Category Archives: Recipes

Recipe: Spicy Okra

Okra is a vegetable that intrigues me. It is full of paradoxes. People either love it or hate it. It is a humble vegetable in many parts of the world, yet incredibly exotic in others. It can be both creamy and slimy, crunchy or soggy. It is quite pudgy and ugly and yet it is known as “lady’s fingers” which surely should be symbolic of innate slenderness and grace.

Okra is also the perfect vehicle for flavour, not having much of its own, it can dutifully carry the load of any spices you add to it. This recipe is an attempt at a simple dish where the okra is showcased. The end result is spicy yet fresh and crisp.

IMG_5414

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs (20ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 200g okra, trimmed and sliced into short lengths (3cm)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped (or ½ tsp powdered/flakes)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salt & pepper

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a medium sized fry pan over medium heat. Add the the onions, cooking until soft (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the okra, tomatoes and chilli, stirring to combine. Cook for 10 minutes while stirring gently. (The okra will emit a sticky substance but this will reduce over time).
  3. Increase heat, add ground cumin and coriander and cook for 2 minutes while stirring to coat the vegetables with the spices and to provide contact with the bottom of the pan.
  4. Reduce heat and add 1 Tbs water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir through fresh coriander, season with salt & pepper, and serve.

Tips: 

  • This dish has been designed to keep the okra crisp, if you prefer it well cooked simply add more water and simmer for longer until done to your preference.
  • As the okra is still crisp, this dish is good for leftovers and can be eaten at room temperature.
  • This dish can be served as a main or a side dish.

Recipe: Mayonnaise Scallop “Mornay”

The must-have dish at my local Japanese Restaurant, Yokozuma on Oxford Street, is the scallops grilled in mayonnaise. It is reminiscent of a Mornay but oh so much better! The Japanese rival the Dutch for the world’s best mayonnaise, but they win hands down for seafood. This dish is a showcase of two of the best things in Japanese cuisine.

I decided a while back to recreate this at home, and I have since used Emeril Lagasse’s spicy Hot Mayonnaise Glazed Scallops quite a few times. I have cut down on the hot sauce however, because as great as the mayo is, it really did detract from the sweetness of the scallops – I might as well have had it on chicken, or for that matter just had a spoonful of the mayonnaise! Wasting scallops may not be a felony crime, but I do consider it to be a misdemeanour at least.

I’m currently finishing a Whole30 experiment and have not been able to find any compliant hot sauce. Thus I decided to go back to the drawing board. After much consideration (and an assessment of what I had lurking in the fridge as it was rather wet outside), I decided that I would quite like to add some texture to the mayonnaise, so I added some very finely diced celery. To add extra but complimentary flavour I used my favourite herb – coriander.

Using this method of grilling scallops in mayonnaise, I believe you could certainly play around with a lot of different flavour combinations. I’m tempted to try grilling some lobster this way too, once the budget allows.

IMG_5356

Ingredients

(serves one)

  • 60 mls of mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs (20 mls) of finely diced celery
  • 1 Tbs (20mls) of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Black pepper to season
  • Lemon juice (optional)*
  • 6 scallops loose in shell**
  • 1 spring onion finely sliced

Method

1. Heat oven to 200C.

2. Combine all ingredients except for the scallops in a bowl.

IMG_5319

3. Spread scallop shells evenly across a baking sheet.

4. Spoon approximately 2 teaspoons of mayonnaise onto each scallop to cover.

IMG_5322  IMG_5328

5. Bake for 10 minutes at the top of the oven or until mayonnaise is a luminescent golden brown.

6. Sprinkle spring onions over the cooked scallops and serve.

IMG_5348

IMG_5354

Tips:

  • *Additional lemon is only required if your mayonnaise does not already use lemon
  • **You may use scallops with roe on however you should increase the mayonnaise mix by 50%
  • If entertaining for guests, double the amount of mayonnaise used for an even more luxurious experience
  • Serve with Lemon Pepper Sugar Snaps

Recipe: Cauliflower “Rice”

This is my fail safe cauliflower “rice” recipe. I’ve tried far more complicated versions, but this is the one that works the best. It’s not really a recipe as it only has the one ingredient! It is simply a tried and tested method.

