Roast Sweet Potato, Cranberry, Rice & Quinoa Salad

This salad is jam-packed full of flavour! It has definitely become my go-to in terms of a quick and easy work lunch lately. I’ve seriously probably made this over 5 or 6 times in the last month. It is incredibly light, full of flavour and very filling! There is just something about the mix of the roasted kumara, and the crunch of the quinoa. The dried cranberries add a little hint of sweetness too, without being too overpowering.

The first time I made this salad, I’m pretty sure I devoured a substantial portion in one sitting. The original recipe has quite a bit of watercress in it but feel free to omit like I did. It is very simple to make and can be served as a main dish or side dish. It is good warm and straight from the fridge – bonus!

Roast Sweet Potato, Cranberry, Rice & Quinoa Salad

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds..
  • 800g sweet potato, peeled, diced into 2cm-ish cubes
  • 2 x 250g pouches SunRice Steamed Rice & Quinoa
  • 55g sweetened dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Put nuts on baking tray and roast for about 10 minutes – keep a close eye on these as they burn easily! Set aside.

Put sweet potato and 2 tablespoons of water in a large microwave dish. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes, or until tender. Drain well, then set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, microwave each SunRice packet for approximately 90 seconds each. Transfer to a both, and separate grains with a fork. Add sweet potato, cranberries, nuts, and the chives.

Whisk together orange juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Add liquid to the salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

The salad will last in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days (I think). Mine didn’t quite last that long! Yours probably won’t either…

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Pumpkin, Spinach & Feta Muffins

These muffins are fantastic!

One, they are pretty versatile and two, they are often the result of the great-big-fridge-clear-out. And to honest, they also make for a damn good, healthy lunch.

Okay, so my latest addiction, the Ministry of Food Cheese Scone gives these muffins a more than decent run for their money in terms of lunch material. But give this recipe a go anyway, you will not be disappointed!

Pumpkin, Spinach & Feta Muffins
Makes 12

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50g butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsps sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 packet feta cheese, cubed
  • 2 cups pumpkin, cubed and roasted
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cups spinach

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. It is best to prepare your choice of vegetables before you start, like roasting the pumpkin cubes and chopping the onion and mushrooms – set aside in a bowl.

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and feta. Add vegetables to dry ingredients. Melt butter and combine with milk, egg and sweet chilli sauce. Add to dry ingredients. Mix to combine, but remember to not over mix. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tray.

Bake at 180 degrees for at least 15 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

Old-Fashioned Sausage Rolls

Sausage rolls – they’re usually a little touch n’ go, aren’t they.

It is fairly rare that I’d go to a cafe to eat a sausage roll these days, but while I’m here I might as well give a little shout out to one of the quaintest little cafes in the Hawkes Bay. That cafe is The Paper Mulberry and you should definitely go there if you are passing through and in need of a cuppa. These guys make great sausage rolls, and fabulous coffee! Either way, you’ll find it well worth slowing down and pulling in.

But if you’re not up that way, check out this recipe.  Although this is only my second ever homemade sausage roll experience, they taste pretty good! Much better than the very first time I attempted a sausage roll which were the days of Home Economics at intermediate school, I was 11. This recipe is based on one I found in The Healthy Food Guide magazine and includes a vegetable or two so probably a bit healthier than your average sausage roll!

They make a great snack, lunch or party food and you can decide how big or small you want them to be. I do have one tip though: make sure you have heaps of tomato sauce or nice chutney to go with them. They really are quite delicious straight out of the oven! Next time though, I think I will experiment with the flavours a bit more. I just discovered a recipe that uses caramelised onions and blue cheese! Amen to that, so watch this space!

Old-Fashioned Sausage Rolls

  • 3 sheets ready-rolled reduced-fat puff pastry
  • 500 grams trim pork mince
  • 2 slices wholemeal bread, made into crumbs
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium kumara, grated
  • 2 courgette, grated
  • 1 tbsp bran
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce, be generous
  • water, to seal pastry
  • 1/4 cup trim milk, for glazing

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. In a bowl, combine the fresh breadcrumbs, herbs, salt, bran flakes, onion, meat, grated kumara, grated courgettes and the sauces. If you have a processor, chop the onion, add the slices of bread and pulse to crumbs, then add all the rest of the ingredients and mix in the processor.

Lay out the pastry on a floured bench. Scoop out the meat mixture and place a ‘sausage’ of mixture along the middle of each strip. Brush one edge of the strip with water, roll the pastry over and seal it together to form a long roll.

Cut into approximately eight sausage rolls depending on how big you’d like them. Place the rolls seam side down on a greased tray. Slash the top of each sausage roll once or twice with a serrated knife to allow steam to escape, then brush each one lightly with milk. You could then sprinkle with a few sesame seeds or poppy seeds or perhaps, sprinkle with a small amount of grated cheese. Clearly I forgot this step! 😦

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until dark golden. Serve with tomato sauce or a nice chutney for dipping.