Risoni Vegetable Bolognese

I had every intention of making a tomato and meatball soup today, I really did. But when push came to shove, I just could not be bothered rolling meatballs. Besides, right now, the idea of squishing other peoples’ food around in my hands sounds tone deaf, all things considered. But really, I just couldn’t be bothered, let’s be honest.

Instead, I dumped everything in one pot, at the advice of Nagi at Recipe Tin Eats. This isn’t her exact recipe – I upped the veggie intake, and cut back on the risoni a little, but the spirit of her recipe is there. And it’s perfect for those CBF kinds of nights. The whole ordeal took maybe 20 minutes, it’s made on staples/stuff I found in my fridge and cabinets (again, perfect for Corona-geddon), was tasty and comforting, and was gobbled up by everyone. It’s not like usual bolognese recipe, but the benefit of that is that you could pretty much throw anything into it and have it come up a winner. It’s one of those magical recipes. So I’m writing it down so that I don’t forget it!

Nagi’s recipe clocked in at 484 calories; mine is 400. Either way, it’s better than takeaway!

Ingredients

1 brown onion

2 cloves garlic, crushed

200g mushrooms, sliced

500g lean mince

700ml passata

2tbs Worcestershire sauce

3 cups chicken stock

2tsp dried parsley

2tsp dried oregano

1tsp dried thyme

1tsp dried basil

1tsp sweet paprika

cayenne pepper, to taste

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 cup risoni/orzo

60g baby spinach

salt and pepper, to taste

Grated parmesan cheese, to taste

Method

  1. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms to a non stick pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft and golden.
  2. Brown mince with onion mixture, breaking it up as it cooks.
  3. Stir in passata, herbs, Worcestershire sauce, stock and zucchini. Bring to a simmer, add risoni and stir to distribute evenly.
  4. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the risoni from sticking to the bottom. As you get closer to the ten minute mark, you may need to stir more frequently.
  5. Take off heat, stir in spinach.
  6. Serve, topped with parmesan and seasoned with salt and pepper.

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Easiest Egg Muffins

Looking for something quick and easy to make? Something that could be a meal or a snack, while clocking in at less that 100 calories (93 to be exact)? Something that uses up the sad veggies dwelling in the bottom of your fridge, can be eaten on the run with one hand, are low carb and high protein, and are bursting with veggie goodness?

Well, look no further.


Looking for something quick and easy to make? Something that could be a meal or a snack, while clocking in at less that 100 calories (93 to be exact)? Something that uses up the sad veggies dwelling in the bottom of your fridge, can be eaten on the run with one hand, are low carb and high protein, and are bursting with veggie goodness?

Well, look no further.

I mean, you could; the internet is full of recipes for egg bites/muffins/mini quiches. But if you’re here… well, it makes perfect sense to look no further. These muffins tick all the boxes.

The only caveat to these is that you MUST use paper cases. Unless losing half your muffin to the bottom of the muffin pan is your thing, of course. Trust me. They stick. But apart from that, they’re so simple, and not at all labour intensive – even making them after a long day of work isn’t as harrowing as it sounds.

I like to make 6 at a time – they’re not going to keep for much more than that. No one wants slimy eggs as they’re running out the door!

Ingredients

6 eggs

125g cherry tomatoes, cut into eights

100g mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, diced

1/2 cup broccoli, finely chopped

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C, and line a muffin pan with 6 paper cases.
  2. Over medium heat, cook onion, mushrooms and broccoli until onion is translucent – about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, crack eggs into a large bowl, and beat well. Stir in cherry tomatoes.
  4. Add cooked vegetables, and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Evenly distribute mixture into the paper cases. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and firm.

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Spicy Cauliflower and Potato (Aloo Gobi)

In the interminable search for vegetarian lunches, I have found yet ANOTHER spicy roasted cauliflower dish. Who’d ever have thought that I’d be tripping over myself to roast cauliflowers constantly? Sometimes, I don’t even recognise myself. But as with most veggies, roasting cauliflower to sweet perfection is the most wonderful way to avoid the soggy blandness that comes from steaming (or gods forbid, boiling!) them. I wish I’d learned this earlier, I was choking cauli down until I was 30. Now I can’t get enough of it!

I’m really hesitant to call this Aloo Gobi: the spirit is there, but I don’t think we’re talking authenticity here. However, what we ARE talking is a delightfully fragrant bowlful of vegetable goodness that keeps you satisfied both physically and emotionally, and makes your little corner of the world smell like heaven. AND IT’S VEGAN, so we can all feel a little smug on this coolish Meatless Monday. Or not. The vegan-ness isn’t really a selling point for me, and I didn’t even bother mentioning it to the husband. At any rate, it’s healthy and delicious. And low calorie – 250 calories per serve, and chock full of nutrition. Winner winner vegan dinner!

