Charred Avocado, Cucumber, Radish and Chickpea Salad

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Here is a recipe for an impressive but simple salad that would serve well as a nice lunch with some white wine or to take to a barbecue. It’s perfect on it’s own but would also go really well with some grilled chicken or salmon. Crusty bread would also go well on the side.
I used to talk about stuff on this blog about life and inspiration. But, at the moment, I have nothing interesting to say. And I’m sure no-one cares anyway. However, if you do, I’d love some feedback.
Hope you like the salad.

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Recipe
Serves 4
Ingredients
2 avocados
Lemon oil for grilling
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced on a mandolin
5 baby cucumbers, finely sliced on a mandolin
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Handful of fresh dill sprigs
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Crusty bread to serve (optional)
Method
Heat a grill pan over high heat. Cut the avocados in half. Remove the seed and cut each half into thirds. Peel away the skin. Brush the avocado with the lemon oil and place, cut side down, on the hot grill pan. Grill each cut side for about 2 mins, or until blackened lines appear. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard and some salt and pepper in a tightly sealed jar and shake well to combine.
To serve, arrange the avocado, radishes, cucumbers and chickpeas on a platter. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the dill.
Enjoy!

Watermelon, Radish and Pistachio Salad with Herbed Quark

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Here is a beautiful fresh recipe that would be perfect for Summer, not really now, in this freezing cold, disgusting wintry weather. Back in February was when I actually made this salad, we took it to the beach to watch the sunset and enjoy the beautiful warm weather. It’s just that I haven’t had two seconds to spare until now to actually sit down and get the recipe up on here for you all. I’m struggling to remember how I actually made the dressing, I did have it written on scrap of paper somewhere, but who knows where that is hiding now. Lucky it’s a pretty straightforward salad, you could almost make it just from looking at the photos, which, as you can see, there are plenty of (they are all just too pretty with those radishes!)

If you’ve never heard of quark before, it’s a European style cheese, similar in texture to cottage cheese or ricotta and similar in flavour to yoghurt. It is a healthier option to cheese as it is lower in fat and salt, and has a lot more protein than yoghurt. It is becoming more available in Australia these days, I was surprised to find it in my local supermarket. However, if you can’t find it, ricotta or feta will work just fine in this recipe.

This salad is perfect as a fancy little entree or, if you want to serve it as a main, you could beef it up with a grain, such as pearl barley, or add some cooked prawns and some fresh crusty bread alongside. Yum!

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Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

Half a small watermelon, sliced into small triangles

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, half finely chopped and half left whole

1/4 cup fresh chives, finely chopped

300g quark

edible flowers and nasturtium leaves

3/4 cup roasted pistachios, roughly chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

salt and pepper

 

Method

To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and a 1/4 cup of the pistachios in a small food processor. Process until the pistachios are finely chopped and the dressing is well combined. Taste and check for seasoning and a balance in acidity and sweetness. Adjust if necessary.

To make the herbed quark, combine the quark, finely chopped basil and chives, mix well.

On four plates, arrange the watermelon, radishes, whole basil leaves, quenelles of the herbed quark, flowers, nasturtium leaves and the rest of the pistachios. Drizzle with the dressing.

Enjoy!

 

 

Vegetarian Turkish Lahmacun. Spiced Lentil Flatbreads with Garlic Yoghurt and Pickles.

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I made this dish whilst we were back in Germany, staying with a friend who loves food and loves to eat. It was perfect for me! I had access to her awesome little kitchen the whole time we were there and I had the best time preparing breakfasts, snacks, afternoon teas and dinners for all of us, which, in turn, resulted in lots of lovely hours, sitting around, chatting, eating and drinking. Bliss!

Germany is renowned for it’s Doner Kebabs and there are many (MANY) turkish restaurants. It got me thinking about a dish I had seen, a kind of turkish pizza. I mentioned it to our friend and she said, yes, it’s called Lahmucan, but, she had never been able to try it because it is only ever made with lamb mince and she is a vegetarian. So, I decided to try and make a meatless version of Lahmucan. And, boy did I nail it! The dough was amazingly soft and beautiful to work with, and turned out perfect when baked. The topping was spicy and tasty, especially with a drizzle of lemon and the garlic yoghurt, and the freshness of the parsley and pickles. You have to give this a try!

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Recipe

Ingredients

Dough
7g sachet of yeast
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch salt
Olive oil
Spiced Lentil Sauce
Olive oil
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
250g swiss brown or button mushrooms, roughly chopped
400g can brown lentils, rinsed and well drained
1 brown onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp sumac
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
Yoghurt Sauce
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 tbs lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Pickled Radishes
Bunch radishes, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbs sugar
Pinch of salt
To Serve
20g walnuts, roughly chopped
Bunch of parsley, leaves finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced on a mandolin
Lemon wedges
Pickled peppers

Method

For the dough, combine the yeast with 1/3 cup warm water and allow to stand for 10mins, until bubbles have formed on top.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the olive oil. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add the egg mixture and the yeast mixture to the flour. Stir briefly, until just combined. Cover with a towel and rest for 10mins.
Use olive oil to lightly oil a clean work surface and your hands. Turn dough out onto work surface and knead for 10secs, gently pushing it away form yourself and folding it back over. Return to the bowl and cover with the towel. Leave to rest for 15mins. Repeat this process twice more at 15min intervals. After the last kneading, cover again and leave to rise for an hour.
After an hour, divide the dough into four equal portions. Dust a clean work surface with flour and line two large baking trays with baking paper. With a rolling pin, roll the portions out into 30cm by 20cm rectangles (or whatever shape you manage). Place on the trays and cover with tea towels. Leave to rise for another 45mins.
Meanwhile, make the spiced lentil sauce.
Add the walnuts, the lentils, the mushrooms and some salt to a large food processor. Using the pulse action, process until just finely chopped, try not to turn it into a paste. In a large frying pan, over medium high heat, add a tbs of olive oil and add the lentil mixture. Cook, stirring, for about 10mins. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add another tbs of olive oil. Cook the onion, stirring, over medium heat, for 5 mins or until soft. Add the garlic and the chilli and cook, stirring, for a further minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, sugar, and some salt and pepper. Bring to the simmer, turn heat to low, and cook, stirring often, for about 10mins, or until thick and fragrant. Add the lentil mixture and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, combine the yoghurt with the garlic, lemon juice and salt. Stir well to combine. Leave in the fridge until needed.
In a medium bowl, combine the radishes with the vinegar, sugar and some salt. Using your hands, massage the radishes with the vinegar. Allow to sit, stirring every so often, for at least 30mins before serving (you can also make these up to 1 day ahead, stored in the fridge).
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Drizzle the 4 dough rectangles with a little olive oil. Spread with the lentil sauce, leaving about 2cm around the edges. Place in the oven and cook, for about 45mins, or until lentil sauce is dry on top and the edges of the dough are nice and golden brown.
To serve, top with the pickled radishes, sliced onion, parsley, walnuts, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of the yoghurt and the pickled peppers on the side. (I like to just put everything in the middle of the table and let people top their own)
Enjoy!