Breakfast, Eating In

Avocado Smash, Salmon and Poached Egg on Toast

June 23, 2014
Avocado Smash, Poached Egg and Salmon on Toast


So you know what happened this weekend? The Winter Solstice (well in the Southern Hemisphere anyway), which now means that the days are going to get longer and lighter, yay! This is a great reason to celebrate and what better way to celebrate lighter mornings than with a breakfast recipe.

Avocado on toast has always been a delicious breakfast treat and it is definitely doing its rounds on cafe menus around Melbourne. I normally love avocado and tomato on toast, but decided as a weekend treat to team it with smoked salmon and a poached egg.

The smoked salmon and egg add a richness to the avocado that makes it a great Sunday lunch option. Don’t worry if you haven’t poached an egg before, it is easily done and you only need to take care when removing the egg from the water. If you aren’t comfortable poaching an egg, a soft boiled egg would also work well.

Did you do anything to celebrate Winter Solstice? What is your favourite ingredient to combine with avocado?

Avocado and oozing poached egg

Avocado Smash, Salmon & Poached Egg on Toast
An original recipe from Eating with Katie

2 slices bread, toasted
1 avocado
50g feta
wedge of lemon
2 slices of smoked salmon
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
salt and pepper, to season

Method

1. Fill a medium saucepan with water until about half full. Add vinegar and salt and bring to the boil.
2. While waiting for water to boil smash avocado. Remove flesh from avocado and place into a bowl along with a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper. Smash with a fork to desired texture. Add in feta and mix well.
3. Spoon avocado mixture onto the toasted bread and lay slices of smoked salmon on top.
4. When water has come to a boil, reduce heat and bring water to a simmer. Place one egg onto a saucer. With a spoon stir the water to produce a whirlpool and gently slide in egg from saucer. Cook for 2-3 minutes for a semi-soft yolk. Gently remove egg with a slotted spoon and place carefully on to top of salmon. Repeat the process with the second egg.
5. To serve, sprinkle with paprika or freshly ground pepper.

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Dinner, Eating In

Thai Pumpkin Soup

June 18, 2014
thai pumpkin soup on board

I know I talk about the weather a lot, but with the sun well and truly gone by the time we get home, something warm and comforting is needed for dinner. Soup is one of those dishes that is comforting in it’s warmth and leaves you feeling surprisingly satisfied.

In winter, I find that a more substantial soup is needed. One that is a bit thicker and richer. Pumpkin soup has always been one of my standby winter soups because of it’s thickness and it’s versatility in what it can be flavoured with. The flavours of this Thai Pumpkin Soup meld well together and the spice from the red curry paste adds a depth of heat that is welcome in the Winter months. I used a simple recipe which I found on the Taste website and made a slight alteration to it by adding an onion as well as substituting a cup of water for a cup of stock which I thought added a depth of flavour.

This is an easy week night recipe, for when a hard days work has exhausted you but you still want something home made and comforting. All you have do is chop and onion and some pumpkin, fry it off with the red curry paste and then add the coconut cream, stock and water. Once thats done you can leave it to bubble away merrily for 25 minutes which gives you time to have a glass of wine and put your slippers on 😉

Do you have a winter standby dish and what is your favourite soup?

thai pumpkin soup

Thai Pumpkin Soup
Adapted from taste.com.au

1 tablespoon oil
1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1.5cm pieces
1 onion
2 tablespoons red curry paste
270ml can coconut cream
1 cup water
1 cup chicken stock
coriander, to garnish

Method

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Fry onion, pumpkin and red curry paste for a few minutes, or until the curry paste starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add coconut cream. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
2. Add water and stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft.
3. Blend or process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls topped with coriander.


Eating In, Lunch

Herby Freekah Salad with Feta and Chicken

June 12, 2014
Freekah Salad

I am finally back in the working world, and it seemed fitting that I should dedicate a post to lunches that you can take to work. It is so easy to fall into the trap of buying lunches, but it can be dangerous and expensive, so I am trying to get into a good habit from the get go and pre make lunches.

