Thursday, December 24, 2009


Tzatziki, is a wonderful addition to many meals. I like to use it on virtually any grilled fish or chicken dish. Use it as a dip for vegetables, or a replacement to mayonnaise. Of course traditionally it is served with Greek dolmades or chicken souvlaki.

What you need
500 grams (1 lb) thick full fat yoghurt
½ Lebanese cucumber (peeled, seeded and finely diced)
1 small clove garlic (finely diced)
Sea salt
Black pepper corn mill
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ a lemon

What to do
Pour any liquid collected on the top of the yoghurt off.
Squeeze as much juice from the diced cucumber as possible.
Combine the yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, a few pinches of salt, a few turns of the pepper mill, 2 tbsps olive oil, and the lemon juice.

Gently stir and place in the fridge for 1 hour prior to serving. grea served with Lamb koftas or barbequed meats.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

what you need
2 (8 ounce) sweet potatoes
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour

what to do
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bake sweet potatoes for 30 minutes, or until soft to the touch. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool.
Once the potatoes are cool enough to work with, remove the peels, and mash them, or press them through a ricer into a large bowl. Blend in the garlic, salt, nutmeg, and egg. Mix in the flour a little at a time until you have soft dough. Use more or less flour as needed.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. While you wait for the water, make the gnocchi. On a floured surface, roll the dough out in several long snakes, and cut into 1-inch sections. Drop the pieces into the boiling water, and allow them to cook until they float to the surface. Remove the floating pieces with a slotted spoon, and keep warm in a serving dish.
Serve with butter and shaved parmesan or creamy pesto sauce."

Baba Ghanouj - eggplant dip

what you need

2 large eggplants
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion coarsely chopped
¼ cup (purchased) roasted red capsicum, chopped
5 tbs roasted tahini
2 tbs rice wine vinegar (sweet vinegar)
2 tbs ground coriander
4 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, sliced coarsely
¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

what to do
Prick the surface of the eggplant all over, and brush it well with olive oil.You can either bake the eggplant at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, Or, you can put it on the grill over medium heat, turning several times, until the skin is well charred and the pulp is soft. Use a fork to test the flesh for doneness. the charring method will give the dip a nice smokey flavour.

Cool the eggplant for at least 10-15 minutes before you try to work with it.

Heat 2 T olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.Sauté onion for about 5 minutes, then add the roasted red capsicum, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper.

Cook for about 2 more minutes then remove the contents to a bowl to cool (about five minutes).
Place the mixture into a blender, and process until smooth.

Remove the pulp of the eggplant and throw away the skin.

Add the eggplant to the blender with the mixture and combine until smooth. You need to add the eggplant immediately to the mixture, because the acid in the lemon juice will keep it from turning brown. It would still taste good but it wouldn’t be nearly as appetizing to look at.

After you put the baba ghanouj to a serving bowl, sprinkle with about 2 T extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the Italian parsley over the top

chicken with lemon & tyme

what you need
1/2 chicken on the bone
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
fresh tyme sprigs
4 lemons
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper

what to do
Thoroughly wash and dry the chicken .
Cut 2 lemons into round slices.
Salt and pepper chicken on both sides.
Place chicken skin side up in a casserole dish.
Mix oil,lemon juice,parsley.
Pour over chicken.
Sprinkle tyme all over chicken and refrigerate for about an hour.Turn the chicken over and sprinkle more tyme on top then refrigerate for about another hour.
After the chicken is marinated. place in the oven (190 celcius) for about 20 minutes. Turn chicken over and roast for about another 20 minutes while basting with the oil and juice mixture.
Great served with citrus spiced cous cous

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sun-dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Zucchini Rolls

what you need
2 large zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or substitute domestic parmesan)
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped thyme

what to do
Preheat a grill pan. Brush both sides of the zucchini slices with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on the hot grill pan. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side until the grill marks show.If you do not have a grill pan, brush zucchini slices with olive oil, salt and pepper and sauté in a skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned and just tender (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the goat cheese wih the Parmigiano, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, mix well, and set aside.Remove the zucchini slices from the grill, and set aside to cool slightly. Spread goat cheese mixture over one side of the zucchini slices, roll up, and arrange on a platter. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

pepperoni calzone

what you need
2 x 250gr pizza dough balls
1/2 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 ounces sliced pepperoni
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

what to do
Punch dough down.On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a 14" circle .Place one circle on a greased baking sheet. Spread spaghetti sauce in a strip down the center. Sprinkle with oregano, pepperoni,and mozzarella cheese.Fold over dough and seal edges; repeat for other circle

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.Bake at 350° F. for 30 minutes or until golden brown in a traditional oven.

For party food make the circles about 4"round and fill as above. fillings can be varied like spinach & cheese, ham & mushroom or what ever you like to try.

chicken marsala

what you need
3 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tbls unsalted butter
2 cups fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbls olive oil
1 cup marsala wine
1/2 cup fresh cream

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place the breasts between layers of plastic wrap, and pound until thin. . Clean and slice the mushrooms.

Dust the chicken with the flour. Shake off excess flour.

Heat the oil and butter to medium-high temperature in a large saute pan. Add the chicken, and brown on one side. Turn over, and add the mushrooms.

Pour in the wine, and reduce to half the volume, add cream and cook till reduced and thickened

Great served on mash with fresh steamed beans with the sauce poured over.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

rigatoni with Italian sausage

what you need
500gr rigatoni pasta
1/2 onion finaly diced
1 glove garlic chopped
500gr Italian sausage (with fennel if possible)
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup tomato passata or canned tomatoes
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly grounded black pepper
freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley leaves

what to do
Place the sausage in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water. Cover, bring to a boil and turn heat down to low. Simmer, covered for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sausage cool to room temperature. Remove casings from sausage and chop finely.

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil. Add onion and garlic, turn heat to low and cook till softened, Stir in tomato passata, sausage, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes.

