Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Curried Mince

Working my way through the freezer, just pop your hand into the boxes of frozen meat and pull out a package, and it's surprise!!.
Today we had 250g of mince is great for lots of dishes, usually meatballs of one description or another, maybe a meatloaf........but what if you just don't feel up to cooking much?? well then the fall back is either Spaghetti Bolognese or Curried Mince the latter is even simpler than the old Spag Bol.

Easy Curried Mince for the two of us
Firstly, chop about 2 cups Vegetables, I used

corn from 1 cob,
1/2 red capsicum, finely chopped
100g green beans, chopped about 1/2" long
1 med brown onion, chopped
3 button mushrooms, chopped into small dice
1 carrot, chopped into small dice
you can use any other vegies you have on hand, broccoli stalks are particularly great if the family doesn't like broccoli, they are completely disguised and bunk up the nutrition of the dish.
 250g beef mince
1/4 small Jar Asian Green Curry Paste - or to taste
3/4 400g can coconut cream
2 cups cooked long grain rice - more or less according to your likes or what you have on hand.

Place a saucepan on medium heat and spray inside with a bit of oil
Add the 250g beef mince, stirring until just starting to colour
Add the chopped onion and continue to stir occasionally until beef is browned and onion is becoming translucent.
Add 1/4 Jar of Green Curry Paste ( about 3 really heaped teaspoons full) this is definitely a 'to taste' ingredient, we like it reasonably warm and spicy.
Stir until fragrant - the strength of the fragrance will give you an indication of how spicy the dish will be.
Add the chopped vegies, stir to coat with paste
Add the coconut cream, stir
Lower heat and simmer until meat and vegies are tender, approx 10 mins
add the cooked rice, stir through and serve

you can squeeze a wedge of lime over each serving if you like
Sprinkle a little chopped coriander over the top is another option
or both
or not

Enjoy with a cold beer.
Not too shabby and very easy
oh yeah....lots of leftovers to go on toast for brecky the next day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pomegranates - Jeweled Rice

They look so inviting, and sound so exotic I resolved to give them a try, settled on Slow roast Persian Lamb using Pomegranate molasses, from here , Roast Vegetables with Pomegranate Molasses added to the basting oil, and something called Jeweled Rice (the best of the bunch!) from here

For the life of me I couldn't find a roast of lamb in the freezer - could it be we have used them all?, must be so, a package of diced lamb was all that there was to be had.  Anyway having set my heart on the above menu I used the spices and other ingredients and stir fried the lamb in a heavy based pan on top of the stove, result was o.k. but we all reckoned that a roast leg, sliced thinly would be the way to go.  Will get around to trying it before the Pomegranate season is over and done.

Jeweled Rice - made half the recipe to serve 3 and this was the leftover, as you see plenty for lunch the next day.
large pinch of saffron threads
1- 2 Tabspn boiling water
1 cup Basmati Rice
zest from 1 orange
1 1/2 Tabspn butter
1/4 Cup Craisins
1/4 Cup dried apricots, thinly sliced
 heaped tablespoon flaked almonds
heaped tablespoon pistachio kernels, halved lengthwise
3 fresh dates, pitted, thinly sliced lengthways
Half a pomegranate, seeds removed and separated (no white pith please)
recipe also called for dried cherries, but as I had none I omitted them

Place a large saucepan of water onto stove top and bring to the boil
Turn on kettle to boil water to soak rice.
Combine the saffron and 1 - 2 Tabspn boiling water in a small bowl.  set aside to infuse.
Place rice in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water from kettle and stir
Rinse under cold water and drain.
Add drained rice to the saucepan of boiling water and return to the boil
Reduce heat to med-low.
Simmer for 8 mins or until the rice is almost tender.  Drain

Zest the orange peel
Melt half the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming.
Add saffron mixture and rice and stir until well combined
Add the orange rind, crasins, apricots, almonds, pistachios and remaining butter and stir until well combined
Reduce the heat to low
Cook, covered for 5 mins or until all the liquid is absorbed
Fork to separate the grains
Sir in the dates and pomegranate seeds
Taste and season with Salt and Pepper

Friday, December 28, 2012

First Tomato Harvest

Had the first big harvest of ripe tomatoes yesterday, popped them into the sink for a good wash before chopping and coring.
Some had blemishes that were easily cut away but most were sound.

