Thursday, 22 December 2016

Summer Break

The forecast for Adelaide is around 40 degrees for 25th and 26th December 2016. Food choices for the festive season is going to be interesting because there will probably be a total fire ban. That means NO outside cooking, even on a BBQ. 

It's pretty sad to have this kind of heat so early in the season as we have had little time to adjust to silly temperatures. Beaches will be crowded, there will be a lot of young and the not so young that will get excessive dehydration,(excessive alcohol), sunburn and caught in rips! I hope everyone is sensible! 

Keep an eye on your neighbours, especially if they are elderly. Remember to drink lots of water and restrict alcohol when it's really hot!




My family is planning on some very early or late afternoon beach trips, trying out new salad and ice cream recipes and keeping as cool as possible - the oven is not going on during those temperatures.





I am taking a blogging break for a couple of weeks - it's been a very busy year and I am really in need of some down time, although I will still be playing with food, of course.

These are my favs for eating over the holidays - red cabbage salad with dried figs, lentil and currant salad, asparagus and fennel salad, nut roast with passata, sour cream and cranberry ice cream, vegan chocolate truffles.



Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope the next few weeks allows you to have time with your family and friends, eat lovely fresh and healthy food and have a wonderful start to the year. 

Don't forget your new year's resolution. Are you going to stop, start, make, go or take up something new? I'm pretty good at making resolutions and honestly, I really believe I'm going to keep them and then something happens and I fall off the wagon. This year I will be a little more sneaky and make sure I make a resolution I can really keep.



Thanks for your following over the last twelve months, it's been fun. I'll see you on the other side. 



Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Apple and Cranberry Chutney

Not many of my friends make their own preserves. They probably think I am a bit nutty because I tend to make everything I can. Just to prove how right they may be (well just a wee tiny bit) here are the contents of my preserve cupboard I've just cleaned out.

Cherry and Vanilla Conserve  9 jars
Seville Orange Marmalade    14 jars
Grapefruit Marmalade with Whiskey 1 jar (Obviously need to make more of this)
Indian Lemon Pickle 2 jars
Pear Jam                 2 jars
Ginger and Pear Chutney 1 jar
Preserved Lemon             4 jars
Tomato and Chilli Chutney  4 jars
Apple and Cranberry Chutney 6 jars
Brinjal Pickle    1 jar
Spiced Nuts     3 jars
Onion Confit    1 jar


See what I mean? There's not nearly enough for the coming year; and I have some luscious green apples to use and teamed with cranberries you have a fabulous festive chutney to give to friends for Christmas. I know there isn't much time left but this recipe is so quick and easy you can make it in a jiffy!




It's not easy to find fresh cranberries in Adelaide but a good alternative is frozen ones. The recipe works just fine using frozen and they are readily available in the supermarket. Other great things about this recipe is that it is very quick to make, as well as being a versatile chutney for vegetarians because it teams so well with vegetable dishes and the colour is stunning. The origin of this recipe came from BBC Food but I have changed the recipe quite a lot to suit my taste. But to be fair, this was not an original recipe of mine and I need to acknowledge that.


So in order to add more colour to my preserve cupboard I am making another batch of this chutney. Let's go!




APPLE AND CRANBERRY CHUTNEY

2 kg cooking apples - peeled, cored and chopped into bite size piece
1 kg  eating apples - peeled, cored and chopped into bite size pieces
1 kg white sugar
1 kg cranberries frozen or fresh
500 ml of verjuice or apple cider vinegar
1 kg brown onions sliced finely
100g grated fresh ginger

1. In a large pan add onions, apples, verjuice, ginger and sugar and sit on a low heat stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.

2. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until the fruit is nice and tender. This will take anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour. The mixture should be thick and chunky.

3. Add the cranberries. Cook for a further 10 mins. I like to burst a few of the cranberries with a wooden spoon and leave the rest whole.

4. Spoon the mixture into hot, sterilised jars and seal (if you are not sure how to do this check out my post on Cherry Jam).

5. Keep in a cool dark place to mature for a few weeks. Refrigerate on opening.





















Thursday, 24 November 2016

A Family Affair - Melbourne Environs


What an adventure - just 7 days in Melbourne and I managed to pack in so much. Spending time with family can either be a great deal of fun or a lot of stress. Fortunately my stress levels only reached high playing "Pirate Mini Golf" because, damn it, I wanted a hole in one - which miraculously I managed to get.

