Beetroot & Bocconcini Salad

Beetroot & Bocconcini Salad

Yes, more beetroot. If you have it, why not use it right. Super yummy salad inspired by a starter we had a a wedding a few weeks ago. Enjoy

Ingredients

2 medium cooked and peeled beetroots
1/2 cup bocconcini
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup fresh rocket leaves
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic glaze
salt & pepper to taste

Method

Slice the beetroot as desired. I decided to cut mine into different shapes… cubes, slices and quarters. Roast the pine nuts in a dry non stick pan for 3 – 4 minutes until you can smell the smoky flavour. Roasting the pine nuts gives it an amazing flavour. Arrange the rocket, beetroot, bocconcini and pine nuts on a plate. Drizzle with oil, balsamic and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy

Smoked Salmon Salad

Smoked Salmon Salad

I have only recently started eating fish again as the fish I had as a child was from a box and tasted horrible so I eventually decided to give it another try (not from a box) 10 years later and what do you know, now I love it. This is a simple salad and a great meal for a light lunch. For me smoked salmon has to be accompanied by capers and my all time favourite… lemon!

Ingredients

store bought smoked salmon
capers, drained
1 radish, thinly sliced
6 strips of english cucumber, thinly sliced
rocket leaves
1 tbsp chopped dill
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
salt and black pepper
fresh lemon to serve

Method

Using a mandoline definitely makes this job much easier but if you do not have one you can use a peeler to get thin slices of your cucumber. The radish (being small) would probably be better off being sliced with a knife if you don’t have a mandoline and watch those fingers no matter which one of these you choose to use.

Mix the cream cheese, dill, lemon zest, salt and pepper together. For my assembly I rolled up the salmon and cucumber and used dollops of the cream cheese to be the anchors for my radish slices. Finished off with capers, rocket and fresh lemon. It could not be easier. Make sure to get a mouth full of everything together when you chow down.

You could also roll the salmon and cream cheese mixture into the cucumber. I do this often, but I decided to go for a different presentation for this photo. Enjoy

Beetroot & Goats Cheese Salad

Beetroot & Goats Cheese Salad

I saw these beauties in the shop and of course I had to buy them. This is a very simple and quick starter to whip up and perfect for a fresh summer lunch. 2.5 small beetroots per person will be perfect for a starter portion.

Ingredients

Baby yellow beet roots, leaves included
100g goats cheese
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt & black pepper

Method

Peel and wash your beetroots and take off the leaves. Give the leaves a wash too. Next its time to dust off that mandoline and get slicing. Thinly slice your washed beetroots. Arrange your beetroot leaves, sliced beetroot and goats cheese on a plate.

For the dressing whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and serve with your salad. As easy as that 🙂

Chicken & Three Veg

Chicken & Three Veg

The title of this recipe is correct, it is however chicken with three veg. Thing is, there are a few more steps in preparing this meal than usual but it is well worth it. For Christmas my dearest hubby bought me a Sansaire Sous Vide machine – http://sansaire.com which is awesome I must add.

It was such a pleasure to make chicken roulade without having to keep checking the thermometer to make sure the temperature of the water did not change. Also, it gives you time to do all the other bits and pieces while the chicken is happily cooking away in its water bath.

So without further adieu, here is my recipe for today.

Chicken Roulade

2 chicken breasts
1/3 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used macadamia and almonds)
1/3 cup crumbed feta cheese
10 slices of streaky bacon
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
few sprigs thyme

Method

Prepare your water bath. I used my sous vide machine and cooked the chicken for 70 minutes at 65 degrees celsius.

While the water is heating up beat your chicken breasts flat with a meat mallet. Lay 5 strips of bacon on some glad wrap and place the flattened chicken breast on top. Mix the sundried tomatoes, feta and nuts together and spread half of this mixture onto your first chicken breast. Now roll the chicken breast in the glad wrap and continue rolling until it has formed a tight sausage. Tie the end of the glad wrap tightly and place in a zip log bag. If you have a vacuum sealer, use that. Repeat with the second chicken breast.

Once rolled and ready in the zip log bags place in your water bath and let it do its thing. Once the 70 min are done remove from the water bath and fry in a pan with the butter, oil and thyme to cook the bacon until crispy and brown. I always check the temperature of my chicken to make sure its cooked. If it reaches an inner temperature of 75 degrees celsius I am happy that it is cooked. Here is a good video example of how to roll a chicken roulade – https://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=SG&v=aClRzPaYvEU&hl=en-GB

Now for the Three Veg

Cauliflower Puree

500 g cauliflower
1 cup cream
1/4 cup verjuice
salt and pepper to taste
good pinch of saffron (optional)

Method

Combine all the ingredients into a pot and cook until the cauliflower is nice and soft. Transfer ti a blender or a food processor and puree until it has reached the desired consistence. The puree seems grainy because it is. I did not push it through a fine sieve but please do if you prefer a smoother texture. As for the saffron, I added saffron because I wanted to get a nice vibrant colour puree that will contrast with the purple carrots on the plate. If you do not have saffron it is no problem, you can easily make it without.

