Rocket and spinach pesto pasta

image

I had some spinach and rocket that I wanted to use up so thought I’d try making pesto…  Success!   Tasted pretty good for a first time – no recipe try 🙂
Warning – no measurements ahead!!

Rocket & spinach pesto pasta

I used a stick mixer with chopper attachment. 
Toast a handful or two of pine nuts in a small saucepan.
Blend the pinenuts in the chopper with the rocket, spinach and some garlic.  Once its nicely processed, add plenty of parmesan cheese and olive oil and blend until you reach the desired consistency. 
Toss through your choice of pasta.   Handy hint is to reserve some of the water from the pasta.  This helps toss the pesto through the pasta.  Just add as needed.  Sprinkle with more parmesan and enjoy!

Dad’s famous beef and tomato soup

imageThis one’s an old favourite in my family.  We call it “Dad’s” because he’s the one who makes it (he’s pretty darn good in the kitchen!), but he actually got the recipe out of a very old Woman’s Weekly cookbook.

This is a very filling soup – it’s a meal in itself…

Beef & tomato soup

1/2 cup uncooked rice

4 rashers bacon, diced

250g beef mince

2 beef stock cubes

1 onion, chopped

500g tomatoes, chopped

salt and pepper

Cook rice in 2 1/2 cups boiling salted water until tender.  Do not drain.  Saute meats together until browned, breaking up mince with a fork.  Add to cooked rice with 2 cups of water.  Mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add stock cubes and onion and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45mins.  Add tomatoes and simmer for a further 15mins.

 

I often use a can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh – it tastes just as good and I always have canned tomatoes.

You can add small diced vegetables such as potato, sweet potato or others if you like.

 

 

Spicy hoisin meatballs

I got this recipe out of a magazine – I think it was Super Food Ideas…  It’s a winner and I make it quite often.  I usually make up a big batch of meatballs and freeze them before cooking them.  All I need to do is pull out enough meatballs for a serving each and cook up the sauce to go with – saves me going through making up the meatballs each time…

I sometimes serve this with mashed potato instead of the noodles which works out pretty damn good!

Spicy hoisin meatballs

500g chicken or pork mince (beef works just as well)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 brown onion, grated

1/4 cup dried chilli flakes

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons peanut oil

2 cm piece ginger, finely grated

hokkien noodles, to serve

Combine mince, egg, breadcrumbs, chilli, half the garlic and half the hoisin sauce in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix to combine.  Roll level spoonfuls of the mixture into balls.  Heat oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat.  Cook meatballs, turning, for 5-7 minutes until browned and cooked through.  Transfer to a plate and cover.  Add ginger and remaining garlic to the pan.  Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.  Add 1/2 cup cold water and remaining hoisin sauce.  Bring to the boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 mins, until sauce thickens.  Return meatballs to pan and stir to coat.  Serve with noodles.

Chicken, spinach & pumpkin ravioli soup

image

Here’s something I threw together tonight, and it turned out so nicely….

2 or 3 chicken thigh fillets, diced

2 or 3 bacon rashers, diced

some frozen spinach

fresh ravioli (about a couple of handfuls

1 can pumpin soup (not the condensed kind)

I browned the chicken in a big frypan, then added in the bacon and spinach.  I then added in the pumpkin soup and cooked it all until heated through.  I then tossed in the cooked ravioli and enjoyed….!

It turned out lovely and chunky (just how I like my soups) but you could adjust the amounts to suit yours.  Quick and easy, and so tasty to boot…

Even better, all for me as hubby won’t eat anything with spinach in it!

Bolognaise with potato bake topping

image

Got some leftover potato bake???

 

I made up a batch of bolognaise sauce, cooked up some pasta and tossed it in a casserole dish – topped with the leftover potato bake.  I sprinkled some extra grated cheese over the top and baked it in the oven for about 20mins until the cheese was melted and voila!!!  Yummm…

 

Food for thought…

I made some hot-cross buns today for the first time ever…  Hubby has assured me that they taste lovely.  As I am currently not able to taste anything due to a nasty cold virus, I couldn’t rely on my own tastebuds ( and I’ve never enjoyed hot cross buns before as I don’t like sultanas or raisins).  Sacriledge, I know (others have told me so!).   I added craisins instead.  They certainly turned out beautifully – they rose well, and they are light and fluffy on the inside….