Chopped them into fairly small chunks and added them with 4-5 cloves of sliced garlic.
and a couple of finely sliced red onions into a large pan.

Simmered them for several hours and then added a sprinkling of dried oregano, 

cooled and popped the result into 2 cup portions in ziplock bags and into the freezer.  Got 5 x 2C bags of base to use to make sauce, chutney and even to use for cooking.  Happy with that, not a lot of work, certainly easier than the whole peeling business, and I think a better result than processing the entire batch in a food processor, although that said I will be using the processor for the next batch as I think the base will be smoother and therefore more suitable for a basic tomato sauce.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Ice-Cream Cake with Raspberry Sauce

 Sis phoned a couple of days before Christmas and while chitter chatting she mentioned this dessert she had seen a recipe for, no idea where she saw it but it was basically Christmas Cake, cut into slabs and lain on the bottom of a shallow cake pan, then topped with slightly softened ice-cream, re-frozen and then sliced into squares and served with either cream or custard, or perhaps even brandy custard.  Sounded yum, so yum that it stuck in the brain.

Fast forward to day before Christmas Eve, and it dawned on me that although everything was under control for the Big B.B.Q.Brecky on the Deck, including Maple Glazed Bacon with the Sourdough Ricotta-Tomato-Mushroom Bruschetta (now that is definitely going to be repeated and featured here) The Luncheon Ham had been glazed, using the ever fav Macadamia Honey Glaze and all the salads were ready to roll, but....there was no Chrissy Cake....oops!!, but not too worry too much because it all came together easily a little later on, sort of like someone was looking out for us all.

While we were visiting our fav deli, a 'new to town' deli and deserving lots of support, I spotted some lovely imported glazed fruits - my oh my - we haven't had those available in our neck of the woods for more years than I care to remember, it was far too late to even think of the usual Christmas cake made with those lovelies so I went for the easy way out, the old fruit cake that the entire family enjoys, and you probably have a recipe for as well.
I snaffled a nicely moist bag of mixed fruits, including a few red cherries, grabbed a can of green glace cherries from France and added 2 of the aforementioned succulent glazed figs and baby pears that I chopped and added to the other fruits.

Mixed up the cake, and as usual, there was a fair bit of mix left over, now I usually pop the left over mix into a tiny individual pan to use as a gift, but this time I popped the leftover, and to be truthful, a big spoonful extra of mix into a small (7") square sandwich pan, baked it with the big cake for about 20 mins and when it was cooled I popped it back in the pan, squished some ice-cream over the top and re-froze it.  I also made up a sugar syrup using 1 C sugar and 1 C water, boiled it until it was a light syrup, added a frozen pack of raspberries and reduced down to a nicely thickened sauce to serve with the dessert.
I kid you not - it was a hit - truly a hit.  The pic above is the last 1"ish  square saved because it was mentioned that this recipe should go in our family recipe book under "Easy Christmas".

In case you don't have the recipe for this ever so easy and variable cake, I will give you the basics.
1 kg of mixed fruit
2 cups of fluid
2 cups Self Raising Flour or Plain....doesn't seem to make a big difference.

Soak the fruits in the fluid for at least a few hours, recipe recommends overnight, then add the flour, stir together and bake in a low 160 deg oven for 80mins to 90mins.

now for the variations:-
for the mixed fruit I always pop in at least 100g of glace cherries, I also have been know - when a little shy of mixed fruit to pop in some dried prunes, chopped up a bit of course

