This salad came about because I was recently at Kitchen by Mike’s in Rosebery and I tried something similar. Regretfully, I didn’t take a photo on the day, so this salad is my recreation of what I can remember. Persimmon are the main feature in this salad and they are so delicious. I don’t eat them often, nor are they featured in menu items often but they should be. They have a delicate, sweet flavour which pairs beautifully with the tang of the pomegranate. The crunch from the nutty farro and walnuts rounds out the salad nicely. For people who are skeptical of eating salad as a main dish, make this for them. It’s packed with flavour, fills you up and there’s not a lettuce leaf in sight. Enjoy🙂
Persimmon, Pomegranate and Farro Salad
Serves 4 as a main or 6-8 as a side
- 1 ½ cups farro, cooked according to packet instructions
- 1 persimmon, finely sliced (mandolin is perfect)
- Seeds of ½ pomegranate, juice reserved
- 6 sprigs mint, leaves torn
- 1 ½ tbs chopped chervil
- 1 ¼ cups walnuts
- 1 tbs maple syrup, plus 2 teaspoons
- Zest and juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Sea salt to season
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Scatter walnuts on tray and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup. Bake in the oven for about 4 minutes or until just golden. Set aside to cool.
- To make the dressing, use the reserved juice from the pomegranates and mix it in a small bowl with the olive oil, remaining maple syrup, lemon juice and zest and season with salt.
- Combine all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl with the walnuts and pour over the dressing. Taste for seasoning and serve.
*To get the seeds out of a pomegranate, cut the pomegranate in half. Over a bowl, hold the pomegranate in your hand with the cut side facing your palm and using the back of a spoon bang it against the pomegranate. The seeds will fall out and with it some juice. Your hand should act as a barrier so that the white pith doesn’t go in the bowl.
I was having a look at my blog the other day and realized it had been a year since I started, so I thought I’d make a little celebration cake to mark the occassion! While I would love a bit more time to devote to it, I love the outlet it provides me to share my recipes with other foodies. It keeps me inventing new recipes and forces me to take risks in the kitchen, which is a lot of fun. So, thanks to everyone who comes by and checks it out.
To celebrate, I decided to make one of my all time favourite cakes, a super moist coconut cake that I’ve loved ever since I was little. It’s a Woman’s Weekly classic that uses sour cream to ensure the cake’s moist texture and make sure it isn’t overly sweet. While I love this cake as is, I decided to take it up a notch and add a delicious pomegranate mascarpone icing to really add that oomph! The icing is tangy and complements the cake perfectly. To top it off, I thought the cake needed a bit of texture, so I added some toasted coconut that I just baked in the oven at 220°C for about 6 minutes. And to add some colour, I finished it with some freeze dried raspberries and pomegranate arils. And I have to say, it was incredible. I don’t like to boast to much but flavours and textures in the cake are so delicious, every plate in the house was licked clean. I hope you like it as much as I did!
Coconut Celebration Cake with Pomegranate Mascarpone Icing
- 250g butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 cup caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 ¼ cup desiccated coconut
- 3 cups self-raising flour
- 500g sour cream
- 2/3 cup milk
Pomegranate Mascarpone Icing
- 250g cream cheese
- 125g mascarpone
- 3/8 cup sugar
- 1 egg (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbs pomegranate molasses
- ½ cup toasted coconut flakes
- Arils of ½ a pomegranate
- ½ cup freeze dried raspberries
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease two deep 22cm-round cake pans; line base with baking paper.
- Beat butter, essence and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in half the coconut and half the sifted flour, half the sour cream and half the milk, then add remaining coconut, flour, sour cream and milk; stir until smooth.
- Divide the mixture into the two pans; bake for about 50 minutes or until cooked when tested. Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes before turning onto wire rack, top-side up, to cool.
- Meanwhile, while the cake is baking, start on the icing. In a large bowl beat cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy.
Add egg, beat well.
Add vanilla, lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses and mix until combined.
- To assemble the cake: place one of the cakes on a board or cake stand. Using a large spoon, place half the icing mixture into the middle of the cake. You don’t want to spread it all the way to the edge as once you place the second cake on top the weight will push the icing to the side. Place second cake on top and dollop the rest of the icing on top and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the toasted coconut, pomegranate arils and freeze dried raspberries and serve.