Soggy sandwiches begone, we are living in a world where beautiful ingredients are at our finger tips and we can make tasty and healthy meals that are quick and easy.

This freekah salad, is inspired by the ancient grain salad that featured on the menu at a Greek restaurant in Melbourne. Freekah, is a roasted green wheat that is high in fibre and low GI. Recently labelled as a superfood, it is roasted while the plant is still young so retains loads of awesome nutrients.

If you don’t have any freekah or can’t get your hands on it, you can substitute it with pearl barley or even brown rice, just adjust the cooking times accordingly.

I mixed through some left over poached chicken, but you could  leave that out or substitute it for another protein such as roast chicken or beef, it’s completely up to you.

Freekah SaladFreekah Salad & herbs

 

Herby Freekah Salad with Feta and Chicken
An original recipe from Eating with Katie

1 cup freekah
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground corriander
1 small garlic clove, crushed
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
100g feta cheese
2 cups of fresh herbs such as parsley, mint and corriander
1 poached chicken breast, or any leftover cooked meat
handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half (optional)
2 cups of baby spinach, cooked (optional)

Method

1. Cook the freekah according to packet instructions.

2. Make the dressing by whisking lemon juice, zest, salt, cumin, corrainder, crushed garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

3. When the freekah is cooked, drain and let cool.

4. Add freekah to dressing and mix until well coated. Add chicken, herbs, feta, tomato and spinach and mix again gently until everything is coated in the dressing. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.

 

Dinner, Eating In

Poached Chicken Risotto

June 10, 2014
poached chicken risotto

Have you poached chicken breast before? When I first read the instructions for a poached chicken breast, I was sceptical that some water, bay leaves, and peppercorns would bring flavour to the meat. I was wrong. If you haven’t poached a chicken breast before, you will be amazed at how fragrant the water becomes and the way that it flavours the chicken.

Poaching a chicken breast, stops the meat from drying out and at the same time, is a healthy alternative method of cooking as there is little fat involved. It is a great option for take to work lunches, as the chicken can be added to sandwiches and salads. I added my chicken to risotto with some tarragon leaves and a drizzle of truffle oil.

In a way, this post is a Trumpeting Tuesday post as I got the recipe from the ‘What Katie Ate’ cookbook. Katie Quinn Davies is a blogger based in Sydney and her photographs, and cookbook are divine.

Poached Chicken Risotto
Recipe from ‘What Katie Ate, Recipes and  other Bits & Bobs’ pg 190

 

½ tsp black peppercorn
2 dried bay leaves
2 x 200g free-range chicken breast fillets
1.2 ltr chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
50g butter
1 white onion, finely chopped
300g arborio rice
100ml white wine
Small handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g pecorino, grated, plus extra to serve
White truffle oil, for drizzling
A few tarragon leaves, optional

 

Method

1. Place the bay leaves, peppercorns and 750 millilitres of water in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes to infuse the flavours. Add the chicken breasts, then cover and simmer over a low heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly, then drain and tear the chicken into strips.
2. Pour the stock into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to very low, then cover and keep it warm until needed.
3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy-based saucepan or flameproof casserole dish until the butter has melted. Add the onion and cook for five to 10 minutes or until softened. Add the rice and stir to coat with the onion mixture, then pour in the wine and simmer, stirring, until the liquid has reduced a little.
4. Add a ladleful of warm stock to the rice and cook, stirring, until it has been completely absorbed. Continue adding the stock in this way until there is only one ladleful of stock left in the pan. Add the chicken, parsley and finally, the remaining stock. Stir to combine, then season to taste with salt and pepper. By now, the risotto should have a lovely creamy consistency. When the last of the stock has been absorbed, stir in the pecorino.
5. To serve, spoon portions of the risotto onto plates. Drizzle with a little white truffle oil, add a scattering of extra pecorino and one or two tarragon leaves (if using) then finish with a final grind of black pepper.

