Feta, mint, lentil and pistachio omelettes
Lentils and eggs are the suggested power-breakfast of many slow-carb regimes. Here's a way to turn what can be a motley mess on a plate – the sort of thing that a college boy will shovel in his mouth before hitting a weights room that smells of Tuesday's socks – into a meal you can be proud of.
5 tbsp olive oil
1 x 400g tin of brown lentils, rinsed and drained
2 large handfuls of baby spinach
1 tsp sea salt
50g Persian (marinated) feta, crumbled
4 tbsp fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
2 tbsp pistachios, toasted
freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges and chilli sauce
Place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the lentils, spinach and salt. Stir to warm the ingredients through and wilt the spinach. Season with pepper and transfer the contents of the pan to a plate. Crumble the Persian feta over the top of the lentils and set aside while you make your omelettes.
Whisk the eggs together in a bowl. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the frying pan and add half of the egg mixture, swirling the pan to coat the base. Cook for 2 minutes or until the top of the omelette is almost set and base is golden.
Spoon half of the lentil mixture over the half of the omelette that's furthest away from you. Use firm shakes of the pan to jerk the nearest edge of the omelette up the lip of the pan.
Use a spatula to fold the nearest half over the filling to enclose it. Slide the omelette onto a plate and scatter with half of the mint leaves and pistachios. Serve with a wedge of lemon and some chilli sauce. Repeat with the remaining oil, eggs and lentil mixture to make a second omelette and garnish with the remaining mint and pistachios.
There's more to this salad than the punning novelty of its name (though it is also something to hail). It takes that 90s cafe favourite and updates it with crispy chickpeas standing in for croutons, and raw, fine ribbons of kale for cos. If you're searching for a little more substance, add in some soft egg or grilled chicken (since we've tinkered with everything else, this is hardly the time to get snippy about whether chicken has any place in a true Caesar salad). If you're not up to eating raw egg yolks (pregnant, immune compromised etc), then you can always whizz the capers, anchovies and lemon zest through shop-bought whole-egg mayonnaise and thin it with lemon juice until you get the right consistency.
3 rashers of bacon, cut into thin batons
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed
1 tbsp olive oil
400g kale, hard stems discarded and leaves shredded into ribbons 5mm wide
40g parmesan, shaved
1 egg yolk
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tsp capers, drained
2 marinated anchovy fillets in oil, drained
175ml sunflower oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 hard-boiled eggs, or cooked or grilled chicken (optional)
Preheat the oven to 220C. Put the bacon and chickpeas on a baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the bacon is very crisp and the chickpeas have developed a brittle crust.
To make the dressing, combine the egg yolk, mustard, garlic clove, capers and anchovies in a blender and blend until smooth. Slowly drip in the oil, drop by drop, to make a dressing.
Then drizzle in the lemon juice and whizz for a few seconds to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine the kale with the lemon zest and the dressing. Top with the crispy bacon and chickpeas, and the Parmesan shavings.
If you fancy a little more protein, grate or break the hard-boiled eggs over the top of the salad, or mix through some shredded cooked chicken.
Orange, chocolate and hazelnut puddings
If there are three desserts which sum up the 90s to me it would be tiramisu, sticky date pudding and soft-centred chocolate puddings. Granted, there were lots of things about that decade which might best be forgotten (combat boots, wallet chains and platform sandals included), but an oozing fondant isn't one of them. This example uses ground hazelnuts for flour, which also contributes a slight Nutella flavour, while the orange zest contributes a bit of a twist. If you fancy a pronounced 'jaffa' flavour in your dessert feel free to use the zest of a whole orange rather than half. These are a great pudding for entertaining, as you can easily prepare the batter in the afternoon and bake to order while the main course is being served; but don't delay in getting them to the table, as the residual heat in the puddings will keep cooking them all the way through. There may be lots of things which have gone out of style, but the molten centre of a chocolate pudding is one taste which will never date.
110g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp for dusting
60g unsalted butter
1 shot (30ml) of espresso
100g dark chocolate (minimum 70 per cent cocoa solids), chopped
grated zest of 1 orange
100g ground hazelnuts
ice cream, Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Sprinkle the 1 tbsp caster sugar inside a greased ramekin, rolling it around to ensure the sides are evenly covered, then pour the excess sugar into the next ramekin and repeat until they have all been dusted.
Put the butter, espresso and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until melted and smooth. Alternatively, use a microwave.
Put the eggs and 110g sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk for 2–3 minutes until pale and fluffy. Pour the mixture into the melted chocolate, stir, then fold in half the orange zest and all the ground hazelnuts.
Divide the mixture between the prepared ramekins (about 4 tablespoons each). Put the ramekins on a baking tray and bake the puddings in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch and still slightly molten in the centre. Serve the puddings hot with the remaining orange zest, ice cream, Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche pooling on the crest of each one. If you really wanted to push the boat out, you could swirl some good-quality marmalade with softened vanilla ice cream and re-freeze it, then and add a scoop of that on the side.
Images and recipes extracted from Cut the Carbs! by Tori Haschka, Hardie Grant Books, $39.95.