Roast Vegetable Quinoa Salad

I’d had a naughty few days and needed a healthy pick me up. I saw a similar version of this salad online somewhere and just adapted the recipe to use up what I had in the fridge. I had some sweet potato, heaps of fresh coriander and some ricotta. The only thing I bought was the punnet of cherry tomatoes because the idea of using roast cherry tomatoes was too appealing to pass up. It was a very filling salad, but you never feel heavy after eating something like this. Oh and I LOVE olives. I usually buy them in jars, and this week at ALDI I found they had jars of olives for about half the price of the local supermarket! YAY! So I bought a few jars and have been enjoying my little snack for a few days now.

So as far as the roast vegetables go, all I roasted was tomatoes and sweet potato. Some other options could be parsnip, beetroot, brussel sprouts, pumpkin, artichoke or capsicum. Its totally up to you and your fridge! I also saw a recipe during the week that had roast parsnip, artichoke and beetroot, and they sautéed tofu in soy sauce and added it to the salad. That sounded delicious!

Roast Vegetable Quinoa Salad

(Serves 4, Prep time 10mins, Cooking time 25mins)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of uncooked Quinoa

1 punnet of cherry tomatoes

1/2 a large sweet potato cubed

1/2 cup of pitted olives (any kind)

1/4 of chopped chopped coriander/cilantro

1/2 cup of light ricotta cheese

Fresh squeezed lime juice and salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Spray a little olive oil cooking spray onto a baking trap and add the cubed sweet potato and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top and bake for about 20minutes qt 200C. The tomatoes are ready when the skins start to break.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa in a rice cooker with three cups of water.
  3. When the quinoa and vegetables are done, combine in a large bowl with half the coriander, half the ricotta, the olives, lime juice and salt and pepper.
  4. place the rest of the coriander and ricotta on top for serving. You could also fancy it up with a couple of wedges of lime!

 

 

 

Beef and Veggie Pasties

I make pasties about once a month or so usually when I have run out of fresh vegetables but still have some frozen. I always have some beef mince and puff pastry in the freezer so its an easy option that’s pretty fast to make, very delicious, and very popular!

Beef and Veggie Pasties

Prep time 15mins, cooking time 25mins

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed

3oog beef mince

1 medium brown onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley

1 cup of frozen peas, corn and carrot

1/2 cup of diced fresh vegetables such as potato or mushroom

1/4 cup barbeque sauce

2 tbs tomato paste

3/4 cup beef stock

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Get two large baking trays/cookie sheets and place a sheet of baking paper on each.

place a little olive oil into a medium saucepan, when hot add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion is soft. Add the beef mince and cook through.

Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients except the pastry!

When the beef is cooked add the bowl full of saucy vegetables and parsley to the beef, stir to combine and bring to a simmer for 5minutes or until some of the liquid has reduced. Set aside for 10minutes and allow to cool.

Cut each puff pastry sheet in half so you have 6 strips of pastry. Place one strip at a time on a baking tray, and add about half a cup of the cooling beef mixture on one end of the strip. Fold the other end of the strip over the beef mixture so the edges of the pastry touch. fold over the edges, about 1/2 cm in, and then tap down with a fork.

Repeat this process with the other 5 strips of pastry, three pasties to a baking tray. Poke the tops of the pasties with a fork a couple of times. This stops the pasties from puffing up too much while baking.

Place in the oven and bake for 20-25minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top.

Eat your pasties with some tomato sauce and a salad. Or if you really have nothing else in the fridge just eat it by itself and then go shopping the next morning ;).

 

 

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes w Cream Cheese Frosting

I made these cupcakes for a family bbq on the weekend and they were awesome! Not the easiest cupcakes you will ever make, but the little bit of extra effort is well worth it. And the cream cheese frosting is delicious. I now understand all the hype about red velvet cupcakes! I got this recipe from http://www.browneyedbaker.com which has a lot of other awesome recipes! I also made dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting (see the photo below) and they were also delicious!! Check them out at http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/06/10/dark-chocolate-cupcakes-with-peanut-butter-frosting/

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 20 minutes

For the Cupcakes:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons red food coloring
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin/cupcake pan with liners.

2. On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the egg. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth.

5. Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another couple of minutes until completely combined and smooth.

6. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center of the largest cupcake comes out clean.

7. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

8. To make the frosting: Using the whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl down as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.

Try the dark chocolate with peanut butter frosting! http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/06/10/dark-chocolate-cupcakes-with-peanut-butter-frosting/

 

 

 

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

 

I got the idea for this from Kat Brown on Pinterest of course! There is something about being exhausted during a week of night shifts that makes me want to bake. Probably because i’m always baking comfort food. I went to the IGA down the street today and got some old bananas from the boys to make some banana bread. It was DIVINE. The cinnamon makes a beautiful difference to the original.

