Category Archives: Salads

Prosciutto and pumpkin salad

I know, it’s cold and you’re not totally thinking about salad at the moment – but this one is warm and let’s face it – we don’t want to eat heavily all the way through winter. We have to give our body’s a break from the carbs! Well, that’s what I keep telling myself anyway ūüôā

I love the nutty flavours of pumpkin in this recipe, mixed with the salty prosciutto and peppery rocket. If you don’t have prosciutto – you could also cut a few rashers of bacon into largeish pieces, fry them off and add them to the mix instead. It’s also great to take to work for lunch ūüôā

Prosciutto and pumpkin salad

  • 1 butternut pumpkin
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 20 slices of prosciutto (you can get this at all good delis and even at your local supermarket)
  • 4 handfuls of rocket
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (please buy the best balsamic you can find ‚Äď it makes ALL the difference)
  • 1 small block of parmesan cheese


Preheat your oven to 190¬įC. Peel pumpkin, remove the seeds and cut into largish cubes. Lay in a roasting tray, season with salt and pepper, the coriander and chilli flakes and drizzle over a little olive oil. Use your hands to rub the mixture all over the pumpkin. This is the best way to get the flavours going ‚Äď it beats using a spoon any day. Roast the pumpkin for half an hour or until soft and golden. Allow to cool a little.

Lay your prosciutto over a large serving platter ‚Äď let it twist and turn so it doesn‚Äôt look neat and flat. Put the pumpkin around the meat and then sprinkle over the rocket. Drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil to dress the leaves, as well as the balsamic. Use a vegetable peeler to shave over the parmesan.

If you wanted something to go with it – some really simply grilled chicken would be great.

As for a song to groove to while you whip this up – I think something light and refreshing is in order. The Script are an awesome Irish band – and their song This Is Love is inspiring. You’ll want to play it over and over ūüôā

What’s flicking through on your iPod at the moment? Share your favourite tunes in the comments section below and keep us all inspired!


The Mondayitis cure: chargrilled squid salad

It’s Monday afternoon and you’ve got no idea what to cook for dinner tonight … this chargrilled squid salad is the answer.

If you don’t have the ingredients at home – then you only need to stop by two sections of the supermarket to get everything you need. You’ll be in and through the check-out in no more than 10 minutes. I think this is crucial because the supermarket pit-stop on weekdays, for me anyway, is¬†one I dread. I just want to get home and start cooking and relaxing!

The flavours here are fresh and yummy, and the avocado really gives it a comforting creaminess – without the guilt!


  • 300gm of squid tubes, cleaned
  • Olive oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • the¬†juice of ¬Ĺ a lime
  • 2 very ripe avocados
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of chopped¬†coriander
  • ¬Ĺ a red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • juice of 2 limes


Squeeze the avocados out of their skins into a bowl, removing the stones. Add most of the chilli and coriander, the onion, tomato and lime juice. Mix everything up with a spoon, hacking up any bigger bits of avocado as you go. Have a taste to check the balance, and season with salt and pepper.

Put a griddle pan on a high heat to get nice and hot. For the squid tubes put the knife in the tube and cut through the side, open it out then lightly score every ¬Ĺcm in a criss-cross fashion with a blunt knife. This means the squid will curl up and absorb extra flavour.

Season the squid with a pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil then toss to coat. Add it to the hot griddle, scored-side down, for 1 to 2 minutes. Use tongs to turn the squid over once it has nice char marks. Give it a minute on the other side until it curls up then immediately transfer to a bowl. While the squid is still piping hot, add a really good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, the lime juice and another small pinch of salt and pepper.

Spoon the avocado salad onto a platter. Cut the squid into bite-sized chunks. Pile the squid over the salad and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Scatter over the reserved coriander and chilli.

This dish looks so pretty. I know it’s Monday, but why not light some candles, pour some wine and sit down with you partner and pretend it’s the weekend!

Be Inspired~


Something light for hump day – avo, tomato and fetta salad

Welcome to Wednesday! By this stage we are immersed in the week and lots of us can’t be bothered cooking something complicated.

What do you like to cook mid-week? Do you have a go-to recipe which you¬†call on when things are getting a little overwhelming? If you do have one, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

If you don’t have¬†a recipe or two that you call on when you’re busy and fall back to¬†take-aways or¬†pre-made food –¬†then this week¬†I challenge you to find a recipe that you can whip up in 30 minutes or less. It’ll make life less stressful, be healthier for you and your family, and be so much kinder to your hip pocket.

