Homemade flatbread with roast sweet potatoes, spicy chickpeas and Tahini dressing

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Another great topping for flatbreads. This one was inspired by a very yummy recipe that I found that I thought would work really well on the flatbread as a topping. I was right – it works really well!! The Tahini dressing is to die for!

For the flat bread

  • 2 Cups of Self Raising Flour
  • 1 Cup of plain, natural greek double cream yoghurt
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to season

In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Once a sticky dough is formed, turn out onto a floured surface and kneed until well combined. Add more flour if the dough stays too sticky. Tear dough off in ‘balls’ that are roughly 1 and a half times the size of a golf ball. Roll out and then dry fry on both sides until done. Set aside.

This makes about 5. You can double if making more.

For the topping 

Spicy chickpeas

  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Roast sweet potatoes and onion 

  • 2 large orange sweet potatoes (or 1 butternut)
  • 1 red onion cut into eighths

Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • The juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 Tbs Maple syrup (you can sub with honey)
  • Hot water to thin

Heat the oven to 190 c

Cut the sweet potato into small chunks and lay on a baking sheet with the onion pieces. Sprinkle with the olive oil and some salt and pepper to season.

Roast for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the chickpeas. Drain the chickpeas and then pat dry. Mix all the seasonings together and then sprinkle over the chickpeas and mix well so that they are well coated.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and once hot add the seasoned chickpeas and turn the heat down to just above a medium heat. Fry them until browned and starting to crisp (about 10 – 15 minutes).

Add the sweet potato and onion mixture onto the flatbread and then top with the chickpeas and then pour the dressing over and serve immediately.

Serves 4 – 5 people

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Halloumi and Mushroom Kebabs with Salsa Verde and Cous Cous

Halloumi and Mushroom Kebabs

I came across this Hairy Bikers recipe on the BBC Food website about 3 years ago when I was going through a halloumi craze! I wasn’t very big into no meat meals so I got a deboned leg of lamb from my butcher and cut it into cubes. Rubbed some of the salsa verde onto them with some salt and pepper and then seared them in some hot olive oil and then added them to the skewer and finished them off with the rest of the ingredients in the griddle pan. I also precooked my button mushrooms before skewering them and it worked beautifully. You could also add cubes of rump steak and treat in the same way as I did the lamb.  There are so many fantastic flavours in this dish and make for a really great vibrant and colourful meal to brighten your week up! This is the recipe that introduced me to salsa verde which has become one of my absolute favourite tastes!

 

For the couscous

125g cous cous

125ml hot vegetable stock

5 tbsp olive oil

1 lemon, juice only

1 ready-roasted red pepper, shredded

50g toasted flaked almonds

50g dried apricots, chopped

 

For the skewers

200g halloumi cheese, cut into 2.5cm cubes

8 cherry tomatoes

8 button mushrooms

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano

Rumb steak or deboned leg of lamb cut into cubes (optional)

 

For the salsa verde

bunch parsley,chopped leaves only

bunch basil, chopped, chopped leaves only

bunch mint, chopped, chopped leaves only

2 tbsp drained capers

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

½ tsp Dijon Mustard

100ml olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

 

Preparation method

  • For the couscous, place the couscous into a bowl and cover with the hot stock. Cover the bowl with a plate or cling film and leave for four minutes.
  • Uncover the bowl and fluff up the couscous with a fork. Stir in the remaining ingredients, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • For the kebabs, preheat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat. Toss all of the kebab ingredients together and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Thread the ingredients onto metal kebab skewers and cook on the hot griddle for 5-6 minutes, turning frequently.
  • For the salsa verde, place all of the salsa verde ingredients, apart from the olive oil, into a food processor and blend, gradually adding the oil until you have a loose paste.
  • To serve, spoon the couscous onto plates, top with the kebabs and drizzle with the salsa verde.

Serves 2

 

Photo from the BBC Food Website

Lentil ‘Tabbouleh’

Lentil Tabbouleh

This recipe is another winner from my cooking guru, Rene. I just love her food. Its always, always packed with fresh ingredients and full of amazing flavour and her ability to pair flavours together is remarkable! Sigh, I have such a long way to go!

