fbpx

There’s just something about spring that makes us inspired to cook. Maybe it’s the fresh seasonal produce, the warmer weather (and thus the need for warm-weather-approved dishes) or the longer days making us feel like we have time to have fun in the kitchen?

Whatever the reason, it feels like our inner chef has awoken from a long hibernation – and we’re ready to let them take over.

Of course, we’re not planning on cooking anything too crazy. And we’ll still certainly be relying on our handy kitchen gadgets to make the process much easier (more on that in a moment).

We just mean that this spring will involve plenty of time spent flicking through recipe books, strolling around farmers markets (here are the ones we’re looking forward to) and getting creative in the kitchen.

One easy hack for getting more creative in the kitchen: investing in the right gadgets. Everyone has a different ‘holy grail’ gadget or appliance that they insist you won’t be able to live without. But the truth is, your ‘holy grail’ will totally depend on what you cook, how you cook it, and how often you cook it.

For example, this spring and summer, Anastasia (from our editorial team) plans on cooking lots of fresh, light dishes.

“I see a lot of tomato-based pastas, Mediterranean spreads and zesty Asian fusion dishes in my future,” Anastasia says. “I know my Omnicooker will be getting a workout in the next few months!”

The GreenPan Omnicooker is the perfect space-saving appliance for those who cook a little bit of everything. It has eight different settings – as well as a warming function – that allow you to do anything from sear a steak to simmer a rich stew.

“So far I’ve used it to make a spicy potato curry, and it made the process a breeze,” adds Anastasia. “I didn’t need to stand over the stove the whole time – I could do everything from frying the onions to simmering the potatoes in the sauce without having to check on it, or even stir anything.

“When the curry was finished (it was delicious, in case you were wondering) I just rinsed out the inner bowl and used it to cook the rice. Again, it was super easy – and that’s coming from someone who always buys microwaveable rice packets (I know, I know…).”

And after everything was cooked and ready to eat, Anastasia just popped the inner bowl and the lid into the dishwasher. It really couldn’t be easier.

Feeling inspired? The folks at GreenPan have been kind enough to share some spring-approved recipes with us – and we can’t wait to pass them on to you.

Toasted Bulgur Tabbouleh

Servings: 4 to 6 | Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 1 hr 15 mins 

Ingredients
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 95 g fine to medium grind bulgur wheat
  • 240 ml water
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 70 g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 40 g mint, finely chopped
  • 180 g halved cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Persian cucumbers (or one English cucumber), quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4 slices
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Method
  1. Select the Grains mode on the omnicooker and set the timer for 1 hour 15 minutes. 
  2. Pour 1 tbsp. of the olive oil into the pan and add the bulgur wheat, stirring to combine. Continue stirring for 10 minutes, or until the bulgur wheat has a lightly toasted aroma. 
  3. Add the water and salt to the pan, stir to combine, and level the bulgur wheat in the pan as best as possible.
  4. Cover and cook the bulgur wheat for the remainder of the time.
  5. Once cooked, lightly stir and fluff the bulgur wheat to separate the grains. If there is any left-over water in the pan, strain the bulgur wheat before transferring it to a large mixing bowl.
  6. To the bulgur wheat, add in the herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon zest, lemon juice and black pepper. 
  7. Before serving, stir in the last 3 tbsp. of olive oil until everything is evenly combined.

Pasta dish with broccoli rice and scampi

Servings: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 1 hr 15 mins 

Ingredients
  • 200 g scampi (peeled and deveined)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 750 ml water
  • 200 g wholewheat macaroni
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 100 g mature cheese (a block or grated)
  • 1 tub herb cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper Pasta dish with broccoli rice and scampi 
Method
  1. Set the omnicooker to the Stir-Fry setting. When you hear the signal, add the peanut oil and fry the scampi very briefly. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the scampi from the pot and set aside. 
  2. Set the omnicooker to 150°C. Add the water and a pinch of salt and wait for the water to boil. Then add the pasta and mix everything together. Set the timer to 12 minutes and stir every now and then. You should not drain the macaroni. If the macaroni are not cooked through, continue to cook them gently at 100°C.
  3. Meanwhile, chop the broccoli into rice flakes with a food processor/chopper. Finely grate the cheese.
  4. When the pasta is cooked, mix in the broccoli rice and let it cook along with the pasta. Spread the grated cheese and the tub of herb cheese over the mixture and add the scampi. Heat up for a few more minutes.
  5. Finish off with freshly ground pepper.

Shakshuka

Servings: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 55 mins

Ingredients
  • Olive oil 
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 pointed peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 400 ml chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 150 g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 eggs
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Pita breads 
Method
  1. Set the temperature of the omnicooker to 120°C and the timer to 10 minutes. Press Start. 
  2. The omnicooker is now preheating. Add some oil after the signal. Add the finely chopped onion, garlic and pointed peppers and Saute briefly. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. After about 5 minutes, add the ground cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, choose the Simmer setting and set the timer to 30 minutes. Let the tomatoes reduce slightly so that you get a thick tomato sauce.
  5. Stir in the chickpeas and cook for 2 minutes. 
  6. Stir in the crumbled feta and set the timer to 15 minutes. 
  7. Make dimples in the sauce and break an egg into them. Let the eggs poach in the tomato sauce, about 10 more minutes, until the egg white has solidified and the yolk is still runny.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped flat-leaf parsley and serve with warm pita bread.
haven

haven  

haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.