Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dad's Easy Egg and Bacon Pie

I remember as a kid dad used to make this pie using his own pastry (he still does!). He would put it into mums old mix master then roll it out onto the flour covered bench. He would then give us the cut offs from the dough so we could fill it with sugar and pop them in the oven. It was delicious. I was also a fan of eating the dough raw with some sugar or chocolate sprinkles. If we are being honest I will tell you that I still am.

This pie is super easy and is always a crowd pleaser. Great served hot with a pasta salad or some veggies or even great cold for lunch. Give it a go!

Mum also makes mini quiches for most family get togethers that pretty much follow the same ingredients list. Just cut pastry rounds and put them into mini quiche tins.

6 eggs whisked
4 rashes of bacon with no fat, diced.
1 brown onion finely diced
1 sheet short crust pastry (or make your own and give the left overs to the kids! )
1 tomato cut into thin slices
1 cup of tasty shredded cheese
Salt, pepper and other seasons you wish such as rosemary

Pre heat over to 220 degrees*
In a hot pan begin to cook bacon.
Add in onion and cook until it begins to sweat.
Oil a pie dish ( I use a cake pan due to not owning a pie dish but it works fine ) and push pastry down eliminating all air bubbles.
Transfer bacon/onion mix into pastry base and pour half the egg mixture over.
Cover with the tomato slices and season.
Pour in the remaining egg
Sprinkle cheese over the whole pie and season.
Bake for about 30 mins or until golden brown on top.

Serves 4.

* Side note. Nothing seems to cook in my crappy oven below 220. You may wish to adjust your settings accordingly.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mum’s Steak Dinner

You will notice on this site there a few recipes that I have stolen from my Mum. This is another one of those. This steak dish has maximum impact for minimal effort. In fact, Luke asked me how to make it recently and I refused to share it as it is a dinner I make when I want to treat him. With very few ingredients and preparation time you are bound to impress your guests. The only change I have made to my mums is that I have added a touch of red wine (but don’t worry it doesn’t over power the meat)

I hope you enjoy this tender and delicious dish.

300g Good quality steak suitable for baking
1 Packet French onion soup mix
1 Can diced tomatoes
Roughly 1 cup red wine

Pre heat oven to 200-220 degrees
In an ovenproof dish pour red wine to cover bottom of dish. Depending on the size of your dish this amount will vary. You only want it 1-2mm deep.
Place steak on top
Cover with soup mix then tomatoes so all meat is covered
Cover with tin foil and bake for at least 1 hour but preferably 1.5 – 2 (the longer you cook, the more tender it becomes)
The only thing you MUST do with this dish is ensure there is enough liquid. If it dries out it becomes tough so check regularly and if it is drying out add a little beef stock and continue to bake.

That easy! Serve with some mashed sweet potato or baked veggies.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chicken Peanut Curry

Ok, so this has been a long time coming. I hope it is worth it though when you dig into this tasty peanut chicken curry, which I served with rice, homemade raita and papadums (YUM!)

I am a complete sook when it comes to chili so this is a super mild curry but if you like it hot, then go for gold cut back on some of the added yogurt.

300g Chicken breast cut into smallish chunks.
1 Can coconut milk (I use light but it is up to you)
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 Generous tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 Cup chicken stock – I like to have this on hand in case it starts to turn into a gooey mess. The stock just thins it out with taking away from the flavour.
¼ Cup natural yogurt (this is what I add to cool it down so if you are after a hotter curry skip this step)
1 Onion chopped
Handful or roasted unsalted peanuts

In a large skillet or wide base saucepan cooked chicken until golden brown.
Add in onions and cook for a few minutes.
Add in curry powder and peanut butter and cover mixture.
Now pour in the can of coconut milk.
When mixture is a nice smooth constancy add in peanuts and allow simmering for 20 minutes stirring every now and then. If it begins to thicken up too much add a little stock.
Now taste to see if you need to add the yogurt. And stir well. Even if you like it hot I recommend you still add a little yogurt, as the bitterness is a nice contrast to the creamy peanut butter.
To serve put the curry over some hot boiled rice and other condiments.

Serves 4 and is really good the next day or two!

2 Tasty and Easy Starters

Super Onion Dip
We had some lovely friends around for a lunch on Saturday to catch up before they head off for what sounds like an awesome holiday. I was thinking about what starters to serve that were easy to prepare and remembered an onion dip that I had tried at our housewarming. I had tried this one to please Luke who given the choice from all sorts of lovely fresh dips or a Kraft French Onion Dip would sadly go for the latter. While I did not want to serve something like this to guests I did want to please the boy and prepare an onion dip to be all others. The recipe is more of a formula which makes it super easy to double or triple for big groups. I highly recommend you give it a go at your next gathering.

