Recipes

AVOCADO Season now underway at Albany Farmers Market

WILLOW CREEK in the market from THIS Saturday with their HASS AVOCADOS. Handasyde Organics also offer Organically Certified Avocados. Markets as normal over the summer and holiday period including Saturday 22nd & 29th December 2018


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It's Cherry & Berry Season

CHERRIES are now in season along with RASPBERRIES and STRAWBERRIES. ALL local, fresh and in the market NOW. Market will be held as normal over the holiday period including Saturday 22nd and 29th December 2018


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AT LAST...STRAWBERRY season starts this Saturday in the market

Lyn of HANDASYDE STRAWBERRY FARM will be in the market THIS Saturday morning with the first of her luscious Strawberries.


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WHOLE BAKED HASSLEBACK CARROT

Availability of large Chantenay Carrots from Bathgate Farm enable this dead easy veggie dish to share!

Jumbo Chantenay Carrots
½ cup of stock of choice
Olive Oil or Porongurup Pure Butter
Fresh Herbs
Seasoning  
splash of honey

 


Method

Pre-heat Oven to 200ºc or 180ºc for fan oven
Scrub Carrots.
Slice ¾ down at intervals
Par cook (microwave is ideal for this)
Place whole in small pan, pour in stock and sprinkle herbs and seasoning in and around>
Top with butter or Oil
Place in Oven for 40 minutes
Test Carrot with point of knife to ensure cooked through,  sprinkle with honey
Return to oven for 5/10 minutes.

Looks great on the table and tastes even better


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NEW......CULTURED BUTTER

Porongurup Pure debut CULTURED BUTTER this Saturday, their new product line made from Jersey Milk. In the market every week with a wide range of Cow and Sheep Milk, Yoghurt and cheeses too


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ONLY local farmers selling their own grown or reared produce fresh from the farm and low food miles

Summerhouse Supplies return to market this Saturday morning with an extensive range of preserves all made from locally sourced produce


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Next Market Saturday 15th December 2018


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FRESH Full Cream Jersey MILK & YOGHURT back in the market THIS SATURDAY

ONLY at Porongurup Pure. Straight from Cow to bottle to you. Low heat pasteurized. Milk as it used to be and should be and is now available every Saturday


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Panzanella ~ a Tuscan style tomato& Bread Salad

Nothing speaks more of summer than this delightful Salad that showcases ripe tomatoes like no other. Easy to put together with just a few simple ingredients it is sophisticated enough for any dinner table or equally at home on a picnic or BBQ

Lebanese Cucumber - peeled and flesh cut into large Dice
Red Onion peeled and thinly sliced
Finely chopped Garlic = 2 or 3 cloves or to taste!
Roma Tomato - Score  tomatoes with sharp razor or knife and dunk in boiling water, Remove from water after a couple of minutes and peel off skin and discard.  Cut into large dice
Red Wine Vinegar ~ 2 tablespoons
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 5/6 tablespoons
Lots Torn Basil leaves
Stale Sour Dough Bread about 2 or 3 cups



 

 

Method

This Salad can be made for any number.

A rough guide used in this recipe is 1 lebanese cucumber to 1 red onion and about double amount of tomatoes to cucumber.  Scale it up to suit your needs.

In a large bowl place the diced cucumber, sprinkle a little salt, then top with onions, give them a good grinding of black pepper, then top with diced tomatoes, scatter the finely chopped garlic and finish with another sprinkle of salt.    Toss well together (hands are best!)

Sprinkle over the salad the vinegar and olive oil and leave to rest for 30 minutes.


to serve, toss in and through the salad the sour dough bread chunks and then the basil.
Decant into serving bowl, leaving behind the juices that have been drawn out.
Eat immediately otherwise if left too long the bread will become soggy instead of moist on the outside and crisp on the inside!

 

 


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Wine now available in the market

Changes to Regulations now enables our two wine producers to also bring their products to market. Edengate Estate now offer their Blueberry Port and Touchwood Mushrooms also offer their range of wines under their Somerset Hill label


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Fresh Pear & Almond Tart

Pears are fantastic at the moment and this dessert uses only 5 ingredients and can be made in 5 minutes and on the table in 40 minutes ~ it’s also a great way to use up those pears that may be getting very ripe! Its almondy chewy texture is an easy version of macaroon.

For 4 People you will need:

2 Ripe Pears (or one very large pear) Peeled, cored and diced
1 whole free range egg (beaten)
½ Cup of self raising flour
½ Cup of white sugar
¼ Cup of almond meal or (grind your own)

(if you like it really almondy you can always add a few drops of almond essence)

Method

In a bowl, using a fork mix the beaten egg with all the dry ingredients.

You will have a thick paste like dough.

Either place the dough evenly in a greased shallow baking dish ~ or just spread out on circle on baking paper on a baking tray. Either way it should be about ½ cm deep.

Press into the dough the diced pear.

Bake in a pre-heated 180 c oven (160 c fan forced oven) for about 35/40 minutes. The tart should rise, become crusty and resemble macaroons.

Serve warm with thick thick cream.

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Rhubarb and Apple Pudding

I believe Rhubarb is greatly underrated. Here, with Apple it makes a great old-fashioned comfort food for any occasion. Furthermore, it's really easy!

You will need:

6 stems of rhubarb washed and chopped (3cms slices) about 400gms
6 small apples, cored, peeled and diced (about 600gms unpeeled weight)
1 Orange, Zest and juice
½ Cup of Caster Sugar

For the Topping:

¼ cup of Caster Sugar
1 cup of self raising flour
½ Cup of Traditional Milk
½ Cup of Whipping Cream
Or for more of a "grunt" use 1 cup of Cream and no milk
This will give the topping a rougher, scone like finish!

Method

Combine all the fruits and sugar in an oven to table dish and bake in a 180c oven for about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, stir the mixture.

Spoon, spread the topping mixture all over. Return to oven for about 30 minutes until golden.

Serve with Ravenhill Cream.

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Caramel & Apple Croissant Pudding

If by some oversight you have some croissants left over this is a quick and luxurious dessert. Based on the old bread and butter idea, providing you use REAL croissants they will have so much butter in them you won’t need to butter them!

For 4 people you will need:

2 Large or 3 medium Croissants
150 g of white sugar
50ml of water
2 Apples (such as Pink Lady) peeled cored and thick sliced.
150 ml of cream
150ml of full fat milk
2 Free range Eggs beaten
15ml of Irish whiskey or Dark Jamaican Rum (optional)

Method

Tear the croissants into about 4/5 pieces each and place in an oven to table Pyrex style dish. (or slice them)

In a large saucepan heat the white sugar and water and bubble away unaided for about 5 minutes until it starts to caramelise (a light golden colour).

TAKE CARE……drop in the apple slices and quickly stir through the caramel. Remove apple and place in and between the croissant pieces in the dish.

Keeping the pan on a very low heat add the cream and milk to the remaining caramel and whisk vigorously. (if the milk and cream is warmed it will be easier). Because it is caramel it may splutter and go to lumps. Taking care not to get splattered with burning caramel! Whisking the mixture on a low heat will soon dissolve the caramel and you will have darkish coloured custard.

Take off heat, whisk in the whiskey (if using) followed by the two beaten eggs.

Slowly pour over the croissants and apples.
(An optional final flourish can be a scattering of pecan nuts)

Bake in a 160c oven until custard is set and top golden (about 25 minutes)

Serve hot or warm with Ice Cream or Cream

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Fresh Pear & Ginger Cake

Easily made in the bowl of the mixer, simply adding the ingredients one after the other.

You will need:

2 Eggs
150g Dark Brown Sugar
150g melted butter
125 ml of milk (½ cup)
200g self raising flour
100g crystallised ginger, grated
2 large pears (about 500g) peeled

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180ºc or 160º for fan forced oven.

I use a 20cm spring form cake tin, lined with baking paper on the bottom and lightly buttered on the sides.

Using a mixer and stand, place two whole eggs in the bowl and beat on fast to thicken (take several minutes to do this) then add the brown sugar and continue beating to thicken even more. With the beaters still going add the melted butter and then follow with the milk and beat till all are well combined. Turn the speed down to slow and add the flour a spoonful at a time to fully incorporate and then add the grated crystallised ginger and continue slow beat.

Remove the bowl from the mixer stand, and by hand fold in the fresh pears. I use about three quarters of the peeled pears, diced small and stir through. The remaining half a pear I slice length ways for the top of the cake.

Pour into the prepared tin, level and smooth the cake mixture then gently press the reserved pear slices into the top.

Pop in the oven and cook until tested pronounces done. Usually this is about 55 to 65 minutes.

Cool in tin for about 10 minutes before turning out. A drizzle of warmed honey over the top of the warmed cake will give it a final finishing flourish.

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Fresh Plum Cake

A simple cake that’s uses fresh plums which is ideal as dessert or afternoon teacake! It’s a very good way of using those plums that might be getting too ripe!

You will need:

250g softened Butter
1 cup of caster Sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
2 free-range eggs
2½cups of plain Flour
2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
500g of fresh plums ~ washed, stoned and slice or halved

To complete the topping you will need:

1 cup of desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½cup of plain flour

Method

Heat oven to 180°c or 160°c for a fan oven.

Line the bottom and lightly grease a 22cm spring form cake tin.

Beat very well together the butter and the sugar, add the vanilla essence and then one by one add the eggs and continue beating until light and fluffy. You can do this for several minutes.

Incorporate by hand the flour and baking powder.
Spoon 2/3rd of the mixture into the tin and roughly smooth. Scatter the chopped plums all over the surface and gently press in with either the back of a spoon or your finger tips.

Into the remaining cake mix add the coconut, cinnamon and a little more flour. Mix well with a fork to get a crumble texture. Spread over top of cake.

Oven for about 1 hour until skewer test pronounces done.

Ideal warm as a dessert, or a quick and easy everyday family cake

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PUMPKIN DAMPER

As we head into winter and hearty soups come to the fore this is a relatively easy bread to make to accompany a soup. Leftovers, if there are any, toast really well for breakfast!

You will need (for 4 people):

2 cups of self raising flour
500gms of cooked pumpkin – mashed with
1 tablespoon of Honey
½ teaspoon of ground cumin (or more if you like)
½ teaspoon of salt
¾ cup of milk (or milk and cream) approx

Method

Pre-heat Oven to 220c (200c for a fan oven)

The pumpkin can be steamed or boiled. If time, what I like to do is dice it small, toss in the honey and roast in the oven…to caramelize it but not burn it!

In a bowl mix thorough together all the ingredients except the flour – then add the flour and form into a dough – if too wet add a bit more flour – too dry a bit more water –it will be a sticky dough but should be manageable!

Shape into a cob shape (not too high), slash top with a knife, and place on greased and floured baking tray.

Brush with milk and bake for around 25 to 30 minutes.

Baste with the milk several times during baking.

Should sound hollow when bottom is tapped!

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BEETROOT CAKE

Now that fresh local beetroot are in plentiful supply here is a "different" idea for a easy to make cake, which surprisingly to many people is really good!

Beetroot:

You will need 2 cups of fresh cooked beetroot, mashed.

Bowl 1:

Place 2 cups of mashed beetroot in a mixing bowl and then stir thoroughly through 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

Bowl 2: (larger of the 3 bowls)

In a second bowl beat together thoroughly:

2 cups of white sugar
1½ cups of vegetable oil
4 free range eggs

Bowl 3:

Sift together:

2+1/2 cups of Plain Flour
2 teaspoons of Bicarbarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 Cup of Cocoa

Method

Incorporate the beetroot mixture and the flour mixture alternatively into the egg mixture and stir well until all combined.

Grease and line your prepared tin, pour the mixture in and bake in 180ºc pre-heated oven for about 45 minutes. The more moisture in the beetroot the longer the cake will take to cook.

Decant after 5 minutes out of the oven. Ice with you favourite icing.

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Saturday 19th March 2016

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Saturday 12th March 2016

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Terkish Torte

An easy to make cake that will amaze your guests, either for afternoon tea or as a great dessert.

Method

You will need to chop either by hand or in a pulse food processor:

250gms of Almonds (in the skin)
250gms of quality dark chocolate
250gms of pitted Dates

Beat till stiff 6 large egg whites then quickly and gently beat in half a cup of caster sugar.

Gently combine the eggs whites into the chopped nuts, chocolate and dates.

Line the base of a 22cm springform cake tin and gently transfer the cake mixture – flatten the top.

Bakein the centre of a pre heated 180c oven for about 40 minutes. Take carenot to crisp the top too much - skewer test to ensure baked through.
Cool and decant onto wire rack.

Top with thick whipped cream and if your wish swirl melted chocolate or grated chocolate through.

WONDERFUL with Ravenhill Dairy Old Style Thick Cream!

TIP... use the egg yolks with a little milk or cream added to make Alison'sRoasted Vegetable Frittata

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Fresh Strawberry & Macadamia Cake

This straightforward cake is moist, has a nutty texture, a pale pink colour and can be also used as a warm dessert.

You will need :

2 cups washed, hulled strawberries, then blitz in blender
2 free range eggs
1 cup of sugar
? Cup of Vegetable oil
1 Cup of plain flour
¾ teaspoon of Baking Soda
½ teaspoons of Baking Powder
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of salt
½ cup of fresh Macadamia nuts, chopped. (about 100g)

Method

Pre heat oven to 180° c or 160°c for a fan oven.

Line or grease a loaf tin.

Beat together the Eggs, Sugar and vegetable oil in a large bowl until thick. Gently whisk through the blended strawberries.

In another bowl sift together all the dry ingredients (except the nuts).

Gently fold the dry ingredients into the strawberry bowl, together with the chopped Macadamia Nuts. Don’t whisk just gently blend.

Pour into the prepared tin.

Bake in oven for about 40 minutes. Skewer test to make sure cooked through. Leave in tin for about 10 minutes before turning out.

Serve warm or at room temperature ~ marinated strawberries and cream can be a final finishing flourish!

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Best Raspberry Muffins

Bring a little summer into winter by using frozen raspberries in this dead easy muffin recipe!

For 12 Muffins

Sieve together into a large bowl:

2 cups of Plain flour
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of salt
½ cup of caster sugar

Separately melt 100gms of butter and add:

1 cup of full cream milk (Ravenhill traditional)
1 free range egg
1 cup or more of frozen raspberries

for extra decadence you can add ½ cup of chopped Chocolate, dark or white!

Method

Without over mixing, fold everything together until the flour is incorporated and dampened but still lumpy and the raspberries still hold their shape.

Divide the mixture into a prepared 12 muffin sized tin.

Bake at 220 c for about 15 minutes until the tops, when pressed, spring back.

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Pumpkin Swiss Roll

With pumpkins now coming into season here is a sweet alternative. Not as bizarre as it sounds and straight forward using cupboards ingredients and only a little pumpkin.

You will need:

300gms or so of Cooked mashed Pumpkin (microwave?)
2 teaspoons of Lemon Juice
3 free range Eggs
1/2cup of white sugar
3/4 Cup of Plain Flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1- 2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
Cream and/or Jam for filling

Method

Pre-heat oven to 190c. Line and grease a Swiss roll tin, or sided Baking Tray.

Mix together the cooked mashed pumpkin with the Lemon Juice.

Mix together all the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon

Beat the eggs well and then gradually add the sugar and continue beating till they are thick and foamy - preferably beat for several minutes.

Into the beaten eggs and sugar stir through the pumpkin mash and then follow this with stirring through the dry ingredients.

Spread into your flat tin and bake in oven for 15 minutes.
Bake just enough so that it is springy to the touch.

Remove from oven and turn out onto either a tea towel or baking paper sprinkled with Icing sugar.
Leave to cool for a couple of minutes then roll up in the tea towel/baking paper.

When cool fill with whipped cream - jam also as you wish.

For something more savory use blended sour cream/touch of cream cheese/vanilla.

Unroll when cooled - spread filling and roll-up again.

Dust with icing sugar.

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Plum, Lemon and Almond Tart

You will need about 400gms pastry to line a flan or quiche dish or tin. Either use a ready-made shortcrust or make your own.

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:

1 cup Flour
75gms diced cold butter
1/4 cup of caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon of water

Filling:

450gms of stoned, sliced Plums (about 6 average plums)
100g ground almonds
5 Free range eggs
2 lemons – Zest and Juice
100gms of melted butter
1/2 cup of caster sugar

Pre-Heat oven to 170c

Method

Sweet Shortcrust pastry:

Combine flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Pulse on a food processor is good for this.
Stir in the sugar and then mix to a stiff dough with the beaten egg yolk and water.
Chill for 30 minutes before rolling out and line tart dish.

Filling:

Into a large bowl but all the ingredients except the plums and whisk until all incorporated and smooth.
Into the pastry case lay all the sliced plums over the pastry base and pour the filling mixture all over.
Cook in the oven until custard mixture is set - usually about 30 minutes

Do not worry if the top is not too coloured.

The tart needs to cool before serving in order for the custard mixture to set.

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Pear and Almond Cake

A versatile and moist cake which packs a lot of flavour. Serve warm as a dessert or as an afternoon tea cake.

You will need for the Cake:

250 g softened butter
1 cup Caster Sugar
1 teaspoon Almond essence (optional)
1 cup Ground Almonds (100g)
1 ½ cups Plain Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 free range Eggs
700 g whole pears; then peeled, cored and thinly sliced

For the topping:

75g self raising flour
50g light brown sugar
30g Butter

Pre heat oven to 155c(fan oven) 175c normal oven.
Using a 22cms round spring form cake tin,
line base & line sides above tin height with baking paper then grease well.

Method

In a bowl beat the caster sugar and softened butter until thick and creamy.
Add one at a time the eggs and the almond essence and continue beating.

Sift the flour, baking powder and ground almonds into the butter mixture and incorporate gently.
This will be a thick mixture.

Spoon about half the mixture evenly over the base of the tin.
Drop the peeled pears on top and gently press down into mixture.
Finish with the rest of the cake mixture, spreading evenly over the top.

Make the topping by mixing all the ingredients together until resembling breadcrumbs and spread evenly over the top.

Cook in oven for about 70 mins.

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Parsnip and Apple Cake

Parsnip does make a good cake, and along with Apple and nuts you will have an easy to make moist, large and deep long keeping cake that can be served plain or iced with a cream cheese icing.

You will need:

Pre-heat oven to 180°c (fan forced 160º)
22cm loose bottomed round cake tin, lined bottom and sides above tin side
350g of fresh parsnip grated
1 large apple, grated ( I use Braeburn or Granny Smith)
60g of chopped walnuts

In a separate bowl beat together:

300g of light brown sugar
250g of plain flour
2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of vegetable oil such as sunflower or rice bran
4 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Cake topping:

1 large apple, peeled cored and chopped into small dice
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of Pine nuts or chopped walnuts

Method

Combine grated parsnip, apple and walnuts in a large bowl.
In a 2nd bowl beat together the sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon , salt and oil until thick. Continue beating and add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla essence.

Mix the contents of the two bowls together and pour the cake mix into the prepared tine.

Mix the cake topping ingredients in a small bowl then scatter over the cake mixture in the tin, gently pressing into the surface with the back of a spoon.

Place in pre-heated oven and cook until skewer test pronounces done…about 1h 20 minutes. Cool and serve dusted with icing sugar, or make a cream cheese frosting.

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Honeyed Apple & Yoghurt Upsidedown Cake

Straightforward and versatile, a great dessert fresh from the oven or keeps well for serving as an afternoon tea cake.

You will need:

6 tablespoons of Honey (warmed so it can be poured)
1 large apple peeled and thinly sliced
3 free range eggs - separated
¾ cup of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of fine grated lemon zest
1 ½ cups of self raising flour
Pinch of salt
80gm of melted butter
2/3 cup of plain yoghurt

Method

Heat oven to 160ºc or 140ºc for a fan-forced oven.

Lightly grease and line the bottom of a 20cm spring form cake tin with baking paper.

Pour half the warmed honey onto the baking paper in the cake tin, arrange the thin apple slices on top (leave a gap between the apples and the side of the cake tin of about ½ cm) and then pour the remaining honey over the apples.
Tip the tin if necessary to spread the honey evenly.

Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks.
Put to one side, while you whisk in a second bowl the egg yolks until thick and creamy and then, still beating gradually add the sugar and continue whisking until really light and creamy.
Fold the lemon zest into this mixture and add the flour and salt, stirring to incorporate and then add the melted butter and yoghurt and continue to stir until all mixed well.
Finally add the whisked egg whites and with minimum stirring blend all together.

Pour careful on top of apple and honey in tin, smoothing the top if needed, but it will usually settle on its own.

Bake for around 50 mins. Golden on the top and skewer test, before taking out of the oven. Rest in the tin for 10 minutes, before decanting! It should come out easily!

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Fresh Peach Crumble Cake

Straight forward, using fresh peaches, with a sweet crumble topping. Ideal as a warm dessert.

Main Cake Mix:

160gms Butter (softened)
160gms White granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
500gms of Fresh Peaches, sliced thinly

Cake Crumble Topping:

1 cup Plain Flour
80gms of Soft Brown Sugar
100gms Butter
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon

Preheated oven 180c
20/22cms round cake tin, buttered and lined bottom

Method

Main Cake Mix:

Beat with electric beaters butter and white sugar until light and fluffy.
Continue beating and eggs one at a time. Sift in the Plain flour, baking powder and salt - beat until combined then pour into cake tin - spreading evenly.

Arrange the peach slices on the cake mix evenly.
The Peaches can be sprinkled with a liqueur and gently warmed in the microwave for a minute beforehand.

Make the topping:

Either by hand or in a food processor, combine all the ingredients until crumbly.
Sprinkle over cake and peaches - doesn't have to be smooth - rough and rocky!

Cook in oven for about 50 minutes to an hour, until cake skewer test pronounces done!

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FRESH NECTARINE & CHOCOLATE CAKE

An opportunity here to use up ripe fruit that is justsitting in the fruit bowl. Plums or Peaches will work just as well or any combination of fruit. Put together in 10 minutes using store cupboard ingredients.

You will need:

In the blender or food processor:

3 free range eggs
1 cup of Milk
1 cup of white sugar
175g of softened butter
1 teaspoon of Vanilla essence

In a mixing bowl:

2 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
Pinch of salt
350gms of Nectarines (stoned and flesh diced)
½ cup of chocolate chips

Method

Pre-heat Oven to 180°c or 160° c for a fan oven

Blitz all ingredients in the blender.

Mix, by hand into the flour bowl, incorporating thoroughly together.

Line base and sides (above the tin) a 20cm square cake tin.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes.
Cool in tin before turning out.

Dust with Icing sugar or a butter chocolate icing

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Fresh Tomato Cake

"A Conversation Cake" and it does work well!

Method

Beat well together until creamy:

1 cup of Dark Brown Sugar
100gms of Butter

then add, one at a time , 2 eggs and beat well

Sift into the above mixture:

3 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
1 teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon of Salt

Incorporate all together - it will be a very stiff mixture

Finally stir thoroughly through the cake mixture:

Fresh Tomato - sun ripened tomatoes, preferably still firm' not squishy. (You can peel them, but if they are well ripened I think the skin adds to the texture).

You will need about 3 to 4 tomatoes, (about 400gms total weight), diced small, together with
100gms of chopped pitted dates and
100gms of chopped nuts (I prefer almonds)

Bake in a lined 22cms springform tin in a preheated 190c oven for about 35 minutes.

When cool ice with a cream cheese icing

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Chocolate Orange Polenta Biscuits

Easy to make, the polenta gives these a different texture from what you normally experience from a biscuits.

You will need:

Combine together, either by hand or in food processor:
(use the pulse action if you have one)

150gms of butter
1/2 cup of caster sugar
1 cup of fine polenta
1/2 cup of plain flour

Then add, one by one, 2 eggs strirring until fully incorporated.

Finally stir in:

Zest of 2 or even 3 navel oranges.
This can be grated but for better effect peel or use a zester, and then chop the zest into about 1cm strips and add up to 100gms of cooking chocolate bits or finely chopped chocolate.

The mixture will be very moist wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator.

Method

To cook:

Preheat oven to 190c.

Place teaspoons of mixture on lined baking trays - leaving space to spread.

Cook for about 10 minutes, maybe less - until edges of biscuits are tinged golden.
Rest a few minutes and then gently place on rack to cool.

Makes about 30/36 biscuits

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Christmas Chocolates

Now that the school holidays are upon here is a simple diversion for the children which will go well after any meal or can wrapped and packed as home-made gifts.

Method

Simply you will need some white chocolate, butter, biscuit and some dried fruits.

Glace cherries are fine, but so are any glace fruits - colour wise its good to have some green Glace cherries are fine, but so are any glace fruits - colour wise its good to have some green - either cherries or angelica works well.

As its Christmas I have used dried cranberries!

For about 200gms of White Chocolate you will need just over half the amount of butter - about 120gms of butter.

I Microwave these together on a medium heat - stirring every 1/2 minutes - you want to melt and combine not cook! Alternatively, you can use a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water - taking care the bowl is not touching the water. When melted set aside to cool to nearer room temperature.

In a small bowl break up and pound to crumbs (not dust) 6 sweet biscuits, something like Rich Tea or Nice Biscuits. Add to this 2 tablespoons of raisins, 3 tablespoons of dried cranberries and some diced angelica or green cherries. Stir these well through the choclate butter mixture and then chill in the fridge for 1 - 2 hours. Before it is firmly set take out and make two rolls of the chocolate using cling wrap, double wrapping and rolling into an even sausage shape.

Return to refrigerator and leave until ready to serve when they can be cut into slices and served.

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Coffee & Walnut Cake

Mother's Day Treat (for our overseas visitors - of which there are many. Mother's Day in Australia is Sunday May 13th 2007) A traditional Style Cake - suitable for any occasion and something the kids can make from the store cupboard!

Method

Three parts to this recipe, cake mixture, filling and icing.

You will need to pre-heat the oven to 180c. and line and grease two deep sandwich tins (20cm) diameter.

Cake Mixture:

Beat together for at least 5 minutes in a bowl or food processor 200gms of soft butter with 200gms of castor sugar. Continue beating and add 4 free range eggs, 1 at a time, using a little flour if it starts to separate.

Sift and fold into the mixture 200gm of self raising flour.
Then fold in 50gm of chopped walnuts.

Fold in 1 teaspoon of Coffee Essence mixed with a teaspoon of water.

Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and bake for about 20/25 minutes.

Cake Filling:

Make a filling of Icing Sugar (about 150 gm) Soft Butter (about 60gms),
2 teaspoons of Coffee essence and 1 tablespoon of Cream

Cake Icing:

Icing Sugar (about 250gms) mixed with 1 teaspoon of Coffee essence and enough cold water to bind.

Sandwich the two cakes with the filling and then pour icing onto top and spread evenly over sides and top.Decorate, if you wish with Walnut halves.

HINT: No Coffee essence? Make up strong mixture with instant Coffee 4 teaspoons for the cake and 1 teaspoon for the icing.

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Christmas Fruit Mince Tarts

Easy to make with a different twist on the traditional fruit mince pie, these can be made with store cupboard ingredients and the fresh fruits for a summer lift. Ideal for the kids to help with the Christmas preparations!

You will need:

Puff Pastry - bought ready rolled sheets
Fruit mince
Eggwhite for brushing
Caster Sugar for dusting
Fresh Summer fruits such as Blue berries, redcurrants , Raspberries

Method

Pre-heat oven to 220ºc (200ºc fan oven)

Take the Puff Pastry out of the freezer, and when it starts to thaw cut each sheet into 16 squares. Alternatively using a large scone cutter cut out into rounds.

Place pastry rounds (spaced) on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
About 1cm inside the border score another border all the way round.
Brush the outside border with lightly beaten egg white.

Pop a teaspoon of fruit mince in the centre of each tart, adding berries on top, slightly pushed in. Cut out Christmas shapes, brush with egg white and pop on top. Sprinkle a little caster sugar over the tarts

Bake in oven for 10/15 minutes until puff pastry is risen and golden.
Remove from oven onto cooling rack, dust with icing sugar to serve.

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Christmas Cake "the easy way"

A good fruit cake, with a good density of fruit resembling a rich Christmas cake in texture, but made with only 4 ingredients, ideal for those in a hurry!

Method

Take 1kg of mixed fruit and soak overnight in 2 cups of fruit juice, I prefer apple myself.

To add some Christmas spirit, replace some of the fruit juice with brandy, whisky or dark Jamaican rum or even sherry.

Leave the soaking fruits overnight.

Next day....

Mix into the soaking fruit, (which will have swelled by now),
2 cups of self-raising flour,
and 1 teaspoon of mixed spice.

Mix all well together until you have incorporated all the flour.

I use a 22cm loose bottomed cake tin - doubled lined with baking paper, the sides protruding as much again above the level of the tine sides.

Pouryour mixture into the tin - level out and place in the middle of a 150coven for 2 1/4 to 2 21/2 hours taking care in the last half hour not tolet the top be overdone - cover with baking paper if you think this may happen.

Cool completely before removing from tin and keep in an airtight container.

Up to a cup of nuts of choice can be added to the mixture as can. More spices such as cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, allspice etc.

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Fresh Cherry & Macadamia Dessert Cake

A warm moist dessert cake; straightforward to make while combining fresh cherries with a crunchy sugared macadamia nut topping.

You will need:

200gms of Plain flour
2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon of lemon or Lime zest
¾ cup of full cream Milk
½ cup of Olive Oil or Rice Bran Oil
½ cup of white sugar
1 free range egg
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Essence
2 cups of washed and pitted fresh ripe sweet cherries (this can be a mixture of soft summer fruits such as cherries, raspberries or blueberries up to a max of 3 cups)
Macadamias, sliced (or slivered almonds)
Raw sugar

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180º c or 160º c fan oven.

Lightly butter and line the bottom of a spring-form cake tin.

In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt and zest.

Either whisk by hand or in a machine the Milk, Oil, Sugar, Egg and vanilla essence until creamy.

By hand combine the wet and dry mixtures and then stir through the fruit. It will be a runny batter.
Spoon or pour into the tin.
Sprinkle with the slice macadamia nuts and top with an even sprinkle of raw sugar.

Bake centre oven for about 50 minutes and skewer test confirms cooked through.

Serve warm with lashings of cream or yoghurt and decorate with a couple of cherries.

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Apple Pizza

An easy and economical sweet and savoury slice for any occasion.

Method

For the Pastry base

You will need to mix, preferable by hand:

1 cup of Self-Raising Flour
1/3 cup of icing sugar
60g of cold butter, chopped
Bind together with Iced Water - usually about 2 tablespoons will suffice

Knead in the bowl for a couple of minutes before pressing into
pre-greased pizza tray or shallow quiche tin.

The topping goes straight onto the pastry.

Peel, core and slice 3 good sized apples.

Arrange in circles on the pastry from the centre of the pastry outwards.
Sprinkle the apple with a small handful of raisins or sultanas.

and then top this grated cheddar cheese - about ½ cup is usually enough.

Finally, mix:

1 tablespoon of flour
4 tablespoons of caster sugar
½ teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle evenly all over the pizza.

Pop into a preheated 180 c oven and bake for about 30 minutes until base is cooked and apples softened by the melting cheese and sugar.

Dust with Icing Sugar to serve.

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Apple & Date Cake

Simply made with just a couple of fresh apples and store cupboard ingredients this moist and tasty cake can is versatile enough to be adapted to any occasion and it only take s a few minutes to prepare.

Pre heat oven to 180c or 165c for a fan oven.

Use a 23cm Cake tin or ring tin.

Ingredients:

100g softened butter
½ cup of white sugar
2 large apples, peeled, cored and small diced (Braeburns work well)
2 cups of small chopped pitted dates (about 250gms)
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
1 Cup of boiling water
1 egg
1 ½ cups of self-raising flour

Method

Whisk the butter and sugar together until thickened.

While the butter and sugar are whisking away combine the apples, dates and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and then stir through the cup of boiling water. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Once the butter and sugar mixture is thickened, add the egg and continue beating.

Finally stir through the apple and date mixture and the self-raising flour.

Pour into prepared baking tin and bake for around 40 minutes until skewer test pronounces done. If using a regular cake tin and a no fan oven this may need a further 10+ minutes in the oven.

Leave in cake tin to cool before turning out.

Can be served warm as a dessert, cold as an afternoon tea cake…even use the mixture to make muffins.

Recipe courtesy of Margaret Bridgart, Bridgarts Orchard, Denmark.

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Warm Apple Coffee & Walnut Dessert Cake

Ideal as a warm dessert, but still delicious cold!

You will need:

1 Cup of Plain Flour
1 teaspoon baking Powder
½ teaspoon Salt
100gms white sugar
100gms of softened butter
1 free range egg
1 teaspoon of coffee essence (or 1 teaspoon instant dissolved in little hot water)
75gms of chopped Walnuts
½ cup of full cream Milk

For the topping:

1 Granny Smith or Braeburn apple, peeled, cored and diced/sliced
40gms of melted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
¼ cup of Plain Flour

Method

Heat oven to 190c (170c fan oven)
Line bottom and lightly butter 22cms cake tin

Cream Butter and sugar well then cream in the whole egg and coffee.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt.

Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture with half the milk, incorporate well then add remaining flour, milk and chopped walnuts. Mix well to a batter and pour into baking tin.

Combine all the topping ingredients except the flour. Coat the apples well, then remove and place on top of cake batter. Incorporate flour into remaining butter/sugar mixture, crumble well and distribute evenly over top of cake and apples.

Bake in oven for about 40 minutes. Leave in tin for 10 minutes before turning out and serving with either Ravenhill Thick Traditional Cream or Ice creams or Billawarra Yoghurt.

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Summer Pudding - made the easy way

This is a really straightforward and quick method of making a fantastic summer berry pudding in double quick time ~ leave in the fridge overnight and just turn out to serve!

Instead of lining a basin with bread the style here is to just layer bread between the fruits. Also by making sugar syrup first the pudding will have a rich sweet taste to the fruit without having to cook them to death!

You will need (for 4 very generous serves):

 

Around 650 g of summer berries.
Locally available I use a mixture of red and darker berries made up of about 250g of ripe strawberries (washed, hulled and sliced)
125g fresh Raspberries
125g fresh Boysenberries or Tropical Raspberries
175g fresh Blueberries

You will also need:

A sugar syrup made up of 100g of caster sugar with 3 tablespoons of water
+ 3 tablespoons of a fruity flavoured liquor (or replace with quality full strength fruit juice or water.
Around five slices of bread cut into graduated rounds to fit in your 1 litre pudding basin.
Older bread is preferable to fresh. White Sour Dough works really well

Method

Place sugar and liquids in a small saucepan over a moderate heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Leave to bubble gently for about 5 minutes, until the sauce becomes thicker and more like a syrup. You DO NOT want it to caramelize or change colour.

