29 January 2017

Black bean, quinoa and corn stacker

I've been enjoying trying out a few of Nadia Lim's recipes lately, in particular some of the ones from the My Food Bag website.  This was one from the vegetarian bag, and is one of the tastiest dishes I've come across in a long time.  Great variety of flavours, but all ones that meld together in a harmonious symphony to satiate the palate.  This is a Mexican-inspired dish, using black beans, guacamole and chipotle sauce (plus quinoa from Peru!).  Chipotle is a smoked jalapeno pepper and has a wonderful smokey, earthy taste and aroma.  Not spicy, though you could easily add in extra dried or fresh chili if you wanted.  I've used both Culleys and Barkers brands, and both are good, though I would rate Culleys as the better one.  

Serves 4-5 (or a little more, if served with a side of fish or steak)

3/4 cup red or black quinoa (white is ok, but tends to be fluffier in texture)
kernels of 1 corn cob
1 red onion, finely diced
1 capsicum, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/2 cucumber, diced
2 avocados
1/2 tin pineapple, chopped
lettuce (cos or iceberg are good)
2 tbsp fresh coriander/basil, roughly chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed out
2 tbsp Mexican spice blend (I like Simon Gault's Taste of Mexico) 
1/4 cup mayo (good thick mayo) 
1 tbsp chipotle sauce

  1. Cook quinoa in pot of boiling water for about 15 minutes, until tender with slight al dente bite.  Drain, rinse under cold water, then set aside to thoroughly drain (I used a sieve).  
  2. Heat knob of butter in large fry pan and cook 1/2 the onion and 3/4 capsicum for a few minutes until softened.  Add zucchini, tomato, corn, black beans and spice mix and cook for further few minutes.  
  3. Remove pan from heat, stir through drained quinoa, lemon zest and 1/2 the lemon juice.  
  4. In one bowl mix together pineapple, cucumber, remainder of capsicum and 1 tbsp coriander.  In another bowl mash avocados and mix through remainder of onion, lemon juice and coriander.  In smaller bowl mix mayo and chipotle sauce.  
  5. Layer plate with ripped up pieces of lettuce.  Layer black bean mix, guac and salsa, topped with some chipotle mayo.  Sprinkle with a little extra coriander, if you have it.  

24 January 2017

Coconutty carbonara

We love carbonara.  It's such a comforting dish, and can be made using so many different ingredients (or only a handful!).  Our favourite may is with coconut cream.  The flavour the coconut cream gives when coupled with fresh herbs is amazing!!  And it's not a rich or heavy as using normal cream (obviously, if you're making traditional carbonara you wouldn't be using cream at all, but...).  So, we love this dish but, incredibly, I've never blogged it before.  Remiss of me, absolutely.  Rectifying my laxness, yes I am.  

Following is what KB put in our carbonara last night, but we will often have chicken in there as well, and broccoli, zucchini...whatever is in season really.  Thyme works well too, herb-wise.  Change it up to suit your taste, and what's in your fridge.  

To serve 4 (sweet - dinner for the whole fam, or leftover lunches the next day!)

1/2 - 1 pack dried fettuccine (depending how much pasta you like)
6 rashers streaky bacon, chopped into matchsticks
1 onion, diced
10 mushrooms, diced or sliced
1/2 capsicum, diced
1 tin coconut cream
2 eggs
1 packet powder chicken soup 
good-sized pile grated parmesan cheese 
salt and pepper
chives and basil, chopped

  1. Bring water to boil for pasta, cook until al dente.
  2. Fry bacon in pan until beginning to crisp. Add onion, mushrooms and capsicum in butter, on low-medium heat until softened.    
  3. Mix coconut cream, eggs and soup together well.  Add herbs and salt and pepper.
  4. Stir cooked and drained pasta through the veges and bacon in pan.  Stir through coconut cream mix and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
  5. When ready to serve stir through cheese.  Voila!!