Having more of a savoury than a sweet tooth, I’ve long enjoyed a good savoury muffin. Aside from the wide variety of possibilities when it comes to flavour, they are a terrific option any time of year – another alternative to sandwiches for kids heading back to school, or a yummy accompaniment to a BBQ dinner or a bowl of soup (with a bit of real butter on the side too). They can also be a just meal of their own. Savoury muffins are healthy, tasty, filling, very forgiving when you have to fudge the quantities, inexpensive, and best of all, freezer friendly. I love how easy it is to grab one of these from the freezer, and place once more in a warm oven for 5 minutes – bringing them pretty much back to newly baked awesomeness. Julie Morrow has contributed a couple of wonderful recipes that you’re sure to enjoy, each first published by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in The Guardian Australia. She suggests, and I wholeheartedly agree, adding 100g of fetta to the top of each muffin, and my hot tip for this (discovered by my thrifty husband Steve) is the Coles brand of Marinated Danish Fetta – pictured above. It’s EXACTLY the same as the South Cape variety (even the jar is the same), but costs $5.40 per jar, as opposed to almost $12). First up from Julie are these fluffy, moist, flavoursome and vegetarian friendly babies. This recipe makes 12 and costs less than $5.
- 80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 10g for frying
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 150g spinach, tough stalks removed and very finely shredded (I used baby spinach salad greens)
- 250g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 275g whole milk yoghurt (but sour cream, diet yoghurt or regular cream will do)
- 150g carrots, grated
- 100g fetta cheese
- 40g pumpkin seeds, toasted (optional, I used sesame instead)
- Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
- Warm the 10g of butter in a large frying pan and sauté the onion with a pinch of salt until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add the cumin, stir for a minute, then add the spinach and stir until wilted and soft. Cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- In a jug, whisk the melted butter, eggs and yoghurt. Pour the wet ingredients over the flour and stir with a spatula until just combined.
- Fold in the cooled onions and spinach, the carrots and seeds.
- Spoon into the cases crumble the fetta evenly atop each portion.
- Bake for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Whether you need a cheap meal for a crowd, or a slack dinner at home or an easy way to satisfy a Zambrero’s-type craving, these yummy Mexican style jacket potatoes are a great choice. They’re wonderful for satisfying other catering needs too: they can easily be served as vegetarian and are wonderfully gluten free too. Cheap to make, easy to whack together and super yummy, 8 of these fat babies with the ingredients pictured cost less than $10 to make and serves 6 people.
- 8 large and clean roasting potatoes
- 300g streaky bacon, chopped finely
- 4 shallots, chopped finely
- 1 lebanese cucumber chopped finely
- 2 roma tomatoes, chopped finely
- 1 can corn kernels, drained
- small tub sour cream
- 200g grated cheese
- 1 red or green capsicum, chopped finely
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Prick potatoes all over and par-boil in a large pot of water until soft, (the time this takes will depend on the size of potatoes), drain water.
- Place each potato inside a large roasting dish, and using a potato masher, press down gently but firmly on each one until it squashes/smashes nicely. Cover in spray oil and what in the oven until golden, about 20 minutes.
- Organise whatever toppings you’ve decided on – chop and fry bacon and quickly chop up vegetables of choice.
- Take all ingredients to the table and allow friends and family to assemble their potatoes as desired.
It was so lovely catching up with my friend Katrina last weekend. Over lunch she raved about this healthy and easy dinner she’d recently tried out and by the end of her description I was keen to give it a go too. I don’t find it easy to cook tasty vegetarian dishes, and have felt the need to have a few more recipes of this kind up my sleeve when caring for vegetarian folk. And Katrina was right – this little number ticked all the boxes: easy to cook, healthy in nature, tasty, affordable and freezable. To lower the GI, carbohydrate and fat content, Katrina helpfully suggests replacing the pumpkin with sweet potato, leaving out the cream altogether and serving it without rice because this curry is nutritionally complete on its own. She also suggested a dollop of greek style yoghurt on top which tasted great. Originally from Notebook Magazine, when served with rice, this vegetarian dish serves 6 people and costs around $7 to make.
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 3 tbs mild curry paste
- 1 tbs finely grated ginger
- 400g can diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups (375ml) water or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup (105g) brown lentils, rinsed
- 1/2 cup (115g) red lentils, rinsed
- 600g butternut pumpkin, seeded, peeled, cut into 3cm pieces
- 1/2 (about 600g) cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 cup (150g) frozen peas
- 1/4 cup (60ml) cream
- Coriander leaves, to serve
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until onion softens. Add curry paste, curry leaves and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add tomatoes and water and bring to a simmer.
- Add combined lentils and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until lentils are almost tender. Add the pumpkin and cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Add peas and cream and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Yesterday I was the grateful recipient of a ‘day off’ by myself. My husband ordered me to ‘go to a cafe and read a book’ which I readily agreed was a wonderful way to use some of the day. Beforehand, I found a copy of Donna Hay’s No Time To Cook, and having used it a number of times, sat down to read it like a novel, page by page. By the end I was inspired by a number of the recipes, especially this one. Normally a yummy vegetarian dish, I knew my husband would prefer it with the addition of mince, and the result was a less stodgy and much healthier lasagne. With 750g of mince added to the passata sauce this dish costs around $16 and around $11 if you keep it vegetarian. Serves 10.
- 1.2kg ricotta (buy it from the deli, not the fridge section, much cheaper!)
- 160g grated parmesan
- 6 tbsp chopped chives (if you have it)
- 8 tbsp shredded basil (if you have it)
- 1 rounded tbsp finely grated lemon rind
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 4 tbsp coarsely chopped oregano leaves (if you have it)
- 1.25 litres tomato passata
- 450g-600g lasagne sheets
- 1.5kg pumpkin peeled, seeded and sliced thinly (2-3mm)
- 100g grated mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
- Combine ricotta, half the grated parmesan, chives, basil, lemon rind, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Stir oregano into passata.
- Place a layer of lasagne sheets into the base of a greased 20cm x 35cm baking dish (about 7cm deep, 3.5-4 litre capacity). Top with a third of the pumpkin and spoon over a third of the passata mixture. Top with a third of the ricotta mixture and another layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of lasagne sheets and the remaining ricotta mixture.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella and the remaining parmesan, cover with aluminium foil and bake for 1½ hours.