Vegan Pumpkin, Carrot, Coconut and Za’atar Soup

Another soup to warm the hands, heart and soul when our weather finally cools down! Pumpkin soup is one of my absolute favourites, and after a recent admission to hospital, this was all I felt like eating to restore my body back to normal working order!

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 500g Kent pumpkin
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 litre stock (vegetarian if you’re vegan, chicken if you’re not)
  • 400mL can light coconut cream
  • 4 tablespoons Za’atar (a sesame based Arabic spice mix, try your local deli or if you live in Sydney or Melbourne, you can’t beat the version made by Gewurthaus)
  • Dollop of yogurt to serve (plain coconut if you’re vegan, plain Greek if you’re not)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Peel and roughly chop the pumpkin into small cubes. Leave the carrots with the peel on but chop into similar sized pieces. Place onto a lined baking tray or two, spray with olive oil, and roast until golden brown and soft (approximately 30-40 minutes).
  2. Place the stock, coconut cream, pumpkin, carrot and 3 tablespoons of za’atar in the blender and blend until smooth. Top with the extra za’atar and your choice of yogurt to serve
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5 Ingredient Pesto Fruffins

These mini pesto fruffins are a cross between a frittata and a muffin, and make for a quick and easy lunch box snack (or in my case, hidden in my scrub pockets at work…)

Ingredients (makes 12 big or 24 mini)

  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 1/2 cup self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 heaped tablespoons pesto
  • 100g block of your choice of cheese (feta, Edam, cheddar or Gouda work well here!)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200*C. Line a muffin tin with cases or grease with oil.
  2. Mix the eggs, pesto, flour and yogurt until well combined. Pour mixture into muffin tins.
  3. Dice the cheese into 12 or 24 pieces depending on your muffin tray size, and press one piece into each blob of muffin mixture.
  4. Bake until risen and golden on top (15-20 minutes). Eat warm!

Clementine, Cointreau and Dark Chocolate Tart

Definitely soul food rather than body food, but who can resist the rather delicious combination of citrus and dark chocolate?

Ingredients 

  • 100g Choc Ripple biscuits
  • 25g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup clementine marmalade (you can use orange instead)
  • 15ml Cointreau
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C and line a spring form cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Process the biscuits in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add the butter and process to combine, then spread across the bottom and sides of the cake tin and bake for 10 minutes until firm. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a bowl, mix the marmalade, Cointrea and almond meal together.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips along the biscuit base before topping with the marmalade mixture. Bake until the edges have caramelised and the filling slightly firm, then chill for 4 hours before serving.

Rainbow Frittata

This colourful slice makes for a great breakfast on the go, a lazy dinner or just a delicious protein-laden snack!

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1 cup shredded coleslaw mix (or alternatively, 1/2 cup grated carrot and 1/2 cup purple cabbage)
  • 4 large Swiss chard / Silverbeet leaves
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • Grated cheese of your liking

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C and line a slice tray with baking paper.
  2. Finely slice the Swiss chard, and place on top of the baking paper with the coleslaw mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, yogurt and pesto together.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the slice pan. Top with cherry tomatoes and your choice of cheese.
  5. Bake until firm and the cheese has melted (~ 15-20 minutes).
  6. Slice into 6 and enjoy!

Pesto Zoodles

What do you call fake spaghetti? An im-pasta.

Jokes aside, this easy mid-week meal with oodles and oodles of zucchini noodles is a delicious alternative for those who are wanting to be carb conscious or just increase their daily intake of vegetables. For an added protein hit, add roasted chicken, otherwise this dish is vegan, as well as dairy and gluten free!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 medium zucchini (or you can buy pre-zoodled packs in major supermarkets)
  • 2 tablespoons of good quality basil pesto
  • 200g butternut pumpkin
  • 4 small chicken breasts (optional) 
  • 1 tablespoon of dukkha (I used the pistachio dukkha by Table of Plenty here)

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Chop the pumpkin into chunks and lightly spray / coat with olive oil. Roast on a lined baking tray until soft and golden (about 25 minutes). If using the chicken, place the breasts onto a lined baking tray, season with salt and pepper, and roast until just coked through (about 15-20 minutes). Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Using a spiraliser, turn the four zucchini into noodles and toss in the pesto.
  3. Serve the zoodles with the pumpkin, chicken and dukka on top. Easy!

