Recent Recipes

Tomato, Prawn & Saffron Risotto

Comments (0) | Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sorry I've been a bit slack with my posting, life is keeping me busy as per usual. And with Christmas on it's way, I'm sure you all are busy too!
I have a back log of posts, so watch out for them!

This recipe was for mid-week cooking and it came from my new favorite food magazine: Australian Good Food.
It was a very nice risotto, the only problem was the serving sizes were not very big...(as my mum complained about the whole time she was eating it...). So if you are going to make it for 4 people, maybe double the recipe. A definite keeper though, not too salty, the fresh fried prawns are great as they are not coated in the stock. Parsley and tomato add depth to the flavour.

Tomato, Prawn & Saffron Risotto
Ross Dobson

4 cups (1L) reduced-salt chicken stock
1 large pinch of saffron threads
40g butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 white onion, finely chopped
1.5 cups (300g) risotto rice
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
12 large green prawns, peeled, deveined, tails intact
1/4 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley

1. Heat stock and saffron in a saucepan until simmering. Reduce to low.

2. Heat butter in a large saucepan on medium until melted and sizzling. Add garlic and onion and cook for 4-5 mins, until softened. Add rice and stir for 1 min, until rice is glossy.

3. Add 1 cup of hot stock to rice mixture and stir until stock is absorbed. Repeat until all stock has been used and rice is tender but still a little firm in the centre. Add tomato and cook for another 2-3 mins, until tomato softens. Cover pan and remove from the heat.

4. Heat oil in a frying pan on high. Season prawns with sea salt. Cook in batches for 2 mins each side, until pink and curled.

5. Spoon risotto between serving bowls. Top with prawns and sprinkle with parsley to serve.

Serves 2 big portions or 4 small portions

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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Meeting Donna Hay

Comments (2) | Monday, November 24, 2008

As most of you all know, I'm a massive Donna Hay fan, so when one of my best friends let me know she was doing a book signing, I re-arranged my work around it so I could attend.

I rocked up an hour early, was first to sit down and froze my ass off in front of the fridge section of David Jones just so I could see her cooking demo. She cooked some mouth watering dishes from her new book "No Time To Cook". I can't wait to try out the Thai chicken salad, amongst other delicious sounding recipes.

However the day resulted in one of the most embarrassing moments in my life! Whilst lining up for the book signing, we were given samples of her new pre-packaged, bake at home brownies, and I managed to smear chocolate all over my white top. I didn't find this out until after I met her and told her how much I loved her when my mum pointed out I was covered in chocolate. So something that reflects me perfectly, I love my chocolate!

More posts to come, been a bit busy as of late!! Including more inspiring Donnay Hay food.

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Pecan & Apple Crumble

Comments (2) | Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A bit of mid-week baking to make the week a little sweeter.
This cake was so nice and moist, whilst remaining light and fluffy. The cinnamon in the crumble really makes the cake I think. The sultanas break it up and make it slightly healthier than say a chocolate cake... well that's what I tell myself anyways!

Perfect with a cup of tea, something your gran would love!

Pecan & Apple Crumble

250g butter, chopped at room temperature
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1.5 cups plain flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup milk
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, grated
3/4 cup sultanas

Crumble Topping
1 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to moderate, 180°C. Lightly grease a 23cm springform pan. Line base with baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Fold combined sifted flours and bicarbonate of soda into the creamed mixture alternately with milk. Mix in apple and sultanas. Spread the mixture into pan.

4. Crumble Topping: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over cake mixture in pan, pressing in gently.

5. Bake for 50-60 minutes until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Serve warm, with cream.

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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Hazelnut and Almond Cake

Comments (0) | Monday, November 17, 2008

This recipe wasn't destined to be on my blog. My mum started making it then we had an old family friend drop by so the cake was stuck at step 1. I ended up finishing it off for her whilst she socialized the night away.

If you like hazelnuts, this one is for you! Coming from someone who could live on Nutella, I was in heaven. It was light and fluffy from the almond and hazelnut meal, with a lovely chocolate frosting.
The cake was very flat though! I would suggest using a 20cm tin instead of the suggested 22cm tin. I have since added this recipe to my recipe book.

Hazelnut and Almond Cake

90g Nuttelex spread (or butter)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, seperated, plus 2 extra yolks
1 cup hazelnut meal
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons Nuttelex spread
1 tablespoon soy milk

1. Preheat oven to moderate, 180°C. Grease a 22cm round cake pan. Line the base with baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, use electric mixer to beat Nuttelex and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg-yolks. Mix in hazelnut and almond meal, followed by cocoa.

