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Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

Moroccan Couscous, Pumpkin & Chickpea Salad


This week we are introducing a salad bar to the shop, complimenting the juices and smoothies and balancing out the decadent pastry treats. The weather had been glorious, it felt like spring was on it’s way but as usual for this time of year, mother nature was just teasing us. We had even planned a girls surf day, the sea had been calm and the skies blue but that is on the back burner as the sea raged in all it’s West Coast glory this morning. Back on with the woolies as the rain and blustery wind rattled the house. The intended spring salads turned into hearty winter salads, something to satisfy and comfort with a spicy kick. I will also have a Smokey Mexican Slaw and Italian inspired Roasted Cauliflower & Rocket  Salad. I’ll try and blog those to for you if I get a chance! Have a great week everyone and I hope the weather is being good to you where ever you are. xx


1 large butternut pumpkin or 1 small crown pumpkin

400g tinned chickpeas

Cous Cous

1tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp cumin seeds

3Tbsp olive oil

1-2 tsp Harrisa Paste (depending on how hot yours is). I have a recipe here if you want to make some

2 Tbsp Water

Juice & zest of 1 lemon

large handful of parsley & coriander

salt & pepper to season


Cook the couscous as per packet instructions then rinse and cool.

Pre-heat oven to 180C

Skin & de-seed the pumpkin and dice into one inch squares. Place pumpkin in a roasting pan/tray.

Mix together the cinnamon, cumin, turmeric & olive oil and pour over the pumpkin. Rub the oil and spice mix through the pumpkin so it is coated.

Roast the pumpkin for 15 minutes or until tender but still has a bite to it. Allow pumpkin to cool before mixing it with other ingredients.

Drain the chickpeas.

Mix the harissa with the 2 Tbsp water

In a large bowl combine the chickpeas, roasted pumpkin and cooked couscous. Add the harissa , lemon juice & zest, coriander, parsley. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Goes well with roasted chicken, lamb chops or grilled fish or just served on it’s own.

The Smallest Chicken Egg & A Herby Omelet

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This week one of our new chickens laid the smallest chicken egg I have ever seen, well we think it is one of the new chickens. Above is a comparison with one of their regular eggs. If it keeps on laying them that small I might be able to sell them as gourmet eggs to restaurants but it’s likely it is because it is her first egg. Does anyone know? All of our chickens are hulking great Orpingtons but we do have one little chicken who looks a bit like a Bantam but she hasn’t laid since we adopted her and we think she is rather old anyway. It’s nice that our chickens are now laying, having adopted older abandoned chickens we were beginning to think we had acquired new pets and the most expensive free range eggs around with two a week from five hens. Not that we minded, they are very entertaining to watch, very sociable and keep the weeds in the garden down. Below is Beryl, not the best pic of her but at least you can see how big she is and she isn’t even the largest of them.

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 What better way to enjoy fresh eggs, a nice simple omelet with lots of herbs and some sheep feta. Use any herbs you prefer but lots of them, I used parsley and mint from the garden and coriander but basil would also be good. Then add your favourite cheese, I chose a sharp sheep feta.

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Ingredients for one omelet

2 free range eggs

large handful of chopped mixed herbs

a handful of your favourite cheese (I used sheep feta)


Whisk two eggs in a bowl and add the herbs. I did not add any salt since my feta would be adding enough salt but you go with your own preference.

Place a small cast iron or non stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a glug of oil. Let the pan get hot so it sizzles when you put the beaten eggs in, helps to prevent sticking.

Add the herby eggs and cook for a minute or until brown underneath.

Add the cheese and fold one half over.

Turn heat down to low and cook until the centre cooks through, although I like mine a little soft still.

Serve straight in the pan and enjoy!

