Tuna and Rice Bake

Have you ever found a great recipe that is so easy and tasty that it becomes a frequent addition to your meal plans? This is one of them for me. Although when I say frequent, for us that means I make it every couple of months! I first saw this recipe on Taste, and one of the best things is that it is so versatile. It’s a great way to use up leftover rice, and you can add any vegies and herbs you like. You could also replace the tuna with chickpeas and make it a vegetarian dish. Don’t like zucchini? Use carrot instead! This is a base recipe – there are countless variations! Go crazy!

This time I used a silicone loaf pan but I would usually use metal, which I prefer. I think it cooks better in metal, it gets crispier on the edges and it’s easier to cut. I’d also like to make this in a muffin tray next time, which would be an easy lunch with a fresh salad.

Do you have a collection of meals you make often?

Tuna and Rice Bake (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I used brown) 
  • 1 x 185g can tuna in springwater, drained, flaked
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Small bunch chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 100g reduced-fat feta, crumbled
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a 19cm x 9cm (base measurement) loaf pan with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Combine the rice, tuna, olives, zucchini, garlic, basil, thyme and two-thirds of the feta in a large bowl. Add the egg and stir until well combined. Season with pepper.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the lined pan and smooth the surface. Sprinkle with remaining feta. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
  4. Slice. Serve with mixed salad leaves (and a spicy tomato salsa).

Pre-baking

8 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Healthy, Easy, Seafood, Rice

Botannix Studio Cafe, Botany

In my area of the world, there exists a lovely gem of a cafe. Botannix Studio Cafe is more than just a cafe though; they also hold yoga classes, and they grow their own organic vegetables and herbs for the use in the menu – I love that! The cafe itself is quite funky and it feels welcoming – from the tree twig ceiling features and eclectic mix of wall art, to the peaceful outdoor area and friendly service.

Botannix has become a bit of a favourite with some of my friends, and on this day Paul and I were there to have lunch with his parents. They have a lunch menu, but the highlight for me is the All Day Breakfast; one of my favourite phrases. In my opinion, eggs are a perfect meal any time of day.

The day was quite cool, so I start with a chai latte. There are 3 options – chai powder, chai syrup, and chai tea. I went with the powder, and it was deliciously warming.

Chai Latte

Paul’s Dad chose the special of the day, a Spanish omelette. It was appropriately man-sized though he struggled to finish it. The size of a plate, the omelette was full of chorizo, potato, tomato, and fresh herbs, and was served with a thick slice of toast.

Daily Special: Spanish Omelette

I first tried Eggs Benedict last year and fell in love; I had been missing out on their creamy goodness for the first 27 years of my life! Served on a slice of thick sourdough, this featured fresh baby spinach and basil, smoked salmon, 2 gooey poached eggs, and a river of smooth, tangy Hollandaise sauce. Delicious.

Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon, $18

As fantastic as my eggs benny were, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of food envy when this arrived… Paul & his Mum both ordered the Corn Fritters. An impressively tall stack, there were layers of corn fritters, grilled haloumi, bacon, avocado, fresh baby spinach, and homemade tomato relish. I tried some of Paul’s and yes, it was as good as it looks!

Corn Fritters, $17

At the counter there is a display of freshly baked muffins and other various sweets, but even I was too full, and satisfied enough already. We’ll be back again… I’m already eyeing off the coconut pancakes on the menu for next time.

What is your favourite way to eat eggs? Poached, scrambled, fried, soft boiled with soldier toasts…?

Flying lessons?

Botannix Studio Cafe
http://www.botannix.com/

Contact details:
25 Swinbourne Street, Botany
Phone: 61 2 9666 7315
Opening hours:
Mon – Fri: 6am – 4pm
Sat: 7am – 3pm
Sun: 8am – 2pm

Botannix on Urbanspoon

14 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Cafe, Eating Out

Short Bites: Steak, Tuna, Brasserie Bread

In my quest to say goodbye to the old, boring, fussy eater-me, I am making an effort to try new foods, as well as new techniques in the kitchen. Sometimes I try new things throughout the week that don’t warrant an entire post. Enter weekly “Short Bites” posts! These posts might feature foods that I’ve never tried before (from simple to adventurous), new-to-me techniques, or just delicious bites!

Steak cooked in the oven

I’d heard of people cooking their steaks in the oven, which seemed an odd thing to do, until I bought a couple of 1-1.5inch thick eye fillets last weekend. In the past, whenever we’ve had very thick steaks, it would be quite hard to get it perfectly cooked (medium to medium rare is how we like it) without charring the outside too much and leaving the inside very rare. So I did some research on methods and decided to try oven baking with these steaks from A & S Select Meats in Mascot – they sell quality meat there so my fingers were crossed hoping I wasn’t going to ruin them!

The Method:
Preheat the oven to 190C. Bring steaks to room temperature, season with salt & pepper and lightly brush with oil. Heat a griddle pan to medium high to high. Cook steak for 2 minutes on both sides to brown and sear the outside, leaving nice char lines. Place the steaks on a wire baking rack over an oven tray. Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Remove steaks from oven and let them rest.

