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

 

Vegetarian Stuffed Pasta Shells

Hope everyone is having a great Easter long weekend! I have been cooking away and experimenting a fair bit and I’m excited to share another recipe with you all.

I aim to make my work lunches with tuna or make them vegetarian just because meat is so expensive! I have been on a bit of a streak lately where I have come up with some tasty, filling and cheap lunch options. There were some odds and ends around the kitchen today. I wanted to use up the bits of food we had leftover both in the fridge and pantry to make this dish. I decided to substitute the meat in this dish with potato. It worked well and gave the dish the substance to make it a complete dish. I have also developed the flavours with cheese, garlic and Barilla Basilico Pasta Sauce.

Vegetarian Stuffed Pasta Shells (serves 2)

What you’re going to need

10 giant pasta shells (these were from a local food market which sells an abundance of Italian food products)

1 medium potato, diced

100 grams baby spinach

50 grams feta

1 clove garlic

1/2 cup Italian pasta sauce (I used Barilla Basilico Pasta Sauce)

100 grams cheddar, grated (I used Mersey Valley)

salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius
  2. In a small saucepan, add the diced potato to cold water and bring to the boil. In a medium saucepan, bring a pot of water and salt (1/2 tablespoon) to the boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente.
  3. In a food processor, blitz the spinach, feta, garlic, salt and pepper until coarse. (you don’t want to blitz it for too long and end up with a dip…)
  4. Mash the potato to remove the large lumps and then combine with the spinach mixture.
  5. Have a small baking dish ready. Place a heaped spoon of the filling into each of the giant pasta shells and place in one layer in the baking dish until all the shells are filled. Spoon pasta sauce over the shells and cover the top and around the sides. Place the grated cheddar on the top evenly.
  6. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot.

Stuffed Pasta Shells

 

French Toast with Raspberry Compote

I absolutely love weekend breakfasts. At the moment, my weekday breakfast is the exact same thing everyday. It tastes delicious but I like spending time in the kitchen and creating something a bit different to my usual.

French toast is super easy and always guaranteed to be tasty! Very minimal prep time and ingredients required. I had some leftover frozen raspberries that I had been meaning to use for a while and figured it would be a good pair with the toast.

And to finish, I added a generous drizzle of 70% dark chocolate. The combination of raspberry and chocolate works a treat if you’ve never tried it, you should.

French Toast with Raspberry Compote (yields 1 serving)

What you’re going to need

2 slices bread, sliced into large triangles

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

25 g dark chocolate, melted

1/4 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)

1 tablespoon maple syrup (plus additional for serving)

20 mls water

Method

  1. In a small saucepan, prepare the raspberry compote by adding the raspberries, water and maple syrup. Keep on a low simmer unless mixture reduces and thickens. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla extract and cinnamon until well combined.
  3. Heat up a fry pan on a medium heat. Dip each triangle of bread into the egg mixture then place in the fry pan. Cook for approximately 2 minutes each side or until golden brown.
  4. Serve toast hot with melted chocolate drizzle and raspberry compote on top. Optional: Add maple syrup over the top as well.

French Toast

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

White Bean Dip

I did once say that if I had to eat one dip for the rest of my life it would be hummus. Rest assured, that is still the case. However, it is time to expand out of the range and play around with other ingredients to make some tasty, healthy meals for work lunch. I’m a big fan of meal prep and dip provides a perfect means for this as it can be made ahead and stored for a longer period of time in the fridge compared to other products. It also has the element of versatility where you can serve it with crackers, veggie sticks or as part of a salad or as an accompanying spread on sandwich. The options are endless.

To give this dip a bit  more body, I decided to add some fresh breadcrumbs. I have kept things simple, as always, but never compromising on flavour. If you want to give it a go, follow the recipe below!

White Bean Dip

What you’re going to need

1 can Cannellini beans, strained well

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup freshly made breadcrumbs (the staler the bread, the better)

1/2-1 clove garlic (to taste)

salt, to season

3-5 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed

Method

  1. In a food processor/pulse blender, add all of the ingredients.
  2. Blend until a smooth consistency is established. Too easy!

Too easy!

White Bean Dip

 

Stuffed Eggplant

I am eggplant (aubergine) obsessed! It has been so long since I’ve had it and so led to today’s delightful creation.

The filling is a rich, flavoursome tomato based sauce filled with vegetables to make it super healthy and most importantly, satisfying that hunger!

Eggplant prices have been a bit steep in some areas, so shop around for yours. This meal in total cost approximately $2 I believe. So really no excuses for preparing fresh, healthy food in your own home.

This dish is conveniently dairy free, meat free and can be made low fodmaps by omitting the garlic and bread topping.

Stuffed Eggplant

What you’re going to need

1 medium eggplant, cut in half longways

1 400ml bottle Passata tomato sauce (or tin tomatoes blended will work too)

1 small zucchini, finely grated

1 small carrot, finely grated

1-2 cloves garlic (to your taste preferences), minced/grated with a microplane

olive oil

salt and pepper to season

fresh thyme and basil

1 slice stale bread, blended into a coarse crumb (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. In a fry pan, heat up 1 tablespoon olive oil on a medium heat. Add the garlic, carrot and zucchini. Stir to get a decent coating with the oil and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Whilst the fry pan contents is cooking, spoon out the insides of each half of the eggplant leaving around 1cm of flesh still attached to the skin to give it shape and stability. Place eggplant halves in the oven for 20 minutes to start the cooking process.
  4. Roughly chop the scooped out filling and add to the fry pan with the other ingredients. Mix until well combined then reduce heat to a simmer. Add the tomatoes and make sure everything is coated with the liquid. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove eggplants from the oven and turn off the tomato sauce. Using a spoon, add the mixture into the eggplant halves. Top with bread crumbs and thyme.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden. (If you’re not using breadcrumbs, the eggplant will still require baking for 15 minutes or so)
  7. Serve immediately with fresh basil!

stuffed aubergine

Chocolate Pancakes with Peanut Butter

Here we go again… chocolate and peanut butter. It will take a lot for me to give up this addiction so glad to say it’s here to stay!

When the pancake cravings strike, you really just have to get on top of it and so I chose to change up my go to pancake recipe by adding cacao powder to make them chocolate.

These measurements below are a rough guide. I have a tendency to forgot to measure my ingredients when I am making things but with this mixture, it’s important to have an equal balance of wet and dry ingredients. You don’t want the batter to be super runny or super thick.

You will notice that there is both self raising flour and baking powder in this recipe. I wanted to give the mixture as much lift factor as possible without using eggs (I normally make really small quantities and so an egg would overpower the batter).

These are conveniently dairy free and egg free!

Okay here I present to you…

Chocolate Pancakes with Peanut Butter (yields 6)

What you’re going to need

1/2 cup self raising flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder (or a “pinch”)

1 tablespoon cacao powder

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup non dairy milk (rice, oat, almond)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

peanut butter (I used Pic’s Crunchy PB for these)

Method

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and cacao into a bowl
  2. Add the wet ingredients and whisk until mixture is well combined without any lumps.
  3. Allow mixture to sit for a few minutes before heating up a flat pan on a medium heat.
  4. Place even amounts of batter onto the pan. Flip when you see the top is covered in bubbles.
  5. Serve in a stack with peanut butter in between each layer!
  6. Top with some dairy free chocolate (optional)

 

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