Monday, January 6, 2014

To go with out blackened pork fillets and barbecued corn tonight, I made cornbread muffins.  These things are a savoury muffin with a lick of sweetness.  I actually drop the sugar level in the recipe by a third as I find they are too sweet when made with the full amount.  With this batch I also swapped out the butter for oil - not for any clever reason though.  It was only because we were out of butter.  However the results were better than normal so I will be amending the recipe book as soon as I get up!  The recipe comes from the Food Safari show and book.  You can find it by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kinda healthy donuts

Once again, it's a long time between drinks (well, bites) and I see that the last post I made here was about Apple Pies, back in May.  Well this time around I have a somewhat healthier recipe, in the form of donuts constructed from wheat flour and greek yoghurt.  This is based on a recipe I found on the 'Love from the oven' website, however I have changed quite a few of the ingredients to make them a little healthier.  I should point out that I'm only supplying the donut recipe - what ever you choose to put on top to sweeten them up is totally up to you!

Kinda healthy donuts 
(recipe adapted from here)


1 cup of wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 cup of stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 of greek yoghurt.
1/4 cup of milk
1 egg
1/4 cup of coconut oil


Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Line a flat oven tray with baking paper.

Combine all dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl combine all wet ingredients.  Mix the two mixtures together and place into a piping bag.  Pipe the mixture into donut shapes.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool, then ice, glaze, spread or dollop your choice of toppings.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The famous Darroch apple cakes.....

A childhood favourite!  Thanks Mum!

The biscuit pastry uses this recipe from the venerable 'Cookery the Australian way'.

110g Plain flour
110g Self raising flour
125g caster sugar
125g butter
1 egg, beaten

Mix flours, and add the sugar.  Rub the butter into the dry ingredients.  Add egg to flour mixture and mix into a firm dough, leaving the basin clean.  Knead lightly on a lightly floured bench.  Allow to rest, wrapped in glad wrap in the fridge for five minutes.

Divide dough into two pieces.  Roll one out, and cut into rounds to fit your tart pan.  We use one that looks roughly like this.  Roll out the other piece and cut out appropriately sized lids.  

Spray the tin with cooking spray, and place the cake bases into the tin.  Fill with stewed apple (tinned works just as well), place the lid on top, then gently press down around the edges to seal.

Bake at 180 deg C for approximately 20 minutes.  Allow to cool before icing.  

Now, the most important step - dust the freshly iced cakes with cinnamon sugar.  They are just not the same without it!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuna Tataki

This was so simple, yet so delicious.  Tuna, caught the day before, rolled in soy sauce, then black sesame seeds, and quickly seared on each side.  Avocado puree, spicy chilli sauce, and a crunchy salad, with crispy slices of garlic. 

The avocado puree was simply avocado, lime juice and salt, topped with basil tops. 

 I was surprised at how delicious this all actually was!  I was also surprised at the mess I had made in the kitchen, and how I am finding black sesame seeds everywhere - the following day!  But it was worth it.  

The dipping sauce was a simple mix of light soy, sesame oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, and ginger.

The salad was just some salad greens, steamed and refreshed bok choy, julienne carrot and ginger (placed in an ice bath before draining to keep it crispy), and finely sliced red onion, sitting atop more of the avocado puree.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A salad of sorts

I had planned to make a fairly healthy dinner of grilled chicken and salad, however this plan nearly didn't come to fruition.  Upon opening the fridge, I discovered a distinct lack of green, leafy, salad-y type ingredients -  it's shopping day tomorrow!.  No matter, I thought, I'll quickly blanch some frozen green beans.  Wrong again.  Strangely for our household, the vegetable supplies had dwindled almost down to the standard staples of potato, onions and garlic!  They were accompanied by a few lonely spring onions, some forlorn fruit, and some cabbage that had just placed ads in the personal section.  In light of the situation, I decided to quickly throw together a 'salad', comprising of just grilled potatoes, marinated and grilled chicken, red onion, herbs, crispy prosciutto and salsa verde.  I was surprised at how nice this combination was - I thought it would be a little more austere!  I would be lying if I said a little more greenery wouldn't go astray, but it was still delicious.  You could jazz it up (spellcheck tells me 'fancify' is not a word - it should be) with some chorizo, endive and goats cheese. 

Here's what you need:

Par boiled, then grilled potatoes, seasoned
Thinly sliced red onion
Grilled chicken, sliced (this was marinated in garlic, lemon juice, paprika, oil, salt and pepper)
Crispy prosciutto, torn into pieces
Fresh mint and basil scattered on top

Assemble the above on a plate, top with the salsa verde, and finish with some olive oil and salt. 

For the salsa verde, I created something that was along the lines of this, but I omitted some of the herbs, and added garlic and two anchovies.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

The last of the tomatoes

Yesterday was a sad, sad day.  I used up the last of the beautiful heirloom tomatoes from our garden.  Unfortunately for the rest of the year we are going to have to put up with those poor excuses for tomatoes available in the shops.  You know, those perfectly round, bright red, un-blemished things that you could stub your toe on if you left one on the floor.  

