Sunday, December 21, 2003

Packs a Punch

This version uses tropical fruit, but you can substitute any fruit you want.
Warning: Like most punches, this is more alcoholic than it tastes.

Serves 10-15

block of ice
3 starfruit, sliced
3 mangoes, sliced
1 red papaya, chopped
250ml apple & guava juice
1L pinapple juice
2 cinnamon sticks
750ml ginger ale
2 x 750ml bottles champagne/sparkling wine
fresh mint leaves

Place ice in a large bowl, add fruit, juices, cinnamon sticks & ginger ale.
Leave to chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
Add champagne & mint leaves & serve immediately.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Summer Fruit with Vanilla Dessert Wine Syrup

I've made the express version (ie no cooling time) of this the last two nights for friends - it is delicious!

Serves 4

4 peaches
1 1/2 cups (180g) strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup (60g) blueberries

vanilla dessert wine syrup
1 1/2 cups dessert wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split & seeds scraped

To make syrup, place wine, sugar & vanilla in saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Increase heat & boil for 12-15 minutes or until thick & syrupy.
Set aside to cool completely.
Place peaches in simmering water for 1-2 minutes.
Remove peaches with a slotted spoon & place in bowl of iced water.
Allow them to cool slightly, then carefully remove skins.
To serve, place peaches, strawberries & blueberries in a bowl & pour over syrup.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Grown-up Fish & Chips

Serves 8

4 x 200g ocean trout fillets, skin removed
3/4 cup couscous
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
1 1/2 tbsp finely grated lime rind
sea salt & cracked black pepper
flour, for dusting
2 eggs, lightly beaten

8 large kipfler potatoes, washed
vegetable oil, for frying
sea salt

Cut each trout fillet into 4 pieces lengthwise. Set aside.
Place couscous in a bowl & pour over the boiling water.
Cover & set aside for 5 minutes, then use a fork to separate the grains.
Add paprika, lemon & lime rinds, salt & pepper.
Spread couscous over a baking tray.
Dust fish fingers in flour, dip in egg & toss in couscous.
Place on a tray in the fridge for 10 minutes.
To make chips, use a vegetable peeler to peel potatoes into thin strips & lay between sheets of absorbant paper (like kitchen paper).
Heat oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat.
Cook chips in batches for 4 minutes until golden and crisp.
Sprinkle with salt, set aside & keep warm.
Fry fish fingers in batches for 3-4 minutes or until crisp & golden.
Serve with chips & tartar sauce, if you wish. Yummm!

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Time to celebrate!

Peach Sherbet

Makes 1

1/4 cup peach liqueur
1/4 cup lemonade
peach slices & champagne (or sparkling wine), to serve

Pour peach liqueur into tall stemmed glass & pour lemonade on top. Add peach slices & fill glass with champagne. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Balsamic Chicken

Simple & delicious

Serves 6

6 chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt & cracked black pepper
3 lemons, halved

Preheat grill pan over high heat.
Brush chicken breasts lightly with oil & place in hot pan. Reduce heat to medium-high & cook for 5 minutes.
Drizzle with vinegar, sprinkle with salt & pepper & cook for a further 1 minute.
Turn chicken over & continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.
When you turn chicken, add lemons to the pan, cut side down.
Squeeze grilled lemons over balsamic chicken & serve with baked potatoes & salad.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Chilli & Lemon Hummus

This is quite lemony, so you might want to add only 1/4 cup juice to start with

Makes 2 1/2 cups

2x 400g cans chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 long red chilli, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon rind, finely grated
1/2 tsp ground cumin
sea salt

Place all ingredients except salt in a food processor & process until combined.
Add salt to taste.
Serve with toasted Turkish bread & lemon wedges.

Herb-crusted Veal Loin

Serves 8

1 tbsp olive oil
1kg veal loin, trimmed
sea salt & cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped chives

Preheat oven to 200ºC.
Rub oil over veal & sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Sear veal for 4 minutes each side.
Combine mustard & lemon juice & spread over veal.
Place on baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper & bake for 10 minutes (for medium-rare) or until cooked to your liking.
Set aside for 10 minutes, then roll in combined parsley & chives.
Slice & serve warm or at room temperature with salad.

Chocolate & Frangelico Mousse

Serves 4

250g dark chocolate
1 tbsp golden syrup
3 egg whites
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup frangelico
100ml (single or pouring) cream

Put chocolate in a double-boiler (or a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water). Leave until chocolate has melted.
Remove & allow to cool slightly, then add golden syrup.
Stir egg yolks & frangelico into cool chocolate mixture.
Beat egg whites in a clean dry bowl until stiff peaks form.
Beat cream until soft peaks form.
Gently fold cream & egg whites into chocolate mixture with a large metal spoon or spatula.
Pour chocolate mousse into serving bowls or cups & refrigerate until firm.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Here's some dishes I cooked for dinner tonight.

