Thursday 27 December 2012

Fruit mince cheesecake

Okay, so this one was a bit of a disaster but I know what I did wrong and I am sure it would be fantastic if that was rectified.

I had a jar of fruit mince in the cupboard that I had been given. I was part of a hamper received by a friend from her employer and she said that she wouldn't use it. I decided that it should be used up and I thought about making a cheesecake for dessert on Christmas. I ended up not taking it to the dinner at my uncle's as I had something else to take. It was a good thing too as it was almost inedible. In fact the after the one small slice that I had last night the rest ended up in the bin.

My biggest error in this was not remembering just how strong fruit mince is. The other thing was that I had never used bought fruit mince before, only ever my own. I, stupidly, used the whole jar in the cheesecake when in reality I should have only used probably a 1/4 of it. I would say a couple of tablespoons. To be honest, I only mixed in half the jar to start with but the flavour didn't seem that strong so I put the rest in. Oh, but it intensified during the cooking process.

The cheesecake recipe is one that I have made a number of times before. It comes from the October 2003 issue of Delicious magazine. It is a low fat version that uses ricotta and low fat cream cheese. I have never had a fail with the recipe. The original recipe says to cook in 3 10 cm springform tins. I do have them but the recipe also says that you can use a 20 cm tin which I do all the time. The low fat is achieved by using ricotta and low fat cream cheese in it. The only problem I have with the recipe is that every time I make it I forget that the recipe for the base has way too much butter in it and I end up with it leaking butter all over the oven. I don't like to mark my delicious magazines but I might have to for this recipe.

Low-fat Cheesecake

150g plain sweet biscuits, crushed (I like to use gingernuts)
40 g butter (original is 70 g)
500 g ricotta
250 g light cream cheese
1/2 c (110 g) caster sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 egg (I put the extra yolk in)
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 160 C.
Line base of 20 cm springform tin.
Mix biscuits and butter. Press into tin and refrigerate until needed.
Beat ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, zest, juice and egg until smooth.
Beat egg white to soft peaks and fold into ricotta mix.
Pour over base.
Bake for 40 - 45 minutes.
Refrigerate overnight.

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you all. Hope that your day is filled with family, friends and plenty of food.

Monday 24 December 2012

Cake Decorating - My Little Pony

I had a late request for a birthday cake for my friend's now four year old. She is such a beautiful little girl and, of course, I was happy to oblige. I am happy any time I am asked to make a cake either with plenty of lead time or short notice, it doesn't matter to me. I just love to decorate. I do my best to make every cake as pretty and good as I can within the time frame that I have. 

I was asked if I could do something that involved My Little Pony. My friend gave me one of her daughter's toys to put on the top of the cake. I do, sort of, remember My Little Pony from when I was young. All of these cartoons seem to be doing their circle and coming back around. However since I have no children of my own it has been a long time since I saw any of them. I did a quick google to see things that were associated. 

I made my standard chocolate cake, which everyone loves so much. I would like to come up with a recipe for a cake that is equally as good but different flavours. I think I have said that before but I might start experimenting, it could end up quite expensive though. Anyway, I did the cake in two 20 cm sponge tins and joined them with a quick little chocolate icing. I decided, that since it was fairly hot, I would do a buttercream using half butter and half crisco. It actually turned out fairly well. One other time it was really dry and hard to spread for some reason. I coloured it pink, keeping some white aside for piping. I made accents with fondant and raided my container of excess flowers and leaves I have made for other cakes to put on top. I even piped her name on top. I have had problems writing with icing but this time it just worked perfectly. Hopefully I will be able to do it again next time. 

Friday 21 December 2012

December 2012 - Chicken with chorizo mango & piquillo

Like every year this is a double issue and there are plenty of things to make during December and January even with the delivery of my Thermomix sometime soon. Perhaps there are things to make with the Thermomix, I will have to look at the recipes again with a different eye. 

I was going to make Bill Granger's quinoa fritters with green goddess sauce. I did make the sauce and it is excellent. I cooked the quinoa. Well, sort of cooked the quinoa. I forgot it on the stove and boiled it dry. So dry that it was starting to smoke. OOPS. It was a nightmare trying to get my saucepan clean. I did manage to though. I haven't tried again but have eaten all the sauce, first as a dressing in a rice salad and secondly with some carrot and celery sticks. I am planning to try making it again in the next week. 

I decided to make the Chicken with chorizo, mango & piquillo. It was very good. Both the chicken and the salsa were really good. I am probably more likely to make the chicken again than the salsa though as I really love just eating mango rather than cooking with it. The recipe uses chicken breast with the skin on. I never seem to be able to find it with skin on and I am too lazy to buy a whole chicken and chop it up myself. I used some chicken thigh cutlets and it was wonderful. I served with coleslaw.

