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.
One 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.)
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.
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.
Flaky puff pastry (see note)
About 1 cup of chopped vegetables. I used mushrooms, capsicum and celery.
3 – 4 cloves of garlic
12 a white onion
2 tablespoons of butter
Salt and pepper
200 grams of roasted orange kumara (I used leftovers from a previous meal, alternatively cut kumara into 2cm cubes, season and bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 220°C.)
Creme fraiche – optional (You only need about 8 teaspoons of, so buy the smallest amount available or plan another meal that can use the leftovers.)
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!).
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.
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.