Friday, October 9, 2015

PInk lamingtons

As promised I am going to fill your feed with pink recipes this month. And I feel its my duty to share this one - pink lamingtons. Gah, who doesn't need pink lamingtons in their lives! The athletes may have their arm bands but the bakers, well the bakers get limited edition polka dot Kitchen Aid bowls. I know, I know. So stupidly pretty. And even more importantly Kitchen Aid are donating some of the proceeds of each and every sale to the Breast Cancer Network Australia and New Zealand.  I love interchanging the metal and ceramic bowls depending on what I am doing with the mixer so its functional as well as beautiful. The bowls are available anywhere that sells the mixers but if you wanted to check first check the Kitchen Aid website for stockists before you schlep to the shops.

Now to the recipe! I used one of those individual brownie tins but you can also use a regular muffin pan which is something everyone is more likely to have. The cooking time/outcome doesn't change at all whichever cooking tin you use.


½ cup (75g) self-raising flour
¼ cup (30g) plain flour
⅓ cup (40g) corn flour
½ cup (80g) caster sugar
90g butter, softened to room temperature
2 x 60g eggs, at room temperature
75ml milk, lightly warmed
½ packet strawberry jelly crystals (reserve remaining for coating)
100ml thickened cream
1 tbs strawberry jam
¾ cup (70g) desiccated coconut
1 tbs extra strawberry jelly crystals

Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced). Grease the base and sides of a mini muffin tin well with butter.
Attach the flat beater to a stand mixer. Place the flours and sugar in the mixing bowl. Mix until well combined.
Add the butter, eggs, and milk to the flour mixture. Mix until combined. Increase speed to high and beat for 1 minute.
Divide the mixture between the holes of the muffin tin, filling each hole to about ¾ full. Bake on the lower centre shelf 8-10 minutes or until the little cakes are golden and just firm.
While the cakes are baking, make the jelly, following the instructions on the packet, but using only half the packet of crystals and only half of the water recommend. Refrigerate until just syrupy, this takes anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the coldness of your fridge.
When the little cakes are firm and lightly golden, remove from the oven and allow to cool 3-5 minutes before carefully removing from the pan. Place on a cooling rack.
Attach the mixing bowl and whisk to a stand mixer. Add the cream to the bowl and beat until soft peaks form.
Spread one flat edge of the cakes with a little jam and sandwich together with a little cream.

Quickly dunk and toss each lamington in the jelly, lightly coating and roll in the coconut combined with extra jelly crystals. Place on a rack to set. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Best eaten on the day made.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Elderflower, white chocolate and strawberry semifreddo

October is breast cancer awareness month and this recipe is a nod to all things pink and a perfect recipe for you to make should you decide to participate in one of the many cooking fundraising initiatives that happen across the country. I'll be posting lots of pink inspired recipes here on the blog.
This does need to come with a warning. Don't make this pretty ice cream if you're not prepared to eat it in disturbing amounts (all of it in one sitting) and feel that weird cold headache, ate too much feeling that comes with such consumption. This ice cream does not like to be alone in the freezer waiting for friends. Its an extrovert – loud, bright and so so delicious to serve at a dinner party or equally consumed during a Netflix marathon sitting in front of your lap top in pajamas holding a spoon hostage until you reach the bottom. If you embrace the "just can't stop" feeling when it comes to summer in ice-cream form then friends this is it. Strawberries, vanilla, white chocolate and elderflower – they belong together. With you. In your belly. Happy times.
You will need to begin this recipe one day ahead.
Makes about 2 litres.

