Recipe: Sticky Spiced Chicken Wings

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Chicken wings, along with marylands, are my favourite part of the chicken. With their high ratio of skin to fat, wings are especially delicious when coated in this spicy Asian marinade and roasted to golden brown perfection.

Twice in one day, while out shopping, I overheard people being afraid of fat. A woman next to me at the butcher was asking if they had soup bones with less fat. Another woman, to whom the butcher was recommending his range of inhouse-made smallgoods, declined them as she said they were too fatty. The two women were of different ages and ethnicities but were united in their fear of fat.

I can understand why they feel this way. When I was around 12, I went on a totally orthorexic phase and removed the chunks of fat from lup cheong (chinese sausage) and ate my toast without any butter or margarine. Fortunately that phase didn’t last for long, but it wasn’t until relatively recently that I have allowed myself to revel in eating fat, and – even better – with the knowledge that the healthy fats now turn out to be actually good for us (such as animal fats, coconut oil, lard, tallow, butter, ghee, macadamia oil, avocado oil, olive oil). I won’t bore you with the scientific details (if you are interested, check out the Further Reading references below), just to mention that fat is necessary for hormone production, improves brain function, nerve signaling and immunity.

I never used to cook chicken wings until I came this recipe and now it makes a regular appearance at dinner, plus leftovers for breakfast the next day.

Sticky Spiced Chicken Wings

16 chicken wings (including wing tips and drumettes)
Lemon juice, to serve

Marinade:

  • 10 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp macadamia oil or extra light olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1-2 tsp chilli flakes (to taste)
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • ⅛ tsp ground star anise (optional)
  • 2 tsp dry sherry or chinese rice wine (Shao Xing)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp (or 1 stalk) chopped lemongrass
  • ½ tsp sumac (optional)
  • Salt, pepper (to taste)
  1. Combine marinade ingredients and mix with chicken wings. Marinate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C.
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  4. Line an oven tray with foil and set a baking rack on top. (If the wings are in direct contact with the foil, the skin tends to stick.) Place the marinated wings on the rack (top side down). Baste with any leftover marinade. Bake for 15 mins, then turn over and bake for a further 15 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown. Squeeze over some lemon juice before serving.

Further Reading

This Week’s Specials

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We have not one but three new meals for this week’s subscribers to our 10 and 15 meal packs.

First up is Goat Dopiaza. ‘Dopiaza’ means double onions, and this mouth-watering dish is prepared with a rather large amount of onions; some of the onions are slowly simmered and melts to form the rich sauce. The remainder of the onion is cooked till caramelised and flavoursome and is added at the end for additional flavour and texture. We chose goat for our dopiaza because we have been smitten with the flavour of goat. If you’ve never tried it, the best we can describe it is with the texture of lamb but without the ‘lamby-ness’. It has a sweet pleasant mild flavour. Because the prime pieces of goat, which are most flavoursome and tender, are situated near the bone, this curry is made with goat meat on the bone. We use a bit of ghee but otherwise there is no dairy in this dish and it should be fine for those who don’t take well to lactose. It has a medium level of heat.

The second dish is Lamb Korma. Obviously we are big fans of spicy dishes with origins in the Indian subcontinent. We wanted to add a creamy mild curry to our menu and thought Korma would be perfect. Dairy-free, this curry includes a splash of coconut milk and some chunks of pumpkin. It is made with lamb shoulder.

Lastly, we have Chorizo Chicken with Mushroom. Chunks of pork chorizo are cooked with chunks of tender chicken skinless thighs and button mushrooms to create a tasty smokey stew which fills you up without weighing you down. We suggest serving this with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice for added zing.

None of the meals above contain any form of sugar or sweetener, and are all grain and gluten-free. Bon Appétit!

Goji Protein Balls

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I was going to be picking up my nephew from kindy, and I was looking forward to it. He goes to the same primary school I went to, which I remember with fondness as I had spent a good 6 years of my childhood there. My brother told me that when his grandmother picks him up from school, they have a little ritual where she gets a donut for him. This aunt didn’t want to be outdone, so I racked my brains for what treat I could bring for him. It was hard, as adult paleo foods (liver, grass fed jerky etc.) don’t seem to hold much appeal for kids for some odd reason. But I eventually came up with an idea which I thought would work. My nephew is fascinated with spiders and stick insects, so I thought of making spiders out of protein balls and making the legs out of a paleo cracker recipe I found on the web. Using the rest of the dough, I would pipe irregular blobby sticks to become stick insects.