Serves 4 (smallish, but not ridiculously so, serves)

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
600g baby chat potatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2tbs olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed under the heel of a knife
2 teaspoons minced chilli
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup water

Parsley, to serve.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Spray two baking trays with oil.
  2. Arrange cauliflower and potatoes on trays, spray with oil and sprinkle with cumin seeds. Season.
  3. Roast vegetables, turning halfway through, for about 30 minutes until until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots (just a little char isn’t a bad thing) and potatoes are just cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, cook onion, garlic, chilli, and ginger in olive oil over low heat in a medium sized pan for 8 minutes or until it begins to turn golden and soft. Stir frequently.
  5. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and cook, stirring constantly for a minute or so. Stir in water, scraping any caramelised bits from the pan. Allow to thicken slightly
  6. Stir in roasted vegetables, turning to coat in the spice mixture.
  7. Serve, sprinkled with parsley.

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Grilled Kangaroo with Agrodolce sauce

Meat as rich and gamey as kangaroo just begs to be paired the syrupy sweet and sour cherry sauce, all sitting atop a bed of peppery leaves, and is simply a match made in heaven. Use a good wine for this one; you can taste it. I used a Pepperjack Cabernet Sauvignon, and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the bottle with the meal.  


I need to give a big shout out to The Australian Womens Weekly Low Carb Clean Eating cookbook for this one. It’s been a fantastic source of inspiration since I bought it just after Christmas. I love it, because while it CLEARLY has a focus on clean eating, low carb recipes, it doesn’t bemoan missing anything. It celebrates what the recipes DO showcase, and gets the reader excited about the ingredients that are in the recipe, not what could be in there if it weren’t focused on clean eating. I really appreciate that, and find a lot of clean eating books/websites follow a similar tone, which is great. It makes healthy eating so much easier when your resources are proud of what they are, and don’t apologise for not being something else, or over compensate for anything. In a world of detoxes and punishing people for loving food, it’s refreshing.

There are so many recipes from this book that will make it on here, because I’ve only come across one or two so far that aren’t amazing. But I always adapt to suit myself, so I’ll be posting them here so that I don’t forget what I’ve been doing. For example, I used pretty much all the ingredients from the book to make this sensational kangaroo dish, but mine looks absolutely NOTHING like the recipe suggests. But, oh, the taste! The flavours are beyond anything I’ve ever made in my kitchen before. So complex and deep, it’s the best thing I’ve cooked this year.

serves 4 (400 calories per serve)

Ingredients
800g kangaroo filet, marinated in 2tbs olive oil for 30 minutes if not bought pre-oiled
1tbs olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
300g cherries, pitted (feel free to use frozen or canned)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup good red wine
1tbs honey very good quality golden syrup or honey
60g baby spinach, washed
¼ large red cabbage, thinly sliced

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. In a frypan, heat oil on medium heat and cook onion and capsicum until softened but not coloured – about 8 minutes.
  2. Add cherries, wine, vinegar and honey/golden syrup and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for about 8 minutes.
  3. Heat a grill pan on high and cook kangaroo for 2 minutes. Transfer to oven tray and roast for 8 minutes while the agrodolce sauce simmers away. Stir occasionally.
  4. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, increase agrodolce sauce to high until it reduces and is thick and syrupy – about 3 minutes. While it is bubbling away, reheat the grill pan and stir fry the cabbage until softened, but not soggy or losing its purply hue – no more than 1 minute.
  6. Arrange plate with baby spinach and cabbage, top with kangaroo meat and drizzle with the agrodolce sauce.
  7. Serve with a good crack of black pepper, and sprinkle of salt, and a glass of the remaining wine.

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Toblerone Brownies

Let’s just get this out of the way – these are NOT for calorie counting days. At over 300 calories a pop, these delicious morsels are the embodiment of a ‘sometimes treat’.

With that being said, there are three different types of chocolate in here, and one of them is Toblerone. They’re rich, dense, and sweet – a small square is really all you need. On the other hand, there are three different types of chocolate in here, and one of them is Toblerone. They’re amazing. And they have the perfect crumb: they’re not especially fudgey, nor are they merely a chocolate cake with a superiority complex. They’re the perfect brownie, and my go-to recipe whenever the occasion calls for something sweet.


I adapted this recipe from the Taste.com, and after much experimenting, settled on this incarnation. The original recipe has a butterscotch-esque icing, but I found that with such a rich brownie, while the icing was delicious, it was seriously overkill. Conversely, without the icing, using all dark chocolate made them too intense (and I say that as a girl who loves her chocolate dark and bitter). But by using an even mix of dark and milk chocolate, we’re left with a well balanced slab of heaven. Words of advice:

a) splurge on good quality chocolate, you truly can taste the difference.

b) Freeze the Toblerone – it makes it SO MUCH EASIER to work with

Ingredients

250g butter, chopped

100g dark chocolate, broken into largeish pieces

100g milk chocolate, broken into largeish pieces

3/4 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups plain flour

2 tablespoons self-raising flour

200g Toblerone chocolate, frozen

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line base and sides of an 18cm x 28cm slice pan with baking paper, extending paper 2cm above edges of pan. Spray with oil, or grease using butter (I always do the former).
  2. Place butter, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and rest for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
  3. Crack eggs, 1 at a time, into chocolate, whisking until combined. Sift in both flours, and fold to combine.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Tumble in the Toblerone pieces and very slightly press into the mixture.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes . Cool for 1 hour before lifting from pan (lest it fall apart).

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