Saturday, 14 December 2013

Pea and Spinach Frittata

Another goodie from kiwi chef, Annabel Langbein. The only change I made was adding more feta and spinach plus I don't cook the spinach.

serves 4
takes 30 minutes
  • 8 free range eggs
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1-2 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 200g feta, crumbled
  • sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  1. Add eggs, peas, spinach, half the feta, seasoning and mint to a
    bowl, whisking to mix.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy based frypan that is oven friendly and add
    egg mixture. Cook over a low/medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the sides are just set.
  3. Cook about 15cm below a preheated grill until set and starting to puff, about 5-8 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool in pan then serve large wedges. Enjoy!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Squid & Baby Potatoes with Fried Chorizo Dressing

 I needed to use up some of the frozen squid hiding out in the back of my freezer and this recipe from Cuisine did the trick.

serves 4
takes 30 minutes
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (or sherry)
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 spicy chorizo, diced 1cm
  • 8-10 baby potatoes, scrubbed
  • squid, I had a mix of pineapple cut & rings so used about 1/2 a bag
  1. Heat oven to 180oC and place tomatoes in a small baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for around 15 minutes or until tomatoes are slightly golden. Cool then place on a serving platter.
  2. Put potatoes in a saucepan of salted water & bring to boil until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well and crush slightly with a fork and add to platter with tomatoes.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium-hot fry pan and fry chorizo for 4-5 minutes until crisp. Set aside & add to dressing.
  4. To make the dressing: Put the oil, vinegar, spring onions,
    olives, garlic, capers & coriander in a bowl and mix well. 
  5. To cook squid: Heat a heavy frying pan until very hot, season squid pieces then fry until they are slightly brown, only takes 1 minute as you do not want to over cook. Add to platter then spoon over dressing. Enjoy!

Beef and Salad Wraps with Ginger & Chilli Dressing

Crispy, fresh quick week day meal thanks to Dish #51. I omitted the rice as we found this filling without it but if you need to make it go further add some cooked rice.

serves 4
takes 30 minutes
  • 500g rump steak
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Dressing: 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger; 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar; 1/4 cup caster sugar; 2 tbsp fish sauce; 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes; 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • To serve: 1/3 cup cashew nuts, roasted; handful fresh coriander, chopped; cos lettuce, leaves washed & separated; 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced; 2 cups carrot, grated 
  1. Dressing: Place all the ingredients except lime juice, in a
    saucepan & bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool then add lime juice.
  2. Beef: Season steaks with salt & pepper on both sides, rubbing it in as you go. Heat pan to high and cook 2-3 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate & let it rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly and toss with the meat juices.
  3. To serve: Chop the cashew nuts and coriander together and place into a serving bowl. Arrange the beef, lettuce, cucumber & carrots on serving plates and let everyone help themselves. Enjoy!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Succulent Poached Prawns with Israeli Couscous

This salad involves some prep but like most it's easy to throw together with minimal ingredients and provides a very filling, very yummy meal.

serves 4
takes 30 minutes
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 bulbs garlic, minced
  • 500 grams prawns, shelled & deveined - I used frozen prawns that had been defrosted in the fridge for several hours so they were still cold and a little bit frozen
  • salt
  • 4-6 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • bunch of mint, leaves finely sliced
  • 300 grams walnuts (or pine nuts), toasted
  • 1/3 cup of mayonnaise 
  • 1/4-1/2 cup plain natural yoghurt
  • 150 grams feta
  • lemon, juice & zest
  1. In a large pot bring some water to a boil, add 1/2 tsp of salt, dissolve, turn the heat off and add the prawns so they are mostly covered & let it sit for 10 minutes or until the prawns have turned pink and cooked through.  
  2. Drain and add to a large platter with the baby spinach leaves, chopped mint & walnuts.
  3. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the couscous then turn heat down to medium and cook until pasta is al dente, soft but pasta has a bite or slightly firm in the middle - mine took about 6 minutes. 
  4. Drain couscous then add the finely sliced fennel bulb & minced garlic and stir while couscous is still warm.
  5. Add to platter with spinach leaves. Crumble feta over the top.
  6. Mix mayonnaise and yoghurt and pour over salad.
  7. To serve - zest and juice a lemon and sprinkle over. Enjoy!
Adapted from Ray McVinnie

