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Pump, Pump, Pump, Pumpkin lasagna

If I had to pick an all-time favourite vegetable, pumpkins would easily win, so when I heard about the annual Collector pumpkin festival I had to pay a visit and boy it did not disappoint. There was pumpkin soup, pumpkin pies, pumpkin scones, pumpkin cheesecake and even a pumpkin meed which tasted a lot better than it sounds.

canva-photo-editor

Yup that’s a picture of me being over-excited by the crazy large pumpkins. You would think after all that I would have had a pumpkin overload but instead I went home and decided to look up more pumpkin recipes. I really am obsessed. Anyway that brings us to today’s post, my attempt at making pumpkin lasagna.

To be honest with you I am not a big fan of traditional lasagna, despite being a cheese addict I am not really a fan of bechamel sauce, but this version ski[s the sauce and its replaced with lots and lots of cheese! that’s my kinda of lasagna!

I found the recipe from the always faithful taste.com. As I was making this on a week night and I could not be bothered to cut up a pumpkin after work I bought two bags of pre-cut pumpkin from the supermarket which meant I used 1kg rather than 1.2 kgs as the recipe suggests. I also didn’t cover the pumpkin in foil.

Once the pumpkin was cooked I decided not to puree it because I was worried the lasagna would end up tasting like baby food, rather after I added the spices I just lightly mashed the pumpkin:

mushy pumpkin

After cooking for 35 min with foil on and 15 min with it off the lasagna was still looking quite pale so I changed the coven to grill and let it in for an extra 5 minutes to golden up

pumpkin lasagna I was super impressed with how tasty this was, the addition of chilli flakes were perfect, it wasn’t too spicy but just had lots of flavour, 100% recommend

pumpkin plated

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Zesty broccolini pasta

So I have a confession to make, I started writing this post a month ago! Why has this post taken so long to publish you ask? Well, being the super smart and organised person I am I totally forgot my wordpress password and also my gmail password #fail

Thankfully today is a new day and I have managed to login! Hurray! While it has been forever since I made this pasta dish, it was way to delicious not to share. I actually found this recipe while getting my hair cut from the delicious magazine, and I was super excited to find it online as well.

The recipe was meant to be enough for 8 people, as I had not yet made the pasta and realised how insanely delicious it was I thought it would be best to halve it and not have too many left overs, however I also had the foresight to know that I generally mess-up and over-cook sauces so I halved the pasta & broccolini part but didn’t make less sauce.

After accidentally burning my garlic when I made the curry I was actually really careful this time and kept the heat quite low while cooking the garlic and chilli. I was really glad that I didn’t halve the sauce, as when it came time to add the pasta back it had reduced quite a lot and I was actually a bit worried that there wouldn’t be enough. This is also probably because I didn’t bother to measure out the pasta and probably cooked too much.

pasta 1

Look at those beautiful greens, my mouth is watering thinking about this pasta again.

Once I had mixed the pasta and cheese into the sauce I was very excited to eat it and I totally forgot to add the pumpkin seeds and sorrel leaves which was a shame because while this pasta tasted amazing it was missing a nice crunch.

Pasta 2

 

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HelloFresh Fail

I have had a really busy few weeks, which among other things involved starting a new job and forgetting my WordPress login details so apologies for the late post!

A few weeks ago now I decided to give a HelloFresh recipe ago. I love the idea of HelloFresh, sadly however they do not cater for my allergies so I have never tried one of their meal delivery boxes, I did however see a photo of their Herb & Mustard Chicken on facebook and thought I should give it ago.

The biggest issue with attempting to make a HelloFresh recipe yourself is that the ingredients list has things like ‘1 packet of chicken’ and ‘1 bag of shredded cabbage’ which meant that I had to really guess what the quantities are. For this recipe I used about 1/2 a red cabbage and 500g of chicken thighs.

First up I got the potatoes boiling with the skins on and popped the chicken in the oven. All seemed easy. I then went to shred the cabbage and realised what a noob I still am when it comes to cooking. For some reason I assumed that you used a grater to shred cabbage, luckily I was fast instructed that this was not the correct way to fo things and learnt about the wonderful and terrifying mandoline slicer. Thankfully no fingers were lost.

I then went to making the mustard sauce, the recipe says ‘1 unit lemon’ and I took this to mean the juice of one whole lemon, now looking back at my end product and the HelloFresh picture I definitely used to much. My sauce was more like a salad dressing.