Purple Carrot Chips

3 purple carrots
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
olive oil
salt

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Peel you carrots, chuck the skin and then continue to peel to get nice thin slices of carrot to use for the chips. I did some bigger pieces and then some small thin strings to have different sizes of chips, I even rolled some of the bigger slices of carrots up to make ring shaped chips. I think it look nice on the plate having different sizes. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and thyme and bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes or until the chips are nice and crispy.

Asparagus Salad

3 large green asparagus
salt

Method

Using a vegetable peeler slice thin strips of the raw asparagus. As I dressing for the salad I used some of the oil from the carrot chips after they came out the oven. The carrots turns the oil into a nice sweet yellow oil which is great on the salad. Season with some salt and serve.

Yes this recipe seems long but if you look at all the steps separately it is pretty easy and straight forward. Thanks for reading. Enjoy

Pork Belly with Roasted Pears & Cranberry Balsamic Sauce

Pork Belly with Roasted Pears & Cranberry Balsamic sauce

Juicy pork with crispy crackling, sweet balsamic and cranberry sauce and yummy rosemary roasted pears. Who can say no to that? I hope you all enjoy.

Pork Belly

Ingredients

700g pork belly
sea salt
olive oil

Method

Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Score the skin of the pork belly and rub with the salt and olive oil. If you find it difficult to score the skin place the pork belly in the freezer for a few minutes as this will make it easier and make sure you use a sharp knife.

The piece of pork I used was approximately 700g and I cooked it for 1 hour 15 minutes and then upped the temperature to 200 for a further 25 minutes. It all depends on the size of you pork but the increase in temperature at the end is to make sure the skin crisps up to make that nice crackling.

Once cooked, remove and rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

Cranberry Balsamic Sauce

Ingredients

2 cups cranberries
1/2 cup castor sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method

Add all the ingredients (except for the balsamic) into a small saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve. Place back in the saucepan, if it seems thick add a bit of water. Add your balsamic and stir to combine cooking for a further 5 – 10 minutes.

Roasted Pears

Ingredients

2 pears
4 sprigs rosemary
olive oil

Method

Peel and slice the pears into 1 cm thick pieces. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt, add the rosemary sprigs and drizzle with some olive oil. Roast in the oven for the last 15 minutes that the pork is going and leave in the oven to roast further once the pork has been removed and is resting.

Serve everything together and enjoy.

Grilled Halloumi & Rocket Pesto Salad

Halloumi & Rocket Pesto Salad

Few things as delicious as biting into a squeaky piece of grilled halloumi with lemon. Quick, easy and definitely worth it. Give it a try and you will not be disappointed. This recipe serves 2 and the pesto can be kept in the fridge in a jar and used again.

Pesto

Ingredients

2 cups rocket leaves
1 cup baby spinach leaves
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, slightly roasted

Method

Place all the ingredients and half of the oil in a food processor and process together, while processing slowly add the remaining oil and allow to process until smooth.

Ingredients

1 block of halloumi, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup rockets leaves
hand full of chopped pecans
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp water
lemon wedges to serve

Method

Heat the nuts, sugar and water in a small pot and stir while cooking until the sugar has dissolved making sure it does not burn. Through out onto some baking paper and allow to cool before serving. Grill the halloumi on a lightly oiled hot griddle pan for about 30 – 40 seconds a side. Serve with the pesto, nuts, rockets leaves and lemon wedges.

Moussaka

Moussaka

I call this moussaka because it is egg plant with a white sauce, minced beef layered and baked in the oven, but it is not traditional. Every time I make lasagne or a moussaka I put something else in the minced beef sauce. You cant really go wrong. Also, I add mozzarella to my white sauce, something my mother in law taught me. Either way, here is my combination of ingredients. If you are missing some of the non essential ingredients in this list, no biggy. Cover with lots of cheese and you will have a winner.

I used what they call here in Singapore, pearl aubergine (also known as baby eggplant) as I could not find the normal eggplants so I used 8 of them and sliced them into either 3 or 4 slices based on the size. This recipes serves 6 people.

Ingredients

Eggplant

8 baby eggplants, end removed and sliced into 1 cm thick slices
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt

Method

Brush the eggplant slices with oil, season with salt and grill either in the oven or on a griddle pan for 6 minutes turning over half way through cooking time.

Minced Beef Sauce

Ingredients

800 g minced beef
1.5 cups grated carrot
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 handfull of fresh basil
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 cans of whole tomatoes
1 cup of red wine
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

Method

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion, garlic and carrot for 3 minutes. Add the minced beef and fry for another 3 minutes. Next add your tomato paste and oregano. Stir well. Next add the red wine to deglaze the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Last but not least add your whole tomatoes and season with some salt and black pepper. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour if you have time.

White Sauce

Ingredients

4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1/4 cup of cream
2 cups milk
1/2 cup of grated mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste

Method

Melt the butter in a pot and add the flour to make the rouge. Add the cream and milk and stir well. Allow this to simmer for a while until it starts to thicken. Once it starts to thicken add the cheese, salt and pepper, stir well and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until you have a nice thick sauce.

Now the layering!

Start with a layer of eggplant followed by meat sauce and repeat. Last layer only use eggplant and cover with white sauce. Top with a good hand full of grated mozzarella and cheddar and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 – 15 minutes before you serve. Enjoy