Elderflower strawberries
250g punnet strawberries, hulled, roughly chopped
½ cup elderflower cordial
7 egg yolks
300g caster sugar
¼ cup elderflower cordial
1 vanilla bean, scraped seeds only
150g white chocolate (ensure its good quality) melted
450 ml thickened cream
375 gm crème fraîche
For the elderflower strawberries, place the strawberries and cordial in a bowl and set aside for 2-3 hours until the berries have macerated. Add to a blender and pulse ever so briefly, you want some glorious chunks of strawberry to remain. Set aside.
For the semifreddo, whisk the yolks, elderflower cordial, 0vanilla seeds and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until thick and pale (4-5 minutes), then transfer to an electric mixer, whisk until cool (2-3 minutes) and set aside.
Whisk cream and crème fraîche together in a bowl until soft peaks form, then fold in cooled yolk mixture and melted white chocolate. Spoon into a 2 litre- capacity container, adding the elderflower strawberry mixture as you go, swirling to form a ripple effect. Freeze until firm (6 hours-overnight), then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until required. Makes about 2 litres.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Japanese inspired food is without doubt my go to. It's simple with an aesthetic built on minimalism. It wouldn't kick a bit of raw fish out of bed for love or money and the vegetable selection is considered; truly considered, showing restraint that kale lovers and those wanting to eat their way out of a garden bed should seriously take note of. For minimal effort and fuss get your laughing gear around these dashi rice and sashimi cups with a drizzle of dressing for lunch or dinner. They are the right side of simple.
The key is in the best sashimi you can scour from a fishmonger and the rice, well the dashi nursed grains help you achieve the sort of rice you always wish it might be but so rarely is. A word of caution, allow the rice to cool – there is nothing worse than sweaty lettuce for transport and sashimi starting to sweat and cook on the underside.
Use the dressing sparingly, and top with your usual adornments of wasabi and pickled ginger if you like all the bells and whistles.

½ cup sushi rice (short grain white rice), rinsed vigorously under cold running water at least twice
½ cup water
300g sashimi grade salmon (or tuna)
1 small butter lettuce, leaves pulled, rinsed, separated
2 tsp instant dashi powder 
Spicy hoisin & ginger sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp mirin
I've always been told that the perfect rice and water ratio is 1:1. Especially for sushi rice.
Combine the water and dashi stock, stirring to combine. Put the rice in a small non-stick pot and cover with the dashi water, giving it a good stir. Cover with a tight fitting lid and place over the lowest heat possible.
Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, the water should just be on the verge of a simmer. (This is known as blooming the rice) Turn the heat up slightly and cook for 10 minutes (the water should still not be boiling) and by the end of the time the water should be completely evaporated.  Turn off the heat and leave for an additional 5 minutes to complete the cooking process.
Remove the lid and with a wooden spoon gently fold the rice from the bottom of the pot over the top (without crushing the grains), and repeat so the rice is evenly "shuffled".
For the hoisin and ginger sauce combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. 
Scoop the rice (about 1-2 tablespoons) into the butter lettuce, top with salmon pieces and drizzle over the hoisin and ginger sauce to taste. Top with pickled ginger and wasabi if using.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pie pie pie..... A perfect Moroccan Lamb Shank Pie For Winter

Pie pie pie. Is there much else better in this world than pie? Nope. Perfecting pie, or at least the consumption of pie throughout winter is what it's all about. #lifegoals. As part of my recipe contributions to the seriously excellent Urban List, I get to make pies. Spectacular "winter is coming" kind of pies like this Moroccan lamb shank number. You see life requires a tremendous amount of pie. Pie like this that has slow cooked goodness oozing from its pores, encased in a hug of buttery light pastry that hopefully finds its way to your belly via a dinner table surrounded by your best of mixed tape of family and friends. And preferably bucketloads of wine.

I've filled it with dates and chickpeas as well which do a wonderful job of soaking up the juices and thickening the pie insides to perfection.

Serves 4-6


¼ cup olive oil
4 lamb shanks, frenched
2 brown onions, peeled, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 x 330ml bottle of golden ale style beer (I used James Squire Chancer)
1 cup veal stock
1 celery stalks, peeled, chopped
1 cup pitted dates
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed thoroughly
2 x 400g tinned cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp ras el hanout spice blend
1 tsp dried mint
1 x sheet Careme puff pastry or other excellent quality puff pastry


Preheat the oven to 180C
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Cook the shanks, turning often until well browned all over. Remove and set aside. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until soft. Return the shanks to the pan with the beer and stock.
Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add the celery, dates, chickpeas, tomatoes and spices and simmer, covered for 45 minutes until the shanks are tender and the liquid has reduced. If not continue cooking until thick. If unsure just think – is this going to make it a sloppy pie? – no one likes a sloppy pie. Shred the meat into the sauce, stirring to combine and reserve the shank bones. Pour the mixture into a pie dish. Stick a few of the bones in the centre of the mixture – these will pop through the pastry creating the perfect vent for steam. Fit the pastry over the dishes, cutting a hole for the shank bones. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Chicken meatballs in yoghurt and Aleppo pepper butter. Perfect Winter Fodder

