Thursday, October 22, 2015

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato, Broccoli & Halloumi

Seems like now we can all pronounce it correctly, we just can't get enough of quinoa. I know I can't, and given the demand for this particular recipe, it would appear that I am not alone. 

I make this salad about once a week for dinner, and have impressed a few friends of late by busting it out at the odd weekend BBQ. It does have quite a few components, but the end result makes the effort worthwhile. For me, it's all about the balsamic onions. 

This is one of those vegetarian recipes where you definitely won't miss the meat (read: all the halloumi) and is perfect for lunch or dinner, summer or winter. 

1 cup tri-colour quinoa
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 red onion, finely sliced
½ head broccoli, cut into florets*
50g halloumi cheese, cut into 0.5cm slices
2 big handfuls baby spinach
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Sea salt & cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 200°C

Rinse quinoa and place in a small saucepan with 1¼ cups of water. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once cooked transfer to a bowl, separate the grains with a fork and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, toss the sweet potato in a little olive oil, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until just starting to brown. Remove from the oven and add the broccoli, tossing slightly before placing back in the oven for a further 15 minutes, or until both veggies are nice and golden.

While the veggies are roasting, get your onions frying over medium heat in a small saucepan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Once they start to soften, add a decent splash of balsamic vinegar and a little water (enough to almost cover the onions). Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow them to cook right down until all the liquid is dissolved and the onions are really soft and sweet.

While the onions are doing their thing, you can pan fry the halloumi. Add the slices to a dry frypan (no oil) over medium-high heat and cook on both sides until golden brown. Dice or tear into bite-sized pieces.

To assemble, combine the quinoa, roasted veg, onions and halloumi in a serving bowl, then add the baby spinach, season with salt and pepper and add a final splash of balsamic vinegar. Give it a really good mix up and you’re done!

*You can also use asparagus instead of broccoli, or even both. The same cooking process applies.

Serves 4.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Sriracha Yoghurt

It's all fun and games until your pants don't fit anymore...

I have to say, it's been a very long and cold winter this year, and as we approach the end of it I've come to the unfortunate realisation that my jeans are significantly tighter than they were three months ago. Time for a few salads, am I right?

This mexican-ey style quinoa salad is delicious, really damn easy to make, and perfect for either lunch or dinner. The addition of the Sriracha yoghurt gives it a nice bit of kick, if you're into chilli like I am.


1 cup tri-coloured quinoa

1 red capsicum, diced
1 can (400g) corn kernels, drained & rinsed
1 can (400g) red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 red onion, finely diced
Fresh coriander, finely chopped
Red wine vinegar to dress
Sea salt & cracked black pepper


1 cup plain non-fat yoghurt

Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Good squeeze of Sriracha chilli sauce
Sea salt & cracked black pepper

Cook the quinoa according to packet directions, and set aside to cool.

Prepare the onion, capsicum and coriander, then combine in a bowl with the cooled quinoa, kidney beans and corn. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.

Combine the yogurt, lemon and Sriracha in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix well then serve alongside or drizzled over the salad.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pesto Grain Salad

Things have certainly changed since my last post, dear readers, as I went back to being vegetarian at the beginning of 2015. So no more bacon fat salads for me! Unfortunately, for some of you I'm sure, that also means none for you either.

On the bright side, I have been experimenting with some delicious new veggie recipes, and this one right here is an absolute cracker. If you haven't come across freekeh before, it's basically roasted cracked wheat and it has a gorgeous, quite distinct nutty flavour. You can pick it up at most supermarkets in the health food section, but if for some reason you can't find it just double the amount of pearl barley.

1/2 cup cooked freekeh
1/2 cup cooked pearl barley
2 tbsp basil pesto
1/2 head broccoli, cut into small florets
2 spring onions, sliced
50g sugar snap peas, sliced
30g baby spinach
30g feta cheese, crumbled
Sea salt & cracked pepper

Cook the freekeh and pearl barley according to packet directions. 

Allow the cooked grains to cool, then combine in a bowl and stir through the basil pesto. Add the broccoli, sugar snap peas and spinach, crumble over the feta cheese and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and serve. Easy!

Serves 4 - 6

Saturday, January 3, 2015

BLT Salad

If you want to impress your friends, make them this. I mean, who doesn't love a good BLT? Especially when you're dealing with a festive season hangover. It's a great one for sharing and soaking up some of last night's vino.

