“Curry Con Carne”

The other day there was 200g of premium beef mince in our fridge that needed to be used. So I let my nose and intuition guide me and came up with this curried version of Chilli Con Carne.

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My husband and I had already eaten, so I prepared the “curry” in under 20 minutes (it’s that easy), popped it in the fridge, and invited a dear friend to come and stay the following night so that we could reheat it and enjoy it together.

Because food is always better enjoyed and digested in fine company!

A few thoughts before we get down to business

Firstly, about meat portion sizes. The recommended daily intake of red meat for an adult is about 70 grams – much less than many people consume in one sitting. This recipe is great in that it combines meat with legumes for a lighter portion of meat per person, as well as “stretching” the meal out to feed more people. Another thing I like about the legumes in this recipe, called Black-Eyed Beans, is that they are deliciously al-dente and provide a lovely firm bite alongside the softer mince.

Secondly, about having a great supply of spices. If you want to be a great cook, spend the money on stoking up on a wide range of fragrant herbs and spices. Your cooking will benefit from the vast range of flavours that you can create, using natural, whole food ingredients, as long as you have a pantry full of little boxes of spicy goodness.

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A versatile dish

My dear friend Lucy and I enjoyed this meal simply, with grated carrot, zucchini, cheese, a dollop of sour cream, a squeeze of lemon, bound together with a fresh lettuce cup. This was a meal that was completely satisfying, with no grains, and full of wholesome vegetables. Fantastic for the body and mind!

My husband enjoyed the leftovers the next morning by reheating the Curry Con Carne in a pan, cracking in two eggs and covering the pan to allow the eggs to cook in the Curry mixture; reminiscent of the dish Shakshouka. Mr B served his meal on a bed of spinach with a squeeze of lemon. He wished there was enough for seconds!

Without further ado, here is this simple recipe:

Curry Con Carne

Ingredients

2t fenugreek seeds

1t coriander seeds

1t turmeric

1/4t ground ginger

1 large clove of garlic

1 onion, diced

1-2T coconut oil for frying

200g premium beef mince

1 can of organic black-eyed beans

Salt and pepper

Method

1. Over a medium-low heat, gently toast the fenugreek and coriander seeds until the seeds start to darken and become quite fragrant (about 3-4 minutes).

2. Add 1T coconut oil to the pan. Spoon in the turmeric and ginger and allow the spice mixture to cook to further release the aroma.

3. Add the diced onion, stirring occasionally while the onions become translucent, followed a few minutes later by the garlic. More oil may also be necessary at this point if mixture starts to stick to the pan.

4. Now add the mince, quickly breaking it up in the pan with a wooden spoon. Then allow the meat to cook for 5 -7 minutes largely undisturbed.

5. Finally, add the black-eyed beans and season liberally with salt and pepper.

6. Cook on a low heat for another 5 or so minutes, and then presto! It’s time to eat.

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Roasted Garlic, Cauliflower and Fennel Soup

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This soup is a winner. It has the perfect amount of zingy- and creamy-ness to make one’s taste buds tickle. It’s also perfect for Meat-Free Monday, and upping your family’s vegetable intake!

 

Ingredients

2 small cauliflowers, chopped

1 fennel bulb, chopped

8 whole garlic cloves, peeled

Coconut oil for roasting and frying

2t carraway seeds

1 1/2t coriander seeds

1 1/2t paprika

3/4t cinnamon

1/2t ground chilli

500mL vegetable stock

1L (or more) water

2 lemons, zest and juice

 

Method

1. Lay the cauliflower, fennel and garlic cloves in a large baking tray, and drizzle with coconut oil. Roast in a moderate oven (about 170-180 degrees celsius) for approximately 40 minutes; until tender and nutty.

2. Sauté the onion in some coconut oil to tenderise. Add all the spices and sauté until the mixture emits a heightened aroma.

3. Add the roasted cauliflower, fennel and garlic, 500mL of vegetable stock, and 1L of water. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so.

4. Your soup is almost ready! Turn off the element and allow to cool for a bit. Pop in the lemon zest and juice, season with salt and pepper, and blend using a hand blender. Otherwise, if using a regular blender, be sure the lid is on securely. (Hot soup moving at fast velocity burns!) You may wish to add more water during blending, to achieve desired consistency.

5. Serve your delicious, creamy and zingy soup with a drizzle of olive oil, another squeeze of lemon juice and toasted rye bread soldiers.

Lamb Koftas with Eggs

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This is a satisfying, protein-filled brunch.

Lamb Koftas

Makes about 11.

400g premium lamb mince
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 egg
1.5 pieces middle bacon, rind cut off, finely diced
1t cumin ground cumin seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste
Coconut oil for frying

Put all ingredients into a bowl, and mix well using your hands.

To make the koftas, take about two tablespoons of the mixture and mould into oblong shapes. Fry in coconut oil on a medium-high heat.

Turn the koftas every 5-7 minutes so that they become well browned on all sides. When cooked through (about 20 minutes) remove from the pan. Serve immediately.

We enjoyed ours with mesculin leaves drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sliced tomatoes and fried eggs. Hearty and healthy, this brunch will satisfy and energise for the day ahead!