We had a few days on beautiful Phillip Island. Four seasons in one day; hot and humid, cold and wet, hale and thunder. But this gave me a chance to see the The Nobbbies during a huge storm. There was a savage horizontal wind coming off the ocean, buffeting sand into our faces. It was a struggle to get a car door open without fingers and toes being trapped. But it was worth it to see this stunning scenery.




At the National Gallery of Victoria John Olsen's 'You Beaut Country' exhibition was wonderful. He has captured the very essence of the Australian Landscape with vivid oranges, yellows and reds. Not everyone's cup of tea I know, but I'm so inspired by his sense of movement and colour. Major disruption to the exhibition was a gas leak and the whole precinct was evacuated. Well done Melbourne.



A few days in northern Victoria's Woodend visiting family was terrific. The days started off with us wearing thick coats and winter woolies and ended in sleeveless t-shirts. It's a lovely part of Victoria in good weather, but it's very unpredicatable at the best of times.
Drummond Garden - Woodend


Once the sun came out we were taken on a tour of Duneira, the house and garden at Mt Macedon. Built in the 1870's the house boasts a stunning collection of paintings, art works, furniture and an impressive library. S R Stoneman the seventh owner of Duneira and the third generation of grocerymen from Victoria, died in 2002 leaving the house and garden for others to enjoy. It is now under the care and control of the S R Stoneman Foundation and Director Dr Jacqueline Ogeil.

The first glimpse of Duneira is from the sweeping driveway. English Elm trees underplanted with bluebells gives some indication that the gardens are going to be something special.

 There's 38 acres altogether, although the tour covered just a small area of the formal garden around the house. I was envious of the stunning horticultural gems in the garden which is maintained by a couple of full time staff and a multitude of volunteers. Not sure how they do it all!   The rambling gardens of Rhododendron, Azalea, Japanese Maples and Dogwoods were a photographers dream. My only wish was to have had more time to explore other areas of the property because I know there were more masterpieces to uncover.

Back in Melbourne we caught up with more family and friends, indulged in cocktails and delicious Indian curries. 

 On the journey home I started my list of things I must do before Christmas; need to get some preserves started, buy cherries and make jam, biscuits to bake and I haven't started my pudding yet. Considering it's only a few weeks to Christmas, I had better get a move on. (Check back later for my Cranberry Chutney recipe).

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Turmeric

Do you say Turmeric (as in Tuesday) or Turmeric (as in turtle) - one of those words which always confuses me. Does it matter as long as we are talking about the same thing? It's latin name is Curcuma longa and has been associated with Southern Asia for a very long time.  A wonderfully exotic spice, amazingly delicious, colourful, anti-inflammatory root, full of antioxidants and purported to stave off cancer and Alzheimer's.



Whether the claims are true or not, I'm convinced I need more of it in my diet.

Turmeric has been part of traditional medicine, or alternative Siddha, for thousands of years in southern India. It is used in savoury and sweet dishes and as a dye for clothing for Saris and Buddhist's robes. 

In India a marriage ritual sees bunches of turmeric tied around wrists or in Sri Lanka it is often tied with string and hung around the neck as an offering to the gods. So many uses for what looks like an insignificant root. I think it's one hell of a good thing to have in your life.

I don't have any recipes to pass on for using turmeric as a dye. Many of my curries and Tagine recipes contain it, but I can honestly say that one of the easiest ways to get it into your system is by adding it to milk. Sound strange?

Milk with turmeric or 'Golden Milk' is becoming very popular in the USA. The milk can be drunk by itself or added to your Bircher Muesli for breakfast. The initial paste preparation takes 5 minutes and will keep for 1 - 2 weeks in the fridge.



Firstly you need to make a paste which will be the basis of your milk.

Turmeric Paste

1/4 cup of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/2 cup filtered or rain water
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan and on a low heat, mix until a thick paste is formed. This will take just a couple of minutes. 
Take off the heat and cool then place in a container and store in the fridge. It 
can be stored for 1 -2 weeks.

Turmeric Milk

1 cup almond milk
1/4 teaspoon turmeric paste
1 teaspoon coconut oil
honey to taste

Add milk, turmeric and coconut oil to a small saucepan and heat on low until the all the ingredients are mixed together. Don't allow the mixture to reach boiling point. Add honey and stir until melted, then take off the heat. Cool.





