Coconut Vegetable Curry

Go Nuts for Coconuts…

As a mother of two, I am always finding ways to make haste in the kitchen. I am always on the quest for quick recipes, which are easy to make and equally tasty and nutritious. It’s hard to imagine but such recipes do exist!

Today’s recipe is a good way to introduce your little people to curry and vegetables. My boys adore this dish and will happily eat thirds too. It combines the warm earthiness of garam masala with the coastal flavours of coconut. What makes this recipe fuss free is that you can pretty much use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. My meat lovers, you could add chicken or fish or prawns to this dish, either way it’s lip smackingly delicious.

Ingredients: 16 Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves : 4

    One small cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
    Two potatoes, cut into bite size cubes
    Two carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
    One red capsicum, roughly sliced
    Handful of green beans, roughly chopped
    One cup of green peas
    One onion, finely sliced
    Two pods of garlic, finely chopped
    One thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
    One heaped teaspoon of garam masala
    Half teaspoon of turmeric
    One medium size cinnamon stick
    One bay leaf
    800 ml of light coconut milk
    Salt to season
    Four tablespoons of vegetable oil

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add cinnamon stick, followed by onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until aromatic and onion is translucent.

Now add the vegetables and dry spices, except bay leaf. Mix well.

Add coconut milk, bay leaf and season with salt to taste. Simmer the curry on a medium flame for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve with steamed rice or savoury flatbread or simply eat it as a soup. So moorish, so tasty

Shepherds Pie

A hearty wholesome winters delight


I started my blogging journey with great pomp and flair. Trying to take the perfect photo, making sure I use the high appeal hashtags to get lots of likes and comments, checking my stats every few hours to see how it was all tracking, etc. As the months went by this passion started turning into bit of an obsession. The pursuit of perfection got even more intense. On the flip side the number of likes and comments  took a downward turn. The more I watched my posts being less liked, the lesser I was inclined to publish new content.

Life also got busier, I went from being a mother of one to a mother of two. While parenthood is the most beautiful thing in the world, the constant demands it has of you means somewhere, something has to give. For me it was blogging. Days turned into weeks and weeks to months before I knew it, it was over six months since my last post.

Why am I telling you this? Simply because it dawned on me one late evening as I was feeding my newborn and watching my toddler sleep. You must do all that it takes to keep doing things that make you happy and pursue happiness not perfection. Life is too short to care about the camera angle or the perfect photo or about the number of  likes and comments on your social media. What matters is what makes you happy! After all life is a pursuit of happiness. So is this recipe!!!


Don’t get deterred by the list of ingredients. You can use frozen or fresh vegetables, basically whatever you have in the fridge. Enjoy this hearty, wholesome winters delight that may not be a perfect picture but it is a perfect meal. Lip smackingly delicious in every way.

Ingredients:  Cooking time: 45 minutes 

Serves: 4

  1. Two tins of canned brown lentils
  2. One tin of four bean mix
  3. One leek, finely chopped
  4. One small onion, finely chopped
  5. Four to five pods of garlic
  6. One zucchini, chopped
  7. Two parsnips, chopped
  8. Half a bunch of spinach
  9. 1.5 cups of frozen vegetable mix of peas, corn and carrots
  10. 1.5 teaspoon of garam masala
  11. Half a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
  12. 1.5 teaspoon of dried basil
  13. 250 gms of grated cheddar
  14. 125 gms of grated Parmesan
  15. Salt to season
  16. Black pepper to season
  17. Three tablespoons of olive oil
  18. Two tablespoons of butter

For Mash Potatoes

  1. Six to eight medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  2.  300ml of milk
  3. Two tablespoons of butter
  4. One cup of grated cheddar

Heat butter and two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add garlic, leek and onion. Cook until leek is soft and lightly caramelised.


Add all the vegetables, lentils, beans and spices. Mix well. Season with salt and add a cup of water. Cover the pan and let the lentils and vegetables simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.

To make mash potatoes, boil potatoes until extremely soft. Drain water and add milk, butter and cheese. Mash the potatoes until smooth.

To assemble the pie in a baking dish add the lentils and vegetables at the bottom. Top this with a layer of mash potatoes. Add grated cheddar and Parmesan on top. Drizzle remaining olive oil on the potatoes ( this will prevent them from drying in the oven.