Things didn’t start off too well. The balls themselves tasted great but when I tried to insert the legs into the spider body, the balls fell apart, so I had to attach the legs with melted white chocolate. The stick insects didn’t look like much, but I bargained on the power of imagination to fill in the gaps.

After all that, it was time to leave and join the throng of parents collecting their spawn. We had a fun walk home, with the promise of ‘spiders’when we got back. Alas, my attempts at marketing to children didn’t go down well; my nephew found the prospect of eating spiders and stick insects repulsive and refused to have a taste. Not to mention that there was also a tube of Pringles being offered, my little protein bliss balls were no competition for the bliss point engineered by Big Food. So we ate the protein balls ourselves, and they proved to be very sustaining as we chased our nephews in the park and played at being zombies.

Goji Protein Balls

Makes 16-18

  • 1 cup of nuts (walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia etc.)
  • 4 dates, pitted, finely chopped
  • 4 prunes, pitted, finely chopped (if you don’t have prunes, omit and use 6 dates in total)
  • 2 Tbsp goji berries
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut
  • 2 Tbsp Mayvers Hazelnut & Cacao Spread
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil, cocoa butter or ghee, melted (+ 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, optional)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp honey (to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp protein powder (I used whey isolate)
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • Water, to bind, as necessary
  1. Process the nuts until a meal forms. Use whatever nuts you have on hand or takes your fancy. I used the Omniblend and it was very quick, only took a couple of seconds. Be careful not to overprocess them otherwise you will have nut butter.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients up to and including the protein powder, add a teaspoon of water and process until combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  3. Add the pumpkin seeds and process briefly, to break them up a bit without pulverising them. This is because I wanted to be able to see the pumpkin seeds in the balls, but if you don’t mind, you can process it with the other ingredients.
  4. Tip the contents out into a bowl and squish a little bit together with your fingers to test whether the mixture is moist enough to form balls. If the mixture separates easily, add a little water sparingly until the mixture is sticky enough to form balls. Form into balls, pressing the mixture together firmly in bite-sized portions. Can be eaten immediately or refrigerate for a firmer ball.

Optional: Drizzle balls with melted dark chocolate.

Rainbow Trout & Prawns in a Coconut Cream, Chilli & Lime Bisque

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Occasionally something will happen which makes me realise how extremely unfit I am for a life in the wild. Not too long ago, I was bushwalking in the National Park and took a wrong turn, which ended up in us still being out in the bush well after sunset without food, shelter or a torch. What started out as a jaunty rumble in the forest looked like turning into a forced overnight stay with only leeches for company, and we started staking out possible sites for shelter. The main thing keeping me going, trying to find my way out, was that I didn’t want to become one of those bushwalkers who appear on the nightly news, walking sheepishly out of the park after being rescued by emergency services. In the park, I thought about what I would do for food, and wondered what my ancestors would have done. If it came down to hunting or gathering, I fall firmly in the gathering camp, and if I were forced to hunt, I think I’d prefer to try my hand at fishing rather than killing mammals.

For years, the only way I cooked fish was how I remembered it from my childhood: whole, steamed (though I cooked it en papillote in the microwave), with ginger, shallot and soy sauce. Lately I’ve been experimenting with different ways of cooking fish and this recipe is a keeper. First you make a quick creamy, zesty broth infused with Thai flavours. This stage can be done the day before, for an even quicker weekday dinner. Then just add the seafood and simmer until just cooked. I keep an eagle-eye on it as it is cooking as I don’t fancy overcooked seafood, and keeping the heat low will help.

Any type of fish would work in this recipe – salmon, monkfish, barra would all be perfect. However if your fillets are thick, cut into 1-1.5cm thick pieces so that they will cook in around the same time as the prawns.

