Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Panang Curry with Green Beans

This is very quick and easy to cook and tastes amazing! I love the slow food revolution whole heartedly, but sometimes I just don't have the time or energy to make a homemade curry paste.

Thankfully, I have found the Mae Ploy range of pastes have great flavour, are convenient and very easy to use.

Stir fry about 3 Tbsp of Mae Ploy Panang curry paste with a cup or so of coconut milk.

Reduce heat and add a tin of coconut milk, chicken (about 4-500 g) and a handful of shiitake mushrooms.

After a few minutes add a chopped carrot.
When the chicken is almost cooked add a good handful of fresh green beans.

Serve with hot steamed rice and top with a finely shredded kaffir lime leaf, sliced chilli and a few coriander leaves.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Williworld was first introduced to this little hit of magic when Shane and Jane gave Mama Maria Stephanie Alexander’s, The Cook’s Companion, for Christmas …maybe in 1999?

One day when I was sitting at the dining table flicking through this gigantic book, I found the recipe in the margin of the page. I read it out to Mum, who was pottering in the kitchen, and promptly added chillies to shopping list.

Over the years I have made harissa a few times, and each time it has changed, often due to a lack of the actual recipe or the required ingredients. This; combined with my strange love for growing chillies (and rather hot ones) has resulted in my version tending to differ a little each time, though always seems to be, umm... very hot.

To make your own batch you will need:
A bunch of chillies
At least a knob of garlic
A couple of teaspoons each of caraway seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds
A few glugs of olive oil, and
A nice amount of salt

I like harissa quite hot and it seems to be rather addictive, though if heat is not your thing, you could cool it down by adding some fresh or roast capsicum, or if you grow or buy milder chillies you shouldn’t have a problem.

I also don’t measure my ingredients very well, but generally use mostly chilli, then garlic; fairly equal quantities of the spices, a fare amount of salt with enough olive oil to make a nice consistency – not to thick, but not soupy.

Place all ingredients in a food processor (or pestle and mortar – for a more rustic blend) and combine well.

Store in sterilised jars in the fridge.

The actual ingredients from The Cooks Companion are:
250 g chillies
1 head of garlic
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground caraway seeds
1 Tbsp dried mint
3 Tbsp fresh coriander
1 Tbsp salt
olive oil

Harissa can be added to a bunch of different dishes and cuisines. It is perfect with cheese and crackers; can be added to things such as yogurt or hummus as a dip; or with Tagine, Ratatouille or Ossa Bucco for some kick. Plus, if you are anything like me, it might just start a slight obsession with chillies.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pork crackling

Last night Dan and Estelle were present for a pork-stravaganza.
I has a 1.5kg slab of pork belly and some skin for extra crackling. All recipes I consulted said lots of salt, blanch in boiling water before blasting at the highest heat then turning down to fully dry out.

Most crackling was all good. Some didn't get anywhere close to the blistering that I had hoped for. Any advice from fellow crackling lovers?

Image attached is desired result, sadly not exactly what was achieved.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Garlic Zwieback with Lentil and Barley Soup

I have fond memories, from when I was little, of having nice warm soup – usually a rich tomato or pumpkin soup – with zwieback made from Mum’s homemade bread. I still love all of these things - Soup, Zwieback, and Mums bread.

I made up this soup a little while ago and think it is a great soup for lunch or dinner on a cold winter day.

I roughly used:
2 cups lentils, uncooked
1 cup pearl barley, uncooked
2 carrots
2 - 3 celery sticks (can use leaves too)
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp ground cumin seeds
2 or 3 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 ½ tsp turmeric
1 fresh chilli
Massel beef stock powder
Salt and

Soak lentils and barley for 8-12 hours, drain then cook separately (in fresh water) until tender.
I add a couple of teaspoons of Massel beef stock powder to the lentils while they are cooking.

Fry an onion, add garlic and spices and stir until fragrant.
Add veggies, cooked barley and lentils.
Add water or stock to create desired consistency.
Salt and pepper to taste.

