Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More soup for you!

So it may just so be that I am obsessed with pumpkin soup.
Or, to be honest, all things pumpkin.

Can you guess the one vegetable that Muffin just really hates?
Yeahhh......... that would be pumpkin.

(I know, what a weirdo.)

THUS, I naturally make variations of this soup fairly often! He (doesn't) loves it!

I love soups that start out with a roasted vegetable base, because I think it adds a lot more concentrated flavour than just boiling the be-jesus out of them.

You can easily make this soup in 1 hour, chuck everything in the oven and then blitz together in one big pot!

Who doesn't love that?!

Spicy yellow pumpkin soup.

1 Tablespoon garlic & chili paste
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 medium butternut squash, chopped roughly
4 carrots, chopped roughly
1 bulb garlic, sliced horizontally once

1 large onion, chopped roughly
2 Tablespoons thai yellow curry paste

1 tin coconut milk
1 tin vegie stock
1/2 cup milk/soy
yoghurt to calm and garnish

Preheat oven to 180C.

Mix together garlic chili, oil, cumin, squash, carrots and salt in a big bowl, toss to coat.
Wrap garlic, flesh side down in foil.
Pour everything on a baking tray and bake in oven until tender - about 40 minutes.

Fry curry paste and onion in large saucepan until tender.
Add in coconut milk and stock.

Squeeze out garlic and add roasted vegetables.

Blitz with a stick blender and taste, if the curry flavour is too pungent then add more milk or water.
Every batch is different and in this batch I added almost 1 extra cup of liquid to balance out the flavours.

Season with salt and serve warm with drizzles of cold plain yoghurt.

For extra excitement, I like to bake the pumpkin seeds with a oil and a sprinkle of cumin and salt until crunchy and brown - about 10 minutes. Sprinkle on top... or just eat them like popcorn :D

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Delicious home made cinnamon muesli/granola.


Whatever you happen to call it... I made some. And guess what? It was delicious!

Muffin and I don't really buy cereal because you never know WHAT'S in it and it is inevitable too sweet for my liking anywho.

Growing up, we were never allowed cocoa pops and my dad ate bran every day... Like, really dark bran that he would cover with soy milk and then eat an hour or so later....... in paste form :|

I didn't even make that story up.

Needless to say, I was never too much of a cereal fan!

I can (and do) eat this muesli for any and all meals of the day.

Breakfast is better for dinner anyway.

With that said, eat this at breakfast and it will fill up for many many hours to come.

Most of these ingredients you will probably have laying around the house - SCORE! 
Does it get any better?!

It also happens to be way cheaper than any cereal you will find at a supermarket.. and with less preservatives.

Essentially, this muesli will change your life and warm the cockles of your heart. THERE, I said it.

Home made muesli.

3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup nuts (I used almonds)
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup sesame seeds (just try it - it's amazing)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar (I top mine with honey when I eat it, so this additional sugar may be omitted)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or enough to coat)

1 cup dried fruit, chopped (I like apricots and prunes)

Preheat oven to 150C

Mix all ingredients except dried fruit in a big bowl.

Spread evenly on a baking tray.

Bake for 45 minutes or until brown, make sure you mix the muesli around every 15 minutes for even browning.

AND THAT'S IT - HOW EASY IS THAT?! Minimum effort, maximum result!

see Marilyn?

Top with dried fruit, berries, grapes, yoghurt, honey and almond milk

Well.. there are no rules, but that's how I like it!

Friday, January 20, 2012

green pea minty pasta and vegetable dreams!

Ah, ye olde humble pea.

Peas are up there as one of my favourite vegetables... TOP 5 AT LEAST!

This dish happily brewed away in my mind (whilst watching Oprah - gosh love her) and then came together all lovingly, peacefully and perfectly in the kitchen afterwards.

Yes, it's pasta - which isn't exactly great for you, BUT, it's fulla green vegies and everybody knows they are amazing for you!


I used a mixture of rotini and conchiglie, because I'm pretty out of control like that.

Speaking of out of control peas.. how about some adult pea costume action over here?!

Quite possibly one of the best things I have ever seen!!

Although my mum will attest to the fact that I've always been a fan of the humble carrot costume..

Check out that leg flip! 
This is amazing. 

