Sunday, 25 September 2011

Homemade Spinach, Pine nut and Fenugreek Ravioli with Roast Pumpkin and Tomato

That's right I said home made ravioli! Now before you get into a bit of a panic because it is all just too hard let me assure you that actually it is very easy and once you have tried it once the next time you will whip it up so quick you won't even notice. Home made ravioli is ridiculously rewarding because sadly when you buy ravioli ready made it only seems to come in two kinds - beef and spinach and cheese. That's all very well but what about all the other things you can put in ravioli? Think pumpkin! Think mushrooms! Think eggplant! Maybe even zuccini! How great does that sound??


1 tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
¼ cup pine nuts
4 leaves spinach (silverbeet), chopped very finely
2 button mushrooms, finely diced
Small handful of fresh basil, finely chopped (or substitute 1 tsp fresh basil paste)
1 ½ cups fine semolina
½ cup plain flour
1 tbsp olive oil (extra)
½ cup water

Roasted Vegies:
Olive Oil (yeah, more of it.)
400g pumpkin
500g Roma tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Fresh rocket, to serve

To Make:
1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celcius.
2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy based saucepan or frypan and fry the fenugreek seeds until slightly golden – only a few minutes. Remove from the saucepan and grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle, food processor or spice grinder. Put the powder aside.
3. With the oil left in the pan toast the pine nuts until slightly browned and then either chop roughly with a knife or smash lightly in the mortar and pestle.
4. Now using the same saucepan lightly fry the chopped mushrooms and then add the spinach and basil and sauté until wilted. Take off the heat and mix through the pine nuts and 1/2 teaspoon of the fenugreek powder. Set aside.
5. Chop the pumpkin into small (1.5-2cm) pieces and the tomato into 8ths.  Drizzle a baking dish with oil and mix the vegies around in it to coat. Chop the cloves of garlic in half (just leave the skins on) and chuck them in as well. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or so or until the pumpkin is tender (the tomato will cook a lot faster so it will disintegrate a little and become saucy). When it has 5 minutes left to cook add the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar and mix through, return to the oven.
6. While those are baking away make the pasta: combine the flour and semolina in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the food processor still on drizzle in the olive oil and gradually add the water. The mix should become sticky and clump together on one side, so if it seems to dry add some more water.
7. Turn out onto a well floured bench and knead very briefly to coat in flour until it is no longer sticky. Cut into 6 equal pieces. Put each the first piece though your pasta roller according to its instructions and roll to about a size 4 sheet of pasta. Put aside on the floured bench (keep everything well floured people, otherwise it will stick to your bench). Do the same with the next piece of dough.
8. So now you have two lasagne sheets lying next to each other on the bench.  Put a teaspoon full of the spinach mix in two rows along the sheet (Ok I explained that badly so just look at the picture:)
9. With a pastry brush or your finger brush a line of water around the edge of each box (remembering to do the outer edges of the sheet). Place the second lasagne sheet over the top of the first and press down gently to get the air out and to flatten the mix slightly. Then if you have one of those great zig zaggy cutters use that to cut the ravioli into squares (your pasta roller will probably come with one as an accessory), if you don’t have one just cut neatly with a knife. Put each piece aside while you do the same with the rest of the dough and mix.
10. When they are all done your vegies are most likely cooked so take them out. Bring a generous amount of water  to the boil in a big saucepan and gently add each piece of ravioli. Boil for 2 minutes or so and then drain.
11. Mix the vegies through the ravioli and serve on a bed of fresh rocket.

Serves 3-4.  

Friday, 23 September 2011

Potato, Asparagus, Broad Bean and Red Lentil Soup

This soup is incredibly quick and easy to make, and the winning combination of potato and red lentils creates a beautiful creamy texture and flavour. And as for the asparagus...need I say more? Lets just say that these tall, slim stalks of supreme deliciousness know how to work it, work it good.

Potato, Asparagus, Broad Bean and Red Lentil Soup

5 medium pink skinned potatos, cubed
1 bunch of asparagus, chopped, the tips reserved
1/4 cup of fresh broadbeans, peeled
3/4 cup of red lentils, rinsed
1 small brown onion, chopped
1 1/2 litres of vegetable stock
2 Tbsp of olive oil

How to Make:
1. Heat the olive oil in your stockpot and saute the onion on a medium heat until transparent.
2. Add all remaining ingredients other than the asparagus tips, which will be added later.
3. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 30mins.
4. Take the soup of the heat, grab either an electric stick mixer or a potato masher (or something else that enjoys blending innocent yet delicious vegetables) and mix/mash until some whole pieces of vegetables remain, yet the ingredients are well blended. Or shall we say, half blended, half intact...
5. Put the soup back on the stove and add the asparagus tips, simmering for 5 mins.
6. Serve and enjoy!
Serves 4

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Chilli Free Black Eyed Bean, Pumpkin and Fennel Curry with Turmeric Couscous

It’s a fact that some people out there in the world think that they don’t like chilli. I know, it’s crazy, but there you have it. However, this shouldn’t mean that they can’t enjoy curry! Because curry is really delicious and super easy to make. So this recipe is dedicated to those out there who don’t like chilli, in a hope that they will love curry too! On the other hand, if you are a chilli fiend then feel free to add some dried or fresh chilli to this curry when you add the other spices.


