Mini eggplant pizzas

eggplant pizzas

I adore eggplant and pizza, so what could be better then combining the two? That’s a rhetorical question… because obviously nothing! The great thing about this recipe is that it’s vegetarian and gluten-free, so really it’ll make everyone happy. You can just use the ingredients in your fridge for the topping – spinach, mushroom, capsicum, etc… I personally love the combination of sour cherry tomatoes with salty black olives. Of course cheese is a must; haloumi, goats cheese, mozzarella, cheddar – the options are endless! Let me know what you top your eggplant pizzas with!

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 1/4 jar passata sauce
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, chopped into quarters
  • 1/2 jar black pitted olives, sliced in halves
  • mozzarella cheese, grated
  • basil, torn

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Arrange the sliced eggplants onto a tray and brush with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the baked eggplant from the oven. Spread 1 teaspoon of passata sauce over each eggplant then arrange cherry tomatoes, olives, cheese and basil. Place eggplant back in the oven and cook until cheese has melted. Enjoy hot, hot, hot!!

Happy cooking, love Jem x

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Via Napoli – review

zucchini seafood gnocchi

628 Crown St, Surry Hills

Brace yourselves food lovers, Via Napoli is the spot to be (well in the inner city that is).

I recently spent a beautiful evening with my family at Via Napoli and my pallet has been craving the delicious Italian food ever since. We arrived on a Saturday night without a booking (I wouldn’t recommend this though), and were lucky enough to get a table in the packed restaurant. As soon as you walk in you are greeted by warm, friendly Italian staff. This dining experience reminded me of Europe in terms of the authenticity of the waiters, the generous and gorgeous servings, and the hustle and bustle.

The menu is absolutely divine, which made it very hard to choose our dishes to share. We started with the ‘Cuppitiello di fiori di zucca ripieni’ – Zucchini flowers stuffed with buffalo ricotta and pepper. These were by far the best zucchini flowers I’ve demolished – the outside crispy and inside oozing with hot, decadent cheese.

Our next dish was the ‘Grigliata mista di pesce’ – Scampi, prawns and octopus marinated in lemon, olive oil, garlic, and fresh parsley. And oh my lord was every piece of seafood on this beautiful looking board cooked to absolute perfection! The portions were generous (which is everyone’s dream when ordering seafood) and the balance of the marinade, with the crunch of fresh roquette in ones mouth was divine. If you’re a seafood lover, I highly recommend this dish!

The last sharing dish, but certainly not least was the ‘Gnocchi alla sorrentina’ – Homemade gnocchi served with a Neapolitan sauce with melted buffalo mozzarella. Do I need to write anything else? Seriously though this dish will put the best chefs in Italy to shame! Each morsel is a little bite of heaven. The potato is cooked perfectly, the sauce is so fresh you can taste each tomato, and it’s just all round a little orgasm in ones mouth to be completely honest!

The dishes are all very reasonably priced (especially for Sydney), and the overall dining experience makes you feel like you’ve been teleported to Rome. Did I mention they have metre long pizzas too? You should definitely make a booking, especially dining Thursday – Sunday. They have Via Napoli restaurants in Lane Cove and Hunters Hill too.

I rate Via Napoli 5/5.

Happy eating, love Jem x

Cheese, tomato and oregano muffins

cheese muffins

What to bake when you don’t feel like something sweet? Cheese, sun-dried tomato and oregano muffins of course! These little balls of heaven are my new favourite snack; and perfect for brekkie on the go, afternoon tea or for work/school lunches. Using buttermilk instead of regular milk really gives the muffins a soft moist texture. This is a simple recipe and takes no time at all to cook, and hey they taste delicious warm or cold. Spinach and capsicum would also work great with this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml buttermilk
  • 3 tbl olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and diced
  • handful of cheddar cheese, for sprinkling

Makes 10

Method

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Lightly spray a muffin tray with oil or place muffin cases inside.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and oregano together into a large bowl. Stir in cheese.