How to Use Turmeric Milk

As you can see, Bircher Muesli takes on a whole new dimension! You can use your favourite Muesli, whack it into a jar and steep in the milk over night! Top with some fresh fruit and yoghurt and you have a breakfast that will keep you going well into the day. I find this so filling that I don't generally need to have lunch.

I added some plain yoghurt and a few raspberries and enjoyed breakfast in the garden.




Turmeric milk can be drunk by itself. Once you have made it, addd a little extra honey and drink while still warm.

Just remember, like everything else, take small doses of turmeric to see how your body responds to it. It is good for you, there is no doubt about that. I don't advocate taking it everyday, but a couple of times a week should be fine for most people.







Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Capsicum Jam

Are you a chilli person or not? I like it hot and fiery but leaving enough to taste whatever it's in. Past life I made a lot of Chilli Jam but I was getting a little bored with it and as I had a delicious dollop of Capsicum Jam on a plate the other day, I thought it time to investigate making my own.

I've looked at a lot of ingredients and I've settled on making something that is fiery but not too sickly. I want a big chilli hit without the sweetness and a richness in colour, chunky and full of body; I've been experimenting to get the right taste for me. OK, so I did add a bit of sugar, but not too much.

Are you brave enough to try it? 

It only takes a few ingredients.

Don't think you would want to eat it straight from the jar.



But with this cheese and fruit platter - it made a great addition to lunch.



Here is the recipe - give it your best shot!




CAPSICUM JAM - WITH CHILLI


2 red onions diced
2 red capsicums diced
3 long red chillies sliced, leave seeds in
100g caster sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
200g cherry tomatoes

In a large heavy saucepan heat oil ver low heat. Gently sauté capsicum, onion and chilli until they begin to soften. 

Add tomatoes and cook until they are soft and mushy.

Add sugar and stir until dissolved, then simmer for 30 - 40 minutes until the mixture has thickened.

While this is cooking, wash and rinse jars and sterilise. 

When the jam is nice and thick, ladle into hot jars and seal.

Once opened, keep in the fridge, otherwise it should keep in your pantry for up to 12 months.










Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Caponata

Apologies for my absence from this blog for a few weeks. Needed to take a few days out to refresh my thoughts, try out new recipes and basically veg out. But I'm back, so watch out!

Thinking about a garden tour of Italy in 2018. What do you think? I've visited Italy many times, seen a few famous gardens as well as magnificent towns, cities, churches, cathedrals, markets and museums. But a holiday just looking at gardens, now wouldn't that be fabulous for a 'plant-a-holic' like myself?

On my last visit to Florence I walked the Boboli Gardens. The view of Florence from the top of the embankments was breathtaking. 



I was reminded of this trip only a couple of weeks ago when I visited a dear friend in Brisbane. Over dinner - a fabulous Caponata, we discussed our very next adventure - walking trails and gardens in Tasmania - a garden tour of Italy! With these very thoughts on my return to Adelaide I grabbed my Private Gardens of Italy by Helena Attlee and an Italian phrase book. Neither of which would help if we go the Tasmanian road. 

So dreams of Italy and Italian food and nudged by my restorative time in Brisbane - here is my version of Caponata.
Buon appetito!

The origin of this recipe is thought to be Spanish and the earliest recorded recipe dates back to around 1700. The thought is, that it is derived from the word Caponada meaning a kind of relish and yes the consistency could almost be classed as a thick relish.  I suppose some people might serve this with meat or chicken but on its own I think it's perfect. Today, Caponata is often referred to as Sicilian Caponata or Sicilian Stew.

The flavours will be much stronger if you cook the Caponata the day before you wish to eat it. Store covered in the fridge overnight.







CAPONATA

1 large eggplant diced
1 onion finely diced
I red capsicum diced
2 cloves garlic crushed
3 large tomatoes diced
1 440g tin crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons capers
10 kalamata olives, halved, pits removed
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup water/veg stock
handful chopped parsley and oregano
olive oil


  • Put a good lug of olive oil into a large fry pan and on a low heat cook onions and garlic until slightly softened. 
  • Add eggplant and cook until it is lightly browned and starting to soften.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, except parsley and oregano and cook on a low heat until the eggplant is very, very soft. Around 30 -40 minutes. Keep checking to ensure that it is not sticking on the bottom. Add a little more water/stock and continue to cook. 
  • The mixture should be nice and thick and the eggplant very, very soft. Check seasoning. If you are not going to eat this straight away, then hold off adding the parsley and oregano.
You can serve this with any pasta/couscous if you prefer, but some nice chunky bread to mop up the juices is my preference.








Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Irish Tea Cake

There was an assumption that my paternal ancestors came from Ireland. No one knows where this information came from and I suppose when you looked at the family's dark hair and fair skin, you didn't really question it.

As a child I learned Irish dancing; we ate lots of potatoes and cabbage, drank a lot of tea and my father was a Socialist. So it came as quite a surprise when, years later I started to uncover the real family history. No trace of Irish anywhere! 


I've found a brief but unexplained encounter with King Charles II and the Holt Family of Aston Hall, but no Irish. So I'm a bit bemused to understand why I feel so at home when I visit the Emerald Isle.



Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
But I have strayed a little from the topic of tea and teacake. I hope you will see where I am heading -  soon.

There's not one good reason to visit Ireland, there's many. Wonderful scenery, the greenest green countryside, a torturous history and the very friendly Irish themselves. 



Powis Castle, Ireland
Portballintrae, Northern Ireland

But if you are not able to visit, I have a suggestion. You can have a hint of the country by baking a Barmbrack, (Irish teacake) . This has been a family recipe for a very long time, although I must admit it's a fair time since I have cooked it. (And why my non-Irish family had this recipe is still a total mystery.)


I'm feeling a little homesick (for a country I don't come from) so I've rustled up some dried fruit and lots of cold tea and here is the result.



BARMBRACK


Ingredients

375g dried fruit - I use currants, sultanas, raisins, cranberries and peel

50ml whiskey*
250ml cold tea - I use Irish Breakfast Tea
225g Plain Flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
100g soft brown sugar
3/4 tsp mixed spice
1 tablespoon of whiskey extra ( optional)


  • Soak dried fruit in whiskey and cold tea, overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 160/320º. Grease and line a loaf tin (about 750g)
  • In a large bowl add sugar, plain flour, baking powder, mixed spice.
  • Using a wooden spoon mix beaten egg to the flour mixture. 
  • Now add any remaining liquid from the soaked fruit.
  • You need to have a reasonably wet looking batter. 
  • Now add the fruit and mix until everything is even.
  • Spread this into your prepared tin and bake for 30 - 50 minutes. 
  • Check with a skewer to see if it is cooked through, leave in the tin to cool slightly, then finish on a rack.
  • I added 1 tablespoon of whiskey to the base of the cake, then wrapped in foil for 2 days before slicing and eating. Delicious with a strong cup of tea and shared with friends.


Eat it as it is or slather it with butter, either way it's very Irish.





* In Ireland, whiskey is spelt with an 'e' but in Scotland it is spelt without.





Monday, 12 September 2016

Cranberry and Pear Dessert





I've been out in the National Park counting koalas! I haven't seen this many in a long time - I counted 12. Usually you only see one or two, because they are hiding from the wind or the rain. But yesterday there was a little bit of sunshine and koalas were out sleeping at the tops of  trees trying to catch that little bit of warmth on their backs. Don't we all just love that?
Now I'm home, after a brisk walk -  actually it wasn't brisk at all,  I'm still only walking at around 3 kms an hour - and I fancied making some dessert.

I've made quite a few pear puds, but today I wanted something with a bit of umph - if you know what I mean, so I've turned to my Cranberry and Pear Dessert, because I know it's got some nice tangy bits and I might just increase that today by adding some extra lemon zest.

If you find yourself wanting a little love,  then you can't go past indulging yourself with this. If you are time poor, it can be prepared in ten minutes, rest in the fridge for 60 minutes and cooked in 25 minutes. Not too long to put aside for a bit of self indulgence.


CRANBERRY AND PEAR DESSERT

2 Beurre Bosch pears, peeled, cored and quartered
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup caster sugar
A handful of flaked almonds
2 eggs and 2 egg yolks extra
1 cup milk - cows, soy, almond
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup of Muscat or port or orange juice
30g plain flour
zest of 1 lemon

1. In a small container combine the dried cranberries and port/muscat/orange juice, for at least 30 minutes.

2. Beat together sugar, eggs and egg yolks until thick and creamy. Fold in flour.

3. Add vanilla to milk and stir, then carefully mix in with flour and eggs.

4. Fold in lemon zest. Allow this to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes . 

5. Prepare the pears by peeling and coring and cut into quarters.

6. Using a shallow ovenproof dish, lay pears in a single layer over the bottom of the dish.

7. Pour the egg mixture over the pears (it will form a nice custard).

8. Drain cranberries and sprinkle them over the top of the custard.

9. Lastly, add a handful of flaked almonds. Oven bake 190º/375, for 25 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly and serve with cream, ice cream, yoghurt or on its own.





Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Vegetarian Pot Pies



I like a pie in any shape or form, and teemed with countless vegetables and topped with puff pastry, makes my heart sing. Its a beaut (good old Australian word) thing to eat with creamy mashed potato and some steamed broccoli.

Cooking doesn't have to be Masterchef quality every night; too many ingredients, too little food on the plate.  Good, wholesome, flavoursome food which is simply prepared is fine. And I want to be fed; to push my empty plate away and say "delicious", I feel like I have eaten.

Making a few short cuts when you are cooking is OK too. Yes, making your own puff pastry is truly fun, but there are moments when you are so pushed for time that having some ready made in the fridge is a perfectly acceptable option. (Actually, I must admit it's a life saver) So use it and don't feel at all guilty. 

Try these little gems (made with bought puff pastry) and tell me how good they taste.



Recipe makes enough for 8

Vegetables of your choice - this is what I used

1 zucchini diced
2 carrots diced
1 leek chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 shallot (French) chopped
2 small potatoes diced
4 mushrooms diced
handful of baby spinach
handful frozen or fresh corn
600ml stock
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons butter
few sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley
2 tablespoons Creme Fraiche
few sheets defrosted puff pastry

Add olive oil and butter to a large pan. Add leek, garlic and shallot and cook until it starts to soften. 

Add zucchini, carrot, potato, salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables start to soft. Keep stirring to avoid burning or sticking to the bottom. Season with salt and pepper, a few sprigs of thyme and parsley and the mushrooms.

Add stock or water with a vegetable stock cube.

As the vegetables soften you can throw in a handful of baby spinach and frozen or fresh sweet corn (or any other vegetables you like). Allow this to just cook together for a few minutes and then check the seasoning. 

Spoon in some creme fraiche and turn off the heat, allowing the mixture to cool.

Place your cooled mixture into ramekins and start preparing your puff pastry.




Cut a circle of pastry large enough to go on top of your ramekins. Now cut out some strips of pastry which will go directly onto the ramekins and act as a collar. You can join pieces if you need to, moistened with a little water.

Using a pastry brush, lightly wet the edges of the pastry collar with water and press down the pastry topping. Give a tweek with thumb and finger to adhere the pastry together. 

Lastly, cut a small V with the point of a sharp knife in the centre of the pastry, to allow steam to escape. You can brush the top with milk if you wish, but usually I don't bother.



Bake in a preheated oven 200/400Fº for 15 - 20 minutes, depending on your oven. Keep a check on them so the pastry does not burn. Remove when the pastry is golden brown. Happy eating!






Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Rhubarb and Lavender



There is a reliability with Lavender. You can guarantee that no matter what time of year, there will always be at least one lavender flower in the garden. I like to grow it next to a path so you when you brush past it you get that heavenly scent. And the foliage, just seems to brighten up even the dullest parts of the garden in winter.
I'm sure everyone has their own lavender story, there's a certain something about it that evokes memories and stories in all of us, no matter how old we are or where we live.

When I was a kid growing up in the middle of England my mum would polish the furniture using a tin of Lavender Furniture Polish. The smell was heavenly and of course the polish itself a lavender colour. Mum told me that once I tried to eat it because it looked so creamy. Of this I have no memory, thank goodness. Whenever I smell lavender, I'm transported back to my mum, its a lovely memory and since she died a few years ago, its a nice way to remember her. 

But Lavender is not only useful in polish and soap and little bags you put in your underwear drawers. It's great for cooking with too - but only use a little because it has a very strong flavour and too much makes it unpalatable.



Today, when I was buying vegetables I saw some delicious looking rhubarb. Must have been grown somewhere a little warmer than Adelaide, because in my garden the rhubarb hasn't shaken off winter. These were long slender stalks of brilliant red and they looked so tempting that I had to buy some. And then I remembered Lavender; a great combination with rhubarb.


Combining rhubarb with a hint of culinary Lavender, adding a crunchy oat and almond crust was all the inspiration I needed to get in the kitchen.

Here's my recipe if you want to try out this combination - it may surprise you. Its not a crumble and its not a pie, but something in between and the texture is lovely.




