Friday 30 December 2011

Dukkah-Crusted Lamb with Pearl Couscous Salad

I was invited to spend Christmas with friends this year and it was wonderful. I enjoyed taking a break from cooking and it was nice to be away from home for a few days. It was also terrific to spend time with my friends. However there was a bit of indulgence involved, especially with a trip to Bourke Street Bakery, along with all the other associated Christmas goodies. So I feel the need to have a few lighter meals for a while. This does not include the feast that I am making tomorrow for New Year's Eve, although I am mainly doing that for the leftovers that I can have for lunches. 

I started my lighter meals last night with this lamb recipe over on Taste but I didn't really follow the recipe so will post what I did instead. It was very good, although I think that my dukkah is starting to get some age on it and therefore lose a bit of its flavour so I think I will probably toss it and make up a new lot. The couscous was very good although I think I could have made it a bit healthier if I had used quinoa instead of the pearl couscous. You really could add any salad veg that you wanted to.

Dukkah-Crusted Lamb with Pearl Couscous Salad 

Serves 2


4 Lamb loin chops
Olive oil 
Pistachio dukkah (made with pistachios instead of almonds)
1/3 c pearl couscous
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1/4 continental cucumber, pealed, quartered and sliced 
1/4 red onion sliced 
1/2 avocado diced 
2 slices of feta cheese, diced 
Handful mint leaves, chopped
Raspberry vinegar (I bought this ages ago, it is so good and well worth it)
salad leaves to serve


Drizzle lamb with oil and sprinkle with dukkah giving it a good rub. Set aside while making salad. 
Cook pearl couscous in some vegetable stock following packet directions, rinse in cool water and drain well. Combine couscous, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, avocado, feta and mint, drizzle with a small amount of raspberry vinegar and mix to combine. Refrigerate until serving. 
Heat pan over medium-high heat and add a small about of grapeseed oil to pan. Cook chops for a few minutes each side or until cooked to your liking. Remove and drain on paper towel and trim fat from lamb. 
Serve with salad leaves and couscous salad with an extra drizzle of vinegar. 

Sunday 18 December 2011

December 2011 - Couscous salad with Honey & Saffron Dressing

So, I have had a bit of a crazy weekend. Have done a lot of stuff over the past couple of days and now I am really tired. There is still some stuff I want to get done but it is not going to happen this evening. Hopefully I will get it done tomorrow after work. 

I am going to be honest and tell you that I really haven't looked at this issue that closely. I have flicked through it and saw some lovely food. While flicking through I marked two recipes to make. Both were part of a Moroccan menu by David Morgan. 

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a full lamb along with some pork and beef to fill up my freezer and because meat is so much cheaper if you can buy it in bulk. I picked it up last Wednesday and invited by grandparents up for a meal. I decided to do the Moroccan menu for them and it was a big hit. I made the Chermoula Lamb with yoghurt dressing. I made some changes. I marinated it and but used a on the bone roast instead of boned & butterflied. I also slow roasted instead of doing it on the barbecue. I also didn't have any preserved lemon for the yoghurt dressing (at least I couldn't find the jar I am sure that I have)  so I used some fresh lemon zest in it instead. 

To go with it I made the Couscous salad with Honey & Saffron Dressing. This was so good. My grandmother was really impressed with it. I did make some changes. I added in some capsicum when roasting the other vegetables.  I used craisins in place of the sultanas and omitted the green olives. I didn't have enough oranges so I used grapefruit juice in the dressing instead. I will definitely make this one again. 

Couscous salad with honey and saffron dressing

Serves 8 (actually I think it would feed an 

1 kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and chopped
2 red onions, cut in wedges
1 red capsicum, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups couscous
200 grams of chopped apricots
100 g craisins
1 3/4 to 2 cups vegetable stock, hot
2 oranges, peeled and segmented

For the dressing
100 ml grapefruit juice
1 tbsp honey
a pinch of saffron threads
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees°C. Mix the pumpkin, onion and capsicum with the olive oil and roast this for 25- 30 minutes or until cooked. Let cool slightly and then peel capsicum and slice into strips.

Combine couscous, apricots, craisins and stock in a bowl and cover with glad wrap or a tight fitting lid until all liquid is absorbed.

