MILLET SALAD

We are a family of picky eaters – for starters, we are fairly healthyish and want loads of protein and vegetables in each meal. We sway towards naturally gluten free food and personally prefer vegetarian food. The family want nutrient dense food that is not bulky and it needs to look good and taste even better. I would like one pot meals if possible and do it in a minimum amount of time especially during summer, as I would like to spend more time tending to the garden. It is a tall order and I created this recipe for weekday lunches as it ticks all those boxes!

Millet salad

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of millet

400g tin of beluga lentils, drained and rinsed well

100g of tender spinach leaves, washed and finely chopped

200g cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2-3 spring onions, washed and finely diced

1 red pepper, core removed and finely diced

150g sunflower kernels, dry roasted

2-3 sprigs of coriander leaves, washed and finely chopped

1 pinch of turmeric powder

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce or sambal oelek

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

METHOD

In a sauté pan, toast the millet on medium high heat for five minutes. Add 370ml water to a saucepan and a pinch of turmeric along with half a teaspoon of salt. Mix in the toasted millet and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.

Measure all the dressing ingredients into a jar or a bowl and whisk well.

Once millet is cooked, add the spring onions and spread out the millet to cool on a platter or large bowl. Pour the dressing and mix all the other ingredients. Adjust seasoning to suit your taste.

Serve at room temperature. Serves 3-4.

STIR FRY CHICKEN HYDERABAD STYLE – TALI HUI MURGH

This is a super quick and easy stir fry recipe that is delicious. When I am short of time and can’t think of what to prepare for dinner, I choose this recipe as it is one of our family favourite.

Stir-fry chicken Hyderabad style

INGREDIENTS

400g chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces

4 tablespoons lemon juice

200g onions

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 centimetre piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

½ teaspoon chilli powder

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

1 green pepper, remove core and cut into chunks

Salt to taste

METHOD

Place the cut chicken pieces in a glass bowl. Stir in the lemon juice. Mix well, cover and allow to marinate for one hour.

Quarter the onions and separate the layers.

Using a mortar and pestle, crush the ginger and garlic to a paste.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a deep frying pan (kadai) or a wok. Remove chicken pieces from marinade, discard the lemon juice and fry the chicken pieces on one side for 2-3 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add remaining oil and fry the onions, ginger and garlic paste. Stir frequently over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes until the onions are a pale golden colour. Put the cumin and coriander powders along with turmeric, garam masala, and chilli powder. Season with salt and if the spices are sticking to the bottom of the pan, sprinkle a spoonful of water. Fry the spice powders for a minute.

Toss in the green pepper pieces and increase heat to a high. Fry for a minute and add the chicken. Fry continuously for 5-6 minutes, until chicken is well cooked.

Serve immediately with roti or wraps.

Serves 3-4

TRICOLOUR QUINOA SALAD WITH PEAS, EDAMAME & BROAD BEANS

I started experimenting with quinoa long before it became trendy and when I didn’t know better, I did call it ‘kweenova’. Now everyone knows to say ‘keenwah’. However you say it, the nutritional benefits of this pseudo super grain remain the same. It is a pseudo grain because it is a seed from a plant and not a grass like oats, barley or wheat. One cup of cooked quinoa gives you 8g of complete protein as it contains all the nine essential amino acids. It is also naturally gluten free and rich in dietary fibre as well as iron and B complex vitamins.

TRICOLOUR QUINOA SALAD WITH PEAS, EDAMAME & BROAD BEANS

There are about 120 varieties of quinoa but most commonly available are white, red and black. I used the organic combo and found it to be fluffier and nuttier than just the white ones.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup organic tricolour quinoa

150g shelled edamame beans (frozen)

200g green peas (frozen)

250g broad beans (frozen)

200g pickled cocktail onions, drained

Handful fresh mint leaves, finely sliced

For the vinaigrette

Grated zest of one lemon

30ml red wine vinegar

50ml good quality extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

METHOD

Dry toast the quinoa in a non-stick pan on medium high heat for five minutes. Transfer quinoa to a sauce pan and add 400ml water. Bring to the boil, stir, reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes. At the end of cooking time, fluff up the quinoa and let cool to room temperature.

Prepare the edamame beans, peas and broad beans as per instructions on the packet.

Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing all ingredients except oil together. Gently whisk in the oil after the salt and sugar are more or less dissolved.

In a mixing bowl, mix the peas, broad beans, edamame beans and cocktail onions with the cooked quinoa. Stir in the vinaigrette and transfer to a serving platter. Just before serving top with the finely sliced mint leaves.

Serves 4 -6.

GRILLED ZUCCHINI & CHICK PEA SALAD WITH CARROT HUMMUS

I got inspiration for this dish from a meal I ate recently at St Clair Vineyard Kitchen and the chef prepared seasonal garden vegetables with carrot puree and buckwheat.

