Haloumi and Sweet Potato Salad

Long time no see! I have been cheating on my kitchen with my credit card lately and it is now time to put a stop to that! I feel like my latest obsession is cheese (well it’s been a long running thing but it’s definitely concentrated at the moment). Last week, a couple of friends and i ventured out to Carriageworks for Bon Fromage a cheese festival which were giving out free samples of a diverse spread of European cheeses! It was actually heaven and unlike most places that offer freebies, this was a table absolutely filled with all you can eat cheese. It was the place of dreams.

Alas, stemming from that, i have eating a lot of haloumi lately because a) it’s delicious b) it serves as a filling sub in for meat c) it cooks in less than 2 minutes! The only downside to haloumi is that it doesn’t travel well. It is best eaten straight off the pan. So for my Sunday lunch where I am at home, it works a treat.

Grocery day today means I had minimal supplies in the fridge which is perfect for me since I find I am the most creative when I have a  limited number of ingredients. (very Masterchef mystery box type of thing).

If haloumi and sweet potato are sounding good to you so far, keep on reading and you can whip this salad up for yourself!

Haloumi and Sweet Potato Salad (serves 1)

What you’re going to need

1 small sweet potato (~ 100 grams), sliced small and evenly

75 grams haloumi, sliced evenly

4 perino tomatoes, sliced in half lengthways (cherry tomatoes would work here too)

handful mixed green leaves

1 tablespoon walnuts, roughly chopped

extra virgin olive oil for baking + additional for drizzle

salt and pepper, to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. On a lined baking tray add the sweet potato and tomatoes with salt, pepper and olive oil and bake for ~ 10 minutes (baking time will vary depending on how big you cut your potato!)
  3. With two minutes to go, cook the haloumi in a non stick fry pan on a medium heat. (Haloumi burns easily so don’t take your eyes off it)
  4. Once the haloumi is cooked, plate up everything and finish off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.

Haloumi and Sweet Potato Salad

 

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

 

Spinach and Feta Fritters

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to crave ultimate mood food (aka pizza, burgers and the like) when I am relaxing. To me, Sunday is my day of relaxation. I am usually at home and pretty lazy quite frankly but a girl’s gotta eat right? And so comes today’s recipe.

Opened the fridge and it was pretty bare. However we tend to freeze our leafy greens when they’re no longer good for fresh use so I had a whole stash of kale and spinach ready to go. Next stop, creamy element. I’m a big sucker for cheese and eat it religiously so threw some feta in the mix for these ones as it pairs perfectly with leafy greens. Lastly, a twist. A half filled jar of semi dried tomatoes that lifted the dish to what became a really great lunch.

Spinach and Feta fritters (yields 4-6 small fritters) 

What you’re going to need

1 heaped cup of baby spinach and kale

3 small semi dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

20g feta cheese

1 egg

1/2- 1 tablespoon self raising flour

salt and pepper to season

basil + olive oil to dress (optional)

Method

  1. In a pulse blender, combine the baby spinach, kale feta and semi dried tomatoes. Pulse until roughly chopped (don’t blend too much or you’ll end up with more of a dip consistency)
  2. Transfer mixture from the blender to a small bowl. Add the egg and mix well with a fork. Once combined, add small amounts of flour and stir until mixture holds well together but it’s not too thick. (too much flour makes fritters rubbery in texture and taste. Add with caution)
  3. Heat up a non stick fry pan on medium. Once hot, spoon even amounts of the mixture onto the pan. Cook on one side for about 2 minutes or until you can comfortably flip them over with a spatula. Flip over and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until golden brown
  4. Serve immediately with chopped basil and olive oil drizzle.

Spinach and Feta Fritters

 

Tuna and Corn Fritters with Yoghurt Sauce

Fritters. Something that I thoroughly enjoy eating but have struggled to get 100% right. I’m either putting too much flour, or adding milk when I don’t have to or just the combination of flavours doesn’t work out.

Ages ago when I was super lazy but hungry for something healthy, I would just eat tinned tuna, corn kernels with salt and pepper. It served its purpose but was just not enough to make a meal and so stemmed the idea to incorporate this flavour combo into fritters.

This recipe has just four ingredients + any additional seasoning you want to add. I decided to serve this up with a quick yoghurt sauce I threw together. I will provide the recipe for the sauce I made as well.

Here it is if you want to have a go! Fritters are dairy free but can be made gluten free with a simple flour swap.

