Sardine and Olive Scrolls with Herbed Cream Cheese

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IMG_2407 IMG_2391 IMG_2395Since winning a hamper at Christmas time, filled with marinated goodies and antipasto ingredients, I’ve had a jar of marinated sardine fillets, sitting at the back of the fridge, looking lonely and waiting to be used in something delicious. However, having only just learnt to appreciate tinned sardines and anchovies in the last two years (I learnt to like them after trying some delicious real deal ones in Portugal), apart from putting them on a pizza, I haven’t done much else with them. Until now!

I’d spent the afternoon with a friend, hanging out at the local pool (it’s next to the beach, the best we can do in the wet season here in Darwin), and we had organised for Saturday afternoon drinks at her new house. Perfect opportunity for me to make something delicious to share!
I love making dough, we’ve been making all our own bread for the last couple of months now so I felt pretty confident to try this idea. I was pleasantly surprised at how well they worked out. The perfect mix of soft chewy bread with the salty, flavoursome filling, along with the herby cream cheese and sweet fresh tomato. Delicious! I also had some tomato soup leftover from dinner a few nights ago, they went perfectly with this also.
These would also work just as well without the anchovies for a vegetarian option.

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Recipe

Makes 16 scrolls

Ingredients

400g strong white bread flour
300ml luke warm water
1 heaped tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
olive oil

400g pitted kalamata olives, drained and pureed
300g marinated sardine fillets, drained, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
small red onion, finely chopped
2 tbs fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
cracked pepper
handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 large tomato, de-seeded, flesh finely chopped

250g cream cheese
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon

Fresh tomatoes or tomato soup, to serve

Method

In a large bowl combine the flour and the yeast. Add the salt and stir to combine. (Adding the yeast and the salt separately is important as the salt can start to kill the yeast with direct contact).
Make a well in the centre and add the water. Stir with a metal spoon until mixture only just starts to come together, no more than 30secs. Cover with a clean towel and leave for 10mins.
Using olive oil, put a little in your hands and on a clean work surface. Turn out the dough and gently knead for about 10secs by pushing the dough away from you and folding it back towards yourself, then turning, horizontally, 90 degrees, and repeating, four times.
Return the dough to the bowl and cover with the towel. Leave for 15mins and repeat the same process twice more.
After the third knead, cover and leave in a warm place for 45-60mins or until almost doubled in size.
Meanwhile, heat a tbs of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and the onion and cook, stirring, for about 5mins. Add the thyme and the chilli flakes and cook for a further 1min. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
When cool, add the chopped sardine fillets, pepper, parsley and tomato. Stir to combine.
In another bowl, combine the cream cheese with the dill, parsley and lemon zest. Stir well to combine and keep in the fridge until needed.
Prepare two baking trays with baking paper and a sprinkle of flour. Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees celcius.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a well floured surface. Cut in half evenly. Roll each piece out into a 20cm by 40cm rectangle, about 1cm thick.
Divide the pureed olives onto each piece of dough and spread out evenly with the back of a spoon, then sprinkle with the sardine mixture.
From the long side, gently roll each rectangle into a log.
Cut each log into 8 pieces. Place the pieces on the prepared trays, cut side up/down, about 5cm apart. Use your fingers to gently squash/mould into rounds (as cutting them has probably squashed the circle shape a little).
Cover each tray with a clean towel and leave in a warm place for about 45-60mins or until nearly doubled in size. (Be gentle when moving the trays during his time, so as not to knock the air out of the rising dough)
When ready, place the trays (gently), into the oven, and bake for 30-40mins, or until golden and feel hard when tapped with your finger.
Remove from oven and leave to cool for 15mins.
Serve warm with the cream cheese and some fresh sliced tomato. They are also really beautiful with tomato soup.
Enjoy!

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Chinese Five Spice Kangaroo and Kimchi Buns

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This is some serious ‘asian fusion’ food, if ever I had to use that phrase. Sticky, slow-cooked, chinese five spiced kangaroo meat, sandwiched into a delicious, puffy white bun along with a kick of kimchi coleslaw, fresh, crunchy cucumber, and some creamy mayo. Textural and flavoursome, they would be a great party starter, bun in one hand, drink in the other, and a whole load of conversation about kangaroo meat, how good it is, and how more people should be choosing it over other red meats in Australia.

Kangaroo meat is lean, full of iron, full of flavour, sustainable and cheap. What’s not to love! I don’t eat red meat very often, mostly for sustainability purposes, so kangaroo is a great option for me. This was the first time I’d tried slow cooking it, and I was unsure as to wether it would work, considering how lean it is. But it was perfect!

