Marinated mushroom, fennel and grilled potato salad

​I like to serve this salad as an accompaniment to fish, especially a stronger-flavoured fish like salmon. There's something about the combination of earthy mushrooms and slightly salty potato that just seems like a good match for fish to me. Add the fennel and you've got a nice seasonal salad for Autumn.

Pumpkin quinoa porridge

Being a porridge, this is a lovely warm and sweet breakfast or brunch dish, but I did have it for dinner the other night when I was feeling in need of something cosy. I'd had a nap in the afternoon and woke up feeling more groggy than refreshed and thinking that if I was going to cook dinner it had better be particularly comforting and not too involved. So, I made this pumpkin quinoa porridge, and it has rapidly become a regular at my table.

Carrot tart

​I am undecided whether this is a sweet or savoury dish. Being an optimist, I like to convince myself it's savoury and have it for lunch paired with a leafy green salad. It's also nice for afternoon tea or as part of a spread.

Broccoli salad

I made mayonnaise on the weekend to serve with a baked snapper, and had some left over. Pondering what to do with it, I remembered this unusual broccoli salad, which is an interesting mix of a creamy dressing, sweet cranberries and of course nice healthy broccoli. If you have someone who doesn't like their greens, perhaps give this one a try.

Imam bayildi

This is my take on the Turkish stuffed eggplant dish, which I've modified from Stephanie Alexander's recipe in The Cook's Companion.​ If you're after some procrastination, Wikipedia suggests a number of fanciful tales about how the dish got the name 'imam bayildi', which apparently translates as something about a priest fainting.

Grilled swordfish with hoisin glaze and green curry coconut sauce

The weekend is just around the corner, and on weekends I usually cook fish. ​I like to cook fish the same day I buy it, and I can get beautiful fresh fish from the markets on Saturdays. This swordfish, paired with coconut rice and steamed bok choy, is last weekend's creation. Swordfish has a firmer, more dense consistency than most other fish, which isn't overwhelmed by the strong flavours of the glaze and sauce here. I've also made this with salmon which was very successful too (cooking time just needs to be increased a tad).

Sweet potato mash

Sweet potato mash provides a more flavourful alternative to the traditional 'white' mashed potato, without the need for copious quantities of butter. This version is quite rich and creamy, with the added warmth of the nutmeg, so would complement something nice and fresh, or a bit zesty. It also makes for some great comfort food.

Braised leeks

​I only used to use leeks in vegetable stock or occasionally pasta sauce. That was until I noticed my partner got excited whenever I bought leeks or added them to dinner. I have since been experimenting with other ways of cooking leeks, where they can be enjoyed in their own right. Braising leeks in vegetable stock is really straight-forward and makes for a tasty and healthy side.

Roast pumpkin, halloumi and mint-scented quinoa pilaf

This is one of those dishes that you look at and ask "umm, really?" but yes, this really does work. The sweetness of the pumpkin and dates and the saltiness of the halloumi and pistachios complement each other perfectly, and the result is simply delectable. While I would like to be able to claim credit for the idea of cooking quinoa in peppermint tea, it actually came from a cous cous recipe in Tea Cookbook by Tonia George.

Buckwheat and chickpea tabouli

Despite my best intentions, as usual I ate too much chocolate in too short a time over Easter. As a result, part of me is craving more chocolate and other junk, a craving I'm trying very hard to ignore. At the same time, when I've had too much sugar part of me also craves really fresh and ultra-healthy food, so I made up a big bowl of this buckwheat and chickpea tabouli for dinner last night. This isn't just a salad for post-Easter detoxes though, it's tasty, nutritious and refreshing and makes a great lunch or light dinner any time.

Name this dish!

Figs are in season and abundant at the Farmers' Market; as I adore fresh figs I find this very exciting. Having bought two bags of figs at the markets last weekend, I recalled fondly some very tasty fig and brie mini pizzas I made for a dinner party a few years ago. I wanted a healthier option to the pizza base though, so paired the toppings with some linseed meal crackers. The only thing is, I need your help to name them. The best I can come up with is 'Toasted fig, brie, balsamic caramelised onion and walnut linseed slices' which, while descriptive, is a little long. So, have a go at making these and suggest a new name in the comments section.

Chickpea tagine with Moroccan quinoa pilaf

This dish was inspired by a fish tagine I tried a few months ago. I was really taken by the combination of flavours: it's quite sweet from the dried fruit, heavy with spices and brightened by the lemon. I didn't think the 'fishiness' worked in it though, so I turned it into a chickpea tagine with much better results. It is paired here with a simple Moroccan quinoa pilaf.

Grilled vegetable stacks

​"What's for dinner?"

"Umm, what's in the fridge?"​

"A selection of random veges, maybe a couple of eggs."​

​Sound familiar? In our household this scenario often results in grilled vegetable stacks for dinner. The recipe below is for the version I made last night but you can really play around with the ingredients depending on your tastes and what's on hand.

Banana, almond and coconut pancakes

​I'm not often one for luxurious brunches, partly because I usually wake up starving and want to eat breakfast straight away, and partly because of my weekend morning routine: Saturday mornings it's off to the Farmers' Market, and I do a Sunday morning gym class. Over Easter, however, the Farmers' Market aren't on and my gym's not running its usual classes, which has made way for lazy mornings over these somewhat indulgent pancakes.

Grape, hazelnut and quinoa salad

Quinoa was one of my best discoveries following my coeliac diagnosis. If I could start eating gluten tomorrow, quinoa would remain one of my staples. I really like the texture, plus quinoa is a great source of nutrients, especially protein. Quinoa is unusual for being a vegetarian complete protein, in fact it's so nutritious the Incas revered quinoa as sacred and used it to sustain their armies.

Caponata

This is my take on the caponata recipe in Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion. The combination of  acidity from the vinegar, sweetness from the sugar and the depth of the cocoa results in a really interesting flavour, which some people like more than others. My partner loves it. I think it's exciting that I get to use cocoa in a savoury dish!

Breakfast smoothie

I am very much a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast. Breakfast for me takes one of two forms, almost every day of the year. These smoothies are my warm-weather breakfast. (You'll find out what my cold-weather breakfast is when the Canberra weather decides to turn chilly for the year). Don't let the apparent monotony fool you, breakfast is one of my favourite meals of the day as it's so very yummy!