Tuna, Lemon and Dill Fritters

I have been making these fritters for about 6 months now, but for some reason, have not yet posted about them. They came about around September last year when I wanted to make some lunch using tuna. I threw a few other bits and pieces in, cooked them in the pan and we had some fritters, and they were delicious! The only downside is that Aaron doesn’t like tuna, so I don’t make them as often as I’d like to.

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If you haven’t yet realised, I am a little obsessed with fritters at the moment, and here are some reasons why:

  1. They are a great way to get some extra veggies in.
  2. They’re an excellent alternative to a sandwich at lunch
  3. They are suitable for all meals of the day
  4. They also make a great snack
  5. They freeze very well, so can be popped into lunch boxes
  6. They are pretty quick and easy to make
  7. The kids LOVE them

The final point is the most important and also the reason why I am making so many of them at the moment. I figure that while the kids are enjoying them, I’ll keep making them at least once a week because I also enjoy them and if the exposure is regular then they will keep liking them…hopefully!

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Adding tuna to fritters means that they are higher in protein, which helps to fill everyone up. It also provides and excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA (good fats), which deliver many health benefits, such as improved cholesterol levels, reduced risk of heart disease, reduced levels of depression and improved brain health. Oily fish, such as tuna, salmon, sardines and cod, should be consumed at least 3 times per week to ensure that you receive adequate amounts of these good fats.

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Which tuna should you use? This is completely up to you. My preferred tinned tuna is the Sirena tuna in oil. I like it because it doesn’t taste too fishy and I prefer the plain tunas over the flavoured ones.

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If you haven’t yet tried one of my fritters recipes, I strongly suggest this one, you won’t be disappointed. The dill and lemon zest really make it as well.

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

  •  185g tin of tuna
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cob of corn
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp chopped dill
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Method:

  1. Grate the zucchini and squeeze excess liquid out. Place into medium sized bowl.
  2. Remove the corn kernels from the cob of corn and add to the bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well to combine.
  4. Heat and medium sized non stick frypan over medium heat. Place heaped tablespoons of mixture into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Continue with remaining mixture.
  5. To make the sauce, mix the yoghurt, 1/2 tsp of dill and lemon juice together.
  6. Serve fritters with the yoghurt sauce and salad, if desired.

Pumpkin, Caramelised Onion and Feta Frittata

A frittata is a delicious simple lunch or dinner. It is a great way to use up left over veggies you have in the fridge or, in this case, can be planned.

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I like to keep lunches interesting when I can, not only for myself, but also for the kids. Sandwiches, bits and pieces (deconstructed sandwiches) or toasties are our go to’s but at least a few times per week I like to add something different in there. Common alternatives are my sweet potato and corn fritterszucchini and corn fritters or eggs on toast/eggs with soldiers or wraps.

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Frittatas really are very easy to make. It’s as simple as throwing whatever veggies or meat you like into a baking dish, topping it with an egg mix and baking. With this one I have caramelised the onions and roasted the pumpkin first, but you could just pop all the veggies in a frypan to cook them a bit before topping with the egg and baking. The caramelised onion gives a great sweetness to this frittata and balances out the saltiness of the cheeses.

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Healthwise, a frittata is a great source of protein, from the eggs and cheese, as well as any meat that is added, helping to keep you full for longer. By packing in veggies it means that you can get a good serve or 2 of veggies per serve of frittata, and more if served with a side salad. It is also a low carbohydrate option if you are watching the carbs. It is a good vegetarian option, but cannot easily be converted to suit a vegan diet.

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We have had this frittata a few times in the past month or so and the kids really enjoyed it. The leftovers will keep well in the fridge and can be reheated within the next few days.

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Enjoy xx.

Ingredients:

  • 400g pumpkin, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 100g ham or bacon, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
  • 50g feta
  • 2/3 cup basil leaves
  • 5 eggs
  • 150mL milk
  • Pepper

 

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray and baking dish with baking paper (I used a loaf pan).
  2. Place diced pumpkin into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and stir to coat. Place onto baking tray and into the oven. Cook until golden brown, ~25-30 minutes.
  3. To caramelise the onion, heat small saucepan over low heat, add 1 tbs olive oil and sliced onion. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Place the lid on to allow the  onions to sweat. Check after 2-3 minutes and stir. Continue until translucent. Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the balsamic vinegar, stir to combine and remove from the heat.
  4. Heat a medium sized frypan over medium heat and add the ham/bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally until the zucchini starts to colour and is tender. Add the spring onion and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
  5. Into a medium sized jug or bowl, place the eggs, milk and pepper and beat to break up the egg yolks.
  6. Place zucchini mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with caramelised onion then pumpkin. Add grated cheese and basil. Crumble feta over the top. Pour egg mix over the top and place into the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the egg is cooked through.

