Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cheese and bacon scones

These savoury scones are great lunch-box treats or as an accompaniment to a chilli or stew so that you can mop up all of the gravy

Makes 16

5 rashers short cut bacon, rind removed, finely chopped
3 cups self-raising flour
80g butter, cubed
150g tasty cheese, finely grated
1 to 1 1/4 cups milk
plain flour, for dusting
butter, extra, to serve
pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper or a baking liner.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Cool completely.

Sift flour into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub butter into flour until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add bacon and cheese. Mix well.

Make a well in centre of mixture. Add 1 cup milk. Mix with a flat-bladed knife until mixture forms a soft dough, adding more milk if required. Turn dough onto a lightly floured bench or chopping board. Knead dough gently until smooth (take care not to knead too much).

Pat dough until 2.5cm thick. Using a 5cm cutter, press gently and cut 16 rounds from dough. Place 1cm apart. Sprinkle tops of scones with flour. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and well risen. Serve scones hot with butter.

Sprinkled some grated cheese on them before putting them in the oven.
Instead of cutting rings, flattened the dough into a circle, about 2-3 cm thick, and cut into 8 triangles.
Add chopped chives, mixed herbs and add diced mushrooms to the bacon..

Adapted from a recipe in Super Food Ideas - May 2005

Brown Rice Salad

This salad is great to make in large batches and use for several meals throughout the week. It can be served warm or cold.

Some ideas for using this healthy salad:
- Serve along side a grilled chicken breast, tuna or salmon steak, or lean pork chop, topped with spicy mango salsa.
- Serve on a bed of lettuce for a quick, tasty, hearty lunch
- Stuff into pita pocket or wrap & add crunchy romaine or other greens.
- Make a quick tortilla soup by adding a couple cups to low sodium chicken broth, add diced chicken & baked corn tortilla strips.
- Freeze in portion size containers for any of these uses. (when freezing, don't add avocado to entire batch, add fresh when using)

30 Minutes to Prepare and Cook

8 cups cooked brown rice
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 mango, diced
2 firm, yet ripe avocados
1/2 red capsicum, diced
1/2 yellow capsicum, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bunch fresh coriander
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1/4 tsp cumin
sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
Optional: diced jalepenos

Cook rice in rice cooker, fluff & allow to cool.
Chop all fresh ingredients.
Mix olive oil, teriyaki sauce, garlic & lime juice in small bowl.
Toss all ingredients in large bowl, season with cumin, salt & pepper to taste.

Makes 12 portions

Nutritional Info

Servings Per Recipe: 12

Nutritional Value Per Serving
Calories: 286.1
Total Fat: 10.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 520.5 mg
Total Carbs: 44.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.6 g
Protein: 6.3 g

Adapted from a recipe submitted by KGBRACKETT on SparkRecipes

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sausage Hotpot

A good hearty one pot meal, this hotpot is delicious with any kind of sausages. Try chicken, pork, beef or Spanish chorizo.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
500g beef and cracked pepper sausages
2 brown onions, halved, sliced
1 red capsicum, cut into thick strips
2 cups basmati rice, rinsed
400g can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp crushed chilli
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausages. Cook, turning often, for 5 minutes or until browned. Remove sausages to a board. Thickly slice.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining oil, onions, garlic, chilli, paprika, oregano and capsicum to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until soft. Add rice, tomatoes, stock and sausages. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil.

Cover pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add frozen peas. Remove pan from heat. Set aside, covered, for 15 minutes (this allows rice to complete cooking). Season with salt and pepper. Spoon hotpot into serving bowls. Serve.

To reheat hotpot, spoon into serving bowls. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons chicken stock and cover with damp paper towel. Microwave on MEDIUM (50%) for 3 to 4 minutes.

Adapted from: Super Food Ideas - November 2006. Recipe by Michelle Noerianto

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Baileys Balls

If you like my Rum Balls, you will love these Bailey Balls. For something different add a bit of Butterscotch schnapps to the baileys for Cowboy Balls...

1 packet of Marie biscuits
1 tin condensed milk
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
 2 tablespoons of cocoa
6 (or more) tablespoons of Baileys

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 baileys 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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chicken With Dates & Couscous

I made this last night and it was the perfect amount for the two of us but this is a very straightforward recipe so if you want to stretch it a bit further just double the ingredients or increase the chicken and couscous to suit your needs.

Serves 2

1 brown onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
4 chicken thigh fillets, cut into 4 pieces
1 knob butter
1 Tbps olive oil
8 dates, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch saffron threads in 1 Tbsp warm water
400g can chopped tomatoes
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
1 cinnamon quill

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup instant couscous
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock, boiling

1 tsp lemon pepper
20g (1/4 cup) flaked almonds
1/4 bunch coriander

Heat butter and 1 tbs oil in a deep heavy-based pot over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer to a plate.

