Lamb, pumpkin and eggplant curry

We’re already into our last month of winter but I’ve been warned that Melbourne doesn’t actually get warm until November. So that means more curries, soups and stews for me. Which isn’t a bad idea as I haven’t been well … Continue reading

Quinoa chickpea vegetable salad with hummus

Since Sunday I have been down in Melbourne as I am completing an internship for three weeks as part of my university studies! As I’m a self-confessed foodie I have already been sampling the delicious food Melbourne has to offer. So, I thought I’d share some meals with you..

Vegan shepherd’s pie with salad and chutney!

I enjoyed this gluten free vegan shepherd’s pie from The Organic Food and Wine Deli in Degraves St Melbourne CBD, for lunch on my first day. It was absolutely delicious and really reasonably priced!

Delicious dinner at Mamasita’s!

I caught up with a good friend at Mamasita’s, Collins St Melbourne CBD, last night for dinner. Although there was about a 30 minute wait to be seated, I believe it was well worth it. We enjoyed their signature corn, a taco each (I chose the fish) and their chickpea fritters – these were my favourite of the night! The entire restaurant is gluten free, yet the most surprising part was the bill. All of this only cost us $20 each – such great value! I highly recommend eating here, but do be prepared to queue!

So now onto the recipe…

As I’m working 9-5 days I’m experiencing what it really is like having to cook after a busy day at work. I believe the words ‘simpler is better’ are very appropriate to use here!

Chopped vegetables

This salad is very simple and you can basically use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.

Cooking away

The quinoa and chickpeas add an element of protein to this filling salad.

A little tip – cook a lot of quinoa on Sunday and store it in a sealed container so you can add it to dishes throughout the first part of the week!

Simple, healthy dinner

This salad will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two days – perfect to take for lunch the next day!

Quinoa chickpea vegetable salad with hummus

Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1/2 zucchini, washed and finely sliced
  • 1/2 eggplant, washed and finely diced
  • 1/2 red capsicum, washed and finely diced
  • 1/2 head broccoli, washed and cut into florets
  • 3 mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup rocket, washed
  • 3 TBSP hummus
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Place a large frypan over medium heat and add coconut oil.
  2. Add in carrot, zucchini, eggplant, capsicum, broccoli and mushrooms, and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add cooked quinoa, cumin and chickpeas to vegetables. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Stir through rocket, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with hummus.
  5. Enjoy!

Note: goat cheese would work really well with this salad!

As I’m down in Melbourne for three weeks, I welcome any suggestions from you for healthy cafes/restaurants for me to try!

Moroccan mince and vegetables topped with hummus

I am a huge fan of moroccan dishes; the earthy spices used provide so many warming flavours and really enhance any meal. This mince recipe is such an easy mid-week dish that will definitely tantalise your tastebuds.

With winter approaching in Australia, this would be great served over some cooked quinoa or served with some fresh spelt/gluten free pita bread to scoop up all the delicious flavours.

Easy yet tasty meal

Moroccan mince with vegetables topped with hummus

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 100g organic beef mince
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 large eggplant, washed and diced
  • 1/2 zucchini, washed and diced
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 TBSP homemade hummus or store-bought gluten free version
  • Pine nuts for serving
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. In a medium-sized frypan over medium heat place 1 TBSP coconut oil and onion. Cook for 1 minute then add mince. Cook for 5 minutes then add all the spices, salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside covered.
  2. In the same pan over medium heat place the other TBSP coconut oil, mushrooms, eggplant and zucchini. Cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the mince mixture and spinach leaves. Cook until spinach has just wilted.
  3. Serve with a dollop of hommus, pine nuts and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Do you enjoy cooking with Moroccan spices? If yes, which ones in particular?

Beef with eggplant, fig and goat cheese salad

As last week was quite busy for me I tried to keep my meals simple yet full of flavour. This was a quick and healthy salad I made up for dinner, drawing inspiration from the ingredients that were in the fridge! I love the contrast of the earthy eggplant against the sweetness of the fresh figs. I will definitely be recreating this whenever I need a tasty meal on the go!

Bursting with flavours!

Beef with eggplant, fig and goat cheese salad

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 fillet organic grass-fed beef
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/4 eggplant, washed and diced
  • 1 fig, washed and cut into slices
  • 50g goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 TBSP pine nuts
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. In a small frypan, place 1 TBSP coconut oil and beef. Cook for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for a further 2 minutes, longer if you prefer it well done. Let it rest for a few minutes once cooked then slice.
  2. In another small frypan, place 1 TBSP coconut oil and eggplant. Cook for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for a further 3 minutes. Season with salt.
  3. In a bowl, place spinach leaves, eggplant, fig and goat cheese. Toss until well combined.
  4. Add pine nuts and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Arrange salad on the plate then top with sliced beef. Enjoy!

Have you ever used figs in a salad? If yes, I’d love to know how!

Salmon with roasted vegetable and rocket salad

I absolutely love atlantic salmon. It’s so easy to cook and practically any ingredient can be paired with it due to its mild flavour.

It is full of omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for our bodies as we actually don’t produce this on our own. Salmon is also great for the metabolism, skin, hair and nails, and is full of protein.

Eggplant and zucchini ready to be roasted

When roasting eggplant, make sure you add salt to prevent it from tasting bitter. A lot of people say you have to let it drain for 1/2 hour but in my experience adding salt when roasting definitely does the job!

Toasting pine nuts

By toasting the pine nuts it intensifies their rich nature. I do this by placing them in a frypan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes tossing the pan frequently.

Crispy skins

When cooking salmon, I always cook it with the skin-down first. This ensures a crispy skin and the fillet to cook evenly.

Roasted vegetable and rocket salad.

As the cooler weather kicks in, this salad is perfect as you are still able the enjoy a ‘warmer’ meal yet receive all the benefits from the vegetables.

Dinner is served

Salmon with roasted vegetable and rocket salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 fillets atlantic salmon
  • 1 packet rocket (arugula) leaves, washed
  • 1/2 pumpkin, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 eggplant (aubergine), diced
  • 3 zucchinis, diced
  • 2 TBSP cumin
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil, extra for salmon
  • 150g goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F degrees. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, place the pumpkin, carrot, 1 TBSP cumin and 1 TBSP coconut oil. Toss until well coated and roast for 20 minutes.
  3. In the same bowl, place the eggplant, some salt, zucchini, 1 TBSP cumin and 1 TBSP coconut oil. Toss until well coated and roast for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add enough coconut oil and once hot enough place the salmon skin-side down. Cook for 4 minutes, or until flesh around the skin starts to go white.
  5. Turn and cook on the other side for a further 2 minutes*.
  6. Place half the rocket, half the roasted vegetables and half the goat cheese in a large bowl. Toss. Repeat on top with remaining rocket, vegetables and goat cheese.
  7. Whisk the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper together.
  8. Sprinkle pine nuts on top of the salad. Drizzle the dressing over.
  9. Serve salmon with the salad and top each with a 1/4 of sliced avocado. Enjoy!

Note: If you like it cooked well done then cook for 4 minutes.

What do you like to pair your salmon with?