Meat free Monday – Puy lentil salad with goat’s cheese, beetroot and dill

This post is a double up, being my second recipe from ‘My Cookbook Library’ as well as a vegetarian ‘Meat Free Monday’ dish. Jerome has decided that the ‘My Cookbook Library’ posts (cooking my way through all my cookbooks, one recipe from one book at a time) should be renamed ‘Jerome’s pick’, as he quite enjoyed being given the cookbook index (on eat your books) and getting to pick what I cooked.

The second book I chose to cook from is Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen: 120 Simple But Classic French Recipes. I love this cookbook and related cooking series. After studying patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Rachel started testing recipes for a cookbook in her tiny apartment with just a mini oven and two gas rings.  She also opened the smallest restaurant in Paris in her apartment, serving just two people for dinner. This is one of those rare books where when I look through it, I want to try at least every second recipe. If you want to give French food a try, I certainly recommend this book. If Rachel can cook these recipes in her tiny apartment with limited equipment, I think most of us should be able to replicate them in our own kitchens. I certainly try to remember what Rachel cooked with whenever I start complaining about my own kitchen!

This is a very light dish, and would make a nice light lunch or side salad at dinner. Dill isn’t my favourite herb, but it went quite well against the earthiness of the beetroot and lentils and the creaminess of the cheese. We had the salad as a light dinner with some crusty baguette. Simple, only a few ingredients, but they all work well together.

Beetroot and goats cheese salad with lentils

Book recipe number: 2

Number of cookbooks owned: 198+ (198 now logged in my eat your books library, however there were quite a few that weren’t in their database that I now have to count)

New book credit: 0.4 (3 more to go before I am allowed to buy another cookbook)

Click here for the recipe

Pastry making class week 1 – Quiche

quicheIf you have read my blog before you will know that I love going to baking classes run by Sarah Brigden from babyCakes. Classes I have  previously gone to include cupcakes, decorative chocolate, desserts and high tea. This year, Sarah is only running classes through Tuart College, with the classes being held at the Mirrabooka Hospitality Training Centre. Her second series of 6 week classes (one night a week) this year is on pastry making, something I really wanted to learn more of, and after enrolling in the class last year (and convincing my friend Kelly to come along with me), I was really looking forward to going to the first class. 

The Mirrabooka Hospitality Training Centre is located at Mirrabooka High School and was only recently constructed to provide students with the opportunity to complete certificates in hospitality while still at high school. The centre includes a café/restaurant, barrista/bar area, seminar/function space, commercial kitchen and ancillary support and storage facilities. It is the commercial kitchen where the after hours short courses take place, with 16 individual work stations, commercial equipment and a demonstration area at the front. It is a great place to be learning and cooking.

Our first class was on savoury pastry, making a quiche. I have made quiches before, both with and without pastry (you add a pastry mix to the quiche mix instead). I have used both shop bought pastry and made my own pasty in the past. I have to say that the pastry we made with Sarah was the best I have ever made for a quiche. The pastry had a lovely savoury flavour and crisp, crumbly texture. It was also quite easy to work with. As always, a big thank you to Sarah for allowing me to share her recipes on my blog.

I made the quiche again at home and the pastry worked just as well as in the class. The great thing about quiche is you can use whatever filling you want. It is a great way to use up ingredients from the fridge (ham, roasted veggies, small amounts of cheeses – the list is endless). I have included the recipe for a bacon and leek quiche here, however I also made some with mini roma tomatoes, asparagus and goats cheese.

Mini quiches made in class
Mini quiches made in class

Click here for the recipe

Meet free Mondays – Sweet potato and zucchini fritters

It is Monday again, so time for another meat free dish. I had half a large sweet potato sitting in my fridge, so I went looking for a healthy, vegetarian dish to use it in. I went straight to rather than my cookbook collection for this one, as I wanted to find something that I knew would be healthy and vegetarian.