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Rainbow Trout & Prawns in a Coconut Cream, Chilli & Lime Bisque

Serves 2

  • 2 rainbow trout fillets, de-boned (around 130g each)
  • 8 raw prawns, peeled and deveined (keep the heads)
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small red chilli (bullet), de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 7cm length of lemongrass, smashed (optional)
  • 200ml coconut cream (coconut milk would work too)
  • Zest and juice from half a lime
  • 100ml chicken or fish stock
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp chopped coriander

Method

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until the onion has softened. I find that adding a tablespoon of water at the beginning helps the onions to soften without burning.
  2. Add garlic, coconut cream, stock, chilli, lemongrass, fish sauce and prawn heads. Simmer for 6-8 minutes to allow the flavours to meld and infuse, and to reduce a little. The bisque will turn a pretty pale coral colour from the prawn heads. Add the trout, prawns and lime zest and simmer for several minutes until the seafood is cooked. Remove the prawn heads and discard.
  3. Garnish with the chopped coriander.

Potatoes rejoin the paleo fold

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The latest news in the paleo world is that white potatoes are now permitted under The Whole30. (The Whole30 is basically a 30 day introduction to paleo in the form of an elimination diet, and represents a type of strict paleo which excludes, among other things, all dairy, sweeteners, paleo treats and paleo-ised versions of junk food.)

For the white potato to be welcomed back into the Whole30 fold represents an official stamp of approval (well, as official as you can get in the paleosphere) for the beloved spud, which many primal followers were eating anyway, and is confirmation that the nutrient-dense tuber can be a healthy part of your diet (provided you are not intolerant of nightshades). The proviso is that white potatoes in the form of chips/fries or deep-fried are not permitted under the Whole30.

One food which is unlikely to ever make it on the Whole30-approved list is pasta. Many paleo recipe writers extol the delights of a vegetable known as ‘spaghetti squash’ which is reputed to be as, or more, delicious than the real thing (if you can believe it). Unfortunately this mystical vegetable is rarely seen in Australia so I’ve yet to try it. I suspect that it is as similar to real spaghetti as cauliflower rice is to real rice. However, I have tried another paleo substitute for pasta which is quite delightful and very similar to the real thing: sweet potato noodles or regular potato noodles. They are made with either sweet potato starch or potato starch, and are therefore suitable for those eating gluten-free. Available from asian grocers, they may also be labelled ‘sweet potato vermicelli’. On account of their high carbohydrate count, potato noodles would make a good post-workout or Carb Nite meal. They have a neutral taste rather like real pasta, and cook up nicely al dente.

potato vermicelli

The method for cooking potato noodles is similar to that of regular pasta. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add some salt to the water, add the noodles and turn the heat down to a simmer. The amount of time you need to simmer the noodles will vary according to their thickness, but I have found somewhere between 7-9 minutes works a treat.

We enjoy these noodles with a number of accoutrements, including chinese BBQ pork, preserved vegetables, sesame seeds, seaweed, scallions, paleo XO sauce & a drizzle of soy sauce. I have also tried using sweet potato noodles in Italian recipes such as carbonara and it worked very well. Since going paleo, I have fallen out of the habit of eating high carb meals regularly but it is good to have an option for when the pasta craving strikes.

For mushroom lovers

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Introducing a new dish which subscribers may find in our 10 and 15 meal packs in the coming week: Chinese Braised Chicken & Mixed Mushrooms. Tender skinless chicken thigh morsels are slowly braised together with a mushroom medley (shiitake, king, oyster mushrooms and strips of black fungus) in a velvety sauce of soy, coconut aminos, sesame oil, ginger and garlic.

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It pairs nicely with steamed white rice &/or roast cauliflower. To roast cauliflower, wash and cut into florets. Place on a baking tray greased with oil (I love to use Cobram Estate’s garlic-infused extra virgin) and bake for around 20 minutes, turning once, until somewhat singed and caramelised.

Nutritional Information

Per 380g serve
387 calories
51.4 grams protein, 7.9g carbs, 14.8g fats

Ingredients

Skinless chicken thighs, mushrooms (king, shiitake, oyster, black fungus), onions, chinese cabbage (wombok), chicken stock, ginger, garlic, gluten-free soy sauce, coconut aminos, sherry, sesame oil, tapioca starch, salt, ghee, pepper.

Seafood Stew

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After a feast of roast suckling pig one night last week, I swore to eat light for a while, simply because afterwards I felt heavy and full in a stodgy, ready-to-hibernate-for-months kind of way. What do I then go and order a couple days later, but roast pork belly. So I finally made good on my promise to myself to eat more seafood, and I’m sure glad I did. This stew contains fish (whichever you prefer, or which looks best at the market), mussels and calamari in a thick flavoursome tomato base. I cook the seafood separately before adding it to the tomato sauce, to ensure that everything is cooked properly. The tomato base can be cooked in advance, making it even quicker to throw everything together.

