Roasted Butternut and Beetroot Nutty Spaghetti

Happy Thursday guys…..It’s been a weird week, dealing with the frustrations of an over the top slow computer that keeps losing connection….Urrggggggg !!!!! I don’t know where to start with this one….apart from this is not the prettiest meal out there.  I thought it would be, but it’s not, somehow those colours just intermingled and got messy….but it is tasty and it is healthy !!!

Anyway, comfort food was needed, and I needed some crunch and colour and carbs !!! I know, can you believe it?  I think my hubby nearly had a mild heart attack when he saw I was eating pasta.  So, originally my thoughts were spiralized butternut and beetroot.  I wanted the whole spaghetti vibe going on…… Anyway, so lazy me was too lazy to take out the spiralizer so opted for the grater instead, so we have grated butternut and grated beetroot !  I wasn’t too sure how this concoction would work, but it did.  I actually surprised myself, and the roasted grated butternut and beetroot didn’t mush all up when roasted….so that was a huge bonus! Crunch was needed for that bit of oomph, so topping this meal with toasted almonds and pumpkin seeds was The Best!!!

Let’s just say that this, maybe not so pretty, Roasted Butternut and Beetroot Nutty Spaghetti will be in my life forever. 🙂

Roasted Butternut and Beetroot Nutty Spaghetti

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cooking time:  12 minutes

Total time: 32 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Spaghetti (I used Gluten-Free Spaghetti)

2 cups grated raw butternut

1/2 cup grated raw beetroot

salt and pepper to taste

a drizzling of extra virgin olive oil for the roasting of the vegetables

a little butter or oil for cooking the garlic, sage and onions

3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (depending on size)

handful of fresh sage leaves

6 spring onions, finely chopped

To serve with:

freshly squeezed lemon juice

toasted almonds, chopped

toasted pumpkin seeds

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grate the butternut and beetroot.

Place on a baking tray with a little oil, salt and pepper.  Place in a preheated oven and roast for about 10 minutes.  After about 5 minutes, give the vegetables a stir.

Whilst the vegetables are roasting, cook up the spaghetti (as per packet instructions).

Once the vegetables are done, remove from the oven.

In the meanwhile, heat up a little oil in a pan and cook the garlic and sage for a couple of minutes, lastly add the spring onions and give them a stir.

Then add the cooked spaghetti, and quickly toss in the roasted butternut and beetroot. You may find that the spaghetti starts turning a bit pink from the beetroot, don’t worry it is fine. Give this meal a squeeze of lemon juice and top with toasted almonds and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Enjoy 🙂

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Phyllo Breakfast Pie

 

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For me to do a cooked breakfast during the week, just does not happen. Everyone is rushing around, so to throw something down quickly is what happens.  I look forward to something different over the weekends, and egg and bacon always hits the spot.

Anyway, this last weekend, I made this Breakfast Pie, made with phyllo pastry! I have done it before with puff pastry and loved it (but not with the phyllo).  I love not having the fat splattering around my stove which inevitably happens when frying eggs.  I now, either grill or microwave my bacon, again to elevate the fat splatter…I am pathetic hey, …but it is what it is… 🙂

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So, usually the concept of this Breakfast Pie would be done with normal puff pastry in a pie shell, but I had the phyllo pastry and thought why not? lets change it up a bit and so the Phyllo Breakfast Pie was born.  A ovenproof pie dish, seemed apt as I was using the phyllo pastry, and the vision of the phyllo pastry hanging over the pie dish, just seemed appealing.  Not only that, but the substantial amount of bacon and eggs filling the pie dish…..there just aren’t words……

Once the pie had cooked for 35 minutes.  The egg contents plumped up beautifully to the height of my ovenproof pie dish and was set to perfection.

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This was a filling brunch for us and was so delicious.  I particularly enjoyed the thin layers of the crunchy pastry as I bit into it.

The hubby is still trying to understand the concept of the phyllo …well, it’s just a change…and a change is as good as a holiday ! I mean I could do the good old puff pastry pie, but then it is not different.  Oh well, he still ate it and wanted more, so …I will say no more.

