feta

steamed lentil beetroot walnut salad

8th March 2015

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I thought I would revisit this salad and give it a new life and breath.  It was posted a while back and I was recently reminded how lovely it is.  I have made it twice this last week, taking advantage of the abundance of greens in the garden and beets being so fresh in the market lately.

It is a recipe from my leather-bound journal that I would travel the world with, documenting thoughts and new-found recipes.  Since then, this book has been given a new lease of life – recovered, rebound and blessed with a few `goodnessis isms´.

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steamed beetroot lentil walnut salad

Inspired by Leonie, whose food creations were always full of vitality and inspiration.

For this recipe, you can use any sort of greens available.  My favourite, being a combination of kale, spinach and beet greens.  If you are lucky enough to have the greens still attached to the beetroot, use those as well.  Depending on what I am serving,  I sometimes leave out the feta or serve it on the side for those who don’t eat dairy, or for a lighter salad you can omit the lentils.

ingredients 

6 medium beetroot

½ cup red lentils

400g spinach/kale/beet greens

½ cup small mint leaves

150g feta cheese, cut into small cubes

¾ cup walnuts/pecans, roughly chopped

for the dressing

2 Tbsp honey

1 tsp cumin seeds

¼ cup lemon juice

cup olive oil

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

2.  Spread the nuts evenly on a baking tray and toast for 12 – 15 minutes.  Remove and roughly chop.

3.  Steam the whole beetroot, about 35 – 45 minutes, then drain, cool slightly and peel while still warm – cut into small uniform cubes.

4.  Meanwhile, cover the lentils in water and lightly simmer for about 7 minutes until they are still whole and keep their crunch – drain and set aside.

5.  Steam the rinsed greens slightly until just wilted.  This takes very little time – careful not to overcook.  After steaming, run under cold water to retain their vibrant colour – gently squeeze any excess water out and finely chop.

6.  In a large bowl, combine the warm lentils, spinach and beetroot, then sprinkle over the cubes of feta, nuts and fresh mint leaves.

7.  Prepare the dressing, toast the cumin seeds lightly and grind them roughly with a mortar and pestle, whisk together with the honey, lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

8.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad.  This salad is equally lovely while still warm or at room temperature.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

pumpkin & capsicum roasted in a cheese pie

16th August 2009

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One of our last night’s dinner was a three-way contribution from Ahal and us.  Once again, Ahal came to the table with an impressive collection of three dishes.  Couscous and mushroom baked parcels; a tomato, basil and mozzarella platter and the all-important dessert.  This was the highlight. A mascarpone cheesecake, topped with strawberries and cream on a coconut base.  Very light as in sponge-like, but flourless. Unfortunately that recipe is not up for discussion or sharing…..not even for us, well, not yet anyway.  We are still pleading, begging, bribing…….Yes, it is that good!

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So, we shall offer the roast pumpkin and cheese filo pie, a variation of this spinach pie.

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roast pumpkin & capsicum feta pie

ingredients 

½ medium-sized pumpkin, cut in cubes

2 whole red capsicums (sweet peppers)

olive oil

sesame seeds

6 eggs

¼ tsp nutmeg

150g crumbly, tasty cheddar cheese, grated/crumbled (I use Mersey Valley Original)

250 g feta, crumbled

¼ cup cream (optional)

cup pine nuts

freshly ground black pepper

9 sheets filo pastry

preparation 

1.  Preheat oven to 200C.  Grease an oblong ovenproof glass/ceramic dish.

2.  Toss cubed pumpkin with a generous splash of olive oil, a good sprinkling of sesame seeds and nutmeg.  Spread evenly on a baking paper-lined tray and roast in oven until lightly browned and tender – about 20 – 30 minutes, turn once during roasting.  At the same time, place whole capsicums (peppers) on alfoil on bottom tray in the oven.

3.  Once the pumpkin is cooked and capsicums blackened, remove from oven to let cool.  Place hot capsicums in a plastic bag.  When cool, peel, deseed and dice capsicums.

4.  In a large bowl, whisk eggs, nutmeg and pepper, then add cheeses and pine nuts and mix well.  Stir in pumpkin and diced capsicum.

5.  Line dish with filo sheets, laying 2 widthways across, then 1 lengthways, repeating this layering twice more.  Brush olive oil/ghee between layers.

6.  Pour in the mixture, spreading evenly.  Tuck in edges to create a border.  Brush edges with olive oil/ghee and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds.

7.  Bake in a preheated oven (180C) for 30 – 40 minutes or until set.  Let sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting into slices.

