Category Archives: Vegie recipes

Scruptious corn – a side dish that sings!


The meat component of most dinners is normally the feature of a dish – and the side-dish is something that just goes along for the ride.

However, this corn, tomato and chilli dish is that good, that it is the perfect foundation. Simple add some grilled meat, and you have a dinner full of great flavour, that took no time at all to put together!

Corn with tomato and chilli

  • 4 corn cobs, husks removed and kernels cut from the cob
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1   400gm can of chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 a cup of chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Remove the outer husks from the corn cobs. Stand the cob on its end, and using a sharp knife, cut the kernels away from the cob.

In a large frypan, add some olive oil, the onion, garlic and chilli with a pinch of salt and fry gently, over a medium heat. Fry for 3 minutes, then add the corn.

Add the canned tomatoes and stock and simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes, or until the corn is tender.

Serve with some grilled meat of your choice. I did a rolled loin of lamb. It was absolutely delicious 🙂

As for a groovy tune – I highly recommend this rocking track my the Kaiser Chiefs. I got into this English indie rock band after the AFL started using this song for their footy promos. Love it!.

Check it out!

Leek and chickpea soup


It’s so freezing outside that I thought I should share with you a soup recipe that has become one of my all-time favourites. I adore leeks and seeing as they are in season, now is an ideal time to whip this up. I really didn’t like the idea of chickpeas in soup at first – but although it only has a few ingredients, the flavour is amazing. I originally saw this made on a Jamie Oliver cooking show way back when. I’ve made it my own and no longer need the recipe to guide me. Everyone I have served it to has been impressed 🙂

So – introducing …

 Leek and Chickpea Soup

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 leeks
  • 3 desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained and well rinsed
  • 1.5 – 2 litres of chicken stock
  • Parmesan cheese (to serve, but optional)

Cut leeks down the middle, discarding the tough green part at the top, and clean thoroughly under running water. Chop fairly finely.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add leeks and a few good pinches of salt. The salt will not only add flavour, but allow the leeks to wilt, without colouring. This should take about five minutes over a medium heat – ensure you keep an eye on it and stir regularly.

Add the potatoes, along with the chickpeas and cook until heated through. Add stock at this point – enough to generously cover the mixture.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potato cubes are tender.

Remove from heat and using a stick mixer (or blender), blitz the ingredients, but leave some chunky bits.

Blitzing ensures the soup is beautiful and creamy, but leaving some chunky bits of chickpea and leek means there is really nice texture too. However, feel free to blitz to a smooth consistency if that’s what you prefer.

Bring back to the simmer – now you can judge whether more stock needs to be added. Just add more until the texture is to your liking. Make sure you have a taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve drizzled with some olive oil and shavings of parmesan cheese.

This soup really is a meal in a bowl and also makes a fantastic lunch. You can freeze it too, if you want – but I find this one disappears out of the fridge pretty quickly!

My Groovy Kitchen Tunes track for this warm, nutty soup would have to be Dark Storm, by The Jezebels. Its title is reflective of our weather here in Victoria at the moment, but there’s something warming and hopeful about it at the same time. Curl up on the couch tonight in front of the TV, pop a blanket over you and enjoy this soup and just think, the weekend is nearly here!! Sounds like a perfect Wednesday night to me 🙂

Delicious Dal


I’m not really in to vegetarian food – but this dal is really something else. It’s filling, comforting and full of beautiful flavour and spice. You get all of this, and it’s quick and easy too.

Dal is the Indian word for pulses, as well as the finished dish. Chickpeas and other beans are also popular for this style of curry.

This dal is very mild – so if you like heat – add more chilli to taste.

RED LENTIL DAL

  • 3/4 cup of red lentils
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 thick slices of ginger
  • 1/2 a tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tbs of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 a tsp of whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp of ground cummin
  • 1 tbs of coriander root, finely shopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 of a cup of coriander, roughly chopped

Method

Put the lentils, ginger, turmeric and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the lentils are tender. Stir occasionally to ensure they don’t stick.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan add the onion, garlic, mustard and a good pinch of salt and pepper and cook over a medium heat for five minutes. Add the cummin, coriander root and chilli and cook for two minutes.

Add the cooked lentils to the frying pan and stir through. Add a little more water at this point, if the mixture is looking dry. It should be like a thick soup.

Reduce the heat, simmering gently for 5 minutes, then add the lemon juice and fresh coriander. Serve with some nice naan bread or pappadums.

This makes a lovely lunch dish. I take it to work and have it with a nice dollop of natural yogurt. It also freezes nicely too.

Enjoy~

Lisa

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:

AVOCADO, TOMATO AND FETTA 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

Method:

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~

Lisa 

Cous cous – Perry style


Today, I am feeling nervous and excited – because today is the day one of my Christmas presents comes to fruition – to have a cooking masterclass with one of the Geelong region’s best chefs. I am sooo excited to be cooking lobster, oysters and mud crab. Not only that, but I’ll get to eat the food, with matching wines, as well. It’s going to be the most incredible experience. I can’t wait!

