Category Archives: Mediterranean Diet

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Sicilian Tomato Sauce with a Horopito Twist

sicilian-tomate-sauce1Nothing beats a good home-made tomato sauce and the smell in the kitchen as it’s cooking is just fantastic.

In this recipe I have added native Horopito leaf that have been ground and added to natural salt and other seasonings.New Zealand Horopito brings a wonderful finish to sauces, slow cooking, marinades, roasted meats and vegetables, wild game, seafood and lots more.

You can use this as a base on pizza, with meatballs, as a dipping sauce and in your general cooking.

Ingredients

1 tsp Rhayne Horopito Wild Herb Seasoning, split into ½ tsp lots
800g (2lb) can of crushed tomatoes
1 medium–large onion, diced
13465967_1042309265856270_989460586271929302_n2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3–5 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat of a knife and sliced thinly
1 cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
¼ cup chopped fresh oregano
½ cup red wine
4 bay leaves
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
200g (4oz) tomato puree
½ cup fresh Italian parsley

Method

Sauté onion in olive oil and simmer over low heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, rosemary and oregano and simmer, covered, for another 5 minutes or so. Uncover and add wine and bay leaves.

Continue simmering until the mixture has reduced by about half. This should take about 30–45 minutes.

Add tomatoes, chicken/vegetable stock, ½ tsp Rhayne Horopito Wild Herb Seasoning, purée and simmer for 1 hour. You can reduce the sauce further and intensify the flavour by simmering over a low heat for another 2 hours. I have let the sauce simmer for up to 4 hours when I want to develop the taste.

When ready, remove the pot from the heat and taste. Season with the other ½ of the Horopito Wild Herb Seasoning to taste and serve with fresh chopped Italian parsley can be added at the end.

Tip: If you want to turn this sauce into a base that is great for pizzas, add 10–12 sliced olives (don’t forget to remove the pips) and 1 tbsp capers in the last 15–30 minutes of simmering.

Moroccan Inspired Lamb Shanks

Moroc-lamb-sh-webServes 4

I served this dish as a main at a bistro I was working at this winter and peopled loved it so much I have decided to share the recipe.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

4 lamb shanks

2 onions, sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 cups beef stock

1 cup fresh orange juice

Juice and zest of one lemon

1/2 cup pitted dates, halved

½ cup prunes, halved

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp cumin

1tsp cardamom

coriander leaves, to serve

Method

Heat oven to 160C (320F)

Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan big enough for the shanks to fit in on medium. Brown each shank on all sides and set aside.

Sauté onion and garlic in same pan 2-3 minutes, until tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Add the shanks and bring back to a boil. Put lid on and place in oven and cook for 2 ½ hours. Turn shanks and cook for an additional hour.

I serve this on a creamy sweet potato mash or cauliflower rice.

Pan Seared Salmon on Grapefruit Salad

Salmon-gfruitServes 4

Ingredients

2 Ruby grapefruit
4 cups mixed salad greens
2 cups snow peas tipped and cut into three
1 cup micro-greens of choice
2 ripe avocados, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tbsp sweet balsamic reduction
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Olive oil for cooking salmon
3 150g (5-ounce) salmon fillets (skin off)
1/2 cup honey toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Method

 Peel and segment grapefruit with a sharp knife on a cutting board; reserve juice in a bowl.

In a bowl mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic so its combined.

In a large bowl add salad greens and pour the dressing and turn to combine.

Divide salad among 4 serving plates. In a small bowl.

 Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper over both sides of salmon. Coat a large nonstick skillet with oil; heat over medium-high heat. Add fish to skillet, and cook until skin is golden and fish releases easily from pan (about 4 minutes). Using a spatula, gently flip fish and cook about 3 minutes more. Once salmon is cooked rest for 2 minutes and then break each fillet into 8 pieces .

While the salmon is cooking place slices of avocado on top of each salad and then place equal amounts of grapefruit pieces on the avocado to form a bed for the salmon to rest on.

Place the salmon pieces on the grapefruit  and dress with honey walnuts and micro-greens.

Fresh Gluten-free Pasta

Fresh-gfpastaI love pasta and this meets my needs for a gluten-free option that I can have whenever I want.