Our oven broke last week and it forced me to get a bit experimental in my cooking. I’m confident in my normal domain – the oven and stove. But when you take the oven out of the equation, your choice become considerably more limited. Sure, you can get creative and there are countless dishes you can make that require solely a stove-top. But when you get home from work the first dish that creeps into your head will undoubtedly be pasta. And after a while, or my third night consecutively chowing down on the delicious carb-loaded aforementioned meal, I had reached my limit. I needed something baked. Then I remembered we had a barbeque. That foreign object that sits outside in the garden. To me, the barbeque is the domain of steaks and sausages, not the domain of slow roasted meat, or caramelized vegetables. However, I decided that I needed to break-free from my comforting inside-oven domain and brave the grey, rainy weather to use the barbeque. Under the careful prowess of my boyfriend who helped me turn it on (yes, you read the correctly) I started to get acquainted with the big, scary barbeque. And I can tell any of you other non-barbecue-users that it’s not as a scary as you may think.
My barbeque has a temperature dial, which helped when trying to figure out how long and what temperature to cook things at. However, a barbeque cannot be treated in the same way as an oven as the heat is not regulated in the same way and may not cook things as evenly as you might be used to. Do not despair. Just keep an eye on what your cooking, move it around to a different part of the barbeque and play with the temperature dials a bit until you get a feel for it. You will get there, I promise and the results will be worth it!
While the barbeque does produce a decidedly more smoky flavoured result, this can be absolutely perfect for some recipes. This recipe for middle eastern braised eggplant being one of them. I have made this dish before in the oven but I was pleasantly surprised that the barbeque produced a far more flavorsome meal. The smoky, charred flavour that finds its way into the eggplant means that the eggplant is soft and tender inside, with a crisp, crunchy skin. Pair this with a tangy, creamy tahini dressing and a fresh hit of pomegranates and I promise you’ll be grateful that you ventured outside.
Middle Eastern Barbequed Eggplant with Tahini Dressing and Pomegranates
Serves 6 as side
- 2 medium sized eggplants, sliced into 1cm thick discs
- ½ bunch chopped coriander
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp ground chilli
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp dukkah
- Sea salt to season
- 2 tbs tahini
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs water
- Juice from 1½ lemons
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- Sea salt to season
- Preheat the barbeque to 200°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl.
- Place the eggplant discs flat on the baking trays and spread out evenly.
- Using a pastry brush, dip it into the marinade and baste each disc with the marinade. Repeat on all the discs, turning each over to coat each side.
- Put the eggplant into the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until soft in the middle and crispy on the outside. Be sure to turn the eggplant discs over so they cook evenly about half way through cooking.
- While the eggplant is cooking you can make the dressing. For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. The tahini will absorb a lot of the liquid so if it looks a little thick, add a bit more oil, lemon juice or water and taste.
- Remove the eggplant from the barbeque and place onto a serving tray. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with pomegranates and top with coriander. Serve warm.
This weekend I road tripped up to Byron Bay for the Splendour in the Grass music festival. It was a weekend of fun, friends, sunshine and a lot of mud. The music was fantastic and it was hard to keep from smiling. The mix included all that is cool from pop, rock, hip-hop and indie. I got to see some of my favourite bands such as, The National, Mumford and Sons, MS MR and Boy & Bear, and they did not disappoint.
Because we were camping that meant we had to eat either the chips and lollies we’d stocked up on from the supermarket or what was on offer from the food stands, and after five days of festival food my body was craving something light and fresh. That is not to say the food at Splendour was bad, in fact the burgers, fries, tacos, gourmet hot dogs and pasta were all delicious but not exactly great for the figure.
Feeling bloated and heavy I decided to make my go-to salad. It’s got everyone’s favourite superfood quinoa, a nutty grain-like seed that absorbs other flavours superbly. But the real superstar here is the pomegranate. Opening up one of these beauties is like discovering a treasure chest full of gloriously rich-coloured jewels. The little ruby red beads burst in your mouth, punching with a simultaneously sweet and tangy flavour. Combine this with a sprinkling of dukkah, an Egyptian nut, seed and spice mix, and you have a flavour combination that really will delight the senses. I know that’s cheesy but sometimes there’s no way around it. Sorry.
The added crunch that comes from the fresh, crispy veggies adds a great textural element to the dish and the big, zesty flavours from the chilli and lemon vinaigrette don’t leave your taste buds lacking in the flavour department. A few more meals like this and hopefully my Splendour belly will subside a little.
Middle Eastern Pomegranate Quinoa Salad
Serves 6 as a main or 10 as a side
- 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
- 1 bunch coriander chopped
- 1 bunch mint chopped
- 1 bunch parsley chopped
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers, quartered lengthways and diced
- 1 red capsicum diced
- 2 celery sticks finely sliced
- 6 sprigs shallot finely sliced
- Seeds of 2 pomegranates
- 3 tbs dukkah*
- 1 small red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
- Salt to season
- Juice of two lemons
- Equal amounts of olive oil
- Place all ingredients in a salad bowl and season generously with salt.
- Combine lemon juice and olive oil in a jar and shake until mixed together.
- Pour over the salad and toss through.
*Dukkah is an Egyptian spice mix that is available at most grocers and delicatessens.