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. 

Aloo Mutter ki Tahiri (Potato and Pea spiced Rice)

A simple indulgence 

Somewhere over the last few months, I lost a little part of me. Priorities shifted from what I like to do vs. what I need to do. While I like blogging a lot, my growing toddler’s needs meant I had to put it on hold. Add to this being pregnant and bringing another little wonder into our lives. Busy has a whole new meaning in my world today. Also, truth be known, I got lazy! Free time meant catching up on sleep, watching a little TV, etc. 

So here I am, trying to rekindle my food blogging love affair. I assume you missed having your daily dose of LSD too? Today I bring to you a quick, simple yet hearty recipe of Tahiri. This dish has its roots in Lucknow, an eastern Indian city known for its artistic flair and as the seat of Nawabs ( Indian Royals). Interestingly, Tahiri is also enjoyed across Pakistan which makes me wonder if India and Pakistan could just make peace over a plate of Tahiri.

Ingredients: 16    Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

  • Two cups of basmati rice 
  • One medium size onion, finely chopped
  • One thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
  • Two to three green chillies
  • Two medium size tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Two medium size potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 250gms of green peas
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One large bayleaf
  • Four to five cloves
  • Two green cardamom pods
  • 1.5 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Two tablespoons of ghee
  • Salt to season

Heat ghee in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom pods. 

Once the cumin seeds splutter and are aromatic, add the onions. Followed by ginger and green chillies. Cook until onion is lightly caramelised.


Now add the tomatoes and remaining dry spices, except bayleaf. Mix well and cook until tomatoes are soft.

Then add the potatoes and peas. Followed by basmati rice, mix well. Add enough water to cover the rice. Add bayleaf, lemon juice and season with salt. Bring to a boil, cover the saucepan with a lid and cook on a low heat, until rice is cooked.


Tahiri is now ready to be served. Serve alongside plain yogurt or with an Indian pickle or just by itself. I guarantee every mouth full is lip smackingly delicious.

Roasted pumpkin and pine nut spaghetti

Why do boring when you can do flavourful… 

I am a morning person but dinner is my favourite meal of the day. It’s the one meal my husband and I eat together, whilst chatting about our day, watching our favourite tv show or simply drinking a glass of wine.

Even after so many years my husband gets so excited about my cooking. His face lights up when he asks ‘what’s for dinner?’ One of the reasons why I love cooking so much is because he enjoys eating so much.

My cooking routine is simple. Pour a glass of wine, crank up ‘French cafe radio’ on Pandora and rustle through my fridge and pantry for flavourful combinations. The other day I found a beautiful cut of Kent pumpkin, baby green peas and goats cheese in my fridge. To compliment these ingredients, I had smoked paprika and pine nuts in my pantry. There were many different ways these ingredients could have ended up but I had only one dish in my mind – PASTA!

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Ingredients: 14 Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One packet of pasta, I used spaghettini 
  • Half a pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • One cup of green peas, fresh or frozen
  • One red onion, finely sliced
  • Three to four pods of garlic, finely chopped 
  • Two tablespoons of fresh mint, finely chopped 
  • Two tablespoons of pinenuts, toasted 
  • Two tablespoons smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon of dried oregano
  • One teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • Five to six tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season
  • Cracked black pepper to garnish
  • Handful of goats cheese, crumbled for garnish (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. In a baking dish add cubed pumpkin. In another bowl add about three tablespoons of olive oil, smoked paprika, oregano and chilli flakes. Mix well and pour this dressing on the pumpkin. Mix well and roast in the oven until charred and soft. Keep aside.

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In a saucepan bring water to a boil and cook pasta as per packet instructions.

In another pan heat remaining olive oil. Add garlic, cook until aromatic. Then add onions and cook until translucent. Now add peas, mint and remaining smoked paprika. Cook until peas are tender.

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Now mix in the cooked pasta. Toss the ingredients well to evenly mix all the flavour. Add a little olive oil if it appears to dry.

By this stage you will be tempted to devour the pasta as it is, but fight that temptation. Remember good things come to those who wait!

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Drop the cooked pumpkin into the spaghetti. Gently toss it so as to avoid breaking it. Don’t fret if some of the pieces begin to crumble, it will give the spaghetti a saucy, creamy texture. Add the toasted pine nuts, cracked and crumbled goats cheese to garnish. Feel free to avoid goats cheese for a vegan friendly dish.

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Your lip smackingly delicious spaghetti is ready to be served. Serve alongside a heavy bodied Shiraz and enjoy.

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Cucumber and Pea Salad 

Who would have thought this odd couple would be so good together…

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I love the idea of summer. Why wouldn’t you when you think of summer you think of the beach, pina colada, flowy summer dresses and perhaps sailing across the seas on an all indulgent yacht. Then summer comes and you are nothing but a giant mess of grime and sweat!

