Hasselback Potatoes with Lemon Almond Pesto and Beans, Broccoli & Spelt Croutons

I have been wanting to try Hasselback Potatoes for a while. I came across this recipe one day and was intrigued  I have never seen potatoes prepared like this before. This recipe was adapted from Joy the Baker’s Hasselback Potatoes with Spinach Cashew Pesto. I had to change the recipe for the pesto a bit, since I was missing some key ingredients. For some strange reason my processor wouldn’t liquefy all the ingredients and left it a bit chunky. I was so frustrated that I just gave in to it. It turned out to still taste good and Marco said he liked it chunky, so I guess it wasn’t that bad.

The potatoes themselves were so delicious. They were a bit of a pain to cut and stuff with garlic. I did go all the way through on a couple of them.  I ended up served them with these simple vegetables and some leftover risotto, as I was in a hurry to watch My Kitchen Rules.

???????????????????????????????

Hasselback Potatoes with Lemon Almond Pesto (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients for Hasselback Potatoes:

4 large potatoes

4 garlic cloves

4 tablespoons vegan butter

olive oil to coat

sea salt

Ingredients for Pesto:

2 cups basil

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup toasted almonds

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/3 cup vegan parmesan

sea salt & pepper to taste

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees.???????????????????????????????

2. Thinly slice a layer from the bottom so that the potato can sit on its side. Then slice slits in the way along the potato. Be careful not to cut right through to the bottom.???????????????????????????????

3. Thinly slice the garlic and stuff a piece in each slit in the potato.

4. Put the potatoes in a small baking dish and top with vegan butter and coat in olive oil. Roast in the oven for 1 hour. If you can check the potatoes a few times and baste in the olive oil.

5. In the meantime place all the ingredients for the pesto in the processor, except for the evo. Process until smooth. Lastly add the olive oil.

*Serve the potatoes topped with the pesto

*Serves 4

???????????????????????????????

Beans, Broccoli & Spelt Croutons (vegan, nut free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli, roughly chopped

2 handfuls green beans

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 slice of old spelt bread, toasted and chopped

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt & pepper to taste

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a pan then add garlic and spelt bread. Saute for 2 mins.

2. Add broccoli and green beans and saute for 4 mins or until tender.

*Serves 4

Advertisements

Whole Baked Sweet Potato with Mixed Bean Chili, Guacamole and Quinoa Salad

Believe it or not I have never baked a whole sweet potato before. When I was kid, mum use to make ‘potatoes in their jackets’ (baked spuds), but I haven’t had them in years. I think I am in love! They were so delicious and sweet. I can’t believe what I have been missing out on all this time. This is definitely going to have to be a part of our regular weeknight dinner rotation. It also went really well the the chili. The savory, spicy flavor toned down the sweetness of the sweet potato. The guacamole and salad really brought a fresh taste to the main event as well. Avocados are still expensive and very hard at the moment. We bought a whole heap of small ones the other day and they all went ripe at the same time. Can’t wait for the big soft ones to be back in season for breakfast.

???????????????????????????????

Whole Roasted Sweet Potato with Mixed Bean Chilli (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients for Sweet Potato:

4 medium size sweet potato, olive oil to coat

Ingredients for Chili:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon onion flake or onion powder

1 tablespoon ground sweet paprika

1/2 tablespoon chilli powder or ground cayenne pepper

1/2 tablespoon dried oregano

400g can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon agave or raw sugar

400g can mixed beans

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Clean and scrub sweet potatoes. Then coat in oil and place in a baking tray. Piece a few times with a fork along the sweet potato, then bake for 45 mins.???????????????????????????????

2. Heat olive oil in a pan, then add onion and garlic and saute for 2 mins.???????????????????????????????

3. Add cumin, onion flakes, sweet paprika, chili powder and dried oregano. Continue to cook for 3 mins or until fragrant and onions are have softened. ???????????????????????????????

4. Add diced tomatoes, agave, sea salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then leave it to simmer for 20.

5. Add the beans then cook for another 5-10 mins. Adjust seasoning if you need to.

6. When sweet potatoes are ready slice long ways to open up the flesh.

*Serve with Chili on top of the Sweet Potato. Also serve with Guacamole or Vegan Sour Cream.

*Serves 4

???????????????????????????????