Meal Prep for Professionals # 2

As a busy shift worker, I am a fan of making and freezing meals in bulk, particularly when I know I have a hectic week or two of work ahead. Following on from my original Meal Prep for Professionals post, here is another collection of make-ahead ideas!


Healthy Fish and Chips – Salmon with Sweet Potato and Pretty Tahini Slaw 

Ingredients (makes 4 servings) 

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 300g dry coleslaw salad mix
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 200g spinach
  • 4 x salmon fillets, skin off

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. Roughly chop the sweet potato into wedges, spray with olive oil and bake until just soft (15 minutes). Add the salmon onto the same tray and return to the oven until the salmon is baked through (12 minutes).
  2. Place the coleslaw mix, tahini, salt and mustard in the food processor and blend until finely chopped and mixed through.
  3. Serve the slaw with the spinach, salmon and sweet potato.

Broccoli, beetroot and balsamic salad 

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 1 large head broccoli
  • 200g fat-reduced feta cheese
  • 200g tin beetroot slices, drained and rinsed thoroughly (or alternatively, roast and slice 2 large beetroots yourself)
  • 200g can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 200g spinach
  • balsamic vinegar (I used Pukka Estate fig balsamic for this recipe)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Chop the broccoli into florets and bake until soft and slightly charred around the edges.
  2. To assemble the salad, place the spinach on the bottom, followed by the beetroot, broccoli, chickpeas and feta. Drizzle with balsamic and add the almonds just prior to serving to ensure they stay crunchy!

Chicken with Teriyaki Quinoa and Greens 

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 1 bunch pak choi
  • 1 bunch bok choi
  • 4 large kale leaves
  • 1 glove garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup tricolour quinoa
  • 2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 4 chicken breasts (skin off)
  • Nori seaweed to serve

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. Place the chicken breasts on a tray, season with salt / pepper to your liking, and roast until cooked through (~ 15 minutes). Set aside.
  2. Roughly chop the vegetables and sautee in a fry pan over medium heat with a small amount of olive oil and garlic until just wilted. Set aside.
  3. Place the quinoa and 1 cup of water in a microwave proof dish and cook for 12-15 minutes until the quinoa is soft.
  4. To serve, place the vegetables on the bottom, top with the quinoa, drizzle with teriyaki sauce, then add the chicken (sliced) and top with crushed nori seaweed or bonito flakes.

Spiced Potato and Pumpkin Salad 

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 1 large potato, skin on
  • 1/4 large pumpkin
  • 300g can corn kernels, drained
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly torn apart with stems removed
  • 200g feta or goat cheese
  • Moroccan style seasoning (I used Sahara by Mingle Seasoning)
  • Dukkha to serve (choose something earthy and ideally sesame / tomato based here)

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Slice the potato and pumpkin into small chunks, coat in a spray of olive oil and seasoning, and bake until soft and golden (~ 20 minutes).
  2. To assemble the salad, place the kale on the bottom, then layer the corn, pumpkin and potato on top. Add the cheese and sprinkle with the dukkha.

 

Choc Peanut Banana Swiss Roll

I make no apologies, this is a completely indulgent, over the top version of a recipe I found in a Gourmet Traveler magazine. There is nothing remotely healthy about it, aside from the fact it does wonders for the soul!