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Apologies for the pictures, they are not great, but you can just imagine the deliciousness of the ingredients all intermingled into a pie form with crunchy, crispy phyllo.  Total awesomeness !!!

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Phyllo Breakfast Pie

Preparation time:  30 minutes (you can cut down on prep time if bacon bits are already cooked)

Cooking time:  35 minutes

Total time:  1 hour and 5 minutes

Ingredients:

500 grams bacon bits, cooked

6 – 8 phyllo pastry sheets

a little melted butter to baste on the phyllo pastry sheets

10 – 12 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 – 3 spring onions, chopped

8 free-range jumbo eggs

1 tablespoon of fresh herbs (I used chives)

freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

1 extra egg and milk until egg and milk reach 125 milliliters (1/2 cup) for pouring over the top of pie

Instructions:

Firstly, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F.

Grease a ovenproof pie dish, (approximately 18 – 20.5 centimeter / 7 – 8 inch) Then separate one phyllo pastry layer and place in the ovenproof loaf dish, allowing it to overlap the sides of the dish.  Using a basting brush, baste  the entire phyllo pastry sheet with a little melted butter. Continue this method of layering the 6 – 8 phyllo pastry sheets until finished.

Then, place a layer of cooked bacon bits, cherry tomatoes, sprinkling of spring onions, herbs and freshly ground salt and pepper. Repeat again until all the ingredients are used up.

Make an indentation in the mixture and crack an egg into the indentation.  Do this until all 8 eggs are used up.

Break the extra egg into a measuring jug, and whisk with a fork.  Add some milk to the egg until it reaches 125 milliliters (1/2 cup). Whisk with fork until thoroughly mixed.  Pour this egg and milk mixture over all the ingredients and with a knife, make holes in the mixture to allow the egg and milk mixture to fill the holes.

Place the ovenproof dish into the preheated oven and cook for 35 minutes. You will see the actual mixture will rise, and the phyllo pastry will become golden brown. Test if set with a sharp knife, then remove from the oven and serve hot.

Enjoy 🙂

 

Spring Rolls

295Spring Rolls are a real treat in my home.  They are something I love but just don’t do often enough.  I have no idea why, maybe it’s because they are a little time-consuming, but that shouldn’t matter as they are so worth the wait! Maybe it’s because they are fried in oil.  I am not keen on frying and really don’t enjoy all the fat splattering around, although I must say I have semi alleviated that problem with newspaper.  (Hubby’s idea….genius !) Yip, place newspaper around the stove top by the plates to absorb the fat splatter :-), but I still don’t like frying .  I haven’t figured out if baking them would be equally as tasty ….probably not, how could they be…Baked Spring Rolls???….Really ??? No… Never the less, what with the time aspect, and the fat aspect, and the near fire aspect….yes, the newspaper was placed too closely the plate, and the flame from the gas….need I say more….(yeah, we have fun in my kitchen 🙂 … it was soooo worth it !!! Oh, and I did my usual….pig out with them, so I guess I will be sorted for a month or two.

This Spring Rolls recipe came from a magazine which I cut out and saved many years ago. I am not sure which magazine it came from, I just remember a pile of various magazines, and my mom and I going through them saving whichever recipe we liked.

I have changed this recipe slightly to suit my tastes. What I love about Spring Rolls is the veggies, which I have added more than the original recipe stated. You can also change the veggies to your liking.  I added some finely, chopped leftover chicken this time, but this recipe can be kept strictly vegetarian as well.

244Even though the Spring Rolls are deep-fried, they literally cook so quickly. There is something about that crispy crunch of the fried thin pastry that just cracks in your mouth and then the crunchy veggies …. yum….

I have included two dipping sauces which I usually make, but also a sweet chilli sauce also tastes divine with these Spring Rolls.

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Spring Rolls

Preparation time:  40 plus minutes *

Cooking time:  30 minutes

Total time:  1 hour ten minutes *

Makes 24

Ingredients:

1 cup finely shredded green cabbage

1 cup finely shredded red/purple cabbage

2/3 medium-sized carrots, sliced finely, length-ways

2/3 green chillies, chopped finely (and seeds taken out)

1 medium-sized onion, chopped finely

6 spring onions, chopped finely

4 cloves garlic, chopped finely

2 red peppers, sliced finely, length-ways

2 cups bean sprouts

1 cup finely chopped chicken (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

24 spring roll wraps

vegetable oil for deep-frying

Instructions:

Take Spring Roll pastry squares out from the freezer.