Ingredients

1∕3 cup white cornflour

1∕3 cup tapioca flour or potato flour

1∕3 cup buckwheat flour or millet flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp fine sea salt

2 whole eggs

1 tbsp olive oil

1–2 tbsp filtered water, if needed

Sift the flours, xanthan gum and salt into a food processor, and process until well combined.

Combine eggs and oil in a bowl and slowly pour into the food processor, holding back some of the liquid until you can check the consistency of the dough (it is easier to add more liquid than to add the right quantity and mix of flours). Pulse gently until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, adding water if needed.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured bench (white rice flour works well) and knead gently until dough is smooth and elastic. You don’t have to knead too much as you are finishing the dough off rather than having to work the gluten.

Cut the dough into rectangular mounds for easy handling. If you are using a pasta machine, make the mounds a little narrower than the width of your pasta roller so they will be easy to put through the machine. Cover each mound with plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

Take each mound and roll out thinly with a rolling pin (about 2–3mm, depending on the shape you wish to make). Form dough into the required shape or feed through your pasta machine. Make sure you keep flouring your bench top and roller so the pasta does not stick and glue together.

Cook pasta in salted boiling water. Fresh pasta requires a lot less cooking time than dried pasta. The cooking time will depend on the shape you have chosen and how thin your pasta is – usually about 2–3 minutes.

Mixed Seafood Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing

Seafood-Salad-Avocado-webIngredients 

Serves 2 

4 raw scallops, patted very dry

4 large cooked shrimps, tail on

4 cooked mussels

Salt and fresh ground pepper

1-2 tbsp oil, I use olive oil 

1 tomato sliced in quarters with pulp/seeds removed and sliced into small cubes, divided

1 small cucumber sliced and diced into small cubes, divided 

Dressing 

Makes 2 serves 

1 ripe avocado
2 tbsp fresh lime juice

2 – 3 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil

1/2 tsp minced garlic

½ tsp ground cumin.

 

Method 

Make the dressing/base by mashing up 1 ripe avocado and then add the rest of the dressing ingredients and whisk till smooth. You don’t want it too runny. 

Heat some oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add the scallops, cook for 1 minute then turn. Add the cooked shrimps and mussels, cook for 1 minute, turning once. Remove from the heat and lightly season with salt and pepper. 

On two warm plates place 1 tbsp of the avocado dressing in the centre of each and with the back of the teaspoon flatten it out into a small circle.

On one side of the circle place the divided cucumber and tomato then arrange the seafood over the place dressing and serve straight away.

Easy Seafood Stew

seafood-stew-webIngredients 

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

½ cup white wine (optional)

½ cup stock (any kind)

1-2 cloves of garlic

½ red capsicum, sliced into bite sized pieces

Dry or fresh chilli to taste (optional)

1 can of canelinni beans

Juice of ½ lemon

1/3 cup chopped parsley

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Aprox 300 grams seafood sliced into bite sized pieces (fish, prawns, squid, etc) 

Method 

Combine the tomatoes, wine, stock, garlic, capsicum and chilli in a dutch oven or heavy based saucepan and bring to a simmer. 

Simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes then add diced seafood and beans to the sauce. 

When the seafood is cooked (should be only 2 or 3 minutes), add lemon juice, cracked pepper and parsley. 

Serve in warm bowls with crusty bread (optional).

Grilled Salmon With Mixed Green Salad

Grilled-Salmon-Salad-webI love this salad on a warm, sunny day. I also add sliced avocado as an extra when they are in season. 

Ingredients 

1kg (2.2lb) salmon fillets

500g (1.1lb) baby red potatoes or sweet potatoes, roasted or boiled. Rested and cooled

4-6 cups mixed salad greens

1 cup steamed green beans, cut into 50mm (2inch) pieces

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered

1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives

2 tbsp capers, optional 

Dressing 

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp pure maple syrup

1 small shallot, cut into small chunks

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste 

Method 

Preheat your oven grill (broiler) on high. Place the salmon fillets on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper or your favourite seasoning. Grill for 7-9 minutes or until the fat has rendered. 

Remove from the oven and tent with foil. 

Prepare the dressing. In a food processor, add the vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, shallot, and garlic. Pulse until smooth. Turn the food processor on, and add the olive oil in a steady stream until it has all been added. Add salt and pepper, to taste, then pulse once or twice more. 

