Thursday, December 2, 2010

Calamari Paella

Paella is the dish Spain is probably most famous for. Whilst this one uses calamari, the original paella is from Valencia and contains fresh vegetables and local proteins such as chicken, rabbit or snails.

Calamari Paella
(Serves 4)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 chorizo sausages, sliced
1 red capsicum, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 tspn smoked paprika
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup medium grain rice
1L hot chicken or vegetable stock
Pinch of saffron threads
4 squid tubes, sliced into rings
2/3 cup frozen peas
1 small handful of parsley, chopped roughly
Lemon wedges, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and saute the onion, chorizo, red capsicum and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the cayenne pepper, paprika and tomato and stir for 1 minute. Season well with cracked black pepper. Add the white wine and bring to the boil.

Add the rice, the stock and the saffron, stir briefly then turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer and leave to cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Most importantly, don't stir the rice - a crust will form on the bottom of the pan and this is considered a delicacy!

Place the calamari rings onto the bed of rice and press them down slightly so they are submerged. Sprinkle over the peas, cover the pan and leave it to cook for a further 10 minutes.

If the rice looks like it's drying out, add a little more stock. If it looks too wet, let the paella simmer for a while with the lid off.

When the rice and calamari are cooked and tender, sprinkle over the parsley and serve with fresh lemon wedges.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fragrant Fish Curry

This is a fish curry that I created. I wanted a really fragrant curry based on my Goan beef curry recipe that used plenty of cinnamon (combined with a few other things) in a coconut milk sauce.

Fragrant Fish Curry
(Serves 4)

4 tbsp vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fat red chilli, finely sliced
1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn ground cloves
1/4 tspn ground turmeric
1/4 tspn salt
1/8 tspn ground black pepper
4 tspn tamarind paste
600g firm white fish fillets, cut into large pieces
1 cup (250mL) coconut milk
3 tbsp chopped coriander

In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil with the garlic, chilli, spices, salt, pepper and tamarind paste. Smear this paste over the fish fillets.

Heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the fish until almost cooked through. Stir in the coconut milk and then let the curry simmer for 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked. Stir in the chopped coriander then serve the curry over steamed basmati rice.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beef, Mushroom and Rosemary Pocket

I made these "pockets" the day after Pete made a large batch (3 loaves!) of Turkish bread and we wanted to use them up whilst they were still fresh.

For this recipe, I have specified 2 loaves of Turkish bread between 4 people. However, if you can only get those smaller loaves from the supermarket then you may need a side salad or some fries to bulk out this meal. We didn't need anything with these as the loaves were massive!

Beef, mushroom and rosemary pockets
(Serves 4)

2 large loaves of Turkish bread
Olive oil
2 300g steaks
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup white wine
2 cubes of vegetable stock concentrate, optional (recipe available on this site)
2 tbsp chopped rosemary
Lettuce leaves, washed

Cut each loaf of Turkish bread in half cross-ways, then use a sharp bread knife to slice a "pocket" into each loaf (as I've done in the image above). If you'd like, you can warm them in a low oven for 5 minutes.

Heat some olive oil in a large pan and cook the steaks to your liking. Set them aside to rest.

In the same saucepan cook the onion and garlic until the onion is beginning to soften. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the flour and let it cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the white wine and stock and let it simmer. Season well with salt, pepper and rosemary.

Slice the steaks very thinly and add them to the sauce. You want the sauce to simmer away until the liquid has almost completely evaporated and there's a thick gravy remaining.

Fill the Turkish bread "pockets" with lettuce then gently spoon in the beef mixture.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Because Some Days Call For Junk Food

It's been one of those weeks. And sometimes, a quarter pounder and fries is necessary.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Spicy Lentil Soup and Garlic Toast

Yep - it's another lentil recipe. This time I'm dedicating the recipe to the world-wide Meatless Monday movement - an initiative about cutting back meat consumption for the sake of your health, budget, animal welfare, global hunger and environment.

I got this recipe from my Aunty and really enjoyed it. If you're the type of person who has plenty of spices on hand all the time (like me) then this is the perfect, quick, vegetarian meal to make when the pantry is (nearly) bare.

Spicy Lentil Soup
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 tspn each of ground ginger, ground coriander, ground cumin and paprika
1/2 tspn each of ground pepper, cinnamon and turmeric
1/4 tspn each of nutmeg and chilli powder
120g red lentils
1 tin of diced tomatoes
1.2L vegetable stock
Fresh coriander (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and saute the onion until it has turned translucent. Add all the spices and toast them briefly.

Add the lentils, tomatoes and stock and simmer the soup for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Season with salt and fresh coriander.

Perhaps you'd like some garlic toast with that?

When I first started dating my partner (what feels like a century ago. In a good way of course!) he fell in love with my garlic toast. It's nothing special, but he likes it and I always make it for him when he needs cheering up. (Men can be such simple creatures sometimes.)

Garlic Toast
(Serves 4)

8 slices of bread
Garlic powder
Chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 160C. Butter the bread, sprinkle on the garlic powder, a very small amount of salt and the chopped parsley. Cut each slice of bread into three, pop them on an oven tray and bake for about 10 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn golden.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Italian Sausage and Red Lentil Stew

Anyone who knows me knows that I love food from countries starting with the letter 'I' - India, Italy and Indonesia (Ireland, you have yet to prove yourself to me.) So here is a recipe for a gorgeously fragrant, simple and hearty Italian sausage stew.

