Saturday, 28 November 2015

Lunchbox filler

It's getting toward the end of the year and lunchbox-filling inspiration may be drying up slightly, particularly if harvest has added another lunchbox into the rotation.
This slice is the perfect lunchbox filler, unless you have a nut allergy of course, in which case – steer clear or call in a substitute ingredient. 
If it’s too soon for Christmas baking in your house as it is in mine (although I do currently have fruit soaking for my Christmas cake) then this simple but tasty slice may be a good option for a cuppa companion.
You can’t go wrong with the combination of dates and pecans, but walnuts will also do nicely if they’re easier to come by.  
Sprinkle some coconut or melt some white chocolate on the top if you want to get really fancy – but then, let’s not get too festive just yet.

Date and Pecan Slice
2 cups dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
100g brown sugar
125g butter, melted
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 cup self raising flour
1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a slice tin with baking paper.
Melt butter and sugar together in a saucepan over low heat, add golden syrup and mix until smooth.
In a bowl, mix all your other ingredients before adding the butter mixture and stir until combined.
Pour into slice tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
Cool and slice into squares.


Thursday, 12 November 2015

Spring on salad

Spring brings an injection of colour into our lives, both in the garden and on the plate.

So much beautiful produce is coming into abundance, plump and juicy strawberries are everywhere – which is great for us because we average almost one kilogram of them each week.

The other thing I love about this time of year is salads and the fact is, they get a lot more interesting if you’ve got access to more ingredients.

The best salad maker I know would have to be my Mum, she always manages to whip up something delicious out of just a few key items.

In fact, she’s a darn good cook all round really.

This recipe is one of hers and it’s a beauty; the winning combination of earthy beetroot with rich fetta and the crunch of roasted walnuts.

I recommend two things: whatever you do, do not leave out the roasted walnuts (they are too good) and chuck on a pair of rubber gloves to peel your roasted beetroot.

Beetroot may be a gorgeous colour, but not when it’s stained on your hands for a week. 

Beetroot Salad
450g beetroot, roasted and diced
100g feta cheese, crumbled or diced
2 cups (or so) of rocket and baby spinach
½ cup parsley, chopped
½ red onion, diced.
75g walnuts, roasted and chopped roughly
2 tablespoons lemon juice
80ml olive oil

To roast beetroot, just wrap in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and bake in a moderate oven for about two hours.
Allow to cool and peel and dice.
Assemble all your ingredients in a salad bowl.
To make the dressing, combine lemon juice and olive oil in a jar and give it a good shake.
Pour over the salad and serve.