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Seafood Stew

Serves 3-4

Tomato Base
  • 1 Tbsp butter + 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions or 1 1/2 large onions, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 150ml tomato passata or tomato puree
  • 800g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 red capsicum, roasted and peeled, finely chopped
  • 150ml chicken or fish stock (optional)
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • Mussel cooking liquid
  • 1 fish fillet (I used deep sea bream, but you can use any fish you like), around 300g, cut into chunks
  • To serve: 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  1. Cook the onions in butter and olive oil over low-medium heat until completely softened and caramelised. Do not let it brown as it may become bitter.
  2. Add the other ingredients except the fish and parsley for serving. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. (I start the tomato base off and then attend to prepping the other seafood ingredients.)
  3. Add the fish and calamari (cooked as per below) and turn heat to a low simmer. Cook until fish is done, around 5-8 minutes (time will depend on the type and size of your fish).
  4. Add mussels (cooked as per below).
  5. Sprinkle with parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Salt to taste (note that the mussel cooking liquid will have added some salt).
Calamari
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 small/med calamari
  • 45ml white wine
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • dash of salt

Cut under the eyes to separate the tentacles from the inedibles. Discard the cartilage (looks like a piece of clear plastic). Wash out the insides under running water. Peel off the skin (the pigmented thin skin) and discard. Slice into rings. Saute in butter and add the remaining ingredients (adding the garlic towards the end to avoid burning), cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until done. Set aside.

Mussels
  • 1 dozen green-lipped or black mussels, cleaned and beards removed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 45ml white wine

In a large pan, heat the oil and add garlic, mussels and white wine. Cover and cook until mussels are open and the meat is cooked. Remove the meat from the shells. Reserve the cooking liquid, which is to be added to the tomato base.

Variation

Add 1 cup of chopped fennel bulb. For the fish component, use 1 deboned spanish mackerel cutlet, cut into bite-sized pieces.

Chilli Jam

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Once we were in the supermarket checkout queue and it was one of those random moments when the shopper behind us struck up a conversation. Actually it was hardly a conversation, just a brief friendly moment, when the other shopper commented that our groceries looked like a Masterchef mystery box. And indeed it did, because it was a motley harvest comprising of one pear, one tray of mince, one onion, a block of chocolate, and a couple of bananas.

That mystery box comment came to mind a few days ago when I was making one of my ‘clean out the fridge’ stir fries. Sitting on the counter was a random collection of ingredients which would soon be united to form a delicious meal.

  • One choko, courtesy of my aunt, which I had had for ages and didn’t quite know what to do with
  • A third of a zucchini
  • Half a bunch of garlic chives
  • A tray of pork mince
  • A knob of ginger
  • Some mushrooms
  • One eggplant
  • Half a bunch of coriander
  • A bunch of vietnamese mint from my parent’s garden.

The magic ingredient which turns this bunch of delinquents into a tasty dish is Chilli Jam (or Nam Prik Pao in Thai). Because I wasn’t able to find ready-made chilli jam which didn’t have sugar or vegetable oil, I decided to make my own, and it is not difficult especially if you have a blender or food processor, although it does take a bit of time so I like to make extra which can be frozen. You can also use Chilli Jam to make Thai dishes like Beef Chilli Basil stir fry.

Chilli Jam (Nam Prik Pao)

Ingredients

  • 100g whole dried chillis, rinsed
  • 60g dried shrimp, rinsed
  • 250ml light olive oil
  • 60g garlic, chopped
  • 200g red or brown shallots, peeled and roughly sliced (also can use red onion, diced)
  • 12g belachan shrimp paste
  • 55g fish sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g tamarind pulp + 160g warm/hot water

Method

  1. First, toast your shrimp paste. Break it up into smaller pieces and wrap it in a flat foil parcel. Roast in a preheated 200°C oven for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.*
  2. Prepare tamarind water by combining the tamarind pulp and warm water and let it soak for 5 minutes. Squeeze the pulp with your hands to release the sour goodness, then strain through a sieve set over a small bowl. Retain the water, discard the pulp.
  3. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, dry fry the chillis for 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Next, I fried the dried shrimp for 2-3 minutes until they changed colour slightly and became fragrant. Set aside.
  5. Heat up the oil in a deep frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and fry until light golden brown, around 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Keep the oil.
  6. When the shallot and garlic has cooled, I put it into my Omniblend together with the shrimp paste, dried shrimp and dried chillis and blended it until a slightly coarse paste formed.
  7. Re-heat the oil over medium-low heat and add all the chilli paste. Cook on gentle heat for around 5 minutes or until it becomes fragrant. Add the fish sauce, salt and tamarind water and cook for a further 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Transfer the paste you will be using in the next couple of weeks into a jar and store in the fridge. Freeze the remainer.