Creamy Guacamole (gf, nf)

Ingredients:

2 large avocados

1/2 lime

2-3 tablespoons tofutti ‘cream cheese’ (optional)

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mash avocado and ‘cream cheese’ until consistent.

*Serves 4 as a side

???????????????????????????????

Simply Zesty Quinoa Salad (gf, sf, nf)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup quinoa

1 small red onion, diced

2 large tomatoes, diced

1 stick of celery, diced

2-3 tablespoons diced fresh/frozen parsley/coriander

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon agave (optional)

Method:

1. Cook quinoa according to packet instructions.

2. Once ready and water has completely evaporated (otherwise strain), add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Season to taste.

*Serves 6 as a side dish.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

Summer Salads for Sally’s 60th

Hi all, as promised, these are the salads that I prepared for Marco mother’s 60th party last night. All of these are from recipes that I have been collecting on Pinterest. In my household we have always had our salads with olive oil, salt and pepper and sometimes balsamic vinegar. So I am not very experienced in salad dressings.

These salads were a big hit at the party. The Roasted Aubergine only lasted about 15 mins till it was all gone. The pasta salad was also popular. All of these salads were quite quick and easy to prepare. The only cooking involved was for the pasta and grilling the eggplant.

???????????????????????????????

Jamie Oliver’s ‘Best Pasta Salad’

The original recipe for Jamie’s pasta salad is here (gfo, sf, nf)). The only thing I did different was using small vine ripened tomatoes, rather then yellow and red cherry tomatoes. I wasn’t able to get them for a reasonable price. But it didn’t make a difference with flavor, just with color. I especially loved the fresh herbs and zesty lemon flavor. This is a great salad if you have a large group of people and is big enough that everyone gets to have firsts and seconds.

???????????????????????????????

Roasted Aubergine with Sumac and Tahini Dressing

The recipe for this dish can be found here. This salad was really loved by all the Serbians. The dressing is earthly and zesty, the toppings are nutty and fragrant and the eggplant is soft and creamy. It can be served warm or at room temperature, which is how I served it. The dressing should be chilled and added just before serving. I have never used pomegranate in ???????????????????????????????a salad before. It went really well with the pine nuts. Unfortunately it isn’t in season at the moment in Australia. These were a USA import, so they were expensive and had some bad bits inside, but it was a must have ingredient to complete this dish. I really liked the dressing as well, it was dairy free, but really creamy. I used unhulled tahini, so my dressing is a lot darker then the picture in the original recipe. For the eggplant I removed the bitterness before grilling it. I just added table salt to the slices of eggplant and left them, so that the moister would come out. Then I wiped the moisture off before cooking it. Only thing I would do differently next time is make double the amount.

???????????????????????????????

Carrot Salad with Olives, Agave and Cumin

The recipe for this salad can be found here. The only things I changed was using agave instead of honey and italian parsley instead of coriander  The birthday girl is not a fan of coriander  but loves italian parsley, so I thought for her party it was better to go with what she likes. This is also a really easy salad to put together. It did take me a while to cut these carrots into tiny matchsticks, but worth it. The dressing was sweet and zesty.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

I was really lucky last night. There were plenty of fresh salads, roasted potatoes and baked bread for me to eat. I definitely didn’t go hungry. Of course they had their lamb on the spit, which they serve at big celebrations, but I didn’t feel like it. Some of the salads they made were Cabbage and Pickles; Cabbage, Beetroot and Carrot; Tomato and Red onion; and Radish and Cucumber. They all had vinegar, oil and salt to season them. There was also a traditional Serbian homemade bread, which is called Pogača. Usually at the beginning of the meal everyone takes an edge and pulls to get their piece. It is quite a heavy, dense bread, but it is nice and airy inside and soft on the outside.

318256_10151526567077292_1735189741_n

Marco’s sister made Sally’s birthday cake. This cake isn’t vegan, but it was dairy free. It is also a traditional Serbian recipe. It consists of 3 layers of baked sponge cake, which is only made of ground peanuts and eggs and between the layers are crushed peanuts. On the outside was chocolate and strawberry flavored marzipan. The humidity got to it a bit, but it still looked great and most importantly tasted amazing.

???????????????????????????????

It was a great night for everyone. The older ones ate, drank and danced all night. Marco, the kids and I ended up watching a movie together to get out of the heat. Most importantly Sally had a great time and it was a birthday to remember.

