Salad of Fish, Baby Spinach & Eggplant Fritters

A different kind of offering to your standard fish & chips!

The eggplant looked really good at the shop the other day, so I bought it without having a clue what I wanted to do with it, only that I’ve really missed plucking these delectable delights from my own garden, oh how I miss our wee veggie patch, so this is what I came up with.

First, you’ll need to peel & slice an eggplant into round discs. Lay them out on paper towel & sprinkle a generous layer of salt over them. This draws out all the bitter liquid so definitely not a step to skip! Place another paper towel over the top & leave them be for a good 15 minutes. After which, simply pat off all the excess salt & liquid from the eggplant discs.

Now they’re ready to crumb.

In one bowl make up an egg wash, so that’s 2 cracked eggs with a splash of milk & don’t forget to season generously with salt & white pepper before whisking.

In a second bowl, pop in whatever crumb floats your boat & also remember to season generously with salt & white pepper.

Dip an eggplant disc into the egg wash, then the crumb to completely coat it, & set aside. Repeat with all the discs.

Heat enough oil that it covers the entire bottom of your frypan & a wee bit more. We’re shallow frying people! Get those eggplant fritters in, cooking one side at a time before turning to the other side then setting aside to drain off any excess oil. Now I just sit a cooling wire over an oven baking tray to drain things when I fry, but plenty of people like to use good old paper towel too.

Now for the fish.

Into a plastic bag place about a tablespoon of flour & season it generously with salt, white pepper & paprika. Toss in a sliced up fish fillet & shake, shake, shake to coat all those fishy pieces!

Shallow fry off the fish in the same oil as you used for the eggplant & set them aside to drain as well while you crack on with the spinach.

Heat a good glug of Extra Virgin Olive Oil ever so gently in a small wok, or pan, whatever you have to hand, & fry off a couple of cloves of garlic before tossing in 500g of baby spinach leaves until they wilt down nicely. Take that off the heat & transfer into a mixing bowl. Season with salt & white pepper before finally squeezing over the juice of half a lemon & give it a jolly good toss to combine all those luscious flavours through.

So, I plop a healthy amount of spinach in the bottom of my bowl before crowning with the fried delights.

On a side note, you probably don’t want to do what I did on this one which is to take a lovely photo to share, be half way through greedily devouring the meal & suddenly remember the cheese sitting on the bench which was supposed to go on top! Crumbled Fetta would of been lovely over this dish. Cest la vie.

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Taco Pizza

The perfect partnership for Friday night drinks!

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Honestly…..what else can be said about this glorious mash up of two totally fabuliciouz fav’s except GET IN MY BELLY!

This recipe is so deadset simple even Mini-Me can make it so either get the kids in the kitchen for a family night or keep it up your sleeve for when you need that post night out munchie fix getting home!

Simply brown off 500g of chicken mince in a hot frypan, seasoning with an entire packet (30g) of Taco Seasoning Mix & then set that aside.

Grab a bowl & mix together 1 can of refried beans with 1/2 cup of salsa then spread that onto a pizza base to use as your sauce.

Sprinkle with some shredded cheddar cheese then pop the spiked up mince on top before, go on, being generous again with the shredded cheddar cheese, yeah?! If you’re going to do it, you may as well do it properly!

Pop the pizza into a 220c oven for 20 minutes, or whatever your prepared pizza crust instructions say.

Meanwhile, we’re not done yet! What does every good taco have on top???? The SALAD!

Into a mixing bowl goes 1 diced up tomato along with a shredded iceberg lettuce. Add in 1 cup of sour cream & give it a jolly good mix to coat evenly.

When the pizza comes out of the oven, adorn it with the salad & crown it gloriously with slices of creamy avocado.

 

Skordalia

This Greek garlic potato dip is simply perfect served with refreshing cucumber sticks or sweet cooked prawns.

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Skordalia is, quite honestly, such an easy & fabuliciouzly different dip to add WOW factor to any table. It’s lovely warm but you can make this the day before you want to serve it & just keep it well covered in the fridge.

Start by steaming 500g worth of peeled & chopped potatoes until they’re lovely & tender before giving them a good mash up.

Then add in 4 teaspoons of minced garlic (or 4 cloves if you’re prepared to crush them yourself) along with 60g of almond meal. Beat that lot really well with your wooden spoon to combine.

This recipe is going to give you a great workout for your ‘angel wing’ arms.

Slowly pour in 2/3 cup of really good quality extra virgin olive oil in a thin stream whilst beating to get a gorgeous thick & smooth consistency.

Finally, add in 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, a tablespoon worth of finely chopped fresh parsley & season ever so generously with salt & black pepper. Keep beating until it’s a beautifully luscious mash-like dip.

Prawn & Pineapple Salsa

Tender Prawns from the deep pair perfectly with Sweet Pineapple of the Land,

It’s a Tropical Surf n Turf!

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Now this is my kind of salad! Warm & Juicy packing a huge flavour punch without a lettuce leaf in sight! This is what I want plopped in front of me on a warm Summer’s day with an icy cold glass of white wine to wash it down.

