Spicy Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | gluten free | vegan

You need to make these tonight. Spicy peanut sauce coats zucchini noodles stuffed inside sweet roasted capsicums for a vegan, gluten free dinner that tastes sinful, but is secretly healthy – and super easy!Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI love peanut sauce dishes. You can just put another notch in the ‘Things Amy loves that contain Peanuts’ list that I’m sure everyone is keeping. Basically the list reads: everything. If there is a way to add peanut butter to a dish I will find it. This dish is no exception. The peanut sauce that coats the zucchini noodles is everything a peanut sauce should be: deeply peanutty with a hint of sweetness, a dash of astringency, and a good dose of spice. I have so many memories of a peanut satay sauce that my sister and I were both in love with during high school. I don’t think either Mum or Dad were particularly fond of it, but they let us ride out our teenage cravings. Plus, they were getting dinner cooked for them, so I guess that was a win on their behalf 😉Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeFast forward to today and I’d much rather create my own sauces than get them from a bottle – it’s all about customisation, and avoiding any unnecessary additives, right? And making your own spicy peanut sauce is easier than getting the ‘safety plastic’ off a shop bought bottle. Anyone else unable to get that stuff off? Just me? Moving on.

These roasted capsicums are fancy enough to serve to company, but easy enough for everyday, and while the peanut sauce is decadent, they are actually quite healthy! Rather than using noodles I made zucchini ‘noodles’ and coated them in the peanut butter sauce then stuffed them inside the roasted capsicums. Result: delicious and healthy.Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe spicy, savoury peanut sauce coated noodles are a great contrast to the sweet roasted capsicums. And the capsicums act as perfect containment for every single drip of peanut sauce. You can’t let that deliciousness escape!Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis dish comes together in six simple steps:

  1. Cut capsicums in half and remove seeds.
  2. Bake.
  3. Prepare noodles and sauce and mix.
  4. Stuff capsicums.
  5. Bake again.
  6. Serve.

Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeFor those six simple steps you are rewarded with layers of flavour in every single bite. To take this to the next level I couldn’t help but garnish it with extra salted peanuts and some chopped spring onions for a little extra crunch. Every bite is a mouthful of molten sweet roasted capsicum, spicy peanut sauce soaked zucchini noodles, crispy spring onions and salty-crunchy peanuts. It’s everything a Wednesday night needs without being so heavy you want to hibernate for the rest of the week. Bonus: your kitchen will smell like the best Asian restaurant in town as these flavours mingle in the oven.Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums

Gluten free | Vegan | Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a light meal or appetiser | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium size red capsicums (bell peppers)
  • 1 large zucchini (or 2 medium)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • Sprinkle of chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Cut your capsicums in half and remove the core and seeds. I like to leave the little green tops because I think they look cute.
  3. Place capsicum halves cut side down in an ovenproof baking dish. Mine was about 6 x 8 inches.
  4. Bake capsicums for 20 minutes and then remove from the oven.
  5. While the capsicums are baking, prepare your filling.
  6. Using a vegetable spiraliser or a julienne peeler create long thin ‘noodles’ from your zucchini.
  7. Crush garlic into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together with peanut butter, lime juice, brown sugar, grated ginger, and chili flakes.
  8. Toss zucchini ‘noodles’ with peanut sauce gently but thoroughly until they are coated in the mixture.
  9. Pile zucchini into capsicum halves. Spoon any extra sauce over the noodles.
  10. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until the tops of the noodles are golden.
  11. Remove capsicums from oven. Toss together salted peanuts and spring onions and top the capsicum halves.
  12. Serve with a green salad and enjoy!

Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Chickpea Tacos with Coriander Guacamole | Gluten Free | Vegan

Spicing up weekday meals is easy with these Spicy Chickpea Tacos. Filled with chickpeas, sundried tomatoes, capsicum and onion and finished with a lime and coriander spiked guacamole, these prove that everyday food can be super special too.Spicy Chickpea Tacos with Coriander Guacamole | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOur house is filled with half-stuffed boxes, Mum and Dad have more boxes ready for me at their house, I have lists upon lists in every conceivable place, and our keys are probably being cut right this moment! That’s right! We are almost on the move! Thank you all so much for listening to me get excited about the events of the next few weeks for the last eighteen months. Thank you for coming along for the ride, and all the encouragement you have given us along the way. There is always a spare seat at the table.Spicy Chickpea Tacos with Coriander Guacamole | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOf course, getting prepared to move – and filling in all the paper work – no one warned me about all the paperwork! And having marathon meeting days at the office leaves very little time for thinking about dinner. I am happy with salad most nights when I have been busy, but there are nights when I want my leaves wrapped in a corn taco, my chickpeas seasoned heavily with spices, and a big dollop of creamy, coriander and lime scented guacamole right on top. These tacos are essentially one of my favourite salads wrapped up in a gluten free corn taco for easy handheld convenience – no fork necessary, which is a good thing because I think they’re next on the packing list!Spicy Chickpea Tacos with Coriander Guacamole | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNot only are these tacos super easy to eat, they are a snap to prepare and super healthy! You can have these on the dinner table in under 30 minutes, which makes them perfect for quick weeknight meals. These gluten free, vegan tacos are packed with lean protein (chickpeas), heaps of veggies, and healthy fats (avocado) these are a healthy fast food option for when you want dinner on the pronto without sacrificing your healthy eating goals. Let’s review: easy to eat, easy to make, packed with healthy ingredients. Oh and what about flavour?Spicy Chickpea Tacos with Coriander Guacamole | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWe start with a plain corn taco. Not much to see here, but a great foundation for layering our flavours onto. Add some fresh, crispy lettuce. I used baby cos – bright, green, and crunchy! We sauté canned chickpeas with capsicum, spring onions, garlic, sundried tomatoes, chilli flakes, cumin, and paprika – this chickpea is filled with the best savoury and spicy flavours! And the crowning glory of this flavour creation: creamy avocados, whipped with garden fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime juice. These tacos might be simple, but they hit every flavour and texture note required for true satisfaction: crispy, creamy, salty, savoury, sweet. My Spicy Chickpea Tacos with Coriander Guacamole have it all!Spicy Chickpea Tacos with Coriander Guacamole | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Chickpea Tacos with Coriander Guacamole

Gluten Free | Vegan | Serves 2

Note: I served mine with some grated cheese. If you are vegan, leave this out or use your favourite ‘cheese’ product.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 400 gram can chickpeas, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1/2 medium red capsicum, diced into small pieces
  • 2 spring onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup (packed) coriander leaves
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and chopped
  • Salt and black pepper

To serve

  • 4 small (6 inch) soft corn tacos, heated
  • 1 small baby cos (or other crispy green salad leaves)
  • Grated cheese (optional)

Method

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add capsicum and garlic and saute until capsicum is softened.
  2. Add chickpeas, spring onions, sundried tomatoes, paprika, cumin, and chilli flakes (if using). Cook, stirring, until chickpeas are warmed through.
  3. While chickpeas are cooking, make guacamole. Place avocado, coriander, lime juice, and onion into a small food processor and process until avocado is mostly smooth. I leave a few chunks for interesting texture. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To serve, place a taco on your plate, top with lettuce, chickpea mixture, guacamole, and cheese (if using).

Spicy Chickpea Tacos with Coriander Guacamole | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSo, dear reader, any smart packing tips? Any favourite taco flavours?

 

Sweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad

Chunks of roasted sweet potato, and squeaky, salty haloumi fill this salad with flavour and personality. A hearty dish to serve by itself for a light meal, or alongside the protein of your choice for something more substantial, this salad delights tastebuds, and keeps tummies full with healthy proteins and complex carbohydrates.

Sweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chris and I are off to the beach tomorrow! After three days of feasting, family, and long digestive naps we are leaving our cares behind, packing our sunscreen, and heading up the coast road for a few days of sun, sand, and nights under the stars. I am looking forward to long walks along the beach, and simple, laid back meals that can be eaten one handed while I’m reading a book in the sunshine. What are your plans for the rest of the holiday season?

Sweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIn preparation for our trip I made a big batch of this salad to take with us for quick, light lunches and dinners that will keep us sustained for trips to the beach, but won’t weigh us down. The fried haloumi makes this salad indulgent enough for the festive season. Each squeaky golden cube is a bite of savoury delight. The roasted sweet potato and quinoa keep this firmly on the healthy side and the salad is rounded out with soft buttery lettuce leaves and toasted walnuts. I kept the dressing interesting but light, and the surprise ingredient may shock you – raspberry jam! It may sound strange, but the sweetness of the jam contrasts perfectly with the astringent balsamic vinegar for a simple but flavoursome vinaigrette.

Sweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI made this salad recently for our family Christmas gathering and it was a hit on the smorgasbord spread. Luckily I salvaged the leftovers for my lunch the next day. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. The haloumi definitely has something to do with that! If you are vegan, you could replace the haloumi with extra firm tofu, but if you do eat dairy I recommend spoiling yourself with some of this. Yes, it is indulgent, but every now and again a girl just needs fried cheese in her life, and because it is surrounded by complex carbohydrates (sweet potato and quinoa), healthy fats (walnuts and olive oil), greens (butter lettuce), and lean proteins (walnuts and quinoa) – I still feel good about eating this before I put on my bikini and head out to the beach.

Sweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 3-4 as a light meal | Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days.

Note: I used a tri-colour quinoa mix, but you can use whatever colour you have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 500g / 1lb)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 180 grams (6 oz) haloumi
  • 1/2 head butter lettuce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon raspberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a baking sheet with aluminium foil.
  2. Peel sweet potato and then dice into medium size cubes (~1.5cm / 3/4inch) and place on baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes or until the centres feel tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. In the last ten minutes of baking the sweet potatoes, spread walnuts across the tray to toast. Remove tray from oven and allow sweet potatoes and walnuts to cool to room temperature.
  4. Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium size saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil. Allow quinoa to boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain thoroughly, and allow to come to room temperature.
  5. While quinoa, sweet potato, and walnuts are cooling, dice haloumi into small cubes. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry haloumi until golden. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature while you make the dressing.
  6. To make dressing: whisk together balsamic vinegar, raspberry jam, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  7. Tear butter lettuce leaves into large pieces. Add quinoa, sweet potatoes, walnuts, and fried haloumi. Pour dressing over and toss gently but thoroughly until all ingredients are mixed and coated with dressing.
  8. Serve at room temperature.

Sweet Potato, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Mushroom and Broccoli Stir Fry

Recently I met a new friend at the wedding of two other new friends. This last weekend we all gathered in our newly-married mutual friend’s house sharing some wine and talking late into the night, really early into the next morning. This new friend is a busy professional woman and she often doesn’t get home until 8 o’clock at night! That doesn’t leave much time for making and eating dinner before falling into bed. Her dilemma got me thinking, after all, dinner is one of my three favourite meals of the day…

Spicy Mushroom and Broccoli Stir Fry | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I am lucky in my job that I get home after the gym most days with plenty of time to potter about the kitchen and make dinner for Chris and myself, but there are nights when I get caught up in something and don’t make it home until late. I feel like they become more common in autumn and winter as the days grow shorter and the night gathers her arms around us more quickly. I come home in the dark and still want the comfort of a home-cooked meal but I also want to be curled up on the couch with a book or watching television with Chris. Rather than pulling out the takeaway menu, or settling for beans on toast (which are a totally acceptable comfort food sometimes) I like to have some quick, healthy recipes on hand that I can throw together with barely a thought while I am catching up with Chris and trying to transition my brain from work mode to home mode.