Herb Spring Vegetables with Fried Haloumi

Serves 2

1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 bunch baby carrots (100g), peeled & trimmed
1 zucchini (150g), sliced
1 bunch asparagus (200g), trimmed
30g butter, chopped
sea salt & cracked black pepper
100g haloumi cheese, sliced

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.
Line a bamboo steamer with non-stick baking paper.
Add the lemon, carrots, zucchini & asparagus.
Top with the butter, chives, salt & pepper.
Place the steamer over the water, cover with the lid & cook for 4 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender.
While the vegetables are cooking, place a medium non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
Add the haloumi & cook for 1 minute each side or until golden.
Serve the vegetables with the haloumi.

Ginger, Sesame & Green Onion Fish

Serves 2

2 green onions (scallions), shredded
4 slices ginger
2 x 185g firm white fish fillets, skin removed (I used barramundi)
2 gai larn (Chinese broccoli) leaves, trimmed
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.
Place the green onion & ginger on top of the fish fillets & wrap the gai larn leaves around the middle.
Place a plate in a bamboo steamer & add the fish.
Pour over the lemon juice & oil.
Place steamer over the water, cover with the lid & cook for 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
Place the soy sauce, vinegar & sugar in a small saucepan over low heat & bring to the boil.
Pour the sauce over the fish & serve with steamed rice (& vegetables - but not cheese - as cooked below, if desired).
Potato & Lemon Chicken Salad

Something light & fresh for spring.

Serves 4

4 x 150g chicken breast fillets
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 lemon thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon lemon zest
500g boiling potatoes (new, kipfler, pink-eye, desiree, nicola or bintje)
1/2 cup whole-egg mayonnaise
1/4 cup single (pouring) cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
sea salt & ground white pepper
1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed
125g wild rocket (arugula)

Place chicken, oil, thyme & zest in a (non-metallic) bowl. Cover & place in fridge for 15-30 minutes.
Place potatoes in a large saucepan of salted cold water. Bring to the boil & cook for 12 minutes or until just tender when tested with a skewer. Drain. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then peel & cut in half lengthways.
Combine mayonnaise, cream, lemon juice, salt & pepper & toss through the warm potatoes.
Preheat bbq or char-grill.
Drain chicken & grill for 3-4 minutes each side or until just cooked through.
Slice chicken & serve with potatoes, capers & rocket.

Double-Chocolate Cupcakes

Perfect any time.

Makes 24

200g milk cooking chocolate
125g butter, melted
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
2 eggs

white chocolate layer:
180g white cooking chocolate, melted
190g cream cheese, softened
1 egg

Preheat oven to 150ºC.
Place milk chocolate & butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly or until chocolate is melted & the mixture is smooth.
Place sugar & flour in a bowl. Add eggs & cooled chocolate mixture & mix until smooth.
Divide mixture between 24 patty pans lined with paper cases.
To make white chocolate layer, process melted white chocolate, cream cheese & egg in a food processor until smooth.
Spoon mixture over milk chocolate mixture & smooth the tops.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Serve warm, with a cup of hot chocolate for a triple-chocolate experience.

Blood Orange & Cinnamon Infused Vodka

2 3/4 cups (~700ml) vodka
2 blood oranges, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks

Place vodka, orange slices & cinnamon in a bottle.
Seal, then set aside in a dark place for at least 24 hours.
Serve over ice.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Moose Stew with Mashed Potato

Serves ?

chunks of moose meat (or beef) (~500g)
small onions (eschalottes)
vegetable stock
1/2 cup red wine

Mashed potato:
potatoes, peeled & cut into 2cm squares
egg yolk

Tossed meat in flour with salt & pepper, then browned in a pan.
Put in a casserole dish with onions & mushrooms, vegetable stock (not quite covering the stew) & red wine.
Bake, covered, in a slow oven (120°C) for 3 to 4 hours.
Correct the seasoning with salt & pepper after cooked.
Serve over mashed potatoes: boil potatoes until soft, then mash, mixing with egg yolk, milk, butter, salt & pepper to taste.
Mmm... A true Alaskan dish! (I'm sure!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Uschi's Roast Lamb with Baked Potatoes

I made this for Consuelo, Tim & the boys in Santa Fe & they loved it!

Serves ?

leg of lamb (on or off the bone)
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
olive oil
vegetable or chicken stock (or just water)
1/4-1/2 cup tamari
fresh rosemary leaves

large baking potatoes (1 per person)
olive oil
rock salt
fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat oven to slow (about 120°C)
Cut small slits in the lamb & put one slice of garlic in each slit.
Rub the lamb with olive oil & put in a baking dish at least 10cm deep.
Put stock/water in the dish till it's about 2cm high.
Pour tamari over the lamb & sprinkle with rosemary.
Put in oven for 2 hours, basting with jus from baking dish every 20-30 minutes.
Peel potatoes & slice in half lengthways.
Put in shallow baking dish, cover with oil & sprinkle with salt & rosemary.
Put in oven about 30 minutes after lamb has gone in & bake for 1 1/2 hours, turning every 20 minutes until golden & crispy.
Serve lamb & potatoes with cooked vegetables of choice. Yummm!