Return pot to medium heat. Add onions, garlic and salt, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add cumin, cinnamon and saffron to onion mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Return chicken to casserole and add tomatoes, the first cup of stock, cinnamon quill and the dates. Bring to a simmer, then cook, partially covered with a lid, for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Place couscous and 1 tbs oil in a heatproof bowl or container. Pour over the hot stock and stir to combine, then cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid. Set aside for 10 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Toast almonds in a small frying pan, tossing regularly, for 3 minutes or until almonds are toasted.

Fluff couscous with a fork, then divide among plates with chicken. Tear leaves from coriander, then scatter over chicken with almond mixture to serve.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


With 1/4 cabbage left over from Sundays corned beef feast it was only natural that my mind turn to coleslaw. But instead of the standard recipe I decided to make a few additions. I used the food processor attachment on my Kenwood for the cabbage, carrot and cheese but you could also use a mandolin/V-slicer.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

1/4 large cabbage, finely shredded
1 medium (about 130g) carrot, peeled and grated or shredded
1/3 small-medium red capsicum, thinly sliced
1/3 small-medium yellow capsicum, thinly sliced
8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
50g tasty cheese, grated or shredded

1/3 cup kewpie mayonnaise*
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons caster sugar
Salt, to taste

Stir mayonnaise, white vinegar, sugar and salt together in a small bowl. Cover bowl and refrigerate until required.

Toss vegetables and cheese together in a large bowl. Store in the refrigerator and dress salad just before serving.

*Kewpie is a Japanese mayo which has a rich creamy texture with a higher egg ratio than western mayonnaise. It also tends to suit Japanese flavours more because it’s made with rice vinegar and has an umami characteristic not present in western mayo.

Panko crusted veal schnitzel with Sweet Potato Chips

1/2 cup plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbs milk
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
5-6 veal escalopes
1 tbs oil
25g butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Sweet potato, cut into chips
Olive oil spray
Tuscan seasoning

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with a baking sheet.

Place sweet potato on baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with tuscan seasoning or salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until edges are lovely and crisp.

Pay veal dry with paper towel.

Place flour onto a plate and add salt and pepper. Mix to combine.

Combine eggs and milk in a shallow bowl.

Place breadcrumbs onto a plate.

Dip veal one at a time into flour and shake off excess. Dip into egg wash then coat with breadcrumb mixture, pressing crumbs on firmly with your fingertips.

Heat oil and butter in a frying pan, add veal and cook for about 3 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Remove from pan.

Serve schnitzels with sweet potato chips.

Serves 2-3

Corned beef with cabbage, horseradish mash and mustard sauce

Corned beef and mash has got to be an all-time family favourite. I adapted this from numerous recipes and what I had on hand. Paired with horseradish mashed potato, mustard sauce and cabbage with bacon it was the perfect Sunday dinner.

Corned Beef1.5 kg corned silverside
1 1/2 brown onions, quartered
6 whole cloves
4 Tbs brown sugar
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
8 whole black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, roughly chopped

Push a clove into each onion quarter. Place all ingredients in slow cooker and top with just enough water to cover. Cook on High for 6 hours.

TIP: To keep corned beef submerged during cooking, weigh it down with a small lid or plate.

Mustard Sauce50g butter
2 Tbsp plain flour
1 cup milk
1 cup strained cooking liquid
2 tsp mustard

Heat butter in a pan over low-medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, until it bubbles. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in strained cooking liquid milk. Return to heat and stir until mixture thickens. Stir in mustard.

Horseradish Mashed Potato3 medium brushed potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp horseradish
freshly cracked black pepper
strained corned beef cooking liquid or water

Strain a third of the cooking liquid into a clean saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Add potatoes and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes and mash or put through a potato ricer. Add milk and butter and mix gently with a fork. Add horseradish and freshly cracked black pepper.

Fried Cabbage with Bacon2 tsp olive oil
100g bacon, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 large cabbage, shredded
freshly cracked black pepper

Heat oil in a large deep frypan or wok and fry the bacon for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 minute.

Stir in the shredded cabbage and season with freshly cracked black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Cabbage will retain it's crispness, if you prefer it softer you can cover it and let it steam until it is coked to your liking.

Remove meat from cooking liquid and slice against the grain.

Serve with steamed broccoli & cauliflower, horseradish mashed potato, cabbage with bacon and mustard sauce.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My first Brisvegas hail storm

Queensland, beautiful one day, perfect the next.. How about Brisbane, beautiful one minute, hailstones the next.. After living in Brisbane for a few months I am slowly becoming acclimatised to the warmer weather and wasn't expecting a hail storm to come out of nowhere.

First came the dark skies

 Then a came the hail

'Sizzler' Style Cheesy Toast

Having recently moved to Queensland I was craving Sizzler because it closed down years ago in Victoria but was still going strong in the sunshine state. After going two or tree times I'm certainly over it (maybe I'm not good at restraining myself at all you can eat buffets...) but I still enjoy the cheese toast. Here is a pretty good replica. You can use any sort of bread or bread rolls, but if you want to duplicate the original make them thick slices of white bread.

