Sunday, December 8, 2013


Thanks to a friend from work I have recently discovered chermoula.

Having so much coriander in my yard that it could possibly be classed as a weed, I had given the occasional bag to my friend as I thought he might enjoy some.

To my surprise, this resulted in a lovely jar of chermoula being left for me in the office fridge.

Not really knowing what chermoula was intended for; I couldn't help myself but try some with the corn chips I had for lunch. I was an instant fan!

Having not planned anything specific for dinner, and being home alone, I decided on an omelette of sorts.

Using about 3 eggs, ½ cup milk and a tablespoon of chermoula I had myself a beautiful dinner for one. Served on a slice of Rye Sourdough from the local Mosaics Bakery, and topped with some cayenne pepper and fresh coriander tips, I was in heaven.

Having finished the last of my gift on some more corn chips, I definitely had to make some more. 

After raiding the garden for some more coriander, parsley, lemons and chilli I was set to go.

In the food processor, blend the following (more or less) into a smooth paste.

1 Spanish onion, roughly chopped
4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 bunch of coriander, including stalks
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, including stalks
2 small chillies
2 tsp salt
1 ½ tbs cumin powder
1 ½ tbs coriander powder
1 tbs turmeric powder (lightly toasted in a dry pan)
1 tbs sweet paprika
1 ½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cardamom
Extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon

Yum! How have I not had this before?

Chermoula is currently my favourite condiment and it has been a great addition to my salad wraps.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chicken Caesar Salad

I’m not usually one to opt for a Caesar salad, as the few cafĂ© versions I’ve seen really did nothing for me, however after having enjoyed one last year (made by my brother) and more recently enjoyed another, I’ve decided I am indeed a fan of this delicious salad.

A few weeks ago I helped - or more stood around chatting and collecting ingredients for a lovely friend and guest as she made this amazing salad.

I’ve since made it a few times and love, love, love it!

You will need:
1 sourdough baguette, cut into cubes
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 – 3 chicken breast fillets
1 lemon
4 baby cos lettuce
6 free range eggs
Olive oil
Rindless bacon

Caesar dressing
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, chopped
4 anchovies, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil

Slice chicken and place in a bowl with the juice and rind of 1 lemon. Add a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until needed.

For the dressing, place egg yolks, mustard, garlic, anchovy, vinegar and oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Arrange bread on a large baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with as much rosemary as you’d like. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.

Boil the eggs until just how you like them. With all the eggs in a saucepan of cold water, I boil mine for 8-10 minutes from the time that tiny bubbles start appearing on the bottom of the pan. Quarter the eggs and set a side.

On a medium to hot BBQ, preferably the griddle plate, cook the chicken and the bacon until golden.

Chop lettuce and place in a large bowl or serving platter. Add chicken, eggs, bacon and croutons. Pour dressing over the salad, or let your guests add their own.

Delicious! A great meal for lunch or dinner.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Homemade Pizza

For me, just saying ‘homemade pizza’ stirs the nostalgia pot. I have very distinct memories of making pizzas as a family and arranging the tasty ingredients to build each pizza. I’d eat my portion of pineapple fresh as I was not a fan of hot pineapple!

When it was ready, I would pull the topping off, eat the base, and then savour the delicious amalgamation of all things pizza.

This is an easy meal and still a favourite - although now I leave it intact.

For this tasty little version, I used the following:
Flat bread
Roast garlic and herb bottled pasta sauce
Spicy Salami
Red onion
Red capsicum
Pitted kalamata olives
Chilli marinated stuffed green olives
Fresh sage
Fresh thyme
Water cress
Salt and pepper to taste

Assemble in a logical manner, drizzle with some garlic oil, then bake until the edges are crisp and the cheese has melted.

MmMmmm. Delizioso!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pecan and coffee sugar cookies

Rod here. Sarah gives me a recipe book - "Coffee - a fine selection of sweet treats". Kristel and I bake a couple on a rainy Canberra Sunday in July. AGTYS - Astoundingly good! Thank you Sarah.