In the coming days I’ll be blogging about the experience, everything I learned, and I’ll be taking some photos too! Hope I can make the food taste wonderful and look sexy. I’d be mortified if I burn something, or chop my finger off!!

But, in the meantime, here’s a recipe from another great Masterchef – Neil Perry.

Cous cous is one of those things I am just soooo happy I discovered.

I was always a bit scared of it, for some reason. It looked complicated to make. Not only that, it looks like sand on a plate. Not exactly appetising.

However, when my brother gave me a Neil Perry cookbook a few years ago, I was flicking through and he had a really simple way of preparing it. I thought, if Neil reckons it’s a good idea – so do I.

So, this is how Neil does basic cous cous – it’s a great accompaniment with stews and casseroles. I mean I am a rice girl at heart – but cous cous is right up there for me.

Cous Cous – Perry style

  • 100gm of butter
  • 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • 400ml of boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups of cous cous

Method:

Combine the butter olive oil and boiling water in a large mixing bowl. Once the butter has melted in the water, while stirring – add the cous cous. Leave until the cous cous has absorbed the liquid, then fluff it gently with a fork.

Put the cous cous in a steamer, which you’ve lined with a clean tea towel. Put over a saucepan of fast-boiling water and steam for 20 minutes.

This makes enough cous cous to serve 4 to 6 people. But – here’s a very important tip. Use a white, or light-coloured tea towel. I once used a blue one, and it turned the cous cous blue! Needless to say, I had to throw it away. You can also use some muslin cloth, if you have it handy.

This is a good base recipe to add other flavours. So, get creative.

Be back soon to blog about the Masterclass. Woo hoo!!

Be Inspired – because I know I will be!

Lisa~

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.

Cheers!!!
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 – or for a really yummy, healthy lunch.

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

    Be Inspired~

    Lisa

     

     

    Day 28: The secret to perfect roast potatoes


    I have been experimenting with different methods for cooking roast potatoes for many years now and after much trial and error – I’m very proud to say that I have nailed it with a method that works every time.

    But it’s been a long road to get to this point and I have tried so many different ways including heating the oil in the pan before adding the potatoes – a method that is quite a hazard with hot oil spitting everywhere.

    I have par boiled, not par boiled, microwaved and steamed the potatoes before roasting. I have tried peeling and leaving the skins on. I have even cooked “roast” potatoes in the frying pan hoping this would make them crisper. It kind of worked, but if you fry them, they aren’t really roast potatoes, are they?

    I have even tried many different varieties of potato in my pursuit for roasting bliss – Pontiac, sabiago, deseree, coliban – you name it, I’ve tried it!

    As a result I’ve had potatoes that have turned out everything from burnt on the outside, but hard in the middle – soft on the inside, but with little colour on the outside etc

    Being such a lover of roast potatoes, I knew I had to get it right. I mean I would skip a roast meal all together if I couldn’t have these little golden pieces of deliciousness with them. 

    But I’ve found one that gives me a crispy on the outside and soft in the middle result every time – but I won’t keep the secret to myself, especially seeing as Christmas is almost here and most people’s festive table is not complete without this side dish.

    So, here goes!

    Lisa’s Perfect Roast Potatoes

    • 2 kilos of deseree potatoes
    • 1/4 cup of olive oil
    • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 3 whole, unpeeled garlic cloves
    • 3 sprigs of thyme

    Method:

    Preheat the oven to 220 degrees (c).

     Peel and cut 2kg of desiree potatoes into 4cm pieces. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and pour over boiling water.

    Once the water has come to the boil, cook for 6 minutes over medium heat. Drain.

    Return the potatoes to the pan, place a lid on the pan and shake vigorously (this roughs up the surface and is the key to getting nice crispy bits on the finished product. I sometimes also run a fork over the potatoes to rough them up gently.

    Place in a roasting tin and season with generous amount of sea salt and pepper.

    Drizzle the olive oil over all of the potatoes and them add the garlic and time. Using your hands, toss the potatoes though the olive oil and herbs, ensuring every part of the potatoes are covered. Use a little more olive oil, if required.

    Place the roasting tin on the middle shelf of your oven and cook for 40 to 50 mins, turning occasionally.

    For the best results, serve the potatoes immediately. If you allow them to sit, they will become soggy.

    I promise you, once you try this recipe, you’ll never search for another. Perfect every time!! YAY!

    Be Inspired~

    Lisa

    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

    Method

    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~

    Lisa

    Day 18: Leek and chickpea soup


    Day 18 brings you one of my dad’s favourite soups.

    I remember the first time I made it – I could tell he was a little bit unsure about the idea of a soup containing chickpeas. But, once he tasted it – he loved it – which makes me a very happy daughter 🙂

    I can’t quite remember where I got the inspiration for this recipe. I just make it – no recipe required. It’s well and truly ingrained in my brain.

    This soup makes a perfect lunch – and it’s terrific because the chickpeas make it really low GI. It’s filling and tasty and will ensure you don’t have one of those mad sugar cravings when 3pm rocks around.

