Apricot Couscous Salad

The first time I tried this apricot couscous salad was only a couple of weeks ago when Brooke was preparing her lunch to take to work that week. She started getting the ingredients out, couscous, dried apricots, currants, slivered almonds and baby spinach. Firstly fruit in a salad? I am not exactly sold on this idea, and of course Brooke started getting defensive when I questioned it. She said the first time she had this was when her Mum made it to accompany a Moroccan lamb dish to use instead of rice. She said the almonds give it a nice crunch, and the sweet apricots and currants add another flavour. Honestly, I was still not sold on it, till there was a chance I could have a packed lunch to take to work as well.

As I watched Brooke make the salad I swear it was ready in 10 minutes. To start all she did was prepare some couscous using the method on the box. While this cooked, she simply toasted some slivered almonds on the stove till golden brown. She then sliced up some dried apricots into small pieces, and then washed some baby spinach. Once the couscous was ready and had cooled slightly all that needed to be done was mix it all together – couscous, almonds, apricots, spinach and a handful of currants. Really it was that simple!

I must say I am now a fan!  Although this version apricot couscous salad is served cold, it can still be served warm to accompany other dishes – like a Moroccan inspired dish which is full of various spices. I will however, recommend this coming into summer as a great side for any bbq or even just some marinated chicken.

If you are looking for another salad recipe to accompany your meal then try our roasted pumpkin and feta salad.

Apricot and Almond CouscousCouscous and ButterToasted AlmondsFresh SpinachApricot and Almond Couscous Salad IngredientsApricot Couscous Salad

Apricot couscous salad – Recipe Instructions

5.0 from 1 reviews
Apricot Couscous Salad
 
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This simple Apricot Couscous Salad is made with just 5 key ingredients couscous, almonds, apricots, spinach and a handful of currants.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Moroccan
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup couscous
  • ½ diced apricots
  • ½ cup dried currants
  • ¼ slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • A big handful of baby spinach
Instructions
  1. Prepare your couscous using the method on the box.
  2. Toast almonds in a small pan on the stove till golden brown, and allow to cool.
  3. Diced the dried apricots
  4. Wash baby spinach thoroughly
  5. Mix all the ingredients together and serve

 

Savoury Muffins

When Brooke told me that she was going to make vegetarian savoury muffins, at first I was a little skeptical. Anything with the word vegetarian typically has me scrunching up my face as my initial reaction. The thing was, as Brooke began to rattle off the list of ingredients including, Kalamata olives, semi sun-dried tomatoes and feta just to name a few I was quickly being won over by this savoury muffins recipe.

The thing about these muffins is they are incredibly versatile, you can have them for breakfast, lunch or dinner or even just as a snack. Brooke and I took them to work with us throughout the following week. Personally I couldn’t seem to get past morning tea without eating mine. However, Brooke managed to wait and have her’s with soup at lunchtime.

Not only are these savoury muffins really tasty, but they are also really filling and pretty healthy too. The beauty of these muffins is you can also freeze them to eat during the week or whenever you feel like a sugar-free snack.

I can definitely see this savoury muffin recipe becoming a go to recipe in case of a snacking emergency. Although I think next time I will sneakily add some bacon or chorizo while Brooke is preoccupied in the kitchen (Insert evil laugh).

If you have a craving for something sweet and savoury muffins are not going to cut it then check our recipes for blueberry and lemon cupcakes or chocolate cupcakes.

Spinach, Semi Sundried Tomatoes, Feta, Kalamata OlivesSavoury Muffins MixtureSavoury Muffins in TinSavoury Muffins in TinTasty Savoury Muffins

Savoury muffins – Recipe Instructions

4.7 from 3 reviews
Savoury Muffins
 
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Yummy savoury muffins with Kalamata olives, semi sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and feta and more.
Author:
Recipe type: Baked Goods
Cuisine: Australian
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups self-raising flour
  • ½ bunch spinach
  • 150g feta cheese
  • ½ cup semi-sundried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup Kalamata sliced olives
  • 2tbspn parmesan
  • 1⅓ cup milk
  • 50g melted butter
  • 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200c and brush a 12 muffin pan with canola oil.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add shredded spinach, crumbled feta cheese, chopped sundried tomatoes, olives, parmesan and stir to combine. Whisk together the melted butter, milk and egg until just combined and add to the dry ingredients. Mix together.
  3. Spoon mixture into prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm with some butter or avocado if you prefer. Yum!
Notes
You can easily change the filling to whatever you like – bacon, corn, asparagus, fresh tomato etc.

 

Creamy Chicken Linguine

On a relaxing weekend down south Brooke and I had some time to make ourselves a proper meal. After stopping in the small town of Kirrup, on our way to Bridgetown. We picked up some quality produce at a small grocer which sells all locally grown fruit and vegetables. With the ingredients we picked up, and a couple of other things we bought in town. We decided to make our own version of a classic creamy chicken linguine.

To enhance the flavours some more, Brooke roasted off the vine ripened tomatoes and capsicum. While the vegetables were in the oven, you need to also brown the chicken before adding to the pasta later as it seals in the juices and keeps the chicken moist. If we were making this dish during the week, we wouldn’t roast the veggies first. However, with the luxury of a little extra time we decided to oven roast the tomatoes and capsicum which definitely took the recipe to another level in terms of flavour.

Not only is this dish full of colour, there is something about a creamy pasta dish that is so comforting – it’s a perfect dish to have on a cold winters day. This creamy chicken linguine paired with a glass of Shiraz, was definitely a great way to finish off a relaxing day down south!

If you love your chicken like I do then try these recipes for chicken, bacon and leek pies or chicken pakora.

Fresh Ingredients for LinguineFresh baby Roma tomatoes and capsicumOven roasted baby Roma tomatoes and capsicumFresh SpinachCreamy Chicken Linguine in FrypanCreamy Chicken LinguineCreamy Chicken Pasta

Creamy chicken linguine – Recipe Instructions

5.0 from 2 reviews
Creamy Chicken Linguine
 
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Creamy Chicken Linguine made with fresh local ingredients including spinach, baby Roma tomatoes, capsicum and red onion.
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Capsicum
  • ½ Red onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large boneless/skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • Bunch of cherry tomatoes (approx 20 tomatoes)
  • Bunch of fresh spinach
  • 250 ml cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 200 grams linguini or pasta of choice, cooked al dente according to package directions
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Wash tomatoes,capsicum and spinach well.
  3. Cut the capsicum in half. Scatter the tomatoes and capsicum on a baking tray. Cook for approximately 15 minutes. Allow to cool before removing the skin off the capsicum and slice into long strips.
  4. Prepare the pasta according to package directions.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pan and sauté the onion until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  6. Add the chicken and cook until it has a nice brown colour and is no longer pink.
  7. Add the cream, milk and garlic to the chicken and onions.
  8. Once the cream/milk is simmering, add the fresh spinach, capsicum strips and some of the roasted tomatoes.
  9. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. Toss in the sauce to coat. Add the fresh basil leaves and toss to combine.
  10. Serve immediately, with the remaining tomatoes, some freshly ground black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.
Notes
The combination of cream and milk makes the pasta dish a little lighter, however this can be substituted with carnation milk also.