Summer is really here in Sydney. With a nearly sweltering 34.5 degrees, there is only one thing on my mind for lunch. Gazpacho. If I make it in time, then it can sit in the fridge and get really cold. Only it was about 1pm by the time I got up to make lunch and there was no waiting as my stomach went “growl”…
Spring is here…sort of. It was at least on the weekend, 32 degrees and blue sky, then yesterday I had to get the doona’s out again as it was about 12! There’s something about spring that just makes me feel like clean eating, new habits, reinventing and trying harder (at what I don’t know!).
So, I took a bad instagram picture last week of these veggie wraps I made and people seemed to like them, so I thought I’d knock up the recipe properly and get out the good camera to take some real photos. This is the result. As you can see the sun was shining. And I ran out of zucchini and had to use cucumber, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Even though I squeezed all the juice out, it was still a bit damp. Trust me the zucchini is much better.
Wraps are awesome for lunch. And who says they have to be wheat based?
Take a journey with me and take either some damp rice sheets, nori sheets (for sushi) or collards (think giant spinach or kale).
Next slice some organic carrot into matchsticks, (yes organic – carrots have lots of crap when they aren’t organic), some cucumber and avocado, now what else do you have on hand – some capsicum, rocket/arugula, mint or parsley?
Then get a sauce, sweet chilli (homemade of course, sans sugar!) or hummus or tahini based, perhaps some walnuts or cashews then wrap.
You may wonder what is so sizzling about some rice paper rolls, raw veg and left over free range chicken? It’s my secret spicy volcano sweet chilli sauce. You see in that little bowl there are some chillies trying to escape, they are trying to escape the heat…
Let me explain. A few months ago some friends had far too many chillies from their chilli plant so I took them off their hands and made sweet chilli sauce. The recipes all looked very simple, apart from having more sugar than a Nigella Lawson Chocolate Cake.
So I set about experimenting with some rice syrup in lieu of sugar and voilà, volcano sweet chilli sauce was born. Anyway, as you might guess from the title of the sweet chilli sauce, I’m still playing with the ratio. As it stands there is too much heat in the sauce (hence the nickname ‘volcano’), but as soon as I iron that out I will post the recipe for sugar free sweet chilli sauce!
Anyway this recipe is fab for summer, and even fabber for little kids. My little man will pick his vegetables and arrange them neatly on his rice paper roll after he’s swirled it around in the water. He’ll usually eat more than usual as it involves water play. Anything with water and he’s hooked. Why doesn’t someone come up with an underwater kids restaurant – winner!
Can I really call this a cost cutting salad? My reason for doing is the salmon. I’m still working my way through the 24 cans of Wild Alaskan salmon we got at the cash’n’carry. Heavily discounted I might add, saving ourselves $3 a can from our local supermarket, that’s a total of $72! So yes, this will be a cost cutting salad. And it’s coming up to the end of the financial year in Australia so I’m starting to thinking about getting all of our paperwork ready for the accountant.
Anyway, onto the food. Did I happen to mention I am in love with beetroot? No, well I am. Baked beetroot is like a guilty pleasure, only – that’s right – there’s no guilt.
Fresh beets are great as they really don’t need much from you. Just wrap them in some foil and pop in a moderate oven for about an hour. Take them out to cool down for a few minutes then peel or slice the skin off. So all you need to remember is to put the oven on an hour before you want to eat (this is really the hardest part for me!).
Just a little note about fresh beets. When you get them from the market, pop the little darlings straight into the crisper in the fridge. I made the mistake of storing them with the potatoes in the larder only discover they went awfully soft awfully quickly.