Mint Pesto Marrow (Zucchini, Courgette) Spaghetti with Herb Roasted Chickpeas and Feta

016

I totally love this meal.  I don’t even bother to have it hot, it is so good cold.  I usually make extra and then have it the next day for lunch.  I am confused whether that is genius or just downright lazy…whatever, it works for me.  Just one thing with this, is the roasted herb chickpeas must be crunchy.  I don’t know what it is with me, but I just love ‘the crunch’.

I seem to be making loads of mint pesto these days, the mint in my garden is going all kinds of crazy, thanks to the excessive rains we are having.  But it is all good.

008

Mint Pesto Marrow (Zucchini/Courgette) Spaghetti with Herb Roasted Chickpeas and Feta

Preparation and total time: 20 minutes

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

3 large marrows (zucchini/courgette) spiralized. (This is what I used but definitely will depend on the size of your marrows (zucchini/courgettes), so spiralize until you have enough for each serving)

roasted herb chickpeas (the amount totally depends on you, I love these, so I feel zero guilt and load them on my meal)

crumbled feta cheese

For the mint pesto

1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed

handful of fresh parsley leaves

2 handfuls of macadamia nuts, crushed

2 cloves of garlic

1 onion (medium-sized) chopped finely

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

Instructions:

For the Roasted Chickpeas:

Once chickpeas are cooked and drained, place the chickpeas on a baking tray. Sprinkle with a salt and pepper and a drizzling of olive oil.  I did mine for about 45 minutes on 180 degrees celsius. Whilst the chickpeas are in the oven, keep checking on them and give them a good toss and stir around, so they roast evenly.  Also, sneak in a taste periodically to check for the crispness you want.  Once they are done, remove the baking tray from the oven and generously add some dried origanum or any other herbs you prefer.

For the Pesto:  

Put all the pesto ingredients in a food processor or good blender and blend until it reaches the consistency that you like.

Add the pesto to the spiralized marrows (zucchini/courgette) and top with the roasted herb chickpeas and feta.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  I like this meal cold, and personally feel that the warmed version sort of loses the actual taste, but if you want you can warm it up by adding it to a pan and heating up and then take off the heat, and lastly add the chickpeas and feta.

Also, if you have extra pesto left over, place it in a sealed jar and keep in the refrigerator. This will keep for a few days.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Polenta Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Cherry Tomatoes and Feta

013

Healthy carbs guys!  Healthy carbs, and it is all in a pizza !!!

This pizza just had to happen. Load it up with whatever your heart desires and you are sorted. Pizzas are one of those things you can go all out with and do loads of crazy, delicious toppings and stuff but I was in the mood for simple, so simple it was :-). For awhile now, I have had this thing for caramelized onions, so I just had to top mine up with them. Then, some cherry tomatoes, I love the baby ones and once the pizza is in the oven, I watch through the glass window of the oven (Yes, I am weird, it is like I am stalking the pizza !  I am a Pizza Stalker !) and eventually those baby tomatoes pop and get all wrinkly.  There is a method in my madness,  with the oven on, I keep warm and I get to make sure nothing burns (because I have a thing with my oven…long story, don’t ask).  Then of course the basil leaves, I mean of course…tomatoes and basil, need I say more, and then of course you have guessed…. feta cheese.  I mean, there has to be cheese on a pizza right? well not really I suppose,  I have had loads of pizzas without cheese, but on this pizza, cheese was just an added bonus.

Okay, so this is not your usual pizza base, but it is a nice light option, if you want to try something a bit different, and it is even gluten free.  What is that saying…don’t knock it, till you’ve tried it ! 🙂

004 (3)

Polenta Pizza With Caramelized Onions, Cherry Tomatoes and Feta

Preparation time:  3 minutes

Cooking time:  35 minutes

Total time:  38 minutes

Serves 2 or 3

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked polenta

dash of salt

2 cups water

Topping:

4 medium-sized onions, sliced thinly

125 grams cherry tomatoes (or more if you like)

200 grams feta cheese (or more if you like)

fresh basil leaves

fresh rocket leaves

To caramelize the onions:

a little olive oil

1 – 2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 -2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

a little water (if needed)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large pan, with a little olive oil, saute the onions.  Add a teaspoon or two of brown sugar and allow to cook. Stir continuously to prevent burning.  If you feel the onions are sticking a bit, add a little water. I personally like my onions to be nicely browned, and just before the cooking process is done, I add the balsamic vinegar, stir it in, and then take the pan off the oven and set aside.

