Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Baby, it's Hot Outside!

We have experienced what the Adelaide summer can deliver already. Blazing hot 40C degrees or freezing cold and 10C degrees or anything in between. Generally we can guarantee that over the next few months we are going to see some scorching weather. That's when I have to take cooking outside - or simply turn up the fridge and not cook at all.

Are you a really, really organised person with a bucket load of pre prepared meals in the freezer, ready for this type of occasion? Or like me and many others that are very disorganised/too busy/don't have freezer room/ or any other excuse you care to use and need some interesting, nutritious, low kilojoule recipes for these occasions. Especially after the festive season when you have a fully belly!

I love salads. Nothing gives me more pleasure than heading down to the vegetable patch and picking salad vegetables, going inside to wash and prepare them. The sweetness of fresh, juicy, tomatoes warmed by the sun, cut in half and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Are you salivating yet?

I have just heard on ABC radio that the percentage of people in Australia that consume fresh vegetables is only 5%. I find that is pretty amazing and very sad, if it is true. One of the most amazing things about this country is its ability to produce beautiful vegetables and fruit.

There are so many scrumptious dishes that require little or no cooking, so lets get well prepared and have a few recipes on hand for the days and nights when it just seems too hard. Here are 2 recipes to get you started.

This first recipe is easy to prepare, I cook the Haloumi on a BBQ outside but you can cook it in a fry pan on your cooker. It takes only a few minutes, so your kitchen wont warm up.

Tomato and Olive Salsa Salad with Fried Haloumi  

Serves 4

1 packet of Haloumi
6 Green Olives
1/2 Red Onion
2 tablespoon Baby Capers
Juice and zest of a Lemon

4 Tomatoes
1/2 bunch Parsley
1/2 bunch Mint
Vegetable oil (if you are using a pan on the cooker)

To make the Salsa, chop capers, red onion, lemon zest and olives. Add lemon juice and mix together. Set this aside for at least an hour before hand so the flavours develop.

Chop the parsley and mint and mix together and place this on the bottom of your dish or plate.

Chop tomatoes thickly and place over the herbs and put the salsa on top of the tomatoes.

Cook the Haloumi (on the BBQ or frypan) until it is nicely browned on the outside but still soft on the inside and place on top of the tomatoes and serve.

Bean and Red Pepper Burgers

Makes 10 burgers - should serve 4 people

75g French  green beans
2 tbls Olive oil
1 Red pepper, cored, seeds removed and diced
2 Cloves garlic
1 heaped tsp Ground chilli powder
425g tin Red kidney beans drained and rinsed
150g Fresh breadcrumbs
100 Panko breadcrumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 egg yolk
Fresh coriander about 1/4 bunch
Extra oil for BBQ or for pan frying
Salt and pepper

Blanche green beans in a pan of salted water, or steam over a pan of water for 2 minutes. Drain, cool and chop roughly.
Saute Red pepper, garlic and chilli for 2 minutes.
Place the red pepper mixture in a blender or food processor , add red kidney beans and egg yolk, coriander and pulse until ingredients are coarsely chopped. 
Add the green beans and pulse a little more until all is combined. The mixture will look a little wet at this stage - don't despair, it will come together.
Mix in the breadcrumbs.
Put the mixture into a bowl and with floured hands shape into little cakes.
Put in the fridge for 30 minutes and then shallow fry or BBQ for about 5 minutes per side, until golden.
Serve with salad and sweet chilli sauce or homemade lemon mayonnaise!

This recipe is adapted from The Bean Book - 2001 by Hambly

I made the stuffed tomatoes with some left over sweet pilaf. If you would like the recipe leave me a comment and I will let you have it.


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