Quick roast veges

Do you ever really want roast vegetables but don’t have the hour and a half to do them? Here’s my solution – smaller chunks or slices, and a hotter oven. Now I can have them in under half an hour, perfect for week night dinners.

Ingredients

Any veges you like! For 4 people as a side dish I have used;

5 Potatoes

2 Zucchini

¼ pumpkin

A bunch of herbs you like

A good pinch of salt and a cracking of pepper

 

Method

Place 2 oven trays in a 200 degree Celsius oven to warm. Slice your vegetables about 5mm or so thick. Put them in a bowl and drizzle olive oil all over, tossing it through. Pour the vegetables onto your pre-warmed trays and spread out. If you like herbs, smother the veges in herbs and a bit of salt and pepper to your liking. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. This is great as it gives you enough time to grill some meat and get ready for dinner, and you get your fix of roast vegetables!

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Quick roast veges

Spring rolls

Spring rolls are one of those dishes you can have as an entrée, a party dish, a footy season side dish or really, anytime once you see how easy these are to make! Warning – once you’ve made spring rolls fresh and lovely yourself, you probably will not order them at your local sushi bar again because they just can’t compare.

Ingredients

80 to 100 spring roll wrappers

1 kg chicken mince

A splash of vegetable oil

1 red onion

3 cloves garlic

2 tsp chopped lemongrass

300g kale slaw (a mixture of shredded beetroot, red cabbage, kale and carrot)

100 g bean sprouts

A handful of basil, chopped finely

¼ cup oyster sauce

4 tbs soy sauce

1 egg

3 L vegetable oil for frying

 

Method

Making your mixture is the first step in this very easy process. Place your splash of oil in a pan and heat on medium. Add your chicken mince, onion, garlic and lemongrass and cook until the mince is cooked through. Add your soy and oyster sauce. If you feel like you want more sauce, go for it. I keep it light myself. Now add your kale slaw and bean sprouts. Now add your basil and stir on low heat until everything is combined. Set aside to cool.

Take your spring roll wrappers out of the freezer and leave for 5 minutes or so. Separate each sheet now, just piling up together as they were, except you’ve divided them to make it easier when you are wrapping. Now to turn on some Eminem and Loose Yourself…. Ok, maybe not, but you are about to be a wrapper… so maybe some rap music is apt!

Crack your egg and whisk to make an egg wash. To make the rolls, simply turn your wrapper from a square into a triangle that doesn’t quite meet at the top edge. Now place a heaped teaspoon of the mixture on a triangular facing wrapper. Follow the pictures as shown, folding each side in, then rolling to the top. Seal your wrap with the egg wash and place your roll into a freezable container.

  1. Position your wrapper

2. Fold the bottom half of the wrapper to the top, leaving a gap of about 1.5 cm

3. Place a teaspoon of the mixture on the wrapper

4. Fold the right wing in over the mixture

5. Fold the left wing over the middle too

6. Roll upwards, tightly

7. Seal with egg wash

Ready for the freezer!

Freeze your spring rolls for a minimum of 2 hours. This allows for better cooking. Fry in vegetable oil until golden brown and leave on a wire rack to cool. Pretty easy huh! And these have no comparison, once you start to make your own homemade spring rolls, you will probably never eat the mediocre sushi bar ones again. Enjoy fresh and hot, with or without your favourite dipping sauce. I went for a sweet chilli – so boringly normal but so delish! Have fun rapping!!

Spring rolls

Polenta pie with vegetables

This takes under an hour to make and is impressive for a bbq lunch, or just nice as a week night side dish for the family. With the vegetables giving such beautiful colours, your eyes eat this first! I hope you enjoy this beautiful polenta pie!

Ingredients for the base

2/3 cup polenta

3 cups water

1 tsp salt

½ cup grated parmesan

Some olive oil

 

Ingredients for the vegetable topping

60 g butter

1 packet of swiss brown mushrooms

3 pieces of grilled capsicum marinated in olive oil and garlic (can be homemade or store bought)

1 bunch of asparagus

3 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed

125 g feta cheese

Fresh herbs of your choice – I used basil.