This stir-fry is a recipe for one of those nights.

Anna, this one is also for you. (Thanks for reading my blog)

The chunky-cut mushrooms will provide B vitamins and minerals and fill you up without weighing you down. Easy-to-prepare rice noodles are my favourite way to imitate comforting takeaway without all the mystery ingredients and the sauce coats everything in a spicy sweet splendour. You can make this even easier by using pre-sliced mushrooms and broccoli, or even a stir-fry mix. From start to finish this meal takes about 20 minutes. I served Chris’s with some grilled lamb and mine in its original vegan state.

Spicy Mushroom and Broccoli Stir Fry | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Mushroom and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Serves 2 with leftovers | Gluten free | Vegan

If you do not have Gourmet Garden Thai Stir-In Seasoning simply leave it out.

Ingredients

  • 250 gram packet dried rice noodles
  • 500 grams mushrooms (button, Swiss Brown or Cups are perfect)
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red capsicum
  • ½ head broccoli
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Thai Stir-In Seasoning
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander

Method

  1. Prepare rice noodles as per instructions on packet.
  2. Chop mushrooms into quarters. Peel and thinly slice onion. Chop broccoli into florets. Slice capsicum into strips.
  3. Whisk together sriracha, brown sugar, soy sauce, Thai seasoning, and 2 tablespoons water.
  4. Heat oil in a large wok or frying pan over medium heat.
  5. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic and capsicum and cook stirring until onion just starts to turn opaque and mushrooms soften.
  6. Add broccoli and sauce and continue cooking until broccoli florets are al dente. This should take about 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat. Toss through fresh coriander. Serve with rice noodles.

Spicy Mushroom and Broccoli Stir Fry | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chris’s Fried Rice

Sixteen months ago something wonderful, someone wonderful, happened to me. You see him quite regularly around here: the tall, ginger man with a talent for technology, making bacon disappear, z-snapping like no one else, and making me laugh. That would be Chris. If he thought he’d caught me with our first date (fancy restaurant, ice cream, sipping whisky in one of my favourite places in Brisbane) then he knew he had me on our second date. He picked me up and drove me to his grandmother’s house and we all had fried rice together, talked about tennis, and after dinner Chris took me for a long walk along the harbour. I can’t imagine how intimidating, annoying, and puzzling it must have been for him to have to make dinner for a vegetarian gluten free date. Did I mention that I didn’t tell him about any of my food issues until we sat down at the restaurant for our first date and there was nothing Amy friendly on the menu? No? Well, you can just add that to the list of reasons I admire Chris. He handled it without a blink, and hey I did get a second date didn’t I!

Chris's Fried Rice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Fast forward to today. We have gone from dating to living together and we even bought a house (and are patiently waiting for it to be built!) together. I may dominate our kitchen by the bay, but when given the chance Chris is a great cook. He makes the best scrambled eggs; fragrant spaghetti bolognaise (trying to convince him to make me a veggie version soon); and inventive hot dogs. One of the things we love the most about each other (and I have this confirmed by Chris) is that we both love to eat. Last night, the first day back at work after a long weekend, Chris stepped into the kitchen to recreate our second date meal. Simple, nourishing, soul-warming, like all the best love stories. I was happy to sit and talk to him, play sous chef when needed, and just reflect on how content and happy my life has become since this man pulled up the bar stool next to mine.

This fried rice comes together easily after a long day at work and yields plenty of leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Chris filled it with plenty of fresh vegetables and we seasoned it simply with soy sauce and sweet chilli. The egg omelette added some protein and Chris served his with some chicken drumsticks while I sprinkled some chickpeas over mine. This meal is perfect for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. It can even be vegan if you leave out the omelette – perhaps some firm tofu is more your style. Gluten free people, just make sure your condiments are gluten free, and then go ahead and serve yourself a large bowl of this goodness.

Pro tip if making this for your potential significant other: take him/her for a romantic walk after dinner and whisper sweet nothings in his/her ear. Another date will surely follow.

