Mint and Sumac Green Bean Salad

A real flavour explosion 


As the festive holiday season draws near I bet you all are getting your chefs hats on and figuring out the Christmas lunch menu this year. While meat is the obvious choice and barbecues are the go to way to cook, I find people often struggle to come up with equally tasty vegetarian options. 

There’s definitely more to vegetables than roast potatoes and a boring green salad. Today’s recipe is not only vegan/vegetarian but it will also make sure to please the hearts of hardcore meat eaters. So this Christmas try this lip smackingly delicious Green Bean salad with mint and sumac. I promise it will be a hit.

Ingredients: 12 Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 500 gms of green beans, ends trimmed
  • Two fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • One red onion, sliced
  • Two pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One bunch of fresh parsley( stems and leaves), chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • One teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • One tablespoon sumac powder
  • One tablespoon dried mint leaves
  • One teaspoon of brown sugar
  • Salt to season 
  • Five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic, onions and chopped parsley stem. Cook until aromatic and the onions lightly caramelised.

Now add tomatoes, all the dried spices and sugar. Cook until the tomatoes are slightly soft.


Then add the green beans, lemon juice and season with salt. Cook until the beans are tender.


Garnish with fresh parsley and serve at room tempature. You can also top it with crumbled feta if you want to make it a bit more decadent.

Enjoy the festive season with this flavour bomb.

Spaghetti Napoli – My Way

Simplicity, Flavour and Ease…all in one…

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Recently I was looking at my wedding and honeymoon photos. Someday I really wish I could go back in time and relive those days. Surrounded by family and friends, dressed in glamorous clothes, eating unbelievably amazing food and then travelling around Europe with my husband. Oh what bliss! We went to France, Italy, Greece and Austria, mesmerised by each country my husband and I really did not want to come back.

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I was really excited about Italy, primarily because I love Italian food and could not wait to try the local cuisine. My obsession with Italian food started quite young but back in those days it was hard to find those fresh and authentic Italian flavours in India. Everything from pizza to pasta was loaded with chilli and oregano and because I knew no better I loved it just as it was. 

I discovered authentic Italian flavours when I moved to Australia and met my sister-in-law and her family. Their food is simple and uncomplicated yet it packs so much of a flavour punch that each bite is like a party in your mouth. Similarly in my travels around Italy it wasn’t the fancy meals that I enjoyed but the simple ones, using a few ingredients and cooked with love. Add to that the beautiful red wine from the region, the warmth and passion of the locals, I was truly in food heaven.

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Today’s pasta dish is inspired by those simple yet bold and fresh Italian flavours. Spaghetti Napoli was my go to dish when we were in Naples. The sweet tomatoes, fresh herbs and al dente spaghetti gosh I never seemed to get enough of it. My version has a bit of a twist, I am using the freshness of mint to elevate this dish to the next level. Believe me when I say tomato and mint is a match made in heaven.

Ingredients: 8    Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

  • 250 gms of spaghetti
  • Five medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • Four to five pods of garlic, roughly chopped
  • One tablespoon of capers
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • Five to six tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)

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In a deep saucepan bring water to a boil, add salt, followed by the spaghetti and cook as per packet instructions. Until al dente.

To make the sauce, heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Add the roughly chopped garlic and cook until aromatic. Once the oil is aromatic, you can remove the garlic if you don’t like chunks of garlic through your pasta.

Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook on a medium heat for seven to ten minutes until the tomatoes are soft. 

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Next add capers, fresh mint leaves and season with salt as desired. If you are not fan of capers you can replace them with olives.

Finally add the pasta and toss through, ensuring the sauce is evenly coating the spaghetti. If serving this dish to kids you can replace the spaghetti with penne or fusilli pasta as it would be less messy when the little ones eat.

To serve garnish with grated Parmesan cheese or just cracked pepper for a vegan friendly option. Serve hot alongside some garlic bread or a simple green salad.

Enjoy this Italian sensation with a glass of red and the company of your family and friends.

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Smashed Peas with Poached Eggs and Avocado

Smashed avocado is so yesterday…Smashed Peas are here to stay…

As a devout foodie I can tell you nothing, absolutely nothing is more important than breakfast. Particularly on a Saturday morning after a wonderful sleep in, what could be better than a delicious breakfast plate waiting for you. My husband and I love surprising each other with breakfast in bed every now and then, believe me it’s a great old trick among others to keep that spark alive.

The other day we were still laying in bed at 11:00am, after all it was a Saturday. I said to my husband you know what I had a dream, where you brought me this delicious plate of green goodness for breakfast. He indulged me and asked what was on the plate, without any hesitation I began to describe – avocado, peas, fresh herbs, eggs and toast with lots of butter. Ha! yes I do recall my food dreams vividly, after all that’s how I get most of my cooking inspiration. Anyway so my husband just chuckled and continued to play on his phone and for some reason I fell back to sleep.

The next thing I know I was woken up by my dream, but this time it was a reality. My plate of green goodness was right in front of me and behind it all was my gorgeous husband. I know right – LUCKY ME!

Today’s breakfast/brunch is my dream on a plate. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Ingredients: 8   Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2

  • Four free range eggs
  • One avocado, sliced
  • Two cups of frozen peas
  • 10-12 fresh mint leaves
  • One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • A nice loaf of sourdough bread
  • Half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to season

Everywhere around Melbourne, smashed avocado seems to be a raging breakfast sensation. I say honey your days are over because smashed peas are here to stay! This recipe is built on a bed of smashed peas flavoured with mint, extra virgin olive oil and lemon – a combination that will simply knock your jocks off. LOL!