Chicken with chorizo, mango & piquillo

4 chicken thigh cutlets
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika (I used 3 tsp sweet & 1 tsp of hot for some pep)
100 ml olive oil (I wouldn't have used closed to this much) 
1 chorizo, chopped 
400 g jar piquillo peppers or roasted capsicum, drain & chopped (I used roasted capsicum) 
1 mango, chopped 
2 tbsp parley, chopped 
Juice of 1 lemon (I used lime) 

Cut slits in the chicken. Combine paprika, garlic and 2 tbsp oil in a bowl and add chicken and coat. Marinate for 4 hours or overnight (recipe said 30 min I didn't think it was long enough). 
Pre-heat oven to 180C. 
Heat oil in fry pan (I just added a little bit of oil). Add chorizo and fry until cooked. Remove and drain. 
Add chicken to the pan and brown on one side and then place in the oven for 15 - 18 minutes or until cooked through (recipe was 10 -12 min, I added extra time since the thigh was on the bone). 
Combine remaining ingredients with the chorizo. 
Serve chicken with salsa. 

Tuesday 18 December 2012


I will get around to posting my December delicious magazine recipe in the next day or so. First though I recently entered a baking competition over on Taste. You had to pick one of four recipes to make. The prize for winning was a thermomix. 

Yesterday lunch time I was sitting talking with the vet with my email account open and in came an email with a subject line congratulating me on winning the competition. I have no idea what the woman on the phone was say nor what I replied. I will admit to literally jumping up and down after I got off the phone. 

I have wanted a Thermomix ever since I discovered they existed but I never thought that I would get the opportunity to own one. I am absolutely thrilled with winning and I am so excited to receive it. 

So the recipe that I made was Choc Christmas Cookies. The dough was a bit hard to work with. I added a bit of extra flour to see if it would help. I needed to make two batches as the one didn't make quite enough. The second batch I made in the evening when it was a bit cooler and it was a little easier to handle. I also added some ground ginger, cloves and nutmeg to make them a bit more christmasy. The cookies tasted great but I am not sure I would make the recipe again. 

Here is my entry to the competition.

Monday 3 December 2012

Noodle salad with wasabi vinaigrette

Noodle salads are one of my favourite things to make in summer. They are quick and easy to make. You can put anything you want in them. Plus you can use different dressings to change the flavours. 

Some time ago I purchased a bottle of Pukara Estate wasabi olive oil which I hadn't used. I have previously made a rice salad that had a wasabi dressing (using wasabi paste) so I decided that the oil would work well in a vinaigrette. It really did too. It had just the right amount of bite to it. I didn't make quite enough dressing for the amount of salad that I made but I could still taste the dressing. 

For the noodle salad I just soften some thin rice noodles and then add whatever finely chopped veg that I have and finally add a dressing. It is best to leave in the fridge for a while for the flavour of the dressing to penetrate.

The dressing was just:

wasabi olive oil 
white wine vinegar 
pinch salt 

Whisk until emulsified and pour over salad and toss to combine.

I served it with a grilled lime & herb chicken. Most of the time I just put shredded chicken in the salad or I cook some steak and serve with some slices of that. 

Thursday 22 November 2012

November 2012 - Poached peaches with lemongrass

So I finally got around making something from this issue. I have lost my cooking mojo a bit. It has all just been food for sustenance rather than presentable food. I really wanted to make the tarts on the cover but I just didn't get around to it plus no one but me to eat them.

I did make a lime & herb marinated chicken but it ended up being completely different than the recipe in the magazine so decided that I couldn't use that one. 

There is a fregola salad recipe that I was considering making but for some reason I just couldn't seem to get all the ingredients together at once. I also do not have fregola but I thought that I might be able to use pearl couscous. 

In the end, out of frustration at having not made something, I decided to make Jamie Oliver's poached peaches with lemongrass. They were very good, nice and refreshing. I would probably bash the lemongrass around before adding it in. I reduced the poaching liquid down to a syrup to serve with them. I have also used them chopped up on my breakfast cereal. 

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Chicken & watermelon salad with balsamic chilli dressing

This is another of those throw together on a whim with what is in the fridge meals, well except for the watermelon I bought that tonight. I really wasn't sure how it was going work initially but I was very happy with the end result. It was very refreshing but full of taste and just filling enough for an evening meal. I don't have amounts for any of this as I just threw things in so just go for it and see how it turns out. 

red onion, finely sliced 
roasted capsicum, torn (I used bottled in oil) 
sun-dried tomatoes, sliced (I used vacuum packed dry ones)
watermelon, cubed
bocconncini, torn
basil, chopped
roast/poached/grilled chicken sliced 


chilli paste
black cherry balsamic 
extra virgin olive oil
pinch salt

Combine all ingredients for salad except the chicken & rocket.
Mix ingredients for dressing until emulsified and pour over salad. 
To serve, place rocket on the plate place chicken around the rocket and pile salad on top. 

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Sticky char siu spare ribs

Almost a year about I filled my freezer with bulk meat purchased from my local butcher. I have used the majority of it but there is still a few things left. It really should have been used up long ago, meat doesn't last forever in the freezer but I will just continue my way through. It is not like it is going to hurt me it just tends to get a bit freezer burnt and not tip top any more. As part of my purchase I bought pork spare ribs, which here in Australia is pork belly sliced into "chops" rather than what we call the American-style spare ribs. It really would be easier if we could all have the same name for things. Anyway, I have several different ways to make them. Most of which are ways that my mum cooked them. 