Chris's Fried Rice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Chris’s Fried Rice

Serves 4-5, even more as a side dish.

Gluten free. Vegetarian.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • ½ medium capsicum, diced
  • ½ medium head of broccoli chopped into florets
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, chopped into chunks
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce
  • Extra soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce to serve

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C.
  2. Place rice and water in a large, microwave safe bowl. Cook for ten minutes on high. Stop at five minutes and stir.
  3. Once the rice has finished cooking spread across a large baking tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven to dry out for 10 minutes. Remove until needed.
  4. While rice is cooking prepare vegetables.
  5. Heat a small non-stick frying pan and spray with cooking oil. Whisky together eggs and add to heated pan. Allow to cook into a large sheet of omelette.
  6. Remove from pan and thinly slice into squares. Set aside until required.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add spring onions and capsicum and sauté until softened, about two minutes.
  8. Add rice and soy sauce and stir well.
  9. Add remaining vegetables and chopped omelette to the pan and stir through the rice. Cook until broccoli is slightly softened and rice is heated through, about five minutes.
  10. Serve with extra soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce.
  11. This will keep well in the fridge for two to three days.

Chris's Fried Rice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Tell me, dear reader, what was the first meal your significant other made for you? Or, what dish would someone have to make to steal your heart?

Quick Creamy Tomato Soup

As soon as I feel the slightest indication of rain or cooler, wetter weather moving in over our sun-bleached plains and golden crisp grass I insist on getting into comfort food cooking. I think I might have thrived somewhere that experiences four seasons. We get about two and a half here in Brisbane: Summer, not quite summer, and wint-eh (like winter but not quite as cold). On those days that there is a chill in the air, or the storm clouds start gathering on the horizon I take full advantage of the drop in temperature to make something that is only suitable when you can comfortably hold your face over a steaming bowl of something long enough to enjoy eating it.

Last week we had such an evening. I drove home beneath threatening skies with a hopeful thrum for rain beating in my heart. When I opened the door Dad was cooking something tomato-filled, spicy and hearty for himself and Mum – ‘Pork Creole’ he has since named it (I need to enlist his help with recipe names clearly).

Quick Creamy Tomato Soup

It seems Dad and I had the same idea. Something hearty and tomato-y was needed on such an evening. I pulled out the soup pot and started chopping, simmering, and taste testing.

I have made a tomato soup before. Something light and perfect for a summer night. This is heartier, richer, deeper and more satisfying. It has weight and heft from the lentils and potato, which also make it slightly creamy. It’s full of herbs both dried and fresh, and at the end you add a dollop of your favourite collection of antipasto things to give it a rich, salty, briny finish.

Perhaps one of the most perfect things about this soup is that you can make it in the dead of winter, with tinned-at-their-peak tomatoes, and recapture that late summer feeling all year long.

DSC01644

Quick Creamy Tomato Soup (vegan, gluten free)

Serves 4

Note: I used a pre-made Italian herbs paste here because I have it on hand all the time and it’s a great way to supplement the herbs that come out of my garden. And it makes dinners quick!

My antipasto mix was from the supermarket deli and contained my favourites: semi dried tomatoes, green and black olives, and feta. Use your favourite, or simply top with a generous spoonful of grated cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 medium washed potato
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes
  • ½ cup uncooked red lentils
  • â…“ cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs paste 
  • 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ cup your favourite antipasto mix, for finishing

Method

  1. Peel and dice onion. Dice carrot, potato, and tomato.
  2. Heat oil in a medium size pot (I used a 4L soup pot) over medium heat.
  3. Add diced onion and carrot and sauté until onion is transparent. Stir in potato and tomato. Cook for about 4 minutes with the lid of the pot on.
  4. To the pot add peeled tomatoes, red lentils, tomato paste, vegetable stock, and dried thyme. Stir until well incorporated.
  5. Leave to simmer on a low heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring a few times, or until the lentils and potato have broken down.
  6. Add Italian herbs, balsamic vinegar, and sugar and mix well.
  7. Remove from heat, and using a stick blender (bar mix thingy) blend soup until creamy. Be careful, the soup will be very hot!
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with scoops of antipasto.
  9. Serve with bread or, as I did, with crackers and a slice of sharp cheddar.

