Ruby Grapefruit and Asparagus Salad

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‘Are you casting asparagus on my cooking?’
~ Curly Howard

 

This is such a simple salad, and it’s easy to throw together, but it tastes like a celebration!

It might seem like a little work to segment the grapefruit, but it makes for a pretty result, and no chewy pith or seeds!

Serve this salad on its own or as a tasty side with your next barbeque, fish fry or roast dinner.

 

 

Salad Ingredients:

Four handfuls of rocket and spinach (arugula) or your favourite salad green leaves, one small red onion, one ruby grapefruit, two bunches of fresh asparagus, 1/2 cup of fetta cheese, 1/2 cup of roasted cashews, olive oil

*If you’re cow’s milk intolerant, use a good sheep or goat fetta.

*If you’re dairy-free, substitute some chunks of avocado.

Dressing:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 clove of garlic – crushed and pressed or diced finely, 1 teaspoon honey, pinch of salt, grind of black pepper

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake well. The mixture will become thick and creamy. USe what you need on your salad and store the rest in the fridge for up to one week.

 

 

Method:

Layer the leaves in the bottom of a large serving bowl.

Halve the onion and cut into thin slices. Separate the rings with your fingers.

Slice the ends of the grapefruit and then remove the rest of the peel. Using a sharp knife, cut between each membrane to remove the segments of flesh. Set aside.

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Cut the fetta into bite-size pieces.

Add a dash of olive oil to your frypan. Snap or trim the ends off the bottom of the asparagus spears. Toss over a medium flame for two to three minutes or until cooked but still crunchy.

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*Warning: Be careful not to eat too much asparagus before it gets to the salad dish!

Lay the asparagus, grapefruit, onion, fetta and cashews over the top of the leaves.

Drizzle with dressing. Toss and serve.

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Mango Salsa Recipe

 

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“All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.”
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

 

It’s a long hot summer, here in Australia. But that’s okay because… mangoes!

This salsa recipe is sweet and savoury, with a little heat. It’s one of my favourite summer salads.

You can eat it this salsa on its own, with corn chips, in rice paper rolls, with rice and beans, piled high on nachos or tacos, wrapped into burritos, and it even goes well with barbecued and roasted meats.

Any left-overs will keep for up to a week, refrigerated, if it lasts that long.

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Ingredients

2 large ripe mangoes, 1 small bunch fresh coriander (cilantro) , 1/2 small red onion, 1/2 cup of finely chopped spring onion/green onion, 1 fresh sweet (not hot) red chilli (or use extra capsicum), 1/2 large red capsicum (bell pepper), 1 lime, salt, Mexican chilli powder or your favourite chilli flakes or seasoning

*Note -if coriander is not your thing substitute parsley or green onion/spring onion

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Method

Slide a knife down the mangoes to remove the cheeks from the seeds. Use a sharp knife to cut into the cheeks in narrow rows lengthways and then widthways, carefully cutting all the way down to the skin. Use a spoon to remove the flesh and place it in a large bowl.

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Sprinkle the mango flesh with a little salt and a dusting of your favorite chilli seasoning or flakes. If you don’t like chilli don’t use any!

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Finely dice the capsicum, red chilli and onion. Then finely chop your green onion and coriander.

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Juice the lime and pour over. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Mix well and leave to stand for ten to fifteen minutes for the flavours to develop. Devour!

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Hasselback Potatoes? Opera House Potatoes? Best Ever Baked Potato Recipe!

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“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”
~ Alan Watts

 

When I was little my grandmother used to cook these potatoes when we visited for Sunday Roast, only she didn’t call them Hasselback potatoes. Marga called them Opera House Potatoes, because according to her they looked like miniature Sydney Opera Houses. But hey, it was the seventies, and we were a culturally proud nation! It wasn’t until my mid thirties that I found out these potatoes were also known by another name…

I love these easy baked potatoes. They have a delightfully crispy outside, but the inside of the potato is soft and creamy. On Christmas Day I thought I had cooked enough for an army, and we only ended up with two as leftovers for Boxing Day. That’s how good they are!

Here’s what you need to do to make them yourself:

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes suitable for roasting (check here for good roasting varieties) I like washed varieties that I can leave the skin on, because it’s easier and tastier. Favourites include Desiree, Nicola and Golden Delight, or Pink Eye when I can get them.
  • Olive Oil (or your fat of choice)
  • Salt

How do you work out how many potatoes to cook? I would decide on an amount per person, and then bake extra. Seriously. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have leftovers, and that’s actually a happy situation as they are delicious cold too.

Method:

Preheat your oven to moderate (170 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Wash your potatoes and pat dry. Peel if they need peeling.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthways. Place cut side on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to absorb any moisture.

Using a sharp knife cut a series of slits in the potato, being careful not to cut all the way through. Leave about an uncut centimetre at the bottom of every potato to hold the potato together.

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Rub each potato well with olive oil and place onto a baking tray. I like to use a piece of baking paper to line my trays because it makes cleaning up easier.

Sprinkle with a little salt.

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Bake for one hour or until crispy on the outside and soft and well-cooked on the inside.

