Hi Friends, Welcome back to another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe post! Today I am sharing one of my favourite soup recipes of all time, Roasted Sweet Potato, Ginger and Coconut Soup! This is a super easy, affordable and healthy plant based meal option that will keep …
Tag: plant based
Hi Friends, Welcome back to another recipe post! So apparently I’ve been on a bit of a pasta kick as my last two recipe posts have both been pasta recipes (what can I say, breastfeeding = carb life). Today’s recipe is a super creamy and …
Wow, it has been a hot minute since I have posted a recipe to this blog, apologies for my absence I have been busy growing and birthing a human, who arrived safely on the 22nd of December 2019 – I’ll save the birth story for another post!
So apparently looking after a tiny helpless person leaves little time for creativity in the kitchen, and when you do get a small snippet of time, mum brain kicks in and it’s like all knowledge and ideas go out the window and you’ve never picked up a pan before. Even with this unfortunate side effect of motherhood, I would’t trade it for anything, I’ve never experienced a love like this and honestly I could spend all my days just watching him experience the world!
It has taken seven weeks for me to get in the kitchen and create a recipe, and actually this recipe wasn’t something I planned out in advance, it was a Friday night, hot and humid weather so I didn’t want to turn the oven on and therefore decided to come up with something I could cook solely on the stove. I had two bulbs of fennel in the fridge (we love fennel in this house) some cloves of garlic, a lonely zucchini, some wilting spinach leaves, fresh basil and lemon from the garden and some tomatoes that were going a little soft. This random assortment of ingredients coupled with some pantry staples eventuated into a delicious summer pasta that I shared to my Instagram story (see images below) and received quite a few messages about so I decided to officially add it to the blog.
This pasta is the perfect dinner for a summer evening that you can whip up in less than forty minutes making use of fresh and in season produce. If you do try this recipe, please let me know how you liked it, I would love to see your take on it!
Until next time (hopefully that is sooner rather than later) stay well, eat good food in good company and be happy!
Summer Fennel and Zucchini Pasta
A delicious and simple summer pasta recipe using in season produce and fresh ingredients, perfect for an easy lunch or dinner!
- 1 500g packet of organic pasta I used spirals
- 5-6 medium tomatoes chopped
- 2 bulbs fennel topped, cored and sliced into wedges
- 1 medium zucchini diced into 1-2cm pieces
- 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 whole lemon
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves (reserve some for serving)
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 4-5 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp olive oil plus more for serving
- 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
Prepare all vegetables as per ingredient list above, make sure to reserve some 'hair' from the fennel tops for serving
In a large heavy based pan (I used a cast iron pan, they are amazing!) heat two tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat, add in the wedges of fennel and the garlic cloves
Cook for 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally until each side is golden brown and caramelised
Meanwhile, add a pot of water to the stove and bring to the boil (for the pasta)
Heat a small pan over a medium heat and add pine nuts, gently stiring for about a minute until lightly toasted, remove from pan immediately to prevent further cooking and set aside
Once the fennel and garlic have caremalised, remove from pan and set aside
In the same large pan, heat the remaining olive oil and add the chopped tomatoes and white wine stir well to combine
Mince or finely chop the caremalised garlic cloves and add to the pan along with some torn fresh basil leaves and the tomato paste
Bring sauce to a gentle simmer and allow to cook until the tomatoes are soft and have lost their shape (about 5-10 minutes)
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to packet instructions, do not overcook pasta as you will be adding it to the sauce
Once the tomatoes are soft, use the back of a wooden spoon (or even a potato masher) to mush the tomatoes into a sauce, add a little water if needed
Add the diced zucchini to the pan and continue to cook stirring occasionaly until the zucchini is soft (5-10 minutes)
Once zucchini is cooked through, taste sauce and season with salt and pepper as desired
Once pasta is cooked, drain and add to the tomato sauce along with the spinach, stir through until pasta is well coated and spinach is wilted
Serve pasta in bowls topped with caremalised fennel wedges, toasted pine nuts, torn basil leaves, fennel hair, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Hi Friends, Welcome back to another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe post! Today I am sharing this easy yet delicious Leek and Lemon Risotto with Green Peas and Spinach. This recipe came about for a few reasons, firstly, my lemon tree is doing exceptionally well right now, …
I’m back with another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe for you today! This past weekend in Melbourne was a doozy! I believe Saturday was the coldest March day in over 40 years and it poured with rain for most of the day. Whilst there are many downsides to being trapped inside all weekend, there are a few positives to come out of it. Firstly, drinking copious amounts of tea and reading all the books. And secondly, getting to whip out and dust of my red lentil Dahl recipe that is perfect for this kind of weather!
