Bits and Pieces

I hate it when you have people over for a BBQ and there isn’t any room in the fridge for a big salad, yet you don’t want to make it and leave it out at room temp on a stinking hot day, and you also don’t want to miss out on having a cold drink with your guests because you are stuck in the kitchen making the salad.
What to do!? What to do?!

Or coming home from a long day at work and having to pull everything out of the fridge to make that salad you crave?
Yet a pre made salad never lasts more than a day- wilted lettuce, soggy tomato.. What to do?! What to do?!

Make a bag of bits.
Easy!

I like to cut all the goodies that go in my favourite green salad, keep them in a plastic bag in the fridge, all ready to be layered with the greenery of choice to make a fresh, crisp, delish salad…

Ideas for bits:
Radish
Cucumber
Courgette
Capsicum
Spring onion or red onion
Tasty cheese (feta is a bit too soft for this- but easy to add after)
Mung beans
Whole cherry tomatoes (cut tomatoes are too messy- best to add later)
Carrot
Raw broccoli or cauliflower
Just to name a few!!Cut everything into salad size pieces, put in a plastic bag, mix around and keep in the fridge till you want to make your salad. All you need to do is layer the bits with your favorite greens- or not- after all the bits are the well best bits 🙂

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Short & Savoury

Summer is totally about quick, easy, fresh and tasty.

So over the next wee while that’s what I’m gonna give you.

There may or may not be a lot of reading involved on your behalf- which means there may or may not be a lot of writing on my behalf- it also means more time for you to spend out on the deck in the sun eating a yummy salad and drinking a crisp Pinot Gris…

I love raw broccoli- slightly spicy, great texture and such a beautiful colour.

Raw Broccoli and Cranberry Salad

Raw Broccoli – cut into small pieces- kinda like couscous

Toasted Almonds

Dried Cranberries

Your favorite vinagrette (balsamic, oil, seeded mustard, honey)

Mix everything together and enjoy- seriously it is that easy!

This is also great if you add some chilli flakes for a bit of heat, or avocado, feta, wild rice even red rice for texture.

Everything Slaw

Sometimes you just crave flavours and textures, on a warm afternoon as it starts to cool down with the setting sun I crave something fresh, crunchy and light yet creamy and amazingly tasty.

At this time of year salad vegetables are a plenty so you can add in or leave out what ever you like- and the dressing… well i could eat it on anything… it would go wonderful on a cold japaneese noodle salad with toasted sesame seeds and even some grilled chicken…

Everything slaw with Creamy Asian Avocado dressing

Carrot

Red Cabbage

Radish

Cucumber

Red Onion

Bean sprouts

Capsicum

Coriander (mint would also be lovely)

I like to cut the vegetables in long thin pieces like a traditional coleslaw.

Toast in a dry pan a selection of nuts and seeds, I used:

Cashews

Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

Sesame Seeds

Creamy Asian Avocado Dressing

Avocado

1 small clove Garlic- finely grated

1/4tsp Ginger- finely grated

Small handful Roquette or Spinach

1Tbs Tahini

Tamari/ Soy sauce to taste

Sesame Oil

Juice 1 Lime

Salt

Optional- Chilli

Blend everything till creamy- Adjust flavours to desired taste

Add a little water to thin if you want to use as a salad dressing.

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Summer salad time

Every afternoon I come home home sit on the couch, laptop at the ready to write something witty, tantalising and interesting about a new experiment I’ve had in the kitchen, my head buzzing full of ideazzzzzzzzz and I promptly fall asleep for what I like to call nap time.

I am not 4, I should not need a nap, but I do.

I start work at 5:25am Monday to Friday- I am not making excuses but well, yes I am.

I have a strict system in the mornings… Alarm goes off at 5:05- I hit snooze and the race is on- the snooze is not a luxury it is a timer… Clothes on, hair up, teeth brushed, lunch packed, kiss Mr Lid goodbye and out the door before the snooze goes off, that’s 10 min to get ready- I’m quite proud of that!

As I mentioned on my Facebook page (here is the link https://www.facebook.com/Mrspotandmrlid?fref=ts just in case you weren’t following me on that form of social media- which would be awesome if you liked and shared with your friends) The last couple of weeks have been hectic hence the lack of posts- so I have taken a day off work to spend in the kitchen creating yummy things I can share with you.

I will start with the salad I had for Lunch- it was light, super quick, easy and delicious..

