Category Archives: herbs

Veggie Burgers – Fast and delicious!

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Delicious, nutritious comfort food for a chilly day. veggie burgers

These are Jaime Oliver’s “Happy Cow” burgers. Moo. Enjoy.

Veggie Burgers

Ingredients: throw into food processor:

  • 1 cup (240 grams) of mixed cooked beans (garbanzo, borlotti, kidney, cannelini, etc)*
  • 200 grams frozen broad beans
  • A clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • One small red onion – very finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 heaped tablespoon flour
  • Some grated zest of lemon (not too much)
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper as per your liking
  • Chopped fresh parsley or coriander (a good handful)

:

Whir in food processor until chunkily combined.  Divide into four equal portions, form into patties (coat hands with a little flour to keep mixture workable)

Heat about 1 tsp (5ml) olive oil in a non-stick or ceramic frying pan.

Fry until golden. Serve on buns that have been gently warmed in the oven. Top with garnishes: lettuce, sliced tomatoes. sliced pickles, crumbled feta, thin onion slices – whatever you like on your burgers!  Lovely served with homemade coleslaw on the side.

* If using canned beans, ensure that you drain them well (and rinse as well if there are preservatives present). A 400 gram can will yield 240 grams of beans when drained.

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Lemon Balm Revisited

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Lemon Balm Pesto Poached Sea Bass Filets (or other white fish) Lemon+Balm

Just want to reiterate how AWESOME that Lemon Balm Pesto recipe is (if I do say so myself!). Last night I took two cubes out of the freezer, thawed them and threw them into the ceramic frying pan with a knob of butter and a splash of white wine. Stirred that around a bit and then proceeded to gently sauté-poach some sea bass fillets.

All I can say is WOW – was it ever ‘knock your socks off’ delicious! I can’t believe I didn’t take a photo. Argh! If you do have access to lemon balm and haven’t whipped up a batch yet, get at it and pop it in the freezer. It is one recipe you won’t regret making!

Lemon Balm TeaLemon+Balmtea

Put a handful of fresh lemon balm leaves into a cup.

Pour in hot water

Allow to steep for 5 minutes

Drink and reap the benefits 🙂

Lemon Balm Pesto

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pesto-bowl

Blend it as rough or as smooth as you like.

Gone are the days when pesto* is made strictly with basil, pine nuts and olive oil. Nowadays savvy cooks are experimenting with a plethora of flavours and ingredients: coriander, parsley, cashews, almonds, various oils, etc. I have copious amounts of lemon balm growing wild in my garden and thus the following pesto recipe is a favourite of mine that I whip up when the lemon balm springs up and I am in the mood for a delicious light fragrant delight!

Lemon Balm Pesto is delicious on pasta (particularly if you are serving it with shrimp, chicken or fish), vegetables, green beans, fish, etc. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week – or freeze it in ice cube trays to use as required.

Lemon Balm Pesto

Ingredients

  • 60 grams (2 cups) fresh lemon balm leaves**

    Pesto on the way!

    Throw everything into the food processor.

  • 60 grams (about 3/4 cup grated) Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 60 grams pine nuts, cashews or almonds (or a combo)
  • 1/2 tsp (3 grams) sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Chuck all of the above into your food processor.

The next item you need is:

  • 1/2 to 1 cup good quality olive oil

Method:

Whir the pesto ingredients in the food processor, slowly dripping in the olive oil, until the mixture reaches the consistency you prefer. You can use anywhere from 1/2 to 1 cup of olive oil, depending on your preference.

Note: I like my pesto quite garlicky and also a bit “rougher” than usual, so I use the 6 cloves of garlic and process it minimally. There is no right or wrong and as long as you get the ingredient measurements more or less correct, it is going to be absolutely delicious!

Re: All that Olive oil:
I suspect (although I have never tried) that if you were trying to make a lower fat version, you could also use 1/4 cup oil and thin it the rest of the way with water. Having said that, my philosophy is that you only live once , so treat yourself to the heart healthy olive oil and go for a walk after dinner if you are concerned about the calories.

pesto-icecube

Spoon into ice cube tray and freeze.

