Saturday, 15 December 2012

summer means salads

I love this time of year, the weather is warmer, the days are longer and holidays are imminent.  Also, it's stone fruit season!  Nothing beats a fresh and crunchy nectarine whilst basking in the sunny glow of beautiful days :)
They also taste great in salads, perfect!

White nectarine and tofu salad
Serves 2 as a side or 1 as a light meal


1 white nectarine sliced into wedges
2 handfuls of rocket
1/8 cup red onion thinly sliced
1/2 lemon juiced
100 g firm tofu sliced into 0.5 cm thickness
sea salt and freshly crushed pepper to taste


Heat up a small frying pan and place nectarine wedges, flesh side down.  (I used a non-stick frying pan so didn't need to add oil)
Cook for about 3 minutes each side, they should be a little bit caramelised.
Remove from heat and now cook tofu on each side.  Again I didn't use any oil but feel free to if you prefer.
In a medium sized bowl, combine your vegetables, nectarine and tofu. Pour in the lemon juice and seasoning and get your hands in there and give it a gentle but thorough mix so that everything is coated evenly.
Serve and enjoy.

I'm really loving adding fruit to my salads lately, the flavours of sweet and savoury really work well together, and they also add a different texture depending on what you do with them.  I specially love apples in salads and here are two recipes that uses them in two different ways.

Apple Slaw
Serves 1


1/2 red apple thinly sliced (I used pink lady because of their tart flavour)
1 cup red cabbage shredded
1 TBS slivered almonds
1 cup of spinach shredded 
1 TBS dried cranberries
1/2 lemon juiced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Combine all ingredients in a bowl serve.

Baked apple and pumpkin salad
Serves 4 as a side


2 granny smith apples
4 cups of pumpkin chunks
4 handfuls of rocket
3/4 cup bertoli beans
1/4 cup walnut halves chopped
2 TBS dried cranberries
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Pre-heat oven to 180 degress celcius.  Line a tray with baking paper.
Peel and core apples, cut them into thick wedges and place on tray, along with pumpkin pieces.
Bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until pumpkin is cooked.
Once cooked, remove from oven and leave to cool for about 20 minutes.  
In a screw top jar, add balsamic vinegar, olive oil and seasoning.  Shake to emulsify.
In a medium sized bowl, place rocket, beans, walnuts and cranberries. Add the pumpkin and apples and toss gently. 
Serve and enjoy.

And did I mention that I also LOVE figs!  If they weren't so pricey, I'd eat them everyday!!

Fig and spinach salad
Serves 1


1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 fig sliced into thin wedges
1/4 cup yellow capsicum strips
1/4 cup corn kernels
1 TBS goji berries
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper


Place spinach, capsicum and corn kernels in a bowl, add vinegar and mix gently.  Add figs and give it another gentle toss.  Sprinkle with goji berries and serve.

And now to some warm yumminess.....

Baked eggplant with spicy tomato quinoa stuffing
Serves 2


1 large eggplant
1 1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce
1/2 cup quinoa
1 clove of garlic crushed
1/2 brown onion chopped
1 TBS tomato paste
1 tsp harissa paste
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 TBS parsley chopped
6 kalamata olives sliced
1/2 vegan stock cube
3/4 cup water


Eggplant flesh (from the baked eggplant)
1/8 cup parsley
1 clove of garlic
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 tsp sea salt


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Cut eggplant in half lengthways.
In a baking dish, add tomato pasta sauce  and place eggplant, skin side down.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until eggplant is brown and golden on the top.
In a medium saucepan, add garlic, onion, spices, and both tomato and harissa paste.  Add a little bit of water and mix it all together.  Place over medium heat and cover with lid.  Cook for approximately 4 minutes, until onion is soft.  Whilst it's cooking, rinse quinoa thoroughly and add to saucepan.  Add water, olives and stock cube.  Cover and cook on low-medium heat for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked.  If it looks too dry and the quinoa is still not cooked, add a little bit more water.  Once cooked, remove from heat and stir in parsley.
When eggplant is ready, remove from oven and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1.5 cm edge.  Keep the scooped out flesh for the dressing.  
Place quinoa into eggplant cavity.  To serve, place some of the pasta sauce on the bottom of the plate in a circular pattern and place stuffed quinoa on top.
For the dressing, blend together all ingredients and pipe on to top of quinoa.
Serve on it's own, or with a side of rocket salad with lemon juice dressing.

I've been working on some cakes, so I will post those next.  Look out for berry vanilla cake, upside down pineapple cake and a marble cake.  YUM!!

Not sure if I'll get to post before Christmas so if I don't, I just want to wish you all a great Christmas and a wonderful new year.  I hope that you spend it with your loved ones, enjoying their presence and being present in the moment.  I know for me, I will be reflecting on the year that was, and taking the time to be extra thankful to mother earth for the wonderful blessings she has bestowed on me.  Couldn't be luckier really.  So blessed.

Peas, love and mungbeans


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