I think I need one.

ALRIGHTY - back to cooking!

Minty green pea pesto pasta.

3 cups your favourite pasta (uncooked) 

2 cups frozen peas
3 peeled garlic cloves

2 Tablespoons horseradish or wasabi (or half each!)
1 handful mint
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
salt to taste

1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 zucchini, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
3/4 cup chopped eggplant
1 handful green olives, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon capers

Cook pasta to packet instructions, keeping 1 mug of hot starchy pasta water aside.

Cook peas and garlic in boiling water for 1 min - do not overcook them - overcooked peas are the bane of my existence! 

Strain and set into a blender. Add horseradish (and/or wasabi), mint, lemon juice, salt and a dash of either water or oil. Blitz until smooth, but still thick. Taste and season (you want it to be a little too lemony, salty and spicy - it will mellow in the pasta).

Fry all the rest of the vegetables until brown, tasty and evenly cooked.

Add strained pasta to vegetable mix and slowly add in spoonfuls of pea mixture (I didn't use all of mine). Add in hot starchy pasta water now to thin it out to desired consistency!

What are you waiting for, punk? 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Spinachy spinach pie with spinach.

Well Winter has hit on this side of the globe, and thus so has the flu.


I'm turning in to a little hermit who pre-makes meals for the freezer. In essence it will stop late night pizza ordering or chip eating (for serious, you can order until 3am here! Nobody needs pizza at that time!)

In reality, maybe I will just eat more because it's available in the freezer? I may have already eaten half of this pie...

This be the type of pie to knock out that Winter sickness from your body! I upped the garlic to help Muffin get on the road to mending his little strep throated man cold soul.

I shouldn't complain, Canada has been unseasonable warm this year. Christmas was 5C and when I was here 2 years ago it was -30C! (yes, that's a minus!) Ahhh, global warming, warming my soul*! 

Serve hot with fresh salad or leave to cool and slice at a beautiful picnic with wine and cheese and hummus and sesame seed crackers! Hey, I can dream that it's Summer....

spinach pie

3 packs frozen spinach
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
olive oil

1 teaspoon vegeta (or seasoning salt)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
2 Tablespoons tomato pasta sauce

250g cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1 egg (optional)
2 Tablespoons flour

2 sheets puff pastry

1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds 

Heat frozen spinach in big pan with the lid on until completely defrosted.
Transfer to colander (or clean tea towel) and press excess liquid out.
Heat olive oil in same pan and soften onion and garlic then add to large bowl.
Mix in vegeta, pepper, oregano, pasta sauce, cottage cheese, cheddar and flour.
Add whisked egg if the mix appears too wet (optional)

Place in fridge until cool.

Preheat oven to 190C (375F) and line a 9" spring form pan with 1 sheet of puff pastry, resting any excess pastry over the top edge.
Add cooled mixture and spread evenly.
Add 2nd sheet of pastry on top.
Tuck top pastry into bottom and squeeze slightly to seal.
Brush the top with either egg wash or olive oil and sprinkle on sesame seeds.

Bake for 45 minutes, covering half way if it is browning too quickly.

I serve mine with Thai sweet chili sauce.. is that weird? I always associate spinachy things with sweet chili. Am I the only one?! A freak of nature, I guess.

Merry Happy Spinach Days everyone. 

*just jokes.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Burger Inn; aka the best burger in cow town.

"Cause we be chillin at the burrrgerrr innnnnn", is generally what I sing on the way to get a burger. Muffin doesn't really enjoy it, but I know he'd miss it if I didn't do it. So for the grace of the world, I continue.

Burger inn specialises in pretty out of the ordinary meat patties, like emu, elk, ostrich, buffalo, boar, salmon... So it is obviously somewhere that draws a vegetarian in! Amiright?! 

The thing is, Muffin is emotionally attached to this place, he's been going since high school.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, they serve ... I'm gonna say it.. are ya ready? ok....


I know, that's weird isn't it? You wouldn't expect it, but it's truuuueeeee.

So you walk in, you're gonna see a man behind the counter who looks a little grumpy, and then he's gonna ask you a series of questions in his own little blunt manner.. and THEN you're gonna realise that he's really just like a big teddy and actually very nice and polite!