50/50 Sour Cream & Greek or Natural Yogurt
( for 4 people I used roughly 1 cup of each )
2 onions finely chopped ( 1 for every cup of dip)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil ( 1 for each onion )
¼ packet French onion soup mix

Mix yogurt, sour cream and French onion soup mix together. Add more soup to taste if you wish.
Put mix back into the fridge.
Heat oil in a frypan. If you are increasing quantities you will need a saucepan than will allow onion to cover the base of the ban in a thin layer.
Add onions and coat all in the hot oil.
Reduce to a medium heat.
Cook onions until dark golden brown stirring frequently so they don’t catch. This can take roughly 30 minutes.
When onions are a nice rich colour ( you know they are ready when you start to see slightly black bits appear ) remove from heat.
Mix them into the yogurt/cream mix. When the hot onions hit the cold dip they go lovely and crunchy.

Serve with lovely toasted pieces of Turkish bread.

Thai Style Meatballs
The other starter I wanted to serve was Thai Style Meatballs. I had made these a few nights earlier and put them into a stir fry which was very tasty. When thet are cooking the sauces create a caramelised layer and they are super moist and tasty.

400g Pork Mince
1tbsp Soy sauce
1tsbp Sweet soy sauce (Kapis Manis )
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tsp dried basil flakes (don’t worry if you don’t have any, It is for looks more than anything else)

Mix all ingredients well.
Roll into small balls and place on tray.
Once all are rolled place in the fridge for about an hour.
Cook on a BBQ at medium heat. They can also be done on a frypan but the BBQ adds a wonderful flavour.

Serve with various dipping sauces including soy or sweet chilli.

Makes around 25.

Wontonlicious! – Pork Mince Wontons

You may have noticed I have a love for dumplings. They are just so versatile!
As promised I am going to share my pork mince wonton recipe with you. Luke doesn’t like pork, even though he is more than happy to eat ham and bacon, so I just didn’t tell him what was in it until after he ate them. He said they were fantastic!

I make enough to make 6 wontons each. You can serve this with the broth that I have shared in previous recipes.

50g pork mince
50g sausage mince ( you can buy this EVERYWHERE, usually near the mince )
2-3 Drops fish sauce
1tbps soy sauce
½ Tsp sesame oil
½ Tsp garlic
12 wonton wrappers (I used round ones here but any will do)

Mix all ingredients together
On a clean sheet of baking paper lay out all wrappers.
Have a glass of water handy.
Put a dollop of mixture into the center or each wrapper. Roughly the size of a 10c piece.
Wet edges of wrapper using the water and your finger. This will body the wrappers together.
Fold in half and gently push down around the meat to get all air out.
If you like, you can now pleat the edges of the wrapper. If this sounds all too hard don’t bother.
Bring water to boil in a saucepan.
Put all wontons into the boiling water. Once they float, cook for a further 2-3 mins. As they are meat you need to make sure they are cooked unlike my veggies dumplings where all ingredients are already cooked you are just cooking the wrapper.

Serve with noodle soup.


Cupcake Delight

I will start this story a little bit before the current fad of cupcakes.
A few years ago tea came back into vogue in a huge way. Shops like T2 were sprouting up offering varieties that had not been heard of before. The ritual that is tea making was entering homes all over Australia. Along with this new craze came loves such as High Tea and sure enough that led to cupcakes. Recently a whole market has opened up for the intricate, delicate, sugar filled treats. Shops dedicated to supplying kitchen tools to create these masterpieces are packed full of customers and cafes and bakeries are all stocking the ready-made variety. Having been classed as a girly girl at times it was rather fitting that I quickly and whole heatedly embraced these two new fads. My kitchen is full of cup and saucers, many tea varieties and all the accessories you could possible want to have a perfect afternoon tea. While I do love to cook and bake I equally enjoy going into a shop and staring at the glass display cabinets until I decide which cupcake is for me. So I grabbed the opportunity to buy some of these delectable treats when planning my menu for a lunch with friends.

I had often bought cupcakes from The Cupcake Factory, which is in Drummoyne, for various work functions. So, when Luke and I made the move to the area I was delighted to find that this small shop was a very short drive up the road.
They have a range of categories from classic, decadent to the indulgent and also include a selection of minis*. $18 bought us 4 large and 4 minis. They looked spectacular in my Wheel and Barrow cake display stand and were thoroughly enjoyed by all. While I highly recommended this pint size store to you all there is no doubt that there would be a shop near you to offer a tasty sugar hit.

If you are after a special event cupcake or cake I also recommend Polka Dot Cookies and Cakes. I had my 21st birthday cake made by Elisabeth and her team and it was not only delicious but the most beautiful Jasper inspired tea pot cake I have ever seen! A definite wow factor!

So finally, I invite you all to share any places that you recommended for good cupcakes. I look forward to reading them!

Happy treating!

