Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kangaroo with pomegranate salad

Yes that's right kangaroo. There's lots of it in the Aussie supermarkets, it's low in fat and high in iron, hasn't been injected with hormones or antibiotics and is very well priced.

I bought some my first week here (in May) studiously put it in the freezer and tried to avoid eating it. To be honest I was scared. I didn't want to eat something yukky (who does) and someone told me it smelt awful while it was cooking. I left it in the freezer.

Last weekend the flat had a BBQ. The freezer was raided and the kanga pulled out. Well I thought - this way I can try a little bit, it'll be cooked outside on a BBQ and it will finally be used up. About four drinks later the BBQ was served. With my dutch courage in full swing I popped a bit in my mouth and nothing awful happened. It was actually really nice, tender and meaty like steak. Awesome! I like kanga. New food joy.

So all those who can - please do try some. You'll be pleasantly surprised. Use it in any way you would steak. 

Tonight I bought some more kanga and put it together with this pomegranate salad I first tried at Otto's in Woollamooloo.

Pan fried kanga with pomegranate salad.

1 steak of kanga per person at room temperature seasoned and oiled
1/2 pomegranate per person
1/2 nectarine per person chopped
8 almonds per person chopped roughly

Make the salad first. The trick with pomegrantes is to cut it into quarters (very carefully as like beetroot they stain) then fill a bowl with water and immerse the quarters in the water while you remove the seeds from the flesh. The delicious seeds sink and the bitter pith floats allowing it to be sieved off, then drain the seeds and place in a bowl. Add the nectarine and almonds. Mix and set aside.

Heat the pan and place the kanga in. Cook the same as you would steak - minutes on each side. The top side will look slightly watery when it's time to turn. Rest covered with foil for 5 mins - you do want the steaks medium rare.

Slice up and serve on a bed of the salad.

The slight sourness of the pomegranate goes well with sweetness of the almonds, nectarine and meaty kanga steaks.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rocky road (um delicious)

This is so easy to make and so easy to eat. I wanted to make a bit of a gourmet style rocky road, so it's a bit special and different for Xmas. Lovely for a wee present. Plus I'd like to think it's the tiniest bit healthier than the usual sort - if you squinted a bit.

To make this I used: 
2 Large blocks of 75% dark chocolate
1 x 400gm pack of mixed nuts, seeds and dried fruits
1 bag of vanilla marshmallows - quartered if they're the large kind
Peel of one small orange chopped small and stirred in a hot pan till dried.
1/2 t salt

I really wanted to try the orange peel - but forgot, as I did the salt into the chocolate (damn!)

Oil some pans - I used olive oil on a round and a loaf tin. I found the mixture quite thick so you can use whatever pan you like really as it holds it shape and doesn't run.

Melt the broken up chocolate slowly in the microwave. 30secs till it starts going then 10 secs intervals, stirring each time.
Stir in your other ingredients.  Mix really well. I reckon I could have gone another 100gms or so of the mixed nuts / fruits. To further eek out the choc mixture and make more servings.
Spoon into your vessel, spread in a single layer.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours till set.  Cut into wedges with a large knife dipped in boiling water.

Makes about 20 good sized bits - depending how big you make them. Total cost about $15


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pumpkin and chocolate tartlets with meringue

I made a recipe everyone! I had some inspiration a while back - beetroot meringues. Well I made them they were really good, but perhaps a wee bit too beetrooty and earthy for me. With a few tweaks they could turn up here later. However I was really keen to see this idea working so decided to try with pumpkin, since we all know that pumpkin works well in desserts like pumpkin pie.
Here's my recipe. I quite like how they are pretty healthy - especially if you use filo pastry on the bases. Enjoy good home made food made of real ingredients everybody.

Pumpkin and chocolate tarlets
Makes six tartlets

Home made pastry - 2c flour, 125gms cold butter, 2 T icey water (or try filo, sandwich three layers together with a light brush of butter)

1 butternut squash or small pumpkin
4 T honey
½ t ginger
¼ t cinnamon
¼ small orange – juiced
½ t salt

3 eggs separated
2 T castor sugar
½ t vanilla

6 squares chocolate – milk or dark

12 walnuts

Blitz the cold butter and flour in a food processor till the mixture is powdery. Add icey cold water till the mixture sticks together when you press it lightly with your fingers. Pour on to the bench and mould into a ball, wrap in glad wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.

