Category Archives: Vegetables

Broad Bean Salad, and Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

Broad Bean Salad

Broad Bean Salad

Last week, we had a busy time catching up with family and friends, entertaining grandsons and (shock, horror!!!) a couple of shifts of work for me.

My youngest son Daniel works at Cafe Aura in Traralgon so with one chef on holidays, and the boss off sick, they are very short staffed and got me in to do some prep work.

The first shift I worked was at really short notice-I had to take up a pair of black pants and get myself organised for a 9 am start after a 7.30 am wake up call from Daniel. I worked just over 5 hours and most of the shift was spent with my fingers either cramping up or threatening to. Not much fun.

Work

Work

The second shift I worked on Tuesday night was much, much better. I had lots of warning and did a nice mix of cooking on the grill and prep.

Saturday, Russ, grandson Rooke and I went to Melbourne for a family get together. Everyone took along either an appetiser, salad or dessert to share and meat for themselves to our Niece Yvonne and husband Stuart’s place. It was a fantastic afternoon catching up with everyone. Russ made us a crab dip using some of our picked frozen crab meat. It was really popular!

Family get together

Family get together

Sunday, we took our grandsons Kobie and Rooke to an open day at the Traralgon fire station. It was great-they got to use the hoses, sit in the fire truck, try on the breathing apparatus, we watched as they burned off a gas fire and saw the Skylift rise 42 metres in the sky. The boys got a free sausage, sticker, tattoos and cardboard cut out fire truck to

Fireman Kobie

Fireman Kobie

make.

This week’s been more of the same.

Wednesday I did kinder duty at Rooke’s kindergarten. I’ve done it once before and really enjoy it. I was in hospital as a new mum (of son Michael) with one of the kinder aides Di, so it’s been great to meet her again after maybe 24 years.

Zeus

Zeus

Thursday, we took Daniel’s beautiful big bull arab pup Zeus(he’s 10 months old) to the local car wash/dog wash for a bath. He was shampooed, rinsed, conditioned, flea rinsed and blow dried til he looked squeaky clean and smelled sweet.

Thursday night we went to a bbq with friends. I made a broad bean salad using our home cured bacon, and another crab dip.

Friday I worked 10 hours and today (Sat 22nd) I’m home now in the middle of my two shifts, so I’ll do another 10 or so hours.

Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

  • 1 cobb loaf (I really love Woolworths Onion and Parmesan one)
  • 1 cup crab meat (about)
  • 250 g block light Philly cheese
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup low fat whole egg mayo
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill leaves
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • a slug of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 400 g can of artichokes, drained, then squeezed really dry, chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

    Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

    Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 c
  2. Cut a lid from the cobb loaf, then carefully scoop or cut out most of the soft bread from the loaf and the lid.  Slice the scooped out bread into dipping sized pieces and put them and the loaf and lid on a baking tray and place in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile mix the remaining ingredients together and heat gently in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  4. Increase the heat of the oven to 180 c, then pour the mix into the cobb loaf shell and put back in the oven for about 15 minutes or until bubbling and browning on top.
  5. Serve with the dipping pieces, and the lid torn to bits.

Broad Bean Salad

  • 500 g packet frozen broad beans, cooked per packet instructions, cooled in cold water
  • 125g bacon, diced, cooked crispy, reserve rendered fat
  • 200 g feta cheese
  • 1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • zest of a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • oil, extra, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

    Broad Bean Salad

    Broad Bean Salad

Method

  1. Peel the cooled broad beans (gets rid of the tough khaki green outer skin to revel bright green inner flesh)
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring gently to combine. I use the bacon fat, making it up to two tablespoons with extra oil.
  3. Chill to allow the flavours to meld.

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Edamame and Mint Dip

Edamame and Mint Dip

Edamame and Mint Dip

I bought an edamame and mint dip in an English supermarket to take with us on our cruise on the Norfolk Broads. I enjoyed it so much, I kept the packaging so I could attempt to recreate it at home. I bought pre-cooked, frozen edamame pods at an Asian grocer in Perth and the rest of the ingredients are stuff we always have on hand.

