Archive for the 'Fall' Category

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Orange Cranberry Sauce

In case you have been wondering if I will ever post anything to accompany your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey, here it is. My much loved orange cranberry sauce which I have been making twice a year for a decade now. I am so particular about it’s ingredients (especially the oranges), that when we lived in Thailand, I would bring organic oranges back from our holidays, because I wanted organic zest in my cranberry sauce. I would then zest the oranges and freeze it until I needed it for my holiday cooking. Thankfully, organic citrus fruit is readily available here in Australia, besides I wouldn’t want to face the frighteningly thorough people from quarantine, when they discover fresh fruit in my luggage. Oh yes, every place has it’s special quirks.

As for the cranberries, if I am outside of the US, I use frozen ones, with just as much success as fresh ones.

Got to hurry and stop reminiscing. I have just 2 hours left, before unplucking my children out of their beds and embarking on a 24 hours plane ride to Los Angeles. We’ll stop there for a few days before heading to our final holiday destination in Western Massachusetts. I think we’re all packed, the dog had his last walk before his holiday in the “Paw House” kennel, the fridge is cleaned out, the state of the house is acceptable, the ipods fully loaded and the bottle of Benadryl at the top of my suitcase.

So here we go. I’ll do some old fashioned German cookie baking once the tree is up in Massachusetts and hopefully get around to post a few pictures taken with my new camera and lenses (finally).

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and enjoy the sugary and buttery delights before it’s time for New Year’s resolutions!


1 lbs. (450g) fresh or frozen cranberries

3/4 cups sugar

6 oranges, segmented, piths and membranes removed; juice reserved

Zest of one orange (preferably organic, or unwaxed)


Pour sugar and reserved orange juice into medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves.

Add cranberries and cook just until berries start to pop, about 15 minutes. If you use frozen berries, give them a bit of a squeeze with a wooden spoon.

Remove from heat and stir in orange zest and segments.

Cool and refrigerate overnight.

Sweet Potato Quesadillas

I am sorry, these are not exactly the ‘roast chicken, chard, red onion and mushroom quesadillas’ I announced in my previous post. I added another major ingredient – sweet potatoes. If sweet potatoes aren’t your ‘thing’ just leave them out. I felt like trying something different, and I loved the result. I came across the sweet potato idea a few years back, while reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kinsolver and found it quite intriguing. I vaguely remembered the recipe while preparing my quesadillas and googled it. Naturally I got carried away, looking at all the other sweet potato quesadilla recipes and finally found this one, which looked like a winner. It’s originally from the “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home” cookbook, which just landed in my amazon shopping cart.

I went into my pantry and dug up some sweet potatoes. I cooked them almost like instructed, leaving the onions out to caramelize separately. I then piled the sweet potatoes onto some fresh corn tortillas and added the caramelized onions, shredded chard, sauteed portobello mushrooms and grated Fontina cheese. Fantastic! While my husband and kids liked theirs with shredded roast chicken, I added some left-over adzuki beans to mine, but honestly, I thought they were better with neither on it. I also made some quesadillas with ‘only’ chicken, mushrooms, caramelized onion, shredded chard and cheese, which is my usual go to recipe. Sorry I didn’t take a picture of those, but looking at the pictures below you can just about image what they looked like. Once again, I made the tortillas myself, which for 5 hungry people at the end of the day, is no small feet. The press isn’t working out all that well, usually leaving them too thick and uneven. So I press them first and then roll them to the desired thickness and size with the rolling pin. Go ahead and use store bought fresh flour or corn tortillas if you have the option. It reduces the cooking time at least by half. On the other hand, making them on your own is good fun.

When you go through the list of ingredients, keep in mind that my home made tortillas were quite small and therefore my husband ate 3, I ate 2, our youngest had one, and the boys 1 1/2 each, plus one was left over for lunch the next day. If you want to use store bought ones, buy the burrito size tortillas. You will probably only need 12-16 of those. I grated the sweet potatoes in the food processor, which was quick and easy. As to the cheese, there is no Monterey Jack cheese available in Australia, so I get ‘Fontina’ instead. It melts beautifully and has a mild, subtle taste.