Quarter and de-seed your squash. Steam with a small amount of water in a pot till just soft. Let cool then scoop the flesh from the skins. Let the flesh drain in a sieve over a bowl.

Get a six-cup muffin pan greased and heat your oven to 200c. Once the oven is hot roll your pastry out to 1mm thick and line the muffin pans leaving a 1 cm sticking up to account for shrinkage. Prick all over with a fork, drop the oven to 180c and pre cook till the pastry just starts colouring.

Meanwhile push the pumpkin through the sieve into a clean bowl and mix in the spices, orange juice, salt and egg yolks.

Take the pastry cases from the oven and fill with the pumpkin mixture. Pop back in the oven for aprox 10 mins – the mixture should puff and just start colouring.

Remove from oven and place a square of chocolate on top of each tartlet, so it begins to soften and add some chopped walnuts. Leave the oven on.

Whip the egg whites till thick and add the sugar gradually till it’s mixed in and not grainy. Add the vanilla. The meringue should hold its shape. Using a teaspoon pile the meringue on top of the tartlets. Place them back in the oven and cook till meringue is browned – this is pretty quick so keep your eye on it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jamie Oliver's sticky artichokes and pine nuts

I love Jamie - he's my fav chef. His food always looks and sounds delicious and his laid back style works for me.

I was browsing a book sale the other week, checking out the cook books section. I've had a bit of interest in Greek cuisine lately and there were a few books covering off the style, however many of the recipes seems ho hum and nothing different than you'd easily find on the internet with a quick search. Also big on my list is the design of, photography and illustration in the books and these were also not to my taste. I'd decided that perhaps I wouldn't spend the money when a Jamie Oliver book caught my eye.

Jamie does Spain, Italy, Sweden, Morocco, Greece and France. Oh la la such an awesome mixture of flavours and styles. A quick flick through showed a good array of recipes new and old and some documentary style photography (thumbs up). For $30 it was in my bag and I spent the rest of the night was spent reading it cover to cover.

One section which really took my fancy was Spanish tapas. I now want to live in Spain then come back and open a tapas bar.

Here's Jamie's sticky pine nuts and artichokes.

In a pan heat some oil and add finely chopped rind of 1/4 lemon. Fry till crispy. Add fresh thyme (I didn't have any so put loads of parsley in at the end), then the pine nuts. Toast the nuts then add a drained jar of artichokes. Stir through a good amount of honey (Jamie says a teaspoon, but I reckon I used a tablespoon) Season and cook till sticky.  Add the parsley and serve.
This image is from (my pics looked awful)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ricotta fritters

This is the recipe from the side of the ricotta pottle.  Ricotta is delicious, and I am hooked. This stuff tastes ever so slightly sweet out of the container so there will definitely be some ricotta desserts in my future.
I'm on the fence about these fritters. First taste they were a bit bland but lemon juice squeezed over the top and some avocado perked them up a bit.
Again another way to use up stuff in the fridge.

500gms of ricotta (or for me what was left in the tub)
Small handful of basil chopped fine
Handful of cherry tomatoes quartered
Two handfuls of spinach chopped fine
Clove of garlic chopped fine
Shallot (so fancy) chopped
1/2 cup of flour
2 eggs

Pop all the ingredients bar the flour in a bowl and mix well.  Add the flour and mix till combined. Drop in spoonfuls in an oiled pan. Once they were brown I left them on the side of the pan away from the heat for a bit, just to help cook through.
Serve with lots of lemon juice and avocado slices.

Hint when making fritters, pancakes or similar always do a test one first, this will help ensure your pan is the right heat and you get the hang of how the mixture will react in the pan. Plus it's always the first taste test too  :)

Below some more questionable mobile phone photography.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pasta with salami, ricotta and vegetables

I've never bought ricotta before, and at the supermarket today whilst having a good peruse of the cheese section found a nice little pottle at a reduced price of only $3.  I do love my bargains, and the ricotta had a good six days to go till its use by date.  I happily popped it in my trolly along with some bocconcini and grana padano.