Baking, Eating In

Chai Chiffon Cake

June 9, 2014
chai chiffon cake & slice

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest and Foodgawker lately and keep seeing chiffon cakes pop up. Chiffon cake, like the material it is named after, is a light and airy cake. The lightness comes from the beaten egg whites which are folded into the cake batter before it is baked. It is a long weekend here in Australia and it seemed like the right time to experiment and make one. We had my sister in law over for lunch on Sunday and as she enjoys chai tea I decided to make a chai chiffon cake as I thought the delicate flavour of the chai would compliment the lightness of the cake.

I have never made a chiffon cake before and was lucky to find a great post on Jo the Tart Queen with loads of hints and tips, as they can be quite difficult.  I adapted the recipe to make the cake a chai one, by steeping 2 chai teabags in the milk and water which I warmed slightly. I also tore open a 3rd tea bag and added the contents when I was beating the egg yolks, which added more chai flavour as I wasn’t sure that the milky chai would be enough for the flavour to come through.

I decorated the cake with some whipped cream and cinnamon, to give it a chai latte appearance, but I think icing sugar and cinnamon would work well too. It is a very delicate cake, so a buttercream icing may tear it.

It is also important to use the right tin, try and avoid using a non stick as much as possible and do not grease the tin, I used an aluminium angel cake tin and it came out perfectly without greasing. On a final note, wait until the cake is completely cool before removing it from the tin, don’t be tempted to remove it before then as you will more than likely end up with a broken cake.

How do you like to spend your long weekends? Have you made a chiffon cake before?

chai chiffon cakechai chiffon cake slicechai chiffon cake & slice

 

Chai Chiffon Cake
Recipe adapted from Jo the Tart Queen

Group A
5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
150g granulated sugar
85ml neutral oil such as canola or grape seed
35ml full cream milk
40ml water
160g cake flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon double acting baking powder (I used Wards), sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 chai teabags

Group B
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
100g caster sugar

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Get your cake tin out and remember not to grease it.
2. Warm milk and water on stove or in microwave and place 2 chai teabags in the liquid to steep for 5 minutes.
3. Whisk yolks, sugar and the contents of the third teabag until pale and light. Add in the oil and whisk until incorporated.
4. Add in the chai infused milky water, then whisk in sifted dry ingredients until there are no lumps
5. Use a stand or hand held mixer to whip the egg whites. If you are using a stand mixer, use the whist attachment and whisk on medium speed until egg whites are foamy, turn the mixer to high and mix until soft peaks appear.
6. Gradually add caster sugar in small additions so that it has time to dissolve and mix until the egg whites become glossy and have stiff peaks.
7. Add 1/4 of the egg whites to the cake batter and gently whisk until well incorporated. By doing this, we are bringing the batter to a similar texture to the egg whites which will make it easier for folding in the remaining egg white mixture.
8. Add 1/2 of the remaining egg whites and gently fold in using a rubber spatula. Once you can no longer see the whites, fold in the remaining egg whites.
9. Gently pour the batter into the tin and using a rubber spatula, smooth out the top of the cake. Tap the tin lightly on the kitchen counter twice to remove air bubbles.
10. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes. After 25 minutes check on the cake and if the top is beginning to brown too much or crack, cover with tin foil. You can also turn the temperature down to 170-175 C.
11. The cake is ready when the top is lightly brown and springs back when touched.
12. Remove cake from oven and place upside down on a cooling rack so that the base of the cake tin is facing up. When the cake is completely cooled, run a palate knife lightly around the edge , if you do have a removable base, gently tap around the base of the cake tin to help the cake come out. Try not to yank or force the cake out as it is very delicate.
13. Serve with whipped cream or with icing sugar. The cake will last for around 3 days and should be kept in an airtight container. If like me you decorated it with whipped cream, it is best stored in the fridge.

Desserts, Eating In

Philly Toblerone Cheesecake

June 3, 2014
Toblerone cheesecake slice

Okay, so I am going to put it out there and tell you that I love Mondays. Yes, I know we are supposed to be united in our hatred of Monday, but I am fortunate in that every Monday night I get together with my husband and four of some of our best friends for dinner. We each take turns at hosting dinner, and this Monday it was our turn.