Let’s talk about lentils!
These little legumes are low in calories and packed with nutrition. Lentils are high in fibre, iron, protein and folate, they help to lower blood cholesterol and stabilise blood sugar. Nutrition aside, lentils are easy to come by, extremely affordable and able to be sourced in bulk! Whilst there are so many great recipes you can use lentils for, one of my staples is a delicious and warming red lentil Dahl.
Dahl is prepared using dry lentils, spices and various sources of liquid to create a flavourful curry that can be served as a side, as a main, on its own, with rice, with naan bread…really the sky is the limit.
For my Dahl, I use both coconut milk and canned tomatoes to give extra flavour and creaminess, I also use homemade veggie stock and fresh curry leaves in addition to the dried spices to really make the flavour pop. Dahl is a super easy and quick meal, its cheap and extremely healthy, the perfect dish to add into your weekly rotation during the cooler months. I add a lot of fresh ginger to mine so it is very warming and good for your immune system, the chilli is optional, you can omit this if you don’t like too much spice, it will still have plenty of flavour from the other spices used. When I make this dish I will usually stir through some spinach in the final stage of cooking then serve on a bed of jasmine rice topped with some coconut yogurt and fresh coriander leaves with a side of steamed greens!
If you have never cooked with dried lentils before and would like to give it a go, this is a perfect recipe to start with. I do hope you enjoy this meal and it adds some warmth and flavour to your week. If you make this please feel free to share an image with me on Instagram by tagging @kiahs.kitchen or #kiahskitchen I would love to see your creations, alternatively leave a comment down below to let me know how you liked it!
Until next time,
Easy Creamy Coconut and Tomato Red Lentil Dahl
Lentils are seriously a little nutrition powerhouse, they are an excellent source of plant protein, folate, magnesium and fibre, they are packed with protein and help to reduce cholesterol while stabilising blood sugar. Lentils are super affordable making this Dahl recipe a cheap but flavourful and nourishing meal, great for the cooler months!
- 1.5 cups dried red lentils rinsed
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 400g tin diced tomatoes
- 1 400g tin of full fat coconut milk
- 1 whole brown onion diced
- 4-5 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 thumb fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 1 tsp ground tumeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp good quality curry powder
- .5 tsp dried chilli flakes optional
- 12 fresh curry leaves
- 1 tbsp cold pressed olive or avocado oil
- 1 bunch coriander including stems roughly chopped
- 1 whole lime
- 4 servings jasmine or basmati rice
Optional for serving
- 4 servings fresh steamed broccoli
- 250 grams fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1 tub natural coconut yogurt
Prepare onion, garlic and ginger and measure out spices into a small ramekin (makes cooking process easier)
In a medium cast iron pot, heat olive oil over a medium/high heat
Add onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until becoming golden and translucent
Add garlic, ginger and curry leaves, stir well for another 1 minute
Add all spices (turmeric, cumin, garam masala, curry powder and chilli flakes) and stir quickly so as not to burn, add a little water to prevent sticking and create a paste consistancy
After a minute, add the rinsed red lentils, coconut milk, tomatoes and vegetable stock and stir to combine
Bring mixture to a boil then immediately turn down to a simmer and cover partially, set a timer for 30 minutes
While the Dahl is cooking, prepare your rice according to packet directions (I use a rice cooker)
After 30 minutes, lentils should be cooked, stir through most of the coriander (save some for serving) and fresh spinach leaves (if using)
Dish rice into bowls, top with Dahl, sprinkle with remaining fresh coriander leaves and squeeze over lime juice, add a dollop of coconut yogurt (if using)
Other options include serving with naan bread and adding some steamed greens on the side
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consumed within 3 days or frozen for up to one month for optimum freshness.
