Sesame Beef Stir Fry

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When I was growing up, broccoli seemed almost exotic. Our family didn’t eat broccoli at this stage and I always enjoyed it when I had dinner at my best friend’s house. Years later, the novelty hasn’t worn off but I enjoy broccoli for different reasons. I love how it only takes a few minutes to steam and how sauce gets stuck in its little finger bits (I’m sure they have a name, any ideas anyone?!).

This quick recipe is based on the Sesame Beef & Noodles by Women’s Weekly. I have simplified the method a little bit, added more broccoli (yum) and used dried rice noodles instead of fresh rice noodles because they are a lot easier to find and super cheap too. I like that this recipe doesn’t have  a lot of ingredients.

Sesame Beef Stir Fry

(serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 200g beef
  • 1/2t sesame oil
  • 1/2TBSP peanut oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 broccoli head
  • 100g rice noodles
  • 1TBSP sesame seeds
  • 1/8C oyster sauce
  • 1/8C sweet chilli sauce

Method

1. Coat beef with oils and garlic. Cover and leave to marinate over night
2. Put rice noodles in a large bowl, cover with boiling water until soft (about 3 minutes) then drain
3. Cut broccoli head into florets
4. Simmer broccoli for 1 minute until bright green, drain
5. Microwave sesame seeds at minute intervals until golden brown
6. Stir fry beef over a high heat. When just browned add noodles, broccoli and sauces
7. Serve stir fry sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds

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Scone Nom Nom

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Slow Sunday mornings make me happy. I love having time on the weekend to potter around the kitchen in my PJs and bake. Especially when what I am baking is scones and there is coffee brewing to enjoy them with.

I made this batch of scones while I was staying with my parents. I can’t comment on how they keep, or what they are like cooled because they disappeared pretty fast. This recipe has less butter than most and is kept moist and sweet with yoghurt and apple sauce. It is also pretty forgiving so is a great one to try if your scones usually resemble something more akin to rocks.

Sultana Scone Recipe (adapted from the Healthy Food Guide Plain Scone Recipe)

(yields 9 generous scones)

Ingredients

  • 3C self-raising flour
  • 1/2t cinnamon
  • 1/4t salt
  • 5T brown sugar
  • 50g margarine
  • 3/4C trim milk
  • 1/4C unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2T plain or vanilla low-fat yoghurt
  • 1C sultanas

Method

1. Sift flour and cinnamon into a large bowl
2. Add salt and sugar, stir to combine dry to ingredients well
3. Add margarine and rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles bread crumbs
4. Make a well in the middle and add milk, apple sauce and yoghurt
5. Combine ingredients quickly with a knife, being careful not to over mix
6. Knead ball of dough lightly on surface lightly dusted with flour
7. Form dough into a square or circle and cut with a knife into even portions (I made a square and cut it into 9 scones)
8. Transfer to a baking tray lightly dusted with flour and brush the top of each scone with a little milk
9. Bake at 220 degrees C for about 14 minutes or until a golden crust has formed and your kitchen is filled by their glorious aroma

I had my scones with a little margarine and a lot of jam. Yum!

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Better Than From A Box

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One more night shift to go and once again I really didn’t feel like cooking dinner. After last night’s dinner though, I wasn’t even tempted to get takeaways. I knew I would feel better for eating something fresh and nutritious and I was right. On tonight’s menu was Arabic Spiced Fish with Tahini Salad from An Edible Mosaic.

To prepare the fish, you mix the flour and spices and rub it over the fish then pan-fry the fish. Faith suggests finishing the fish off in the oven until it is cooked through but I omitted this step and just fried it until it was done through. The tahini and fresh flavours of the salad are a great accompaniment to the fish. The salad and dressing is simple enough to quickly assemble as the fish is cooking. I served this dish on top of Israeli cous cous which didn’t really go. Normal cous cous or brown rice would have worked better.

On another note, I have re-organised my “Mains” recipe page so it is easier to navigate instead of just a long list of recipes. It made me realise how much fish and seafood I have been eating lately! Please feel free to leave comments and feedback – I love hearing from you!

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Good Choice Range?

I am not a takeaway fan. Usually. But being on night shift changes everything. Although I know I could and should have prepared a healthy meal far faster than my pizza was delivered I decided to give the Domino’s Good Choice Range a try tonight. Their single-serve pizzas are all less than 400 calories and have pretty low levels of fat, sugar and salt compared to other takeout choices (see nutritional info)

Here’s the picture they have on their website, it looked pretty good:

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Once I got over the disappointment that the delivery man wouldn’t bring the pizza to my armchair I opened the box and here was what I found:

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In case you can’t tell, I chose the BBQ Chicken & Mushroom Ciabatta Pizza with chicken, mushroom, fresh tomato, onion and pineapple and barbecue sauce. It looked like someone had wolfed the pizza down and regurgitated it back into the box but fortunately it didn’t taste like it.