I think mid-week is a time to have something quick, easy, light, but most of all – yummy.

This salad is ideal, and can be served with some simply grilled chicken. Put 3 chicken breasts, which you have cut into strips, into a bowl along with 2 crushed cloves of garlic, the zest and juice of half a lemon and some dried oregano and a good amount of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat the chicken and cook in a hot frying pan or on a griddle pan, if you have one, until golden and cooked through.

But before you do that, whip up the salad:


  • 2 handfuls of mixed lettuce leaves
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lebanese cucumber
  • 150gms of green, pitted olives
  • 1/3 of a cup of diced, soft fetta
  • 1 large avocado
  • 3 tbs of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbs of olive oil (extra virgin, if you have it)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Wash and dry the lettuce leaves and put into a large serving bowl.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the bowl.

Cut the lebanese cucumber lengthways and deseed using a spoon. The seeds are really watery and bitter. Chop the cucumer thinly and add to your bowl.

Add the diced fetta and olives and toss everything together.

Once you are ready to serve, drizzle over the balsamic, olive oil and salt and pepper and toss gently.

Cut the avocado in half. Remove the nut in the middle by tapping it with your knife and turn it. It should some away from the flesh. Use a teaspoon to scoop out segments and put them on top of the salad.

Divide the salad between four plates, and top it with the grilled chicken, as described above, or whatever other meat you like. This makes the salad a really nice, refreshing meal.

Be Inspired~


Baba ghanouj – Eggplant dip

Eggplant is in season and so it’s time to start thinking of some creative ways of serving it.

A lot of people don’t really like eggplant, or¬†aubergine as it is known is some places,¬†all that much.¬†I used to be one of them. It can be bitter if not treated to a nice sprinkling of sea salt, and if you under-cook it, it’s gonna have a funny, squeaky texture.

How do I like it best? Well, while I do love it in curries because its spongy flesh really soaks up all the flavours –¬†You can’t go past it in a dip known as Baba ghanouj.

It is an Arab dish and in some parts is served as an appetizer while in others they like it as a side-dish or salad.

With eggplants plentiful, why not give this recipe a go. This one is inspired by SBS Food Safari – the Lebanese episode. It’s creamy, delicious and very good for you!

Baba Ghanoush


  • 2-3 medium sized eggplant
  • 1¬Ĺ tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika


Grill whole eggplant over a gas flame, turning with tongs until the skin is evenly toasted. Soak in cold water for about 10 min to cool.

When cool, completely peel the eggplants and drain for 15-20 min. Place into a food processor with tahini, lemon, garlic and salt and process again until well combined and creamy.

Place the mixture in a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little paprika.

The recipe suggested finishing at the end with a chopped tomato and some parsley. Feel free to add it if you have it on hand.

Remember to also taste the dip before you serve it – the lemon, salt and tahini may need tweaking to suit your tastes.

I’ve also had some trouble in the past actually finding tahini. I always find it in the health food section at the supermarket. I’m sure you can get it from health food shops too. It’s basically a sesame seed paste – very strong in flavour – but very yummy ūüôā

Be Inspired~


Masterclass lesson #1: Decadent oysters

On Tuesday night I was treated to a cooking Master Class with one of¬†Victoria’s best executive chefs – Marty Chichester from the Bellarine Peninsula’s Oakdene¬†Vinyards restaurant¬†– a multi-award winning venue that last year¬†won the National Award for the Best Restaurant in a Winery.

I have to admit that I was so nervous going into the Masterclass. The menu¬†included oysters, lobster, mud crab and pannacotta – all things I had little or no experience with cooking. The last time I did crab – it really wasn’t great and I wasn’t sure¬†how to clean it. I’ve never attempted lobster before, simply because it’s just so expensive and with my inexperience – I didn’t want to risk ruining it.

As for the oysters – well I’m sad to say, I don’t really like them. I WANT to like them – but I just don’t.

However, my apparent dislike for them didn’t stop me from wanting to try serving them in different ways.

Marty gave us a demonstration of all the dishes before we went ahead – and after getting started on the pannacotta and popping it in the fridge – we started on our oysters. Marty showed us three ways to serve them – each very different.

Sadly, I’m still not a huge¬†fan of oysters – but these three recipes are absolutely extraordinary nonetheless and any lover of oysters is going to¬†want to give these ideas a go.

