Slow Cooker Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry; Meal Plan Your Way to Weight Loss – Rebecca Burnicle and Wendy Van Staden

Meal-Plan Your Way to Weight Loss by Rebecca Burnicle and Wendy Van Staden, published by Macmillan Australia, RRP $39.99, photography by Jeremy Simons.

“Meal-prepping is so easy when you put your slow cooker to work. This recipe
makes 8 portions, so stocking your freezer with ‘I can’t be bothered’ dinners
is a breeze. All it takes is 15 minutes of prep in the morning.
Serves 8 / Prep 15 minutes / Cook 3 hours 45 minutes – 7 hours 30 minutes” p154

Slow Cooker Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry

2 brown onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon vegetable stock powder ( I use a gluten free stock)
50 g coconut milk powder
2 cups (400 g) dried red lentils
250 g cauliflower, cut into 2 cm pieces
250 g orange sweet potato (kumara), cut into 2 cm pieces
1 zucchini, cut into 2 cm pieces
400 g can diced tomatoes
400 g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
150 g baby spinach leaves
1 cup fresh coriander sprigs
2–6 PersonalPoints range per serve

1 Place all ingredients, except for chickpeas, spinach and coriander sprigs in a 5.5 litre (22 cup) slow cooker. Add 1 litre (4 cups) water and stir to combine. Cook on high for 3.5 hours (or low for 7 hours).

2 Stir in chickpeas and spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on high for a further 15 minutes (or low for 30 minutes). Top with coriander sprigs to serve.

Stove-top method:
1 Heat a large non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic and ginger, stirring, for 2–3 minutes, until softened slightly. Add spices and stock powder and cook,
stirring, for a further 1 minute.

2 Stir in coconut milk powder, lentils, cauliflower, sweet potato, zucchini and tomatoes. Add enough water to cover vegetables. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30–40 minutes, until vegetables and lentils are tender, stirring occasionally and adding extra water if mixture starts to catch
on base of pan.

3 Stir in chickpeas and spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for a further 5 minutes. Top with coriander sprigs.

· TO REFRIGERATE: Transfer curry to a large reusable container or divide individual portions into separate reusable containers. Store for up to 5 days. To reheat, simmer gently in a saucepan or microwave single
servings until hot, stirring in a little water if curry is too thick.

· TO FREEZE: Store curry as above. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat
as above.

**This is one of my favourite vegetarian curries though I hadn’t thought of adding cauliflower – what a great idea. I will make this to take with me on my next visit to my vegetarian daughter.**

Pumpkin and Tofu Tangine – CSIRO Low Carb Diet – Quick and Easy -Grant Brinkworth & Pennie Taylor 

CSIRO Low Carb Diet –  Quick and Easy 

Grant Brinkworth & Pennie Taylor 

Pan Macmillan Australia

RRP $34.99

Pumpkin and Tofu Tangine

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon harissa seasoning

300 g peeled, seeded pumpkin, cut into thin wedges

600 g firm tofu, cut into 2 cm pieces

2 zucchini, cut lengthways into quarters

1 x 500 g packet frozen broccoli and cauliflower rice


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, deep non-stick frying pan over high heat.

Add the harissa, pumpkin, tofu and zucchini and cook, tossing, for 2 minutes.

Add ½ cup (125 ml) water. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick wok over high heat. Add the broccoli and cauliflower rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until heated through and starting to crisp up.

Divide the rice and tofu tagine evenly among shallow bowls and serve.


Sweet Potato Cakes: Farmacy Kitchen Cookbook – Camilla Fayed

Farmacy Kitchen Cook Book by Camilla Fayed cover art

Tonight’s dinner sorted ( and some in the freezer for when my vegetarian daughter visits next) and a few gifted to my other daughter for her dinner tonight.


Sweet Potato Cakes

These are so easy to make and look just as delicious as those in the recipe book. Great for entree or a main meal with salad or green vegetables.



Post Script: A Whole New Way To Eat – Vladia Cobrdova

A Whole New Way To Eat

Vladia Cobrdova

Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781743368978



Stunning recipes for fad-free eating from the original modern Australian health food providore.


Step into fad-free whole-food eating with recipes you can trust from the original modern Australian health food providore.


A Whole New Way to Eat is the healthy recipe collection all households need. Everyone is welcome at the table with this way of eating – whether you’re looking for inspirational vegan, paleo or vegetarian recipes or you’re simply after truly delicious food that just happens to be good for you. From The Best Turmeric Yoghurt and Tahini Potato Salad to the hands-down most delicious Raw Caramel Slice you’ve ever tried, your body will thank you from your tastebuds to your gut. Nutritionist and recipe developer Vladia Cobrdova from About Life recreates over 135 of the mouth-watering dishes she’s made popular in the stores’ busy cafes, takeaway and ready-made meal sections.


