Showing posts with label fruit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fruit. Show all posts

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quick Post - Grilled Honeydew and Corn Salsa

One of my favourite new cooking-based discoveries this summer – after cold-brewed coffee – is grilling melon. Sure, chilled melon is super-appealing on a hot summers day. Not to mention fruit slushees and icy poles and whatnot. It’s seriously refreshing. But grilled melon now has a special place in my heart, too. My favourite melon to grill is the honeydew melon. The heat intensifies the sweetness and caramelises the outside. Perfect to add to a summer salad. Or just by itself, sprinkled with a tiny bit of salt, chili flakes and sumac. Or in this salsa

I served this texturally diverse salsa alongside some of leftover lentil patties for a quick and delicious weekday dinner. It’d also go really well served alongside tacos or in burgers.


Grilled Honeydew and Corn Salsa

¼ honeydew, de-seeded and cut into slices
¾ cup corn kernels (frozen or fresh)
1 roma tomato, diced
½ red capsicum, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 tsp balsamic
Salt and pepper to taste

Grill the honeydew on the three big sides for 1-2 minutes per side.  Cut into smaller pieces when cool enough to handle. Toast the corn kernels for 3-5 minutes per side. Set aside to cool.

Add all the chopped vegetables together, mix in the balsamic and season.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Breakfast of Champions - Coffee, Oats and Yoghurt

I think I’ve mentioned in a few posts that I have been aiming to be healthier. Over the past few years, I have lost a fair amount of weight, and I have been asked numerous times what it is that I’m “doing”. I kind of dislike labelling the way I eat because it automatically adds rules and judgements which I try to avoid. For me, eating healthily just translates into cooking from whole foods. I cook about 95% of my homecooked meals from scratch and I try not to snack too often on pre-packaged stuff like chips and biscuits. Unless it’s a weekend, I’m entertaining and I can’t pass up a packet of Red Rock Deli lime and black pepper chips!

So, as a simple answer to what I’m doing to lose weight – it’s this blog. It’s cooking. This blog is a diary of the actual foods that I eat. Everything on here I have cooked and eaten. With the exception of things like the cakes and biscuits that are for an event – Mothers’ Day, birthdays, etc. – it is just what I had to eat day-to-day. But food is my life – I love cooking it, eating it, and sharing it. So sometimes I’m going to eat that sort of stuff too, so that stuff will also go on the blog. Apart from eating my own cooking, I am working on being a more mindful eater at all times – at home and out at restaurants etc to reduce my portion sizes to more reasonable amounts. This on top of 3 gym sessions a week is what I’m “doing” to improve my overall wellbeing and as a by-product, my weight.

Noticing that I haven’t really included much by way of breakfasts – even though it’s my favourite meal of the day, I thought today I will post my current work-day staple. Given that it’s summer, instead of having porridge, I have oats and Greek Yoghurt. I soak my oats overnight to soften them, and I have started using coffee to soak them in. So. Good. I eat this every day at work, and tend to steer towards eggs and/or toast on the weekends. Work day lunches are generally leftovers and dinner is open!

I’ve recently discovered the joys of cold brewing things. On Sunday nights I will grind some coffee beans and put them in a coffee plunger. I pour cold water over the top, cover it with plastic wrap, put it in the fridge and allow it to brew overnight. When you wake up, you just push the plunger down and BAM! Perfect ice coffee. I make it strong (1 cup coffee to 4 cups water), then dilute with water and/or milk depending on what I’m feeling like or some maple syrup if I feel like some sweetness. The jug will do Lance and I for a almost a week that way. I have started using the same technique for ice tea too. In both drinks it prevents the bitterness you get from hot brewed drinks that have been cooled.
Coffee, Oats and Yoghurt
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup cold brewed coffee
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
6 prunes, chopped small
8-10 walnuts, roughly chopped
To serve
4-5 heaped tablespoons plain Greek Yoghurt (around 150-200g)

In a container with a lid put the oats and spices, put the lid on and shake to mix. Pour the coffee over the top. Add the chopped prunes and walnut pieces to the top of that. Put in the fridge overnight.

When ready to eat, take out, spoon the yoghurt over the top and mix it all together really well.