When I read that it had a ciabatta base I expected it to be soft and chewy, like ciabatta bread but the base was thin and crispy. There was a decent amount of toppings and it didn’t taste as greasy and heavy as pizza often does but I still wouldn’t describe it is very ‘nice’ and at $14.90 it certainly wasn’t cheap. Next time I’m tired and tempted to buy takeaway I think I’ll just look at the picture above and I won’t need any more motivation to get back in the kitchen! Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that your own food is actually pretty good.

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Meet My Oven

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Meet my oven. He likes to incinerate things. Everything. Even when you set the thermostat to 25 degrees celsius.  Needless to say these pita chips did not end up on my dinner plate.

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Even though the chips were a big fail, the dip turned out to be a winner. After the success of my tostadas the other night, I felt like sticking with the Mexican theme. I tried a Black Bean Dip Recipe from Food.com. This would be great for entertaining because all the method involves is throwing the ingredients in the blender until mixture forms a light, creamy and very tasty dip. The jalapeno gives the dip a bit of spice and it tastes really nice with sour cream. I served my dip in a whole wheat pita pocket with tomato, cucumber, baby spinach leaves, sour cream and cheese. No doubt it would taste awesome with corn chips.

Mexican Black Bean Dip Recipe (adapted from Black Bean Dip Recipe from Food.com)

(yields 1.5 cups)

Ingredients

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3t tomato paste
  • 2TBSP water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2t lime juice
  • 1/2t cumin
  • 1/8t cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2TBSP jalapeno
  • salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander, to garnish (optional but very good)

Method

1. Place all ingredients apart from coriander in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
2. Scrape dip into a bowl and garnish with fresh coriander

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Carbonation Levels May Vary

See this trail of damp spots across the carpet?…

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Turns out I should have read the label before deciding to shake my drink. There was a bit of sediment on the bottom and I thought I would mix it in. Bad idea. The part where it says it is carbonated might have warned me about the huge explosion of bubbles that sent me running towards the door.

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I tried another another drink from ieProduce, a health store nearby, today. Other bloggers have written about how delicious some kombucha teas are and they are meant to have lots of health benefits so I thought it would be a good, healthful treat for another sunny, spring day.

Once I got past the off-putting colour and the explosion of fizz on my carpet, this drink was really nice! Wikipedia tells me kombucha tea is made by fermenting tea. The slight yeasty taste vaguely reminded me of home-made ginger beer.

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If you check out the label (above), you’ll see that kombucha tea supposedly has many health benefits but I can’t find any scientific studies with evidence to support this. Apparently drinking this tea can actually be harmful to some people so with no proven benefits maybe it should be avoided? Shame it tastes so good – price rather than caution will probably stop me from buying it again.

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Dinner Winner

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Crispy tortilla + spicy beans & jalapeno + creamy sour cream and avocado + cheese = DINNER WINNER

The idea of this meal did not inspire me at all. The idea of baked beans as part of dinner just seemed so unexciting and lazy. Oh how I was wrong. This Baked Bean and Avocado Tostada recipe was super delicious. The recipe takes only 15 minutes from start to finish and is adapted from the Healthy Food Guide’s Tasty Bean and Avocado Tostada recipe.

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To balance out my meal and add some veges, I served my tostada along a salad drizzled in balsamic vinegar. In the salad was: mesclun, tomato, cucumber, spring onion, red onion, sunflower seeds and dried red capsicum.

Baked Bean and Avocado Recipe (adapted from the Healthy Food Guide’s Tasty Bean and Avocado Tostada Recipe)

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(serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 tortilla
  • 1 single serve can Weight Watcher’s baked beans (or 1/3 cup baked beans)
  • 1tsp Mexican seasoning (or taco seasoning)
  • 1/4C grated cheese
  • 1/3 avocado
  • 1TBSP lite sour cream
  • 1tsp jalapeno, chopped finely
  • fresh coriander and ground black pepper to garnish

Method

1. Grill tortilla until lightly browned (approximately 2 minutes at 180 degreesC)
2. Heat baked beans in a saucepan or in the microwave until hot and stir in seasoning
3. Spread baked beans over tortilla
4. Sprinkle grated cheese on top of baked beans
5. Grill until cheese is golden brown and bubbling
6. Remove from oven and top with avocado, sour cream and jalapeno
7. Garnish with fresh coriander and ground black pepper

I tried this without the jalapeno at first. It was still really good but, the jalapeno totally makes it.

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Stolen Sleep

I love daylight saving. It’s fantastic being able to enjoy some sunshine after work and have enough light left to go for a walk in the evenings but right now I am a little grumpy about the time change because daylight saving stole and hour of my sleep. Being a bit more tired than usual today I opted for a quick and easy dinner – Shrimp with Broccoli from eatingwell.com served on quinoa.