Cook pasta in a large volume of boiling water with 1 tbsp salt until al dente. Drain in a colander, transfer to a bowl . Mix 3/4 of the sauce with the pasta and spoon remaining sauce and sausage on top.

Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with freshly grated Parmigiano cheese.

Monday, October 19, 2009

spaghetti carbonara

what you need
4 ounces spaghetti (or other pasta like fettuccini, linguine, or tortellini)
4 ounces pancetta, cut into thin strips
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 green onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/8 to 1/4 cup pasta cooking water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pecorino Romano cheese (optional)

what to do
Add olive oil to a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add diced pancetta and cook, stirring frequently until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and onion and continue cooking and stirring until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente (just tender).
In a small bowl mix together egg yolks, cream, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Just before the pasta is finished cooking, remove 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the hot pasta water and slowly whisk into the egg yolk mixture (to temper eggs), beating vigorously to prevent eggs from scrambling.
Quickly drain the pasta in a colander and return to pot. Immediately toss in the egg and pancetta mixtures, stirring the spaghetti continuously to both cook the eggs and coat the pasta. Serve immediately in heated bowls with a healthy grind of black pepper and season with salt to taste.
Top with grated Pecorino Romano, if desired

Sunday, September 13, 2009

sun dried tomato pesto

what you need
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup toasted whole almonds
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 generous packed cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1/4 cup grated parmigianno regianno
1 cup olive oil

what to do
Drain your sun dried tomatoes, lightly rinse them, and then pat them dry with a paper towel.
Toast your almonds in a dry shallow pan or hot oven. They will take about 10 minutes, and you will smell when they are done.
In a large food processor, combine the basil, toasted almonds, garlic, lemon zest, and salt. Process until coarsely chopped.
Add the sun dried tomatoes and parmigianno cheese and process until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped.
Now stream in the olive oil slowly and process until the pesto comes together.
Serve immediately or store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

marinated mushrooms

This recipe for marinated mushrooms is so easy, it keeps for weeks and can be done in large volumes. So now you can serve homemade marinated mushrooms and not have to pay the high price from the gourmet deli , perfect to serve as part of a antipasto platter.

What you'll need
500 grams (1 lb) Swiss Brown or button Mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup of red wine
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
fresh rosemary sprig
Sea salt flakes
Pepper mill

What to do
Grate or finely chop the garlic
Add the garlic to the mushrooms
Place a large pot on medium high heat
Add 4-5 tablespoons oil
Add mushrooms & garlic
Stir for about 1 minute
Add the red wine
Increase the heat to high, stir and cook for 1 minute
Add the vinegar and stir through
Season with salt & pepper
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes
Allow to cool
Drain & serve (reserve the liquid)
Can be served whole as part of antipasto platter, in salads or even sliced on bruschetta
Store remaining mushrooms covered in the marinade in fridge

Friday, September 11, 2009

beef goulash

what you need
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.25kg boneless veal shoulder, cut into 3cm cubes
2 brown onions, halved, sliced
1 large red capsicum, sliced
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
3/4 cup dry white wine
690g bottle Italian tomato passata sauce
3 dried bay leaves
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 small desiree potatoes, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
cooked pasta (such as spaghetti or fettuccine), to serve

what to do
Preheat oven to 130°C. Heat oil in a large, flameproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add one-third of the veal. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. Remove to a bowl. Repeat in 2 batches with remaining veal.
Reduce heat to low. Add onions and capsicum to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until soft. Add paprika and caraway seeds. Cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add wine. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Return veal to pan. Add passata, bay leaves, stock and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Bake for 2 1/2 hours or until veal and potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaves.

Spoon goulash over pasta or try serving with polenta or gnocchi

Thursday, September 10, 2009

basil pesto

what you need
45g (1/4 cup) pine nuts
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 small garlic cloves, halved
60g (3/4 cup) shredded parmesan
5 tbs olive oil

what to do
Preheat oven to 180°C. Spread the pine nuts over a baking tray. Bake in oven for 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
Place the pine nuts, basil, garlic and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the oil in a thin steady stream until well combined.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken cacciatore literally means 'hunter's style chicken'. This stew originates in central Italy and dates to the 15th Century when only the affluent could afford poultry and the sport of hunting.

what you need
8 chicken thigh fillets
plain flour, for dusting
salt and cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 cup (160ml) chicken stock
1/2 cup (125ml) white wine
400g can chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup kalamata olives
2 tablespoons oregano leaves
steamed vegetables, to serve

what to do
Dust chicken thigh fillets in combined flour, salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in batches, for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and cook for 4 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in stock, wine and tomatoes, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir through olives and oregano, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Serve with steamed vegetables.

Or try with chicken pieces and braise slowly in a covered dish in the oven for 90 minutes for a more full flavoured dish

Sunday, September 6, 2009

eggplant rolls

what you need
3 eggplants
250 g cottage cheese or soft cheese
1-2 garlic cloves
rosemary, thyme, parsley,
salt to taste
cracked pepper
olive oil for frying
what to do
Wash the eggplants, trim off the ends and cut them along in thin slices.
Pour olive oil into a frying pan and fry eggplant slices on both sides until they get soft, for about 2 minutes each side.
Chop herbs finely. Mash garlic cloves.
Mix the herbs and the garlic with cottage cheese or any soft cheese. Salt slightly if needed and cracked pepper to taste.
Then put cottage cheese on the warm eggplant slices and fold them into rolls.

Serve the rolls cold, drizzle with good olive oil light squeeze of lemon

Saturday, September 5, 2009

chilli spiced polenta cakes

what you need
1 1/2 cups polenta
1/2 cup diced roasted green chilies
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

what to do
Sweat the onion and garlic in a dash of oil. Add the green chilies and the stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the polenta and keep stirring until the spoon stands up-right without falling over, about ten minutes.

Spoon polents mixture into well greased muffin trays, and bake for 25-30 minutes at 180c or until golden brown.

