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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Christine's Salmon Pasta Topping

I invented this recipe about half an hour ago, but it's based on many previous recipes I've done along similar lines.

It may not find favour with your household's eaters if they're not fond of gooey, not-very-chewy food. I made it tonight because I had a sore throat! But if you like soft foods, it's pretty nice.


210g (7.5oz) can salmon (or you could use tuna, or even cold diced roast chicken)
125g (4.5oz) can corn kernels
White end of 1 spring onion (green onion / scallion)
Small stick of celery (about 15cm / 6 inches long)
1x heaped 20mL tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
100mL milk
1x 20mL tablespoon sour cream
2x 20mL tablespoons cream cheese (Philadelphia cream cheese, Philly cheese)
2x 20mL tablespoons grated (shredded) cheese - I used mozzarella but any hard yellow cheese would work
NOTE: I used low-fat milk, light sour cream and light Philly cheese to bring down the calorie count. You could also use a light grated cheese, or you could make them all full-fat if you’re not counting calories!


1. Drain the tin of salmon and remove any vertebrae or other large bones.

2. In a small bowl, mash the salmon to break up any large lumps.

3. Finely slice the celery across the end, to make thin rainbow-shaped slivers.

4. Remove the roots from the spring onion, and starting from the white end, finely slice the first ~10 centimetres or up to the edge of the very green part. Don't use the green part.

5. Place salmon, celery, drained corn kernels and spring onion in a hot frying pan (oiled if it’s not a non-stick pan) and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.

6. While the other ingredients are frying, place the milk in a small mixing bowl and add the sour cream and Philly cheese. Using a fork, mash the sour cream and Philly cheese into small lumps.

7. Add the grated cheese to the milk mixture and stir briskly.

8. In a small glass or cup, place the cornflour and enough water to cover the cornflour. You MUST add the cornflour first or it will form a hard lump. Stir thoroughly until the cornflour is dissolved.

9. At the end of the 10 minutes’ frying time, add the milk and cheese mixture to the frying pan and stir thoroughly until it is evenly mixed with the salmon mixture.

10. Allow the milk to heat almost to boiling point, then give the cornflour a final stir and add it to the frying pan (try to pour it around instead of all in one place). Stir briskly until the milk has thickened, then remove from the heat immediately.

I had half of this with some penne pasta (half a 250mL cup of pasta when uncooked) and that made a very satisfying meal, so this amount of salmon mixture with 1 cup of pasta would make a good meal for two.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pineapple Punch

This recipe was picked up by my mother and her sisters in their university days, when they lived at Currie Hall, a student residence attached to the University of Western Australia. It's really simple, very refreshing and can be made alcoholic if you want it to be, although this version is non-alcoholic.

You can use any large serving (or even mixing!) bowl for this, but a proper punch bowl does add a nice touch.


3 litres chilled pineapple juice
2 litres chilled lemonade (NOTE: this lemonade in the UK and Australian usage - the clear, fizzy, lemon-flavoured soda drink (for example, Sprite or 7Up) - not the drink made from lemons and sugar that is called lemonade in the US).
1 litre chilled non-alcoholic wine (I use a non-alcoholic white wine from the brand Maison; any will do, but obviously anything other than a white wine will change the colour of the punch from yellow to orange).
1 punnet strawberries


1. The night before you are having the punch, wash the strawberries, cut the ends off and place them in the freezer.

2. Pour the non-alcoholic wine, most of the lemonade and most of the pineapple juice into the punch bowl (I generally find that it can’t take all of these; your punch bowl may have the capacity to take all of the liquids. Go with your instinct, you really can’t go wrong lol).

3. Add the frozen strawberries to act as ice blocks.

4. Enjoy!

To make it alcoholic, you could use real wine instead of non-alcoholic wine, or you could use the original mixture and add vodka, white rum or another spirit to taste.

Monday, January 28, 2008


X and I are taking a break so I can get my bearings and learn to not rely on him so much. This means that I'm not going to have a kitchen for a while. I'd like to stock up my fridge with as much as possible, so I'm asking for recipes.

