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Monthly Archives: May 2010

Pumpkin & Leek Soup

Another picture from my gallery of ghastly photos this week. No, that is not pumpkin soup that a man has dragged his dirty, grassy work boots through. No, it is not mop water.

It’s a really comforting, quick and easy mid-week soup that reheats nicely in the work microwave the next day.

I had been sick this week and not up to the task of cooking something involved, so opted for an easy soup.

I’m not one for pureeing soup, or sieving it to ensure there are no bits and pieces, I prefer the chunkier, ‘rustic’ (yeah, rustic, that’s what I’ll call it!) and simple soups of my childhood, but if that’s what lights your candle…or you want to pretty it up, feel free to puree and sieve to your heart’s content.

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1 small butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped

1 leek, white part only

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 stalk of celery

1/2 onion, chopped finely

2 cups of chicken stock

2 cups of water

2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

2 tsp chopped rosemary leaves

pinch of paprika

1/2 cup cream

salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Heat olive oil and butter in a pot, add pumpkin, onion, garlic, leek  and celery and sauteon medium heat, until onions and leeks are softened and fragrant.
  2. Add water, stock, parsley, rosemary and paprika, stir well, cover and cook on medium heat for approximately 35 minutes. Season to taste as you go.
  3. When the soup is ready, turn off the heat, then stir through the cream.
  4. Put the soup through the blender if you want it to look nice. If you’re hungry and you don’t give a damn, just plate it up and slurp away. It’s good with warmed Turkish bread 😉
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1 Comment

Posted by on May 29, 2010 in Delish Dinners, Luscious Lunches

 

Mini Chocolate & Cherry Ricotta Cheesecakes

I know that when you first look at this photo, your first thought is WTF (and no, I don’t mean ‘why the face?).

I’m not one of those people who make pretty desserts. Don’t get me wrong, as much as I would love to, I lack the finesse and technique to make a dessert look truly special. I’ve always been a fan of the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) style of doing things and I’ve learned to convince myself that it’s about the taste rather than how it looks….

These little chocolate and cherry ricotta cheesecakes were pretty yum and it was the only reason I bothered attempting a photo, otherwise I would have happily spared myself the shame.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have a strong sweet tooth, unlike my garbage-guts husband who would gobble the sugar straight from the pack, but recently I’ve been craving the tartness of sour cherries and short of eating Morello cherries straight from the jar, I decided to make use of the tub of ricotta in my fridge and make something small and cheeky to enjoy during the Lost finale.

I only made about 6 small individual cheesecakes in a silicone muffin mould, so the measurements are approximate.

Ingredients

250g smooth ricotta

1/2 pack of Chocolate Ripple biscuits

3 tbsp melted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

4 tbsp morello cherries

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Line muffin tray with squares of baking paper (for the super paranoid). If you’re not as paranoid as I, simply greasing them should be suitable.
  3. Process the chocolate biscuits to a fine crumb, combine with melted butter and press into the bottom of each muffin mould. Smooth with the back of your spoon, ensuring the crumbs are nice and compact. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl, mix ricotta, egg, sugar and essence and whisk until smooth. Fold in cherries. Pour mixture into muffin trays.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until filling is just set and golden on top.
  6. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until nice and cold.
  7. Serve with whipped creams and drizzle with some morello cherry syrup. YUMMO!
 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 29, 2010 in Devilish Desserts

 

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

I am a big snacker.

I know that’s not a real word, because my spell check had a shit fit when I typed it in, but I did what I do best and clicked ‘Ignore’ and moved on.

When I say I’m a snacker….I’m not talking about Mars Bars, cookies and potato chips. Yes, I do on rare occasions go down that road, usually when I’m hormonal and my husband is hiding for cover.