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Baked Prawns with Lemon and Feta

Love the flavours that come out of this quick & simple one dish prawn recipe which involves throwing everything together and baking for 15 minutes. It's worth grabbing some fresh crusty bread to mop up all the juices.

serves 2
takes 5 minutes to prepare, 15 minutes to cook
  • 200 grams (or block) firm feta cheese, broken into big chunks
  • 24 large raw peeled prawns, tails off
  • 6-8 medium vine tomatoes, roughly chopped, keep any juice, pips etc & add as well
  • zest and juice 1 large lemon
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed/minced
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or handful or fresh herbs such as oregano, parsley and thyme
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • To serve: 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley; crusty bread
  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C (180 fan bake)
  2. Place all the ingredients into a lightly oiled baking dish. I just throw everything in finishing with the olive oil, no need to stir through.
  3. Top with a grind of black pepper & sea salt and bake for 15 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked through.
  4. Scatter with parsley and serve hot with plenty of crusty bread for mopping up the juices. Enjoy!

Creamy Bean and Avocado Wrap

Don't feel like hanging over a hot oven in this weather? Neither did I so a quick yummy wrap was on the menu. Use whatever you have on hand for the filling. I made coleslaw as there were bits and pieces hiding in the back of the fridge. You could use kidney or black beans as well.

serves 2
takes 20 minutes
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage, red/white or bit of both
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1/4 small fennel bulb, finely sliced (optional as it's going out of season)
  • 1 small red apple, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed
  • 1-2 ripe avocados
  • 2 tsp spicy harissa paste or chopped up chilli - something to give the bean mixture a kick
  • 4 wholewheat wraps, or tortillas
  1. Finely chop the cabbage and coriander, grate the carrot & apple, slice the fennel, toss to combine with mayonnaise.
  2. Mash beans and avocado in another bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir through some harissa paste to taste.
  3. To assemble the wraps, spread the bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap and top with the cabbage-carrot slaw. Roll up & enjoy!

Smoked Fish & Soft Boiled Egg Salad

Love smoked Warehou which I grabbed for this quick & easy salad served with Speedy Mayonnaise with the zest of one lemon added to give it a more lemony taste.

serves 2
takes 30 minutes
  • 6-8 baby new potatoes, skin scrubbed 
  • 1 large bunch of asparagus, woody ends snapped off, blanched 
  • 2 cups wild rocket leaves or baby spinach leaves
  • 4 free-range eggs, soft boiled. I like Jamie's method
  • 500grams smoked fish in chunks, skin and bones removed
  • 2 spring onions or red onion, finely sliced
  • Speedy Mayo or shop bought - I added the zest of one lemon
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • sea salt
  • Lemon zest for servng
  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC
  2. Scrub the potatoes, place into an oven dish and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and tender, then halve.
  3. Make up some Speedy Mayo or use shop bought. Add the zest of one lemon.
  4. Break the woody ends of the asparagus spears and blanch for 1-2 minutes in boiling, salted water, then plunge into cold water to retain the bright green colour.
  5. Wash the salad leaves, discarding any thick stalks.
  6. Boil the eggs for 5 minutes in salted water for a soft runny centre. Drain and place eggs into cold water, peel when slightly cooled and halve.
  7. To assemble, spread the rocket on a large platter. Mix the fish, potatoes and spring onion with the mayonnaise and add to platter.
  8. Scatter the asparagus spears over the top, then add the eggs, making sure the yolks face upwards. Grind over some freshly cracked pepper and grate over some lemon zest and enjoy!

Adapted from Cuisine issue #114

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Asparagus, Baby Spinach & Bocconcini Salad

Whipped up (or should that be tossed up??) this salad tonight to go with a simple seared Tuna steak. Adapted from Cuisine with a few short cuts thrown in it had us both fighting for the last bits on the plate...not a bad result for a salad!