* On my most recent visit, as Luke and I were entering a farther and his son were leaving. On out way back to the car we saw the little boy sitting on a bench with his dad holding the little cake with both hands, eating it with such care. It was a very cute scene.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday - Luke’s Easy Omelet

Omelets are always something that seems so tricky. I had never attempted to make one after watching my dad fail so many times. After meeting Luke and have him teach me how to cook his awesome omelet I soon realized the key. Do not fuss. Dad always tried to move the egg when it was still runny resulting in scrambled eggs with ham and tomato. This is a great recipe as you can adjust it to your taste and eat it for any meal. Below is the recipe for a basic ham, cheese & tomato omelet but you can add whatever tickles your fancy.

Ingredients for one
2 eggs well whisked per person
Half a tomato finely sliced
Small handful shredded ham
Small handful cheese
Drizzle of sweet chili sauce

Heat a small fry pan with a light spray of oil. Ideally you will use a non stick pan that will be covered by all of the egg pix. This just makes for a nice shape.
Pour in whisked egg. If you pan is nice and hot the egg will try to boil and will bubble. Have a fork on hand and spike the bubbles.
After about 30 seconds your mixture should start to be cooking on the bottom. When this happens place your tomato, ham and cheese on one half of the egg leaving a 1cm boarder.
Drizzle sweet chili sauce over the cheese.
When the egg is mostly cooked through (and you can easily put a spatula under it ) fold it in half.
Press down the edges to seal the ingredients inside.
Cook for 30 seconds then flip whole omelet.
When the egg is golden brown slightly & crispy remove from the pan and serve on toast.

It is really that easy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Well No recipe with this entry but a few photos of dishes to come soon.. stay posted!

Chicken and Peanut Curry

Another Wonton Noodle Soup

And I Share Another Kitchen Love

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday – Worlds Easiest Chicken and Corn Soup

There are a few reasons why I wanted to share this easy soup recipe. The first being that it is winter and a good soup always warms you to the core. The second being that in winter everyone gets sick and this week it is my turn the get the dreaded cold. The third has a bit of a story.

Luke used to live in a tiny apartment on the corner of Glebe Pt Rd and Parramatta Rd. While this location had downsides (you could never open the windows due to noise and pollution) it had the upside of being very close to many tasty eateries. One of these (and a particular favorite of ours) was Haiphong Harbour. It is a cozy Vietnamese joint that has possibly the best chicken and corn soup I had ever tasted.

So when wanting to make myself feel better it was to that soup that I looked for inspiration.

Trust me, after a hot bowl of this delicious soup you will never turn to a can of chicken and corn soup again!

1 tip when making this, as there are so few ingredients used, it is worth buying good quality brands ie Campbell’s chicken stock and Edgel Creamed Corn. Powdered stock probably wouldn’t work.

300g Chicken breast cut into fine small pieces
1L Campbell’s Chicken Stock
420g Creamed corn
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Good sized tsp ginger (being sick and lazy I used a jar variety)
2 eggs whisked

In a large saucepan bring stock, corn and ginger to the boil.
Add in chicken and reduce to a simmer.
When chicken is cooked stir the soup quickly and slowly pour the egg into the centre of the mix.
GENTLY stir egg in. You don’t want to mix too fast or you will end up with scrambled eggs.

If making this ahead of time, don’t do the egg step until right before serving.

Serve with some spring onions or if even a couple fine slices of fresh chili if you are after a kick!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kitchen Loves - Cookbooks

Ok so it has been a while since I added anything. That is not because I haven't been cooking but because I wasn't 100% sure that they were worth adding. So I thought I would share some cookbooks that I love and hopefully they will get you inspired to get into the kitchen.

Maggie’s Harvest - Maggie Beer
An Australian cook who I am sure you have all heard of. Maggie’s Harvest is an epic cookbook but well worth it. Every recipe is accompanied by a story of how it came about. It is warm, inviting and looks great thanks to its beautiful stitched cover. I requested it a few Christmases ago and have spent much time pouring over the rich, beautiful meals. There is an amazing stuffing recipe with apple and sage and a pumpkin risotto to die for! While this is an investment book ( rrp $125 ) it is one that I absolutely love and recommend.

Cake Bible - Penguin Books
This pint-sized cookbook is dedicated to cakes and puddings and is one I could not live without. Mum and I both have a copy that are always cluttered with strips of paper stuck into the pages of those cakes we want to make next. Simple steps and good ingredients make for beautiful moist and tasty desserts. The pumpkin cake is AMAZING as is the carrot cake (never in my life have I seen a carrot cake as moist and sticky as this one!!!) There are many books in the ' bible ' collection and they are all fantastic. The cake edition though is as absolute must!