Tabbouleh is a middle eastern salad that is usually made with bulgar or cous cous which you can totally substitute here for the lentils. I really like that this one has lentils as they are so much better for you and packed with protein.

Please adhere to the last step which is to let it sit  for at least 1 hour before serving as the flavours need to develop. Its well worth it! Its a great side to some baked fish or even chicken breasts or serve it as a salad at a braai. So yummy! Thanks Rene! xx

1 tin lentils, well rinsed and drained

3 cups flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped

1/2 pack Ina Paarman  sundried tomato quarters, chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 spring onions, finely chopped

125 ml olive oil (I used half of this to be a bit more ‘fat conscious and it worked perfectly, just halve the lemon juice as well if you are reducing the oil)

125 ml fresh lemon juice

2 discs feta cheese, crumbled

  • Place all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Season to taste.
  • Mix gently and allow to stand for at least 1 hour before serving.

 

Recipe by Rene Kairuz

 

Heavenly Vegetable Lasagne

Vegetable lasagne

As an avid Masterchef Australia fan I sat drooling as Neil Perry demonstrated this dish on their trip to Italy. Knowing that I would not get that kind of produce here in South Africa, I loved what it looked like so much that I decided to just try it here with what we have, which really is not that bad! Being a meat free dish I had to wait until my teenager was at school to attempt it. which meant that I had to do it on a week night. I would not recommend that as  it takes a while to make! But PLEASE do try it!! It will be absolutely perfect for a Saturday night date night with a gorgeous bottle of wine or as a Sunday lunch.

I accidentally bought the Verde (green) lasagne sheets, but it was a good mistake as it added lovely colour and I will do it again with the green lasagne. I also cheated a bit (with it being a Monday night) by using bottled roasted red peppers which you can get at a deli shop and are gorgeous and worked so well. So you can take a little shortcut there if you like.

Here in South Africa we don’t have beautiful big sweet vine ripened tomatoes, but we have small ones, about the size of cherry tomatoes. So I used those as they are sweeter. My sieve is very fine so I could not pass it through a sieve at the end of the tomato sauce process. But you could pop the skins off with your fingers once they have cooked and cooled down and chop them up roughly. I left the skins on and it was still AMAZING!

I also didn’t have separate ceramic dishes, so I used a bread tin which worked so well and just carefully sliced through for individual portions. Use a sharp knife!

I will make this again and again. It is gorgeous and tasty and homey and comforting! Ah! Just too good. Thank you Neil Perry! What a winner dish! 🙂

Roast Pepper

3 red peppers, quartered and seeded

2 tablespoons pure olive oil

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

Salt and pepper to season

Parmesan cheese sauce


1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon plain flour

Pinch sea salt

Pinch freshly ground white pepper, to taste

125ml milk

125g coarsely grated parmigiano reggiano

50g ricotta

1 egg, lightly beaten

Roast tomato sauce


750g vine ripened tomatoes, quartered

40ml extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 small red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, chopped

Assembly

300g eggplant, cut into 5mm slices

5g sea-salt

olive oil

400g baby marrow, cut into 5mm slices

300g roasted red pepper (about 8 pieces) (see recipe above)

250g dried lasagne sheets

300g parmesan cheese sauce (see recipe above)