Caffeine, protein, fibre, fruit, good fats. Breakfast of champions.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer dreaming - the Lychaloechee

When I got up this morning, there was ice on my windscreen and a bitter chill in the air. It was minus 0.6C. Two weeks ago, I was enjoying days in the low 30's. Now, well, now it's cold. Meanwhile, my newsfeeds on blogger and pinterest and instagram are full of fruity cocktails and balmy summer nights. So whilst I don't have the fresh watermelon or mango or berries to whip up a delicious summer cocktail, I thought I would console myself a little bit with the first cocktail I ever created - the Lychaloechee.

Being in New York, I really took to all the readily available and amazing Latin restaurants about. We don't have a great deal of Latin cuisine in Perth, although there was somewhat of a Mexican food revolution of late which I heartily support! But something we do have lots of here due to our proximity is good Asian food and good Asian grocers. One of my favourite things to have discovered back in my uni days was Aloe Vera juice. This is now readily available in most supermarkets. It's a sweet, still juice with little floaty bits of goodness in it. I usually get the plain one, but it also comes flavoured or sweetened with honey.

When my husband and I first moved in together, I introduced him to one of my favourite summer fruits - the lychee. Seriously love those little fellas! The texture and sweetness and flavour is just sensational. And in turn, he excitedly brought home a present a short time later - a bottle of Paraiso lychee liqueur. I sampled it by itself and immediately knew what it needed. It's like I could already taste it - aloe juice. I was making a margarita pie at the time, so I had an abundance of limes which would make the perfect kick through the sweetness.

I've experimented with different versions of this, adding a white rum to ramp up to booziness (the liqueur is weak in strength, strong in flavour) or soda water for a bit of spritzy freshness, but I always go back to the original. The tropical lychee and aloe flavour combination is remiscent of summer, and in this presentation, drinkable in winter!

So tonight, I sit in front of the heater, ugg boots on, and sip my Lychaloechee and dream of the balmy nights ahead! Cheers!

1 part Paraiso (or other lychee liqueur)
5 parts aloe vera juice
wheel of lime

Pour the Paraiso and aloe vera juice into a high ball glass, stir well to mix
Lightly squeeze the lime wheels into the glass, then drop in as a garnish

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Food Inspiration - Once Upon a Time with Beef Pibil

Food inspiration can come from absolutely anywhere. Have you seen "Once Upon a Time in Mexico"? It's got Johnny Depp in it, of course you have! In it, his character says that he orders Puerco Pibil in every dive he goes to in Mexico, ordering it with tequila and lime. There's a sort of pivotal point he makes in relation to the dish, which I won't go into on the off-chance that you haven't seen it. But consequently, the dish is deemed significant enough for the recipe to be included on the DVD. Awesome, right?

Knowing my husband's love of food & tequila matching, I surprised him one day around 5 years ago by making this slow-roasted pork dish. Well, as close as I could (I couldn't find annatto seeds or banana leaves). It was pretty darn good. It's a pretty specific hot/citrussy flavour that both of us end up craving from time to time. You know something I realised just not - a lot of my food cravings are things that are either slow-cooked or have ingredients that I don't ordinarily have on hand - convenient :/). My husband has to work on public holidays, so consequently I often end up making slow-cooked or complicated dishes on these days. So I have time to make them and he gets to come home to something awesome. Win-win!

Last public holiday, I decided two things. I was *finally* going to make my own tortillas. This was something I was putting off until weekends because the idea seemed time consuming - but then our weekends were so full that it still never happened. I am absolutely addicted to tacos at the moment, so it just makes sense for me to make my own tortillas. And two, I wanted to make Puerco Pibil to go in those tacos. With tequila and lime on the side. I didn't have any pork in the house, but i did have a big lump of beef. I thought that beef would stand up to the flavours just as well. So, Beef Pibil? I chucked it all in the slow cooker, made some fresh guacamole, a fresh tomato and nectarine salsa to kick in some sweetness, a few crispy veges in my own homemade corn tortillas. Now, who wouldn't want to come home from a hard day's work to eat that?

Beef Pibil
1.5kg beef gerello
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp peppercorns
1/2 tsp whole cloves
8 whole allspice berries
1 tbsp salt
2 green chillis, finely diced
2 jalapeno chillis, finely diced
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
8 garlic cloves
juice of 5 lemons
shot of tequila (I use a reposado for cooking)
half tin black beans - optional

Cut the beef up into chunky dice, or i just sliced into fat rings that would be just submerged in the braising liquid. Grind the spices in a mortar and pestle. Mix all the liquids together in a bowl, stir the spices in.

