Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

So 'n' So's are real So 'n' So's

Unfortunately after feeling ill all week and deciding on a quiet night at home I succumbed to the easy option of ordering home delivery for dinner tonight. I had a flyer from So 'n' So's which advised that I could order online so I plunged in and thought the Chicken on the bone in Thai red curry sauce sounded nice. I also got some steamed rice and roti bread with the expectation that I would be getting a lovely fragrant curry with loads of curry sauce and big pieces of chicken on the bone. I settled back in to watch some TV with a nice glass of Sauv Blanc and received an SMS confirming receipt of my order and advising that delivery would be at 20:04 (order placed at 19:11)

The delivery was on time and I went into the kitchen to serve up my dinner...but upon opening the main container I was tempted to run back to the front door to tell the delivery man that I had been given the wrong dish as what I saw before me was a standard chicken and vegetable stir fry with sliced chicken breast and a very minimal amount of pale looking sauce with no enticing aroma.

My purported 'chicken on the bone' had unfortunately been separated from the bone long before making it's way into the cook's hands and my promised bone certainly didn't make it into any part of the cooking process. It was merely sliced chicken breast..

But I was hungry so I served up a small meal with the hope that it would taste better than it luck was just a chicken and vegetable stir fry with tasteless sliced chicken breast, large broccoli & cauliflower florettes, carrot pieces, snow peas and watery sauce with a faint hint of red curry paste out of a jar.

I called the restaurant to make sure that I hadn't been delivered the wrong meal but was advised that that is how they cook chicken on the bone at So'N'So's. When I asked how sliced chicken breast is advertised as chicken on the bone she again checked with the cook and advised me that that is how they cook chicken on the bone and that you don't get the chicken on the bone.. Needless to say, I am now waiting for the delivery driver to come and pick up the majority of my meal (I had been planning on throwing it away anyway) and refund my and learn...repeat after me - "Laverton is not known for having good restaurants, do not succumb!"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Simon's cauliflower dish on this episode was a Roasted Cauliflower Salad. I've never thought to roast cauliflower so I'm going to give this a go to see how it compares to steamed cauliflower...

Cauliflower Soup

I'm at home sick and have been catching up on loads of old edisodes of The Cook and the Chef and Maggi just made a Cauliflower Soup with a difference that I definitely have to try - it has a lovely mushroom garnish and it looks delicious!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mum's Mexican Layer Dip

1 tub or more sour cream
1 - 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 - 1 packet taco seasoning mix
- Mix together and spread on plate

1 - 2 Avocados, mashed with lemon juice & a little mayonnaise
- Spread over taco layer

2 tomatoes, deseeded & cut into small pieces
- Layer over avocado layer

Spring onions, finely chopped
- Layer over tomato layer

Top with grated tasty cheese & serve with corn chips

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Coulis

I just received this link in my Sue's Daily Dish newsletter and it suggests that you could complete your French bistro-themed meal with this sweet treat so I'm tucking this away for future use..

Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Coulis
150g Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut chocolate
30g butter
2 tbsp Nutella hazelnut spread
2 eggs, separated
125ml thickened cream
200g Nestle Melts dark compound chocolate
300g Creative Gourmet frozen raspberries
1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped

Break chocolate into a heatproof bowl, add butter and Nutella. Melt in the microwave on medium low for 3-4 minutes, stir until smooth. Stir in egg yolks.

Beat eggwhites with an electric beater until soft peaks form. Beat cream until softly whipped. Fold eggwhites and cream into chocolate mixture until just combined. Cover and put in the fridge for 3-4 hours until thick.

Melt chocolate melts in the microwave on medium-low for about 3 minutes, stir until smooth.

Cut 6cm x 12cm squares of foil. Line 6 holes of a round-based patty tin with foil so the foil extends above the rim. Spread chocolate in the base and up the sides of the foil to make cups slightly larger than the pan holes. Allow to set.

Reserve 1/2 of frozen raspberries. Put the remaining raspberries in a bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 1 minute until soft. Mash with a fork then stir through a sieve. Discard pulp.

Swirl some syrup on each serving plate. Peel foil gently from chocolate cases and sit each one on a plate. Spoon mousse into cases and serve with remaining raspberries and hazelnuts.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pork spare ribs slow braised in medicinal broth

I'm watching an episode of Luke Nguyen's Vietnam and he just made this delicious looking medicinal broth. I tend to overindulge every now and then so I'll be heading to my local Asian grocer to see if I can get my hands on all the ingredients.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nutritional Guidance

Total fat – less than 10% per 100g
Saturated Fat – less than 3g per 100g
Sugars – less than 15g per 100g
Sodium – moderate = less than 400mg per 100g
Low = less than 120mg per 100g

40-60% of daily calories - carbs
15-20% of daily calories - protein

Take digestive enzymes once a day with breakfast
- capsule or powder
- best if derived from plant sources

- capsule or powder
Best with a large assortment of bacteria and with digestive microbes as well
- digestive microbes also called homeostatic soil organisms (HSOs) or soil based organisms (SBOs)
- should be taken on an empty stomach first thing in the morning

Take Omega 3 capsules
Whey protein
Goat & sheeps milk organic dairy
Fermented soy-miso, tempeh, tamari

Eat a large breakfast
Eat smaller, lighter, healthier & earlier dinners
Eat a lot of food during the day & drink a lot of water at night, a glass of water every hour after dinner
Eat slowly
Drink fresh wheatgrass juice every day - live chlorophyll

10min super vitality break every day including 5min in the sun

Omega 3 fatty acids increase insulin sensitivity & reverses hyperinsulinemia
- lower triglycerides
- reduce inflammation & pro-inflammatory cytokines

1Tbs flaxseeds/limseeds each day fights depression
- sprinkle on salads, vegies & cereal, mix into smoothies or dress salads with flaxseed oil

25g fibre per day
- 1 medium avocado 13.5g
- 1 cup edamame 8g
- 1 cup raspberries 8g
- 1 med banana 3g

Self crusting quiche

This can be served hot at home or cold on picnics. A salsa or chutney makes a good accompaniment. You can also add any leftovers such as sliced sausages, salami or bacon to this recipe.

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp butter
3 eggs
1 cup milk
Seasoning (e.g. dried or fresh herbs, parmesan cheese, dash of sweet chilli sauce)
Salt and pepper
½ cup self raising flour
2 cooked potatoes, cubed
1 cup cooked vegetables
1 cup grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 220C. Cook the onion and garlic in butter until soft. Allow to cool. Combine the eggs, milk, seasonings and salt and pepper and beat with a fork. Pour this into a large bowl containing the flour and stir until just combined. Add the vegetables and cheese and pour into a well-greased pie or quiche dish (do not use one with a removable base). Cook for 30 minutes, then allow to cool for five minutes before cutting.

Get hydrated

Guidelines state that you should drink at least 30ml per kg of body weight.
For eg, if you weigh 80kgs you need to drink 2.4L every day.

Tips for eating more vegies

Make stuffed baked potatoes with corn kernals, spring onions, mushrooms & capsicum.

Stir diced red capsicum, currants, pine nuts, sliced spring onions, drained tinned salmon, lightly steamed broccoli & fresh basil through cooked rice, serve warm.

Serve salsa with chicken or fish, diced avocado, finely chopped spring onions (or diced red onion), chopped chilli & fresh coriander or mint.

Add grated carrot to rissoles.

Blend apple, ginger, carrot & OJ for a healthy drink.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Garlic Scallop & Chilli Pasta

Flour for dusting
Black Pepper, freshly ground
2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Olive Oil
400g Spaghetti
24 Scallops
2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 large Red Chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 Lemon, finely grated zest and juice
Rocket leaves for serving
½ c Grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well.
Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and dust them with flour. Season with salt & pepper.
Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and cook the scallops quickly on both sides.
Remove the scallops from the pan and cover them with tin foil to keep warm.
Add the garlic, chilli and lemon zest to the pan and cook for several minutes until the garlic starts to turn golden.
Add the lemon juice.
Toss the garlic mixture through the pasta and add half the parmesan.
Quickly toss through the scallops and serve immediately with the remaining parmesan on a bed of rocket.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Asparagus is available for most months of the year, but it is at its best in spring. While most of us are familiar with the more common green asparagus, it also comes in white and purple varieties.

Nutrition notes:
Asparagus is low in energy (one spear contains just 3 calories) and is cholesterol free. It’s a good source of folate, which helps your body make new blood cells and also helps prevent birth defects in pregnant women. It also contains fibre, potassium and vitamin C, one serve of asparagus providing a quarter of our daily vitamin C requirements.

Look for asparagus that is brightly coloured with firm, green stems and full heads. It’s best to buy bunches with spears of the same thickness so they cook evenly.

Asparagus can be kept in the crisper section of the fridge, where it should last for about three days. Alternatively, keep the stems moist by standing them in about 1cm of water, cover with a plastic bag and place in the fridge. It’s a good idea to remove any rubber bands or ties from around the stems before storing.

Trim the coarse, woody stems. With a peeler or knife, cut away any blemishes and then rinse under running water. You do not need to peel asparagus, but some people do prefer it this way.