I made this in order to use up some leftover roast chicken and baguette from Christmas Day, but it turned out to be such a winner that I think it might just become a Boxing Day tradition. It's not exactly calorie-friendly, but hey, you can't be good all the time. 


1 cos lettuce, roughly chopped
1 avocado, diced
6 rashers streaky bacon, roughly diced
1/4  leftover roast or BBQ chicken (optional)
1/2 punnet kumatoes, halved
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
1/2 baguette or French stick, cut into 2cm cubes


2 tbsp whole egg mayo
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt and cracked pepper

Heat a large frypan over medium-high heat (no oil) and fry the bacon until crispy, then remove from the pan and drain on paper towel, but don't discard the fat! This is where it gets good... Return the pan with the bacon fat to the heat, and throw in the diced baguette, frying until golden and crispy all over. Yes.

Next grab yourself a wooden serving board or large platter and scatter over the lettuce, tomatoes and avocado. Shred the chicken (if you're using it) and scatter over the salad, along with the bacon bits, croutons and hard-boiled eggs. Drizzle over as much dressing as you would like, and get stuck in!

Serves 4.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Quinoa salad with chicken, feta and dill

I've been attempting to clean up my diet lately, what with summer finally arriving and the threat of bikini-related outings looming over me... I'm usually good for a few days and then all like, PIZZA.

Clearly I was riding the health train when I whipped this up, and the results were delicious! Even better still the next day for lunch, and I've since decided that dill is my new favourite herb. Totally and completely underrated.

For this recipe I pretty much just grabbed everything green from the fridge, cooked some quinoa and chicken and threw it all together in a bowl without a great deal of thought, so there's no need to be getting all caught up with precise measurements or exact ingredients here. And for my vegetarian friends out there, this would be just as delicious without the chicken.

1 cup quinoa
4 chicken tenderloins
1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets
2 spring onions, finely sliced
40g low fat feta cheese, crumbled
10 almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
Heaped tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heaped tablespoon chopped dill
Big handful of baby spinach
Juice of one lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Salt and pepper

Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions, then transfer it to a serving bowl. While it's still hot, mix the broccoli florets through so the steam cooks it slightly. Set that aside to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

Marinate the chicken with a tablespoon of olive oil, lemon pepper and chilli flakes, grill on the barbeque for a few minutes on each side until perfectly tender, then chop into bite size pieces. You can also use a grill or frying pan if you don't have a BBQ.

After the chicken is cooked, add it to the quinoa along with the herbs, spinach, feta and almonds and give it a good mix. For the dressing, simply whisk the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil with lemon juice, add a light splash of red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Pour over the salad, mix well and you're done.

Enjoy! This recipe makes 4 decent serves.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Secret Sandwiches

Everyone has that one food they secretly love, but would never eat in front of others, right? Or am I just a weirdo? For me, it was always noodles that raised my anxiety levels, but thankfully I was able to get over that particular eccentricity and can now be seen happily slurping away in public without a care in the world. 

Now I have a new aversion. An aversion of the curried variety. That's right, the humble curried egg sandwich is probably one of my favourite things to eat, but there's no way in hell you'll catch me eating one outside of the house. 

And I know I'm not the only one out there  just visit the lunchroom in any office building after a catered meeting and you're bound to find a few straggling sandwiches kicking about, and 9 times out of 10 they're the curried egg ones that get left behind. It would appear nobody is super keen on sharing spicy egg breath with their colleagues. Plus, well... boiled eggs do smell kind of gross as a general rule.

Aversions aside, there's no reason why you can't get your fix at home! Carry on, I say.

Here's how I make mine:

2 hard boiled eggs*
1 tbsp FULL FAT mayonnaise 
1 (heaped) tsp curry powder
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Mash the eggs with a fork, add the mayo, curry powder and season to taste. Stir it all together and serve it between two slices of super fresh bread, with some finely shredded iceberg lettuce. And, if you're feeling devilish, there's no reason to not smear one side of your bread with a good dollop of extra mayo. Go on, no-one's looking.

*For perfect hard boiled eggs every time, place your eggs in a pot of cold water and bring it up to the boil. Ensure the eggs are completely submerged. As soon as the water begins to boil, set a timer for 10 minutes and let them bubble away. When time is up, pour out the boiling water and cover the eggs with cold water.