Italian Sausage and Red Lentil Stew
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
8 Italian pork sausages
1 large onion, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tspn toasted and crushed fennel seeds
5 sprigs of rosemary
1 tin of diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2/3 cup red wine
2 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
120g red lentils

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and brown the sausages (they don't need to be cooked through). Remove them from the pan then gently saute the onion and celery for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, fennel seeds and rosemary and saute for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, red wine, stock and some freshly cracked black pepper and bring the sauce to a boil. Add the lentils and stir the mixture well. Return the sausages, turn the heat right down to low, cover then leave the stew to cook for one hour. Stir it often to make sure the lentils don't stick to the bottom of the saucepan. If the lentils look like they're drying out, add a touch of water.

Remove the sprigs of rosemary then serve the stew with fresh crusty bread and a simple green salad.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Satay Chicken

Nobody could ever accuse me of being a food snob. Especially not after they've read this recipe! Any cook worth their MasterChef apron will cringe, possibly even hyperventilate, when they read that my satay chicken is made with peanut butter. Yep, classy aren't I?! ;p But let's face it, tell the kids that dinner is made with peanut butter and they'll scoff it down - veggies and all (well, maybe not - I can't work miracles!)

Satay Chicken
(Serves 4)

1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce
1/4 cup honey
Vegetable oil
3 chicken breasts (or 2 if they're big), halved lengthways then sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 handfuls of fresh veggies, chopped into chunks
Sesame oil

To make the sauce, put the stock, peanut butter, sweet chilli sauce and honey in a microwave-safe jug. Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave (medium power) then stir it well. Heat for a further 60-90 seconds or until the sauce has just begun to thicken.

In a wok, heat the vegetable oil over high heat and stir-fry the chicken until it's begun to change colour. Add the garlic and vegetables and stir-fry for one minute.

Add the satay sauce and let it simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick. Add a few drops of sesame oil then serve the stir-fry over hot noodles or steamed rice.

Note: For the vegetables, I use slices of onion, carrots, sugar snap peas, capsicum and baby corn but you can use almost anything - broccoli, cauliflower, Asian greens, spring onions, snow peas, birds-eye chilli, mushrooms, etc.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kitchen Basics - Vegetable Stock Concentrate

Recently I had dinner at the home of my darling Aunty and she made a lovely soup using homemade stock concentrate (frozen into cubes) which I thought was a great idea! Because I know that the little containers of powdered stock from the supermarket are packed full of preservatives and sodium. Even the liquid stocks now available aren't exactly good for you. So the thought that stock was easy to make got me very interested!

After looking through scores of recipes on the internet and doing a bit of experimenting, I've come to the conclusion that I'll never buy stock again because it is so easy-peasy to make! Not to mention healthy and convenient.

Many recipes for stock concentrate include between 100g-200g of salt to preserve the stock (for storage in the fridge) but my Aunty recommends making it without the salt and simply freezing it.

So this is a simple recipe to make vegetable stock concentrate (so no need to fuss about with chicken carcasses and beef marrow bones!) which is suitable for the freezer.

Vegetable Stock Concentrate
Makes 36 ice cubes

2 tspn oil (any type!)
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 large sticks of celery, finely diced
3 small carrots, grated
1 large zucchini, grated
1 tomato, diced
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 sage leaves
1 small handful of fresh parsley (stalks and leaves), chopped (or I prefer to snip mine with kitchen scissors)

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add all the veggies and herbs, stir it well, then clamp the lid on the saucepan and let the mixture stew for about 20 minutes (you may need to stir it occassionally to stop it from sticking on the bottom of the saucepan) or until everything is very soft and pulpy.

Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes then throw it all into a blender and blitz until it becomes a smooth paste.

Spoon tablespoons of stock into ice cube trays and freeze! When you need some stock, simply take a cube out of the freezer and dissolve it in the required amount of water.

Note 1: Use one stock cube per cup (250mL) of water.

Note 2: You should be able to use any veggies you have knocking about the veggie crisper - a few florets of broccoli or cauliflower, parsnips, leeks, etc. The only thing I'd steer clear of are starchy vegetables like potatoes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kitchen Basics - Pikelets and Pancakes

In this day and age, it can be an embarrassing thing to admit that someone doesn't know how to cook. On TV, there are 9-year-olds cooking complicated things like rabbit and mushroom ragu, ricotta gnocchi (from scratch) and gout de la mer. It's easy to feel a tad inadequate.

But not everyone has a childhood filled with memories of Mum teaching you the right way to shave a truffle or cook chicken in a water bath. When I moved out of home I could cook (from scratch) scrambled eggs, mashed potato and pancakes. Everything else I taught myself (or with the help of a few choice books.)

So this is a basic recipe that even the "I can burn water" brigade can master. (And yes, S, I'm looking at you!)


1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
A pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
Oil spray

Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt then add the milk and egg and beat well until the mixture is smooth. (But don't worry if there are a few lumps in it!)

Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and spray the pan with a light coating of oil.

Drop tablespoons of mixture onto the pan. When they are ready to flip, the top uncooked surface of the pikelet will look like the moon, ie: full of craters.

Flip the pikelet and cook the second side briefly (until it turns golden). Remove the pikelets from the pan and repeat with the rest of the mixture.

Eat the pikelets hot and smothered with maple syrup! Or pack cold pikelets into the kids lunchboxes.

Note: This mixture is perfect for adding in a handful of chocolate chips of raisins, however I think I'll leave the caramlized apple recipe for another day!


1 cup plain flour
A pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg

Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt then add the milk and egg and beat well until the mixture is smooth.

Melt a dollop of butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat.

Add a quarter of a cup of mixture (or more if your pan is quite big) to the pan and swirl it around so it spreads evenly. Cook the pancake for a minute or two until the top looks set and the under-side is golden. Flip the pancake and cook the other side briefly.

Eat the pancakes hot! I like mine with a bit of fresh lemon juice and sugar, although you can spread them with jam or nutella or you can even use the pancake as a wrap and fill it with bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Penne with a Spicy Sausage and Tomato Sauce

WANTED: A simple child-friendly mid-week meal that doesn't involve toast soldiers.