These lotus leaf buns are really special as well. Called so because of their shape, they are traditionally stuffed with pork belly. You should be able to find them in your local asian grocer, or, if you’re really adventurous, and have some time up your sleeve, you could try making them from scratch (I went for the quick option). If you can’t find them, I would recommend using small dinner rolls or other small soft white rolls. Cause you really have to try this!

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Recipe

Makes 20 buns

Ingredients

3 tbs peanut oil
1kg diced kangaroo
1 bunch spring onion, sliced
Large knob fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
6 garlic chives*, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch coriander, leaves, stems and roots, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbs chinese 5 spice powder
1 tsp szechuan peppercorns, ground
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbs dark soy sauce
3 tbs light soy sauce
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
1/2-3/4 cup beef stock
2 x 10 pack lotus leaf buns*
1/2 small wombok cabbage, finley sliced
1 small carrot, grated
6 small radishes, finely sliced
1 cup kimchi*, finley chopped
1 telegraph cucumber, cut into 5mm thick slices
Whole egg mayo, to serve

* Garlic chives, lotus leaf buns, and kimchi, can all be found at asian grocers

Method

Heat 1 tbs of the peanut oil in a large saucepan, over medium high heat. In two batches, brown the kangaroo quickly, stirring constantly, about 1min. Remove and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium, add the rest of the oil and cook the spring onion, ginger, chilli, garlic, and coriander, stirring, for about 2mins. Return the meat to the pan along with the chinese 5 spice, szechuan pepper, sugar, soy, vinegar and 1/2 cup beef stock. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cover.
Cook, stirring every 20mins or so for about 3 hrs.
Remove the lid and cook for another 30mins-1hr, stirring often and checking for a thick consistency. You will know it’s ready when you can break apart a piece of meat with the back of a wooden spoon against the side of the pan. During cooking, you can add more beef stock if the liquid seems too low, but remember you want the end result to be dry enough to go into the buns without dripping out too much. It should not be like a curry.
When ready, set aside to cool for 20mins.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrot, radishes and kimchi, along with a tbs of the kimchi liquid. Stir to combine.
Just before serving, steam the buns, according to packet directions (I did them in the microwave). Keep them covered with cling wrap while assembling, to avoid them from drying out.
To assemble, open the bun, spread the top half with some mayonnaise, and on the bottom half put about 1/4 cup of kangaroo, some coleslaw, and a couple of slices of cumber. Serve with a napkins.
Enjoy!

Mushroom Bahn Mi

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There is nothing more satisfying than cooking and eating a meal that has been grown, created and cooked by people within a bike ride of where you live. I’ve been so lucky to have so many beautiful ingredients at my fingertips lately, that I’m finding it hard to use anything that isn’t local. Hence, I haven’t really been cooking with meat. I’m not vegetarian, vegan or celiac, but I know many who are and love to be able to cater for everyone. Give this Bahn Mi to a hardcore carnivore and I’m pretty sure they will eat it; and maybe even enjoy it immensely (even if they don’t admit it).
I’ve been buying traditional Bahn Mi rolls at the markets on the weekends here. They are beyond delicious. Traditionally made with a smoky lemongrass laden pork mince sausage, fresh coleslaw, pate, and mayonnaise, on a freshly baked vietnamese baguette. It’s a mix of cultures, bound to tantalise the senses.
Here, I’ve challenged myself to a vegan version. Sorry to the traditionalists. It’s just delicious though.
Aside from the mouth-filling flavour of the mushrooms, the vegan mayo and the mushroom pate are stars on their own. They can be used in many other scenarios and you will have leftovers from this recipe to do just this!
I hope you appreciate this humble looking sandwich as much as I did.

On a side note. It is so hard to take photos of food in this heat, along with flies….near impossible. So, please excuse the haphazard photos!