What we have to work with:
- Steel Cut Oats
- Lentils - both red and green
- Dried Kidney Beans
- Dried Navy Beans
- Dried Garbanzo/Chickpeas
- Lots of Broth
- Pasta
- Various cans of tomatoes, soups, mixes, etc.
- Tofu/Tempeh

I'll be running to the store for some frozen fruit and veggies, but I'd love any and all recipes you can provide. While I'm vegetarian, I'm quite adept at switching out meat for tofu, beans (which I hate at this point), or tempeh. Websites are great, personal recipes are better - I haven't time to really search them out. Thanks!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Or biscuits for UK and AUS people. I've made maybe 20 batches of those in the past few months - they are good! Recipe taken from here; metric conversion - from here.


4 tablespoons (2 oz, 57 g) vegetable shortening
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 oz, 113 g) unsalted butter, soft but not melted
1 cup (220 g) packed* brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 g) white sugar
1 egg + 1 egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (AUS and UK: vanilla essence)
2 cups + 2 tablespoons (270 g) flour
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 g) baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 oz, 340 g) chocolate chips

* Packed brown sugar is not a type of brown sugar (I don't remember who asked). 'Packed' means you don't just pour it into the cup but tightly press it in, in order to fit as much as you can.


Cream shortening and butter together - preferably by hand with a fork. You shouldn't have a problem if the butter is soft enough.
Add brown sugar and white sugar and mix.
Add the egg, egg white and vanilla and mix.
Add flour, baking powder and salt [recipe says to sift flour, baking powder and salt together beforehand but half the time I omit that step].
Fold in chocolate chips.

* At this stage, you can make rolls of dough, cover with plastic wrap and freeze.

Take spoonfuls of dough, or cut circles from the frozen dough, and place on aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Leave some space between them because they expand a little.
This, and most other recipes I've seen, says to bake at 375 F (190 C) for 12 min or until tops are lightly brown. For my oven, tops get brown for 6 min at 350 F (175 C), so be sure to watch them. As with all cookies, rotate them halfway through baking.
Cool on a wire rack.

They remain soft on the outside for about a minute after you take them out of the oven, but do not get fooled into overcooking them! While trying to find the perfect temperature, I overbaked my first two batches and the cookies were crunchy throughout. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I like mine soft and chewy on the inside.

Jelenka's Crocodile

I am not talking about crocodile meat, but about this crocodile:

This is an interesting looking stuffed bread that is perfect for entertaining. Taste-wise it's nothing spectacular, but it makes a good presentation. Especially if yours is not as cross-eyed :o) as mine and its mug is less pig like.

For the crocodile body:

3 1/4 cups (500 g) flour
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
A pinch of sugar
A pinch of salt
40 g fresh (compressed) yeast or 4 teaspoons dry yeast (that is four times the yeast normally needed for this amount of flour, but it works)

For the filling:

1 hard boiled egg, sliced
1 roasted pepper, cut into strips
200 g ham, chopped
100 g cheese, shredded/grated

* Or, put in whatever you have in the fridge - the filling is up for interpretation. Just make sure that the filling is cooked beforehand if needed.


Knead dough using the pizza setting of the bread machine.

The pizza setting has much shorter time for rising than the regular dough setting. With this amount of yeast, the dough rises quickly!

It's important to have all of the filling prepared before the dough is done. Again, it rises quickly even at room temperature, so you need to work fast.

On a piece of aluminum foil and with the help of a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle about 1.5 cm/ 1/2 inch thick

Arrange the filling in the middle along the long side of the rectangle.

To give credit where credit is due :), and because her pics are better than mine, here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make the croc, courtesy of Jelenka at

The pictures are pretty much self-explanatory, but ask me for translation if there is anything you don't understand. It looks way more complicated than it actually is.

Bake for 15 min at 325 F/162 C or until a toothpick inserted in the bread part comes out clean.

Edited to add: you cut it in slices across the shorter side and eat it like a regular stuffed bread.

Tai's Honey and Soy Mince

Serves: 6
Prep time: 10-15 mins
Cooking time: 30-40 mins

Ingredients -
500grams mince
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
2 cups water
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen beans
3 tablespoons cornflour

Directions -
Brown the mince over medium heat. Add water, soy sauce, honey and vegetables. Stir then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Slowly add flour (I do it a tablespoon at a time so that it won’t cause lumps) then simmer for another 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve with rice.