I did alter the original recipe slightly to suit my pan and my tastes. I prefer my banana bread not too sweet.

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

(Prep time 10mins, cooking time 40mins)

 

Ingredients:

 

For the bread

3 over-ripe bananas, smashed up

1/3 cup melted butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

dash of salt

1 1/2 cups flour

 

For the swirl

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180. Butter a loaf pan. Mine was 12 x 22cm, but you could use any sort. Just keep a close eye on it in the oven, and adjust the time as needed
  2. Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together. sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture. Then gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix!
  3. In a small dish, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Add half of the batter to the loaf pan and then sprinkle half, or a little more than half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter, and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon-sugar on top.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Remember, if you’re using a different-sized loaf pan, be careful and keep a close eye on it.
I ate mine still warm, and walked down the street to share it with the boys from the IGA. According to them I’m an ‘absolute legend’!
Notice the steam coming off the bread in the photo!
 
However, I think It will still be delicious cold!

Sultana & Cinnamon Mini Muffins

So………… I bought another cook book. But! It was only $5! It is an Australian Woman’s Weekly book called Super Diet. Foods based around certain diets. For example, the muffins made today were from the gluten-free section. My sister-in-law Holly is gluten intolerant so I am always looking for new dishes to make that are gluten free. Having said that, I didn’t use gluten free flour (Holly is in Adelaide and I’m certain all the muffins will be eaten by then) as the recipe suggests. This would be a good recipe for those allergic to dairy as it requires only milk which I substituted with soy milk. I have started using a soy milk called So Natural. It is in one word – divine. It has a delicious nutty flavour that makes everything taste better and also is nice to drink by itself – so i’m officially hooked.

Also, I’ve decided to make a taste vs ease meter. (not sure if it’ll stick). This recipe is a definite 10. The muffins were super tasty and probably the easiest I have made (other than a packet mix!) The recipe says that the total prep and cooking time is 30mins, but I made up the mixture in 5minutes and cooking time was 15 minutes. So I think the most unpracticed of bakers could do it in max 25mins!

 

Sultana & Cinnamon Mini Muffins

(prep and cooking time 25mins, makes 30)

 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup self raising flour (or gluten free baking flour)

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 sultanas

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

 

Cinnamon sugar:

2 tsp caster sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

 

Method

Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan forced).

Line 2 12 hole (1 tbs/20ml) mini muffin pans with paper cases.

Combine flour, sugar, oats and sultanas in a medium bowl.

Whisk milk, oil and egg in a small bowl.

Stir into dry ingredients (do not overmix; mixture should be lumpy).

Divide mixture into paper cases.

Bake for 15minutes (until a skewer poked in the center comes out clean) and when done, remove from oven and turn onto a wire rack.

Combine caster sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over hot muffins.

 

Its that easy!

 

If you care, here is the nutritional count per muffin:

2.9g total fat (0.5g saturated); 286KJ (64 cal); 8.6g carbohydrate; 1.1g protein; 0.3g fibre.

 

 

 

Hot Cross Scones

My husband and I both love hot cross buns and they are certainly very popular around Easter time. However every time I go to the supermarket I really feel like I am being ripped off having to pay so much for 6 which we would probably consume in one day! The recipes are actually really low cost and the only thing that we had to buy was some sultanas/rasins! However, after arriving home with my sultanas I realised that I had run out of plain flour! So, I used a recipe for scones and essentially made hot cross scones! This recipe was REALLY FAST as they do not need the rising time that the yeast in bread requires, and the scones were still VERY tasty. I also think that this recipe is very child friendly, it might me a nice family Easter activity which allows you to explain all about why there is a cross on hot cross buns!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 60g butter
  • 4 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 cup sultanas and rasins
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup milk

Crosses

  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup water

Glaze

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbs caster sugar

Preheat oven to 220C

Sift dry ingretients into a bowl

Rub butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs

Stir sugar and egg into dry ingredients and enough milk to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured board and knead lightly.

Pat out to approximately 1cm thickness and using a 5cm round cutter, cut into scones.

place onto a lightly greased oven tray.

Crosses: mix together four and water to make a soft paste (I added about a tablespoon extra water as it was easier to pipe). Using a piping bag and small plain tube, pipe a cross on each scone.

Bake at 220C for 12-15 min.

Glaze: in a small saucepan combine the water and caster sugar, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove scones from oven and brush warm scones with warm glaze.

We ate them with melted butter which was delicious!

Happy Easter!

Lauren