Duck and Pumpkin Bowl

Duck and Pumpkin Bowl

Duck is a beautifully rich meat that is packed with flavour. If you enhance that with other complimentary ingredients then you can create a real showstopper. Play around with citrus and chili or keep things simple and fresh like this recipe! 


Ingredients:

For the Bowl:

  • 1 small butternut, quartered and seeds removed
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 duck breasts
  • 1 handful fresh mint leaves
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 80g pistachios, shelled and chopped
  • ½ cup red cabbage, sliced

For the dressing:

  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 1 fresh red chilli, chopped (discard the seeds if you don’t like heat)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the butternut and onion in a roasting tray with 1 tablespoons of coconut oil. Mix together the chili flakes, coriander, and cinnamon and sprinkle over the vegetables, tossing together with the oil until evenly covered. Season to taste.

Pop the roasting tray into the oven and roast for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the onions, crispy bits are delicious but burnt is never tasty.

While the vegetables are roasting, place the duck breast, skin side down, into a large frying pan. Place the pan over medium heat. You want the pan to be cold and heat up with the duck in it. (Cooking tip: when you are cooking a high-fat meat, cook it without adding oil as it will cook in its own fat). Cook for ten minutes. The duck skin will slowly render and crisp, cooking out the fat. Once the skin is a golden colour and looks crispy, turn the breasts over and cook for a further three minutes. When done, remove the breasts and place on a wooden board. Cover with foil and let rest for five minutes.  Once rested, slice into half centimeter pieces.

In a large bowl, toss together the mint and spinach.

In a separate cup mix together all the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the mint and spinach leaves to make a salad base for your bowl.

Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven when done. Roughly chop the butternut and add the onions to the salad base and toss together. I like to add my butternut on top later separately for presentation, otherwise, you can just roughly chop it up and add in with the onions.

Finish off with the duck, red cabbage, coriander, and pistachios and enjoy.  

Health fact:

Pistachios have fewer calories than any other nut and they are a rich source of potassium and vitamin K. Potassium works to regulate fluid balance in the cells and body. Remember that raw and unsalted is always the best.

-Melissa 

Brie stuffed artichokes

Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes

This week has been simply manic and I  must admit as grateful as I am to be busy it does make me miss my kitchen and question my sanity. Cooking by myself with some music on in the background is everything to me. Its like a zen meditation that I get to do. It doesn't happen often but I get these slight moment where I doubt myself. Im not sure if you get them? Where I have this chaotic life and then in the hast I think to myself, am I doing the right thing? Can I really create this food dream that I work so hard for. Do I have the talent in my kitchen to be creative and take on a dish that I haven't made before as well as develop it? All these questions come rushing in all at the same time when I have these moments. It is so hard with social media to not doubt myself. I find myself in a moment of hesitation comparing myself to other creatives which is creative death in my opinion, yet I still do it. 

Then I enter my kitchen and I can breath. I find a moment where everything makes sense and I know what I am doing is being done in the best way that I know how. I remind myself to take a second and acknowledge myself for how far I have come and how much I have learnt. I force myself to look up from my phone and away from my social media. To rather look inward at my talent and not at everyone else's. I know that no matter what happens, or how crazy life gets that I just need to keep cooking. 

On that note I found these amazing artichokes at the farmers market this past weekend and knew I wanted to be creative with them. They are so beautiful to shoot. I have never cooked with artichokes before but I know that I love to eat them. The result is juicy moorish cheesy artichokes that are the most fun to eat and delectable! They are best served with a great white wine as the richness of the cheese is perfectly paired with the wine! 

After I made these I had to remind myself that I've got this. That I can do this and that it isn't that bad if you have a good glass of wine in your hand and a delicious meal!  


Ingredients:

  • 5 medium artichokes
  • ½ cup of cream
  • 250 grams Brie cheese, diced with rind on
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Honey to serve

 

For the bread crumb topping:

  • 2 slices of thick cut sourdough bread, torn into fine pieces
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Bring a pot of salted water to boil.

Cut the stems of your artichokes so that they have a flat base. Trim the leaves slightly. The base of the leaf is edible so don’t cut it all off. Once trimmed, pop the artichokes into the pot and boil for 15-20 minutes. Once ready drain and set aside in the colander.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In a small saucepan over a low heat add the cream, Brie, and Parmesan. Melt all the ingredients together until soft and creamy.  Remove from heat and while whisking add the egg yolk and cayenne pepper to taste.

Cut the artichokes in half or leave some whole if you prefer. Place them on a roasting tray lined with wax paper. Pull the leaves outward opening them up like a flower. Fill the artichokes with the creamy cheese sauce. Make sure you fill all the grooves!  

In a separate bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, pistachios, butter and oregano. Sprinkle over the top of the artichokes. 

Bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm with fresh lemon zest on top! Of course, add a beautiful glass of white wine!

-Melissa 

Roasted cauliflower and chickpea soup

Roasted cauliflower and chickpea soup
Roasted cauliflower and chickpea soup

I am going through a major chickpea phase at the moment. MAJOR.

Lately, I have spent a great deal of time playing with this delightful little legume also known as the garbanzo bean. 

Admittedly, I have never given it its due credit.  Chickpea's are packed with protein and are high in fiber. 

You can add them to all sorts of meals or simply have on their own as a snack. 