Mix the pumpkin and onion with the couscous, apricots, sultanas and orange segments

For the dressing,

Heat the juice, honey and saffron in a small pan until it comes to a boil, then set aside to cool. Whisk in the oil and season to taste. Stir the dressing into the salad and serve.

The photograph here is from the following night when I served some of the left over salad with some lamb cutlets that had be marinated in olive oil and sumac. 

Sunday 4 December 2011

Cake Decorating

A couple of new cakes that I have done recently...just my standard chocolate cake. I really should break out one of these days and work out a recipe for a different type of cake. Although I am not keen on all the testing that comes with it...what to you do with all the okay but not quite perfect cakes? 

A puppy dog cake for a friend's 3 year old, the paw prints were all individually cut out of fondant with 2 different sized piping nozzles. It was very hard to get them in place! 

A Christmas present cake for a recent Christmas party. I was pleased with how the bow turned out, although it could have been a bit thinner. Plus I didn't make it with enough time for it to dry properly so it deflated after a while, but not until after the party thankfully. 

Thursday 24 November 2011


I am not feeling very well at the moment and not up to blogging much. So have a look at some pretty birdies from my back yard until I feel up to blogging something tasty. :-)



Blue-faced Honeyeater:

Sunday 20 November 2011

Pumpkin Pie with Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream

I have spoken of my love of pies before. I know that this all stems from my gramma. She was the best pie maker ever. Plus she grew all of her own fruit so in the summer time it was one glorious pie after another with fresh just of the tree (or bush) fruit. My gramma would also preserve or freeze her fruit as well so that we could have her glorious pies (and other desserts) all year round. 

This pie however, I remember more from Mum. It is Mum's recipe that I have. I always remember begging Mum as a kid to make pumpkin pie but it didn't very often get made so I like to make it a couple of times a year now just to savour it. If you don't tell people that there is pumpkin in it then they would never realise. It is just such a fabulous recipe, lovely and spiced with just the right amount of sweetness. This time around instead of one big pie I made some individual sized tarts so now I have a bunch of those in the freezer for any time I am feeling like it and I didn't have to eat a whole pie myself. LOL.

This time I also made a vegan pumpkin ice cream to serve with it which I found over on Tasty Yummies. I was intrigued by a vegan ice cream and was very impressed with it. I couldn't find almond milk so used oat milk and I used brown sugar as that was all I had. I really liked it a lot and it went perfectly with the pumpkin pie. It has also piqued my interest in exploring more vegan ice cream recipes. 

Pumpkin Pie

  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 1/2 c cooked mashed pumpkin, well drained (roasted and then mashed is best)
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • Combine sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, ginger & salt. 
  • Add eggs, pumpkin & cream and mix well. 
  • Pour into an uncooked pastry shell. 
  • Bake at 210 C for 15 minutes. 
  • Reduce heat to 180 C for 40 minutes, or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean.

For my pastry I use my Gramma's recipe it is the best pastry in the world:

Gramma's Pastry
(for one single crust pie)

  • 1 1/2 c plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c butter (gramma used lard)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar 
  • 1 small egg 
  • water
  • Combine flour and salt. 
  • Cut in butter using a pastry blender.
  • Place egg in a 1 cup measure and lightly beat, add vinegar and top up with water to 1/2 cup. 
  • Add to flour mixture and little at a time until you have a soft pastry (you probably will not need all the liquid). 

Saturday 19 November 2011

November 2011 - Happy Birthday Delicious magazine

Happy birthday to delicious. magazine. Imagine 10 years old now. It is almost hard to believe that it has been going for that long however as I sit here and look over at the shelf in my bookshelf full of magazine is a clear indication that it is true. It is a truly amazing collection of recipes and articles on a wonderful wide range of cuisines and topics. 

What else but a fabulous dessert could be made from this issue? There was some lovely looking savoury recipes like Bill Granger's Coriander & Maple Syrup Lamb Racks, Rick Stein's BBQ butterflied lamb with olive oil chips and tomato, eschalot & basil salad or John Wilson's Chicken Kiev Burgers. While all of these sounded very good, especially Bill's recipe. I really wanted to make a sweet recipe. 
Something else that was necessary, whatever recipe I made it had to be one of Valli Little's recipes. So much of what I have made out of delicious. magazine has come from Valli Little. Almost all of her recipes have been a success for me. I can't think of any off the top of my head that I would call a failure only things that I would tweak for my own tastes. It just seemed right that whatever I made from this birthday issue would be something of Valli's. 