Consider it delivered!

Penne with a Spicy Sausage and Tomato Sauce
(Serves 4)

Olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g tins of crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup of white or red wine (if you feel like it!)
3/4 cup chicken stock
6-8 Italian sausages, skins removed
1-2 tbsp chopped basil
350g penne

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large pan and gently saute the onion until it is soft. Add the garlic and let it cook for a minute.

Add the tomatoes, wine and stock and bring to the boil. Break the sausages into small chunks as you add them to the pan. Cover and leave the mixture to simmer over a medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring often.

Meanwhile, boil the penne until it is al dente. Drain, then add to the sauce and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, mix in the basil then serve straight away with a little parmesan sprinkled on top.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Steak with Spanish-Style Mushrooms

This meal came about as an accident. I found a recipe online which had sauteed chorizo and mushrooms as a side dish to a good steak. I had a few extra veggies in the fridge which needed using up so I adapted the recipe and it was a hit with my darling partner. Even I (who admittedly doesn't really like red meat) really enjoyed this meal, so I've decided to share!

Steak with Spanish-style mushrooms
(Serves 4)

Olive oil
4 steaks
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 chorizo sausages, thickly sliced then halved
2 red capsicums (or peppers if you prefer to call them that!), diced
15 button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 small bunch of spinach
Fresh parsley

Rub the steaks with a little olive oil, season well with salt and pepper then pan fry, grill or barbeque until cooked to your liking. Set them side to rest.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a saucepan and gently saute the onion and garlic until the onion is soft. Add the chorizo and cook for 5 minutes then add the capsicum and mushrooms, cook for 2-3 minutes then add the stock and season the mix well with salt and pepper.

Once the liquid has reduced (it should only take a couple of minutes), take the saucepan off the heat then add the spinach and some fresh parsley. Stir well until the spinach has begun to wilt then serve the mushroom mixture with the steak on top.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Prosciutto, pea and lemon pasta

It's spring here in Australia and the weather is well and truly warming up after a (not particularly) cold and (definitely not!) rainy winter!

This is a simple pasta dish to make with only a handful of ingredients that reflects the return to warmer weather.

Prosciutto, pea and lemon pasta
(Serves 4)

Olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
8 slices of prosciutto, chopped
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup frozen peas (add more or less depending on how much you love peas!)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
400g tagliatelle
75g grated gruyere cheese
2-3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

Heat some olive oil in a saucepan and saute the onion and prosciutto (you want the prosciutto to get a bit crispy around the edges!)

Add the chicken stock, frozen peas, lemon zest and juice and simmer for a couple of minutes until the peas are tender and the stock has reduced.

Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle until al dente then drain well and add to the sauce with the gruyere cheese, the fresh parsley and plenty of cracked black pepper. Stir well then serve and devour!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Eating Melbourne 2010

I was in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago and practically ate and shopped the entire time. It was great! I don't have any photos of what I ate (my camera is slowly dying and part of me was a bit embarrassed to be snapping pics in trendy restaurants) but I thought I'd share my experiences anyway.

Fifteen Melbourne (115-117 Collins Street, Melbourne)
The place has a really trendy feel to it. The restaurant has an open kitchen so I spent most of the night peering over Pete's shoulder to watch the kitchen staff at work. Tobie Puttock was actually working that night which was a tad exciting.

The service was flawless which was very impressive, however the food was pretty mediocre. My primi (entree) was orecchiette with butternut pumpkin, amaretti crumble, sage and pecorino toscano. It was bland. And there was no crumble. It was pasta with small chunks of pumpkin in a "blended pumpkin and water" sauce with a few sage leaves. My main was a perfectly cooked piece of barramundi with chickpeas cooked in tomatoes with basil. The chickpeas were nice, although a bit bland (I don't think Fifteen believes in "seasoning") and there was sand through it. Really uncool. However, dessert was nice - a Granny Smith apple creme brulee with clove ice-cream and almond biscotti. The brulee let out a good crack as I broke through the top of it and the clove ice-cream is probably one of the best things I've eaten in a long time. The biscotti was crap though - so hard that neither Pete nor I could actually bite through it.

All in all, I probably wouldn't recommend it - there are much better restaurants in Melbourne!

Gingerboy (27-29 Crossley Street, Melbourne)
My absolute favourite restaurant in Melbourne, it specialises in Hong Kong hawker style food. The dining room is funky, the bar is full of amazing looking cocktails and there's a real vibe about the place which is right in the heart of Chinatown.

For starters (which we shared), we ate prawn and ginger dumplings with red vinegar dressing and braised duck spring rolls with spiced plum and hoi sin sauce. Divine! Our shared mains were red duck leg curry with shallots, Thai basil and coconut cream and wok fried satay chicken and prawns with spring onions in a pancake, served with jasmine rice. It was just gorgeous and incredibly satisfying (since I'd been fantasizing about the red duck curry since I went to Melbourne last year!)

I would recommend Gingerboy to anyone and everyone! Go! Seriously!

Punch Lane Restaurant and Wine Bar (43 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne)
Punch Lane is one of Pete's favourite places to eat in Melbourne. Although this time we went on a Saturday night and the dining room was actually very, very noisy - we could barely hear each other and had to shout much of our conversation. Apart from the noise level, we had a lovely evening - the food is beautiful, very simple but clean and full of flavour.

Our shared entrees were tiger prawns wrapped in panchetta with a lemon mayonnaise and manchego, potato and thyme croquettes with tomato chilli jam. My main meal was a special and not something straight from the menu - it was a risotto with baby peas, mint and goats cheese which was really, really beautiful. Dessert was a spiced carrot pudding with orange jelly and vanilla mascarpone.