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Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients

Vegan Mayonnaise
1 cup raw cashews (soaked in water, in the fridge, overnight, drained and rinsed)
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Mushroom Pate
20g dried mixed forest mushrooms
3 tbs light olive oil
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
250g mixed mushrooms (I used button and shitake)
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup dry roasted walnuts
salt and pepper
3 tsp olive oil spread

Pickled Carrot
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch salt

Lemongrass Mushrooms
1 tbs peanut oil
2 large or 4 smaller portobello or field mushrooms
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs dark soy
1 tsp sesame oil
1 birds-eye chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, white and first part of green part, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
Thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and grated
pinch of pepper

The rest
1 small baguette, halved vertically into 2 serves, each half cut in half horizontally
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
handful each of thai basil leaves and coriander
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 long red chilli, thinly sliced

Method

For the lemongrass mushrooms, cut the mushrooms into quarters or halves, depending how big they are. Place in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour, stirring every so often to marinate, but be careful not to break up the mushrooms.
For the pickled carrot, place all of the ingredients in bowl and stir to combine. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour, stirring every so often.
For the mayonnaise, place all of the ingredients in a small food processor, or a bowl deep enough to use a stick blender. Blend until very smooth. It will take a while, but you want it to be really smooth, no grainy bits. Keep in the fridge until needed.
For the mushroom pate, place the dried forest mushrooms in a bowl with 1/2 cup hot water, leave to soak for at least half an hour. Remove the mushrooms from their soaking liquid. Reserve liquid.
Heat 2 tbs of the olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Cook the onion, garlic and mushrooms, stirring constantly, until cooked, about 5 to 10 mins. Remove from pan and set aside to cool slightly.
Place the drained forest mushrooms, cooked mushroom mixture, parsley, walnuts and remaining olive oil in a small food processor, or a bowl deep enough to use a stick blender. Blend until very smooth. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Place into one large dish or 2 small ramekins, smooth the tops and place in the fridge to chill for at least 20mins.
Meanwhile, melt the olive oil spread and add 3 tbs of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Pour on top of the mushroom pate and keep in the fridge to set.
Once everything is ready to go, its time to assemble the sandwiches.
To cook the lemongrass mushrooms heat the peanut oil in a pan to high heat. Add the marinated mushrooms, and cook, stirring for about 5 mins, or until cooked and slightly caramelised. Set aside.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread the bottom halves of the baguettes with a good layer of mushroom pate, and the top halves with the vegan mayonnaise.
Top each half with the cooked mushrooms, pickled carrot, sliced cucumber, herbs, spring onions, and chilli. Top with the mayonnaise half of the baguettes.
Eat and enjoy!
Tip: they are also delicious, assembled and toasted in a pan, sandwich press, or bbq.

Roasted Pumpkin, Pistachio and Ricotta Dip

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Dips, cheeses, marinated vegetables, chutneys, preserves, olives, salted meats, crackers, nuts, breads, fruits and tapenades….all of these things sound like heaven to me. Just put as many of these beautiful little treats as you can on a plate, pour some vino and you’re in for a good time. No need for dinner either, if you do it right!

This dip came about as a result of some roasted pumpkin, garlic and ricotta, leftover from making empanadas (to which I will post the recipe for in the next couple of days). We are really into eating well on a budget at the moment, which has resulted in some really creative and delicious meals. It’s so satisfying sitting down to a meal knowing that it cost us about $1 to make. I love getting home from work and looking through the garden, picking a few things that I want for dinner and seeing how others are coming along. The rains have finally settled in which means we should have a bumper crop of sweet potatoes coming on soon. I am so grateful to the beautiful people that have allowed us to look after their lovely house and friendly animals, it’s such a great experience.

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Ingredients

1 cup roasted butternut pumpkin

2 cloves garlic, roasted in their skins, squeezed out

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper

handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup firm ricotta, crumbled

1/3 cup pistachios, shelled, roasted and finely chopped

Method

In a small processor, or with a hand held stick blender, process the pumpkin, garlic, cumin seeds, chilli flakes, lemon juice and the salt and pepper. Add a little olive oil if it’s too dry.

Stir through the parsley, ricotta, and pistachios. Check for seasoning and add more if necessary.

Serve with crackers, vegetable sticks or whatever you like!

 

 

Easy Christmas Lunch. Spiced Rum and Marmalade Glazed Ham, Citrus and Fennel Salad and Crispy Sweet Potato Bake

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Here are a couple of easy recipes for Christmas Day if you don’t feel like slaving over a hot stove but still want to impress. Everything is really easy, and really tasty; each dish complements the other and when it’s all put out on the table, looks festive and exciting. I made these dishes for a last minute Christmas dinner with a bunch of our friends here in Newcastle before we head back to Darwin; to a very quiet Christmas day, consisting of just the two of us, three dogs, twelve chickens and hopefully a yummy seafood lunch.

