Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera

Every Monday its time to bring out the thinking cap for a meatless Monday dinner. I remembered a pasta I used to have when I was still young and living in South Africa with my now husband and we used to frequent this great restaurant called Cappuccino’s. This would be about 12 years ago! They had this yummy vegetarian pasta and this is my attempt at recreating it. Enjoy

Ingredients

6 medium sized soft tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano
1/4 cup flat leave parsley
3/4 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper for seasoning
200ml thickened cream
1 green pepper, sliced
1 large yellow zucchini, sliced
1 large green zucchini, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes

Method

Heat oil in a pot and fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs tomato puree and water and season with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 1.5 hours stirring occasionally. Once the tomatoes are soft use a stick blender and blend the mixture in the pot or pan until smooth and add the cream and cherry tomatoes. Allow to simmer while the.

While this is simmering away, fry the sliced vegetables in a pan with a bit of oil. Fry until it starts to brown a bit. Add the tomato sauce to the vegetables and simmer while cooking the pasta of your choice as per packet instructions. Serve with parmesan and enjoy.

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Butternut & Maple Bacon Risotto

Butternut & Maple Bacon Risotto

I love risotto and to keep it interesting its always good to experiment with some new flavours. I think a beetroot risotto will be my next mission but for now I present to you this yummy dish… enjoy

Ingredients – Butternut

800g butternut, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Method

Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees celcius and line a baking tray with baking paper. In a bowl mix the oil and butternut together and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on the baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until its soft. (Leave oven on for bacon) Remove from oven and process with a stick blender until smooth. Set aside.

Ingredients – Maple Bacon

8 strips of streaky bacon
3 table spoons of maple syrup

Method

Mix the bacon and maple syrup together and arrange on a lined baking tray. Cook in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, remove from oven and set aside. Break into smaller pieces.

Ingredients

2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
1.5 cups risotto rice
2L of vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
40 g butter

Method

Bring the stock to boil in a large pot. Fry the shallots and rosemary in a pan with a bit of oil until the onion is soft. Add the rice, stir and fry for another 2 minutes. Next add the white wine and scrape bottom of pan cooking until the wine has been absorbed. Now the stirring begins. Adding 2 ladles of stock at a time, stir until that stock has been absorbed and then add the next 2 ladles of stock. Cook until the rice is soft but still has a bit of a chewy centre. Turn off the heat, add the parmesan, butter and butternut. Mix well. Serve with the maple bacon and some grated parmesan. Enjoy

Fresh Tomato & Basil Pasta

Fresh Tomato & Basil Pasta

My garden has been producing the most beautiful produce so I decided to use the tomatoes and basil in a simple dish but keep it fresh to highlight these wonderful flavours. This is quick and easy to make and very yummy.

Ingredients

your choice of dried pasta
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 shallots, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan to serve
1/4 cup olive oil

Method

Boil the pasta as per packet instructions and drain. While pasta is cooking heat oil in a pan and fry the garlic and onion. I p-refer to burn mine a bit as it adds some nice sweet flavours to the pasta. Once fried, add in the cooked pasta, chopped tomatoes and basil, mix together and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the grated parmesan and there you go. As simple as that.

Smashed Avo on Toast

Smashed Avocado on Toast

Simple to prepare and super tasty. My husband and I are huge avocado fans and we could eat it with almost anything. This Aussie breakfast is one of our favourites. Delicious

Ingredients

Eggs

4 eggs
1 tbsp white vinegar

Method

Heat water and vinegar in a pot or pan until it starts to bubble at the bottom but not yet at boil. Make sure you have enough water to submerge the eggs. Whisk the water to create a bit of a whirl pool and pour eggs in one at a time. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes, remove from water and allow to drain on some kitchen paper while preparing the rest. Fresher eggs will help to keep yolk and white together so the fresher, the better.

Avo

2 soft avocados
1/4 cup feta cheese
1-2 tbsp lemon juice (depending on your preferred taste)
salt and black pepper

Method

Using a fork mush all the above together, spread on the toast topped with the poached eggs and serve with fresh rocket, mint and lemon wedge. Enjoy

Cheddar & Balsamic Onion Toasties

Balsamic Onion & Cheddar Toasties

Toasties, the absolute pleasure food with so many options. Pick anything you like to eat and smack it between two slices of good bread and you have heaven on a plate. Remember… lots of cheese!