  • 2-3 gloves of garlic
  • sea salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 large bunches of asparagus, woody ends snapped off, blanched
  • 1/4 fennel bulb, tough outer layer removed, sliced very thin
  • 3-4 cups baby spinach, washed
  • 4-6 balls of bocconcini, coarsely torn into chunks (or mozzarella or feta cheese)
  1. Place garlic, sprinkle of sea salt & crack of pepper, pine nuts, lemon juice, olive oil and half the parmesan cheese in a narrow bowl or jug and whizz with a hand held or wand mixer until everything is mixed. Make sure the pine nuts are all chopped up, add more oil if dressing is too thick but I prefer it thicker rather than runny. Set aside in the fridge.
  2. Prepare the salad - cook asparagus in salted boiling for about a minute, drain then blanch in cold water. When cooled sliced in half down the middle. Place into a large salad bowl along with the thinly sliced fennel, baby spinach and bocconcini.
  3. Pour over dressing, sprinkle over rest of the grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Kung Pao Chicken with Asian Greens

This is adapted from Mindfood Magazine and is a great weekday meal to whip up.

serves 4
takes 40 minutes
  • 800g free range chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine or white wine
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tbsp water - mix together or you can use Chinese black vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp sesame oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (depends how hot you like it)
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil or other suitable cooking oil
  • 4 spring onions, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 bunches baby bok choy, sliced lengthways
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1/3 cup dried roasted peanuts (optional)
  • rice to serve
  1. Combine chicken, wine, vinegar mix, soy sauce, pepper, sesame
    oil, chilli flakes & garlic in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain chicken from marinade, reserving marinade. Add cornflour & chicken stock to marinade & mix together.
  3. Heat half the oil in a wok over a high heat and cook chicken in batches, searing on all sides. Remove and set aside (it should still be pink in the middle as you will add it back to the pan).
  4. Add spring onions & ginger to wok and stir fry for 1 minute. Return chicken, add marinade & stir fry for 3 minutes or until the sauce boils and thickens. Place in serving bowls.
  5. Add boy choy to wok and stir fry until just wilted.
  6. Serve with chicken, peanuts, rice and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Qǐng xiǎngyòng!

Spring Tart with Asparagus

Been waiting for spring to arrive and now asparagus is in the stores just waiting to be made into yummy things like this tart which comes from The French Market cookbook with some changes, Alisa style. The pastry is easy to make as you can do it in a food processor, but if you don't have time substitute with 1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry, like I've used in the first photo vs homemade pastry below. You can also buy caramelized onions but they are really easy to make if you have 30 minutes.

Ingredients for the pastry or 1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour (or all purpose)
  • 1/2 cup all natural plain yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
Method for the pastry
  1. In a food processor add all the above ingredients and mix together in short pulses until the dough starts to come together.
  2. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead lightly until it forms a ball. Add a little flour or few drops of water to reach a workable consistency.
  3. Flatten it into a thick disk or square, to match the shape of the tart you plan to make.
  4. Wrap in gladwrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight. Return to just below room temperature before using.
Ingredients for tart topping
  • Onion Jam: 2 tbsp olive oil; 3 large red or white onions, peeled, thinly sliced; 2-3 tbsp of honey
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bunches asparagus (I used thin ones)
  • half block feta
  • 1 lemon, zested 
  • freshly cracked pepper
  1. Heat oven to 200oC.
  2. To make the onion jam, put the olive oil, onions and honey in a saucepan over a high heat and stir well for a couple of minutes. Turn down the heat and let the onion mixture simmer for around 30 minutes stirring occasionally until the onions are very soft and remove from heat to cool.
  3. Roll out the dough to fit the size of your tart tin. You can do this between two baking sheets if it gets too sticky.
  4. Gently spread the onion jam over pastry and arrange asparagus decoratively on top of onions.
  5. Crumble big chunks of feta over the top.
  6. Bake until asparagus is roasted, feta has softened and crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  7. Serve with strips of lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper over the top. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Annabel's Speedy Mayo

Thank you Annabel Langbein - this recipe rocks. I hadn't been able to buy the Mayo I normally use (the one brand that uses free range eggs) but found myself needing some to bring my Spicy Fish Tacos to life. Never made Mayo before as I always thought it was complicated...I know, pouring oil slowly just seemed a bit of a drag to me. Now, I'm never buying it again!

