Fennel is a great vegetable and is well and truly in season at the moment.
This crisp, fresh salad is a great accompaniment to a meat heavy or a richer dish to help to lighten it up. If you prefer not to use broccoli, a couple of handfuls of rocket work really well as a substitute and make for a more summery salad.
Fruit in salads always seems to keep kids interested, so if your kids don’t love salads, try popping some fruit in there – this often works better in Summer with stone fruit, but apples and oranges go really well in a salad.
- 2 baby fennel bulbs
- 1 orange, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cup of broccoli, cut into small florets
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted.
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbs white balsamic vinegar
- Steam the broccoli for 2-3 minutes or until just tender. Drain boiling water and refresh in cold water. Set aside.
- Using a mandolin on the finest setting, finely slice the fennel, reserving the fronds. Place fennel into a medium bowl.
- To the fennel slices, add the broccoli, olive oil and white balsamic vinegar and toss to coat.
- Slice the orange in a cross section in 5mm slices. Set aside.
- To toast the almonds, heat a small frypan over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden.
- To assemble the salad, place the fennel and broccoli onto serving platter, top with orange slices and sprinkle with almonds, lightly toss to combine. Sprinkle with reserved fennel fronds.
Chicken stock is remarkably easy to make. It takes time, but little attendance. Next time you have leftovers from your roast chicken, don’t throw it out or give it to the dog, make it into stock.
If you plan on just making stock to freeze and use at a later date, then accumulating vegetable scraps (onion skin, carrot peel, leaves from celery, green tops of leeks, etc) means that you can get the flavour from these vegetables without using fresh ones (or at least less of them). If you are planning on using the stock to make soup, then the vegetables that are used for the stock can be put into the soup, so less need for the vegetable scraps.
The whole stock making process takes about 3-4 hours and the longer you leave it the more flavour it will have.
If you want to make stock and you don’t have left over roast chook, you can use a whole chicken or chicken pieces and use the chicken itself for a meal.
- 1-1.5kg leftover roast chicken (carcass and meat)
- Vegetable scraps including onion skin, garlic skin, leek tops, carrot peel, celery leaves.
- 2 onions, including peel, quartered (1 if using vegetable scraps)
- 3 cloves of garlic, including peel, squashed
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped (1 if using vegetable scraps)
- 2 leeks, roughly chopped (1 if using vegetable scraps)
- 2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped (1 if using vegetable scraps)
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 2 sprig of rosemary
- 1 large handful of flat leaf parsley
- 8 peppercorns
- 5L of water
- Place chicken into a large pot with the vegetable scarps (if using), vegetables, herbs, peppercorns and water. Place over medium heat and bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover partially and allow to cook for 3-4 hours.
- Skim any foam that floats to the surface and top up water if needed.
- After 3-4 hours, remove large chunks or chicken and vegetables, reserving any that will be used for soup, etc.
- Pour the remaining stock through a colander, collecting the liquid, to remove any large chunks.
- Pour liquid through a fine sieve to remove any gritty bits.
- Divide stock into containers and freeze or use the stock as a base for a chicken soup.
I try to have fish at least once per week, because it’s delicious and very good for you. One of our favourites is definitely salmon, always with the skin on and always crispy, which means that we get all the Omega 3’s, the essential fatty acids, that are stored mainly in the skin, so if you don’t eat the skin, eat it! Usually if we are having salmon, I might get some white fish for the kids or give them some tinned tuna and inevitably they eat salmon off our plate. Tonight, the kids had some fritters, which they love, and we had our salmon once they were in bed. Everybody’s happy!
Tonight, I decided to make our salmon a little bit more interesting. Adding a crust to salmon is not only delicious, it is also quite simple. I had coriander, dill and parsley, so decided to mix those with some breadcrumbs, garlic and lemon zest – a great flavour combination.
We will also usually have mashed sweet potato with our crispy skinned salmon as we really like the flavour combination, so as far as that is concerned, we stuck to routine. However, the salad was a bit creative tonight as I have a fridge FULL of vegetables, so needed to clear some room and opted for a slightly Middle Eastern approach to pair with the salmon. The pomegranate really lifted the salad and provided sweet pockets throughout – delicious!
We were both really impressed with the meal as a whole and would be a good one to use if entertaining guests as it’s relatively simple and quite impressive.