Ingredients

4 slices of fresh bread of your choice
1 cup grated aged white cheddar
1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt
butter for bread

Method

Fry the onion with the salt in a non stick pan with a bit of oil until soft. Add the sugar until dissolved and then add the balsamic vinegar. Allow to simmer until the onions are nice and sticky and the balsamic has become a thick sauce. Butter the outside of the bread and top with the cheese and onions. Fry on a griddle pan until the cheese has melted and the bread has nice grill marks on the outside. Enjoy with a nice cold beer.

No bake Lime Curd Cheesecake

No bake Lime Curd Cheesecake

I am literally addicted to any kind of citrus curd. Its pretty simple to make… A little elbow grease and separating eggs and your golden. Tasty, looks beautiful and a great finish to a dinner party. Most of all, make it in advance and let it sit in the fridge and do its thing.

Ingredients

Lime Curd

2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup castor sugar
juice and zest of 4 limes
80g unsalted butter

Method

Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a small pot. once whisked turn on the stove to a low heat. Add the butter and lime zest and juice, turn heat up slightly and continue whisking until the mixture turns thick. Strain through a sieve and put in the fridge to cool down.

Ingredients

Cheesecake

250g cream cheese, at room temperature
300ml thickened cream
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
200g digestive biscuits
50g unsalted butter, melted

Method

Place the crackers in a ziplog bag and crush with your hands. They break up very easily. Once broken up add the melted butter and mix well by squashing it all together in the ziplog bag. Whip the cream in a large bowl. I used a hand held mixer. Once whipped add the vanilla, sugar and cream cheese and beat until well combined.

Assembly time! Place some of your biscuit mixture at the bottom of a glass followed by the cheesecake mixture, top with some lime curd and more biscuit mix. Allow to set in the fridge for 4 hours. Enjoy

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Baby Fried Onions

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and fried baby Onions

Chimichurri sauce is an amazing accompaniment to steak. It really works well with rich steak that has quite a bit of fat. Easy to make, yummy to eat. The onions were fantastic too. I found a bunch of different baby onions in the shop and had to buy them. This is one of the ways I decided to use them.

Ingredients

Chimichurri Sauce

1/3 cup fresh oregano
1/3 cup fresh chives
1 cup fresh coriander
1 cup fresh flat leave parsley
juice of 1 lemon
1 red chilli
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

Combine the herbs (with their stalks)), chili, lemon juice and half of the olive oil in a food processor. Process until it becomes finer and then add half the vinegar, salt and pepper. while processing this slowly pour in the remaining olive oil. Don’t add all the oil if not needed. Taste and if more acidity is required add the remaining vinegar. Adjust seasoning as per your preference. Set aside until ready to serve.

Ingredients

Fried Baby Onions

20 baby onions
500 ml buttermilk
2 tbsp smoked jalapeno sauce
1/2 cup flour
2 cups oil for deep frying
2 ziplog bags

Method

Place the oil in a pot for deep-frying. Try and use a smaller pot so that the oil is high enough to cover the onions completely when being fried. Mix the buttermilk and tabasco together in a ziplog bag and set aside. Peel and slice the onions into quarters from the top making sure not to cut all the way through. This will give them a nice shape after being fried while still holding together. Place them in the ziplog bag with the buttermilk and tabasco and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes. Place the flour in the other ziplog bag and once the onions have marinated transfer them into the flour. Shake around so that they are well coated in the flour. They are not ready for deep frying.

Heat the oil for about 5 minutes before starting to fry. Once golden remove from oil and place on kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil. Season with flaky seas salt as soon as it has been removed from the oil.

Steak

2 x 1.5cm sirloin steaks
flake sea salt
olive oil

Method

While the onions are frying season both sides of the steak with the seas salt. Heat oil in a cast iron pan and once the pan is very hot add the steak. Fry for 3 minutes a side for medium. Once cooked, rest for 4 minutes before serving with the onions and sauce. Enjoy