Tip in the Blueberries ( I often prick them to release the juices from their thickish skins) and stir well through the syrup for about one minute. The syrup will become more liquid with the added juice from the blueberries

Take off the heat and then stir through the sliced strawberries. Allow the mixture to stand and cool before finally stirring through the soft berries.

Layer alternately the fruit and bread rounds into your pudding basin, starting with just a small spoonful of syrup and fruit and finishing with the largest bread round topped with syrup (you may have too much syrup) save this for use as an accompanying sauce). Place cling film over top and then place a saucer or small plate on top of the pudding (within the rim of the basin) Weight with an 800g tin of something if available or something similar and weighty. Press down evenly (you may get juice overspill).

Fridge overnight.

Decant by gently running a table knife round the pudding, serving plate on top and then up turn in one quick motion. Serving Plate is best with a rim as juices will spread.

Serve with Thick, Thick cream or Ice-cream

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Fresh Summer Berry Terrine

A combination of summer fruits in a terrine bursting with fresh fruit flavour. Simplicity itself to make, its virtually fool proof and the advantage that made a day or two before hand all you have to do on the day is slice, garnish and serve and you have a sensational dessert with no effort!

You will need for 4/6 people:

500g of Fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
½ cup of white sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
250g of fresh raspberries
250g fresh boysenberries
(redcurrants or any other soft berry can used in the mix up to 1kg total berries)
1 Brioche loaf, sliced and crusts removed.
optional: a tablespoon of fruit liqueur can be added to the berries when cooking

Method

This needs to be made at least 6 hours before serving. Preferably a day or two before!

Use a loaf tin as the mould for this terrine. Line with cling wrap and ensure there is plenty of over-hang, so that when the terrine is finished it can be wrapped and weighted down to form a loaf that can be sliced.

Place the strawberries in a large pan with the sugar and lemon juice. Simmer slowly so that the juices begin to run. Stir well to ensure it does not burn and cook slowly for around 10 minutes until the strawberries are really beginning to break down, and are really soft. Break up with a wooden spoon if necessary.

Add the raspberries and boysenberries and return pan to a simmer for 2/3 minutes until the fruits are really softened down. Stir thoroughly so that it is a very thick lump sauce. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Place entire contents of fruit in a strainer and allow juices to strain through.

Take slices of brioche and dip both sides in berry juice, lay in a layer along base of terrine. Spoon some of the fruit pulp onto the brioche, level, smooth and press down into brioche. Continue layering the terrine with juice soaked brioche and fruit pulp, pressing down each time. Finish with Brioche. Any fruit juice left over can be used as a sauce when serving.

Wrap over the glad wrap. Place an even weight on the top of the terrine to compress and place in the fridge to set until ready.



To serve, carefully remove terrine in its glad wrap wrapping to serving plate and slice and serve with cream, ice cream, yoghurt and maybe a sprinkling of fresh berries.

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STRAWBERRY AND RHUBARB GRUNT

I believe Rhubarb is greatly underrated. Here, with Fresh Strawberries it makes a great old-fashioned comfort food for any occasion. Furthermore, it's really easy!

Method

For the filling you will need:

300 of trimmed, washed and chopped rhubarb
250g of halved or sliced strawberries
½ cup of light brown sugar
Juice and Zest of 1 lime (or orange)
4 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces

In a mixing bowl, stir the strawberries and rhubarb well together.
Pour into an ovenproof glass or ceramic baking dish.
Sprinkle with the sugar and dot the top with the butter pieces.

For the Crust:

¼ cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of self-raising flour
1 cup of whipping cream

Mixthe sugar and flour well in a large bowl. Separately whip the creamthen gently fold into the flour and sugar mixture. Spread the crustevenly over the fruit or just spoon it in rough mounds!
Bake in a preheated 200°c oven for 30 mins or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.

Serve warm, topped with Ravenhill Thick Cream Strawberry and Rhubarb Grunt

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Strawberry pizza with caramel topping

Using the freshest ripest strawberries coupled with caramel sauce and walnut pastry. Makes this a very moorish treat! It looks great too!

Method

Pizza Base:

I prefer to make this by hand, but you can use a food processor.
If all else fails you can use bought shortcrust pastry.

Rub together in a bowl:

1 cup of plain flour with
75g of diced cold butter and a pinch of salt until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts and
1/4 cup of white sugar
blend through.

Mix to a stiff paste with 1 egg yolk and, if needed enough water to bind.
Chill for 30 minutes. Roll out to fill a pizza tray - make 4/6 mini pizzas on a baking sheet.
Prick all over with a fork and bake for 10 minutes in a pre-heated 200c oven.

Whilst baking, make the caramel sauce in a saucepan over a moderate heat with:

1/2 cup of light brown sugar,
50gms of butter
2 tablespoons of cream
stirring until all dissolved, about 5 minutes.

Wash, hull up to 500gms of ripe WILLOW CREEK strawberries. Halve the strawberries and arrange over the part cooked pizza base. Keep the strawberries away from the edge of the base. Brush the strawberries with the caramel sauce and pop back in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until sauce starts to toffee.

Best served warm. Best eaten the same day.
Ideal with thick Billawarra Greek Yoghurt, Ravenhill thick tradtional cream, or ice cream.

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Rhubarb Custard Pie

A very straightforward simple dessert dish using flavoursome winter rhubarb that is easy to make and can also serve as an afternoon tea slice.

For 4 people you will need:

Quantity of sweet short crust pastry to line a 20cm pie dish
2 cups of washed and diced rhubarb
Knob of softened butter (about a tablespoon)
3 tablespoons of Plain Flour
1 cup of white sugar
2 beaten free range eggs
1 teaspoon of culinary rose water
or
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg or cinnamon

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200°c or 180° for a fan oven

Rub together the butter sugar and flour.

Place the diced rhubarb evenly on the pastry case. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the rhubarb.

Beat the eggs with the rosewater (or spice). Pour evenly over the pie.

Place in centre of Oven. After 10 minutes take out and turn oven down 20°. Gently with a fork stir through the pie to break up early crust forming.

Replace in oven and cook for about 40 minutes until just set.

Can be served warm or at room temperature and a dob of cream wont go amiss!

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Fresh Raspberry Strawberry Foole

Amaze your guests this Easter ~ or any time with this drop dead easy dessert that both looks and taste delicious and will have them coming back for more ! No cooking just put the ingredients together!

This can be made be made in a large glass bowl or in individual glasses.

It can be made an hour or two ahead with only the final decoration of fresh raspberries going on the top just before serving.

For 4 people you will need:

1 small punnet fresh strawberries ~ washed hulled and quartered
1 punnet of fresh raspberries
300mls of yoghurt (thick greek works well)
300mls of thick cream or whipping cream that has been whipped
1 or 2 meringues
sugar or liquer to marinate the strawberries
Optional toasted nuts such as flaked almonds as part of the topping

Method

In a bowl dust the strawberries with sugar and/or a fruit based liquer

In a separate bowl fold the yoghurt, cream and broken pieces of meringue together ~ don’t blend just gently fold a couple of times.

In the bottom of your serving bowl or glass place some marinated strawberries ~ pile the yoghurt mixture on top and finish with fresh raspberries and nuts if using.

Simply stunning ~ and all these ingredients can be bought fresh from the Great Southern at the
Albany Farmers Market!

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Plum Crazy

Quick and easy oven baked fresh plums, strawberries and fresh ginger bring out their full flavours and produce a wonderful syrup, ideal as a breakfast fruit on yoghurt or with the addition of some fruity liqueur makes an ideal fruit dessert to round off any meal.

Sufficient for 4 serves you will need:

Amounts are approximate!

6 or 7 large plums, washed, stoned and halved (around 500gms)
250gms of strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons of water (or fruit liqueur)
2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
1 teaspoons of fresh ginger, grated (plus any ginger juice)
Splash of real vanilla essence
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Honey
Yoghurt
Optional: Lemon or lime zest; fresh rosemary leaves, chopped;
toasted nuts or Pepitas to finish

Method

Pre-heat oven to 150ºc or 130ºc for a fan oven.

In a ceramic or glass baking dish place the fruit all in one layer.
Sprinkle the fruits with the water, then sugar, then ginger, vanilla and balsamic.
Lemon or limezest and fresh rosemary, if using can be added at this stage

Place in oven, uncovered, and roast for around 45 minutes.

Removes from oven, spoon juices and gently stir to prevent over crisping of fruit, especially the strawberries. Drizzle honey over fruits and syrup and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Can be served hot, room temperature or cold.

Ideal on fresh thick creamy yoghurt---with maybe a further drizzle of honey and/or toasted nuts such as slivered almonds or seeds such as Pepitas , or with homemade wafer biscuits or meringues.

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Poached Peaches (or Nectarines)

A simple easy dish using the best of the new season stone fruit now available.

You will need:

for the sugar poaching syrup:

1 cup of water
1 cup of light brown sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 large sprigs of Rosemary (each about 15cms) It's a good idea to bruise
them in your hand before putting in the pot to release that wonderful aroma

6 Large Peaches ~ stoned ~ halved and peeled if you wish
125g punnet of Fresh Blueberries

Method

Place all the poaching ingredients into a saucepan over a low heat and gently simmer for 5/10 minutes.
If you feel there is too much sugar reduce amount to taste.

Then add your halved fresh peaches.

Simmer gently until the Peaches are tender.

Take off the heat then add the blueberries, stir and leave to cool

They can now be served warm or left to cool.

I usually remove the zest but leave the Rosemary. If this bothers you remove the rosemary as well!

Decant into attractive glass bowl, spoon the blueberries and syrup over the peaches, serve with thick cream or ice cream and you have a simple but stunning dessert.

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Pear Flan

This is a simple style of flan, made without pastry and other than fresh pears and eggs everything else are store cupboard ingredients.

Can be served warm or at room temperature.

You will need:

Pre-heat oven to 180°c
Butter an ovenproof flan or pie dish
5/6 pears, peeled, cored and sliced (1kg max)
Butter ~ about 50g or 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons white sugar

For the batter:

3 free range eggs
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
6 tablespoons of self raising flour

Method

In a pan on the stove top melt the butter and sugar and gently heat. When it starts to caramelise toss in all the pear slices and agitate and stir to coat well and continue for a few minutes to soften and colour the pear slices.
Take off the heat.

In a bowl place all the batter ingredients and beat with a hand or electric whisk to combine to a thick batter.

Place the caramelised pears evenly over the base of the buttered pie dish and then pour over the thick batter.

Place in oven and cook for around 35 minutes.

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Baked Pear with Ginger and Honey

With Pears now in full season and at their best this is an easy dessert dish that can be made in minimal time.

You will need for 4 pears:

4 large pears – firm but ripe

Filling:

6 pieces of crystallised ginger
1 tablespoon of Honey
1 tablespoon of rolled oats
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of sultanas or raisins
touch of lemon zest
1 cup of liquid ~ water, diluted orange juice, wine or any combination

Method

Pre heat oven to 180 c or 160° c for a fan oven.

Wash the pears ~ core them ~ score a line through the skin into the flesh right round them about one third from the top.

If the pears are particularly hard you can microwave them for about 3 minutes to start the cooking process.

Stand the pears upright in an oven proof dish ~ trim the bottoms if you need to make them stand straight.

Mix all the filling ingredients together and pack tightly into the pear ~ piling any left over on the top.

To Cook:

Pour the liquid round the base of the pears and place in oven ~ depending on size and density may take from 30 to 45 minutes to ensure the pears are cooked through.

Serve warm with cream or ice cream.

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Honey Pears

Incredibly easy and quick to prepare, this dessert really only takes a few ingredients and a few minutes to cook ~ yet it’s packed with fruity flavour and is suitable for any occasion ~ and its all microwave cooking!

Sufficient for 4 pears (or apples or mixture of both):

Juice and zest of half a navel orange
2 tablespoons of honey
4 Pears or Apples ~ peeled, cored and halved
Handful of frozen or fresh berries such as raspberries or blueberries

Method

Mix together the orange juice, zest and honey. This is quickly achieved by warming them in the microwave for around 20 second, by which time the honey will have soften and can be whisked into the orange juice.

Arrange the pear halves cut side up in a microwave container ~ preferably one of just a size to accommodate the fruit in a single layer. Spoon the orange and honey mixture over the pears. Place a lid on the container and microwave on high for 3 minutes.

Remove from microwave and leave the lid on and let them sit and steam for another 3 minutes.

Remove the pear halves to your serving dish. Into the juices let in the microwave dish place your frozen or fresh berries and stir to coat them.

Spoon the berries over the pears and then spoon the rest of the cooking juices over and around the pears.

It is now ready to serve. Can be left to sit at room temperature until required, so this can be prepared before the main meal is served.

Serving suggestions:

Serve with yoghurt or ice cream.
Lime or lemon juice/zest can be used in place of or with the orange. A small touch of fruity liqueur can be added, or the top sprinkled with toasted almond flakes.

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Orange Pudding

New season Navel oranges are now available and here is a simple pudding with sauce.

Be creative and use other citrus available in any combination with the orange such as limes or lemon.

These puds can be made in ramekins for
individual serves
6 for the small ramekins, 4 for the larger ramekins( 1 cup size)
or even make one large pudding.

You will need for the Pudding:

2 Free range Eggs, separated
50g Butter softened
¼ cup of Caster Sugar
Orange Zest
1 teaspoon of Honey
175g of self-raising Flour
75 ml Fresh Orange Juice
150ml Milk

For the Sauce:

1 Egg
1 tablespoon Honey
1 orange, zest and Juice
1 lemon zest and Juice
120g Caster Sugar
Dob of butter

Method

Pre heat oven to 180c or 160c Fan.

Butter well your ramekins or bowl

In a bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks. Set aside.

In a second bowl whisk the softened butter, sugar and orange zest.
Continue whisking add the egg yolks and honey.
On a gentle beat add the flour, orange juice and then finally incorporate the milk.
Finally fold in the beaten egg whites until just incorporated
and then gently pour into greased containers.

Bake in a water bath in the oven for 25 minutes for small ramekins
up to 45 minutes for a single pudding. Skewer test as you go.
If the tops appear to be darkening too much place a piece of foil lightly over them.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes before taking puds out.

To make the sauce:

Put all the ingredients, except the butter, into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Add the butter to mixture and stir well until sauce is thickened, then pour over puds to serve
Serve with thick cream or creme fraiche.

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Lemon Curd, Orange & soft cheese Tart

Easy to make, with few ingredients but will look and taste spectacular!

Any soft cheese can be used – Ringwoulds Goat Soft blanc is ideal or Billawarra’s fromage frais but a soft cream cheese will also work.

Everything can be made beforehand and the tart easily put together before serving.
For the pastry base I prefer a spelt flour sweet pastry for texture and taste – but bought puff pastry works just as well.

You will need for 4 people:

Quantity of sweet pastry or puff pastry – enough for a 20cms circle
3 tablespoons of whipping cream – whipped stiff
3 tablespoons of soft cheese
2 tablespoons of lemon curd (butter)
2 to 3 Oranges, peeled, de-pithed and sliced into thick slices (reserve juice)
½ cup of white sugar
? cup of water

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180°c. For puff pastry 200°c.

Brush your pastry circle with beaten egg, prick with a fork and blind bake your pastry circle. 10 minutes is usually enough – but I often turn the pastry and finish off the bottom for a couple more minutes.

Allow to cool as you make the topping and cook the oranges.
Beat the cream and then incorporate the soft cheese and the lemon curd – refrigerate until needed.

Heat up a frypan, toss in the sugar and water and allow to dissolve and bubble for a minute or two – you want a rich sugar syrup but not overly caramelized so a moderate heat may be needed.

Using a slice gently place the orange slices in the softly bubbling liquid. Add any juice from the cut oranges. Do not turn. Cook for about 5 minutes. Gently lift out and drain on baking paper. At this stage I usual reduce what liquid is left in the pan until I have about 2 tablespoons of sticky sauce.

Put together:

Spread the cheese mixture on the pastry base, arrange the orange slices on top – drizzle the sauce on top or drizzle the sauce once the tart is sliced.

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Fresh Pear & Goat Cheese Flan

A simple flan dessert using either beurre bosc or packham pears.

You will need:

About 500 gms shortcrust pastry. (I sweeten mine with a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar and a tablespoon of custard powder.)

For the Filling:

3 or 4 pears. Cored, Peeled and halved.
3 tablespoons of Goats Blanc Cheese
2 tablespoons of cream, lightly whipped so it holds its shape.
Light Sugar Syrup (about 150g of sugar in 500ml of water)
Caster sugar for dusting

Method

Make you pastry and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator while you

Poach the Pears.

Bring the sugar syrup to simmer and then add the pear halves and lightly poach for about 15/20 minutes. Turn half way through.

Remove and drain.

Line your tart tin with the pastry. Cover with baking paper and weights and blind bake for about 15 minutes in a 200°c oven. Remove paper and weights and finish blind baking for about another 5 minutes.
Turn oven down to 180°c

Gently blend the Goats blanc and the whipped cream together.

Spoon evenly over the pastry case and top with the poached peach halves.

Sprinkle with caster sugar

Bake in 180°c oven for about 15 minutes.

Serve warm or room temperature.

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Orange Bread & Butter Pudding

Easy to make with cupboard ingredients for a pudding with a different taste sensation.

You will need for 4 people:

200mls of Ravenhill Whipping Cream (or milk)
4 eggs
½ cup of white Sugar
½ cup of ground almonds
1 capful Coruba dark Jamaican rum (optional)
Thick sliced bread such as a French stick or Royale's Italian loaf
Butter or margarine for the bread
2 Bridgart Navel oranges
¼ cup of sugar
50g of Butter

Method

Pre heat oven to 170°c

Zest the oranges.
Peel the oranges and cut into thin slices.

In a frypan, caramelise the ¼ cup of sugar and butter.

Add the orange slices and leave to caramelise for 5/10 minutes (with out burning
In a bowl beat the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy.
Add Cream and continue beating till thick pouring consistency.
Fold through ground almonds, orange zest and rum (if using)

Butter the bread both sides
Place buttered bread slices in buttered oven proof dish.
Place between each slice a round of caramelised orange.
Pour egg and cream mixture evenly over.
Let stand for 10 minutes for bread to absorb mixture.

Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, until custard set and top beginning to crisp.
Serve with Ravenhill Traditional Thick Cream.

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HONEYED APPLE SEMOLINA PUDDING

Harking back to old style puddings this is easy to make and is good old fashioned comfort food! Surprisingly this is a requested dessert in my household! Perhaps it’s my (bad) memories of school that have taken me so long to re-discover semolina!

You will need (for 4 people and leftovers!):

1 Apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
½ cup of fine grain Semolina
2 cups of full cream milk (or substitute some milk with cream)
50g butter
¼ cup of caster sugar
2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest
¼ cup of walnut small pieces (optional)
1½ tablespoons of honey
Shake of Season
Generous shake of caster sugar for topping

Method

Pre Heat oven to 180º c or 160 c for a fan oven

Butter an oven to table glass or ceramic dish – about 1 – 1½ litre capacity

Gently heat in a saucepan, the milk, sugar, lemon zest and butter. Stir to dissolve sugar…when almost at boiling point take off the heat and stir in the semolina. It should be thick. If necessary return to a gentle heat to thicken semolina.

Stir through the walnuts (if using)

Pour into buttered dish, arrange apple slices on top, pour warmed honey over apple and then sprinkle with caster sugar and cinnamon.

Bake for around 35 minutes.

Allow to cool before serving. Can be re-heated (gently) in the microwave.

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Fresh Strawberry Tart

Take a pre-baked pie shell and a punnet of strawberries and you can have this delicious and easy to make tart packed full of fresh strawberry flavour.

You will need:

1 sweet pastry pie shell, pre-cooked.
This can either be a bought pastry case
or a simple sweet shortcrust pastry is
100g Plain Flour
50 g self-raining flour
50g ground hazelnuts
50 g caster sugar
1 small whole egg
1 or 2 tablespoons of water
500gms of Fresh, ripe Strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
(250g for the tart, 250 g for the sauce)
½ cup of caster sugar

For the strawberry topping sauce:

Half of the strawberries about 250g
2 tablespoons of cornflour
2 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons of water

Method

Heat oven to 190º c or 170º c for a fan oven
Blind bake your pastry case by lining it with baking paper, weighting down with beads and cooking for 20 minutes. Remove paper and beads and cook for further 5 minutes.

Divide the strawberries into half for the pie and half for the topping sauce.

To make the sauce place 250g of strawberries into a saucepan with the caster sugar and cook down over a low heat. Take care not to burn! To speed the cooking mash them with a fork or potato masher. When reduced and very mushy take off heat and push through a sieve or fine strainer, collecting all the strawberry juice you can in a bowl.

When the pastry case is cooked arrange on the bottom 250 gms of the strawberries, halved or quartered depending on their size but cover all the bottom of the tart case.

Return the strawberry juice to the pan and gently re-heat. Mix the cornflour, water and lime juice to a paste and then whisk through the strawberry juices, maintaining a low heat, until they thicken.

Gently pour over the strawberries in the tart base.
Refrigerate for at least two hours to set. Decorate with fresh fanned strawberries.

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Honeyed Ginger Plum Pudding

Plenty of beautiful plums available at the moment to make this plum pudding with a ginger sponge topping.

You will need for the fruit base:

8-10 good sized plums –washed –stone removed and halved
4 tablespoons of Honey
30g of crystallised ginger - finely chopped

You will need for the sponge topping:

80g of softened butter
2 heaped tablespoons of brown sugar
1 egg
120g plain flour
½ Teaspoon ground ginger
¼ Teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Grate of fresh nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of warmed milk
½ Teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Method

Preheat oven to 180° c or 160° c for a fan oven.

Put the plums into a saucepan with the honey and chopped crystallised ginger. Simmer for around 5 minutes to soften. Place into a buttered oven to table dish

Cream the butter and sugar together, beat in the egg then fold in the spices and flour. Finally dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the warm milk and incorporate thoroughly into the mixture.

Spread evenly over the plums.

Bake for around 35 minutes ~ pudding should be golden brown and test with skewer.

Serve hot or warm.

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Fresh Berry Pudding

A very quick and easy fresh berry pudding that will impress! Not a soufflé, but its light sponge filling and fruit will amaze!

You will need for 4 serves:

2 cups of fresh berries. Raspberries, Blueberries any soft berry or combination
4 tablespoons of Plain Flour
4 free range eggs
5 Tablespoons of ground almonds, or hazelnuts or Macadamias
4 tablespoons of Caster Sugar
1 tablespoon of melted butter
150mls of Cream
Zest of one small lemon
Icing sugar to dust

Method

I make this in small ramekins - the 250ml size.
You can make it in one big one but the mixture will split even more.

Butter the ramekins well. Divide the berries between them.
If you wish reserve just a few to decorate the finished puddings

In a food processor put all the other ingredients and blitz them, only takes a few seconds.

Pour the mixture over evenly over the fruit in the 4 ramekins.

Bake in a pre-heated 190c oven for about 30 minutes.

Dust with sieved Icing Sugar and serve with your most indulgent accompaniment!

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Fresh Peach Bread and Butter Pudding

This is new twist on an old style recipe using ripe fresh sweet peaches to infuse crusty bread in a rich egg custard that gives plenty of rustic crispy topping, which will have them coming back for more! Served warm in summer with some additional fresh fruits it makes a great, easy to make dessert!

Sufficient for 6 good sized serves.

You will need:

Thick sliced bread such a French Stick, Ciabatta or Vienna white bread
Butter or Olive Oil spread
Fresh peaches, 5 should be enough depending on size, sliced

For the custard:

300mls of full cream milk, or half and half, or all cream!
2 free range eggs
50ml of caster sugar
Optional: splash of Dark Jamaican rum or Irish whiskey in the custard!
Optional: Nuts such as pecans or Macadamias to garnish the top

Method

The difference in this bread and butter pudding is that the bread is thickly sliced and the slices are stacked against each other in the dish. The egg custard will not cover them completely, but in the cooking they will become golden and crunchy!
Pre-heat oven to 180 c or 160 c for a fan oven

Slice and roughly butter the bread rounds, enough to fill you baking dish.
Tuck the ripe peach slices generously between the buttered bread.
The juicier the peach the better it will be, slice them over the bread so any juice falls on the bread.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy and then whisk in the milk and/or cream. You will get a better result if the milk/cream has been warmed. Add any alcohol if using or substitute with a teaspoon of real vanilla essence.

Gently pour evenly over the bread and peaches, ensuring all the exposed crust receive some liquid. Sprinkle with nuts if you wish or some raw sugar for a crunchy top.

Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes until egg custard appears set.
If the top is too dry and starts burning, cover with a piece of foil!

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RASPBERRY & BLUEBERRY LEMON CAKE

Fresh Raspberries & Blueberries combine to make this a very special cake; the addition of lemon drizzle makes it moist and ideally suited as a dessert cake.

For the cake you will need:

125g Fresh Blueberries
125g Fresh Raspberries
225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
4 free range eggs
250g self-raising flour
2 tablespoons of almond meal
Zest of one large Lemon (about a tablespoon)

For the lemon drizzle syrup you will need:

Zest of one large lemon
Juice of 2 lemons (about 8 tablespoons)
60g of caster sugar

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180°c (160°Fan).
Line the base and sides of a round or square 20cm cake tin with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy ~ this will take several minutes
Gradually beat in the eggs one by one, followed by the lemon zest.

Fold in the self-raising flour and the almond meal.
Finally fold the raspberries and blueberries through the cake mixture

Spoon into baking tin, gently level the surface with the back of a large spoon and bake in pre-heated oven for around 50 minutes until skewer test pronounces done.
(If the top browns too rapidly cover with baking paper until cake is done).

For the syrup:

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer just enough to dissolve the sugar.

When the cake is taken out of the oven, prick holes all over the surface with a wooden skewer and then gently spoon the lemon syrup all over the cake. Allow to cool before decanting and serving. Will keep for at least 2/3 days in an airtight container.

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APRICOT & STRAWBERRY MERINGUE PIE

This is one of the simplest of desserts and can be made using bought pie case or pastry and uses up those soft fruits that might be over ripening! Exactly the same principle can be used using different soft summer fruits.

Plums, Nectarines, Peaches can all be used. Use this recipe as a guide for your own inventiveness!

You will need:

A pastry pie shell or make your own sweet short crust pastry
My Sweet Shortcrust Pastry recipe for a 25cm diameter pie dish
130gms of plain flour
1 tablespoon of custard powder
1 tablespoon of Icing Sugar
60 gms of butter
1 egg yolk
a little water to combine

Filling:

About 500gms of washed fruit such as 400gms of stoned and quartered fresh Apricots and 100gms of quartered fresh strawberries. The riper the fruit the better. Other soft summer stone fruits can be substituted
Sprinkle of Icing Sugar or Honey
1 splash of liqueur - optional
Meringue
2 eggwhites beaten with ½ cup of caster sugar until stiff

Method

Pre- Heat Oven to 170° c (or 150° c fan oven).

The pastry shell can be blind baked, but I usually just ensure it is well chilled - or frozen and place the filling and meringue on top and bake straight away.

Toss the fruits in the icing sugar/honey and liqueur if using. No need to pre-cook.

Spoon the meringue over the pie. Make sure the meringue comes right up to the pastry edge to seal in the fruits.

Place in oven for 45 minutes - by which time the meringue should be starting to set - still marshmallowy and beginning to take on a bit of colour

At its best when served warm.

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Apple & Pear Pudding

A traditional warming winter pud but with its cream and sugar not for the feint hearted!

Serve, warm and finish up the leftovers cold!

For a Pud for 4 + people:

120gms Butter
200mls cream
150gms Caster Sugar
2 free range Eggs
750gms of peeled, cored, slicedApple and Pear
200gms Plain Flour
Lime or lemon Zest

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c. Generously butter a ceramic baking dish (or a tin).

Place Butter and cream in a small saucepan together with your fine lime or lemon zest and heat till butter is melted and just short of boiling.
Remove from heat.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until thickened.
I usually leave these for a long time while I peel, core and slice the Apples and Pears.

Beat the butter and cream mixture into the egg and sugar mixture.
Fold in the flour and stir until well combine (like a batter) and then pour into your prepared baking dish.

Scatter the thinly sliced fruit over the top of the pudding.

Bake for about 50 minutes, take care not to burn the top or fruit topping (but it should be very golden brown).
Remove from oven and cool for awhile - the pud should shrink away from the sides, before serving with thick cream, ice cream or yoghurt

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Honeyed Apple Pudding

An easy to make spin on a self saucing pudding ,this harks back to the days of sticky treacle steamed puddings, but made in a baking tray with apple and honey its quick and easy and requires no special skills! Not for the feint hearted with its sugar overload!

You will need:

A high sided baking tray or glass dish about 20cm by 30cms
Pre Heat Oven to 180º c or 160º c for a fan oven
Granny Smith Apples, Peeled cored and large chucks (about 450/500gms)
125 gms of Self raising flour
100 gms of light brown Sugar
100 gms of melted butter
1 egg
200ml of full cream milk
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Topping:

150ml of hot water
2 tablespoons of Honey
100gms of Light Brown Sugar
Extra Light Brown sugar

Method

Place the apple chunks in the bottom of your baking dish, us enough fruit to make one layer.
Whisk together by hand the melted butter, egg, milk and cinnamon and then add the flour and brown sugar and whisk till you have a runny batter.
Pour the batter gently over the fruit in the baking dish.

Mix the topping ingredients together and then gently pour all over the batter and apple, finally sprinkling some extra brown sugar over the top.

Bake in oven until skewer test pronounces done. About 45/50 minutes, but which time the sides will be bubbling and the top will be a crispy sugar brown.

Serve warm with yoghurt, cream or ice-cream!

Can be re-heated gently in the microwave on a low settin.

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Apple & Rhubarb Sponge Pudding

A traditional warming winter pud but with its cream and sugar it is not for the feint hearted, but it is quick and easy to make!

Serve, warm and finish up the leftovers cold!

For a Pud for 4 + people:

Pre heat oven to 200c.
Generously butter a ceramic or glass baking dish
80gms Butter
150mls whipping cream
150gms Caster Sugar
2 free range Eggs
500gm of fruit. About 2 large apples, peeled ,cored and thinly sliced and 6 thin sticks of rhubarb, thinly diced
150gms Plain Flour
Lime or lemon Zest

Method

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until thickened. I usually leave these for a long time while I prepare all the other ingredients so they are really thick and creamy.

Place Butter and cream in a small saucepan together with your fine lime or lemon zest and heat till butter is melted and both stirred to mix. Remove from heat.

Beat the butter and cream mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Fold in the flour and stir until well combine (like a batter) and then pour into your prepared baking dish. Scatter the thinly sliced fruit over the top of the pudding. Gently poke them into the batter if necessary!

Bake for about 60 minutes, take care not to burn the top or fruit topping (but it should be very golden brown).

Remove from oven and cool for a while – the sponge should shrink away from the sides, before serving with cream, yoghurt or ice crea.

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Apple Dumplings (with a bit of a twist to them)

An easy winter "comfort food" pudding.

Method

First, you will need a quantity of your favourite shortcrust pastry.

For this, I use 125 gms of diced butter rubbed into 2 scant cups of self-raising flour (about 250gms) together with a pinch of salt and enough Ravenhill's traditional style Milk to bind - about 5 tablespoons.

Roll out the pastry into an oblong - about 35cms by 25cms an easy way is to line a similar sized shallow baking tray and press or roll the pastry to fit!.

The quantity of Apples is up to you - anything from 1 - 3 good quality apples
Granny Smiths are perfect peeled, cored and diced.

Toss these in a tablespoon or two of caster sugar mixed with good pinch of cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg.

Scatter all over the pastry and press into the pastry.

Having the pastry on paper makes it easy to roll them up, on the long edge.

The more apple the more filling your roll/log will have!
Cut into 8 equal slices along the roll - pack into a 25cm cake tin, stand them up or lay them down both! Try to leave a little space between them.

Pour over a sweet syrup sauce that can be you own invention either, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water and a knob of butter warmed in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved and butter melted or substitute sugar for ½ cup of Golden Syrup or a mixture of sugar and honey.

Bake in a 200c oven for about 30 minutes and serve with either
Billawarra's Greeek Yoghurt
or if you must:
Ravenhill's Traditional Thick Cream!

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APPLE DELICIOUS

This is just the easiest dessert that takes only a minute or two to prepare and can be cooked and on the table in around 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180ºc (or 160°c Fan oven)

You will need:

1 Free-range Egg
½ cup of white granulated sugar (extra for dusting)
½ cup of self-raising flour
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
1 large or 2 small apples, peeled, cored and sliced
¼ cup of walnuts ( or your favourite nuts)
Butter for greasing dish

Method

In a bowl beat together with a fork the egg, flour, sugar and cinnamon.
You will get a sticky paste dough!

Butter well a baking pie dish – spread the dough paste evenly on dish.

Arrange apple slices, pressing into dough.

Scatter with nuts and dust with a little sugar

Bake in the oven for around 25 to 30 minutes.

Baked consistency will, hopefully, be almost a chewy macaroon style.

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Fresh Peach and Goat Cheese Flan

This is a simple summer flan; the only cooking is sweet pastry case.

Basically the filling is 2 parts Ringwould Goats Blanc blended with 1 part whipped Ravenhill cream and topped with marinated peach slices.

Pastry for a 20cm tart tin:

(I use Maggie Beers Sour cream Pastry Recipe which is):

200g cold unsalted butter
250g Plain Flour
½ cup of Sour cream

For the Filling:

½ cup of Ringwoulds dairy Goat Blanc Cheese
¼ cup of Ravenhills Whipping cream, whipped until soft peaks
4/5 fresh peaches, washed, stoned and sliced thickly
Sugar
Fruit liqueur of choice

Method

Pastry: Pulse the butter and flour in a food processor until coarse breadcrumb texture. Add the sour cream and pulse enough to form dough ball. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate.

Prepare the peaches and then lay on a plate, sprinkle with sugar and liqueur, cover tightly with cling wrap and refrigerate

Line your tart tin with pastry. Cover with baking powder and weights and blind bake for about 15 minutes in a 200°c oven. Remove paper and weights and finish blind baking for about another 5 minutes.

Gently blend the Goats blanc and the whipped cream together.

Spoon evenly over the pastry case and top with the marinated peach slices

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Zucchini, Rosemary and Feta Bake

A perfect easy dish to serve zucchini in a different style. Easily made ahead it can serve as a picnic dish a side dish or a main non-meat dish!

Sufficient for 4 large serves:

Butter and oil for frypan
600g of washed and dice zucchini or courgettes (about 1cm size)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
4 spring onions, chopped, green tops included
2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh Rosemary
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
150gms of crumbled feta cheese (cow or goat)

For the topping:

Stale bread cubed, up to 2 cupfuls
Olive Oil
50g crumbled feta
Pine nuts

Method

Heat Oven to 190º c or 170º c for a fan oven.