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Fig and Almond Praline Cheesecake

I know I’ve said it before, but I love cheesecake! Give me an occasion and at least 4 people and a cheesecake is warranted! The occasion this time? Easter Sunday lunch.

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Our very good friends Cat and Marissa kindly gave us a whole heap of figs just before Easter and I needed to do something with them. We have had them on our breakfast, as a snack with yoghurt, by themselves, on a pizza and so I thought it was time for an impressive dessert….enter Fig and Almond Praline Cheesecake.

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The flavour combination was inspired by an Ottolenghi pavlova which has praline cream and figs on top, so I have kind of combined these flavours into a cheesecake and this is the result, and it is GOOD, and not too sweet as a lot of cheesecakes can be. The actual cheesecake itself is similar to my Lemon Curd and Blueberry Cheesecake but without the blueberries.

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I gave the kids a small piece of this cheesecake and I was quite surprised that they did’t eat it all. They are a bit funny with figs, which I think is a texture thing, but the actual cheesecake, I’m not sure. Needless to say, I’m happy as I don’t have to share it with them!! 🙂

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If you are a cheesecake lover and have a special occasion, I recommend this cake. You won’t be disappointed.

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Enjoy xx

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 packet ginger nut biscuits
  • 1/2 packet butternut snaps
  • 100g butter, melted

Praline

  • 50g raw almonds, toasted
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 2 tbs water

Filling

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 x 250g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 180g full cream natural yoghurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup cream

Topping

  • 6 figs, cut into wedges
  • 50g almonds, toasted
  • 1 tbs honey
  • Cream to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. To make the base, place the biscuits into a food processor and blend until a coarse crumb forms. Add the melted butter and blend until it starts to come together. Place mixture into the base of a lined 24cm spring form tin.
  3. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the base is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  4. To make the praline, place the almonds onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  Meanwhile, make the toffee by placing the caster sugar and water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Occasionally swirl the saucepan and continue to heat until it turns a medium brown colour. Pour onto the baking paper with the almonds, aiming to coat the majority of the almonds. Allow to cool.
  5. Once cooled, place into a food processor and blitz until a coarse sand consistency. Set aside.
  6. To make the filling, place the cream cheese and lemon zest into a stand mixer and beat for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until creamy, 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the yoghurt and beat for a further 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, blitzed praline and cream and mix to combine. Pour mixture on top of the cooled base.
  7. Place the cheesecake into the oven, towards the bottom and bake for ~60 minutes or until the centre is slightly wobbly and the sides are firm. Allow the cake to cool for 1-2 hours in the oven. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the cake and place into the fridge to cool completely.
  8. Just before serving, arrange the cut figs on top of the cheesecake and sprinkle over the toasted almonds. Heat the honey in the microwave for 10 seconds or until runny and drizzle over the top of the cheesecake.
  9. Serve with cream.

 

 

Banana Muffins with Honey and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

Is it a muffin or is it a cupcake? This is a tricky one and an age old debate. From what Dr Google has told me, a muffin can be sweet or savoury, is likely to have a chunky batter and loaded with fruit, or veggies if savoury. Cupcakes, on the other hand are just a mini cake, therefore likely to be sweet and ALWAYS have icing. So, by definition, these could be cupcakes or muffins, but I think the use of wholemeal flour and sweetness being derived mainly from bananas, classifies them as a muffin.

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Mark and Claire both love helping me in the kitchen at the moment. Mark helped me make these muffins while Claire was at childcare. Muffins are an easy thing to include the kids in the making of as they usually just involve putting everything into a bowl and mixing, making it quick and easy, which is good for the short attention spans of little people. Lining up the muffin patty pans is also a good task that they can complete, while I give the mixture the proper mix it needs 🙂

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Muffins are a good snack as they are filling and wholesome. These ones are made with wholemeal flour, not much sugar and bananas, which will keep both kids and adults going until the next meal. Muffins also freeze exceptionally well. They can be made with or without the icing, but who doesn’t love a good cream cheese icing? And this one with honey and cinnamon is great!

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A good recipe to keep up your sleeve to use up over ripe bananas.