Women’s Weekly
Women’s weekly have been making cookbooks for years. You are bound to find whatever your heart desires in one of their books. Growing up mum always had a cupboard filled with cookbooks and majority of these were by WW. They have entered a new age however from their dowdy high gloss pages into something very slick indeed! I currently have one of their larger editions sitting on my coffee table, as it is a work of art.
One series of theirs includes small square books dedicated to topics such as Cheesecakes, Cookies, Cupcakes (obviously this one had to included due to the current fad) Sweets and more ( these are the four I own ). Beautiful images accompany the incredibly enticing recipes. They retail at $25 each but are fantastic to have.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday - Crispy chicken with soba noodle salad

I felt I had been cooking heavy meals so wanted to try something lighter. I had some Dukkha sitting in the cupboard that I had bought on a recent trip to Kangaroo Valley that I wanted to use as it is so delicious (the photo in my profile was taken at the cellar door where I bought it. If you are heading to Kangaroo Valley you MUST visit Yarwawa Estate. Well worth the bumpy and long drive). I had a look around my fridge and found some parmesan and soon realised that I had the makings of a coating for crispy chicken. Some julienne carrot and snow peas along with some soba noodles make for a fresh salad topped of with a dressing made with the juice of a fresh lime ( another side note, we can’t wait until our lime tree is fruiting as Luke paid $1.10 for one lime!!! ).

Maybe not the best winter warmer but tasty for a lunch time picnic or summer dinner.

1 glass of good quality white wine
Small dish of very good quality extra virgin olive oil
Small dish of dukkha
Small pieces of good quality bread

Crispy Chicken
300g chicken breast cut into thin strips or pieces
½ Cup plain flour
4-5 good sized teaspoons of Dukkha. If you don’t have Dukkha you can use finely crushed nuts such as walnuts and almonds and add a little bit of seasoning.
¼ cup finely shredded parmesan
1 egg whisked

1 bundle of thick soba noodles. The brand I use comes in a pack of three bundles.
½ cut into thin batons
Handful of snow peas cut into thin strips
1 tsp sesame seeds

Juice of 1 lime
½ teaspoon seaseme oil
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated ginger

With glass of wine in hand dip bread in EVOO then into the dukkha. Drink, eat and enjoy. Now start dinner.

In a medium sized bowl combine flour, dukkha and parmesan
Set up a production line close ( to eliminate mess ) in the following order:
Chopping board with chicken, bowl with whisked egg, bowl of flour mix clean plate for coated chicken.
Coat a piece of chicken well in egg then in flour mix. Ensure the chicken is covered well.
Repeat for the rest of the chicken.
Place coated chicken in a lightly oiled hot pan ensuring no pieces are overlapping. If you don’t have a large enough pan you may need to do this in a couple of batches.

Cook until the pieces are golden brown. This should not take long if your pieces are nice and thin. Watch the chicken so the coating does not burn. You don’t want to over cook the chicken either as it will dry out and become chewy with the coating.
Once all pieces are cooked place on a plate with some baking paper.

In a pot of boiling water cook soba noodles until tender ( much faster than regular pasta ).

While waiting for the soba to cook you can make the dressing.

Add the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whisk well. Done! Be sure to taste it as you may wish to add other flavours such as chilli sauce or even a drop of Tabasco for a kick.

30 seconds before they are ready add in snow peas and carrot to blanch.
Drain pasta and veggies and put it back in the pot.
Pour on dressing ( leave about 1 tbsp ) and toss gently ( anything too vigourous will make the snow peas fall apart )

To serve put salad on a plate and top with chicken. Drizzle the remaining dressing on the chicken.
Finally sprinkle sesame seeds over plate.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday - Steak and Mash

Steak and mash is an Aussie favourite. Every pub serves it but goodness they can vary! From dry, tasteless bookends to juicy sweet meals with the works.

Tonight I wanted to cook a steak and mash that was just a little bit different than normal.

I marinated the steak for over an hour before cooking (on the stove, couldn’t be bothered to take the cover of the BBQ ). I made my mash with sweet potato with a few naughty add-ins. And, to top it off, I attempted my first ever red wine sauce.
Overall the different textures and the acidity of the sauce made for a tasty dish.

Give it a go!

Steak. I had one 400g piece for 2.
Splash sweet chilli sauce
Splash Soy Sauce

2 big handfuls of sweet potato cut into large pieces
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter
Little splash of thickened crème

Red wine sauce
1 cup red wine
1 good-sized tbsp butter
¼ thickened crème
4 cherry tomatoes cut in half.

Soak steak in marinade and cover for at least one hour.

Boil sweet potato until tender and drain.
Mash with crème, butter and parmesan

In a small pot bring red wine to the boil.
After about 1 minute add in butter and crème.
Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes, mixing to ensure it doesn’t catch.
Add in tomatoes and continue to simmer.

Cook steak to your liking.

To serve put a dollop of mash on a plate, the steak then the tomatoes. Finally drizzle the sauce all over.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Pantry Full

Tonight I made another wonton soup. We only shop every two weeks so the challenge was to make something with the basics left in the cupboard. So wonton soup was the answer and it was also a great chance to use up all the wrappers I had from earlier in the week ( despite the fact that they only cost $1.50 ).