The wind here in Streaky Bay today would blow a dog off its chain, so with no fishing for us, I thought I’d give the dip a go. I reckon my version is waaaay better than the commercial one we bought, so I’m blogging the recipe so I don’t forget about it.

Apart from being a relatively healthy and very tasty dip, I reckon it would be great on boiled spuds or as a different dressing over a potato salad. We’re having it tonight over the boiled spuds with fish and a salad.

Edamame and Mint Dip

    • 450g packet frozen, cooked edamame pods, defrosted, shelled
    • 1 cup frozen green peas, defrosted
    • 1 420 g can cannellini beans, drained
    • 1/4 cup low fat Greek Yoghurt
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup light cream cheese
    • Good pinch of salt
    • Good grinding of black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons lime juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint (I would use fresh but dried is what I had. You can use more if you really like mint)

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, crush with a potato masher
  2. Process with a stick blender until smooth, but still with a bit of texture
  3. Drizzle with a little olive oil (mine was garlic and chilli) and sprinkle with a little mint.

Spangled Emperor baked in tomato, olive, caper sauce.

Spangled Emperor baked in tomato, olive, caper sauce
Our Carnarvon tomatoes bought two weeks ago are well ripened and needing to be used. Yesterday, I took a kilo of the ripest and made a simple tomato sauce with them with the idea of baking some meaty fish fillets in it. I decided (after reading a Jamie Oliver recipe on line) some olives and capers would be a good inclusion along with the last of a bunch of basil also bought in Carnarvon.

We went over to Monkey Mia at 1pm today to crab for a couple of hours (came home with 10) so it was nice to know dinner was basically organised. The sun was just starting to set when we got home, so I grabbed the chance to try out a new lens I got for my camera the other day. I was really impressed with one of my photos-it shows a pile of salt in the background-that salt is about 20ks away across the bay!

Useless loop and that pile of salt are about 20ks away

Useless loop and that pile of salt are about 20ks away

Spangled Emperor Baked in Tomato, Olive, Caper Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (I had to use a red one)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1kg tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
  • large pinch mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Small handful basil leaves, torn
  • Handful of black olives-smash lightly with the flat of a knife and remove stone
  • 1 tablespoon capers.
  • Firm white fish fillets-enough for two (sauce could stretch to feed 4)
  • Spray oil
  • Cooked pasta or rice (I used risonni because I love it)
  • Chopped Parsley and lemon or lime to serve
Spangled Emperor in the pan

Spangled Emperor in the pan

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190c.
  2. Heat the oil add the onion and garlic and cook over a gentle heat until well softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine, stock powder, mixed spice and brown sugar, cook over a gentle heat until the tomatoes have broken down and you have a thickish sauce.
  4. Add the olives and capers, then pop the fish in on top of the sauce. Spray with the oil.
  5. Place in a preheated oven and cook for about 5 mins or until cooked through.
  6. Serve over pasta or rice with the parsley scattered over and lemon or lime on the side.

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Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot Salad

Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot Salad

Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot Salad

It was a windy morning, so after a luxury breakfast of perfectly ripe Carnarvon avocado and tomatoes on toast, I suggested to Russ we head out for a drive. I wanted to take some photos so he packed a rod and a few prawns to fish for whiting off the beach. I hate fishing off the beach for some reason, much preferring to be out on the water in any sized boat. As it turned out, I had more success with my photos than Russ did with his fishing lol.

We got in late for lunch so I decided it was the right day to make a Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot salad I’ve been planning to do for a while. I saw a recipe recently for something similar using rollmops and thought it’d be work with our home done stuff. The recipe I saw used green apple and dill leaves-I had neither so used an original dill pickle instead-giving me a bit of crunch and a subtle dill flavour. We pickle our own fish, so I have no idea what the weight of the fish I used was. I used a 340g salsa jar of it for the two of us. With us being late home, I used tinned potatoes-normally I would cook my own, but the tinned were fine.