(Makes 45)
Preheat oven 180. 
Baking paper on tray x2.

Combine 40g (1/3c) icing sugar and 1 1/2 T very finely ground espresso coffee and put aside.

Take 1T out of 55g (1/4c) caster (superfine) sugar and process with 100g (1c) pecans in food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Using a large bowl and electric beater, cream 185g (3/4c) unsalted butter, softened, with the rest of the sugar, until pale and fluffy. Add 1 egg yolk and beat until well combined.

Stir in the ground pecan mixture, sift in 200g (1 2/3c) plain flour and pinch salt, then mix into a dough. (Ran out of plain so we used about 2/3c of freshly-ground spelt flour.)

Roll dough into 2.5cm balls, place on trays and flatten slightly. Bake 10min or until light golden around edges. Transfer to a wire rack and, while cookies are still hot, sift the sugar and coffee mixture over the top. Set aside to cool completely.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Jamie’s Veggie Chilli with Crunchy Tortillas and Avocado Salad

For some time I’ve been feeling totally uninspired when it comes to cooking dinner. Cold days and getting home well after-dark have resulted in a very mundane, repetitive and at times ‘weird’ menu.

With a new lease on trying to be more organised, and some deliciously inspiring night-time TV, I thought I’d give a few new dishes a go.

As such, a bit of googling brought me to this recipe. Although it is from Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals series, I had no expectation of being able to prepare it that quickly. I was however pleasantly surprised that it didn’t take that much longer.

I varied the recipe a little, so here's my version.

For the sauce
1 fresh red chilli
1 red onion
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 garlic cloves
1 bunch fresh coriander
2 red capsicum
1 x 400 g tin of chickpeas
1 x 400 g tin of butter beans
700 g passata

Put the chilli, garlic, peeled and halved red onion, paprika and cumin seeds into the food processor, along with the coriander stalks (reserving the leaves) and whiz until fine.

Tip into the pan and sautĂ© lightly. Add the deseeded and roughly chopped capsicums, drained chickpeas and beans, passata and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well, cover and leave to simmer. 

In the meantime, cook a cup or two of rice.
I used basmati rice and my new microwave cooker: 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of boiling water; 12 minutes in the microwave then cover and rest for 4 minutes.

Make a well in the bean mixture, spoon some or all of the hot rice into the well. Dollop with yoghurt and sprinkle fresh coriander leaves on top.

For the salad
2 large corn tortilla wraps
2 ripe avocados
3 heaped tablespoons natural yoghurt, plus extra to serve
2 limes

Roughly slice the tortillas into strips, sprinkle on to a tray and bake until golden and crisp.

Mash, or whiz together, half a peeled avocado, a pinch of salt and pepper, the yoghurt and the juice from 2 limes, until silky.

Place the crunchy tortilla pieces into a bowl. Cut the lettuce into chunky wedges and add to the bowl.

Spoon out curls of avocado and dot over the salad. Chop the cucumber then scatter over the top along with the tomatoes. Add a sprinkling of coriander leaves - as many or little as you like.

Pour the dressing over the salad and serve.

Yum! I'll totally make this again.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Aubergine Parmigiana

Aubergine parmigiana, a very presumptuous title as there is no actual parma ham involved in this recipe.
  • begin by slicing your eggplant into thick steaks
  • sprinkle with rock salt and roast for a while (10-15min, 150 celsius) to pre-cook and dehydrate.
  • fry onions and garlic, then deglaze with wine or whatever while you think about what to put in the sauce.
  • I chose a swathe of fresh tomatoes, skins burst in scalding water and then peeled, cubed and seeds removed. You could use passata with olives, chilies and mixed Italian herbs.
  • allow to reduce and remove eggplant from oven

  • cover eggplant with reduced sauce and a generous amount of parmigiano cheese.
  • place in oven for 15 min or until cheese turns crispy brown.
  • serve with side salad or something...