The dish was great so more on that another day. However, it got me thinking that I should share what my cupboard basics are… those basic things I keep on hand for the Sunday when you need to create something from nothing.

Here are my top 10 pantry items that I am never without:

1. French onion soup mix – great for a simple stew or gravy base. I buy a few sachets at a time so there is always some there.
2. Chicken stock
3. Gravox – sometimes I will use this in a stew to thicken it a little
4. If you don’t use a lot of herbs buy mixes such as ‘Italian Herbs’
5. Soy sauce
6. Sweet Chilli Sauce
7. Miso Paste
8. 2 minute Noodles
9. Tomato soup
10. Hoisin Sauce

If there is anything you keep on hand, let me know!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Last Saturday -Wonton Noodle Soup

Have you ever tried a Wonton Noodle Soup? If not, you must! They are hot with little bursts of delicious flavour. A favourite of mine is from a place called Happy Chef in Newtown. The broth is really gingery with just a few veggies and chicken. The wontons are also the best I have ever tried! Not the neatest dish to each as you slurp up the delicious soft rice noodles (a plus for Happy Chef as most other places offer them with egg noodles) and negotiate the piping hot wontons from the bowl to your mouth, but well worth it. I also love the way that you are given a little bowl of soy and chilli sauce so you can add to you liking.
I have a made a couple batches of my own wontons which I fill with a 50/50 mix of beef mince and sausage mince ( I have not yet tried with prawns as Luke is not a fan, besides Dad says mine are delicious! Shux Dad ).

The other day while having a look around 101cookbooks I stumbled across a recipe for Pea Dumplings and I thought these would be a perfect wonton for my soup!
So on Saturday night after a visit to Thomas Dux (who knew they sold wonton wrappers?) I was off to the kitchen and whizzing away and to my delight it worked! Luke enjoyed them so much he asked that I make them again this week! (Not so common for Luke to be that excited about one of my meals, spoilt boy really!)


See for ingredients for wontons. I made ¼ of the batch to feed 2 people.

2 Eggs whisked

Broth ( enough for 4 ):
2 Litres of good quality chicken stock ( for this one I use something like a pre-packaged Campbell’s and add a little powder for extra flavour )
2 carrots cut into chunky pieces
2 bunches of baby Bok Choy chopped into chunky slices ( use the whole vegatble not just the leaves! )
3 good sized tsp of ginger ( I used a jar today as I had non fresh )
1 good sized tsp garlic
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ finly sliced spring onions
couple of drops of fish sauce
pinch of salt
If you like chilli add some in too!

1 handful of softened rice noodles

Add all broth ingredients into a stock pot and bring to the boil. Now reduce it to a simmer and put the lid on while you make the wontons.

To make wontons follow the instructions on Below are my tips.
1. I put all ingredients in the mixer at once. Just means fewer things to clean.
2. Use a piece of baking paper underneath your wrappers when filling. Again allows for ease of cleaning.
3. I learnt how to fold my wrappers differently, the steps are below.
4. I boil mine rather than steam. This can be done in the stock pot so less cleaning up!

With the whisked egg spread a little on the edges of the wrapper. (This acts as a glue to help the edges stick together)
To ‘wrap them‘; fold wrappers in half to form a triangle.
Press edges down to ensure no air pockets are left (if air is trapped they will float so will not give you a clear indication of when they are cooked)
Now get two corners and over lay them. See picture for more detail.

Shortly before serving place wontons into broth.
You will know when they are ready when they float to the top.

If you like, with the leftover egg you can make an egg pancake by frying it up in a frypan.
Cut it into thin trips and when serving place a few in the bowl.

To serve put the softened rice noodles in the bottom of a bowl and ladle some broth and veggies on top.
Finally, place 4- 6 (depending on how hungry you are!) wontons on the very top.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday – Sweet potato dumplings with soba noodles served in miso. For one!

I don’t know many people who enjoy cooking for one. The quantities are tricky and often you just can’t be bothered. Today I received a call at work from Luke telling me he had a work do so wouldn’t be home for dinner. So, rather than ordering take away I decided to use this opportunity to try out something new (that he might not like!).
I didn’t want to go to the shops so thought about what I might have in the cupboard.
Miso soup paste, soba noodles and some left over wontons wrappers from my wonton noodle soup (yet to be added from the other night, it is coming I promise!).
It resulted in a beautiful mild soup with tasty sweet potato dumplings that burst with flavour. Another fun one to eat while you try get those slippery noodles from the bowl to your mouth!
I only just finished eating it and was so excited to share it I got typing!

Please do give it a go and let me know what you think.

A few notes before you start though…
I have a mild white miso. It comes in a packet of little sachets for single serve.
I use a thicker soba noodle as I prefer the texture and they don’t go gluggy so quickly.
I also baked my sweet potato for a richer flavour, if you are more pressed for time you can cook it in the microwave or on the stove.
Obviously, if you want to make this for more than one, multiply the recipe by the amount of people you plan to feed.


