With an abundant supply of spinach from dad’s garden I used this recipe today for a rustic spinach pie that is baked free-form, without a tin. It has a simple olive oil crust and a filling of spinach, red onions, mushrooms and cheese. It is easy to make and you will love it.
Spinach and Three Cheese Pie
Olive oil pastry
300g plain flour
60ml olive oil
1 generous pinch of sea salt
175ml warm water
2 bunches fresh spinach
1 red onion finely chopped
300g sliced mushrooms
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram or 2 tsp fresh thyme
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g grated firm mozzarella cheese
100g crumbled feta cheese
100g Parmesan cheese
For the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a pile on the bench. Make a well in the centre and tip in the olive oil and most of the water. Gradually mix the flour into the oil and water. You may need to add a little more water or flour. Alternatively, the dough can be made in a food processor. Bring the dough together into a ball and knead for four or five minutes until smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic and leave on the bench for 30 minutes. If using much later, keep in the fridge.
For the filling, wash the spinach thoroughly. Cut the leaves away from the stalks. Roughly chop the spinach leaves.
Heat half the olive oil in a frypan with the onions and mushrooms and fry until nicely golden, stirring occasionally. Mix the cheeses together and set aside. Combine the spinach in a bowl with the egg, cheese and olive oil, the marjoram or thyme, a pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper.
Preheat the oven to 180C fan, or 200C conventional.
Sprinkle the bench and rolling pin with flour. Roll the pastry out into a large oval shape. Scatter the red onion, cheese and spinach mixture evenly over the base of the dough and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Fold the edges in over the filling making a pleat with each fold. The middle will be open. Brush the pastry with olive oil and sprinkle with white sesame seeds. Bake the pie in the centre of the oven for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Cover the middle with a little foil if it’s becoming too brown. Let the pie rest for a few minutes before cutting. Serve with a wedge of lemon, warm or at room temperature.
2 Cups Plain Flour
1 Cup Wholemeal Flour
2 TB Minced Fresh Basil
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1⁄2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Poppy Seeds
11⁄2 Cups Coconut Sugar (or sweetener of choice)
1⁄2 Cup Olive Oil
1⁄2 Cup Almond Milk
Zest of 2 Oranges
1⁄4 Cup Orange Juice
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs
2 Egg Whites
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 23cm/9in springform cake pan.
In a large bowl, mix flour with basil, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt.
In a second large bowl, beat sugar with oil, milk, zest and orange juice, vanilla, and eggs until well combined. Beat the flour mixture into the egg mixture until no lumps remain.
Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
You can make the delicious frosting which is low in fat and calories by combining equal parts of greek nonfat yogurt, light sour cream and a TB of fresh lemon juice. Dollop it on and add orange zest and a sprig of basil!
I had to work my meal around a packet of refrigerated agnolotti. If you hadn’t already guessed they are moon shaped pastas, here I’ve used spinach and ricotta variety. White flour pasta sounds guilty enough so I had to balance the meal with something healthy, I used fresh salmon fillets and a side of steamed vegetables!
Busy week night ahead? Prepare a simple dish like this one:
1 packet refrigerated agnolotti
4 salmon fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup marinated olives chopped
1 cup cherry tomates halved
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups peeled and crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and ground black pepper
For the sour cream sauce;
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
Salt and ground black pepper
Handful chopped green onion
1. Cook agnolotti according to package directions, drain.
2. Add garlic and butter to hot pan. Once butter is melted add the olives and cherry tomatoes. Add cooked agnolotti and the crushed tomatoes. Cover and simmer about 3 minutes more until the pasta is well combined with the tomato sauce.
3. Rinse salmon and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.
4. In a large pan heat olive oil over medium heat and add salmon. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes until salmon just flakes, turning once. Remove salmon and keep warm.
To make the sour cream sauce
Melt the butter in a small pot add remaining ingredients except the green onion and stir to combine until you have a smooth and creamy sauce. Season to taste. Add the green onion just before removing the sauce off the heat.
Plate the salmon fillets with the agnolotti and a side of steamed vegetables. Finish with the sauce and garnish with extra green onion.