    Leek and chickpea soup

    • 3 large leeks, cleaned and sliced
    • 1 nob of butter
    • 2 deseree potatoes – peeled and cut into cubes
    • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • Enough chicken stock to cover the ingredients (get the recipe to make your own here)
    • Grated parmesan cheese to serve

    Method:

    In a large saucepan, melt the butter before adding the chopped leaks with a good pinch of salt. Cook the leeks over a low heat for about 10 minutes – but don’t allow them to colour. You want them to sweat and the salt will help to draw out the liquid in the leeks.

    Add the potatoes and chickpeas and cover with enough chicken stock to cover everything. Cook until the potato is tender – about 10-15 minutes.

    Blend using a stick mixer or spoon into your blender until the soup is smooth and creamy. If the soup is too thick at this point, thin down with a little more chicken stock. Don’t forget to taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

    Serve nice and hot with some parmesan cheese grated over the top.

    This soup really is easy, incredible tasty and very fast to make. Hope you enjoy it.

    Be Inspired~

    Lisa

     

     

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    Day 13: Lisa’s luscious trio of dips – mmm delish!


    Dips are just about my favourite thing to eat. I know it probably sounds a bit weird, but I love a good platter filled with deli meats and cheeses (oh how I adore cheese), olives (kalamata, green – I dig them all) and, of course, dips and dipping things!!

    I often do this as a casual starter – rather than making a more formal dish. I love how everyone stands around the table, drink in hand, nibbling on this and that and chatting away. It’s stress free and rather than being off, slaving in the kitchen, I can mix with my friends. There’s nothing worse than an absent host.

    Now I hear you thinking that doing a platter isn’t really cooking – it’s just assembling stuff. Ok, I see your point. However, I think you can relieve that guilt if you make the dips yourself, rather than simply taking off a lid and spending a little time removing that tricky foil covering – which according to previous experience can be a real struggle sometimes.

    Anyhow – here is the recipe for my three favourite dips in the whole world – hommus, tzatziki and guacamole. I love them so much I even eat them on toast! However, for entertaining, try my pita chips.

    Lisa’s Luscious Trio of Dips

     Tzatziki

    • 2 cups of plain Greek-style yoghurt
    • 1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled, halved and de-seeded
    • 2 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1 tbs finely chopped fresh mint
    • 2 tbs of olive oil
    • The juice of half to 1 lemon (depending on how juicy it is) 
    • Salt, to taste

    Method:

    Coarsely grate the cucumber and squeeze out excess moisture with your hands. Combine yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, mint, olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt (which really brings out the flavours).

    I love my tzatziki to be quite garlicy – but if you don’t, just pop one clove in, instead of two. This dip is also fantastic on marinated meats. Sometimes I just sprinkle some lamb chops with a little oregano, lemon and salt and pepper, grill it medium-rare – and then top it with the tzatziki. Ok, I’m making myself hungry! 

    Hommus

    •  1 can of chickpeas – drained of brine and rinsed
    • 1 tsp of tahini (you can get this in the health food aisle at the supermarket)
    • Around 1/4 cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil
    • The juice of half a lemon
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Method:

    Place all ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor and blitz until the chickpeas start to break down. Start the processor again, and slowly drizzle the olive oil in until you get the right consistency for dipping. You may not need all the oil, or you may need a little more. Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the mixer, to ensure an evenly smooth texture – and don’t forget to taste it before you serve. It may need a little more lemon, or another sprinkle of salt and pepper.

    I never used to put tahini in my hommus – but apparently it’s quite traditional. It really adds a depth of flavour – so well worth hunting it down.

    Guacamole

    A lot of people pop everything into the food processor, but I like my guacamole chunky. It tastes so fresh and wonderful.

    • 1 ripe avocado
    • 2 tbs of olive oil
    • half a red chilli
    • 2 tbs of chopped, fresh coriander
    • Juice of half a lemon

    Method:

    Remove the flesh of the avocado from the skin. Place it in a bowl and use a fork to mash it into chunky pieces. Add all other ingredients and stir through. Check for seasoning and adjust to taste.

    As you can see, all of these are pretty easy and they really take no time at all. They taste so much better than anything you can buy.

    Suggested dipping things include simple stuff like carrot and celery sticks, or you can use pita bread to make chips. Just cut the pita bread into triangles – lay them on a baking sheet – drizzle with a little olive oil (go easy otherwise you’ll drown them and make them soggy) – sprinkle with dried oregano (and some chilli flakes, if you like a bit of punch) – and salt and pepper. Bake in a hot oven (about 220 degrees) – for a few minutes, until they have crispened.

    Saturday is a day for relaxing, entertaining and enjoyment. Whip these up – share them with friends, or have your own personal feast – sit outside, have a barbecue, or take them on a picnic – but whatever you decide to do – enjoy!

    Tomorrow, being Sunday, I have the most lovely roast lamb recipe. It has been posted on here before – back when no one was reading! LOL – it’s greek-style lamb – and it’s perfect served with a delicious dollop of tzatziki on top!

    Be Inspired~

    Lisa

     

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