Ingredients

Cauliflower (any amount)

Method

  1. Using the large holes on a standard cheese grater, grate your cauliflower into “rice”.
  2. Put “rice” into a microwave safe bowl.
  3. Microwave “rice” for 3 minutes on high.

Tips

Do not add water or cover as you want to remove as much liquid from the cauliflower as possible.

IMG_5284

Recipe: Bean Fries

These are the perfect movie snack to replace potato chips, they don’t make a mess in the dark like kale chips, and they don’t annoy your neighbor like crunching on pork scratchings.

Ingredients

  • 500 gms green beans
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt *
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika*
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika*
  • 1 tsp garlic granules*
  • 1 tsp onion granules*

Method

  • Heat Oven to 190C. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  • Put all ingredients into a plastic bag. Shake vigorously until all the beans are coated.
  • Divide beans in half and spread out in a single layer on the prepared baking trays.

IMG_5217

  • Bake for 10 minutes, check and turn the beans, cooking for another 5 minutes or until browned and crispy.
  • (Optional but recommended) Open the oven door for 10 seconds to let out most of the heat, meanwhile taking out the tray and giving the beans another turn. Then close the oven door leaving it a crack open. Let the beans cool and dry out further in the oven helping dehydrate them until they are very crispy. Check every 10 minutes to ensure you don’t overdo it.

IMG_5260

Tips

* Replace spice mix with your favourite spices. In this instance I tried to replicate a BBQ flavour. Parmesan is also another great option.

Recipe: Massaman Curry (Beef, Pumpkin & Cashew)

IMG_5203

This recipe was born out of a cold winter’s day and the desire to recreate some comfort food which was Whole30, Paleo and low carb. I have varied from tradition by substituting peanuts for cashews in this recipe, and pumpkin for the potatoes. Not only is pumpkin lower in carbohydrates than the traditional potatoes used in this dish, but it also helps to overcome the omission of sugar by partly dissolving into the curry and adding a natural rich sweetness to the finished dish. I’ve also chosen to use lime juice instead of the traditional tamarind paste or concentrate as it is slightly sweeter and provides less of a sour note to counterbalance.

Ingredients

(Serves 8)

  • 2 tablespoons (40mls) coconut oil
  • 1kg shin, gravy beef or chuck steak, trimmed and cut into medium sized chunks
  •  2 cups coconut cream
  •  3 tablespoons (60mls) massaman curry paste (see related recipe)
  •  1 cup coconut milk
  •  1 ½ cups good quality chicken stock
  •  1 cinnamon stick
  •  3 Star Anise
  •  3 bay leaves
  •  ½ tsp ground cardamom or 6 cardamom pods lightly crushed (see note)
  •   1 tablespoon (20 mls) lime juice
  •  1 tablespoon (20 mls) fish sauce
  •  1/2 cup roasted cashews
  •  600 gms peeled and pumpkin cut into medium sized pieces*

Method

In two batches, heat half of oil a large saucepan or casserole pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until browned all over. Remove beef and liquids to a bowl, and repeat with remaining oil and beef.

Add 3 tablespoons from the top of the coconut cream (do not shake) and cook until hot and bubbling, approximately 30 seconds. Add curry paste and cook stirring for 1 minute or until aromatic. If the paste will not loosen add a little more coconut milk, but account for the cooling down of the paste by cooking slightly longer.

Return beef and juices to pan. Add remaining coconut cream, coconut milk, stock, cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaves, cardamom, lime juice, and fish sauce. Stir to combine.

Bring to near boil (do not boil). Reduce heat to lowest setting and cook for 1 ½ hours. Add cashews and pumpkin. Stir to combine. Cook until the beef is tender and the pumpkin is very soft and starting to fall apart approximately 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir a few times to break up some of the pumpkin so that it dissolves into the sauce. This will sweeten and thicken the sauce.

IMG_5206

Tips

*600 grams of peeled pumpkin is approximately 1kg of whole pumpkin.

In Australia I find the Ayam brand of coconut milk and cream is the only one I have found which does not have nasty additives as it is made from 100% coconut kernel.