Put some water in a saucer or small bowl, for dampening the pastry edges, and set aside

Place all the sliced and chopped vegetables in a large bowl and stir fry in a wok until slightly done, but still crisp.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Now, place a Spring Roll pastry square directly in front of you on a board, turning it so its like a diamond shape with the top corner at the top.

Using a tablespoon, scoop a spoon of veggies from the bowl and place on the Spring Roll pastry square, at the lower tip, but just slightly above the corner, allowing enough pastry to fold upwards. Fold the bottom corner over the filling.

Dampen the edges of the pastry square with a little water, and then fold in the left side, this will overlap the bottom folded over pastry slightly. Then fold the right side, this will overlap the bottom folded over pastry slightly.  The left and right corners of the pastry will practically join at the tips. Then, roll up to form a spring roll. Set aside, and continue till the quantity you are wanting to do is complete.

Deep fry the Spring Rolls for a few minutes until they are golden brown.  You will need to do them it batches.

Drain the deep-fried Spring Rolls on kitchen towel paper.

Serve immediately.

Dipping sauces:  These Dipping Sauces can be doubled up in quantity and can be stored in sterilised jars in the refrigerator for a few days.

Easy Thai Dipping Sauce (makes 1/2 cup)

Ingredients:

2 medium-sized garlic cloves

15 milliliters (1 tablespoon) fresh ginger

30 milliliters (2 tablespoons) raw honey

60 milliliters (1/4 cup) soy sauce

125 milliliters  rice wine vinegar

30 milliliters (2 tablespoons) sesame oil

De-seeded chilli, chopped up finely (optional)

Instructions:

Finely chop the garlic cloves

Grate the fresh ginger

Add all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until they are well combined.

Thai Chilli Dipping Sauce (makes 1/2 cup)

Ingredients:

3 fresh red chillies, finely chopped

2 medium-sized garlic cloves, finely chopped

62.5 milliliters (1/4 cup) brown sugar

125 milliliters (1/2 cup) water

2.5 milliliters (1/2 teaspoon) salt

7.5 milliliters (1 1/2 teaspoons) cornflour mixed with 30 milliliters (1 tablespoons) of water.

Instructions:

Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.  Once boiling point has reached, reduce the heat slightly and thicken with the cornflour and water mixture.

Enjoy 🙂

*  Preparation time will differ, depending on quantity and also with the Spring Roll Pastry Squares, sometimes I battle to separate them.

* Cooking time may differ, again depending on quantity.

NB*  If you don’t want this to be strictly vegetarian, feel free to add chopped meat of your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa, Carrot and Baby Marrow Cakes

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I was in desperate need of something healthy to snack on for lunch.

Basically I had carrots that would have been looking sad in a day or two and a tray of baby marrows which wouldn’t have made even a mini baby marrow pizza! So my options were limited apart from making a stew or whatever.

I decided to concoct a little vegetable cake.  These are so simple to do and can be done in a flash, especially if you have the quinoa cooked already or whilst the quinoa is cooking the rest can be prepared. With regards to the baby marrow, these I did not cook initially at all, instead they were just grated and squeezed in a dish towel to get as much water out of them.  There is also a trick to this, sprinkle the grated baby marrow with salt, let it sit awhile, and then twist and turn the dish towel and squeeze.  Baby Marrows contain water, and it is amazing how much water will be released. The squeezing of the baby marrows is probably the hardest part of these veggie cakes, but there is nothing wrong with a bit of an arm workout.

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Quinoa, Carrot and Baby Marrow Cakes

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes (quinoa)

Total time: 40 minutes, excluding frying

Makes 10

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quinoa

4 medium sized onions, grated

350 grams baby marrows, grated

3/4 spring onions, sliced

1 jumbo sized free range egg

origanum (either dry or fresh, chopped)

salt and pepper to taste

3 very heaped tablespoons Gluten Free Tapioca Flour (cake wheat flour will work just as well)

and extra Tapioca Flour to roll cakes in before frying (cake wheat flour will work just as well)

Oil for frying

Instructions:

Cook Quinoa as per packet instructions, but using only 1/2 cup quinoa to 1 cup of boiling water, let simmer until done, approximately 15 minutes.