Cooking Time: 2 minutes
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 6

12 slices thickly sliced white bread
250g butter, softened
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Mix the softened butter with the Parmesan cheese.
Heat the grill or griddle pan and 'toast' your bread until lightly browned.
Spread the bread thickly on the UNCOOKED side, and set aside. Allow the spread to melt a little into the surface of the bread.
Heat the frypan over the highest hotplate setting, and quickly 'sizzle' your toast, spread side down for 20-30 seconds to melt the spread and crisp the surface.
Press on the bread with a spatula to get the spread all hot and super crispy.
Serve immediately

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jam Drops

Not the prettiest jam drop but tasty nonetheless...

3/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
2 eggs
125 g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Jam of your choice

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla extract with electric beaters until pale and creamy
Add eggs one at a time and beat in.
Add flour and vanilla and mix into a stiff dough.

Break dough into small pieces, press hole in centre with a cork or the end of a wooden spoon, and fill with jam.

I also decided to test out some chocolate peanut butter ad dark chocolate chips. They were ok but the jam provides much needed moisture so I'll stick to the classic filling..

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Stand on the baking tray for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining biscuit dough and jam. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

The first batch was a bit of a disaster - if you have a fan-forced oven make sure you don't switch on the fan or they will cook far too quickly and dry out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Carrot, Snow Pea and Red Pepper Julienne in Honey Vinaigrette

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

3 medium carrots, cut into julienne strips
1/4 pound snow peas, trimmed and cut into julienne strips
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 small red bell pepper, cut into julienne strips

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water blanch carrots 1 minute. Add snow peas and cookmixture 10 seconds more. In a colander drain carrots and snow peas and rinse under coldwater. Drain carrots and snow peas well.

In a bowl stir together vinegar, mustard, and honey and add carrots, snow peas, and bellpepper, tossing to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.

Serves 2.

Each serving about 104 calories and 1 gram fat (9% of calories from fat)

Serve with Chicken with Mustard Seed Crust and Couscous

Source: Gourmet May 1996

Mashed Potato Variations

- Add a teaspoon of garlic and sweet chilli sauce.
- Add a big dollop of Horseradish Cream.
- Add some Honey Wholegrain Mustard.
- Add some Dijon Mustard.
- Mash and add chicken salt and a bit of cream.
- Mash and add chicken salt, milk and butter.
- Add a splash of mint sauce and lemon.
- Dice up some onion and add it in after mashing.
- Add Sultanas
- Add BBQ Sauce, Peas n Corn
- Add a little bit of Cumin
- Add crispy bits of bacon, some onion and a tiny sprinkle of cheese all mixed through
- Add cooked finely sliced cabbage, diced bacon and spring onions

Lemonade scones

3 cups SR Flour
1 cup cream
1 cup lemonade

Mix flour, cream & lemonade together, spread out on a floured or oiled or buttered tray (mix will double in height) brush with milk or egg wash
Run a floured knife through the mix so they break easier
Bake in 220C oven for 10 to 15 mins until brown on top
Serve with butter or jam and cream

Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

Can be made as a whole pudding, or as a bunch of mini ones in a muffin tray.

2 cups chopped dates
½ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 beaten eggs
½ cup plain flour
125g butter
2 tbs golden syrup
½ teaspoon bicarb of soda
½ cup self raising flour

Grease a deep 20cm round cake pan and line base. Combine dates, butter, sugar, syrup, milk and soda in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, remove from heat, cover and cool 30 minutes.
Stir eggs and sifted dry ingredients into date mixture. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake in moderate slow oven for about 1 hour. Stand 5 minutes before turning onto wire rack. Turn right way up and stand cake on rack over tray.

Butterscotch sauce

1 cup brown sugar firmly packed
300ml cream
200g butter

Combine ingredients over low heat until sugar is dissolved and butter melted.

Biscuits in a Jar

For a special gift, give a 'quick-mix jar' of ingredients. It's like a packet mix, but sent with love - all that is required is to mix and bake. Assemble all the dry ingredients to your favourite recipe, then layer them in a large jar. Design is important, so alternate with coloured ingredients. Seal the jar well, add a pretty ribbon with a tag that lists the wet ingredients that need to be added, along with the instructions. Include clever hints that a 'non-baker' may need and give your luck to your friend.

Layer the following ingredients decoratively in a glass jar, making sure the sugar and flour are packed down.

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups SR flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup choc chips or baking M&Ms
1/2 cup Rice Bubbles

Instructions to be provided with the jar:

To make your biscuits, cream half a cup of butter with 1 tsp vanilla and 1 egg. Add the ingredients of the jar and stir. Drop teaspoonfuls on to a lined biscuit tray and bake at 180C for 10-12 minutes. Makes three to four dozen.