Anyway, I found this recipe for Sticky Char Siu Spare Ribs and thought that it would be nice to try something different. I ended up putting some ginger and chilli in, although I didn't put in nearly enough chilli as there really wasn't any kick to it. I baked them as per the recipe but they really weren't "sticky" so I put them under the grill for about 10 minutes and they came out perfectly. I served with rice and steamed broccolini and asparagus. 

Sunday 4 November 2012

Marinated Fennel Salad

This is the second salad that I made last night. I had a bulb of fennel in the fridge that had been there for a while and I really wanted to use it in something. Since was a warm evening I decided that a salad was the best way to use it. I had a bit of a search on the internet and found this recipe. I made a couple of changes and would make a few more if I made it again. I would decrease the amount of oil it ended up just too much. I would also reduce the amount of vinegar as it was very tart. I added a tsp of garlic olive oil and a tsp of dried oregano. I think I would add more as it didn't really come through. I had wanted to put dill in but what I had had gone slimy, yuck. Although perhaps even just some parsley would have worked. I think that it needed to be served with some sort of green leaves. Rocket would have been nice but lettuce would have been fine. It did go well with the apple, carrot & celery salad and the rissoles. With just a few more tweaks I think it could be a regular for me.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Apple, carrot & celery salad

If you have been reading for a while you will know that I am keen on finding side dishes that can be the focus of the meal. Those that you can have with a chop or a steak or in this case some rissoles. I did two salads to go with them tonight. The first is this apple, carrot & celery salad. It was very fresh and such great flavour. It was quick to make too. Next time I would put a bit more mint in. My plant is still small and I didn't want to take too much off it. 

Apple, carrot & celery salad

2 celery stalks
1 large carrot
1 red apple, quartered & cored 
1 green onion, finely sliced 
1 tbsp mint, finely chopped (I think I would use 2 next time)
1 tbsp flat parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp lime juice 
2 tbsp olive oil 
1/2 tsp honey
large pinch salt

Using a v-slicer slice the celery thinly then use julienne blade and do carrot & apple. 
Combine celery, carrot, apple, onion, mint & parsley in a bowl. 
Mix lime juice, oil, honey and salt until emulsified. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (I had mine in the fridge for about 20 minutes) 

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Angel hair pasta with crab, chilli & tomato

After using some of the container of crab meat for the stuffed mushroom I needed to use the rest up as it stated on the packaging that it wasn't suitable for home freezing or some such wording. Anyway it meant that I had to use it up. 

I searched around for a recipe to use it up, actually I typed "crab" into search over at Taste and just scrolled through the recipes until I found something that I liked the sound of and was willing to make on a Sunday night. I came up with this pasta dish which I had everything for except the basil. 

It was really easy to make and did taste nice it was just that I wasn't feeling my best and it just didn't sit all that well. In fact, I didn't eat all of my portion, which is almost unheard of with pasta. I am sure it I had been feeling better it would have tasted better. I was by no means bad it was just unfortunate timing. 

Sunday 28 October 2012

Creamy crab stuffed mushrooms

I have been wanting to make this for dinner for ages but something always seemed to get in the way. I planned to make them on Thursday night but ended up having a late coffee with someone and didn't get home in time to make it. Well, I did but I just wasn't that hungry. So on Friday I decided that I just had to make them. I had been really busy on Friday and heading towards dinner time and I really didn't feel like cooking. I force myself to get up and do it and I am pleased that I did. It turned out very well. I don't really have a recipe though, I just sort of tossed things in. 

garlic, crushed
green onions, white section finely sliced 
Cream cheese (I used extra-light as that is what I had in the fridge) 
Crab meat
egg yolk 
dill, finely chopped 
parmesan cheese, grated
portabello mushroom

Pre-heat oven to 190 C
Cook garlic & green onions in a little oil, I did it in the microwave. Let cool. 
Combine with cream cheese, crab meat, egg yolk, dill and some of the parmesan. Stuff mixture into mushroom. Top with more parmesan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes. If it is not yet browned place under grill for 5 minutes or until golden. 

Thursday 25 October 2012

Delicious October 2012 - Chorizo, Cumin & Tomato rice

So it took a while to get something made from this issue. Not from lack of choice perhaps too many things to choose from. Plus I went through a loss of cooking mojo and was then away for a few days. 

I decided to make this Bill Granger recipe last night as I had pretty much everything for the dish and could substitute what I didn't have. This one was okay but nothing to rave about really. For the rice portion of the dish I used a new product (or at least new to me) called Rice Plus which is a mix of different rices and grains. It was did like it there was a nice chewyness to it. I didn't have any green beans so used asparagus . When eaten with a bit of chorizo the rice was good but without it was a bit lacking. I had some of the leftovers for lunch today and added a bit of sweet chilli sauce and it was a bit better. Perhaps some chilli would have pepped it up. I use a combination of sweet & hot paprika perhaps all hot would have been better or even just more of the spices. Like most rice dishes half the recipe made more than enough for 3 serves. I wont be rushing to make it again. 

I served it with a fennel, radish & feta salad. 