Having said that, I did for a very short amount of time consider making Christopher The's amazing Mango Meringue Birthday Cake on the front cover. I really would love to make it one day. The recipe is long and involved and I would need to buy another two 20cm round springform pans, although I suppose I could halve the recipe. It is certainly not something that you can just whip up in a few hours. One day I will make it, although I have been saying that about Adriano Zumbo's V8 cake for two years now too. 

I had my grandparents and great-uncle & his partner coming up for dinner at slightly short notice and needed a dessert for the meal. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to make something from this issue. I decided on Valli's Strawberry & Rhubarb Galette. It was very easy and quite quick to make but it gave a stunning result. Everyone was very impressed with it. My grandmother particularly loved the pastry. I only made one change from the recipe  and that was to use yoghurt in the pastry instead of sour cream. The yoghurt reduces the richness of the pastry a bit. The rose cream that was served with it was very good too, although I reduced the amount of rose water worried that it would be overpowering but I really shouldn't have full strength would have been better I think. It was such a wonderful dessert with really good flavour. I would definitely make this one again. 

Saturday 12 November 2011

Creamed Eggs on Toast

I made this ages ago and plan on making it again for breakfast tomorrow. I love a cooked breakfast especially anything involving eggs. Before I made this I had made myself some boiled eggs for breakfast one morning. While I was boiling eggs I decided to do some extra so that I could made egg sandwiches for lunches. I didn't end up getting around to making the sandwiches so I decided that I would use up the hard boiled eggs some way for breakfast. This is a really simple but very tasty dish. I think when I make it again I might pep it up a bit with a little bit of cayenne pepper or perhaps some curry powder instead of the mustard. 

Creamed Eggs

3 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped
1 green onion, very finely sliced (I cut into quarters and then sliced it)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 c milk ( or as much as necessary)
1 tbsp mustard (or to taste)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Melt butter in small sauce pan over a medium heat. Add green onion and cook for a minute. Add flour and cook stirring for a further minute. Add milk slowly while stirring. Cook until it boils and thickens. If it is too thick add a bit more milk. Stir through mustard and salt & pepper. Remove from the heat and gently fold in chopped eggs and allow to warm through. Serve with toast and chopped parsley.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemon

It has been a long week. It is lateish but I am in the middle of doing the washing. I volunteered to be a venue and cook for a family dinner tomorrow night. Now I am wondering why since I have been extremely lazy about the housework for the past couple of weeks. Oops. So I figured if I got the washing done tonight I could focus on the rest tomorrow morning. I am sure that it will be an enjoyable evening though.

To be honest I am really just filling up some space. This recipe looked nice. Photographed really well but didn't taste very nice at all. It was so disappointing. The stock was bland and really when the only things in it are a chicken, a few slices of ginger, 2 spring onions and black peppercorns how could it be anything but bland. The addition of carrot, onion, more ginger, perhaps some coriander roots might have helped things along. Since the stock was sub-par the soup made from said stock wasn't really anything to write about. I will not be making it again and after searching the 'net hoping to find someone that had already made this or the recipe on some other site I couldn't find it and since I really didn't like it I am not going to post the recipe. I would suggest finding yourself another chicken noodle soup recipe and add a bit of lemon to it and see what you think. 

Chocolate Mousse

Sorry, sorry, sorry I have been absent for so long. I was sick for a while and then was in Sydney for an appointment a visiting friends. Since I came home things have been difficult, depression has been nipping around my heels. Sapping my energy and making me lose interest in doing anything. I have so many things to blog about I hope that I can catch up. 

I doubt that I am going to get through all of the remaining recipes in Sydney Food this year and to be honest I am not really all that worried about it now. I am getting to a point where I have made the majority of the recipes that I really want to and easily can. There are a few things that I just don't want to make, a couple of the seafood dishes. I have already said on numerous occasions that I am not keen on seafood and while I thought it would be good to make myself explore some new things I am now wondering if it is worth spending a bunch of money (seafood is expensive out here) on dishes that I am probably not going to enjoy. There is also one dish in the breakfast chapter that I have no desire to make, the jam doughnuts. I am not keen on doughnuts, I normally find them too fatty for me. I am not keen on the idea of deep frying. So I think I will leave that one as well. 