Serve warm with crisp salad and red pepper sauce or tomato salsa

lamb kofta with garlic & lemon yoghurt

what you need

8 garlic cloves
200g plain natural yoghurt
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon lemon juice
700g lean lamb mince
4 green onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
olive oil cooking spray
lemon wedges, to serve
what to do
Preheat oven to 200°C. Wrap 7 garlic cloves in foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until garlic softens. Remove from oven. Carefully remove from foil. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool. Squeeze garlic from skin into a food processor. Discard skins. Add yoghurt, fresh coriander, lemon rind and lemon juice. Process until combined. Season with salt. Transfer to a bowl.
Peel and crush remaining garlic clove. Place lamb, onion, cumin, ground coriander, garlic and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Using clean hands, mix to combine. Divide mixture into eight oval shapes. Thread onto skewers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Preheat a barbecue plate or chargrill on medium-high heat. Spray skewers with oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, turning, or until cooked through.
Arrange koftas on a platter. Serve with mixed greens yoghurt mixture and lemon wedges.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

italian braised pork

what you need
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5kg pork shoulder, rolled and tied
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium brown onion (150g), chopped coarsely
½ small fennel bulb (100g), chopped coarsely
8 slices hot pancetta (120g), chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup (125ml) dry white wine
400g can whole tomatoes
1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
1 cup (250ml) water
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 large fennel bulbs (1kg), halved, sliced thickly

spice rub
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt2 teaspoons olive oil

what to do
Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan forced. Heat oil in large flameproof casserole dish on stove top; cook pork, uncovered, until browned all over.Meanwhile, combine ingredients for spice rub in small bowl.Remove pork from dish; reserve 1 tablespoon of the oil in dish; discard remainder. Cook garlic, onion, chopped fennel and pancetta in same heated dish, stirring, until onion softens. Add paste; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.Meanwhile, rub pork with spice rub. Return pork to dish with wine, undrained tomatoes, stock, the water and rosemary; bring to the boil; cover. Transfer dish to oven; cook 1 hour. Add sliced fennel to dish; cover. Return dish to oven; cook 1 hour. Remove pork from dish; discard pork rind. Cover pork to keep warm.Meanwhile, cook braising liquid in dish, uncovered, over medium heat on stove top until thickened slightly. Serve sliced pork with sauce, and warm ciabatta bread, if desired

date and chocolate torrone

what you need
1/3 cup (55g) currants
¼ cup (60ml) brandy
200g unsalted butter, chopped
300g dark chocolate, chopped
2 eggs
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
225g shortbread biscuits, broken into chunks
2/3 cup (110g) finely chopped mixed peel
½ cup (70g) pitted dates, chopped
1/3 cup (55g) roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
cocoa, to dust

what to do
Line base and long sides of two 8 by 26cm bar cake pans with baking paper. Combine currants and brandy in a bowl. Cover and set aside for 1 hour. Place butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Stir over simmering water until melted and smooth. Using an electric beater, beat eggs and sugar together until pale and thick. Stir in chocolate mixture, currants and brandy. Gently fold in remaining ingredients until just combined.Spoon into prepared pans and spread out. Cover surface with plastic wrap and smooth out. Refrigerate overnight, until set. Remove plastic wrap, turn out onto a board and dust with cocoa.

Slice and serve, or cut in half lengthways and wrap to give as a gift.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

bread and butter pudding

As the winter settles in and the temperature falls this is a great winter dessert and good way to warm up, make sure you use day old bread, or try using old croissants for something a little richer and more indulgent.

85 gm (½ cup) sultanas
2 tbsp brandy, warmed
5 eggs
300 ml pouring cream
300 ml milk
55 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar
1orange, finely grated rind only
1vanilla bean, seeds only
½ tsp ground cinnamon
8 1.5cm-thick slices of day-old white bread
60 gm soft butter, plus extra for greasing
1 tbsp demerara sugar
To serve: icing sugar and vanilla bean ice-cream or double cream

Combine sultanas and brandy in a small bowl and set aside to cool.
Combine eggs, cream, milk, caster sugar, orange rind, vanilla seeds and cinnamon in a jug. Whisk vigorously to combine and set aside.
Spread both sides of bread slices with butter and halve lengthways. Scatter one third of the brandied sultanas into a lightly greased 1-litre capacity ovenproof dish. Trim bread slices to fit dish and layer, scattering remaining brandied sultanas between each layer. Pour cream mixture evenly over bread slices and stand until bread has completely absorbed cream mixture (about 1 hour).
Preheat oven to 180C. Scatter demerara sugar over pudding and bake until golden and custard is firm (30-40 minutes). Serve immediately or at room temperature, lightly dusted with icing sugar, and with scoops of vanilla ice-cream or cream to the side, if desired

Friday, May 22, 2009

mixed berry & frangellico trifle

This well presented, simple mixed berry trifle individually served is a perfect dessert for any dinner party.

what you need
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
250gr mascarpone
8 x 1cm-thick slices panettone
300g fresh or frozen mixed berries

what to do

Use a balloon whisk to whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Add 1 tablespoonful of the Frangelico and whisk until smooth. Add the mascarpone and use a metal spoon to gently fold until just combined.Use an round pastry cutter to cut discs from the panettone slices. Brush four discs with a little of the remaining Frangelico. Place in the base of four 1-cup (250ml) capacity serving glasses. Spoon half the berries evenly among serving glasses. Top with half the mascarpone mixture.Continue layering with remaining berries, mascarpone mixture, panettone and Frangelico, finishing with a layer of mascarpone. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill before serving

Thursday, May 21, 2009

potato doughnuts

what you need
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup shortening, melted
1 cup unseasoned mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

what to do
Sift flour with baking powder, salt, nutmeg, soda. Set aside.
Beat eggs with sugar, shortening; stir in mashed potatoes, lemon rind. Add flour mixture alternately with milk. Turn dough onto lightly floured board. Roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with doughnut cutter. Drop 4 or 5 doughnuts at a time into deep hot fat preheated to 360°. Cook until doughnuts are brown and rise to surface; turn to brown on both sides. Drain.

