Monday, September 1, 2008

Pumpkin Scones

Butternut pumpkin (squash) adds color and moistness to this easy but classic country recipe. Recipe makes 12.


1 cup cooked Butternut pumpkin (squash), cooled and drained
2 cups self-rising (raising) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ounce (30 g) butter, chilled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Milk or 1 egg yolk beaten with 4 teaspoons milk, to glaze
Butter, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (250 degrees C). Grease a 8 or 9 inch (20 or 23 cm) sandwich cake tin with melted butter.
2. Mash the pumpkin in a bowl with a fork and drain off any excess liquid.
3. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub in lightly with fingertips until fine breadcrumbs form. Stir in the sugar with a round-bladed knife. Add the pumpkin and egg and mix to form a dough.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead very lightly until smooth. Pat out or roll out to 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Cut into at least 12 rounds with a 2 inch (5 cm) scone cutter. Place in the prepared tin, 9 around the edge, 3 in the middle. Brush with milk or egg yolk and milk.
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and cooked. Stand tin on a rack to cool for a few minutes, then turn scones out and cover with a tea towel for about 5 minutes, before serving warm and buttered.

Tip: It is important to have a light, quick movement to make scones. Knead the dough very lightly to compress it and make it smooth enough to pat or roll out. Dip the cutter in flour if the dough sticks.

Pasta Salad with Artichoke Hearts, Cheese and Peppers

A good pasta salad is hard to beat when you want a light, tasty and nutritious meal. Recipe serves 4.


8 ounces (250 g) medium-sized pasta shells or elbow macaroni
1 jar (5 1/2 ounces/170 g) artichoke hearts in marinade
1/3 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried marjoram, chopped
Tabasco or chili sauce, to taste
7 ounces (220 g) roasted red peppers (capsicum), sliced into thin strips
3 spring onions, including tops, sliced
8 ounces (250 g) mozzarella cheese cut into 3/4 inch (1.5 cm) cubes


1. Start cooking the pasta according to the packet directions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the artichoke marinade, the apple juice, vinegar, marjoram and Tabasco sauce until well blended.
2. Drain the artichoke hearts, discarding the marinade, and put them in a large bowl with the capsicum and spring onions.
3. When the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse it under cold running water, drain again and add it to the vegetable mixture. Pour half the dressing over the salad and refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 days. Just before serving, stir in the remaining dressing and the cheese. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Mixed Vegetables with Tofu

This colorful, fiery-flavored mixed vegetable and tofu stir-fry is perfect for vegetarians. Recipe serves 4.


8 ounces (250 g) firm tofu
3 cloves garlic
5 spring onions
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/3 cup soy sauce
8 ounces (250 g) broccoli
1 large red pepper (capsicum)
1 large yellow pepper (capsicum)
1 medium fresh green chili
3 tablespoons sunflower or corn oil
Salt to taste
Freshly milled pepper


1. Drain tofu if necessary and cut into 3/4 inch (1 1/2 cm) pieces. Put on to plate and crush garlic directly over top.
2. Trim spring onions and slice thinly. Sprinkle over tofu with stock and soy sauce. Cover and leave to marinate for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Divide broccoli into small florets. Cut stalks into thin slices. Halve peppers. Remove inner white membranes and seeds. Cut flesh into thin strips. Repeat with chili, wearing rubber gloves to prevent skin burns.
4. Heat oil in wok until hot, but not smoking. Stir in chili. Lift tofu out of marinade with draining spoon and add to wok. Reserve marinade. Fry tofu briskly until pieces start to turn brown, gently turning. Remove tofu and chili to bowl.
5. Add pepper strips to remaining oil in wok with broccoli florets and chopped stalks. Stir-fry for 3 minutes. Spoon reserved marinade and spring onions into wok. Bring to boil, stirring, and cook gently for further 3 minutes. Return tofu to wok. Season lightly with salt and pepper and heat thoroughly for 2 minutes.
6. Serve with rice or pasta.