Monday, October 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Recipe - Pumpkin Pie

It's about this time of year when many people start thinking about thanksgiving.
We don't celebrate thanksgiving, but I previously tried this recipe for a dinner party with friends and it worked so well that I wanted to try it again and make sure I posted it in time for thanksgiving if it worked out.
I'm pleased to say that it works so well and is totally delicious :-)
It's not very difficult to make either which means it's a winner in my books! 

(This recipe makes 1x 24cm pie - serves 8-12 depending on cutting size.)
You'll need:
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (optional, works without it)
For the filling:
1/4 medium size pumpkin
300g tub soft silken tofu
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (don't have this - use 1t cinnamon, 1/4t each ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves)

Peel and de-seed the pumpkin. Cut into pieces and cook until tender however you choose, my preferred way is in the microwave. This takes approx 7 mins with a small amount of water in the bottom of a microwave safe dish. You need 1 1/2 cups of cooked pumpkin pieces, though don't stress if you are a little over or under as this recipe is very forgiving.
Set cooked pumpkin aside.
In a food processor combine the crust ingredients and pulse until the mixture is lightly crumbled and comes together.
Press the mixture into the pie dish with the back of a spoon. You can be as precise or rustic as you desire. Make sure there are no holes in the button layer as the filling will leak through if there is.
Place pie base in a preheated 160°C oven and baked for 20 minutes. 
In the meantime, prepare the filling.
Make sure the pumpkin is well strained of any water. Strain the tofu.
Combine all the filling ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth.
Pour the filling over the baked pie base.
Spread with the back of a spoon to get a nice even surface on top.
Return to the oven and bake for a further 40 minutes, still at 160°c.
Once cooker, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing.

* We have found that so long as we are using a glass pie dish it doesn't need to be sprayed with oil, the pie slides right off it when it's cooled.
* This is a lightly sweetened pie, you can use more maple syrup if you'd like a sweeter pie.

Question of the day:
Do you celebrate thanksgiving?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Quick Dinner - Salsa Rice with Lemony-Garlic Asparagus & Mushrooms

There are very few recipes I make these days that inspire me enough to blog post! The truth is we are eating so simple and repeat many of our favourite meals over and over. We don't get bored of them and they are always super delicious. 
This recipe is one that I have been making for many years, but recently seeing all the beautiful Australian asparagus I just KNEW it was time to finally post this (the pictures were taken 2 years ago)! As much as possible we try to buy only Australian produce which means that our time line for eating asparagus is rather short! So for those readers who are in Australia make the most of this one, and for those in other countries - be sure to let me know how often you get to enjoy asparagus! 

This meal is a super quick one. It's so easy that no matter how busy your day has been or what time of night you get home, its totally do-able! 
We often have cooked grains in our fridge, and there's rarely a week that goes by when we don't have a big tub of cooked brown rice in there. 
It's a great time-saver to have whole grains precooked

Growing up my father loved tinned asparagus! Personally, I never saw the appeal so I always thought I didn't like asparagus. But as a "grown-up" I decided to re-try it and discovered that having it fresh really tastes like a whole different vegetable! I have grown to not only enjoy, but totally LOVE fresh asparagus (and I still don't see the appeal in the tinned stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!).

I am showing serving size for one person, however it's really easy to make this for as many as needs be. The flavours work so well together and it feels like a real treat. In fact, it's not too far off what we seem to be served at functions!


You'll need:
1 cup precooked brown rice
2 Tablespoons salsa (your choice store bought or homemade)
1 bunch of asparagus (depending on the size you may only use half)
2 large field mushrooms
2 garlic cloves
juice of 1/2 lemon

Slice the mushrooms into long thin strips. Remove the woody ends from the asparagus. 
Over high heat in a non-stick pan add the asparagus spears, the mushrooms, crushed garlic and lemon juice. Allow to saute, occasionally stirring gently, until the asparagus is just tender and the mushrooms are slightly wilted.  
While the asparagus mixture cooks, warm the rice either in a microwave or on the stove top. Once warmed, stir through the salsa.

Yes it really is that simple to have a delicious and nutritious meal in minutes!!!

Question of the day:
What time of year do you get locally grown asparagus? 
Do you like the taste of asparagus either fresh or tinned?