All you need to know about Cooking Dried Beans & Legumes

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Beans and legumes (lentils, chick peas, cannellini beans) are excellent sources of protein and fibre. Cooking dried beans can take some time, but soaking them first will dramatically reduce the cooking time. Soak them during the day leading up to an evening meal, or overnight to cook the next day. Lentils, split peas and mung beans do not need soaking prior to cooking, but any other pulse needs to be soaked. Soaking beans/legumes can ferment in hot weather, so if it is very warm, put the soaking beans in the fridge.

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Shortcrust Pastry

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This recipe makes enough for about 20 small tarts or 1 large tart. You may have some dough left over – if so, freeze it for later use.

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Ponzu

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Ponzu is an ingredient I can’t live without in the kitchen. It’s a Japanese light soy vinaigrette that is lovely by itself on steamed vegies and rice or used in a stock or dressing. There are some excellent commercial versions available or you can make your own. My favourite store-bought ponzu is the Spiral brand – I even pack a bottle in my suitcase when I travel!
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Napoli Sauce

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This is a basic recipe that lends itself to many variations (see below). You can make it lighter by adding more fresh tomatoes, or heavier and richer by adding more tomato paste and olive oil.

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Erriba Salad Dressing

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When I was growing up, we always had a big salad on the table for dinner, with this dressing, and it was always a fight to determine who got to drink the last remnants from the bottom of the salad bowl. My family calls the dressing ‘Erriba’ now after the place where my parents live in Tasmania’s highlands. I like to always have a big jar of it on hand to jazz up a salad or steamed greens. You can add other ingredients to change the flavour.
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