Whole Roasted Cauliflower (vegetarian)

We all know variety is the spice of life and that is so very true when it comes to feeding vegetables to your children.

Coming up with alternative ways of preparing and serving veggies that your kids have been rejecting or are unwilling to try, can sometimes help get them over the line. 

My boys are not all that excited about cauliflower, but when they walked in the door from school and this was just coming out of the oven, they asked what smelt so good. When I mentioned the word cauliflower, they looked a little stunned, but willing, to give it a go. 

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Roasting a whole cauliflower is very similar to roasting a piece of meat. You massage it with olive oil, salt and pepper and flavour or spices of choice, and then bake for 1 1/2 hours in a moderate oven.

It can be eaten straight from the oven, or at room temperature. You can leave it as is, or dress it up with lemon zest, finely chopped fresh herbs and toasted almonds. You can squeeze lemon juice, olive oil or a dressing of choice over it before serving. 

I like to picture it in the middle of the table, with everyone carving their own pieces, as a side dish to some pan-fried meat or fish. I can also see it as a part of a tasting banquet, guests carving off warm florets and dipping them in hummus. 

If we have leftovers, I will thinly slice it and put it in the fridge in an airtight container to throw in salads or on top of a homemade pizza in the coming days.

The limit is your imagination friends. 

Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Serves 6
A whole cauliflower, rubbed with olive oil and cumin, roasted in the oven.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 whole cauliflower, outer leaves removed
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon dried cumin
  4. salt
  5. pepper
  6. fresh herbs, lemon zest and toasted flaked almonds to serve (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. After removing the outer leaves of the cauliflower, turn the cauliflower upside down and cut through the base, slightly hollowing out the stem, so the cauliflower sits flat on a dish. Score a cross pattern into the remaining stem.
  3. Massage the oil, cumin, salt and pepper to taste, around the entire cauliflower.
  4. Place in a lightly greased baking dish.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes more.
  7. Serve it straight from the oven just as it is, or garnish with fresh herbs, lemon zest and almonds.
Notes
  1. It can also be enjoyed at room temperature.
  2. If you are going to eat it at room temp, wait to put the garnish on right before you serve.
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Scrambled Eggs with Goats Cheese (what to cook when you’re too tired to cook)

I feel a little sorry for the humble egg.

It’s been given a hard time for so long. The good old cholesterol drama of the last 20 years or so had many believing that the yolk was bad for you and we were encouraged to only eat eggs sparingly. Remember egg white omelettes? Seriously…what were we thinking people?

The yolk actually contains most of the important nutrients and the white is mostly protein. ALL of it is good for you. 

One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the egg. It’s such a powerhouse of nutrition, it’s inexpensive and can be cooked quickly and in a million different ways.

Here is a link to an easy-to-understand article about HOW amazing eggs actually are. It’s a must read.

My new favourite breakfast, lunch or dinner dish is this Scrambled Eggs with Goats Cheese and Rosemary. 

I first read about the combination in a beautiful book by Shauna Niequist called Bread and Wine, a love letter to life around the table (my kind of book).

This is one of those ideas that is hard to put in a recipe format. 

Basically, choose as many eggs as you wish to eat or according to how many you are feeding. This is very personal. I would eat 2 if I was making this for myself, my eldest son has been having 5 on his own lately….you see what I mean!

Pour your lightly beaten eggs into a cold non-stick frying pan and then turn on the heat. Gently, start moving the eggs around in ribbons with a spatula or whisk. I like to think of it as a gentle scramble. We all know how awful tough and chewy scrambled eggs can taste. That’s usually from too much over zealous beating and too long on the heat. 

The whole thing takes only a few minutes. When the egg is starting to look almost finished, i.e. just set, crumble in as much goats cheese (feta works well too) as you like, sprinkle in some finely chopped fresh rosemary and season with pepper. 

And there you have it. 3 ingredients, ready in about 3 minutes. 

Who said eating well had to be complicated? 