To cook the Polenta:  Add polenta to the boiled water and reduce the heat down to simmer.  Using a whisk, whisk for about 5 minutes continuously until the polenta starts to thicken.  The polenta will start to pull away from the sides of the pot.

Once the polenta is cooked, spread it into an oven proof dish approximately 18 x 28 centimetres/7 x 11 inches in size.  Flatten as best as possible and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place toppings on. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes or until the topping has cooked.

Add fresh basil and rocket leaves.  Serve either on its own or with a salad.

Enjoy 🙂

 

Creamy Spinach and Feta Pie

015

I love creamy spinach and feta pie.  It is just such an awesome comfort food.

For some unknown reason I have been craving this pie, so I just had to give into my cravings and just make the pie!

The first time I had a spinach pie, was years ago in a pub…yes, I did actually venture out to pubs now and then (usually with work colleagues). You know we used to have our best meetings in pubs, I kid you not….  Anyway that was then and this is now, and the now, is that I cannot recreate that pie to perfection. That pub does not even exist anymore, so I can’t even sweet talk the chef for his recipe 😦 .  All I can say, is that it was creamy, and delicious and it was served with mashed potatoes. Big whoop ! I know…. so frustrating…..

Anyway, so this is my version of the pie, as best as I can get it.  It is creamy, and it is delicious and I just adore the thick puff pastry which I just plonked on the top….and between you and me…I don’t even think the mashed potato is necessary (I just serve this with a load of other veggies).  But, you try it, and judge for yourself, if you want the mash, go for it. 🙂

013

Creamy Spinach and Feta Pie

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  20 – 30 minutes

Total time:  30 – 40 minutes

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

Puff Pastry (approximately 400 grams)

1 bunch fresh spinach, de-veined and chopped

1 large onion, chopped

plus, a little butter to saute the onion

1 x beaten egg for basting the pastry top

White Sauce:

100 gram butter

100 gram flour

3 cups milk

4 feta cheese disc’s (approximately 400 g feta cheese)

250 gram fresh cream

salt and pepper

ground nutmeg

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Cook spinach your desired way.  I microwaved mine for 1 minute, drained.

Then, blitz in a food processor.

Squeeze out any excess water.  (From one bunch of spinach, you should have approximately 200/225 gram chopped, processed and cooked spinach)

Saute the diced onion in a little butter.

Now, to do the white sauce:

Add the butter into a medium-sized pot, over a medium heat.  Melt the butter. Take the pot off the stove and add the flour.  With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the melted butter well.  It will  eventually all smooth out and form like a ball effect.  Then place back onto medium heat and gradually add the milk, a little at a time (I usually do from a half to a full cup at a time), continuously stir, it will thicken and again will collect onto the wooden spoon, After one cup of milk, then add the crumbled feta, add a little more milk, and continue this way until the milk is finished.  Add the cream and spinach. Taste. Then season well, and taste again.  Add a good amount of nutmeg. Taste again.

Place the spinach mixture into pie dish and top with puff pastry.

Using a basting brush, brush the top of the pastry with a little beaten egg.

Place pie on a baking tray and put in a preheated oven until golden brown.

Enjoy 🙂

 

NB*  This Creamy Spinach and Feta Pie can easily be made Gluten-Free, by using a Gluten-Free pastry

Baby Spinach and Yellow Pepper Frittata

035

OMW !!! Where do I begin?  I think this is my fave thing to eat right now. Today was Frittata day for me, well lunch was.  I just had to…….I had all the ingredients and a mountain of eggs, so Fritatta it was.  Super easy, one pan, throw everything in, cook and eat !!!  It just doesn’t get better than that.  Not only that, but Frittata’s are sooooo versatile.  If you want meat, just add it in, if you want just veggies, just go for it, and if you want to just finish off all the bits and pieces in the fridge at the end of the week, no problem, no judgement here 🙂 . Throw in some eggs and feta; bomb in the oven and that is it. In no time at all the Frittata is done, sitting in front of you just waiting to be devoured and trust me, your tummy will be happy 🙂 .

023 (2)

Baby Spinach and Yellow Pepper Frittata

Preparation time:  25 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Total time:  40 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large yellow pepper, sliced thinly

1 large white onion, sliced thinly

3 large garlic cloves, chopped finely or crushed

2-3 handfuls of baby spinach

10 free range jumbo eggs, beaten

2 disc’s of feta cheese (approximately 200 gram)

1/2 – 1 thinly sliced red chilli

Salt and Pepper to taste

Sweet Chilli Sauce to serve (optional)

Instructions:

Turn on oven/grill.

In a large ovenproof frying pan, add the extra virgin olive oil on a medium heat.

Add the peppers, onion, garlic cloves and chilli and saute’.

Add the baby spinach and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until the spinach begins to wilt.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour in the beaten eggs.

Crumble the feta over the beaten eggs and allow to cook on the stove top over a medium heat until the bottom of the base of the frittata is cooked.

Then transfer the pan into the oven/grill.  Let cook for about 15 minutes until the top puffs up and it becomes golden. (If you find that your frittata is browning around the edges too quickly, place some aluminium foil over to prevent burning) Once cooked and puffed, remove the frittata from the oven.

Slice and enjoy with a little sweet chilli sauce and salad.

Enjoy 🙂

  •  This is also enjoyable cold.

 

 

 

Caramelised Beetroot, Feta, Rocket and Walnut Tart

038

Okay, this recipe sort of came by chance.  I had some beetroots in my fridge that were starting to look a bit sad, so decided that they better be cooked up and eaten and like now !  I hate any form of waste, so …. I was wondering how I could incorporate cooked beetroot into like a pie kind of thing or pizza.  The pizza idea intrigued me, but sadly I didn’t have enough gluten-free flour at hand, so that idea went out the window.  Then I remembered I had some frozen store-bought puff pastry ….yes, don’t stone me, it happens, I am all for the quick and easy sometimes :-), and really lets get real, all that effort in making pastry, for a quick little pie goodie…..store-bought wins! well, today it did !!!

003

Once the pastry had de-frosted it was all plain sailing.  I caramelised the beets in syrup and butter, this is a trick my mom used to use for caramelising beets for a beets salad, and it works like a dream, so thought, why the heck not now… It’s quick and so delicious, I can literally eat the beets from the pot this way (just saying).

022

The combo of feta and beetroot always works for me, so the rest was history with my fresh rocket in the garden looking a bit bedraggled with the weather we have been having…and of course, it wouldn’t be an invention with me if nuts weren’t involved.  I dry toasted the walnuts.  I am sure any nuts would do for that crunch, it is just that I had walnuts and I was sort of in the mood to use whatever I had at hand without venturing out to the shops.

030

Need I say, this Caramelised Beetroot, Feta, Rocket and Walnut Tart is a keeper… It takes a bit of time to do, but it is definitely worth it 🙂 .  The time issue is really with the pastry, and really no biggie.  I just found it best to actually bake the pasty first to ensure that the pastry cooked through perfectly.

It is great just straight from the oven, of course…but it also is equally as nice cold.

Oh, and before I forget, please excuse the crazy shaped tart base…it just happened, and I honestly was so wanting this tart to happen…I just could not be bothered to re-roll it again…so it is, sort of rustic looking 🙂 .

029

Caramelised Beetroot, Feta, Rocket and Walnut Tart

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cooking time:  1 hour and 5 minutes

Total time:  1 hour and 25 minutes

Serves 2 – 4

Ingredients:

80 grams salted butter

130 grams traditional golden syrup

280 grams fresh sliced beetroot

400 grams puff pastry

100 – 120 grams feta cheese disc, crumbled

handful of fresh rocket

handful of toasted walnuts

melted butter for basting pastry

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius /350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a baking tray (approximately 40 x 28 centimeters/15.5 x 11.00 inches in size) with baking paper and dust with a little flour to prevent any sticking.

Cut the tops and bottoms off the beetroots and peel.  Slice the beetroots into fairly thin-ish slices.  This is quite a messy job, and your hands will end up looking ….ummmm not so good with pink/red beetroot stains all over.  Just work quite quickly with the beets and then wash your hands and hopefully they stains will go and you won’t look as if you were involved in a crime scene! (or put gloves on, or if you can operate with plastic bags over your hands, go for it).

Anyway once that is done, the worst is over.

Melt the butter in a small pot, this will take a few seconds, then add the syrup, stir around quickly. Place the sliced beetroot into the syrup mixture and allow to cook for literally 8 minutes on high, turn the heat off and remove the pot from the stove.

Then, sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and start to roll out your pastry to about 2 – 3 millimeters in thickness.  To give it a rustic feel (like mine), don’t be too pedantic about what shape it happens to be.

Place the pastry on your greased and floured baking tray.

Then, with a knife, gently but firmly make an indentation about 2 – 3 centimeters from the edge of your pastry shell all the way around, but not actually piercing the pastry straight through. (This acts as a guide for the pastry, and when it cooks that 2 -3 centimeter section actually rises very slightly and forms like a lip around the pastry base…quite cool hey.)

Using a fork, prick the inside of the pastry base.  Do not prick the section from the edge of the pastry to the line that you made 2 – 3 centimeters in from the pastry.

Brush the entire pastry shell with the melted butter for basting.

Now, place the pastry shell into the oven, and allow to cook for about 35 minutes and then check it. Mine by this time was getting slightly golden, but it still was not cooked properly through, so I put a piece of aluminium foil over with the shiny side upwards from the pastry and let it cook for a further 15 minutes.  Once the base is cooked, take it out of the oven.

Take the caramelised beetroot from the pot with a slotted spoon and place on top of all the fork holes (on your pastry shell)

Baste the edges of the pastry again with a little melted butter.

Place in the preheated oven for a further 15 minutes or until the pastry has turned a nice golden brown.

Once done, remove from the oven,  top with chunks and crumblings of feta cheese, loads of fresh rocket leaves and dry toasted walnuts.

This is best straight from the oven, so cut and serve hot !

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  To dry toast walnuts:  Place raw walnuts in a frying pan, do not add any oil, as nuts contain their own natural oils.  With a spatula, keep moving the walnuts around, otherwise they could burn.  After a few minutes you will find the walnuts starting to toast.  Do not leave them unattended on the stove or they will burn. Once done, remove the pan from the stove and allow to cool.

 

Watermelon and Feta Salad

073

I bought this massive watermelon over the weekend.  On opening the boot of my car, this watermelon just came rolling out and fell to the lawn.  Well need I say it split open, so it was pretty much decided there and then that watermelon would be lunch that day!  It actually was the perfect solution to a crazy hot day here in South Africa.

I quickly hauled out my recipe file where I knew I had been storing this watermelon salad recipe.  I have been dying to do this salad for years…in fact I first set my eyes on this recipe in 2005 !!! Yes, it has taken me ten years to finally get my A into G and do this recipe….Okay, lets just not go there as procrastination, clearly is my second name.

026

This salad truly is ideal for those summer months, and those hot, scorching days.  It is quick and easy to prepare with not too many ingredients at all.

071

I have deviated slightly from the original and have added my personal touch to it.  I have suggested that the recipe below will serve two people.  I did not measure out the chopped watermelon, so just chop accordingly for as many people you are wanting to serve.  I have added almonds which for me are imperative for that extra added crunch.  Also, the recipe did come with a spicy dressing.  I personally did not find the dressing necessary as felt it overpowered the flavours and natural tastes of the salad, so I have not included that.  I also, have added sliced avocado pear as an option to the salad, as watermelon and avocado pear actually compliment each other, but again, this is entirely up to you.  I served the avocado as a side to the salad, which worked quite well.

This salad is different, not your usual run of the mill kind of salad and could quite easily serve as an appetizer or starter as well.

084

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients:

watermelon

7 small radishes

handful of fresh mint leaves (stalks discarded)

handful of fresh rocket leaves

handful of fresh coriander leaves

100 grams feta cheese, crumbled

handful of raw almonds

couple slices of avocado pear, optional

a dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice for the avocado pear, optional

Instructions:

Dry toast the almonds, by adding them to a small pan on a medium heat. Continuously keep stirring around to prevent burning.  Once nicely toasted, remove from the stove top and set aside.

Chop up the watermelon into small pieces and place into a bowl.

With your spiralizer, slice up the radishes into thin threads.  If you do not have a spiralizer, just slice up the radishes as thinly as possible.

Place the spiralized or sliced radishes, mint and coriander in the bowl with the watermelon.

Add the crumbled feta.

Top with the dry toasted almonds and rocket.

Serve with a few slices of avocado pear and a dash of lemon juice (optional)

Enjoy 🙂