Tuna and Corn Fritters (yields 2 large or 4 small fritters)

what you’re going to need

Fritters

1 x 75 g tinned tuna

1 x 75 g tin corn kernels

2 tablespoons plain flour (or gluten free alternative)

1 egg

salt and pepper, to season

1 tablespoon olive oil for frying

Yoghurt Sauce (serves 2) 

1/4 cup plain greek yoghurt (I use Jalna)

1/3 cup cucumber, grated and squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

generous squeeze fresh lime

pinch of mixed herbs

sea salt, to season

Method

  1. In a small bowl, add all ingredients for the yoghurt sauce and mix until well combined. Place in the fridge ready for serving
  2. In another bowl, add all the ingredients and mix until well combined.
  3. Heat up olive oil in a fry pan on a medium heat. Using a ladle or large spoon, place even amounts of batter into the pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  4. On a plate, place a large dollop of the yoghurt sauce then the fritters on top. Garnish with additional lime juice and parsley. Serve immediately.

Tuna and Corn Fritters

I am submitting my recipe today as part of the Our Growing Edge monthly food sharing community. The theme this month is Family Favourites and is hosted by Mark and Susan over at Simple Sundays. If you are interested in sharing your Family Favourites creations this month, check out the instructions on how to submit over at Our Growing Edge.

Pearl Couscous Salad with Chunky Tomato Sauce

The daily dilemma…figuring out what to have for lunch. I was fortunate to be off work when I thought up this recipe so conveniently had an open pantry to work with. Even so, many find themselves swamped with ingredients and not a clue how they fit together.

Lucky for you, one of my favourite pastimes is picking an assortment of ingredients, throwing them together and hoping they will taste amazing.

Pearl couscous is such an interesting grain. It works as a really good filler for salads and an accompaniment to a stew and the like. My original intention for this was to pair it with leftover roast lamb but there was a miscommunication in the kitchen and so my father took it with him to work instead. Alas, crisis management kicked in and I worked with what I had to still make something tasty.

My favourite part of this dish is the crispy fried capers! I’ve seen chefs on cooking shows use this technique numerous times and have always been keen to try it out myself! Super easy and result is definitely worth the minimal effort required.

Pearl Couscous Salad with Chunky Tomato Sauce

What you’re going to need

1/4 cup pearl couscous

a generous handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (I used Perino tomatoes for this recipe)

one slice shortcut bacon, sliced into small pieces

6 kalamata olives, sliced in half

teaspoon baby capers

fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

salt and pepper to season

olive oil

Method

  1. Cook pearl couscous to packet instructions.
  2. Whilst the couscous is cooking, fry up the bacon in a small pan until crispy. Set aside.
  3. In the same pan, add a splash of olive oil and heat the oil to a medium heat. Place capers in the pan and fry until aromatic and the colour has darkened (max 30 seconds). Remove from pan and set aside on paper towel to drain.
  4. In a saucepan, add the cherry tomatoes with salt and pepper. Mash up the tomatoes until a relish like texture forms.
  5. Add in the couscous, bacon and fresh basil and mix until well combined. Take off the heat and mix in the olives. Place in a bowl and top with the capers!

pearl-couscous-salad

 

 

 

Quinoa Tuna Bake

I am a massive fan of pasta bake. Creamy, cheesy pasta bake. Having IBS and being mildly lactose intolerant doesn’t mean one of my favourite dishes is ruined. As this was intended for work lunches, I wanted it to be lighter and healthier than the original pasta bake.

So… I switched out the pasta for quinoa. This was definitely an experiment. I have cooked with quinoa numerous times and have a good feel about what flavours work best with it. And since tinned tuna has basically become a staple part of my diet, I have incorporated tuna into the dish as well (over the usual BBQ chicken and bacon). I also figured if I was trying to “healthify” my favourite dish to this extent, I should add broccoli as well.

Now to the sauce. I went for more of a buerre blanc style sauce instead a bechamel style sauce which is what the pasta bake I have at home normally consists of. Definitely losing health points here but hey, the flavour needs to come from somewhere.

In conclusion, I only post food that I believe is worth trying out for yourself so if i wasn’t happy with this, I would not have shared. Be brave and see how you go.

