sunshine beach

pumpkin & capsicum roasted in a cheese pie

16th August 2009


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!


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


roast pumpkin & capsicum feta pie


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


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

simple everyday red lentil soup & sticky date pudding

12th August 2009

As mentioned in our last post, we have been sharing the dinner task with Ahal, Stacey’s brother-in-law. His efforts at feeding 14 continue to astound and amaze us.  Last night, in the space of 2 hours after spending all day at Australia Zoo, he whipped up home-made cheese and herb flatbread, marinaded tofu kebabs, crusty, roast hedgehog potatoes, a cumin lentil and rice salad, and a green salad. Amazing…..this all is created by a man with an impressive collection of 800 cookbooks or thereabouts and devours these as bedtime reading.  Debbie, his wife, tells us she goes to bed hungry, dreaming of delectable desserts.

This post will highlight two dishes from our ‘turn’ – spicy red lentil soup and sticky date pudding. Both dishes were a hit; we knew they must have been, as Ahal insisted on having the recipes. Other dishes served were quinoa, grated apple, carrot and mung bean salad;  a green salad; rosemary and sea salt potato wedges;  guacamole;  a grated raw beetroot, crumbled feta and mint salad;  parmesan toasts; and tomato and basil-infused feta salad.


An excellent soup that’s ready in 30 minutes, made with red lentil or split moong dal that is quick-cooking and easy to digest. Tasty, warming and simple. Served with a spoonful of brown rice or toasty bread. I love it served atop steamed kale leave or broccoli.

simple everyday dal soup

Serves 4


1 cup red lentils/yellow split moong dal

1 Tbsp ghee/oil

½ cup tomatoes, finely chopped 

2 Tbsp tomato paste

5 cups boiling water

1 Tbsp ghee/oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger

¼ tsp asafoetida powder

8 curry leaves

1 medium grated carrot

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp lemon juice


1.  Place the dal in a bowl and rinse until the water runs clear. Cover the lentils with water, set aside and allow to soak while preparing the rest of the soup.

2.   In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat ghee/oil, add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, cover and simmer for 8 minutes so that the tomatoes soften and break up.

3.  After the tomatoes have finished simmering, drain the dal and add to the pan with boiling water – simmer for 20 minutes or until the dal has softened and broken down.

4.  In a small pan, heat ghee, add the cumin seeds, ginger, curry leaves and asafoetida – fry for 1 minute and stir into the soup.

5.  Add the grated carrot and simmer for 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper; remove from heat and stir in the fresh lemon juice and chopped coriander.

Serve with a drizzle of ghee/oil and garnish with fresh coriander.

Post note: a nice addition is half a sweet potato grated

Goodness shared by Stacey


sticky date pudding with caramel sauce

This recipe originally came from my mother-in-law, though I am unsure where she discovered this treasure.  I used whole wheat flour and raw caster sugar to replace the refined ingredients.  However, it was challenging to gauge the change in colour of the sauce as it was cooking, so next time, I would stick with the white caster sugar for the caramel sauce.


260g fresh dates pitted, roughly chopped

1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

450 mL water

90g ( cup) unsalted butter

260 g raw caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

260g (1 ¾ cups) wholewheat SR flour

caramel Sauce

250g caster sugar

60 mL ¼ cup) water

250 mL (1 cup) cream, warmed


1.  Preheat oven to 180C.  Lightly grease a ceramic or glass ovenproof dish (20 – 22cm).

2.  On medium heat in a saucepan, bring dates and 450 mL water to boil, remove and add bicarbonate soda, mixing well to combine.  Set aside to cool.

4.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add vanilla and eggs, adding eggs one at a time, then on low speed, add half of the flour mixture, combining well.  Very slowly, add the remaining flour until just combined.

5.  Spoon mixture into dish.  Bake 50 – 60 minutes or until it springs back to touch.

Serve with ice cream and drown in the caramel sauce or drizzled.

Caramel Sauce

1.  Place sugar and water in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, bring to a boil, then boil without stirring, until the syrup becomes a light golden colour.

2.  Remove from heat and carefully add the warm cream, whisking until combined.  Return to heat and whisk until the caramel is smooth.

3.  Strain through a fine sieve, then set aside until required.

Goodness shared by Donna

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