Making Ginger Beer

A refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day served cool with ice and a sprig of mint.
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp dried yeast
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup caster sugar
1.25 L boiling water
sprigs of mint and ice cubes to serve
Combine the boiling water with the sugar, lemon juice, ginger and yeast in a large bowl.
Leave overnight at room temperature.
Pour into clean bottles. Leave the sediment at the bottom of the bowl. Leave an inch gap between the fluid and the bottle lid.
Seal and chill in the fridge.
Serve in individual glasses with a sprig of mint and ice or in a large jug with the mint and ice cubes floating on the top.
Makes 2 litres of ginger beer.

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Avocado and Tomato Salsa

Salsa can be used in a number of ways, served on Melba toast as an hors-d’oeuvre, served on a variety of special breads as a starter or served as an accompaniment to a meal. This recipe is colourful and can be made before hand and kept in the fridge. 
1 avocado, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 red onion, diced
1/2 Lebanese cucumber, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped mint
Combine all the ingredients together in a serving bowl.
Serves 4 people.
Variations, coriander can be used instead of mint, or pitted Kalamata olives cut into quarters instead of avocado.

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Vegan Kebabs

Kebabs can be prepared beforehand and easily transported to a BBQ. They cook quickly over an open fire or placed on a tray under a grill.
1 courgette, sliced
200 g button mushrooms
300 g pressed tofu, cut into chunks
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, cut into chunks
6 wooden kebab sticks
1 tsp soy sauce
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 small chilli, deseeded and chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
Soak six wooden kebab sticks in water for 10 minutes to help stop them burning.
Using colour and variety thread the vegetables and tofu evenly onto the sticks.
Mix all the marinade ingredients together.
Place the sticks on a tray and pour over the marinade. Allow to stand for an hour. Bast with the marinade several times.
Place each kebab on the barbeque. Cook for 10 minutes. Bast with the marinade and turn several times.
Serves 6 people. Serve hot with a salad and other barbequed items.

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Mango and Avocado Salad

Colourful and crisp for Christmas
1 mango, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
1 chilli, pips removed and thinly sliced
1/2 small cabbage, thinly sliced
1/3 cup toasted pepitas
2 limes, zest and juice
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
2 1/2 Tbsp wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
salt to taste
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the onion. Cook for 1/2 minute. Drain.
In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, sugar and salt. Add the onion and allow to pickle for 20 minutes.
In a bowl whisk together the coriander, oil, lime juice and zest, chilli and a little salt.
Scatter the cabbage over a large serving plate.Spoon over most of the coriander dressing.
Top with the mango and avocado slices.
Drain the pickled onion and scatter over the salad.
Scatter the pepitas on the top and spoon over any dressing.
Serves 4 people.

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Chickpea, Broccolini and Sweet Potato Curry

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp curry powder, mild to hot according to taste
800 g sweet potato, peeled and diced into bite sizes
400 g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 red capsicum, diced
400 ml can coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
100 g baby spinach leaves
1 bunch broccolini
soy yoghurt as a dressing
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and capsicum and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the curry powder and stir in for a further 2 minutes until it becomes fragrant.
Add the sweet potato and coconut milk and a cup of water. Bring to the boil. Stir and cover. simmer for 10 minutes until sweet potato is tender.
Stir in the chickpeas and bring back to the boil. Add seasoning to taste.
Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach leaves. They will wilt and add colour.
Meanwhile steam the broccolini for 5 minutes until tender.
Divide the curry onto 4 plates and add the broccolini to the side.
Drizzle soy yoghurt over the dish. Serve hot.
Serves 4 people.

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Iced Tea with Guava

Mum was always looking for ways to cool us down. This is a tea with a difference as she would use what we had. Our nearest shop , an African dukka, was 5 miles away and our nearest shopping centre 200 miles away! Tea was Ceylon or maybe rooibos. Mint grew near the kitchen drain pipe where waste water spilled out of the catchment drum to be used on the gardens. Guava, lemon, lime and mango trees grew around the station.
2 tsp or bags of tea
handful of mint leaves, keep 4 leaves for decoration
1 cup lemonade
1 guava, or a mango in season
1 lemon or lime
Heat the teapot. Place the tea in the pot and pour over boiling water. Allow to brew for a couple of minutes. Have a cup of tea!
Pour the remainder into a jug with the shredded mint and place in the fridge.
Before serving add the lemonade.
Place ice cubes into 4 glasses. Add sliced lemon or lime and sliced guava or mango into the glasses. Pour in the tea through a tea strainer. Serve with a mint leaf to decorate.
Serves 4 people.

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Mango, Carrot and Orange Smoothie

It is getting hot in Queensland and cool drinks are a must. Also mangoes are in season. Thank you Olive for this refreshing drink.
1 mango
1 cup of unsweetened carrot juice, chilled
1 cup of unsweetened almond and coconut milk, chilled
1 orange, peeled and chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup ice cubes
sugar to taste
Peel the mango and cut the flesh from the seed.
Place the mango flesh and all the ingredients into a blender.
Blend on high until smooth. Taste and add sugar if required.
Pour into 4 chilled glasses.
Serve immediately. Serves 4 people.

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