While the other side of the world gets to enjoy the starting heat of summer with watermelon and peach Caprese salads poolside, we're freezing our asses off, donning ugg boots, and finding small pleasures in the culinary opportunities this kind of weather provides. Like meatballs. Get-in-your-face meatballs, like these spiced chicken and hot yoghurt meatballs that are comforting and soul-fortifying in a way that stops you in your tracks. Something about them enables you to recollect and reconnect, and I find them as therapeutic to make as pie - it must be all the smooshing and rolling.
These spicy meatballs are swimming in yoghurt sauce and you can serve them with a simple salad, warm greens, or a nice nutty pilaf. The opportunities and options with a good plate of meatballs are endless. With pasta. With salad. On a toastie. Cold from the fridge at midnight. Frozen for a later date. Meatballs. You know you are onto a good thing.
Serves 4 to 6
500g excellent quality chicken mince
1 egg
½ cup sourdough or brioche breadcrumbs
½ red onion, finely chopped
3 tsp oregano, finely chopped
3 tsp tarragon, finely chopped
Pinch salt flakes
1 tsp toasted and ground cumin
½ tsp dried mint
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chicken stock

2 cups plain yoghurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup dill, leaves pulled, finely chopped plus more to garnish
¼ cup mint, leaves pulled, finely chopped plus more to garnish
1 tbsp butter, melted
Generous pinch ground Aleppo pepper
Pinch toasted cumin seeds

To serve
Hot fluffy pita bread

Preheat oven to 180C.
For the meatballs, combine all ingredients - except the olive oil and chicken stock - in a bowl and mix well using your hands to thoroughly incorporate and combine. Roll and shape the mixture into about 20 balls. If you need to, dip your hands in cold water to stop the mixture from sticking to them.
Line a tagine bowl or baking dish with a generous lug of olive oil. Place the meatballs in the dish in a single layer and gently turn them to coat in oil. Place in the oven and cook until brown - about 15 minutes. During cooking time, try to turn them a few times so they achieve an even colouring all over.
Remove from the heat and pour over the chicken stock. Return to the heat and cook for 10 minutes; you want the meatballs to continue cooking in the liquid at a gentle simmer.
Remove from the heat, then gently transfer meatballs to a plate, reserving the cooking liquid.
In a large bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, egg, garlic, dill and mint. Slowly add the hot chicken stock, about ¼ cup at a time - you will probably only need ½ a cup in total but this can vary with the liquidity of the yoghurt used. Pour the mixture into a frying pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce very obviously thickens and is just beginning to bubble and simmer. Season. Add the meatballs to the yoghurt sauce to warm through and turn to coat in the yoghurt sauce.
To make the Aleppo pepper butter, add the butter to a small frypan and place over medium heat. Cook until the butter just starts to foam and add the pepper, swirling constantly so the butter doesn't burn.
Divide the meatballs and yoghurt between serving bowls. Add some tabouli and then spoon over the Aleppo butter. Top with freshly chopped herbs and serve with warm pita.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Perfect Buddha Bowl

Hello, hi. Yep remember me. Sorry for the lax updates - have been pretending I am one of those jetting off types, actually jetting off to Hong Kong and Boracay for a sneaky and much needed getaway. I'm in the throes of putting together a bit of a must eat list for Hong Kong and downloading photos which I'll put up asap. In the meantime I suggest you get your laughing gear around this buddha bowl. Such a great filling and delicious winter style salad. I'm completely addicted.