Sweet Corn, Pea & Halloumi Herb Fritters

DSC_0093A nice easy brunch recipe that is quick to put together if you always have corn in the cupboard or peas in the freezer like we do. The key to this recipe is to use lots of herbs, so where I note a large handful I mean LARGE, not a few leaves. Think Jamie Oliver, wildly tearing heads of herbs off their stalks and using the lot, no point saving the rest for a rainy day, chances are they will wilt away in the fridge. Unless of course you have your own garden supply, mine has dwindled with our new resident hens who have got into my herb garden and made it into a dust bath. The fencing will go up this weekend to keep them out and new herbs will be planted. Speaking of our hens, when we adopted them one of the hens, Beryl, had a baby chick which we were excited about the prospect of more eggs once it grew up. Well the chick has become a teenage, it’s a bit like the ugly duckling story because our cute baby chick is starting to resemble a Pea Hen (hopefully not Peacock) and not a egg laying chicken! They say hens will adopt any eggs or chicks if they are broody and it appears that is what Beryl has done. Below is a picture of ‘Pea’ very timid and hiding under our deck.


Makes approx 16 small fritters
4 large free range eggs (or 5 small)
200g garden peas (frozen is fine)
400g tin of creamed corn
Large handful of fresh parsley, mint and coriander, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp plain flour
200g halloumi, diced small
Salt & Pepper to season
Vegetable oil for frying
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs.
Add the frozen peas (they will defrost quickly), tinned corn, herbs & lemon zest to the whisked eggs.
Sift the flour over the vegetable & herb mix in the bowl and stir through until combined.
Add the diced Halloumi and stir through again. We add the halloumi last so it doesn’t break up.
Season with salt & pepper, the mixture should be fairly thick at this stage, if not add another tablespoon of flour..
In a large frying pan over a medium heat add  2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
Spoon a tablespoon of mixture into the pan to make each fritter, add another three making sure fritters have enough space to flip them over.
Cook fritter for approximately 2 minutes until golden brown then flip over with a spatula.
Cook second side for the same length of time.
Remove fritters from the pan and place on a tray covered with kitchen roll to soak an excess fat.
Add a little more oil to the frying pan and cook more fritters, repeat process till all mixture is cooked.

Breakfast of Tomato Kasundi, Aubergine & Poached Eggs

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We received a huge box of fruit and veg for Christmas from one of Hubby’s clients, most of which we managed to eat except for the tomatoes. The only reason we didn’t get through all the tomatoes was because I had been gifted extra tomatoes by a friend a few days early. Kasundi was the solution before the fruit went past it’s best. Kasundi is an Indian tomato relish/chutney which is fragrant and spicy but you can moderate the heat if you make your own. I prefer a spicy hot kasundi and can eat it with anything and as you can see I have no problem with spicy food for breakfast either, they say it kick starts the metabolism.

There are tons of tomato kasundi recipes on the internet, I’m not ‘reinventing the wheel’ here so I will just direct you to the one I used from  with a few tweaks. Here they used tinned tomatoes whereas I used 6 large fresh beef tomatoes which would have been the equivalent of 800g tinned. I didn’t cook my tomatoes for the length of time stated in their recipe either, I only cooked it for 40 minutes. By this time most of the liquid had evaporated. Tinned have a lot more liquid hence needing a longer cooking time. I divided the kasundi between 3 x 200g sterilised jars. You can use it straight away or keep it for ages in the sealed jars. You can use kasundi as a relish on burgers, as a chutney with papadums and I think it would also go really well with grilled or BBQ fish.

So once you have your kasundi you can start creating new dishes…..

To make the breakfast dish, I cut a rather large aubergine/egg plant into 8 wedges lengthways. Added 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying pan and fried the aubergine over a medium heat on both sides until brown. Approx 3 minutes a side. Then add 1/3 of the kasundi ( 1 jar) to the frying pan, lowered the heat and simmered for 15 minutes. Poach some eggs to go with it. This will serve 2-3 people as a main dish. Serve the poached eggs on top of the kasundi and add some fresh coriander. Enjoy the spicy kick for breakfast!

We’ve Gone all Tarty – Potato & Balsamic Onion Wholemeal Tart, Caramel Apple Olive Oil Pastry Galette

Feeling a little tarty the other weekend I went to the pantry for inspiration….. and not what you may have been thinking that I was wearing some inappropriate attire for my age! In fact I have gone quite conservative lately with 60s vintage dresses that I am having so much fun buying, I just wish I could find the shoes to match. The back combed hair will not be making an appearance though, I only managed to grow it a couple of inches long before I went screaming to the hairdresser for a short crop again! Longer hair is so impractical if you want a quick surf before work and still turn up to the office looking half decent and on time.