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019, it’s going to be a good one!
Often January is the time of year where everyone is setting goals and intentions, trying to break bad habits and implement better ones. That’s why I have decided to share with you my meal planning, shopping, storage and cooking routine that helps me save money, reduce food wastage and eat healthy, nutritious meals each week.
I have included some tips that I hope you will find helpful if you are trying to improve this aspect of your life, after all doesn’t everyone want to save money, the environment and their health? I have also included a recipe for my healthy and delicious buddha bowls, a great option for work lunches!
Planning is KEY to successfully organising almost any aspect of your life. Every Friday, I make a meal plan for the following week which includes what I (and Nathan) will eat for breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks.
Don’t plan to cook more than you actually need to cook.
I only need to cook three nights out of the week, to give us six nights worth of dinners (if you don’t like leftovers I have some specific tips in the LEFTOVERS section below). Furthermore, I can prepare lunches for the first three days of my week (Monday to Wednesday) on Sunday, which saves me having to prepare lunch every night. Not having to cook every night means I get more time to spend doing things I love like walking my dogs, reading, spending time with Nathan etc.
Write it down.
I open a new note in my Google Keep app and title it ‘Plan for next week’ (I know, super original right?) in here I’ll type out the following headings: Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinner 1, Dinner 2, Dinner 3 and Snacks. Then I list what I am making for that particular meal for the following week.
If you need some meal inspiration try:
Alternatively it can be super helpful to maintain a list of easy healthy recipes, that you know how to make and you know you enjoy, to refer to when stuck for ideas.
So now my list looks something like this:
If you’re new to this, I would suggest creating a shopping list with the ingredients you’ll need for each meal so you don’t forget anything (because everyone knows that annoying feeling of starting to cook only to find out halfway through that you are missing a crucial ingredient!).
Structure the list so that items are grouped together according to their location in the shop, this will make your life SO MUCH easier! If you are using Google Keep it allows you to check off items as you add them to your trolley which is super helpful.
Onto the fun part! (does anyone else love grocery shopping? Just me? Okay..).
How to win at grocery shopping?
Have a designated shopping day once a week.
If you have planned your meals properly, you will save so much money and time this way rather than doing a heap of random stops at a grocery store where you are more likely to grab things on a whim (especially if you’re hungry!). My shopping day is Saturday, I get up early and have breaky, grab my re-usable bags then head to my local shopping centre. Arriving early means I beat the Saturday shopping crowd, get a great car park and can actually enjoy my time shopping without feeling suffocated!
Shop for your produce at a farmers market or fruit and veg store.
You’ll be surprised it can actually be cheaper and the produce is generally fresher having travelled less kilometres than that sold in supermarkets. Plus you will be supporting local farmers and minimising your consumption of plastic, win win. First thing when I get to the shops is order a coffee in my Pottery For The Planet reusable cup, then I head towards the fruit and veg store. Once I am done with the fruit and veg, I’m off to the supermarket (Woolworths) to get the non-produce shopping items. Finally, if I need to I’ll stop in at the health food store and stock up on anything I am running low on i.e. natural deodorant, natural skin care, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds or chocolate (you know, the essentials!).
Use produce that is in season.
Designing your meal plan around what is in season will save you money and ensures you are eating the freshest produce available. I often make salad bowls or soups for lunches, I love doing these as I can mix up the ingredients depending on what we feel like and what produce is in season and they always taste great!
Use your reusable shopping bags.
Need I say more?
While this sounds like a lot, I can have it all done in under an hour and be back home by 9 am. This brings me to the next section, storing your produce.