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal plain flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 90g butter, melted
  • 2 large over ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Honey & Cinnamon Icing

  • 150g cream cheese
  • 90g butter
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare a muffin tray for ~15 muffins.
  2. Place flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda into a medium sized bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Place the banana into a bowl and mash.
  4. Add the banana, beaten eggs, melted butter and vanilla into the dry mixture and mix well until all ingredients are combined.
  5. Spoon ~1/2 a cup of mixture into muffin tins and level out.
  6. Place into pre heated oven and bake for ~25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the top. Allow to cool.
  7. Once the muffins are completely cool, prepare the icing.
  8. Place cream cheese and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add icing sugar, honey and cinnamon and beat until combine.
  9. Place a good tablespoon on each muffin and smooth out.
  10. Refrigerate or freeze until needed.

Hot Cross Buns

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With only 2 weeks until Easter, I thought it was time to do some recipe development and come up with a delicious hot cross bun recipe.

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Hot cross buns are quintessentially Easter, along with the chocolate eggs, and I know that a lot of people dislike the fact that they are available from Christmas, but I think, if they sell, then make them. They are delicious and a great little snack to keep you going. I personally prefer the smaller ones as they can be enjoyed daily as part of a healthy balanced diet, whereas the big ones can be a bit ridiculous and often as many calories as a mars bar.

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The key to hot cross buns is the spice and I’ve found over the years that a lot of the recipes don’t have enough spice. I have included cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice in this recipe, but you could use whatever spices you like, such as ginger, star anise or cloves as well. This batch of hot cross buns makes 32 small buns, however, you could make them bigger and make about 20-24.

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I have also had a bit of a play around with flours and have ended up using a combination of wholemeal flour (for some added fibre), plain flour and bakers flour, which helps to make them a bit more light and fluffy due to the higher gluten content of bakers flour. Dried fruit is another key element to hot cross buns. I think that mixed peel is essential in hot cross buns, but a lot people dislike it. I have paired it with sultanas and currants, but once again, you can use whatever dried fruit you like or even make them into chocolate chip hot cross buns if you wish.

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The kids absolutely love hot cross buns, so making them myself is really a no brainer, and they freeze exceptionally well and ready with a 15 second zap in the microwave or toasted in the oven or toaster. The kids helped me roll the dough into balls and thought they were pretty clever. They also found the process of adding the cross to be quite entertaining.

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If you haven’t tried making hot cross buns before, give them a go for Easter this year. They are a bit time consuming, but pretty easy overall.

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Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups bakers flour
  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal plain flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup currants
  • 3/4 cup sultanas
  • 30g mixed peel, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • 1 tbs dried yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Crosses:

  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 4 tbs water

Glaze:

  • 1/3 cup castor sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup water

Method:

  1. Place lukewarm milk, 1 tbs of the brown sugar and the yeast into a small bowl, stir and set aside for 5 minutes or until it becomes foamy.
  2. Place flour, spices, rind, salt, dried fruit and remaining sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attached.
  3. Once the yeast mixture is foamy, add to the stand mixer and turn speed to medium to combine. Add butter and lightly beaten egg and mix until dough comes together. You may need to stop the mixer occasionally to press the dried fruit into the dough.
  4. Beat for about 5 minutes, or knead by hand for ~ 8 minutes.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough into the bowl, cover with cling wrap and place into a warm spot for 1.5 – 2 hours a or until the dough doubles in size.
  6. Knock the dough down and knead on a lightly floured surface for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into 32 pieces for small buns or 20-24 pieces for larger buns. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place onto a baking tray about 1cm apart. Cover and place into warm spot for another 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare the mixture for the crosses by mixing the flour and water together into a smooth paste. Once the 30 minutes have passed, apply the crosses by putting the flour mixture into a zip lock bag. Cut the corner off the bag to make a piping bag. Carefully apply the crosses then place buns into oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped on top.
  9. While the hot cross buns are cooking, prepare the glaze by mixing sugar, water and cinnamon together in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  10. Once the hot cross buns are cooked, remove from the oven and brush glaze over the buns.
  11. Enjoy straight out of the oven or store in an airtight container or in the freezer.

 

Potato Salad

A potato salad is a fabulous addition to any barbecue and is also a good alternative to mashed potato, jacket potato or oven baked potatoes. The other bonus is that it is actually quick and easy to make, with the most time consuming part being waiting for the potatoes to cool.

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A lot of potato salads use mayonnaise and sour cream as the dressing, but I like to use a thick Greek style yoghurt with a small amount of mayonnaise and herbs and mustard to give the flavours. The yoghurt makes the dressing higher protein and lower fat than if you were to use mayo and sour cream.