You could serve these dishes as part of a bigger feast (we also had two roast chickens, a greek spinach pie, and multiple salads, all brought by our beautiful friends), but it is also nice just to have a few key dishes and really appreciate them. I find that sometimes at Christmas there is just so much to choose from that the flavours in each dish get hidden by one another; or maybe just by a big slosh of gravy.

I hope you’re all excited for Christmas and have some time off work to enjoy with your friends and family. Happy cooking!

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Recipe

Spiced Rum and Marmalade Glazed Ham

Serves 6

Ingredients

5kg smoked ham leg

2/3 cup spiced rum

1 cup honey

1/3 cup molasses

3/4 cup marmalade

1 tbs fresh ginger, grated

handful of cloves

pepper

Grain mustard and fresh white bread, to serve

Method

Combine all ingredients apart from the ham, mustard and bread in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Bring to the simmer and reduce heat to low. Continue to simmer for about 20mins or until thickened (be careful as it may foam up). Remove from heat to cool slightly. Strain through a sieve, reserving both the strained part and the unstrained.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a large baking dish with baking paper.

To prepare the ham, cut through the skin around the bone in a zigzag pattern. Use your fingers to separate the skin from the fatty layer underneath (you need this fatty layer to hold the glaze so try not to remove it).

In a criss-cross pattern, score the fat in lines about 2cm apart. Press a clove into each cross section. (traditionally they are pressed into the centre of each square but I think more flavour gets into the ham like this).

Brush the ham with some of the strained glaze and place in the oven. Cook for about an hour, brushing with the glaze every 10mins.

Remove from the oven and cool for 15mins or so before carving. Serve warm or cool. Combine any leftover glaze with the chunky parts left from when it was strained; serve this alongside, as well as the mustard and bread.

Citrus and Fennel Salad

Ingredients

2 baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

6 baby radishes, thinly sliced

1/2 a spanish onion, thinly sliced

3 oranges, peeled and sliced (a mixture of regular and blood is good, if you can get them)

1 red grapefruit, peeled and sliced

A few big handfuls of mixed mescaline leaves

A handful of mint leaves, torn

Seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate

Olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper for dressing

Method

Combine the fennel, lemon juice and pinch of salt in a bowl and toss to combine. Add the radishes and red onion and lightly toss, but don’t mix too much or the colour will leach out of the radishes.

In a large shallow bowl, arrange the mescaline leaves and most of the mint. Top with half of the fennel mixture, then half of the orange and grapefruit, then the rest of the fennel mixture and rest of the orange and grapefruit. Top with the pomegranate seeds and the rest of the mint. Very lightly drizzle with the olive oil and the red wine vinegar, season with salt and pepper.

Crispy Sweet Potato Bake

Ingredients

1-2 large white (purple skinned) sweet potato

6 red rascal potatoes

4 cloves garlic

Handful of fresh herbs, such as oregano, basil, parsley or sage

2 tbs dried mixed herbs

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tbs butter, melted

salt and pepper

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Thinly slice the sweet potato, potatoes and the garlic on a mandolin. (or just thinly slice by hand if you don’t have one, but take your time as the slices need to be very thin).

In a large bowl combine the sliced sweet potato, potatoes and garlic with the remaining ingredients. Use your hands to mix, making sure everything is well coated.

Use your oily hands to grease a baking dish. Arrange the slices of potato in a vertical position, like books on a shelf, filling the gaps with smaller slices and arranging so that the tray is evenly filled.

Sprinkle with a little extra salt and pepper and bake for about 45-60mins or until tops are brown and crispy and underneath is tender.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Honey Roasted Eggplant and Haloumi Burgers with Roast Capsicum Sauce on Homemade Breadrolls

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I rarely eat bread, and I VERY rarely eat burgers (I’m talking 1 every 3 years), so, if I’m going to do it, it has to be well worth it. And boy, was this one worth it! So fresh and delicious, the roasted eggplant, soft and sweet, teamed with the tangy capsicum sauce, the salty haloumi and the fresh crunchy veggies, what a lovely combination. And the homemade bread just to top it all off!