Heat a knob of butter and olive oil in a frypan over a moderate heat on the stove.
Add the chopped garlic and spring onions and gently stir fry for around 3 minutes.

Add the diced zucchini, lots of pepper and the rosemary and continue to stir fry for about another 5 minutes.

Finally add the crumbled feta, a good stir though the whole mixture and take off the heat.

Make the topping by putting all the ingredients in a bowl with a good slosh of olive oil, stir well to absorb the oil into the bread.

Place the zucchini mixture in an ovenproof pie plate (if by chance there is liquid in the pan, use a slotted spoon to drain the zucchini). Sprinkle the topping all over and place in oven for around 30 minutes!

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Vegetable Tian

A French/Mediterranean dish, traditional served in a glazed earthenware dish, using eggplant, zucchini, roma tomatoes, capsicum, garlic, red onion and Parmesan cheese.

I make this in two stages, a pre-cooked bottom layer that is then topped with alternate layers of tomato and zucchini.

First, prepare the vegetables for the bottom layer:

2 medium eggplant (or 1 large), sliced and chopped into large chunks
3 Roma tomatoes - take out and discard the seeds and chop the flesh
2 Capsicum (red or Green) - deseeded and chopped into small chunks
2 medium sized onions (red), sliced and chopped
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped.
drizzle Olive Oil
fresh thyme or oregano
ground black pepper

Slice Roma Tomato and sliced zucchini for topping

Optional: 400g Can of Chick Peas
Grated Parmesan Cheese for topping

Method

Heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and garlic and saute gently for about 5 minutes until softened - add the chopped capsicum, stir and cover and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the chopped eggplant, chopped tomato together with some chopped fresh herbs such as oregano or thyme and 2 tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir well, season with ground black pepper, bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

If using Chick peas add to mixture now, stir well and then pour into shallow earthenware oven to table dish.
Top with slice zucchini and slice roma tomatoes in alternate rows.
Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over and gated parmesan (if using).

Grind over the top with Black pepper.
Bake in a 180 oven, uncovered for 45 minutes.
Give the top a light sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese and return to the oven for about 10 minutes to brown.

Traditionally served warm or at room temperature.

Looks good, tastes great!

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Vegetable Tagine

A fantastic vegetable dish, easy to make and stands on its own as a main course with cous cous or as a side dish. This is a mild version.

Basically, you can use whatever seasonal vegetables you have to hand, though hard, root style vegetable are clearly best as the longer cooking they need better absorbs the flavours.

Method

Cut into a good sized hearty chunks:

1 leek
1 Red Onion
1 Swede
1 Turnip
2 Carrot
2 Medium sized Potatoes

Currently Fennel Bulb and Celeriac are in season and these both go well, as do sweet potato, pumpkin and parsnips.

In a large stove top to oven casserole (if you have one), heat some Olive Oil.
Thenadd the chopped leek and red onion together with a couple of choppedcloves of garlic and some grated fresh ginger (about a tablespoon) andcook for 5 minutes or so over a gentle heat to soften.

Tipinto the pot a half teaspoon each of ground cumin, turmeric and cinnamontogether with 2 teaspoons of paprika and 2 tablespoons of honey. Cookstirring all the time for another minute than add all your choppedVegetables and stir to coat well for another minute before finallyadding 500ml of hot vegetable stock.

Cover, bring to boil.This can be finished by gently simmering on the top of the stove but Iprefer to make it in cast iron casserole and to transfer to a 170c ovenfor anything from 30 to 45 minutes.

To finish I like to stir through whole almonds and fresh dates and fresh coriander leaves.

Note....

  • To be more tradtional you can also dry roast your spice seeds using about 1 teaspoon of eachand then grind them up to produce a beautiful finish.
    Use some chilli flakes or a tablespoon or more of Harissa Paste for a more authentic flavour
  • You can always use raisins if you have no fresh dates.

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Upside down Savoury Tart

A tart with a difference! Using the wonderful seasonal winter vegetables it can easily be made in one frypan, if you have one that is non stick and suitable for stove top and oven. Otherwise it can be made in a normal deep sided pie dish.

Method

For the Filling:

1 leek, washed and sliced
1 Fennel Bulb, de cored if needed and sliced
1/2 red capsicum sliced
Pumpkin - small piece about 150gms peeled and thinly julienned
1/4 small cauliflower thinly sliced.

Heat up 2 or 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in the frypan
then toss all your vegetables in and saute well
on a moderate heat this will take 10 to 15 minutes.

If you wish to have meat flavours add about
100gms of diced or shredded smoked meats.
Smoked Lamb or Smoked chicken is excellent.
Proscuitto, bacon or sausage also work well.
Cook your meat with the vegetables

While the vegetables are cooking make the polenta pastry, a crisp dense pastry.
This can be made in the food processor or by hand.

Combine:

1/2 cup of Plain Flour 1/2 cup of self raising flour 1/2 cup of polenta
1 teaspoon of Paprika then add 2 free range eggs,
150gms of butter and finally enough cold water to bind.

To finish the vegetable mix, stir through:

1 tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
a good grind of black pepper.

Roll the pastry out to fit the pan.
Lay on top tucking the pastry down the side of the pan.
Bake in pre-heated oven of 180c for about 25/30 minutes.
Rest a couple of minutes before turning out whole tart onto serving platter.

It looks impressive!

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Tomato and Shallot Tart

Bringing together ripe tomatoes and sweet shallots coupled with lots of fresh thyme into a perfect rustic lunch dish or picnic food, and its all made in the one pan.

Sufficient for 4 large serves:

25gms of butter and splash of olive oil for cooking
4 large shallots, peeled and halved along their flat side (or one large onion peeled and thinly wedged)
Lots of fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon of sugar
Large ripe tomatoes, Beefsteak size (2-3) or Roma’s( 4-5) should be sufficient (about 300gms total weight)
Handful of whole cherry tomatoes (about 100gms)

Pastry Top:

40gms of butter + 50gms of crumbled Feta cheese
175gms of self-raining flour
1 whole egg
Splash of water if needed ~ OR….use bought Puff Pastry!

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200ºc or 180ºc for a fan oven.

The idea is that this is all made in one frypan, the pastry top is put on the tomatoes etc and then the frypan is put in the oven to bake.
Make your pastry by hand or with machine assistance and put to one side.

Heat Butter and oil in the frypan till hot then toss in the shallots, thyme and sugar, turn heat down and cook for 10 minutes until browned and caramelised.

Remove Shallots and liquid from pan and keep to one side. Add another dob of butter and when heated place the tomatoes slice size down. If using beefsteak size tomatoes, cut them into very thick slices, Roma’s only cut in half and place cut sized down in the butter. Toss in the cherry tomatoes whole. Add some more fresh thyme leaves and a good grind of black pepper. Only cook for about a minute before taking of the heat.

Arrange the tomatoes decoratively in the pan and then spoon the cooked shallots or onions over and between them. Roll the pastry so that it is a bit wider than the pan, place on top of tomatoes and shallots press down top and tuck the edges down the side of the pan.

Place in pre-heated oven for 25 minutes.

Remove and leave in pan for a good 5 minutes.

Check the edges of the pastry are loosened away from the side of the pan. Place a serving plate on top of the pastry – clearly a size that will just fit inside your pan, then holding the handle and bottom of the plate quickly flip over and the tart will drop onto the plate.
Serve hot, room temperature or cold.

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Sweet Potato Risotto Cake

A risotto with a twist, in that it is finally baked in a loaf form to be served whole and then sliced, either as a main, a side or even cold as a picnic or lunch dish.

You will need:

Olive Oil
300gms peeled and small dice orange sweet potato
1 large red capsicum, de-seeded and small dice
1 large red onion, peeled and fine chop
2 cloves of garlic chopped
¾ cup of Arborio rice
500ml of stock, Chicken or vegetable (hot)
Pepitas
fresh Sage
2 tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese
2/3 free range eggs (beaten)

Method

Heat oven to 180°c or 160° fan oven.

Using a large frypan heat the oil and then add the sweet potato, capsicum, onion, garlic and sauté over a moderate heat until they have all softened down. This does not need to be hurried and can take 15 minutes or more.

Once the sweet potato is beginning to soften down add the rice and stir well to coat then start adding some of the hot stock, stirring frequently and simmering to allow the rice to absorb the liquid. Do this in about three batches, making sure to stir and only simmer.

Take of the heat. Finally stir in the Pepitas (1 or 2 tablespoons), some chopped fresh sage and the parmesan, stir though to melt the cheese and then thoroughly stir through the beaten egg. Season if you wish with pepper.

Line a loaf tine with a strip of baking paper (this makes fore easier removal).
Pour the vegetable risotto mixture in the tin and bake in an oven for approx 15-20 minutes until set. It doesn’t take long.

Allow to cool a little before turning out. Serve hot, warm or cold.

Serves around 4+.

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Sweet Corn & Potato Patties

These oven baked savoury vegetable cakes are easy to make, versatile and are great either in their own right or as an accompaniment to any dish

You will need to make 8 to 10 reasonable sized patties:

400gms of Potatoes, scrubbed, skin on.
½ red capsicum finely diced
2 tablespoons of fine chopped white onion
Kernels cut from 1 sweet corn cob
2 free range eggs
Season to taste.

Method

Heat oven to 200ºc (180ºc fan oven).

Boil the potatoes for around 10-15 minutes. It is best that they are not cooked right through, but still firm in the middle. Remove from water and cool.

When cool enough to handle, remove skins. Grate potato on largest hole of grater, into a large bowl.

Heat a frypan with a touch of oil and gently sauté the onion, capsicum and sweet corn until onion is translucent.

Transfer to potato bowl stir though and add 2 lightly beaten eggs. Stir well.

With wet hands, form mixture into patties and place on baking paper on baking tray.

These can of course be made ahead of time and kept covered in the fridge and then cooked when needed

Brush tops lightly with oil and oven for about 20 minutes.
(You can turn them during cooking but it’s not really necessary).

Serve with a home-made tomato relish!!

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Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage

Winter fruits added to this slow cooked red cabbage dish makes it a perfect accompaniment to winter dishes especially casseroled Pork Sausages! Easy to make in one saucepan, just needs a long slow simmer!

You will need as a vegetable side dish for 4+ people:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
1 Apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 Pear, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
100ml of Cider Vinegar (or red wine or Balsamic)
100g Brown Sugar
1 medium sized red cabbage, washed and thinly sliced (core removed)
Freshly ground Pepper
Knob of butter to finish

Method

You will need a large saucepan or stockpot..

Cover the base of the pan with the extra virgin Olive Oil and heat moderately, then add the onion, garlic, apple and pear and slowly sweat away for about 5 minutes (softening them all, not charring).

Then add the vinegar and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Once slightly bubbling add all the red cabbage and toss well through the saucepan contents.

Turn the heat down to the merest simmer, pop a lid on the pot and leave undisturbed for about 30 minutes.

To Finish:

Take the lid off and turn the heat up slightly. Stir well and let some of the liquid steam away ~ this may take up to15 minutes ~ but don’t let it boil dry!

Stir though a knob of butter to increase the flavour and sheen and decant into serving bowl and its ready

Tip: this reheats well, so can be made ahead. Keeps well in the fridge.
Cold it’s a great topping to a green salad or in a sandwich!

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Silver Beet Gratin Pie

Often overlooked, silver beet, when its young and fresh, is a great vegetable and whilst there are a few stages to this recipe it is basically easy to make and not only uses the stalks but turns silver beet into a very special (and rich) vegetable side dish.

You will need for around 4 side serves:

1 Bunch of silver Beet (eight to ten large leaves with stalks)
Butter
½ cup of cream
1 tablespoon of flour
1 cup of milk
Seasoning
Pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg
½ teaspoon of Smoked Paprika (or paprika)
4 tablespoons of a soft cheese such as Goat Blanc or Fromage Frais or substitute your own cheese of choice
½ cup of coarse fresh breadcrumbs

Method

Silver beet, notorious for holding the grit needs to be thoroughly washed several times, using fresh water each time. Strip the leaves from the stalks and shred.

Dice the stalks.

Heat a tablespoon of butter in a frypan; add the diced stalks and cook slowly on a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Generously season with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Cover with water and continue to cook gently for about 10 minutes.

Drain stalks from water and set aside stalks; use the same pan to heat and gently wilt the silver beet leaves ~ only a takes a minute then again add a touch of seasoning, the nutmeg and ¼ cup of cream. Stir well and put to one side.

Melt another tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, add the flour to make a roux and stir on a medium heat for a minute of two before then adding the milk to the roux and whisking make it into a smooth sauce ~ finishing off by adding to the sauce the other ¼ cup of cream, smoked paprika and stirring, heat through and thicken for another minute of two.

Finally, add the silver cooked and drained silver beet stalks from earlier and stir well.

In an oven to table dish place the wilted silver beet leaves and pour over the creamy white sauce mixture containing the silver beet stalks. Dot the top with dobs of the soft cheese ~ or if using a harder cheese crumble over the top and then top with the coarse breadcrumbs.

Grill under a hot grill until the topping is golden. A multi-function oven that has an in-oven grill works well for this. Use the top grill and fan function. Otherwise this dish can be ovened for about 5 minutes before being placed under the grill.

A dish that will surprise and have them coming back for more!

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Two Potato Shake

This time of year there are fantastic Sweet Potatoes and Potatoes available. This is basically a stir-fry potato dish; easy to prepare, cook and a real winner.

For 4 People, as a side dish you will need:

250g of small potatoes (scrub well; if potatoes are too large just dice them into large chunks).
250g of Sweet Potato (scrub well and dice into large chunks)
10 whole small shallots peeled – cut in halves or quarters if large.
6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red Sandia Chilli, deseeded and sliced (or 1 red capsicum)
2 Bay leaves
Several sprigs of Fresh Thyme.
Freshly Ground Pepper
Olive oil

Method

Heat up in a large frypan about 2/3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
Toss in all the ingredients and turn them well through the oil.

Turn the heat down to the lowest possible, cover, and cook for up to 30minutes depending on the size of the diced vegetables.

Check them frequently and shake them in the pan.
Do not overcook; they need to be crisp and golden.

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Shakshuka

Straightforward vegetable dish of Middle East origin is often found served in some form for brunch in many cafes. It is however also a great supper dish, which can pack a bit of punch if you use lots of chilli or a chilli paste.

 Its beauty is the main mixture can be made ahead of time ~ it improves flavour if you do this and it can then be re-heated in the oven or on the stove top and on the table within 15 minutes. This is a purely vegetable version but chorizo, bacon, beans, even feta or cheese can be added.

You will need for 4 people:

Olive oil and butter to cook the vegetables in
3 Red Capsicum ~ deseeded and large dice
1 medium eggplant or several Lebanese eggplants, large dice
6 very ripe tomatoes ~ skinned, de seeded roughly and then roughly chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced – or more for hotter (or a chilli paste)
1 teaspoon of ground Cumin
1 teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon of sugar
water
4 free range eggs (1 per person or more per person if you wish)
Yoghurt and chopped coriander for serving

Method

Using a large frypan heat the oil and butter (cover the base well as the eggplant will absorb the oil) and then add the diced capsicums and eggplant. Cook on a moderate heat for at least 10 minutes, checking they are not burning, sticking or if running out of oil add some more!

Once they are well softened add the fresh tomatoes, chilli, tomato paste, paprika and sugar and continue to stir well to combine all the ingredients. Add about a ¼ cup of water, continue stirring to make it saucy and then simmer fro another 15 minutes or more. If it goes too dry add a little more water.

The longer it cooks the more depth of flavour. Taste and season with salt and pepper if you wish.

This mixture can be made the day before and kept in a container in the fridge where again it will develop more flavour.

To serve there are 2 ways to finish this dish:

One way is on top of the stove. Into the frypan make a little well for each egg, spaced around the pan…pop the whole raw egg in and continue to simmer until the egg is cooked to your liking. Baste the eggs with cooking liquid if needed .Either serve from the pan on the table or plate up.

The second way to serve is to put the vegetable mixture into individual oven proof dishes and again break the egg into a well and then oven for about 10/15 minutes until egg is cooked to your liking ~ bate the eggs if needed to finish the tops! An oven with a grill/fan option works well with this ~ or you can just put them under a moderate grill (just make sure the mixture is warm if you do this.

Serve scattered with chop coriander leaves, fresh yoghurt

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Chickpeas and Spinach

This vegetable dish, easily made with either English Spinach or Silver Beet, is an ideal accompaniment to any meat dish….or turn it into a dish in its own right with the addition of chorizo or even seafood!

For speed and convenience, tinned chick peas can be used to replace dried chick peas.

You will need for 4 people:

1 cup of dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and then boiled in plenty of water until cooked
Or
A 400g tin of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled, squashed and chopped
Breadcrumbs…(a crumbled day old slice of bread)
1 red Capsicum. De-seeded and de-veined and roughly chopped
1 Leek, washed and chopped (or onion)
1 tablespoon of Sweet Paprika (or smoked Paprika)
English Spinach…large bunch rinsed and washed and roughly chopped
Or
Silver beet, de-stalked, rinsed and washed and finely chopped.
Chopped Parsley
Freshly toasted nuts such as Pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds.

Method

Cook the chickpeas, or heat through the tinned chickpeas. Keep to one side.

In a large frypan heat some olive oil and fry off the garlic, breadcrumbs, red capsicum, leek, for as long as possible to extract the maximum flavour, without burning of course!
Remove from the frying pan into a bowl (or pestle and mortar)

Return pan to the stove top with a touch more oil and cook the freshly washed spinach. English Spinach only needs to be wilted…if using Silver beet (and its finely chopped stalks can be used, but it will need a long cooking time to soften down). Once the Spinach is cooked, sprinkle over the paprika and stir through.

Mash to a lumpy paste the leek and capsicum mixture (if you have a big pestle and mortar this is ideal) Take the warm drained chickpeas and mix through the capsicum mixture and then put the whole lot in the pan with the spinach and stir through with the chopped parsley. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley and toasted nuts!

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Fresh Spring Vegetable Stir Fry

With so many great spring vegetables now in the market this very simple side dish can be ready in 5 minutes, full of crunch and flavour and looks great too.

You will need:

Spring Greens to your taste such as
Handful of washed, trimmed asparagus
Handful of Snow Peas or Sugar Snap Peas
Several heads of Bok Choy, washed and chopped if large
Handful of Broad Beans or broad bean tendril tips
Handful of English Spinach Leaves
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon of Sesame seeds, dry roasted

Method

Heat the Olive oil in a wok.

Quickly stir fry the asparagus, bok choy and broad beans over a high heat…only takes a minute or two.

Add the Snow peas and English Spinach and stir well to coat with oil and juts wilt the spinach and coat the peas.

Pour over the Balsamic Vinegar, stir through well and present in severing bowl with toasted sesame seeds scattered on top.

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Fresh Greens, Tomatoes & Chick Peas

This one pot cooked on the stove top vegetarian dish has a depth of flavour and great texture and is ideal on its own or as a vegetable accompaniment.

Fresh smaller leaf greens are best. I use Fat Hen if available, but if not English Spinach or Red Chard will also work well (but best to remove any thick stalky bits first)

You will need:

4/5 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
1 Onion, thinly sliced (red works well, but Brown or white is fine)
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Dollop of Tomato Paste
1 tablespoon of Smoked Paprika
4 Roma tomatoes (preferably, skinned, deseeded and roughly chopped)
1 cup of chick peas soaked overnight then boiled
or
1 x400g of tinned chickpeas ready to go!
Water
1 bunch, destalked of English Spinach leaves, Ruby Chard or Fat hen
Prepare for later
Toasted Pine nuts

Method

Use a large frypan or saucepan. Heat the olive oil on a gently heat then pop in the cumin seeds and stirring cook for a minute or two until popping and aromatic.

Add the onion and garlic, black pepper, continue stirring well and soften down for a minute of two.
Add the tomato paste and smoked paprika and stir well into the oil and onion mixture, it will become quite thick but continue to stir and gently cook for a few minutes to bring out the flavours.

Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and 2 cups of water. Place a lid askew on the pan and gently simmer fro about 45 minutes. Take lid of, if too much liquid in pan increase heat and simmer to reduce. Add the greens (it can take a lot as they will wilt down) Stir thoroughly though until just cooked – only a few minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes

Decant into serving dish and scatter toasted pine nuts.

Keeps well, flavours improve the next day so you can always make ahead and just gently
re-heat in oven.

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Roasted Sweet Potato, Garlic and Feta Pasties

Ideal as a main course (4 people) for any occasion or make small ones for a more substantial and yummy finger food!

You will need for the Filling:

150gms Sweet Potato (peeled and in 1cm pieces)
4 whole (not peeled) Garlic Cloves
1 red Onion in wedges (not peeled)
1 finely chopped sprig Fresh Rosemary
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil
100gms Feta Cheese
Lemon Zest

Pastry:

Either use bought Shortcrust
or
125gms of Plain Flour
125gms of Self-raising Flour
125gms of cold butter
Water to bind
A mixture of white and wholemeal flours works really well

Method

Wrap diced sweet potato, whole garlic, wedged onion sprinkled with rosemary,
lemon zest (about ½ teaspoon) and olive oil in a double thickness foil parcel.

Seal well and oven roast for about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, open and cool slightly.
Squeeze the garlic and onion from their skin and roughly chop.
Place in a bowl.
Add the rest of the parcels' contents, including any juices.
Crumble the Feta on top and mix through with a fork.

Roll out pastry and cut circles (I use a side plate as a template).
Place spoonfuls of mixture in centre, egg one side and seal and crimp to make a pasty shape.
Egg wash the pasties and bake in 180c oven for about 30 minutes, until golden and the pastry cooked through.

A filling vegetarian meal if accompanied with the Cauliflower Dhal!
As a Finger Food the Chilli Jam recipe compliments these pasties really well.

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Roasted Vegetable Frittata

Still lots of lovely winter vegetables around and a great way to make an easy, nourishing and tasty dish that is as good warm as it is cold.

For 4 people you will need:

A variety of root vegetables ~ I use about 250gs each of
Potato, peeled and sliced
Pumpkin Peeled and sliced
Carrot Peeled and sliced
Parsnip peeled and sliced
Beetroot peeled and sliced
4 or more cloves of garlic ~ don’t bother peeling
Splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A bunch of English spinach or Asian greens washed and sliced up
Asparagus is available.
Fresh Rosemary
Feta cheese – about 150g
5 free range Eggs ~ beaten until thick

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200°c or 180° for a fan oven.

Toss all the prepared root vegetables and garlic with the oil and the finely chopped Rosemary in a baking pan and place in pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes. To stop the beetroot “bleeding” its colour bake them in a separate pan. They all can crisp but don’t overdo it. (If you prefer, the vegetables can just be diced, which will give a different finished look to the frittata when cut.)

While the vegetables are in the oven steam or microwave the green vegetables – drain the leaf vegetables and squeeze surplus water out of them. Grind black pepper through them.

When the roast vegetables are ready layer them in a lined dish. I squeeze the garlic paste out of the cloves and scatter through the vegetables. (I use a 20 cms square cake tin!) For effect layer them with contrasting different coloured vegetables ~ sprinkling the crumbled feta with the green leaf vegetables. Keep back the top layer then gently pour most of the egg mixture over the vegetables and gently press down to fill an air gaps ~ top with the remaining layer and pour the remaining egg mixture over.

Should be set and golden topped after about 35 minutes in the oven!

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Stuffed Pumpkin

Straightforward and using some great winter vegetables this can be made to suit any size of pumpkin, from small individual serves right up to a large blue pumpkin as a starring centre piece for any table.

You will need:

Amounts will vary depending on the size of your pumpkin and the number of people you are feeding. This is a general idea for half a reasonable sized butternut pumpkin for two people

Olive oil for sautéing the vegetables
1 leek
1 turnip
1 parsnip
2 carrots
A big handful of roughly chopped fresh spinach
Seeded Mustard (heaped teaspoon approx)
Honey (two teaspoons approx) + honey for brushing inside the pumpkin
chopped Parsley
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
Optional extra can be cooked black beans, cooked brown rice or lentils - about ½ should be sufficient or a grain or pulse of your choice
Handful of grated cheese for topping such as Mozzarella or just plain cheddar or any cheese of choice that will bake.

Method

Heat oven to 180ºc or 160ºc for a fan-forced oven.

Wash your pumpkin, take the top off and scoop out all the seeds and some of the flesh to make a decent sized cavity for your stuffing. Brush the inside of the cut pumpkin generously with honey and black pepper and place in the oven to roast.

While the pumpkin is roasting, gently sauté off the diced Carrot, Swede, Parsnip and Leek in a little olive oil to soften. This will most probably take 15 or more minutes. Add the chopped spinach, cooked beans or rice, mustard, honey and parsley and stir well on the heat for a minute. More black pepper to finish.

By now the pumpkin in the oven should be well on the way to be cooked. Remove from oven. Pile in the vegetable filling (its best to keep the pan tilted when you do this to prevent all the juices flooding the pumpkin), just use the vegetables, push down well into the cavity and then top with cheese, pressed down and if you wish a scatter of seeds or nuts (I use sunflower seeds)

Return to oven and cook for a further 20 minutes or more until you are happy the pumpkin is cooked (a skewer pushed down into the cut cooked edge will give you the answer) and the top golden.

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Pumpkin and Beetroot Bake

A filling and very tasty vegetable dish ideal for that non-meat night or it can be an all in one side dish to accompany the meat main course. Can be made ahead of time and finished as an oven bake.

Sufficient for 2 main serves or 4 side serves:

Knob of Butter and Olive Oil to sauté:
500 g Pumpkin flesh, diced
500g Beetroot, diced
1 Leek, washed and cut into large rounds
1 tablespoon of Honey
Shredded Kale or Silver Beet or Chard (at least 100gm)

Topping:

Stale bread croutons
Grated Cheese a hard and tasty cheese such as Parmesan or Grana Padano
Black pepper

Method

pre-heat oven to 200º c (180º c fan oven).

Melt some butter and add some olive oil to a large frypan and heat to a moderate heat.
Toss in the diced Pumpkin and Beetroot and sauté for around 10 minutes. Stirring from time to time and making sure not burning.

Once the vegetables are softening down add the leek and honey, stir well and leave for 3 or 4 minutes before adding the shredded Kale. Stir through well and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. It should now be ready for the oven. With a slotted spoon transfer the vegetable to an oven proof dish. Put to one side for a moment while you re-heat the pan and remnant oil and quick stir through the bread croutons and cheese with a good grind of black pepper to soak up all the juices.

Sprinkle these on top of the vegetables in the dish.
Can be served right away but I prefer to crisp up the topping by placing the whole dish in the oven for no more than 10 minutes and it will be ready.
Goes well served on a simple green salad.

Tip: The first stage can be done by oven roasting the vegetables. If you organised enough this can be done the night before if you are using the oven for another dish and save on energy costs!

I feel the vegetables have sufficient flavour that is brought out by the cooking but herbs and chilli can be added. Cooked chickpeas and /or beans can also be added before placing in the oven.

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Pumpkin & Eggplant Curry

Straightforward vegetable dish that has a rich sweet creamy taste that will have them coming back for more so make plenty. Progressively made in the one pan!

As with all spiced dishes this improves with age so can easily be made the day before
and gently re-heated!

You will need:

Vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced (red onions work well)
Grated fresh ginger – about a 2cm piece
3 gloves of chopped or crushed fresh garlic
2 tablespoons of Thai red curry paste (if you like it really hot add fresh chilli as well)
Large diced Butternut pumpkin (about 450g) peeled of course.
Eggplant, diced (about 200g). Lebanese Eggplant work well
3 tomatoes that have been skinned, de-seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
¼ cup of brown sugar
1 cup of vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup of lite coconut milk (or 140ml tin)

Method

Using a large saucepan or high sided frypan heat the oil and then add the diced onion, garlic and ginger and gently simmer for a minute or two before adding the red curry paster and continue to mix and simmer for a few minutes. The mixture should turn a darker red.

Add the peeled, diced pumpkin, stir well and continue to simmer , with the lid on for about 10 minutes before adding the eggplant and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.

Taking the lid off add the diced tomato flesh, fish sauce, lemon zest, brown sugar and chicken stock.

Stir well and continue to gently bubble for another 10 to 15 minutes, whilst still maintaining some liquid.

To Serve:

Add the coconut milk and stir though, re-heat and serve garnished with chopped coriander and rice.

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Pea and Asparagus Quinoa

Fresh shelled garden Peas coupled with Asparagus combine with a mustard butter flavoured quinoa to make this versatile dish that can serve as a hot main course or side dish. Any leftovers can be served cold as a salad.

To make 3 to 4 main course size serves you will need:

1? cups of dry quinoa
2½ cups of stock or water
1 small leek, washed and chopped in rings
250g Asparagus spears, washed and chopped
1 cup of fresh peas (about 400g when in the pod)
3 tablespoons of plain yoghurt

Mustard Butter:

60g of softened butter
1 heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Optional…Tabasco sauce… ½ teaspoon or more

Top with fresh chopped herbs or toasted pine nuts.

Method

Wash the quinoa well then gently cook in the stock. This should take around 20 minutes until all the water is absorbed and you can see the quinoa curls!. Let it sit off the heat and steam. Fluff up with fork.

While the quinoa is cooking make the Mustard Butter by beating together with a fork all the ingredients in a small bowl. The Tabasco really helps lift this dish and it can take a generous amount!

Heat a small amount of butter and oil in a large frypan over a moderate heat. Toss in the leek and gently sweat for a minute or two before adding the peas and asparagus. Stir well and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the cooled and fluffed up quinoa and stir thoroughly through the vegetables and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Add the mustard butter and stir thoroughly through the quinoa and vegetable mixture.
Finally add 3 tablespoons of fresh yoghurt, stir through and take of the heat.

It is now ready to serve, or can be left to cool and served warm.

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Mushroom Pie

A great mushroom and cottage cheese dish that makes an easy to prepare Main Dish or serves equally well as an accompaniment.

Firstly, prepare:

500g of Field or button Mushrooms, washed and diced or sliced
2 large onions finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and then lightly fry off all the above until starting to be cooked through - you do not want your mushies mushy! Take off the heat and put to one side for a moment

In a large bowl:

beat 4 large eggs
Then add 2 tablespoons of Milk (or cream, or Sour cream)
1 tablespoon of Plain Flour
½ teaspoon of freshly ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon of Ground Coriander
A good grinding of Black pepper.
Mix Bowl ingredients well together then add a whole 500g tub of Cottage Cheese and gently incorporate.

Method

NOW - you have a choice - either make one big pie or make individual pies - pastry is up to you - I prefer to use filo pastry, as this is lighter than shortcrust.

Line an oven to table baking dish with oil sheets of filo pastry (about 6 should do the trick).
Place half the mushroom mixture on top, then half the cheese mixture, topped with the rest of the mushroom mixture (or just mix it all up together!).

Top with more sheets of oiled filo pastry. Finish by sprinkling water and scoring with the sharp point of a knife in diamond patter. Top with seeds for that final touch then

BAKE in a pre-heated 190°c oven for about 15minutes - keep a close eye to make sure the pastry does not burn!

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Potato, leek & Fresh Horseradish Bake

A straightforward bake that packs a punch with fresh horseradish can be made ahead and is a great alternative to roast potatoes with the roast beef!

For 4 people you will need:

800g of potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, sliced thinly
1 leek, sliced into rounds, washed and drained
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
Quantity of grated fresh horseradish ~ to taste ~ but at least 2 tablespoons
500ml of liquid made up of either cream or milk in equal proportions or if this is too rich for your tastes replace some with chicken stock.

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200°c or 180° for a fan oven.

Place the 500ml of liquid in a large saucepan along with the sliced leek, crushed garlic and grated horseradish and gently bring to a simmer. Stir the saucepan well and then gently slide the potato slices in. Simmer for about 10 minutes ~ stir occasionally but taking care not to break the potato up or that they are sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Use tongs to place the potato slices into an ovenproof dish filling the gaps with the sauce and leek mixture.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the heat up 10°c and cook for a further 10 minutes by which time the top should be browning nicely!

Ready to go!

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Potato & Parsnip Vegetable Bake

An easy baked vegetable side dish utilising potatoes with parsnip and fresh horseradish to give a vegetable dish with texture, taste and a bite! It’s also an opportunity to use that julienne attachment on your food processor that never gets used!

You will need (for 4 people):

200g of Julienne or thick grated peeled potato
200g of Julienne or thick grated peeled parsnip
1 medium onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
A 15cm piece of horseradish root - grated
(or a tablespoon of preserved horseradish or horseradish cream)
3 tablespoons of Thick plain yoghurt
Chopped fresh parsley
Butter

Method

Pre-heat Oven to 190c (170c for a fan oven).

Mix and toss together the julienne/grated potato/parsnip/horseradish with the onion, then stir through the yoghurt and coat all the vegetables.

Lightly butter the bottom and sides of an oven to table dish. Place all the yoghurt coated vegetables into the dish, cover with either a close fitting lid or foil and place in the oven for about 40minutes.

Remove the lid or foil – sprinkle with the chopped parsley and a good grind of black pepper and then dot with butter.

Return to oven to finish cooking for about another 15+ minutes until you are happy the vegetables are tender and the top is beginning to crisp and turn golden

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Middle Eastern Style Potato Wedges

Spice up your potato side dish with this easy to make, slightly spiced potato dish.

You will need for around 4 side serves:

350 - 450g of washed potatoes (skin on)
vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1 White onion ~ peeled and sliced
1 chilli – de-seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon of turmeric
Water or stock
1 Lemon ~ zest and juice
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped mint

Method

Par boil the whole potatoes. Drain from saucepan. When cooled, cut into wedges (or large cubes).

Heat vegetable oil in a heavy duty frypan and then fry off the mustard seeds until they start to “pop”. Add the onion, garlic, chilli and turmeric. Stir well and continue to sauté gently until softened. Add the potato pieces and continue to sauté for few minutes to brown the flesh.

Add about ½ cup of water or stock (take care it doesn’t splatter)

Cover with a lid and simmer to let the potatoes absorb the moisture .Finish with the lid of if this needs speeding up to absorb the liquid.

Stir though the potatoes the lemon zest, lemon juice and chopped mint and its ready to serve.

Ideal with Lamb, Goat or Chicken main courses

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Mediterranean Vegetable Stack

Easy to make with the using the best summer ingredients, this will suit any occasion from BBQ to formal dinner. Also the preparation can be done ahead of time and then just finished in the oven come meal time!

You will Need for 4 people:

2 to 3 ++ tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed and chopped
1 Eggplant, thick sliced
1 or 2 Zucchini, sliced
½ red onion slice into rings
1 to2 Roma tomatoes sliced
Fresh Basil Leaves

optional grated parmesan cheese

How you make the stacks is very much up to you.
They can be large, sandwiching ingredients between two eggplant slices or just a simple one slice of eggplant base. The vegetables will need to be gentle sauteed before putting the stacks together.