- Steam or cook asparagus in boiling water for a few minutes, then drizzle with lemon or lime juice and cracked pepper.
- Pop some asparagus on the barbecue for several minutes, then sprinkle with low-fat fetta or goat’s cheese.
- Add a few stems to your usual salad or risotto to give it a new twist and added nutrition?
- Serve raw with the usual carrots, celery and cucumber when offering guests crudités and dips.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New York cheesecake

Preparation Time 30 - 420 minutes
Cooking Time 90 minutes
Serves 10

1 x 250g pkt plain sweet biscuits (such as Arnott's Nice)
125g unsalted butter, melted
750g cream cheese, at room temperature
215g (1 cup) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tbs plain flour
4 eggs
1 x 300ml ctn sour cream
120g fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 160°C. Line the base of a 23cm (base measurement) springform pan with non-stick baking paper.
Place the biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add the butter and process until well combined. Transfer to the lined pan. Use a straight-sided glass to spread and press the biscuit mixture firmly over the base and side of pan, leaving 1cm at the top of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
Meanwhile, use an electric beater to beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon rind in a large bowl until just combined. Beat in the flour. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until combined. Stir in the sour cream until just combined.
Pour the cream cheese mixture into the base. Place the pan on a baking tray and bake for 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours or until just set in the centre. Turn oven off. Leave the cheesecake in oven, with the door ajar, for 2 hours or until cooled completely (this will prevent cheesecake from cracking). Place in the fridge for 4 hours to chill.
Top the cheesecake with the raspberries. Cut into wedges to serve.

Source: Good Taste - May 2008, Page 93
Recipe by Kathy Knudsen

Special-K 19Sep09: I made this for a friend's BBQ tonight and it was a big hit. I used two regular and one light cream cheese and regular sour cream and 200g frozen raspberries.

- Use 2 Weight watcher's cream cheese and one regular cream cheese for a great light texture & use 2/3 of the sugar.
- use 500g of cream cheese and 3 eggs. Fold through some frozen blueberries just before you put the mixture in the tin.
- add blueberries to the mix and use low fat sour cream and 500g low fat cream cheese and 250g full fat cream cheese.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How long can you store meat in the freezer?

Refrigerator / Freezer
Steaks and Roasts - 3 or 4 days / 6 to 12 months
Ground Beef - 1 or 2 days / 3 to 4 months
Cooked Beef - 3 or 4 days / 2 to 3 months
Chicken (Pieces) - 1 or 2 days / 1 year
Chicken (Whole) - 1 or 2 days / 6 months
Cooked Chicken - 3 or 4 days / 4 to 6 months
Pork Chops and Roasts - 3 to 5 days / 4 to 6 months
Cooked Pork - 3 to 4 days / 1 to 2 months
Sausage - 1 or 2 days / 1 to 2 months
Sausage (Cooked) - 3 to 5 days / 1 to 2 months

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Soup ideas

Try thickening soups and stews by using tinned beans - stick blend them to a puree first then add them. Kidney beans for beef, chick peas, butter beans, cannellini beans for chicken. This adds protein and fibre as well as all the other beany goodness.

If you like to use gravox for colour - try 1/2 teaspoon Vegemite instead

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lemon Slice

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup coconut
125g butter, melted
1 packet Marie biscuits
juice and rind of 1 lemon

2 cups icing sugar
lemon juice, to desired consistency
2 dessertspoons coconut

Crush biscuits, add coconut and butter and mix well.
Spread into a tray and set aside to cool.
Mix icing sugar with lemon juice and coconut and spread over base.
Sprinkle extra coconut over and refrigerate to set.

Source: Mum

Lemon Cheesecake

6oz butter
1 packet Marie biscuits, crushed
8oz packet Philadelphia cream cheese
1 packet lemon jelly
juice and rind of 2 lemons
large tin evaporated milk, chilled
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp boiled water

Grease tin well.
Melt butter and mix with biscuits.
Place jelly, juice, rind and water in a pan and heat until the jelly dissolves.
Set aside to cool.
Beat cream cheese and sugar and vanilla in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters until creamy.
Beat evaporated milk until light and fluffy and stands in peaks.
Add jelly mix and mix well together.
Pour into biscuit case and set.
Decorate with fruit.

Golden Syrup Biscuits

1 egg
125g butter
3/4 cup castor sugar
1 Tbsp golden syrup
1 1/2 cups self raising flour

Beat butter and sugar, add egg and syrup then flour.
Place teaspoon sized portions on greased tray and bake at 180C for approx 180C


2 cups sugar
2 cups boiling water
1 oz gelatine

Boil together for 20 mins then beat until white and stiff.
Set aside on a plate to set.
Form into balls and dip in cocoa mixed with milk and roll in coconut
OR plate in tray to set and cut nto squares and roll in coconut

Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup mashed banana
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together and bake at 350F for approx 45-60 mins.
If baking in muffin tray - approx 20mins

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Preserved Lemon

Salt, 1 dessertspoon of salt per lemon, plus one for the jar
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preserving jars

Use thick-skinned lemons cut into quarters. Place the lemons, flesh side down, in the jar, sprinkling each quarter with salt as you add it to the jar.

For every lemon use a good dessertspoon of salt, and one for the jar.

When the jar is full, press right down on the lemons to squeeze as much juice out, filling the jar with more slices, again squeezing right down. Then immerse all the lemons by topping up the jar with fresh lemon juice. Use what Simon calls, 'pizza tables', (the little plastic device to stop takeaway pizza topping from sticking to the cardboard lid). These hold the lemon quarters under the lemon juice. Put a lid on the jar and 6-8 weeks later they will be ready to use.

Source: The Cook and the Chef

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Moroccan Tagine of Goat

500g Goat meat
250g dates, pitted and quartered
1 red onion, sliced
1-2 carrots, roughly chopped
4 coariander roots
1 clove garlic
pinch salt
1-2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp white pepper
pinch saffron threads
250ml water
juice of 1 lemon
2-3 cinnamon sticks
handful coariander leaves
handful slivered almonds, lightly toasted in a dry frypan

Preheat oven to 190C
Place goat meat in a large shallow dish suitable for marinating
Mix together dates, red onion and carrot and add to the meat
Break down coariander root and garlic in a mortar & pestle to make a paste
Add turmeric, ginger, cumin, pepper, saffron, water and lemon juice to paste and mix well
Pour over meat and leave to marinate for 30mins

Heat tagine over medium heat with some vegetable oil and add lightly brown the goat meat for a few minutes
Pour vegetables & marinade over the meat, add cinnamon sticks, place lid on tagine and place in oven
Cook for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, turning meat once or twice.
Let stand for 20-30min with the lid on.
Sprinkle coriander leaves & almonds over and serve.

Serves 4-6

Source: Surfing the Menu

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chocolate Crackles

4 cups rice bubbles
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 cup dessicated coconut
3 Tbsp cocoa, sifted
250g Copha, melted, cooled slightly

Combine rice bubbles with icing sugar, cocoa and cocnut in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in the Copha and mix well.
Using two teaspoons of the mixure per patty case, divide the mixture between 24 patty cases. Place on a scone tray and refrigerate until firm.
Makes 24

Sprinkle the chocolate crackled with hundreds and thousands, various coloured sprinkles or silver or coloured cashews, prior to refrigerating

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baked yoghurt chicken with tomato, mint & cucumber salad

1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbs olive oil
200g low-fat natural yoghurt
4 x 200g skinless chicken breasts

2 Lebanese cucumbers, sliced
4 Roma (plum) tomatoes, sliced
1/2 red (Spanish) onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup mint leaves
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice

In a bowl, gently fold five-spice powder, chilli powder, soy sauce, garlic and oil through yoghurt.
Coat chicken with mixture and allow to stand for at least 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line a baking dish with baking paper.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes each side.
Transfer to prepared baking dish and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through.
Remove and allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes. Carve into thick slices.
To make the salad gently toss all ingredients. Divide between 4 serving plates, then add chicken and serve.

Serves 4 for dinner

Source: The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet

Chicken with Mustard Seed Crust and Couscous

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

1 whole small skinless boneless chicken breast (1/2 pound total), halved
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup couscous
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Accompaniment if desired: Carrot, Snow Pea and Red Pepper Julienne in Honey Vinaigrette

Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. On a plate combine mustard seeds and parsley and press chicken into seed mixture, coating both sides.
In a small saucepan bring 3/4 cup water and salt to a boil. Stir in couscous and let stand,covered, off heat 5 minutes.

In a non-stick skillet heat butter over moderate heat until foam subsides and cook chicken on 1 side until golden, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken and cook, covered, over moderately low heatuntil just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Fluff couscous with a fork and divide between 2 plates. Top couscous with chicken.

To skillet add lemon juice and remaining tablespoon water and simmer, scraping up brown bits, 1 minute.

Pour sauce over chicken and serve with carrot, snow pea, and red pepper julienne.

Serves 2.

Each serving of chicken and couscous about 365 calories and 8 grams fat (20% of calories from fat)

Source: Gourmet May 1996

Special K 26Mar03
I made this a few weeks ago and made a few substitutions. I didn't have mustard seeds so I used Dijon mustard instead. I added cumin and turmeric and served it with couscous made with stock and toasted pine nuts. Very simple mid week meal which tastes great.

Hoisin Five Spice Chicken Legs

Can be served with an Asian style slaw with these wonderful, easy chicken legs. Vegetable fried rice or even plain noodles would work well, too.

Active time: 10 min Start to finish: 40 min

4 chicken legs, thigh and drumstick separated
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

Preheat oven to 500°F.
Put chicken in a shallow (1 inch deep) baking pan lined with foil. Stir together hoisin sauce and five spice powder and brush liberally all over chicken. Bake in upper third of oven until skin is browned and chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Gourmet, March 2000

This is a great mid-week standby as it's quick, easy and delicious. Can also be made with drumsticks, wingettes etc.

