Basil & Sun-dried Tomato Pesto with Straw and Hay Fettuccine

I still had plenty of basil from the other day and it had been weighing on my mind that it was about to go bad. So late last night I decided to make pesto again. I love pesto its so versatile. It can coat hot pasta and vegetables, be spread on bread or even used to base a pizza. It really doesn’t need the cheese. With plenty of nuts, you won’t notice. My mum, who has been making it her whole life, was skeptical that it wouldn’t be good without  Parmesan. However, she ate her words when she tried it. The sun dried tomatoes also gave the pesto a unique flavor.  I am also excited to try out my new air tight jars. It looks heaps fancier in the jar and is better to store for longer.

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Basil & Sun-dried Tomato Pesto (gf, sf)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2-2 cups basil leaves

3 garlic cloves

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

10 sun-dried tomatoes

1/2-1 teaspoons sea salt

Method:

1. Place pine nuts in the processor and whiz till they are broken down and start to form a paste.

2. Then add the rest of the ingredients, one by one, as the processor is whizzing, until it is all combined and creamy.

* Place in an airtight jar or container and top with a bit more olive oil so that it last longer.

DSC00959I used the pesto for breakfast this morning on toast. The pine nuts make the pesto very filling, since they have plenty of protein. In fact there is 4g of protein per 30g serve of pine nuts, which is similar to an egg. Pine nuts are also a rich source of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and contain natural plant sterols, manganese, niacin, plant iron and zinc [1]. They also help you to feel full for longer. I am addicted to them at the moment. I also like to dry toast them before adding them to porridge and pasta dishes or add them to the tops of baked goods.

Tonight we had Marco’s little niece and nephew stay over, so I wanted to make them something special. They can be both picky eaters, but they love pasta and pizza, which is always easy. So I decided to make them fresh Straw and Hay Fettuccine. I have heaps of baby spinach to use, but I thought if I only make spinach fettuccine they might be too scared to eat it. They weren’t too keen on it when they asked how I would make the pasta green. But I assured them that it would taste the same as the white pasta.

To make the pasta was very easy. I used the same recipe for the dough as the Spinach & ‘Ricotta’ Ravioli, but I just split it in half and added pureed steamed spinach to one part. I found that I had to add a lot more extra flour and semolina to make it more durable to put through the pasta machine. It was a lot softer since the spinach was very wet. So I patted the pasta sheets with more flour. It is also important to have some spare flour (wholemeal will do) to add to the pasta ribbons while they are resting, so that they don’t get stuck together.

For the sauce, I made the kids and Marco a Napoletana sauce with just red onion, garlic, carrot, capsicum and my favorite Aldi Organic Pasta Sauce. For me I just sauteed red onion mushrooms and baby spinach then added the hot pasta and stirred through some of my pesto. Everyone was happy with their dinner. The kids said they loved it and the little girl had a second serve. For dessert they both had two serves of last nights Stone Fruit & Berry Slice. They weren’t sure they would like that either, but after they taste tested it they demanded more. They are here for the weekend so can’t wait to make them some more treats.

Straw and Hay Fettuccine (nf, sf)

Ingredients for Pasta dough:

1 cup semolina (more for dough)

1 cup wholemeal flour (more for dough)

pinch sea salt

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup warm water

80g (2 cups) baby spinach

Method:

1. Steam spinach, then puree it with 1 tbsp of the hot water from the spinach. Set to the side.

2. Take a large bowl and combine semolina, wholemeal flour and sea salt. DSC00986

3. Then add olive oil and split into  two bowls

4. Add 1/4 cup of the hot water (from spinach) to one of the bowls. To the other add the pureed spinach and 1/4 of hot water (from spinach) and a mixture of half flour half semolina if dough is too wet. Mix the water so that both become a dough.

5. On a floury board knead both lots of dough for 10 mins, so that the dough is smooth and elastic. Set aside.DSC00987

6. Split both dough’s into 4 parts (8 in total), then roll through the pasta machine to make pasta sheets, then use the fettuccine cutter to finish the fresh pasta. Leave both lots of pasta in plenty of flour, so it doesn’t stick together.

7. When water has boiled, add a pinch of salt and both lots of fettuccine ribbons and cook until the pasta has floated to the top.

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[1] http://www.nutsforlife.com.au/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=157&Itemid=165&mosmsg=You+are+trying+to+access+from+a+non-authorized+domain.+%28www.google.com.au%29

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Marjoram & Coriander Spiced Rice with Lentil and Cumin & Coriander Fried Tofu

We were nearly not going to have dinner tonight, since we had the worlds biggest and most delicious vegan burger from World Vegan Day Fair at Green Edge. If you live or plan on visiting Brisbane, you have to check out this place. They also sell the most amazing brownies, cheese/chocolate cakes, which are all vegan and gluten free. I first discovered this place when I was looking for casin free cheese and gluten free products, because of my milk and gluten intolerance. I have been a regular every since. Today the store was so busy, so unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to buy anything from the fridge section, so I’ll be back next week for lunch and vegan cheese.

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by a fellow blogger, Avocado and Ales. Her recipe for Salt & Pepper Tofu looked so good, so I had to try it. I just added cumin, chili and coriander to the tofu, before dipping it in cornflour. I paired it with a lentils and rice. I had a bunch of  fresh coriander and frozen marjoram. I’ve never used marjoram before. By the smell of it I thought it would go with well with coriander. I actually bought fresh poultry herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon  marjoram) on sale last week and froze it them. Since I don’t have my herb garden up and running yet, freezing fresh herbs means I have them when I need them. Aldi also has a new range of frozen herbs, which are really great and once you add them to the food you wouldn’t know they were frozen. I prefer fresh or frozen herbs better to dry herbs, which can be really bitter. Anyway I hope you like this recipe as much as my boyfriend and mum did. It’s easy and very quick to make.

Marjoram & Coriander Spiced Rice with Lentil (gf, sf, nf)

Ingredients- 3 cups of cooked basmati rice, 2 tbsp olive oil 1 red onion chopped, 2 large garlic cloves diced, 1 carrot chopped,1 red capsicum chopped, 1 zucchini chopped, 100 g mushrooms chopped, 2 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp chili powder, 4 sprigs of majoram, 2 tbsp coriander stems diced, 1 handful coriander leaves chopped, 1 can brown lentils, juice of 1/4 lemon (more to taste), herbamare/sea salt to taste

1. Put rice to cook in the rice cooker.

2. Heat olive oil in a large pan and add red onion, garlic, carrot, capsicum, cumin, chili, cinnamon. Cook on medium heat for 5 mins or until onion is soft.

3. Add zucchini, mushrooms, coriander stems and marjoram Cook for a further 4 mins or until zucchini is soft.

4. Add coriander leaves, rice, lentils, lemon juice and salt. Cook for another few minutes and adjust seasoning before serving.

* Serves 5-6

Cumin & Coriander Fried Tofu (gf, nf)

Ingredients- Canola Oil, 190 g organic firm tofu (1/2 375 pack), 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tbsp coriander leaves diced, 1/2 cup corn flour,  sea salt to taste

1. Drain and press water out of the  tofu, then cut it into small cubes.

2. In a bowl add 2 tbsp canola oil, cumin, chili, coriander and sea salt. Then stir through tofu. Make sure all sides of tofu are covered in herb oil.

3. Cover the tofu in corn flour on each side.

4. Heat canola oil in a fry pan then fry the tofu till it is crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately.

*Serves 4