Now onto this recipe, the chocolate mousse. It was like pretty much any other chocolate mousse. Standard ingredients chocolate, cream, eggs. It was way, way too rich for me and gave me an upset stomach. In the October 2003 issue of Delicious magazine there was a recipe for a lower fat chocolate mousse. I have been making chocolate mousse using that recipe ever since. It is the recipe that I will post here as it is one I would definitely recommend trying as it is easy with a great taste but without all the fat. 

Low-fat Chocolate Mousse

Serves 6 - 8

  • 200 g dark chocolate (I use Lindt 70%) 
  • 2 tsp powdered gelatine 
  • 50 ml boiling water
  • 100 g low-fat ricotta 
  • 300 ml low-fat custard 
  • 2 tbsp brandy (I prefer 1 tbsp Kahlua)
  • 3 egg whites 
  • Melt chocolate over simmering water (or in microwave if preferred) 
  • Add gelatine to boiling water and whisk until it has melted. Leave to cool slightly.
  • Combine ricotta & custard in a processor then add gelatine mixture. 
  • Slowly stir in the melted chocolate and the Kahlua. 
  • Beat egg whites to soft peaks and fold through chocolate mixture. 
  • Divide between serving dishes and refrigerate until required. 
 Low-fat mousse: 

Bill's Chocolate Mousse: 

Saturday 22 October 2011

October 2011 - Vietnamese Steak with Watercress

Finally getting around to posting October's delicious magazine recipe. I made this a week ago but just hadn't gotten around to writing any posts the past week. It was a long week this past one, I hope that the next one will be better. 

There were a number of recipes that I was interested in making from this issue and I hope to go back and get them made over the next little while. The first of these is Ben O'Donoghue's Yoghurt-marinated fish wrapped in zucchini. Such an unusual sounding combination. It says to use firm white fish fillets but I wonder if it could be made with salmon. I might try it out and see what happens. 

I was also interested in two different dishes in the Tuesday Night Cooking feature. The first is a Thai Pork Vermicelli Salad. Made with marinated pork tenderloin and vermicelli noodles it will be a wonderful meal during summer and will be just as good cold as warm I am sure. I have made a number of different salads using vermicelli in the pasta and they are always very light and refreshing. I am sure this one will be also. 

The other recipe in the Tuesday Night Cooking feature was the Middle Eastern Lamb Tart. It is a free form tart using filo spread with hummus and then topped with a spiced lamb mince mixture. It looks like it would be easy to make even though I have never had a lot of luck with filo pastry. Perhaps with something like this it would be okay since I am not having to try and line a dish with it. I think that you could probably do your mince mixture ahead of time to make the final cooking even quicker. 

In the end though I decided to go with Bill Granger's Vietnamese Steak with Watercress. It was a very simple meal to make that had a lot of flavour. It was a tad oily for me so I would probably cut down on that a bit next time but it was definitely very good. I added some blanched halved sugar snap peas as well as the asparagus to up the vegetable content a bit. 

Vietnamese Steak with Watercress

  • 600 g sirloin steak, cut into 4 cm x 4 cm pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 
  • 2 tsp white sugar 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp light olive oil 
  • Pinch ground white pepper (I used about 1/4 tsp) 
  • 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed, sliced on an angle  (blanched)
  • handful sugar snap peas, trimmed, halved on an angle (blanched)
  • Large handful watercress
  • 1/4 c white wine 
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 20 g softened unsalted butter
  • Crush garlic with sea salt in a mortar, combine with garlic, sugar, 1 tbsp oil, white pepper, 1 tsp salt and steak. Cover and let marinate for at least an hour. 
  • Heat pan over high heat and add remaining oil (I used grapeseed here).
  •  Cook beef and marinade, without touching for 1 minuted. Turn beef and cook for a further 1 minute. Shake the pan for 30 seconds to cook the sides. Remove beef from pan, keep warm. 
  • Add wine, soy & fish sauces and butter to fry pan and cook until reduced and thickened. 
  • Combine asparagus, snap peas and watercress on a plater, top with pieces of steak and then drizzle with the sauce. 

