Monday, December 27, 2010

Prawns with Mango Salsa

This is a Luke Mangan recipe that I made as a starter for our Christmas lunch.

Cast of characters (serves 4)
  • 16 fresh (green) king prawns, peeled (tails left on) and de-veined
  • 2 handfuls rocket
Mango Salsa
  • 2 mangoes (peeled, pip removed and diced)
  • 2 small red chillies (de-seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 small red onion (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 15g (1 tablespoon) finely grated ginger
  • 30ml white wine vinegar
  • 30ml olive oil
  • cracked black pepper and sea salt
  • 30g (2 tablespoons) chopped coriander
Step 1
Make salsa by combining the fresh mango, chillies, onion, garlic, ginger, a dash of white wine vinegar and olive oil and the coriander (note, you may need to add a pinch of sugar). Set aside to allow the flavours to combine.

Step 2
Heat a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add a little olive oil.

Step 3
Add the prawns and cook quickly over high heat. Remove from frying pan as soon as they are cooked (they will continue to cook once removed from the heat).

Step 4
Serve the prawns with a scoop of salsa and some rocket to garnish.

Luke Mangan serves this on a plate with 4 prawns per person. Because we were going to have a huge Christmas dinner as a main course we decided that two prawns each would be enough as a starter and I served them in cute little glasses without the rocket.

A close up of the Mango Salsa

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicken, mushroom, bacon and leek pie

I forgot to take a photo of the ingredients, sorry.

Cast of characters
  • 2 chicken breast fillets cooked and shredded(you can use any cut of chicken you like ie thigh fillets etc)
  • 1 medium leek sliced
  • 2 rashers of bacon cut into strips
  • mushrooms - I used cup mushrooms and Swiss Brown - chopped or sliced - about 300g (maybe more, we love mushrooms so I always add more)
  • Sprig of fresh thyme, leaves removed from stalk
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche or low fat Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 sheet pre-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 200°C

Step 1
Add a drizzle of olive oil to pan and fry the bacon strips for a couple of minutes. Add leeks and then mushrooms and thyme, cook until mushrooms are done.

Step 2
Add chicken stock and the cornflour that has been disolved in a little water. Once the mixture begins to thicken takke pan off the heat and add the creme fraiche. Add the shredded chicken and mix through. Place filling into a pie dish. I used an old pyrex pie dish because the new fancy pie dishes are too big for the puff pastry sheets to cover properly.

Step 3
Cover the pie with the sheet of puff pastry, trim the excess pastry from the edges and crimp.Cut to vent slits in the top of the pie and brush with beaten egg.

Step 4
Bake for about 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Serve with whatever side dishes you like for example mashed potatoes and vegetables. We didn't bother with side dishes, we ate the pie on its own.

This photo shows the inside of the pie after it is cut open.

The pie was outstanding and I will definitely make it again.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Aussie beef and beer pie (that failed as a pie)

This recipe comes from Woolworths The good taste Collection COOK! book.

I do love a good meat pie but I've never made one so when I saw this recipe I decided to give it a go.

Cast of characters

  • 4 (about 650g) beef scotch fillet steaks, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml (1 cup) beer
  • 1 sheet (29cm x 29cm) frozen pastry, just thawed
  • 1 egg lightly whisked
  • 2 sheets (25cm x 25cm) frozen puff pastry, just thawed
  • Fountain Spicy Red Sauce, to serve
Step 1
Place beef in a large bowl and sprinkle with flour. Season with salt and pepper. Gently toss to evenly coat.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion, garlic and thyme, stirring for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until browned.

Step 3
Stir in the tomato and beer. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered for 55 minutes or until the beef is tender. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool.

Step 4
Preheat oven to 220°C. Place baking tray on the middle shelf. Cut the shortcrust pastry into quarters. Line 4 round 3cm-deep, 12cm (base measurement) pie tins with shortcrust pastry, allowing the sides to overhang. Brush edges with egg. Divide the beef mixture evenly among the pastry cases.

Step 5
Cut each puff pastry sheet in half diagonally. Top the pies with the puff pastry and trim excess pastry. Press the edges with a fork to seal.

Step 6
Brush the pies with egg. Cut a small cross in the centre of each pie. Bake the pies on the tray for 25 minutes or untilgolden and puffed. Serve with the spicy red sauce.


When I got to the end of step three I decided the mixture was way to sloppy to put into pies so I cooked some rice and fresh French cut beans and served them with the meat mixture.

Despite the fact that I didn't make the pies the actual meat mixture was really delicious and I will definitely make this again and call it a casserole and not bother trying to make it into pies. To be honest this tasted a lot fancier than regular aussie meat pies and I'm now on the hunt for a regular meat pie recipe :)

Stuffed Buns

These buns are so easy, I make them fairly plain but there is no reason why you couldn't add anything you like to them for example herbs or spices, capsicum, celery, chopped mushrooms; whatever you want.