Note: Jason seems to think this would taste great with some garlic in it, I'm not convinced so refuse to put it in.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mary's Hot Cocoa Mix

A friend of mine gave me this recipe. It's very easy and tastes really good, although it's not quite as sweet as store-bought mixes.

1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Tablespoon hot milk*
Hot milk

Mix cocoa and sugar in a mug, then pour the tablespoon of milk into it. Mix it all into a thick syrup/paste. Fill the mug with the rest of the hot milk. Add more sugar if needed. It's great with a half-pinch of ceyenne pepper, too.

*You can use cow milk, goat milk, soy milk, rice milk, or even water.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chocolate Rum Balls

This is another of Mum's recipes, but I've made them a few times myself. They're a pretty-much-failsafe recipe for an afternoon tea or after-dinner treat.

They need to be made in two stages (usually, over two days) as you have to make the cake first.



4 oz (110g) margarine
4 oz (110g) caster sugar (super fine sugar)
2 eggs
4 oz (110g) self-raising flour
3 metric (20mL) tablespoons cocoa or to taste
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
dash milk (optional)

Rum Balls:

Cake as above
3 metric (20mL) tablespoons apricot jam (US jelly or preserves)
½ metric cup (125mL) dried apricots, finely chopped
½ metric cup (125mL) dessicated coconut (shredded coconut)
2 metric (20mL) tablespoons rum
2 metric (20mL) tablespoons water
chocolate sprinkles to coat (these: choc sprinkles -  Cora tells me that they're called the same thing in the US :-D)



1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C (350 F) and grease and flour a large cake tin (pan).

2. Cream margarine and sugar until fluffy.

3. Add eggs one at a time, creaming until mixed.

4. Add sieved (sifted) flour and cocoa and mix until absorbed. Taste-test to see whether more cocoa is required.

5. Add vanilla essence and mix in thoroughly.

6. The mixture should be at dropping consistency (if you lift a dollop up on a spoon and turn it sideways, the dollop should fall off). If it’s too stiff, add a little milk.

7. Add cake mixture to greased and floured tin, smooth over and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

8. Leave cooked cake until completely cold before proceeding to next step.

Rum Balls:

1. Place cold cake, broken into pieces, into food processor, and blend until it forms fine, even crumbs.

2. In a large bowl, combine cake crumbs and all other ingredients (except chocolate sprinkles) thoroughly

3. Roll into balls a little smaller than 4cm (1.5 inches) in diameter

4. Roll each ball in chocolate sprinkles to coat and refrigerate until required. These can also be frozen for several months – just take out of the freezer to defrost a couple of hours before they are required.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Peanut Butter Biscuits

This is my mother-in-laws recipe and the kids, Jason and I absolutely love them. Be warned they are very more-ish.

Serves: 20-30 but this depends on the size of the balls you make.
Prep time: 10-20 mins
Cooking time: 15-20 mins

Ingredients –
125grams butter
¾ cups sugar
2 tablespoons peanut butter
¼ cup milk
1 ¾ cups plain flour
2 pinches of bicarbonate soda/baking powder

Directions –
Preheat over to 180c/356f. Cream butter and sugar. Add peanut butter. Stir in milk and flour. Roll in small balls and press down firmly with a fork dipped in flour. Bake for around 15-20 mins or until brown.

Jason took the photo because he is the one who always makes them for us.The cooked biscuits are on the left and uncooked on the right. Space them further apart then what Jason has in this picture because the batch he did here actually grew into each other lol.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cream Pie 2

This is one of my mother-in-law's recipes but it looks like a spin-off from Chrisell's recipe a few posts down, so for the sake of consistency, I'll call it Cream pie 2.


3 eggs
1 cup + 3 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 lb (500 g) heavy whipping cream
1/2 oz (14 g) gelatine, for Americans, that's two envelopes of Knox gelatine.
1 cup fruit - berries work best, but sliced banana is good too
1/4 cup of cold water


For the base:
Separate one egg white from the yolk - for how to, see here.
Set egg white aside, beat yolk with the remaining 2 eggs, 3 teaspoons of sugar and the flour.
Pour batter into a buttered pie dish.
Bake at 350F/175C for 6-7 minutes or until lightly brown.
Let base cool.