 Cabbage & Carrots 2

Meanwhile the cabbage and carrots were coming along pretty well, although in the end I think I over cooked the cabbage and undercooked the carrots. I added the butter to the potatoes while I was mashing them rather than adding at the end like the recipe suggested, but this meant I totally forgot to add the parsley.

final

As you can see from the plated dish this dinner looked super average and it didn’t taste much better. The cabbage and carrots were tasty but could not rescue the rest of the dish nor my sad salad dressing sauce. I also was not a fan of the mash, personally I like my mash to be creamy but this was a lumpy mess thanks to leaving on the skins. I think if I am going to attempt a HelloFresh recipe in the future I will do so with a lot more caution.

What I leant:

  • Dont grate cabbage
  • Mandoline slicers are amazing and dangerous
  • HelloFresh recipes are vague AF
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Keep calm and curry on

I am a big fan of curry. They are always so full of flavour and colour and when done well despite a multitude of ingredients everything seems to compliment each other. For this reason I assumed that making a curry from scratch would be overly complicated and way beyond my skill set. Whenever my partner made curries at home I was instantly impressed with his skills. Well no longer. Turns out despite a large number of ingredients it was not hard to make at all!

I found a recipe online for  a one pot eggplant, pumpkin and chickpea curry. I went to the farmers market last weekend and had picked up some capcicums, pumpkin and eggplant so when it came time to deciding what to make I simply googled those ingredients and this was the first recipe to pop up. After having a look at the beautiful pictures I started to drool and had to give it ago.

I don’t actually know what a hokkaido pumpkin is, but I used half of a large butternut pumpkin instead. I also forgot to buy a chilli but added in some chilli flakes instead and used soy sauce as I did not have as tamari. While it turns out we did have tumeric in the house I wasn’t able to find it when I was cooking, however I found a jar of red curry paste in the fridge which had some in it so I used 1 teaspoon of that as well. I also used light coconut milk and two cans of chickpeas.

The recipe was pretty easy to follow, however I did manage to burn some of the garlic but I don’t think it mattered to much in the end.Curry 1

When it came time to bring everything together I had a little freak out that I had over done it with the vegetables and there wasn’t going to be enough curry sauce. I called my partner freaking out and he suggested to simply add more coconut milk however as I hate waste I had only purchased the exact right amount and didnt think about the fact that the veges I used were quite large. While on the phone however the liquid started to rise to the top of the pot so I decided to just leave it and keep my fingers crossed that it would turn out okay.

Curry 2

The final product didn’t look too beautiful but the whole kitchen smelled like heaven, I was so excited to try it that I also forgot to add in spinach.

Curry plated

If you have the chance to check out Lynn’s blog (which I highly recommend!) you will notice that my curry does not really look anything like hers. But this was still a really delicious meal and I can’t wait to make it again 🙂

What I learnt

  • Have extra coconut milk and diced tomatoes in the cupboard just in case
  • Keep an eye on garlic when cooking
  • Even if everything looks like it going wrong you can still make a delicious meal
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You can make friends with salad

The other week I invited my friends over to watch the bachelor in paradise and offered to make them dinner. When trying to work out what on earth I should make I realised we had a bunch of lemons and limes in the house that needed to be used so I did a google search for limes and corn and came across this delicious looking recipe for a mexican street corn salad.

When I visited Bali a few years ago my favourite thing to eat was spicy street corn and this recipe while different instantly reminded me of that experience so I had to give it ago. This salad was super easy and really tasty, in fact the girls I made it for liked it so much they both remade it for themselves the following week, if that is not #cookingwin then I don’t know what is.

Like always I did alter the recipe a bit. Because I am lazy I bought frozen corn rather than cutting it from the cob, and I used about 600 grams, I also used 1 whole red capcium and 1 whole green capcium while the reciepe only asks for 1/2 a red one. I also deicded to include some grilled chicken breast and used about 600 grams as well. I totally forgot to get a jalapeno which is a shame and somehow forgot about adding the avocado at the end – going to blame my friends for that one, was too busy talking to them and not thinking about the recipe 😛

I also chose to use yoghurt rather than sour cream and feta cheese rather than cotija cheese. I have actually never heard of cotija cheese and don’t actually think the coles in Canberra sells it .

corn 1

So I started off by cooking the chicken, once that was done I cooked the corn in the same pan so they would also get some of that flavour. I sprinkled some cumin and smoked paprika to the corn while it cooked and my goodness it smelled amazing. Once the corn was done I decided to lightly cook the capcium and onion as well, as I am not really a fan of raw onion. I also added a little of the spices to them while they were cooking.