Place the mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, olives, and capers in a large bowl. Add just enough dressing to coat the salad lightly and toss gently. Place the salad on serving plates. Place a salmon fillet, roasted potatoes, and egg on each plate. Drizzle with more dressing, if desire, and serve!

Spiced Chicken and Capsaicin (Bell Pepper) Soup

Chicken-Pepper-Soup-webItaly is well known for its light and fresh soups and this recipe is inspired by my love of the food from the south of Italy. 

Serves 4 

Ingredients 

1 tbsp olive oil

1 each of orange and red capsaicin’s (bell peppers), thinly sliced

1 small onion, chopped

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp dried basil

2 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp dried crushed red chilli pepper (more or less to your taste)

5 cups chicken stock (broth)

1 can Italian style (Roma) diced tomatoes

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

200g (8 ounces) button mushrooms, quartered

2 tsp capers

1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (leftover from a roast is great or rotisserie chicken from market)

Grated Parmesan cheese 

Method 

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. 

Add capsaicin’s (bell peppers), onion, garlic, basil, fennel seeds and crushed red chilli  and sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. 

Add carrots, canned tomatoes and stock (broth). Simmer until the carrots are tender, another 10-15 minutes.  Increase heat to high and bring soup to boil.  Add chicken and capers and cook just until heated through, about 2 minutes. 

Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.  Ladle soup into warm bowls. Serve, with a light sprinkle of the cheese. Don’t add too much cheese and this can make it taste too salty.

Grilled Salmon Salad

Salmon-Salad-webIngredients 

For the fish

2 150g (6 oz) salmon fillets, skin on
salt and pepper to season
olive oil 

For the salad

6-8 cups fresh baby greens
1 small orange, peeled and sectioned
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 small Roma tomato, diced
1/4 cup green or red bell pepper, diced
a few medium slices of red onion
2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For vinaigrette

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar
juice from half of a lemon (about 1 tbsp, or you could use more wine vinegar)

1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 to 2 tbsp freshly chopped dill

1/4 tsp honey (can omit if you want a more tangy dressing)
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

sprig of fresh dill for garnish, optional 

Method 

Brush salmon fillets with olive oil and season salt and pepper and set aside for 15 minutes.

Prepare vinaigrette, add all ingredients except for fresh dill into a blender cup and blend for 30 seconds or until emulsified. Add in dill and stir until well combined. Set aside and let flavours meld. 

Heat a fry pan over a medium-high. Place salmon in pan skin side down and let cook for 4 minutes. Hold the salmon fillets flat on the pan for 15-20 seconds or until they don’t curl up on the ends. 

Using a spatula, carefully turn fillets over and let cook another 3-4 minutes until cooked through, do not over cook as while the salmon is resting its still cooking with its residual heat. 

Let it rest for a few minutes while you assemble the salad. 

Assemble salad by placing greens in the bowl, top with chopped vegetables and fan the orange sections. Top with cook salmon and sprinkle with a small pinch of salt (optional) and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle with prepared vinaigrette and enjoy!

Easy Herb Roast Lamb Leg

Herb-Lamb-roast-webThis is my fall back lamb leg roast recipe. Its quick and easy to prep and I often use it to make pulled lamb. 

The juices from the lag roasting make a wonderful base for a tasty gravy. 

Serves 4-6

 Ingredients

1.8 kg (4 lb) Leg of lamb 

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves Garlic, peeled and sliced lengthways into 24 slivers

2-3 stems Rosemary, cut into 24 pieces (preferably with thick, mature stems)

2 onions, peeled and cut in half

Several sprigs fresh thyme

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

½ cup stock (broth) of choice. I use chicken.

 

Pre-heat the oven to 190 °C (375F). 

Rub the olive oil all over the lamb leg and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Make 24 small but deep slits all over the leg of lamb, spacing them out evenly.

Insert 1 garlic sliver and 1 rosemary piece into each slit and season generously with salt and pepper.  

Place the cut onion halves and thyme in the roasting tray and position the leg of lamb on top, making sure it is stable and add the stock to the base of the tray. 

Cover the tray loosely with foil and cook for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes, uncovered.  The lamb will be well done; cook for less time for medium well or medium rare.  

Remove from the oven and cover again with foil and let stand for 20 minutes before carving.

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