takes 5 mins
makes 1 ½ cups
  • 2 free range large eggs
  • 3 - 5 tbsp lemon juice (I like mine zingy)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard, I've also used Bush Honey Mustard which is great if you want a bit of texture and mild honey like taste
  • ½ tsp salt (I used Volcanic which has a unique taste & is packed with minerals)
  • a good pinch of white pepper
  • 1¼ cups neutral oil (I used Grapeseed)
  1. Place all ingredients in a narrow bowl or jug and whizz with a hand held or wand mixer (this is key – it won’t work in a food processor because it needs the speed of the wand to make it emulsify). 
  2. It will thicken at once to create a creamy mayonnaise. 
  3. Add ¼ cup more neutral oil if desired to create a thicker mayo or a little hot water to give a thinner consistency. 
  4. Mayo will keep for up to 2 weeks in a jar in the fridge. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Poor Man's Pesto

Traditional pesto calls for pine nuts & basil which can be expensive so I've swapped out a few ingredients. 

This recipe is great for using up those almost manky spinach leaves you have hanging around the bottom of the fridge or any type of green leaf vegetable such as kale, swiss chard or silverbeet. With the exception of baby spinach leaves I lightly steam my greens beforehand.

I've swapped out the pine nuts for walnuts but I've also used unsalted cashews with great success. I'm continuing experimenting with different types of nuts such as almonds, cashews, Macadamia, brazil & pecans. I always toast them slightly first as it helps to bring out the flavour, for example, walnuts can be bitter and toasting them brings out their sweet nutty flavour. I also try & buy nuts in their shells as they keep longer in the fridge plus you get the added bonus of cracking them open (I use a hammer!) for a bit of after work stress release.

makes enough for 3-4 people
takes 20 minutes
  • Packet of pasta, fresh or dried, cook following packet
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, toasted. Depending on the type of nut used I sometimes increase the amount
  • Bunch of kale or leafy green, roughly chopped & steamed slightly, I normally end up with about 1 - 1 1/2 cups. Drain after steaming but you don't need to be too fussy about draining all the liquid, just add it into the blender. Sometimes, I blanch in cold water but I forgot to do this last night & didn't notice any difference. Just make sure you don't over cook the greens.
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil, start with less & add more if you want a smoother consistency
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (I love a garlicky pesto so add less if you aren't a fan)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • crack of sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
  1. Cook pasta according to packet instructions, drain & set aside.
  2. Lightly steam the roughly chopped leafy greens, drain until most of the water is gone and throw into a food processor.
  3. Toast the nuts either on a oven tray at 180oC or in a pot over medium-high heat until golden brown. Keep an eye on them! 
  4. Place the nuts, cheese, olive oil, garlic, lemon & seasoning into the processor & puree until smooth. Check to see if you need to add more parmesan, olive oil or seasoning.
  5. Into the drained pasta tip pesto in and mix until all the pasta is coated with the yummy pesto. Serve with some freshly cracked pepper & a bit more parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Easy Chicken Omelette

Yah for pre-cooked free range chicken at Farro Fresh which helps make this a super quick week day meal. Lovely Asian flavours with crisp vegetables and fresh chilli give it a bit of zing.

Ingredients (per omelette)
serves 1
takes 15 minutes
  • 3-4 free range eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • pinch brown sugar
  • pinch dried chilli flakes, hot
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup cooked shredded free range chicken
  • large handful snow peas, shredded
  • large handful sango sprouts or bean sprouts or anything 'sprouty' that takes your fancy
  • 1 spring onion, sliced finely
  • 1 red chilli, sliced finely
  • handful mint leaves, sliced finely
  • soy sauce or kecap manis, to serve
  1. Thinly slice spring onion, chilli & mint, mix & set aside in
    the fridge.
  2. Shred snow peas, set aside.
  3. Whisk together eggs, fish sauce, sugar & chilli flakes until just combined.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp sesame or peanut oil in a well oiled or non stick frying pan over a medium-high heat.
  5. Add egg mixture swirling around the pan until just firm.
  6. Place the chicken, snow peas & sprouts onto one half of the omelette and fold over to enclose.
  7. To serve top with spring onion, chilli, mint mixture and a side bowl of soy sauce. Enjoy!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Huevos Rancheros (Spicy Eggs)

