Beetroot Carpaccio with Horseradish Dressing

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This recipe came about as a result of some amazing fresh beets that I picked up at the farmers market and my new love for horseradish cream. This is a simple but impressive starter or light meal, or you could serve it with some grilled meat and crusty bread to bulk it out. Replace the horseradish cream with dijon mustard if you’d like the dish to remain vegan.dsc_1110

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Recipe

Ingredients

Serves 4 as a starter or light meal

4 fresh beetroot, stalks trimmed and discarded, leaves reserved
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbs fresh chopped dill, plus extra to serve
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp honey
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsp horseradish cream (or mustard for vegan)
salt and pepper
50g baby capers
70g walnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
Crusty bread

Method

Place the beetroot in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil over high heat and continue to boil for about 45mins or until a knife inserts easily into the flesh. Drain and rinse under cold water,using your hands to slip away the skin. Set aside and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, to make the dressing, Place the lemon juice, 2 tbs chopped dill, red onion, honey, olive oil, vinegar, horseradish and salt and pepper in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake thoroughly to combine.
Using a mandolin, thinly slice the beetroot into rounds.
On a platter arrange the beetroot leaves, and then the beetroot. Drizzle over the dressing. Sprinkle with the capers, remaining dill and walnuts.
Serve with crusty bread.
Enjoy!

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Watermelon, Radish and Pistachio Salad with Herbed Quark

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Here is a beautiful fresh recipe that would be perfect for Summer, not really now, in this freezing cold, disgusting wintry weather. Back in February was when I actually made this salad, we took it to the beach to watch the sunset and enjoy the beautiful warm weather. It’s just that I haven’t had two seconds to spare until now to actually sit down and get the recipe up on here for you all. I’m struggling to remember how I actually made the dressing, I did have it written on scrap of paper somewhere, but who knows where that is hiding now. Lucky it’s a pretty straightforward salad, you could almost make it just from looking at the photos, which, as you can see, there are plenty of (they are all just too pretty with those radishes!)

If you’ve never heard of quark before, it’s a European style cheese, similar in texture to cottage cheese or ricotta and similar in flavour to yoghurt. It is a healthier option to cheese as it is lower in fat and salt, and has a lot more protein than yoghurt. It is becoming more available in Australia these days, I was surprised to find it in my local supermarket. However, if you can’t find it, ricotta or feta will work just fine in this recipe.

This salad is perfect as a fancy little entree or, if you want to serve it as a main, you could beef it up with a grain, such as pearl barley, or add some cooked prawns and some fresh crusty bread alongside. Yum!

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

Half a small watermelon, sliced into small triangles

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, half finely chopped and half left whole

1/4 cup fresh chives, finely chopped

300g quark

edible flowers and nasturtium leaves

3/4 cup roasted pistachios, roughly chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

salt and pepper

 

Method

To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and a 1/4 cup of the pistachios in a small food processor. Process until the pistachios are finely chopped and the dressing is well combined. Taste and check for seasoning and a balance in acidity and sweetness. Adjust if necessary.

To make the herbed quark, combine the quark, finely chopped basil and chives, mix well.

On four plates, arrange the watermelon, radishes, whole basil leaves, quenelles of the herbed quark, flowers, nasturtium leaves and the rest of the pistachios. Drizzle with the dressing.

Enjoy!

 

 

Panzanella Salad with Haloumi and Pomegranate Molasses

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Hello again. It’s been a long time between posts! Over 6 months I think! But don’t mistake this to mean that I haven’t been cooking, in fact, I’ve been cooking so much that I just haven’t had time to write down recipes or take photos of everything I’ve been doing. The best I’ve been able to manage lately is a quick snap on my phone and an upload to instagram (which I kinda love).
So much has happened over these last six months, the last time I posted was from a friends apartment in Amsterdam, just a couple of days before I flew to Mykonos to work for a month as a private chef in a Villa there. Oh how I wish I had sufficient words to describe that month. To keep it brief, it was one of the most challenging months of my life, physically, mentally and emotionally. I was struggling to figure out why life had sent me there, apart from learning that I never EVER want to be rich. It was an amazing (if not soul destroying) experience and I wouldn’t take back a second of it.

Then it was on to Turkey, one of my most favourite and cherished countries. The food, the people, the landscape, it’s incredible. I spent a couple of months slowly roaming around, a large chunk of which was spent in the crystal clear waters of the mediterranean sea, free diving with turtles and lying on the pebbly beaches. I met some beautiful people and had a beautiful time. I love that place.

