Baked Eggplant Layer

From Healthy Food Guide March 2013.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 eggplants sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190c. Arrange eggplant slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spray/paint with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick pan and cook onion and garlic until softened.
  3. Add tomatoes, pesto, sugar and chilli. Simmer for about 4 minutes until sauce has reduced. Add most of the basil. Season to taste.
  4. Place half of eggplant slices in lightly greased baking dish. Spoon over half of the sauce. Repeat layers.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and serve garnished with remainder of the fresh basil.

Tabouli, taboule, tabbouleh, tabouleh

This is a straight cut’n’paste of the delicious tabouli recipe from here (well, with half as much pepper). I make it quite a lot and got tired of searching for it each time.

  • 2 cups bulgur or cracked wheat
  • 2 cups very hot water
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, (8) sliced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh chopped mint, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

 

Method

  1. Soak the cracked wheat in the hot water until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. When it’s ready, drain any excess water, if necessary, and squeeze dry.
  2. Meantime, prepare the vegetables for the salad and mix the dressing ingredients together. Set aside.
  3. Stir the prepared bulghur, other salad ingredients, and dressing together in a medium bowl.
  4. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes about 8 cups, 12 to 16 servings.

 

Jemima helps make egg pie

Jemima has been helping me in kitchen for a while now. Here is a simple egg pie recipe with lots of easy and fun steps for toddlers to do. (summary of instructions below)

1. Jemima adding cheese to egg pie

Jemima adding cheese to egg pie

2. Jemima concentrating hard while spooning frozen veggies

Jemima concentrating hard while spooning frozen veggies

3. Kim and Jemima breaking eggs

Kim and Jemima breaking eggs

4. Jemima beating egg mixture

Jemima beating egg mixture

5. Jemima glazing the pie

Jemima glazing the pie

6. Jemima poking holes in pie

Jemima poking holes in the pie

7. Jemima eating the pie

Jemima eating the pie

Summary of steps

  1. Turn oven on to 190c
  2. Take out two sheets of flakey pastry and let them thaw a little to make them easier to use (5 minutes or so)
  3. Grease a square tin with butter
  4. Put one sheet of pastry on the bottom of the tin
  5. Slice a leek and put on top of the pastry
  6. Put in frozen corn or veggies
  7. Put in grated cheese
  8. Mix 8 eggs and pour over leeks, cheese and frozen veggies
  9. Put other sheet of pastry on top, brush with egg and prick a few times
  10. Put in oven for approximately 45 minutes

OMG Delicious Falafel Burgers

Most falafel burgers suck. They tend to have a large and stodgy patty that gums up your mouth when you eat it and the whole thing tends to be very unsatisfactory. This was equally true of the ones I made as well as the commercial ones from the gourmet burger places.

I thought about it. Big falafel is stodgy. Small falafel is crispy and delicious.

And then all the pieces seemed to fit into place. What a sucker I’d been. What a fool. The answer was there all the time. That’s how I discovered the secret – two thin falafel patties, separated by cheese!

Edit: I bring glad tidings from our kitchen-lab! This burger is even better if you replace the fried onions with some tabouleh.

Edit2: Can now be described as the “Award Winning OMG Delicious Falafel Burgers” after getting third place in Stuff’s burger competition.

Falafel burger with chilli potato wedges

Ingredients

You will need (per burger):

  • Burger bun
  • 90gm falafel (Lebanese Delicious Snack Company is a good brand)
  • 0.25 tsp baking powder
  • pinch baking soda
  • two patty sized pieces of baking paper
  • half a chopped onion
  • 1-2 tbsp hummus (LDSC is again good)
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • two slices tomato
  • 1 tbsp Moroccan chutney (or similar)
  • lettuce
  • olive oil for frying

Method

Do all your prep first:

  • Mix the falafel with the baking powder and baking soda
  • Chop the onion
  • Slice the cheese
  • Slice the tomato
  • Cut the bun in half

Turn on the oven to 180c (for lightly toasting the buns later), then put a small frying pan and a large frying pan onto medium heat and add some olive oil.

While they heat up:

  1. Tear the baking paper into patty sized pieces.
  2. Shape half the falafel into a patty on the paper as shown in the picture, then repeat for the other half. Leave each one on the paper.

Falafel patty

Put the onions into the small frying pan and lightly saute (i.e. stir them every so often until cooked).

Put the falafel patties into the large frying pan, falafel side down.

