Roast Pumpkin Rocket Salad

This was one of the salads I made for our Christmas feast (it’s up there on my list of favourite salads). I love salads that combine a great selection of ingredients and this is one of them. It’s not the cheapest salad to make as far as the cost of ingredients goes but you pay for what you get, its delicious.
Zagorgeous Cathy a work colleague and friend from Patrick Egan Optometrist shared this recipe with me a couple of years ago and every year since I have made it for Christmas lunch as well as a lot of special occasion BBQ’s. I love it when others ask me for the recipe, to me that’s what its all about, sharing the love and great recipes!!

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Your List Of Ingredients

1kg butternut pumpkin (This week I used a 1kg combination of pumpkin and sweet potato)
4 cloves unpeeled garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 slices prosciutto
2 bunches asparagus trimmed
200g baby rocket leaves
1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted (I usually cheat and buy the ready roasted pine nuts)
200g snow peas, thinly sliced

DRESSING
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

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Peel pumpkin and chop into 3cm pieces (mine always seem to end up a little smaller). Place pumpkin into a baking dish with garlic. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper. I then give the pumpkin a toss around on the tray with my hands to make sure it is evenly coated with the oil.

Cook in a moderately hot oven, 190C, for about 25-30 minutes until pumpkin is tender and browned, turning the pumpkin at the 15 minute mark helps keep the process even.

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This is what you should see post roasting.

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I pop garlic out of the skin and shred it up and gently fold through the pumpkin for extra flavour.
I actually completed the pumpkin roasting step the night before I assembled the salad, I do this every Christmas too. Just pop roasted pumpkin and garlic in an airtight container in the fridge.

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This is where I prefer to purchase all my fresh fruit and veg, ‘Tweed Fruit Exchange’. You can always be sure of getting great produce and customer service. I was served by Zagorgeous Lee this week, thanks guys I’m sure I’ll be back again before the week is out!

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This is where I picked up to finish off the salad on Monday night.

Boil, Steam or microwave asparagus until just tender (I microwave in a steamer for 2 minutes on high). Rinse under cold water, drain well.

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My thinly sliced snow peas.

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Cook prosciutto in a heated greased pan (I just use a non-stick pan and no greasing) until browned all over and crisp. drain on paper towel. Roughly crumble into bite sized pieces.

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Unfortunately Toasted pine nuts were not available at the supermarket this week so I had to do my own. As you can see from the before and after shot they ended up a little toastier then I would have liked but they were fine.

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When chopping the thyme I strip the woody stalks and discard them, using just the leafier remains.

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DRESSING
Combine all ingredients in a screw top jar (I use a trusty Tupperware cup and lid), shake well.

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Assemble the salad as shown (I mix all the greens and make them the base of my salad, I then top with pumpkin followed by the prosciutto then the parmesan, scattering the pine nuts on top and lastly drizzling the dressing over the top. Alternatively you can gently toss all the ingredients together.

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I served the salad with a side of BBQ chicken. Perfect for a warm summer evening.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do, its delicious.

Stay tuned for my upcoming Blog Post this Sunday for ‘Salted Caramel Brownie Sandwich Cookies’.

Until then,
Zamamabakes

Oven baked risotto with chicken and chorizo

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Zacousin Michael supplied me with the goods for this fantastic recipe. Like myself Michael enjoys collecting recipe clippings, but he was unable to remember which magazine this recipe came from. From now on when I tear out a recipe from a magazine or newspaper I am going to write down on the back of it where I found it so I can give the source the credit they deserve. I am guessing this recipe may have come from a New Idea or Woman’s day because they always have fantastic recipe’s in them.
When I served this up on Tuesday night Blake our little boy virtually inhaled it, that is always a good sign, I feel like I blink sometimes and his plate is empty!! Ella enjoyed it too but at a slightly more ladylike pace. Alani the 2-year-old mmmmmm yes well at the moment unless it’s spaghetti bol or fish and chips I can pretty much guarantee her reaction of ‘I don’t want this’,(sigh), a challenge we are trying to deal with at the moment, but that’s a whole other story!!
Now Getting back to this risotto recipe I will give you the basic recipe as I was given and then I will tell you what substitutions I made. It is a very flexible recipe as you will see.