A Whole New Way to Eat is a modern take on healthy eating for those more interested in eating well than following the latest craze.


Author bio:

“Vladia Cobrdova is a nutritionist, recipe developer and Wellness Ambassador for About Life, Australia’s largest wholefoods retail chain. Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, Vladia first saw and tasted avocadoes and mangoes when she came to Australia as an au pair. She started working at a juice bar and health food shop called About Life when she was studying to be a nutritionist. Fourteen years later that business is now the largest retailer of health food in Australia and Vladia develops the recipes for the business. She’s still blown away by the taste of avocadoes and mangoes.”




My View:

I haven’t had the time lately to experiment in the kitchen with recipes from some of the new cook books I have at hand, (we have been on holidays, twice in the past two months and when back home have been extra busy, or had lots of visitors or commitments), this year has just been busy. However tonight I sat down and had a good look at A Whole New Way To Eat by Vladia Cobrdova and I am  now excited about the idea of returning to the kitchen and trying out some of these tantalizing, fresh, healthy and delicious looking recipes.


There are great breakfast ideas, dips, sides, mains, snacks, lunch, soups… “The dishes in this book cover every occasion – for when you only have 10 minutes to prepare a nutritious snack to keep the energy levels up and stress levels down, or for creating a meal to impress your guests. Perhaps you want to experience the sense of achievement you get from baking bread and serving with lashings of good quality local butter?” (YES YES YES) Vladia hopes that by sharing these recipes she can pass on some of the enjoyment and satisfaction that cooking has given her, her family and the clients of About Life. (p9)  And the recipes here cater to a variety of dietary requirements; including gluten free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw food, meat lovers…there is sure to be something here for everyone.


Let’s get cooking!






Gnocchi Verdi: The Art Of Traditional Italian – Lucio Galletto

The Art of Traditional Italian Extracted from The Art of Traditional Italian by Lucio Galletto,

published by Lantern, RRP$59.99’; and

photography by Ben Dearnley,



“These spinach gnocchi were one of the great tenor Caruso’s favourite dishes. When he was booed after a show in Naples, Caruso famously said he would never sing there again, but he would go back to eat its wonderful food, and these gnocchi were one of the reasons to return.” (p.86-87)

Gnocchi verdi

700 g potatoes (desiree or similar)

400 g spinach, washed, stems removed 1 egg

150 g plain flour

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 80 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 golden shallot, finely chopped 400 g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved handful of basil leaves

100 g freshly grated parmesan




Place the potatoes in a saucepan of cold salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20–30 minutes, until tender.


While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the spinach. Wash the leaves well and place them in a saucepan over medium heat, with just the water clinging to the leaves. Cover and cook for a few minutes, until wilted. Drain in a fine-meshed sieve and squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible. Place on a chopping board and chop very finely.


When the potatoes are ready, drain well and peel while still warm. Pass through a mouli or potato ricer into a large bowl and allow to cool, then add the spinach and the egg. Mix lightly and quickly with a fork, then add the flour and season with salt. Quickly use your hands to form the mixture into a dough. Don’t work it too much or the gnocchi will be tough. Divide the dough into 6 portions.


Working on a well-floured surface, use your hands to shape each piece of dough into a long rope the thickness of your finger. Using a sharp knife, cut each rope into evenly sized pieces, about 2–4 cm long. As you cut the gnocchi, lay them on a floured tea towel in a single layer; do not let them touch each other. When they are all done, roll each one over the tines of a fork to create the classic grooves that will hold the sauce. If you prefer, you can press your finger onto the middle of each one instead. Set aside.


Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and sauté the shallot, stirring with a wooden spoon, for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the tomatoes and sauté gently, stirring from time to time, for 10–15 minutes, until the tomatoes break down. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle over the basil, reserving some for a garnish. Mix and let it cook for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat.


Cook the gnocchi in plenty of boiling salted water by placing them on a plate and tilting the plate over the boiling water, allowing them to slide in gently. As the gnocchi rise to the surface, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the frying pan with the sauce. Return the pan to low heat, toss the gnocchi gently with half the parmesan, then serve hot sprinkled with the reserved basil and with the rest of the parmesan on the side.






86                                 —  MINESTRE  —

Gnocchi verdi

Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli with Burnt Butter and Sage – Homemade Takeaway – Julie Goodwin

Julie Goodwin's Homemade Takeaway 

Homemade Takeaway by Julie Goodwin ($39.99), published by Hachette Australia.

