What do you do when your Kiwi friend is having a birthday? For the lovely Laura, we decided on a Melbourne-style barbeque by the Yarra, with a little hint of home added (some Monteith’s beer, of course).
You know you live in a pretty amazing place when you can gather with your friends by the river, look out over the city and hear the laughter and music of all nearby. All this while cooking your sausages. Unfortunately, we did forgot to take oil to cook them with. Rookie error. But alas, the friendly group of people nearby couldn’t resist Laura’s charm and we were back on track with some borrowed oil. The men cooked the meat (That seems to be their thing, right?) while the girls ate cheese. I know who got the better end of the deal.
Legend of the night award goes to the Yarra cruise boat that went past after a guy nearby had kicked his footy into the river. The captain steered the boat over, right next to the footy. A deckhand then successfully dangled their feet over the edge to pick it up. The cheers rang out all along the river when he then kicked it perfectly into the hands of it’s owner!
The sun was out and it was a perfect night, even with the seemingly never-ending colony of bats. We sat, ate, drank and laughed. We enjoyed the food even more because of the company we were sharing it with. And of course, there was cake. Because, no birthday is a birthday without cake.
Check out the recipes for our Beetroot dip, Crunchy Salad Topper and Mexican Pasta Salad below. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
- 4 beetroots (about 500g), washed and ends trimmed
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 1/2 cups plain or Greek yoghurt
- 1/4 cup olive oil (plus a drizzle to roast beetroot in)
- 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Coat the beetroot in a drizzle of olive oil and roast for about 45-60 minutes or until soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Using paper towel, rub the skin off the beetroot when cooled. Cut one or two of the beetroots (about a cup worth) into small cubes and set aside. Roughly chop the remaining beetroot.
Place the roughly chopped beetroot and garlic in a food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add the yoghurt, olive oil and lemon and blend until smooth. Stir the blended mixture into the set aside chopped beetroot. Season to taste.
I like to serve this topped with toasted cumin seeds and fresh, crusty bread on the side. Enjoy!
Crunchy Salad Topper
This salad topper will make any plain salad a winner! For our barbeque, I simply used mixed salad leaves, shredded carrot and beetroot and marinated goats cheese. For a cheat’s salad dressing that minimises waste, I dressed the salad with the oil marinade that the goats cheese was in. So easy!
- 1 cup puffed rice
- 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
- 1 tbs plain flour
- 3 tbs olive oil
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the olive oil and stir to coat. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so, or until golden brown.
Allow to cool before sprinkling on your salad. This recipe makes a generous amount for one large salad. Enjoy!
Mexican Pasta Salad
I absolutely love Mexican flavours, which is probably why I love this salad so much. The original recipe comes from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.
- 250g dry pasta (whichever you prefer; penne, spirals or bow ties work well)
- 2 cans corn, rinsed and well-drained
- 1 avocado
- Half bunch spring onion
- Coriander, to taste
- 4 pieces short-cut bacon, cut into small squares
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and well-drained
- 1/2 cup whole-egg mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet. Rinse and drain. Set aside.
Place a large fry pan on high heat until very hot. Add the corn in a single layer (you might need to do two batches) and cook for about 5 minutes or until nicely browned, only stirring once or twice. Be careful, some of the kernels may jump at you! Set aside. Using the same pan over high heat, cook the bacon until browned and crisp. Set aside with the corn.
Chop the avocado into small cubes, finely slice the spring onion, roughly chop the coriander and place all into a large bowl. Add the pasta, corn, bacon and black beans. Toss together.
To make the dressing, whisk the mayonnaise, lime juice, cumin and paprika. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix the dressing through the salad and serve with additional coriander leaves on top. Enjoy!