Saturday 15 October 2011

Cake Decorating

So my latest cake was a lot of fun to make. What made it even better was that I got paid for it. Not just paid for the ingredients but paid for ingredients and time, so some pretty decent money. It added some pressure but I was so pleased with how it turned out. The birthday party had a Hawaiian theme. I was given a photo and asked to do something similar. I was so pleased with how it turned out and my client was overjoyed with it. 

The cake is a double layer of my standard chocolate decorating cake. The breasts are also chocolate cake baked in a couple of large tea cups. The cake was filled and coated with dark chocolate ganache then covered in fondant with fondant accents. I was particularly pleased with how well the Wilton flesh-tone colour paste turned out. I even managed to colour almost exactly the right amount of fondant to cover the cake which has got to be a first for me.

Friday 14 October 2011

Fish with Lemon-Roasted Potatoes and Fennel Chilli Relish

This is another recipe I made ages ago. Bill's original recipe was for baked snapper. However, I didn't want to cook a whole fish so I just pan-fried a fish fillet. Unfortunately the fish I picked, I can't remember what now, was just awful and I didn't end up eating the whole meal. I guess that my opinion of this recipe has been coloured by inferior ingredients. Perhaps I will give it another go with a whole fish. The potatoes were very good though. 

Fish with Lemon-Roasted Potatoes and Fennel Chilli Relish

  • 2 fish fillets
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • Heat olive oil over a medium heat. 
  • Season fish with salt & pepper. 
  • Pan fry for a few minutes each side or until cooked through. 

Lemon-roasted potatoes

  • 300g chat potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
  • 1/2 lemon, finely sliced 
  • 1 bay leaf (optional) 
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 clove garlic, unpeeled, crushed  
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss until potatoes are coated in oil. 
  • Spread on a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. 
  • Remove foil and bake a further 20 minutes or until golden brown. 
  • Serve with freshly ground black pepper.

Fennel chilli relish 

  • 1/2 fennel bulb, finely chopped to 5mm dice
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped 
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon   
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • sea salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine. 

Lemon Souffle Cakes

I made these ages ago. The lemony flavour was great but the batter was difficult to work with. It was really runny and produced a really soft "pancake". I suppose that was the way it was supposed to be given the name soufflé cake. However for me all that meant was that they were really hard to flip while cooking. I think I would prefer to just add some lemon zest and juice to my mum's pancake recipe or to Bill's ricotta hotcake recipe.  

Bill Granger's Lemon Soufflé Cakes

Ingredients :

  • 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 25g unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 c plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • Combine buttermilk, egg yolks, lemon juice, zest and vanilla essence then add melted butter and mix well.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre and gradually whisk in the wet ingredients until they are just combined.
  • Whip the egg whites to soft peaks then fold them into the buttermilk mixture using a large metal spoon.
  • Melt a small amount of butter in a fry pan over a medium heat. Add a couple spoons full of batter and cook until golden brown on the bottom, flip the cake over and cook until golden brown on both sides. Keep warm while cooking the rest. 
  • Serve with halved strawberries tossed in a little honey.

Sunday 2 October 2011

Pecan Maple Pie

Well, my cold decided to hang on a lot longer than I had expected it would. I had hoped to get all sorts of things made and done over the past week however it was not to be. It is a long weekend here and finally today I started to feel like I was getting back close to 100% although I have all of a sudden gotten very tired tonight. Perhaps I will manage an early night. 