I'd definitely recommend Punch Lane - I can't emphasize enough how well-cooked the meals are, even though they may sound quite simple. But perhaps go on a week night when the place is a little quieter!

Also of note in Melbourne:

AIX Creperie (24 Centre Place, Melbourne) This tiny little out-of-the-way place was an awesome find (thanks to Melbourne bloggers who raved about it!!!) I wanted to eat half of the menu! I ended up with the BLT crepe.

Haigh's Chocolates - my favourite cream-filled chocolates are lime, rose, violet and mint.

Koko Black - get the Belgian truffles. I get shivers just thinking about it!

And as silly as it sounds, the burger ordered from room service at the Mantra on Russell was really tasty! It was huge but it was so good and I ate the entire thing (which I probably shouldn't have done, because it really was HUGE!!!) It had a big meaty beef pattie, plenty of salad, egg, relish, cheese all stuffed into two sliced of toasted Turkish bread with a side of chips. Late night bliss!

Our trip to Melbourne was a good chance to get away (even though Pete had to work for a couple of days) and it was good to see more of the city. We may be moving over next year due to work so that will be really exciting. And if we don't move, then I'll just have to go back across next time Pete gets sent for work. :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gypsy Stew

This is a traditional Spanish stew called a gypsy stew because it uses small amounts of common, easy to obtain ingredients including those quintessentially Spanish - pork, garlic, paprika and a variety of other herbs and spices.

Guisado Gitano
(Serves 4)

Olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
800g pork loin, diced
1 red capsicum, diced
1/2 tspn chilli paste
1/2 tspn sweet paprika
1 1/2 tspn smoked paprika
2 tspn ground cumin
1/4 tspn ground cinnamon
2 tspn fresh chopped rosemary
200g dried haricot beans (soaked overnight in plenty of fresh water)
1 tin crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 bunch silverbeet (leaves only, washed and shredded)

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan and saute the onion and garlic until they are soft. Add the pork loin and capsicum and gently brown the pork. Add the chilli paste, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and rosemary and toast the spices for a minute.

Drain the haricot beans well then add them to the saucepan. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 90 minutes or until the beans are tender.

Add the sweet potato and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes (until the potato is just cooked), adding more stock if necessary to retain the liquid level. Take the stew off the heat, season well with salt and pepper and add the silverbeat. Stir it in well so it wilts slightly, then serve.

Friday, August 27, 2010

English Baked Beans

You may think that baked beans are simply that - baked beans. However there is a huge difference between traditional English baked beans (beans stewed in a tomato sauce), Boston-style baked beans (made with bacon or pork and a variety of flavourings such as Worcestershire sauce, molasses and mustard powder), French-Canadian baked beans (made with maple syrup) and what I can only imagine to be dozens of other varients of baked beans.

Hence why I'm being specific - these are English. No maple syrup or bacon involved. And they taste a hell of a lot better than the canned Heinz beans.

English Baked Beans
(Serves 4-6)

2 tins of beans, 400g each (I use tins of mixed beans)
Olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaves
1 tin of tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
350mL vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Tip the beans into a colander and rinse them well under running water. Set aside to drain completely.

Heat a little olive oil in a heavy based saucepan and gently saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the beans, herbs, tomatoes, tomato paste and stock and stir well.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let the beans stew for 2 hours. Stir occassionally, adding a little water if the beans are drying out too much.

Season well with salt and pepper, remove the thyme and bay leaves and serve them any way you wish - on toast, with sausages, as part of a big breakfast or just as they are.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Malaysian Lamb Curry

This is my take on a Malaysian lamb curry. I must admit (a little shamefully), I know very little about Malay food. I know the country has a large population of people with Chinese and Indian heritage and the food reflects this mixture of cultures.

This curry is a simplified and modified version of a very traditional but highly complicated recipe a friend's mother gave to me years ago.

Malaysian Lamb Curry
(Serves 4)

Vegetable oil
1 onion, finely diced
800g lamb, diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed
5cm piece of ginger, grated
2 large red chilli's, sliced
1 tbsp mustard seeds, toasted
2 tspn garam masala
2 tspn curry powder
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 tspn salt

In a heavy based saucepan, heat the oil then saute the onion until it is soft. Add the lamb and brown it then add the garlic, ginger and chilli and saute for one minute. Add the mustard seeds, garam masala, curry powder, bay leaves and cinnamon stick and toast for another minute.

Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, stock and salt and stir the curry well. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat, partially cover the saucepan and simmer for 90 minutes, adding more stock if the curry becomes too thick.

Serve over steamed basmati rice with a dollop of fresh yoghurt on top.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

These are some gluten free chocolate cupcakes I made as an experiment - I'm not gluten intolerant myself but have a couple of friends who are and I wanted to be able to pass along a really good cake recipe.

The texture of these cakes is very dense and rich. Actually, they taste quite similar to my ugly mudcake.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
(Makes 12)

175g butter
250g good quality dark chocolate
1 1/4 cups castor sugar
3/4 cup almond meal
1 cup cocoa powder
5 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 140C and line a cupcake pan with papers.

In a large saucepan, melt together the butter, chocolate and sugar, stirring often until the mixture is smooth and the sugar has melted.

Stir in the almond meal, cocoa powder and eggs then spoon the mixture into the cupcake papers.

Bake for half an hour or until a skewer inserted comes out cleanly with moist crumbs clinging to it. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and leave them to cool on a wire rack.

Frost the cupcakes with buttercream or chocolate ganache or, as I do, eat them whilst they're still warm with a bit of whipped cream.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Steak au poivre

Steak au poivre is a classic French dish consisting of a good quality steak cooked with a pepper crust and finished with a cognac or brandy cream sauce.

