Party food made easy – chicken and feta sausage rolls

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What’s a party without a sausage roll?
Boring.
I know it’s easy just to go and grab a box from the frozen section at the supermarket. But do you know what’s inside? Inferior meat encased in anaemic-looking puff pastry. At least that’s what they look like to me. I never had much luck making them look golden. It must be the years of deep-freezing. There’s no taste to them other than saltiness. So…..

Put that apron on and let’s get baking.

You maybe wouldn’t dream of putting feta in a sausage roll, but it makes these taste so mellow …and because chicken mince is pretty flavorless, this will give it a little zing.
By all means, leave it out if you don’t like cheese.

Makes up to 24 mini-rolls (depends what size you want them)

INGREDIENTS

500 g chicken mince
30 g feta, crumbled
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
1 egg lightly whisked
1 small onion, diced finely
handful finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce (tomato or barbecue will also do)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3 sheets of ready-made puff pastry
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Little milk for brushing rolls

Optional for decoration
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds

METHOD

Preheat oven to 200°C
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine.

Place a 2″ high roll of mixture along one edge of a pastry sheet, close to the edge. Roll tightly until edge of pastry is on the underside. If you wish to, you can brush the edge with a little milk to make it stick better.

Carefully cut your roll into mini-rolls – whatever size you like.
Repeat for each pastry sheet.

You can freeze the rolls at this stage.
Place rolls on a baking paper-covered plate and put in the freezer. Freeze for 2-3 hrs.
When they’re thoroughly frozen you can transfer them into a container or a zip-lock bag.

If you’re baking your rolls now, place them on a baking paper-covered baking sheet and space them evenly – without them touching each other.

Brush the tops lightly with some milk and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Serve hot with tomato sauce or sweet chilli sauce.

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Zucchini pesto pasta

This recipe is based on my favourite dish from raw-food restaurant 118 Degrees in Costa Mesa, California. 

At 118 Degrees they use raw zucchini finely julienned instead of pasta, mixed with freshly made basil pesto. 

This is a great recipe for vegetarians and people with gluten intolerance.
 
This fresh and zesty dish can be eaten on its own or, as I like it, with some grilled chicken breast or a nice piece of steak.
You can tell I’m no vegetarian 🙂
 
You can make your own pesto very easily, especially if your garden is overflowing with basil like mine was last summer. Or you can just use some store-bought basil pesto. 
 
 
INGREDIENTS:
Pesto 
2 cups fresh basil
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium-size garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup shelled pistachios, walnuts or pine nuts
 
Pasta
4 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
1 lemon
1 Roma tomato, diced
5 button mushrooms, diced

METHOD
1. In a high-powered blender combine basil, oil, garlic and salt. Blend (starting on low power and increasing speed slowly to high); blend on high speed until smooth. Add nuts and blend on high until well combined and smooth. Pesto can be refrigerated, well sealed, up to 14 days.
2. Cut zucchini into long slender strips; the easiest way to do this is to use a mandoline fitted with the julienne blade. If cutting by hand, use a sharp knife to cut zucchini lengthwise into long strips, 1/8 inch by 1/8 inch.
3. In a medium-size bowl, vigorously toss zucchini with 1 cup pesto sauce until well coated. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze juice into mixture. Toss, then taste, adding more juice as desired. Add tomato and mushrooms and toss.

Spiced cous-cous

It has been really cold today and I decided to make some braised lamb shanks for dinner.
A hearty meal to warm us up from the inside.

And there is no better accompaniment than a nice fluffy yellow bowl of spiced cous-cous
served with a dollop of greek yoghurt and coarsely chopped fresh mint or coriander.

Spiced cous-cous

2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock
2 Tbs olive oil
50 g butter
1 small brown onion or shallot, chopped finely
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 cups cous-cous
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sultanas ( I prefer dried black currants – smaller and less sweet)

1/2 cup dry roasted pine nuts

Greek yoghurt and chopped mint to serve
lemon or orange juice to taste, optional

Bring stock to boil in medium saucepan, cover and remove from heat. Set aside.

Heat oil and butter in a small saucepan.
Add onion and cook until softened.
Add garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds.
Add all spices, cook stirring for 1 minute or until spices are fragrant.

Add the hot stock.

Place cous-cous and currants in a heatproof bowl.
Pour spicy stock mixture over cous-cous.
Gently stir and cover with plastic wrap and allow to stand 5-10 minutes.

Use a fork to fluff up the cous-cous.

Dollop yoghurt on top, sprinkle with pine nuts and mint.

BON APETIT