Rhubarb and Lavender Oat Crunch


Ingredients

large bunch of rhubarb, stalks only chopped into small pieces

1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup of sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon culinary lavender
2 tbls butter

For the topping


11/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cup rolled oats 
1/2 cup toasted almond flakes
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon,
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup packed light brown sugar 
3/4 cup soft butter




  • Wash the rhubarb and cut the stalks into small pieces and place into an oven proof dish. I used a pie dish because I wanted to spread the topping thinly across the rhubarb.
  • Add lavender, honey, sugar, salt and mix thoroughly. 
  • Dot the rhubarb with 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • To make the topping - mix all ingredients together (except the almond flakes) and spread this over the rhubarb mixture. Now sprinkle the top with toasted flaked almonds.
  • Don't worry if you haven't completely covered the fruit. It will all work in the end.
  • Now bake in a preheated oven 180/350º for around 30 minutes or until the topping is golden. Allow to cool a little before serving either by itself, a quenelle of ice cream or a dob of cream. Your choice!



Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup





It's one of those days! Wake up, look out of the window and it's misty and drizzling with rain and you know that its going to be an indoor sort of day and you want warmth, cosy and comfort food.

I bought a basket load of red capsicums the other day with the very thought of making soup. Today is the day to crank up the oven and get some peppers roasting.

Once that got started the kitchen began to warm and the aroma was pretty terrific - onions and garlic all sweating out in the oven and the skin of the peppers turning a lovely charcoal. I love the smell of onions roasting, they so make me drool.



If I had time, I 'd like to grab a paintbrush and record the beautiful colours on a canvas, but alas that won't happen today.

I'm going to enjoy the soup for lunch with French stick, a chunk of Brie and an orange for sweetness.

Come and join me.

ROASTED PEPPER AND TOMATO SOUP

Ingredients

3 large red capsicum (peppers)
1 large onion peel and quartered
3 cloves of garlic peeled
Olive oil
1 cup water
440g Tin of chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper
handful of parsley or oregano finely chopped


This recipe is so easy to make and requires very little preparation but take into account the roasting time in the oven.

  • Cut capsicums in half length ways and remove seeds, stalk and pith. Chop onion into quarters.
  • In a large baking tray, lay the peppers cut side down, add onion and garlic and a good slug of olive oil.
  • Roast in a preheated oven 180/350º for about 30 minutes or until the skin of the peppers is nicely charred.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, then take the skin off the peppers.
  • Transfer the onions, garlic and peppers into a big bowl, add a tin of tomatoes, 1 cup of water and puree using a hand held blender or other kitchen appliance. If it is too thick add a little more water.
  • Check seasoning.
  • Now transfer to a pan and re heat. Add some fresh herbs and serve.



Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Colour Purple - Blueberry Banana Bread

My favourite range of colours is on the purple and pink spectrum. So its fortunate that the current thinking in healthy food comes in the same shades.



Red cabbage, eggplants, beetroot, blueberries and purple potatoes are, we are told, what we need for long lasting health and vitality. Why? because they contain an enormous amount of antioxidants.


Hard to believe just 1/2 a cup of blueberries has the same amount of antioxidants as 2 1/4 cups broccoli, 2 1/2 cups corn 2 1/4 cups spinach. That's why my favourite fruit at the moment is blueberries. 

It is so easy to include a handful in breakfast cereal, pancakes (check out my blueberry recipe here) and now I've added them into my banana bread, to give it a little more goodness and lift it from ordinary to power packed. As well as being antioxidant rich, this recipe is vegan as it contains no butter or eggs.


Blueberry and Banana Bread


Ingredients

1.5 cups blueberries
3 ripe bananas peeled and mashed
2 cups plain flour - could be gluten free
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk - could be cow, soy or almond
2 tablespoons lemon juice


  • Pre heat oven to 180/350º. grease and or line a loaf tin 9 x 4 or 22 x 10 cm.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl.
  • Add lemon juice to milk and allow it to curdle. Then add the agave syrup and mix.
  • Add the ripe bananas to the flour, alternating with the wet ingredients and mix together  until you have combine all ingredients. Don't over mix.  Gently mix in the blueberries.
  • Turn the mixture into your prepared tin and bake in a moderate oven for 45 - 55 minutes.
  • Keep checking to make sure the bread is not browning too quickly. If it is adjust your oven temperature down a fraction.