Roasted Tomato, Spinach and Bacon Quiche

IMAG1002

Ingredients
1.5 sheets puff pastry
Olive oil spray
250g tomatoes, thickly sliced
3 rashers bacon, sliced into small squares
50g spinach
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
Pepper
1/4 cup parmesan
Sprinkle of mozzarella

Method
Thaw out puff pastry. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Arrange thawed pastry into quiche dish, prick, and put in oven for 15 minutes. Spray olive oil onto baking tray. Roast thickly sliced tomatoes for 15 minutes. Fry sliced bacon in frying pan for 5 minutes, until cooked. Steam spinach. Meanwhile, beat eggs, milk and pepper in a jug. Arrange fried bacon, roasted tomatoes and steamed spinach over pastry. Pour over egg mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan and top with a little mozzarella. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Serve with salad. Serves 4.

The tomatoes where homegrown (obviously!) and, when roasted, are the sweetest things in the world! This quiche seems really simple, but those roasted tomatoes made it taste pretty special.

Chicken Tomato Pasta

image

I wanted an excuse to cut up some of our home grown tomatoes into tiny pieces. They smell so good and sweet! So pasta sauce seemed like the obvious choice for tonight’s menu.

Ingredients
1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 chicken breasts, diced
400g tomatoes, diced
2 chillies, sliced
2 tbs tomato paste
1 teaspoon Italian herbs
1 handful basil, torn
500g fettuccine pasta

Method
Boil water in large pot and cook pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, fry onion and garlic in olive oil. Add chicken and fry until browned. Add tomatoes, chillies, tomato paste and Italian herbs. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add basil. Drain pasta and divide between plates. Spoon over sauce. Top with parmesan. Serve with salad and crusty bread.

image

Side note: the chillies are from my friends, Steve and Elise. They’ve got a bit of spice to them too – good work guys!

My new favourite dinner

image

This dinner has all the foods I love best all rolled into one! Basil, garlic, tomato, chilli, olives (something I have forced myself eat over and over until I like it and now I love it), and, of course, puff pastry! What could it be? Tomato pie! Recipe is here.

In the post with the recipe I said one pie serves two but it’s so yummy, you’ll want a whole one to yourself. Serve with lots of salad (also with tomato) and beetroot. Yep, it’s tomato season! 🙂

Sugar Snap Pea and Beetroot Salad

I made a salad out of my sugar snap peas for a Melbourne Cup BBQ we went to yesterday. I forgot to take a photo of it until we got to the BBQ and I didn’t want to look like one of those people who take photos of every meal they eat so they can share it on Facebook and clog up their “friends” news feeds with crap that no one cares about. So I took a stealthy, out-of-focus, crappy photo of the salad still in the green shopping bag, but you get the gist of what it looked like.

unnamed (12)

Ingredients:
Salad
Sugar snap peas, strung (two small bowls full as seen in my previous post)
Baby spinach (a man-sized handful)
Baby beetroot halved or quartered (I was lazy and just used a 450g can of whole baby beets)
Full fat feta, 100g crumbled
Walnuts (a child-sized handful), broken into smallish pieces
Dressing
1/4 cup honey
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs olive oil

Method:
Place salad ingredients into a bowl. Toss to combine. Mix dressing ingredients together. Pour over salad just prior to serving.

Perfect summery salad for a warm Melbourne Cup Day party, made all the better after the horse with the jockey who had the pretty horseshoe jumper on won (I always choose my horses based on name, number and/or the prettiest jockey jumper). If only I put money on it!

So cheap, easy and refreshing

image

Super fast, super easy, super cheap summertime meal.

Ingredients
Bow tie pasta
2tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 bunch asparagus
2 cups sugar snap peas (mine are home grown)
90g danish feta
2 tbs lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
Italian herbs

Method
Cook pasta for 2 mins less than instructions say. Snap off woody ends of asparagus and cut into 2cm long pieces. String and halve peas. Crush garlic. Heat oil in large fry pan and add garlic, asparagus, salt and pepper. Stir on high for 3 mins. Add peas and stir for few seconds. Add strained pasta to pan along with 1/2 cup reserved water. Add Italian herbs (I used basil, oregano and tarragon). Stir mixture for one or two minutes then remove from heat. Place contents of fry pan in large bowl. Add lemon juice and crumbled feta. Serve immediately.