Continue reading ‘Sweet Potato Quesadillas’

Kale and Mushroom Pizza

I am constantly looking for new recipes that would help me make a dent in the enormous abundance of kale in our backyard and one of my ideas was to use it on pizza. When a guy at the market, who makes pizzas in his trailer, offered me some of his fresh dough the other day, I couldn’t resist. His pizzas looked delicious and I figured his dough would be too. Although I do make my own dough, using half whole wheat or spelt and half white flour, I am not opposed to getting a break in the kitchen once in a while. Back at home, I picked about a kilos worth of Cavolo Nero (Tuscan Kale or Lacinto Kale) to use with some caramelized onions, garlic, sliced mushrooms, and a mixture of sheep’s milk feta and fresh mozzarella on my pizzas.

Cavolo Nero is widely used in Italy and you might have seen it in some Italian cook books or in one of Jamie Oliver’s shows. When sauteed, it doesn’t wilt like spinach or chard and needs slightly longer to be cooked. It’s excellent stir-fried with lots of garlic, but I also add it to freshly made juices and use the younger leaves in salads. When fresh, it is very tasty and mild, plus it is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. If you can’t get it at the farmer’s market or grocery store, try growing it on your own. It lasts forever and new leaves just keep coming up.

The pizzas turned out fantastic, even if my kids kept searching for the tomato sauce. And yes, the market-bought pizza dough was a winner and probably didn’t have the least bit whole wheat flour or spelt in it. But you only live once… However, if any of you would like to make your own pizza dough and are looking for a recipe that works well, let me know and I’ll be happy to post it for you.

Serves 6


  • 2 large balls (about 1 pound each) of fresh pizza dough, enough for 2 baking trays
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) Cavolo Nero, Chard or Spinach, washed, thick stems removed and cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) strips
  • 1 punnet of mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced into rings
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 balls fresh mozzarella, grated or cut into small bits
  • 200g (7 oz) mild feta cheese, crumbled
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Bring pizza dough to room temperature by putting it in a bowl coated with olive oil. Let rise for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 225 C (450F).

Using a rolling pin, roll the 2 separate balls into 2 thin rectangles, fitting 2 baking trays. Alternatively, make 6 individual round pizzas.

Sprinkle baking tray with corn meal to prevent dough from sticking.

Lay rolled out dough on baking trays and cover with cling wrap. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large frying pan. Add onion rings and fry on low heat, stirring often, for 20 minutes or until onions are nicely browned and caramelized.

In a separate pan, heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add chopped garlic and fry until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  With the heat on medium, add cavolo nero or other greens and stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until greens are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread sauteed greens evenly on pizza doughs (remove cling wrap first). Top with sliced mushrooms and caramelized onions. Spread each pizza with mozarella and feta and drizzle with extra olive oil.

Place both baking trays in the oven using the middle and top shelf. Rotate and turn the trays 180 degrees half way through baking. The pizzas are done when the cheese has melted and and the crust is nice and golden (8-10 minutes).

Bueno Appetito!

Aloo Gobi Variation

Curried cauliflower and potatoes with broccoli, beans and chick peas

Aloo Gobi is a traditional Indian vegetarian dish made with potatoes (aloo), cauliflower (gobi) and a great variety of spices. It is one of those popular 30 minute one pot dinners that are so handy on busy week nights. I added some broccoli and green beans for extra color and cooked chickpeas for protein. Traditionally, aloo gobi is served with roti or naan. I substituted with whole wheat pitas, which I brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and chopped garlic and toasted them in the oven until crisp and lightly browned. Thankfully my family is quite adventurous when it comes to food and they all loved it. I hope you’ll have the same luck with yours.


  • 8 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 small broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 handful green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch size pieces
  • 4 large tomatoes, quartered, or one can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15 oz. or 420g, each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas soaked over night and cooked for 1 hour
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons (10-15g) freshly grated ginger
  • 2 hot green chillies, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons (4g) whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons butter, ghee, or canola oil
  • 1-2 handfuls of fresh cilantro (coriander), finely chopped for garnish


Heat butter or oil in large-size pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, chilies, ginger and cumin seeds and fry until onion is translucent and cumin seeds begin to pop, about 5-10 minutes.  Add potatoes and vegetables and fry, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

Add remaining spices, sugar and salt, stir. Pour in 1/2 cup water and tomatoes, stir well, cover the pot, and cook on low heat, stirring occassionally, until potatoes and vegetables are tender but not mushy. Add more water if vegetables stick to the side of the pan, but don’t turn it into soup.

