Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Recipe: Meatless Monday - Summery black bean salad

I love this recipe because it combines some of my favourite things in the world: avocado, mango, haloumi & coriander.  And just check out those colours!  This served 2 hungry adults as a main meal.  The avocado and haloumi will satisfy hunger pangs, so don't worry about there not being enough food.  


A can of black beans, if you can find them, or a cup of cooked beans (you can substitute other beans like kidney or cannellini) 1 medium avocado, cut into 2 cm cubes
1 mango, cut into 2cm cubes

1/2 red capsicum
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
I cup chopped fresh coriander

180g haloumi (1 packet), sliced
1 or 2 shallots, finely sliced (I didn't use them coz I'm not a fan of the onion family)


Sear the haloumi in a frying pan or on the bbq for a couple of minutes each side until golden.  If you cook the beans you will need to allow cooking time. Black beans take about 50 mins but  I had some left over from my  Enchilada Bake recipe which I had in the freezer.  Alternatively, canned beans are much quicker but make sure you rinse and drain them well. 

Toss all ingredients together and voile!  You and a friend are the proud owners of one healthy, colourful, more-ish meal.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Recipe - Meatless Monday: Crunchy Vietnamese salad with noodles

I saw this recipe in the Taste liftout of the Australian a couple of weeks back and it reminded me how much I love a Vietnamese salad with all its crunchy raw ingredients and fresh flavours, enhanced by the mint and coriander.  I must confess however, the fried noodles, whilst crunchy AND delicious, kind of tipped me over the edge, so next time I think I will omit them.  I'm trying to consciously eat a lot more raw food so bolstering the veggies and taking out the noodles results in a healthy, crunch-filled salad with bite. My favourite kind.


  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 Chinese cabbage (wombok), finely shredded (the recipe recommended a mandolin but I found it was more difficult & messy than just shredding with a knife)
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • 1 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups bean sprouts, picked
  • 100g fried egg noodles (optional)

Combine chilli, rice wine vinegar and sugar in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Increase heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes to slightly reduce. Set aside to cool completely.  If you're time poor and you want an Asian style dressing, you can cheat with (organic) sweet chilli sauce, a bit of rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.

Toss all the remaining ingredients together, then add the chilli dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately as the fried noodles will eventually soften.

To add protein for a more filling meal, add sliced tofu, or if you're not a Meatless Monday fan, sliced barbequed chicken breast.  2 hungry adults ate about 2/3 of the salad (dressed separately in individual bowls, noodles added last; and I added chicken to the leftover salad ingredients the following day for lunch, sans noodles, with the cheats dressing.  Needless to say, it was just as crunchy and tasty.  This could be my new favourite salad!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Recipe - Meatless Monday: Apple berry crumble

Berries, berries, berries. I'm a bit loopy for strawberries at the moment and super-excited that they will be in season until Christmas. Hoorah!

One of our favourite desserts is an Apple Berry Crumble. It’s a cinch to make but watch out, it is quite filling and could tip you over the edge if you don't pace yourself before hand.  Otherwise you'll be pushing through the pain barrier ;-)

Filling Ingredients
6 Pink Lady apples, peeled & cut into 1 cm wedges
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon water
400g fresh strawberries 
(can be substituted for frozen berries when not in season; I added a handful of mixed berries for interest)

Crumble ingredients
1 cup plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup hazelnut or almond  meal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
100g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled


Preheat oven to 200°C or 180°C fan forced. Lightly grease 4 small ramekins.

Place apples, sugar, lemon juice, orange zest and water in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer for around 10 minutes until the apple starts softening a little.  Add berries and cook for a a further 5 minutes. 

With a slotted spoon remove the berries and place in ramekins and continue cooking the liquid for a further 10 minutes until thicker.  Pour the liquid equally into the ramekins and set aside for about 20 minutes to cool.

Combine flour, sugar, hazelnut/almond meal and cinnamon in a large bowl. With clean, dry hands, rub the butter into the dry mixture or process in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Being lazy, I used my lovely Kitchenaide food processor ;-)

Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the fruit. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the crumble is crunchy and golden.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or double cream.

Strawberries, apples, almond meal & lemon all available from our Gold Coast and Bondi Junction markets.

Recipe - Meatless Monday: Black bean enchilada bake

I haven't really cooked Mexican since I started reading labels in the supermarket aisles and recoiled with horror at the list of numbers, preservatives & unpronouncables on the back of Taco seasoning mix.  As I'd never really given it much thought I assumed I couldn't recreate Mexican flavouring with natural ingredients.  Not only was I wrong, but I realised I've been missing out all this time, dang!  However, now is as good a time as any to get back on the Mexican horse and ride it into the kitchen.

I'd also go out on a limb & suggest the basic flavours could be adapted for tacos & burritos. Arriba!


2 cups chopped onion (I used only one small cocktail onion & the flavour was fine)
1 1/2 cups chopped red capsicum
2 zucchini, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup salsa or good quality tomato passata
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup black beans or a 400g tin if you can find them
3 square corn wraps (the recipe called for 12 6-inch corn tortillas but I preferred to use wraps without numbers & preservatives, alternative you could use those flat round corn chips)
2 cups grated cheese
fresh coriander leaves to garnish (optional)
3 tomatoes chopped (optional)
1/2 cup sour cream or natural yogurt (optional)
1/2 cup sliced black olives (optional)


Preheat oven to 180/350 degrees.

Measure 1 cup black beans & cook in boiling water for around 50 minutes, until they are soft.  Combine onion pepper, garlic, salsa, cumin, zucchini and black beans in large skillet and bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes.

Place one corn wrap in the bottom of a 23cm (9 in) square baking dish. Spread half of bean mixture over tortillas and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat layering process with remaining wrap, bean mixture and cheese.

Cover dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with tomatoes, sour cream and olives if you're not watching your weight. Vegans can leave out the cheese & yogurt and use a vegan cheese with nutritonal yeast or just leave it out entirely.  I served the bake with yogurt, coriander and a big green salad.  Served 2 hungry adults with 1 serving leftover to freeze. Adapted from the recipe found on