Swiss roll cake

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 80g cocoa powder
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 50ml cream

Creme patissiere

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling

  • 1 large overripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180*C.
  2. Beat 4 egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy, then stir in flour and cocoa.
  3. Melt the chocolate, mix with the cream and almond milk, then fold into the egg yolk mixture.
  4. Whisk 4 egg whites until soft peaks form, then slowly fold into chocolate egg yolk mixture.
  5. Spread onto baking tray and smooth the edges, and bake for 12 minutes. Once baked through, wrap the cake around a rolling pin and place in the freezer to cool for 15 minutes.
  6. To make the creme patissiere, mix the 4 egg yolks with cornflour, sugar and vanilla until combined. Heat the milk until just bubbling in a saucepan over medium heat, then add to the egg yolk mixture and whisk quickly. Return the entire mixture to the stove and continue to whisk quickly until mixture thickens, then immediately remove from heat and place in the fridge to cool.
  7. Unroll the cake. Spread with PB and banana, topped with cacao nibs and creme patissiere, then roll back into a log shape. Top with extra cocoa powder before serving.

High Protein Banana Bread

This is a variation of the banana bread recipe by I Quit Sugar with the added benefit of pea protein.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup pea protein (I used Botanika Blend’s raspberry coconut flavour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp berry or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 cup shredded coconut

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a loaf pan with baking paper.
  2. Mash the banana with the milk, eggs and oil until just lumpy (it tastes better with chunks left in!).
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until well combined. Pour into loaf tin and sprinkle with coconut.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Eat while still warm!

Pimp My Platter: Easy DYI Platters to Impress

For some people, hearing the words, “oh yes, everyone can just bring a plate!” when referring to a family gathering or BBQ with friends is enough to make their palms sweaty. If you’re not a foodie fiend, it can be hard to think of what to bring in the first instance, let alone how to make it look good among the other dishes.

I usually think “challenge accepted” in these situations, which is often followed by people saying, “oh and Kat, don’t be extra this time okay?”. I never used to be good as assembling platters, but after a little practice, I believe I’ve found a way to make them effortless!

The secret? It’s about variety. Obvious, I know.

While I’m sure many of us would like to sit down and eat 1kg of watermelon or a massive wheel of brie, the idea of a platter is small amounts of everything – so keep this in mind when buying your ingredients.

To assemble the platter, start with the large ingredients on the bottom and work around the edges of you plate or tray until you have a ‘frame’ so to speak. Then add the ingredients in descending size order until you’ve covered most of the blank space. Leave the smallest stuff until last so you can plug any gaps that are left.

Fruit Platter 

For fruit platters, shop for whatever is in season and go for a mixture of fruit that is big and small. There is no shame in buying only one orange, one passion fruit etc for the sake of a fruit platter! I also like to throw on some mixed nuts for texture so long as no one has a nut allergy. Anaphylaxis at a family reunion is never a good look.

Cheese Platter

In my humble opinion, the cheese platter is the king of platters. Again, remember the variety – both in crackers, condiments and cheese. Go for small lumps of something firm (mature cheddar), something soft (gouda, Jarlsberg etc), something creamy (creameux, brie, camembert, d’afanois) and something blue (go for mild rather than pungent). If you have the space, a pate and a goat cheese help to spice things up a little.

Place the cheese down first with enough space separating them, followed by your condiments (nothing beats a good quince paste!). I then frame the cheese with a mixture of water crackers and rice crackers depending on dietary requirements, add some fruit (passionfruit, figs, anything that’s easy to pick up) and throw on a handful of nuts to finish.

Dessert Platter 

What to bring when you have literally no idea – also makes for a great present idea!

Avoid anything with the potential to go soggy. For mine I’ve used homemade pastries (puff pastry triangles baked with a piece of chocolate inside is stupidly easy and effective!), a variety of berries, nougat pieces and nut bars, as well as chocolate coated nuts. You could easily use firm brownies and add some melted chocolate pots to dip things into – but remember to use different sized dessert tidbits with different textures for maximum effect.

So there you have it, some perfectly pimped platters to impress with the best!