Roll in mixture of cinnamon and sugar

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pappardelle with Wild Mushrooms

what you need
2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 pounds assorted wild or cultivated mushrooms (such as oyster, porcini, cremini, portobello and stemmed shiitake), trimmed, large mushrooms cut into same size as smaller mushrooms
2 small onions, quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
Sea salt
1 small bunch fresh chives, snipped
500gr (1lb) fresh pappardelle
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
Generous pinch of sea salt
what to do
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until juices form, about 4 minutes. Add onion and saute until mushrooms are tender and liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Season to taste with sea salt. Keep warm over very low heat.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring often, about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain.
Toss mushroom mixture through pasta, divide equally. Sprinkle with picked parsey and serve with a good parmesan

orange and polenta cake

what you need
200g butter, melted
½ cup polenta
1 cup cake flour, plain
1 cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Zest of one orange
3 eggs
½ cup milk
3 tablespoon orange juice
2 tablespoons castor sugar (extra)

what to do
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Melt butter.
Combine all dry ingredients with orange zest and put aside.
In a mixer, whisk eggs until light and fluffy (approx 5 minutes).
Slowly pour in melted butter and continue whisking for 1-2 minutes.
Turn whisk to low and gradually pour in dry ingredients and zest.
When just combined add milk and orange juice and fold with spatula. Once combined, pour the mixture into a springform cake tin that has been greased well.
Bake in oven for 45 minutes. Remove and cool on wire rack.
While cooling add remaining 2 tablespoons of orange juice and extra sugar in a small saucepan, sir on high heat and bring to the boil, boil for 2 minutes then remove and brush syrup over orange cake.

marinated stawberries
what you need
2 punnets of strawberries
juice of 1 orange
15mls cointreau
1 dessertspoon icing sugar

what to do
Rinse and hull all but ten strawberries.
Mash the remaining berries, add orange juice, cointreau and sugar.
Tip sauce over whole berries, and marinate for about an hour.
To serve
Dust cake with icing sugar and spoon over marinated strawberies

Chicken Pizziola

This isa fool proof, quick and simple chicken dish that you can just top and pop in the oven with out lots of fussy cooking that will be ready in forty minutes.

what you need
4 x 125g flattened skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup lean ham, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup capsicum, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped shallots or thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup tomato, diced
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp dried basil
cooking spray
4 dsp tomato paste
1 cup tasty cheese, grated

what to do
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius fan forced. Flatten chicken breasts with a meat mallet. In a medium sized bowl, mix together ham, mushroom, capsicum, shallots, tomato, garlic and basil. Coat a baking tray with cooking spray and place all four flattened chicken breasts on it. Spread one dessertspoon of tomato paste over each breast, then spread pizza topping evenly over each breast. Sprinkle a quarter cup of cheese over each piece. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked and topping is golden brown.

now how easy is that

Monday, May 18, 2009

beef & red wine casserole

what you need
500g diced beef (use chuck or topside)
2 tbsp olive oil
6 small onions, peeled and left whole
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
1 cup red wine
200g button mushrooms

what to do
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Coat the beef in one tablespoon of the oil and brown in small batches in a large preheated fry-pan over a medium-high heat. Set beef aside. Reduce heat in pan and add remaining oil, onions, carrots and tomato paste, and cook, stirring for one minute. Add the stock and wine, scraping up the meat residue from the bottom of the pan. Heat until the mixture boils, then pour into a large casserole dish. Add the beef to the casserole dish, mix well. Cover the casserole dish tightly and cook in the preheated oven for one hour. Add the mushrooms.
Cover and cook for a further 20-30 minutes.

Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and sugar snap peas.

pumpkin & pinenut ravioli

pasta dough 1/2 recipe from my blog

what you need for the filling
500g pumpkin, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cloves organic garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg white
what you need for the sauce
2 cans organic tomatoes
250g butter
1 large onion

what to do for the filling
Rub salt and olive oil onto pumpkin and roast until soft. Roast pine nuts in a dry skillet. Combine pine nuts with chopped garlic and olive oil in a mortar and pestle to make a rough paste. Add to the cooked pumpkin. The mixture should be rough in texture, juicy and gooey.

what to do for the sauce
Add tomatoes to a deep pan with butter and halved onions.
Simmer for 40 minutes, then remove onions. To assemble ravioli Push fist-sized chunks of dough through a pasta machine to make sheets. Cut pasta sheets into 6cm circles and fill with a tablespoon of stuffing, paint edges of pasta with egg white, and top with another circle and press around edges to seal, ensure you remove all the air or the raviloi will burst when cooking.

Cook ravioli in boiling water until it floats to the surface.
To serve drain then serve with sauce.

spaghetti con cozze

what you need
1/2 extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
2 pounds small mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 cups basic tomato sauce
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

what to do
Bring 4 litres of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons salt.
In a 12-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until light golden brown, about a minute. Add the wine, raise the heat, and bring to a boil, then add the mussels. Cook, stirring and tossing, until all of the mussels have opened, about 4 minutes, remove mussels from the pan and add the tomato sauce, when sauce is hot add mussels back in to warm through.
Meanwhile, drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente; drain well.
Add the fresh parsley parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. serve on top fresh spaghetti

Sunday, May 17, 2009

rustic vegetable soup with italian sausage

With the weather starting to change her in australia and temperatue dropping, nothing warms you up like a good soup, this rustic vegetable soup is a meal in it self, with winter vegetables, pasta, beans and good italian sausage, it will sure fill you up, enjoy it with crusty bread.. why not make double, and enjoy it for days to come. You'll be amazed how much better it tastes the second day.

what you need
1 tablespoon olive oil
500 gr (1lb) mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups drained and rinsed canned white beans, preferably cannellini
10 cups water
1 cup canned diced tomatoes with their juice
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup pasta shapes
1/2 bunch spinach, stems removed and leaves washed well
Grated Parmesan, for serving

what to do
In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon.
Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine 2 cups of the beans and 2 cups of the water in a blender and puree until smooth.
Add the tomatoes, the bean puree, the remaining 8 cups water, the salt, and the pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, skimming any foam that rises to the surface., add the pasta and cook further 6 minutes, Ssir in the sausage, the remaining 2 cups beans, and the spinach. Simmer until the spinach wilts, or about 3 minutes.