Serve with just about anything!

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Variations: You can happily sprinkle cheese, herbs or bacon on top of these spuds before baking, or when serving.

Here’s the finished product.

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Easy Green Sauce for Potatoes, Pasta or Meats

 

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“She pulls on her heavy boots and carries the water bucket past the rose bushes, past the herb garden, and back to the barn behind the house. Her steps kick up the scents of herbs: thyme, mint, and lemon balm. The plants send up new stems each year from the roots that survived the winter and grew up again along the path. The perfumed walk is a mystical part of her world. Walking here is her favorite part of mornings. Sometimes, this is the highlight of her day.”
~ J.J. Brown, Brindle 24

 

One of the pleasures of being home at my farm is going for a wander through the vegetable garden and picking something fresh for dinner.

Yesterday I bought some fabulous fresh Nicola potatoes at the Mullumbimby Farmers Markets, which I boiled up to accompany a simple roast lamb and salad for our dinner.

Our garden beds are bursting with herbs right now, and this quick little sauce gives potatoes a zesty tang. Plus it is brimful of green goodness.

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Ingredients:

1 large clove of garlic, juice of half a lemon, 2 handfuls (about 2 loose cups) of mixed fresh herbs – I used basil, parsley and dill but please use whatever you have to hand, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of butter, pinch of salt. Note: if you want to keep this as a vegan sauce omit butter and add an extra tablespoon of olive or coconut oil. A little extra oil if needed.

Optional extras: If you feel inclined, add a teaspoon of spirulina powder or a spoonful of your favourite green powder blend to make a total green power sauce!

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Method:

Place the garlic, herbs (make sure they are washed and that you have removed any woody stalks), lemon juice, olive oil, salt and butter in a blender or food processor. Process until combined.

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If you don’t have a food processor chop all ingredients finely, melt butter and oil gently until just warm, and then add in herbs and lemon juice and stir well.

The sauce will be bright green, and very aromatic. Add little extra oil if sauce is too thick.

To serve, pour sauce over freshly boiled potatoes.

 

It also goes well with steamed or grilled vegetables, pasta, fish and most meats.

Eat and enjoy!

(If you look closely at the picture below you’ll see Bert pressed between me and the counter, waiting for a tasty treat to tumble to the floor.)

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I also sprinkled pumpkin and sunflower seeds over the potatoes for a little extra texture, and because they are yum. 🙂

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Dinner was delicious!

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Simple Tomato Salad

tomato salad recipe

“Like all magnificent things, it’s very simple.”
~ Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

 

One of my favourite salads involves ripe tomatoes, a little oil and a handful of herbs picked fresh from the garden.

Right now my Spring vegetable garden is still in its infancy, and my tomatoes are not yet ripe. But I found some delicious Green Spanish tomatoes at the Mullumbimby Farmers Markets yesterday.

green spanish

 

Heather, from the wonderful Coopers Shoot Tomatoes told me these ones are a variety that are meant to be eaten firm and green – with a little oil and salt.

Here’s my take on them, using a few extra ingredients from my garden. I whipped this up as a side for slow roasted lamb and baked sweet potatoes. Yum!

Ingredients:

Nasturtium leaves (nasturtium leaves have a slightly sweet and peppery taste – if you don’t have access to any use some rocket or any other slightly peppery green), red salad onion, one marigold flower, two large green tomatoes or any other favourite variety, salt, a good oil. I used a local lemon myrtle infused macadamia oil, but a good fruity olive oil would be lovely too!

garden

 

nasturtium recipe

Method:

Wash and dry all leaves and fruit. Line a serving tray with the nasturtium leaves, or place a bed of rocket on your plate.

Thinly slice the tomatoes and a few slices of the red onion. Dice any remaining tomato ends. Layer the tomato slices with the onion rings, and then dump the diced tomato on top.

Sprinkle marigold petals over the tomatoes and then pour a liberal slug of oil over the dish, followed by a good sprinkle of salt.

Serves one as a main or two as a side dish.

Eat with gusto!

nasturtium recipe

Easy Tomato and Onion Gravy

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Q. Why is a tomato round and red?
A. Because if it was long, skinny, and green, it would be a bean.

 

My grandmother used to cook a batch of this sauce every week, and use it for a variety of purposes. I learned to make this recipe by avidly watching her and, bit by bit, being allowed to help as I became old enough to navigate a knife and a hot stove.

You can use this recipe as a simple gravy for cooked meats, as a sauce over vegetables, or even with crusty bread or a quick bowl of pasta. It’s a recipe that can be easily varied to suit your taste buds, or the meal at hand. It’s even good on pizza bases or as a foundation for spaghetti bolognese.

One thing chronic illness has taught me is that food can be a medicine, and I have come to appreciate that this particular recipe is jam-packed full of goodness.

The onions and garlic are a good source of sulfur. Sulfur has anti-cancer, anti-microbial and detoxification properties, and supports blood vessel health, gut and heart health, immune cell support and liver health. The parsley is full of vitamins K, A, C, B group vitamins and anti-oxidants.

