Tag Archives: side dishes

Toasted Seeds

Toasted Seeds

This is so easy to make that it doesn’t really deserve to be called a recipe, but these seeds are very tasty and can turn a plain dish into something special.

I was first introduced to this method of toasting seeds with soy sauce in my teens, when I was living in a commune in Northern New South Wales. There were many pros and cons associated with that time of my life, which is not surprising seeing as I was young and trying to define myself, but being introduced to new foods was definitely one of the major pluses. A lot of those foods are available in supermarkets now, but in rural Australia in the early nineties, you still had to go to a health food store to get things like tempeh, fresh sprouts, and dried grains, pulses and seeds.

Toasted seeds are great in salads or on soup, and just to eat by the handful. They are an easy way to add some protein and salty flavour to a vegetable dish. These days you can find them ready made in some stores, but I prefer to make my own because it’s just so easy, and I like eating them when they’re still warm.

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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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