After lunch we went fishing out the front amongst the moored fishing boats. Yesterday we caught at least 40 undersized pink snapper (about 6 were getting close) there, today I didn’t lose a bait!

Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot Salad

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fish pickling juice
  • 2 potatoes, diced, cooked, cooled (or cheat and use canned baby potatoes)
  • Pickled fish, enough for two, cut into bite sized pieces (that’s how we pickle ours)
  • 1 400g can baby beets, rinsed, quartered
  • 1 small red onion, sliced fine, or use some of the onion you pickled the fish with
  • 1 dill pickle (not a gherkin) diced fairly small
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or dill leaves
Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot Salad

Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot Salad

Method

  1. Combine the sour cream, yoghurt, horseradish, lemon juice, salt and pepper and enough pickling juice to thin the dressing a little.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients gently together in a bowl, fold through the dressing and serve.

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Ranch Eggs My Way

Ranch Eggs 4

Ranch Eggs 4

Our beautiful Carnarvon tomatoes are starting to ripen fast now. I made Saffron Tomato Relish yesterday; today I made Ranch Eggs for our brunch. I got the idea from a cafe in Daylesford-they practically gave me the recipe via the menu description of their dish. I added the spices and flavourings I thought were in it (or should be). We love it so much, I’m making the full recipe of sauce and will pop it in the fridge for another day soon. At the moment we have a lot of premium leg ham vacuum sealed and in the fridge, so I’m using it instead of chorizo (I’ve also added 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika to make up for the lack of chorizo). Ham is not quite as good, but I believe in using what’s at hand!

Ranch Eggs

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 chorizo sausage, skinned, quartered length ways then sliced thinly (or bacon, prosciutto or ham-whatever you have!)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 green capsicum, diced (about 1/2 inch dice)
  • 1 kg tomato, peeled and diced
  • 1 red chilli, minced
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced and boiled until just tender
  • juice of half a lime
  • handful of chopped fresh coriander (or parsley if you wish)
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (or more if you fancy it)
  • Fresh crusty bread or toast to serve

Method

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  1.  Preheat oven to 190c.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion and chorizo until the onion is well softened. Add the garlic and green pepper, cook a couple of minutes stirring, then add the tomatoes, chilli, brown sugar and cumin. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook for around 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken up and cooked down a little, then add the cooked diced potato and lime juice and cook a couple of minutes more, stir through the chopped coriander.
  4. Spoon into 4, two cup ramekins or gratin dishes, break 2 eggs into each and top each with about 1/4 cup of cheese.
  5. Bake until the eggs are done to your liking starting to check after about 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with the bread or toast (yummy dipped in the dish).

Denham, Shark Bay, Monkey Mia

Sunset from our van

Sunset from our van

Yesterday, we arrived in Denham for a 5 week stay. Maybe more of you know it as Shark Bay, or know of its near neighbour Monkey Mia-famous for dolphin feeding.

When we first started travelling, we managed to get here about 6 winters in a row, but haven’t visited in three years now, so it feels good to be back. I have to stop myself feeling sad though about all the people we met in the early years who aren’t here now through death, illness or old age.

The boat and trailer are organised and ready to go, it’s a pity the weather hasn’t cooperated. It was just too windy to take the tinny out. At times like this, we can usually go over to Monkey Mia and crab and fish but the direction of the wind even put paid to that. We used the spare time to catch up on a couple of weeks worth of laundry and make Chilli Jam from the lovely chillies we bought at a farm gate in Carnarvon on Friday. We also bought tomatoes so it’ll be chutney next!

5 Cup Chilli Jam

5 Cup Chilli Jam

After accepting it was too cold and windy to fish, we took a drive out to Monkey Mia to see it’s still there and check out the boat ramp. Our friend Beaty here in the park told us her neighbour caught 34 crabs there this morning so of course WE are off to try and do the same tomorrow!