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This stir-fry fit what I had in mind for my tea: fast, healthy and light but I was a little disappointed by the flavour. The shrimp is stir-fried in a little oil, garlic, crushed red pepper and added to steamed broccoli and a sauce. The sauce has vegetable stock, lemon and basil and is thickened with a little cornflower. I wanted the sauce to have a little more flavour. I think I’d make this again but would add a little lemon zest to give it some zing.

During the weekend I whipped up a batch of Banana Blueberry Granola. I love home made granola. It smelt so delicious as I was baking it in the oven. The whole house was filled by its aroma and I couldn’t wait for it to cool enough for me to sprinkle it on top of my yoghurt. This recipe is adapted from Allie’s Quinoa Banana Bread Granola. I have cut down the sugar a little and added some dehydrated blueberries I got from Farro’s– yum! Having banana in a granola recipe may seem unusual but it adds a subtle sweetness and helps the oats and quinoa form tasty little clusters.

Banana Blueberry Granola Recipe (adapted from Allie’s Quinoa Banana Bread Granola)

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Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/8C honey
  • 1TBSP canola oil
  • 1t vanilla essence
  • 3C old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2C quinoa
  • 1/4C ground flaxseed (also known as linseed)
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/3C pecan pieces
  • 1/3C dehydrated blueberries (you could substitute raisins, chopped dried dates, dried cranberries or dried banana chips)

Method

1. In a large bowl, mash the banana until smooth
2. Mix in honey, oil and vanilla essence and stir with a fork until a smooth paste has formed
3. Stir in the remaining ingredients apart from the blueberries (or whatever substitute you prefer)
3. Spread mixture out in a roasting dish lined with tin foil (you want to spread the mixture out as much as possible so it crisps but need a dish with sides so you can stir it easily)
4. Bake at 175C until golden, stirring every 10 minutes or so
5. Toss through the blueberries and allow to cool

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A Little Bit fishy…

Let me start this post with a word of caution. If you happen to make Jamaican Lentil Stew with Coconut and realise at the step where it says to add curry paste, that you have no curry paste, DO NOT be tempted to substitute laksa paste. The dried shrimp in the laksa paste WILL be noticeable and make your whole stew take on a slightly fishy, not-quite-right taste. NO amount of curry powder or any other seasoning will take this away….

On a slightly more successful note I thought I would share with you one of my lunch time favourites. Sardine Spread. Sounds gross (and looks terrible) but it is really nice! I promise! This spread is good on crackers, in a sandwich or wrap or to eat with carrots or celery sticks. Sardines are super good for you – they are rich in omega-3, calcium, protein and vitamin D, so eat up.

Order Envy15I made this yesterday for lunch and put it in a wrap along with some lettuce, snow peas, tomato and cucumber – was good!

Sardine Spread Recipe

(makes enough for 2 sandwiches)

Ingredients

  • 1 tin sardines in spring water
  • 2 TBSP reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 squirt lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • gherkin, chopped finely (optional)

Method

1. Drain sardines and put in a small bowl
2. Add remaining ingredients and mash with a fork until the mixture forms a smooth paste
3. Eat

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Tuna with pineapple salsa & snow peas

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Fresh tuna is such a delicious treat. It couldn’t be more different to canned tuna. I have nothing against canned tuna – it’s a great pantry standby but it just doesn’t compare to the melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness of a good tuna steak.

This meal was so fast to prepare – I made the salsa a few hours before hand so that the flavours could mingle so it was just a matter of heating the fry pan and then all the cooking was over with in about 5 minutes. You couldn’t lodge your order at the fish ‘n’ chip shop that fast – fresh food wins!

The salsa recipe is by Jess at Cheese Please and is sweet with just a little bit of heat. It makes a light and refreshing accompaniment to the tuna and is also very fast to through together. To flavour the tuna, I massaged it with sesame oil before cooking then added a splash of soy sauce and lime juice to each side before flipping, making a glaze.

Pineapple Salsa Recipe (from Cheese Please)

(serves 1)

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Pan-fried Tuna Recipe

(serves 1)

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow-fin tuna steak
  • 1t sesame oil
  • 2t soy sauce
  • 1t lime juice

Method

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1. Massage tuna steak with sesame oil so that it is completely covered

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2. Fry tuna over a high heat for 1.5-3 minutes on each side until desired doneness is reached (I like mine rare to medium-rare which takes about 2 minutes on each side). Be careful not to overcook the tuna or it will be dry, it should be still pink in the middle.

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3. Add half of soy sauce and lime juice 30 seconds before flipping tuna, then the remaining half of the soy sauce and lime juice 30 seconds before removing the tuna from the pan. This will form a glaze on both sides of the fish.

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4. Let rest for a few minutes before serving with pineapple salsa and a green vegetable.

 

 

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