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Crispy-skin Chicken

Serves 4

2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 x 700g spatchcocks, rinsed & dried
1 lemon, halved
2 L water
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder, extra
1 1/2 tablespoons salt, extra
3 tablespoons honey
3 cups water, extra
oil for deep frying
lemon wedges, to serve

Combine the Chinese five-spice, salt & cinnamon & rub inside the cavities of the spatchcocks. Place a lemon half inside each cavity & tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the spatchcocks in a large deep heatproof bowl.
Bring the water & half the extra Chinese five-spice & half the extra salt to the boil. Pour over the spatchcocks & allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Drain, then use tongs to place the spatchcocks on a baking rack in a baking dish.
Heat the honey & extra water, stirring, in a saucepan over medium heat until honey dissolves, then pour over the spatchcocks.
Place the spatchcocks in the fridge for 3 hours or until the skins are dry.
Remove the lemons from the cavities & cut the spatchcocks in half.
Fill a large deep saucepan or wok two-thirds full with oil & heat over medium heat. Carefully deep-fry the spatchcocks one half at a time for 8-10 minutes or until the skin is crispy & golden brown.
Serve with remaining combined Chinese five-spice & salt, lemon wedges, rice & jasmine tea (or a nice semillon).

Lemon Cake with Passionfruit Syrup

Serves 8-10

125g butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Passionfruit syrup
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup water
2/3 passionfruit pulp

Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Place the butter & caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer & beat until light & creamy.
Mix through the sour cream, lemon juice & rind, flour & baking powder.
Spoon the mixture into a 23cm round cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
To make the syrup, place the sugar, water & fruit in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then increase the heat & boil the syrup for 4-5 minutes or until it thickens slightly.
Leave the cake in the tin for 5 minutes then place on a rack over a plate.
Pour half the hot syrup over the top. Allow to stand for 5 minutes then serve with the remaining syrup & thick cream or ice cream.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

This one from the lovely Lisa:

Citrus Pork

Serves 4

4 lean pork chops/medallions
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/2 teaspoon each dried mint, rosemary & tarragon
cracked black pepper
2 mandarins

Heat the oil & brown the pork quickly on both sides. Remove them from the pan & rest them on paper, drain any fat from the pan.
Add the apple juice, herbs & pepper, and heat until boiling.
Add the chops, reduce the heat, cover & simmer for 15 minutes.
While you're waiting for that, peel, de-pith & segment the mandarins. Add them to the meat & simmer for a
further 5 minutes.
Remove the chops & fruit from the pan with a slotted spoon & put them on a warm serving dish
Boil the liquid until it thickens, & then pour it over the chops.
Serve it with stir-fried veggies and noodles. Mmmm...

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I served this last night to my girlfriends:

Mustard Pork with Mushrooms & White Wine

Serves 4

4 pork fillets (each ~15cm long)
mustard of your choice (I use a combination of Dijon & wholegrain)
oil for frying (~2 tablespoons)
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine
handful field mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons cornflour
cold water

Coat fillets generously with mustard.
In a medium-large frypan, heat oil over high heat. Fry fillets till well-browned (to seal completely).
Add stock & wine, then simmer (medium-low heat) for 30-45 minutes or until cooked through, but still tender. Add mushrooms in last 5 minutes of cooking.
Remove meat (but not mushrooms) from sauce, slice into 2cm thick pieces & set aside, keeping warm.
In a cup, mix cornflour with a little cold water to form a smooth paste. Add to sauce, stirring on medium heat till bubbling. Stop stirring & leave to thicken & reduce (5-10 minutes).
Add meat to sauce & serve immediately over rice or mash potato, with salad if desired.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Some peary goodness:

Veal with Pears & Verjuice

Serves 4

40g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 thick veal steaks
3 small pears (eg corella)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup verjuice (available from specialty stores)
1 tablespoon lemon thyme leaves
sea salt & cracked pepper

Heat a large frypan over high heat.
Add the butter & oil &, when bubbling, cook the veal for 3-5 minutes each side or until browned. Remove meat & keep warm.
Slice each pear into 6, discarding the cores.
Cook in the frying pan for 3 minutes or until just tender. Remove pears & keep warm.
Add the stock & verjuice to the pan & simmer, scraping the brown pieces from the base of the pan.
Add the lemon thyme, salt & pepper & cook for 5 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Serve the veal immediately with the pears & verjuice sauce.