For the zwieback I used some homemade, whole-wheat, olive and rosemary bread.
Toast the bread, allow to cool, then lightly rub with a clove of garlic before spreading with butter. Then place the toast into medium oven until warm and crisp.

I also add some parsley and sliced fresh chilli to serve.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spinach and Ricotta Pasties

This is one of my favourite snacks or meals. Apart from being very yummy... they have pastry!
They are super easy to make and can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a rainy day.

I made this batch using a mixture of fresh spinach and silverbeet from my garden.

As a guide, you will need:
  • Some spinach
  • A large-ish wedge of ricotta
  • A block of fetta
  • An onion
  • A couple of cloves of garlic
  • Maybe ½ a tsp of nutmeg
  • A few sprigs of oregano
  • Maybe 2 eggs
  • Salt and Pepper

Using a little olive oil, lightly fry the onion, adding the garlic just before the onion if done.
If using fresh spinach, chop it up and throw it in with the garlic, stir then cover with a lid and turn the heat off – just to wilt it down. Otherwise, just defrost some frozen spinach.

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Scoop onto pastry, fold into parcels and bake in a hot oven until crispy and golden.

Enjoy hot with some tomato sauce or chutney.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Salt & Pepper Squid with Crispy Noodle Salad

This is from a cookbook that Aasha got from her gym. Its called Feel great Food.

This is in two parts. The squid and the salad.

Salt + pepper squid:
2 Tbsp flour
1tsp salt
1 tsp crushed pepper corns
2 squid hoods
2 eggs lightly beaten
oil for deep frying

Noodle salad:
1/2 chinese cabbage (unless its a big one then just use a quarter)
2 carrots (cut into matchsticks)
1 packet bean sprouts
1 packet crispy noodles
1 packet snow pea sprouts
1 red onion
1/2 cup coriander leaves
honey-soy dressing (make your own or use pre-made)

1. Combine salt pepper and breadcrumbs in a small bowl
2. Score the inside of squid tubes diagonally then cut into 6cm pieces.
3. Toss squid in flour till evenly coated
4. Dip in egg mix then coat with breadcrumb mix and set aside.

5. In a large bowl combine all the salad ingredients except the dressing, toss well
6. Deep fry squid in batches for 1-2 mins until golden. Drain on paper towl.
7. Divide salad onto plates and top with squid, then drizzle with dressing.
8. Enjoy!

Mushroom and nut loaf wraps

This is my variation on the nut burgers that we all love from Gav's deli in Ulladulla.

The mushroom and nut loaf is one of mum's recipies. And yes, like everything mum cooks it is delicious! Firstly the mushroom and nut loaf recipe.

500g mushrooms
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1tsp thyme
2Tbsp rice flour or semolina
2 eggs
1 cup milk
500g nuts (I used brazil, almond and chestnuts)
salt and pepper
2Tbsp butter + 1 of olive oil

Melt butter and oil, then saute finely chopped onion till soft. Add chopped mushrooms and thyme and cook for 5 mins. Add milk and rice flour and cook till thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in ground nuts (Put them through your food processor till finely chopped. If they are too chunky the loaf is hard to slice) eggs and salt and pepper. Line a loaf tin with the breadcrumbs and fill with the mixture. Bake in moderate oven for 1hr or until skewer comes out smooth.

As for the wraps... Just add you favourite toppings to a warm lavish bread. These wraps have mayo, harissa, cucumber, tomato, capsicum, lettuce and of course, the mushroom & nut loaf!

Rappatootie (ratatouille)

This is a williworld favourite for sure! Think you all know how to make it and we all add our own little twists but here's my most recent version.

1 Eggplant
4 Zuccini
2 Red Capsicums
500g Button mushrooms
Lots of garlic!
1tsp harissa
Olive oil

Chop all the vegies up into small bite size pieces, add oil, chopped garlic and harissa to large pot and sauté, then add all your vegies. Simmer on low heat with the lid on, stirring occasionally for around 30mins or until vegies have cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toasted Turkish bread spread with mayo and harissa :) Enjoy!