Cast of characters

  • 1 tray minced beef (the tray I used was about 900g)
  • Bread rolls (any shape you like, I used 4 torpedo rolls and 6 dinner rolls for 900g of meat)
  • 1 can corn kernels (frozen corn kernels can be used)
  • Tomato paste
  • Butter 
  • Grated cheese (not in photo)
Brown the mince and drain. Return to pan and add tomato paste, I used 4 heaped tablespoons for 900g meat) mix well until all the mince is coated with tomato paste. Add corn and mix through. Turn off heat.

Step 2
Cut the tops off the buns.

Hollow out the inside of the buns being careful not to rip the edges. When the rolls are all hollowed out butter the insides well.

Spoon the meat mixture into the buns making sure to fill well.

Cover top of buns with grated cheese. If you want to freeze the buns to cook later wrap them in foil after adding the grated cheese and put in the freezer.

Step 4
Bake in a moderately hot oven until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown.

These are alawys yummy :) Don't stint on the tomato paste, it really is better with this recipe to have too much rather than too little.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dort's Shortbread

This recipe comes from Better basics with "fast" Ed magazine  (A Better Homes and Gardens magazine)

Cast of characters

  • 90g icing sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 375g plain flour
  • whole blanched almonds, glacĂ© cherries, to decorate
Preheat oven to 160°C. Line oven trays with baking paper.

Step 1
Put icing sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium until light and creamy. Beat in vanilla.

Gently fold in flour and mix untl smooth.

Step 2
Roll tablespoon of mixture (I wanted smaller bickies so I used teaspoons) into balls, then put them on prepared trays. Flatten each ball with a fork, then top with an almond or a cherry.

Bake for 20 minutes or until pale golden and firm. Cool completely on wire racks before serving.

Greek Lemon Chicken

This recipe comes from Super Food Ideas magazine.

Cast of Characters (Serves 4)

  • 8 small (250g each) chicken thigh cutlets (skin on) trimmed
  • 300g red rascal potatoes, cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium red capsicum, cut into strips
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 250g cherry truss tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves (I hate basil so I left this out)
Heat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced

Step 1
Place chicken in a large roasting pan. Arrange potatoes, onion, capsicum and garlic around chicken. Pour over stock. Finely grate 1 lemon. Reserve grated lemon rind. Juice grated lemon. Cut remaining lemon into wedges. add lemon juice and wedges to pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 2
Roast for 15 minutes or until chicken starts to brown. Reduce temperature to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Roast for 25 minutes.

Step 3
Add tomatoes and olives.
Roast for 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and tomatoes are just starting to collapse.
Step 4
Combine parsley, basil and reserved grated lemon rind in a dish. Sprinkle over chicken mixture. Serve.

For extra flavour, serve with crumbled feta cheese.

While this tasted okay I don't think I'll make it again. There was way too much watery juice and too much lemon flavour.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Veal Strips with Boscaiola Sauce and Tagliatelle

Cast of characters

  • Tagliatelle
  • Veal strips - I used about 200g
  • 6 rashers bacon, chopped - I used 4
  • 200g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 600ml cream
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon oil (not pictured)
Step 1
Cook tagliatelle in boiling salted water

Step 2
Fry veal strips in small batches and set aside. I dry fried them in a non stick frying pan

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large fryingpan, add the bacon and mushrooms and cook stirring for 5 minutes or until golden brown

Step 4
Add cream and veal strips and cook over high heat for 15 minutes or until the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon

Step 5
Stir in the shallots and serve over tagliatelle. Garnish with chopped parsley


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Steak Dianne

This is my version of Steak Dianne and is probably nothing at all like Steak Dianne is supposed to be but we like it so that's all that counts :) It is another of those things I make that I don't follow a recipe or measure anything so I can't give proper quantities- sorry.

Cast of characters

  • Scoth fillet steak - should be fillet steak but scotch fillet is just as good
  • Brandy
  • Tomato sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Cream
  • Garlic - for this recipe I use Gormet Garden garlic paste 
Step 1
Trim all the fat off the steaks, because of where the fat is (with scotch fillets) you end up with a couple of smaller pieces. Place the trimmed pieces between two pieces of Glad Wrap and pound (both sides) until the steak is very thin.

Step 2
Heat a frying pan to very hot and fry the steaks for a couple of minutes on each side - I use a non stick pan with no oil for this. Remove steaks and set aside.

Step 3
Add garlic to pan and stir (we like garlic so I squeeze out a decent amount) add brandy, I probably am a bit heavy handed as I use a few good glugs. Be careful when adding the brandy as it can catch on fire, if this happens wait for a few moments and it will burn out. Add a few glugs of tomato sauce and also Worcestershire sauce, stir to combine.