Roasted Asparagus and Strawberry Salad

Asparagus

Strawberries

Baby Spinach leaves- or any salad greens

Balsamic vinegar

Honey

Seeded Mustard

Oil (anything with a mild flavour)

Bend the asparagus and where it breaks naturally is where  the woody end separates from the tender goodness of the rest of the spares. Cut into bite size pieces- put in a bowl and add strawberries (cut in halves if big and remove the green) add in some oil and salt and pepper toss to coat- put on a baking tray and bake 180c for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus.

You want it just tender as it will continue cooking after removed from the oven.

Make a dressing from the balsamic, honey, mustard and oil and sprinkle some over the warm roasted asparagus.

Layer the salad greens (I like baby spinach) and roasted mix adding more dressing if needed.

This salad is yum as it is or for a real treat crumble in some zesty goats feta and crunchy toasted almonds or hazelnuts..mmmmm

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Short and simple

I have so many recipes for salads they by far out number the number of interesting things I have to say.

Below is a lovely Quinoa and Roasted Beetroot Salad, with fresh oranges and toasted Walnuts, it is fresh, tasty and filling.

Roasted beetroot and orange salad

Beetroot- diced and roasted (I like to add some garlic, fresh herbs when roasting)

Orange segmented (juice squeezed out for the dressing)

Spring Onion- Finely sliced

Mint

Toasted Walnuts

Cooked Quinoa (with a touch of Cumin)

Dressing

Lemon juice

Oil

Orange juice

Cumin

Honey

Garlic crushed

Cider vinegar

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Keep calm and Curry on…

The thing I love about making salads is that they are quick, fresh, filling, easy, a great way to use up anything in you pantry/fridge and there are no right or wrong ways! Salads are wonderful for anytime of the day and if there are left overs its even better.

They are a great way to experiment with new ingredients as you can add to them playing with flavours and textures.

There is something about a curried Kumara salad that makes my mouth water, I like to add lots of dried fruits and spices that marry perfectly with the sweetness of the Kumara, eaten warm or cold this is wonderful as a side dish at a BBQ or as a quick lunch, even in a sandwich with some leftover corned beef, chicken or haloumi.

Curried Kumara Salad

Red Kumara (boiled or roasted- depends if you like it a little crunchy or soft and creamy)

Red Capsicum- diced

Sultanas/Raisins

Dried Apricots diced

(I also like diced Dates)

Celery- diced leaves and all

Spring Onion

Baby Spinach- to serve

Dice Kumara and either roast or boil making sure you season with salt and pepper either way.

Cut up remaining ingredients and add to cooked Kumara. I like to leave the spinach out till I serve it otherwise it tends to go a bit soggy. This is also yum with a handful of toasted walnuts/ pumpkin seeds.

(Bacon would also be AMAZING in this salad)

Curried Mayonaise Dressing

Mayonnaise

Lemon Juice

Turmeric

Ground Cumin

Ground Coriander

Pinch of Cayenne pepper

Ground Ginger

Crushed Garlic

You can use your favourite curry spice blend or you can add equal quantities of the spices above.

Add around 1/4tsp of each spice to 1cup mayonnaise (adding more if needed to balance flavours- I like a bit more Cumin and ginger)

Add remaining ingredients and season to taste.

Mix dressing into the salad ingredients and leave flavours to mingle for a bit in the fridge.

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Warm you from the inside

Spring has sprung down here in the Southern Hemisphere. The days are getting longer and the sun is warming up.

Although the other day I was enjoying the beautiful Vitamin D on the deck when BAM the sun disappeared and it was freezing.

Sometimes I wish I could have my own little sun shining down on me like it does on the comics… alas no such luck.

To me Spring is the time to start eating for summer- you know when your meals get lighter and healthier in preparation for that Summer wardrobe.

But when it is cold and Wintry and you are torn between the seasons what is a better way to warm you up than a curry?

But not just any old curry a Detox curry that is tasty and warms the cockles of your heart but isn’t full of creamy coconut. Trust me its yum- and you can add anything you like..

Detox Vegetable Curry

1tsp Ground Coriander

1 1/2tsp Ground Cumin

1 1/2tsp Garam Masala

1 1/2tsp Fennel Seeds

1 1/2tsp Curry Powder

Small knob of Ginger

1 Clove Garlic

Onion

1Tbs Tomato paste

1 Large Tomato

Blend Onion, garlic and ginger into a paste. Add to a pan with some oil and the spices- cook out till mix starts to brown and dry out.

Add tomato paste and cook till it caramelises- add diced tomato.