Quince Paste

So, I'm finally getting something up on the blog. Seeing as I'm on holidays I dont have an excuse now. Anyway, many of you have already tasted my quince paste so thought I would post it on here. The process I used to make the paste was unorthodox as I started making quince jelly then realised I was making the wrong thing. Anyway, the process is fairly similar for both jelly and paste, its just that the paste uses the actual quince fruit while the jelly discards it. I found the recipe for the quince jelly on a BestRecipes.com.au

2kg semi-ripe quinces (usually 5-6)
2-3 lemons
3 L cold water

Basically you just remove the fur from the quinces by rubbing under the water with a cloth or your hand. Pour the water into a large pot. Next peel one of the lemons and add peel to the pot. Juice the lemons and add half a glass (150-200ml) of juice to the water. Core the quinces and then cut into small pieces (1-2cm). Bring to the boil then simmer for 90mins. Remove lid and simmer for another 15mins.

So this is where you would start making the jelly if you wanted to but I'll just stick to the paste. Once the water has turned a rosy pink colour you can use a kitchen wiz or blender to blend all the quince pieces. Next you need to add the sugar. For every 500ml of liquid you need to add 500g of sugar. Stir till the sugar is dissolved and simmer for several hours. Test on a small saucer to see when the paste has reaches setting point. Depending of how hard you want your paste you could add some jam setter. And that's pretty much it. Makes about 12 jars or 5 take away containers :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Warm Bourghal Salad

I had planned on having pumpkin soup for dinner tonight... but someone didn't feel like soup.

We ended up having a BBQ with lightly steamed vegetables, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to use the pre-soaked bourghal I had in the fridge.

In a pan I fried the bourghal with some olive oil on low to medium heat. Added some fresh chilli and garlic, a chopped spring onion, some frozen peas and halved cherry tomatoes. Then seasoned with some veggie salt.

For some crunch I also added toasted slivered almonds.

It turned out to be a delicious little concoction that spiced up our BBQ.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sushi Rolls

I love sushi rolls... they are easy to make, are fresh and healthy, filling and full of flavour - especially when you add wasabi and pickled ginger... yummo!!

The first time I had sushi was with Grandma when I was maybe 11 or 12. We went to SushiTrain in Broadbeach. I quite liked it, but probably enjoyed the experience and outing (on my own) with Grandma more.

I really fell in love with sushi while at college in Sydney... Having the beautiful Kabuki Shoroku Japanese Restaurant just a couple of doors down from JDW lead to me having a roll (or two) for lunch nearly every day.

The following year I learned to make homemade sushi with Dan and Stelle at Pine Avenue.

I usually make mine with cucumber, red capsicum, spring onions and tariyaki chicken or tofu, or salmon and avocado.

I also make a sauce of kikkoman with a bit of fresh chilli, garlic and vietnamese mint.

The instructions for cooking the rice are on the back of the 'sushi rice' packet and are pretty easy to follow. I find that about 1 cup of uncooked rice will make 4 full nori rolls.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Persian Kofta with Yogurt Sauce

I stumbled upon this recipe online several years ago while researching tagine or maybe megadarra... It was on this website, blog type thing, of a guy that seemed to be travelling and eating his way around the Middle East.
The site looked a bit strange and unusual but the recipe sounded amazing. Hence – I hit print and added Persian kofta (after altering it a little) to my collection of favourites.

For the sauce:
3 cups natural yogurt
3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tsp dill, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Combine all ingredients together and set aside to allow the flavours to meld.

For the kofta:
1 kg ground beef or lamb (maybe a bit less?)
1 large onion
1 cup bulgur wheat, soaked for ½ hour in warm water
5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander
Salt and pepper
Toasted almonds and pine nuts, chopped
2 - 3 eggs

Lightly fry onions and toast chopped nuts. Combine all ingredients together with a splash of olive oil and mix well.

Form small balls/patties/ovally shapes and fry in a pan or on the BBQ.

Top with yogurt sauce and enjoy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Raspberry Mousse Macarons

I ended up making these macarons for Greg's party too, as someone wasn't sure people would like the Cardamom ones.

