Friday, November 16, 2012


A year ago we went on a road trip to Griffith, NSW, to pick up our precious little Ruby and had an awesome weekend with Baz checking out some great foodie locations.

One of these places was the De Bortoli winery where we did some tasting and bought a range of loverly wines (of course). A long with the wine purchase, we were gifted with a copy of the 2012 De Bortoli Wines calendar.

Each month provides a stunning photograph, recipe and matching wine along with the cooks notes and some gardening or produce information. An ideal collection for me.

This month we are looking at Kedgeree with the Yarra Valley Pinot Noir Rose.

Having seen Kedgeree on a few restaurant menus around Canberra I have been meaning to try this dish and after looking at the photo and recipe for last week or so, I finally decided to give it a go.

As usual I wasn't great at following the recipe but this is what it said.

4 large eggs
600g smoked haddok or cod (I left this out)
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp finely chopped or grated ginger
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 heaped Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
3 tsp cumin seeds
2 handfuls of fresh coriander leaves
1 red chilli
3/4 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1 spring onion
4 or so cups of cooked long grain/basmati rice
2 tsp chicken stock powder

Boil the eggs for 10 minutes, then run under told water, peal, quarter and set aside.
Melt the butter and oil in a pan over a low heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Soften for about 5 or 10 minutes then add the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, chilli and stock powder.
If you are using frozen peas, add these in too and cook with the spices for a few minutes.
Add the cooked rice, eggs and coriander (as well as the meat if you are using it). Combine well and fry until the rice is hot.

I was almost surprised at how delicious this was, although the list of ingredients did give it away a little.

This is a great dish for either breakfast, lunch or dinner and one I will meet again soon.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pan-fried Trout with Sage, Chilli and Olives

After spending the day fishing at Lake Eucumbene I was faced with the new challenge of cooking some fresh Rainbow Trout.

Having never cooked or eaten Trout, I wasn't sure what flavour it would have, or what flavours would suit such a fish.

Following a quick search on Google, I found a recipe that piqued my interest due to my love of the listed ingredients, and the fact nearly everything I needed was growing in my garden.

Using my new found recipe as I guide, I went about preparing the trout and gathering the ingredients from the garden.

What I used:
2 small-med Rainbow Trout
Flour for dusting fish
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
2 small chillies
2 sprigs fresh sage (about 10 leaves or so)
1 Tbsp baby capers
1/3 cup kalamata olives
1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Using a large frying pan, heat the olive oil.
Dry the fish with some paper towel, then dust with the flour.
When the oil is hot, add the dusted fish and cook until the skin is golden and crisp.
Turn the fish over, add the butter and leave to brown slightly.
Thinly slice the garlic, chilli and half the lemon (keep the other half for juice), then add them to the pan along with the sage, capers and olives.
Season with salt and pepper and add the juice of the remaining half lemon.
Leave on medium heat until the fish is cooked.

I served the trout with cous cous, potato wedges and english spinach.
Make sure you drizzle the delicious flavour-full butter from the pan, over the trout and cous cous.

Mm Mmm... totally delicious!
We may just have to go fishing again.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Baked Mushrooms with Herb and Cashew Butter

These are possibly the tastiest mushrooms I've ever had. Although I'd suggest making double, as each time I've made them, I was always disappointed when the last one was gone.

You will need:
12 med-large mushrooms
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 red onion
1/3 cup chopped cashews
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Fresh parsley
Fresh thyme
Fresh rosemary
70g butter, softened
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Finely chop the red onion, garlic and herbs and combine well with the butter, lemon juice and chopped cashews.
Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and spoon the butter mixture into the hollowed mushrooms.
Place on a non-stick baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked through and golden.

The mushrooms are best cooked just before serving, although they can be prepared in advance.

Enjoy! I'm sure you'll want a second, and maybe a third or forth.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Baked Polenta with sun-dried Tomato and Parsley

This is a tasty little treat - perfect for brunch or entre.

I adapted the recipe from Kitchen Classics - Gourmet Vegetarian, a great book that Mama gave me a few years ago.

