Lamb ragu with fettucine

I am very much a Summer baby but I am enjoying the fact that it has started to cool down so I can start doing my low and slow dishes! Last time I tried doing a ragu it unfortunately didn’t turn out very well so I was put off a while… (a year or so) but I appeared to have redeemed myself with this one because the meat was succulent, pulled straight off the bone and the sauce was rich as.

I find that with a lot of good tomato based sauces you have a few staple ingredients and it’s just about alternating the ratios to switch over the dominant flavour. This time, I really wanted the tomato flavours to sing through and so you will see based on the measurements below that that is the result you will yield if you follow my recipe.

I chose to serve this dish with pasta but you could easily serve it with mash, roasted veggies or even on a burger.

Lamb ragu with fettucine (serves 6-8)

What you’re going to need

Roasting the lamb

2kg lamb shoulder (bone in)

2 cloves garlic, roughly sliced

5 sprigs rosemary

5 sprigs thyme

1 brown onion, roughly chopped

1 cup chicken stock*

1/2 cup red wine

cracked salt and pepper to season

olive oil

The sauce

2 rashers of middle bacon with fat on, sliced into small pieces

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 carrot, finely grated

500ml Passata

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup chicken stock*

handful fresh basil, roughly chopped

cracked salt and pepper to season

olive oil for frying

For serving

500g fettucine, cooked per packet instructions (I used Barilla’s Collezione range for this recipe found here)

*I used chicken stock in this instance as it was all we had at home at the time. If you have a preference to beef, lamb or vegetable stock feel free to switch it out. 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. In a large baking tray that can hold liquid, place the lamb shoulder inside, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and the herbs. Place the stock and wine in the tray around the meat. Throw the garlic and onion into the liquid. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the outside has browned.
  2. After 45 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and cover with foil (caution, tray will be very hot!). Return the tray into the oven and reduce the temperature to 120-130 degrees Celcius and cook for at least 5 hours. (if you have time to cook it longer, do so!)
  3. Once the meat has cooked in the oven for at least 5 hours, remove the tray from the oven and transfer the meat to a clean chopping board so you can begin shredding. Using two forks, begin to shred the meat (removing any excess fat) until you have collected as much of the tender meat as you can. Set aside.
  4. In a large fry pan or casserole dish, heat up some olive oil on a medium heat. Add in the bacon, garlic and carrot and fry off until fragrant and bacon has changed colour. Add the passata and shredded meat and stir well.
  5. Once the passata and shredded meat are bubbling, reduce the heat and add the wine and stock. Mix until well combined and leave on a low simmer for at least 30 minutes. (The ragu will be quite thick already so this is more about building extra flavour into the meat)
  6. With 5-6 minutes to go, cook the fettucine and add in the fresh basil into the ragu. Serve immediately to ensure best results.

 

 

Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Beetroot Salad

It’s probably too late to be saying “Happy New Year” since it’s past the Australia Day long weekend but will say it anyway. Happy New Year! Hope you are all feeling refreshed and ready to give your best in 2019. As January seems to be a time when people decide to form a list of resolutions that they will keep for two weeks, I figured there was no better time than now to share a wonderful healthy recipe for you all.

I am not a dietitian or a nutritionist but there is definitely a good balance of flavours and food groups here – protein, carbs and the good types of fat.

It is also good enough that you can eat it for lunch multiple days in a row! (where normally I strongly dislike doing this in order to avoid having FOMO when someone has a better lunch than me in the office)

The challenge I’ve had in the past with eating salad for lunch is the lack of feeling full afterwards. Turns out if you put enough grain and carby vegetables in, this issue is alleviated.

Alright, enough blabbing. For those who are feeling the whole “new year, new you” mentality or even the “new year, same you” mentality, this salad is for you.

Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Beetroot Salad (makes 3 lunches or 4 side dishes)

What you’re going to need

1/2 cup dried quinoa

1 medium sweet potato chopped into small, even pieces

3 baby beetroots (sold in a pack at the supermarket), roughly chopped

50g feta cheese, chopped into small cubes

handful walnuts, roughly chopped

6 basil leaves, sliced thinly

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius. On a lined baking tray, add the sweet potato, 1 tablespoon of EVOO and salt. Bake until soft and slightly more golden in colour
  2. For the quinoa, I cooked it in the microwave as per the packet instructions. Simply rinse the quinoa in a strainer, then place in a heatproof bowl that fits in the microwave with 1 cup of water (1:2 quinoa water ratio). Cover the bowl with a lid or a plate and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Stir and then pop it back in for 2 minutes. Leave to stand with the lid/plate still on until most of the water has absorbed. Strain remaining water and set aside.
  3. Once the quinoa had cooled down a bit and the sweet potato is ready, place these plus all the other ingredients into a bowl. Mix well until all flavours are combined. Add seasoning where appropriate. Note: if you’re storing this for work lunches, keep the beetroot separated so the colour doesn’t run through the whole salad. 
  4. Serve immediately at a warm temperature or eat cold later on.