Over the past few weeks, I have roasted them, blended them, fried them, and well, eaten them fresh. What a treat!

The kitchen has been covered with hummus curries and all things chickpea so much so that I even started considering chickpeas as the holy grail of legumes. Thankfully, I'm an equal opportunist when it comes to pulses and legumes so there is a lot of love to go around.

I recently partnered up with Woolworths to share this incredible (and hearty) soup that was born out of the chaos of my kitchen. 

This soup is unashamedly the love child of a roasted cauliflower and (roasted) chickpea and it is nothing short of perfection.

At the risk of sounding like a tag line for a coffee creamer commercial from the 80's, It boasts roasted chickpeas both inside and on top of it. 

Say goodbye to the stock standard croutons of yesteryear and welcome the roasted chickpea of tomorrow! 

Not only does the chickpea have better health benefits; they are able to replace less than ideal snacks and accompanyments with just as much flavour.

You can eat them solo with some grated Parmesan on! (I recommend a 3 year aged Parmesan), spice up the mundane nut bowl in your life or you can include them in salads and soups! 

I feel like this blog post should come with a warning sign.

WARNING: Chickpeas are slightly addictive.


Serves 6, cook time: 1h 30m

Ingredients:

  • 2 tins of chickpeas
  • 2 cauliflower heads
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ an onion, chopped
  • 3 potatoes peeled and chopped.
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 liter vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup of Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius 

Rinse and dry your chickpeas. Keep the tins separate as you are going to roast them separately. 

Separate your cauliflower heads into florets. 

Put your cauliflower and 1 tin of chickpeas onto a roasting tray. Drizzle with Olive oil and toss. Make sure you don’t over do the oil. 

Sprinkle your cumin and paprika over and roast for 30 minutes. Tossing the tray at the 15 minutes mark. 

In a large pot over a medium heat add a tablespoon of olive oil, the garlic and onion and fry until soft. Add your potatoes and fry for a further 5-10 minutes stirring often. 

Once your cauliflower and chickpeas are roasted add them to your pot. 

Add your last tin of chickpeas to the roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes, tossing them every 10 minutes or so. 

Add the vegetable stock to the pot and top up with boiling water.

Let simmer for 30 minutes. Blend the soup using an immersion blender.

Add your Parmesan and stir. 

Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the chickpeas from the oven. You can grate Parmesan over them and have them as a snack and serve the rest of them as a crunch to your soup. 

Serve soup hot topped with chickpeas, Parmesan and black pepper. 

-Melissa

*This blog post is sponsored by Woolworths all opinions are my own

Citrus, Fennel and Avo salad

Citrus, Fennel and Avo salad
Citrus, Fennel and Avo salad
Citrus, Fennel and Avo salad
Citrus, Fennel and Avo salad
Citrus, Fennel and Avo salad
Citrus, Fennel and Avo salad

I am not a big believer in taking artificial vitamins. In fact I don’t take them at all. When it comes to vitamins I believe in turning to real food. Food can have amazing medicinal properties in its purest form! Why not opt for fresh fruit that is packed with healthy vitamins rather than swallowing a pharmaceutical (the size of a horse tranquilizer) that claims to have all the supplements your body needs?

Mmmm I’m not convinced. With winter banging down the door and our bodies needing extra support, this dish is one for the whole family to keep their bodies strong. 

One of the most effective cold and flu fighters is Vitamin C. 
I paired up with Woolworths on an exciting dish that is packed with this winter warrior and bursts with the fresh flavour that so many of us crave after weeks of consuming bowls of stew brimming with meat and potatoes. 
Woolies have such a great variety of fresh citrus in store. This salad pairs perfectly with a delicious fresh piece of fish, which will offer you protein, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.


Ingredients:

Dehydrated Orange:

  • 1 orange halved and thinly sliced, about 4mm

Salad:

  • 4 oranges, peeled
  • 2 grapefruit, peeled
  • 75 grams pomegranate seeds
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (do not use the leaves)
  • 3 avocado
  • 6 sprigs of mint

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 small lemon, juiced 

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 100 degrees Celsius.

Place the thinly sliced oranges on a cooling rack and pop them in the oven for 1 hour. Keep an eye on them as this can vary due to slice thickness and oven accuracy. You want them to still be tacky but crisp!  

Using a sharp knife segment your oranges and grapefruit. Remove the membrane from each individual piece. Put the segments in a bowl. Don’t be too rough with them, as all the juice will escape!

For this recipe I used the Woolworths pomegranate seeds (A lovely cheat!)

If you bought your pomegranate whole, cut the top off and score 2cm down the side. Get a big bowl of water and crack the pomegranate open under the water. This will help with the mess. Release the seeds from the compartments. Once done, the seeds will sink and the husk will float! Set the seeds aside.

Peel and slice your avocados. Drizzle with lemon to prevent browning.

On a large platter you are going to layer your salad.

This salad does not do well tossed, as it will become too soggy. Layer your citrus and your fennel with your avocado and pomegranate and top with your mint leaves and dehydrated citrus chips for decoration!

For the dressing, mix all the ingredients together and drizzle just before serving!   

Serve with a prefect piece of fresh fish!

-Melissa 

*This blog post was sponsored by Woolworths. All opinions are my own.

Source: www.thetrufflejournal.com/citrus-fennel-and-avo-salad