Tuesday, October 8, 2013

caprese sandwich

With the weather finally changing here in Perth to more like spring, here is a 
great idea for a picnic snack, whether you eat it as is or toast on the BBQ. a play on the great Caprese Salad with vine ripened tomatoes, a good mozzerella and fresh grown basil pressed between two slices of good toasted sourdough.

What you need
6 slices sourdough bread
4 vine ripened roma tomatoes, sliced
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Good quality olive oil
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 large handfuls basil leaves (about 1 oz)
Salt and pepper to taste

what to do
Place the sliced tomatoes on a flat tray greased with olive oil. Drizzle the tops with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and balsamic vinegar.
On the grill setting, bake the tomatoes in the oven for about 6-8 minutes, 
Place a few basil leaves on each slice of the bread.  Add the roasted tomatoes and top with mozzarella.
Just grill on the BBQ or in a pan till the bread is golden brown and the cheese is gooey and soft

Sunday, October 6, 2013

seafood lasagne

What you need
40g butter
1 medium leek, trimmed, halved, washed, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup plain flour
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 cup grated tasty cheese
500g salmon fillets, cut into 2cm pieces
200g ling, cut into 2cm pieces
12 (400g) green king prawns, peeled, deveined
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 fresh lasagne sheets
Green salad, to serve
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What to do
Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 22cm x 31cm baking dish.

Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add leek, carrot, thyme and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until leek has softened. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually add stock and milk, stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Add mustard and half the cheese. Stir to combine. Remove from heat. Stand for 10 minutes. Stir in salmon, ling and prawns. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine breadcrumbs, olive oil and remaining cheese in a bowl. Line the prepared baking dish with 2 lasagne sheets. Top with 1/3 seafood mixture. Top with another 2 lasagne sheets and half remaining seafood mixture. Repeat with remaining lasagne sheets and seafood mixture. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until pasta is tender and breadcrumbs are golden. Stand for 10 minutes. Serve with salad.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

braised lamb shoulder with figs


what you need 
½ cup dried figs
4 fresh figs halved (if available)
½ cup warm water
I boneless lamb shoulder trimmed of excess fat
Salt and ground black pepper
1 small onion diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 pickling onions whole
2 small garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with their juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

what to do
Place the figs and water in a bowl and soak for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the water. Cut the figs into half and set aside
Sprinkle the shoulder with salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy-bottomed large pan over medium-high heat and cook until browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove from the pan and set aside.
Pour off the fat in the pan,
Return the pan to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the reserved soaking liquid from the figs and simmer until reduced by half, scraping the browned bits from the pan bottom with a wooden spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, honey and reserved figs, then return the shoulder to the pan, add whole onions cover and place in a moderate oven until the shoulder is cooked through and starting to fall apart, approx. 2-2.5hrs. 30 after 2 hours add fresh figs if available and cook for further 30 minutes.

Place the shoulder  on a serving dish, stir the parsley into the braising liquid, adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, spoon the sauce over the shoulder, and serve 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

italian meatball soup


what you need
500g lean beef mince
1 small red onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
1/3 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
700g bottle (2 3/4 cups) tomato pasta sauce with basil
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup risoni
1 tin cooked white beans 
2 zucchini, diced
150g green beans, trimmed, cut into thirds
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese and
crusty Italian bread, to serve

what to do
Combine mince, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, basil, parmesan and egg in a large bowl. 
Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. 
Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls. Place on a large plate.
Pour tomato sauce, stock and 2 cups water into a large, deep saucepan. Cover. Bring to the boil over high heat. Skim froth from surface. 
Add meatballs. Return to a gentle boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. 
Add risoni and cook for a further 5 minutes. 
Add white and green beans. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Ladle soup into serving bowls. 
Sprinkle with parmesan if desired and serve with crusty Italian bread.