Once again, instead of making the sauce purely cream based, I've used a mixture of stock and cream to reduce the richness.

Steak au Poivre
(Serves 4)

4 steaks
Plenty of freshly cracked pepper
Olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 small onion, very finely diced
3 tbsp brandy or cognac
1/4 cup of cream
1/2 cup of chicken stock
Pinch of salt
Freshly chopped parsley

Generously season the steaks with plenty of pepper. In a very hot oiled pan, sear the steaks (to create the pepper crust), then turn the heat down and cook the steaks to your liking. Remove the steaks from the pan and set aside.

Add the butter to the pan and gently saute the onion. Add the brandy (or cognac), cream, stock and salt. Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce has thickened.

Return the steaks to the pan and baste them until they are reheated. Stir the parsley into the sauce and serve.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lamb Madras

Madras curry is one of the most popular curries to order at the local Indian restaurant. The curry originated in Madras which is now called Chennai. The sauce is a traditionally hot curry, using a large amount of fresh chilli's or chilli powder, and has a balance of sweet spices and sour tamarind.

Lamb Madras
(Serves 4)

850g diced lamb
2 tspn ground turmeric
1 tspn fennel seeds
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tspn ground cumin
1 tspn garam masala
1/4 - 1 tspn chilli powder*
1/2 tspn sweet paprika
5 garlic cloves, crushed
5cm piece of ginger, grated
500mL coconut cream
8cm cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 tbsp tamarind puree

* Add as much or as little as you like, depending on how hot you like your curry!

Massage the turmeric into the diced lamb. This will tenderise the meat. Put it in a bowl, cover with cling wrap then put it in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Dry roast the fennel seeds in a hot, dry pan. When they begin to pop, remove them and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion for 5-10 minutes until it has softened. Add the ground spices, garlic and ginger and cook for a minute until aromatic. Add the meat and toss well to coat it with the spices. Brown the meat then stir in the coconut cream, bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer.

Add the fennel seeds, cinnamon stick and star anise. Season well with salt then cover and simmer the curry for 1 hour, stirring occassionally. If the curry begins to look too dry towards the end of the cooking time, add a bit of water so it remains quite saucy and liquid.

Dissolve the tamarind in 1/3 cup of boiling water then add to the curry. Stir it in well and taste for seasoning.

Serve the curry over steamed basmati rice.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ugly Mudcake


The word brings about memories of rich chocolate cake purchased from the "gourmet" bakery in the "better" suburbs for a girly afternoon tea, usually to celebrate a friend's birthday.

Unfortunately, as beautifully decorated as these cakes usually are with their shiny layer of chocolate ganache and curls of white or dark (or sometimes both) grated chocolate, the insides would often be dry, dense, sickly sweet and taste a little bit processed. Bakeries often use a variety of cake/bread improvers, sugar syrups, preservatives and artificial flavours in their products to make the product more "stable" when baking, to make it last longer and to make it cheaper to produce.

So instead of trying to replicate a beautiful but tasteless cake, I'm going to tell you how to make the most gorgeous-tasting, but super ugly, chocolate mudcake!

Ugly Mudcake

(Serves 8-10)

220g butter
320g chocolate buttons (milk or dark)
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup caster sugar
4 eggs (only use 3 if they are 60g each or more)
1 cup self-raising flour

Preheat your oven to 150C. Grease a round cake pan and line the bottom with baking paper.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate with the water. Let it cool for a few minutes, then mix in the cocoa powder and sugar.

Gently stir in the eggs, followed by the flour.

Pour the mixture into the pan and let it sit for a few minutes before putting it in the oven. This will let some of the air-bubbles that have been stirred in rise to the surface so your cake will bake evenly.

Bake the cake for 1 1/4 hours (or until a skewer inserted comes out cleanly, with only moist crumbs clinging to it.) Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

The result will be a mudcake that is NOT pretty. It has a habit of sinking a little in the middle no matter what I do. I've tried using more flour, baking powder, bi-carb soda - nothing will help it look prettier. But for all its ugliness, it's one of the BEST chocolate cakes I've ever made.

Ice it with a simple chocolate ganache if you'd like, but I never do. I prefer to cut a wedge, heat it a little in the microwave then serve it with some double thick cream or vanilla ice-cream.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thai Chicken Sausage Rolls

These Thai chicken sausage rolls are simple to make and the perfect savoury finger food at any shindig! I've made them multiple times for friends and even my family. In fact, my impossibly English doesn't-like-foreign-stuff (including pasta or anything he can't pronounce) Grandfather quickly pounced on the last sausage roll on the plate when the entire family was last around and proclaimed them "quite tasty".

Thai Chicken Sausage Rolls

600g chicken mince

1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
Puff pastry sheets
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 200C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

In a large bowl mix together the mince, breadcrumbs, ground cumin, sweet chilli sauce and coriander.

Lay out a sheet of puff pastry and cut it in half (so it's a rectangle). Take one of the halves, spread some of the mixture along one edge of the pastry sheet and roll up to conceal the filling. Brush with egg to seal the pastry closed. Repeat this process with the remainder of the mince filling.

Slice each "roll" into four or five pieces and place them on the baking trays, seam side down. Brush the rolls lightly with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake for 25 minutes and serve with extra sweet chilli sauce. Oh, and be careful to let them cool before you bite into them. (Something I find difficult to do!)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Butterscotch Pudding

It's almost winter here in Australia so time to bring out lovely warm wintery puddings, stews and casseroles!

This is a very simple, fool-proof and sticky-sweet butterscotch pudding.