For the filling:
In a large bowl beat whipping cream with sugar until it forms soft peaks.
In a separate bowl beat egg white until it forms soft peaks.
When egg white is properly beaten, it should cling to the bowl when the bowl is flipped.

That is not of paramount importance in this recipe, but it is if you are making meringue.

For gelatine:
Soak gelatine in cold water.
Put the dish containing gelatine in another dish filled with water and put the whole constuction on the stove on low heat.
Continously stir until gelatine is dissolved.
Let it cool a little bit.

OT: should we make one post with instructions on how to work with gelatine, separate egg whites etc., so everybody can reference to it?

Add fruit (chopped or sliced if necessary) to whipped cream mixture and stir with a wooden or plastic spoon - no mixer at this point!
Add whipped egg white and stir.
Add gelatine and stir.
Pour everything on the cooled base and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

I didn't get to take a picture before the pie was cut:

Tai's Rissoles

I used cornflour tonight, which worked out fine, because Jason used all my plain flour making peanut butter biscuits earlier, which I will post tomorrow.

Serves: 7, that is giving 2 rissoles per person
Prep time: 5-10 mins
Cooking time: 20-30 mins

Ingredients -
500grams mince
1 egg
2 teaspoons mixed herbs
1 teaspoon steak spice
6-7 cloves of garlic sliced
1/3 cup of smokey barbeque sauce
Plain or Cornflour Flour

Directions -
Put mince, egg, mixed herbs, steak spice, garlic and smokey barbeque into a bowl and mix. Grab a small amount, roll, flatten and then roll in flour. Spray pan with spray and cook. Then cook on a fairly low heat, cover and cook for around 20-30 minutes turning occasionally.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

American Cheese

I really hate store-bought American Cheese. I was looking through a recipe book and came upon this recipe for home-made American Cheese. You've got to be kidding me, I thought. But I took a leap and made half a batch. I gave some to my brother who hates trying new food, and he actually liked it. It was a keeper.

This is the half-batch recipe. Even if you like it and are tempted to double this, don't. You'll be eating the cheese for months.

It's great with crackers or on zucchini bread (no, really!)

American Cheese

3/4 pound Cheddar cheese (mild or medium)
3/4 cup Water (very hot)
1/4 cup Nonfat dry milk
3/4 teaspoon Unflavored gelatin

Mix water and gelatin until dissolved. Process cheese in a food processor and slowly add the water/gelatin and milk. Process until smooth, adding more dry milk if necessary. Pour into a loaf pan* that has been lined with plastic wrap. Cover with more plastic wrap and chill overnight before unmolding. Keep cold and slice as needed.

*I used a baby loaf pan, about 2x4x2 inches. I suggest you find a container around the kitchen that looks about the size to hold the cheese (like a cottage cheese container). A regular loaf pan would be way too big.

Strawberry Cream Pie

I made this pie for a dinner party on Friday night, and it went down very well. It's very sweet and rich, but the blandness of the cream layer nicely counterbalances the very sweet strawberry filling.

Please let me know if there are any products in this recipe that don't make sense to non-Australians!

Biscuit (Cookie) Base:


250g sweet biscuits (US: cookies) (I used Arnotts Choc Ripple - any plain chocolate biscuit/cookie will work)
120g margarine, melted


1. Place biscuits (cookies) in food processor and blend until finely crushed.

2. Add melted margarine and blend until it can be rolled into balls

3. Press into the base of a ~20cm (8 inch) diameter pie dish or springform tin, and refrigerate until firm (a couple of hours). I used a pie dish and greased it with margarine beforehand to make sure the pie came out easily.

Pie Filling:


1 85g (3oz) packet strawberry jelly crystals (US: jello)
2 x 1/2 teaspoon gelatine
3/4 cup (185mL) hot water
~425g (1 pound) can strawberries in syrup
300mL whipping cream
1/4 cup (62mL) cold water


1. Blend strawberries and syrup in a food processor on high for ~2 minutes until strawberries are completely dissolved

2. Put jelly, gelatine and hot water in a saucepan.

3. Stir over medium heat until jelly is dissolved.

4. Combine the strawberry mixture with the jelly mixture. Stir thoroughly then pour on top of set biscuit base. Refrigerate until firm (I left it overnight to be certain).