Friday, May 17, 2013

leek & pumpkin barley risotto


what you need
butternut pumpkin, 500g, peeled, seeded, chopped
olive oil, 2 tablespoons
leek, 1, trimmed, rinsed, sliced
rindless bacon, 2 rashes, chopped
garlic, 1 clove, crushed
button mushrooms, 200g, halved
pearl barley, 1 1/2 cups
vegetable stock, 5 cups
parsley, roughly chopped, 1/3 cup
bread, to serve (optional)

what to do 
Preheat oven to hot, 200C.
 In a baking dish, toss pumpkin in half oil. Season to taste. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden and tender.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan on medium. Saute leek, bacon and garlic 2-3 minutes, until leek is tender. 
Add mushrooms and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring, until golden. 
Stir in barley to coat in oil. Pour in stock and bring to boil. 
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20-25 minutes
.Remove lid and simmer a further 10-15 minutes, stirring, until barley is tender and liquid completely absorbed. 
Season to taste.Carefully stir pumpkin through. Serve sprinkled with parsley, accompanied with bread, if liked.

my tip
Pearl barley is higher in fibre than white rice and contains antioxidants. Try brown rice for a gluten-free fibre hit

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

tuscan rabbit with pancetta



WHAT YOU NEED
1.6kg whole rabbit  jointed
2 tbs plain flour, seasoned
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 onions, finely chopped
6 slices flat pancetta (see note), chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup (250ml) white wine
1/3 cup (80ml) balsamic vinegar
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can cherry tomatoes (see note)
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves chopped
2 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
Cooked soft polenta, to serve

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Dust rabbit in flour, shaking off excess. 
Heat 2 tbs oil in a frypan over medium heat and cook rabbit, in batches, for 2 minutes each side or until golden. Place in a baking dish. 
Heat remaining 1 tbs oil and cook fennel, onion, pancetta and garlic, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until soft and golden. 
Add wine and half the vinegar, and simmer for 3-4 minutes until reduced by half. Add tomatoes and rosemary, season and bring to the boil. 
Pour over rabbit, cover and cook for 11/4 hours or until rabbit is tender.
Stir in remaining 2 tbs vinegar and scatter with parsley. Serve with polenta.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

fools gnocchi

This gnocchi is nothing like the traditional gnocchi we eat today – they are great to eat with something like osso bucco or simply tossed in butter and sage, they are really quick, simple and fool proof to make, containing cheese rather than potatoes.
what you need
625 g softened cream cheese of your choice – also works perfect with mascarpone or ricotta cheese
400 ml plain flour
6 egg yolks
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Salt and cracked pepper to taste


what to do
As soon as the cream cheese is at room temperature, mash into a soft paste and then, by hand,  mix in the flour and salt to taste.
Mix in the egg yolk, individually, until the mixture is smooth and velvety but thick.
Bring a large pot of water to a simmering boil and drop teaspoons of the mixture into the water.
Cook until the gnocchi rise to the top of the water before removing  remove from the heat and draining.
Toss in brown butter with fresh sage leaves
Pile onto a serving dish and add as much Parmesan cheese as you like and freshly cracked pepper..

Friday, April 6, 2012

beetroot relish

This easy to make relish takes just 30 minutes, and goes great with chicken or turkey in a sandwich or a burger.


what you need
1 chopped brown onion
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
pinch of ground cinnamon and cloves
225g drained canned beetroot, chopped


what to do
Combine 1 chopped brown onion, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup water and a pinch of ground cinnamon and cloves in a saucepan over medium heat. 
Cook for 5 minutes or until onion is soft. 
Add 225g drained canned beetroot, chopped, and cook for 15 minutes or until thick. 

