Panzanella Salad with Haloumi and Pomegranate Molasses

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Hello again. It’s been a long time between posts! Over 6 months I think! But don’t mistake this to mean that I haven’t been cooking, in fact, I’ve been cooking so much that I just haven’t had time to write down recipes or take photos of everything I’ve been doing. The best I’ve been able to manage lately is a quick snap on my phone and an upload to instagram (which I kinda love).
So much has happened over these last six months, the last time I posted was from a friends apartment in Amsterdam, just a couple of days before I flew to Mykonos to work for a month as a private chef in a Villa there. Oh how I wish I had sufficient words to describe that month. To keep it brief, it was one of the most challenging months of my life, physically, mentally and emotionally. I was struggling to figure out why life had sent me there, apart from learning that I never EVER want to be rich. It was an amazing (if not soul destroying) experience and I wouldn’t take back a second of it.

Then it was on to Turkey, one of my most favourite and cherished countries. The food, the people, the landscape, it’s incredible. I spent a couple of months slowly roaming around, a large chunk of which was spent in the crystal clear waters of the mediterranean sea, free diving with turtles and lying on the pebbly beaches. I met some beautiful people and had a beautiful time. I love that place.

After that came Indonesia, where I met up with some friends and also showed my Mum around Bali for her first ever trip overseas. We ate, drank, lay on the beach and hooned around on a scooter, she loved it.
Finally, after being away from my home town for over 12 months, it was time to head back. Fortunately I had already been contacted by a friend here in Aus that owns the cutest little fish restaurant right on the beach about doing some work for them upon my return. I took the job and we haven’t looked back! it’s been an amazing experience and I feel so fortunate to be working with such kind and generous people. I’m learning a lot and have the freedom to be as creative as I like.
This summer has been a total whirlwind of work, parties and beach time. It’s been totally amazing. I could go on and on about all that has happened over the last six months, but, I highly doubt anyone wants to know every detail, and to be honest I can’t even remember half of them. I just know that I’m happier than ever and so excited for everything to come.
Anyway, here is a quick and easy recipe for one of my most favourite types of salads, I absolutely love the way the bread soaks up the dressing, along with the pops of sweetness from the pomegranate, the saltiness of the haloumi and the freshness of the herbs. It’s perfect on it’s own or you could serve it alongside some grilled seafood or meat. The recipe simply lists the ingredients I used, without amounts, so you can adjust it to however many people you are catering for (and also because I can’t find the piece of paper I wrote the actual recipe down on….)DSC_0030DSC_0028DSC_0026DSC_0003

Recipe

Ingredients

Wholemeal sourdough, toasted and cut or torn into pieces

Heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

Baby cucumbers, sliced

Red and green capsicum, sliced

Red onion, finely sliced

Kalamata olives

Rocket

Mint, leaves picked

Pomegranate seeds

Haloumi, sliced 1cm thick

Olive oil

Fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Pomegranate molasses

Method

In a large bowl, gently toss together the sourdough, tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, onion, olives, rocket, mint and half of the pomegranate seeds with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Leave to marinate and for the flavours to develop for about 15mins, tossing gently every 5mins.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan or frying pan to medium/hot with a little olive oil. Fry the haloumi until golden. Set aside and keep warm.

Place the salad into serving bowls, top with the remaining pomegranate seeds, drizzle with the pomegranate molasses and place the haloumi on top.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Maple Roasted Pumpkin, Kale, Blue Vein and Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate Molasses

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How awesome are vegetables! They are so versatile, exciting, colourful, textural, interesting, and above all, nourishing. I love treating my vegetables as the main point of a meal, all you need is a bit of love and a few extra touches, and the next thing you know you’ll be turning your humble piece of pumpkin thats been hiding at the bottom of your veggie draw, into a beautiful, shining, and delicious star!

I came across this Naranka Gold Pumpkin at the markets here, I’ve never seen it before, but, as I love to roast pumpkin with its skin on, I thought the look of this pumpkin’s golden skin was very enticing. Roasted to perfection with a hint of sweetness and citrus, it was absolutely delicious. Not to mention the nutty wild rice, the bursts of sweetness from the pomegranate, the earthiness of the kale and the strong scent of the blue vein. It is perfectly satisfying as a main meal but would also be great as part of a feast, along with roasted meats, spreads, other salads and breads. You could also replace the rice with quinoa and the blue vein with goats cheese or feta.

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups blended black, red and brown rice

1/2 a small naranka gold pumpkin, about 800g-1kg, cut into thick 5cm wedges, seeds scraped out

1 tbs golden syrup

1 tbs lemon infused olive oil

1/2 cup mixed seeds, such as pepitas, sunflower and pine nuts, toasted

4 large kale leaves, about 120g, stems cut out and leaves finely shredded

Small red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

Handful of fresh parsley and mint, roughly chopped

120g blue vein cheese. crumbled

Fruit from 1 fresh pomegranate

2 tbs pomegranate molasses

Splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil

Salt and pepper

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line an oven tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin with the lemon infused olive oil, maple syrup and some salt and pepper.

Lay the pieces of pumpkin in a single layer on the lined baking tray. Place in the oven and cook for about 45 mins, turning halfway, until golden and tender, crisp edges are good. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Boil the rice until tender. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft, about 5mins. Add the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and kale, and continue to sauté for another 5mins. Add to the bowl with the rice, along with half of the toasted seeds, half of the pomegranate, the fresh herbs, a splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Mix well.

Empty the rice mixture out onto a large serving plate. Top with the pumpkin, the rest of the seeds, the rest of the pomegranate, the blue vein, and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.

Enjoy!

 

 

Gluten-free Pomegranate Syrup Cakes

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These little cakes are so pretty and even more delicious than you can imagine! With such simple ingredients it is surprising how flavoursome and beautifully textured they are. I love almond meal and I also love syrup cakes, so with the last of my pomegranates I thought these were the perfect thing to make. The colours also made for some great photos!

I adapted this recipe from The Australian Women’s Weekly Cake baking book, where it is made as a large cake and is not gluten free. I changed the cooking times and also the syrup to make it as small cakes. I also changed the flours to gluten free, not only so that more people can enjoy them but I think that the gluten free flours often produce a more moist result. I use the Woolworths Macro Organics brand of gluten free flours, I think they are really good. However, if anyone has any others that they use or if anyone knows of a great mix of flours to use, please let me know! I am quite new to gluten free ingredients!

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Recipe

Ingredients

125g butter

3 eggs

1 cup (220g) caster sugar

1/2 cup (75g) gluten free plain flour

1/4 cup (35g) gluten free self-raising flour

1/2 cup (60g) almond meal

1/3 cup (80g) sour cream

Seeds of 1 pomegranate (reserve the juices)

Pomegranate Syrup

1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar

Seeds of 1 pomegranate with juice and reserved juice

1/2 cup water

1 tbs pomegranate molasses

 

Method

Have butter and eggs at room temperature. Pre- heat oven to 165 Degrees C. Grease and line a 12 hole pan ( I used a square muffin tin).

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Sift in flours and mix together along with almond meal and sour cream.

Divide mixture evenly between holes in tin. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds.

Bake for about 30-40mins, or until golden and spring back in the middle when touched.

Meanwhile make pomegranate syrup by combining ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and then bring to the simmer. Simmer uncovered, for about 2mins, or until syrupy.

When cakes are done, remove from oven and let stand for 5 mins. Pierce a few holes in the cakes with a metal skewer. Spoon warm syrup over warm cakes and let cool in the tin.

Enjoy! They are delicious on their own but also good with a dollop of double cream!

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