Sunday, August 29, 2010

Steak and Mushroom Pie

Try this healthier homemade alternative to the traditional meat pie. Only a top layer of reduced fat puff pastry is used. The bottom layer consists of oven roasted potato slices. I used a pressure cooker to make the filling and achieve nice tender chunks of beef quickly.

Steak and Mushroom Pie
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
600g diced rump steak or casserole beef
2 potatoes, sliced in 1/2cm thick slices lengthways
8 button mushrooms
1/2 cup carrot puree
2 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen peas
1 sheet reduced fat puff pastry

  1. Place potato slices on oven tray and roast until golden. Set to the side.

  2. Heat olive oil in pressure cooker. Saute onion and garlic, then add beef to brown.

  3. Add in all remaining ingredients except peas, and salt and pepper. Simmer until beef is tender and sauce has reduced.

  4. Turn off heat, add in peas and season with salt and pepper.

  5. To assemble pie, first line pie dish with roasted potato slices. Top with meat mix. Finally, lay puff pastry sheet on top.

  6. Trim pastry, pierce with steam holes.

  7. Bake pie in moderate oven for about 30min or until puff pastry is golden.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Puy Lentil Salad

Can't think of ways to add lentils to your diet. Try this recipe. Puy lentils make a wonderful salad ingredient with their slightly peppery taste. They also keep their shape well when cooked. Delicious served with grilled salmon.

Puy Lentil Salad
1 cup puy lentils (or Australian blue lentils)
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups water
1 carrot, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
10 button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Baby spinach and rocket leaves

  1. Cook puy lentils in a saucepan with the chicken stock, water, carrot, and bay leaf. This will take 25-30 min or until lentils are cooked. Drain, remove bay leaf, then set to the side.

  2. In a small jar, combine mustard, lemon juice and vinegar. Shake dressing until well mixed.

  3. In a large pot, fry onion, garlic and mushrooms in the olive oil. When cooked, remove from heat.

  4. Add in well drained lentils to onion mix.

  5. Stir through dressing, spinach and rocket leaves.

  6. Serve warm or cold.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sweet Potato and Salmon Cakes

Finding it hard to get your family to eat their three serves of fish a week? You won't hear any objections if you put these on the table. 

They are a perfect finger food for toddlers and will also suit babies 7-9mths+.

Best served hot with a little bit of sweet chilli sauce on the side for the adults. They can also be eaten cold for lunches on the run and they freeze well for quick easy dinners.

Sweet Potato and Salmon Cakes
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 large sweet potato, grated (approx 600g)
400g can pink salmon, drained
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup grated light mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
1/2 bunch fresh chopped coriander

  1. Place onion and sweet potato in a microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 6-8min or until cooked and soft but still retaining some form. Set aside to cool.

  2. In another large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, and add cooled cooked sweet potato and onion. Mix thoroughly with clean hands.

  3. Form into small patties and fry in lightly oiled pan until cooked through and golden brown on both sides. Turn only once to prevent fish cakes breaking up.  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Apples and Strawberries

I had some beautiful baby organic Royal Gala apples that were just starting to get a bit old. The apples were so small, but delicious. A perfect size for two year olds, but a bit of a bother for me to peel.

In the end, I cut them up skin and all, and popped them fresh into the food processor with a handful of strawberries. The addition of strawberries ensured the fresh apple did not oxidise and turn brown.

The result: A delicious puree with all the goodness of whole fruit. It was a novelty for my two year old, and a tasty treat for my 7mth old.

After giving a little to my girls, I then cooked the rest of it in a saucepan with a few spoonfuls of sugar. Yum! We are all now enjoying a delicious nutritious fruit treat on our cereal, swirled into yoghurt, and drizzled over ice cream.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Muesli Maple Biscuits

As far as biscuits go, these are probably about as nutritious as you get. A great energy packed treat for lunchboxes and busy kids on the go.

Muesli Maple Biscuits
2.5 cups untoasted muesli
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup plain flour
100g canola margarine
1/2 cup organic pure maple syrup
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line oven trays with baking paper
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl
  3. Add in margarine, egg, and maple syrup, mixing well with a wooden spoon
  4. Use a dessert spoon to measure out mix as you form into small balls
  5. Place balls onto baking tray, pressing down on the middle of each ball to flatten slightly before cooking
  6. Bake in a moderate oven for about 30min or until golden brown.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

This is possibly the most nutritious form of macaroni and cheese that you will encounter. And what's more, your family will be none the wiser. I asked my husband to name the vegetables in it and all he could come up with was carrots. This was despite the cup of cauliflower puree it also contained. Nevertheless, it still got the big thumbs up.

Again, my choice of cheese is light mozzarella for the lower salt content. I also don't add any additional salt to the recipe as the addition of bacon contributes enough for small people. For more flavour, or if you are feeding adults accustomed to more salt, you may like to add a bit of salt or switch to a tasty cheese.

Suitable for 12mths+

Macaroni and Cheese
200g uncooked pasta elbows
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely diced or crushed
1 onion, finely diced
150g bacon
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, very finely diced
2 tomatoes, finely diced (my toddler gags on cooked tomato skin so I blanch and peel tomatoes first)
Cracked black pepper
20g canola margarine
2 tbsp plain flour
1.5 cups milk
1 cup cooked cauliflower puree
1/2 cup grated light mozzarella
60g light cream cheese
2 slices bread, crumbed (use a wholegrain/seeded bread for extra nutrition)
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
Canola oil spray

  1. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Set to the side.

  2. Heat oil in a large sausepan. Saute onions and garlic with bacon. Add in tomatoes, carrot and bay leaf, cooking with lid on until carrot is soft.

  3. Once carrot is soft, remove lid and simmer until any liquid is reduced. Cooked mixture should be fairly dry.

  4. Season with cracked black pepper.

  5. In another small pot, add margarine to melt. Stir in flour to create roux, adding milk gradually, whisking continuously until all is added.

  6. Lower heat on white sauce, then add in cauliflower puree, grated cheese, and cream cheese. Stir until cheeses are melted.

  7. In a small bowl, combine fresh bread crumbs with parmesan cheese. Spray a little oil through as you mix it.

  8. Now retrieve the large pot containing the bacon, carrot mix. Poor in cooked pasta and white sauce. Mix thoroughly.

  9. Pour final mixture into a casserole or oven dish.

  10. Top with bread crumb mix and a final spray of oil.

  11. Bake in a hot oven for about 30min or until crumbs are golden dish is bubbling.

  12. Serve with salad greens.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Spring Garden

I had a wonderful weekend of planting out my garden. I now have an abundance of leeks planted throughout, a couple of rows of tender baby spinach, a rogue red onion I found sprouting in my pantry, and of course my trusty strawberry patches.

And in line with my random lottery style of gardening, I am also hoping for a few carrots to sprout up amidst the leeks.