Unfortunately in the end I didn’t have quite enough sweet potato (I only had 300g) for the recipe, so had to buy another on. Which meant once again I ended with half a sweet potato left, defeating the purpose of finding a recipe to use it up, but at least I had a nice healthy dinner! I’ll use the rest of the sweet potato in a roast vegetable salad, frittata or soup later in the week.

The addition of the ground coriander and cumin really added a nice depth of flavour and complimented the sweet potato, while the mint and tzatziki added some freshness. The leftovers also make a great lunch.

Sweet potato fritters

Click here for the recipe

Sweet potato, tomato and asparagus frittata

I really like watching cooking shows and reading cookbooks. However, a lot of the food featured in these shows and books isn’t the best for everyday cooking and eating. I also love to bake, but I know I can’t eat desserts and baked goods every day. Well I could, but it wouldn’t be very good for me.

A few years back, when browsing the cooking magazine section, I discovered the Australian Healthy Food Guide magazine. This magazine is different to other cooking magazines, with half of the magazine devoted to articles on health, food and nutrition, and the other half healthy recipes. The magazine and website are now my first stop when looking for a quick, easy and healthy weeknight meal, like this frittata. A few of the recipes from the magazine are now regular weeknight favourites of mine. Reading the articles in the magazine gives me a better understanding of healthy eating and nutrition, and the recipes demonstrate that healthy food can still be exciting and tasty.


Click here for the recipe

Mushroom tart

After my fairly unsuccessful attempt at Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute mushroom soup, I still had some mushrooms, parsley and thyme left over in my fridge. And a desire to make something that I actually wanted to eat once it was cooked. I also had some leftover bacon as well that needed to be used up.  Not wanting to waste these ingredients I set about finding something I could cook with them.

I didn’t have to look far. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s latest TV cooking series from River Cottage (and associated cookbook of course) is called 3 Good Things. It is based on the premise that all you need for a great dish is three great ingredients that work well together. Each episode has Hugh competing with two other chefs to cook the best dish created out of the ingredient of the day, with each chef being able to pick the two other ingredients to go with it to make 3 Good Things. Basic seasonings, herbs etc are allowed in addition to the three main ingredients

Episode 4 was based around the theme of mushrooms and Gill Meller matched the mushrooms with pastry and pancetta to make a simple mushroom tart, with thyme and parsley used as well. I always have some puff pastry in the freezer, and pancetta can be easily replaced with bacon. Perfect, a recipe for lunch to use up my leftover ingredients was found and after picking up a few more mushrooms (I bought a tray of different gourmet mushrooms to go with the swiss brown/button mushrooms I already had) I was ready to cook.

The recipe, although taking longer to cook than the 15 minute meal mushroom soup, needed a lot less of my time and energy to make. A few minutes chopping and frying and then it was all in the oven. Easy. Which was just as well as I was starting to get a migraine. The end result tasted great (although I couldn’t eat it until later in the day once my migraine was gone), and I felt redeemed after the mushroom soup disaster.  I didn’t feel like eating much that night after my migraine, so it was a perfect light dinner, while Jerome had it earlier in the day as his lunch.

Mushroom Tart

Click here for the recipe

Roast vegetable salad with beans

I had a good time on my holidays and I ate a lot of really great food. However, after all that eating out, it definitely felt like time for some healthier home cooking.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I saw a few years ago on an Australian TV show called Good Chef Bad Chef. The format of the show has a normal chef, who cooks rich food that isn’t always good for you and a nutritionist who cooks healthier dishes, cooking different dishes based on the same theme.

This dish is adapted from Good Chef Janella Purcell’s recipe. I’ve changed it slightly, using some different vegetables, extra beans to make it stretch further and goat cheese both for its creamy taste and to make it more filling. I also sometimes like to vary the dressing and have included both the dressings I use. You can use whatever vegetables you like really. The recipe is really just an idea that you can adapt to your preferences or what is available. Other vegetables I have used besides those I have listed in the recipe include baby beetroot, leek and baby spinach (added at the end).

The leftovers are also great cold as a salad or wrap filling for lunch the next day.Roast vegetable salad

Click here for the recipe