Serve the soup with grated Parmesan and a good spoon ful of basil pesto and lots of crusty bread.

Friday, May 8, 2009

creamy garlic prawns

what you need
250 grams green (raw) prawns
2 cloves of garlic
50 grams butter
table spoon olive oil
30-mls brandy or white wine
Chopped shallots
Cup of thickened cream

what to do
Melt butter with olive oil in fry pan.
Add prawns and cook for about 30 secs
Put crushed garlic in fry pan
add the Brandy or white wine
Reduce liquid until nearly all gone
add the shallots and cream
Boil until cream thickens and reduces slightly.

Serve with rice to soak up all that lovely garlic and cream

Sunday, May 3, 2009

braised lamb shanks

what you need
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound onions, chopped
2 carrots sliced
2 stalks celery chooped
5 large shallots, sliced (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
6 3/4- to 1-pound lamb shanks
all purpose flour (plain)
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves

what to do
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions , carrots, celeryand shallots and sautee until brown, about 20 minutes. Mix in 2 tbs chopped rosemary. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper; coat lamb with flour. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy roasting tray over high heat. Working in batches, all lamb shanks to roasting tray and cook until brown on both sides, about 10 minutes per batch.

Using tongs, transfer lamb shanks to plate. Add 1 cup dry red wine to theraosting tray and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Pour into Dutch oven with onion mixture. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups red wine, beef stock, tomato paste and 2 bay leaves to dutch oven. Bring to boil, stirring until tomato paste dissolves. Add lamb shanks, turning to coat with liquid.
Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lamb is almost tender, turning lamb shanks occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Uncover Dutch oven and boil until liquid is reduced to sauce consistency, stirring and turning lamb shanks occasionally, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Monday, April 27, 2009

chilli mussels

Chilli mussels are one of those dishes that everybody loves, and we sold so many in my restaurant, but get them wrong and people will let you know. One of my pet hates is a watery and tastless sauce, One of the main reasons for a watery sauce is the water that comes from the mussels themselves. The fresher the mussel the more water they contain, a mussel can filter up to 38litres of water a day (10 gallons) and while there is nothing better than the tase of fresh seawater, to much can lead to a very watered down sauce.

2 kg cleaned and de-bearded mussels
1 litre good tomato sugo (sauce)
75 mls dry white wine (Riesling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc)
1 lemon - zest and juice
½ bunch fresh Italian parsley - roughly chopped
100mls extra virgin olive oil
2 gloves garlic crushed
2 small chillies choped (add to taste)

what to do
In a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid, add the mussels and steam till the mussels just open.
Discard 1/2 the water that is in the pot. (otherwise you will ahve avery watery sauce).
Add the white, garlic, chilli wine, and tomato sugo stir well and replace lid. Cook for 3-4 minutes on medium high heat or until all of the mussels shells are open and sauce is hot.
Remove from heat, Stir well so all mussels are coated in sauce.
Serve in large bowls with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley.

Serve a finger bowl and a bowl to put empty shells into, and lots of crusty bread to saok up the thick rich sauce.

chocolate walnut brownies

what you need
150 gm walnut halves, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
250 gm good-quality dark cooking chocolate, chopped
200 gm dark brown sugar
125 ml vegetable oil
50 ml coffee liqueur (Kahlua / Tia Maria)
3 free range eggs
1 tsp natural vanilla essence
150 gm plain flour
30 gm cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder

what to do
Preheat oven to 170°C. Spray a shallow 23cm square cake pan with spray oil to lightly grease. Line the base with non-stick baking paper.
Melt the chocolate in a medium heat-resistant bowl (glass/ceramic) over a saucepan of simmering water and mix until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside.
Beat sugar, oil, eggs, liqueur and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl until well combined and paler in colour. Add the melted chocolate and beat until well combined.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder over chocolate mixture and use a large metal spoon to fold in until combined. Fold in walnut pieces. Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted into the centre. Remove from oven and cool completely in pan.
When cool, turn onto a board, remove paper and cut into pieces.
For a great easy dessert, lightly warm a brownie, top with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream, pour over a bix berry coulis and serve with fresh berries.

Friday, April 17, 2009

warm lemon and herb olives

what you need
500 grams of a variety of whole olive in brine that are different sizes, colours and varieties - drained and rinsed (eg. Kalamata, Manzanillo)
1 clove fresh garlic - sliced
100 mls redisland extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh rosemary stripped from the stalk
3 sprigs fresh thyme or lemon thyme stripped from the stalk
4 small red chillies - whole
Zest of 1 lemon - pith removed and cut into matchstick strips
Freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh crunchy bread to dip in the oil - sliced

what to do
Heat oil up to low - medium heat in fry pan and gently cook garlic without colour
Turn to a low heat and add rosemary, thyme, lemon zest and whole chilli
Toss in the pan for 1 minute and then add olives. Warm through for 2 minutes on low heat.
Season with pepper and serve warm with crusty bread to dip into the oil.

chef's tips
Serve a small bowl to put the unwanted olive pips
If you require olives with more chilli flavouring, slice the chilli or add more.
Pitted olives can be used instead of whole olives

Monday, April 13, 2009

three cheese risotto

what you need
1 litre hot chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
400g aborio rice
2 glasses of dry white wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g Gruyere cheese, roughly chopped
100g taleggio cheese, roughly chopped
75g butter
50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

what to do
Heat the stock in a pan over a moderate heat.
Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onions, garlic and celery, and fry gently for about 5 minutes until softened.
Add the rice to the pan and turn up the heat. Cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly, until the rice looks slightly translucent.
Add the wine and keep stirring - any alcohol flavours will evaporate.Once the wine has been absorbed by the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is cooked but still holds its shape - this takes about 15 minutes.Stir in the Gruyere and taleggio.
Remove the pan from the heat and season to taste, then beat in the butter and Parmesan.
Place a lid on the pan and leave to rest for 2 to 3 minutes - your risotto will get nice and oozy.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

baby beetroot. asparagus and fetta salad

For the salad
6-8 baby beetroots
4 asparagus spears, blanched
1/2 spanish onion, thinly sliced
handful continental parsley, roughly chopped
handful fresh watercress
75g aged fetta
30ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
pomegranate molasses - optional

what to do
For the salad:
Place beetroots in cold, salted water and bring to the boil. Cook until easily pierced with knife or skewer (about 20 minutes). Strain and allow to cool. Peel off skins while still warm and set aside. In a mixing bowl combine beetroot, asparagus, spanish onion, parsley, watercress Toss lightly with extra virgin olive oil to coat.