Saffron Scented Chicken Pilaf

This is delicious. I used Jalna Genuine Leben European Style Yoghurt for the marinade and about 8 cardamom seeds instead of pods because that is all I could find. The rice turned out perfectly and the toasted nuts were delicious. The dish looks amazing with yellow rice and contrasting green parsley and pistachios over the top. I'll definitely be making this again.

2 chicken breasts, diced
100g natural yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
500g Basmati rice
1 lemon, zest and juice
3-4 cardamom pods
pine nuts
flaked almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil, extra
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
slivered pistachios

Marinate chicken breast in yogurt and cinnamon in the refrigerator for a few hours.Stir saffron into chicken stock and set aside.Add butter and oil to a large pan. Add rice and stir until coated.
Add stock/saffron and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Add cardamom pods and stir well.
Cover and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
Toast cashews, pine nuts and almonds in a dry frypan until they are golden, set aside.
Take chicken out of marinade and place on a paper towel to absorb some of the marinade.
Add oil to frypan and fry chicken until golden.
Fluff up rice with a fork, grains should be separated.
Add chicken and most of the toasted nuts to the rice and toss with two forks.
Sprinkle the remaining toasted buts, parsley and pistachios over the top and serve.

Serves 6-8

Source: Nigella Lawson

Friday, April 3, 2009

The 7 Deadly Homemade Weed Killers

“And the weeds of the garden shall be visited upon the gardener.”

I'm planning on spending some time in the garden this weekend because I've been neglecting it lately and it's starting to get pretty scary out there..

Here are some fantastic cheap & safe weed killers which are supposedly guaranteed to help you eradicate the weeds you find in your if the weather holds out tomorrow I'll give a couple a try and see how they stack up.

Boiling Water - Yep, that’s right. Plain old H2O can be used as an extremely effective weed killer. As a matter of fact, boiling water is more effective than many of your store bought weed killers in wiping out unwanted vegetation. Easy-peasy to do. Put a kettle of tap water on the stove and heat till boiling, then pour on the weeds you wish to kill.You are effectively cooking the plant in the ground. Boiling water is a great way to clear out vegetation on a wholesale basis, like driveways and sidewalks. But be warned, boiling water is not selective. It will cook and instantly kill any plant that it comes in contact with and this includes underground roots of nearby plants.

Bleach - Not only is bleach a spot remover, it is a weed remover as well. Place some bleach in a spray bottle and spray on the weed you wish to remove. The bleach chemicals will evaporate or dissipate in about two days (or less but better safe than sorry), making the area safe for planting. Again, bleach will kill anything but if you do get some on a plant you want to keep, just wash the plant off.

Vinegar - Vinegar is a great organic homemade weed killer. Either white or cider vinegar will work. The acetic acid in the vinegar works to kill the leaves on the plant but not the root. Vinegar will kill back (kill the leaves but not the root) any plant but works best on young plants because they do not have enough energy stored in the roots to regrow their leaves. If vinegar is applied to more established weeds enough times, the plant will eventually deplete its stored energy reserves and die.

Salt - It was once a known war tactic to salt the fields of enemies. Salting the earth was also used as punishment for severe crimes in several countries throughout history. The reason is because salt will kill plants and will make the ground unsuitable for future plant growth. On a small scale, you can drop a small pinch of table salt at the base of the undesirable plants. It will kill the plant but will dilute down to harmless in the next few rainfalls. On a larger scale, you can cover your gravel driveway with a good amount of salt and nothing will grow there for months.

Rubbing Alcohol - is used around the house because it draws water out and helps to evaporate it quickly. Guess what? If you put it on a plant, it will do the same thing. You will be basically sucking the life blood out of the weed. Makes you want to run right out and try it, huh? But again, rubbing alcohol is non-selective. It will kill any vegetation it comes contact with.

Corn Meal (Polenta) - Corn meal doesn’t really kill weeds, it just stops the weed seeds from ever developing. Corn Gluten is a pre-emergent, which is a fancy way of saying that is it is a seed birth-control. Corn meal scattered around an area will keep any seed in that area from growing into a plant. This means a weed seed or a desirable seed. This method is a good option for areas that you plan on planting grown plants in.

Newspaper - If murdering your weeds with chemicals is not your style, you can always smother them. Laying down a layer of newspaper at least 4 sheets thick (the more the better) will go a long way towards killing the weeds underneath. The weeds that are already there will die from lack of sun and the weed seeds will not be able to sprout because they are not getting any sun to start with.

As an added bonus, many of these 7 homemade weed killers can be combined to produce super results. For example, the boiling water can be mixed with the salt or the vinegar (or both) for a super weed killer. Use common sense when combining chemicals and make sure that there are no adverse reactions.

You can also add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the liquid homemade weed killers for added effectiveness. The soap is not harmful to the weeds but the soap acts as a sort of bonding agent and will help the weed killers to stick to the weed more effectively.

Since most of these homemade weed killers are all-or-nothing weed killers, you will need to ensure that you prevent sprays and splashes on desirable plants.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Breakfast Oats

With the weather getting a bit colder I picked up some quick oats last night and made up this yummy breakfast to eat at my desk while I checked my emails - too easy!

2 g Linseed, lightly crushed in a mortar & pestle (12 cal / 51 kj)
10 g Lucky Natural Seed Mix w. Pine Nuts (58 cal / 242 kj)
20 g (1/3 cup) Coles Quick Oats (77 cal / 320 kj)
190 mL of Zymil: UHT / Longlife Milk: Lactose Free, Low-Fat (88 cal / 367 kj)
1 tub Coles Diced Pears Snack Pack in syrup (80 cal / 334 kj)
Total 315 cal / 1314 kj)

Place oats & milk into a microwave safe bowl and cook on Medium for 1 minute.
Remove, stir and cook for an extra minute. Let stand for 1 minute then stir.
If it requires more cooking time cook on Medium for 15 second intervals until it is cooked to your liking.
Stir in linseeds, nuts & pears in syrup and stir.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

C is for Chinese

It was finally time for the C dinner and it was my turn to cook. I chose Chinese as it's not a cuisine that features on my regular dinner rotation and I very rarely go out to Chinese restaurants as growing up in the country we only ever had the choice of Chinese or Italian if we wanted to go out for dinner.

I wanted to stay away from the standard stir fry option so I started trolling the internet for some inspiration. I came across Kylie Kwong's recipes on the ABC website and decided on a Steamboat. I thought that being able to do all the prep work before everyone arrives and then being able to sit around the table and cook our dinner together would be great fun.

Pork Dumplings
Steamed Chicken Buns
Chinese Steamboat
Plain Rice
Egg Custard Buns

Chinese Steamboat
300 g (1 lb 6 oz) squid
300 g (10 oz) organic pork fillet, finely sliced on the diagonal
300 g (10 oz) organic chicken fillet, finely sliced on the diagonal
300 g (10 oz) organic beef fillet, finely sliced on the diagonal
400 g (13 oz) snapper fillets, finely sliced on the diagonal
6 uncooked king prawns (jumbo shrimp), peeled and deveined but with tails intact

Squid marinade
2 large red chillies, halved lengthways, deseeded and roughly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
11/2 tablespoons palm sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons ginger julienne
1 tablespoon lime juice

Garlic and ginger paste
10 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup roughly chopped ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt

Pork marinade
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing wine
1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
dash of sesame oil

Chicken marinade
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing wine
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
dash of sesame oil

Beef marinade
2 tablespoons Chinese BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing wine
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper & sea salt mix
dash of sesame oil

Fish marinade
2 tablespoons finely sliced coriander stalks and roots
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon white sugar

Prawn marinade
1 tablespoon finely diced lemongrass
1/4 cup finely sliced spring onions (scallions)
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger julienne
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing wine
1 teaspoon sea salt
dash of sesame oil

1 bunch choy sum
1 bunch green asparagus
1 Chinese white cabbage
2 cups bean sprouts
1/3 bunch mint
1/3 bunch sweet Thai basil
1/3 bunch coriander
1/3 bunch Vietnamese mint
300 g (10 oz) fresh Hokkien noodles
75 g (21/2 oz) fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded

3 litres (3 quarts) water
4 spring onions (scallions), trimmed and cut in half crossways
10 garlic cloves, crushed
20 slices ginger
60 g (2 oz) galangal, peeled and sliced
3 lemongrass stalks, bruised
2 tablespoons sea salt

Dipping sauces
combine 3 tablespoons oyster sauce with 1 teaspoon sesame oil
combine 2 tablespoons of each of hoisin sauce, Chinese black vinegar and Chinese BBQ sauce
combine 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce with 2 teaspoons light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon diced ginger and a dash of sesame oil

Rinse squid and pat dry with kitchen paper. Cut the squid down the centre so that it will open out flat. Using a small, sharp knife, score shallow diagonal cuts in a criss-cross pattern on the inside surface. Cut scored squid into 5 x 2.5 cm (2 x 1 in) pieces and place in a bowl.
For the squid marinade, pound chilli and salt into a rough paste with a pestle and mortar. Add palm sugar, pound lightly, then stir in fish sauce, ginger and lime juice. Add marinade to the squid in the bowl.

Place pork, chicken, beef, fish and prawns in separate bowls, then set aside while you prepare the garlic and ginger paste. Pound garlic, ginger and salt together with a pestle and mortar until you have a rough paste. Divide this paste between the pork, chicken and beef.