After you have gone to the effort of planning and shopping for your delicious food, you need to ensure you store it appropriately to make it last the week. You can’t just chuck your veggies in the fridge willy nilly and expect them to stay fresh, nutritious and juicy.
Check your fridge temperature.
Make sure your fridge is set on the correct temperature (around 4 degrees Celsius) too cold will mean your food freezes and too warm places your food in the ‘danger zone’ where harmful bacteria will thrive.
Clean your produce draws.
Remove all existing produce from the fridge, take out the draws, rinse them and dry them, I line mine with newspaper. These draws are designed specifically to manipulate the airflow and humidity to keep produce fresh for longer. So use them correctly and they’ll do just that. The draws should be about three quarters full to allow enough airflow. If you find that you can’t fit all of your produce in the draws, it might be worth investing in an additional fruit/veg storage container to keep your remaining veggies fresh.
Remove plastic and store appropriately.
Fresh produce needs to breath, if you are leaving it in plastic bags, it will sweat and spoil very quickly. Most veggies can go into the storage draw/container as they are, however some may be partially prepared first or stored separately which will help with freshness and also your convenience. For example, with big bunches of kale, I will de-stalk, rinse and store the leaves in an airtight container lined with a damp tea towel. This keeps my kale fresh all week and because it is already prepared it is super easy to grab for smoothies or other recipes. With fresh herbs, I fill up jars with water, place the bunch of herbs in there just as you would with a bunch of flowers in a vase and I store them in my fridge door. That way they are easy to access to tear or cut leaves as required and stay fresh and green for the whole week!
Use up existing produce.
What to do with the old veggies you pulled out of the fridge? Cook them up into a meal to eat that night (or freeze for later), use them to make your own veggie stock (super easy – I do this weekly!) or add them to the compost so they can nourish your garden.
Right, so you’ve done the planning, you’ve done the shopping and you’ve correctly stored your produce. The cooking part should therefore be quite easy!
I allocate an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon to cook our Monday – Wednesday lunches. I usually do hearty soups or salad bowls, this week was a salad bowl!
On the nights that I am cooking dinner (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday) I get home from work and get straight into it. We have a rule in our household, whoever cooks does not do the dishes, given I am the cook, Nathan is usually on dishes duty which works great for us.
Once it reaches Thursday/Friday and I have run out of pre-prepared lunches, I’ll either grab something from the freezer which was leftover from the week before or I’ll throw together something easy like my no tuna chickpea sandwiches which will get us through the remainder of the week!
Lastly, I leave one night a week without a meal planned because we will often go out on a date night or have dinner with friends/family!
The schedule of cooking every second night works really well as we are only cooking for two so there are always leftovers, and it means we are eating the food while it is fresh and flavoursome.
So, you have cooked a nice big delicious meal and you have leftovers, now what? In the next section below you’ll find my top tips for storing leftovers so it doesn’t really feel like you are eating leftovers!
Leftovers are great! I know some people are not keen on eating food that has been cooked before, but trust me, if it is stored and prepared correctly it makes all the difference. It can also be helpful to adjust your mindset, we are so so lucky to have leftovers, because that means we have an abundance of food, we have so much that there is some left over. There are so many people (including children) living below the poverty line, not only in third world countries but even in our own country. Remember how lucky you are to have enough food to fill and nourish your body!
Got leftovers? See my top tips below for storing and preparing them!
Store leftovers in airtight GLASS containers.
Not only is plastic bad for the environment, it is also bad for our health, it is made of harmful chemicals that can leach into our food. You’ve probably noticed a lot more glass storage containers on the market these days, there is a reason for that. Invest in some good ones and it will change the game of food storage (and they’ll literally last forever!).
Store meal components separately.
For example, when storing a potato and chickpea curry with rice, store all of the curry in one container and all of the rice in the other. This stops things from going mushy and watery. It means when you reheat the leftovers, they don’t blend together into a mess resembling chunky baby food. By reheating the different components of the meal separately, when you serve them nicely on a plate topped with some fresh herbs it feels much more like you are eating a freshly cooked meal rather than leftovers.