  • Preheat oven to 220°C.
  • For the roast red pepper; Place red peppers and olive oil in a large bowl, season with thyme, salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking paper-lined oven tray and roast for 20-30 minutes or until blistered. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with cling film. Stand for 5 minutes to loosen skin. Peel and discard skin.
  • For parmesan cheese sauce; Melt butter in medium saucepan, stir in flour; cook stirring for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper and gradually add milk, whisk until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, cool slightly. Add parmesan and ricotta and mix through.
  • Stir in egg until combined. Season to taste. Cover with a round of baking paper so a skin doesn’t form.
  • Preheat oven to 140°C.
  • For roast tomato sauce; place quartered tomatoes, skin side down in a roasting pan, drizzle with 20ml olive oil and scatter with oregano, margoram, salt and pepper. Slow roast for 1½-2 hours or until slightly dehydrated. Cool slightly.
  • Heat remaining 20ml olive oil in a saucepan; add onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  • Chop tomatoes into 5mm dice, add to onion mixture with any juices and cook over medium heat until sauce is slightly thickened. If too thick add a little water; pass through a moulis or sieve to remove skin and seeds. Check seasoning and consistency, add a little extra olive oil and some pepper if desired.
  • Place eggplant in a colander, toss with 5g sea salt and stand over a bowl to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and pat dry. Brush both sides with a little olive oil and sear in a hot frying pan 1-2 minutes each side or until golden and tender. Remove to a board.
  • Brush baby marrow with a little olive oil and sear on both sides in the hot pan until baby marrow is golden and tender. Remove to board and trim vegetables to fit dish.
  • Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook lasagne sheets to almost al dente. Refresh in iced water and drain well. Cut pasta sheets into rectangles to fit dish.
  • Lightly grease four 2-cup capacity (12x8cm ceramic dishes) with a little olive oil, line base and 2 long sides with a sheet of baking paper extending 3cm above both long sides.
  • To assemble, place a piece of eggplant in the base of prepared dish, followed by a piece of pasta.  Spread with parmesan cheese sauce, then top with a piece of roasted red pepper, then top with about 2 strips of baby marrow, then a piece of roasted red pepper,  followed by another pasta sheet, then parmesan cheese sauce and finally place another 2 strips of baby marrow. Fold baking paper over and cover with foil.
  • Repeat this process with the remaining lasagne. Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes until lasagne is tender.

Serves: 4

Recipe by Neil Perry

New Potato Salad

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This recipe idea is from a friend of mine who did something similar. Its such a great take on potato salad and really livens up what can be a somewhat boring and done to death salad!

500g baby potatoes but in half lengthways

1/3 cup tangy mayonnaise

1/3 cup creamy mayonnaise

1 cup cooked corn (either frozen or cut off the cob)

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

5 spring onions, finely sliced

2 boiled eggs (optional) – cut into quarters

salt and pepper to taste

 

– Place the potatoes in cold water and bring them up to the boil and boil them until soft (but not falling apart)

– Drain and cool

– Mix the mayonnaise together and add the red onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix into the potatoes. Add the corn and fold through the salad gently.

– sprinkle with the spring onions, garnish with boiled eggs and serve.

 

 

Mushroom Farfalle

Mushroom farfalle pic

I made this one for a Friday night dinner. I had to bake my son’s birthday cake so I wanted something quick and easy to throw together. Another vegetarian one. One mouthful from my 15 year old son and he looks up and says “Delicious Mom, but where’s the meat?”. I think I will be giving up on the vegetarian meals for my family. It’s clearly not working! However, if you don’t have a growing teenage boy in your home and you can do it, then I highly recommend this one. It was super quick and very tasty. I loved that the addition of the cottage cheese made it creamy but without the calories! Winner! 🙂 I used Portabello mushrooms as we don’t get chestnut mushrooms very easily here. But the portobello were a perfect substitute. So delicious!

25g dried porcini mushrooms

Olive Oil

2 – 4 cloves of garlic

½ small dried chili

250g chestnut mushrooms

6 sprigs of fresh thyme

320g dried farfalle

1 tsp truffle oil

1 lemon

½ bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley

150g low fat cottage cheese

  • Put the porcini into a mug and just cover with boiling water. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the large frying pan, squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher, crumble in the dried chili and tear in the mushrooms. Strip in the thyme leaves, then add the soaked porcini (with the water they soaked in) and toss and fry for a few minutes.
  • Put the pasta into a large pan, cover with boiling salted water and cook according to packet instructions.
  • Tip the mushrooms into a food processor and whiz until fairly smooth, then return to the pan and add 3 small ladles of pasta cooking water and the truffle oil, season to taste and simmer gently.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of the starchy cooking water, then toss the pasta with the sauce, loosening with a splash of cooking water, if needed.
  • Finely grate over the lemon  zest, finely chop and add most of the top leafy half of the parsley along with the cottage cheese, then toss together and serve straight away.