Method

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry off the eggplant (on both sides) in batches (you may need more oil as they can be very oill hungry, but you dont want them too be tottally sodden in oil if you can help it).

Place on kitchen paper to drain

Repeat with Zucchini ( need less cooking the eggplant)

Repeat with red onion rings (less cooking again)

Repeat with slice tomato (less cooking again and just do one side)

Assemble the stacks on a baking tray on a baking tray

Eggplant topped with 2/3 zucchini then some sliced red onion then 2/3 tomato slices.
Fresh basil leaves through the vegetables.
Finish with a grind of black pepper and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (optional)
They can then be refrigerated until needed.

Bake in a 180ºc oven (fan 160ºc) for about 20+ minutes.

Remove from pan with slice and serve.

To make bigger stacks just place another slice of Eggplant on top of all vegetables and top again!

Pre-cooking the vegetables on a ribbed griddle plate, brushing them well with oil will give you stacks a very professional look!

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Kale & Winter Vegetable Pie

Tuscan Kale also known as Cavolo Nero, a dark green leafed versatile vegetable, very familiar in Italian recipes, is now available. Used with a few simple vegetables this makes a flavoursome winter vegetable pie.

For 4 people you will need:

1 bunch of Tuscan Kale…thoroughly washed & sliced up, stalks and all (about200g)
1 large on onion. Peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped or grated
1 large Fennel Bulb, washed and thinly sliced
1 large Parsnip, peeled and small diced
1 red capsicum…deseeded and thinly sliced
2 eggs lightly beaten
250g of peeled potatoes, small dice
Good handful of stale bread(I use Kalamata Sour Dough small dice)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Fresh Parsley Chopped, Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 170°c or 150°c fan

In a large saucepan or fry pan coat the bottom with a thin layer of Olive Oil and heat to a moderate temperature. Add the Onion, Garlic, vegetables and the Kale. Simmer for around 20+ minutes until vegetables and Kale are cooked through. Usually there is enough water on and in the kale to stop the mixture drying out, but if it does just add some water or stock to keep it moist. Finally remove from heart, stir though the two beaten eggs and pop into an ovenproof casserole bowl

Place the dice potato and bread in a bowl with the chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Add a really good slosh of olive oil. Stir well to coat, especially the bread.

Top the Kale mixture with this bread and potato mixture and place in pre-heated oven for around 30 to 40 minutes.

Variations: Use Silver beet instead of Kale and Pumpkin or any root vegetable in place of the fennel and parsnip. Add crumbled feta cheese to the Kale mixture. Mix Parmesan cheese through the potato/bread topping

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Kale & Carrot Pizza

An ideal lunch dish or main meal accompaniment it is straightforward and easy to make.

Sufficient for 4 serves you will need:

2 large garlic cloves, pleaded and finely diced
1 Red onion, peeled and small dice
1 Capsicum, de-seeded and diced
2 cups of Kale, washed and roughly chopped (about 80gms)
1 ½ cups of grated carrot (about 160gms)
2 large tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and chopped
Butter and oil
Ground Black Pepper and Salt
1 square sheet of bought Puff pastry or your own shortcrust or pizza dough

Optional: cheese topping of choice, everything from Feta to Parmesan will work!

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200ºc or 180ºc for a fan oven

This is made in a large frypan and then placed onto the pastry to bake in the oven.

Heat a little butter and oil in a frypan and then add the onion, garlic and capsicum and gently fry off for about 3 minutes.
Add the kale and carrot, a generous grind of black pepper, pinch of salt and stir through very well as you continue cooking for about 5 minutes to wilt the kale.

Add the diced tomato and stir well through the mixture and turn off the heat.

Place your pastry sheet on a baking tray, curl the edges to form a rim, egg wash them if you want a golden finish and pile the kale mixture evenly over the pastry base.

Place in oven for around 15/20 minutes until pastry is well cooked.

Serve with a fresh light green salad.

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Honeyed Sweet Potato & Sweet Corn Bake

Put a different twist on these delicious vegetables now in season in this very simple easy dish

You will need for 4 people as a side dish:

500gms of peeled and sliced sweet potato, par boiled for 2 minutes
1 Cob of Sweet Corn, husk and remove kernels
1 medium Red Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons of warmed honey
1 to 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

Pre heat oven to 180º c

In an ovenware dish layer the par boiled sweet potato with the thin onion rings.

Scatter the sweet corn kernels over.
Pour the honey evenly over the vegetables.

Finish with the extra Virgin Olive Oil

Bake in oven for about 30/40 minutes until sweet potato is cooked and starting to crisp.

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Indian Potatoes

An Indian style Potato Curry dish. Ideal as a side dish or can be a main in its own right.

You will need for 4 people:

700g of Kestrel Potatoes (par boiled for 10 minutes and drained)
1 tablespoon of Cumin Seeds
1 tablespoon Mustard Seeds
1 small chopped and slice leek (or onion)
1 large red chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon grated or chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon of grated or chopped Fresh Garlic
½ teaspoon of Turmeric
100g Natural Yoghurt
½ teaspoon of Garem Marsala
Fresh Coriander or Mint
Butter and vegetable oil for cooking.

Method

Par-boil the potatoes, then drain and cut into large cubes. They can be peeled if you must!

In a large lidded saucepan or frypan, melt some butter and oil together, when sizzling add the chopped leek, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Pop lid on and cook for a minute or two as you hear the seeds pop shake frequently to prevent burning.

Remove lid and add chopped ginger, garlic and chilli if using and continue to cook, stirring all the time for another minute. Add the par boiled, diced potatoes and turmeric and stir the mixture well to coat.

Turn the heat down and continue to cook for about 10/15 minutes. Stir frequently. The potatoes will go "crusty" but you don't want them to burn.

Finally add the yoghurt and garem masala, keep stirring and warm gently through.

Serve with lots of chopped coriander and /or mint.

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Fried Carrot & Fennel Bulb

A tasty accompaniment to any meal and its easy to prepare!

Method

Quantities can be up to you and your appetite but a rough rule of thumb for 4 people you will need about 500gms of carrots and a small fennel bulb or half a large one!

Firstly, par boil the carrots.

Fresh carrots should only need scrubbing, topping and tailing and cut them lengthways, either in half or into quarters if carrots are large.

Pop them into a pan of boiling water and simmer until very al dente.

Strain.

Take the outer shell off the fennel bulb, take the pithy core out and slice thinly.

You will also need 3 or 4 cloves of garlic; you can leave the skin on the garlic.

In a frying pan, coat the bottom with some good quality olive oil and a dash of sesame oil, when it reaches a moderate heat toss in the carrot, the slice fennel bulb and the garlic.

Gently saute, until cooked and, golden and glistening.

To serve, stir through 2/3 tablespoons of freshly chopped Italian Parsley.

This brings out the sweetness of the carrot, intermingled with the delight of fennel, and a touch of garlic and the freshness of the parsley.

With thanks to Sandra Laurance for the germ of an idea!

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Fried Brussel Sprouts

A recipe to really bring Brussel Sprouts alive!

Use fresh, small brussel sprouts for maximum effect.

Small ones can be used whole, larger ones cut in half.

You will need for 4 people as a side dish

250gms of fresh Brussel sprouts, washed and drained
4 large cloves of Garlic. Peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of Capers. Washed and drained
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of Sea salt
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for fryin

Method

Blanch the garlic slices in boiling salted water. Drain well on absorbent paper.

Heat the vegetable oil in a deep sided frying pan or saucepan. It needs to be reasonably hot to sauté the vegetables, to the point of browning and caramelising them as you cook. A few “burnt” bits will add to the flavour, but don’t neglect the pan, stir frequently.

When the oil is hot add the Brussel Sprouts (take care as they may splatter in the hot oil) stir on a rapid heat for about 4 minutes.
Stir in the blanched garlic slices and continue cooking and stirring for about another minute.

Then add the drained Capers, continue for about another minute and then add the parsley.

Finish the cooking, stirring briskly all the time…maybe another minute or two, depending on the size and density of the sprouts.

Turn off the heat…add the lemon juice and salt to taste.

Stir and Serve.

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Fennel Gratin

The fennel bulb is a great versatile vegetable that lends itself to a huge range of dishes. On its own it makes a great side dish such as this fennel gratin whose beauty is it is prepared so quickly with such a stupendous result.

 

 

Method

As a side dish for four you will need:

2 Fresh Fennel Bulbs
chopthe last of the stalks off the bulb and slice the base – remove anyouter leaves if they appear damaged. Cut each bulb into four, hopingthe quarters will keep together by the base. Gentle simmer in slightlysalted water until they begin to soften, (about 15 minutes). Removeand drain well to remove all moisture.

Place in a very generouslybuttered ovenproof dish and sprinkle with you favourite finely gratedcheese. Parmesan is the traditional; Romano is good; I enjoy Jarlsbergbut if push comes to shove, some good old matured cheddar will stillwork.

Place in a preheated 200°c, bake uncovered for about 20 minutes until the cheese melts and starts to brown, and crisp up.

A quick easy version of this recipe is to simmer the fennel bulbs for longer, drain and then toss in grated cheese and serve.

Other ideas for fennel:

  • Par boiled fennel is a great addition to the Roast Vegetable tray
  • Finely shredded in salads
  • Goes well in casseroles of all sorts
  • Parboiled and then finished on the barbecue

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Eggplant and Tomato Gratin

Ideal on its own, or as an accompaniment to a main course. It is better made an hour or two ahead as this helps to draw the flavours out.

You will need for around 4 side serves:

1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped or grated
1 small chilli finely chopped (optional)
Black Pepper
1 medium sized eggplant, washed and sliced
3 or 4 tomatoes washed and sliced
Extra virgin Olive oil to cook with and more
1 cup of torn fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons of soft cheese such as goat blanc or fromage frais or finely grated parmesan or cheese of choice!
3 tablespoons of fresh breadcrumbs

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180°c or 160°c fan

Heat a little oil in a frypan; add the onion garlic and chilli and stirring from time to time cook over a moderate heat until soft and translucent.

Spoon the onion mixture into an oven dish, grate black pepper over and then cover the surface with the torn basil leaves followed by the eggplant and tomatoes in overlapping layer.
Sprinkle very generously olive oil over the eggplant and tomato.

Seal the dish with foil and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes.
(Maybe check after 20 minutes to see if more oil is needed to soften the eggplant.)

Take out of the oven and turn the grill on to high (or if using a multi-use oven use fan and top grill function)
Mix together the bread crumbs and cheese.
Sprinkle over the eggplant and return under the grill for about 10 minutes ~ obviously taking care not to burn the crumbs!

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Eggplant in Balsamic

Delicious and healthy eggplant recipe. Great for finger food or as a snack.

Method

Cut one large fresh young eggplant into thick slices (about 1cm)

(If the eggplant is old you may wish to salt the slices in layers in a
colander for ½ hour then rinse and pat dry to remove any bitterness)

In a glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl or shallow baking dish whisk well together the following:

250ml of Balsamic Vinegar
125ml of Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 a cup of caster sugar
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of chopped chives
1 finely chopped garlic clove
A plentiful grind of black pepper + salt if you wish

Add the slices of eggplant, toss well, cover and marinate 4 -10 hours is enough.
Vary the flavourings to suit your taste, herbs, chilli spices etc...

These can be cooked in the most convenient way for you..
They are ideal for cooking on the BBQ
Or look great if griddled on a cast iron ribbed plate
Or in a frying pan on top of the stove
Or on a baking sheet in the oven

They are great hot or cold, drizzled with a little of the marinade, go really well in sandwiches, you can even wrap them round a soft cheese and serve them as a finger food or veg side dish!

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Crusted Asparagus

Based on a German style of cooking vegetables- it is rich - but worth the risk!

Method

Trimyour Asparagus (about 500g) wash the spears if necessary and lightlyblanch or steam them very quickly until barely tender.

If you like them really crunchy cook from raw!

Place them in a buttered baking dish dot with about
2/3 tablespoons of butter and about 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.

Finally add about 1/4 cup of cream and then season with pepper and sea salt.

Pop into a hot oven - about 220c for about 10 minutes until it starts to brown .

Ready to Go!

Too difficult?

Tryplacing the asparagus spears on a baking tray sprinkle with VirginOlive Oil and sea salt and bake in a hot oven for about 10 minutes!

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Caramalised Beetroot & Onion Tart

This easy vegetarian dish can be used as a lunch time dish, as an accompaniment to something more substantial or as part of a buffet. Basically it is a quiche with the filling pre-cooked.

You will need shortcrust pastry, either bought or your own.

Tip… as this is a savoury dish you can always add some cheese to the pastry mix….or maybe replace some of the flour with rolled oats…..or add some finely grated carrot.

The filling needs to be pre-cooked before palcing in the pastry tart case.

You will need:

Amounts can be varied to suit your taste

3 Large Red Onions, thinly sliced (about 450g)
3 large Beetroot, peeled and finely diced (about 450g)
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 large tomatoes - seeds removed and flesh chopped
Handful of basil leaves roughly torn
3 eggs Beaten with a little milk
oil

Method

Pre heat oven to 180 c or 160° c for a fan oven

Heat a large frying pan with a little oil, add the sliced onions and gently fry for about 10 minutes. Add to the pan the diced beetroot and continue to cook, stirring from time to time for about another 20minutes. Add the diced tomato and sugar and continue to cook over a moderate heat for another 20 – 30 minutes until moisture is all absorbed and mixture is glossy and sticky.
Finally stir through the basil leaves ~ seasoning if you wish and remove from heat.

To Cook:

Line you flan dish or tin with pastry and put all the beetroot mixture in, spreading evenly over the base.
Gently pour your egg and milk mixture all over the tart.
Bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until slightly risen and cooked through.

Serve warm

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Roast Cauliflower

Many people do not realise that cauliflower can be easily roasted, rather than just steamed, boiled or covered with sauce. It retains a crisp texture and roasting really brings out the flavour ~ and it is easy to do and quick

You will need as a vegetable side dish for 2 people:

Just adjust amounts for more people!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
300g of Fresh Cauliflower, washed and split into florets (½ small cauli)
1 onion, peeled and chopped into large dice
1 or 2 garlic cloves, chopped and crushed
1 large red capsicum, washed, de-seeded large dice
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
Sea Salt and pepper to season to taste

Method

Pre heat Oven to 210º c (or 190º c for a fan oven)

Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and generously sprinkle with olive oil and toss well to cover all the vegetables (2/3 tablespoons of oil may be needed).

Place the oil covered vegetables into a baking dish of a suitable size to hold the vegetables in a single layer and then just bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.

Maybe turn the vegetables after about 15 minutes, but by 25 minutes they should be cooked and starting to char a little on the edge, which all adds to the flavour

Serve as they are!

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Upside Down Honey Apple Pudding

A warming, easy, winter pudding.

Method

You will need a crisp tasty fresh apple, such as a large Braeburn or Granny Smith.

Peeled, cored and sliced (about 250gms of apple).

Take a knob of butter about 50gms of Butter, melt in frypan, add apple slices, together with a teaspoon of cinnamon or mixed spice, fry off gently for about 5 minutes and then finely add a good 1/4 cup of flavoursome Honey.

Stir to combine the honey and then pour into a buttered 20cms round cake tin.

To make the pudding beat well together:

125gms of butter with
1/2 cup of sugar.
Continue beating then add, one at a time
2 large free range eggs together with a spoonful of flour (to help stop it separating)

Beat for up to 5 minutes.

Sift into the butter, sugar, egg mixture:

1 cup of Plain flour together with 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
fold and then add
2 tablespoons of full cream milk
together with 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (optional)

Pour, spoon over the honeyed apples in the tin.
Bake in pre-heated 180c oven for about 40 minutes until skewer test pronounces cooked in the middle!.
Rest a few minutes before turning out.

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Tipsy Oranges

Local Navel oranges are now plentiful and this is an easy "warming" dessert recipe based on Mulled wine!

You will need:

3 or4 Navel oranges
1 cup of dry red wine
2 tablespoons of vinegar (white wine or white wine and Balsamic)
1 Cinnamon Quill
5 whole cloves
3/4 cup of white granulated sugar

Method

In a saucepan put all the ingredients except the oranges. Bring to a simmer and bubble away for about 15 minutes.

While this is happening, peel the oranges and then slice into rings - about ½ centimetre thickness.

Place into serving bowl. Pour all the wine mixture over and let stand to cool.

Serving suggestions:

Ideal on meringue/ice-cream with Ravenhill's - Traditional style thick Cream or Billawarra's yoghurt or both!

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Simple Ice-Cream Meringue Cake

A easy frozen dessert with a tangy lemon taste and meringue crunch that can be made the day before in minutes and frozen.

Quantities can be varied for the size of cake you want to make but for a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin you will need.

The Base:

I prefer to use a cake base, such as Madeira, cut no more than 1 cm thick, lightly pressed onto the base of the tin already lined with baking paper. Alternatively, you can use a biscuits crumb and butter base as you would for a cheesecake.

For the filling you will need:

Sour cream and whipped cream in equal proportions, together with some meringue.
I use about 300ml of Cream, either very thick cream or whipping cream whipped until just beginning to hold its shape and 300ml of thick, Sour cream. Gently incorporate these two, do not beat.

Method

In a bowl, break up some homemade meringue or two to three bought meringue nests into pieces about 5 cents. Scrape all the sour cream & cream mixture on top of the broken meringue and with a spatula gently mix through thoroughly.

Dollop spoonfuls of this mixture onto the sponge base, alternating with spoonfuls of lemon curd. Do not over mix, you want the curd to come out as swirls within the mixture not integrated into it. Do not mess with the filling just pile it in gently flatten and then freeze.

To serve remove from freezer into refrigerator, leave for 20 minutes and then remove from tin and decorate with summer berries of choice.

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Mussels in a Wine & Yoghurt Sauce

This is a different twist on cooking mussels which produces a tasty, creamy dish, enhanced by the leeks and touch of fennel. It can be on the table in only a few minutes, the longest job is cleaning the mussels!

Quantities are very much a personal choice. I usually allow 2kg of Mussels for 2 people!

You will need:

2kg of Fresh Mussels. Shells scrubbed, de-bearded, and well drained
1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Leek, washed, sliced and diced
1 teaspoon of Fennel Seeds
150ml of White Wine (you can use more)
150ml of thick Natural Yoghurt (you can use more)
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.
Black Pepper

Optional flavourings can also be fresh chilli or garlic added when you cook the leek

Method

Heat a large pot over a high heat and then toss in all the (drained) mussels.
Give the pot a good stir with a wooden spoon then pop the lid on for a couple of minutes. Check how the mussels are cooking, stir again and pop the lid back on for another minute or so, by which time they should be opened.
With a slotted spoon remove mussels to a large bowl or serving dish.
Cover with cloth and put aside will you quickly make the sauce for the mussels.

Drain and rinse the pot of any liquid from cooking the mussels (this will get rid of any gritty bits). If you wish to fine strain the cooking liquid some of this can be added to the final sauce

Put the pot back on a moderate heat with about 1 tablespoon of Olive oil in the pan. Sweat off the leek and fennel seeds for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent.
If using chilli, garlic add at this stage.

Once the leek is softened add the white wine and continue to stir and reduce the sauce slightly. Only a couple of minutes and then finally add the yoghurt and parsley, stir well to incorporate into the sauce and then to prevent curdling immediately take off heat and pour the leek and sauce all over the mussels.

Serve garnished with parsley leaves!

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Slow cooked Lamb and Onion

Simplicity itself, this brings out the best in the cheaper cuts of Lamb on the bone providing a tender flavoursome meal with the meat falling off the bone.

Few ingredients and easy to prepare it must be slow cooked in the oven for at least 2 hours.
A good autumn dish.

You will need for around 4 serves:

Neck of Lamb. Whole neck (or more) cut into rosettes,
alternatively forequarter chops or a meaty Breast of Lamb
1 kg of Onions. Peeled and thinly sliced.
Oil (or dripping if you have it) to brown the meat
2 Bay Leaves
1 Teaspoon Sugar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed (optional)
1 tablespoon of vinegar
Chopped Parsley or mint or combination of both

Method

Pre-heat oven to 170°c or 150°c for a fan oven

Heat a little oil (or dripping) in a stove top, oven to table cast iron lidded pot.
Lay in the pan the Lamb pieces and colour well on both sides until golden.
Remove Lamb from pan and drain.
Pour off any surplus oil or fat that has accumulated in the pan.

Place half the onions and garlic if using in the bottom of the same pan, top with the seared lamb pieces and then top the lamb with the bay leaves and the rest of the onion/garlic. Push everything down well into the pot. Using wet baking paper cover the meat and onion tightly on the surface so that they will steam in their own juices (cartouche) and these will enhance the flavours and the overall result.
Heat a little oil (or dripping) in a stove top, oven to table cast iron lidded pot. Lay in the pan the Lamb pieces and colour well on both sides until golden. Remove Lamb from pan and drain. Pour off any surplus oil or fat that has accumulated in the pan. Place half the onions and garlic if using in the bottom of the same pan, top with the seared lamb pieces and then top the lamb with the bay leaves and the rest of the onion/garlic. Push everything down well into the pot. Using wet baking paper cover the meat and onion tightly on the surface so that they will steam in their own juices (cartouche) and these will enhance the flavours and the overall result.

Place in the oven for 1 hour, after which it is a good idea to check, push everything down again and re-cover (especially if onions are creeping up the side). The onions should just be starting to soften down.
Turn the oven down 20°c (150°c or 130°c for a fan oven) and return to the oven for a further hour.

After an hour check how tender the meat is with a skewer. Cook more if still tough.

Take the meat out.

Place in a tray, cover with foil, turn the oven down again and return the meat to the oven to keep warm.

Return the pot with the onions to the top of the stove. If there is lamb fat accumulating on top mop up with kitchen paper. Remove Bay leaves. Add sugar and vinegar and gently simmer to thicken into sticky mass.
Finally stir in the herbs and maybe some black pepper before serving the meat on a bed of onion.

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Cauliflower Dhal

Mildly spiced this dish is real winner. Ideal as a main course.

Smaller quantities can be made and use as a side dish.

Leftovers, gently reheated in either microwave or oven work well!

You will need:

1 large onion, sliced (red onions work really well)
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground ginger

OR 3 tablespoons of your favourite Curry Paste, korma works really well.

8 cardamom Pods, seeds removed (black ones are best)
1 garlic clove finely chopped.
250 grn of brown/green lentils
1 litre of Vegetable Stock
1 Cauliflower, broken into small florets
500gms of diced vegetables such as Pumpkin, Carrot, Sweet Potato

Method

In a heavy stove top (lidded) casserole heat the merest touch of oil over a low heatand stir in the Onion, Spices, (or curry paste) Cardamom seeds and garlic and stir frequently for a few minutes to get the flavours going.

Add the stock, lentils and root vegetables (if using) bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove the lid, add the cauliflower and continue to simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes
until liquid has been absorbed and vegetables and lentils are tender.

Serve with fresh chopped coriander and Natural Yoghurt on the top and ideal with Naan style Breads.

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Stuffed Red Capsicum (or Tomato)

Get away from the commonplace rice and meat stuffing with this straightforward touch of India vegetable stuffing, which can easily incorporate meat, chicken bacon or whatever to cater for those who need their protein!

Sufficient for to stuff 4 large Capsicums (or Tomatoes)

4 large, well shaped and flat bottomed red capsicum or tomatoes.
350g of lightly steamed and mashed Sweet Potato
1 medium sized brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 chilli, Jalapeno style for a hot result or something milder
¼ teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of garam masala

Optional: 5 tomatillos, sliced and diced

Nuts for topping, Roasted Chestnuts work really well or pine nuts
along with some crumbled cheese if you wish.
Cow or Goat‘s milk Yoghurt ( or Riata ) for serving
fresh coriander for garnish
Save the tomato insides for a sauce.

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180ºc or 160ºc for a fan oven.
Pre-prepare your mashed sweet potato. I use Gold sweet potato. Take care not to over cook them and drain them well before mashing, they can be lumpy!

Cut the tops of the Capsicum and Tomato so they can be used as a lid during cook. Carefully take out all the seeds and flesh and membranes to give you a suitable container to take the stuffing.

Heat a splash of Olive oil in a fry pan over a moderate heat and then add all the ingredients except the sweet potato and cook to gently soften everything down. Stir them well. This should only take about 5 minutes.
Add the mashed sweet potato to the pan and stir thoroughly to mix everything together.

Take off the heat and spoon into the capsicum or tomato cases, finishing of with a sprinkle of nuts and cheese if using.

Place them careful in a small pan that they can stand up in and place the tops back on them. Pop in the oven and they should be cooked in about 40 minutes, when the skin is starting to wrinkle.

Serve with a good dollop of yoghurt on the top (or riata) and a sprinkle of fresh coriander.

Tip: I use the flesh and seeds taken from the tomatoes to make a quick sauce. In a pan with some water, diced onion, sugar and balsamic vinegar…simmer till soft, blitz in a vitamise then back in the saucepan to reduce and its ready to serve!

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Braised Red Cabbage

A great way to gently cook crunchy red cabbage and turn into it a sweet and sour vegetable dish that is an ideal accompaniment to Pork or sausages and mash, all in one pot on top of the stove and ready in under 30 minutes.

You will need for 4 people:

Thinly sliced Red Cabbage (about ½ an average sized cabbage).
1 leek, thinly sliced (or 1 red onion)
1 Apple, peeled or thinly sliced (granny Smith or Braeburn work well or try a Pear!)
½ cup of red wine, or red wine vinegar, or mixture.
2 heaped tablespoons of brown sugar
Freshly grated nutmeg.

Method

You do need a saucepan big enough to take all the shredded cabbage and with a good fitting lid.

Heat a dash of olive oil/butter in the saucepan and add all the red cabbage and sliced leek. Stir well on a moderate heat and sauté for 2/3 minutes until the cabbage is glistening and starting to wilt down.

Add the thinly sliced apple, sugar and red wine /vinegar.

Stir well. Pop the lid on a leave to cook on a very low heat for about 15 minutes.

Take lid off and continue to gently simmer for a few minutes if the cabbage is too crisp for your tastes. Finish by stirring through a touch of freshly grated nutmeg

There will be a lot of liquid, don’t worry, just serve with a slotted spoon if you wish

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Roast Beetroot, Carrot and Apple

Simple but delicious as part of any meal this easy vegetable bake gives a new twist and flavour on traditional vegetables, and its dead easy, with very little preparation ~ and with the red of the beetroot looks pretty spectacular on the table!

You will as a side vegetable for 4 people :

500 gms of Beetroot. Scrubbed or peeled. Cut into about 1cm dice
250 gms of Carrot. Scrubbed or peeled, Cut into 1 cm dice
2 Granny Smith Apple. Cored and diced. Skin on
2 tablespoons of warm honey
2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon of Lemon or Lime Juice
1 tablespoon of Pepitas
Sea Salt and ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon chopped Parsley and or chives to finish

Method

Heat oven to 200º c or 180º c for a fan oven

Pop all the prepared vegetables, Beetroot, Carrot and Apple into a large bowl.

Thoroughly mix together all the other ingredients except the fresh herbs.
Pour over the vegetables and mix well to coat them all.

Lay them out in a single layer in a baking pan.
Bake for around 1 hour. Turn a couple of times during cooking.
Test to ensure that they are cooked through.

Sprinkle fresh herbs on top to serve.

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Baked Green Beans and Courgettes

An easy vegetable dish, minimal preparation, short cooking and can be served straight from the oven or warm as a side dish.

You will need for 4 people as a vegetable side dish:

500g total of Fresh green beans (flat or round) and courgettes trimmed and thickly sliced on an angle
½ Red Onion, sliced into wedges
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon of Extra virgin Olive Oil
2/3 slices of Lamb Pastrami or Parma Ham - shredded or cut up (bacon at a push will be ok)

Method

Pre heat oven to 200ºc

Toss all the ingredients together. Place the lamb Pastrami sprinkled over the top.

Place in an oven to table dish in the pre heated oven.

Cook for approx 20 to 30 minutes depending on thickness of vegetables.

Can be garnished with fresh herbs, toasted pine nuts or another drizzle of Olive Oil or Balsamic Vinegar.

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Baked Avocado & Egg

Simplicity itself to make, this brunch dish combines creamy avocado and egg and when coupled with toast, ham or bacon, fresh tomatoes or feta cheese you have a fantastic looking and tasting dish that will make you a star with your family and friends.

The only difficulty is to make sure the avocado is supported during baking!

For each serve you will need

½ a large ripe Avocado
1 free range egg
Salt and Pepper
Quality bread toasted

Optional extras such as

Ham
Bacon
Fresh vine ripened tomato slices
Quality feta cheese
Fresh Herbs
Hollandaise Sauce

Method

Heat oven to 210ºc (190ºc fan oven)

The avocado halves need to be supported in a dish, ramekin or some other oven proof dish so that they will not tip over when baking. This can either be accomplished by several halves supporting each other or placing something such as a ramekin to hold the halved avocado against the side of the baking dish.

Halve the avocados and remove the stone. If you feel the resulting hole is not large enough for your egg remove some of the flesh with a spoon to increase the size.
Sprinkle lightly salt and pepper into the hole.
Arrange the avocado halves in your baking dish and then gently place the egg into it.

They will take about 15/20 minutes to cook.
Do check to ensure the eggs are not overcooked.

Arrange on plate with lightly toasted quality bread. A slice of ham, some sliced tomatoes, hollandaise sauce and /or some crumbled feta or some home-made tomato relish turn this into a tasty and great looking brunch dish!

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Baked Beetroot

A simple, but different style of cooking beetroot, baked in a parcel.

Method

  • Take your beetroot, scrub well and quarter.
  • Either make use a small baking dish, or a double piece of aluminium foil double thickness to make a parcel.
  • Place the Beetroot in the dish with several whole cloves of garlic, a quartered small onion and a quartered fennel bulb.
  • Add a good sprinkling of basil leaves. Season well with Black Pepper and, if you wish, Salt.
  • Toss the vegetables in a good slosh of olive oil and red wine vinegar, or Balsamic Vinegar.
  • Seal well with a foil lid - or if a parcel, bring the sides up and seal well, leaving space to steam.
  • Place in a preheated 200c oven and bake for about 1 hour.

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Asparagus & Snow Peas with a touch of Asia

A different take on asparagus and snow peas as a side dish.

Get everything ready beforehand as this can be cooked in the wok in a few minutes

You will need for 4 people

400gms Fresh Asparagus, washed, trimmed and cut in half
2 good handfuls of Snow Peas, whole
2 Spring Onions, sliced on an angle
Splash of Vegetable Oil
1 tablespoon of water with a pinch of Sugar

Mixed together

1 teaspoon of Sesame Oil
1 teaspoon of Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon of Dry Sherry
1 tablespoon of White Wine Vinegar
Sweet Chilli Sauce

Method

Heat the oil in the Wok until almost smoking.

Toss in all the asparagus and stir fry briskly for 1 minute. Then add the water and sugar, put a lid on and leave foranother minute to steam, shaking Wok a couple of times.

Take lid off.

Toss in the Snow peas, stir briskly and then add the liquid mixture of sesame oil etc. Continue to stir briskly for another minute or so and it is ready.

Can be served hot, straight from the wok or equally acceptable warm.

A sprinkling of Fresh Coriander leaves and a grind of Black Pepper will give it another lift.

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Asparagus, Leek & Pumpkin Risotto

A great winter warmer and a meal in itself or can be used as a side dish, full of flavour, texture and a real risotto creaminess!

You will need for 4 people

Olive Oil ~ about 1 tablespoon
1 garlic clove! Finely chopped or crushed
1 good sized leek, sliced and washed ~ including green part
250g of small diced pumpkin
1 cup of Arborio Rice
750mls hot chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock(half a cup of this can be replaced with white wine)
200g of washed and chopped fresh Asparagus
1 lemon, juice and zest

Method

In a large saucepan cover the base with olive oil, heat on a moderate heat then add the garlic, leek and pumpkin. Sauté gently to soften the vegetables ~ about 5 minutes then add the Arborio rice ~ stir well to coat all the grains with the oil and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.

Then start the absorption of the liquid into the rice ~ start by adding the wine if using and gently simmer, stirring frequently until absorb ~ then in stages add the hot chicken stock, a little to start with, stirring until absorb. Continue by adding the stock (amounts of which can be increased with each addition) and allow the rice to absorb the stock before adding the next.

Once all the stock has been used add the chopped pieces of Asparagus to the rice pot, a good grind of pepper, and the zest and juice of one lemon. Heat for a couple of minutes then turn off the heat, take off the heat, put lid on and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Ready to serve, maybe with a sprinkle of chopped parsley

A great winter warmer and a meal in itself or can be used as a side dish, full of flavour, texture and a real risotto creaminess!

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A Winter Salad

Freshly grated raw vegetables and fruit combine to make this a tasty crunchy addition to any meal and a lighter choice than Mayonnaise in a coleslaw Can be on the table in 5 minutes!

You will need for 4 people

For the Salad

1 large apple ~ washed and grated
4 carrots ~ scrubbed clean and grated
2 beetroot ~ peeled and grated
Handful of parsley ~ chopped
Salad greens such as pea sprouts, micro greens, English Spinach, shredded and torn lettuce mix
Toasted seeds such as sunflower, sesame or pumpkin

For the Mustard Dressing

1 tablespoon of grain mustard
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of extra virgin Olive oil
Good pinch of caster sugar

Method

Prepare all the salad ingredients and place together in a large bowl. You may wish to use gloves as the beetroot will bleed and stain your hands!.

Toss well together.

Mix the mustard dressing ingredients by shaking together well in a small screw top jar. Pour this dressing through the salad ingredients and toss and mix well to coat and make shiny.

Arrange in a shallow bowl or platter --- green salad leaves on bottom and up sides, grated salad mix in middle and scattering of toasted seeds and its ready!

Shredded cabbage can also be added to make it more like a coleslaw
Keeps really well covered in the fridge! Just make sure its not sitting in dressing!

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Watermelon Summer Salad

Capture all the flavours of summer in this easy to make salad that uses summer salad vegetables and provides a texture and surprising punch finish with the rocket, fresh chilli and garlic complimenting the sweet watermelon.

For a Salad sufficient for 4 people

Quantities are a guide only
1 Lebanese Cucumber, Peeled and large dice
1 small white salad onion, peeled and thin slice
3 Roma Tomatoes, peeled and dice
1 small red chilli, deseeded and fine chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons of a peppery Extra Virgin Olive oil
Stale bread, such as a Ciabatta or Biga loaf, torn into 50c coin sized pieces.
Around 3 handfuls!
Watermelon cubes about 1cm square 20+
Handful of torn rocket leaves
Handful of torn basil leaves.

Optional extras such as feta cheese or toasted sesame seeds

Method

It’s preferable if all the salad vegetables are marinated for 30 minutes before serving time.

Place the cumber, tomatoes, onion, chilli and garlic in a large glass bowl.