5. Place the cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatine over the top.

6. Place the bowl containing the gelatine over a bowl of hot water (like when melting chocolate) and stir until dissolved. Allow to cool slightly.

7. Whip cream until it is forming soft peaks. Stir in the gelatine and water mixture.

8. Spread cream mixture over pie and refrigerate until firm (a couple of hours).

9. To decorate, top with sliced strawberries or chocolate curls, or dust with cocoa.

Tai's Curried Mince

This is my own recipe so it is has a very mild curry taste because of the kids. You could add more curry depending on your taste.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10-15 mins
Cooking time: 30-40 mins

Ingredients -

500grams mince

1 whole sliced garlic

4 cups water

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup frozen beans

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon steak spice

1 teaspoon mixed herbs

6 tablespoons plain flour

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions -

Brown the mince over medium heat. Add garlic, water and vegetables. Stir in curry powder, steak spice and mixed herbs. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Slowly add flour (I do it a tablespoon at a time so that it won’t cause lumps) then simmer for another 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve with rice.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Xander's Pasta Sauce, Stolen from His Blog.

It was that good. :-D I've just cut and pasted.

Xander's Pasta Sauce

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can roasted, diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 2 tsp pesto
  • 2 T oregano (approximately)
  • 6 pitted black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat until it's about the consistency of water. Add the garlic and onion and sautée until the onions are slightly soft (they'll be somewhat translucent). Reduce heat and add both tomatoes, including juices, and stir until well mixed. Add all of the other ingredients, except the olives. Simmer about 10 minutes until the sauce starts to bubble. Add the olives and simmer until the sauce is the desired consistency. Serve over hot pasta.

I'm not sure how many this will serve; Siri and I both ate enough with the pasta to be satisfied, and there was quite a bit left, so it'll easily be enough for three or four people. In addition, I didn't really measure most of the spices, so those are approximations of what I added--definitely season it to your palate's preferences. Finally, the way I cooked it left some of the tomatoes in large chunks, so you may wish to puree the diced tomatoes before adding them in or add them before the crushed tomatoes so they have a chance to cook down a bit.

Siri recommends adding thyme.

Hoppin' John

I made this because we had left-over brown rice and left-over black-eyed peas. It's amazingly good, with a few alterations. I also mixed in left-over tofu, because it was there and going bad. And I'm posting it because so far, ya'll like your meat. :-D

  • 2 cups quick-cooking brown rice - whatever rice you have laying around. We had long grained brown rice already cooked.
  • 16- to 20-oz. can black-eyed peas - I used dried beans that I had already cooked. Except for canned tomatoes I avoid canned foods.
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped - alas, they're not in seasons. We substituted fire-roasted with garlic. Much better.
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil or 1 Tbs. dried - we didn't have any and skipped it
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried
  1. Cook rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, drain black-eyed peas, reserving liquid. Rinse peas under cold running water and set aside.
  2. In large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 12 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring often, until onions are golden, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, basil, thyme and 1/4 cup water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tomatoes have softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in rice, tofu* and black-eyed peas until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until flavors have blended, 5 minutes. If necessary, add a little reserved liquid from peas as needed to keep mixture somewhat moist. Serve hot.
*If you're using tofu, cube it and fry it in a bit of olive oil, then toss it in. Or crumble it if you want.

Notes: I used a wok frying pan, I did not bother waiting the entire 12 minutes, and instead of using the water I used the tomato juice. It was delicious, and the pictures are below. I served it with sweet potatoes (cubed and boiled with a bit of molasses) for a perfect southern dinner.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


This is my mom's recipe, so it uses European cups that hold 220 ml of liquid. I've translated them into grams/mililiters using a table in an old cookbook. I normally use US cups and just fill them up to the 220 ml mark. The recipe uses both baking powder and soda + yogurt - that's not a typo, though it is weird. My mom has recently started making them with half the oil, and she says they turn up just fine. I've never tried that, though.

