Supercharged Shepherd's Pie

Supercharged Shepherd's Pie

I love taking classic comfort foods and making them a whole lot more nutritious.  I've added lentils and plenty of veggies to my shepherds pie base and my mash is half cauliflower and half potato.  With the veggies, lean lamb and lentils this is a immune boosting recipe for winter that my kids love!

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Moussaka with Cauliflower Béchamel

A few years ago we had an amazing holiday in Greece and although it was the height of summer I still enjoyed ordering moussaka.  It was absolutely delicious but also very rich and filling.  The other day across my Facebook feed came a "paleo moussaka" from Australia'a favourite Paleo Chef Pete Evans.  As a Nutritionist there are a few things I don't agree with about paleo eating (the exclusion of wholegrains and dairy) but there are a few things I love (plenty of veggies and lean protein).  I loved how the paleo recipe included cauliflower in the béchamel sauce and the layer of silver beet (swiss chard).   Cauliflower and silver beet are both a great source of Vitamin C.  Combining this with zinc from the lamb makes this a great immune boosting recipe for winter. I decided to combine the paleo recipe with a more traditional Greek recipe from George Colombaris to create a beautiful healthy moussaka.  


MOUSSAKA WITH CAULIFLOWER BÉCHAMEL

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplant (about 450 g), sliced 1-cm thick
  • sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ bunch of silverbeet or kale (about 200 g), central stalks removed and leaves chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 600 g lamb or beef mince
  • 1 red capsicum/red pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried organo
  • 2 crushed cardamon pods
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 400g tins of crushed tomatoes

Cauliflower béchamel

  • ½ head cauliflower (about 550 g), processed into "rice"
  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot (see note)
  • 80g parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus extra to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cook the eggplant in batches in a frying pan with a little olive oil over med-high heat until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Wipe the pan clean, add a little more olive oil and sauté the silverbeet or kale over medium heat for 2 minutes or until wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the lamb or beef mince and spices, breaking up any lumps with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the meat is browned. Add the tinned tomatoes, mix to combine and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, to make the cauliflower bechemal, bring half the milk to the boil with the cauliflower rice and simmer  for 15 minutes until very soft.  Process with a stick blender.  Whisk the arrowroot with the remaining  milk until combined. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the milk and arrowroot mixture. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cool slightly.
  5. To assemble, lay half the eggplant slices in a single layer in a large baking dish. Spread the silverbeet or kale on top, then pour on the mince mixture. Add the remaining eggplant slices. Finally, pour over the cauliflower béchamel.  Sprinkle with extra parmesan.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow to stand for 15 minutes before cutting and serving with a simple green salad

Serves 6

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Spanish gazpacho - drink your veggies

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A couple of years ago we had a beautiful holiday in Andalusia, Spain.  We'd sit out in the garden and start our meal with short glass of gazpacho which you could buy in tetra packs from the supermarket.  I've come up with this recipe which gets some veggies into everyone before the meal has started.  I tend to use tomato juice (no added salt or sugar), it would be better to use real tomatoes but I can't get that lovely rich tomato flavour from the disappointing supermarket tomatoes.  The advantage of tomato juice is there is no de-seeding or peeling.  Think of it as a red green smoothie!


Ingredients

  • 2 slices crusty bread

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1/2 small garlic clove, crushed

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • 1L tomato juice

  • 1 red capsicum, seeded, chopped

  • 1 lebanese cucumber, seeded, chopped, plus extra finely chopped as a garnish

  • 1/2 long red chilli, seeded

  • 3 green onions, chopped

  • 2 tabs olive oil

METHOD

  1. Break bread into large pieces and place in a bowl (or your thermomix bowl). Pour over red wine vinegar and set aside for 10 minutes

  2. Place bread in a blender or food processor. Add garlic, sugar, tomato juice, capsicum, cucumber, chilli and green onions, and blend until combined (1 minute speed 10 in thermomix). With processor running, pour in olive oil in a thin stream

  3. Transfer gazpacho to a large jug, cover and refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, stir well with ice cubes and add extra finely chopped cucumber as a garnish.

 

Oven baked sausages with ratatouille

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This is a fabulous recipe for a night where you are tired - the oven can do all the work.  Our oven has a reliable oven timer so I often pop this on to cook while I am driving around to pick the kids up from rugby practice etc.  It won't spoil if you leave it in the oven for 10 more minutes.  You can vary the veggies depending on what the team will eat and also add a tin of cannellini beans to make a cheats' cassoulet.