Cooked tomatoes and tomato paste are packed with lycopene, a powerful anti-oxidant which has been shown to have a preventative effect against breast, skin, prostate, lung and liver cancer.

Chicken stock or bone broth calms digestion, heals the gut lining, and is a good source of protein, amino acids and anti-inflammatory compounds.

What I love most about this recipe though, is that it tastes so yummy, it is simple to prepare, and it makes getting those extra servings of vegetables into your diet that much easier. And it always reminds me of Marga, my maternal grandmother, whose legacy is, in part, her wonderful recipes.

HolbrooksWorcestershireSauce500mLTruth be told, when I add Worchestershire Sauce to this recipe it also reminds me of my grandfather, Ceddie.

As kids we called this sauce Ceddie Sauce because my grandfather ate it on everything. He even had us convinced that it was a picture of him on the bottle! (It’s not, of course, but I still pretend that it is!)

The Worchestershire sauce gives a nice tang for barbeque meats or sausages.

If you want to eat this sauce with seafood or chicken a dash of white wine is nice. Use red wine for red meats.

 

Ingredients:

1 large onion – diced, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 3 cups of diced fresh tomatoes or 1 can of tinned tomatoes, 1 to 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, 1 small diced red capsicum (bell pepper,) 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs – I used some green onion and parsley, 1 tablespoon of ghee, butter, or olive oil, salt and pepper.

*Optional – 1 tablespoon of Worchestershire Sauce, chilli or a splash of wine, a pinch of sugar. If your tomatoes are store bought or canned, and the capsicum is not ripe enough you may want just a pinch of sugar to counter the acidity in the sauce. If the capsicum IS ripe and sweet, you won’t need it.

Method:

Place the onion in a large pot or frypan with the fat. Cook over gentle heat until the onion starts to soften. Then tip in the capsicum and cook for two to three minutes, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t stick.

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Add the chopped tomatoes and chicken stock. Increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Confession: I have a ridiculous amount of tomato plants in my garden this season. Ridiculous. So many varieties. But what can top a home-grown tomato? Expect more tomato based recipes soon…

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Now add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and seasonings.

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Stir well, reduce heat and simmer gently for thirty minutes. The sauce will thicken, so do check and stir occasionally. Enjoy!

That’s last night’s dinner below. A grilled organic T-bone with a side salad of mixed greens, olives, fermented vegetables, radish, walnuts, feta cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Roast Cauliflower and Pomegranate Salad

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Fun fact #1 about pomegranates: Pomegranates are awesome.
Fun fact #2: Pomegranates are like little explosions of awesome in your mouth.
Fun fact #3: A lot of people think you’re not supposed to eat the seeds of a pomegranate – but that’s not true, people who tell you that are liars, and they don’t know anything about life, and they should never be trusted. 
~ Tahereh Mafi

 

Isn’t this salad just the prettiest thing?

Last night I cooked. Something simple. Something that wasn’t even vaguely like one of my husband’s dinner staples… (Don’t get me wrong – I’m not unappreciative of his catering efforts, but let’s merely say that heaven was being back in my kitchen, no matter how briefly!)

Pomegranates, those tart and sweet little delights, are food as medicine, especially for those suffering from Lyme disease or other antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. There is a substance in pomegranates which busts the biofilm of these bacteria, enabling drugs and herbs to effectively target the naked pathogen and eradicate it! Other reasons to eat pomegranates? They taste zesty and delicious; they’re packed with Vitamin C, anti-oxidants, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, manganese and B-group vitamins, and they’re high in fibre. Pomegranates support healthy blood sugar, aid wound healing and reduce inflammation.

Cauliflower, a cruciferous vegetable, boosts Phase 1 detox of your liver pathways, as well as being an anti-inflammatory and cancer-retardant.

This speedy salad is easy to make and super-good for you, as well as being fresh and delicious. Eat it on its own, or as a side dish for fish, chicken or barbequed meats.

Ingredients:

1 pomegranate, 1 head of cauliflower, 2 cups of rocket (arugula) or other bitter greens, 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 heaped teaspoon of garam masala (or just use more cumin), 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (or ghee if you prefer), cold pressed olive oil and fresh lemon juice to serve.

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius (400 degrees fahrenheit) if fan forced, or 220 degrees celcius (440 degrees fahrenheit) if not.

Split open the pomegranate with a sharp knife and then use your thumbs to break open the segments and release the tiny jewels (seeds) inside. Clear off most of the white pith. Set pomegranate seeds aside until later.

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Chop your cauliflower into chunks. Toss in the coconut oil and then the turmeric and garam masala or cumin. (For ease you can place all in a plastic bag and shake if you like.)

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Place cauliflower on a baking-paper lined tray for easy clean up. Pop into oven for fifteen minutes or until golden.

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Remove from oven and cool slightly. Try not to eat too much before it makes it to the salad bowl…

Combine with the pomegranate and rocket leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Eat with gusto.

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PS: If you want to serve this as a cold salad let the cauliflower cool completely before combing with the rocket and pomegranate so that the rocket doesn’t get all sad and wilted.

PSS: OMG, I have missed cooking!!!