Chorizo, Cumin & Tomato Rice

1 tbsp oil (everyone uses olive oil these days but at high heat it isn't the best so I used grapeseed)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp each ground cumin, paprika and ground coriander
1 1/2 cups basmati
400g can chopped tomatoes (perhaps some fresh would have added something) 
3 - 4 c chicken stock (I used 3) 
200 g green beans
300 g chorizo, chopped 
200 g marinated red capsicum, drained & sliced 

Heat oil, add garlic & spices cook until fragrant. Add rice and stir to coat in spice mix and then add the tomatoes & stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add beans in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Meanwhile fry chorizo in another pan until lightly browned.

Serve rice with chorizo and capsicum.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Silverbeet Pie

This is a recipe of my Mum's. It is one of my favourites and I can remember her making it from when I was little. There wasn't much that I didn't like, food wise, when I was a child. There was a few things, parsnips, brussels sprouts and some sort of "pie" thing that my dad made on mum's grocery shopping afternoon and was later home than usual. I hated it so much that I found his recipe and threw it away. I don't remember what happened for dinners when mum was late after that. 

Anyway, that really doesn't have anything to do with this. My mum was a great cook, not a fancy one, but very good. She taught me all the basics. There was also some harder things that we used to make together. Just thinking about it, it is probably time to pull some of those recipes out and give them another whirl. Although I do wonder if those things were so good just because it was my mum and I making them together. 

I was about 10 when mum showed my how she made this. It really is a cook by feel dish now. I remember that my mum used to put the eggs, milk and a chunk of cheese in a blender and pulse it until the cheese was chopped into small - medium bits. I loved it when she left them a bit bigger as the cheese would be oozy. I haven't had a blender for years so now use grated cheese. I have never played around with this recipe. With the exception of the grated cheese, I make it exactly the same way as my mum did. The pastry on the bottom is usually a bit soggy and I am sure there is something that could be done to cook it better but, to be honest, that is part of the memory of what makes it so good. You could use spinach in place of the silverbeet.

Silverbeet Pie

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/2 to 1 bunch silverbeet, white stalk remove, roughly chopped, steamed and well drained
1 small onion, finely diced 
1 - 2 cloves garlic, crushed 
5 eggs
1/4 c milk (full-cream is best otherwise it can be a bit watery)
1 c grated cheese

Pre-heat oven to 180 C (fan-forced). 
Line pie plate with the puff pastry and pinch edges.
Place onion and garlic in a ramekin with a drizzle of oil and cook in microwave for 1 - 2 minutes on medium or until onion is softened. (You could do this on the stove if you want) 
Put silverbeet in the bottom of the pie plate, sprinkle on onion mix and 3/4 c cheese. 
Whisk together eggs and milk and pour into pie plate. 
Top with remaining cheese and cook for 40 - 45 minutes or until set. 

Monday 15 October 2012

Soy & Maple Beef with rice

I subscribed to the Australian Healthy Food Guide a while ago. It is a nice little magazine with some great tips and tricks in it. There is also plenty of recipes however I will admit that until this issue I hadn't made any of the recipes. In fact I didn't even make the recipe that was in the magazine. What I made was based on the recipe in the magazine but the balance of flavours just didn't seem to be right to me and I changed some of the vegetables in it. If I made it again I would add some chilli to it as well as it needed some zing.

Soy & Maple Beef 

500 g beef, very thinly sliced 
1/4 c maple syrup
1 tbsp kecap manis 
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed 
2  tbsp oil
1 red onion, cut into wedges 
1 red capsicum, roughly chopped (I didn't have one but would add it in) 
1 carrot, finely sliced (I used a mandolin) 
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
small head broccoli cut into florets
handful snow peas, trimmed and halved
Brown rice to serve

Combine maple syrup, kecap manis, ginger and garlic in a bowl. Add beef and leave to marinate for an hour. 
Heat half the oil in a wok. Fry beef in batches and then set aside. 
To the wok add the remaining oil then add onion and cook until starting to soften add capsicum, carrot, celery and broccoli and stir fry for a few minutes. Return beef to the pan with the snow peas and a bit of the leftover marinade. Cook to heat through. Serve with rice. 

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Scrambled eggs with corn & chorizo

Back to breakfast. I love doing cooked breakfasts. I don't do them often though. It is usually because it takes me so long to decide what to make it is lunch time. LOL 

For this one though I just decided that I would through some things together. I actually really like creamed corn on toast for breakfast but I have at least 2 dozen eggs in the fridge so also wanted to use some of them. There was also a small piece of chorizo so I decided to us that up as well and so breakfast was created. It was so very good and would definitely add corn to scrambled eggs again. 

Scrambled eggs with corn & chorizo
(Serves 1)

2 eggs 
1/4 chorizo, finely chopped
1/2 a 125 g can creamed corn
1 tbsp ricotta 
salt & pepper to taste 
Sourdough toast and parmesan to serve

Over a medium heat cook the chorizo, add beaten eggs and let cook for a while then fold to scramble. Combine corn & ricotta and then fold through eggs. Serve immediately on toast. 