Add the five lots of marinade ingredients for the pork, chicken, beef, fish and prawns to their respective bowls. Thoroughly mix the contents of each bowl, then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Trim ends from the choy sum, then cut crossways into 3 pieces and wash thoroughly; drain.

Wash the asparagus and snap off the woody ends, then peel the lower part of the stem and cut into thirds on the diagonal.

Discard outer leaves of cabbage, then slice cabbage in half lengthways, remove core and cut crossways into about 4 pieces and wash thoroughly, pulling pieces apart to separate leaves.

Wash bean sprouts and all the herbs thoroughly; drain well.

Pick sprigs from the herbs.

Blanch Hokkien noodles in boiling salted water until 'al dente' — about 4 minutes. Drain, refresh in cold water, then thoroughly drain again.

Arrange choy sum, asparagus, cabbage, bean sprouts, herbs, noodles and mushrooms in simple serving bowls. Place these on the table, along with the bowls of marinated meats and seafood.

About an hour before your guests are due to arrive, make the stock. Place the water in a large electric wok — about 35 cm (14 in) in diameter. Add all remaining stock ingredients and bring to the boil, simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and set aside.Finally, arrange all the dipping sauces and condiments in small bowls on the table, allowing two bowls of each.

When everyone is ready to sit down and eat, place the electric wok in the centre of the table. Reheat stock and invite your guests to choose their own meat, fish and vegetables to cook in the simmering stock, before dipping them in their favourite sauces and condiments.

Towards the end of the meal the noodles are added to the rich, full-flavoured stock and slurped.

Source: Kylie Kwong

I made some variations to the original recipe which can be found here -

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Feeling very lazy after a day of training I scanned the fridge, freezer and pantry and wasn't surprised when I came up short. I probably should've headed to the supermarket but I wasn't really in the mood for cooking and I've been wanting to test out the pasta at the new Italian restaurant in Point Cook so I grabbed the take away menu instead..

I'd tried a small pepperonata pizza ($8 - tomato, cheese, hot salami, olives, capsicums, chillies) last week and was pleasantly surprised. The base was crispy and the toppings managed to hold on tight, there was just the right amount of cheese and it had the perfect level of heat for a chilli lover like me!

This time I tried a garlic bread ($4) and tortellini pollo ($15 - Chicken pieces with roasted capsicum, mushrooms & spinach in a cream sauce). The first thing I noticed was the aroma of the delicious garlic cream sauce. The tortellini was perfectly cooked and the sliced mushrooms had been cooked into the sauce giving it a lovely colour and flavour. The only suggestions I would give to the chef would be to reduce the size of the pieces of chicken as they were much more than a mouthful at at least an inch square, and to cut the slices of roasted capsicum into smaller strips as at an inch wide by three inches long it was a bit unweildy.

Restaurant Cafe Bar
La Dolce Vitta
Pizzeria Take Away Catering Functions

Shop 129 Murnong St
Point Cook Town Centre

Ph (03) 9395 0520
Fax (03) 9395 0529

Mon - Sun 1130-late
Sat-Sun Breakfast 0800-1130

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Swordfish Steaks with warm Zucchini & Olive Salad

4 x 200g swordfish steaks
2 Tbs olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges

2 tsp olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 red (Spanish) onion, finely sliced
12 kalamata olives
1 Tbs baby capers
3 small zucchini (corgette), thickly sliced
1/2 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

To make the salad, combine oil, lemon juice, onion, olives and capers in a bowl.
Steam zucchini until tender but not mushy. Transfer immediately to onion mixture and toss to coat.Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush swordfish steaks with oil and pan fry for 2 minutes each side.
Toss parsley through zucchini salad and spoon over serving plates. Top with swordfish and season with pepper.
Serve with a wedge of lemon.
Serves 4 for dinner

Source: The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet

Chorizo and Chickpea Salad

2 tsp olive oil
400g chorizo sausages, thinly sliced
250g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
420g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
70g baby rocket, washed, drained
70g feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tbs balsamic salad dressing

Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half the chorizo. Cook for 4 minutes, turning, or until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining chorizo.

Add cherry tomatoes to frying pan. Cook, tossing, for 2 minutes or until just softened.

Combine warm chorizo, tomatoes, chickpeas, rocket, feta and dressing in a large bowl.Season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Spoon into serving bowls.

Serves 4

Lamb, Butter Bean & Rocket Salad

This is a delicious salad and so easy to make.

1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 (about 250g each) lamb eye of loin (backstraps)
2 x 300g cans butter beans, rinsed & drained
250g (1 punnet) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch rocket, ends trimmed, washed, dried & torn
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges

Balsamic Dressing
60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
pinch of sugar
salt & ground black pepper, to taste

Combine olive oil, garlic and rosemary in a shallow dish. Add the lamb and turn to coat well. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the lamb and cook for 3-5 mins on each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with foil and set aside for 5 mins to rest.

Meanwhile, to make dressing, whisk the extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper together in a large bowl.

Thinly slice lamb and add to the dressing with the butter beans, cherry tomatoes, rocket and red onion, and toss gently to combine.

Serves 4

Ten healthy habits from the Mediterranean

  • Eat legumes. They're common throughout Mediterranean countries and in a traditional Greek diet are eaten twice a week to avoid eating meat for religious reasons, says Kouris, herself part of a research team at Monash University that found legumes to be the most important food contributing to longevity in over 1000 elderly people in five countries.
  • Eat lots of dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, rocket, endive, chicory and amaranth (excellent sources of magnesium and plant omega- 3 fats, she says). You'll sometimes find amaranth - often called Chinese spinach - displayed with Asian veg in some greengrocers.
  • Eat a range of coloured vegetables including tomatoes and capsicum - they're high in antioxidants, including lycopene.
  • Use extra virgin olive oil. There's some evidence, says Kouris, that olive oil, like omega-3 fats, don't seem to add weight around the waist as much as animal fats and processed (hydrogenated) vegetable fats that are high in saturated and trans fats.
  • Include some fermented foods like yoghurt or fetta cheese that may help provide gut-friendly bacteria.
  • Slow cook meats with vegetables, including tomato, garlic, onion and olive oil. This slow cooking of meat is less likely than grilling to form carcinogens, she says. Stewing also retains nutrients in vegetables.
  • Eat fish and seafood. Traditionally, fish is eaten more often than animal meats, she says.
    Be generous with herbs like oregano, rosemary, dill and mint; they make vegetables taste great so you want to eat more of them. Indeed, "you don't hear Greeks saying they hate vegetables," says Kouris.
  • Snack on nuts and seeds. Traditional snacks include pumpkin seeds, roasted chickpeas, almonds, walnuts, as well as dried and fresh fruit.
  • Think outside the salad dressing and use vinegar as flavouring for other dishes. Besides adding a tangy flavour, says Kouris, it also lowers the GI (Glycemic Index) of foods and helps you absorb more iron. It's a traditional ingredient in this classic Greek lentil soup on the Healthy Eating Club website (a good site for credible nutrition info).

Bircher muesli with bran

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup untoasted muesli
1 cup unprocessed wheatbran
2 cups hot water
2 Tbs lemon juice
¼ cup almonds
200g low-fat flavoured yoghurt
1 lg green apple, grated
150g seasonal fruit (berries, peaches, nectarines, bananas) per serve
2 Tbs honey

Place oats, muesli and bran in a large ceramic dish and pour water and lemon juice over.
Allow to soak for 30mins. Add almonds, yoghurt and apple and stir to combine.
Cover & refrigerate overnight.
Serve with fruit and drizzle of honey, plus extra yoghurt from your daily allowance if desired.

Bircher muesli keeps for – and actually improves over – about 4 days.
Make on Sunday night and enjoy throughout the week

Open roast pumpkin & feta pies

350g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes
2 tsp olive oil
3 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 eggs
100ml light thickened cream
100g low-fat feta, crumbled

Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease two 12-hole muffin pans. Place pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. drizzle with oil and season. Roast for 20 minutes or until cooked.
Cut 20 rounds from the pastry sheets using a 6.5cm cutter. Press into muffin holes to cover base and a little of the sides. Whisk eggs and cream together. Divide pumpkin among rounds, top with 1 teaspoon of egg mixture, then sprinkle with feta. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Cool slightly, then turn out.

Makes 20

Source: delicious. - October 2005 , Page 120
Recipe by Mandy Biffin

Friday, 14 November 2008
I made these for the second time for my birthday party. They are so quick and easy and never last long enough for a second trip around the room. Next time I'll make a double batch because they are always snapped up so fast.

Rice Paper Rolls

Capsicum - red and green (in really fine strips)
Carrots (in really fine strips)
Rice vermicelli noodles (soaked in stock until soft and then drained)
Crushed peanuts
Grilled chicken breast (in thin strips) - this is lovely if you marinate it in a honey/soy or an Asian BBQ sauce before grilling. You can also use fried tofu cubes, smoked chicken, prawns or beef strips - whatever you like really.
Mint and basil leaves
Rice paper rounds

Dip a rice paper round into warm water until soft and then lay it out on a plate.
Add the ingredients into the middle of one edge. Don't overload it!
Roll up the rice paper, tucking in the sides as you go
Lie the roll on a fresh plate with the lose edge down and it will seal as it dries
Repeat with remaining rolls making sure you cover the completed rolls with a tea-towel.
Store in the fridge until ready to eat.