Grate the carrots, and set aside.

Slice the spring onions, and set aside

Grate the baby marrows.  Place on a dish towel and sprinkle with salt.  Let it sit awhile, the longer the better, and then squeeze the baby marrows to help draw out the water content.  Be careful not to pile on the salt otherwise your veggie cakes will be overly salty.

Once the water is all out as best you can, place the quinoa, carrots, baby marrow, spring onions, egg, a good sprinkling of origanum, salt and pepper into a medium sized bowl.

Mix the ingredients until combined.

Then, add a heaped tablespoon of flour at a time, mixing well, after each addition.

Shape into balls with the help of a tablespoon.

Coat each ball with a little of the extra flour and set aside.  (If you need more flour, to coat, just add accordingly)

In a large frying pan, heat up a little oil.  I used vegetable oil and fry the veggie cakes until crisp and golden brown.

Serve with a crisp salad for a healthy lunch or with baby potatoes and vegetables for dinner.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

Bacon and Corn Fritters

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I am always on the lookout for some different light meals, otherwise lunchtime becomes kind of the same everyday, and before I know it, I will be in a lunchtime rut with regards to what I am eating.

These corn and bacon fritters just seemed like such a great change and also so versatile. There is something about corn and bacon that just seem to go together.  These fritters are ideal for that Saturday lunch or whenever.

I am not overly keen on using any tinned product with all the preservatives, so I used fresh mealies, cooked them and cut the corn off them and yes, I confess…I did have a couple (or more) spoonfuls of the corn, and… another confession….I sneaked some cooked bacon.  I just can’t resist cooked crispy bacon, I always have to cook more because I know me…  It is like I cannot cook without picking… I could convince myself and say that it is all, just tasting….but …..not (yes, maybe I have a problem, maybe I need to get a grip and be more controlled….hmmmm, whatever….food is good !)

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So, back to these scrumptious Corn and Bacon Fritters….they are just so easy to throw together by the way.  Once all the ingredients were combined, put a little oil in a pan and proceed to fry spoonfuls of the batter until they are golden brown on each side.  It is the same as making crumpets, those little bubbles form on the top of the fritter and then you just know it is time to turn them over.  I enjoyed mine nice and hot.  I added a bit of salad, which included avocado pear, tomatoes and rocket leaves with mine just to complete the meal, but trust me, I could have eaten the fritters straight from the pan!

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Bacon and Corn Fritters

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cooking time:  20 minutes

Total time:  40 minutes

Makes approximately 9 fritters

Ingredients

310 grams fresh corn kernels (approximately 2 fresh corn on the cobs)

310 grams chopped or diced bacon

180 millilitres (3/4 cup) self raising flour

2 extra large free range eggs

80 millilitres (1/3 cup) buttermilk

1/2 small onion

salt and pepper to taste

45/50 millilitres of avocado oil *

Instructions

Cook bacon until crisp and set aside.

Microwave the corn on the cob for 2 minutes or until cooked, yet tender and crunchy and set aside. *

Chop up the onion into small pieces

In a medium sized bowl, add the eggs and the flour and whisk together until smooth.

Add the buttermilk, bacon, corn, onions, salt and pepper.

Mix and combine all the ingredients together.

Allow the ingredients to stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Then heat a medium sized pan with the avocado oil, once the oil has heated add tablespoonfuls of the fritter mixture to the pan allowing for the fritters to spread.

Cook for a couple minutes and once tiny bubbles appear, turn the fritter over onto the other side. Cook for a further minute or two, until the fritter is a nice golden brown colour.  Continue this method with the batter until the fritter mixture is finished.

Serve hot with a little salad.

Enjoy 🙂

*  Olive oil will be fine as well, if you do not have Avocado oil.

*  If you are not keen on using a microwave to cook the corn on the cob, by all means use the stove method.