Stir gently before serving and garnish with chopped cilantro (coriander).

Roast Vegetable Quiche

This is a wonderfully versatile quiche recipe. The crust is delicate, crisp and light and blew all my worries in the wind once I tried it for the first time. It doesn’t contain any butter, which I didn’t think was possible at first. However, the careful baking instructions make this a winner and it will from now on be the main crust for any type of quiche I’ll bake. I made it with caramelized leeks recently, which was wonderful. I used the same recipe as below, without the pumpkin and cauliflower and substituted the Gorgonzola with Parmesan cheese. I sprinkled half of the Parmesan on the bottom of the crust before adding the filling and used the remaining half on top of the egg mixture. Since I had only one leek left in my fridge today, I decided to add some of my all time favorite roast pumpkin and cauliflower and it was delicious. The Gorgonzola added a nice note to it, but fresh goats’cheese or gruyere would be delicious as well. Read the instructions for the crust carefully. It takes a bit of patience and time to make the pastry taking into account the chilling and blind baking time. It’s worth it. Good luck!















1 cup whole spelt flour

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of coarse cornmeal (polenta)

1/4 C ice water (more or less)

1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt


3 eggs

1 egg separated

3/4 cup milk

1 /2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

2 cups pumpkin, cut into 1/2″chunks

1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets

3 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon salt



  1. Pre heat the oven at 200 C (400F).
  2. Rub together all the ingredients for the crust with the fingertips , except for the water.
  3. Add the water, a little at a time, till everything comes together in a ball. It should not be sticky. Do not knead at any time.
  4. Place the ball of dough on an 8 inch pie pan and pat it out to cover the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Make sure there are no holes. Prick all over lightly with a fork. Cover the pan with a plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove plastic wrap from dough in pie pan and cover with parchment paper. Fill pan with pie weights or dried beans
  6. Place the dish in the bottom rack of the pre heated oven and bake for about 20 minutes (This cooks the bottom of the crust better). Remove the foil and beans and bake for another 4 minutes.
  7. Transfer the pan to the centre of the oven and bake for another 15 minutes or till the crust is dry and crisp. It will move away from the sides of the pan.
  8. Separate the egg. Brush a little egg white on the bottom and sides of the crust and bake for about 3-4 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and cool completely.


  1. Toss pumpkin cubes in 1 tablespoon olive oil, spread out on paper lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized, approx. 25 miuntes
  2. Toss cauliflower florets in 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread on another lined baking tray. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and thyme and stir occasionally until soft and lightly caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Combine with roasted vegetables.
  4. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolk and the milk and season with salt.
  5. Fill crust with vegetables until they reach about 3/4 of the crust, up the sides.
  6. Pour the egg/milk mixture over the vegetables, until it comes to just a little below the vegetables. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola.
  7. Place the pan in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the filling is set.
  8. Cut and serve hot.

Curried Winter Squash Soup

Another cooking class favourite! Even the pickiest of eaters will love the combination of sweet, tart and spice in this soup. Roasting the squash will bring out it’s lovely sweet flavour. You can substitute the apple juice with apple sauce or add another apple.

Serves 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 large winter squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), such as butternut, cut in half length wise and seeds taken out
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons almond meal to thicken (optional)



  1. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Brush both squash halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on baking tray, cut side up. Cover squash with baking paper, followed by aluminium foil, wrapping both around sides of squash. Roast for about 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Scoop flesh out of squash halves and place in a separate bowl.
  3. In the meantime, place large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil and onion and sauté for 10 minutes until onion has softened. Stir in ginger and curry powder and sauté for another minute. Add the broth, apple juice, lemon juice, squash and apple.  Bring soup to boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in almond meal if soup needs a little thickening
  5. Use immersion blender to blend soup until smooth. Alternately, transfer soup in batches to blender and process.
  6. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad with Sun Dried Tomato Dressing


A friend brought this salad to a party many years ago and I totally fell in love with it. I asked her for the recipe and made it ever since. The ladies at my cooking classes went completely gaga about it as did every woman I have ever made it for. What can I say; it’s a great salad for the ladies.