Vanilla Risotto with Caramelised Pears

Serves 4-6

3 1/2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split & seeds scraped
40g butter
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup (white) sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
40g butter, extra
1/4 cup water
4 small pears (eg corella), halved

Place the milk, vanilla bean & seeds in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until hot but not boiling.
Melt the butter in a separate saucepan over medium heat & add the rice.
Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until the rice is translucent.
Add the hot milk mixture to the rice, 1 cup at a time, stirring in between additions until each cup of liquid is absorbed & the rice is al dente. Stir through the white sugar.
While the risotto is cooking, cook the pears. Place the brown sugar, extra butter & water in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the pear halves & cook, cut side down, for 8 minutes or until golden brown.
Turn the pears & cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
To serve, spoon the risotto into bowls & top with the pears & some syrup.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Anzac Biscuits

Another Aussie treat, this time from my Grandma Poss Cookbook (signed by Julie Vivas!). The first time I made this, I accidentally put in 2 tbsn golden syrup instead of 1 (as the original recipe asks) and it was great, so now I always use double the syrup. This recipe is also good for slices.

Makes 36

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

Set the oven to 160ºC. Line 3 cookie/oven trays with non-stick baking paper.
Mix the rolled oats, flour, sugar & coconut in a medium-size bowl.
Melt the butter & golden syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Turn off heat once mixture is bubbling.
Put boiling water in a cup & add the bicarb soda. Quickly stir into the saucepan.
While it is still bubbling, pour mixture into the bowl & stir till well mixed.
Drop teaspoons of biscuit mixture on the trays, leaving about 4cm between each one, as they will spread.
Bake biscuits for 10-15 minutes or until golden (make sure they don't burn!).
Leave on trays to cool.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Macadamia Golden Syrup Dumplings

A very Australian combination!

Serves 4

1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
40g butter, chilled & chopped
100g macadamia nuts, roasted & roughly chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk

1 cup demerara sugar
40g butter
3 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups water

Sift the flour & cinnamon into a bowl.
Add the butter & rub in with your fingertips till the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.Stir in the nuts.
Add the combined egg & milk & mix to form a soft dough.
To make syrup, put ingredients in a saucepan & stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
Drop large spoonfuls of the dough into the simmering liquid & cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of a dumpling.
Serve with thick cream (or ice cream). Yummmmm!

Friday, April 18, 2003

Solid Chocolate Eggs

For Easter...

Makes 4

4 eggs
450g chocolate (dark, milk or white)

crystallised violets
crystallised rose petals
coloured foil

With a needle, pierce a tiny hole in each end of one of the eggs & blow out the contents, gently.
Enlarge the hole in one end to take a small piping nozzle & wash out the shell with cold water. Leave to dry while you blow the rest of the eggs (a heater might help with the drying).
When they are dry, put a piece of sticky tape ove the smaller hole in each egg so that it cannot leak.
Break the chocolate into a bowl & melt it over a pan of hot water (or use a double-boiler), stirring well.
When it reaches pouring consistency, spoon into a nylon piping bag fitted with a small nozzle & pipe into the egg shells through the larger hole. Swirl it round from time to time to remove any air bubbles. Leave the eggs overnight to set.
Carefully crack the eggs & peel off the shells.
Decorate the solid chocolate eggs with crystallised flowers & narrow ribbons, or whatever decorations you like, sticking them on with melted chocolate.
Alternatively, wrap each egg tightly in coloured foil.
Give them to your friends & family or eat them yourself!

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Warm Sugared Donuts

Makes 34

4 teaspoons dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup caster sugar
4 1/4 cups plain flour
70g butter, melted
3 eggs
vegetable oil for deep frying
1 cup caster sugar, extra
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the yeast, water, milk & sugar in a bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes (the mixture should start to foam).
Add the flour, butter & eggs, & mix with a butter knife (ie one without a sharp edge) until a sticky dough forms.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface then place in an oiled bowl & cover with a tea towel. Stand in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Knead for 5 minutes or until the dough feels smooth & elastic when pressed.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1cm thick.
Cut out "O" shapes with a 7cm cutter, then cut a smaller 2.25cm "O" shape out of the larger "O" shapes.
Place the dough shapes on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper, cover with a clean towel & set aside in a warm place for 30-35 minutes or until the dough rises again.
Heat the oil for deep-frying in a saucepan (around 160ºC - test by dropping a cube of white bread into the oil which should turn golden brown within 30 seconds).
Cook donuts a few at a time for 1 minute each side or until golden.
Drain on paper towel briefly, then toss in combined extra sugar & cinnamon.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Tomato, Olive, Basil & Parsley Spaghetti

Serves 4

2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
680ml tomato puree
1/3 cup white wine
1 teaspoon sugar
8 anchovies, chopped (optional)
400g spaghetti
1/3 cup chopped basil leaves
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup sliced black olives
cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Heat a deep frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, chilli flakes, tomato puree, wine, sugar and anchovies, if using, and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti & drain.
To serve, stir the basil, parsley, olives and pepper through the sauce, toss with the pasta and top with the parmesan.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Fruit & Nut Cupcakes

I tried these out on Friday & they worked beautifully.