GRILLED ZUCCHINI & CHICK PEA SALAD WITH CARROT HUMMUS

If you want to showcase summer produce, this is the perfect dish. It makes for a very attractive and satisfying first course or you could serve this for a light luncheon with a cake for after.

INGREDIENTS

4 medium zucchini (150 g each) cut in half lengthways

 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

15 ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in half

3 carrots (300g), peeled and diced

2 x 400g tin of chick peas

1 red chilli, chopped

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STOVETOP MAC ‘N’ CHEESE

Sometimes you just feel like the basics or love the idea of a one pot no fuss dish. My ultra-gooey mac ‘n’ cheese is just the answer (you may need more than one pot though). Use flavourful cheese along with good melting cheese to get it gooey. A lot of households have salt and pepper on the table – in our household hot sauce also makes an appearance if my family suspects a dish looks bland and I hate the thought that my food will get doused in hot sauce for extra flavour. For chilli lovers, I have already incorporated hot English mustard and hot sauce into the recipe.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese

I have made this with both gluten and gluten free (Barilla) pasta and both are delicious. The gluten free packet is 350g and I didn’t alter the proportions.

My recipe has been adapted from Kenji Lopez Alt’s book “The Food Lab”.

INGREDIENTS

400g elbow macaroni

400ml evaporated milk

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon hot sauce or to taste

1 tablespoon hot English mustard

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OAT & MUNG FLOUR PANCAKES

I simply call these oat pancakes only because I couldn’t find a better name – they are really a cross between okonomiyaki, traditional South Indian dosa and vegetable pancakes you get on street corners in Korea.

Oat and mung flour pancakes

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of toasted oats powdered

1 cup split mung bean flour

100g onion finely chopped

300g cabbage finely chopped

2 green chillies or to taste, finely chopped

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PAPRIKA CHICKEN

In the 90’s we lived in Hungary for three years. There was definitely a culture shock for me and things were just moving towards Western standards. One image of Budapest that is strongly imprinted in my brain is braided garlic and paprika peppers being sold everywhere. The smell of freshly baked bread at all metro entrances is so inviting. I was younger in my culinary journey and didn’t really appreciate the paprika nuances. How I would love to experience that again – sometimes you don’t get a second chance and you have to make the most of every experience for what it is at any point in time.

Paprika chicken is a classic and my version is slightly modified. Hungarians use lard in their cooking extensively. I substituted lard with butter. I used to make this when my children were younger as it was flavourful and mild. In this version, I used hot as well as sweet smoked paprika.

Paprika chicken

INGREDIENTS

400g boneless (skinless) chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces

100g onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 medium sized green pepper, cored and sliced thinly

100g tomato, deseeded and diced

50g butter

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GRILLED HALLOUMI FLATBREADS

I guess this could easily pass for a Mediterranean version of a taco! You can serve with store bought flat breads or pita breads for convenience but my flat bread recipe is not cumbersome just takes a bit of planning. Don’t be daunted by the different elements – I guarantee this is very easy to make and you can serve this as a starter or on its own for a light lunch.

Grilled Halloumi flatbreads

INGREDIENTS

2 x 250g blocks Halloumi cheese

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons liquid honey

Sumac powder to garnish

For the avocado salsa

2 avocados, peeled, stoned and diced

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STUFFED MINIKIN WITH MINT YOGHURT SAUCE

There are 45 different varieties of pumpkins and while the Jack O Lantern pumpkins are the most recognizable, pumpkins come in different colours, shapes and sizes. Look for the mini ones if you want to stuff and cook them whole.

I have used caramelized onion in this recipe and I recommend doing a batch and keeping in fridge as these are incredibly versatile. You could add to a quiche or pie or sandwiches. To do caramelized onion, slice 2 onions thinly, fry in a couple of tablespoons of oil on low heat for 20 – 25 minutes.

Stuffed minikins with a mint yoghurt sauce

INGREDIENTS

2 small pumpkin or winter squash

1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

½ red pepper, finely diced

2 tablespoons of caramelized onion

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup

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ROAST BUTTERNUT & QUINOA SALAD

When I tried quinoa nearly a decade ago, to be perfectly honest I didn’t like it. I felt it was chalky and the appearance wasn’t appetizing. I am now converted – I believe that locally grown organic red quinoa is tasty and yummy. You will love this salad as it is another great one pot dish that has all the nutrients you need.

Roast Butternut and Quinoa Salad

INGREDIENTS

800g butternut, skin on cut into a small 2cm by 1cm pieces

400g tin of chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 cup organic red quinoa

1 red pepper, cored and finely diced

50g red onion, finely diced

Arals of 1 pomegranate

2 tablespoons sunflower oil, plus 1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon sumac

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