Can’t work out what to make for dinner tonight? Here is a simple recipe for healthy chicken and coriander rissoles which is sure to please the whole family. Perfect mid week meal you’ll be asked to make this again.
Great to prepare the day before and leave in the fridge overnight. Full of flavour and perfect finger food for a party when made into bite sized balls.
Chicken and coriander rissoles
1 kilo chicken breast (store bought chicken breast mince is fine, here I process my own)
3/4 cup freshly grated bread crumbs (I made my own using day old bread)
1 large clove of garlic crushed
6 spring onions finely chopped
Half a bunch of coriander roughly chopped
Dash of chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
Season to taste
Grind chicken breasts in a food processor do not over process. Empty in to a large bowl. Add freshly grated bread crumbs and the rest of the ingredients. Mix by hand. Fry a taste test piece and adjust seasoning as needed.
Shape in to patties or balls. Heat a non stick pan lightly sprayed with oil and sauté until cooked. Patties should be lightly browned on both sides. Place in oven to keep warm while cooking remaining patties.
Serve with a simple salad, steamed rice or roast vegetables. I love the idea of popping the chicken made into balls in a nice Asian inspired broth with crunchy vegetables, I might try that next time.
Summer salads! Cold tuna pasta salad is the perfect dish for hot summer days. Great meal for barbecues or picnics. Little prep time is needed once you have the pasta cooked in advance.
Choose fresh ingredients, organic if possible. Make it look spectacular no one will know you whipped it up in 15 minutes or less!
Tuna Pasta Salad
200g pasta (I used penne)
2 cans tuna (in olive oil)
3 cucumbers peeled and deseeded
5 medium diced tomatoes
chopped fresh parsley and shallot
kalamata olives chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (endless options here; make your own, use a reduced fat brand, or make a yoghurt dressing)
juice of 2 limes
Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and place in bowl. Allow to cool.
Mix in the oil, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.
Squeeze the lime juice over the pasta.
Add the tuna, cucumber, tomato, olives, chopped parsley and shallot. Mix thoroughly.
Garnish with extra chopped parsley and vegetables.
These bars are delicious! I wanted to make something with the almond flour I had sitting in my pantry. Since I’m trying to cut down on my carb intake I thought these would be a perfect snack. Bonus they are dairy, gluten, grain and sugar free too. I love nuts and seeds and the addition of dried cranberries and a splash of coconut syrup made them just the right sweetness. Add these bars to your kids lunch boxes or keep them on hand for a portable energising snack on the go!
I hope you enjoy these bars as much as I do. Here’s the recipe:
Nutty Almond Flour Bars
makes 12 bars
1/2 cup nut butter (I used 100% peanut butter)
1/4 cup coconut syrup
1 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin kernels
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs sesame seeds
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a rectangle baking pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the nut butter, coconut syrup, egg and salt. Stir until smooth and completely combined.
In a large bowl, stir together the almond flour, nuts, flax seed meal, chia seeds and sesame seeds. Pour the nut butter mixture into the almond flour mixture and stir until combined.
Press mixture evenly into prepared baking pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown around edges. Cool before cutting into bars.
Lunch today was white cannellini bean salad with mint and tomato. We have had a good run with the weather this week in Sydney. You can smell summer in the air already. The best meals prepared are fresh cold salads. Light and filling prepared with seasonal ingredients. The key to making a great salad is using plenty of fresh chopped herbs and raw fruit and vegetables. The sky is the limit to what you can add to bulk it up. Protein, legumes, grains and pasta are all a great base to start with.
One of my favourites is this salad. The creamy, buttery texture of the white beans that are cooked to perfection is delicious. I normally prepare a big batch and freeze ready to go bags that can be used in soups or used to be tossed in salads like this one.
Heres the recipe:
White bean salad with mint and tomato
2 cups cooked white beans
1/2 cup chopped radish
4 diced vine ripened tomatoes
1 diced medium red capsicum
1 clove garlic crushed
chopped fresh mint
juice of one lemon
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs flaxseed oil
himalayan pink sea salt
ground black pepper
Toss the beans with the prepared ingredients and coatwell with the dressing. This salad is best consumed cold. It tastes better after all the flavours have married together for a while. Making it a perfect lunch to pack and go.