Crispy Cauliflower with Torn Basil and Lemon Dressing

Vegan, Gluten Free, Low Fat IMG_2309 Guys, where have I been the past few weeks?? I’ve been so slack! Holidays are only three weeks away though and assignments will be done and dusted so get ready for some very exciting posts coming up!! (Salted coconut gelato anyone?!) Also, it’s almost mango season. If you don’t know what that means for this space, perhaps consider checking out last years mango frenzy, when I went a little cray cray and made about ten mango desserts in two months. (Mango Honey Tart, Mango Froyo, Coconut Mango Tarts… I am obsessed.) But before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s time to have some salad appreciation. This salad is literally the best combination of flavours. See that platter of salad in the photo? I ate the entire thing over about two hours, no joke. And I have zero regrets too. IMG_2293 Also, you can spruce it up with all kinds of fun things like broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans, some lettuce if you want. The dressing is so tasty you can just dip fresh vegetables in it and call it a day. If you’ve never tried roasting cauliflower before, you are living a half life. I was a roasted cauliflower sceptic until I had it at a restaurant one day and my mind was BLOWN. Such a simple vegetable, transformed! If you follow my Instagram you probably know I eat this salad all the time, in some form or another. But that’s because it only takes 30 minutes and it’s better than any other meal I can think of! I’m notoriously bad at making nice food when I’m going to uni and always end up spending $15 on random snacks because I convince myself it’s cheaper than just buying a sandwich. I made this salad last week though, and it tasted just as good a few hours later. Very impressed with myself ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great week guys! I will be back soon with ice cream. One Year Ago: Vegan Chocolate Fudge Jaffa Cupcakes (GF)IMG_2317 Cauliflower Salad with Basil and Lemon Dressing:

1 small cauliflower head, cut into florets

1 small butternut pumpkin, sliced in half long ways, de-seeded and sliced into 1cm strips

1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp za’atar

1 large handful fresh basil

1 small handful fresh coriander

Dressing: 3 tbsp tahini juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp warm water ย IMG_2306 Preheat the oven to 200C/390F and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Toss the cauliflower and pumpkin slices in a tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and spread out on the tray. Sprinkle all over with za’atar. Bake for about thirty minutes, until the vegetables are crispy. Tear up the herbs and toss with the vegetables. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and stir well. Spoon over the vegetables and serve either warm or at room temperature. Serves 4-6 IMG_2292

Green Salad with Garlic Mushrooms

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Guys! Big news. I’ve decided that once a month I’m going to do a “fun things you should add to your salads post.” It’s going to be epic! I know, right now it sounds kind of boring. But trust me, lately I have been KILLING the salad game. My uni schedule this semester means most days I got home at 2.30pm, with half an hour before I go to work. What does that mean? Salad!!

The best lunch ever.

Salad can easily be the worst meal, or the best. It all depends what you put in it and how you make it. For me, the most important thing is the salad base. If you don’t have a strong base, the rest of your salad will never be able to shine like the star it should be.
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Take careful note of the photo above. Today I used two types of lettuce, washed and whizzed completely dry in my lettuce washer. It must be completely dry! Otherwise your salad will be sad. Two big handfuls for each person please. Next I added half a finely chopped shallot, for some zing. You could add finely sliced red onion if that’s your thing for this element.

Select two of your favourite herbs. Today I used basil (heaps of basil!) and coriander. You can add parsley, mint, dill (although I can’t be your friend anymore if you add dill because I HATE dill irrationally), or any other soft herb you like. Use a small palmful of leaves, and finely chop.
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Now it’s time to add your crunchy elements! I like to add a stalk of celery, half a chopped apple, half a chopped capsicum, and/or some cucumber for the crunchy part of the salad. Today I just used apple and capsicum because that’s all we had. Chop everything into 1cm chunks and throw into your salad bowl.