- 2 x 150-200g salmon portions, skin on
- 1 tbs coriander leaves
- 1 tbs flat leaf parsley
- 1 tbs dill
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbs lemon zest
- 2/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 250g sweet potato, peeled
- 1/2 tbs butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 small beetroot, peeled and cut into 1-2 cm cubes
- 4 large cauliflower florets, cut into small florets
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 pomegranate
- 1 tbs pinenuts, toasted
- 1 tsp honey
- Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place beetroot and cauliflower into a bowl, add cumin and 1 tbs of olive oil and stir to coat. Place onto the tray and cook for ~45 minutes or until beetroot is tender.
- Once cooked, remove from oven and increase the temperature to 180°C.
- For the salmon crust, combine finely chopped herbs, crushed garlic, zest, breadcrumbs and oil in a small bowl. Mix until it starts to clump together. Set aside.
- Drizzle some oil and salt and pepper onto the salmon skin and place skin side down onto baking tray. Press the breadcrumb mixture onto the top of the salmon and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Peel and thickly slice the sweet potato. Place into a steamer and cook until tender. Once tender, mash then add butter, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Cover until needed to keep warm.
- For the salad, place the roast vegetables into a bowl with baby spinach, pomegranate and pine nuts. Gently mix to combine.
- In a small bowl mix 1 tbs olive oil with melted honey and dress the salad.
- Once the salmon is cooked, heat a small non stick frypan over medium heat and add the salmon, skin side down to crisp up the skin. This will take 3-4 minutes.
- Serve salmon with mashed sweet potato and salad.
Brussel sprouts, you either love them or you hate them. I am the former, my husband is the latter, which means more for me!
I truly believe if you try brussel sprouts, that are cooked correctly (not cooked until they are soggy), with some complementary flavours, there is no reason why you shouldn’t like them. I am yet to convince Aaron of this…one day he’ll come around…
These sprouts literally take about 5 minutes and are a great accompaniment to any meal. And, there will be many more brussel sprout recipes to come, so stay tuned!
- 20 brussel sprouts
- 1 tbs butter
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper
- Trim the bottom of the brussel sprouts and cut each sprout in half.
- Heat a medium sized saucepan with a lid over medium heat and add oil and butter. Once the butter is melted, add the crushed garlic and place the sprouts into the saucepan, cut side down.
- Add the lemon zest and 3/4 of the juice and place the lid on. Cook for ~2 minutes, give the frypan a shake and cook for a further 1-2 minute or until brussel sprouts have deepened in colour. DO NOT OVERCOOK!
- Once sprouts are cooked, place into a serving dish and add remaining lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
This one is for you Mum – enjoy!
I love the combination of beetroot with pumpkin. The colour combination is fabulous and the sweetness of the pumpkin really helps to balance out the slight bitterness of the beetroot. This salad would make a great lunch or accompany to a meat based dish at dinner, particularly a Middle Eastern style lamb or chicken.
The chickpeas are not required, but really make it by adding a great little crunch as well as a protein source. The chickpeas can be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container. These are also great as a snack! Seasoning, such as salt and pepper or spices such as paprika or cumin can be added to add some excitement if eating these as a snack. Feta is something that I would normally add to this salad, but didn’t have any on this occasion, so went without.
These majority of the ingredients in this dish are from our garden. Below is yesterdays harvest – we pulled all the pumpkins out so we could reclaim our backyard and make room for our Winter veggies.
This salad can be served warm or cold. If serving cold, add rocket, chickpeas dressing just before eating to prevent rocket and chickpeas going soggy.
Serves 4 as a side
- 400g pumpkin
- 2 medium beetroot
- 2 handfuls rocket leaves
- 1/3 cup roasted chickpeas
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 60g danish feta (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- To roast the chickpeas, drain and rinse tinned chickpeas.
- Place chickpeas on prepared baking tray, drizzle with ~1/2 tbs of olive oil and toss gently to coat. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until chickpeas are dry. If making in advance, allow chickpeas to cool in the oven.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, peel and cut the pumpkin and beetroot into 2-3cm chunks.
- Place into a plastic bag or a container with lid and add 1/2 tbs olive oil and shake to coat. Place onto baking tray and cook for 45 minutes or until starting to brown and beetroot is tender.
- To prepare salad, place rocket, roast pumpkin and beetroot, chickpeas and feta (if using) into a medium sized bowl and toss gently.
- To make the dressing, heat 1 tsp of honey in the microwave until runny (10-15 seconds). Combine this with 1 tbs of olive oil and stir vigorously. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.