Mexican Monday

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Quinoa SaladQuinoa Close Up

Recently I went through my folder of recipe clippings, saved from various sources over the years. I often save recipes that look great but I’m truly hopeless at getting around to making them.

I decided to change this pattern and made a Quinoa Salad recipe from Mamasita in Melbourne out of a Delicious magazine from a few years ago. I made a few additions to improve it and I have to say, it’s really yum. Great as a side dish or use it with some beef mince to stuff a burrito. Delish.

4 corn cobs with husks
1 cup (200g) quinoa
3 cups baby spinach
1 bunch coriander, leaves picked
2 long red chillies, deseeded, chopped
1 red capsicum, roasted, deseeded, peeled and chopped
250g feta cheese
toasted pepitas for garnish

Pico de gallo dressing
¼ telegraph cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped
¼ red onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
½ bunch coriander leaves, chopped
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
1 tbsp chopped dill
juice of 3 limes
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook corn in husks for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and allow to cool, then remove and discard husks. Using a sharp knife, slice off corn kernels and set aside.

Meanwhile, place quinoa in a pan with 600ml water over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain. Cool.

For the dressing, combine ingredients in a bowl, then season to taste.

Toss corn, quinoa, spinach, coriander, chilli, capsicum and feta with the dressing. Sprinkle over the pepitas and serve.

Serves 8

Wombok Salad with Marinated Mushrooms and Fresh Herbs

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Wombok SaladWombok Salad CU

Lunch today was a simple salad and some seared Snapper. The salad was surprisingly tasty considering how easy it was. I based it on a Karen Martini recipe I found in the paper a few years ago.

60ml extra virgin olive oil
60 ml light soy sauce
4cm piece of ginger, finely grated
1 clove garlic, finely grated
2 pinches raw sugar
1 pinch salt flakes
1 pinch white pepper
juice ½ lime
1 green chilli, finely sliced
250g Swiss brown mushrooms, finely sliced
½ wombok (Chinese cabbage)
4 radishes, finely sliced
½ bunch basil
3 sprigs dill
5 sprigs mint
20g roasted cashew nuts

To make the dressing combine oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and lime in a jar and shake to create an emulsion. Add the chilli and shake again.

Add dressing to the sliced mushrooms and let marinate for 5 minutes or so.

Separate wombok leaves, trim and lay on a platter. Top with the mushroom mixture but don’t put all the dressing on the lettuce as it will make it soggy (and anyway, you don’t really want all that oil). Instead I just lift the mushrooms out of the dressing with clean hands and place on the wombok leaves. You still get a splash or two of dressing around the place. Then, scatter over the sliced radishes. Wash the herbs and tear them over your salad letting the leaves fall where they may. Roughly chop the cashews and scatter them in the same way.

Serves 4 as a side dish.

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Avocado and Green Bean Salad

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SalmonSalmon Close Up

I love healthy food that’s tasty, quick and easy to prepare. This Bill Granger recipe ticks all the boxes. It made a filling yet light lunch today right after my spin class.

2 Lebanese cucumbers, peeled, cut into quarters lengthways and diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 punnet yellow teardrop tomatoes, halved (I used regular cherry instead.)
1 small green capsicum, diced
200g green beans, trimmed, blanched and cut into 2cm lengths
1 small red onion, sliced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp white sugar
1 red chilli, seeds removed and diced
1 tsp finely grated ginger
sea salt and black pepper
4 x 150g salmon fillets, skin on

Place cucumber, avocado, tomatoes, capsicum, beans and onion in a bowl and set aside.

For dressing, whisk together 3 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar, chilli and ginger. Season to taste. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss together very gently. Set salad aside.

Meanwhile, season salmon liberally with salt and pepper. Heat extra oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat.

Add fish fillets, skin side down, and cook for 3 minutes or until skin is crisp. Turn fish over and cook for 1 minute for rare. Keep it on the heat a little longer for medium or well done.

Serve salmon with the avocado and green bean salad.

Lunch

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Lunch

Lunch today consisted of a Yoga class followed by some organic rotisserie chicken and Bok Choy Stalks Braised with Cherry Tomatoes, Chilli and Basil.

They say a good cook never wastes anything but, what do you do with silverbeet and bok choy stems when you don’t really like them in the first place? Well, this recipe by Justin North is a really good option. It was easy to make, tasty and helped ease my conscience as I didn’t toss the bok choy stems left over from last night’s stir-fry.

Click here if you’d like to try this clever dish. http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/recipe/silverbeet-stalks-braised-with-cherry-tomatoes-and-chilli-and-basil-20130418-2i1zs.html

Light Lunch

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prawns

Lunch today was a 7.5km walk followed by Kylie Kwong’s Salad of King Prawns, Avocado & Watercress from her book It Tastes Better. The honey and soy dressing really brought out the sweetness of the prawns. Definitely a do-again.

Click here for the recipe. http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/food/recipes/recipe/-/7473717/salad-of-king-prawns-avocado-watercress/

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.

Bringing a “plate” to my friend’s BBQ.

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My friend Kim hosted the second BBQ of the season on Sunday. She’s always a great host but has no confidence in the kitchen and can barely work her own oven, let alone sharpen a knife. Bearing this in mind, I was all too happy to bring a couple of salads along when she asked and took the opportunity to cook things that might be a bit higher in fat than I’d usually make. I made myself feel better about this with the knowledge that they were going to be shared around so, Alex and I wouldn’t be finishing them by ourselves.

Mixed Grain Salad
100g red quinoa, rinsed
100g white quinoa, rinsed
100g French green lentils, rinsed
100g pearl barley, rinsed
30g butter
2 cloves garlic. crusned
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
25g pumpkin seeds
25g sunflower seeds
25g chopped almonds
1/4 bunch mint
1/4 bunch parlsey
2 spring onions, sliced
Sherry dressing
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
120ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

For the mixed grain salad, place red and white quinoa in separate saucepans, cover with cold water to come about 1cm over quinoa. Cover and bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 – 12 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, cook lentils in a saucepan of water for 15 – 20 minutes until tender, then drain. Toast pearl barley in a dry frying pan until golden, then transfer to a saucepan and cover with cold water. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes until tender, then drain.

Melt butter in a small saucepan and when foaming add garlic, thyme, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds and cook until toasted. Remove from heat and cool. Coarsely chop mint and parsley. Combine grains, seeds and almonds in a bowl with chopped herbs.

For dressing, combine vinegar, sugar and oil in a small bowl and whisk well. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Garnish with spring onions.

Serves 6

Dinner

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Dinner

Marinated Chicken Breast with Spicy Tomato Sauce. I adapted this from a Neil Perry recipe for barbequed wings as they had none at the supermarket and rain put a stop to my BBQ plans. Instead I marinated the breasts, seared them and put them in the oven. Still pretty tasty. As usual, I left out all the oil and only used a spray in the pan first. Click the pic for Neil’s recipe.