Sunday, March 20, 2016

Pork with green olive tapenade pie

I am lucky enough to have a nephew who keeps me supplied with tapenades. So when I was doing shingles cooking with staples I had on hand, olive tapenade not surprisingly came to mind. This one is a pork pie baked with delicious green olive tapenade. One of the few benefits of having shingles (maybe the only one in truth apart from learning about the kindness of friends) was that I came up with a number of recipes that I could cook with ingredients that were hanging around the kitchen as staples.  I have been pleased with them and will definitely be making them again - without shingles to provide the trigger.


2 pork butterfly steaks (about 400 gr)
100 green olive tapenade
1 sheet puff pastry


Preheat the oven to 180c
Remove pastry from refrigerator or freezer and bring to room temperature
Spoon half the tapenade into the base of an oven-proof pie dish
Place the pork steaks on top
Spread the rest of the tapenade over the pork
Cover with puff pastry and decorate as desired
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

Chicken with red pesto pie

This recipe happened as part of "my I'm sick with shingles what can I cook easily campaign." It is fairly clearly a variant of my chicken and pork recipes which are baked in the oven with pesto.  But in this case, rather than covering the dish with foil, I decided to cover it with puff pastry and make the dish a pie!  And the result was a delicious chicken pie.


500 gr chicken thighs
100 gr red basil pesto
1 sheet puff pastry


Preheat the oven to 180c
Remove pastry from freezer or refrigerator
Roughly chop the chicken thighs
Spoon half the pesto into the base of an oven-proof pie dish
Arrange on top of pesto
Spread the rest of the pesto over the chicken
Grate Parmesan over the chicken
Cover with pastry decorating as you wish
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

Pork with olive tapenade

In my current (and eternal) search for iron-rich foods, I was delighted to find that black olives are a good source of iron. So what better thing to do with my pork rib eye chops than to bake it with some blackolive tapenade that I had been given as a gift. I baked potaties in olive oil and rosemary for a delicious accompaniment.


2 pork rib eye steaks (about 400 gr)
100 gr black olive tapenade


Preheat the oven to 180c
Spoon half the tapenade into the base of an oven-proof serving dish
Place the pork steaks on top
Spread the rest of the tapenade over the pork

Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Stuffed peppers with a punch

One thing that the wretched @#$% shingles has not stopped me doing is cooking and thinking about recipes. Just before the disease hit, I had had a longing for stuffed red peppers and had been thinking of a recipe that contained some Indian flavours. I like the combination of those flavours and the Greek fetta.

As I was sick, this recipe was made with a number of readily available ingredients rather than much cooking preparation.  But let's face it, we all like to have some recipes on hand to make quickly. Two of the key ingredients were bought from the supermarket: a Tilda multi-grain rice pilau flavoured with cummin, curry leaf and fenugreek, and a Dolmio spicy pasta sauce with chilli.

I really liked the result of this easy recipe.  I hope you will too!


2 large red peppers
250 gr rice pilau
200 gr spicy pasta sauce
1 handful currants
20 gr fetta
1/2 cup water


Preheat the oven to 180c
Remove the head of the peppers and clean inside
Heat pasta sauce on stovetop
Add rice pilau and stir to combine
Add currants and stir to combine
Simmer until all ingredients are combined and liquid absorbed
Crumble fetta
Spoon rice mixture into each pepper until half full
Add half of the fetta to each
Spoon remaining rice mixture into peppers
Add pepper heads and place in a baking dish
Add water to baking dish
Place in oven and cook for 45 minutes.

Nectarine breakfast #breakfastwithouttoast

Here's another in my series of #breakfastwithouttoast for those of you who don't believe there can be breakfast without it! The main flavour here is from the yellow nectarine: definitely a good seasonal choice to add to the other flavours. Enjoy!


3 heaped soupspoons strained yoghurt
1 yellow nectarine
2 Greek dried figs
20 almonds


Chop the nectarine roughly and place in breakfast bowl
Roughly chop the figs and place in bowl
Add almonds.
Spoon on the yoghurt


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Lentil, ricotta and spinach lasagne

Well here I am at home struck down by the dreaded shingles.  What to cook and what to eat becomes what is in the pantry or what is in the freezer. This is going to be a long haul, I fear. Did I mention that I hate shingles? But one thing I do like about it is that it means I am going through the pantry and freezer and sorting them out.  And I really liked the outcome of my latest foraging.  Thanks Leonie for suggesting I blog it.  Otherwise it might have stayed on a scrappy piece of paper for eternity.

So the outcome of my latest foraging?  A lasagne made by alternating layers of a lentil and tomato sauce with a mixture of ricotta and spinach. And it really is so yummy!  You will notice that this really is about staples in the pantry for me.  If you want to soak and cook your own lentils that is fine: I used canned. Likewise with the lasagne sheets!


For lentil sauce
400 gr canned lentils
400 gr canned chopped tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
1 onion
2 tbs olive oil
2 handfuls dried basil
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp ginger
2 small carrots
1/2 cup water


For spinach/ricotta sauce
375 gr ricotta
250 gr frozen spinach
2 spring onions
2 cloves garlic

Lasagne sheets (not needing precooking)
Grated or shaved Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 180c
Put the oil in a pan to heat
Finely chop the onion and add to oil
Crush garlic and ginger and add
Stir constantly until soft
Add tomatoes and tomato paste and stir
Drain lentils, rinse, add and stir
Crush dried basil and add
Chop carrots and add
Stir to combine and add water
Leave simmering on stove top
Meanwhile, place frozen spinach in microwaveable bowl
Chop spring onions and add
Crush garlic and add
Cover and microwave for 5 minutes
(Alternately cook in a steamer until tender)
Place ricotta in bowl and add spinach when cooked
Stir to combine
Assemble the lasagne in an oven-proof dish commencing with a thin layer of the lentil sauce
Add lasagne sheets
Then add a thin layer of the spinach and ricotta
Add lasagne sheets
Continue with this process until the baking dish is full
Make sure to end with a lentil sauce layer to ensure that the pasta cooks properly
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan
Bake in a 180c oven for 45 minutes

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sour cherry, currant and yoghurt ices

This is another variant on the yoghurt ices for summer eating. I like to have some in the freezer for a cool snack when the mercury rises, and even when it doesn't! This batch is done with dried sour cherries and currants. Because the fruit is dried, I chose to let the mixture sit for a while to allow the fruit to absorb some of the moisture before freezing.  But if you are in a hurry, you could just do them in one hit. The amounts given make four icy poles using my moulds, but yours may need the measurements to be increased or decreased depending on mould size.


8 tbs strained yoghurt (aka Greek yoghurt)
2 tbs dried sour cherries
2 tbs currants


Place yoghurt and fruit in bowl or jug
Mix together until they are well-combined
Leave to sit for a couple of hours to allow the fruit to absorb some of the moisture
Spoon into icy pole moulds and insert sticks/lids
Freeze for at least five hours or until solid (overnight is good)
Loosen from mould by holding under warm water


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