I do have some slight reassurance in the fact that I was able to prolong their life (a little) by turning them into relish.  Chutney.  Sauce.  I don't know what to call it - lets just say yummy tomato, chilli and capsicum relished saucy chutney stuff.  I decided not to go for plain old tomato, as we have a reliably delicious and available source of this from my Mum.  So I added some chilli, ginger, fish sauce, and lime juice to give it my relish a little kick.  

2013 Relish

Approx 750g tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 tin of crushed tomatoes
1 capsicum finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 brown onions, chopped
1 green apple, peeled, cored and grated
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp minced ginger
1 small red chilli, sliced very finely
1 tsp chilli flakes
1.5 tbsp fish sauce
juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper

Gently sweat the onions until softened in a heavy bottomed saucepan with some oil.  Add the garlic, ginger and capsicum, and saute until the capsicum has softened.  Add all the other ingredients, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for around an hour.  Once it has reached the consistency you like, pour into sterilised jars.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Make your own Huxtaburger

While I don't wish to insult the kitchen intelligence (from here on in known as 'Burger IQ') of anyone reading, has today put up the recipe for the now infamous Huxtaburger - now available on Smith St and in the CBD.  Click here for the recipe. 

If the recipe seems incredibly simple and straightforward, that's because it is.  However I highly doubt that I will be able to recreate these perfect little burgers at home.  For starters, I'm a big believer in the 'context' of food - a burger is always going to taste better after you have spent an hour waiting for it on Smith St, in the freezing cold with your mates, watching the 'unique' inhabitants of Collingwood amble along muttering obscenities.  It's the same phenomenon that occurs when you visit a winery, usually in a beautiful setting, with great company and more than a few 'samples' under your belt - only to return home and buy the wine from your soulless local boozer, take it home and discover that it wasn't really that good after all.  Call this phenomenon the 'terroir' of the food in question if you will (if you're prone to using wine-snob language), as apparently this roughly translates to 'sense of place'.  

I will also note that while the recipe on the surface appears very exact - for example measuring the salt and pepper in grams - it doesn't specify what sort of ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, and even cheese are to be used.  I understand though - chefs have to keep some secrets.  After all, if you could make it at home, why would you go and wait for it.  Well I suspect that the key to making it the same as the original lies in those sauces, the cheese, and the bun used.  Who knows - perhaps they are importing a ketchup usually un-available here (or making it in-house), and I'm pretty sure their not just squeezing Kraft mayo onto those delicious buns.  It is no doubt some kind of delicious house-made aioli.  

So for those whose burger IQ is on the lower end of the scale, remember this - all successful burgers have a formula!  From the Big Mac, to the Raph Burger (of Beatbox kitchen fame) to the Huxtaburger - they all need a consistent supply of quality ingredients, and they're all put together in a certain order.  No doubt all of the above-mentioned purveyors of burgers have agreements with suppliers to supply them only the softest of buns, the ripest of tomatoes and the crunchiest of lettuces - not to mention meat with a certain fat content (clearly I'm not talking about Maccas any more).  The buns at Huxtaburger seem to be some kind of delicious brioche bun (from Breadtop according to the link) - they are not your usual sorry and soggy burger bun.  So while I am going to try and replicate a Huxtaburger at home, and while it may capture the essence of the burger to which it is paying homage, I am under no illusions that it will be as good.  Happy burger making!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pan de Sal - from Asia Finest, Sunbury

It's not often you get a tip that actually delivers, so I tend to take any 'Wow, you HAVE to try this' suggestions with a grain of salt.  I did however receive a tip a few weeks back, that actually came through with the goods.  Sadly I can't remember who mentioned this to me, but whoever it was - thank you!

The tip revolves around some delicious little buns called Pan de sal.  I was told to go to our local Asian grocer, and 'buy the buns that are on display at the counter'.  Well a few weeks later I did, and they did not disappoint.  

A quick Google search tells me that they are otherwise known as Filipino bread rolls, or sweet bread.  I could tell from the aroma that hit me once I opened the bag that they were going to be sweet - they sure were.  Normally sweet bread is anathema to me, however these delicious little buns are the exception to the rule.  Flour, sugar, salt, yeast and eggs are all that are listed in the ingredients  - nothing out of the ordinary - however the alchemy involved in creating them works to spectacular effect: they are delicous!  

The second tip I received was from the always friendly lady behind the counter who always has to put up with my no doubt annoying questions regarding black vinegar, rice wine vinegar, the subtleties of different chilli pastes, pork buns, you name it - the list goes on.  She told me that I would love them, and to heat them up in the oven for a few minutes.  Duly noted, we gave them a quick blast in a hot oven for around five minutes, and when they came out they were sporting a new, perfectly crusty exterior, with a soft pillowy (that's totally a word) interior.  Second time around the same effect was achieved by using the Weber   This time they were the perfect medium for enveloping the chicken sliders above.

Now I should point out that I'm not into giving tips, and telling people that they MUST try this - so I'm not going to do that.  However if you're in Sunbury and anywhere near Asia Finest (Gap Road), ignore this post at your peril.....

