My first ever kale chips

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My first ever kale chips

It was only a matter of time until I tried to make some of these. As it was my first go I made sure the recipe was a simple one, I gave them a quick spray with canola oil and slow baked at 90°C for about an hour. Once out of the oven a sprinkling of salt was all they needed. Many thanks to my friend Belinda for giving me the kale fresh from her garden.

Dippy, but not hippy.

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Spinach Yoghurt Dip 1Spinach Dip Side On

I’ve often thought the key to maintaining a healthy weight is to find snacks that won’t pile on the pounds. Things like humus, olives, dark chocolate, cheese and crusty bread all taste great but are way too calorie intensive. So, after trying Karen Martini’s low-fat beetroot dip last week, I couldn’t wait to get into her silverbeet, spinach, yoghurt and pinenut one. Again, it was really easy to create a low fat version and a guilt free way of getting a few more greens.

I also really like her formula of combining equal quantities of 1% fat prebiotic yoghurt with your favourite combination of pureed vegetables, herbs and spices. It’s opened up a whole new world on the type of dips I can create. Next time I might try rocket, spinach, basil, mint and parsley together with a bit of lemon juice and garlic. Or, if I’m feeling a bit more adventurous, roasted carrot with onion, garlic, cumin, coriander and a squeeze of lemon. Here’s Karen’s recipe if you’d like to try.

Ingredients
80ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
(I just used a spray of olive oil in the pan. If it gets too dry add a little water.)
5 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 leek, finely sliced
1 bunch silverbeet, trimmed of ¾ of the stalk and finely chopped
3 handfuls baby spinach
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
250g thick plain yoghurt (I used 1% fat probiotic Greek.)
80g pinenuts, toasted briefly in a dry frypan
(I omitted these from the dip and just scattered a few on top.)
1 lemon

Method
In a wide-based pot, add 80ml of oil and cook the garlic until fragrant. Add the leek and cook for five minutes. Add the silverbeet and cook for another 10 minutes over low heat with the lid on, stirring through every now and then.
Add the spinach, cumin and paprika and, if the pot is too dry, a splash of water. Cook for another five minutes, season and set aside to cool.
If the greens are quite wet, drain off a little liquid, then puree with the yoghurt and half the pinenuts until you have a smooth paste. Spread on to your serving plate, squeeze over some lemon, scatter over the remaining pinenuts, dress with a little oil and serve with flatbread.

Silverbeet, Zucchini and Herb Omelette with Manuka Smoked Eggs

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FrittataEggsClose Up

It was perfect weather for the Taste of Auckland festival over the weekend. My friends and I had a great day deciding which restaurant’s food we were going to try next. So much so we needed a lie down by the end of it.

On one of our walks around the various stalls we came across some manuka smoked eggs. I had tried these a couple of years ago but have found them really hard to get hold of since. Naturally, I bought 2 boxes and started using them immediately.

As they’re cold smoked you can use them as you would a normal egg to add a subtle manuka flavour to your egg repertoire. And for me, they’re like a little part of the festival I can enjoy even after it’s over.

The following recipe is adapted from a Neil Perry Frittata I saw in the Herald a few years ago.

Ingredients
2 manuka smoked eggs, lightly beaten (or regular if you can’t find them)
1 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
1 tbsp chopped chives
salt and pepper
1 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthways
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
3-4 silverbeet leaves, sliced into ribbons
pecorino or parmesan or a bit of both

Method
Whisk the eggs, then add the parsley, chives, salt and pepper. I like to let the eggs come to room temperature before I cook them. While that’s happening, cook the zucchini slices in a pan with a spray of canola oil to prevent sticking. Remove when they’re lightly golden and set aside.

Then, spray the pan with canola oil again and add the garlic, rosemary and thyme. Stir until fragrant then add the silverbeet. Keep stirring until it has wilted to your liking.

Spray an omelette pan with canola oil and add the egg mix. Gently pull the edges of the egg away from the sides as it cooks and redistribute the raw egg around the pan until it begins to set.

Quickly place a few of the zucchini slices and some of the silverbeet over the eggs and wait for the mixture to set. This won’t take long at all. Grate a little pecorino or parmesan (or both) over the top and a little black pepper if you like too.

You will have left over zucchini and silverbeet but that’s the way I like it. It’s great to have some in the fridge so you can easily whip up another when you get home from the gym.

Something on the side

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On the side

A plate of Iceberg Lettuce with Beanshoots, Cucumber, Herbs and Nuoc Cham went really well with the Gai Yang Chicken. Super refreshing.

Nuoc Cham
(While not a Chin Chin recipe, they do serve this classic Vietnamese dipping sauce at the restaurant accompanied by these greens.)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp finely chopped palm sugar
1/2 stem lemon grass, pale section only, finely chopped
2 long fresh red chillies, finely chopped (deseeded if you like)
1 garlic clove, crushed

Combine the water, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, palm sugar, lemon grass, chilli and garlic in a jug and stir until the sugar dissolves. Serve.

Lunch

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Lunch

Today’s lunch break was filled with a yoga class followed by Salmon in Banana Leaf.

As an Australian living in Auckland, I sometimes feel as though I’m missing out on the new tastes and experiences my friends enjoy across the ditch. So, I like making recipes from my favourite places to get a taste of home from time to time. This recipe is from the iconic Melbourne restaurant Chin Chin and is nothing short of amazing. The recipe appeared on the goodfood.com.au website ahead of the restaurant’s book release. The time required to make all the elements would normally relegate this to a weekend recipe but, I couldn’t wait that long. I did all the prep the night before so it only took 15 minutes to cook today. It also gave the salmon the chance to marinate overnight which they recommend.

I’m definitely going to serve this at my next dinner party, it’s that good. And, as I’ve got left over curry paste and chilli jam it’s going to be a breeze. Click on the pic for the recipe and you can serve it at yours too.