Firstly we had the watermelon and chilli granita. Secondly, Marty showed us how to make a Welsh Rarebit sauce, which is much like a mustardy¬†mornay¬†– and finally (and my favourite) marinated cucumber spaghetti¬†with Avruga¬†caviar. All these toppings wouldn’t only be useful¬†for oysters. I could see the Welsh Rarebit served over prawns and the cooling, tangy cucumber spaghetti would have endless applications – as a side salad with something spicy would be perfect – or on top of a nicely fried piece of fish, like salmon or tuna.

One of the key things I learned about preparing oysters is that you should never rinse them, because it washes away all the great flavours of the sea. Marty said that if you want to get rid of some of the liquid – then just to dab them gently with some paper towel. He also said it was critical to buy them from a reputable fish monger and use them the same day you buy them. Fresh is best, of course.

Oysters with marinated cucumber spaghetti, Welsh rarebit and watermelon and chilli granita

Oysters with marinated cucumber spaghetti and Avruga caviar

  • 1 continental cucumber
  • 4¬†tbs¬†of chardonnay wine vinegar
  • A pinch of salt
  • A Pinch of sugar
  • 1 tsp of fresh dill
  • Avruga caviar to serve


Peel the cucumber and cut julienne, discarding the seeds.

Mix the rest of the ingredients (except the caviar) with the cucumber in a bowl. Cover and leave in the fridge for 1 hour to marinate.

To serve, place a teaspoon of the cucumber mix on top of each oyster and top with half a teaspoon of the caviar.

As for the next filling – Marty said this would also be great on some toasted sourdough bread. Once you taste it, you’ll realise it has many applications. I personally think it would be delicious on steak ūüôā

Oysters with Welsh Rarebit Sauce

  • 60gm¬†of unsalted butter
  • 75gm of plain flour
  • 375ml of apple cider
  • 375gm of mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbs¬†of dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 egg yolks
  • Sea salt and ground white pepper to taste


Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook out for 1 minute.

Slowly add the cider and cook for two minutes, making a veloute (the term velouté is from the French adjectival form of velour, meaning velvety).

Remove from the heat and add the mustard, Worcestershire and egg yolks, whisking until smooth.’Add the grated cheese and whisk until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper and cool for 3 hours.

Put a teaspoon of the sauce onto each oyster – then grill under a hot grill until it is browned.

My attempt at this dish, as you can see centered in the image above, wasn’t as grilled as Marty suggests. In my defence – I was terrified of burning it and looking like a goose!

The next option is a granita. Marty said he made this because he always had lots of leftover watermelon offcuts from making another dish. Hating to throw things away, he came up with this lovely dish. I enjoyed this one the most because the granita is frozen, making the oyster beautiful and cold Рas it should be.

Watermelon and Chilli Granita

  • 1 litre of watermelon flesh (no peel)
  • 1 tbs¬†of soyabean chilli paste (available at Asian grocery stores)
  • 1 tsp of tabasco sauce


Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Taste and correct seasoning, if required. Transfer into a tray (the liquid should be no more than 1 inch deep – using a larger tray, if required) and freeze for at least four hours or overnight.

Using a fork, scrape the froze granita so it forms a light, fine ice and transfer to a container after each scraping.

Serve a teaspoon of granita on top of each oyster.

I think this dish would be amazing on a hot summers day – so cooling and refreshing – with a hit of warmth from the chilli paste and tabasco to tickle the tastebuds.

Watching chefs cook on TV is great fun for me – but this was one of the best experiences ever. If you live in the Geelong region, jump onto the Oakdene website and find out about Marty’s masterclasses. I promise that no matter your cooking ability – you will love it.

Tomorrow I’ll share with you the great tips I learnt about cooking lobster/crayfish. I couldn’t believe how easy, yet impressive it is!

Hopefully this inspires you to go and have a cooking class – or even just get into your kitchen and have a go at something new.

Be Inspired~


Dinner party part 2: Cous Cous salad

One of the many dishes I whipped up on Saturday night was this cous¬†cous salad. And while it looked and tasted yummy –¬†the leftovers have¬†also served us very well for lunches over the past few days, topped with the leftover barbecued marinated ¬†lamb backstrap.

Cous Cous Salad 
  • 1 cup of¬†chicken stock
  • 1 cup of couscous
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, halved and finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 large¬† ripe tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
  • 1¬†handful of chopped fresh coriander
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Method

    Place the stock in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the cous cous to the hot liquid. Stir with a fork until combined. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the cous cous with a fork to separate the grains.

    Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion with a little salt and cook, stirring, until onion softens. Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric and cook  for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the tomato and chickpeas and cook until heated through. Remove from heat.

    Add onion mixture, coriander and lemon juice to the couscous and toss gently to combine. Taste and season with pepper.

     The lamb backstrap is awesome with this as a side dish Рor for a really yummy, healthy lunch.

    Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my beef shazlick marinade. Simple, fast and tasty.

    Be Inspired~




    Janet’s gorgeous beetroot relish

    This recipe was given to me by a reader of Uforic Food, Janet.

    With her garden brimming with beetroot at the moment, what better way to use it all up, or give it away, then to make a deliciously sweet relish.

    I have also typed this one up to go on recipe cards ¬†in my brother’s shop Angelsea¬†Fruitz¬†as they also seem to have a great supply of this vegetable at the moment.

    I’ll admit I haven’t really cooked with beetroot before, although I eat the tinned variety regularly. I suggest you wear gloves when you are peeling it – otherwise your hands will be the same gorgeous colour as the relish you are about to make!

    Beetroot relish – By Janet


    • 750gm of fresh beetroot
    • 1¬†brown onion
    • 1 1/2 cups of balsamic vinegar
    • 3 tsp of yellow mustard seeds
    • 2 cups of sugar
    • 2 whole cloves or a pinch of ground cloves
    • 5cm piece of orange rind
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


    Peel and process beetroot and onion in a food processor.

     In a covered frying pan, fry mustard seeds in a little oil. 

    Add all ingredients to a large, deep frying pan, or large saucepan. 

    Place over a medium heat, cover and bring to the boil.

     Cook for 30 minutes, or until the beetroot is soft and the liquid has reduced and thickened slightly.

     Pour into sterilised jars, seal and let cool.

     Refrigerate after opening, keeps for about 2 months .

    Hope you enjoy this delicious recipe and a big thank you to Janet for sharing it.

    If you have an awesome recipe you’d like to share too, drop me a line at .

    Be Inspired~


    Got a fridge full of Christmas leftovers? Here are some solutions!

    Having a great time helping Matt's mum out in the kitchen on Christmas Day ūüôā

    Leftovers are one of the best and worst parts of Christmas.

    Tonight we enjoyed a lovely spread of cold pork, ham and turkey – and with a nice warm potato salad and green salad – it was a very yummy, quick and easy dinner.

    But we all know there is only so many times a person can enjoy cold meats and salad for lunch and dinner – so here are some really great, quick meals to utilise you leftover ham, pork and turkey. Best of all, they are all rather light, which is what we all want following the eating fest that is Christmas Day – and they really transform the leftovers – adding kick, punch and interest, rather than feeling like you have to eat roast over and over. Although – I LOVE a good roast and I have to say Matt’s mum puts on an amazing spread for Christmas – I felt very lucky to be a part of the day!

    Give these a go … I promise after slaving in the kitchen the past few days – these meals will be a breeze! First up, there’s nothing like a good salsa to liven things up …

    Sliced Leg Ham with Mango, Avocado and Chilli salsa

    1 large ripe mango, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces

    1 large avocado, halved, stone removed, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces

    1 fresh red birdseye chilli, halved lengthways, deseeded and finely chopped

    1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves

    2 tbs finely chopped red onion

    2 tbs fresh lime juice

    1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    5kg (about 1/2) leg of ham, thinly sliced


    Place the mango, avocado, chilli, coriander, onion, lime juice and oil in a medium glass or ceramic bowl. Gently toss until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl or glass.

    Arrange the ham on a serving platter and serve immediately with the salsa.

    Thai-inspired Turkey Salad

    2 tbsp fresh lime juice
    55 ml of soy sauce
    1 tbsp ginger, grated
    1 tsp ground star anise
    2 tbsp fish sauce
    2 tsp honey
    450 g cooked turkey meat, cut into half inch strips
    2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
    4 spring onions, sliced
    1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
    3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
    2 tbsp coriander leaves
    2 tbsp basil
    black pepper
    mixed salad leaves, to serve


    In a saucepan combine the lime juice, soy, ginger, star anise, fish sauce and honey.

    Cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat, allow to cool.