Same recipe as for Cherry Ripe Muffins with the following changes:

1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup red maraschino cherries

3/4 cup sultanas
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup chopped cashews

You can also replace the dark chocolate bits with milk chocolate, if you want.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Spicy Hot Chocolate

Serves 2

1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups milk

Combine the cocoa, sugar, mixed spice & cinnamon in a saucepan. Add 1/4 cup milk & stir to form a paste.
Warm saucepan over low heat. Add the remaining milk & whisk vigorously until warm.
Serve with churros (below).


This is a traditional South American thing, similar to a donut, & is alway served with hot chocolate. The best way to eat them is by dipping bit by bit & biting off the end soaked with hot chocolate. Mmm...

Makes approx. 40

1 cup water
85g butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup plain flour, sifted
3 eggs
vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup icing sugar

Place water, butter, salt & sugar in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil.
Add the flour, reduce heat to low & stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball & comes away from the side of the pan.
Remove from heat & add eggs one at a time, stirring well between additions.
Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle.
Heat the oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. When hot, pipe 10cm lengths of the mixture into the oil. Cook for 1 minute or until golden brown. Remove & drain on paper towel.
Liberally dust the warm churros with the combined cinnamon & icing sugar (or alternatively, use cinnamon sugar). Serve immediately. Yum!
Veal Rack with Leek & White Wine Sauce

Something a little warming for the cooler weather.

Serves 4-6

1.2kg veal rack (6 cutlets)
1 leek, trimmed & halved lengthwise
olive oil for brushing
sea salt & cracked black pepper

White wine sauce:
1 cup white wine
250g chilled butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 200ºC.
Secure the veal rack with kitchen string between each cutlet. Blanch (ie pour boiling water over & then drain immediately) the leek halves & tie the five longest strips over the string. Brush the veal generously with the oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Heat a large frypan over high heat. Seal the meat for 1 minute on each side or until brown.
Place the meat on a rack in a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
To make the sauce, place the wine in a medium saucepan over high heat & simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup.
Reduce the heat to low & whisk in the butter a few cubes at a time. If the sauce appears oily rather than creamy, remove it from the heat & continue to whisk in the chilled butter until the mixture has a creamy appearance, then incorporate the remaining butter.
Serve the sauce immediately with the veal cutlets & steamed brussel sprouts (or vegies of choice).

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Cherry Ripe Muffins

Yesterday, I found that Cadbury has brought out a range of packet muffin & cake mixes like Fruit & Nut Muffins & Top Deck Cake. I bought the Cherry Ripe Muffin pack, 'cause I was feeling lazy, but am a little disappointed with the results - not because they're bad, just 'cause they taste... packet -, so here's my made-up version. If someone tests it & has suggestions to make, please email me.

Makes 12

Pre-heat oven to 170ºC.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup red maraschino cherries
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Beat well with a wooden spoon, then add:
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup boiling water

Beat again. Spoon into a greased muffin tray & bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Baby Apple Upside-Down Cakes

Serves 6

12 teaspoons golden syrup
2 small Pink Lady apples, cut into 6 x 1cm slices
120g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
160g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
120g unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Place 2 teaspoons of golden syrup in the base of 6 greased 1/2 cup capacity non-stick muffin tins. Place an apple slice on top of the golden syrup (you may need to trim the slices to fit flat in the muffin holes).
To make the cake, beat the sugar, eggs & vanilla using an electric mixer for 4-5 minutes or until thick & pale. Fold in the sifted flour & baking powder, & melted butter, until just combined.
Spoon the mixture over the apple in the muffin holes & bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Cool for 5 minutes before turning out.
Serve warm with thick cream or vanilla bean ice cream. Mmmm!

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Tasty Peruvian (Fried) Rice

People are always asking how I cook rice, 'cause it's so tasty, so here's the (v. rough) recipe.

Makes about 2 cups

vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
pinch of salt
1 cup long grain rice (I use Basmati)
1 1/2 cups water

Put enough oil in a saucepan to just cover the bottom & place over medium-low heat.
Once the oil is hot, put in the garlic & salt, stirring to fry it, but making sure it doesn't burn (about 2 minutes).
Add the rice, mixing well to coat all the grains with the oil (about 2 minutes).
Turn the heat to high, then add the water, mixing to make sure no rice is stuck to the bottom of the pan. Leave till the water is boiling.
Turn the heat down to low, stir well to unstick the rice again & cover the saucepan with aluminium foil & then a lid to create a tight seal. Leave for about 15 minutes or until rice on top is dry.
Serve with whatever you like! This rice is also great cold or reheated, so don't worry about making too much.


Because Peruvian rice is made in the 'fried' style, you can add whatever vegetables you like to make it more exciting.

