Archive for the ‘Dinners’ Category

Almond and pomegranate black quinoa salad

Here is something a bit different for Clever Muffin – it’s savoury and has two things never before featured: quinoa and pomegranate. Pomegranate is fun, quinoa is…

I have ‘issues’ with quinoa. When I first started this blog I had this conversation about 18 times with various people:

Well-meaning individual (WMI): Oh, you have a food blog, have you tried keeeenwaah yet?
Me: You mean quinoa?
WMI: Oh, it’s actually pronouced keeeenwwaaaah.
Me: You mean quinoa?
WMI: No, keeeenwaaaah…. It’s very healthy and *insert text here about how healthy and fab it is*. (more…)


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Home made tomato pasta sauce

You’ll have to excuse my over zealous title with this post but I wanted to be clear. This isn’t tomato sauce (aka ketchup) that you have on a sausage. This is pasta sauce, made with fresh tomatoes. Just like I said above.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get cracking.

Step 1: Buy a heap of fresh tomatoes, zucchinis (courgettes), garlic and basil. You are also going to need bottles, jars and preserve covers for the jars. All ingredients and quantities are listed at the end of this post. (more…)

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One pot moroccan chicken cous cous

This meal is made out of defiance, chicken, cumin, stubbornness and couscous. All in one pot!

It was my night to cook and I was resisting, because well, I wanted to make cookies. As I begrudgedly (is that even a word?) stood in the kitchen and eyed off my stove I declared ‘If I’m cooking I’m only using one pot!’

So there. That’ll teach the, er, cat. (more…)

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This soup is fun. Chicken soup is a wonderful, staple food. But whoever thought of mixing it up a bit, adding a whole lot of tomato, cumin, coriander and then topping it with tortilla chips is a genius.

There is something really cheeky about having a bowl full of vegies and chicken and then dipping tortillas in it. It’s like when you were little and used to dip the McDonalds fries in your ice cream. If you haven’t done that, I’m not an advocate of McDonalds, but you should go do it. Now.

I didn’t make this. I came home from work one day to find the apartment smelling fabulous – my boyfriend had been cooking. This is not unusual, he is a regular dinner maker in our house. But we both agreed this soup was especially good. So I got him to photograph it for me straight away so I could put it up.

Nowadays when I’m looking for recipes I do it via google images, or the search feature on TasteSpotting. That way it brings up results from fellow bloggers, who I know have tried and tested the recipe. And then you can be inspired by the pictures. I recommend it. This is how he found this soup, it came from Taste Food Blog. Thanks!

I’ve Australian-ified the recipe, so if you want to talk in ounces and cilantro, instead of grams and coriander try the original recipe. But I have tried to put common translations in brackets. The recipe has only been altered slightly from the original (more spices, and some vegies that were in season).

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium brown onion, chopped
1 cup celery, diced
1 red capsicum (pepper), diced
1 green capsicum (pepper), diced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small zucchini (courgette), cut in 1/4 inch dice
4 cups chicken stock
1 400 grams can Italian plum tomatoes, with juice
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 teaspoons ground cumin (I added more because I really like spice, original recipe has 2)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 chicken thighs – roasted them with a bit of salt, pepper and olive oil, then shredded
1 ear of corn, slice kernels off (about 1 cup)
1 cup cooked black beans (I used a tin of red kidney beans, as had it on hand)
1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cilantro (coriander) leaves
Tortilla chips, broken up, to serve.


  1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and celery and sauté until softened.
  3. Add the capsicums and continue to sauté for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in zucchini and sauté briefly, 1 minute,
  5. Add the chicken stock, tin of tomatoes with juice, tomato paste and spices.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in corn, beans and chicken and simmer until heated through. Cook for as long as you like on a low heat, we had the luxury of a couple of hours which really let the flavours come out.
  7. Add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning.
  8. Garnish with coriander and tortilla chips.

Cooks’ notes: Next time I make this dish I’ll make it with chicken thigh, as the chicken breast was a little dry.

Healthy? It’s 457 calories before you start adding tortilla chips. At which point it’s up to you how unhealthy it becomes. If, like me, you cover your soup in them, and then continue to add more as you eat, it becomes about 580 calories.

Gluten free? If you have gluten free tortilla chips, and gluten free stock, then you’re good to go.

Storage: Freezes well. We had this over two nights and it kept fine until the next day. As it’s chicken, I wouldn’t be tempting fate by keeping it longer then one day in the fridge, and re-heat well.

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This type of salad is perfect for warm summer evenings. The crispness of the vegetables, saltiness in the prawns and sweet and sour flavours of the sauce makes this a party in a bowl.

I live in a lovely big old converted 1930’s mansion in London. We have the only one-bedroom place in the block and I love it.

The best part is the giant backyard which is kept in amazingly good condition. There’s even a little well up the back and family of foxes.

On warm nights all the various residents tend to come out from our separate little boxes armed with wine and sit around wooden tables together. 

More than anything, I will miss this yard when I leave London in a few weeks. This is not something many Londoners could say.


The night I made this salad the sun had already started setting and my camera wouldn’t do the dish justice. I gave up and went in to the garden to eat it. Hearing of my troubles, my neighbour, who is a smashingly good photographer, grabbed his much better camera and took the two shots at the top of this post. (Not the little ones of veggies below, they’re my handy work!).

A big thank you to Paddy. You’re a good egg. Even if you do like a sing-a-long at 4am. You can see his photography here.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2

A dash of peanut of sesame oil
20 grams of rice vermicelli noodles (it’s a token amount)
1 small carrot, peeled in to long strips
1/3 medium zucchini (courgette), julietted
100 grams green beans
1/3 red capsicum (pepper)
1/3 yellow capsicum (pepper)
4 large closed cap mushrooms
½ savoy cabbage
225 grams cooked prawns
A handful of coriander (cilantro)
1 cup bean shoots

Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 small chilli, finely chopped (or a teaspoon of chilli flakes)
1 tablespoon chopped spring onion
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoon of cornflour, to thicken.


  1. Place your vermicelli noodles in a bowl of hot water and allow to sit while you prepare the rest.
  2. Cut up all your vegetables into thin sticks. Cut your cabbage in to quarters and chop very finely. For the carrot, hold it at the end and make long strips with a peeler. Place in large bowl ready to tip in your wok later.
  3. Pick a good handful of coriander leaves and chop roughly, set aside.
  4. Combine all ingredients for sauce in a mug, set aside.
  5. Drain your noodles. Make your wok good and hot with a dash of peanut or sesame oil. Fry the prawns quickly if raw, about 1 – 2 minutes. As soon as they’re orange, they’re cooked. If precooked heat through for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add vermicelli noodles. Fry for another 30 seconds. Throw in the rest of your vegetables with a tablespoon of water (to steam them a little while frying) toss for 3-4 minutes, stir sauce through then place straight in bowls.
  7. Top with bean shoots and coriander. 

Do: Add any veggies you fancy. Empty your veggie draw and make up your own customised salad. And if prawns are expensive, swap them out for chicken.

Healthy? 227 calories a serve. Lovely.

Gluten free? Check your sauce bottles (especially soy sauce), but otherwise you’re good.

Storage: Noooo…. Eat right there and then. You could take it for lunch the next day, bit it’d be a bit soggy.

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