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Fabulous Fattoush with Fish

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I’ve been devouring Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cook book at the moment. Jerusalem,The Holy City, fought over by nations and religious groups, a melting pot of culture, ethnicity, language, religion and cuisine. It seems to be a vibrant patchwork quilt of traditions. What a fascinating place it must be!

So I am inspired to use middle eastern flavours and traditional dishes. Today I had a friend for lunch. We had Fattoush, served with lightly pan-fried fish.

Fattoush is an Arabian salad, typically made with diced vegetables, yoghurt, spices and leftover pita bread (which soaks up the juices, similar to croutons). I wanted to avoid grains in our meal today, and so created a delicious alternative using toasted seeds in place of the bread. The result was crunchy, juicy and satisfying. The texture of the toasted seeds are a wonderful contrast to the juicy vegetables, and mop up the spicy yoghurt dressing more-than-adequately.

Fabulous Fattoush

1/2C acidophilus Greek yoghurt
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled and diced
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 C diagonally sliced spring onion
Handful mint leaves, finely diced
Handful parsley, roughly chopped
Large handful of baby lettuce leaves, shredded
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
Juice of half a lemon
2T apple cider vinegar
3T Arabic spices of your choice – I used cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, coriander, nutmeg
1/4t chilli powder
1/2C toasted sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds
Pepper and salt to taste

Place all diced vegetables and herbs in a bowl, apart from the baby lettuce.
In a separate bowl, combine the garlic, yoghurt, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar together to make a dressing.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables.
Add the spices and seeds, season with salt and pepper, and now stir to combine. Add the shredded lettuce and gently stir again to distribute evenly.

Serves 2-4

Pesto Baked Chicken with Prosciutto

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A lovely way to use homemade pesto, like my Parmesan, Parsley and Pistachio Pesto, is this Italian flavoured dish. It is delightfully flavoursome and deceptively straightforward to prepare.

Pesto Baked Chicken with Prosciutto

Serves 6-8

8 free-range boneless, skinless chicken breasts
200g prosciutto
3 or 4 shallots, peeled and quartered
1 whole head of garlic
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, halved
Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
5T Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Squeeze of lemon

– Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with paper.
– To stuff the chicken breasts, find the natural pocket on the underside of each chicken breast and enlarge slightly with hands or a knife. Fill the pocket with approximately 1T of pesto.
– Wrap each chicken breast in a few lengths of prosciutto. Place chicken breasts in the oven tray.
– Separate individual garlic cloves but do not peel them. Smash each clove once with the flat side of your knife, to loosen the skin slightly, and cut off the hard end. Toss the cloves into the tray with the chicken.
– Toss the peeled and quartered shallots, the sundried tomatoes and parsley into the tray.
– Drizzle generously with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.

I served this with a simple spinach, basil, tomato and haloumi salad, drizzled with olive oil and white wine vinegar. Yum!

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Pumpkin-top Lamb Curry Pie

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Today for dinner all I wanted was pie. Hot, tasty, comforting pie. Ever in search of making food more creative and more nourishing, I made a dairy and gluten free pie using only whole food ingredients. So not only does this special pie suit all dietary requirements, it is sweet, creamy, and scrumptious.

For the pastry I have used only almond meal, coconut oil and eggs. Coconut oil has many health benefits, one being that it is able to be converted directly into energy by the liver, and therefore is less likely to be stored as body fat. Almond meal (simply ground almonds) offers all the nutrients that are packed into almonds: vitamin E, copper, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron. These nutrients are essential to many bodily functions – including skin and nail health and function.

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

Pie Filling

1kg lamb leg steak, cut into chunks
3 onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3T fresh ginger, finely chopped
3T mild curry powder
2T mixed spice
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
400g tin crushed tomatoes
3T tomato paste
165mL coconut cream
2C beef or lamb stock
3T coconut oil (for frying)

Pie Crust

350g almond meal
3T coconut oil
2 eggs

Pie Topping

2/3 medium butternut pumpkin, grated without skin
1T coconut oil

Method

I recommend chopping and preparing all ingredients before starting to cook. This makes the process more enjoyable and relaxed, and you are less likely to come out the other side with a kitchen that resembles a bomb site!

– Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
– In a deep pan, brown the lamb in batches and set aside.
– Lightly fry the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and spices in a few tablespoons of coconut oil, stirring regularly to avoid burning. Keep a eye on this as the spices suck up a lot of moisture.
– When the onion is translucent and the spices are fragrant, put the browned lamb back into the pan. Follow with the stock, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and coconut cream.
– Allow the curry to simmer for half an hour while the other ingredients are prepared.

To make the pastry, simply combine all ingredients in a food processor. Mould the pastry thinly to the base and sides of the pie dish. Prick the base with a fork, and blind bake in the hot oven for 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn oven down to 180.

Grate pumpkin and combine with 1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, to encourage it to bind together a bit more when baked.

Spoon the curry into the prepared pastry base. Cover with the pumpkin topping and press down lightly with your hands.

Pop the pie into the oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with a light green salad. Torn kale leaves, lettuce and crunchy cucumber compliment the creamy, sweet pumpkin perfectly. Enjoy!

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