The Curry:
Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chaat masala (or substitute garam masala)
½ tsp ground roasted fenugreek (for instructions on making your own out of whole seeds see this recipe)
1 tsp turmeric
3 cardamom pods, whole
1 tbsp apricot jam
½ fennel bulb, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
3 cups vegetable stock
3 carrots, roughly chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
400g pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
5 Brussels Sprouts, quartered
2 cups black eyed beans, pre boiled (ie. cover with water and boil for about 30 minutes or until softened but not mushy)
½ cup fresh peas or frozen peas

The Couscous:
2 cups instant couscous
1 tsp turmeric
2 ½ cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted*
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted*
6-7 dates, chopped
Salt to taste

* Toasting! There are 2 ways to do this 1) Spread the almond slivers  and pine nuts on a tray and toast under a grill for 2-3 minutes until slightly browned – keep a close eye on the suckers because they are really easy to burn. 2) Heat a little bit of oil in a non stick pan and then slightly fry the nuts for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

To Make:
1.  Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, soup pot or wok. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until slightly softened. Add all the spices and fry for 1-2 minutes until spices are very fragrant, stirring constantly.
2. Add the apricot jam and stir through until the jam has melted and begins to simmer. Then add the fennel and tomatoes and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring roughly to break the tomatoes down.
3. Add the vegies stock, pumpkin, carrots, and potatoes and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until vegies are tender. (While it is doing this boil the kettle and get your vegie stock ready for the couscous).
4. Add the coconut milk, black eyed beans and peas and simmer for a further 10 to 15 minutes with the lid off. While it is simmering away prepare your couscous:
5. Put the instant couscous in a bowl with the tumerick and some salt and pepper and stir well. Then add the hot stock and stir with a fork. Leave it for about 5 minutes to soak up all the liquid and then go back and fluff it up with the fork. Stir through the toasted nuts and the chopped dates. Leaving it stand for about 5 minutes longer while your curry finishes. Serve together!!

Serves 4-5 (or makes great leftovers for less people!)

Friday, 9 September 2011

Orange and Oreo Mini Cupcakes

Perfect for serving at parties or bringing to a party, this recipe makes enough mini cupcakes to serve about 20-30 at a party. If you are having less people then halve the recipe to cater for 10-15. I made them in very small cupcake pans but if you don't have any or prefer your cupcakes of a larger variety than just substitute your regular cupcake pan (makes about 22 normal sized cupcakes).

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup canola or rice bran oil
1 1/2 cups of soy milk
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
The zest from an orange (TIP: do this before you juice it!)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cup of plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour or arrowroot
2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 packet of oreos, chopped

To Make:
1. Preheat the oven to a moderate (about 180 degrees C) temperature.
2. Combine sugar, oil, orange juice, zest, vanilla and soy milk in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly with a whisk again to combine.
4. Stir the chopped oreos through.
5. Fill cupcake liners almost all the way (or about 2/3 of the way if you are using regular sized cupcake pans & liners) and bake for 15 minutes (or bake for 23 minutes for regular cupcakes).

These are delicious eaten warm and when I am entertaining I often serve them without any icing straight out of the oven or cooled slightly. However, if you want to ice them (especially if you have made them the normal size in which case they probably need some sort of icing) then I recommend using the icing recipe in my Mandarin and Goji Berry Mini Cake recipe, with orange juice substituted for mandarin juice and 1 tsp of orange rind to make it extra orangey. 

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Homemade Tangelo and Goji Berry Jam

Tangelos and other citrus fruits are abundant at the moment on backyard trees and on of the best ways to enjoy the fruit all year around is to make jam out of it. I've recently been given a box full of them from a friend so made this jam. Tangelos provide a fantastic sour and tart flavour to this jam which makes it tangy and not too sweet. This recipe can apply to any other citrus fruit if you don't have access to tangelos. Use this recipe for oranges, mandarins, tangerines, clementines, cumquats etc. (although I haven't made it with these fruits so let me know what it's like if you do!).

Tangelo and Goji Berry Jam

1.5kg tangelos, peeled (see note 1)
1.5kg sugar
1 packet of jam setta (see note 2)
1 cup goji berries

To Make:
1. Remove all seeds from the tangelo and chop into small pieces (your hands will smell nice and citrusy after this).
2. Put the tangelo and the sugar in a large saucepan and heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the goji berries and simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. Add the jam setta and boil for a further 15 minutes. 
4. To test whether the jam is ready do the set test. To do this: place a teaspoon full of the jam (preferably not a chunky fruity bit) on a saucer and put in the freezer for about 30-40 seconds. Take it out and run your finger through it. If the jam crinkles then it is ready. If it doesn't then boil the jam for a further 5 minutes and try the test again.
5. Once you have a successful set test remove the jam from the heat.
6. Wash your empty jars in warm soapy water and rinse well. Put the jam in them and screw the lids on tightly. 
7. Line a big saucepan with tea towels (so the glass jars don't touch the bottom or sides) and add the jars full of jam. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for 20 minutes to sterilise. 

Makes about 7 jars (but this will vary depending in the size of your jam jars of course!). Tastes great with A-dizzle's Lime and Coconut Scones or Pumpkin, Maple and Walnut Scones!  

Note 1: If you don't quite have 1.5 kilos of tangelos you can make up the little bit extra using mandarins or oranges.
Note 2: I'm not really big on plugging brands in my recipes but Jam Setta is an exception because it makes jam making soooooo easy. It should be in the sugar section of your supermarket and the packet looks like this: