Honey-baked Pumpkin and Spinach Risotto

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It seems it’s just that time of the year when the weather can’t decide what it wants to be. Or maybe that’s just Australia for you! You see, it’s Spring so the weather should be starting to warm up a little after a rather frosty winter (finally!!!), which it is…..when it wants to. We’ve had our fair share of warm ones so far but then all of the sudden it goes back to being cold again. Like, NO!! Let me provide you with an example to illustrate my annoyance. Okay, so a couple of weeks ago we had a couple of days in a row where it was hitting the 30’s (now, that’s what I’m talking about) then all of a sudden the next day the temperature just decides to drop to 19 degrees! For us Aussie’s that’s pretty cold, especially in spring (and for me!). And what do you know, it’s back to a warm 28 degrees the next day!

Now, I know I shouldn’t be complaining; 19 degrees isn’t really that cold but for me it is. So, what better way to warm up than with a delicious bowl of steaming hot pumpkin risotto. It doesn’t get much better than that!

 

Recipe

Honey-baked pumpkin and spinach risotto

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 to ½ a pumpkin, peeled, cut into small cubes (I used Kent pumpkin)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil IMG_5353
  • 1-2 tbs honey
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2cm piece ginger, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) white wine (optional – just use water)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
  • A knob of butter
  • A small handful of spinach
  • Grated parmesan to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150° degrees C.
  2. Lay pumpkin in an even layer on a large baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of honey, tossing well to coat each piece. Roast for a further 15 minutes until cooked and golden
  3. Place stock in a saucepan and keep at a simmer over low heat.
  4. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery and stir fir a few minutes or until soft.  Add ginger and garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.  Add rice and cook for a further few minutes, stirring to coat grains. Add wine/water and cook until absorbed. Add stock bit at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next. It should take 15-20 minutes until rice is cooked but still firm to the bite. Add, butter and stir through, then lemon juice, pumpkin, parsley, and remove from heat. Season, to taste.
  5. Serve with parsley and sprinkle of parmesan.

Notes:

My inspiration for this recipe was from here.

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This is actually quite a healthy version of what can sometimes be a very heavy dish. It’s great because it still has that creamy texture risotto’s are known for, but without the unnecessary addition of all the cream. Win, win!

The addition of the pumpkin, celery and spinach also help to boost the nutrient content of this dish and help get your 5 in a day, whilst the rice provides a good carbohydrate source to create a very balanced meal. Perfect for after a hard training session to replenish your glycogen stores.

Tanisha

Irresistible Strawberry Pancakes

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OH MY GOD! I may have died and gone back to heaven! These are honestly the best pancakes I have EVER eaten (contrary to the other pancake recipe I posted some time ago). YUM.

I only made these pancakes this morning but I just couldn’t resist posting the recipe so that all you lovely people could, too bask in their delightfulness!

So I’m just gonna cut to the chase….

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Recipe

Irresistible Strawberry Pancakes

Makes about 8 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 very large strawberries, sliced lengthways

Method:

  1. Sift the dry ingredients (flour through salt) togetheIMG_5668r into a large bowl.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (yogurt through vanilla). Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The mixture should be thick but not paste-like. If it seems too thick, gently stir in more milk, 2 Tbsp at a time.
  3. Let sit for 10 minutes to combine. After sitting, the batter should be fluffy.
  4. Preheat a frypan over medium-low heat. Add a spoon of coconut oil to the pan. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup or a tablespoon, drop small scoops of the batter onto the pan. You may have to gently spread the pancakes a bit as the batter will be quite thick. Cook until bubbles form in the surface of the pancake and the underside is golden-brown. Place the cut up strawberries on the uncooked side of the pancake and flip side. Cook until golden-brown on both sides.
  5. Serve with your favourite toppings. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • I got this recipe from Coffee and Quinoa.
  • I topped my pancakes with crushed pistachios, yogurt and maple syrup.

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The main component of the pancake batter is definitely the Greek yogurt, which makes the pancakes super light and fluffy. One cup may sound like a lot but I promise you, it works wonders. I am seriously in love with using Greek yogurt in all my baking etc. Even if it’s not included in a recipe I always end up adding a tablespoon of it to the batter because it never fails to create a light and fluffy batter. So, I urge you to give it a go too.

Also, please try putting strawberries in your pancakes too. This was the first time I have tried it and it is probably the best idea I have ever had (or close to it). I’ve had blueberries, raspberries and bananas in my pancakes before, but never have I had strawberries and I’m so glad I did. They cooked down to a sweet gooey, jam-like consistency that is just irresistible! There really is no need for refined sugar in these pancakes. To be honest, it’s hard to remember that they’re actually healthy because they taste so good!

Tanisha xx

Cauliflower and Zucchini Fritters served with Minted Yogurt

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I am a big fan of fritters. I find there is something so comforting about them that they’re perfect for anytime of the year. They’re also a great way to use up vegetables if you seem to have an over-supply of them. Not to mention, they’re very versatile so you can basically mix and match with whatever vegetables, herbs and spices you have on hand.

Some other flavour variations are:IMG_4607

  • Sweet corn
  • Sweet potato and haloumi
  • Zucchini and feta
  • Cauliflower and parmesan

Recipe:

Cauliflower and Zucchini Fritters served with Minted Yogurt

Serves 4 – 5 people

Ingredients:

  • ½ cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • A handful each of chives, parsley and mint, chopped
  • 1 cup self-raising flour (½ cup wholemeal, ½ cup plain)
  • 1/3 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon each ground coriander and cumin
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil, to fry

Minted Yogurt

  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • Small handful of chopped mint
  • ½ lemon, juiced

Method:

  1. Cook cauliflower florets in a small saucepan of boiling water for 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel. Leave to cool slightly.
  2. Place the eggs, zucchini, herbs, flour, feta, spices and olive oil in a large bowl and combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the cauliflower florets in a medium-sized bowl and mash. Transfer the mashed cauliflower to the other bowl with the mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Cook mixture as rounded tablespoons for 2 minutes or until crisp and golden.
  5. To make the minted yogurt simply combine all the ingredients and serve with the fritters.

Notes:

  • I used garlic chives and flat-leaf parsley but any type would be fine.
  • To keep the cooked fritters warm whilst cooking the rest of the mixture, place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper in a warm oven at 150 degrees C.IMG_4608

My Favourite Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie!

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I’m backkk!! After a bit of a break I’m more excited than ever to share with you guys some of my favourite recipes. Over my short break I have been continuing to cook up a storm and now have a huge line up of recipes that I’m keen to post. And this one’s no exception. This has got to be my ultimate smoothie. To most people it’s probably really nothing that special but I just can’t go past the AMAZING combination of banana and peanut butter, so if you can’t either than this one’s for you.

 

Recipe

My Favourite Peanut butter and banana smoothie!

Serves 1IMG_4732

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 2-3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 3 large tablespoons plain or vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup milk*
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • Ice cubes
  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender (except for the ice cubes) and blend until all combined.
  2. Add anything in if needed i.e. more milk if it’s too thick, as well as the ice cubes and blend once again.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Notes:

*This was just a rough estimate of the amount of milk so you may need to adjust it as you go.

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I don’t know about you but somehow I seem to have managed to get this combination (PB + banana into nearly all of my breakfast items in some form i.e. in nicecream (obviously!), on toast, in a toasted sandwich, in porridge, in overnight oats, by itself and in other smoothies. I simply can’t go past it!

By the way, I still haven’t gotten my marks back for my Personal Project (check my last post for more info if you’ve got no idea what I’m talking about) but when I do, I’ll let you know.

Tanisha xx