Tag Archives: meals

Black-eye Bean Soup with Okra

black eyed bean soup with okra

I don’t often post recipes unless they’re something I’ve made up or heavily modified, but this was just too delicious not to share.

I wanted some soup, and and I wanted to use black-eye beans, so I put them on to soak. Then I searched the internet for suitable recipes and decided to use this recipe for Black-eye bean and Vegetable Soup, by Jan Pursey, at Taste.com.au. The next day I was grocery shopping, and picked up the rest of the ingredients.

I followed the recipe exactly, but when I was vegetable shopping I’d picked up some fresh okra which was on sale, and decided to add about 5 of them, sliced, about an hour into cooking the soup. It worked brilliantly.

black eyed bean soup with okra

Calorie Count
Total calories for the pot: 1370
Makes 4-5 serves at 275-355 calories each.
(We didn’t add the olive oil when serving)

Experimental Status: This is clearly a tried and tested, and it shows.
Repeatability: See above. I would definitely make this again. Might add a little more pepper and some paprika to add a little heat.



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Pumpkin & Leek Frittata

A bona fide experiment from my kitchen

 pumpkin and leek fritata

In which we begin calorie counting
My partner, to whom I need to assign a suitable pseudonym, has just returned from a 5 week trip to the US and Germany, and decided that a diet is in order. Since January I’ve been either recovering from surgery, or ill again, so my daily activity is much lower than is normal for me, and it shows. Consequently, we are both calorie counting for the next couple of months; him to lose some weight, and me to make sure I don’t gain any more. This means we have both set our daily caloric intake at 1700 calories per day.

In practical terms, what it means is that we calculate the calories in the foods we eat and enter them onto spreadsheets a friend made. When I cook, I weigh everything carefully and jot down the calorie contents, as well as the ingredients and the method. What this means for my recipes here is I will include exact weights of my ingredients, and calorie counts for each dish, and per serving, because I might as well share all the information I have.

Introducing the NOTEBOOK
Conveniently, one of the presents he picked up for me on this trip was a blank recipe book which is divided into sections with lots of lined pages as well as plastic pockets for recipes cut out of magazines or (much more likely) printed from the internet. In short, it’s very nifty and a decided improvement on my usual method of scribbling stuff down on loose pieces of paper, or whichever small notebook I happen to be using at the time.

recipe book starters fish notes

(click thumbnails for full sized photos)

Pumpkin and Leek Frittata
Makes 2-4 servings

1 large leek (175g)
1 stick celery (30g)
About 1/4 of a Japanese pumpkin (300g) – any other pumpkin would do.
2 small carrots (100g)
2 large eggs (63g each)
Cheese (30g)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Mixed herbs: e.g. oregano, parsley, chives, garlic, marjoram
1 tiny pinch of cayenne
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Easy Indian food

Not-quite-bhurta and a simple dhal, served with rice and raita.


Yesterday before work, I soaked some yellow split peas thinking I would make a pea and ham bacon soup. But when I got home I was tired so I just reheated some quiche and promptly fell asleep on the sofa. Today I realised I had soaked more peas than I needed, so I decided to make a dhal tonight and save the rest for soup tomorrow.

While dhal can be delicious with rice or roti, I had an eggplant in the fridge so I decided to make Sabotabby‘s not-quite-bhurta AKA generic quick n’ dirty Indian eggplant. Then I steamed some rice and threw together a quick raita and an Indian style dinner was ready.
Serves 3-4, with lots of leftover dhal

Very Easy Dhal
I haven’t unpacked A Taste of India, by Madhur Jaffrey yet, but luckily there is a dhal recipe in this month’s Delicious, so I used that as a guide

4 cups of soaked split peas (about 1 and a half cups when dry)
1 can of diced tomato
2 cups water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
pinch of cardamom
pinch of salt

In a saucepan, heat the oil and add all the spices except the salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes then add the split peas, the tomato, and the water. Bring to the boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the moisture is absorbed and the peas are tender. Stir regularly to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pot, and add extra water if needed. Add salt to taste, just before serving.
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Warm Potato Salad

I call this a salad, even though it’s a mixture of cooked vegetables which are served warm, because the vegetables are lightly tossed together, and it has a vinaigrette dressing.

I call it a potato salad, because that’s what I start with, and to which I add the other ingredients as I go. But it’s not a potato salad in the egg and bacon and mayonnaise sense.


I’ve made this a few times, and it changes every time except for the potatoes and the chickpeas. The potato provides the satisfying carbohydrates, while the chickpeas add some protein and their wonderful texture. It’s very versatile, and can be changed depending on what’s in season or what’s in the fridge. But for this entry, I’ll list the ingredients and quantities that I used tonight, and then suggest some variations at the end.

Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side dish
500g chat potatoes
1 cup diced golden kumara (sweet potato)
1 cup cauliflower, broken into florets
About a handful of green beans, topped and tailed.
1 can of chickpeas, drained
Salt and pepper to season

for the vinaigrette
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
(A few tablespoons of each, I usually just keep adding a bit of each until the mix looks right to me)

1 handful of shaved romano cheese
1 handful of sliced coppa, shredded

Steam the potatoes whole. When they are nearly done add the kumara. When that’s nearly done, add the cauliflower, and then when everything is tender but not overcooked, add the beans for about a minute before taking everything off the heat and draining and rinsing if necessary.

Remove the potatoes and cut into quarters.

Put the saucepan (without the steamer) back on a low heat, add the quartered potatoes and the chickpeas. Mix them gently and drizzle the vinaigrette over them.


Add the other vegetables, season, toss together, and gently reheat.


Once they are warmed through, remove from heat and serve.

Now, if you are vegetarian, or are serving this to accompany another dish, you can stop right here. However, if I’m eating this as a main course, I often like to add some animal protein at this point.
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Caramelized Kangaroo, Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Mash, and Pear Salad

Kangoroo is a very lean and somewhat gamey meat. This means that unless you are careful, it can come out pretty tough. One way around this is marinating. Another is to cook it so it’s either quite rare or stew it until tender, as anything in between tends to be pretty chewy.

This time, I marinated the meat in apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar for about 4 hours before cooking, then I caramelized the meat in the marinade to make a sweet and tangy dish. Because the meat was so flavoursome, I made a simple vegetable mash and a fresh tasting salad to accompany it. This dish requires fast cooking and paying attention, so it’s a good idea to make the mash and salad first.

Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Mash

1 large sweet potato
1/2 a cauliflower
1 tbsp olive oil

Dice vegetables into 5cm cubes, boil. Drain, add olive oil and salt and pepper, mash by hand. Use electric mixer for a smoother consistency, if desired.

Pear Salad

Two of the nicest meals I’ve had in the last few months were accompanied by a salad with fresh greens, cheese, and pears. Here’s my version of a pear salad:

2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 Lebanese cucumber
1 cup green beans
1 firm pear
Romano cheese, about 1 handful, grated or shaved
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and Pepper

Pear Salad

Wash spinach leaves. Steam or blanch green beans, top and tail. Cut cucumber lengthwise, first in half, then quarter, and eighth. Cut these pieces into 10 cm lengths. Cut pear in half, remove core, slice thinly, so that the pieces are almost transparent.

Lightly toss these ingredients together. Sprinkle on the Romano, and gently mix through. Drizzle the olive oil and the lemon juice over everything. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pear Salad

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