2 handfuls of sweet potato in thin cubes
Generous tea spoon ricotta
Drizzle of oil
4- 6 wonton wrappers

Just enough soba noodles to fill your tummy

One sachet white miso
Little splash of soy
Small amount of finely sliced spring onions
2 cups water

To make dumplings:
Pre heat oven to 200 degrees ( non fan forced )
Place sweet potato onto a lined baking tray and lightly over in oil and salt.
Bake for 30 mins (or until cooked )
Once cooked remove from oven and put it into a mixing bowl.
Add ricotta and with a potato masher (or you might like to put it into a food processor but I didn’t want to have to clean it ! ) mash until ingredients are well mixed. ( a little bit lumpy is ok ! )
Spoon mixture into the centre of the wrappers
Fold wrappers in half and press edges well

To make soup:
Boil water
Add in miso paste and mix well
Add in soy to taste and spring onions
Reduce heat to a simmer

To cook noodles and dumplings:
In a pot of boiling water put in noodles and dumplings
Cook for 3-4 mins.

To serve:
Put noodles and dumplings in the bowl and cover with soup… THAT EASY!!

I hope you enjoy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Friday - Meatballs

I love, love, love meatballs! On Friday I felt like trying something different so along with the beef mince, egg and breadcrumbs (which I realised the next morning turned out to be bran… not recommended) I added some shredded Parmesan, Tasty and a few generous teaspoons of Ricotta. With a few extra herbs it made for a nice smooooth mix.

The best thing though about meatballs is how easy it is to adjust to your liking. The sauce is as simple as opening a jar of your favourite pasta sauce and adding just a couple of extras.

Give it a go one night when you are in the mood for spag bol but up are for something different!

300g Beef mince (beef or lamb is best for this tomato based sauce, chicken mince is a better option for a creamy sauce)
¼ packet or 1/5 cup fresh breadcrumbs
¼ cup tasty cheese
¼ parmesan cheese
2 good-sized teaspoon of ricotta
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp BBQ sauce
1 onions roughly chopped
Tiny splash of soy sauce
2 tsp Italian herbs

1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce. We use a red wine and garlic variety.
1 tsp Italian herbs

Enough cooked pasta for 4 (enough to have the next day!)

Sprinkle of parsley to garnish

Mix all meatball ingredients until mixture is smooth.
Roll into small balls and in a hot saucepan sear the meatballs (you may need to do this in one or two batches depending on your saucepan)
When all are cooked on the outside add in pasta sauce, and Italian herbs
Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally so that the mix does not catch on saucepan

After about 30 mins add in cooked pasta and simmer for 10 mins.

Serve with some Parmesan and parsley


New Skills

A few months ago I enrolled my Mum and myself into a ‘Cupcakes with Flair’ course to be held at Baulkham Hills Tafe. Saturday was the day that out skills were tested, so with all the enthusiasm we could muster for a Saturday morning we headed to the kitchen come class room to see what we could learn.

4 hours later and we had 12 patty cakes finely decorated with different techniques. We leant how to perfectly reduce chocolate, master a glossy ganache and pipe to perfection.

Only time will tell how much I actually learnt from this class…

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A new camera

Well, I can be quite the impulse buyer. The impulse this week led me to buy a brand new Olympus E 420 digital SLR! I have very little photography skills past those required to point and shoot my little Olympus compact. Regardless of this I am extremely excited by my new toy and am impressed by what I have seen from it so far. This cool camera isn't just for me though, it is also for all of you. With it I plan to take mouth-watering pictures of my dinners so that you have a better idea of what the end result should look like. My first attempt was with tonight's stir-fry and I apologise for its lack of design finesse. But please do keep an eye out as I post more and I would love your feedback or suggestions on how I can improve my skills.

Thursday – Chicken citrus stir-fry with rice served on an egg net

I don’t know about the rest of your but I have been watching Master Chef and it has left me feeling rather inspired to just give It a go.
So, with the wind of inspiration in me, today I set out to make a stir-fry that was different to all the others I have made.

To make the egg nets you will need one egg whisked well.
In a hot flat based saucepan finely drizzle the egg to form a cross hatched pattern.
When the egg is just cooked remove from pan with a flat spatula.
Place on a plate while you make the Stir Fry

300 g chicken cut into flat pieces
1 carrot cut into small cubes
½ cup corn kernels
¼ finely sliced snow peas
¼ cup finely slices spring onion
¼ Capsicum finely sliced
1 lemon
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp garlic
2 tsp brown sugar
¾ cup boiled rice

2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp sweet chili sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp brown sugar

In a hot fry pan or wok cook chicken in garlic until lightly brown
Add carrot in and cook for 2 mins until it begins to soften (I prefer it a little crunchy but Luke likes soft carrot so I oblige)
Squeeze in juice of one lemon & soy sauce and stir well.
Now add in the sweet chilli sauce and brown sugar
Cook on a low heat while you make to sauce

The sauce could not be easier. Whisk the 4 ingredients together with a fork! Too easy!

