This past week has been quite a relaxing one for me as it will only get busier now we’re heading into the ‘silly season’ – my favourite time of year! Over the past few weeks I have been enjoying the Melbourne racing … Continue reading
Well, what a crazy week it was last week! I’ve been busy working on a new segment to be regularly featured on Emma Lauren that I am really excited to share with you! But, you’ll have to stay tuned until the end of this … Continue reading
Another week has flown by in Melbourne and I am now getting into the rhythm of the city. I love the fact that practically everything is in walking distance and there is so much to see, do and eat, of course. My list of foodie places is growing everyday and am looking forward to trying them all out, eventually!
As well as dining out, I have been enjoying some delicious meals at home. I mentioned in my previous post that I will be adding to my healthy pantry each week to keep inspired to create healthy meals and treats. Yesterday I purchased chia seeds, unhulled tahini, coconut flakes and slivered almonds. Almond milk and coconut yoghurt are staples on my weekly shopping list, along with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Not long before I moved to Melbourne, I was lucky enough to receive a Native Box from the lovely owners! As I’ve mentioned before, Native Box is packed with Australian eco-friendly products, sample and full-sized. Once again, I was amazed by the quality of the products and the size of them too! Included in this box was a full-sized packet of Orgran’s gluten free buckwheat pasta spirals which I used in my creamy pasta recipe featured in today’s post – that’s what I love about the Native Box, it allows you to try products you wouldn’t normally! I’ll definitely be purchasing this pasta again now that I know how delicious it is and will try out some more of the Orgrans product too!
Head over the to Native Box website to see how you can get your hands on one of these eco-friendly boxes and to learn more the company’s fantastic work!
The Orgran buckwheat pasta has an earthy flavour to it which complements the shiitake mushrooms and asparagus in the creamy sauce.
It’s important the cauliflower is completely cooked through so it can be blended easily. I love how the blended cauliflower takes on a cream-like texture; it is definitely going to become a substitute in many more of my recipes!
When the leek and garlic are cooked they release an aromatic smell that fills the room. I like to use leeks in my cooking when I am short on time or only want a subtle onion flavour. Plus, they are a beautiful green colour.
By adding the blended cauliflower and coconut milk to the frypan, it allows the sauce to become fragrant due to the cooked leek and garlic.
I’ve added shiitake mushrooms and asparagus to this sauce to enhance the flavour and texture. The mushrooms lend a ‘meatiness’ and the asparagus provides a crunch. Nutritional yeast adds the cheesy flavour to the sauce and is packed with vitamin B. It can be purchased from most health food stores or from your local supermarket in the health food aisle.
Once the pasta is al dente, add it to the creamy sauce and as the pasta is a spiral shape the sauce will cling to the ridges.
There are so many vegetables in this pasta, some obvious and others hidden – the cauliflower! I’m sure if you served this with just the creamy sauce, your guests would think they are enjoying an Alfredo pasta dish made with cream, little would they know it has been made with cauliflower!
This pasta will keep in the fridge for up to two days in a sealed container.
Now, all I feel like is a big bowl of this healthy pasta for dinner!
Creamy cauliflower coconut sauce
- 1/2 cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- 1/2 leek, washed and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1/2 cup coconut milk, approx. 270mL
- 3 TBSP nutritional yeast, extra for topping
- 1 bunch asparagus, washed and chopped
- 100g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 250g buckwheat or gluten free pasta
- 1 cup kale, washed and chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add cauliflower florets to a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until tender then drain and set aside.
- Add coconut oil in a large frypan over medium heat and add leek and garlic. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until softened.
- Add cooked cauliflower and coconut milk to a blender/Vitamix and blend until smooth.
- Add blended cauliflower and coconut to the cooked leek and garlic. Stir until well combined.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Add the pasta and boil for time instructed on the packet.
- Stir in the nutritional yeast, asparagus and shiitake mushrooms to the sauce.
- Drain pasta in a colander, reserving 1 cup liquid in case sauce becomes too dry.
- Add pasta and kale to sauce in frypan and cook until sauce begins to cling to pasta, 1 – 2 minutes. If it’s too dry, add a little pasta liquid and stir it through.
- Divide among bowls or serve on a large plate, top with extra nutritional yeast and enjoy!
This pasta dish was served with a side of sweet potato and potato wedges, and hummus.
I hope you all enjoy this meal during the coming winter, it’s a quick yet comforting mid-week meal!
Sometimes there’s nothing better than enjoying a bowl of wedges, especially sweet potato ones! This past weekend a good friend came over for a catch up and instead of cooking dinner for us, I made these wedges along with a healthy platter consisting of vegetable crudités, baba ganoush, goat cheese, olives and gluten free crackers.
It enabled me to enjoy catching up instead of being in the kitchen cooking, and if I do say so myself it was a great way to entertain!
I used paprika, along with salt and pepper, to season the wedges as it gave them a slightly earthy flavour.
Make sure you spread out the wedges on the baking tray to allow them to become slightly crispy, not soggy.
As I was a little pressed for time, I cooked these on 210C/410F for 30 minutes however if you have more time you can reduce the oven temperature to 200C/400F and cook for 35-40 minutes.
It is best to enjoy these immediately however they can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two days.
Back to Basics: Sweet potato wedges
Serves 2-4 people (depending on how hungry they are)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, washed
- 1 TBSP paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt, extra for serving
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- Serve with hummus
- Preheat oven to 210C/410F and line baking tray with baking paper.
- Cut the sweet potato into 16 wedges then add to a large mixing bowl.
- Add paprika, pepper, salt and coconut oil to the bowl.
- Mix together to coat the potato wedges.
- Spread out on prepared baking paper and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
- Season with extra salt, serve with hummus then enjoy!
Please note: my wedges were not crunchy, just slightly crispy as that’s how they are meant to be!
These sweet potato wedges are also a great accompaniment to fish, beef, chicken, lamb or even a gorgeous salad!
Twas the week before Christmas and the celebrations had already begun…
As there has been a lot to celebrate this past week, including finishing my double degree, last night good friends joined me for an early Christmas dinner. We’ve spent the last four years of university together and are now ready to graduate and face the ‘real world’. It was an evening filled with delicious food, fabulous drinks and even better company.
We started the celebrations in style as it’s not everyday you finish two degrees. Nibbles included goat cheese camembert, Mary’s Gone Crackers (my favourite crackers), Sicilian olives, fresh strawberries and macadamia nuts.
Following the nibbles, we feasted on Christmas Dinner. The menu consisted of:
- Chicken skewers with a spicy peanut sauce
- Mango, macadamia and basil salad
- Paprika sweet potato, parsnip, basil and lime salad – made without the chicken
- Quinoa, chickpea, coriander and avocado salad
- Wild caught king tiger prawns
- Raw vanilla macadamia cream fruit tart
- Christmas chocolate bark
All of these recipes will be posted this coming week so you too can hopefully enjoy them come Christmas Day! I’ll also be posting ideas on how to festively set the table for Christmas Day, including a way to keep the your guests entertained and create memories whilst you dine.
Here’s the first of the Christmas recipes for you to enjoy… Mango, macadamia and basil salad. This salad really complements seafood, especially prawns, as it’s very fresh – in both colour and taste.
I absolutely love the vibrant colours in the salad. Summer to me always signifies mangoes – growing up in Cairns they were definitely a staple in our household throughout the season.
The shallots, basil and chilli lend this dish a Christmassy feel in terms of colour whilst the macadamias provide a delicious crunch.
This salad will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two days.
Mango, macadamia and basil salad
- 3 ripe mangoes, diced
- 1 cup fresh basil, washed and finely sliced
- 1/2 cup macadamias, chopped
- 1 shallot, finely sliced
- 1/2 chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place mangoes, basil, macadamias, shallot and chilli in a large bowl and mix until well combined.
- Stir through lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Enjoy!
How will you be celebrating Christmas in style this year?