Once home and being peckish I decided to whip up a bit of an early dinner consisting of the following.  Use as much of the following ingredients as you need for the amount of people you have.  i.e I made enough for two servings.

Salami, cut into chunks and fry till crispy. Drain off the oil once it's almost done and add the tomato. Cook for a min or two longer then turn off the heat and stir through red capsicum, chopped basil, spinach and rocket, a tablespoon of ricotta (per serving).  Stir everything together
At the same time boil a pot of water and add (preferably home made) pasta, recipe here.
Once you're done, add a tablespoon or so of the pasta water to the mixture in the frypan.  Serve with a drizzle of lemon juice and some toasted nuts (I forgot these unfortunately on mine)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Make your chocolate treat - and eat it

Chocolate treat which contains no sugar and no butter? Impossible you may think, or if possible must certainly taste like cardboard.
Well I've found a recipe which not only contains no naughty ingredients but also tastes the exact opposite of woody pulp.
Plus it's also vegan and has a surprise ingredient in the icing.This slice is so many things.
I found it through fellow blogger Laura at Hungry and Frozen, and she found on another blog here.

Literal goodness.

1 cup walnuts (or any nuts or mixture of nuts you have)
1 cup dates, pitted

2/3 cup cocoa powder 
1 avocado
40ml honey, maple syrup or whatever syrupy deliciousness you have
2 tsp vanilla extract
dash salt
dash cinnamon

In a food processor grind up the nuts, dates and 1/2 the quantity of cocoa powder.  Will look a bit like soil, quite crumbly.  Press into a tin, and pack down tightly.

Clean the food processor. Pop in your avocado, rest of cocoa powder, salt, syrup, vanilla, cinnamon (I actually left this out - but could be delicious so do it). Mix it all up and spread over your base.

Freeze for at least an hour. Slice up, and leave to defrost for maybe 10mins before eating.

This is really good, and I will use this icing on other treats as well.  The base does crumble more as it thaws, so I may research what I can use here to better hold together, perhaps more dates.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Yet another chocolate cake posting

You can never have too many chocolate cake recipes. Like shoes, you need them for every occasion.  This chocolate cake is rather like my pair of Nike sneakers - fast and popular.

This recipe makes one layer. Either make two separate layers and sandwich together, or make a double mixture like I did this time and cut in half to sandwich with cream.

50gms butter
1T golden syrup (do not leave this out - gives the cake a super delish factor)
1 egg
100gms sugar
1c flour
1t baking soda
1t baking powder
3/4 c milk
1 T cocoa

Preheat oven to 180c, grease an 18cm round pan.

Melt butter and golden syrup in a large pan, as this will be your mixing bowl.

Take off heat and measure out other ingredients while cooling. Then stir beaten egg and sugar into the butter mixture. Beat well. Sift in flour, baking powder and cocoa. Add warm milk with baking soda stirred in.

Batter should be quite runny. Bake aprox 30 mins.

I'll let the picture speak for itself.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I will never buy packet pasta again

The real, rich, soft, lightness of home made pasta cannot be compared to the dried factory product.  I can hardly believe the two share a name.  Even the supposed 'fresh' pasta product from the refrigerated section in the supermarket is real pastas uglier second cousin.
The fifties have got a lot to answer for when it decided that convenience was the way to go and proceeded to pre-make and package as many foods as possible.
My first batch of pasta probably took maybe an hour tops to make.  And the recipe I used gave enough for 3-4 good servings. I used a smaller recipe to start incase I made a big mess and wasted the ingredients.
Most recipes used lots o eggs, including one using seven eggs by my beloved Jamie.  I found one from online blog smitten kitchen, which I then halved. It uses just two and a cup and half or so of flour. I used high grade from the super market.  Plus I used my food processor.

Fresh Pasta from Smitten Kitchen and adapted from Gourmet Magazine
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons water 
To make pasta dough in a food processor: 
Blend flour, eggs, salt, and water in processor until mixture just begins to form a ball, adding more water, drop by drop, if dough is too dry (dough should be firm and not sticky). Process dough for 15 seconds more to knead it. Transfer to a floured surface and let stand, covered with an inverted bowl, 1 hour to let the gluten relax and make rolling easier.