Steam the peas for about five to seven minutes, until soft. In a bowl add the steamed peas, fresh mint leaves, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive, juice of half a lemon and salt as per taste. Using a stick blender coarsely blend all the ingredients. Your smashed mint peas are ready!

For poached eggs – the first step for perfect poached eggs is to use the freshest eggs. The next step is to get yourself a wide casserole type pan and bring water to a boil. Add one teaspoon of vinegar and a pinch of salt. Once the water has boiled let it simmer. Crack each egg in a small bowl drop them in the pan one by one, you’ll see them begin to cook immediately. Depending on your pan, a really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes and a soft to firm one will need 4 minutes (it depends on the size of the eggs and whether you’re using them straight from the fridge). To check whether they’re done, remove one carefully from the pan with a slotted spoon and give it a gentle shake. If it feels too soft (use your instincts), put it back and give the eggs a little longer in the water to firm up. Once the eggs are cooked remove them on to kitchen paper and dry off.

While the eggs are poaching get your toasts ready, it is essential to use really good bread with this recipe because life is too short to eat bad bread.

To plate up – make a bed of smashed peas, surround it with avocado slices, top it up with toast and poached eggs. I added some of the leftover smashed peas on the top too, because I just can’t get enough. Finally season with some cracked pepper, dig in and get ready to fall in a food coma.

Zucchini blossom Potato Gnocchi

Summer nights with summer delights…

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The beauty of summer is not just the clear blue, sun-kissed skies, but also the availability of fresh produce. I am so excited to see my local grocer stocked up with beautiful fruits and vegetables, one of my favourite summer vegetable is zucchini and its beautiful blossoms. Usually I stuff zucchini flowers with goats cheese (you can find the recipe here), but this time I round I decide to do something different with them – cook them in a pasta.

While my most favourite pasta is spaghetti, for this dish I decided to use potato gnocchi.  One day I will endeavour to make my own gnocchi, but during the week where the need for quick meals is paramount packaged gnocchi will do just fine. The best part about using gnocchi is that it takes only 3 – 4 minutes to cook and as a working woman you will know time is of the essence during mid-week cooking.

Ingredients:   11      Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

  • One packet of potato gnocchi
  • Eight to ten baby zucchini
  • Eight to ten zucchini flowers
  • One teaspoon of dried red chilli flakes
  • Handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
  • One red onion, finely sliced
  • Four to five pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One dozen cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled goats cheese
  • Three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season

Begin by separating the zucchini flowers from the zucchini stem and remove the pistil in the middle of the flower by carefully parting the petals and keep aside.

Heat three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Now add the sliced onion, chopped garlic and mint, cook until the onion mix is caramelised.

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Add sliced zucchini, along with the chilli flakes and cook until the zucchini is tender. While the zucchini is cooking bring water to a boil and add the gnocchi, cook it as per packet instructions.

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Once the gnocchi is cooked add it to the zucchini mix and give all the ingredients a good toss, coating the gnocchi with all those delicious flavours.

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Now add the sliced tomatoes and toss the ingredients, cook until the tomatoes are soft. Season with salt as per taste, but remember not to over salt as we will be adding the goats cheese later.

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Lastly add the zucchini blossoms and crumbled goats cheese, give the gnocchi a good stir and serve hot!

There you have it! A lip smackingly delicious mid-week meal all in 15 minutes.

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Pea, Mint and Goats Cheese Salad

Summer beckons and the salads are calling…

With daylight savings kicking in, Australia is truly on its path to embracing summer and what better than fresh salads to beat the heat. Being a true Indian foodie I don’t consider salads as a meal, but definitely think salads make a great side dish. Particularly when you are indulge in some rather heavy meals. Salads are the source of all things good, fresh and healthy.

You remember the last spaghetti recipe I posted. Well to make myself feel less guilty about indulging in those carbs, I served the spaghetti with a side of this delicious pea, mint and goats cheese salad. To make it more nutrient rich and slightly sexy I added toasted crushed almonds, sesame seeds and crispy shallots too.This salad would be a perfect accompaniment to a weeknight meal or a lazy weekend lunch because it is so light, refreshing and quick to make. Try it for your next party and take my word, it will be a hit.

Ingredients: 7   Preparation time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Three cups of fresh/frozen baby peas
  • One tablespoon of finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1.5 tablespoons of toasted crushed almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
  • Three tablespoons of goats cheese (you can add more if you like your salad saltier)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons of crispy shallots

Whether you are using fresh or frozen peas, we need to blanch them. So add three cups of water in a saucepan and let it come to a boil. Now add the peas for about two-three minutes and once they are slightly soft, strain the peas and run them under cold water to prevent them from cooking further.

To assemble the salad, put the peas in a bowl and add the chopped mint and mix them well. Crumble the goats cheese, add it to the peas and mix it well. Now add the olive oil and mix again. Your salad is ready!

For the garnish add the toasted, crushed almonds, sesame seeds and crispy shallots. Enjoy this light and healthy salad and make it an accompaniment with your mail meals. I served this LSD salad with my Spaghetti con Pomodoro e Basilico and it was finito in a matter of minutes