Love these quick, spicy eggs that can be whipped up anytime, not just for brekkie! Lot's of different variations and if you don't have all the spices listed just use what you have in the cupboard. I read one recipe that only uses sumac.

serves 2-4 depends how many eggs you like
takes about 15 minutes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp each: smoked paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander OR
  • 3 tsp mixed spices
  • 1 pepper - can use red, yellow or green, chopped (or use roasted peppers from a jar, which I normally have in the fridge)
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes OR ground chilli OR hot sauce
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1-2 tins beans, drained, such as red kidney, black beans, cannellini, most types will work. How many you use depends on how many you are feeding
  • 4 free range eggs
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • shaved parmesan, to serve (optional)
  1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and cook onion, garlic, 
    spices, seasonings, red pepper, & chilli over a medium heat until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, and beans and simmer over a gentle heat until thick and rich. Depending on how soon you want to eat, this can take 10 minutes or you can simmer for up to 30 minutes if you have the time.
  3. Make 4 dents or holes in the spicy tomato bean sauce and crack an egg into each one. I put them in a cup first in case egg shell slips in.
  4. Cover the frying pan (I usually throw a wooden chopping board over the top) and poach the eggs for about 3-4 minutes or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.
  5. Serve with some toasted chunky ciabatta or Vogels & shaved parmesan for an extra comfort kick. Enjoy!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Fish & Olive Bake

You can use fish of your choice for this, and throw in whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. I'm sure this will change each time I make it. A simple, easy dish with fantastic flavours.

takes 30 minutes
serves 2-3
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup black olives, stones removed
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 4 white fish fillets
  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chilli oil (optional)
  • 4 tbsp freshly chopped thyme or try parsley, basil, dill, or chives or a mix
  • lemon wedges to serve
  • 1/2 cup black rice to serve (or use your favourite rice)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesean cheese or 1/2 block crumbled feta or even good ole cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 180oC.
  2. Put rice on to cook. My rice took around 20 minutes (follow packet instructions)
  3. Heat oil in an ovenproof pot over a medium heat and cook onions and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in olives, tomatoes and season with freshly cracked pepper.
  5. Bring to the boil then remove from heat and add fish fillets, spooning sauce over them, followed by a drizzle of chilli oil.
  6. Sprinkle over breadcrumbs and bake for about 5-10 minutes. Take out of oven, sprinkle with cheese & finish off under the grill to brown up the top.
  7. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve straight from the pan with lemon wedges on the side and rice. Enjoy!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Spicy Fish Tacos

Love soft tacos, love fish soft tacos even more. For the filling you can use whatever you have hiding in the fridge. I make a simple coleslaw so I can throw it all into one plate and people can help themselves. I am careful about the type of wrap I use as a lot of them are filled with crap. Mountain bread works well.


serves 2
takes 15-20 minutes
  • 2 white fleshed fish fillets: I've used Snapper, Trevally, Gurnard and Cod. I found the Trevally too firm, would be great for a fish curry
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • Chilli oil OR 1 small fresh chilli, sliced finely mixed with oil
  • 1 packet soft flour tortillas or Mountain bread, warm as per packet instructions just before serving
  • Coleslaw: 1/4 of a cabbage (red/white) sliced thinly; 1 large carrot grated ; 2 large tomatoes diced; zest of 1 large lemon; chia seeds (optional)
  • Dressing: 1/4 Greek yoghurt mixed with 1/3 mayonnaise
  1. Place the fish in a shallow oven tray & cover with paprika, salt & pepper and as much chilli oil as you like. Give it a good mix so fish is covered with spice & oil. Leave to marinate while you prepare the coleslaw.
  2. Turn oven grill on high.
  3. Grab a big platter and throw in the sliced cabbage, grated carrot, tomatoes and zest of the lemon. Dress then place on the table.
  4. Place fish under the grill for 2-3 minutes depending on thickness. Place onto a serving plate and take to the table.
  5. Heat tortillas according to the packet. 
  6. Serve with Greek yoghurt/mayonnaise mix and enjoy!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Spiced Lamb, Spinach and Chickpea Couscous