Place the bake dish under a grill and grill until cheese is caramelised. Your Shepherds pie is ready to serve.

Serve hot along with a simple green side salad and let this hearty winter delight fill your belly and soul with warmth.

Pumpkin, Carrot and Potato Soup

Autumn in a bowl 


Autumn is one of my favourite seasons in Australia. There’s a slight chill in the air and beautiful heartwarming colours of orange, red and yellow everywhere. It is one of the most picturesque sites to see. 

This autumn was made even better with the birth of my second son Jai Alexander. I mean how time flies my older son is nearly two, I am a mother of two and life is just that little more chaotic but oh so beautiful. The merriment around the house tripled as my parents were visiting too. I can’t explain watching my parents with my children in words except that it filled my heart with so much love, warmth and gratitude. 

To celebrate our little bundle of joy and the last remaining days of autumn, I decided to cook with colours of autumn.  I’m not a fan of pumpkin per say but I have to admit when combined with other warming flavours, it truly shines. So I decided to make a pumpkin, potato and carrot soup with chilli, lemon and ginger oil. 

Ingredients: 16   Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

For the soup

  • Half a pumpkin (I used butternut), peeled and cut in cubes 
  • Two carrots, peeled and diced 
  • Two to three potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • One onion, chopped
  • Two pods of garlic, chopped
  • One bay leaf
  • One teaspoon cumin powder
  • One teaspoon smoked paprika
  • One vegetable stock cube
  • Three tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt to season 

For the lemon chilli oil

  • Five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • One to two red chillies, chopped
  • One thumb size piece of ginger, grated
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One to two kaffir lime leaves

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add garlic, once aromatic add onion and cooking until lightly caramelised.


Now add all the vegetables, followed by all the spices (except the stock cube). Mix well. Then add one litre of water, stock cube, season with salt and cover the pan with a lid. Let the soup simmer on a low heat until vegetables are cooked.


To make the flavoured oil, combine all the ingredients in a pan and let them simmer on a low heat for five to seven minutes or until aromatic.

Using the stick blender, blend the soup until smooth. Season with salt as required, add more water if needed to reach desired consistency. Again let the soup simmer for another 10 to 12 minutes.

Garnish with a generous drizzle of the chilli, lemon and ginger oil. Serve with a side of garlic bread and feel your heart and soul warm up with this autumnal goodness.

Fridge Clean Out Pasta

A little bit of this, a little bit of that


Some days you can plan all you want but nothing goes to plan. Most days in the life of a stay at home mum are like this. Since baby number two has come along, all I seem to be doing is feeding him and trying to stop my toddler from poking his baby brothers eyes out. The struggle is real!

Amidst all this craziness I find taking out even 15 minutes to cook gives me composure and peace. After all when you do what you love you are one step closer to nirvana! Today I was all set on making my husband his favourite chicken schnitzel with mash potatoes and roast vegetables. Only problem was I had none of the ingredients in the fridge. Talk about things not going to plan!

While last minute food shopping was out of the question! Yes you do lose basic liberties like running out to the shops on a whim when you are a parent. My 15 minute window to put a meal on the table was rapidly closing too. After ransacking the fridge and pantry, I managed to pull together – a pack of spaghetti, a punnet of grape tomatoes, handful of kalamata olives,  capers, half a bunch of parsley and a bag of frozen peas. There was only one way this was going, we were heading to Italy (well metaphorically anyway) with a big bowl of pasta.

 

Ingredients: 12  Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One packet of pasta (I used spaghettini)
  • One punnet of grape/cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 250 gms of peas
  • Handful of olives, cut into halves
  • Two tablespoons of capers 
  • Half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • One onion, finely sliced
  • Three to four garlic pods, finely chopped
  • Five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Salt to season 
  • Cracked black pepper to garnish (optional)
  • Grated Parmesan to garnish (optional)

In a heavy bottom sauce pan bring water to a boil. Cook the pasta as per packet instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, in another saucepan heat three tablespoons of EVOO. Add garlic, once aromatic add onions and cook until onions are lightly caramelised. Then add half of the chopped parsley, along with the olives and capers. Mix well. Cook on a low flame for four to five minutes.


