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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Mushroom, onion and mustard gravy

mushroom-gravy

A great gravy transforms the classic meat and three veg into a simple yet delicious meal. This little winner is especially scrumptious on top of a good medium rare steak with sweet potato mash  – the English mustard just gives the gravy a real pop! This recipe is as easy as pie (actually easier) and you’ll probably have all of the ingredients in your fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 tbl English mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • basil leaves, torn

Method

Fry the onion, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the mushrooms are tender add the stock, mustard, salt and pepper and turn the heat down to low. Keep the gravy on low heat for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. Add the basil just before serving.

Happy cooking, love Jem x

Homemade ravioli with spinach and ricotta

  

Nothing beats that melt in the mouth beautiful fresh pasta taste. I know I’ve posted a spinach and ricotta ravioli recipe a couple of years back now but this is my “new and improved” and it’s damn delicious… As you can see from the above picture I don’t own a pasta rack so my washing line just had to do haha. This recipe is great for dinner parties or a weekend evening dish for your other half.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 4 eggs

Filling

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 800g ricotta cheese
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 2 egg yolks
  • salt and pepper

Sauce 

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 jar passata
  • salt and pepper

Serves 6

Method

To make the dough use your hands to shape the flour into a circular mound and make a well in the centre. Place the eggs in the well and use a fork to lightly whisk. Use your fingertips to gradually blend a little flour into the egg mixture. Working with your fingertips, continue to gradually draw the flour into the centre (being careful the egg mixture does not run out of the well) until the mixture forms a dough. To check if the dough is the right consistency, press a clean, dry finger into the centre of the dough. If it comes out clean without being sticky, it is the right consistency. If not, knead in a little more flour and test again.

Lightly flour the surface if necessary. Firmly knead the dough by using the heel of your hand to firmly push down into it and then away from you. Lift the dough with your fingertips and fold it back on itself towards you. Turn the dough a half turn and repeat. Continue kneading the dough for 6-7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and set aside for an hour.

To make the filling heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the spinach and toss for 1-2 minutes or just until wilted, then drain well. When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much water as possible. Finely chop the spinach, then place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and stir to combine well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the passata, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the passata, salt and pepper and simmer. Reheat just before serving.

Divide the pasta dough into 4 portions, then working with one piece at a time flatten the dough firmly with the heel of your hand on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the pasta several times through the widest setting on a pasta machine and continue feeding it through reducing the settings one notch at time until you come to the second last setting. The pasta should feel silky and smooth. Use a wine glass to cut even circular shapes in the dough.

Start adding a teaspoon of filling to each circle of dough (making sure you don’t add too much filling or the ravioli won’t hold). Wet the outside with a little bit of egg so the dough sticks together. Place another circle dough on the top and press the sides then fork around the edge until the pasta is firmly stuck together.

To cook, carefully drop the ravioli into a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes or until al dente, then pour into a colander and drain well. Transfer the ravioli to a large serving dish, spoon over the hot passata, and top with grated Parmesan. ONE WORD: YUM!

Happy cooking, love Jem x

Corn fritters with salmon

I love a good corn fritter! Such a simple dish and it’s got my mouth watering right now. You can add any vegetable to a fritter really and it’ll taste so damn good. To spice them up I like to add chili and top with either Greek yoghurt and smoked salmon, or a tomato chutney! The salmon adds another element of flavour and the combination is perfect – although I may be bias…

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 4 shallots, chopped finely
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • basil, torn finely
  • 2 tsp chilli
  • olive oil, for frying
  • salt and pepper
  • natural yoghurt, smoked salmon, dill and lemon to serve

Serves 3

Method

Combine the flour, milk, eggs and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the vegetables and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.

To cook the fritters, grease a non-stick frypan with olive oil over medium heat. Ladle the fritter mixture into the pan, spreading the ingredients out and cook until both sides are a deep golden with crispy edges.

Keep the cooked fritters in the oven to stay hot then serve with yoghurt, salmon, dill and lemon. One word – YUM!

Alternatively if vegetarian serve with a sweet tomato chutney – https://morefoodblog.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/sweet-tomato-chutney/

Happy cooking, 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