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. 

Thyme Tomato Chilli Mussels

Come on baby light my fire…

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For a working couple that loves to eat, mid-week meals need to be all about convenience and oodles of flavour. What if I told you this recipe is ridiculously easy, packs a real punch of flavours and can even light your fire mid-week! Yes, you read that right – Mussels are not only full of flavour but also a natural aphrodisiac. So come on baby!

This combination of mussels with plenty of garlic, parsley, tomatoes and white wine was inspired by the Venetian soup zuppa de peoci. I have added some rosemary and thyme to elevate the flavours of this dish further.

You can simply serve the mussels in the tomato broth or make them a bit more substantial by adding pasta or make them utterly indulgent by serving the mussels pasta with a side of crusty sourdough bread.

So think no more, read the recipe below and light your fire mid-week.

Ingredients: 12  Serves: 4

Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • One kg mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 400 gms of crushed canned tomatoes
  • 125 ml of white wine (I used a reisling)
  • Three to four pods of garlic, coarsely sliced
  • One medium brown onion, finely sliced
  • One to two red chillies, finely chopped
  • Half a cup of continental parsley (leaves and stems), finely chopped
  • One teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • Four to five sprigs of thyme
  • 250 gms pasta, cooked al dente
  • Four tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Add garlic and cook until aromatic. Now add the onions, parsley stems and red chillies, cook until the onions are translucent. 

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Add crushed tomatoes, followed by white wine, thyme and dried rosemary. Cook until the wine has evaporated and the sauce slightly reduced. Then add the fresh parsley and season with salt as required.

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Finally add the mussels, lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook until the mussels have opened. To serve simply scoop the mussels and tomato broth over the pasta and serve alongside some crusty bread. 

Enjoy this utterly simple yet simply flavourful dish and come on baby light my fire.

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Cretan Omlette

One bite and you may find yourself in Greece…

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During my travels around Greece I was completely floored by the fresh ingredients, simple flavours and effortless cooking of the locals. The Mediterranean diet is definitely one to reckon with, principal aspects of this diet include proportionally high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, and vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), moderate wine consumption, and low consumption of meat and meat products.

Today’s recipe comes from the island of Crete in Greece. I relished this beautiful dish almost everyday for brunch while I was in Crete. This beautiful omelette is a perfect dish for weekend brunches or mid week dinners, easy to make and so full of flavour – you may just be teleported to Greece with one bite.

Ingredients: 7   Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2

  • Six eggs
  • One zucchini, finely sliced
  • One onion, finely sliced
  • Two green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled feta or goats cheese
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt to season

In a bowl whisk the eggs and keep aside.

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Heat olive oil in a non stick frying pan. Add the onions and green chillies and cook the onions until they are translucent. Now add the sliced zucchini and cook until soft.

Transfer the onion zucchini mix into the bowl with the beaten eggs and give the eggs a good whisk.

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Add the egg mixture back into the pan, rotate the pan in a circular motion to spread the eggs evenly. Lastly, add the crumbled feta or goats cheese.

Cook on a low to medium flame for 8 to 10 minutes until the omelette is cooked. I like my omelette a bit runny but you may choose to cook it through completely.

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If you are serving this omelette for brunch you can serve it with a side of some crusty bread and if you are serving it with dinner, a simple green salad will be a great accompaniment.

I hope you enjoy this dish, I find myself teleported to Greece just writing this recipe up for you.

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