I tried a new recipe, from my book Secrets of Macarons' for the shells which was pretty much the same as the last recipe only seemed to possibly have tant pour tant (the mixture of almond meal and icing sugar) as they were actually in equal quantities.

Hesitantly, I did lessen the amount of caster sugar in the syrup - not sure what difference if might have made - but I'll give you the real amount. I also unfortunatley had to use almond meal that had dark bit of almond skin in it which gave the shells a bit of a 'wholemeal' look making them not quite as pretty as they could have been...

For the shells:
100 g almond meal
100 g pure icing sugar
80 g egg white
90 g caster sugar
75 ml water
Food colouring
Lemon zest

Whisk egg white into soft peaks, then add a few drops of colour.
In a small saucepan gently boil caster sugar and water until it reaches 115C.
While continueing to whisk the egg whites, slowly pour in the hot sugar - continue wisking for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture cools.

Gently fold in the TPT and zest of one lemon.
Pipe batter onto lined trays, rest for 1 - 2 hours then bake at 145C for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before removing shells from paper.

For the mousse:
Make a firm raspberry jelly using 1 cup frozen raspberries, juice of 1 lemon and gelatin or agar.
Make a basic buttercream from egg yolks, hot sugar syrup, butter and zest (instructions here - just leave out all things orange and add a nice amount of lemon zest).
Mash up the jelly with a fork then whisk it into the buttercream - presto! Raspberry mousse - ok not really, but it's a similar texture.

Yummo... these just might be the favourite.

Cardamom and Honey Macarons

I was first introduced to Macarons by Debbie, early last year, when she brought them to work for morning tea. It really was love at first bite...

I have since made them a few times (experimenting with flavours including Lime, Black Forest, Raspberry Mousse, Haselnut and Spiced Prune) and have had some wins along with some epic fails!

I created this flavour (actually two flavours) for Greg's 60th.
The first - Cardamom and Honey and the second Cardamom and Orange (based on the puddings I made the other night)
I decided on these as it would mean that I could use the one batch of cardamom shells (a time saving measure) but make two different fillings.

They turned out pretty well but I did learn (for next time) to use less colouring in the shells and a little less honey in the mascarpone (I was using Williworld honey, straight from the bee keeper, which has quite a strong flavour).

For the Shells you will need:
225 g pure icing sugar
140 g almond meal
100 g egg whites at room temperature
1 ½ tsp ground cardamom
Food colouring

Sift and combine icing sugar and almond meal then add the cardamom.

In a clean bowl, wisk egg whites until they hold their peeks and become glossy.
Add a few drops of food colouring half way through beating egg whites.
Gently fold the almond meal and icing sugar into the egg whites until combined – be careful not to over mix.

On a silicone matt or baking paper lined tray, pipe mixture into rounds about an inch wide and spaced about an inch apart.

Rap the bottom of the tray a few times then let rest for 1 – 2 hours (until a skin forms on the shells and your finger comes away clean when gently touched).

Place in pre-heated oven at 150C and bake for 10 minutes before turning oven down to 130C for another 2 - 5 minutes.
(It is around this time that you dance for joy at the little ruffled feet forming beautifully around your precious shells...)

Keep an eye on them while they are cooking so the tops don't brown - it won't change the taste; they just won't look as pretty.

Remove from oven and slide silicone or paper onto a cooling rack.

Allow to cool completely before gently pealing them off the paper.
Line shells, bottom up, in two rows of matching sizes ready for piping...

Filling 1 (Honey and Mascarpone)
3 - 4 tablespoons natural honey
250 g Mascarpone

Gently boil honey for about 10 minutes
In a bowl, lightly blend mascarpone and slowly pour honey in while still beating.

Filling 2 (Orange buttercream)
3 egg yolks
90 g caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
100 g softened butter (chopped into cubes)
Finely grated orange zest
Orange jelly or Orange essence

Whisk yolks until creamy and pale.
In a small saucepan gently boil caster sugar and water until it reaches 121C.
While still whisking the yolks, slowly pour the sugar syrup in and continue whisking while the mixture cools, add the cubed butter and orange zest and orange jelly mixing until well combined.

