In January, when the mercury rises into the 40s you know it must be time for the Australian Open! As Federer elegantly sweats his way to the finals I am not so elegantly sweating over preparing a meal. Regardless of how high you crank the air con, the kitchen will always feel like a sauna as soon as you start cooking and unfortunately, I find that little humans get really bored of summer salads and request dishes that require the oven being turned on - and kid, that ain't gonna happen!
Initially, I was going to make pumpkin gnocchi but the thought of flour all over the bench just exhausted me so I got to chopping and created a plate of yummy delights that everyone would be happy with!

Now, one of the great things about the friendly pumpkin is that it hardly takes any time to cook and a roasted version can be easily recreated in a skillet or fry pan within 15 mins tops. The entire dish pretty much took half an hour to make from start to finish.


Note: I will add a list of alternatives at the bottom of the recipe in the coming weeks in case you want to substitute with what you have on hand in the pantry. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad-

1 cup of quinoa (I used tricolour, but any will do)
2 cups of water
1/2 medium-sized cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 handful of Parsley, chopped
Splash White Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Rinse quinoa under cold water
In a medium-sized saucepan pop the grains and the water and bring to the boil
Cover and turn heat down to a gentle simmer for approximately 15 mins
Quinoa is cooked when all the water has been absorbed
Turn off the heat and leave covered for 5 mins.
Place in a large bowl to cool while you get on with the chopping of vegetables
Gently fold in the rest of the ingredients and season to taste.

Pan Fried Pumpkin Miso-

1/4 pumpkin, diced (about 1inch cubes)
50 grams of Nuttelex (or other vegan butter)
1 rounded tableShiro of Shiro miso paste (white miso)

In a large frying pan or skillet melt the butter.
Take off heat and pour into a mixing bowl along with the miso paste and stir to combine (if you have a few small lumps don't stress)
Add the diced pumpkin and stir till the pumpkin is covered in the paste.
Place the frying pan back on medium to high heat and gently add the pumpkin
Cook until the pumpkin is golden, crispy and soft in the middle on all sides.

Pear and Sultanas-

1 large/2 small green pears that are just ripe (so a bit hard for some crunch factor)
1/3 cup sultanas
1 cup of boiling water

Pour boiling water over the sultanas and set aside
Thinly slice the pear
Drain the sultanas and add to the pear

Sesame and Oregano Flatbread-

1 medium-sized homemade pizza base or Lebanese bread
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon Sesame Seeds
1 teaspoon Dried oregano

There are a few ways to do this without having to pop the oven on!
We have a benchtop pizza oven that is perfect to use on a hot day as it holds its heat inside.
Other alternatives would be a sandwich press or a basic toaster.

Pizza oven method-
Brush the base with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs and seeds
Place in the preheated pizza oven for approximately 2-3 minutes until warm and lightly golden on the edges.

Sandwich Press method-
Brush the base with olive oil and place in the press.
Cook until warmed through
Sprinkle with herbs and seeds

Toaster method-
Slice the base into wedges that will fit into your toaster
Toast until the bread is warmed through
Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs and seeds

To plate up-

Using a large platter or breadboard carefully arrange each dish on the plate leaving a small space in the middle for a bowl of yogurt, hummus, tzatziki etc.
These dishes are best served at room temperature.