Sprinkle generously with sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Add the red wine vinegar and oil and mix everything together very well (with your hands is best).
Leave in the fridge to chill down.

When ready for the salad to be served, add the bread, watermelon, rocket and basil and mix well together (again hands are best) There will be a lot of liquid after the salad vegetables have sat in the bowl and the bread will soak up the majority of this if it is well mixed.

Transfer to a salad bowl for serving. (If there is still some liquid left in the bottom of the mixing bowl leave it there!) It is best that this salad is then served as soon as possible. If it is pre-made and left to stand the bread will become soggy, when it should be moist and still crisp for best enjoyment!

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Watercress, Feta & Tomato Salad

This really simple Salad is packed with flavour, needs very little preparation, just 30 minutes or so oven time! Ideal for the family or a special occasion, it looks fabulous on the table in a lovely Mediterranean style salad bowl!

Quantities given here are intended to be just a guide, but this is enough for a generous side salad for 4 people.

You will need:

1 Bunch of Watercress, washed, take out the really thick stalks (if any) and roughly tear the rest
1 punnet of Cherry tomatoes
1 small Red Capsicum (deseeded and roughly chopped)
100gms of crumbled Feta cheese
1 tablespoon of lightly toasted sesame seeds (dry fried in a pan for a few minutes)
2 tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 180°c or 160° c fan oven.

Place the whole tomatoes and chopped red capsicum on a baking tray. Sprinkle with olive oil, roll to cover…sprinkle with sea salt flakes and pop in oven for around 30 minutes until they become singed!

To put the Salad together:

Place Watercress in Bowl.

Place crumbled feta on Top.

Place the warm tomatoes and capsicum on top then drizzle the remaining oil all over, sprinkle sesame seeds over.

Serve, preferably as a warm Salad. Can be made ahead, even cook the tomatoes…just pop them in the oven for 5 minutes before putting together and serving.

Salad base can be any mixture of salad leaves….watercress, spinach and rocket are a good combination.

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WARM VEGETABLE SALAD

This easy to make salad using vegetables and rocket is enhanced by its honey and herb dressing and is a definite family favourite ~ and they get their 5 a day!

You will need for 4 people :

(but quantities can be changed to suit your taste and the season)

500g of scrubbed small potatoes (kifpler work well)
200g of Cauliflower florets
200g of broccoli florets
200g of green beans
100g of rocket leaves

For the Dressing

100ml Virgin Olive Oil
50ml White wine vinegar
125ml honey
2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon chopped Parsley
1 tablespoon chopped mint

Method

All the vegetables need to be steamed until just al dente.

This can be done seperately or using a large saucepan start with the potatoes and gradually add the other vegetables according to their cooking time.

Size of the vegetables can be a purely personal desire ~ large dice or small dice ~ both work equally well. So, dice the potatoes, and chop the beans while still warm.

Place all in a large bowl and gently toss through the rocket leaves.

For the dressing mix all the ingredients well in a screw top jar~ if the honey is sluggish warm it for a few seconds in the microwave.
The quantities for the dressing are much more than you will need for the salad ~ the rest can be kept for the next time!

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and a gently stir and it is ready to go.

This is best served either warm or at room temperature.

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Sweet Potato & Broccoli Salad

This easy, versatile salad relies on its tasty dressing to bring out the flavours and can be served as a warm salad or a cold salad ~ and it looks impressive!. Ideal to take to that BBQ, just put the dressing on at the last minute before serving.

You will need for a Salad for 4 people.

Amounts are a guide only, vary to suit individual tastes

500gms of Gold Sweet potato, cubed and then steamed, microwaved, or boiled until just cooked through.
Handful of broccoli pieces, separated and broken into small florets and quickly blanched in hot water and then drained.
1 red capsicum, deseeded and chopped into smallish pieces
1 large shallot finely chopped or half a red onion (or a couple of spring onions)
Rocket and or salad greens for the base of the salad.
Chopped chives to top the salad

Dressing - Put all these into the blender

1 egg
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon of Smoked Paprika or Paprika
½ teaspoon of dry mustard powder
1 crushed clove of garlic
Handful of roughly chopped parsley leaves
Good pinch of rock salt and pepper

Blend all the above dressing ingredients until all incorporated then

About ¾ cup full of oil (maybe mixture of olive and vegetable oil)
then, with the blender going, drizzle through the top of the blender the oil, very slowly to start with and the dressing should come together to a good mayonnaise consistency.

Method

Place the salad greens in the bottom of your serving salad bowl.

Place the capsicum and onion into a mixing bowl, stir round and then add the warm sweet potato pieces and stir well.

Arrange on top of the salad leaves ~ add the blanched broccoli pieces by poking in and around the sweet potatoes.

When ready to serve generously drizzle the dressing over and sprinkle with chopped chives. Can be served as a warm salad with the Sweet Potato & Broccoli freshly cooked or as a cold salad (take care to only blanch the broccoli or it will go soggy).

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Mushroom, Avocado Salad

A light, easy and healthy salad, perfect for summer.

Quantities can be determined by your individual taste but as a general guide…

In a bowl put

1 tablespoon of grainy mustard
A good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
A good grind of black pepper
1 cup of Sour Cream

Hand whisk together then add 250gms of washed/wiped button mushrooms, chopped into quarters. Stir to coat and leave to stand.

Method

To Serve:

As an Entree

On a bed of English Spinach and Fresh Basil Leaves.

Top with a sprinkle of Cayenne Pepper.

Serve with a thin rye toast or Italian Ciabatta Toasts
or
Serve Mushroom Mayonnaise in half an avocado with toasts.
Lacks colour - add some finely diced red capsicum or halved cherry tomatoes!

As a Salad

On a bed of lettuce/English Spinach and torn Basil with a large dice of Avocado and Diced Roma Tomatoes on top or round the sides. Drizzle with some good Virgin Olive oil.

As a Main Course

Salad as above with Smoked Fish or Smoked chicken from True Blue Smoked Fish and toasts.

"The Taste of Summer"

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Strawberry Spinach Salad

So many lovely summer greens available that marry beautifully with strawberries, you can use English Spinach, Beetroot leaves, Snow Pea Sprouts, Baby Red Chard or any mixture of greens in this Salad.

Method

Take - a large bunch of English Spinach (already well washed and "spun dry") and tear up into large pieces into a large bowl.

Add a punnet of washed, hulled and sliced strawberries.
Add half a thinly sliced red onion.
A handful of chopped fresh coriander.
Dress with the juice of 1 orange, a good dash of fish sauce and a dash of Tabasco

Toss

This Salad is best made ahead of time to allow the flavours to infuse. It can also be used in "wraps" as a salad roll!

For a bit more bite you can always add a good grind of black pepper and or paprika

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Fattoush Salad

Bring exotic Middle Eastern flavours into this crisp salad, easily made from the fantastic salad vegetables and greens now available, plus, it can be prepared quickly beforehand and put together in a second when serving time comes!

You will need for a Salad for 4 people.

Amounts are a guide only, vary to suit individual tastes

Couple of handfuls of your Salad Greens of choice, such as oak leaf lettuce, rocket mircrogreens.
6/8 radish, scrubbed and sliced
Punnet of cherry tomatoes or 6 large tomatoes (cherry tomatoes split or large tomatoes diced (skin first if you wish)
2 Lebanese Cucumbers, de-seeded and diced
1 red onion or a couple of large shallots finely chopped
½ cup of finely chopped herbs mixture of Mint, Coriander, Parsley
2 Pita breads, split, lightly brushed with oil, sprinkled with Sumac and dried in the oven. If no Sumac available use lemon pepper sparingly as a substitute.

For the dressing, place in a screw top jar and shake well to combine:

Juice of 1 lemon
2 grated or finely chopped garlic cloves
100ml of extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon of Sumac (optional)
1 teaspoon of Pomegranate Molasses or syrup (optional)
1 tablespoon of Honey

Method

Place the radish, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and herbs in a bowl and combine well.
In your salad bowl place in the bottom the salad leaves.
Pile on top the mixed salad vegetables
Liberally pour the dressing over the whole salad.
Then, place broken pieces of the pita bread in and around the salad. ( doing this after the dressing will keep them crisp and crunchy)

The preparation of this Salad can be made well beforehand.
Just put together at the last minute to prevent the pita bread going soggy.

Perfect with a BBQ leg of lamb!

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COUS COUS SALAD

A great salad that goes well with any dish, hot or cold and leftovers are fine the next day! This salad can be served warm or cold.

Method

Into a small bowl put:

3 vine ripened tomatoes, deseed them and chop the flesh into small pieces (discard the seeds).
Add 6 stringless green beans that chopped into 1 cm slices
Add a good handful of chopped fresh herbs - parsley is ideal for this but you can dictate the character of the salad by using your favourite herb or assorted herbs.
Finely chop 5 spring onions
Zest a lemon
a good grind of black pepper
a crushed clove of garlic optional!

Finely add 6 tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil and leave, if time to marinate before finishing the salad.

Pour two cups of very hot vegetable or chicken stock onto two cups of instant cous cous - leave to stand for 5 minutes then stir occasionally for 5 min with a fork to break up the cous cous. Stir through the marinated salad ingredients and serve warm or cold - a final drizzle of extra virgin olive oil will finish it off nicely!

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Warm & Spiced Carrot Salad

Carrots served as a warm spicy salad side dish that can be ready in less than 20 minutes. It does not have to be served warm, but can also be made ahead and served cold.

You will need for 4 people as a side dish.

Amounts are a guide only, vary to suit individual tastes.

250gms of carrots, peeled or scrubbed and chopped into 1 cm thick rounds
Olive oil for frying
1 large shallot finely diced (or onion)
2 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed
1 chilli, finely chopped, seeds removed for a milder flavour
Pinch of Ground Ginger and Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
½ teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
Tablespoon of White wine vinegar
Tablespoon of chopped preserved Lemon rind or grated zest of Fresh Lemon
Lots of Fresh Coriander Leaves
Fresh Yoghurt

Method

Simmer the carrots in plenty of water until just tender. Drain in a colander.

In a large frypan or saucepan, cover the bottom with olive oil then add the shallots or onion and cook gently to soften for a minute or two.

Add the cooked and drained carrots together with all the other ingredients except the fresh coriander and yoghurt.

Stir well and gently cook for a couple of minutes before removing from the heat. Season generously with rock salt

To serve:

Stir though lots of fresh coriander leaves. Place in a serving bowl. Either top with Greek yoghurt of serve separately.

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Roasted Beetroot & Summer Fruits Salad

Perfect time of the year to make this roasted beetroot and summer fruit salad with its tangy honey dressing; it works well as part of a summer meal ~ and besides looking good taste good too ~ and there’s very little cooking!

Sufficient for 4

1 medium sized beetroot
1 ripe Peach
1 ripe Plum
1 or two ripe and sweet tomatoes (Heritage such as Jeunne Femme work well)
Snipped fresh Chives
Salad greens such as Rocket, micro greens, herbs or lettuce or any mixture!

For the Dressing:

1 tablespoon of grainy mustard
1 tablespoon of warm honey
2 roasted garlic cloves flesh
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

Method

Roast the beetroot and the garlic cloves (in their skins). This can be done by wedging or dicing the beet root into reasonable sized chucks, tossing in a little oil, sprinkle of sea salt and roasting on tray in a 200c oven for about 45 minutes. My preference is to roast the beet root whole rubbed lightly with oil (not peeled) with the garlic cloves in their skins and wrapped in a small foil parcel. When cooked just rub the skin away. Wedge the beetroot when ready to put the salad together. This way the beetroot retains a beautiful red colour. Squeeze the flesh out of the garlic cloves and use in the dressing.

Put together the Salad by arranging on a plate or platter the salad greens, arranging the wedged beetroot with the wedged fresh peach, plums and tomatoes on top and sprinkling with snipped chives.

The dressing ingredients need to be mixed well together in a screw top jar.

I prefer to dress the salad about 15 minutes before serving. This gives time for the dressing to infuse the fruit and vegetables without making them go soft.

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Apple Fennel & Artichoke Salad

Best made ahead of time these unorthodox “salad” vegetables in a lime or lemon dressing really give a lift to a lamb dish, but go equally well with other meats.

Alternatively it can be served as a starter in its own right, either as it is or just top with some soft goats cheese and herb croutons or shaved parmesan!

Sufficient for 4 either as a side or small starter

Vary proportions of vegetables to suit your taste!

For the vinaigrette beat together:

3 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice (75mls)
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (75mls)
¼ cup of Extra virgin olive oil (125mls)
Tablespoon of snipped fresh chives and the chopped fronds from the fennel bulb if you have any
Good grind of black pepper
2 Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 100gms)
2 sweet apples, cored and thinly sliced
1 small fennel, thinly sliced
Savoy Cabbage, thinly sliced (about 150gms)

Method

Place the dressing in a bowl.

One by one prepare the salad vegetables as indicated above, each time adding to the bowl and stirring them through well to coat with the dressing. This will prevent them from discolouring.

Once everything is in the bowl stir again thoroughly to evenly distribute in the dressing ~ I do find hands are best for this ~ though messy.

The salad can be used straight away, but I prefer to place it in plastic lidded container, glad wrap on the to[ of the salad to again further discourage decolourisation, lid on and keep in the fridge. It benefits form several hours absorbing the flavours.

Serve on a bed of rocket, salad greens or micro greens.

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STUFFED ZUCCHINI

This time of year zucchinis are plentiful and often grow so fast they get out of hand.

This is an idea for using the larger zucchinis as a shell for a savoury filling that is baked in the oven ~ but you can still always use smaller zucchinis and follow the same principle but serve one per person.

If the zucchini is really old you may find you may not be able to eat the skin but the flesh will be fine.

The stuffing can be vegetarian based such as a risotto or as in this, recipe I am using a lamb mince recipe

You will need for 4 people :

1 very large Zucchini
For the stuffing
400g of minced lamb
Cup of Chicken Stock
1 white onion diced
1 garlic clove finely chopped
2 tomatoes ~ seeds and watery centre removed and the flesh chopped
Pinch of cinnamon
tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
tablespoon freshly chopped mint or rosemary
Salt and Pepper to season
Grated parmesan for sprinkling on top (can be mixed with a few breadcrumbs and melted butter).

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180c or 160c fan oven.

You can pre cook the zucchini by gentle steaming or microwave for a minute or two.
I don’t bother ~ preferring to bake it raw in a water bath so it steams as it cooks.

Prepare the zucchini by taking the top of lengthways and scoop out all the seeds leaving and bottom of flesh within the zucchini to act as your case.

In a hot fry pan heat a touch of oil and fry off fast the minced lamb until browned. Add Onion, Garlic, Tomato and cinnamon ~ stir quickly then add stock. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed ~ finally add the cinnamon, herbs, Balsamic Vinegar and seasoning. Stir well and simmer for a short time to remove surplus liquid.

Using foil double wrap your zucchini bottom and sides ~ twisting the ends to keep the zucchini in shape, leaving the top open – like a boat. Pile the stuffing in the cavity. Top with cheese.

Place in a baking dish and pour boiling water round the zucchini to come about half way up. Cover whole tray with foil.

Place in oven and cook for about 30/45 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes to brown the top!

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Zucchini & Mushroom Frittata

Make in a one pan, ideal to take to a picnic or barbeque. Easy to make and gluten free!

You will Need:

2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small Onion (or1/2 a large one) chopped finely
1 Zucchini, preferably small (about 220g) thinly sliced
100g of button mushrooms - about 10 - halved
3 tablespoons of Parsley washed and chopped
2 tablespoons of Basil, roughly torn leaves
6 beaten large free range eggs
150g of Feta, crumbled
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

This can all be cooked in your favourite frypan - about 22/25cms.

Heat the oil over a moderate heat, add the onion, stir well, add the mushrooms,
stir well and then add the sliced zucchini. Season to taste with salt and pepper
Cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add chopped herbs, followed by the gently pouring all the beaten egg mixture over
Crumble the Feta all over the top. Cook covered on a moderate heat for about 5 minutes until just setting.

Finish off under a pre-heated grill until bubbling and set or place in a pre-heated 180c oven,
again for about 5 minutes till set.

An ideal dish for a picnic - take in the pan and decant, if necessary onto a platter when you are ready to eat.

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St. Clements Chicken

A straightforward chicken casserole dish enlivened with citrus flavours and a touch of heat which can be ready in around a hour!

Sufficient for 4 people

Quantities are a guide only

8 chicken drumsticks
1 large leek, washed and sliced into rounds
3 garlic cloves, fine chop or crushed
Olive oil for sautéing the chicken and Leek

Sauce

Mix together to make up to about 1 cup
2 tablespoons of fresh Orange Juice
2 tablespoons of fresh Lemon Juice (or lime)
1 tablespoon of Soy Sauce
½ Cup of Chicken Stock
1 Tablespoon of Honey
plus
1 Tablespoon of Orange Zest
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoon of chilli paste of chilli sauce (optional but gives it a lift)
Teaspoon of cornflour mixed a touch of cold water to thicken (optional)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 220ºc or 200º for a fan forced oven.

Slash each chicken drumstick a couple of times to ensure that they will be properly cooked through to the bone! If you wish you can dredge them in flour before sautéing, this will help thicken the end result sauce.

Heat a smattering of oil in a large frypan and then (in batches) brown and seal the chicken drumsticks for a few minutes each side.
Remove to a large casserole dish and place into the oven for 30 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking make the sauce (using the same frying pan the chicken was cooked in).

Prepare the leek and garlic and place in the pan the chicken was sautéed in and cook on a low heat to soften, but not brown.

Prepare the rest of the sauce ingredients, turn the heat up on the fry pan and add them to the leeks and garlic, stirring well and let gently bubble for a couple of minutes. Once the chicken has been in the oven for 30 minutes, remove, carefully pour the chicken juices into the sauce in the frypan, re-heat and cornflour mix if using.

Turn the oven down 20ºc. Pour the sauce in the frypan evenly all over the chicken pieces and return to the oven for 15/20 minutes. Do test to ensure chicken is cooked right through to the bone.

Serve with oven baked polenta topped with the chicken and lots of juices!!

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SWEET NUTTY CHICKEN

This recipe uses skin-on chicken, such as thighs, breast or even a whole chicken. The stuffing is slipped under the skin and will help infuse the chicken with flavour and crisp the skin.

For 4 people you will need:

4 decent sized chicken thighs or equivalent skin- on chicken cuts
50gms of softened butter
50gms of Macadamia Nuts – chopped by hand (not blitzed to a powder)
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley – chopped
1 tablespoon of chopped herbs such as sage, thyme, rosemary – even some peppery rocket or any mixture of all the above
1 tablespoon of Honey
200mls of white wine or chicken stock
Some butter to fry the chicken.

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180c or 160c for a fan assisted oven.

Wash and dry the chicken.

Make the stuffing by gently mixing together all the ingredients to form a soft butter.
Slip your fingers under the chicken skin and raise it enough to spread the butter.

Shape and replace the skin (if you can keep part of the skin attached whilst doing this it will retain its shape better when cooked).

Heat some butter in a heavy pan and over a moderate heat place the chicken pieces face down.
Ensure the pan does not get too hot or the honey will burn.
Cook for about 5 minutes or until chicken skin is crisped and golden coloured.
Remove to an oven proof casserole dish.

Turn the heat up under the pan and quickly deglaze with wine or chicken stock.

Pour this around the chicken and place in oven, uncovered for about 45 minutes. Timing obviously depends on the size of your chicken pieces and may take longer.

Serve with cooking juices poured over – a thin sauce flavoured by the sauté of the chicken, the stuffing juices and the wine! If you prefer a thicker sauce – thicken with a little cornflour or arrowroot.

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Spicy Beef Bread Pizza

A delicious, spicy pizza for the whole family.

Using a flat bread such as Ciabatta or Turkish Bread for the base of this tasty lunch, supper or picnic meal:

You will need:

1 Leek (or Onion) Chopped
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 red Chilli (seeded and chopped)
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
300gms small dice Pumpkin
500gms Minced Beef
2/3 Sandia or Red Capsicums seeded and large dice
1 ½ cups of stock
2 tablespoons of Tomato Paste
2 tablespoons of Vinegar
1 tablespoon of Light Brown Sugar
400gm tin of cooked Chick Peas
150gms of grated mozzarella Cheese
1 Ciabatta or Turkish Bread
Greek Yoghurt
Fresh Coriander

Method

Beef Filling:

Heat oil in a frypan on a moderate heat add the Leek, Chilli, Garlic, Cumin, Ginger and Pumpkin.
Stir fry gently for about 10 minutes.
Turn up the heat a bit and then add the minced beef, stir through and cook through
thoroughly for about 15 minutes, stirring often.
Add the stock and tomato paste, stir through and leave to simmer on a gentle heat for as long as possible.
An hour slow cooking is good; if it dries out too much add more water or stock.

To Finish:

When juices have evaporated add to meat mixture the can of Chick Peas,
together with the vinegar and Brown Sugar - heat through.
Slice the top off the bread - spoon mixture onto the bread, top with mozzarella
and place in 180c oven or under grill. A fan/grill oven works well for this.
Cook until cheese is melted a bubbling.

To Serve:

Top with Thick Greek Yoghurt and fresh Coriander leaves.
If using for a picnic put bread top back on meat and wrap in foil to keep warm and moist.

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Spaghetti Chicken Pie

An easy to make all in one main meal dish, using the cooked spaghetti as your pie crust!

As a rough guide for 4 people

cook your usual amount of spaghetti (about 250gms) until it is al dente. Drain well.

For the filling in a lightly oiled heated frypan

(a touch of sesame oil helps) quickly fry off
1 finely chopped onion
2 thinly slice rasher of bacon
2 thinly sliced small chicken breasts

Method

Take your cooked spaghetti and line a quiche dish or deep sided pie dish as you would with pastry, remembering to build up the sides with more spaghetti to make it resemble a crust.

Put all your cooked ingredients on top of the spaghetti base, give it all a good grind of fresh black pepper, a good sprinkle of fresh herbs.

Beat 4 or 5 free range eggs and pour all over the pie, and finely top with a good covering of grated cheese. Mozzarella works well or cheddar or parmesan.

Bake in a preheated 180c oven for about half an hour until pie is set and top is golden.

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Quick Spicy Chicken

An easy to make spice paste that goes well with chicken pieces (or with pork belly strips).

Chef: Ian Haine

Method

Use chicken pieces such as drum sticks, thighs etc. This recipe makes easily enough for 8 pieces. Wipe the chicken pieces dry, leaving the skin on and score the skin and flesh of each piece a couple of times with a sharp knife. Rub them well with olive oil, sprinkle with black pepper and then pop into a shallow baking tray in a pre-heated oven 180°c oven for about 20 minutes.

To make the paste, mix well together by whisking with a fork:

¼ cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 teaspoons of curry powder
2 teaspoons of sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
5 teaspoons of paprika
3 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce
(You can vary the amounts to suit your taste)

If there have been a lot of juice come out of the chicken, pour these off and then coat the chicken pieces with the paste and return to the oven. Keep an eye on it and turn or baste if the chicken shows sign of burning. Cook for 30-40 minutes until you are confident the pieces are cooked through to the bone.

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POTATO & LAMB PIZZA

This recipe at first sight may seem rather bizarre, but it does in fact work well, is very Moorish and will please all the family. Instead of a pastry base, it is mashed potato. This recipe came from the daughter of an Italian family, so there may be some authenticity there!

It is made in 2 parts. The mashed potato base and the lamb topping.

You will need:

Approx 900g/1kg of mashed potato (kestrel work well)
1 white onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
B lack pepper
500gms of prime mince lamb
4 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped
Optional: Grated horseradish for the mash or grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons (or more of grated cheese for topping)

Method

Make your mashed potato by boiling peeled potatoes in large pan of salted water.

I prefer to dry mash them, but I do add a finely grated horseradish root. A couple of tablespoons of grated cheese will also give it a lift.

On you baking sheet, or pizza stone spread the mash out, gently firm down, and shape.

Make your topping by frying off in a touch of oil your chopped onion and garlic over a gentle heat until translucent. Add the mince lamb, turn up the heat and continue cooking and stirring to brown the meat for 5 mins. Add the Black pepper, tomato, tomato paste, Balsamic and sugar, turn the heat down and let it gently simmer away. Keep a watching eye and stir from time to time providing there is enough liquid in the mixture this can be cooked for as long as you like. Certainly, 20 minutes is good, but cook longer for a greater depth of flavour.

At the end of the cooking add the chopped mint, stir well and simmer for 3 minutes.

Preferably, the mixture should be dry by now.

Put together by spooning the lamb mixture over the mashed potato.

Finish with a sprinkling of Cheddar Cheese.

Bake in a 180°c oven 160°c fan for about 20/30 minutes until starting to get crusty.

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Pork Sausages, Leek Bacon, & Apple Pilaf

A one-pot winter warmer using just a few ingredients can be on the table within an hour; or prepare and finish the oven cooking later.

You will need for around 4 people:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for sauté
4/5 Thick Pork Sausages each sliced into about 5 pieces
4/5 slices of Bacon, large dice
2 leeks (or onions) sliced
2 or 3 Braeburn Apples, Cored (not peeled) and large dice
1 ¼ cups of long grain rice
2 ¼ cups of Chicken or Vegetable Stock (preferably hot stock)
½ cup of chopped black parsley
Freshly ground Black pepper

Method

Heat your oven to 150ºc (or 170ºc for a fan-forced oven).
This is best cooked in a heavy duty stove top to oven to table casserole with a lid.
If you don’t have one of these cook the stove top part in a large base saucepan or frypan and then transfer to an oven proof casserole that has a lid.

Bring your casserole pot up to a moderate heat and add enough Olive Oil to cover the bottom then toss in the diced sausage and bacon and sauté gently, stirring frequently and brown the sausages and crisp the bacon. This will take about 5 minutes. While they are cooking wash and clean the leeks and cut into large dice along with the apple.

Remove sausages and bacon from pot and place to one side. Re-heat pot and place the leek and apple into the pot. Stir well. Add a dash more oil if needed and sauté gently to soften for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the dry rice and stir to coat with all the juices for a minute or two before adding the stock. Bring to a simmer. Add the chopped parsley and stir well together with a generous grind of black peppers. It will be very liquidly. Pop lid onto the pot and then place in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Check, but the liquid should by now have all been absorbed by the rice and the rice should be cooked

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Pork chops with roasted fresh Pears

A straightforward twist on pork chops by cooking them with pears, just a short stove top preparation and then pop in the oven to cook!

You will need (for 4 people):

1 good sized free range pork chop per person (or leg steak)
Oil for frying
1 Leek, washed, sliced (or Onion)
2 pears , peeled, cored and quartered
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)

To deglaze the pan you will need:

1 tablespoon of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar
Black Pepper
¼cup, or so, of water

Method

Heat some oil in a frying pan until well sizzling then generously brown and crisp 4 chops on each side for 2/3 minutes both sides and then take them out of the pan and place then in an ovenproof dish.

Add to the pan, the sliced leek rings, the chopped garlic and the pear halves. Stir well and give them a good over grind of black pepper. Sizzle them all together until they start to brown and caramelise.
Remove pears and mixture from pan and place in the ovenproof casserole dish with the browned pork chops.

Return the pan to the heat, mix together the deglazing mixture and pour into pan when hot, bring to a fast sizzle and then pour over the casserole – pop all into a 180°c oven and bake for a further 20/30 minutes (depending on thickness of chop) until you are sure the chops are cooked through.

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Pork with Fresh Peaches

An easy stove top dish that combines the flavours of free range pork with fresh peaches all in the one pan.

You will need for 4 people:

4 Pork chops. I use Forequarter Chops (take the bones out if you wish)
Salt and Pepper to season
1 white onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 medium sized fresh Peaches
2 teaspoons of Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon of Honey
100ml of Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup of Vegetable Stock
Vegetable Oil

Method

Season the Pork with salt and pepper and then, in a large frypan over a high heat seal the pork in vegetable oil for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the pork from the pan to a platter and using the frypan with the pork cooking juice in add a little more oil, turn the heat down to moderate and add the sliced onion and chopped garlic. Stir fry them until soft, about 5 minutes.

Take 2 of the peaches, skin them and chop the flesh and add to the frypan of onions and garlic and continue to stir fry them all together for 2 minutes.

Turn the heat up and add the Balsamic Vinegar, allowing it to bubble furiously for 2 minutes and deglaze the pan. Then add the cup of Vegetable (or Chicken) Stock. Bring to a bubbling simmer, add the Dijon Mustard and Honey, stir through thoroughly and continue to simmer, reducing the liquid to about half and thickening the sauce. This may take 5 minutes or more. Return the pork to the pan, (include the juices as well) coat with sauce, and simmer for about five minutes.
Can be left to rest in the pan with a lid on.

Serve with the remaining two peaches, stones, peeled and sliced on the top of the pork, together with microgreens, accompanied by crushed Kestrel potatoes and green beans.

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Pork braised in Milk

Cook in one pan on the stove top, this quick and straightforward pork dish comes out beautifully moist and flavoursome from being cooked in milk!

Sufficient for 4

Knob of butter a splash of olive oil for sautéing the pork
Dry flour mix of
2 tablespoons pain flour
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon of finely chopped Rosemary
Salt and Pepper seasoning
4 loin Pork chops, or scotch fillet or even large diced pork
½ cup of full cream milk
And
¾ cup of full cream milk to finish.

Method

Make up the dry flour mix for the pork
Thoroughly coat your pork all over with the flour mixture.
Keep the remaining flour mixture!!!
If using pork chops I take the bone out, but this can be cooked on the bone if you wish.

Heat the oil and butter till hot in a high sided fry pan and then add the pork pieces.
Turn the heat down to moderate and cook for about 4 minutes each side.
Take the left over flour mixture and blend thoroughly with the ½ cup of milk.
Pour this into the pan and shake and stir the pan to incorporate into the pork juices.
Do not worry if it looks unappetising and coagulates! It’s meant to look that way.
Pop a lid on the pan and let it gently bubbly away for about 30 minutes. The pork can be turned during this time.
Check the pork is cooked through; remove to a plate cover and let rest.
Keep the pan on the stove and then add the ¾ cup of milk, stir and whisk through thoroughly to blend the cooking juices and milk until you have a smooth sauce and let it gently bubbly for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. Stir again thoroughly if it has started to separate during this reduction.

It’s now ready to serve, with the sauce poured over the pork!

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Pork & Noodle Thai Style Salad

This easy recipe, besides being really tasty and Moorish is quite stylish and suit any occasion!

You will need for around 4 people

400 – 500g of minced Pork
Grated fresh ginger (small knob)
pinch of Paprika
Small red chilli finely chopped (optional)
1 small cos lettuce, or half a large one, washed and shredded
125g of thin rice vermicelli or noodles (soaked in boiling water to soften)
Zest and juice of 2 – 3 limes (or lemons)
2 tablespoon of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of light brown sugar or palm sugar
1 small 9 or (½ large) red onion thinly sliced

Method

Cook the pork mince

Heat a touch of oil in a large pan and then fry the mince together with the paprika, grated ginger (and chopped chilli if using). Keep stirring frequently so the meat because separated and even browning. This may take about 10 minutes. It really needs to be a dry panfry, so avoid using lots of oil.

Whilst this is happening make the salad part:
Place the slice red onion in a bowl and marinate with about ¼ of the lime juice. (this will not only soften the onion, it will also soften the hot onion flavour and make it sweet and palatable!)

Make a dressing by combining the lime zest, rest of the limejuice, soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar.

To Put together and serve (once the meat is cooked)

In a large bowl combine the shredded cos lettuce with the well drained rice noodles (I actually like to heat the rice noodles in the microwave before doing this but they can be cold)

Drain the lime juice off the red onion into the dressing

Toss the lettuce and noddles in the dressing.

Transfer to serving bowl or dish
Spoon the Meat mixture on top – decorate with the red onion and finish with some fresh chopped coriander

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Pork Meatballs

These tasty pork meatballs or patties can be on the table in less than 40 minutes; or prepare beforehand and finish cooking when required. They make a great picnic food, either with salad or in pita bread or a crusty roll! Depending on how you intend to serve them they can be made any size you wish!

You will need for 8 to 10 decent sized meatball patties for a main course

For the Sauce:

½ large white onion, peeled and diced.
½ red capsicum, de-veined and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed or fine chop
2 ripe large tomatoes, preferably skinned and roughly chopped
Splash of stock or water if needed.

Meatball mix

First ~ Mix together well
2 teaspoons of Oyster Sauce
2 Teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon sugar

In a large bowl put

The sauce from above
450/500gms of Pork Mince
1 beaten free range Egg
4 tablespoons of bread crumbs
1 tablespoon of chopped Fresh Sage

Method

In a large frypan place a scant splash of oil and place the onion, capsicum and garlic.
Sauté on a medium heat to just soften and colour the onion for only 2 to 3 minutes then add the diced tomatoes and continue to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. The tomatoes should give up some liquid to make it a lumpy saucy consistency. If not add a touch of water or stock. Transfer to an ovenproof baking dish.

Make the oyster sauce /Soy mix then add to a large bowl and mix thoroughly through by hand. With wet hands form the meat mixture into balls or patties of desired size.

Wipe out the frypan, touch of oil and heat up to a moderate heat before placing the patties in the pan. Don’t move them around too much leave them, to brown and form a crust and then flip once and sauté the other side. This should only take a few minutes each side depending how hot the pan is.

Place the meatballs in the sauce already in the baking dish and place in pre-heated oven.

10 to 15 minutes should be enough to ensure they are cooked through.

Serve with Polenta, egg noodles, spaghetti and a green garden salad

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Pork and Chicken Pie

With whole eggs through the centre of the pie and fresh herbs it’s a perfect cold main course or picnic to go food, and of course looks pretty speckie when cut into thick slices with the egg through it! It can of course be served warm as well!!

This can be made in a small loaf tin, spring form cake tin or pie plate.

You will need:

1 quantity of short crust pastry for the bottom, side and top of your chosen container.
A hot water pastry works well for this style of pie and is easy to make!
Hot Water Pastry:
450g Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
200ml of water
170g Butter (or lard can be used, or ½ and ½)

Pie Filling

500g Pork Mince
200g of small diced chicken flesh
Black Pepper
Finely chopped fresh thyme and Sage
optional a small fine chopped onion or white of leek
3 or 4 hard boiled eggs
Egg wash

Method

Heat oven to 190º c or 170º c for a fan oven.

Make the meat filling by mixing well by hand the pork, chicken, pepper and herbs (and onion or leek if using). Compress well by hand into a large sausage shape and leave to chill in a bowl in the fridge while you make the pastry.