Butterscotch Pudding
(Serves 6)

Oil spray (for greasing)
150g self-raising flour
80g brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
60g melted butter
1 egg
2 tbsp golden syrup or treacle
100g brown sugar (extra)
3 tbsp golden syrup or treacle (extra)
1 1/4 cups boiling water

Preheat the oven to 170C and lightly grease a 1.25L oven-proof dish with the oil spray. Place it on a large, flat baking tray (just in case of any over-flow!)

Sift the flour into a large bwol and stir in the brown sugar, making sure to squash any lumpy-clumpy bits of sugar.

In a jug, whisk together the milk, melted butter, egg and golden syrup then slowly pour it into the flour/sugar mixture and beat until it is all well combined and free of lumps. Pour the mixture into the greased dish.

Sprinkle over the extra brown sugar. Then in a small jug (or bowl), stir together the extra golden syrup and boiling water. Pour this over the pudding. The brown sugar will appear to dissolve into the syrup.

Bake the pudding for 45 minutes then set aside for 10 minutes. Two reasons why - one is so the butterscotch sauce (which has gone all gooey and sunk to the bottom of the pudding) thickens and goes even gooier. The second reason is so the pudding cools slightly and the chances of burning the roof of your mouth and losing the skin there diminishes slightly!

Serve a big spoonful of the pudding with plenty of the sauce and a large mound of vanilla ice-cream or double-thick cream.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Saffron risotto

This is a dumbed down version of a Milanese risotto. A traditional Milanese risotto is made with beef stock, beef bone marrow and lard (instead of butter). But to be honest, bone marrow kind of creeps me out, and I don't tend to keep lard in the fridge.

Saffron Risotto
(Serves 2, as a main meal)

3/4 cup dry white wine
Pinch of saffron
Olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
50g butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup Arborio rice
1L hot chicken stock
1/4 cup grated parmeson

Add saffron to the wine and let it infuse whilst you begin the risotto.

In a non-stick saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and gently fry the onion until it has softened. Add the butter and garlic. When the butter begins to froth, add the rice. Stir well so all the rice gets covered in the butter. Add the saffron infused wine and stir the rice really well until the wine has been absorbed. This will release the starches in the rice and make the texture creamy.

Add the stock, one cup at a time. Stir often and when the stock has been absorbed, add another cup.

Once all the stock has been absorbed, season well with salt and pepper. Add the grated parmesan and stir until it has melted into the risotto.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Food Porn from the South West

Pete and I recently went on a trip around the South West of Western Australia. We stayed in Albany, Walpole and Pemberton. We had planned on going to Bridgetown and Margaret River too, but I got sick so we decided to come home early and go down to Bridgetown and Margaret River a little later in the year.

Although this is a recipe blog, I've decided to post a few "food porn" photos ala The Food Pornographer. (I'm a total die-hard TFP fan!)
This is the breakfast we had when we stayed at a place called Saltair down in Albany. This was honestly the highlight of our stay! Freshly pineapple juice, a sweet apple and walnut loaf with butter and the cereal which was divine! I'm deserate to re-create it at home - it contained bran flakes, honey toasted muesli, dried fruits, roasted almonds and a variety of seeds.

One day whilst roaming Albany we stopped for fish and chips (with a few calamari rings) at a beach-side kiosk. We decided to take advantage of the good weather and eat outside with a pretty spectacular view.

On the drive from Albany to Walpole, we stopped to spend some time in beautiful Denmark. I'd heard about the award-winning bakery so decided that we HAD to stop there for lunch. I'm SOOO glad we did!!! The bakery definitely deserves all its awards! I had a steak and mushroom pie that was so full of flavour. On a cold day, it definitely hit the spot! And Pete also loved his lamb and rosemary pie.

On our first day in Pemberton we went to Hidden River for lunch. Hidden River is a gorgeous little boutique winery/cafe. Last year I had the Malaysian laksa and just had to have it again this year! It's full of prawns, fish and boy choy in a spicy coconutty broth.

This is the grilled trout, salad and chips from the King Trout Cafe - it may not look super exciting but it tastes great - the trout was literally swimming 20 minutes before I ate it and the chips were so fresh and hot and crispy. They were the best chips I've had in ages actually....

We went to the Lavender and Berry farm and couldn't wait to eat another of their gorgeous pies like what we had last year. Sadly, the farm has changed hands. This is the chicken and corn pot pie we ate this year (with fried potato rounds and salad). It was bland, and the inside of the pie tasted a bit, well.... old! Like it had been sitting in the fridge for a few days before being served up to me.

Just for contrast, this is what we were served up last year - this pie is a proper pie, filled with a lovely Thai chicken curry with the fried potato rounds and salad. It also came with homemade tomato and basil sauce which has a flavour like nothing I've tasted before! It was great so I was definitely disappointed this year.

We saved the best til last!!! The Wine and Truffle Co in Manjimup is my favourite place to eat. A glass of wine and their toasted hazelnut bread smothered with truffle butter makes me ever so happy! :-)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lemon Loaf

I felt like cooking something sweet a couple of weeks ago, but since it had recently been Easter and I was still suffering a chocolate overdose, I didn't really want to cook with that which usually runs through my veins!

It was late at night (no shops were open to get fresh ingredients) so I had to make do with what I had in the pantry. I had the basics and a few lemons knocking about the fruit drawer of the fridge. After going through a few cookbooks and my fave recipe website I settled on a lemon loaf recipe from the

Six ingredients and an hour later, I was sitting down with a big cup of tea and munching on a lovely warm piece of cake.

The cake itself was gorgeous! It was light and fluffy with a wonderful sweet/sour topping made by combining some lemon juice and sugar. This cake is one my darling Pete has practically begged me to make again. (A sure sign this recipe is a keeper!)

You can get the recipe here:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes

For your simple viewing pleasure - here is a rich chocolate cupcake I made my darling Pete last week for his 28th birthday.