1 minute before serving add in corn, spring onion, capsicum and snow peas. These are all veggies that don’t like to be over cooked.

To serve, put half cup of rice on each plate (I wanted to go all out so used a half cup measure that was lightly oiled to mould the rice into shape) to one side of the egg net.
Serve up the stir-fry then drizzle the dressing over the whole dish. Add a piece of mint to the rice and there we have it, chicken citrus stir-fry.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday - Dinner Out, Cha Plu

Well tonight we were very very slack and had dinner out.
If you walk 10 mins through Russell Lea you come across a quiet Thai place called Cha Plu. This fashionably decorated restaurant offers tasty meals at good prices. We have eaten in twice now and had take away two times also. The meals are all delicious with fresh produce, tender meats and well-presented plates. Tonight we had the Massamun beef and the Thai fried rice. The beef was amazing, full of fragrant pieces of tender pink meat that simply melted in our mouths. Unlike many version of this dish it was not served with soggy potato chucks, rather one roasted whole potato. The fried rice was full of fresh veggies with tones of snow peas, broccoli and other crunchy pieces.
The take away (with free delivery!) comes in brown paper bags with the menu attached. The menu however is a decent piece of design unlike the thousand others that we receive in the post each week.
All in all we give this place a 9/10 and a highly recommended. We will most definitely be back!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kitchen Loves - Mixmaster

Like many people lately I was hit with the baking bug. While I longed for a Kitchenaid Mixmaster I was blessed with something even better. This Christmas my Nana gave me something very precious. Her original Kenwood Mixmaster. This beast is in amazing condition considering it is over 35 years old! With all original pieces such as dough hook and splash cover it even comes with the original instruction book.
I fired it up tonight for the first time. While the cake was awful (my first ever attempt at a sponge) the Kenwood was amazing. It whirred up like it was brand new and beat the egg/sugar mixture to perfection.
So, anyone in the market for a Mixmaster ( a must really for any good kitchen ) don't think you have to spend big and buy a new one. A good condition second hand one will do just as good a job (even if it isn’t a shiny red sculpture!).

Tuesday - Beef stew with dumplings

Tonight I went for a winter warmer. My Mum makes an awesome stew with amazing dumplings (she also makes golden syrup dumplings which I might share one day ) which were always sure to please the ever growing crowds.

So, inspired by Mum's Kitchen here is my take on a Beef Stew with Dumplings.

*It may look like allot of ingredients but it is all stuff you will probably find in the fridge and cupboard. I like to think that stew is one of those meals you can pull together when all else fails.

300g steak cut into chunky cubes (we buy whatever is on special... it will be stewed for a while so pick a cut that takes well to hot & wet conditions :-p)
splash of oil
1/2 cup seasoned plain flour
handful pumpkin cut into large cubes
half a carrot cut into thick rounds
1 onion cut into thick chunks
1 large, very ripe tomato
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup hot chicken stock (I make mine from a powder so make it on the strong side)
slosh of red wine vinegar
larger slosh of white wine (something we always have in the fridge for some strange reason)
salt and pepper
sprinkle of 'Italian Herbs' (rosemary, basil, parsley etc would all work)
1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup self raising flour
1 tbsp herbs
100 ml water (I used sparkling mineral water for something different)
30 g melted butter

Cover beef well in seasoned flour
In a hot, deep oiled saucepan seal beef until brown
Add in onion and cook a little
Slosh some red wine vinegar and white wine over beef and stir until union is soft
Add the rest of stew ingredients except for the can of tomatoes
Reduce heat a little and season
Allow to simmer while you make the dumplings. At this stage you want the contents to be just covered by liquid so if you are using a large pot you may need to add a little more stock.
Stew for around 20 mins

To make dumplings combine flour, salt, pepper, herbs and water and mix. The dough should be a little crumbly at this stage.

Pour in butter and mix until the dough is well combined and a little bit sticky. You may wish to add a little more water to find the right consistency.

Back to the stew and add the can of tomatoes and stir
Roll the dough into 3cm balls. You will know if the dough is not right if it sticks to your hands. If it does and a little more flour.
It should make around 12 dumplings.
Place the dumplings in the stew.
All the ingredients and dumplings should be just covered by liquid. Use a little more stock or hot water to do this if more liquid is required.
Stew for about 30 mins stirring VERY gently a couple of times. Be sure not to break up the dumplings when stiring. All you really need to do is stop the stew from catching to the bottom of the pot.

3 dumplings and some stew is enough for 1.

Serves 4.


Monday, May 11, 2009

A pretty garden

In January I made the move of living with my parents to living with my handsome and clever boyfriend of 2 years, Luke. We found a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment within a 1 minute walk of Five Dock Bay. It was one of many that we applied for and were offered but even though it was the most expensive we knew it had to be ours for as long as the landlord permits.

