Tag Archives: Lunch

Cheesy Kumara and Spicy Bean ‘Salsa’ Stacks

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Hi friends. I have a recipe for you tonight. A really great one! How has your week been? Tremendously long and brief at the same time, like mine? I must confess, by 4 o’clock this afternoon I had retreated to my bed. Luckily after a few hours of reading a new book and dozing, Row arrived home with a little bag of chocolate eggs for me. He knows how to please me. And so, several chocolates later I’m on the up and writing this post for you. It has all the best things in it. This is my favourite sort of meal. It’s like a really boss salad, packed with flavour and my best friend the kidney bean. It’s vegetarian, requires minimal cooking (lots of raw goodness) and contains no gluten (check specific ingredients). Those things were all happy accidents though, it’s actually just super yummy. The recipe looks long but it’s really simple, just a bit of slicing and dicing! Let’s get to it.

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Tzatziki [One Simple Thing]

TzatzikiOne of my goals in 2015 is to be more aware of the small things that make up the big picture. I quite firmly believe that it’s the moments, the simple things that make life special, that make you happy. Sometimes I will write about these things on the blog. Today is a double-header – I’m sharing a recipe and one simple thing that I love: free range mint (for want of the correct term.)

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Simple Ways with Beans, Carrots and Tomatoes (Hey Summer!)

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Let’s be honest, this is the best time of year, veg-wise. Everything seems to be in abundance, we’re watching our tomatoes change daily, and you could build your dinner around what grows outside. There are MANY recipes – an endless supply, really – to choose from but sometimes simple wins out (it’s my mantra). Don’t get me wrong, I love a good meal-in-one salad (like this) or a curry that celebrates a host of ingredients. But I also like easy. This year my foodie mission is to go in search of simple food that requires little time, no recipes, no extra trips to the supermarket. Food that celebrates the basics: good ingredients. Here are three simple ‘foodie pairings’ that we have been munching on.

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Pesto, Tomato, Salami & Camembert Quesadillas!

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I’m excited to share this recipe with you! Mostly just because its insanely delicious and I hope that you will make it and enjoy the insane deliciousness for yourself. OK some hard facts about these bad boys. A quesadilla is typically a Mexican affair with beans and spices and so forth. This isn’t a very Mexican quesadilla but I love the quesadilla concept so much so I ran with it. OK, I’ll be honest, its basically an extremely awesome, less-bready toasted sandwich. It rocks. This meal is what you make when you feel like takeaways but not. Its super delicious, super fast and a bit of a treat (read: not cheap and nasty).

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Lets talk about the pesto. Pesto is amazing. No need to say that right? But it isn’t cheap when you buy it off the shelf. You might as well go out for a meal. So, for this recipe, I ask, no scratch that, I CHALLENGE you to make your own! Save your pretty pennies. Pesto is so easy to make. Really, it is! Ideally you will have a food processor. If you don’t have one, see if you can borrow one (in  exchange for quesadillas!). Pesto houses some pretty exxy ingredients like parmesan and pine nuts. But the good news is there are lots of kinds of pesto and not all are expensive. I shared a great list of pesto recipes here (including Jamie’s pestle and mortar jobby). For these quesadillas I made the Spinach, Lemon Zest and Cashew Pesto from My Petite Kitchen Cookbook. (It used spinach, parsley, a small amount of cashews and no cheese so was actually quite cheap to make). Get this book if you can!

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Pesto, Tomato, Salami and Camembert Quesadillas

Jumbo large tortillas (I used four)
Pesto (I used about 250mLs 3 tablespoons per tortilla
Salami (I used a 100 gram sliced pack)
Tomatoes (I used two)
Camembert cheese (I used 125 grams, buy the brand that is on special) (brie would work too)
A nob of butter

With the above measurements I made four quesadillas 12 pieces and this was plenty for two hungry people. This could feed four as a starter. You can easily double this for a crowd.


Preheat your oven to 150ºC.

Get everything ready so you can move quickly. Have an oven tray (or two if making more than four quesadillas) ready to go. Get out a frying pan large enough to fit a tortilla, some butter, and a fish slice. Slice your tomatoes and drain on paper towels. Slice your cheese. Rip into your salami. Have your pesto and a spoon for spreading ready. Have your tortillas handy.

Add a bit of butter to your pan and heat to a medium high heat. Spread a tortilla with pesto. Pop into the pan. On one half, place your cheese. On the other half place slices of salami and slices of tomato. Cook for about two minutes or so until the bottom of the tortilla has browned and the cheese has started to melt. Be careful here: you don’t want to burn your tortilla so you may have to play around with the heat settings especially if you have a cantankerous  stove like me. Now fold the cheese half on top of the salami half. Press down on your tortilla for a few seconds and carefully transfer to the oven tray.

Repeat for remaining quesadillas. Once all quesadillas are ready, pop the tray into the oven for about 10 minutes until hot through. Carefully cut each quesadilla into three wedges and arrange on a big serving platter or board. Serve with napkins – these are messy! If you like, serve with some relish and a big side salad but they are just as awesome on their own.

Veggie Parcels

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Its winter. You need something hot, delicious and a little indulgent – enter pastry. You can’t get away with calling pastry ‘healthy’ but there are certainly worse things to eat. These parcels are stuffed with vegetables so in my book, that’s a win-win. This is more of a concept than a recipe: you can totally change it up to suit what you have and what you love.

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Kumara, Walnut and Cranberry Couscous

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This dish has a lot going for itself. Its delicious, quick to whip up, a textural feast – did I mention its delicious? I make this to take to work for lunch but it would also make a great side for dinner or a good take-along dish (especially if you want something that looks sophisticated when really its not!).

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A note on couscous: I love couscous (its kind of a bitch to type, though. Am I right?). Its cheap and versatile. Its fast-food at its best – to prepare you just combine equal parts boiling water and couscous and cover for about 10 minutes until the water has been absorbed.

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Kumara, Walnut and Cranberry Couscous

500 grams of orange kumara (sweet potato)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of oil
1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
1 heaped tablespoon of butter
Half a cup of chopped walnuts
A good half a cup (heaped) of dried cranberries
Half a cup of parsley (a little more if you like it)
The zest of one orange

Heat your oven to 220ºC. 

Chop your kumara into 2cm cubes. Toss together the oil, a few good grinds of black pepper and a good dash of salt with the kumara on an oven tray. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until cooked through and crisp on the outside.

While the kumara is cooking, prepare the couscous. Place couscous, butter and 14 teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Top with boiling water (1 cup). Stir quickly (don’t worry if all of the butter doesn’t melt). Cover the bowl (I use a plate) and put aside until the kumara is cooked.

Chop the walnuts and parsley. When the kumara is cooked, set aside to cool slightly. Fluff the couscous with a fork. In a large bowl or serving dish combine the couscous, parsley, cranberries, walnuts, a few good grinds of black pepper and more salt to taste, the kumara and then add the zest. Stir well.

Serve straight away or pop in the fridge.

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