Add water (about 2 cups) and turn onto a low heat- at this stage add vegetables- anything and everything- its a great way to empty the fridge of straggly vegetables.

I added carrots, parsnips, leek and kumara.

Put on lid and let simmer till cooked.

before the veg are almost cooked- I like to add peas and  I had some broccoli. Add these last as to not over cook.

The Photo does not look glamorous or styalised- but it does look hearty, comforting and heart warming…

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Ball meet Face

Mr Lid and I were meant to do Sober May, but for some reason we went ate out and drunk like it was going out of fashion- it could have been that I was making the most of my last month of walking freely and wearing heels?!

Then we were meant to do Dry July. Fail.

August was a bit of a half arsed attempt kinda trying to be healthy Monday to Friday and going totally overboard on the Weekend.

But here we are… September.

Sober September to be exact.

Not that Mr Lid and I are drunk all the time- let me make that clear, we like the odd drink, but if you could get drunk off food I would be a HUGE alcoholic (Lucky you cant).

To us Sober September is Detox month- we have detoxed one month a year since we met. Clean eating cutting out sugars, dairy, carbs, gluten and most proteins, pretty much just eating FRESH vegetables and fruit, and taking a heap of pills that are meant to rid the body of toxins and waste.

This is something that really appeals to me. The idea that as bad as I am during the year there is one month that I look after myself. Giving it time to rest, revive and reset itself. You sleep so much better find a whole lot of energy you though you lost with the last five years and it is a great way to reconnect- with nature and people.

Hahaha- don’t mock me! I know I sound all new age and hippy. When you cant just pop down the road to a cafe for an outing, or to the pub to catch up with friends you find yourself making an effort. Last night before I went to bed I made Mr Lid a packed lunch to take to work today- as every wife should, on the weekend we are going on a picnic, or a walk in the bush somewhere. We might invite some friends to join us- maybe even play beach cricket…

Ok now I am taking the piss. Me play a ball sport?! Hi Ball meet Face…

I have found during Detox comfort food is essential- this soup is essential…

Moroccan Pumpkin and chickpea soup with spiced yoghurt

1/2tsp Ground Ginger

1/2tsp Ground Cinnamon and a Cinnamon Quill

1tsp Ground Cumin

1tsp Ground Coriander

1tsp Smoked Paprika

1/2tsp Chilli (depends on how spicy you like it)

1/2tsp Caraway seeds

1 Onion (diced)

1 Pumpkin (peeled and seeds removed)

1tsp Honey

1 can Chickpeas (you could cook fresh, or any other tinned legumes that you like, like lentils)

Salt- or a stock cube.

In a dash of oil fry the onion and the spices till translucent, add diced pumpkin and cover with water.

Let cook till pumpkin is soft. I used a stick blender to puree soup, this can be done with a potato masher, a jug blender or food processor… remember to remove cinnamon quill if using!

Adjust spices to get a nice balance- I like a bit of honey to help bring out the natural sweetness in the pumpkin.

*you can use whole spices and gently toast them in a dry pan till fragrant then grind them up- this will give a lovely fresh strong spice to the soup- but to be honest I was in a hurry and couldn’t be bothered.

Spiced Yoghurt

Natural unsweetened Yoghurt

Ground Cumin

1 Clove crushed Garlic

Squeeze Lemon juice

Salt and Pepper

Mix everything together and let sit in the fridge for a bit so flavours mingle.

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Its no Bula…

So it is almost back to work time for me- it has been a wonderful three months writing and sharing my passion for good old home style cooking!

Mr Lid and I are off on well deserved Holiday this week, and rather than spend my days writing the blog I will be drinking cocktails and eating as much raw fish as I can stomach!

Have NO FEAR tho- seeing as I knew I would be heading away I have come up with this post. It is long and for four different recipes- they are super easy and oh so yum. You can choose to read this all at once… or split it up over the week… or read it EVERYDAY! I hope you enjoy this as much as I had fun making all these dishes…

I hate getting stuck in a rut. Some times I find that if I have the same ingredients in the fridge I find myself automatically making the same thing week in week out. Which is frustrating if someone in the family likes but does not love this particular dish.

I also find that if you make too much of said same old dish the left overs are never eaten with such enthusiasm as they should be.

What if I told you I have a great combination of items that you can make many a meal out of. All of them different.

All you need to do is make a big batch, split it into however many of the following dishes you want to make and viola you have made several different meals out of one base dish.