Anyways, the thoughts around tastes, likes & dislikes – also got me thinking.   It’s sometimes hard to work around people’s tastes when it comes to cooking.  My hubby is pretty good with trying new things, but there are certain things he just will not eat!  Mushrooms are one…  And of course, I got to thinking about my childhood and commiserating with my poor mum – I was a terribly picky eater!  Potatoes and pumpkin (if mashed into the potato) were pretty much the only vegies I would eat, and beetroot and cheese was all my salad would consist of.  Needless to say, my parents found many innovative ways to incorporate vegies into our diets…  Luckily, as a child, there were no allergies or intolerances that mum had to work around.

These days, of course, intolerances and allergies seem to be much more prevalent.  I know a number of people who are Coeliacs and I myself have to work with a mild wheat intolerance (luckily, it comes and goes and the symptoms are mild).  I also know of people who have allergies that you rarely hear about.  I know of one lady with an allergy to lettuce.  She often comes across disbelief and ridicule.  Hardly her fault – but it continues to happen, even these days when we hear so much about it on the news etc.  I guess it still comes down to education and understanding, and unless someone you know is affected by it, you just don’t realise how much it can affect those who suffer from them…

For myself, I am lucky as my symptoms are mild and I have learnt how much I can tolerate.  I know that I can tolerate more bread when its toasted.  I am usually ok with pasta, but have learnt to moderate how much wheat I eat during the week.  I can have a couple of pieces of toast during the week, along with pasta and wraps without any side effects.  However, if I eat too much wheat on consecutive days, then I know about it!  For me, it’s just about keeping an eye on what I eat day after day.  When I first learnt about it, I was completely wheat free for about 3 months, then gradually reintroduced some things.  I live in a capital city though, and I have access to specialty shops for alternative flours etc.  In a small country town, it’s going to be a lot harder and possibly a lot more expensive.  I know a lot of these products are available online, but don’t forget, there are still a lot of people who do not have the internet or the skills to use it.  Don’t laugh – computer literacy levels in Australia are not what you think they are! (But I won’t go there just yet, its a topic I get quite passionate about!)

I guess, at the end of the day, when cooking for others (be it a backyard barbie or a dinner party) we need to be aware if our guests are affected by allergies and intolerances and be able to offer up a menu that suits all our guests….  Food is there to be enjoyed, even for those with allergies etc…

Simple vegie frittata

image

I love frittatas – they are so simple to make and always tasty…

I often freeze them in portions (hubby doesn’t do eggs!).  They’re great to take into work when I sleep in and don’t have time for breakfast before I go!!

The basic egg mix I use is 2-3 eggs, a bit of milk, salt and pepper and some parmesan cheese.

The filling is up to you.  The one above had some potato, sweet potato, roasted pumpkin, peas and bacon.  Feta cheese is a fantastic addition if you have it.

Basic frittata – heat your vegies of choice in a frypan, mix together the egg mix and pour over the top of the vegies.  Cook on medium or a little lower (depending on your stove) until the egg is mostly cooked through.  Top with some grated cheese and pop under the grill to finish cooking.

This can also be done in the oven.    Just pop everything into your dish and cook in a moderate oven until done.

Hello world!

Hmmm, where to start…  Well, I love to cook and I have literally hundreds of recipes – not that I’ve actually tested them all.  I’ve attempted to start 3 or 4 cookbooks – which usually involves hours of typing or writing and never lasts (or the book fills up or gets dirty).  I thought that a blog would be a great place to store all my favourite recipes and also share my successes (and failures!!!)…

I have attempted blogs before – never really lasted all that long, so we’ll see how this goes.

I am just a regular everyday home cook.  I have no aspirations whatsoever to be the next MasterChef!  I believe simple food cooked well will always win over some fancy dish slaved over for hours…  Just ask any bloke whether he’d prefer Mum’s lamb roast over dinner in a fancy restaurant – I know Hubby and all my brothers would go for the roast!

I am going to attempt to take photos of the dishes for you to check out – but don’t expect pics like you’d see in a mag.  I’m not into making my food look pretty.  What sort of recipes you ask?  A bit of everything – meals, cakes, biscuits, desserts.  As I said before – nothing fancy, just home cooking…

Hope you enjoy the recipes to come!

 

Cheers

Kel