My idea of snacks are yummy handfuls of goodness, little morsels and bites that aren’t there to just fill the belly or purely for the purposes of fueling my body, but little moments of yummy glee between the main meals of the day.  For so long, my snacks have been store-bought because I work gazillion hours a week, but today was a pleasantly gloomy, misty day and I unleashed my fury on the kitchen, producing an amazing Ginger and Treacle Pear Cake which I had been lusting over after seeing it on one of my fave blogs (I creamed my pants instantly when I saw it), a delish French toast brekkie and these crunchy roasted chickpeas to graze on while I contemplated dinner.

I grew up eating roasted chickpeas (calia) and roasted broadbeans thanks to my Nonna, so once again, these flavours remind of my childhood.

Chickpeas are an ideal snack, low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They’re also a great source of folate and protein, so a great addition to the diet for those of us who are looking at procreating sometime soon (you will know how important folate is!) or are vegetarians and need to find your protein intake through legumes instead of meat. Now that the little nutrition lesson is over, and I’ve suitably convinced myself that these aren’t such a sinful snack, let’s begin. It’s really rather easy, if you mess up this recipe, there really is something ‘special’ about you.

Ingredients

2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper

sea salt, to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C
  2. Rinse chickpeas thoroughly, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Lay flat on a tray and blast in the oven to dry them out for about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven, toss them with olive oil, spices and salt and lay flat on a tray. Reduce oven to 180C and bake for a further 40 minutes until crunchy and golden.
 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 14, 2010 in General, Sinful snacks

 

Lazy Sunday Lunch: Haloumi, Chickpea & Crispy Prosciutto Salad

Sorry for the lack of recent updates. Life has been busier than usual. We recently introduced a new 3 month old puppy into the family, a Maltese Shih-Tzu. She is a sister to our older Maltese Pomeranian cross and there has been a pretty intense adjustment period for all four of us.

I took for granted how easy life was with our 12 year old fur-daughter. She is placid, quiet, happy to laze about all day. When we brought the new little firecracker home, everything was turned upside down, literally. And don’t get me started on the poop, which I kindly won’t because we’re here to talk about food….but OMG, how something so little and fluffy poops so furiously and with such rank odour beats me….

So anyway, my point was, since the new puppy came along, cooking has taken a back seat unfortunately. Having a screaming, howling, shitting pup will do that to anyone. Eating salads and pasta or soup for dinner became the norm over the last month and crawling into bed was a blessed escape from cleaning up poop, refereeing the bitch fights and sneezing. Yes, I am allergic to her.

So today, I finally emerged from my puppy-induced coma and hit the kitchen to make a yummy Sunday lunch. I wasn’t trying to be overly ambitious, after all, she was still there, attempting to hump my leg and playing tunnel between my feet. The result was one of our favourite salads- my husband and I have enjoyed this simple salad on many lazy Sundays.

Obviously, the ingredients are open to change to suit your own taste, but provided you keep the main three components I’m sure you will find it tasty, filling and quick and easy to make. I love the saltiness of the haloumi and prosciutto (I’m a fan of salty flavours, just in case you hadn’t noticed), the meatiness of the chickpeas, crisp crunch of the grilled prosciutto and buttery lettuce. YUM!

Just on a side note, I actually put some mixed olives into mine at my husband’s request (this, from the same guy who thought tomato sauce on grilled fish was a great idea)….Don’t. They didn’t sit well with the flavour combinations.

Ingredients

1 block of haloumi cheese, sliced into thick-ish slices

6 pieces of prosciutto or pancetta

1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 cups mixed lettuce leaves

1/2 cucumber, sliced

1 vine-ripened tomato, cut into wedges

1 Spanish onion, sliced finely

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp red balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

2 tbsp honey, warmed in the microwave

Method

Lay prosciutto on a tray and grill in the oven until dark and crispy, set aside.

Cook prosciutto in a lightly oiled pan or grill until golden.

Assemble salad, spoon over the chickpeas, top with haloumi and crispy prosciutto.

To make the dressing, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and honey, whisk to combine and drizzle over the salad.

Told ya it was easy. 😛

 
 
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