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Spinach, pumpkin & Two cheeses

Pumpkin- Diced and roasted

Spinach- Fresh or Frozen (if frozen defrost and squeeze out the excess water)

Equal quantities Cream cheese & Cottage cheese

Pinch Nutmeg

Salt and Pepper

Mix everything together- season to taste and eat!

You can add some chilli, paprika, fried onion, garlic… anything you like.

Seriously I love this stuff cold, hot, warm, on a cracker or transformed into the following dishes…

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Fritters

Take some mix

Add Egg and mix well.

You can add cumin or other spices to your desired taste.

Fry till golden on both sides and finish in the oven till firm.

These are great as a lunch, or as a canape for a party- just garnish with more cream cheese or sour cream

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Stuffed Mushrooms

Mix

Mushroom

Simple really- stuff the mushroom with some of the mix, you can top with some tasty cheese if you like.

Bake in the oven till top is golden and the mushroom is soft.

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Meatballs with a spiced Carrot and Tomato sauce

Beef Mince

Mix

Cumin, Ground Coriander, Nutmeg

Salt and Pepper

(I would have added some Cinnamon if I remembered to buy some)

Fry a little mix in a pan to test the seasoning.

Roll into balls and pop in the fridge till the sauce is ready.

Carrot & Tomato Sauce

Grated Carrot

Grated Celery

Grated Onion

Grated Garlic

Tinned Tomato (chopped)

Tomato paste

Smoked Paprika, Ground Coriander, Ground Cumin, Nutmeg/Cinnamon

In a splash of oil fry the grated vegetables and spices, once soft and fragrant add the tomato paste and cook out- about 5 min. Next add the tinned tomato, cinnamon quill and a splash of water.

Taste, checking seasoning- might need a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity in the tomatoes.

Next pop in the meat balls and cover with a lid. On a medium- low heat cook for about 40min turning meatballs every so often.

If sauce is getting too thick add more liquid- either stock or water, if its getting too watery take the lid off and let reduce.

Serve with couscous and cheese. I made cauliflower rice which is a great way not to have carbs.

Cauliflower Rice

Head of Cauliflower grated

Steam your grated cauliflower with, salt and pepper and a few tablespoons of water with the lid on for a few minutes, until the

cauliflower is tender but not soft. Drain any excess water and taste for seasoning. You can add a little bit of oil or butter.

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Vegetarian Lasagne

Make your favourite tomato sauce add cooked Quinoa to make the meaty layer, use the pumpkin spinach mix to form the white layer. Layer as you would a lasagne- red, pasta, white, pasta, red etc- cover with grated cheese and parmesan and bake.

I cover mine with paper and then tin foil, Bake at 180c 30min uncover and bake another 30min till golden and bubbly.

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Almost better than sex

I Love chocolate bars.

In saying that, they hate me, so I never buy them.

Those boxes of bite size bars are fun and a great way to just have a taste, if you can stop at just one.

I have really been enjoying trying out recipes for making chocolate bars at home- healthier versions.

I came across this homemade Twix recipe and WOW I can not stop eating them- although it tastes more like a caramel peanut crunchy chocolaty thing than a Twix.

It keeps great in the freezer- and when eaten frozen it is chewy and wonderful.

Bars of yumness

Base

1/4 cup Rice Syrup (found in a health food store)

2Tbs Peanut butter

1tsp Vanilla essence

Pinch of Salt

1 1/4 cups Puffed Rice Cereal

Mix all the wet ingredients together and heat till it bubbles and is melted together, add the Rice Cereal and mix till well combined.

Tip into a grease proof paper lined tray, with wet hands spread to cover the base of the tray. Put in the freezer to firm up.

Date Caramel

1 1/2 cups Pitted Dates (if hard, cover in hot water till soft then strain)

1Tbs Peanut butter

1Tbs Milk/ or Almond milk (you may need more)

Pinch of Salt

Place all Caramel ingredients in a food processor (or you can use a blend stick) and blend till rather smooth- you may need some more of the milk to help it blend, carefully spread over the base and put back in the freezer.

Chocolate topping

2 Rows of Chocolate (I like to use Dark 72%)

1tsp Melted Coconut oil- optional

Melt on medium power in the microwave till smooth- use the back of a spoon to spread over the Caramel layer.

When the Chocolate is almost set cut into small bars. Store in the freezer and eat, everytime you walk past the freezer.

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http://ohsheglows.com/2012/10/25/homemade-crispy-twix-bars/