Pipe the buttercream onto one row of the waiting shells then gently place the matching shell on top.
The recipe book 'Secrets of Macarons' shows many ways of decorating the shells. I'm not quite the pro decorator yet but they are good inspiration. As is the great range of edible rainbow dusts at The Raspberry Butterfly.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sumptuous Aubergine Schnitzel

I was visiting J the other day and he procured the hottest harissa I have ever tasted. He considers it The Source and dilutes it 1:4 with roasted capsicum in order to actually be able to eat it.
Hopefully we'll see it here soon. (hint hint JJ)
Anyway, he said, in true flatrock style if you want the recipe then just 'make it up'.

I have used that approach here with one of J's other delights, aubergine parmigiana (or eggplant schnitzel to the more ovarian minded)

  • slice your eggplant into thick steaks
  • brush with oil and grill/roast for a while to pre-cook
  • fry onions and garlic, then deglaze with wine or whatever while you think about what to put in the parmigiana sauce.
  • I chose a leggos stir-through olive, chilli and tomato sauce as a basis because it is thick and chunky and flavoursome. (You could build from scratch if you are more time rich.)
  • Next I added a can of chilli tuna (dolphin safe so don't worry) and a handful of olives (spanish, kalamata, or whatever) plus some random fridge lurkers. You know, the last piece of capsicum or a quarter of a zucchini.
  • allow to reduce and remove eggplant from oven
  • NB obviously leave out the tuna to classify this dish as vegetarian... it's still just as tasty.
  • cover eggplant with reduced sauce and a generous amount of parmigiano cheese.
  • place in oven for 10 min or until cheese turns crispy beige.
  • serve on a plate of suitably prepared side dishes.
  • eg asparagus and creamy mash.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fiery Tofu with Vegetables on a Bed of Rice

While tending to my ‘indoor’ garden last night I decided to prune the Vietnamese mint. Not wanting to waist the cuttings, and in traditional Williworld ‘we could use that’ style, I looked at my mint, then at my abundant chilli collection and decided to make a spicy concoction.

I mashed Vietnamese mint, Thai basil, red chilli, garlic, lemon juice, rock salt and sunflower oil in a pestle and mortar.

I was planning on making the sauce to store in the fridge for another day, but when I tasted it...Mmm mmm, MMMmm... it was crying out to be eaten sooner.

Now, as some of you may know, I have a bit of a love for tofu and cook with it all the time (I have found though, that there seems to be a large number of people out there that cringe at it).

So with my newly created concoction I decided to organise a fairly simple tofu dish.

Marinade diced tofu with finely chopped red onion, chilli, vietnamese mint, lemon juice, soy sauce, Massel chicken stock powder and some fish sauce and put it in the fridge to marinate over night.

Once marinated gently fry the tofu until it begins to brown and become crispy.

Steam carrot, red capsicum, spring onions etc and drizzle with lemon juice. Place veggies on a bed of rice, add the tofu and top with the fiery mint and chilli sauce. Yum!

If you typically weirded out by tofu, I think the trick to enjoying it is frying it up to get crispy edges and adding a healthy amount of flavouring. However - If you’re still not game you could easily leave it out or substitute for chicken or fish.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Yogurt and Spiced Orange Puddings

I was home alone tonight and free to do anything I liked (that didn't involve needing a car) so I thought I would do some cooking.

I have a love of cookbooks and often pull a few out looking for some inspiration, although I rarely get time to cook the beautiful things I find. So, with a free night ahead, I flicked through a few books looking for something I had the ingredients for and that didn't look too fiddly or time consuming - as it was already kind of getting late.

I found these little puddings that seemed to fit the criteria and also looked fresh and yummy. I did change the recipe a little though, using less butter and sugar (brown instead of white) and a little more orange juice and spice.