3. In a small bowl, with an electric mixer, beat egg-whites until stuff peaks form. Fold into cake mixture. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack to cool completely.

4. Frosting: in a small bowl, combine icing sugar, cocoa and Nuttelex. Add milk gradually, beating with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spread over cooled cake.

Serves 8.

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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Chocolate Mousse Cake

Comments (1) | Friday, November 14, 2008

The final course, dessert.
To see a better picture of what it should look like, click here.
Or you can just drool over mine:

Chocolate mousse cake, gooey in the middle with a nice coffee marscarpone cream and ice-cream. I didn't have any chocolate sorbet so I just used plain vanilla ice-cream. I also didn't do the chocolate leaf but who cares, it tasted amazing!

Very rich, probably something to do with the 500g of dark chocolate it has in it! I think I chilled mine for too long so it could have been a bit gooey-er, however it was still a winner with the family.
The recipe says "serves 4" but it serves more like 8-10 as you wouldn't want a huge slice or you might go into diabetic shock (well not really, it can get a bit sweet after a medium sized slice).

Try it and see, it will be love at first bite!

Chocolate Mousse Cake
Taste website

500g dark chocolate
2 tbs golden syrup
125g unsalted butter
4 eggs
1 tbs caster sugar
1 tbs plain flour, sifted
Melted chocolate, to decorate
Chocolate sorbet, to serve

Coffee Marscarpone
200g mascarpone cheese
2 tbs instant coffee
2 tbs pure icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Grease and line the base of a 20cm round spring-form cake pan with non-stick baking paper.

2. Melt the chocolate, golden syrup and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Place eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer or use an electric hand beater and beat on high for 10 minutes until very thick and pale. Gently fold in the flour then fold in the chocolate mixture until combined. Pour into the cake pan and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edge of the cake. Remove collar from cake pan and transfer the cake to the fridge for 1 hour to cool (this step is important as it sets the middle of the cake).

4. Meanwhile, to make the coffee mascarpone, dissolve coffee in 1 tablespoon of boiling water and set aside to cool. Beat together the mascarpone, coffee and sugar in a bowl until stiff.

5. To make the chocolate leaf, brush non-toxic leaves with the melted chocolate. When cool, peel the leaf off.

6. Slice the cake and serve with a dollop of coffee mascarpone, a chocolate leaf on top and a scoop of sorbet on the side.

Serves 4 (but i think you can serve at least 8!)

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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Spaghetti with Chicken & Semi-Dried Tomato Pesto

Comments (2) | Thursday, November 13, 2008

The main course of the 3 course meal/present was a recipe I had been wanting to try for some time but just seemed like too much work for a mid-week meal. But since I had the whole day to prep for it I thought I'd give it a go.

I don't know why I didn't try it sooner, it's as delicious as it looks. I'm looking forward to leftovers for lunch!
A different variation to your normal red tomato pasta sauce, this one has the lovely taste of the roasted capsicum and semi-dried tomatoes. Feta is just the icing on the cake when it comes to this pasta, an absolute must.
Omit the chicken for falafel for vegetarians for a lovely dish.

Spaghetti with Chicken & Semi-Dried Tomato Pesto

Taste Website

2 single chicken breast fillets, excess fat trimmed
1 red capsicum, quartered, deseeded
80g fat-free semi-dried tomatoes
20g shredded parmesan
1 garlic clove, finely crushed
60ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
400g dried thin spaghetti pasta
80g reduced-fat feta
1/3 cup chopped fresh continental parsley

1. Bring a large frying pan of water to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Add the chicken and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes. Set aside for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a clean work surface. Coarsely shred.

2. Meanwhile, preheat grill on high. Place the capsicum, skin-side up, on a baking tray and cook under grill for 8-10 minutes or until charred and blistered. Transfer into a sealable plastic bag and set aside for 5 minutes (this helps lift the skin). Peel the skin from the capsicum.

3. Place the capsicum, semi-dried tomatoes, parmesan and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add the lemon juice and oil in a thin, steady stream until combined.

4. Cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water following packet directions or until al dente. Drain. Return to the pan.

5. Add the semi-dried tomato mixture and chicken to the pasta. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle over the feta and parsley. Season with pepper to serve.

Serves 4.