Monday 1 October 2012

Quinoa orange, ginger, carrot & coconut salad

I bought this book a while ago now and have only made this one recipe so far. I plan on making a lot more but so many recipes, so little time. LOL 

I really quite enjoyed this salad. I didn't have an orange but did have some tangelos so used one of those instead. I also used red quinoa as I don't have any black but I will try to get some and give it another try to see what the difference is. I am not usually a fan of sweet things in salad but I really did like this one. I didn't add as much ginger as was in the recipe as I was worried about it overpowering it but I really should have used the whole amount. I made half the recipe but it still made plenty. I served with herbed salmon and steamed asparagus.

Quinoa orange, ginger, carrot & coconut salad 

3/4 c black quinoa, rinsed and drained 
1 3/4 c water
4 medium carrots, grated 
1/2 sultanas
3/4 c shredded coconut
3 tbsp chives (I would probably use green onions next time) 
juice & zest of 1 orange (zest wasn't in recipe but I added)
1 tbsp grated ginger 
2 tbsp olive oil 
2 - 3 tbsp lime juice

Bring water & quinoa to the boil then cover and simmer until water is absorbed. Let cool. 
Add carrot, sultanas, coconut & chives. Mix juice & zest, ginger, oil & lime juice then pour over quinoa. Toss and refrigerate for at least an hour to let flavours combine. 

Sunday 30 September 2012

Cake Decorating : Skylanders

A friend of mine asked me if I could do a cake and cupcakes for his nephew's birthday. He is mad for something called Skylanders. Neither my friend nor myself had any idea what that was. He had brought a couple of toys with him to give me an idea of what they wanted. It didn't look like it was going to be that difficult. Along with the cake they wanted around 30 cupcakes cupcakes. I have to admit be being thrilled at the prospect of making something like this. I did a bit of research. The toy that the cake was to be shaped like is called a portal. It lights up and changes colour. My friend asked me if there was any way that we could light up the top of the cake. I said that I was sure we could figure out away. 

It wasn't actually that hard in the end when I sat down and thought about it. My friend had strips of led lights so he wired 4 strips of those up. They, of course, wouldn't show through fondant icing so I needed to find a way to cover the lights. I remembered that you could get edible paper so thought that I might be able to get some of that to place on the top of the cake. I have attempted to use it before and it was pretty unsuccessful. I then remembered that I have some rice paper in the cupboard, the type used to make nougat. I also have a spray green colour. So I sprayed two sheets of the rice paper and used it to cover the lights. It worked really, really well. 

For the cupcakes I found something call "elements" that would make good cupcake toppers. I considered buying something but in my searching I found these which I thought would be perfect. However I didn't have enough time to purchase them and have them shipped so thought that I might be able to make something similar myself. Mine weren't as good but then it looks like they were done with an air brush and I just used paint brushes to do the colours. I was so very pleased with how they turned out though and so was my friend. The party was yesterdat and I received a message that afternoon to say that the birthday boy was so very excited by it all, especially the fact that it lit up. The battery and switch for the lights were hidden in a cupcake that I hollowed out. 

Saturday 29 September 2012

September 2012 - Chicken Paillard with prosciutto

I made the two recipes from this issue very close together. This one wasn't quite as good as the jerk pork belly but it was still good.

Chicken Paillard with Prosciutto (Bill Granger) 

1 tbsp olive oil 
4 x 170 g chicken breast fillets, cut into thirds lengthwise and flatten (I didn't flatten)
1 lemon, sliced 
20 g unsalted butter 
4 thin prosciutto slices, roughly torn
4 green onions, thinly sliced 
1 tbsp capers (these aren't in the original recipe)
300 ml chicken stock
2 tbsp creme fraiche

Heat oil in pan. Season chicken and cook in batches with lemon until cooked and browned. Set aside. 
Reduce heat and add butter cook prosciutto, onion and capers for a few minutes and then add stock. Simmer for 5 minutes to thicken slightly and then stir in creme fraiche and season to taste. 

Saturday 22 September 2012

September 2012 - Jerk Pork Belly

This was great and gave me a chance to use part of my new Le Chasseur multi-function pot.

Jamie Oliver's Jerk Pork Belly

5 green onions
15 whole allspice berries 
2 cm ginger, roughly chopped
1 scotch bonnet chilli (I used bird's eye) 
3 tbsp white wine vinegar (I uses apple cider vinegar)
Grated zest & juice of 1 lime (I used 1/2 lemon)
1 bunch coriander
1/2 bunch thyme
1 - 2 tbsp grapeseed oil 
750 g pork belly, skin scored

In a food processor blitz all ingredients except oil and pork with 1 1/2 tsp each salt and ground black pepper.  Slowly add oil pulsing until you get a thick marinade.

Place pork in a snug, non-reactive dish with marinade and turn to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 200C.  Replace plastic wrap with foil and cook pork in the oven for 75 mins or until cooked and juicy. (Mine took about 1.5 hours if not a little more)

Preheat grill until hot.  Cook pork for 10-20 mins until skin is crisp and is charring in places.  Serve with rice and coleslaw.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Mermaid cake

My friend's middle daughter wanted a mermaid cake for her birthday party this year. I was happy to fulfil her request. There were a few issues surrounding party days but in the end the cake turned out really well and the birthday girl loved it and that is what is important. 

Cake is the usual chocolate cake made in two 20 cm cake tins and filled with a chocolate cream cheese filling. Covered in butter cream with fondant decorations. The "sand" on the board is crushed biscuits. 