Lately I have found myself in a little bit of a slump when it comes to my plans for my little blog. I haven't made anything from Bills Sydney Food in ages. I think it started when I had a couple of things that I did make (yet to be posted about) that just did not work. I am also finding myself in a position where I have made most of the things that I really wanted to and am now left with the others that I am either ambivalent about or and really unsure about making. There are also two recipes that I did make but the photos are not up to scratch so need to be remade. I have still been cooking and have so many things that I want to post about but just haven't done the posts as yet. I may yet do a few posts of just the recipes and pictures to get them up, a bit lazy, but at least it would let me catch up. Every time I post something that I have only just made I feel a little bit guilty as there are so many other recipes with their hands sticking up saying pick me, post me! LOL. 
Anyway, this is something that I did just make, well last night anyway. I just wanted to make a pie this weekend. I sat down with my mum's old recipe folder and handwritten cards and came up with a recipe for pecan pie that sounded perfect. I did make a few changes though, reducing the sugar as I usually find pecan pie too sweet. I also substituted the golden syrup in the recipe for maple syrup. I thought that this might be an interesting little twist on the regular recipe, plus I find maple syrup less sweet than golden syrup, not sure if it is or whether that is just psychological. It all came together really quickly and easily. I think next time I would use a tart tin that is a little deeper or a little bigger as I couldn't fit all the filling in although there was only about 1/2 c left over. I served the pie with a drizzle of cream today with lunch.

Pecan Maple Pie


1 1/2 cups pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoon Jim Beam (or other bourbon) (optional)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 eggs
1/4 cup pure cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pie crust (see below)


Combine sugar, syrup, bourbon and butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat and bring to the boil stirring occasionally and then remove from the heat and allow mixture to cool.
Beat the eggs with the cream and vanilla and then add to the cooled syrup.
Spread the pecans over the bottom of the pie crust.
Pour the syrup mixture over the pecans.
Bake at 170C for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Pie Crust 
1 1/2 c plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
125 g butter, cut into chunks
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 small egg

Combine flour and salt in a food processor, add butter and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Place egg in a 1 cup measure and lightly beat, add vinegar and top up with water to 1/2 cup.
Add to flour mixture and little at a time until you have a soft pastry.
Roll out to size required, line tart tin. Prick the base with a fork and then place in the freezer for 10 - 15 minutes.
Line the pie shell with baking paper and fill with pie weights, rice or dried beans and bake at 190 C for 15 minutes. Remove the baking paper and weights from the pie shell and return to the oven for a further 5 - 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  

Sunday 25 September 2011

Delicious September 2011 - Moroccan Lamb with Carrot Salad

I can't believe at how quickly this month is passing by. I all of a sudden found myself staring at not having a recipe cooked out of this month's Delicious magazine and I just couldn't let that happen. I kind of lost my cooking mojo lately. I have still been making stuff to eat but certainly nothing worth writing about. In fact not much cooking involved with pre-coated chicken breast schnitzels and frozen veg. I have, of course, had a few exceptions but I just haven't seemed to have gotten around to writing about them yet. I have a bit of catching up to do. 

From this issue I had initially wanted to make Nigella's Chocol-Oat Cookies. Basically a double chocolate oat cookie having both cocoa and chocolate chips. They sounded so good but had already made some other biscuits at the time and didn't really need two different types in the house. 

When menu planning for this week I decided to make two recipes from this issue this weekend. The first was Chicken with Shanghai Noodles from the Global Flavours feature. I had just scanned the recipe looking at what was required for it. Finding that I had almost all the ingredients I decided to make it for dinner on Saturday night. I, however, came down with a cold. Saturday morning I still planned on making it however by the afternoon I was starting to feel pretty awful again and on further reading of the recipe there was a lot more to it than I originally thought. So I have stuck the chicken thigh fillets in the freezer and I hope to make this on Wednesday when I have the day off and hopefully will be better. 

The other recipe on my menu plan from this issue is the one that I ended up making tonight, Valli Little's Moroccan Lamb with Carrot Salad which Valli says is inspired by Joanne Weir. This was very good. Although I did have a couple of issues. The first was the "lamb neck fillets" in the recipe, my very good local butcher didn't know what they were. So on my butcher's suggestion I purchased a 400g lamb leg roast portion. It was very lean and looked like it would be perfect. Second issue was that I couldn't get Dutch carrots, so I just used some regular carrots that I quartered. Finally, there was too much salt in the spice mix. I think reducing it by half would be better. I also reduced the amount of pepper. Oh, and very last, the citrus zest in the oven....200C was way too hot. 