One of my favourite things about our dinners is that I get to make new dishes. I am particularly fond of trying new dessert options, Nathan had suggested a Toblerone cheesecake a few weeks ago and because our main meal wasn’t too rich, I thought this was a good time to try it out.

This is one of those fantastic cheesecake recipes that you don’t need to bake, you make the base, mix the filling together and put it into the fridge to set – great when you are busy with work and all the other activities that get in the way of cooking and eating 😉

Like the last Philadelphia cheesecake recipe I made, this is pretty decadent and you won’t need much to feel like your chocolate craving has been satisfied.

Do you have a particular day of week you enjoy? And whats your favourite dessert to make when you have guests?

Toblerone cheesecake

Toblerone cheesecake slice

Philadelphia Toblerone Cheesecake
Recipe courtesy of Philadelphia Cream Cheese

1 cup plain chocolate biscuit crumbs
80g butter, melted
1/4 cup ground almonds

500g cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
200g Toblerone chocolate and another 200g for shaving
1/2 cup thickened cream

Method

1. Combine biscuit crumbs, butter and almonds. Press into the base of a lightly greased and paper line 20cm springform cake tin and place in fridge to chill.
2. Melt toblerone in a heatproof bowl placed over a bowl of simmering water.
3.  Beat cream cheese and sugar using an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the melted toblerone and cream until well combined.
4. Pour into the chilled biscuit base and place in the fridge to set for 2-3 hours, or overnight.
5. Serve topped with shaved toblerone.

Eating In

Pearl barley and chai porridge

May 30, 2014
Pear barley porridge and berries

Porridge is one of those fantastic winter breakfasts, that warms you up and keeps you satisfied until lunch time. I love the versatility of porridge and often have it with tinned peaches and yoghurt or, soy milk and cinnamon. As awesome as porridge is, I wanted to experiment with pearl barley as the main ingredient and I remembered seeing this recipe  from Not Quite Nigella. Having a milky chai seemed a good combination to go with the nutty flavour that pearl barley produces, and I had some berries in the freezer so I had to try and make pearl barley porridge infused with chai.

You will need more water than usual to cook the pearl barley to give it more of a ‘porridge’ consistency. I only used 1 tea bag in the milk but I think 2 would be better to get a stronger hit of the chai taste.

This is the perfect breakfast for a chilly weekend morning, when you want to curl up in front of the heater and enjoy the day. Although the pearl barley takes a little while to cook, this is a recipe that requires few steps. All you need to do is cook the pearl barley and warm the milk. Easy.

Have a lovely weekend everybody 🙂

Pear barley porridge and berries 1 Bowl of pearl barley porridge

Pearl Barley and Chai Porridge

1/2 cup pearl barley
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup milk
1-2 chai/cinnamon tea bags
raspberries, blueberries or fruit of choice (optional)
cinnamon for sprinkling

Method

1. Place the pearl barley and water in a pot and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 25 – 30 minutes or until barley is soft and plump.
2. In the last few minutes of the barley cooking, heat the milk gently with the teabag/s. Remove tea bags when heated.
3. Drain the pearl barley of any excess water, place in bowl and pour milk over. Sprinkle over cinnamon and scatter fruit over the porridge.

Eating Out, Melbourne

Woodland House, Williams Road, Melbourne

May 28, 2014
Woodland House

Located in the former Jacques Reymond premises, Woodland House is a fine dining establishment that is run by two of Jacques Reymond’s former chefs. Set in a grand in an old Victorian mansion, the dining room is elegant and we were seated in front of a window with views overlooking the fountain.

As it was a Sunday lunch, there were two options to choose from, a four course menu at $80 per person or a six course menu at $110 per person. In the name of food blogging, we opted for the six course menu. Neither of the menu options include wine so they are on the pricier side, but as Woodland House markets themselves as a fine dining restaurant this is not too surprising.

We are greeted at the door and seated quickly, and asked if we would like a glass of champagne or if we would prefer to take a look at the wine list. We opt to look at the wine list as this suits us better, but the offer of champagne is a nice touch. Before we begin, we are given 4 giant purple potato chips, served on a log with sections cut out for the chips to sit in. Made from purple congo potatoes and tapioca, that are then dried and served wafer thin, these don’t have a particularly strong taste but are more a fun conversation starter.

