This dish is an easy one to make for a light lunch or dinner. While there are a few steps, there is nothing really challenging, and it’s definitely not time consuming!
And you can always buy dukkah from a health food store or specialty grocer, rather than make your own.
30g skinned hazelnuts
6 cardamom pods, seeds removed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bunch asparagus, about 6-8 spears
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 spring onions, tops trimmed
2 salmon fillets, skin on
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-8 cherry tomatoes on the vine if possible
To make the dukkah, put the hazelnuts in a heavy bottomed frying pan and lightly toast for a couple of minutes.
Add the spices and toast for a further 2 minutes.
Put this mixture plus the salt into a food processor and blitz. Don’t overdo it- you don’t want a powder, you want small chunks of nuts.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees fan-forced.
Cook the asparagus in the microwave for about 2 minutes just until slightly softened.
Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a baking dish. Lay the spring onions on the bottom. Place the salmon fillets, skin side up, on the spring onions. Scatter over some salt and ground black pepper. Place the asparagus spears and the cherry tomatoes around the salmon in the dish.
Place in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, and carefully peel the skin from each fillet. Scatter the dukkah over the fillets, put back in the oven and cook for 3 minutes longer.
Remove from the oven. You can serve as is, but I like to arrange the asparagus on top of the salmon. Sometimes I serve the tomatoes separately too.
Great with crusty bread, a green salad and a glass of wine!
Quiche is always a popular lunch or supper dish, winter or summer, served indoors by the fire or alfresco on a sunny day.
Great with crusty bread and a green salad, and a glass of wine!
This quiche is super easy as it’s made with filo pastry. I suppose it’s more like a traybake, cooked in a square dish, and it cuts into hearty slices.
This recipe calls for buttermilk in the custard, for a tangy flavour. But make it with full fat milk instead – it will still taste great.
8 sheets filo pastry
6-8 asparagus spears, trimmed
50g butter, melted
4 free-range eggs
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
50g cheddar or feta
2 spring onions, trinm
1 large cooked salmon fillet*
6-8 cherry tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Butter a 20cm – 22cm square baking dish or pan.
Remove filo pastry from the fridge.
Lay a sheet of filo pastry in the dish or pan. Take the next sheet and lay at right angles to the first, to ensure even coverage. Liberally brush with the melted butter. Lay another 2 sheets in the same way, brushing the second sheet with melted butter.
Layer the next 4 sheets, brushing with melted butter after every second sheet.
Take the asparagus and microwave for a couple of minutes on low to medium to just cook. Alternatively stick the asparagus spears top side down in a pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until barely cooked.
Refresh asparagus under cold water.
To make the custard, combine cream, buttermilk, free-range eggs, salt, pepper and half the cheese, in a bowl, and beat with a fork or a whisk until thoroughly combined.
Pour the custard into the dish or pan. Lay the asparagus and spring onions on top of the custard. Break up the salmon fillet into chunks and put into the dish. Scatter the cherry tomatoes, whole, in between the other ingredients. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until the custard is set looking, but not hard or cracked.
Remove from the oven to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the previous mentioned bread and a green salad.
* cook the salmon fillet on baking paper for 10 minutes with a little oil in a 180 degrees C oven.
I posted this recipe from Australia’s wonderful Bill Granger during lockdown the year before last. It seems so strange to be talking about lockdown in 2020 when we are still dealing with the pandemic…
It’s quick and easy because it’s an oven baked risotto. It makes sense to let the oven do the cooking rather than spend all that time stirring on the stove top.
Recently, a friend told me that this dish is her go to recipe for risotto, as it’s so much easier than cooking risotto the traditional way.
So I thought it’s about time I posted it again, to encourage reluctant risotto cooks to give it a go!
Bill’s recipe has leeks and asparagus as the veggies. You could replace the leeks and/or asparagus with whatever you fancy – zucchini, peas, broad beans or even tomatoes for a red hued risotto.
2 tablespoons olive oil 500g chicken breast or thighs, cut into thin strips 1 onion, finely chopped 1 leek, sliced into rounds 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 250g Arborio rice 500ml chicken stock 250ml white wine + extra if needed 1 bunch of asparagus, sliced on the diagonal A handful of grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, plus extra to serve Sea salt Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large casserole dish on the stove top over a high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
Add the remaining olive to the pan, then the onion and leek, and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until the onion and leek are soft. Add the lemon zest and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat the grains in the oil. Add the chicken stock and white wine, and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
Cover the casserole and put in the oven for 20 minutes. At this point, if the risotto seems to have absorbed all the liquid, add a splash or two of white wine. Add asparagus, return the chicken to the casserole and bake for a few minutes or until the asparagus is just tender, the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Bill says to do this for 3-4 minutes, I found it took more like 10 minutes to fully cook the rice.
Stir in parmesan or pecorino and season with salt and pepper. Serve with extra cheese.