On hot days my tip is eat well to feel good and stay hydrated. Lots of salads and greens to chill your insides. Moreover when they come in the form of this lip smackingly delicious salad, you will instantly go from hating summer to loving summer.

Ingredients: 10  Preparation time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One continental cucumber, finely sliced
  • 125 gms of peas, steamed
  • One tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
  • One teaspoon dried mint leaves
  • One teaspoon smoked paprika
  • One tablespoon black sesame seeds,toasted
  • 125 gms of goats cheese, crumbled 
  • One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to season

In a bowl combine sliced cucumber, steamed peas, dill and mint. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

For the dressing, in another bowl combine EVOO, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Pour the dressing over the salad. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and goats cheese. Toss well before serving.

Enjoy this summer salad and feel thanda thanda cool cool!

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Rainbow Chard and Pea Fettucini 

Every now and then, try something new…

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I strongly believe the more you cook, the better you become at cooking. The more you try new ingredients the better you become at matching flavours and textures and creating true culinary masterpieces.

My husband constantly loves to challenge me in the kitchen. Somedays when he goes grocery shopping he will come back with a new herb or a new spice or a new vegetable. Of course my challenge then is to turn that new ingredient into a gastronomical delight for him. Lucky him!
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The other day after a trip to the farmers market, Ji came back home with a truck load of goodies. One of them was a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard. My kitchen came to life with those beautiful colours, bright pink, orange, yellow and green. It was almost too beautiful to cook with, alas a woman has got to eat.

I decided to add a bit of colour to one of our favourite weeknight meals and made a lip smackingly delicious pasta with rainbow chard and peas. If you would like a bit of colour in your life too, read the recipe below.

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Ingredients: 15  Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 500 gms of fettuccine or pasta of your choice
  • One bunch of rainbow chard, stems sliced and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 250 gms of peas (I used frozen)
  • 125 gms of marinated red bell peppers, chopped ( these are available in the deli section of the supermarket)
  • One brown onion, finely sliced
  • Five to six pods of garlic, finely sliced
  • One red chilli, finely chopped
  • 125 gms of parsley (stems and leaves), finely chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon 
  • One teaspoon dried oregano
  • One teaspoon dried basil
  • Six to eight tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season 
  • Cracked pepper to garnish
  • Parmesan cheese to garnish 

Cook pasta as per packet instructions and keep aside.

In a pan heat three tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic and cook until aromatic. Now add the onions, half the parsley and chilli, cook on a medium heat for three to four minutes. 

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Now add the sliced stems of the rainbow chard and give the ingredients a good stir. Once the stems are a little tender add the leaves, peas, marinated peppers and lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients well.

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Finally add the pasta, dried herbs, remaining parsley and olive oil. Season with salt and  toss the pasta well, ensure the pasta is evenly coated with the beautiful lemon olive oil sauce.

Your fettuccine is ready to be served. Place a generous portion of the pasta on a plate, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and cracked pepper. Serve with a chilled glass of Riesling on a warm summers evening and watch the rainbow brighten your night.

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Winter Shakshuka

Shake a leg or two with a Shakshuka…

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Shakshuka is a traditional Israeli breakfast dish, which in the west we popularly know as baked eggs. Gooey, runny eggs cooked in an utterly flavour packed tomato sauce full of herbs and spices, lets be honest what’s not to love about it! I have previously made a harissa spiced Shakshuka, you can find the recipe here

While traditionally a Shakshuka is always made in a tomato sauce, I decided to change things up a bit. Today’s Shakshuka recipe is an ode to a chilled winter morning where all your heart yearns for is a pan full of comfort, flavour and indulgence. Butter, cream, leeks, peas and eggs these ingredients scream winter with a passion and you can most certainly guarantee that you are in for treat when these flavours combine together.

So what are you waiting for checkout the recipe below

Ingredients:  12   Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

  • Four free range eggs
  • One leek (white part only), finely chopped
  • 200 gms of peas (I used frozen)
  • 200 gms of spinach (I used frozen)
  • One small brown onion, finely chopped
  • Half a bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 10 to 12 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 100 ml light cooking cream
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season
  • Quarter teaspoon of smoked paprika

In a skillet melt butter and add the chopped onion and leek. Cook until leeks are soft and aromatic.

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Now add peas, spinach, parsley and mint. Give all the ingredients a good stir, once they a mixed well add cooking cream and olive oil. Season with salt as required and let the sauce simmer on a low heat for five to seven minutes.

Before cracking the eggs you can blend the ingredients into a smooth sauce, but since I love the different textures and prefer the sauce to be rustic, so I have not blended it.

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Crack the eggs into the sauce, leaving space between them. Lower the heat, cover the skillet with a lid and cook until the egg whites are cooked. The whole point of a Shakshuka is that the eggs should be runny, but if you don’t like runny eggs you can continue to cook the eggs until they are the consistency of soft-boiled eggs. Note, if you cook the eggs past this point you rather not make this dish at all because a hard-cooked egg is really not worth a Shakshuka. 

