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Archive for 'vegetables'

Recipe: Tasty Pumpkin Salad

Pumpkin Salad

Pumpkin Salad


· pumpkin, diced in bite-size cubes

· cumin seeds

· cooking oil

· feta cheese

· chopped red onion

· olives, black or green

· can of cooked chickpeas

· green beans, sliced

· vinaigrette dressing [balsamic is really good]


1. Sprinkle the cumin seeds and oil on the pumpkin and roast in the oven until browned and cooked. Place cooked pumpkin in a large bowl.

2. Slice the onion and add to the pumpkin.

3. Add the drained chickpeas and olives to the pumpkin.

4. Boil the green beans until cooked and add to the pumpkin.

5. Cube feta and add.

6. Dress with vinaigrette, toss lightly and serve either hot or cold.

7. Vary the quantities of each ingredient above to suit the number of diners. Use lemon juice as an alternative to vinaigrette. Balsamic vinaigrette works nicely with this salad. Serve as either a salad or a side dish.

Shelley’s notes:

1. Substitute some of the pumpkin for potato or kumara (sweet potato). Sometimes I also bake small onions and cloves of garlic as well, which is very tasty.

2. This is a great dish for vegetarians or it can be used as a salad or side dish for meat-eaters.

Easy Vegetable Stock

In the past I used to buy my vegetable stock from the supermarket, but this month I happened upon a blog post about making vegetable stock. It looked so easy, I was astounded. Much cheaper than purchased stock too. Right, I thought. Time to try this stock thing.


I used ingredients from the garden and fridge.

3 Carrots (they were from the garden and quite small)

2 stalks of celery (I used the leaves as well as the stalks)

1 onion – sliced

1 clove garlic – sliced

6 mushrooms

4 tomatoes from the garden – chopped into smaller pieces (a mixture of sizes, cherry to regular)

6 cups of water

8 spinach leaves – chopped (from garden)

1 bay leaf

10 peppercorns


1. Dice the vegetables.

2. Heat some olive oil (2 tablespoons) into a good sized pot.

3. Add the onions, garlic, carrot, celery to the oil. Cook until the vegetables start to caramelize.

4. Add the remaining ingredients plus the water to the pot.

5. Bring to a simmer and cook for around 45 minutes.

6. Strain the stock and discard the vegetables.

7. Once stock is cool, refrigerate or you can freeze.

Shelley’s tips:

1. I read quite a few different recipes before I started and soaked up several tips.

2. Chop the vegetables small because you’ll get maximum flavor this way.

3. Brown veges at the start. This will add more flavor.

4. Use cold water rather than warm. The gradual heating of the water allows maximum flavor.

5. Simmer rather than boil your stock.

6. As you can see, everything with stock is about flavor. Follow these guidelines and you should end up with a great stock.

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock

Have you tried making your own stock? If so, how do you use your stock in cooking?

Recipe: Ratatouille

With all the great summer produce around, I love making this vegetable stew. It’s great for vegetarians –serve it with rice or couscous — and meat lovers enjoy this dish too. This recipe takes a little time but the final result is very tasty.



1 large eggplant cut into chunky pieces
3 medium courgettes, thickly sliced (that’s zuchinni in the US)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 red capsicums
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 red onions, sliced
1/2 cup red wine
4 large ripe outdoor tomatoes, chopped (or 400g can chopped tomatoes)
1 tablespoon oregano
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup torn basil leaves

METHOD 1:Brush eggplant and courgettes with oil and grill or barbecue until tender. Cook capsicum on barbecue or grill until skin blisters and blackens. Allow to cool slightly and then rub off skin, remove seeds and cut into strips. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and gently cook garlic and onion until tender. Add the eggplant, peppers and zucchini to the pan along with the remaining olive oil, red wine, tomatoesm oregano and olives. Season with sea salt and cover and cook until vegetables are tender.
Sprinkle with torn basil leaves and freshly ground black pepper.