Recipe and Photo from Jamie Oliver 15 Minute Meals

Serves 4

Ricotta Fritters in Tomato Sauce and Grilled Vegetable Salad with a Yoghurt Mint Dressing

Ricotta Fritters and Grilled veg salad

So I decided to go where I have never ventured before, and that was to serve my husband and son a vegetarian meal! I am so keen to do a meat free meal once a week. I think it will save money, widen our horizons, push my creativity to get interesting with vegetables and for our overall health. I did this meal from my Jamie book but I didn’t do his salad, I created one of my own which was really delicious, fresh and sweet! The ricotta fritters were tasty! I used a blob of yoghurt and 2 eggs to moisten the fritters batter a little because the type of ricotta cheese that I used was a bit dry. So try to find a brand (Woolworths has a good one) that sells a moist ricotta. My 15 year old son suggested that I should do some chicken with it next time (boys hey?) but my husband and friend who joined us really enjoyed it. I will make it again!

Ricotta Fritters

For the Sauce:

25g dried porcini mushrooms

4 Anchovy fillets (optional)

1 dried red chilli

2 cloves of garlic

700g passata

8 black olives / Calmata olives (stone in)

½ a bunch of fresh basil

For the Fritters:

1 large egg (or 2 medium eggs)

400g ricotta cheese

1 whole nutmeg, for grating (or 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg)

1 lemon

40g Parmesan cheese

1 heaped tbsp flour

Olive Oil

Balsamic vinegar

For the veggie salad:

3 small peppers (orange, red and yellow)

6 baby marrows

A small bunch of asparagus

Olive oil, salt and pepper

1 tsp BBQ spice

For the Yoghurt dressing:

3 Tbsp plain yoghurt

10ml Dijon mustard

1 handful fresh mint, finely chopped

A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Put the porcini mushrooms in a mug and cover with boiling water.
  • Crack the egg into a mixing bowl, add the ricotta, finely grate in ¼ of the nutmeg (or add the ground nutmeg) and the zest of the lemon. Add the parmesan and flour and then beat together.
  • Put 1 tbsp of olive oil into the frying pan, then use a tablespoon to spoon in 8 large dollops of the mixture, turning carefully when nicely golden.
  • Put the anchovies (if using) and 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the casserole pan, crumble in the dried chilli, and squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher.
  • Finely chop and add the porcini with half of their soaking water and the passata. Season with salt (remember that anchovies are naturally salty) and pepper and bring to the boil.
  • Squash and add the olives, discarding the stones.
  • Pick and reserve a few basil leaves, then chop the rest and add to the sauce.
  • Let that simmer for a few minutes.
  • **I found that I had to add about a tablespoon of Xylitol (to keep the calories down) to the sauce, but you can add some sugar if you like to offset the bitterness of the tomatoes.**
  • Meanwhile, chop up your vegetables and put them into a mixing bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and BBQ spice and rub all of that into the veggies. Then in batches, put into a hot griddle pan until tender (but not soft!). Set aside and continue until all your veggies are done.
  • Place the veggies into a serving dish or platter to cool slightly.
  • Mix all the yoghurt dressing ingredients together and put ‘blobs’ of the dressing over the veggies.
  • Place the fritters on top of the sauce, then scatter over the reserved basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar (this makes a BIG difference!) and serve with lemon wedges and the Vegetable salad.

Ricotta Fritters and Sauce Recipe by Jamie Oliver

The Veggie salad recipe is mine.

Enjoy! xx

Char-grilled Baby Butternut Salad with Lemon, Garlic, Feta and Mint

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I have been eyeing out these little baby butternuts for ages now and finally my curiosity got the better of me and I bought them. They are teeeeny tiny little butternuts. About the size of a small baby marrow. But once I had bought then, I didn’t have a clue what to do with them.

babybutternut

I did a bit of research and came across Jane-Anne Hobbs’ Scrumptious blog. She has a recipe for them that really appealed to my flavour senses. I tried it, I loved it and I will make this again and again! It was amazing! And so great to find and try a new veggie that tastes and looks great on a plate! If you don’t have baby butternut you could substitute with baby marrows. I served this with some plain old ordinary baked fish fillets. I topped the fish with this salad and then gave it all another drizzle of the dressing that was left over and it worked amazingly well and elevated those boring old fillets to a much higher standard! But I can imagine it going well with anything really! Absolutely gorgeous flavours!

