beetroot leaf, preserved lemon and goats curd pizza

I’d taken a liking to the gorgeous leaves adorning the top of my lucky find – the humble beetroot. I’d been scouring farmers markets, gourmet markets, black market vegetable traders (not really)…any kind of market, simply to get my hands on heirloom beets. Being so incredibly difficult to come across, I had all but given up when they appeared at my local Sunday farmer’s markets, sitting in their sun-scorched yellow glory. I promptly grabbed some along with the usual red kind, and had my way with them, roasting then turning them into a salad laden with hazelnuts and goats cheese, but I digress. The leaves attached to the beetroot bunches, more so the red beets, were the most gorgeous green with almost-iridescent red veins running through, and I couldn’t bear to throw them out. IMG_20150528_133302 A quick google and it turns out you can do so much with the leaves. Although they can be quite bitter tasting, cooking them negates this. They pair exceptionally well with the lemons and pine nuts, giving this pizza an almost Moroccan-esque feel. They’re also bursting at the seams with antioxidants, vitamins A and C for your immune system and vitamin K for your bones. They just look damn pretty too. Minimal prep is needed to make this pizza, as while the dough is proving you can prepare the topping and let it sit happily in the corner. The dough recipe is an absolute gem, and I recommend using bread flour for that extra stretchy dough, otherwise plain flour will suffice. We often make a double batch and freeze half for an impromptu pizza dinner when all inspiration is out the window. IMG_20150528_133609IMG_20150528_132804 beetroot leaf, preserved lemon and goats curd pizza – serves 2-3 as a meal, or 4 as an entree/snack

you’ll need…

pizza dough – adapted from The Cook’s Companion

  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200g bread/pizza flour, or plain flour
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

topping – adapted from Matthew Evans

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 130g beetroot leaves + stems, roughly shredded
  • 1/2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/4 preserved lemon, rind only, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp goats curd

here’s what you do…

pizza dough

  1. Mix the yeast, salt and flour in a large bowl. Mix water with oil and beat into the ingredients. Knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic (I used my kitchenaid + dough hook on the second speed for 10min).
  2. Turn into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap and place in a warm spot to prove for 1.5 hours or until doubled in size. Punch dough back, knead lightly in flour then allow to prove, covered with wrap, for a further 30 minutes. Roll the dough out to a 9 inch round (I prefer my base not too thin – but adapt it to your liking) and transfer to a lined baking tray or oiled pizza tray. Spread a teaspoon or so of olive oil on the base, leaving a 2cm margin around the edge, and set aside.

topping

  1. Preheat oven to 220C (200 Fan Forced). Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add onion and gently fry for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and fennel seeds and fry for a further minute.
  2. Add the beetroot leaves and fry until wilted, then set aside. Season lightly.
  3. Spread beetroot leaf topping onto pizza, leaving the margin. Sprinkle on the pine nuts and preserved lemon.
  4. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until crust starts to go golden brown. Top with goats curd.

honey roasted carrots, cumin yoghurt + macadamia dukkah

Although it is not truly winter here for another week or so, the cold weather is truly upon us and I’m craving warm foods, slow cooked meals and sticky honey chai by the bucketload. I’m always looking for new, healthy sides to nestle alongside my comfortingly juicy roast, and with keeping in the middle eastern theme that I had bestowed upon my lamb, these carrots were a perfect match. So simple, so healthy, and so tasty. And with their crazy-high antioxidant and vitamin A content (important for immune system and vision), what’s not to love?

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I picked up some purple carrots from the farmers markets, conjuring up dreams of colourful stained glass-esque patterns on my baking paper. Contrasted against the orange of the regular kind, purple carrots lend a gorgeous hue unlike no other. All you need to do is quarter them, drizzle over some oil and honey and bake away. I served them with a simple yoghurt and some dukkah I had lying in the fridge, and they all mingled well together. Any dukkah will pair well, and even plain yoghurt if you are short on time. I can even see these being a fantastic addition to a bowl of quinoa and chickpeas, for a simple midnight dinner. The possibilities are endless!