Now add peas and toss the mixture thoroughly. Once peas are slightly soft add the tomatoes, season with salt and cook on a high heat for two to three minutes. 

Finally add the pasta, followed by the rest of the parsley and EVOO. Toss through to make sure all the ingredients are evenly mixed. Your fridge clean out pasta is ready to serve. Garnish with cracked pepper and Parmesan. 

Dill and Lemon Fish with a Pea Mint Mash

Something a little special 


One of my favourite things to do over holidays is have family or friends over and indulge in leisurely and delicious dinner parties. Something a little different from the usual culinary fare and something a little special too. The recipe I’m sharing today is just that. 

I made this meal when our family was over and staying with us for the easter long weekend. Like me, my family is made up of devout foodies, we all live to eat. I wanted to make something a little extra special for them but also something that didn’t require slaving in the kitchen for hours on end.


Inspired by flavours from Greece this fish recipe makes the perfect use of fresh herbs and dried spices. I love the  freshness and simplicity of Greek food. This dish is so aromatic, with every bite you can smell and taste each distinct flavour. Served on a bed of pea mint mash not only makes it healthy but also a little extra moorish.

So the next time you have guests over, pull this trick out of your hat. It’ll be a meal they remember for a long time to come. 

Ingredients: 14  Cooking time: 30 minutes 

Serves: 6

For the fish 

  • Six fillets of white fish ( I used gummy shark)
  • One punnet of dill, finely chopped
  • Half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 100gms of capers, chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • One teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 300ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt to season 

For the pea mint mash

  • 500gms of peas
  • Two teaspoons of dried mint leaves
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
  • Salt to season 

Begin by marinating the fish. In a large bowl combine, oil, dill, parsley, capers, oregano and chilli flakes. Mix well. 

Add the fish and using your hands gently rub the marinade on all the fillets. Cover the fish with cling wrap and put it in the fridge for five to six hours. This will allow all the flavours to seep into the fish.

While the fish marinates prepare the pea mint mash. Boil the peas for seven to ten minutes or until soft. Rinse with cold water and drain them. Now mix all the ingredients in the blender and blitz it. Season with salt as required, pea mint mash is ready.

To cook the fish, heat a heavy bottom frying pan and add the oil from the marinade. Use more extra virgin olive oil to cook the fish if required. Place the fillets in the pan and cook for four to five minutes on each side or until the fish is cooked. Drizzle lemon juice on top of each fillet and sprinkle salt to taste.

Before plating up warm up the pea mint mash. Add a large spoonful of the mash on a plate and gently place the fillet on top. Drizzle the oil from the pan on top for more flavour. Season with cracked pepper and serve.


 

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Carrot Stroganoff 

Show off with your stroganoff 


Somedays even the most devout foodies struggle to come up with ideas for mid week cooking. I don’t know if it’s the lack of inspiration or sheer laziness but for some reason cooking has felt like a real chore this week.

 Thank god Melbourne’s takeaway scene is delicious and bountiful. However when you have a rapidly growing little hungry hippo to feed, meals have to be more about nutrition than convenience. If you can find a meal that’s both nutritious and convenient then you’ve hit the jackpot. 

So after a few nights of sparing my kitchen, I got in there last night determined to whip up something lip smackingly delicious. This is how one sweet potato, couple of carrots and a tin of black beans came together to make a quick and easy, healthy and tasty meal for my family.

Ingredients: 12  Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into three inch sticks
  • Three carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 275 gms of black beans (I used canned one)
  • One medium onion, chopped
  • Two pods of garlic, chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Three teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 1.5 teaspoons of cracked black pepper
  • Five tablespoons of sour cream
  • Salt to season
  • Three tablespoons of olive oil

Heat oil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add onion and garlic. Cook for one to two minutes until onions are slightly caramelised and aromatic.

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Now add sweetpotatoes, carrots and black beans. Mix well. Then add smoked paprika, chilli flakes, black pepper and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Add one cup of water, cover the pan and let the veggies and beans simmer on a medium heat for 15 minutes.