Next I surprised myself a squeezed the limes into a bowl rather than directly to the mixture so I could scoop out the seeds #learning. I then decided to add the mayo, yogurt and spices into the same bowl and mixed all together before adding to the salad.

corn 2

Probably should have wiped the sides of the bowl before taking a picture ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There was enough for 6 servings so I got to enjoy the salad again for lunch the next day. When I make it next time I think I will add a bit more corn, while there was a lot because of everything else I included it didn’t really remind me of street corn but was a crazy delicious meal!

Corn - plated

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Not fal-awful at all

Not going to lie, I googled falafel puns. I actually feel like a MasterChef right now, I mean I made falafel from scratch! I mean turns out this is insanely simple to do but I will take my cooking wins wherever I find them.

I used a taste.com recipe but made a few changes along the way. Rather than edamame I used peas, simply because I like peas more than edamame, I also replaced the pistachios with almonds due to being allergic to pistachios. Also I used about 4 cloves of garlic not one because garlic is life.

This recipe was super easy to follow, I just chucked everything in the food processor and blended away. It said to add the lemon juice just as everything started to come together. I didn’t really know what that meant but stopped when it looked like the picture below.

Food processor

I did forget to mention above that I doubled this recipe as I was making dinner for a few people to eat while we watched the Bachelor in Paradise, so if you try to make this yourself your food processor may not look so full. I have no idea how much lemon juice I ended up using, roughly 3/4 of a large one. As I was squeezing it in a few seeds feel in the mixture, but I think I got them all out ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I also realised at this point I forgot to buy fresh mint, so I just sprinkled a little dried mint in, same difference right?

When everything was all mixed up I started to make little balls and place on the baking tray, they look really pretty but the mixture was super wet, at this point I was quite worried that I had messed it all up.

pre oven

I made 19 falafel balls in total, it was pretty difficult getting them to the same size due to how wet the mixture was. I also cooked them for 30 minutes in total, the recipe says 25-30 and they definitely needed the extra 5 minutes.

Cooked

As you can see they came out looking like weird healthy cookies but my goodness they were tasty!

plated

I chose to mix hummus with the yoghurt for the dressing, and someone also added harissa paste to yoghurt for their dressing both were delicious additions. The falafel had a really great lemony taste and they weren’t too dry.

What I learnt

  • I am a MasterChef 😛
  • Falafel is super easy to make
  • I should squeeze lemon juice into a cup before adding into a dish
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Fully loaded

There is something so cathartic about baking, it really is one of my favourite hobbies. When looking for inspiration I always visit  averiecooks.com if you haven’t checked out her website before you are seriously missing out. However Averie doesn’t just post incredible recipes for cookies and cakes, but also has a large selection for mains as well. Earlier this week I just couldnt find anything to cook that actually interested me so I decided to browse through her collection and came across a seriously tasty looking dish, Loaded Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats.

Even though I decided to be lazy and skip a step by purchasing pre-shredded roast chicken, this meal still took me over an hour from prep to table, but it was definitely worth it. I think it was scooping out the zucchini that took the most time, the first one was especially hard, lucky these are loaded so no one noticed how demented it looked, I did get better and maybe faster the more I did though.

loaded 1

So I actually only made one mistake this time, I completely missed the step where it said to pre-cook the zucchini for 20 minutes before adding the rest of the fillings, oops. It wasn’t until I put the dish in the oven and went to check how long to cook for that I realised my mistake. I ended up just leaving it all in there for 25 minutes, I think the addition of cheese meant that the dish did not dry out.

loaded 3

I will admit that I was super nervous waiting for this to come out, I was scared that it would be both over and undercooked thanks to my mistake.

loaded cooked

When the dish finally came out I was super hungry and excited to give it a try. So excited and hungry in fact that I totally forgot I had guacamole and sour cream sitting in the fridge. I don’t think it was needed in the end anyway

loaded plate

Overall this was a big hit for everyone at home and I will definitely try more reciepes by Averie in the future.

What I learnt:

  • Read the whole recipe before I start cooking
  • Read it all again