Purple potato chips

Purple potato chips

Service is incredibly attentive, and when our first course comes out we are told that the aged balsamic is in the form of balsamic pearls that burst in the mouth in a light vinegary flavour. This dish is a fresh take on the traditional tomato and mozzarella salad, with the flavours of the basil, balsamic, and mozzarella clearly there but served in a different way. It was light and clean tasting which is perfect for a first course.

Tomato and sweet peppers

Tomato & sweet peppers, buffalo mozzarella, aged balsamic

Our second course of cured salmon is beautifully presented, with the colour of the salmon and prawns standing out on the plate. It is served with a crème fraiche that tastes as though it has some avocado in it, and the smoked eel foam brings a deepness to the dish. The prawns are delicious and so fresh that I could still smell the ocean.  Although the flavours work really well when combined, the salmon alone doesn’t have much taste which let the dish down a bit.

Cured salmon

Cured salmon, watercress and crème fraiche, Port Lincoln prawn

The next course was another fish dish featuring a King George Whiting, a fine-flaked and delicate tasting fish. Served on a bed of squid ink pasta with wild pine mushrooms cooked in a seaweed butter, this dish was superb. The flavours of the mushroom didn’t overwhelm the white fish and the squid ink pasta was a beautiful and startling contrast on the plate.

King George Whiting

King George Whiting, cuttlefish and ink, wild pine mushrooms

A Flinders Island wallaby was the next dish to be served and I had worried that it might be tough due to the leanness of the meat (and because it was a wallaby and they’re pretty cute) all my concerns were cast aside though (sorry wallaby) as the meat was wonderfully tender. Grilled palm heart and candied cumquats accompanied the meat and gave wonderful bursts of sweet, citrus flavours.

Flinders Island wallaby

Flinders Island wallaby, grilled palm heart and candied cumquat

Our fifth course was the veal de jour featuring a beautifully cooked piece of veal and resting on top, was a young asparagus stalk. I couldn’t complain about anything on this plate, again the meat was tender and the combination of flavours was fantastic. I felt that care was taken into plating and, like all the previous dishes, it was gorgeous to look at. I apologise for the lack of detail about the sauces, but I was so taken by how fantastic this tasted that I forgot to take notes. I will have to return.

Veal de jour

Veal de jour

Dessert is a zingy and light rhubarb and lemon dish but served with two warm donuts one with a rhubarb filling and the other with a salt water caramel filling. I had to save the salt water caramel donut for last given my love obsession with any form of salt and caramel. I enjoyed every bite of this dessert, the zestiness of the lemon combined with the wattletree crumb and the rhubarb were a wonderful combination and one I would go back for. The donuts were served warm and were seriously good. What I really enjoyed about this dessert was how light it was, the two donuts added to it rather than make it heavy. Definitely a dessert success.

Rhubarb, elderberry, roasted lemon

Rhubarb, elderberry, roasted lemon

We finished the meal off with coffee and tea. I didn’t have a regular green tea, instead I had green tea and popcorn, an intriguing combination and one I had to try. It was surprisingly good with only a hint of popcorn in the green tea which I enjoyed.

Green tea and popcorn

Green tea and popcorn

We left feeling satisfied and well cared for. The attentiveness of  the staff as well as their description of each dish was faultless and made for a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience. Don’t be fooled by the menu’s basic descriptions, this is food that is innovative and respectful of the ingredients used.
Woodland House on Urbanspoon

Featured image used courtesy of urbanspoon.com.au

 

Dinner, Eating In

Trumpeting Tuesdays: Ana from Healthooray

May 27, 2014

This weeks Trumpeting Tuesday focuses on Ana from Healthooray, an awesome health focused blog based in Canada. Ana has been an awesome support person over the past few weeks and I’m really excited to have her contribute today

Hi, everyone! Ana here guest, posting on Eating with Katie. Thank you to the wonderful Katie for inviting me over for a virtual vegan lunch, I am very grateful!  I am stoked to do this guest post, because this is the first one in my life! So, I am savouring every moment of it.

