Bruschetta Alla Contadina

Bruschetta Alla Contadina

I like watching cooking shows and taking notes of recipes that people are so kind to share. I sourced this recipe from a show called Celebrity Come Dine With Me Australia which I have already made for a couple of dinner parties this summer. It’s a great entrée, especially for an Italian-themed menu.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cloves garlic
2 brown onions
150g button mushrooms
Olive oil
Bread, thick cut 4 slices
200g full cream ricotta
100g rocket
1 wedge of parmesan cheese
1 pear
Vincotto or Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Method:
Crush 1 garlic clove. Finely chop onion and mushroom. Put a table spoon of olive oil into a hot pan and add the garlic. When garlic is slightly brown, add mushrooms. Cook mushrooms until browned. Remove and let cool in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to hot pan and add onion, cook until golden brown. Place in a separate bowl to cool. Toast the bread.
Once bread is toasted drizzle olive oil over the bread. Rub 1/2 garlic clove over the toast for flavour. Spread a tablespoon of ricotta over toast. Spread onion and mushroom over the top. Sprinkle the rocket over the mushroom and onions. Shave parmesan over the top as desired. Shave the pear and place over the top for decoration. Drizzle Vincotto for added flavour. Salt and pepper as desired.

Easy Dips: Part 2

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As promised in my earlier post, here are my other three favourite dips which I love to have as a starter or as a lazy Sunday afternoon snack at home. Vegetable sticks bring lots of additional flavour to them.

Tzatziki
200g plain Greek-style yoghurt
1 cucumber, peeled, halved and seeded
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 tablespoons juice of fresh lemon
salt, to taste

Coarsely grate the cucumber and squeeze out excess moisture with your hands. Combine yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, chives and lemon juice in a bowl and mix well. Season with salt, cover and keep in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving to allow flavours to develop.

Baba Ganoush
2 medium eggplants
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup juice of fresh lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 190-200C. Poke the eggplants in several places with the tines of fork. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet or foil, cut side down, and roast until very tender, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and the salt in a medium bowl. When the eggplants are cool enough, scrape out the flesh, add tahini mixture and combine in a food processor until smooth. Stir in parsley and drizzle the top with olive oil before serving.

Roasted Capsicum
2 red capsicums, roasted and cooled
100g cream cheese, softened
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup basil leaves, finely copped
salt and pepper, to taste

Place capsicum, cream cheese, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth. Spoon mixture in a bowl, add basil and serve.

Easy Dips: Part 1

dips

Dips are the best starters at any party or event. They are by far the healthiest appetisers and can be served with vegetable sticks instead of traditional crackers. I love most dips but have a list of favourites, the recipes of which I’d like to share over the next few weeks.

Hummus
400g tin soaked chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 basil leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon tahini
salt to taste

Simply place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve with carrot, cucumber or celery sticks.

Guacamole
1 ripe tomato, diced into cubes
2-3 avocados, very ripe but not bruised
juice of 1/2 lime
handful coriander, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red or green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
salt to taste

Place the flesh of the avocados into a bowl and mash with a fork to create a slightly chunky mix. Add the tomato cubes and the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and stir to combine. Serve with carrot, cucumber or celery sticks.

Egyptian Beetroot
2-3 beetroots, cooked in water
1/2 cup low fat yoghurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Finely chop, grate or process the beetroot in a food processor, then transfer the flesh into a serving bowl. Add the yoghurt and other ingredients and mix well. Season to taste and serve with vegetable sticks or warm crusty bread.

Easter Devilled Eggs

Easter Devilled Eggs

There is no better excuse for making Devilled Eggs than Easter. They are quick and relatively easy to make and taste absolutely delicious. They can be made in advance and served as an appetizer for any occasion. I used Nigella’s traditional recipe with a little twist. I wanted to incorporate the Easter’s egg-dying tradition into my little appetizers. I used beetroot and white vinegar to achieve that pinkish look which has also infused the eggs with some additional flavour. Since this is my first attempt, I was very satisfied with the result.

Ingredients:
6 large eggs
1 small beetroot, peeled and thickly sliced
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon English mustard powder
salt (to taste)
paprika

Method:
Bring eggs to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Take off the heat, drain and set aside to cool. While the eggs are cooling, boil the slices of beetroot and white vinegar. Transfer the mixture into a large jar. Once the eggs are cool, de-shell them and place into the jar with the betroot mixture. Leave the eggs there to dye for 2-3 hours or until desired colour. Take the eggs out, let them dry and then slice in half lengthwise with a non-serrated knife. Pop out the yolks into a medium bowl and put whites aside. Add most of the mayonnaise, all the vinegar and mustard into the bowl. You can use a handled mixer to combine well, then taste. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more mayonnaise. You can just spoon the whites at this point or put filling into a pastry bag fitted with a big star tip. Pipe into the center of the whites so they rise well above the flats of the whites. Sprinkle paprika and it’s ready to be served.

Energy Balls

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These energy balls are very high in calories so please remember no more than one ball a day and only before the workout. This is not something you can have with your tea after dinner.

Makes 12-14

2 cups dates, pitted
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup LSA (linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds)
2 tbs coconut oil
1⁄2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup organic desiccated coconut

Place dates, almond meal, LSA, walnuts, coconut oil and cacao powder in a blender or food processor and whizz until well combined. The mixture should be a bit crumbly, but not too dry, so add another teaspoon of coconut oil if you need to. Roll into little balls and toss through the desiccated coconut. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to set.
Enjoy and remember no more than one!