It's decorated with vanilla buttercream, white sprinkles and (of course!) a candle.

The recipe itself is nothing special, but here's a hint for all you bakers out there - dissolve a teaspoon of instant coffee granules in a tablespoon of boiling water before adding it to the cupcake mixture. (Note: this amount is suitable for a batch of 12.) The coffee flavour isn't obvious but it creates a slight bitterness which off-sets the sweetness of the chocolatey cake.

And Pete loved his cupcakes! :)

Friday, April 2, 2010


Everyone knows what ratatouille is. The main ingredients are garlic, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, capsicum/peppers and herbs. It's light, healthy and an awesome way to increase your veggie intake. :)

The Italians have their own version of ratatouille called giambotta. Similar ingredients, different herbs and in my opinion, so much tastier!

Now, this giambotta recipe is pretty flexible - if you hate zucchini, supplement it with eggplant, if you prefer green capsicums to red, then use green. Play around with the types of vegetables and make the giambotta to suit your own tastes.

(Serves 2)

Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 onion, finely sliced
5 button mushrooms, quartered (I tend to use tinned champignons if the veggie crisper is looking a bit pathetic and empty!)
1 zucchini, cut into chunks
1 red capsicum/bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 chilli, deseeded and sliced
3/4 cup vegetable (or chicken) stock
3 ripe Roma tomatoes (or 1/2 tin of tomatoes), chopped into large chunks
Freshly shredded basil
Salt and pepper

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large non-stick pot or pan. Over medium heat, saute the garlic, onion and mushrooms until the onion has softened a little.

Add the zucchini, capsicum and chilli and saute for a minute or two. Add the stock, turn the heat down and simmer very gently for about 5-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes then simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the veggies are very tender and the stock has been mostly absorbed.

Stir in the fresh basil and season well with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Serve the giambotta topped with a fried egg or plenty of crusty sourdough bread to mop up the veggie juices.

Alternatively, blend the giambotta for a sneakily healthy pasta sauce that the kids will never know is made up of veggies!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fettuccine in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

This is a simple mid-week meal I created when I had next to nothing in the house except for a few mushrooms. It was simple to cook and very yummy to eat!

You can use any mushrooms you like (or have loitering in the vegetable crisper) for this recipe. I used button mushrooms. You'll also notice that the sauce is not purely cream - I find using a mix of cream and stock reduces the richness and makes the meal a lot lighter.

Fettuccine in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce
(Serves 4)

400g fettuccine
50g butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 onion, finely chopped
350g mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Chopped parsley

In a large saucepan of boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente.

At the same time, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and saute the garlic, onion and mushrooms until they have all softened (about 3-5 minutes - the onions will look slightly translucent). Add the cream and stock and simmer gently until the sauce has reduced a little.

Toss through the cooked pasta and parsley.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies (or biscuits, if you'd prefer to call them that.) Except when those chocolate chip cookies have about three chocolate chips in them. Per batch. Not cool!

The beauty of making them yourself is that you can control the chocolate content. And the type of chocolate! Tiny white chocolate chips, or large bitter dark chocolate chunks. The choice is yours.

Choc Chip Cookies
(Makes 36)

150g butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tspn vanilla extract (or 1 tspn vanilla essence)
1 egg
1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1/2 tspn salt
125g chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with baking paper.

In a mixer (or using a set of electric hand beaters) beat the butter, sugars and vanilla until it forms a thick, pale and fluffy mixture. Slowly beat in the egg.

Stir in the sifted flour and salt, then add the choc chips (or chunks ;p ).

Roll the dough into small balls (about two teaspoons full) and place on the baking trays. Don't squash them down - just leave them as little balls otherwise they'll spread too much and look like flat discs rather than chunky biscuits.

Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes in the oven, or until they look pale gold. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool (or be eaten, whichever comes first!)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Goan Beef Curry

Goa is India's smallest state, located along the western coast. The main ingredients used to flavour the local dishes are chilli's, spices, coconut products (shaved, oil, milk, etc.) and vinegar. While fish and rice are generally considered the diet staples, I've used beef in this recipe.

Goan Beef Curry
(Serves 4)

1 tspn fennel seeds
6 cloves
1/2 tspn fenugreek seeds
1 dried chilli
3 tspn ground coriander
3 tspn ground cumin
1/2 tspn ground black pepper
1/2 tspn ground cardamom
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn white vinegar
800g diced beef
1 tspn ground turmeric
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
5cm piece of ginger, grated
375mL coconut milk

In a mortar and pestle, bash the fennel seeds, cloves, fenugreek seeds and the dried chilli to create a fine powder. Mix this with the coriander, cumin, pepper, cardamom and cinnamon, then mix the spices with the white vinegar to form a dry paste.

Sprinkle the turmeric over the beef and rub it in.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pot or pan and gently fry the onion over medium heat until it begins to brown. Then add the garlic and ginger. Let it sizzle for a minute to take away the rawness and infuse the onion, then add the beef and brown it (that means cook it until the outside just begins to brown, it shouldn't be cooked all the way through.) Season with salt to taste.

Add the coconut milk and bring the curry to a boil then cover, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for 45 minutes. (If the curry is still quite liquid, simmer with the lid off the pan until it has dried out. If it begins to look too dry whilst cooking, add a small amount of water and stir it into the curry well.)

Serve the curry on top of a mound of freshly steamed basmati rice.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Veal saltimbocca

Are you, your partner or your kids meat and three veg type people? Does Monday equal steak and three veg? If it's Thursday, it must be pork chops and three veg...

Do you ever get a little bored and feel like jazzing it up? Just a teensy tiny little bit?

Well, here's how!