The Pineapple Salsa part is what you want to do first so all of those big, bold flavours have time to settle down & make friends rather than be jostling for attention. So, grab yourself a bowl & into that goes half a decent sized pineapple that you’ve peeled & chopped up roughly along with 1 finely chopped red chilli, 1/2 cup of fresh mint from the garden that you’ve also chopped up finely & the juice of 1 lime. Give that lot a jolly good mix up with your hands & set aside.

Next, throw 300g of fresh raw prawns at the Hubby to go sacrifice at the alter of burnt offerings (aka the BBQ). Cooking them on the BBQ just puts that wee bit of smoky char flavour into the prawns, but if for any reason that doesn’t float your boat, then you can easily just cook them up in a wee splash of heated oil on your frypan. Prawns are awesome as they tell you exactly when they’re cooked by rather conveniently changing colour to a gorgeous pink shade when done. It doesn’t take very long so don’t walk away.

Meanwhile, crack on with making the sauce. Simply melt 100g of butter in a small saucepan before adding in the zest of the lime you took the juice from (I tend to zest it first & set it aside before cutting it open to juice as I find that easier but I know that chefs will say I lose the essential oil by not doing it straight over the pan which is a huge flavour loss so do whichever way works for you) along with a finely chopped red chilli & 10g of freshly grated ginger. Stir that for a couple of minutes to cook it all off before finally seasoning with a good pinch of salt.

When the Hubby brings in the cooked prawns, pop them straight into the butter sauce to coat them generously.

Arrange your Pineapple Salsa on your serving platter, then crown it with all those luscious prawns & drizzle just a smidge of the butter sauce over the top.

Polenta Encrusted Lemon Chicken

Sounds a wee bit fancy, yeah?!

Well, far from being tricky to whack down this fabuliciouzly fresh summer taste on your dinner table, you’ll be amazed at just how terribly easy this one is!

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I shall need to add this in to my post ballet quickie repertoire as Mini Me is about to embark on her busiest year to date, having been invited to join a competition troupe which she is extraordinarily excited about! I’m sure I will have plenty of mum brag moments to share ahead 🙂

First, grab yourself half a dozen juicy chicken thighs & bung those into a lightly greased shallow baking tray (the kind you use for slices etc).

Next, combine in a mixing bowl 1/3 cup of polenta with 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, a tablespoon of mixed dried herbs & the finely grated rind of a lemon.

Then, cut the lemon in half & squeeze the juice all around the chicken thighs before pressing the polenta crust on top of them.

Whack that lot into a 180c oven for 25 minutes or until the chook is cooked through.

Serve with either a vegetable noodle stir fry like I’ve whipped up in the photo, or alongside a fresh salad.

That’s Chompin Time in a flash!

Baked Ham & Potato Salad

Oh yes I did crank up Lee Kernaghan’s Driving Home for Christmas CD & bopped along to ‘Santa Claus is back in Town’ & ‘Cunnamulla Santa’ whilst getting my festive groovy on in the kitchen cooking up the classic Aussie glazed ham with an oh so creamy tattie salad.

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Christmas cooking simply makes me burst with joy & happiness. It’s my favourite time of the year & I do overly spoil my fam-bam with culinary treats all home-made with love.

For this fabuliciouzly sticky ham start by bunging into a saucepan 1 cup of plum jam along with 1/2 cup apple juice, 1/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar & 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard to combine. Pop it on the stove top to simmer for about 10 minutes or so until it’s a beautifully shiny glaze that’s slightly thickened.

Next, cut the rind off a leg ham carefully to leave the luscious fat layer behind. Gently score the fat with a sharp knife into a diamond diagonal pattern. Make sure to not cut all the way through to the meat though!

Pop the ham into a baking dish & smother it in half of the glaze, reserving the rest for basting. Whack the ham into a 160c oven for 2 hours remembering to baste every 30 minutes with some of the reserved glaze (that means to go steady on the festive cheer whilst still cooking!). Basting just means spoon over some of the glaze to keep the ham juicy.

For the creamy Tattie Salad simply boil 7-8 white skinned spuds with their jackets on in boiling salted water until just tender. Whilst they cool, hard boil yourself 4 eggs & fry off 6 rashers of diced up bacon. Set all aside once done to crack on with the sauce.

For the creamy sauce, which is the star of this salad, grab a mixing bowl & bung in 8 generous tablespoons of whole egg mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of french mustard, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice then season well with salt & white pepper before giving it all a jolly good stir.

When you’re ready to assemble, grab a pretty serving dish then chop up the tatties into bite sized cubes, 1/4 the hard boiled eggs, scatter the bacon then gently toss in the sauce to smother all those nuggets of loveliness.

It’s Chompin Time!

Mushroom & Asparagus Pasta

There’s not even time to grab plates when this wee salad hits my table! 

Hubby & Mini Me are in there with fighting irons (forks) blazing to greedily devour these ever so tantalising morsels.

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As you’ve probably heard from me before, I absolutely can not stand lettuce in a salad! It’s just one of those personal pet hate things that we all have in some way, shape or form. I love warm salads, batting above their average in a fabuliciouz concoction of surprising flavours.

