Beets & Beans Salad

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This recipe was partly inspired by a recipe for a beetroot, carrot and bean slow cooker casserole from Sara Lewis’ Ultimate Slow Cooker cookbook. The remaining “inspiration” was more like desperation when I needed to come up with some sort of dish to take to a pot luck dinner and the fridge was fairly bare apart from plenty of beetroot and carrots.  A salad was thrown together and turned out to be one that the family voted a ‘make again’.  It has been through several tweaks and trials and each has been a success with a different member of the family.  So it can be changed according to what you have available: use brown onions instead of red and green or savoy instead of red cabbage.  The cabbage can be lightly steamed instead of raw and the green beans left out completely or swapped for another green vegetable such as broad beans or broccoli.  The amount of dressing is enough to coat the vegetables and it can be incorporated before serving. Omit the garlic aioli if desired (or use mayonnaise instead) although I like the slight tang it adds to the dressing.  The salad is filling enough to be served as a main course and any left overs are perfect for lunch the next day.
2017-10-03 18.10.03

Beets & Beans Salad

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • Salad
  • 1 x large red onion
  • 6 x medium beetroot
  • 6 x medium carrots
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ of a red cabbage
  • 2 x 425 g tins mixed beans
  • 2 cups frozen green beans
  • 2 spring onions
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  • Dressing:
  • 75 g goat feta
  • 65g natural unsweetened yoghurt
  • 100g cucumber and mint yoghurt dip
  • 2 T garlic aioli (optional)

Instructions

  • Peel the red onion and cut in half width-wise, then cut each half into 8 wedges. Peel or scrub the beetroot and cut into bite sized pieces. Peel or scrub the carrots and cut into bite sized pieces (the cut vegetables should all roughly be the same size). There should be about 3 cups of beetroot and 3 cups of carrot.
  • Place the prepared vegetables into a large roasting dish – to keep the beetroot from colouring all the carrots, place the beetroot at one end, the carrots at the other and the red onion in between. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then drizzle over the olive oil. Give the pan a shake to settle the vegetables into an even layer then roast at 200C for 30 minutes. Stir (adding a little more oil if required), then roast again for a further 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.
  • While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the remaining ingredients. Finely slice the cabbage, as if cutting for coleslaw (there should be about 3 cups). Rinse the tinned beans and drain well. Lightly steam the green beans until just cooked. Slice the spring onions and mint leaves finely.
  • To make the dressing: mash the feta with a fork. Scrape it into a bowl, add the yoghurt and whip the ingredients together with a fork. Add the dip and aioli (if using) and stir to mix the ingredients together well.
  • Pile the cabbage and beans onto a large serving platter. Add the roasted vegetables and lightly toss the ingredients together. Sprinkle with the spring onions and mint leaves. Serve the dressing alongside.
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http://sevengreenapples.com/savour/beets-beans-salad/

Potato Raclette Bake

This dish is inspired by a delicious meal of Raclette cheese with boiled potatoes and crispy bacon that we enjoyed in Switzerland and an equally delicious Tartiflette I ordered in Versaille thinking I was ordering some sort of tart but was instead a potato bake.

As Raclette Grills are uncommon here in New Zealand, I have borrowed the idea from the Tartiflette and used the oven to melt the cheese.  The cheese is the star of this dish so use the greater quantity if desired.  Substitute a different sort of melty cheese (try Gruyere or Emmental) or use camembert or brie which heads more in the Tartiflette direction.  Waxy salad or boiling potatoes such as Nadine, Draga or New Season Perlas work best but an all-purpose potato (Moonlight, Vivaldi Gold) will also work ok.
2017-08-30 09.58.47-1 (1)

Potato Raclette Bake

Yield: 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1.2 kg small waxy potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 150 g chunk of Pancetta or Bacon
  • 200 g small mushrooms
  • ½ red capsicum
  • ½ green capsicum
  • 3-4 shallots
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 150-250 g Raclette cheese
  • Cornichons, optional
  • Pickled onions, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven on to 175ºC on grill (top heat only).
  • Scrub or peel potatoes. Boil in salted water until just tender. Drain and set aside.
  • Crush the garlic. Cut the piece of Pancetta into slices about 5 mm thick, then into batons (lardons). Clean the mushrooms and cut in half. Half and deseed the capsicum then slice thinly. Peel and quarter the shallots.
  • Melt the butter a large skillet or frying pan. Add garlic, Pancetta, mushrooms, capsicums and shallots.
  • Cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and transfer to an oven-proof dish if required. Nestle the potatoes into mixture, making sure the dish is large enough to hold the ingredients in a single layer.
  • Thinly slice the Raclette and place evenly over the top.
  • Place in the oven in the top third of the oven. Grill at 175ºC for about 7-10 minutes, keeping an eye on the cheese. Once it is melted and bubbly it is ready.
  • Serve immediately with baby gherkins (cornichons) and pickled onions alongside.
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http://sevengreenapples.com/savour/potato-raclette-bake/