Veal saltimbocca (or you can easily substitute veal for chicken or pork) is a very easy, very quick, very Italian dish. It contains six basic ingreadients and will only take ten minutes to prepare and cook.

Veal Saltimbocca
(Serves 4)

4 thin veal steaks
4 slices of prosciutto
8 sage leaves
Olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp butter

Lay each veal steak out on your benchtop then lay two sage leaves on the centre of each steak. Take a piece of prosciutto and wrap it around the steak and sage leaves (this will stop the leaves from burning.)

In a large non-stick pan, heat some olive oil and pan fry the steaks for a couple of minutes each side or until cooked to your liking.

Remove the steaks and add the wine to the same pan. Scrape up any steak residue from the bottom (it will add extra flavour) and simmer for a minute or two until the wine has reduced a little. Add a dollop of butter, let it melt, then spoon it over the veal saltimbocca.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Honey Cardamom Biscuits

Honey, in its purest sense, is an energy source for bees. Lucky for us, its lovely sweet stickiness is a beautiful way to liven up biscuits, cakes and slices. It helps to bind dry mixtures and add a natural organic sweetness.

All different types of honey will vary in flavour. This is because bees will only visit one type of flower on each visit, thus beekeepers will choose a site for the hives dominated by one specific plant species to produce a specific type of honey.

In Australia, the most common varieties of honey are red gum and eucalypt. Although for this recipe, I have used local unprocessed Badgingarra honey.

Honey Cardamom Biscuits
(Makes 30)

200g unsalted butter
150g caster (superfine) sugar
3 tbsp honey
250g plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
80g ground almonds
2 tspn ground cardamom

Preheat your oven to 170C/325F and line two baking trays with baking paper (or greaseproof paper).

Sif the flour, baking powder and cardamom into a bowl then stir in the ground almonds.

Over medium heat (or in a microwave) melt the butter, sugar and honey. After a minute or two, the sugar will dissolve (and you won't be able to hear the sugar crystals scraping along the bottom of the saucepan when you stir the mixture!)

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well. Roll small balls of the mixture (about three quarters of the size of a golf ball) and place them onto the baking trays. Flatten the balls slightly with the palm of your hand then bake the biscuits for about 15 minutes. They will turn a lovely golden colour when they're ready. If they still look pale after 15 minutes, leave them in the oven a little longer.

Let the biscuits cool on the trays for a minute or two before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. The point of this is that the biscuits will be meltingly soft when they first come out of the oven, if you try to move them without letting them cool a little first, they will fall apart when you touch them.

These biscuits keep extremely well (about 10 days!) in an airtight container or biscuit jar.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Maple Sausages with Mustard Mash

This is a quick and easy snag recipe from my Delicious: 5 Nights A Week cookbook (available from

The maple sauce makes the sausages sticky sweet - but make sure you use real maple syrup, not the cheaper maple flavoured syrup. The onions caramelize and become soft as butter. And to mop up all that maple sweetness is lovely, fluffy, buttery, mashed potato given a lift by adding in seeded mustard.

This recipe is so quick and easy and guaranteed to be a winner with the kids.

Get the recipe here: or consider buying the Delicious cookbook if you love leafing through recipes which are perfect for an easy mid-week meal.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Indian Potato Cakes

In India, potato cakes or patties like these are usually served as a snack or part of a light lunch or breakfast and often served with chutney. The patties can be served hot or cold but personally, I prefer them hot.

While I made these as finger food for a party, the next time I make them I'll probably make larger patties and serve them with some pan-fried fish and salad to turn this into a main meal.

Aloo Ki Tikki
(Makes 25)

500g potato
100g canned chickpeas, rinsed
150g fresh or frozen peas
Vegetable oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cm piece of ginger, grated
1 tspn chilli paste
1 tspn turmeric
1 tspn ground cumin
1 tspn ground corinader
1/2 tspn garam masala

Peal and chop 500g of potato then boil it with the chickpeas until tender (be careful not to overcook it, as potato becomes waterlogged and unpleasant quite quickly.) Mash the potato and chickpeas well.

Blanch the peas briefly in boiling water then add them to the mashed potato and stir the mixture gently (so as to not mash the peas.)

In a non-stick pan, add a little vegetable oil and saute the onion until it has softened. Add the ginger, chilli paste and ground spices and fry for a minute to release the aroma of the spices. Mix this into the potato and add salt to taste.

Get a golf ball sized portion of the potato mixture and shape into a pattie. Fry in an oiled non-stick pan for 3 minutes each side, or until golden and crispy.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chicken Chasseur

Chicken chasseur is a classic French dish. Chasseur means "hunter's sauce" as it was once a dish to slow-cook game meats such as rabbit, chicken, pheasant or venison.

The sauce itself is rich (but not stodgy) and begs to be mopped up by copious amounts of mashed potato or crusty bread. The main ingredients used to flavour a classic chasseur sauce are mushrooms, onions or shallots, white wine and herbs, although occassionally tomatoes (or tomato paste) is used.

Chicken Chasseur
(Serves 4)

800g chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized cubes
50g butter
Olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
150g field or button mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tspn dried tarragon
1/2 tspn dried parsely

Heat the butter and a small amount of olive oil (which will stop the butter from burning) in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften. Add the chicken pieces and cook until they begin to brown a little. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, until they too begin to soften.

Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and stir until it has combined with all the ingredients. Add the white wine, tomato paste and chicken stock. Stir well. Bring the chasseur to a boil then reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan with a lid and leave to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the tarragon and parsley to the chasseur and season well with salt and pepper. Simmer for a further 10 minutes with the lid off to reduce the sauce to a thick gravy. (If the gravy is too thick, you may add a little water to thin it slightly.)

Serve the chicken chasseur with mashed potato and steamed vegetables or fresh crusty bread and a side salad.