Also being the first time I had used my food processor to make dough.  The result was fast easy and fabulous.  After letting the dough sit for an hour I divided it into 3 and started using my new fav piece of equipment, my pasta machine, rolling the dough through each of the nine settings.  The key through out the whole process to keep everything well dusted with flour.  I then dried mine over night on clothes hangers.    
I ate with the following sauce.

Zucchini and prosciutto sauce (it has meat I know but it was an end of the fridge thing...)
Chop up roughly some prosciutto, or bacon or parma ham.
Fry in a saucepan with some onion
Add some halved cherry tomatoes and a knob of butter
Grate two zucchini and toss in the pan
Stir around a bit and glug in some olive oil.
Toss through somr of you fresh pasta which has been cooked in boiling water for a couple of minutes

Delicious  : )

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The cupcakes are being made

Basic vanilla cupcake recipe
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsaltedbutter, room temperature
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
Zest of 1 large lemon(optional)
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoonsbaking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk

I also added 1/2 cup toasted coconut


Preheat oven to 180 and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

Meringue Icing (this is easier than it looks!, plus I made a half mixture to start and this was enough for my 12 cup cakes)
4 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Pinch cream of tartar
Pinch fine salt
Drop of red food colouring (I might use beetroot juice next time)

Bring a few cm's of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold a mixing bowl above the water. (I used a glass bowl) Whisk the egg whites, sugar, lemon juice and zest, cream of tarter and salt in the bowl by hand. Set the bowl above the boiling water and continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat at medium-high speed until meringue is cool and holds a soft peak, about 5 minutes. Add a few drops of desired food coloring and continue beating until it holds stiff peaks.
To decorate: Using a spoon, offset spatula or piping bag, dollop, spread or pipe meringue on top of each cupcake. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks and valleys in the cupcake as desired.
Makes yummy marshmellow style topping.  I'm gonna try chocolate next time.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Giving in to cupcakes

Yeah so cupcakes are the ultimate cool thing and everybody loves them and they are so creative etc etc. New York is brimming with kitschy cup cake shops on every corner, and people are having cup cake cakes for their weddings (why?) Nestle Hottest Home Baker had a whole episode about decorating them, and I'm finally giving in. 

I found this picture (on the site), its simple architectural meringue quiff so avant garde juxtaposed with the delicate girly pink colour (i'll make, green and blue, maybe swirls and others too) has inspired me. I want to eat - NOW!


Plus loving this secret strawberry one. With lime icing.

Ummm. Yup well I'll report back with my own pics, once I have baked : )

Friday, September 23, 2011

Teriyaki tofu

Yum teriyaki.  I love japanese food so much.  Tofu prepared in Japanese ways is the best, and I always order tofu when I'm eating Japanese out.

Here's my recipe for Teriyaki tofu

1 package medium tofu
Teriyaki sauce (I used store bought stuff, but to make your own is also really simple)
panko crumbs
Grapeseed oil for frying

Cha noodles (green tea noodles)



Chop your tofu up and marinate for a couple of hours in the teriyaki sauce.
Boil water for the noodles and chop your avocado (dress with lemon juice)
When you're ready to go heat your oil in a pan.  You need enough oil so that when you lie your tofu in, it will come halfway up.  A good test for the heat of the oil is to pop the end of a wooden chopstick in, if bubbles appear around it quickly, you know the oil is hot enough.
Start cooking your noodles
Remove your tofu from the marinade, dust in cornflour, then egg, then panko crumbs and fry quickly.  You will need to do this in two batches.
Drain noodles, place in bowls, add avocado, then tofu on top.
Garnish, I used red capsicum and toasted sesame seeds.
The textures in this dish complement each other well, creamy tofu, crunchy crumbs, silken tofu.  


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Latest cake

A belated birthday cake for Evelyn.

Chocolate cake covered in vanilla fondant with a sugarpaste flower decoration.

Should you want one for yourself let me know  : )


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lamb Shanks with roasted beetroot

The surprise in this dish was how well the beetroot and lamb went together. I also experimented - using some of the Asian spices I found while learning how to make Beef Redang curry, the outcome was fragrant and lightly spiced.
I made this quite a long time ago, so this is from memory.