for the fluid, you can use
one heaped tablespoon of cocoa dissolved in hot water,
or  some instant coffee granules also dissolved in hot water
or  fruit juice
or  tea - even some of the fruitier teas such as those sold by T2
or  half cheap Marsala wine and water - that one was with the dates......desperate for a cake and no time to shop...(Yummy cake actually - surprisingly)
The self raising flour sometimes seems to make a slightly lighter cake but it all seems to depend on the type of fruit........or perhaps the vagaries of the day.
Now we have the secret:::
I have seen this recipe maligned on the net as being too stodgy, well the secret seems to be to cook it low and slow, with lots of paper and or foil surrounding it.  I line the cake tin (a 6" square deep tin) with 2 layers of al-foil and 2 layers of silicone paper coming up well above the rim of the pan
I also have a piece of foil loosely cover the cake for the first 40 mins. of cooking time in a fan forced oven of only 160 deg Celsius, place the cake low in the oven, not the bottom but not the middle if you have a choice.
After 40 mins, remove the foil - the cake will look uncooked and, well, not happy, ignore it, don't panic, leave it in the oven for another 10 to 15 mins and then check with a straw, bamboo skewer, cake skewer, whatever, the idea is to make sure the center of the cake is cooked and the straw comes out clean, if in doubt leave it another 5 mins.  This is a very moist cake and can take a little extra time in the oven without drying out, whereas under cooking it....well then you are back to the complaints about stodge!

Now the things I would change next time for this dessert are - I would make my own ice-cream, using Aunty Barbs ice cream recipe, and pour it over the cake to freeze.  Yes, I would make brandy custard to serve with it, barely warm brandy custard one side and raspberry sauce the other......pretty close to Heaven for a quickie!!

Spiced Honey Glaze for Roasted Vegetables

Our eldest Son and his Darling came for lunch and spent the afternoon with us, lovely and relaxing, and great to have some one on one time with them, especially with the new little bub due soon.

The D.D.I.L also bought along a copy of the Donna Hay Christmas Book and shared the following recipe with us.  They had used it on the vegetables they prepared for the other side of the family for Christmas Dinner, and it was a smash hit, so much so that they will be using it on a regular basis in the future.

Talk once again got around to 'the family recipe site' and D. offered to set up a web site for the family to use, the idea is that each family member will be able to log in and post their fav recipes for the rest of us, we are all foodies so looking forward to having our own web address, in the meantime I'm going to resurrect this site with the new lables option it will do as my record for a bit.

Spiced Honey Glaze for Vegetables
1/2  C warm honey
1 tea ground chilli
1 tea ground sweet paprika
1 tea ground cumin
1 tea ground coriander
S & P

Mix and brush generously over roasted vegetables for last 10 mins of roasting time
This mix is enough to brush vegies for 8 serves

no pic for this dish yet so here is one of a new member of our family, our new Collie Sam, almost 2 years old now but still a real muffin!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Day - Breakfast of Champions, Light Crab Lunch

How does that saying go......start the year as you intend to continue??......well this had better not be how we continue our food year....unless of course the meaning is 'trying something different', yes, that well do, trying something a little different.

Found this recipe, submitted by TexasBaker, while cruising the Nigella Lawson 'Express' site, changed a few minor things and the presentation to treat the Darling to something yummy to celebrate New Year.

The Darling is not a fan of scrambled eggs, so changed to a fried egg each, not a fan of tortillas either, so used a slice each of a nice hard with a few alterations, this is what we had.

1 largish potato, grated but not squeezed out
2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large or 1 small chorizo sausage
2 eggs
1/3 Cup grated colby cheese
1 Tablespoon mashed avocado (just for me- yep Darling not a fan)
2 teaspoons Greek Yoghurt or sour cream if you prefer
2 teaspoons sweet Chilli Sauce
2 slices of bread, lightly toasted

Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy based frypan, add potato and onion, stir occasionally as it cooks, this will stick like billy oh, but just keep scraping those lovely brown crispy bits of potato up and stir them through.
Add sliced chorizo to pan and crisp, still stirring occasionally
Scoot everything to one side and fry 2 eggs in the oils in the pan.
Toast your bread lightly, if you are an avocado lover, spread avocado over unbuttered toast, top with grated cheese and place under griller to melt.
Top melted cheese with 1 teaspoon each of Greek Yoghurt, and the sweet Chilli Sauce
Continue layering with the crispy browned potato and onion mix, then chorizo slices and top with your softly fried egg.

No Pic.......but it got a big thumbs up from the what healthy salad will we have for lunch???

