Roasted Pumpkin and Carrot Soup

Soup
There is no better time to have soup than winter. While the soup we make at home is normally cooked on a stove with chunks of vegetables, this was my first attempt to make a soup-puree. It turned out really well.

Ingredients (serves 6):
1 kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped into cubes
500g carrots, chopped, skin on
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 litre water
1 tsp grated ginger

Method:
Preheat oven to 200C. Place pumpkin onto a lined baking tray. Place carrots onto a separate lined baking tray. Drizzle the olive oil between the two trays and season both with salt, pepper and the cinnamon. Mix the oil and seasoning with your fingers through veggies. Roast for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through and have caramelised. Place pumpkin and carrots into a blender, add the water and the ginger and puree until smooth. To adjust consistency, add some more water. Serve soup hot with your choice of side serving (I used home-made basil pesto). Enjoy!

Chicken Kebabs

chicken kebabs
The secret to a nice chicken kebab is a marinade. This one combines so many flavours and tastes simply delicious.

Ingredients:
500g chicken breast
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of salt

Method:
Combine all ingredients (except chicken) in a bowl. Cut chicken into 2cm cubes and mix into the marinade. Leave the chicken to marinade overnight. Soak 6 wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Thread chicken onto skewers. On BBQ or large grill plate, cook the skewers on high heat for approximately 5 minutes each side. Serve with a salad or side dish of your choice.

Rosemary and Tomato Barley Risotto With Mozzarella

Risotto
This recipe has been in my cook book for a while and only last weekend I decided to give it a go. While I was making it, I wasn’t sure if it would turn out nicely but after having a little taste of it mid-way through, I was pleasantly surprised how well the flavour combination worked. This dish will definitely become one of our regulars.

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 tbs olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium red capsicum, sliced
1 tbs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups pearl barley
1.25L (5 cups) vegetable stock
500g fresh tomatoes, processed
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
200g buffalo mozzarella, torn
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Method:
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook onion, garlic, capsicum and rosemary for 5 minutes or until tender. Add barley; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock, tomatoes and rind; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until barley is tender. Season to taste. Spoon risotto into plates; top with mozzarella and sprinkle with parsley.

Orecchiette With Broccoli & Pine Nuts

pasta

Every couple or family has a traditional pasta dish which they always reach out to for an easy-night-cooking or when there are not many ingredients left in the fridge. This recipe is our regular dish which we don’t seem to get tired of. This is also a great dish to have before a big sporting event like running, swimming or triathlon. This recipe comes from the book called “Eamon’s Kitchen” by Eamon Sullivan, an Australian sprint swimmer and an Olympian.

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
1/4 cup (40g) pine nuts
sea salt
black paper
250g orecchiette
1 bunch baby broccoli, trimmed, stalks and head finely chopped
1/3 cup (40g) fresh or frozen peas

Method:
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes or until soft. Add the pine nuts and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes or until sweet and sticky. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a rapid boil. Cook the orecchiette according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Three minutes before the pasta is ready, add the broccoli and peas. Drain the pasta and add the onion mixture, stirring to combine. To serve, divide between serving bowls and add a twist of pepper.

Roasted Carrots, Asparagus and Smashed Potatoes

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I take my veggies very seriously and incorporate them into my daily meals. Without trying to declare myself a vegetarian, I always prefer roasted or fresh vegetables over anything else. I also like to cook with seasonal vegetables which bring lots of variety into my diet. Last week I found this recipe in one of my favourite magazines and made it soon after. The dish turned out absolutely delicious – macadamia nuts add a lovely twist. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4):
700g baby potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
340g green asparagus, trimmed
340g dutch carrots, trimmed
3/4 cup macadamias, chopped coarsely
100g shaved parmesan (optional)

Method:
Preheat the oven to 220C. Boil the potatoes until they are just tender, drain. Press the warm potatoes lightly inside a tea towel within the palm of your hand. Place potatoes in a large shallow baking dish, add carrots and season to taste. Drizzle half the olive oil over the potatoes and carrots, roast for 20 minutes. Add the green asparagus to the potatoes; drizzle with the remaining oil and sprinkle with the nuts. Roast in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes or until the edges of the potatoes are crisp and golden and the asparagus is tender. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower & Haloumi Salad with Sumac

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This is one of my favourite dishes!

(serves 2-3)

1/2 large cauliflower
1 cup green beans
1 small can chickpeas
2 tbs olive oil
120g haloumi cheese
1 tbs sumac spice
2 tbs sultanas
2 tbs pine nuts
lemon juice to serve

Preheat oven to 200C. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and place evenly onto a baking dish. Trim the green beans and mix with the cauliflower, then add the chickpeas. Drizzle the olive oil over cauliflower mixture and mix through. Place into the oven for about 25 min. Slice the haloumi cheese into pieces and place onto a separate baking tray, spray with a bit of oil and bake in the oven until brown and caramelised. Remove the cauliflower, beans and chickpeas from the oven and dust generously with the sumac. Stir through the sultanas and pine nuts, then season with a little salt and pepper. Place the cheese on a plate, and spoon the warm salad over the top. Squeeze some lemon juice over the salad and serve. Enjoy!

Recipe from Women’s Fitness Magazine