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Creamy brie, mushroom & prosciutto risotto

This is a recipe from an old issue of delicious magazine, July 2011. Okay, so not that old but still at least it is something from the back catalogue. Which is what the whole intention of this blog was in the first place. 

The original recipe didn't include the prosciutto but I had some in the fridge that needed to be used so I added it. I put it under the grill until it was crispy and crumbled it over the top. I was unable to get the chestnut mushrooms so I used some quartered swiss brown mushrooms which I think worked really well. Oh and I used camembert instead of brie as it was reduced in price. 

I really enjoyed it however it was a bit rich for me. Although I am pretty sure if I had had a smaller portion with a salad on the side it would have been better. Some asparagus through it would have been nice. Plus, like some of the other risottos I have made serving it on a bed of rocket would have helped too. 

Monday 27 August 2012

August 2012 - Salmon wrapped in prosciutto

I can't believe that I have left it this long to get something made and posted from this month's delicious magazine. I keep saying that I will do better next month but I guess that I just have to face the fact that this hasn't been the best year so far for me and the blog just has to take a back seat until I am feeling better. Perhaps I might just post some recipes and pictures for things that I have made. I seem to fall down on writing the "chit chat" these days. I will keep going with my delicious magazine recipes though. Will not fall down on that. :-)

There were a few interesting things in this issue. I really liked some of Simon Bryant's recipes. In particular his sesame & tahini puffed rice bars with dark chocolate. I have everything but the puffed rice, oh and the chocolate, so will get that this week and make them on the weekend. I am not sure about the large amount of chocolate. Instead of coating both sides I might just do one, or I might try them without first and then decide if the chocolate is needed. 

I am also keen to make both Valli's south american roast chicken with guacamole and her harira (moroccan lamb, tomato & lentil soup). I just received my new 5 in 1 multicooker today so I think that I might give the harira a go with the pressure cooker function. I am really keen to get using it. So will be looking for lots of things that I can do in it. 

Tonight though, I made the salmon wrapped in prosciutto with pesto and roast pumpkin. I used more of the cashew & lemon pesto that I made before instead of making the parsley pesto in the recipe. I also had a bit of an oopsie with the pumpkin in that I accidentally turned the oven up to 250 C instead of 200 C so it got a bit "dark" around the edges, LOL.  I served it with a nice portion of salad. It was all very good. 

Salmon wrapped in prosciutto with pesto and roast pumpkin
Serves 4

1kg butternut pumpkin peeled and chopped (I used Kent pumpkin)
1 tbsp garlic olive oil
4 x 180g skinless pin-boned salmon fillets
4  slices prosciutto
Pesto and salad to serve

Preheat oven to 200C. 

Place pumpkin on a baking paper lined tray and drizzle with oil and season. Roast for 30 - 40 minutes or until tender.  

Season salmon with salt & pepper then wrap each salmon fillet with a slice of prosciutto.  Cook in a pan over a medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes on each side until cooked to your liking. Serve with pesto and salad.

Thursday 16 August 2012

Pesto Stuffed Chicken

I have been very slack when it comes to blogging but to be honest I have been pretty slack when it has come to cooking. I haven't been well for a while and have just not been cooking much. I have had a few of the better ready meals from the supermarket. I did make a tuna & pasta bake, that isn't really that interesting. Although I suppose even comfort food it worth writing about, it just isn't that attractive to photograph, delicious though. 

I am even still to decide on what to make from this month's delicious magazine. I have one recipe marked to make but it doesn't really interest me at the moment. I am sure there is other stuff in there but my disinterest in cooking and food means that deciding on what to make is a difficult decision. I will get it done though as I am not going to miss a month of delicious recipes. 

I am quite impressed with the recipes in this month's Feast magazine. There are quite a few of them that I would like to try out. Some pretty extensive ingredients lists. Although several of them I have every thing or just need one other thing to make it. It is just a matter of motivation. 

I did, however, get myself motivated enough a couple of nights ago to throw together a good meal. I had some chicken thigh cutlets to use up. I made more of the cashew & lemon pesto that I done previously. It was so easy to put together and the taste was terrific. The flavour of the pesto penetrated the chicken very well. I think that it would also work well with breasts, the oil from the pesto would help to maintain the moisture I believe. I served with mashed sweet potato & steamed beans. 

Pesto stuffed chicken

2 chicken thigh cutlets 
2 tbsp cashew & lemon pesto (or other pesto) 

Pre-heat oven to 170 C (fan-forced). 
Cut a pocket into the side of the cutlets and push as much of the pesto in as possible. Rub any extras  over the chicken. 
Heat oil in an ovenproof fry pan. Brown chicken both sides and then place in over for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. 
Serve with mashed sweet potato, steamed beans and extra pesto. 

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Salmon with Beetroot & Horseradish Risotto

I made this ages and ages ago. I kept meaning to blog about it but just never seemed to get around to it. I love beetroot, anything beetroot. I boil it, I roast it, I use it raw. I love the harvard beets that my Gramma used to make. I came up with the carrot & beet crumble which I have made several times now.  I don't think there is anything that I have made with beetroot that I haven't liked. 