After that came Indonesia, where I met up with some friends and also showed my Mum around Bali for her first ever trip overseas. We ate, drank, lay on the beach and hooned around on a scooter, she loved it.
Finally, after being away from my home town for over 12 months, it was time to head back. Fortunately I had already been contacted by a friend here in Aus that owns the cutest little fish restaurant right on the beach about doing some work for them upon my return. I took the job and we haven’t looked back! it’s been an amazing experience and I feel so fortunate to be working with such kind and generous people. I’m learning a lot and have the freedom to be as creative as I like.
This summer has been a total whirlwind of work, parties and beach time. It’s been totally amazing. I could go on and on about all that has happened over the last six months, but, I highly doubt anyone wants to know every detail, and to be honest I can’t even remember half of them. I just know that I’m happier than ever and so excited for everything to come.
Anyway, here is a quick and easy recipe for one of my most favourite types of salads, I absolutely love the way the bread soaks up the dressing, along with the pops of sweetness from the pomegranate, the saltiness of the haloumi and the freshness of the herbs. It’s perfect on it’s own or you could serve it alongside some grilled seafood or meat. The recipe simply lists the ingredients I used, without amounts, so you can adjust it to however many people you are catering for (and also because I can’t find the piece of paper I wrote the actual recipe down on….)DSC_0030DSC_0028DSC_0026DSC_0003

Recipe

Ingredients

Wholemeal sourdough, toasted and cut or torn into pieces

Heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

Baby cucumbers, sliced

Red and green capsicum, sliced

Red onion, finely sliced

Kalamata olives

Rocket

Mint, leaves picked

Pomegranate seeds

Haloumi, sliced 1cm thick

Olive oil

Fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Pomegranate molasses

Method

In a large bowl, gently toss together the sourdough, tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, onion, olives, rocket, mint and half of the pomegranate seeds with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Leave to marinate and for the flavours to develop for about 15mins, tossing gently every 5mins.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan or frying pan to medium/hot with a little olive oil. Fry the haloumi until golden. Set aside and keep warm.

Place the salad into serving bowls, top with the remaining pomegranate seeds, drizzle with the pomegranate molasses and place the haloumi on top.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Banana, Coconut and Chocolate Surprise Muffins (Gluten and Dairy Free)

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These muffins are to die for, especially when warm from the oven. As with most muffins, they are best eaten on the day they are made, but, due to the coconut and the moist chocolatey centre, these guys are more like little cakes, and will stay moist and delicious for up to five days. Ha! As if they will last that long!

This recipe was created for a new Australian company that contacted me regarding recipe development for one of the products that they send out to their subscribers every two months, along with their magazine ‘Provenace’; including recipes and information on the Australian producers. The company is called Spiced Fig, and I highly recommend subscribing to their tote, when I received mine I was overwhelmed with the beautiful products inside. In fact, I’ve got a Moroccan Chicken Curry simmering away on the stove right now, the sauce being one of the products in the tote. It smells pretty fantastic!

So, the product I ‘had’ (damn!) to develop recipes for was Nuibella, a certified organic, coconut and chocolate spread. It is seriously delicious, and, all natural, fair-trade, gluten free and vegan friendly. This muffin recipe wasn’t chosen for the magazine, my other, even more special recipe was chosen, but you will have to subscribe to find out what it was!

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Recipe

Ingredients

125g coconut oil, melted

165g raw sugar

3 large, very ripe bananas, roughly chopped

2 eggs

1 tsp coconut essence

300g gluten free, self-raising flour, sifted

50g desiccated coconut

12 heaped teaspoons of cold Nuibella

Chipped coconut to sprinkle

Method

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius, grease and line a 12 hole muffin tin.

Process oil, sugar, banana, eggs and coconut essence in a food processor until smooth. Combine the flour and desiccated coconut in a large bowl, then fold in banana mixture. Do not over mix.

Evenly distribute half of the batter into the muffin tray and gently place a heaped tsp of cold Nuibella into the centre of each, making sure that you have enough batter in each hole so that the Nuibella is not touching the bottom of the tin. Then, carefully and evenly spoon the rest of the batter around and on top of the Nuibella (spooning the batter around the Nuibella before on top of it will ensure the Nuibella stays in the middle of the muffins whilst baking). Sprinkle with the chipped coconut.

Bake for about 15-20mins or until muffins are golden and spring back when touched.

Cool in pan for 10 mins and then cool on a wire rack. Or eat one while it’s lovely and warm!