Serves 4

  • 1 medium Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil, coriander (cilantro) or mint
  • Olive oil for roasting 


  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Toss pumpkin in a little olive oil and spread out evenly on paper lined baking tray. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender, turning halfway through. Allow to cool.
  2. To make dressing: heat both vinegars and sun dried tomatoes in small sauce pan on low heat until tomatoes have softened. Place softened tomatoes with vinegar, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in food processor and pulse until ingredients are combined and dressing is still a little chunky. Check and adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Toss pumpkin and chickpeas in dressing, place in serving bowl and sprinkle with herbs.

Warm Lentil Salad with Rocket and Goats Cheese

This recipe is an adaptation from Martha Stewart’s recipe. I have made it so many times, and depending on my garden used rocket, spinach or Swiss chard with it. With some crusty bread, it is delicious for lunch or on a buffet table. You can find Puy lentils at any good grocery store. They are dark green and have a nutty texture, which is perfect for this salad.


Serves 4

  • 3/4 cup green (Puy) lentils (4.75 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced crosswise and separated into rings
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups rocket or spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese


  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add lentils, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add shallots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add carrot, celery, and bell pepper; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes more. Stir in parsley, vinegar, and remaining tablespoon oil.
  3. Drain lentils, and add to vegetables. Stir in rocket or spinach, and season generously with salt and black pepper. Crumble goat cheese on top and toss gently to combine.

Quinoa Salad with Apples, Fennel, Celery and roasted Almonds

This is a lovely fall salad, which reminds me a bit of “Waldorf Salad”. Black and red quinoa is a bit nuttier than white quinoa and especially suitable for salads. I find they also needs a little less water in the cooking process than white quinoa. I use about 1 3/4 cups rather than 2 cups per cup of grain.


Serves 4

  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds or chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 1 cup white quinoa or 1/2 white and 1/2 black quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried currants
  • 1 apple, cut into 1/8-inch-thick wedges
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 thinly sliced spring onions, white and light green parts only
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) or use toaster oven. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Let cool
  2. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve; drain. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa; return to a boil. Stir quinoa; cover, and reduce heat. Simmer until quinoa is tender but still chewy, about 15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork; let cool.
  3. Whisk together maple syrup, spring onions, curry powder, salt, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Season with pepper. Whisking constantly, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream; whisk until dressing is emulsified. Add quinoa, currants, apple, fennel, celery mint, and nuts; toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning and add a little bit more lemon juice if desired. Garnish with extra mint.

Cranberry Apple Muffins

This is one of those recipes I have made for years now. They are my oldest son’s (Nicholas) favorite muffins. Morning Glory – look of disappointment, banana walnut – not already again, carrot ginger – please no veggies in my muffin, are the responses I get from him for any muffin other than these. It’s hard to make everyone happy!

I use frozen cranberries all year around, but fresh should work just fine. They contain A LOT of FRUIT, so if you want more muffin than fruit, use a little less.

This batter can also be used to make a delicious cake. Put 3/4 of batter without fruit into 8 or 9 inch (20 – 22.5 cm) round greased baking tin and top with fruit. Put remaining dough in small dollops on top of fruit and sprinkle almond-sugar mixture over it. Bake for 50-60 min. until wooden toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12


  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or 1 cup whole and 1 cup white spelt flour)
  • 1/2 cup finely ground almonds
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup almond, olive or coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries


  • 1 tablespoons ground or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar



Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

Place apples and cranberries in small pot. Cover and cook on low heat until apples have slightly softened and cranberries are defrosted, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from stove.

Sift together flours, almonds, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix buttermilk (or yogurt), egg, apple sauce, oil, maple syrup (or sugar) and vanilla extract. Pour into dry ingredients and gently mix to combine. Do not over-mix, mixture can be a bit lumpy. Fold in apples and cranberries.

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups. Spoon batter into cups. The muffins will rise, but hold their shape pretty well, so spoon as much batter in each cup as it can hold.

Mix remaining almonds and sugar and sprinkle on top of muffins.

Bake for 25 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.