Lamb Shanks with roast beetroot

4 lamb shanks
1 Onion chopped
2 celery sticks chopped
Garlic to taste squashed and chopped
2 cans tomatoes in juice
A couple of tablespoons tomato paste (if you open a can save the rest by freezing in ice cube trays)
1 L stock - chicken, beef, whatever you have
Ginger - a good thumb grated (straight from the freezer)
Galangal - as above. this is alight fragrant ginger type spice.  mmz
Cinnamon - 1 T
Paprika - 1 T
Bay leaves

Beetroot, one per person, skin on chopped and boiled for 10mins.

Potatoes, prepped as usual for mash

Pre-heat over to 180.  Fry off the lamb shanks in a large pot with oil, to get some colour on them. Place in a cassarole dish that will comfortably hold them.
 Using the same pot, add some more oil, onion, garlic, celery, ginger, galangal,  paprika and cinnamon fry off over a low heat for a good 5-10mins.  We want the spices to be cooked.  Add the tomatoes and bayleaves and cook till the mixture is simmering.  Check your seasoning. Pour over the shanks and top up with the stock and then boiling water if needed.

Cook for a good 1.5 hours.

At this point toss your beetroot in oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and place in the oven on a baking dish for an hour next to the shanks.

Twenty minutes out cook your potatoes and make mash to your tastes. My fav is a roughly mashed chunky style with butter and oil.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Steak dinner

Had mega cravings today.  I love that, when you know exactly what you want, and you get to eat it and it's good.  So today it was for hot juicy steak and lentils.  No idea why I wanted those things so badly but anyway who am I to deny myself.
It was amazing.  Haven't eaten a lot of lentils, and these were Delmaine brand canned ones, but they were delicious and creamy and so tasty.
Again pic is from my computer's camera, but I think quite well captures the deliciousness of the arrangement.

Steak Dinner
Rump steak - a great cut, full of flavour and very well priced
1 x can of Delmaine lentils, or cook your own from scratch
For the lentils you will also need:
A sliced onion
Garlic cloves
Splash of red wine vinegar
Splash maple syrup, or sugar whatever you have on hand.

Get the potatoes boiling.
Melt onions, rosemary and garlic in a small pot with some butter.  Season this and once the onions are transparent add the lentils and cook.  Splash in your vinegar and sugar.
At this stage get a fry pan going for your steak.  Make sure both sides of the raw meat is properly seasoned with salt and pepper - it really does make a difference to the final flavour.
Fry steak to your preferred level of doneness.
While this is frying get your plates ready with a dollop of the lentils topped with parsley, pop on the rocket and the potatoes.  Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.  Once the meat is ready pile on top and pour over any cooking juices.

Eat up.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Another chocolate cake

Since I'm being transient at the moment - the rental housing market in Auckland is ridiculous with up to 200 people turning up to viewings - everything is in storage and I am sans cook book. So when a dear friend asked for a chocolate cake recipe I did not have my usual to hand. And didn't till after the fact remember that the recipe is right here on this blog. Anyway this ended up as a happy discovery of a new and delicious way to make chocolate cake. The secret ingredient is sour cream - no butter required just sour cream. This means no beating of butter and sugar and less time till cake eating can commence.

I recently made this as a treat for my lovely hosts Mark and Sam, who are kindly looking after me in my backpacking phase. I think of this cake as American style, must be the sour cream and the giant size of the cake.

Sour cream chocolate cake

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups sour cream
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon of instant coffee
1/3 cup water (or espresso if not using the instant above)

Beat eggs and sugar together until light; add sour cream and dry ingredients. Dissolve cocoa and coffee in warm water and add to batter.
Pour into a large baking tin. This recipe makes a big, very moist cake.
Bake at 180°F until the cake springs back about 40mins or so?  I didn't ice this puppy. 

Since my camera is in storage here's a pic taken on my computer's camera.

Next time - this cake would make a great layer cake, big enough for three layers sandwiched together with cream and topped with Choc icing and whole strawbs.  Also I might try using melted chocolate in place of the cocoa to get some more flavour in there.