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Once the sweetpotatoes and tender add sour cream. Mix well. Season with salt to taste and cook for another three to four minutes. 
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Your lip smackingly delicious stroganoff is ready to serve. You can serve it with polenta, cous cous, pasta or rice. I have served it with some steamed rice, lemon butter asparagus and minted peas. A wholesome meal for those hectic week nights.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese 

My vegetarian bolognese brings all the Italian Nonnas to the yard…

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Everytime I go to an Italian restaurant I’m so tempted to order Nonnas homestyle spaghetti bolognese. After all there is nothing more comforting than rustic homestyle Italian food. The only problem is that a classic bolognese sauce is cooked with mince meat, which makes it a deal breaker for me. Not anymore! I can have my bolognese and can eat it too.

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This vegetarian bolognese packs the rustic Ialian homestyle flavourful punch, no animals were harmed or killed in its making and it’s just so easy.  You could make a big batch and freeze it too for ready to eat meals on weeks nights when cooking is the last thing on your mind.

Ingredients: 16  Cooking time: 60 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 400 gms of canned brown lentils
  • 300 gms of firm tofu, crumbled
  • One red onion, finely chopped
  • Two medium Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 400 gms of canned tomatoes or Pasata
  • Three to four pods of garlic, minced
  • One cinnamon stick
  • One large bayleaf
  • One teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves
  • One teaspoon smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon cumin powder
  • Half a teaspoon chilli powder
  • Two teaspoons of sugar
  • Salt to season
  • Four tablespoons of olive oil
  • One litre of vegetable stock

Drain the lentils, thoroughly rinse them  and keep aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pot. Add cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Once aromatic add garlic and onion, cook until onions are lightly caramelised.

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Now add tomatoes, Passata and all the dried herbs and spices, mix well. Add crumbled tofu, cover the pot and cook the ingredients on a medium for seven to ten minutes.


Once the tofu is soft, add the stock and lentils. Mix well, cover the pot and cook the sauce of a low heat for 40 to 45 minutes. Stir the sauce from time to time to help break the protein and infuse the flavour thoroughly.


Season with salt and mix well. Let the sauce simmer for another five to seven minutes. In the meantime cook spaghetti as per packet instructions.

To serve toss the sauce with pasta and ladle a generous serve on top. Garnish with cracked pepper and grated Parmesan. I can guarantee this spaghetti will bring all the Italian Nonnas to the yard and you can say – Damn right it is better than yours!

Curried egg and Broccoli open sandwich 

It hits the spot and how…

 
 

Little Samuel Kabir absolutely loves broccoli and eggs, which means our fridge is always stocked with them. Every second day I find myself steaming broccoli or boiling eggs for my little monster. 

While SammyK can happily eat steamed broccoli and boiled eggs just as they are. Mummy needs a little something extra because that’s just eating way too healthy for my liking. I decided to make myself an egg and broccoli and open sandwich. It was so good that I’ll definitely be making this for lunch more often.

Ingredients: 10   Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 1

  • Two slices of crusty sourdough bread, toasted 
  • Two boiled eggs, chopped
  • Three to four medium sized broccoli florets, steamed and chopped 
  • One teaspoon of capers
  • Two tablespoons of Greek yogurt
  • One tablespoon lemon juice
  • Half a teaspoon curry powder
  • Salt to season 
  • Crushed black pepper to garnish
  • Chilli flakes to garnish

In a bowl combine all the ingredients, mix well. Season with salt.

Assemble toasted bread on a plate. Scoop the egg and broccoli mixture and layer it on to the toast. If you are health coscious you can turn this into a salad by adding lettuce.

Garnish with pepper and chilli flakes. Some fresh herbs like parsley or coriander would be great for garnish too. 

A simple lunch for days when you are too busy to cook but never too busy to eat.

  

Sweet potato and lentil soup 

The soup season is here…

  

Today I don’t really have a story and nor did I attempt any artistic photos last night while making this pot of healthy goodness. What I do have is a cracker of a soup recipe!

Imagine your kitchen coming to life with the alluring aromas of cinnamon, garam masala and bayleaves. This soup packs a punch in the flavour department and will most certainly kick the butt of any cold or related ailments the onset of winter may bring with it.

  

Even my husband who dislikes curry based soups (yeah go figure, loves curry but not curry flavoured soups) went back for seconds. SammyK totally demolished his soup bowl and let out a ferocious victory growl as all that pepper tickled his throat. Yes sir! We are a family that loves our herbs and spices.

So without further ado here’s the recipe for this beauty.