This hot smoked salmon sandwich is Jamie Oliver inspired. The recipe is infinitely variable to make all kinds of different, delicious sandwiches.
Try it with leg ham or roast beef. Make it veggie by using halloumi instead of the salmon. Add a few pickles to the sandwich, or add condiments like chutney, onion or chilli jam, or even try it with pesto or hummus!
4 slices of streaky bacon
4 slices of sourdough bread
1 ripe tomato
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons home made or whole egg bought mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of basil or coriander leaves, bashed, stirred through the mayonnaise (optional)
200g hot smoked salmon (available from the deli section of supermarkets)
A handful of lettuce leaves or rocket
A few squeezes of lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper
Place the bacon in a cold frying pan, turn on the heat to medium and fry the bacon until crispy and cooked through, then remove from the pan. Turn off the heat.
Immediately put the bread slices into the still warm pan in the bacon fat to soak up the bacon flavour.
Cut the tomato into slices. Cut the avocado in half, take out the stone and peel each half. Cut the avocado into slices.
Now assemble the sandwich.
Spread the toasted sourdough slices with the mayonnaise.
Put two slices of toasted bread side by side and layer with the bacon rashers, tomato, avocado, chunks of the salmon and the lettuce or rocket. Squeeze lemon juice over the whole lot and add a grind or two of sea salt and black pepper.
Top each one with the remaining slices of toast. Eat and enjoy!
Sydneysiders are really looking forward to next week when we are allowed to meet friends outside for a picnic – a little easing of our long winter lockdown.
So picnics are the go! And what better for a picnic than a portable tasty treat like a quiche.
Quiche – that versatile combination of short crust pastry, savoury custard and tasty fillings. Great for lunch, dinner or indeed a picnic.
So cherry tomatoes are the basis of this quiche, as well as a handful of sun dried tomatoes. To make the whole thing fresh and light, I used spring onions, rather than onions, utilizing the green tops as well as the white onion bottoms.
The base is shortcrust pastry, for this particular recipe I used Maggie Beer’s Sour Cream Pastry. The savoury custard is the traditional filling for a quiche.
Filling 2 spring onions, finely chopped 250g cherry tomatoes (a punnet) A handful of sun dried tomatoes 4 free range eggs 1/2 cup cream 3/4 cup milk Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, 170 degrees C fan forced. To make the sour cream pastry, pulse butter and flour in a food processor until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. Using your hands, shape pastry into a ball.
Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Grease a medium sized fluted quiche tin with a removable bottom. Roll the pastry out to 3mm thick and place in the tin.
Rest for 15 minutes in refrigerator. This helps reduce shrinkage when cooking. Remove from the fridge, place some pie weights on baking paper inside the tart, and bake blind in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and baking paper.
Decrease oven temperature to 170 degrees C, 160 degrees C fan forced.
Scatter the finely chopped spring onions over the base of the blind-baked pastry case. Chop the cherry tomatoes in quarters, leaving some of the smaller ones in halves. Scatter the quarters over the pastry base. Roughly chop the sun dried tomatoes, and scatter these between the cherry tomatoes.
In a bowl or large jug (the latter is very useful as you can pour the custard into the quiche tin easily), beat the eggs, cream and milk together until thoroughly combined. Add salt, pepper and grated Parmesan.
Carefully pour the custard mixture into the quiche tin. (I find it easiest to place the tin in the oven first before pouring). Place the remaining cherry tomato halves carefully in the custard. Hopefully they will sit artfully displayed in the cooked quiche, but don’t worry if they sink!
Bake until the custard is just set but still wobbly – about 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. Carefully remove and leave to cool slightly before serving.
The quiche is fine as is, or you can serve with a few basil leaves, and/or some cherry tomatoes on the vine, which you slow roast for a couple of hours until wilted.
** You can use your favourite beef recipe, here’s the link to my Beef Casserole.
Make your beef casserole ahead of time. Remember it’s a slow cooked recipe.
Prepare your pizza dough to second proofing.
While the dough is proofing, grill the corn cobs on the bars of the barbecue till nicely charred. When cool enough to handle, cut off the corn kernels, remove to a bowl, and mix with enough of the mayonnaise to coat the kernels. Mix in the chipotle powder, 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika and a good squeeze of lime juice.
Now shape your pizzas and grill on the barbecue as per the barbecue pizza recipe.
Add the toppings, starting with the beef casserole. “Pull” the beef pieces to get that pulled beef effect. Make sure you spread lots of the tomato sauce on the pizza base. Scatter the corn kernels, spring onions and cheese over the pizza. Sprinkle the rest of the smoked paprika over the pizza.
Cook on the barbecue. Once it’s nicely done, put slices of avocado on top and scatter with coriander. Serve with lime wedges and chilli sauce for those who want an extra kick!
Here’s something I posted last year when we were in lockdown in Sydney…and here we are back in lockdown again!
But the weather is lovely with clear sunny days (well, mostly!) and spring is in the air. Which is the perfect reason to do some outdoor eating and home made burgers are the way to go.