Photography – Steve Brown


Full of flavour and so easy to make – you’ll think you’re in a real Italian trattoria when you eat this.






1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 brown onion, finely diced

400 g ricotta

100 g baby spinach, finely chopped

cup pine nuts, toasted

¼ cup grated parmesan

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

1 quantity fresh pasta

125 g butter

½ bunch sage, leaves picked

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon sea salt flakes

Block of parmesan, to serve


1 Heat the olive oil in a small frypan over a medium-low heat. Sauté the garlic and onion until translucent, about 3–4 minutes, and then remove from the heat.


2 Place the garlic and onion in a large bowl, then add the ricotta, spinach, pine nuts, parmesan, salt and pepper and mix well.


3 Lay a long sheet of pasta on the bench and place tablespoons of the mixture at even intervals along the strip. Using a pastry brush, brush a little water around each mound of filling. Lay a second sheet on top and press closely around the filling, making sure not to leave any air trapped inside. Use a 6 cm cookie cutter to cut around the filling.


4 Melt the butter in the frypan over a medium-high heat and add the sage leaves. Cook until the milk solids in the butter turn brown and the sage leaves start to crisp up.


5 Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Cook the ravioli for around 2 minutes or until the pasta is cooked but still al dente. Using a slotted spoon, divide the ravioli among 4 bowls.


6 Add the lemon zest, juice and salt to the fried sage in the pan and stir, then spoon the burnt butter sauce over the ravioli and serve immediately. Put a block of parmesan and a fine grater on the table for everyone to help themselves.

Ricotta and spinach ravioli

Ricotta and spinach ravioli




This quantity of pasta is for four people, but a good rule of thumb is to use 100 g of flour and 1 egg for each person to be served.





400 g 00 flour (strong flour). Plain flour can be used if strong flour is not available.

4 eggs


1 Place the flour into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Start the mixer on the lowest speed. In a bowl, briefly whisk the eggs with a fork and add to the mixer. Knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is very firm. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.


2 Cut the dough into cricket ball–sized pieces and work with one piece at a time. Using a pasta machine, start at the thickest setting and put the pieces of dough through each setting twice until it is the desired thickness. Take the long strip of pasta and fold it in on itself until it is the right width to put back through the machine. Feed it through from the thickest setting again. Repeat this whole process one more time, so that you’ve run from the thickest setting to the desired thickness 3 times in total. Now you can cut the pasta into the desired shape and allow to air-dry, if you are not using it the same day. It can be frozen if you wish.

Vegetarian Meals Made With Love

Last week my daughter fractured her shoulder; she was on an evening out, ready to order her meal, was about to take the last step on the stairs to the venues dining area, hand on rail and slipped in a pile of something disgusting- we wont go there. Consequently she now is suffering with a fractured shoulder – and needs assistance with most things – washing her hair, cutting up her meals, preparing meals. She cant drive , cant shop, cant work, for at least 6 weeks.

It is times like  this that it is very difficult to be a parent who lives 3 1/2 hours away from one of her children who is in pain and in need.  Her sister has been very helpful, she has been up to visit a  few times, taken her shopping, taken her to the doctors, styled her hair, took her dog for a walk….These two are great supportive sisters.  On the last visit I sent up a care package – food made with love 🙂  I am currently preparing more meals.

The injured daughter is vegetarian – and I haven’t really cooked many vegetarian meals since this daughter left home, many years ago. Lately I have just made the odd meal when she has visited – vegetarian pizza, curry, chilli beans etc To make a 6 weeks of vegetarian meals that can be eaten with one hand ( preferably a spoon) is a challenge. Thankfully I have some wonderful new cook books to help me out.

Coconut Thai Curry with Chickpeas

Coconut Thai Curry with Chickpeas


Deliciously Ella is a great resource. I am currently soaking red kidney and black beans (I prefer not to use tinned legumes) to make a Ella’s Black and Kidney Bean Chilli.  Last week I made Ella’s Lentil and Butternut Squash Dhal, Coconut Thai Curry with Chickpeas and Almond Butter (or nut butter if you prefer),  I made Anna Gretta’s Banana Cakes – one for the freezer and one cut into slices for use now and Dan Churchill’s Protein Balls (always a favourite). I also made huge saucepan of vegetarian minestrone soup – a meal in a bowl, and bean patties with Quinoa flakes – my own creations –  recipes I will share with you at a later date.

Bean Patties with Quinoa Flakes

Bean Patties with Quinoa Flakes

What to make for the next 5 weeks? Any suggestions?  The food must be able to be frozen, be vegetarian and not require cutting.