Lastly sprinkle some smoked paprika on each of the egg, this gives them a little extra flavour boost and makes them look really pretty too.

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You can serve this dish with warmed up Lebanese bread, chargrilled sourdough, Indian flat breads and if you are utterly health conscious then serve this dish with a simple green side salad.

One bite will give you a taste of nirvana. So don’t wait and try this recipe for your next weekend family brunch and remember to shake a leg or two with a Shakshuka.

Tomato Pea and Basil Frittata

Frittatas are always an eggcellent idea…

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Ahhhhh!!! Eggs!!! I remember my favourite TV commercial as a child was the one about eggs, even to date I remember their ad jingle – Sunday ho ya Monday roz khaao ande (Be it Sunday or Monday, eat eggs everyday). Eggs are so versatile. Boil them, poach them, scramble them, bake them, eat them by themselves or mixed up with other tasty ingredients, they never disappoint!

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While poached and baked eggs are my top two favourite ways of eating eggs, from time to time I do enjoy a good omelet or frittata. In the strictest sense, the difference between an omelet and frittata boils down to a matter of folding in a filling rather than mixing it in. Omelets traditionally have the egg mixture cooked and folded around a filling, while a frittata just mixes it all up, cooked in a mishmash combination all at once. Frittatas are often served at room temperature, making them perfect for brunches or larger groups.

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Today’s frittata recipe is inspired by the Australian spring. Even though we are currently in the middle of winter, this recipe creates an illusion with its aromas whereby I can almost smell and feel the freshness of spring. Tangy tomatoes, sweet peas and aromas of basil are enough to allure even the harshest frittata critic and convert them to a lover.

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Ingredients: 10  Cooking time:25 mins

Serves: 4

  • Six eggs, lightly beaten
  • One medium red onion, finely sliced
  • Half cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Half cup of peas
  • Eight to ten basil leaves
  • Two tablespoons of goats cheese or feta (optional)
  • One red chilli, sliced
  • One green chilli, sliced
  • Three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Lightly beat the eggs and season them with a pinch of salt and keep aside.

Heat three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan. Add sliced onions and chillies, cook until onion is translucent.Roughly tear up the basil leaves and add them to the onion mixture, this will ensure that beautiful basil aroma permeates through the dish.

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Now add the peas and tomatoes and cook for seven to ten minutes on medium heat. 

Take the pan off the heat and pour in the egg mixture. Crumble goats cheese on top. Place the pan back on low heat for five to seven minutes until the eggs have set.

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Finally place the pan in the hot oven for ten to fifteen minutes or until the frittata is golden and risen.

Garnish with fresh basil leaves and sliced tomatoes.

You can serve the frittata with a fresh salad or charred toast. Enjoy this lip smackingly delicious meal on days where you want to eat something tasty but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.

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Cauliflower with Potatoes and Peas

Because sometimes simple things are the best…

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Indian cuisine is without a doubt my favourite cuisine in the world.  Complexity of flavours, assortment of textures, vibrancy of colours, are all things that make Indian cuisine one to reckon with.

Unfortunately the Indian restaurant scene hasn’t done complete justice to the way Indian food is actually served in Indian homes. Indian food doesn’t need to be complicated, it doesn’t need to covered in spices. Indian home cooking is all about love on a plate, it isn’t fancy, it’s comforting. 

Today’s recipe is exactly that – it’s not fancy neither is it complicated. It’s a dish made from everyday vegetables found in your fridge, it’s a dish that uses a staple spice of Indian cooking – Cumin, it’s a dish that uses the classic base flavour of Indian cooking – onion and tomato paste.  All you gorgeous LSD readers that love Indian food, come try it in its true essence. 

Ingredients: 10   Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One medium-sized cauliflower, cut into florets
  • One cup of peas (I used frozen peas)
  • Two medium-sized potatoes, cubed
  • One brown onion, chopped
  • Two tomatoes, chopped
  • Two to three green chillies, chopped
  • Two teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • One teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Salt to season
  • 1.5 tablespoons of ghee or butter

Melt ghee/butter in a pot. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter, now add the onions and cook them until translucent.

Add the tomatoes, green chillies and turmeric powder. Cook until the tomatoes are tender.

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Once the tomatoes are tender, add the potatoes and half a cup of water. Cover the pot with a lid and let the potatoes cook on a medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the peas once the potatoes are cooked, give the dish a good stir and let it cook on a medium heat for another five to seven minutes.

Finally add the cauliflower, season with salt and cook until the cauliflower is al dente.

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Serve this classic marriage of flavours with warm flaky namkeen parathas, the recipe can be found here. Alternatively you can serve it as a side dish with dal and rice, find a classic Indian dal recipe here.

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