Anyway... the recipe:


1 cup (220 ml) oil
1 cup (200 g) sugar
500 g yogurt + 1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons chocolate syrup (or cocoa powder, but chocolate syrup is better)
2 cups (250 g) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven at 350 F/175 C.
Stir baking soda into yogurt.
Stir in baking powder.
Add the rest of the ingredients and beat with a mixer.
Pour batter into a 9"x13" baking pan.
Bake for 20 min or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I usually frost with store-bought chocolate frosting, but that's optional.

Or, you can try to adapt this one. I've never actually made the second one, but a friend made them and I tried them (yummmm!), so it kind of counts.

Edited to adjust the metric components - I think my cookbook's conversion table is off.

A request

Friends I need brownie recipes. I've tried ever so many, yet I can't find one that is just perfect. I like my brownies dense - thick & chewy. The more chocolate the better. I'm searching for any health food either, full fat & sugar versions are perfect.

Have any I can try?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Stefanie Roll

This is a Bulgarian meatloaf-type dish. I have no idea who Stefanie is and why the dish is called like that :).

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

1 lb (500 g) ground meat (AUS: mince)
2 eggs
1 dill pickle, quartered
1 carrot
2 celery sticks
1/4 teaspoon of each: salt, black pepper, marjoram, cumin (or, season to taste)


Hard boil one of the eggs (for how to, check here). Cut into quarters lengthwise.

Cut carrot lengthwise.

Steam carrot and celery sticks for 5 min. You can also boil them until they are tender, but steaming is faster and healthier.

Mix the other egg (raw!) with ground meat. Add spices.

Spread the ground meat mixture on aluminum foil forming a rectangle that is about an inch (2.5 cm) thick.

Arrange pickle, carrot, celery and egg along the long side of the meat rectangle.

With the help of the foil, form in a tight roll.

Tightly wrap into foil and roast at 500 F/260 C for 30 min. It's important for the roll to be tight so that it doesn't break later when cut.

Unwrap, lower oven temperature to 350 F/175 C and roast for about 10 minutes more.

Let it cool down for 10-15 min before cutting. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hot Pot

This scrumptious winter dish is one of my mother’s specialties, and I only hope that someday I can make it as well as she does! It’s a rich meaty casserole topped with lightly crisped potato slices. Perfect for the end of a cold day, and much healthier than its rich taste would suggest.

Serves 6 people

Prep time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 2h 55 mins


400g shin beef (gravy beef)
400g lamb cutlets
4-6 tomatoes, sliced thickly
2 onions cut into rings (we use brown onions)
4 carrots, sliced into rounds
6 potatoes
1 teaspoon (5 mL) each of oregano, thyme and sweet basil
A few tablespoons of plain flour for browning
A little oil or margarine for browning
1 tablespoon cornflour (US: cornstarch)
Good stock (broth), enough to cover all ingredients in the pot. A good low-salt liquid stock from the supermarket is fine, but we usually use stock or gravy left over from a previous meal and frozen for future use, which makes for a much more flavoursome meal. If you’re using store-bought, I suggest a mixture of varieties – beef, vegetable and chicken stock together. You can also throw in other liquids such as left over drinking juice, juice from tinned fruits, and red wine, to add to the flavour.


1. Cut beef into 2-3cm (1 inch) cubes, and coat in plain flour.

2. Heat margarine or oil in the base of a large saucepan, add beef and stir quickly until browned.

3. Add lamb, tomatoes, onions, carrots and herbs to the beef in the saucepan, add just enough stock to cover, and simmer on the hotplate for 2 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 100 C / 210 F.

5. Remove the meat and vegetables from the stock with a slotted spoon, retaining the stock in the saucepan. Place meat and vegetables in an open-topped oven-proof dish (such as a pie dish). Place in oven and proceed immediately to next step.

6. Peel potatoes and cut into thick, round slices. Place potatoes in the stock in the saucepan, and boil for 15 mins. Remove potatoes from stock and reserve stock in saucepan.

7. Remove dish from oven and pile or layer the boiled potatoes on top of meat and vegetables. Pour in as much of the stock as will fit without overflowing the dish. Reserve remaining stock.

8. Place dish back in the oven, increase heat to 180 C / 350 F and cook for 40 minutes. Watch potatoes carefully in last 10 minutes to prevent burning.