I used the Mae Ploy brand of curry paste as it does not have sugar or soybean oil.

This freezes exceptionally well and tastes better the next day reheated.

Nutritional information is available here.

IMG_5191

Recipe: Jerusalem Lamb & Eggplant Stew

Jerusalem Lamb & Eggplant Stew
Jerusalem Lamb & Eggplant Stew

This is a traditional Israeli recipe which I have cooked many times, even substituting the lamb for pork, which I am sure is not very traditional!  What I adore about this casserole is once it is on, you can simply walk away and do whatever your heart desires for three hours. I can only imagine that this would be the perfect meal for the Sabbath.

I used potatoes in this instance, however pumpkin can be easily substituted to align with a LCHF or Paleo diet. However if you are using pumpkin there is a slight change to the cooking method.

This recipe amazes me because it has no liquids or oil added to it, yet at the end you have this amazing mess of falling apart lamb and collapsed vegetables bathing in their own juices.

Jerusalem Lamb & Eggplant Stew
Jerusalem Lamb & Eggplant Stew

The first time I made this dish I was convinced that everything was going to burn on the bottom of the pot, and weakly tried to console myself with the fact that eggplant is great when it’s charred! Because of the specific layering in the dish you will find that juices are quickly released to circumvent any danger to your meal or your cookware.

Ingredients

(6 servings)

  • 1 Kg boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed fatty bits, diced
  • 500 grams eggplant, sliced ​​thickness of 3 cm
  • 500 grams tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 500 grams red potatoes, peeled and diced medium (or pumpkin – see variation to method under Tips)
  • 6 large cloves of fresh garlic, sliced
  • 1 bunch of parsley, roots and tough stems removed, remaining stems and leaves cut into 5 cm pieces
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roots and tough stems removed, remaining stems and leaves cut into 5 cm pieces
  • 1 tbs mixed herbs
  • 2 tsp salt plus more to season to taste
  • Black pepper to season to taste

Method

  1. Arrange in layers – 1/3 of the amount of eggplant 1/3 of the tomatoes 1/3 of the potatoes in 1/3 of the herbs and the salt and 1/3 of the meat. Repeat two more times so that all the components are arranged in a pot.
  2. Cover and cook on the lowest heat for 3 hours. Do not open the lid or stir the pot.

IMG_5053 IMG_5057 IMG_5061 IMG_5070 IMG_5071 IMG_5074

Jerusalem Lamb & Eggplant Stew
Jerusalem Lamb & Eggplant Stew
Lamb & Eggplant Stew
Lamb & Eggplant Stew

Tips

This is good to store in the fridge and can be reheated for 3 days. This freezes exceptionally well.

LCHF option – Use pumpkin instead of potato, but do not put in at the start. Instead add the pumpkin in the last half hour of cooking.

Nutritional information using potatoes can be found here

Nutritional information using pumpkin can be found here

Recipe: Veal & Pork Stuffed Peppers with Tomato Sauce

Veal & Pork stuffed peppers with tomato sauce, topped with pesto (Mint, Parsley, lemon and pistachio)
Veal & Pork stuffed peppers with tomato sauce, topped with pesto (Mint, Parsley, lemon and pistachio)

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tin of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 500 grams veal and pork mince
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tsp dried chives
  • 4 small capsicum peppers, cut in half long ways (I used yellow, but any colour or a mixture of colours would work well)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat oven to 220 degrees. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is softened, approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Remove half of the onion mixture and reserve for the stuffing.
  3. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add stock and season with salt and pepper, continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes or until slightly reduced (about half a cup reduction).
  5. Remove pot from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then use a stick blender to blitz the sauce until smooth. (The sauce should be quite runny, if it is too thick add a little water).
  6. Place the mince, herbs, egg, and reserved half or the onion mixture into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands roughly massage the egg through the mince. (The more you work the egg, the more the protein molecules will help bind the mince together).
  7. Drizzle some olive oil over the outside of the peppers, and use your hands to coat. Place the peppers into a casserole dish large enough to fit the peppers snuggly.
  8. Stuff the peppers with the mince mixture up to the top of the peppers. Cook at 220 for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove the casserole dish from the oven. Spoon some sauce over each of the peppers, and pour the remainder into the casserole dish around the peppers (the sauce should still be hot, if not reheat so that it doesn’t cool down the peppers).
  10. Cover the dish with tin foil and return to the oven. Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees and cook for approximately 25 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on the size and shape of the pepper used.
  11. Dish up the peppers with sauce drizzled over the top and a spoonful of pesto (see recipe here).
Veal & Pork stuffed peppers with tomato sauce
Veal & Pork stuffed peppers with tomato sauce
Veal & Pork stuffed peppers with tomato sauce, topped with pesto (Mint, Parsley, lemon and pistachio)
Veal & Pork stuffed peppers with tomato sauce, topped with pesto (Mint, Parsley, lemon and pistachio)