These are great with either a store bought peanut sauce or -

Home made dipping sauce:
1/2 red chilli (deseeded and chopped very finely)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar.
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 -3 teaspoons palm or caster sugar
Mix together well. Keep in the fridge until serving. Enjoy!


Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe
1 cup (8 oz) hoisin sauce (if sauce is thick, add about 1/4 cup warm water to reach desired consistency)
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 Tbs rice vinegar
2 garlic, crushed
1 minced thai chili, or more for desired spiciness

Good sources of dietary fibre

  • Wholemeal, granary and softgrain varieties of bread
  • Jacket potatoes, new potatoes in their skins and baked potato skins
  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals, eg. Weetabix, branflakes, unsweetened muesli, Shreddies and porridge oats
  • Wholemeal pasta and brown rice
  • Beans, lentils and peas
  • Fresh and dried fruits – particularly if the skins are eaten
  • Vegetables – particularly if the skins are eaten
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Wholemeal flour

Healthy food options

* Avocado. Good on toast or as a spread in sandwiches and wraps.
* Low fat ricotta. Especially good on rye bread - either by itself or with some berries on top
* Hummous.
* Home made pesto. spread on toast or a piece of sourdough to eat with soup.
* Keep a tin of blanched lightly salted almonds at your desk

The Best Things for Your Relationship

"Stop all shame, blame and criticism. Instead ask for what you want in a clear, specific and positive manner, and express appreciation for your partner. To elaborate: Men need to feel competent-that they make a contribution and that it is noticed."

"Change from a critical habit of mind, in which you're very involved with your partner's mistakes, to a positive one, in which you catch him doing something right."

"When your relationship starts to break down, you need AAA: an Apology, Affection, and a promise of Action. You say you're sorry for what you've said or done to hurt or disappoint your partner. You immediately offer a hug, a kiss-some meaningful gesture of warmth. You pledge to do something that matters to your partner."

"With books on the market like How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, one of the greatest services you can do for a guy is to reassure him that he doesn't have to make love like a porn star. You can show him how to have sex like a woman: creative, sensual, non-genital-based, and more pleasure- than orgasm-focused."

"All relationships grow a bit stale as time goes by, and the longer-lasting they are, the staler they can get. The best thing you can do is pump in some fresh air. A long weekend in a romantic hideaway would be ideal, but even a few hours in a motel helps. Don't tell anyone where you are, turn off your cell phones, and unplug the TV. When you get home, you'll find your relationship has acquired ruddy cheeks."

Daily Kinetic & Static Exercise Routine

Kinetic Exercise
Involves shifting the whole body from one point to another to stimulate the breaking down of body fat (adipose tissues). The muscles must be worked by travelling continuously over distance for at least 30 to 60 minutes (minimum being 30 minutes). This can be by strolling, brisk walking or gentle jogging, limited to 6km per day.
A minimum of 30 minutes is stipulated because the body only begins to burn fat after 20 to 30 minutes of continuous exercise.
Exercise is limited to 60 minutes or 6km per day, as studies show that mild exercise promotes healing and anti-inflammatory effects within the body, whereas over-exercising can lead to excessive wear and tear, inflammation and accelerated ageing. XndoTM kinetics can be done indoors, for example, by pacing up and down your lounge room or on a treadmill in front of your TV, or outdoors, for example, walking around your neighborhood after dinner.

Static Exercise
Statics refers to repetitive movements of muscles in the body while the whole body mass stays in the same spot. These are activities for four different areas of the body to be performed each day. Exercise devices such as hand weights or a gyroball are incorporated to optimise muscle stimulation. Static activities are aimed at complementing the daily 30 to 60 minutes of kinetic strolling, walking or jogging. Static activities help build up muscle tone. They can be practised at home or in the office. There are four static exercises in the XndoTM Weight Management System:
1 Chest & Shoulders Anabolic Training
2 Biceps & Triceps Anabolic Training
3 Waist Circumference Anabolic & Catabolic Training
4 Abdomen Metabolic Anabolic & Catabolic Training

Static Exercise 1 Chest and Shoulders Anabolic Training
Grasp an object weighing at most 1.5kg in each hand.
Straighten out both arms and hold level to shoulders, forming an overall T-configuration in relation to the body.
Swing both arms together to the front.
Repeat motion (steps 2-3) 100 times. If too strenuous, start with daily session of 15 repetitions for 1 week and double the repetitions at a weekly interval until 100 repetitions are attained per daily session.

Static Exercise 2 Biceps and Triceps Anabolic Training
Grasp an object weighing at most 1.5kg in the left hand.
While in a standing position, straighten your left arm alongside the body, still holding the object.
Bend your left elbow and lift object upward, as far up as possible.
Straighten arm and return to resting position.
Repeat motion (steps 2-4) 100 times. If too strenuous, start with daily session of 15 repetitions for 1 week and double the repetitions at a weekly interval until 100 repetitions are attained per daily session.
Repeat entire sequence for the right hand.

Static Exercise 3 Waist Circumference Catabolic Training
Stand upright in relaxed position with feet slightly apart, facing forward.
Interlock both hands at chest level and hold arms in triangular configuration on both sides of the chest.
Look and turn upper trunk to the left while body and feet are still facing front.
Rotate as far back as possible. Feel the strain at the waist.
Return to original position (step 1).
Repeat steps 2-5, this time turning to the right.
Continue alternating rotations at the waist 100 times (left + right). If too strenuous, start with daily session of 30 times (left 30 times + right 30 times) for 1 week and double the repetitions at a weekly interval until 100 rotations are attained per daily session.

Static Exercise 4 Abdomen Metabolic (Catabolic + Anabolic) Training
Stand upright in relaxed position with feet slightly apart, facing forward.
Hold both arms in front of body with fingers pointing toward feet.
Bend forward and downward, in a bowing motion.
Keep knees slightly bent while bending as far down as comfortable.
Return to original position (step 1).
Repeat bowing motion (steps 2-5) 100 times. If too strenuous, start with daily session of 15 repetitions for 1 week and double the repetitions at a weekly interval until 100 repetitions are attained per daily session.

Low Fat Pasta Carbonara

400g dried fettuccine or spaghetti
olive oil cooking spray
150g rindless shortcut bacon, thinly sliced
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
3 eggs
50g parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 Tbs flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Cook pasta in a large saucepan or boiling salted water, following packet directions, until just tender.
Meanwhile, lightly spray a frying pan with oil. Heat over medium heat. Add bacon and onion.
Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden.
Drain pasta and return immediately to hot saucepan.
Whish eggs in a jug with a fork. Add to hot pasta. Stir quickly to coat pasta.
Add bacon mixture, parmesan, parsley and salt and pepper to pasta.
Toss over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through.
Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Per Serve: 2407kj; 12.7g fat; 5.2g saturated fat; 29.1g protein; 71.1 carb; 4.9g fibre; 174mg cholesterol; 784mg sodium.

Source: Super Food Ideas magazine - April 2004. P34.

Salmon and Wasabi Ravioli with Kaffir Lime Sauce

1 quantity or 250g (8 oz) fresh pasta or 40 wonton wrappers

300g (10 oz) salmon fillet
1/3 cup creme fraiche* or sour cream
125g (4 oz) ricotta cheese
wasabi to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon chopped dill
cracked pepper
kaffir lime sauce
1 cup (8 fl oz) fish or vegetable stock
6 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) cream

Cut pasta into 10cm (4 inch) squares and set aside.

To make filling, cut salmon into slices 2cm (3/4 inch) thick.

Place salmon, creme fraiche, ricotta, wasabi, dill and pepper in a bowl and mix to combine. Place spoonfuls of filling on pasta squares or wonton wrappers and top with anotherpasta square or wonton wrapper. Press squares firmly around edges to seal.
To make sauce, place stock, lime leaves and cream in a saucepan and simmer gently until reduced by half.
To cook ravioli, place it in a large saucepan of boiling water and cook for 6-8 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Drain and place ravioli in serving bowls and spoon sauce over it. Top with cracked pepper.

Serves 4 to 6.

* creme fraiche - a mixture of sour cream and fresh cream.

Source: Marie Claire Cooking

Special K 16Feb03 We cooked this last night and although it was time consuming, because we made the fresh pasta as well, it was definitely worth the wait. We cut the salmon into bite sized pieces instead of slices and ended up making them into tortellini instead of ravioli because there was plenty of salmon mixture to make about 30 large pieces. We used dried kaffir lime leaves and vegetable stock and the sauce was delicious.

Nasi Goreng

1 ½ Tbs peanut oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
300g rump steak, thinly sliced
1 onion, halved, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushes
3 rashers bacon, chopped
4 cups cooked rice (see note)
1 cup small cooked prawns, peeled
2 TBS ketcap manis (see note)
4 spring onions, sliced
1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into strips
prawn crackers, to serve

Heat wok over medium heat until hot. Add 3 tsp oil. Swirl to coat. Add eggs.
Swirl to form an omelette. Cook for 1 minute. Remove. Roll up. Cut into strips.
Increase heat to high. Add remaining 3 tsp oil and beef to wok. Stir fry for 1 minute.
Add onion, garlic and bacon. Cook for 2 minutes, or until onion is light golden.
Add rice, prawns, ketcap manis, spring onions and three-quarters of the egg strips to the wok. Stir fry for 3 minutes, or until heated through. Spoon into serving bowls. Top with cucumber strips and remaining egg. Serve with prawn crackers.

Note 1: 1 1/3 cups raw rice, cooked, will give you 4 cups cooked rice. It is best cooked the day before then refrigerated until required.