9. Just before the dish is ready, reheat the stock remaining in the saucepan to use as gravy. You can thicken the gravy by using a tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in half a cup of water, and poured into the boiling stock while stirring briskly.

10. Serve immediately. We usually have this with some boiled or steamed vegetables such as peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, silverbeet etc.

Christine's Potato Salad

This is a smooth, creamy, eggy potato salad, great for people who aren’t fond of the acidic taste of potato salads that use ordinary mayonnaise, mustard, dill or whatever. I invented it entirely out of my own head, to satisfy my need for a dairy-free potato salad. It’s always a hit at parties, and is perfect for Summer entertaining.

Whole-egg mayonnaise is a thick, creamy, smooth mayonnaise that is generally dairy-free and as the name suggests uses the whole egg rather than only part of it. It’s widely available here in Australia. Using whole-egg mayonnaise is essential in this recipe as it gives the salad its distinctive smooth taste.

Serves 8 people.


8 small red potatoes (we usually use the ‘Desiree’ variety, but really any potato will do)
8 eggs
2 spring onions (aka scallions / green onions: these)
Whole egg mayonnaise (usually requires most of a 440g / 1 pound jar)
6 slices good quality sandwich ham (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Place eggs in a saucepan in cold water. Place them over high heat and leave for 15 minutes. This will hard-boil the eggs. Shell eggs as soon as they are done for easy shelling. Set aside to cool.

2. Chop potatoes into good-sized pieces (at least 3 or 4 cm / 1-1.5 inches along each dimension) and place in a saucepan in cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until just done. Drain and set aside to cool.

3. Chop the eggs into quarters, or use an egg-slicer.

4. Place the cooled potatoes and chopped eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add several large dollops of the mayonnaise to the bowl and use a plastic or wooden spoon to stir through to coat the potato and egg generously in mayonnaise (a metal spoon will cut the potatoes and eggs). Keep adding mayonnaise until the other ingredients are thoroughly covered.

5. Finely chop the spring onions and add to the mixing bowl (reserving a small amount to garnish). Stir through.

6. If you are using ham, dice the ham into 1cm / ½ inch pieces and add to the bowl. Stir through.

7. Season with salt and cracked pepper if desired, and stir through.

8. Spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with a little more spring onion. Refrigerate until serving.

This will keep very well for 3-4 days in the refrigerator if kept in a bowl with cling wrap / Glad wrap / cling film etc over the top. Although it sounds strange, it can also be fried up as leftovers. It makes a very good meal when fried up with left-over meat!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pavlova Roll

I will be making this next Friday for friends so will have picture then.
This is in metric measurments.

Serves: 6
Prep time: 30-50 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins

Ingredients -
4 egg whites
½ cup or 110g caster sugar + 2 extra TBS
2 cups or 500ml whipped thickened cream
250g strawberries, halved
1 or 85g kiwi fruit, sliced
2 TBS passionfruit pulp

Directions -
Preheat oven to 200c or 392f.
Grease 26cm X 32cm swiss roll pan, line base with baking paper or foil (I prefer foil), extending paper 5cm over edges of long side of pan.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; add sugar, in batches, beating until dissolved between additions.
Spread the mixture into prepared pan and bake for 10 mins or until lightly browned.
Turn meringue onto sheet of baking paper, sprinkle with extra sugar.
Gently peel away baking paper, stand for 2 mins.
Spread a third of whipped cream over slightly warm meringue.
Place strawberries and kiwi fruit length ways in centre and then roll firmly from long side.
Refrigerate for 30 mins.Trim ends, cover top with remaining cream and decorate with passionfruit pulp.

Note: You can use different fruits, I often add banana and pinapple.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Pork Steaks in Mushroom Sauce

This is one of my favorite midweek meals, as it's ridiculously quick and easy despite the pretentious name. I came up with that recipe for my own use, but it's nothing groundbreaking so I am sure someone else has thought of it before me :). Makes 2 servings. Preparation time is about 30 minutes from start to finish, and the actual work involved is about 5 min.