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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Prawn Cocktail

Comments (0) | Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What to give your mum for her birthday when she tells you not to get her a gift (because you are kind of between jobs and aren't exactly swimming in money)?

Well me being me, I told her I was going to cook her dinner instead then and wasn't going to take no for an answer. Little did she know I had the idea of a 3 course meal up my hand!

I trawled through the Taste website for ideas. Finally I decided on a prawn cocktail recipe. I'm not sure why I chose this recipe from all the others, but it doesn't matter because it was a huge winner!

I slightly altered the recipe and added some avocado slices.
The dressing is delicious, I had no idea that orange juice and Dijon mustard went so well together! Keeping this recipe on hand to impress!

Prawn Cocktail
Taste Website

2 tbs fresh orange juice
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs chopped fresh chives
36 large cooked prawns, peeled leaving tails intact
1 treviso lettuce, hard core removed,finely shredded

1. Whisk together the orange juice, oil, vinegar, mustard and chives in a jug. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

2. Place the prawns in a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss until well combined.

3. Divide the treviso among serving glasses. Top with the prawn mixture to serve.

Serves 6.

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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Chocolate Cherry Cake

Comments (2) | Monday, November 10, 2008

The moment I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it.
Chocolate (my favorite), cherries (always a favorite), cake (makes everyone happy)!

I didn't have any fresh cherries as they are not quite in season, and the ones you can get are so overpriced! I didn't have any frozen ones on hand either but I did have some canned cherries.
I should have soaked them in sugar as they were a bit sour in the cake. The cake was still fantastic though, although I will make it with fresh or frozen cherries next time.
I chose to serve mine with ice-cream and some of the spare canned cherries.... delicious!

Chocolate Cherry Cake
BBC Australian Good Food magazine

100g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup (220g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder
1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup (100g) wholemeal flour
4 eggwhites
2.5 cups (310g) pitted fresh or frozen cherries, plus extra to serve
1 apple, grated
icing sugar, to dust

1. Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Line base and sides of a 20cm square pan with baking paper.

2. Place chocolate, sugar, cocoa and boiling water in a bowl. Stir, set aside for 2 mins, then stir again until smooth. Whisk in egg yolks, then fold in flour.

3. Beat eggwhites with an electric mixer until firm peaks form. Fold through chocolate mixture. Fold in pitted cherries and apple. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake for 35 mins, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan. Cut into squares, comes out clean. Cool in pan. Cut into squares, dust with icing sugar and serve with extra cherries.

Serves 10.

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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Chicken Chorizo & Tomato Paella

Comments (2) | Saturday, November 8, 2008

*sigh* my pictures never look as good as Donna Hay's! But I think my food tastes just as good!
Had my aunty come over for dinner tonight and mum suggested I cook dinner. I thought it was a good opportunity since I missed mid-week cooking as I went to the Chris Brown and Rihanna concert!

This recipe is from the Donna Hay Chicken book, full of great ideas.
I made a few alterations to the recipe, first I added extra rice then I added a bit of white wine since the rice needed more liquid to cook in. Then the dish was looking a little pale so mum suggested we add in some tomato paste. The tomato paste added a nice rich flavour to it, the paprika and chorizo combined provided a nice, not too spicy tang. The end result was just delicious and everyone enjoyed it.

Cooking time was probably around 30 minutes, so this would be a good recipe to keep on hand when you are busy and want something quick to whip up and impress the troops.

Chicken, Chorizo & Tomato Paella
Donna Hay

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 x 100g (3.5 oz) chorizo sausages, sliced
2 x 100g (7 oz) chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
1.5 cups medium-grain rice
400g (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup oregano leaves
2 cups baby spinach

1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the onion, garlic, paprika, chorizo and chicken and cook for for 5-10 minutes, until golden.

2. Add the rice and tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the stock, reduce then heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 15 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

3. Stir through the oregano and spinach.

Serves 4

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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Eating Out: Chu The Pho Bo Ga

Comments (5) | Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cup eve in Melbourne, 2 chefs dateless, what did they do? They got together in search of Pho.

Now I have explained what Pho is in a previous post but Iron Chef Katie has a cute little poem on her website, and it goes a little something like this:

Do not say Foe
Do not Say foo
And especially don’t
Say the word which describes “number two”.

Start with a fff To be followed by an urgh.
Once it becomes un-phố -gettable
you’ll get with the slur.

To see Katie's Vietnamese adventures visit her blog.