 I'd like to introduce your insides to the Buddha bowl. It's multiple downward dogs and soul rectifying therapy in a few mere mouthfuls; a plate of deliciousness zinging with the good stuff that's come from the cold-weather-still should-eat-salad-part-of-my-brain to yours. It's hearty, sweet and spicy, salty and crunchy, and durable enough to last a few days in the refrigerator to be eaten cold or warm, whichever your persuasion. Oh and the obligatory kale has made an appearance so that's an even bigger win for some. There is a bit of chopping and spice blending involved but the resulting hits of ginger, panch phoran and coriander make it all worthwhile.
I like to think eating this and eating donuts would equal out in some kind of real life eating pyramid universe although if you are anything like me you'll end up shoving all of this down your throat in one day sending all pyramid sentiments right out the window. Things like that happen. All the time. I call it life.  And it's just a salad. A really damn tasty one.
Serves 4 
3 organic sweet potatoes, peeled, sliced lengthways
5cm knob ginger, peeled, coarsely grated
2 tsp honey
2 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp soy
450g tin chickpeas, thoroughly rinsed
1 tbsp sultanas
1 tsp each Cumin, Brown Mustard, Fenugreek, Nigella and Fennel seeds dry roasted and combined (panch phoran)
1 avocado, seeded, chopped
2 tsp black sesame seeds
½ red onion, very finely chopped
1 bunch coriander, leaves pulled, roughly chopped
1 cup brown rice cooked according to packet instructions
1 handful kale, parsley, lettuce – whatever greens you can get your hands on, chopped
Greek yoghurt to serve
1 green chilli, seeded, finely sliced
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Toss the sweet potato pieces, ginger, honey, coconut oil and soy in a large roasting tray and roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes until cooked through and the ginger mixture has begun to caramelise.
Toss the chickpeas, sultanas and panch phoran spices in a bowl then quickly fry in a frypan over a low temperature until warmed through.
Toss the avocado, sesame seeds and chopped red onion in a bowl.
Place all the salad elements in a large serving bowl and serve warm topped with the yoghurt and green chilli.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Margherita Pizza Bombs

Margherita Pizza Balls

Margherita pizza would be on my list of five foods to take to a desert island. When done well with the appropriate thin crust, beautiful quality mozzarella and a sprinkling of freshly torn basil, everything seems right with the world. This is a pizza pocket version of the margherita – an ode to the good old days of a few coins taped to a brown paper bag for the pizza pop tart at tuckshop.

The pizza dough here is very much a hands off affair. Add the ingredients to a bowl, use your hands to briefly combine then an overnight nurse is all thats required. Low maintenance – just the way we like it. The end result is crisp and airy despite the filling. And what emerges from your oven is this fantastic molten mess of mozzarella, cooked down tomato goodness and of course the fragrant basil. Its heaven. Baked heaven. One of those hard hitting numbers that makes your house smell amazing and trust me when this emerges from the oven it is on for young and old.

Serves 4

Pizza dough
200g bread flour
200g plain flour
1 tbsp sugar
Generous pinch salt
2 tsp (7g sachet) active dried yeast
300ml warm water, approximately
250g buffalo mozzarella
Basil leaves
Olive oil to coat
Margherita Sauce
1 x 400g Tin cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 small red onion, peeled, roughly chopped
pinch salt
generous pinch of sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
small handful of basil leaves

To make the pizza dough mix the flour, sugar, salt and instant dry yeast evenly in a large bowl.  Add the water and mix together with a wooden spoon until a wet dough forms. Let the dough sit for the flour to hydrate then with your hands pull the dough up then fold it over itself. Repeat this once or twice – you just want everything to come together but you are not kneading the dough as such, just encouraging the elasticity of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap then let proof overnight at room temperature. In the current weather I left mine inside the oven overnight.
To make the tomato sauce, add all ingredients to a blender and blitz until relatively smooth. Pour into a saucepan and simmer for about ten minutes over medium heat until the sauce thickens and reduces slightly and the garlic cooks out.
Preheat the oven to 250C.
Generously oil a baking dish at least 25 x 25cm in size.
Lightly flour your work bench. Pull small handfuls of dough at a time and roll out to 5mm thick. Place about a heaped teaspoon amount of mozzarella in the centre. Spoon over a dessertspoon of tomato sauce, top with a fresh basil leaf then bring the dough together to enclose it into a ball/pocket shape and place in the baking dish. Dont worry, the more rustic looking the better and they puff up so much it really doesnt matter what it looks like as it goes in. Repeat with remaining dough, mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil until you have filled your baking dish. Set aside for thirty minutes for the dough to rest again. Brush generously with additional olive oil and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and puffed in appearance. Keep an eye on it as you dont want the top to burn. If it looks like it is burning, turn the oven down straight away. Once cooked, remove and scoop over any few spoonfuls of left over tomato sauce and sprinkle with a few basil leaves. Season and serve piping hot straight from the oven.