rocket pesto

My little winter garden is overflowing with rocket and green leaves but I’m not really loving my salads at the mo. Its never cold for long in Queensland so I’m enjoying some slow cooked meals, roasts and winter foods whilst I can. Oh but what to do with all those greens!

So I decided to make a rocket pesto with toasted macadamia nuts and green chilli.  The nuts come from a local grower who sells at a sunday market, the chillies came from my garden.  I won’t bore you with the detail but I added extra virgin olive oil, salt and finished with some parmesan.

Its a gorgeous colour and full of flavour but a tad on the bitter side. I’m not too sure as yet what I’ll do with it.  Any suggestions out there?

Take 2 – a really delicious chicken dinner

This meal was invented on a sunday night.  I’d been to my local market that morning and picked up a lovely little organic chook and had re-stocked fruit and veg for the week.  By the way, the chook in the photo is Pineapple – an egg laying pet – not a meat hen!  Before I put my fresh veg in the fridge, I like to go through anything left over from the previous week and try to use it up.  This meal is awesome because everything goes into one baking dish and you could add virtually any vegetables you want to use up.

So I found some pumpkin, a leek and spinach plus I had bought some gorgeous cherry tomatoes.  I also had some pancetta in the fridge, lots of lemons, garlic and chilli.  The rest came from the pantry.  I hope you enjoy this delicious and nutritious meal.

You will need:
1 small great quality chicken (preferable organic)
1/2 cup brown or puy lentils
1 cup hot chicken stock
few sprigs of rosemary
a few cloves of garlic (one per person) – unpeeled
diced pumpkin
1 large leek – sliced
a big handful of cherry tomatoes
150gm thin pancetta – cut into strips
lemon juice
1 red chopped chilli
handful of washed and chopped spinach
Crusty bread to serve

                              

            

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Into a large baking pan, put the lentils, hot chicken stock, rosemary, garlic, pumpkin and leek. 

Remove the backbone from a small chicken and flatten the bird out.  Place on top of the vegetables in the baking dish.  Give it a light smear with olive oil.  Place in oven for 15 minutes. 

After 15 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and add lots of cherry tomatoes and some diced pancetta (bacon or proscuitto would be fine too) and drape a few slices over the chicken.  Cook for another 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.  My chicken was small so 40 minutes was plenty.

Remove from the oven and put the chook on a warm plate to rest.  To the lentil and vegetable mix, add a good squeeze of lemon juice, some fresh black pepper, the chilli and spinach. 

                     

 

 

 

 

Recipe – linguine with salmon and prawns

This is a really easy but impressive seafood pasta dish.  You can prepare everything in advance, the cooking takes less than ten minutes.  I love linguine but you can use any spaghetti. 

Linguine with salmon and prawns (serves 2)
1 piece skinless salmon (about 200gm)
10 – 12 peeled green prawns
2 tbsp baby capers
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 – 2 red chilli, chopped
1 tsp salt
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup lemon juice
Zest from 1 lemon
Olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped dill
200gm linguine or spaghettini

Deep fry the capers for 1 minute, drain well and set aside.
Prepare the seafood by cutting salmon and prawns into 2cm chunks.
Chop the garlic and chillies, set aside.
Mix together the wine, lemon juice and zest.
Chop the herbs (you can use all parsley or all dill).

Place pasta in a large pot of boiling water.

Heat a large frypan (medium) and add olive oil.
Once hot, place fish and prawns in the pan.  Cook for 1 minute, add the garlic, salt and chillies.  Cook for another 2 minutes, gently stirring.  Increase the heat and add the wine/juice mix.  Stir well and allow to reduce slightly (another 1 – 2 minutes).  Add half the herbs and the cooked pasta to the pan.  Turn off heat and mix well.  Serve into 2 deep pasta bowls.  Garnish with capers, herbs and drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil.