#Balsamic #beetroots, brown rice and #lentil salad

Discovered the concept of using 90 second microwave brown rice as an addition to salads!

It’s a great way to add some healthy carbs for a delicious lunch or as a side.

This combination of balsamic, beetroot, onions, lentils and walnuts with a good dollop or two of lemony yoghurt dressing is very delicious.

Serve it warm or cold.


Pack of 4 pre-cooked fresh baby beetroots (available in supermarkets in Australia)

1 can brown lentils

250g 90 second microwave brown rice

1/2 red onion sliced thinly

1/2 cup copped continental parsley

1/2 cup walnuts

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt

Juice of half a lemon


1. Cut beetroot into wedges, heat oil in non-stick pan, cook beetroot for 2-3 minutes, add vinegar and sugar and cook another 2-3 minutes until vinegar evaporates. Remove from heat.

2. Slice onions, chop parsley, squeeze lemon juice. Drain lentils. Mix yoghurt with pinch of salt and lemon juice.

3. Toast walnuts in a non-stick pan..be careful not to burn.

4. Cook 90 second brown rice

5. Put warm rice into a salad bowl, add drained lentils, onions, beetroot, parsley. Mix gently. Then top with toasted walnuts.

6. Dress salad with yoghurt lemon dressing.

Indian #spicy #crunchy Mint and Coriander Chutney with #Yakhni #Pulao

This crunchy mint and coriander chutney is like an Indian version of Italian pesto and is one of my favourite accompaniments with biryanis like Durban Chicken Briyani or Fish Briyani ..so I think it will be delicious with Yakhni Pulao too.

Spicy Indian Mint and Coriander Chutney with crunchy peanut butter

The addition of crunchy peanut butter to the fresh mint and coriander creates great texture, like pine nuts do in Italian pesto. The spicy, crunchy chutney will go well with the silkiness of the Yakhni Pulao.

Mint and coriander for Indian Spicy Chutney/Pesto

I’m making a Yakhni Pulao tonight which is a traditional Kashmiri and Pakistani rice dish in which the spiced meat stock used to flavour the rice is the star of the show. (Yakhni means soup or broth)

Here are some recipes I found from Tea for Turmeric and Archana’ s Kitchen which I am using as the basis for my version, the recipe for which I will share through the week.

Yakhni Pulao is known for unique flavours created by simmering the chicken or meat in a stock of whole spices such as green and black cardamom, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cloves and star anise. The finished dish is enhanced by spicy sides, pickles and salads.

As well as the Indian Spicy Mint and Coriander Chutney, I will be making an Indian Carrot Salad and a Cucumber Kachumber salad. Recipes to come too!

In the meantime, here’s my original recipe for Indian Spicy mint and coriander chutney:

Bocconcini and Spinach Salad with Pickled Red Onion

Tired of the usual bocconcini and tomato salad? The addition of quickly pickled red onions in balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt certainly is a pick me up!

Bocconcini, Tomato, spinach and pickled red onion salad

I layered it on a bed of baby spinach leaves, sliced tomato, sliced baby bocconcini and then dressed with olive oil before scattering over the quick pickled onions, the remaining balsamic, and a sprinkling of torn baby basil leaves and a grind of black pepper.

Here’s a recipe for pickling red onions Simply delicious pickled red onion

If you prefer a more traditional version, this Bocconcini , tomato, spinach wreath is great all year round and looks very festive.

Burrata with fennel jam, spinach and tomato #burrata #fennel

This Burrata with fennel jam and spinach, with a hint of chilli, was delicious as an accompaniment for dinner tonight.

I was inspired by the Burrata with fennel jam at lunch at Nomad restaurant in Surry Hills in Sydney this week. There it is swimming in fennel flavoured olive oil and served with their delicious crusty sour dough to mop it up.

Burrata with Fennel Jam at Nomad Restaurant in Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia

My version of the fennel jam doesn’t involve quite as much oil, and I added one chilli to the fennel mixture during the cooking to add a kick of spice.

Burrata with fennel jam, spinach and tomatoes

I also teamed up the Burrata and fennel jam with baby spinach leaves and cherry tomatoes to make it much more of a salad.

The resulting combination was really good, and perfect as an accompaniment to our steak tonight. It would also make for a great addition to a buffet or a festive meal. Great to share amongst a few people.

Mind you, you could add more oil and skip the healthy ingredients and serve it just as Nomad restaurant do! Or you could just use the fennel jam as a great accompaniment to cheese or a charcuterie platter.