On the table within 15 minutes...lovely succulent lamb served on top of lemony couscous. Fantastic week day meal.


serves 2
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, smoked paprika (plain can also be used)
  • 2 lamb short loins (back straps) at room temperature
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • 400g can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • several handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • couple of small handfuls mint, roughly shredded
  • handful toasted pine nuts
  • thick Greek yoghurt to serve
  1. Place couscous & turmeric in a small pot, pour hot water over,
    stir briefly and cover. Leave for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine dried spices in a bowl along with salt & pepper and rub lamb loins in the mix so both sides are covered.
  3. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat, add a spray of oil and pan fry lamb for 2-3 minutes each side for medium-rare. Remove from heat and let lamb rest for 5 minutes, then slice thickly.
  4. Grab a big platter and throw in the spinach leaves, chickpeas, pine nuts & mint. 
  5. Add the lemon juice to the couscous and fluff up with a fork then mix it in with the platter ingredients. Drizzle some olive oil on top and season before adding the sliced lamb. 
  6. Serve with the yoghurt with a squeeze of lemon juice. Enjoy!
Inspired by Next Magazine

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Pumpkin, Apple and Fennel Soup

This is a smooth, creamy soup with a sweet, perfumy, anise-like flavour imparted from the fennel. Roasting the vegetables helps to bring out all the flavours. 

serves 4
takes 1 hour to roast, 10 minutes to prepare
  • 1kg pumpkin, peeled & cut into 5cm cubes
  • 2 apples, quartered & cored
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut into wedges
  • 1 large brown onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 garlic bulb, peel away the outer layers of the bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup thick Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 180oC.
  2. Place pumpkin, apples, fennel & onion in a large roasting pan with the garlic bulb in the centre. Drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with fennel seeds. Season well with sea salt & freshly ground pepper.
  3. Roast for one hour, turning half way through.
  4. Let vegetables cool slightly then transfer to a large pot and add stock.
  5. Using a hand blender, whiz until smooth.
  6. Add 1 cup of yoghurt. Cover and reheat slowly on the stove top.
  7. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Bill's Moroccan Chicken Pie

I invited one of my nieces over for dinner promising her a slow cooked pie but ran out of time so pulled out some good ole Bill Granger Moroccan Chicken Pie instead and it was just as good.

serves 4-6
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 750g free range chicken thighs, skinned, boneless, cut into 3cm dice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2-4 tsp grated ginger
  • 500g butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded & cut into small chunks
  • 100g (3/4 cup) dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 100g (3/4 cup) pitted green olives
  • 375ml (1 1/2 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp preserved lemon rind, finely chopped
  • 375g puff pastry block or sheet
  • 1 free range egg yolk, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 180oC.
  2. Combine the flour, cinnamon & turmeric in a bowl and season with sea salt & freshly ground pepper. Toss the chicken to coat, shaking off any excess flour. Place the oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat.
  3. Brown the chicken in batches and set aside. Lower heat and add onion, garlic & ginger stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until onion is soft.
  4. Add the chicken back in. Throw in pumpkin, apricots, olives, stock and lemon. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and season to taste. Set aside in the fridge until cold.
  6. Add the mixture to the pie dish and roll out the pastry to size. Brush the rim of the dish with egg yolk and cover with pastry pushing down lightly to seal. Brush the pie top with more egg yolk and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy! 

