Recipes by: Melanie Grant from Life is For Living

Life is For Living

If you are looking for an awesome holiday destination head down to the Yarra Valley, you might just run into Mel at the local Farmers Markets. Melanie is a friend of mine and this is her story.

In January this year my little family and I made the big decision to pack up our suburban life and move to a more peaceful life in the Yarra Valley. For me this change has been a long awaited dream come true. My goal now is to live as sustainably as possible and create a better living environment for my children and me. Our country life is filled with a lovely big green block, chooks, greenery, vegetable patches and fruit trees. We are learning more about how our actions effect the environment around us every day and for this I will always be thankful we made the change.

The simplest way I believe we can all live a more sustainable life is to support local business. The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges is filled with some of the most beautiful art, produce and creators. My goal is to support these business through the Life is For Living directory. I am truly passionate about each and every business I work with.

While visiting the Yarra Valley you must check out these two amazing food stores: Ample Food Store and Bumpstead Family Apiaries.

Thai Pumpkin Soup

Thai Pumpkin Soup

The perfect winter warmer my spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients

1kg Butternut Pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2cm cubes

2 tbsp. Red Curry Paste

270ml can coconut cream

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh coriander leaves

2 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock

Method

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add pumpkin and curry paste. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until paste starts to stick to bottom of pan.
  2. Add coconut cream. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Add Stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until pumpkin has softened.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
  6. Blend with stick mixer or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Top with coriander.

I like to serve with a dollop of natural yogurt. If you like it spicy you can add more of the curry paste to taste.

All of the ingredients for this recipe can be found at your local Farmers Markets.

I have used a simple jar of Thai Red Curry Paste but I would love to learn how to make my own from scratch.

Pumpkin & Vegetable Bake with Cauliflower Mash

The best part about this recipe is that it is totally versatile. Yes there are a list of ingredients but rarely do I follow them I go for whatever is in my fridge so long as it is fresh and organic it’s delish.

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini, sliced

1 red capsicums, sliced into strips

2 Tbsp. cornflour

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 bunch sage, leaves picked, thinly sliced

3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked, finely chopped

Sea-salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to season

½ Butternut Pumpkin, sliced

4 potatoes, thinly sliced

3 red onions, sliced into rings

3 punnets cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cups chopped spinach

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked

Feta Cheese to your taste

Extra flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Olive oil spray, to grease dish

Ingredients for Cauliflower Mash

1 small head (1kg) white cauliflower, trimmed, cut into small florets

30g butter, softened

1/3 cup finely-grated feta cheese

Salt, to season

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Combine zucchini, capsicum and cornflour in a large bowl and toss to coat. Stir in garlic, mustard, worcestershire sauce, sage and rosemary. Season and set aside.
  3. Grease a 10-cup capacity baking dish with olive oil spray. Season potato and pumpkin with salt, then put 1/2 in bottom of dish. Top with 1/2 of the onion, then sprinkle with feta cheese to your taste. Put 1/2 of the zucchini mixture on top, then 1/2 of the tomato, then another sprinkle of feta. Arrange spinach and parsley leaves over top, then add another feta sprinkle. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  4. Set aside while you make the cauliflower mash

Method for Mash

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over high heat. Add cauliflower. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until cauliflower is very tender. Drain and return to saucepan.
  2. Add butter and mash until almost smooth.
  3. Spread Mash over the top vegetable layer and sprinkle with a little more feta cheese
  4. Cover with baking paper and foil, then bake for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove paper and foil and bake for a further 20 minutes or until mash is golden. Cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with extra parsley, then serve.

All of the ingredients for this recipe can be bought from your local farmers market.

Seedy Pumpkin Oat Bars

Seedy Pumpkin Oat Bars Seedy Pumpkin Oat Bars

Fill tummies with my super healthy energy filled seedy Oat bars.

Ingredients

¼ cup Pumpkin Seeds

½ cup Chia Seeds

½ cup Sesame Seeds

½ cup Linseed

¼ cup Sunflower Seeds

2 Cups Rolled Oats

2/3 Cup Honey

2/3 Cup Coconut Oil

Method

  1. Preheat Oven to 190°c. Line a lamington pan (18 x 28cm) with baking paper.
  2. Make your seed mix by mixing black chia seeds, sesame, linseed, sunflower into a jug, then pour into an airtight container or jar to store.
  3. Combine oats and 1½ cups of seed mix into a bowl with fork.
  4. Melt together honey and coconut oil.
  5. Add into dry mix & use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix. Once combined scrape into the pan. Smooth evenly.
  6. It may not reach the other end so make sure you keep it at least 1cm thickness as it will spread during cooking
  7. Bake for 20mins or until the golden on top.
  8. Leave to cool completely in the pan before transferring onto a board. Remove the paper & cut into rectangles. Store in a lined air tight tin.

This makes a great lunchbox snack but try to keep cool as it can crumble if it gets too hot and the honey melts again.

Make sure the slice is completely cold before cutting.