen addition, but it has seriously been a game-changer these last few busy months. Work has ramped up, our calendar is filling up, and the kids have been sick. Ugh – yes. The dreaded lurgy has hit the two youngest members of our family pretty hard, and although they remain in relatively good spirits (all things considered) there have been a lot of last minute plan changes. So needless to say that not having to worry about dinner on the “slow-cooker nights” has been rather splendid. Take this chilli, for instance. All the ingredients were thrown in around lunchtime, and the cooker set on low. I then had the afternoon free to do what had to be done, and it didn’t even matter that we had to take an unexpected trip to the doctor or that Miss C was dragging her heels when it came to bed time. IMG_4387 For once the kids were all tucked up in bed, we could sit down to a hot meal – that had patiently been waiting for us. All we had to do was add some chopped avocado, sour cream, corn chips and a sprinkling of spring onions. IMG_4389 And dinner was served. Stat. Let me know if you’d like the recipe. IMG_4391 I think I’m almost going to be a little sad to pack up this beauty when Summer arrives (although then, no doubt, I will be singing the praises of the BBQ!) What about you? What is your favourite ‘slow cooker’ meal?

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?

My week of meals inspired by Donna Hay

I don’t subscribe to many magazines, but there is one that I anxiously await every month. The Donna Hay Magazine. I rifle through the pages, lured by the gorgeous photos, and flag meals and other treats I want to try. Perhaps it was the touch of coolness in the Canberra air, and the realisation that daylight hours are getting shorter, but I found the latest Autumn edition particularly delightful. So much so that we indulged in meals from the magazine almost every night last week.  IMG_8510 So here is a little round up for you! First up – A chorizo and beef stew with polenta. IMG_8277 It called for two of my favourite comfort ingredients – polenta and chorizo – so making it for dinner was always going to be a no-brainer. IMG_8274IMG_8278 And the result did not disappoint. Easy – but with no compromise on the big hearty flavours that I love in a stew. IMG_8281 And, instead of using diced beef which would have ultimately required a long cooking time, this recipe called for beef mince making it a quick stew alternative! IMG_8284IMG_8287 Our second meal took us down the pasta road – chicken with risoni and salsa verde. IMG_8292 I mixed things up a little – using fresh cherry tomatoes in place of canned – but otherwise enjoyed using a pasta variety that I too often overlook! IMG_8291IMG_8297 I particularly loved the little salsa verde served on top – made simply with parsley, mint and white wine vinegar (oh and I also added some olive oil). IMG_8295 All together now! IMG_8300IMG_8304 Our third meal was probably my least favourite. Sticky redcurrant pork ribs with horseradish mash. Not because it was a bad dish – but because I am not the biggest fan of ribs. I just don’t find them all that appealing? IMG_8309 I had a bit of trouble finding redcurrant jelly at first – but my local grocer came to the rescue. I also failed to find grated horseradish – so had to use a blend instead. IMG_8310IMG_8312IMG_8315IMG_8323 I found the flavour of the ribs quite lovely – with the sweetness of the redcurrant jelly shining through. The ribs themselves were as expected. The horseradish mash was also too mild for my liking – but that probably had more to do with the fact I used a blend instead of purely grated horseradish. IMG_8324IMG_8325 Overall – a nice dish. But probably not one that I would make again. Our final Donna Hay meal was a chilli salmon with sweet potato crisps. IMG_8381 Aka a match made in flavour heaven! IMG_8382IMG_8384 IMG_8385 I wasn’t sure whether to leave the skin on, or take it off, so we did half each way. The marinade meant the skin didn’t crisp up at all – so next time I would definitely take the skin off. IMG_8387 I loved the little marinade, however, which was made using chilli jam, soy sauce, ginger and sesame seeds. A bit spicy, a bit salty. While the sweet potato crisps were also nice texture contrast. IMG_8391 So there you have it! The week’s meals inspired by Donna Hay. And with at least another 4 recipes I’m keen to try from the latest edition, I guess I should say “watch this space”. What about you? Do you have a favourite cooking / recipe magazine? (nb. This is not a sponsored post. I just love the mag!)