My mum often adds chopped onion with the garlic & salt, stirring till it is soft & golden before adding the rice.
She also adds peas sometimes ("for a bit of colour"). If you use fresh peas, add them with the garlic, but if you use frozen peas, cook them separately in the microwave first & only add them once the rice is ready.
The same goes for any vegetables you want to add.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Steak with Red Wine Mushrooms

Specially for Mel & Ann.
Notes: I can't eat shiitake mushrooms, so I just use 200g regular ones; I always end up with a lot of sauce, so you might want to halve the amounts of stock & wine.

Serves 4

1 tablespoon oil (for frying)
4 thick sirloin or fillet steaks
1 tablespoon butter
4 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g shiitake mushrooms
100g small field (ie regular) mushrooms
1 cup beef stock
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
cracked black pepper
mashed potato to serve

Heat oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add steaks to pan & cook for 3 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking.
While steaks are cooking, heat butter in another frypan over medium heat. Add shallots & garlic to pan & cook for 1 minute. Add mushrooms to pan & toss for 1 minute. Add stock, wine, thyme & pepper to pan & allow to simmer until mushrooms are soft & sauce has reduced by half.
To serve, place mashed potato on warmed serving plates. Top potato with steak & pour over mushrooms & sauce. Serve immediately.

Chicken Skewers with Lemon Thyme

This was a bit hit with my cast on Sun night.
Note: I couldn't find lemon thyme, so I just used regular thyme.

Makes 12

12 short bamboo (or wooden) skewers
2x200g chicken breast fillets, trimmed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon thyme leaves
sea salt & cracked black pepper (to taste)
vegetable oil for frying

Soak skewers in hot water for at least 10 minutes.
Cut chicken into strips approximately 5mm thick & thread onto skewers.
Combine the lemon juice, lemon thyme, salt & pepper in a non-metallic dish. Add the chicken skewers & toss to coat with the marinade. Cover & refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Heat a non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Brush the pan with oil. Cook the chicken skewers in batches for 2 minutes each side or until cooked through.
Serve just with lime mayonnaise (recipe below) as an appetiser, or add rice & salad to make a meal.

Lime Mayonnaise

This is also great as a spread on sandwiches.

Makes 1 cup

1 cup whole-egg mayonnaise (none of that processed, low-fat crap!)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lime rind

Place the mayonnaise, lime juice & rind in a bowl & stir until combined.
Too easy!

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Chocolate Filled Biscuits

Makes 22 filled biscuits

65g cold butter, chopped
1/4 cup icing sugar (do not use icing mixture!)
1/2 cup plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons cornflour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 egg yolk

Chocolate filling:
200g dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (single) cream

Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Place the butter, icing sugar, flours, cocoa & egg yolk in a food processor & process until a soft dough forms (you might have to add a bit more butter if it isn't smooth enough). Wrap in plastic wrap (Gladwrap) & refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Line a baking tray (or two) with non-stick baking paper (Gladbake). Roll a teaspoon of the biscuit dough into a ball & place on the tray, then use your hand to flatten it to 3.5cm diameter. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 44 small biscuits. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the bases are lightly cooked. Cool on the trays.
To make the chocolate filling, place the chocolate & cream in a small saucepan over low heat & stir until melted & glossy. Refrigerate until cool. Spread half the biscuits with the filling then sandwich them together with the remaining biscuits.
These will go in a flash!

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Baked Chicken (Poule Rôtie)

This takes time (including day-before prepping), but is definitely worth it!

Serves 6

1 large (>2kg) chicken

1/4 cup very finely chopped onions
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cayenne (red) pepper

Seasoning mix:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne (red) pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup very finely chopped onions
3/4 cup very finely chopped green capsicum
1/2 cup very finely chopped celery
3 cups double-strength chicken stock (if you use cubes/powder, just double the amount of concentrate used)
1/2 cup finely chopped spring onions (tops only)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

In a small bowl, combine the stuffing ingredients & mix very well.
Using a knife, cut 12-16 slits in the chicken, all the way to the bone, to form pockets; make most of the pockets in the meatiest parts, & make each pocket 2-3cm long. (Be careful not to cut slits all the way through the cavity wall.)
Fill each pocket with some of the stuffing, using it all; or rub any excess stuffing over the surface of the chicken.
Combine the seasoning mix ingredients thoroughly & sprinkle evenly over the chicken, using it all & pressing it in by hand.
Cover chicken & refrigerate overnight. Keep refrigerated until just before ready to bake.
Place 1/4 cup of oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof pan. Drain chicken & rub well inside & out with the extra 1 tablespoon oil.
Place chicken in pan, breast side up; cover & bake at 200ºC for 1 hour.
Remove pan from oven & turn chicken over; return to oven and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
Remove pan from oven & remove chicken from pan. Skim most of the fat from the pan juices.
Put chicken back in pan breast side up & put the onion, capsicum & celery around the chicken. Return pan to oven & continue baking uncovered for about 10 minutes.
Remove pan from oven, turn chicken over again & stir pan juices well. Add stock & sprinkle spring onions & parsley over chicken. Cover pan & continue baking until chicken is tender, about 1 hour.
Remove pan from oven, transfer chicken to a serving platter & cover loosely with aluminium foil; set aside.
Place the pan with the juices over high heat & reduce the pan gravy to about 2 cups, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Skim fat off gravy if desired & serve immediately, spooned over carved chicken pieces.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Lemongrass Creamed Rice

Makes a delicious dessert or breakfast/brunch alternative.