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*I discovered a nifty shortcut using toastie pockets. Toastie pockets are made from heat-resistant greaseproof material and can go in the toaster. I simply wrap the shrimp paste in foil, place in a toastie pocket and into the toaster, which I have cranked up to the medium setting.

Churn Baby, Churn

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One appliance that gets a regular workout in my kitchen is my ice-cream machine. I’m not one to invest in kitchen appliances lightly, and had been making my own ice-cream long enough using the tedious manual method (by taking it out of the freezer several times during the freezing process to stir it up) to know that an electric churn would be a wonderful and time-saving device. Ice-cream is one of my favourite foods, I can eat it rain, hail or shine (but that hardly makes me unique, does it).

Going paleo has not dampened my enthusiasm for ice-cream in the least, though I might add upfront that my ice-cream would not pass muster with the Paleo Police because it contains dairy, dextrose and erythritol (a sugar alcohol). Fortunately the Paleo Police have no jurisdiction in my household. I am not a big fan of replacing sugar with honey on account of its fructose content; instead, I use dextrose (which is simply glucose) which gets a tick from David Gillespie, author of Sweet Poison. Commercially, dextrose is used in gelato to prevent it from freezing too hard, so that it remains scoopable. Incidentally, it is also used in beer brewing, so you can find dextrose in brewing supply shops or stores like BigW in the home brew area. When using it in a recipe which was originally written for sugar, note that dextrose is less sweet than sugar. The second sweetener I use is a monkfruit sweetener which is combined with erythritol, a sugar alcohol. Commercially this is sold in supermarkets as Norbu (brand name).

Over the years I have played with many different ice-cream recipes but this is my current go-to. It uses 100% chocolate and cocoa powder for the die-hard chocolate lover.

Finished churning

Finished churning

Packed and about to go in the freezer to ripen.

Finished churning, packed and about to go in the freezer to ripen.

Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 30g dextrose
  • 55g Norbu (monkfruit sweetener)
  • 130g coconut cream
  • 260g water
  • 240g cream (thickened works too)
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 60g cocoa powder*
  • 2 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 125g boiling water
  • 80g dextrose
  • 44g 100% chocolate (cocoa mass)*
  • 40g cream cheese, full fat
  • 1 1/3 sheet titanium gelatine (20cm x 5cm)*
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

*Callebaut cocoa mass, cocoa powder and gelatine sheets are available from Chef’s Warehouse, Albion St Surry Hills. If you don’t have cocoa mass, 85-90% Lindt chocolate bars make a good substitute.

Method

  1. Heat the coconut cream, water and cream in microwave jug until it just comes to the boil. Watch that it doesn’t overflow.
  2. Whisk yolks together with 30g dextrose and the Norbu. Add hot cream mixture gradually while whisking. Add salt. Heat over double boiler until mixture registers 80°C on an instant-read thermometer.
  3. Combine cocoa powder, coffee powder, boiling water and 80g dextrose in saucepan and heat while whisking constantly until mixture has dissolved and is almost boiling. Vigilance is required as it can burn easily. Remove from heat, add cocoa mass and cream cheese. Whisk until dissolved.
  4. Soak gelatine in cold water until it goes soft and floppy (around 5 minutes). Squeeze out excess water and place gelatine in a glass. Place glass in a bowl of just boiled water and stir until gelatin has melted. Set aside.
  5. Add chocolate mixture to the cream mixture. Add gelatine, vodka and vanilla and whisk to combine thoroughly. Chill mixture overnight. I have found that when I skip the overnight chill, the resulting churn is not as successful.
  6. Churn in ice-cream maker for 24-25 minutes until thick and creamy. Freeze at least 4 hrs before eating.
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    Nutritional Information

    So I do all this work making my own ice-cream, I want to know what the nutritional pay-off is. Overall energy, protein and fat are similar to that of your supermarket gourmet ice-cream (I used Connoisseur chocolate ice-cream for comparison). My recipe is slightly lower in total calories, with 10.2g total carbs (9.0g sugar) compared with Connoisseur’s 16.8g total carbs (16.3g sugar), per 72g serve.