It freezes well – just spoon it into an ice cube tray and freeze it!

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*Pesto (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpesto], Genoese: [ˈpestu]) is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto genovese) and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese), and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk).  The name is the contracted past participle of the Genoese word pestâ (Italian: pestare), which means to pound, to crush, in reference to the original method of preparation, with marble mortar and wooden pestle. The ingredients in a traditionally made pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. This same Latin root through Old French also gave rise to the English word “pestle”.  Thus sayeth wikipedia  😉

** Weigh lemon balm after you have stripped the leaves from the stems, and BEFORE washing. Spin it well dry in your salad spinner or tap it dry with a clean cloth. You may well be able to use tender stems as well – I never have, so cannot say with certainty.

Excellent article on Nettles

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This is a really good write up on stinging nettles, by a herbalist named Christina Stapley. Found here,  it addresses food and drink uses, as well as some interesting folklore and historical data. I have personally used nettle tea for bladder and kidney health – it is very soothing to an irritated bladder. It is also recommended for arthritis and other bone-related maladies. As I have been drinking it I have noticed my hair seems thicker and healthier as well. Pretty impressive results for a “weed”. Christina’s website is www.heartsease-herb-books.com.

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Reposting this from another blog – beet greens and pasta – yummy!

kitchen notes and other sundries

…beet greens, that is. So you made a roasted beet salad and now are curious about what to do with those greens. In honor of Danny at Danny’s Kitchen, and his wonderful idea for “The Great Leftover Challenge,” here’s a small post about what I did with my left over beet greens, in hopes of inspiring you to do the same (or similar).

Beet greens look similar to turnip greens, save their colored stalks and veins, and are associated with the generally healthy and good for you “greens family” (kale, chard, dandelion greens, etc). Or at least, I generally associate them in the “greens family”, which for me means versatile and more often than not tasty. Except collared greens — apologies to the collared greens lovers, I just can’t get into them.

Back to beet greens and using up those left overs. Next time you’ve got beet greens laying…

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Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables

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This roasted vegetable medley showcases my favourite herb: rosemary. No other herb smells as delectable as freshly picked rosemary. Basil and oregano are close seconds – they also feature in this recipe.

These are the vegetables I used – you can vary them in quanity and type according to your own preferences – it is impossible to wreck this recipe!

Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables

2 medium sized courgettes (zucchinis) – 1,5 cm cubes
1 medium – large aubergine (eggplant) –  2 cm cubes
1 red onion – sliced
1-2 sweet pepper (any colour) – cut into big chunks
Garlic – chopped
Rosemary fresh, good sized sprig – chopped
Oregano fresh, 1tsp shredded
Basil fresh, 2 tsp shredded

Preheat oven to 200C. Mix all ingredients together except for the basil. Salt and pepper to taste. Then toss with generous amount of olive oil to coat. Pour into baking dish. Roast uncovered at 200C for about 35-45 minutes (stirring halfway through) or until vegetables are cooked to the level that you prefer. Remove from oven, spoon onto plates, top with a sprinkle of fresh basil, grind some fresh pepper onto it and serve.

Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables

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Beautiful Stinging Nettles!

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Beautiful Stinging Nettles!

I have been drinking copious amounts of nettle tea of late – I have cut out coffee and regular tea completely. I love nettle tea – it is so good for you and tastes delicious! Even better, it’s FREE!

Here’s a Nettle Soup Recipe I have come across here: http://motleymanor.wordpress.com

Once I have made the soup, I will post a photo!

Nettle Soup 

1 tbsp ( 15ml) Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large potato, chopped into largish dice
1 large carrot, chopped in half lengthways and sliced
1/2 lb (250g) fresh nettles (equals about half a carrier bag loosely filled)
4 cups (1 litre) vegetable stock
1/2 nutmeg, freshly grated

Method:

Heat the oil.
Fry the onion until transparent.
Add potato, carrot, nettles and stock.
Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potato is soft.
Blend the soup until smooth.
Stir in the nutmeg and serve. (Add a swirl of cream – (non-dairy if desired.)