quinoa sweet potato salad

 

 

 

Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Spinach Fritters

Firstly, I’d like to say I hope you all had a lovely holiday season! I had a very relaxing three weeks off work where I ventured off to New Zealand for the first time and fell in love with the exquisite landscapes and sense of adventure. Now it’s back to work, routine and most importantly, cooking!

It has been a little while since I’ve shared a recipe and this tends to happen when I get really comfortable with things I have already shared so I end up making mostly the same types of meals. Alas, new year and time for something different!

As usual, I was really keen to leverage on ingredients I had at home with only minimal additional purchases required. I go through phases where I enjoy eating certain types of food and then go off them for a while and in this instance, it’s quinoa. I had half a packet of perfectly good quinoa ready to go but wasn’t feeling a salad or adding it to my granola so went with this recipe today!

For any type of patty or fritter (if you want to keep it vego), potato works as the glue to keep it all together so I used sweet potato to give it some solid flavour!

This recipe is will take approximately 30 minutes as the sweet potato and quinoa require cooking first before making the patties.

Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Spinach Fritters (yields 6)

What you’re going to need

1 medium sized sweet potato (mine weight approximately 600 grams), roughly chopped into small pieces

1-1 1/2 cups quinoa, cook according to packet instructions

generous handful baby spinach

zest of 1 lemon

1 clove garlic, crushed

salt and pepper to season

olive oil for baking

Method

  1. Bake the sweet potato at 200 degrees Celcius on a lined tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle of salt. At the same time, cook quinoa according to packet instructions. Both of these should take 20 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, add all the ingredients. Pulse blend on medium until well combined but not too smooth. (You don’t want a paste, more of a chunky mixture that can be moulded in your hands)
  3. Using gloves or clean hands, grab a handful of mixture and shape into a ball then flatten with your palm until approximately 1cm thick. Repeat until all mixture has been used.
  4. In a non stick/lightly oiled fry pan that is on a medium heat, add the patties and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. (Note: the mixture is already cooked, this is mainly to add the crispy outside)
  5. Serve with sweet chilli sauce or a simple yoghurt sauce*

Sweet Potato Quinoa and Spinach Fritters


*Simple yoghurt sauce

What you’re going to need

2 heaped tablespoons Natural Yoghurt

juice from ~1/2 a lemon

sea salt

pinch mixed herbs

extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. In a small bowl, add all ingredients at desired quantities. Serve cold.

Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse

So aquafaba (chickpea water) desserts have been all over my Instagram and Facebook feed for a little while now. Since I always have a tin of chickpeas in my pantry, I figured I’d give this a go. I was definitely a bit of a sceptic at first that’s for sure. However as I began to whip the aquafaba like I would eggs, it was coming together exactly as it should. Weird huh? I don’t have an intolerance to eggs so this was a curiosity challenge more than anything. With melted chocolate folded through, these turned out to be quite a tasty afternoon dessert.

This recipe definitely gives you the light and airy feel of a mousse with a subtle chocolate flavour. If you are looking to be more nifty with your food leftovers and are keen for an experiment, I reckon you should try this out. Or, if you happen to have an egg allergy or are a vegan well then this is perfect!

Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse

What you’re going to need

1 tin chickpeas, draining the liquid into a medium sized bowl (save chickpeas for Hummus )

1 block 70% dark chocolate (100g if using Lindt)

2-3 tablespoons castor sugar (adjust to taste)

Method

  1. Using a hand mixer, beat the aquafaba and sugar until stiff peaks form (ideally you can lift the mixer out of the bowl and you will have mixture all over the blades). This will take at least 10-15 minutes.
  2. Melt chocolate using your preferred method. (I like the bowl over water approach on the stove top. It’s quick and works every time).
  3. Once completely melted, pour into the aerated aquafaba and fold through with a spatula. Keep folding until all mixture is even.
  4. Spoon mixture into small ramekins.
  5. Leave to set in the fridge for 4 hours. Serve fresh out of the fridge with grated chocolate on top.