LF, GF

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion

  • 1 whole head garlic

  • 1 medium eggplant

  • 2 zucchinis

  • 2 red capsicums

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 x 400g tins canned tomatoes

  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme and rosemary leaves

  • sea salt

  • black pepper

  • 6 good quality pork sausages

  • 1 x 400g tin cannellini beans (optional)

  • 12 kalamata olives, unpitted

  • fresh rosemary and thyme for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200C

  2. Cut the onion into quarters, and the head of garlic in half crosswise.

  3. Cut the eggplant into half and then rounds, the zucchinis into diagonal slices and the capsicums into thick slices, discarding core and seeds.

  4. Arrange in a large oiled baking tray, burying the garlic halves cut-side down. Add the canned tomatoes and their juices, and a dash of water.

  5. Tuck in the pricked sausages, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with thyme and rosemary, sea salt and pepper.

  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then add the zucchini and turn the sausages. Cook for another 15 minutes, until the veggies are cooked and sausages are browned.

  7. To serve, scatter with olives, rosemary and thyme. Squeeze the roasted garlic on top, and drizzle with the pan juices.

Serves 4

Calories: 290 Fat:16g Saturated fat:4 Carbohydrates:28g Fiber:9g Protein:12g

 

Baked eggs, spinach and ricotta in prosciutto cups

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These make a delicious brunch and are perfect for lunch boxes.  My children enjoy them after an early morning swim squad or netball session and I love knowing I've got them in the fridge or freezer for an easy lunch.

Baked eggs, spinach and ricotta in prosciutto cups

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs

  • 6 slices of prosciutto

  • baby spinach

  • ricotta

  • chopped herbs - parsley, basil and oregano (or herbs of choice)

  • sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

  • muffin liners - optional but does help with cleaning up

method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

  2. If using, line 6 muffin pans.

  3. Cut each slice of Prosciutto in half and wrap into each cup to hold the egg mixture.

  4. Put a few baby spinach leaves on top of the prosciutto

  5. Crack in an egg to each muffin cup. Add a heaped teaspoon of ricotta.

  6. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and chopped herbs.

  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until done.

Calories: 188 (792kJ) Fat: 12 Saturated fat: 5 Carbohydrates: 3 Sugar: 0 Sodium: 776 Protein: 19

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Sicilian caponata

A few years ago we had a lovely holiday in Sicily – I remember seeing miles and miles of eggplant farms and eating many versions of this dish.  I have tried many caponata recipes and this is my favourite .  This eggplant dish is lovely served warm or cool, it keeps well in the fridge so you have your vegies sorted for a couple of meals.  Caponata makes a beautiful side to some grilled lamb, tuna or swordfish.

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18250_l

Sicilian caponata

Author:

rachel

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant

  • coarse salt

  • 1 tab olive oil

  • 1 stalk celery, trimmed, sliced thinly

  • 1 medium (150g) onion, sliced thinly

  • 400g tin peeled and diced tomatoes

  • 2 red capsicums, diced

  • 1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed

  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, optional

  • a handful of black or green olives

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 clove crushed garlic

  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut the eggplant into small cubes, sprinkle with a little salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes. Pat dry. *Heat oil in a large pan, add onion, capsicum and celery, Cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add eggplant and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring.

  2. Add tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and crushed garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add olives and capers, stir well. Simmer, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle pinenuts over to serve.

  3. * To salt or not to salt? In Europe eggplant is salted before cooking to remove the bitter juices, but the improved varieties grown in Australia have lost this bitterness – unless they have been on a greengrocer’s shelf too long. Some say salting also helps to reduce the amount of oil absorbed during cooking.

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Cider-roast pork cutlets with apple and fennel

Cider-roast pork cutlets with apple and fennel

We love pork and this recipe keeps the cutlets tender.  Pork cutlets are a lot cheaper than lamb and are a great source of protein and full of B group vitamins, iron and zinc.  A quick, nutritious midweek meal.

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NIgella's moonblush tomatoes

Here's a Nigella Lawson recipe that I use to turn supermarket tomatoes into gorgeous tomatoes.  I love to serve them on some salad leaves with slices of chevre and a few basil leaves.  Or delicious on the side of some grilled fish.  They take no time to prepare but it's best to make them the day before (or the morning before) you plan to eat them.  However I've had great results just from 30 minutes in the oven rather than overnight.

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Ingredients

  • 500g (about 24) on-the-vine cherry or other baby tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoons Maldon salt or 1 teaspoon table salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 x 15ml tablespoons olive oil

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7.

  2. Cut the tomatoes in half and sit them cut side up in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the salt, sugar, thyme and olive oil.

  3. Put them in the oven, and immediately turn it off. Leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight or for a day without opening the door.

 

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