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You will need:
1 litre chicken stock
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3(400g) chorizo sausages, sliced thinly
400g chicken thigh fillets cut into 2 cm pieces
2 Large(400g) brown onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 large(300g) red capsicum, sliced thinly
2 cups(400g) Arborio rice
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

How to:
1 Preheat oven to 180c (160c fan-forced)
2 Bring stock to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan
3 Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a flameproof dish over a high heat. Add chorizo, cook until browned all over. Remove from dish, cover to keep warm. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the dish.
4 Add chicken to same dish, cook stirring until browned all over. Remove from dish.
5 Heat remaining oil in same dish, cook onion and garlic, stirring until soft. Add capsicum, cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add rice and paprika, stir to coat in onion mixture. Add wine, simmer, uncovered, until liquid has evaporated. Add the hot stock and chicken, cover with lid. Cook in oven for about 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir once halfway during cooking. Return chorizo to the dish, stir until heated through.
6 Sprinkle with parsley and serve with parmesan, if desired.

SUITABLE TO FREEZE

NOTE: If you don’t have a flameproof dish with a lid, start the mixture in a frying pan on the stove, then transfer it to an ovenproof dish with lid (or you can just firmly cover dish with foil if you don’t have a lid).

SUBSTITUTIONS I MADE (whenever I can manage it I try to get as many veggies into a dish so I know the kids are getting the most out of a tasty meal).
1 I only used half an onion as I don’t like a lot of onion, but added 3/4 cup mushrooms instead.
2 I didn’t use Capsicum, instead I used 1 small zucchini, and carrot diced finely.
I also added 1 cup of fresh baby spinach leaves mixed through at the same step as the chorizo sausage.

This dish served us for 2 nights running, great for a work night when you can just reheat leftovers. Blake asked me last night if there was anymore of that nice rice left, he was obviously prepared to eat it 3 nights running! I’ll take that as a compliment.

I will be putting this dish on the rotating meal plan hahahaha….I wish I was that organised!!! It’s definitely on the favourites list for a repeat appearance.
Thanks Michael, I love using recipes that are tried and tested!!!

Zucchini and Walnut Cake

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Zagorgeous Jennifer shared this great cake recipe with me, she found it in a recipe book she purchased at her school fete called ‘sweet food’ -definitely sounds like my type of recipe book, just say the word sweet and I’m there!!!!
I love the idea of this cake having zucchini in it, makes you feel that little less guilty for eating it, well that’s what I tell myself!

Here is the list of ingredients you’ll require:
245g (2 1/2 cups) walnuts
500g zucchini (courgettes)
250ml (1 cup) canola oil
330g (1 1/2 cups) raw sugar
3 eggs
310g (2 1/2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Here is your how to:
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease a 22 x 12 cm loaf tin and line the base with baking paper.

Roughly chop 125g (1 1/4 cups) of the walnuts. Grate zucchini, then put the zucchini in a large bowl with oil, sugar, eggs and chopped walnuts and mix well. Stir in the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and arrange the remaining walnuts on top. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. Leave in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Dust with icing Sugar, slice and serve.
Jennifer did suggest a nice dollop of cream on the side would compliment this cake nicely!!!

Storage: wrap in foil when cooled. The cake will keep 4-5 days.

Thankyou so much for sharing this delicious recipe Jennifer, another one added to my list of baking projects!!!

If anyone has any recipes they would like to me to share please email me at zamamabakes@gmail.com

Happy baking!!!!

Easy Brown Rice Salad

This recipe is one I have been thinking about making for quite some time. My beautiful Mother-in-law recently introduced me to the convenience of using ready-made brown rice, I now often use it to accompany the slow cooker or stir-fry dinners I make, it’s a great time saver especially on work nights. I have been using Sun Rice fragrant Brown Rice in 2 1/2 Minutes 450g, you’ll find it in the same aisle as uncooked rice.