Moroccan Lamb with Carrot Salad 


2 tbsp finely grated orange zest 
2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest 
2 tsp cumin seeds 
1/2 tsp chilli flakes 
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
2 x 400 g lamb leg portions 
1 cup whole-egg mayonnaise (I would use yoghurt next time) 
2 tsp harissa (I used more) 

Carrot Salad 
4 large carrots, quartered
2 tbsp honey (I used Leatherwood) 
100 ml extra virgin olive oil 
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly 
Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange 
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley 
radishes, sliced
sprouts, salad leaves, feta (I used garlic feta), to serve 

  • Pre-heat oven to 160 C. 
  • Bake zest and a tray for 5 - 10 minutes. Watch very carefully as it will burn quickly. 
  • Add cumin seeds and bake a further 5 minutes or until zest is crispy. Cool.
  • Crush zest, cumin, chilli with 1 tbsp each of salt and black pepper (original recipe was 2 tbsp each). 
  • Combine half the spice mix with oil and rub over lamb, cover and chill for 2 -3 hours or overnight. 
  • Pre-heat oven to 180 C. 
  • Combine carrots, honey and 60 ml oil and roast for 20 minutes or until just soft. 
  • Combine jelly and juices in a pan over a medium heat. Reduce by half and then add cinnamon. 
  • In a bowl combine parsley, radishes, sprouts, salad leaves, feta and carrots and dress with a small amount of dressing just before serving. 
  • Heat an oven-proof fry pan over a high heat. Brown lamb on all sides and them place pan in oven and roast for 15 - 25 minutes (time will depend on how thick your lamb portion is and how well done  you like it). Let rest 10 minutes, covered with foil.
  • Combine mayonnaise and harissa and place in a serving bowl. 
  • Slice lamb and serve with carrot salad and mayonnaise. 

Saturday 17 September 2011

Baked Raspberry Meringue Cheesecake

A few weeks ago my friends and I decided that we needed to catch up more regularly. So it was decided that we would have a barbecue once a month rotating houses each month. It is kind of like a pot luck situation where each one brings something. I volunteered to make a dessert for a first gathering. 

I wanted to make something a bit different but something that would be family friendly and yummy. There were a couple of choices between different tart recipes that I have had bookmarked for a while. However, I had an idea for something brand new. It was kind of based around the lemon & coconut meringue cheesecake that I made last year. However I wanted to lighten it up a bit. So I decided to add in some strained vanilla yoghurt. I made both a large one (probably too large now I look at it) and a small one for blogging and taste testing purposes of course, lol. I am very pleased with how this has turned out. The raspberry flavour is just lovely and it is not too heavy. I made sure to go easy on the sugar as it could have easily been way too sweet. I hope that it is liked by all. 

Baked Raspberry Meringue Cheesecake 

  •  1 packet granita biscuits
  • 1 packet marie biscuits 
  • 170 g butter, softened 
  • 500 g cream cheese 
  • 250 g strained vanilla yoghurt 
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste 
  • 2/3 c caster sugar 
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks 
  • 400 g raspberries (crushed and strained to remove seeds)
  •  4 egg whites 
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar 
  • 2/3 c caster sugar  
  • Process biscuits until finely crushed. Add butter and mix well to combine. Press into tart tins and chill for at least 1 hour. 
  • Place cream cheese & yoghurt in mixer bowl and beat until well combined. Add vanilla and sugar and beat to combine. Add eggs & yolks one at a time beating well after each addition. Add raspberry puree and mix well to combine. 
  • Pour filling into tart tin bake at 160 C for 50 minutes, it should still have a slight wobble but not too much. Remove from oven and cool for about 20 minutes. 
  • In a clean mixing bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Slowly add caster sugar beating until it is stiff and glossy and the sugar is completely dissolved. 
  • Spread meringue on top of cheesecake and then return to oven for a further 15 minutes or until nicely browned.
(From this I got 1 x 24 cm (5 cm deep) round tart tin and 1 x 10 cm (4 cm deep) round tart tin)

Monday 12 September 2011

Pumpkin Leek & Chorizo Risotto

So encouraged by a friend I have started on a bit of an exercise kick. Today was the beginning of week three of swimming four days a week (actually considering going to 5 days). I am now up to swimming 30 x 25 metre laps. Today it took me about 40 minutes. I have to admit that I am really enjoying it and am pleased to have been pushed into it. I have also managed to lose some weight. Since the start of this year I have lost a total of 5.5 kg. Not a huge amount but it is certainly a start. Losing is definitely better than gaining or even just staying still. I hope that with the swimming that the weight will come off quickly to start with. 