Ingredients: 15   Cooking time: 45 mins

Serves: 4

  • One sweet potato, peeled and cubed 
  • 250 gms of split green lentils
  • 400ml of light coconut milk
  • One small lemon
  • One onion, finely chopped
  • A thumbsized piece of ginger, grated
  • One cinnamon stick
  • Two bayleaves
  • One teaspoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon pepper
  • Half teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Salt to season 
  • Four tablespoons of olive oil
  • Four tablespoons of yogurt (optional)
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Heat oil in a crockpot. Add cinnamon stick. Once aromatic add onions and grated ginger. Cook until onion is translucent. Now add sweet potatoes and mix well.

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Now add the lentils, garam masala, pepper, chilli flakes (leave some for garnish), bay leaves. Mix well till all the ingredients are coated with the spices. Then about a litre of water or vegetable stock. Cover the saucepan and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes. 

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Now add juice of half a lemon, mix well. Finally add coconut milk. Give the pot a real good stir and let the soup simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes on low heat. To finish off the soup mash the lentils and sweet potatoes. This way it has some texture but is mostly rich and creamy. Scoop some soup out for the little ones prior to seasoning with salt.

For the garnish add four tablespoons of yogurt in a bowl. Mix about a teaspoon of lemon juice. For the next garnish hear two tablespoons of olive oil. Add quarter teaspoon of chilli flakes. Once aromatic turn off the heat. 

Serve this lip smackingly delicious soup with a dollop of lemon yogurt, a drizzle of chilli oil and sprinklings of fresh parsley.

  

Big Breakfast

Because nothing says weekend like a big breakfast…

Now with Samuel Kabir eating solids our mealtimes have become so much more fun. It’s so entertaining watching him try new things, roll his eyes or smile with glee each time he tries a new food. One thing is for sure the boy loves his food. Who wouldn’t I suppose with foodie parents like us two.

My favourite part of the week has to be cooking and relishing weekend brunches with my family. Recently I decided to make my own spiced breakfast beans and crispy breakfast potatoes. Needless to say there were cheesy scrambled eggs and beautiful crusty grilled sourdough. 

 

While I’m a complete believer in convenience and using canned baked beans would’ve been just fine. Since it’s the question of nutrition for little SammyK I make no compromise. Besides when homemade beans are so easy to make and ready in 15 minutes, why wouldn’t you make them at home.

Ingredients:  18 Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

For the beans

  • One can of reduced salt cannellini beans
  • One small onion, chopped
  • Two medium tomatoes, chopped
  • Half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • Two pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One teaspoon cumin powder
  • Half a teaspoon of rosemary leaves
  • Salt to season 
  • Three tablespoons of olive oil

For the potatoes 

  • Three to four medium-sized potatoes, cubed
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • One teaspoon of mixed Italian herbs 
  • Salt to season 

For the eggs

  • Eight eggs
  • Quarter cup of milk
  • Half a cup of grated tasty cheddar
  • Salt to season
  • One teaspoon of olive oil

Begin by rinsing the beans thoroughly to wash off the salts and rind. On the other hand parboil the potatoes until slightly tender.

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Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic and onion, cook until aromatic. Now add tomatoes, herbs and spices and let the tomatoes stew on a medium heat for five to seven minutes.

  
Once the tomatoes are soft add the beans and half a cup of water. Mix well and cover the pan, let the beans simmer for 10 minutes.

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In the meantime, heat oil in another pan. Add mixed Italian herbs, once aromatic, add the potatoes. Toss well and cook until potatoes are cooked through and crispy.

  

To make the eggs. Whisk the eggs and milk in a bowl. Heat oil in a pan, add the eggs and turn the heat low. Keep folding the eggs in until scrambled and fluffy. Add grated cheddar and mix through. Garnish with cracked pepper. 

Your lip smackingly delicious big breakfast is ready to serve. If you are sharing this with your little one, take out relevant portions for him/her and then add salt for seasoning to the remaining. All the meat lovers feel free to add chorizo in beans or bacon on the side. Or just take my word that you won’t miss the meat if you eat a well cooked vegetarian meal once in a while.

  

So what are you waiting for. Pile it all up on a big plate and enjoy with a nice cup of coffee. Meanwhile in our house SammyK demolished his food and then went on to feed his furbling.

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