Shark Bay on the way home from Monkey Mia

Shark Bay on the way home from Monkey Mia

While we were organising dinner, I looked out the window to see the most amazing sunset we’ve ever seen here. I raced out with the camera and found everyone out of every caravan, 5th wheeler tent and motor home out taking photos as well. Then Russ took the camera up to the dunes for a few more photos. We reckon it almost rivaled the sunset at Mt Augusta the other night! Once again, that amazing colour is EXACTLY how it was-not post editing!

Our salad at dinner tonight was made using more of the lovely stuff we bought in Carnarvon-pumpkin, and the best rocket you’ll ever buy-from Morels in town. I know the sauce is the similar to last nights that we had over the eggplant dish, but it works so well with this salad I had to do it. I would add fetta or bocconchini to the salad if I had them but I didn’t! You could use spinach instead of rocket, but I like rocket the best.

Pumpkin and Rocket Salad

  • 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint (all I have on hand or I’d use fresh)
  • 1 teaspoons runny honey
  • 2 cups diced Pumpkin
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunky wedges, then separated
  • 1 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small can baby beets, washed, drained and halved or quartered (rinsing them stops them bleeding through the salad)
Pumpkin and Rocket Salad

Pumpkin and Rocket Salad

Method

  1. Mix the yoghurt, honey and mint together. Pop in the fridge.
  2. Preheat your oven to 190c
  3. Toss the pumpkin, onion, cumin, paprika and pine nuts in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread on a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender (but not mushy)
  5. Arrange the rocket on a platter, add the roasted veg, scatter the baby beets then drizzle over the yoghurt mix and serve.

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Middle Eastern Style Spiced Stuffed Eggplant

Middle Eastern Style Stuffed Eggplant

Middle Eastern Style Stuffed Eggplant

I actually wanted to have Fish Tacos again tonight but our avocados bought at Morels in Carnarvon will take a few days to ripen. So I decided to stuff one of our gorgeous big, fat, fresh, shiny eggplants bought at one of the plantations on South Road for $1 instead. The chillis and parsley were also bought at the farm gate. I didn’t have a recipe, but did have a fair idea what would work.

My recipe is just for two but would be pretty easy to double. If you don’t have Ras El Hanout-google it it’s pretty easy to make your own, and if you don’t have the harissa once again you can make it, or just use chilli instead. My harissa would blow your brains out so I use it quite sparingly.

Middle Eastern Style Spiced Stuffed Eggplant

  • 1 large eggplant, halved then most of the middle scooped out leaving a shell about 1 inch(2.5cm) thick. Reserve the scooped out flesh, chop well
  • 1 tablespoon oil, plus extra to brush the eggplant shell before baking
  • 250g mince (I always use heart smart)
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed (we love garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (you could toast them but I don’t bother)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Ras El Hanout
  • 1/2 teaspoon harissa
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (not sure this is very authentic but I like it)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons water
Middle Eastern Style Stuffed Eggplant

Middle Eastern Style Stuffed Eggplant

Yoghurt Sauce

  • 1 cup natural yoghurt (I use low fat Greek Style
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint flakes (all I had)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • minced chilli to taste

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190c
  2. Brush the eggplant shells with extra olive oil, place on a baking tray and cook in the oven about 30 minutes or until well softened but not collapsed.
  3. While the eggplant is cooking, get on with the rest.
  4. Mix all the Yoghurt Sauce ingredients together and pop in the fridge.
  5. Heat the oil and cook the mince and onion until the onion is softened. Add the garlic and cook stirring a couple of minutes more.
  6. Add the pine nuts and stir about 5 minutes or until you see some/most of the pine nuts browning.
  7. Add the salt, Ras El Hanout and harissa and stir another minute. Stir through the tomato paste and cook a further minute or two, then add the lemon juice and reserved eggplant pulp.
  8. Cook, stirring for about 10 minutes over a medium heat. Add a little water if the meat seems too dry.
  9. When the eggplant shells are done, pile the meat mix into them and serve with the Yoghurt Sauce.

We served ours with couscous which went well with it all.