TexasBaker's Recipe:-


These are so good, and can be made in advance and heated for 1 minute in the microwave on a busy morning. I love these with sour cream and left over guacamole. Salsa would not hurt either.


  • 1 cup shredded potatoes
  • ¼ cup diced onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 links chorizo sausage
  • 6 Eggs
  • 4 burrito size tortillas
  • Shredded cheese, cheddar, jack or Colby


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Cook the potato and onion until cooked through. Add the chorizo and cook for 8 minutes, or until hot and steamy.
  2. Scramble the eggs in a separate bowl and pour over the sausage mixture. Cook the eggs, stirring constantly, until they reach your desired level of doneness.
  3. Warm the tortillas in the microwave.
  4. Place a layer of cheese in the center followed by the egg and chorizo mixture.
  5. Wrap into a burrito and eat.

Recipe posted by TexasBaker  ON NIGELLA SITE

another recipe inspired by Nigella Lawson and her 'Express' T.V.  Show.

After such a heavy breakfast, we definitely needed a light lunch, this Crab and Avocado Salad fitted the bill perfectly, based on a Nigella Lawson recipe, halved the ingredients and used finely shredded Chinese Cabbage as a bed instead of the Rocket.  

Ingredients and Method I used:
Place in a screw top jar:
1 tablespoon Mirin
1/4 teaspoon wasabi paste
1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 drops sesame oil
good pinch Maldon sea salt

Shake well and divide into two separate bowls

Finely slice a scant 2 cups Chinese Cabbage,
add to one bowl containing half the dressing, 
toss well, plate onto 2 serving plates.

De-seed and finely slice half a long red chilli
add to second bowl containing dressing
add 1/2 cup shredded Fresh Crab Meat
add a good squirt of Lime Juice and toss well
Press crab into any mould - I used a 1/4 cup measure - and invert onto salad

Top Crab with some finely sliced green onion
Using a melon baller, scoop rounds of Avocado around Crab onto salad.  Enjoy!
Simple, Fast, Easy, Low on the Calories and very enjoyable....will certainly be repeating this one.
The melon baller is a tip from Nigella Lawson and I have used it a lot over the last few days, no more squidgy peeling of Avocados and if there is a little bit that needs to be missed, easily done.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pepper Steak in a Bowl - real comfort food

Well, it might be spring, but cold nights are still with us, which makes it just fine to be trying out recipes from my latest aquisition, - yep - another birthday has come and gone and the wonderful gift vouchers are still 
I used part of one voucher to Snaffle a copy of Gary Mehigan's cook book 'Comfort Food', well worth the purchase, I've always said that if you see a recipe you love in a book, grab the book, it's worth the purchase price, well this book looks like being a well loved cook book.  There are many recipes that interest, but Garry Mehigan's Tuscan Beef Stew with Black Pepper and Potatoes is going to be a family fave........Mehigan justifiabyly describes this dish as pepper steak in a bowl.

There are great instructions in Garry Megigan's book, and I would encourage you to buy it.

Pics of the steps of how I created this rather warming and comforting dish.
and of course, because I am only cooking for three serves, and didn't have all the right ingredients, this is what I used.
1 brown onion, cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
3 dutch carrots, cut into chunks
600grms diced beef - bought as such from butcher, which I heavily coated with cracked black pepper on both sides.
1 thick slice bacon, (the recipe calls for pancetta, sadly the butcher only had wafer thin slices, so I opted for some of his bacon, using just the meaty parts, leaving the fat for the dogs dinners.
thyme sprigs, bay leaf,
1 litre fluid, made from about 100/150 mils of each red and white wine and topped with water....should have been beef stock but sadly, none on hand.
Kipfler potatoes
Sno Peas
After browning the meats and vegies, I added the wines, stock and herbs and simmered away.  Adding some nice kipfler potatoes about 30 mins before beef being done and at the last minute, adding some sno peas for greens.
Mehigan suggests parsley sprinkled over and crusty bread to serve - really could have done with the bread, the juices were just delish and would have been wonderful sopped up with nice fresh bread....perhaps next time, and there will be a next time!!