The plan was to make a savoury and sweet tart out of the same pastry base but as I started on my tart mission I realized I did not have enough butter for two tarts but I was still determined to make two as remembered a recipe I had seen on one of my favourite food blogs by Natalie at Food Blog and the Dog. This is a ‘must go to site’ if you are vegetarian or need some non meat inspiration in your cooking. I often wish I could accompany Natalie on her walks through the Andalusian countryside.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the pastry for the sweet tart, after all I’m a die hard trained French pastry chef but I love this pastry so much I am going to make some of my Christmas baking with it this year. If you like a nice crisp crust you will love it too.

Potato & Balsamic Onion Tart with Wholemeal Rosemary Pastry

Pastry ingredients & method you can find HERE
Add a handful of fresh rosemary to the flour before whizzing into breadcrumbs

Ingredients – Filling

3 red onions, peeled & finely sliced

Olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp brown sugar

1 large potato (200g), peeled & thinly sliced

100g feta cheese

1 free range egg

100ml milk

pinch of salt & ground black pepper

Method – Filling

Pre-heat oven to 180C and grease & flour a loose bottom tart tin.

In a large frying pan over a medium heat add a splash of olive oil and the sliced onions.

Braise onions until they are soft, approximately 8 minutes then add the balsamic vinegar & brown sugar and stir through onions.

Cook for a further 2 minutes and allow onions to cool before spreading them over the tart case.

Crumble the feta cheese over the onions then arrange the sliced potatoes over the top as in the picture.

Whisk together the egg and milk with the salt & pepper and gently pour over the potatoes.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the egg has set and the potatoes are golden.

Serve with salad.

Caramel Apple Tart with Spelt & Olive Oil Pastry


75g Spelt flour or wholemeal

75g plain flour or wholemeal

1 Tbsp brown sugar

60g olive oil

1 egg

1/4 cup cold water (approximately)

Method – Pastry

Place both flours into a food processor with the sugar.

Add the olive oil to the flour while whizzing the food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the egg and whiz again briefly.

Remove the lid & blade from the processor and continue the next step by hand to prevent the pastry going tough.

Add the water gradually while kneading the dough lightly with one hand, add only enough water to bring the dough together. Once the dough comes together do not knead it any longer.

You can rest the pastry for 10 minutes if it is warm but I find with wholemeal & buckwheat the pastry is manageable straight away.

Roll pastry out to the size of a large dinner plate and move to a non stick baking sheets.

Ingredients – Filling

3 apples, cored and slice thinly

2 Tbsp castor sugar

2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp butter

Method – Filling

Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Arrange apple slices around the pastry base leaving an inch bare around the edge to fold over.

Fold dough into the centre to cover the edge of the apples, pleating as you go, it doesn’t have to be perfect, galettes are rustic.

Place water, butter & sugar for the caramel in a pan on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved then turn up the heat. Once it starts to turn golden brown, turn off the heat and allow it to cool.

Once cool pour carefully over the apples in the pastry case.

Bake for 35 minutes on a low shelf in the oven to crisp the bottom.

Malaysian Egg Curry & Return of The Gannets

Where have you gone my lovely sunshine? For one day you graced us with your presence and back into hiding you went, all you left behind was a glowing red line across the back of my neck, evidence that you truly had visited . Our beautiful Gannets were happy as the sun shone, they played on the blustery sea air, swooping and diving, showing off to their mates, they are home again for the season. When the wind blows onshore we can hear their calls from our deck, they know summer is on it’s way even if the sun doesn’t always play it’s part in the deal.

As the weather changed again the salads went to the back of the fridge and a quick spicy Malaysian curry made an appearance for lunch. The recipe is slightly adjusted from Alice Hart’s book, Vegetarian to suit the ingredients I had on hand, it’s one of my favourites because it is so quick to prepare and full of fragrant flavours.