First thinly peal an orange, julienne the rind and juice the orange. Blanch the rind and set aside.
In a small saucepan bring 100g caster sugar and 20ml of water to the boil. (I used some of the water used to blanch the rind). Add the rind and orange juice then cook over a low heat until the rind begins to become translucent - then set aside to cool.

Cream 130g brown sugar with 130g butter. Add 2 eggs, 2 Tbsp natural yogurt, and the zest of a lemon. Combine well before folding in 100g self-raising flour and some ground cardamom.

Divide among some small moulds (I used glass espresso cups with the handles removed) then bake at 180C until a skewer comes out clean; about 10 - 15 minutes depending on the size of your mould.

Gently turn out of mould and serve warm with candied orange rind and yogurt.

The puddings turned out well and I had a lovely evening cooking something new - which turned out to be surprisingly delicious!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pesto, Tapenade & Dukkah

Whenever I have the time and find basic ingredients in bulk, I like to re-stock my supplies of my trio of dipping favourites: Basil pesto, Dukkah & Olive Tapenade.

Williworld introduced us Allards to Harissa and Mamma Maria's Dukkah is also awesome. Basically, you can do all things with a food processor.

I also freeze my pesto in take away containers and thaw to stir through pasta. Dukkah is lovely as a garnish for a salad.

As many bunches of basil as you can lay your hands on...The above bowl of pesto was made from a garbage bag full.
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Roasted pine nuts

*I have also made a thai variation with chilli, cashew and coriander*

Roasted nuts...you can use anything from a mixed bag to exclusive use of macadamia, pistachio or cashew.
Dry roasted and ground coriander seeds
Dry roasted sesame seeds
Salt and pepper
Additional seasoning of your choice.

Olive Tapenade:
Pitted olives
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sweet corn cakes with coriander, avocado and cherry tomato salsa.

So Diggies Restaurant in Wollongong is an obvious favourite amongst many of the Flatrock crew. In the effort re-create a favourite brunch snack of mine, I experiemented with a basic sweet corn cake mix:

Flour, eggs, milk, tin of sweet corn, coriander, chilli, salt and pepper.

I found that I got better results with a thicker batter, rather than a gloopy mix.

The salsa is chopped cherry tom's, avocado, rocket, torn coriander leaves, seasoned and dressed with a few splashes of Tabasco and a big ol' squeeze of lime.

Optional drizzle of a balsamic reduction (which I personally feel is slightly overrated).

Not too far from the real thing.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mixed Dahl with Herb and Garlic Naan

This recipe is originally from Mama. I first cooked this with her about 2 or 3 years ago when we had Indian themed food for the Flatrock Shed Shindig. Since then it has become one of my favourites.

The original recipe uses Toor dhal, Masoor dhal and Moong dhal. As these can be difficult to find in a hurry I generally substitute these with red lentils and yellow split peas (which need soaking and cooking beforehand).

For the dhal you will need:
2 cups red lentils
2 cups cooked yellow split peas
2 medium onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp fresh ginger
2 -3 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 - 1 tsp kalonji (black onion seeds)
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric
1 chilli
800 g crushed tomatoes
vegetable stock

In a large pan, gently heat ghee (or butter and oil) add the onion and slowly caramelise.
Add the garlic, ginger and chilli. When these soften push to the side of the pan and add the mustard and kalonji seeds, gently cooking until they start to pop.

Add the ground spiced, stirring until aromatic.
Add the dhal, tomato and stock (I use water and mixture of massel chicken and vegetable stock powder. Massel powders are vegetarian for those of you that may be concerned about that).

Combine the ingredients well and simmer, covered for around 30 minutes - stirring frequently.

You will need to use about 3 cups of water - but keep an eye on it as you may need to add some more.

For the naan I used plain flour, water, oil, salt, yeast, fresh coriander, garlic and a little bit of fresh ginger. I cheated a little and used my (actually Mama's) breadmaker to make the dough before I then cut into small sections, rolled out and fried on the stove at quite a low heat.

Serve the dhal with natural yogurt, hot mango chutney (or sweet if you prefer) and fresh coriander.

For me, I think it's the naan, yogurt and hot chutney that really makes this a super delicious meal...