 Step 4
Add cream, I use a 300ml container and stir to combine. At this stage I also added a can of champignon slices too. Return the steak to the pan and continue to cook so that the sauce reduces and thickens.

The finished product

Tonight we had this with steamed asparagus and homemade Hollandaise sauce and jacket potatoes with sour cream. Talk about a heart attack on a plate! At least we don't have this very often.

My Dianne sauce thickened a bit too much tonight, I was concentrating on the Hollandaise sauce because I didn't want it to curdle. It still tasted wonderful though. Hmmm, one day I might look up how to make proper Dianne sauce and try it out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vanilla Yo Yo's

Cast of characters

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup custard powder
  • 175g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar mixture
  • 1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar
  • 40g butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper. - I use one tray and reuse the same piece of baking paper. 

Step 1
Put the flours and custard powder in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.

Step 2
Put the butter, vanilla and icing sugar into a mixing bowl and using a mix master, beat (medium/high speed) for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the sifted flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Increase speed to medium and mix until well combined and smooth.

Step 3
Roll a rounded teaspoon of mixture into a ball and place onto prepared trays. OK, here's where I either get lazy or stay clean - your choice :) I use a small ice cream scoop 
Lightly press down with a fork. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

 Step 4
Bake for 12 minutes on the centre shelf of the oven until lightly browned. Stand for 5 minutes before removing with a slide to a cooling rack. Allow biscuits to completely cool.

Step 5
Make the filling. Beat the butter and icing sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and lemon juice, beat on slow speed until combined. Increase speed to medium for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Step 6
Sandwich biscuits together with the filling.

These are one of my family's favourites. They will keep for up to 5 days in an air tight container.

Monday, October 25, 2010

BBQ Sauce for Meatloaf

Cast of characters

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (preferably malt vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil slowly.

Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meatloaf with BBQ Sauce

Cast of Characters - for meatloaf

  • 1kg mince meat - I usually just buy a tray of mince, tonights was almost 900g - good enough!
  • 11/2 cups breadcrumbs - I used seasoned stuffing mix for the extra herbs etc
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper 
Step 1
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Grease two loaf tins - I use pyrex loaf pans and I never grease them. Divide mix between the two loaf pans. Bake at 175°C for 30 minutes

Step 2
Remove from oven. Make holes in top of meatloaf and down the edges with a fork. Pour BBQ Sauce (recipe in next post) over meatloaves. Return to oven for a further 45 minutes.

The finished product

All served up with mashed potatoes Dutch carrots and broccoli with cheese sauce - yummy

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fish Balls

This recipe is one that you are going to have to trust me when I tell you that the finished result tastes so yummy. I've been making these for at least 20 years and my family love them.

Cast of characters

  • 1 tin Home Brand Australian Salmon - this stuff looks disgusting but it is the only salmon that works for this recipe. Fancy expensive tinned salmon does not have the right flavour.
  • 250g Brown rice
  • 250g - 300g Grated tasty cheese
  • Grated parmesan - I used about 1/2 a cup tonight
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Eggs
  • Plain flour (not in photo)
Step 1
Boil rice in a large saucepan until tender but not soft and mushy. Drain and leave to cool. If you are in a hurry you can cool the rice by running cold water through it in the colander. Return the well drained rice to the saucepan. You could use a bowl for the next steps but to me that's just another thing to wash up.

Step 2
Open the salmon and drain. I rest the strainer in a dessert plate to catch any further drips while I pick through the salmon. This salmon is definitely the stuff that John West rejects and I only ever buy it to make these fish balls.

Pull the salmon apart and remove all the bones, don't expect to find nice delicate little bones like in the expensive stuff either. These bones have more of a dinosaur quality to them. Remove all the skin by sliding it off with your fingers and also remove any of the dark brown bit of salmon the same way.

After all the skin, bones and yukky bits have been removed flake the salmon using your fingers and add to the rice in the saucepan.

Add the cheeses and two eggs and using your hands mix thoroughly. At this stage you can decide if you want to add more cheese or salmon. I never measure anything and tonight I had more rice than I thought I would so I added another can of salmon, a bit more cheese and another egg and mixed it all through. The mixture should be kind of wet. If you can't form a ball that will hold its shape adding another egg and mixing it through should fix the problem.

Step 3
Form mixture into balls, squeezing your hands together to make sure the balls are firm. Roll in flour, then egg and finally breadcrumbs.

Step 4
I deepfry them for 5 minutes or until golden brown. If I didn't have a deepfryer I would mould them into patties rather than balls and then fry them in a frying pan.

The finished product

Here is one opened up, its hard to see but the cheese is all melty inside.

Because these are quite messy to make I like to make more than I need and I freeze the extras before the deepfrying step.

The fish balls are ok to be reheated but you don't get the melty cheese effect like when they are freshly cooked.

My son also likes these cold, in fact he likes them best cold.