I have made beetroot risotto before always using the same recipe. This one was a bit different and it was really worth the effort. I will definitely make it this way in future. I would never have thought to puree the beetroot but it does make complete sense and results in a lovely creamy risotto. I didn't have fresh horseradish to put in. I have never seen it to buy here but I am looking into getting some plants so that I can grow my own. I love horseradish, especially with roast beef. When making again I would put more of the bottled horseradish in as it didn't really come through that well. I would never have thought to pair it with salmon either but it really did go together well. I added some steamed asparagus for a bit of veg.

Salmon with beetroot & horseradish risotto


Monday 23 July 2012

Spaghetti with crab, lime & chilli

Well, it has been some time since I made something from Bill's Sydney Food. I will admit though that I did make this several months ago and just hadn't gotten around to blogging about it. I had actually made this recipe before but refused to blog about it that time as I made it with canned crab meat and while it tasted okay it was pretty awful looking. The tinned crab meat is not something that I would be buying again. Since that time I discovered that I can buy tubs of fresh crab meat shredded in the supermarket and I was really impressed with it so I was happy to blog about it this time. 

I did really enjoy this so much. Which is probably why I persisted in finding decent crab meat to make it again. It is lovely and tangy with just the right amount of heat but I guess that is dependent on how much chilli you put in. This is definitely one that I would make again. It is wonderfully zesty and reminds me so much of summer.  

Spaghetti With Crab, Lime And Chilli

Serves: 2
150g Crab Meat
Juice & zest of 2 lime
Juice 1 lemon
1 clove Garlic, crushed
1/4 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely sliced green onions
1 small chilli, sliced (I used some chilli flakes as I didn't have a fresh chilli)
1 tsp Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
200g Spaghetti, cooked and drained
Place crab, lime and lemon juices, lime zest, garlic, parsley, spring onions , chilli, sea salt and pepper in a bowl and stir in olive oil to combine. Taste to adjust the seasoning. Toss pasta into crab mixture and serve.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Pineapple & Cardamom Upside Down Cake

I love to cook and I love to bake. That is probably obvious since I have a foodie blog. While I get a lot of chance to cook meals, hey everyone's got to eat, baking is a different story. Living on my own means that I have to eat what I cook. There is only so many cakes, muffins, slices or desserts that one woman can eat. So whenever I get invited to dinner to a friend's house I always take something with me. This was one of those times. 

I have actually made this cake before and think that it is just wonderful. I find that upside down cakes can have a tendency to be too sweet. However the cardamom in this one seems to cut through the sweetness wonderfully. Although I will admit that I have reduced the sugar in both the topping and the cake. My friends and their children just loved it. I love it too, so much so that I didn't leave the leftovers but brought them home for me. Lol Although after feeding 3 adults and 3 children there wasn't that much left. 

Pineapple & Cardamom Upside Down Cake
  • 70g brown sugar
  • 40g soft, unsalted butter
  • 1 tin pineapple piece in natural juice, drained (you wont need the whole tin so keep the juice)
  • 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
Combine brown sugar and butter in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over low heat until well combined and smooth. Remove from heat and pour into a well-greased, round, 20cm cake tin, spreading evenly. Arrange pineapple pieces on top of brown sugar mixture.
Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda and cardamom into a mixing bowl. Add caster sugar, stir and make a well in the centre. Melt butter with golden syrup and cool slightly. Pour into the well with eggs and milk. Beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture over pineapple pieces and bake at 160 C for about 45minutes - 1 hour or until a cake skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cover with foil if cake browns before it is cooked through.
Stand in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Marsala Pork with Fennel

On to the second of the pork recipes made last week with the pork scotch fillet that I defrosted. After searching around the Taste website for something to make with them I decided on this Marsala Pork with Fennel recipe. I used the remaining 3 pork scotch fillet steaks in the fridge for this recipe. I did make some changes. I reduced the sauce down until it was quite syrupy. In fact I think that I could have taken it down a little further to make it a bit sticky and thicker. I added about 2 tsp butter as the end of reducing the sauce to add a bit of extra richness, it probably wasn't needed but I enjoyed it. The pork was tender and the sauce had just the right amount of sweetness to it. The only change I would make next time would be to add a little slurp of cream to the sauce instead of the butter.

I made a number of changes to the fennel part of the recipe. I had a large fennel in the fridge so I used that and sliced it up. I didn't have any of the yellow squash so cut a zucchini into thick wedges. I also added half and onion thinly sliced and sautéed until soft before adding the fennel. Finally I added some canned cherry tomatoes which I squashed up. I really enjoyed this side dish. I sometimes find that the fennel flavour can be strong and overwhelming but this was quite subtle and I really enjoyed it. However, I think that without the onion and tomatoes I may have found the flavour different. I liked it my way. 

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Caramel Dumplings

There are some recipes that are definitely winter recipes. I always make more stews, soups, and roasts in the winter. Mulled wine and mulled cider are something that comes to mind as winter recipes. Plenty of dessert recipes are winter recipes as well. Puddings, pies, crumbles, poached or baked pears and baked apples are all winter desserts as far as I am concerned. 

