Sunday, June 28, 2009

Silverbeet and rice pie - a quick and easy dinner

I had planned to make a potato-top fish pie for dinner tonight.  I had already put the pan of water on to boil then went to the pantry to get the potatoes....and there were none!  Someone hadn't put on the shopping list that we were out, nor had he mentioned it when I told him what I was going to make for dinner!

Oh well, straight to my 'what the heck are we going to have for dinner there's no fresh vege and i'm out of idea's' recipe!  This 'pie' has three ingredients - rice, cheese and silverbeet (swiss chard), is super easy to make and the best bit is it tastes WAY better than it sounds!

Try it!!

Silverbeet and rice pie

1.  Cook 1 c rice  (I use long grain brown but basmati is good too).
2.  While the rice is cooking steam/boil roughly chopped silverbeet (you can use spinach too) for around 5 minutes until wilted.  I use maybe 10 silverbeet leaves, with stems removed.  
3.  Layer half the rice into the bottom of a casserole dish, top with half the silverbeet, sprinkle with cheese (whatever works for you - I use feta).  Repeat the layers, ending with cheese (I use grated edam here).
4.  Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
Serve with a veggie side.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Best pasta

Right it's time to put on some photo's if I want people to actually read this blog! so here goes....

Well, it's not quite where I had planned it to be but it's there so it's a start!

This is on our local mountain, Mt Taranaki (or Egmont as it says on the map, but i've never heard a local call it that since I moved here 6 years ago!).  Anyway this is on a tramping trip on Waitangi weekend in February.  It was around 3 hours to this hut.  So anyway, after such a long (mostly uphill) walk we needed food. Pasta.  I grow my own delicious heirloom tomatoes in summer and preserve whatever we don't eat for later in the year - I refuse to buy a tomato or tomato sauce for that matter!  Anyway, along with sauce I also make loads of pasta sauce to bottle, plain chopped tomatos, relish and freeze some for later.  

On this trip I took a jar of pasta sauce, cooked up some pasta and lentils, mixed them all together and dinner was served.  Haha it's great how good things taste out in the fresh air when you've really earned them!

Pasta sauce
1.  Chop an onion and a carrot finely and saute in oil over very low heat until soft.  Add 2 cloves of chopped or crushed garlic and cook for a minute more.
2.  Add chopped tomatoes - a can if that's all you have or maybe 6 - 10 fresh ones depending on size, along with 1 tsp brown sugar, a splash of balsamic vinegar (add a little extra if preserving the tomatoes as this will stop the top exploding!)., a sprinkle of dried herbs (one or more of basil, oregano, majoram, thyme or mixed herbs) and 1-2 T tomato paste.
3.  Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens slightly - around 20 minutes.
4.  Use as is or with lenitls, tuna etc added, bottle or cool and freeze.

Enjoy, i'm off to practise some food photography!

Monday, June 22, 2009

My favourite afternoon snack

On nights where I have the gym or basketball after work I like to have a snack to get me through to dinner time......banana frozen yoghurt!  So easy, sooooo good!  I buy the 'yucky' bananas when they're on special, peel, halve and put in a zip lock bag in the freezer ready to use in smoothies, my morning porridge and especially this recipe! 

Banana frozen yoghurt
1. Place a frozen banana in the bowl of a food processor.
2. Add around 1/2 c plain, unsweetened yoghurt and blend until the banana breaks up.
3.  Add a teaspoon of runny honey, blend briefly again.
Eat, yum!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Autumn goodies

Guavas are another great treat to look forward to in the winter - my friend has a large tree, but doesn't eat them herself, so I raid it often!  I either eat the little red globes fresh or make guava jelly.  I first tasted guava jelly while at uni - my flatmates grandma used to make it for him, and I helped eat it!  I remembered back all those years (wow, doesn't time fly!) and attempted to make it last winter.  The first bach was slightly over-done - I think around 2 c of sugar went into each jar!  But had it sussed second time round and it was just like I remembered it - a beautiful red, tangy but sweet.  Don't be tempted to cook it down to far, once it starts coating the back of the spoon it's nearly done!

Guava jelly
1.  Rinse the fruit and place in a preserving pan, cover with water and mush the guavas up a bit with a potato masher.
2.  Bring to the boil then simmer for around 20 minutes.
3.  Line a colander with muslin (or similar - I used baby gauze doubled up) and place inside a stockpot or similar. Pour in the fruit.  Leave it for 10-20 minutes until the juice has dripped through - don't be tempted to push the fruit down!
4.  Lift out the colander and discard fruit
5.  Measure out how much juice you have return to preserving pan with an equal amount of sugar (i.e. 5 c juice plus 5 c sugar).  Bring to boil then simmer 25 or more minutes until it starts to coat the back of the spoon and go thick.
6.  Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rocket and warm winters day

Well the cold has left us (for the moment at least!) and what started as a rainy winters days turned on blue skies - great timing as the moon calendar said today was good for planting garlic and I really wanted to get mine in.  I've never planted by the moon calendar before, and with garlic usually just go with the traditional shortest day.  But good to give things a go, so we'll see in 6 months time!  

I had planned to write about the dessert I made last night to take to a friends, but then I was checking out Closet cooking and saw the very same lemon slice (meyer lemon bars Kevin calls them) over there so decided instead to talk about rocket instead.  My garden is chockka with rocket at the moment - took me awhile to realise it's best grown in autumn/winter and spring, leave summer to the lettuces!

Anyway this is a great, fast pesto using another autumn goodie - walnuts - which is delicious with wholemeal pasta.......

Rocket walnut pesto
1.  Fill your food processor bowl with rocket.
2.  Add grated parmesan, chopped garlic and toasted walnuts, process.
3.  Add oil a bit at a time, blending all the while until you get your desired consistency.
4.  Add salt, and more parmesan, garlic, oil or walnuts as required, blending until it tastes good!
Stir through pasta.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Anyone out there?!

Hello? Is anyone reading this blog? Bear with me while I sort out adding photos and the other bits and pieces that make a great food blog! 

It's freezing here at the moment, winter certainly kicked in early this year - i've already been up the mountain snowboarding three times. The water has cooled quite a bit, definitely need the 3/4 steamer when surfing!  So anyway more soup is on the menu.  This one is nice and hearty with the lentils, potatoes and coconut milk, but still relatively low fat/cal so long as you use low-fat coconut milk. Enjoy.....


1.  Heat 1-2T oil in a stockpot and add 2 sticks chopped celery, 2 chopped carrots, one chopped onion and two cloves chopped garlic.  Cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring often.
2.  Stir in 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 2 hot green chillies (de-seed and finely chop).  Cook for one minute, stirring.  Add 1 c red lentils, 1.5 L of vegetable stock and three medium-large floury potatoes (such as Agria), chopped.  Bring to the boil, reduce heat, partially cover with a lid and cook gently for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.  Mash roughly, but leave some chunks of potato and carrot.
3.  Stir in a 400 ml tin of coconut milk, 1 tap salt and 1 T lemon juice.  Re-heat if   needed but don't boil.
Serve garnished with chopped coriander, with naan bread to dip.