The Result:
I absolutely loved the steaks! They were evenly cooked throughout and were so juicy and tender. I’ve been raving about them. Next time I might shorten the cooking time or lower the oven temperature to have it a bit rarer. Served with a garlic & thyme butter, mashed sweet potato and salad…

Tuna caught by Paul

Paul went deep-sea fishing last week and brought home a tuna! He served it pan-fried with a sweet corn & potato puree, pan-fried & glazed green beans, dill, and chili. That might sound like a weird combination but it tasted fantastic!

Lesson learnt by Paul:
We need to buy a potato ricer - pureeing potato with a hand blender makes glue. Luckily it didn’t quite get to that point.

Goodies from Brasserie Bread

I’ve long been a fan of Brasserie Bread. We were inspecting an open house near their Banksmeadow store on Saturday so we popped in beforehand to buy some supplies. We bought their lovely grain-filled ‘Granary Loaf’, a couple of olive & rosemary rolls, and 2 extra special items…

Firstly, the Pepe Saya Cultured Butter is incredible. It’s rich, smooth, a little sour, and all buttery-flavour. At $8.50 for 225g, it’s not cheap, but I loathe margarine, and if I’m having butter I would rather have a smidgen of this quality stuff than a heap of low-fat, low-calorie fake margarine.

Secondly, Not Quite Nigella had a post on almond croissants recently, and I was curious to try one. Paul & I shared this and OMG, it’s the best croissant I’ve ever had. Filled with frangipane, it was flaky, crunchy, sweet, and delicious – straight to the thighs!

What is your favourite food or technique you’ve tried recently?

11 Comments

Filed under Bakery, Eating Out, New To Me Foods, Short Bites, Techniques

Stylish Blogger Award

So, I’ve been awarded a Stylish Blogger Award! Now, I’m not particularly stylish… but I received a lovely message from Jasmine & Rafael at A Touch of Rojo who said they awarded me this because they really like my blog, which I thought was pretty sweet! Thank you Jasmine & Rafael! :D I started this blog in December because I love food, I enjoyed having a wedding blog, and my ‘Food, Glorious Food’ photo album on Facebook was getting excessively large; so to have people I don’t know tell me they like my blog is pretty cool (I use the word cool a lot and I don’t care if it’s anything but!).

I’ve been awarded this once before by my bestie Amanda at Me Vs. The Bulge (thank you Amanda :D ), but that was back at the beginning of this blog and I had only just started and didn’t ‘get it’ so I didn’t post about it. Actually I didn’t really ‘get it’ until about a week ago, when I realised this isn’t just about an ‘award’ per se (I googled but couldn’t find the beginnings of the award), but an acknowledgment, and a chance to give some love back to blogs you love. And I’m all about love.

Back in the day (i.e. a few months ago) I had been reading just 1 food blog daily for the past few years, Not Quite Nigella. I still continue to read her blog daily of course, because it’s fantastic, but since starting this blog I have discovered so many awesome blogs and a whole world of passion and knowledge from the many food bloggers out there. So this is a little post to share the love.

Firstly, the rules. I of course need to thank the person who gave me this award, I need to pass the award along to 10 blogs that I enjoy, and I need to share 7 things about myself. So here we go…

Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Butterfly Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

I have mentioned that I was a very fussy eater growing up, but there is one thing that I’ve always loved: dessert. I recall having 3 favourite desserts that my Mum made – toblerone mousse, custard tart, and butterfly cupcakes.

I adore cupcakes (who doesn’t?!). I love making them, looking at them, and eating them. When my Mum made cupcakes (back in the 80′s!) the butterfly wings made them seem even more special. Sure, I love the cupcakes around now, mini pieces of art, bold flavours, decorated so perfectly that you can’t help but react with an “ooh aah”… But sometimes I just want simplicity.

It had been a while since I’d baked any form of cake, since the end of January I think! I don’t know why but I felt a need to bake these old butterfly cupcakes last week. I just love baking; I get a great satisfaction from weighing exact measurements and producing something sweet and delicious – nerdy? ;)

To recreate the simple cupcake of my past I chose a recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks, ‘Cook’ by the Australian Women’s Weekly. This recipe produced the lightest textured cupcakes I’ve ever made, and although I wouldn’t normally put cupcakes in the fridge, I did put in a couple that were leftover and the next day they were still nice and not too dry! It’s a keeper! Originally these might be served with jam and cream as the topping but I decided to make a lemon buttercream, which I thought would go nicely, and simply, with the light vanilla cake.

The recipe says it makes 24 ‘patty cakes’ which I assume use smaller cupcake cases. I made 12 standard size cupcakes, plus 12 mini ones. Oh and my icing skills are awful, I know. I was given this handy decorating set for my birthday, and though it was easier than a piping bag, it’s still hard. So it’s something I hope to master this year ;)

Do you have any simple, or not-so-simple, favourites from your childhood?

Continue reading

9 Comments

Filed under Baking, Dessert, Recipes