METHOD 2: The above is the actual recipe from the Foodlovers.co.nz site. I use a slightly different method. I chop the eggplant, courgettes, capsicum, and onion into bite sized pieces and place on an oven tray. I add cloves of garlic and toss all the vegetables in oil, black pepper and sea salt. I cook for about half an hour in a medium oven. Then I toss the lot in a pot with a can of tomatoes, red wine and oregano and cook for around ten minutes until the tomatoes have reduced and the vegetables are tender. Serve with rice or couscous and garnish with torn basil leaves.

I like the second method because it’s easier and everything is cooked together, but it’s a lot tastier than when I used to cook everything in a pot.

Five Plus a Day!


In New Zealand we have a five plus promotion that encourages us all to eat at least five servings of fruit or vegetables per day. It’s surprising how many people don’t eat much in the way of fruit or vegetables. I know at times cost can be a factor. At other times it’s diet choice.

During the eighteenth century it was quite common for people to eat a diet consisting almost entirely of meat. Tourists from France and farther afield were very surprised at the lack of vegetables in the English diet. British seamen died in large numbers with scurvy, which is caused by a lack of vitamin C. We obtain most of our vitamin C in fruit and vegetables.

Today, I just scraped in eating cranberries with my porridge, 2 x mandarins, mushrooms, onion, garlic, red peppers and tomato on our homemade pizza.

I know it’s difficult to get kids to eat vegetables some times. I remember having to sit at the table and not being allowed to move until I’d eaten my vegetables. Luckily, my tastes have changed with age and I enjoy most vegetables these days.

Do you manage to eat five plus fruit or vegetables per day?

Really Easy Quiche

This recipe is taken from one of Jo Seagar’s cookbooks called Jo Seagar Cooks and as the title states, the quiche is very easy to make. It’s the perfect thing for a summer picnic, unexpected guests or a quick weekend dinner.


4 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated tasty cheese
1 small onion peeled and chopped
6 rashers of rindless bacon chopped
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of your choice of vegetables (chopped mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, corn, peas, beans, grated pumpkin etc) – your imagination is the limit when it comes to vegetables.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Spray a medium – to large size lasagne dish with no stick baking spray. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 40 – 45 minutes until set and golden brown. If your oven is a fan one reduce the cooking time accordingly. It takes around 30 -35 minutes in a fan oven. Serves 6 people.

Note – if you prefer a vegetarian option just leave out the bacon. That’s what I do.

What is your favorite food to take on a picnic?

I Like Vegetables

Thursday Thirteen

When I was a kid there were quite a few vegetables I didn’t like. My parents, however, had rules. If my brother, sister and I didn’t eat our vegetables, we didn’t get dessert. It was as simple as that. I learned to slog through cauliflower and parsnips, very grateful for cheese sauce, which helped make the vegetables go down easier.

These days I eat a mainly vegetarian diet. My tastes have changed and some of my childhood hates have faded.

Thirteen Vegetables I Like to Eat

1. Potatoes. (follow the link to visit an earlier TT on potatoes)

2. Carrots – both raw and cooked. They contain vitamin A, iron, calcium. Great in stews, soups and salads.

3. Spinach – in lasagne or risotto. Contains vitamin A, calcium and iron.

4. Cauliflower – nice with a tomato based sauce or cheese sauce.

5. Mushrooms – we eat mushrooms with almost everything. Not strictly a vegetable. Vitamins B2 and B3.

6. Peas – frozen peas are an excellent standby when the vege crisper is almost empty.

7. Sweetcorn – microwaved with butter.

8. Pumpkin – great in soups, cold in salads and roasted.

9. Kumara (sweet potato) – roasted. – contain iron and vitamin C.

10. Broccoli – with cheese sauce. – contain vitamins A, B, and C.

11. Beetroot – yummy served hot with horseradish sauce.

12. Green Beans – in a salad or boiled as a side dish. A rough chopped tomato type sauce goes well with beans.

13. Brussel Sprouts – they go with chestnuts very well and a little butter. Contain Vitamin A, B and C.

Which vegetables do you enjoy most? Which vegetables did you hate as a child? Do you still hate them? How did your parents get you to eat your vegetables?