To assemble: Glide yoghurt on to your salad plate with the back of a serving spoon and spread over the plate.
Place salad in the centre of the plate, garnish with a good drizzle of olive oil and season with a generous amount of cracked pepper.

Dizzle with pomegranate molases if prefered, eat as a started or with rare roasted beef

Saturday, April 11, 2009

ricotta stuffed figs

what you need
8 medium figs (480g)
¼ cup (25g) roasted walnuts chopped coarsely
½ cup (120g) ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) cream
30g butter
1/3 cup (75g) firmly packed brown sugar

what to do
Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C.
Cut figs, from the top, into quarters, being careful not to cut all the way through; open slightly. Place on oven tray.Combine nuts, cheese and sugar in small bowl; divide nut mixture among figs. Cook, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until figs are heated through.Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in small saucepan; stir over heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes
Place two figs in each serving dish; drizzle with caramel sauce.

Or for something a little more savoury mis fresh herbs in with the ricotta wrap in parma ham and bake for 10 minutes

spaghetti puttenesca

This pasta sauce originally was made by Neapolitan prostitutes, who quickly put it together while waiting for the next client

what you need
350g spaghetti or spaghettini
4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
6 anchovy fillets, drained of oil
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp small black olives, halved
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp small salted capers, rinsed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper

what to do
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frypan and gently cook the garlic for a minute or two.
Add the anchovies and mash them into the oil. Add the tomatoes, olives, chilli and capers and cook over medium heat for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Add oregano and parsley and season to taste.
Drain pasta well and toss with the sauce. Serve hot.

fettucini alfredo

The original dish consists simply of butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Rich and creamy, this pasta dish is delicious, there are many variations to this recipe. Why not add pancetta, chicken, fresh asparagus or even mushrooms.
the better the pasta and cheese the better the result, as simple as this recipe is you won't Taste better.

what you need
500gr (1lb) Fresh Fettuccine
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Chicken stock
1 Egg Yolk
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper
Additional Grated parmesan To Serve

pancetta or streaky bacon)
field mushrooms

what to do
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Remove 1/4 cup of the cream to a separate bowl and wisk the egg yolk into it. In a saucepan, heat the remaining cream and chicken stock . (if adding options, sautee first then add cream)
Cook the pasta al dente.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Stir the butter into the pasta until melted and the butter covers each strand of pasta. Wisk a little of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk, mix well, and then pour the egg yolk mixture over the pasta.

Add the grated cheese, and a dash of sea salt to taste. Divide the pasta into four separate dishes and top with cracked black pepper and offer additional parmesan cheese.

Friday, April 10, 2009


A cannoli is a crisp hand-rolled pastry shell filled with an exquisite thick cream made of ricotta cheese
what you need
225 gm (1½ cups) plain flour
2 tsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
60 ml (¼ cup) vin santo or Marsala
1 egg, beaten
6-8 cannelloni pasta tubes, for wrapping
1 eggwhite, beaten
For deep-frying: vegetable oil
For dusting: pure icing sugar

what to do
Sift flour, cocoa and cinnamon into a bowl, add caster sugar and combined butter, vin santo and egg, stirring until dough starts to come together, then turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic (5-10 minutes). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Cut pastry into four pieces. Working with one piece at a time (keep remaining refrigerated), lightly flour dough, then using a pasta machine with rollers at widest setting, feed dough through rollers reducing settings one notch at a time until dough is 2mm thick. Cut into 9cm squares, place on a lightly floured tray and cover with a tea towel.
Working with one square at a time, wrap pastry around cannelloni tubes, so opposite corners overlap, and brush with eggwhite to seal (do not put eggwhite on the tube). Heat oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 180C. Deep-fry tubes in batches until crisp and golden (2-3 minutes), drain on absorbent paper, cool slightly, then slide cannoli shells off tubes. Cannoli shells will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
For filling, process ricotta, liqueur and icing sugar using a food processor until smooth, stir through remaining ingredients. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm star nozzle and pipe into cooled cannoli, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

fettucini con cozze

what you need
1/2 extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
2 pounds small mussels, scrubbed and debearded
500gr (1lb)fresh fettucini
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes

what to do
Bring 6 litres of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons salt.
In a 12-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until light golden brown, about a minute. Add the wine, raise the heat, and bring to a boil, then add the mussels. Cook, stirring and tossing, until all of the mussels have opened, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente; drain well.
Add the pasta to the pan with the mussels and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and serve immediately

Saturday, April 4, 2009


what you need
1 kg piece of boneless pork belly
2-3 garlic cloves
Pinch sea salt
3 tsp fennel seeds
½ bunch sage leaves, picked and roughly chopped
2 sprigs rosemary, picked and chopped
Pinch chilli flakes
½ zest of a lemon
50g capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Ground black pepper
1 carrot
1 onion
125ml water

what to do
Preheat the oven to 400/200/Gas 6.
Score the pork fat and remove any excess with a craft knife as this will help with the cracking. Crush the garlic in a large pestle and mortar with a good pinch of sea salt, add the fennel seeds and sage and bruise.
Transfer to a bowl, and add the rosemary, chilli flakes, lemon zest, capers, olive oil, a grinding of black pepper and mix. Lay the pork on a board skin side up, smear the herb and caper mix over pork and roll lengthways.
To roll the pork, start in the middle and tie very tightly with one piece of string, continue to make 2 more ties on either side. Cut the carrot and onion into quarters, place in a roasting tin and put the pork on top. The carrot and onion will act as a trivet and stop the pork sticking to the tin. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300/150/Gas 2, add 250ml of water and cook for 2 hrs. Remove the pork from the oven and set aside in a warm place to rest.
Heat the roasting tin on the hob and scrape any caramelised pieces and pour the cooking juices into a jug.