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The humble potato often gets a bad wrap, being a high GI carbohydrate, but it is actually very good for you. It is a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate and potassium. The key is to not go overboard. By cooking and cooling a potato (as you would in a cold potato salad) the starch structure of the potato actually changes, increasing the resistant starch, which resists digestion and promotes gut health, feeding the good bacteria in the large bowel. A cooked and cooled potato is also a lower GI option, meaning that it causes less of a spike in blood sugar levels, making it more suitable for individuals with insulin resistance or Diabetes. I also like to leave the skins on for a potato salad, as a lot of the nutrients in a potato are stored in the skin, and the skin is adds more dietary fibre to the dish. You can also use sweet potato or a combination of the two for something different.

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Another thing to keep in mind when making a potato salad is to use the number of small-medium potatoes per person you are feeding. ie. if you are feeding 4 people, use 4 small to medium potatoes to get the portions right.IMG_9275

If you are time poor, you could boil the potatoes and leave them to cool in the fridge overnight or throughout the day and then pull them out, put the dressing together and you would have a potato salad in about 5 minutes at the end of the day.

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I have found that the kids can be hit and miss with potato salad, even though potatoes are one of their favourite foods. Kids, in general, often prefer foods that are less flavoursome and more bland than adults and I think that it is the dressing that throws them. Often, when we have potato salad, if I can’t be bothered enduring the battle, I will just leave some potatoes out undressed, so they can just have boiled potatoes instead – makes for more peaceful meal times!!

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 4 small to medium potatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 3 rashers bacon, fat trimmed, diced
  • 2 eggs, hard boiled (optional)
  • 3-4 heaped tbs thick Greek style yoghurt
  • 1 1/2 tbs whole egg mayonnaise
  • 1 small gherkin, finely diced
  • 1 tsp baby capers, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs dill, finely chopped + a sprinkle to garnish
  • 1 tbs parsley, finely chopped + a sprinkle to garnish
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Chop potatoes into 2-3cm cubes and place into a pot of boiling water. Cook for ~15 minutes or until potato is tender but still holds its shape. Once cooked, drain water and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Allow to cool slightly before refrigerating to cool completely.
  2. If using eggs, place them into the boiling water with the potato to cook.
  3. Heat a medium sized frypan over medium heat. Add bacon and onion and cook, stirring, until bacon starts to colour and onion becomes translucent. Allow to cool.
  4. To make the dressing, combine yoghurt, mayonnaise, gherkin, capers, mustards, dill and parsley into a small bowl. Mix well to combine and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Once the potato is cool, place into a large bowl. Peel and roughly chop the eggs (if using) and add to the potato along with the bacon and onion. Place dressing on top and using a large spoon or your hands, gently mix to coat thoroughly. Place into serving bowl and garnish with reserved herbs.

 

 

Sweet Potato and Corn Fritters

The inspiration for this meal was literally too many sweet potatoes in the fridge and lots of corn that needed to be eaten, growing in the garden.

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Fritters are such a versatile food. They are quick and easy to make and they make a great breakfast, lunch, snack and even dinner. They are a great way to get in a good dose of vegetables and can be topped with a poached egg or bacon or tuna to add a quality source of protein to make a meal. Consider popping some of these fritters in kids lunch boxes as well, they are still quite delicious when cold.

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I have made these particular fritters twice in the past few weeks and the kids have really enjoyed them, which makes me really happy as fritters have been hit and miss in the past. Today Mark said to me “Mum, I love your fritters so much. I want you to make them for lunch everyday”…high fives for me!

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A lot of people aren’t so keen on sweet potato and would rather stick with pumpkin and potato, however, sweet potato has a lot of health benefits. It is a low GI carbohydrate, meaning it won’t spike blood sugar levels like regular potato will, making them suitable for individuals with Diabetes. Sweet potato is also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and dietary fibre. So, if you aren’t a fan of sweet potato, I recommend that you try it again, starting with these fritters.

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Enjoy xx.

Ingredients:

  • 400g sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 corn cob, kernels removed
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 2 tbs coriander, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup SR flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1-2 tsp sweet chilli sauce

Method:

  1. Place the sweet potato into a steamer basket and cook until tender. Mash and set aside to cool.
  2. Place sweet potato, zucchini, corn, onion, coriander, egg, flour and milk into medium sized bowl and mix well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste, mix well.
  3. Heat a non stick frypan over medium heat. Place heaped spoonfuls of mixture into the frypan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining mixture.
  4. To make the sauce, mix natural yoghurt and sweet chilli sauce together.
  5. Serve fritters as they are, with salad or poached egg and bacon.

Fritters will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or will freeze well for up to 6 weeks.

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