You will need:
600ml milk
100g polenta
25g diced butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp polenta, extra
Black olive tapenade
Semi-sun dried tomatoes
Harissa or chilli oil
Fresh parsley leaves

Lightly grease a 20x30 cm cake tin.
Bring the milk to the boil in a saucepan.
Reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the polenta, pouring it in a stream, until it thickens.
Stir continuously with a wooden spoon for about 20 minutes, or until it leaves the side of the pan.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
Season to taste.

Spread the cooked polenta into the tin and smooth the top. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Turn the polenta out onto a board, cut into 5cm squares, then into triangles.
Place on a baking tray covered with baking paper, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with the extra polenta.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the polenta is golden and has a crust.

Spoon about 1/2 to 1 tsp on tapenade on to each triangle, add a fraction of harissa or a drizzle of chilli oil, a sun dried tomato and top with a fresh parsley leaf.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Potato Bondas

I first had these at a friends baby shower, and I could have eaten every one of them.

It's been a few months since, but with a day to myself at home, I thought I would give them a go. After a message back from the mummy-to-be I was on my way with the recipe at hand.

I did change the recipe a little as I didn't have everything I needed, and I couldn't remember them having a batter coating as the recipe described.

As usual, I'm not so great with quantities, but roughly used the following.

5 large potatoes, diced and steamed
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 green chilli
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
1/3 cup chopped cashew nuts
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup blended, cooked kidney beans (the recipe called for besan flour, so chickpeas would have been better)
1 1/2 cups water (more or less)
1-2 handfulls of self raising flour
Salt and pepper
Oil (for deep frying)

Sauce (Blend the following together)
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
1/2 - 1 bunch of fresh mint
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp hot chilli oil (or fresh green chilli)

Fry the onion, then add the potatoes, coriander, chilli, garlic, ginger, turmeric and cashews.
While lightly browning in the pan, gently mash the potato a little.
Transfer mixture to a large bowl, then add the blended beans, flour, salt and pepper.
Combine well.

Heat oil on relatively high heat. Using two teaspoons, form potato mixture into bite size balls.
Gently drop potato balls into oil and fry until golden.
Remove bondas from oil and rest on paper towel.

Having made these in advance, I placed them on a tray in a hot oven to re-heat and crisp back up.

Serve hot with the fresh, bright, zingy sauce.

YUM! These are totally delicious and will definitely be a regular on my menu.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Chocolate Ripple Cake

I’m sure this is a fairly old-fashioned recipe, and possibly even on the actual Arnott’s packet but I think there is a reason for that…as the saying goes, it’s an oldie but a goodie.

1 packet Arnott’s chocolate ripple biscuits
600ml thickened cream
 cup pure icing sugar
1 tsp Vanilla essence
Cadbury’s Old Gold Roast Almond chocolate

Whip the cream until it begins to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until peaks form.
Carefully spread cream on one side of a biscuit, sandwich it with another, then stand the two on a clean serving tray with the flat side of the biscuit facing the long side of the tray.

Spread cream on another biscuit and gently add it to the two on the tray, so you have cream, biscuit, cream etc repeated about 4 times, then do the same, placing the biscuits along side the first section. (You should end up with the biscuits sitting pretty much the same as they do in the packet.)
Cover the whole lot with cream and top with grated or chopped chocolate.
Place in the fridge for several hours, or overnight if you can, to allow the biscuits to soften.

If you like cream or chocolate, I'm sure you will love this. It is so simple, yet so tasty. If you can wait long enough to eat it, it would be great with a fresh cup of coffee.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Slow cooked... Coq au Vin

Lounging around at home on a public holiday, the weather being cool and overcast, and having just acquired a slow cooker, I thought what better thing to do then test it out and let it cook me a lovely rich, classically French braise.