Quinoa Tuna Bake (serves 6, or 6 work lunches for 1)

What you’re going to need

1 cup quinoa, cooked to packet instructions

1/2 broccoli, roughly chopped in small pieces

2 tins 75g tuna (I used Greenseas Tuna in Oil but you can use the Springwater one as well)

cheddar cheese, for grating on top

Sauce

1/3 cup white wine (I use Sauvignon Blanc for cooking but up to you)

150ml cream (I use lactose free)

1-2 tablespoon butter (to taste)

sprinkle nutmeg

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius
  2. In a saucepan on a medium heat, add the wine and cook out the alcohol. Add the cream and butter and stir until well combined. Add the nutmeg and any seasoning.
  3. Add the cooked quinoa, broccoli and tuna to the sauce or vice versa (you will need a big saucepan for this) and mix until all the added ingredients are coated in the sauce.
  4. *** Add mixture into a large baking dish and distribute evenly. Top with grated cheddar  (i’ll leave you to decide how much cheese you want to add).
  5. Pop in the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and darkened slightly. Serve warm.

quinoa-tuna-bake

*** If you don’t want cheese on top, then you can skip the oven steps. Another option for extra flavour is a homemade chunky breadcrumb to give the dish more texture.

 

Our Growing Edge December 2016 Round Up

Happy 2017! Hope everyone enjoyed the festive season. As part of celebrating the holidays as well as giving the blogging community a chance to share their creations, this month’s growing edge theme was Festive Feeds. As part of the community, we want to encourage everyone to get creative in the kitchen as well as share their marvellous creations to inspire others.

This month, we were lucky to have 18 submissions! Thanks so much to all the bloggers who submitted their creations.

Here is a showcase of all things festive by our community:

First up we have Terri’s Roasted Turkey & Black Current Brie Bites! These look so quick, easy and of course delicious! Also from Terri, we have some butter tarts which look divine!

The holiday fever continues with Cheat Sheet Home Maker’s North Pole Latte! I can imagine this being a perfect fit for a white Christmas! In the same league, another idea from Cheat Sheet Homemaker is using your leftover candy canes in your tea or coffee! A great way to add a minty sugary hit!

Next up, some more fruity flavours from Corina with her Apple Carpaccio.  I especially like this because it includes my current favourite food – pomegranate! For more fruit fusion during the holiday season be sure to try out candied orange peels by Ms Frugal Ears! Absolute genius idea.

This one is for the popcorn obsessed people (me) out there! From Julianna we have Coconut Curry Caramel Corn. Cannot wait to try this one out! Another great hit by Julianna is her Cranberry Pistachio Pate! Pate has become a recent fave for me as well and this looks delightful!!

Loved this winter warmer from Elaine which is a Pumpkin Pie. Have only eaten this dish once but I loved it and really want to eat it again. Fabulous! For more of your baking desires, you will want to whip up these Cinnamon Rolls from Maja! I know if I made these at home they would gone as soon as left the oven! Delicious.

For those who love roasts regardless of the temperature outside, please join me in admiring Patricia’s Roast Pork which looks so succulent and tender! Mmmmm. Another grand roast idea is From the Terrace Baker with Roasted Gammon 2 ways. The honey and mustard glaze looks completely on point and I would devour it all immediately.

Anyone who knows me personally will know that I love miniatures! From dosirakbento we have some beautifully decorated Christmas Cakes including one with a mini dining table Christmas setting including a turkey and mini bon bons!

As a chocolate fiend, I loved Tess’ Chocolate Crinkle Cookies made with Hershey’s! Hitting the sweet spot that’s for sure. From Tracey we have some Traditional German Christmas Ginger Butter Cookies! A great staple cookie recipe to have on hand whenever the sweet cravings kick in!

From the Our Growing Edge leader Genie, we have an incredible, fresh and vibrant Festive Lamb Salad ! Salads are perfect for a Summery Southern Hemisphere Christmas! Keeping on with the light and healthy approach to the festive season, we have Nicole’s collection of Christmas cooking! I really enjoyed her idea of stuffed mushrooms which serve as a perfect healthy side dish at a festive gathering!

And last but not least. for those who love the holiday spirit (as well as alcoholic spirits), you will enjoy Chandler’s Holiday Spirit Exchange providing an opportunity to share the merriment over good quality liquor.

Thank you again for your submissions! It was a pleasure being host this month and getting to share some really fabulous ideas and getting some inspiration for my own cooking! If you would like to know more about Growing Edge and be part of our monthly blogging event, check out Genie’s blog Bunny Eats Design for more info!

Our next month’s theme is Healthy Starts and is hosted by Terri over at Food Meanderings.

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