A big plus for this place was that it was 1 of a small block of four, ground floor and it had a huge patio and a garden. A GARDEN!!!!

So, a couple of weeks ago we had the folks over and worked on our small but beautiful garden.

One thing Luke wanted was a lime tree so we were off to Bunnings and found ourselves 3 funky blue glazed pots.

Hardgraves provided us with a lime a lemon and a orange along with some basil and mint.

3 weeks on and I am able to cook with my basil and mint! There is nothing like growing your own herbs. I water my plants and feed them with Powerfeed and they reward me with beautiful lush foliage. Anyone can grow herbs and I highly recommend you do!

p.s. this photo was taken just after we did the garden. It has all grown bigger since then and looks beautiful!

Kitchen Loves - Anolon

I have many things in my kitchen that I love but my set of Anolon pots has to be a massive favourite. I recieved the set for Christmas and since I moved into my own place I don't know what I would do without it. I have a six piece set which Mum bought from Peters of Kensington who offered it at a fantastic price. If you go to David Jones be prepared to pay over $200 per item. They are nice and heavy, have rubber grip handles and wipe clean! No need to leave in the sink to 'Soak '.
They are an investment item but well worth it. With a long warrenty they are pots to last you a life time!

Family Lunch - Apple, Sausage and Maple Salad

This is another attributed to Heidi at It is based on her Brussels spouts salad which I tried one night for dinner. Not everyone is a fan of sprouts so when I decided to make this one for a family lunch at Mum and Dad's place I made some adjustments. If you are after something a bit more special or different than a regular coleslaw or something similarly ordinary give this one a crack! Even the kids will like this one so no need to make one for the grown ups and the little ones.

1 lemon
2 red apples de-cored cut into cubes ( I used green apples the first time and found they were a little bitter for this recipe but can work )
3 sausages. Plain beef are great for this as the sauce is yummy but I have made it with chicken which worked well too.
2 cloves crushed garlic
3/4 cup fake maple syrup ( Cottees etc )
1 bag baby spinach leaves
cup of crushed nuts. I use 50/50 roasted cashews and walnuts.

Soak apples in juice of 1 lemon. If the juice does not cover the apples fill the bowl with water so that the apples are only just covered. Cover bowl.
Lightly cook sausages to the point that you can easily slice them without them falling apart. It is essential that you don't over cook them at this stage as they will go rubbery later. Cooking them on the BBQ gives a lovely flavour to the dish.
Cut sausages into 1cm thick slices.
Heat oil and garlic in a large skillet or wok.
Add sausage and cook for 1 minute.
Drain apples and ad to sausage mix. Cook for 1 min.
Pour maple syrup into skillet and coat contents well.
Add nuts and mix.
When sausage is cooked and apple is going soft put half the bag of spinach into the skillet and mix quickly.
Put the remaining spinach in the bottom of a large salad bowl and pour sausage and apple mix in. Best served warm.


Update: Sausages can be substituted with Tofu. While I am not a Tofu fan those of you who are will know how to cook it up.

Monday -Thai style pumpkin and sweet potato soup

You will soon realise that I am not huge on exact measurements. I make most meals for two sometimes with the intention of having enough leftover for one for lunch.

Tonight I decided to make my pumpkin soup which I had made twice before. The original recipe came from which is a favourite of mine. Heidi Swanson is an American based all round clever person who creates mouth watering vegetarian and vegan recipes. I first made it for my Mum and Dad and enjoyed it so much thought it was time to take home. Second time round I didn't have enough pumpkin to make a whole soup so used some sweet potato. The mistake I made that time was that I used too much chilli powder when roasting the veggies. It resulted is a tasty but far too hot soup.

So, tonight I decided to try again, this time sans chilli powder. I hope you enjoy.

3 handfuls of sweet potato cubes
3 handfuls of pumpkin cubes ( I used butternut tonight but each time have used whatever was in the fridge )
1 can light coconut milk or cream
olive oil
rock salt
sweet chilli sauce to taste ( I used about 2 tsp tonight and it had a good amount of heat )

Pre heat oven to 210 degrees Celsius

Spread sweet potato and pumpkin cubes on an over tray with baking paper.
Coat veggies in generous amounts of oil, sat and pepper.
Bake in hot over for approx 1 hour. The veggies will be ready when they are almost to the point of falling apart and lovely and sticky.
In a blender put roasted veggies and coconut milk and puree. Add sweet chilli sauce to taste.

This makes a lovely bright orange soup that is very thick ,creamy with tiny pieces of pepper and caramelised veggies.


The first post!

Well here it is, my very first blog entry!
So what is it all about you ask? Here at Rosey's Dinners I want to share my successful dinners and my not so successful dinners. I want to share my favorite cook books and where my inspiration comes from. Keep posted and you are bound to find something for dinner!