Note 2: Ketcap manin is a thick and sweet Indonesian soy sauce. Look for it in the Asian section of your supermarket.

Serves 4

Source: Super Food Ideas magazine. April 2004. P18

Beef with Jerusalem Artichokes

I made this years ago because I had never eaten Jerusalem artichokes and wanted to see what they were like. After two supermarkets and four fruit & veg shops I finally found some and brought them home to cook up this fantastic dish. The sauce was absolutely divine, I couldn't wait to have the leftovers again the next night. I will definitely be making this again, it's a perfect dish to serve guests as long as you get the meat cooked just right.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 boneless rib of beef (800g - 1 kg)
50g butter
100g shallots, roughly chopped
500g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into small cubes
400g Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced thickly
1 tbsp fresh thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Nutmeg (freshly grated or ground) for serving

1 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 large Jerusalem artichokes (200g in total), peeled and chopped
2 1/3 cups milk
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over low heat until soft. Add the artichokes and milk, stir and simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the artichokes are tender.
In a blender (handheld or regular) puree the artichokes and whiz the mixture until light and frothy. Season with salt and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over high heat and brown the beef all over.

Transfer to a greased baking dish or rack and roast for about 25 minutes (for medium-rare) or until cooked as desired.

Remove from the oven, cover with aluminium foil and rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large saucepan, add the shallots and cook over low heat until soft. Add the artichokes, mushrooms and half a cup of the prepared sauce. Stir and cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until the artichoke is cooked but still a little crunchy.

Remove from heat, stir through the thyme and season to taste.

To serve: Spoon some mushroom mixture on to serving plates, place the thickly sliced beef on top and spoon over some fluffy sauce. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Serve with a glass of Cabernet sauvignon

Serves 4

Source: The Age Epicure, Winter Food. Luke Managan

Mum's Spaghetti Stew

My Mum made this recipe up when I was a kid and I still love it. The only problem is that I find that it can be quite addictive as it reminds me of home :-)
It is quick & easy and freezes & reheats well and can be modified by adding garlic or chilli to taste.

1 onion, chopped
500g mince
2 x 420 g tins Spaghetti

Heat oil in a large frypan and cook onion until soft.
Add mince and cook until brown.
Add spaghetti and simmer for 10 mins.
Serve with chips and salad or mashed potato and green vegies.
Or place into a casserole dish and top with mashed potato and bake as you would a Shepherds Pie.

Source: Mum xxx

Rum Balls

You can make this with any type of rum for these delicious treats. I prefer Bacardi Rum but have also used Bundaberg Rum.

1 packet Marie biscuits
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 can condensed milk
2 tablespoons Rum
extra desiccated coconut for coating

Place biscuits into a food processor and blend into fine crumbs.
Pour into a large bowl with the coconut and cocoa and stir to combine.
Add the condensed milk and rum and mix well.
NOTE: You may not need the whole can of condensed milk, the consistency of the mixture should be slightly wet and sticky but still hold it's shape.
Roll the mixture into balls and coat with coconut. Refrigerate overnight.

Artichoke Cob Dip

1 cob loaf
200ml sour cream
150-200g mayonnaise
1 small tin water chestnuts, roughly chopped
1 tin artichoke hearts*, roughly chopped
1-3 cloves garlic, crushed
Spring Vegetable powdered soup mix
salt and pepper to taste
sliced french loaf or assorted rolls/bread to serve

Slice the top off the cob loaf, cut into bite size pieces and set aside.
Scoop out the bread leaving a crust of approx. 2cm thick and set aside.
In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Pour the mixture into the cob loaf and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for 1-2 hours.
Cover the scooped out bread with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container to maintain freshness.
Serve with scooped out bread and extra rolls/bread if needed.

* Can also be made with spinach instead of artichoke hearts.

Special K I've made this many times with artichoke hearts and spinach and love it both ways. It's great for entertaining and because you have to prepare it 1-2 hours ahead of time it allows you to make it up and forget about it.

Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce

For pudding
1 3/4 cups packed pitted dates (about 10 ounces)
1 cup water
1 cup orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
For sauce
1 3/4 sticks (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Accompaniment: vanilla ice cream

Make pudding:
Preheat oven to 375°F. and butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan (2 inches deep), knocking out excess flour.
Coarsely chop dates and in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan simmer dates in water and orange juice, uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in baking soda. (Mixture will foam.) Let mixture stand 20 minutes.

While mixture is standing, into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating after each addition until just combined. Add date mixture and with a wooden spoon stir batter until just combined well.

Pour batter into baking pan and set pan in a larger baking pan. Add enough hot water to larger pan to reach halfway up sides of smaller pan and bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove smaller pan from water bath and cool pudding to warm on a rack.

Make sauce while pudding is cooling:
In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart heavy saucepan melt butter over moderate heat and add brown sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, and stir in cream and vanilla. Simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Cool sauce to warm.
Cut warm pudding into squares. Serve pudding with ice cream and warm sauce.

Serves 6 to 8.

Source: Gourmet May 1998(from Dalvay By The Sea, Prince Edward Island, Canada)

Special-K 03/14/03 WOW!!! I have never been a huge fan of sticky date pudding but that has all changed. We made this the other week and couldn't get enough of it. I've changed this recipe to use one cup of water and one cup OJ to give the dates more flavour. Definitely good enough for a dinner party or a mid week treat. I'll be making this again and again

A Cook from Philadelphia, PA on 01/24/03 Sublime. A big hit with my book club.

A Cook from New York, NY (via Australia) on 12/29/02 This recipe is amazing. I've made it many times and always get rave reviews - "the best dessert I've ever tasted" from someone recently. I just made it again for Christmas but couldn't find dates so made it with dried figs. It certainly changed the taste of the pudding but it was still great. Whenever I make this and don't eat it all in one sitting (I defy any group of 6 to eat this whole thing!) I cut the left over into servings of 2 and freeze them. So easy to microwave for a minute to defrost and heat and serve just with ice cream or with some honey (if you don't have/can't be bothered making more caramel sauce). Yummy!

A Cook from Chicago IL on 12/13/02 The first time I tried this recipe it came out undercooked -- very disappointing. However, I tried it again (adding a full 15 minutes to the baking time) and it was delicious.

A Cook from Portland, OR on 04/03/02 I thought this dessert was wonderful! I too soaked the dates in orange juice/water mix, and cut the sugar about in half. Got rave reviews when I served it.

A Cook from Waterloo, Ont. on 03/21/01 We had this for our dinner club a few weeks ago. It was sensational.

A Cook from Mitcham, Surrey, UK. on 01/01/01 As a chef I used to make this on a regular basis. I never could see why the soda was put into the date/water mix because you are losing it's aerating properties so I add it to the flour. At the Ivy in London where I used to work we would cook them in foil cups (you could use ramekins/darioles) then cut the tops (bottoms) off so they would stand up well on the plate then cut into 3 horizontally. Then put some toffee sauce in the bottom of the "cups" then add the 3 slices adding sauce in between (think jam on bread!) and over the bottom. Cover with tin -foil and put in a hotplate/low oven 40 minutes before eating. Goes well with a spoon of creme fraiche.

Margaret LeDerer from Grand Rapids, MI on 08/24/00 I took the tip from another reader and used half orange juice/half water to cook the dates in. Also stole from yet another recipe and added 3T cognac to the sauce. (would have used Armagnac had I had any.....but you know how that goes) Absolutely DIVINE. I also poked some holes in the cake while it was warm and poured about a half cup of the sauce over and let it sink in. Definitely a keeper.

megw from Adelaide, Australia on 07/08/00 I make this wonderful dish frequently, but have modified it slightly to soak and plump the dates in a mixture of half water and half orange juice - this lifts the dish to the next dimension of yumminess!! I also spoon the mixture into individual dariole moulds and serve on large white flat plates with superior vanilla ice cream and clotted cream on the side - for a spectacular dessert for a special dinner party.

Carol from Alberta, Canada on 05/20/00 We are not big date fans but this recipe is wonderful. Very rich but delicious. Definitely a keeper.

A Cook from RIYADH,KSA on 05/19/00 It's amazing , so good...I just love it and will keep on doing it the rest of my life. needed more than an hour in the oven to get ready.


Barb Green from Souderton, PA on 03/22/00 This is the BEST dessert I've ever had the pleasure of eating!

A Cook from Rochester, MN on 03/19/00 Simply food for the gods! Delicious, even when leftovers are reheated. I've also made the batter beforehand, refrigerated it and then cooked the pudding, just increased the cooking time till it was done and it worked out fine. If you want to make a sticky date pudding this is a fantastic recipe.

Tracey from Melbourne, Australia on 03/15/99 One mouthful, soft, delectable, the sauce runs down your throat like a gentle liquid stream, the sponge like pudding, simply dissolves on one's tastebuds. Served with cold ice cream, this pudding is beyond compare, one could easily gain a compulsive eating disorder with this pudding, its hard to stop eating it once begun. Your guests will be drooling at the mouth once you make mention that you are making this dish for desert. Once eaten, never forgotten, a tasteful memory to be savoured at ones leisure.

Spiced red lentils with green beans & mint

1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbs grated ginger
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbs garam marsala
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
1 green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
400g red lentils
200g pumpkin, peeled & cut into 2cm cubes
1 cup water
150g green beans
2 Tbs shredded mint
1/3 cup low-fat natural yoghurt, to serve

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until onion is golden.
Add spices and chilli and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add tomato, lentils, pumpkin and water (the vegetables should be covered - if not, just add a little more water), and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils are soft.
Add beans and cook for a further 3 minutes. Gently stir mint through and lightly season. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and rice.