Allow to cool & store in the fridge 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

stuffed red peppers

what you need
3 red peppers (capsicums)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 gloves garlic, crushed
50gr (1 3/4oz) butter
1 cup cooked rice
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/3 cup grated parmesan
2 tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped
1 cup grated mozzerella
2 tablespoons chopped sage


what to do
pre heat the oven to 170 celcius.
Cut the tops of the capsicums and save, remove the seeds and and wash
heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add onion and garlic and cook gently for 5 minutes.
remove from the heat and stir in the rice, butter and breadcrumbs , transfer to a bowl and add egg, parmesan, tomato, mozzerella, sage and three tablespoons of water, stir well and season to taste. fill the peppers and place the lids back on drizzle with olive oil and bake for 45 minutes or untill peppers and cooked


Why not try a variation and use tomatoes, or marrow instead of capsicums or peppers, or cous cous instead of rice. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

fetta, onion and olive pizza


what you need
basic pizza dough 
basic tomato sauce 
1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup sliced spanish onion
1/4 cup sliced kalamatta olives
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
cracked pepper to taste


what to do
Roll out pizza dough to approximitely 1/2 inch thickness. 
Spread tomato sauce lightly over base
cover with the mozzerella cheese
Arrange feta, spanish onion and olives over the cheese
Finish with a few grinds of black pepper.
Bake on a pre-heated pizza stone in a hot oven for approx 15-20 minutes.

Friday, March 30, 2012

chunky tomato relish

What you need

1 tbs olive oil
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small fresh red chilli, halved, deseeded, finely chopped
500g ripe vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs white wine vinegar

What to do
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and chilli, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until aromatic.
Add the tomato to the onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the tomato breaks down.
Add the sugar and vinegar, and cook for 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens. 
Set aside to cool, place in a sterilized jar and keep refrigerated.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

fried pumkin blossoms

Here is a variation on my fried zucchini flowers, Pumpkin vines have large, yellow flowers that are 4 to 5 inches in diameter. The pumpkin vine like the zucchini vine has separate male and female flowers. The pumkin only forms at the base of the female flower.

The pumpkin is technically a fruit that belongs to the Cucurbita family which includes squash and cucumbers

what you need
24 pumpkin blossoms
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or corn meal)
3-4 tablespoons light cooking olive oil
dash salt as desired
fresh cracked black pepper to taste


what to do
Cut pumpkin blossoms off where the pumpkin starts.

Take the center out (stamen) as this is quiet bitter and wash well.

Make a batter of the milk, eggs, salt and pepper.

Dip the blossoms in the wheat or cornflour then in the blossoms in the batter and deep fry at 180 degrees until light golden brown.

Serve hot, these are also great filled with ricotta or goats cheese, or even a cheese risotto filling

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

green tomato relish

Green tomato relish is the perfect relish for hot dogs and hamburgers, or great with cold cuts in a crusty roll


What you need
8 cups finely chopped cored green tomatoes
2 cups finely chopped peeled onions
4 green capsicums, finely chopped
1/3 cup pickling salt
2 tablespoons mixed pickling spices
½ teaspoon celery seeds
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 ¼ cups white vinegar
1 2/3 cups light brown sugar

What to do
Combine the chopped vegetables and salt in a large stainless steel pan. Cover and let stand in a cool place overnight.
Pour the vegetables in a colander over the sink and let drain. Rinse with cool water and use your hands to squeeze out any excess liquids.
Tie the pickling spices and celery seeds in a cheesecloth spice bag.
In a large stainless steel or enamel-lined pan, combine the vinegar, the spice bag, chopped garlic, and the vinegar. Put the vinegar mixture over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add the drained green tomato mixture and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and boil gently, stirring often, for 1 hour.
Once cooked place in sterilized jars and keep in the fridge.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

prawn, mango & avocado salad


What you need

2 large handfuls of torn iceberg lettuce
1 small handful mint, chopped
1 handful coriander leaves, chopped
200gr king prawns (shrimp), cooked and peeled
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 mango, sliced
60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) lime juice
4 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce


What to do

Combine the lettuce, mint and coriander and divide between two serving bowls.
Arrange the prawns, avocado and mango over the top.
Drizzle over the lime juice and top with a little sweet chilli sauce.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

beef noodle salad

What you need
350g packet fresh Singapore noodles
550g beef rump steak, trimmed
1/2 cup sesame, ginger and soy marinade
1 medium carrot, peeled, grated
2 cups beansprouts, trimmed
6 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally

What to do
Place noodles in a heatproofbowl.
Cover with boiling water. Stand for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender.
Usinga fork, separate noodles. Drain and return to the bowl.
Brush steak with 1 tablespoon marinade. Preheat a greased barbecue plate or chargrill over medium-high heat.
Cook steak for 3 to 4 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate. Stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Thinly slice.
Combine remaining marinade with 2 tablespoons cold water. Add beef, carrot, beansprouts, onion and marinade mixture to noodles.
Toss to combine.
Serve and top with fresh corriander

Monday, March 19, 2012

quinoa tabouleh


Quinoa is a great gluten-free substitute for burghul or cracked wheat that is traditionally used in tabouleh. This salad goes great with barbequed lamb or chicken.


What you need

1 cup (200g) quinoa

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked, finely chopped

2 tbs finely chopped mint or coriander

10 cherry tomatoes, quartered

3 spring onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp paprika, plus extra to sprinkle

1 tsp ground cumin

Pinch of cayenne

1 tsp caster sugar

100g low-fat thick Greek yoghurt

1 tbs olive oil

4 x 180g chicken breast fillets

What to do

Place the quinoa and 600ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat, then bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well and leave to cool.

Add herbs, tomato and onion to quinoa and toss to combine. Combine oil, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp paprika, cumin, cayenne and sugar, then season.

Dressing

Place yoghurt in a bowl and drizzle over 2 tsp dressing, then sprinkle with some paprika. Toss salad in remaining dressing.

Serve the salad with warm BBQ lamb or chicken thighs and yoghurt dressing

Saturday, March 17, 2012

gluten free banana bread



What you need
Makes 1 loaf
300 gr smashed ripe banana
3 free range eggs
60gr honey or organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
60gr cold pressed olive oil or macadamia nut oil
half teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda ( bicarb soda) + 1 tbsp lemon juice
200gr ( 2 cups ) almond meal
25gr (1/4 cup) ground flaxseed (linseed)
½ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat your oven to 160 C.

what to do
Combine smashed banana, honey, oil,
cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, bicarb and lemon. ( the lemon activates the bicarb). You could do this step in your trusty blender to ensure you blend up all the
base ingredients like a smoothie, then pour into a mixing bowl to finish off
the banana bread batter.
Add the almond meal and flaxseed and mix well.
Lightly oil one loaf tin and then coat liberally with extra almond meal – this will prevent the cake from sticking.
Spoon batter into the tin
and top banana bread before baking with a ½ cup of chopped walnuts and a
lightly sprinkle of cinnamon.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour and cover the top with foil if over-browning.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out the loaf.
Serve warm or at room temperature by itself or with a little ricotta and honey.

warm lamb salad


What you need

450g or 2 lamb backstraps

Olive oil spray

400g frozen broad beans, thawed, peeled

2 bunches asparagus, woody ends trimmed

1 bunch watercress (or rocket), leaves picked, washed, dried

60ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs wholegrain mustard

1/2 tsp raw sugar

What to do

Season both sides of the lamb with salt and pepper. Spray a non-stick frying pan with oil spray and place over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and cook for 4-5 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest.

Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil. Add the broad beans and asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes or until bright green and tender crisp. Drain. Place the beans and asparagus in a bowl of iced water for 2 minutes to refresh. Drain.

Thinly slice the lamb across the backstrap

Combine the lamb, broad beans, asparagus and watercress in a large bowl.

Divide the salad among serving plates.

Place the lemon juice, oil, mustard and sugar in a small jar and shake to mix. Drizzle the dressing over the salad when ready to serve.