Note: I actually used 4 tbs of olive oil in mine but I think this is too much so I’ve written 2 tbs for this recipe but depends how much you like olive oil! To add some more intense flavour and colour a few sundried tomatoes would go nicely, but I actually like the simplicity of this dish the way it is. The sugar snaps stay so crispy and sweet and the other flavours compliment that and don’t overpower the peas.

Sugar Snaps

unnamed3

My sugar snap peas, skillfully grown from seed.

unnamed6

Moroccan Chicken with Cous Cous, Mint Yoghurt, Asparagus and Homegrown Sugar Snap Peas

Ingredients
500g chicken breast, diced into 2cm cubes
1/3 cup plain flour
Moroccan seasoning
Paprika
Ginger
Tumeric
Cayenne Pepper
Cumin
Salt
Pepper
2 brown onions, sliced
1 cup chicken stock
Juice of one lemon
Cous cous
Natural yoghurt
Mint
Asparagus
Sugar snap peas

Method
Place flour and spices in a large bowl. (Add as much of each spice as you like. I tend to have a heavy hand with the spice shakers). Add diced chicken and coat with flour mixture. Fry chicken until golden. Remove chicken and place to one side. Fry onion until soft. Return chicken to pan along with chicken stock and lemon juice. Heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, boil 2 cups of water or chicken stock. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of cous cous. Cover as set aside for a couple of minutes. Steam asparagus until tender. Add one cup of natural yoghurt and mint to blender. Blend until smooth. Fork through cous cous until fluffy. Serve chicken on bed of cous cous (or next to cous cous as I prefer). Top with minted yoghurt. Serve chicken and cous cous with steamed asparagus and sugar snap peas. I kept my sugar snaps raw but feel free to cook them.

Spinach To Bulk Up My… Pasta Sauce

I’ve been feeling nauseous lately for no particular reason (not pregnant, don’t worry Adam!) and finally felt a twinge of hunger tonight. Not the “I better force down some Vita Brits or vegemite on toast or I’ll faint” hunger that I’ve been feeling, but a “hey, I actually feel like some real food” kind of hunger! In my excitement I rushed to the supermarket to get my go-to “getting over my nausea feeling” food, Latina Fresh Veal Tortellini.

unnamed (2)

I thought I better try to hide some vegies in there to make it a slightly more healthy meal (I know, I’m hiding vegies in my own food), so I grabbed some not-so baby spinach and basil from the garden and chopped up some button mushrooms. This also helps bulk up the sauce of this ridiculously expensive packet meal and make it go a bit further.

unnamed

The tag on this spinach said baby spinach when I bought it, but I guess it’s only baby spinach if you pick it when it’s a baby, not when it’s the size of your hand like this stuff is. It grows faster than I can eat it! Each leaf seems to double in size every day. Still tastes nice when it’s big though.

unnamed (1)

Who knows, maybe my big homegrown spinach which grows like it’s on steroids will bulk up my muscles as well as my pasta sauce :).

Epic Vegetable Soup

Everyone around me is sick! My boyfriend, my parents, my sister, the ward clerk at work, the nursing student I’ve been buddied with, even one of my patients has the sniffles! I’m proud to say I’ve got a pretty bloody awesome immune system but this much exposure to colds and flu is worrying me a tad. I’m not a fan of taking tablets (despite my boyfriend’s frustrated encouragement…

A common conversation in our house:
Me: “I’ve had this headache all day and I’m really getting sick of it!” (pardon the pun).
Adam: “Have you taken any panadol?”
Me: *sheepishly* “No.”
Adam: “Well, don’t complain then.”).

So, instead of popping a bunch of vitamin tablets I thought I’d make an epic vegetable soup. Something in this has gotta boost my “immune system of steel” (as I refer to it) and fight off all these extra bugs that surround me daily. Plus, I want to help cure my boyfriend. I actually feel genuinely sympathetic towards his cold/flu (I’m usually the typical nurse who’s seen worse and therefore doesn’t care). He’s had fevers up to 38.3 degrees and feels like shit and he really doesn’t have time to be sick because he’s really busy with work, so he’s been soldiering on and delivery presentations interstate between coughing fits. There’s gotta be some miracle cure for him amongst the 13 vegies in this soup!

unnamed (5)

Looking at this picture, I really need more bench space! That’s literally the size of my bench! No wonder my cooking often extends to the kitchen table.