In a jug combine egg, buttermilk and olive oil.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Add milk and mix lightly until just combined.

Spoon mixture evenly into prepared muffin tray/cases and sprinkle with extra cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked when tested with a knife. Cool in tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

Happy baking, love Jem x

The besto pesto couscous

image (5)

I’ve only just recently gotten back into couscous, and oh my I forgot how bloody wonderful it is! It literally goes with every ingredient, it’s healthy, easy to make and pretty damn tasty. This little recipe I made up a few weeks ago and have eaten it about five times since – it’s the perfect mid week dinner. You can spice this dish up with capsicum, pumpkin, eggplant – the list is endless… You’ll always want to keep couscous in your cupboard after this. The roasted cherry tomatoes with balsamic are definitely the star of the dish.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 1 tbl olive oil (1/2 to drizzle on tomatoes, 1/2 for cooking)
  • cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 2 tbl pesto
  • 1 tsp dried herbs

Serves 3

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and place tomatoes on a tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle some olive oil and balsamic on top then cook for about 15 minutes.

Boil the sweet potato in a small saucepan until tender, then drain.

Heat the oil in a medium pot and add the onion and the garlic. Then pour the stock and water and bring to the boil. Remove from heat, add the couscous then cover with a lid.

Once the couscous is cooked add the sweet potato, pesto and mix.

Serve the couscous with cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of dried herbs. A cheeky drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top tastes a treat too!

Happy cooking, love Jem x

Simply great tuna pasta

One of my favourite dinner dishes has to be my simply great tuna pasta! After getting home from a long day at work the last thing I feel like doing is spending hours in the kitchen – this little meal is simple to make, delicious, rather healthy, contains pantry stable ingredients and there’s always left overs! Since moving out I’m all about those leftovers…and damn somehow they always taste better the next day? Tuna, olives, garlic, tomato and you’ve got yourself a winner dish – well in my case I think so! The flavour combination is great, and it literally takes about 20 minutes to make tops. I normally put in a couple of anchovies too (cut really fine) for that extra delicious salty flavour.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups spiral pasta
  • 2 large cans of tuna in springwater, drained
  • 1 can tinned tomato
  • 1 brown onion, cut finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons black olives
  • 2 tsp chili
  • handful fresh coriander
  • salt & pepper to season

Serves 3

Method

Cook the pasta in a large pot with salt, then drain once Al dente.

Fry the onion and garlic lightly in a medium saucepan. Add the tuna, tomato, olives, chili and then stir. Tear in the coriander and season with salt and pepper.

Dish up the pasta with the tuna sauce and garnish with fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Happy cooking, love Jem x

Chicken korma curry

chicken korma

Who doesn’t love a good Korma? I actually crave curry – it’s sometimes a problem! This dish is simply delicious and healthy too – what a bonus. My mouth is watering now as I write this wishing I’d made enough for lunch today… The fresh spices with the tomato paste and coconut milk is the perfect balance of flavours. Korma is so easy to make and you can add any vegetables you like really – I just love green beans as they give a crunch to the dish! Serve it with brown rice or eat it without – I do recommend a dollop of fruit chutney on top though.

Ingredients

  • 1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 chicken thigh fillets, diced
  • 2 tbl tomato paste
  • 6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 packet green beans
  • coriander to garnish
  • brown rice (optional)

Serves 4

Method

In a blender process the ginger, garlic, garam masala and chilli flakes until combined. Place to the side.

Heat oil in a non-stock frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onion until browned then add the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked through add the tomato paste, cardamon, the ginger and masala mix, coconut milk and green beans. Stir until well combined and keep on low heat. You may need to add 1/4 cup boiling water if the consistency isn’t curry like. Let the Korma simmer.

Cook brown rice as per packet instructions.

Serve the Korma on rice and top with fresh coriander. This dish tastes delicious with some poppadoms on the side and a dollop of fruit chutney!

Happy cooking, love Jem x