Squildy

It's the small things

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Sampling What’s in Season – March

March is as good as gone and despite all this rainy, muggy weather we’ve had in Sydney there have been a few chillier days sneaking in. We’re heading into the middle of Autumn now meaning temperatures are going to slowly creep further south on thermometers. It’s almost time to start migrating your jeans and light jumpers out from the back of the wardrobe. Sigh. 

Some folks sweat lots and get frizzy hair it the hot, humid months. They’re the ones who actually look forward to the sign of colder months. Most people however, don’t want summer to ever end. It’s fresh berries, thongs and frozen cocktail weather, what’s not to like?! One good thing that almost everyone looks forward to though, is the food that comes into abundance in colder climates. Think hot roast dinners, soups, homemade pies and hot chocolates. Yum.

For this month’s seasonal recipe I made the most of a few standout seasonal ingredients, namely almonds, pumpkin, kale and leeks and whipped up a healthy, warm autumn tart!

P.s. my first attempt (last photo above) wasn’t exactly a success. The base was crumbly and slightly burnt and the filling was waaaayyyyy too garlicky! I made some adjustments, paid better attention and the result was nothing short of delicious, definitely worth it.

Check it out, it’s pretty delicious! 

Rosemary, Leek, Pumpkin and Kale Tart with an Almond Crust
Adapted from Petite Kitchen

Ingredients:

Tart base

  • 2 1/2 cups of ground almonds (Use almond meal here for faster results or if you have a bunch of almonds already at home, whizz them up gooood in your food processor)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup good-quality unsalted butter (can use all oil if you like, but I’m a BIG fan of butter and sneak it in whenever I can)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp tap water

Tart filling

  • 1 whole medium sized butternut pumpkin, cut in to chunks, and cooked (roasted or steamed)
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • ½ a bunch of kale
  • 2 cloves of garlic, each clove crushed and peeled
  • 1 leek (white end only)
  • 50g butter
  • a large and generous handful of grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Cooking:

Preheat the Oven to 180°C

In a large bowl, combine the ground almond, oil, butter, salt, and water. Mix the mixture until thoroughly combined. Press the dough evenly in to a greased tart pan using your clean fingers.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until slightly browned (be careful not to over cook the crust, you don’t want to burn it. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.  

While the tart is cooling, prepare the filling. Sautee your leeks until slightly softened. In a food processor, add the pumpkin, garlic, rosemary, kale, softened leeks, butter and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whizz until pureed, check the seasonings and adjust if need be.

Spoon the filling in to the pastry tart, and smooth out evenly. Sprinkle with the grated parmesan. Put back in to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes or until cheese browns on the top.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly, before removing from the pan. 

Happy tarting!

Speak soon

Xx

Filed under samplingwhatsinseason autumn tart pumpkin rosemary almonds glutenfree be healthy

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Sampling What’s in Season – February 

“Eating and cooking with seasonal ingredients is good for you” – we’ve all heard it before. Know why? Different fruit and veggies thrive in certain months or seasons throughout the year. And when fruit and veggies are thriving it means two things: they are in abundance and they have a higher nutritional value. We then have the opportunity to create and consume fresher, tastier meals while saving precious dollars. Thank you mother nature.

To help you capitalise on this wonderfully natural phenomenon, I’m going to give you what you need. At the beginning of every month, with my trusty ‘SBS 2014 Foodie Diary’ on hand, I’ll give you a nice little table of what fruit and veggies are in season for the month + a healthy seasonal recipe to get your kitchen-creative juices flowing.

On the weekend, I grabbed a few gorgeously ripe, golden peaches from Harris Farm and whipped up a whole food Peach Crumble Cake for my man’s sister’s birthday.

Check it out, it’s pretty simple! 

Peach Crumble Cake
Adapted from SBS 2014 Foodie Diary

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 180g good quality butter softened
  • 1/3 cup rice malt syrup
  • ½ cup panela
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g spelt flour
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 3 ripe peaches (any variety)

Crumble

  • 50g spelt flour
  • 60g good quality butter
  • 1/3 cup panela
  • ½ cup flaked almonds
  • 1tsp cinnamon

Cooking:

Grease and line a 23cm round cake tin and preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Celsius. 

For the cake, cream butter, rice malt syrup and panela until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one by one, mixing well after each.
Add spelt flour and almond milk and beat until combined.
Spoon the mix in to the prepared tin and arrange the peaches on top of the cake.

For the crumble, combine spelt flour, butter, panela and cinnamon until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir through the flaked almonds then sprinkle the mixture over the cake.

Bake for 45-55mins, testing the cake with a skewer after 45 mins. Allow to cool before serving.

Happy eating and cooking!

Speak soon

Xx

Filed under seasonal eating february peaches whole food recipe peach crumble cake be healthy cooking

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My first Feb-Fast & 30-day plank challenge

This post is dedicated to my body.

Dear Body,

With Australia’s major summer festivities behind us it’s time to make it up to you. I’ve not been kind to you this last month, I’m sorry.  My wonderful vessel, you have heroically seen me through (among other debaucherous summer nights) a rather large Christmas, a 48-hour non-stop New Years celebration and a truly boozy Australia Day.  I thank you and I forgive you for the 3- week cold you put me through following New Years. I promise I’ll make it up to you starting three days ago.