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honey roasted carrots, cumin yoghurt + macadamia dukkah – serves 4 as a side – GF

you’ll need…

honey roasted carrots

  • 5 carrots, quartered lengthways (3 purple, 2 orange, or whatever combo you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey

cumin yoghurt

  • 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin

macadamia dukkah (adapted from Claire K Creations)

  • 1 cup macadamias
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

here’s what you do…

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. For the dukkah, place the nuts on a baking tray lined with paper, and roast for 8-10 minutes, or until golden. Gently dry-roast the sesame seeds in a pan until golden, then transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Place the coriander and cumin seeds in the pan and gently toast until fragrant, then place in the food processor with the nuts. Mix in remaining ingredients then pulse to blitz slightly, being careful not to over-process the nuts. Place in sterilised jars and store in the fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 200C (conventional oven). For the carrots, place them on a baking tray. Combine the oil and honey and season well, then drizzle over the carrots, dispersing well over each one. Roast for 25-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the carrots, until tender.
  3. For the cumin yoghurt, combine all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Set aside.
  4. To serve, drizzle yoghurt over the carrots and top with the dukkah. Make sure you scoop up the sticky-sweet juices from the baking tray and use it to drizzle over the carrots when serving.

graham-cracker carrot cakes, cream cheese swirl + nutty seed praline

There are 2 reasons why I love carrot cake: it can be wholesome enough to be considered part of your daily veggie intake (ahem) and its cake. Cake! And these aren’t so tooth-achingly sweet that you’ll be speed dialing your dentist for a check up. Plus it has your daily fat intake (cream cheese) and even a little protein in there too (cream cheese) so really, with the carrots, we’re looking at a complete meal right here. All your food groups, wrapped up in one neat, little package. But all that aside, these just taste really good. IMG_20150401_152103 It’s got an interesting addition of graham crackers (or granita biscuits, as we call them down under) which I’ve never tried in a cake mixture before, and while they aren’t overpowering in taste, they definitely add a little something. You won’t need any large equipment for this recipe either (unless you’d like to grate the carrots in your food processor) so it’s super simple. I’ve topped them with my favourite cream-cheese icing, a never-fail, pipeable, not-too-sweet mix which pairs well with the cakes’ earthy tones. Top it with crunchy nut and seed praline, and you’re onto a winner. Now, you just have to find your 4 other daily servings of vegetables, and you can call it a day. 2015-05-05 16.24.47 graham-cracker carrot cakes, cream cheese swirl + toffee praline – makes 9-10 cupcakes – can be made dairy free you’ll need… graham-cracker carrot cakes – adapted from smitten kitchen

  • 1/2 cup plain spelt flour
  • 50g granita or digestive biscuits, finely ground
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup rapadura sugar
  • 100g melted butter (or oil to make dairy-free)
  • 2 small, free-range eggs
  • 180g finely grated carrots (peeled)

cream cheese icing – adapted from annie’s eats

  • 140g cream cheese icing, chilled
  • 45g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 205g icing sugar, sifted
  • pinch of salt

praline

  • 40g pepitas
  • 40g almonds
  • 40g macadamias
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 90g caster sugar

here’s what you do…

  1. For the cakes, preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan forced). Line your cupcake tin with papers, or grease well.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, biscuit crumbs, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar butter and eggs until smooth, then add carrots. Pour wet ingredients into dry and fold in until just combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly between 9-10 cupcake cases (I use this cookie scoop to ensure consistent sizing of my cupcakes). Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Remove immediately onto a wire cooling rack
  5. For the praline, line a baking tray with baking paper. Toast the pepitas and nuts in a dry frying pan until slightly coloured and set aside.
  6. Put the sugar in the a small saucepan and place over medium heat (the pan must be big enough so the sugar is one fine layer instead of a thick one). Swirl the pan without stirring the sugar, and allow it to melt and become a mahogany-caramel colour.
  7. Pour the nuts into the saucepan, and working quickly, coat the nuts in the caramel and pour onto the baking tray. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes, or until hardened. Briefly pulse the praline in a food processor to break up into small pieces, or simply chop with a knife. Set aside.
  8. For the icing, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add in the icing sugar and salt and mix on low for 30 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high for 3 minutes.
  9. To assemble, pipe swirls onto the cakes and top with the praline.