I run a health-oriented, plant-based blog so, naturally, I am bringing to you a savoury, plant-based dish perfect for dinners and lunches, and especially for take-your-lunch-to-work kind of days (which should be most days but I’m not judging). Instead of buying a sad sandwich somewhere around the corner, you open your lunch box and there it is – creamy, yummy, filling and healthy. Oh, let me explain the “deconstructed” bit. I initially intended to make constructed kind of skins. But the lazy person in me decided it’s too much work to stuff them back into the skins and bake them, and just decided to leave them be – free and deconstructed. Oh, and please add in some avocados and sauerkraut on the side. Besides getting your probiotics and healthy fats, it really completes the meal.

Over at Healthooray, with every recipe I have a section called “Ingredient Limelight” where I talk about a specific ingredient from the recipe, highlighting what it does to our bodies, what it has in terms of vitamins and minerals, if there’s anything we should lookout for, as well as, forms, varieties and cooking. Today let’s take a look at sweet potatoes:

INGREDIENT LIMELIGHT: Sweet Potato

What it is: Sweet potato is a root vegetable and it is very distantly related to potatoes (think 19th cousin) and does not come from the nightshade family (of which potatoes, eggplants are part of). Sweet potatoes origins date back to 8,000BC in South America, and about 5,000BC Central America, so they’ve been around for quite a while. They like a steady warm temperature and no frost, so they are grown in warmer places (China being the leader of sweet potato production – and half of their production being used to feed livestock). What’s interesting, Papua New Guinea is the leader of sweet potato consumption, with about 500KG consumed per person per year.

What it does: Sweet potato is a gem of a potato. It has antioxidants, anthocyanins (purple kind), fiber, vitamins and minerals. So, as I mentioned in my expose on carrots, orange or yellow colored vegetables are high in beta carotene, the precursor to vitamin A in the body. And, just like with carrots, beta carotene becomes more available to humans when you steam, boil or roast the potato and add a little fat to it. A Harvard University study showed that people eating foods rich in carotenoids had 32% less chances of getting lung cancer. Another study on women, showed that women with the highest concentration of carotenoids in the blood (meaning, those who eat a lot of beta carotene rich foods) had their chances to get a cancer recurrence significantly lowered. Also, beta carotene is transformed in vitamin A in our bodies which protects our eye sight, immune function, skin and many other things. The purple sweet potato has anthocyanins, just like the eggplant. But unlike eggplant that has anthocyanins in its skin, purple sweet potato has it in its flesh too. Other types of sweet potatoes have color-related pigments. These color-related pigments along with anthocyanins have been shown to lower inflammation in the brain and nerve tissue of animals. This area, though, needs a lot more studies to be performed on humans to fully understand the function of these color-related pigments. Another understudied component of sweet potatoes is something called resin glycosides which are sugar and starch related molecules. Some studies show that they might have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, but further research is needed in this area as well. The fiber content is high in sweet potatoes, and it lowers cholesterol, regulates blood sugar, and improves digestion and elimination. And if that’s not enough, it is a very good source of B6 which is responsible in lowering homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine is one of the causes of hardening of the arteries and blood vessels, so sweet potato offers protection to the cardiovascular system. So what’s exciting about sweet potatoes, is that, besides all the wonderful known things it does to human health, there are areas still to be researched and explored that can explain even further health benefits of this wonderful vegetable.

What it has: Sweet potato is an excellent source of beta carotene (vitamin A), a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid. It is also a good source of fiber, biotin, potassium, vitamins B1, 2 and 3.

What to lookout for: Sweet potatoes can be considered somewhat high in oxalates. To read more about oxalates, head on over here.

Forms, varieties and cooking: Most commonly, you can find yellow or orange sweet potatoes in the stores. However there are a ton of types of sweet potatoes and the flesh color may vary from white, yellow and orange to red, pink, violet and purple (and their health benefits differ based on their respective color pigments too). I’ve heard that purple sweet potatoes are even sweeter than the regular ones we usually find in stores. Also, yams and sweet potatoes are not interchangeable. In fact, yams are not even a part of sweet potato family (let’s call them acquaintances) and have a different nutritional profile. In North America, though, “yams” and “sweet potatoes” are used interchangeably, so if you are looking for the real yam, then check out an international market more focused on tropical fruits and vegetables. In terms of cooking – your hands are free to do whatever you want. From roasting, boiling and steaming to stir frying, pan frying and even dehydrating. And the recipes are endless – salads, soups, mashed potatoes, pies, spreads. You name it!

 

Deconstructed Southwestern Sweet Potato Skins

deconstructed sweet potato

Deconstructed sweet potato skins

 

Ingredients:
4 sweet potatoes
3 cups corn (fresh or frozen and defrosted)
2 cups cooked black beans
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 Tablespoons tahini paste
1/4 cup Daiya cheese (optional)

Spices and seasoning:
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
Sea salt, to taste
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Instructions:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400F. Bake whole sweet potatoes (directly on the rack), until a knife can be inserted easily. It should take about an hour, depending on the size of your sweet potato. Or, you can boil them until a knife is easily inserted in the middle.

Step 2: Meanwhile, sauté onions in a bit of coconut oil until browned. Add defrosted corn (or fresh) and just leave it there, don’t mix for a minute or so to achieve some browning on the corn kernels. Add the liquid smoke and diced green pepper, mix. When green peppers have softened (it should take a couple of minutes) add in the cooked black beans and mix.

Step 3: Check on your sweet potatoes, if they are ready, take them out, wait for them to cool and then cube them to match (very roughly) the size of the green peppers and add to the corn-bean mixture. At this stage, if your corn-bean mixture is ready, set it aside in the pan and then put it back on medium heat when you add in the cubed sweet potatoes. Add the spices and salt to taste. Mix in the tahini paste and Daiya cheese, if using.

Step 4: Heat through and wait until everything is melty and creamy. Munch!

Baking, Eating In

Chilli Chocolate Cupcakes

May 26, 2014

This weekend, I attended a Mexican themed birthday party. I love a good theme and as we were all asked to bring a Mexican themed plate I was excited to try something different. My initial thoughts were to make a cupcake that looked like a taco or nachos. This involved a of fondant and design skill, neither of which I currently have so it was back to the drawing board.

The combination of chilli and chocolate is an ancient one dating back to the Aztecs, and also features in Mexican cuisine and I had a recipe for chocolate cupcakes that was easily adaptable. Chocolate and chilli are a surprisingly good combination, and at first bite you think that the chocolate has overpowered the chilli and then BAM! the heat hits you with an explosion of flavour.

I used hot cayenne pepper in this recipe as well as chilli oil but you can use a mild cayenne to suit your tastes, it isn’t an overwhelming burning heat but it’s definitely there. The mixture will look really thick and you will think that there isn’t enough for the cupcake cases, but as self-raising flour is used, they rise well and a tablespoon of mixture is enough for each case.

Hope you enjoy these and the look on peoples faces when they bite into them! Have a fantastic week everyone! Also if you would like to receive email updates when new blog posts go up, you can now do so using the ‘newsletter signup’ in the side bar 🙂

cupcake and oilcupcake cupcakes on rackcupcake & oilchilli flakes & cupcakeschili cupcakes rack

Chilli Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Simple & Delicious Cupcakes

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar 2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup dark chocolate chopped
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon chilli powder/oil

Icing
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon milk, plus more if needed

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Put 15 paper double layer paper cases on 2 baking trays.
2. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and then the milk.
3. Fold in the chocolate. Sift the flour cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne and chilli powder and fold gently into mixture. Spoon a tablespoon of mixture into the cases and smooth the tops.
4. Bake for 20 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
5. For the icing, beat the butter until light and fluffy and then add icing sugar and cocoa a little at a time until fully incorporated. Add milk. Spoon icing into a piping bag or spread directly onto cupcakes.