The day I made these I didn’t even have the idea in my head yet until I started thinking about what to do with my tiny amount of leftover olives and sundried tomatoes (I could’ve just eaten them of course but whats the fun in that!) This led to me making some fresh bread rolls, which then led me to making these greek salad inspired burgers. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

6 lebanese eggplant, tops cut off and cut in half lengthways
1/4 cup honey
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red capsicum, halved, seeds and stem cut out
4 tbsp greek yoghurt
2 tbsp whole egg mayo
1 tsp worsterchire sauce
180g pack haloumi, sliced into triangles, about 1cm thick
A few handfuls of mixed lettuce leaves and baby spinach
1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly torn
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 lebanese cucumber, sliced into ribbons with a peeler
4 Oregano Breadrolls (click for the recipe) or other large bread rolls, halved and lightly toasted

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius and turn on the grill to medium high.
On a lined tray, place the capsicum, skin side up and cook under the grill for about 10-15mins, or until skin has blackened. Transfer to a plate and cover with cling wrap. Turn off the grill. Leave the capsicum to sweat for about 20mins. Remove the skins and process to a smooth paste using a small processor or stick blender. Combine the capsicum puree with the greek yoghurt, mayo and worsterchire sauce, season with a little salt and pepper. Keep in the fridge until needed.
Meanwhile, place the eggplant in a roasting dish with the honey, balsamic, olive oil, chilli flakes and garlic. Toss to combine. Arrange in a single layer, skin side up. Cook in the oven for about 20mins. Flip eggplant and cook for another 5-10 mins or until golden and tender.
In a large frying pan, heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Cook the haloumi, about 5 mins per side, until golden brown.
To make the burgers, on the bottom half of the bun, start with the lettuce and mint, followed by the eggplant, cucumber, tomato, haloumi, red onion and capsicum sauce. Top with other half of the roll and secure with a skewer if necessary.
Serve with any of your favourite sides.
Enjoy!

Kalamata, Sundried Tomato and Oregano Bread

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This is the perfect weather to make bread, I sat the dough out on the verandah to rise and after the designated 45mins, it has risen beautifully to a big puffy ball. Finding a warm, draught free place is essential when making good soft bread. I’ve tried many bread recipes over the last few years and I’ve never found a better method than Dan Lepards’. His kneading method is very different to any I’ve come across before, most methods encourage a lot of kneading and being quite rough with the dough where Dans’ method encourages gentleness and more of an emphasis on resting times. If you want to know more about his bread making and other baking techniques I strongly encourage you to buy his book Short and Sweet, it’s very informative and interesting and everything I’ve made from it has turned out perfect.
This recipe isn’t from his book, it’s a mixture of a few different bread recipes I’ve used before as I just wanted to use up the small amount of olives and sun-dried tomatoes I had left over from an antipasto platter we’d had the day before. This then started my brain ticking and inspired some veggie burgers; Honey Roasted Eggplant and Haloumi with Roast Capsicum Sauce (click for the recipe).
Happy baking!

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Makes 4 large rolls

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups bread flour (regular plain flour is fine though)
7g sachet dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbs kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
2 tbs sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup luke warm water
olive oil
milk

Method

In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and dried oregano. Toss through the olives and sun-dried tomatoes. Add the water and with a wooden spoon, roughly incorporate into a ‘scraggly’ dough. Cover bowl with a damp tea towel and leave for 10 mins.
Lightly oil a clean work surface and hands. Bring the dough together in the bowl and turn out onto the work surface. Gently knead for 1 min. Return to the bowl and cover with tea towel again. Leave for 15 mins. Repeat this process twice more and then leave to rise for 45mins in a warm place. The dough should grow by at least another half.
Turn out onto work surface, oiled again if necessary, and knead briefly. Cut the dough into four even pieces and shape each into a round roll shape. Place on a lined baking tray, cover with the tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 45mins.
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Once the rolls have risen, carefully cut a slit in the top of each roll and brush lightly with milk.
Bake for about 30mins, or until golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Sweet Potato, Ginger and Kaffir Lime Loaf (Vegan, Gluten Free)

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Now that we have a house to live in, temporarily that is, we decided to clean out the car that we’ve been living in for the last two months. Including all the tinned food that we didn’t get through, I had one sweet potato left, a bit wrinkly on the outside but perfect for a good roasting. So, roast it I did, even though I didn’t have a plan for it yet. I love roasting sweet potatoes whole, in their skin, it’s a really nice way to make mash too, prevents watery mash, nobody likes watery mash.

At first I was thinking of making some sweet potato muffins, I got all excited about it, bought the ingredients I needed, only to discover that although we are living in a real house now, the kitchen is still a share house kitchen and is mainly full of random schooner glasses from different pubs around town. Definitely no muffin tin to be seen. Luckily, amongst the many baking trays (essential for frozen chips, one of my pommy housemates favourites) I found a loaf tin. Ok, I’ll make a loaf instead.