Bacon and Chickpea Frittata

1 onion, chopped
4 bacon rashers, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained
Any vegetables you have on hand, for example, frozen peas, baby spinach, leftover cooked vegies
4-6 eggs, lightly beaten and seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg
1 cup grated cheese

Start by frying your onion and bacon for about five minutes, then add the chickpeas and other vegetables. Pour the egg mixture over the top of everything. The egg mixture should cover most of your ingredients in the pan leaving some of the ingredients poking through the top of the egg. Sprinkle the whole lot with cheese and cook it on a medium heat for several minutes until the bottom is set. Pop the frypan under the grill for a few more minutes until the top is a lovely golden brown. Be careful with the handle of the frying pan when doing this part, you don't want to burn yourself! Serve it up on its own or with salad.

Karen Martini's Cherry and ricotta strudel

Another Panko option, I'm sure this fabulous dish from Karen Martini is the perfect way to finish off a meal.

500g ricotta
150g caster sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
375g packet filo pastry
250g unsalted butter, melted
650g jar sour cherries, drained, syrup reserved
1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed
5 Tbsp Japanese breadcrumbs (panko)
Extra 1 tablespoon caster sugar
100g raspberry jam
Double cream, to serve (optional)

Preheat oven to 180ÂșC. Line a large oven tray with baking paper. In a medium mixing bowl, combine ricotta, sugar, lemon zest and juice, vanilla, egg and egg yolks.

Lay a filo sheet on a clean surface and brush with butter. Lay another sheet, overlapping slightly to 1 side, so you have a rectangle about 45cm wide. Keep repeating layers, alternating from one side of rectangle to the other, brushing with butter, until all filo sheets have been used. Spread ricotta mixture on filo rectangle, leaving a 5cm border. Top with cherries and raspberries. Sprinkle over breadcrumbs.

Roll up strudel from one short end to the other, tucking in filo edges as you go. Transfer roll to prepared tray and score top. Brush roll with remaining butter and sprinkle over extra sugar. Bake for 55 minutes. Remove strudel from oven and stand for 20 minutes, before serving.

To make sauce, put reserved cherry syrup and jam in a small pan. Bring to the boil and reduce liquid by two-thirds. Remove from heat and cool. Serve strudel with cooled sauce and a dollop of double cream, if desired.

Roast duck with spicy coconut and watermelon

Duck and watermelon are a great match and the spicy coconut dressing is the perfect foil to such a good partnership. If you don’t have time to roast your own duck, buy one from a Chinese restaurant

1 roast duck, de-boned and cut into pieces (see Meat & Poultry)
1½ cups chopped watermelon
1/3 cup roasted coconut, finely grated
½ cup Vietnamese mint
½ cup coriander leaves
4 shallots, peeled and sliced finely
5cm (2in) lemongrass, white part only, sliced
1 telegraph cucumber, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 large green chillies, seeded and sliced finely, lengthwise

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon red curry paste
100ml (3½fl oz) coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons black vinegar
1 teaspoon five spice powder

Make the dressing first by heating the oil in a small saucepan. Add the curry paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, to ensure the paste doesn’t burn or stick.
Transfer the paste to a mixing bowl, then add remaining dressing ingredients. Mix well and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large serving dish, combine the duck and the remaining salad ingredients. Pour the dressing over the duck salad and garnish with extra Vietnamese mint or coriander.
Serves 4

Char Kway Teow

500g fresh flat rice noodle sheets
50ml oil
2 tablespoons minced Chinese radish
3 red chillies
2 cloves of minced garlic
200g green prawns (peeled and de-veined)
1 Lup Chong (Chinese sausage), sliced
2 beaten eggs
2 teaspoons thick dark soy
1-2 tablespoons light soy
generous handful of bean shoots
30gm garlic chives, cut into 2.5 cm lengths
salt and pepper to taste

Pound the sliced chillies to a paste. Cut rice noodle sheets into 1cm length strips, separate gently. If there's too much oil on the noodles pour hot water over them, as oil is used to stop the fresh noodles sticking in the refrigeration process. Drain immediately in a colander and loosen with chopsticks to prevent sticking.

Heat oil in a hot wok. Add the minced radish, chilli paste and garlic. Stir fry for 10 seconds. Add prawns and stir. Add the noodles and toss. Add Lup Chong. Push noodles to one side and pour egg into the centre - bring the noodles back and stir fry with the egg. Add the sauces, gently coating the noodles, then add garlic chives and bean shoots. Stir fry until cooked. Serve immediately.

Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen's Famous Pumpkin Scones

I've been wanting to try these for ages. Everyone in Australia will remember Joh & Flo

1 Tblsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup mashed pumpkin (cold)
2 cups Self raising flour

Beat together butter, sugar and salt with electric mixer.
Add egg, then pumpkin and stir in the flour.
Turn on to floured board and cut.
Place in tray on top shelf of very hot oven 225-250C for 15-20 minutes.