    Banana Split

    Cut a banana in half lengthwise. Top with chocolate ice-cream, whipped cream and chopped roasted nuts. You could also make a chocolate sauce to drizzle if you are feeling decadent, by heating equal parts chocolate and cream.

    Variation: Choc Hazelnut Ice-cream

    To the recipe add 85 grams Mayvers Hazelnut and Cocoa Butter and an extra 1-2 tsp Norbu. Instead of the vodka, use Frangelico if you have some handy.

3 ways with Broccoli

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Broccoli is currently in season, it is an absolute bargain so I wanted to present 3 ways to cook it as a side dish for your Go Paleo meals, ranging from the simple and quick to the elaborate and absolutely delicious.

Steamed Broccoli

Suitable for:

  • When you have no time, you want dinner and you want it literally NOW.
  • You don’t have an oven.

Prep and Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Fill a small saucepan with around 1.5cm water. Bring water to the boil. Meanwhile, wash broccoli and cut into florets. When the water boils, place broccoli in the pot, cover and steam for 4.5 minutes. Drain. Eat.

I have tried steaming broccoli in the microwave but find that sometimes the broccoli turns out rubbery, so I would not recommend using the microwave.

Roast Broccoli

Suitable for:

  • When you have a little more time, an oven, and a willingness to have your life changed by the loveliness of roast broccoli with its little crispy edges, such that you can never go back to eating steamed broccoli again. It is well worth the extra time, the flavour intensifies and the broccoli develops delicious crispy caramelised edges.

Prep and Cooking Time: 20 minutes

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Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a baking tray with foil and brush lightly with olive oil (or cooking fat of your choice, macadamia oil, butter, coconut oil etc). Wash broccoli and dry thoroughly using a tea towel, shaking out the excess water. Cut into florets. I like to cut the florets quite small so they cook quicker with more surface area to brown. Place broccoli on tray in a single layer and bake for 10 minutes. Around 5 minutes into cooking, open the oven door to release the steam. Turn the pieces and bake for further 5-7 minutes or until nicely singed but not burnt.

You can also use the same technique for cauliflower, although it will take longer to cook.

Roast Cauliflower, Broccoli, Spinach and Mushroom Bake

Suitable for:

  • Entertaining, special occasions, lunches, wedding proposals (yes, it is *that* good)
  • NB. Contains dairy

Prep and Cooking Time: 1 hour

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Serves 5-6

  • Cooking oil of your choice (such as olive oil)
  • ½ large cauliflower head, washed, trimmed and cut into florets
  • 1 broccoli head, washed, trimmed and cut into florets
  • 1-2 tsp butter
  • 300g button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 box (250g) frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50g sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I am currently loving King Island’s Surprise Bay cheddar)
  • 140g sour cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 45g parmesan cheese, grated

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Brush some olive oil on a large baking dish and set aside. (I use a large rectangular pyrex dish)
  3. Bake cauliflower and broccoli according to instructions above, turning once during cooking. The broccoli will be cooked before the cauliflower, remove from oven and set aside while cauliflower finishes cooking. You want the florets to be lightly caramelised. (Keep the foil from the roasted broccoli/cauliflower to use later.)
  4. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, sauté the mushrooms in butter with a little salt until they have released their liquid and have browned. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add the garlic, remove from heat.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the following:
    • eggs
    • sour cream
    • sautéed mushrooms and onion
    • spinach
    • cheddar cheese
    • roasted broccoli and cauliflower
    • salt and pepper, to taste
  6. Lower oven temperature to 175°C. Pour everything into the baking dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes, remove foil and bake for further 10-12 minutes or until nice and golden on the top.

Variations

  • Add ½ a butternut pumpkin, cut into 2 – 2.5cm cubes and roasted together with the cauliflower. If including pumpkin, add an extra egg to bind it all together.
  • Add a white sweet potato (I like the way the white version stays firm and not mushy when cooked) diced into 2cm cubes, baked along with the cauliflower, they take the same time to cook.

You can prep this dish up until (and including) step 5, and refrigerate until you are reading to bake. If you do this, add an extra 5 minutes to the initial bake time.