Patties cooking with the paper still on

Cook the patties for a bit and then carefully peel off the paper. It may be useful to have a tool you can use to stop the patties tearing if the paper is sticking.

When done on the first side, flip the patties over and put the cheese on top to melt.

Patties with cheese

While the second side cooks, toast the buns briefly in the oven (a minute or two, just enough to get them warm and slightly crunchy).

When everything is done, assemble the burgers in this order from bottom to top:

  1. Bottom bun
  2. Moroccan chutney
  3. Fried onions
  4. Falafel patty with cheese on top
  5. Other falafel patty
  6. Tomato
  7. Lettuce
  8. Hummus (apply to top bun)
  9. Top bun

Two crispy falafel patties separated by melted cheese

Eat!

Kumara and Peanut Butter Soup

Really yummy soup given to me by my workmate June and posted for Orson :-)

Yummy Kumara and Peanut Butter soup

3 Tbls Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion
3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
Half tsp Fresh Ginger – Grated
1 *Fresh Chilli- Chopped
Half Tsp Ground Cumin
4 Kumara (sweet potatoes), peeled and sliced
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 Tbls Peanut Butter
Extra water if needed
Salt and Pepper

Put oil in heavy pot and add the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, cumin and kumara. Sauté over a medium heat until lightly cooked. Cover with the stock or water and simmer until the kumara is mushy. Add the peanut butter and using a wand, processor or blender, puree until very smooth. If the soup is to thick, add more water or stock to make a smooth soupy consistency. Season with salt and pepper, reheat and serve.

This soup freezes well. So if you make too much, put the remainder in a container and freeze for later use.

*If you are unable to get fresh chillies, dried chillies can be used, as can chilli powder. Try adding a little at first as the chilli is meant to give the soup a “bite” and should not overpower the Kumara.

Garden aprons

My birthday this year was awesome. There was sitting outside in the sun, drinking beer by the jug, going out to a nice restaurant with friends, an outdoor bath and in gardening related news – this awesome present from Caycos.

Birthday present from Caycos (picture by Caycos) (Photo also taken by Caycos)

I am now complete.

Our pinkhouse

I’ve become a bit obsessed recently with growing things. This has meant that a sunny portion of our sitting room has been taken up with germinating plants. Since this isn’t an ideal situation Thomas and I decided to create a mini greenhouse for seed propagation and small seedling protection.

Step 1: Buy an old window from the tip

We found the following wee gem from the local tip for $10.

Pinkhouse - Step 1: Buy window from tip shop

Step 2: Put some structure in place and have a cat patting break

Cat Break

Step 3: Put on the outer border

Boarding on 1

Step 4. Put on the outer border again (after removing the earlier attempt).

Apparently hardboard warps when wet. Not ideal for an outdoor construction (this time round we used treated plywood).

Boarding on

Step 5. Paint! We felt brave at the paint shop and purchased a paint called Blushingham. I had buyers remorse almost immediately but I actually really love it now.

Painting the Pinkhouse

Step 6. Put plants inside. This was my favourite bit. In this picture we have eggplants, capsicums, pumpkins, zucchini, various types of tomatoes, sunflowers, nasturtiums, basil, corn, leeks and chives.

Complete Pinkhouse

Old windows and raspberries

This weekend I bought an old window and frame at the tip shop for $10. I’ve seen similar windows for sale at recycled renovation places for $160 – $200. The tip is awesome, thanks for the suggestion Jackie. Thomas and I walked arm and arm between the old rusty baths, broken toilets and pieces of interesting junk. As you can guess it was rather romantic.

The window is going to be turned into a mini cold greenhouse. A cold greenhouse is one that isn’t intended for use in winter and therefore doesn’t need to be heated. Apparently the ideal conditions for a greenhouse are between 0°C – 37.7°C with ventilation equivalent to 17% of floor area.   I think I need something that will automatically report back the temperature to me via my phone. I’m going to paint it and stencil flowers on the wood (because I can).

In other garden news I’ve planted two different types of raspberries. It amused me greatly to plant the southern variety at the southern end of our property. I’ve also started zucchini and leek seeds off and put my seed potatoes in the sun. I planted rhubarb too but Thomas is more excited about that than I am :-)

Today we started on a retaining wall for a walkway area to the front garden. I’m glad we got the outdoor bath in early because I’m really looking forward to getting in the bath with a beer as soon as we finish.