Tips

Serve with Pesto (mint, parsley, lemon and pistachio)

This dish reheats and freezes well.

Nutritional information can be found here

Recipe: Pesto (mint, parsley, lemon and pistachio)

Mint, Parsley, lemon and pistachio pesto
Mint, Parsley, lemon and pistachio pesto

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

  • 2 tbs (10 grams) mint, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbs (10 grams) parsley, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbs (20 grams) pistachios
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Method

Place all ingredients into the blender and and blitz. You want this to be quite chunky so u can fully appreciate the texture of the pistachios. Mint, Parsley, lemon and pistachio pesto

Tips:

Quadruple the recipe! This pesto can be used as a condiment on any meat, and goes great with burgers and sausages. It also wonderful as a dip for seed crackers, zucchini flats, and vegetable crudités.

To use with fish, substitute the mint for coriander.

It will last for a week in a sealed jar in the fridge, or up to 6 months in the freezer. You may freeze individual portions in an ice tray and take out as required.

Nutritional information can be found here

Chicken Schawarma with Eggplant and Tahini Dressing

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

Chicken
  • 500 gms Free Range Chicken
  • 4 tbs Shish Tawook
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 tbs olive oil + 2tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
Dressing
  • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 4 tbs tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Coriander and/or parsley
Eggplant
  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 tbs olive oil

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients for the tahini sauce, except for the coriander and/or parsley, in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Whisk together and taste adding more tahini or garlic as required to suit taste. Set aside to meld together
  2. Cut chicken thighs into 4 to 6 pieces per thigh depending on size (so they are all even) and marinate with the shish tawook spice (see spice list below if making own), garlic, lemon, and 3 tbs of olive oil for two hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
  4. Cut eggplants in half long ways and deeply score the open side in a crisscross pattern. Peel or cut a strip on the underside to make a flat bottom (optional). Brush with olive oil. Place on a tin foil lined baking tray and Bake for 45 minutes or until tender. Once cooked wrap in the tin foil they were cooked in too keep warm and further moisten the eggplant.
  5. Reduce oven to 200 degrees.
  6. Line a tray with foil, lightly spray with oil, and bake chicken for 15 minutes (or cooked through).
  7. Once cooked, cool until easy to handle, transfer to a chopping board and slice into thin schwarma-style pieces.
  8. Preheat a large fry pan on medium-high heat, add 2 tsp of olive oil (butter or ghee gives an awesome result, although not as awesome on a reheat).
  9. Cook chicken in pan for approximately 5 minutes, stirring, until slightly golden with lekker crispy bits (don’t over crowd fry pan, if not large enough you will want to work in batches).
  10. Place cooked chicken on top of eggplant, cover with dressing and add fresh parsley and coriander.

I like to serve this with a simple middle eastern style diced tomato and cucumber salad.

Tips

Instead of using shish tawook you could use your favorite middle eastern spices, or you could try the mix posted on Tory Avey’s wonderful site that inspired my version of schwarma.

If using diced lamb, then omit step 8 and step 9.

Cooking for one options: 1) Halve the recipe and take left overs for work the next day, it does not require a reheat and tastes great at room temperature. 2) Cook the full recipe and make a sala. The eggplant and chicken make a great foundation to add your favorite salad ingredients to (I like tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, red peppers, spring onions, and a little chili). Add some water or more lemon juice to the tahini dressing to thin it and add toss through your salad.

Nutritional information can be found here