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You will need:
450g family size Sun Rice fragrant brown rice in 2 1/2 minutes
150g diced bacon fried off in pan
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed corn and peas, cooked according to packet instructions
1 carrot grated
1 Lebanese cucumber, diced
1/2 red capsicum, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
1 green onion, diced
1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)

DRESSING
1/3 cup French dressing
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Combine rice, bacon, vegetable ingredients and craisins.
Mix dressing ingredients well to combine and pour over rice salad.
You can enjoy this as a meal just by itself or you can use it as a side with your favourite meat, totally up to you.
It will keep in the fridge for 3 days.
Enjoy. We had leftovers of it tonight with a BBQ chicken and garden salad.

An Outdoor Adventure as a family of 5 plus 1 furry friend

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We are very fortunate to be bringing up our 3 beautiful children on acreage in Northern NSW. Last weekend for the first time together all 5 of us including Zapuppydog Locky went for a bush walking adventure on our property. I have to say I’m not usually a bushwalking, adventuring Zamama, but I know how much the kids love being outside just like Zadada so I thought right make the effort Zamama so I did and I am so glad I did because we had a great morning.
I think sometimes we get so wound up with life in general that we forget to really appreciate what is right under our nose.
It was too good a day not to share some pictures with you all. I will treasure this little adventure forever, you may not be able to go back in time but photo’s are great for taking good memories forward.

So off we set up over our rolling hills on a beautiful blue skied day.

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It was somewhere between the photo above and the next below that Zadada spotted a snake, slithering away from us and with that the not so brave Zamama was very ready to turn around and run home, but assured by her husband that the snake would not be interested in gobbling up any of her family members or herself she continued on. I must add at this point not one of our three children flinched at the fact that a snake had been sighted, they stopped in their tracks when Zadada told them to stop but they certainly did not share the anxious fear and racing heart that I did. I guess that’s the difference between being brought up as a child on the land as opposed to being introduced to it at the age of 29 like me (but more on that another time, I may have lived here now for almost 6 years but I am still learning the ropes of out-of-town living).

I don’t know about the rest of you but we can’t take Zakidlets anywhere without their little tummies rumbling. We found a beautiful little spot in the rainforest and set up for a little morning tea picnic.
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Once those little and big rumbling tummies had been satisfied it was time for some exploring , splashing in the creek and listening out for all the amazing sounds you hear when you are in a rainforest. It gave Zadada and I great pleasure to watch our 3 little munchkins taking in everything that was around them.

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I should add it was not all smooth sailing, we did have one little family member decide they need the bathroom!!!!!!……….fortunately we managed to make do with what the great outdoors had to offer and everyone was ok.

Middle munchkin Ella thought that because she was ready to go home (in other words she had no more food left) everyone else should be ready to go home too. Eventually she got her wish but not before everyone was ready (that girl needs to learn a little more about being patient and courteous, ha ha maybe one day in my Zamama dreams!!!).

So we packed up and headed for home which was only about 20 minutes walk away and that includes walking with a 2 1/2 year old who did extremely well for her first real bushwalking adventure.

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Our adventure ended with a bit of clay wall climbing for the kids.
I would love to say a big thankyou to our fantastic tour guide, AKA Zadada. You are one very patient man and I appreciate everything you do for our little family.

My advice to everyone whether you live in the city or the country is get out in the sunshine and fresh air as much as you can, it really is good medicine and helps to refresh the soul.

Salmon, lentil and carrot patties

I threw a batch of these together on the weekend for dinner for Zadada and I. We were not feeling overly hungry but these patties put together with the green bean and golden Beetroot salad hit the spot perfectly.

Ingredients (makes approx 8-9 patties)
1 415g tin pink salmon drained & flaked
1 400g tin lentils drained
1 medium carrot grated
1 egg lightly whisked
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove crushed garlic
Approx 1/2 cup of plain flour to roll patties in.

Method
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
Using wet hands mould together portions of salmon mixture to form a patty. Flour both sides of patty.
Lightly oil ( I used olive oil) a non-stick frying pan and heat to medium temperature. Cook patties until golden on each side. Remove from pan and place on absorbent towel ready to serve.
Enjoy with your favourite serve of salads or steamed veggies. The patties are also great for a sandwich filler the next day. They reheat fine too.

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