 

 

Pick-me-up Pumpkin & Ginger Soup (vegetarian)

It seems like our extended summer in Sydney has finally come to an end.

As I type this I am looking out to my front yard where leaves of many colours and sticks of many sizes are dropping to the ground, covering our lawn and driveway. The wind is strong and cold and it looks like winter might well and truly be here.

I don’t know many who love this season we are about to enter, but dear friends, it’s coming anyway, so we may as well get out our scarves and hats, throw some extra blankets on the beds and start making soup. 

It’s days like these that make me happy to be at home, on the couch holding a mug of this Pumpkin Soup. 

Made in the slow cooker, it’s a little more ‘pumped up’ than your normal pumpkin soup. 

There is a beautiful sweetness from the fennel and apples, and a gentle heat from the ginger and turmeric. A mixture of sweet potato and pumpkin add the rich earthiness that brings it all together.

Turmeric is such a super spice that actually belongs to the ginger family. It is considered to be one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatory’s, while also being an anti-oxidant and an infection fighter. 

Including ginger and turmeric in your diet over the winter months will help in keeping your immune system strong.

Weekends are a perfect time to bung these ingredients in the slow cooker, let it bubble away and then you’ll be set up for lunches or dinner the following week. 

Stay warm friends x

Pick-me-up Pumpkin & Ginger Soup (vegetarian)
Serves 5
A slow-cooked soup made from pumpkin, sweet potato, fennel, apple and spices.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 800gm pumpkin, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  2. 400gm sweet potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  3. 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  4. 1 small fennel bulb, white part, chopped into large chunks
  5. 1 teaspoon turmeric
  6. 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  7. 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
  8. 5 cups water (or 5 cups of ready made stock)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker, put the lid on and cook for 5 hours, (or on low for 6 or high for 3)
  2. When all the vegetables are soft it is ready.
  3. Allow to cool slightly before pureeing with a stick blender or in batches in a food processor.
  4. Serve on it's own or with greek yoghurt, sour cream or cream fraiche and fennel fronds.
Notes
  1. If you don't own a slow cooker, you can use a large soup pot and gently boil it till all the vegetables are soft.
  2. It will freeze well without the toppings.
  3. It will keep in the fridge, covered for 5 days.
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Ann’s Silver beet Pie (vegetarian)

There’s a story in our family that goes something like this…..

My parents were away and I was at home alone with my older sister, while my young brother was staying with friends. 

I would like to think I wasn’t very old when this took place, but the family reminds me that I was in my mid-teens. 

In my attempt to keep the normal home routine going (and probably a little because I was missing them), I went about the jobs that I thought my mum did each day. I remember wearing her apron and sweeping the floor a lot, but I can’t remember much more than that. 

Other than soak silver beet.

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In my mind, there always seemed to be a sink full of silver beet soaking, so I took it upon myself to keep this important tradition going in my mother’s absence. 

Apparently after a few days, with a bit of an odd smell emanating from the kitchen, my sister discarded the over-soaked silver beet. 

This story makes me smile. A little with embarrassment, as I clearly had no idea what I was doing. But also because it reminds me of the power of food in our lives and stories. In my mothers absence, there was obviously something comforting about doing what she did that made me feel just a little closer to her, even though we were apart. 

My mother’s Silver beet Pie was a simple staple in our home and we all loved it. 

I was therefore a little shocked when I served it up to my boys, with the story of how loved it was in my home growing up, that they didn’t feel the same way. 

This is the first recipe I have posted on cook fast eat slow that my boys don’t like, but I decided to post it anyway.

Because I love it. Because I loved it as a little girl. And so did my brother and sister. 

This simple, cheap, vegetarian dish is so easy to make and highlights a wonderful and nutritious leafy green vegetable that we often don’t know what to do with. A relative of the beetroot family, silver beet often gets confused with spinach. The distinctive white stems of silver beet help tell it apart from English Spinach or Baby Spinach. Where english or baby spinach can be consumed raw, the leaves and stems of silver beet need to be lightly cooked by steaming or sautéing, before eating. 