Ingredients:
Onion
Garlic
Pumpkin
Potato
Carrots
Beetroot (my last one)
Red Capsicum
Green Capsicum
Beans
Cauliflower
Celery
Zucchini
Chilli (the unfortunate non spicy type that grow in my garden)
Olive Oil
Cumin
Turmeric
Parsley
Pepper
Vegetable Stock
Water
Tinned Tomatoes (Diced)
2 x Cans Of Chickpeas

Method:
Dice all vegies. Heat oil in the largest saucepan you have. Add onion and garlic. Cook for about 3 mins. Add turmeric, cumin, pumpkin, potato, carrots, beetroot, red capsicum, green capsicum, celery and chilli and stir. Add tinned tomatoes and chickpeas. Add 5 cups of vegetable stock and enough boiling water so that all the vegies are coated. Bring to the boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until vegies are soft. Add beans, cauliflower, zucchini (and extra water if required). Cook for a further 5 mins. Stir in parsley (and coriander if you like – I’m sure this would taste nice but I’m not a fan of coriander). Add pepper to taste. Serve with some crusty bread and watch your cold and/or flu dissipate with each mouthful!

 

Leek And Bacon Quiche

unnamed5

My leeks are ready! I love love love leeks! So, time to find some exciting new ways to cook them. Believe it or not, I’ve never made a quiche before. So I made a leek and bacon quiche tonight and it was so yummy I thought I should share it. 🙂

Some of my beets are getting pretty big so I harvested on of those as well to roast and serve with the quiche along with sweet potato, peas and carrots.

unnamed3The photo doesn’t do it justice. It looked yummier than this.

Ingredients:
Frozen puff pastry
Butter
2 small leeks
6 short cut bacon rashes
parsley
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
pepper

Method:
Thaw out enough puff pastry to line your quiche tray. Pre-heat oven at 180 degrees celcius. Halve and thinly slice leeks. Chop bacon into 1cm squares. Line quiche tray with puff pastry, prick and put in the oven for 15 mins, until it starts to go golden. Melt butter in a fry pan and add leek and bacon. Cook for 10-15 mins, until leeks are soft. Once pastry is golden, allow to stand for 5-10 minutes, then transfer leek and bacon mix on top of pastry. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk and pepper in a jug. Sprinkle tasty cheese over leek and bacon mix, then pour egg mixture on top. Add parsley and bake at 180 degrees celcius for 30 mins. Serve with salad or vegies.

Yummy 🙂

Why I Love Growing My Own

Well, there are actually lots of reasons why I love growing my own. Mostly I find it really rewarding watching my little seedlings grow into healthy, delicious delights. It makes me proud to know that I’ve grown them with tender loving care. I also love the idea of sustainable gardening and growing at least some of the food we eat, even when we live in Melbourne’s inner suburbs. But this post is about the convenience of growing your own.

So, after a lovely, lazy week day off work I went to see what was in the fridge for dinner. I’m normally very prepared for dinner and plan my dinners well in advance, but this day was one of those “whatever” days. I opened the vegetable drawer to find one red capsicum. Not ideal. But, being a “whatever” day, I couldn’t be bothered going to the supermarket. What to do when you have no vegetables for dinner and you can’t be bothered shopping? Walk outside and harvest some!

unnamed (1)

Took me two seconds (approx.) to harvest some tomatoes, chillies and grab a bunch of basil, oregano and parsley.

unnamed (3)

Suddenly, there’s plenty of food for dinner! I chucked in some left over bacon from the (famous) potato salad my man made on the weekend, plenty of garlic, some paprika and a tin of tomatoes to make it a bit saucey, and there you go, a yummy pasta sauce out of nothing. Didn’t even need the lonely red capsicum in my fridge!

unnamed (2)

One easy, last minute, convenient, home grown pasta dinner 🙂