For the pastry,  in a bowl dry mix the flour and salt. Place the water and butter in a small saucepan. Heat until bubbles start to appear round the edge then whisk and keep whisking until you have a rolling boil. Immediately pour this all into the flour bowl and stir well with a wooden spoon to combine to pastry consistency. Allow to stand for maybe 10 minutes until pastry is cool enough to handle. Divide into two balls, one big enough for the bottom and side and one for the top of your pie. Place two strips of baking paper in and overhanging your tin so that when cooked the pie can be lifted out. Roll pastry out to required shape (not too thick) for your chosen baking dish or tin and line bottom and sides, pressing into bottom, wall and corners leaving an overhang. Compress some meat mixture into bottom of tin, lay hard boiled eggs along tin (its ok for them to touch ends) and fill round and on top with remainder of meat mixture.

Fit pastry lid and crimp edges to seal. Make a couple of small crosses in top to allow steam to escape. Brush top with egg wash.

Cook in oven for 1 hour. If possible, take out of oven. Lift your pie out of baking tin using the overhang baking paper, place on tray and return to oven for another 10/15 minutes to crisp up the sides.

Cool or refrigerate before serving with a fresh crisp green garden salad!

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Chinese style Pork & Fresh Plum

Use pork mince or diced pork to make this Chinese flavoured dish all in one pot and on have it on the table within 40 minutes.

Sufficient for 3 to 4 serves you will need

500/600gms of Pork mince or diced pork
250g Sweet Potato, peeled and small dice
1 large red onion (100gms) peeled and sliced.
5 fresh plums, washed, de-stoned and halved (about 400gms)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 long green chilli, fine diced (optional)

For the Sauce Mix together

1 tablespoon of Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon of Chinese five spice.

Method

This can be made in a wok or a large frypan.
Heat you pan on a high heat until smoking and then add the pork and continue to cook on high, stirring frequently for around 5 minutes until it is well browned and any fat/water has cook out. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and set aside.

Return the pan to a moderate heat, adding a splash of oil if necessary and then the potato, onion, chilli if suing and the garlic. Stir fry for 5 minutes before adding the plums, stir well and continue cooking for 3 minutes before adding in the sauce mixture and let it gently bubble away for a few more minutes.

Add the pork to the pan and allow it to simmer gently until the pork is cooked through. The sauce should thicken, but if there is too much liquid this can be thickened with an arrowroot/cornflour and water mix.

Once the sauce is of your desired consistency and colour, hopefully deep red from the plums it should be ready. Test for the right balance of sweet and sour and adjust if necessary and serve!

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Picnic Pie

Ideal hot or cold, travels well, eats fast, best to make a big one!

All you will need is:

A quantity of shortcrust pastry (equal proportions of Plain Flour, Self Raising Flour and Butter)
Onions
Tomatoes
Pork Mince
Eggs
Seasoning and herbs to taste.

Method

For a reasonable sized pie, made in a 22cm pie dish, enough for 6 hungry people you will need a quantity of Caramelised Onion.

Take about 750gms of Onions, peel and thinly slice.
Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan, fry off the onions gently for about 5 minutes until softening and colouring, add 2/3 chopped fresh tomatoes and a good grind of black pepper to the pan, stir well, cover and cook for about 30 minutes until well caramelised.

Stir occasionally and to check the heat is not to hot to burn.
Uncover, if necessary, for the last few minutes to steam off any excess moisture.

Line you pie dish or plate with your favourite pastry, spread the caramelised onion on the bottom  top with about 400/500gms of seasoned fresh pork mince and then finally pour over the mince 4 well beaten free-range eggs.

Finish the pie with your pastry top.
Egg the top well and cook in 180c oven for about 30 minutes.

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Pearl Barley Risotto with Asparagus and Chicken

A twist on risotto by using pearl barley gives a really creamy, nutty and comforting taste and texture to this dish, and add some fresh asparagus, chicken and leek and it’s a great winter comfort food!

You will need for 4 people

2 cups of Pearl Barley (or can use 1 cup of pearl barley and 1 cup of Arborio rice)
Knob of butter and splash of olive oil
1 leek, washed and chopped
250g of washed and chopped asparagus
1 large chicken breast, slice and diced
½ cup of chopped fresh parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste.
1 to 1 ½ litres of hot Chicken stock or mixture of stock and white wine

Method

In a large saucepan cover the base with olive oil and butter, heat on a moderate heat then add the leek, pearl barley and Arborio Rice. Sauté gently to soften for about 5 minutes then add a cup or more of hot stock. Stirring, rapid boil for about 5 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Turn heat down then continue to add stock half a cup at a time and stirring often allow the liquid to absorb. As absorption is reached and before sticking to the bottom add more stock. Continue for about 20 minutes, by which time the pearl barley should be softening.

Add the diced chicken meat, stir well and add more liquid and maintain a low simmer for about 10 minutes, continuing to add hot stock. Then add the chopped asparagus and continue for about another 10 minutes. If you run out of hot stock and its still a bit al dente add some hot water! Check it is not sticking on the bottom of the pot!!

The whole cooking process should take about 40 minutes. This can be hastened by par boiling the pearl barley on its own in which case it will not need so long in the risotto pan.

Finish with plenty of fresh ground pepper the chopped parsley and a real thorough stirring!

Cover the pot; take off the heat and leave to stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Covered it will keep hot for at least 10 minutes.

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Leek, Potato, Pumpkin & Bacon Bake

A warming winter dish, either as an accompaniment but also stands up well on its own. Can be easily made ahead of time and cooked when required.

For 4 people you will need:

500gms of Peeled and small diced potato (Delaware's work well)
500gms of peeled and diced pumpkin (Butternut works well)
2 Leeks trimmed, sliced into rounds and washed
2 or 3 rashers of diced bacon
250 ml of hot vegetable or chicken stock
1 tablespoon of oil
Topping cheese (optional) about a handful

For a vegetarian option just leave out the bacon and use vegetable stock.

Method

Heat oven to 200c (or 180 fan oven).

Heat the oil in a large frypan and gently cook all the vegetables and the bacon, getting the juices to flow and mix until the vegetables are par cooked.

Pour the leeks, potatoes, pumpkin and bacon, together with juices into a buttered oven to table baking dish and spread them out in a rough manner. Add the hot stock, cover with foil (or lid) and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Remove the cover and continue baking to crisp the vegetables (about another 20 minutes.
Add a handful of your favourite cheese towards the end of cooking.

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Leeky Beef layered Pie

A hearty warming winter casserole mixing beef hot pot with teriyaki style gravy.

For 4 people you will need:

500gms Rump Steak, thinly sliced
600gms par boiled potatoes sliced
1 teaspoon extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 leek washed and thinly sliced into rounds - including green stem
1 Cup of Mozzarella Cheese
1 Cup of Cheddar Cheese

For the Gravy:

1 clove garlic, finely chopped
125 ml Dark Soy Sauce
125 ml Sherry
2 teaspoons of Sugar
Black Pepper
Arrowroot to thicken
Or
Your own favourite gravy recipe
Pre heat oven to 180c.

Method

In a Wok or sturdy frypan heat up the olive oil till nearly smoking and quickly sear the beef strips for about a minute then remove to a side bowl. Do this in a couple of batches to avoid the meat stewing. Re-heat the wok and toss in the leek rings and stir fry, turn heat down and sweat them without burning for a few minutes. Remove to the same bowl that the beef strips are in.
Re-heat the wok and put all the gravy ingredients, bubble away for a few minutes and then thicken with cornflour and a touch of cold water until you get a good gravy consistency. Drain the juice s from the beef and leek into the gravy to capture all their flavours.

To Assemble:

Mix the Mozzarella and cheddar cheese together.
Using an oven to table Pyrex/Corning style casserole layer first ½ the meat, then ½ the potato, (keep the slices small for easy of serving) then the ½ cheese mixture, repeating again finishing with a cheese topping. Before putting the last layer of Potato and Cheese on the pie pour the gravy evenly throughout the dish.

Cook for about and hour, until top is golden

(if top cooks too fast place the lid on the casserole)

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Leek, Ham & Asparagus Carbonara

A great dish for a winter's night!

Method

For 4 people I suggest about 375gms of good quality Fettuccine Pasta

up to 500gms if you are big eaters!

Cook the pasta (according to packet instructions)

Whilst the pasta is cooking in a large frypan heat up 2 tablespoons of extra virgin Olive Oil

Add 1 small or half a large leek that has been cut in half lengthways
and thinly sliced and gently saute until translucent.

200 gms of diced smoked Ham together with
200gms of Asparagus, in 2 cms slices.

Toss with the Leek and saute for another 2/3 minutes.

Beat together:

4 Free range Eggs
1 cup of full fat milk (cream can be used)
½ cup of Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.

When Pasta is cooked, drain, return to saucepan.

Combine together the Asparagus mixture with the egg mixture,
stir thoroughly and then add to the cooked pasta in the saucepan.

Return to heat for a minute or two, stirring all the time to warm and thicken the sauce.
Serve immediately with lots of black pepper!

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Lamb Pilaf

This can be simply put together in a large saucepan on top of the stove using just a few ingredients.

You will need for around 4 good serves:

Olive Oil and butter for sautéing together:

2 medium sized beetroot, peeled and small dice
2 small parsnips, peeled and small dice
1 leek, washed well, sliced in half lengthways and chopped
500g of minced lamb
1 cup of long grain rice
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint
Zest strips of half a lemon
500mls of hot chicken stock
Black Pepper

Method

Pre heat oven to 180° c or 160°c for a fan oven.

Melt butter and olive oil over a slow heat in a stove top/oven heavy duty casserole add the diced/sliced beetroot and leek and sauté for 10 minutes taking care not to burn, but rather sweat. Turn the heat up and add the minced lamb, stir well and break up any lumps and continue cooking until lamb is slightly browned. Add 1 cup of washed long grain rice, stir well and leave for a minute.

Add the hot stock, stir well and then stir though the herbs and lemon zest, and finish with a good grind of black pepper.

The pilaf can now be finished two ways. Leave the pot on a low heat, cover and cook slowly for about 25 minutes or place lid on dish and place in pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes. Either way take off heat or out of oven and let sit, covered for at least 5 minutes before taking the lid off, fluffing up and serving.

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Lamb, Pumpkin and Lentils

A meal in itself that can be cooked on the stove top in one pot and be on the table within the hour!

You will need for around 4 people :

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for sauté
500g of large diced lamb
2 tablespoons of fine chopped fresh Rosemary
Black Pepper
1 large leek, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or fine chop
500g of peeled pumpkin flesh, large dice
1 Jerusalem artichoke (about 100g) small dice
1 tablespoon of seed mustard
2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
2 cups of freshly cooked brown/green lentils (or a can, drained and rinsed)
2 cups of stock or water (beef works well in this recipe) or stock and red wine

Method

This is best cooked in a high sided frypan with lid or a large base saucepan.

Cover the base of your pan with olive oil and heat on high until the oil is hot, then, with care place the lamb into the pan, and let it sear and sizzle for a few minutes to seal. Stir to brown all the meat. Add the rosemary and black pepper, stir well for a minute or two, turn the heat down to moderate and add the leek, garlic, pumpkin, artichoke and cook for around 15 minutes to soften and part cook the vegetables. Take care the heat is not too high to burn them.

Finally add the mustard and vinegar and incorporate into the pan then add the stock and the lentils. Still well, bring to simmer, pop lid on and turn heat down to very low and cook until the pumpkin is cooked, hopefully only about 10 minutes.

Take the lid off, steam off some of the juices if you feel there is too much left in the pan, but the finished dish should be moist with some sauce.

It is now ready to be served – or keep warm by taking the pan off heat and leaving lid on until you are ready to serve ready.

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Lamb and Vegetable Pasties

Pasties are traditionally made with a hard crust. This is soft crust version, much more palatable.

(Quick guide for this pastry is twice as much flour as butter.)

for about 6 pasties you will need

350g of self-raising flour
175 g of butter in small pieces
and a good pinch of salt.

Rub all the ingredients together.

What I do is pulse them in the food processor until crumb like, then take them out and knead them into a firm dough with about 4 to 5 tablespoons of cold water.

Wrap and chill while you put the filling together.

Simple filling for pasties, in a bowl mix together:

225gms of minced lamb
1 potato, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion chopped

Method

Together with any other root vegetable of choice such as Swede, Turnip, parsnip.
Mix through the vegetables a good slosh of Worcestershire Sauce and a good grind of pepper and some fresh herbs such as parsley.

Cut the chilled pastry into 6 even pieces.
Roll out into circles about 15cm.
Spoon filling onto one half, fold over and seal and place on baking tray.
Brush with beaten egg and bake in 200c oven for about 30 minute.

Re-brushing with egg half way through to ensure "golden finish"

Just the thing for a wet, windy and cold winter's night!

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Lamb, Leek & Lentil Curry

A very straightforward simple curry dish that provides a really tasty and filling meal.

For 4 people you will need:

900g or more of diced large diced lamb, such as leg, shoulder or forequarter
1 very large leek, or two medium leeks washed, sliced and drained
1 teaspoon of Paprika (or chilli if you prefer it hot)
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon of turmeric
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh ginger
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3 cups of water
1 cup of cooked green/brown or puy lentils

Separately mix together or blend:

Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup of Coriander leaves finely chopped
½ cup of mint leaves finely chopped

(Optional pre cooked cauliflower, broccoli florets and matchstick carrots)

Method

In a large high sided frypan that has a lid or a large base saucepan place all the ingredients (except the lentils and the herb mix) toss well together, then heat up until you reach a simmer.
Pop the lid on and simmer for about 45 minutes with an occasional stir.
Stir though the lentils and simmer for about 10 minutes with the lid off.
Finish by stirring through the herb mixture (if you blend the ingredients you will have very green curry! and the vegetables if using, re-heat for a minute or two and you are ready to serve!

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Simple Lamb Koftas

Easy to maker meal with a delicious aroma of fresh herbs, fruits and a touch of spice!

Method

Enough to feed four people 3 kebabs each.

Into a large bowl put

400gms of fresh minced lean lamb
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon on ground cumin
good handful of finely chopped fresh mint leaves
good handful of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 teaspoon of harissa paste or substitute chilli powder
or paprika or hot chilli sauce or enough to taste.

Finish with a good grind of black pepper and stir well to incorporate all the herbs, zest and spices.

Roll into small sausages and then slice onto wooden skewers (pre soak to stop drying out when cooking). Cover the base of a frying pan with olive oil and shallow fry in batches only takes a couple of minutes or so per batch turning half way through

Serve with a yoghurt sauce from
200ml of Greek yoghurt,
squeeze of lemon juice,
tablespoon of chopped mint
and some more harissa or spice to warm it up

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Lamb in a Pot

An easy lamb chops recipe.

An easy recipe, using lamb chump chops (other lamb cuts are OK)
all cooked in the same stovetop to oven to table casserole dish. 
I use a heavy caste iron casserole.

Firstly some stove stop cooking:
Heat a smattering of olive oil and butter in the casserole and add

1 leek sliced into rounds and well washed and drained (no leek, substitute onion)
together with 2 cloves of crushed/finely chopped garlic.

Sweat together for about 10 minutes - taking care not to burn -
then turn the heat up and add your Lamb Chops,
cooking for about 3 minutes on both sides to brown and seal.

 

Take off heat.  Add to the pot a tin of drained and rinsed Chick Peas (400g)
(I remove lamb chops for a moment, place the chick peas on the leek
and then replace the lamb on top of the Chick Peas).

 

Add enough liquid, preferable stock, to just cover.  (Vegetable, chicken or beef whatever your preference).
I like to add to the stock ground pepper, maybe a dash of Worcestershire Sauce and/or a teaspoon of vegemite.

 

Finally top off with vegetables.
I usually use par-boiled potatoes, thinly sliced and arranged in an overlapping formation on top of the lamb.
Maybe make two layers with two vegetables, turnip and potato, pumpkin and potato.
Even a layer of spinach under the potato works well!

Dab a few knobs of butter on the top.

Bake in a pre-heated 180c oven for about 30 minutes, until all bubbling and potatoes golden!

Method

An easy recipe, using lamb chump chops (other lamb cuts are OK)
all cooked in the same stovetop to oven to table casserole dish.
I use a heavy caste iron casserole.

Firstly some stove stop cooking:
Heat a smattering of olive oil and butter in the casserole and add

1 leek sliced into rounds and well washed and drained (no leek, substitute onion)
together with 2 cloves of crushed/finely chopped garlic.

Sweat together for about 10 minutes - taking care not to burn -
then turn the heat up and add your Lamb Chops,
cooking for about 3 minutes on both sides to brown and seal.

Take off heat. Add to the pot a tin of drained and rinsed Chick Peas (400g)
(I remove lamb chops for a moment, place the chick peas on the leek
and then replace the lamb on top of the Chick Peas).

Add enough liquid, preferable stock, to just cover. (Vegetable, chicken or beef whatever your preference).
I like to add to the stock ground pepper, maybe a dash of Worcestershire Sauce and/or a teaspoon of vegemite.

Finally top off with vegetables.
I usually use par-boiled potatoes, thinly sliced and arranged in an overlapping formation on top of the lamb.
Maybe make two layers with two vegetables, turnip and potato, pumpkin and potato.
Even a layer of spinach under the potato works well!

Dab a few knobs of butter on the top.

Bake in a pre-heated 180c oven for about 30 minutes, until all bubbling and potatoes golden!

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Lamb and Sweet Corn Burger

Easily made ahead these are an ideal addition to the summer barbecue either for a burger or just make patties to served as part of the BBQ choice!

Sufficient for 4 large burgers or 6 smaller patties

500g of quality Lamb mince
2 tablespoons of fine chopped fresh coriander and mint
1 Cob of fresh Sweet Corn, kernels stripped from cob
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika or sweet paprika
2 cloves of garlic fine chop
2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of crushed sea salt
2 slices of stale bread, soaked in water then squeezed hard to remove water
1 egg lightly beaten

Method

Make up the burger mixture by mixing well by hand all the ingredients together.

A better result is obtained if everything is initial mixed thoroughly together omitting the vinegar and egg and then add the vinegar and egg and thoroughly mix again.

Using wet hands compress the mixture into pattie sizes of choice, lay on a plate, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until needed.

BBQ on an open grill. Depending on thickness of your patties and heat of your BBQ they should only take a few minutes each side. It is advisable to make sure they are well sealed from cooking before flipping them. They can of course, be cooked on a BBQ plate where they will just be more fried than grilled!

Ideal served in a burger bun with your favourite additions.
Balsamic Grilled Eggplant go very well with these in a burger bun!

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Lamb & Feta Meatballs

Meatballs with a subtle, north African twist.

Just a few ingredients, easily put together and cooks in only 10 minutes; all with a hint of north African flavours. Then use as you wish, either plain or make a simple sauce and serve with egg noodles or pasta for a fuller meals.

Sufficient for around 16 meatballs

Splash of olive oil for sautéing the meatballs
500 g of lamb mince
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 teaspoons of ground coriander (or sumac)
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs - rosemary and mint work well
1 teaspoon of finally grated lemon zest
50g finally chopped leek (white part) or chopped chives
100g of feta cheese, crumbled

Method

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly together by hand.
Using wet hands form into large walnut size balls. These can be stored on a tray in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook.

Heat the oil in a frypan to a reasonable moderate heat. Toss in the meatballs and allow to seal for a few minutes before gently tossing them around the pan. Continue cooking and turning them frequently for about 10 minutes, by which time they should be reasonably evenly browned and cooked through.

They can be eaten as they are or make an easy sauce while the meatballs are cooking from Passata, garlic, leeks and herbs. The meatballs can then be tossed in the sauce and served or if accompanying with egg noddles of pasta toss these in the Passata sauce and serve the meatballs on top. They can also be used as finger food or picnic food as they are or put into pocket pitas with a touch of salad and yoghurt.

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Lamb, Fennel & Leek oven Risotto

A one pot dish, full of rich winter flavour and definitely comforting!!

This is best cooked in a heavy oven to table lidded casserole.

It involves stove top pre cooking and then slow cooking in the oven for 1 1/4 hours+

Heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over a moderate heat and seal your lamb.
Forequarter lamb chops, chump chops are fine, allowing one per person.
Diced leg of lamb (if you want it without the bones) can be used.
Seal the lamb chops on both sides, for just a few minutes, turning half way through.
Remove from the pot and set aside whilst you put together the rest of the vegetables
and rice in the same pot.

Prepare...
3 garlic cloves - crushed or finely chopped
1 leek, washed and chopped
½ cup of chopped parsley
Fennel bulb - the feathery leaves - about 1/2 cup chopped.
Rest of the Fennel bulb, thinly sliced (perhaps use only half if a really large bulb!

Method

Into the hot casserole on a reasonable heat (add more olive oil if needed)
toss all the vegetable and herb ingredients in and stirring, cook for just a few minutes.

Add 1 cup of Risotto rice ( no risotto rice any rice will do though short grain works better).
Stir through the mixture and cook for a couple of minutes to coat and absorb juices.

Add 1 cup of Vegetable or Chicken Stock, continue stirring and let the rice absorb the mixture.

When liquid has been absorb, add 1 cup of FULL CREAM MILK, stir through thoroughly,
add the seared lamb into the mixture, stir, pop the lid on and place in a low oven 150c for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes - check the dish, liquid should be well absorbed by now and will be gluggy!
Add 1 cup of either, more stock or white wine, stir, return to the oven for another 25 minutes.

Check again, if you wish you can add more liquid and cook further,
or can be left to stand with the lid on for about 10 minutes before serving.

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Herbed Lamb Cutlets with Rhubarb

Quick and easy to prepare, this a different twist for lamb cutlets or chops and partnering it with Some pan fried rhubarb and onion really raises the taste experience!

You will need (for 4 people):

Oil and butter for frying
Lamb cutlets or chops

For the herb crust marinade

1 teaspoon of ground coriander (or preferably 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds that have been dry roasted and ground)
1 teaspoon of salt and plentiful grind of black pepper
A handful each of Fresh Parsley, Coriander and Mint` all chopped
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Rhubarb – about 100g per person, washed and diced large about 5cms
2 onions, peeled and slices

Method

Make the herb marinade by combining the ground coriander, chopped herbs, salt and pepper with enough olive oil to make a paste. Press this (fingers are best) into either side of the cutlets or chops. Place in refrigerator until needed. Reserve any left over herb mixture for later.

When ready to cook, heat a mixture of butter and oil in a large frying pan. Place the cutlets into the hot pan, they will sizzle and spit so take care, and cook for a few minutes on each side until done to your taste. This will depend on the thickness of the meat. To keep them moist don’t cook right through, take off the heat and place in a moderate oven while you cook the onion and rhubarb
(or place on one side to rest if they are done to your liking).

Into the same frypan, turn up the heat and when hot throw in the onion and rhubarb, stir well, add any left over marinade and then turn the heat down to moderate and leave to cook through without too much stirring as you don’t want to break up the rhubarb if you can help it.

The onions and rhubarb should be cooked and caramelising after about 5 minutes. It is now ready to serve with the cutlets.

A turnip and red dragon carrot mash go well with this!

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Baby Leeks & Ham in a Yoghurt Sauce

A great way to turn leeks into a really tasty lunch or dinner dish, with only a few ingredients and ready to serve in 45 minutes.

You will need:

Leeks, as many per person that you want, depending on size!
Small leeks work really well. If the leeks are really thick you may think about cutting them lengthways!
Thin cut sliced Ham. 1 Slice per leek.
1 cup of full cream yoghurt
1 tablespoon cornflour1/2 cup of stock
Butter, small piece (20gms)
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh Thyme or Parsley
White pepper
1 free range egg
Optional:
1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard or Seed Mustard
or
1 tablespoon of Horseradish cream

Topping:

2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
1 heaped tablespoon of grated hard cheese
Splash of Olive oil and Pepper.

Method

Pre-heat oven to 190ºc or 170ºc for a fan forced oven.
Trim the leeks top and bottom. Wash the ends in case there is grit.
Pre-cook them either in the microwave or steam them on the stove top for 10 minutes.
When cool enough to handle wrap each leek with a slice of ham and arrange in a single layer in an oven proof dish.

Sauce:

Combine the Yoghurt and cornflour. Then add the stock and combine.
Heat a little butter in a small saucepan…when melted add the chopped herbs, take of heat and just swizzle them around in the pan to extract some flavour but not burn the. Put the pan back on the heat and add the yoghurt and stock mixture. Stirring well, bring to just below simmering point in the pan. Take off heat and whisk 1 egg through and add mustard or horseradish if using. Pour gently over the wrapped leeks in the pan. Don’t completely cover the leeks with sauce (there may be some sauce over). The sauce will thicken during cooking, but it is not intended to be a really thick sauce, more a pouring sauce consistency.
Combine the topping, breadcrumbs, cheese and oil and sprinkle over the leeks.
Place dish in pre-heated oven for around 25 minutes and its ready to serve.

NB: you can of course just make your own recipe white sauce, cheese sauce, parsley sauce, instead of the yoghurt sauce!

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Honey, Sesame, Garlic Beef

Flavourings more associated with a stir fry used here to make an easily put together casserole which can then be left in the oven to cook away! Easy.

For 4 people you will need:

2 tablespoons of Sesame Seeds ~ that have first been dry roasted in a pan and then blitzed in a grinder or pestle and mortar.
400g of diced beef. Scotch fillet works well and cooks quickly.
Chuck, blade etc., are also fine but cooking time will be longer to tenderize the meat.
2 medium Onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 – 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
3 tablespoons of Soy Sauce
150 mls of hot water
1 tablespoon of honey…or more.
Olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 160°c or 140°c fan

I cook this in a cook top to oven to table lidded heavy bottomed casserole dish but it can be cooked on the stovetop with a lidded frypan/pan that will also go in the oven.

First of all, dry roast 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds and blitz to a powder if you have a spice grinder; crush in a pestle and mortar or can be used whole.

Heat your pan on a moderate heat and add enough Extra Virgin Olive Oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. Toss in the onions and garlic and cook steadily for just a few minutes to soften down. Then add the ground toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce and water and simmer gently for a few more minutes.

Finally add the diced beef and the honey. Stir well to coat the beef for two or three minutes then pop the lid on and place in the oven. Depending on the cut of meat used cooking time should be about 30 minutes to 1hr and 30 minutes

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Guinness Beef Pie

Just the thing for a wet, windy cold winter's night!

Use a lean beef cut that will casserole well, chuck, blade or oyster.

For 4 good servings you will need about 1kg of beef cut into 1-2cm cubes

Method

In a large saucepan, or preferable an oven casserole dish that can be put on the top of the stove as well as in the oven. Heat up a couple of tablespoons of good quality olive oil until sizzling. Fry off the meat in batches - just enough at a time to cover the base of the pan, brown well all over , remove and repeat until all the meat cubes are seared and sealed - DO NOT STEW - if they do - start again with fresh oil!

Lower the heat then fry off 8/10 pickling onions until golden (or 2/3 larger onions cut into big wedges). Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of Plain flour into pan and stir to thicken remaining juices then return to the pan the browned meat.

Finish off with a good handful of chopped fresh parsley - a good grind of black pepper - a hearty slosh of Worcestershire Sauce and of course Guinness (about 330ml) and stir to deglaze the pan, then add the browned meat and combine well.

(You can also add large diced carrot or any other root vegetable or/and some diced garlic, at the same time as the onion and also a tablespoon or two of tomato paste just before you put in the flour).

Pop the lid on the casserole and place in a 180c oven for about 1 ½ hours.

Transfer the casserole contents to a pie dish and top with your favourite pastry, shortcrust, puff or whatever. Return to the oven to cook the pastry.

Want to make it richer - before placing in pie dish add another 100ml of Guinness; even a couple of really good slurps of H.P. sauce or go the full Irish and pop some oyster flesh on top of the meat just under the crust.

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Garlic Chicken and Rosemary

An easy to prepare chicken dish using Chicken portions (thighs, drumsticks etc).

To feed 4 people you will need 8 chicken thighs or equivalent.

Method

Dust the chicken in seasoned flour.

Heat 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a fry pan until hot and then toss in the chicken pieces, try not to stir too much so the skin browns and crisps and then turn over to do the other side.

Add one whole bulb of garlic, break the bulb up into cloves, do not bother too peel toss them in with the chicken and then add 3 or 4 really good sprigs of fresh Rosemary, stripping the leaves off the stalk.

Finally add a cup of liquid - I usually use half-and-half of chicken or vegetable stock with dry white wine, followed by a good grind of black pepper.

You can continue to simmer the chicken on a low heat on the stove - or place all the chicken and juices into a casserole and place in a low 160c oven for about 30 minutes.

Ideal with rice or pasta and salad.

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FRESH PLUM CHICKEN

A simple combination using a few fresh plums, stock spices and chicken pieces.

The chicken is marinaded first - preferable for at least 2 hours to bring the flavour out but can be as long as 24 hours

You will need for 4 people:

4 good sized fresh Chicken Thighs skin on and preferably boned out or use Chicken Breast

For the marinade

8 good sized fresh plums, washed, stoned and quartered
8 fresh sage leaves roughly torn
1 fresh Bay leaf
Zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup of Stock
1 cup of sweet white wine (if not using wine just use more stock but add 1 tablespoon of sugar)
A good sized pinch of
Ground Black Pepper
ground Cinnamon
freshly grated Nutmeg

Method

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl and then add the chicken pieces and coat well. Cover and leave in fridge. Turn occasionally will help the flavours through the chicken pieces.

Remove the chicken from the marinade. Keeps the pan with juices fro making the sauce
Heat a little oil in a frypan and cook the chicken on high skin side down and then turn until well browned.

Remove from pan and place in a 200°c oven to crisp and cook through.

Pour all the marinade including the plums into the heated chicken pan and bubble away until sauce reduces and starts to thicken. Too much and it will become jam like!

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FISH in a PARCEL

A really easy and clean way to cook fish fillets by wrapping them in a paper parcel with a few other fresh ingredients.

Cooking them in a pre-heated very hot oven only takes a few minutes and they are cooked/to steamed to perfection.

I use Whiting Fillets for my fish parcel, but any fish fillet can be used.
If the fish fillets are really thick and dense it may take longer to cook.

The fillets can be just put in a paper parcel as they are but I prefer to add some flavouring with a vegetable collection, that is par cooked before hand and sit the fillets on the vegetables in the parcel.

Enough vegetables for 2 individual fish parcels

½ leek, finely diced
½ a medium fennel bulb, grated
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
Black pepper
Grated Zest of 1 Lemon or Lime.
EVOO
English Spinach, 1 to 2 handfuls’, washed and torn. (1 hydroponic tub)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 250ºc or 230ºc for fan forced oven

Firstly, part cook the vegetables for the parcel, as the fish fillets are going to cook very quickly in the oven, it will be too quick to cook the vegetables from raw.
In a pan heat up some EVOO and gently cook through the leek and grated fennel bulb. Only a few minutes is needed, just enough to soften down. Turn the heat up a fraction add the parsley, lemon zest and pepper, stir well and then toss in the English Spinach…Stir for a minute or so until spinach is wilting. Turn off and cover and this can be left until you are ready to cook the fish.

I find it best to make individual serve parcels. Use a large piece of Baking Paper (or Foil). Place vegetable mixture in centre. Place your fish fillets on top of the vegetables. Grind of black pepper onto the fish and maybe a squeeze of Lemon or Lime.
Fold the paper up on all four sides and fold over to seal. Preferably leave some air gap above the fish to allow the steam to circulate.

Place on a tray.
Place in the pre-heated hot oven.

Fish will be cooked in around 4/5 minutes. Definitely use a timer as you don’t want to overcook the fish. If you are worried about the fish being cooked, a quick peek to check and it can always go back in.
I do leave the sealed parcel to rest for a few minutes before serving, just to finish it steaming.

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Fish and/or Seafood Lasagna

This can be a simple fresh fish lasagna or can become a real treat with the addition of your choice of seafood such as scallops, prawns or yabbies.

You will need for around 4 good serves:

500g + of good fresh fish (cut into chunks)or fish and seafood (prawns scallops yabbies mussels)
1 bunch of washed and shredded English spinach
1 cup of seasoned white sauce (more if you like it really saucy)
½ cup of Goats Blanc Cheese
Quality Lasagna pasta sheets – preferably fresh
Pitted olives and slice tomato for topping.
Grated cheese optional tor topping

Method

Pre heat oven to 180° c or 160°c for a fan oven.

Take your washed English spinach and wilt in a fry pan (only takes a few seconds). Remove from pan and squeeze all the moisture out and then chop by hand.

Into the warm white sauce thoroughly stir through the Goats Blanc Cheese.

Then into this sauce stir through your chopped spinach to finish with a speckled green and white sauce. Finally into this sauce incorporate all the fish or seafood mixture into the sauce.

Wet your lasagne dish ~ start with a small amount of sauce spread on the bottom layer your lasagne sheets alternately with the fish and sauce mixture. Finish with some sauce and top with pitted olive, sliced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes and maybe a grated cheese such as provolone, parmesan or even cheddar.

Bake for about 35 minutes. Test to make sure both seafood and pasta is cooked through.

Tip: If using packet dried so called “instant lasagna” pasta I often quickly soak the sheets in a tray of boiling water before putting them in the dish ~ this helps to soften and start cooking them and means that the fish will not be overcooked waiting for the pasta sheets to cook!

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Cous Cous Pork Sausages

A great change of style for the humble sausage.

You will need:

Sweet Potato, peeled and cubed (about 350gms)
Carrot peeled and diced (about 250gms)
Small Fennel, sliced
1 Red Capsicum, de-seeded and large chop (or Sandia Chilli)
1 onion or leek, chopped
500gms of Pork Sausage, cut into chunks
3 rashers of prime bacon large dice
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil

For the Cous Cous Base

1 1/3 Cups Cous Cous
1 1/3 cups of Vegetable Stock (or water).
400gm can of cooked Chick Peas
Fresh Coriander Leaves to finish
Pre heat oven to 200c.

Method

Into a baking dish toss all the ingredients (except those for the Cous Cous base)
in extra virgin olive and bake in the oven for 30 minute ( turn them halfway through baking time)

To Make the Cous Cous:

Place the cous Cous in a bowl and add the hot stock. Stir.
Add the Chick Peas.
Leave to stand for a few minutes, stirring to break up the cous cous from time to time.
(This can be made ahead of time and gently reheated in the microwave when you are ready to serve)

To Serve:

Pile the hot Cous Cous onto serving platter
Top with the roasted vegetables, Sausage and Bacon and sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves.
A taste sensation!

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Cous Cous Chicken with Apple

10 minutes stove top cooking and then casseroling this all in one meal couldn’t be easier.

Combining chicken, apple, leek and cous cous all in one it can be on the table in 40 minutes, or do the preparation and pop in the oven when you are ready.