2 pork steaks
1/4 cup (60 ml) red wine
10 oz (280 g) mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons flour, or 1 teaspoon starch
Salt and pepper to taste


Season the steaks to taste. In a skillet brown each side for about 2 min.
Lower heat.
Add mushrooms and onion.
Pour in red wine. In my skillet it reaches up to about the middle of the steaks. That's about the right amount of liquid - it shouldn't cover the steaks.
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 min, or until steaks are done.
Transfer steaks to a plate. Leave liquid and mushrooms in skillet.
Add flour or starch to sauce.
Increase heat and cook sauce, stirring continuously for about 2 min or until thickened.
Remove sauce from heat. Season with a pinch (or more :) of salt and pepper.
Pour over steaks.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Creole-style Jambalaya

Jambalaya allegedly started as Spanish settlers tried to recreate paella in the conditions of the New World. It was later adopted by the Creoles of Louisiana, and later yet - by the Cajuns. This is a yummy (spicy!) and quite filling dish from the ex-French colony, modern-day US state of Louisiana.

The difference between creole- and cajun-style jambalaya is in the presence of tomatoes - this one has them :). I got this recipe from the friend of a friend whose mother is from Louisiana. It gets pretty close to the ones I've had at restaurants, so I consider it authentic.

As is, the jambalaya is flavorful but not very spicy. For more kick adjust the amount of cayenne pepper or shake in some hot sauce (Tabasco or the like). Maximum flavor is achieved when the jambalaya sits overnight before baking, so it's perfect for a Monday night meal when you've done the majority of the work the night before. But I've also baked it right after making it and it's still delicious. It tastes best right after baking. Leftovers reheat well but tend to lose the spicy kick. Makes 6 servings (which is to say husband and I finish the whole thing in 3 evenings).

I've put 1 pound to be 450 g for easy translation into metric. If anyone wants to be super exact, take note that 1 pound = 454 grams :).


1lb (450 g) sausage, sliced
1lb (450 g) cooked chicken, cubed
1lb (450 g) tail-off shrimp (cooked or not, doesn’t matter)
¾ cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped celery
32 oz (900 g) canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1 ½ teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons oregano
½ tablespoon creole seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup rice


Cook chicken (I use chicken breast), cube, reserve broth.
In a separate pan sauté sausage.
In a big pot sauté green pepper, garlic, parsley, celery (~5 min).
Add tomatoes, all spices.
Add rice.
Add chicken and sausage.

Cover and cook for 30 min over low heat, stirring occasionally. If liquid dries up (never happened to me), add some of the chicken broth.

Add shrimp and cook until pink or defrosted.

*Can be refrigerated at this point and baked later.

Spread in a baking dish (should fill a 9" x 13"/22 cm x 32 cm). Add 1 cup of the chicken broth to keep moist as baking. Bake at 350˚F (175˚C) until heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

(Please ignore my ugly counter and even uglier stove - I rent!)

Moroccan Harira

This is pretty involved, but it's well-worth it. I plan on making naan later on to go with it. Recipe is from Vegetarian Times' article The Soup Cure - healing soups other than chicken noodle. I'm planning on making several of the soups, so be prepared. ;-)

1/2 Cup Lentils (For Americans such as X and I, these will be found in the dried beans section.)
1 Tbs. olive oil (or as needed)
1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick (or three tsps)
1 15-oz can chickepeas (garbanzo), rinsed and drained
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
(You can use diced if you can't find them.)
1/2 cup vermicelli
Lemon wedges, for garnish (We skipped, they're not in season)

2 tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. tomato paste

  1. To make Harira: Cook lentils in pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, parsley, cilantro, ginger, and cinnamon; sauté 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Stir in tomatoes, and sauté 5 minutes more.
  3. Stir in broth, chickpeas, lentils, reserved tomato liquid, and 3 cups of water. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. To make Tadouira: Whisk flour with 1 cup water in bowl. Whisk in cilantro, lemon juice, and tomatoe paste. Stir Tadouira and vermicelli into Hairqa, and cook 3 minutes, or until noodles are soft. Serve with lemon wedges.
Nutritional Info:
Per Serving (8 altogether): 179 Cal; 7 G Prot; 3 G Total Fat (0.5 G Sat. Fat); 33 G Carb; 0 MG Chol; 537 MG Sod; 6 G Fiber; 5 G Sugars