Italian Eggplant Parmigiana

Continuing to use up the endless amounts of basil leaves it was sauce making time and the last of the sister in-laws eggplants. I decided to make the family classic eggplant parmigiana.

 

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Eggplant Pizzettes

Yes it’s actually a thing I googled it!  Really just meaning mini pizzas with eggplant as the base which can be eaten as a appetiser, snack or with antipasto.

With my influx of basil pesto in the house and the family eggplant delivery I received from my sister-in-law the other day I was eager to use them both. I was making a traditional eggplant parmigiana for dinner and had some eggplant left over so I decided to bake some extra thick cut slices with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of oregano in the oven for 15-20mins until was just cooked through without being mushy.

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Turmeric Spiced Polenta Eggplant Chips

 

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One thing I have been mad about lately is the spice turmeric. There has been a lot of chat about this golden spice in recent times for its wonderful medicinal health benefits. Even though the Indian & Asian culture has been using it to flavour and colour their curries and traditional dishes for centuries the western culture has finally caught on to the many wonderful benefits it contains including anti-inflammatory properties, cancer prevention, improves brain function, prevention of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and heart disease, helps with arthritis pain, and also has proven benefits to help against depression.

turmeric-roots-and-a-jar-of-turmeric-powder

 

But how do we use it? 

Well apart from the usual use in curries and indian/asian dishes I like to use it to flavour all sorts of vegetables such as baked cauliflower, pumpkin, sweet potatoes anything really it gives it a subtle spiced flavour without being too over powering. I also add a couple tablespoons to my polenta coating to make these eggplant chips and wow did  it come out delicious. You can either buy the powder  or use fresh turmeric peel it and grate a 5cm piece, warning though can no will stain your hands, chopping boards and well anything it comes in contact with so if this bothers you use kitchen gloves and be careful in the preparation.

I served them with a Turmeric Garlic Aioli and well I have to say I am now turmeric obsessed! So hopefully in the future I’ll be an elderly woman still happy, fit and active with all my heart, joints and marbles in check. This definitely fits the saying “A teaspoon a day will keep the doctor away!”

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Turmeric Spiced Polenta Eggplant Chips with Turmeric Garlic Aioli

  • Servings: 2-4
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Ingredients

1 large eggplant cut into thick chips

1 1/2 cups polenta (cornmeal)

1 tsp sweet paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

2 tsp turmeric powder or 5 cm piece fresh peeled and grated turmeric

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

2 eggs whisked

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200’C
  2. Place Polenta and spices and seasonings in a medium bowl. Place whisked eggs in a separate bowl
  3. Coat the eggplant chips first in the egg then into the polenta mix making sure to generously coat them evenly
  4. Place eggplants on a lined baking tray drizzle with olive oil
  5. Bake in oven for 15mins then turn over and cook for further 10-15mins until golden and soft in the centre.
  6. Serve with Turmeric Garlic Aioli

Notes: Can be served as a starter or as a side with your favourite protein meat or fish.

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Pan Seared Sumac Salmon With Freekeh & Broccoli Tabbouleh

After having been dealing with a family tragedy recently I have had some down time, soul-searching so to speak. After such deep loss and sadness we tend to question our purpose and way of life. It is important to find the positives even when faced with such difficult times. There is always something to be grateful for even if it is just the air that we breathe and the roof over our heads.

Someone very dear to me said remember to stop and enjoy life because it can all be taken away from you in an instance. We can all get caught up in working and providing for ourselves and our families and wanting to buy the latest and the best, it human nature. But it is when you are faced with such tragedies do we stop and think why? and for what? At the end of it all we only leave behind the memories so make them count and plentiful.

I know this has nothing to do with Salmon.. well yes it does actually indirectly because looking after ourselves and nourishing our bodies with healthy nutritious food can help in the prevention of illness and diseases more than you realise. Provide your body with good food  and can only hope that we are never faced with the pain and suffering of the sick.

Live Well. Eat Well. Love Well

Caz  ♥

Pan Seared Sumac Salmon with Freekeh & Broccoli Tabbouleh

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

4  fresh salmon fillets skin off

1/2 cup uncooked freekeh rinsed

1 broccoli head cut into florets

1/2 bunch fresh asparagus finely chopped

1/2 small red capsicum diced

3 green onions finely sliced

400g tin chickpeas drained

200g grape tomatoes sliced

1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped

1 sliced chilli optional

1/2 cup pistachio nuts roughly chopped

Lemon Sumac Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove crushed

2 tsp sumac

1 tsp salt

cracked pepper

Directions

  1. Place all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake. Set aside
  2. Place salmon in a dish and Add 4 tablespoons of the sumac lemon dressing to the salmon. Place in the fridge to marinade till needed.
  3. Bring 2 cups of water to the boil in a small saucepan
  4. Once boiling add freekeh and cook with lid on for 25 mins. Drain and cool
  5. Place broccoli, asparagus, capsicum, onion, tomatoes, chickpeas, parsley, chilli and pistachios in a large bowl with the freekeh. Mix to combine
  6. Add the rest of the dressing and mix well
  7. Heat a medium pan or grill pan to high heat. Place salmon fillets in pan and cooked for 3-4 mins and each side.
  8. Serve with Freekeh & Broccoli Tabbouleh and extra lemon if desired.

Notes- you can easily substitute salmon or white fish

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My Favourite Crunchy Sweet Potato Fries

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Who doesn’t love fries? I for one love them and it is my weakness, whenever I feel like having a cheat meal I succumb to a hot crispy plate of fries… But there is a healthier alternative to my weakness that is just as good as the fast food version and I’m not kidding! Replacing ordinary starchy white potatoes that offer no nutritional value what so ever with nutritious packed sweet potatoes is the first step. There is so many beneficial vitamins and minerals in sweet potatoes that ordinary potatoes don’t have, I know I’ve mentioned before but it truly is worth making the switch.

Followed by oven baking them instead of deep frying obviously making them contain less saturated fats that like to clog up arteries to our heart causing heart disease, which is one of the biggest killers in our country at present. 

Lastly making them flavoursome with spices, I like to use smoked paprika or sumac if you like it spicy try adding some ground chilli power as well and not to forget the secret ingredient of polenta. Polenta is corn meal often used in Italian cooking .You can use semolina which is similar but I find Polenta gives it that extra crunch. Coating them in the spices and polenta is what makes these fries so good. I often make these for the kids they absolutely love them and now prefer them to potato ones. If you introduce your kids to different foods from a young age I believe them become less fussy as they get older and get used to trying new things. Sometimes they need extra persuading like all kids but this switch was one we never looked back on.

Crunchy Sweet Potato Fries

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Ingredients

1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into fries

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tb polenta

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

1 tsp smoked paprika or sumac

1 tsp ground himalayan salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180’C (350’F)
  2. Place the sweet potato fries onto a lined baking tray
  3. Sprinkle spices, salt and polenta over the fries
  4. Drizzle oil over and toss to coat
  5. Spread out the fries evenly and bake in the oven for 55-60mins until crispy and brown

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