Roasted Pumpkin & Pearl Cous Cous Salad

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So, I’d like to start this post with a big, fat apology for not posting much lately. Sorry guys. Life has been pretty hectic lately with school, exams, athletics and what not, BUT guess what, schools out (scream and shout!! – gotta love a bit of High School Musical) and exams are over and it’s the summer holidays and what does that mean?? That’s right, I will have more time to make some uber delicious meals so I can post them on this poor neglected blog. Hell yeah!!

And you know while I’m at it I may as well give this blog an update because I feel like it needs some freshening up. After all, it has had the same old theme for nearly a whole year (wow, it’s nearly been a whole year with this blog!!) so you know what they say; new year, new me!

Anyway, as I mentioned before, it’s the holidays so “I will have more time to make some uber delicious meals” – as quoted by yours truly – and I have already lived up to that statement. I mean, I have only been off school for a total of 3 ½ days and I have made so much yummy stuff already, so it looks like these holidays are going to be full of delicious, healthy food!

So the first of my holiday creations that I am going to post is this fabulous pearl (Israeli) cous cous salad, packed full of sweet, honey roasted pumpkin and other delectable goodies! I ate this all by itself for dinner yesterday but it would be really good as a side to some roasted chicken or apricot chicken orr even as a part of a Middle Eastern feast (I’m thinking hummus, baba ganoush, tabbouleh, and koftas – yummm)!!

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Recipe

Roasted Pumpkin & Pearl Cous Cous Salad

Serves 4 or 6 as a side

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut pumpkin, diced
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Fresh herbs (e.g. thyme)
  • 1 packet pearl cous cous
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
  • ¼ cup feta, crumbled
  • Handful spinach
  • Handful fresh mint and parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds and slivered almonds each
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ lemon, juice and zested
  • Drizzle olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place the pumpkin, honey and herbs on the baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Toss to combine.
  3. Place in the oven and allow the pumpkin to roast for around 30-40 minutes. Once it is roasted to your liking, take it out of the oven and let to cool.
  4. Cook the cous cous according to the packet instructions. Once cooked, allow to cool for five minutes.
  5. In a large bowl combine the cous cous, pumpkin, onion, currants, apricots, feta, spinach and mint and parsley, and pumpkin seeds and almonds.
  6. Dress the salad with cinnamon, cumin, lemon juice and zest, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper. Mix the salad together and whallah, it’s ready to serve!

Enjoy!

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Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

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Long time, no recipe! But don’t worry (you probably weren’t) I am alive and cooking – no pun intended!!

Sooo, I have been very busy lately and continue to be as I have exams coming up but I have managed to sneak in some time to provide you with this stellar recipe:

On Thursday it was my mum’s birthday (and mine!) and because I am just such an outstanding daughter I decided to make her dinner. Yes, I know, I’m fabulous! The only problem was that I had absolutely no idea what to make her. You see, among her favourite foods are seafood and laska both of which I am not very fond of and have never cooked before.

So, to conquer this problem I did what every good chef would do; I consulted the Taste.com gods!! And can I just say, thank god that website exists otherwise I would have been running around like a stressed mess.

This website has a recipe (or 5) of just about every kind of food you could think of. It is amazing. I could literally spend hours just scrolling through all the recipes on this website. I mean, it’s like a world of its own.

So anyway, whilst I was doing the above I came up with the idea of making spinach and ricotta cannelloni because I know that my mum and my whole family are very fond of this humble vegetarian dish. So here is the recipe:

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Recipe

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

 Serves 4 – 6

 Ingredients:

  • Around 2 -3 jars of tomato pasta sauceIMG_4318
  • A very large handful of fresh spinach (not baby spinach)*
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • ½ onion, diced (optional)
  • 350g ricotta
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 2 packets of cannelloni tubes
  • Fresh basil and toasted pine nuts, to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Fill the bottom of a large baking dish with one jar of tomato pasta sauce.
  3. Wash spinach thoroughly and pat dry.
  4. Heat a large fry pan with olive oil on medium-high. Sauté the garlic and onion until just cooked, then place the spinach in the pan and wilt – you may need to do this in two batches.
  5. Place spinach mixture, ricotta, parmesan, egg yolks, nutmeg and, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix with a fork to combine.
  6. Stuff the spinach and ricotta mixture into the cannelloni tubes one at a time. Once stuffed, neatly place them in the baking dish. Once the baking dish is filled pour the rest of the tomato pasta sauce over the dish so that the cannelloni tubes are covered.
  7. Cover with alfoil and bake for 30 minutes or until cannelloni are soft.
  8. Remove alfoil and sprinkle cannelloni with mozzarella cheese and bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.
  9. Serve with fresh basil and toasted pine nuts. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • * A recipe I used to use says to use 375g spinach but I never really measure it and just use the whole bunch.

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Once again, the measurements of this recipe are slightly vague at times but that is only because I have a tendency to never measure anything I am cooking and just go with the flow, which works 90% of the time but it not very good when you are trying to write a recipe. Fear not though, this recipe is extremely forgiving and will work 90% of the time too, unless you somehow manage to stuff the tubes with tomato sauce and layer it in spinach and ricotta because I am telling you now, that will definitely NOT work. But I am certain that won’t happen because this is a super easy recipe to make and it sure to be a winner.

Tanisha xx