Cut the pork into 4 pieces and serve with rosemary roasted potatoes and the pork juices

arrabiata (angry) pasta

This fiery dish gains its name arrabbiata (angry) because of the use of chilli. When preparing this angry dish, feel free to use as much chilli as you want, it is up to you and to your mouth, to make it angry or very angry!
This is a recipe that has its origin in the central part of Italy, more precisely, it belongs to the Roman cooking tradition. As you can imagine, in Italy there are many versions of it because of the different regional cooking traditions that influence this famous dish; some are so adventurous that they have nothing to do with a proper arrabbiata (like the use of cream or anchovies).

what u need
400 g (14 oz) Penne rigate pasta (cooked "al dente")
90 ml (3 ½ oz) Extra virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
2 or 3 Whole dried red chilli (roughly chopped)
500 g (1.1 lb) Chopped tomatoes
A small handful of flat leaf parsley (roughly chopped)
Salt for seasoning

what to do

Chop the garlic and chilli.
Heat the Olive Oil in a sauté pan (medium heat) and add the chopped garlic and chilli into the pan.
Sauté for a couple of minutes or until the garlic becomes golden in colour. When the garlic has turned to golden, add the chopped tomatoes.
Stir for a few seconds.
Season with salt.
Now, cook on medium/low heat for about 20-25 minutes, to reduce the sauce. After this time the suace will be ready.

A few minutes before the arrabbiata sauce is ready, boil your pasta and when the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and add it into the pan containing the sauce.
Stir for few seconds to coat the pasta with the sauce. Do this when the pan is still on the heat.
Then, sprinkle with chopped parsley, give a quick stir and serve immediately.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Gremolata, which is also spelled “gremolada,” is a condiment that is traditionally served with Ossobucco, which is an Italian dish of braised veal shank. Gremolata is a chopped herb condiment made of garlic, parsley, and lemon peel. Although it is a common accompaniment to veal, the citrus element in gremolata makes it a wonderful addition to seafood and lamb dishes.
Here is a very simple gremolata recipe:

what you need
1 small bunch of flat-leafed parsley
1 lemon
1 large clove of garlic
cracked Black pepper

what to do
Wash and dry the parsley. Finely chop enough to yield two tablespoons
Mince the garlic.
Grate the peel of the lemon until you have produced one teaspoon of zest.
Mix all of the above in a small bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Many chefs like to prepare the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle to ensure that the flavors of each ingredient mingle before the gremolata is served.

Sprinkle over your dish prior to serving

zabaglione with marinated berries

what you need
2 egg yolks per person
2 teaspoons Sugar
1 small sherry glass full of Marsala

what to do
beat the yolks and the sugar together until they are white and frothy. Stir in the Marsala and put the whole mixture into a thick pan (an untinned copper sugar-boiling pan is the best utensil for zabaglione) over a low heat. If you don't have a copper bowl use a double boiler or a bowl over a large pot of boiling water. Stir continuously as for a custard, taking great care that the zabaglione does not curdle. It must not boil. As soon as it thickens pour it into warmed glasses and serve immediately

marinated berries
what you need
2 punnet fresh mixed berries
60ml white sambucca
1/3 cup sugar

what to do
Meanwhile, place the berries in a pan with the sugar and sambucca. Stir over low heat for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

To serve place berries in the bottom of a tall glass and top with the warn Zabaglione, dust with greshly grated cinimon.

olive tapanade

what you need
2 cups good-quality kalamata olives, pitted
4 anchovies, drained
1/2 small garlic clove, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
·1/2 lemon, juiced

what to do
Place olives, anchovies, garlic and capers in a small food processor. Process until mixture is almost smooth. With the motor running, slowly add 2 tablespoons oil, in a thin steady stream, until mixture forms a thick, smooth paste (adding oil slowly prevents the tapenade from separating).
Transfer tapenade to a small bowl. Stir in 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or more if desired.
Season with pepper. Transfer to a sterilised glass jar or container. Pour remaining 2 teaspoons oil over tapenade to cover surface. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Friday, March 20, 2009

braised beef cheeks

what you need
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 (12-oz) beef cheeks, trimmed of excess fat
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1/2 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups red wine (preferably a dry Lambrusco or Chianti)
1 lge can whole tomatoes including juice, chopped (3 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

what to do
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof wide heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. While oil is heating, pat beef cheeks dry and season with salt and pepper. Brown beef, without crowding, on all sides, about 20 minutes total, and transfer with tongs to a bowl. Pour off fat from pot, then add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and cook onion, carrot, and celery over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Stir cocoa powder into vegetable mixture, then add wine and scrape up any brown bits. Increase heat to high and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
Return cheeks (with any juices) to pot and add tomatoes with juice, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then braise, covered, in middle of oven until very tender, for about 3 hours.
Once cooked I prefer to strain the sauce and remove all the vegetables, great served with either, polenta, mash or shreaded with fresh pasta

grilled polenta

what you need
8 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups polenta/yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup grated Parmesan
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Olive oil

what to do
Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal in a slow steady stream. Lower heat and continue to whisk until the polenta is thick and smooth, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and butter and continue to stir until incorporated. Remove from heat, fold in Parmesan and black pepper. Pour the polenta into a buttered 9 by 13-inch shallow baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula. Cover and chill a few hours. Cut the polenta into squares.
Brush both sides with olive oil and transfer to a hot grill. Grill on both sides until golden brown.