Serves 4-6

100g short grain rice
1L milk
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
sliced fruit of your choice to serve (guava & red papaya are the recipe's suggestions)

Rinse the rice in a colander until the water runs clear. Drain well.
Place the milk in a saucepan, add the lemongrass, sugar & vanilla, & heat until the liquid is about to boil.
Add the rice & stir for 1 minute or until the liquid returns to the boil.
Reduce the heat & allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally or until the rice is tender.
Remove & discard the lemongrass.
Put the rice into bowls & top with sliced fruit. Serve immediately.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Chicken on Lemongrass Skewers

Serves 4 (as a light meal)

450g chicken breast fillets, trimmed & chopped
1 tablespoon green curry paste
3 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 eggwhite
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
8 lemongrass stalks, trimmed to 25cm lengths
2 teaspoons oil

Soak the lemongrass stalks in water for 20 minutes to prevent them from burning while cooking.
Place the chicken, curry paste, fish sauce, sugar & eggwhite in a food processor & process until smooth. Stir through the mint. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Mould 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture around 1 lemongrass stalk (use slightly wet hands for easier handling) & place on the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining mixture & lemongrass stalks. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until needed.
To cook, heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the oil & cook the skewers in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through.
Serve hot or warm with sweet chilli sauce & lime wedges.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

A refreshing selection to get you through the heat, thanks to Donna Hay.

Bread Salad

Serves 4

12 slices wood-fired bread
60g baby spinach leaves
4 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
2/3 cup small basil leaves
120g kalamata olives
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & cracked pepper

Toast the bread under a hot grill until golden. Break each slice in half.
Arrange the bread, baby spinach, tomatoes, basil & olives on plates.
To make dressing, combine the vinegar, oil, salt & pepper.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad & enjoy!

Salsa Verde Potato Salad

This isn't creamy, so it's much lighter than regular potato salad, & is like the one my mum makes.

Serves 4

850g desiree potatoes, washed & sliced into 1cm thick rounds
1/4 cup thinly sliced cornichons (small gherkins)
1 small Spanish (red) onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped dill
60g watercress sprigs

1/3 cup olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon caster sugar
sea salt & cracked pepper

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over medium heat. Add the potato slices & cook for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Drain & rinse under cold running water until cooled.
To make the dressing, whisk the oil, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, salt & pepper until sugar is dissolved.
To serve, combine the potatoes with the cornichons, onion, basil, mint & dill in a large bowl. Pour over dressing, toss gently & arrange on plates with watercress.

Iced Moroccan Tea

Serves 4

1 1/2 tablespoons English Breakfast tea leaves
5 cups boiling water
8 stems mint
1/3 cup sugar
ice cubes
extra mint sprigs, to serve

Place the tea in a heatproof jug, pour over the boiling water & infuse for 5 minutes.
Strain the tea over the mint & sugar & set aside to cool.
Serve over ice with the extra mint.
Sit in the sun & share with friends!

Friday, February 07, 2003


For a good cup of chai, crush a pinch of cardamom seeds and add them to milk (1 cup per person) while bringing it to a gentle boil. Once the milk comes to a boil, take it off the heat and add the chai blend of your choice (there are several types you can buy*). Use one teaspoon per cup and let it steep for 5 minutes. Then strain the leaves and add sugar, maple syrup or honey to taste. Enjoy the chai!

* I like the one from Glenbog Fine Teas at the Kingston Markets in Canberra. It is an Assam tea with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, coriander, cardamom & pepper. You can call up and order over the phone - they send stuff via mail.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Cardamom Cocoa with Marshmallow Islands

I know, this is a winter drink, but I need some comforting at the moment.

Serves 2

2 tablespoons cocoa or drinking chocolate
4 tablespoons sugar
1-2 teaspoons ground cardamom
500ml milk
125ml cream
white marshmallows
50g milk chocolate shavings, to decorate

Put the cocoa, sugar, cardamom, milk & cream in a pan & stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
Stirring continuously, increase the heat until the mixture is just coming to the boil. Remove from heat immediately.
Divide between 2 mugs & top with the marshmallows & chocolate.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Vine Leaves With Meat Stuffing (Etli Yaprak Sarma)

A delicious Turkish recipe. I have attempted to re-write the badly translated English, but some of it still doesn't quite make sense to me, so good luck. I'd also like to add at this point that the recipe is in the 'Vegetables & Pulses' section of my Turkish cookbook. Ha!