This one combines my fam-bams forever favourite of mushrooms with the gorgeousness of fresh asparagus. Now, hubby was a wee bit reluctant to try asparagus his first time, he wasn’t quite sure what it was, but with a quick explanation of it tastes just like green beans, he popped a bit in his gob & was so pleasantly surprised he actually dug every last one out!

Firstly, melt a wee bit of butter in your wok (or frypan if you don’t have the single most bestest kitchen implement ever invented!) & toss through 200g of sliced mushrooms along with a bunch of asparagus which you’ve ensured to remove the rubber bands & sliced off the woody ends.

Next, throw in a couple of teaspoons of minced garlic & a couple of tablespoons of good old Worcestershire Sauce. Season ever so generously, as always, with salt & pepper.

Finally, whack in your all time favourite cooked fancy snag, it looks amazing if you slice on a Chinese style angle (we love Cheese Kransky in this household) & then bung in 250g of cooked pasta in whatever shape floats your boat.

Such an easy salad to knock together in a flash for all occasions this entertaining season.

Prawn Rice Salad

A fabuliciouz dry salad that your BBQ guests are gonna love this Summer!

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Get a wee taste of South East Asia at your place with this easy peasy rice salad. The trick is to be totally organised as this one comes together in a flash!

Now, you’ll need to either save 1 & 1/2 cups of left over cooked rice from the night before or cook it up specially for this recipe as that’s the secret to making this rice salad a touch of the Orient.

We’re going to have 3 wee groups of ingredients ready for wok action!

Group 1 – in small bowls have 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, 1 finely chopped lemongrass stalk (white part only) & a handful of snow peas.

Group 2 – is your bowl of leftover rice from the day before.

Group 3 – once again grab your small bowls for 2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce & the juice of 1 lime.

Right, you’ll need 300g of peeled & deveined raw prawns ready to roll along with a clean bowl to receive them & we’re ready for WOK ON!

Heat a glug of oil in your wok & cook those prawns off until they’re a lovely blushing pink. Remove them from the wok to the waiting clean bowl.

Heat another glug of oil & bung in Group 1 to cook until they’re nice & soft. Tanz Tip- put the lemongrass in first to give it a wee bit extra time.

Next, in goes Group 2, get all that rice coated in the oil & separated on the grains.

Finally, whack in Group 3 along with the prawns & stir quickly to heat it all up & mix it all through.

Throw it into a pretty serving bowl & get set for the praise oh kitchen goddesses!

Cajun Fish Salad

This one is so light & reminiscent of warmer days.

Sweet succulent fish, juicy watermelon, creamy haloumi & crispy mint!

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Start off with a bowl to mix together thoroughly 2 tablespoons of rich brown sugar along with 1/2 teaspoon each of cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika & mustard powder before seasoning generously with salt & white pepper.

Heat a good glug of oil in a frypan.

Coat some firm flesh fish fillets, I’ve used Basa, in the spiced sugar before frying them off on each side in the hot oil until cooked. Set those aside to drain on a cooling wire over baking tray.

Meanwhile, slice up a 200g block of haloumi cheese, brush with a wee bit of oil & whack them straight onto a hot griddle pan. Cook on both sides until they’re lovely & golden. Remove those to the cooling wire as well & drizzle them with the juice of a freshly cut lemon (straight off our luscious tree!)

Grab yourself a small saucepan & bung in just a smidgeon of oil in the bottom to get nice & hot. Now, don’t freak out at what I’m going to tell you to do next. Pop some fresh mint leaves into the hot oil. They will cook very quickly so be ready to pull them out when nice & crispy to toss onto your cooling wire as well.

Have some juicy watermelon already cut into wedges scattered onto a serving platter, then crumble over the cooked haloumi cheese before gently placing your fish fillets on top & crowning with the crispy mint leaves.

Pilaf

Food Trivia – The only continent on planet Earth where rice is not grown is Antartica.

Rice is such a fabuliciouzly versatile & quickie ingredient to keep in my post ballet easy meal plan arsenal! Here’s a wee spesh number for those days when you just don’t have the time for the kitchen.

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Start off by popping 4 eggs into a saucepan of boiling water to allow them to hard boil. The trick, once they’re done, to avoid that oh so ugly grey ring around the yolk is to take the pan immediately to the sink & run cold water into it. Let that cold water just run on a steady, low flow for some time, until all the water (that was boiling) is now cold & the eggs are cold to the touch also. Turn off the running water & just leave them sit until you’re ready.

Meanwhile, have a pot of water coming to the boil, add salt & cook off 500g of rice before draining & setting aside.

Heat up a good glug of oil in a frypan & cook off 500g of mince (any type that floats your boat, I use pork) & then add in a solid amount of mixed frozen veggies (about a cup or so will be plenty). Grab your favourite curry paste (I use a Madras one from India) & scoop 2 tablespoons into the frypan along with 150ml of water. Give it all a jolly good stir & cook off for about 5 minutes or so.

Add in the cooked rice to the mince mixture & stir it through really well to combine nicely. Season generously with salt & pepper.

Peel those hard boiled eggs, cut them in half & plop them right on top of your dished up Pilaf remembering to salt them too.

It’s Chompin Time!