Tag Archives: garlic

Not quite hummus

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A good dip is essential for any cooks table, be it a barbecue, picnic, actually for any gathering of any kind really.

I never buy supermarket dips. I think they’re horrible and expensive and filled with processed stuff. I like to make my own. And when it’s this simple, you should too.

I call this dip ‘not quite hummus’ because it’s made with cannellini beans instead of chickpeas, which is the traditional pulses used in hummus. I think it makes a lovely change to the chickpeas but by all means you can substitute the later. Keep in mind butter beans also work brilliantly here, though you might require an extra dash of water as they tend to make a thicker dip.

 

 

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To serve, you’ll need some toasted pita bread or fresh sourdough bread, and raw cut vegetables, or just some store bought crackers.

I’ve found a new love for radishes. I recently purchased a mandolin ( a slicer with a thin setting) and now one of my favourite raw vegetables is thin slices of radish, which work beautifully with this dip. I love the colour and their round shape.

You’ll need a food processor for this recipe and if you don’t have one I highly recommend investing in one. I’ve had mine for 10 years now and there’s been a lot of dips made in that ten years. I couldn’t manage my kitchen without one…

 

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Not quite hummus

Ingredients

1 x 400g can of cannellini or butter beans

1 small clove garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1tbsp tahini (sesame paste)

1tsp salt

large pinch of black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 large lemon, juiced

50ml water

To finish

chopped fresh parsley

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Drain and rinse the cannellini beans, place in a food processor with the rest of ingredients for the dip and process till smooth. Check the seasoning. Place in a large bowl, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with toasted pita bread or fresh sourdough bread, crackers, sliced radishes, raw vegetables or tabbouleh.

Kale and feta triangles

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Agh… a sigh of relief as I write this post. We’ve successfully moved house and it feels wonderful. Of course at the time it was all happening it didn’t feel so wonderful but the upheaval is over now, and I love our new home.

The kitchen has a combined dining area and, wait for it, bright orange benches and large patterned seventies tiles. It’s fantastic! It’s a large functioning space that looks out onto the back garden.  There’s no gas on in the house (you cant have it all) so my cooking is now on a flat top electric cooker with a basic electric oven. Getting to know a new oven is a little like getting to know a new friend – it takes time to understand how they work.

I was fretting about the oven because there is no fan forced option on it. The first meal I cooked, as much to fill the house with a homely smell as to feed us, was a roast leg of lamb, closely followed by these kale and feta triangles.

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After a few hectic days of un-packing and setting up, the urge to eat green vegetables was strong. I wasn’t even sure what I was cooking when I grabbed a bunch of kale, whilst shopping at the local fruit store. I knew I had a box of filo pastry in the freezer and some feta cheese in the fridge so these triangles came together and they were the perfect nibble for feeding friends and family who popped by.

Kale’s bitter flavour works perfectly with the flaky, buttery filo pastry, a good measure of onions and garlic, a pinch of – one of my favourite spices – hot smoked paprika, some salty feta cheese…

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A few tips for using filo pastry – defrost the pastry in the fridge overnight and leave in the box at room temperature for 2 hours before use (If you’ve ever tried to use filo pastry that hasn’t quite defrosted properly, it tends to break and fall apart and the whole thing becomes difficult and fiddly).

Also you must work fairly quickly with filo pastry as it drys out fast. In between use, cover the filo with a sheet of baking paper then a damp tea towel, this keeps the pastry soft and pliable.

You can use four or six sheets of filo pastry (I made a batch with 6 sheets and a batch with 4 sheets, the latter was a little less flaky). Brush between every second sheet with melted butter. This helps the pastry crisp and go flaky.

 

 

Kale and feta triangles – makes 12 triangles

Ingredients

1 bunch kale

Olive oil

2 red onions, diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp hot smoked paprika

150g Greek feta

2 free range eggs

1 pkt filo pastry

100g melted butter

Salt and cracked black pepper

 

Wash the kale. Use a sharp knife to cut away the inner woody stalk and discard. Roughly slice the kale leaves. Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large pot. When the pot is hot, throw the kale in, stir and cover with a lid, cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly to help wilt the kale. Drain and set aside.

 

Wipe the same pot clean, heat with 2 tbsp olive oil, add onions and garlic and cook on a low heat for 3 minutes, add hot smoked paprika and cook for a further 2 minutes. Place cooked onions in a large bowl.

 

Once kale is cool enough to handle, add to the cooked onions, with feta, eggs, and a large pinch of salt and a large pinch cracked black pepper, mix to combine. Set aside. Pre heat oven to 210C.

 

Take two sheets of filo pastry and brush the top sheet with melted butter. Place another 2 sheets on top and brush again with butter, place the final two sheets on top and brush with butter. Cut sheets equally into 4 strips. Divide 1/3 of the kale mix between the four strips. Roll the first piece of pastry over to form a triangular shape, fold the next roll, keeping the triangular shape, roll a third and final time. You’ll be left with a rectangle piece of pastry at the top, fold this over and seal with melted butter. Place triangles on a lined tray and brush the out side of the triangles with more melted butter. Repeat twice more with remaining sheets of filo pastry and kale mix.

 

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Cook triangles for 25-30 minutes or till golden and crisp looking. Allow to cool slightly. To serve, cut triangles in half and place on a tray or platter. They can be eaten warm or cold.

 

Scrambled chilli tofu

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On the weekend I spent two days sick in bed. Whilst ill and delirious, I dreamt about having a personal chef. They’d arrive with a basket of fresh produce. They’d cook and prepare healthy food. They’d wash the dishes, sweep the floor and take out the rubbish. I’d certainly get them to bake a cake.

When Monday dawned, so did the reality that no personal chef was coming to my rescue. I was it. I had to get back in the kitchen. So I fried up this chilli tofu dish.

 

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One of things I love about tofu is it’s soft, silky texture.  It’s neutral taste absorbs flavour well and spicing it up with chilli, garlic and hoisin then scrambling it all together with vegetables is a vegan delight.

 

Scrambled tofu is similar to scrambled eggs and it’s excellent served on toasted sourdough. But you might also serve it with boiled rice or noodles. You can substitute other veggies – try mushrooms, halved cherry tomatoes, coarsely grated zucchini or a handful of baby spinach. In my quest to get well, I juiced fresh fruit and vegetables. Try this combination – beetroot, strawberries, celery, carrot and apple, delicious! Take that, nasty flu.

 

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Chilli tofu on toast  – serves 2

Ingredients

300g firm (but soft) tofu

1/2 red capsicum, diced

1/2 cob corn, kernels removed

1/2 cup chopped beans (1cm pieces)

1 medium red chilli, deseeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2cm pice ginger, peeled and grated

4 green shallots, sliced thinly

2 tbsp hoisin sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce

1tbsp sesame oil

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

4 thick slices sourdough or rye bread, toasted

 

Place chilli, garlic and ginger in a mortar and pestle with 1 tsp sea salt, pound till chilli forms a paste, or chop ingredients by hand till well combined. Break tofu into large chunks and sprinkle with chilli paste.

 

Heat 1tbsp sesame oil in a large fry pan, add capsicum, corn and beans, cook on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add tofu. Allow tofu to cook for 30 seconds then stir gently (over stirring will break up the tofu too much). Continue to fry the tofu and stir gently for two minutes.

 

In a small bowl whisk hoisin, soy sauce and 2 tbsp water, add to fry pan, add green shallots, stir one final time and turn off the heat. Serve scrambled tofu on toasted sourdough and sprinkle with cracked black pepper.