Ingredients – 4 portions

Serve with Basmati or Jasmine rice

8 soft boiled eggs

1 Tbsp coconut oil

4 spring onions, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic

2 inch fresh ginger, grated

1 tsp cumin seeds, ground

1 tsp coriander seeds, ground

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 chili, chopped

400ml chopped tinned tomatoes

2 Tbsp tamarind paste

100ml coconut milk

1 Tbsp brown sugar

salt to season

large handful fresh coriander, chopped


In a large frying pan heat the coconut oil over a medium heat.

Add the spring onions, ginger and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.

Add the ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili & tomatoes to the pan and saute for 5 more minutes.

Stir in the tamarind paste, coconut milk and brown sugar, season with salt to your taste.

Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken and then add the boiled eggs.

Cook for a few more minutes to warm the eggs through.

Scatter with fresh coriander and serve with rice

The Asparagus Table – La Vignarola – Italian Spring Soup, Wholemeal Asparagus Tart and Egg Asparagus Soldiers

Some of the simplest things in life are best, how often have you heard that remark?  The long awaited asparagus season is here in New Zealand and keeping it simple with asparagus certainly highlights the veg at it’s best. My favourite way to eat asparagus is just lightly steamed served with eggs ‘anyway’ and lashings of butter,  try a fun quirky way of serving the spears with your soft boiled egg using them as ‘dunking soldiers’. As I was eating the asparagus and boiled eggs my mind had already wandered onto truffle oil drizzled into the shell…watch out shopping bill, truffle oil may well be in the next basket.

The Italian spring soup La Vignarola is perfect for show casing not only asparagus but also lovely spring vegetables of podded peas and broad beans. If you can’t find them freshly podded and don’t have them sprouting away in your garden, snap frozen are pretty convenient and taste great too. A simple tart of asparagus with sour cream and mustard is easy for anyone to whip up, I made a wholemeal pastry but you can always buy pre bought if you are short on time or don’t have ‘pastry fingers’.

La Vignarola – Spring Soup


4 spring onions, sliced

2 bunches asparagus

200g frozen peas, defrosted

200g broad beans, podded (you can use frozen)

200g jar marinated artichoke hearts

3 cloves garlic

2 cups vegetable stock

Large handful each of parsley & mint, finely chopped

Zest and juice 1 small lemon

100g shaved Pecorino to serve

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper


Cut the woody ends off the asparagus spears and discard, then cut spears into three.

Place a little olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.

Add the spring onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the asparagus, podded broad beans and stock to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the peas, artichokes juice and zest of the lemon to the saucepan and season with salt & pepper.

You can add some of the artichoke marinade to the soup also if you wish, tasting as you do.

Add the parsley and mint.

Bring the soup to the boil then remove from the heat and serve immediately, you want the veg to be crisp and green.

Serve the soup with shaved pecorino and crust bread

Asparagus Tart – serves 6

Ingredients – pastry
110g butter

180g wholemeal flour
1 egg

2 Tbsp iced water

pinch of salt

Method – Pastry

Place flour, butter and salt in the bowl and whiz until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the egg and water and knead together briefly to form a dough.

Rest the pastry in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Roll pastry out to fit tart tin and press into place, trim edges off pastry.

Ingredients – Tart Filling

1 bunch spring asparagus

250g sour cream

2 large free range eggs

2 heaped tsp whole grain mustard

salt & pepper to season

ground black pepper

Method – Tart Filling

Pre-heat oven at 180C & grease & flour a 20cm loose bottom tart tin.

Remove the woody ends from the asparagus and cut spear in half.

Whisk together the sour cream, eggs and mustard and season with a little salt & pepper.

Pour mixture into the pastry base.

Lay the asparagus half spears on top of the mixture in pastry case, alternating tip and base as in picture.

Grind some black pepper over the top of asparagus.

Bake in oven on a lower shelf (to crisp pastry base) for 35-40 minutes until tart is set and golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing tart from mould.
Serve warm of chilled

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