Source: Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen

Chicken & Barley Soup

6 cups chicken stock
1 cup of uncooked barley (washed well and drained)
1 diced white onion
1 diced red onion
3 diced stalks celery
4 diced spring onions
3 large minced cloves garlic
3 cups of diced chicken breast
salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp of dried herbs of your choice

Place all ingredients except parsley in a large pot and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and stir occasionally for about 30 minutes.
Stir in parsley and serve.

Beans, beans and more beans

4 slices thick sliced bacon, cooked crisp, crumbled
450g can kidney beans, drained
450g can butter beans
450g can borlotti beans
450g can cannellini beans
450g can baked beans and ham
1 onion, chopped
3/4 cup chilli sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

In a sprayed slow cooker combine all ingredients and mix well.
Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours.

Soft-centred Chocolate Puddings with Pistachio Ice Cream & fresh Raspberries

I attended a cookery class with Phillip in Brisbane way back in 2003. This dish was absolutely divine!! This pudding is a definite crowd pleaser, and so easy to make. I cant wait to try it myself.

flour, extra, for dusting
butter, extra for greasing
375g butter
470g good quality dark cooking chocolate, roughly chopped
9 eggs
9 egg yolks
330g (1 1/2 cups) sugar
30g flour

Pistachio Ice Cream:
300g caster sugar
12 egg yolks
500ml (2 cups) milk
500ml (2 cups) cream
180g shelled unsalted pistachios
60ml (2 nips) kirsch

fresh raspberries, to serve

icing sugar, for dusting

Grease 12 x 150ml capacity moulds then dust with flour, shaking out excess.
In a double boiler melt the butter and chocolate together.
Whisk eggs, egg yolks and sugar lightly, then add chocolate mixture whilst still warm.
Add flour till just combined. Pour pudding mixture into moulds, place on tray then refrigerate overnight to set.

To make ice cream, lightly whisk sugar and egg yolks together in a bowl.
Place milk and cream in a 2 litre saucepan and bring almost to the boil. Whisk hot milk mixture into eggs then return the clean saucepan over moderate heat.
Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon.
Do not let mixture boil. Strain through a fine sieve, then refrigerate until cold.
Blanch pistachios in boiling water, drain and rub in clean towel to remove most of the skin.
Pulse briefly in food processor to roughly chop. Mix in kirsch.
Churn cold ice cream mixture in an ice cream machine.
Once fully churned, stir through pistachio mixture, store in freezer.

Preheat oven to 200°C and bake puddings for 9 minutes. Rest puddings in moulds for 2 minutes before turning out onto serving plates. Place two scoops of ice cream to one side, scatter raspberries around plate then dust lightly with icing sugar.

Serves 6

Source: Phillip Johnson from E’CCO Bistro Brisbane

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Emperor's Court

It's not often that we would start the week eating out but it had not been an ordinary day and we needed to get out of the house. So we jumped in the car in search of a local restaurant open on a Monday...

After driving past two dark restaurants we saw some flashing lights and and open door. The restaurant was empty but the menu looked pretty good and we were hungry so we took a chance.

The Emperor's Court
Clock Corner Shopping Centre
Shop 11, 521 Beams Rd, Carseldine
(next to train station) QLD 4034, Australia
(07) 3263 7085

We decided on Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup and Hot and Sour Chicken Soup for our entrees with some Prawn Crackers to share. Yes, it is a Chinese restaurant but they also have a "Thai Corner" on the menu which is great because I LOVE Thai food. Both soups were delicious and it renewed my desire to perfect Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup because it is H's favourite.

For our mains we chose Chicken and Cashews, Duck and Vegetables and a large Special Fried Rice. When the chicken arrived I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of cashews - no scrimping here! Then the duck arrived and we knew we had found our new favourite local Chinese restaurant. The duck breast was plump, juicy and delicious.

The entire meal plus two soft drinks (they aren't licenced but they are BYO so next time we will take along a nice bottle of wine from home) came to just $51 and we had enough left over for lunch the next day and they were more than happy to package it up to go.

They also offer a meal & rice lunch set for between $6.50 (Garlic Vegetables) and $8.50 (King Prawns with Vegetables).

Banana Split on Rye

Fill the tank before a big workout with this sweet sandwich

100% rye bread
100% natural peanut butter
Cottage cheese
1 Banana, sliced
2 Dates, sliced

Spread rye bread with peanut butter. 
Top with cottage cheese, banana slices and dates.

Lunch Ideas to get you out of the sandwich rut

Hors d'oeuvres - Serve whole-grain crackers with 3 tablespoons goat cheese; top with halved grape tomatoes and fresh basil. Or spread on spicy hummus and top with sliced black olives and chick peas.

Fruit and Nut Wrap - Spread 2 tablespoons cashew butter on a whole-wheat tortilla; sprinkle raisins on top.

Mediterranean Meal - Open a whole-wheat pita and fill with 1 to 2 tablespoons tahini, fresh spinach leaves, sun dried tomatoes and 1 ounce string cheese.

Salad-to-Go - Mix a small container of tuna (packed in water, drained) with light mayo, grated carrots and diced celery. Serve with whole-wheat crackers.

Fruit kabobs - Thread melon chunks, grapes, and banana slices on a skewer. Dip into 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt mixed with 150 calories of whole-grain cereal.

Trail Mix Meal - Mix about 1 cup whole-grain cereal, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (without the shell), 2 tablespoons dried apricots and 1 tablespoon raisins. Serve with fresh sliced veggies

Banana and Coconut Loaf

1 1/2 cup SR flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup mashed banana
1 egg lightly beaten
1 cup coconut milk (or carnation light n creamy coconut flavoured milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 160C
Grease and line a 10x20cm loaf tin
Sift flour and mix dry ingredients together
Mix in dry ingredients until just combined and pour into loaf tin and bake for 1 hour
Let cool in the tin for 10 mins before turning out onto wire rack to cool right down
Serve warm with butter or on its own

Variations: Use wholemeal flour or half/half, add some crushed pineapple and use raw sugar.

Cheesy potato bake with bacon and mushroom

I adapted this from a basic cheesy potato bake recipe on

With the addition of onion, bacon, mushrooms, garlic, mustard & parmesan cheese this is lifted to a new level of deliciousness! Serve as a side dish or pair it with some cold meat and salad for a lovely lunch.

60g butter
1/4 cup plain flour
2 1/3 cups milk
2 cups grated tasty cheese
2 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 brown onion, diced
1 portobello mushroom, diced
3 rashers shortcut bacon, chopped
1 kg Sebago potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 6cm deep, 24cm square baking dish.
Melt butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until bubbly. Remove from heat. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly until well combined. Return to heat. Cook, stirring, until sauce comes to the boil. Add 1 1/2 cups of tasty cheese , parmesan cheese and mustard. Stir to combine.
Heat oil in frypan, add garlic and onion and cook onion until soft. Add bacon and cook, stirring, until slightly crisp. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
Arrange one-third of potatoes, overlapping slightly, over base of baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon one-third of the cheese sauce over potatoes followed by one-third of the bacon & mushroom mixture. Repeat twice.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender and top is golden.
If top begins to brown too much, cover with foil.

Serves 6 as a side dish

Sunday, October 9, 2011

20 minute scrolls from your breadmaker

Taking lunch from home saves a lot of money, but how would you like to save even more and offer your family something different and fresh every day. If you already own a breadmaker this idea is so simple.

Simply make a dough batch for a whole loaf in your breadmaker. Then put some flour on your counter and roll it out. Don’t make it too large, about 40cm by 30cm. Then add your topping and roll up again, and divide this equally into eight scrolls. Place them onto a small oven tray, cover in cling wrap and place in the fridge (they last up to three days).

The morning you need them, simply take them out of the fridge, turn them over and let them rise for 40 minutes, and then pop them into a 200F oven for 18-20 minutes. Pop each one into a brown paper bag when cooled and your family has lovely fresh scrolls to take with them (or eat for breakfast while still warm). You can make two batches of dough in one hit and have a savoury and sweet scroll if you like.

Fillings could include:
* Nutella and sugar (OK, not the best for the health but yummy)
* jam and maple syrup
* jam alone
* Vegemite and cheese
* garlic butter (easy version of garlic bread)
* chilli con carne
* chicken
* cheese and ham

Your imagination is the only limit.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Caramelised Capsicum Dip with Philly

2 small tins diced capsicum, not drained
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (castor, white)
2 tsp crushed garlic

Place all ingredients into a small saucepan and simmer for 10-20 mins until it reaches a consistency similar to honey. Pour over a block of Philadelphia cream cheese and serve with water crackers.

Source: Hutchie

Poached Chicken

6 litres cold water
3 spring onions (scallions), trimmed and sliced
10 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup sliced ginger
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 medium-sized red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon white peppercorns
6 bay leaves
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, cut in half crossways
1 x 1.5 kg (3 lb) organic free-range chicken

Place all ingredients except chicken in a 10-litre stockpot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.

Meanwhile, rinse chicken under cold water. Trim away excess fat from inside and outside cavity, but keep neck, parson's nose and winglets intact.

Lower chicken, breast-side down, into simmering stock, ensuring it is fully submerged. Very gently poach chicken for exactly 14 minutes, then immediately remove pot from stove and allow chicken to steep in the stock for 3 hours at room temperature to complete the cooking process.

Using tongs, gently remove chicken from stock, being careful not to tear the breast skin. Place chicken on a tray to drain, and allow to cool.