Serves 10

500g vine leaves

500g minced lamb
5 medium onions
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons rice (cooked, I guess)
1/2 pinch each (150g) mint, parsley, dill
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 large tomato

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 tomatoes (these are mentioned in the instructions, but not the ingredients list, so I am guessing a number, if you think you need more, add them)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 pinch salt (again, this is not actually included in the ingredients list)

1 piece wax paper

Chop the onions. Peel the tomato (see Fish dish below on how to do this) & dice small. Place the rest of the stuffing ingredients in a bowl, add 3/4 cup of water, mix well & set aside.
Boil the vine leaves for 2 minutes in salted water. Take out the leaves separately with a sieve. Divide the leaves in two.
Place a walnut-sized lump of stuffing at the base of each leaf, fold the sides & roll up. Place these (dolmas) in a saucepan in layers.
To prepare the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan (different to the one above, obviously). Dice the tomatoes & add to the melted butter with the tomato paste & salt, & stir over heat until the tomatoes soften. Add 2 1/2 cups water & bring to the boil.
Pour the sauce over the dolmas, then cover with wet wax paper. Place a place over the dolmas to weigh them down. Cover & bring to the boil. Cook over low heat for about 45 minutes.
Serve with plain or salted yoghurt on the side.

Monday, January 20, 2003

Fish in Chilli-Tomato Sauce

Another one of my Thai favourites. Again, you can reduce the chilli content as you wish.

Serves 4

500g fish fillets (any white fish works well)
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons hot chilli sauce
1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 red tomatoes, peeled, seeded & chopped
fresh coriander, roughly chopped (garnish)
red chillies, finely sliced (garnish)

Note: To peel & seed the tomatoes, drop them into boiling water for 30 seconds. Lift out & drop into cold water. Peel. Halve the tomatoes & gently squeze out the seeds, then chop the shells roughly.

Rinse & dry the fish.
In a small bowl mix together the vinegar, fish sauce, chilli sauce & sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Heat the oil & fry the onions over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until it is soft & starts to turn golden. Add the tomatoes and vinegar mixture, cover & simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is thick.
Add the fish fillets, spooning the sauce over them. Cover & cook gently (ie low heat) until the fish is done.
Garnish with coriander & red chillies. Serve with steamed jasmine rice. Mmm!

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Champagne Berry Cocktails

Another celebratory champagne cocktail (- hey! I have something to celebrate!).

Serves 6

6 sugar cubes
Angostura Bitters
zest of 1 lime, shredded
200g fresh berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries or strawberries)
750ml champagne, chilled

Put a cube of sugar in each of 6 champagne glasses & add a dash of bitters to each.
Divide the berries among the glasses & fill with champagne.
Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

The NYE recipes:

Chunky Ratatouille Tarts

I used one less zucchini & added cubed feta to this recipe, but it's up to you...

Serves 4 (2 tarts each)

1 eggplant, cut into 3cm cubes
1 red capsicum, cut into 3cm squares
3 zucchini, cut into thick slices
1 red onion, chopped into large pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
200g teardrop or cherry tomatoes
150g kalamata olives, pitted
2 tablespoons finely shredded (fresh) basil
salt & pepper
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed (I used more, but see how you go)
1 egg, lightly beaten
extra shredded basil, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Sprinkle eggplant with salt & let stand for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.
Place eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and onion in a roasting tin, add the oil & toss to coat. Bake the vegetables for 40 minutes, tossing frequently.
Add tomatoes & bake for 5 minutes.
Transfer all the vegetables to a bowl, stir in olives & basil (& feta, if using), & season with salt & pepper. Strain the mixture to remove any juices.
Cut each pastry sheet into four squares & place on a tray line with baking paper. Cut 16 2cm wide strips to fit around the edges of each square.
Divide the ratatouille among the squares. Brush pastry edges with beaten egg & bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
Garnish with extra basil & serve. Warning: they get pretty hot!


This is a traditional Peruvian dish, usually served as finger food in our family. We usually use ocean perch, but you can use any white fish. This recipe is quite spicy, so you might want to use less chilli.

Serves 6

1kg white fish, cubed
3 (red) onions, sliced
10 limes (or lemons)
2 bitter oranges (optional - if you don't use them, you'll need extra lime/lemon juice)
3 fresh chillies, sliced (use aji amarillo or small red chillies)
1 tablespoon ground chilli
salt & pepper
2 ears of corn, cooked, to serve
1 kg cooked sweet potato, to serve
1 lettuce, to serve

Put fish in large colander & pour boiling water over it.
Drain well & put into a bowl.
Add onion & ground & fresh chillies, & cover with lime/lemon/orange juice. Mix well.
Cover & seal tightly. Put in fridge & allow to marinate for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.
Serve on lettuce with cooked corn & sliced sweet potato.

Frozen Mango Daiquiri

60ml Bacardi
60ml mango liqueur
30ml fresh lime juice
1 medium ripe mango, peeled, chopped coarsely
1 cup ice cubes

Put all ingredients in a blender. Blend until just combined. Pour into 300ml highball glass & serve.