Serves 4 as a side

Braised Lamb Shanks

2 Tbs cumin seeds
3 Tbs coriander seeds
1 tsp sea salt
4 lamb shanks, about 250g each
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled & finely chopped
2 small sticks celery, finely diced
4 cloves garlic peeled & sliced
400g tin tomatoes, drained & roughly chopped
200ml dry red wine
200ml port
1 litre beef stock
green beans for serving

Preheat oven to 140C.
Roughly crush the cumin and coriander in a mortar and pestle until fragrant.
Add salt and mix well. Sprinkle over shanks and press to coat.
In a large, deep, heavy-based ovenproof dish, heat the oil over medium heat and brown shanks well. Remove and set aside.
Place the onion, carrot and celery in the same dish and sauté over medium heat until soft.
Add garlic and tomatoes and stir. Pour in wine and port, stir, then add the beef stock.
Bring to the boil and then turn off the heat. Return the shanks to the pan, cover with foil and place in oven for 3 hours,until the meat almost falls off the bone.
Remove from the oven and lift out shanks, set aside and keep warm.
Skim as much fat as you can off the surface of the cooking liquid and return the stove top over medium heat and simmer and reduce to a slightly syrupy consistency.
To serve, divide polenta or mash between 4 plates and place a lamb shank on each plate.
Strain the cooking liquid and spoon over the meat.
Serve with blanched beans sauteed in butter with shallots and a glass of shiraz.

Serves 4

Burmese House

I had the pleasure of dining out at Burmese House last night. It's a lovely family owned restaurant that serves authentic Burmese cuisine out of the small open kitchen on the ground floor. The prices are a little higher than some but the quality is definitely worth the few extra dollars.

We started with Roti Bread with a Chickpea Dipping Sauce ($7.50) and then shared the Moh Hin Gha ($10.80) which is the national dish of Burma. It is an absolutely delicious fish soup with rice vermicelli noodles, hard boiled eggs, and lemon juice, fish sauce, chilli and coriander on the side. It was definitely enough to have as a main meal for one but they were happy to bring out two smaller bowls to allow us to share as an entree.

For our mains we selected Masala Chicken ($16.80), Tamarind Lamb ($16.80) and a serve of steamed rice ($2.80). The lamb was probably the best lamb curry dish that I have tasted in a very long time. The depth of flavour and texture left me wanting more but I'm afraid my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I'll have to wait until lunchtime to enjoy the leftovers.

The chicken was quite different to Thai masala curry as they do not use coconut milk and it is hotter as it is cooked with many whole red chillies even for a medium order.

Burmese House do not use any MSG, animal fat or sugar in their dishes.

Burmese House
303 Bridge Road
Richmond VIC 3121
(03) 9421 2861
0438 777 722

Mon-Sun 5:30-10:00
BYO Wine Only (fully licenced)
Corkage $3 per person

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chicken Pasta Bake

2 cups dried pasta (shells, penne etc)
¼ cup olive oil
4 (approx 460g) chicken thigh fillets
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
3 rashers bacon, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
440g tin tomato soup
1/3 cup sour cream
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Cook pasta in a large saucepan of rapidly boiling water with a little oil added until just tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, slice chicken breasts into long strips then cut into cubes.
Heat oil in a heavy-based pan and cook chicken quickly over high heat until browned, but not cooked through. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
Reheat oil in pan and add onion, carrot and bacon. Stir over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Add zucchini and soup. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Combine pasta, chicken, tomato mixture and sour cream. Season to taste.
Spread into a casserole dish and top with grated cheese.
Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
Serve with a tossed garden salad.

Serves: 4

Source: Family Circle Chicken Recipes

This is a bit time consuming because of all the chopping but is definitely worth it. It also reheats well in the microwave if you have leftovers.

Cardamom Scented Lamb with Mashed Sweet Potato

This is a recipe I adapted from Bon Appétit which I first made way back in 2002. I still rate this as one of my favourite dishes. Add some spinach or swiss chard to round out a perfect dish.

1 tbs butter
2 tbs tomato paste
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 cups dry red wine - Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup beef stock
1 cup low-salt chicken stock
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 tsp coarse-grained mustard
freshly ground black pepper

2 tbs shelled cardamom seeds
2 x 600g frenched racks of lamb, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup (see below)

Melt 1 tbs butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add tomato paste, garlic and thyme; sauté 1 minute.
Add wine and boil until reduced by half, about 8 minutes.
Add both broths; boil until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 25 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 230°C (450°F).
Toast cardamom seeds in heavy small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Cool. Transfer to spice grinder; grind coarsely.
Rub garlic over lamb and sprinkle with cardamom, salt and pepper.

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add 1 lamb rack; sear until brown, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes. Transfer lamb, meat side up, to baking sheet. Repeat with second lamb rack.

Roast until meat thermometer inserted into center registers 51°C (125°F) for medium-rare, about 18 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut lamb between bones into chops.

Bring sauce to simmer. Reduce heat to low. Add butter and mustard; whisk just until butter melts. Season with pepper. Spoon mashed Sweet Potato onto plates. Top with lamb and sauce.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup
1kg sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Cook potatoes in pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain. Return potatoes to pot and mash. Mix in butter, syrup and cardamom. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

Bacon and Pumpkin Pesto Pasta

This delicious pasta dish can be made with home-made pesto or a good store bought variety. This is a regular fixture on my meal rotation.

1kg kent pumpkin, deseeded, peeled, cut into 2.5cm pieces
Olive oil spray
Salt & freshly ground pepper
400g dried penne pasta
300g short-cut bacon, thinly sliced
125g (1/2 cup) Basil Pesto
shaved parmesan

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Place the pumpkin, in a single layer, on the prepared tray.
Spray with olive oil spray and season with salt & pepper.
Bake in oven for 25mins or until tender.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water following packet directions or until al dente. Drain and return to the pan.
Cook the bacon in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, stirring, for 5mins or until crisp and golden.
Add the pesto to the pasta and toss until coated.
Add the pumpkin and bacon and toss until well combined.
Divide among serving bowls and sprinkle with parmesan.
Serve immediately.

Serves 4. Prep & cooking time - 30 mins

Source: Australian Good Taste, March 2006. P61

Lamb Shanks in Dijon Mustard Sauce

A hearty dish inspired by Barry Tuckley at the Caulfield RSL, Melbourne.

8 French-cut lamb shanks, (ask the butcher to do it for you)
2 medium onions, roughly cut
3 or 4 sticks of celery, roughly cut
2 leeks, roughly cut
4 or 5 medium carrots, roughly cut
1 litre or so chicken stock
250 mls cream (optional)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Stir fry onions, celery, carrot and leek pieces in the oil over medium heat for 4 or 5 minutes.
Add the litre of chicken stock and lamb shanks. Add more chicken stock if shanks are not covered. Bring to the boil and simmer very very slowly for around 3 hours (or until cooked).Leave to cool in stock and refrigerate. This is best done the day before needed.
Next day, remove solidified fat from top of the mixture then gently re-heat.
Drain shanks and vegetables (keeping warm), and pour the liquid into a wide pan.
Bring to the boil, add Dijon-style mustard and reduce by two-thirds. It should be a syrupy sauce.
Remove from heat and whisk in cream and egg yolk. (Do not re-boil once egg is added, it will curdle). Serve shanks on creamy mash potato with vegetables of your choice, and cover in mustard sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serves 4

Wine suggestion: Grenache

Special-K 10Aug03 We made this last night and it was definitely worth the time and effort. Instead of letting the stock cool overnight we took the shanks out after about 2 1/2 hours and placed them in a warm oven covered in foil while we reduced the stock. I thought it might be a bit fatty because we hadn't let the fat solidify so it could be removed but it was delicious! We served it with a nice mound of creamy mash and crispy snow peas.

Garlic & Mustard Lamb Cutlets

My all time favourite lamb cutlet recipe. If only lamb was a bit cheaper I'd have these every week...

80ml / 1/3 cup olive oil
2tbs Dijon mustard
1tbs chopped fresh parsley
2tbs soy sauce
6 cloves garlic, crushed
freshly grounds black pepper
12 frenched lamb cutlets

Place oil, mustard, parsley, soy sauce, garlic and pepper in a medium bowl and which until combined.
Coat cutlets with mustard mixture. Marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
Cook cutlets on a heated oiled griddle, grill or BBQ, until browned on both sides and cooked as desired.

Serves 3-4

Chorizo and Bean Stew

We made this last night and it was so delicious we had seconds and thirds!!

700g salad potatoes (such as chats or Nicola), quartered
60ml / 1/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion, peeled, chopped
500g chorizo sausage, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
400g can butter beans
410g can diced tomatoes
2 fresh bay leaves
150ml beef or chicken stock
4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan of cold, salted water.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until just tender. Remove from heat. Drain.
Heat the oil in the same pan. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until just softened.
Add the chorizo and cook until it starts to turn golden.
Transfer chorizo mixture to a plate and set aside.
Add garlic and chilli to the pan. Cook for a few seconds, then add potatoes, butter beans,tomatoes, bay leaves and chorizo mixture.
Pour in stock, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in parsley and serve with crusty bread.

