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Astar's quick and easy recipes - 10 February

Inexpensive economical meals in a flash!

Cleansing beetroot, carrot and celery salad

Serves: 4
Costs: under $10.00
Time to make: 5 minutes

Shopping list
2 large beetroot, grated
2 large carrots, grated
2 sticks celery including leafy tops, all finely sliced
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 orange peeled and cut into small pieces
Cup chopped cooked cold chicken
4 tbsp toasted pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, slivered almonds
1/2 cup each finely chopped fresh parsley and fresh thyme

For the dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
Heaped tsp grainy mustard
Zest of one orange
Salt and black pepper to taste - mix all together in a small jar and set aside.

- Into a large bowl add grated beetroot, carrots, celery, seeds, chicken and herbs. 
- Pour over dressing and toss gently.

Mini egg and ham pies

Great for school lunch boxes!

Serves: 6
Costs: approximately $2 each
Time to make: 20 minutes

Adapted from recipe found in the Healthy Food Guide magazine.

Shopping list
4 sheets ready rolled pastry
200 g sliced ham - finely sliced
4 fresh tomatoes - sliced
6 eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped thyme
Salt and pepper to season
1/2 to 1 tsp grainy mustard
Spray olive oil
Muffin pans (6) - lined with a small piece of baking paper

- Pre-set oven to 200degC
- Line muffin pans
- Cut pastry into rings big enough to line muffin moulds. Press into place.
- Equally distribute ham into bottom of pies.
- Spread a little mustard on top of tomatoes then place on top of ham along with the freshly chopped thyme.
- Break and drop an egg into each pie, season, and then spray with olive oil.
- Bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. 
- Sprinkle top when cooked with parsley. 
- Serve with a green salad.

Sweet berry crumble

This is my treat for the Engineer this coming Valentine's Day!

Serves: 8
Cost: $10
Time to make: 20 minutes

Shopping list
1 kg bag of frozen mixed berries, thawed or use fresh
You will need around 800g for the pie filling, and 200gm for the chocolate sauce topping
2 tbsp runny honey
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
150g butter cubed and a little for greasing pan
150g plain flour
100g sugar
Pinch salt
100g dark cooking chocolate or use the chocolate still hanging around from Christmas!

To accompany: A small pottle of creme fraiche and sprig of fresh mint.

- Preset oven to 200degC. 
- Grease large baking dish.

To make crumble
- Into a large bowl add flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. 
- Rub butter into above until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Place mixed berries into greased baking dish.
- Mix lemon juice and honey together then pour over fruit.
- Spread crumble evenly over top of fruit and bake 25 minutes until golden and bubbly.

To make sauce
- Into a pot add remaining berries, bring to boil and simmer until thick and reduced - like thick jam. 
- Stir in chocolate pieces - this thickens sauce, plus add a lovely gloss.
- Serve sauce over top of crumble along with crème fraiche and a little fresh mint leaf.