Fusilli with Tomato & Chorizo Sauce

Fusilli with Tomato & Chorizo Sauce
Adding Spanish Chorizo & Mexican Jalapenos to a tomato base is definitely not authentic Italian but it does make a quick, easy and super tasty week night meal.  Chorizo is a great addition as only a little is required to pack a huge flavour punch.  I have used cured chorizo here, as opposed to fresh chorizo sausages.  Chorizo come in a variety of sizes: if using the larger chorizo, two will be enough; or use 5-6 of the small cheerio size. Continue reading

Roasted Pumpkin, Chickpea & Silverbeet Soup

Roasted Pumpkin, Chickpea & Silverbeet Soup
Soup is the perfect dinner for a cold wet raining winter’s night – it warms from the head to the toes and when served with fresh crusty rolls or scones, it is very filling.  This soup (which doesn’t have any apples in it) is a recipe I created for our local newspaper making use of fresh seasonal produce. Continue reading

Lunch Time: Pasta Salad with Gusto Tart Apple Syrup, Almonds, Chorizo & Goat Feta

Gusto’s Chorizo & Feta Pasta Salad
Running around town picking up supplies, I sneaked in a visit to our local Vetro (a Mediterranean food shop) to pick up a bottle of Gusto tart apple syrup.  I always have their sweet apple syrup in the pantry but I wanted the tart syrup to make a caramel slice with an apple enhancement.  As caramel slice is already very sweet, the tart syrup is a better option than the sweet syrup, hence my dash into the shop.  I had to dash for if I linger, I end up with a basket full of other goodies and that is a killer for my grocery budget (not because they are expensive but rather than I am spending my grocery budget on food we don’t need leaving less (mmm, more like no) money for food we do need.

Each bottle of Gusto syrup comes with a teeny tiny leaflet of recipes and ideas on how to use the apple syrup.  Among the recipes included is an Apple Syrup Cake – the recipe can also be found here and here (Bachology Lynda has made the cake and included a glowing review and a lovely picture).  It sounds and looks like a great cake and I am interested in trying to make a dairy free version. Continue reading

Red Rice Spring Salad with Sweet Delicate Broad Beans

Red Rice Spring Salad
This is a beautiful fresh tasting salad that I make every spring when broad beans and asparagus are brand new for the season.  Broad beans are loved by few and detested by many due to memories of overcooked tasteless rubbery grey globules.  I know of keen vegetable gardeners that grow broad beans and then give them away to the neighbour across the fence.  They don’t know what they are missing out on…… as broad beans don’t have to be rubbery or tasteless.  Along with Brussels sprouts, it is all in the preparation and cooking.  Treated right, broad beans are sweet, delicate morsels tasting of peas and cucumbers. Continue reading

Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara

Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara

This is a recipe I created for our local newspaper, The Gisborne Herald. Roasting cauliflower brings out intense flavours while keeping the florets tender and yet retaining a bite (broccoli is also very good when roasted).  Continue reading

Leek & Stilton Tart with Wholemeal Yoghurt Pastry

A lot of my recipes include yoghurt in some shape or form. We usually have natural unsweetened yoghurt in the fridge and I like the idea of the live cultures in the yoghurt being included in my food.  I am not sure if cooking with the yoghurt affects these live cultures – I’ll have to do a little research on that point.
Leek & Stilton Tart with Wholemeal Yoghurt Pastry
These tarts have yoghurt in the pastry and the filling – buttermilk or sour cream would probably work for both (I haven’t tried it but I do substitute yoghurt for buttermilk or sour cream in a lot of recipes so imagine it would the other way). Continue reading

Smoked Chicken, Portobello & Kale Mac’n’Cheese

Pasta bakes are a great for week-night dinning.    I have taken a classic macaroni & cheese recipe and amped it up a little by using smoked chicken, Gruyère cheese and kale, the green vegetable of the season.  I have made this with cavolo nero and curly kale – both vegetables retain a semi-crunchy texture adding good contrast to the gooey sauce.
Smoked Chicken, Portobello & Kale Mac'n'Cheese
Continue reading

Pork, Kumara & Black Bean Soup with Oven-Roasted Chipotle Salsa

Pork, Kumara & Black Bean Soup

A pot of soup simmering on the stove on a chilly afternoon makes the whole house fragrant and has everyone asking when dinner is ready.   The pork hock (or shank) is not the easiest cut of meat to skin, however it is worth the effort. The meat is succulent and full of flavour and is perfect with the creamy kumara.

Home prepared black beans are very easy when using the crockpot – I have used my Crockpot Savoury Black Beans. The recipe can also be found on here. This makes a large pot of soup – enough for dinner for 4-6 and leftovers for lunch the following day.
Continue reading