Serves 4

Source: Delicious magazine April 2003. Recipe by Valli Little

Hoisin and Honey Pork Riblets

1kg pork spareribs, halved crosswise, preferably by a butcher, and cut into individual ribs
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar

In a kettle of boiling salted water simmer the ribs, covered, for 30 minutes and drain them well. In a large bowl whisk together the honey, the soy sauce, the garlic paste, the hoisin sauce, the mustard, the vinegar, and black pepper to taste, add the ribs, and toss the mixture well, coating the ribs thoroughly. Let the ribs marinate, chilled, for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Remove the ribs from the marinade and place in a roasting tray covered with foil and cook in the oven for about 45 mins.
The sauce seemed thin so I mixed up some cornflour and added it to the pan. I ended up with a nice thick sauce which stuck to the ribs perfectly. I finished them off under the grill which definitely made a difference to their taste - YUM!!

Chilli Con Carne

1 Tbs Olive oil
1kg mince
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
4 tomatoes, chopped
440g tin red kidney beans, drained
425g tin Old El Paso Mexi Beans, undrained
420g tin Campbells Condensed Tomato Soup
2 Old El Paso Chilli Seasoning Mix packs

Heat oil in a large deep frypan or saucepan and fry onion until soft.
Add mince and cook until brown. Add red and green capsicum and tomatoes.
Cook for 5 mins then add beans, soup and seasoning mixes. Simmer for 20-30 mins.
Serve with rice.

16Jun07 Added 3 tsp chilli, substituted 350ml La Gina Premium Italian Pasta Sauce for tomato soup.

Char-grilled Salmon with Parsley Relish, Asparagus & Pumpkin

400g butternut pumpkin, peeled and thickly sliced
1 Tbs olive oil
4 x 200g salmon fillets
16 asparagus spears
4 Tbs Parsley Relish
lime wedges

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
Place pumpkin in a bowl with half the oil and toss to coat. Transfer to a baking dish and lightly season. Bake for 20 minutes, or until soft and golden.
Meanwhile, heat a non-stick grill plate or barbeque grill to high. Lightly brush salmon fillets with remaining oil. Place salmon on grill, flesh side down, and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, covered.
Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and blanch for 2 minutes, then drain. Arrange salmon on pumpkin slices, then top with parsley relish and add asparagus spears.Serve with lime wedges.

Serves 4 for dinner

Parsley Relish
1 bunch flat-leaf (Italian parsley
6 anchovy fillets
2 Tbs baby capers
grated zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients except oil in a food processor. Lightly process, then, with the motor still running, add enough oil to form a thick paste.
Season to taste with pepper. Serve cooked lamb, beef or salmon with a dollop of relish on top.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Source: The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet

Ocean Trout in Citrus Marinade

4 x 150g skinless ocean trout fillets, boned (or salmon)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 handful flat-leaf Italian parsley
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
500g vine-ripened tomatoes, finely diced
2 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
1 Tbs salted capers, rinsed
Slice the trout into 4cm (1 1/2 in) wide slices.

Heat half the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and sear the trout for 1 minute on both sides.
Put on a serving dish and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Scatter the parsley over the fish. Add the lemon juice, orange juice, zest, tomato, spring onion and capers to the pan and cook for 1 minute.
Pour over the fish and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving with a spoonful of the marinade.

Serves 4

Source: Marie Claire, Kitchen - the ultimate recipe collection

Spicy Curry Mee

1 split dry chilli
1 1/2 tbsp brown nut oil
bean curd cut into squares
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp chopped garlic
½ tsp turmeric
2 tsp madras curry powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
400ml coconut milk
2 tbsp light soy sauce
8 oz noodles
8 oz bean shoots

Fry chilli in oil. Stir-fry bean curd squares with chopped onion and garlic for 3 mins.
Add turmeric, madras curry powder, salt and sugar and mix well.
Add coconut milk and light soy sauce.
Add noodles and bean shoots, toss gently to combine.
Garnish with chopped parsley leaves.
Serve with extra bean shoots and coriander on top.

Serves 4

Source: Ken Hom

Special K 06Feb03 We had this for dinner last night and it was great.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Redcurrant & Rosemary Pork Cutlets

This has got to be my go-to pork recipe these days. I quite often serve this with a blend of mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with some crisp green beans on the side. I have also substituted cranberry for the redcurrant jelly and it is just as delicious.

4 large pork cutlets
Olive oil cooking spray
½ cup redcurrant jelly
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, roughly chopped

Heat a non-stick frypan over medium heat. Spray both sides of pork with oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook cutlets, 2 at a time, for 5 minutes each side, or until golden and cooked through. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
Add redcurrant jelly, vinegar, rosemary and salt and pepper to frying pan. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Add cutlets. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until heated through.
Place pork onto serving plates. Spoon over sauce. Serve with potatoes and green beans, if desired.

Serves 4

Per Serve (without potatoes and beans):
8.3g fat;
3.1g saturated fat;
39.2g protein;
14.5g carbohydrates;
0g fibre;
112mg cholesterol;
125mg sodium

Wild Mushroom Lasagne

I first made this in 2002 and it was delicious and reheated the leftovers today and it was still great. I couldn't find dried Porcini mushrooms so I used dried Shitake mushrooms instead and the taste was amazing. Will definitely be making this again and will search for porcini next time just to see how much it changes the flavour. It is fairly time consuming so allow plenty of prep time or make the day before.

Mushroom filling3 cups water
2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 cup)
2 pounds fresh white mushrooms/button mushrooms
2 large zucchini (about 1 pound)
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons Sherry
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
4 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
eighteen 7- by 3 1/2-inch sheets dry no-boil lasagne (about 1 pound)
1/2 pound freshly grated mozzarella (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan (about 1/2 cup)

Make filling:In a small saucepan bring water to a boil and remove pan from heat. Stir in porcini. Soak porcini 20 minutes. Lift out porcini, squeezing out excess liquid, and reserve soaking liquid. In a sieve rinse porcini to remove any grit and pat dry. Chop porcini and transfer to a large bowl. Simmer reserved soaking liquid until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Pour liquid through a sieve lined with a dampened paper towel into bowl with porcini.

Quarter white mushrooms and in a food processor pulse in 3 batches until finely chopped. Cut zucchini into 1/4-inch dice. Chop onion and mince garlic. In a 12-inch heavy skillet heat 1 tablespoon butter over moderate heat until foam subsides and cook one third white mushrooms with 2 tablespoons Sherry, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and they begin to brown. Add mushroom mixture to porcini. Cook remaining mushrooms in 2 batches in butter with remaining Sherry in same manner and add to porcini mixture. In skillet cook zucchini in 1 tablespoon butter until tender and stir into porcini mixture. In skillet cook onion in remaining tablespoon butter, stirring, until softened. Stir in garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir onion into mushroom mixture until combined. Filling may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Make sauce:In a 3-quart heavy saucepan melt butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes and whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, mustard, and salt. Remove pan from heat and cover surface of sauce with wax paper. Sauce may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring sauce to room temperature before proceeding.

Preheat oven to 375°F. and butter a 13 x 9-inch (3-quart) baking dish.

Assemble lasagne:Spread 1 1/4 cups sauce in baking dish and cover with 3 pasta sheets, making sure they don't touch each other. Spread one third filling over pasta sheets in dish and top with 3 more pasta sheets, gently pressing down layers to remove air pockets. Top pasta sheets with one third mozzarella. Continue layering in same manner with sauce, pasta sheets, filling, and mozzarella, ending with mozzarella (dish will be filled to rim). Spread remaining sauce over top and sprinkle with Parmesan. On a foil-lined large baking sheet bake lasagne in middle of oven until bubbling and golden, about 45 minutes. Let lasagne stand 20 minutes. Lasagne may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring lasagne to room temperature and reheat before serving.

Serves 6.

Source: Gourmet March 1999

Roast Pumpkin Salad

2 cups Jap pumpkin, peeled and chopped into chunks
freshly ground black pepper
80g black olives, pitted
80g fetta cheese
3 tbs oregano leaves, chopped
2 cups baby rocket, optional
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
Italian herbs
sea salt
Optional: Crispy Grilled Prosciutto & Roasted Pine Nuts to serve

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Coat a non-stick baking tray with cooking spray. Arrange pumpkin in one layer on tray, lightly coat with cooking spray and sprinkle with Italian herbs, salt and pepper.
Cook for about 30 minutes or until pumpkin is golden and tender. Allow to cool.
Combine olives, fetta, oregano and rocket on a serving plate. Add the cooled pumpkin. Toss gently.
Combine the balsamic vinegar and oil. Drizzle over the salad.
Top with crispy grilled Prosciutto & roasted Pine Nuts if you wish

Serves 4

Source: Rebekah

Special-K 30-Aug-03 A workmate of mine made this for a team lunch a couple of months ago and it was sensational. As soon as tasted it I knew I had to get the recipe.


The secret to this delicious Hedgehog is not to break up the biscuits too small. About 1cm pieces seem to work best.

1 packet Marie Biscuits
100g butter
100g caster sugar
2 Eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
250g chocolate

Break up Marie biscuits (not too small).
Melt margarine and caster sugar slowly until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
Beat eggs into cocoa with a whisk then add to sugar and margarine while still whisking.
Mix with Marie biscuits and pour into square tray.
Press up one end, about 2.5cm high. Refrigerate while melting chocolate.
Melt chocolate in a bowl over boiled water or in the microwave and pour on top.
Refrigerate overnight and then cut into 2 1/2 cm squares.