The urban legend $250 cookies

The recipe:
2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
24 oz. chocolate chips
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey bar (grated)
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet..Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
Makes 112 cookies..Recipe may be halved

The urban legend:
My daughter and I had just finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas & decided to have a small dessert. Because both of us are such cookie lovers, we decided to try the "Neiman-Marcus Cookie". It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe and the waitress said with a small frown "I'm afraid not." Well" I said, "would you let me buy the recipe?"

With a cute smile, she said YES". I asked how much and she responded, "Only two fifty, it's a great deal!" I said with approval, "just add it to my tab".. Thirty days later, I received my VISA statement from Neiman-Marcus and it was $285.00. I looked again and remembered I had only spent $9.95 for two salads and about $20.00 for a scarf. As I glanced at the bottom of the statement, it said, "Cookie Recipe - $250.00". That's outrageous!!!

I called Neiman's Accounting Dept. and told them that the waitress said it was "two-fifty," which clearly does not mean "two hundred and fifty dollars" by any POSSIBLE interpretation of the phrase. Neiman-Marcus refused to budge.. They would not refund my money, because according to them, "What the waitress told you is not our problem. You have already seen the recipe - we absolutely will not refund your money at this point." I explained to her the criminal statutes which govern fraud in Texas. I threatened to refer them to the Better Business Bureau and the State's Attorney General for engaging in fraud. I was basically told, "Do what you want, we dont give a damn, and we're not refunding your money." I waited a moment, thinking of how I could get even,or even try to get any of my money back. I just said, "Okay, you folks got my $250.00, and now I'm going to have $250.00 worth of fun."

I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover in the United States with an e-mail account has a $250.00 cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus... for free..She replied, "I wish you wouldn't do this" I said, "Well you should have thought of that before you ripped me off", and slammed down the phone on her.. So, here it is!!! Please, please, please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of. I paid $250.00 dollars for this... I don't want Neiman-Marcus to ever get another penny off of this recipe....

Here is a "true story" almost everyone has heard by now, generically known as "The $250 Cookie Recipe" and most recently associated with the Neiman Marcus company, though during the 1980s it was the bane of cookie diva Mrs. Fields.

If you hadn't figured it out already, it is not true, by the way. It's a classic urban legend -- a variant of a popular tale traced by folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand as far back as 1948, when the ridiculously expensive recipe yielded a red velvet fudge cake belonging to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the asking price for which was $25.

The current adjusted-for-inflation version (reproduced above) is still making the email rounds and its popularity shows no signs of waning, even though it has been debunked repeatedly over the past two decades. To paraphrase the ancient Klingon proverb, "Revenge is a dish best served warm out of the oven."

As to the recipe itself, I haven't tried the cookies, but by most accounts it yields damn good ones (and plenty of them). No one knows whose kitchen it came from, but we do know it wasn't Neiman Marcus, whose restaurant didn't even sell chocolate chip cookies when this legend first began circulating. The company chefs did create a chocolate chip cookie recipe after the fact, however, which Neiman Marcus now distributes free of charge as an antidote, if you will, to the defamatory urban legend. Bon appetit!

The real thing:
NM Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, slightly crushed
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips 

Cream the butter with the sugars until fluffy.
Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract.
Combine the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop by large spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or 10 to 12 minutes for a crispier cookie.
Makes 12 to 15 large cookies.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pesto Pasta Salad

This quick and easy salad is a great accompaniment to BBQ meat. I made this tonight to go with my Beef Rissoles but there is plenty left over for lunch tomorrow. Adjust the amount of vegetables and pesto to suit your taste and what you have in the fridge.

Preparation Time 20 minutes
Cooking Time 10 minutes

150g green beans, topped, cut into 5cm lengths
150g snow peas, sliced diagonally
100g broccoli, separated into small florets
375g dried small penne pasta
250g (1 punnet) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 zucchini, thinly sliced crossways
100g red capsicum, thickly diced
3-4 Tbs basil pesto

Cook beans, snow peas and broccoli in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 2 minutes or until tender crisp. Use slotted spoon to remove from pan and refresh under cold running water. Bring water back to the boil. Cook pasta in boiling water following packet directions or until al dente. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Drain well. Place in a large serving bowl.

Stir pesto through pasta. Add the beans, snow peas, broccoli, tomatoes and zucchini to the pasta and toss gently until well combined.

Serves 4

Basil Pesto

45g (1/4 cup) pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 small garlic cloves, halved
60g (3/4 cup) shredded parmesan
5 tbs olive oil

Place the pine nuts, basil, garlic and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the oil in a thin steady stream until well combined.

Couch to 5km - Week 2 Day 2

After four days of inactivity I headed out for a run yesterday morning at around 10:30am...that was my first mistake.. It was getting warm and I was feeling very sluggish. I hadn't eaten beforehand and felt like I had no energy. As such my pace was little better than if I'd just done a brisk walk. I seem to do my best times at night so I'm planning to have a rest day today and then set out for W2D3 tomorrow evening.

Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk, then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and 2 minutes of walking for a total of 21 minutes. Finish with a 5 minute cool down.
Duration 30:00, Pace 9:15 per km, Distance 3.35km
229 cal, Cal from fat 24%
Avg HR 139 BPM, Max HR 195 BPM
Zone 1: 7:52
Zone 2: 12:27
Zone 3: 8:38

Coq Au Vin

A delicious Coq Au Vin that is quick and easy to prepare and is the perfect comfort food served with some creamy mashed potato and crisp green beans or the vegetables of your choice. I usually make this with chicken pieces as they are often on special more often than marylands.

COOKING TIME: 30 minutes

PREP TIME:15 minutes

4 chicken marylands, cut in half or a mix of chicken pieces
salt & pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp plain flour
1 cup mushrooms, cut in half
1 cup reduced salt chicken stock
500 ml dry red wine
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
Mashed potato and steamed green beans to serve

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down and brown well, for about 10 minutes turning once. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Return pan to medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add carrot and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms, stock, wine, chicken and herbs and reduce heat to low simmer. Cook for 12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and liquid is thick and saucy. Discard bay leaf and thyme.

To serve, place 1 leg and 1 thigh on each plate with a mound of mashed potato and spoon over sauce and vegetables.

Freaky Freekeh for Breakfast

I've had a box of Greenwheat Freekah in my pantry for quite a while but not being quite sure what to do with it or what it will taste like it's continued to take a back seat to more conventional grains.. But Freekah will be ignored no more!

150g cracked grain Greenwheat Freekeh
1 Granny smith apple
1 pear
pinch of cinnamon
Dried fruit - sultanas, dried apricots, raisins etc
To serve - Walnuts, cashews, almonds, tinned fruit

Pour Freekah in a medium saucepan and cover with water by an inch or so. Cook for about 15-20 minutes.

(One other possibility is instead of cooking the Freekeh to simply soak it overnight in the fridge with water with a towel on top).

While waiting for the grains to cook, chop and dice apple and pear. Place in a dry pot on low heat and stir for about 1 -2 minutes. Add 2 Tbs water and a pinch of cinnamon and stir for one more minute. Wash dried fruit and add to the apples. Stir for 1 more minute or so or until soft.

Tip the fruit mixture over the already cooked grains and mix well. Let cool. Place in the fridge. The breakfast cereal should keep for 10 days or even more.

To eat hot: Take a scoop or two of the mixture add some milk and put some nuts on top. Heat in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes on high. Remove from the microwave and place a dollop of vanilla yogurt in the middle with tinned fruit.

To eat cold: Take a scoop or two of the mixture and add yogurt and sprinkle with nuts and tinned fruit.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Slow cooked honey glazed goat

This is a quick and easy recipe that you can start and then forget until the aromas take over your kitchen! While in Melbourne I always had a plentiful supply of goat from my mother and step-father's farm. It is now becoming easier to source from good butchers.

1 goat leg roast (approx 1kg)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup orange juice

Combine brown sugar, honey and orange juice; mix well.
Place roast in slow cooker and set to High.
Pour glaze over goat and season with salt and pepper. 
Cook for 4 hours basting occasionally.
Remove leg and reserve glaze.
Carve and serve with reserved glaze.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Macadamia, white chocolate and raspberry muffins

Is there anything better than the smell of freshly baked muffins? Try this divine recipe which combines white chocolate and tangy raspberries - it's sure to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.

Makes 6

1/2 cup (95g) white chocolate buds
3/4 cup (155g) caster sugar
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (80g) coarsely chopped macadamias
1 cup (125g) frozen raspberries (or mixed berries)
1 egg, lightly whisked
1/2 cup (125ml) macadamia oil
3/4 cup (185ml) buttermilk

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line six 3/4-cup (185ml) capacity Texas muffin pans with paper cases.

Combine the white chocolate, sugar, flour and macadamias in a large bowl. Coarsely chop half the raspberries. Add all the raspberries to the mixture. Stir to combine. Make a well in the centre.

Whisk the egg, oil and buttermilk in a jug. Pour into the flour mixture. Gently stir until just combined. Spoon evenly among the pans. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove from oven, set aside for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Notes: The delicate taste of macadamia oil makes it an ideal choice for baking and other sweet dishes.

Special-K 09:43 Thu 14Jul11
So easy and delicious! The only change I made was to use a frozen forest fruits mix instead of frozen raspberries. Very quick and so good warm straight out of the oven.

Special-K 17:30 Sun 02Oct11
This has become my go-to muffin recipe because it is so quick and easy and taste divine! I didn't have macadamias or buttermik so I used chopped almonds and a quick and easy buttermilk substitute.

As I have on the other two occasions I used frozen mixed berries instead of raspberries.
I also sprinkled some brown sugar on top for a bit more crunch

Buttermilk Substitute

Making a recipe that calls for buttermilk? Use this simple substitute, and you won't need to buy any:

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Milk (just under one cup)
1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice

Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.
Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.
Let stand for five minute. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.