This is a winter recipes. I have been making this since I was about 10 or 12 years old. The original recipe was from and old Women's Weekly recipe but I have changed it a little bit over the years. Mainly reduced the sugar as it was a bit sweet for me. I also reduced the flour a bit as I always found that it was a bit dry. I always end up with too much of the dumpling mixture left over anyway. This would have to be one of the desserts that I associate with a specific time of year and it really is a good one. 

Caramel Dumplings 

1 c flour 
2 tsp baking powder 
pinch salt
1/3 c caster sugar
30 g butter
1 tsp vanilla 
1/3 c milk 


30 g butter 
1 c brown sugar
pinch salt
1 1/4 c water 

Combine flour, baking powder salt and sugar. Rub in butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Combine milk and vanilla an then add to flour and mix until just combined, if it is a bit dry add a little more milk.
In a saucepan with a tight fitting lid, melt the butter.  Add brown sugar, salt and water and bring to the boil. 
Drop spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture into the sauce and then place the lid on and simmer for 20 minutes. 
Serve with cream or ice cream.

Monday 16 July 2012

Stuffed pork scotch fillet with mustard & hazelnut red cabbage

Continuing on with my fridge/freezer/cupboard recipes. This was a top of the head recipe one night when I wasn't really sure what to make. I had some pork scotch fillet in the freezer which I had defrosted to make another recipe which I:-

1. Couldn't be bothered making; and
2. Lost interest in wanting to eat it.  

So instead I put it in the fridge until I could decide what to make. I ended up making two recipes one night after the other. The first was to stuff one of the steaks with a feta & sun-dried tomato stuffing. It was very good. I also used a quarter of the red cabbage which I had in the fridge to make a side dish. I also had a roasted sweet potato with garlic butter and some steamed broccoli. 

Stuffed pork scotch fillet

1 pork scotch fillet steak, approximately 2cm thick
small piece of feta cheese, probably about 10 g, (I used a danish-style feta) 
2 semi-dried tomato halves, finely chopped 
1 tbsp grapeseed oil

Pre-heat oven to 180C. 
Cut a pocket into the side of the steak making sure not to go all the way through, Use your finger to open it up a bit further. 
Mix feta and tomatoes together well and season with pepper. (The feta is salty enough so don't add salt) Using your fingers stuff the feta mixture into the cavity in the steak. 
Heat oil in a oven-proof fry pan over a medium-high heat then brown the pork for 1-2 minutes on each side and then place the whole pan in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until cooked through. 

Mustard & hazelnut red cabbage

1/4 small red cabbage, finely sliced 
1 tbsp butter 
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1/4 c chopped hazelnuts

Heat butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add cabbage and sauté. Place a lid on the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until cabbage starts to soften but still has some bite. Add the mustard and stir well and continue to cook for a minute. The add hazelnuts and stir to combine and serve immediately. 

Sunday 15 July 2012

Millet Porridge

Have you ever bought something that you had absolutely no idea what to do with but you just think that it is really interesting and you might find something to do with it one day? I have a bunch of stuff in my cupboards like that. The millet was one of those purchases from a little Asian supermarket near a friend's place in the city. I actually got quite a few things that time, most of which I haven't used yet. Oh well, that is what this is all about. 

I had previously made a quinoa porridge, that I wasn't all that keen on, so I thought that I might be able to use millet. I had a bit of a google on how to cook the millet and then came up with the best way to made it into a porridge. I really enjoyed it. It had a slightly nutty flavour to it. However it also gave me an opportunity to use some of the maple extract that I purchased recently. So I also had this wonderful maple flavour to it. My first portion was way too big so I ended up only getting three portions out of the recipe but I think that it would easily serve 4 with the addition of fruit. It re-heated easily in the microwave with a little extra milk. 

Millet Porridge

1 cup millet 
1 cup water 
1/3 cup milk 
1 tsp maple extra (I think I used that much) 

Place millet in a sieve and rinse with water to remove any dirt/dust/debris and then put in a saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until water is almost absorbed and then add the milk and extract. Continue simmering while stirring until the mixture thickens.
Serve with fruit, nuts and a bit of extra milk if desired. (I had banana and pecans). 

Saturday 14 July 2012

Cake Decorating - Thomas the Tank Engine

I had the honour of making a special cake for a wonderful little boy's second birthday. The little man in question is quite the fan of Thomas the Tank Engine so it was quite obvious that should be what his cake should be based around. I even had some ideas before his mother (my very good friend) asked me to make a Thomas cake. I was away on holidays for the week prior to the party so didn't get the chance to make exactly what I had imagined in my head. I had wanted to make my own Thomas figurine to go on the cake but I knew that I wouldn't have time to get it done and set before the party so while away I purchased a Thomas engine. 

The cake was, of course, my standard chocolate cake. However this time I baked it in two separate 20 cm cake tins. I then sandwiched the cake together with creme patisserie and covered in green buttercream. For some reason the buttercream was very dry going onto the cake. It was lovely and creamy in the bowl but just wouldn't cooperate for icing the actual cake so it certainly wasn't as smooth as I had would have liked. However I was very happy with the rest of the decorations. 

The birthday boy was very happy with it and happily drove Thomas over the grass on the cake. LOL.