Due to the amazing asian markets in Darwin, I now get to have delicious things like ginger and kaffir lime leaves at my fingertips, whenever I like. So stoked. Stay tuned for some more asian inspired recipes to come over the next few weeks.

Considering this loaf is vegan and gluten free, I am really happy with how well it rose, whist still staying beautifully moist and spongey. When it was warm from the oven, it was delicious with some marmalade and fresh berries. If you don’t finish it all in the first day though, slice it up and keep it in the fridge, or the freezer, and toast it under the grill to serve. I’ve been enjoying it with some other toppings such as olive oil spread and strawberry jam, or ricotta and honey, or yoghurt and tahini. So delicious!

 

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Recipe

Ingredients

1 medium sweet potato

1 cup coconut milk

1 tsp lemon juice

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 tbs chia bran

1/4 cup rice malt syrup

1 tbs fresh ginger grated

2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups plain gluten free flour

1 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar, plus 2 tbs

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarb soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbs sesame seeds

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line a baking tray with baking paper and a loaf tin with oil and baking paper.

Using a fork or metal skewer, pierce the sweet potato all over. Place on lined oven tray and roast for about an hour or until very soft. Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthways, scoop out the flesh into a bowl and mash with a fork.

In a small bowl, place the coconut milk and lemon juice, stir to combine and leave for about 5mins.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut oil, chia bran, rice malt syrup, fresh ginger, kaffir lime leaves and sweet potato (make sure the sweet potato is still a little warm to prevent the coconut oil from solidifying). Let sit for about 10 mins. Stir in the milk mixture.

In another bowl sift the flours, ground ginger, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt. Stir in the sugar. Add the wet mixture and stir well to combine, but don’t over mix.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Smooth the surface and sprinkle with the extra coconut sugar and the sesame seeds.

Bake for 45-60 mins or until springs back when pressed or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for about 20 mins before removing.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Bruschetta with Heirloom Tomato, Basil and Balsamic or Marinated Zucchini, Goats Cheese and Mint.

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We just spent nearly a week in Cairns, I didn’t really want to leave! Life there is so focused on being outdoors, there is a fantastic energy in the city centre, as well as a beautiful relaxed vibe just a few minutes down the road in the smaller, beach side suburbs. We spent days lying in the sun, reading, fishing and putting some final touches on the 4WD.
We have four storage drawers under the bed; one entirely dedicated to spices, as well as a set of shelves on one side, holding all my oils and sauces. A bit ridiculous I know but I’m so inspired by all the beautiful ingredients I’ve been getting that I just have to keep cooking! And considering I had to say goodbye to eighty percent of my cooking equipment and ingredients when we decided to live out of our car, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve still been managing to come up with.
We stopped in beautiful Port Douglas yesterday to meet up with some friends for a picnic. I had been to the farmers’ markets in Cairns the day before and had bought some beautiful produce, including these unbelievably sweet heirloom tomatoes, huge zucchinis and big bunches of fresh herbs.
These bruschettas are so simple, and could easily be jazzed up with some extras like bocconcini or anchovies on the tomato ones and some pine nuts on the zucchini ones. I love the freshness of the quickly marinated vegetables though, i find them so much more delicious than the oily marinated ones you find in delis and from the jar. The key here is good, fresh ingredients, nice bread, well toasted and definitely don’t forget to rub it with the cut garlic clove while it’s still hot; the taste is superb and not to mention the smell!

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Recipe

Serves 6 as a starter

Ingredients
1 long baguette
4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half

Tomato Bruschetta
A few handfuls of heirloom tomatoes, sliced into bite size pieces
1/2 spanish onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn, small leaves reserved for presentation
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Zucchini and Goat’s Cheese Bruschetta
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup goats cheese
1 long red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup mint leaves, torn
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Method
Combine the zucchini, vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper in a bowl or jar and toss well to combine. Leave for at least 30 mins to marinate.
Combine the tomatoes, onion, olives, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper and toss to combine. Leave for about 10 mins.
For he baguette, slice into pieces as big as you would like. Toast under a grill, on a bbq, in a toaster, etc. Once golden brown, rub well with the cut side of the garlic clove, you will be able to smell the aroma of the garlic as long as the bread is still hot.
For the tomato bruschettas, top half of the toasts with the tomato mixture and sprinkle with the reserved basil leaves.
For the zucchini bruschettas, spread the toasts with the goats cheese. Top with the zucchini, layered with the mint leaves. Sprinkle with the chilli and drizzle with lemon when ready to serve.