 

Method

Rub olive oil around your pie dish before you forget! I follow packet directions for my instant polenta which means bringing the 3 cups of water to the boil, then adding the polenta, turning down the heat and stirring until it is thick. Now add your salt and parmesan cheese, stirring until all melted through. Spoon the polenta into your pie dish. Bake at 200bdegrees Celsius for about 20 minutes until the top is crisp.

For the veges, just think of it as making a side of veg; melt the butter in a pan, add the garlic and mushrooms sautéing for about 10 minutes. Now add your asparagus and turn up the heat a little. Finally, add your capsicum and if your marinade doesn’t have herbs, add a few fresh herbs to boost the flavours!

Spoon the veges on to the top of your pie and sprinkle with feta cheese. I chopped my feta, but you can purchase a crumbly one that’ll go down nicely too. Pop a slight sprinkle of herb on top (I used basil this time) and serve with love!

Polenta pie with vegetables

Honey glazed carrot and hazelnut salad

This salad gives such a lift to an ordinary dinner. I hope you enjoy the flavours together!

Ingredients

100g sprouts

100g legume sprouts

A handful of hazelnuts

A bunch of carrots

Half a long continental cucumber

An shallot

An orange

4 tbs olive oil

2 tbs honey

Extra honey for drizzling over the carrots

 

Method

For the dressing, squeeze the juice out of the orange into a cup. Add the olive oil and honey. Stir vigorously until combined. Add salt and pepper if you like.

Dry roast your hazelnuts for about five minutes until you can smell them!

Par boil your carrots. Transfer to a fry pan and cook on low heat for ten minutes with a drizzle of honey over them.

Place your sprouts in your salad dish, cut the cucumber as you like and place in the dish too. Add the carrots and hazelnuts. Sprinkle with chopped shallot. Drizzle your dressing over the salad and serve! What a fabulous creation!

Honey glazed carrot and hazelnut salad

Spiced capsicums

Full of flavour, I make these and then store them in the fridge for up to a week. Use them in salads, eat as a side dish, or chop and put in a biryani. However you eat these, just make sure you balance the spice as you like it.

 

Dec Jan 2018 051

 

Ingredients

Small various coloured capsicums

A handful of flat leaf parsley

2 tbs paprika

Salt and pepper

1 tbs nutmeg

 

Method

Set out a sheet of baking paper a little bigger than an A4 page. Place the capsicums on it and sprinkle with your herbs and spices. Wrap the capsicums up. Bake on a tray in a 180 degree Celsius oven for about 30 minutes.

These are a great side dish to any Mexican rice thing you’ve got going on. They are also great in salads. Sometimes I chop them up and add to brown rice, which is my favourite way to eat these beauties! Enjoy them any way you like!

Spiced capsicums

naughty but nice

Sweet potatoes are natures super food, and cinnamon sugar is sinful, so that’s why I call this ‘naughty but nice’. I first had it years ago at a restaurant and I make it a couple of times a year for the family. This really is simple but brings your plate and taste buds to life! Have a go!

 

Ingredients

Sweet potatoes

Butter

Cinnamon sugar

 

Method

Wrap your sweet spud in baking paper and twist at both ends like a bon bon or Christmas cracker. Roast in a 180 degree Celsius oven for about an hour, depending on the size of your spud. Cut in half and pop a dollop of butter on top. Now sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. That is it, and that is all it needs to be. Now to wipe the drool from the keyboard…..

naughty but nice

asparagus

This was a dish I cooked for dinner parties and Christmas Eve, however, I have been slipping it in to week night dinners purely for the love of it! The nuttiness of the asparagus and the scrumptiousness of the butter make for the most incredible combination for your eyes and your tongue. There is no other way to eat asparagus, I am sure of it!

 

Ingredients

Butter

Sliced almonds

Asparagus

 

Method

Heat a fry pan to medium and place the asparagus on to the pan dry. No oil, nothing. In another pan, melt some butter, then add the almonds. Add a little oregano if you like. Turn the asparagus and cook for a further ten minutes. Spoon some of the butter on to the asparagus for a last little spritz, shuffle the pan and get it off the heat, and onto a plate. Now spoon the almonds and butter on top. Such a quaint but powerful dish – it will really lift your meal!

asparagus