Ann's Silver beet Pie
Serves 6
A filling of silver beet and cheese in between layers of puff pastry.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 sheets of frozen store-bought puff pastry, thawed
  2. 1 bunch of silver beet (also known as swiss chard)
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 1 brown onion, peeled, finely diced
  5. 1 clove garlic, peeled, finely sliced
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 3/4 cup grated tasty cheese
  8. 1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  9. 1 egg yolk, extra, for brushing the pastry
  10. 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Wash the silver beet and roughly chop the stems and leaves. You may find it easier to soak it in a sink full of water and then drain.
  3. Put the silver beet in a saucepan and add a tiny bit of water.
  4. Place the lid on and over a medium heat, steam the spinach gently until lightly wilted. This will only take a few minutes.
  5. Drain, pressing down on the silver beet to remove as much moisture as possible and set aside to cool slightly.
  6. Using the same saucepan, heat the olive oil and gently sauté the onion and garlic over a medium heat until soft.
  7. Add to the silver beet and stir through the eggs, grated cheese and nutmeg.
  8. Line the base of a 20cm pie dish with one sheet of pastry.
  9. Add the silver beet mixture.
  10. Place the remaining piece of pastry on top, at a different angle to the bottom piece, to form a star shape pattern.
  11. Fold the edges of the pastry back on top of the pie, so that the filling is enclosed.
  12. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg yolk over the pastry and then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  13. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until puffed and golden.
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Farewell Summer Salad

When Autumn officially started 11 days ago, I was all ready with my soup pot and slow cooker, dreaming of new ways to use autumn’s rich bounty of fruits and vegetables. 

As anyone reading this in Sydney would know, we’ve had 2 extra weeks of summer, as temperatures have stayed above 30 degrees and the humidity has been at 1000% every day and some nights too. 

The hydrangea, my favourite summer flower, has continued to give me great joy with this extended heat. They began flowering early, last October in fact, and this beauty is the very last one in my garden. I just had to capture it in the fading afternoon sun. 

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So officially Autumn, but in the midst of a heat wave, we have kept enjoying The Weather of Salad. 

It was on a bend on a very busy road that I saw the mango man, and probably with not enough warning for the drivers behind us, screamed at my husband to stop and let me get what would probably be the last box of mangoes for the season. 

We’ve had mango at breakfast, after lunch and at dinner over this last 2 weeks of our extended summer, a fitting farewell to the fun, outdoor season that we love. 

While the BBQ was heating and the boys were finishing in the pool, this salad was thrown into a bowl. Being honest, most of the ingredients chosen were because I was once again, doing a fridge clean out. But as I began throwing this in with that and chopping this, I could see that the colours and flavours were actually working. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

Farewell summer, we’ve had a blast.

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Farewell Summer Salad
Serves 5
A colourful and fresh salad topped with avocado, mango, feta and fresh herbs.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 big handfuls of baby spinach leaves, washed
  2. 1/8 purple cabbabe, finely shredded
  3. 1 large cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into thin rounds
  4. 1 corn cob, husks removed, or 1 small can of corn, drained
  5. 1 avocado, flesh sliced thinly
  6. 1 large mango, flesh sliced thinly
  7. 100 grams greek feta, cut into cubes
  8. a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  9. a handful of fresh mint
  10. juice of 1 lime
  11. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. If using a fresh corn cob, steam it in the microwave for 2 minutes or until soft. Using a sharp knife, remove the corn from the cob.
  2. Layer the baby spinach and cabbage in the bottom of a large salad bowl.
  3. Add cucumber, corn, avocado and mango.
  4. Top with fresh mint leaves, feta and cherry tomatoes.
  5. Squeeze lime juice all over the salad, finishing with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
  1. As with all salad recipes, leave out ingredients you don't like or have on hand, and substitute with whatever takes your fancy. There are really no limits when it comes to salads, however, the fresh mint and lime juice really do finish this salad off.
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