5 pieces of short-cut rind-less bacon
2 large onions cut into chunks (or lots of baby onions)
8 chicken wings
4 garlic clovesSalt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs massel chicken stock powder
1 cup water1 bottle red wine (I used a 2009 De Bortoli Durif)
3 bay leaves
1/3 cup flour
Salt and pepper
20g butter
5 large sprigs fresh thyme
500g or 3 cups button mushrooms

Chop bacon and onions then fry in a hot pan for a few minutes, then set aside in a slow cooker.

Combine flour with some salt and fresh cracked pepper, toss together with the chicken to coat. Place chicken, skin side down, in hot fry pan with a little butter. Brown the chicken then remove and set aside in the slow cooker with the onions.
Fry mushrooms until they begin to turn golden then add to the chicken along with the thyme, bay leaves, chopped garlic and red wine.

Turn on the slow cooker, set to medium heat and cook for 4-6 hours.

Although I didn’t have any at the time, garnish with parsley, and serve with boiled potatoes or sweet potato and steamed green beans.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Warm Chicken and Vegetable Salad

This is a concoction I made last night as ‘diet food’ for you know who… it appears he has been inspired to embark on a health kick and has requested a change in his meals.
That's no problem for me as it means lovely fresh, nutritious, vegetable rich meals.

The idea partially came from a video on YouTube called ‘6 minute meals’. This takes more than 6 minutes, but is still super quick, and a whole lot yummier!

You will need
2 chicken breasts, sliced
1 Tbsp tandoori spice mix
1 ½ cups green beans (I used frozen)
1 cup frozen corn
1 medium head of broccoli, chopped into bit-size pieces,
1 cup sweet potato, diced
1 carrot, grated
1 spring onion, chopped
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 chilli, finely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped basil

Put the chicken in a fry pan with a little oil and mix through the spice mix, put this on a very low heat while you prepare the veggies.

In a large, microwave safe bowl, put the beans and corn in the microwave for a minute or 2.
Add the broccoli, mix a little, and microwave for another minute or so, until the broccoli is just cooked.
In a separate bowl, microwave or steam the sweet potato until tender, then add it to the rest of the veggies.
Add the carrot, spring onion, lemon juice, chilli and basil.

When the veggies are about done, turn the heat up and fry the chicken until it is golden on each side. Tip the chicken into the veggie mix, cut or shred the chicken up a little more so it is bite-sized and manageable.

Combine well, serve and enjoy…

These quantities should satisfy two hungry adults

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Plum Jam

We moved into a new house recently which to our delight has a rather large plum tree in the backyard. Over the last few months we have been watching the fruit develop and start to change colour.

When I found the first ripe plum I was amazed at how delicious it was!

Unfortunately (or fortunately as it turns out) all the fruit began to ripen at once, right when we were going away on holidays. Not wanting to miss out on any delicious fresh fruit, or have it go to waste on the birds, we picked all of the plums... 13 kg in total!

With about 2 or 3 kg eaten in Albury, we decided to take the rest to Ulladulla to make some jam.

Mama pulled out one of her old recipe books - Cookery in Colour edited by Leila Howard and Marguerite Patten, 1960 (it's a kind of encyclopedia for cooking) and found me a recipe for Plum Jam, made from ripe fruit.

The original recipe was 1 lb. plums to 1 lb. sugar, using no water if the fruit is ripe, or 1/2 gill water if under-ripe.

For the first batch of our jam, we used 3 kg ripe plums and 3 kg white sugar.
In a large saucepan gently bring the fruit to a simmer, then add the sugar, stirring until the sugar is disolved. Boil the jam until it sets when a small amount is cooled in a saucer.

As I used ripe fruit, the jam was super sweet, so I decided to tart it up a bit by adding a lemon from mums tree. Mum v-sliced the lemon into small juliennes and we stirred this through, simmering until the lemon was cooked.

When ready, ladle the jam into clean, dry jars. Put the lids on immediately then sit back and wait for it to cool and set.

For the second batch I decided to leave this one a pure plum jam, but used less sugar as the plums were so sweet on their own.
I used 2.3 kg of fruit to 1.8 kg of sugar and simmered it for a bit longer to ensure it would set.


We now have 22 bottles of fresh, home-made plum jam, all of which set beautifully.