    Add the remaining ingredients, except the salad leaves. Season to taste and serve on the dressed salad leaves.
    Asian Pork Rice Paper Rolls

    150g dried rice vermicelli noodles
    16 small round rice paper wrappers (you can get these in the Asian isle at the supermarket)
    1 cos lettuce, leaves separated, washed, dried
    2 Lebanese cucumbers, halved, cut into thin strips
    1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
    250g (2 cups) roasted pork, cut into strips
    1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce
    The juice if 1 lime

    Soak noodles following packet directions. Drain. Refresh in cold water and drain.

    Half-fill a shallow dish with warm water. Dip 1 rice paper wrapper into water. Place on work surface. Place lettuce at edge of rice paper. Top with noodles, cucumber, basil and pork. Roll up, folding edges in to enclose filling. Cover rice paper rolls with a damp tea towel to prevent drying out. Repeat with remaining rice paper wrappers, noodles, lettuce, cucumber, mint, basil and pork to make 16 rolls.

    Combine sweet chilli and 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice in a screw-top jar. Secure lid and shake until well combined. Serve rice paper rolls with sweet chilli dipping sauce.

    There you have three delicious recipes which are quick, tasty, light and will ensure all your leftovers get used without you having to feel like you are eating the same thing over and over again.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me in my writing this year. I have enjoyed sharing my recipes with you. I hope you’ll keep reading in 2011 as I start the year exploring all different cuisines from across the globe! It promises to be a fabulous culinary journey. But until then …

    Be Inspired~

    Day 22 – Cook seasonally – tomato salad

    I always think it’s really important to cook seasonally. It makes no sense to me to cook any other way because when things are out of season not only do they suffer in the taste stakes – they’re also really expensive!

    My philosophy is to get fruit and veg when they are not only as their best and most plentiful, but also when they are at their cheapest! Yummy and affordable … sounds like a recipe for success to me.

    As the weather continues to warm up (and I have sunburn to prove it!) – tomatoes always flourish.

    So here’s my recipe for a terrific tomato¬†salad. Simple ingredients, excellent flavour.

    Barbecue Tomato Salad

    • 6 roma tomatoes
    • 2 tsp capers, chopped
    • 1/4 cup of¬†basil leaves, roughly chopped
    • 1 tbs of olive oil
    • 1 tbs of balsamic vinegar
    • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
    • 1 tsp honey
    • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


    Pre-heat your barbecue until hot.

    Cut the tomatoes into quarters lengthways. Barbecue skin-side down for 4-5 minutes, or until charred and warmed through. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

    Meanwhile, combine capers, basil, oil, vinegar, garlic and honey in a bowl, season with salt and pepper. Pour over tomato, toss gently to coat.

    Serve this with a steak or some grilled chicken. Great for those hot nights when you don’t feel like doing much.

    Be Inspired~


    Day 11 – sobo noodle salad

    I remember going to so many barbecues with my parents in the late 80s and early 90s. No matter whose party or gathering it was, if there was a barbecue going, you always got pretty much the same things Рsausages with tomato sauce, creamy potato salad, coleslaw Рand that icky pasta salad.

    The only variance was some people prefer a creamy sauce, while other just bung on a whole load of some jarred pasta sauce  and serve it cold.

    In 2010, I think we have moved away from salads like this – I ate enough of it as a kid to be very happy about that!

    So, I love this sobo noodle salad. It’s perfect served at a barbecue – or just with some marinated chicken on top, as I’ve done here.

    Sobo Noodle Salad

    • 1¬†packet of organic sobo noodles (you can find these in the Asian isle at the supermarket)
    • 3 spring onions,¬†sliced
    • 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
    • 1 tbs of rice wine vinegar
    • 1/2 a tsp of sesame¬†oil
    • 2 tbs of sesame seeds


    Cook the sobo noodles according to the packet directions.

    In the meantime, combine the soy, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil and stir.

    Toss the dressing through the noodles and then stir through the spring onions. Pile onto a serving platter and garnish with the sesame seeds.

    This recipe is so simple, quick and super tasty. As you will see in the photo, I have topped it with some marinated chicken fillets –¬†this really makes it a meal in itself.

    I used about 1 tablespoon each of sweet chilli sauce, soy, rice wine vinegar and a teaspoon each of sesame oil and fish sauce and the juice of half a  lime. Stir together, taste, and adjust to suit your tastes, if required.

    I used chicken thigh pieces, but you could use breast, or even beef stir fry strips.

    Cook over a high heat, until cooked through and serve with the noodles.

    A great entertaining recipe, or a quick week night meal. I hope¬†you’ll enjoy it much more than any pasta salad you’ve had.

    Hope you give it a try ūüôā

    Be Inspired~


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