7.29.2011

Cherries on top


Cherries are such a beautiful fruit – small, almost berry–like, dark and sweet, the perfect pick-and-eat fruit.  Cherry trees are also some of the most prettiest trees out there – their blossoms so gorgeous and pink. I have many childhood memories of having kind of overdosed on fruit - sitting under cherry trees in friends' backyards, happily eating way too many cherries.

7.20.2011

The artful artichoke


I’ll start this post by saying sorry -- I’m late! My life has been a little hectic and so, in keeping with that theme, I’ll be adding some more quick-to-make and easy-to-eat recipes. 
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I find that the easiest, quickest way to ensure you have a delicious meal is finding one or two special ingredients to serve as the stars of your dish. I often look to vegetables – in winter hearty vegetables such as pumpkin, eggplant, kale, sweet potatoes, and in summer lighter items like leafy lettuce, fresh tomatoes, red peppers. Once in a while I find something new that becomes my favourite for the season.
Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes) are an interesting vegetable. These little strange, nubbly and knobbly roots (part of the sunflower family and not really related to larger, globe artichokes) are so much more delicious than they look.
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They are easy to cook – no need to peel them either. I sautéed them with plenty of garlic, fresh herbs like bay and sage leaves, sea salt and lots of lemon. Cooking the artichokes over a medium heat for about 15 minutes allows them to become slightly sticky and caramelised but still retains a crunch. These artichokes had layered flavours that were slightly creamy, sweet and definitely nutty - unlike anything you’ve ever tasted! I served mine with a simple soup to make up the perfect dinner in a hectic week.

sautéed jerusalem artichokes
serves 2 large servings

1 tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
400g Jerusalem artichokes  ( 2 cups), cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 bay leaves – fresh or dried
a bunch of sage leaves
sea salt
1/2  lemon
some water

Place a large pan on medium heat, add olive oil, slices of garlic and let fry out 2-3 minutes to infuse oil. Add artichokes, bay and sage leaves, add pinch of sea salt and cook artichokes – moving them around once in a while. If pan dries out add a little water – place lid and cook for 10 minutes – making sure they don’t burn. Take lid off and cook for another five minutes or until they are cooked but still retaining crunch. Remove from pan and sprinkle with lemon juice.  Serve alone or with another main dish – fish, green salad or soup. Enjoy!

7.10.2011

Another simple supper


You don’t have to sacrifice flavour and taste just because you don’t have a lot of time. I know I sound like one of those cooks on television but I do think there is something to what they’re saying. When I don’t have a lot of time but crave something delicious I look to one or two main ingredients to help me - for instance, my special ingredient tonight: the sweet potato.
Ok here I go…Sweet potatoes are an absolutely wonderful, often overlooked vegetable. They are a root vegetable – not to be confused with potatoes which are 'tubers'. They're not as starchy as potatoes and full of nutrient rich beta-carotene – which works to boost immunity and sight (much like carrots). Sweet potatoes are also full of vitamin C, potassium, fibre and so much more. I’ve even heard people say it’s the most healthy vegetable of all.
It’s crazy when you think that something that tastes this sweet, creamy and rich could be so wonderfully good for you too. I combine sweet potatoes with a few other delicious ingredients – cherry tomatoes, fresh thyme, red onions and grapes – topped with mozzarella and parmesan and baked until wonderfully golden, gooey and crisp.
Just twenty minutes and you have supper. Sundays like this definitely work for me.

For more simple Sunday suppers – see here

sweet sunday supper
2 large serving or 4 small

3-4 medium sweet potatoes/kumera, sliced into 1-2 inch chunky pieces
a few sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch sea salt and black pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup red grapes
2 red chillies, sliced (used dried if you don’t have fresh)
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese, grated
splash of balsamic vinegar or worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 220 degrees fan forced (this is hot but perfect because it will give a little charred flavour to the potatoes)
Prepare a baking tray with baking paper. Add sweet potato pieces, drizzle with oil and mix around. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and add thyme sprigs. Baked for 10 minutes and take out. Add onions, tomatoes, grapes, red chillies to tray and bake another 5 minutes. Take out sprinkle with cheese and bake for another 1-2 minutes or until melted.  Take out, dress with a splash of balsamic or worcestershire sauce and serve with fresh rocket or salad greens – enjoy!