Whilst it is nice to visit the same restaurants, it's always fun to try somewhere new. So we decided we would head down to Victoria St in Richmond, famous for it's Vietnamese community. We got on google and stumbled upon some good reviews of Chu The Pho. It seemed both cheap and reliable so we headed down to try it out for ourselves.

We are instantly greated with tea and ordered straight away as the menu is on the wall. There are limited choices but it's clear you only come here for Pho and possibly spring rolls if you are in the mood.

The Pho comes out within minutes of ordering, steaming hot with the usual side dish of bean sprouts, lemon and basil. The broth smells good but there is a very powerful star anise scent.
We both agree it's pho-tastic Pho and gobble it up.

We tried to order vegetarian spring rolls but they only have pork and prawn, so we get a mixed plate to share. They are lovely and fresh and the dipping sauce is a lovely accompaniment.

Great for a cheap eat, our meal which consisted of 2 bowls of Pho, springrolls and a can of coke set us back $25.

Chu The Pho Bo Ga
270 Victoria Street
Richmond VIC 3121

Pho-ne: 9427 7749

Chu The Pho Bo Ga on Urbanspoon

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Eating Out: The Melba Restaurant

Comments (1) | Monday, November 3, 2008

Iron Chef Rob treated me to a very expensive anniversary dinner. I suggested the place, he took care of the rest!
I had been to the Melba Restaurnt on quite a few occasions many years ago, and knew Rob would love it as he is into food just as much as I am, if not more. The only condition was that I wasn't allowed to bring my big DSLR camera, so old faithful smaller camera came along instead.

Known as one of the best, if not the best buffet in Melbourne, the Melba Room in the Langham Hotel will not let you down.
The range of food can be found on the website here, but the only way to truly find out how good the food is, is to actually go and experience it for yourself.

Let’s just say, we ate a lot of food to get our money’s worth. For entrees there was a lovely range of fresh seafood including; prawns, muscles, oysters, crab and smoked salmon. There is also a range of sushi, continental meats, large cheese selection, salads and fruits. You can also have the soup of the day or an assortment of Asian dumplings.

click on image to see full size version

For mains there is such a selection if you can’t find something you like, then you are too fussy!
Everything from a carvery to customised stir fries, pastas and there is even a tandoor.
I usually get a customized pasta but I wanted to try the stir fries as this wasn’t available when I went last time. There were two options available on that night, Mee Goreng and Fried Kway Teow. You didn’t have to stick to these, you could just point at what noodles, and ingredients you wanted to go with your customized dish. Everything from vegetables to seafood is available.
Rob got the freshly made naan with a range of tandoori meats which looked and smelt amazing.
click on image to see full size version

Dessert! The best course in my opinion, there was such a variety and it was incredible. Complete with ice-cream, chocolate fountain, and a fridge full of bite sized delights, I could have eaten 1 of everything if I wasn’t so full! There were little crème caramels, rice puddings, tiramisu, lemon meringue pies, chocolate this, chocolate that and fresh fruit. 2 courses of dessert included 1 of a large variety of the above with our final plate consisting of nothing but fresh fruit!

click on image to see full size version

Whilst the buffet is a set price depending on what time you go (prices available from here), the view is always breath taking overlooking Southbank and the city. Drinks cost extra, there is an extensive wine list and the service is nothing but top notch. Our waiter had charm, grace and a witty sense of humour and got a generous tip from us at the end of the night. He was very attentive always clearing our plates and making sure everything was just fine.

I would recommend anyone to the Melba Room, weather it be for a special occasion or just to try something new.

Melba at Langham Hotel
1 Southgate Ave
VIC 3006

Phone: (03)
8696 8888
Web: http://www.langhamhotelmelbourne.com.au/restaurants/melba.php

Melba's Brasserie on Urbanspoon

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Have you had your Turducken?

Comments (5) |

I recently learnt of food that clogs my arteries just thinking about it.
It's called the Turducken.

image from wikipedia


Wikipedia's definition of a Turducken is:
" a dish consisting of a partially de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which itself is stuffed with a small de-boned chicken. The chestal cavity of the chicken and the rest of the gaps are filled with, at the very least, a highly seasoned breadcrumb mixture or sausage meat, although some versions have a different stuffing for each bird"

image from wikipedia

Most popular around Thanksgiving time, most popular in the deep south of America.

Thanks, for the idea but no thanks!! This is just way too much meat for me to even think about.

What are your thoughts on the Turducken?

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