Make the burger patties and then get creative with some fillings and garnishes – I’ve given some suggestions.
Eat, enjoy and beat the lockdown blues!
For the burger:
500g minced beef, preferably organic
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 free-range egg
1 handful of fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices of cheddar cheese
The other 1/2 onion, cut into rings
For the bits and pieces that go with the burgers:
4 soft bread rolls
Handful of baby gherkins
Sun dried tomatoes
Any green leaves you fancy – rocket is always good
2 teaspoons American mustard
2 teaspoons tomato ketchup or 2 teaspoons tomato chutney
Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C fan-forced.
Scrunch all the ingredients together. Use the breadcrumbs as required to bind the mixture. Divide into 4, then lightly mould and pack each burger together into burger shapes. Place the burgers on a baking tray along with the onion rings. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. The burgers should still be pink in the middle – cook for a few minutes longer if you want them more well done.
Just before they are done, place a slice of cheese on top of each burger and place back in the oven for a minute to just melt the cheese.
Cut rolls in half and place on a plate. Place a burger with its slice of melted cheese on top of half of a bread roll. Squeeze some mustard and tomato ketchup on top, or spoon some tomato chutney onto the bread roll before you add the burger. Now add any of the bits and pieces as you fancy, using my suggestions or making up your own. I definitely recommend scattering the charred onion rings on top of the burger, really tasty!
I did a couple of different combinations on different nights.
A really delicious and easy meal and equally as good as take away!
Pizza on the barbecue is a great invention if you want a crusty pizza with a charred edge. I developed these recipes a while back, and while I now make pizza in my Ooni Koda 16 pizza oven, barbecue pizza is still a go-to method for a crowd. It’s also easier than cooking pizza in a conventional oven!
If you haven’t got a pizza oven, wood fired or otherwise, give the barbecue method a go! But you do need a barbecue with a hood, as this method relies on creating a really hot oven environment to cook the pizzas quickly.
Making pizza on the barbecue is really easy. I was delighted with how quick and easy grilling the dough on the barbecue is.
You make a normal pizza yeast dough – then grill it for a minute each side on the bars of a very hot barbecue. Then dress the grilled pizza with your toppings of choice, place on a baking tray and heat on the barbecue on medium heat, with the hood down to simulate an oven.
Fresh, hot, grilled pizza made right in front of your friends! You could even do “make your toppings” with everyone customizing their own pizza.
Really anything goes for toppings – these recipes are just some suggestions that worked for me.
2 ¼ tsp dry yeast 1 cup warm water (40.5 – 46 degrees C) 2 to 2 ½ cups Tipo 00 flour, plus more for dusting 1 tsp sea salt Extra-virgin olive oil
Toppings Roast Pumpkin, Avocado, Cherry Tomato, Sugar Snap Peas, Spring Onion and Taleggio Pizza
1/4 butternut pumpkin, baked in pieces, skin on 1 avocado, sliced A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved A few sugar snap peas 2 spring onions finely chopped A few slices of taleggio cheese Rosemary sprigs to garnish
Pear, Artichoke and Blue Cheese Pizza
1 cup grated cheddar cheese 2 spring onions finely chopped 1 pear, sliced 2 -3 artichoke hearts, sliced A handful of crumbled blue cheese (to taste) Rosemary sprigs
Method Pizza Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in most of the flour and the salt, stirring until smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until the dough comes away from the bowl but is still sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with lightly floured hands. Knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic and soft, but a little sticky, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to bowl lightly oiled with extra virgin olive oil, turn to coat. Cover with cling wrap and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 2-3 hours. Press it with your finger to see if it’s done; an indent should remain.
Remove the dough from the bowl, divide in half and shape each half into a ball. This quantity makes 2 small pizzas. Or leave as 1 ball for 1 large pizza.
Brush with more oil and set aside for 30 minutes.
Heat your barbecue to very high.
Stretch and shape the ball/s of dough into a rectangle or round – or any rustic shape! Brush the top/s with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let rest for 15 minutes. Place on the grill directly on the bars, oiled side down, and grill until lightly golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip over and grill for 1 minute longer.
Place the pizza/s on a baking tray and apply your toppings:
For the Roast Pumpkin, Avocado, Cherry Tomato, Sugar Snap Peas, Spring Onion and Taleggio Pizza:
Scatter over the roast pumpkin, avocado, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, spring onion and taleggio.
For the Pear, Artichoke and Blue Cheese Pizza:
Scatter over cheddar cheese, spring onions, sliced pear, sliced artichoke hearts and crumbled blue cheese.
Return the pizzas to the barbecue, turn down the heat to medium, close the cover and cook until the cheese has melted and the pears/veggies are crisp and a little charred – about 2 or 3 minutes.
Remove the pizzas from the barbecue and garnish with rosemary sprigs. Slice and serve piping hot!