 

Chocolate Mousse

Sweet Potato Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

For the most part, I am trying to eat healthy. I am quite a bit fussy about salads though. They can just be so ordinary and unfulfilling. I always need something to give them a bit more substance. For example, quinoa, pearl couscous or a starchy vegetable like in this case, sweet potato. I cook with sweet potato quite a lot because it’s flavoursome, healthy and most importantly filling.

I was out shopping earlier for groceries and noticed that my local store had pomegranates! I’ve eaten them numerous times but have never actually bought one. Decided to take the plunge and buy one. With a bit of manual labour, I managed to get out all the seeds ready for use. I normally don’t like fruit in my savoury salads but pomegranates are the exception. So in went a handful of fresh pomegranate seeds. Now for a dressing. I wanted something tangy but not with too much vinegar so went with a honey mustard style dressing. Easy to make with ingredients that most people will have in their pantries staples.

Sweet Potato Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

What you’re going to need

Salad

½ gold sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small even pieces

Generous handful of mixed green salad leaves

1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds

20 g feta cheese

Dressing (note: these are rough measures so taste you as go until you’re happy)

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

Pinch sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. On a baking tray, add the sweet potato with a drizzle of oil and pinch of salt. Bake until soft. (15-20 minutes roughly)
  3. Whilst the potato is baking, place all salad ingredients on your serving plate.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until well combined (you’ll find that the dressing will split if you leave it sitting on the bench so whisk just before serving as well)
  5. Once potatoes are cooked, allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving with the rest of the salad and dressing.

 

 Sweet Potato Salad

 

Homemade “Cocoa Pops”

Cocoa pops have been a childhood favourite for years. However they have been banned from my house since I was about eight years old! Recently, I haven’t really been the biggest fan of cereal but I figure that I may as well create one of my old faves with the abundance of puffed rice I had around the house today (which is super cheap by the way, only about $3 a bag).

So commenced the experimentation of making these tasty treats. I followed the same kind of approach as I would with making a baked granola just without the nuts. Super easy and simple with only 4 ingredients which are all conveniently gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. I reckon that these matched up with vanilla unsweetened almond milk are a match made in heaven so be sure to try that.

Homemade “Cocoa Pops”

What you’re going to need

3-4 cups of puffed rice

2 tablespoons organic cacao powder

1/4 cup maple syrup

pinch sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celcius.
  2. In a large bowl, add the puffed rice, cacao powder and salt and stir until well combined
  3. Add the maple syrup and stir through until it all comes together and the mixture is wet. (if there are parts that are dry and you bake it, it will not taste great…)
  4. Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes on a low shelf in your oven.
  5. Leave out to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

cocoa-pops

In other news, I am lucky to be the host of this month’s Growing Edge blogging community event themed “Festive Feeds”. If you would to share your creations, please submit your post via the following link: Festive Feeds Submission. Looking forward to seeing all the wonderful festive inspired creations for both the summer and also from my friends in the Northern Hemisphere. I will be sharing a compilation of all the submissions in early January. Merry December everyone!

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad

It’s my first week in Sydney for work in what seems like ages! This means meal prep is back on to start saving my coin for my holiday to New York City early next year. I do like salads for lunch, but only if they’re filled with lots of good carbs! A bowl of lettuce and raw vegetables can fill me up for a total of about 45 minutes.

My favourite salad bulky items I love to use are quinoa and sweet potato. It’s amazing how much you can stretch one medium sized sweet potato. This batch of salad I’ve made is enough food for three days worth of lunches! Perfect.

To compliment the sweet potato and quinoa, I have paired it up with a balsamic mustard dressing. Homemade dressings are the way to go to avoid all the preservatives and other assorted ingredients that end up in off the shelf dressings.

So here it is!

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad

What you’re going to need

1 medium sweet potato, chopped into even pieces

1/2 cup quinoa (I used tricolour for this recipe but feel free to use white, black or red)

1/4 cup pistachios, shelled

50 grams danish feta, roughly chopped

fresh rosemary

fresh thyme

2 tablespoons olive oil

Dressing (to taste but here are some rough measurements)

1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

cracked salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. On a lined baking tray, add the chopped sweet potato, olive oil, rosemary and thyme. Season with cracked salt then place tray on a high shelf in the oven.
  3. Whilst the potato is baking, prepare quinoa according to packet instructions. In addition, prepare the dressing in a small bowl/measuring jug
  4. With ideal timing, the sweet potato and quinoa should be ready at the same time. Set aside and allow to cool for 5 minutes
  5. In a large bowl place the sweet potato, quinoa, pistachios and feta. Add dressing to taste.
  6. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

sweet-potato-and-quinoa-salad