AVOID THE MICROWAVE.
As convenient as it may be, its not great for your food and tends to make things look a little sad (not surprising as they have literally been zapped). How do you reheat your food without the microwave? Take my example of the curry above, if you have stored the curry and the rice separately, you can simply put the curry into a pot on the stove with a teeny tiny bit of water and heat it on a low heat stirring occasionally, this doesn’t take long at all and tastes way better! You could either put the rice in the microwave to reheat or in a different pot. Not keen on the stove? Use your oven! putting the curry into a casserole dish with a bit of water and covering it will allow it to heat through nicely on about 180 degrees Celsius. This will take longer than the stove, but hey, you may want to use your time while you are waiting to take a shower, read a book or do some washing etc.
Leftovers make your life easier, prevent food wastage and save you money, be grateful for leftovers!
Did you know, the average Australian wastes up to 20% of the food they buy? This equates to $8 billion worth of perfectly edible food being discarded by Australian households every year, of which 33% is fresh food and 27% is leftovers! Not only is this bad for our finances, it’s really bad for our planet! Food discarded in landfill produces methane as it rots which is 25 times more potent and damaging to our environment than the carbon produced from you car! (Facts from foodwise.com.au).
If you are guilty of wasting food (you’re not alone), I encourage you to look at the reasons why. Do you have a meal plan? Are you simply buying too much or impulse buying? Are you cooking too much? Are you not making use of leftovers? Are you not storing food appropriately? Whatever it may be, put some steps in place to help you change your behaviours and minimise your food wastage. You’ll be benefiting your bank account and the environment!
For more information check out these resources:
- Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy
- World Wide Fund for Nature Reducing Food Waste
Now that you have all of my top tips for planning, buying, storing and preparing your food, here is a recipe to get you going. This buddha bowl recipe makes about six servings, I prepare it on a Sunday afternoon and Nathan and I take it for lunches for the first three days of the week!
Have you got some top tips for preventing food waste or streamlining your shopping/cooking routine to save time and money? Share them below in the comments, I would love to hear from you!
Thanks for stopping by, until next time,
Easy Buddha Bowl
- 1.5 cups tricolour quinoa
- 1 400g can chickpeas
- 5-6 medium white potatoes
- 1 whole cauliflower
- 1 whole carrot
- 200 grams green beans
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 bunch alfalfa sprouts
- 6 whole radishes
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp ground tumeric
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
Cut the cauliflower into small florets, drizzle with olive oil and coat in turmeric and curry powder, toss to coat well
Place the prepared cauliflower on an oven tray and place in the pre-heated oven, set timer for 20 minutes
Rinse the quinoa, add to rice cooker with the stock and water, set to cook (or alternatively cook according to packet instructions on the stove)
Cut the potatoes into 2-3cm chunks and place in vegetable steamer on the stove, steam until soft to pierce with a fork, remove from heat and set aside
Top and tail the green beans, cut in half and set aside
Thinly slice the radishes, set aside
Peel and grate the carrot, set aside
Drain and rinse chickpeas well, set aside
Rinse, de-stalk and slice the kale
Finely chop or mince the garlic
Heat a large frypan over medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil, add garlic and green beans, saute for 2-3
Add the kale to the fry pan with the green beans and garlic and saute for a further 3-4 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside
Once the various components have finished cooking, it is time to assemble the bowls: divide the cooked quinoa, cooked potato, kale/bean mixture, chickpeas, grated carrot, sliced radish, roasted cauliflower and alfalfa sprouts evenly between six containers (if meal prepping)
To make the dressing, mix tahini, sesame oil, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar together, add water to achieve desired consistency. Store dressing separate to salad bowls and add when ready to eat.
Hi Friends! Today I’m sharing my super yummy, super healthy Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Green Bean Curry recipe! Now for my fellow Australians, I am very aware it is November and we are heading into summer, however, curry is an all season staple for me, …