Sufficient for 4

1kg of chicken drumsticks. Slash each drumstick 2 or 3 times, and pat dry
2 large apples, washed, cored and chopped into large wedge
1 large leek. Washed. Cut in half then quartered lengthways
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Rosemary
4 garlic cloves, crushed or fine chop
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 cup of cous cous
2 cups chicken stock

Method

pre-heat oven to 180º c (160º c fan oven)

Cover the bottom of a frypan (big enough to take all the chicken) with just enough oil and heat till hot. Add the drumsticks and cook on a high heat for about 10 minutes to crisp and brown the skin and render any fat from them. Turn them frequently. They will platter so take care. Remove the drumsticks and arrange in one layer in an oven proof dish or casserole. Pour the dry cous cous around the drumsticks in the casserole.

Return the frypan to a moderate heat and add the Apple, Leek, Rosemary, Garlic, Star Anise, Cinnamon stick and sugar. Stir fry for about 5 minutes until the apples are partly caramelized and the leeks softened, not burnt! Remove with slotted spoon and layer evenly over the chicken and cous cous in the casserole.

Return the pan to stove, high heat then add the chicken stock to deglaze the pan and then pour evenly over the casserole. It is now ready for the oven. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes, by which time all should be cooked and the cous cous will be moist with not only the stock but the vegetable and chicken juices.

TIP: always check the chicken is properly cooked through to the bone before serving.
This dish can all be put together in the casserole and then cooked in the oven later ~ but if you do this it may need slightly longer in the oven to cook through properly. Make sure it is tightly covered with foil ~ I use foil as well as the casserole lid to ensure that it is well sealed and the cous cous will steam cook properly rather than dry out!

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Chicken in a Wok

This is a simple method to steam a whole chicken in a flavoursome sauce that produces a moist, succulent and tender chicken for any occasion!

For 4 people you will need:

For the Sauce

1 Fresh free-range Chicken (about size 18)
½ cup of Soy Sauce (I prefer to use the Indonesian sweet soy for this recipe, Kecap Manis) and1 tablespoon of sugar if using ordinary Soy Sauce.
½ cup of Chinese Black Vinegar (if none available use red wine vinegar)
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of roughly chopped fresh Parsley.
Black Pepper

For the Chicken cavity

2 cm piece of fresh ginger roughly chopped
3 shallots or 1 large onion roughly chopped
1 whole lemon, quartered

Method

Place the chopped ginger, shallots and lemon into the chicken cavity.
Mix all the sauce ingredients together and place in a wok which has a well-fitting lid.
A large saucepan or stockpot can be used if you don’t have a wok big enough to take a whole chicken.
Heat the wok to a simmer and gently ease the chicken into the liquid, breast side down, place the lid on tightly ( use a weight if necessary as we want it to steam, and simmer gently away for about 40 minutes).
Check on the chicken and gently lift and turn to sit the chicken on its back bone.
Return lid to Wok and continue to simmer for about another 35 minutes. Check to ensure the chicken is cooked through to the bone by gently easing apart the chicken leg from the body. If fully cooked rest on a warm plate for 10 minutes before serving.

The poaching liquid can be strained, re-heated and thickened to use as an accompanying serving sauce.

This is a simple method to steam a whole chicken in a flavoursome sauce that produces a moist, succulent and tender chicken for any occasion!

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Quick Chicken

Take some fresh chicken, small onions and fresh vegetables and you can have this tasty dish on the table in around 20 minutes. Basically a chunky stir fry for those who are time short! Alternatively it makes a great filling for a chicken pie!

Sufficient for 4 people

Quantities are a guide only

12 small onions such as Gladalan brown onions or purplette mini red onions (about 150g) Peeled and left whole
2 Lebanese eggplants (about 150g) round dice
1 chilli, deseeded and fine chop
1 Apple, cored and chunked
400g of diced chicken, thigh or breast meat
6-10 green stringless beans (about 100gm) sliced into 2cm sticks)
Pepper
Touch of oil for sauté

Garlic and herbs can be added for extra flavour!

Method

In a wok or large frypan heat a small amount of oil till hot. Add the onions and stirring frequently cook on high for about 2 minutes, by which time they should be softened and starting to brown/char.

Turn the heat down on the pan to medium and add the eggplant, chilli and apple. Continue cooking and stirring often for about another 6 minutes.

Add the chicken chunks and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, turning frequently.

When the chicken chunks are nearly cooked add the green beans, lots of black pepper and any herbs you wish and continue cooking for another couple of minutes until you are happy the chicken is cooked through.

Hopefully both the chicken and vegetables will all have browned if not charred slightly as this will add to the sweetness and flavour of the dish.

If you wish add a splash of wine, stock or water to make it a bit more saucy!

It is now ready to serve with rice, potatoes or pasta.

Alternatively use this as filling for a chicken pie, with maybe the addition of a couple of tablespoons of water, wine or stock to keep it saucy

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Smoked Paprika Chicken

After 45 minutes marination you can have this dish on the table within 10 minutes, and use the marinade to make a herb and smoked paprika sauce!

For 4 people you will need:

2 large chicken breasts, medium sized dice
For the marinade combine together in a bowl
½ cup of full cream milk
½ cup of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoon of Smoked Paprika (or more)
1 tablespoon of Honey
1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsle
1 tablespoon of finely chopped coriander
1 tablespoon of finely chopped Rosemary

Method

Place the chicken chunks in the bowl of marinade and stir and coat really well.
Leave to marinate in the mixture for around 45 minutes.

To Cook

Remove the chicken chunks from the marinade and drain them well.

Place all the marinade in a small saucepan

Heat a wok or deep frypan with a couple of tablespoons of oil until very hot.

Cook the chicken fast and furious in the hot oil as you would a stir fry, moving them around the pan frequently. Depending on the thickness of the meat they should be cooked within 5 to 10 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking bring the marinade in the saucepan to a simmer, stir often with a whisk and reduce to thicken or add a little cornflour and water paste to thicken, especially if the milk is causing it to split.

Serving Suggestion

Serve on steamed basmati rice, poor the sauce over or serve separately, accompany with seasonal spring greens such as Asparagus, Broccolini, Sugar Snap Spas or Snow Peas.

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Roast Chicken with Garlic & Rosemary

Add a new dimension to chicken pieces, chicken breast or a whole roast Chicken.You will need chicken with the skin on as this stuffing goes under the skin next to the meat.

You will need for 4 people:

8 Chicken Thighs, skin on or 1 whole chicken, washed and patted dry
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh Rosemary
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped Parsley
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons of soft butter (about 30g)
Black Pepper
Lemon Zest
100mls of stock or white wine (apple juice works well too)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200ºc Combine the herbs, garlic, butter, pepper and lemon zest. Mix through thoroughly to form a butter spread. Ease the skin of the chicken thighs from one side and slip in about a teaspoon of the butter mixture and spread under the skin on top of the flesh, pulling the skin back down again.
With a whole chicken ease all the skin up from one end and spread all butter mixture over the breast.

Pack tightly into an oven dish and pour the stock / wine all over. Pop into hot oven for 10 minutes then turn down to 160ºc and continue cooking.

Thighs will usually take about 20 minutes, Chicken Breasts less, whole Chicken more. Baste with juices to keep top moist and achieve a golden finish. As with all meats, chicken benefits from being taken out of the oven and rested (covered) on a warm plate for 15 minutes.

It wont go cold and will finish cooking and tenderise the meat. This works really well with chicken thighs which can also be easily be cooked on the BBQ.

I deal with Norland "crushed potatoes". Boil your potatoes in salted water, drain, place in oven dish, crush with a fork and dot liberally with butter. Place in oven for butter to melt and infuse potatoes!

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Chicken Poached in a Saucepan!

An easy recipe, preferably for a whole chicken but you can use chicken pieces.

The chicken is cooked in a saucepan and the result is moist, tender and
flavoursome with a touch of Chinese style spices.

Wash your chicken inside and out, place in the cavity of the chicken
several pieces of peeled fresh ginger, a bruised stem of lemon grass,
parsley and 1/2 a lemon.

Make up the cooking liquid, enough to just cover the chicken in the pot:
1 1/2 cups of a dark Soy Sauce
1 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar, even red wine or port!)
2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice Powder
8 whole Star Anise
2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped.

Method

Pour onto and around the chicken in the pot and then heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Turn the chicken over and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat source, pop the lid on and leave to finish cooking in the poachingliquid for about 30 minutes.

Gently remove from sauce, take care, it may be fragile.
Rather than try to carve, cut the whole chicken into manageable pieces.
To add an extra flavour, brush the skin with sesame oil, which will enhance the glaze appearance, before cutting.

Some of the poaching liquid can be put into a separate small saucepan and with the addition of a thickening agent such as arrowroot or cornflour made into an accompanying sauce. The poaching liquid can be kept for another use. Chicken pieces and drumsticks cooked in this manner are ideal for picnic food.

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LEMON TURMERIC CHICKEN

Cook in one pan on the stove top, this quick and straightforward chicken dish packs a distinctive flavour by the marrying of lemon, turmeric, soy and a touch of honey.

Sufficient for 4:

Knob of butter a splash of olive oil for sautéing chicken
Chicken thighs. Skin on, wiped dry before cooking.
1 teaspoon of powdered Turmeric.
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of white pepper
¼ cup of light soy sauce
¼ of water (or stock or white wine)
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves

½ cup of full cream yoghurt to finish the dish

Method

Heat the oil and butter till hot in a high sided fry pan and then add the chicken pieces skin side down. Cook until golden and crisp. About 10 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, blend all the other ingredients (EXCEPT the yoghurt) in a vitamiser.

Once you are happy the chicken skin is ready, remove the chicken from pan and put to one side for a moment. Pour away the fats that will have accumulated in the pan.

Return the pan to a moderate heat and add the vitamised sauce, bring to a simmer and then pop the chicken pieces back into the pan, flesh side down in the sauce.

Simmer on the stove top for about 20 minutes. Cover with a lid to speed cooking.
Check the chicken is cooked then remove from pan, cover and rest while you finish the sauce. Turn the heat up and bubbly furiously to reduce the sauce, when thickened (a few minutes) add the yoghurt and whisk in thoroughly to make a smooth coating sauce.

Ideal served with rice, either spoon the sauce over the chicken or serve separately.

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Honeyed Chicken, Bacon and Asparagus

Easy to prepare on the stove top and ready in 30 minutes it packs a touch of spice mellowed by some honey sweetness.

It can be served traditionally with potatoes, vegetables or salad or lends itself to mix with penne pasta to make a pasta dish or a pasta bake.

Sufficient for 4:

500gms of 1 cm diced chicken flesh such as thigh(or more if big meat eaters)
2 rashers of bacon, diced or thin slice
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of seeded mustard
3 tablespoons of Paprika
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or fine chop
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce
1 chopped and washed leek
Up to 1 cup of hot chicken stock
150gms of slice fresh asparagus or more
2 tablespoons of Honey
Black Pepper

Method

Heat the oil to a moderate heat in the fry pan and add all the flavourings, mustard, paprika, garlic and Worcestershire Sauce. Stir well, it should make a thick paste and stir on the heat for a minute or two to bring out the flavours.
Add the chicken and bacon, stir thoroughly to coat the meats and continue cooking for 5 minutes taking care not to burn.
Add the diced and sliced Leek and continue stirring and cooking for a few minutes before adding the hot chicken stock. Stir well to mix all through and start to thicken the sauce by leaving on a slow simmer for about 5 mins.
Depending on the size of your chicken dice and the heat of your pan the chicken may be cooked by now. Check it and if not nearly cooked through leave for a few more minutes before adding the honey, a good grind of black pepper and the asparagus. Stir these thoroughly through the mixture. Pop the lid on. Turn the heat off and it’s now ready to go when you are.

Note at this stage you can also stir though some warm cooked penne pasta and either serve it straight away or pour the whole pan into a lidded oven proof dish and keep warm in the oven for later …or re-heat for later. The addition of 2/3 tablespoons of yoghurt to the sauce will give the dish a more creamy taste, texture and look.

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Chicken & Eggplant in a Garlic Sauce

This is a quick and easy way to have tasty eggplant and chicken in a garlicky sauce on the table in under half an hour – it’s a one wok wonder!

Sufficient for 4 serves you will need:

500gms of Chicken breast cut into strips.
250gms of sliced eggplant, preferably Lebanese eggplant cut lengthways

Mix together to make a sauce the following:

½ cup of hot chicken stock or water
3 or 4 crushed garlic cloves (This dish can take more garlic for a more intense flavour)
3 tablespoons of Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons of Oyster sauce
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of cornflour
1 or more finely chopped long red chilli (optional)
100gms of Broccolini or broccoli florets
1 spring onion to finish the dish!

Method

This can be made in a wok or a large frypan.
Lightly oil with couple of tablespoons of cooking oil, add a dash of sesame oil if you wish.
Heat your pan on a high heat until hot and then stir fry the chicken strips, in batches if necessary on this high heat until seared. This should only take 3 to 4 minutes at most.
Spoon the chicken strips out of the pan and then add the sliced eggplant and stir fry these for around 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the sauce and the chicken back into the pan and get them bubbling away for about 5 minutes, by which time the sauce should be reducing and the chicken and eggplant cooked through. Stir frequently.

Add the broccoli or Broccolini and stirring often I should only take about a further 2 minutes before the dish is ready to serve.

Ideal accompanied by any rice dish or noodles.

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Chicken, Cauliflower & Pasta in a Mustard Sauce

This Chicken, Cauliflower and Pasta dish can be served straight from the pot in about 30 minutes or as a pasta bake.

For 4 people you will need:

500g of large dice chicken breast or thigh
1 large leek, washed, sliced thinly and drained
Pepper
Olive Oil

Sauce

2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
1 cup of chicken stock (or half and half with white wine)
2 tablespoons of chopped Coriander
1 tablespoon of Honey
½ cup of Yoghurt

Pasta

Pasta of choice such as Penne or Spirals (2 cups or so)
½ Cauliflower broken into small florets

Method

Heat the olive oil in a fry pan and add the sliced leek; sauté until softened then add the chicken pieces and stir well and continue to sauce gently.

Make the sauce by mixing all the ingredients except the yoghurt.

Cook the pasta according to instructions. Add the cauliflower to the pasta cooking pot so that pasta is cooked and cauliflower is al dente.

Add the cooking sauce to the chicken, reserving about ¼ cup for the pasta
Coat the chicken and leek with the sauce and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes as the pasta is cooking.

To Serve:

Drain the pasta a cauliflower and coat with the reserved sauce
Add the yoghurt to the chicken pan and simmer to thicken ( if you want it as a really thick sauce add a little cornflour mixed with a little water)

Place pasta on plate (sprinkle with parmesan as an option and place chicken and sauce on top)

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Chicken & Cauliflower Chikka

The cheats version of Chicken Tikka.

Instead of making into kebabs (which you can still do if you wish) I have added cauliflower and made it into an oven dish. Only takes around 45 minutes to cook from start to finish, but does benefit from leaving the chicken to marinate in the sauce before cooking.

Marinade sufficient for up to 750g of chicken
4 tablespoons of Yoghurt
6 garlic cloves – crushed or fine chop
4 tablespoons of Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon of Paprika
1 teaspoon of Turmeric
Olive Oil
Chicken, thigh flesh is best, cut into large dice
Cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 lemon or lime

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180ºc or 160ºc for fan forced oven

Firstly, mix thoroughly all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and then add the large dice chicken pieces. Take the time to stir these through well to ensure they are all properly coated with the marinade. If you have the time the flavour will improve if the chicken is left in the marinade for an hour. But if you don’t have the time, carry on cooking!

Heat a little oil in a frypan and then add the diced chicken flesh, shaking the worst of the marinade off. You may need to do this in batches. Cook on a reasonable heat stirring frequently. The sauce may separate slightly, don’t worry, just keep stirring! The chicken needs to be sealed and part cooked, only takes a few minutes.
Remove to an oven proof dish, re-heat the pan and cook the rest of the chicken as before. Remove to the oven proof dish.

Place the remains of the marinade sauce back into the fry pan, re-heat and then add the cauliflower. Stir the cauliflower through for a minute or two to cover with the marinade, by this time all the marinade should be sticking to the cauliflower. Remove from heat and place cauliflower through the chicken in the pan. Take a lemon or lime, hand squeeze the juice all over and then place the two halves in amongst the chicken.

Cover the dish with foil to seal. Place in oven for around 30 minutes. Remove foil, check the chicken is cooked through and maybe give it 5 more minutes uncovered in the oven, before serving

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Chicken & Cabbage Pie

A chicken casserole/pie that uses cabbage instead of pastry!

You will need:

1 Sugar Loaf Cabbage - about 500gms
450 g of Diced Chicken Breast
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 chopped Onion
2 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice
½ teaspoon of Fennel Seeds
2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce
3 or 4 rashers of bacon, sliced into long, thin strips
a little white wine or stock
a touch of vegetable oil

Method

In a large saucepan of boiling water cook the cabbage whole for about 5 minutes.

Remove and Drain cabbage. Separate outer leaves whole, leaving just the heart of the cabbage.

Slice the par cooked heart of the cabbage.

In a frypan, heat a little vegetable oil and add the chopped garlic, onion and ginger and gently fry for 2/3 minutes then add the Chinese Five Spice powder, Fennel Seeds and the Soy Sauce, simmer to reduce then add the diced Chicken Breast and lightly cook the chicken pieces, stirring frequently for another 2/3 minutes.

Finally add the chopped par cooked cabbage heat, stir through and simmer for another 2/3 minutes to reduce liquid.

Using an oven to table, deep baking dish or casserole, line the bottom with ½ the whole cabbage leaves pour/scrap in the chicken mixture from the frying pan and top with the remaining cabbage leaves.

Decorate with the sliced bacon.

Bake in a 180c oven for about 45 minutes until bubbling and bacon crunchy!

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Caramelized Sweet Ginger Chicken

A great twist for chicken using crystallized ginger and honey to make an easy dish which packs some flavour. Needs time for marination, but actual cooking time is around 30 minutes and it only uses one pan!

For four people you will need:

500gms of Chicken breast or chicken thighs ~ skin on preferably.

For the Marinade:

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
6 pieces of crystallised ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar
1 small shallot, finely chopped ( or half an onion)

During the cooking you will need to add:

1 tablespoon of Honey
1 cup of Chicken Stock

Method

Either finely chop and place in a blender all the marinade ingredients.
Rub into the whole chicken pieces, place in a non-reactive bowl and leave covered in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes to one hour.

Take the chicken pieces out of the marinade.

Smear a large frypan with oil ~ heat up till hot and place chicken pieces skin side down and fry hot an quick until browned well. ~ turn over and brown the other side.

Remove chicken pieces from pan
On a medium heat add the honey, stir through and then add the chicken stock
and the residual marinade from the bowl.
Bring to simmer ~ return the chicken skin side and gently simmer until cooked through
Usually only about 15 minutes.

Serve on rice with the residual cooking liquid, reduced if necessary as the accompaniment sauce.

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CHICKEN FES

This marinaded chicken recipe uses lots of fresh herbs plus the addition of some fruit juice to make a sweet sauce. The marinade mixture given below will be fine for a large chicken or enough chicken pieces for 6+ people.

You will need to mix the following together in a bowl the marinade:

1 large stick of celery, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons of red wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of grainy mustard
250ml of Apple Juice (I use cloudy style) or Cider or grape juice

Prepare a good handful of fresh mint, chopped for later.

Method

Marinate the chicken in the marinade making sure it is well rubbed in….if using a whole chicken or chicken pieces on the bone, slash the flesh to the bone in several places to allow the marinade to penetrate. If using boneless thighs (my preference) they are ok as they are. The chicken will mature in flavour the longer it is left. Can be left overnight in the fridge but conversely if you are in a hurry the chicken can be cooked immediately!

Pre Heat Oven to 180ºc or 160c for a fan oven
In an oven dish place the chicken and marinade and roast in the oven.
Because of the sugar content of the juice the chicken skin may burn….baste frequently and if necessary add some water. Add the chopped mint 20 minutes or so from the end.
Boneless chicken pieces may take around 50 minutes to cook, bones pieces around 1¼ and a whole chicken anything from 1½ to 2 hours. Your oven and common sense prevails here.
The marinade can be used as a sauce, or maybe while the chicken is resting you could reduce and thicken if you wished.

This is ideal cold and travels well as picnic food!
Idea taken from Chicken Volubilis served by Robert Johnstone in his Ruined Garden Café in Fes

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Chicken & Sweetcorn, a one-pot Bake

A few fresh ingredients, made in the one pan makes this a filling and tasty dish for any occasion. Is it a frittata, a crust less quiche or a bake? It doesn’t matter as it tastes good! Ideal for lunch, dinner or picnic food!

You will need:

1 red Capsicum, deseeded and chopped fine
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
1 seeded chilli chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic chopped (optional)
400gms of skinless chicken breast, thin slice and dice
Kernels from 2 cobs of Sweet Corn
4 free range eggs
¼ cup of full cream milk
Hard grated cheese for topping (I use sheeps cheese)
seasoning

Method

Heat oven to 180ºc .
Use the top grill and fan function if you have one.

The best pan for this is a heavy bottomed fry pan that can also go in the oven. If you don’t have one of these, make the filling on the stove top and then cook in the oven in a flan dish.

Heat the frypan with a smidgen of olive oil and cook down the onion and capsicum together with the chilli and garlic, stirring well for only about 2 minutes.
Turn up the heat and add the diced chicken, stir well and cook for no more than 5 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and stir through the sweet corn kernels.

Beat eggs, milk and seasoning together and pour evenly over the pan. Pat down to make the top reasonably level…top with a grated hard cheese.

Pop in the oven. If you oven has top grill and fan function place pan on top shelf.
Keep an eye on it, but should be cooked in about 10 minutes.
In an ordinary oven it may take a few minutes more.

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Quick and Easy Chicken Curry (Bhuna style)

One pot, Chicken Breast, onions, tomatoes, lemon, chillies coupled with store cupboard ingredients and you can be serving this tasty Chicken Curry in around 40 minutes!!

You will need for 4 people:

Amounts are a guide only, vary to suit individual taste.

2 large skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
2 Onions. Peeled halved and sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cm piece of peeled ginger finely chopped
2 teaspoons of cardomom seeds
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
2 teaspoons of ground coriander
2 red chillies finely chopped. (Optional remove the seeds or add more chillies!)
1 teaspoon of fennel seed
Juice of ½ a large lemon
6 ripe tomatoes, preferably peeled and deseeded, then chopped
Salt, Sugar and water, white wine or chicken stock

Method

Heat a little oil in a large saucepan or deep frypan, medium heat
add the onion and soften for a minute or two before adding the garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir well and cook another couple of minutes before adding all the spices, stir well over the heat for another 2 minutes to release the fragrance.

Then, stir through the diced chicken meat for a minute before adding the lemon juice, the tomatoes, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar, and a slosh of water or stock.

Stir well. Bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally, add more liquid if drying out. Should be ready in about 15/20 minutes!

Steamed Rice and Salad and you have a meal on the table in double quick time.

TIP:

to deepen the spice flavour, dry roast the spices as seeds, then grind together to make your spice

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Lemon & Broccoli Chicken

A lighter dish than the normal sticky lemon chicken with a touch of Chinese flavours, all easily made in the one oven dish

For 4 people you will need

4 chicken thighs or 8 drumsticks ~ skin on
2 lemons
2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
Small knob of ginger, preferably grated or finely chopped
Sesame oil or Olive oil
Black Pepper
½ Teaspoon of Five Spice powder
2 tablespoons of Soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Honey
small bunch of Lemon Thyme or thyme ~ chopped or leaves stripped off stalks
Broccoli florets

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200°c or 180° for a fan oven.

This dish will cook faster if the chicken pieces are deboned or Sliced into 2/3 pieces or just 2/3 slashes in the meat with a sharp knife.

Toss all the chicken pieces in sesame oil or olive oil and pack tightly, skin side upward in an oven proof dish.

Cut one of the lemons into big chunks (6 or 8) and tuck between the chickens with the slivers of garlic. Give them all a good grating of fresh black pepper and sprinkle them with the grated ginger.

Place the dish in a pre-heated oven for about 30 mins.

While the chicken is cooking steam or microwave the broccoli until al dente.

After 30 minutes remove chicken ~ sprinkle with 5 spice powder, the Soy Sauce and the honey, the juice of the 2nd lemon finally finishing with the chopped thyme.

Return to the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes to finish browning and crisping the chicken and it is ready to be served ~ along with juice sin the pan!

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CHILLI, CHOCOLATE & BEEF CASSEROLE

If the Mexicans have been mixing these flavours for hundreds of years so can you…interestingly produces a really rich and heartening beef dish with a touch of creamy sweetness of chocolate and a slight chilli sensation!

Easy to make in an stovetop to oven to table heavy duty casseroled, can be put together in around 20 minutes and then slow cooked for a couple of hours.

You will need for around 4 people:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for sauté
2 leeks (or onions) sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
500/600gms of diced beef suitable for long slow cooking
Chilli – up to you – I use 1 purple and 1 green Poblano (mild flavour) Diced.
But you can use more or hotter chillies!
2 peeled and large dice carrots
2 sticks of celery large dice
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup of red wine
½ cup of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cocoa
500ml of stock
to finish – Chocolate - about 4 cubes – around 30gms

Method

Heat your oven to 140ºc (or 120ºc for a fan-forced oven).
Bring your casserole pot up to a moderate heat and add enough Olive Oil to cover the bottom then toss in the onion and garlic and sauté gently.
While they are cooking, trim and dice the beef, turn the heat up on the pot and toss in the beef and stir well. Follow this in the pot with the diced chillies, carrots, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Continue stirring for a couple of minutes and then one by one add the wine, vinegar, stock, stirring to incorporate, finally finishing with the cocoa, sugar and a good grind of black pepper!
Once the pot is back to the simmer, pop the lid on and then in the oven.
Slow cook in the oven for 1½ to 2 hours…or longer!
Just keep a check that the casserole still has plenty of liquid in it.

To finish..
Take the casserole out…put the chocolate pieces in and leave to soften and melt,
then gently stir so as not to break the meat up to incorporate into the sauce.
Serve with Creamy Mash or Creamy Polenta, preferably in a bowl with plenty of sauce!

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MISO BEEF & RAMEN NOODLES

A combination of different countries cooking style to make this a very tasty and easy to make soup/dish using beef mince which goes amazingly well with miso.

You will need:

1 large red onion peeled and finely diced
1 large capsicum, de-seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
450 gms beef mince (or more)
2 tablespoons of chilli sauce (if you don’t like chilli use tomato paste)
1 cup of beef stock
1 tablespoon of Soy Sauce
1 cob of sweet corn, kernels cut off with a knife
Ramen noodles
2 cups of miso soup (follow packet directions) or use stock

Method

Pre-cook the ramen noodles according to packet instructions. Drain.
Amount of noodles you use is your judgement.

Using a saucepan or a high side frypan on a moderate heat some vegetable and then add the diced onion, capsicum and garlic and gently sweat them for about 5 minutes so they become translucent rather than singed! Turn the heat up and add the beef mince….stir well through the vegetables and continue, with frequent stirring, to cook for around 5 minutes, by which time any liquid from the meat should have evaporated.
Add the chilli Sauce, Soy sauce and cup of beef stock….stir thoroughly and leave to simmer very slowly for about 30minutes…the longer the better for flavour enhancement but make sure it does not boil dry and burn! Finally add the kernels from one sweet corn, stir through for a few minutes.

Heat two cups of miso soup in a small saucepan. Do not boil, and just before boiling point add the ramen noodles to heat them through.

To serve:

Place noodles in a bowl, pile on the meat mixture in the middle, pour the miso soup round the edges and serve.

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Beef & Sweet Potato Cobbler

A warming winter dish that can also be made with Goat for a different taste sensation.

You will need:

500/600gms of diced Beef or Goat
4 tablespoons of Olive Oil
350gms Sweet Potato (small dice)
1 red onion chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed or chopped
1 Fresh Bay leaf
2/3 cups of Beef Stock/Red Wine
Flour & Salt to toss the meat in
½ teaspoon of Sugar

For the Topping:

1 cup of self-raising flour
2 tablespoons of soft butter
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
150ml of milk
Optional: grated cheese
horseradish

Pre heat oven to 200c.

Method

Toss the meat in the flour with a touch of salt and shake surplus flour off
Heat half the oil in a heavy based pan or casserole.

Fry off the meat in 2/3 batches to seal it, not stew it. Add a little extra oil if needed.

Reserve the meat on a side plate while you heat up the remainder of the oil and fry off the sweet potato, onion and garlic for a few minutes until lightly browned. Add and stir through the sugar.

Remove the vegetables to a side plate.

Deglaze the pan over a medium heat with beef stock and/or wine, scaping well to capture all the flavours from the cooking.

Return all the meat, vegetables and juice to the simmering stock, add the bay leaf, and stir through to mix well.

Cover and bake in oven for 1 hour 30 minutes.

To Make the Cobbler:

Rub the butter through the flour together with the sesame seeds and any other flavouring, incorporate the milk and mix to a scone consistency. Remove and uncover the casserole. Increase oven temperature to 220c. Stir casserole well and season if required. Dot spoonfuls of mixture on top or roll out and use scone cutter to make rounds and arrange on top of casserole. Can be egg glazed or sprinkled with grated cheese. Cook for a further 20/25 minutes until cobbler is risen and golden!

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Beef Sausage, winter Vegetables & Lentil Hotpot

A real winter warmer to satisfy the most eager appetitive with just a few simple ingredients, winter vegetables, beefy sausages and lentils all in one pot. Can be on the table in 40 minutes, or can be prepared and then slow cooked in the oven and ready to serve when you come in!

You will need for 4 people:

Olive Oil
Beef Sausages – number of sausages up to you!!
1 large leek, washed and sliced
1 celeriac, was, peeled and small dice (about 200gms)
or if no celeriac 1 stick of celery diced
1 large parsnip, peeled and small dice
1 Bay leaf, bruised
200gms of Puy Lentils or brown lentils
500mls of HOT stock of choice
Fine chopped Parsley and Rosemary to Taste
Lots of Ground Pepper
1 tablespoon grated fresh horseradish root or 1 tablespoon prepared Horseradish

Method

Just cover the bottom of a large saucepan or high sided frypan with olive oil and heat up. When hot put the sausages in the oil and brown them thoroughly on all sides for a few minutes. They do not need to be cooked through, just need the outside colouring up. If the sausages are very large you may be best to cut them into chunks!
Remove the sausages from the pan and keep to one side. Add the Leek , Celeriac and Parsnip and gently cook them for around ten minutes to soften them down.
Return the sausages to the pan along with the washed lentils.
Stir well for a couple of minutes before adding the hot stock.
If you are wanting to eat right away
pop a lid on and cook for around 20 minutes.
Remove lid, check on softness of lentils.
Add the parsley, rosemary, pepper and horseradish; simmer for a couple of minutes and then ready to serve.
OR
place lid on pan after you have added the hot stock and put in a low slow oven for anything up to 2 hours. Obviously, the lower the oven the longer it will cook. Just before you wish to eat stir though the herb, pepper and horseradish.

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Beef Rice Noodle Salad

This is a really easy dish to put together, basically a stir fry and salad, but packs plenty of flavour, with a touch of Thai.

I prefer to use salad mixes such as

Rocket, English Spinach, Red Mustard and Mizuna,
but fresh, crisp lettuce will work equally as well.
As to quantities of Salad, I always use at least 2/3 times
the salad greens you would normally use because of
the "wilting effect" when it is all tossed together.

You will need:

2 bunches of Fresh Green Salad leaves.
125g of Rice Vermicelli
450g of Rump Steak thinly Sliced
Sesame Oil
1 leek, julienned
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 red chilli, deseeded and julienned
1 Lime or Lemon, juiced.

Method

Make the salad in a large bowl by breaking up the leaves into bite sized pieces.
Immerse the Rice Vermicelli in boiling water for a minute then leave to drain whilst you make the rest of the dish.

Heat a little oil and the Sesame oil in a large pan or wok until really hot.

Stir fry the beef strips for a couple of minutes, turning frequently, toss in the drained rice vermicelli and continue tossing for another 2 minutes, finally add the Lime Juice, Soy Sauce and Fish sauce and julienne chilli.

Toss well – pour all onto the salad leaves and with tongs, toss the salad to integrate all the pan mixture and juices with the salad leaves until thoroughly mixed through.

Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and its ready to go!

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BEEF NOODLES

Asian influenced, this beef noodle dish can be on the table within 20 minutes!

Quantities given here are intended to be just a guide, but following these amounts there should be 4 good sized bowls. You need a frypan and wok to cook this.

The frypan (or a 2nd wok if you have one) to cook the beef, and a wok for everything else.

You will need for the frypan:

500g of mince Beef
2cms piece of ginger, peeled and grated
Pinch of paprika
touch of oil for the pan

For the Wok:

1 tablespoon of Sesame Oil
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
1 red capsicum, deseeded and cut into strips
1 green Capsicum, deseeded and cut into strips
1 red chilli (optional )deseeded and finely chopped
6 Spring Onions, slice
small handful of sliced green beans
2 tablespoons of Oyster Sauce
2 head of Bok Choy or similar Asian green or English Spinach
2 Cups of Beef Stock (or any stock can be used)
1 packet of fresh Asian Noodles out of the chiller cabinet such as Hoikken (soak in boiling water to separate)

Method

In the frypan heat a smear of oil and fry off the beef mince, ginger and paprika over a reasonably hot heat until all liquid is gone and it is crumbly and well browned.

While the beef if cooking heat the oil in the wok then add the capsicum, spring onion, chilli and cook on a high heat , tossing until they start to char a bit then add the green beans and the chopped stems of the Bok Choy continuing on a high heat, tossing all the time. Add the Oyster Sauce and continue for a couple of minutes before adding the beef stock. Bring to a simmer and add the Choy leaves along with the noodles – heat through.

Serve by ladling the beef broth, noodles and veggies into bowls and scattering the beef on the top

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Beef Meatballs in a milk sauce

Transform simple beef mince into a luscious, tasty and rich dish with this easy to make recipe which uses milk and cream for the velvety sauce. A real winter comfort food winner.

You will need:

½ cup of fine breadcrumbs
150mls of full cream Milk for the breadcrumbs
Touch of Olive oil and butter for sautéing
1 egg – lightly beaten
1 onion, peeled and small dice
500gms of Beef Mince
Salt and LOTS of Black pepper
½ teaspoon of allspice (optional)

To finish the sauce:

½ cup of Stock
½ cup of full cream milk and/or cream to finish
Flour to thicken (optional)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180ºc or 160ºfor a fan forced oven.
Mix the breadcrumbs with the 150mls of milk and set aside.
Gently cook the chopped onion in a little olive oil and butter in a large frypan until they are translucent.
Remove to a large bowl and then add the breadcrumb mixture, onion, egg, beef mince and
Seasonings. Mix thoroughly together by hand until firmly incorporated.

Using wet hands form the mixture into balls (about golf ball size).
Using the same pan you cooked the onion in (add a little more butter and oil if necessary) cook the meatballs in batches on a medium heat. Enough to brown them all over.
Reserve to an oven dish. When all the meatballs have been pan cooked pop them in the
pre-heated oven.