Next, time for some substantial greens. The best by far is broccoli, but today for the first time maybe forever we were out of broccoli, so I added steamed baby peas and zucchini. If you have time, you can roast the greens in the oven, but today this is an under half an hour salad so steaming will have to do! Chop in half an avocado for creaminess too.

And now for the secret: mushrooms!! Get out your pan, crush a garlic clove in there, add a drizzle of olive oil and fry up a huge handful of them. Mushrooms make an ordinary salad an extraordinary salad. Only add them at the last second because the heat might wilt the lettuce.
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For dressing mix 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp seedy mustard, and the juice of half a lime. Toss all the ingredients well. I drizzled over a tbsp of tahini as well for extra protein.

YUUUUM. There you have it. The best 20 minute salad in existence. Enjoy! And get excited for next months salad adventures!

One Year Ago: Coconut and Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Fruit Salad & Honey Orange Syrup

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I felt a little unsure of whether I should post this recipe today. I mean, could we call it a recipe? Fruit salad is more of a…bowl of fruit. Kind of like giving a recipe for a lettuce salad. But then I thought, hang on. I would love a recipe for a lettuce salad. Because until I actually READ a recipe for a lettuce salad in a real cookbook, I didn’t realise that my lettuce salads had always been inherently wrong! And now that I know to wash my leaves and dry them thoroughly and only add my dressing at the table, my entire salad eating experience has transformed.ย 

So here is a post about fruit salad. Not exactly a recipe, more of an inspiring collection of photos to encourage you to go out, get some fruit, and make a delicious bowl of whatever things you fancy. I know it’s coming in to cold season in the Northern Hemisphere but there is still plenty of fruits to be found! Fruit salad may be best in the summer but it is still yummy all year round. Think apples, pears, orange segments, bananas, whatever looks the best at the time!

And if you really want your fruit salad to sing! Make up some honey and orange syrup for drizzling on top. The acidity from the oranges stops some of the fruits from browning. Things like pears, apples and bananas all oxidise quickly so it’s important to get some citrus on them.Image

Handy hints for fruit salad include: Wash all your fruits and completely dry them before using. Otherwise water will collect in the bottom of the bowl. Only use fresh, firm fruits. Fruit salads aren’t good hiding places for that slightly smooshed strawberry or bruised banana. Add all your whole fruits to the bowl first- berries, grapes, mandarin segments etc. Add your cut fruits as close to serving time as possible. Add your banana literally at the table, or it will dissolve and you will be left with honey orange and banana syrup. Mmmm…??!?!?! Not really.ย 

I like to eat my fruit salad in the morning with a big scoop of Greek yogurt and some chia seeds and sunflower seeds sprinkled on top. But especially in the warmer months, fruit salad can make a really easy and light dessert. Or brunch! People always talk about their brunch ideas and recipes they’ve developed brunch…who the hell has time to invite all their friends over for brunch? That’s a question I’ll never understand. But if you are a brunch eater, fruit salad may just be the thing for you. Keep fruit salad in the fridge before eating because it’s way better cold. And think about what fruits would taste great together! Here’s some ideas:

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Think of fruits that go well together:

Salad 1: The ‘green’ salad- green grapes, apple, kiwi fruit, pineapple, honeydew, blueberries, pear, passionfruit pulp, and sprinkle in some fresh mint leaves.

Salad 2: The ‘red’ salad- strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, mulberries, watermelon, mango, red grapes, tangerine or mandarin

Salad 3: The ‘yellow’ salad- banana, mango, rockmelon, pear, peaches, nectarines, plums and green grapes

Feel free to make up your own fruit salads. Remember the more colours you mix in, the wider range of vitamins and nutrients you’re getting from your fruit. Cut the fruit as close to serving time as possible, and have a good balance of sweet, sour, crunchy, soft, sharp and mellow.ย 

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Honey Orange Syrup:
2 oranges, juiced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water
Combine all the ingredients and mix until the honey dissolves. Heat gently over a low flame until everything is combined and slightly thickened. Allow to cool completely before pouring over the fruit salad.
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