Now, I know that risotto isn't exactly diet food, however I did make this quite some time ago plus it is absolutely to die for (oh and I don't really do diet food... lol). I just love pumpkin risotto so much. In fact I really am a fan of almost any kind of risotto. I like to make my pumpkin risotto with raw pumpkin that has been fairly finely diced and let it cook in the stock as the rice cooks. Some of the smaller pieces start to disintegrate and provide a lovely orange colour while the bigger pieces stay whole and add a different texture even when fully cooked. For this one I had a leek in the fridge that needed using up so used that in place of onion and I also had some chorizo so finely diced it and fried until nicely coloured. I don't normally add the chorizo to this but it was so, so good in it and I will definitely add it in again. 

Pumpkin, leek & chorizo risotto

  • 1 chorizo, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, halved & finely sliced
  • Wedge pumpkin, finely diced (I am not sure how big it was, there was probably 1.5 cups of diced pumpkin)
  • 1 c arborio rice
  • 1/2 c white wine (or extra stock)
  • 3 - 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • grated parmesan (about a cup maybe)
  • rocket, to serve
  • Heat saucepan (I used my swiss diamond sauté pan) over a medium heat. 
  •  Place chorizo in and let cook. Remove from pan leaving as much oil in the pan as possible. 
  • Add leek and cook until soft. Add rice and stir for a minute. Add pumpkin and stir.
  • Add wine and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. 
  • Add stock slowly, stirring after each addition until absorbed, continue adding stock until rice and pumpkin are cooked. 
  • Add parmesan and stir. Season if necessary. 
  • Serve on a bed of rocket.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Feast - August 2011 - Beetroot Salad

There is a new food magazine on the Aussie landscape. Coming from the SBS stable is a wonderful magazine. It is full of some amazing recipes and wonderful articles. Recipes from many different cuisines. I have to admit to being completely engrossed with this magazine right from the start. My only small issue is with something in the editor's opening remarks: 

"Some of the ingredients may not be on your local supermarket shelves, but we believe unearthing new flavours, food stores and neighbourhoods is all part of the culinary adventure". 

That is all well and good if you are living in a major city or even in an area with a diverse population however there are those of us that do not live in areas where there are an Asian supermarket, Middle Eastern deli, Indian grocer etc, etc. There is only so much that can be purchased over the internet or by mail order. I am passionate about food, I love to create and try new recipes and cuisines. I make do with the resources that I have available. While I understand the desire to push people to move out of their comfort zones and explore, I would have thought that for a wider appeal for their magazine perhaps offering alternative ingredients would help people out. Yes, I can sit here and google what might be an appropriate substitute but sometimes it would be nice to have a suggestion from the author of the recipe.

Okay, now that I have vented that I will move on. I was quite taken with the feature on Argentine food in this issue. I was particularly taken with the look of two of the dishes, the Beef & Corn Pie and the Beetroot Salad. I ended up making both of these dishes on the one night. I was completely torn by these recipes. The Beetroot salad was absolutely to die for. I was so in love with it. The combination of the beetroot, potato, onion with a balsamic dressing was amazing. I have made it a number of times since and will definitely be making it again and again. The pie, however, was really not for me. The picture looked wonderful, the recipe sounded fine, I like all the ingredients in it but put it all together and I just didn't like it. There were two different fillings, a beef layer topped by a puréed corn/egg layer and it just didn't seem to meld for me. It was a lot of work and a lot of ingredients so I was really disappointed. The salad though was glorious and that is the recipe that I am going to be sharing with you. 

Beetroot Salad (Ensalada de Betarraga) 

  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced (I used a red onion) 
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • hot water
  • 4 beetroot, roasted until cooked
  • 2 large desiree potatoes, peeled and diced 
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Combine onion and salt and then cover in hot water. Stand for 15 minutes and then drain and rinse. 
  • Peel roasted beetroot and then dice to the same size as the potato. (The recipe said to slice thinly, I find it better diced.)
  • Add potatoes, 1 tsp salt and white wine vinegar to water and boil until tender and then drain. 
  • Combine onion, beetroot and potatoes. Dress with balsamic and olive oil and season to taste.