Seared Tuna Steaks with Green Tea Noodles & Ginger Broth

Love the taste of fresh ginger and seared tuna. Pour some broth over and you have a super quick & easy weekday winner adapted from Mindfood's Winter.

serves 2
takes 30 minutes
  • 2 tuna steaks
  • Olive oil
  • 5cm fresh ginger, peeled & grated
  • 2 cups vegetable stock - I added about 2 cups of water as well, depends how thick/thin you like your broth
  • 1/2 pack dried noodles - I use Hakubaku Cha Soba - Green Tea - noodles, but any type will be fine, just adjust cooking time
  • handful garlic chives or spring onions, sliced thinly, to serve
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds (white/black), to serve
  1. Heat about 2 tsps of olive oil in a large pot over a low-medium
    heat. Add freshly grated ginger and cook until aromatic. Add stock; bring to the boil then add noodles. Reduce heat & simmer for 4-6 minutes depending on type of noodle.
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Spray tuna with olive oil & season with salt & freshly ground pepper.
  3. Add steaks & sear 2 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other then transfer to a plate. Let is rest for a couple of minutes before cutting into thin slices. 
  4. Place some noodles in a soup bowl, ladle some broth over finishing with the tuna.
  5. Serve sprinkled with chives & sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Saffron & Coriander Fish Stew

The fennel and bell peppers give this Fish Stew a beautiful sweet and sour taste. I haven't changed much from the original recipe taken from The Lebanese Kitchen as you don't need to mess with perfection.

serves 4
takes 40 minutes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded & sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 700g firm white fish, cut into chunks
  • 4 uncooked king prawns, peeled & deveined
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • salt & pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large deep pan, add the onion, celery and fennel & cooked over a medium heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until softened but not browned.
  2. Add the tomatoes & bell peppers and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the fish, king prawn and all the spices then reduce heat & simmer for 5-10 minutes until fish is slightly opaque in the middle and flakes easily.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and coriander.
  6. Season to taste. I served mine with a dollop of mint, chilli & coriander paste or you could use pesto or nothing at all. Enjoy!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Chilli Jam and Tomato Soup with Pan-Fried Snapper

A sweet chilli soup adapted from donna hay with some short cuts to make it an easy after work dinner. I reckon you could try this with salmon fillets too.

takes 30 minutes
serves 2
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chilli jam
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised (trim off the spiky top and the base, remove and discard the first few outer layers, and then bruise the lemongrass stalk by lightly crushing it with a pestle, a meat mallet, or the side of a large knife or cleaver)
  • 3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled & minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
  • 1 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre fish stock
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice (approx. 2 limes)
  • 2 tsp superfine sugar (I used granulated)
  • 2 x snapper fillets, skin on if you can get it, without works too
  • sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
  • handful of dried rice noodles, cooked
  • fresh coriander leaves to serve
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over a high heat. Add the chilli jam, bruised lemongrass, ginger & garlic and cook for 1 minute stirring.
  2. Add the can of tomatoes & cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the stock, fish sauce, lime juice & sugar, bring to the boil, turn heat down to medium and cook for 10 minutes. While the soup is cooking, heat a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat.
  4. Brush the fish with oil, season and cook for 3 minutes. Turn over and take pan off the heat and leave fish to finish cooking.
  5. Divide the noodles between bowls; break fish into big chunks and place on top of noodles; spoon soup mixture over the top and throw some fresh coriander leaves over the top. Enjoy!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Baked Blueberry Tart

Caught up with some good friends that I haven't seen for a while and said I would bring the roast chicken for dinner. Cheated by bringing a pre-cooked chook (Farro Fresh does a great free range chicken but note to self, not so good reheated) so thought I should put a little effort into dessert. Been waiting for a chance to try this and I'm pleased to say it was a hit.

takes 10 minutes to prepare, 1 hour to bake
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour 
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 125g unsalted chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar 
  • 1 kg bag of frozen blueberries or 5 cups fresh
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  1. Preheat oven to 190°C
  2. Grease a non stick tart pan with a removable bottom.
  3. Pulse 1 cup flour, 2 tbsp sugar and the salt in food processor until blended. Add butter; pulse just until coarse crumbs form. Add vinegar; pulse just until blended. Turn out dough and press together.
  4. Press dough evenly onto sides and bottom of prepared tart pan. Top with 3 cups berries
  5. Mix remaining 2 tbsp flour, 2/3 cup sugar and cinnamon and evenly sprinkle over berries, then drizzle with almond extract.
  6. Bake tart 50 to 60 minutes until bubbly. Remove from oven and top with remaining 2 cups of blueberries
  7. Let cool in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with icing sugar. 
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!