Throw the beef and braising liquid into your slow cooker, then cook on high for 4 hours, turning occasionally. When the beef is tender, use two forks to shred, then continue cooking for an extra half hour with the lid off to cook off some of the liquid. Add the black beans, if you're using them.

Tomato & Nectarine Salsa
2 large, ripe tomatos
2 small, ripe nectarines
splash of red wine liqueur vinegar
hot sauce to taste
chopped coriander
chopped basil
chopped flat leaf parsley

Everything here is basically to taste, chop it up, mix it up. Let it rest for half an hour or so for the flavours to infuse while you make the tortillas.

Corn Tortillas

As per the recipe in this book, bought for me by the lovely Jasmine  
3 cups tortilla flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups warm water

Mix the flour and salt together, add the water and mix with your hands, kneading it to become a firm dough. This is only a minute or so. The dough should be slightly sticky, and leave a light film on your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.

Take small balls of dough (around 2 tbsps) , roll out disc-like between two sheets of baking paper. Try make it as even thickness as possible.

In a frypan heated to medium, carefully place the tortilla onto the pan. Flip over after around 30 seconds, then again after 30 seconds. Both sides should be slightly coloured. Put on a plate and cover with a clean tea towel to keep warm.

Repeat with all the dough.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Breakfast Love - Greek Yoghurt and Coconut Souffle

I love breakfast. It's my favourite meal of the day. Maybe the bacon love has contributed to it's special place in my heart, I'm not sure. All I know is that I love breakfast. In fact, before my husband and I started dating, I gave him a little disclaimer that if we were a couple, we'd probably have to go on a few breakfast dates, even though he rarely ate breakfast back then. We now have our own favourite breakfast cafe. On weekdays, my breakfast is fairly steady - oats, greek yoghurt, some form of fruit. Simple, nutritious and yum. I'm not one of those people that get bored eating the same breakfast every day. However, that is "work day" food, so I don't want to eat the same thing on the weekend. I feel like I need something different to celebrate the fact that it's my time. I'm a bit weird like that.

I spied this recipe for Greek Yoghurt Souffle on pinterest the other day and was intrigued. I've never attempted a souffle before. To me, they are one of those mysterious things that are notoriously temperamental and therefore 'to be avoided'. I've seen many a breakdown in pop culture related purely to souffles that did not rise. But this one seemed relatively easy, and it was made with Greek Yoghurt - a favourite of mine...maybe it was time to give it a shot?

You may recall a previous post about how I'm not a gardener? Well, that doesn't matter to our mango tree, which decided to produce a fair amount of fruit this year. Walking into the kitchen to the beautiful summery smell of fresh mangoes told me that this was the perfect day for trying a light souffle. I replaced the normal flour for coconut flour to continue the tropical flavours, and added shredded coconut to the fruit salad. It didn't rise quite as much as it should have, and flattened quickly, but it tasted amazing. Next time I'd maybe make 4 larger ones, rather than 6 smaller ones to rise more and make it look more impressive!

And if, like me, you decide to make breakfast for someone special, this is perfect for breakfast in bed. It can all be eaten with a spoon, no messy cutting like eggs, bacon and toast have. The do go flat really, really quickly though - so serve them up straight away!

Greek Yoghurt and Coconut Souffle
1 cup Greek Yoghurt
3 large eggs, separated
3 tbsps coconut flour
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
pinch cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
butter/extra sugar to line ramekins

Preheat oven to 180C (the original recipe called for bottom heating only - who am I to argue)
Butter, then sugar the ramekins, tapping out the excess sugar. Line them up on a baking tray to make it easier to put in the oven.
Whisk yoghurt, yolks, coconut flour, salt and vanilla together in a large bowl
In a separate bowl, beat the whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Slowly add the sugar and keep beating until firm soft peaks form.
Slowly fold the egg white mix into the yoghurt mix, a little at a time. Make sure you fold it carefully to keep the air in the egg whites.
Divide into the ramekins, then put them in the oven for around 15minutes until risen and lightly browned.

Serve with your favourite fruit!