10 baby butternut squashes

Olive oil for rubbing

Juice of a lemon

For the dressing:

4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

Juice of a large lemon (about 3 T; 45 ml)

130 ml fruity olive oil

a pinch of salt

freshly milled black pepper

3 T (45 ml) fresh, finely chopped mint

A dash of green Tabasco sauce

crumbled feta cheese

salt and freshly milled black pepper

–   Heat a ridged griddle pan on a hot plate for 7-10 minutes, or until very, very hot. Wash and wipe each little butternut squash well to remove any furry bits. Cut the squashes, lengthways into four ‘leaves’. Using your fingers, rub each slice, top and bottom, with a little olive oil.

–   Place the slices on the griddle, in batches, and cook until dark-gold lines appear on the underside, and the edges of each slice begin to darken. Add more olive oil, if necessary. Flip the slices over. When they are nicely striped on both sides, remove them from the pan and put aside on a plate. When all the slices have been browned, pile them back into the griddle pan, turn the heat down to medium-low, wait for a few minutes for the pan to cool slightly, and squeeze over the juice of one lemon, plus a tablespoon of water. Cover the griddle pan a saucepan lid of the right size. Leave the slices to steam gently until they are just cooked: that is, tender-crisp, but not raw, and certainly not mushy.

–   In the meantime, make the dressing. Finely chop the garlic, or smash it to pieces with a mortar and pestle. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, mint and bash it all together in the pestle and mortar until smooth and slightly creamy. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar you can blitz it in a small food processor. Let the mixture sit and infuse for ten minutes while you finish cooking the butternut slices.

–   Lift the cooked baby butternut slices from the pan, arrange on a big platter, drizzle the dressing over it and allow to cool for five minutes. Crumble the feta cheese over the salad, and set aside, at room temperature, for 20 minutes to an hour or two so the flavours can mingle.  Don’t put it in the fridge.

Serves 6

Original recipe by Jane-Anne Hobbs, slightly tweaked by me.

Photo courtesy of Jane-Anne Hobbs

Creamy Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup Pic

Pure decadence and comfort food! This gorgeous soup will put a smile on your face and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. One of the reasons I love winter! 🙂 Enjoy xxx

2 Cans of peeled tomatoes

5 onions, finely diced

2 chicken stock cubes, crumbled

250g cream cheese (Philadelphia brand is good)

Freshly ground salt and pepper

2 bay leaves

800 mls water

125 mls fresh cream

Parsley to garnish (optional)

-In a large saucepan, saute the onions in a little bit of oil until softened slightly. Add the tinned tomatoes, water, stock cubes, bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a fast simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

– Remove the bay leaves. Add the cream cheese and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

– Blitz the soup with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth.

– Add the cream, adjust the seasoning and server garnished with a touch of parsely.

Serve with cheesy garlic bread

Photo courtesy of google.com

Roast Baby Marrows with Sun Dried Tomato

marrows in sun dried tomatoes

When this dish is in the oven it smells amazing!!! Tastes good too! 🙂 Its out of that diet cookbook that I have. Its a great way to do roast veg. You can add other veggies in too if you like. The oil from the sun-dried tomatoes add such incredible depth of flavour. Its a goodie! If you don’t like patty pans, you can pop in baby butternut, or baby gems or anything really!

6 small yellow patty pans

6 small baby marrows, sliced

1 x 240g packet sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (Ina Paarman’s brand is great)

6 fresh basil leaves

– Preheat the oven to 200 C

– Clean and prepare the patty pans and baby marrows, and place in a roasting pan.

– Pour over the sun-dried tomatoes and oil

– Finely chop the basil and mix into the veggie mixture

– Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.

Serves 4 – 6

Recipe from the “The Ultimate Diet Solution Cookbook”