Polenta is best served with and dish containing sauce to soak up, such as osso bucco, goulash or even top with a good tomato sauce and freshly grated pecorino cheese, or as of a part of a antipasto platter

gluten free pasta

This pasta is made from amaranth flour which is milled from the seeds of the amaranth plant, this flour boasts a higher percentage of protein than most other grains, and has more fiber than wheat and rice. It is also higher in the amino acid lysine, which some food scientists believe makes it a more complete protein than flour made from other grains. Amaranth flour can be used in cookies, crackers, baking mixes, and cereals. Amaranth flour should be available in most health food store.

what you need
225g/8oz Amaranth flour
125g/5oz Tapioca Flour
1 Egg
1 tbsp Walnut Oil
1-2 tablespoons Water

what to do
Sift together the flours into a large mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre then add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. until smooth and elastic.
Cover with clingfilm and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Roll out thinly and cut into whatever pasta shape you require.
Cook in boiling water for 3-4 minutes and toss through your sauce

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Abruzzese style spaghetti with garlic and oil

what you need
500 grams of spaghetti
125 ml olive oil
whole garlic clove
4-5 anchovies (optional)
fresh oregano choppede
1 small chilli
10 grams parsley, chopped

what to do
Put the oil into a large fry pan, heat and gently fry one whole garlic clove. As soon as the garlic colours lightly, take it out and put in the anchovies which have been cleaned and chopped. Let this flavour over a very low heat, stirring the anchovies with a wooden spoon till they become a pulp.
When the anchovies are completely mush, add a pinch of oregano and at the last moment a good piece of chilli and a spoon of finely chopped parsley.
Cook the pasta al dente in a big pot of salted, rapidly boiling water. Follow cooking instructions on packet (most timing instructions on commercial spaghetti packets are quite accurate) then drain in a colander. Toss through the sauce and serve immediately into heated bowls. Top with extra parsley

Monday, March 9, 2009

osso bucco

Osso buco is a regional dish from Piedmont, Italy, traditionally made using veal shanks, which are sometimes sold as 'osso buco' in supermarkets. The marrow in the shanks is what gives them that rich flavour.

what you need
1/2 cup plain flour
8 (175g each) veal shanks
1/2 cup olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup white wine
400g can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
2 dried bay leaves
soft polenta, to serve

what to do
Preheat oven to 150°C. Sprinkle flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper.
Coat both sides veal in flour, shaking off excess. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook shanks, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until lightly browned. Transfer to a 4-litre capacity ovenproof dish.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 7 to 8 minutes or until soft. Increase heat to high. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, stock, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to the boil. Pour over veal. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Uncover and cook for a further 30 minutes or until veal is very tender and sauce reduces slightly. Remove bay leaves.

Serve on soft polenta or creamy mash potatoes

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Grissini are pencil-sized sticks of crispy, dry bread originating in Turin and the surrounding area in Italy. They are originally thought to have been created in the 14th century; according to a local tradition, they would be instead invented by a baker in northern Italy in 1679.

The original recipe, grissino torinese (as still made in Turin), differs from the modern version in that it is thicker, longer, hand-made, often twisted and has a more bread-like texture. The most popular variations are named grissino stirato (straight) and grissino rubatà (hand-rolled).
Grissini are a must with antipasto, try wraping traditional hams and continental meats around them before eating.
what you need
623 g flour
397 g water at room temperature·
6.5 g (2 tsp) instant yeast
9 g (1.5 tsp) salt
28 g (2 Tsp) olive oil
topping of your choice (I used a mixture of seasalt and cracked pepper)

what to do
Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a large food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
Combine the water and olive oil in a liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, add the liquid to the dry ingredients in a steady stream.
Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 90 seconds.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled container. Cover the container and let the dough ferment at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1.5 – 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350F. A baking stone and steam are not needed.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

peach pickle

Try this pickle alongside roast pork, duck or chicken and you won’t be sorry. It would also go perfectly with a salad of grilled chicken, extra-virgin olive oil-dressed rocket leaves and a good scattering of pecorino or crumble of feta

what you need
500 ml (2 cups) white wine vinegar
375 ml (1½ cups) red wine vinegar
330 gm (1½ cups) caster sugar
10 cloves
6 juniper berries
3 fresh bay leaves
9 firm, ripe peaches, cut into wedges

what to do
Combine vinegars, sugar, spices, bay leaves and 2 tsp sea salt in a saucepan. Stir occasionally over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil over high heat, add peaches and cook for 1 minute, then transfer peaches to sterilised jars with a slotted spoon. Pour in syrup, seal jars, stand until cooled, then store in refrigerator. Peach pickle will keep refrigerated for 2-3 weeks after opening.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

veal, spinach & cheese rolls

what you need
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
6 veal cutlets (scallopini; preferably cut from round; no more than 1/4 inch thick; 1 1/2 pounds total)
3 ounces Gruyère, coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)
2 ounces baby spinach leaves (1 1/4 cups)
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

what to do
Mash anchovy paste into 4 tablespoons butter in a bowl until combined. Gently pound cutlets to slightly less than 1/8 inch thick between 2 sheets of plastic wrap with flat side of a meat pounder or with a rolling pin. Pat cutlets dry and season lightly with salt and pepper, then spread 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy butter over top of each cutlet. (You will have a little butter left over.) Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over anchovy butter, leaving a 1/4-inch border, then arrange spinach leaves, overlapping in 1 layer, to cover cutlets. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, arrange with a short side nearest you and roll up tightly, then secure with a wooden pick.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.
Pat rolls dry. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch ovenproof heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté veal, turning occasionally, until golden on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer skillet to oven and bake veal until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer veal with tongs to a platter (reserve skillet) and keep warm, covered.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet, then add wine and deglaze skillet by boiling (on stovetop) over high heat, scraping up brown bits, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, then add any juices accumulated on platter and swirl in remaining 2 tablespoons butter (not remaining anchovy butter). Cook over low heat until incorporated. Stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
Why not try this with recipe with boneless chicken thighs