Burrata with fennel jam, spinach and tomatoes.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 small onion finely sliced
  • 1 bulb fennel finely sliced
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 or 2 fresh red chillies chopped in large pieces
  • 1/2 bag of baby spinach leaves
  • 10-12 Cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1 large single Burrata ( take out of fridge 10,minutes before serving)
  • Pepper to taste
  • Fennel fronds for garnish


1. Slice fennel and onion as thinly as possible, reserve some of the fennel fronds for garnish.

Thinly sliced fennel bulb

2. Heat oil in large flat, non-stick frying pan, add fennel and onion, lower heat to medium heat and cook slowly until fennel and onion start to soften for about 5 minutes.

3. Add chilli and cook for another 5 minutes.

4. Add sugar and vinegar, stirring until sugar dissolves.

5. Continue cooking until vinegar evaporates and the sugar creates almost a glaze on the fennel and onions.

6. Place baby spinach leaves and tomatoes on a platter, sprinkle cracked black pepper over the leaves and tomatoes, spread fennel jam over the centre.

Burrata with fennel jam, spinach and tomatoes

7. Place Burrata on the top, garnish with a few fennel fronds and serve.

Easy Whole orange (rind and all) and mint cake

This easy whole orange cake (rind and all) recipe is perfect for lazy bakers like me!

Easy whole orange and mint cake

You just boil a couple of whole oranges for a long time, then chop and process them in a food processor, along with 4 other ingredients and pop in the oven for an hour or so!

Place a flat bowl or plate on top of the oranges to keep them submerged.

I was too lazy to swop out the water too many times, so I just boiled the oranges for half an hour, with a flat bowl placed on top, to keep the oranges submerged. Then I did it once more for another half an hour. This process removes the bitterness from the rind so is important, but doesn’t require much attention or effort.

Slice the oranges and allow to completely cool

I love using a food processor to make this cake, as it really is a one bowl cake with little washing up and no fussing. Definitely a very easy cake to make!

Whizz the cooled chopped oranges until a smoothish purée forms
Easy whole orange and mint cake

Turned out my fan forced oven is probably a bit hotter than others so next time I’d probably heat it to 150 degrees Celsius and cook it for about an hour an ten minutes so it doesn’t get as dark on top. Mind you it still tasted great the way it turned out!

The resulting moist cake full of orange flavours and a slight hint of mint is delicious! I made this and took it to work today and it disappeared in a jiffy. Orders for more have already been placed.

Moist whole orange and mint cake

I used this great recipe from Recipe Tin Eats but added a small handful of very finely diced up fresh mint leaves to the batter right at the end to add the minty zest. Totally optional though.

Thanks Recipe Tin Eats for the very easy and delicious recipe!

Zesty Finger Lime Cucumber Salad

This zesty finger lime cucumber salad was a delicious accompaniment to our warm beef salad, and would also be lovely with grilled or poached fish or chicken.

Zesty Finger Lime Salad

A friend of ours had gifted us native Australian finger limes which are becoming a very trendy ingredient on restaurant menus “down-under”, but they are still difficult to find in shops. If you see any, make sure you grab them as you will love their unique “caviar” like texture with tiny balls of lime that pop in your mouth.

You can read more about this intriguing fruit https://tuckerbush.com.au/finger-lime-citrus-australasica/

Australian native finger limes

I really wanted to make a dish that would showcase their flavour n texture ad thought cucumbers would be a good “backdrop” for this purpose.

I found this great recipe on The Devil Wears Salad but didn’t have all the ingredients to hand so improvised with things I had to hand.

The resulting cucumber salad topped with the caviar-like pearls of finger lime was delicious and the perfect zesty accompaniment to our warm beef salad.

(Thanks Helen for gifting us such a wonderful new ingredient!)


  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers
  • 4-5 ripe finger limes
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine or rice vinegar


1. Slice and chop one cucumber into small chunks. I slice then quarter each slice. Then using a large vegetable peeler, “peel” the second cucumber into long ribbons. Mix the 2 styles of cucumber in a bowl and set aside.

2. Chop the chilli finely and crush the ginger.

3. Mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, crushed ginger , chopped chilli, and vinegar in a small bowl.

3. Cut the finger limes in half, horizontally. Onto a plate, Squeeze the end of each half gently but firmly until “pearls” of lime emerge. Repeat with all lime halves until you have a glistening pile of finger lime “caviar”. (You want to do this as close to serving your salad as possible so the finger lime pearls don’t dry up and clump together in lumps)

Finger lime caviar squeezed from halved lime

5. Gently toss dressing through cucumbers, then place the dressed cucumbers on a serving plate and scatter the finger lime caviar over the salad and serve immediately.

Zesty Finger Lime and Cucumber Salad