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Are you looking for something quick, healthy, easy, and delicous?  That's my aim pretty much every night, although I must admit, quick and healthy don't usually get a look in.  Gazpacho ticks all the boxes, and you don't even need any special ingredients.  I didn't follow any specific recipe, just took the best bits from all the ones I saw and put them together!


1 carrot, peeled
1.5 kg tomatoes, peeled and cored
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped
1 continental cucumber
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 spring onions, trimmed
1 anchovy (optional - if using, pound to a pulp first in a mortar and pestle)
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
a few tablespoons of finely chopped herbs - chives, basil, thyme, parsley
a pinch of cumin
pepper to taste

Simply process in the food processor until all the pieces are very small, push through a fine strainer.  You can leave the 'chunky' bits in if you like, but I thought the texture was much nicer after being strained.  Don't worry, all that goodness won't be thrown out - I can saute it down to use as the base for a sauce, or even use it in some savoury muffins.  

You can garnish with whatever you like; I chose chopped hard-boiled egg, sliced olives, diced red capsicum,  croutons, and mint and basil tops.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cauliflower Risotto

So I made risotto.  However, instead of using arborio rice, I used cauliflower!  Yep, and it actually turned out pretty good.  Also, it sure was quicker, and has the added benefit of being yet another way to sneak vegies into the kids.  

All you need to do, is roughly chop a whole cauliflower, add it to the food processor, and process until the cauliflower 'grains' resemble rice!  Then substitute for rice in your favourite risotto recipe.  I'm not going to put a recipe here, however simply dice one onion, saute gently with some crushed garlic, add the cauliflower  and cook gently until the cauliflower is taking on some colour.  Deglaze the pan with a glass of white wine (drink the rest), and add ladlefuls of stock, until your required consistency is reached.  We went for thyme and roasted mushroom cauliflower risotto, finished off, of course, with copious amounts of parmesan, butter, and a little cream.  Delicious!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Apple Tart Tatin

This has to be one of the best desserts I have made in a long time.   Not only was it delicious, but simple also.  Don't be afraid of this pastry recipe, it is practically foolproof.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

250g plain flour
100g cold butter, cubed
100g icing sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
A pinch of salt

Combine the dry ingredients,  then add to a food processor with the butter.  Process until fine.  Add the egg and yolk, and process until just combined.  Tip onto the bench, gently but quickly bring together with your hands and flatten into a disc.  Try to touch the pastry as little as possible.  Wrap in happy wrap and rest ib the fridge for at least 15 minutes.


Preheat oven to 180deg celcius.  Peel, core and quarter 4 granny smith (or other firm) apples.  Gently roll out the pastry on a floured surface,  and cut out around big enough to cover the your frypan.

Heat 60g of sugar over low heat in a very clean, medium sized ovenproof  frypan until coloured slightly around the edges. This should only take about two minutes.  Swirl the pan and cook gently for another minute or so until all the sugar is dissolved, and has coloured a little.  Add about 40g of butter, swirl the pan to combine, then place the apples carefully in the pan, rounded side down. 

Gently but quickly drape the pastry over the apples,  and very carefully tuck the edges in around the apples.

Bake for around 20 minutes, remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes.  Shake the pan gently to make sure the tart doesn't stick. You may need to separate the pastry from the pan edge with a knife.  Carefully flip onto a plate and serve with homemade custard.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A revelation...

No, there's no big news or anything.  Not a revelation of that kind.  Instead, a revelation that simple ingredients such as flour, milk, egg, and just a pinch of salt can be transformed into something amazing.  I am talking about yorkshire puddings.  Why has no-one ever introduced me to these gravy-soaking vehicles of deliciousness?  I'm sure a lot of people are thinking 'big deal' - but I'm in love with them!  Oddly enough, it was my six year old's idea to have them, and I thought .. why not?  So we whipped them up (many thanks to Mr Jamie Oliver for some advice) and enjoyed them with seared pork fillet, and creamy, mustardy, mushroom sauce.  Simple, and divine!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A new, even quicker and easier, muesli bar recipe

Thanks to one of the wonderful people from our wonderful twins group, I now have this recipe for some very easy, no bake muesli bar slice.  Let alone recipes, we also get loads of support from the group, as well as lots of twin friendly activities.  Our local AMBA (Australian Multiple Birth Association) group has certainly made our introduction to twin-life a whole lot easier!

This recipe is great for a few reasons - it's fairly healthy, and it's super quick to make... which is especially handy when you've got double the toddlers to chase around.

Here's the recipe:

1 packet of mixed nuts and dried fruit (500g-ish), blitzed in the blender until the pieces are small enough for little people
Stir in 3 tablespoons of honey, and 4 tablespoons of peanut butter.

Yep, that's it!  All you need to do now is either roll into balls, or press into a lined slice tin, and refrigerate. 

You could make the dry ingredients whatever you want - we swapped out some nuts for rolled oats and coconut.  You could even add chocolate chips if you like!  If the mixture is too crumbly, just add some more peanut butter or honey, or if it's too wet simply add some more dry ingredients.

Thanks to Marisa for the recipe!

 More information about AMBA is available here -

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Custom made Weber skewers

I finally got the chance to test out my handmade, Weber-size skewers... and they worked a treat!  Thanks Mum and Speedy!