Old Tricks

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February 19, 2014 by josie100olives


Roasted salsa with corn chips

Kumara Quesadillas

Avocado salsa

Nigella’s no-churn Pina Colada Ice Cream

Old tricks

Having people over for dinner after work every Friday might seem mental. It is a bit. Being completely disorganised generally, I’m usually still buying last-minute things on my way home from work at 5.30 with people arriving at 6.30. But I kind of like the challenges that Friday Night Dinner presents. Key thing I have learned so far: choose a recipe you’ve made regularly, and which has at least an element of do-ahead about it.

I make this Quesadilla recipe a lot. Pretty much anyone who has had dinner at my place more than once has eaten this dish. It’s from a book I got for my 21st birthday ( i.e. a LONG time ago) called Cafe Cafe by Kirsten McKay. It’s listed on Amazon as out of print, but the Books for Cooks website says they have a copy in stock. It’s worth buying. Her recipes are great and I have used this book regularly for many years.

Do not be put off by the weird-sounding sweet potato-capsicum-peanut combo. It totally works.

It is also really useful if you are feeding people with specific dietary requirements. It can be made GF by using corn tortillas, vegan by using soy cheese, or just leaving it out and you can even make it paleo/clean eating by serving the roasted kumara mix in lettuce cups with dollops of the avocado mix.

The filling mix for these keeps ok for a couple of days in the fridge, which makes it a really good do-ahead dish for parties, and it’s also easy to scale up or scale down depending on the number of people you’re expecting. I find one per person is plenty, as they are quite filling. Instead of doing the half moons you could also sandwich two rounds together and then cut them into wedges as a starter/appetiser. I have also served the cold leftover filling mix over mixed leaves as a salad the next day.

I serve these topped with thick greek yoghurt and my own avocado salsa. I’m not a huge guacamole fan, so i just dice half a red onion very finely and mix it with one or two diced tomatoes, half a bunch of chopped coriander and half to one cubed avocado, plus salt and lime juice to taste.

I’m lazy and i hate chopping the ingredients for salsa, so this recipe was really good. I found it here at Once Upon a Chef.

I can’t recommend Nigella’s no-churn ice cream highly enough. The Pina Colada version is already on its second appearance at FND as it is ridiculously easy and has been a big hit. You can find the recipe here.

Kumara, capsicum and peanut quesadillas (adapted from Cafe Cafe by Kirsten McKay)


1 large kumara (sweet potato), cubed and roasted (I never bother to peel)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 spanish onion, finely sliced in half moons

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small red chilli (seeds in or out, depending on your chilli, and how hot you like it)

1 red capsicum sliced into strips

1/3 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts

1/2 bunch chopped coriander

salt and pepper

Lemon or lime juice

To assemble

Grated cheddar cheese

6 tortillas

To serve

Avocado salsa (see below)

Thick greek yoghurt or sour cream

In a frying pan heat the oil and saute the onions, garlic and chilli over a medium heat until the onions are slightly caramelised. Add the red capsicum slices and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until softened.

In a bowl, mix the roasted kumara with the onion and capsicum mixture, along with the coriander. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon or lime juice. I often find this needs a little zing, as the capsicum, onion and kumara are quite sweet.


You can store this mixture in the fridge for a couple of days.

When you are ready to serve lay the tortillas out flat on a baking tray sprayed/brushed with oil. Cover half with the kumara mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Fold over and spray top with oil. Repeat with remaining tortillas and mixture. You may not need it all. Bake at 180 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until the tortillas are browned and the cheese is melted. Serve with avocado salsa and yoghurt or sour cream. Add a drizzle of hot sauce if you like it spicy.


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