A little bit British

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by Fry’s Country Mushroom Pies. I’ve never been a big pie eater, preferring to eat pasta then Aussie Beef Pies and Sausage Rolls. I have always equated meat pies to unhealthiness and thought it to be more like a tradey’s food. My mothers ex-husband was a tradey, so meat pies and ice coffees were a typical daily lunch from the snack truck. But since I have stopped eating meat I have been open to look at foods like this in a different light. So when I saw this product on sale at Coles, I thought I would give it a go.

DSC02620

This is not a meat pie, but rather more like a vegan version of a mushroom & chicken pie. Mushroom & Chicken Pie is a British classic and is one of the most popular pies in Great Britain. It has pastry on the top and bottom, the top being puff pastry and the center holds the chicken and mushroom in a nice creamy sauce. They are commonly bought from fish and chip shops across the country. Pies-Box-Country-Mush

So after trying out Fry’s Country Mushroom Pies I think I would definitely purchase it again. I made this dinner for Marco, my mother and her partner Ted and they all really liked it the pie. They all said they liked the puff pasty top and the pie filling was nice and creamy and tasted just like it had meat in it. I thought it was good too. Only thing I can say was there wasn’t that much filling. The picture on the box and on the website makes it look really full, but it doesn’t all ooze out when you cut it. However, I think if it was really full it may have been too much and I would of felt too heavy after eating it. The pastry top was also really nice tasting and was not greasy at all. It was easy to make. The packet instructions said 20 mins  in the oven, but for my oven took about 25-30 mins. All in all it was a easy main to prepare and great for a lazy vegan dinner.

Before baking

Before baking

After baking

After baking

To get into the spirit of eating a British classic I thought I would prepare some sides to go with it. So I made Lemon & Thyme Roasted Chat Potatoes, Carrots & Garlic and Mushy Peas. For the roasted vegetables I didn’t add the lemon, thyme and garlic until 15 mins before they were ready. A lot of recipes suggest added fresh thyme when you first put in the potatoes, but I saw on a Jamie Oliver show recently, that he recommends not added them till towards the end, as the oven will burn them to a crisp. It turned out really well this way. The lemon flavor was also really nice and everyone said they preferred this flavor to my usually roasted vegetables. Below is the recipe.

DSC02621

Lemon & Thyme Roasted Chat Potatoes, Carrots & Garlic (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1kg chat potatoes

5 carrots

1 garlic clove

olive oil

sea salt & pepper to taste

1 lemon

sprigs of thymeDSC02607

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Cut the potatoes in halves, chop the carrots in chunks and place in a baking tray. Coat with olive oil, sea salt & pepper, and cook for 30 mins or until you can at least get a fork through the potatoes.DSC02609

3. In the mean time remove skin from garlic and juice the lemon.

4. After 30 mins add the garlic, lemon juice and thyme. Add more olive oil if the potatoes and carrots are too dry. Cook for a further 15 mins or until vegetables are slightly browned.

*Serves 4

DSC02617

As for the Mushy Peas, I got the recipe from here. I really love this recipe. It was my first time making mushy peas and they just tasted so fragrant and delicious. Only thing I had to change was use shallots instead of eschalots, nutlex instead of butter and used vegan chicken stock. Only thing I would do differently next time is make more, because this portion size was not enough. It was so morish. It was also really easy and quick to make.DSC02612

Firstly I cooked diced shallots and garlic in nutlex for few minutes.

Then add the stock and brought it to a boil. After that I added the peas and cooked them until they were soft.

Once the peas were soft, I added the apple cider vinegar and mint leaves and cooked for 1 more DSC02614minute.

Lastly, used the bar mix to make the peas mushy and then it was ready to go.

DSC02619

Another vegan product I just tried today is Macro Moroccan Pumpkin Dip (Free from Dairy). It is also gluten free and free from artifical colours, flavours or preservatives. The fact that their are no artifical preservatives is really great since most of the dips available have something in it to last longer. I do prefer to make my own hummus and other dips, but when you are in a hurry its always great to have good products like this on hand.

Today I made a snack pita with this dip. I just used half a pita bread and filled it with the pumpkin dip, cucumber, baby spinach and mint leaves and toasted in the sandwich press. It was a great healthy snack to have between lunch and dinner.

DSC02605