I’m going to make it up to you with two significant gestures:

  1. I will cease to feed you alcoholic beverages for 26 ½ days (aka participate in Feb-Fast). We’ve starting a week early so we can celebrate appropriately with our friend Johnny Broadfoot for his 30th birthday festivities on Feb 22nd.

  2.  I will give you more and more strength everyday through participating in 30 Day Fitness Challenges’ ‘30 day Plank Challenge’.

Why Feb-Fast? Because we want to shed a few kilos, we could do with saving the extra cash and imagine 26 ½ days of NO hangovers! Need I say more? Yes, there will no doubt be some pesty peer-pressure-ers but we have to be strong together. 

Why the plank? Because it’s good for us. We’ll (hopefully) have better abs, a stronger core and in-turn a well-supported back to protect us from further expensive trips to the osteo. 

And don’t you forget about the other gestures I’ve already starting showing my respect for you with. I have already stopped making us inhale those smelly cigarettes for nearly a month now AND I’ve kept up our weekly yoga classes as well as our (almost) daily seaside walks.

Get excited. You’re welcome.

Sincerely,
Matilda

Wish me luck people!

Speak soon

xx

Filed under febfast 30 day fitness challenge plank challenge health be healthy nervous

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Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Steven Pressfield, Author of ‘The War of Art’

Filed under goodtoknow wisewords

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Meat-free Mondays take two – Petite Kitchen’s Braised Lentils

Finally some vego success! Meat-Free Monday’s you have to be my easiest resolution. Especially when Petite Kitchen exists. Eleanor [culinary goddess behind Petite Kitchen] creates and shares the most wonderful recipes on her blog, all of which exchange sugar and grains for whole, natural and unprocessed [and tasty] alternatives.

If you like good food, pretty photos of food and easy, healthy, DIY recipes, you need to visit Petite Kitchen. I’ve literally spent hours at a time reading through her posts and flagging recipes I want to make. It was essentially through this ‘procrastinator-y’ activity that I stumbled upon Eleanor’s mouth-watering Simple Braised Lentils in Rich Tomato and Preserved Lemon Sauce – a perfect Meat-Free Monday recipe!

These lentils are gorgeously simple to throw together and are über-tasty. I whipped them up for dinner last night with half a fresh roasted eggplant and was so impressed with myself. I highly recommend you make some for yourself and loved ones at home you’ll be the talk of the table!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • a large handful of fresh thyme, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp preserved lemon, finely sliced
  • 1 can of lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans chopped tinned tomatoes
  • a large handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 large eggplant, topped and tailed and cut in half lengthways
  • grated parmesan to serve
  • sea salt
  • pepper

Cook

Heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Place the eggplant halves flesh side up in a small roasting dish or tin. Sprinkle with a good lug of olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until flesh is soft.

Meanwhile, melt the butter or olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and thyme, then cook while stirring, until soft and slightly browned.

Add the preserved lemon, lentils, and tomatoes then bring to a soft simmer. Cook for a further twenty minutes, or until thick and pulpy.

Stir in the basil, then season generously with sea salt and pepper.

Serve with grated parmesan (I like a decent mound), a sprinkling of basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Serves 2

*gluten, grain, wheat, and meat free!

Eleanor’s take on cooking is inspiring and I have to share it with you: “When preparing food, it doesn’t have to be difficult, stressful or hard. I believe it’s all about using simple flavours and ingredients that work fantastically together.” Too right I say.

Speak soon

xx

Filed under meat-free monday petite kitchen lentils vego eggplant vegetarian breaky

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Making myself accountable for my New Year’s Resolutions + my first vego meal attempt of the year…
 

Happy New Year everyone and what a great year it’s shaping up to be. I know I’m a little late but it’s taken me a good week to recover from the debaucheries of New Year’s Eve and Day…

Not everyone is into the whole ‘making resolutions’ thing, myself included usually, but this year is different. I have a new career to find and build, a few self-improvements to make and Queen Procrastination over here is going to need some guidance.

In saying that, my big picture goal is to become the best version of myself. I basically want to be a happier, healthier and more successful me. Easier said than done I know. 

Given this is quite the vague goliath goal I came up a short list of 7 mini-goals to help me attain the big one:

  1. Build and eat from my very own veggie garden at home
  2. Quit smoking (so far so good – boom!)
  3. Secure a casual job in the food industry – preferably at a delectable little deli somewhere close to home
  4. Eat more fish and veggies – I’m starting Meat-Free Mondays and Fish Fridays
  5. Complete another writing course
  6. Go to yoga every week that the studio is open.
  7. Expand and improve my blog

On my first Meat-Free Monday, I decided to tackle making fresh pea and mint croquettes (as seen in the 2014 SBS Foodie Diary). To sum the experience up for you, it took me a good 2 ½ hours to make them, my whole kitchen was a mess and they weren’t even that good. But, I’m not going to let my early failure dampen my determination! Onwards and upwards.

Speak soon

xx

Filed under new years resolution be happy be healthy be successful