Goodness shared from Donna

spinach rice & two cheese filo pie

22nd June 2009

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……scrambled, poached, fried, boiled, coddled, omelettes, souffle, cakes, frittatas, quiche….and the list goes on. I’d love to say I have freshly laid ones from our hen coop in our backyard, however, the slope of our site does not allow for this and our Ridgeback, Jessica would have a field day.  It seems to become more common as 3 of my friends and of course, my sister in Israel have gone down this path with great success.  I received some fresh eggs the other day and used them in a variation of the Spinach and Feta Pie. Rice has been added for extra carbohydrate, as I have a half marathon looming in two week’s time and I want all the help I can get.

spinach rice & two cheese pie

 I always use ‘Mersey Valley Vintage Cheddar’ – very crumbly, smooth and intense flavour.  Have tried other cheddars, but not as good a result.  This recipe makes quite a ‘spinachy’ pie.  For a larger pie, increase rice and eggs.

ingredients 

2 bunches fresh spinach, finely chopped or 1 block of frozen leaf spinach

½ cup cooked brown rice (or basmati, if you prefer white)

125g fetta, crumbled

125g strong cheddar, crumbled

4 eggs

1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)

1 Tbsp pine nuts (toasted, if prefer)

½ tsp nutmeg

cracked black pepper

sesame seeds (I use a mix of black and white)

6 sheets filo pastry

oil/melted butter

preparation 

1.  Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Lightly grease oven-proof dish (I use a round, 24cm ceramic one ) with oil.

2.  Steam spinach and press out excess water, allow to cool slightly, then add rice and season with pepper.

3.  In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients together and add spinach & rice mixture.

4.  Line dish with the 6 sheets of filo, alternating each piece in different directions.  Brush each with melted butter/oil if wish (I use an extra virgin cold pressed olive oil spray).

5.  Pour in spinach & egg mixture and spread evenly. Tuck in filo edges and brush with oil/melted butter.

6.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes or until set and lightly brown on top.

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 Shared goodness from Donna

roasted cherry tomato

16th June 2009

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After last season’s disastrous tomato crop, this year I went overboard with my seed plantings.  And, of course, they all thrived, so I now have enormous crops of cherry and Roma cherry tomatoes. I have been going out each morning, patiently watching the bunches turn from apple-green, orange and finally to that deep, dark red that lets us all know there is true flavour inside. Thankfully the little treasures have not all chosen to ripen at once, so I have been able to pluck off the odd handful.

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Today’s picking was impressive, so after passing off some to my in-laws, a bunch was the highlight of this dish.  Roasted cherry tomatoes, zucchini, chiogga beetroot, fennel, sweet potato, roasted with fresh garden herbs and fetta, finished off with a basil and pine nut dressing. Pumpkin would have been better instead of the sweet potato, but I used mostly what came from the garden, with exception of sweet potato. Roasting the tomatoes brings out a stronger, intense flavour, and being so small they don’t smother the other vegetables.

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roasted cherry tomatoes & vegetable assortment with a basil & pine nut dressing

The amounts I have approximated, as I usually just throw in a handful/pinch/dash, so it is never quite the same each time. I always use a good extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil for my roasting and dressings. For this recipe, I used 1 zucchini, 1 sm. sweet potato, ¼ beetroot, ¼ fennel bulb – enough for 1 – 2.

ingredients 

Approx. 12 whole cherry tomatoes

Assorted vegetables, in chunks (zucchini, pumpkin, fennel, beetroot, sweet potato, whatever on hand)

Handful of whole fresh herbs (I used 5 sage leaves, 3 sprigs thyme and 2 sprigs rosemary)

generous splash of olive oil

Maldon or similar sea salt

100g feta, cubed

preparation 

1.  Preheat oven to 200C.

2.  Toss all vegetables in one layer in an ovenproof dish with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and add herbs.

3.  Bake for 30 – 40 min., stirring occasionally. Halfway through, add feta. Cook when veggies are tender and tomatoes are flattened.  If the bottom of dish begins to char, that’s fine.

4.  Serve with 2 – 3 tsp. of dressing drizzled over.  Sprinkle extra torn/whole basil leaves.

basil & pine nut dressing

1.  Toast approx. 2 tsp pine nuts in a small pan.

2.  Smash lightly in mortar and pestle with 5 torn basil leaves.

3.  Whisk in 1 tab. extra virgin olive oil, 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp honey (mixed with a little hot water ).  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Shared goodness from Donna

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