Make the sauce in the frypan by adding the stock and milk, scrapping the sides and whisking gently over a moderate heat. The sauce should be dark and creamy. Thicken if you wish.

To Serve:
Either just pour the sauce oven the meatballs and serve
Or
Place the sauce covered meatballs in the oven to keep warm till serving time
Or
Place the meatballs in the sauce in the pan, coat well and then serve

These meatballs are great when served with creamy mashed potatoes, sautéed red cabbage and Asian greens.

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Beef & Beetroot slow cooked Casserole

Put together in only 10 minutes with just a few ingredients it is the slow oven cooking that turns this casserole into a flavoursome and hearty main course, ideal for any occasion.

You will need for 4 people:

750g of Chuck Steak or Gravy beef, large dice (remove any sinew or gristle)
Olive oil to seal the beef
2 small or 1 large leek, washed and sliced into rounds.
1 clove of garlic, fine chop or us green garlic.
250ml of tomato Passata
250mls of stock (or red wine)
1 tablespoon of a sweet orange marmalade
Black pepper
4 medium sized beetroot, washed or peeled, sliced (about 400g)
Chopped parsley to finish

Method

Heat oven to 140º c or 120º c for a fan oven.

It is preferably to cook this in an oven top to oven to table heavy duty casserole. That way there is only one pot used!

Firstly seal the beef. Toss in a seasoned flour and then on the stove top heat the oil in the casserole on high and quickly sauté the beef pieces. Remove from pot. This is best done in two batches to stop the meat “stewing”. You really want to seal it and brown it!

Once the meat is done, turn the heat down, add a splash more oil and scrap any pieces down. Toss in the sliced leek and gently cook for a few minutes to soften.
Add the marmalade, Passata and stock or wine. Bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes then add back the beef pieces and any juices. Bring back to a simmer.

Take off the heat. Arrange the sliced beetroot on top of the meat and sauce. Press down into the sauce to ensure it will not dry out.

Pop cover on the casserole and place in the oven and leave for about 2 hours. Providing it is not drying out, and it shouldn’t be, it can tolerate even longer cooking.

Serve straight from the casserole with chopped parsley sprinkled on the top!

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Beef and Beer

Based on the French carbonade this is a simple dish that derives its flavour from the beer, beef stock and the browning of the flour. Once the preparation is done (about 30 minutes) this can be slow cooked at any time.

For 4 people you will need

500g of large diced lean rump or chick steak. Dry the meat pieces.
1 larger leek sliced and washed
knob of butter
Vegetable oil or rendered pork fat
2 tablespoons of plains flour
250mls of beer (preferably a flavoursome hopped beer)
250mls of good Beef Stock
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Few sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Few sprigs fresh parsley
Black Pepper
Chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Method

Melt the butter in a frypan over a low heat, when the foam subsides add the leeks and gently sauté, trying not to brown just soften the colour for about 30 minutes to draw out the flavour.

While the leeks are cooking in another pan, cover the base with a thin film of vegetable oil, heat until really hot then add a few pieces of the beef, don’t overcrowd and do this batches. Take care as his will be really hot and may splatter. Cook the beef until rich brown on the outside and transfer to a lidded casserole, preferable a heavy cast iron on. Add a little oil between each batch. For a more authentic taste use rendered down pork fat which will deepen the flavour of the finished dish.

Once beef is all cooked return the pan to a low heat and add the flour, stir through into the remaining fat, add more oil if seems to dry and continue to toast the roux until it turns a golden brown/amber colour, taking care that it does not burn! Take off the heat and whisk in the beer and stock until smooth. Return to heat and continue whisking whilst bringing to a simmer. Finally add the sugar, vinegar, garlic and thyme leaves. Simmer for a minute or two then…

Take the leeks off the heat and spoon over the beef in the casserole, pour the sauce over the beef, tuck a bay leaf and 3 or 4 sprigs of parsley in , grind some black pepper over, stir well, pop the lid on and cook in a pre-heated 180ºc (160ºc fan oven) for about 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Serve sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley.

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BEEF CASSEROLE WITH horseradish and orange

A bit of a twist on the traditional beef casserole. Slow cooked with the fresh grated horseradish adding spiciness rather hotness and the mellow aftertaste of red wine and orange.

You will need (for 4 people):

700gms of Chuck Steak trimmed and cut into a large dice (or any other beef cut that will slow cook well)
Flour, salt and pepper for dusting the beef pieces
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 large Leek, washed and sliced into rings
2 carrots - diced
1 stick of celery – diced
2 garlic cloves – crushed
2 bay leaves
Fresh Horseradish Root, peeled and grated (about 15cms of thick piece or to taste)
Zest of 1 Orange
1 litre of Beef stock OR
½ litre of Beef Stock and ½ litre of red wine such as Shiraz
1 tablespoon of grainy seed mustard
If available, bunch of small whole carrots to finish the casserole

Method

Pre-heat Oven to 160c (140c for a fan oven)

I use an oven to table cast iron casserole and prepare all in the same pot on top of the stove and then move to the oven.

Toss the Beef pieces in the seasoned flour and fry off in the hot oil until well sealed and browned (2 batches) Remove to side plate.

Add the Leek, Celery, Garlic to the pan juices and continue to cook stirring, for a about 10 minutes until soften. Add the Beef stock and red wine if using and bring to a simmer. Add the Grated Horseradish, Orange Zest, Bay leaves, Grainy mustard. Stir well – bring to simmer – pop lid on and place in oven to slow cook for about 2 - 2¼ hours. If you have a bunch of small carrots – place these whole in to he casserole about 40 minutes before the end of cooking time.

Great with Potato and Parsnip bake or a quality pasta!

Should sound hollow when bottom is tapped!

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Slow cooked Beef & Lentils Persian Style

A real warmer for a winter’s night, straightforward, but does need planning to ahead to enable the casserole to be gently slow cooked to bring out all the flavours.

You will need (for 4 people):

Olive Oil for browning the vegetables and meat
600gms (or more if big meat eaters) of a diced beef cut suitable for slow cooking

1 large leek, washed and thick slice
2 large carrots ~ large diced
1 large potato, peeled and large dice
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 teaspoons each of Turmeric and ground Cumin
4 large tomatoes roughly de-seeded and flesh large dice
500 ml of hot beef stock
½ cup of Puy Lentils (or normal brown/green lentils)
2 teaspoons each of freshly ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon
Juice of a lime or lemon
good handful of freshly chopped mint

Method

Oven 170º c (or (150º c fan)
You will need a heavy duty casserole pot suitable for stove top and oven
Cover the bottom of the pot with oil, heat to a moderate heat and toss in the diced beef and cook gently to seal all over. Remove from pan; add oil if necessary to the pan and maintaining a steady moderate heat toss in the Leek, Carrot, Potato and garlic. Cook gently to soften for about 10 minutes.
Return the diced beef to the pot with the vegetables, add the turmeric, diced tomatoes and the hot beef stock, incorporate well, and put the lid on and transfer to the oven.
Slow cook in the oven for about an hour.
Take out of the oven and turn the oven temperature down 20ºc.
Add the lentils, nutmeg and cinnamon to the pot. Stir well, lid on and return to the oven for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours.

To finish: Remove from oven, stir well, add the lime juice and chopped mint, stir again and it’s ready to serve.

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Baked Fish and Potato Pie

A simple, quick and delicious pie.

To feed 4 people you will need about 500gms of firm fleshed fish, such as shark and about 500gms of Potato - about 4 medium sized potatoes.

Slice the potatoes, about 1/2 cms - peel them if you must and cook them in a pan of salted water until almost cooked. Whilst the potatoes are cooked make up the paste sauce.

In a blender put:

A handful of fresh parsley - or a mixture of parsley and basil or your favourite herbs
2 cloves of garlic
Zest of a medium sized lemon
Juice of the lemon - tablespoons is enough
1 good teaspoon of Dijon or grainy mustard
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Method

Blend until you have a runny paste
When the potatoes are cooked, drain and arrange half the potatoes in the bottom of an oven to table dish
Dice the fish into chunks and layer on top
A generous grind of pepper over the fish then pour the blended parsley mixture over the fish.
Finish the topping with the remainder of the potatoes, overlapping if possible and grate Parmesan Cheese over the top (or your favourite cheese)
Bake in 180c oven for about 30 minutes until fish is cooked and top is golden brown.

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Watercress and Leek Soup

This recipe is ideal as a hearty winter soup, but works equally well chilled!

You will need:

2 leeks, washed, drained well and sliced into rings (white and pale green part)
500g approx Potato (peeled and diced)
2 cloves of garlic crushed
Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock (about 1 litre)
1 bunch of watercress (washed and roughly chopped)
1 Bay leaf
Nutmeg
Seasoning
Parsley

Method

Butter and Olive oil for frying and some Plain Yoghurt, or sour cream or cream.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan melt about a tablespoon of butter with a tablespoon of Olive Oil, enough to just cover the bottom of the pan.

On a moderate heat add the leek and garlic and sweat for a few minutes and then add the potato and bay leaf and continue to sweat. A piece of greaseproof paper pressed onto the top of the vegetables will aid this process. Ensure that the heat is moderate so that the vegetables do not burn.

After about 20 minutes add the Chicken or Vegetable stock and bring to a low simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the watercress and simmer for a couple more minutes.

Remove the Bay leaf and blitz the soup in either a liquidiser or with a hand held wand. The consistency of the soup is up to you - lumpy and textured or smooth and silky! Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Stir through plain yoghurt to taste, 150mls should be sufficient, but again to taste.

Reheat to just below boiling to serve. Chopped parsley can be either added to the soup or just sprinkled on the top, together with a swirl of yoghurt.

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Sweet Corn, Red Capsicum & Avocado Soup

Roasting all the vegetables before making into soup brings out a sweetness and depth of flavour sharpened by the roasted garlic and chilli.

For a Soup sufficient for 4 people

3 corn cobs, whole complete with husks, soaked in a bowl of water
3 red capsicums, whole
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves in their husks
2 red chilli’s, de-seeded, but left whole
Olive oil
Seasoning
1 ¼ litres of Chicken stock
Avocado
Lime or lemon Juice

Method

Oven 200ºor (180ºc for fan forced)
If you have a multi-function oven, the top grill and fan function is ideal for roasting these vegetables.

Soak the corn cobs in water while preparing the rest of the vegetables.
Arrange in a baking tray. Sprinkle a touch of olive oil over the garlic and onion and place the whole red capsicum on top of the sweet corn.
Place in the centre of the oven and leave for 30 minutes.
Check after 15 minutes and turn the capsicums.

Remove from oven. Allow to cool enough so that they can be handled.
The capsicums should be blistered. Prepare the vegetables by de-seeding the capsicum and peeling off the blistered skin. Remove the corn husks and cut off.
Squeeze the garlic flesh out of the husk.
Place capsicum flesh, corn, chilli, onion and garlic into your soup saucepan together with the stock and seasoning and bring to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes.
Blend to desired consistency. I find a stick blender is best for this soup. It will blend it to a rough texture, rather than a smooth soup. This will leave some of the corn cobs whole or in pieces.

Serve with fresh herbs or microgreens and diced avocado. A sprinkle of fresh lime and lemon on the Avocado is the finishing touch!

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Thai Flavours in a Spicy Pumpkin Soup

It's now getting to soup weather and what better than pumpkin soup spiced up with some Thai ingredients.

(If you wish use your own preferred recipe for pumpkin soup with the addition of some extra seasoning) but if not here are some base ideas for the soup...

You will need:

1 Pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped (about 1.5kg)
2 chopped leeks (thoroughly washed)
2 diced cloves of garlic
2 cms piece of peeled and chopped (or grated) fresh ginger
1 to 2 tablespoons of curry paste (Thai red Curry Paste or Mussaman Thai Curry Paste or Charmaine Solomon's Recipe for homemade Green Curry paste works well)
1 Tablespoon of Oil (or enough to just cover base of pot)
2 litre of Vegetable or chicken stock
400ml tin of Coconut Milk

Method

In a pot large enough to take eventually all the ingredients heat the oil and then add
The onions, garlic, ginger and curry paste and cook gently over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes to release the flavours then add your Pumpkin stir well and cover and cook gently for another 5 minutes before adding up to 2 litres of Chicken or Vegetable stock - depending on pumpkin size. Stir well, cover and simmer until pumpkin and vegetables are soft. Blend, or vitamise soup to smooth paste - return to pot, add the Coconut Milk and juice of a lemon or lime and gently re heat to serve. Finally garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves (microgreen coriander is ideal for this)

Great served with Royale's Bakery Italian Biga Bread or Baguette, lightly toasted!

To add a richer flavour to ordinary pumpkin soup or Thai pumpkin soup oven roast the chopped pumpkin and chopped onions in a hot (200ºc) oven together with a couple of tablespoons of oil and sprinkled with a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar - turn them a couple of times over 30/45 minutes so that they caramelize but do not blacken! Pop these vegetables into your stock mix and continue as before - It really adds a deeper taste sensation!

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Potato, Bacon & Mint Soup

A simple soup, slow cooked to bring out the flavours with just a few ingredients which are most probably in your cupboard and pantry. Ideal as a meal in itself it can be spiced up if you wish, but its honest flavours should suit most tastes.

You will need for 4 meal sized serves:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
150gms of bacon ~ diced
2 large onions ~ peeled and diced
1kg of Potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (Nicola work well)
2 tablespoons of plain flour
2 litre of Chicken Stock (or vegetable)
Mint ~ about 5 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint
Cream ~ about ½ cup ~ to taste

Method

You will need a large saucepan or stockpot to make this soup.
Cover the base of the pan with the extra virgin Olive Oil and heat moderately, then add the diced bacon and onion and on a moderate heat, taking care not to burn sauté them for about 15 minutes to bring the flavours.
Add the flour and stir though to make a sloppy roux and then add the chicken stock. Stir well, turn the heat up and bring to a simmer.

Add the potato slices and simmer until the potato is cooked through.

Add the fresh mint and the cream and bring to just below boiling and your soup is ready to serve.

Note: this can work with bought mint sauce, but obviously with the vinegar there is a change in taste.

For 2 people just halve the above recipe!

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ORANGE CHICKEN & ALMOND SOUP

A simple soup with a luxurious finish using a potato and onion base but with the addition of orange zest, left over cooked chicken, ground almonds and cream you have a rich smooth velvety soup, which is great mid-week or even a dinner party special!!

You will need for 4 people

4 Medium (or 2 very large) brown onions, peeled and sliced
3 good sized potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 ½ litres of chicken stock

1 cup of diced cooked chicken – or more
1 cup of blitzed blanched almonds for texture (if not available just use almond meal)
4 teaspoons of grated orange zest

½ cup or more of whipping cream
Oven baked croutons and parsley for garnish

Method

In a large saucepan cover the base with olive oil and butter, heat on a moderate heat then add the sliced onions and gently sauté for 5 minutes, then add the sliced potatoes, stir well and continue to sauté gently for another 10 minutes. To maintain the creamy colour of the soup you do not want the potatoes and onions to brown, just soften and sweat!

Add the chicken stock, stir well and continue to simmer until potato is falling to pieces.

Take off heat. Cool and then blitz the soup base in a liquidiser until smooth.

Return to saucepan and gently heat. Before it simmers add the ground almonds, orange zest and diced chicken. Continue to heat, but do not boil!

To serve, add the cream, stir well and re-heat gently until simmer point is just reached. Stir frequently to stop any chance of sticking to the bottom.

Serve with a splash of cream, croutons and chopped parsley
(A sprinkle of diced ripe avocado also goes well).

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Persian Soup (Lentil, Leek & Chicken)

A great winter warmer and a meal in itself!

It may seem that this is over spiced and too garlicky, but the cooking does mellow the flavours!
This recipe makes around 4 litres, but if you wish to make a smaller quantity just halve the recipe
(but there's never been any wasted in my house)

You will need:

500gms of dried red lentils
3 large leeks (slice lengthways and finely chop and then wash thoroughly)
8 cloves of Garlic (less if you must!) finely chopped or crushed
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
4 teaspoons of ground cumin
2 litres of chicken stock
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt
2 teaspoons of Nigella Seeds or ground black pepper
500gms of Chicken thigh meat, diced.

Method

Place the red lentils in a saucepan. Cover generously with cold water.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes and then drain thoroughly.

While the lentils are cooking in a large capacity stockpot heat the olive oil and then gently saute the chopped leek, garlic, turmeric and cumin until softened and golden. The longer that you can do this the sweeter the soup will become!

Add the drained lentils, chicken stock, salt and Nigella seeds and bring to a simmer. Add the diced chicken thigh meat and stir well and bring back to a simmer. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 40 minutes. Keep a watching eye, stirring from time to time to make sure the pot is not too hot and the lentils are sticking to the bottom.

To serve: generous bowls, garnish with microgreens and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a fresh crusty baguette, slice and lightly toasted.

Note: for a vegetarian alternative....use vegetable stock insted of chicken; and in place of the chicken use a can of drained and washed chickpeas

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Curried Kumera (Sweet Potato) Soup

A delicious and quick soup recipe.

You will need:

50g butter
2 cloves garlic
1/2 - 1tsp curry powder
500 gm kumara
11/2 cups water
2 tsp instant chicken stock
about 3 cups milk
1/4 cup cream (optional)

Method

Add the crushed garlic and curry powder to the butter in a large saucepan
Peel kumara and slice 1cm thick. Cook in the butter without browning, for 1 - 2 minutes then add water and stock. Cover and cook until tender.

Puree, thinning with milk to the desired consistency.
Add cream and reheat without boiling
(Variation: Replace kumara with the same weight of parsnip. Different, but equally delicious)

Note Recipe supplied form the "apple lady" Margaret Bridgart who loves this soup made with Shaplands Sweet Potatoes!

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Carrot & Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Time to enjoy some hearty winter vegetable soups; this one enlivens carrots to make a really filling nutty tasting soup.

For 4 People you will need:

450g of carrots, peeled and slice
250g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled or scrubbed and sliced
2 sticks of celery, washed and sliced
120g of peeled and sliced shallots or 1 medium onion or leek
1 red Sandia chilli, deseeded and slice (or red capsicum, or red chilli or ALL!)
1.25 litres of Chicken or Vegetable Stock
3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
Season to taste

Method

In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over a moderate heat and add all the vegetables ingredients at once. Stir well through the oil and sweat over a gentle heat either by placing a lid on the saucepan or placing some baking paper closely fitting on top of the vegetables. Sweat for 20/30 minutes to really extract the flavours ~ checking from time to time that the heat is not too fierce and they are not burning!

Add the stock and bring to a rolling simmer for about 15minutes until vegetables are soft.
Puree in a blender or for a more coarse soup with a stick blender to retain some of the vegetables characteristics.

Serve topped with coriander or parsley.

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Roast Cauliflower & Parsnip Soup

Gently roasted Cauliflower, parsnip and leek are the secret to this easily made soup that brings out the fine taste of the cauliflower complemented by sweet parsnip.

To make around 2 litres of soup:

Pre Heat Oven to 200º c or 180º c for a fan oven
Olive oil for tossing the vegetables in
1 large Leek, washed and diced
Cauliflower – about 900gms, don’t forget to use the stalk as well as florets
Parsnip –about 400gms before peeling and dicing – remove woody core if present
4 to 5 cups of hot stock
1 cup of natural full cream Yoghurt

Thyme croutons
French Stick
LOTS of fresh thyme blended into soften butter
cheese sprinkle for topping

Method

Place the diced vegetables and broken up cauliflower florets in a large baking pan.
Sprinkle with the smoked paprika.
Toss in Olive oil and bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 mins. They should be starting to singe!

Into a large saucepan scrap all the roast vegetables and juices from the baking pan and top with 5 cups of hot stock.
Simmer gently for around 30 minutes, until everything is softened.
Blitz in a vitamiser for several minutes until pureed really smooth. If too thick add a little more stock. Return to saucepan and bring to a simmer before stirring through the yoghurt.
Do not boil.
Serve with Thyme croutons on the top or on the side,

Thyme Croutons
Cut the bread into 1 cms thick rounds. Spread liberally with thyme butter. Sprinkle with a little cheese of choice and grill till breads are golden.

Tip: always remember to butter right up to the edge or your will likely as not get burnt edges before the rest of the bread is cooked!

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Roasted Carrot Soup with Flatbread

Slow roasting all the vegetables for this soup really brings out the flavour and makes for a filling and tasty soup, together with an easy to make flatbread it’s a meal in itself.

You will need

Touch of Olive oil
1kg of more of carrots, scrubbed, scraped or peeled, tops removed
1 red Capsicum, deseeded and cut into large pieces
2 red Onions, peeled and halved
1 gold sweet potato, scrubbed or peeled and big dice
1 whole red chilli, stalk removed
3 or 4 whole tomatoes

? cup of red lentils
1 litre or more of stock
Touch of cream or full cream milk to finish.

Method

Toss all the vegetables in a very little olive oil. Lay out on a baking pan and place in a moderate oven for 1- ½ hours. Check to ensure they are not burning. I often do this the day before when I am using the oven to cook something else.
Place all vegetables in large saucepan. I first peel the skin of the capsicum and tomatoes, squeeze the garlic flesh out of the skins, and squeeze the chilli seeds out. Add the stock and lentils and simmer until cooked.
This soup can either be blitzed in a vitamiser to a smooth soup or I prefer to use a stick blender and leave it chunky.
To serve, re-heat, (add more stock if you feel it is too thick) and finish with a splash of cream or full cream milk before serving. Don’t boil!

Make your own (easy) flatbread to accompany this soup:
Mix together in bowl to form ball:
250gms of Bakers flour or plain flour
½ tsp of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of fine chopped Rosemary leaves
½ tsp Salt
4 tablespoons of olive oil
100ml of warm water

Either knead with the dough hook attachment of your mixer or food processor or knead by hand. Leave to one side, covered, for at least 10 minutes.
Divide dough into 5 equal balls (it’s a much denser dough than bread dough)

Roll out each ball into a circle, big enough to fit in a heavy bottomed fry pan.
Heat your frypan (no oil) and dry cook each flatbread for around 2 minutes each side, until blistered and slightly singe!

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BROCCOLI and GINGER SOUP

Beautiful broccoli is now in the market and makes a lovely soup – better than it may sound!

The secret is not to overcook the broccoli to retain a great green colour.

Enough for 4 – 6 serves.

you will need:

1 large leek washed to remove any grit then sliced into rounds
1 large carrot diced
1 small potato peeled and diced
1 large head of broccoli – about 500gms - including stalk , finely chopped
3 large cloves of garlic- finely chopped
1, 4-5cms piece of peeled fresh ginger – grated or finely chopped
1+ litres of fresh chicken stock or vegetable stock
Oil or butter for cooking the veg

Method

In a large sturdy saucepan heat your butter or oil and add all the chopped vegetables except for the broccoli. Gentle sweat these vegetables over a gentle heat for as long as possible – without burning. Cover with baking paper on the top to encourage the full flavours to be brought out.

Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer – add all the broccoli and when return to simmer turn the heat off.

The soup is now ready to be liquidised until smooth – though I prefer to use a wand and to only puree to a stage where there are still small pieces of vegetable – giving the soup more texture.

To serve re-heat gently – don’t boil – and finally stir through about 100mls of cream before serving

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Baba Ghanoush

A deceptively simple, yet exquisite eggplant recipe.

1 Fresh Eggplant
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tbsp plain yoghurt (optional)
salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Method

Prick the eggplant with a fork in one or two places and slowly roast it in a moderate oven for fifty minutes.

When cooked, pick up stalk and with a knife, loosen the skin and the contents will fall out.

Discard skin and stalk. (You can use the skin if you like.)

Mash or food process all ingredients together, season to taste,

Serve warm with pita or Turkish Bread either as an appetiser or a first course. You can top it with another drizzle of olive oil, shake of paprika,finely chopped fresh parsley, toasted cumin seeds, soy sauce etc

Can be chilled.

Recipe supplied by Box Organics - Denmark Biodynamic Vegetable Producers

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Red Onion Marmalade

Easy to make, this condiment will go with just about anything, cold meats, cheeseboards, sandwiches, burgers the list is endless.

Serve hot or cold. Will keep well in the fridge in a sealed container.

You will need:

2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1kg of Red Onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 large ripe tomatoes (de-seed and discard seeds) chop the flesh finely
(in place of tomatoes a Quince, peeled and finely chopped works well)
3 tablespoons of Vinegar. Balsamic or Red Wine or Cider
3 tablespoons of Red Wine
3 tablespoons of Brown sugar
1 tablespoon of Honey (optional)
Fresh Thyme Leaves, roughly chopped

Method

In a heavy based fry pan heat the olive oil and add the onions and cook on a gently heat for about five minutes to soften and colour.

Add the chopped tomatoes or quince, Stir through the onion thoroughly and continue to gently bubble for another 5 minutes.

Add the Vinegar, Red Wine, Sugar (and honey if using) and stir through.

Continue to gently bubble away. Stir from time to time.
After about 30 minutes the onions mixture will have deepened in colour, the liquid boiled away and start to become jam like and glossy.

When thick, jam like and glossy add the fresh thyme and stir through and it is ready to use.
I usually cook this all up for anything from 45 minutes to an hour to get the depth of colour and flavour.

Ideal to use as a canap:

Lightly toast some baguette bread rounds, top with Billawara's Fromage Frais and finish with a spoonful of red onion marmalade and maybe a small basil leaf. Couldn't be easier!

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Sweet & Sour Chilli Jam

A versatile side dish that is ideal as a dipping sauce with fresh vegetable crudites or can be used as an accompaniment to any main dish or entree.

You will need:

150gms of a mild red chilli
(such as Sandia the larger elongated capsicum/chilli)
3 garlic cloves
1 red onion, skin on cut into wedges
1 cm piece peeled ginger
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice
1 teaspoon of Fish Sauce

Pre heat oven to 225c

Method

Toss the whole chillies, garlic, and ginger and wedged onion in 1 tablespoon of the Olive Oil
and place on a baking tray. Sprinkle with mustard seeds and roast in the hot oven for
about 25 minutes or until flesh is soft and skins browning.

Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle peel the skins
off onion and garlic (optional on Chilli but best to remove seeds).

Place all the roast vegetables in a blender add the remainder of the ingredients and then
pulse a few times until chunky. If too thick add a touch of water or vinegar.

Serve with fresh vegetables as a dip.

TIP: this makes a mild chilli jam, obviously for a hotter version
replace some or all of the Sandia chillies with a hotter variety!

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Sweet Chilli Sauce

So simple to make and such a great colour and taste you’ll wonder why you never made chilli sauce before!

Hotness of the sauce ~ well that is totally dependant on the type of chillies you use.

Jalapenos and Birds Eye Chillies are going to be hot.
I tend to use the long red chillies which are pretty commonplace and tend not to be overly hot.

So know your chillies to avoid an unpleasant surprise. If you wish to soften the hot factor replace a few of the chillies with a red capsicum, maintains the flavour but dilutes the taste.

Leaving the seeds will produce a very hot sauce. Personally I prefer to de-seed them which maintain great flavour but not that scorching heat.

You will need

250gms of red chillies, roughly chopped, stalk removed (and seeds for a softer taste)
2 cups of White Sugar
2 cups of Cider Vinegar (or white wine or plain white vinegar)
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
Ginger….small peeled piece roughly chopped.

Method

Place all ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan (ie NOT aluminium )

Bring to a rolling simmer to dissolve the sugar…stir well and continue until softened.
This should only take 10/15 minutes.

While hot, and taking care pour all the mixture into a vitamiser and blitz on high for 2/3 minutes to incorporate all the chilli flesh and produce a fantastic orange/red colour.

Return blended mixture to saucepan and simmer gently for about 5 minutes to thicken.

Scum may form on the top, just spoon it out or use kitchen paper to blot it up.

Take off heat, let it sit for 10 minutes then pour into preheated and sterilized bottles and seal.

Long shelf life. Once opened keep in refrigerator. Makes about 2 x 300ml jars

Tip: for a coarser sauce blend in a food processor bowl with the blade to give more texture to the sauce, rather than the vitamiser which makes for a smooth sauce

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Sweet Eggplant Pickle

Eggplants are now plentiful and at their best. Here is a straightforward recipe for Brinjal Pickle, a wonderful spicy, chunky condiment to enliven any dish, but obviously best suited to curries!

You will need

500gms of Eggplant any variety but Lebanese work well,
washed and sliced into 1 cm cubes just before adding to the pot to stop it discolouring.

4 teaspoons of Cummin Seeds
4 teaspoons of Coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of Fennel Seeds
Dry roast all these seeds in a frypan and blitz to a powder
or alternatively, use pre-bought ground spices

3 Garlic Cloves, peeled
2cm piece of peeled ginger
All chopped and ground together, use a little vinegar, to make a paste

4 teaspoons of Turmeric Powder
2 teaspoons of salt
I cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup of wine vinegar
1 red and 1 green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (more if you like it hot!)
1/4 cup of White Sugar

Method

Heat Olive oil in the pan - fry off the garlic and ginger for half a minute or so
then add the ground spices, turmeric and salt, stir well and simmer for about 2 minutes.
Add the freshly sliced/cubed eggplant together with vinegar, finely chopped chillies and sugar.
Cook gently for about 5 minutes, stir, frequently until eggplant is just cooked.
It can be eaten immediately.
Either keep in sealed container in fridge or can be stored in clean sterilised jars.

16th February 2007

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Sweet & Sour Cherry Marmalade

Easy to make, this accompaniment for Ham, Duck or Venison is a treat for that special meal and a great alternative to "pineapple".

It can be made a day or two before hand and kept in the fridge
and either served cold or warmed through.

You will need:

1 tablespoon of butter (about 25gms)
1 Onion thinly sliced
1 bay leaf (optional)
5 cloves (optional)
300gms of Fresh Cherries (gross weight) then stoned and halved
2 tablespoons of Caster Sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or substitute part with Shiraz)

Method

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan - add the onion, stir well, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.

Important not to let it burn - should soften down and colour gently.

Add the stoned and halved cherries, sugar and vinegar and simmer for about 15 minutes
until liquid is evaporated and you have a runny jam like consistency.

Cool and store in an airtight container in fridge until ready to use.

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Pear & Ginger Chutney

This tasty, rich dark chutney is an ideal accompaniment to spice dishes, curries and the like as well as a condiment to accompany cold meats.

The secret to this chutney is the crystallised ginger and cayenne that pack a great punch! It also has the advantage of being a long keeping chutney, so make plenty to see you through the year!

You will need

A good preserving pan, stockpot or a large heavy bottomed saucepan.
Sterilised jars and lids for bottling

2kg of Pears, Peeled, cored and diced
1 Green Capsicum. De-seeded and small dice
500gmsa peeled sliced and diced Onion (optional
225g Raisins
500g white sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
100g fine slice/dice crystallised ginger
1 litre of cider vinegar

Muslin bag containing
½ teaspoon of allspice berries (bruised)
½ teaspoon cloves (bruised)
3 small cinnamon sticks, broken up
Hint…no muslin...a new chux cloth or similar works just as well!

Method

Prepare the chutney ingredients and place in preserving pan. Heat until a rapid boil occurs, stirring well. Place the bag of spices in mixture.
Turn heat down to a simmer and continue cooking for anything up to 2 hours or more.
The chutney will thicken and gradually take on a rick dark golden brown colour, thickening as it goes. Keep a steady on how it is going, stirring every 20 minutes or so. After about 1 ½ hours as the chutney is coming together keep a very close eye on it and the heat as there can be a tendency to burn the bottom if left unwatched or getting too hot.
The chutney is ready once it is thick and dark. Remove muslin bag and squeeze juices back into chutney.
Bottle, top with a paper seal on the chutney to exclude air and seal tightly.
Makes about 4/5 average sized jars.
Store in a dark place. Enjoy!!

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COURGETTE PICKLE

This works best with young, fresh, courgettes but zucchini can be used with the same success, except that you may have to slice the rounds in half if they are too large.

Garlic and chilly amounts can be varied to suit your individual taste!

You will need:

(Salt if using older zucchinis)
About 800 gms of washed, top and tailed courgettes, sliced into 1 cm rounds
About 300 to 400 mls of white Vinegar
2 or 3 crushed or chopped finely garlic cloves
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chop the flesh
2 tablesppons of chopped parsley
2 tablespoons of chopped oregano
1 tablespoon of chopped basil
200 mls of Olive oil – maybe more

Method

If you are using large old zucchinis you may be best to prepare them by salting them beforehand. Place the sliced zucchinis in a colander over a bowl and layer with Salt. Allow to stand for 1 hr, then lightly wash the salt off the courgettes.

If using young fresh courgettes or zucchini there is no need to salt them down.

Bring the vinegar to a soft boil and lightly poach the courgettes for 2 minutes.
Do this in batches if necessary.
Strain in a colander fitted over a bowl.
Discard the vinegar.
Place a plate and a heavy weight on top of the zucchini and leave in the fridge to drain overnight.

Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl (garlic,chilli ,herbs ,oil)
Add the courgettes and stir well.

Bottle into sterilised jars ensuring even distribution of herbs and oil etc.

Top with more olive oil to cover the pickle before sealing if necessary.
I usually don’t overpack the jars – but you can do this and compression of the zucchini will mean less oil will be needed.

Seal well and store either in the fridge or a dark place.

If the pickle is covered with oil there should be no problem with shelf life.

This pickle is ready after about two weeks.
Ideal as part of an antipasto platter or in sandwiches.

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ZUCCHINI AND PANIR FRITTERS

Perfect finger food!

Method

4 cups of grated zucchini - place in a colander sprinkle with salt and let drain for 15 minutes.
Squeeze out excess moisture and place in a large bowl

Into the zucchini bowl add...

1/2 cup of chopped spring onions (white part)
2 tablespoons of fresh dill (chopped)
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley(chopped)
3 beaten eggs
1 tablespoon of paprika
good grind of Black Pepper

Stir the contents well with a wooden spoon and then slowly add
250gms of crumbled Panir Cheese (or Feta can be substituted)
and 1 cup of Plain flour incorporating all together well.

Using a large frying pan or skillet generously cover with olive oil, heat the oil and when ready adjust heat to medium and gently drop dollops about the size of heaped tablespoons of the zucchini mixture into pan. Cook a few at a time so as not to overcrowd the pan
Fry them on both sides until golden brown. Remove and drain on crumpled kitchen paper.

Ideal to be eaten on their own as a light dish or as a vegetable accompaniment to meat and poultry dishes - even make small ones as finger food!

They go well with any yoghurt style sauce - garlic is especially good!

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Albany produce the nation's best

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"Albany us probably the best grower's market I have been to in the country"

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A "Market Regular" Jann Hood, recently penned this tribute to the Albany Farmers Market

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Country Viewpoint : Ruth Speldewinde from Albany, Western Australia

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