What can I get ya?
Brown or white?
With fries?
Want a drink?
That'll be $___

This place is super cheap, the decor is plain, the seats not the most comfy, BUT ketchup, salt, pepper and vinegar are all free! Coming from Australia, the land of 'lets charge 50c for 1 portion of tomato sauce' .. I love this!

The patty comes out a little charred and is served on a brown bun, loaded (meaning with tomato, onion, lettuce, pickles), with mustard and ketchup and mayo.

If you order fries on the side, be prepared.

In fact, be pre-prepared and don't eat at all before going there. Because your serving of fries is gonna be.... massive. Like. Massive.

If you decide to order poutine (which you always should), eat it all REALLY REALLY fast before your stomach realises this is just way too much to fit in 1 belly.

This burger is beyond delicious. I can barely even tell what it's made of, but its compact enough that I can tell it's not lentils or beans, more likely wheat gluten with added herbs and extra deliciousness. The char is what makes it. It has a dense crispness, with a moist (I'm sorry, I hate that word too) interior.

Basically, this baby is THE BOMB FOOLS.

Stop reading poste haste and hall your patootie to burger inn! (and sing the song!)

Burger Inn - Macleod Trail S on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fried morning glory.

Ever since traveling Asia I have become obsessed with greens of the Asian persuasion.


my first fried morning glory in Thailand.

I tells ya what, once you have perfected these puppies, you'll be making them every day.

They're so easy.
They're so cost efficient (thats a polite way of saying cheap) ; )
They're so delicious.
They're so nutritionally amaze balls.
They're pretty much the bees knees.

All over Thighland and Vietnam I saw this elusive thing called 'fried morning glory' on the menus, once I tried it, I was hooked.

see it? (there's also a lady boy in the mix there!) :D

After researching recipes I realised that I possibly unknowingly consumed a lot of oyster sauce in this dish while traveling :S I now obviously make it without this and it tastes just as good. I also don't use the salted beans because I like just soy sauce better.

more morning glory in Thailand.

The key to this dish is speed. Prepare everything ahead of time and get your wok/frying pan smoking hot.

Use the back of your knife to crush both the garlic and chilis, you can also slice them in halves if you prefer. They are basically there to flavour the dish, you don't necessarily have to eat them.

(like so)

I do, because I am a garlic LOVER.

Fried morning glory.

1 bunch morning glory, stems and leaves separated (or any other similar asian green)

4 garlic cloves, just crushed
birds eye chilis, just crushed (I use 2 or 3)
2 T soy sauce
1 T oil
1 T water
1 t sugar

few drops sesame oil

Mix all ingredients except morning glory in a bowl and set aside.

Once your pan is super hot, throw in the stems and pour sauce over the top.

Continue moving and tossing vegetables around and after about a minute, add in the leaves.

Add extra water if the mix seems too dry.

Stir fry for one extra minute and you're done, remove from pan and serve immediately.

Top with sesame oil if you're obsessed with it like eye yam!

 I secretly threw in some snap peas and black bean paste in this one!

 serve with simple noodles, chilli and crispy shallots.

alternatively serve with rice, crispy baked tofu and pickled ginger. YUM! 

AWW, GREAT! Now I'm hungry!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

kit kat colourful birthday cake!

So, I'm guessing after Christmas and New Years the last thing you want is cake? But what if it's your 21st birthday on January 1st?


This cake came about by trying to out-do the ugly kit kat cake I made for the same birthday LAST year!

It's super easy and has popped up everywhurrr in the blogisphere.

I knew I wouldn't fancy baking when hungover on Jan 1st (I'm only human) and thus made the buttercream icing in advance and cheated with a box cake mix for the rest.

I used x2 8" round baking tins and needed 8 big kit kats and 1 bag of regular m&ms and 1 tube of mini's .. ya know, to fill the cracks!

This cake is ridonkulously sweet and when slicing you should do max 2 kit kat slices per person.
It is thick.
It is sweet.
It's pretty delicious too!

Lets go:

THEN. GET IN TO YOUR SNUGGIE AND EAT, rubbing your belly with a sly smile on your face.

Twill need:
1 cake almost as high as a kit kat
8 kit kats
1 1/2 bags m&ms
tummy space!

Happy New Year everyone.


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