Quick Creamy Tomato Soup

This yields spectacular leftovers, and only gets better after a day or two in the fridge. Perfect for winter work lunches.

Tell me, dear reader, do you dive straight into the comfort foods as soon as the weather turns? I know some of my northern hemisphere friends are probably ready to send winter our way by now – what have you guys been cooking to keep warm?

Hot Kipfler Potato, Capsicum, and Basil Salad (gluten free, vegetarian)

Let’s talk about potatoes. I am a picky potato consumer. My mother is Danish and my father Tasmanian (i.e. two of the biggest potato-based cuisines on earth), so as a youngster there were a lot of potato-related dinner time issues. Luckily I have matured and come to realise that it is not that I don’t like potatoes, just that I am particular about the type of potato and how it’s carbohydrate laden beauty is prepared in a dish.

My rules aren’t complex: I like potatoes that have flavour: Kipflers, Dutch Creams, ‘New Potatoes’, and Royal Blue are among my favourites.

I am not a fan of boiled potatoes at all. I love buttery, piled high on the plate mashed potatoes and crispy-skinned roast potatoes. Potato salad and I used to have a loving relationship, but now the thought of mayonnaise coated potatoes makes my stomach turn.

See – not a potato hater, just a picky potato consumer.

photo 4

This warm potato ‘salad’ is more like a potato sauté.  The potatoes are first cooked until just firm, but not crunchy, then they join a host of other vegetables and the final flourish is provided by fresh basil, crunchy pine nuts, and a coating of crumbled feta.

I piled my plate high with this salad for dinner and Chris paired his with some grilled lamb chops. By the way, this man has a secret talent for food styling – just check out his artfully arranged lamb chops.

photo 3 (1)

Hot Kipfler Potato, Capsicum, and Basil Salad

If you cannot find Kipflers, or already have some other potatoes hanging around the house, you can substitute another kind of potato. Preferably a potato that hold up well and doesn’t turn to mush when cooked – try Coliban, Desiree, or ‘New’ Potatoes.

Serves 2-3. Easily multiplied.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium kipfler potatoes (about 750 gram total)
  • 1 medium red capsicum
  • 1 cup button mushrooms
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • Large handful basil leaves, torn
  • 75 grams Greek fetta, crumbled
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Scrub potatoes very well to remove all the dirt. This is important as we are leaving the skin on. Slice potatoes into rounds about 1.5-2 cm thick. Place in a large microwave-safe container. Add about 2cm of water in the bottom. Cook for 10 minutes on ‘High’ in the microwave stirring halfway.
  2. If potatoes are still a little crunchy in the middle microwave for a further 2 minutes. Once cooked drain very well and reserve until needed.
  3. While your potatoes are cooking prepare capsicum by slicing in half, removing core and seeds, and halving again and thinly slicing. Quarter button mushrooms, and thinly slice the onion. Peel and crush garlic.
  4. In a large fry pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil over a medium heat. Add capsicum, mushroom, garlic, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and the capsicum has softened.
  5. Add potatoes, remaining oil, and pine nuts and cook until potatoes are starting to crisp, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove pan from heat. Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle basil leaves and crumbled feta on top and serve.
  7. This is delicious re-heated the second day as well.

photo 1 (1)

This dinner is perfect if you are busily preparing for the end of the working/school year and just want something healthy, simple, and delicious for dinner. Naturally gluten free, vegetarian, vegan (if you leave out the feta), and hearty enough for the omnivorous there is something for the whole family to like.

 Tell me dear reader, are you a potato lover?